McCain and Byrd retain titles of County Council Chairman and Vice Chairman
Sumter County Council Chairman James T. McCain Jr. and Vice Chairman James “Jimmy” Byrd Jr. both retained their respective titles of chairman and vice chairman after Council voted on its officers at the outset of Tuesday’s regular meeting, the first of the year.
The terms are for two years.
Councilman Carlton Washington received his official Sumter County Council pin from Chairman McCain as Washington begins a four-year term representing District 1.
South Carolinians 70 years old and older can schedule Covid-19 vaccine beginning Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021
Seven elected officials sworn into four-year terms
Seven elected officials were sworn into office for four-year terms on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, at the Sumter County Judicial Center.
Sumter County Council Chairman James T. McCain Jr. welcomed everyone before the Rev. James Goodman offered an invocation.
The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard posted the colors and Inv. Kyle Hake sang the National Anthem.
S.C. Supreme Court Associate Justice George James Jr. swore into office Clerk to Court Jamie Campbell and then Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis.
Justice James then swore into office newly elected Councilman Carlton Washington.
Councilman Jimmy Byrd, Councilwoman Vivian Fleming-McGhaney and Councilman Eugene Baten were then sworn into office by Justice James.Sumter County Coroner Robbie Baker was sworn into office and Justice James then concluded the brief ceremony.
Recycle your tree, get some mulch
Sumter County and the City of Sumter are once again giving residents an opportunity to recycle their Christmas trees with the annual “Grinding of the Greens.”
“Donated Christmas trees are made into mulch and this gives folks an easy and environmentally friendly way to discard their trees,” said Karen Hyatt, Assistant Public Works Director for Sumter County.
Hyatt said residents need to be mindful of the guidelines: Only live trees will be accepted. No wreaths, garlands, greenery or tree stands and please be sure to remove all tinsel, light and decorations, she said.
Trees will be accepted for donation at the following locations:
- The entrance of Dillon Park just off North Pike West and across from the S.C. National Guard Armory.
- County Recycling Centers on Rainaire Boulevard, Stamey Livestock Road, Cane Savannah Road, Pinewood Road, Queen Chapel Road, Bethel Church Road, Alligator Branch Road, Pleasant Grove Road and Spencer Road.
- City residents my place their trees curbside and the City will collect trees from Jan. 4 to 14.
On Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, from 7 to 9 a.m. at Dillon Park, FREE MULCH made from the Christmas trees will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. You can bring containers or bags, tools to pick it up and a way to haul. Even if you didn’t donate a tree you can still receive mulch.
For more information on the Grinding of the Greens, call Sumter County Public Works at 803-436-2241 or City of Sumter Public Works at 803-436-2558.
Family Court's Neasman is upbeat, positive
Derwin Neasman Jr. started working for Sumter County Government when he was only 18 years old.
He landed a summer job, helping supervise kids in day camp at Salterstown Community Center. This was after he graduated a year early from high school.
“When everybody was having fun in the summer, I was in school,” he said. “I doubled up on my classes.”
The William Thomas Academy graduate said his first job with Sumter County Government definitely required a high degree of active participation.
“It was fun and challenging,” he said, and involved helping supervise “a whole lot of kids. I definitely enjoyed it -- I like working with kids.”
He grew up with four sisters and an older brother and the ability to embrace a high-energy environment. That mindset has served him well in his other job, where he works part-time on the coaching staff at Team Robinson MMA & Fitness, training kids in martial arts.
“I enjoy it so much,” he said.
He was first exposed to martial arts at the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club when he was a kid, but he wasn’t serious about it. As he got older, his mother Angela Pinkney encouraged him to try boxing and then he slowly got back into martial arts.
“And ever since then I fell in love with it,” he said. “For one, it’s confidence – a self-esteem builder, knowing I’m able to protect myself and anyone around me if anything should happen.”
He recently earned his brown belt, and he’s already working toward his black belt.
“Just to be able to say – when I earn my black belt, I can forever say I’m a black belt,” he said.
Now a 21-year-old, the Sumter native has been working in Family Court for two years and stays busy as a scanner and file clerk.
Family Court Chief Deputy Clerk Marie Witherspoon said Neasman’s upbeat and positive personality stood out during his initial interview.
“We felt he would be a good addition to Family Court and we were correct,” she said. “He picked up his job as a scanning clerk very quickly and when we implemented the new statewide Family Court system he adapted immediately. With his young age he has the potential to have a long and prosperous career with the Sumter County Clerk of Court’s Office.”
Neasman doesn’t shy from hard work wherever he is.
In describing a file he’s currently working on, he said he was simply, “In the zone.”
To earn his brown belt, he endured two hours of sparring as his techniques were carefully reviewed and scrutinized.
“And each time you get a new belt, or you’re teaching kids, you’re learning new stuff every single time,” he said. “With my job, I’m learning more and more every day about how our court system works.”
Neasman gets along well with his work family and said he finds his coworkers “very helpful.”
“I thank them so much every day,” he said.
Like many 21-year-olds, he enjoys playing video games, roller skating and going to the movies with his girlfriend.
He’s also a bit of an aficionado with watches and currently has 13 in his collection.
“My father (Derwin Neasman Sr.) started me into watches and when I was growing up, I saw him wear different watches,” he said.
He appreciates the craftsmanship and look of a well-made watch, he said, and it bolsters his confidence to sport a handsome timepiece.
“There’s nothing like a good watch,” he said. “It’s very eye-catching.”
Family Court Public Access now available, allows you to search online for case updates
If you have a case in Family Court, you can now go online to check for any updates.
The Family Court Public Access allows you to go online and find out about scheduled hearings, the ability to search the docket, and the opportunity to search and find relevant case information quickly and easily.
The link is available through Sumter County’s website here: http://cms7.revize.com/revize/sumtersc/departments/e_-_i/family_court/index.php
SWRTA offering free bus rides
The Santee Wateree Regional Transportation Authority is offering free rides on its buses and shuttles in Sumter County for the foreseeable future.
“We want to assist our citizens and to build up ridership and to let them know we are doing all we can do for our citizens,” said Lottie Jones, the Executive Director of SWRTA.
As the coronavirus has impacted pretty much every aspect of our lives, public transportation has been hit hard as well.
“We understand the hardship it’s had on folks in our area. And for the unemployed who may need to go places, but may not have funds,” she said.
Right now, SWRTA is operating only in Sumter and Lee counties, but continues to offer service to and from Columbia. The mid-day Express Commuter Route has been especially helpful for veterans who have appointments at the VA Hospital in Columbia, she said.
This service runs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and is available not just for veterans, but for anyone who needs to go to Columbia and get back to Sumter.
Riders are required to wear masks, she said, and social distancing measures are in place. The SWRTA is in the process of putting hand-free sanitizer on the buses, she said, while several daily cleanings are now part of the normal protocol.
“We’ve taken many safety precautions,” she said, “and we want folks to feel secure while riding our vehicles.”For more information, call (803) 775-9347 or visit https://www.swrta.com/
Coronavirus statistics for Sumter County -- Free testing now available
As of 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 12, 2021, there have been 371,180 cases of Covid-19 in South Carolina, according to the state Department of Environmental Health and Control (DHEC).
There have unfortunately been 5,934 deaths, with 15,940 hospitalizations and a total number of tests reaching 4,168,325. Our state recovery estimate stands at 88.6 percent.
For Sumter County, we’ve seen 6,628 cases of Covid-19, with 378 hospitalizations and 125 deaths. The total number of tests performed has been 68,992.
State and federal authorities continue to offer simple advice for staying healthy: Wear a mask in public, socially distance from others by staying at least six feet apart, wash your hands often, avoid crowds and crowded places and if you don’t feel well, stay home.
If you don’t feel well you need to get tested.
There will be FREE TESTING from 1 to 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan.11 to Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, at the Sumter County Civic Center, 700 West Liberty Street. Neither an appointment nor referral is needed.
There will be FREE TESTING from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Sumter County DHEC Building at 105 North Magnolia Street from Monday, Jan. 11 to Friday, Jan. 15. Neither an appointment nor referral is needed, but you are urged to pre-register here: https://scdhec.gov/GetTested
There will be FREE TESTING from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Saturday, Jan. 9 to Sunday, Jan. 17 at Central Carolina Technical College, 506 North Guignard Drive, courtesy of Tour Health. No referral is needed, but an appointment is needed. You can register here: https://www.tourhealth.com/
Other testing sites that charge a fee include Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital, 215 Main St., Colonial Family Practice, 325 Broad St., Sandhills Medical Foundation, 425 North Salem Ave., and CVS Pharmacy, 41 East Calhoun St.
For more information, visit the DHEC website: https://scdhec.gov/
Sumter County Council's Dec. 8, 2020, meeting
Sumter County Council Tuesday evening approved a resolution urging citizens to wear face coverings in public in the unincorporated areas of Sumter County during the Covid-19 public health emergency and recovery.
The last Council meeting of 2020 got underway with a land use matter regarding third reading of a request to rezone a 4.13-acre parcel at 1810 Pinewood Road from Agricultural Conservation (AC) to Neighborhood Commercial (NC).
Sumter City-County Planning Director Helen Roodman said there have been no changes to the request since second reading.
Third reading was approved; Councilman Charles Edens recused himself from the vote.
Sumter County Attorney Johnathan Bryan spoke briefly about the mask resolution before a discussion ensued.
The text of the resolution shows that in response to the coronavirus and Covid-19, the disease it causes, Sumter County Council is urging citizens to wear facial coverings or masks in public places within the county to slow the spread of the virus.
Face coverings are defined as “a uniform piece of cloth, fabric, or other material that securely covers a person’s nose and mouth and remains affixed in place without the use of one’s hands. Face coverings include, but are not limited to, bandanas, medical masks, cloth masks, scarves, and gaiters, provided they are worn such that they securely cover the person’s nose and mouth.”
Food service and retail establishments are identified in the resolution, and people are encouraged to wear a face covering while inside the enclosed areas of the establishments where six feet of social distancing isn’t feasible.
The resolution goes on to state that people should wear a face covering on public transportation, when participating in permitted or allowable gatherings and when interacting with people in outdoor spaces such as curbside delivery and service calls.
If someone is unable to safely wear a face covering due to age, an underlying health condition or is unable to remove the face covering without the assistance of others would be excused from complying with the request, the resolution states.
The resolution also states that face coverings would generally not be worn in the following circumstances: in outdoor or unenclosed areas next to food or retail establishments where social distancing of six feet is possible and observed; for people whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a face covering; for those who have a medical or behavioral condition where the face covering aggravates the condition; for children under 8 years old provided the adults accompanying the child or children use reasonable efforts to have the children wear face coverings inside the establishment; where patrons of food service establishments are dining, seated or socially distanced while eating or drinking; in private, individual offices and for employees separated from customers by a plexiglass or glass shield; when complying with directions from law enforcement officers; in settings where it’s impractical or unfeasible to wear a face covering, such as while receiving dental services or swimming; while spending time with family members of the same household and no one other than family or household members is within the same enclosed area; by anyone having trouble breathing, or otherwise incapacitated; in personal vehicles, during outdoor physical activity provided there’s a minimum of six feet of distance from other people at all times; when a person is alone with other household members; and for law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMS or first responders when it’s not practical while engaged in a public safety matter or other emergency matter.
Councilman Eugene Baten voted against the resolution and all other Council members voted for it.
Vice Chairman Jimmy Byrd noted a list of folks being appointed to various boards and commissions. Chairman James T. McCain Jr. said the Fiscal, Tax and Property Committee met earlier and came out of the meeting with two motions and a second to authorize staff to negotiate the price of a purchase of a parcel of land.
There was also a motion and second to use $50,000 from the Infrastructure Fund to match funds in constructing a building at the Sumter County Airport.
Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon updated Covid-19 numbers for Sumter County and noted that the total number of cases to date is 4,487, which is up by 364 cases since the last Council meeting. The daily average of cases is 26, he said, and there’ve been four additional deaths of people all over the age of 60.
The meeting adjourned at 6:34 p.m.
Expect traffic slowdowns at Wilson Hall and Carter Road intersection
The Penny for Progress project to improve the intersection of Wilson Hall Road and Carter Road officially got underway today as the Notice to Proceed was given from Sumter County Government.
This project is scheduled to be completed within 365 days and the purpose is to improve traffic flow while making it safer for pedestrians and motorists alike.
Improvements will include new turn lanes, installation of mast arms and signalization, along with drainage improvements and designated crosswalks.
Utilities are currently being relocated and will cause traffic slowdowns, so please be patient as we work to improve this intersection.
December 2020 edition of Gamecock County Gazette now available
Each month the Gamecock County Gazette will be delivered via e-mail, and for those who wish to receive a digital copy please send your e-mail address to email@example.com and our communications coordinator will add you to the list.
To see the newsletter, click here