In This Weeks Edition: 02-01-2012

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BPW approves tobacco use policy

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

Bamberg Board of Public Works Commissioners gave their approval to a limited Tobacco Use Policy to deal with “smoking only” and not other uses of tobacco at their January 26, meeting. General Manager Will Martin informed the Commissioners that the proposed Tobacco Use Policy which they received dealt with the use of tobacco at the workplace. He noted the policy prohibited the use of tobacco in vehicles and buildings. After Commissioners expressed their concerns about second hand smoke and allowing the issue to be left up to the employees own discretion and other concerns, Manager Martin said they were mainly concerned with second hand smoke. Martin noted that there would be pros and cons to any policy.

Also during the meeting, BPW Commissioners approved a Personal Electronic Device Use Policy. Manager Will Martin explained that the proposed policy dealt mainly with the use of personal electronic devices while performing safety sensitive work activities.

• Commissioners approved the purchase of a 108 hp Kubota Tractor from Pioneer Equipment Company for $20,970 to be used in the spray fields. It was noted that the purchase price included a quote for the trade in of old equipment.

• Manager Martin informed the Commissioners that the BPW had received a check totaling $46,699 from the SCLGAG once they had paid all the runoff of claims which had been submitted during their disbanding process. He told the Commissioners the BPW then paid off the remaining balance of the SIRF Loan totaling $50,826.16 which was for the water treatment plant.

• Manager Martin told the Commissioners that they needed to replace their line digger derrick and that a new one would cost around $185,000. Martin noted the company was looking in Florida and Texas for a used one and he would be able to give them a recommendation at the next meeting.

• Commissioners approved a motion to contract with Navillus Utility Consulting LLC to perform a rate study for the BPW for a sum not to exceed $60,000.

Annual Firemen’s Banquet

Jerry Durgan, Contributing Writer

At the beginning of the Annual Firemen's Banquet, Marilyn Smith, wife of firefighter Jay Wayne Smith, spoke of the sacrifices that firefighters and their families make each time they go on call … “to perhaps save a perfect stranger.”

The annual banquet honors all of the city’s present and past fire fighters and families, each who devote their time, talent an possibly life to protect the citizens and property.

Bamberg Mayor Alton McCollum told the firemen, “We can sleep better at night knowing that we have people of your quality on the service.”

Fireman Chris Sandifer reported that 181 total fire calls were responded to in 2011, including 23 structure fires, 7 mobile home fires, 16 vehicle fires, 36 grass fires, 31 alarms, 18 wrecks, 25 other calls and 25 training and meeting calls.

Before the conclusion of the 2012 Bamberg Fire Department’s Annual Banquet, the Department’s “Blue Team” and members of the station team were called to respond to a fire alert before a the full contingent of firefighters were able to assemble for a group photo.

“I think this is the first time that this has happened in all of the years I’ve covered the banquet,” a reporter commented. But they left their families and friends and cohorts, in effect, “to save a perfect stranger.”

Hiers seeks 7th term

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

James B. “ Pedie” Hiers announced that he will seek his seventh term for the office of Bamberg County Clerk of Court in the June Primary election. Hiers has served for 27 years as the Bamberg County Clerk of Court and Recorder of Deeds (R.O.D.). In his job has clerk of court, Hiers is responsible for all aspects of the different courts. This includes General Sessions, Civil, Family and Juvenile Court. The office is responsible for the accepting and processing of all paperwork concerning these courts. “We are required to maintain all the records of each court,” Hiers said. Hiers is also the Register of Deeds for Bamberg County. This includes the recording of deeds, mortgages and other legal documents. Hiers noted that in General Sessions, his office is responsible for acceptance and maintaining of all warrants that are not misdemeanors. “We handle the bonds for parties that are able to post bond until trial.” In Civic Court, the clerk of court office is responsible for maintaining all paperwork in the civil cases, scheduling jury and non-jury trials as well as scheduling all motions that need to be heard. In Juvenile Court, our office is responsible for maintaining all paperwork as well as scheduling all hearings for the Department of Juvenile Justice. In Family Court, the office again maintains all records regarding anything that is Family Court in nature. We are required to schedule hearings, process and disburse child support payments as well as determine and schedule hearings for past due child support payments.

Rhoad to run for Probate Judge

Local attorney Billy Rhoad has announced that he will run for election for Bamberg County Probate Judge in the Democratic Primary to be held in June.

“I am interested in running for probate judge because I believe that someone with a legal education is best suited for that position,” said Rhoad. “I have enjoyed practicing law in Bamberg with my father for the past 25 years, but I am ready to move on to new challenges and serve the citizens of Bamberg County in a different capacity.”

A native of Bamberg, Rhoad has practiced law at Rhoad Law Firm since 1987. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from Mercer University in Macon, GA and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

His professional affiliations include the South Carolina Bar Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the South Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.

Rhoad is a member of Christ Episcopal Church in Denmark where he is a lay reader and a member of the choir. He is past senior warden of the church and taught Sunday School for many years. Rhoad is a member of the Masons and the Scottish Rite. He has served in several capacities for Ornan Lodge #38 in Bamberg including senior deacon.

Past community service includes serving on the Bamberg County Chamber of Commerce and the Bamberg County Disabilities and Special Needs Board. He was advisor for the Denmark-Olar High School Mock Trial Team and has taught legal courses for the criminal justice department at Denmark Technical College.

Rhoad and his wife Kathy have two children, Whitney, a senior at Clemson University, and Duncan, a sophomore at The Citadel. He is an avid hunter and fisherman.