Several members of the Newberry Fire Department were recognized by City Council Tuesday for their efforts that resulted in saving an individual’s life earlier this year. On March 1, 2019, the Alpha Shift at the fire department was working a wreck on Third Street when they received a call of a hit and run incident on Louis Rich Road.

Fire Chief said once crews arrived on scene, they found the victim unresponsive. Able to perform CPR, the victim gained a pulse and was saved. Captain Andrew Morris, Lieutenant Brian Beck, Senior Engineer Benjamin Dukes, firefighter Richard Doran and volunteer firefighter Barry Brown were each presented with a certificate of appreciation from the city.

“We’re very proud of our crew for everything they do,” Minick said.

Dukes was also recognized for his 20 years of service with the fire department. He began working with the department on August 30, 1999 and holds the position of Fire Engineer.

“Ben is very active in fire prevention and very good with kids through our public education efforts,” Minick said. “We appreciate the hard work he does and look forward to many more years of service from him.”

Also recognized Tuesday was Jeff Wicker for his 30 years of service with the city. Wicker began working with the city on August 8, 1989 and holds the position of Heavy Equipment Operator in the Public Works department.

“I appreciate the support you’ve always given me and what you do for public works and the citizens of Newberry,” said Public Works Director Mac Bartley.

Municipal Association of South Carolina (MASC) representative Jeff Shacker recognized City Council Tuesday for their completion of the Municipal Elected Officials Institute (MEOI). The MEOI was designed by MASC to assist local elected officials in gaining knowledge to manage their municipalities responsively, efficiently and effectively. Elected officials that complete all the required coursework receive a certificate and graduate from the Institute.

There are 271 municipalities in the state of South Carolina, Shacker said, with the City of Newberry being one of 18 to have their entire council finish the MEOI program.

Shacker said the city had been dedicated for decades in participating in various training and development for both council and city staff.

“It’s one of the best run and best led cities in the state of South Carolina and their commitment to education is a big part of that,” Shacker said.

City Updates

Assistant Utility Director David Eldridge provided his monthly update for council on the fiber rollout within the city limits. Crews have been working on Zone 2 for six weeks, Eldridge said, however are approximately two weeks behind due to the large storm that came through Newberry several weeks ago. During the storm, crews were pulled out to do repairs in the areas where fiber fell.

Eldridge said that the Tanyard Street fiber distribution hub had been turned on, with the fiber distribution hub in the Mollohon area about 60 percent completed. As of Tuesday, he said the former design issues in Forest Ridge were fixed and work was expected to begin their soon for residents.

Zone 2 is approximately 45 percent completed. Across all four quadrants of the city, Eldridge said approximately 500 homes were either signed up or had shown interest in the fiber system, which meant word was getting out. It is estimated another six weeks are needed to complete Zone 2.

As an update for council, Mayor Foster Senn said that Constitution Week would be celebrated September 17-23 in the City as September 17, 2019 marked the 232nd anniversary of the framing of the Constitution of the United States of America by the Constitutional Convention. Senn said a proclamation had recently been signed and read that for those in attendance.

City Manager Matt DeWitt updated council of the damage caused by the recent storm in which he said the city had approximately three quarters of their electric system down, while only a small percentage stayed on.

“Our crews were out in bad weather, moving trees out of the road and cleaning up debris,” he said. “Thankfully no one was injured. In a process like that, usually injuries don’t happen during the storm, but rather in the cleanup process.”

DeWitt said crews were still steadily picking up debris and he hoped that within the next few weeks that would be completed. He said he felt cleanup was something that could be managed within the city, rather than calling in outside help.

“I’m proud of the response our team made in getting everyone back up and running and trying to restore a sense of normalcy,” he said. “I thank council for their support and our residents for being so thoughtful, compassionate and patient with our crews as they worked to clean up storm damage.”

As a final announcement, Senn said that City Council’s November meeting held on Tuesday, November 12 would be held at the Old Newberry Hotel in celebration of the renovations. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m.

Public Comment

Sheena Paige spoke to council regarding her 501(c)(3) organization, Paige Community Rides, that provides transportation for those in the city or county that need to get to and from work.

“It birthed from me noticing that a lot of people were walking in extreme temperatures or bad weather conditions,” Paige said.

Paige said at this time she was the only driver with only one vehicle but hoped to someday expand to an additional vehicle and driver. Rides can be requested by text message or emails, she said with a flyer that she created and has circulated through social media. A donation of $3 is requested for the transportation, however, Paige said if someone needed a ride, she was going to help them get there.

“Getting to work on time helps everyone involved, it helps the community and the employers,” she said. “It’s a total win-win scenario for everyone.”

Her website, for more information, Paige said was

Old Business

Under old business, council approved second reading of an ordinance to establish policies, standards and procedures for the protection and management of public trees within the city limits. Senn said council and city staff were working to pursue a Tree City USA designation, a nationwide movement that provided the framework necessary for communities to manage and expand their public trees on city property. As part of the process, it is necessary for council to adopt a tree care ordinance. Motion was made by Councilman Lemont Glasgow and seconded by Councilman Thomas Louis Boyd.

Second and final reading was also approved of an ordinance to amend the Newberry Opera House bylaws. The Newberry Opera House Foundation requested that council approved changes in the bylaws to better align the practices of the board to match the policy. Changes to the bylaws include an amendment that specifies that no member will receive compensation, an addition of a finance and program committee and a change in staff from a bookkeeper to business manager. Motion was made by Boyd and seconded by Councilman Edwin Wicker.

New Business

Under new business, council approved a request to allow alcohol in designated event areas of the upcoming Groove ‘N Brew Fall Music Series from the Newberry Downtown Development Association (NDDA). The NDDA requested to sell beer and wine as part of the music series to be held in Memorial Park on September 14 and 27, October 11 and November 2 from 5-8 p.m.

Plastic cups no larger than 16 ounces will be used in the event area and would allow patrons in the designated event area to carry the beer or wine if in the designated event cup and wearing a over 21 wristband. The designated event area includes Memorial Park, McKibben Street between Boyce and Main Street, and Boyce Street between McKibben and Nance Streets.

Aimee Talbot, with the NDDA said they spun the idea of the previous Groove ‘N Brew festival into a continuation of the summer’s Party in the Park events and picked dates that corresponded with home football games at Newberry College in hopes to draw people downtown for entertainment and then follow up by visiting local restaurants downtown.

If a success, Talbot said they planned to continue the series in spring 2020. Motion was made by Boyd and seconded by Councilman David DuBose to approve the request.

Talbot also informed council that FastTrac, the 10-week business school for entrepreneurs originally scheduled for this fall would now be held in January due to feedback that many said fall was a busy time of year.

Motion was made by Boyd and seconded by DuBose to approve a request for outside water service for property located at 2617 Drayton Street. The property owner agreed to execute an annexation covenant indicating a willingness to annex if their property became contiguous to the city limits and council determined it was 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, Senn said.

 City Council recognized Ben Dukes for his 20 years of service with the city's fire department. Dukes began working with the department on August 30, 1999 and holds the position of Fire Engineer. He is pictured with Fire Chief Keith Minick (right).

 Jeff Wicker was recognized by City Council for his 30 years of service with the city's Public Works department. Wicker began working with the City on August 8, 1989 and holds the position of Heavy Equipment Operator. He is pictured with Public Works Director Mac Bartley (left).

 City Council was recognized by Municipal Association of South Carolina (MASC) representative, Jeff Shacker for completing the Municipal Elected Official Institute of Government. From left to right: Councilman Lemont Glasgow, Councilman Edwin Wicker, Mayor Foster Senn, Jeff Shacker, Councilman David Force, Councilman Thomas Louis Boyd and Councilman David DuBose. 

 Captain Andrew Morris, Lieutenant Brian Beck, Senior Engineer Benjamin Dukes, Firefighter Richard “RJ” Doran and Volunteer Firefighter Barry Brown were recognized by City Council for their efforts on a call that resulted in saving an individual's life earlier this year.