2022, a Year in review
By Stephan Drew, Editor
During the last 12 months, many things happened and numerous changes were made in Darlington County. Here is a summary of the year in review:
Society Hill Police Chief Michael August resigned his post and Renae Worden was named the new Police Chief for the township. Dwayne Dukes was sworn in as Society Hill Mayor after a campaign which began because of a city ordinance on animals. Local police apprehended a suspect on the basketball court of Hartsville High School during a game. Free masks and COVID tests were given away during the last few months of the pandemic.
Mike Reichenbach announced his candidacy as GOP candidate for S. C. Senate District 31 seat. Darlington Police Chief Kelvin Washington announced he would retire at the end of this year. A Darlington County detention officer was arrested and charged with bringing contraband into the jail. Darlington County School District Superintendent Tim Newman asked the school board to consider merging Rosenwald Elementary School and St. John’s Elementary School.
A downtown blaze destroyed 3 buildings on the Public Square and was suspected to be arson. St. John’s Elementary supporters gathered 1,200 signatures in protest to stop the school merger between Rosenwald Elementary and St. John’s Elementary schools. Darlington broke ground on new museum with $4 million bequest from Carolyn “Bet” Norment Phillips. Increasing gas prices continued to “squeeze” Darlington County residents. Hartsville Police Department announced they now had access to SLED’s Facial Recognition System. S. C. House Speaker Jay Lucas announced he would not run again.
Darlington County School District considers dropping school merger idea. Darlington County Sheriff’s Office arrests 2 local store owners for “unlawful handling of hemp”. Darlington County Council approved $233,000 in funds for new Judicial Center’s roof work. Darlington County Council approved 3% employee pay raise and a small tax increase. A local man was killed in confrontation with Darlington County Sheriff’s deputies. A Darlington fire truck was in a fatal crash while en route to answering a fire call.
Joey Logano wins Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway. Darlington County Council “pauses” pay raise and increased tax idea.
Darlington County School District buys 112-acre property for $1.6 million, prompting citizens’ complaints about school merger idea. Darlington High School vandalized by youths. Students who were involved received no punishment from law enforcement or school system. Three suspects were held for murder, kidnapping and other crimes in the death of Dimitri McDaniel. Miss Hartsville Jill Dudley was crowned Miss South Carolina. Darlington County restaurant, Skeet’s Barbeque, which was started in 1969 and closed 11 years ago, was torn down.
City of Darlington announced it was spending $1.25 million in upgrades to the water/sewer system due to damage caused by flooding and stormwater drainage. Five suspects were charged in the July 5th slaying of Steven Stallons, a Hartsville man. Racial accusations erupted at a Darlington City Council meeting after a councilmember’s relative was racially slurred in public several days before.
Darlington County schools started their first full school year since the COVID pandemic. Hartsville Regional Airport gets new up-to-date terminal. S.C. Dept. of Transportation announced the closure of 3 bridges in Darlington County, due to repairs.
Erik Jones won the Cookout Southern 500, Darlington County Council (in conjunction with S.C. Office of Resilience) discussed land buyout program for properties damaged by flooding and excess storm water drainage.
City of Darlington Grants Committee was formed by City Council and made their recommendations of Grant Rewards to Darlington City Council. Hartsville City Council passed a resolution regarding the exterior paint colors on businesses in the Walmart Shopping Center in Hartsville.
Former Darlington Sheriff W. Glenn Campbell was inducted into the S.C. Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame. Hartsville City Council faced questions and complaints about disrepair and damage on McLeod Road. A Former Darlington County volunteer firefighter was arrested for stealing money. City of Darlington announced Mark Campbell as new Darlington Police Chief. Former S.C. Governor David Beasley, who is Exec. Director of the United Nations World Food Program, spoke at Welsh Neck Baptist Church regarding coming food shortages and hardships worldwide.
Darlington County School District Board held Strategic Planning Meeting to strategize for the next 5 years. Newly announced Darlington Police Chief Campbell rescinds his acceptance of the job amid complaints. Assistant Police Chief Jimmy Davis named new Darlington Police Chief.
Two local corrections officers arrested for having marijuana on Detention Center property. Darlington Community Foundation donates $631,000 to Darlington Community.