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DORA buys Servpro building; group plans commercial kitchen for community

The Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association has purchased the Servpro building on St. John Street for the future site of a community commercial kitchen.

"This is a small business incubator for food-based businesses in the downtown district," DORA Executive Director Candice Roberson said.

Roberson announced the purchase last week at the quarterly meeting of The One Orangeburg County Initiative.

Roberson said, "We could see a new bakery open in downtown Orangeburg with our commercial kitchen."

"The bakery owner can come to our kitchen and bake their goods in the wee morning hours and go to their retail space in downtown and sell their goods," she said. "That is the benefit of a commercial kitchen."

Roberson said catering companies will also benefit from the kitchen.

"We might see more catering companies pop up," she said. "We have a lot of home-based catering companies that can't expand because they can't afford to outfit those commercial kitchens that are very costly."

The kitchen will be licensed through the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and rented out to small business owners to prep their food, Roberson said.

The former Servpro building, located at 335 St. John Street, is about 4,000 square feet. Servpro will be relocating to 1328 Middlepen Road off of Five Chop Road with a tentative move date of March 1.

DORA purchased the property on Dec. 21, 2018 for $66,000, according to Orangeburg County property records.

In December 2017, DORA also purchased the property abutting Servpro at 1326 Russell Street, the site of the former Sifly furniture building, for a sum of $5. The building has been torn down.

The site, at the corner of Church and Russell streets, will house the future 6,200-square-foot open-air market/pavilion.

The pavilion will have 12-foot high ceilings, restrooms, storage and office space.

It will be able to house 32 vendors. Power and water will be available for vendors and fans and lighting will be installed.

Construction on the pavilion, which will be built with timber, is targeted to begin in the second quarter of this year.

The pavilion will cost about $1 million, with Phase 1 to include the pavilion and Phase 2 to include the community commercial kitchen.

To date, DORA has commitments in the amount of approximately $660,000. The money has come from private donors, foundations and public entities, Roberson said.

Roberson said DORA will continue to try to find sponsors to make the market a reality.

DORA is seeking the permanent facility following the growth in its farmer’s market.

The farmer’s market started off with an average of about four to six vendors. Today, there is an average of 12 vendors every Tuesday from May through August. Public participation has also increased by 50 percent.

But the pavilion will not just be for farmers.

"We want to see the community in this building on a Monday, on a Friday," Roberson said. "We want to see an oyster roast be held in this building, not just being used on Tuesday for our market."

The pavilion could also host arts and craft shows, weddings and other events.

In other business at the One Orangeburg County meeting:

• It was announced Orangeburg County will host the South Carolina Rural Summit March 4-5 for the first time in the summit's 29-year history. The summit will be held at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College from 9 a.m. Monday, March 4 and through Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.

• The ribbon-cutting for the new Claflin University Health and Wellness complex is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 24 at 11 a.m.

• The targeted opening date of Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College’s Nursing and Health Science Building is tentatively scheduled for April 11.

• The St. Patrick's Day festival will be held March 15. The festival will be free of charge. Entertainment and food will be provided. A leprechaun will be in attendance.

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Youth honor Dr. King through service

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve."

Orangeburg's St. Stephens United Methodist Church Fragrances of Faith Youth Group put the words of the late civil rights leader into action Monday by helping to ensure Williams Chapel AME's food pantry is adequately supplied for those less fortunate.

"Monday is a day on not a day off for Martin Luther King and we wanted to take an opportunity to do our community outreach service in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr," said Gail Jarvis, St. Stephen's UMC youth director.

The youth -- about eight of them ranging from the ages of 12 to 18 -- participated in a canned and non-perishable food drive to help Williams Chapel AME's outreach food program.

"This means a lot to me," TaJour Turkvan, 15, said. "I have always wanted to help people. Knowing that I have this opportunity is a big huge honor."

Turkvan said helping others is a big part of being a Christian.

"You just want to be able to do the right things for God and for other people," Turkvan said.

St. Stephen's began the food drive in early January. Over 200 canned goods and non-perishable items were collected. Industrial cans were collected as well.

St. Stephens UMC member Jerry Sistrunk has participated in the outreach ministry for the past two years. He helps to deliver the meals.

"It is a good thing," Sistrunk said. "The elderly people look forward to it on Fridays. That is a meal for them and it does me good to see we are doing something good for the community so they don't have to worry about cooking."

For the past two years, Williams Chapel has prepared meals to feed church members and others in the community every Friday.

"What this does is to provide us with an opportunity to serve the community," said Bennie Brown, who oversees Williams Chapel’s kitchen outreach ministry. "Every donation will help us to better prepare to help those in need in the Orangeburg community."

Currently, the church serves over 350 meals a week. This past year, the church served over 21,000 meals. Brown said when the church first started the food pantry outreach in 2014, about 14,000 meals were delivered that year.

The meals are cooked by about 25 volunteers and delivered by four drivers.

"We don't only serve Williams Chapel. We serve the Orangeburg area," he said.

While St. Stephen's has worked with Williams Chapel in its outreach efforts for the past two years, this is the first time the youth have been directly involved in the canned food drive, Jarvis said.

"It is an opportunity to help those who are less fortunate and be a part of the bigger plan to serve others," Jarvis said. "This will also give them an opportunity to work together and work with other people."

Ministry has always been an important part of St. Stephen's youth program.

In the past, the youth have participated in other community services such as "Don't Forget About Us", an outreach effort for those youth who are not in church. The youth have also participated in the teddy bear ministry where they helped to donate teddy bears to CASA for children who are victims of abuse.

To give a donation of non-perishable foods to Williams Chapel, call the church at 803-536-0600 or bring the food items to the church located at 1198 Glover Street.

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104-year-old: ‘I feel fantastic’ ;Kay Hughes enjoys church, spending time at Council on Aging

Katherine “Kay” Hughes loves God and loves lending a helping hand. While she has lived more than a century, the winds of time have yet to diminish her shining spirit.

While her hearing and eyesight may not be what they used to be, the Orangeburg resident is still moving along with the help of a walking stick.

She celebrated her 104th birthday on Jan. 16.

It was not so very long ago that she stopped working as a volunteer assisting clients of the Cooperative Church Ministries of Orangeburg, stating that it now feels "weird" to not be there anymore helping others.

She retired from American Yard Products at the age of 71.

She stayed at home just two years before going to work for CCMO at age 73. She began working with CCMO after hearing about it through her church, Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Orangeburg.

She now enjoys spending at least part of her time at the Orangeburg County Council on Aging, where she delights in singing hymns, playing bingo and socializing with other seniors.

"I just think it's wonderful. They're very nice," said Hughes, noting that she particularly enjoys the devotional period that's held in the morning.

Her fluffy white hair, neat style of dress and sharp wit are all part of what make Ms. Kay, as she is affectionately known, special in her own way. How does she think she stays so pretty?

"Oh, wow. I don't know. Probably good living," she said.

Hughes still exercises nearly every morning, doing leg lifts before she gets out of bed. A healthy diet of fish and "most any kind of vegetable," including steamed broccoli, have also not hurt her.

An independent spirit, Hughes dresses and feeds herself and doesn't want people fussing over her. She said she is not sure why God has let her live as long as he has.

"I can't answer that. I don't know. He just left me here for some reason, but I don't know what," she said, noting that it could possibly be because she has given so much to others during her life.

She said her church has been an integral part of her life, noting that she enjoys worshiping God and "hardly ever" misses a church service.

"It's still important to me. I guess it was the way I was brought up," she said.

Hughes was not quite 4 years old when her mother died, but she was raised by an aunt who had an equally big heart. Her aunt also took her eight siblings in, along with many other children.

The widowed mother of three children, Hughes was born in Oswego, New York. She later went to Niagara Falls, where she went on to play piano in a local orchestra. She had taken piano lessons for seven years from a German man, who she said took his craft very seriously.

"He was strict, strict, strict, strict. That was his middle name," she said.

Hughes said several of her neighbors who live near the home she's been in 50 years have been good to her. Some of them have brought over food and spent nights with her.

She said she has been well loved by her community and her plan is to keep living each day that God gives her.

"That's right, as long as I can. I feel fantastic," she said.

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Orangeburg woman dies when car bursts into flames after crash; 5 die on roads over weekend

An Orangeburg woman died Sunday when her vehicle burst into flames before she could be freed from the wreckage after a two-vehicle head-on crash near Gaffney.

Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler identified the woman as Angela Smith Teliha, 47, of 158 Darlene Road, Orangeburg.

“Teliha was the driver of a 2011 Mazda that was headed east on Willinsville Highway at 1 p.m. A pickup truck headed west crossed the center line near the Vestas Road intersection colliding with her vehicle,” Fowler said via a press release.

“Three minor children who were passengers in the car were freed from the wreckage, however Teliha was trapped and the vehicle burst into flames before she could be removed. Teliha was pronounced dead at the scene,” Fowler said.

The victim was visiting relatives in Gaffney at the time of the fatal crash, according to the coroner. An autopsy will be performed Tuesday to assist with the investigation of the fatal crash.

Three injured in U.S. 301 crash

Three occupants of a 2008 BMW sustained injuries at 10:32 p.m. Tuesday night after it collided with a tractor-trailer, according to S.C. Highway Patrol Cpl. Judd Jones.

According to, the website of the Herald-Journal of Spartanburg, the driver of the pickup was not wearing a seatbelt and was injured. He was taken to Spartanburg Medical Center, according to the Highway Patrol.

Trooper Justin Sutherland said no charges will be filed, reported.

Teliha was one of five people killed on S.C. roads over the weekend, according to the S.C. Department of Public Safety.

As of Jan. 20, 43 people have died on South Carolina highways, compared to 46 highway deaths during the same time period in 2018.

 Of the 43 motor vehicle occupants who have died in 2019, 32 had access to seat belts, and 15 were not wearing seat belts. 

 Through Jan. 20, eight pedestrians have died compared to seven in 2018; one motorcyclist has died compared to two in 2018; and zero bicyclists have died compared to zero in 2018 on state roads and highways.