In This Weeks Edition: 01-25-2012

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Gingrich sweeps County in Republican Presidential Primary

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

To use the words of one news reporter, “it was a thumping.” As former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker, Newt Gingrich from the neighboring state of Georgia, made nearly a clean sweep of the state of South Carolina in what has come to be known as the “first in the South” Republican Presidential Primary held this year on Saturday, January 21.

It was no different in Bamberg County, as voters despite the county being under a severe thunderstorm watch most of the evening, gave the majority of their support to Gingrich, who easily outdistanced rival Mitt Romney from Massachusetts. Romney received the backing of Bamberg native and Tea Party favorite South Carolina Governor Nikki R. Haley. The unofficial results of Saturday’s primary showed Gingrich winning in each of the county’s 13 precincts. Gingrich received 512 votes to 262 for Romney with Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania coming in third with 118 votes and Ron Paul with 82.

One of those citizens turning out to the polls early Saturday morning to cast his vote in the North Bamberg Precinct was Tommy Tant of Bamberg. Tant said he made up his mind on Wednesday who he would vote for, described the field of candidates as “a pack of canines.” Tant, not saying directly who he voted for, noted that Gingrich had the legislative experience and he was willing to overlook some of Gingrich’s alleged prior indiscretions and have someone with conviction as opposed to the wavering back and forth of his chief rival in the race.

Another voter in the South Bamberg Precinct, who wished to remain anonymous, said their religious convictions lead them to vote for Rick Santorum over the other candidates.

Man gives up home to his dogs

Joyce M. Searson, Publisher

A Bamberg man gave his home to more than 40 dogs, but no laws were broken said Bamberg County Sheriff Ed Darnell.

After receiving complaints from nearby neighbors, Bamberg County Sheriff officers went to the property located at 1507 Carlisle Street, Bamberg, on January 10th and found over 40 dogs on the property in makeshift pens and some were inside the property owner's home.

According to the incident report, there was an animal like odors coming from the yard and numerous dogs were barking.

The officers then returned with a search warrant and talked with the property owner, Joey Sutton, who was at that time an employee of MAMAS, Mary Ann Morris Animal Society, but since then, he no longer works there.

Sutton was actually living outside in a tent, while some of the dogs were living in the home.

According to the report the dogs were being well cared for and according to Sutton, most of them had been picked up from along the roadside.

Sutton said in a telephone interview on Monday, January 23, he felt like a burden had been lifted from him.

"I never intended to have that many dogs, but when I would see one beside the road, I just had to pick it up and take it home. They ate 50 pounds of food a day, costing me $650.00 per month. I was working just to feed them. Now, I just wish everyone would focus on the dogs and not on me," said Sutton.

He said he loved his dogs and hated to see them go, but he wants them to have good homes.

Sutton says he is ready to move forward and put all this behind him.

Clemson Head Coach

Jerry E. Halmon, Sports Editor

College football coaches like to refer to National Signing Day (Wednesday, February 1, 2012) as “Christmas Day” as they try to restock their arsenals each year with new talented football players. With only eight days left to the big day, college coaches are crisscrossing the country trying to tie up any loose ends with prospective recruits. Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School was a buzzed with excitement last Wednesday as Clemson University head football coach Dabo Swinney and defensive line coach Marion Hobby, fresh off an Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, paid a friendly visit to the school to check things out. On Wednesday, February 1, several area players are expected to sign their names on a national letter of intent to play the next four years at the school of his choice.

Red Raider Wrestling

Jerry E. Halmon, Sports Editor

The 2011 Class A defending State Champion Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School Red Raider wrestling team has been a very busy bunch of grapplers over the last month. The Red Raiders, ranked number one in the latest polls, have wrestled individually in over 50 matches from December 16 through January 16, with one purpose in mind and that is getting back to the state championship on February 11, at Dreher High School. Before the Red Raiders set their sights on a return visit to Columbia S.C., they must first compete in the Class A team championships which will be held in the Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School gym on February 4.

Approximately 16 wrestling teams from across the state will participate in the daylong event at BEHS that will culminate with the last two teams vying for the state championship on February 11, at Dreher High School in Columbia.

The Red Raider wrestling team, fresh off a victory over old rival Chesterfield last week in, held a “light week” of practice this past week to recuperate from all the competition and will face perennial power Stratford on the road this week in and return home to start preparing for the team championships on February 4., according to head coach Cody Slaughter.

It has been a stellar year for members of the BEHS wrestling team with several members of the team ranked all season in the Class 1A and 2A polls.

City of Denmark to receive bids for new library

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

The city of Denmark will began advertising for bids to construct its new library on January 22, and the bids for the new library will be open on Wednesday, February 22, at 3:00 p.m. in the Brooker Center, city administrator Heyward Robinson announced at Council’s January 17, meeting. Mayor Gerald Wright noted that the new library is something that had been talked about “for a long time”. Mayor Wright noted that the grant obtained through Rep. Bakari Sellers was not “an adequate amount” to do what needed to be done. “We got some additional funding and now we have adequate funding,” Wright said, adding that the city was going to start requesting bids for the project. Wright noted that even though the project has had one ground breaking ceremony, “we will have another,” he said.

Also during the meeting: In the financial report it was reported for the six month period ending December 31, the general fund revenue has received over 25 percent of its income for the year. The city’s expenses are in line with what was anticipated. The water system revenues are at the levels projected. Councilman the Rev. Rufus Jamison said he would like to see an itemized statement each month on how the city is spending its money. “I’m kind of in the blind,” Jamison said after city finance director Rusty Munoz’s report. Mayor Wright told Jamison that anytime he wanted to see the “details” of the financial report he could check with city finance director. “That’s not a problem,” Mayor Wright said.

In the fire department report it was noted that the department responded to 17 fire calls during the month, an average of 14- members attend meetings, with an average of seven members per call and a total of 21 members in the fire department. In the police department report it was reported that from December 19, through January 17, 2012 the Denmark Police Department created 71 new case files. It was noted that the Denmark Technical College homecoming parade will be held on February 4, at 10:00 a.m.

In the water department report it was reported the city installed fluorine senor lights in the Cox Mill well and the Voorhees well at the request of DHEC. The department continues to work with putting liners in wells as part of the block grant requirement and installed a check vale at the Cox Mill well that was also requested by DHEC. Mr. Rose, the new consultant the city hired to work with the water department said he has spent “lots of time” going through boxes of materials to see where the city was. He reported he and Mayor Wright had a “very productive” meeting with the new DHEC manager in Aiken, and he is working with the city administrator and Mr. Sheppard and going over items, “item by item.” The department is also working on a new flushing plan for the city. “Everything is moving along at a “very good pace.”

In his mayor’s report Mayor Wright said the city wanted to promote the annual blues festival sponsored by the Bamberg Chamber of Commerce and the Bamberg County Historical Society. The mayor also reported the five mayors of Bamberg County have come together to work with Mrs. Cindy Hurst in putting together some preliminary plans to promote Bamberg County and will be soliciting slogans. Council members unanimously approved a resolution honoring Dr. Joseph Thomas for his many years of service to the city of Denmark.

Chief Morris ‘officially’ apologizes

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

After a January 9, Bamberg City Council meeting that saw a heated confrontation between Bamberg Police Chief George Morris and Council member Cynthia Summers after the Chief questioned her involvement with the group FOSAD; whose member Rex Williams made a presentation before Council on the group allegedly being banned from speaking before Council, a special meeting of Bamberg City Council was held on Friday, January 20 with only one item on the agenda, that being discussion of a “personnel matter.”

After an approximately 45 minute closed meeting that included city of Bamberg attorney Billy Kemp, Bamberg City Council members and Chief Morris, Council reconvened to open session with Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Foster stating that Chief Morris wanted to make a comment to the media.

“One of the things that came up we discussed, when this situation- “I apologized to Ms. Summers and to the council, said I was sorry and to the council said I was sorry, that was not put in the paper that I apologized. I would like something put in the paper that I apologized to Ms. Summers and the council and its official,” Chief Morris said, adding, “I done it again tonight.” Councilmember Cynthia Summers said to Chief Morris “I accept your apology.”