Review Category : Beaufort News

Exchange Club awards officer of the year

Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner announced that Retired Capt. John Keough was selected and received the 2014 Exchange Club Officer of the Year Award.

Captain Keough was honored and received the award during the Sept. 11 Commemoration Ceremony at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park last Thursday.

Capt. John Keough

Capt. John Keough

John began his law enforcement career after a 22-year career in the United States Marine Corps. During his time as a Marine, he served in numerous capacities and retired while holding the position as a Chief Drill Instructor in charge of receiving all new recruits to Parris Island.

After retiring in Beaufort, John and his wife, Mary Ellen, were not ready to cease serving their community. John joined the Sheriff’s Office on November 4, 1992, and over the next 22 years he served as a patrol officer, an investigator and finally the evidence custodian.

John excelled during his career and retired from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office on August 1 as a captain.

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Lady’s Island Notes

By Jim Hicks

New housing development

In 2009, the property owner of a 27.12 acre section of land located on the east side of Little Capers Road, between Holly Hall and Fairfield Road, applied to develop the land as the Crossroad Subdivision under “by right” authority. The term “by right” simply means that since the property in question is zoned Lady’s Island Community Preservation, which allows construction of two homes per acre, the property owner “by right” of this zoning can divide his property into a maximum of 54 lots.

The Beaufort County Development Review Team approved the subdivision in June 2010 with the requirement that it include commercial water and sewer. But the new home market crashed in 2010 and no development occurred at the property until recently. The site is now being cleared in preparation for development.

 

Buses, safety and Sams Point Road

School is back in session and approximately 4,000 students are traveling Lady’s Island roads each week day. Many of those students will travel by school buses.  Please remember that in South Carolina, if you are traveling behind a school bus with a flashing red or amber light the law requires you stop if the bus stops.  If you are traveling on a two lane road and meet a stopped school bus with its flashing red lights, you must come to full stop and remain stopped until the bus begins forward motion again.

If you are on a four-lane road, such as Sams Point Road, and you meet a stopped school bus, you do not have to stop.  Regardless of the fact that the law no longer requires stopping on four-lane roads, drivers should slow down and proceed with caution.

New state charter Lowcountry Montessori School opens

Once again there is a Montessori school on Lady’s Island. E. C. Montessori operated in the Celadon complex for many years and closed its doors at the end of last school year. Lowcountry Montessori is a new free state chartered, nonprofit school offering an authentic Montessori based program for Kindergarten through 9th grade.

At the start of this school year, they had 250 students which for this year is their maximum capacity.  By 2017 they hope to have a new facility opened in the Town of Port Royal and be able to offer grades Kindergarten through 12. An interesting aspect of state chartered schools such as Lowcountry Montessori is that since they are chartered by the state, any child in the state of South Carolina may attend the school.

Jim Hicks is with the Lady’s Island Business Professionals Association (LIBPA).

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One arrested in bank armed robbery

On Friday, Sept. 12 at approximately 3 p.m., Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Ahmad Jasper Holmes for Armed Robbery. The charge stems from the investigation of the Regions Bank robbery which occurred on June 24, 2014 located on Sea Island Parkway, Lady’s Island. Holmes was located near Samuel Lane, St. Helena Island.

Holmes was identified as one of the subjects involved. The case remains active as other subjects involved have not been located.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or 1-888-274-6372.

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Citizens advised to beware phone scam

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is reminding residents to beware of a phone scam that continues to circulate throughout the community.

The Sheriff’s Office has fielded numerous reports from citizens concerned over phone calls they have received from subject(s) identifying themselves as Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies. In these calls, the subject reportedly attempts to solicit money from the victims, threatening legal action if the victims refuse to comply.

Victims have reported similar encounters: the caller informs them that they owe a fine for failure to appear for jury duty. The victim is told they must pay a fine, or risk being arrested. The fine amounts vary, as do the names of the deputy the caller claims to be. The victim is usually instructed to purchase a Green Dot card from Wal-Mart, loaded with the amount of the “fine.” The victim is then asked to either take a picture of the card and text or email it, or to call back and provide the number of the Green Dot card.

This type of scam has been reported in recent months in jurisdictions throughout the country. The Federal Bureau of Investigations released warnings about this type of scam dating back as early as 2005. While the details may differ as the scam runs from area to area, the end result is the same: a victim is deceived into giving valuable and potentially harmful information to an unknown source.

The callers perpetrating these types of scams can be very persistent and intimidating. They may use legal/law enforcement jargon in combination with easily obtainable personal information about a victim to coerce them into believing they are speaking with an actual law enforcement officer. It is believed that these types of calls originate outside the local jurisdictions in which they occur, and quite possibly outside the country.

While it is common for deputies to make contact with citizens by phone for a number of reasons, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office WILL NOT solicit any financial information via phone. Satisfaction of any fines, debts, warrants, or other civil process will never require a citizen to release personal financial data by phone, e-mail or any other unsecured method of communication.

Anyone receiving a call of this nature is encouraged refrain from completing any transaction and to contact the Sheriff’s Office immediately.

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News Briefs

Pre-register for delinquent tax sale

Anyone wanting to bid on a delinquent property at the Beaufort County Tax Sale can pre-register right now. The auction will take place Monday, October 6, at 10 a.m. at the Charles Lind Brown Activity Center located at 1001 Hamar Street in Beaufort.

All bidders must pre-register online at www.bcgov.net/taxsale or at the Beaufort County Treasurer’s office in Beaufort. This pre-registration must take place by noon Friday, October 3. The registration fee is $30, which includes a list of all properties to be sold. This list will be distributed the morning of the auction. A list of properties to be auctioned off will also appear online at www.bcgov.net. Each week the list will be updated as property owners come forward to pay the taxes owed.

On the day of the sale, sign-in will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 9:30 a.m. All bidders must be signed in no later than 9:30 a.m.

All recording fees per property will be determined the day of the sale and must be paid in full with the winning bid.

To avoid having property auctioned off all delinquent taxes must be paid before 5 p.m. Friday, October 3, at any of the three Beaufort County Treasurer’s office locations. Payments will not be accepted the day of the tax sale.

 

Sheriff’s Office investigates shooting

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a shooting incident that occurred Sept. 7 on St. Helena Island.

At approximately 10 p.m. last Sunday night, Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a gunshot victim in the area of Dulamo Road. Upon arrival, deputies learned that a 36-year-old male victim had been shot and was being transported to Beaufort Memorial Hospital. The victim remains hospitalized with serious injuries, but is expected to make a full recovery.

Investigators have identified the parties believed to be involved, however, no arrests have been made as of yet.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Investigator Sgt. A. Boland at 843-255-3707 or Crimestoppers.

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Election and political notes

Beaufort Republican Women’s Club to hold meeting, luncheon

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.

State Democratic candidates to campaign at Penn Center

Several Democratic candidates will be at Penn Center on Saturday, Sept. 13 for a fish fry and rally hosted by the Beaufort County Democratic party and its supporters. The event, scheduled from noon to 4 p.m.,  is free

Vincent Sheheen

Vincent Sheheen

and open to the public.

Bakari Sellers

Bakari Sellers

Among those attending are: State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, Democratic Governor; State Rep. Bakari Sellers, the nominee for Lt. Governor; Joyce Dickerson, who is running for U.S. Senate; and Tom Thompson, candidate for Secretary of Education. Several other state and local candidates are expected to attend as well.

Sheheen has been a member of the SC Senate since 2004, and was a member of the SC House of Representatives from 2000 to 2004. He ran against Nikki Haley in 2010, narrowly losing to her at that time.

Sellers interned with U.S. Rep. James Clyburn before being elected in 2006, as the youngest member of the South Carolina General Assembly at the time.

Dickerson is a three-term Richland County Councilwoman and retired Columbia businesswoman.

Board of Elections to hold training for new poll managers

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 the one session north of the Broad on Monday, September 15: 6 to 10 p.m., Disabilities and Special Needs building, 100 Clear Water Way, Beaufort. The sessions will last approximately four hours. It is recommended to bring a snack. To register, call 843-255-6900 or 255-6902; or send an email to voter@bcgov.net.

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Speaker Harrell appoints Special CDV Committee

With more than 300 South Carolina women killed by domestic abuse over the last 10 years, House Speaker Bobby Harrell said, “There is more that we can do as a state to better protect our citizens and help prevent this type of abuse. It’s time to make South Carolina’s Criminal Domestic Violence laws better.”

Speaker Harrell announced the formation of a Special Criminal Domestic Violence Ad Hoc Committee. The committee members will work during the remaining off-session months on ways to improve South Carolina’s current CDV laws and raise public awareness by researching what other states are doing, meeting with experts and formulating new solutions.

“Our goal with this special committee is that, by the time session begins in January, the House will have a legislative framework ready to be introduced the first day we come back,” Speaker Harrell said. “Raising awareness and preventing domestic violence in South Carolina will be a priority for the House this coming year. Our state has several vital areas we need to improve upon and that is why it is important this committee begin its work now.”

Rep. Shannon Erickson, R-Beaufort, will chair the 10-member bipartisan committee. “In addition to seeking out better ways to strengthen our state’s CDV laws, I hope this committee will raise awareness of the horrible impact domestic violence inflicts on our neighbors, co-workers and friends,” Chairwoman Erickson stated. “Domestic abuse is a serious crime, and it’s time for our state to start treating it that way. Speaker Harrell has put together a committed group of diverse, hardworking Lawmakers who plan on holding batterers accountable, supporting victims’ rights and breaking the cycle of abuse.”

Other committee members: Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter; Rep. MaryGail K. Douglas; Rep. Ralph Shealy Kennedy; Rep. Deborah A. Long; Rep. Peter M. McCoy, Jr.; Rep. Robert L. Ridgeway, III; Rep. Edward R. “Eddie” Tallon, Sr.; Rep. Anne J. Thayer; Rep. J. David Weeks.

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News briefs

Paul Sommerville to speak to LIBPA

Paul Sommerville, who is the chairman of the Beaufort County Council and District 2 representative, will be the guest speaker at the Tuesday, Sept. 9 meeting of the Lady’s Island Business and Professional Association which will be held at 8 a.m. in the Beaufort Realtors Association Headquarters located in the Palmetto Business Park on Lady’s Island Drive.  The meeting is open to the public.

Sommerville was elected to represent District 7 as a member of County Council in 2006, re-elected in 2010 and is seeking re-election in the upcoming November General Election.

He is a Beaufort native, a U. S. Army veteran and a management consultant with extensive experience in labor relations. During his first term of office he served as the council vice chairman and in 2012 was elected as chairman of County Council, a position in which he presently serves.

He has been asked to discuss the following subjects:

• At what point should County Council consider raising taxes to be able to continue providing a minimum level of services?

• Is Beaufort County prepared for the next round of population growth?

• Has the Rural and Critical Land Program served its purpose or should it be continued?

• Is the use of county business license fees for the support of economic development appropriate?

• Status of efforts to acquire a county landfill.

• Thoughts as to the next 1% sales tax referendum.

 

Recycle electronics at upcoming events

Electronics recycling events have been scheduled by the Beaufort County Public Works Department Solid Waste and Recycling Division. All events will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Beaufort County Public Works North, 120 Shanklin Road, Beaufort, 29906.

• Saturday, September 13

• Saturday, December 6

Any personal computers, laptops, CRT monitors, LCD monitors, CRT televisions, non-CRT televisions, printers, hard drives and miscellaneous electronics (microwaves, lamps, cell phones, radios, fax machines, typewriters, etc.) will be accepted.

If you have questions concerning the electronics events, please call the Solid Waste and Recycling Division for more information at 843-255-2734 or visit www.bcgov.net/recycle.

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Beaufort earns highest bond rating

The city of Beaufort earned its highest bond rating ever from Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, reflecting the city’s strong management, budgetary flexibility and a locally-improving economy, city leaders said Wednesday.

Standard & Poor’s Rating Services raised its long-term rating and underlying rating on the city of Beaufort’s general obligation debt to “AA,” up from “AA-”, based on their local general obligation criteria released September 12, 2013. The outlook is stable, the rating firm said.

The good news for the city government comes even as the community continues to wrestle with economic diversification and redevelopment, attracting shoppers to downtown Beaufort stores, finding the right mix of local retail and destination shops, and balancing city taxes against services and improvements some residents desire.

“All in all, I think our city government has done a wonderful job of navigating the Great Recession, from a management perspective, and the Standard & Poor’s rating reflects that achievement,” Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said.

“At the same time, we are still struggling to fill vacant storefronts, we struggle to attract new residents, we struggle to provide all the services and amenities people say they want. And we must press on with efforts to diversify our economic base by attracting better jobs for those who grow up here and those who choose to move here. From that perspective, Beaufort as a community has a long ways to go, though we are making headway,” he said.

The Standard & Poor’s Rating Services report addressed the city of Beaufort government’s finances, not the community at large.

The improved rating could bring better interest rates for the city of Beaufort if general obligation bonds are issued or existing debt refinanced with the AA standing, said City Finance Director Kathy Todd. She said there aren’t any immediate plans to issue additional debt though refinancing current debt may be a viable option if it will produce lower interest rates and save the city money in the short- and long term.

“As the economy quickly turned bad and then worse starting in 2007, (City Manager Scott) Dadson, his staff and City Council made some very strategic decisions that helped stabilize our finances and put us in our favorable position today. It wasn’t easy, and sacrifices were made, but today the City of Beaufort government is in perhaps its best financial situation in 20-plus years,” the mayor said.

The S&P upgrade reflects the rating agency’s findings of strong financial management in the city government, very strong budgetary flexibility, very strong liquidity, strong budgetary performance, and adequate debt and contingent liabilities.

“This supports our hard work to put Beaufort in a strong financial position despite the economic downturn,” Dadson said. “Kudos to Kathy Todd and our City Council for making this improved bond rating possible.”

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Election and political notes

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.

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 the one session north of the Broad on Monday, September 15: 6 to 10 p.m., Disabilities and Special Needs building, 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. 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 at to voter@bcgov.net.

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