In This Weeks Edition: 03-09-2011

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Bamberg County Brew

Lisa B. Stokes, Contributing Writer

Salkehatchie Stew kicked off its third season of storytelling celebration events with "Bamberg County's Brew" on Saturday, March 5 at the Bamberg Civic Center. Salkehatchie Stew focuses on using the arts as an economic engine, with the USC Salkehatchie Leadership Institute providing the guidance for local committees and groups to plan and produce storytelling celebrations.

Hosting storytelling events for children and adults, Bamberg County Brew presented entertaining and educational displays for the community to enjoy. Throughout the civic center, educational displays were available on many past and present residents and businesses who have made major contributions to our community.

Vendors displaying vintage teddy bears, dolls, Native American accessories, trendy and fashion jewelry and woodworking skills were also a hit with participants. The early morning was filled with students that represented all schools throughout the county by sharing their own personal stories.

District One officials hold firm on new school construction cost

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

Bamberg School District One Officials said they experienced some testy moments recently in negotiating the startup cost of the construction of a new elementary school with the architectural firms and contractors hired to do the job.

“We feel like we got them to a point where we’re very comfortable,” Bamberg School District One Superintendent Phyllis Schwarting told board members at their Monday night, February 28, meeting held at the Richard Carroll Elementary School. “They wanted a lot more money than we were willing to commit to,” Schwarting said. “The architects and contractors wanted a greater percentage of the project than we were willing to pay.”

Schwarting noted that the architects and contractors hired to build the new elementary school wanted seven percent or approximately $ 1 million dollars in upfront money but were offered 4.58 percent.

Bamberg School District One Board Chairman Dr. Dale Padgett asked if the figure requested by the construction firms had already been figured in the negotiations prior to the companies being hired. “How could that change?” Dr. Padgett asked, noting “We were not comparing apples to apples.”

Schwarting noted that the companies did not give an “actual figure” and in her opinion they “sometimes mislead you” into thinking “we’re so glad to have a job working; we’ll do it for nothing.” “I really think we got the two best construction companies and architectural firms,” Schwarting said. “They had to be brought inline and let them know that we’re not some country bump kins. They are recognizing our limited funds, we got it worked out.”

Board Vice Chairperson Rita Sease said she supported Superintendent Schwarting taking the stand she did. “I know we picked the right companies,” Sease said. “I have to applaud you for standing your ground.”

Also during the meeting:

• In giving an update on the renovations and construction project Superintendent Schwarting said there was “one controversial” area that was continuing to be worked on concerning the SCDOT request that the District make approximately $400,000 in improvements for turning lanes to the Binnicker Bridge Road entrance to the new elementary school. Schwarting noted that District Officials are trying to show highway officials the limited amount of traffic on the road beyond the residential area where people live. She contrasted the figure to improve the Binnicker Bridge Road entrance to the new school which will be used primarily by buses with that of the Highway 301 entrance which would be approximately $40,000 and will be a much busier entrance. “We’re hoping against hope,” the Superintendent noted.

• Also during the student and staff recognition Superintendent Schwarting congratulated members of the B-E Wrestling Team and coaches for winning the program’s first State Championship on February 12th in Columbia. She also recognized the following State Champions and State Qualifiers for a job well done: Lane Walling and Player Long (State Champions), Mark Moody, Lower State Champion, 2nd Place; Malcolm Jones 3rd Place and Lan Hiers Lower State Champion, State Qualifier.

Red Cross Month

Jerry Durgan, Contributing Writer

Throughout March in Bamberg County, one will see the red-on-white Red Cross flag flying from flagpoles on municipal and school buildings honoring March as Red Cross Month.”

In February, President Barack Obama proclaimed, “For over a century, the American Red Cross has harnessed the generosity of the American people, mobilizing us to offer assistance in the wake of disaster. Whether aiding towns fighting rising floodwaters or nations struggling with starvation and disease, the American Red Cross and its international partners have served during crises across the United States and around the world. During American Red Cross Month, we celebrate our Nation's humanitarian spirit, and we recommit to providing relief and hope in times of crisis."

Historical Collection

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

The Bamberg African American Genealogical Society (BAAGS) presented their Third Annual Presentation of African American Historical Collection and Show and Tell Program on Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. at the Dane Cultural Theater in Denmark.

The event focused on the 2010 collection of African American historical resource material that was presented to the Bamberg County Library. The collection will be permanently cataloged in the Reference Section of the Regional Library System and will be available to the public for research and historical information. It includes oral and written family histories and Black cemetery locations and identities.

In accepting the historical material, Bamberg County Public Library Manager Jennifer Naimzadeh thanked BAAGS for the material and their hard work. "On behave of the Aiken-Allendale-Bamberg Regional Library Association (ABBE) thanks to BAAGS for all their hard work in making this information available to the Bamberg County Library and the ABBE System.”