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School Board Report
Posted: June 23, 2013


Newberry County School Board held their meeting last night.

Council approved allocation of $10,000 additional funds from the general fund to the band program to be disbursed as follows: $4,000 to Mid Carolina High School, $4,000 to Newberry High School, $2000 to Whitmire High School. Council discussed whether to disburse funds to the Band Boosters but decided to disburse to each school to facilitate accounting.

The board approved the personnel recommendations and contractual considerations from Executive Session.

Superintendent Bennett presented newest board member, Jessie Reeder, with a Certificate of Achievement for completion of Level 1 at her first conference.

The board approved first reading of the following School Board Policy Changes for Human Resources:
Policy GBEC Drug and Alcohol-Free Workplace
Policy GCO Evaluation of Professional Staff
Policy GCQE Retirement of Professional Staff
Policy GDQC Retirement of Support Staff
The board approved first reading of the following School Board Policy Changes for Student Services:
Policy JLDBB Self-Esteem Promotion/Suicide Prevention

The board agreed to clarify a wording issue before the next reading.

Mrs. Dowd gave a report on the budget stating that accrual transactions made before June 30 are not reflected in the totals and that it looks like the budget will balance.

Mr. Suber gave a report on the construction projects stating that they are still experiencing rain delays but erosion control is being tested. The paving is complete at the Career Center.

Superintendent Bennett reminded the board of the Back to School program scheduled August 15 at 11:00 am at Newberry High School.

Superintendent Bennett opened a discussion on graduation for the upcoming year. Due to the unpredictable weather of the last several years, his suggestion was to make a decision at the beginning of the year whether to hold graduation indoors or out in order to give families and schools the opportunity to plan ahead.


County Council Report
Posted: May 23, 2013


Newberry County Council met on Wednesday, May 22. After a public hearing on the subject, Council passed third reading of an ordinance to enlarge the Joint County Industrial Park of Newberry and Lexington Counties to include Lexington County Technology
Park Property.

After a public hearing on the subject, Council passed second reading of an ordinance to provide for the issuance and sale of General Obligation Bonds of Newberry County not to exceed $1,215,000 for EMS rolling stock and the public works project.

Council passed second reading of an ordinance enacting and adopting 2013 S-10 supplement to the Code of Ordinance for Newberry County.

Council approved purchase of an ambulance from the low bidder in the amount of $133,999.

Council approved moving the spare Pomaria Rescue Squad Vehicle to Consolidated Fire Department.

Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding between Piedmont Technical College and Newberry County for the installation of Mechatronics, a one year certification or a two year associate's degree program that incorporates mechanical engineering, robotics and computer engineering. Other
counties in the state utilizing this program have received support from business partnerships who invest in order train present and future employees through the program. One time cost to the county will be $515,000 for the initial equipment purchase with an annual cost of $25,000.

Council approved low bid of $14,000 from Moats Construction, LLC for Demolition of the Highway 219 building.

Council voted to request rebids for the Berley Road Bridge project because bids came in substantially over budget.

Consideration to approve low bid in the amount of $137,575 from ACS Construction Equipment for a front wheel loader for the public works department to use mostly in the mulch operation. The piece of equipment presently used is inadequate and expensive to repair. Several bids were received but Council disagreed on the choice because the second lowest loader was a Komatsu unit. Several council members expressed an interest in purchasing the Komatsu loader since it is manufactured in Newberry County. Council went into Executive session to discuss. After rescinding the initial action taken, council approved the low bid 5-2.

Council voted to surplus an abandoned boiler at the Newberry County Armory Building (the new Sheriff's Office) that was uncovered during the renovations.

Tommy Long gave a report from the Public Safety and Courts Committee held 5/06/13.

Mike Pisano gave a report from the Public Works and Planning Committee held 5/13/13

Anne Peters, Zoning Administrator, reported that the zoning code revision is almost completed. This new code will be easier to read and include diagrams and pictures and should be adopted by Labor Day.

A moment of silence was observed for the victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes.

Future meetings include:
Personnel and Intergovernmental Relations Committee – 6/3/13 @ 6:00 pm
County Council – 6/10/13 @ 7:00 pm
Budget Work Session – 6/10/13 @6:00 pm
"On the Move with Margaret" 6/17/13 @9:30 am
County Council – 6/19/13 @ 7:00 pm
Economic Development Committee – 6/24/13 @ 6:00 pm

City Council Report
Posted: April 10, 2013


Newberry City Council met Tuesday, April 9, at 7:00 pm. Jeff Shacker gave the financial report.

Council recognized the following people for their years of service:
Barry Bishop, Public Works Department – 5 years
Jeffrey Weyers, Utility Department – 5 years
Gene Shealy, Fire Department – 10 years
Jeff Shacker, Administrative Department

Newberry College Nursing Students gave a presentation of community health research projects. The students were divided into three groups with each group presenting different a different project. One group researched implementation of a flag football program to be added to the parks and recreation department. The second group researched the need for a citywide smoking ban. The third group researched a program to improve health by addressing the obesity problem that our community faces. Their solution included a Walking Trail Master Plan to connect all fifteen parks in the city.

Council passed second reading of the amended Fiscal Year 2012-2013 budget.

Council chose the low bid for the new electric substation transformer from three received after reviewing the choice they made last month. The low bid came from SPX Transformer
Solutions/Waukesha in Goldsboro, NC. Components and replacement parts from this company are more cost effective than the previous choice.

The Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee met Tuesday, April 2, to review requests for disbursement. The recommendations were awarded by Council to the Newberry Opera House for advertising, the City of Newberry for community promotions and the City of Newberry for promotion of Oktoberfest 2013.

Council approved modifications to the Utility Shop property on Louis Rich Drive that would accommodate the electric substation, the proposed water storage tank and relocation of the City's
warehouse from its current location on Nance Street to the Utility Shop property.

Council passed a resolution to appoint acting PMPA Board Members until the new City Manager is in place. Council also passed a resolution recognizing June 28, 2013 as "Carolina Day" throughout the city of Newberry.

Councilman Greg Summer tendered his resignation from City Council effective April 30, 2013. He has served on council since 2000. A special election will be held on July 30. Filing begins Friday, May 17, and closes Tuesday, May 28.

Council wished Jeff Shacker well as he finished his last council meeting with the City.

The next City Council meeting will be held May 7, 2013 at 7 pm in City Hall.

County Council Report
Posted: April 4, 2013


Newberry County Council met Wednesday, April 3, at 7 pm in the Annex Building. After making two amendments, Council passed second reading of an ordinance to lease certain buildings at the fairgrounds to the Jaycees.

After making two amendments, Council passed third reading of an ordinance to lease the former horse stables at the fairgrounds to the Newberry Pistol Club, Inc. for use as a shooting range and associated services.

Council passed second reading of an ordinance adopting the Administrative Policies and Procedures contained in the International Building Code and the National Electric Code after making several amendments to the previous copy.

Council approved second reading of a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement between Newbery County and Georgia Pacific Wood Products LLC in Prosperity. The project will invest no less than $64 million in the county and create at least 39 new, full time jobs.

A resolution was passed designating April 2013 as Fair Housing Month.

Future meetings include:
Finance Committee – 4/8/13 @ 7:00 pm
County Council – 4/17/13 @ 7:00 pm

School Board Report
Posted: March 26, 2013


Newberry County School Board met last night at the Learning Center. Newberry Schools were well represented in the National Career Development Association's Career Poster and Poetry Contest. Out of the over 350 entries Newberry County students and teachers received dozens of awards. Students were also presented awards for SC Science Olympiad. Awards were given to Junior Scholars as well.

Mr. Haynie was presented Athletic Principal of the Year and Mrs Westwood was awarded School Librarian Administrator of the year.
Finally, Mr. Bennett announced that nine Newberry Schools received state awards of either Palmetto Silver or Palmetto Gold.

A concerned parent spoke during the Public Forum regarding the restructuring of Middle Level Algebra 1 in order to make the course compliant with Common Core Standards. Her concern was that the
students who would be unable to take this course would be at a disadvantage later.

The board passed the first reading of the Procurement Policy and list of exemptions. The board passed first reading of Policy IKA (with revisions) which concerns the Grading Assessment Systems.

The board passed the adoption of new textbooks enVision Math – published by Pearson (2012) - 1st edition. These textbooks are aligned with the Common Core State Standards.

Mrs. Dowd gave the financial report and mentioned that the House Ways and Means Committee increased the student base cost from 2012 last year to 2101 in this year's budget. Mrs. Dowd also updated information requested by the board on cost of an additional SRO (School Resource Officer). The projected cost for each officer would be approximately $50,000 to $60,000
annually stating that it would not be cost effective to try to place this person before the end of this year.

Mr. Suber gave a report on the recent School Security Audits he and his team performed. He said there were places to improve but in general he was pleased with the results. He is in the process of receiving requests for proposals to install district wide access systems which include camera systems with intercom/video recording equipment to be monitored by the front receptionist. Board members were proud of Newberry High School's handling of the recent incident and praised the coordinated efforts of
local law enforcement to keep our children safe.

In closing, Superintendent Bennett reminded board members of the upcoming day at the Capitol. He also reminded the board that the one year contract with Boys and Girls Club is due to expire and to
consider whether they want to renew the contract.

School Board Report

Another Arrest Made In Bomb Threat Investigation
Posted: March 21, 2013


Another arrest has been made related to the bomb threat at Newberry High School.

A sixteen year old male was charged today with Conveying a Bomb Threat. He has been transported to the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia where he will be held awaiting a detention hearing.

This juvenile is the third person charged with the bomb threat that caused the school to be evacuated on Monday. The students were returned to the school after bomb sniffing dogs cleared to the school.

Authorities say that the three people arrested all acted together in conveying the threat.

Officers have remained on and around the campus for extra security over the last several days and according to school district personnel the school has returned to normal operation.

exchange clubCoggins Receives Golden Book of Deeds Award
Posted: March 21, 2013


The NewberryExchange Club presented the Book of Golden Deeds Award to WKDK's James P. "Jimmie" Coggins (right) at their Ladies Night dinner and meeting on Tuesday evening. The Book of Golden Deeds, which is the National Exchange Club's longest running project, recognizes dedicated volunteers who give endless hours of their time and talents toward making their communities better places to live. Shown presenting Coggins the award is Exchangite David Jenkins.

County Council Report

d kiblerTwo Arrests Made in Newberry High School Bomb Threat
Posted: March 19, 2013


Two Newberry High Schoolstudents are in custody this evening charged with making the bomb threat that caused Newberry High School to be evacuated Monday morning.

Daisha Kibler (right), 17, of 217 Bowles Road, Silverstreet, and a 16 year old juvenile were taken into custody this afternoon. Both will be charged with Conveying A Bomb Threat.

The arrests come at the end of the second day of alert at Newberry High School after the students called in a bomb threat to the main line of the school yesterday morning at 10:54am. The school was evacuated and the students sent to a safe location while bomb sniffing dogs came to the school and searched the campus. The students were brought back to the campus once it was declared safe and the all clear given.

Officers were back on campus this morning and along with school and district office personnel searched the campus before school began and stood by throughout the day so that students, faculty, and parents could feel more at ease about the safety and security of the campus.

“This was an all-out concentrated effort by many people,” said Sheriff Lee Foster. “I was amazed at how well all of our agencies worked so closely together to safely negotiate the serious incident and apprehend those responsible for this crime.”

“I have often said that I have never seen the level of such partnership and cooperation shared between a school district and law enforcement,” said Superintendent Bennie Bennett. “This incident served as proof of that relationship. The extraordinary effort of students, staff, and law enforcement to work together during difficult times was evident over the past two days.”

Both men made very positive comments about the students, teachers, staff, and law enforcement officers who worked so very hard to protect the campus and bring those who committed this crime to justice.

Daisha Kibler was taken to the Newberry County Detention Center where she will be formerly charged tomorrow and a bond hearing will be held sometime tomorrow afternoon. If convicted, Kibler faces a sentence on not less than 1 but not more than 10 years.

The juvenile was transported the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia where she will be held until a detention hearing is arranged through the Family Court of South Carolina. The juvenile’s charges will be adjudicated through the Family Court unless the charges are deemed serious enough and in the good of public interest to waive the juvenile to be tried as an adult.

Sheriff Foster said that they will also seek restitution for the manpower, equipment, and other costs associated with the response to such an incident. “It is not fair for the taxpayer to be forced to pay for the wrong doing of another so whenever possible we seek restitution for the costs associated with such an event,” said Foster.

Sheriff Foster said that more arrests are possible in the case.

tom perryCounty Council Report
Posted: March 7, 2013


Newberry County Council met March 6,2013, 7 pm, in the Annex Building.

Council read a proclamation declaring March 2013 as Disabilities Awareness month in Newberry County.

Mr. Tom Perry addressed council to thank them for Newberry County's involvement with Community Action for a Safer Tomorrow (CAST) regarding underage drinking.

Council read an ordinance acting on a request to amend the zoning map to rezone two parcels on Louis Rich Rd. near the airport totaling 6.667 acres from Rural (R2) to General Residential (RG). Click HERE for more.

UPDATE: Body of Missing Man Found; Brother Charged With Murder
Posted: 4:17 PM March 3, 2013


The search for the man missing since hawkinsFriday night has ended tragically. The body of the missing man was found today in a wooded area off Maple Knoll Court, which is just off Highway 391, in the Prosperity section of the county.

On Saturday afternoon, the family reported that Walter Tom Hawkins Jr (right), 56, of 126 Richburg Drive, Prosperity has been missing since Friday evening.

As investigators continued their investigation they begin to piece together clues that foul play may have been involved with the disappearance of Hawkins. The investigators found blood evidence near Hawkins’ home and began using a multi-faceted investigation in the search for Hawkins. The SLED helicopter, technology, and just plain old fashioned police leg work were crucial to the investigation. Investigators say that they searched throughout the night last night for the two men. The investigators also say that the family was instrumental in their cooperation and assistance in the case.

Investigators say that Hawkins’ brother, Daryl Richburg, 49, of 126 Richburg Drive, Prosperity, SC, was taken into custody short after 12pm today and will be charged with Murder in connection with the death of Walter Hawkins. Family members spotted Richburg in a wooded area near the home and were able to detain him until law enforcement officers could arrive on scene.

The Newberry County Coroner’s Office has arranged for an autopsy on Monday for the official determination of the cause of death.

No bond hearing has been scheduled at this time, although a first appearance for advisement of rights will likely occur sometime tomorrow after the official charges are filed.

The motive for the killing appears to have been a domestic- related argument between the two men. It appears that alcohol was a factor in the murder.


jazz festivalNewberry College Jazz Festival is Saturday
Posted: March 1, 2013


The Newberry College Jazz Festival, one of the oldest jazz festivals in the nation, will be held Saturday, March 2, in Wiles Chapel on the Newberry College campus.The festival will be held in collaboration with the South Carolina Band Directors Association (SCBDA) and will feature the Newberry College Jazz Big Band, two All-State high school bands, and world-famous jazz trombonist, Conrad Herwig. This is the 56th Annual Jazz Festival at the college.

Performances begin at 11:30 a.m. by the All-State Jazz Band under the direction of clinician, Lou Fischer. A second All-State Jazz Band takes the stage at 12:15 p.m. under the direction of clinician, Vince DiMartino. The All-State Bands are composed of outstanding high school musicians from throughout the state who have auditioned for the bands and have been chosen through a process adjudicated by the SCBDA.

The Newberry College Jazz Big Band, under the direction of Bill Long, performs with guest artist and world renowned trombonist, Conrad Herwig, at 1:00 p.m. Mr. Herwig is one of the greatest players in the history of jazz and is in high demand as a performer and artist in residence. He is a graduate of Queens College, New York, and is currently Professor of Jazz Trombone, Composition and Arranging in the prestigious jazz program at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He is also a visiting Professor of Jazz Studies at the Juilliard School, NYC.

The Jazz Festival will also feature middle school and high school bands from around the state. They will perform for ratings throughout the day, beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Alumni Music Center.

The Newberry College Jazz Big Band is under the direction of Associate Professor of Music, Bill Long. The South Carolina Band Directors Association representative for this event is Mark Yost from Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, S.C.

Schools represented in the Festival include A. C. Flora High School, Aiken High School, Ashley Ridge High School, Belton-Honea Path High School, Camden Middle School, Chapin High School, Charleston School of Arts, Crayton Middle School, Edgewood Middle School, Gilbert High School, Governor’s School of Science & Mathematics, Granard Middle School, Hartsville High School, Hilton Head High School, Irmo High School, Lexington High School, Lower Richland High School, Northwestern High School, Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School, Pelion High School, Pickens High School, Sandhills Middle School, Socastee High School, Spartanburg Day School, Swansea High School, T. L. Hanna High School, Wando High School, West Ashley High School, West Florence High School, Westside High School, and York Comprehensive High School.

School Board Report
Posted: February 26, 2013

ptcDedication of Newberry PTC Campus is Thursday
Posted: February 25, 2013


The new campus in Newberry isready to be put on display for the public. The dedication ceremony will be Thursday, February 28 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Refreshments and tours of the facility will be provided following a ribbon cutting ceremony. The public is invited to attend.

“All of us at Piedmont Technical College would like to thank the citizens of Newberry County for their support of this project,” said Jennifer Wilbanks, dean of county campuses at PTC. “I think everyone will be very happy with the campus when they see it.”

The new campus is 53,000 square feet, an increase from the 30,340 square feet of the old facility, and includes a larger library, a student canteen, two biology labs, four PEN rooms, two computer labs, 15 classrooms, a patient care technology lab and classroom and the veterinary technology wing that includes classroom, lab and kennel space. An additional 20,000 square feet remains for potential expansion.

“We are so excited with the campus,” said Marilyn Sease, director of the Newberry Campus. “Every student and visitor who has come in has been in awe of the new building.”

The Newberry County Campus is second only to the Greenwood campus for enrollment, and since the distance involved in commuting to the original campus in Greenwood can be prohibitive for some students, the college opened the current Newberry County Campus in order to bring the college’s offerings closer to Newberry residents.

Bulldogs Advance to State Championship!
Posted: February 23, 2013


The Newberry High School Bulldogs advance to the 2A State Championship next weekend, as they beat Keenan 76-60 in a game heard on WKDK and WKDK.com. The Dogs will play Lake Marion at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia next Saturday. Lake Marion beat Silver Bluff 68-61 in the Lower State Championship game on Saturday. More information coming Monday morning on WKDK and WKDK.com!

Harvey Appointed Interim City Manager
Posted: February 21, 2013


The City of Newberry announces the appointment of W.A. "Al" Harvey as Interim City Manager. Click HERE for press release (PDF format).


county councilCounty Council Report
Posted: February 20, 2013


Newberry County Council metFebruary 20, 2013, at 7 pm, in the Annex Building

Council presented awards to the following people for years of service:
Susan Emory, Sheriff's Office – 5 years
Carol Lively, Clerk of Court's Office – 20 years
Wesley Boland, Sheriff's Office – 20 years
Charles Wilbanks, Sheriff's Office – 30 years

Council passed third reading of an ordinance approving a loan from the South Carolina Public Service Authority to Newberry County to finance a portion of the cost of a building for economic development purposes. Councilmen Koon and Waldrop opposed. Click HERE for more.


New Vaccine Required for Seventh Graders
Posted: February 20, 2013 6:14 AM


Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, all students entering seventh grade must receive (or have received) a Tdap vaccine in order to attend school.  The newly required Tdap vaccine protects students from tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (pertussis).  This vaccine is routinely
recommended to be given at 11- 12 years of age; however, if Tdap vaccine is needed at an earlier age, a dose received on or after the seventh birthday will meet this requirement.  You must five your child’s school a South Carolina Certificate of Immunization, prior to the beginning of the next school year, to prove your child has had the vaccine.

Please avoid the last-minute rush.  Man an appointment with your rising seventh grader’s healthcare provider to get the newly required Tdap vaccine, along with other vaccines that are recommended for your child’s protection.

brian beckCity Council Report
Posted:
February 13, 2013 6:45 AM


Newberry City Council metTuesday night at 7:00 pm. Jeff Shacker gave the financial report stating that expenditures are on track with the budget.

Council recognized the following people for their years of service:
Alex Dowd, Utility Department – 5 years
Brian Beck (pictured above left), Fire Department – 10 years
Jackie Swindler, Police Department – 35 years

Special recognition was given to Jackie Swindler on behalf of the police department for receiving AAA's "2012 South Carolina Outstanding Traffic Safe Community" Award.

Special recognition was also given to Mrs. Joyce Vigus for her tremendous success and hard work in improving the City of Newberry's Christmas holiday decorations and programs.

Council approved a recommendation to award the Oakland Phase II Water and Sewer Rehabilitation contract to Trussell Brothers Construction Company, Inc., who came in with the low bid of $596,911.67. This is the second and final phase of water and sewer upgrades in the Oakland Mill Village. The concept is to integrate utility upgrades with street scape improvements so that we leave the neighborhood in better condition after the project than before.

Council passed a resolution authorizing reimbursement of certain expenses from the proceeds of debt to be issued by the City. These expenses are for the rehabilitation of the City's water treatment facility on the Saluda River, the installation of an additional water storage tank on the City's distribution system, and construction of an electric substation to meet the increased demands being placed on the system.

Council approved a recommendation to allow alcohol in designated areas of the Irish Fling event to be held Friday, March 15, from 6 pm until midnight. The festival area boundaries are as follows: Harrington and Martin Street to the North, Friend Street to the South, Livingston's Station and the old Transmission shop on Main Street to the East and Nance Street to the West. City staff will not close any City streets within the festival because there is a show at the Newberry Opera House at 8 pm. Additionally, the local taxi companies will maintain a presence if event participants need a ride home.

City staff gave several recommendations for Council to consider in order to further strengthen the community's positive perception of law enforcement.
1. Adoption of an ordinance authorizing sidewalk cafes in downtown Newberry.
2. Request a meeting with Newberry College to discuss student perceptions of downtown Newberry and law enforcement, and creative concepts to shuttle students from campus to downtown and other areas of the city.
3. Coordinate a meeting between downtown eating and drinking establishments to encourage the use of taxis and other arrangements to drive patrons home if the are in need of safe travel.
4. Implement additional community policing in downtown, at special events and gatherings to give our officers additional opportunities to have positive interactions with the public. City staff will also evaluate funding a community policing position specifically for this purpose.

Mayor Senn told attendees about City Manager Shacker's decision to leave his position in April. Council went into executive session to begin the contractual process for a replacement.




Fatality in Two-Car Accident; Shuts Down Part of Highway
Posted: February 6, 2013 7:50 PM


A two-car accident killed 57-year-old John Thomas Moran last night when his car was hit as he pulled out of a private driveway onto Highway 76 near Prosperity.

The collision happened a little after 7 p.m. Russell Hawkins Pitts, 46, of Prosperity was driving west on US 76 when his car struck Moran's car.

This had CR Koon Highway shut down north of Colony Church Road on Wednesday night. Prosperity Fire and Rescue along with SCHP and the Sheriff's Office closed the road for a while.

two-car accident killed 57-year-old John Thomas Moran last night when his car was hit as he pulled out of a private driveway onto Highway 76 near Prosperity.

The collision happened a little after 7 p.m. Russell Hawkins Pitts, 46, of Prosperity was driving west on US 76 when his car struck Moran's car.

This had CR Koon Highway shut down north of Colony Church Road on Wednesday night. Prosperity Fire and Rescue along with SCHP and the Sheriff's Office closed the road for a while.



County Council Report
Posted: March 21, 2013


Newberry County Council met March 20, 2013, 7 pm, in the Annex Building. Council passed third reading of the $2 mil Newberry County Public Facilities Corporation Installment Purchase Revenue Bond in order to proceed with the Spec Building in Mid Carolina Industrial Park in Prosperity.

After making several amendments, Council passed second reading of an ordinance to lease the former horse stables at the fairgrounds to the Newberry Pistol Club, Inc. for use as a shooting range and associated services.

After making several amendments, Council passed second reading of an ordinance to lease certain buildings at the fairgrounds to the Jaycees.

Council passed first reading of an ordinance adopting the Administrative Policies and Procedures contained in the International Building Code and the National Electric Code.

Council approved first reading of a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for Project Optimus, which they revealed is an expansion project by Georgia Pacific Wood Products LLC in Prosperity. The project will
invest not less than $64 million in the county and create at least 39 new, full time jobs.

Council read a proclamation declaring March 2013 as American Red Cross Month.

Council approved a request for proposals for a storm water prevention plan for the airport.

Council approved a request to place Goodwill Boxes at all Convenience Centers in the county. These boxes will reduce the amount of waste taken to the landfill, saving fees, and will help those less fortunate.

Mike Pisano, Public Works Director, gave a report from the Public Works and Planning Committee meeting held on 3/11/13.

Dr. Joel Sexton addressed council to thank them for their support of the Newberry Pistol Club. He stated that this program has been a positive influence in the lives of many young people who often
participate in competitions including three world championships. The Pistol Club provides a safe environment to learn proficiency and safe handling of firearms. Vic Torano also mentioned that the Pistol Club was formed in 1935, has approximately 80 members
who must be voting citizens, and in all the years of operation has had no firearm related injuries at the facility. There are also women's programs.

Future meetings include:
County Council – 4/3/13 @ 7:00 pm
County Council – 4/17/13 @ 7:00 pm

County Council Report
Posted: March 7, 2013


Newberry County Council met March 6, 2013, 7 pm, in the Annex Building.

Council read a proclamation declaring March 2013 as Disabilities Awareness month in Newberry County.

Mr. Tom Perry addressed council to thank them for Newberry County's involvement with Community Action for a Safer Tomorrow (CAST) regarding underage drinking.

Council read an ordinance acting on a request to amend the zoning map to rezone two parcels on Louis Rich Rd. near the airport totaling 6.667 acres from Rural (R2) to General Residential (RG). Council asked for a representative from the project to step forward to answer questions. Mr. Roderick Cummings, said units in the project would be market priced, but a portion would be subsidized by USDA if it was determined that prospective tenants were unable to pay the full amount. Other concerns mentioned by Council members included more traffic congestion, and greater demands on schools and law enforcement. Councilman Caldwell requested council vote on the ordinance which failed by a vote of 4-1. This request must remain dormant for one year before it can come before council again.

Council passed first reading of an ordinance to lease the former horse stables at the fairgrounds to the Newberry Pistol Club, Inc. for use as a shooting range and associated services.

Council approved a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for Project Optimus if the company locates in the county. The project will invest not less than $64 million in the county and create at least 39 new, full time jobs.

Council approved the name of "Mayer Creek" for an unnamed creek in Little Mountain. The stream is 2.5 miles long and is named for Floyd T. Mayer and Lila Agnes Shealy Mayer, who for more than 70
years owned the farm on which most of the stream is located.

Wanda Hill, Human Resource Director gave a report from the Personnel and Intergovernmental Relations Committee held on February 25, 2013. Steve Stockman was elected chairman for this year.

Mr. Jimmy Morris was signed up to speak for public comments. He thanked council for voting against the housing project near the airport. He lives in the neighborhood and was concerned about the affect of another project in the community. He posed the question' "What happens to the property when the maintaining entity is gone?" He was concerned that the government subsidized project would be detrimental to the community.

Ann Bernice, President of the Jaycees addressed council to remind them of the good works the Jaycees do. Some of the projects she mentioned were an adopt-a-highway program, several fundraisers for the Boys Farm, including outings hosted at Lake Murray, participation in the March of Dimes, Relay for Life and sponsoring the Christmas Parade.

Future meetings include:
Public Works and Planning Committee – 3/11/13 @ 6:00 pm
"On the Move with Margaret" - 3/18/13 @9:30 am
County Council – 3/20/13 @ 7:00 pm


School Board Report
Posted: February 26, 2013


Newberry County School Board met last night at the Learning Center. National Beta Club held their convention recently and Newberry County students earned many awards including overall 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place honors in Arts & Crafts. Two students were also honored for their selection and participation in the State Women's Honor Choir.

Laura Dukes spoke during the Public Forum regarding the proposed construction of the new Administration building near the Career Center.

The board passed the second draft of the 2013-2014 school calendar. The board also accepted a low bid of $3.855 million by Melloul, Blamey Construction, a Canadian company with an office in Greenville for the construction of the new Administration building. Also included in the bid was $290,000 for paving of a driveway that is gravel at the Career Center. The total for the building and paving project combined would be a total of $4.145 million with a 5% contingency built into the project. Also discussed before this topic closed was the fact that this project would take real estate from FFA. The board suggested replacing that real estate with equal or greater space.

During her financial report, Mrs. Dowd mentioned the latest student base cost as projected from the House Ways and Means Committee. This projected student base cost is not final as it has to go through the House of Representatives as part of the budget.
Mrs. Dowd also gave information, as requested by the board, on cost of an additional SRO (School Resource Officer). The projected cost for each officer would be approximately $60,000 annually or
$15,000 to $20,000 for the rest of this school year. One board member suggested replacing the SRO that recently left and adding a "floater" who would be able to visit several campuses. His main concern was for the rural campuses that are not as easily accesible to civic officers. Funding was an issue so the board decided to add this topic to the agenda for the March board meeting.

Dr. Downs gave a presentation regarding the restructuring of Middle Level Algebra 1 in order to make the course compliant with Common Core Standards.

In closing, Superintendent Bennett gave each attendee of the SCSBA Annual Conference an opportunity to report on their experiences at the conference.

County Council Report
Posted: February 20, 2013


Newberry County Council met February 20, 2013, at 7 pm, in the Annex Building

Council presented awards to the following people for years of service:
Susan Emory, Sheriff's Office – 5 years
Carol Lively, Clerk of Court's Office – 20 years
Wesley Boland, Sheriff's Office – 20 years
Charles Wilbanks, Sheriff's Office – 30 years

Council passed third reading of an ordinance approving a loan from the South Carolina Public Service Authority to Newberry County to finance a portion of the cost of a building for economic development
purposes. Councilmen Koon and Waldrop opposed.

Council passed a resolution authorizing an amendment to the Master Agreement governing the Greenwood-Newberry Industrial Park to expand the boundaries to include property in Newberry County and other related matters.

Council approved the 3rd quarter (FY2012-2013) appropriation in the amount of $18,000 to the Central SC Alliance as recommended by the Economic Development Committee on 2/11/13.

Bill Floyd, Rick Richardson, Bill Braswell and Reverend James Williams were reappointed to the Newberry County Disabilities and Special Needs Board.

Teresa Powers, Economic Development Director gave a report from the committee meeting 2/11/13.

Future meetings include:
Personnel and Intergovernmental Relations Committee – 2/25/13 @ 6:00 pm
County Council – 3/6/13 @ 7:00 pm
Public Works and Planning Committee – 3/11/13 @ 6:00 pm
"On the Move with Margaret" - 3/18/13 @9:30 am
County Council – 3/20/13 @ 7:00 pm


County Council Report
Posted: February 7, 2013


Newberry County Council met Wednesday night at 7 pm, Annex Building. Leslie Jenkins, Animal Control Manager gave an update on the Spay/Neuter program. Mike Pisano, Newberry County Public Works Director, reported that the new animal shelter is on
schedule to open in late spring. Mr. Pisano also mentioned that several measures like the air circulation system and finishing materials will help to lower mortality rates at the shelter.

Anne Peters, Zoning Administrator presented the 2013-2022 Comprehensive Plan that was adopted on December 5 by County Council. There are a total of 322 strategies for implementing the goals and objectives of the nine elements of this Comprehensive Plan. Long term goals are to implement these strategies over the next ten years. The next report will be presented at the second County Council meeting in January 2014.

Council unanimously passed a resolution to commission Code Enforcement Officers as granted in Section 4-9-145 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976 as amended.

Council approved purchase of protective clothing for fire departments in the amount of $34,991.62 from Posiden Supplies and Equipment. This was the low bid and came under the budgeted amount of $35,000.

Council voted to proceed with the Spec Building Engineering and Design Services by a vote of five for and two against. Jamie Frost, Alliance Consulting Engineers stated that the design base is 80%
complete.

Tommy Long, Emergency Services Coordinator, gave a report from the Public Safety and Courts Committee. There were three items on the agenda: acceptance of the low bid for purchase of protective
clothing for fire departments, an update on the Sheriff's Office building, and an update the armory in Whitmire.

When asked for comments by council members, Kirksey Koon recognized the exemplary efforts of the fire departments, Sheriff's department, emergency and all personnel involved in the efforts to save the church that was lost in the county recently. Councilman Koon thanked everyone for their dedication.

Upcoming meetings include:
Economic Development Committee – 2/11/13 @ 6:00 pm
County Council – 2/20/13 @ 7:00 pm
Personnel and Intergovernmental Relations Committee – 2/25/13 @ 6:00 pm

Man Armed With Pistol Arrested After Violent Fight With Deputy
Posted: February 6, 2013 7:35 PM


A man is in custody this morning after a violent struggle with law enforcement last night while he was armed with a pistol.

Trevor Denois Sligh, 24, of 2033 Shelly Street, Newberry, SC has been arrested for Assault and Battery on a Police Officer while Resisting Arrest, Possession of Crack Cocaine, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

The incident occurred at just after 11:30 pm last night when a Newberry County Deputy say a vehicle was driving without lights on Cottage Avenue in the Helena section of Newberry County. When the Deputy stopped the vehicle, he could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle so he called for backup.

When the deputy asked the subject, who was the driver and lone occupant of the vehicle, to step out of his vehicle, the subject attempted to reach into the pocket. The subject was told to stop, but within a few seconds was reaching for his pocket again and became very combative with the deputy. The deputy attempted to physically stop the suspect from going into his pocket and a violent struggle broke out. It was during this struggle that the deputy could feel that the item in the pocket was a pistol. The struggle continued for a short time then the officer attempted to use pepper spray and a Taser, which both were ineffective on the subject. The struggle continued until the suspect was able to land a blow with his elbow into the deputy’s face and nose. It was then the suspect broke free and fled on foot.

As other law enforcement officers arrived on scene, they established a search area and used bloodhounds to attempt to locate the subject without success. The suspect was taken into custody at about 9:30am this morning.

On a search of the suspect’s vehicle, the officers located both marijuana and crack cocaine in the vehicle. Investigators described the quantities as a small amount.

Criminal history records show that Sligh had previously been on probation for Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature in 2008.

“This was truly a fight for life or death,” said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster. “We are both fortunate and blessed that the deputy survived this incident because I am convinced that had the suspect been able to retrieve the weapon from his pocket, he would have shot the deputy.”

The deputy was treated and released from a local hospital. He was identified by the Sheriff’s Office as Matthew Womack. He has been with the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office since May of 2011.

AAA Carolinas Names Newberry a 2012 South Carolina Outstanding Traffic-Safe Community
Posted: February 5, 2013


The City of Newberry was Newberry AAAnamed a Grand Winner in the 2012 South Carolina Traffic Safe Community Awards by the AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Sergeant Chuck Rogers and Chief Jackie Swindler, Jr. of the Newberry Police Department accepted the award during a ceremony on Jan. 13, 2013, at Seawell’s in Columbia.
In all, 15 South Carolina communities were honored during the ninth-annual Traffic Safe Community awards luncheon hosted by the AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety. Newberry was the Grand Winner in the 10,000 – 30,000 Population category.

“One of the major issues the AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety is tackling this year is texting while driving, with a strong focus on teen drivers, a group who has grown up continuously connected to cell phones and computers,” said Angela Vogel Daley, Public Relations Manager for AAA Carolinas. “AAA Carolinas’ goal is to create a culture change among teens concerning texting while driving.”

The AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety provides awards in an effort to recognize those towns and cities that make a strong effort to make our state’s roads safer.
Colonel Michael Oliver, commander of the South Carolina Highway Patrol, and Phil Riley, from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, congratulated and honored local law enforcement and community representatives.

Body of Missing Man Found on Wednesday Afternoon
Posted: January 30, 2013


The body of a man reported missing was found approximately 1240 Wednesday in Lake Murray at the Black's Bridge (SC 391). The individual had been reported missing by friends and family members early Wednesday morning. The individual's truck was found on the side of the road at the bridge. A sonar device on the Newberry County Sheriff's Office boat that was purchased through a grant detected the body in approximately 10 feet of water. Divers from DNR assisted by divers from the Newberry County Water Rescue team, Newberry and Saluda County Sheriff's Offices assisted in the recovery. Newberry County Coroner Craig Newton is on the scene to determine the circumstances around the death. The posting of the identification is being withheld pending notification of family.



fowlerSuspect Arrested for Impersonating Police Officer, Claiming to Be Private Investigator
Posted: January 28, 2013


A man is in custody for impersonating a police officer after he represented himself as a personal body guard to Governor
Haley.

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint that a suspect was presenting himself as a SLED agent assigned to the Governor’s Security Task Force.

During the investigation, investigators also learned that the suspect had identified himself as a licensed Private Investigator, when in fact he is not, and had presented several business cards to people in the community soliciting business as WSF Investigations.

The suspect was identified as William Scott Fowler, 39, of 201 Newberry Drive, Chapin, SC. Investigators learned that Fowler was convicted of Forgery in 1992, of Impersonating an Officer in 1995, of Credit Card Theft in 1995, Defrauding a Federally Insured Institution in 1998, and number fraudulent check convictions.

Based on the witness statements and the evidence obtained, Investigators interviewed Fowler who admitted to the allegations. Fowler was charged by the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office with Impersonating A Police Officer. He was also charged with Soliciting Business as a Private Investigator by the State Law Enforcement Division.

Additionally, SLED charged Fowler with Forgery and Filing a False Affidavit with the Department of Motor Vehicles after it was learned he forged documents to obtain a Fraternal Order of Police license plate.

Investigators are still working with state and federal authorities and additional charges may be filed.

Fowler was taken into custody late Friday afternoon. His bond has been set at $10,000.00.

Investigators are asking anyone who had contact with Fowler during which he identified himself as a police officer or offered private investigator services to contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 321-2222.



attaway_hammSchool Board Report
Posted: January 29, 2013


Superintendent Bennett with LeeAttaway (center) and Jody Hamm (right). Attaway and Hamm were honored for their years of service on the Board.

Newberry County School Board met last night at the Learning Center.
Board members lected to allow the officers to remain in the same positions as last year.

Emily Huggins, math teacher at Newberry High School, and Christie Allison, kindergarten teacher at Little Mountain Elementary, were recognized for receiving their National Board Certification.

The superintendent and the School District of Newberry County were recognized at the annual South Carolina Employee Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) award banquet. An application for
recognition was submitted by Tim Lyden, Chief Warrant Officer III and Commander of the 208th Army Band. The Above and Beyond award is given to employers at the state and local level who have gone above and beyond the legal requirements for granting leave and providing support for military duty by their Guard and Reserve employees. There were only 15 total awards given this year.

Outgoing board member, Mr. Gregg Taylor, was presented with a certificate in thanks for serving for the past 10 years.

Mr. Lee Attaway was presented with a certificate and pin for 15 years of service on the board.

Mr. Jody Hamm was presented with a certificate and pin for 10 years of service on the board.

Superintendent Bennett noted that January is School Board appreciation month. In honor of the School Board, books will be donated throughout the district in each board member's name.

Dr. Downs gave a report on the School Plans for Improvement. Principals from Mid-Carolina High, Newberry County Career Center, and Newberry High School each gave a short presentation on how
their schools plan to improve.

Mrs. Dowd gave the financial report.

Mr. Suber of the operations department reported that Newberry High School construction is nearly complete. The architect has sent the letter for "Certificate of Occupancy." The project has entered the close out phase.

Mr. Suber also gave a detailed overview of the district's security measures, stating that the district has been proactive in securing necessary systems and training to keep students and staff safe.
Major Todd Johnson of Newberry County Sheriff's Department, recognized across the country for Crisis Incident Training, has been a valuable asset to this process.

The 2013-2014 school calendar is ready for review and will be online by the end of the week. The public is encouraged to go online and review the calendar and make suggestions before it is finalized in February.

Superintendent Bennett gave a an update on items on the legislative agenda including: tax deductions for private schools, limited concealed carry on campus, resource officers provided by the state, and affects of freedom of information requests.


suspect 0125 suspect2 0125
Two in Custody for Series of Burglaries; More Arrests Anticipated
Posted: January 25, 2013

Two suspects have been charged in a series of burglaries in the Fox Run housing community and more arrests are expected.

Since the first week in January, six burglaries were reported in the Fox Run housing community. Investigators were working in the community to solve burglaries, and the break they needed came on January 15 when a citizen saw two black males leaving the Fox Run development carrying flat screen televisions. The citizen called 911 and officers saturated the area and searched using Bloodhounds for the suspects.

Although, the suspects were not located at that time the freshly generated community interest and media attention caused many citizens to call in with information about the case. This information and substantial follow up by the investigators culminated Thursday evening with the arrest of the two suspects. Both suspects have been charged with Burglary and Larceny.

The suspects were breaking into homes through windows and taking money, televisions, and video gaming systems.

The suspects are identified as:

Xavious Tyshawn Robinson, 19, of 189 Hendrix Road, Newberry, SC, who is charged with one count of Burglary 1st Degree, one count of Burglary 2nd Degree, and two counts of Larceny.

Desmond Alonzo Coleman, 16, of 228 Wood Lane, Newberry, SC, who is charged with five counts of Burglary 2nd Degree and four counts of Larceny. Coleman is charged as an adult automatically under South Carolina law because the punishment for the offense carries a possible punishment of 15 year or more.

Robinson is being held at the Newberry County Detention Center on a $10,000.00 cash/surety bond. Although Coleman is charged as an adult, he is still treated as a juvenile for detention purposes so he was released to the custody of his parents on a personal appearance bond.

At least one additional arrest is expected in this case, and additional updates will be issued as the investigation continues.



Calling Scam Offering Grants and Tax Rebates
Posted: January 21, 2013


Males and females are currently calling phones using number 233-333-3333 with thick accents (possibly Carribean) stating they are from the federal government in Washington, DC and are offering grants in varying amounts.

They often bait the caller by saying they are getting a tax refund. After that , they want personal information and a Visa number. If allowed to go further in the conversation, they will also request that you send in money.

This is a scam. Do not give out any personal information. It is very easy for a scammer to get phone numbers, and the best way to handle these callers is to hang up.


caldwellCounty Council Report; Caldwell Honored for Service
Posted:
January 16, 2013


Newberry County Council metJanuary 16 at 7 pm in the Annex Building. Council gave a presentation to honor Councilman John Caldwell for his 30 years of service. County Administrator Wayne Adams noted that Councilman Caldwell is the longest serving member in the history of Newberry County Council.

Mr. Adams read a letter of congratulations from State Representative Walt McLeod. Former Council members Henry Summer and Mike Hawkins shared some highlights of their service with Councilman Caldwell.

Councilman Caldwell addressed council, saying "don't ever let anyone run down the United States of America. Don't ever forget from whence you have come. If you want to be a success, you can do it in America. I am proof." He also recognized his wife as an inspiration and guide in his life. "She's my mother—she tells me what to do and what not to do." He had a large group of friends and family in attendance.

Council read an ordinance to amend the official zoning map to rezone two and three tenths (2.3) acres of a real estate parcel containing just over one hundred twenty-two acres (122.9) from rural (R2) to Limited Commercial. This is approximately one mile of paved road near Jollystreet between Highway
121 and Highway 176. The Planning commission is not in agreement with staff on the recommendation to rezone and voted unanimously in opposition. The family whose property is in question was not in attendance when the vote was taken but several neighbors were and spoke in opposition. Council
decided at the request of Les Hipp to table the ordinance until a letter is received from the family.

Council approved the 2012/2013 Budget Calendar. Council also approved the 2013 County Council Committee Schedule with the stipulation that newly elected Councilman Scott Cain will take the place of his predecessor and also be on the Economic Development Committee.

Another comment of note came from Kirksey Koon who mentioned a certain Chief Deputy who has just retired. Councilman Koon thanked the deputy for his many years of service.

Upcoming meetings include:
County Council – 2/6/13 @ 7:00 pm
Economic Development Committee – 2/11/13 @ 6:00 pm
County Council – 2/20/13 @ 7:00 pm
Personnel and Intergovernmental Relations Committee – 2/25/13 @ 6:00 pm




kiswireKiswire Officially Announces Expansion
Posted: January 11, 2013


Kiswire Inc., a maker of steel cord for thetire industry, will expand its manufacturing operations in Newberry County. The first phase will involve a $15 million investment that is expected to generate 30 new jobs.

“We are excited about this opportunity to expand our manufacturing operations in Newberry County. South Carolina has provided a great home for our company for more than a decade, giving us an excellent business environment and a talented workforce. We look forward to continuing to grow in South Carolina and appreciate all the support we’ve received from state and local officials,” said Dave Minnick, president of Kiswire Inc. Kiswire is located in Newberry County and will add a new manufacturing facility that will be located on U.S. Hwy 76. The company expects to begin construction on the building this quarter and begin production at the facility by the end of 2013.

“We celebrate Kiswire’s decision to invest $15 million and create more than 30 jobs in Newberry. Existing businesses like Kiswire continue to choose to increase their footprint in South Carolina, and that shows the strength of our business-friendly climate and strong workforce. Announcements like today’s indicate we’re on the right track with our economic development efforts,” said Gov. Nikki Haley.

Company officials said that the recent growth of the tire industry in South Carolina was a driving factor leading to the expansion.

“Today’s announcement is a great example of the further impacts we’re seeing from the investments made by the tire industry firms in the past two years. Kiswire’s decision to expand its Newberry County operations also provides another boost for our state’s manufacturing renaissance,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.

Since January 2011, South Carolina has recruited more than $7 billion in capital investment and more than 20,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector.

We have been fortunate to have Kiswire in our community for more than a decade,” said Newberry County Council Chairman and Central SC Alliance Vice Chairman Henry “Buddy” H. Livingston III. “The fact that they chose Newberry County for this new product line is very gratifying. The company’s expansion will provide great job opportunities for our citizens, and allow us to build on our relationship with one of the finest international companies in this region.”

The company will begin hiring for the new positions in May. Anyone interested in job opportunities with the company should contact SC Works office located at 833 Main St. in Newberry at that time.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved a Governor’s Closing Fund grant of $550,000 for site preparation and road work, and approved job development credits, which will be available when hiring targets are met.

Kiswire Inc. manufactures steel wire and bead wire. The company was founded in 1999 and is based in Newberry. Kiswire Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Kiswire Co. Ltd. which is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. For more information about the company, please visit www.kiswire.com.

st paul frontSpecial Souper Bowl Collection for
St. Paul
Posted: January 15, 2013


Organized by a church youth group inColumbia in 1990, the Souper Bowlof Caring has raised tens of millions of dollars over the years to help those in their time of need.

This annual event is held on the same day as the actual Super Bowl game which will be played this year on February 3.

Thousands of churches throughout all 50 states participate in this each year as their youth designate where the collection is to be sent.

St. Paul Lutheran Church recently was completely destroyed by fire. A discussion on the internet site Facebook almost immediately began on how churches in Newberry County could promote the collection of funds for St. Paul in their rebuilding project.

It was suggested that Newberry County unite together as one on Souper Bowl Sunday to collect money for our fellow citizens during their time of need.


If your church would like to take up a collection on that day to send to St. Paul, either of the following addresses will get the money to the proper authorities:

St. Paul Lutheran Church
2496 SC Highway 773
Pomaria, SC 29126-8831

or

St. Paul Church Restoration Fund
First Community Bank
P.O. Box 417
Newberry, SC 29108

Photo courtesy of Wendy Bedenbaugh/Special to WKDK

 

st paul SundayLarge Crowd Gathers for Services at
St. Paul
Posted: January 13, 2013


A crowd of around 600 people came to worship this morning at St. Paul Lutheran Church. The remains of the church building in the background, congregation members and community supporters, with their chairs in hand, attended the 11 AM services.
Photo courtesy of Wendy Bedenbaugh/Special to WKDK



st paulMajor Fire Claims St. Paul Lutheran Church
Posted:
January 10, 2013


A major fire took place earlier todayat the historical granite church in the Prosperity area-St. Paul Lutheran Church. St. Paul is located at the intersection of Highway 773 and I-26, off of Exit 82 of I-26. Firefighters were called at around 6:30 this morning, and firefighters from Newberrry County and Lexington County were on the scene to try to control the fire. The building, however, was destroyed from the fire. Officials from Newberry County Law Enforcement, SLED, and the Bureau of Firearms were on the scene to try to determine the cause of the fire.
Photo courtesy of Sheriff Lee Foster

councilCity Council Report
Posted:
January 9, 2013

Newberry City
Council held their monthly meetinglast evening at City Hall. Jeff Shacker gave the financial report that represents 50% of Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Expenditures
appear on track with the budget although some adjustments will be needed for the remaining quarters.

Council recognized the following people for their years of service:
Brad Rikard, Utility Department – 10 years
Adrian Navarrete, Police Department – 5 years
Andy Rowe, Police Department – 10 years
Niele Andrews, Police Department – 15 years
Michael Kennedy, Police Department – 15 years

Janet Long, PRT Department, Wyse Hill, PRT Department, Columbus Gary, Public Works Department were recognized for their recent retirement.

Council held a public hearing regarding an ordinance to rezone eight parcels, two High Density Residential (R-6) and six Light Industrial (LI) to General Commercial (GC). The business owner from Domino's was concerned about the type of business going into one of the vacant buildings stating that the Domino's franchise contract prohibits them from operating within a certain distance from liquor or porn businesses. He also asked if the zone change would result in a tax change, which it wouldn't. Council assured the owner the new business would be a landscape supply company.

There were two people signed up to address Council. First, Mr. Potts asked for updates on an over aggressive issue with the city police force. Councilman DuBose is still researching this issue and will report during the February Council meeting. Another issue he asked about was a foot patrol officer
which City Manager Shacker is working on with Chief Swindler.

The second person signed up to address Council was Kathy Kyzer who said she asked several people why they didn't come downtown for New Year's Eve and she was told they were afraid. She also made some positive points about new benches on Main Street and the addition of the new Kiosk near the
Opera House. She reminded Council of a meeting at the Flying Pie Wednesday night that is intended to give businesses and Council a forum for ideas and solutions to the problems downtown business owners face.

Council passed second reading regarding the ordinance to rezone eight parcels, two High Density Residential (R-6) and six Light Industrial (LI) to General Commercial (GC).

Council approved the FY2013-2014 Budget Calendar.
Council also approved the meeting dates and work sessions.
Council passed a resolution to adopt the 2013-2014 Legislative agenda of Municipal Association of South Carolina (MASC). Additionally, Council approved the topics for the January 15, 2013 Council Work Session.

palmoreSheriff's Office Finalist for National Freedom Award
Posted: January 8, 2013


The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office was named a finalist for the2012 National Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their outstanding support of employees serving in the Guard and Reserve.

Each year, Guard and Reserve employees, or a family member acting on their behalf, have the opportunity to nominate their employer for the Freedom Award. Wesley Palmore, who is Lieutenant with the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, nominated the agency this year. Wesley is a Captain in the South Carolina National Guard and is currently on active duty in Afghanistan.

“We are proud of Wesley and all that he accomplished in both areas of his service,” said Foster. “Our thoughts and prayers continue with him and his family and pray that he will return home quickly and safely.”

Renwick Featured in Top Agent Magazine
Click
HERE to see full article (PDF Format)

sheriff fosterArea Officials Take Oath of Office on Thursday
Posted: January 3, 2013


Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster, Newberry CountyCoroner Craig Newton, and Newberry County Clerk of Court Jackie Bowers each took the Oath of Office to begin their newly elected terms in their respective positions on January 3 at 4 pm in the Court Room of the Newberry County Court House.

jackie bowersSheriff Foster begins his seventh term, likewise Mrs. Bowers begins her seventh term as Clerk of Court, and Craig Newton begins his second term as Coroner.

The ceremony was followed by an opportunity to speak with the Elected Officials at a social that included light refreshments.

The oath was administered by the Honorable Eugene C. Griffith III, Circuit Court Judge in the Eighth Judicial Circuit and craig newtonthe Honorable John Kittredge, Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Pictured at oath ceremony with family members (top to bottom): Sheriff Foster, Jackie Bowers, and Craig Newton


 



County Council Report
Posted: January 3, 2013


Newberry County Council met January 2 at 7 pm in the Annex Building. The Honorable Eugene C. Griffith administered the Oath of Office for the following new or returning County Council members: Scott Cain – District 1, Steve Stockman – District 2, Kirksey Koon –
District 4, and Les Hipp – District 5. Many family members and friends were present to witness the ceremony.

Henry H. "Buddy" Livingston, III was re-elected as Chairman for 2013. Kirksey Koon was re-elected as Vice-Chairman for 2013.

Public hearing was held on an ordinance ratifying the existing Multi-County Park agreements between Newberry County and Greenwood county. After the hearing was closed, the ordinance passed third reading.

No one spoke at a public hearing of an ordinance to amend the official zoning map to rezone a ten acre portion of a 220.89 acre parcel from rural (R2) to Single Family Residential (RS2). After the hearing was closed, council passed third reading of the ordinance.
No one spoke at a public hearing of an ordinance to amend the official zoning map to rezone (A) a 13.57 acre parcel, and (B) 3.26 acres and 8.01 acres, both portions of a 61 acre real estate parcel for a total of 24.84 acres to be rezoned from rural to basic industrial (BI). After the public hearing, council passed third reading of the ordinance.

Council approved the 2013 County Council meeting schedule for meetings to continue on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 7:00 pm.

When asked for comments, Wayne Adams, County Administer, welcomed newest member Scott Cain to council. Councilman Cain mentioned that it was an honor and a privilege to serve and that he discovered during his yearlong campaign that the people of his district have great pride in their county, their council, and their land. He also thanked his wife, family and friends for their help and support.

Another comment of note came from Kirksey Koon who mentioned a certain Chief Deputy who has just retired. Councilman Koon thanked the deputy for his many years of service.

Upcoming meetings include:
Public Safety and Courts Committee – 1/14/13 @ 6:00 pm
County Council – 1/16/13 @ 7:00 pm


jerry wrightWright Retiring; Named Chief Deputy Emeritus
Posted: December 28, 2012


Twenty four years ago, Jerry Wright left a job as an instructor at the South CarolinaCriminal Justice Academy to follow his friend Lee Foster to Newberry County. Foster had just been elected Sheriff and Wright would become his Chief Deputy.

Sheriff elect Foster was to continue to serve the county that he lived in and loved his entire life. For Wright, the scenario was different.

“Jerry was a good friend, leader, and had outstanding abilities in law enforcement,” said Sheriff Foster. “He was a natural selection and the last 24 years have served as affirmation time and time again of that decision.”

Jerry Wright began his law enforcement career in 1974 as a deputy with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office. Wright quickly moved through the ranks from patrol, investigations, to second in command of the warrant division.

In 1985, Wright left the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office to become an instructor at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. There he served as an instructor on firearms, driving, and practical problems. Wright’s leadership and foresight is still seen at the police academy as a version driving course he designed while at the academy is still in use today. Every police officer certified in South Carolina has had to complete this course to become certified since 1986. It was at the academy that Wright became friends with Lee Foster, who was also an instructor at the academy at that time.

When Sheriff Foster was elected Sheriff, he asked his friend Jerry Wright to move to Newberry County and become his Chief Deputy. Wright talked about the decision with his wife, Judy, and they decided he would accept the offer. Wright describes the decision as one of the best he ever made.

“I did not have the privilege of growing up in Newberry County, but I am so thankful that my family is now able to call Newberry County home,” said Wright. “This is an absolutely wonderful community and I thank God for the people, our church, and all that makes Newberry County so special.”

During his law enforcement career, Jerry Wright has been instrumental to every major criminal investigation of the Sheriff’s Office. His thoughtful insight and input has been extremely important to many investigations such as the Vicki Lander Beckham murder case as well as many others. Wright’s law enforcement abilities are seen in every aspect of his job performance and he has brought great changes to many aspects of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office during his time as Chief Deputy.

Jerry Wright has been named the Law Enforcement Officer of the year by the Newberry Exchange Club, Midlands Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1, and the State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Wright has also been extremely active with the Fraternal Order of Police. Wright said that he joined the organization 1976 and has been a member since that time. He has served as local Lodge President for 10 years, State Secretary, State Vice President, and was the State President for 11 years. He has also served on the National Board of Directors for 23 years.

Jerry and his wife Judy have been married 34 years and now they make their home in Chappells. They have two children who are now grown, Clay and Nikki. Clay serves in the United States Marine Corps and Nikki makes her home in Ninety Six.

Jerry Wright holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Professional Sciences from the University of South Carolina.

Wright will retire on December 31 after 38 years in law enforcement. Wright says that he wants to spend time playing golf and traveling with his wife.

“Jerry Wright’s contributions to law enforcement and to Newberry County will be felt long after he is gone,” said Sheriff Foster. “He has truly been a major factor in making the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office one of South Carolina’s premiere law enforcement agencies and I along with every officer of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office would like to say thank you and pray God’s richest blessings for Jerry and his family as they enter into this new chapter of their life.”

Sheriff Foster has named Jerry Wright Chief Deputy Emeritus, meaning he is retired but will maintain the professional title as a symbol of honor and respect for a job extremely well done.

When asked about a reflection of his law enforcement career, Wright said, “It has not always been easy, but it has always been rewarding. I have made many life-long friends and it has been an amazing journey."

Jerry plans to continue to make his home in the Chappells section of Newberry County saying, “This is now home to me and my family.”

There will be a drop in for Chief Deputy Emeritus Jerry Wright on Thursday, January 3 at the Newberry County Court House Annex from 2-4 PM. The drop in is open to the public.

Operation Santa Clause Another Huge Success!
Posted: December 23, 2012


Sheriff Lee Foster is touting another successful operation. This time it is a different kind of law enforcement operation.

For many years, the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office has conducted Operation Santa Clause to help bring joy and hope to those less fortunate children throughout Newberry County. This year more than 200 children from across Newberry County received toys and more importantly saw that their community and their law enforcement officers truly care about them.

“As the economy has worsened, the need for services has increased,” said Sheriff Lee Foster. “Yet, every year the citizens and businesses of Newberry County are able to step up and make sure that those who need a helping hand can still get one.”

Foster said that special things like Operation Santa Clause are what make Newberry County so very special. “It is the reliance of good people to rise to the needs of others time and time again that refresh your confidence in your fellow person,” said Foster. “In a negative world, there are still positives if you simply chose to look for them and to be a part of the solution.”

“The looks on the children’s faces are priceless,” Foster continued. “It is a great reminder for those who are so very blessed to appreciate what we do have rather than complaining about what we do not have.”

“We would like to thank everyone who supported and participated in this year’s operation,” said Foster. “We are truly working together to make Newberry County a better place through our partnership. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone and I pray it is a safe and wonderful holiday season.”

Law Enforcement, School District Continue Partnership to Provide Safe Schools
Posted: December 17, 2012


At right: Little Mountain Elementary School in Newberry County

The tragedy on Friday in Connecticut has left many parents alittle mountainskingquestions about the safety of the children as they returned to school this morning.

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster and School District of Newberry County Superintendent Bennie Bennett want to assure parents throughout Newberry County that their children are indeed safe as they attend school.

According to both men, Newberry County has received both state and national recognition for its partnerships, preparation, planning, and mitigation of critical incidents that might occur at schools.

“We have long understood that you cannot have Homeland Security without Home Town Security,” said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster. “These events shock us to our very core because the attacker uses the thing we hold dear, our children, and a place we desire to feel safe, our schools, to create the greatest possible shock factor possible. We have joined forces with the School District, Law Enforcement, and Public Safety to say we are united in our love for our children and our commitment to keep them safe in every way possible.”

“It is impossible for our children to be educated, if they fear for their safety,” said Superintendent Bennie Bennett. “Our desire is to create an environment where every child has the potential to be successful and we understand that having a comprehensive safety plan that includes recognition of warning signs, controlling environmental factors like access points to the school, and planning our response to such an incident are absolutely a critical portion of creating that successful environment.”

There are school resource officers stationed at each high School and middle School in the county, and those officers do respond to the other campuses as certain situations might dictate.

Every school in the school district is required to practice at least one lock down drill a year, and at least once a year law enforcement officers across Newberry County conduct drills where they simulate responding to an active shooter in the school environment. In addition, the school district, law enforcement, and all aspects of Public Safety have developed a comprehensive response plan that encompasses all foreseeable aspects of an incident such as this.

Training classes are taught by law enforcement officers not just on how to prepare and respond, but on the warning signs that someone might be ready to commit an act of violence.

“Many of the school shooters have shown significant warning signs that they were considering an act of violence,” said Major Todd Johnson of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, who is on the National Institute of Justice’s School Safety Technical Working Group. “In more than 80% of these shootings, the shooter had significantly alarmed someone they were close to; however, that person chose not to act. Early intervention is the key to stopping these acts from occurring.”

Johnson went on to say that on Friday in Oklahoma a student was about to carry out a similar attack on a school, but the attack was thwarted when a fellow student reported his unusual behavior and the school and law enforcement were able to intervene.

School and law enforcement officials are aware that parents send their most precious possession into the schools every day! By placing school resource officers on the campuses of middle and high schools, implementing comprehensive plans, practicing these plans; the citizens of Newberry County can rest assured that their trust is never taken lightly.

“May we prepare for the worst and pray for the best as we protect our children and prepare them for the future,” said Foster.


City Council Report
Posted: December 12, 2012


Click HERE to see Mayor Foster Senn's City Update/ Special to WKDK

Newberry City Council held their monthly meeting last night at City Hall. Jeff Shacker accepted a copy of the book "Newberry, South Carolina, Homes and Gardens" presented by Robert Summer, owner of Summer Media. The book highlights homes and gardens that have been featured in "Newberry Magazine." Copies may be purchased at Summer Media.

Jeff Shacker gave the financial report that represents roughly 42% of Fiscal Year 2012-2013. Expenditures appear on track with the budget.

Brad Rikard was scheduled to be recognized for his ten years of service, but due to a water line break, was working to repair the break. He will be recognized during next month's council meeting.

Ms. Sheryl Medders of Mckinley, Cooper and Company, LLP presented Council with an overview of the FY2011-2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The audit report format continues to reflect GASB-34 Accounting Standards. Included in the report was a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Reporting. The firm is very particular in awarding this certificate.

Ms. Denise "Neicy" Polifrone, owner of the Blue Moon and resident of Main Street, gave a brief update on downtown revitalization efforts and told council a Downtown Business Workshop is
scheduled for this week. Ms. Polifrone suggested using email to communicate with businesses. She also asked if several council members could be present at the workshop to encourage a variety of ideas to promote downtown business growth.

Clark Kyzer gave an emotional presentation imploring council to take action to bring businesses back to a dying downtown. Several suggestions he offered included moving the Christmas parade from 11 am to 4 pm and combining it with a festival. He also mentioned street scape projects, adding more benches, replacing trash cans and dog waste containers. He also mentioned downtown directories for out-of-town visitors to find things to do.

Mayor Senn asked Jeff Shacker to address some of the issues mentioned. Mr. Shacker said several items were easy to implement, like ordering benches, and others would be discussed at the workshop.

After a public hearing, Council passed second reading to amend the text of the zoning ordinance of the city to eliminate permissibility of multi-family residential development within the general commercial
zoning district.

Council passed second reading to amend the future land use map and zoning map of the city for four parcels located at (1) College Park Apartments, Kendall Rd, (2) Springfield Place, Springfield Circle,
(3) Newberry Arms Apartments, Wilson Rd, and (4) Vacant Parcel, 428 Wilson Rd. Parcels (1), (3), and (4) are currently zoned general commercial and parcel (2) is currently zoned medium density
residential.

Council passed second reading to amend the zoning ordinance of the city to limit the size, number and location of LED (light emitting diode) signs. Future text may clarify multi tenant signage.
Council passed first reading of an ordinance to rezone eight parcels, two High Density Residential (R- 6) and six Light Industrial (LI) to General Commercial (GC).

Council approved the 2013 jury list as required by South Carolina State law and ordered from the South Carolina Election Commission.

Council appointed Mr. Clayton Palmer, pastry chef at Cathy's Cakery, to the local Accommodations Tax Advisory Commission. This is to fill a vacancy created when Mr. Don Ringer resigned.


toy runAnnual Toy Run on Saturday
Posted:
December 10, 2012


The 2012 Toy Run took place over theweekend, as bikersrode from Chapin to downtown Newberry on Saturday afternoon.

One biker said that the run stretched down Highway 76 for over three miles of bikers.

Photo courtesy of Ted B. Williams/ Special to WKDK

 









Johnson Receives Excellence Award
Posted: December 7, 2012


todd johnsonTodd Johnson of theNewberryCounty Sheriff's Department was awarded the Strom Thurmond Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement on Friday. This was presented from the US Attorney General's Office and the Strom Thurmond Foundation. Pictured (left to right): Jerry Wright, Todd Johnson, and Sheriff Lee Foster.

Christmas Parade Scenes
Photos from the Newberry and Prosperity Christmas Parades
Updated December 4 @ 5:35 PM


jaycees_priceNewberry Christmas Parade Kicks Off Season on Saturday
Posted: December 1, 2012


The Newberry Christmas Paradekicked off the holiday season in downtown Newberry Saturday morning. The parade is sponsored by the Newberry Jaycees. Prizes were awarded to the best walkers, best vehicle, and best float in the parade. The winners in these categories were Cassidy Price (shown here with Haley McBride Stuhr of the Newberry Jaycees)-Best Car, the Newberry High School JROTC-Best Walkers, and the Newberry 4-H Club-Best Float. A podcast of the parade is now available on our Podcast page.

The Prosperity Christmas Parade was Sunday at 3 PM in downtown Prosperity. Check out the podcast of the Prosperity Christmas Parade on our Podcast page as well!



Mayor Foster Senn's City Update


School Board Report
Posted: December 11, 2012
5:40 AM

The Newberry County School Board met last night at the Learning Center. Attorney Kyle Parker of Pope & Hudgens Law Firm administered the Oath of Office taken by new board member Jessie Reeder.

In the Special Recognition segment, twenty two students made perfect scores on sections of the PASS test. Click here to see a listing of those students receiving special recognition.

Kevin Madden of the auditing firm Green, Finney & Horton gave a presentation outlining results from the NCSD Financial Audit on June 30, 2012. Highlights from the presentation included:
• Healthy financial condition at June 30, 2012
• Fund Balance for the General Fund increased by $870 thousand
• Received GFOA and ASBO Awards for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the 15th year in a row.

Judy Epps and Phil Spotts were recommended as members to the NICE board.

Mrs. Dowd gave the financial report. Mr. Bennett thanked Mrs. Dowd for the attention she and her staff pay to detail that has resulted in a favorable report for so many years.

Mr. Suber of the operations department reported that the masonry and roof is complete. The theater carpet is expected to ship on December 17 or 18. After the carpet is placed, the seating will be installed. The project is moving along nicely but is still about a month behind schedule.

Dr. Downs reported on the state report card results using an Absolute rating and Growth rating. The district was given an overall Average rating and Dr. Downs stated she was pleased with these results.

Several members attended a School Board Association Conference and reported their observations. Most voiced concerns about the unwillingness of State School Superintendent Mick Zais to speak with the School Board Association. They were also concerned about the upcoming "federal budget cliff" and
noted that state and local districts are in danger of losing federal dollars. All who attended the conference said that after speaking with board members from other districts throughout the state that they were proud of Newberry's School District.

School Board Recognitions (December 10, 2012)
Posted: December 11, 2012
5:44 AM

Mid-Carolina Middle
Christy Webb-1st place Visual Arts
Georgia Summer – 1st place US History

On November 3, 2012 two Mid-Carolina Middle School 6th grade students competed in the State Education Day in Florence, SC. This was a statewide event sponsored by the Boys and Girls Club.

Christy Webb placed first in the Visual Arts competition. She had one hour to draw a new logo for the Boys and Girls Club using pencil and paper only.

Georgia Summer placed first in the US History competition. She was given an initial timed test at school and then she was selected at the state level. She was given a second timed test competing against students her age and older and she placed first. She also competed in an art competition through the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands. Her artwork was selected to represent the Boys and Girls Club out of 2,500 members. Georgia’s artwork will be displayed on a published than you card which will be given to every Turkey Day Run participant on Thanksgiving Day.

Perfect PASS Scores

Twenty-two students from across the district received perfect scores on the 2011-2012 PASS test.  The Palmetto Assessment of State Standards tests are administered each year to public school students in grades three through eight.  Each student, their family and their teachers share the credit for this significant accomplishment.

Students from Newberry County with perfect scores are:

Boundary Street Elementary:  Aubrey Grace Lindsay – English

Little Mountain Elementary: 

Charlotte Cecilia Delk – English and Math
Jarrett Nicholas Delk – Math

Mid-Carolina Middle: 
Madison Reid Brigman – Social Studies
Ivy Love Crumpton – English and Science
Derrick Hamilton Livingston - Writing
Grant Harleston Mays – Social Studies
Anya Elizabeth Mundell - Science   
Harrison Shelby Sheely – English
Joshua Blancher - English

Newberry Middle:   
Alejandra Martinez – Writing
William Thomas Rumfelt – Math
Taylor Marie Smith – English
Shelby Alexis Summer – English

Pomaria-Garmany Elementary: 
Wesley David Livingston – Math
Jacob Kenneth Shealy –English
Bailey Aurora Stuck – English
Harmon Benjamin Vinson – Math

Prosperity-Rikard Elementary: 
Issac Christopher Cayton – Social Studies
James Grayson Long – Math
Katherine Grace McDowell – Math

Whitmire Community School:  Barrett Elizabeth Martin - English


City Update -
foster sennMayor Foster Senn
Posted: