Hardie Plank, bath salts and feral cats were big issues in 2011

  • Sunday, January 1, 2012

A battle over siding for a home in Georgetown’s Historic District that began in 2008 intensified in 2011.
Steve and Jean Rothrock, owners of a home being renovated on Cannon Street, began trying to get approval from the Architectural Review Board for HardiePlank siding in 2008.
They were originally denied that same year. Another denial came in 2011.
The couple has filed a federal lawsuit naming as defendants the City of Georgetown, City Councilman Paige Sawyer, former Architectural Review Board (ARB) member Debbie Thomas, former ARB Chairman Joseph Cave, former ARB member Brian Clark, and current ARB member Jan Lane.
The 39-page suit — which seeks “compensatory and consequential damages” —  also asks for a court order demanding the City release the necessary permit to allow completion of the renovations with HardiePlank siding.

By Scott Harper

Local residents stood together against "bath salts"

This past year saw a dangerous new drug emerge that was easily available to a wide range of people.
The synthetic drug known as bath salts was sold at some local convenience stores and tobacco shops, in small, colorful packages.
Bath salts soon joined other synthetic drugs and products available across the country.
Reports of people becoming ill, psychotic or facing hospitalization appeared as the product gained a foothold and grew in popularity.
Residents in Horry, Georgetown and Williamsburg counties quickly rallied to get the products off the shelf.
A protest was held in Johnsonville and Web pages drew those who wanted the drug banned by federal, state and local authorities.
The Town of Andrews and the City of Johnsonville quickly passed ordinances to deal with bath salts in their areas.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) took steps to ban three ingredients that were the key components to bath salts.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control also took action to reclassify several of the ingredients in bath salts drugs and allow stiff criminal fines to be placed against anyone who owned or sold them.

New regulations

The new regulations mirrored those that the federal government passed.
"Schedule I status is reserved for those substances with a high potential for abuse, no accepted use for medical treatment in the U.S. and a lack of accepted safety guidelines for use of the drug under medical supervision. South Carolina law states that anyone convicted of the possession, manufacture or distribution of a schedule I controlled substance is guilty of a felony and on first offense is subject to not more than five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000, with more severe penalties for subsequent offenses," according to DHEC officials.
Some area residents said at the time that they were thrilled with the new laws.
“Just because it exists doesn't mean we need to sell it or offer it,” said Kristina Robinson of Hemingway. “Bath salts are dangerous and so are some of these other synthetic drugs. I mean, it really shouldn't even be called “synthetic.” There is nothing “fake” about bath salts. They are for real … as in really bad.”

By Kelly Marshall Fuller

Residents and officials worked to solve feral cat issue

The issue of stray cats continued to be a problem in Georgetown County this year.
While city police and county officials tried to pass laws that would deal with feral animals, local groups worked to move them to safe locations.
Ferals in Need, a non-profit group, and Friends of Abandoned Cats, were formed to help trap, spay and neuter the felines roaming the county.
Meanwhile, residents sought to work with the City of Georgetown on the cat problem.
City police ticketed at least one person when he was reportedly feeding cats near Food Lion in Georgetown.
The county also made it illegal to feed cats on county-owned property after fleas were reported invading offices at the county landfill in Browns Ferry.
While there has been no resolution to the cat-feeding case, or to the problem of stray cats, volunteers continue to work to find shelter for the cats and get them medical care.

By Kelly Marshall Fuller

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