Edition: 10-31-2012
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BPW finances improve over last year

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

The Bamberg Board of Public Works finances are showing a slight improve over last year, BPW Commissioners were informed at their Thursday, October 25th, board meeting. Clerk/Treasurer Bruce Watson noted that compared to last year, where the BPW finances were down overall by about $35,000, the BPW finances are ahead this year about $98,000 in income versus expenses. “We’re doing a little bit better than last year this time,” Watson said.

Also during the meeting BPW General Manager Will Martin gave an update on several on-going projects:

• Martin reported a contract was approved to do dredging at the wastewater plant do to buildup of solids in two basins. The dredging is presently underway and should continue for another month. Martin noted the new operations center on Elm Street is, “pretty much complete,” except for some touchup work to be done including: getting the phone system setup and a computer network installed. “We should be getting close to the grand opening of the operations center,” Martin stated.

• Martin also reported well number eight at the water treatment center is, “up and running,” with some flow testing and flushing of hydrants being done for the last three weeks, which is required by DHEC. Martin reported he also received pricing on several new vehicles from state purchasing and Zeigler Chevrolet. He noted he would not have to come back before the board if figures on the vehicles were within budget.

• After entering a brief closed meeting, commissioners reconvened to open session and approved the transfer of three BPW vehicles to the city of Bamberg. Commissioners also approved the purchase of some new furniture for Bamberg City Hall with the old furniture in city hall to be transferred to the new operations center.

• BPW Chairman Dr. F. Marion Dwight officially congratulated The Advertizer-Herald reporter, Jerry Halmon, on being named the 2011 Waddy Thompson Bamberg County Citizen of the Year on behalf of the BPW Board of Commissioners.

Bamberg child accidentally struck by car released from hospital

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

A three year old Bamberg girl was airlifted by Life Net Helicopter to the hospital after an accident in downtown Bamberg Monday morning. According to a City of Bamberg Police Department South Carolina Traffic Collision Form, at 12:00 noon on Monday, October, 22, three-year old Aubriaun Pitts of 143 Bamberg Street was “accidently struck” as she was crossing the roadway on Highway 78 East in Bamberg.

According to the report, a car driven by Amanda Bishop Stanfield, 27, of 2775 Spider Road, Bamberg, was making a left onto Highway 78 East as the child was crossing Highway 78 East. According to the report; the 1999 Toyota driven by Stanfield, “accidentally struck” the pedestrian as she was crossing the roadway.

According to emergency personnel on the scene at the former Bamberg County Hospital helicopter landing pad, the child was conscious as she was being airlifted. According to published reports over the weekend the young child has been released from the hospital and has returned home. Units responding to the scene of the accident were: The Bamberg Police Department, Bamberg Fire Department and Bamberg Rescue Squad.

Piggly Wiggly donates to Cheeze and Cracker Box

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

When Bamberg Piggly Wiggly Operator Aaron Fleming heard the Cheeze and Cracker Box in Bamberg had been robbed he took action. Fleming called the president of the company David Schools, and Christopher Ibsen Director of Marketing and told them what happened. After the company executive “put their heads together” the results were two pallets of supplies from the company being shipped to the Cheeze and Cracker Box. Fleming said the company was glad to pitch in and help the Cheeze and Cracker Box with the first shipment of supplies and another shipment of 70 boxes would be coming in next week.

Fleming noted the Piggly Wiggly “Forever Campaign” is a program to get people to shop locally, which allows Piggly Wiggly, which is 100 percent employee owned, to give back to the local community. Paul Sandifer, who is the County Red Cross Disaster Chairman, said the Cheeze and Cracker Box needs more food this time of year because of fires and other disasters. Bamberg City Council member Kevin Sandifer and Bamberg County Council member elect Trent Kinard, who informed Fleming of the theft said they were able take a truck load of food to the agency last week along with $300.

“We hope to do more and continue to help,” Sandifer and Kinard said, “Piggly Wiggly and the Cheeze and Cracker Box have been tremendous in helping.”

BSD1 Board Meeting Upsetting night for some

Mallory D. Biering, Staff Reporter

It was made known to the public, on Monday, October 22nd, by the Bamberg School District One Board of trustees, of the school auction/sale to be held on Saturday, November 3rd from 7:30 am to 1 pm at the gym of Richard Carroll Primary School. Phyllis Schwarting, BSD1 Superintendent, stated the sale would include any items not purchased from other government associations or non-profit organizations. Schwarting said they had, "a hodgepodge of things, " to include items like desks, chairs, shelves, file cabinets, and tables. A silent auction will be held for kitchen equipment, and "possibly a 16-seat passenger school bus."

Also, during this part of the meeting, it was made known by Rita Sease, the chairwoman for the board, that she, "wanted it to go on record that [she] was very opposed to the [selling]," of items to Andrew Jackson. AJA is considered a governmental entity, but Sease stated she, "would have rather had someone else," have the items rather than a private school.

Questions from visitors concerning the sale of the district's property were raised by Betty Mack. Mack asked when the advertisements were posted online, and "who knew it was posted on the internet?" Mack continued to question the board and Schwarting about the so called, "unfair policy." It was explained that governmental entities and non-profit organizations had first choice of the property. Despite the discussions, Schwarting assured the board and visitors the district has followed, "the procurement code completely," in handling the sale of the district's property.

In other business:

• The second and final reading of the Tobacco Free School and Tobacco Use by Students and Staff was finalized on Monday, October 22nd by the Bamberg School District One School Board. This policy will prohibit students and staff from having or using tobacco on any school property or during a school event, such as a field trip or athletic game.

• Schwarting shared the end of year testing scores for BSD1 in the US History area. This area, which the school failed by 76.1%, wasn't out of the ordinary for the rest of the state, where other schools had about the same score. The board made note that either the standards do not match the test given, or there is too much information covered in one semester. The school will be working with other schools in the state to reach a solution towards this concern.

• The board gave Bamberg School District High School JROTC approval for the field trip to Georgia in April. This trip was said to take students to schools like Georgia State and Georgia Tech to receive information about college life. This educational trip will be paid for through fundraisers held by the JROTC program. It is hoped 49 students and four chaperones will attend this trip.

• The board also discussed the need to make sure each teacher in the district is qualified under the laws of South Carolina, so that the schools may stay accredited. Updates about The Dragon, the school newspaper were given, and each board member was told how the newspaper helped reach all BEHS students with information they needed to know.

Morris hopeful new policy will reduce wrecks

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

The City of Bamberg Police Department is hopeful that new measures put into place will have the effect of reducing the number of traffic accidents the department has experienced recently. “Basically, everything would be going good if we didn’t have so many wrecks to contend with,” Bamberg Police Chief George Morris told Bamberg City Council members at the October 8th, meeting. “But hopefully we have put some measures in place that’s going to do away with some of the accidents,” Morris added.

Chief Morris noted “at the present time” the policy the police officers are working under is not to exceed the speed limits. Officers must travel the speed limits in and out of the city. “Slowing them down may slow down some of these accidents we’re having,” Chief Morris added. The new police department policy was implemented in-part as a result of a collision involving an officer on the evening of September 29th, which resulted in city of Bamberg Police Corporal Allen Cook being transported by helicopter to Palmetto Health Richland in Columbia with non-life threatening injuries. Cook’s police cruiser sustained a little over $1,800 in damages when it was struck by a car driven by 20- year old Demetrius Williams of Norway at the intersection of Highway 362 and Midway Street.

Chief Morris reported the department was four officers short at the present time, with two officers attending the police academy in Columbia and two other officers out sick. Morris said the new police car came in and must be picked up.

In other business:

In guidelines for public participation, Council members approved a committee recommendation to change Section 246 of the policy (only) to state: “Any citizen or anyone with a vested interest in the affairs of the municipality shall be entitled to an appearance before council.”

Council also approved second reading of Ordinance 12-4 requiring inspections before granting of business licenses.

Council approved the appointment of Allen Bunch to the Bamberg Board of Zoning Appeals.

Council approved the reappointment of Dr. F. Marion Dwight to the Board of Adjustments and Appeals for a four year term.

Council approved having a Veterans Day Program on November 9th, at 11:00 am in the Bamberg Civic Center.

Denmark Library construction on schedule

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

The construction of the Denmark Library continues on schedule, Denmark City Council members were told at their October 15th meeting. Council members also approved a recommendation that the name of the new library be changed from, “Denmark Branch Library,” to “Denmark Public Library.” It was noted during the discussion that the ABBE Regional Library Board did not necessarily agree with the changing of the name of the new library.

Also during the meeting, it was reported the Denmark Fire Department responded to 18 fire calls during the month including: four false alarms, four EMS, six structures, three grass and one auto. The department reported eight members in attendance at training meetings, 16 members at business meetings, eight members per call and 21 members on the roster.

The Denmark Police Department reported 87 new cases created for the period of September 17th through October 15, 2012. The Denmark Police Department will host Halloween for all children (ages 0-13) on October 31, 2012, in Jim Harrison Park (5:30 pm until 7:00 pm). The Voorhees College Homecoming Parade is schedule for November 10, 2012 at (10:00 am).

Department of public works general manager Hudson reported the department repaired 14 water leaks and installed a number of 911 signs. An inspection was held by DHEC and the results were “satisfactory,” according to Hudson.

City of Denmark Administrator Heyward Robinson reported the Denmark Public Library is on schedule, as previously stated. Robinson noted the lining for the lagoon had been placed on hold. He noted that 911 signs were being produced at the Denmark Fire Department at a cost of $20.

Also during Monday night’s meeting, Council members approved the construction of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Platform extending into the City of Denmark’s property by about 70-feet at the Denmark Train Station. Construction of the platform would require Amtrak to move the ADA parking spaces “slightly west” of their present locations.

Council members also gave unanimous approval to a tribute post-humorously to Mary Frances Rodriguez, who served as a member of the Denmark Dogwood Festival for 17 years. Council members also gave approval to a revised committee assignment list.

Under committee reports; Council Member Calvin Odom stated he was looking into the possibility of implementing a recreational program for senior citizens and wanted to know if the city had a facility indoors for such a program. Mayor Wright noted the City of Denmark only had facilities that were outside. It was noted there were a number of facilities at the various schools that could be used for a senior citizens program.

Ehrhardt fights to keep post office open

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

Ehrhardt Mayor Bill Stanley noted in Council’s October 16th meeting that council members and citizens needed to, “fight and lobby hard,” to keep the post office open at least eight hours per day. “The last thing we need to lose is the post office,” Mayor Pro Tem Bill Edinger said adding, “we’ve already lost our school.”

Also during the meeting, department of public safety chief Chad Dilling reported the fire department responded to three calls during the month including the following calls: one fire alarm, a structure fire in Olar and one missing person. The chief reported that new trainee, Corey Walters, was attending basic fire classes and should be finished in November. Dilling also noted the town’s new level (5) ISO Rating is to go into effect in December.

Dilling reported more activity during the month for the fire department with seven case files created including the following cases: traffic violation, DUS (2), thief of property in a vehicle, tampering with a water meter, stolen wallet, public drunk and street signs being replaced. He noted interviews will be held during the week to fill a police officer position.

Public works commissioner Freddie Copeland reported collections in the water department amounted to $16,201.42 for the month of September. Collections to-date in October amounted to $6,539.59, which was noted as a “big difference” in the two months. Copeland reported that 18 customers were cutoff for non-payment of their water bills in September, which could have been a factor in the amount of revenue taken in, in October.

Mayor Stanley stated work is still being done on Well #3 and repairs to the sewer plant is still being done.