Sunday, May 24, 2015
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Members of the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce board were briefed Thursday morning on  workforce development efforts of the Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments.  Laurey Carpenter, a regional career specialist with Santee-Lynches telling the chamber board  that the goal is to help students learn workplace skills. Carpenter said the Kershaw County School District is serving as a pilot program for the four county Santee-Lynches area where students can receive scholarships for job training and receive a job upon completion of that training.  Carpenter said that Santee-Lynches is working with students to educate them about the workplace and various careers.

A man long respected in the legal community and in Kershaw county passed away Tuesday after a battle with cancer.  Judge Ernest Kinard passed at the age of 75.  Before being elected a circuit court judge in 1988 Kinard was the managing partner of the Savage Law Firm in Camden.  Before his retirement Kinard was the most senior active circuit court judge in South Carolina.  Kinard was also the first presiding judge of the state grand jury when it was formed.  Kinard was active in local affairs in Kershaw county. A memorial  service for judge Kinard will take place Friday.

Later this year the Kershaw County School Sistrict plans to hold a series of public meetings dealing with school facilities and a possible school bond referendum next year.  At one point the district had looked at bringing in outside facilitators to lead those meetings but recently the board decided instead to have school members and members of the community lead those meetings.  Dr. Frank Morgan, Kershaw County School Superintendent says the idea is for school board members and the administration to find out what the public wants in the way of school facilities improvements.  Morgan says that meetings will probably take place in September at Camden, Lugoff-Elgin and North Central high schools.

Camden City Council recently approved the recommendations of the city’s Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee to support tourism related organizations in Camden.  Among the groups receiving funding the South Carolina Equine Park and the National Steeplechase Museum at the Springdale race course.  Both will receive $5,000 each.  The Carolina Down-Home Blues Festival will receive $12,500, the Carolina Cup $6,000 and the Candlelight Tour of Homes $500.  The appropriations were approved with a unanimous vote.

The Applied Technology Education Campus (ATEC) FFA chapter has been awarded gold status by state officials, one of only nine high school organizations in South Carolina to receive such recognition.

The honor means the local chapter advances to compete for national FFA chapter of the year recognition later this year at the national conference in Louisville, Ky. “We are extremely proud of our FFA chapter for this recognition,” say ATEC director Chet Horton.

“When our agriculture instructor Katie Gilson was hired four years ago she established the FFA chapter for her students and since then it has been moving up in state recognition from bronze the first year, silver the past two years and now gold.

“It places our chapter among the best in the state and we could not be happier for Ms. Gilson and her students,” says Horton. “They have done an outstanding job.” Forty state FFA chapters competed for the gold status.

FFA is a national leadership organization for students interested in pursuing agriculture-related careers. Gold is presented to only a few select chapters which perform exemplary in such categories such as community service, participation in FFA events, extra-curricular activities and student development.

The ATEC chapter has 50 members including students from Camden, Lugoff-Elgin and North Central high schools.

Thursday SLED, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division arrested and charged a Camden police officer in connection with the unlawful neglect of a child.  Roger Dale Burris III was charged with unlawful neglect of a child or helpless person; a felony with penalty on conviction of not more than ten years imprisonment. Burris was charged after striking his four year old child with a belt on five different occasions.   Burris was booked at the Kershaw County Detention Centre.  The case was investigated by SLED at the request of the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office.  The case will be prosecuted by the 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.  Burris has been suspended by the Camden Police without pay.

Tuesday evening Kershaw county councilmen heard from consultants regarding Kershaw county’s economic development efforts.  Late last year council decided bring in consultants to figure out what Kershaw county is doing right and doing wrong in trying to lure in new industry.  Mark Simmons, with Parker Poe Consulting says Kershaw county is doing a lot right but there are areas that need improvement. Kyle Clampett with Alliance Engineering telling councilmen that Kershaw county has seen success with existing industry expanding their operations. Julian Burns, county council chair says that Kershaw county also needs to invest in its workforce and adopt a more intense approach to bringing in new industry.

One student was taken to the hospital earlier today with a minor injury after a school bus accident that took place this morning.  According to Mary Anne Byrd with the Kershaw County School district the accident took place before seven this morning on Highway 601.  The accident is under investigation by the South Carolina Highway Patrol.  According to the highway patrol two pickup trucks tried to pass the school bus and one of the trucks hit the rear end of the school bus.  The driver of that truck has been charged with improper passing.