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Crime-and-courts
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Orangeburg bank robbed, suspect found in nearby yard; man on probation for ‘malicious intent to burn’

S.C. State Credit Union was robbed Thursday. The Orangeburg Department of Public Safety had a suspect in custody moments later.

John Albert Green, 32, of 1430 Beason Road, was taken into custody within one-quarter mile of the Boulevard Street bank, according to ODPS Inv. A. Black.

Green is facing one count of entering a bank with the intent to steal.

Officers learned of the robbery at 8:47 a.m. after someone called 911 and a clerk activated an emergency alarm.

Officers were on the scene within two minutes.

Black said four employees and one customer were inside the bank during the robbery. No one was hurt.

Green allegedly “slipped a teller a note requesting money,” Black said.

The teller complied with the orders and the robber left the bank on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash, Black said.

Officers said they found Green in someone’s yard.

Officers canvassed the areas of Carolina Avenue and Highland and Lattimore Streets for items the suspect may have discarded.

Last month, Green pleaded guilty to willful and malicious intent to burn.

Circuit Judge Ed Dickson sentenced him to prison for five years, suspended to two years of probation.

Green’s probation term is set to end on Jan. 8, 2021.

Back on March 17, 2016, Green pleaded guilty to giving false information to law enforcement.

Orangeburg County Magistrate Rob Clariday sentenced him to pay a fine or serve 30 days in jail.

If Green is convicted of entering a bank with intent to steal, he faces a maximum term of 30 years in prison.

Black said the case remains under investigation.


Local
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Orangeburg Civic Ballet's 'Nutcracker' performance a holiday hit

"The Nutcracker" has thrilled generations with its timeless story of a young girl's journey to a magical land on Christmas Eve.

The ballet has enjoyed popularity since the mid-20th century and is now performed by countless ballet companies during the Christmas season.

Looking back: Orangeburg Civic Ballet's 'Nutcracker' from 2010

The Orangeburg Civic Ballet presents “The Nutcracker” locally, helping a new generation learn the magic of Pyotr Tchaikovsky's masterpiece.

The OCB's performances of the ballet are usually on the second weekend of December and are usually held in South Carolina State University's Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium.

The OCB was started with 14 dancers when it was founded by Tamalyn Blackman

Originally known as the Orangeburg City Ballet, the company presented its first "Nutcracker" with the Junior Orangeburg Part-Time Players in 1992.

That inaugural production included speaking and singing parts along with dance and was performed by a 40-member cast.

In 1999, the OCB launched its first full-length ballet production of the show with a cast of more than 100 dancers.

The production's costumes and choreography have become more elaborate through the years.

The OCB’s 2018 production included a cast of 120, the largest ever assembled for the show.

Some members of the cast have been performing in the ballet for several years, with some performing all through elementary, middle and high schools.

The Orangeburg Civic Ballet will present its spring show, “The Wizard of Oz,” on Saturday, March 30, and Sunday, March 31.

For more information, visit www.orangeburgcivicballet.org


Crime-and-courts
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2 more Orangeburg homes hit with gunfire; officials unsure if shooting incidents related

Two more Orangeburg homes have been damaged by gunfire.

Armstrong Terrace and Whittaker Parkway residents reported gunfire on Thursday morning.

Earlier this week, two Coleman Avenue residents were hit by gunfire after someone shot into their home. A Magnolia Street home was also hit with gunfire on Monday.

Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Rene Williams said he’s not certain if the shootings are connected because the investigation is ongoing.

An Armstrong Terrace couple called law enforcement after hearing multiple gunshots at 12:33 a.m. Thursday.

The man and the woman went to the floor until the shooting stopped, an incident report states.

The man found multiple holes in their house and vehicle.

Neither he nor his wife were injured.

Deputies discovered 15 spent shell casings in the roadway in front of the residence.

Less than 20 minutes later, deputies received a call from a Whittaker Parkway resident who reported that she was in bed and sleeping when she heard loud gunshots.

Deputies found 15 shell casings in the roadway in front of her home. She had multiple bullet holes on the outside and inside of her home.

Several hours earlier, deputies responded to a call from a concerned citizen who heard gunfire on the 300 block of Jamison Avenue.

The concerned citizen said they saw a small compact car with one occupant who appeared to be shooting at 8:10 p.m. Wednesday.

Early Monday morning, someone shot into a Coleman Avenue residence.

A 40-year-old suffered a gunshot wound to the right side of his head and an 18-year-old was shot in the right side of his stomach.

Two others inside the residence weren’t injured.

The shooting occurred at 3:05 a.m.

None of the people in the home have any idea who would’ve shot at them, an incident report states.

Deputies recovered multiple shell casings on the roadway.

Three hours later, deputies responded to an alarm call signaling that glass had been broken at a residence.

No one was at the Magnolia Street home when the alarm sounded.

When deputies arrived, they discovered three broken glass panels at the right side of the residence and three entry and exit points for spent rounds at the screened back porch.

The home next door to the Magnolia Street residence also received damage from gunfire.


Education
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Grant to help boost OCSD5 school security

A new federal grant will be used to improve security at Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5 schools, trustees were told at their February meeting.

The district is partnering with Orangeburg County on a new grant from the U.S. Department of Justice through the Community Oriented Policing Service program, Public Relations Director Bill Clark said.

“The requirement for this one was applicants had to be a unit of government. So the school district could not apply on its own,” Clark said. “Thus, we had a partnership with the County of Orangeburg and the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office, who were more than happy to work with us.”

District 5 already has locking security doors on schools, he said. The grant will also assist with visitor screening, police officers, training and drills, as well as an emergency alert system to be installed in six school buildings. The system can be used not only for intruder alerts but also for medical, fire and weather alerts.

The alert systems will be placed in Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School, Bethune-Bowman Middle/High School, North High School, Clark Middle School, Howard Middle School and Marshall Elementary School, he said. A two-way communication device will be installed in every room at the schools.

The district selected six schools using the grant money that’s available, but other schools may eventually be covered in subsequent rounds of funding, Clark said.

The roughly $625,000 grant is a three-to-one matching grant, he said. The district’s cost is about $156,000.

In other business:

• New trustee Ethel Moseley was sworn in by Chairman Vernon Stephens.

A native of Orangeburg, Moseley is a retired public school teacher with more than 27 years of service with Orangeburg Consolidated School District 4. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Claflin College (University) and a master’s degree in special education from South Carolina State College (University).

She is a member of Bull Swamp Baptist Church, where she serves in a number of capacities, and has volunteered with several service agencies in Orangeburg County, including CASA and the Guardian Ad Litem program. She currently volunteers with the United Way Midlands Reading Consortium Program.

Moseley has two adult children, Elbert and Monica, and three grandchildren, DaShawn, William and McKenzi.

• Stephens said that trustees recently attended the National School Boards Association Advocacy Institute and Equity Symposium in Washington, D.C.

Trustees visited the offices of state representatives and senators and got to speak with Rep. James Clyburn and Sen. Lindsey Graham, he said. One of the issues they discussed was funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

When the act was passed, Congress made a commitment to eventually fund 40 percent of the average cost for special education students, he said. It’s still at the initial 15 percent.

“Once again, mandates without funding,” Stephens said.

Trustee Susan Gleaton said that special education costs the district about $10 million each year.

“We have to do a better job ... to let Congress know what we need,” Stephens said.

• Donnie Boland, head of finance and operations, gave the budget report for December.

No local revenues were recorded for the month, he said.

“The county didn’t send any money,” he said.

However, about $7.5 million was received in January, he said. The district spent about $6.7 million in December.

For the first half of the school year, the Medicaid Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Services program had a positive fund balance of about $75,000, he said.

The district spent about $126,000 with minority vendors, or about 5.9 percent of total vendor expenses, Boland said.

• Robert Grant, head of human resources, said that about 2,000 employee intent surveys were sent. The district had received back about 1,400 at the time of the meeting.

He also reported that the three HR directors of Districts 3, 4 and 5 are working together to develop a 2019-2020 calendar for the consolidated district’s schools. He said that the three districts will also be collaborating on a career fair in March.

Trustee Samuel Farlow asked if there was money for teacher recruitment bonuses. Grant said that there is not because the money is being used for retention stipends.

“We’re looking for teachers as best we can with what we have at this given time,” Superintendent Dr. Jesse Washington said.

• Dr. Cynthia Cash-Greene, head of instructional services, updated trustees on the STEM labs at Bethune-Bowman, Clark and Howard middle schools.

Bethune-Bowman Principal Lakekia Lewis said that she and her staff are excited to have the lab at their school.

“We are blessed to have a lab facility,” she said. “Students have the opportunity to maneuver through all 14 stations.”

Clark Principal Donyale Mosley said that about 153 of her students run through the 15 stations of the math lab.

“They do struggle and they tackle their own problems,” she said. “It is a wonderful program.”

Howard science teacher Yolanda Bennett said, “We feature not only science but environmental math.”

“If a student excels in a particular skill set, then that helps them identify where they would be most comfortable ... to kind of guide their career choices,” she said.