In This Weeks Edition: 03-16-2011

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Fire destroys Bridge Street home

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

A Bamberg woman and her two young children are safe after a fire completely destroyed their home on Bridge Street on Friday. According to Bamberg Fire Chief Timmie Taylor the home of Lakesha Grays at 276 Bridge Street, Bamberg was gutted by fire with the contents of the home completely destroyed.

Chief Taylor stated upon arrival at the scene of the fire that occurred at approximately 5:00 p.m. on March 11, it was determined that more manpower was needed and a Zone 1 Response was called for fire departments that included: Denmark, Clear Pond, Hunters Chapel with backup from Ehrhardt.

Taylor stated that approximately 25 firefighters responded to the fire that took three hours to control. Terry Wright, who was an occupant of the home at the time of the fire said the fire started on the stove in the kitchen where he was cooking. The Fire Chief noted the fire progressed through the ceiling and got in the overhead. “Do to the wind factor that was fueling the fire it made it much harder to control,” Taylor said.

Wright was credited with getting two children ages 3 and 6, of the fire out safely. Gray, who was overcome with the emotion of the event was transported to the Bamberg County Memorial Hospital for observation and was later released.

Chief Taylor says he appreciates “all the help and good work” from the neighboring fire departments. Also responding to the scene were: The Bamberg Police Department and Bamberg Rescue Squad.

Tuesday morning Bamberg County American Red Cross Disaster Chairman Paul Sandifer said the agency was able to quickly assist Grays and her family with shelter, assistance from the Cheeze and Cracker Box and financial assistance utilizing the agency’s new debit card program which was started approximately six months ago to help citizens after a disaster.

“I appreciate everything the Red Cross and the fire departments did,” said Grays.

Little Swamp gets new tanker

Joyce M. Searson, Publisher

Little Swamp Fire Department and Little Swamp Community were very excited about finally getting their new 3000 gallon tanker Sunday.

According to Fire Chief Richard Crosby, Bamberg County Fire Coordinator, Brenna Hancock, wrote the grant and it($200,000 grant) was awarded in January 2010. The tanker had to be custom made and that was the reason it was not delivered until now.

"We thank Brenna. She has really helped the community and Bamberg County. Last year she wrote a grant and we were able to get some much-needed equipment that we were not able to buy," said Crosby.

He went on to say they have new firefighters (now a total of 16), a new tanker and new equipment. The old fire truck was a homemade one that the department had been using for 25 years. He said they felt like they really deserved it.

"The old truck had safety issues and this one will replace it. Now they can safely and adequately deliver water to the rural areas...and that is what it is all about," said Hancock.

Bamberg County Relay for Life

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

“We do this because we love it.” Mollie Jo Brandemuehl and Mabel Frazier said of their jobs as 2011 Co-Chairs of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Bamberg County Program. “The need is so great because cancer is such a devastating disease and anything we can do to help fight that disease is a plus,” Mabel Frazier said.

The two co-chairs are in the process of organizing teams and committees for the Relay for Life event scheduled for May 20. It has not been determined at this point where the event will be held. The Ness Sports Complex is being considered as a possible venue. Brandemuehl and Frazier said their goal as co-chairs is to increase the amount of funds raised last year from $53,000 to $55,000 and to increase the number of teams participating.

“The more the better,” Brandemuehl said. “We’re looking to increase the number of teams this year and anybody looking to form a team can contact the two of us.” The two co-chairs noted that all the funds raised from the Relay for Life event stay in Bamberg County and are donated to the American Cancer Society. Hope Lodge in Charleston and the “Look Good Feel Good Program” were cited as examples of how funds from the program are used.

Again this year, the two co-chairs expressed the need to have representation from each part of the County, noting that the town of Olar has two teams represented this year and they would like to have teams from Denmark and Ehrhardt involved, noting that starting a team is “very easy” and starts with a simple phone call.

Disabilities Awareness

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

The month of March is Disabilities Awareness Month. And Dr. Gloria M. James, Executive Director of the Bamberg County Disabilities and Special Needs Board wants the community to know that the Consumers served by the Board are contributing much to our community and the overall environment. The agency’s lawn maintenance crew maintains lawn service for satisfied customers throughout the county. The board offers pressure washing service to businesses as well as residents of the County.

Anyone interested can also have his or her car/truck cleaned by contacting the Board to arrange and set up this service for a comparable fee. The Board also has a contract with the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) for car washing services. “So, you see that the Consumers are both valuable, visible and service oriented,” Dr. James said.

Contested Chicken

Jerry Durgan, Contributing Writer

During the March 7 Olar Town Council meeting Mayor Walter O'Rear announced that “the chickens are a comin’. DHEC has approved the chicken farm. They saw no reason not to issue a permit.,” he said. The location of the new facility is “right at our back door,” O’Rear said.

In November, 2010, two public meetings were held by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control at Olar’s First Baptist Church O’Rear said. “Many of our citizens were not in favor of the poultry facility,” he explained.

The DHEC application summary stated that chickens would be raised on earthen floors covered with wood shavings. The litter, or mixture of manure and wood shavings, would be completely cleaned out of the houses at least once a year and a manure broker would handle the litter from the operation.

“The location of the proposed facility is one quarter mile or less from the front or back doors of the majority of the Olar population. Most of our people live on the west side of town,” stated Council‘s response, discussing health concerns, odor, safety issues, property values, the source and disposal of water to the facility and safe disposal of manure from the proposed facility.

In other business Council discussed “the sudden incidents of theft in the town.” O’Rear noted that Council had met with citizens in hope of developing a neighborhood watch, but to date nothing had been accomplished in that effort. “We get help from the sheriff’s office (Bamberg County) but they, too are scattered thinly throughout the county. We are asking for support from the community,” he said.