Local News

NRA Foundation Awards Grant to Sheriff's Office
Scam Attempt
Police Chase Ends in Wreck on Monday Night
Drugs and Guns Found as Officers Assist Broken Down Vehicle
Suspect Arrested After Vehicle and Foot Chase in Newberry County
County Council Meeting on August 15
Newberry Sheriff's Office Secures Over $600,000 in Grants
City Council Meeting on August 14
Sheriff's Association Warns of Telephone Donations
Weekend Accident Ends in Tragedy; Deputy Nearly Struck at Scene
School Schedule for Newberry County
Senior Citizen Cards
Armed Robbery



NRA Foundation Awards Grant to Sheriff's Office
(added 09/05/07)

The NRA Foundation has provided the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office with a grant to purchase ANSI (National) Certified Level 1 traffic vests.

“We are so grateful to the NRA Foundation for the continued contributions to the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, and to the community at large,” said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster. “The NRA Foundation continues to prove its self an important aspect of making Newberry County a better, safer place to live.”

The grant, which was for $3,375.00, was used to purchase every officer at the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office a nationally certified level 1 traffic vest. There was no match required for the grant so no local tax dollars had to be used to purchase this all important equipment.

Foster said that not only do the vests offer much greater visibility, but that each vest has a slot to hold the microphone for the deputy’s portable radio, ink pen slots, and other features designed to make the vest both safe and functional for the front line law enforcement officer.

“We firmly believe that these traffic vests will make the deputies in Newberry County safer and will enable them to perform their job functions in a safer, more effective manner,” said Foster. “We also believe that this greater visibility will make the motoring public safer. When the officers are easily seen and recognized, motorists can respond to their direction thereby keeping other rescue workers and the public in general much safer from traffic hazards.”

Foster said that after the vests were ordered but before they arrived, a deputy was directing traffic on I-26 at the scene of a tragic accident during which a young child was killed. He said that an intoxicated driver nearly struck the deputy who jumped from the roadway just before the driver struck the deputy’s vehicle.

“We may never fully comprehend the full impact of this most generous grant,” said Foster. “The impact will make a tremendous difference for the law enforcement officers who wear them and for the entire community. Thank you to the NRA Foundation for caring about our officers and for the people of Newberry County.”


Pictured (L-R): Jerry Stoudemire of the Friends of the Mid Carolina NRA, Faye Stoudemire of Friends of the Mid Carolina NRA, Lieutenant Pete Johnson of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, Master Deputy John Frampton of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Lee Foster of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, and Dale Carwile who is the South Carolina Field Representative for the NRA.

Scam Attempt
(added 09/04/07)

Perhaps everyone goes to the mailbox hoping that there will be a big check inside, but for some Newberry County residents an answered dream might actually be a nightmare unfolding.

One Newberry County resident received a check in the mail for $4,650.00. The check was in an envelope with a letter informing the would be victim that they had won $75,000.00 in a lottery drawing in the Bahamas. The bait is then set. The scheme then relies on the victim to contact the supposed business using a pass code for security reasons.

If the victim calls, the scam will take one of two roads to financial heartache.

1) The victim will be asked to provide bank account information so that the remaining money can be wired into their account. Of course, if the victim provides them with the banking information, the only money moving will be the victim’s money immediately from their account.

2) If the victim does not have a banking account or will not provide the information, they are asked to send a money order or cashier’s check for “reasonable processing fees.” In this case, the reasonable processing fee was $3,525.00. The victim sends the check out of the country, and never sees or hears from the scam artist again.

In either case, the victim will find that the check they have been sent is totally worthless because it is drawn on a closed account or as in this case made on forged checks using the name of a real bank in North Carolina to add credibility. So, soon the victim is out large amounts of money because they thought their dream had come true. Unfortunately, the dream was a nightmare created by a scam artist preying on our desire for money to lure into a place we knew better than to go.

Fortunately, there is a happy ending to this story because the would be victim called the bank involved with the check and found it that it was not good.

“We are so glad that this person did not become a victim,” said Sheriff Lee Foster. “It is imperative to remember the old adage that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is!”

“These scam artists count on our desire for money to outweigh our common sense and thereby lure us into these type situations,” said Foster. “We can prevent these and other similar scams from working if we simply stop and use common sense.”

Foster said that anyone who receives any suspicious or unusual mail, e mails, or telephone calls from possible scam artists should contact their local law enforcement agency immediately.

Police Chase Ends in Wreck on Monday Night
(added 09/04/07)

A rash of drink machine break ins along the Highway 76 corridor has been stopped with the arrest of a suspect after a high speed police chase that ended with the suspect wrecking his vehicle.

Authorities from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, Newberry Police Department, and Prosperity Police Department had been investigating a series of break ins to drink machines along the Highway 76 corridor. The break ins began some Saturday and ended late Monday night with the arrest of the suspect. Police say that drink machines at Newberry Ace Hardware, Newberry Clinton Equipment Rental, Emerald Car Wash, Epting Automotive, Food Lion, Twisten Throttles, and other were broken into over the weekend. Police say that the actually businesses were not broken into, but that the drink machines were located on the outside of the business.

Deputy Robert Spreng of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office was checking property at Mid Carolina High School at about 9:00PM Monday night when he observed a suspicious gray four door vehicle at the school. As he attempted to investigate the vehicle, the driver refused to obey any commands given to him by the deputy and then took off at a high rate of speed.

Deputy Spreng gave chase to the suspect traveling on South Carolina Highway 76 toward Prosperity. As the suspect neared the Town of Prosperity, he turned onto Kibler Road, which is a one lane gravel road. As the suspect attempted to turn around and exit the road, he came on a Prosperity Police Department vehicle. The suspect attempted to go around the Prosperity vehicle, but instead left the roadway and struck a tree and then bounced back into the Prosperity Police Department unit. The chase lasted for about two miles and less than five minutes.

The suspect then attempted to flee from the officers, but was caught after a short chase. He then began to struggle with the officers and was finally subdued after the officers used a taser to subdue him. The suspect was taken into custody and then transported to the Newberry County Detention Center.

The suspect has been identified as Brian Heath Gonzales, 34, of 1428 Bear Creek Road, Newberry, SC. Gonzales has prior convictions that include Burglary, Shoplifting, Driving Under Suspension, and Possession of Marijuana.

Gonzales will be charged with Failure to Stop for a Law Enforcement Vehicle, Resisting Arrest, Driving Under Suspension, and multiple counts Malicious Injury to Property and Petit Larceny for breaking into the drink machines. No time has yet been scheduled for a bond hearing on the offenses.

Police say that neither Gonzales nor any of the officers were injured during the incident.

“This is an outstanding job of an alert patrol officer,” said Sheriff Lee Foster. “The officer was patrolling the area looking for unusual and suspicious activity at businesses and schools. Often our investigations unit receives well deserved attention; however, law enforcement and the public must never forget or underestimate how extremely important a visible, alert uniform patrol is to the success of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office. A visible, active patrol is one of the greatest deterrents to criminal activity, and that is why we feel it is imperative to insure that we combine an active, visible patrol, an outstanding investigative unit, and complete citizen involvement to insure a total package of effective law enforcement.”

“We may never know how many crimes have been prevented or stopped because of the activities of the uniform patrol, but we can rest assured that they are making a difference and keeping the people of Newberry County safer through their diligent efforts,” said Foster. “The men and women of the uniform patrol division are the front line defenders of justice. Far too many times some are quick to criticize these officers, but the reason they get into these situations is because they are on the front lines of the battle every day. I appreciate Deputy Spreng and every other man and woman who battles crime on the front lines each and every day.”

“These men and women like our fire, rescue, and EMS personnel are truly heroes who deserve recognition and acknowledgement for a job well done,” Foster concluded.

Drugs and Guns Found as Officers Assist Broken Down Vehicle
(added 08/20/07)

A broken down vehicle has led deputies in Newberry County to find nearly a gram of crack cocaine and two pistols.

On Saturday night at about 9:10PM, Deputy John “Rusty” Fulmer was traveling near the intersection of Boyd’s Crossing Road and C.R. Koon Highway when he observed a 1992 Mercury partially blocking the roadway with its emergency flashers on. Deputy Fulmer stopped to offer assistance, and noticed that there were four males and a 2 year old child in the vehicle.

As the deputy attempted to assist in pushing the car from the roadway, he stepped on a hard object. He retrieved the object and found it to be a .22 caliber pistol with the serial number scratched off of it. The officer immediately ordered all four the adults to the front of the vehicle in a secure position and radioed from assistance. When back up officers arrived, Deputy Ryan Gunwall found a 9mm pistol in the waistband of one of the suspects.

When the officers searched the suspect’s vehicle, Deputy Jessica Alewine located approximately a gram of crack cocaine inside the gas cap of the vehicle. The officers also found a box containing 32 .22 caliber bullets in the trunk of the vehicle.

All four suspects were taken into custody. They were identified as Antwan Roshun Glymph, 22, of 409 Floyd Street, Newberry, SC; James Anderson Wise, 27, of 3503 Dufford Street, Newberry, SC; James Bernard Darby, 21, of 1819 Charles Street, Newberry, SC; and Preston Lamont Bates, 23, of 705 Center Street, Newberry, SC.

According to the police report filed on the incident, James Wise admitted to the officers that the crack cocaine was his. The vehicle involved with the incident belonged to Wise.

“This incident went from a routine assist motorist to a life threatening event for the officers and suspects involved in a matter of seconds,” said Sheriff Lee Foster. “This is another prime example of just has dangerous law enforcement has become and unfortunately, the risks increase every day. Last year, there were more law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty than in many years previous years, and the violence in society and toward law enforcement is an ever increasing threat.”

James Anderson Wise was charged with Possession of Crack Cocaine, Possession of a Firearm with the Serial Number Removed or Obliterated, and Disorderly Conduct.

Antwan Roshun Glymph was charged with Carrying a Pistol Unlawfully and Possession of a Firearm with the Serial Number Removed or Obliterated.

James Bernard Darby and Preston Lamont Bates were each charged with Possession of a Firearm with the Serial Number Removed or Obliterated.

Bond has been set at $5000.00 for all four men.

Custody of the year old child, who was the child of James Wise, was turned over to the child’s grandmother.

“This is an excellent example of how a seemingly routine event can quickly turn extremely dangerous,” said Foster. “The combination of illegal drugs coupled with guns is a sure fire recipe for a potentially disastrous situation. We are fortunate that no one was injured during this situation.”

“I cannot imagine someone exposing their two year old child to this type of situation and environment,” said Foster. “As if this situation were not bad enough, for a small child to have been involved with people engaged in drugs and guns is absolutely horrible. Sometimes as we sit and ponder what is wrong with children today, maybe we need only look to the actions of the parents, guardians, and role models of today’s society.”

“There is an old Harry Chapin song that says ‘He’d grown up just like me, My boy was just like me’,” said Foster. “Until we are willing to accept responsibility and accountability for our own actions and understand that our children are watching us, we will continue to wonder what is wrong with our children.”

Suspect Arrested After Vehicle and Foot Chase in Newberry County
(added 08/16/07)

Information on the location of a wanted suspect has led Newberry County law enforcement officers to a high speed vehicle pursuit, a foot chase, a search with canine units, illegal drugs, and a struggle with the suspect before he was placed in jail.

At about 11:30AM, officers from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office received a call that Frederick Glasgow, 29, of 3135 Mount Pilgrim Church Road, Prosperity, SC was operating a motor vehicle in an extremely reckless manner on I-26 in Newberry County headed from the Prosperity section of the county, and that Glasgow was wanted because of an outstanding warrant.

Deputy Shawn Carnes was searching the area for the suspect when he saw the suspect driving a burgundy Ford Contour. Deputy Carnes attempted to stop the suspect; however, the suspect sped up driving at speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour. The suspect drove on Cy Schumpert Road, onto Wood Hills Road, and then drove behind his mother’s home located at 3135 Mount Pilgrim Church Road. Glasgow then jumped from the vehicle and ran from the officers.

The officers chased the suspect for a short distance, and then decided to establish a perimeter to hold the suspect in the area while a canine unit searched for the suspect. While Glasgow was being pursued by the canine unit, he ran from the woods toward a residence. Another deputy saw Glasgow run toward a residence, force his way into the residence, and attempt to hide there. The officer and others pursued the suspect into the residence that he had broken into where he refused to comply with the officers and attempted to flee from the officers again. The officers used a taser to subdue Glasgow and take him into custody without further incident.

“When a person chooses to flee from law enforcement, it becomes a dangerous situation for everyone involved,” said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster. “When a suspect flees he or she not only endangers themselves, but the officers and every law abiding citizen on the roads. It is always a difficult decision whether or not to chase a vehicle; however, given the suspects pattern of failing to appear court, coupled with his known drug history and the damage that drugs create in our county, we had to take the suspect into custody as safely as possible.”

Law enforcement officers also say that when they searched Glasgow’s vehicle, they located a small (trace) amount of marijuana in the vehicle.

Glasgow was taken to the Newberry County Detention Center on an existing General Sessions Bench Warrant. Additionally, he will be charged with Driving Under Suspension, Failure to Stop for a Law Enforcement Vehicle, Burglary, Resisting Arrest, and Possession of Marijuana. Warrants will be obtained for all of these offenses and a bond hearing scheduled; however, Glasgow will remain in custody because of the General Sessions Bench Warrant.

“Fleeing from law enforcement will always have consequences,” said Foster. “What could have ended with the suspects arrest on the current charges and a misdemeanor will now leave him facing an additional 20 or more years in jail. It simply is not worth the risk and the additional charges to attempt to run from law enforcement.”

A routine check also showed that Glasgow is wanted by the Saluda County Sheriff’s Office for an additional General Sessions Bench Warrant.

Police say that both General Sessions Bench Warrants were issued after Glasgow failed to appear for pending drug related charges, and that he has prior convictions for drug violations.

None of the officers or Glasgow were injured during the incident. The chase traveled about 5 miles, and only lasted several minutes.

“I would like to thank the citizen who called in this information enabling us to locate this wanted suspect,” said Foster. “It is simply impossible for law enforcement officers to be in all places at all times, so it becomes imperative that citizens be willing to join forces with us to fight crime. This like so many other times proves that when law enforcement and community partner together, those who chose to violate the law will eventually pay for their crimes.”

Sheriff Foster also commended all of the law enforcement officers who worked so hard despite to soaring temperatures to bring the suspect to justice.

“We sometimes take for granted how blessed we are in Newberry County to have law enforcement officers who are so dedicated to their jobs and to the people they serve,” said Foster. ““Often no one sees these men and women battling 100 degree temperatures to chase and apprehend those who willfully violate the law and endanger innocent citizens; however, I like so many citizens want them to know that their efforts are appreciated.”

County Council Meeting on August 15
(added 08/15/07)

Newberry County Council met last night (August 15) and discussed the
Maybinton Ballfield. Only $59,000 was approved for the project by
the capital sales tax commission. Construction oversight consultants
estimate the budget for the completion of a ballfield at this site
with restrooms, dugouts, irrigation,etc. at $222,000. This estimate
leaves a shortfall of $162,980. In addition to the funding issues,
concerns have been voiced about the difficulty of grading the site
and the lack of room for parking. Kim Shelton spoke on behalf of the
Maybinton community. She voiced frustration at the slowness of the
project - "We are feeling like we are left to fend for ourselves once
again."

The proposed site for the baseball field is at the current location
of the playground down the street from the Maybinton fire
substation. The county gave the initial funding for the park and
(according to Ms. Shelton) holds a certain liability since the county
cuts the grass and picks up trash in the park. She went on to say
that, despite complaints, no repairs have been made to the playground equipment.

Councilman Bill Waldrop stated that he did not realize that the
county was going to have to put any additional money into the park
after funding was giving for the playground equipment. Councilman
Buddy Livingston referenced his comment from the last council meeting about the recreation commission taking a greater role in overseeing just such county properties. The new ballfield would also be a county facility.

Ms. Shelton stated that the bottom line is that the community wants a ballfield - even if that means cutting items such as dugouts,
restrooms and bleachers. Clearing, grading, and temporary grass is
estimated at $48-50,000. Design and DHEC permitting is estimated at
$8-11,000. A subcommittee will look at more specifics regarding what
can be phased-in when additional funds become available and what is
essential for construction to begin. Councilman Edgar Baker will
chair this subcommittee which will also include administration, the
construction consultant, and community members.

Third and final reading passed of an ordinance allowing the sale of
$1.7 million in general obligation bonds. This funding provides for
additional funding for the scaled down projects at the Helena
Community Center, the Rescue Squad 14 building, repairs or
modification to a Sheriff's office, and a roof replacement subsidy
for the Newberry Opera House. Second reading passed showing the
additional revenue and expenditures in the capital portion of the
budget for the Rescue Squad 14 and the Newberry County Library.

Council approved a resolution allowing an application be made to the
State Budget and Control Board for approval of issuance by Newberry
County of its Special Source Revenue Bonds not to exceed $1.5
million. This amount increased from $1.2 million to allow for
interest to be rolled into the special source bond anticipation note.
Fee in Lieu of Taxes from industries in county will be the special
source dedicated to paying back these bonds. The funding will go
toward phase I infrastructure in the 773 industrial park.

Final reading also passed to provide for the periodic setting of
solid waste disposal fees. They approved second reading of an
ordinance codifying the ordinances that have been approved since the
last supplement to the code book.

Council adopted a resolution honoring the MC Dixie Youth Ozone Team
as the 2007 SC State Champions. They also approved a resolution
commending BlueCross BlueShield for their grant of $50,000 to the
Free Medical Clinic and $230,000 to the Dept. of Nursing at Newberry
College.

Sheriff Lee Foster made a presentation highlighting the $600,000 in
grant funding the department has procured over the past several
years. They are waiting on word regarding applications for $410,000
in additional grant funding this year. This funding pays for items
such as fingerprint technology, laptops in the officers' vehicles,
and overtime for festivals and additional patrolling in high crime
areas.

Council discussed a contract regarding the 219 Interchange
beautification project in executive session but no action was taken
upon reentering open session.

Newberry County Council meets again on September 5 at 7pm in the
Courthouse Annex.

Newberry Sheriff's Office Secures Over $600,000 in Grants
(added 08/15/07)

Sheriff Lee Foster has announced that his department has already secured more than $600,000 in grants, and that they have an additional $410,000.00 in requests that are pending approval.

“We have had tremendous success with our grant writing efforts of late,” said Sheriff Foster. “While we have been applying for many of these grants for several years, it seems that our persistence has begun to pay off.”

Foster said that the grants were received from various local, state, and federal agencies and that the grants varied in their amount and scope.

“One of the outstanding accomplishments with all of these grants is that many of them require no match of local dollars and the for the few that do require a match, we have been able to secure endowments or other forms of non taxpayer money so that there is no additional local tax dollars to possibly receive more than 1 million dollars for our law enforcement efforts,” said Foster.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment especially in light of the current economy and how extremely competitive grants have become,” Foster continued. “While we certainly do not expect to have years such as this every year, it is my commitment to the taxpayer to continue to aggressively seek out grant funding for law enforcement equipment and programs to insure that we are offering the people of Newberry County the highest possible level of law enforcement services at the lowest possible cost to the local taxpayer.”

“I believe that our reputation as one of the premiere law enforcement agencies in South Carolina and in the nation has been instrumental in assisting us in obtaining these grants,” said Foster. “Grantors are constantly working to find qualified applicants who do not just want the money, but who will work in innovative ways to insure that the most possible benefit is obtained from a grant. I whole heartedly believe that our reputation for using community based law enforcement with extensive involvement from citizens, our many outstanding partnerships with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, our proven law enforcement results, our use of technology, and our never say quit attitude proves over and over again that we are willing to go the extra mile to insure the people of Newberry County get the best services available without becoming a major burden to the local tax payer.”

Foster said that the approved grants were as follows:

$346,317.00 from the Federal COPS Technology Grant - This grant was received by the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and requires no matching local funds. The grant was to create a county wide wireless network enabling in car computing by officers in the field setting. This grant is in its final stages of implementation with every deputy having a laptop computer in their vehicle. The Sheriff’s Office joined forces with the School District of Newberry County and the City of Newberry to complete a shared fiber optic network throughout the county. The Sheriff’s Office installed wireless ‘hotspots’ at each Newberry County School. The officers can complete their reports and then while patrolling the school, upload their information to the sheriff’s office and have their reports printed to printers in the 911 center, jail, or squad room. The officers also have Driver’s License scanners in their cars so that instead of typing information into the computer, they can simply swipe the Driver’s License of the person and the personal information of the person in automatically entered in the computer. The final stage of this program has thermal printers being installed into each patrol vehicle. The officers will then use their computers to issue citations and then electronically transfer them to the Sheriff’s Office, Central Court, Highway Department, SLED, and Court Administration. Newberry County is the first county in the state to have such a capability and the second agency behind Hilton Head. This money was also used to purchase a Live Scan system for the detention Center. The Live Scan captures electronic fingerprints, palm prints, pictures, and signatures from arrested subjects and then transmits that information immediately to SLED and the FBI. A suspect’s identity can now be confirmed in minutes compared to the months that it takes to by paper fingerprint cards. Newberry County was the first agency in the state to be NCIC 2000 compliant with its Live Scan, which is submitting fingerprints, palm prints, photographs, and signatures electronically. Newberry County was also the first agency in the state to obtain a reverse palm print identification from a suspect. The suspect had been arrested for a misdemeanor and his palm was submitted to SLED. It was identified with a palm print from a burglary scene with no suspects that had occurred several months before. He was arrested and convicted using this technology. A second unit is located at the Sheriff’s Office and is used for applicant prints such as teachers, day care workers, adoptions, and for registering sex offenders. A third laptop unit is used for Child Identification cards at various events and has been extremely well received. Foster said that the design and implementation of this grant has been so successful that it now considered the Best Practice for Wireless Networks for Rural Law Enforcement by the National Institute of Justice.

$10,250.00 Grant from the Federal Byrnes Grant – This grant like the previous had no matching local tax dollars involved. The grant was used to purchase prisoner restraint cages and similar protective equipment for the patrol vehicles driven by the deputies.

$54,982.00 Grant from the State Office of Justice Programs – This grant is used to pay overtime costs of deputies as they conduct saturation patrols in high crime and high incident areas. It is used to conduct drug operation and many of the check points that are responsible for a large number of arrests and for making our roads safer. It is also used to provide security at the many local festivals throughout the county without cost to the local taxpayer. While there is a 10% match to this grant, it is paid from federal reimbursed money so there is no additional expense to the taxpayer while gaining many hours of extra patrol, saturations, drug operation, and the like that would otherwise not be possible.

$106,126.00 Grant from the State Office of Justice Programs – This grant will be used to purchase, install, and connect an Automated Fingerprint Identification System at the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office. This system allows officers to take latent prints recovered from crime scenes and run them against the database at SLED and the FBI for comparison and matches. Because of the overwhelming number of cases received at SLED, the wait period for matching latent prints can often be several months. This gives the suspect additional time to get rid of the stolen items and flee. Further, the victim is left waiting and frustrated by this process because of the long period that it currently takes to get back such prints. This equipment will allow the investigators of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office to submit latent prints almost immediately and attempt to get a match from those prints on file. This will dramatically improve the time victims must wait to know the results of the search, and the time that it takes to apprehend the suspect when a successful identification is obtained. This will result in more arrests, faster arrests, and a substantial increase in the amount of stolen property recovered. This grant has a match as well; however, the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office received a $35,000.00 endowment for technology through the efforts of Representative Walt McLeod which will cover the match.

$60,000.00 Grant from the Victims of Crime Act section of the Office of Justice Programs – This grant will be used to purchase vehicles for the officers assigned to the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office Victim Assistance Program. The officers will purchase vehicles that will seat at least seven people for transportation of victims to court, doctor’s appointments, and to shelters. The vehicles will also be four wheel drive vehicles so that the officers can participate in transporting dialysis patients and essential personnel during inclement weather such as snow, ice, and other storms. These vehicles will be crucial in offering the citizens and particularly the victim’s of Newberry County proper services, dignity, and necessary transportation for services. A fund financed through court fees paid by offenders will pay for these funds. These vehicles will be a tremendous addition to the Sheriff’s Office fleet and provide necessary services to victims throughout the county.

$30,000.00 Grant from the Department of Tourism –This grant will be used to provide overtime and equipment to provide law enforcement protection to areas of the county frequented by tourists, particularly the Lake Murray and Lake Greenwood sections of Newberry County. There is no match to this grant. Senator Ronnie Cromer was instrumental in obtaining this grant.

$3,356.00 Grant from the National Rifle Association – This grant will be used to purchase traffic safety vests for every officer in the department that are compliant with the current National Standards. The department’s current vest are about to be non-compliant with a change and standards and this grant has enabled us to purchase Level I or the highest quality and thereby considered the safest vests available at this time. The grant has no match, and we would like to thank Faye and Jerry Stoudemire for their efforts in helping obtain this grant.

Foster said that the department also has several other grants pending approval, but he could not offer a possible time frame on when the department may be notified on the grants. Those are:

$350,000.00 from the Congressional Budget – This grant would be used toward the new 911 center when the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is relocated to a permanent location. There will be no match.

$10,000.00 from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety Traffic Grant – This grant will be used to purchase and install compliant child safety seats in vehicles at Child Safety Seat Inspection Check Points. There are many times that officers inspect child safety seats that are not compliant or that have been recalled and the parents cannot afford to replace the seat. This grant would enable the Sheriff’s Office to purchase compliant safety seats and have them available at the check points to replace those seats for the safety and well being of children throughout the county. The match for this grant would come from seized monies.

$50,000.00 from the Federal Byrnes Grant – This grant would be used to purchase new advanced tasers with cameras that record the entire taser incident installed in the taser. This technology would be tremendous evidence against the suspect in court, and provide great protection from liability to the officers forced to use the tasers. The match for this grant would come from seized drug money.

City Council Meeting on August 14
(added 08/15/07)

Newberry City Council met last night (August 14) and discussed zoning requests from Newberry College. Newberry College simultaneously submitted a petition to change the zoning and a petition for a special exception on property at College and Pope Streets. Council voted last night to send back to the Planning Commission the option of rezoning 1814 College Street from Low Density Residential to a C1 Core College district. They had previously sent the rezoning of 2217 College St and 1222 Pope Street back to the Planning Commission. The City has been discussing a C2 or "College Transitional" zoning that would have more restrictions than C1, however, it has not yet officially been created. The City Planning Commission will meet Monday at 5pm at City Hall to discussion this rezoning option. Whatever the Planning Commission's recommendation, It will return to City Council for two readings and another public hearing.


The other option the College is pursuing for these properties is a "special exception" for college usage within the R8/R10 Residential Zoning. This appeal for a special exception goes before the Zoning Board of Appeals on August 29 at 10am. The Zoning Board of Appeals decision on this special exception would not have to come back to City Council for approval. However, the City is drafting a recommendation to the Board that includes suggested conditions to apply to the approval of the special exception.


Newberry City Council did approve second and final reading of the rezoning of the recently cleared property at 1330 and 1328 Evans Street from R-10 to C1 Core College District.


They also approved final reading of an agreement with Newberry County School District that allows for the school district to apply for certain grants, etc.


Council approved the addition of a new water tap at Louis Rich. The City already provides all utilities for this industry. Council also approved the usage of meters on fire hydrants that are used for high volumes of water during construction projects.


Second and final reading of an ordinance requiring landscape compliance for redevelopment of existing properties was approved. This ordinance lowered the threshold for how much redevelopment triggers the current requirements for landscaping.


Newberry City Council will hold their council retreat on August 25 at 9am at the Firehouse Conference Center. They will discuss their goals for the 07/08 fiscal year.

Sheriff's Association Warns of Telephone Donations
(added 08/14/07)

Lack of privacy, evening interruptions, partial or misleading information, and distrust are some of the reasons there is skepticism with telemarketing. There are some good organizations that use telemarketing, but they are crowded out by the many that are untrustworthy.

Too often we hear about scams that take advantage of trusting citizens. The result often ends up with identity theft, stolen money, or worse. Law enforcement organizations are believed to be reputable because they help fight crime and offer protection – and rightfully so. Unfortunately, some telemarketers use law enforcement-oriented names to get contributions through false credibility, Beware.

With this in mind, Sheriff Lee Foster and the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association has some practical advice to help verify the legitimacy of telemarketing organizations:

1. Ask questions such as where they are headquartered and the exact name of the organization. Verify the information provided.

2. Obtain the website address of the organization and review the website to see if they have any ongoing efforts in the community.

3. Ask for the information to be mailed to you. If they cannot or will not, it’s a poor indication.

4. Ask if the person calling actually works for the organization or if they are employed by a separate firm which represents the organization. This will help verify the caller.

5. If it is a separate company that ‘represents’ the fundraising organization, ask what percentage of the net proceeds go to the charitable cause. Credible fundraisers do not make money based on a percentage of the money raised.

6. Never provide personal information, credit card information, or bank account information to any telemarketer until and unless you are completely convinced of their legitimacy.

It is always important to make intelligent choices when deciding whether or not to donate money over the phone. A few of the organizations are legitimate, but unfortunately many are not. Remember that it is okay to say, “NO” to telemarketers.

If you get a call asking for money, they do not represent my Association because many years ago the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association decided not to use telemarketing,” said Sheriff Foster.

The South Carolina Sheriff’s Association limits correspondence to constituents to traditional mail only. For example, later this month, Honorary Members will receive a letter describing a fund to support officers killed in the line of duty. The letter will also highlight six deputies who received the Medal of Valor Awards based on their demonstration of extraordinary bravery in the line of duty.


Weekend Accident Ends in Tragedy;
Deputy Nearly Struck at Scene

(added 08/13/07)

This weekend ended in tragedy for one family, and with a reminder to every deputy just how dangerous working on the highways can be.

On Saturday night at around 6:45PM, a woman and her children were traveling together on I-26 when their vehicle struck the guardrail and then came to a stop in the fast lane of the interstate. Shortly after coming to rest, their vehicle was struck by another vehicle. The mother in an attempt to get her children to safety got her children and started for the side of the road, when a pickup truck struck the 11 year old child knocking him into the median. A 18 wheel truck then approached the accident scene and with nowhere to go took the median to avoid the cars. It is unclear at this time if the truck struck the child or not as it entered the median. The child was pronounced dead at the scene.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol M.A.I.T. (Multi Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team) was called to the scene of the accident and began an investigation into the accident.

While this ongoing, Deputy Chris Keller of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office was one of the officers called to the scene to assist with traffic control on the interstate. At about 11:00PM, Officer Keller was standing at the rear of his patrol car directing traffic when a 1999 Jeep approached his police car. Keller, who had his blue lights on the top of the car activated, a reflective vest, and a flashlight, tried to direct the vehicle into the proper lane; however, the vehicle failed to go to that lane. The deputy was able to move from the rear of the vehicle, just as the Jeep slammed into his patrol car. The officer was not injured; however, his patrol vehicle is thought to be a total loss because of the damage to the accident.

Officers say that as they approached the driver of the vehicle that struck the officer’s car, it was obvious that he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The South Carolina Highway Patrol, who investigated all the accidents, arrested the driver of the Jeep and charged him with Driving Under the Influence. Blood and urine samples were taken from the suspect, and they will be sent to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for analysis.

Jail records identify the man as Billy Dwayne Jones (at left), 38, of 2095 Shagbark Trail, North Charleston, SC. He was released on a $992.50 personal appearance bond.

School Schedule for Newberry County
(added 08/12/07)

The Following Schedule Has Been Provided by the Principals
for the 2007-08 School Year

School

1st Bell
OPEN
Bell
Tardy

Bell
CLOSE

Boundary Street
Elementary
7:30
7:45

2:30

Career Center
7:55
8:00
2:55*
*WCS: 2:25
*MCHS: 2:35
Gallman Elementary
7:30
7:45

2:30

INFINITY School
7:55
8:00
2:55
Little Mountain Elementary
7:45
7:50

2:40

Mid-Carolina High
7:40
7:45
3:00
Mid-Carolina Middle
7:40
7:45
3:00
Newberry Elementary
7:40
7:50
2:30
Newberry High
7:50
7:55
3:20
Newberry Middle
7:45
7:52
3:10
Pomaria-Garmony Elementary
7:25
7:45
2:40
Prosperity-Rikard Elementary
7:45
7:50
2:40
Reuben Elementary
7:40
7:45

2:45

Whitmire Community
Grades PK/K
7:40
7:45
2:15
Grades 1-5
7:40
7:45
2:35
Grades 6-12
7:40
7:45
2:50

Open Time: 1st Bell
Tardy Bell: Classroom instruction to begin
Close Time: Dismissal Bell

Senior Citizen Cards
(added 08/11/07)

The School District of Newberry County will be distributing senior citizen cards to all persons 65 years of age or older who reside in Newberry County. The courtesy card will provide for a $1 admission to all athletic events within the district. There will be no charge for all other extra-curricular activities.

The cards are not valid for Sportsarama/Jamborees and playoff games sponsored by the SC High School League.

The cards will be made available to all persons who are 65 or older starting on Monday (following the opening of school). Cards may be picked up at the School District Office (1539 Martin Street, Newberry) between the hours of 9 AM and 2:30 PM Monday through Friday.

Please be prepared to present your driver's license or some other identifying credential with your date of birth at the time you pick up your card.

Note: The School District of Newberry County has adopted a "Smoke Free" policy for the entire district's campuses/stadiums effective 7/1/05.

Armed Robbery
(added 08/10/07)

On Wednesday August 8, at 3:25AM, officers of the Newberry County Sheriff's Office were called to 4044 Frasier Drive. The officers arrived and spoke with Jessie Wilson, 36, of 4044 Frazier Drive, Newberry, who was the victim of the robbery.

Wilson advised that he arrived home and four subjects were at his residence. The four men robbed him at gun point taking $350.00 and identification cards belonging to Robert Baxter. The victim was able to identify one of the men as Tony Gladney, who he stated was a cousin from North Carolina. The officers immediately issued a wanted statement to all law enforcement for the vehicle, described as a white Toyota four door sedan with North Carolina License Plates RTM 4572, and the four suspects.

At about the same time, an officer from the Whitmire Police Department
observed a vehicle matching the description of the suspects speeding in the Town of Whitmire. Officer Michael Moss of the Whitmire Police Department made a traffic stop on the vehicle and realized that it was in fact the vehicle involved in the robbery. Officer Moss called for additional
assistance and when deputies quickly arrived, they identified Gladney as a
passenger in the vehicle.

The four suspects were taken into custody and located the identification
cards belonging to Robert Baxter stolen in the robbery in the front seat of
the vehicle. The officers were also able to interview the suspects and
based on those interviews located two firearms, a J.C. Higgins .22 caliber
pistol and a 9mm High Point pistol that was identified as stolen from High
Point, North Carolina. The money was not recovered.

The four men have been charged with Armed Robbery, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Violent Crime, and Possession of a Stolen Pistol. All four men are currently being held at the Newberry County Detention Center.

"This was an excellent example of a quick law enforcement response and law enforcement agencies sharing information," said Sheriff Lee Foster. "The officers quickly arrived and realized that it was extremely important to get the information out quickly to all law enforcement officers in the area."

"I would also like to commend and thank Officer Moss and the Whitmire Police Department for the alert law enforcement actions," said Foster. "Officer Moss used the information given to be aggressive in the search for the vehicle, and located it and the suspects. Had these men been able to return to North Carolina the case would have been much more difficult to prosecute because of the extradition process, and we certainly would not have recovered the identifications and the pistols used in the robbery."

"We have worked very hard to be good law enforcement partners with all of the law enforcement agencies throughout the county and the area," said Foster. "This is another excellent example of how the relationship that work to build everyday truly makes a difference during important
investigations and times of crisis."

Foster also said that the ability to communicate with the other agencies
through interoperable radios was a crucial link in this investigation, and
to the long term success of the working agreement with all the law
enforcement agencies that the Sheriff's Office partners with.

The men were identified as Tyson Lavar Jones, 20, of 2815 McKinney Street, Burlington, NC; Tyson Lamar Garner, 19, of 2732 McKinney Street, Burlington, NC; Antonio Cortez Gladney, 23, of 118 Highland Avenue, Thomasville, NC; and Christopher Delaine Richbourg III, 20, of 211 Apartment G Hinkle Street, Thomasville, NC.

The money from the robbery was not recovered. Police in North Carolina have been given all of the information about the stolen pistol and are
investigating these suspects related to the theft of the gun. No charges
have been filed in North Carolina about the pistol at this time.

 

County Council Meeting on August 8
(added 08/09/07)

Newberry County Council met Wednesday night and approved the re-appropriation of budget funds to matching funds for a grant received by the Newberry County Rescue Squad #14.

The total amount received by the Rescue Squad #14 from the Assistance to Fire Fighters Grant exceeds $98,000. Included in the grant was a $25,000 heart monitor, which was also funded in the county budget. Even after the $11,000 matching funds, $900 for 800 MHz airtime, and $1000 for a trailer, $12,000 will be going back into the Rescue Squad general fund. Approval was unanimous. Each department independently researches and applies for federal, state, and local grants.

Council approved second reading of the issuance of a $1.7 million general obligation bond. They also approved adding $50,000 to that figure to aid the construction of the new home for Rescue Squad 14. Council approved to the additional funding at a recent work session after a smaller square footage was agreed upon.

Second reading passed to provide for the periodic setting of solid waste disposal fees. First reading passed to rezone 2206 Wilson Rd (the former location of Haltiwanger Tire Co.) from Single Family Residential to General Commercial. First reading passed to codify those ordinances that have been passed since the last official code adoption. First reading also passed to amend the 07/08 budget to show the revenue and expenditures related to Rescue Squad 14 and the Library capital projects. Bid will be taken on the new library on August 30 at 3pm. The Maybinton Ballfield penny sales tax project will be under discussion at the next regular council meeting.

A group of concerned citizens, county officials, and a representative from Newberry County Soil and Water Conservation District have been meeting regarding Lynch’s Wood. Council approved their recommendation that Lynch’s Wood be locked at night to prevent non-permitted access after dark. The Lynch’s Woods committee will meet again on August 13 at 6pm.

Newberry County Council meets again on August 15 at 7pm in the Courthouse Annex.

Sheriff's Office and AARP to Offer Senior Driving Class Again
(added 08/01/07)

After many requests to repeat the driving class specifically designed to improve the driving skills of those age 50 and older, the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is sponsoring a driver safety program designed by AARP that is specifically geared toward drivers age 50 and above.

“The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is proud to be a sponsor of this event,” said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster. “We believe that this class serves as an excellent opportunity for citizen 50 and older to sharpen their driving abilities and learn skills that might even save their lives.”

Foster said that the first class received rave reviews from the attendees and that this class offers citizens an opportunity to sharpen driving skills and make themselves safer as they operate a vehicle on the roads.

The class will be taught on September 25 and 26th from 1:00 to 5:00PM at Piedmont Technical College located at 540 Wilson Road, Newberry, SC. While there is no charge for the class, there is a $10.00 fee for materials. To register for the class, you can call the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 321-2211 and ask for Sheriff Foster or Major Todd Johnson or e mail your request to lfoster@newberrycounty.net. Space is limited to the first 35 people so please register early.

Attendees may receive a reduction on their automobile insurance; however, the reduction amounts vary depending on the insurance company.

“The course offers more information about various safe driving strategies, including how to handle distractions, aggressive drivers and driving with trucks,” says Jeff Jefcoat, who will be the instructor of the class. “The course also includes expanded and improved video presentations on a number of important driving topics.”

To ensure 50+ drivers stay safe behind the wheel, the course’s curriculum has been updated to reflect the most current driving information and safety tips available. The driver safety course is designed to educate participants about how best to reduce traffic violations, crashes, and chances for injuries; update driver’s knowledge about relevant laws; and provide safe driving strategies to compensate for age-related changes that affect one’s ability. The eight hour course, typically taught in two four-hour sessions, also stresses the importance of periodically monitoring one’s own and other’s driving skills and capabilities.

Updates to the edition 6 curriculum addresses such topics as:

- How overall fitness affects driving

- Important strategies for staying crash-free

- Challenges of city vs. rural driving

- Tips for highway driving and driving with trucks, buses, and other large vehicles

- Understand a vehicle’s safety features and new vehicle technology

- Tips for trying other transportation

- Warning signs of unsafe driving

Over the past 28 years, the AARP Driver Safety Program has provided instruction to more than 10 million participants seeking to refresh their driving skills. The course is taught throughout the U.S. by roughly 10,000 AARP – trained volunteers.

More Details on Missing Pharmacist
(07/27/07)

More details are being developed in the case of the missing pharmacist from the Whitmire community.

Dr. John “Johnny” Roche had been last seen by family members on Tuesday afternoon in Cherokee, NC. Dr. Roche, who is suffering from the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, found some car keys and left the hotel room in a 1998 Royal Blue Cadillac Sedan Deville with South Carolina license plate 702 PBC.

As law enforcement officials began a massive search for Dr. Roche, he was entered into the NCIC (National Crime Information Computer) as a missing person; however, there were some data entry problems with the entry made by Cherokee, NC causing some search problems with the information. During the same time, a state wide media release was made by the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office including photographs of Dr. Roche.

On Thursday early afternoon, a motorist in Greenville County, South Carolina saw a man lying in a ditch in Greenville County and called law enforcement. Law enforcement responded and when one of the officers saw the man immediately realized that it was the missing pharmacist. The reason for the police officer’s recognition came not from the national law enforcement network, but from a news report the officer had seen about the missing man.

Dr. Roche was in good health and spirits late yesterday afternoon at his home. He had some minor scratches and bruises from walking in some woods, but was otherwise unharmed.

The vehicle has still not been located; however, law enforcement in Greenville County is still working to locate the vehicle. It is thought that perhaps the vehicle ran out of gas forcing Dr. Roche to begin walking.

The entire Whitmire community has breathed a collective sigh of relief that the pillar of the community has been located and returned home safe and sound.

“We are so pleased that Dr. Roche is home safe and in good health,” said Sheriff Lee Foster. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dr. Roche and his entire family and he is a long time friend. I am pleased that we were able to get involved with the situation and actually be a part of the reason that Dr. Roche was located and identified so quickly.”

“While the Cherokee area police were charged as the primary investigating agency, we simply felt compelled to get involved to help make a difference in this case. Many of our staff members worked tirelessly on this case following leads and other information to home bring this gentle, kind man back home,” said Foster.

“I also think that this is an excellent example of law enforcement and the media working together. Many people have a false idea of how quickly law enforcement is able to disseminate information especially to outside agencies. The media has been and continues to be one of the most important and rapid resources available for law enforcement and the community. This is a prime example of how crucial the media can be in not just reporting bad news, but in truly making an impact and a difference in law enforcement investigations. We and the family are very grateful to the media outlets who participated in this story, together we did it!”

Foster said that the family was very excited to have this important patriarch of the family home safely. Foster also that the family had been extremely thankful to not only the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office but to the community as a whole. The entire family knew that a tremendous amount of work and prayers were being offered on their behalf, and to each and person who called, prayed, sent e mails, made phone calls, or took any action they are most appreciative.

Sheriff Foster said that such an outpouring of love and support are one the great benefits of the community atmosphere found in Whitmire and throughout Newberry County.

 

Dr. Roche Found in Greenville County
(added 07/26/07)

Dr. John Roche was found this afternoon in Greenville County. The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office found him and contacted Whitmire Police. He appears to be fine.

The Sheriff’s Office of Newberry County and the Whitmire Police Department thank the media and the public for their concerns and assistance.

More to follow...

Mailing of Property Tax Refund Checks to Homeowners and County Council’s Continuing Pursuit of Its Property Tax Relief Agenda
(added 07/26/07)

Between July 28 and August 5, more than ten thousand Newberry County homeowners will receive property tax refund checks. The refunds, part of a package of property tax relief initiatives approved by Newberry County Council in the late winter of 2006 and spring of 2007, will average just over one hundred dollars per owner-occupied residence, and will be as much as $297.90 for some homeowners. Homeowners delinquent in their taxes, presently numbering about one thousand, will receive a credit against the total amount of taxes and penalties due at the time of payment.

All homeowners will receive a “millage rollback refund” of up to $146. Senior citizens and others who qualify for South Carolina’s Homestead Exemption, which eliminates property taxes on the first $50,000 of an owner-occupied primary residence, will receive as much as $151.90 in additional relief. Calculations of relief amounts, like calculations of tax liability, depend on each property’s assessed value. (A spreadsheet indicating the breakdown of refund amounts is attached.) The total amount of the refunds being distributed is more than $1.2 million, including credits that will be issued to delinquent taxpayers at the time their taxes and penalties are paid.

Council implemented the millage rollback refund as a method of lessening the impact on all homeowners from the millage increase that accompanied higher, reassessed property values in 2006. Such reassessment-year rate increases are usually, though not always, avoidable, since normal growth in the value of the tax base typically enhances revenue production. As an additional form of relief for senior citizens, Council extended the
State’s Homestead Exemption by sheltering an additional $25,000 in the value of their primary residences from certain property tax levies. Both forms of relief are one-time, non-recurring benefits and involve only those tax levies under County Council’s control. These include the levies funding county operations and county debt service, as well as a special education levy that funds the County’s libraries and Piedmont Technical College.

“These are the refunds we promised our homeowners,” said council chairman Henry Summer. “We also promised, and continue to work toward, making our county government more economical. The sticker shock our property owners saw with the increases in their tax bills last December is something we are committed to avoiding in the future.”

Earlier in the year, County Council passed a special ordinance allowing split property tax payments and delayed penalties for homeowners, to ease the effect of last December’s tax bills on the Christmas season and family finances. Some two thousand property owners took advantage of this option, which had to be administered manually by the County Auditor and her office staff.

Remaining on Council’s property tax relief agenda is a referendum scheduled for this November on the implementation of an additional penny of sales tax to be used exclusively for reduction in the property tax liability for county operations. Unlike the refund checks currently being mailed, this relief would apply to all property categories, including homes, automobiles, commercial properties, second homes, industry, and utilities. The additional penny is projected to raise $3 million per year. The County’s current-year operating budget contains nearly $14 million in property tax revenue.

Property Tax Refund Distribution (PDF Format)
*you need Adobe Reader to view this file; click here for a free download

Roche Missing Since Tuesday Afternoon
(added 07/25/07)

An entire community is rallying around the family of a long time Pharmacist in Whitmire who has been missing since yesterday afternoon.

Family members said that Dr. John “Johnny” Roche, who has served the small community of Whitmire for many years through his family owned and run pharmacy and as a representative to the Newberry County School Board, was last seen yesterday afternoon at about 4:00PM in Cherokee, NC by family members where they were vacationing.

Dr. Roche, who is suffering from the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s was in his hotel room, but located a set of car keys and is thought to have been attempting to return home to Whitmire.

Roche (left) was last seen wearing a pair of khaki pants, garnet USC shirt, and a grey sports jacket. He also had a black cowboy hat with him in the car but, he never wears it while driving though he will put it on when he gets out.

He is 79 years old, and has grey hair with a grey beard and blue eyes. He wears glasses. He is 6 foot 2 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds. He is driving a 1998 Royal Blue Cadillac Sedan Deville with South Carolina License Plate 702 PBC.

Many members of the community have repeated said that Dr. Roche is a wonderful man who constantly gives to the community in his business and his public service. The least we can do is attempt to help him and his family to locate him and return him safely home.

Sheriff Lee Foster says that the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and the Whitmire Police Department are joining forces to aggressively follow every possible lead in the case.

Anyone seeing Dr. Roche (right) should contact the local law enforcement agency immediately. Anyone with any information about Dr. John “Johnny” Roche should contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at (802) 321-2222.

Library Will Go Downtown / Rescue 14 Building Will Go Out to Bid
(added 07/25/07)

Newberry County Council met last night (July 24) for a special work
session. Chairman Henry Summer announced that the library would go
downtown at McKibben and Friend thanks to $1.3 million in private
funding raised by the library board and friends of the library. The
primary donor asked to remain anonymous. These private funds make up
the shortfall between penny sales tax funding and expected
construction cost.

Council also met with Rescue Squad 14 regarding their penny sales tax
project. A compromise was reached to make up the difference in the
penny sales tax funding and estimated cost. The building will loose
its training room and a storage area, loosing approximately 870
square feet. Council agreed to fund up to an additional $50,000.
These two steps should bring the building in at budget. Council will
have to approve three readings to officially change the county
ordinary budget to reflect the additional funding. Administration
hopes that the bond bid on the $700,000 taken out to reimburse the
county for capital sales tax items will actually pay for a portion of
this funding.

County Council met with the Community Hall Commission and agreed to
send the County's capital oversight consultant to review the
condition of the building. The stove at Community Hall was
disconnected after they received a letter from the City Fire
Department. The county will be looking into purchasing warmers
instead of a full commercial hood for the stove so for the immediate
future no cooking will be allowed in the facility.

During executive session, council interviewed both Charles Verner and
Frank Partridge Jr. for the position of of county attorney. No
decision on the position was announced last night.

School Registration Dates/Times – 2007

Boundary Street Elementary: All Students 7/31 8a – 4p

Gallman Elementary: All Students 7/31 7:30a – 6p

Little Mountain Elementary:
Grades K-1: 7/30 8a – 5p
Grades 2-3: 7/31 8a – 5p
Grades 4-5: 8/1 8a – 5p

Mid-Carolina High:
All Students 7/31 8a - 12p; 1:30p – 4:30p
All Students 8/1 8a – 12p; 1:30p – 4:30p

Mid-Carolina Middle:
6th Graders: 7/30 1p – 6p
7th Graders: 7/31 1p – 6p
8th Graders: 8/1 1p – 6p

Newberry Elementary: All Students 7/31 7:30a – 6p

Newberry High:
12th Graders: 7/30 8:30a – 5:30p
11th Graders: 7/31 8:30a – 5:30p
10th Graders: 8/1 8:30a – 5:30p
9th Graders: 8:30a – 5:30p

Newberry Middle:
All Students: 7/30 8:30a – 12p; 1:30p – 5:30p
All Students: 7/31 8:30a – 12p; 1:30p – 5:30p

Pomaria-Garmany Elementary: All Students 8/1 8a – 6p

Prosperity-Rikard Elementary:
All Students 7/31 8a – 1p
All Students 8/1 1p – 6p

Reuben Elementary: All Students 7/31 8a – 6p

Whitmire Community:
All Students: 7/31 7:30a – 5:30p
All Students: 8/1 1p – 8p



Musical Chairs at School District

(added 07/24/07)

Newberry County School District has officially announced the departure of Greg Mack, assistant superintendent for operations and finance. Mack will be taking a similar position in Spartenburg School District 3 . During his six years with the district, he has overseen the major overhaul of the aging school facilities. His move to Spartenburg will also mean he will vacate his seat on Town Council in Saluda.

His position at the district office will be split into two positions. Superintendent Bennie Bennett stated, "We are going to reorganize and reward some of the talent we have in the district. We had several well-qualified members fo the district to apply." The new assistant superintendent for operations and administration will be Jim Suber, current principal of Whitmire Community School. Current assistant principal Joey Haney will take over the duties as principal at WCS. Susan Dowd, current director of finance, will become the district's chief financial officer.

 

School Board Meeting on July 23
(added 07/24/07)

Newberry County School Board met last night (July 23) and personnel
changes were on the agenda. Assistant Superintendent for finance and operations Greg Mack will be leaving the district for a similar
position at Spartenburg 3 school district. A press release regarding
the internal search for his replacement will be forthcoming from the
district office.

In an unrelated personnel vote, the school board - per SC Code of Law - voted to officially report to the State Board of Education "an
employee's failure to maintain complete and accurate records
regarding speech therapy services provided to students." The unnamed employee has resigned from the district.

The School Board gave Superintendent Bennie Bennett his yearly
evaluation an exemplarily report. His contract has been extended for
five more years.

The Board also approved a TAN or Tax Anticipation Note Resolution,
which will allow the district to borrow up to $2 million to cash flow
the district until 07 taxes come in. Mr. Mack called this a
"precautionary method" and "something we do every year."

The district's accountant Larry Finney reported that the regulations
on the district will be increasing with the SAS 112 regulations that
are going into effect over the next several years. These regulations
involve internal controls and require the district to create their
own end of year financial reports instead of having the auditor
create them for the district. The district will continue with
training of their employees over the next several years in order to
meet this requirement. Until then, an increased number of "findings
and recommendations" will be listed in the audit. Mr. Finney stated
that the bonding agencies he had spoken to had told him that these
"findings" would not affect the bond standing of the district.

Newberry County Council will hold a work session tonight (July 24) in order to meet with The City regarding the Friend street parking lot that was to be the home of the new library. They will also meet with Rescue Squad 14 in order to discuss options for completing their building project.

Update in Prosperity Shooting-Officers Identified
(added 07/11/07)

Law enforcement officials from the Prosperity Police Department and the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office have identified the officers involved in the shooting incident that occurred on Saturday. They have also made public the radio calls from the incident on the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office website.

“We believe that these three men are heroes,” said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster. “Their brave and courageous actions without question saved the lives of many innocent citizens and other officers. They risked their lives to protect and serve others.”

The three officers involved have been identified as Adrianne Navarrete, Lindsey Dean Stribble, and Robert Dennis.

Adrian Navarrete is employed by the Prosperity Police Department and is assigned to the patrol division. He has been a police officer since October of 2006. Prior to joining the Prosperity Police Department, he was employed as a Correctional Officer at the Newberry County Detention Center.

Lindsey Dean Stribble is employed by the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and is a Sergeant in the patrol division. He has been in law enforcement for 20 years.

Robert Dennis is employed by the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and is a Sergeant in the investigations division. He has been in law enforcement for 15 years.

Sheriff Foster and acting Chief Scott Wilson of the Prosperity Police Department both state that all three of the officers are outstanding officers who are dedicated and always work extremely hard to go above and beyond the call of duty to protect and serve.

All of the officers have impeccable service records and all three are considered invaluable to their respective departments.

As a routine matter, the State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the shooting since police officers were involved. There is no approximate date on receiving the results of that investigation.

Both Sheriff Foster and acting Chief Wilson have stated that they believe that the officers acted in accordance with all policies, procedures, and laws. All three men have been returned to active duty.

“We are so blessed in Newberry County to have men and women dedicated to the field of law enforcement and who are willing to risk their lives to insure the safety of others,” said Foster. “It is one thing to say that you are willing to risk your life in protection of others, it is entirely a different matter to actually put everything on the line to make Newberry County better and safer.”

 

Leaphart Formally Charged
(added 07/09/07)

Travis Wade Leaphart has been formally charged with 3 counts of Assault and Battery with Intent to Kill a Police Officer. One count was filed by the Prosperity Police Department and 2 counts by the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office. A bond hearing was held this morning at the Newberry County Central Court at about 9:20AM on the two counts filed by the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office.

Officers from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office briefly described the events of the shooting incidents on Saturday and how the defendant placed three police officers and many innocent citizens in danger through his random, violent actions. Officers also referred to Leaphart’s prior criminal record which includes a prior conviction for Assault and Battery on a Police Officer. The officers made an impassioned plea that the magistrate deny bond for Leaphart saying that but for the grace of God the suspect’s gun jammed ending the incident that would have most likely ended with someone or more than one person injured or killed.

Leaphart declined to make any comment during the bond hearing except for acknowledging that he understood his rights as they had been explained.

Newberry County Magistrate Tom Abraham then denied bond for Leaphart.

“We are all still shaken by this incident,” said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster. “The reality is that every time a law enforcement officer reports for duty we understand that there are certain risks and we train and prepare for situations like this one. However, we want to assure the public and our officers that there are serious consequences for someone who decides to place the lives of so many people in danger and willfully and maliciously attack police officers with a handgun. This will not be tolerated and I will make every effort to insure that he is prosecuted and sentenced for the egregious act against the people and the police officers of this great county.”

Prosperity Man Opens Fire on Police Officers
(added 07/07/07)

A Prosperity man opened fire on three police officers on Saturday afternoon before being taken into custody.

The incident started this afternoon at about 12:10 PM, as a Prosperity Police Officer was completing a traffic stop on South Carolina Highway 76 near Wessinger Drive in the Town of Prosperity in Newberry County.

While the officer was in his vehicle someone started shooting at the police car striking in several times including shooting out the window of the patrol car. The shots were not fired from the vehicle that had been stopped but were coming from the area near the rear of a nearby home. The officer reacted quickly to get himself and the motorist on the traffic stop out of the line of fire and immediately took cover and radioed for backup.

Officers from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office arrived in the area and began searching for the person responsible for the gunshots when two deputies encountered a suspect behind the residence located at 9521 Highway 76 East, Prosperity. Just as two officers saw the suspect, he began firing his gun, which is thought to be a 9mm handgun, at them. The officers took cover from the gunshots and returned fire at the suspect.

Several rounds of gun fire were exchanged between the officers and the suspect before the suspect surrendered to law enforcement officers, apparently after his weapon jammed. No one was injured in the exchange of gunfire. Officers say that they are awaiting a detailed investigation to determine how many rounds were actually fired during the entire incident.

The suspect has been identified as Travis Wade Leaphart (left), 35, of 9521 Highway 76 East, Prosperity, was taken into custody and has been transported to the Newberry County Detention Center. Charges will be filed against Leaphart after consultation with 8th Circuit Solicitor Jerry Peace and his staff.

Police say that Leaphart has a prior criminal record that includes convictions for Public Intoxication, Fraudulent Check, Disorderly Conduct, Criminal Domestic Violence, and a 2001 conviction for Assault and Battery on a Police Officer while Resisting Arrest for which he received a sentence of 10 years suspended on the service of 30 months followed by 2 years of probation.

Police say that there does not appear to be a clear motive for the shooting. Leaphart was not involved in the traffic stop; in fact, it does not appear that the person involved in the traffic stop even knew Leaphart. Police also say that preliminarily, it does not appear that there had been any confrontations between Leaphart and the officers involved. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has been called to conduct the investigation into the shootings. SLED agents will be conducting both the crime scene and follow up investigation into the incident since police officers from both the Prosperity Police Department and Newberry County Sheriff’s Office were involved.

The names of the officers involved are being withheld at this time pending the investigation and complete notification of their families although as stated none were injured.

Chief Deputy Jerry Wright of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office said that it appeared preliminarily that the officers acted in accordance with all laws, policies, and procedures during the incident, but that no conclusion could be reached until a more detailed investigation was completed by SLED. Wright also said that no decision had been made by either department about the status of the officers at this time, but that he saw no reason why both would not return to active duty. He said that the final decision would be made after consultation with SLED, acting Prosperity Chief of Police Scott Wilson, and Solicitor Jerry Peace. “These officers acted very heroically,” said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster. “The Prosperity Officer was able to get innocent people out of the line of fire until backup arrived, and the two officers risked their lives to protect many innocent citizens and other officers.”

“I thank God that no one was seriously injured or killed during this horrible rampage,” said Foster. “Many innocent citizens and police officer’s lives were placed in serious jeopardy because of the actions of this violent individual.”

Sheriff Foster Injured During Tactical Operation
(added 07/03/07)

Sheriff Lee Foster has been hospitalized following an injury that occurred during a tactical operation on Thursday night.

Foster injured his back during a tactical operation in which a suspect was holding a gun to his head threatening suicide causing a stand off with officers of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff said that he was able to make it home; however, the condition worsened during the day Friday and finally he had to be transported by ambulance to Newberry County Memorial Hospital late Friday night. He was admitted to the hospital and remained there until late Tuesday when he was released.

“Holding true to form, Sheriff Foster has remained in constant contact with the operation of the Sheriff’s Office,” said Major Todd Johnson. “He has his regular phone, cellular phone, blackberry, and other equipment on the table in his room and is constantly checking in and making sure the operation is running smoothly.”

Sheriff Foster said that he was extremely grateful for the wonderful care that he had received from all of the medical personnel.

“The EMS workers, Rescue Squad personnel, emergency room staff, and doctors and nurses have been wonderful,” said Foster. “I have received tremendous health care from people who have treated with professionally but also with a loving, caring attitude.”

Foster was released from the hospital late Tuesday and is still recovering after aggravating his back problem during the highly stressful incident.

Foster will of course remain in contact with the operation of the Sheriff’s Office and hopes to return to active duty very soon.

“I would also like to thank the many, many people who have called, stopped by, or sent cards or flowers,” said Foster. It is truly a blessing to know that people care so much about you and the many acts of kindness have truly speeded up the emotional portion of the recovery.”

On Thursday night at about 11:56 PM, officers of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office were called to 41 Shrine Club Road in Newberry County because a subject was there threatening to kill himself.

When the officers arrived, the suspect was standing on the porch of the home with a long gun to his head. The officers demanded that the suspect put the gun down, however, he refused. He then acted as if he had shot himself. The officers using binoculars stated that the gun appeared to be a B.B. gun with a live shot gun shell taped to the end of it; however, they could not be sure.

As the officers continued to negotiate with the suspect, the C.I.R.T., Critical Incident Response Team, responded to the scene. When it was apparent that negations would not be successful, offices used a less than lethal bean bag round on the suspect. As the suspect was startled by the round, officers were able to rapidly approach the suspect and began to attempt to take him into custody. The subject resisted the officer’s arrest, but was finally taken into custody after a taser was deployed on the suspect to bring him in compliance.

Officers identified the suspect as David Clifton Hatchell, 41, of 41 Shrine Club Road, Newberry, SC. Hatchell was transported to the Newberry County Memorial Hospital for a mental evaluation.

Hatchell was released from the hospital and then taken to the Newberry County Detention Center were he was charged with Criminal Domestic Violence of an High and Aggravated Nature, Aggravated Breach of Peace, and Resisting Arrest While Armed with A Deadly Weapon.

Hatchell has had a previous arrest on June 13 of this month, where officers were forced to use a taser on him and struggle with him before taking him into custody for Possession of Cocaine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Those charges are still pending.

“This less than lethal technology provides law enforcement with a variety of tools to successfully end these type situations without serious injury to the suspect or any of the officers,” said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster.

“We are constantly looking for new and better technology for such incidents,” said Foster. “We are very active in our participation with and grateful to the National Institute of Justice and the Rural Law Enforcement Technology Center for their resolve to test and evaluate equipment for agencies like ours who could otherwise not afford to conduct the proper testing and evaluation needed before introducing this technology to the field. They are truly making a difference for law enforcement throughout the nation.”

Police Continue Search for Suspect in Sexual Assault Case
(added 07/03/07)

UPDATED WANTED POSTER (PDF Format)

Police continue to follow leads in a case that shocked the local community when they allege a Hispanic male sexually assaulted a six year old child near her home in Newberry County on June 10, 2007.

Officers say that the suspect in the case who name is possibly Saul Rodriquez is using several different names coupled with bogus identifications and social security number and has thus far been able to elude the search for him.

Police say that they are searching for a person they believe is Saul Rodriquez, 25, of 403 Cedar Ridge Lane, Newberry, SC. He is described as a white, Hispanic, Male. He is 5 foot 8 inches tall and weighs 150 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes.

Police say that they investigated leads as far away as California in the case, but thus far the suspect has managed to elude arrest.

Police say that as part of their investigation, they were able to obtain a more current photograph of the suspect. The officers declined to say how they obtained the photograph only saying that they feel it will be an important part of their continued investigation.

Officers are hoping that someone might see the picture and be able to provide further information about the suspect, or provide information as to his location.

Police have described this as a heinous crime and say it is there desire to bring the suspect to justice for the hurt he has caused a six year old little girl and her family.

Stand-Off Ends
(added 06/29/07)

On Thursday night at about 11:56PM, officers of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office were called to 41 Shrine Club Road in Newberry County because a subject was there threatening to kill himself.

When the officers arrived, the suspect was standing on the porch of the home with a long gun to his head. The officers demanded that the suspect put the gun down, however, he refused. He then acted as if he had shot himself. The officers using binoculars stated that the gun appeared to be a B.B. gun with a live shot gun shell taped to the end of it; however, they could not be sure.

As the officers continued to negotiate with the suspect, the C.I.R.T., Critical Incident Response Team, responded to the scene. When it was apparent that negations would not be successful, offices used a less than lethal bean bag round on the suspect. As the suspect was startled by the round, officers were able to rapidly approach the suspect and began to attempt to take him into custody. The subject resisted the officer’s arrest, but was finally taken into custody after a taser was deployed on the suspect to bring him in compliance. None of the officers or the suspect were injured during the incident.

Officers identified the suspect as David Clifton Hatchell, 41, of 41 Shrine Club Road, Newberry, SC. Hatchell was transported to the Newberry County Memorial Hospital for a mental evaluation.

Hatchell was released from the hospital and then taken to the Newberry County Detention Center were he was charged with Criminal Domestic Violence of an High and Aggravated Nature, Aggravated Breach of Peace, and Resisting Arrest While Armed with A Deadly Weapon.

Hatchell has had a previous arrest on June 13 of this month, where officers were forced to use a taser on him and struggle with him before taking him into custody for Possession of Cocaine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Those charges are still pending.

“This less than lethal technology provides law enforcement with a variety of tools to successfully end these type situations without serious injury to the suspect or any of the officers,” said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster.

“We are constantly looking for new and better technology for such incidents,” said Foster. “We are very active in our participation with and grateful to the National Institute of Justice and the National Center for Rural Law Enforcement for the resolve to test and evaluate equipment for agencies like ours who could otherwise not afford to conduct the proper testing and evaluation needed before introducing this technology to the field. They are truly making a difference for law enforcement throughout the nation.”

Safety Check Points July 4th Holiday Weekend
(added 06/29/07)

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting 4th of July traffic safety check points on Friday, Saturday and Sunday June 29, 30 and July 1, 2007. The 4th of July Holiday weekend falls within the 100 deadly days of summer, which runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. During this time persons are more likely to be injured in traffic accidents that involve drunk and drugged driving.

Deputy Sheriff’s will be out in force performing safety check points and looking for impaired drivers at locations throughout county to include but not limited to:

SC Highway 34 and US 176
Highway 176 and SC Highway 202
SC Highway 34 By-Pass and Adelaide Street
Mt. Bethel-Garmany Road and Whitner Road
Dreher Island Road and State Park Road
SC Highway 34 and SC Highway 39

Deputy Sheriffs will also be available on Lake Murray and on and around Billy Dreher Island State Park for the Lake Murray Association’s Fourth of July celebration.

Citizens Advisory Committee Meeting on June 26
(added 06/27/07)

The Newberry County Citizens Advisory Committee met last night and
reviewed the final changes that were approved for the county budget,
the options for the Sheriff's Office, and began looking at the
assessor's office and reassessment. Mary Arrowwood was a member of
the Citizens Advisory Committee when the Whitmire resident won the
job of Assessor. She stated that there were 3433 appeals during the
reassessment process. There were 1474 when she took over as Assessor
on June 4. There are currently 1240 appeals left. 2 additional
employees in the assessors office were included in the budget for
07/08. These new employees, once hired, will help finalize the
appeals and record new construction on the tax books. Ms. Arrowwood
stated that target date for both goals is October when the tax bills
go out for this year. This challenge is further enhanced by a change
in computer programs and the task of bringing the GIS system online
at the same time.

The next challenge for the Assessor's Office will be the next
reassessment, which is scheduled to be implemented in 2009 - a little
over a year and a half away. Assessment values will be capped at no
more than 15% more than the current assessed value. The Citizens
Advisory Committee will form a subcommittee to make recommendations
regarding if to postpone reassessment and when it is implemented how
to improve the process.

They will meet again on July 24 at 7pm in the Conference Room of the
Courthouse Annex.

Wanted in Newberry
(added 06/26/07)

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public’s help for information on a person wanted for passing counterfeit checks.

The Sheriff’s Office is trying to locate LAKEISHA NICHOLE ROBINSON (at left), 26, on warrants obtained for the passing of a counterfeit check at a store in rural Newberry County. Robinson is also a suspect in similar incidents in the area. Robinson also has been known to go by LAKEISHA NICHOLE PATTERSON. ROBINSON’S last known address is 1300 Johnston Street #200 Columbia, South Carolina. She is still believed to be in the Columbia Metro area.

Sheriff Foster said “people passing counterfeit and forged checks are taking advantage of the good will and nature of merchants. The merchant is the person to loose when a person knowingly passes a check that is counterfeited and knows that it is worthless. Small business persons have enough trouble without having to deal with this type of loss.” “This type of crime effects us all”, says Foster. “Not only do the merchant loose valuable profits from this type of crime, but the consumer will ultimately pay the price with higher costs due to loss.”

Foster concluded, “it is up to us all to help the small businesses and the consumers with insuring the persons responsible are prosecuted.”

Anyone that has information should contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at 803-321-2211, their local law enforcement agency or Midland’s Crime Stoppers. A sizeable award could be issued upon the arrest of Robinson.

School Board Meeting on June 25
(added 06/26/07)

Newberry County School Board meet last night (June 25) and approved final reading of the 07/08 $43 million budget. Local revenue from all sources is estimated to increase from $20.2 million to $21.5 million. A 4.4% increase in property tax millage for operations is included in the budget. However, this year the state will be reimbursing the county for owner occupied operational millage. Debt service millage will remain at 53 mills to cover the $5.2 million bonds, which make the installment purchase payments on the building projects.

Base student cost funded by the state was up this year by 4.6% to $2,476. The state also funded elementary PE teachers to a tune of $36, 500 and at the last minute included funding for school nurses in the budget. More information on how much funding for school nurses is yet to come.

The board took over $206,000 out of the line item budget to place it in contingency. This leaves open the option of placing that money in the fund balance at the end of the year. Several items were not cut from the line items but trimmed to make this possible including $20,000 from the Superintendent's discretionary account and $28,000 from district level administrator's salary increase.

Newberry County Victim Advocate Completes State Training
(added 06/22/07)

Connie Harmon Johnson of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office has attended and successfully completed the South Carolina Victim Assistance Academy. Johnson, who is a Victim Advocate for the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, attended the training in Columbia, South Carolina June 10-15. The academy focuses solely on issues of crime victims.

“Connie is an extremely important part of the Sheriff’s Office,” said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster. “She is extremely active in many aspects of the office and does a tremendous job serving and advocating for victims in Newberry. She is recognized as a leader in victim’s advocacy statewide and is also very involved with her family and the Newberry Rescue Squad.”

Connie is married to Chris Johnson of Newberry. They make their home in Newberry and both are extremely active with family activities and with the Newberry Rescue Squad when they are not working.

Co-workers say that Connie (pictured below with Sheriff Foster) is always available to assist them with any questions or problems, and that often she responds before they even have time to call her to respond.

The academy is sponsored through a partnership initiative of the Governor’s Office of Victim’s Assistance, the Medical University of South Carolina’s National Crime Victim’s Research and Treatment Center, and the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network are sponsoring this second Victim Assistance Academy.

The 40-hour curriculum of the South Carolina Academy covers a wide range of topics including victimology, victim’s rights and services, and victim advocacy throughout the criminal and juvenile justice processes. Students who successfully complete the academy will have obtained the necessary training hours to gain national credentialing as well as undergraduate and graduate academic credit.

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and the State of South Carolina are committed to providing support and assistance to victims of crime through trained advocates and service providers, and the South Carolina Victim Assistance Academy contributes greatly to this goal.

Newberry Fourth of July Celebration
(added 06/22/07)

The Newberry County Law Enforcement Officer’s Association has proudly announced that they will once again provide a family friendly Fourth of July celebration.

Organizers say that this year’s event will again be held at Newberry High School located on South Carolina Highway 219 in Newberry County and the festivities will begin at 6PM.

The event will open will free rides for the kids that include slides, bouncers, and obstacle courses. The rides will operate from 6:00PM to 8:45PM and will be located on the football field at Newberry High School.

The 108th Division Army Reserve Band based in Charlotte, North Carolina will take center stage at 6:30PM. The band will perform a number of patriotic songs and numbers. The band is steeped in tradition and is nationally known and recognized for the outstanding achievements. In what promises to be an outstanding treat, the band will also perform patriotic music during the fireworks display later that evening.

Sky Divers will enter the stadium that evening landing on the football field. Local sky diver Trent Purcell will be organizing and participating in the wonderful challenge and skill required of sky diving.

Concessions will be available for purchase and vendors include the Newberry Jaycees, Friendly Fire Department, and Prosperity Rescue Squad. Items available for purchase will include soft drinks, water, Bar-B-Que sandwiches, and many of your favorite sweet treats.

The evening will culminate with one of the Southeast’s largest fireworks displays. The fireworks will begin at 9:00PM or as close thereafter as it is completely dark. This year’s show promises to be one of the biggest and best yet and organizers say that they are extremely excited about the show.

After the fireworks, donations will be accepted to help offset the cost of the rides and fireworks which as always are provided at no cost to the community.

This is an annual event that seems to grow larger every year and the Newberry County Law Enforcement Officers Association is proud to provide this event to the people of Newberry County as a way of giving back to the people who give so much to us.

Organizers also thanked the many businesses and individuals who have already given generously to insure the success of this year’s event.

Officer Assaulted and Drugs Seized in Newberry County
(added 06/22/07)

A “routine” call has landed a Newberry man in custody charged with Trafficking Crack Cocaine, Possession with Intent To Distribute Cocaine, Possession with Intent To Distribute Marijuana, Possession with Intent To Distribute a Controlled Substance (Ecstasy), and Assaulting a Police Officer.

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster says that on Wednesday afternoon approximately 4:00PM, officers of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office received a call that a person wanted by the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office for outstanding arrest warrants and several other persons were standing the roadway on Brown Chapel Drive and that these suspects were impeding traffic while selling illegal drugs.

Officers responded to the area and located several suspects standing in the roadway and went to speak with them about being in the roadway and also to attempt to locate the wanted person. As officers approached one of the suspects, they could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from his person and they noticed he had an object inside a towel in his hand. When the officers asked to checked the towel, the suspect shoved the officer and fled on foot.

The officers chased the suspect, who threw the towel down while running from the officer. One of the officers caught up with the suspect, who turned around and struck the officer several times. The other officers caught up with the suspect and he continued to resist their efforts to arrest him. The officers then used a taser on the subject to attempt to bring him in compliance. The suspect continued to resist and the officers noticed that he was using his hands underneath him to bury an object in the ground. The officers used the taser a second time and then the officers began struggling with the subject to get his hands from underneath him and him into custody.

Once the suspect was handcuffed, the officers found a plastic bag of containing approximately 53.4 grams of crack cocaine, a plastic bag containing approximately 7.8 grams of cocaine, approximately 45.8 grams of marijuana, and a quantity of pills believed to be Ecstasy. The officers also located the towel that the suspect had thrown down and determined that it contained a set of scales for weighing that is commonly used in the illegal drug trade.

The suspect has been identified as Terrio Tyrell Jones, 26, of 416 Caldwell Street, Newberry, SC. He is charged with Trafficking Crack Cocaine, Possession with Intent To Distribute Cocaine, Possession with Intent To Distribute Marijuana, Possession with Intent To Distribute a Controlled Substance (Ecstasy), and Assault and Battery on a Police Officer While Resisting Arrest. Bond has been sent on Jones at $150,000.00 and as of this release, he remains in custody at the Newberry County Detention Center.

“This was a very large amount of drugs,” said Sheriff Foster. “We are pleased that we have removed this large quantity of drugs from the streets of Newberry County.”

Officers estimate that the Crack Cocaine had an approximate street value of $3000-3500 alone plus the other drugs combined which have an approximate street value of $1000.00.

None of the officers were seriously injured during the incident. The wanted suspect was not located in the area.

“We want the public to know that we take every call seriously and that we are going to investigate every call that we receive,” said Sheriff Foster. “While every investigation of suspicious activity may not lead to such immediate results, we are still able to compile intelligence that can be used in ongoing investigations.”

“This is a staunch reminder for all police officers and the public how quickly these calls can become serious and even life threatening for police officers,” Foster continued. “We are truly blessed that no one was serious injured in the incident that turned violent so quickly.”

More Economic Development News for Newberry County
(added 06/21/07)

For the second time this week Newberry County has had an economic development announcement. Schweitzer-Mauduit International,Inc. has announced the acquisition of a 54,000 square foot manufacturing and office facility located in the Newberry County Industrial Park at highway 219 and 1-26. The original investment is approximately $4 million. According to a Company release the infrastructure and layout make the site well suited for the production of coating paper for Lower Ignition Propensity(LIP) cigarettes.

Over the last few years,the company has established itself as the leader in the development of banded paper used in the construction of LIP cigarettes. To meet increased demand,the company has added capacity for banded paper in advance of legislated LIP requirements. Otto Herbst,President,the America's commented that,"we are pleased to announce this LIP converting center which will also produce other banded products for emerging segments of the LIP market.
"The State of South Carolina is a leader in business and economic development. South Carolina offers a collection of resources including renowned workforce training methods,business tax incentives,logistical advantages and a business friendly climate that suits our business approach.

"The operations will also contain equipment to slit banded bobbins and distribute banded papers to the U.S.,Canadian,and international customers. For security of supply reasons,we plan to add this capacity in a timely manner ahead of the predicted U.S. LIP demand increases and at a site independent of existing coating and banded paper operations. We view this as another step SWM is taking in support of its position as a market leader to ensure the security of supply of banded papers for the growing market of LIP compliant cigarettes."

Following equipment installation and star-up,led by Ron Federico,Operations Manager,initial production is expected to begin prior to year end. It is anticipated that 5-10 employees will be hired from Newberry area this year,and over the next three years SWM will invest in the total creation of 40-50 jobs,depending upon customer demand. Schweitzer-Mauduit International,Inc. is a diversified producer of premium specialty papers and the world's largest supplier of fine papers to the tobacco industry. It also manufactures specialty papers for use in alkaline batteries,vacuum cleaner bags,overlay products,saturating base papers, business forms and printing and packaging applications. Schweitzer-Mauduit and its subsidiaries conduct business in over 90 countries and employ 3,500 people worldwide,with operations in the United States,France,Brazil,the Philippines,Indonesia and Canada. For further information visit the Company's Web site at www.schweitzer-mauduit.com.

Those participating in the Thursday morning announcement in Newberry were: Mike Briggs,President & CEO of Central SC Alliance;Ron Federico,Operations Manager Schweitzer-Mauduit International,Inc.; Roger Scheurer, Corporate Environmental & Mfr. Projects Manager Schweitzer-Mauduit International,Inc.; and Mike Hawkins,Chairman-Economic Development Committee,Newberry County Council.

 

County Council Meeting on June 20
(added 06/21/07)

Newberry County Council approved final reading of the $20.6 million 07/08 general fund county budget and the $744,000 special education budget.

Several changes were paid for by wearing down the budgeted contingency fund. The contingency fund had grown to $426,830 with cuts earlier in the budget process. The following amendments were approved:
-$32,000 compensates for loss of C&D “profit” since the new C&D landfill will be on-line this year
-$39,500 increased tipping fee that is charged back to the county for county trucks
-$40,600 cost of transferring C&D debris to the new Helena C&D landfill
+$2400 represents an increased out-of-county fee for dropping animals off at the Animal Shelter
-$8500 shared fire service revenue paid to municipalities
-$80,000 relocation of green box at the transfer station and creation of a recycling center near the site
-$15,000 additional help in the Assessor’s Office to assist in getting the new construction on the books
-$20,000 heaters, upgrades, and on-going maintenance at the fairgrounds
These changes reduce the contingency fund to $235,000. The past several years the budget has included approximately $250,000.

Other items added to the budget thus increasing the general fund bottom-line include:
+$100,000 Newberry Opera House repairs ($12,700 payment/0.12 mills)
+38,000 state retirement increases (0.38 mills)
+$2.9 million county office space construction/renovation ($232,000 payment/2.27 mills)
+$2.2 million sheriff office space ($176,000 payment/1.72 mills)
When original funding for the 219 sheriff’s office restoration is backed out of the budget, the additional to the general fund equals an estimated 4.37 mills, which falls under the 5.7 millage increase cap established by the new state regulations.

General Obligation bonds were approved for the following item thus increasing the debt millage:
+$85,000 Helena Community Center construction budget shortfall($10,846 payment/0.12 mills)

The following items were not approved:
-$44,000 requirement of employees to pay for the difference in standard health insurance and Blue Choice
+163,000 Maybinton Ball Field construction shortfall
+$33,000 Clemson Extension 4-H Position
+$73,000 restoration of health department nurse and translator
+135,000 Rescue 14 Building construction budget shortfall ($17,174 payment)

The county will be adding 0.59 mills for special source revenue bonds and bond anticipation notes. This will pay for phase one of the infrastructure improvements to the Mid-Carolina Commerce Park. The infrastructure budget shortfall is $1.2 million. Investment in the park will cover this payment as it comes on-line.

Another economic development announcement will be made today at the Confalonieri building in the Newberry County Industrial Park on 219. Stay tuned to WKDK for information later today.

Economic Development Announcement for Newberry
(added 06/19/07)

Newberry County, SC Department of Commerce, and Central SC Alliance announced today that the Nasmyth Group would be locating their North American Headquarters in Newberry County. The Nasmyth Group provides precision engineering focusing on the global aerospace industry with clients including Rolls Royce, Airbus, and Boeing. The commitment to Newberry County includes a $15 million investment and 100 jobs by January 2013.

CEO Peter Smith made the corporate announcement at the Paris air show. “South Carolina is a great fit for Nasmyth. The state is economically viable with a strong labor force, proximity and access to markets, and a business-friendly environment. South Carolina suits our culture, style, and approach to business and we look forward to growing Nasmyth’s US operations from our SC location for many years to come,” said Smith.

Nasmyth flew Theresa Powers, Newberry County’s Economic Development manager, to Paris for the announcement. County Administrator Wayne Adams stated on Monday night, “Mr. Smith has tremendous connections with the aeronautics industry. We think that things are just going to grow.” He went on to say that the SC Commerce Department was very interested in enhancing the aeronautics industry corridor in SC. According to the Commerce Department, South Carolina is home to some 40 aviation companies investing more than $1 billion in the state.

The local announcement was made at the Newberry Campus of Piedmont Tech who will be one of the partners providing specifically designed training for the highly skilled machinists. Highly competitive salaries are the standard for the company.

This UK based group is named for a Scottish engineer famous for developing and patenting the steam hammer.

Nasmyth is the first commitment to the MC Commerce Park at Hwy 773 and I-26. The company will have temporary housing while the MC Commerce Park infrastructure is completed.

Visit www.nasmythgroup.com for more information.

Newberry City Council on June 12
(added 06/13/07)

Newberry City Council met last night (June 12) and held first reading of the city 07/08 budget. No one spoke during the public hearing. The utility budget includes a 2.09% electrical rate increase, which relates to the increase charged from Piedmont Municipal Power. The budget also includes a 5% increase in sewer charge to prepare for the new debt incurred with the rehabilitation and expansion of the wastewater facility. The general fund budget includes a 4.3% increase or an estimated 3.7 additional mills. This increase falls within the new state regulations, which cap millage increases to CPI (consumer price index) plus a growth factor. This slight increase would change the millage from 86 mills to 89.7 mills. Second reading on the budget and the increase in utility rates will be held at a special meeting on June 19.


Also at last night's meeting, council approved first reading of changes to the 06/07 budget by title only. Details will be relayed at second reading, but the changes were described by City Manager Erik Budds as "housekeeping line items such as an unexpected increase in court fines." Budds stated that the bottom line would not change but a few line items will be shifted to better document for accounting purposes.

Search Continues: Update
(added 06/12/07)

The search continues today for the man authorities say sexually assaulted a 6 year old girl Sunday night in Newberry County.

Authorities say that they believe the man’s name is Saul Rodriquez (left), 25, of 403 Cedar Ridge Lane, Newberry, SC; however, police say that their investigation shows that the man is using a number of different names and identifications because he is illegally in the United States.

Police have just released two identifications used by the man at different locations, neither of which are valid identifications. They are either worthless non-government identifications or fraudulent United States identifications.

Police say that they are continuing their investigation into the case and that the search for the suspect is still ongoing; however, tracking persons who are using so many different names and identifications is extremely difficult.

Police say that anyone who sees the innocent six year old child immediately renews their commitment to find the man who did this horrific thing to her and make sure that he is brought to justice.

Officers say that they believe the information from the public will be absolutely crucial in bringing the man to justice. Anyone with any contact with the suspect should contact their local law enforcement agency immediately. If you have additional information about the suspect, you can contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 321-2211.

Search Continues for Sexual Assault Suspect
(added 06/12/07)

The search for a man police say sexually assaulted a six year old girl near her home on Sunday night continues today; however, officers say that the search is growing ever more difficult.

Police originally identified the man as Saul Rodriquez, 25, of 403 Cedar Ridge Lane, Newberry, SC. However, police say that neighbors have said that the man identified himself as Roquel Lucas. In addition, a family member has identified the man by a third name of Rocael Herrera.

Police say that the use of so many names by one person makes tracking the person extremely difficult especially when there are no legitimate identifications issued in this country.

Authorities say that with the use of non-valid foreign identifications and stolen or falsified United States identifications can make tracking suspects extremely difficult to located and arrest.

Police say that the search for the man is continuing and that they plan to make every possible effort to locate him and take him into custody.

School Board Special Meeting
(added 06/12/07)

The Newberry County School Board held a special meeting last night (June 11) for the public hearing on the 07/08 school budget. The meeting was brief due to the fact that no one showed up from the public. The 06/07 general fund budget was $40.6 million. This year's budget is $43.1 million or an approximate 6.15% increase. A portion of this increase will be paid for by an increase in state funding. The remainder will come from a slight local tax increase (which is estimated to be 7-8 mills according to last year's value of a mill.) This fits within the 4.4% millage increase allowed under the new state law that limits millage increases to the consumer price index and the local growth factor. This slight increase in millage rate will be greatly offset on primary residences by the state who is picking up the entire bill for school operational millage this year. Debt service will still be paid locally and will remain at 53 mills. The district plans to once again sell bonds to pay off the annual installment purchase revenue bonds. A total of $5.2 million is allocated in the 07/08 budget for debt service on these bonds.


School board member Jody Hamm requested that district administration take a look at expenditures to see if they could find expenditure cuts or freezes that could go into the reserve fund. Lucy Anne Meetze pointed out that "even though the state is sending more money this year, the amount is far exceeded by the cost of the new mandates they have passed down."


One item added to the agenda last night was a resolution authorizing land purchase around Pomaria Garmany. The district will pay $123,000 for approximately 16.7 acres of land surrounding the current elementary school allowing for the new building plan to include safe egress and ingress, a new retention pond behind the school, and a buffer of trees around the facility.


If you have any questions regarding the school budget, the building program, or any other school topic, please e-mail your questions to contactus@wkdk.com. We will ask them during our visit with the School District on the third Wednesday of the month (June 20) during the 9am Coffee Hour.

Police Searching for Sexual Assault Suspect
(added 06/11/07)

Law enforcement officers in Newberry County are asking for your assistance in locating a man they say committed a sexual assault on a six year old girl Sunday night. Officers say that the assault took place at a residence near the victim’s home. Police say that the perpetrator was a neighbor to the victim in the case.

Officers received a call at 10:30PM Sunday night to meet with the victim and her mother at Newberry Hospital due to the sexual assault. Officers say that the victim in the case was treated and released from Newberry Hospital.

Police say that they are searching for Saul Rodriquez, 25, of 403 Cedar Ridge Lane, Newberry, SC. He is described as a white, Hispanic, Male. He is 5 foot 8 inches tall and weighs 150 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen on Cedar Ridge Lane last night. Rodriquez is employed at temporary service in Newberry, but did not show up for work today. It does not appear that Rodriquez has a prior record, but police do believe that he is illegally in the United States.

Investigators say that they are still working on the investigation into the sexual assault and expect to gain additional evidence although they have already gained substantial physical and forensic evidence.

They also say that they want to get Saul Rodriquez into custody a quickly as possible. Anyone with any information about Rodriquez should call 911 immediately or they can contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 321-2222.

County Council Meeting on 06/06/07
(added 06/07/07)

Public Hearing on Budget

Newberry County Council met last night (June 6) and heard public comment on the 07/08 county budget. The Citizens Advisory Committee represented by Chairman Mike Davenport presented its report, which focused more on council using open procedures rather than line item changes at this time. For a list of their suggestions visit www.wkdk.com. Two themes within the report were openness in the County’s financial dealings, better management of cash reserves, and avoidance of sharp tax increases. The Citizens Advisory Committee will meet again at 7pm on Tuesday, June 26 in the Courthouse Annex when they will tackle the reassessment process.

Other speakers included Beth Bozard of the health department who requested that the funds for a nurse and an interpreter be restored. $72,000 would be the total addition to the budget for these two positions. Ms. Bozard reviewed all that the Health Department does in the county including preparation for emergency preparedness, potential outbreak investigations, follow-ups on STD cases in the ER, free services to inmates at the jail, flu shots for county employees with administration fee, and even classes for restaurants.

Master Gardener Susan Derrick, Clemson Extension Agent Darren Atkins and others lobbied for the funding of a 4-H agent, which the Extension office has been without for several years. They asked for $35,000 or less than 75% of the cost of the agent - Clemson to fund the remaining amount. School Board Member Jody Hamm stated to WKDK that the 4-H program would be a perfect feeder system for the district’s FFA (Future Farmers of America) program, which was moved from the middle school to two of the high schools and the Career Center this year. The written budget request from Clemson Extension included a letter of support from Farm Bureau. Council Buddy Livingston asked that financial support be requested from Farm Bureau.

Chairman Henry Summer reminded council that if they add something from the budget they have to discuss from where the money is coming. County Council meets again on June 12 at 7pm in the Conference Room of the Courthouse Annex for another work session on the county’s $19.4 million general fund budget and will hold third and final reading of the budget on June 20.


Code Enforcement Officers Approved

Newberry County Council met last night (June 6) approved third and final reading also passed to allow current county employees to also be code enforcement officers who are able to issue summons regarding county codes. Third and final reading of changes to the road ordinance were also approved. One of the changes made to the road ordinance was the increase restriction that only paved roads will be added to the county system.

Final reading of a zoning change from R-2 Rural to General Commercial at 502 SC Hwy 395 near Kempson’s Bridge passed with no one speaking during public comments.

First reading of an ordinance to increase Animal Shelter drop-off fees for out of county residence was approved. This was just one of the many issues discussed at the council budget meeting on Tuesday June 5. Council will hold another budget work session on June 12 at 7pm in the Courthouse Annex Conference Room.

Bill Ehney spoke to council regarding a group of citizens who are concerned about the current usage, problems, and preservation of Lynches Wood. This gathering of concerned citizens will bring recommendations back to council Monday July 16 at 10am in the Conference Room of the Courthouse Annex on College St. All are welcome to attend.

Chairman Henry Summer created a sub-committee of county council for economic development. The sub-committee will be made up of Mike Hawkins as chairman, Buddy Livingston and Summer himself.

In executive session, council heard a legal update from their construction litigation attorney regarding the 219 Sheriff’s Office. No statements or votes were taken upon reentering open session.

Newberry County Council will hold third and final reading of the budget on June 20, 2007.

More Drug Round Up in Newberry
(added 06/07/07)

One additional arrest was made overnight in the continuing round up in Newberry County.

Major Earl Hall, 35, of 900 Cline Street, Newberry, was arrested and charged with Conspiracy and Distribution of Crack Cocaine.

And the number of people arrested in Newberry County continues to grow according to Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster.

Foster said that a combination of several tips from citizens and some plain good old fashioned police work has led to the arrest of seven people not related to the ongoing drug investigation.

Foster said that his agency is continuing their effort to apprehend those who fail to pay their court ordered child support. He said that 5 additional people have been taken into custody on charges of Failure to Pay their court ordered child support.

Foster said that what makes the situation even worse is that two of the five people arrested were also charged in the drug investigation.

He identified those people as:

Kerry Gene Mills, 53, of 208 Glenn Street, Newberry, charged with two Family Court Bench Warrants totaling $82,419.75 in child support and alimony.

Cynthia Dawn Penny, 26, of 511 Alcott Drive, Columbia, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant totaling $12,646.55 in child support.

Marcus Delafayette Dominck, 48, of 928 Grey Street, Newberry, who is charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant totaling $11,012.49.

Phelepo Nance, 31, of 1817 Glenn Street, Newberry, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant totaling $10,729.98 in child support.

Kevin Maurice Mayers, 36, of 2114 Brown Street, Newberry, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant totaling $3847.60.

Sheriff Foster also said that two people were taken into custody on bench warrants.

Brittany Ann Mckee, 18, of 915 Central Avenue, Whitmire, was arrested for two existing General Sessions Bench Warrants, 5 Magistrate Court Bench Warrants, Disorderly Conduct, and Resisting Arrest. She was arrested by officers of the Whitmire Police Department.

Michael Untorn Tobe, 39, of 967 South Carolina Highway 34, Pomaria, was arrested for 9 outstanding Magistrate Court Bench Warrants.

“This has been an unusually busy time for us and for law enforcement throughout the county,” said Sheriff Foster. “I would like to thank all of the citizens who have provided us much needed information about these cases and wanted suspects, and I would like to thank all of the officers who have worked so hard to bring these suspects to justice.”

Drug Round Up in Newberry County
(added 06/06/07)

Law Enforcement Officers from 8 agencies joined forces today and begin serving arrest warrants and search warrants in the first round of arrests for a year long narcotics investigation.

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster says that officers from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, Newberry Police Department, Whitmire Police Department, Chapin Police Department, Lexington County Sheriff’s Office, Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, State Law Enforcement Division, and Department of Health and Environmental Control all joined forces to investigate these cases and to execute the arrest warrants and search warrants.

Officers gathered for a briefing at 11:00AM this morning. After the briefing, the officers executed two search warrants on homes in the Helena Community. Officers say that during the execution of these search warrants they found a large amount of crack cocaine.

Once the search of the homes was complete, the officers divided into teams and begin searching for the 31 suspects for whom they held active arrest warrants and before the day was over 18 of those were in custody along with 8 others who charged for various offenses that occurred as the officers were executing the warrant.

According to police 13 more suspects are being sought on active arrest warrants and many more arrests are expected as a result of this investigation.

“This investigation was the culmination of a year long investigation by several jurisdictions,” said Sheriff Foster. “Many of the investigations were launched as a direct result of citizen complaints about unusual activity in their neighborhood. Because these types of investigations often take time before the public sees results some think that nothing is being done; however, we hope that today’s arrests and our commitment to fight illegal drugs in Newberry County serve as confirmation of our tireless efforts to work with the citizens to make our county safe.”

“We have been working on these cases for quite some time now,” said Newberry City Police Chief Jackie Swindler. “These arrests are the cooperative effort of people taking the time to call in complaints about drug activity and of law enforcement working together. We decided to make these arrests now at the beginning of the summer so that the citizens might gain some peace of mind and security over the summer. It is important for people to understand that these investigations often take time and that they need to have patience as we work to make sure that the arrests that we make end in the conviction of the suspect.”

“We need each other,” said Chief Jeremiah Sinclair of the Whitmire Police Department. “We must work together if we are going to succeed. This investigation is the end result of a cooperative spirit between the community and many law enforcement agencies. We would like to see continued support from the community by asking the public to let us know when they see unusual activity. Law enforcement relies on citizens to help and these calls with information are an important resource for knowing when drugs and other activity are occurring in a neighborhood.”

“Another aspect of illegal drugs is its direct correlation to other crimes including violent crimes,” said Sheriff Foster. “We repeatedly see instances where suspects commit thefts, robberies, and other crimes including violent crimes where the sole motive is get money for drugs. While the drug connection may not be immediately apparent, the underlying cause for a substantial amount of crime is drugs.”

“We understand how intertwined crime and drugs are related,” said Foster. “And because of this closely woven relationship, the war on drugs also becomes a war against crime as a whole. Many claim that the only victim of drug abuse is the abuser, this is absolutely not true. When a person becomes desperate in their desire for these drugs, anyone has the potential to become a victim. This is why we believe that we must fight and win the war against drugs if we are to make our communities safer for our citizens and our families.”

Law enforcement officers say that while all of the suspects were involved with illegal drugs that it does not appear that these people were operating as a large group or operation, but that rather they working independent of each other with their involvement with these illegal drugs.

As of this press release, 26 people were in custody. More arrests are expected throughout the night and weekend. Additional updates will be issued as warranted.

Those arrested on previous arrest warrants were:

Jackie A. Boyd, 38, of 325 Meadowlark Road, Chapin, charged with Distribution of Crack Cocaine

Steven Lamar Burkhalter, 43, of 2125 Nance Street, Newberry, charged with Withholding Information to Obtain Prescription

Timothy Jessie Clark*, 35, of 254 Lazybrook Drive, Chapin, charged with Distribution of Crack Cocaine

Nathaniel Davis Jr., 30, of 530 North Main Street, Whitmire, charged with Distribution of Crack Cocaine

Woodrow Davis III, 28, of 908 Sanders Street, Newberry, charged with Distribution of Marijuana

Joanna Lea Deloach, 27, of 1708 Clarkson Avenue, Newberry, charged with Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud

David Lemar Epps, 30, of 114 ½ Slayton Street, Whitmire, charged with Distribution of Crack Cocaine

Lafayette Epps Jr., 27, of 211 Duckett Street, Whitmire, charged with Distribution of Crack Cocaine

Otis Gilmore, 41, of 604 Evans Street, Whitmire, charged with Distribution of Crack Cocaine

Melvin Joseph Glenn, 50, of 1605 Moon Street, Newberry, charged with Distribution of Crack Cocaine

Marcal Antione Good, 20, of 1911 Epting Street, Newberry, charged with Conspiracy, Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, and Possession of a Stolen Piston.

Corey Depree Hall, 23, of 821 Floyd Street, Newberry, charged with Distribution of Crack Cocaine

Ola Mae Hiller, 52, of 924 Grey Street, Newberry, charged with Distribution of Crack Cocaine

Thomas Edward Lyles, 48, of 97 Pine Valley Road, Newberry, charged with Distribution of Crack Cocaine

Phelepeo Nance, 31, of 924 Grey Street, Newberry, charged with Distribution of Crack Cocaine

Jarvis Jameel Sligh, 22, of 113 Nelson Street, Whitmire, charged with Distribution of Crack Cocaine

Drew Pagan Sutton, 34, of 168 Jack Wilson Road, Whitmire, charged with Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud

Berry Keith Thrasher Jr., 23, of 2031 Vincent Street, Newberry, charged with Distribution of Marijuana

Others arrested during the round up not previously charged were:

Benjamin Wayne Counts, 44, of 698 Pope Circle, Newberry charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Randy Cromer, 41, of 627 Hill Street, Newberry, charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Marcus Delafayette Dominick, 48, of 928 Grey Street, Newberry, charged with Simple Possession of Marijuana

Shante Corelle Hatten, 35, of 831 Bess Street, Newberry, charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Nancy Lou Hiller, 35, of 924 Grey Street, Newberry, charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Sterling Maybin, 37, of 1915 Charles Street, Newberry, charged with Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest

James Earl Sligh, 50, of 924 Grey Street, Newberry, charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Maggie Lee Sligh, 42, of 928 Grey Street, Newberry charged with Simple Possession of Marijuana

Sheriff's Office, AARP Join Forces to Sponsor Driver Safety Program
(added 06/06/07)

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is sponsoring a driver safety program designed by AARP that is specifically geared toward drivers age 50 and older.

“The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is proud to be a sponsor of this event,” said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster. “We believe that this class serves as an excellent opportunity for citizen 50 and older to sharpen their driving abilities and learn skills that might even save their lives.”

The class will be taught on June 26 and 27th from 1:00 to 5:00PM in Room 107 at Piedmont Technical College located at 540 Wilson Road, Newberry, SC. While there is no charge for the class, there is a $10.00 fee for materials. To register for the class, you can call the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 321-2211 and ask for Sheriff Foster or Major Todd Johnson or e mail your request to lfoster@newberrycounty.net.

Attendees may receive a reduction on their automobile insurance; however, the reduction amounts vary depending on the insurance company.

“The course offers more information about various safe driving strategies, including how to handle distractions, aggressive drivers and driving with trucks,” says Jeff Jefcoat, who will be the instructor of the class. “The course also includes expanded and improved video presentations on a number of important driving topics.”

To ensure 50+ drivers stay safe behind the wheel, the course’s curriculum has been updated to reflect the most current driving information and safety tips available. The driver safety course is designed to educate participants about how best to reduce traffic violations, crashes, and chances for injuries; update driver’s knowledge about relevant laws; and provide safe driving strategies to compensate for age-related changes that affect one’s ability. The eight hour course, typically taught in two four-hour sessions, also stresses the importance of periodically monitoring one’s own and other’s driving skills and capabilities.

Updates to the edition 6 curriculum addresses such topics as:

- How overall fitness affects driving

- Important strategies for staying crash-free

- Challenges of city vs. rural driving

- Tips for highway driving and driving with trucks, buses, and other large vehicles

- Understand a vehicle’s safety features and new vehicle technology

- Tips for trying other transportation

- Warning signs of unsafe driving

Over the past 28 years, the AARP Driver Safety Program has provided instruction to more than 10 million participants seeking to refresh their driving skills. The course is taught throughout the U.S. by roughly 10,000 AARP – trained volunteers.

Newberry Citizens Advisory Committee Meeting
(added 05/30/07)

The Newberry County Citizens Advisory Committee met last night
(5/29/07) and approved a list of budget guidelines to present to
County Council. Created to investigate the reassessment process the
committee's duties have been expanded to include the 219 Sheriff's
Office, capital sales tax projects, and the county budget. A
subcommittee brought the following 10 suggested guidelines for county
financial policies:

"1) Taxing and spending should be managed in a way that does not
sharply increase the property tax liability over short periods of
time - and with little notice...
2) Spending reserves to fund ongoing operations costs presents a
misleading picture of the budget, since ultimately the tax millage
must rise accordingly...
3) Every expenditure Council makes should be authorized either as
part of a publicly-adopted line-item budget or in some other
separate, public vote of Council that cites the specific source of
funding...
4) Council should include in its budget ordinance a separate section
justifying all expenditure increases over the prior fiscal year, and
comparing the budgeted growth in spending with both the consumer
price index for the prior year an dthe projected gorwth in the tax
base for the subsequent year...
5) A Citizen's Advisory Committee on budgeting and millage levies
should be appointed as a permanent standing committee...
6) Council should include in it budget ordinance a separate section
enumerating any new federally or state-mandated spending for that
fiscal year...
7) Each fiscal year's budget document should include a capital
improvement plan that expresses Council's priorities regarding
buildings and facilities...
8) Council should set policies and monitor the results of those
policies; Council has professional staff in place to implement its
policies...
9) Council should honor the public's participation in the budgeting
process by allowing taxpayers to speak to such matters as the impact
of spending policy on their personal budgets, the fairness of
distribution of the tax burden, the value of the services desired or
proposed, and other matters that pertain to the budget document...
10) it is incumbent upon those who publicly speak on budgeting
maters, whether they are citizen-taxpayers or members of Council, to
identify the effect of their proposals on resource prioritization.."

Chairman Mike Davenport stated that the subcommittee would be looking
more closely at line items in the future, but due to the limited
amount of time given to review the material wanted to present
comments about what has been perceived to go wrong in the past and
guidelines for going forward. The vote to approve the before
mentioned guidelines was unanimous of those in attendance. The only
addition to the descriptions was an emphasis on managing the fund
balance to both keep enough funds to operate, while not allowing it
to be a savings account for non-budgeted projects.

The Citizens Advisory Committee will present these comments to
council during the public hearing on the budget. The Committee
encourages all members and other interested citizens to attend this
council meeting on June 6th at 7pm in the Courthouse Annex. A copy
of the $743,000 special education budget (ordinance 04-13-07), the
$20.5 million county ordinary budget (ordinance 04-14-07), and the
budget provisos can be found on the county website
www.newberrycounty.net.

Busy Holiday Weekend
(added 05/28/07)

While many people were enjoying a quiet holiday weekend, deputies in Newberry County remained extremely busy.

Sheriff Lee Foster says that traffic was extremely heavy throughout the weekend, and that officers also experienced an unusually high volume of calls for service over the weekend.

“We knew that Memorial Day weekend would be a busy weekend,” said Foster. “So, we used a grant to put additional officers on patrol without any cost to the local taxpayer. While we must remain good stewards of the tax dollar, it is imperative that we keep the community and the roads of Newberry County safe for our citizens and their families.”

Sheriff Foster said that in and effort to accomplish their mission officers worked both saturation patrols, where a number of officers focus on a certain area for traffic enforcement and conducted check points throughout the county.

Foster said that between Friday morning and Monday morning deputies issued 67 traffic citations and filed 155 incident reports.

Sheriff Foster, who was an active part of the check points, says that he was surprised at how heavy traffic seemed to be throughout the weekend.

“I was shocked at how much traffic there seemed to be throughout the entire weekend, especially on the interstate,” said Foster. “We made a conscious effort to be proactive in our efforts to keep the people of the county and the motoring public safe and we are pleased to say that there were no major accidents over the weekend despite the extremely heavy traffic.”

Sheriff Foster also said that officers conducting a routine check found another club in Possession of and Selling Beer during restricted hours. He said that officers went to the club located at the Skating Rink located on Highway 34 at 1:00AM Sunday Morning. He said that officers found five people in possession of alcohol well past the 12AM cut off for serving or possessing alcohol.

Police recording identified those arrested as Cristobol V. Bervantes, 50, of 1507 Piester Road, Newberry, SC; Natalio Domingo, 41, of 2531 Armfield Avenue, Newberry, SC; Edras Hernandez, 24, of 1002 Springfield Avenue, Columbia, SC; Olin Daniel Moore Jr., 45, of 120 Skating Rink Loop, Newberry, SC; and Nolbi Apolinar Zuzon, 27, of 2831 Armfield Avenue, Newberry, SC.

“These businesses must be held accountable to follow the law,” said Foster. “We will continue to monitor all the businesses subject to these laws and we will charge those who choose to operate outside of the law.

Foster said that the weekend’s productivity was a joint effort from many people. I would like to thank the officers who worked this weekend, the communications personnel who worked through stressful circumstances, and the jailers who provided transportation services and who worked to handle the increased number of booking and prisoners.

Foster also said that he wanted to thank the South Carolina Highway Patrol, Newberry City Police Department, Whitmire Police Department, and Prosperity Police Department for their efforts over the weekend. He said that these agencies like the Sheriff’s Office were extremely busy throughout the weekend.

Foster said that deputies issued the following citations over the weekend and that these totals do not include information for any agency other than the Sheriff’s Office:

Speeding more than 10 miles per hour – 36

No Driver’s License – 6

Possession of Cocaine – 1

Simple Possession of Marijuana – 4

Driving under Suspension – 1

Unlawful Passing – 2

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – 2

Open Container of Alcohol – 1

Violation of Seat Belt Law – 2

Violation of Child Restraint Law – 1

Public Intoxication – 1

Resisting Arrest – 2

Disorderly Conduct -2

Expired Vehicle License – 1

Possession of Alcohol During Restricted Hours - 5

Man In Custody on Assault Charges
(added 05/24/07)


A man who violently assaulted an acquaintance in Newberry County yesterday morning in now in custody in Darlington County awaiting officers from Newberry County to bring him back to Newberry County to face criminal charges.

Sheriff Lee Foster announced the search for Dirk Hamilton Fields yesterday after he left the victim in the case severely beaten with major injuries at the victim’s home located on Highway 34 in Newberry County.

Sheriff Foster said that law enforcement in Newberry County immediately began the search for Fields and that as part of that search he contacted Darlington County Sheriff Glenn Campbell for assistance. The communication between the two Sheriffs paid off this morning when Fields surrendered to Sheriff Campbell.

“Sheriff Campbell took time from his busy schedule to personally go out and search for the suspect including talking with his family members immediately after my call,” said Foster. “His effort coupled with the significant media attention given to the important case gave the suspect few options but to surrender to law enforcement. I am most appreciative of my dear friend Sheriff Campbell and his officers for their efforts in this case and for the wonderful working relationship we have with their agency.”

“I would also like to thank the media for their cooperation and assistance in this search,” said Foster. “The intensive search for the suspect was greatly enhanced by the media’s work to display the subject’s photograph and information. This places immense pressure on this suspect and makes hiding very difficult.”

Foster said that two investigators were enroute to Darlington at the time of the press release and it is anticipated that Fields will arrive in Newberry County sometime this afternoon. No time for a bond hearing has been scheduled but it is anticipated that the bond hearing would occur Friday morning.

The victim in the case was transported to a hospital in Columbia area due to the extent of his injuries. He remains hospitalized as of this release, however, none of the injuries appear to be life threatening.

 

County Council Meeting on May 23
(added 05/24/07)

Newberry County Council met last night (Wednesday May 23) and went
into executive session to discuss the county attorney's office and a
contractual matter. No official action was taken after council
returned to open session, however, current county attorney Gary Pope
confirmed that he resigned and will no longer officially be on staff
after June 1. Council instructed County Administrator Wayne Adams to
write a request for proposals from attorneys that might be interested
in the position. The position will be advertised as soon as the
council has approved the position description. At this point, the
position is down as a 25-30 hour a week commitment.

The latest addition to the county administration's office is Wanda
Hill of Little Mountain who will take over as HR director for the
county June 4th. She has been serving as HR director for the State
Adjutant General and previously served the State Treasurer.

Man Arrested for Multi Church Burglaries
(added 05/23/07)

A man police say are responsible for more than 20 burglaries of churches throughout the midlands and upstate of South Carolina is now in police custody.

Richard Alan Campbell, 53, of 110 Greenridge Drive, Moore, SC, has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of burglary in at least four counties and the number of burglary charges is expected to grow.

Sheriff Lee Foster says that Campbell is responsible for church burglaries at Chappells Baptist Church in the Chappells section of Newberry County and at Flint Hill, Cedar Grove, and Grace Baptist Churches all located in the Whitmire section of Newberry County. Foster said that while none of the property from these churches has been located at this time, the investigation will continue and it is hoped that property will be recovered.

Sheriff Foster said that after a number of church burglaries occurred in several counties, officers quickly determined that the burglaries appeared to have been committed by the same person or persons so officers from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, Saluda County Sheriff’s Office, and Laurens County Sheriff’s Office formed a task force to share information and work together to solve these burglaries.

Officers with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office received a tip from a wanted flyer about the van used in connection with these burglaries. Based on the tip and subsequent information received from their investigation, officers there executed a search warrant on the home of Campbell, where they recovered stolen items from several church burglaries. They immediately contacted officers from the other agencies working together on the cases and this cooperative effort led to the rapid arrest of the suspect, the identification and recover of numerous items of stolen property, and a continued investigation into the burglaries and recovery of additional stolen property.

“This was without question a cooperative effort,” said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster. “Law enforcement provided the information to the public through the flyer published to the community, a citizen saw the flyer and contacted law enforcement, and law enforcement worked together to make the investigation a success.”

“This is an ideal situation of information sharing between law enforcement agencies and the public,” said Foster. “Criminals often intentionally cross over jurisdictional lines believing that law enforcement agencies will not communicate with each other. It is my hope that this case and the many others we have been involved in similar to this will serve as proof that law enforcement agencies can and do communicate with each other and that this communication means that each agency brings it knowledge base, investigative skills, and resources to the investigation. This type of intensive investigation is proof of what can be accomplished by working together.”

Richard Campbell is currently being housed at the Spartanburg County Detention Center where he is charged with several burglaries. The other jurisdictions have placed detainers on Campbell and he will be charged in each county in the near future.

Man Sought in Newberry County Assault
(added 05/23/07)

Authorities in Newberry County are asking for your assistance in locating a man they say is responsible for a brutal assault this morning.

A South Carolina State Trooper was traveling on South Carolina Highway 34 in Newberry County this morning at around 9:00AM when he saw the victim on the side of the road just outside of his home with a large amount of blood on him. The Trooper notified officers from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office who responded to the victim’s residence on South Carolina Highway 34. The officers arrived and found the victim in the case suffering from multiple injuries including many lacerations including what appeared to be blunt trauma to the head.

During the investigation, officers determined that the victim had been assaulted in his home during an argument with an acquaintance. Officers say that the victim was taken the Newberry County Memorial Hospital were he was treated for his injuries. The injuries while very severe did not appear to be life threatening at this time. It does not appear that a weapon was used in the assault.

Police say they are searching for Dirk Hamilton Fields, 40, of 1236 Lakeview Boulevard, Lakeview, SC. Fields is described as a white male who is 40 years old. He is 5”10” and weighs approximately 165 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

Fields was last seen driving a faded burgundy GMC Blazer. There is no known direction of travel and it was last seen leaving the victim’s home on South Carolina Highway 34. It may possibly bear South Carolina License Plate TMP 734. This is the tag number given by the suspect on a hotel registration in Newberry on the previous night. Authorities say that this is not the correct tag for the vehicle nor is the tag registered to the suspect.

Police say that warrants have been issued for the suspect charging him with Assault and Battery with Intent to Kill and that all this information has been sent to law enforcement agencies statewide particularly in the Florence, Darlington, Hartsville area where the suspect lives.

Authorities say that the suspect was in the Newberry area working on a construction job. They say that he has not reported to that job today, but they have not eliminated the possibility that he is still in the Newberry area.

Anyone contacting Dirk Hamilton Fields should call 911 immediately, or if they have additional information about this case or Fields they can contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 321-2222. Authorities say that while there is no indication that Fields is armed, they do consider him dangerous because of the severity of the beating instilled upon the victim.

School Board Approved First Reading of the 07/08 Budget
(added 05/22/07)

Newberry County School Board met last night (Monday May 21) and heard first reading of the 07/08 budget. The budget was approved as presented by Assistant Superintendent Greg Mack. Of the $43.3 million in revenue needed to balance the budget, $21.5 million of that will come from local revenue. This local revenue amount is up from the $20.2 million in local revenue last year and includes the 4.4% millage increase per the cap established by the State Legislature last year. This year the State will fully subsidized local operational millage on owner occupied properties thanks to the state penny sales tax increase that starts July 1.

The proposed budget includes a 3.31% salary increase plus step and fringe for teachers, classified, school level administration and district level administration. It also includes a 5% across the board salary increase for classified employees and adjustments to athletic supplements. Staffing changes across the district equaled a net reduction of 4 ½ teachers and 1 instructional assistant through attrition and transfers. State funding will be picking up an additional elementary PE teacher. There will also be a transfer of the Montessori teaching position from Gallman to Boundary St. A half time clerical position will be added at MCMS and guidance days added at Whitmire Comm. School. The budget also includes a pilot program that brings cleaning staff in-house at NHS and MCMS for a net cost of $166,000.

The School Board will meet again June 4 at 6:30 in the Learning Center for their final work session. The public hearing on the budget will be on June 11 and final reading is scheduled for June 25.

 

Nine Arrested for Alcohol Violation
(added 05/21/07)

Nine people were arrested in a Newberry County bar early Sunday morning and charged with Possession of Alcohol During Restricted Hours.

According to Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster officers from the State Law Enforcement Division, Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, and Newberry City Police Department were conducting alcohol compliance inspections at local businesses licensed to sell alcohol by the state early Sunday Morning.

Sheriff Foster said that the compliance checks were a result of a number of complaints that his department and law enforcement as a whole had received about some locations in Newberry County operating in violation of the law concerning their hours of operation. Foster said that more such compliance checks will be conducted and that those found in violation of the law will be charged.

At 12:25AM, officers entered the business known as Los Americas located at 2601 Wilson Road in Newberry. Once inside, the officers found nine people with open containers of alcohol. By South Carolina law, all alcohol sales and all open alcohol removed from the tables by 12:00AM.

The operator of the club was cited for an administrative violation of South Carolina Alcohol license laws, and all nine people were arrested and charged with Possession of Alcohol During Restricted Hours.

Foster also said that it appeared that most of those responsible and/or arrested for the incident may be illegally in the United States. Foster said that his officers are working to contact the Immigration and Naturalization Service and provide them the names and personal information on these people in hopes that agency will take further action against them.

Foster said that current federal law only allows local law enforcement to contact the Immigration and Naturalization Service and report the person. Any action to remove the person from the country must be taken by Federal Authorities.

Sheriff Foster identified those charged as:

Carlos R. Castillo, 30, of 3013 College Park Apartments B-2, Newberry, SC

Luis Raul Ensastigi, 26, of 105 Harding Street, Laurens, SC

Dexter Maurice Gallman, 38, of 2920 Dickert Street, Newberry, SC 29108

Orlando Isreal Martinez Herrera, 26, of 1626 Indian Land Apartments, Newberry, SC

Alfredo Lucas, 23, of 1714 Indian Land Apartments, Newberry, SC

Narciso A. Lucas, 37, of 601 Main Street, Newberry, SC

Eriberto Sanchez Vazquez, 43, of 1903 Indian Land Apartments, Newberry, SC

Rigoberto Lucas Ventura, 28, of 612 Oneal Street, Newberry, SC

Former County Employee Charged with Providing Illegal Drugs
to Inmates

(added 05/17/07)

A former Newberry County employee has been charged with providing illegal drugs to inmates that he was charged with supervising on a work crew.

Troy (NMN) Wadsworth (left), 41, of 207 Silverstreet Road, Silverstreet, SC, was arrested on May 16, 2007, and charged with Furnishing a Prisoner with Alcohol or Drugs and Conspiracy to Purchase or Distribute Narcotics. He was taken to the Newberry County Detention Center. A bond hearing was held late Wednesday afternoon and Wadsworth was released on a $10,000.00 personal appearance bond. His case will be scheduled for General Sessions Court by the Clerk of Court and the Eight Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

According to the arrest warrants, police allege that while Wadsworth was employed by the county that he on our about five different occasions did furnish illegal narcotics to inmates assigned to him on a grass cutting detail. In addition, he is charged with conspiring with the inmates to provide them the illegal drugs.

Wadsworth had been employed by Newberry County for approximately two years and worked in the maintenance department. He resigned his position with the county prior to the completion of the investigation.

Many of the county and state work crews and facilities utilize inmate labor to supplement their labor force. These inmates often perform janitorial, landscaping, lawn care, and similar functions at county and state facilities throughout the county. The use of inmate labor dramatically reduces the overall operation costs to the taxpayer and the inmates receive work credits towards reducing their sentences.

Inmates are assigned under the supervision of county or state employees during the times that they are away from the jail working at these jobs.

Sheriff Foster's Comments (re: meeting on building on Hwy. 219)
(added 05/17/07)

“There have now been repeated studies that all agree that there are major structural problems and extensive mold contamination with the building on Highway 219. My foremost concern has always been the health, safety, and well being of the men and women who make up the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office. Neither I nor anyone in this office has ever asked for a new building. We simply wanted a safe working environment for our employees, many of whom have documented illnesses caused directly by the contamination in the building. Our employees have endured tremendous hardship in this situation over and beyond the rigorous demands of law enforcement in today’s society. They have not complained about the extra work or difficult working environment that was created through absolutely no fault of their own. Meanwhile, this issue has nearly polarized our county and the building has become the unofficial icon of all that is wrong with government in Newberry County. Through all this adversity, the simple request has always been that we be given a safe location to do our job.”

“It always has been and I pledge that it will continue to be the goal of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office to provide the highest quality law enforcement services to the people of this great county. Together, law enforcement and the citizens of this county, have accomplished so very much. Because of our partnership, Newberry County is a nationally recognized standard of what can be accomplished when law enforcement and the community work together. Despite the adversity, we continue to be one of the safest places to live in South Carolina and maintain the highest clearance rate in the state on crimes that do occur.”

“When faced with a difficult situation, you have two choices; give in or adapt and overcome through perseverance. Because of the continued support of the people of Newberry County and the dedication of the men and women of this department, we have indeed adapted to the situation and together we continue to make Newberry County a safe place to live, work, and play for our families.”

“The building situation and whatever outcome may arise has been and continues to be in the hands of County Council. We only ask that we be given a safe place to work, and given that and the love, support, and prayers of the people of Newberry County we will continue to excel in law enforcement.”


Prosperity Resident Killed in Accident
(added 05/16/07)

A 17 YEAR OLD PROSPERITY RESIDENT WAS KILLED WEDNESDAY MORNING IN A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT. SHE HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED AS ERIKA DANIELLE SUTPHIN. A SPOKESMAN FOR THE SC HIGHWAY PATROL TOLD WKDK NEWS THAT THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED AT ABOUT 750AM ON KIBLER BRIDGE ROAD 2.6 MILES WEST OF LITTLE MTN. SUTPHIN, WHO WAS WEARING A SEAT BELT, WAS DRIVING A 2000 MITSUBISHI WHEN SHE LOST CONTROL IN A CURVE AND HIT A TREE.

Newberry County's New Tax Assessor (View in PDF Format)
*click here to download Adobe Acrobat Reader

Two Men Charged with Burglaries in Newberry County
(added on 05/10/07)

A suspicious vehicle call has once again led officers to arrest two men who are now charged with several burglaries in Newberry County.

Sheriff Lee Foster says that on Tuesday afternoon just before 5PM, officers were called to suspicious vehicle at a residence on Wilson Road in the Newberry section of Newberry County. Foster said that the homeowner’s son was passing by the home and noticed a suspicious vehicle parked near the gate across the driveway of the home, which is currently not occupied. Foster said that deputies arrived on scene in minutes and quickly surrounded the home. The two men surrendered to law enforcement at the home without incident.

Foster said that one of the two men was already a suspect in other burglaries in the area, and investigators began following a number of leads linking the two men to other burglaries.

Foster said that they were able to link the men through forensic evidence to a major burglary in the Whitmire area and additional stolen items from a burglary in the Maybinton section of the county.

The burglary in the Whitmire community occurred on April 8, 2007. Someone entered a maintenance work shed located near Satterwhite Street and stole a number of power tools, hand tools, generators, and other equipment valued at over $10,000.00. Investigators are still working to locate the stolen items and the recovery of some of the property is expected.

The burglary in the Maybinton community occurred between May 1 and May 4, 2007, at a summer home located on Peter’s Creek Road. Someone entered the home and took money, a purse, knives, silver, brass, and other personal items valued at over $1000.00. Foster said that they have recovered the purse, some of the knives, and other items. Like the other burglary, more recovery of property is anticipated.

The two men arrested have been identified as Thomas David Hueble III, 37, of 709 Broome Street, Whitmire, SC and Leonard Sartor, 49, of 136 Maybinton Road, Whitmire, SC. Both men are housed at the Newberry County Detention Center. Hueble, who is currently probation, had his bond set at $1000,000.00. Sartor’s bond was set at $80,000.00. Both men were still in custody as of this press release.

Foster said that the investigation into these burglaries and possibly other burglaries in ongoing. He said that he was confident that additional property would be recovered, and would not eliminate the possibility that there would additional arrests in the case.

“This was outstanding law enforcement work,” said Foster. “I would like to commend all the deputies and investigators who worked so tirelessly on these burglaries. The officers were able to quickly surround the home and take these suspects into custody and then the investigators armed with the new information attacked with dogged determination to bring these cases to a close.”

“I would also like to thank the citizen who called in with the information about the suspicious vehicle,” said Foster. “I know that it almost sounds cliche, but it would be absolutely impossible for the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office to enjoy its success with the citizens of Newberry County. We have worked to build relationships and bonds of trust that makes Newberry County great. It is this partnership that allows us to enjoy the lowest crime rate in the state and one of the highest clearance rates on crime in the state.”


City Council Work Session on May 9
(added on 05/10/07)

Newberry City Council held a work session last night to further discuss the proposed 07/08 city budget. The concensus at the meeting was to go forward with the 3.7 mill increase in property taxes, which fits under the cap established by the State Legislature last year. In this budget the council plans to codify the current policy of transfering 5% of gross receipts from the utility fund to the general fund. They also plan to phase-in additional transfer from the utility fund to the general fund. The 5% transfer acts like a franchise fee would for an outside utility and the additional transfer would be equivilant to the property taxes an outside utillity would pay for their polls, transformers,etc. This year the city expects to only transfer an additional $95,000 to balance the budget, however, this amount will grow each year with the property value of the system. If the transfer this year was based strickly on the property tax formula for utiltities the amount could be as much as $200,000.

City Manager Erik Budds stated that this year the utility fund would absorb this transfer, however, as this amount grows it could put pressure on utility rates. Any utility rate increase in the future due to this pressure would be mimimal and would be spread over all utility customers including residential, business and industrial and, of course, would be based on usage. This was the deciding factor for many councilmen as they chose the additional utility transfer instead of the proposed garbage fee increase that would only apply to residential collection across the board - no matter the volume of collection.

Council also approved $51,000 in expeniture cuts last night. The proposed budget included a 5% salary reserve to be implemented based on the new salary study and a cost-of-living and merit raise scale. This amount of money has been reduced to 4%. Council also agreed to a plan that would outsource utility billing. This would cut $11,000 capital cost for a new printer and would mean minimal transfer cost. One of the reasons council agreed to the outsourcing of the billing was because it would mean upgrading to a sealed envelope bill and moving away from the postcard billing system. Once implemented, bills will still be paid to City Hall but mailed by a separate service.

The proposed 07/08 budget still plans to use a nominal use of fund balance, however often has 3% savings at the end of the fiscal year thus limiting the actual use of the fund balance.

City Council also gave the nod to a 2.08% electric rate increase. This increase is a pass through of the increase in the electrical rate charge from PMPA and the cost of anticipated additional volume predicted for this next year. A 5% sewer rate increase was also given the go ahead. This increase will position the city for debt service on the planned $8 million rehabilitation of the waste water plant.

First reading of the 07/08 city budget should be on the agenda for Newberry City Council's next regular meeting on June 12 at 7pm in City Hall.

Newberry College Receives Grant
(added 05/09/07)

Christina McCartha, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Newberry College, will serve as Principal Investigator on a $140,701 grant received through the National Science Foundation. The grant will provide funds to purchase a key piece of instrumentation, a Gas Chromatograph with Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS), for the chemistry major with forensic science concentration, established in the fall of 2005. The major objectives of the grant are to integrate GC/MS into the laboratory, continue innovative teaching strategies, develop faculty expertise in forensics, and assess student learning.

The chemistry program has grown tremendously over the past few years from three chemistry majors in the fall of 2002 to 55 majors in the fall of 2007. The Chemistry faculty at Newberry College works in conjunction with the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the chief law enforcement agency in South Carolina, to continually develop a curriculum that includes forensic science professionals providing presentations to share their most recent field experiences. The GC/MS is a major piece of instrumentation used in the forensic crime lab to analyze drug, arson, paint chips, and toxicology samples. Students in all upper level chemistry classes and forensic classes will use the GC/MS. In addition, students in the Forensic Laboratory Techniques class will routinely use the instrument to identify unknown samples relevant to simulated scenarios.

“The grant we have received from the National Science Foundation will provide the kind of hands-on laboratory training that our students need,” said McCartha. “Having this kind of equipment in our lab creates a well-equipped learning environment that integrates research with education. Our students will graduate from Newberry College with the experience needed to enter the chemistry field.”

For all Newberry College news, visit www.newberry.edu.


2007 Local Legends T-Shirt Design Winner

(added 05/09/07) **Click here to view actual t-shirt designs

Local Legends is a contest celebrating local musical artists, but a local student of the visual arts put an image to the sound of Local Legends 2007. All high school art students in Newberry County were ask to participate in the Local Legends 2007 t-shirt design contest. A panel selected AJ Harry’s music eye design as their favorite from the entries for its graphic nature. One panel member pointed out the detail in the reversed out notes on the decorative spine.

AJ is a senior at Newberry High School who will be graduating this spring and attending Savannah College of Art & Design. He is the son of Van and Shelly Harry. His favorite medium is acrylic paint. He also designed the metal bulldog statue that now finds a home in front of the high school.

AJ’s art teacher at NHS is Ms. LeAnn Cole. Ms. Cole applied for and received a SC Arts Commission grant to bring in a world-renowned artist to work with the students on the metal structure. Also this spring, the busy lady took a group of students to France and Italy to view the European art masters.

As the t-shirt design winner, AJ will receive a $100 gift certificate from Armfield’s Office & School Supply and a gift certificate from Original Works Art Studio for art classes.

Two other entries were so good the panel added an honorable mention category to the competition. Hunter Hegler’s blues man in black and white pastels was very evocative of a musician in the middle of a solo. Casey Graham’s rocker chick reminds us that last year’s Local Legend winner broke the mold as the youngest performer to win the competition. Both students attend Mid-Carolina High School where Ms. Debbie Murphy teaches them.

The 2007 Local Legend musical finalists will be listed on the back of the t-shirts. Local Legends T-shirts with AJ’s music eye design can be ordered for $15 by calling WKDK at 803-276-2957 and will be available at the Local Legends Concert on August 11 at Newberry Opera House.


City Council Meeting on May 8
(added 05/09/07)

Newberry City Council met last night and approved second and final reading of an ordinance that extends the lease agreement with Newberry County Historical and Museum Society to include the historic powerhouse adjacent to the Coppock’s House off of Camelia St.

Council heard from Mr. Bill Owens with United Developers whose company has a planned development of 44 low to moderate income houses off of Drayton St. He asked Council to reconsider a decision made at the last meeting not to subsidize, waive fees, or endorse developments during their bid for tax credits through the State and HUD. Mayor Kyser said to Mr. Owens, “We don’t question the quality of the your project, we just don’t believe more housing is needed in the City.” Mr. Owens argued that his project could provide quality housing for those who currently live in sublevel housing for higher rents. He stated that the numbers he had proved that there is a need for more subsidized housing, but he admitted that the research did include individuals outside the city limits. Council denied the request and voted to confirm their decision not to endorse such projects.

City Council ratified a staff decision to provide water service to property located at 8287 SC Highway 121. They approved the natural resource element of the City’s Proposed Comprehensive Plan. And, they confirmed the recommendation that the City request Friend St. from Nance to the Railroad be removed from the State Maintenance System. This move would allow for the CDBG funded downtown landscaping to go forward as designed without state requirements for parking being informed on this dead-in section of the street.

Council recognized both Randy Black with the Utility Department and Joe McMorris with Public Works for their 20 years of service to the City.

Newberry City Council will hold a work session tonight 6pm at City Hall to further discuss the 07/08 budget.

For more on the proposed 07/08 budget stay tuned to AM 1240 and visit www.wkdk.com.

Following their regular scheduled meeting, Newberry City Council held a 07/08 budget work session last night. The budget as proposed by administration includes a general fund budget of $7.8 million. This is a 5.5% increase over the mid-year $7.4 million budget adjustments. The proposed 07/08 budget is actually only a $300,000 increase over the 06/07 budget as approved last June. Council cut the mid-year budget due to a drop in revenue below prediction including a $100,000 dip in auto tax collections.

City Manager Erik Budds stated that the $217,000 planned use of the fund balance does not worry him since the City usually has a 3% savings at the end of the fiscal year thus limiting the use of fund balance. However, he did state that the hope is to start donating to the emergency fund balance in upcoming years since the City like the County and School District is now capped by the State on how much they can raise taxes each year.

The proposed 07/08 budget does include the 3.7 mill increase allowed under the new state law calculations. It also includes a $3 per month increase in residential solid waste collection fee. This increase to $9 per month for residential plus the current commercial rates would bring the City near a break-even point on garbage and yard trash.

Mr. Budds stated that he had cut capital requests substantially. However, he did recommend the purchase of a new trash loader. This purchase would keep the City in their replacement rotation that has been established to limit maintenance cost and save the city from a year with multiple purchases. He also approved the purchase of a service truck for the fire department. Both items would be under a lease purchase plan.

The proposed 07/08 general fund budget does not include personnel increases. However, adjustments for vacancies that are now filled and new employees added during 06/07 are included along with merit/cost-of-living increases, reclassifications, worker’s comp increases, payroll taxes increases, and employer contributions to insurance increases. These add up to the largest increase in the general fund budget at $364,000.

Newberry City Council meets on May 9 at 6pm in City Hall to further discuss these general fund proposals and begin Utility Department discussion.

Deadbeat Parents Rounded Up in Newberry County
(added 05/04/07)

If you are behind on your court ordered child support, Sheriff Lee Foster and the officers of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office are looking for you.

“The men and women who chose to not pay they court ordered child support create an undue burden on their children and ultimately upon every taxpayer in Newberry County,” said Foster. “Their failure to pay this court ordered child support means that you and I, the taxpayer, must help support many of these children through public programs or the children go lacking. So, ultimately these people are committing a crime that makes all of us pay a substantial price and the children are forced to suffer through no fault of their own.”

The increased offensive on these parents kicked off in full force Thursday morning with a round up. Officers formed into teams and begin searching for Newberry County’s most wanted “dead beat” parents. By the end of the day, 20 people who together are responsible for more than $380,000 ($384,032.13) in unpaid child support were in custody and an additional 5 people were in custody on charges that arose from the operation.

“We have always actively pursued those who chose to not pay their court ordered child support,” said Sheriff Foster. “However, we are making an even more aggressive effort to actively pursue and bring to justice those who fail to support their own children and create an undue burden on each and every tax paying citizen.”

“I would also like to thank all of the men and women of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office who worked so hard yesterday and every day to apprehend these people and bring them to justice,” said Foster. “I would particularly like to thank Casey Bouknight and Daniel Floyd who orchestrated our round up including preparing of the warrants, photographs, and intelligence for the teams of officers. Everyone did a tremendous job and I am proud of what we have accomplished to continue to make a difference in Newberry County,” Foster concluded.

According to Sheriff Foster more arrests are expected and he pledged a continued push on locating and arresting those who fail to support their children and thereby create undue hardships on them and society.

Those arrested were:

Douglas E. Beaty, 42, of 101 Stapipe Street, Union, SC, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant and is $35,707.07 behind in child support.

Johnny Ray Bereley, 53, of 1230 Hillcrest Road, Newberry, SC, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant and is $7,453.45 behind in child support.

Timothy Caldwell, 38, of 5203 Macedonia Church Road, Prosperity, SC, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant and is $31,524.81 behind in child support.

Tobie Lorenzo Carter, 39, of 319 Boundary Street, Newberry, SC, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant and is $16,798.00 behind in child support.

Benjamin Chandler, 30, of 866 South Main Street, Prosperity, SC, charged with two Family Court Bench Warrants and is $19,830.17 and 6,605.53 behind in child support respectively.

Timothy Lamar Cromer, 40, of 1412 Drayton Street, Newberry, SC, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant and is $26,922.67 behind in child support.

Anthony Tyrone Davis, 32, of 3431 Chick Drive, Newberry, SC, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant and is $2,874.06 behind in child support.

Thomas E. Dorley, 46, of 218 Meadow Creek Road, Little Mountain, SC, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant and is $8,723.01 behind in child support.

James Evans Gallman, 48, of 163 Gallman Road, Prosperity, SC, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant and is $33,425.78 behind in child support.

Jermaine Gallman, 30, of 3765 Bethel Church Road, Prosperity, SC, charged with two Family Court Bench Warrants and is $2,186.88 and $4,820.21 behind in child support respectively.

Brent Greenwood, 32, of 204 Little Ranches Road, Newberry, SC, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant and is $375.65 behind in child support.

Deena Ann Griffin, 40, of 11015 Bush River Road, Newberry, SC, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant and is $236.88 behind in child support.

Letrevia Nicole Lindsay, 33, of 101 Boundary Street, Newberry, SC, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant and is $10,747.05 behind in child support.

Michael Douglas Mangrum, 50, of 8102 South Carolina Highway 121, Newberry, SC, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant and is $31,057.13 behind in child support.

Jeffery Elbert Tate, 39, of 684 Central School Road, Pomaria, SC, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant and is $13,317.71 behind in child support.

Joshua Derrick White, 26, of 83 Adam Tessenair Road, Newberry, SC, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant and is $6,449.07 behind in child support.

Zachary Paul White, 38, of 3556 Creek Street, Newberry, SC, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant and is $43,501.32 behind in child support.

Elmer Gene Wilson, 40, of 307 Forest Hill Drive, Prosperity, SC, charged with three Family Court Bench Warrants and is $21,513.78; $9,476.53; and $20,854.71 behind in child support.

Gerald Stanley Wise, 47, of 4505 Saint Lukes Church Road, Prosperity, SC, charged with a Family Court Bench Warrant and is $29,630.66 behind in child support.

Others arrested during the round up were:

Azalee Greenwood Armstrong, 72, of 204 Little Ranches Road, Newberry, SC, charged with Resisting Arrest and Hindering an Officer Serving Process.

Jackie Lynn Cannon Jr., 24, of 2516 Lockhart Highway, Union, SC, charged with Giving False Information to a Police Officer.

Joshua Raymous Gray, 20, of 361 Brown Chapel Drive, Newberry, SC, charged with Simple Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Robert Franklin Gregory, 28, of 113 Oak Street, Union, SC, charged with No Driver’s License in Possession and Trespassing.

Robert Allen Hershey, 29, of 808 College Street, Newberry, SC, charged with Magistrate Court Bench Warrants for Fraudulent Checks.

 

Fishing Rodeo for Handicapped Children and Adults
(added 05/02/07)

It is once again time for the annual fishing expedition for handicapped children and adults from throughout the Midlands area.

The annual event, which is sponsored by the U.S. Forestry Service, will take place on Friday and Saturday May 4th and 5th.

The fun will begin with children taking center stage on Friday from 8:30AM until 1:30PM. It should be an exciting day for all of the children, and according to organizers 152 children have already pre-registered for the event.

On Saturday, the focus shifts to adults enduring handicaps. Like Friday, the event will be from 8:30AM until 1:30PM.

If you have questions about the event or need additional information, please contact Amy Harper at (803) 276-4810 or (803) 924-1636.

The event will be held at the farm of Clyde and Frances Brown on Mt. Bethel Garmany near I-26.

Congressman Joe Wilson to Speak at Newberry Commencement
(added 05/02/07)

As the Newberry College spring semester comes to a close, plans for May Commencement are now confirmed. Joe Wilson, US Congressman for the 2nd District of South Carolina, will be the featured speaker at the ceremony on Saturday, May 12 at 2:30 p.m. in Eleazer Arena on the College campus.

From his involvement as a Teenage Republican at the High School of Charleston in 1962 to his current work in Congress, Congressman Joe Wilson has led a life dedicated to public service.

After graduating from the High School of Charleston, he received his undergraduate degree from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia and completed his law degree at the University of South Carolina. A real estate attorney by trade, Joe (left) was a founding partner of the West Columbia law firm Kirkland, Wilson, Moore, Taylor & Thomas.

His career in public service officially began when he served on the staffs of South Carolina legends Senator Strom Thurmond and Congressman Floyd Spence. As part of the visionary Ronald Reagan administration, Joe was Deputy General Counsel to the United States Department of Energy Secretary and former South Carolina Governor, Jim Edwards.

Throughout his life, Joe has also had a tremendous passion to serve his country as a member of the United States Armed Forces. After serving in the United States Army Reserves from 1972-1975, he also served in the South Carolina Army National Guard. In the summer of 2003, Joe retired as a Colonel, having served as a Staff Judge Advocate assigned to the 218th Mechanized Infantry Brigade. At the time, he was the only active Guard member serving in Congress.

Before being elected to the United States Congress in 2001, Joe served seventeen years, with perfect attendance, in the South Carolina State Senate where he was elected Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, the first Republican Chairman since Reconstruction.

Today, Joe serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the Committee on Education and Labor - where he serves as Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections - and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. He was appointed by the Republican Leader to the highly influential Republican Policy Committee and works as an Assistant Republican Whip. He is Co-Chair of the Bulgaria Caucus, the Caucus on India and Indian Americans, and the Victory in Iraq Caucus.

Joe is married to Roxanne Dusenbury McCrory, who continues to offer him strength and support in his every endeavor. They are the parents of four sons, all of whom serve in the U.S. military, and the proud grandparents of two boys.

For all Newberry College news, visit www.newberry.edu.

Music Department Receives Generous Gift
(added 05/01/07)

The Newberry College Music Department is pleased to announce the first installment of a series of gifts from a former music educator, Dr. Charles Lee. Dr. Lee and his wife, who currently reside in Greenville, South Carolina, have provided funding for the purchase of a Jupiter Sousaphone for use by the Newberry College Band for the fall 2007 season. Dr. Lee also announced that an additional three Sousaphones will follow at a one-per-year interval. The Lees are donating the funding for these expensive instruments from the Elbert W. Rogers Foundation.

Dr. Lee is the former director of bands at Morehead State University in Kentucky and became familiar with Bill Long, Newberry College Director of Bands and the Scarlet Spirit Marching Band, when he accompanied the Morehead State football team when they played the Indians last September. Long, a Sousaphone and tuba player himself, is overjoyed with the much-needed instrument and is deeply appreciative of the generous gift by the Lees on behalf of the Rogers Foundation.

If you are interested in donating an item or a monetary gift to the music department or any other academic department at Newberry College, please contact Jim Hale at 803-321-5141.

 

Copper Thieves Arrested
(added 04/30/07)

As the price of copper continues to rise, so too does the theft of these items. However, once again Newberry County Law Enforcement proves that crime does not pay.

Sheriff Lee Foster said that early Monday morning at around 3:00AM, a citizen past by West Electric located on Wilson Road in Newberry County. The citizen saw a black Chevrolet Trailblazer with a trailer at West Electric that looked out of place so the citizen called 911.

Foster said that as the first deputy arrived on scene, the officer saw a black male operating a fork lift on the yard of West Electric. The officer began to give the man verbal commands to stop the fork lift and surrender. As he was approaching the suspect on the fork lift, the officer then noticed a second suspect, a white male, standing at the back of the suspect vehicle. At this point back up arrived and the suspect at the vehicle was taken into custody.

Law enforcement officers from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and Newberry Police Department quickly arrived on scene and surrounded the business and adjacent storage area. The suspect who had been on the fork lift attempted to flee the scene but was apprehended as he attempted to climb over a fence and escape the area.

Sheriff Foster says that a third suspect was involved with the burglary, but that he was able to flee from the scene prior to law enforcement being able to surround the business. According to Foster, officers have identified the man, and arrest warrants will be issued for him today.

Foster identified the men arrested as Thomas Phillip Nabors, 23, of 507 Elm Street, Clinton, SC, and Calvin Lamont Hutchinson, 32, of 413 Textile Road, Spartanburg, SC. Both men were taken into custody at the scene and were taken to the Newberry County Detention Center. The men will be charged with Burglary, Grand Larceny, Possession of Burglary Tools, and Conspiracy. A bond hearing is expected to occur sometime later today.

Foster also said that warrants will be issued for Bryan Lee Roeker, of 207 Sprouce Street, Clinton, SC. Roeker will likewise be charged with Burglary, Grand Larceny, Possession of Burglary Tools, and Conspiracy. Roeker is thought to be residing in the Whitmire area now. Investigators are following leads in an effort to located and arrest Roeker. Anyone with information as to his whereabouts should contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 321-2222 immediately.

Foster said that the men were attempting to steal rolls of copper wire, and that law enforcement made a full recovery of all of the wire so that the business suffered no loss.

“I would like to thank the citizen who called in the information about the suspicious vehicle,” said Sheriff Foster. “He saw something that did not look right so he immediately called the police. It is a tremendous asset to law enforcement when citizens are willing to report unusual sightings, occurrences, and events to law enforcement. It is impossible for law enforcement to be in all places in all times and we rely on the people of this county who have willingly and whole heartedly stepped forward to be extra eyes and ears in the fight against crime.”

“I would also like to thank the Newberry City Police Department and the officers that responded to the scene,” said Foster. “Newberry County is often looked upon as the role model for the state and nation of how effective law enforcement can be when law enforcement agencies work together and communicate. Because of their assistance, we were able to double the manpower available to cover the area. This is an invaluable service particularly early on in the response when the suspects are trying to flee the area.”

“Ultimately, it is partnerships that make all the difference,” Foster concluded. “This is another in a long line of incidents that ended successfully because citizens and law enforcement worked together to make a difference. It is this type of partnership that makes Newberry County great, and it is my pledge as Sheriff to continue to work to increase the lines of communications that already exist and to continue to forge new partnerships as we make Newberry County a safe place to live, work, and play.”


IT Director Honored at Newberry College Awards Convocation
(added 04/26/07)

Newberry, SC, April 26, 2007: Marc Regier, Director of Information Technology, received the Sadie Crooks award presented at the annual Awards Day Convocation held April 19 at Newberry College. Each year, the representatives of the Newberry College Student Government Association single out faculty and staff members in recognition of their achievements and service to the College.

Named for the late Student Affairs staff member Sadie Lester Crooks, this award is given annually to a current faculty or staff member who has gone above and beyond the call of duty in dedication and service to Newberry College. Marc received this award in recognition of his devotion to the College and its entire student body and for his positive leadership throughout the year.

Marc was honored to receive this award. “Since the students are the major “customers” for the Office of Information Technology, it was a very special honor to receive this vote of confidence from them,” he said. “However, it is only because of the Administration’s remarkable investment in our IT infrastructure, with faculty and staff support, that it was possible to make this year a turning point in IT at Newberry and to deliver the quality of service that our entire academic community deserves.”

Marc first attended Newberry College from 1997 to 1999, during which time he also played on the men’s soccer team. He left the College early to begin a career as a computer network administrator in several secondary schools, including institutions with approximately the same size student body and faculty as Newberry College. From there, he helped establish a small computer network service business that served a variety of schools, non-profit organizations, and for-profit businesses. In addition, his business was also successful in obtaining Small Business Intervention Research contracts with the National Institutes of Health to support research training programs.

In January 2004, Marc returned to Newberry College to complete his undergraduate degree. In addition to his academic course load, he assisted several departments with computer issues and earned Dean’s list status. After the Director of Information Technology position was announced, several faculty members encouraged him to apply for the position. Given the remarkable similarity of the College’s needs and his prior training and experience, he considered this position as a wonderful opportunity to both serve the College and move into an IT career in Higher Education.

For all Newberry College news, visit www.newberry.edu.

Students from Various Academic Departments Recognized at Honors Convocation
(added 04/26/07)


Newberry, SC, April 26, 2007: On April 19, 2007, Newberry College held its annual Honors Convocation to recognize the achievements of students who excelled in academics, extra-curricular activities, and leadership in campus life. Several scholastic awards were given out as part of this Convocation.

Each year the CRC Press Company offers an award to the freshman chemistry student at Newberry College who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in chemistry during the academic year. The selection of the student is determined by performance in the classroom, leadership on campus, and service to the school and community. The recipient of this award, Jessica Lee, received a new edition of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics.

The Communications Department recognized two scholarship recipients during the Convocation. First, the winner of the Jimmie Coggins Sr. Memorial Scholarship Award was presented to Elliott Cox, who will serve as the station manager for the campus radio station during the 2007-2008 academic year. Second, the Department recognized Marie Waxel as the recipient of the South Carolina Broadcasters Association Electronic Journalism Scholarship. Marie received this scholarship because of her plans to build a career in radio or television journalism.

The Jerrol S. Oxner Endowed Business Merit Scholarship is a Merit Achievement Award given for excellence in scholastic achievement, for service to the College, and for potential in future academic accomplishment in graduate school leading to success in the business world and/or teaching at the college level. The Business Administration Department was pleased to announce that two students were chosen for the award. The students were Louise Wandabwa and Melynda Kesler.

Lacunae is the student literary and research journal of Newberry College. Dr. Melissa Johnson and Dr. Joseph Schaub, faculty co-editors, were pleased to announce the students selected by faculty judges for awards:

2007 Lacunae Award of Prose: Ike Hurley for his short story:
“The Truth and Nothing But.”

2007 Lacunae Award for Prose: Rachel Rentz for her short story:
“The Bell Tower.”

2007 Lacunae Award for Poetry: Emmanuel Hampton for his poem:
“I Am Not Black.”

For all Newberry College news, visit www.newberry.edu.

Chemistry Professor Selected for SCICU Award

South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) presents Excellence in Teaching Awards to honor a faculty member from each of the member colleges who demonstrates the highest standards of teaching methods. Because she encourages her students to strive for excellence in their studies and pursuits, the Newberry College recipient for 2007 is Dr. Christina McCartha, Assistant Professor of Chemistry.

Working under the direction of Dr. John Dawson, Dr. McCartha earned her B.S. in chemistry at the University of South Carolina where she synthesized fluorinated camphor derivatives. She earned her Ph.D. from Emory University followed by a five year post-doc under the direction of Dr. Craig Hill. During this time, she synthesized, characterized, and utilized porphyrin and polyoxometalate catalysts for complex redox reactions and antiviral therapies.

After some time off to raise her four children, Dr. McCartha continued her career in the fall of 2002 at Newberry College as an educator with a focus on development of the chemistry program. From fall 2002 to fall 2006, she worked as the only full-time faculty member to build the chemistry program from three chemistry majors to 43 majors. Under her leadership, the department grew to 3 full-time faculty and began an American Chemical Society Student Affiliate Chapter in the fall of 2004. The chapter has grown to 30 active student members and was recently recognized among the top 15% of chapters nationwide.

For the past three years, Dr. McCartha has taught chemistry to rising high school students at the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Math Summer Science Program through a week of hands-on activities. Having 12 years in leadership roles with the Girl Scouts, Dr. McCartha currently leads a group of Scouts ages 14-18. The group has hosted over 16 science events over the past eight years for girls ages 6-12 to promote Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM). Because of her success, she was selected as one of 40 NASA Girl Scout Master Trainers nationwide and promotes STEM activities for Girl Scouts through science events and education of troop leaders.

Dr. Jeffrey Stout, Provost at Newberry College, stated, “Dr. McCartha is the kind of scholar-teacher and contributor to the community that sets the standard for faculty hiring at the College. Her selflessness in pursuit of opportunities to touch her students intellectually and in service related activities is second to none.”

Dr. Mitchell Zais, President of Newberry College, added, “Tina McCartha is one of our most popular professors, not because she is easy, but because she visibly demonstrates that she cares deeply about each student.”

Newberry College is proud of the accomplishments Dr. McCartha has made in her department and congratulates her for being a recipient of the SCICU Excellence in Teaching Award.

For all Newberry College news visit www.newberry.edu.

Honor Society Members Inducted at Annual Convocation
(added 04/25/07)


Newberry, SC, April 25, 2007: On April 19, 2007, Newberry College held its annual Honors Convocation to recognize the achievements of students who excelled in academics, extra-curricular activities, and leadership in campus life. As part of this Convocation, fifteen seniors and one faculty member were inducted into the Bachman Honor Society.

The Bachman Honor Society was founded on March 15, 1962 by a group of faculty who were members of Phi Beta Kappa and others who were deeply committed to fostering high standards of scholarship. The society is named for the Reverend John Bachman, D.D., churchman and scholar and the main guiding force in the founding of Newberry College. Each year the Society inducts new members from the top ten percent of the senior class. The fifteen seniors chosen for membership this year included:

April Carolyn Ballard; Music Education; Niceville, Florida

Thomas Kevin Burke; PE/Sport Management; Newberry, South Carolina

Amy Ann Catalino; Theatre/Technical Production & Communications/Electronic Media & Art/Graphic Design; Smyrna, Delaware

Eva Cormann; Business Administration; Laaber, Germany

Andrew Wells Isenhower; Religion and Philosophy; Spartanburg, South Carolina

Sunshine Nicole Kaelin; Elementary Education; Clinton, South Carolina

Isabel Claudia Kreidler; PE/Sport Management & Business Administration; Horb, Germany

John Arthur Lesaine; PE/Sport Management; Manning, South Carolina

Melanie Ann Metze; Mathematics; Sumter, South Carolina

Kelly Denise Miller; Biology; Chapin, South Carolina

Jennifer Mary Parnow; Theatre/Directing & Communications/Public Relations; Charleston, South Carolina

Debra McCann Thomas; Religion; Statesville, North Carolina

Michelle Renee Turner; Art/Graphic Design; Hutchinson, Kansas

Olga V Kuzmenkova Warren; Business Administration & Applied Music; Smolensk, Russia

Jonelle Jo Yaklich; PE/Sport Management; LaSalle, Illinois

In addition to these 15 students, Dr. Brett Clark, Associate Professor of Biology, was also inducted.

Induction into the Bachman Honor Society is the highest academic honor a Newberry College student can receive.

For all Newberry College news, visit www.newberry.edu.

Cindy Johnson-Taylor Named Newberry College’s
Professor of the Year
(added 04/25/07)

Newberry, SC, April 24, 2007: Cindy Johnson-Taylor, Chair of the Newberry College Department of Education, was named the 2007 Professor of the Year at the annual Awards Day Convocation held April 19 at Newberry College. Each year, the representatives of the Newberry College Student Government Association single out a faculty member in recognition of their achievements and service to the College. Dr. Johnson-Taylor received this distinguished honor for her dedication to students and her ability to inspire future leaders.

Dr. Johnson-Taylor was stunned at the announcement because this is the first time a first-year faculty member has received this award. “While I am sure there are others on campus more deserving, I am extremely honored that the students think I am worthy of this award,” said Johnson-Taylor. “I have thought about the fact that it really isn't me that students are pleased with. While I might have been the catalyst for change, they are really proud of the strides we are making in our teacher education program.” She continued, “Having a strong teacher education program is not about just one person or a few people—it is an entire unit made up of eight programs that train teachers with lots of excellent faculty, staff and students. Our strong public school partnerships make us even better at what we do. We are marching toward becoming one of the strongest programs in the state and that is what students recognize and appreciate.”

Dr. Johnson-Taylor came to Newberry College from Winthrop University where she served as Director of the Teacher Education Program for nine years. Prior to entering the higher education arena, Dr. Johnson-Taylor was a high school assistant principal and a high school English teacher at Rock Hill High School. As Chair of the Department of Education at Newberry College, she maintains close ties with the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement (CERRA) as she serves as the Teacher Cadet College Partner Coordinator and advisor to the Newberry College Future Educators Association (FEA). She also teaches classes and holds the rank of associate professor.

Dr. Johnson-Taylor has served on the SC ADEPT task force and is recognized in the state as a driving force in teacher education and school leadership. She has been published in the areas of mentoring, teacher education and school leadership. Her most recent article, Next In Line: Preparing Assistant Principals to assume the role of Principal, was published in the April 2007 issue of Principal Leadership. She is also involved with SREB (Southern Regional Education Board) initiatives and is a certified trainer for SREB in the area of Leading Assessment and Instruction.

Her academic credentials include a Bachelor's Degree in English and a Master's Degree in Secondary Education from Winthrop University. She also has an Educational Specialist Degree from the University of South Carolina and an earned doctorate from the University of South Carolina, both in the field of Educational Leadership.

For all Newberry College news, visit www.newberry.edu.

Women’s League Provides Funding for Percussion Equipment
(added April 24, 2007)

Newberry, SC - April 24, 2007: The Newberry College Music Department is pleased to announce the purchase of new percussion equipment. This equipment purchase was made possible by a generous gift from the Newberry College Women’s League. The instruments will be used by both the concert and marching bands and will replace worn equipment that was falling apart.

“This gift was greatly appreciated by all members of the Music Department, particularly the percussionists,” said Bill Long, Director of Bands at Newberry College. “The equipment was put to use immediately in rehearsals for upcoming performances.”

The Women’s League graciously provided funding for the purchase of a set of marching tenor drums with a marching harness as well as a complete set of concert tom-toms and a set of concert timbales. Long said that the new equipment replaces instruments that had been in use back when Charles “Chief” Pruitt was the Band Director. “Although some of the older instruments were somewhat usable, it was a constant battle to keep them from falling apart,” Long commented. The addition of these new pieces will mean that the percussionists will now be able to focus on their playing rather than spending much of their time making repairs to worn equipment.

“The generosity of the Women’s League continually astounds and inspires not only the faculty and staff, but also the students of Newberry College,” said Long. “They are shining examples of dedication and support for our students and faculty. Therefore, on behalf of the Music Department students, staff, and faculty, we would like to express our deepest thanks to the Newberry College Women’s League for their kindness and support. We look forward to providing their members and our audiences with quality performances using this much-needed equipment.”

For all Newberry College news, visit www.newberry.edu.

Newberry College Students and Faculty to Perform Music with
Astor Piazzolla
(added April 24, 2007)

Newberry, SC, April 24, 2007: On Sunday, May 6, 2007 First United Methodist Church of Winnsboro will continue its bicentennial celebration with a concert of Argentine music. The concert will be held at 5:00 P.M. in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church.

An Afternoon with the Music of Astor Piazzolla will be presented by a quintet comprised of Newberry College faculty, current and former students. This unique ensemble (believed to be the first in SC to perform music solely of Piazzolla) is a product of Newberry College Director of Bands, Bill Long and Wanda Neese, Instructor of Music and Staff Accompanist. Long (tuba) and Neese (piano) collaborate with Robbie Madison on trumpet, Chris Wofford on saxophone, and Junior Eargle on trombone in order to create this unique musical group.

Astor Piazzolla was born in Argentina, but spent most of his childhood in New York. At a very young age he mastered the bandoneon (a cousin of the accordion) and the piano. He returned to Buenos Aires as a teenager in order to pursue his studies with the bandoneon and the art of the tango. Later he studied at the Paris Conservatory with world renowned music theorist, Nadia Boulanger who proclaimed him to be a world class composer. Piazzolla’s compositions incorporate traits of Baroque, Classical, 20th Century, Jazz, and Argentine Tango music. His music is being performed by famous musicians all across the world. The world’s interest in the music of Astor Piazzolla has fueled the revival of the Tango (both Argentine and Ballroom).

Nearly all SC premieres of Piazzolla works have taken place at Newberry College. Many were premiered by members of this Newberry College quintet. However, the SC premiere of Piazzolla’s Oblivion most likely took place at First United Methodist Church, performed by violinist, Pam Frish and pianist, Wanda Neese.

For all Newberry College news, visit www.newberry.edu.

German Student Invited to Hamm, Germany
(added April 24, 2007)

Newberry, SC, April 24, 2007: Bethany Poppe, a junior; valued tennis player; German and Spanish major and Coaching minor, has been invited by German industrialist Rainer Schilling, a member of the visiting German group, to be his guest in Germany next summer. Bethany will be part of the Newberry group traveling to its sister city, Hamm, in 2008.

This is Mr. Schilling’s second invitation. Last year he invited Keith James, a German minor. Keith acted as the translator for the non-German speaking members of the Newberry group and Ms. Poppe will do the same for the Newberry group in 2008.

Bethany is a very active student on campus and serves in several leadership positions. Together with another student, Bethany recently founded the International Student Organization (ISO). She is also president of her sorority Alpha Xi Delta, serves as a German tutor and was voted student of the month for March 2007. With her doubles partner Isabel Kreidler, an international student from Germany, she won important tennis matches this season that led to the team finishing second in the conference. In addition, she is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa Honors Fraternity and Blue Key Honors Society and has been on the South Atlantic Conference Honor Roll and the Dean’s List for five semesters.

Bethany will graduate in May 2008 and plans to either attend graduate school, study in Germany or start teaching.

“I am elated and very thankful to Mr. Schilling for this unique opportunity,” said Bethany. “This all came as a total surprise.”

Ms. Poppe will be the last German and also Spanish major to graduate from Newberry College.

For all Newberry College news, visit www.newberry.edu.


Newberry College Receives 2007 Community Partner Award
(added 04/10/07)

Newberry College was presented with the Girl Scout Council of the Congaree Area 2007 Community Partner Award on March 31 at the State Museum. The College graciously allowed the use of campus facilities for troop-level activities such as the use of the Summerland Honors House, the use of the chemistry department computer lab for Silver Award research, and the loan of scientific equipment for use at council-wide events by Cadette/Senior Group 967 for badge requirements.

Students at Newberry College also reached out directly to the Timberlane service unit troops. Kappa Delta Sorority members acted as activity leaders for younger troops in Newberry and as Studio 2B advisers with Girl Scout Troops (Grades 7-12) in Chapin. Chemistry majors assisted with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) events hosted by Cadette/Senior Group 967. In addition, students also reached out to the broader community by assisting with service projects for the local troops such as activities at Buddy Walk to promote Down Syndrome Awareness and at Family Connection Holiday Party for families with children with disabilities.

Students at the College will continue to support Girl Scouts when the American Chemical Society (ACS) Student Affiliate group hosts an Earth Day event, Recycling—Chemistry Can!, on April 21 for 50 Girl Scouts grades 7-12. This event will be funded through an Innovative Activities Grant from the ACS and a grant from the Newberry College Student Government Association.

Newberry College has also been instrumental in the merger of the Congaree, Old 96, and Piedmont Girl Scout Councils by opening their doors for large tri-council meetings, smaller training sessions, as well as use of their cafeteria services for those meetings. Accepting on behalf of Newberry College was Dr. Christina McCartha of the award winning chemistry department.

For all Newberry College news, visit www.newberry.edu.

NC Names Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs
(added 04/10/07)

Mitchell M. Zais, President of Newberry College, is pleased to announce that The Rev. Dr. Wayne Kannaday has been appointed as the Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs. A long-time professor of religion and philosophy at Newberry College, Dr. Kannaday will begin his role in the Academic Affairs office on May 13, 2007.

With an extensive background in academia, Dr. Kannaday earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Newberry College in 1975 where he served as Student Body President and graduated Summa Cum Laude. He furthered his education at the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary where he successfully completed his M.Div. in 1979. In addition, he has received his Master’s degree from the University of South Carolina (1993) and his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina (2002).

After attending seminary, Dr. Kannaday (right) was ordained on June 3, 1979. Upon being ordained, he served Mt. Hermon Lutheran Church in West Columbia from 1979-1988 and served as the SC Synod Interim Pastor while attending graduate school at USC.

Dr. Zais stated, “Wayne is clearly the right person at the right time for this important job as Newberry College continues to grow and improve its academic programs and offerings.”

“I am honored that Dr. Zais and the Board of Trustees have put their faith in me at this critical juncture for the College,” said Dr. Kannaday. “I will work very hard to maintain the progress that the College is demonstrating in our academic arena.”

The process to identify a permanent replacement will begin in the fall of 2007. The College will organize a search committee under the leadership of Mr. Wick Ashburn, Chair of the Academic Affairs and Honorary Degrees Committee of the Board of Trustees. The new Vice President will assume the role for the 2008-2009 academic year.


Newberry County Celebrates National Telecommunicator Week
(added 04/09/07)

National Telecommunicator Week is recognized during the second full week of April each year and is designed to honor the hard work and dedication of the nation’s 9-1-1 employees. This year, National Telecommunicator Week is observed from April 8th through the 14th.

The week honors the thousands of men and women who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipments, and render life-saving assistance to the citizens of the United States. Across the nation in times of intense personal crisis and community-wide disasters, the first access point for those seeking all classes of emergency services and homeland security information is 9-1-1.

Sheriff Lee Foster and the entire Newberry County Sheriff’s Office are proud to support our 9-1-1 Telecommunicators, who answer calls from the citizens and visitors to Newberry County day and night, holidays and weekends. These Telecommunicators help save numerous lives by insuring response to emergency calls, dispatching emergency professionals, providing moral support, and compassion to citizens in distress. These Telecommunicators are a vital link for our law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical operators by monitoring their activities by radio, providing them information and insuring their safety.

Each of these individuals have contributed substantially to the apprehension of criminals, suppression of fires and treatment of patients. With self-control under pressure and critical decision-making within seconds, these men and women’s commitment and devotion to their job helps to ensure the safety and security of all of Newberry's citizens and visitors, as well as all its emergency service members.

Many people don't stop to think about the faceless individual who answers the 9-1-1 call until they experience an actual emergency themselves. Telecommunicators are the “Unseen First Responders,” who provide a critical service to Newberry County while performing their duties with integrity, compassion, understanding and professionalism. We are enlisting your support in honoring these men and women for the role they play in making our county a safer place everyday!

 

Burglary and Chase in Newberry
(added 04/05/07)

An alert deputy sheriff checking property uncovered a burglary and theft at a local business that ended in a high speed pursuit and an almost 4.5 hour foot pursuit.

Deputy Chris Irons was checking property on Wilson Road just outside the city of Newberry when he observed a SUV leaving behind a local business at an extremely high rate of speed and in a reckless manner.

Deputy Irons attempted to stop the vehicle and the vehicle sped up to near 100 MPH west bound on US 76. As the vehicle approached Wicker's Greenhouses, the driver attempted to perform a dangerous turn around known as a "bootleg". This attempt would have taken him directly in the path of Deputy Irons’ patrol vehicle and would have had him heading back toward Newberry in the opposite direction. However, the driver of the suspect vehicle, JAMES ELLIS JONES crashed into a ditch and could not get out.

Jones and his accomplice, DORSEY DENDY, exited the vehicle and ran through a field with Irons in foot pursuit.

Bloodhounds from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office were summoned and Jones was captured approximately 250 yards from the point from which he fled. Deputies Robert Spreng, Ryan Dickert and Daniel Floyd found Jones hiding under a cedar tree and took him into custody.

Sheriff Foster called for additional bloodhounds and a helicopter from SLED to assist in the search.

Lt. Pete Johnson was assigned to a perimeter detail and noticed a subject matching the description running down the CSX railroad track several miles from where Jones was arrested.

In addition several residents started calling reporting sightings and the suspect knocking on doors.

As the bloodhound team was closing in on the suspect, the SLED helicopter noticed the subject in a field that had been forested and covered in thick underbrush and briars. The pilots of the helicopter directed officers to the area behind Moore’s Garage where they observed the suspect.

Sheriff Lee Foster, Deputies Robert Spreng, Ezra Arnold and Daniel Floyd along with Robert Plaxico (Laurens County), Robert Wilkie(Laurens County)and the SLED tracking team arrested DORSEY DENDY in a briar thicket just east of the Laurens County Line.

Investigators of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office determined that a large quantity of copper wire was stolen from West Electrical Contractors located on Wilson Road just outside of the City of Newberry. The wire was returned to the owners.

Sheriff Foster complimented the cooperative effort that lead to the capture of these two suspects. Our officers did not want to give up until both suspects were captured and the property was returned to its owners.

 

Newberry County Council Meeting on 04/04/07
(added 04/05/07)


Newberry County Council met last night and approved second reading of an ordinance that would move public comments to the end of the
council's regular agenda if it passes final reading. Second reading
passed with a 5 to 2 vote - Councilmen Mike Hawkins and John David
Dawkins voting in opposition. Hawkins stated that he might be able to
vote for the ordinance on final reading if some changes are made. He
went on to say that he hoped council wasn't "overreacting" due to the
personal attacks of the last several months. During first reading,
other council members stated that they supported the change because
it allowed for volunteers, county employees, and contract employees
who are paid by the hour to complete their businesses with council
before those who have not signed up in advance.

During public comments, Mr. Jim Huff questioned several sections of
the proposed changes to the agenda ordinance especially under the
rules of conduct for public comments. He stated that "not allowing
the public to ask questions gets into infrindgement of free speech."
Nancy Dickard, who presented the Council with bananas several
meetings ago stated that she knew the ordinance was about her and
that she didn't care if council put public comments at the very end
of the agenda after executive session. She said, "Y'all can stay in
executive session all night and I'll be here when you get out." The
official public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for the next
regular council meeting on April 18.

Second reading also passed to approve a non-exclusive road right of
way easement to Southeast Resource Recovery. This company is
operating the C&D Landfill near the Helena community. The road in
question allows for access to the landfill through county property
off Hwy 121 instead of off residential Drayton St. The company put
$150,000 towards the building of the road. They are expected to close
the current road into the landfill off of Drayton. Councilman Dawkins
asked that by final reading the ordinance confirm that the road off
of 121 is the sole entrance for the landfill.

Council renewed their contract with their independent auditors Rish &
Enzastiga for $34,000 annual cost and a $75 hourly rate. The audit
firm received the highest rating from the evaluation committee out of
the 5 firms under consideration.

County Auditor Nancy Owen, County Treasurer Judy Floyd, Clerk of
Court Jackie Bowers, and Probate Judge Kelly Nobles all came before
council last night to praise county employees and request the lifting
of the moratorium on merit raises. The freeze was enacted as part of
the mid-year budget cuts approved in January. County Council will
begin budget discussion at a work session on April 23.

Follow-Up to Ellie Halfacre Murder
(added 04/02/07; PM)

Investigators from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office originally operated under the premise that the vehicle driven by Pepper was stolen in the shooting incident in Greenville. It was later learned (and released to the media) that that vehicle actually belonged to Pepper. Pepper’s vehicle suffered some mechanical difficulty in the motor that caused him to stop on I 26 near Ms. Halfacre’s home.

The investigation has revealed that nothing other than the keys and Ms. Halfacre’s Buick automobile were stolen from the home. After working with family members and searching the home, all personal items that were believed to have been missing were located.

The family of Ms. Halfacre is still grieving and in mourning for their horrendous loss and are requesting no personal contact with the media. They have asked Sheriff Lee Foster to act as their family spokesperson until such a time that they feel strong enough to make a comment.

Sheriff Lee Foster said that this heinous act has taken a toll on the family and the community. Everyone is in shock over this incident and the useless loss of a loved one’s life.

More on Halfacre Murder...
(added 04/02/07; AM)

Demetrius Myshawn Pepper,24, of 800 Rhett Street in Greenville, SC was taken into custody Saturday just before noon by Columbia and University of South Carolina Police at Williams Brice Stadium. Pepper was in the Newberry County victim’s car when he was arrested.

Police say that Pepper started his morning in Greenville at about 7:30 in the morning when he went to a convenience store where he worked and shot a co-worker in the face. Pepper left the store and started driving on I-26.

When his car had mechanical trouble, he abandoned the vehicle on I-26 and walked from the car to the home of a retired school teacher who lived on a frontage road near I-26. At some point after going to the victim’s home, Pepper shot her in the head and killed.

Police identified the victim as Ellie Felker Halfacre, 60, of 185 Beaver Dam Drive, Newberry, SC. Police say that Halfacre died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head.

Pepper then stole the victim’s car and drove to the USC stadium where he was taken into custody after police there received a call about a suspicious vehicle.

Pepper remains in custody this morning at the Newberry County Detention Center charged with Murder. No bond hearing has been scheduled at this time. Since the possible punishment for Murder carries life in prison bond must be set by a Circuit Court Judge on motion by the defendant. No time frame has been given for this to occur and Newberry County does not have Circuit Court again until later this month.

Investigators from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office will be meeting with Eight Circuit Solicitor Jerry Peace and staff to determine what additional charges will be filed. An additional press release will be made once the additional charges are made.

“This was a tragic case,” said Sheriff Lee Foster. “He did not have to enter the victim’s home and he certainly did not have to kill her. If he wanted to still her car, the keys were in it in the yard. This was just a senseless random act of violence by a person who seemed bent on causing harm to others.”

No other information is available at this time. Additional releases and statements will be made as and if additional information becomes available.

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