Society Hill Council gets beauty queens, discusses garden, loose roaming animals

Miss Society Hill Teen Katelyn Harrell, Mrs. Carolyn Oliver, and Miss Society Hill Marisa Brown. PHOTO BY STEPHAN DREW

Society Hill’s Richard “Dick” Baird gives update on Community Garden during Society Hill’s Town Council meeting on Tuesday, April 11, 2023. PHOTO BY STEPHAN DREW

By Stephan Drew, Editor

Society Hill once again has its own beauty queen, actually two. During their meeting on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, the Society Hill Town Council and all in attendance were treated to the introduction of Marisa Brown, 19 year old Miss Society Hill, and Katelyn Harrell, 15 year old Miss Society Hill Teen. In the pageant world, if you have enough contestants involved, you can choose to crown multiple queens. The Florence Pageant Association held their competition recently and had 3 winning contestants so, they decided to allow 2 of them to represent Society Hill. This is the first time in about 11 years that the town has had a beauty queen. Mrs. Carolyn Oliver, who coordinated the event in Society Hill was on hand to introduce the two winners. Oliver thanked the Florence Pageant Association and, especially, Director Alicia Robinson for all of her hard work and assistance.

Richard “Dick” Baird of Society Hill gave a progress update on the Community Garden. Almost a year ago, the town of Society Hill partnered with CareSouth to provide the growing area for all interested parties. There is compost and running water on site, approximately 12-15 beds, and an 8 ft. tall Deer fence to protect against animal damage. Individuals have sewn seeds and planted vegetables in the provided planter boxes but, there are still a few boxes available for use. Baird and Mayor Dwayne Duke encouraged more community involvement in this effort. 

Terri Cribb, Codes Enforcement Development Services Director, and Steve Schwartz, from Darlington County Animal Control, gave updates on the increasing number of loose, roaming dogs around the town. Schwartz is the only Animal Control Officer in the 576 square mile. He reported that, even though there is a limited number of animal traps available, concerned residents are encouraged to call their office if one is needed. Animal Control only deals with stray dogs and cats. Schwartz also reported that, recently, a cat was spotted near the water tower and Animal Control was notified. When he responded to the call, he discovered it was a juvenile bobcat. After approximately one hour, the animal was trapped and released in the swamp, Schwartz stated.

April has been designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Pee Dee Coalition is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to the reduction of sexual assault, family violence, and child abuse, as well as the needs of its victims. Pam Johnson, from the Pee Dee Coalition, was on hand to accept the proclamations and update council on their recent events, one of which was the hanging of symbolic teal and blue ribbons in prominent places across the county. 

The First Reading of Ordinance 02-2022-2023 was heard. This ordinance authorizes and directs the town to enter into a new agreement with the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s (MASC) tax collection programs due to the programs rebranding under one name as the Local Revenue Service Program. The measure was approved for a Second Reading at next month’s meeting.

Council discussed construction of a storage building behind Town Hall, near the fire department. To construct the storage building, the estimated cost is $20,000. Council also discussed whether to put a 9ft or 12ft wall on the property. Cost for a 9ft wall is estimated at $6,000 and $8,000 for a 12ft wall. Council decided not to use the leftover concrete water storage tank as a storage building. Former Mayor Tommy Bradshaw offered a 1.5 acre property he owns which has 3 existing buildings and 160 ft. frontage on Hwy. 16 for $35,000. He suggested it as a larger space with more options for development and usage. Council agreed to discuss and consider the matter.

McBride Street was chosen as the next venue for the One Street At a Time program. This program allows citizens to come together and remove  trash, leaves, limbs and debris in order to keep the town clean. The Taste of Society Hill will be held April 22, 2023 from 6:30pm to 9:00 pm at the Adam Marshall House, located at 454 S. Main Street. There will be raffles, good food, live music and great times to be had. 

The next meeting of the Society Town Council is scheduled for May 9, 2023.

Author: Stephan Drew

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