NEESES – Neeses Mayor Kenneth Gleaton presented a framed certificate in memory of the late Neeses youth baseball coach, Stephen Van Vlack Jr., to members of his family during the September council meeting.
Mayor Gleaton said, “We wanted to wait a while before presenting the certificate (to the family).”
He also added that Van Vlack was an asset to the Neeses youth baseball program and has been greatly missed.
Van Vlack’s father, Stephen Van Vlack Sr., thanked the mayor and council for the certificate.
A plaque was also installed last year in the town in memory of Van Vlack, the late, local volunteer fireman and coach. He died in September of 2018. Van Vlack, who was 43 at the time of his death, was born in Alexandria, Virginia. He was also a member of Bethany Baptist Church.
Mayor Gleaton, who oversees the town's recreation department, said, “Stephen would coach tee-ball on Saturday and help with machine pitch during the week.”
The mayor also stated during the meeting that they do not have a firm date for the open house for the Seniors Recreation and Leisure Center as there is still work to be done.
“We are still getting furnishing and more landscaping done for the center,” he said.
Discussion followed after return from executive session on the penny sales tax project.
Town Clerk Sonja Gleaton stated that donations have been received from an anonymous local citizen and ABC Trucking to assist with the purchase of chairs for the assembly room for the facility.
“The community is responding favorably in many ways to help the town get the facility furnished,” Mayor Gleaton said.
"We have more furnishings to purchase and a few more pieces of exercise equipment to be delivered," he said.
Sonja Gleaton noted that many telephone inquiries are being received daily at the town hall from people who are seeking employment at the Seniors Recreation and Leisure Center. Mayor Gleaton replied, “At the present time, there are no paying jobs available at the center.”
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"The exercise room will be staffed by unpaid volunteers and members of Neeses Town Council. All volunteers will receive specialized training to learn how to properly operate and maintain the exercise equipment,” he said.
“Then, when patrons come in to exercise, the volunteers will be able to show them how to safely use the equipment.”
Mayor Gleaton added that the Community Crime Watch meetings, Adopt-a-Highway group meetings, town-related committee meetings and training sessions, senior activities, community events, special observances, and more will be held at the senior center.
Councilwoman Renee Olenick summarized the future plans for the new facility by stating, "The purpose of the Seniors Recreation and Leisure Center is to enrich the lives of our citizens in diverse ways by providing a place for people to gather for good old-fashioned fun and fellowship."
Al Jenkins, representative for the region from Sen. Tim Scott’s office, attended the meeting and confirmed during the regular session that Scott is staying in the area to help with hurricane efforts. Jenkins also stated that the senator is encouraging small towns to work the upcoming census.
He next mentioned some federal grant initiatives for Native Americans and that some of them related to health.
“The Pine Hill and Beaver Creek tribes can partner together and then partner with Catawba Nation for federal grant funds,” Jenkins said.
The mayor and council also agreed to and signed an agreement with Dominion Energy and Aiken Electric Cooperative during the meeting. Mayor Gleaton explained this would be enacted if the town were annexed into Aiken Electric Cooperative territory.
In other business:
• Council decided to participate in the Orangeburg County Fall Litter Challenge. The Neeses Adopt-a-Highway group picks up litter at least three or four times a year and has received numerous awards for its efforts. The Neeses group will be picking up litter Saturday, Sept. 21, from 9 a.m. to noon. Participants usually meet at 9 a.m. at the town hall. A meal is usually served for volunteers afterward.
• The next Neeses Crime Watch meeting will be Monday, Sept. 9, at 6:15 p.m. at the town hall. The menu will be pot luck.
• The next council meeting will be held Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the town hall.
• The Community Health Fair has been scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 2, from 9 a.m. until noon at Neeses town hall. The Regional Medical Center will give free health screenings such as blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol checks. Other health-related vendors will be present also. There is no admission charge and attendees will receive "goodie bags."