Review Category : Beaufort News

City works to clear clogged storm drains

Responding to recent extreme rainfalls that flooded areas across the Lowcountry, Beaufort city leaders are working to clean out drain inlets and pipes in key locations.

Over the past 30 days, intense and dense rain storms have dropped several inches of rain in short periods of time on Beaufort, Savannah and Charleston, overwhelming drainage systems. The problem is made worse when the storms come at high tide, which limits the natural system’s ability to absorb the rainfall.

To combat the problem in Beaufort, the city contracted with Eadie’s Construction and Palmetto Construction to bring specialized equipment to clean stormwater drains and pipes, said Isiah Smalls, director of public works and facilities management for the city.

“We have always had problems with stormwater flooding when we get these extra-heavy rain falls,” Smalls said. “Most of our stormwater drainage was built and is owned and controlled by others such as the South Carolina DOT. Having said that, we are working at the worst locations to improve the drainage in the short term, and we’ll take a look at the bigger picture for more permanent solutions.”

During the drain and pipe cleaning process, motorists may experience some delays, Smalls said.

City officials encouraged residents to check drain grates in their neighborhoods and either sweep away accumulated debris or alert the city’s Public Works Department at 525-7054.

Further, residents and landscapers are reminded not to dump yard debris into roads where it can be washed into the drainage system. Spanish moss, leaves and grass clippings serve as clogs that bind to sand and dirt particles, creating drain and pipe blockages that have severely affected the stormwater drainage system in Beaufort, Smalls said.

There is no limit on the number of bags of normal yard debris that can be placed curbside by Beaufort residents. However, they must be sure that no bag weighs more than 50 pounds and that any bundled items, such as branches, don’t exceed four feet in length or 50 pounds.

Leaves and branch pickups are made once weekly in the city. If you don’t know your designated day for service, please call City of Beaufort Public Works at 843-525-7054, ext. 2, Waste Pro at 843-645-4100 or visit www.cityofbeaufort.org and click on Residents/City Services/Solid Waste to see the schedule.

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Election & Political Notes

Democrats will open new campaign office

The Beaufort County Democratic Party will host a grand opening for its Beaufort area campaign office on Saturday, August 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The office is located at 705 Carteret Street in Beaufort. Special guests for the event include Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Joyce Dickerson and Beaufort County Councilwoman Laura Von Harten.  The vent is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served. For more information or to volunteer for the upcoming election, contact Alice Washington at 843-322-1973 or Gracie Aylmer at 517-648-9564.

Savannah Mayor to address local Democrats

Savannah Mayor Edna B. Jackson will be the keynote speaker for a special Joint Northern Beaufort County Democratic Precincts meeting on Saturday, Aug. 23.

Jackson, Savannah’s first African-American woman mayor, will speak during the free public event, which is being sponsored by the Northern Beaufort County Democratic Club. It will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at the St. Helena Island Public Library, 6355 Jonathan Francis Sr. Road, just past Penn Center on the left side of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Seating will be limited. To reserve a space at the pre-meeting reception, please email northernbcdemocrats@gmail.com or call 597-2482.

County to hold new poll manager training

The Beaufort County Board of Elections and Registration will be conducting training sessions for new poll managers. All persons interested in working the polls for the first time may enroll in one of these sessions.

Dates and locations are as follows:

• Saturday, Sept. 6: 1 to 5 p.m., Bluffton Library, 120 Palmetto Way, Bluffton.

• Thursday, Sept. 11: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Hilton Head Library, 11 Beach City Road, Hilton Head Island.

• Monday, September 15: 6 to 10 p.m., Disabilities and Special Needs building, (off Castle Rock Road), 100 Clear Water Way, Beaufort.

The sessions will last approximately four hours each. It is also recommended that you bring a snack to eat/drink during short breaks. To register for the training, please call 843-255-6900 or 255-6902; or send an email to include the preferred date of the training you wish to attend and a phone number where you can be reached during the day to voter@bcgov.net.

Beaufort Republican Women’s Club to meet

Come hear Beaufort County Sheriff PJ Tanner speak about immigration and concerns about the influx of 350 illegal child immigrants now in South Carolina. The luncheon and program are being sponsored by the Beaufort Republican Women’s Club on Thursday, September 4, at The Holiday Inn’s Albergotti Grill, 2225 Boundary St., and will begin at 11:30 a.m., with the cost of the luncheon being $20. Reservations are required. Contact Laura Fanelli at 860-543-0799 or laurafanelli@mac.com or visit www.beaufortrepublicanwomensc.com.

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Five arrested as a result of search warrants

The simultaneous execution of two search warrants Wednesday, Aug. 13 led to the recovery of stolen weapons, illicit drugs, and the arrests of five local men.

Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office investigators coordinated the service of search warrants at two Lady’s Island residences just after 5 p.m. on Aug. 13. The search warrants were obtained for 9 Woodbine Lane and 12 Lemoyne Drive in connection with the investigation of last weekend’s armed robbery at the House of Tang restaurant.

Upon execution of the search warrant at 9 Woodbine Lane, contact was made with 17-year-old Malcolm Driessen and 18-year-old Ronald Moore. Driessen was in possession of a cell phone that was identified as the one stolen during the House of Tang robbery. Driessen was arrested on one count of Receiving Stolen Goods. It was also discovered that Moore was in violation of a trespass notice for the residence and was arrested for Trespassing After Notice.

Upon execution of the search warrant at 12 Lemoyne Drive, contact was made with 21-year-old Malcolm Moore, 22-year-old Daniel Edwards, and 18-year-old Kieon Marshall. The search of the home yielded the recovery of 10 firearms, two of which had been previously reported stolen out of Beaufort County. About 3.5 oz. of marijuana was discovered and seized. All three men at the residence were charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana. Moore was charged with two counts of Possession of Stolen Firearms and Possession of a Schedule V Controlled Substance.

Additional charges may be pending as the armed robbery investigation continues. Investigators are also working to determine if any of the other recovered firearms may have been illegally obtained.

Anyone with information that may be useful to this or other investigations is encouraged to contact either Investigator Staff Sgt. J. Fraser at 843-255-3416 or Crimestoppers.

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Beaufort City Manager Scott Dadson, City Council agree to part ways after more than eight years

Scott Dadson, the longest-tenured Beaufort city manager in recent memory at eight-plus years, agreed with City Council that it’s time for a change.

After an executive session last Tuesday night, the City Council agreed to amend Dadson’s contract to allow him to seek new employment at the same time the city seeks a new city manager. The contract change provides the city with time for a transition and possibly to seek a projects manager.

Scott-Dadson“I am enormously appreciative of the opportunity to serve the City Council and this community,” Dadson said. “Working together, we’ve made some wonderful improvements and set the stage for even greater things as Beaufort moves into its fourth century. The city is in very strong financial strength and that is a huge plus in this economy.”

Under the agreement, Dadson is free to seek other employment while working as Beaufort City Manager, and the City Council will begin its search for a project manager in the near term. A broader search for a permanent city manager likely will follow, Keyserling said.

“Scott has worked tirelessly and with great dedication, but we both agree it’s time for a change,” Keyserling said. “He did wonderful things to carry us through the recession, and that is what put the city in a position to do some very positive things.

“This is an exciting time for Beaufort. We have the major Boundary Street improvement getting ready to start, we are actively seeking economic redevelopment job creation opportunities, we have improvements to the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park and the need to generate a long-term maintenance fund for the park, we have much-needed work on our stormwater and drainage, we have the National Historic Landmark District to protect and grow, we have our waterways and open vistas to protect and grow, and, fortunately, we have an active citizenry working with us,” Keyserling said.

“We have a lot of work ahead, but that’s also what makes working for us so appealing,” Keyserling said.

The city likely will move in the next few weeks to hire a project manager to lead Beaufort’s multiple capital projects, including the Boundary Street redevelopment. That person would work alongside Dadson in the short-term and, depending on background and qualifications, could be considered for the permanent city manager job.

“It is amazing to think that when Scott came to us, the economy was still in good shape,” Mayor Pro Tem Donnie Beer said. “Then we had the recession, and he kept us moving forward even then. That, by itself, is an amazing accomplishment. It’s going to take a special person now to address everything we have on our plate. It won’t be an easy job.”

Under the new amendment to Dadson’s employment contract, he agrees to continue as city manager for up to six months at his regular salary and benefits, while he is allowed to seek new employment and while the City Council begins its search for a replacement.

Dadson pointed to the city’s strong financial position, supported by external audits, as one of his main achievements. “We made some very calculated and strategic decisions from 2007 through today that put the city of Beaufort on very firm financial footing despite the recession that really crippled a lot of small towns,” Dadson said.

Those decisions included outsourcing some services, focusing on customer service, consolidating city staff and reinforcing a corps of volunteer boards and commissions.

“A lot of municipalities look at what we’ve been able to do the past 10 years and are amazed, considering how so many of them lost revenue, lost residents and lost community support,” Dadson said. “Even with decreased revenues, we were able in most cases to continue or even improve our level of service, and we should be rightfully proud of that.”

The agreement caps Dadson’s monthly payments at six months.

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Local veteran wins national award

Disabled American Veterans recognizes Ronald Voegeli as nation’s top recruiter

Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is proud to announce U.S. Marine Corps veteran Ronald L. Voegeli is the Membership Recruiter of the Year for 2014.

The South Carolina native and life member of the DAV Chapter 12 in Beaufort recruited 129 part- and full-life members into DAV during the past year.

Ronald Voegeli, far right, is seen earlier this year presenting an award with other members of the local DAV chapter.

Ronald Voegeli, far right, is seen earlier this year presenting an award with other members of the local DAV chapter.

“Ron Voegeli is able to connect so many veterans in large part because of the free services he offers in helping connect them with the benefits they’ve earned as a result of their military service,” said DAV’s National Membership Director Tony Baskerville. “DAV is a growing organization because people like Ron are on the front lines in communities nationwide providing a clear benefit and message to their fellow veterans.”

Voegeli’s efforts helped DAV reach yearly membership goals at the fastest rate in the organization’s history. Where many veterans service organizations have seen continual reductions in membership, all DAV state-level departments met recruiting goals, along with more than 90 percent of local chapters for the second consecutive year. Nationwide, DAV has 1.2 million members — all wartime service-connected disabled veterans.

“We are veterans serving veterans and our members and focus give us tremendous credibility in communities and before lawmakers in Washington,” said Baskerville. “Ron’s hard work reflects great credit upon himself and shows the commitment of veterans in the Lowcountry.”

Voegeli is a service-connected disabled veteran of the Vietnam War, serving in the 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division from 1969 to 1971. He has served in numerous leadership capacities at the chapter, department and national levels within DAV.

For more information about this nonprofit, visit www.dav.org.

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County library director set to retire

After serving Beaufort County for more than 10 years, County Library Director Wlodek Zaryczny is retiring.

Zaryczny has implemented programs and achieved successes since taking over as director in May 2004. Some of those accomplishments include: the formation of the Public Library Foundation of Beaufort County, serving as president of the South Carolina Association of Public Library Administrators, having Beaufort County Library be the founding member of SC Evergreen Network Delivery System, opening the state-of-the-art St. Helena Branch Library, and implementing production lab services at the Bluffton Branch Library.

“It has been a privilege and honor to serve as the Beaufort County Library Director for the past 10 years,” said Zaryczny.

“I thank Wlodek for his hard work and dedication over the last decade and wish him well in his retirement,” said County Administrator Gary Kubic.

Zaryczny’s last day with Beaufort County will be Friday, September 5.

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Museum announces fall docent program

The Beaufort History Museum is recruiting the Fall 2014 class of volunteer docents to lead tours and serve as community liaisons. Museum President Anna Shaffer announced the new class sessions.

“The training curriculum will cover all aspects of history relating to Beaufort. Our educators will provide docents with knowledge of the museum’s collections, history and mission,” Shaffer said. “Once docents have completed the training process, they will be asked to serve approximately four shifts per month and will commit to a one-year period of service to the museum.”

An informational session for interested candidates will be held August 28 at the Beaufort History Museum from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Docent training classes will be held weekly from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. from Sept. 4 through Sept. 25.

All sessions will be held at The Beaufort History Museum, which has recently relocated to The Arsenal at 713 Craven Street, Beaufort. For more information on the docent program, or other volunteer opportunities with the museum, contact Lorrie Burleyknoles at docent@beaufortschistorymuseum.com.

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Beaufort seeks public comment Tuesday on changing voting districts to single-members

City leaders are encouraging Beaufort residents to speak about a proposed change in the way City Council members are elected, based on a request by the NAACP.

 The subject is part of Tuesday’s City Council work session, starting at 5 p.m. in the City Hall first floor conference room. Public participation is sought.

 “Right now we aren’t sure how or even if this will move forward, but we want to hear from more Beaufort city residents about how they feel on the subject,” Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said. “Any change to the process used to elect members of City Council deserves a good public conversation.”

 The Burton-Dale-Beaufort NAACP branch requested the change late last year and has been working with City Council and the S.C. Office of Research and Statistics in hopes of letting voters decide in November’s general election.

 By state law, the S.C. Election Commission must have referendum language by Aug. 15 for it to be placed on the November ballot, said Bill Harvey, Beaufort’s city attorney. The City Council won’t have time to adequately air the issue with city residents and vote on any reference language – likely meaning the NAACP would need to collect signatures by Aug. 15 from 15 percent of the registered voters within the city requesting the question be added to the ballot.

 Currently, all four Beaufort City Council members plus the mayor are elected in at-large, non-partisan elections. Registered voters from across the city elect council members, regardless of where the candidates live.

 The local NAACP, assisted by the national organization’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, has pushed to create single-member districts, with at least one district having a majority of black residents. Beaufort City Council hasn’t had a black member since 1993.

 Earlier this summer the NAACP drew up voting district maps with four and six council seats elected from specific geographic districts. Under their plan, the mayor, who also serves on City Council, would be elected at-large by all city voters.

 “The question at this point isn’t how many districts or where those districts would be,” Keyserling said, “it is simply a question of, do city residents want to change from electing all City Council members at-large, or do they like the idea of single-member districts? I think we all benefit from this discussion and I hope we hear from as many city residents as possible in our work session.”

 Beaufort City Hall is located at 1911 Boundary Street.

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Sen. Davis to be LIBPA guest speaker

Senator Tom Davis

Senator Tom Davis

State Senator Tom Davis, who represents District 46 in the South Carolina Senate, will be the guest speaker at the Tuesday, August 12 meeting of the Lady’s Island Business and Professional Association which will be held at 8 a.m. in the Beaufort Realtor’s Association Headquarters, located in the Palmetto Business Park on Lady’s Island Drive. The meeting is open to the public.

Davis was elected to the South Carolina Senate in 2008 and reelected in 2012.  He is a graduate of Furman University and received his law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law and has practiced law in Beaufort since 1985 with the law firm of Harvey & Battey.  Senator Davis presently serves on the Senate Committees for Banking and Insurance, Corrections and Penology, Finance, Labor, Commerce and Industry and Medical Affairs.  He is married and has three daughters. He has been requested to include in his discussion with our members the following subjects:

- How long should South Carolina oppose the Affordable Care Act?

- What was the basis of the legislative opposition to implementation of Common Core Standards in our schools?

- Is the continued attempt to use the nullification theory for unpopular federal actions valid?

- Is Beaufort County doomed to live with Act 388 and be forced to beg for state school funding each fiscal year?

- What is the best method of funding the repair and maintenance of our state roads – increase taxes, authorize casinos or another approach?

- What are the major challenges to be faced in the 2015 legislative session?

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Spanish Count of Güemes joins Santa Elena Foundation

The Santa Elena Foundation Board of Directors welcomed Álvaro Armada Barcaiztegui to the foundation board.  Sr. Armada is a direct descendent of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, the 16th Century Adelantado Mayor of La Florida (governor general) and founder of Santa Elena.  Sr. Armada is the Count of Güemes and is to be named the IX Count of Revilla-Gigedo and XX Adelantado Mayor of La Florida by His Majesty Felipe VI, King of Spain.

Álvaro Armada Barcaiztegui

Álvaro Armada Barcaiztegui

Organized by local business leaders, civic leaders, and scholars, the Santa Elena Foundation promotes the history of European arrival on the North American coast.  French construction of Charlesfort on Parris Island by Jean Ribault in 1562 drew a Spanish response.  Spanish settlers established the community of Santa Elena in 1569, the first colonial capital in America.  The story of European rivals struggling for dominance in North America involved French, Spanish, and English explorers and their interactions with nations of Native American peoples.  The Santa Elena Foundation is dedicated to sharing the little known history of this “lost century” through archaeological research, a cultural interpretive center, and a living history museum.

Sr. Armada dedicates his time to the promotion of 500 years of distinguished family history and public service.  The Count is curator of a private archive of original documents, one of the most important private collections in Spain.  The archive he believes should be the basis for a new museum in the Asturias region of northern Spain dedicated to historic research. Sr. Armada serves a board member for MAPFRE PRAICO Corporation and CEO of Tourist and Cultural Project Development in Madrid.  He brings to the Santa Elena Foundation considerable international leadership experience and a personal connection to the history of Spanish colonization in North America.

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