BAMBERG -- Nearly 150 energized and angry Bamberg County residents gathered at Monday’s county council meeting to call for a change in administration and leadership.
Bamberg County Council Chairman Trent Kinard questioned the S.C. Regional Development Alliance’s value to Bamberg County during a Monday night meeting.
The alliance was created 23 years ago to market area counties to industry, but has been expanded to include Colleton, Beaufort and Jasper counties.
BAMBERG -- Nearly 150 energized and angry Bamberg County residents gathered at Monday’s county council meeting to call for a change in administration and leadership.
"That has put us in the back burner," Kinard told alliance Senior Project Manager Darrell Booker. "Here we are and the citizens of Bamberg County are struggling while Beaufort is getting an industry every day, Jasper is getting one a week and Colleton is getting one daily as well. Bamberg is getting nothing.
"I have never yet heard an answer from y'all of the benefit to Bamberg County to get Colleton on board, to get Jasper County to join or Beaufort County to join," Kinard said.
Economic development was discussed at Monday’s county council meeting, but the issue was largely overshadowed by taxpayer concerns.
Booker said the state Department of Commerce asked the alliance to take Beaufort County, but says regional development does indirectly help Bamberg County.
"If we can get them to Jasper County, we are going to try to get them to Bamberg County," Booker said. He noted Bamberg County does have some challenges in that it does not have the infrastructure that Beaufort County has.
Kinard expressed a desire to see if Jasper County would be willing to work with Bamberg County to perhaps receive 5 percent or 10 percent of the revenue from industries that locate in those counties.
Booker said it is council's job to facilitate that revenue-sharing agreement.
Kinard questioned Booker, “What are we paying you for?"
Booker said he would be happy if both he and alliance President and CEO Danny Black met with council in the near future.
Booker said there are nine projects currently looking at Bamberg County, including two industries looking at Denmark that could bring a significant number of jobs.
"They are looking not only at Bamberg County but other areas of the state as well as Georgia," he said.
In other matters:
• Denmark resident Deanna Berry pleaded with council to do something about the Denmark water situation.
"Denmark is bleeding," she said. "We need the help of our county ... because we are a part of Bamberg County, too."
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Environmental Protection Agency and town officials have said the water is safe to drink, cook with and to bathe in.
Berry expressed her disappointment with District 5 Councilman Isaiah Odom and District 6 Councilman Evert Comer Jr. for “not being a voice for or a face to the people during our time of crisis.”
Comer defended his actions.
"I have not come out on the side of Ms. Berry," Comer said. "She sued Denmark. She wants some money from Denmark."
Berry said, “That is so not true.”
Comer said Berry's social media posts have been “part of the problem and not the solution.”
"Even though we have gotten all these certifications, she is still on the same track and criticizing Denmark," Comer said. "Industries are looking at Denmark and, if you have negative issues out there like water, it can cause that to tip the scale of industry."
During the meeting, Berry vocally called for people to not re-elect Comer.
• County Council tabled first reading of an ordinance to establish a six-phase installment payment plan for property taxes. Taxes will still be due by Jan. 15.
The matter was tabled until the next meeting to discuss the time and cost impacts of implementing such a plan in Bamberg County.
• Council reported the closure of S.C. 70 (Barnwell Highway) over the Little Salkehatchie River until Aug. 31 for a bridge improvement project.
• Council gave first reading to a resolution amending the master agreement for the Quad-County Industrial Park I, Park II and Park III to include Project Can Can (EOC Naturals) and AKPA Kimya Organic Peroxides into the park. The companies are locating in Allendale County.
Bamberg County will receive 10 percent of tax revenues paid from the industries as soon as the companies are operational.
The Quad-County Industrial Park is not a physical park but a way for counties to incentivize economic development by allowing counties to share in the tax revenues generated by a company and any spin-off development.
• Council approved a resolution to improve the transparency and bring clarity to the distribution of dollars received by the county, city and school district on tax notices.
• Council honored former Council Chairman Clint Carter for his service as chairman in 2018.
• Council honored Clerk to Council Rose Sheppard as the Bamberg County Employee of the Quarter.
• Interim Denmark Technical College President Dr. Christopher Hall asked council members to think of reasons why Bamberg County should be home to a flight school as part of a state feasibility study to determine a location for the school.
The S.C. Technical College System has proposed having a flight school stationed both at Denmark Technical College and the Bamberg County Airport.
In order for the school to become a reality, modifications would need to be made to the current airport to bring it in compliance with FAA standards, as well as to make it suitable to house the flight school. The school would be funded by the state and federal governments.
• Bamberg County Office on Aging Executive Director Kay Clary discussed the transportation program, noting the office has about 27 vehicles and makes about 400 trips daily.
The program transports individuals to work, grocery shopping and for health care appointments.
Funding comes through the lieutenant governor's office.
• Keep Bamberg County Beautiful Director Mary Tilton provided an overview of the group's efforts in 2018. She said the group had about 156 volunteers putting in 312 hours. Efforts included boat landing cleanups, Earth Day plantings and recycling efforts.
ELLOREE -- If you want to learn about midwifery, how cotton is grown and processed, or what elixirs were whipped up in pharmacies of the past, visit the Elloree Heritage Museum and Cultural Center for charmingly interactive displays about those and other aspects rural history.
The museum and cultural center located at 2714 Cleveland St. got its start in 2002 from an effort to revitalize the town and draw more visitors to it.
Administrative Manager Kay Shirer said an average of 3,000 to 4,000 people from as far away as Arizona come through the facility each year. Once they leave the gift shop filled with cotton boll wreaths, John Deere toys, regional books, home decor, collectibles and more, they are greeted by the town's founder, William J. Snider.
"When I look up and down Cleveland Street, I still see a place I want to share with all my friends. And I hope you, my new friends, enjoy your visit today," he says.
Snider's booth is the first stop along an audio tour, which can include docents dressed in period clothing similar to that worn by farmers 100 years ago.
As visitors stroll through Elloree's Cleveland Street as it appeared in 1900, they can discover a barbershop, pharmacy, blacksmith shop, bank, hotel and hardware, dry good and drug stores.
Old timey post office boxes requiring combinations to open them are among the many relics displayed in the museum and cultural center.
The original 18th-century Snider cabin and replica farm yard are also included on the tour, along with a cotton exhibit, which shows how cotton is grown and processed and includes the Connor Cotton Gin, which is more than 100 years old and was rescued by volunteers from an old cotton house and restored.
The museum also celebrates the town's railroad and logging history and includes an exhibit on birthing and medical care from years past, as well as quilts which have been displayed in the museum from its opening.
Upstairs is where visitors can get a birds-eye view of Indian artifacts, an exhibit celebrating the life and times of prize-winning jockey and Elloree native Chris Antley and a gallery which can include everything from wildlife art to period dress items from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.
"It's Elloree history. It's overwhelming to think about volunteers doing something like this. It's true effort and heart. ... So many people donated so much," Shirer said.
Oyster roasts and teas are among the events that are held in the facility to bring the community together in the spirit of fellowship and fun.
The museum and cultural center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, but group tours for all ages are also welcome to come visit the museum for a glimpse inside the state's rural past.
For more information about the museum and cultural center, or to set up a tour, contact Shirer by phone at 803-897-2225. The facility can also be reached by email at email@example.com or online at www.elloreemuseum.org.
Shortly before Rodney Canaday received the devastating news a few years ago that he had prostate cancer, his pit-mix “Opal”— often unfriendly toward him—transformed into his best friend.
Two weeks before the Eutawville resident suffered a mild heart attack last month, he remembered the canine exhibiting the same behavior. However, he never viewed the similar events as foreshadowing until after his latest medical scare.
“She would get in my lap and start licking me at the top of my head, my arms, everything she could see,” Canaday said. “I believe dogs can sense (illness).”
Scheduled for an MRI on Jan. 4, the 63-year-old said he went to bed the previous night with pain in his shoulder, arm and jaw. Though his wife Jackie urged him to visit the ER, he downplayed his pain.
“I was having an MRI at 7 a.m. and I kept telling my wife, ‘Let’s see if we can wait a few hours,’” Canaday said. “I didn’t want to go to the ER and tell them I was going to be coming anyways … that’s why I waited.”
Even knowing all the classic heart attack symptoms — having worked three years for EMS — he said he sloughed them off, especially since he didn’t feel crushing chest pain. During his procedure the next morning, Canaday could no longer deny his body’s “bad” feeling.
“After the MRI, I sat up and everything just felt really weird,” he said.
That’s when the light-headed patient’s request to his MRI tech, David Norris, to check his blood pressure changed the course of his appointment — and most likely his life.
“(Norris) said, ‘Dude, you need to go to the emergency room right now, and I’ll take you,’” Canaday said. “He didn’t just suggest (it). He took me by the arm (and) … said, ‘Let’s go now.’”
Norris hurriedly escorted Canaday across Summerville Medical Center and didn’t leave his patient’s side until a nurse could help.
“He went the extra mile,” Canaday said.
Had his heart attack gone undetected, Canaday said he could have suffered future heart issues, since the damage was done. After he was turned over to ER hands that day, a nurse confirmed the attack had happened. Though an EKG didn’t show signs of heart issues, an enzyme check proved one had occurred eight to 10 hours earlier, Canaday said.
That afternoon he was transported from Summerville Medical to Trident Medical and received a heart catheter and three stints. The next day Canady walked out of the hospital.
Medical officials later told him they believed his heart issue was genetic, since Canaday said his mom had received a pacemaker and it’s believed, though never confirmed, that a heart attack had actually caused his father’s fatal car accident.
“I’m on borrowed time,” Canaday said, explaining how he’s outlived his father, grandfather and even his son.
Now his message to friends and family — and even strangers — is how to recognize certain physical symptoms and not to ignore them.
“I try to stress to my friends — the guys — and all, ‘You need to go and have your six-month checkup,” Canaday said. “Men tend to think they’re bulletproof (and) invincible.”
“I always make the joke that I’m starting to think that men, married men, live longer not because of exactly the healthier lifestyle ... but because their wives drag them in when they start describing problems,” he said.
But even Canaday wasn’t always routine with his checkups. A decade ago he switched family doctors and it changed his life.
“I was a physical wreck 10 years ago when I started to see that doctor,” he said of his current one in Knightsville.
Not only did his new physician locate his cancer but he also detected a problematic thyroid condition.
While Canaday’s still trying to convince one unhealthy friend to get a checkup, his brother-in-law has improved his health. Ironically, it was during Canaday’s recent hospital stay that his relative learned he, too, had a heart issue and opted for a check that revealed he had a severe blockage and needed triple-bypass surgery.
“He kept telling medical people, ‘Something is wrong with me,’ and wouldn’t leave until they did a catheter,” Canaday said.
Today, the pair joke about the irony of it all.
“I told him—I said, ‘Glenn, if I had known you were coming, I would’ve kept the bed warm,’” Canaday said with a laugh.
While Norris and other hospital staff aided in another chance at life for Canaday, he said it was well beyond his second one.
By “living life in the fast lane,” Canaday said he’s encountered multiple near-death experiences. In addition to surviving prostate cancer, he recalled at least two dramatic boating accidents.
“This list goes on and on,” Canaday said.
In one of the incidents 20 years ago in Bull’s Bay, his friend’s speeding boat ran over the top of his own as he sat in the driver’s seat. The sights of sounds of the crash still vivid in his mind.
“I can still hear the prop when it went by my head. I can hear the prop and smell the gas,” Canaday said. “I was bleeding all from the top of my head, and I could hardly see, and I was calling 911.”
After spotting the shocked expression on a nearby stranger’s face, he assumed the worst, that his survival rate was slim to none.
“I went, ‘I’m dead,’ and then I passed out,” Canaday said.
Luckily, the crash left him with only three to four scalp abrasions.
“Some of my friends have always told me they thought I had a guardian angel,” Canaday said.
Norris served as his earthly angel last month. The two reunited for the first time since Canaday’s bittersweet appointment. The pair shook hands and embraced Thursday at the hospital.
“Glad I could help you, and good to see you’re doing well,” Norris told Canaday.
According to Norris, the memorable moment from three weeks earlier had been a rare one for him. He said it was the first time in his career he’s had to rush a patient to the ER “for something this severe.”
Norris said it was Canaday complaining about his jaw pain — not the scan — that tipped him off to the man’s cardiac trauma.
“All of a sudden … alarm bells go off and I’m thinking, ‘Holy cow, this guy just literally described for me the typical symptoms of a heart attack,’” Norris said.
According to Canaday, overall he’s most thankful for Norris’ simple “care and compassion.”
“These days people tend to be so self-centered,” Canaday said. “Who knows, when David cared that little bit extra that morning, he may have saved my life.”
Sen. Cory Booker will stop at Voorhees College in Denmark as part of his swing through South Carolina, his presidential campaign announced on Wednesday.
On Monday and Tuesday, the South Carolina Rise Tour will focus on introducing South Carolinians to Booker’s record “of running towards challenges when others had given up, bringing people together to do big things, and building a more fair and just nation for everyone,” the campaign said in a release.
The New Jersey Democrat is the former mayor of Newark. He has been a U.S. senator since 2013.
Booker announced he is running for president on Feb. 1.
His trip begins in Fairfield County at 2 p.m. Sunday where he’ll participate in a rural healthcare forum. It will be held at Fairfield Central High School in Winnsboro. Doors open at 1 p.m.
At 6 p.m. Sunday, he’ll have a “South Carolina Rise Rural Forum” at Voorhees College’s Massachusetts Hall at 151 Academic Circle, Denmark. Doors open at 5 p.m.
At 9:30 a.m. Monday, he’ll hold a “South Carolina Rise Student Forum” at Morris College in Sumter. Doors will open at 9 a.m.
Members of the public interested in attending can find more information and RSVP by visiting corybooker.com and clicking on "Events" at the top of the page.