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Prestage supporting future animal adoption center

Posted: March 13, 2014 4:32 p.m.
Updated: March 14, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Dr. Ron Prestage of Prestage Farms addressed Kershaw County Council on behalf of the Walter M. Crowe Animal Shelter and Kershaw County Humane Society during council’s meeting Tuesday. Prestage said he and his wife relocated from California to Camden 31 years ago because of the equine industry.

“My role has changed. I’m not a horse doctor anymore,” Prestage said. “I grow turkeys and pigs for a living in eight states. I have found out something: people either give their time or their money to causes they think are just. As important as animal people and animal agriculture have been to me and my family, we decided to try to give back.”

Prestage said he, his family and business have donated $50,000 toward the refurbishment of a building on Black River Road that will become the Meyer-Thiel Adoption Center and asked others to do the same.

“I hope it will encourage other business leaders and community leaders and make people realize you can make a difference,” he said. “Give your time or give your money to things that are good causes. That’s what corporate social responsibility is all about.”

Councilman Jimmy Jones thanked Prestage for his involvement and his friendship.

“Ron Prestage has not only been a good partner for Kershaw County through his business and his community service, he’s also been a good friend,” Jones said. “Ron, I’m proud to say I know you. Thank you so much for what you’ve done for our community.”

Council Chairman Gene Wise congratulated Prestage for recently receiving a recent national honor.

“I receive a lot of national publications and Ron and his family, his brothers and his father were named the national meat producers of the year because they’re so environmentally green in how they process their products and how clean they are,” Wise said. “They won the national award for all people involved with meat processing.”

In other business, Kershaw County Economic Development Director Peggy McLean spoke to the council with an update on promoting the county to entice industries to locate here.

“When a company is looking for a new site to build their new plant, they need land that they can be sure will be good for building,” McLean said. “They don’t want to buy a site and then be surprised and find out there are some wetlands that haven’t been identified or it has some historic significance or there’s an endangered species nesting there. They want proof the site is good for their building. One way is to have the site certified. This is a process that evaluates a parcel through a variety of studies being done on the land.”

McLean said the state has a certified site program that her office works with to certify sites in the county. She said the certifications have to be redone every few years to confirm the sites are buildable.

“Certifications are only good for about five years or so. The studies that are done can expire, so the studies do need to be updated,” she said. “We’re very hopeful we won’t encounter any problems or any surprises or make any new discoveries.”

She said potential sites can also be certified for specific uses. She said Duke Energy is studying Steeplechase Industrial Park to be certified for food and beverage industries, which have stricter standards than other manufacturers and CSX Railroad is studying the Kershaw County MegaSite as “a CSX select rail site.” She said involving large corporations like Duke and CSX exposes Kershaw County to a much larger audience.

“They have national sales teams. These teams know about our properties, they know they’re certified and they’re ready to go,” she said. “It’s very valuable to have them come in and look at our properties.”

Also Tuesday, council passed the third and final reading of the ordinance that approves a “fee-in-lieu-of taxes” agreement with WeylChem U.S., a deal that will see the company perform a $10.8 million expansion that will create 49 new jobs. Council also passed a resolution on the agreement.

Council passed first reading of an ordinance that would be the first step toward allowing the sale of alcohol on Sundays in Kershaw County. If approved on second and third readings, the issue will go on the ballot to be decided by voters in the November general election. County Administrator Vic Carpenter said there are two parts to the issue -- alcohol by the drink consumed on premises and sales of alcohol by stores, to be consumed elsewhere. Jones voiced his personal opposition to Sunday alcohol sales, but said it should be decided by the public.

“I absolutely feel like there’s enough days of the week to buy alcohol other than Sunday. If this was to go on the ballot and pass, I would probably vote no,” he said. “But I don’t feel I was elected to be a dictator, to try to legislate my opinion. It’s the people’s opinion.”

Council also approved entering into a mutual aid agreement between the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) and the Lexington Police Department. Carpenter said the KCSO has many similar agreements with other law enforcement agencies around the state, allowing them to share manpower and other resources as needed.

Council recapped a special joint meeting held with the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees on March 4 to discuss the possibility of relocating the Applied Technology Education Center to the south campus of Central Carolina Technical College near I-20 south of Camden.

Also, Councilman Willie Mickle said he had been contacted by a resident concerned with guns being shot in his area. Mickle said the man told him the gunshots made him feel uneasy in his own home.

“We obviously don’t have any laws on the books, or we’re not enforcing any laws on the books that will make people feel safe. I heard from a man today who said it sounds like Fort Jackson behind his house,” he said. “I would like to see something put before us that we can vote on that the sheriff can enforce to make everyone feel safe.”

Carpenter was told to check with other counties that have firearms regulations and report back to council with his findings.

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