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Claflin, S.C. State home to historic buildings

Orangeburg is home to two institutions of higher learning that belong to the family of Historic Black Colleges and Universities: Claflin University and South Carolina State University.

On their campuses are standing legacies of their students and leaders in the forms of buildings that continue to be in use well over a century after their construction.

The oldest building is home to the Arthur Rose Museum, a deep red brick structure designed by Claflin graduate William Wilson Cooke.

Cooke supervised the construction of the student-built structure in 1898. Students fired bricks in kilns dug on the campus.

It served as Claflin’s library and was originally named for Priscilla E. Bennett, who funded its construction.

Eventually, Claflin outgrew the library and the building then served as the art studio of Arthur Rose. He was a 1950 graduate of Claflin and the university’s first art major.

Claflin leaders named the former library for Rose in 1999.

Cooke also designed Tingley Memorial Hall, located in close proximity to the Arthur Rose Museum. Cooke, a native of Greenville, was a student assistant at Claflin in 1894 and then served as superintendent of training there from 1897 to 1907.

During that time, he designed many of the buildings used on campus, and Tingley Hall was his last project.

It was originally used as the university’s English and Pedagogical Department and contained 14 classrooms and an assembly hall.

Tingley Hall now houses Claflin’s administrative offices.

On the campus of S.C. State are several buildings of historic note.

Two of those are Lowman Hall and Dukes Gymnasium.

Like Cooke’s legacy as an African American architect on Claflin’s campus, Miller F. Whittaker left the same influence on the campus of S.C. State.

Lowman Hall, built in 1917, is the oldest intact building on S.C. State’s campus.

Whittaker was a member of the university’s faculty when he designed it. Lowman Hall served as a male dormitory.

Whittaker also served as S.C. State’s third president from 1932 until 1947.

Dukes Gymnasium was constructed in 1931. Funding for the building was provided by student recreation fees. 

John H. Blanche, a student at S.C. State, designed it as a graduation thesis in the department of mechanical arts under Whittaker’s supervision.

Instructors in mechanical arts courses installed the steel framing, plumbing and electrical systems and supervised other parts of the construction.

All four of these buildings – the Arthur Rose Museum, Tingley Memorial Hall, Lowman Hall and Dukes Gymnasium – are listed on the National Register of Historic Places for their significance to African American history, architecture and education.

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Calhoun County Council
Calhoun County addressing animal complaints

ST. MATTHEWS – Interim Calhoun County Administrator Ted Felder updated County Council last week on various county departments.

Calhoun County Animal Control fielded 49 complaints in January, leading to 78 complaint trips. A total of 18 dogs and two cats were taken into the shelter, and 17 of the animals were either redeemed by the owner, adopted or sent to a rescue organization, according to Felder’s report.

Felder also stated that three dogs had to be euthanized.

Felder noted that $160 in impound and boarding fees and $474 in donations were collected, and medical expenses totaled $780 for the month.

The Building and Grounds department completed a total of 29 jobs for the month of January, Felder said.

In the Building and Planning Department report for December 2018, Felder stated that 28 permits were issued, 87 inspections were completed and $8,544.10 was collected in revenue.

Also during the meeting:

• Council approved a motion to enter into a $17,500 contract that will assign a financial adviser for the county penny sales tax bonds.

• Council approved a motion for work to begin on the installation of two new pressure relief valves on the Sandy Run Water System. The installation will be done by Barwick Plumbing Co., LLC.

• Council approved a motion updating the county facility user agreement contract to include all athletic facilities, not just fields, and changing the fee schedule from five guaranteed hours to three to guarantee necessary accommodations at events.

• Council approved a motion from Charles Whetstone of Whetstone Perkins and Fulda, LLC to change the attorney associated with the lawsuit against AmerisourceBergen regarding opioids.

• Council approved a motion to begin the development of a topographical map of the county’s landfill.

• Lori Salley of McGregor & Company reported that the county received an unmodified, or clean, opinion for fiscal year 2018.

• Council approved a motion to enter a contract worth $13,500 with Management Advisory International, Inc. to conduct a salary study. The study will be a part of the county’s FY 2019 budget process.

• Council approved a right-of-way conveyance letter with Calhoun Land Investors, LLC. The letter says the investment group, owners of the Eastman industrial site in the county, will deed the land at the site back to the county once improvements are completed. The county will assume all maintenance responsibilities once deeded the land.

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OCtech requests $3 million from state for renovations

Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College is seeking additional money from the state for renovations, President Dr. Walt Tobin said in a recent meeting with the area commission.

The college has two budget requests for lawmakers: $1 million for renovations to the machine tool program’s facility and $2 million to renovate the K building.

Tobin also discussed the potential impact of the education reform bill under development in the General Assembly.

One of the bill’s goals is to get 60 percent of the state’s high school graduates to receive either an entry-level industrial certification or post-secondary education. Under the bill, there would no longer be any remediation for students at the technical college level, he said.

Lottery tuition assistance would be available for continuing education students pursuing an entry-level certification, he said.

Also, the state’s tech schools will be tasked with developing common admissions standards, he said.

In other business, things are looking up financially for the college, according to Vice President of Financial Affairs Kim Huff.

Tuition revenue is up 4 percent over last year, he said, and the continuing education program is still showing a profit.

The college only received 25 percent of allotted funds from Orangeburg County in January, but it’s due to the college making a late request, he said. And the college is expecting a lump sum payment from Calhoun County.

The bookstore continues to see losses because enrollment is down and use of digital textbooks and materials is up, he said.

The contingency fund totaled $300,000 in January. Some of the money has since been used for various projects and now totals about $200,000, he said.

Expenditures are fairly consistent compared to the same time last year, he said. Pell Grant and loan funds are down from last year, and there was a delay in lottery tuition reimbursement, he said. However, the reimbursement came after the January report.

The only recent capital projects expenditure was for the new nursing and health science building. The college has paid out $3.6 million for the building so far, he said. The contractor still says the building will be completed in April, but Huff said he has some doubts.

“I’m not sure April is the day they’re going to hit, but I am hopeful,” he said.

Also at the meeting:

• Donna Elmore, vice president of academic affairs, reported that representatives of the Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing have been on campus and next up is the reaccreditation of the Licensed Practical Nursing program.

Also, several programs including business administration will require students to have laptop computers. The college is looking at adding “flex” options to other programs, she said. Currently, the Associate Degree Nursing Flex program features courses offered on campus and online.

• Dr. Sandra Davis, vice president of student affairs, said that spring registration continues, with some late-start classes beginning in March. After spring break, registration will begin for summer and fall classes, she said.

The college will host Transfer Day on March 21 to inform high school students of credit transfer options. The annual Career Fair will be held March 26, she said.

“We are hoping to have a full house on that day,” she said.

• Commissioners approved several policies for review: a policy and procedure for enrollment of senior citizens, a counseling policy and one dealing with the student activities program.

• The commission voted to enter closed, executive session for an annual review of policies and procedures established by the president. No action was taken when the commission returned to open session.

House to query 60 Trump officials in obstruction probe

WASHINGTON — Declaring it's "very clear" President Donald Trump obstructed justice, the chairman of the House committee in charge of impeachment says the panel is requesting documents today from more than 60 people from Trump's administration, family and business as part of a rapidly expanding Russia investigation.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said the House Judiciary Committee wants to review documents from the Justice Department, the president's son Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg. Former White House chief of staff John Kelly and former White House counsel Don McGahn also are likely targets, he said.

"We are going to initiate investigations into abuses of power, into corruption and into obstruction of justice," Nadler said. "We will do everything we can to get that evidence."

Asked if he believed Trump obstructed justice, Nadler said, "Yes, I do."

Nadler isn't calling the inquiry an impeachment investigation but said House Democrats, now in the majority, are simply doing "our job to protect the rule of law" after Republicans during the first two years of Trump's term were "shielding the president from any proper accountability."

"We're far from making decisions" about impeachment, he said.

In a tweet on Sunday, Trump blasted anew the Russia investigation, calling it a partisan probe unfairly aimed at discrediting his win in the 2016 presidential election. "I am an innocent man being persecuted by some very bad, conflicted & corrupt people in a Witch Hunt that is illegal & should never have been allowed to start - And only because I won the Election!" he wrote.

Nadler's comments follow a bad political week for Trump. He emerged empty-handed from a high-profile summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un on denuclearization and Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, in three days of congressional testimony, publicly characterized the president as a "con man" and "cheat."

Newly empowered House Democrats are flexing their strength with blossoming investigations. A half-dozen House committees are now probing alleged coordination between Trump associates and Russia's efforts to sway the 2016 election, Trump's tax returns and possible conflicts of interest involving the Trump family business and policy-making. The House oversight committee, for instance, has set a deadline for today for the White House to turn over documents related to security clearances after The New York Times reported that the president ordered officials to grant his son-in-law Jared Kushner's clearance over the objections of national security officials.

Nadler's added lines of inquiry also come as special counsel Robert Mueller is believed to be wrapping up his work into possible questions of Trump campaign collusion and obstruction in the Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. In his testimony, Cohen acknowledged he did not witness or know directly of collusion between Trump aides and Russia but had his "suspicions."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on Sunday accused House Democrats of prejudging Trump as part of a query based purely on partisan politics.

"I think Congressman Nadler decided to impeach the president the day the president won the election," McCarthy said. "Listen to exactly what he said. He talks about impeachment before he even became chairman and then he says, 'you've got to persuade people to get there.' There's nothing that the president did wrong."

"Show me where the president did anything to be impeached ... Nadler is setting the framework now that the Democrats are not to believe the Mueller report," he said.

Nadler said Sunday his committee will seek to review the Mueller report but stressed the investigation "goes far beyond collusion."

He pointed to what he considered several instances of obstruction of justice by the president, including the "1,100 times he referred to the Mueller investigation as a 'witch hunt'" as well as Trump's abrupt firing of FBI director James Comey in 2017. According to Comey, Trump had encouraged the then-FBI director to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Trump has denied he told Comey to end the Flynn probe.

"It's very clear that the president obstructed justice," Nadler said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has kept calls for impeachment at bay by insisting that Mueller first must be allowed to finish his work, and present his findings publicly — though it's unclear whether the White House will allow its full release.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who chairs the House intelligence committee, on Sunday also stressed that it's too early to make judgments about impeachment.

"That is something that we will have to await Bob Mueller's report and the underlying evidence to determine. We will also have to look at the whole body of improper and criminal actions by the president including those campaign finance crimes to determine whether they rise to the level of removal from office," Schiff said.

Nadler and McCarthy spoke on ABC's "This Week," and Schiff appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation."