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L-EWA develops plan to award scholarship

Posted: January 11, 2013 6:15 p.m.
Updated: January 14, 2013 5:00 a.m.

The Lugoff-Elgin Water Authority (L-EWA) Board hashed out details for a new academic scholarship during its meeting Thursday, aiming to give support to students in the organization’s service area.

Last June, L-EWA Vice Chairman Clyde Smith and board member Joel Schmalzel proposed starting a scholarship program for Lugoff-Elgin High School, an idea approved by the board.

L-EWA General Manager Mike Hancock explained Thursday that after considering initial discussions concerning the scholarship, the board felt they “didn’t really cast a wide net” as far as student eligibility.

“When we first envisioned this, we were thinking mainly public schools, but having thought about it and received some calls, there are many more students in our service area other than those that graduate from a public school,” Hancock said. “There are private and Christian schools as well as home schools.”

The board decided to expand the program, creating a scholarship eligible for any student from a L-EWA tapholder household applying for or accepted as a first-year student by an accredited college, university or technical school.

L-EWA Attorney Jay Bender outlined a timetable for awarding the scholarship, intended to be granted for the Fall 2013 semester. Scholarship applications are set to be posted Jan. 25 and will be available on the L-EWA’s website and at the organization’s office, 88 Boulware Road in Lugoff. The application deadline is March 28. Bender also explained that when considering scholarships for students applying to technical schools, only those associated with the S.C. Technical College System will be taken into account. The system is comprised of 16 technical colleges located across the state, including Central Carolina Technical College, which has a campus in Kershaw County.

As part of discussions concerning available scholarship funding, L-EWA Chairman Chuck Everett noted that an annual pool of $2,000 existed. After hearing the availability of funds, the board unanimously agreed to grant four scholarships at $500. The board also unanimously voted to appoint board member Anna Stewart as scholarship committee chairperson and Schmalzel and Dean Watts as committee members. 

Kershaw County School Board of Trustees Chair Mara Jones helped the board develop the scholarship details during Thursday’s meeting and applauded the group’s efforts to help the community.

She said she was “ecstatic” when Hancock mentioned the scholarship idea.

“The (school) board has really focused on those kids being prepared to go into the workforce as soon as possible,” Jones said. “We have such a small percentage in any district that actually go to four-year schools.”

She said she has found that not as many scholarships exist for students seeking a two-year degree compared to those wanting to attend a four-year college or university.

“I’m excited for you to do this,” she said, noting she enjoyed seeing local students extending their education and becoming productive citizens in the community. 

The board also received a report from Hancock concerning taste and smell issues in the water system. In October, he explained that two chemicals, 2-methylisoborneol (MIB) and Geosmin, were altering the water quality, but noted they weren’t harmful and that the water is still safe to drink. The chemicals are the byproducts of the death of blue-green algae, which is known to be in surface water.

He noted Thursday that the L-EWA is working jointly with other water companies along the Wateree River system as well as those in Columbia to “get a better handle” on the problem.

“We’re still working on this. Nothing is ever a done deal. We’re always looking at making things better,” Hancock said.

He previously indicated that each summer the L-EWA treats the water supply with Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC) to combat the problem, but the equipment that dispenses the treatment recently malfunctioned.    

In other business, the board unanimously approved November’s financials and water report and the meeting dates for 2013. The L-EWA board meets the first Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m. The meetings are open to the public and are held at the L-EWA’s office.

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