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BOE decides against putting bond referendum on November ballot

  • 6 August 2020
  • Author: Dan McNiel
  • Number of views: 653

Marlboro County Board of Education decided against placing a question on the November ballot for a $15 million bond referendum.
The Board of Education had to deliver a referendum question to the Voter Registration office by Aug. 15.
If the question had been approved, it would have been increasing taxes between 11.5 and  13 mills.
Superintendent Dr. Gregory McCord felt the voters should decide whether $15 million will be enough to keep the district moving in the right direction.
Some of the possible uses of the money would have been improving HVAC systems.
Voters approved a $10 million general obligation bond in November of 2018 for the Marlboro County School District. It was done without a millage increase.
“Where would the condition of our buildings be right now?” McCord asked. “They would be in much worse shape because we would not have done anything.”
 David Loadholt,  construction project manager   for the district, made a presentation about the 2018 Bond Referendum project. He talked about the various projects and how the $10 million bonds had been used to take care of $15 million worth of projects for the district.

This year summer school is done through virtual means

  • 6 August 2020
  • Author: Dan McNiel
  • Number of views: 1155
This year summer school is done through virtual means

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we live, work, and learn. This is the first of an occasional series that will look at our new normal in the COVID-19 era.

BLENHEIM  —  Blenheim Middle School of Discovery teacher Keydareon Graham went into uncharted territory this summer with several other teachers.
The group taught students during the Summer Learning Academy for Marlboro County School District for students grades K-8.
Each morning for three weeks, Graham arrived at his classroom, got his laptop ready to log into Google Meet to greet his students.
Graham was in the classroom but his students were in their homes.
A seventh grade math teacher at BMSD, he has been teaching for three and a half years.
“This is uncharted territory,” Graham said. “I was very nervous to do any kind of learning on a digital platform.”

Tropical Storm Isaias is expected to make landfall early Tuesday morning

Tropical Storm Isaias is expected to make landfall around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning.
During a Monday afternoon Zoom emergency response planning meeting, Marlboro County E911/Emergency Management Director Steve Akers said there was a question as to what part of South Carolina or the very southern coast of North Carolina is the storm expected to make landfall.
The storm may regain hurricane strength before making landfall. Two to four inches of rain is predicated with winds of around 35 mph with possible gusts of 50 mph. 
"The ground is already fairly wet in Marlboro," Akers said. "Given that a good sustained wind of 35 mph will probably bring some trees down so we may have some power outages."
It was noted that the water in Crooked Creek and Pee Dee River was very low along with Lake Paul  Wallace not being high.
Akers felt the county should be able to sustain three or four inches of rain relatively easy.
The arrival time of tropical winds is around 8 p.m. so Akers has planned to open the Emergency Operations Center at 6 p.m. It will include a representative from Bennettsville Police Department, Marlboro Sheriff's Office, Bennettsville Fire Department, Marlboro Emergency Medical Services, Marlboro County Fire, and City of Bennettsville Utilities.
"It is a lot better to have us in place should things happen than to try to herd us all back in here in the middle of 40 mph winds and driving rain," he said.
Akers added there were no plans to open a shelter here or statewide.
"This looks like something we can handle relatively well," he said.

Marlboro County officials make preparation for Hurricane Isaias

Marlboro County Emergency Management officials are anticipating tropical storm-force winds arriving early Monday morning.
Steve Akers, director of Marlboro County E911/Emergency Management, said that the 11 a.m. advisory from the National Weather Service noted there was a westward shift with the center of the track offshore that may bring the storm closer to Marlboro County.
"The storm looks like it will be moving pretty quickly," said Akers during a Zoom Hurricane Isaias emergency response planning meeting. "Right now, they are predicting for our area, one and a half inches to four inches of rain."
The Emergency Operations Center will open at 8 a.m. Monday. It will include a representative from Bennettsville Fire Department, Bennettsville Police Department, Marlboro Sheriff's Office, Bennettsville Utilities, County Fire and Emergency Medical Services.
Akers said he will provide masks, hand sanitizer, and enough space to allow for social distancing.
A shelter will be opened as a last resort and are only opened to protect folks from flooding. 
"We don't open shelters for wind," Akers said. "We don't open shelters for the power being out. It is only to take people from flood areas."
Officials are encouraging people to sign up for CODE RED, which is free and will allow people to receive emergency notifications in the county when sent by emergency management.
To sign up, visit
Local officials are planning to monitor the storm through the weekend and hold additional Zoom meetings to discuss preparations.

MEC’s Power to Serve committee helps fathers become great dads

  • 30 July 2020
  • Author: Dan McNiel
  • Number of views: 1090
MEC’s Power to Serve committee helps fathers become great dads

U.S. Census figures indicate that over 18 million children live in households with only their mother, and one in every four American adolescents is growing up without a father.
A study by the U.S. Department of Justice revealed that children from fatherless homes account for 63% of youth suicides, 70% of incarcerated juveniles, 75% of adolescent patients in substance abuse centers, and 90% of all homeless and runaway youth. What’s more, when fathers are involved, their children are twice as likely to go to college and 75% less likely to experience teen pregnancy.