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    County cleaning up litter

    April 7 2021 Sumter County litter cleanups 1

    Tackling the litter problem in Sumter County is likely going to take a combination of equipment, people power and tenacity.

    Sumter County Council Chairman Jim McCain on Tuesday morning watched with great interest as a trash-choked ditch running alongside Berry Street on the Eastside was being cleaned up.

    “We’re sizing up different strategies to address the litter issue, which was only made worse from the pandemic,” he said. “The county is concerned about litter just as much as everyone else and we’re taking concrete steps to clean up our neighborhoods and roadways.”

    Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon, Public Works Director Eddie Newman and Stormwater Utility Director Alfred Conyers were also on hand and discussed the merits of using specific pieces of equipment for certain tasks.

    A vacuum truck used primarily to clean and flush water or sewer lines was put in service to pull trash from the ditch but saw issues with organic matter slowing the intake. A mini-excavator was able to scoop out trash but didn’t quite have the reach, so a full-size excavator was able to remove parts of a couch, a bicycle and other discarded items.

    “It’s a crying shame we have to expend time, money and equipment to clean up this problem when all people have to do is put trash in a container and take it to recycling centers for free,” McCain said. “People need to be more proud of their community and quit throwing trash out in the streets and ditches.”

    Mixon noted there is temporary contract labor currently tasked with picking up trash alongside roads leading up to three recycling centers in the county – Cane Savannah Road, Stamey Livestock and Rainiare Boulevard.

    Newman said the last year has seen a huge increase of trash and refuse being brought to the Recycling Centers as people stayed home and remodeled or renovated their homes.

    “If you’ve been to the home improvement stores lately you’ve seen how busy they are and the other side of the coin is people bringing in discarded materials to our centers,” he said. “If folks could be more attentive to making sure loads are properly secured or tied down then we could reduce the amount of trash on the roads leading into our recycling centers.”

    Mixon said it will take a multi-faceted approach to cleaning up the litter in Sumter County that brings local governments together with civic groups and volunteers.

    “Clean roads are safer roads and it’s going to take a concerted effort across the board to make a difference,” he said.

    April 7 2021 Sumter County litter cleanups 13

    April 7 2021 Sumter County litter cleanups 21

    April 7 2021 Sumter County litter cleanups 25

    City and County celebrate April as Month of Military Child

    March 31 2021 Military Child Resolution 7

    Sumter County Council Chairman James T. McCain Jr., City of Sumter Mayor David Merchant and Shaw Air Force Base’s 20th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Lawrence Sullivan on March 31, 2021, signed a joint proclamation declaring the month of April as “Month of the Military Child.”

    Thursday, April 15, 2021, has been designated as “Purple Up Day” in Sumter and all those who support our military are asked to wear purple to show their support for military children.

    “Our friends at Shaw Air Force Base in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army know they have our support and this is another way for Sumter County Government, the City of Sumter and the Sumter community to show our appreciation for all they do in keeping us safe,” McCain said after the ceremony. “Let’s all wear purple on April 15th because it’s not just the men and women serving in uniform, it’s their families and their children we support as well.”

    March 31 2021 Military Child Resolution 1

    March 31 2021 Military Child Resolution 2

    County facilities available for rent

    Sumter County's community centers are once again available for rent. State and federal guidelines regarding Covid-19 will be followed.
    More info here:

    Nov 16 2020 Mill Creek Clubhouse for rent

    Eastern Community Center for rent

    Employee Spotlight: Fatimah Brunson

    Feb 26 2021 Fatima Brunson 2

    Fatimah Brunson loves to make people laugh.

    “If I can put a smile on your face, I’m good,” she said with a smile.

    Now well known for her friendly demeanor and strong work ethic, Brunson has been with Sumter County Government for 15 years.

    “It’s been good – I try to do my best and this is what I would do at home because I want to be comfortable, too,” she said.

    Assigned to the Administration building, Brunson is the consummate detail-oriented individual who takes every aspect of her job seriously.

    She cleans everything.

    “The whole building every day,” she said. “Whatever I can’t see with my eyes doesn’t mean it’s not there.”

    The Administration building houses the offices of the Assessor, the Auditor and the Treasurer – three departments with plenty of foot traffic and visitors from the general public. The building is also home to the Finance and Purchasing departments, along with the Administration, Clerk to Council, Council Chambers and the County Attorney.

    “Fatimah does a wonderful job and we’re very proud of her,” said Lorraine Dennis, Assistant Administrator. “Before the pandemic we placed a high value on ensuring our buildings are clean and tidy and the last year has shone a spotlight on how important it is to keep everything sanitized, clean and safe for all of us. And if Fatima was getting a report card, it would be an A plus.”

    If you see her during the work day, she might be listening to gospel music or hip-hop while she works, depending on the mood. She and her family are still processing the recent and sudden loss of her brother, Ali Brunson, 39, and she’s found gospel music helps.

    “I’m still dealing with it but it’s still tough,” she said. “But the music calms me.”

    Born in Sumter, Fatimah has an older sister, Majeeda, and younger brother, Kareem. She is also the proud mother of her son Shiheim McCray, 23, and daughter Diamond Brunson, 19.

    When she has free time, they’re just chilling at home.

    “My house is the hangout spot,” she said, laughing.

    She’s also taking online classes to learn about medical billing and has almost completed the courses.

    She jokes that when she gets off work, if she’s not doing coursework, she’s “doing the same thing I do here,” and cleaning up after her kids.

    But then, when the day comes to an end…..

    “The TV will watch me,” she said, laughing again. “Watch me lay down and go to sleep.”

    Feb 26 2021 Fatima Brunson 1


    Phase 2 of Covid-19 vaccinations now underway -- all South Carolinians 16 years old and up are eligible

    Jan 25 2021 Sumter First Responders vaccinated 4

    All South Carolinians 16 years old and up are eligible for the free Covid-19 vaccine.

    These are the locations in Sumter giving out vaccines:

    Sumter County Civic Center, 700 West Liberty Street, is a Prisma Health Tuomey clinic.
    Appointments can be made by creating a MyChart account at https://mychart.prismahealth.org/MyChart/Authentication/Login and clicking on SIGN UP ONLINE. If you don’t have internet access, you can call Prisma Health at 1-833-2-PRISMA for scheduling help.
    Prisma Health Tuomey’s clinic at Sumter County Civic Center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday.  

    Prisma Health Tuomey, 129 North Washington Street

    Prisma info: https://prismahealth.org/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccine

    Doctors Care at 2475 Broad Street 

    Doctors Care info: https://doctorscare.com/coronavirus-information/

    Walmart's Pharmacy at 343 Pinewood Road 

    The CVS at 1080 Alice Drive 


    Sumter Cut Rate, 32 S. Main St.

    Walgreens at 210 North Lafayette Drive
    For more information: 
    Tandem Health-Pike West
    370 South Pike West
    For more information: 
    DHEC Mobile Clinic @ Springbank Baptist Church
    5725 Fish Road,
    Dalzell, S.C.
    For more information: 
    DHEC Mobile Clinic @Trinity Missionary Baptist Church
    155 Wall Street
    For more information:
    DHEC Mobile Clinic @ Mayesville Medical Clinic
    35 North Main Street East
    Mayesville, S.C.
    For more information:
    The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control: https://scdhec.gov/covid19
    The DHEC Care Line is 1-855-472-3432

    Jan 25 2021 Sumter First Responders vaccinated 5

    Family Court Public Access now available, allows you to search online for case updates

    If you have a case in Family Court, you can now go online to check for any updates.

    The Family Court Public Access allows you to go online and find out about scheduled hearings, the ability to search the docket, and the opportunity to search and find relevant case information quickly and easily.

    The link is available through Sumter County’s website here: http://cms7.revize.com/revize/sumtersc/departments/e_-_i/family_court/index.php

    Family Court mug

    SWRTA offering free bus rides

    Oct 12 2020 SWRTA free service 5

    The Santee Wateree Regional Transportation Authority is offering free rides on its buses and shuttles in Sumter County for the foreseeable future.

    “We want to assist our citizens and to build up ridership and to let them know we are doing all we can do for our citizens,” said Lottie Jones, the Executive Director of SWRTA.

    As the coronavirus has impacted pretty much every aspect of our lives, public transportation has been hit hard as well.

    “We understand the hardship it’s had on folks in our area. And for the unemployed who may need to go places, but may not have funds,” she said.

    Right now, SWRTA is operating only in Sumter and Lee counties, but continues to offer service to and from Columbia. The mid-day Express Commuter Route has been especially helpful for veterans who have appointments at the VA Hospital in Columbia, she said.

    This service runs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and is available not just for veterans, but for anyone who needs to go to Columbia and get back to Sumter.

    Riders are required to wear masks, she said, and social distancing measures are in place. The SWRTA is in the process of putting hand-free sanitizer on the buses, she said, while several daily cleanings are now part of the normal protocol.

    “We’ve taken many safety precautions,” she said, “and we want folks to feel secure while riding our vehicles.”

    For more information, call (803) 775-9347 or visit https://www.swrta.com/

    Oct 12 2020 SWRTA free service 6

    Oct 12 2020 SWRTA free service 4

    Oct 12 2020 SWRTA free service 1

    Coronavirus statistics for Sumter County -- Free testing now available

    As of 11:59 p.m. on April 11, 2021, there have been 564,128 cases of Covid-19 in South Carolina, according to the state Department of Environmental Health and Control (DHEC).

    There have unfortunately been 9,289 deaths, with 22,112 hospitalizations and a total number of tests reaching 7,045,245.  

    For Sumter County, we’ve seen 10,207 cases of Covid-19, with 484 hospitalizations and 197 deaths. The total number of tests performed has been 127,301.

    State and federal authorities continue to offer simple advice for staying healthy: Wear a mask in public, socially distance from others by staying at least six feet apart, wash your hands often, avoid crowds and crowded places and if you don’t feel well, stay home.

    If you don’t feel well you need to get tested.

    There will be FREE TESTING at Alice Drive Baptist Church, 1305 Loring Mill Road, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. , Monday through Friday. Neither an appointment nor referral is needed. Saliva testing - do not eat or drink or smoke 30 minutes prior to testing. More information: 803-670-2998

    There will be FREE TESTING at Central Carolina Technical College, 506 North Guignard Drive, courtesy of Tour Health, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. No referral is needed, but an appointment is needed. You can register here: https://www.tourhealth.com/

    There will be FREE TESTING at Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital, 216 Main Street, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A referral and an appointment are needed. Info: https://prismahealth.org/services/virtual-care

    Other testing sites that charge a fee include:  Colonial Family Practice, 325 Broad St., Sandhills Medical Foundation, 425 North Salem Ave., CVS Pharmacy, 41 East Calhoun St. and The Integrated Wellness Center, 738 W. Liberty St.

    For more information, visit the DHEC website: https://scdhec.gov/

    May 6 2020 Sumter County Civic Center coronavirus testing

    Sumter County Council's April 13, 2021, meeting

    April 14 2021 Goodley leads Pledge of Allegiance Sumter County Council 1

    Sumter Veteran Johnny Goodley led the Pledge of Allegiance before Tuesday night’s County Council meeting as part of a new endeavor that will see a Veteran from each council district take turns leading the pledge.

    Council Chairman James T. McCain Jr. noted that Goodley served in Vietnam as an infantry sergeant and earned the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Army Commendation Medal, the Parachutist Badge and the Purple Heart.

    Goodley retired from the U.S. Postal Service and belongs to the Gen. George L. Mabry Jr. Military Order o the Purple Heart Chapter 817 and the S.C. Combat Veterans Group’s Columbia Chapter.

    He and his wife Ella Mae have been married 50 years and have four children and eight grandchildren, McCain said.

    Thank you for your service, Mr. Goodley. 


    Sumter City-County Planning Director Helen Roodman spoke about a request to rezone 2.23 acres of land at 1765 North Main Street from Agricultural Conservation (AC) and Neighborhood Commercial (NC) to General Commercial (GC).

    First reading was approved unanimously on this matter as well as:

    - A request to rezone 1.99 acres of land at 6815 Claremont Lane from Agricultural Conservation (AC) to Neighborhood Commercial (NC).

    - A request to rezone 32.11 acres of land at 950 and 980 Oswego Highway from Light Industrial-Warehouse (LI-W) to AC.

    Roodman then spoke about a request to rezone 6.4 acres of land at 1335 Camden Highway from Residential-9 (R-9) to GC.

    Third reading was approved unanimously on this matter as well as third readings for:

    - A request to rezone .91 acres of land at 5333 Edgehill Road from AC to GC.

    - A request to rezone a 2.57-acre parcel at 419 North Pike East from GC to LI-W.

    Roodman then spoke about a request to amend the Zoning and Development Standards to allow for the establishment of a small minimum free-standing zoning area when such an area consists entirely of land zoned Neighborhood Commercial (NC) and to make other minor adjustments identified by staff of the Planning Department for consistency purposes.

    Third reading was approved unanimously.


    Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon gave a brief report about the Budget Workshop prior to the regular Council meeting and noted that a preliminary budget has been submitted with revenues of $51,171,709 and expenses of 51,715,024 with a $543,315 deficit. The next Budget Workshop is slated for April 20th. The entire budget process takes a few months, he explained, as the law dictates a balanced budget has to be in place by the end of June.

    The next Fiscal Year begins on July 1, 2021.

    Councilman Eugene Baten once again advocated for a mandatory mask mandate.

    Chairman James T. McCain Jr. noted that he’s in touch with Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital to set up a veterans-only Covid-19 vaccination clinic. He also said there’s efforts to get DHEC to use county community centers for rural vaccination clinics. He also encouraged everyone to get vaccinated.

    Mixon said the county has been working hard to ensure there’s access to the vaccine. Prisma Health Tuomey’s vaccine clinic at the Sumter County Civic Center has seen 200 to 300 shots given every day, he said. Anyone can walk in and get the vaccine, he said. He thanked Assistant Administrator Lorraine Dennis and Emergency Management Director Erik Hayes for coordinating that effort and others involving distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine.

    Sumter County currently has 31 percent of the population with at least one vaccine shot, he said, as work to increase that percentage has been ongoing.

    Regarding recent work by County Government to address some litter hotspots, Mixon explained that an area off Berry Street was used as a testing area of sorts to see which equipment might work best in removing litter.

    A large vacuum truck used by the Stormwater Utility Department was able to pull trash from the ditch but became clogged with organic matter. An excavator was able to scoop out trash; a mini-excavator was likely the most successful piece of equipment. Nonetheless, manual labor was still needed, and all of these efforts are being documented, he said.

    Contract labor was used to clean entranceways to several recycling centers. There’s no substitute for community engagement and involvement, he said, as he asked for the public to please not litter.

    Vice Chairman Jimmy Byrd noted there’s a Sheriff’s Office Litter Pickup slated for Saturday, April 17. There are targeted days for litter cleanups in the coming weeks and months, Mixon said.

    Baten thanked Mixon, who said a number of citizens around Berry Street thanked the crews cleaning up the litter.

    During the Public Comments portion, Louis Watkins advocated for a central complaint phone line for the public to lodge complaints. He also advocated for more public involvement in governance.

    Johnny Goodley advocated for better public notice of Covid-19 vaccination clinics.

    Brittany Martin said she and her brother started a non-profit that provides catered meals to churches and helps feed the homeless.

    Her brother, Rashad Hilton, said they want to eradicate homelessness.

    April 14 2021 Goodley leads Pledge of Allegiance Sumter County Council 2





    March 2021 edition of Gamecock County Gazette now available

    An online newsletter from Sumter County Government is now available for free.
    Each month the Gamecock County Gazette will be delivered via e-mail, and for those who wish to receive a digital copy please send your e-mail address to jperry@sumtercountysc.org and our communications coordinator will add you to the list.

    To see the newsletter, click here

    March 2021 Gamecock County Gazette