November 28, 2022

 

The Newberry Police Department has some holiday fun planned for the community this season with their upcoming “holiday duck find.”

Sergeant Caitlin Branch with the department said she was looking for a good way to bring the community together for the holiday season.

With the help of the department, there are 48 ducks that will be hidden in various areas throughout the city limits beginning Thursday, December 1. These ducks have a message written on the bottom to bring them back to the Newberry Police Department for a prize.

Branch said the hunt is intended for children and asks that one duck per child be brought in to claim a prize. The holiday ducks will be hidden in places such as downtown Newberry and various city parks.

Police Chief Kevin Goodman said when it came to the Newberry community, it took a village and that this was one way we could spend the holidays together.

“Community relations can start small and grow into trusting relationships between our department and the community,” Goodman said. “Something as simple as hiding ducks for children to find can have the children and their parents in conversations with police officers that they otherwise may not have had.”

Those with questions, may contact Branch at the police department by calling 803-321-1010.

November 11, 2022

 

Newberry Police Chief Kevin Goodman shared news with City Council on Tuesday that the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy would be using Newberry’s policies as a model for the different agencies throughout the state that were not yet accredited.

The Newberry Police Department has been an accredited agency since 2000, he said.

The SC Criminal Justice Academy chose six departments that they would be using as models for other agencies.

“I think that speaks volumes on where we are as an agency,” Goodman said.

Goodman elaborated on some of the standards and policies of the city’s police department that the academy would be sending across the state.

“We have a well-trained police force and we’re very proud of that,” Mayor Foster Senn said.

Goodman told council their department had been doing directed patrols each month and partnering with local agencies as well as state agencies. Recently, a partnership was formed with the organization, Parents Overseeding Planted Seeds to perform a skit and outreach in the Wise Street community and he said that was a powerful event.

As an update for the community, Senn spoke of Arbor Day, which is celebrated on the first Friday in December in South Carolina. The city plans to do a tree planting at a local elementary school as well as the Newberry Fire Department this year, he said.

Public Hearing

Senn held a public hearing for an ordinance to amend the zoning and future land use map for a parcel of land located at 1148 Copeland Street to R6 – Residential. First reading of the ordinance was held last month.

Hearing no comments in favor or opposition of the ordinance, the public hearing was closed.

Second and final reading was then held of the ordinance with a motion to approve made by Councilperson Carlton Kinard and seconded by Councilperson Edwin Wicker.

New Business

Under new business, council approved a request for outside water service for a property located at 2320 Vincent Street. The property owner agreed to execute an annexation covenant indicating a willingness to annex if the property became contiguous to the city limits and council determined it was in the best interest of the city to annex the property. There will be a $1,400 outside water tap fee.

Motion to approve the request was made by Councilperson Lemont Glasgow and seconded by Councilperson Jackie Holmes.

Council also approved a request to allow alcohol in designated areas for the Newberry Downtown Development Association (NDDA) Holiday Open House on Saturday, November 19. The NDDA requested permission to allow beer and wine only, served and sold from inside downtown businesses with a current alcohol license, using plastic cups to be no larger than 16 ounces, to be taken from the business into the outdoor event area. The event area includes Main Street from Nance to Holman Street only.

Motion to approve the request was made by Kinard and seconded by Councilperson David Force.

Public Comment

John Hammond, Joe Goeckner and John Probst, residents of the Loblolly neighborhood of Newberry brought forth concerns to City Council on the location of the crypto mining operation underway behind Newberry Electric Cooperative.

Concerns included the noise levels, property values and security.

The three asked council to investigate the potential of the city’s noise ordinance. While the property is not located into the city limits, concerns were raised about the noise levels traveling into the city limits.

City Council will hold their next regular meeting on Tuesday, December 13 at 7 p.m.

November 7, 2022

 

Andy Butcher, general manager for the Piedmont Municipal Power Agency (PMPA) spoke to council Tuesday on the Catawba Nuclear Station, which they jointly own with three other agencies – North Carolina Municipal Power Agency No. 1, North Carolina Electric Membership Cooperative and Duke Energy.

The Catawba Nuclear Station is one of the largest electric generating stations in South Carolina, Butcher said, and has supplied power to approximately 1.7 million homes since 1985.

Catawba avoids the release of over 12.5 million tons of carbon annually, as nuclear energy is a carbon free resource.

Following Butcher’s discussion with council, he presented them with a framed picture of the nuclear station.

Council then heard from Jeff Shacker, field services manager with the Municipal Association of South Carolina.

Through MASC, Shacker said he works with municipalities to identify goals of council, prioritize them, and in turn, give city staff a feel for relative importance for each of the priorities.

“It’s a service the municipal association provides,” Shacker said. “The role of council is to provide policy direction and these sessions are a productive way for council to come together and identify goals and priorities that are shared.”

Mayor Foster Senn said that while council had worked on a 10-year comprehensive plan, that it seemed appropriate to go through and discuss their priorities for the next few fiscal years.

Beautification, safety and economic development were among the top recommendations of city council.

Throughout the session, council discussed many ideas for future priorities to include pedestrian friendly opportunities that could potentially includes trails for biking or walking.  The prospect of additional sidewalks in areas of the city was also discussed.

Council discussed strengthening relationships and partnerships they currently had as well as building more relationships with local agencies as a future goal of the City of Newberry.

Several councilpersons had concerns of speed limits and discussed assessments to improve safety throughout the city.

Updates to city parks, facilities and healthy living initiatives were also discussed.

Goals discussed Tuesday will be used in a resolution to be approved by council at a future meeting.

November 10, 2022

 

With the arrival of downtown’s community Christmas tree, the holiday season is almost underway! The 20-foot Fraser Fir tree arrives downtown on Tuesday, November 15. Main Street Lights, the community Christmas tree lighting will take place on Friday, November 18.

Driving a total of six hours, Austin Willingham of Willingham and Son’s in Newberry picks up the tree from Avery Farms in North Carolina and delivers it back downtown for all to see.

Fraser Fir trees are not farmed any farther South due to the climate, which is why the city purchases the tree each year from Avery Farms.

Bridget Carey, tourism and events manager for the City of Newberry said the city was grateful each year for their partnership with Willingham’s and their willingness to deliver the tree to downtown Newberry.

Parts of Main Street will be closed next Friday evening for Main Street Lights to include College to Nance Streets, Caldwell from Friend to Harrington Streets, Boyce from College to Nance Streets, and McKibben from Main to Harrington Streets.

Street closures will take place at approximately 3 p.m. and the event is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. and lasts until approximately 8 p.m.

This year’s event contains several new surprise additions, Carey said, and she asks visitors to be on the lookout!

This year’s event will feature food trucks in the downtown area with a variety of foods for the community to enjoy.

A full list of donors will once again be listed on the gift tags of the large present boxes in front of the tree at Community Hall.

The snow machines will be back in Memorial Park this year, Carey said and will run for the first time Friday night following the tree lighting.

The Victorian Society will be downtown singing Christmas carols again this year in full Victorian replica dress. The group is made up of volunteers and organized by Rose Marie Favors.

The official ceremony begins around 6 p.m. featuring choirs from Newberry Academy and Whitmire Community School. The choirs will be positioned on the balcony of Community Hall, Carey said.

Following the songs, the official countdown to the tree lighting will take place, followed by the singing of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

By 6:30 p.m., all of the lights should be on downtown and Carey invites visitors to walk around and check everything out. Lights will be on display in Astwood Park and at 7:30 p.m., The Ritz Theater will be open for a free showing of The Polar Express. The Newberry Arts Center will also be open during the tree lighting for arts and crafts inside the building.

What’s special, Carey said, is the great community effort that it takes to host the lights. Annually, local businesses and families champion Newberry’s holiday décor through donations collected. Carey extended a special thank you to co-chairs James and Christina Henricks for their assistance in fundraising efforts this season.

More Christmas Cheer

In addition to the tree lighting next week, the Newberry Downtown Development Association hosts an inaugural Cookie Walk, featuring a dozen cookies courtesy of downtown merchants. On Saturday, November 19 from 3-9 p.m. sip wine, get into the holiday spirit and enjoy a walking tour of the downtown district with their November wine walk. Tickets can be purchased on the association’s website.

Beginning with the tree lighting and running every Friday through December through December 23, North Pole Nights will be in Memorial Park from 6-8 p.m. with the snow machines running downtown and music provided by the Newberry Opera House. The Newberry County Chamber of Commerce will have story time with Mrs. Claus at the Chamber as well as Christmas crafts.

Santa will be in Memorial Park during this time for those that wish to meet him and take a quick photo, Carey said.  

As another part of the holiday season, the Newberry Arts Center is taking applications through November 23 for the Gingerbread Competition for adults and children. Applications can be downloaded from www.newberrychristmas.com.

Competition entries can be seen on display in the arts center, 1200 Main Street from December 2 through December 22. The winners for the competition will be announced on Saturday, December 3 at a breakfast with Santa at the Newberry Arts Center.

Santa’s tours of Newberry will be starting back this year from 5-6 p.m. throughout the holiday season on December 2, 9, 16 and 23. During this time, Santa will be taking a tour of Newberry’s neighborhoods by fire truck. Times, locations and more details on this event can be found at www.newberrychristmas.com under ‘Events.’

The City of Newberry is planning another fun photo contest involving this year’s downtown decorations! The photograph that best captures the magic of downtown Newberry during the holiday season will win a prize! This year’s photo contest will be run through a partnership with The Newberry Observer. Visit the City of Newberry on social media as well as following The Newberry Observer following downtown’s tree lighting for all the details.

“Christmas in Newberry is truly a city-wide effort,” said Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Collin Shealy. “We’re grateful for the contributions of each city department, making downtown look picture perfect during the holiday season. Their hard work makes it a special place for the community and visitors to enjoy.”

October 31, 2022

The City of Newberry dedicated the former Wise Street Park, to Israel Brooks Jr. on Friday, October 28. City Council, staff, along with members of the Brooks family joined the community in honoring him. The park will now be named U.S. Marshal Israel Brooks Jr. Park. It is located at 2420 Holloway Street in Newberry.

Mayor Foster Senn welcomed the Brooks family and community and said it was an honor to recognize the outstanding career of a Newberry native.

“He was a family man, and was passionate about his family, his community and his faith,” Senn said of Brooks.

Senn said he believed the park would be inspirational as the community would be reminded that they could contribute, whether it be something great or small in their own way.

“We believe this park will be inspirational to young people, that they will learn about Mr. Brooks, that he grew up in Newberry and went on to be a trailblazer for South Carolina,” he said. “We are excited that history will be remembered and learned here at this park.”

Colonel Chris Williamson, commander of the South Carolina Highway Patrol spoke during the dedication, saying Brooks had been a mentor of his and he credited his success within the SCHP to him.

“He made significant and long-last contributions in many of the agency’s programs by courageously breaking through barriers of resistance,” Williamson said. “Among his many accolades, Major Brooks is widely regarded as a visionary, trailblazing leader who showed dignity in the face of adversity.”

Brooks began his career with the SCHP in 1967 at the age of 23. In 1994, he retired from his service with the SCHP, Williamson said to accept an appointment as a United States Marshal for the District of South Carolina. He held this position for two terms and served with the station until he retired in November 2002.

Lieutenant Catherine Anderson of the City of Clinton Police Department shared her favorite story of Brooks. Anderson was hired by Brooks to be one of the first female officers of the highway patrol.

“Israel saw something in me that I didn’t even see,” Anderson said. “To this day, I still think of him.”

Councilperson Carlton Kinard spoke of legacies and the one that Brooks left behind.

“He continues to leave an impact right here in Newberry County,” Kinard said.

Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Collin Shealy thanked the friends of the Wise Street Park group.

“As we were starting this project, they were very instrumental in helping to get the ball rolling, helping to bring feedback from the community and give us an idea of what the important park amenities were that we wanted to add and improve,” Shealy said.

Upgrades to the park have included a new picnic shelter, new restrooms, a quarter-mile walking trail around the park, basketball court renovations, parking lot updates to include trail connectivity and new playground equipment.

Upcoming, Shealy said the park will see additions to include a community garden, ballfield benches/bleachers and soccer goals.

“We’re very excited to be able to do this renovation and we look forward to the park being full for years to come,” he said.

Brooks’ wife, Barbara spoke on behalf of their family.

“On behalf of the Brooks family, I want to thank all of you for this moving tribute to my late husband’s life and legacy,” she said.

Barbara said that Newberry was home to her and her family.

“My husband grew up in this community. He delivered newspapers in the morning, and then drove the school bus when he was in high school. He worked at Newberry College on the weekends,” she said.

Barbara said she and her husband were both from Newberry and attended school together from the first grade until high school graduation.

“Three of our four children were born in Newberry and we lived in Newberry for a few years before he became a state trooper,” she said. “Our families on both sides continue to live and prosper in Newberry.”

Barbara quoted a speech her husband gave in 1994 which said, “Fellow Newberrians, I shall never deceive you. You may be assured that I will forever hold in high esteem the pride of our city. Where I have been or hope to go, Newberry will still be home. I am thankful to have grown up here.”

She said she hoped that the park would be a place of enjoyment, peace and fellowship and a place to teach and strengthen community values.

Senn said The Newberry Museum previously hosted an exhibit about Brooks in 2021 and is currently designing two historical displays on his life that will be added to the park in 2023.

 Mayor Senn welcomes the community to the park dedication. 

 Members of the Brooks family cut the ribbon at the park's dedication.

 Ms. Brooks pictured with members of the South Carolina Highway Patrol. 

 Ms. Brooks with members of City Council.