The Wise Street Park playground, 2420 Holloway Street, is once again open for play, after vandalism occurred to one of its slides last month.

Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Scott Sawyer said staff were able to address the damage at no additional cost to the city outside of labor and install materials.

“With the new electrical substation being built at Kendall Park, we lost our main storage building and items were scattered at various locations,” Sawyer said. “In one location, we discovered a single slide that had been removed from Grant Park when new playground equipment was installed.”

Sawyer said the slide that was discovered was built by the same manufacturer that built the existing playground equipment at Wise Street Park.

“The discovered slide ‘fit’ and PRT, Public Works and Utility department staff did an outstanding job removing the damaged slide and installing the ‘new’ slide,” Sawyer said. “While it is a different color, it plays just as well!”

City Manager Matt DeWitt said he was very proud of the work conducted by these departments to reopen the play equipment to the Wise Street community.

“It is my hope that the community will help us look after the park and enjoy the new slide,” he said.

Newberry City Council recognized many Newberry College senior students for their community support Tuesday night. Each student was presented with a proclamation honoring their specific accomplishments.

Those recognized included Sarah Johnson, Korina Martinez, Jamaal Satisfield, Peyton Spangler, Danton Hyman, Brad Dixon, Shelby Britten, Timmany Nesbit, Jay Salter, Lauren Evans and Kevin Weber.

Mayor Foster Senn said the students recognized had been nominated by their professors and others within the community for their contributions.

“We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors,” Senn said.

Also recognized by council on Tuesday was Sharon Graham for her five years of service with the city. Graham began working with the city on March 17, 2014 and holds the position of Program Coordinator with the Parks, Recreation and Tourism (PRT) department.

Director of PRT, Scott Sawyer said Graham did a lot within their department and he was honored to have her with them.

Employee Michael Shealy was recognized for his 20 years of service with the city. Shealy began working with the city on March 15, 1999 and holds the position of Heavy Equipment Operator within the Public Works Department.

Mac Bartley, director of Public Works said he appreciated all Shealy did for the city and its citizens.

Senn announced that this week, April 8-12 had been declared the “Week of the Young Child” in the City of Newberry, the purpose being to encourage organizations and citizens of Newberry to work towards the improvement of learning opportunities for young children through literacy.

Also under announcements, Senn commended the city’s utility, public works, police and fire departments for pooling their resources the week prior during a large power outage caused by a tree at the corner of Harrington and Glenn Streets that left approximately 1400 utility accounts without power.

“These departments worked together to restore power quickly and safely and we applaud their efforts,” Senn said.

In other business, a public hearing was held in reference to an ordinance to amend the zoning map for a parcel of 72.89 acres at 1786 Glenn Street Extension, the city’s recreation complex, from OS-Open Space to R5.5 Residential. The change would allow the city Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department to apply for and receive grants to aid in the building of the recreation complex for the remaining 142.10 acres.

A citizen raised questions during the public hearing as to if the city was prepared for the growth that may come, should a developer wish to build on the acreage. City Manager Matt DeWitt told her the city’s infrastructure was definitely capable should the area be further developed in the future.

“I think we should be excited about the potential we have and know that we have a plan in place to accommodate that growth,” he said.

Following the public hearing, a motion was passed by Councilman Thomas Louis Boyd and seconded by Councilman Lemont Glasgow to accept second reading of the ordinance.

Under new business, Councilman Zebbie Goudelock made a motion, seconded by Boyd to approve a proclamation designating the month of May as Building Safety Month. Building Safety Month is sponsored by the International Code Council to remind the public about the critical role of building code officials that assure safe, efficient and livable buildings, Senn said.

With a motion made by Boyd and seconded by Councilman David DuBose, a resolution designating the month of April as Fair Housing Month was also passed Tuesday night.

To participate in the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, local governments are required to demonstrate a commitment to supporting Fair Housing. The city, Senn said has had considerable success in years past of securing these grants for community development projects within the community.

With the construction of the Newberry Museum entering its final stages, a resolution was passed by council Tuesday to execute an agreement to lend items to the museum. Senn said that in the lobby of City Hall sits a refurbished 20-pound Parrot Rifle Cannon that was donated to the city many years ago. For years, Senn said it has been the intention to offer the cannon and other artifacts to the Newberry Museum for display to the public.

City Manager Matt DeWitt said the city would still own the items, however they would be on a permanent loan to the museum.

The agreement will be for the cannon, a Civil War 20-pound Parrott Rifle Projectile, a Civil War 12-pound Cannon Shell and a Revolutionary War, 2.5” Solid Shot.

Motion was made by Boyd and seconded by Councilman Edwin Wicker.

Other updates:

  • Motion was made by Goudelock and seconded by Boyd to approve outside water service for property located at 2371 Cottage Avenue. The property owner has agreed to execute an annexation covenant indicating a willingness to annex if the property becomes contiguous to the city limits and council determines it is in the best interest of the city to annex the property. The property is adjacent to an existing city water line and will require no extension beyond a standard tap.
  • Motion was made by Boyd and seconded by DuBose to approve first reading of an ordinance to amend section 9-29 of the Wholesale Power Cost Adjustment schedule. Senn said there had recently been changes in the Piedmont Municipal Power Agency (PMPA) base billing demand credit that effected the wholesale power cost adjustment (WPCA) for the city.

Senn said the request was made so that base billing demand credits issued by PMPA would not be reflected in the WPCA but be placed into a rate stabilization account to be used as council sees fit, including, but not limited to capital improvements, WPCA reduction and system maintenance. The adjustments to the WPCA that have been adopted prior to this amendment and are currently scheduled will not be affected.

  • After returning into open session from executive session, a motion was made by Councilman Glasgow and seconded by DuBose to appoint Carolyn Robinson to the Newberry Housing Authority. Robinson’s five-year term expires on April 21, 2024.

 The following Newberry College seniors were recognized by City Council for their community support. Back row from left to right: Mayor Foster Senn, Jamaal Satisfield, Peyton Spangler, Danton Hyman, Brad Dixon, Jay Salter, Kevin Weber and Mayor Pro-Tem Zebbie Goudelock. Front row from left to right: Korina Martinez, Sarah Johnson, Shelby Britten, Timmany Nesbit and Lauren Evans.

 Sharon Graham was recognized by City Council for her five years of service with the city. Graham began working with the city on March 17, 2014 and holds the position of Program Coordinator with the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department. She is pictured with PRT Director Scott Sawyer. 

 Michael Shealy was recognized for his 20 years of service with the city. Shealy began working with the city on March 15, 1999 and holds the position of Heavy Equipment Operator within the Public Works Department. He is pictured with Public Works Director Mac Bartley.

The Horseshoe Tour will be back in Newberry this weekend with the 19th annual SummerFun Tournament, held in Marion Davis Park, 2905 Fair Avenue in Newberry.

The two-day weekend tournament was held for the first time in 1996 in York, SC as part of a local festival, according to Ron Taylor, director of operations of The Horseshoe Tour.

After two years, it was moved to Clover, SC through the year 2000, when Taylor said the tournament grew. As the number of entries increased each year, they were unable to accommodate the players locally in Clover with only one motel available, Taylor said.

It was at this time that Taylor said they reached out to City of Newberry’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director, Scott Sawyer about hosting the tournament in Newberry.

“The rest is history and we have been in Newberry since,” Taylor said.

The tournament features some of the best horseshoe players in the world, competing in 40’ and 30’ Classes as well as an Open Division competition. Because of the sanctioning of the tournament through the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association, only NHPA members may enter the tournament, Taylor said, but visitors are welcome to attend to watch the tournament, which will start at 10 a.m. Saturday morning for the qualifying rounds. Events will start again Sunday morning also at 10 a.m. for the finals.

Taylor said some of the top ranked players in the world will be heading to Newberry for the tournament including two current Divisional World Champions, Maxine Griffith (TN) and Barbara Taylor (SC). Four former Division World Champions will also be traveling to Newberry for the competition to include Joan Elmore (TN), Dalton Rakestraw (KY), Jim Cooper (TN) and Tom Westbrook (SC).

What makes a tour event great, Taylor said is the diversity of a lot of players traveling from out of state. Many states will be represented at this weekend’s event with some travelling from North and South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New York, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Alabama and Connecticut.

For almost 20 years, Taylor said Newberry has had an ongoing relationship with their tournament and is the only site who has hosted a single event for the over 10 years.

Taylor said players have commented that Newberry, SC has one of the nicest horseshoe pitching facilities in the south and that not only the players in town, but their families seemed to love the small-town atmosphere in Newberry.

“With all the friendly people, along with some great southern style food and the Newberry Opera House,” he said.

Sawyer said the SummerFun tournament had really put the City of Newberry on the map in the horseshoe world.

“We’ve had some of the top players, including World Champions who consistently compete in the event. Over the years, participants have come from over 15 states and as far away as Idaho,” he said.

As a fun fact, Sawyer said the 2008 SummerFun Men’s Division winner was Walter Ray Williams, Jr. While Williams is a six-time World Horseshoe Pitching Champion and a member of the Horseshoe Pitcher’s Hall of Fame, he is also recognized in the sporting world as the all-time leader in tournament titles and all-time money leader on the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Tour, where he is also in the hall of fame.

This year’s tournament once again falls during the city’s annual Pork in the Park event, which Taylor says participants pushed for as they had enjoyed the festival in year’s past.

“Our players pushed for us to return to this weekend, so they and their families could attend the festival as well as pitching horseshoes,” Taylor said.

Pork in the Park and the SummerFun Horseshoe event, Taylor said went well hand in hand and he hoped the two could continue to be held in conjunction with one another in the future.

More tournament details can be found online at www.thehorseshoetour.com.

The Newberry Police Department would like residents to be aware of several subjects that seem to be targeting residents at elderly apartment complexes claiming to be with Medicaid.

The subjects are collecting DNA cheek swabs for genetic testing and gathering personal information by taking photographs of their driver’s licenses, Medicaid and social security cards.

“We do not know if these people are trying to defraud Medicaid or are attempting to steal identities,” said Police Chief Roy McClurkin. “This is very concerning to us, because of personal safety issues.”

The Newberry Police Department is asking residents to not let strangers into their homes or give any personal information out. If these people approach you, please contact the police immediately.

Ricky Bernard Brown, 41, of 1139 Copeland Street Apartment 103 in Newberry has been charged with attempted murder, armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

On March 9, officers with the Newberry Police Department responded to 2400 Main Street and were told by the victim that Brown had entered the residence armed with a handgun and robbed him of money and his cellphone. The victim stated that Brown had fired one round at him as he was fleeing from the residence.

Police Chief Roy McClurkin said with the victim’s statement and interviewing of witnesses, investigators were able to link Brown to the crime.

Brown was arrested on warrants on April 4. He is being held at the Newberry County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.