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City council passes vape, e-cigarette ban
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By ANNA MOCK, C-I news intern

Camden City Council passed second and final reading of an ordinance Tuesday banning the use of electronic smoking devices in public places and places of employment. Currently, there is no ban regulating the use of the these devices outdoors, but council discussed the idea.

“These people, these vapers, they think because it’s not tobacco they (can) just blow it right on you,” Councilwoman Deborah Davis said. “They have very little sensitivity.”

The ban went into effect as soon as council passed the ordinance, and includes vape pens, e-cigarettes and other electronic devices that allow a person to inhale or otherwise deliver nicotine or other substances.

Council also proclaimed June 15 as Elder Abuse Awareness Day, originally proclaimed in 2006.

“Elder adults deserve to be treated with respect and dignity to enable them to serve as leaders, mentors, volunteers and participating members of our community,” Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford said. “We just want everyone to join the city of Camden to proclaim June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in the city and encourage all of our residents to recognize and celebrate elder adults and their ongoing contributions to success and vitality of our country.”

Additionally, Councilman Stephen Smoak took a moment to recognize city stafffor its hard work on projects around town such as the Kershaw County Farmers Market.

“Piece by piece, little by little, we’re making a lot of progress in Camden and moving in the right direction and I want to thank staff for that,” Smoak said.

In other business Tuesday:

• According to a press release by Suzi Sale, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently selected Camden to receive a $300,000 community-wide 2019 Brownfields Assessment grant in support of the city’s ongoing revitalization and redevelopment efforts. One of the only two communities in South Carolina to receive funds, Camden’s goal is to spur more investment and redevelopment of vacant and unused properties throughout the city.” (See “More shops coming to River Oaks Shopping Center” for more information.)

• Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments (COG) is starting a new program called the Seniors Raising Children Program. The program is for grandparents at least 55 years of age or older who are the sole caregivers of children age 18 or under. The program sponsors the costs for tutoring, after-school programs and summer camps, with the idea of giving a much-needed break to these caregivers.

• The Santee-Lynches COG also approved the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) Forward 2045. According to the Santee-Lynches website, “Updated every five years, the LRTP covers the non-urbanized region of Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee, and Sumter counties and identifies a long-term transportation vision for the region along with policies and proposed infrastructure investments that will enhance the transportation system to align with the community’s vision.” The COG adopted Forward 2045 on June 3 and it is available for download at http://www.santeelynchescog.org/forward2045.

• Franklin Alexander spoke about the Second Annual Summertime Concert series this coming Sunday, June 16 at Kirkwood Park at 6 to 10 p.m. The jazz concert is free with food and drinks provided. He also advertised the Kirkwood Community’s All Skills Football Camp on June 30 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., also at Kirkwood Park. Tryouts for the Camden Youth Bulldogs will also kickoff then.