Ruff Sentenced To Life Without Parole in Connection With Murder, Robbery
Posted: January 17,
Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Tuesday that a Newberry man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his role in a 2015 armed robbery that led to the shooting death of a local business owner. Kenny Octavious Ruff was found guilty of murder, armed robbery and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in connection to the incident. A Newberry County jury deliberated for about two hours before returning the guilty verdicts around
7 p.m. Friday evening.
Circuit Judge Donald Hocker then handed down the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole based on the severity of the crime along with Ruff’s previous record of violent crime.
On August 26, 2015, Ruff went to Leslie’s Hair Salon on Main Street in Newberry and forced the owner, Roberto Facio, to remove the surveillance DVR from its power source. Ruff then forced Facio to his knees and shot Facio execution style in the back of the head from point blank range. Ruff then fled the business with a white trash bag in hand.
Investigators located the bag the following day in the dumpster at a nearby apartment complex. The damaged surveillance DVR was found in the bag along with a shirt Ruff had worn during the crime. SLED was unable to extract the surveillance footage from the DVR and sent it the Federal Bureau of Investigation laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. There, FBI analysts were able to extract the surveillance footage which identified Ruff as Facio’s assailant. Other surveillance footage from nearby businesses and additional lay witnesses also placed Ruff at the scene of the crime.
Solicitor Stumbo and Deputy Solicitor Dale Scott handled the case for the state and were assisted by Assistant Solicitor Taylor Daniel and 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Investigator Walter Bentley.
Ruff was represented by Charles Verner of the Newberry County Bar.
Solicitor Stumbo called the investigation a “perfect example of collaboration” between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. The investigation was led by Chief Roy McClerkin and his staff at the Newberry Police Department, with Capt. Kevin Goodman, Lt. Michael Kennedy and Sgt. Richard Mercer playing key roles. Critical assistance was provided by Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster and his staff, particularly Capt. Robert Dennis and Sgt. Matt Womak, who both testified in the State’s case at trial. Crime scene investigators and lab analysts from SLED also played key roles in the investigation and testified during the trial. Finally, FBI analysts recovered the hair salon surveillance footage with high-grade equipment not available locally.
The trial, which lasted all week, marked the first week of Solicitor Stumbo’s second term as chief criminal prosecutor for Newberry, Abbeville, Greenwood and Laurens counties.
“I can’t think of any better way to start my second term as 8th Circuit Solicitor than in the courtroom working hand-in-hand with law enforcement agencies at every level and ridding our community of a hardened criminal like Kenny Ruff,” Solicitor Stumbo said. “I am proud of every single public servant involved with this investigation and hope and pray that this life sentence will provide some modicum of closure to the friends and family of Roberto Facio during this very tragic chapter of their lives.”
Groundbreaking For MM Technics
Posted: January 14,
Two Men Arrested For Dragging Deputy, Leading Law Enforcement on Chase, and Possession of Drugs and Pistols
Posted: January 9,
On January 4, at about 12:40am, deputies were conducting a traffic safety checkpoint on Whitener Road near Wilson Road when a light colored vehicle was observed approaching the checkpoint. As the deputies approached the vehicle, the driver appeared extremely nervous and the deputies could smell the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. When asked for his license, the driver stated he did not have one. As the officer was speaking with the subjects, the driver took off with the deputy still in the window of the vehicle. The deputy was drug by the vehicle for a short distance and the fell to the ground. A short chase ensued and ended with the suspect vehicle crashing into an embankment at the intersection of Kendall Road and Gray Street.
The subjects were taken into custody. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed more than 48 grams of Marijuana and more approximately 8 grams of cocaine. In addition to the illegal drugs retrieved from the vehicle, two handguns were also located near the suspects after the guns fell from the holsters on their waistband during the collision. The suspects had been wearing the guns in the holster prior to the collision. One of the suspects, Adonis Johnson, was on probation at the time and was wearing an ankle monitor when he was arrested.
The subjects, as well as the injured Deputy, were transported to the hospital for treatment. The Deputy, who was not seriously injured is recovering well at home. One of the suspects has been released from the hospital, but the other is still in the hospital for medical treatment.
“These are the life and death situations law enforcement officers are faced with every day,” said Sheriff Foster. “We are so blessed and thankful that the deputy was not seriously injured but is a constant reminder of constant danger law enforcement faces.”
“Here you have two suspects who were armed and carrying illegal drugs and as if this were not dangerous enough, they then decided to intentionally injure this officer and then lead law enforcement on a chase endangering many other people,” Foster continued. “Because of their collision, this was a short chase but I am convinced that had they not wrecked, this chase would have continued and could have well ended in shoot out.”
“This shows the willful disregard by these suspects for law enforcement and the safety of the community,” said Foster. “We will continue to stand in the gap between the good people of Newberry County and those who chose to continually and willfully disregard the law and endanger the public through reckless actions and the intentional use and sale of illegal drugs in our community.”
“It is the people who chose to possess and use guns illegally that shed a negative light on firearms,” said Sheriff Foster. “Instead of a blanket approach to firearms, we need to deal more harshly with the criminals who use them illegally while insuring the rights of those who own and possess weapons lawfully.”
The suspect were identified as Adonis Martel Johnson (above left), 3443 S.C. Highway 773, Pomaria, S.C. 29126 and LeTravis Ouzts (above right), 26, 2409 Vincent Street, Newberry, S.C. 29108.
Johnson will be charged with Possession With Intent To Distribute Marijuana, Unlawful Possession Of A Firearm, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Johnson will also be charged with a Violation Of Probation. Johnson will be formally charged when he is released from the hospital.
Ouzts was released from the hospital on January 6 and was charged with Assault and Battery Of A High And Aggravated Nature, Failure To Stop Law Enforcement Vehicle, Unlawful Possession Of A Weapon, Possession With Intent To Distribute Cocaine, Possession With Intent To Distribute Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. His bond was set at $10,000.00.
Donation Received For Inclusive Playground Equipment
Posted: January 6,
With the help of Kori Kunkle and Megan Grubbs, the cityreceived $1,847 towards the purchasing of all-inclusive playground equipment within the city parks. Grubbs and Kunkle presented the city a check yesterday raised through their project, "Swings for Kids."
"It's a great cause we definitely wanted to bring to Newberry," Grubbs said .
Around $45,000 is needed to upgrade parks within the city, with most of the money needed toward developing sidewalks and surfaces that children can easily get around on.
Kori said she was excited to work towards the cause of helping all children play together, with no one feeling left out.
"The desire to provide accessible and inclusive play areas goes back many years. To see it actually being implemented is very exciting," said Scott Sawyer, director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for the city.
The city currently has three swings designed to be inclusive to those with special needs at Marion Davis Park. The first, the Expression swing is designed so that an adult and child can swing facing one another at the same eye-level. Marion Davis Park also just received two Zero-G swing chairs; one swing for ages 2-5 and one swing for ages 5-12 which provides additional support for children while swinging. These were both part of the Newberry Accessible and Inclusive Play Areas Project. The project also includes installing two additional inclusive swings at Mollohon Park and two wheelchair accessible swings at Marion Davis Park.
"This isn't a one-time project. It's an initiative that will be continued when new play areas are built and we hope to upgrade current play areas to make them more accessible and inclusive as well," Sawyer said.
The Newberry Accessible & Inclusive Play Areas Project is a community-based group of individuals dedicated to bringing accessible and inclusive play opportunities for people of all abilities to Newberry County. The group works together with and supports the City of Newberry's Recreation Accessibility Team. For more information or a project brochure contact the City of Newberry Parks, Recreation & Tourism Department at (803) 321-1015.
County Council Meets; Elected, Re-Elected Members Sworn In
Posted: January 5,
Andrew Wigger|staff writer
Newberry Observer|Civitas Media
- Scott Cain, Steve Stockman, Kirksey Koon and Dr. Harriett Rucker were sworn into County Council after being elected or re-elected in November.
- Buddy Livingston was elected chairman by acclamation and Kirksey Koon was elected Vice Chairman unanimously.
- Council approved a second reading of an ordinance amending the official zoning map. This would change a 4.09 acre parcel from General Commercial to Industrial, the parcel is located behind the Newberry Electric Co-op. The rezoning is for a solar farm/solar demonstration project.
- Council approved a second reading for an ordinance for the execution and delivery of a fee in lieu of ad valorem tax and incentive agreement between the county and MM Technics. Incentives include 30% credit against property tax in years seven through 20 and a $400,000 Newberry County site development grant.
Sheriff and Deputy Sheriffs To be Sworn In On Tuesday
Posted: January 2,
Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster along with the Deputy Sheriffs will be sworn in on January 3, 2017 at 3:00 pm in the Main Courtroom of the Newberry County Court House. The ceremony will be officiated by the Honorable E. C. "Bubba" Griffith, Jr. of the South Carolina Court of General Sessions and Common Pleas and Clerk of Court Beth Folk.
This will be Sheriff Foster's eighth swearing in ceremony as he begins his 29th year as Sheriff of Newberry County and 39th year of full time law enforcement.
The public is invited to the ceremony.
Repeat Offender With Drugs and Weapons Violations Arrested
Posted: December 24,
A man with repeated prior drug convictions and weapons violations as well as an admitted gang member was arrested early Saturday morning and charged with traffic drugs and weapons violations.
Just after 2am this morning (December 24), the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office was conducting a check point at the intersection of Main Street and Brown Street in Prosperity when a vehicle approached the check point and stopped. The deputies could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and investigated further.
When the passenger was removed from the vehicle, deputies found a large quantity of cocaine and crack cocaine on his person. The deputies located marijuana in the vehicle. They also found an AK47 style gun with a fully loaded clip in the van.
Scottie Lee Cromer, 34, of 145 Federal Lane, Prosperity was arrested and charged with Trafficking Cocaine 3rd Offense, Possession With Intent To Distribute Crack Cocaine 3rd Offense, Possession of Marijuana, Possession Of A Weapon During A Violent Crime, and Possession of A Firearm By A Person Convicted Of A Violent Crime.
Cromer, who is a self-admitted member of the “bloods” gang, has two prior convictions for illegal drugs and previously served a 7 year federal sentence for weapons violations.
MM Technics To Build A Metal Stamping Facility In Newberry County
Posted: December 14,
MM Technics, a newly formed American subsidiary of Muhr Metalltechnik, Gmbh + Co. KG, is constructing a metal stamping facility in Newberry County. The company is expected to invest at least $12.6 million and create 65 jobs over the next five years.
Headquartered in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, Muhr Metalltechnik employs more than 200 associates at its flagship facility in Wenden and a second facility constructed in Poland in 2012. The company uses state-of-the-art mechanical feed presses, deep drawing hydraulic presses and fully-automated cutting and welding equipment to supply more than 15 automotive companies throughout Europe.
MM Technics will begin construction of a new 40,000-square foot Newberry County facility in January and expects the new operation to be online by November of 2017. The facility will begin with a new 800-ton mechanical feed press, which it will use to stamp metal structural parts as a Tier 1 BMW supplier.
Those interested in joining the MM Technics team should contact Newberry County Economic Development by email at email@example.com.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project.
City Council Meets; Employees Recognized
Posted: December 14,
Kelly Duncan | staff writer
Newberry Observer| Civitas Media
* Kris Kneece was recognized for his 10 years of service with the Utility Department.
* Shannon Smith was recognized for her 10 years of service with the Finance Department.
* Freddie Wingard was recognized for his 15 years of service with the PRT Department.
* William Brown was recognized for his 20 years of service with the Utility Department.
*Shannon Smith received special recognition of Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.
* Special recognition was given to Angela Summer for the Area Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) Award.
*Sheryl Medders of McKinley, Cooper and Company, LLP presented the FY2015-2016 Comphrehensive Annual Financial Report.
* The Newberry Opera House Foundation asked for consideration for a request for alcohol consumption in Memorial Park on New Year's Eve.
School Board Meets; Financial Audit Highlights, Students Recognized
Posted: December 13,
Andrew Wigger | staff writer
Newberry Observer| Civitas Media
The School Board heard their Financial Audit, year end June 30, 2016, from Greene, Finney and Horton, CPAs. They received an unmodified opinion. Highlights include, general fund revenues stand at $49.4 million, an increase of three percent compared to the prior year, and $50.2 in general fund expenditures, an increase of 5% from the prior year.
Charlsey Traylor was recognized for being named AAA All Region, AAA All State and North/South All Star for Volleyball.
Elise Mills was recognized for the South Carolina AAA State Single's Girls Tennis Tournament. She was also the AAA Girls Tennis State Champion and was AAA Girls Tennis player of the year.
Mid Carolina High School Girls Tennis Team was recognized fore being Region AAA Champs, AAA Upper State Champs and AAA State Runner Ups.
Rep. Walt McLeod was recognized for his year's of service and support during his 20 years as Newberry County's representative.
Gatlinburg Relief Fund
In the wake of the recent tragic wildfires in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains, the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation has established the Gatlinburg Relief Fund which will directly benefit the families impacted by the wildfires.
Santa To Take Tours In Downtown Newberry!
Posted: December 8,
The City of Newberry is excited to announce that, in addition
to Santa appearing for photos at the three remaining North Pole Nights in
downtown, he will also be taking a tour of several local neighborhoods. The
City of Newberry Fire Department will be escorting Santa of Newberry by fire
engine through different neighborhoods on 12/9, 12/16, and 12/23 from
5pm-6pm, leading to his arrival at Memorial Park in downtown for our
regularly scheduled North Pole Night activities from 6pm-8pm. Santa will be
touring the following neighborhoods on the following nights:
12/9/16 from 5pm-6pm: Grant Homes, Palmetto Pointe Dr., Nance Forrest,
Oakland Community, Newberry College Area, & Harrington St. neighborhoods.
12/16/16 from 5pm-6pm: Forrest Ridge, Loblolly, Newberry Arms, Pebblebrook,
Wise Street, Mollohon area, and Caldwell St. to Downtown neighborhoods.
12/23/16 from 5pm-6pm: West End neighborhood through Drayton Street, Main
Street, Crosson, and Suder Dr.
Following the neighborhood tours, Santa will arrive by fire engine in
Downtown Newberry for North Pole Nights from 6pm-8pm. North Pole Nights
feature photos with Santa, our faux snow machines. The Chamber of Commerce
will also continue to host Santa's Workshop and storytime with Mrs. Claus on
12/9 and 12/16.
For more information call 803-321-1015 or visit www.cityofnewberry/events
Follow the City of Newberry on Facebook, www.facebook.com/cityofnewberry and
on twitter @CityofNewberry.
Newberry College Receives $352,000 Lilly Endowment Grant
Newberry College has received a $352,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to establish Called to the Common Good: Theological Academy for High School Youth.
The summer program invites high school students to consider how the Christian theological tradition can help them reflect on pressing ethical issues, such as poverty and environmental degradation, and to explore their own calling to a life of meaning and service.
Called to the Common Good is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative, which seeks to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service.
The program launches June 3, 2017, when up to 24 rising high school juniors and seniors will gather on the Newberry College campus for nine days of theological and moral exploration.
Activities include classroom lectures and discussions, experiential learning, community service projects and contemplative/worship opportunities. Students will integrate these for real-world impact, applying their knowledge to the problems of poverty and hunger, both locally and later in their home communities.
During the second weekend of the academy, students will participate in a retreat hosted by South Carolina Lutheran Retreat Center’s Camp Kinard, where they will continue to build friendships and teamwork in a beautiful outdoor setting.
The Muller Center at Newberry College will facilitate the academy in collaboration with the College’s Religion department as well as local churches and nonprofit organizations in Newberry. Faculty from the Religion department and other disciplines will lead the academic portion of the academy. Participants also will enjoy peer mentorship from Newberry College students who have demonstrated leadership and a deep sense of vocation.
“We believe many young people possess the interest and capacity for theological, vocational and moral reflection; they just need to be equipped,” said Dr. Krista E. Hughes, Director of the Muller Center at Newberry College. “We see young people arrive at college with questions about purpose and their place in the world and with an eagerness to explore these life questions. For many high school youth this process begins much sooner, and we’re grateful to Lilly Endowment for supporting the opportunities that Called to the Common Good will provide for these students.”
The formal application process for next year’s program begins Feb. 1, 2017, and is open to current high school sophomores and juniors regardless of denominational affiliation. Students who expect to be the first in their families to attend college are especially encouraged to apply.
“Newberry College is home to a diverse student body and we hope to reflect that diversity in the Theological Academy,” said Dr. Christina Wendland, Associate Professor of Religion. “We look forward to gathering together a group of youth who can listen to and appreciate various perspectives on deep questions of faith and ethics. It is our goal to give participants multiple avenues through which to explore their faith and vocation, and we can do this by connecting them with peers from diverse backgrounds.”
Newberry College is one of 92 schools located in 30 states and the District of Columbia participating in the High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative. Although some schools are independent, many reflect the religious heritage of their founding traditions, including Baptist, Brethren, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Reformed churches, as well as Roman Catholic, non-denominational, Pentecostal and historic African-American Christian communities.
The Lilly Endowment is giving $50 million in grants to help a select group of private four-year colleges and universities around the nation to create the institutes. The grants are part of the Endowment’s commitment to identify and cultivate a cadre of theologically minded youth who will become leaders in church and society.
For more information about Called to the Common Good at Newberry College, please contact Dr. Krista E. Hughes, director of the Muller Center, at 803-321-5215 or Muller.Center@newberry.edu.
Gallman, WKDK Segment On Billy Graham Christmas TV Special
Billy Graham Ministres hasincluded the story of a Newberry County man, Terrence Gallman, in the 2016 Billy Graham Christmas Television Special. This special, "Cost Of Christmas," will be airing on church-related stations across the country (and world) like TBN and INSP. The segment features Gallman reflecting on his life growing up, in prison, and now working to make a difference as a Billy Graham Ministries representative. It also features a visit from Gallman to WKDK Radio where WKDK's Carole Murray interviews him for the "upcoming My Hope With Billy Graham Mnistries meeting later that day in Prosperity." Click HERE or load this link https://billygraham.org/video/the-cost-of-christmas/?bgrp=page-tv to your browser to see the "Cost of Christmas" special.
Missing Man From Silverstreet Area
Posted: November 27,
The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the community’s assistance in locating a missing dementia patient last seen last night just after 10PM.
Donnie Richardson was last seen last night walking down Lake Street toward Main Street in the Silverstreet community of Newberry County after 10pm last night when he left his home after his family went to sleep.
He was last seen wearing a beige shirt with dark pants. He is a black male who is 5’6” tall and weighs 160 pounds and only has one eye.
The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office used bloodhounds to track Mr. Richardson for some distance and then they called SLED helicopter to search for Mr. Richardson but could not located him. Authorities believe he may have gotten a ride from the area.
Richardson often reverts to his former residence in Lexington in his mind and believes he needs to go to the Piggly Wiggly. Law enforcement has contacted area stores in that chain to advise them to look out for Richardson.
If anyone sees Mr. Richardson please call 911 or you may call the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 321-2222.
Sheriff's Office Warns Of Phone Scam
Posted: November 25,
Customers of Verizon Wireless are getting text messages warning of a breach of security on their phone and are directed to open a web link to correct. This is a scam and is most probably a phishing scheme to allow the sender to enter your phone and retrieve data.
Never open a link on your phone or computer unless first verifying the authenticity of the link. This is the most common way of a cyber intruder to take over the devices operating system and allowing access to vital information. Always call and verify before opening.
Similar scams have been occurring using local bank names as well.
Mid-Carolina Celebrates CJ Edwards!
Posted: November 23,
Mid-Carolina High School celebrates World Series Champion and Chicago Cubs pitcher Carl Edwards, Jr. on Tuesday, November 29, from 6-8 pm at Mid-Carolina High School. The first 500 fans will receive a free autographed photo.
Man Arrested After Shooting One Man And Shooting At Another
Posted: November 18,
A man arrived at Newberry County Memorial Hospital Wednesday afternoon suffering a single gunshot wound to the groin area. He was brought in by another man in a personal vehicle who claimed that he also had been shot at but the suspect missed him.
The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation into the shooting and determined that it occurred on Winding Jolly Road in the Newberry section of Newberry County. The two men identified the person that shot at them by a nickname “Kwe Low”. Because of the investigators knowledge and continued involvement in the community, they were immediately able to identify that suspect and knew where his residence was located.
“This is another example of how it takes properly trained officers who are invested in the community to be effective as law enforcement in the communities we serve,” said Foster. “I am proud of the great relationships we have built together in Newberry County and assure the community that we will continue to work together to make our communities safer and better!”
Investigators using the information from the two men who were shot at and other information known to them through previous knowledge of the community went to the residence where the shooting incident occurred, which is owned by one of the victim’s family. Once they arrived, investigators located shell casing in front of the residence.
Investigators then obtained a search warrant for the suspect’s residence. Once inside that residence, they located several ounces of marijuana, shell casing on the suspect’s vehicle that were consistent with the shell casing from the crime scene, and they also located a four wheeler reported stolen from York County, SC.
Kweisi Steven Nicks, 20, of 138 Cy Schumpert Road, Prosperity, was arrested and charged with Attempted Murder, Possession of Marijuana With Intent To Distribute, Possession of a Weapon During A Violent Crime, and Receiving Stolen Goods. A bond hearing has not yet been held.
Investigators believe that the incident may have been drug related but the matter is still under investigation.
County Council Meets; County Employees Recognized
Newberry County employees wererecognized for their years of service at last night's County Council meeting:
Lori Smith, Zoning 5 years
Theresa Ammons, Sheriff's office 10 years
Lisa Davis, Sheriff's office 10 years
Beth Maynor, Delinquent Tax 10 years
Harold Edgins, Public Works 15 years
Thomas Nichols, Sheriff's office 25 years (retiring this week)
Absentee: Sherri Williams, Sheriff's office 10 years
Johnny Willis, Public Works 15 years
Also at the meeting on Wednesday night, Kenneth McBride, Director Department of Social Services, gave a presentation about DSS in SC and Newberry. For more information go to www.dss.sc.gov or www.scfamilies.org
Resolution to declare the results of the Penny Sales tax was also approved.
City Council Meets; Arts Program Gets Programming Excellence Award
Report by Samie Truong
Newberry City Council met Tuesday night and recognized the following city employees:
Britt Worthy, Public Works Dept., 5 yrs.; Nickolas Gilmore, Utility Dept., 15 yrs.; Ashley Cutshall, Utility Dept., 15 yrs.; Kevin Longshore, Utility Dept., 25 yrs.
The Newberry Arts Program received the 2016 PRT Programming Excellence Award for population under 30,000. The award was originally presented on September 12th, by the South Carolina Recreation & Park Assoc. Awards Committee! Marquerite Palmer the arts program coordinator and Scott Sawyer accepted the award on behalf of Newberry Arts Program! With in the last two years the art programs have exponentially gone up in revenue for the city and also brings money back into the community! For more information on the Arts programs visit www.cityofnewberry.com or on facebook @cityofnewberryarts.
Councilman Goudelock was re-elected to be Mayor Pro Tempore (Like VP) by the City Council.
Also in attendance was Newberry High School's Sr Government Class. Mr. Mosely assigned these Sr. to attend a City Coucil meeting to learn first hand about local goverment!
Newberry College: Football Team Ranked 14 In AFCA Poll;
Lady Wolves Ranked 5 In Regional Poll
Newbery Kicks Off Christmas Season With Main Street Lights!
Christmas is coming to Downtown Newberry! Celebrate the start of the season with lights! Now in its 9th year the annual Main Street Lights event is scheduled for November 18th from 6pm-8pm. Come as early as 5pm to see the Southern Victorian Society in full period costume caroling at the tree. Then starting at 6pm local organizations will be giving away a variety of goods such as free homemade cookies, goodie bags, candy canes, and popcorn.
The Official Tree Lighting Ceremony of Main St. Lights begins at 6:30 pm, accompanied by the Little Mountain Elementary and Gallman Elementary School choirs. This year our mayor will light up the tree with a special guest from WIS news. Help us light our Community Christmas Tree, located in front of Community Hall, through festive song and fellowship.
After the lighting peruse downtown and listen to our strolling carolers, such as the Newberry College Madrigal Choir, perform familiar Christmas tunes. Play in the fluttering faux snow at our snow machines in Memorial Park. See the Lights and decorations along Main Street, in Astwood park, at the Tree, and in Memorial Park. Take a family photo at the Community Christmas Tree. Shop our local stores. Dine out while downtown.
At 7:30 take in a Free Holiday Movie at the Ritz, "The Polar Express," or stay for the 8pm show at the Newberry Opera House, Shenandoah. You don't want to miss this iconic Downtown Newberry Holiday event!
School Board Meeting Highlights
Posted: November 15,
Andrew Wigger|staff writer
Newberry Observer|Civitas Media
- The District approved the first reading of revisions to Board Policies Section G.
- The District will begin the 2016 textbook adoption process, which will entail that the administration will meet with teachers at the high schools and the Career Center who teach the subjects that will get new textbooks.
- The District will hold the Diversity Recruitment Committee meeting on Nov. 15 at 3:30 p.m.
- The Teacher of the Year/Support Staff Employee of the year reception will be held on Nov. 17 at 6 p.m.
- Jacob Bearden was recognized for winning first place in the 3D category at the SC State Fair.
- Dr. William Bufford, of Twin Oaks Animal Hospital is a member of the Zoetis Industry Support Program, and he provided a donation made from Zoetis on their behalf. The Future Farmers of America at the Newberry County Career Center received $402.34 through Bufford's hard work.
Wolves Earn No. 2 Seed After Championship Win; Host Tuskegee on Saturday
Photo courtesy of newberrywolves.com
Newberry earnedthe No. 2 seed in Super Region 2, its highest seeding in school history, and will play host to seventh-seeded Tuskegee Saturday at 1:00 p.m. to begin the 2016 NCAA Division II Football Championship.
Newberry will be competing for the Division II Football Championship for the fourth time in its history and third time in the last four seasons. The team also earned playoff bids during the 2006, 2013, and 2015 seasons.
The Wolves, winners of a school-record 10 straight games, are ranked second in the region for the second consecutive week behind only North Alabama. A win over the Golden Tigers would assure Newberry a second-round home game on Nov. 26 against the winner of third-seeded Florida Tech and No. 6 seed North Greenville. Top seed North Alabama awaits the winner of No. 4 Valdosta State and No. 5 UNC Pembroke.
Newberry became the 16th team in South Atlantic Conference history to win the league with an undefeated mark in conference play with its thrilling come-from-behind win over Wingate Saturday night that dashed the Bulldogs’ postseason hopes. The 2016 season marks Newberry’s third conference championship, their first since 2008, and first outright league title since 2006.
Setzler Field will play host to a Division II playoff contest for the second time in its history on Saturday. The Wolves earned the No. 3 seed in the 2006 playoffs and defeated Albany State 34-28 before 5,000 fans in Newberry.
Tuskegee’s playoff chances were in doubt until the final day of the regular season. The Golden Tigers had only nine regular-season games on the schedule, one below the NCAA minimum, and failed to make the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship game due to an upset loss to Kentucky State on Homecoming.
When an agreement to play Albany State on the final weekend of the season fell through, Tuskegee scrambled to fill the void. The Golden Tigers were able to schedule a home game against Virginia State. Although Tuskegee fell 45-35 to the Trojans to finish with an 8-2 record, the boost to their strength of schedule and a 10th overall contest were enough to keep the Golden Tigers in a playoff position in the regional rankings.
Saturday will mark the first-ever meeting between Newberry and Tuskegee in the Wolves’ 103-year football history. The historically black college, located in Tuskegee, Alabama, roughly half an hour outside Montgomery, has won 12 HBCU national championships, had 16 undefeated seasons, and won 30 SIAC championships since their first season of football in 1895.
Ticket and parking information will be released early this week.
Click here to view the full 28-team bracket.
Prosperity Man Charged With Manslaughter
Posted: November 11,
An altercation between two men has left one of them deceased and the other charged with Voluntary Manslaughter.
On November 5 at about 7:30pm, EMS was called to a residence on Williams Wood Drive in Prosperity. Once on scene, they found the victim, identified as William Bart Hazen, 40, of 315 Brown Street, Prosperity, unconscious on the ground. The victim was transported to Palmetto Richland hospital where he survived until November 7 when he died as a result of his injuries. Law enforcement was not contacted and did not originally respond to the scene.
When Newberry County Coroner Craig Newton was contacted by the hospital to get an order for the donation of organs from the victim, Newton recognized that the injuries were inconsistent with just a fall. Coroner Newton then contacted the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office so that they could launch a joint investigation into the death. Although the incident occurred within the Town of Prosperity, the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office was called upon to conduct the investigation because of the training and expertise in handling such cases and no Prosperity officer was available.
Once the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office began its investigation, it was determined that Hazen and the subject were acquaintances who were at cook out at a mutual friend’s home. Both had been drinking during the day. An argument began between Hazen and the subject and the argument turned physical. The subject then struck Hazen in the face and Hazen fell backwards onto a concrete pad causing a skull fracture and bleeding into the brain which ultimately resulted in his death.
The investigators from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office then took the information they had learned from the investigation and met with prosecutors from the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office who determined that the subject should be charged with Voluntary Manslaughter in the death of Hazen.
Allen Benjamin Osheilds (above) , 42, 4983 Bethel Church Road, Prosperity, SC, surrendered himself to law enforcement Wednesday morning at the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office. His bond was set at $30,000. He posted the bond late Wednesday afternoon.
Veterans Day Parade Is Saturday
Newberry College Celebrates 160th Anniversary At Founders Day Convocation; 1st Lt. Murray Price To Receive Honorary Doctorate
Posted: November 10,
Hear interview with 1st Lt. Murray Price on Friday's Coffee Hour on WKDK
Newberry College will celebrate its 160th anniversary at the annual Founders Day Convocation on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. The convocation, which coincides this year with Veterans Day, Newberry College will confer an honorary doctorate upon 1st Lt. Murray Price, a decorated WW-II veteran who flew 40 combat missions in the Pacific as the co-pilot of a B-24 bomber. After the war, Price spent 39 years in the wholesale foods distribution industry, working his way up the ranks from salesman to executive vice president/CEO of PYA/Monarch when he retired.
Although Price’s formal education did not extend beyond high school, his ties to Newberry College come through his children, Deborah and Gerald, who graduated from Newberry in 1974 and 1976 respectively. Price was instrumental in founding the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity on the Newberry campus and was inducted into membership in 2010. Price has served on numerous civic, business and charitable organizations and remains active at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Lexington, S.C.
Along with the honorary doctorate for Price, 15 Newberry College students will be inducted into the 2017 Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.
Newberry Veterans Day Parade Is Saturday
Posted: November 10,
The Newberry Veterans Day Parade will be held at 10 am on Saturday, November 12, on Main Street in downtown Newberry. Grand marshals will be veterans from many decades. Participants in the parade will include marching bands, the Junior ROTC, scouts and many others.
Foster Re-elected Sheriff; Rucker Wins County Council District #5; More
Posted: November 8,
In local contested races, Sheriff Lee Foster won by a landslide. Harriet Rucker defeated Les Hipp in County Council District #5 race, and Laura Kneece is Newberry County's new Coroner. Rick Martin won House District #40 seat, and Beth Folk is Clerk of Court. Lucy Ann Meetze wins School District #3. Stay tuned for more on Wednesday morning on WKDK!
Wolves Move Up In National And Regional Rankings
Photo from Newberry-Carson Newman game earlier this season
Newberry is now the second-ranked team in Super Region 2 after the Wolves' dominant 49-7 win at Limestone Saturday evening.
Newberry was ranked No. 5 in the first regional poll and moved to No. 3 in last week's rankings. The Wolves are now second only to North Alabama, vaulting over idle UNC Pembroke and into the second position in the rankings.
Should Newberry hold onto the No. 2 position in the region, the Wolves would host the seventh seed in the first round of the playoffs on Nov. 19 and be assured of a second-round home game on Nov. 26 with a win.
Valdosta State is ranked third. The Blazers also leapt over fourth-place UNC Pembroke following an impressive road win at West Alabama, which fell from fifth to ninth in the rankings.
Florida Tech, the only team to defeat the Wolves in 2016, is ranked fifth, while Tuskegee dropped from fourth to sixth after a come-from-behind win at Legion Field over Miles in the game's final two minutes. Tuskegee's playoff hopes are in limbo–the Golden Tigers are attempting to schedule a 10th game for this weekend to remain eligible for the postseason.
North Greenville catapaulted to seventh with a win over Carson-Newman, with Wingate currently on the outside looking in with an eighth-place ranking. A win over Newberry in Saturday's nationally-televised affair would give the Bulldogs a share of the South Atlantic Conference crown and could wrap up a postseason bid.
West Alabama and West Georgia round out the regional top 10. Click HERE to view the full rankings.
WACO, Texas – Newberry has moved up one position to No. 19 in the latest American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches' Poll after a dominant 49-7 win at Limestone Saturday evening.
The Wolves gained 515 yards of total offense, 258 on the ground and 257 through the air, while limiting the Saints to 124 yards and seven points. Limestone did not have a single drive covering more than 28 yards in a balanced effort that saw three players record more than three tackles on the day.
Newberry moved up one spot after then-No. 17 Fairmont State fell to 22nd following a 27-17 loss at No. 3 Shepherd last week.
This marks Newberry’s 30th appearance in the AFCA poll since it was instituted in 2000. Newberry is 18-11 all-time as a ranked team. The Wolves were ranked for 22 weeks between 2006 and 2008, including an all-time high of No. 9 during the final week of the 2006 regular season.
Newberry will conclude the regular season on Saturday with a 3:30 p.m. contest against Wingate at Setzler Field. The game will be broadcast nationally on American Sports Network. A Newberry win would give the Wolves their first outright South Atlantic Conference championship since 2006.
Click HERE to view the full poll.
Newberry Defense Smothers Limestone In Blowout Win
Posted: November 6, 9:47 AM
Newberry’s best defensive effort in six years coupled with its fourth 500-yard offensive performance of the season gave the Wolves their ninth consecutive victory with a 49-7 triumph at Limestone on Saturday. Click HERE for more information.
County Council Meets; Approves Disbursement Of Fiscal Year 2015-16
Posted: November 3,
Andrew Wigger | staff writer
Newberry Observer | Civitas Media
- Council passed a Resolution renewing an existing statewide mutual aid agreement, which provides advance consent for Newberry County to cooperate with other jurisdictions in the even of a disaster.
- Council approved the disbursement of fiscal year 15-16 as recommended by the Accommodations Tax Committee. Chairman Ernest Shealy said this year's request totaled $76,490, but they were only able to give out a little over $37,000.Which was distributed as follows:
* Little Mountain Reunion $ 4,199.00
* Party in the Pines 1,449.00
* Halloween Carnival Whitmire Jaycees 699.00
* Prosperity’s Hoppin’ 1,699.00
* Newberry Community Players 624.00
* Newberry Co. Historical & Museum Society 1,299.00
* Newberry Co. Law Enforcement Assoc. 2,699.00
* Newberry Opera House 12,199.44
* Newberry Visitors Center 8,199.00
* SC Bottle & Whitmire Museum 4,199.00
- The Committee also recommended, and was approved by Council, the following proportional distributions of the FY 16-17 promotional funds.
* Capital City/Lake Murray 45%
* Prosperity Business Association 15%
* Newberry County Chamber of Commerce 40%
- Council also approved the paying of the Central SC Alliance Second Quarter Invoice in the amount of $18,000. Council approved the motion with only Councilman Koon voting against it.
Three Men Plead Guilty In Little Mountain Murder
Wolves Jump To Third In Regional Rankings; Yeldell Named "SAC Player Of Week" For Fourth Time in 2016
Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Tuesday morning that the three surviving accomplices to a July 2015 Newberry County home invasion and homicide pleaded guilty Monday on charges related to their respective roles in the planned crime spree.
Keon Kelly, the trigger man in the shooting death of Ronnion Barron of Little Mountain, took his own life following a lengthy standoff with law enforcement in Columbia on August 6, 2015.
The three Columbia men who assisted Kelly in the planned home invasion and robbery at Barron’s Ponderosa Lane residence in Little Mountain, pleaded guilty and were sentenced at the Newberry County Courthouse on Monday.
DeCarlos Satterwhite was scheduled to go to trial Monday morning for his role in the crime spree. On the day of trial, Satterwhite elected to plead guilty to accessory after the fact of murder, first degree burglary and two counts of armed robbery.
Tyler Elkins then pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, first degree burglary, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, armed robbery and two counts of attempted murder for his role in the crime spree.
Jermaz Dreher pled guilty on Monday to armed robbery and accessory after the fact to murder for his participation in the incident.
All of the defendants appeared to be affiliated with gang activity in the Midlands area.
Circuit Judge Casey Manning accepted the guilty pleas of all three men and handed down sentences on all three men Monday after the plea proceedings.
Manning sentenced Elkins to 25 years in prison, Satterwhite to 15 years in prison and Dreher to 10 years in prison.
On July 29 2015, the four men went to Barron’s Ponderosa Lane home with the intent of robbing it after Dreher told the other three it would be a good house to rob due to large amounts of money and drugs being present. Kelly knocked on the door and, when Barron looked out the window to see who was at the door, Kelly shot Barron in the head, killing him instantly.
Two other men pulled up to the house and saw the strange car parked in the yard. The four men attempted to rob the other two men and fired shots at their vehicle as they sped away from the scene.
Investigators with the Newberry County Sheriff”s Office were able to locate Dreher and Elkins just days after the crime.
On August 6, 2015, investigators located Kelly, but Kelly took his own life following a lengthy standoff with law enforcement.
Phone calls and text messages on Kelly’s phone immediately before and after the time of Barron’s murder led investigators to Satterwhite.
Deputy Solicitor Dale Scott and Assistant Solicitor Taylor Daniel handled the prosecution for the state.
Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff as well as the work of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, particularly Sgt. Matthew Womack.
“It’s always heartbreaking when lives are taken so senselessly for a little bit of money and some drugs,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the sentencing. “Hopefully, these long-term prison sentences will give Ronnion’s family some measure of closure. I also hope it sends a clear message to those who would commit these violent acts that my office will work tirelessly with law enforcement to ensure justice is done in each and every case.”
Burglary Suspect Arrested; Sheriff Attributes Arrest To Deputies' Knowledge Of Community
Posted: October 31,
Sheriff Lee Foster says that a man is in jail after breaking into two businesses because of the alertness of deputies and the knowledge of the community and community relationships of investigators.
“The deputies and investigators who responded to these burglaries have worked for years to establish a relationship with the community,” said Foster. “Citizens were willing to share information with the officers, which combined with their knowledge of the community and suspect, led them to a rapid arrest in this case.”
“You can never underestimate the power of knowledge of the community and the people in good law enforcement,” Foster continued. “It takes years to build these relationships and prove to people that you are worthy of their trust and respect.”
Sheriff Foster said that deputies were patrolling the area around Kendall Road around 3am Sunday morning, when they found that two businesses had been broken into. The suspect had used a rock to break through the doors of the businesses. The deputies secured the businesses and called for an investigator.
On reviewing the video surveillance from the businesses, investigators were able to see the suspect’s clothing but could not get a clear look at the suspect’s face. It was during the review of the video that one of the investigators was able to identify Thomas Lyles as a potential suspect based upon his walk and mannerisms.
“This is the benefit of deputies and investigators not just working but living in the areas they patrol and conduct investigations,” said Foster. “It is impossible to purchase the kind of information officers learn by not just policing the community, but instead being part of the community.”
The investigators then began canvassing the area and were able to learn that Lyles had been in the area dressed in the clothing that they had observed in the video. The investigator and deputies were familiar with the suspect and set out to locate him.
When the deputies located that suspect, he was still wearing the same clothes as in the video and was suffering several cuts and abrasions on his hands from the entry in the businesses. The suspect was taken into custody after which he confessed to the burglaries.
Thomas Andrew Lyles, 52, of 3022 Kings Drive, Newberry, was taken into custody. He has been charged with two counts of Burglary and one count of Petit Larceny. A bond hearing has not yet been held.
Wolves Win Eighth Straight; Claim Bishop's Trophy!
Posted: October 29,
The Newberry Wolves (8-1, 6-0), won their eighth straight game earlier today with a 53-14 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne (2-7, 2-3) at Setzler Field. The Wolves also clinched at least a share in the SAC Championship. Hear more Monday morning on WKDK and WKDK.com!
Deputies Seize Large Amount of Crystal Meth, Oxycodone and Weapon
Posted: October 27,
Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said that deputies located more than 7 ounces of crystal meth, numerous oxycodone pills, hydrocodone pills, marijuana, and a firearm Wednesday during a traffic stop.
Deputies stopped a vehicle Wednesday evening around 8pm on I-26 near the 80 mile marker for a speeding violation. Once the vehicle was stopped, the deputies could smell the odor of marijuana coming from the car. The deputies then obtained the subject’s driver’s license, which was suspended. The subject was taken into custody at that point. The deputies found some on the pills on the subject’s person when he was arrested.
Deputies then searched the vehicle where they located more than 7 ounces of crystal meth, 88 oxycodone pills, 18 hydrocodone pills, marijuana, and a Ruger .40 pistol. Sheriff Foster said that while 7 ounces may not sound like a lot, because the strength and potency of crystal meth, this was a large quantity of the drug. “This is a very large amount of crystal meth that was headed to the streets,” said Sheriff Lee Foster. “I would like to commend the deputies for their excellent work during this investigation.” “It is important to have properly trained officers who are able to work and detect criminal activity above the obvious,” said Foster.
The subject was identified as Matthew Robert Bowers, 29, of 10 Elcock Circle, Irmo, SC. He will be charged with Trafficking Crystal Meth, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of a Firearm During a Violent Crime (Trafficking is a violent crime in SC), and Driving Under Suspension. Bowers was already out on bond from a March 2016 arrest by the State Law Enforcement Division for Trafficking Illegal Drugs and Unlawful Carry of a Weapon.
In addition, he has several convictions for illegal carry of weapons, as well as convictions for illegal drugs, burglary, and attempted robbery. “This is clearly a dangerous individual who despite repeated arrests continues to sell and use illegal drugs while carrying a weapon,” said Foster. “Subjects such as this are an additional threat because besides poisoning our communities with the drugs, his repeated weapon violations and violent history make it clear that he would use a weapon against an officer or a citizen in the right situation.”
“Our officers have no idea what they are walking up to when they stop a car,” said Foster. “Some people say we act cautious, it is simply because we may find a law abiding citizen who simply made a mistake or we may find a dangerous drug dealer with a load of illegal drugs and a .40 caliber pistol. Our lives often depend on our observations and reaction to these situations.”
Bowers was to have a bond hearing later today. Sheriff Foster says that because Bowers is already out on bond for a violent drug offense and has now committed another violent drug offense, investigators would be at the bond hearing asking the judge to deny bond.
City Police Department Rolls Out Body Cameras
Corporal Emily Seibert with the City of Newberry Police Department is shown wearing thedepartment’s new body-mounted cameras under her nameplate on her uniform.
The City of Newberry Police Department has officially begun using body-mounted cameras, according to Police Chief Roy McClurkin.
In March of 2015, McClurkin said the State of South Carolina disclosed that all police departments were going to have to implement body cameras. Upon hearing of this, the department came up with a policy to submit to the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy staff attorney. Once approved, body cameras were then tested.
"We decided to go with Vista by Watch Guard," McClurkin said. "We found that they were very durable and worked the way we needed them to."
The city's police department also uses Watch Guard in-car cameras and McClurkin said he wanted their officers to have body cameras that were compatible with them.
To purchase the cameras, the city submitted an application for $74,000 through the state for the funding to implement both the body cameras and a server system for storage of the video. In turn, McClurkin said the state only allocated the city $48,000 for cameras.
"We had to do some creative thinking through the budget and were able to come up with the additional funding for storage in the form of a server for the actual body camera footage," McClurkin said.
After securing the money from the state, 30 cameras were purchased for city officers. McClurkin said officers then went through extensive training sessions to train officers in the use of the cameras and the policies for them.
Each city officer has their own body camera assigned to them, as well as a charger, McClurkin said. The policy for the cameras dictates when an officer must turn the camera on including during traffic stops, when an officer encounters suspicious vehicles or persons, all arrests and all uses of force incidents.
"It should be activated when responding to a disturbance, disorderly calls, motor vehicle accidents and calls involving emotionally or mentally disturbed subjects," McClurkin said.
Policy also dictates what footage must be kept and for how long. Any non-investigative, non-arrest or routine incidents that were not reported must only be kept on file for a period of 15 days, McClurkin said. Any other circumstances need to be kept until a case is disposed of.
Each camera holds up to nine hours of footage before it must be docked in the police department where footage is downloaded to the secure server.
McClurkin said command staff is able to go through the footage should there be a problem. Each officer can look at their footage only, but it cannot be altered in any way. The actual footage from the body-worn cameras, McClurkin said is not a public record and cannot be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act.
Having body cameras benefits both the public and the city's police officers by everyone being held accountable, McClurkin said.
"Interactions are recorded so the officer and the public have to be accountable," McClurkin said.
McClurkin said the cameras can also be used to capture evidence needed in court and can ensure accuracy of victims' and witness statements.
"We feel that body-worn cameras will be an invaluable tool to our department," said City Manager Matt DeWitt. "What the cameras provide is an unbiased third-party account and this will help reduce the amount of questions and better protect everyone involved in police-related encounters."
West Fraser Expanding Newberry Operations
Posted: October 18,
West Fraser, a diversified wood products company, is expanding its Newberry County sawmill operations. The project is expected tobring $33 million in new capital investment.
Established in 1955, West Fraser produces lumber, laminated veneer lumber (LVL), medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, pulp, newsprint and wood chips, as well as energy through several bioenergy initiatives. Beginning as a small, three-man operation, the company has grown into the largest lumber producer in North America, operating facilities throughout western Canada and the southern United States.
Located at 3287 College Street, West Fraser’s Newberry sawmill directly employs 155 workers. Since 2007, the company has invested millions to modernize the mill and plans to invest $33 million more to procure wood, services and goods in Newberry County. West Fraser also plans to install a log merchandiser designed to increase production by more than 37 percent.
Wolves Winning Streak Extends To Six; Wolves Beat C-N 34-19
Photo courtesy of newberrywolves.com
Carson-Newman head coach Ken Sparks entered Saturday’s contest fresh off his 337th career win, which moved him past Pop Warner and into fifth-place in college football coaching history.
Newberry made sure that Sparks made no headway on fourth-place Bobby Bowden before the third-largest crowd on record to ever watch a game at Setzler Field.
The Wolves racked up 424 yards of total offense and pounded Carson-Newman for a school-record 14 tackles for loss in a 34-19 Newberry victory, igniting the near-record crowd of 4,988 and solidifying Newberry’s spot atop the South Atlantic Conference standings with its sixth consecutive win. Click HERE for more information.
Mayor Proclaims End Childhood Hunger SC Week In Newberry
Posted: October 12,
Mayor Foster Senn has proclaimed the week of October 23-29, 2016,
End Childhood Hunger SC Week within the city of Newberry. A proclamation was
signed October 11 prior to the City Council meeting. The proclamation was
made to bring awareness that one in five children live in families where
their full food needs are not met. As part of this week, a variety of
programs have been planned in Newberry County including an afterschool
program snack drive and after school tutoring. The Newberry Literacy Council
is collecting donations of healthy snacks as a part of the effort. For
further information about the work that is being done in Newberry County,
please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Pictured Front Row: Ashley Page and Mayor Foster Senn
Back Row: Barbara Chapman, Gina Koon, Rhonda Ackerman and Sam Zaidy
Public Power Week Celebration On Friday
Posted: October 11,
The City of Newberry Utilities Department celebrated Public Power Week October 2-8. As a part of that, a celebration was held Friday, October 7 at City Hall.
Public Power Week is an annual national event coordinated by the American Public Power Association in Washington, D.C. The association represents not-for-profit, community-owned electric utilities that power homes, businesses and streets in nearly 2,000 towns and cities, serving 48 million Americans.
Throughout the week, city elementary school students had the opportunity to participate in a coloring contest. Each coloring page contained a fact or safety message about electricity. Middle and high school students had the opportunity to participate in a competition to submit a song, poem, illustration, essay or combination expressing an electrical safety message. All entries were displayed at Friday’s celebration.
Winners of the competition are as follows:
- Gissela Luis Sanches, seventh grade, Newberry Middle School
- Quinn Waites, fourth grade, Newberry Academy
- Kindel Jaeger, third grade, Newberry Academy
- Grace Mayer, second grade, Newberry Academy
- Lila Koon, first grade, Newberry Academy
- Princess Lucas, second grade, Newberry Elementary
- Mason Hunter, third grade, Newberry Elementary
- Kaden Williams, K5, Newberry Elementary
- Justin Ramirez, first grade, Newberry Elementary
- Ardestini Epps, Kindergarten, Boundary Street Elementary
- Melenna Gallman, second grade, Boundary Street Elementary
- Emily Parra, third grade, Boundary Street Elementary
- Josi Aull, fifth grade, Boundary Street Elementary
- Michael Isbell, second grade, Gallman Elementary
- Romona Olvera, third grade, Gallman Elementary
- Jamarion Hawkins, fifth grade, Gallman Elementary
- Xavier Gary, fourth grade, Gallman Elementary
- Brandon Ramirez, first grade, Gallman Elementary
During the celebration, city residents were invited to bring a copy of their latest utilities bill and a regular incandescent light bulb to exchange it for a brand new LED bulb for free. Corndogs and slushy’s were provided to the community from Sonic of Newberry. City residents also had the opportunity to register for door prizes including t-shirts, bill credits and various gift cards.
City of Newberry Utilities Director Marc Regier said that Newberry’s utility services were reliable and safe and they took pride in serving their friends and neighbors.
“We are proud to have served Newberry for 120 years,” Regier said.
Silverstreet Man Arrested For Trafficking Crack, Cocaine, and Marijuana
Posted: October 10,
Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster says that a man is in custody today after investigators found him in possession of crack, cocaine,marijuana, and pistols at a residence located on Green Acres Lane in Silverstreet.
Sheriff Foster said that investigators were able to make several undercover drug buys from the residence over the last several months. He said that the investigation culminated when deputies served a search warrant on the residence late Thursday afternoon.
Investigators say that once inside the residence, they located more than 15 grams of crack, approximately 40 grams of cocaine, and several ounces of marijuana. Sheriff Foster said they also located two pistols inside the residence.
“This is another example of the partnership between law enforcement and community,” said Sheriff Foster. “The residents of this community brought the unusual activity at this residence to our attention and we were able to conduct an investigation into this matter identifying the residence as a place that was conducting the sale of illegal drugs.”
“There are two important factors to such an investigation,” said Sheriff Foster. “First, the public’s assistance in providing us information, which is crucial to our combined success because law enforcement simply cannot be in all places. The second is the public’s understanding that such investigations take time. The standard of proof needed for convictions in the court’s today continues to rise so it is imperative that we just not make the arrest, but we insure that the case can and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Derrikus Raphael Oliver, 33, 309 Green Acres Lane, Silverstreet, SC was arrested and charged with Trafficking Crack Cocaine, Trafficking Cocaine, and Possession of Marijuana With Intent To Distribute. He has been denied bond.
“This man was a major player in the sale of illegal drugs in this community,” said Sheriff Foster. “This is the second large drug arrest we have made in this community within the last three months.”
“We are committed to working with all of the communities of Newberry County and when the community and law enforcement communicate and partner, together we can make a difference,” concluded Sheriff Foster.
Wolves Win Fifth Straight Behind Watson's Career Day!
Posted: October 9,
Photo courtesy of newberrywolves.com
Cole Watson was 11 years old the last time Newberry defeated Mars Hill on the Lions’ home turf.
At 21, the senior wide receiver torched the Lions’ secondary for a career-high 151 yards on 10 catches to help Newberry to a come-from-behind 35-21 win at Meares Stadium.
The Wolves scored 28 consecutive second-half points to turn a precarious halftime deficit into a rout before a cosmetic Mars Hill touchdown with 1:18 remaining cut the final margin to 14 points. Watson was held out of the end zone but had a propensity for explosive plays, tallying six catches of at least 10 yards and counting a leaping 30-yard effort as his longest reception of the day. Click HERE for more.
Local Teens Raise Money For Playground Equipment
UPDATE: Newberry County Continues Preparations
For Hurricane Matthew
Posted: October 7,
While we are approximately 150 miles from the coast, Newberry County will experience issues from Hurricane Matthew. The following is the most up-to-date information we have. The more serious time frame of the storm will be early Saturday morning throughout the day Saturday.
Please keep in mind that storms are unpredictable and conditions can change depending on other environmental conditions. If the storm continues to track closer to the coast line, our conditions will worsen. Also if the storm delays in the right turn out to open sea, our conditions will persist longer.
Newberry County is on the boarder for tropical force winds and heavier than usual rains. The lower 1/3 of the county (Lake Murray and much of the Mid Carolina area) is grouped with the higher levels of rain and higher winds.
We can expect 2-4" of rain with higher amounts in the Mid Carolina area. The rain should not be continuous, but will come in squals. There may be short periods of intense rain, followed by calm.
Winds are expected to be in the 25-35 mph range with higher winds and gusts in the Mid Carolina area. Reminder that it is not necessarily dangerous THAT the wind is blowing, but WHAT the wind is blowing. Secure loose items that could become airborne and become a projectile.
All school functions have been cancelled for the weekend. The schools remain on standby if we are activated as an evacuation center. This will depend on the damage experience in the coastal regions and the amount of people displaced.
Due to wind conditions, sporadic power outages may occur. Prior to tonight, citizens should insure they have adequate batteries for portable radios and flashlights. Candles will provide illumination, but they can also cause fire and should be used with caution.
Updates will be given via Nixle, Facebook and WKDK. You can sign up for the FREE Nixle service by going to our web site www.newberrycountysheriff.com
. You can listen to our local broadcaster via 1240 AM or www.wkdk.com
or on the WKDK app in the Apple I store or Google Play.
Law Enforcment and Emergency Services are on standby and are prepared to respond depending on conditions.
Local Teens Raise Money For Playground Equipment
Posted: October 6,
Megan Grubbs, Kori Kunkle and other local
teens raised money Wednesday night for new playground equipment for children with special
needs, and that equipment is planned for Marion Davis Park. The fundraiser
was a big success, and the City of Newberry thanks all of the volunteers and
Mac Bell of Sonic!
Wolves Hand Catawba First SAC Loss!
Posted: October 2,
Photo courtesy of newberrywolves.com
The Wolves did just that in amonumental victory Saturday evening, handing South Atlantic Conference foe Catawba (2-3, 2-1 SAC) its first conference loss in a convincing 35-14 thumping at Setzler Field.
Newberry (4-1, 2-0 SAC) wasted no time in jumping in front, forcing a three-and-out and blocking a punt on Catawba’s first possession to take over inside the Catawba Indians’ red zone. Romelo Doctor’s bruising, 1-yard run put the Wolves ahead less than two minutes into the contest.
Doctor finished the game with 58 yards on 17 carries, moving into seventh place on Newberry’s all-time rushing yardage list with 2,268 in his remarkable career. He added a second score just minutes into the second half on an 11 yard run where he spun off three Catawba Indian defenders at the line of scrimmage, and waltzed into the end zone to build a 28-7 Newberry lead. Click HERE for more.
Newberry Man Arrested, Charged With Burglary, Kidnapping, Robbery, And More
Posted: September 26,
As we reported earlier today on WKDK, Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster says that a Newberry man has been arrested and charged with Burglary, Kidnapping, Armed Robbery, Assault and Battery of a High andAggravated Nature, and Grand Larceny for the violent kidnapping and robbery of a 73-year-old woman.
Deputies and investigators responded to the victim’s home on Green Meadows Drive Wednesday night just after 10:30pm. The victim, who had been able to remove some of the bindings, was still partially restrained with duct tape and a telephone cord. There were clear markings from having been tied up around her neck and legs.
“I cannot say enough about the incredible job done by the entire investigative team,” said Sheriff Foster. “All involved worked tirelessly and for countless hours to bring this suspect to justice. The investigators used every available resource including technology, forensics, and a great working knowledge of the community and environment to make an arrest in this case.”
The victim said that she opened the door to get into her vehicle and when she did, the suspect, who had been laying in the seat, kicked her in the chest. The suspect forced the victim inside the home, where he bound her using the duct tape and phone cord then took money and jewelry. He then forced her into her vehicle still bound and drove her around demanding money from an ATM. He then took her back to the residence and demanded more money and property. It was after the suspect left the scene that the victim was able to escape enough of the bindings to call 911. She did receive medical treatment and was released from the hospital with a broken collar bone and related minor injuries.
“I find it especially despicable for someone to not just rob an elderly person but to physically assault and injure them as well,” said Sheriff Foster. “He could have gotten her money and property without injuring her, but he chose to inflict additional injury and pain on the victim, particularly since he knew her and lived in the same community.” I pray that the legal system will take the full extent of his actions into consideration as he is dealt with by the law.”
The suspect fled the left the scene in the victim’s car. However, law enforcement was able to locate that vehicle near Boyd’s Crossing Road. The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and State Law Enforcement Division used bloodhounds to search the area, but the suspect was not located. The vehicle was taken to the Newberry County Sheriff Office crime lab for processing. The Newberry City Police Department offered assistance throughout the investigation.
“We are pleased to bring this suspect to justice,” said Sheriff Foster. “This is what law enforcement agencies working together with the community united with cutting edge techniques can accomplish together.”
Jail records identify the person arrested as Anthony Maurice Wise, 24, of 604 Green Meadow Drive, Newberry, SC. He was charged with Burglary, Kidnapping, Armed Robbery, Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature, and Grand Larceny on Saturday morning. He has been denied bond at this time. Wise was already on probation for a drug related offense when this incident occurred.
Newberry Defense Keys Big Road Win
Photo courtesy of newberrywolves.com
A punishing defensive effortcoupled with 502 yards of total offense helped Newberry to a convincing 37-10 victory on the road at Tusculum on Saturday afternoon in the Wolves’ South Atlantic Conference opener.
The game’s key moment came at the three-minute mark of the first quarter. The Wolves had a 7-0 lead after a seven-play, 57-yard drive capped by an 11-yard Markell Castle touchdown reception, tying him for the team lead with three on the season. Shea Rodgers’ kickoff sailed toward the sideline, where a Tusculum returner caught the ball as he stepped out of bounds.
The Pioneers were awarded the ball on their own 3-yard line after the miscue, where the Wolves’ defense forced their first three-and-out of the contest. The ensuing punt glanced off the side of the punter’s foot, traveling just 13 yards before coming to rest out of bounds.
Keinan Lewis leapt over a defensive back and made a spectacular catch on a perfectly-placed fade pattern down the near sideline on the first play, giving the Wolves a 23-yard scoring play on their first offensive snap since the Yeldell-to-Castle connection.
The sequence was indicative of Newberry’s dominance on both sides of the ball throughout the contest. Newberry scored the first 20 points of the game and never looked back en route to the four-score victory. The Wolves averaged 6.6 yards per play, more than doubling the Pioneers’ 234 yards of offense on the afternoon. Tusculum was limited to just 96 yards offensively in the second half and saw 10 of its 12 drives in the contest terminated after 25 yards or fewer. Click HERE for more.
Newberry Arts Program Recipent Of Programming Excellence Award
Suspect Being Sought In Burglary, Kidnapping Of Elderly Woman
Posted: September 22,
The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is asking for information after a 73-year-old woman was burglarized and kidnapped last night.
Deputies and investigators responded to the victim’s home on Green Meadows Drive last night just after 10:30pm. The victim, who had been able to remove some of the bindings, was still partially restrained with duct tape and a telephone cord. There were clear markings from having been tied up around her neck and legs.
The victim said that she opened the door to get into her vehicle and when she did, the suspect, who had been laying in the seat, kicked her in the chest. The suspect forced the victim inside the home, where he bound her using the duct tape and phone cord then took money and jewelry. He then forced her into her vehicle still bound and drove her around. He then took her back to the residence and demanded more money. It was after the suspect left the scene that the victim was able to escape enough of the bindings to call 911. She did receive medical treatment and was released from the hospital with a broken collar bone and related minor injuries.
The suspect fled the left the scene in the victim’s car. However, law enforcement was able to locate that vehicle near Boyd’s Crossing Road. The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and State Law Enforcement Division used bloodhounds to search the area, but the suspect was not located. The vehicle was taken to the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office crime lab for processing.
The Newberry City Police Department offered assistance throughout the investigation.
The suspect is described as a black male. He had dread lock style hair. He was approximately 5 foot 7 inches tall and weighed approximately 150 pounds. The suspect was wearing a red t-shirt, blue jeans, and a black hoodie.
Law enforcement said that based on their investigation, the suspect was familiar with the victim before this incident. They would not elaborate on the connection at this time citing the integrity of the investigation.
The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is offering a substantial reward for information leading to the identification and arrest of the suspect. If you have information you can contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 321-2222, email your tip to email@example.com, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.
Newberry Arts Program Recipent Of Programming Excellence Award
Scott Sawyer and Marquerite Palmer with South Carolina Recreation and Parks Association President Eric Stewart.
The Newberry Arts Program has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Programming Excellence Award for population under 30,000. The award was presented on September 12 by the South Carolina Recreation & Parks Association (SCRPA) Awards Committee at their State Conference awards luncheon at the Greenville Hyatt Regency.
Marquerite Palmer, arts program coordinator and Scott Sawyer, director of parks, recreation and tourism for the city accepted the award for the program. Palmer said it really was a dream come true.
"The idea of an arts center in Newberry has floated around and been talked about since I came here in 1993 and each time it was attempted, it just seemed it wasn't the right time," Palmer said. "And this time, the stars aligned and everything fell into place. It was just the right time for it."
The Programming Excellence Award could be given to each of two population categories, according to the SCRPA awards information page: those 30,000 and under and those over 30,000. An agency was able to submit for either Programming Excellence or Parks Excellence, but not both. The award pertains to any recreation program or special event that an agency offers.
Sawyer and Palmer spent several weeks putting together information to submit for the award, Sawyer said. The final application was submitted on July 7.
In the application, Sawyer and Palmer had to answer questions including a summary of the Newberry Arts Program, the mission of the program, its economic impact, any challenges the program has faced and what made the program unique.
While the Newberry Arts Program has faced several challenges including a starting low budget and needing a place for classes, both Palmer and Sawyer agree that it could not have been accomplished without the enormous amount of support they received from City Manager Al Harvey.
Wanting to start a new program with no budget was a huge challenge, Sawyer said, but fortunately city management supported the notion that a quality visual arts program was a viable endeavor and a complimentary extension to the community's arts experience that was established by the Newberry Opera House.
In the less than two years that the Newberry Arts Program has hit the ground running, it has added a unique social element to a lot of people's lives, Sawyer said.
Not only does the Newberry Arts Center have separate art and pottery studios, but it also includes outdoor space for classes and events. The arts center has also attracted a nationally renowned watercolor artist, as artist-in-residence and a world renowned clay artist as a presenter and advisor for the SC Clay Conference which was established through the program from scratch.
"It is unique that strong community support includes varied partnerships and dedicated volunteers that have come together to help provide the arts experience to anyone in the community, young or old. And regardless of ability to pay," Sawyer said.
Harvey said he commended the Parks, Recreation and Tourism department and Palmer for receiving the Programming Excellence Award.
"Such recognition at the state level reflects the tireless efforts put forth by Mrs. Palmer and the many volunteers that have contributed so much time and talent to develop a very high quality arts program that has been widely accepted and enjoyed by the Newberry community over the last two years," Harvey said. "The future of the Newberry arts program is unlimited."
Palmer said the creation of the Newberry arts program had created a community and she was excited to see what its future held.
Brooks Announces Retirement At PTC
Posted: September 22,
Dr. Ray Brooks, president of Piedmont Technical College, has announced plans to retire on June 30, 2017, at the end of the current academic year.
Brooks made his plans official in a meeting with the college's Area Commission on Tuesday evening. He has led the institution since March 2008.
George Piersol, PTC Area Commission Chair said, "Dr. Brooks' focus on creating the right environment for student success has had a huge impact on Piedmont Technical College."
"The Commission is appreciative for his experienced leadership over the last eight years, and we are fully supportive of the important initiatives begun during his tenure," he said.
The Piedmont Technical College Area Commission plans to search for a new president in accordance with the policy set by the South Carolina Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education.
The college's second president in 50 years, Brooks has led the institution through historic surges in enrollment and the financial challenges of a record-setting recession. Under his leadership, the college has emerged on firm financial and operational footing, and has garnered nationwide accolades for its work in a number of areas.
The college has built stronger relationships with the communities it serves, including innovative public/private partnerships like the development of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Laurens County; the urban renewal project that led to a cutting-edge new campus in Newberry; and a host of program and operational improvements designed to better position the college to respond to student needs.
During his tenure at PTC, Brooks has led the college to adopt institution-wide continuous improvement systems, including a groundbreaking implementation of the Lean methodology in a higher education setting that was awarded the Bellwether award--a national prize that recognizes outstanding and innovative programs in community college education. Piedmont Technical College is the first and only college from South Carolina to be recognized with this award.
In a letter to the campus, Brooks said, "It has been an honor and a privilege to have had the opportunity to share in the important work this institution does every day."
"This work goes on, and there's much more to be done. I look forward to working in the coming months to ensure the state of the college is strong, and that we're well positioned for the future," he said.
Prior to joining Piedmont Technical College, Brooks served as president of Northwestern Technical College in Georgia for 22 years, and previously served as an instructor and then coordinator of postsecondary instruction at NTC.
County Council Meets; Third Reading Of Zoning Ordinance Passes, More
Posted: September 22,
Andrew Wigger | staff writer
Newberry Observer | Civitas Media
Newberry County Council met Wednesday evening and the following items were passed/approved:
- Newberry County Council passed the third reading of an ordinance revising the zoning ordinance of the Newberry County Code of Ordinances, with four amendments. The first amendment established conditional permitting of cemeteries, minimum size, setback and signage requirements for cemeteries. The second amendment established conditional permitting of large animal processing and taxidermy uses; concealment of carcasses and disposal of remains (animal processing and taxidermy); management of emissions and odorous gases (taxidermy). Amendment three defined Agritourism as defined int he SC Code of Laws as accessory use to an agricultural use. Amendment four established lake development setbacks; minimum setback of 50 feet from specified contour lines.
- Council passed a third reading on an ordinance that repeals an unused provision regarding petty cash purchases and it inserts an affirmative action statement, as requested by Central Midlands Council of Governors.
- A second reading was approved for an ordinance amending an existing 20 year fee in lieu of tax agreement with West Fraser.
- Council approved a Hazard Mitigation Plan.
- Council approved a proclamation declaring September 2016 as Kinship Care Month.
Yeldell's Game-Winning TD Nominated for D2 Football's Play Of The Week!
Photo courtesy of newberrywolves.com
Raleigh Yeldell’s game-winningtouchdown at North Greenville has been nominated for D2 Football’s Play of the Week by HERO Sports.
Yeldell’s third rushing touchdown of the evening came with 1:04 remaining in the contest and tied the game at 28, with Shea Rodgers’s extra point providing the final margin of victory in Newberry’s come-from-behind victory. Yeldell broke right on a zone-read option, spinning out of one tackle before lowering his shoulder to shake North Greenville’s all-time leading tackler Sam Houston and diving headlong across the goal line.
The nation's fourth-ranked player in total offense earned his second straight South Atlantic Conference Offensive Player of the Week selection Monday after accumulating 141 rushing yards and 215 yards through the air against the Crusaders.
Fans will choose from seven nominees to decide the winner. Voting will close at 3:00 a.m. Friday morning, with the winner being announced later in the day.
Click here to vote Yeldell's touchdown as D2 Play of the Week
Authorities Searching For Missing Teen On Saturday; Found Safe
Posted: September 17,
At around 1:00 pm on Saturday, the Newberry County Sheriff's Office and Rescue Squads were searching for a missing 19-year old with autism (pictured on left). The individual had last been seen around 10 am near Seagull Lane off of Highway 391 in Prosperity. The individual was found safe at around 2:30 pm near Pinedale Court on Lake Murray. A SLED helicopter and Sheriff's Office Bloodhounds were assisting in the search.
Faith-Based Movie Filmed Partly in Newberry To Debut In Theaters Soon
Posted: September 15,
Northface Christian Films out of Lexington, South Carolina will debut its film titled ‘Faith’s Song’ in South Carolina theaters this fall.
The inspiration for this film was given to Frank Hutto, the writer, director and producer. Local talent from around the state both helped produce and appear in this amazing film. It is an inspiring story about a young girl whose faith is tested when her parents are tragically killed in a car crash, forcing her to move in with her aunt and uncle who don’t share her same beliefs. Faith finds herself in a new city and a new school where she faces resistance not only from her new peers, but from her family.
As an independent film producer of a Christian film, Hutto is excited for this amazing opportunity. Filmed in Newberry, Lexington and Columbia with cast and crew from around the southeast, you will see many familiar landmarks. Everyone faces struggles and fears and this film addresses many of the issues that many face today. Hutto is looking for sell out premier showings and continually increasing support from churches and communities throughout the state.
‘Faith’s Song’ will premier in Lexington on October 29 and Summerville on November 5 at Regal Theaters. Tickets have gone on sale and are limited. Included in the premier ticket pricing is a limited edition movie poster that you can have signed that day. Many of the cast and crew will be on hand for autographs including Marcus Lattimore, former University of South Carolina football player.
To view the movie trailer and purchase tickets for the premier you can visit the website www.faithssong.com.
Northface Christian Films is also offering group ticket sales and is looking for corporate sponsors for the Theatrical release later this year. Please contact Frankie Hutto for additional information at firstname.lastname@example.org
School Resource Officer Assaulted Trying To Stop School Bus Fight
Posted: September 14,
A Newberry County School Resource Officer was assaulted today attempting to stop a fight on a school bus. Sheriff Lee Foster said that two male juveniles were fighting on a bus this morning. The School Resource Officer boarded the bus and along with the bus driver attempted to separate the suspects.
Foster said that after they were separated, the School Resource Officer was attempting to secure one of the juveniles, when the other suspect, a 14- year-old juvenile, jumped on her back and she was struck several times in the face. The officer was able to gain control of the suspect and both of them were taken into custody. The 14-year-old juvenile was charged with Assault on a Police Officer While Resisting Arrest and both were charged for the fighting incident. The juvenile who assaulted the officer was detained and sent to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia.
The deputy was taken for a medical check and was released after a splint was placed on her wrist for an injury sustained during the incident. She also has several marks on her face and neck where she was struck by the juvenile. There are some who believe that there should not be officers in the schools, said Sheriff Foster.
This coupled with the two other assaults on officers in the school environment recently in other areas of South Carolina leaves no doubt to their necessity. If someone will assault a police officer and struggle with them, imagine the plight of a school administrator trying to handle this without the training or equipment of a law enforcement officer.
We are so proud of our relationship and support of the School District of Newberry County, Foster continued. They make the School Resource Officers possible and our relationship is second to none. We have been recognized nationally as best practices for a relationship between law enforcement and a school district in our partnership, planning, and response to incidents.
The ultimate goal of the School Resource Officer is to be a positive part of the school environment, to be a role model for the students, and to provide the students with a different perspective of law enforcement than the negative they often see, said Foster. Many of our school resource officers assist with coaching athletics and various functions that allow them to build relationships far beyond just that of a school resource officer; however, in the society we live in today, we must provide a safe learning environment for our children.
Sheriff Foster said that there are current five officers assigned to the School Resource Officer program with one stationed at all Middle and High schools and a supervisor who covers elementary schools and assists as needed.
Newberry College Ranked Among Nation's Best
Posted: September 13,
As we reported earlier today, Newberry College has been ranked on the 2017 U.S. News & WorldReport Best Colleges rankings, which were released earlier in the day. Newberry earned three rankings in the national magazine’s annual report:
Best Colleges in the South (#16)
Best Value for Regional Colleges in the South (#3)
Best Colleges for Veterans-Regional Colleges in the South (#8)
Although Newberry College has ranked in the Top 50 for Best Colleges in the South for a number of years, the private liberal arts college rocketed ahead in this year’s rankings, moving from #41 last year to #16 in the 2017 report.
“It is very rewarding to be recognized by U.S. News & World Report as our key performance indicators continue to improve,” said Newberry College President Maurice W. Scherrens. “We are on a journey of continuous assessment and improved effectiveness. The College’s rise in the rankings is a tangible outcome of our efforts.”
Senior English major Madison Darby-McClure noted Newberry’s rise in the rankings reflects many positive changes students are experiencing on campus.
“It’s encouraging to see Newberry College getting recognized for all the great things students see happening on a daily basis,” Darby-McClure said. “I think it recognizes the changes and improvements the College has been making for the past few years.”
Newberry College earned the #3 spot for Best Value for Regional Colleges in the South for 2017, a new ranking for the institution this year.
“Earning the Best Value ranking affirms our sustained efforts over the past several years to ensure that Newberry College one of the best private college values in the region,” said Joel Vander Horst, Dean of Enrollment Management. “We have worked hard to create a highly competitive financial aid package and to offer innovative programs, such as the Loan Repayment Promise, to make us a very attractive choice for students.”
The Newberry College Loan Repayment Promise is a financial safety net that Newberry offers at no cost to students and their families. Starting in 2017, if a student earns less than $40,000 working at least 30 hours a week after graduation from Newberry, the College will help the graduate repay their student loans until they reach that earning threshold.
Newberry College appears once again on the Best Colleges for Veterans in the South list, earning the #8 spot in the rankings this year, up from #28 in the 2016 rankings.
“Newberry’s focus on individualized learning and personalized attention to students makes it an attractive option for veterans and their families,” said Newberry College Military Services Coordinator Susan Epting.
Newberry College Board of Trustees Chairman Hugo A. “Hap” Pearce credited the College’s impressive rise in the rankings to top caliber faculty who are committed to helping students succeed in the classroom and after graduation.
“These U.S. News & World Report rankings highlight what we have known for many years,” Pearce said. “That students don’t have to make a choice between high quality and affordability. We offer them both at Newberry College.”
Wolves Back To Winning Ways Against Virginia Union
Posted: September 11,
The Wolves shook off the disappointment of last week’s loss to Florida Tech with a resounding 42-22 victory over visiting Virginia Union on Saturday afternoon at Setzler Field, wearing down the Panthers’ defense with a series of methodical drives and a punishing defensive performance.
Four of Newberry’s (1-1) six touchdown drives took 11 plays or more, including an 11-play, 98-yard drive that gave the Wolves a two-touchdown advantage early in the second quarter. The Wolves’ offense won the time of possession battle by nearly 19 minutes and ran 35 more plays than the Panthers (0-2), whose defense was no match for Newberry’s methodical attack in the second half. See more HERE.
Newberry College Hits Record High Enrollment For Freshman Class
Posted: September 9,
Newberry College enrolled a record high 381 new students, easing past its previous high water mark of 379 set in 2014. The incoming class increased by 10 percent compared to the 347 students who constituted the incoming class for 2015.
Enrollment for the incoming class included 287 freshmen, 80 transfers and 14 readmits. Overall, the College enrollment reached 1,070 students for the fall 2016 semester, a slight increase over last year.
- 76 percent of the incoming class hail from South Carolina; 75 percent of the overall student population are South Carolina residents.
- Out-of-state enrollment draws primarily from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, which is comparable to the geographic distribution of the overall student body: South Carolina (808), Georgia (33), North Carolina (30), Virginia (30) and Florida (20).
- International enrollment accounts for 2 percent of the incoming class. International students make up 4 percent of the overall student population drawn from 15 countries, including Canada, France, Bolivia, Australia, India and Mexico.
- 52 percent of the incoming class (199 students) are recruited student-athletes who play on one the College’s 17 Division II teams as well as cheerleading and dance.
- 48 percent of the incoming class (182 students) are non-student-athletes, an all-time high for new student recruitment at Newberry College.
- Top 5 majors by overall enrollment are Business Administration/Accounting, Sport Management/Physical Education, Nursing, Biology and Teacher Education.
Dean of Enrollment Management Joel Vander Horst said the College’s strategy of streamlining the admission process and engaging students and their families earlier in the recruitment process has led to double-digit increases at nearly every stage of the recruitment process.
“We focused a great deal of effort over the past year on eliminating possible friction points in the enrollment process to make a more student-centered experience,” Vander Horst said. “We revised or eliminated outdated policies, retooled our campus visit programming and focused on cultivating a spirit of hospitality.”
Director of Financial Aid Danielle Bell noted the Newberry College Loan Repayment Promise has attracted significant interest from families. A new program offered to the 2016 incoming class, it guarantees students if they earn less than $36,000 after graduating from Newberry College, the College will help repay their loans on a sliding scale based on their earnings.
“For families who use student loans to pay the portion of tuition not covered by institutional scholarships and other forms of aid, the Loan Repayment Promise offers them the peace of mind of having a financial safety net after graduation.”
Bell also noted that her team has placed greater emphasis on providing personalized support for students and their families to ensure they navigate the complexities of the financial aid process.
“Families can feel overwhelmed by the complexities of financial aid, so we’ve worked to make it as stress-free as possible,” Bell said. “We typically work one-on-one with families to guide them through the steps and put together the best possible financial aid package. We offer very personalized support; it’s definitely not a cookie cutter approach.”
Vander Horst noted that the largest enrollment gains this year have come from majors in which Newberry College has long enjoyed a dominant position.
“We’ve seen continued growth in areas of historic strength for us” Vander Horst said. “Based on an analysis of inquiries from prospective students and declared majors for enrolled students, we expanded our Nursing cohort by 33 percent and added the Criminal Justice major.”
Newberry College President Dr. Maurice Scherrens noted that recruiting new students is one side of the enrollment management coin; the other is retention of current students.
“Improvements in both recruitment and retention are two pillars of our campus strategic plan and we will be unveiling recommendations to improve retention later this semester,” Scherrens said. “A key focus of our efforts is to continue creating a positive student experience that supports persistence to graduation.”
Subject Attempting Car Break-Ins Caught On Thursday Morning
Posted: September 8,
As we reported earlier on WKDK, the subject involved in the foot chase after attempting to break into cars at Newberry College was taken into custody at around 8:30 am Thursday morning. The subject was caught just off Kendall Road near Louis Rich Road. The suspect was chased by law enforcement officers around the campus, and was caught by police working perimeter.
Castle's Catch Featured On ESPN SportsCenter's Top Ten
Posted: September 5,
Markell Castle’s leaping, twisted, one-handed catch on a high pass from Raleigh Yeldell was featured on ESPN as the No. 2 play on SportsCenter’s Top Ten Sunday evening.
The play came as part of a four-play, 73-yard scoring drive that took just 36 seconds off the clock, allowing the Wolves to knot up the score at 21 before heading into the locker room. Yeldell had completed passes to Romelo Doctor of 17 and 23 yards on the previous two plays before finding Castle open down the seam out of a four wide receiver set.
Yeldell’s ball floated over the defensive back and appeared to be just too high for Castle to reel in. But the sophomore used every bit of his 5-8, 185-pound frame to soar high above the turf, reaching into the air with his right hand while twisting to his left, securing the ball with one hand while nearly parallel to the turf.
The Wolves tied the score at 21 with an eight-yard touchdown to Cole Watson one play later and a two-point conversion pass to Knox Butcher.
Castle would go on to haul in 10 passes for 181 yards, good for sixth-most in school history, and a 72-yard touchdown strike. Yeldell’s 447 yards through the air landed at No. 3 in the record books and were the third-most of any Division II quarterback on the season’s opening weekend. Yeldell also moved into 10th in school history in career passing yardage.
Swindler To Lead SC Criminal Justice Academy
Chief Jackie Swindler whoretired after 38 years with the Newberry Police Department to join the Department of Social Services in 2014 as its law enforcement liaison, has been named to lead the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.
An honor graduate of Newberry College, Jackie Swindler earned a master’s in criminal justice from the University of South Carolina, and he graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy, the youngest graduate in its history at the time.
He entered law enforcement as a cadet in 1975 and rose to the rank of chief of police in 1993.
As a leader in the state’s law enforcement community, Chief Swindler served as the president of the South Carolina Police Chiefs Association and of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Association.
He has served as a member of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force Executive Committee, the State Homeland Security Senior Advisory Council, and the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Task Force.
A regular instructor at the United States Attorney’s Office, Chief Swindler has been lead instructor at the Carolina Institute for Community Policing.
DSS hired him to better coordinate with police organizations and coroners.
Two Men Arrested On Drug Charges: Crack, Marijuana and Pills
Posted: September 3,
Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster says that two men have been arrested when officers conducting a safety check point found crack cocaine, marijuana, and a controlled substance.
Sheriff Foster said that officers from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and South Carolina Highway Patrol were conducting a safety check point on Highway 219 near Hillbrook Lane on August 28 at about 1:00am when a vehicle with two people in it approached the check point. The officers immediately noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.
When the deputies attempted to get the suspects from the vehicle, the passenger attempted to flee on foot but was captured after a short distance. Once he was apprehended, the deputies found approximately 2 grams of crack cocaine, a small quantity of marijuana, and $340 in money in the same pocket of his pants. When the deputies ran the suspect’s criminal history, they learned that he had previously been convicted of Distribution of Cocaine so this would be a second drug offense.
“We believe that a proactive approach to law enforcement is critical in today’s society,” said Sheriff Foster. “While we depend heavily upon our relationship with the public to get information about drugs in our communities, it is also important that we get out into the public and work with other agencies to have these public safety check points and other proactive measures. We believe that learning the community, interacting with the citizens, and a good visible patrol and outreach are powerful tools in saving lives and preventing crime.”
Deputies then searched the driver and the vehicle and found two pills of Hydrocodone, a controlled substance, and a crack pipe that belonged to the driver.
Both men were arrested and taken to the Newberry County Detention Center.
Those arrested were identified as:
Rishawn Terrell Harmon, 26, of 2545 Rosalyn Drive, Newberry. He was charged with Possession with Intent To Distribute Crack Cocaine 2nd Offense, Possession of Marijuana, and Resisting Arrest. Harmon has a prior drug conviction for Distribution of Cocaine.
Willie Earl Nance, 60, of 17 JB Fulmer Court, Newberry, was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
Newberry County Schools To Dismiss Early On Friday
Posted: September 1,
Newberry County Schools will be dismissing early on Friday because of potential inclement weather conditions from Hurricane Hermine. Elementary Schools will dismiss at 12:30 pm on Friday, and Middle and High Schools will dimsiss at 1:00 pm. All afterschool activities and athletic events will be cancelled on Friday afternoon and evening.