Year End Review | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | December 27, 2017 5:00 am
Last Updated: December 27, 2017 at 9:02 am
By GEORGE SALSBERRY
2017 in Colleton County was bracketed by law enforcement cases that drew national attention.
The new year was just 13 days old when Gloria Williams of Walterboro was arrested on charges of kidnapping and interference with custody, the arrest ending an 18 year search for a missing Jacksonville, Fla. infant.
That kidnapped child, taken from her mother a few hours after her birth at a Jacksonville hospital, had been raised in Walterboro by Williams’ as her daughter, Alexis Manigo.
Members of the Walterboro Police Department assisted Jacksonville authorities during their investigation.
In the intervening months, Williams has remained in custody in a Jacksonville jail and is expected to go on trial early in 2018. Alexis Manigo has continued to work to come to grips with her life that had began as Kamiyah Mobley, the name Shanara Mobley and Craig Aiken, her biological parents, gave her when she was born on July 10, 1998 in Jacksonville.
There were just 13 days left in 2017 when Colleton County Sheriff’s Office personnel took Ralph G. Stair, the leader of Overcomer Ministry, into custody on eight criminal charges.
Stair, 84, was arrested the morning of Dec. 18 on three counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct and single counts of assault with the intent to commit criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping, second degree assault, first-degree burglary, and third degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
A few hours later, Stair was slated to have a bond hearing on the charges in magistrate court but Stair’s attorney waived the bond hearing.
Agents from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and Federal Bureau of Investigation accompanied the sheriff’s office personnel to the religious group’s compound on Augusta Highway to serve a search warrant for evidence as part of their on-going investigation into Stair.
Beach re-nourishment begins
In late January work began on Edisto Beach’s $18-million beach re-nourishment and groin lengthening project.
Edisto Beach officials had been in the process of issuing the contract for the beach work when Hurricane Matthew further eroded the coast line in the fall of 2016.
When the project began, Steven Traynum, project manager for Coastal Science and Engineering, had said the work would pump 956,000 cubic yards of sand from a mile offshore to rebuild the beach.
“The overall goal is to restore a recreational and natural beach system for the town and provide the protection for the homes and the recreational area for people who visit,” said Traynum.
Medical center get new CEO
In late February, Jimmy Hiott was named as the new Chief Executive Officer of Colleton Medical Center. He had been serving as the interim CEO since December 2016.
With over 26 years of health care experience, Hiott brought a wide breadth of experience and knowledge to his new role.
“The Board of Trustees endorsed the selection of Jimmy Hiott for the position of CEO,” said board member Moultrie Plowden when the appointment was announced. “We feel he has the experience, temperament, and passion to lead the hospital in our continuing pursuit of providing excellence in healthcare to the Walterboro/Colleton area and surrounding counties.”
Brightwell leaves museum
Colleton Museum and Farmer’s Market Director Gary Brightwell retired from the post on June 2.
She had been museum director since 2008 and oversaw the museum’s move from its cramped quarters in the Old Jail building to the East Market Street facility.
Shortly after her retirement Matt Mardell was named the new director. Under a staff reorganization, Mardell also continues in his previous post as manager of the Colleton Commercial Kitchen.
Three family members killed
The quiet community of Ruffin was rocked the afternoon of May 16 when gunfire clamed the lives of a married couple and their 13-year-old son.
Phillip Moore, Lori Moore and their son Vincent Moore were killed at their Lowcountry Highway residence.
The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office investigation into the homicides resulted in the arrest of two suspects.
Kenneth Mar’Keith Chisolm, 19, of Walterboro was charged with three counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping, four counts of possession of a weapon in the commission of a violent crime and single counts of attempted murder, attempted armed robbery, first degree burglary and arresting arrest.
La Shay J. Aiken, 19, of Walterboro was arrested on six counts of accessory after the fact in connection with the killings. She had allegedly driven Aiken away from the scene.
Ground broken on Law Enforcement Center
The groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Colleton County Law Enforcement Center was held on June 2.
Work to complete the approximately 17,000 square foot facility on Mable T. Willis Boulevard, is expected to take a year.
When finished, the new building will have all the operations of the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, with the exception of the detention center, under one roof. The Colleton County Magistrate Office will also move into the new facility.
Funding for the estimated $5.1 million law enforcement facility comes from the one-cent sales tax passed by voters in 2014.
St. Peter’s AME celebrates milestone
In August, St. Peter’s African Methodist Episcopal Church celebrated 150 years.
St. Peter’s A.M.E. was established in 1867, becoming the first black congregation in Colleton County.
“We are a small church, but very unique in its own way. We appreciate what it has stood for over these years,” said St. Peter’s pastor, the Rev. Leon Maxwell. “Part of St. Peter’s uniqueness is that it has been in one location for 150 years — the church never moved.”
Irma’s unwelcome visit
Edisto Beach took a lashing from Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, but rebounded better than anticipated.
Irma first made landfall in the Caribbean, then left a trail of destruction through the Florida Keys and southwest Florida.
On Sept. 12, Edisto Beach and the rest of the South Carolina coastline saw a tidal surge that had not been seen since Hurricane Hugo.
Edisto Beach weathered Irma better than expected, two or three feet of sand covered parts of Palmetto Boulevard. The main roadway had had five to six feet of sand on it following Hurricane Matthew the year before.
Walterboro voters went to the polls on Nov. 7, the mayor’s post and three council seats on the ballot.
Incumbent Walterboro Mayor Bill Young was challenged by Marguerite Chrissy Johnson. Young was given another term, receiving 680 votes to Johnson’s 333.
In the race for Walterboro council, incumbent James Broderick and newcomers Carl Brown and Greg Pryor won council seats.