In This Weeks Edition: 02-29-2012

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Three candidates file for District One Seat on City Council

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

One political veteran and two political newcomers have tossed their proverbial hats in the ring to fill the unexpired term of Linda Hayes Hudson, who resigned the seat, in the March 6, special election.

Betty J. Mack, who is an employee of Bamberg School District One and who previously served a six year term on Bamberg City Council, said that she wants to use her knowledge and experience to help promote economic growth in Bamberg and to make the City a more “friendly, safe and flourishing” place to live. Mack cites her involvement with the Bamberg County Chamber of Commerce, a graduate of Bamberg County Leadership, Tri- County Leadership and Municipal Leadership as examples of why she is qualified for the job. “It is important that we work together as citizens of Bamberg,” Mack said.

Kevin Sandifer, who has been a fire engineer for the city of Columbia for six years, said “the skills to lead” and a family history of volunteering in the community are some of the reasons he is running for the District One Seat on Bamberg City Council. Sandifer noted that supporting small businesses, seeing that the city operates within its means and developing programs for young people are other reasons he is running. “We need to become one community continuing to improve the quality of life in Bamberg, not divided by race, religion or pay grades,” Sandifer said.

Sonya R. Strock, a certified nursing assistant, who is currently continuing her education at Denmark Technical College by pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Health Science, cites her varied work and academic background in areas such as electronics, an administrative assistant and rehabilitative nursing programs as reasons she is qualified to serve on Bamberg City Council. Strock noted that adding sidewalks and street lighting in District One would be some of her main objectives as a member of Bamberg City Council. “Our community objective is to improve and empower our community,” Strock said.

3rd Annual Julius Daniels Memorial Blues Festival

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

A hand clapping, foot stomping, good old time, was the only way to describe the experience those blues lovers who attended the Third Annual Julius Daniels Memorial Blues Festival, Saturday, night at the Dane Theatre in Denmark had. The event which was sponsored by the Historic Society of Bamberg County with the profits going to the establishment of a Bamberg County Museum featured some of the legends of Blues music. The first musician of the evening to perform was Juke Joint Johnny (aka John Winkler) “blues harp par excellence,” originally from Upstate New York, who blew into Charleston, SC on the skirts of Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and never left. This was Juke Joint Johnny’s third appearance in Denmark. He played with The Meeting Street Sheiks and with Beverly “Guitar” Watkins at the 2010 JDMBF and he played with The King Bees and Beverly “Guitar” Watkins at the 2011 Dogwood Festival.

During the intermission, up and coming artists Ashley Jordan and Maurice McCutheon of the acclaimed Denmark Technical College Choir performed two soulful ballads to the enjoyment of those in attendance. The final performance of the evening belonged to that of Elliott & The Untouchables, who was the headline act of the Third Annual Julius Daniels Memorial Blues Festival and it was noted has traveled in Europe and Canada and discovered “there is no place like home”.

J. T. Anderson, Bass player with Elliott & The Untouchables, who “serve up thick guitar tones, a smoking horn section, sizzling keys on top of a red hot rhythm section and powerful music soaked with energy and soul,” said “we’re just trying to preserve this art form.”

Three Arrested

According to the Bamberg Police Department three students were arrested Monday morning, February 27th at Bamberg Ehrhardt High School after a fight broke out under the bus port. Two are charged with assault & battery by a mob and disturbing schools, resisting arrest and another subject charged with disorderly conduct. The victim sustained minor injuries.

D-O Lady Vikings

The Denmark-Olar Lady Vikings (20-5) story-book season came up just short Saturday morning as they fell in a heartbreaker to the Abbeville Lady Panthers 54-51 in the Class A Upper State Basketball Finals at the Bi Lo Center in Greenville. The Lady Vikings, coached by first year Head Coach Ashley Patterson, and who rebounded from a five win season last year under Patterson’s leadership were led by sophomore sensation Ta'asia Wright with 20 points, 11 rebounds.

The Lady Vikings earned the right to play in Saturday’s Upper State Finals with a semifinals win over the Lady Landrum Cardinals 64-49 on Monday night.

State Wrestling Titles

It was another great weekend for several members of the Red Raider Wrestling team. After winning back-to-back team titles three weeks ago, two members of the team won state individual titles in the Class A-AA Individual State Championships in Anderson, S.C. over the weekend while four other team members placed in the state tournament. Red Raider junior Mark Moody (170) won the state championship in his weight class and was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler for the A/AA State Tournament. Moody also now holds the state record for the most pins in a season with 51 and most wins in a season 71. Red Raider junior Lan Hiers (126) won the state championship in his weight class.

AJA Girls

Mike Hall

The Andrew Jackson Academy Varsity Girls Basketball Team dropped a 45- 22 decision to Palmetto Christian in the SCISA CLASS A State Quarterfinals. Madeline Elkins led AJA with 12 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Cassidy Hall added 7 points. Brooke Barr finished with 2 points and Kasey Mixon 1 point. AJA finishes the season with a 15-6 record.




BPW gets Online Credit Check Program

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

Bamberg Board of Public Works Commissioners, Dr. Marion Dwight and Buzzy Bunch, are hopeful that a new online credit check program they approved will help head off any future money problems with new customers.

In a discussion of the utility company’s Meter Deposit Policy, both BPW Commissioners were informed by BPW Manager Will Martin that they had contracted with Online Utility Exchange to “check with new customers to verify they are who they say they are.” Martin noted that the update was a part of the policy that was already in place and was also part of the Red Flag Act of the Consumer Protection Program. Martin also commented that the program would provide “basic guidelines” for the staff up front in the BPW office to use with new customers.

Martin noted that the BPW has not started using the program that would “justify how we establish deposits” and “what information on customers we look for” because he first wanted clarification on how it would be used. Commissioner Buzzy Bunch noted that he thought the new program would make it easier for the staff up front in the BPW office.

“It will make it a lot easier for the employees up front to help customers figure out what kind of deposit they’re going to need,” Bunch said. It was also noted that a $20.00 establishment fee will take care of the charges for the Online Utility Exchange Program.

According to the company’s website the Online Utility Exchange our premier bad-debt management tool is the overwhelming choice of utility providers nationwide who want to eliminate bad debt via enhanced credit reports and industrial leading collection services. According to the website the program is available via the internet or through integration with CIS platforms.

Also during the meeting:

In discussing the financial report Manager Martin reported the “moderate weather” did not help the BPW’s sales and a rate study is scheduled for March 5 or 12. Martin reported the BPW is looking at money already allocated in the budget to use for warehouse improvement to include purchasing a modular building (60x40) at a cost of $16,000. Commissioners gave their approval to go ahead with the project. Martin reported the water tank demolition on Elm Street “went very well.” And the department is looking at $150,000 in the budget for the purchase of three vehicles.

Ehrhardt Town Council Expresses Concerns

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

Stating it “can be the difference between life and death,” Ehrhardt Town Council members expressed their concerns about the condition of street signage in the town, at their February, 21 monthly meeting. Ehrhardt Public Safety Chief Chad Dilling noted that signs in the town needed to be “updated” and several needed to be replaced. It was noted that some signs in town are “hanging by duck tape.” Mayor Bill Stanley suggested that a list of signs needing repair or replacement be made and a meeting be arranged with the South Carolina Department of Transportation officials and E-911 Director Sharon Hammond to discuss the matter. Stanley even went so far as to say that if the highway department gave the town the signs they (the town) would be responsible for putting them up.

Council members questioned why the Ehrhardt Rescue Squad ambulance had to be sent to Bamberg each day to be “washed and have its oil changed”, when that job could be easily done in Ehrhardt, while not putting lives in danger. “It’s a matter of life and death; the potential is there, having to wait on an ambulance to come from Bamberg each day” Council member Amy Lee said.

Council members asked County Council member Clint Carter, who was in attendance at the meeting if he could look into the matter of the Ehrhardt Rescue Squad ambulance. Carter noted that the County is currently running a budget deficit and “there have been cuts and will be major cuts.” Carter noted that he had not received a list of the cut yet, but indicated the rescue squad “may be on the list” to reduce the county’s financial burden.

“That’s unfortunate about the budget cuts,” Carter said, adding the County cannot get its last audit to see where the budget stands.

Also during the meeting:

• Public Safety Chief Chad Dilling noted it had been a “safe winter” as far as fires. He reported that for the month the fire department responded to: Two EMS calls and one automobile accident with entrapment. Dilling reported the fire station inspection received “a good report” and he anticipated the department’s ISO rating would drop from a rating of (eight) where it is now. The department received one new member and presently has 15 active members. The police department created five case files for the month including the following: driving without a license, trespassing, speeding, open container and tires on a car cut. There were no recorded burglaries or thefts for the month.

• In the water department report it was noted that income for January was $13,795.70 with 12 accounts being cutoff. Income for the month of February was $11,732.21. Mayor Stanley noted that there are 45 people on the list to be cutoff for not paying their water bills presently.

• Council members noted that they have not heard from Leon Brunson and the Family Health Center on the status of the proposed health clinic and needed an update on the status of the grant they were supposedly working on.

• It was also noted that garbage pickup in the town had been changed from Monday to Tuesday.