Edition: 08-29-2012
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Hope for healthcare in Bamberg

Mallory Biering, Staff Reporter

After the closing of the Bamberg County Hospital, fearful questions about the future of the county's health care system lingered in the area. Questions about financial statements, what to do about emergencies, and medical records circled in conversations between citizens. The hospital board, still united to keep the process of bankruptcy clear to the community, and to find more health care, is aware of these questions and wanted to make certain the citizens of Bamberg County were aware of the situations at hand.

The board recognizes the complaints regarding the payment of a hospital tax when there is no hospital in the county. However, due to a previous loan obtained to cover operation costs before the hospital was closed, the tax must continue to be paid by citizens of the county until all payments are final.

Another question the board acknowledged concerns the payment from former patients. It was believed by certain citizens, that due to the hospital filing for bankruptcy, they (former patients) were no longer responsible for the payments due. But, that thought would be incorrect.

Dr. Danette F. McAlhaney, MD, chairman of the hospital board, stated that the continued payments from former patients are crucial to continue finalizing the financial status of the hospital. Without that money coming into the hospital, the hospital will be unable to make payments to other creditors they owe. During an interview with McAlhaney, it was noted that the hospital participates in a program with the IRS, allowing collections to be made on any unpaid debts. Therefore any negligent hospital notices can cause a former patient to lose their tax refund.

Of course, the lack of income for the hospital is unwavering news for the board and the community, nevertheless, the board is doing all that it can do in order to bring a health care system back to the area, including receiving the help and support from Thornton Kirby, President of the South Carolina Hospital Board. A concerned Kirby is aware of the situation and is working to help the board find health care for the area.

The board and the county truly have the county's interest in mind, knowing the needs and concerns of its citizens. A light for the health care system of Bamberg County is hoped to shine bright for all to see in the future. As a community we will find a solution and reach our goal of bringing a health care system back to the area.

Any questions concerning medical records, or financial statements, have been directed to the Financial Services Department. The phone number, which must be called from mobile devices due to a problem with phone lines, is (803) 245-6713.

Former patients calling are asked to leave a message and give the department one week to reply with the needed information.

Capital One Cent Sales Tax Projects receives third reading approval

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

A list of capital projects, to be voted on by the citizens of Bamberg County in November, is on its way to the state election commission, after receiving third reading approval during a special called meeting of Bamberg County Council last Wednesday morning August 15th, at 8:30 am.

Meeting with members of the reappointed sales tax commission, members of Bamberg County Council voted to adopt the report of the capital sales commission, an ordinance (reviewed by attorney’s at Parker Poe Law Firm of Columbia) which adopts the report and a copy of the ballot question that will be submitted and placed on the ballot in November.

County Council Chairman Chris Wilson, said all of those steps were taken “to make sure we were in full compliance with the statue.”

The special called meeting was held on the advice of attorney Sidney Evering of Parker Poe, who noted at the council’s regular August meeting on Monday night, that looking back through the minutes, the Capital Sales Tax Act requires the Council to appoint a commission and the commission is tasked with coming up with a list of projects. Council member Clair Guess noted the Bamberg County Council had done everything it was required to do by law pertaining to the Capital Sales Tax Project List and attributed the re-doing of the list and reappointment of commission members as an “administrative problem” associated with the previous county administrator.

During the discussion of the capital project list, it was noted the money for the projects would be borrowed on the "front-end." Therefore any money needed for a project will have already been obtained. I Chairman Wilson thanked the sales tax commission members for all of the work completed “all the way to today.” He continued to add [this one cent sales tax] “an opportune way” for the county to meet some of its needs.

Denmark library construction on schedule

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

A few weeks after The City of Denmark broke ground on its new library for the second time, the City of Denmark Administrator, Heyward Robinson reported at the August 20th meeting the construction of the new library is on schedule. “Work is continuing, it’s moving ahead,” Robinson said. Mayor Gerald Wright also noted the progress at the site of the new library during his mayor’s report.

Also during the meeting, finance director Rusty Munoz, reported July revenues for franchise fees and SCE&G came in “substantially” $20,000 over budget from last year to this year as a percentage of their customer billing. “We under projected,” Wright said, adding “we received more revenue than anticipated, that’s a good thing.”

Firefighter Sandifer reported the Denmark Fire Department had a relatively busy month responding to 18 calls. Sandifer reported that an average of 22 firefighters are attending meetings, with nine members responding to fire calls and a total of 20 members on roll.

Sandifer reported the fire department will host a 9-11, 11th Anniversary Parade on Saturday, September 8th, at 10:00 am. The parade will start at the Denmark Fire Station and go down Main Street, turn right on Highway 78 East toward Bamberg and end in the Denmark Piggly Wiggly parking lot, where a prayer will be said.

Police Chief Leroy Grimes reported a busy month in the police department with 96 new case files created.

Public Works Department Director, Hudson noted the department is “working very aggressively” around town. The public works department manager noted that 31 leaks have been repaired and the department is still waiting for bid openings for lagoon linings.

As stated previously, Robinson noted progress on the new library is on schedule and work continues on the intersection of Highway 321 and Highway 78.

During the committee reports Councilmember Bervay Carter announced the Dogwood Festival Committee would meet on September 19th.

Parks and Recreation Commissioner Calvin Odom said the department is in the process of putting together some “futuristic activities” for the city. He noted possible upgrading of the Simmons-Davis Park. Odom also noted the people are seeing improvements in the public works department under Hudson and he thanked the Denmark Police Department for their work.

Denmark City Council members voted to go into a closed meeting to get advice on a legal matter.

Schuetzenfest Hunter's Festival enjoyed by all

Pansy Clayton, Ehrhardt Correspondent

Saturday morning the Parade began about 10:45 with Chance Morris shooting the dove thrown up by Police Chief Chad Dilling. Hall of Fame Coach Jess Dannelly, native son of Ehrhardt, was the Grand Marshal and was presented a plaque after the parade and invited to a VIP Luncheon at the Baptist Church.

The parade was great and had many units in several categories including classic cars and trucks, novelties, floats, tractors, motorcycles and golf Carts. The winning float was 'Me and My Peeps- 4H Club' from Lodge.

The first Place winner in Novelties was AJA Athletes with all the high school cheerleaders and football players in the back bed of a red pickup truck with their cheerleading outfits on cheering along the parade route.

The first Place winner in tractors was a John Deere tractor driven by Troy Miller which was painted orange and white in Clemson colors and had Tiger tracks painted on it. It was a big hit with the crowd.

First Place winner in antique cars was Olar’s Mayor Walter O’Rear riding in a 1927 Ford Coupe.

First Place in golf carts was Mary Campbell and Banks Wallace with their golf cart decorated in red, white and blue and named U.S.A.

First Place in motorcycles was the Christian Motor Cycle Club who had several riders and made circles in the street to show off their cycles.

The parade was followed by fire trucks and rescue squads from several towns.

Mayor Stanley presented a plaque to Jess B. Dannelly for Grand Marshal of the parade and invited him and the other dignitaries to a VIP Luncheon at the Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.

Chairman Flucie Sease commented that the 37th Schuetzenfest was a big success and she hopes everyone will join them for the next one.

Bamberg School District Two: Becoming more energy efficient

Jerry Durgan, Contributing Writer

During the Bamberg School District Two (BSD2) School Board meeting on Monday, August 13th, Conservation Voters of South Carolina (CVSC) Program Coordinator Jennifer Asman presented a PowerPoint depicting ways the district can lower its energy usage and costs.

A crew from the CVSC toured the school facilities of BSD2 to determine the district’s level of energy efficiency and found several ways to cut energy costs. In reference to the tour, Asman explained, “This is our pilot effort. Obviously, it saves money to be more energy efficient [and] it makes the school a more comfortable place to learn."

Asman continued to say, “After walking through all of your schools we have some suggestions to reduce your energy consumption. The biggest opportunity [the district has] to save a lot of money is to implement a more aggressive HVAC scheduling technique. Right now, your lighting, heating and cooling is scheduled from 6 am to 5 pm every day, weekends and holidays included. Obviously, you use a ton of energy."

Asman also suggested turning off lights when not needed, as well as executing a "program [ for the] HVAC to shut down during weekends, holidays, and breaks." It was also stated that for a small fee the district may give the school authority to override the system for areas where needed.

During the summer, the walk through of the school also included the kitchens of each school, where they found the pilot lights in the kitchen were lit, which can cause three times more gas to be used per year. By cutting "these off during weekends and breaks," Asman stated that the district will see "an immediate effect on the energy bill." Due to the district spending over $190,000 in energy costs between the elementary and high school, this type of information will prove to be effective in future billing statements.

Other ideas for saving energy costs included, " weatherization, which [was done] a couple of Saturdays ago. There are a bunch of exterior doors that have large cracks, windows that leak air," all causing energy costs to rise. By simply caulking those and applying weather stripping energy costs will decrease.

The presentation included other cost-saving measures the district could put in place, including programmable water fountains, hot water heaters, lighting, replacing the T-12 fluorescent light bulbs with more efficient lighting, heat pumps, more efficient dishwasher systems and screening on the walk-in coolers and freezers. The presentation also included ways the district can receive help and support to pay for energy usage through SCE&G and the South Carolina Energy Office in Columbia.

With these measures now presented to the district, the schools can begin to create a better and more comfortable learning environment for the students.

Turnovers key

Jerry E. Halmon, Sports Editor

Denmark Olar Head Football Coach Michael Jordan said at the start of this football season that the key to success this season for his team was cutting down on the 32 turnovers it committed last year. On Friday night in their home opener against the Lake Marion Gators (1-1) the Vikings (0-2) committed four untimely turnovers in a 42-0 loss at Viking field in Denmark. The Vikings were down by a score of 6-0 at the half before Lake Marion pulled away in the second half.

Red Raiders

Jerry E. Halmon, Sports Editor

The Class 2-A state ranked Bamberg Ehrhardt High School Red Raider football team improved to (2-0) on the season with a 26-14 non-region win over Lower Richland Friday night in Hopkins. The Red Raiders ranked 5th in the latest HSSR Class 2A rankings held a 20-8 halftime lead over the Diamond Hornets. A strong B-E defensive effort in the second half put down a furious rally by the upset minded Hornets to claim their second win of the season.

AJA falls

Mike Hall

The Andrew Jackson Academy Varsity Football team opened their 2012 season at Hallman Sease Field against a tough Patrick Henry squad. The Patriots defeated the Confederates 30-6, but Coach Gene Sease cited many positives in his team's first game. With several key players’ unavailable and dressing ten first-year Varsity players, Coach Sease was pleased with the leadership of his veteran players and the contributions of the younger players.

Jefferson Davis

Jerry E. Halmon, Sports Editor

The Jefferson Davis Academy Raiders (1-1) got their first win of the season on Friday night with a 40-6 win over Beaufort Academy. The Raiders, coached by Head Coach Curt Ott, were led offensively by junior running back Trent Garvin, who recorded 286 all-purpose yards and scored four touchdowns in recording the Raiders first win of the season. The Raiders were led on defense by Cameron Polston with seven tackles and Janett Davis with seven tackles and a sack.