2011 Year In Review

The year 2011 was noteworthy when it came to news in Bamberg County. Some of the highlights were:

January 2011: Bamberg native Nikki R. Haley, at 38, became the nation’s youngest governor and South Carolina’s first female and Indian American governor.

On the local political scene Evert Comer Jr. and Larry Haynes were sworn-in to office on Bamberg County Council replacing long serving council members William H. Nimmons and Dot Tatum. The Bamberg County Memorial Hospital Trustee Board implemented a “Reduction in Force” at the hospital.

February 2011: Healthcare Management Partners, LLC (HMP) and (Dobbs) Equity Partners, LLC signed a letter of intent after unanimous vote of from all three counties to accept HMP’s proposal to construct a new state-of-the art regional hospital.

Renowned general surgeon Dr. John Ross announced that he would be moving his vascular access practice to the TRMC in March. The affect of this was a loss of staff and revenue for the Bamberg County Hospital. A standing room only crowd of Ehrhardt citizen turned out to express their support for a new healthcare clinic in Ehrhardt.

March 2011: Four candidates filed for one open commissioners’ seat on the Bamberg Board of Public Works with William “Matt” Medlin defeating Sharon Hammonds in a runoff. In the race for Bamberg City Council five candidates filed for three seats with Cynthia Summers and Linda Hayes- Hudson winning seats. Janeth Walker did not face any opposition in retaining her seat. In the race for three seats on the Bamberg School District One School Board six candidates filed with incumbents Rita Sease and Tony Duncan winning re-election along with newcomer Chris Wallace. In the race for the Denmark-Olar School Board eight candidates filed with incumbents Alvin Maynor, Loretta Goodman and Blossom Thompson retaining their seats. In Denmark in an election to fill the seat of Evert Comer, the Rev. Rufus Jamison won as a write-in candidate.

April 2011: BBC Worldwide Productions interviewed citizens of Ehrhardt.

Bamberg School District One $29 million building and renovation project was moving forward according to Dale Collier the owners’ representative.

Circuit Court Judge Jack Early of Bamberg sentenced Michael Daniels Jr. to a life sentence for the murder of Alicia Dyches a convenience store clerk in Olar. Bamberg native and former Clemson star Da’Quan Bowers was taken in the 2nd Round of the NFL Draft.

Healthcare Management Partners, LLC signs an agreement to manage the BCMH.

May 2011:The Bamberg County Memorial Hospital formally agreed to file for protection under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Bamberg School District One formerly broke ground on the New Richard Carroll Elementary School. BCMH Trustee Board Chair Lou Ann Carter submitted her resignation from the board noting she “felt uncomfortable” signing off on items on behalf of the board she did not agree with.

The Bamberg County Relay for Life exceeded its goal of $55,000.

June 2011: At Denmark Technical College officials were cited in a state review of the schools finances for the misuse of the state’s purchasing card program. Denmark Technical College President Dr. Michael M. Townsend submitted his letter of resignation following a probe into the schools’ finances.

July 2011: The city of Bamberg again held its Fourth of July Celebration at the Ness Sports Complex. The close of the event saw a fight that was described as “hairy” and moved city officials to consider ending the event.

The Old Friends Classic Golf Tournament was held again this year with Monica Wheeler being named the recipient of the Joseph Land Scholarship and Beth Pregnall being named the 2012 Honorary Chair.

Governor Nikki Haley came to Denmark and announced that Masonite International Corporation would be bringing 200 badly needed jobs to the county.

South Carolina Gamecocks were back to back national champions in baseball.

August 2011:The BCMH announced the layoff of 38 employees.

The city of Denmark received $495,000 community development block grant for improvements to its infrastructure. A city of Denmark Police officer was placed on administrative leave following the alleged shooting of a Norway resident.

The residents of Bamberg County experience a series of break-in and burglaries.

September 2011: Dobbs Equity Partners announced in a press release that the new hospital was to be located near Denmark.

Bamberg County remembered 9-11-01 with a parade through downtown Bamberg, speeches at the courthouse and worship services at area churches.

October 2011: Bamberg County Council gave final approval to a regional healthcare system. The Bamberg School District One building and renovation project is showing “steady progress” school officials were told. Bamberg County Fire Coordinator Brenna Hancock reported the County’s Fire Service has seen “great improvements” over the year. The town of Olar held its 9th Annual Model T. Festival.

The Bamberg Chamber of Commerce held the 2011 Julius Daniel Memorial Blues Festival at the Dane Theatre in Denmark.

BPW General Manager Bruce Ellis announced his retirement after 30 years.

November 2011: South Carolina Governor and Bamberg native Nikki R. Haley was the guest speaker at the annual Bamberg County Chamber of Commerce Banquet at the Bamberg Job Corps Center. Janis Steedly was named the 2010 Waddy Thompson Citizen of the Year. The Advertizer Herald Publisher Joyce Searson received the Evelyn McMillan Chamber Volunteer of the Year Award for the newspaper and Mikki Ehrhardt Murden of Ehrhardt was named the winner of the Emma Ruth Dowling Unity Award.

USC Gamecocks take third consecutive win over Clemson Tigers at Williams Brice Stadium.

In a story that captivated statewide attention Percy Folk of Ehrhardt was rescued after an extensive search and rescue effort on the part of numerous law enforcement personnel and others.

Bamberg County Council receives proposed new redistricting plan. Two Lexington County men Stephen James Craft II and Jody James Williams were arrested and charged with a series of crimes in Bamberg County. Bamberg County honored its veterans with a celebration at the Bamberg Civic Center and programs at area schools.

December 2011: Bamberg County brought in the Christmas season with parades, a tree lighting ceremony and holiday concert. Jim Tobul and Tobul Accumulator was recognized as a “Patriotic Employer” by the Office of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

County Council held a public hearing on the new redistricting plan on December 22.

Linda Hayes-Hudson resigned her seat on the Bamberg City County that will mean a special election in March of 2012.