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As clock ticks down, administrator search gears up

Georgetown County may need to find an interim administrator as it seeks a replacement for Administrator Sel Hemingway. It will also be looking for a new county attorney. Hemingway agreed this week to delay his planned retirement from Dec. 31 to Feb. 29 with the understanding that he would...
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New pitch for long-awaited bike path connector

Georgetown County will try again to get a $100,000 state grant to complete a key section of the Bike the Neck route that was denied last year. It is the same grant that the county had to return to the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism in 2014...
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Council to vote on local beach project with former bidder

The town of Pawleys Island is poised to hire a private contractor to carry out a beach renourishment project starting in October and end its partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers. Town Council will meet Monday morning to vote on the proposal. “I don’t envy you guys at...
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Pawleys Island

With no further appeals, new mayor maps out path toward unity

A candidate for Pawleys Island Town Council will not appeal a decision by the county elections board to dismiss his protest. “It’s really disappointing that, based on the votes of residents, I won by 12 votes,” said Josh Ricker, who finished fifth in the race for four council seats....
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Henry seeks to heal town after election protest fails

Brian Henry won’t be talking about the north, middle or south of Pawleys Island, where he is due to take office as mayor. Instead, he plans to look for ways to bring people together, “opportunities for residents to get together and focus on the issues,” he said. Henry beat...
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Mayor and council candidate protest election result

Pawleys Island Mayor Jimmy Braswell and Josh Ricker, a candidate for Town Council, filed protests to this week’s election hours after the Georgetown County Board of Voter Registration and Elections certified the results that showed them losing their races. The elections board on Thursday denied 20 challenges to votes...
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Henry confident of win as voter challenges reviewed

Ashley Carter and Sarah Zimmerman won re-election to Pawleys Island Town Council, but the outcome of the race for mayor and the two remaining council seats hinges on 29 challenged ballots that will be reviewed today. Pawleys Island Mayor Jimmy Braswell saw a 43-29 lead over challenger Brian Henry...
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Candidates in town election talk about the issues

Mayoral candidates Jimmy Braswell, 72, retired from the textile and furniture industries. He served on the Planning Commission before winning election as mayor in 2017. Brian Henry, 52, is co-owner of the Sea View Inn and Palmetto Cheese. He served on the town Beach Committee and its Accommodations Tax...
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Voter rolls grow in advance of council election

The number of registered voters jumped by 28 percent for next month’s Pawleys Island Town Council election, where the question of residency remains a contentious issue. Mayor Jimmy Braswell faces opposition from Brian Henry in his bid for a second term as mayor. Henry and his wife own the...
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Lawyers serve as proxies in town political debate

A campaign for Town Council is eroding Pawleys Island’s heritage of gentleness and tranquility the same way that hurricanes have eroded its beach. “Where this is all going, I don’t know,” Mayor Jimmy Braswell said. “It’s crazy. It’s totally dividing the island.” He faces opposition from Brian Henry, co-owner...
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Despite storms, town moving ahead with beach project

A beach renourishment project is due to start on Pawleys Island in less than a month. Even though it is the height of the hurricane season along the South Carolina coast, it makes sense to have the dredge in place, according to the project manager. The Town Council is...
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Town takes beach building project to the limit

Pawleys Island is poised to place the maximum amount of sand allowed under state and federal permits for a beach renourishment project due to start in just over a month. Town Council members who were concerned about straining the island’s finances to put 1.1 million cubic yards of sand...
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Residency becomes issue as town holds elections

As the town of Pawleys Island gears up for a November election for mayor and four council seats, Mayor Jimmy Braswell this week asked the town attorney to review the residency requirement for candidates. “I think we just need to clear that up, with the Austin Beard debacle,” he...
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On track to build up beach, town also needs to build revenue

With the town of Pawleys Island on track to start a beach renourishment project in October, the need to secure future funding to maintain the beach is more important than ever, according to the town administrator. But the committee that reviewed a variety of options for raising money voted...
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Town drops feds from beach project

A beach renourishment project that has been planned for over 20 years will start as soon as the last sea turtle hatchling leaves Pawleys Island in October under a project approved this week. Town Council voted to work with a private contractor rather than the Army Corps of Engineers,...
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Council to vote on local beach project with former bidder

The town of Pawleys Island is poised to hire a private contractor to carry out a beach renourishment project starting in October and end its partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers. Town Council will meet Monday morning to vote on the proposal. “I don’t envy you guys at...
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Council starts considering beach work without Corps

Pawleys Island Town Council will re-evaluate its beach renourishment project with the Army Corps of Engineers if the agency isn’t able to complete the work before the 2020 hurricane season.  The town was told the Corps would put the project out to bid this month. Instead, it is reviewing...
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Renovations will open old Town Hall for exhibits

Renovations to turn the old Pawleys Island Town Hall into exhibit space should be complete by early fall. Town Council this week approved the proposal from an ad hoc committee to upgrade the building and grounds at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and the North Causeway at a cost...
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Corps cost-benefit study clouds beach project

The Army Corps of Engineers is reviewing the cost-benefit ratio of a Pawleys Island beach renourishment project, raising concern among town officials that the project will be delayed another year. “Everything is pretty much on hold while they do it,” Town Administrator Ryan Fabbri said. Staff at the Corps’...
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Town will push legislation to allow tax for beach work

The town of Pawleys Island will seek to change state law in order to raise money for beach renourishment through a property tax. Town Council this week hired a law firm to draft the measure. It will have to decide whether it wants to champion a bill itself or...
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Town’s quest for beach easements may force condemnation

Lawyers with the Army Corps of Engineers were scheduled to talk Wednesday with one of two property owners who declined to sign easements to allow a federally-funded beach renourishment project on the south end of Pawleys Island. The town will learn today whether the missing easements, two of the...
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Town focus on easements tops concern on funding beach project

Pawleys Island property owners stopped short of debating how to pay for future beach renourishment at an Easter weekend meeting because the fate of a project planned for this year remains uncertain. The town is 25 to 30 easements short of the 113 it needs from property owners on...
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Town faces first deadline for beach work

Before the federal government will put 850,000 cubic yards of sand on the beach at Pawleys Island, 113 property owners have to put signatures on an easement. The town is racing against the calendar to get those signatures by the end of the month so the project can start...
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Town recycling ends up in landfill

Items collected on Pawleys Island from a recycling program the town started nine years ago are going straight to the county landfill because they aren’t being collected properly. “All of our recycling is not being recycled. It’s being contaminated,” Administrator Ryan Fabbri told Town Council this week. The council...
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Parking fee remains an option as town shifts focus to beach fund

A proposal to help fund beach renourishment by charging a parking fee at Pawleys Island beach accesses narrowly survived a vote to kill the idea. The town’s ad hoc finance committee this week deadlocked on a motion to drop the proposed fee from its recommendation to Town Council. The...
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Plans for old Town Hall keep focus on education

Ice cream will have to wait. The old Town Hall at Pawleys Island will be used as a place for history and environmental education under a plan that an ad hoc committee hopes to complete this spring. “That’s sort of the overall direction we needed to go to in...
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Parking fee plan draws objection from Town Council member

A proposed parking fee at beach accesses on Pawleys Island drew a blunt rebuke from a Town Council member last week. The town has been working to close a gap in its operating budget and raise money for long-term beach nourishment. After checking into a variety of revenue-raising options...
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Town considers taller houses to gain steeper roofs

Houses on Pawleys Island will get taller and their roofs will get steeper under a proposal headed to Town Council. It is part of an effort to retain the traditional look of island beach houses as new houses replace old ones. “Anything we can do to get that roof...
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Nostalgia flavors plans for former Town Hall

George Raftelis remembers King’s Funland. “It was a gathering place for folks.” Elizabeth McNiel remembers Howdy’s store where he brother worked in the summers. “It was a really a gathering spot.” Besty Altman remembers the Mikee’s Ice Cream truck,” which I loved, but they stopped that because of commercialism....
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Town wants county to pay for access upkeep

Georgetown County needs to take more responsibility for maintaining the parking lot and beach access on the south end of Pawleys Island, town officials say, even if that means charging for parking to cover the cost. With 80 parking spaces, the county-owned lot is the largest free beach access...
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Pawleys Island Town starts searching for new funds

At the first meeting held in Pawleys Island’s new Town Hall, built primarily with private donations, the topic was public finance. A committee of property owners and town officials is looking for ways to close a projected shortfall in the town’s operating budget and find a source of funds...
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Once 3rd rail of town politics, property tax on the table

Pawleys Island property owners will have their first serious discussion about a property tax since the town was formed over 30 years ago. It will be part of what town officials call a “holistic approach” to the red ink that is forecast to wash over their budget like Pawleys...
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Board denies variance for big-box storage facility

Georgetown County rebuffed a request to reduce the parking requirements for a three-story, 75,000-square-foot storage facility on Waverly Road, with members of the Board of Zoning Appeals saying there are broader issues that need to be addressed first. The building proposed by Extra Room Storage for 1.8 acres west...
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Storage facility will trigger ‘big-box’ rule

A three-story self-storage facility proposed for a site on Waverly Road exceeds Georgetown County’s limit on building size by 25 percent. And even if it is reduced from its planned 75,000 square feet to the 60,000-square-foot maximum, the building will have to meet the design standards for commercial facilities...
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Town without property tax considers business license

A proposal to raise pay for Pawleys Island police officers to maintain parity with county deputies has the town looking at a business license fee to fund the increase. In a town that has operated for 33 years without a property tax, it is the only available source of...
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As storm approaches, council plans for fast return

With a Category 4 hurricane still churning toward the East Coast, members of Pawleys Island Town Council focused last week on how residents and property owners would get back on the island once the storm passes. Memories were still fresh of days spent waiting at the bridge in October...
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Murrells Inlet

Garden on small lot blooms with 20 years of work and love

To hear Cathy Smith talk, you would think her interest in gardening grew out of nowhere –  just like a bad weed. “I really have no idea where my interest in gardening came from,” Smith said as she strolled through the yard of her 60-foot-wide lot near the waterfront in...
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Lawmakers and board still at odds over fire tax increase

Voters in Murrells Inlet and Garden City will go to the polls Tuesday to decide whether they and their neighbors should pay more for fire and EMS services. The Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire District wants to increase its property tax rate from 14 to 19 mills starting this year....
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New magistrate started work busing tables at Oliver’s Lodge

Kin McKenzie moved to Murrells Inlet about 10 years ago, but he grew up spending summers on the creek where his father built a house in 1960. “I’ve been coming here all my life,” he said. “I bused tables summers at Oliver’s Lodge.” He sat up late talking with...
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County study won’t arrive before newest restaurant

A proposed study of parking along the Murrells Inlet waterfront will have to wait until Georgetown County planners complete an update of the future land-use plan, or even longer if the county decides to outsource the work. Such studies “are a little more complicated than I thought,” Boyd Johnson,...
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Rising costs keep I2I project 1,400 feet short of destination

The first phase of the Inlet to Intracoastal path through Murrells Inlet will stop 1,400 feet and about $114,000 short of its goal.  The project, known as I2I, is a partnership between the Murrells Inlet 2020 revitalization group, Tidelands Health and Georgetown County. The first phase was due to...
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Land swap prompts work on new design for boat landing

State engineers are working on a plan to reconfigure the parking lot and driveway at the Murrells Inlet Boat Landing to allow Belin Methodist Church to consolidate property to expand its facilities. “We’re hoping to make it better,” Andy Wicker, chief engineer for the state Department of Natural Resources,...
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Tweak in landscape rule brings call for parking study

An effort by restaurant owners to squeeze a few more parking spaces out of land along the creek at Murrells Inlet led the Georgetown County Planning Commission last week to call for a study of parking in the area. Although the amount of seating for restaurants is tied to...
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Plan will tear down a bar and put up a parking lot

A plan to replace a bar in Murrells Inlet with a parking lot hinges on a request by the property owner to change the way Georgetown County requires parking lots to be landscaped. It may also lead to a review of how much parking is available in the restaurant...
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Troubled intersection still four years away from fix

The backups on Bypass 17 caused by traffic trying to turn onto Tournament Boulevard have reached Pawleys Island, at least by word of mouth. “I have people tell me all the time how bad it is,” Pawleys Island Mayor Jimmy Braswell said. He joined the chorus of officials who...
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Restaurant seeks variance to variance for deck

A Murrells Inlet restaurant owner will get another chance to change the conditions on a variance that was issued 11 years ago after three hearings by Georgetown County. The owner of the former Capt. Dave’s Dockside wants to be able to build a deck between the restaurant and the...
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Council approves new Marlin Quay plan as lawsuit heads to Appeals Court

Plans for a new marina store and restaurant at Marlin Quay received final approval from Georgetown County Council this week. But the project continues to move through the courts with the marina owner seeking to overturn a Circuit Court ruling that limits the footprint of the new building. The...
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Fear of storm debris raises objections to fence

Fears that portions of a proposed fence at a home on Murrells Inlet would become storm debris prompted neighbors to oppose the owner’s request to allow a structure 2 feet higher than the county allows. Members of the Georgetown County Board of Zoning Appeals last week denied the request...
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Waccamaw High

Band marches with confidence toward Lower State competition

The Waccamaw High marching band heads to the Lower State competition Saturday at White Knoll High School in Lexington.  Last year, the band placed sixth and earned a chance to compete in the state final.  The band has won their first two competitions, picking up eight trophies. The band...
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Band’s halftime show delivers timely message to kids

People watching the Waccamaw High School marching band’s show this year will get a lesson in acceptance. “True Colors” is the story of a young girl who has been rejected by the other members of the band. Slowly, as the performance continues, they accept her.   The moral of...
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A walk to the future for 189 seniors and 1 teacher

Another school year has come and gone and 189 members of the Class of 2019 officially said goodbye to Waccamaw High School and hello to the  future last night. First-year principal Adam George said he will always remember these seniors, the first graduating class in his tenure. “It’s always...
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Deaths and addiction propel WHS grad’s journey

Jessie Grieb and Mike Plante share several bonds. They have both struggled with addiction and lost brothers to overdoses. They are now sharing the road as part of the East Coast Overdose Awareness Walk from Fort Kent, Maine, on the Canadian border, to Key West, Fla. Grieb, 26, a...
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Fundraising is a team sport for the Warriors

Having five children who played a sport at Waccamaw High School gives Scott Eddy a vested interest in supporting athletics at the school. Eddy has settled in as president of the WHS Athletic Booster Club since taking over the position from Brian Henry in May. As a member of...
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Two districts will share access road

Traffic to the Waccamaw High softball field will be able to share the access road to the nearby sewer treatment plant under an agreement up for approval by the Georgetown County Water and Sewer District. The school board approved the deal last week. The shared road agreement is the...
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Churches

New pastor steps into some large shoes

There is a new man leading the faithful of Belin Memorial United Methodist Church for the first time in 14 years. Will Malambri was installed as senior pastor on July 14. So far he and his family have found the congregation “warm and receptive.” “We’re thankful for that,” Malambri...
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Belin Methodist’s longest-serving pastor has seen flock double

You’ll have to excuse the members of Belin Memorial United Methodist Church if they’ve been a little tearful this week. The parishioners are saying goodbye to the Rev. Mike Alexander, the pastor who has led them for the past 14 years. “This has been an incredible place, I love...
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New roof leads to renovations at 54-year-old sanctuary

St. Mary AME Church recently underwent a $107,000 facelift and a special guest is visiting this weekend to help the parishioners celebrate. Bishop Samuel L. Green Sr., presiding prelate, Seventh Episcopal District AME Church, will be on hand for a dedication of the church’s new roof and a worship...
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African children’s choir ministry reaches out to county

A choir of African children  perform at Georgetown Presbyterian Church on Wednesday as a way to give their testimony, spread the Gospel, and raise money for people back home. Mary Lu Norris, director of music ministries at the church, views the concert as a community outreach project, and said...
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Feeding a hunger beyond learning

Hundreds of children in Georgetown County eat two meals every day in school. But when the weekend comes, many families go without. Two local churches are trying to help with that. St. Peter’s Lutheran Church and Belin Memorial United Methodist Church are both home to Backpack Buddies programs, which...
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Real Estate

Industrial site vote delayed over doubts on tax surplus

A plan to buy property for an industrial park on the Sampit River was delayed by Georgetown County Council this week after citizens questioned whether $3.75 million in surplus sales tax could be used to fund the purchase. The county obtained an option on the 948-acre timber tract in...
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Litchfield Plantation opens doors to renovation

Property owners at Litchfield Plantation have brought the 18th century home at the heart of the community back to life. And they haven’t seen any sign of the ghosts reputed to inhabit the property. “If there is a ghost, it’s a happy ghost,” said Angie Bunn, president of the...
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Attention shoppers, rezoning on Aisle 1

Pawleys Island will not get a sixth grocery store. Planning on a Lidl supermarket next to the Publix on Highway 17 halted over a year ago. The owner of the site is now asking Georgetown County to restore the original zoning of office and retail uses. “Lidl walked out...
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Family firm in hands of new family

Doc Lachicotte knew his own children wouldn’t be able to take over the real estate business that bears his name. But he was still able to pass it on to the next generation with the sale earlier this year to the children of one of his long-time development partners....
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Flood

Barriers buy time for Highway 17

A water-filled flexible barrier is in place between the Waccamaw and Pee Dee rivers to hold back rising waters that are expected to cover Highway 17 this week. It won’t be enough to keep the road open, according to the head of the state Department of Transportation. “Worst case...
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County expects waters won’t reach forecast extremes

Georgetown County officials believe flooding will not reach the extremes initially forecast as the rain that fell across the Carolinas during Hurricane Florence last week makes its way down the rivers. Administrator Sel Hemingway said Wednesday that the water flowing through the Waccamaw River is moving slower than first...
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Water supply protected from too much water

A 4-foot berm went up this week around the pump station for the plant that supplies drinking water to Waccamaw Neck residents. Flooding in the Waccamaw River poses the dilemma of having too much water and yet not enough. Georgetown County Water and Sewer District’s main source of water...
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Education

Gun at GHS prompts district review of safety policy

A loaded gun found in the possession of a student inside a high school last month has school officials examining district safety measures and may lead to a clear bag policy. On Oct. 22, three Georgetown High School students, two 17-year-olds and one 15-year-old, were arrested after two made...
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Report card ratings fall in 2nd round of new system

Four Waccamaw Neck schools  saw their overall ratings drop on state report cards released this week, including two – Waccamaw Intermediate and Coastal Montessori Charter – that saw double-digit declines. This is the second year the state has used the current formula to comply with the federal education law...
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Ex-Waccamaw administrators now assistant superintendents

Nine Georgetown County School District staff members and principals woke up Wednesday morning with new job titles, and some with new responsibilities.  According to Superintendent Randy Dozier,  the district is not through shifting people around yet. A handful of principals are ready for additional responsibilities, Dozier said, which means...
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Preservation brings new uses to old building

George Weathers used to arrive at school at 8:30 a.m. and say the Lord’s prayer at the first bell. There were two classroom with four or five rows of chairs: first grade through fourth and fifth through eighth. The teacher was strict, he said. That was in the 1940s....
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District adds to tax increase as other staff get pay raises

To balance its 2020 budget, the Georgetown County School District is considering a 5.9 mill increase which would bring in an extra $1.7 million a year. Earlier this year the district projected a $2.1 million deficit in 2020. With budget cuts, it was able to decrease that estimate to...
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Space for kids to blossom

Waccamaw Elementary School students and staff now have an oasis behind the school to use for education, relaxation and fun. The school’s Parent-Teacher Organization funded the renovation of the Dolphin Garden, which includes a sensory garden, outdoor classroom, butterfly bushes and eating area just outside of the cafeteria. “It’s...
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Charter school elects six new board members

There will be six new members on the board at Coastal Montessori Charter School in the coming year. The former vice-chairman is the only returning member in the election held this week. Tyler Esterling, Paula Johnson and Carla Todd were elected to two-year terms. Kathy Redwine, Joy Burch, Kimberly...
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Student suicides prompt a search for answers

A grief-stricken Waccamaw High School community gathered on Monday to pray, comfort each other and try to find a way forward after a student committed suicide last week, the second to take his own life since the beginning of April. “It’s been a very emotional time for everyone involved,...
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Waccamaw Middle teacher is district’s top rookie

Becca-Lyn McRobbie knew when she was in middle school in New Jersey that she wanted to be a teacher. “When I was growing up I always pictured myself being a teacher,” McRobbie said. “It was something that always caught my attention and I was always influenced by my family...
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Wired world challenges student creativity

Hundreds of students crammed into the cafeteria and  the media center at Waccamaw Intermediate School last week to show off their creativity, innovation, critical thinking, decision making and problem solving. Students from every grade and every Georgetown County school were on hand to compete in the district’s annual tech...
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Pointed questions in survey that led charter school director to quit

A survey that the former director suggested to find out why teachers and students were leaving Coastal Montessori Charter School turned into a poll on her management of the school, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.  The school’s board released the questions, but not the...
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Waccamaw High team talks itself into a ninth state championship

The 11 members of the Waccamaw High School competitive speech team are very good at what they do. There’s very little debate about that, even though debating is something they do best. The Windtalkers won the Class 3A state championship earlier this month. It was the ninth Class 2A...
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Hall of fame remembers teacher who gave voice to county’s past

Florida Yeldell, a lifelong educator, was inducted as the ninth member of the Georgetown County Women’s Hall of Fame last week. “She touched the lives of hundreds of students, drawing them in with her quiet presence, holding them fast to the ideals of scholarship and excellence, believing that her...
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Intermediate school named Palmetto’s Finest

As hundreds of people waited anxiously Tuesday to find out if Waccamaw Intermediate would be named one of the state’s best schools, the unthinkable happened: the two computers set up to live stream the announcement failed. As school staff struggled to fix the glitches, principal Tim Carnahan and other...
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Waccamaw High defends its title in district’s Senior Academic Bowl

Waccamaw High School extended its streak of Senior Academic Bowl wins to six last week by sweeping through this year’s tournament at the Beck Education Center. “It means a lot, it means keeping the streaking going and keeping this in our pocket every year,” said Covey Loftus, captain of...
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Charter director cited board’s conduct in resignation

The director of Coastal Montessori Charter School resigned  in January because she felt she was being undermined by the school’s board of directors, according to internal documents. Nathalie Hunt’s tenure as director came to a quick end during a two-week period in January. On Jan. 9, Hunt sent a...
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As charter school seeks new principal, old one still draws salary

As the search continues for a new director of the Coastal Montessori Charter School, the old director is being paid two-thirds of her salary as a consultant. Nathalie Hunt informed the school’s board on Jan. 11 that she would leave at the end of the school year. Three days...
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Expo for county eighth-graders draws students from across region

Eighth-grade classrooms in Georgetown County were empty this week as students headed to Myrtle Beach for a career expo. Pathways 2 Possibilities, hosted by the Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation, brought scores of employers to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center to expose about 6,000 students from seven counties in the...
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School district suspends search for deputy superintendent

There was no shortage of qualified applicants for the job of deputy superintendent of Georgetown County Schools. They may have been too qualified. “We had a good group of folks,” School Board Chairman Jim Dumm said. “A number of them were up for other positions.” The board decided this...
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Charter school sees fortunes rise with more state funding

Coastal Montessori Charter School will get nearly $445,000 more in state and federal funds this year due to a rise in enrollment and government spending on education. The increase includes $180,275 more in elementary funding, $100,238 in primary funding and $84,993 in Pupils in Poverty funding.  “It’s a much...
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Charter school parents press for details on director’s departure

Two weeks after the sudden departure of the Coastal Montessori Charter School director Nathalie Hunt, parents and staff asked the school’s board this week for details. About 30 people attended the charter board’s meeting. Board chairman Ryan Fabbri started off by telling everyone that Hunt’s departure had “absolutely nothing”...
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Lamp of learning still shines while district considers new logo

The Georgetown County School District has a design for a new logo, but no timetable yet for adoption. The current logo is divided into four quadrants with intricate drawings representing the areas of the district, surrounded by words and leaves and topped by a lamp of learning. The proposed...
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Blue Ribbon winner in running for Palmetto’s Finest

Students and staff at Waccamaw Intermediate School began a frenzied search this morning for Chomper. The plush toy alligator can be elusive. Just before the winter break, it was found hidden in the lost-and-found. “Go into a school and look for dimples. Dimples on the staff, dimples on the...
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Charter school director who oversaw expansion announces departure

The director of Coastal Montessori Charter School announced this week that she will step down. Nathalie Hunt is the second director since the school opened in 2011 and oversaw its move to a new building. “This decision was not easy.  I truly consider this school my first child –...
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Drug testing proposal causes talk (as intended)

Michael Cafaro was subject to random tests for drugs and alcohol as the Georgetown High  principal because he was also licensed to drive a school bus. “I was able to brag to the staff and students that I was drug free,” he said. He proposed a way to get...
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Funds approved to cover charter school shortfall this year

The Georgetown County School Board agreed this week to restore funding to the Coastal Montessori Charter School that was cut after the discovery that the wrong numbers were used in the calculation. The move will proved an additional $225,000 to the charter school, which is sponsored by the district....
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Courts

Former DOT chairman sues website over corruption claims

The former chairman of the state Department of Transportation commission has sued a political website saying it damaged his reputation with false accusations that he was involved in scandal and corruption at the agency. Mike Wooten of Murrells Inlet seeks actual and punitive damages from FITSNews and its owner...
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Tourism

Park rebuilds nature center – and memories – 3 years after fire

A gantry peeks above the oaks, cedars and pines that border the salt marsh. A forest of pilings is rising as Huntington Beach State Park rebuilds the nature center that was destroyed by a lightning fire three years ago. “The nature center that we had previously worked great. It...
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Director departs after 18 months

The Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce is looking for a tourism development director. Jennifer Norman, who was hired by the county Chamber in July 2017, resigned last month to rejoin her husband, who is a professor of tourism at Clemson University. Before coming to Georgetown, Norman worked as the...
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Commission ready to bid Hammock Coast farewell

Not many locals think they live on the Hammock Coast and the people in charge of spending money to market the county want to know if non-locals even know where the Hammock Coast is. The fate of the Hammock Coast brand was a hot topic at the monthly meeting...
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Georgetown County

As clock ticks down, administrator search gears up

Georgetown County may need to find an interim administrator as it seeks a replacement for Administrator Sel Hemingway. It will also be looking for a new county attorney. Hemingway agreed this week to delay his planned retirement from Dec. 31 to Feb. 29 with the understanding that he would...
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Spurned by top pick, council resumes administrator search

Georgetown County Council will hire a search firm to help find a new county administrator after its top choice for the job turned down the offer. The council voted 4-3 last week to offer the job to David Garner, director of Abbeville County. He was one of three finalists...
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Council looks beyond its borders for new administrator

Citing a need for a new perspective, Georgetown County Council voted this week to hire the next administrator from the midlands. David Garner, 34, director of Abbeville County will start contract negotiations following a 4-3 vote. He was hired over Ray Funnye, the county Public Services director, and Brian...
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Engagement is a priority for administrator finalists

The three finalists for Georgetown County administrator share a vision for public engagement. County Council is scheduled to decide next week whose vision they share. Ray Funnye, the county’s Public Services director; Brian Tucker, its Economic Development director; and David Garner, director of Abbeville County, were selected from 37...
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Two locals in final three for top job

The director of Abbeville County and two Georgetown County department heads are the finalists for county administrator. Ray Funnye, the county director of Public Works, and Brian Tucker, the Economic Development director, were the only two county employees among the 37 candidates. They emerged as finalists after interviews on...
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Portion of sales tax surplus will fund industrial park purchase

Georgetown County will use $3.75 million collected from a capital projects sales tax to buy 948 acres on the Sampit River for an industrial park. The county has until the end of the month to exercise an option on the former timber company tract it obtained in 2017. The...
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Two department heads considered for administrator’s job

Two county officials are in the running for Georgetown County administrator. Ray Funnye, the Public Services director, and Brian Tucker, director of Economic Development, were among nearly 40 applicants. A new administrator should be under contract by the end of October as Georgetown County Council narrows the field of...
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Business license fee triggers objections

Georgetown County staff will continue to research a business license fee, but members of County Council say they are concerned about the impact on local firms.  The proposal is one of several offered by Administrator Sel Hemingway as a way to raise revenue to offset deficits in the county...
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Business license plan draws muted response

A proposal to create a business license to help balance Georgetown County’s budget has stirred little comment, area business groups say. County Council is due to discuss the idea at a workshop next week. “I haven’t really heard anything,” Council Chairman John Thomas said. The Georgetown County Chamber of...
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Plan for business licenses has groups gauging impact

Local business groups are seeking input from their members on a proposal by Georgetown County to implement a business license. “We certainly would want to discuss it,” Beth Stedman, president of the Chamber of Commerce, said. She planned to send out a survey to chamber members this week. A...
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Business license pitched as way to cut budget deficits

A business license and a change in the way Georgetown County funds its capital improvement plan are key to a proposal to create a sustainable budget.  The county drew on reserves to plug budget deficits in the last two fiscal years. This year, it also used one-time federal disaster...
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County administrator will leave at year’s end

Sel Hemingway will retire as Georgetown County administrator at the end of the year. His announcement to County Council members in a closed session this week followed a meeting in which Hemingway reminded the members that this year’s $90.5 million budget is not sustainable. “None of that was really...
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Atop no one’s list, jail upgrade looms as major capital project

As Georgetown County starts to look at ways to spend surplus sales tax, and projects to pitch to voters for another round of the local 1-cent tax, a project that is not high on anyone’s list is likely to rise to the top. The county needs to repair or...
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Cycling event opens gateway for rural tourism

The road stretches out between stands of pine, broken by stray fingers of cypress swamp and overhanging oaks. There are no houses, but there are gates that announce the rice plantations that gave Plantersville its name. The geography of the community along the Pee Dee River is the mirror...
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Sales tax drops by a penny after 4 years

Shoppers in Georgetown County awoke Wednesday to a 14 percent tax cut. A 1-cent capital improvement sales tax adopted by voters in 2014 expired on April 30. The sales tax rate is now 6 percent. The extra penny was intended to raise $28.2 million for a Murrells Inlet dredging...
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Governor won’t remove Beard, counsel tells local NAACP

Gov. Henry McMaster doesn’t have the authority or the need to remove a Georgetown County Council member from office because he is not a registered voter in the district he represents, according to the governor’s office. The county Board of Voter Registration and Elections ruled last month that Council...
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Beard will file appeal of election board ruling

Council Member Austin Beard will appeal the decision of the Georgetown County election commission that he is not a registered voter in the district he represents. “It leaves some options open. Hopefully, I can get information and make an informed decision,” Beard said. A notice of appeal submitted to...
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Ruling on residency leaves council member’s future in doubt

A Georgetown County Council member who was poised to become chairman less than three months ago is now deciding whether he should resign following a ruling last week that he does not live in the district he represents. The county Board of Voter Registration and Elections voted unanimously that...
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From the government? They’re here to help

The shutdown of the federal government now in its fifth week may seem like a far away problem to most of the residents of Georgetown County, but it’s hitting home at Coast Guard Station Georgetown. There are 40 guardsmen stationed in Georgetown, and more than 30 of them have...
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Council member residency challenge likely to end in court

A hearing on Friday will determine whether County Council Member Austin Beard is a voter in the district that he represents. It won’t determine whether he is eligible to continue to serve, officials say. The local chapter of the NAACP filed a challenge to Beard’s voter status last week...
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Thomas takes up gavel as County Council chairman

John Thomas, who won re-election to County Council District 1 by 67 votes last year, was elected council chairman this week by 4 votes. The vote followed a complaint from three groups, including the county’s NAACP chapter, that the council’s vice chairman, Austin Beard, no longer lives in his...
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The quiet man | Retiring council chairman built consensus on contentious issues

The speakers wanted to talk about Johnny Morant and his 25 years on County Council, the last 10 as chairman. Morant wanted to talk about the community. “The community has done a lot for me, has helped me throughout,” he said. It isn’t about the council, he added. “We’re...
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Brookgreen Gardens

For seasonal light display, only constant is change

Brookgreen Gardens’ slogan is “Ever Changing, Simply Amazing,” and staff and volunteers take that to heart every year when designing and installing Nights of a Thousand Candles. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the holiday extravaganza, which opens tonight. Visitors will see some new designs, along with annual...
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Thousands of candles and a few rings as well

John Paul “J.” Robertson IV grew up attending summer camps at Brookgreen Gardens. So when the 29-year-old decided to pop the question to his girlfriend, Charlotte Woodward, 28, the location was a no-brainer. “When I thought about getting engaged I wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else,” Robertson said....
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Legislature

Efforts to restart nuclear project factor into Santee Cooper sale

Investors are proposing to resume construction on reactors at the V.C. Summer nuclear power plant or convert the plant to natural gas. Those options need to be weighed before the state legislature considers offers to sell Santee Cooper, the state-owned utility, state Sen. Stephen Goldfinch told constituents this week....
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In Santee Cooper debate, lawmakers say ratepayers will be top priority

State legislators say they will focus on ratepayers rather than ideology when they consider proposals to sell Santee Cooper, the state-owned electric utility. A report on four offers from private utilities is expected to emerge next month from a committee reviewing the sale. Santee Cooper provides retail power to...
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POAs asked to support Santee Cooper sale by state

Concern about the future of electricity rates in the wake of the failed V.C. Summer nuclear plant offers the Waccamaw Neck Council of Property Owners Associations an opportunity to raise its profile as a community forum, but members decided this week they want more information themselves before tackling the...
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Nonprofits

Nonprofit’s pool awash with kids during summer

When the schools empty, the pool behind Teach My People fills up. As the area’s closest thing to a public pool, it is used by kids in the nonprofit’s summer program and by other groups. “Swimming is not only a great recreation but I think it’s vital that our...
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Cooking with Friends offers a recipe to help meet community needs

Twenty-five lucky people dined on Pawleys Creek foragers stew and berry clafoutis for the Cooking with Friends finale in the Cypress Room at Get Carried Away. Tickets were hotter than a blue flame for the event last month, the last of four such fund raisers this year to benefit...
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Pavilion reunion lets the good times unroll

Most of the people who attend the Pawleys Pavilion Reunion every year never got a chance to dance at any of the island’s four pavilions, the last of which was destroyed by a fire in 1970. But this year’s attendees will be able to have their pictures made with...
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In a campaign driven by social media, puppies still hard to beat

The third annual Palmetto Giving Day was another success, raising $1.2 million on Tuesday for 48 Georgetown County nonprofits. Teach My People in Pawleys Island was the top fundraiser, taking in $125,390 from 128 donors. Helping Hands of Georgetown raised $115,000, the second most on Tuesday, from 131 donors....
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Palmetto Giving Day sets target of $1.5M for county groups

Dozens of nonprofits that serve Georgetown County residents are hoping for an infusion of donations on Tuesday during the third annual Palmetto Giving Day. Teach My People in Pawleys Island has a goal of raising $100,000, according to executive director Eric Spatz. The nonprofit, which is an after-school and...
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Singer who grew up in foster care performs to aid Tara Hall

Country music singer Jimmy Wayne is in Pawleys Island this week to help Tara Hall Home for Boys celebrate its 50th anniversary. Wayne, 42, has a special connection to the nonprofit: he spent a great deal of his youth in North Carolina’s foster care system and said not much...
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Student fundraising effort can’t keep slime in stock

Coastal Montessori Charter School classrooms have been filled with slime this month, but it’s for a good cause. Sophia Kirk, 10, and her classmates have been selling the homemade stuff to raise money for a good cause: the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  “Everybody at the school likes slime so...
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The Crown – Revived pageant adds another title

Eleven women with dreams of being Miss America, or Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, battled it out on a Saturday night to take the first step of that journey. They were competing for the titles of Miss Georgetown County and Miss Five Rivers inside the Waccamaw High School auditorium.  After...
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Souper Bowl offers choices for every palate

People looking for soup to warm their insides during the recent cold snap will have plenty of choices on Saturday during the 21st annual Souper Bowl. The event is a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity Georgetown County. There will be a flock of choices for people hungry for the...
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Environment

Baruch Foundation seeks clear title to marshes and ricefields

Three centuries after the first land grant and 55 years after its creation, the Belle W. Baruch Foundation has gone to court to confirm that it owns all of the property known as Hobcaw Barony, particularly 8,000 acres of marsh. A suit filed last month in Circuit Court asks...
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Education seen as critical to addressing climate change

Education is the key to dealing with a changing climate, according to the head of the federal agency responsible for coastal science. “I think the top-down solution ultimately starts with the bottom-up solution in the education process,” said Neil Jacobs, acting administrator of NOAA. And that includes the University...
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Rice defends vote against drilling moratorium

A bill restoring a moratorium on oil and gas leases that passed the U.S. House last week did so without the support of 7th District Rep. Tom Rice. It’s a vote offshore drilling opponents say they will remember. “It sends a very important message to a majority of his...
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Record sea turtle season hits ‘screeching halt’

Hurricane Dorian took its toll on sea turtle nests in the area, washing away about 45 from DeBordieu to North Myrtle Beach. “The season is coming to a screeching halt,” said Jeff McClary, co-founder of South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts. Despite the loss, it has been a record-setting year...
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Oh, rats! Outbreak has gator wrangler scurrying

They are fond of soap as well as candy bars. They are also looking for water and a place to call home. Pawleys Island has an issue. “We can’t even say it out loud,” said Rachel Lankford, who works for Clark’s Termite and Pest Control. Now that Labor Day...
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Waccamaw refuge program builds stewardship

There is always something going on at the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge: building, cleaning, trapping, installing and restoring. At the top of the trapping list are the feral hogs that decimate parts of the refuge’s youth hunting areas. “With the floods, it’s pushed them up into a lot of...
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Tree rules may extend into state right of way

The threat posed to eight oak trees along Waverly Road by sewer line construction has prompted planners to consider amending Georgetown County’s tree ordinance. The current code, revised last year, doesn’t apply to the state right of way. “We can do that, legally. We did not do that,” Boyd...
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Sewer line dispute threatens oaks

Heavy equipment parked under a row of oak trees along Waverly Road sent county officials scrambling this week to prevent the trees from being cut to install a sewer line for a new development. “They’re getting ready to dig up eight large live oak trees,” D. Russell told Georgetown...
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State imports NC oyster shells to build up Murrells Inlet reefs

Approximately 7,500 bushels of oyster shells were added to nine reefs off Murrells Inlet during the last week. The project, led by Michael Hodges, was part of state Department of Natural Resources  oyster recycling enhancement program. It’s a yearly event for the inlet. “Every year there’s a lot of...
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State cites ‘significant’ risks to fish in rebuffing seismic tests

The seismic tests used to locate potential sources of offshore oil and gas “pose an undetermined but significant risk” to the state’s fisheries, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, which this week denied certification of a permit to conduct the test. The agency called for...
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Simulation leads to call for task force on flooding

The citizens of Riverway County have spoken. They are concerned about increased flooding from a changing climate and are looking to local government to help prepare. “We see a unified vision,” Maeve Snyder said. She is the coastal training coordinator at the National Estuarine Research Reserve based at USC’s...
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Sea turtle nesting rebounds to record levels

After a historically low nesting season in 2018, sea turtles have returned to the South Carolina coast in droves.  There have been more than 200 nests this year from North Inlet to North Myrtle Beach, according to Jeff McClary, co-founder of the South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts, which is...
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Rice hopes Trump shift will end Atlantic leasing plan

U.S. Rep. Tom Rice sees growing opposition to offshore drilling among the state’s congressional delegation, but he told constituents last week that a bill that would ban oil and gas leases on the Atlantic coast has no chance of passage. The best chance to prevent offshore drilling is to...
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State reviews federal permit for sesimic tests

A month before a restriction on funding for state review of offshore oil and gas projects takes effect, the Department of Health and Environmental Control is preparing a response to a permit that will allow seismic testing.  WesternGeco applied in 2014 for a federal permit to conduct geological and...
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Groups appeal state permit for DeBordieu groins

The only thing missing was a judge as both sides in a dispute over a state permit to build three groins on the beach at DeBordieu argued their case last week. It was likely to be their last meeting until a state Administrative Law Court judge hears an appeal...
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Paddling around America

Steve Chard’s friends dared him to wear the hat. They are policemen in the county of Dorset in the southwest of England so it was hard to refuse. But the hat wasn’t a Bobby’s familiar headgear. It was from a bachelor’s party, bright pink and iridescent. After almost 4,000...
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Offshore drilling opponents await federal proposal

While permits to allow testing for oil and gas off the South Carolina coast are being challenged in federal court, opponents of offshore drilling are expecting a decision any day about the plans to open the Outer Continental Shelf. The sale of leases by the Bureau of Ocean Energy...
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State issues permit for groins at DeBordieu

A beach nourishment project at DeBordieu that includes construction of three rock and concrete groins was approved by the state Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management last week. Conservation groups and the Belle W. Baruch Foundation are considering challenges, as they did in 2011 when the state issued...
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Beaches

Chairman backs off leash law revision

A plan to end the ability of owners to unleash their dogs on Georgetown County beaches is no longer on County Council Chairman John Thomas’ agenda after hearing from constituents. “I’m planning a strategic retreat,” he said this week. Georgetown County allows dogs on the beach to be off...
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Litchfield group presses county to follow state’s leash law

Property owners at the Litchfield Beaches want Georgetown County to follow state law when it comes to keeping dogs on a leash. They have the backing of County Council Chairman John Thomas, a North Litchfield resident. Georgetown County allows dogs on the beach to be off the leash from...
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Roads

New pitch for long-awaited bike path connector

Georgetown County will try again to get a $100,000 state grant to complete a key section of the Bike the Neck route that was denied last year. It is the same grant that the county had to return to the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism in 2014...
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County finds new caretakers for ‘orphan median’

Crews went to work last week clearing weeds and trash from 1.9 miles of landscaped median along Highway 17 in the Pawleys Island business district. After two years of false hopes, the area known as the “orphan median” has a new family. “They’re finally at work,” said Brian Tucker,...
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You think traffic’s bad? Study wants to know more

An interactive map is giving the public a way to highlight problems along the Highway 17 corridor on Waccamaw Neck. It went live last week as part of a long-awaited traffic study. David Gundling highlighted three places in the Pawleys Island business district where he would like to see...
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Cracks in paving add to delay on parkway

Faulty concrete on a bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway has delayed the opening of the newest phase of the Carolina Bays Parkway at least until the fall, according to the state Department of Transportation. The project has already been delayed two years. Lawmakers say they have tried for months...
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Bike the neck North Litchfield connector faces further delay

Georgetown County has the long-sought easements to build the next phase of the Bike the Neck trail through North Litchfield, but bikes will likely continue to share the neighborhood streets for the next two summers. The project missed out on state funding and Georgetown County wants to use its...
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County picks firm to study Highway 17 corridor

The firm that designed the raised median along Highway 17 in the Pawleys Island business district will conduct a review of land use along the highway corridor on Waccamaw Neck. A $200,000 contract with Stantec was approved by County Council last month. The land use review will be done...
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Arts

In a cast of ‘dog people,’ one stands out

It’s only natural that when there’s a play about how a dogs change people’s lives, that the actors and director are all dog people. Such is the case with “Sylvia,” the latest production of the Swamp Fox Players, which opens Nov 7.  “Sylvia,” written by A.R. Gurney, is the...
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Actor takes favorite author to Piccolo Spoleto stage

Bill Oberst Jr. is bringing author Ray Bradbury to life at this year’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston.  For the show, Oberst draws from Bradbury’s own words and is accompanied by video clips, an original score, plus snippets of classic Bradbury movies, such as “Something Wicked This Way Comes”...
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Road to the altar isn’t smooth in troupe’s new production

The Swamp Fox Players are tackling farce in their latest production, “Sandy Toes and Salty Kisses,” which opens next week. The play was written by the husband-and-wife team of Michael and Susan Parker in 2018. It has become so popular so quickly that the Swamp Fox production is one...
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A Lowcountry tradition has transformed beyond a craft

Corey Alston was a reluctant sweetgrass artist. The Lowcountry tradition goes back hundreds of years, but was maintained by women. Alston, who recently spoke as part of the Reign of Rice series at Brookgreen Gardens, is a fifth generation sweetgrass basket artist from Mount Pleasant. His grandmother, Mary Jane...
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Love comes the second time around for director’s debut

Love is in the air at the Strand Theater in Georgetown. The Swamp Fox Players kick off the new season this week with “Almost, Maine.” The play takes place within a 10-minute timeframe in a small New England town before the aurora borealis appears. The town got its name from...
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Sports

27th Guy Osborne Memorial Turtle Strut results

There were 102 runners registered for the 27th running of the Pawleys Island Turtle Strut, and 91 turned out at the starting line in spite of temperatures that dipped into the upper 30s. This year’s 5K race was a benefit for the Family Justice Center. Here are the results...
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Warriors ready to add winning to their résumé

Waccamaw High School football coach Shane Fidler believes his team needs to get a win early this season to provide some momentum and confidence. The Warriors didn’t win a game until October last year, and that broke a 24-game losing streak. They then lost their final two games. “If...
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Summer league adds 53 more games to season for former WHS standout

When Jaret Montenery was growing up in Lima, Ohio, his family hosted college baseball players who were playing for local teams in a summer league. The tables have been turned as Montenery, a 2018 Waccamaw High graduate, is now a college student staying with a Wilmington, N.C., family while...
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WHS grad leads Polish team to football league final

At 26, Alex Burdette has already experienced what head coaches in every sport work for: his team played for its league championship. The 2011 Waccamaw High School graduate led the Białystok Lowlanders to Polish Bowl XIV on June 29.  “Having the opportunity to be a part of the championship...
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New Orleans to Murrells Inlet – A ride to remember

For James Brown it’s another year, another ride. The former Waccamaw High School teacher and coach left on his bicycle from Bourbon Street in New Orleans Thursday morning planning to pull into the parking lot at Uncle Tito’s in Murrells Inlet 10 days later. The 900-mile ride is the...
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Lucky 13 club gathers to relive aces

Thirteen is not an unlucky number for at least 27 residents of Pawleys Plantation. They have all had at least one ace on the 13th hole of Pawleys Plantation’s golf course. Some of the group gathered at Barb and John LoCascio’s house near the 14th hole last week to...
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WHS softball coach retires – for the third time

Waccamaw High softball coach James Graves is retiring, again. “It’s time,” Graves said. “I think we had a good year. You always wanted more but the kids played hard.” He broke the news to his coaches and players last week. Waccamaw finished 13-12-1 this season, losing to Aynor in...
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WHS advances in softball playoffs

Waccamaw High’s softball team outlasted Swansea 1-0 on Thursday night in the first round of the Class 3A Lower State playoffs. “The kids played well,” Warriors coach James Graves said. “It was a good ball game. Both teams played hard and played well. Neither team hit the ball very...
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Top angler finds glory along the Waccamaw

Stetson Blaylock came to Georgetown last week to do a little fishing and went home $100,000 richer on Sunday. The angler from Benton, Ark., won the Bassmaster Elite tournament by catching 50.15 pounds of fish, nine ounces more than the second-place finisher, Scott Canterbury of Odenville, Ala. “I look...
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Top anglers return to county in search of $100K prize

Georgetown County’s five rivers will be full of fishermen angling for a $100,000 jackpot starting Thursday, as the Bassmaster Elite Series returns to the area.  The series is the highest level of professional bass fishing tournaments. Georgetown is the fourth stop of 10 this year. Anglers will begin their...
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Boys launch campaign for skate park

Three boys are looking for a safe place to do fakies, pops, grinds and flips. Stowe Benston, Jayce Heenan and Truman Miller have started a campaign to build support for a skate park in the Pawleys Island area. Stowe is skateboarder. Jayce and Truman ride scooters. “A lot of...
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Warriors ready to defend Coastal Invitational title

Play is under way at Warrior Field as Waccamaw High hosts  the 13th annual Coastal Invitational Baseball Tournament. The Warriors are the defending champions. “Every time I put the uniform on I think we’ve got a chance to win, so I think we have a good chance to win...
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Land use

Developer withdraws plan for lots on tennis courts

The score stands at 4-0 in the fight over the future of the former Litchfield Racquet Club as another developer has asked to withdraw a rezoning request rather than face denial by Georgetown County Council. It is the fifth plan served up for the facility this year and the...
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Planners ‘Say No to Rezone’

Hundreds of area residents packed into a meeting last week to oppose a zoning change that would replace 17 vacant tennis courts with 19 residential lots. About two thirds filtered out before the Planning Commission voted down the proposal, but the cheering still echoed through the room. AmeriBuilt Homes...
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Planning staff recommends approval of lots at former racquet club

The Georgetown County planning staff is recommending approval of a request to create new residential lots from the vacant courts at the former Litchfield Racquet Club. The Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the request Oct. 17. Three other requests to change the “planned development” zoning at the...
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Tree rule change blocks cutting of Waverly oaks

Oak trees along Waverly Road that were in the way of a sewer line can’t be cut without approval from Georgetown County under a change to the zoning ordinance approved this week. The ordinance exempts public utilities. An amendment passed by County Council specifies that private utilities must comply...
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Forum solicits visions for Highway 17 corridor

The Highway 17 corridor through the Waccamaw Neck needs more landscaping and turn lanes. It needs more fast food and fine dining. It needs more enforcement of speed limits and more kindness. It also needs more flounder. Consultants are compiling the opinions from over 100 area residents who this...
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Latest plan for shuttered racquet club proposes larger lots

The newest plan for the former Litchfield Racquet Club calls for 19 single-family lots in the place of 17 empty clay courts. At 10,000 square feet, the lots are more than twice the size of 32 lots proposed for the 8.5 acres in June. The property is owned by...
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Plan for Litchfield Racquet Club withdrawn a third time

The latest plan to redevelop the Litchfield Racquet Club was withdrawn Thursday, following the fate of two earlier requests. The decision came a week after a meeting between the developer and Georgetown County planning staff, who said they would recommend that a traffic study be completed before the Planning Commission...
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Pawleys ‘downtown’ has place in county plan update

Creating a “downtown district” in the Pawleys Island area is among the recommendations the Georgetown County Planning Commission will consider as it starts work today on an update of the future land-use plan. A draft proposal of goals and strategies suggests a mix of commercial, professional and residential uses...
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New plan for vacant tennis club looks like the old one

The new developer of the former Litchfield Racquet Club has submitted a plan for houses on the property that has changed little from the one the former developer withdrew last month. The plan calls for 32 single-family homes on lots of 4,600 square feet. The 8.5 acres are part...
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Second plan for racquet club withdrawn after a week

A second plan for development of the former Litchfield Racquet Club was withdrawn Thursday, a week after it was submitted to Georgetown County planners. The revised plan would have replaced the 17 clay courts with 32 single-family lots that would be about half the size of the adjacent residential...
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Rezoning fight shifts from tennis to open space

A campaign to save the former Litchfield Racquet Club has now shifted direction, with a coalition of area residents calling on the county to preserve the site as open space. About 75 people showed up at the Georgetown County Planning Commission meeting last week even though a plan to...
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Developer withdraws plan for 108 apartments as staff urges denial

A developer has asked to withdraw a request to rezone the former Litchfield Racquet Club to allow 108 one-bedroom apartments. A public hearing on the project was scheduled today before the county Planning Commission. The request from Trey Smith follows a recommendation to the commission from the county planning...
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Plan calls for 108 apartments to replace vacant tennis courts

A plan for the former Litchfield Racquet Club calls for 108 efficiency apartments to replace the 17 clay tennis courts. The project faces a public hearing before the Georgetown County Planning Commission next month. Former club members are organizing to save the facility from redevelopment. The last matches were...
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Milestones

After 105 years, one regret: giving up that ’61 Corvette

It’s been 21 years since Mary Shumpert sold her beloved 1961 Corvette, and she still misses it dearly.  “I wish I had it right now,” Shumpert said. Now 105 and no longer able to drive, the feeling of loss has not dimmed. Her face lights up when she talks...
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WHS grads cover 2,653 miles in 128 days on Pacific Crest Trail

Two lifelong friends left Pawleys Island as Jackson and Blake, but after hiking the 2,653-mile-long Pacific Crest Trail, they earned the trail names “Whole Roll” and “Scar.” Jackson Stacy and Blake Marsh, both 22, have been best friends since preschool. They were on the soccer and cross country teams...
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Remembering Hurricane Hugo 30 years later

The following account was published Sept. 28, 1989.  The South Carolina coast was overdue for a storm. Last week it roared in with a vengeance. Seven days later there is still no count of the homes destroyed on Waccamaw Neck.  Officials estimate 100 homes were lost at Pawleys Island...
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The voice from Mission Control later followed Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon

Charlie Duke may be 83, but he can still claim the title of youngest man to walk on the moon. Duke was the lunar module pilot for Apollo 16 in 1972 and he and John Young spent more than 71 hours over three days driving a lunar roving vehicle...
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Remembering ‘ultimate challenge’ of Apollo 11

Bill and Joe Chandler were working for NASA in 1961 when President John F. Kennedy told Congress the United States should work toward landing a man on the moon, and returning him safely to Earth, before the end of the 1960s.  “From the get-go we knew it was a...
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Dalton Paschal, 100, didn’t think he would leave France alive in 1945

Dalton Paschal turned 100 last week. He was lucky to make it out of his 20s and still has the shrapnel as a reminder. It’s lodged in his left leg. He has been reading up lately about the battles that took place 75 years ago along the German border...
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Veterans

After kamikaze attacks, 75 years of giving thanks

Johnny Dieter of Pawleys Island was serving in the Navy during World War II when the Japanese unleashed a new form of warfare: pilots intentionally crashing their planes into enemy ships. “Their emperor was their God and it was a divine mission that those pilots were on,” said Dieter,...
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Who has Sgt. Atkin’s dog tag?

Bill Atkin joined the Marine Corps at 17, just shy of the first anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He served in the Pacific as a mechanic in a bomber squadron. He was a sergeant and not yet 21 when he returned home to Massachusetts in 1946....
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Safety

At 137 feet, ladder truck is state’s tallest

The tallest fire truck in South Carolina has arrived at Midway and Fire Rescue and will go into service next weekend. The new 12-foot-tall truck, Ladder 814, has a 137-foot ladder and cost $1.6 million. Assistant Chief Jim Crawford said the length of the ladder will allow Midway to...
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‘Secret season’ becomes ‘nervous season’ on coast

Jim Willis arrived at Waccamaw Middle School at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday to pick up sandbags to protect his Litchfield home if Hurricane Dorian brought flooding. More than two hours later Willis finally had 10 bags in the back of his pickup truck. The tourist season gave way to...
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Petition drive draws support for emergency signal system

A citizens’ effort to give fire and rescue vehicles priority at traffic signals has gathered over 700 signatures on a petition urging Georgetown County Council to adopt a plan that the council rejected last month. “Most people say, ‘Why don’t we have it?’ ” said Karen Yaniga, a leader...
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County emergency director will retire in August

Sam Hodge, the face of Georgetown County during hurricanes, flooding and other disasters, is retiring at the end of August. “The time has come for me to close this chapter,” Hodge said Wednesday. “After serving the residents and visitors of Georgetown County for nearly three decades, I just hope...
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Council says other needs top emergency vehicle signal system

Proponents of a system that would give fire trucks and ambulances priority at traffic signals waited three months to hear from Georgetown County Council about a the plan they first pitched in March. “We have provided you with a solution to a growing problem in our county. We have...
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Midway presses county for nine more EMS staff

Georgetown County will draw on its reserves to cover about $1.5 million in budget deficits for the coming year. County Council will start early looking for ways to stem the flow of red in for the next budget. “We expect to have the same type of situation next year,”...
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Traditions

Food programs that share the bounty for holidays and beyond

Food insecurity is a problem that affects thousands of Georgetown County residents. The issue becomes even more acute around holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it is something that people live with every day. Several nonprofits, and even a few individuals, are tackling the problem head-on. Baskervill Food Pantry...
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A century on the creekfront

A lot of things have changed in Murrells Inlet in the last 100 years. But at least four things have not: descendants of the families that owned property along the creek near Belin Memorial United Methodist Church still own that property. The Byars and Stedmans; the Rices; the Tillers,...
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Ben Marlow knows how to put on a show for the Fourth of July

People usually want to know what it costs. Ben Marlow won’t say. “It’s best left a secret,” he said. It’s enough to know that the fireworks that will dance across the night sky above Pawleys Creek on the Fourth of July are free for those who know where to...
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Politics

Carter Weaver wins GOP sheriff’s primary in landslide

Carter Weaver swept past a challenger in the GOP primary this week to secure his position as Georgetown County sheriff for another year. Weaver has been acting sheriff since the death in September of Lane Cribb, who served as sheriff for 27 years. Unofficial totals gave Weaver nearly 80...
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After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, hopes for Primary Tuesday

Poll workers estimated between 300 and 400 people showed up to vote for the Georgetown County sheriff’s candidates during this month’s Pawleys Island Town Council election. They went away empty handed. The candidates hope those voters will return for the GOP primary next week. Turnout is traditionally low for...
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Questions for the GOP candidates for sheriff

Darryel Carr, a former deputy, and Carter Weaver, the acting sheriff, are seeking the GOP nomination in a special election to fill the unexpired term of Sheriff Lane Cribb, who died in September. There will be no Democrat on the Feb. 4 ballot. Barring a write-in campaign, the sheriff...
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Weaver enjoys fundraising lead on eve of primary

Carter Weaver has spent more than twice as much as his opponent in his race to remain Georgetown County sheriff. And the former assistant sheriff has over $122,000 on hand as he approaches the Dec. 3 Republican Party primary with Darryel Carr, a former deputy. The winner of the...
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Race begins to fill sheriff’s vacant seat

Talk of a successor began as soon as the death of Sheriff Lane Cribb became known last week. He wouldn’t have been surprised. “I don’t take nothing for granted,” he said after filing for a seventh term in 2016. And he was looking ahead to 2020. “I’ve got too...
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Visit from high-profile candidate has party expecting more

In the last few months, four people who want to be the Democratic Party nominee for president in 2020 made campaign stops in Georgetown County, looking for votes in one of the reddest parts of a red state. Deb Smith, chairman of the county Democrats, said volunteers and activists...
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Books

Unlikely author delves into the history of Sunset Lodge

December will mark the 50th anniversary of the closing of Sunset Lodge, a brothel that operated outside Georgetown near what is now a county industrial park. Over 33 years it gained world-wide renown for a port city that projected a glow of Southern gentility from beneath the live oaks...
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Recreation

Private donations will fund Celebration Park on land leased from county

Property across from Waccamaw Middle School will become a site for celebration and reflection under a plan envisioned by the late Jim Bindner and being completed by his wife Cindy. Georgetown County Council this week agreed to lease about 7.5 acres to JB’s Celebration Park. The property is part...
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Health

A 12-hour walk offers a message of hope

Anyone who wanted a hug last Saturday night had to look no farther than the Waccamaw High School track where more than a dozen people wearing “Free Hugs” shirts were taking part in the “R.I.S.E. Above The Darkness” mental health walk. Jesse Robinette, a Waccamaw High School student, wore...
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Passages

A. Lane Cribb, 73, county’s longest-serving sheriff

If you spoke with Sheriff Lane Cribb for at least five minutes, he would probably consider you a friend after that. If the conversation went on any longer, he would try to figure if you were kin. “He was genuine. He was a real person,” Assistant Sheriff Carter Weaver...
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Pets

Cat’s disappearance, like his arrival, remains a mystery to family

A neighborhood has been searching for countless hours over the past two weeks for one of its beloved members; someone whose origin is just as unknown as his current whereabouts: a black cat with white patches and a clip on his ear that has been missing from Ricefields since...
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LOCAL EVENTS

Meetings

Georgetown County Parks and Recreation Commission: Dec. 2, 5:30 p.m., Beck Recreation Center.

Georgetown County Airport Commission: Dec. 3, 6 p.m., airport terminal.

Pawleys Island Town Council: Dec. 9, 5 p.m., Town Hall.

Georgetown County Sheriff’s Advisory Board: Dec. 10, 5 p.m.,  sheriff’s office, Georgetown.

Georgetown County Council: Dec. 10, 5:30 p.m., council chambers.

Georgetown County Democratic Party: Dec. 12, 6 p.m., 149 King St., Georgetown.

Tourism Management Commission: Dec. 19, 3:30 p.m., Chamber of Commerce office, Litchfield.

Georgetown County Planning Commission: Dec. 19, 5:30 p.m., County Council chambers.

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Churches

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