I have said before -- in fact, not that long ago -- that covering tragedies is no fun. This is especially true when the tragedy takes place where you live, or at least close by. When you can say that you either know the people involved, or are friends of their friends, it hits you even harder.
A Lugoff man is in custody for allegedly sexually assaulting and then strangling 18-year-old Briana Rabon to death nearly a week ago. Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews announced Friday night that investigators had arrested Stephen Ross Kelly, 21, of Leslie Branham Road, Lugoff. Kelly is charged with murder, kidnapping and first-degree criminal sexual conduct. During a press conference Saturday morning at the Kershaw County Sheriff's Office (KCSO), Matthews said Kelly is investigators' only suspect.
At the end of its meeting Monday, following a somewhat lengthy executive session, the KershawHealth Board of Trustees voted unanimously to authorize KershawHealth administrators to negotiate and execute an agreement for emergency department services with TeamHealth.
Sam Davis, deputy director of the city of Camden's public works department, made the announcement at the end of his presentation Tuesday to Camden City Council.
On paper, January turned out to be a better month financially than KershawHealth has seen in some time. Compare January's $84,000 operating loss to December's $344,000 loss, November's $572,000 loss and October's $902,000. For all of Fiscal Year 2013, which ended Sept. 30, 2013, KershawHealth experienced a $3.62 million operating loss and $4.75 million decrease in net assets.
Of all the hundreds of stories I have written for the C-I, perhaps the most gratifying and the most tragic was "Death of a Deputy," a five-part series we published in 2009.
Work is continuing on an African-American tour and brochure for Camden. Camden Archives and Museum Director Katherine Richardson will report to Camden City Council during its work session Tuesday afternoon about progress on the project. Richardson is one of three members of a recently formed African-American History Committee composed of Clifton W. Anderson and Dr. Ernestyne Adams.
Parker Gibson may have closed the store bearing the name of his business, Springdale Antiques, almost two months ago, but he hasn't retired. Gibson, who turned 73 in September, is still doing some of what he's done for more than four decades: restore antebellum Southern furniture. He only closed the store for health reasons that he prefers to keep private.
Whether she got great advice from her team or she made the decision on her own, kudos to S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley for declaring a state of emergency during our recent winter storm. It was absolutely the right thing to do.
Safety and security were the lead topics at a KershawHealth Board of Trustees' meeting Feb. 10. KershawHealth Director of Safety and Emergency Preparedness Abby Palmer, RN, presented the board with her annual safety report. Her report provided safety and security highlights from 2013, and looked ahead to 2014.
The city of Camden is acquiring some more easements along Commerce Alley to assist with a water line project. Camden City Council unanimously passed first reading of an ordinance that was added to Tuesday night's meeting agenda on Monday. A copy of the ordinance was not immediately made available.
Camden City Council will hold a public hearing on proposed updates to the city's Comprehensive Land Use Plan during its meeting Tuesday evening. State law requires local governments to have a 10-year plan. The city enacted the current plan in 2007. Work on a mandated five-year update began two years ago in 2012.
It all started when I posted a link to an opinion piece on the Poynter Institute's website titled "Why is local news innovation struggling financially while national thrives?" Here's the comment I made when I posted the link on my Facebook page:
A week from now, the city of Camden should be on its way to completing a required five-year update of its Comprehensive Land Use Plan. The plan, adopted in 2007, works as the city's master planning document and originally contained seven elements: population, economic development, natural resources, cultural resources, community facilities, housing and land use. Just as the city adopted the plan, the General Assembly amended the legislation governing the plan's requirements. Those amendments included additional components to the housing element and required local governments to add transportation and priority investment elements.
If none of this makes sense, my apologies -- I'm writing this in a Type A Flu-induced fugue. Also, please know that I did not watch, read or listen to the president's State of the Union speech the other night. Yes, I voted for Mr. Obama, twice, but I realized something as I began seeing dribs and drabs about the speech online: while the specifics may be different from year to year, we've heard most of what is contained in such speeches, decade after decade, regardless of who's in the Oval Office.
I love my job. As harried as I can be sometimes, I really do love it. I think long-time readers of this column know that by now -- that I love to write stories about Kershaw County, especially in Camden, which has been my primary beat (along with healthcare) for 14 years. You know that I'm passionate about the S.C. Freedom of Information Act and that I truly believe it doesn't just benefit journalists like myself, but individual citizens like you.
A 23-year-old county man died in a two-car collision in the Cassatt area shortly after noon Saturday when he failed to stop for a stop sign and collided with another vehicle. The collision occurred at the intersection of Old Georgetown Road West and Robinson Town Road, according to Kershaw County Coroner Johnny Fellers.
A proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 presented during the KershawHealth Board of Trustees' Aug. 25 meeting projects an operating loss of a little more than $1.92 million. A total margin loss of approximately $1.69 million is also projected in the proposed budget.
Camden City Council devoted part of its regular meeting Tuesday night to wish Municipal Judge Michael E. Stegner a happy retirement after 20 years on the bench. Camden Mayor Tony Scully read a certificate of appreciation to Stegner and his wife, Neal, that noted Stegner took office on Feb. 1, 1994.
Angel waited patiently outside as Leslie Fender sipped a cup of coffee inside a shop on Broad Street around a quarter to 10 on Tuesday morning. Even with her reins simply dropped on the curb, the well-trained 9-year-old quarter horse filly knew that Fender would come back out to continue their journey to Washington, D.C.
On a split, 6-3, vote, the KershawHealth Board of Trustees, voted at its meeting Monday to approve a new version of its financial assistance, or charity, policy. The new policy will go into effect Oct. 1, the beginning of KershawHealth's fiscal year.
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