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Featured Photos

corey stone
Mid-Carolina senior Corey Stone officially signed with the University of South Carolina recently to play baseball for the Gamecocks. Pictured are Corey and some of his proud family members.
Photo courtesy of Zeb Reid

CONGRATULATIONS to the MCHS Lady Rebel Tennis Team for defeating Clinton High School in the Class AAA Upper-State Championship. They advance to play in the AAA State Championship on Saturday!
Photo courtesy of Zeb Reid

Memorial Day
The Newberry Sheriff's Department, City of Newberry Police Department, SC Highway Patrol and Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) met before Memorial Day to witness Mayor Foster Senn sign the 2016 Proclamation supporting safety checkpoints by law enforcement.
Photo courtesy of Jennie O'Shields

special olympics
A scene from the recent
Special Olympics Torch Run.
Photo courtesy of Cindy Pitts

MCHS Lady Rebels Tennis girls number
one player, freshman and co-captain,
Elise Mills won the SCHSL State Singles Tournament November 17 for the
A-AA  region at the Cayce Tennis and
Fitness Center.
Pictured are Elise Mills and
Coach Kenny Sanders

Some children particpating in the
Halloween Pumpkin Decorating Party at
Town Hall on Sunday, October 18.

art show first
Maria Cervantes, Mid-Carolina High School, took first place honors at the Prosperity's Hoppin' High School Art Show on April 12. 
Photo courtesy of Andy Hawkins

art show
Prosperity's Hoppin' High School Art Show was held on April 12. About 45 people attended the reception at the Prosperity Depot. 
Photo courtesy of Andy Hawkins

WKDK Loyal Listener Cindy Schumpert at the Rock Fore! Dough performance by A Thousand Horses, "the band with Newberry connections!" 
Photo courtesy of Cindy Schumpert

Baby Jesus being placed in the manger at
Whitaker Funeral Home on Christmas morning. 
Photo courtesy of Doggett Whitaker

Lt. Burt Mohler recently received the Newberry Exchange Club Firefighter of the Year Award! 
Photo courtesy of Keith Minick

hotel california
"Welcome to the Hotel California..." A shot of The Beverly Hills Hotel taken at near sundown during
a recent trip to Los Angeles. 
Photo courtesy of Carole Murray

state championship sign
The signs for the Newberry High School State Championship in basketball are now up on Main Street as you approach NHS from both directions.  
Photo courtesy of Foster Senn

Billy Odell
Newberry baseball legend Billy O'Dell prepares to throw the first pitch at Friday's Chapin-Newberry American Legion Post 24 game.
Photo courtesy of Ken Minasian

prosperity hoppin 1
Tyla Bowers at Southern Art & Outdoors explaining the
Frog Scavenger Hunt to her first group.
Photo courtesy of Andy Hawkins

prosperity hoppin 2
Lauren Keener, Whitmire Community School, accepting check for first place student Amanda J. Crisp and for the Whitmire art program.
Photo courtesy of Andy Hawkins

belle surf
Belle has a new passion...
Paddleboarding and Sidewalk Surfing
Photo courtesy of Sally Lowman

spring robertson
Spring seems to have finally arrived in Newberry!
Photo courtesy of Jane Robertson

snow robertson
Sledding is hard work but Rebekah Rendelman was determined on this beautiful snow day.
Photo courtesy of Jane Robertson

snowman seuss
First Grade Teacher, Janie Kitchens, and daughter Eleanor celebrate one of their favorite authors,
Dr. Snow-Seuss
Photo courtesy of Sue Summer

snow munson music
The folks at Munson Music built a snow-guitar and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. The big surprise?
No bucket.
Photo courtesy of Sue Summer

snow winery
Snow measured at Enoree River Vineyards
Photo courtesy of Richard and Laura LaBarre

Newberry College snowman at the Reid's!
Photo courtesy of Zeb Reid

mid carolina cheerleaders
The Mid-Carolina High School Varsity Cheerleaders were recognized at the December 18 meeting of the Newberry County School Board. The squad members were AA Region II Champions and AA State Runners Up.
Photo courtesy of Tammy Kitchen/WKDK

WKDK's Margaret Brackett (center), a long-time advocate for tobacco prevention measures, was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award for Media Advocacy. The presentation was by Louis Eubank, Executive Director, SC Cancer Alliance and SC Tobacco-Free Collaboration, and Sharon Biggers, SC Director of Tobacco Prevention and Control.
Photo courtesy of Debbie Turner
of Turner Photography

The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer recently celebrated its 160th Anniversary. Pictured are the church's oldest and youngest members.
Photo courtesy of Doggett Whitaker

veterans 3
A scene at the recent Veteran's Day Parade in downtown Newberry.
Photo courtesy of Doggett Whitaker

veterans 2
Some of the attendees enjoying the Veterans Day Parade on November 9.
Photo courtesy of Doggett Whitaker

Another scene at the recent Veterans Day Parade in downtown Newberry. Some of the Vietnam War Veterans of American Legion Post #24 wave to the crowd.
Photo courtesy of Doggett Whitaker

Legend country singer Willie Nelson takes a break during his show at the Opera House on Monday to sign Theresa Halfacre's jacket.
Photo courtesy of Theresa Halfacre

Happy Halloween from the Banks' girls!
Photo courtesy of "Grandma" Donna Lominack

scarecrow treasurer
Mr. Bill Greenbacks & Miss Millie Homestead created by the Auditor's and
Treasurer's staff.
Photo courtesy of Donna Lominack

4H scarecrow
Miss Clover, the 4H-er, just won a blue ribbon at the Jr. Dairy Show.
Photo courtesy of Alana West

Scarecrow exhibit for Linda Renwick Realty.
Photo courtesy of Kim Sligh

making it crow
The Master Gardeners' entry for the
Scarecrow Convention: "Making It Crow!"
Photo courtesy of Rose Marie Favors

city FD
City of Newberry Fire Department
in remembrance of 9/11.
Photo courtesy of Ben Bowers

chapin labor day 2
Representative Walt McLeod waves to the onlookers at the Chapin Labor Day Parade.
Photo courtesy of Doggett Whitaker

chapin labor day 1
Some of the Chapin Labor Day attendees' park at Whitaker Funeral Home for the day's festivities.
Photo courtesy of Doggett Whitaker

We have Loyal Listeners and we also have Loyal Deer at our studios on 3000 Hazel Street!
Photo courtesy of WKDK

weathers senn
Charles Weathers is presented a resolution by Mayor Foster Senn for his efforts in facilitating the "Cultivating Community" efforts over the past year in Newberry County.
Photo courtesy of WKDK

Harold and Anne Folk enjoy the evening at the annual Welcome Back Party for Newberry College at Dave Waldrop's place on Spearman Road.
Photo courtesy of Wilson Senn

Lightning strike at Enoree River Winery
Photo courtesy of Laura Labarre

harper street
Parade goers get set for a fun Harper Street Bike Parade on July 4!
Photo courtesy of Cindy Pitts

Another scene at the Harper Street Bike Parade on Thursday.
Photo courtesy of Cindy Pitts

Camdyn Dahman with her four-legged friend at "Taste of Newberry" on Friday evening.
Photo courtesy of Jessica Dahman

patsy cline
A recent rehearsal for the Newberry Community Players production of "Patsy Cline."
Photo courtesy of Ronney Hunter/Newberry Digital

Doris Coggins of Newberry Elementary and Marie Robinson of Boundary Street Elementary at Tuesday's WLTX luncheon honoring all of the 2012/2013 Golden Apple Award winners.
Photo courtesy of WKDK

Ashley Robertson was awarded her law degree, magna cum laude, from USC School of Law on Friday, May 10, 2013. In August, Ashley will begin work in a Judge Clerkship for SC Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal.
Photo courtesy of Jane Robertson

Vidal and Bucket Brigade at Prosperity's Hoppin' with Arts & Antiques
Photo courtesy of Andy Hawkins

franklin miller
Franklin Miller from Newberry was the winner in Division One (photos/paintings) at Prosperity's Hoppin' recently. He is standing by Aw,Shucks, one of three pastel paintings he entered. This particular painting was the favorite of our judge and artist Clay Burnette, from the SC Arts Commission.
Photo courtesy of Andy Hawkins

Some of the residents at Springfield Place enjoyed wearing sunglasses during the Coffee Hour Show on Thursday with Sue Summer.
Photo courtesy of WKDK

nhs soccer
Members of the Newberry High School Junior Varsity Soccer team. They had a good season wrapping up last week with a 7-nil defeat of neighboring Union County. They are coached by Leslie McDuffie and Joseph Foster.
Photo courtesy of Lee Foster

special olympics
A runner carries the Special Olympics torch down Main Street in downtown Newberry on Thursday afternoon.
Photo courtesy of Ted B. Williams/
Special to WKDK

The Newberry Community Players present "Flash Gordon" again this weekend.
Photo courtesy of Heather Hawkins

A scene from the fire yesterday at the business off of College Street yesterday across from Fast Track.
Photo courtesy of Jimmie Coggins

"On The Move With Margaret" on April 8 featured a LifePoint discussion, as April is Organ Month. Pictured are Roger Charette, Ronald Charette, Mark Johnson, and Margaret Brackett.
Photo courtesy of April Marks



Pomaria Man Missing; Found Later Thanks To Public's Assistance
Posted: April 26, 8:30 PM

At around 7:00 pm Wednesday evening, the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office released information soliciting help in finding a missing 78-year-old man.

Deputies said Richard Phillips was last seen around 8:30 am Wednesday morning at 8987 Broad River Road in the Pomaria section of Newberry County. He was reported missing at 4:30 am, and apparently was suffering from several medical conditions.

At around 8:00 pm, it was released that Phillips had been found safely in Fairfield County, thanks to the public's assistance.

Month of Young Child"Week Of Young Child" Proclamation
Posted: April 25, 4:25 PM

Some individuals signed a proclamation on Monday declaring April 24-28 as "Week of the Young Child" in Newberry County. Top row (left to right): Janie Eargle, Dr. Beth S. Brooks, Sam Zaidy, Reggie Wicker Bottom row (left to right): Sarah Eargle, Pat Caldwell, Mayor Foster Senn

Coroner Identifes Two Men Killed In Lake Murray Boat Crash
Posted: April 23, 11:11 AM

Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher has released the identities of two men who died as the result of a boat crash on Lake Murray. The accident occured at approximately 11:10 pm near Dreher Island and Crystal Lake.

The body of Mark Daniel Phillips, 37, of Columbia was recovered shortly after the incident. An autopsy performed later on Saturday revealed that Mr. Phillips died from blunt force trauma sustained in the crash.

At approximately 5:00 pm on Saturday, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources recovered the body of Christopher Shawn Lanier, 28, of Blythewood. An autopsy has been scheduled for Monday to determine Mr. Lanier’s cause of death.

Officials said six people were on a 32-foot Intrepid powerboat and a 16-foot bass boat when the two collided. Captain Robert McCullough with SCDNR said at least three people were taken to area hospitals with injuries. 

The Newberry County Sheriff's Department and Lexington County Sheriff's Department are assisting DNR in the investigation. 

nc breaks groundNewberry College Breaks Ground On New Residence Hall
Posted: April 23,
11:30 AM

On Friday Newberry College broke ground on a new residence hall. Construction on the $3.8 million student residence is expected to get underway in June 2017 and is slated to be ready for occupancy for the start of fall semester in August 2018.

The new building will be adjacent to Walker Hall, a student residence constructed in 2007 on the corner of Luther Street and Wolves Way. The 22,866-square foot residence hall will be home to 76 students and three resident advisors.

“The new residence hall is a welcome addition to the campus housing options available to our students,” said Newberry College President Dr. Maurice Scherrens. “Construction of the new residence hall is a crucial step forward in fulfilling our campus housing master plan.”

Construction of the new residence hall comes in response to institutional growth that has stretched campus housing to capacity. The project is an essential first step toward more sweeping overall improvements and upgrades in campus housing.

“With the combined effects of enrollment growth and retention increases, housing demands will soon exceed our current capacity,” said Dr. Sandra Rouse, Dean of Students. “We have implemented short-term solutions to help us manage, but the 76 new beds provided by the new residence hall will go a long way toward accommodating current and future growth.”

The new residence hall will be a three-story brick and cement panel building that is consistent with the style and beauty of the existing buildings. It will accommodate 79 students across 14 living units. It will feature suite-style, double-occupancy rooms arranged in pods of four, six or eight people with a shared living room, bathroom and efficiency kitchen. Multiple covered common areas and entrances will provide residents with opportunities to study and interact in between classes.

Over the course of this summer the College will invest an additional $800,000 in cosmetic improvements and infrastructure upgrades to four existing residence halls: Derrick Hall, Cromer Hall, Kinard Hall and Smeltzer Hall. 

McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, a regional, studio-based architecture, planning and interior design firm, led the design efforts for Newberry’s residence hall. Triangle Construction Co., a Greenville-based builder serving the region for 70 years, will lead the construction phase. Interim construction financing is being provided by First Reliance Bank, a community-focused lender with locations throughout South Carolina. USDA Rural Development, a federal agency offering loans, grants and loan guarantees to support economic development in rural America, will serve as the permanent lender.

“USDA Rural Development in South Carolina is focused on strengthening our rural communities.” Said Acting State Director Michele J. Cardwell. “Providing safe, comfortable and affordable living and educational facilities are essential components of the economic well-being of our rural citizens.”

Participants in the groundbreaking ceremony included:

  1. Hugo A. (Hap) Pearce – Chair, Newberry College Board of Trustees
  2. Dr. Maurice W. Scherrens – President, Newberry College
  3. Robert James – Chair, Ad-Hoc Housing Committee of Board of Trustees
  4. Dr. Sandra Rouse – Dean of Students
  5. Benjamin Herring – Incoming President, Student Government Association
  6. Tim Ellis – Program Manager, USDA Rural Development
  7. Melanie Anderson – Project Designer, McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture
  8. Bryant Nixon – Executive Vice President, Triangle Construction Co.
  9. Richard McIntyre – Market President-Lexington, First Reliance Bank

After the opening greeting by Hap Pearce, Campus Pastor Ernie Worman led the invocation. Dr. Sandra Rouse, Dean of Students, spoke on behalf of Student Affairs, followed by the student response from SGA incoming president Ben Herring. Program Manager Tim Ellis provided remarks on behalf of USDA Rural Development. With the ceremonial turning of the soil complete, President Scherrens gave the closing remarks.

County Council Meeting
Posted: April 20, 8:28 AM

Andrew Wigger|staff writer
Newberry Observer|Civitas Media
(803) 768-3122

  • Council held a public hearing, and approved a third reading on an ordinance to provided for the issuance and sale of General Obligation Bonds of Newberry County, not exceeding $1,9000,000. This pertains to the annual lease purchase payment of principal and interest related to (past) rolling stock purchases, like ambulances and fire trucks, and to indebtedness related to the county's public works complex. Payments on this short term borrowing are made each Dec. 30.
  • Council approved a third reading of an ordinance authorizing the issuance of a not exceeding $7,500,000 aggregate principal amount of Special Source Refunding Revenue Bond (Newberry County Memorial Hospital). This ordinance pertains to refinancing of the hospital's debt, the hospital will save in excess of $400,000 through this refinancing on net present value basis. 
  • Council recognized the following employees for their years of service. Natoscha Loynes, Sheriff's Office, five years, Brenda McCracken, Treasurer's Office, five years, Kirby Richardson, Sheriff's Office, five years, and Melony Fellers, Treasurer's Office, 20 years.

LesaineLesaine Receives Excellence In Teaching Award
Posted: April 18,
7:42 AM

(L-R) SCICU trustee, Lucy Grey McLver; Excellence in Teaching recipient, Dr. John Lesaine; President of Newberry College, Dr. Maurice Scherrens.

Newberry College Assistant Professor of Sport Professions and Newberry resident Dr. John Lesaine recently received the Excellence in Teaching Award, an honor given annually to one faculty member from each of the 20 member institutions of the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) organization.

The honorees were recognized at the 12th annual Excellence in Teaching awards dinner held on April 4, at which time each professor also received a $3,000 professional development grant from SCICU.

A Newberry College graduate, Lesaine has been a member of the Newberry faculty since 2012. He earned his Ed.D. in Sport Management from U.S. Sports Academy, an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership from Valdosta State University, and a B.S. Sport Management from Newberry College.

Prior to joining the Newberry faculty, Lesaine held various college basketball coaching positions. As an assistant coach, Lesaine’s teams appeared in six consecutive NCAA Division II national tournaments. He continues to officiate NCAA women’s basketball games.

Bringing from coaching into the classroom what he learned about mentoring and encouraging student success, Lesaine has twice been honored by Newberry as Professor of the Year (for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years). Lesaine also has received the L. Grady Cooper Award for loyalty and dedication to Newberry College.

“John is a dedicated teacher and mentor to many of our students,” said Dr. Timothy Elston, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College. “He serves as a role model in and out of the classroom and inspires our students to reach higher than they sometimes think possible.”

Lesaine teaches several popular courses, including Film and Sport, an interdisciplinary course that examines the historical versus popular views of sports and various athletic personalities on the American psyche.

“John is always creative and engaging in his approach to teaching and motivating students to strive for their own personal best,” said Gretchen Haskett, chair of the Department of Sport Professions.

walk like maddWalk Like MADD Is Saturday At Saluda Shoals Park In Columbia
Posted: April 17, 8:19 AM

MADD Newberry County is partnering with the Newberry County Coalition on Underage Drinking to field a team for Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s national fundraising event. WALK LIKE MADD is scheduled Saturday, April 22, at Saluda Shoals Park, Columbia. Registration is 2:00 pm, and the 5K Walk is at 3:00 pm.

Join the biggest MADD event of the year and be a part of the fun. Help with the fight  against drunk driving by donating to help MADD reach the fundraising goal for WALK LIKE MADD, or you can join our Newberry team to walk with us Saturday, April 22.

Funds raised will stay in South Carolina. To donate or join our team, visit Click on “donate” or “Participate” typing in “Newberry County”.

For further information contact Terecia Wilson, Newberry Coalition (276-5690) or MADD Newberry County (276-6603)

Sheriff's Office Warns Citizens About Tax Scam
Posted: April 10, 8:09 AM

Scammers are calling residents and saying they are from the tax office and they should pay their taxes by phone. A price is given and the resident is encouraged to pay their Newberry County taxes via telephone.

Newberry County Treasurer, Auditor, or Tax Assessor DOES NOT call people by telephone to pay their taxes and they DO NOT take money via a phone application.

Also DO NOT trust caller ID. Scammers have computer applications that can make a caller ID read any number they choose.

If you get a call such as this, it is a scam. If you have any questions regarding your taxes or the payment of your taxes you should not call the number you are given but call the Newberry County Treasurer Karen Lindler Smith' Office at 803-321-2130.

mercerCity Police Officers Visit Gallman;
Help Car Riders

Posted: April 6, 10:45 PM

Some of the Newberry police officers visited Gallman Elementary School this morning to open doors for their car riders.

Sergeant Richard Mercer is shown greeting a student at Gallman Elementary School Thursday morning.

Newberry Hospital Achieving ncmhHealthgrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award
Posted: April 6, 8:29 AM

Newberry Hospital announced that it has achieved the Healthgrades 2017 Outstanding Patient Experience Award. This distinction recognizes Newberry Hospital as being among the top 15% of hospitals nationwide, according to Healthgrades, the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals.

Healthgrades evaluated 3,489 hospitals that submitted at least 100 patient experience surveys to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), covering admissions from April 2015 – March 2016 in order to identify hospital performance in this area.

Bruce Baldwin, Chief Executive Officer of Newberry Hospital, says, “This is the second year in a row that Newberry Hospital has achieved the Healthgrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award™, and we are proud of the strong team of staff, physicians and volunteers who continue to work together to provide the best care possible to our patients. This award also reflects our community’s confidence in making Newberry Hospital their hospital of choice for providing quality, patient-centered healthcare.”

Healthgrades evaluated performance by applying a scoring methodology to 10 patient experience measures, using data collected from a 32-question patient experience survey of the hospital’s own patients. The survey questions focus on patients’ perspectives of their care in the hospital. The topics of these questions ranged from cleanliness and noise levels in patient rooms to factors such as pain management and responsiveness to patients’ needs. The measures also include whether a patient would recommend the hospital to friends or family.

In order to be recognized by Healthgrades, hospitals must meet eligibility requirements for consideration, which in addition to number of survey responses, includes clinical performance thresholds. Nationally 2941 hospitals met those requirements with 443 hospitals outperforming their peers, based on their patients’ responses in order to achieve this distinction. Newberry Hospital’s performance places them among the top 15 %> in the nation.

“Patient experience metrics resonate with consumers as they evaluate hospitals and select where they want to receive care,” said Brad Bowman, Chief Medical Officer, Healthgrades.  “We commend those hospitals that have achieved the Healthgrades 2017 Outstanding Patient Experience Award for their commitment to delivering superior care experiences to patients during a hospital stay.”

For more information about Healthgrades, to download a full copy of the report, or to get information about hospital and physician quality, visit: today.

Great American CleanupGreat American Clean-Up In Newberry
Posted: April 4, 8:40 AM

The City of Newberry is cleaner because of the work of many volunteers on March 25 as Newberry participated in the Great American Clean-up.   Led by Keep Newberry County Beautiful, which provided all the supplies, volunteers picked up litter in the city and just outside the city limits. Pictured are the Newberry Academy Junior Civitans picking up trash on Smith Road in Newberry.

Union County Fatality With Monday Storms
Posted: April 3, 8:18 PM

A person is dead after severe storms ripped through the Upstate on Monday. This was reported after a mobile home flipped on Eaves Road near Whitmire Highway around 3:30 p.m. Sheriff David Taylor said a man in the home was killed when it flipped multiple times.

The coroner identified the victim as 65-year-old J.C. Matthews Jr. He said Matthews' brother witnessed the structure overturn and spoke with the victim before calling to emergency personnel.

When emergency officials arrived on scene, they found Matthews deceased. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.

Emergency crews reportedly had difficulty accessing the scene due to downed trees. The coroner said an unconfirmed tornado may be responsible for the property overturning.

church breakinsThree Suspects Arrested For Church Break-In, Stealing Instruments And Electronics
Posted: March 27, 8:49 PM

On March 23 it was discovered that someone had entered Macedonia Lutheran Church in Prosperity. The suspects had gone inside and had gone through several offices as well as the sanctuary. The suspects took several items from inside the church including electronics and musical instruments.

Investigators from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office canvased the entire area around the church as well as started contacting other area law enforcement agencies to exchange information. Based on that hard work, investigators received information that the suspects were attempting to sell the stolen items in the Chapin area.

Acting on this information, Friday afternoon (March 24) investigators went to the suspect’s residence located on Macedonia Church Road. Based on that follow up investigation, investigators were able to confirm the suspects involvement in the burglary as well as locate the majority of the stolen items and a small quantity of meth (less than 1 gram) inside the home.

Sheriff Lee Foster said that the arrest was made based upon information they had received, forensic evidence matching the suspects to the scene, and the recovery of much of the stolen property.

“This is another example of what allows Newberry County to enjoy one of the highest clearance rates in South Carolina,” said Sheriff Lee Foster. “The investigators went out into the community and used both their knowledge and relationships in the community as well as their relationships with other agencies to gain the knowledge needed to solve this most despicable crime. It takes years of working in a community to build these kinds of relationships but it is essential to effective law enforcement and community partnerships.”

“I would also point out that the investigators did not simply rely on those partnerships alone,” Sheriff Foster continued. “They were able to gather forensic evidence at the scene that would prove a link between the suspects and the crime scene. Law enforcement is now a world when community knowledge, forensics, and technology must work in unison to be effective. I am proud that we have been able to build each of these aspects into a highly effective law enforcement agency standing with our citizens to make Newberry County safer and better.”

Three suspects were taken in custody. All three suspects are charged with Burglary 2nd Degree, Grand Larceny, Possession of Meth, and Possession of Drug Paraphilia. They are identified as:

Jenna Lee Coons, 22, of 1616 St. Peters Church Road, Chapin, SC.

Joey Kenneth Donovan, 27, 6183 Macedonia Church Road, Prosperity, SC

Drake Adam Johnson, 28, of 6183 Macedonia Church Road, Prosperity, SC

Bond was set at $76,000 on each suspect. All three suspects are still in custody at the Newberry County Detention Center as of Monday morning at the time of this release.

T BakerRegier Leaving Position As Utility Director; Baker To Head Department
Posted: March 27, 8:30 PM

Newberry City Manager Matt DeWitt announced today that Utility Director Marc Regier will be leaving his post after nine years of service with the city to relocate with his family to the Upstate.

"Marc graduated from Newberry College and returned to Newberry after a very successful 10 years of high level IT contracting to become an integral part of this community. I am so proud that the city could partner with someone of Marc's caliber who has kept the city's utility services on the cutting edge and a leader among South Carolina communities. He has played a critical role in the city's economic development and infrastructure growth. Marc will be transitioning over the next few months. Marc will be a stellar asset in his new role and we wish him, his wife, Katie, and their family all the best in their new journey."

Tim Baker (pictured), assistant utilities director, has now been tapped as the city's new utility director. According to DeWitt, "Tim joined the City of Newberry last year. He has an extensive background in public utilities having managed the utility operations in Abbeville and most recently in Lexington, NC. Tim and his family are currently in process of relocating to Newberry."

Regier expressed that the relationships he had forged along with the deep commitment to the city and citizens of Newberry would remain intact. "We all have a great deal of confidence in Tim leading the Utilities Department into the future. Tim will continue to focus on sustainability, economic development, significant infrastructure improvement projects and other areas to strengthen the city while delivering dependable utility comforts to the citizens," he said.

Mayor Foster Senn said, "Marc has done an outstanding job and his work will benefit Newberry for years come, especially in the areas of infrastructure improvements and technology. The City Council and I also appreciate his friendship," he said. "Tim Baker is talented and experienced. We're pleased he'll be leading the city utilities department."

pioneer foodsPioneer Foods Fire
Posted: March 24, 7:48 AM

A small fire happened at Pioneer Foods in Newberry County on Thursday evening. Sheriff Lee Foster said the fire was confined to a relatively small area of the plant. Many responders were on the scene quickly last night, and the fire was contained shortly thereafter. Photo courtsy of Sheriff Lee Foster

Sheriff Foster Announces New Tool For Businesses, Churches To Help First Responders
Posted: March 21, 7:56 PM

Sheriff Lee Foster says that Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is taking Smart911 to a new level. They are introducing a program called Rave Facility.

This feature allows business owners, churches, and others who are responsible for a facility to go online and enter the information about their facility. They can list who the contact person or persons is for that facility, upload floor plans, a list locations of fire extinguishers, locations of AED devices, and even list utility locations for that facility. You can even upload your evacuation plans and emergency plans so that first responders will know how to best respond to your emergency situation.

You will then be asked to draw a geo fence around the facility. Once this is done, any 911 call from that facility, whether from a land line listed for that facility or from a cell phone, will bring up the profile for that facility.

Many churches and businesses are moving away from land lines and are using cell phones. In addition, almost everyone frequenting businesses and churches have cell phones so there is a substantial likelihood that the 911 call would come from a cell phone. As long as the call comes from a phone registered for that facility or from a cell phone inside of the assigned geo fence, the profile will appear. It even has an option for facilities with more than one building to create geo fences for each building so that the call would designate which building at the facility the call originated from.

“This is cutting edge technology,” said Sheriff Foster. “We want to be proactive in our approach to serving our citizens through empowering them to give us the information to best respond when they need emergency services.”

“I know that technology can sometimes be overwhelming, but technology, used correctly, can improve response and reaction in times of trouble,” Foster continued. “This is a great resource for any business, church, or other facility that sees a regular number of visitors who use cell phones.”

To register your facility, please go to and register.

There is no fee for this service and this service works regardless of whether the caller has registered their individual phone for Smart911 or not.

All facilities must be approved by the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office before becoming active. You will receive a call from someone at the Sheriff’s Office verifying the information to prevent any misuse of this system.

As always, if you have any trouble registering for this service, you can come to the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office or call us at (803) 321-2211 and we will be glad to schedule a time for someone to come out and assist you with this process.

Coffee With A Cop Community Meetings Scheduled For Whitmire And Little Mountain, More To Come
Posted: March 17, 8:10 AM

In an effort to continue the open lines of communications between law enforcement and the community, Sheriff Lee Foster has announced a series of community based meetings continuing on the theme, “Coffee With A Cop”.

Sheriff Foster said that the meetings have no speakers and no agenda, instead Sheriff Foster and deputies will be on hand to share a cup of coffee and talk.

“It is a great way to get to know each other and share ideas,” said Sheriff Foster. “We believe it is important to keep the lines of communication open with the public and build relationships knowing that these partnerships are crucial to maintaining the safe communities we have all worked so hard to establish.”

Sheriff Foster said that in attention to a chance for a cup of coffee and conversation, deputies will be on hand to help register citizens for Smart911.

“We believe that the Smart911 network will be a way to better serve the citizens of Newberry County and will empower first responders to be better at reacting to the needs of citizens in an emergency.”

Sheriff Foster said that the Smart911 system only works when you register for the service and he encouraged citizens to enroll for this important service.

The first “Coffee With A Cop” will be on Monday March 20 from 9am to 10am at Thomas’ Grocery located at 136 Gilliam Street in Whitmire.

The “Coffee With A Cop” will then move to Wilson’s II located at 920 Main Street in Little Mountain on Monday March 27 from 9am to 10am.

Additional sessions will be scheduled throughout the county and announced in the near future.

If you need assistance registering for Smart911 and cannot attend the community meeting in your area, please feel free to come to the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office located at 550 Wilson Road in Newberry or call our offices at (803) 321-2211 to arrange for someone to assist you.

boydBoyd Arrested In Georgia
Posted: March 13, 5:34 PM

The man who was the subject of a massive manhunt in Newberry County that expanded across numerous South Carolina and Georgia counties has been arrested.

Toby Butlar Boyd, 43, was arrested in Wilcox, Georgia, late Saturday evening. Boyd was wanted in Newberry County for burglary as well as being sought by several counties in South Carolina and Georgia for a string of burglaries and thefts.

His arrest was the result of a joint investigation of numerous agencies including the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, the State Law Enforcement Division, and the United States Marshall Service.

Boyd was located hiding in an abandoned mobile home that he was living in to attempt to hide from law enforcement.

Boyd is facing numerous burglary and larceny charges in Georgia, and at some point will be extradited back to South Carolina so that formal charges can be filed in Newberry County as well as the several other counties who already have warrants on him including Aiken, McCormick, and Saluda counties.

“We are thankful for our long established partnerships with these many local, state, and federal agencies that led to this arrest,” said Sheriff Foster. “Because of the ease of mobility in our society, it is only when we work together that we can be effective in apprehend suspects like this who believe that they can use jurisdictional lines like county boundaries and state lines to elude capture.”

On February 9, 2017, Boyd fled on foot after being stopped driving a stolen truck and stolen camper in Newberry County on Mt. Bethel Garmany Road. There was an intensive manhunt for Boyd in the area of Mt. Bethel Garmany Road that expanded all the way to Keitts Crossroads. Boyd escaped the area by stealing a pickup truck. The truck was later recovered in Aiken and returned to Newberry County.

“This is a prime example of the never say quit attitude of the officers of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office,” said Sheriff Foster. “It would have been easy to move on to the next case and forget about this search, but we believe it is important to pursue and bring to justice those who victimize others. We were constantly following leads and tips and it is this dogged attitude that led to this arrest.”

No time frame for Boyd’s return to South Carolina and Newberry County has been established.

Kraft HeinzKraft Heinz Earns Top Honors At Recent United Way Ceremony
Posted: March 12,
1:25 PM

As we reported on Friday, Newberry’s Kraft Heinz Company took top honors in two categories at a recent United Way of the Midlands’ Live United Awards ceremony.

The company raised $574,606 in donations, a $140,000 increase over last year. As a result Brian LaRue, materials and distribution manager, Kat Longerbeam, human resources manager, and Tammy Duncan, administrative assistant to the plant manager, took home a Community Champion Award and a Division Chairman’s Award from the Mar. 2 ceremony at the Columbia Convention Center.

Pioneer Frozen Foods also was recognized with a Gold Award for per capita a giving level in excess of $150 and Newberry Electric Cooperative with a Bronze Award for a $56 per capita giving level.

To date, Newberry County companies have raised nearly $645,000, some $100,000 more than the goal set by the local Newberry County campaign committee last summer.

“Without the support of organizations throughout the Midlands, United Way’s work to improve early childhood education, end homelessness and provide access to quality healthcare would not be possible,” said Mac Bennett, president and CEO of United Way. “This is just one small way to recognize these companies for their impact on our community.”

In total, more than 200 companies were honored last week based on giving level, employee participation and volunteerism during the event which was emceed by campaign co-chairs Mike Brenan, president of BB&T, and Sara Fawcett, vice president of human resources at EDENS.

Community Champion Awards also were presented to BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and Publix Super Markets for their combined contributions of more than $2.9 million to the

Though the campaign officially ends on June 30, United Way is projecting a record-breaking $11 million campaign which will fund programs focused on improving education, financial stability and health throughout its six-county footprint.

officersCity Officers Greet NES Students
Updated: March 10,
7:42 AM

City police officers greeted students and opened doors for them at Newberry Elementary School on Wednesday morning. Pictured here, Sergeants Mike Hawkins and Rodney Grey passed out stickers to students as they entered the school building.

Autopsy Performed On Body Found Wednesday; Manner Of Death Ruled As Homicide
Updated: March 9, 6:02 PM

UPDATE: An autopsy was performed earlier today and results determined that Mr. Stephens died of multiple gunshots wounds and the manner of death has been ruled a homicide.

Original report: Newberry Coroner Laura Kneece has identified the victim from the body found in a car at Newberry Green Apartments on Wednesday morning as Clinton Stephens, 48. Officers with the Newberry Police Department responded to Newberry Green Apartments, 411 Monroe Street, in reference to a body being found inside a vehicle. Once officers arrived on scene they found the deceased body of a male subject. The coroner has ruled the death a homicide. The scene was processed by SLED along with police department investigators. Officers went door to door looking for witnesses. As of now, there are no leads in the identity of the suspect(s) in this case, or motive. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone who saw or heard anything that could help in this case, please contact Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

tennisCity, Newberry College Break Ground On Future Tennis Complex
Posted: March 7, 8:01 AM

City staff and representatives from Newberry College broke ground on the Oakland Tennis Complex Monday afternoon, World Tennis Day.

"Today is an exciting day, really around the world," said Mayor Foster Senn. "Today is World Tennis Day and so we're excited to be doing something here in Newberry."

Senn said the Oakland community has made steady progress within the past few years and this would be one more thing to add to the area.

The Oakland Tennis Complex will house six hard and three clay courts as well as a small pro shop and tennis pro office. The complex will be housed adjacent to Oakland Mill apartments and will be the new home for Newberry College tennis and City of Newberry recreational tennis programs. The courts will be used to serve the public and to help attract tennis tournaments to town.

"We're glad to partner with the college," Senn said of Newberry College. "It is one of our greatest assets in Newberry."

City Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Scott Sawyer said the project has an anticipated 200 days of construction to complete, weather pending. Some of the demolition is set to begin within the next week, he said.
 "We're not trying to build a tennis center, we're trying to build a tennis program," Sawyer said. "You can put courts all over the place, but unless you program them, you will not be doing your service to the community."

Mark Gardiner, tennis coach for Newberry College said he's very excited about the program he believes these fields will bring. Gardiner said he wants to see the 3-5 year olds from the 75 to 80 year olds out enjoying the courts.

USDA tournaments will be offered on the courts, Gardiner said and that they would also be reaching out to the local schools and the community.
"It's going to be a great place to exercise and to be a tennis community in Newberry, we're just excited about it," Senn said.

mother sonMother and Son Arrested After Car Chase; Illegal Drugs Found
Posted: March 2, 4:57 PM

Two suspects, a mother and her son, were jailed Sunday night after they led police on a chase because they had illegal drugs in their possession.

On February 26 at approximately 1130pm, the Newberry County Sheriff's Office and Newberry Police Department were conducting a public safety check point at the intersection of Nance Street and Kendall Road when a vehicle approached the check point and came to a stop. As an officer began talking with the suspects, they noticed a container of alcohol in the vehicle. As the officers began to reach for the can, the driver begin to back up from the check point, turned around, and fled the check point.

Officers were able to catch up to the suspect vehicle as it turned onto Evans Street and initiated their blue lights and sirens; however, the driver of the vehicle continued to flee driving down Wilson Road at speeds reaching more than 80 miles per hour. The driver of the vehicle then turned onto Jolly Street Road and continued to flee the officers.

While traveling on Jolly Street Road, an off duty deputy had heard the chase and went into action. He went to his patrol car and got his tire deflation device and while his wife kept him updated on the location of the chase. He went to the road in front of his home and placed the tire deflation device in the roadway. The suspect vehicle hit the device flattening the two front tires safely ending the chase a short distance later. The pursuing officers, who the off duty deputy had notified of the placement of the device, were able to avoid the strips.

“This was made possible because the deputy was willing to work even off duty and because he had his vehicle with his equipment at his home,” said Foster. “This deputy, like so many of our deputies, are willing to go the extra mile to get the job done.”

The suspects were taken into custody when the car came to a stop.

When the officers searched the vehicle, they found two different types of pills that are controlled substances. In addition, the passenger was found to in possession of two bags of marijuana with an approximate weight of 53 grams.

The driver of the vehicle was identified as Yvette Michelle Pratt, 37, of 1139 Copeland Street, Newberry, SC. She was charged with Failure to Stop For a Law Enforcement Vehicle, 2 counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance, Resisting Arrest, and Assault and Battery 2nd Degree. She was released on a $9000.00 surety bond on February 28.

The passenger was identified as Carban Kiaeem Epps, 17, of 1139 Copeland Street, Newberry, SC. He was charged with Possession of Marijuana With Intent To Distribute. He was released on February 27 on a $5000.00 surety bond.

Sheriff Foster said that the tire deflation device deployed are technology he learned about through his involvement the National Institute of Justice. The tire deflation devices are different than most such devices because not only do they penetrate the tires, but have specific holes in them to insure that the tires deflate once they penetrate the tire. It is a better technology that ends chases faster and safer when they can be deployed.

Sheriff Foster said that not only did the off duty deputy deploy the device ending the chase, but he and wife then cleaned up the debris from the deployment of the devices.

The suspect vehicle was a 2017 Jeep and was a rental car. The entire chase traveled approximately 10 miles and lasted approximately 9 minutes.

County Council Report
Posted: March 2, 6:03 AM

  • Council approved a second reading of an ordinance amending the 2016-17 budget ordinance. The 10 items involved in the amendment total $909,419, 92.7% of which is for economic development, 4.3% associated with repair of equipment and replacement materials and 3% is owing to state regulatory compliance requirements. An example of one of the items is the replenishing of county gravel stock for $6,600. The public works department has amended the cul de sac and spec building parking lot at the Mid-Carolina Commerce Park with substantial amounts of gravel, this would replenish the gravel stockpiles.
  • Council approved a proclamation declaring March 2017 as Disabilities Awareness Month in Newberry County.
  • Council had a public hearing and approved a third reading on an ordinance that would rezone a 1.43 acre parcel from Single Family Residential to General Commercial. This will be the location of a tower needed for the 800 MHz radio system.
  • Council approved a third reading and held a public hearing for an ordinance for the issuance and sale, of a not exceeding $1,900,000 General Obligation bond Anticipation Note of Newberry County. This will provide funding for expenses pertaining to the 2016 penny sales tax projects. The recent history of the market suggests an interest rate of around 2% for this borrowing. This, along with the likelihood that all bonded 2016 projects will be completed within three years, indicates a strategy of borrowing the entire amount of the ballot, $19.8 million, up front. There will be no need for the $19. million BAN authorized by the ordinance, as stated by County Administrator Wayne Adams.
  • Adams also reported that planning meetings have  began for the CPST projects.

Andrew Wigger|staff writer
Newberry Observer|Civitas Media
(803) 768-3122

City Announces "Newberry-PMPA Community Scholar" Scholarship
Posted: March 1, 8:19 AM

The City of Newberry is pleased to announce the rollout of the 2017 "Newberry-PMPA Community Scholar" Scholarship. The scholarship program offers four scholarships ($500 each) which may be applied to Fall 2017 tuition at any South Carolina accredited College, University or Technical School. The contest opens March 6 and applications are due back by April 6. We ask that you share this opportunity with those you know may have interest and meet the general qualifications to apply. If you or your organization has any questions in regards to this scholarship program please feel free to call 803.321.3607.

School Board Recognitions
Posted: February 27, 10:18 PM

Following were recognized during the school board meeting on Monday night:
Mid-Carolina High School Band-
Zachary Judah Rendelman – Clinic All-State Band

SC Junior Beta Club Convention –
Newberry Middle School- NMS BETA Club members placed 2nd in the Advertising and Design Competition at the State Beta Club Convention in Myrtle Beach on January 13, 2017

Sarali Acosta Vazquez – Grade 8
Ana Morales – Grade 8
Abby Nunley – Grade 7
Shevante Powell – Grade 8
The Advertising Design competition at the South Carolina Beta Club Convention has students demonstrating creativity, collaboration, and attention to detail as they create an advertisement around a prompt. The NMS team earned 2nd place and have been invited to compete in the national convention this summer.

Mid-Carolina Middle School-

Sam Hawkins - elected as South Carolina's 2017 Jr. Beta State Chaplain
Shelby Lever - 1st place in black/white photography
AC Cary - 1st place in painting
Tripp Richardson - 1st place in woodworking
Emma Grace Connelly - 2nd place in speech
Taylor Longshore - 2nd place in sculpture
Emma Wicker, Tori Livingston, & Peyton Metts - 2nd place in scrapbooking
Ashlyn Kinard - 3rd place in charcoal art

Mid-Carolina Middle School competed at the South Carolina Beta Club Convention from January 12-13. There were over 4000 students at the year’s convention. MCMS placed in the top 5 for t-shirt and then brought home 8 state awards including the new SC Beta Club Chaplain office. All of these students have been given an invitation to compete at nationals in June in Orlando, Florida. Congratulations to all of these students.

Whitmire Community School –
Hanna Wagner – Third place for Fiber Arts

The visual arts competiotion at te SC Junior Beta Club Convention provides students the opportunity to showcase their artistic talents and creative abilities.  Fiber arts in inclusive of any craft using fiber materials.  For this category, Hanna entered a quilt she made in a convergence pattern.  This earned her eligibility to compete at the National Convention this summer. 

Rebecca Morris, Elected State Beta Club Sponsor for South Carolina - Rebecca was elected state Jr. Beta Club sponsor for South Carolina at this year’s Jr. Beta Club.  Her duties will include representing our state at the National Jr. Beta Club convention in Orlando, Florida this summer.

Junior Scholars
To qualify to become a Junior Scholar an eighth grade student must take the PSAT and score 50 or higher in math, verbal and/or writing.  Seventh grade students can also qualify to become a Junior Scholar if they are identified by the DUKE Tip program and are also invited to attend the “State” or “Grand” recognition or both as a seventh grader sponsored by Duke University’s Talent Identification Program (TIP). Seventh grade students are recognized by our district during their eighth grade year.

Mid-Carolina Middle School
Kendal Boland                    
Isaac Cayton
Madarrius Chaplin
Delaney Gilliam                  
Raymond Konarski
Jorge Leyva             
James Long             
Rachel Maston                   
Anna Meetze                      
Joseph Mueller                     
Ryan Redd               
Christopher Scott           
Harrison Scott                 
Harmon Vinson      
Johnny Waites                 

Newberry Middle School
Zerolar Chapman
Philip Livingston              
Melanie Moore                  
Shevante Powell             
Connor Shannon   
Benjamin Siquerios

Whitmire Community School
Marissa Baker                    
Barrett Martin

Selected as One of the Three Finalist for 2016-2017 SCIRA Administrator of the Year Award Nomination
Lindsey Folk – Principal at Pomaria-Garmany Elementary
Taken from the nomination submitted to SCIRA by her faculty:

There is so much to share when it comes to Lindsey Folk and her support in terms of literacy and overall genuine love and concern for our precious children. Words could never express the work and dedication she constantly displays on a daily basis. Her work speaks volumes and our children are a testament to the dedication and commitment she has to ensure they are provided with countless opportunities to enjoy reading.
I will leave you with the words of an extremely humble, most deserving nominee to which we are very proud to call our leader… “Literacy is the foundation of everything we do, know, and learn. It is how we grow. We must celebrate the accomplishments of our students no matter how big or small. Whether it’s moving slightly up that ladder in a small group setting or fluently reading a book for the very first time. We all play a significant role in literacy when it comes to our most prized possessions… our students.”

hunter lazoUPDATE: Autistic Male Found By Authorities Late Sunday Afternoon
Posted: February 26, 7:47 PM

The missing 19 year old male with Autism was located at approximately 5:15pm.
Members of the Newberry County Sheriff's Office Bloodhound Team along with a DNR Officer and members of the Newberry County Emergency Services found the missing teen approximately three miles from his residence.
The missing teen was taken by ambulance to the Emergency Room for further evaluation.

Sheriff Foster stated that he really appreciated all the help from the Rescue Squads as well the concerns and assistance of the community. We could not have found him without members of the neighbor being on the look out and giving calls of sightings.
Participating in the search were the Rescue Squads of Newberry County, DNR, Sheriff's Office, and Newberry County Fire Fighters. A SLED helicopter and a DNR aircraft.

Newberry County Emergency Services were looking for Hunter Lazo (above left) for most of the day on Sunday. He had been last seen at 8:20 am Sunday morning on Lake Road, which is off Ira Kinard Road, near SC 391 on Lake Murray.

Area Rescue Squads, Sheriff's Deputies and Department of Natural Resources were participating in the search.

thornhillMan Who Charged At Deputies Booked At Detention Center
Posted: February 24, 6:36 PM

The man who charged at Newberry County deputies on Sunday morning armed with a firearm while threatening to kill them was booked into the Newberry County Detention Center today.

The man is identified as Christopher Rodney Thornhill, 50, of 447 Thornhill Lane, Prosperity.

Thornhill was charged with two counts of Attempted Murder, three counts of Kidnapping, four counts of Pointing and Presenting a Firearm, Possession of a Weapon During a Violent Crime, and Resisting Arrest While Armed With a Deadly Weapon. He was denied bond.

The charges were filed against Thornhill by the State Law Enforcement Division today when he was released from the hospital. Click HERE for the official release from SLED.

toby boydStolen Truck Found And Returned,
Search Continues For Suspect

Posted: February 22, 5:48 PM

Sheriff Lee Foster says that the truck stolen by a burglary suspect on February 9 was recovered yesterday, but the search for the suspect continues.

Sheriff Foster says that Toby Butlar Boyd, 43, fled on foot after being stopped driving a stolen truck and stolen camper in Newberry County on Mt. Bethel Garmany Road on February 9.

Boyd stole a 1966 blue GMC pickup truck from a resident near Keitt’s Crossroads. He used that truck to flee the area.

The truck was recovered at about 3am Tuesday morning by the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office. The truck was found abandoned in the parking lot of a business on Martintown Road in North Augusta. No one was around the truck when it was located. The truck was not damaged and has been returned to the owner.

“Sheriff Mike Hunt and the entire Aiken County Sheriff’s Office has investigators regularly with our agency and actively seeking Boyd,” said Foster. “We are blessed to have such a great working relationship with Sheriff Hunt and his staff because these cases require a solid working relationship with other agencies.”

Authorities have suspect all along that Boyd returned to the Aiken/Augusta area because of his ties there. Investigators from the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, North Augusta Police Department, and State Law Enforcement Division are assisting in the search for Boyd.

Boyd is suspected of being involved in several burglaries including Newberry, Saluda, Aiken, McCormick, Edgefield, and Lexington Counties. He has prior burglary convictions.

“We are using many resources to track this suspect,” said Sheriff Foster. “We believe that the public will be instrumental in taking this suspect into custody because of his movements throughout many counties. If you see this man, please call 911 immediately. He is a threat and a danger to the safety of the people and property of every community he enters.”

If anyone sees Toby Butlar Boyd, please contact 911 immediately. He is assuredly a flight risk and could be armed.

silver palmettoCity Of Newberry Receives Silver Palmetto Award
February 22,
8:06 AM

The City of Newberry has been selected to receive South Carolina’s prestigious 2016 Silver Palmetto Award. The award is presented annually by the SC Commission on Disabilities and Special Needs to the South Carolina city or town that made the most outstanding contribution to people with disabilities the previous year. Commission Chairman Bill Danielson presented the award to City of Newberry Mayor Foster Senn recently during the Municipal Association of South Carolina meeting in Columbia. The Commission is the governing board of the SC Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN).

[Left to Right Seated] Bob Jones, Executive Director, Newberry Disabilities and Special Needs Board, Rick Richardson, Chairman, Newberry Disabilities and Special Needs Board, Bill Danielson, Chairman, SC Commission on Disabilities and Special Needs, Foster Senn, Mayor, City of Newberry, and Matt Dewitt, City Manager. [Left to Right Standing] Police Lieutenant Randy Malloy, City Councilman Thomas Louis Boyd, City Councilman David Force, City Councilman Lemont Glasgow, Scott Sawyer, Director, City of Newberry Parks, Recreation and Tourism. [Not pictured but also in attendance] Councilman Zebbie Goudelock


trainingCity Hall Employees Get Fire Safety Training
Posted: February 21, 10:01 PM

City Hall employees had the opportunity to have some fire safety training on Monday. Employees brushed up on their fire safety skills with the help of the Newberry Fire Department.

bus driverBerkeley County Bus Driver Arrested In Newberry For DUI
Posted: February 20, 9:34 PM

A story that we reported earlier on WKDK, a Berkeley County school bus driver was arrested in Newberry County on Sunday, accused of driving a bus carrying students while intoxicated.

Officers with the SC Highway Patrol say Brent Patrick Carter was driving the bus eastbound on SC 34 in the westbound lanes near Newberry at around 7:05 pm. The bus' headlights were not on, and troopers stopped Carter's bus as he drove onto the eastbound entrance ramp to I-26.

Investigators say 15 students and three adults were on the activity bus from Goose Creek High School at the time of the traffic stop. All students were safe and accounted for, according to Berkeley County School District officials.

Troopers say Carter had a blood-alcohol concentration of .18, over twice the legal limit.

The students were turned over to Berkeley County school officials and DSS was notified.

UPDATE: Man Being Sought As Witness Found And Unharmed
Posted: February 19, 3:30 PM

Baxter was found at his mother's residence in Newberry. He was not injured and is cooperating with law enforcement.

Related To Hostage Situation story

In a related matter to the shooting after the hostage situation (see complete story below), law enforcement was seeking to locate a man who was inside the home but left prior to law enforcement arrival.

Richard “Sam” Baxter Jr, 55, was at the residence of before law enforcement arrived and could not be located. He was being sought as a witness and so law enforcement could check on his medical well-being.

Suspect Shot By Deputy After Hostage Situation
Posted: February 19, 2:30 PM

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster says that deputies have shot an armed suspect after a hostage situation.

Deputies were called to 447 Thornhill Lane for just before 1130am this morning that someone had been shot at the residence. While on the way to the residence, they were notified that there was a hostage situation at the residence. There were at least two shots fired inside the residence before law enforcement arrived.

The hostages (2 females and 1 male) were able to escape the residence, but the suspect also fled the residence armed with a long gun of some type. The suspect first fled to a pasture, then hid in a ravine, but then left that position and began aggressively advancing on the officers, who were attempting to take cover behind a tree. The suspect still had the firearm in his hands pointed toward the officers and was making verbal threats to the officers as he moved toward them.

Sheriff Foster said that despite repeated demands for the suspect to stop and drop the weapon, he continued to advance on the officers with the weapon pointed at them. One of the officers fired striking the suspect. He was disarmed, and medical treatment was sought.

The suspect is being transported to a Columbia area hospital for treatment.

The State Law Enforcement Division has been called to investigate the shooting.

Neither the suspect nor the officer are being identified at this time. Both the suspect and the officer are white.

“This shows the grave danger law enforcement faces in today’s society,” said Sheriff Foster. ‘I commend these officers on their great restraint in this situation. It could have ended very differently without their reaction to this attack from the suspect.”

smart911Smart911 Now Available In Newberry County Area
Posted: February 18,
7:18 AM

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster and all aspects of public safety in Newberry County are excited to announce that Smart911 is now available in the area.

Residents and those frequently in Newberry are strongly urged to sign up for Smart911 to be better prepared for any emergency situation. Smart911 is a free nationwide service provided by Newberry County, individuals can now create a Smart911 Safety Profile, which provides vital information to 9-1-1 call takers and first responders during an emergency.

“This citizen provided information can have a huge impact on a call,” said Sheriff Foster. “By providing home and work address or photos it can help us to know exactly where we are going and who we are looking for, those details can help all of us respond faster and more efficiently.”

Smart911 allows individuals to create a Safety Profile at for their whole household that can include any additional information they want 9-1-1 and response teams to have in an emergency situation. When an individual makes a 9-1-1 call, their Safety Profile is automatically displayed to the 9-1-1 call taker, allowing them to send the right response teams to the right location with the right information. You can also find a link to information sheets, facts about Smart911, and to the Smart911 registration on the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office website at

Sheriff Foster said that the Smart911 was a collaborative effort with Newberry County Public Safety, the School District of Newberry County, and Newberry County Memorial Hospital. Foster said that they have now joined forces with Newberry County Fire Departments, Newberry County Rescue Squads, Newberry County EMS, Newberry Police Department, Newberry Fire Department, Whitmire Police Department, and the Newberry County Coroner’s Office to begin public education and implementation of Smart911.

With Smart911, residents can link both home and work addresses to mobile phones, which can be passed on to responders in the field for more a detailed, rapid response. Additional information including current medications, preexisting medical conditions, vehicle details in the event of an accident, emergency contacts and much more can all be included in a Safety Profile. All information is completely optional and only displayed when the linked phone dials 9-1-1 and then is only available for a certain window of time and the individual has the ability to choose what details they would like to include.

“Individuals who link these Safety Profiles to their cell phones are providing us with vital information,” said Sheriff Foster. “If you have a weak signal or the call is dropped the added information provided in the Safety Profile can speak for you.”

Smart911 is currently available nationwide in more than 1,500 municipalities across the country, and has been credited with positively impacting emergency outcomes including a missing child in which the girls photo and physical description were immediately available to 9-1-1 and responders, as well as a heart attack victim where an address and medical notes allowed responders to be dispatched to his location quickly.

Citizens are encouraged to create their Safety Profile with Smart911 today to have their information immediately available to 9-1-1 and to receive emergency notifications. Smart911 is private and secure, is only used for emergency responses, and only made available to the 9-1-1 system in the event of an emergency call.

Sheriff Foster said for those without internet access of those who just do not feel comfortable making this registration that the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office will have support staff available on Wednesday, February 22 from 10am to 12pm at the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office located at 550 Wilson Road, Newberry, SC who will assist you with the registration. If you cannot come on that day, you can call (803) 321-2211 and ask to speak to someone in the Community Oriented Police Service Division and they will schedule an appointment to assist you.

“We believe this will be an incredible resource for the citizens and first responders of Newberry County,” said Foster. “We are excited about this partnership and providing the highest level of services to our citizens through all aspects of public safety.”

Autopsy Results Confirm No Vehicle Restraints Of Child Killed In
Tragic Accident

Posted: February 15, 11:42 PM

Newberry County Coroner Laura G. Kneece reports that the autopsy performed today on four (4) year old, Titiyanna Kessler, confirms that there was no evidence of the child being restrained in the vehicle at the time of the collision, causing a blunt force injury of the head.

“This is a very tragic incident that could have been avoided. It is very important to restrain your child properly while driving in a vehicle. An accident can happen in an instant. There are several agencies, including Newberry County Sheriff’s Department and Kohl’s Buckle Buddies, that will assist in checking your car seats and making sure they are installed properly. Buckle Buddies also has ways to get people access to education as well as discounted rates on car seats.”

          This incident remains under investigation by South Carolina Highway Patrol and South Carolina Highway Patrol Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT).


County Council Report
Posted: February 15, 8:39 PM

Andrew Wigger|staff writer
Newberry Observer|Civitas Media
(803) 768-3122

  • Council approved a proclamation recognizing Thomas Perry who has served as a vocal and active advocate for youth in Newberry County for decades.
  • Council passed a resolution honoring Carl "C.J." Edwards Jr.
  • Council passed a resolution appointing and commissioning Susan McCullough as an animal control code enforcement officer.
  • Council approved a third reading of an ordinance to provided for the determination of salaries for countywide elected officials.
  • Council approved a second reading of an ordinance that provides for the issuance and sale of a not exceeding $1,9000,000 General Obligation Bond Anticipation Note. This will provide funding for the initial expenses pertaining to projects approved by votes for the 2016 CPST.
  • Council approved a first reading of an ordinance amending the 2016-17 budget ordinance. The 10 items involved in the amendment total $909,419, 92.7% of which is for economic development, 4.3% associated with repair of equipment and replacement materials and 3% is owing to state regulatory compliance requirements.
  • Council awarded JLA the design work for the following CPST projects, Town of Whitmire - Town Hall/Police Department remodel/upgrade, Town of Pomaria - Old Pomaria School Building Renovation, Town of Little Mountain - Computer Center and Library Upgrades.

Coroner Identifies Child Killed In Vehicle Accident
Posted: February 14, 4:06 PM

Newberry County Coroner’s Office along with the South Carolina Highway Patrol are investigating a single vehicle accident that occurred on Tuesday morning at approximately 7:15 am in the 300 Block of Main Street (also known as Highway 76 in Little Mountain, SC).

According to Coroner Laura Kneece, a four year old passenger, Titiyanna Kessler of Little Mountain was pronounced dead at a local hospital due to injuries sustained in the motor vehicle collision. An autopsy has been ordered to determine cause of death. The child was not properly restrained in a child safety seat.

This incident remains under investigation by Newberry County Coroner’s Office and South Carolina Highway Patrol.

connelly logoConnelly Announces Run For
Congress Seat

Posted: February 13, 4:53 PM

As we have been reporting since
shortly after 10 AM, Chad Connelly announced today that he will run in the special election as a Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in the state’s 5th District. A special election will be held to fill the seat left vacant by Mick Mulvaney once he is officially confirmed by the United States Senate to be the next Director of The White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

Chad Connelly said, “Washington is broken and I want to do my part to try and fix it. As such, I will lead a fight for term limits in the US Congress pledging to lead by example and serving no more than 12 years. I am a conservative that believes in small government. If elected, I will fight for American families by working to help create a pro business environment encouraging more new jobs, a stronger military and less taxes.”

Chad Connelly was born and raised in Prosperity, South Carolina. He graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. Chad then joined the United States Army and SC National Guard where he became a Tank Commander and Platoon Leader of SC’s 2/263 Armored in Gaffney and York. Chad then worked in the private sector where he became the youngest senior manager for PSI, a national engineering firm. While at PSI he managed over 100 employees in eight separate locations. After 8 years Chad decided to start his own small business. His firm helped entrepreneurs begin and grow their own small businesses leading to a coaching, speaking and consulting career. Chad also remained active in conservative causes. He was elected and also re-elected as Chairman of the SC Republican Party. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus then tapped Connelly to serve as the RNC’s first-ever National Director of Faith Engagement. He has since traveled to 40 states and spoken to over 80,000 pastors and faith leaders about the importance of getting more involved in the political process.

If elected, Connelly will sponsor new legislation to limit Congressmen to no more than 6 terms (12 years) and Senators to no more than 2 terms (12 years). He said, “I traveled all over this country this past year and folks everywhere are disgusted with the poisonous political games being played on Capitol Hill. Americans have simply lost faith in Congress as an institution. I am convinced the only way we are going to fix this mess is to begin to enact real term limits.”

“If we want better jobs and a safer homeland, we must first make way for new voices. We need more citizen legislators and less career politicians. Our founding fathers framed this Republic as a government of the people, by the people and for all the people under God,” Connelly added.

Air Quality Alert Issued As Result Of Landfill Fire
Posted: February 12, 2:51 PM

Due to the fire at a construction debris landfill off SC 121 near Belfast Rd., Newberry County Emergency Management has asked for those with breathing conditions and that are in a five mile area, especially low lying areas, are asked to remain inside.

Winds are variable but prominently out of Southwest at approximately 11mph. This would carry the smoke near the City of Newberry and the onward toward SC 34 and US 176 then onto the Broad River area.
DHEC, Newberry County Haz Mat, and Emergency Services are monitoring air quality closely.

Anyone with respiratory issues and within a five mile area Northeast from the site should use precaution.

Sheriff's Deputies, City Police Respond To Possible Kidnapping From Georgia At Waffle House On SC Highway 34
Posted: February 11, 7:01 PM

Newberry County Sheriff's Deputies and Newberry City Police responded to the Waffle House on SC Hwy. 34 near I 26 to locate a possible kidnapping victim.

Law Enforcement received a call from the Richmond, Ga Sheriff's Office that a kidnapping victim may be located in the restaurant with several adults.
Newberry City Police Officers and Sheriff's Deputies found the 12-year-old girl inside the restaurant eating with two adult females and an 11-year-old child.

The preliminary investigation revealed that the two juveniles had met on a YouTube Channel and had been conversing for approximately a year through that social media site along with Skype. The 12-year-old from Georgia convinced the 11-year-old and her mother that it was permissible for them to come to Georgia and take her back to their home in Wisconsin to live. The 12-year-old arranged the meeting and began to travel back to Wisconsin and made it to Newberry County and were able to be located by Richmond County, Ga authorities.

Newberry County Sheriff's Deputies and Richmond County, Ga investigators are continuing the investigation to verify stories. It is currently being handled as a runaway situation.

Sheriff Lee Foster said this is a prime example on how the internet can be used improperly and unsafely. "If their stories hold true, neither party really new the other until they came into physical contact with one another. It very well could have been an adult that wished to do them harm. This could have been a very dangerous situation. The internet is a very dangerous place." Sheriff Foster continued, "Anyone can pose as anybody and can say what they want. Just because it is on the internet, it doesn't have to be true. Regardless of the situation, the adults should have done a whole lot more to verify the juveniles story."

The investigation is continuing to verify statements and to verify there was no criminal kidnapping. The Sheriff commended the Waffle House for their cooperation in this investigation.

boydSearch Continues For Burglary Suspect; Officials Asking For Public's Assistance
Posted: February 10, 6:01 PM

The search for a man wanted for burglary in several counties including Newberry County is continuing.

Deputies are searching for Toby Butlar Boyd, 43, who last listed his address as 361 Wire Road, Aiken. He is a white, male who is 5’05” and weighs 180 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a camouflage jacket, jeans, and crocs.

Boyd fled on foot after being stopped driving a stolen truck and stolen camper yesterday afternoon in Newberry County on Mt. Bethel Garmany Road. He is a suspect in a burglary in Newberry County as well as involved in burglaries in Saluda County, Aiken County, and Lexington County.

truckThere was an intensive manhunt for Boyd in the area of Mt. Bethel Garmany Road that expanded all the way to Keitts Crossroads. It is believed that the suspect escaped the area after stealing a 1966 blue Chevrolet pickup truck.
Please note that this is not the truck that was stolen, but is a similar as a visual aid and likeness only.

It is possible that Boyd may be armed and should be considered both dangerous and a flight risk.

Anyone who sees Boyd or has any information about his location should call 911 immediately.

County Council Report

Zimmerman Elected Family Court Judge
Posted: February 2, 8:01 AM

Mindy Westbrook Zimmerman of Newberry has been elected by the General Assembly as Family Court Judge, 8th Judicial Circuit, Seat 2. Judicial elections were held yesterday on February 1.

alpha awardHaskett And Knight Recipents Of Leadership Award
Posted: February 2,
8:06 AM

Newberry College President Dr. Maurice W. Scherrens this week announced the first-ever recipients of the Alpha Wolf Leader of the Pack Award created to recognize Newberry College employees for excellence in leadership.

Recipients of the inaugural award are Gretchen Haskett, chair of the Department of Sport Professions, and Todd Knight, Newberry Wolves Football head coach.

“We considered many worthy nominees, but Todd and Gretchen led the pack,” Scherrens said. “Both are stellar examples of what can be achieved through dedication, persistence and inspirational leadership.”

The Alpha Wolf Leader of the Pack Award was created by the College’s senior leadership team to recognize Newberry College employees (faculty, staff and coaches) who have demonstrated excellence in leadership through their individual roles within the College.

Criteria for the Alpha Wolf Leader of the Pack Award include:

  • Uncompromising commitment to the welfare of Newberry College students
  • Steadfast focus on achieving the goals and objectives of the College
  • Personal leadership that encourages and inspires others
  • Willingness to actively engage in resolving interdepartmental challenges
  • Willingness to take courageous action and accept responsibility

Haskett and Knight were recognized during the quarterly meeting of the Newberry College Board of Trustees on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.

County Council Report
Posted: February 2, 6:13 PM

Andrew Wigger|staff writer
Newberry Observer|Civitas Media
(803) 768-3122

As we reported on WKDK, Newberry County Council met on February 1 and the following items were discussed:

  • Council voted to not approve four ordinances that would have change four parcels of land from Single Family Residential to Rural. The rezoning was to allow the owner to have goats and chickens, and possibly a small number of beehives. There was a concern that changing the zoning to rural would allow for other animals, such as horses. Due to this uncertain, council choice not to approve the rezoning request.
  • Council approved the first reading of an ordinance to rezone a parcel of land from Single Family Residential to Commercial. The rezoning would address setback and land use permission issues critical to the siting of a tower needed for the new 800 MHz radio system, approved by the voters as part of the 2016 CPST.
  • A first reading was approved to provided for the issuance and sale of a not exceeding $1,900,000 General Obligation Bond Anticipation Note of Newberry County. This borrowing provides funding for initial expenses pertaining to projects approved by voters as part of the 2016 CPST.
  • Alliance Engineering was selected as the engineering firms to to provide design services for the following CPST projects, City of Newberry Recreational Complex construction, Town of Prosperity Recreational Complex improvements and the Town of Silverstreet Walking Track.
  • Council approved the purchase of LifePak monitors and Accessories from Physio-Control, Inc. in the amount of $111,415.41 for Newberry County EMS. This was a budgeted item, originally budgeted at $120,000
  • Council approved a second reading of an ordinance to provide the determination of countywide elected officials and to provide for the annual review of salaries for such offices.



Irmo manMan Arrested After Receiving Nearly A Pound
Of Marijuana Via Mail

Posted: January 31, 8:19 PM

As we have been reporting on WKDK, an Irmo man was charged with Possession With Intent To Distribute Marijuana after her received a delivery of illegal drugs through the mail.

On November 21, 2016, the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office conducted surveillance on a residence located on South Main Street in Prosperity after receiving information from the U.S. Postal Service that a suspicious package believed to containing illegal drugs would be delivered to that residence. The package was sent from California.

After the package was delivered to the residence, the suspect took the package and left the residence in a motor vehicle. The suspect was stopped by officers of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, who could immediately smell the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. Upon searching the vehicle, the deputies located a package containing approximately one pound of marijuana. Deputies also located an additional approximate ounce of marijuana in a book bag in the vehicle. The suspect was arrested without incident and taken to the Newberry County Detention Center.

Kenny Teray Basnight, 24, of 313 Doncaster Driver, Irmo, SC, was arrested and charged with Possession With Intent To Distribute Marijuana. His bond was set at $10,000.00. He was released when his bond was paid on November 23.

“This is another excellent example of the working relationship we share with many state and federal agencies, said Sheriff Lee Foster. “Because of our proven working relationship and reputation, the federal authorities knew who they could call to get the job done.”

Sheriff Foster said that they held the information while additional investigation could be conducted by the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and federal authorities. Foster also said that the waited to release the information about this case until federal authorities decided if they would adopt this case for prosecution because federal rules regarding releasing information about criminal cases are far different than state level cases. The suspect will be prosecuted in the state courts so it was decided to release the information

MM Technics Breaks Ground On Wednesday
Posted:January 27,
9:47 PM

As we reported earlier this week, MM Technics broke mm technicsground for a 37,000 sq foot facility on Wednesday. The BMW supplier will be located in the Mid-Carolina Commerce Park and will initially employ 65 people. President Meinolf L. Muhr is President. Hear some of his comments HERE.

School Board Report; Students Recognized, More
Posted: January 24, 8:43 PM

Andrew Wigger|staff writer
Newberry Observer|Civitas Media
(803) 768-3122

  • The Board Recognized nine students from across the District that received perfect scores on the 2015-16 PASS assessment in Science and Social Studies or Multiple Maximum scores on SC Ready assessment in English Language Arts or Math. Students being recognized are: Little Mountain Elementary; Katlyn Crooks –Perfect Score in Science and Social Studies on the Fifth Grade SC PASS, Andrew Devall – Perfect Score in Science on the Fourth Grade SC PASS, Dakota Ross – Perfect Score in Science on the Fourth Grade SC PASS, Eliza Dixon – Maximum Score in Math on the Third Grade SC READY. Pomaria-Garmany Elementary, Cody Gray – Perfect Score in Science on the Fourth Grade SC PASS and a Maximum Score in Math on the Fourth Grade SC READY. Prosperity-Rikard Elementary,  Rafael Sosa-Maximum Score in Math on the Third Grade SC READ. Whitmire Community School, A’Shanti Epps-Maximum Score in Math on the Third Grade SC READ. Mid-Carolina Middle, Sabrina Weng-Maximum Score on Math on the Sixth Grade SC READY, Joseph Murray-Perfect Score in Science on the Eighth Grade SC PASS.
  • Sally Dominnick was recognized for being the South Carolina 2016-17 School Nurse of the Year.
  • Mid-Carolina Middle School was named "A National School to Watch."
  • From July 2016 to December 2016 the School District spent $52,508.53 with minority businesses. The businesses were Crossroads Environmental, Kunkle Oil, Lorrick Office Products and Schumpert and Son Paving Inc. 

scam alertScam Targeting Gmail Account Users
January 23,
10:33 PM

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster is warning of a scam that specifically targets Gmail users.

The scam, which is described as a sophisticated phishing scam, starts when the attackers send an email to Gmail account users that to appears to come from someone the user knows along with an attachment.

Once the person who received the email, instead of opening a preview of the attachment, it opens a new tab that appears to be a Gmail login; however, it is really the scammer collecting the users information.

As soon as the user signs in, their account is compromised, the hacker will go through the user’s emails and collect all personal information as well as then using the victim’s email account to send out more scam emails.

To protect yourself from this scam, before you sign in, always make sure to check the browser location bar to make sure you're signing into the correct website. The URL should have nothing else except for https:// and the lock symbol next to it. In the phishing scam, there is extra text before the full URL.

“The technology is today’s world is so advanced that is difficult to protect yourself from scams,” said Sheriff Foster. “Anyone who uses technology must always be on alert for scams. Unfortunately, in most circumstances, once you have been taken by a scam, there is little law enforcement can do to locate and apprehend person responsible and it can take months or years to undo the damage a scam artist can cause to your personal and financial information.”

Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Sheriff Foster said that scam artists are also spoofing (using fake telephone numbers on the caller id) to scam victims. There are numbers apps that fake caller id and can even change the caller’s voice from male to female or female to male.

“We are in a day and time when caller id is simply useless,” warned Foster. “Anyone can pretend to be any person using caller id or fake online screen names or other credentials. You simply cannot be too careful when dealing with technology.”

richardsonSearch For Missing Man Ends With Discovery Of Skeletal Remains
Posted: January 19, 6:11 PM

As reported earlier on WKDK, Sheriff Lee Foster said that investigators from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office were out Wednesday afternoon in the Silverstreet area searching for any signs of missing person Donnie Richardson. They were using the SLED(State Law Enforcement Division) helicopter when they spotted clothing lying on the ground in a dense hardwood tree thicket located approximately ¼ mile from Richardson’s home. As they followed up on the clothing items, which were consistent with the clothes Richardson was wearing when he went missing, investigators located skeletal remains that they believe belong to Richardson.

Sheriff Foster said that this was part of an ongoing search for Richardson and that law enforcement had flown the area repeatedly made ground searches, flown the area with the helicopter, used bloodhounds, and a cadaver dog in the area previous to Wednesday. However, since they had not had any results, they decided to return now that the canopy is off of most the trees and it would be easier to spot something on the ground in the area.

Sheriff Foster said that the family had also made numerous searches in the area prior to Wednesday.

“While this is certainly not the ending to this investigation we hoped for, at least now the family can have closure,” said Sheriff Foster. “Our deepest sympathy goes out to this family and we will continue to have them in our thoughts and prayers.”

“I would also say that the continuous follow up investigations by the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is what makes our agency so special,” said Foster. “No case is considered closed until it is solved. The spirit of dedication and service is evident in every person in our agency.”

Newberry County Coroner Laura Kneece responded to the scene and has requested an autopsy in the case to determine the exact cause of death; however, no foul play is suspected at this time. Coroner Kneece will also be working to make positive forensic identification of the body, through scientific evidence using DNA, which can take several weeks.

Donnie Richardson 60, of 71 Lake Street, Silverstreet, SC, was last seen walking down Lake Street toward Main Street in the Silverstreet community of Newberry County just after 10pm Saturday November 26, 2016, when he left his home after his family went to sleep. Richardson suffered from Alzheimer’s and dementia and had been known to wonder away from home in previous incidents.

County Council Report
Posted: January 19, 8:17 AM

Andrew Wigger|staff writer
Newberry Observer|Civitas Media
(803) 768-3122

  • The following Newberry County employees were recognized for their years of service; Maggie Mills, Clerk of Court, 10 years, Randel Abrams, Jr, Sheriff's Office, 20 years, Sheila Bannister, Sheriff's Office, 20 years, Ben Chapman, Sheriff's Office, 20 years, Donna Lominack, auditor, 40 years.
  • Council passed a third reading and held a public hearing for an ordinance to re-zone a parcel of land from General Commercial to Industrial. The parcel is located behind Newberry Electric Cooperative, who wish to use the four acres of land for a solar farm/solar demonstration project.
  • Council approved a third reading and public hearing for an ordinance for the execution and delivery of a fee in lieu of ad valorem tax and incentive agreement between the county and MM Technics. Incentives include 30% credit against property tax in years seven through 20 and a $400,000 Newberry County site development grant. 
  • Council passed a first reading on an ordinance for the determination of salaries for countywide elected officials. This would provide an annual review of the official's salaries whereby county council may decide definitely among a virtually unlimited array of options for increase, or not increasing the salaries.
  • Council approved the purchase of a Tandem Dump Truck in the amount of $106,360.14 for Public Works.
  • Council approved a bid from RJ Dean Construction for $117,000 for Newberry Square Flex Space renovations This space would be sufficiently flexible to meet various needs of industrial companies that have committed to locating in Newberry county, including, but not limited to MM Technics.


sketchIdentity Sought For Burglary and Assault Suspect
Posted: January 18, 4:34 PM

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is asking for your assistance in identifying and locating a man wanted for burglary andassault on the homeowner.

On January 12, 2017, at around 1:30pm, the homeowner returned home and entered his residence on Green Meadows Drive. When he entered his home, a suspect, who was hiding behind door inside the home, assaulted the victim as he entered the residence. The suspect grabbed the victim’s cell phone and fled the residence.

Law enforcement responded to the scene and attempted to locate the suspect using bloodhounds and the SLED (State Law Enforcement Division) helicopter; however, they were unable to locate the suspect. They remained on scene and processed the crime scene for both physical and forensic evidence.

The victim, who does not wish to be identified, was taken to Newberry Hospital where he was treated and released for minor injuries.

The victim described the suspect as a black, male. The suspect is approximately 5 foot 8 inches tall and weighed between 150 and 175 pounds. He was wearing a burgundy T-shirt and mustard colored pants. The suspect was wearing a black book bag. The victim was able to assist a law enforcement forensic sketch artist to prepare the sketch that is attached to the release.

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is asking for your assistance to identify the person in the sketch. If you have any information as to the identity of this suspect, please contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 321-2211.

bennie bennettLate Bennie Bennett Awarded Dream Keeper Award On MLK Day
Posted: January 18, 8:19 AM

Source: Winthrop University

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Dedicated educator, standout coach and former athlete, consummate dreamer – the late Bennie Bennett ’81, ’88 was a man of many gifts who played a vital role in the York County community. For his legacy of community involvement and service, he received the 2016 Dream Keeper Award posthumously at the Jan. 16 Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast in Rock Hill.

Bennett’s wife, Frankie Wright Bennett ’81, ’84, and his children, Kelly and Brittany, accepted the award during the annual breakfast. Sylvia Berry, director of teacher recruitment for Rock Hill Schools District 3, presented the award and noted that Bennett always “capitalized on opportunities for impact.”

“Establishing first a reputation built around sports, then a legacy of educational excellence and community engagement, Bennie Bennett touched the lives of thousands of individuals in and around York County,” said Berry. She added that his life “remains an inspiration.”

Bennett, the former superintendent for the Newberry County School District, met his wife at Winthrop, where he was a member of the first men’s basketball team and was the first male player to score 1,000 points. As a player, Bennett earned numerous accolades and was selected as team captain his senior year. His jersey was retired at a special ceremony during Winthrop’s 2016 Homecoming & Reunion Weekend in November.

The New Zion, South Carolina, native earned two degrees at Winthrop: a B.S. in physical education (minor in leisure services) and a M.Ed. in education administration and supervision. He began his post-Winthrop career as a physical education teacher and junior varsity basketball coach in Clover, then moved to Fort Mill High School to continue teaching and coaching basketball at the high school level. Later in his career, Bennett became head basketball coach at Clover High School (CHS) before being appointed assistant principal, athletic director and principal at CHS.

Bennett, a member of the York County Sports Hall of Fame and the Winthrop Athletics Hall of Fame, was named Regional Basketball Coach of the Year five times. Winthrop’s Department of Physical Education, Sport, & Human Performance awarded Bennett Distinguished Alumni honors in 2000, and he was a member of the Winthrop Varsity Club. The South Carolina Department of Education selected him as a mentor principal, and in 2009 Bennett was named the South Carolina Association of Athletic Administrators’ Superintendent of the Year.

The Newberry, South Carolina, resident also stayed active within his community. He was involved in United Way, and he served as a volunteer mentor in the Big Brother program and a member of the York County Board of Disabilities. Bennett was a member of the Epsilon Gamma Gamma Chapter of Omega Psi Fraternity, Inc., and an active member of Pineville AME Zion Church.

kenny ruffRuff Sentenced To Life Without Parole in Connection With Murder, Robbery
Posted: January 17, 6:14 PM

Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Tuesday that a Newberry man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his role in a 2015 armed robbery that led to the shooting death of a local business owner. Kenny Octavious Ruff was found guilty of murder, armed robbery and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in connection to the incident. A Newberry County jury deliberated for about two hoursbefore returning the guilty verdicts around 7 p.m. Friday evening.

Circuit Judge Donald Hocker then handed down the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole based on the severity of the crime along with Ruff’s previous record of violent crime.

On August 26, 2015, Ruff went to Leslie’s Hair Salon on Main Street in Newberry and forced the owner, Roberto Facio, to remove the surveillance DVR from its power source. Ruff then forced Facio to his knees and shot Facio execution style in the back of the head from point blank range. Ruff then fled the business with a white trash bag in hand.

Investigators located the bag the following day in the dumpster at a nearby apartment complex. The damaged surveillance DVR was found in the bag along with a shirt Ruff had worn during the crime. SLED was unable to extract the surveillance footage from the DVR and sent it the Federal Bureau of Investigation laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. There, FBI analysts were able to extract the surveillance footage which identified Ruff as Facio’s assailant. Other surveillance footage from nearby businesses and additional lay witnesses also placed Ruff at the scene of the crime.

Solicitor Stumbo and Deputy Solicitor Dale Scott handled the case for the state and were assisted by Assistant Solicitor Taylor Daniel and 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Investigator Walter Bentley.

Ruff was represented by Charles Verner of the Newberry County Bar.

Solicitor Stumbo called the investigation a “perfect example of collaboration” between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. The investigation was led by Chief Roy McClerkin and his staff at the Newberry Police Department, with Capt. Kevin Goodman, Lt. Michael Kennedy and Sgt. Richard Mercer playing key roles.  Critical assistance was provided by Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster and his staff, particularly Capt. Robert Dennis and Sgt. Matt Womak, who both testified in the State’s case at trial.  Crime scene investigators and lab analysts from SLED also played key roles in the investigation and testified during the trial.  Finally, FBI analysts recovered the hair salon surveillance footage with high-grade equipment not available locally.

The trial, which lasted all week, marked the first week of Solicitor Stumbo’s second term as chief criminal prosecutor for Newberry, Abbeville, Greenwood and Laurens counties.

“I can’t think of any better way to start my second term as 8th Circuit Solicitor than in the courtroom working hand-in-hand with law enforcement agencies at every level and ridding our community of a hardened criminal like Kenny Ruff,” Solicitor Stumbo said. “I am proud of every single public servant involved with this investigation and hope and pray that this life sentence will provide some modicum of closure to the friends and family of Roberto Facio during this very tragic chapter of their lives.”

Groundbreaking For MM Technics
Posted: January 14, 8:01 PM

outzjohnsonTwo Men Arrested For Dragging Deputy, Leading Law Enforcement on Chase, and Possession of Drugs and Pistols
Posted: January 9, 9:36 PM

On January 4, at about 12:40am, deputies were conducting a traffic safety checkpoint on Whitener Road near Wilson Road when a light colored vehicle was observed approaching the checkpoint. As the deputies approached the vehicle, the driver appeared extremely nervous and the deputies could smell the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. When asked for his license, the driver stated he did not have one. As the officer was speaking with the subjects, the driver took off with the deputy still in the window of the vehicle. The deputy was drug by the vehicle for a short distance and the fell to the ground. A short chase ensued and ended with the suspect vehicle crashing into an embankment at the intersection of Kendall Road and Gray Street.

The subjects were taken into custody. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed more than 48 grams of Marijuana and more approximately 8 grams of cocaine. In addition to the illegal drugs retrieved from the vehicle, two handguns were also located near the suspects after the guns fell from the holsters on their waistband during the collision. The suspects had been wearing the guns in the holster prior to the collision. One of the suspects, Adonis Johnson, was on probation at the time and was wearing an ankle monitor when he was arrested.

The subjects, as well as the injured Deputy, were transported to the hospital for treatment. The Deputy, who was not seriously injured is recovering well at home. One of the suspects has been released from the hospital, but the other is still in the hospital for medical treatment.

“These are the life and death situations law enforcement officers are faced with every day,” said Sheriff Foster. “We are so blessed and thankful that the deputy was not seriously injured but is a constant reminder of constant danger law enforcement faces.”

“Here you have two suspects who were armed and carrying illegal drugs and as if this were not dangerous enough, they then decided to intentionally injure this officer and then lead law enforcement on a chase endangering many other people,” Foster continued. “Because of their collision, this was a short chase but I am convinced that had they not wrecked, this chase would have continued and could have well ended in shoot out.”

“This shows the willful disregard by these suspects for law enforcement and the safety of the community,” said Foster. “We will continue to stand in the gap between the good people of Newberry County and those who chose to continually and willfully disregard the law and endanger the public through reckless actions and the intentional use and sale of illegal drugs in our community.”

“It is the people who chose to possess and use guns illegally that shed a negative light on firearms,” said Sheriff Foster. “Instead of a blanket approach to firearms, we need to deal more harshly with the criminals who use them illegally while insuring the rights of those who own and possess weapons lawfully.”

The suspect were identified as Adonis Martel Johnson (above left), 3443 S.C. Highway 773, Pomaria, S.C. 29126 and LeTravis Ouzts (above right), 26, 2409 Vincent Street, Newberry, S.C. 29108.

Johnson will be charged with Possession With Intent To Distribute Marijuana, Unlawful Possession Of A Firearm, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Johnson will also be charged with a Violation Of Probation. Johnson will be formally charged when he is released from the hospital.

Ouzts was released from the hospital on January 6 and was charged with Assault and Battery Of A High And Aggravated Nature, Failure To Stop Law Enforcement Vehicle, Unlawful Possession Of A Weapon, Possession With Intent To Distribute Cocaine, Possession With Intent To Distribute Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. His bond was set at $10,000.00.

playgroundDonation Received For Inclusive Playground Equipment
Posted: January 6, 8:13 AM

With the help of Kori Kunkle and Megan Grubbs, the cityreceived $1,847 towards the purchasing of all-inclusive playground equipment within the city parks. Grubbs and Kunkle presented the city a check yesterday raised through their project, "Swings for Kids."

"It's a great cause we definitely wanted to bring to Newberry," Grubbs said .

Around $45,000 is needed to upgrade parks within the city, with most of the money needed toward developing sidewalks and surfaces that children can easily get around on.

Kori said she was excited to work towards the cause of helping all children play together, with no one feeling left out.

"The desire to provide accessible and inclusive play areas goes back many years. To see it actually being implemented is very exciting," said Scott Sawyer, director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for the city.

The city currently has three swings designed to be inclusive to those with special needs at Marion Davis Park. The first, the Expression swing is designed so that an adult and child can swing facing one another at the same eye-level. Marion Davis Park also just received two Zero-G swing chairs; one swing for ages 2-5 and one swing for ages 5-12 which provides additional support for children while swinging. These were both part of the Newberry Accessible and Inclusive Play Areas Project.  The project also includes installing two additional inclusive swings at Mollohon Park and two wheelchair accessible swings at Marion Davis Park.

"This isn't a one-time project. It's an initiative that will be continued when new play areas are built and we hope to upgrade current play areas to make them more accessible and inclusive as well," Sawyer said.

The Newberry Accessible & Inclusive Play Areas Project is a community-based group of individuals dedicated to bringing accessible and inclusive play opportunities for people of all abilities to Newberry County. The group works together with and supports the City of Newberry's Recreation Accessibility Team. For more information or a project brochure contact the City of Newberry Parks, Recreation & Tourism Department at (803) 321-1015.

County Council Meets; Elected, Re-Elected Members Sworn In
Posted: January 5, 7:59 AM

Andrew Wigger|staff writer
Newberry Observer|Civitas Media
(803) 768-3122

  • Scott Cain, Steve Stockman, Kirksey Koon and Dr. Harriett Rucker were sworn into County Council after being elected or re-elected in November.
  • Buddy Livingston was elected chairman by acclamation and Kirksey Koon was elected Vice Chairman unanimously.
  • Council approved a second reading of an ordinance amending the official zoning map. This would change a 4.09 acre parcel from General Commercial to Industrial, the parcel is located behind the Newberry Electric Co-op. The rezoning is for a solar farm/solar demonstration project.
  • Council approved a second reading for an ordinance for the execution and delivery of a fee in lieu of ad valorem tax and incentive agreement between the county and MM Technics. Incentives include 30% credit against property tax in years seven through 20 and a $400,000 Newberry County site development grant.

Sheriff and Deputy Sheriffs To be Sworn In On Tuesday
Posted: January 2, 8:27 PM

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster along with the Deputy Sheriffs will be sworn in on January 3, 2017 at 3:00 pm in the Main Courtroom of the Newberry County Court House. The ceremony will be officiated by the Honorable E. C. "Bubba" Griffith, Jr. of the South Carolina Court of General Sessions and Common Pleas and Clerk of Court Beth Folk.

This will be Sheriff Foster's eighth swearing in ceremony as he begins his 29th year as Sheriff of Newberry County and 39th year of full time law enforcement.

The public is invited to the ceremony.

Repeat Offender With Drugs and Weapons Violations Arrested
Posted: December 24, 4:32 PM

A man with repeated prior drug convictions and weapons violations repeat offenderas well as an admitted gang member was arrested early Saturday morning and charged with traffic drugs and weapons violations.

Just after 2am this morning (December 24), the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office was conducting a check point at the intersection of Main Street and Brown Street in Prosperity when a vehicle approached the check point and stopped. The deputies could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and investigated further.

When the passenger was removed from the vehicle, deputies found a large quantity of cocaine and crack cocaine on his person. The deputies located marijuana in the vehicle. They also found an AK47 style gun with a fully loaded clip in the van.

Scottie Lee Cromer, 34, of 145 Federal Lane, Prosperity was arrested and charged with Trafficking Cocaine 3rd Offense, Possession With Intent To Distribute Crack Cocaine 3rd Offense, Possession of Marijuana, Possession Of A Weapon During A Violent Crime, and Possession of A Firearm By A Person Convicted Of A Violent Crime.

Cromer, who is a self-admitted member of the “bloods” gang, has two prior convictions for illegal drugs and previously served a 7 year federal sentence for weapons violations.

MM Technics To Build A Metal Stamping Facility In Newberry County
Posted: December 14, 6:57 PM

MM Technics, a newly formed American subsidiary of Muhr Metalltechnik, Gmbh + Co. KG, is constructing a metal stamping facility in Newberry County. The company is expected to invest at least $12.6 million and create 65 jobs over the next five years.

Headquartered in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, Muhr Metalltechnik employs more than 200 associates at its flagship facility in Wenden and a second facility constructed in Poland in 2012. The company uses state-of-the-art mechanical feed presses, deep drawing hydraulic presses and fully-automated cutting and welding equipment to supply more than 15 automotive companies throughout Europe.

MM Technics will begin construction of a new 40,000-square foot Newberry County facility in January and expects the new operation to be online by November of 2017. The facility will begin with a new 800-ton mechanical feed press, which it will use to stamp metal structural parts as a Tier 1 BMW supplier.

Those interested in joining the MM Technics team should contact Newberry County Economic Development by email at
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project.

City Council Meets; Employees Recognized
Posted: December 14, 7:22 AM

Kelly Duncan | staff writer
Newberry Observer| Civitas Media

* Kris Kneece was recognized for his 10 years of service with the Utility Department.

* Shannon Smith was recognized for her 10 years of service with the Finance Department.

* Freddie Wingard was recognized for his 15 years of service with the PRT Department.

* William Brown was recognized for his 20 years of service with the Utility Department.

*Shannon Smith received special recognition of Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.

* Special recognition was given to Angela Summer for the Area Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) Award.

*Sheryl Medders of McKinley, Cooper and Company, LLP presented the FY2015-2016 Comphrehensive Annual Financial Report.

* The Newberry Opera House Foundation asked for consideration for a request for alcohol consumption in Memorial Park on New Year's Eve.

School Board Meets; Financial Audit Highlights, Students Recognized
Posted: December 13, 2:56 PM

Andrew Wigger | staff writer
Newberry Observer| Civitas Media

The School Board heard their Financial Audit, year end June 30, 2016, from Greene, Finney and Horton, CPAs. They received an unmodified opinion. Highlights include, general fund revenues stand at $49.4 million, an increase of three percent compared to the prior year, and $50.2 in general fund expenditures, an increase of 5% from the prior year.

Charlsey Traylor was recognized for being named AAA All Region, AAA All State and North/South All Star for Volleyball.

Elise Mills was recognized for the South Carolina AAA State Single's Girls Tennis Tournament. She was also the AAA Girls Tennis State Champion and was AAA Girls Tennis player of the year.

Mid Carolina High School Girls Tennis Team was recognized fore being Region AAA Champs, AAA Upper State Champs and AAA State Runner Ups.
Rep. Walt McLeod was recognized for his year's of service and support during his 20 years as Newberry County's representative.


gatlinburgGatlinburg Relief Fund
In the wake of the recent tragic wildfires in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains, the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation has established the Gatlinburg Relief Fund which will directly benefit the families impacted by the wildfires.

santaSanta To Take Tours In Downtown Newberry!
Posted: December 8,
7:25 AM

The City of Newberry is excited to announce that, in addition to Santa appearing for photos at the three remaining North Pole Nights in downtown, he will also be taking a tour of several local neighborhoods. The City of Newberry Fire Department will be escorting Santa of Newberry by fire engine through different neighborhoods on 12/9, 12/16, and 12/23 from
5pm-6pm, leading to his arrival at Memorial Park in downtown for our
regularly scheduled North Pole Night activities from 6pm-8pm. Santa will be
touring the following neighborhoods on the following nights:
12/9/16 from 5pm-6pm: Grant Homes, Palmetto Pointe Dr., Nance Forrest,
Oakland Community, Newberry College Area, & Harrington St. neighborhoods.
12/16/16 from 5pm-6pm: Forrest Ridge, Loblolly, Newberry Arms, Pebblebrook, Wise Street, Mollohon area, and Caldwell St. to Downtown neighborhoods.
12/23/16 from 5pm-6pm: West End neighborhood through Drayton Street, Main Street, Crosson, and Suder Dr.

Following the neighborhood tours, Santa will arrive by fire engine in
Downtown Newberry for North Pole Nights from 6pm-8pm. North Pole Nights
feature photos with Santa, our faux snow machines. The Chamber of Commerce will also continue to host Santa's Workshop and storytime with Mrs. Claus on 12/9 and 12/16.

For more information call 803-321-1015 or visit www.cityofnewberry/events
Follow the City of Newberry on Facebook, and
on twitter @CityofNewberry.

mullerNewberry College Receives $352,000 Lilly Endowment Grant
December 2, 7:23 AM

Newberry College has received a $352,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to establish Called to the Common Good: Theological Academy for High School Youth.

The summer program invites high school students to consider how the Christian theological tradition can help them reflect on pressing ethical issues, such as poverty and environmental degradation, and to explore their own calling to a life of meaning and service.

Called to the Common Good is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative, which seeks to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service.

The program launches June 3, 2017, when up to 24 rising high school juniors and seniors will gather on the Newberry College campus for nine days of theological and moral exploration.

Activities include classroom lectures and discussions, experiential learning, community service projects and contemplative/worship opportunities. Students will integrate these for real-world impact, applying their knowledge to the problems of poverty and hunger, both locally and later in their home communities.

During the second weekend of the academy, students will participate in a retreat hosted by South Carolina Lutheran Retreat Center’s Camp Kinard, where they will continue to build friendships and teamwork in a beautiful outdoor setting.

The Muller Center at Newberry College will facilitate the academy in collaboration with the College’s Religion department as well as local churches and nonprofit organizations in Newberry. Faculty from the Religion department and other disciplines will lead the academic portion of the academy. Participants also will enjoy peer mentorship from Newberry College students who have demonstrated leadership and a deep sense of vocation.

“We believe many young people possess the interest and capacity for theological, vocational and moral reflection; they just need to be equipped,” said Dr. Krista E. Hughes, Director of the Muller Center at Newberry College. “We see young people arrive at college with questions about purpose and their place in the world and with an eagerness to explore these life questions. For many high school youth this process begins much sooner, and we’re grateful to Lilly Endowment for supporting the opportunities that Called to the Common Good will provide for these students.” 

The formal application process for next year’s program begins Feb. 1, 2017, and is open to current high school sophomores and juniors regardless of denominational affiliation. Students who expect to be the first in their families to attend college are especially encouraged to apply.

“Newberry College is home to a diverse student body and we hope to reflect that diversity in the Theological Academy,” said Dr. Christina Wendland, Associate Professor of Religion. “We look forward to gathering together a group of youth who can listen to and appreciate various perspectives on deep questions of faith and ethics. It is our goal to give participants multiple avenues through which to explore their faith and vocation, and we can do this by connecting them with peers from diverse backgrounds.”

Newberry College is one of 92 schools located in 30 states and the District of Columbia participating in the High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative. Although some schools are independent, many reflect the religious heritage of their founding traditions, including Baptist, Brethren, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Reformed churches, as well as Roman Catholic, non-denominational, Pentecostal and historic African-American Christian communities.

The Lilly Endowment is giving $50 million in grants to help a select group of private four-year colleges and universities around the nation to create the institutes. The grants are part of the Endowment’s commitment to identify and cultivate a cadre of theologically minded youth who will become leaders in church and society. 

For more information about Called to the Common Good at Newberry College, please contact Dr. Krista E. Hughes, director of the Muller Center, at 803-321-5215 or


terrence_caroleGallman, WKDK Segment On Billy Graham Christmas TV Special
November 28, 9:27 PM

Billy Graham Ministres hasincluded the story of a Newberry County man, Terrence Gallman, in the 2016 Billy Graham Christmas Television Special. This special, "Cost Of Christmas," will be airing on church-related stations across the country (and world) like TBN and INSP. The segment features Gallman reflecting on his life growing up, in prison, and now working to make a difference as a Billy Graham Ministries representative. It also features a visit from Gallman to WKDK Radio where WKDK's Carole Murray interviews him for the "upcoming My Hope With Billy Graham Mnistries meeting later that day in Prosperity." Click HERE or load this link to your browser to see the "Cost of Christmas" special.

richardsonMissing Man From Silverstreet Area
Posted: November 27, 11:21 AM

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the community’s assistance in locating a missing dementia patient last seen last night just after 10PM.

Donnie Richardson was last seen last night walking down Lake Street toward Main Street in the Silverstreet community of Newberry County after 10pm last night when he left his home after his family went to sleep.

He was last seen wearing a beige shirt with dark pants. He is a black male who is 5’6” tall and weighs 160 pounds and only has one eye.

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office used bloodhounds to track Mr. Richardson for some distance and then they called SLED helicopter to search for Mr. Richardson but could not located him. Authorities believe he may have gotten a ride from the area.

Richardson often reverts to his former residence in Lexington in his mind and believes he needs to go to the Piggly Wiggly. Law enforcement has contacted area stores in that chain to advise them to look out for Richardson.

If anyone sees Mr. Richardson please call 911 or you may call the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 321-2222.

Sheriff's Office Warns Of Phone Scam
Posted: November 25, 9:19 PM

Customers of Verizon Wireless are getting text messages warning of a breach of security on their phone and are directed to open a web link to correct. This is a scam and is most probably a phishing scheme to allow the sender to enter your phone and retrieve data.

Never open a link on your phone or computer unless first verifying the authenticity of the link. This is the most common way of a cyber intruder to take over the devices operating system and allowing access to vital information. Always call and verify before opening.

Similar scams have been occurring using local bank names as well.

Mid-Carolina Celebrates CJ Edwards!
Posted: November 23, 8:30 AM

Mid-Carolina High School celebrates World Series Champion and Chicago Cubs pitcher Carl Edwards, Jr. on Tuesday, November 29, from 6-8 pm at Mid-Carolina High School. The first 500 fans will receive a free autographed photo.

1117 photoMan Arrested After Shooting One Man And Shooting At Another
Posted: November 18, 6:13 AM

A man arrived at Newberry County Memorial Hospital Wednesday afternoon suffering a single gunshot wound to the groin area. He was brought in by another man in a personal vehicle who claimed that he also had been shot at but the suspect missed him.

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation into the shooting and determined that it occurred on Winding Jolly Road in the Newberry section of Newberry County. The two men identified the person that shot at them by a nickname “Kwe Low”. Because of the investigators knowledge and continued involvement in the community, they were immediately able to identify that suspect and knew where his residence was located.

“This is another example of how it takes properly trained officers who are invested in the community to be effective as law enforcement in the communities we serve,” said Foster. “I am proud of the great relationships we have built together in Newberry County and assure the community that we will continue to work together to make our communities safer and better!”

Investigators using the information from the two men who were shot at and other information known to them through previous knowledge of the community went to the residence where the shooting incident occurred, which is owned by one of the victim’s family. Once they arrived, investigators located shell casing in front of the residence.

Investigators then obtained a search warrant for the suspect’s residence. Once inside that residence, they located several ounces of marijuana, shell casing on the suspect’s vehicle that were consistent with the shell casing from the crime scene, and they also located a four wheeler reported stolen from York County, SC.

Kweisi Steven Nicks, 20, of 138 Cy Schumpert Road, Prosperity, was arrested and charged with Attempted Murder, Possession of Marijuana With Intent To Distribute, Possession of a Weapon During A Violent Crime, and Receiving Stolen Goods. A bond hearing has not yet been held.

Investigators believe that the incident may have been drug related but the matter is still under investigation.

county councilCounty Council Meets; County Employees Recognized
November 17,
8:21 AM

Report by
Samie Truong

Newberry County employees wererecognized for their years of service at last night's County Council meeting:

Lori Smith, Zoning 5 years
Theresa Ammons, Sheriff's office 10 years
Lisa Davis, Sheriff's office  10 years
Beth Maynor, Delinquent Tax 10 years
Harold Edgins, Public Works 15 years
Thomas Nichols, Sheriff's office 25 years (retiring this week)

Absentee: Sherri Williams, Sheriff's office 10 years
Johnny Willis, Public Works 15 years

Also at the meeting on Wednesday night, Kenneth McBride, Director Department of Social Services, gave a presentation about DSS in SC and Newberry.  For more information go to or

Resolution to declare the results of the Penny Sales tax was also approved.

nacCity Council Meets; Arts Program Gets Programming Excellence Award
November 16,
8:09 AM

Report by Samie Truong

Newberry City Council met Tuesday night and recognized the following city employees:

Britt Worthy, Public Works Dept., 5 yrs.; Nickolas Gilmore, Utility Dept., 15 yrs.; Ashley Cutshall, Utility Dept., 15 yrs.; Kevin Longshore, Utility Dept., 25 yrs.

The Newberry Arts Program received the 2016 PRT Programming Excellence Award for population under 30,000. The award was originally presented on September 12th, by the South Carolina Recreation & Park Assoc. Awards Committee!  Marquerite Palmer the arts program coordinator and Scott Sawyer accepted the award on behalf of Newberry Arts Program! With in the last two years the art programs have exponentially gone up in revenue for the city and also brings money back into the community! For more information on the Arts programs visit or on facebook @cityofnewberryarts. 

Councilman Goudelock was re-elected to be Mayor Pro Tempore (Like VP)  by the City Council. 

Also in attendance was Newberry High School's Sr Government Class. Mr. Mosely assigned these Sr. to attend a City Coucil meeting to learn first hand about local goverment! 


Newberry College: Football Team Ranked 14 In AFCA Poll;
Lady Wolves Ranked 5 In Regional Poll

main street lightsNewbery Kicks Off Christmas Season With Main Street Lights!
November 15,
7:02 PM

Christmas is coming to Downtown Newberry! Celebrate the start of the season with lights! Now in its 9th year the annual Main Street Lights event is scheduled for November 18th from 6pm-8pm. Come as early as 5pm to see the Southern Victorian Society in full period costume caroling at the tree. Then starting at 6pm local organizations will be giving away a variety of goods such as free homemade cookies, goodie bags, candy canes, and popcorn.

The Official Tree Lighting Ceremony of Main St. Lights begins at 6:30 pm, accompanied by the Little Mountain Elementary and Gallman Elementary School choirs. This year our mayor will light up the tree with a special guest from WIS news. Help us light our Community Christmas Tree, located in front of Community Hall, through festive song and fellowship.

After the lighting peruse downtown and listen to our strolling carolers, such as the Newberry College Madrigal Choir, perform familiar Christmas tunes. Play in the fluttering faux snow at our snow machines in Memorial Park. See the Lights and decorations along Main Street, in Astwood park, at the Tree, and in Memorial Park. Take a family photo at the Community Christmas Tree. Shop our local stores. Dine out while downtown.

At 7:30 take in a Free Holiday Movie at the Ritz, "The Polar Express," or stay for the 8pm show at the Newberry Opera House, Shenandoah. You don't want to miss this iconic Downtown Newberry Holiday event!

School Board Meeting Highlights
Posted: November 15, 8:17 AM

Andrew Wigger|staff writer
Newberry Observer|Civitas Media
(803) 768-3122

  • The District approved the first reading of revisions to Board Policies Section G.
  • The District will begin the 2016 textbook adoption process, which will entail that the administration will meet with teachers at the high schools and the Career Center who teach the subjects that will get new textbooks.
  • The District will hold the Diversity Recruitment Committee meeting on Nov. 15 at 3:30 p.m.
  • The Teacher of the Year/Support Staff Employee of the year reception will be held on Nov. 17 at 6 p.m.
  • Jacob Bearden was recognized for winning first place in the 3D category at the SC State Fair.
  • Dr. William Bufford, of Twin Oaks Animal Hospital is a member of the Zoetis Industry Support Program, and he provided a donation made from Zoetis on their behalf. The Future Farmers of America at the Newberry County Career Center received $402.34 through Bufford's hard work.


knight_iveryWolves Earn No. 2 Seed After Championship Win; Host Tuskegee on Saturday
November 13, 6:47 PM

Photo courtesy of

Newberry earnedthe No. 2 seed in Super Region 2, its highest seeding in school history, and will play host to seventh-seeded Tuskegee Saturday at 1:00 p.m. to begin the 2016 NCAA Division II Football Championship.

Newberry will be competing for the Division II Football Championship for the fourth time in its history and third time in the last four seasons. The team also earned playoff bids during the 2006, 2013, and 2015 seasons.

The Wolves, winners of a school-record 10 straight games, are ranked second in the region for the second consecutive week behind only North Alabama. A win over the Golden Tigers would assure Newberry a second-round home game on Nov. 26 against the winner of third-seeded Florida Tech and No. 6 seed North Greenville. Top seed North Alabama awaits the winner of No. 4 Valdosta State and No. 5 UNC Pembroke.

Newberry became the 16th team in South Atlantic Conference history to win the league with an undefeated mark in conference play with its thrilling come-from-behind win over Wingate Saturday night that dashed the Bulldogs’ postseason hopes. The 2016 season marks Newberry’s third conference championship, their first since 2008, and first outright league title since 2006.

Setzler Field will play host to a Division II playoff contest for the second time in its history on Saturday. The Wolves earned the No. 3 seed in the 2006 playoffs and defeated Albany State 34-28 before 5,000 fans in Newberry.

Tuskegee’s playoff chances were in doubt until the final day of the regular season. The Golden Tigers had only nine regular-season games on the schedule, one below the NCAA minimum, and failed to make the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship game due to an upset loss to Kentucky State on Homecoming.

When an agreement to play Albany State on the final weekend of the season fell through, Tuskegee scrambled to fill the void. The Golden Tigers were able to schedule a home game against Virginia State. Although Tuskegee fell 45-35 to the Trojans to finish with an 8-2 record, the boost to their strength of schedule and a 10th overall contest were enough to keep the Golden Tigers in a playoff position in the regional rankings.

Saturday will mark the first-ever meeting between Newberry and Tuskegee in the Wolves’ 103-year football history. The historically black college, located in Tuskegee, Alabama, roughly half an hour outside Montgomery, has won 12 HBCU national championships, had 16 undefeated seasons, and won 30 SIAC championships since their first season of football in 1895.

Ticket and parking information will be released early this week.

Click here to view the full 28-team bracket.


oshieldsProsperity Man Charged With Manslaughter
Posted: November 11, 6:52 PM

An altercation between two men has left one of them deceased and the other charged with Voluntary Manslaughter.

On November 5 at about 7:30pm, EMS was called to a residence on Williams Wood Drive in Prosperity. Once on scene, they found the victim, identified as William Bart Hazen, 40, of 315 Brown Street, Prosperity, unconscious on the ground. The victim was transported to Palmetto Richland hospital where he survived until November 7 when he died as a result of his injuries. Law enforcement was not contacted and did not originally respond to the scene.

When Newberry County Coroner Craig Newton was contacted by the hospital to get an order for the donation of organs from the victim, Newton recognized that the injuries were inconsistent with just a fall. Coroner Newton then contacted the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office so that they could launch a joint investigation into the death. Although the incident occurred within the Town of Prosperity, the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office was called upon to conduct the investigation because of the training and expertise in handling such cases and no Prosperity officer was available.

Once the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office began its investigation, it was determined that Hazen and the subject were acquaintances who were at cook out at a mutual friend’s home. Both had been drinking during the day. An argument began between Hazen and the subject and the argument turned physical. The subject then struck Hazen in the face and Hazen fell backwards onto a concrete pad causing a skull fracture and bleeding into the brain which ultimately resulted in his death.

The investigators from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office then took the information they had learned from the investigation and met with prosecutors from the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office who determined that the subject should be charged with Voluntary Manslaughter in the death of Hazen.

Allen Benjamin Osheilds (above) , 42, 4983 Bethel Church Road, Prosperity, SC, surrendered himself to law enforcement Wednesday morning at the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office. His bond was set at $30,000. He posted the bond late Wednesday afternoon.

Veterans Day Parade Is Saturday

newberry collegeNewberry College Celebrates 160th Anniversary At Founders Day Convocation; 1st Lt. Murray Price To Receive Honorary Doctorate
Posted: November 10,
4:32 PM

Hear interview with 1st Lt. Murray Price on Friday's Coffee Hour on WKDK

Newberry College will celebrate its 160th anniversary at the annual Founders Day Convocation on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. The convocation, which coincides this year with Veterans Day, Newberry College will confer an honorary doctorate upon 1st Lt. Murray Price, a decorated WW-II veteran who flew 40 combat missions in the Pacific as the co-pilot of a B-24 bomber. After the war, Price spent 39 years in the wholesale foods distribution industry, working his way up the ranks from salesman to executive vice president/CEO of PYA/Monarch when he retired.

Although Price’s formal education did not extend beyond high school, his ties to Newberry College come through his children, Deborah and Gerald, who graduated from Newberry in 1974 and 1976 respectively. Price was instrumental in founding the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity on the Newberry campus and was inducted into membership in 2010. Price has served on numerous civic, business and charitable organizations and remains active at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Lexington, S.C.

Along with the honorary doctorate for Price, 15 Newberry College students will be inducted into the 2017 Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.

Newberry Veterans Day Parade Is Saturday
Posted: November 10, 5:30 PM

The Newberry Veterans Day Parade will be held at 10 am on Saturday, November 12, on Main Street in downtown Newberry. Grand marshals will be veterans from many decades. Participants in the parade will include marching bands, the Junior ROTC, scouts and many others.

Foster Re-elected Sheriff; Rucker Wins County Council District #5; More
Posted: November 8, 11:40 PM

In local contested races, Sheriff Lee Foster won by a landslide. Harriet Rucker defeated Les Hipp in County Council District #5 race, and Laura Kneece is Newberry County's new Coroner. Rick Martin won House District #40 seat, and Beth Folk is Clerk of Court. Lucy Ann Meetze wins School District #3. Stay tuned for more on Wednesday morning on WKDK!

wolves cnWolves Move Up In National And Regional Rankings
November 7,
7:20 PM

Photo from Newberry-Carson Newman game earlier this season

Newberry is now the second-ranked team in Super Region 2 after the Wolves' dominant 49-7 win at Limestone Saturday evening.

Newberry was ranked No. 5 in the first regional poll and moved to No. 3 in last week's rankings. The Wolves are now second only to North Alabama, vaulting over idle UNC Pembroke and into the second position in the rankings.

Should Newberry hold onto the No. 2 position in the region, the Wolves would host the seventh seed in the first round of the playoffs on Nov. 19 and be assured of a second-round home game on Nov. 26 with a win.

Valdosta State is ranked third. The Blazers also leapt over fourth-place UNC Pembroke following an impressive road win at West Alabama, which fell from fifth to ninth in the rankings.

Florida Tech, the only team to defeat the Wolves in 2016, is ranked fifth, while Tuskegee dropped from fourth to sixth after a come-from-behind win at Legion Field over Miles in the game's final two minutes. Tuskegee's playoff hopes are in limbo–the Golden Tigers are attempting to schedule a 10th game for this weekend to remain eligible for the postseason.

North Greenville catapaulted to seventh with a win over Carson-Newman, with Wingate currently on the outside looking in with an eighth-place ranking. A win over Newberry in Saturday's nationally-televised affair would give the Bulldogs a share of the South Atlantic Conference crown and could wrap up a postseason bid.

West Alabama and West Georgia round out the regional top 10. Click HERE to view the full rankings.

WACO, Texas – Newberry has moved up one position to No. 19 in the latest American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches' Poll after a dominant 49-7 win at Limestone Saturday evening.

The Wolves gained 515 yards of total offense, 258 on the ground and 257 through the air, while limiting the Saints to 124 yards and seven points. Limestone did not have a single drive covering more than 28 yards in a balanced effort that saw three players record more than three tackles on the day.

Newberry moved up one spot after then-No. 17 Fairmont State fell to 22nd following a 27-17 loss at No. 3 Shepherd last week.

This marks Newberry’s 30th appearance in the AFCA poll since it was instituted in 2000. Newberry is 18-11 all-time as a ranked team. The Wolves were ranked for 22 weeks between 2006 and 2008, including an all-time high of No. 9 during the final week of the 2006 regular season.

Newberry will conclude the regular season on Saturday with a 3:30 p.m. contest against Wingate at Setzler Field. The game will be broadcast nationally on American Sports Network. A Newberry win would give the Wolves their first outright South Atlantic Conference championship since 2006.

Click HERE to view the full poll. 

Newberry Defense Smothers Limestone In Blowout Win
Posted: November 6, 9:47 AM

Newberry’s best defensive effort in six years coupled with its fourth 500-yard offensive performance of the season gave the Wolves their ninth consecutive victory with a 49-7 triumph at Limestone on Saturday. Click HERE for more information.

County Council Meets; Approves Disbursement Of Fiscal Year 2015-16
Posted: November 3, 7:38 AM

Andrew Wigger | staff writer
Newberry Observer | Civitas Media
(803) 768-3122

  • Council passed a Resolution renewing an existing statewide mutual aid agreement, which provides advance consent for Newberry County to cooperate with other jurisdictions in the even of a disaster.
  • Council approved the disbursement of fiscal year 15-16 as recommended by the Accommodations Tax Committee. Chairman Ernest Shealy said this year's request totaled $76,490, but they were only able to give out a little over $37,000.Which was distributed as follows:

    * Little Mountain Reunion $ 4,199.00

    * Party in the Pines 1,449.00

    * Halloween Carnival Whitmire Jaycees 699.00

    * Prosperity’s Hoppin’ 1,699.00

    * Newberry Community Players 624.00

    * Newberry Co. Historical & Museum Society 1,299.00

    * Newberry Co. Law Enforcement Assoc. 2,699.00

    * Newberry Opera House 12,199.44

    * Newberry Visitors Center 8,199.00

    * SC Bottle & Whitmire Museum 4,199.00

  • The Committee also recommended, and was approved by Council, the following proportional distributions of the FY 16-17 promotional funds.

    * Capital City/Lake Murray 45%

    * Prosperity Business Association 15%

    * Newberry County Chamber of Commerce 40%

  • Council also approved the paying of the Central SC Alliance Second Quarter Invoice in the amount of $18,000. Council approved the motion with only Councilman Koon voting against it.

little mountain murderThree Men Plead Guilty In Little Mountain Murder
November 1,
4:19 PM

Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo announced Tuesday morning that the three surviving accomplices to a July 2015 Newberry County home invasion and homicide pleaded guilty Monday on charges related to their respective roles in the planned crime spree.

Keon Kelly, the trigger man in the shooting death of Ronnion Barron of Little Mountain, took his own life following a lengthy standoff with law enforcement in Columbia on August 6, 2015.  

The three Columbia men who assisted Kelly in the planned home invasion and robbery at Barron’s Ponderosa Lane residence in Little Mountain, pleaded guilty and were sentenced at the Newberry County Courthouse on Monday.

DeCarlos Satterwhite was scheduled to go to trial Monday morning for his role in the crime spree.  On the day of trial, Satterwhite elected to plead guilty to accessory after the fact of murder, first degree burglary and two counts of armed robbery.

Tyler Elkins then pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, first degree burglary, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, armed robbery and two counts of attempted murder for his role in the crime spree.

Jermaz Dreher pled guilty on Monday to armed robbery and accessory after the fact to murder for his participation in the incident.

All of the defendants appeared to be affiliated with gang activity in the Midlands area.

Circuit Judge Casey Manning accepted the guilty pleas of all three men and handed down sentences on all three men Monday after the plea proceedings.

Manning sentenced Elkins to 25 years in prison, Satterwhite to 15 years in prison and Dreher to 10 years in prison.

On July 29 2015, the four men went to Barron’s Ponderosa Lane home with the intent of robbing it after Dreher told the other three it would be a good house to rob due to large amounts of money and drugs being present. Kelly knocked on the door and, when Barron looked out the window to see who was at the door, Kelly shot Barron in the head, killing him instantly.

Two other men pulled up to the house and saw the strange car parked in the yard. The four men attempted to rob the other two men and fired shots at their vehicle as they sped away from the scene.

Investigators with the Newberry County Sheriff”s Office were able to locate Dreher and Elkins just days after the crime.

On August 6, 2015, investigators located Kelly, but Kelly took his own life following a lengthy standoff with law enforcement.

Phone calls and text messages on Kelly’s phone immediately before and after the time of Barron’s murder led investigators to Satterwhite.

Deputy Solicitor Dale Scott and Assistant Solicitor Taylor Daniel handled the prosecution for the state.

Solicitor Stumbo praised the work of his staff as well as the work of the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, particularly Sgt. Matthew Womack.

“It’s always heartbreaking when lives are taken so senselessly for a little bit of money and some drugs,” Solicitor Stumbo said following the sentencing. “Hopefully, these long-term prison sentences will give Ronnion’s family some measure of closure. I also hope it sends a clear message to those who would commit these violent acts that my office will work tirelessly with law enforcement to ensure justice is done in each and every case.”

Wolves Jump To Third In Regional Rankings; Yeldell Named "SAC Player Of Week" For Fourth Time in 2016

LYLESBurglary Suspect Arrested; Sheriff Attributes Arrest To Deputies' Knowledge Of Community
Posted: October 31, 7:11 PM

Sheriff Lee Foster says that a man is in jail after breaking into two businesses because of the alertness of deputies and the knowledge of the community and community relationships of investigators.

“The deputies and investigators who responded to these burglaries have worked for years to establish a relationship with the community,” said Foster.  “Citizens were willing to share information with the officers, which combined with their knowledge of the community and suspect, led them to a rapid arrest in this case.”

“You can never underestimate the power of knowledge of the community and the people in good law enforcement,” Foster continued.  “It takes years to build these relationships and prove to people that you are worthy of their trust and respect.”

Sheriff Foster said that deputies were patrolling the area around Kendall Road around 3am Sunday morning, when they found that two businesses had been broken into.  The suspect had used a rock to break through the doors of the businesses.  The deputies secured the businesses and called for an investigator.

On reviewing the video surveillance from the businesses, investigators were able to see the suspect’s clothing but could not get a clear look at the suspect’s face.  It was during the review of the video that one of the investigators was able to identify Thomas Lyles as a potential suspect based upon his walk and mannerisms. 

“This is the benefit of deputies and investigators not just working but living in the areas they patrol and conduct investigations,” said Foster.  “It is impossible to purchase the kind of information officers learn by not just policing the community, but instead being part of the community.”

The investigators then began canvassing the area and were able to learn that Lyles had been in the area dressed in the clothing that they had observed in the video.  The investigator and deputies were familiar with the suspect and set out to locate him.

When the deputies located that suspect, he was still wearing the same clothes as in the video and was suffering several cuts and abrasions on his hands from the entry in the businesses.  The suspect was taken into custody after which he confessed to the burglaries.   

Thomas Andrew Lyles, 52, of 3022 Kings Drive, Newberry, was taken into custody.  He has been charged with two counts of Burglary and one count of Petit Larceny.  A bond hearing has not yet been held.

nby lrWolves Win Eighth Straight; Claim Bishop's Trophy!
Posted: October 29,
10:25 PM

The Newberry Wolves (8-1, 6-0), won their eighth straight game earlier today with a 53-14 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne (2-7, 2-3) at Setzler Field. The Wolves also clinched at least a share in the SAC Championship. Hear more Monday morning on WKDK and!

bowersDeputies Seize Large Amount of Crystal Meth, Oxycodone and Weapon
Posted: October 27, 8:35 PM

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said that deputies located more than 7 ounces of crystal meth, numerous oxycodone pills, hydrocodone pills, marijuana, and a firearm Wednesday during a traffic stop.

Deputies stopped a vehicle Wednesday evening around 8pm on I-26 near the 80 mile marker for a speeding violation.  Once the vehicle was stopped, the deputies could smell the odor of marijuana coming from the car.  The deputies then obtained the subject’s driver’s license, which was suspended.  The subject was taken into custody at that point.  The deputies found some on the pills on the subject’s person when he was arrested. 

Deputies then searched the vehicle where they located more than 7 ounces of crystal meth, 88 oxycodone pills, 18 hydrocodone pills, marijuana, and a Ruger .40 pistol.  Sheriff Foster said that while 7 ounces may not sound like a lot, because the strength and potency of crystal meth, this was a large quantity of the drug.  “This is a very large amount of crystal meth that was headed to the streets,” said Sheriff Lee Foster.  “I would like to commend the deputies for their excellent work during this investigation.”  “It is important to have properly trained officers who are able to work and detect criminal activity above the obvious,” said Foster.

The subject was identified as Matthew Robert Bowers, 29, of 10 Elcock Circle, Irmo, SC.  He will be charged with Trafficking Crystal Meth, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of a Firearm During a Violent Crime (Trafficking is a violent crime in SC), and Driving Under Suspension. Bowers was already out on bond from a March 2016 arrest by the State Law Enforcement Division for Trafficking Illegal Drugs and Unlawful Carry of a Weapon. 

In addition, he has several convictions for illegal carry of weapons, as well as convictions for illegal drugs, burglary, and attempted robbery.  “This is clearly a dangerous individual who despite repeated arrests continues to sell and use illegal drugs while carrying a weapon,” said Foster.  “Subjects such as this are an additional threat because besides poisoning our communities with the drugs, his repeated weapon violations and violent history make it clear that he would use a weapon against an officer or a citizen in the right situation.”

“Our officers have no idea what they are walking up to when they stop a car,” said Foster.  “Some people say we act cautious, it is simply because we may find a law abiding citizen who simply made a mistake or we may find a dangerous drug dealer with a load of illegal drugs and a .40 caliber pistol.  Our lives often depend on our observations and reaction to these situations.”

Bowers was to have a bond hearing later today.  Sheriff Foster says that because Bowers is already out on bond for a violent drug offense and has now committed another violent drug offense, investigators would be at the bond hearing asking the judge to deny bond.

city policeCity Police Department Rolls Out Body Cameras
October 21,
2:05 PM

Corporal Emily Seibert with the City of Newberry Police Department is shown wearing thedepartment’s new body-mounted cameras under her nameplate on her uniform.

The City of Newberry Police Department has officially begun using body-mounted cameras, according to Police Chief Roy McClurkin.

In March of 2015, McClurkin said the State of South Carolina disclosed that all police departments were going to have to implement body cameras. Upon hearing of this, the department came up with a policy to submit to the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy staff attorney. Once approved, body cameras were then tested.

"We decided to go with Vista by Watch Guard," McClurkin said. "We found that they were very durable and worked the way we needed them to."
The city's police department also uses Watch Guard in-car cameras and McClurkin said he wanted their officers to have body cameras that were compatible with them.

To purchase the cameras, the city submitted an application for $74,000 through the state for the funding to implement both the body cameras and a server system for storage of the video. In turn, McClurkin said the state only allocated the city $48,000 for cameras.

"We had to do some creative thinking through the budget and were able to come up with the additional funding for storage in the form of a server for the actual body camera footage," McClurkin said.

After securing the money from the state, 30 cameras were purchased for city officers. McClurkin said officers then went through extensive training sessions to train officers in the use of the cameras and the policies for them.
Each city officer has their own body camera assigned to them, as well as a charger, McClurkin said. The policy for the cameras dictates when an officer must turn the camera on including during traffic stops, when an officer encounters suspicious vehicles or persons, all arrests and all uses of force incidents.

"It should be activated when responding to a disturbance, disorderly calls, motor vehicle accidents and calls involving emotionally or mentally disturbed subjects," McClurkin said.

Policy also dictates what footage must be kept and for how long. Any non-investigative, non-arrest or routine incidents that were not reported must only be kept on file for a period of 15 days, McClurkin said. Any other circumstances need to be kept until a case is disposed of.

Each camera holds up to nine hours of footage before it must be docked in the police department where footage is downloaded to the secure server.
McClurkin said command staff is able to go through the footage should there be a problem. Each officer can look at their footage only, but it cannot be altered in any way. The actual footage from the body-worn cameras, McClurkin said is not a public record and cannot be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act.

Having body cameras benefits both the public and the city's police officers by everyone being held accountable, McClurkin said.

"Interactions are recorded so the officer and the public have to be accountable," McClurkin said.

McClurkin said the cameras can also be used to capture evidence needed in court and can ensure accuracy of victims' and witness statements.

"We feel that body-worn cameras will be an invaluable tool to our department," said City Manager Matt DeWitt. "What the cameras provide is an unbiased third-party account and this will help reduce the amount of questions and better protect everyone involved in police-related encounters."

machineryWest Fraser Expanding Newberry Operations
Posted: October 18,
4:11 PM

West Fraser, a diversified wood products company, is expanding its Newberry County sawmill operations. The project is expected tobring $33 million in new capital investment. 
Established in 1955, West Fraser produces lumber, laminated veneer lumber (LVL), medium-density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, pulp, newsprint and wood chips, as well as energy through several bioenergy initiatives. Beginning as a small, three-man operation, the company has grown into the largest lumber producer in North America, operating facilities throughout western Canada and the southern United States.
Located at 3287 College Street, West Fraser’s Newberry sawmill directly employs 155 workers. Since 2007, the company has invested millions to modernize the mill and plans to invest $33 million more to procure wood, services and goods in Newberry County. West Fraser also plans to install a log merchandiser designed to increase production by more than 37 percent. 
For more information on West Fraser, visit the company’s website at

wolves_cnWolves Winning Streak Extends To Six; Wolves Beat C-N 34-19
October 15,
9:56 PM

Photo courtesy of

Carson-Newman head coach Ken Sparks entered Saturday’s contest fresh off his 337th career win, which moved him past Pop Warner and into fifth-place in college football coaching history.

Newberry made sure that Sparks made no headway on fourth-place Bobby Bowden before the third-largest crowd on record to ever watch a game at Setzler Field.

The Wolves racked up 424 yards of total offense and pounded Carson-Newman for a school-record 14 tackles for loss in a 34-19 Newberry victory, igniting the near-record crowd of 4,988 and solidifying Newberry’s spot atop the South Atlantic Conference standings with its sixth consecutive win. Click HERE for more information.

end hungerMayor Proclaims End Childhood Hunger SC Week In Newberry
Posted: October 12,
9:12 PM

Mayor Foster Senn has proclaimed the week of October 23-29, 2016,
End Childhood Hunger SC Week within the city of Newberry. A proclamation was signed October 11 prior to the City Council meeting. The proclamation was made to bring awareness that one in five children live in families where
their full food needs are not met. As part of this week, a variety of
programs have been planned in Newberry County including an afterschool
program snack drive and after school tutoring. The Newberry Literacy Council is collecting donations of healthy snacks as a part of the effort. For
further information about the work that is being done in Newberry County,
please email Pictured Front Row: Ashley Page and Mayor Foster Senn Back Row: Barbara Chapman, Gina Koon, Rhonda Ackerman and Sam Zaidy

public powerPublic Power Week Celebration On Friday
Posted: October 11,
4:04 PM

The City of Newberry Utilities Department celebrated Public Power Week October 2-8. As a part of that, a celebration was held Friday, October 7 at City Hall.

Public Power Week is an annual national event coordinated by the American Public Power Association in Washington, D.C. The association represents not-for-profit, community-owned electric utilities that power homes, businesses and streets in nearly 2,000 towns and cities, serving 48 million Americans.

Throughout the week, city elementary school students had the opportunity to participate in a coloring contest. Each coloring page contained a fact or safety message about electricity. Middle and high school students had the opportunity to participate in a competition to submit a song, poem, illustration, essay or combination expressing an electrical safety message. All entries were displayed at Friday’s celebration.

Winners of the competition are as follows:

  • Gissela Luis Sanches, seventh grade, Newberry Middle School
  • Quinn Waites, fourth grade, Newberry Academy
  • Kindel Jaeger, third grade, Newberry Academy
  • Grace Mayer, second grade, Newberry Academy
  • Lila Koon, first grade, Newberry Academy
  • Princess Lucas, second grade, Newberry Elementary
  • Mason Hunter, third grade, Newberry Elementary
  • Kaden Williams, K5, Newberry Elementary
  • Justin Ramirez, first grade, Newberry Elementary
  • Ardestini Epps, Kindergarten, Boundary Street Elementary
  • Melenna Gallman, second grade, Boundary Street Elementary
  • Emily Parra, third grade, Boundary Street Elementary
  • Josi Aull, fifth grade, Boundary Street Elementary
  • Michael Isbell, second grade, Gallman Elementary
  • Romona Olvera, third grade, Gallman Elementary
  • Jamarion Hawkins, fifth grade, Gallman Elementary
  • Xavier Gary, fourth grade, Gallman Elementary
  • Brandon Ramirez, first grade, Gallman Elementary

During the celebration, city residents were invited to bring a copy of their latest utilities bill and a regular incandescent light bulb to exchange it for a brand new LED bulb for free. Corndogs and slushy’s were provided to the community from Sonic of Newberry. City residents also had the opportunity to register for door prizes including t-shirts, bill credits and various gift cards.

City of Newberry Utilities Director Marc Regier said that Newberry’s utility services were reliable and safe and they took pride in serving their friends and neighbors.

“We are proud to have served Newberry for 120 years,” Regier said.  

oliverSilverstreet Man Arrested For Trafficking Crack, Cocaine, and Marijuana
Posted: October 10, 3:42 PM

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster says that a man is in custody today after investigators found him in possession of crack, cocaine,marijuana, and pistols at a residence located on Green Acres Lane in Silverstreet.

Sheriff Foster said that investigators were able to make several undercover drug buys from the residence over the last several months.  He said that the investigation culminated when deputies served a search warrant on the residence late Thursday afternoon.

Investigators say that once inside the residence, they located more than 15 grams of crack, approximately 40 grams of cocaine, and several ounces of marijuana.  Sheriff Foster said they also located two pistols inside the residence. 

“This is another example of the partnership between law enforcement and community,” said Sheriff Foster.  “The residents of this community brought the unusual activity at this residence to our attention and we were able to conduct an investigation into this matter identifying the residence as a place that was conducting the sale of illegal drugs.”

“There are two important factors to such an investigation,” said Sheriff Foster.  “First, the public’s assistance in providing us information, which is crucial to our combined success because law enforcement simply cannot be in all places.  The second is the public’s understanding that such investigations take time.  The standard of proof needed for convictions in the court’s today continues to rise so it is imperative that we just not make the arrest, but we insure that the case can and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Derrikus Raphael Oliver, 33, 309 Green Acres Lane, Silverstreet, SC was arrested and charged with Trafficking Crack Cocaine, Trafficking Cocaine, and Possession of Marijuana With Intent To Distribute.  He has been denied bond.

“This man was a major player in the sale of illegal drugs in this community,” said Sheriff Foster.  “This is the second large drug arrest we have made in this community within the last three months.”

“We are committed to working with all of the communities of Newberry County and when the community and law enforcement communicate and partner, together we can make a difference,” concluded Sheriff Foster.

wolvesWolves Win Fifth Straight Behind Watson's Career Day!
Posted: October 9,
11:32 AM

Photo courtesy of

Cole Watson was 11 years old the last time Newberry defeated Mars Hill on the Lions’ home turf.

At 21, the senior wide receiver torched the Lions’ secondary for a career-high 151 yards on 10 catches to help Newberry to a come-from-behind 35-21 win at Meares Stadium.

The Wolves scored 28 consecutive second-half points to turn a precarious halftime deficit into a rout before a cosmetic Mars Hill touchdown with 1:18 remaining cut the final margin to 14 points. Watson was held out of the end zone but had a propensity for explosive plays, tallying six catches of at least 10 yards and counting a leaping 30-yard effort as his longest reception of the day. Click HERE for more.

Local Teens Raise Money For Playground Equipment

hurricane matthewUPDATE: Newberry County Continues Preparations
For Hurricane Matthew
Posted: October 7,
7:24 PM

While we are approximately 150 miles from the coast, Newberry County will experience issues from Hurricane Matthew.  The following is the most up-to-date information we have. The more serious time frame of the storm will be early Saturday morning throughout the day Saturday. 

Please keep in mind that storms are unpredictable and conditions can change depending on other environmental conditions.  If the storm continues to track closer to the coast line, our conditions will worsen.  Also if the storm delays in the right turn out to open sea, our conditions will persist longer.

Newberry County is on the boarder for tropical force winds and heavier than usual rains.  The lower 1/3 of the county (Lake Murray and much of the Mid Carolina area) is grouped with the higher levels of rain and higher winds.

We can expect 2-4" of rain with higher amounts in the Mid Carolina area.  The rain should not be continuous, but will come in squals.  There may be short periods of intense rain, followed by calm.

Winds are expected to be in the 25-35 mph range with higher winds and gusts in the Mid Carolina area.  Reminder that it is not necessarily dangerous THAT the wind is blowing, but WHAT the wind is blowing.  Secure loose items that could become airborne and become a projectile. 

All school functions have been cancelled for the weekend.  The schools remain on standby if we are activated as an evacuation center.  This will depend on the damage experience in the coastal regions and the amount of people displaced. 

Due to wind conditions, sporadic power outages may occur.  Prior to tonight, citizens should insure they have adequate batteries for portable radios and flashlights.  Candles will provide illumination, but they can also cause fire and should be used with caution.

Updates will be given via Nixle, Facebook and WKDK.  You can sign up for the FREE Nixle service by going to our web site or  You can listen to our local broadcaster via 1240 AM or or on the WKDK app in the Apple I store or Google Play.

Law Enforcment and Emergency Services are on standby and are prepared to respond depending on conditions.

sonicLocal Teens Raise Money For Playground Equipment
Posted: October 6,
7:55 AM

Megan Grubbs, Kori Kunkle and other local teens raised money Wednesday night for new playground equipment for children with special needs, and that equipment is planned for Marion Davis Park.  The fundraiser was a big success, and the City of Newberry thanks all of the volunteers and Mac Bell of Sonic!

wolves catawbaWolves Hand Catawba First SAC Loss!
Posted: October 2, 9:47 AM

Photo courtesy of

The Wolves did just that in amonumental victory Saturday evening, handing South Atlantic Conference foe Catawba (2-3, 2-1 SAC) its first conference loss in a convincing 35-14 thumping at Setzler Field.

Newberry (4-1, 2-0 SAC) wasted no time in jumping in front, forcing a three-and-out and blocking a punt on Catawba’s first possession to take over inside the Catawba Indians’ red zone. Romelo Doctor’s bruising, 1-yard run put the Wolves ahead less than two minutes into the contest.

Doctor finished the game with 58 yards on 17 carries, moving into seventh place on Newberry’s all-time rushing yardage list with 2,268 in his remarkable career. He added a second score just minutes into the second half on an 11 yard run where he spun off three Catawba Indian defenders at the line of scrimmage, and waltzed into the end zone to build a 28-7 Newberry lead. Click HERE for more.

Newberry Man Arrested, Charged With Burglary, Kidnapping, Robbery, And More
Posted: September 26, 11:10 PM

As we reported earlier today on WKDK, Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster says that a Newberry man has been arrested and charged with Burglary, Kidnapping, Aranthony wisemed Robbery, Assault and Battery of a High andAggravated Nature, and Grand Larceny for the violent kidnapping and robbery of a 73-year-old woman.

Deputies and investigators responded to the victim’s home on Green Meadows Drive Wednesday night just after 10:30pm.  The victim, who had been able to remove some of the bindings, was still partially restrained with duct tape and a telephone cord.  There were clear markings from having been tied up around her neck and legs.

“I cannot say enough about the incredible job done by the entire investigative team,” said Sheriff Foster.  “All involved worked tirelessly and for countless hours to bring this suspect to justice.  The investigators used every available resource including technology, forensics, and a great working knowledge of the community and environment to make an arrest in this case.”

The victim said that she opened the door to get into her vehicle and when she did, the suspect, who had been laying in the seat, kicked her in the chest.   The suspect forced the victim inside the home, where he bound her using the duct tape and phone cord then took money and jewelry. He then forced her into her vehicle still bound and drove her around demanding money from an ATM.  He then took her back to the residence and demanded more money and property.  It was after the suspect left the scene that the victim was able to escape enough of the bindings to call 911.  She did receive medical treatment and was released from the hospital with a broken collar bone and related minor injuries.

“I find it especially despicable for someone to not just rob an elderly person but to physically assault and injure them as well,” said Sheriff Foster.  “He could have gotten her money and property without injuring her, but he chose to inflict additional injury and pain on the victim, particularly since he knew her and lived in the same community.”  I pray that the legal system will take the full extent of his actions into consideration as he is dealt with by the law.”

The suspect fled the left the scene in the victim’s car.  However, law enforcement was able to locate that vehicle near Boyd’s Crossing Road.  The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and State Law Enforcement Division used bloodhounds to search the area, but the suspect was not located.  The vehicle was taken to the Newberry County Sheriff Office crime lab for processing.  The Newberry City Police Department offered assistance throughout the investigation.

“We are pleased to bring this suspect to justice,” said Sheriff Foster.  “This is what law enforcement agencies working together with the community united with cutting edge techniques can accomplish together.”

Jail records identify the person arrested as Anthony Maurice Wise, 24, of 604 Green Meadow Drive, Newberry, SC.  He was charged with Burglary, Kidnapping, Armed Robbery, Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature, and Grand Larceny on Saturday morning.  He has been denied bond at this time.  Wise was already on probation for a drug related offense when this incident occurred. 

nby tusculumNewberry Defense Keys Big Road Win
September 24, 7:51 PM

Photo courtesy of

A punishing defensive effortcoupled with 502 yards of total offense helped Newberry to a convincing 37-10 victory on the road at Tusculum on Saturday afternoon in the Wolves’ South Atlantic Conference opener.

The game’s key moment came at the three-minute mark of the first quarter. The Wolves had a 7-0 lead after a seven-play, 57-yard drive capped by an 11-yard Markell Castle touchdown reception, tying him for the team lead with three on the season. Shea Rodgers’ kickoff sailed toward the sideline, where a Tusculum returner caught the ball as he stepped out of bounds.

The Pioneers were awarded the ball on their own 3-yard line after the miscue, where the Wolves’ defense forced their first three-and-out of the contest. The ensuing punt glanced off the side of the punter’s foot, traveling just 13 yards before coming to rest out of bounds.

Keinan Lewis leapt over a defensive back and made a spectacular catch on a perfectly-placed fade pattern down the near sideline on the first play, giving the Wolves a 23-yard scoring play on their first offensive snap since the Yeldell-to-Castle connection.

The sequence was indicative of Newberry’s dominance on both sides of the ball throughout the contest. Newberry scored the first 20 points of the game and never looked back en route to the four-score victory. The Wolves averaged 6.6 yards per play, more than doubling the Pioneers’ 234 yards of offense on the afternoon. Tusculum was limited to just 96 yards offensively in the second half and saw 10 of its 12 drives in the contest terminated after 25 yards or fewer. Click HERE for more.

Newberry Arts Program Recipent Of Programming Excellence Award

Suspect Being Sought In Burglary, Kidnapping Of Elderly Woman
Posted: September 22, 9:22 PM

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is asking for information after a 73-year-old woman was burglarized and kidnapped last night.

Deputies and investigators responded to the victim’s home on Green Meadows Drive last night just after 10:30pm.  The victim, who had been able to remove some of the bindings, was still partially restrained with duct tape and a telephone cord.  There were clear markings from having been tied up around her neck and legs.

The victim said that she opened the door to get into her vehicle and when she did, the suspect, who had been laying in the seat, kicked her in the chest.  The suspect forced the victim inside the home, where he bound her using the duct tape and phone cord then took money and jewelry.  He then forced her into her vehicle still bound and drove her around.  He then took her back to the residence and demanded more money.  It was after the suspect left the scene that the victim was able to escape enough of the bindings to call 911.  She did receive medical treatment and was released from the hospital with a broken collar bone and related minor injuries. 

The suspect fled the left the scene in the victim’s car.  However, law enforcement was able to locate that vehicle near Boyd’s Crossing Road.  The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and State Law Enforcement Division used bloodhounds to search the area, but the suspect was not located.  The vehicle was taken to the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office crime lab for processing. 

The Newberry City Police Department offered assistance throughout the investigation. 

The suspect is described as a black male.  He had dread lock style hair.  He was approximately 5 foot 7 inches tall and weighed approximately 150 pounds.   The suspect was wearing a red t-shirt, blue jeans, and a black hoodie.

Law enforcement said that based on their investigation, the suspect was familiar with the victim before this incident.  They would not elaborate on the connection at this time citing the integrity of the investigation.

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is offering a substantial reward for information leading to the identification and arrest of the suspect.  If you have information you can contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 321-2222, email your tip to, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

ArtsNewberry Arts Program Recipent Of Programming Excellence Award
September 23,
8:10 AM

Scott Sawyer and Marquerite Palmer with South Carolina Recreation and Parks Association President Eric Stewart.

The Newberry Arts Program has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Programming Excellence Award for population under 30,000. The award was presented on September 12 by the South Carolina Recreation & Parks Association (SCRPA) Awards Committee at their State Conference awards luncheon at the Greenville Hyatt Regency.

Marquerite Palmer, arts program coordinator and Scott Sawyer, director of parks, recreation and tourism for the city accepted the award for the program. Palmer said it really was a dream come true.

"The idea of an arts center in Newberry has floated around and been talked about since I came here in 1993 and each time it was attempted, it just seemed it wasn't the right time," Palmer said. "And this time, the stars aligned and everything fell into place. It was just the right time for it."

The Programming Excellence Award could be given to each of two population categories, according to the SCRPA awards information page: those 30,000 and under and those over 30,000. An agency was able to submit for either Programming Excellence or Parks Excellence, but not both. The award pertains to any recreation program or special event that an agency offers.
Sawyer and Palmer spent several weeks putting together information to submit for the award, Sawyer said. The final application was submitted on July 7.

In the application, Sawyer and Palmer had to answer questions including a summary of the Newberry Arts Program, the mission of the program, its economic impact, any challenges the program has faced and what made the program unique.

While the Newberry Arts Program has faced several challenges including a starting low budget and needing a place for classes, both Palmer and Sawyer agree that it could not have been accomplished without the enormous amount of support they received from City Manager Al Harvey.
Wanting to start a new program with no budget was a huge challenge, Sawyer said, but fortunately city management supported the notion that a quality visual arts program was a viable endeavor and a complimentary extension to the community's arts experience that was established by the Newberry Opera House.

In the less than two years that the Newberry Arts Program has hit the ground running, it has added a unique social element to a lot of people's lives, Sawyer said.

Not only does the Newberry Arts Center have separate art and pottery studios, but it also includes outdoor space for classes and events. The arts center has also attracted a nationally renowned watercolor artist, as artist-in-residence and a world renowned clay artist as a presenter and advisor for the SC Clay Conference which was established through the program from scratch.

"It is unique that strong community support includes varied partnerships and dedicated volunteers that have come together to help provide the arts experience to anyone in the community, young or old. And regardless of ability to pay," Sawyer said.

Harvey said he commended the Parks, Recreation and Tourism department and Palmer for receiving the Programming Excellence Award.

"Such recognition at the state level reflects the tireless efforts put forth by Mrs. Palmer and the many volunteers that have contributed so much time and talent to develop a very high quality arts program that has been widely accepted and enjoyed by the Newberry community over the last two years," Harvey said. "The future of the Newberry arts program is unlimited."

Palmer said the creation of the Newberry arts program had created a community and she was excited to see what its future held.

ray brooksBrooks Announces Retirement At PTC
Posted: September 22, 8:13 AM

Dr. Ray Brooks, president of Piedmont Technical College, has announced plans to retire on June 30, 2017, at the end of the current academic year.

Brooks made his plans official in a meeting with the college's Area Commission on Tuesday evening. He has led the institution since March 2008.

George Piersol, PTC Area Commission Chair said, "Dr. Brooks' focus on creating the right environment for student success has had a huge impact on Piedmont Technical College."

"The Commission is appreciative for his experienced leadership over the last eight years, and we are fully supportive of the important initiatives begun during his tenure," he said.

The Piedmont Technical College Area Commission plans to search for a new president in accordance with the policy set by the South Carolina Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education.

The college's second president in 50 years, Brooks has led the institution through historic surges in enrollment and the financial challenges of a record-setting recession. Under his leadership, the college has emerged on firm financial and operational footing, and has garnered nationwide accolades for its work in a number of areas.

The college has built stronger relationships with the communities it serves, including innovative public/private partnerships like the development of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Laurens County; the urban renewal project that led to a cutting-edge new campus in Newberry; and a host of program and operational improvements designed to better position the college to respond to student needs.

During his tenure at PTC, Brooks has led the college to adopt institution-wide continuous improvement systems, including a groundbreaking implementation of the Lean methodology in a higher education setting that was awarded the Bellwether award--a national prize that recognizes outstanding and innovative programs in community college education. Piedmont Technical College is the first and only college from South Carolina to be recognized with this award.

In a letter to the campus, Brooks said, "It has been an honor and a privilege to have had the opportunity to share in the important work this institution does every day."

"This work goes on, and there's much more to be done. I look forward to working in the coming months to ensure the state of the college is strong, and that we're well positioned for the future," he said.

Prior to joining Piedmont Technical College, Brooks served as president of Northwestern Technical College in Georgia for 22 years, and previously served as an instructor and then coordinator of postsecondary instruction at NTC.

County Council Meets; Third Reading Of Zoning Ordinance Passes, More
Posted: September 22, 7:18 AM

Andrew Wigger | staff writer
Newberry Observer | Civitas Media
(803) 768-3122

Newberry County Council met Wednesday evening and the following items were passed/approved:

  • Newberry County Council passed the third reading of an ordinance revising the zoning ordinance of the Newberry County Code of Ordinances, with four amendments. The first amendment established conditional permitting of cemeteries, minimum size, setback and signage requirements for cemeteries. The second amendment established conditional permitting of large animal processing and taxidermy uses; concealment of carcasses and disposal of remains (animal processing and taxidermy); management of emissions and odorous gases (taxidermy). Amendment three defined Agritourism as defined int he SC Code of Laws as accessory use to an agricultural use. Amendment four established lake development setbacks; minimum setback of 50 feet from specified contour lines.
  • Council passed a third reading on an ordinance that repeals an unused provision regarding petty cash purchases and it inserts an affirmative action statement, as requested by Central Midlands Council of Governors.
  • A second reading was approved for an ordinance amending an existing 20 year fee in lieu of tax agreement with West Fraser.
  • Council approved a Hazard Mitigation Plan.
  • Council approved a proclamation declaring September 2016 as Kinship Care Month.

yeldellYeldell's Game-Winning TD Nominated for D2 Football's Play Of The Week!
September 20, 6:16 AM

Photo courtesy of

Raleigh Yeldell’s game-winningtouchdown at North Greenville has been nominated for D2 Football’s Play of the Week by HERO Sports.

Yeldell’s third rushing touchdown of the evening came with 1:04 remaining in the contest and tied the game at 28, with Shea Rodgers’s extra point providing the final margin of victory in Newberry’s come-from-behind victory. Yeldell broke right on a zone-read option, spinning out of one tackle before lowering his shoulder to shake North Greenville’s all-time leading tackler Sam Houston and diving headlong across the goal line.

The nation's fourth-ranked player in total offense earned his second straight South Atlantic Conference Offensive Player of the Week selection Monday after accumulating 141 rushing yards and 215 yards through the air against the Crusaders.

Fans will choose from seven nominees to decide the winner. Voting will close at 3:00 a.m. Friday morning, with the winner being announced later in the day.

Click here to vote Yeldell's touchdown as D2 Play of the Week

teenAuthorities Searching For Missing Teen On Saturday; Found Safe
Posted: September 17, 3:42 PM

At around 1:00 pm on Saturday, the Newberry County Sheriff's Office and Rescue Squads were searching for a missing 19-year old with autism (pictured on left).  The individual had last been seen around 10 am near Seagull Lane off of Highway 391 in Prosperity. The individual was found safe at around 2:30 pm near Pinedale Court on Lake Murray. A SLED helicopter and Sheriff's Office Bloodhounds were assisting in the search.

movie sceneFaith-Based Movie Filmed Partly in Newberry To Debut In Theaters Soon
Posted: September 15, 8:25 AM

Northface Christian Films out of Lexington, South Carolina will debut its film titled ‘Faith’s Song’ in South Carolina theaters this fall. 

The inspiration for this film was given to Frank Hutto, the writer, director and producer.  Local talent from around the state both helped produce and appear in this amazing film.  It is an inspiring story about a young girl whose faith is tested when her parents are tragically killed in a car crash, forcing her to move in with her aunt and uncle who don’t share her same beliefs.  Faith finds herself in a new city and a new school where she faces resistance not only from her new peers, but from her family.   

As an independent film producer of a Christian film, Hutto is excited for this amazing opportunity.  Filmed in Newberry, Lexington and Columbia with cast and crew from around the southeast, you will see many familiar landmarks.  Everyone faces struggles and fears and this film addresses many of the issues that many face today.  Hutto is looking for sell out premier showings and continually increasing support from churches and communities throughout the state.
‘Faith’s Song’ will premier in Lexington on October 29 and Summerville on November 5 at Regal Theaters.  Tickets have gone on sale and are limited.  Included in the premier ticket pricing is a limited edition movie poster that you can have signed that day.  Many of the cast and crew will be on hand for autographs including Marcus Lattimore, former University of South Carolina football player. 

To view the movie trailer and purchase tickets for the premier you can visit the website   

Northface Christian Films is also offering group ticket sales and is looking for corporate sponsors for the Theatrical release later this year.  Please contact Frankie Hutto for additional information at

School Resource Officer Assaulted Trying To Stop School Bus Fight
Posted: September 14, 5:05 PM

A Newberry County School Resource Officer was assaulted today attempting to stop a fight on a school bus. Sheriff Lee Foster said that two male juveniles were fighting on a bus this morning.  The School Resource Officer boarded the bus and along with the bus driver attempted to separate the suspects.

Foster said that after they were separated, the School Resource Officer was attempting to secure one of the juveniles, when the other suspect, a 14- year-old juvenile, jumped on her back and she was struck several times in the face.  The officer was able to gain control of the suspect and both of them were taken into custody. The 14-year-old juvenile was charged with Assault on a Police Officer While Resisting Arrest and both were charged for the fighting incident.  The juvenile who assaulted the officer was detained and sent to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia.

The deputy was taken for a medical check and was released after a splint was placed on her wrist for an injury sustained during the incident.  She also has several marks on her face and neck where she was struck by the juvenile. There are some who believe that there should not be officers in the schools, said Sheriff Foster. 

This coupled with the two other assaults on officers in the school environment recently in other areas of South Carolina leaves no doubt to their necessity.  If someone will assault a police officer and struggle with them, imagine the plight of a school administrator trying to handle this without the training or equipment of a law enforcement officer.

We are so proud of our relationship and support of the School District of Newberry County, Foster continued.  They make the School Resource Officers possible and our relationship is second to none.  We have been recognized nationally as best practices for a relationship between law enforcement and a school district in our partnership, planning, and response to incidents.

The ultimate goal of the School Resource Officer is to be a positive part of the school environment, to be a role model for the students, and to provide the students with a different perspective of law enforcement than the negative they often see, said Foster.  Many of our school resource officers assist with coaching athletics and various functions that allow them to build relationships far beyond just that of a school resource officer; however, in the society we live in today, we must provide a safe learning environment for our children.

Sheriff Foster said that there are current five officers assigned to the School Resource Officer program with one stationed at all Middle and High schools and a supervisor who covers elementary schools and assists as needed.

newberry collegeNewberry College Ranked Among Nation's Best
Posted: September 13, 10:40 PM

As we reported earlier today, Newberry College has been ranked on the 2017 U.S. News & WorldReport Best Colleges rankings, which were released earlier in the day. Newberry earned three rankings in the national magazine’s annual report:

Best Colleges in the South (#16)
Best Value for Regional Colleges in the South (#3)

Best Colleges for Veterans-Regional Colleges in the South (#8)

Although Newberry College has ranked in the Top 50 for Best Colleges in the South for a number of years, the private liberal arts college rocketed ahead in this year’s rankings, moving from #41 last year to #16 in the 2017 report.

“It is very rewarding to be recognized by U.S. News & World Report as our key performance indicators continue to improve,” said Newberry College President Maurice W. Scherrens. “We are on a journey of continuous assessment and improved effectiveness. The College’s rise in the rankings is a tangible outcome of our efforts.”

Senior English major Madison Darby-McClure noted Newberry’s rise in the rankings reflects many positive changes students are experiencing on campus.

“It’s encouraging to see Newberry College getting recognized for all the great things students see happening on a daily basis,” Darby-McClure said. “I think it recognizes the changes and improvements the College has been making for the past few years.”

Newberry College earned the #3 spot for Best Value for Regional Colleges in the South for 2017, a new ranking for the institution this year.

“Earning the Best Value ranking affirms our sustained efforts over the past several years to ensure that Newberry College one of the best private college values in the region,” said Joel Vander Horst, Dean of Enrollment Management. “We have worked hard to create a highly competitive financial aid package and to offer innovative programs, such as the Loan Repayment Promise, to make us a very attractive choice for students.”

The Newberry College Loan Repayment Promise is a financial safety net that Newberry offers at no cost to students and their families. Starting in 2017, if a student earns less than $40,000 working at least 30 hours a week after graduation from Newberry, the College will help the graduate repay their student loans until they reach that earning threshold.

Newberry College appears once again on the Best Colleges for Veterans in the South list, earning the #8 spot in the rankings this year, up from #28 in the 2016 rankings.

“Newberry’s focus on individualized learning and personalized attention to students makes it an attractive option for veterans and their families,” said Newberry College Military Services Coordinator Susan Epting.

Newberry College Board of Trustees Chairman Hugo A. “Hap” Pearce credited the College’s impressive rise in the rankings to top caliber faculty who are committed to helping students succeed in the classroom and after graduation.

“These U.S. News & World Report rankings highlight what we have known for many years,” Pearce said. “That students don’t have to make a choice between high quality and affordability. We offer them both at Newberry College.”

raileighyelldellWolves Back To Winning Ways Against Virginia Union
Posted: September 11, 8:32 AM

The Wolves shook off the disappointment of last week’s loss to Florida Tech with a resounding 42-22 victory over visiting Virginia Union on Saturday afternoon at Setzler Field, wearing down the Panthers’ defense with a series of methodical drives and a punishing defensive performance.

Four of Newberry’s (1-1) six touchdown drives took 11 plays or more, including an 11-play, 98-yard drive that gave the Wolves a two-touchdown advantage early in the second quarter. The Wolves’ offense won the time of possession battle by nearly 19 minutes and ran 35 more plays than the Panthers (0-2), whose defense was no match for Newberry’s methodical attack in the second half. See more HERE.

Newberry College Hits Record High Enrollment For Freshman Class
Posted: September 9, 7:17 PM

Newberry College enrolled a record high 381 new students, easing past its previous high water mark of 379 set in 2014. The incoming class increased by 10 percent compared to the 347 students who constituted the incoming class for 2015.

Enrollment for the incoming class included 287 freshmen, 80 transfers and 14 readmits. Overall, the College enrollment reached 1,070 students for the fall 2016 semester, a slight increase over last year.


  • 76 percent of the incoming class hail from South Carolina; 75 percent of the overall student population are South Carolina residents.
  • Out-of-state enrollment draws primarily from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, which is comparable to the geographic distribution of the overall student body: South Carolina (808), Georgia (33), North Carolina (30), Virginia (30) and Florida (20).
  • International enrollment accounts for 2 percent of the incoming class. International students make up 4 percent of the overall student population drawn from 15 countries, including Canada, France, Bolivia, Australia, India and Mexico.
  • 52 percent of the incoming class (199 students) are recruited student-athletes who play on one the College’s 17 Division II teams as well as cheerleading and dance.
  • 48 percent of the incoming class (182 students) are non-student-athletes, an all-time high for new student recruitment at Newberry College.
  • Top 5 majors by overall enrollment are Business Administration/Accounting, Sport Management/Physical Education, Nursing, Biology and Teacher Education.

Dean of Enrollment Management Joel Vander Horst said the College’s strategy of streamlining the admission process and engaging students and their families earlier in the recruitment process has led to double-digit increases at nearly every stage of the recruitment process.

“We focused a great deal of effort over the past year on eliminating possible friction points in the enrollment process to make a more student-centered experience,” Vander Horst said. “We revised or eliminated outdated policies, retooled our campus visit programming and focused on cultivating a spirit of hospitality.”

Director of Financial Aid Danielle Bell noted the Newberry College Loan Repayment Promise has attracted significant interest from families. A new program offered to the 2016 incoming class, it guarantees students if they earn less than $36,000 after graduating from Newberry College, the College will help repay their loans on a sliding scale based on their earnings.

“For families who use student loans to pay the portion of tuition not covered by institutional scholarships and other forms of aid, the Loan Repayment Promise offers them the peace of mind of having a financial safety net after graduation.”

Bell also noted that her team has placed greater emphasis on providing personalized support for students and their families to ensure they navigate the complexities of the financial aid process.

“Families can feel overwhelmed by the complexities of financial aid, so we’ve worked to make it as stress-free as possible,” Bell said. “We typically work one-on-one with families to guide them through the steps and put together the best possible financial aid package. We offer very personalized support; it’s definitely not a cookie cutter approach.”

Vander Horst noted that the largest enrollment gains this year have come from majors in which Newberry College has long enjoyed a dominant position.

“We’ve seen continued growth in areas of historic strength for us” Vander Horst said. “Based on an analysis of inquiries from prospective students and declared majors for enrolled students, we expanded our Nursing cohort by 33 percent and added the Criminal Justice major.”

Newberry College President Dr. Maurice Scherrens noted that recruiting new students is one side of the enrollment management coin; the other is retention of current students.

“Improvements in both recruitment and retention are two pillars of our campus strategic plan and we will be unveiling recommendations to improve retention later this semester,” Scherrens said. “A key focus of our efforts is to continue creating a positive student experience that supports persistence to graduation.”

Subject Attempting Car Break-Ins Caught On Thursday Morning
Posted: September 8, 5:45 PM

As we reported earlier on WKDK, the subject involved in the foot chase after attempting to break into cars at Newberry College was taken into custody at around 8:30 am Thursday morning.  The subject was caught just off Kendall Road near Louis Rich Road. The suspect was chased by law enforcement officers around the campus, and was caught by police working perimeter. 

Castle's Catch Featured On ESPN SportsCenter's Top Ten
Posted: September 5, 7:23 PM

Markell Castle’s leaping, twisted, one-handed catch on a high pass from Raleigh Yeldell was featured on ESPN as the No. 2 play on SportsCenter’s Top Ten Sunday evening.

The play came as part of a four-play, 73-yard scoring drive that took just 36 seconds off the clock, allowing the Wolves to knot up the score at 21 before heading into the locker room. Yeldell had completed passes to Romelo Doctor of 17 and 23 yards on the previous two plays before finding Castle open down the seam out of a four wide receiver set.

Yeldell’s ball floated over the defensive back and appeared to be just too high for Castle to reel in. But the sophomore used every bit of his 5-8, 185-pound frame to soar high above the turf, reaching into the air with his right hand while twisting to his left, securing the ball with one hand while nearly parallel to the turf.

The Wolves tied the score at 21 with an eight-yard touchdown to Cole Watson one play later and a two-point conversion pass to Knox Butcher.

Castle would go on to haul in 10 passes for 181 yards, good for sixth-most in school history, and a 72-yard touchdown strike. Yeldell’s 447 yards through the air landed at No. 3 in the record books and were the third-most of any Division II quarterback on the season’s opening weekend. Yeldell also moved into 10th in school history in career passing yardage.


swindlerSwindler To Lead SC Criminal Justice Academy
September 3, 12:23 PM

Chief Jackie Swindler whoretired after 38 years with the Newberry Police Department to join the Department of Social Services in 2014 as its law enforcement liaison, has been named to lead the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.

An honor graduate of Newberry College, Jackie Swindler earned a master’s in criminal justice from the University of South Carolina, and he graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy, the youngest graduate in its history at the time.

He entered law enforcement as a cadet in 1975 and rose to the rank of chief of police in 1993.

As a leader in the state’s law enforcement community, Chief Swindler served as the president of the South Carolina Police Chiefs Association and of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Association.

He has served as a member of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force Executive Committee, the State Homeland Security Senior Advisory Council, and the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Task Force.

A regular instructor at the United States Attorney’s Office, Chief Swindler has been lead instructor at the Carolina Institute for Community Policing.

DSS hired him to better coordinate with police organizations and coroners.

nance_harmonTwo Men Arrested On Drug Charges: Crack, Marijuana and Pills
Posted: September 3, 6:31 AM

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster says that two men have been arrested when officers conducting a safety check point found crack cocaine, marijuana, and a controlled substance.

Sheriff Foster said that officers from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and South Carolina Highway Patrol were conducting a safety check point on Highway 219 near Hillbrook Lane on August 28 at about 1:00am when a vehicle with two people in it approached the check point.  The officers immediately noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. 

When the deputies attempted to get the suspects from the vehicle, the passenger attempted to flee on foot but was captured after a short distance.  Once he was apprehended, the deputies found approximately 2 grams of crack cocaine, a small quantity of marijuana, and $340 in money in the same pocket of his pants.  When the deputies ran the suspect’s criminal history, they learned that he had previously been convicted of Distribution of Cocaine so this would be a second drug offense.

“We believe that a proactive approach to law enforcement is critical in today’s society,” said Sheriff Foster.  “While we depend heavily upon our relationship with the public to get information about drugs in our communities, it is also important that we get out into the public and work with other agencies to have these public safety check points and other proactive measures.  We believe that learning the community, interacting with the citizens, and a good visible patrol and outreach are powerful tools in saving lives and preventing crime.”

Deputies then searched the driver and the vehicle and found two pills of Hydrocodone, a controlled substance, and a crack pipe that belonged to the driver.

Both men were arrested and taken to the Newberry County Detention Center.

Those arrested were identified as:

Rishawn Terrell Harmon, 26, of 2545 Rosalyn Drive, Newberry.  He was charged with Possession with Intent To Distribute Crack Cocaine 2nd Offense, Possession of Marijuana, and Resisting Arrest.  Harmon has a prior drug conviction for Distribution of Cocaine. 

Willie Earl Nance, 60, of 17 JB Fulmer Court, Newberry, was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Newberry County Schools To Dismiss Early On Friday
Posted: September 1, 5:32 PM

Newberry County Schools will be dismissing early on Friday because of potential inclement weather conditions from Hurricane Hermine. Elementary Schools will dismiss at 12:30 pm on Friday, and Middle and High Schools will dimsiss at 1:00 pm. All afterschool activities and athletic events will be cancelled on Friday afternoon and evening.

indian creekU.S. Forest Service Reopens Indian Creek Rifle Range
Posted: September 2,
8:09 AM

The Indian Creek shooting range located on the Enoree Ranger district on the Sumter National Forest (Whitmire area) was temporarily closed last week for safety reasons but has since reopened. “It is unfortunate that some users, not all, continue bringing dishwashers, televisions, wheelbarrows and household garbage to use as targets and leave it behind,” Beth LeMaster, Enoree District Ranger said.

Signs are clearly displayed at the free rifle range with “Pack it in, Pack it out,” and “No Garbage Pick-up” notices and prohibits the use of targets not specifically designed to be shot is prohibited.

For years volunteers have donated their time to clean the range weekly, but the problem escalated and forced a temporary closure until bullet-torn metal and broken glass from bulky appliances that posed a threat to the public, volunteers, and Forest Service employees were removed.

“Thank you to volunteers who have exceeded our expectations once again and have made it possible to reopen the range since safety issues have been mitigated. However, we ask the public to treat their rifle range area with respect because It is All Yours,” according to LeMaster.

“These lands” are a gift. Congress began conserving these lands back in 1891 for all of us. More than 100 years later, this gift continues to inspire, restore, and provide. From offering nearly endless ways to play to providing water, clean air, and resources for millions, each of the 174 national forests and grasslands highlight the best of America’s public lands heritage. The U.S. Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation work to steward these lands on your behalf. So pick a spot, choose an activity, and go. Play.

kinslerSuspect In Custody ForBurglaries: Two Prosperity Businesses and Newberry Middle
Posted: August 31, 4:41 PM

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office has taken a suspect into custody for two burglaries to businesses in the Town of Prosperity and worked with the Newberry Police Department to also connect the suspect to a burglary at Newberry Middle School.

Sheriff Lee Foster says that two burglaries occurredat businesses on Main Street in the Town of Prosperity. Sheriff Foster said that Roma’s House of Pizza was broken into August 28 and the suspect took a donation jar for a cancer patient and some food items.

On August 29, someone broke into the U.S. Post Office in Prosperity, but it did not appear anything was taken.

Sheriff Foster said that on August 29, the suspect went into Bower’s BP in Prosperity and while the clerk was distracted stole another donation jar for a burn victim.

“I find stealing from anyone inexcusable, but to steal from people who are suffering and struggling is despicable,” said Sheriff Foster.

Sheriff Foster said that the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office responded to each of these calls and served as the investigating agency due to a personnel shortage at the Prosperity Police Department.

Foster said that through their hours of investigation, forensics, and an outstanding working knowledge of the community, the Sheriff’s Office developed sufficient information to charge Gary Lee Kinsler for these crimes. Sheriff Foster said that there had been active search for Kinsler and that deputies had searched his home early this morning in an attempt to locate him.

“We certainly have highly trained investigators in areas of forensics and technology; however, there is simply no substitute for deputies who live in and know their community and have built proven relationships over an extended period of time,” said Foster.

Sheriff Foster says overnight, Kinsler broke in Newberry Middle School and stole several items, a list of those items is pending. Sheriff Foster said that the Newberry City Police Department and the School Resource Officer from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office assigned to Newberry Middle School are working together on this investigation.

“It was imperative that we take this suspect into custody,” said Sheriff Foster. “He had clearly become both a danger to many citizens and a pure menace to society. If he was not stopped, he would have hurt someone or forced someone to hurt him.”

Gary Lee Kinsler, 43, of 409 Forest Hills Blvd, Prosperity was taken into custody at just before 9am this morning at an apartment complex. He was arrested without incident.

Kinsler will be charged with 2 counts of Burglary and 2 counts of Larceny by the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office for the Town of Prosperity incidents. The Newberry Police Department will also be charging Kinsler for Burglary and Larceny. Additional charges may be filed. Kinsler does have a substantial prior record that includes convictions for burglary.

scherrensNewberry College Begins Academic Year With Opening Convocation
Posted: August 31,
7:21 AM

More than 750 students, faculty and staff gathered in Wiles Chapel on Friday for the annual Newberry College Opening Convocation to usher in the 2016/2017 academic year. In keeping with tradition, the opening ceremony began with a full academic procession of current and emeriti faculty.

Newberry College President Dr. Maurice Scherrens (above) welcomed the more than 350 incoming freshmen and transfer students along with the more than 650 returningstudents. In his remarks, Scherrens emphasized the importance of innovation and growth that supports the College’s liberal arts tradition.

“At Newberry College what matters most is that we stay true to our core Lutheran values and provide a strong liberal arts education that prepares our graduates to be meaningful contributors to society,” Scherrens said.

Campus pastor Ernie Worman helped student leaders light their class candles. The Candle Lighting Ceremony is a tradition begun four years ago that represents the Biblical theme of light. It signifies that each person at Newberry College is a candle burning brightly. If one candle falters or even briefly darkens, others are not diminished by helping that faltering candle. 

During the Opening Convocation remarks, City of Newberry Mayor Foster Senn and Joe Trainor, area business owner and member of the Newberry Board of Trustees, shared greetings from the local community.

Incoming freshmen and transfer students stood for the Matriculation Pledge and recited the Newberrian Creed. The convocation concluded with the traditional singing of the Alma Mater. This year’s opening convocation was web-streamed via Periscope for off-campus viewers.

UPDATE: Pomaria Man Shot At Clemson Area Party; Suspected Gunman Arrested
Posted: August 30, 2:30 PM

A 21-year-old man from Pomaria was the victim of an early Saturday morning shooting in the Clemson area after shots were fired at a large party. The Pomaria victim, a Tri-County Technical College student, was taken to a local hospital and is expected to survive.

rowlandA fight apparently broke out between the victim and the shooter at "Cottages of Clemson" complex at around midnight, and the shooter shot the victim in the neck.

Daniel Heath Dixon, 21, of Lexington has been charged with accessory after the fact. He is accused of hiding and cleaning the gun.

And on Tuesday morning, deputies identified Jackson Quaid Rowland (pictured), 21, of Chapin as the suspected gunman. Rowland was arrested in Lexington County on Monday and will face charges of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime in the Pickens County shooting. He was transferred to the Pickens County Detention Center where he is awaiting a bond hearing.

nc menNorth Carolina Men Arrested, Charged with Drug Possession
Posted: August 28, 6:21 PM

A story we first reported Friday afternoon on WKDK, two North Carolina men have been charged with possession of black tar heroin,heroin, ecstasy, meth, and other drugs.

Sheriff Lee Foster says that on August 24 at approximately 10pm, deputies were called to assist a State Trooper with a traffic stop on South Carolina Highway 121 near Frye Road between Newberry and Whitmire.

Upon arriving, a search of the suspects’ vehicle was made where officers found .2 grams of black tar heroin, .5 grams of heroin, 3 pills of ecstasy, 3 pills of Xanax, several pills of buprenorphine hydrochloride (a semisynthetic opioid), and 3.5 grams of crystal meth. The officers also found digital scales and other drug paraphernalia in the car.

The suspects also had a Beretta .22 caliber pistol in the pocket of the driver’s side door.

“It is clear that these men intended to both use and sell these illegal drugs,” said Foster. “They were armed and carrying dangerous drugs. While we do not know for certain where their intent was to go with these drugs, it is clear that we are all safer with these suspects in custody and these extremely dangerous drugs removed from our community.”

The suspects were identified as:

Jonathan Nathaniel Gayle, 18, of 311 Thompson Court, Indian Trail, NC. He is charged with Carrying a Pistol Unlawfully, 3 counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession With Intent To Distribute Heroin, and Possession of Meth.

James D Murphy, 26, of 6025 Pine Bark Court, Charlotte, NC. He is charged with Carrying a Pistol Unlawfully, 3 counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession With Intent To Distribute Heroin, and Possession of Meth. He is also charged with No Driver’s License, No Proof of Insurance, and Operating a Vehicle With a No License Plate.

Rescue To Find Missing Boater On Lake Murray
Posted: August 23, 6:19 PM

Around noon emergency dispatch received a call from a boater on Lake Murray concerning a pontoon that was running without an operator or passengers. The boater was able to board the un-manned water craft and secure its travel. Shortly thereafter, a resident of Saluda County called to report his wife was missing and his boat was gone from their home.
Rescue Squads from Newberry, Saluda, and Union Counties; with Sheriff's Offices from Newberry, Lexington and Saluda Counties and DNR began a search of the area from Gold Nugget Point to Lake Murray Shores in Saluda County to Mariner's Point in Newberry County. A SLED helicopter and a fixed wing aircraft from DNR participated in the search. The search was to continue until dark for 45-year old Cynthia Leagan of Saluda County. She was described as a white female 5'2' weighing approximately 150 lbs.
At around 5PM, however, the search was discontinued as the missing boater was found. No information on her condition at this time, but stay tuned for more information.

searchSearch And Rescue Team Attempts To Find Robert Lester Jones
Posted: August 22, 8:24 AM

Photo courtesy of Sheriff Lee Foster

On Saturday morning beginningat 7AM, a search and rescue team made up of members from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, Newberry County Fire Departments, Newberry County Rescue Squads, and the South Carolina State Guard conducted a grid type search to try to find Robert Lester Jones.

Robert Lester Jones, 32, was last seen on Sunday, July 24, 2016, at around 7PM on Evans Street in Newberry as he was leaving Newberry County Memorial Hospital. Sheriff Foster said that his car was located abandoned on a dead end gravel road near I-26. The name of the road is Queens Church Road. There were no signs of foul play or a struggle found at or around the car. The car was located on July 26 by employees of a tree cutting service employed to clear power lines.

Foster said that investigators have used a helicopter from the State Law Enforcement Division to make extensive flights over the Queens Church Road area and have made several ground search including the use of canines to attempt to locate Jones without success.

Sheriff Foster said that they did not know if Jones remained in that area or if he left with someone else at this point saying that at this juncture they are still treating this as a missing person case.

Jones is described as a white male. He is 5 foot 11 inches tall, weighs 200 pounds, and has brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a blue and navy striped shirt, blue jeans, boots, and a multi-colored welder’s cap.

Sheriff Foster says that they will be regrouping and continuing discussions this week.

Anyone with any information about the location of Robert Lester Jones is asked to contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 321-2211 or you can email the information to

Suspects Arrested; Involved In Burglaries In Whitmire And Union
Posted: August 18, 6:59 PM

A story reported earlier today on WKDK, three law enforcement agencies say they have combined forces to arrest several people involved in burglaries in Union County and in Whitmire.

Sheriff David Taylor, Sheriff Lee Foster, and Whitmire Police Chief Jeremiah Sinclair said that the investigation into the burglaries was underway when law enforcement was made aware that one of the suspects had taken sold some of the items stolen from a burglary in Whitmire.

Investigators from all three agencies quickly realized that the burglaries in both jurisdictions were related and combined forces to piece together the evidence needed to charge the suspects with the burglaries.

Sheriff Taylor said, “Many times this criminals attempt to use jurisdictional lines to hide the fact that they are committing multiple crimes. There hope is that law enforcement will not communicate meaning even if they are caught, they are only charged with a portion of the crimes. We are truly blessed that Union, Whitmire, and Newberry have established clear lines of communication and partnership understanding that this partnership makes all of us better and our citizens safer.”

Chief Jeremiah Sinclair said that the suspects stole approximately $1,500.00 in antique bottles during the burglary in Whitmire. The Chief went on to describe the group as a “menace to the community who has caused people to not even feel secure in their homes.”

Sheriff Taylor said that the suspects broke into three homes and stole collectables and other items. The Sheriff said that thus far they have been recover more than $3000 of the stolen items. Sheriff Taylor said that the burglaries occurred between July 26 and August 1. He said they occurred in the Whitmire section of Union County.

Sheriff Lee Foster said, “I am afraid that many times people take for granted that everyone has what they have. Residents in Newberry County, Whitmire, and Union County might assume that every agency shares information and works together like our agencies do and this is not always the case. Our communities are better served and our agencies far more effective through these partnerships. We want to place the bad guys on clear notice that if you mess with one you mess with all.”

Sheriff Foster also said, “Many people in today’s society are attempting to minimize the effects of illegal drugs. These suspects were attempting to get money to continue their drug usage. The victims of these burglaries became victims because they were attempting to support their drug habit. Illegal drugs should never be considered a victimless crime.”

In addition, Sheriff Taylor said that one suspect was charged with breaking into a motor vehicle.

Those charged are:

Kenneth Lamar Braswell, 40, of 74 Sinclair Avenue, Whitmire, SC. He is charged with one count of Burglary by the Whitmire Police Department and 3 counts of Burglary in Union County. He is currently held in the Newberry County Detention Center on a $20,000. Bond. He was arrested on August 12.

Sierra Dawn Braswell, 29, of 1260 Church Street, Whitmire SC. She was arrested and charged with 3 counts of burglary on August 9 and has been released on bond.

Chrystal R Hughes, 43, 7471 River Folk Rd, Waterloo, SC. She is charged with one count of burglary in Whitmire. She is currently held at the Newberry County Detention Center on a $10,000 bond. She also has charges pending from the South Carolina Department of Probation, Pardon, and Parole. She was arrested on August 10.

Donald Andrew Price II, 26, of 191 Sinclair Avenue is charged with 3 counts of burglary in Union County, 1 count of Receiving Stolen Goods, and 1 count of Receiving Stolen Goods in Newberry County. He is currently held at the Newberry County Detention Center on a $10,000 bond. He was taken into custody on August 4.

Ansel Bradley Wallen, 45, of 1971 Highway 66 in Whitmire will be charged with 1 count of Breaking Into A Motor Vehicle. He is currently being sought by police.

county councilCounty Employees Recognized For Service
August 18,
8:12 AM

Newberry County Council met last night and some county employees were recognized fortheir years of service. Jessica Attaway, Sheriff's Office, 5 years;
Kara Cannon, Economic Development, 5 years; John Fulmer, Sheriff's Office, 10 years; Crystal Waldrop, Purchasing Director, 15 years; (Absent from photo) Georgia Wardlaw, Clerk of Court, 5 years. Photo courtesy of Samie Truong

MADDMADD, Newberry Officials Meet For Proclamation
August 17,
8:23 AM

Members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Newberry officials met on Monday morning for a special Labor Day Proclamation related to sobriety checkpoints.

Mayor Foster Senn, Margaret Brackett, County Councilman Les Hipp, Mac Bell. Middle Row (left to right) – Travis Reeder, Dale Brigman, Jean W. Simmons, Mollie Graham, City Councilman Thomas Louis Boyd, Senator Ronnie W. Cromer, Police Chief Roy McClurkin. Back row (left to right): Captain Kevin Goodman, City Manager Al Harvey, Boris Alvarado, Jim Lander, Representative Walt Mcleod, Tom Perry.

Photo courtesy of Elyssa Haven

Fire Damages Dempsey's Pizza In Clinton
August 15, 8:21 AM

Story by Billy Dunlap /
A late-night fire damaged portions of Dempsey’s Pizza in Clinton shortly before midnight on Sunday night.

Firefighters were called to a structure fire at 910 S. Broad Street after reports of smoke coming out of the back of the building.

According to Clinton Dept. of Public Safety Director Robin Morse, the fire started in a room in the back of the building and quickly spread to the attic.

“It started back where a dryer is at,” said Morse. “The worse part was getting all of the smoke out to where we could see. It didn’t take us long to get the fire out. There was a lot of heavy smoke.”

It is unknown at this time the amount of damage to the building and how long the business will be closed.

“There is a lot of heat damage and water damage,” said Morse. “There is some damage up in the attic where the fire was. He’s going to be down for a while.”  

Wolves Readying For 2016 Football Season
Posted: August 11; Photo Courtesy of Garry Talbert/Team Quest

nc practice

greenhigginsTwo Men Arrested After Burglarizing Home, Stealing Fireams and Shooting Firearm In Neighborhood
August 10, 9:24 PM

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster says that two men are in custody after breaking into a home, stealing weapons, and then discharging a firearm in a different neighborhood.

OnTuesday afternoon, deputies and investigators from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residential burglary on Paradise Road in the Prosperity section of the county. The homeowner returned home to find someone had entered the home by kicking open the front door and stolen seven firearms from the residence.

While the officers were on the scene of this crime, a shots fired call came out in a nearby neighborhood. The deputies left the scene of the burglary and responded to Landing Road for this incident. Several witnesses stated that the subjects had fired one round from a shotgun but that several of the pellets fell on the roofs of several homes.

Sheriff Foster said that the witnesses were able to give an excellent vehicle description from the shots fired incident and that the investigators were able to locate physical evidence from both scenes that showed that the same suspects were responsible for both the burglary and the shots fired incident.

Sheriff Foster said that a short time later, the suspect vehicle was located and deputies located one of the suspects (Higgins). He was taken into custody without incident. After he was taken into custody, the deputies searched a camper he was staying in and located all of the firearms stolen from the burglary on Paradise Road. The second suspect was located later and he too was taken into custody without incident.

Those arrested were:

Charles Logan Higgins III (left), 20, of 370 Federal Lane, Prosperity, SC.
Travarris Maurice Green (right), 18, of 349 Federal Lane, Prosperity, SC.

Both men will be charged with Burglary and Grand Larceny. They will face additional charges related to discharging the firearm in the unrelated incident.

Both men are being held at the Newberry County Detention Center.

Newberry Opera House Unveils New Website And A Bit Of The New Season on WKDK and!
August 10, 8:10 AM

During Tuesday's logo"Coffee Hour" segment on WKDK and, Heather Hawkins, Ticket Manager, highlighted some of the features of the new and interactive website for the Newberry Opera House. Additionally, she talked a little about the entertainment for the upcoming 2016-17 season. Tickets for the general public go on sale August 16 at 10 am. Check out for more!

Little Mountain Town Council Report
Posted: August 10, 7:38 AM

Andrew Wigger | staff writer
Newberry Observer | Civitas Media
(803) 768-3122

Town Council approved the first reading of fiscal year 2016-17 budget ordinance. The tax levy is set at 51.5 mills, which is the same as last year. Mayor Jana Jayroe said she does not see any reason to increase taxes if they do not have to. The projected revenue for the 2016-17 budget is $158,379, which is the same as the projected expenditures.

Council heard from Michael Tolbert, the maker of Wood: A Family Affair, a documentary short about a logger family in Little Mountain. Tolbert presented the idea to screen the documentary in town, possibly during the next Movies in the Park. Town Council liked the idea, and agreed to contact Tolbert when the next Movies in the Park comes out.

Bridge Deck Repairs Complete; I-26 Section Now Open To Traffic
Posted: August 4, 10:52 PM

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) reports that repairs to the bridge deck on I-26 eastbound in Newberry County have been completed and this section of interstate is open to traffic.

SCDOT began emergency bridge repairs Sunday, July 31, with an originally scheduled completion date of Friday, Aug. 5. The right lane of I-26 eastbound was closed for approximately 2.5 miles beginning at mile marker 81.

suppliesArea Citizens Lead Effort To Support Law Enforcement
Posted: August 4, 8:03 AM

Local residents combined for a drive to support Law Enforcement Officers. Kay Suber-Dendy and Madison Cates led the drive on Sunday.  They collected water, sports drinks, and snacks at both the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and Hawg Heaven.

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said that they were extremely grateful to these ladies, to everyone who donated the items, and for all the Newberry County community for the outpouring of love and respect that they had received.

jarvis wiseWise Charged With Trafficking Crack Cocaine, Possessing
Stolen Handgun
Posted: August 3, 4:45 PM

On July 29 officers with the Newberry Police Department, Newberry Sheriff's Office, SLED, andATF served a search warrant on the residence of Jarvis Royale Wise at 927 Wise Street. Once inside officers found 10 grams of crack cocaine and a stolen handgun. This was a result of an ongoing investigation conducted by the Newberry Police Department and the Newberry Sheriff's Office. Wise had previously sold crack cocaine to an undercover operative on other occasions during the course of this investigation.

"This operation is the Newberry Police Department's continued commitment to our citizens, to rid the city of illegal drugs. These investigations take time, however we will continue to work hard and bring these cases before the solicitor's office to be prosecuted", Chief Roy H. McClurkin.

Wise has been charged with Trafficking in Crack Cocaine, Trafficking in Crack Cocaine near a Park or School, and Possession of a Stolen Pistol.

bridgeI-26 Bridge Construction Update
Posted: August 2, 4:52 PM

Crews were securing the installed rebar Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 2, on the Interstate 26eastbound bridge deck under repair in Newberry County. Concrete is scheduled to be poured tonight, weather permitting.

Because only one lane eastbound remains open, periodic traffic congestion, heavy at times, is expected. Motorists should plan ahead and consider alternate routes by using interstate exits such as 72, 74 or 76.  

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) began emergency bridge repairs Sunday, July 31. The right lane of I-26 eastbound is closed for approximately 2.5 miles beginning at mile marker 81.

The speed drops from 70 mph to 45 mph in the work zone. Motorists are advised use caution when traveling in the work zone for their safety and the safety of highway workers.

Cracking caused by deterioration of aging infrastructure of the bridge deck was found during a routine inspection by SCDOT bridge engineers.

The SCDOT contractor is working around the clock to repair approximately a 450-square foot section of bridge deck. Completion of repairs is expected on Friday, Aug. 5, barring delays due to weather or unforeseen circumstances.

UPDATE: Drowning Victim Identified
Posted: August 1, 8:48 PM

Earlier today this information was released from the Newberry County Sheriff's Office: Through the help of citizens, the body found yesterday in Lake Murray off Songbird Lane has been identified.

Early Sunday morning a resident found the body of a female in the water near his dock. A search of the area produced no leads as of early Monday morning. An area resident called to offer information that led investigators to a gated home off Songbird Lane. Investigators determined that the body was of that resident. Her family had gone on a trip and she remained behind. She apparently went into the water sometime later in the evening Saturday or early Sunday morning.

Coroner Craig Newton released the name of the victim as
Judith Horton Walling, 73, of Songbird Lane in Prosperity, SC

Sheriff Lee Foster thanked the public for their concern, support and information during this investigation.

Original story: As WKDK reported on Sunday, the Newberry County Sheriff's Office investigators, Newberry County Coroner's Office and SC Department of Natural Resources continue in their efforts to identify a victim found in the waters of Lake Murray near Macedonia Lutheran Church. The body was found at approximately 7:18am Sunday morning by a resident on Songbird Lane.

The victim is described as a white female, approximately in her late 60's or 70's. She is approximately 5'5" in height and weighs approximately 120#. She has white hair that has been dyed with a reddish tint. She was wearing a one piece bathing suit with black bottoms and a printed blue top.

In addition new information has determined the victim had a band aid on her upper left arm, similar to one would get if they had just received and injection.

"While we are awaiting the results of an autopsy, we do not believe she was in the water for a long time. She was dressed in a nice swim suit as if she had gone for a swim or riding on a watercraft."

SC DNR, Newberry County Water Rescue and the Sheriff's Office checked the area and could not find an abandoned water craft or anyone that had any information.

Sheriff Lee Foster is asking for the public's assistance.

Anyone with information should contact the Newberry County Sheriff's Office at 803-321-2222.

jonesSheriff's Office Asking For Help In Finding Missing Man
Posted: July 28, 5:45 AM

As we reported on Thursday afternoon, the NewberryCounty Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a missing person.

Robert Lester Jones, 32, was last seen on Sunday, July 24, 2016, at around 7Pm on Evans Street in Newberry.

Jones is described as a white male. He is 5 foot 11 inches tall, weighs 200 pounds, and has brown hair and brown eyes.

He was last seen wearing a blue and navy striped shirt, blue jeans, boots, and a multi-colored welder’s cap.

Anyone with any information about the location of Robert Lester Jones is asked to contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 321-2211 or you can email the information to

millsBond Denied For Mills
Posted: July 25, 6:37 PM

Late Monday, bond was denied for Joseph Elijah Mills, 25, in the two shooting deaths at Frayed Knot on early Sunday morning. Mills has apparently said he was sorry for the shootings and deaths of Charles Allen Judge Jr. and Jonathan Michael Prins, but that it was not his fault. Sources saying that Mills told the judge he was being lynched by a group of men after he was chasing a girl. He said the girl had taken drugs off of his car seat.

Joseph Mills is charged with two counts of murder. He was apparently arrested without incident at a Chapin residence on Sunday afternoon, after he had fled the scene from a shooting incident at Frayed Knot restaurant and bar early Sunday morning.

The Lexington County Coroner identified the two victims as 40-year-old Charles Allen Judge Jr. and 29-year-old Jonathan Michael Prins.

Some reports are that Mills allegedly began arguing with a woman and another man outside of Frayed Knot. Multiple witnesses say that Mills assaulted the woman, slamming her into a stair railing, then pulled out a gun. Both Prins and Judge moved without hesistation to help the girl, and as they moved, Mills allegedly fired shots into the air. As the two men tried to disarm him, Mills shot both Prins and Judge, and then fled the scene. Mills was later arrested at a residence in Chapin and is being held at the Lexington County Detention Center. 

Finley Resigns As Newberry College Athletics Director
Posted: July 19, 8:21 PM

Earlier today Newberry College President Dr. Maurice Scherrens  announced he hasaccepted the resignation of Matthew Finley from the position of director of athletics, effective August 1. Finley has accepted a position in the athletic administration at Anderson University.

Scherrens anticipates naming an interim director of athletics in the immediate future prior to conducting a national search for a director of athletics in a permanent capacity.

“Matt has served the College well and has always done what he thought was best for Newberry College,” Scherrens said. “He has become a valued member of the Newberry College family and I am confident he will similarly become an asset to the Anderson University community. We wish Matt all the best in this new opportunity."

“I would like to thank the Newberry College community for a great experience over the past decade,” Finley said. “It has been a blessing to work with the student-athletes and coaches. It is bittersweet to be leaving such a great place full of great people that will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Finley has served as athletic director at Newberry College since the fall of 2012, when he was named as one of the youngest collegiate athletic directors in the nation.

Finley has overseen the expansion of the Wolves’ sports offerings with the addition of varsity field hockey and the Scarlet Poms dance team in 2014. Additionally, the spirit programs have been expanded to enhance the gameday experience across Newberry’s sports platform.

Finley also organized Newberry’s induction to the Eastern College Athletic Conference for field hockey and wrestling competition leagues, while also enjoying participation in the ECAC’s awards programs and postseason tournaments. The football program was named the 2015 ECAC Division II Team of the Year and the women’s soccer team participated in the 2014 ECAC postseason tournament.

Finley was appointed to the NCAA Division II Field Hockey committee in 2015 and previously served on the regional advisory committee for women’s golf. Finley is also the athletic director liaison to the South Atlantic Conference’s men’s and women’s tennis coaches’ committee (since 2012) and the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division II Wrestling League’s coaches’ committee (since 2015).

Finley had previously served Newberry College as assistant wrestling coach (2005-10), assistant athletic director for business (2010-11) and associate athletic director for compliance and academic services (2011-12).

jeterWhitmire Man Arrested For Selling/Possessing Illegal Drugs
Posted: July 16, 1:14 PM

As we reported late Friday and this morning, a Whitmire man has been charged with three
counts of distribution of crack cocaine and second offense possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and marijuana.

Officers from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and Whitmire Police Department served a search warrant on Frank Jeter’s apartment Friday morning. Once inside the found approximately 2 grams of crack cocaine and 24 grams of marijuana.

“There is a great effort underway in the Whitmire community to revitalize their community,” said Sheriff Lee Foster. “The community is working to restore the community to its former glory days, but there are those who have used difficult times to try to destroy the community through selling illegal drugs. Our commitment has been and will be to help the Whitmire community combat these illegal drugs and those who prey on others. Our partnership with the citizens of the Whitmire area and the Whitmire Police Department are critical to this commitment.”

The search warrant was the result on an ongoing law enforcement investigation between the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, Whitmire Police Department, and Laurens County Sheriff’s Office.

“Sometimes citizens do not believe we are working because they do not see anything tangible for some time. In today’s world, narcotics investigations are quite entailed and take time; however, we will not be deterred from working against and prosecuting these crimes. Drugs are not a victimless crime and lead to many property crimes, family violence crimes, and poverty.”

Investigators says that Jeter had previously sold crack cocaine to an undercover operative on several occasions during the ongoing investigation. They also said that as a result of this investigation, an additional search warrant was executed in Laurens County, just across the county line, as well.

Frank Jeter, 44, of 763 Duckett Avenue, Whitmire, SC was arrested and charged with 3 counts of Distribution of Crack Cocaine, Possession of Crack Cocaine With Intent To Distribute 2nd Offense, and Possession of Marijuana With Intent To Distribute 2nd Offense. He was taken to the Newberry County Detention Center. A bond hearing has not yet been held.

More arrests are expected.
Stay tuned to WKDK for more information.

Little Mountain Town Council Recap
Posted: July 13, 7:59 AM

Andrew Wigger|staff writer
Newberry Observer|Civitas Media
(803) 768-3122

  • Tim Cornelison, CPA, conducted an audit for Little Mountain's fiscal year ending 9-15. Cornelison said they had a clean opinion with no compliance issues, adding that everything looked good.
  • The website for the town is still in the works, but the Little Mountain Reunion website is now up and running. the link is According to Jayroe if people who visit the website do not type in www, they will get a higher Google rank.
  • The town is currently looking for individuals to sign up to be in the Little Mountain Reunion parade. Anyone interested in participating in the parade can find the form on the website, or call 803-605-8527 or 803-605-7777. It is free to be in the parade
  • The town approved having Terminex treat Reunion Park for fire ants for $150
Newberry County Council Recap
Posted: July 7, 8:13 AM

Andrew Wigger|staff writer
Newberry Observer|Civitas Media
(803) 768-3122

  • Council held a public hearing and approved a third reading for an ordinance to impose a one percent sales tax, subject to a referendum. Before the third reading was approved the language was amended, this was due to changes in the CPST statute made during the recent session of the SC General Assembly. In section 4.2 the words "up to," "additional" and the words "but in any case not beyond April 30th of an odd-numbered year." The section now reads; The Tax, if approved by the Referendum, shall be imposed immediately upon the termination of the prior tax, and shall continue for seven years from the date of such termination, in accordance with 4-10-340(A) of the code.
  • A public hearing was held amending and revising the zoning ordinance. The current zoning ordinance was adopted 15 years ago. Although this was the public hearing, Chairman Buddy Livingston urged Newberry County residents to view the proposed new zoning ordinance on the Newberry County website.
  • A first reading was approved to rezone a two and thirty nine hundredths acres portion of real estate at the intersection of Highway 34 and Highway 39 in Chappells from Rural (R2) to General Commercial (GC). The purpose of the rezoning is to make way a Dollar General.
  • A first reading was approved to rezone one real estate parcel from Light Industrial to Single Family Residential located on Haltiwanger Road.
  • A first reading was approved to rezone a portion of real estate parcel, comprised of two and two tenths acres designated Single Family Residential (RS-1) to Single Family Residential (RS3).
  • A first reading was approved to create a Fox Briar Subdivision Special Tax District. A referendum was held for the purpose of determining whether a Fox Briar Subdivision Special Tax District would be formed. The referendum asked electors if the would pay a maximum of $150 per lot for the upkeep of Fox Briar Drive, Fox Briar Court and the associated storm water drainage. Of the 68 registered voters qualified to participate in the election, 15 voted, with all 15 agreeing to the formation of the special tax district.

Some Harper Street Highlights
Posted: July 4, 7:38 PM

The annual Harper Street Parade was this morning, and Newberry's Bill Parr shot these scenes, contributing it to

Click HERE to view!

July 4 Fireworks Tonight; WKDK Provides Soundtrack To Show
Posted: July 4, 5:58 AM

The annual Fourth of July Fireworks celebration by the Newberry County Law Enforcement Association will still be held; however, due to construction at Newberry High School, specifically at Mike Ware Field, some major changes will be made for this year's celebration.

The fireworks shoot will continue to be at Newberry High School, however there will be no associated festival. According to Sheriff Lee Foster, "We could not get the licenses transferred nor could we find a suitable location to shoot the higher powered shells. This will cause us to not have the rides and other attractions that were a prelude to the fireworks."

The fireworks will be visible from anywhere on Main Street around the High School. People are asked to park in any location that will allow viewing. There will be limited parking at Newberry High School and on surrounding properties.

As an added treat this year Newberry's own WKDK will broadcast a simulcast of patriotic music that will coincide with the display from 9:15pm until 10:00pm. People that wish to share patriotic music with their families while watching the fireworks can tune into WKDK at 1240 AM, go to, or download the WKDK app on the iPhone or Android devices. This will be an excellent opportunity for everyone to see an American tradition while listening to music that is a part of the American fiber.

Sheriff Lee Foster added, "Although we weren't able to provide the festival that we have had for over 25 years, we did not want to suspend the centerpiece of our recognition of our Country's birth. The show will go on and we will be back next year with a bigger and better celebration. People can still take in the grand finale and enjoy the beautiful music provided by WKDK. WKDK has always been supportive and a sponsor, but this year they have really stepped up to the plate and will provide the music since we cant broadcast from the stadiums PA. In many ways this is an enhancement to our show."

It will be the only major fireworks display in the Newberry County area directly on the Fourth of July.

Man Kills Girlfriend, Surrenders To Authorities
UPDATED: July 3, 7:42 PM

Authorities say a man who killed his girlfriend, then said he wanted police officers to kill him has been taken into custody after a short standoff.

Laurens County deputies said 40-year-old Ronald Davis called 911 around 1:30 a.m. Sunday and said his girlfriend pointed a gun at him at a Fountain Inn home and he grabbed it away and shot her.

About two hours later, Newberry County deputies surrounded a home near Newberry after finding Davis' car. Authorities say Davis told officers he wanted them to kill him, but gave himself up peacefully an hour later.

The Laurens County Coroner's Office says 28-year-old Shana Prophet was killed and her 4-year-old son was home, but not injured.

Davis is being held without bond. It wasn't known if he had a lawyer.

dewittDeWitt To Be New City Manager
UPDATED: June 30, 8:31 PM

Matt DeWitt, assistant city manager for the City of Newberry, will be promoted to city manager effective October 1, as voted unanimously Wednesday night by Newberry City Council.

DeWitt began his work with the city in 2010 and has managed a variety of duties and projects. In addition, DeWitt has earned his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Clemson University, graduated from the SC Local Government Training Program and the South Carolina Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Institute.

DeWitt will be taking over from Al Harvey, who will finish?on Sept. 30?his second stint as?Newberry's city manager. ?Harvey?served as city manager?from 1977-2000 and rejoined the city in April 2013.

"Matt's done an outstanding job as assistant city manager," said Mayor Foster Senn.?"He works towards?effective city government and has done a very good?job?managing?government functions, including directly overseeing?the public works, planning, zoning and development, and parks, recreation and tourism departments. ?All have performed well under his watch."

Senn said that in addition, DeWitt has been in charge of a number of improvement projects that have turned out nicely and been widely praised, such as a series of upgrades to downtown, College Street streetscaping and enhancements in the Oakland Mill neighborhood.

"I am more than humbled that City Council has entrusted me enough to name me the city’s next manager," DeWitt said. "I have built a family in this community who know Newberry as home and daily I hope to continue making the City of Newberry a better place to live, work and play."

Harvey was initially asked to come back as interim city manager for several months in 2013. However, Senn said he did such a good job, Harvey was asked to stay longer and eventually asked to stay until September of this year.

"Al's done much good work in his three years, including putting in place major utility upgrades that will benefit Newberry for decades," Senn said.?"We appreciate his excellent leadership."

Harvey said he thought DeWitt would make an outstanding city manager for the City of Newberry. Being active in church and civic affairs in the city, as well as knowing all of the community leaders, would enable DeWitt to be successful, Harvey said.

"Matt has the academic credentials combined with six years’ experience which will ensure his success in the job. He is a bright, energetic young manager with great ideas and he has the technical ability to put it all together," Harvey said. "I wish Matt the best of luck and I congratulate him on becoming the next city manager for the City of Newberry."

Before joining the city, DeWitt worked at Newberry College from 2004-2010 as Assistant Director of Athletics for Internal Operations and later, Associate Director of Athletics for External Operations. Also while at Newberry College, DeWitt served as the Executive Director of the College’s Athletic Booster Club.?

DeWitt has been married for 13 years. He and his wife Jessica are both Newberry College alumni and have called Newberry home since 1999. The couple have three children, Easton (2), Hudson (3) and Brooklyn (7). DeWitt’s parents recently moved to the city after falling in love with the town years ago during their regular fall trips to see DeWitt play football at Setzler Field for the college.

DeWitt and his family are members of Aveleigh Presbyterian Church where he serves as a deacon. DeWitt also serves on the Foundation Board at Newberry County Memorial Hospital, the Newberry County Touchdown Club, and Newberry County FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) boards, and most recently DeWitt served as a board member of the Newberry County Chamber of Commerce.? DeWitt said he is proud to continue to be able to serve his community and looks forward to continuing to build on positive relationships for the betterment of the City of Newberry. ?

dr_scherrensNC Trustees Approve Contract Extension For Scherrens
Posted: June 29, 7:19 PM

As we reported Tuesday afternoonand Wednesday morning, the Newberry College Board of Trustees has unanimously voted to extend the contract of Newberry College President Dr. Maurice W. Scherrens for an additional four years.

Scherrens was inaugurated Aug. 13, 2012, and will embark on his fifth year leading the Lutheran private college with the start of the 2016/2017 academic year in August.

“President Scherrens has done an outstanding job in forging and strengthening relationships with our students, employees, alumni, donors and community leaders,” said Hugo A. “Hap” Pearce, Chairman of the Newberry College Board of Trustees. “He has helped cultivate a culture of optimism and trust that will drive our continued success.”

The Board of Trustees cited a variety of success factors that informed its decision to extend Scherrens’ contract as president:

  • Accreditation. Achieved full reaffirmation of accreditation by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (December 2014).
  • Academic Programs. Added new industry-focused, in demand majors, including RN to BSN, Healthcare Management, Criminal Justice and Digital Marketing; and partnerships with regional institutions for specialized programs and graduate/professional studies.
  • Enrollment Management. Retooled financial aid matrix to increase scholarship support for a greater number of students, streamlined the enrollment process and improved freshmen-to-sophomore retention.
  • Financial. Improved financial health of the College by reducing borrowing and developing a five-year financial plan.
  • Fundraising. Launched a $35 million capital campaign (the first comprehensive capital campaign in college history), achieved record-breaking fundraising results with increases in endowment, unrestricted giving, annual fund, planned giving and percentage of alumni giving.

During spring semester 2016, Scherrens initiated a campuswide program prioritization process. This self-study process will serve as one of the foundation pieces for the strategic planning process for 2018 and beyond.

“With the support of a strong Board of Trustees and a highly qualified and dedicated faculty and staff, we have developed a shared governance culture to effectively pursue an ambitious strategic plan while sustaining a student-focused environment,” Scherrens said. “We have achieved a great deal during our first four years, but much more remains to be done. Today, we are well-positioned to elevate the College through a variety of strategic initiatives to become one of the leading private liberal arts colleges in the region.”


Newberry College Alumna Crowned Mrs. South Carolina
Posted: June 28,
8:19 AM

Tasha Etter, State Director for Mrs. North and South CarolinaUnited States Pageant announced results from the 2016 pageant that was held in May.

Mrs. Quiana Anderson Reed, a resident of Duncan, SC, who is the Director for Recruitment at Spartanburg Community College, was crowned Mrs. South Carolina United States 2016. She will go on to represent the state this summer in Las Vegas, NV in the national Mrs. United States Pageant, Inc.

Anderson, who is 33 years old and a graduate of Newberry College, decided to compete for the opportunity to continue to promote her platform “Character Speaks”, which is geared towards empowering young people through character education and mentoring programs. She hopes to continue being a positive change in her community and further promote her platform by inspiring the younger generation to strive for success not only through education and job skills, but in life. Throughout her career in higher education, Quiana believes it is imperative that we begin today preparing these young people to become successful future leaders for tomorrow.

As Mrs. Reed is preparing to compete in the national pageant, which is less than two months away, she continues to promote her platform and hopes to bring awareness to it on the state and national level.

Quiana is married to Karl Reed, who is an educator and wrestling coach at Limestone College and a professional MMA fighter. Together, they promote “Character Speaks” and living healthy and active lifestyles across the state of South Carolina. 

Deputies, SLED Searching For Armed Robbery Suspect
Posted: June 25, 3:22 PM

As we reported earlier on WKDK, deputies and SLED agents with bloodhounds and helicopter were searching a wooded area Saturday at the intersection of SC 34/I26 for an armed robbery suspect.

The search was a result of an early morning robbery at the BP Station on SC 34. Deputies and SLED agents with bloodhounds and helicopter were searching a wooded area at the intersection of SC 34/I26 for an armed robbery suspect.

The suspect described as a black male wearing a camouflage hooded jacket, light colored blue jeans, and dingy tennis type shoes confronted the clerk and robbed the clerk of cash money and cigarettes. The suspect fled on foot. Bloodhounds tracked the suspect but failed to locate him.

Later, witnesses at the Waffle House saw a similarly described black male entering a wooded area near the restaurant.

The public is being advised of this situation and asked to call 911 immediately if they should see someone matching the suspect description.

ncmhNCMH On List Of "100 Great Community Hospitals"
Posted: June 22, 4:15 PM

Becker's Hospital Review has released the 2016 edition of its "100 Great Community Hospitals" list, and Newberry County Memorial Hospital has made that list. RoperHospital in Charleston is the only other hospital in South Carolina that is included in the listing.

The hospitals on this list are spread across the country, some not far from major metro areas and some in rural communities. Regardless of location or whether they are affiliated with a major system, these hospitals are vital parts of their respective communities.

Becker's has published a version of this list annually since 2011. This is the fifth year the list has included 100 hospitals. For the purposes of this list, Becker's defines a "community hospital" as one with fewer than 550 beds that have minimal teaching programs. Click HERE for the full list.

Newberry County Council Recap
Posted: June 15, 12:12 PM

Andrew Wigger|staff writer
Newberry Observer|Civitas Media
(803) 768-3122

  • Keith Avery, CEO of Newberry Electric Cooperative, presented a check of $135,731 to Newberry County Council. The funds from this check come from a utility tax credit check, every year the Cooperatives Board chooses what to do with those tax credit, this year they voted to give that money to the county for the purpose of clearing and grading project at the Mid-Carolina Commerce Park.
  • A public hearing and a third reading was held for an ordinance authorizing the execution of an equipment lease-purchase agreement in an amount not exceeding $710,000 relating to the purchase of certain equipment by Newberry County.
  • A second reading was approved for an ordinance to impose a one percent sales tax (CPST), subject to a referendum within Newberry County.
Prosperity Council Recap
Posted: June 15, 12:12 PM

Story by Carson Lambert, Staff Writer
Newberry Observer | Civitas Media

Prosperity unanimously approved the first reading of the budget for the fast-approaching 2016-17 fiscal year at their council meeting Tuesday night.

Some highlights include no increases in property tax for the upcoming budget cycle while water, sewer and electrical will all see an increase of three percent.

A two percent cost-of-living adjustment for town employees is included in the new year's budget as well as funding for three additional part-time positions.

Two will be police officers while the third will be an administrative assistant.

For a full recap of Prosperity's June council meeting pick up this Friday's edition of The Newberry Observer.

Kinard, Martin To Vie For House District 40 Seat; Stockman Over Taylor In District 2
Posted: June 14, 9:27 PM

Carlton Kinard will be the Democratic nominee and Rick Martin will be the Republican nominee to replace retiring State Representative Walt McLeod in the House District 40 seat. Kinard won the Democratic nomination on Tuesday defeating Craig Kesler 1194 to 602. Rick Martin won the Republican Primary over David Koon 1772 to 662.
In the Republican primary for County Council Diistrict 2 incumbent Steve Stockman won over Shirley Taylor 377 to 331.

Hearts and Hands In Newberry on Thursday
Posted: June 14, 8:15 AM

Hearts and Hands will be in Newberry on June 16 starting at 10:30 am until 2:00 pm. They will be at the Newberry County Library at 1100 Friend Street in Newberry. They seeking to determine if there are individuals who have unmet needs from the 2015 flood. If you or someone you know has unmet needs from the flood, please go to the library during these hours to meet with their organization.

stolenSheriff's Office Recovers Over $20,000 In Stolen Property, More
Posted: June 10, 8:43 AM

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster says that the NewberryCounty Sheriff’s Office has recovered over $20,000 in stolen property, more than $4000 in counterfeit money, and a firearm.

Sheriff Foster said that a concerned citizen called about suspicious activity in the area of Deadfall Road near Highway 395 Wednesday night at just after 11pm. Deputies responded to the area and found a truck pulling two four wheelers behind it and a third four wheeler being driven on the roadway. The deputies stopped the suspects and identified all three of the four wheelers as being stolen in a previous incident in Newberry County.

Once the suspects were taken into custody, deputies located $2010.00 in counterfeit money in $20 and $10 bills. The deputies were also able to locate a Hi Point .45 caliber pistol that was thrown into the woods by one of the suspects as they were being stopped by the deputies. Three suspects were taken into custody identified as James Counts, Shantana Watts, and Randy Williams.

“This is a perfect example of why we ask citizens to call when they see something suspicious,” said Sheriff Foster. “The information from the citizen led to a major criminal enterprise. Had this citizen not called when they saw this suspicious activity, it would have taken substantially longer to identify and locate these suspects. It is imperative that when a citizen sees suspicious activity that they call 911 so that law enforcement can determine if criminal activity is afoot.”

“This also shows the nature of criminal activity,” said Sheriff Foster. “In one group of suspects we find stolen property, counterfeit money, and a firearm that was in the possession of person prohibited by law from possessing a weapon because of his criminal history. I have consistently maintained that one crime most often leads to another. There are no such things as victimless crimes. There is a heavy price to be paid in society for those who steal, who undermine our economy with counterfeit money, and who carry weapons while doing so clearly indicating their willingness to hurt or kill others to carry out their crimes.”

“Together the citizens of Newberry County and the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office are making a difference,” said Sheriff Foster. “Because we actively pursue criminal activity together, Newberry County is the safest county in South Carolina, an accomplishment we can be proud of and one that assuredly could not happen without such a great partnership between the community and law enforcement.”

The three four wheelers that were recovered were stolen on June 1, 2016, from a residence on Hance Road in the Prosperity section of the county. An investigation into the stolen four wheelers had been ongoing prior to the arrest and continues as investigators work to identify additional suspects that were involved in this theft.

Sheriff Foster said that investigators and command staff worked throughout the night and day on this investigation. Based on that subsequent investigation, investigators executed a search warrant on several locations. During those searches, they located an additional $2000 in counterfeit money that was used to purchase the stolen four wheelers. They also took an additional suspect, Lamar Praylow, into custody during the search warrants, who will be charged with stealing the four wheelers and other items.

Sheriff Foster also said that the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office had contacted the United States Secret Service about the counterfeit money and it is expected that they will take over that aspect of this investigation. Several counterfeit bills had been taken by area merchants and so this too will be part of the investigation into this counterfeit money. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms will also be contacted.

Sheriff Foster identified those arrested as:

Cannon, James Arthur, 33, of 816 Wise Street, Newberry, SC. He is charged with Receiving Stolen Goods More Than $10,000, Forgery, and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm. He remains in jail on a $23,000 bond.

Praylow, Lamar Houseal, 25, of 56 Grant Drive, Newberry, SC. He will be charged later this morning (Friday) with Burglary 2nd Degree, Conspiracy, Grand Larceny More Than $10,000, and Forgery.

Watts, Shantana Monique, 28, 182 Newberry Arms, Newberry, SC. She is charged with Receiving Stolen Goods More than $10,000 and Forgery. She was released on bond Thursday afternoon.

Williams, Randy Rodriquez, 40, of 210 Thomas Werts Road, Silverstreet, SC. He is charged with Receiving Stolen Goods More than $10,000 and Forgery. He was released on bond Thursday afternoon.

More arrests and additional charges are expected in this case.

County Council Meets: Approves Third Reading of Ordinance With Nine Amendments, More
Posted: June 6, 7:27 AM

Andrew Wigger | staff writer
Newberry Observer | Civitas Media
(803) 768-3122

As WKDK reported last week, County Council approved the third reading of an ordinance to provide appropriations for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2016 and ending June 30, 2017. This Ordinance was approved with nine amendments, these amendments were:

An amendment for the Mid-Carolina Commerce Park, this amendment would appropriate $115,000 from fund balance to pay approximately 9.2% of the cost to make 30 acres of the Commerce Park "pad-ready" for the purpose of facilitating manufacturing investment.

An amendment for bridge replacement for Old Jolly Street Road, this amendment would appropriate $92,008 from fund balance to pay approximately 30.5% of the cost to replace the bridge on Jolly Street Road that was washed out in the flooding last October. Councilman Les Hip said there was basically 2 to 1 funding for what the county has to do.

An amendment for the Detention Center repairs, this amendment would reduce bond anticipation note/G.O. debut funding by %500,000 (from $2.1 million to $1.6 million) and inserts $500,000 in funding from fund balance.

Two amendment eliminating an expenditure increase for Information Technology personnel and Recycling Attendant Supervisor due to the recent closing of Caterpillar and the loss of revenue that will cause.

An amendment increasing employer portion of state retirement system funding. The General Assembly has increased SC pension plan contributions for employers and employees, each by one-half of one percent. The cost of this requirement to Newberry County in FY 16-17 will be approximately $25,000.

An amendment specifying the method of salary increase distribution as a fixed amount cost of living increase.

An amendment to restore Detention Center position inadvertently omitted in the budget draft.

An amendment to increase the funding of the Newberry County Council on Aging by $15,000. According to Councilman Steve Stockman by increasing funding, this will allow additional funding from grants.

A third reading was approved for an ordinance providing appropriations for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2016 and ending June 30, 2017 for Newberry County Library, Piedmont Technical College and Newberry Agency for Disabilities and Special Needs. This ordinance would increase funding for the Newberry County Library by $15,000.

A first reading was approved for an ordinance to impose a one percent sales tax, subject to a referendum, within Newberry County pursuant to the Capital Project Sales Tax Act.

Council approved a resolution honoring Dakota Keith Murphy, who passed away at 22. June 7, 2016 has been declared Pay it Forward for Dakota Day.

Deputy Coroner Lewis Lee Releases Name Of House Fire Victim
Posted: May 31, 3:10 PM

As we have been reporting on WKDK, Chief Deputy Coroner Lewis Lee has released the identity of the man who died as a result of a house fire in the Little Mountain section of Newberry County on May 28.

David Peter Ashworth Jr, 48, of 260 Glade Spring Road, Little Mountain died of carbon monoxide poisoning and thermal injuries as a result of a fire at his home according to an autopsy completed on Sunday.

Ashworth apparently made it just outside of the residence before succumbing to the carbon monoxide poisoning.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division. It does not appear that there is any foul play involved at this time.

margaret brackettBrackett Honored as "50+ Fabulous Older Person"
Posted: May 31, 8:07 AM

As the Older Americans Act (OAA) is celebrating its 50thyear, a golden jubilee for senors and communities across the country, the Natioal Association for States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD) and Altarum Institutes's Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness (CECAI) honor outstanding older adults who both volunteer for and benefit from the law's programs. The NASUAD published a book "Celebrating 50 Years with 50+ Fabulous Older People" that highlights the myriad ways that seniors make our country a great place in which to live, work, and grow old.

Newberry's Margaret Brackett, 90+, was chosen as South Carolina's representative, who has been an active senor champion in our state for many years. Brackett hosts a Monday morning segment on WKDK's "Coffee Hour," and has been recognized previously as a Senior of the Day at the South Carolina State House, in addition to other awards and accolades. View Margaret's featured entry in the booklet HERE
(PDF format, page 44).

glade springs fireSaturday Night Fire In Little Mountain Claims Life
May 29,
10:15 AM

A late Saturday night house fireon Glade Springs Road in Little Mountain, SC has claimed the life of an individual. Firefighters from Little Mountain, Prosperity, Fairview, Lake Murray Rescue, Prosperity Rescue and Little Mountain Rescue were called to the fire at 9:38pm. When they arrived they found a single story home completely engulfed in flames.

Sheriff Lee Foster said firefighters did a phenomenal job in quickly bingingt the fire under control, which allowed first responders access to the home to begin a thorough extinguishment. Once the flames were reduced, firefighters found an individual that was deceased.

Due to no witnesses to the incident and that there was a death, SLED was called in to assist the Newberry County Emergency Services and the Sheriff's Office investigate the fire.

Sheriff Lee Foster said the identity of the deceased will be determined by Coroner Craig Newton with the assistance of SLED and forensic pathologists. Coroner Newton will release the identity of the victim once it has been determined.

escapeeEscaped Inmate in Keitt's Crossroads Area on Thursday Evening
Posted: May 27, 8:06 AM

On Thursday evening, the Newberry County Sheriff’s Officewas reporting a possible sighting of the escaped inmate, Catrell Davis (right) from Columbia at the intersection of Highway 176 and Highway 34. This was not a confirmed sighting, and it was thought that the suspect was driving a grey Hyundai hatchback and headed toward Fairfield County.

Later in the night, SLED, SC Department of Corrections and the Newberry County Sheriff's Office no longer believed that the escaped inmate from Columbia was in the Keitt's Crossroad area. The escapee left the area with an accomplice after letting a young woman and her child out of the car. The young woman and her child did not know until later that the man in the vehicle with another woman was an escapee. Once that was determined, she asked to be let out and the escapee agreed. However, he would only let her out in a remote area. Once near Keitt's Crossroad (US 176 at SC 34), the escapee and the willing accomplice let the woman and her small child out and left the area in a grey Hyundai.

The Department of Corrections says Catrell Davis had been serving time since 2012 on assault and battery charges He is considered dangerous, and SCDC officials say he could be headed to Fairfield County.

If you see Davis, or know where he is, contact Crimestoppers in any of the following ways: Call 1-888-CRIME SC (888-274-6372), Text TIPSC plus your tip info to CRIMES (274637), visit and email a tip. Your identity will be kept anonymous, and if your tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

Newberry Sheriff's Office Issues Another Scam Alert
Posted: May 26, 8:26 PM

The Newberry County Sheriff's Office has issued another SCAM ALERT. This variant is a person will get a call and an "official" will say they have their child or grandchild in jail for a serious charge. If money is not received then the loved one will be facing long jail terms. If the person receiving the call bites, the scammer will put a person on the line as the loved one continuing the con. That voice is often muffled and the scammer makes an emotional plea to be released and is being mistreated. The "official" will then take the phone back and demand sums of money to be sent via Visa gift cards or iTune cards. The scammers demand that the money be sent immediately or the deal will no longer be available.

The person(s) receiving the calls are often seniors and the calls often come in early in the morning or later in the evening.

Sheriff Lee Foster said this is a despicable scam. These con artists are preying on the emotions of people, mostly senior citizens, and do everything to upset them before making the ask. It is natural for a grandparent or parent to want to protect their children.

The best method to combat this is to not be rushed and to verify. Get a phone number of the caller and tell them you must have time to get your affairs in order. Then call the loved one's family to determine if in fact there are legal difficulties and call your local law enforcement agency.

Sheriff Foster went on to say that governments or jails do not accept gift cards or iTune cards. The scammers choose Visa Gift Cards because they are hard to trace and cancel. iTune cards have high value on the illicit markets and can be used world wide. If a scammer gets $1000 in I Tune cards for free from a victim they can sell them for a large profit on the illegal market place.

It should also be noted that a large portion of these scams are coming from outside the country and are hard to trace or prosecute.

Also do not trust Caller ID. Numbers are often falsified using technology that will resemble the number being portrayed in the scam.

Sheriff Foster says before sending money to anyone, verify, verify, and verify again. Time is on your side.

suberSuber Named Superintendent of Newberry County Schools
Posted: May 25, 4:38 PM

The Newberry County School Board named Jim Suber Superintendent of Schools at its Board Meeting on May 23.Suber had previously been named Interim Superintendent due to the death of former Superintendent Bennie Bennett.

Board Chair, Jody Hamm states that "Mr. Suber, is the right man at the right time for the right job". "His leadership has been stellar both in his previous positions, but most recently in his role as Interim Superintendent during this transition. Having served as Assistant Superintendent under Mr. Bennie Bennett has led to his effective leadership for our District".

Suber began his education career in Newberry County as a Physical Education teacher at Whitmire High School in 1980. After 15 years of teaching and coaching at Whitmire he was selected as the Assistant Principal and then Principal of Whitmire Community School where he was integral in making the transition to a K-12 school. For the past nine years Suber has served the district as Assistant Superintendent for Operations and Administration. He assisted in the transformation of the school district through a successful $77 million building program. The completion of this strategic building program came in on time and under budget. This ambitious building plan included most of the learning facilities across the District.

"I am truly honored that our school board has the trust and confidence to promote me to the Superintendent's position" states Suber. "The opportunity to continue the work Mr. Bennett started will be a true TEAM effort. His vision to strategically put programs and people in place has created a culture of collaboration and teamwork that is evident throughout this school district. While we continue to grieve his untimely passing, we are dedicated to focusing our energy and efforts on creating a first class learning environment for all of our students."
"The Superintendent is a very small piece of the puzzle. I am firmly convinced that students, teachers, administrators, staff, and the school board are the "backbone" of a successful team. I assure you we will work tirelessly with all of our stakeholders to seek continuous improvement as we move forward."

Suber is a Whitmire High School and Newberry College graduate. He is married to Tammy Suber and they have three daughters, Jennifer Coppedge, Jessica Hall, and Jordan Suber. They also have four grandchildren Skyler, Riley, Stella and Phoebe.

barnesUPDATE: Missing Person Returned Home
UPDATED: May 22, 10:32 PM

Missing person Nathan Barnes has returned home, and is safe with his family.
Original report:
As WKDK reported on Saturday via on air and social media, the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance in locating a missing person.

Nathan Barnes was last seen on Friday May 13, 2016 at 8:00AM, which is unlike him.

He was last seen at his mother’s home on SC Hwy 391 in Prosperity,

He was last seen driving 2012 Volkswagen Passat smoke gray and is bearing SC tag MEN696.

Barnes is described as a white male who is 35 years old. He is 5’10” tall and weighs about 185 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes.

Barnes suffers from several medical issues and the family is concerned for his well-being.

Anyone with information about Barnes is asked to contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 321-2211.

may 20Deputies Arrest Man With Three Pistols And Marijuana After Responding To Call Of Shots Fired
Posted: May 20, 8:55 PM

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office responded to call of someone shooting from a vehiclein Sunset Trailer park on Church Street in Prosperity at around 9:30PM Thursday night. Deputies were called to the scene because no Prosperity Police officers were on duty.

Sheriff Lee Foster says that deputies located the vehicle traveling on C.R. Koon Highway and stopped the vehicle. Upon stopping the vehicle, the deputies saw a pistol in the floor of the vehicle. The subject was removed from the vehicle and arrested.

A subsequent search of the vehicle led them to find two additional pistols in the car, two bags of marijuana, and spent shell casings. Two of the pistols were 9mm and the third was a .22 caliber pistol. The marijuana had a total weight of approximately 5 grams.

“We will not accept nor tolerate such outrageous criminal activity in Newberry County,” said Sheriff Foster. “This endangered many citizens including children and such acts if unchecked will only lead to more shootings and additional violence.”

The subject was identified as Brodney Aviles Robertson, 24, of 1139 Copeland Street #111, Newberry, SC 29108. Robertson was charged with Carrying a Pistol Unlawfully, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Disorderly Conduct. Robertson was taken to the Newberry County Detention Center pending a bond hearing.

taste of newberryNewberry's "Taste of Newberry" Moved to Friend Building!
Posted: May 20,
7:41 AM

As WKDK has been reporting this morning, the annual "Taste of Newberry," has beenmoved to 912 Friend Street (in the Friend Building) because of weather conditions. This will be this afternoon and evening from 5 PM-9PM, and the event will feature restaurants and food vendors from across Newberry County.

A Taste of Newberry is one of our quintessential downtown events that features samples of food, beer, and wine, and full meals from the best of our local restaurants throughout the county. Live Jazz music will also be performed by local musicians from Newberry College. The festivities will take place in Downtown Newberry's Friend Building at 912 Friend Street. You don't want to miss all things local at A Taste of Newberry!

Wine and dine downtown from 5PM-9PM at the Friend Building! This
event is free to attend - but bring cash to make purchases.
"From Brisket to Crab Cakes, Discover the flavor of Newberry!"

For more information contact Newberry Parks, Recreation and Tourism at (803) 321-1015 or visit Follow the City of Newberry on Facebook,

NCWSA Meeting
Posted: May 20, 7:59 AM

Story by Andrew Wigger, Staff Writer
Newberry Observer | Civitas Media

The Newberry County Water and Sewer Authority Board met Thursday evening and approved a motion to publish a draft of their 2017 budget. Total water expense for the 2017 draft is $2,879,700 and water sales revenue is $2,847,100 and water misc revenue is $75,000. The sewer expense for the 2017 rate is $1,025,000 and sewer sales revenue is $897,8000 with sewer misc revenue being $9,800. The total service revenue for 2017 is $3,829,700, with administration and miscellaneous revenue being $75,000. The total system revenue and expense is $3,904,700.

For the month of April the NCWSA water distribution department reported one main light break: Jolly Street Road, a six inch major line break due to poor bedding. Ten new water service were also installed.

Wastewater collection department reported no line breaks in April and two new services installed.

Sheriff's Office Offering "Safety in the Sanctuary" Thursday
Posted: May 17, 11:44 PM

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is offering the nationally recognized church safety program, “Safety in the Sanctuary” this Thursday, May 19, at 6PM at the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Foster said that this cutting edge, relevant presentation gives church leaders the information they need to begin discussions and preparations for a comprehensive church safety plan.

“We have been amazed at the overwhelming response to this program,” said Sheriff Foster. “The input has been so positive from our citizens showing us that this information is both relative and useful for today’s society.”

Sheriff Foster said that the program gained national notoriety when it was featured in the National Institute of Justice’s law enforcement publication call TECH BEAT. Foster said that after the article was published the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office has received calls from law enforcement and public safety officials from across the nation asking about the program and how they could adapt it for their citizens. Sheriff Foster said they had calls from New York, California, Oregon, Washington, Iowa, Missouri, Florida, Wisconsin, and several other states seeking information on the program.

“Church safety is becoming a major concern for church leaders and the congregations they serve. In response to that concern the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office has created a training presentation called Safety in the Sanctuary, said Sheriff Lee Foster.

Sheriff Foster says that the training has had an overwhelming turn out and extremely positive response from attendees. The training is designed to impress upon church leaders the necessity to plan for emergencies in the church environment.

“We are certain that this topic is both real and relevant to the citizens of Newberry County,” said Sheriff Foster. “We are pleased to be partners with the citizens in protecting their homes and their places of worship.”

The first three trainings offered have been heavily attended with the first filling up in a matter of days.

Sheriff Foster also said that citizens from several surrounding counties had already attended and if even if you are not from Newbery County you can attend the training as long as seats are available.

If you would like to attend the training on May 19 at 6PM, please contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 321-2211 or email to reserve your seat for this important training.

Oakland Mill Project Is 2016 Preservation Honor Award Winner!
Posted: May 13, 11:39 AM

Congratulations to Newberry's Oakland Mill Project! This project is the 2016 Preservation Honor Award winner for the SC Historic Preservation Awards, and will receive an award at a ceremony on June 17 at the State House. Awards will be presented by Lt Governor Henry McMaster. Stay tuned for more information coming soon to WKDK and!

gregersonProsperity Man Charged With Sexual Conduct With Minor
Posted: May 12, 11:27 PM

A story we have been reporting on WKDK and,Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster says that a Prosperity man is in custody today charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

Sheriff Foster identified the man as Joshua Daniel Gregerson, 22, of 372 Blacksgate East, Prosperity.

Sheriff Foster said that the parents of the victim, under the age of 15, found a cell phone that Gregerson had provided to the victim so he could contact her. The cell phone contained both graphic images and videos of Gregerson sent to the victim.

Based upon the investigation into the matter, investigators also learned that Gregerson committed sexual acts on the victim on at least two occasions.

“Cell phones and the internet are opening our children to a vast world both positive and negative,” said Sheriff Foster. “While there is a vast amount of information to be found there, there are also people who use this technology to prey on children for sex, to extort them for sex or money, or to blackmail them or their family.”

Sheriff Foster said that the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is offering a free training for parents and teens tonight (Thursday May 12) at 6PM at the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office on the use of cell phones and the internet in today’s society.

Gregerson in in custody at the Newberry County Detention Center where he is charged with 2 counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor. He has been denied bond. Sheriff Foster said that additional charges are expected for sending the pornographic videos and pictures to the victim, who is a minor.

It appears that the two knew each other through mutual acquaintances.

Whitmire Hires New Police Officer
Posted: May 9, 8:20 PM

Story by Carson Lambert, Staff Writer
Newberry Observer | Civitas Media

With a unanimous vote Whitmire approved the hiring of a new police officer at their town council meeting Monday evening.

Josh Wilbanks is a Whitmire native and is currently employed as a deputy with the Newberry County Sheriff's Office.

"Everybody knows him," said Chief Jeremiah Sinclair. "I think he'll work out really good. He's a really good deputy."

Mayor Billy Hollingsworth said the move puts the police department at full staff and the town will now be able to provide 24-hour service.

Wilbanks is slated to begin work as soon as his notice is up at the sheriff's office.

For a full recap of Whitmire's May town council meeting check out the Wednesday, May 11 edition of The Newberry Observer.

Early Morning Collision Claims One Life
Posted: May 8, 8:23 PM

An early morning traffic collision has claimed the life of a young Newberry man. Newberry County Deputy Coroner John Pollard has identified the victim as 25-year-old Charles Andrew Craine of Newberry. Pollard said the single car accident occurred on Mt. Bethel Garmany Road in the Mount Pleasant area which is approximately 10 miles northeast of the City of Newberry. Coroner Pollard said Mr. Craine was ejected from the 1999 Ford Explorer he was operating after it overturned. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was alone in the vehicle at the time of the accident. The exact time of the accident is currently unknown but was reported to 911 at 6:58 a.m. As a matter of protocol, Pollard said an autopsy will be scheduled and performed tomorrow. The collision remains under investigation by the Newberry Coroner's Office and the S.C. Highway Patrol.

County Council Meets: Holds Third Reading For Detention Center Repairs, More
Posted: May 5, 8:32 AM

Story by Andrew Wigger, Staff Writer
Newberry Observer | Civitas Media

As we reported on Thursday, Newberry County Council held a public hearing and a third reading on an Ordinance to provide for the issuance and sale of General Obligation Bonds for repairs to the Newberry County Detention Center. The Ordinance was amended to strike the references to $2,100,00 and insert in lieu thereof $1,600,000. The CPST Commission approved the inclusion of $1.6 million in funding for Detention Center repairs on the November penny sales tax ballot. This will reduce the bond from $2.1 million to $1.6 million. If the referendum question is approved by the voters in November, would wipe away all debt associated with the project. Moreover, the additional half-million dollars would have to come from the County's fund balance. Following are some additional highlights from the meeting on Wednesday night:

  • Council held a public hearing and third reading for an Ordinance amending the Budget Ordinance for the 2015-16 fiscal year, to provide for revised revenues and expenditures pertaining to emergency medical services. This ordinance would provide additional appropriations for emergency medical services in the amount of $150,000.
  • A third reading and public hearing were approved for an Ordinance that would change a parcel of land from Single Family Residential to General Commercial. The property adjoins the Farm Bureau offices on Wilson Road, the purpose of the re-zoning is to locate a chiropractor's office on the property.
  • Council approved a resolution calling for the Foxbriar special tax district creation election. According to Newberry County attorney, Jay Tothacer, an election was originally held for the purposes of road improvements on April 12. However, a review of the published notice of election revealed that it was both deficient and untimely. A more complete form of notice will be advertised on both May 11 and May 18 and a new election will take place on June 21.
  • A Resolution was passed honoring the efforts of RSVP Volunteers in Newberry County.
  • A proclamation was passed designating Sunday, May 15, 2016 as Peace Officer's Memorial Day. On May 16, the first business day after the designated Memorial Day, flags will be flown at half staff at all County buildings. This will be in recognition of Peace Officers' Memorial Day and in memory of those law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their community or have become disabled in the performance of duty, and to honor those law enforcement officers presently serving the community.

campers_methInvestigators Recover Three Stolen Campers, Find More Than A Gram of Crystal Meth
Posted: May 4, 8:02 AM

In a story we reported yesterday on WKDK, Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster says that investigators have recovered three stolen pull behind campers with an approximate value of $100,000.00 and also found more than a gram of crystal methamphetamine.

Sheriff Foster said that investigators received information that there was a stolen camper at Dreher Island Storage located on State Park Road. Investigators went to that location and upon checking the serial number determined that the camper was stolen from York County, SC. In a joint effort with York County, investigators identified the suspect who stole the camper to be Jamey Lee Farmer.

The investigators continued following up on the case and located Farmer at the Buffalo Creek Marina on Marina Way. Upon talking with Farmer, the investigators discovered the camper Famer was staying in at the time was also stolen, this one from Columbus, Georgia. Once inside this camper, investigators found more than a gram of crystal methamphetamine along with needles and digital scales.

The investigation continued with the investigators learning that Farmer had involvement with a third camper, this camper was also at Buffalo Creek Marina. The investigation revealed that this camper was stolen from Dorchester County, SC.

“This was an excellent example of having the ability to receive information from the community and then be willing to do the hard work to bring this case to fruition,” said Foster. “We treasure the relationship we have with the public and other agencies. After receiving the information, the investigators worked together with York County and the other agencies to recover this valuable property and get these people who steal to support their drugs off the streets.”

“This is another example of my long term belief that drugs are never a victimless crime,” said Foster. “People who are addicted to drugs will do whatever takes to continue their habit including steal and often from the people who love them. Many are hurt because of the drug addictions of others.”

All three campers were seized and have been returned to the jurisdictions from which they were stolen. The campers had a combined value of approximately $100,000.

Jamey Lee Farmer (above top photo), 43, of 888 Marina Way 9B, Prosperity, SC is in custody at the Newberry County Detention Center where he is charged with 2 counts of Receiving Stolen Goods, Possession With Intent To Distribute Methamphetamine, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Farmer is also pending charges from the other jurisdictions for the theft of campers.

Dianna Christine Parkin (also pictured), 38, of 145 Smallwood Drive, Chapin, SC, who was also staying in the camper and knew it was stolen as well as about the possession of the drugs, was arrested and charged with Receiving Stolen Goods, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and upon her arrest investigators found pills in Parkin’s possession that were determined to be a controlled substance leading them to charge her with the additional charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance.

Capital Project Sales Tax Commission Meeting
Posted: May 3, 11:49 AM

The Newberry County Capital Project Sales Tax Commission held its final meeting Monday night adopting by a vote of 5-1 a list of projects for the upcoming November election on  the continuation of what has been called the 1 cent solution. Following the adoption of projects to be included on the list, the commission then adopted a ballot form that will placed on the November ballot. That ballot including the list of projects is listed HERE (PDF format).

Newberry College To Partner With Charleston School of Law
Posted: May 2, 8:36 PM

Newberry College has entered into an educational agreement with the Charleston School of Law as part of a joint effort to expand opportunities for students interested in pursuing the study of law and to make those studies more affordable.

“We feel strongly this will be a good fit for Newberry College students,” said J. Edward Bell III, president of the Charleston School of Law.

The agreement, which goes into effect immediately, will award a $5,000 renewable scholarship to graduates of Newberry College who are admitted to the Charleston School of Law. The scholarship will be awarded to Newberry College graduates in addition to any other financial awards the student may receive. 

“Partnerships of this nature offer our students and graduates a blended pathway to experience the best of both worlds,” said Newberry College President Dr. Maurice Scherrens, who is a strong advocate of graduate and professional school articulation agreements.

This Charleston School of Law partnership is the latest among a growing list of partnerships aimed at expanding career opportunities for Newberry College students. Additional opportunities include articulation agreements with the following institutions: Clemson Univeristy, Duke University, Presbyterian College, and Lenoir-Rhyne.

Caterpillar Closing Newberry Plant
Posted: April 28, 9:30 PM

The Newberry Caterpillar plant announced its closing earlier today. See the official release HERE (PDF format).

wilsonsLittle Mountain Man Arrested, Charged With Two Counts of Burglary
Posted: April 28, 4:41 PM

A man with more than ten prior burglary convictions has againbeen arrested and charged with two counts of burglary.

Wilson’s II located on Main Street in Little Mountain was broken into on April 4 and again on April 24. Each time the suspect took cartons Newport cigarettes from the store. Entry was made both times by breaking the glass in the front of the store with a cement block.

An investigation by the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office into the burglaries led them to identify and arrest a suspect in the burglaries. Sheriff Foster said that the arrest was made based on forensic evidence, surveillance video, and good police work.

“This is a prime example of a career criminal who continues to be released from jail only to victimize more citizens and businesses,” said Sheriff Foster. “While we must contend with a frustrating system, we will continue to work hard to identify, arrest, and prosecute those who steal from others praying that we can off them off the streets and in prison where they belong.”

Sheriff Foster identified the men as: Julius Henderson Goodwin aka Pete Caughman, 56, of 236 Ponderosa Lane, Little Mountain.

Goodwin has an extensive criminal history that includes 10 prior burglary convictions, a strong armed robbery conviction, and an array of larceny and drug related charges mounting to a twenty four page criminal history. He was last released from jail in November of 2014.

Goodwin had bond hearing yesterday afternoon and his bond was set at $15,000 cash. He is still in custody at the Newberry County Detention Center.

70th Palmetto Girls State Delegates Announced
Posted: April 26, 8:37 PM

As announced recently on WKDK, the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 24 announces the delegates and wait list from the local high schools girls stateto the 70th Palmetto Girls State Program. The 2016 Palmetto Girls State will be held June 5– 11, 2016 at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina. Selected to attend this year are the following:

Mid-Carolina High School
Callie Blanchard
Mary Kathryn Corley
Rachel Richardson

Newberry Academy
Meagan Bedenbaugh
Leigha Harbert

Newberry High School
Marianna Robertson
Marylane Wilkerson
Lauren Yoder
Wait List: Maria Martinez

Whitmire Community School
Michaela Knox
Lea Toby
Wait List: Megan Owens, Sara McCall

The purpose of Palmetto Girls State is to "educate our youth in the duties, privileges, rights and responsibilities of American citizenship." In the mythical state of "Palmetto," the delegates (also referred to as the citizens of "Palmetto") organize the cities, counties and the state of "Palmetto" and choose the forms of government and officials for the cities, counties and state.

Hopefully, the girls will return to their high schools and communities steeped in the doctrines of equal opportunity for all, freedom of thought, speech, and religion, and the ability to live and work harmoniously with others.

The Auxiliary would like to thank our contributors who helped make it possible to send these girls to Palmetto Girls State. The 2016 contributors are Senator Ronnie Cromer, Little Mountain Ruritan, Representative Walt McLeod, Newberry Car Buffs, Whitmire Elementary PTO , Pomaria Ruritan Club, Roche Pharmacy Inc., Rotary Club, Newberry County Governmental Association (2 delegates) and American Legion Auxiliary Unit 24.

bennie bennettVIDEO: Gallman Elementary School interview with Mr. Bennie Bennett

SC High School League Remembers Bennie Bennett:One Champion Less: Superintendent Bennie Bennett, Rest In Peace
Posted: April 18, 4:45 PM

The South Carolina High School League operates with heavy hearts today as we say goodbye to one of the most personable, charismatic leaders in public education. Newberry Superintendent Bennie Bennett stood tall and proud as an advocate in creating a positive atmosphere of learning for children and educators alike. If you attended athletic activities in Newberry County, you witnessed Superintendent Bennett cheering on student athletes and coaches on a regular basis. To hear him brag about his school district, the students and the educators was nothing surprising.

"To know him, was to love him. Bennie and I have been friends for many years, even before his tenure as superintendent or mine as commissioner. He was the kind of man who lifted you up, the kind of friend who made you laugh, the kind of leader that inspired you to do your best. There is so much I could share about my friend, but his legacy will be one of love, dedication and loyalty to his family, friends and the students he encountered, encouraged over his career in education. I will miss him and the league is one champion less without him," states Jerome Singleton, SCHSL Commissioner.

His presence was felt not only in Newberry County, but state-wide as well as nationally. He previously served on the SCHSL Executive Committee as well as the NFHS Board of Directors. Superintendent Bennett was a huge supporter of extra-curricular activities and athletics.

"I am deeply saddened that our friend and colleague, Benny Bennett did not survive an auto accident Saturday evening. He served on the NFHS Board of Directors from 2010-14. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family," states Bob Gardner, Executive Director National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

His career spanned beyond education, as he also upheld a stellar reputation as an athlete himself. Winthrop University still taunts his career as a top basketball player during his college years (1978-1981) being the first Winthrop men's basketball player to score 1,000 points in a career. He is also ranked in their top-10 field goals, free throws and assists records. He maintained a successful 15-year SCHSL coaching career with Clover High School and Fort Mill High School.
He is irreplaceable in the eyes of the SCHSL as well as his community. Anyone who encountered the greatness of Bennie Bennett was fortunate on many levels. We will continue to keep his family, peers and students in our prayers.

UPDATE: Newberry County Sheriff's Office Releases Information About Fatal Accident; Newberry School District Superintendent Bennie Bennett Killed In Saturday Collision
Posted: April 17, 4:59 PM

Sheriff Lee Foster released information about the accident involving a Newberry County Sheriff’s Deputy and Superintendent of Education Bennie Bennett.

Deputy David Brandt was responding to a call for assistance at a severe traffic accident on I 26 near the Newberry/Lexington County line at 6:21 pm. According to 911 calls a vehicle had rolled several times and was blocking traffic. Several calls were received about the injuries of several people in the vehicle.

Deputy Brandt was travelling north on SC Hwy. 219 (Main Street) in Newberry with his full light and siren array activated. As he approached the intersection of the driveway to Newberry High School a vehicle driven by Mr. Bennett entered the highway from Chapman Drive at approximately 6:26 pm. The vehicles collided resulting in the death of Mr. Bennett and injuring Deputy Brandt.

Deputy Brandt was initially unresponsive and was transported to a landing zone near Pomaria for medical evacuation to Palmetto Richland Trauma Center. Brandt was released this morning and will undergo outpatient treatment this week. Deputy Brandt is currently on medical leave due to his injuries.

Sheriff Lee Foster said that Deputy Brandt is devastated about the passing of Mr. Bennett as are all members of the Sheriff’s Office. All of our officers live here and educate their children in the School District of Newberry County. They all new Mr. Bennett and looked to him with esteem.

Deputy Brandt has been employed with the Sheriff’s Office since 2013 and was previously a member of the SC Army National Guard as a Military Police Officer. He is a graduate of the SC Criminal Justice Academy.

Sheriff Lee Foster said, “This is a horrible loss for our community. Mr. Bennett was a consummate professional and had the best interest of our children at heart. We worked together closely on matters involving our schools and our children’s safety. On a personal note, Mr. Bennett was a close friend and confidant. He and I had a keen interest in sports and would often compare notes on games. My family held him in the highest regard. I am personally shattered by his death. Our family extends our prayers to his family.”

According to state law, the accident will be conducted by the SC Highway Patrol. Any updates and questions regarding the accident should be directed to their agency. The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is cooperating fully with the investigation.

Original Story: Newberry County Coroner Craig Newton has released the name of the person killed in a traffic collision that occurred in Newberry Saturday evening. Bennie D. Bennett, 56 years of age, of Prosperity died at the scene of the collision due to multiple injuries sustained in the accident. Chief Deputy Coroner Lewis Lee said Mr. Bennett was ejected from his vehicle and died immediately at the scene of his injuries. The collision occurred at 6:26 p.m. on SC 219 near Newberry High School. The collision also involved a Newberry County Sheriff's deputy and therefore the accident is being investigated by the S.C. Highway Patrol in accordance to State law. Mr. Bennett was the Newberry County School Superintendent and had held that position for 10 years. He leaves behind a wife and two children. Newton said that Mr. Bennett was well respected and liked by all. " He served Newberry schools with professionalism, passion and pride. He was truly a peop