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Local
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School board setting pay; trustees to receive $500 per month

Orangeburg County School District trustees plan to follow the suggestion of the South Carolina School Boards Association and cap their compensation at $500 a month per board member.

The trustees will be paid according to Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5's compensation policy until the new school board has officially adopted procedures and policies for its financial transactions, according to OCSD5 spokesman Bill Clark.

OCSD5 is the temporary fiscal agent for the new school board, which will oversee Orangeburg County’s consolidated school district.

The Orangeburg County School District trustees unanimously gave first reading to board governance and administrative policies last week.

Those policies set a $500 per-month pay cap for each board member. That’s close to the average $465 per month paid to trustees on the 19 South Carolina school boards that are paid by the month.

Clark said since the new school board has not yet hired staff or adopted policies and procedures that will govern its financial actions, OCSD5's policy will be apply for the time being.

District 5's current policy is to pay $225 per meeting with a maximum of two meetings per month, or a $450 per-month maximum.

"Once the new, consolidated district is staffed and has adopted its own policies and procedures, they will have the ability to implement the compensation structure that was recommended by the SCSBA," Clark said.

The Orangeburg County School Board Transition Committee had recommended $450 a meeting, but trustees are expecting to meet at least twice a month.

In other business:

• Trustees approved the transition committee's recommended $352,067 budget for the new, consolidated school district through June 30, 2019.

• Trustees remembered fellow trustee Vernell H. Goodwin in their thoughts and prayers. Goodwin was unable to attend the meeting because she was in a vehicle accident earlier in the day. Goodwin called board Chair Peggy James Tyler prior to the meeting to inform her she was OK.

• Trustees entered into executive session for about a half hour to discuss business and instruction platform contracts. The board did not take action on these contracts upon returning from executive session.

• The next school board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 27. The meeting will be held at the Santee Town Hall Municipal Town complex at 210 Brooks Boulevard.


Local
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Mother says 'I am blessed’; Santee resident has Christmas baby

Some gifts may come wrapped with ribbons and bows, but Santana Evans’ didn’t find hers under tree.

The Santee resident’s Christmas present was Sheldon Camarius Johnson Jr.

"The best gift you can ever get on Christmas is to have a baby," Santana said. “I am blessed."

Sheldon is a healthy 7-pound, 15-ounce baby boy born at 11:42 a.m. Christmas Day in the Regional Medical Center.

Santana’s due date was Dec. 31, but she was going to be induced Dec. 26 if the baby had not come.

She woke up around 5:15 a.m. on Christmas Day.

"I was feeling a lot of pain," she said.

She’s the mother of two girls, ages 4 and 1, so "I know how it feels to have contractions."

Santana was in labor for about three hours.

Johnson is named after his father, Sheldon.

Santana said others thought she would have a Christmas baby.

"We heard everybody saying it," she said. "Everybody was telling me that I was big and that I won't last until the end of the month and that I was going to have a Christmas baby."

While little Sheldon was sound asleep on his mother's lap wrapped in swaddling clothes, only a small cry was heard.

Santana says Christmas Day will always be a day when her son gets to celebrate two births: his and Jesus'.

"He will get two presents -- one for Christmas and one for his birthday," Santana said.


Education
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4. Claflin president announces 2019 retirement

Claflin University President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale announced on April 17 the end of a journey that has taken him and his wife through more than two decades of ensuring academic excellence, community pride and enhanced quality of life at and beyond his beloved alma mater.

Tisdale announced his retirement effective June 30, 2019, during a press conference held at Ministers' Hall, but drew audible gasps from a throng of attendees who had prematurely assumed his departure would be in 2018.

His announcement is one of The T&D's top stories of 2018. It ranks fourth.

The 1965 Claflin honor graduate has said that his retirement on what will be his 25th anniversary as president was timely. The university will also be celebrating its 150th anniversary next year.

“Dr. Tisdale is credited with Claflin’s consistent progress over the past 25 years. His leadership has resulted in a major transformation of the university. As we continue to celebrate the 150th year of our founding, Dr. Tisdale’s chapter will be one of the most noted highlights in our history book,” said George Johnson Jr., assistant vice president of communications and marketing.

“We will truly miss his visionary and dedicated leadership,” Johnson said.

Tisdale’s wife of more than 40 years, Alice Carson Tisdale, will also be leaving next year and has also been lauded for her teamwork and commitment to the university.

Mrs. Tisdale took the reins as director of Claflin’s Honors College, which was renamed The Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College by the university’s trustees in 1996.

While Johnson said a date for Dr. Tisdale’s official retirement celebration has not been set, the presidential search continues.

"We have a search company that is leading this,” Johnson said, noting that a search committee will begin reviewing candidate credentials in early January and the deadline for receiving applications will be Feb. 1.

The search committee will begin researching, assessing and screening candidates in February, with the candidate pool to be reduced to the most competitive candidates in late February, he said.

Johnson said the search committee is slated to conduct interviews of the most competitive candidates in early March, with on-campus interviews for finalists to be conducted in late March to early April.

The committee is to report to the university board of trustees in mid-April, with the board scheduled to announce a new president by the end of April, he said.

Individuals interested in viewing the search timeline can visit online at http://www.claflin.edu/about/presidential-search.

Johnson said most of the events leading up to Tisdale’s retirement will also reflect something about the university’s 150th anniversary.

"We're also celebrating the 150th anniversary. So most of our events, because they will be his last ones attending, have that kind of twist to it,” he said.

"The Honors College is doing a 25-year anniversary event. The Tisdales’ retirement event has not been announced yet, but the celebration of 25 years of the Honors College is going to be on April 4," Johnson said.

Tisdale was named Claflin University’s eighth president in 1994.

Under his leadership, Claflin has seen an increase in faculty with terminal degrees, federal funding for research, endowed scholarships, partnerships with other leading institutions, student enrollment and nationally accredited academic programs.

The university has also enhanced student learning through its improved technological infrastructure and the addition, improvement and enhancement of facilities across the Claflin campus.


Crime-and-courts
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Teen admits lying to officers; 17-year-old withheld information about fugitive’s location

A Eutawville teenager admitted that she withheld information on the whereabouts of a fugitive wanted for allegedly shooting at U.S. Marshals.

Brittney Simone Rolack, 17, of 13110 Old Number Six Highway, pleaded guilty to giving false information to law enforcement.

She originally faced the charge of obstructing justice.

On Dec. 12, Circuit Judge Ed Dickson sentenced her to 30 days at the Orangeburg County Detention Center or a $100 fine.

He also ordered her to pay all court fines and fees on or before March 12, 2019 or report to the county jail.

Rolack is the second person to plead guilty to withholding information from law enforcement during the search for Derian James, 18, of Orangeburg, back on May 25.

James is facing two attempted murder charges.

He allegedly shot at officers who were trying to serve warrants at a Coleman Street residence in Orangeburg.

His charges are pending.

On Nov. 5, 2018, Nas Raquan Grant, 20, of 315 Saginaw Drive, Eutawville, pleaded guilty to giving false information to law enforcement.

Marquise Rashed White, 22, of 136 Bounty Lane, Eutawville, is facing one count of obstructing justice in the case. He’s also charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana. His charges are pending.

In other guilty pleas:

• Quincy Roshell Johnson, 44, of 1723 Central Street, Orangeburg, pleaded guilty to first-offense failure to stop for a blue light.

Dickson sentenced him to 15 months in prison.

Johnson is to serve it at the same time as his current sentence of 366 days of home detention. Johnson is currently serving a term of home detention for second-offense failure to register as a sex offender.

He pleaded guilty to that charge on June 1, 2018.

Dickson gave him credit for having already served 72 days.

• Johnathan Dontae Gibbs, 28, of 12785 Old Number Six Highway, Eutawville, pleaded guilty to third-offense possession of cocaine and possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a violent crime.

Dickson sentenced him to five years in prison. Upon the service of 18 months, the balance of the sentence will be suspended to three years of probation.

He also ordered Gibbs to undergo random drug/alcohol testing and to continue drug treatment, if recommended, during his probation term.

Dickson stipulated that if Gibbs tests positive for drugs/alcohol, then he’s to be taken into custody pending a hearing.

Gibbs also faced the charge of first-offense possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, but that charge was dismissed at his preliminary hearing.

A charge of possession of a stolen pistol was dropped as a result of Gibbs pleading guilty to other charges.

• Chatterra Larainetta Bryant, 32, of 500 Fletcher Street, Apt. 797, Orangeburg, pleaded guilty to first-offense possession of cocaine.

Dickson sentenced her to time served, crediting her for having already served 70 days at the Orangeburg County Detention Center.

• Desmond Tyrell Riley, 30, of 242 Boswell Street, Orangeburg, pleaded guilty to safecracking.

Dickson sentenced him to 10 years in prison, suspended to five years of probation.

He credited Riley for having already served 30 days in jail.

Dickson also ordered him to pay restitution.

As a result of his guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed the charges of malicious injury to personal property and possession/making implements capable of being used in a crime.


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