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County council honors Coach Ted Monroe

Posted: February 27, 2014 7:02 p.m.
Updated: February 28, 2014 5:00 a.m.

When the coach of any sport amasses a 204-9 win-loss record, it gets attention. Kershaw County Council agreed and honored Lugoff-Elgin Middle School (L-EMS) wrestling coach Ted Monroe by passing a resolution recognizing his accomplishments in front of a packed room that included Monroe and members of his family, along with coworkers, current and former wrestlers and their parents Tuesday evening.

Councilman Jimmy Jones proposed the resolution. Kershaw County School District (KCSD) Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Morgan said Monroe’s accomplishments go beyond the wrestling mat.

“He has taught countless young athletes in this community the value of hard work, dedication, commitment, teamwork, learning to deal with failure and success, lessons that will follow them and help them for a lifetime,” Morgan said. “The lessons he has taught through wrestling are lessons that will benefit our community, our state, our country and our world for years to come.”

KCSD Executive Director for Operations Billy Smith was principal at L-EMS when he hired Monroe in 2003.

“We had a motto, ‘when you lose an ace, you hire an ace,’ and we lost a good coach that had started that (wrestling) program,” Smith said. “My daddy always tells me, ‘boy, you ain’t done a whole lot of things right, but that was one thing you did right. You hired Ted Monroe.’”

Council Chairman Gene Wise read the resolution aloud and Jones said it would be signed by the council, framed and given to Monroe as a keepsake.

Kershaw County Board of School Trustees Chair Mara Jones spoke of Monroe not only from her official point of view, but also as a parent of a child Monroe is teaching this year.

“My child has really developed as a human being. A coach can have more influence over any child’s life in the direction that child will go. When you coach a child, you’re taking God’s greatest gift, the life of a child,” she said. “Ted has taken these kids to places they’ve never been and challenged them and lifted them up in the classroom, because the better a student does in athletics the better they typically will do with academics. Ted understands that gift.”

Monroe thanked his wife, Tilara, for tolerating the life of a passionate coach and his mother, Fern, for a solid upbringing.

“I know I’m not always the easiest person to live with. I want to thank my mom who taught me how to be a good person, how to be a good son, how to grow up and do the right thing,” Monroe said. “A lot of people had a hand in this and I want to thank you all.”

In other business, Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews addressed council to preview requests he said he will seek as council begins its budget process. Matthews said his office has cars with high mileage that incur extra repair and maintenance expense and he will be asking for 15 new vehicles.

“There are 26 vehicles in our fleet that have in excess of 150,000 actual miles on them. These vehicles are in need of immediate replacement. By budget approval time, we estimate there will be an additional six vehicles with an excess of 150,000 miles,” Matthews said. “On average, a sheriff’s office patrol vehicle puts on approximately 3,500 to 4,000 miles per month.”

Matthews said he will also ask for funds to hire three new deputies; two to be assigned to patrol and the third for narcotics investigations.

“The Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office is struggling to provide adequate protection to our citizens due to the fact we have an insufficient number of deputies responding to citizen’s calls for service,” he said. “It’s often the case that our response times are excessively long. Citizens complain about this and I cannot disagree with them. I hope that all members of county council are not happy with these response times as well, and will be taking some kind of corrective action to rectify this.”

Matthews said the situation worsens when deputies are out on leave, in training, taking an arrestee to jail or when a call is serious enough to need multiple deputies. He said the narcotics investigator is needed to keep gang activity from growing in the county.

“Our drug squad is our first line of defense against gangs and gang violence. Kershaw County is surrounded by counties with serious gang issues. We have been very fortunate. The most successful method of tackling gang activity is to keep pressure on the illegal drug trade,” Matthews said. “We had better wake up to the eventuality that once gangs get a foothold in an area, they are very difficult to eliminate. I cannot stress enough the need to beef up our resources before it’s too late.”

Matthews also said a grant financing three school resource officers (SROs) will expire July 1, but a condition of the grant is that the county continue to employ the SROs beyond that date. He said keeping the SROs on board should not affect hiring the new deputies he’s requesting, as the SROs do not work on the road and therefore do not reduce call response time.

Councilman Jones referred to a survey conducted by the University of South Carolina marketing department. He said the survey found Kershaw County taxpayers want improved recreation facilities and law enforcement, but said they were unwilling to have taxes raised.

“Would the citizens of Kershaw County be willing to pay a millage increase for those resources? The majority said no. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to raise the millage. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to address your needs, but I wanted to state the facts as they are,” Jimmy Jones told Matthews.

The new fiscal year begins July 1. Council must have a balanced budget approved before that date.

Mara Jones also addressed council with a quarterly report from the school district.

“I want to publicly commend county council for the collaboration during the two winter storms. A lot of people don’t realize that the safety of our children getting them to and from school involves a lot of different activities. The county really did an excellent job collaborating with us,” she said. “We worked together as a team and there were no (district) accidents in Kershaw County. The safety of our students was first and foremost and it was a well-run operation.”

She also said the district has received a three-year grant from the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice that will fund a program to provide job skills to students.

“That program is for teens in our community to get ready for jobs, to prepare them for those soft skills that they need to enter the workforce,” she said.

In other business:

• Council approved a resolution to provide Kershaw County Administrator Vic Carpenter a $5,000 annual pay increase, raising his salary to $119,000 when the 2013-2014 fiscal year begins July 1.

• Council unanimously approved third and final readings on two ordinances that change the zoning designation of two properties from RD-2 to R-15. The change allows the lots to be subdivided into smaller lots for the construction of single-family homes. They also passed third reading on an ordinance updating the county’s stormwater management plan. Carpenter said the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control requires such an update every few years.

• Council passed second reading on an ordinance that establishes a “fee-in-lieu of taxes” agreement with WeylChem U.S. Inc. Carpenter said the deal will have WeylChem investing in a $10.8 million expansion that will create 49 new jobs.

• Council passed first reading of an ordinance granting an easement to allow two property owners to cross county-owned land to access their property.

• Council approved a list of goals and objectives members made at a workshop retreat at lake Wateree in January.

• Council agreed to consider putting an item on November’s election ballot to allow the sale of alcohol in Kershaw County on Sundays. Wise said banning Sunday sales hurts some businesses. Area municipalities including Camden and Elgin already allow Sunday sales.

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