Other big stories of 2013

  • Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Chris Sokoloski/Times After 44 years of coaching baseball players in Georgetown County, Mike Johnson retired from Georgetown High School in May. Johnson still plans to take care of the park in the city that bears his name.


The following stories were also big news during 2013:

In January, the first lawsuit was filed in connection with the sinkholes that formed in the City of Georgetown in late 2011 damaging several buildings and homes.

Tony and Debbie Jordan filed the suit in the 15th Circuit Court naming Davis & Floyd Engineering, Republic Contracting, S&ME Inc. and the South Carolina Department of Transportation as defendants.

The Jordans owned Parrish Place on North Fraser Street which housed several businesses including the UPS Store, which Debbie Jordan owned and managed.

That building was destroyed when a sinkhole formed underneath the structure in November 2011.

They also own the buildings in the Highmarket Business Center in the same block. One of those buildings housed Tony Jordan Allstate Insurance. That building is still classified as being unsafe to occupy because of the sinkhole damage

The suit is not asking for a specified amount to be awarded but is asking a jury to allow them to recover the “actual, consequential and incidental damages” they have suffered as a result of the sinkholes.

The suit states the damages incurred by the Jordans exceeds $2 million.

The suit says the buildings owned by the Jordans began to be damaged on Oct. 29, 2011 and the damage increased in the weeks that followed “as a result of dewatering activities that altered the water tables and caused land subsidence.”

Other lawsuits were filed by others during the year.

No trial date has been set for any of the lawsuits.

President Barack Obama actually had two swearing-in ceremonies to kick off his second term.

Because the official Inauguration Day, Jan, 20, was a Sunday, a small ceremony was held that day. The public swearing in took place the following day, which was, coincidently, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The nation’s first African American president spoke of the progress during his inaugural speech, crediting the blood, sweat, and tears of Dr. King who persevered through the cause of civil rights.

Some Georgetown County residents made the trip to attend the event.

Bishop Floyd Knowlin of Light House of Jesus Christ said he wanted to attend to let his congregation know that he’s concerned about the country and that Christian life is more than the church arena.

Principal Richard Neal of Carvers Bay High School also attended the inauguration, as did Rayekeisha Freeman of Pawleys Island and classmates Asha Wood Folk and Kayla Wimbush from Hampton University in Virginia.

The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission participated in the inauguration parade.

The float displayed the Gullah Geechee Culture.

Float participants were Ron Daise of Pawleys Island (vice president of Brookgreen Gardens Theater Education), son Simeon Daise and Sara Daise.

Hemingway native Mauretta Dorsey started her job as Andrews’ town administrator Jan. 7.

She was an employee of Williamsburg County ggovernment for 12 years and was most recently employed by Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments in Georgetown.

She attended Winthrop University and is an alumna of University of South Carolina-Sumter. She was the vice chairperson of the Rural Area Leadership Institute-Williamsburg County, a component of Francis Marion University Rural Assistance Initiative and she has completed The South Carolina Economic Development Institute.

On March 3, fire destroyed the James W. Smith Real Estate office that had been in Litchfield since 1989.

The building was two stories and an attic.

Crews from Georgetown County, Georgetown City, Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire, Surfside Fire and Horry County Fire assisted with the call.

Eggiman said at least 45 firefighters were on the scene to assist.

Two of the five men charged in connection with the 2011 shooting death of 26-year-old Deon Myers were sent to prison in March.

After hearing two days of testimony from the state, a jury of eight women and four men found 19-year-old Tamar Bryant guilty of shooting Myers in the face while at the Ghost Den bar in Plantersville on March 15, 2011.

After the guilty verdict was announced, Judge Larry Hyman sentenced Bryant to 35 years in prison.

After Myers’ trial concluded, 21-year-old Brandon Cheek pled guilty to the charge of accessory after the fact of murder in connection with the same killing. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

The Pawleys Island lost Alan Altman, who was remembered as a successful businessman, a loving family man and a caring friend.He died of natural causes at age 55 in March.

Altman was a partner at Pawleys Island Realty which his father, Linwood, founded in the 1960s. The Georgetown Agency is a part of the family real estate business.

“Alan was a person everybody knew they could sit down and talk to and work with,” said Howard Ward, a long-time friend of Altman’s.

“He was a loving father and son, and he cared so much about this community. This is a tremendous loss to his family, the community, the county and the state.”

The S.C. Senate passed a resolution recognizing Altman for “many years of outstanding work in his beloved Pawleys Island Community.”

Altman was also honored days before his death with the coveted Order of the Silver Crescent by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

Pawleys Island Mayor Bill Otis remembered him as “an enthusiast and a salesman for everything having to do with Pawleys Island and Georgetown County.”

Yvonne Holmes was a hard-working, polite, funny woman who would do anything for her son, family and friends.

On March 26 she was killed inside her apartment on Claire Street in Andrews, She had been shot several times, authorities said.

Holmes, the 31-year-old mother of a 10-year-old son, was allegedly killed by her boyfriend - 32-year-old Carnell Kennedy.

Authorities said after shooting Holmes, Kennedy called her mother, Vanessa Holmes, and told her what he had done. He then reportedly went next door to the apartment of Yvonne Holmes’ aunt and told them what had happened.

At a banquet in May, Andrews Elementary School first-grade teacher Tracy Dunn was named Georgetown County Teacher of the Year.

Dunn, an Andrews native and daughter of Mike and Martha Foxworth, has been teaching at the same school for the past 25 years. But, being a teacher was not what she thought she would be doing after graduating Andrews High School.

She attended the College of Charleston thinking she would be a psychology major.

“It was my dad who encouraged me to try some education classes,” said Dunn, the wife of Brian Dunn and daughter-in-law of retired Andrews Magistrate Ben Dunn. “He always thought he saw me being a teacher.”

She said she spent a weekend at home during her freshman year in college when her father reminded her how much she loved reading, she said, adding her dad also reminded her of her passion for art.

After that weekend and the heart-to-heart talk with her father, Dunn went back to college and changed her major to elementary education.

Former Midway Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Bob Beebe was arrested in May by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

According to SLED spokesman Thom Berry, Beebe was been charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent.

Berry said the charge alleges Beebe took “$10,000 or more” from the South Carolina Fire and Life Education Association. He was treasurer of the organization between May 2006 and March 2013.

During that time he allegedly took $36,000 from the organization.

The arrest warrant said Beebe admitted to the thefts.

After 44 years of coaching high school baseball, Mike Johnson announced his retirement from Georgetown High School in May.

Johnson also coached at Howard and Winyah high schools.

Tony Jordan played for Howard in 1971 when Johnson got his first head coaching job. It was Howard’s first year competing in baseball.

“He is definitely a special individual,” Jordan said. “He has given his entire life to the kids. I have great respect for him. He’s made a huge difference in a lot of kids’ lives.”

Howard and Winyah were segregated at the time, but Jordan said Johnson treated everybody equally. And he treated them like they were his own children.

“He took us in just like he was a parent,” Jordan said. “His concern was for not only being a coach but being a mentor, being a person who teaches more than just baseball.”

If a player’s family didn’t have money to buy a glove or a pair of cleats, Johnson would buy them.

Jamie Curry, who had been assistant principal at Waccamaw High School for three years, was promoted to Waccamaw Middle School principal in July.

The decision to place Curry as head of the school was made after the sudden resignation of Mark Phillips, who had held the position only one year.

Curry’s experience in the education field has included work in both the teaching and administrative sides.

She began her career in 1993 as a teacher at Maryville Elementary School where, in 1996, she was named the school’s Teacher of the Year.

She later transferred to Georgetown Middle School where she taught eighth-grade South Carolina history. In 2004, she was named the District Teacher of the Year.

Elbert McKenzie, the 72-year owner of McKenzie Mobile Home Park in Andrews, was accused of sex crimes involving adults and one child.

Police say he traded rent for sexual favors.

Andrews Police Chief Joseph Cooper said McKenzie was charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor, two counts of second degree assault and battery, and three counts of solicitation for the purpose of prostitution.

A report released by Andrews police stated the incidents that led to the charges began in March 2008 and continued through August of 2013.

The report also stated McKenzie touched a female under the age of 16 inappropriately inside one of the trailers. The report does not indicate when that alleged incident took place but it said it happened when he stopped by the trailer unannounced knowing the girl’s parents were not home.

The report states McKenzie would threaten to evict the victims if they called police.

Georgetown Family Pizza on Highway 17 in Maryville was destroyed by fire Oct. 24.

City Fire Chief Joey Tanner said when firefighters arrived they saw smoke coming through the roof of the second floor. Flames were seen coming from a vent on the roof.

Bob Lambert said his wife was the primary operator of the business. He said she was taking the loss very hard.

“We will try,” Lambert said when asked if he thinks they will rebuild.

Georgetown Mayor Jack Scoville was narrowly elected to a second term in November by defeating challenging Republican Richard Powers.

Scoville received 1,092 votes while Powers received 1,052 votes.

The news was not good for two of the three incumbents seeking re-election to their City Council seats. Both Jeanette Ard and Paige Sawyer were defeated. Brendon Barber was the only incumbent to be re-elected.

Republican newcomers Carol Jayroe and Ed Kimbrough were elected to council seats.

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