UPDATE: Murder Victim Identified
Posted: August 27, 6:01 PM
In reports you may have heard earlier today on WKDK and WKDK.com, Newberry County Coroner Craig Newton released the identity of a hair salon owner that was shot and killed early afternoon Wednesday.
Roberto Facio-Ledesma, 41, died of a single gunshot wound to the head in his business at 2509 Main Street, Newberry at approximately 1:30 pm Wednesday. An autopsy was performed Thursday morning and the official cause of death is a laceration to the brain. Newton has classified the death as a homicide. The decedent leaves behind a wife and daughter, both of Newberry. According to Coroner Newton, Facio-Ledesma was well known and respected among the Hispanic community and the downtown merchants. Newberry City and County Police, SLED, and the Newberry Coroner's Office continue to investigate the incident.
The murder suspect was taken into custody on Wednesday evening by authorities.
Fourth Suspect Arrested In Little Mountain Murder Case
Posted: August 26, 7:58 AM
A fourth suspect in the Ponderosa Lane/Little Mountain Murder Investigation has been located and apprehended.
Through tireless investigative work, DeCarlos Tramaine Satterwhite, 21, of 7403 Patricia Drive, Columbia, S.C., was arrested today. Satterwhite was taken into custody and charged with “Murder”, “Attempted Murder” (3 counts), “Armed Robbery” (4 counts), “Burglary-1st Degree”, “Kidnapping” (2 counts), “Criminal Conspiracy”, and “Possession of a Weapon during a Violent Crime” in connection with the murder from 1086 Ponderosa Lane in Little Mountain, S.C. from July 29, 2015.
“It was the invaluable assistance and partnership of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, along with the SC Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the Columbia Police Department, and the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department that has ensured the execution of superb investigative work," said Sheriff Foster.
Sheriff Foster also stated, “Working with these agencies, their department heads, and having these kinds of resources available to you at your request, makes doing the job worthwhile.”
As of this press release, warrants have been signed and served on Satterwhite and he is in custody at the Newberry County Detention Center, awaiting bonding.
Additional charges and suspects may be detained as the investigation continues.
School Board Meets; Profile of the SC Graduate Standards
Posted: August 25, 7:30 AM
Monday night was the first School Board meeting since the start of the 2015-2016 school year. After the Board accepted the new hires from their executive session, discussing and accepting the contractual agreements for maintenance improvements, the Board discussed the new Board Policies. There was supposed to be a first read of the very very long list of new and old polices, but the Board felt that they needed more time to review each one personally before having a group discussion about each one. So they all accepted the motion to table the first reading until the next School Board meeting.
The newest thing that the Board has been given is the new standards for the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate. This is a new standard for the expectation for what a South Carolina Graduate should be. Things like world class skills, life and career characteristics, and world class knowledge are included. Certain ideals will be taught to students at certain levels of the schooling, such a work ethic, self-direction, knowing how to learn, and perseverance.
Superintendent Mr. Bennett then spoke of how the school year kicked off and was pleased to report it has all gone very smoothly. He said he has heard great things about how some schools have adjusted to the later start times. Even a few teachers spoke about parents enjoyment of the extra few minutes they have to get their child to school.
So far the student count is at 6,161 for the Newberry County area. The next School Board meeting will be on September 28 at 7:30 pm.
Chapin-Newberry Takes It ALL!
Posted: August 18, 10:32 PM
Chapin-Newberry beat the NewOrleans, Louisiana team 9-2 Tuesday night to win the 2015 American Legion World Series in Shelby, NC!
Stay tuned for more information about the game on Wednesday on AM 1240 WKDK (streaming audio on wkdk.com and our mobile app).
Congrats to our community team, Chapin-Newberry, on a championship season from start to finish!
Newberry College Reaches Fundraising Milestone
Posted: August 16, 3:40 PM
Newberry College achieved its second consecutive year of record-breaking fundraising, bringing in$4,223,237 in gifts and pledges for fiscal year 2015, which ended June 30, 2015. The total surpassed the previous fundraising high water mark of $4,058,000 achieved last year.
The infographic provides a visual overview of fundraising results and progress on the College’s capital campaign, Scaling the Summit.
“Our continued fundraising success underscores that our alumni and friends see exciting things happening here and want to be a part of shaping our future,” said Newberry College president Dr. Maurice W. Scherrens.
Individual giving increased by 18 percent over last year with gifts received from 2,601 individuals. The number of alumni donors also increased with gifts received from 1,101 alumni – an increase over last year’s gifts received from 1,058 alumni. Additionally, more than three-fourths of Newberry College faculty and staff also demonstrated their passion for the mission of the College, with an impressive 78 percent of employees making financial gifts.
Progress on the Capital Campaign
Newberry College has made significant strides in its comprehensive capital campaign, Scaling the Summit. As of July 15, 2015, the College has raised $10.5 million against its $35 million campaign goal.
With gifts of $6 million in cash and $4.5 million in pledges, the College was able to break ground on the construction and remodeling of the Speers Street School property, which it purchased in 2012 to house the Department of Teacher Education.
The College also is within striking distance of its fundraising target for expansion of the Science, Math, Art and Nursing building. With just $2 million in cash left to raise before construction can begin, College officials are optimistic about reaching that fundraising target by the end of fall semester 2015.
“We are pleased that so many donors have chosen to invest in the future of Newberry College and its students,” said Scott Joyner, vice president for Institutional Advancement. “We have made significant and tangible gains in so many areas of the institution. Great things are happening at Newberry College.”
Chapin-Newberry Still Undefeated! Southeast Regional Champs!
Posted: August 9, 8:33 PM
In a game broadcast on WKDK earlier this evening, our Chapin-Newberry American Legion Baseball Team won the Southeast Regional Championship. They beat Randolph County, NC to advance to the World Series in Shelby, NC! More on WKDK on Monday morning.
Two Murder Suspects Arrested, One Takes Own Life After Standoff
Posted: August 6, 5:52 PM
Investigators in Newberry County have identified the suspects responsible the murder of a man on July 29 in the Little Mountain section of Newberry County.
The men are also responsible for robbing the murder victim, another person in the home, and two others who arrived later at the residence. The suspects shot at two of the victims as they fled the scene in a vehicle.
Investigators say that it was information from the public and tireless investigative efforts that led to the identification of the suspects.
Thus far two suspects have been taken into custody. One additional suspect was being sought in Richland County today. The suspect barricaded himself inside a residence and eventually took his own life.
Those arrested this far were identified as:
Jermaz James Dreher, 16, of 520 Westwoods Dr, Chapin SC. (Dreher was charged on Wednesday and is being held in a juvenile detention facility. His information is being released because he is charged as an adult.)
Tyler Mckenzie Elkins, 21, 1609 Saint Michaels Rd, Columbia, SC (Elkins was charged today and is being held at the Newberry County Detention Center.)
Both are charged with Murder, Conspiracy, Armed Robbery (4 counts), Kidnapping (4 Counts), Attempted Murder (3 counts), and Possession of a Weapon During a Violent Crime. The murder charge must be arraigned by a Circuit Court Judge. No bond hearing date has been set at this time.
The identification of the deceased suspect will be made by the Richland County Coroner’s Office.
Fortune Named New Opera House Executive Director
Posted: August 5, 7:22 PM
Molly Fortune, a former director on the executive staff of the Fox Theater in Atlantawas named executive director of the Newberry Opera House, after an extensive national search. She will be only the second executive director in the NOH’s stellar history.
Molly previously served as the Restoration and Operations Director for the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia for 15 years. In her tenure with the Fox she was instrumental in developing and implementing strategies focused on the guest experience through authentic preservation of the historic landmark.
Building on the marriage between Operations and Preservation, she was the co-founder of the Fox Theatre Institute; an outreach program that assists historic theatres in Georgia with preservation expertise as well as operational/booking knowledge. Through this program she was able to further develop and hone the guest experience for all who walk through the doors of the Fox, staff, performers and ticket buyers through lessons learned from other venues.
She has been active in many national organizations including the board of the League of Historic American Theaters, on which she currently serves.
Molly commented “The Fox and The Newberry Opera House are more similar than first glance would allow. They are vibrant economic engines, repositories for memories, launching grounds for dreams and empowerment tools to change the world. They both think beyond their four walls and strive to touch, cultivate and challenge the character of those who walk the halls.”
Molly is married to LTC Christopher Kemper and has two daughters age 9 and 6 and one co-dependent golden retriever, Teddy.
Phil Spotts, chairman of the board of the Newberry Opera House commented “Molly is the perfect visionary leader for this new phase of the Opera House and for Newberry.”
UPDATE: Search For Missing Man Ends With Body Recovery
Posted: August 4, 8:25 PM
After two days of a search and rescue mission, the body of Henry Lee Brooks was recovered this afternoon from the waters in the proximity of Black’s Bridge.
Brooks’ vehicle was left on Black’s Bridge located on S.C. Highway 391 at the Newberry/Saluda County line early Monday morning. He had not been heard from since Saturday afternoon, which was unusual. Deputies searched areas where he was known to frequent and interviewed family and friends.
During the search, the Newberry County Water Rescue Team and DNR were called in to perform a diving operation around the bridge. Public Safety officials from Newberry County, Saluda County, DNR, Lexington County Lake Patrol, and the State Law Enforcement Division all worked throughout both days during the search.
“It is always tragic to have a situation end like this,” said Sheriff Foster. “I join all public safety and the community in offering our condolences, thoughts, and prayers to the family.
“I would also like to take a moment to commend all of the public safety personnel who worked so long and hard during this search,” said Foster. “We certainly prayed that this situation would end differently, but we would all be remiss if we did not acknowledge the efforts of those who worked so hard.”
Sheriff Foster said that no foul play was suspected in the death, but that an autopsy would be performed as a matter of protocol.
Free Workforce Workshop To Help Those With Disablities
Posted: August 3, 6:19 PM
On August 4, 2015, state and private organizations will be available to assist individuals with disabilities interested in returning to work or increasing their earnings. This free workshop will focus on dispelling myths about disability benefits and work. After the workshop a resource fair will be held for individuals to connect directly with community organizations.
"Unfortunately, there is much misinformation given to individuals with disabilities regarding disability benefits and going to work. This workshop is one facet of a statewide initiative looking to break the employment barriers of people with disabilities in South Carolina," says Lynne Bosma, Director of Employment Programs with Able South Carolina. "Employment rates for people with disabilities in South Carolina remain far lower than individuals without disabilities (33.9% versus 77.6%). Individuals that attend the workshop will leave with the tools to help them gain employment, which will ultimately invigorate the local and state economy."
Disability Benefits & Employment: Make it Work for You! is brought to you by the SC Employment Works Taskforce, a coalition of over twenty employers, state, and private agencies working to address the employment barriers of people with disabilities in South Carolina. The Taskforce is made possible with funding from the Southeast ADA Center and the SC Developmental Disabilities Council.
Disability Benefits & Employment: Make it Work for You! will be from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., on August 4, 2015 at the SC Works Upper Savannah office, 833 Main St. Newberry, SC 29108. Interested participants may register online at http://www.able-sc.org/ticket-to-work/, call 1.800.681.6805, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Muller Center Announces Inaugural Research Fellowship
Posted: July 31,
The newly established Muller Center atNewberry College has selected Karley Young, a rising junior from Kinards, as its first ever Muller Student Research Fellow.
A Middle-Level Education major, Young plans to use the fellowship to establish a campus-based hunger abatement program targeting Newberry County school children. In addition to investigating food policy in South Carolina, she will spend fall semester meeting with community and school leaders, investigating program possibilities and mobilizing a student volunteer corps.
The Muller Student Research Fellowship is a highly selective program intended to equip Newberry College students to explore the intersection of academic research and community need. The Fellowships are a key initiative of the Muller Center, which seeks to promote the core values of ethics, vocation and civic engagement.
Muller Center Director Krista E. Hughes said she and the members of Muller Center’s advisory board were impressed by the clarity of Young’s proposal as well as its potential for sustainability and growth.
“Karley’s project is a perfect example of the type of civic engagement we want to foster at Newberry College,” Hughes said. “It seeks to address a community need by collaborating with the community and drawing on the unique resources of the College. We can’t imagine a more worthy project to launch our Student Fellowship program.”
Young is active on campus in various capacities. She is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Teacher Education and serves as vice president of community service for Kappa Delta sorority. She also is a student ambassador for the Office of Admissions and will serve as an alpha leader during the College’s freshman/transfer orientation weekends throughout the summer.
Sea Pro Boats Returns With Manufacturing Facility in Whitmire
One Dead in Home Invasion in Little Mountain
Posted: July 29,
An early morning home invasion has led to the death of one person.
Deputies were called to Ponderosa Lane Little Mountain near the Lexington County line for a home invasion at 12:15am Wednesday morning. Upon arrival, deputies found one person down inside the mobile home.
Subsequent investigation revealed that two individuals were inside the home when they heard a knock at the door. When one of the residents pulled back the curtain over the door window, he was shot through the glass. The second resident fled to the rear of the house and secreted himself between the mattress and the wall. That resident could hear additional shots being fired and ransacking of the home.
As the subjects were leaving two other residents were approaching the house from a trip to Chapin. Unbeknownst to those residents, the suspects blocked them in on Ponderosa Lane and began assaulting them. Those residents took evasive action in their car and fled to a nearby residence, while the suspects were firing at them. The suspect and the vehicles left on Ponderosa Lane toward Lexington County.
The suspects were described as four black males dressed in dark colored clothing. One of the suspects had a camouflage scarf type cloth over his face. The suspects were believed to be armed with a handgun and a long gun. They left the scene in dark colored four doored vehicle.
At the time of the release, investigators were conducting an inventory to determine what may have been stolen. SLED Crime Scene unit was called in to assist the Sheriff’s Office forensic team at the crime scene.
Sheriff Lee Foster is asking the public to assist in the investigation.
Anyone who has any information, or who may have seen or heard anything, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-Crime-SC, Text "TIPSC" plus your message to CRIMES (274637). You will always remain anonymous. You can also call the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at 803-321-2222. A sizeable reward is offered for information leading to the capture of the suspects.
Coroner Craig Newton has identified the deceased as Ronnion Danyell Barron, 32, of Ponderosa Lane in Little Mountain, SC. Coroner Newton stated that the victim died of a single gunshot wound to the head and the death is classified as a homicide.
Sea Pro Boats Returns With Manufacturing Facility in Whitmire
Posted: July 29,
Sea Pro Boats, a renowned brand in the boating industry, is returning to the market with 'The Next Wave' - an all new line of bay boats and center console offshore fishing boats. The company is investing $5.5 million in a new Newberry County manufacturing facility, generating 238 new jobs in Whitmire.
Originally founded in 1987, Sea Pro Boats, a Midlands-based company, was purchased by Brunswick Corporation in 2005. Recently, Jimmy Hancock, one of the original owners of Sea Pro, along with Tidewater Boats' founder Preston Wrenn, decided to relaunch the company, planning an all-new incarnation of the Sea Pro brand - 'The Next Wave.' The line will feature seven new models, which are expected to be introduced by the end of this summer.
Sea Pro's new Newberry County facility, a 200,000-square-foot building to be located at 25214 Highway 121 in Whitmire, will house the company's headquarters, as well as its manufacturing operations.
Expected to be fully operational in the third quarter of 2015, hiring is anticipated to begin in early fall 2015. At that time, those interested in joining the Sea Pro Boats' team should contact SC Works. For more information on the company, visit www.seapromfg.com.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved a $100,000 Set Aside grant to Newberry County to assist with costs of acquisition and real property improvements. The Council also approved job development credits related to the project.
Missing Children Found Safe, Approximately Three Miles From Home
Posted: July 26,
City of Newberry Police were searching for two missing children in the Mollohon Section of the City early Sunday. The children left their home together on 48 Player Street around 10:00 AM Sunday, but were found safe early Sunday afternoon about three miles from their home.
They had left on their own and were believed to either be lost in the area or wandering. One child was described as 11 years of age, 5 feet, 170 lbs. wearing a black and white sun dress and gold sandals. She was also known to be a special needs child. The second child was described as three years of age, 3 feet, 40 lbs. and no known clothing description. City police were using a tracking dog and bloodhounds.
Foul play was not suspected. However, concerns were offered over the ages and the special needs of the 11-year-old.
Suspect Arrested in Whitmire Shooting Incident
Posted: July 23,
A man who shot into several apartments and a man sitting on the porch of one of the apartments in the Whitmire area has been taken into custody.
On July 9 just after 10pm, the suspect rode by a set of apartments on Duckett Avenue in Whitmire. The suspect opened fire into the apartments striking two of the four apartments. One of the rounds also struck the victim, who was sitting on the front porch of one of the apartments. The victim was struck in his upper torso and hands. He was air lifted to an area trauma hospital, investigators would not name the facility because he is still receiving in patient treatment for his injuries. The injuries do not appear life threatening at this point.
Joshua Stroud Gibbs, 30, 3258 Renno Road, Clinton, SC was arrested this morning and charged with Attempted Murder and two counts of Discharging a Firearm Into A Dwelling.
The suspect was arrested after an intensive investigation by law enforcement. While investigators says that the motivation is not clear, there is a clear theme of illegal drug sale and use throughout the investigation.
“We simply will not tolerate our streets being turning into war zones,” said Sheriff Foster. “Our commitment is to actively and aggressively investigate and prosecute these crimes.”
“I have long said that there is a clear connection between property crimes and violent crimes to illegal drugs,” said Foster. “Contrary to what many say, I see the faces of the indirect victims of drug use every day and we vow to be a part of the solution in our communities.”
City Council Meeting; Two Employees Retire, Gallman Park Updates, New Firefighters Grant
Posted: July 15,
Tuesday night's City Council meeting was bitter sweet. Council approved new beginnings but said goodbye to a few good men! Mayor Foster Senn and Assistant City Manager Matt Dewitt congratulated two men on their long awaited retirement. Mr. Frank