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Blythewood High School Students were involved in what appeared to be a deadly DUI crash

April 18, 2012

 Some students at Blythewood High School were involved in what appeared to be a deadly DUI crash but really no one was hurt because they were all acting.

With prom right around the corner administrators wanted to remind students of the dangers of getting behind the wheel under the influence.

The dramatization was conducted on the football field with nearly 500 students watching.

Several local agencies partnered with Blythewood for the in the event: Richland County Sheriff Department, Richland County Emergency Services, Dunbar Funeral Home Northeast Chapel, Forget Me Not Florist, and North Columbia Auto Salvage.

A Richland County paramedic who was at the event says although it was a mock crash, a deadly DUI crash was reality for him and his family.

“My son when he passed as tragic as his passing was, sends my wife and my two daughters and myself to literal hell. We’ll spend the rest of our lives wondering what could have been. Did we miss something? Should something been done?” says Corporal Richard Hamilton.

A $2,000 Project Ignition Grant was presented by State Farm to the JROTC for being selected as one of twenty-five schools nationally to participate in the dramatization project.

Project Ignition is a student led teen driver safety program funded by State Farm and coordinated by the National Youth Leadership Council.

If Blythewood’s safe driving campaign is selected as one of the top 10, the school will be eligible to receive additional funding up to $ 7,500 to extend the campaign and to participate in a national event showcasing leadership in teen driver safety.

Blythewood’s Prom was Saturday, April 14, 2012.

Town of Blythewood wins Certificate of Achievement

April 9, 2012

The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in financial reporting has been awarded to The Town of Blythewood by the government finance officers association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for fiscal year ended June 30, 2011. the Certificate of Achievement is the highest form or recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

An award of financial reporting achievement has been awarded to the individual(s), department or agency designated by the government as primarily responsible for preparing the award-winning (CAFR). this has been presented to:

Kem R. Smith, Town Accountant

The (CAFR) has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive “Spirit of Full Disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the (CAFR).

The (GFOA) is a nonprofit professional association serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals with offices in Chicago, IL, and Washington, D.C.




$495,000 Approved for the USC Equestrian Center

March 30, 2012

Locker room to be built in accordance with Title IX

The board of trustees recently approved plans to build a new locker room for the equestrian team in accordance with Title IX. The plans, which have no start date for construction presently, are estimated to cost USC $495,000, according to Executive Associate Athletic Director Kevin O’Connell.

The team currently has a lounge area, but no actual locker room to accommodate the riders’ needs, according to Head Coach Boo Major.

“We have been in need of a locker room for a while; we have what we call a lounge area in one of our barns, but as our team has expanded from twenty or twenty-five to forty people, the lounge area we have in the barn has become too small,” Major said. “We’ve just outgrown it.”

Redshirt sophomore and 2010-2011 All-American Johnna Letchworth agrees that the upgrade is needed.

“When we won the National Championship in the 2004-2005 season, we had 27 members on the team. Now on the 2011-2012 team we have 40 members,” Letchworth said. “Even with the increase in team members the space has remained the same, which is why a new locker room is needed.”

The lounge, adjacent to the team’s Blythewood equestrian center at One Wood Farm, is a one-room facility with what Major called minimal amenities.

“Its just a room with two sinks, a refrigerator, one shower and two toilets,” Major said. “It’s nice, but it’s not big enough for 40 people.”

A recent visit from a gender equity consultant deemed the new construction necessary, O’Connell said. He added that the new facility will be a vast improvement upon the current one.

“It will be brand new and much larger, about 2,200 square feet, with 40 lockers and a meeting room,” O’Connell said. “It will be much larger, much nicer and more in line with other locker rooms for other athletes.”

There will also be a room for riders’ tack built next to the locker room.

“One of the things we’ve had issues with is that a lot of the student-athletes bring their own saddles. We have a place where they can store them, but it’s really out of the way,” Major said. “We’ll add on a saddle room next door where students can go and access their own riding equipment. It’s a really nice addition as well because a lot of the girls [currently] keep their saddles in their cars.”

While no start date has been announced for construction, once begun, the project is expected to take six months.

“We hope to start next year but it’s all dependent on funding,” O’Connell said. “The ideal situation is for it to take place from April to September.”

That time frame would allow construction to occur without disrupting practices, but if the work was to go on during the season, it may prove slightly problematic, as the locker room will be built next to the covered ring in which the team practices.

“We’ll just have to get used to it,” Major said. “The horses don’t mind the noise, but they do have to get used to the movement. Horses are very timid animals and they can get easily startled if someone makes a sudden movement like standing up quickly from a crouch. We’ve talked about putting a screen up so the horses can’t see out to the construction.”

The Athletics department hopes to minimize any interference with practice during construction, however.

“We want to try to be sensitive to the coach, the athletes and the horses,” O’Connell said. “We want to have the least amount of intrusion into their daily lives.”

USC hopes adding the locker room will increase the team’s appeal to potential riders.

“We already have one of the best college facilities in the country, but the locker room area has quite honestly been one of the missing pieces,” Letchworth said. “When we’re bringing in top-level recruits, we can have the best horses, great stables and all of the other great things like the Dodie Academic Enrichment Center, but a team’s locker room is a crucial element to the makeup and chemistry of the team. This new locker room is going to be terrific and will really help our program stand out.”

Spring Valley player named S.C. Gatorade player of year

March 19, 2012

After leading Spring Valley to a 21-5 record in her senior season, guard Asia Dozier has been named South Carolina’s Gatorade Player of the Year for girls’ basketball.

The award recognizes excellence in athletics as well as academic achievement and exemplary character. Coach Anne Long said Dozier is a prime example of all of those.

“I think what really put her over the edge is she has made the A-honor roll every year since she’s been here, and we’re real proud of her for that,” Long said.

“She’s always been pretty grounded and a leader. She’s always humble and she’s appreciative, knowing that competition was pretty stiff in the state this year.”

Dozier, who averaged 18.6 points, 4.5 assists and 4 steals per game, has signed with South Carolina.

She has maintained 4.34 grade average, and volunteers with several local organizations and charities.

Dozier is in the running for the National Gatorade Player of the Year award.

Doko Meadows continues to adhere to Clean Water Act

March 12, 2012

Recently, the Town of Blythewood was paid a visit by LTC Edward Chamberlayne, Commander, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Charleston District, accompanied by members of his staff for a compliance inspection of the Blythewood Park site “Doko Meadows”.  LTC Chamberlayne and his staff were present to insure that construction of the park was being conducted in accordance with the Section 404 of the Clean Water Act permit that was issued.  The permit allows the town to impact specific wetlands and stream areas on the proposed park property for the construction of a pond, parking area, and roadways.

Upon arrival at Town Hall, LTC Chamberlayne and his staff were given a complete presentation of the proposed park including an animated computer flyover of Doko Meadows which can be viewed on the town website. Click here.  The party utilized the walking trail and boardwalk to access the pond dam location and on-site wetlands preservation area. Several USACE staff members commented on the integrity of the park, the idea and craftsmanship in the boardwalk while taking many photographs. “I am very impressed” commented LTC Chamberlayne.

Upon returning to Town Hall the USACE staff commented that it appeared the Section 404 permit and its associated conditions were being adequately adhered to, and looked forward to visiting the park once it was completed with more members of his staff and from Head Quarters.

Cedar Creek Bridge Notification

March 5, 2012

A recent inspection was conducted by the SCDOT bridge inspection team on S-40-1682, Cedar Creek Road, over Cedar Creek located in Richland County. The inspection revealed structural deficiencies with the existing bridge which will require a restriction of the weight limit of vehicles utilizing this roadway. Based on the bridge type and existing bridge condition, it has been determined that a weight restriction of 8 TONS per axle and 17 TONS GVW  be implemented effective March 5, 2012. The Department does not recommend vehicular traffic that exceeds the posted limits on this structure. Enclosed is a map indicting the bridge location.Image

A New Western Rider for Gamecocks Equestrian Team

February 27, 2012

South Carolina head coach Boo Major has announced the signing of western rider Sarah Rose Bouchard to a National Letter of Intent to join the Gamecock equestrian team beginning in the 2012-2013 season.

“We are excited to welcome Sarah to the Gamecock family. She will bring experience riding a variety of horses,” said associate head coach Ruth Sorrel. “Winning the Cowtown Classic is a perfect example of her ability to catch ride – which gives her a head start on what we do in college. Sarah will also bring us success in the classroom as well. ”

Training with William Clark, Bouchard is one of the country’s top youth western riders. She is currently fifth in the NRHA top-10 standings. In 2011, she was named champion at the Cowtown Classic Youth Championship Catch Ride in Fort Worth, Texas. She also placed first in the youth 14-18 competition at the Cowtown Classic in August, while also finishing third at the Northeast Affiliate Finals. She brought home first place honors at the Northeast Affiliate Team Tournament and has won numerous other championships and first place honors during her youth career.

Bouchard chose to ride for the Gamecocks over Auburn and Georgia.

A senior at Ralph C. Mahar Regional School in Orange, Mass., Bouchard has maintained a 3.7 GPA and has been on the honor roll her entire high school career. She was a member of the National Junior Honors Society and spent her freshman year in the Fish and Game Club. At South Carolina, she will be a pre-med student.

She is the daughter MG and Rebecca Bouchard, and has one sister, Mollie.