Letters to the Editor | Opinion | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | June 19, 2016 5:00 pm
Last Updated: June 15, 2016 at 12:49 pm
Thank you to all who helped with literacy program
On June 30, I will complete 25 years as tutor, coordinator and executive director with the Colleton County Literacy Council. And what rewarding years they have been.
But it is with mixed emotions that I retire from a program that allowed me, with the support of hundreds of others, to share the gift of reading with those who could not read or needed to improve their reading skills or learn to speak the English language.
At the same time, I deeply regret that this council will close after June 30 because no one has been willing to step in and continue this great program. My sincere hope is that in the near future, there will be someone concerned enough to come forward and open these doors again.
While there have been failures in these 25 years, there have been far more success stories that I will perhaps write about in the future. And those successes could not have been possible without the past efforts of so many in Colleton County, beginning with Janice Alexander in the early 1980s, followed by Sylvia Rowland, whose encouragement and support was the beginning of my connection with Colleton Literacy. Sylvia’s library/literacy grant in 1987 provided the means to set in motion the Colleton County Literacy Council with seven directors, a constitution and bylaws, as well as offer two tutor-training workshops.
When I was elected to take over the program in July 1991, there was great interest in literacy. Barbara Bush was very involved in promoting literacy during President George Bush’s first term in the White House.
During the past 25 years, there have been 49 workshops held with over 383 tutors trained. And their voluntary services have been the success of a program that opened doors to a better life for many, many new readers. For all who love to read, think of the wonderful and rewarding gift reading is to give to someone who cannot read.
So I want to take this time to offer a heartfelt thank you to far too many to name — those who gave their time and talents to help so many, not only as directors or tutors, but with support, encouragement and financial gifts. I am eternally grateful to you.
For those who provided excellent training in our pre-school program for six years, you added so much to the lives of those children. I thank you.
And to all who purchased the beautiful Anne Worsham Richardson bird prints and ornaments for 24 years, a special thank you.
To Don Holmes, CPA, and his excellent staff, you were the best and so very kind to Colleton Literacy.
I will still be here in Walterboro in the years to come to offer my experience, support and encouragement to those who follow. These 25 years have allowed me the privilege of meeting and knowing so many in Colleton County whose interest and encouragement filled my life with great blessings — especially those who came through our doors, grateful for the gift of reading they received.
I have also been privileged to work with special friends who served as staff, as well as tutors, during these years. Nadine and Naomi, you just don’t know what you have meant to me. And Bob, of course, our ESL facilitator for 20 years, who loved tutoring those from his homeland of Mexico and others who wanted to learn to speak and read the English language. Bob came each day as long as he was able. How we have missed him and Bernard Warshaw, our council president, for so many years. Bernard was my mentor and my advisor and, most of all, my dear friend. All our board presidents and directors were always supportive of both me and the literacy program and always made me feel appreciated.
At the annual Chamber meeting in 2011, as I thanked those who had been so supportive of literacy for 20 years, I had to include a personal thank you to Gene Dyches, who reminded me that shortly after we married, he had signed up for a tutor-training worship in January 1990 and wanted me to go with him. Of course, I did and, well, the rest is history.
But the time has come now for me to close this part of my life. Thank you, Colleton County, for the past 25 years which I will cherish for all the years to come.
June B. Dyches,
Colleton County Literacy Council
July 1, 1991-June 30, 2016
City council says no again, but you should judge for yourself
I went before City Council last Tuesday June 7 for the second time in two years to request its financial help in reopening the theater. On Wednesday morning, the day after I went before council, I received a call from Jeff Molonari, city manager, telling me that I had, for the second time, been turned down. I was told by a reliable source that the decision was made long before the meeting took place. Why am I not surprised?
I want the people of Walterboro to know that I made it clear from the outset with all parties concerned that it was never my intention to own the theater. I was merely the catalyst seeking investors and trying to find a way to make it happen. I have tried to speak up on behalf of my fellow citizens and be their advocate. I have been vocal, I have been honest and my goal to reopen the theater has never waivered. I took on city hall only to rediscover the old adage: “You can’t fight city hall.” Unfortunately, that is still the pathetic truth.
I have considered this refusal and, frankly, I can’t figure out how council could turn down helping us reopen our theater. I gave council over 2,200 signatures of citizens of Walterboro and surrounding area asking them for help. I would bet they have never received this many signatures by any group for any reason. Read the facts below and judge for yourself: Would you vote to reopen the theater?
I find it disappointing for council not to consider the welfare and happiness of their tax-paying citizens. During the meeting, I explained the hardships created for many of our citizens due to not having a theater.
(1) I stated many of our senior citizens cannot drive to Summerville.
(2) I spoke about the two-hour drive being forced on the public to go to a movie.
(3) I talked about our low-income families not being able to afford to drive to Summerville for a movie.
(4) I talked about the dangerous drive for our teenagers.
(5) I talked about how the people were depressed because they have nothing to do.
(6) I talked about our handicapped veterans having to be bused two hours to go to a movie when our theater would solve that problem.
(7) I pointed out this theater would be a multi-venue entertainment center that would offer a state approved bingo game, a video game room, a birthday party room, a children’s theater.
(8) I told them about my experience while talking to people for six hours in front of the Walmart grocery store entrance As I promised those folks, I repeated the following quotes at the meeting:
a. I had parents saying: “When children have nothing to do their idle time can lead to trouble.”
b. Some parents said their families missed going to a movie because it was a bonding time for the whole family and there is not much a family can do together here anymore.”
c. They talked about their happy childhood memories of the old Cook Theater.
d. They reminisced about their first “movie date” and meeting their friends on Saturday for a matinee.
e. They regretted their children would never have these fond memories to enjoy.”
f. I pointed out the city had to pay for a recreation department to oversee and maintain the various parks and ballfields, but our theater would require no expense to the city.
g. The comment I heard most often was: “Take a look around. Show me where the city is doing something for the average taxpayer. They do not listen to us anymore. They do not think about us.” Even this comment did not make a difference to city council. It makes you wonder what would it take from the public to get city council to meet our request?
I find it ironic that during the meeting council approved over $200,000 to purchase the old First Federal building so they could have more office space. They can’t find their way to help the citizens they serve, but they can take care of their own in good fashion.
I tried to stress what I thought was the main point to council when I said: “In this folder are the signatures of 2,200 citizens who want you to know they would like to see their theater reopened. They are not here in person but their voices are hidden between sheets of those surveys.” I gave the folder of names to Mayor Young.
After hearing my plea about how many ways this theater would be beneficial to the city, they still said no. I believe city council should be ashamed for turning a deaf ear to the citizens of Walterboro. Personally, I do not believe I could sleep at night knowing I had the chance to improve the lives of my fellow citizens by spending the small sum of $147,000 which would be repaid within five years.
The people who said our government no longer listens to us were correct. They act like this is their city and we do not have a say in it. At least now the public knows just where they stand.
What is your decision? Would you vote to open the theater? Could you ignore the wishes of 2,200 citizens?
I feel sad because I let down those 2,200 voices and the other citizens of Walterboro. I promise I will not quit. When the time is right, God will open the door.
Thanks to all who helped with Mayfest
The ninth annual Mayfest Parade was held in Johnsville on Saturday May 14 and a Gospel Fest was held Sunday May 15.
The parade started at Bethel U.M. Church on Johnsville Road and ended at the Community Center on Community Avenue. The parade had over 25 participants from the surrounding churches, social groups, cars, four-wheeler clubs, horse clubs and walking groups.
Grand marshal for the parade was Laquanta Wiggins of Smoaks, a 2016 cum laude graduate of Allen University with a B.S. degree in biology with a concentration in pre-health.
On Sunday the Gospel Fest Celebration was held in the park at the Johnsville Community Center. Some of the performers were Cynthia Richardson, Brandan William, PJ Dancers, Gospel Stars, Rosa Lee Simmons, Melissa Clayton, Renard Linder and James Jordan. Special guest groups were The Spiritual Nights of Ridgeland and Phillip Patterson and Gideon of Beaufort. All groups received a trophy for participating.
Several of the candidates in the upcoming election for sheriff, District 90 and Colleton County Council rode in the parade and spoke to the public on the upcoming election.
Thanks to all of the people from surrounding areas for coming out and supporting this event. Also thanks to Danny Drain and his wife for the sound system and the Smoaks Fire-Rescue. Special thanks to the sponsors, C.T. Lowndes Insurance Company and Koger’s Mortuary of Walterboro.
I think everything went well for the two days of events, and plans are being made for next year. The Mayfest committee includes Jimmy Wiggins, Isreal Jenkins and David “Gar” Linder.
We are “a community coming together as one.”