Blaze destroys family’s home
By ANNA BROWN
A fire early Saturday destroyed the home of a family of four.
Firemen from three departments were called to assist Monarch firemen around 8 a.m. at the home of Holly Eubanks on 2319 Lockhart Highway. Eubanks lived in the house with her three children, Victoria, 17; Walt, 12; and Landon, 8.
Eubanks said the fire seemed to have started in the bedroom of one of the boys.
“The only thing I can think of is the fish tank,” she said. “That is the only thing we had plugged up.”
Eubanks sent one of the boys to the neighbor's house - John and Delores Lowe - to call 911.
The Eubanks home is next door to the home of Kenneth Black, chief of the Union County Fire and Rescue Squad and a firefighter with the Monarch Fire Department. Black said when the fire tone sounded on his radio he looked out and saw smoke.
“By the time I got dressed, fire was showing,” he said.
“And it didn't take it long to catch up from there,” said Santuc Fire Chief Mark Wade, a Union County EMS paramedic who also responded to the blaze.
Black said the house was a total loss. The cause is still undetermined.
“I'm just glad everybody was out of the house by the time I made it across the yard,” Black said.
Monarch was assisted in battling the blaze by Philippi and the City of Union fire departments and Union County Fire and Rescue..
The American Red Cross is assisting the Eubanks family. Anyone with clothing and furniture items to donate may call the Lowes at 427-6991. Walt wears size 16/18 pants an adult small or medium shirt and size 6 shoes. Landon wears size 7/8.
Filing ends; five races contested
By ANNA BROWN
Filing for local political offices ended Sunday with county supervisor Tommy Sinclair choosing to run as a Democrat and a challenger coming forward to vie for a county council seat.
Five races - S.C. House District 42, Union County Supervisor, Union County Probate Judge, Union County Coroner and Union County Council District 1 will be contested, either in the June 10 primary or the general election in November.
When Sinclair announced earlier this month that he would run for re-election, he said he was undecided about which if any party he would choose. As a Democrat, he will face a challenge in the primary from District 2 county councilman Frank Hart, who also filed to run for the supervisor seat.
Randall English filed to run as a Republican for the District 1 county council seat, which is held by Joan Little. Mrs. Little, a Democrat, is seeking re-election.
Sinclair said he chose in part to run as a Democrat to keep the race shorter - there is no Republican opposition.
“Several people have asked on which party I would run, but most have not,” he said. “Let me give you some facts and background that many of you probably do not know about my political history. I ran for county council in the mid-'70s on a Democratic ticket,” he said. “I have been an official in the Democratic Party, serving as precinct chair. I ran as an Independent write-in candidate for House District 42 20 years ago. I was declared by some not to be 'Republican enough' as I sought the appointment of supervisor from Governor Sanford five years ago in 2009.
“I ran for supervisor in the Democratic primary in 2010, won the nomination, and faced a Republican challenger after the nomination. At a Democratic Party meeting in that election cycle an officer in the party challenged my 'authenticity' as a Democrat. Also, in that election cycle a friend called me a 'traitor' for not running as a Republican. I can only imagine the feeling of the 17 candidates who were disenfranchised from their parties last election cycle on both sides and had to seek petitions to run as petition candidates. Neither party took care of them. At that point I withdrew from party affiliation. I would have withdrawn regardless of party. I lodged protests at several levels in the political world. Perhaps my protests, combined with other protests, may have brought about what exists today and helped fix the situation. There is now an election commission in charge, run by someone with a full time job.
“My real belief is that at the local level there is no room for party, and that all local elections should be nonpartisan like school board and city council,” Sinclair said. “I have around 40 years total military service, around 30 years total school service, and am in my fifth year as supervisor - all public service or serving people. In all that public service I have not been asked what party I was a member of, nor have I asked anyone what party they were in as we worked together. If it is about people, progress and performance then party is only part of the structure, not the entire structure. If it is about party, then we dig in, get bogged down, tied up, and sometimes strangled just like Washington does. My opponent in this has announced as a Democrat. If I run as a Democrat and there is no Republican opposition, then this is over in two and a half months, and our community will not face an eight-month-long political battle.”
Other local races are as follows:
For the S.C. House District 42 seat, Incumbent Rep. Mike Anthony is unopposed in seeking the Democratic nomination. Mark Cathcart of Buffalo and David Tribble Jr. of Clinton both are seeking the Republican nominations.
Calvin Payton filed as a Democrat seeking the office of Union County Probate Judge. William D. All III is seeking the Republican nomination. Judge Donna Cudd is not seeking re-election.
Union County Auditor Brad Valentine, Union County Treasurer Dianne Wilkins and District 4 County Councilman Ben Ivey - all Democrats - are unopposed in seeking re-election.
Union County Coroner William Holcombe, a Democrat, is being challenged by Scott Lewis, a Republican.
Woman killed in head-on collision
By ANNA BROWN
WHITMIRE - One woman was killed and another injured in a head-on collision Saturday near Whitmire.
The Newberry County Coroner's office identified the person who died as 26-year-old Shelly Elizabeth Wicker, formerly of Whitmire.
Lance Cpl. Tony Keller said Wicker was the front seat passenger in a 2008 Chrysler driven by Alisha C. Taylor, 23, of Whitmire.
Keller said the wreck occurred around 6:19 a.m. on S.C. 121 one mile south of Whitmire.
Taylor was traveling south on and drove left of center and struck a 2005 Freightliner tractor trailer being driven by Michael J. Ivey, 35, of Buffalo who was traveling north.
Taylor was airlifted to Richland Memorial Hospital. Ivey was not injured. Wicker was pronounced dead at the scene.
The accident caused Highway 121 south of Whitmire at Duncan Creek to close for several hours and traffic was detoured due to a diesel spill from the truck.
Adams honored by Lions Club
By GRAHAM WILLIAMS
When Dewey Adams became a Lion, Lyndon Johnson was president of the United States, the Beatles brought the British invasion to America, the Ford Mustang was introduced and Elizabeth Taylor married Richard Burton (for the first time).
Thursday night, the Union Lions Club recognized Adams for his 50 years of membership. His fellow Lions took turns talking about their favorite memories of Adams, including his uncanny ability to raise money through the club's broom sales, onion sales and Candy Day activities.
“He's always been a dedicated Lion,” his wife, Frances, said of Adams.
In addition to his 50-year membership pin, Adams was presented with a special cake that was decorated in his honor.
Lions Club president Kelli Johnston said she planned to lead members in singing “For he's a jolly good fellow” but Adams blew out the candles on the cake before she could begin.
A Newberry native, Adams moved to Union in 1956 and joined the Lions Club in 1964.
Asked for his most rewarding experience from the past 50 years as a Lion, Adams replied, “Helping others.”
“We serve” is the Lions Club motto, Adams said, and it applies to the club's efforts to help others with sight, hearing and diabetes.
Farrs impact community with Christian love
By ANNA BROWN
Mike Massey said he and his siblings were school age children when their father required open heart surgery at a young age.
A couple in the community, Ned and Laura Farr, quietly stepped up to help the family in its time of need and did it in a way that no one was embarrassed.
“It didn't matter if you went to their church or somewhere else - they always reached out to you,” he said. “That is like Jesus' ministry - He reached out to everybody. And we all could learn a lesson from them.”
The Farrs have had a major impact on countless lives, especially young people, said Massey, education chairman at Wesley Chapel who has served on the Finance Committee with Ned and the Pastor, Parrish Relations Committee with Laura. They set a Christian example by the way they live their lives. Massey said they do for others no matter if they are in church with them or not. Their witness was showing love for people whether they were in church or not and a lot of people came into the church because of them.
“They didn't want a lot of attention brought to what they did for the church and for other people,” he said. “There are probably countless people they have helped and no one know about it. And they were peacemakers. In every church you have rough times when things aren't going well. Laura and Ned have always been the calming influence, the positive influence. They can always find good in everybody. I don't think I have ever heard them talk about anybody bad.
“We should be servants, but to me the biggest thing about them is they live their faith,” Massey said.
Massey said by the time he became head of the finance committee, Ned had tutored him along.
“He was always there to answer questions,” Mike said. “He eased me into it. He got me to the point that I had enough confidence to take it. He didn't just throw me to the wolves and even after that he was always there.
When Massey was in college, he ran in the Boston Marathon. He said he was working for Ned at Union Seed & Feed and he remembers Ned giving him a $100 bill to help pay his expenses. Another time Ned paid Mike out of his pocket to make improvements to the church cemetery.
“Those things always stuck in my mind and made a big influence on me,” he said. “And they never asked for anything in return.”
Known for just giving and shunning any recognition, the Farrs have been married for 69 years. Ned will turn 90 on July 8 and Laura will celebrate her 87th birthday in March. They have one son, Donald, who lives with his wife, Pam, in Lakeland, Fla. They have two grandchildren, Lauren Daggett and Matthew Farr and two grandchildren, Aiden and Wiley.
Donald Farr, a longtime editor, Ford Mustang expert and author, said his parents made him who he is today.
“Growing up, I didn't always understand why they disapproved of certain friends, punished me when my grades weren't good, corrected my manners, made me say 'Yes, ma'am' and 'No, sir,' and gave me chores like taking out the trash and mowing the yard or raking leaves on a Saturday afternoon,” he said. “In particular, my mother steered me toward bettering myself, instilling a subconscious guidance system to help me make the right decisions in life. “
Attending church was a priority, Donald said.
“If the Wesley Chapel Methodist doors were open, we were there - Sunday school, vacation bible school, revivals,” he said. “My mother taught Sunday school classes, and my dad sang in the choir and was usually involved with the church board. It taught me the importance of having God in my life.
Donald was an only child, but his parents made sure that he wasn't spoiled, Donald said.
“Or at least I don't think I'm spoiled (hopefully Pam agrees),” he said. “They made sure I had others to play with, often taking a friend or cousin along on family vacations. Early in their marriage, my parents worked hard to build their first house, buy a new car, and get that first color TV. Untypical of many women from the 1950s, my mother worked outside the home, as a secretary for the plant manager at Monarch Mill, providing extra income. My dad worked at Ottaray Mill when I was very young. I can remember him coming home with cotton lint in his hair. But he soon joined my grandfather at Union Seed & Feed, taking night courses at a business college to learn that side of running a store. My mother played the piano so she had me taking lessons in the first grade. Of course, I switched to guitar as soon as the Beatles arrived in America, but those first music lessons at Lockhart Elementary provided a foundation that still benefits me in my music hobby today. Watching how they loved and respected each other made me a better husband. I was fortunate to have such great examples to watch and learn from.”
The Farrs said they can't recall a specific time when they became a couple. They grew up together in the same church, Wesley Chapel, and both attended Hughes-Johnson School. Ned was the youngest and is the last living of eight children of Edward Marvin and Kate Brown Farr. Laura was one of three children of Guy and Mary Ruth Garner Vanderford. (She has one living sibling, Dolly Mahaffey.)
They began dating while Laura was attending Kings Business College. Bill Eaves was dating Laura's cousin, Helen Vanderford at the time and Ned thinks that couple might have arranged a date for them.
“Ned was a little older, a gentleman and he was nice looking,” Laura said.
“I just knew that she was the woman I wanted to marry,” Ned said.
The Farrs were married on Sep. 15, 1945 at the home of Rev. Foster Farr. Laura is retired after working 47 years with Milliken. Ned farmed and worked in textiles before he and his father-in-law opened Union Seed & Feed in 1960. He sold the business in 1990. He served on the board of Union Federal Savings and Loan for 19 years.
Other Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church members said the Farrs have meant a lot to the church and have assumed various leadership positions over the years. Ned's duties include serving as Finance Committee chairman and chairman of the building committee. Laura said she most enjoyed the time she spent working with the youth. When her mother was sick Laura was out of church for a while. While she was gone, her Sunday School class named the class after her
“Had I been there that would not have happened,” she said with a laugh.
The class sponsors a “Poor Man's Supper” monthly with the funds raised going to help needy in the community.
Peggy O'Dell, Ned's Sunday School teacher, said she grew up with both Ned and Laura and they are family and friends.
“We shared our lives joys and sorrows and they have inspired me to be a better person,” she said. “Laura is always there for me in sorrows, sickness and heartaches. She is always there to pray for me. As others have said, they were the leaders in our church as long as their health permitted. They have been very special all my life.”
Friend and fellow church member Mary Ann Grady said the Farrs are remarkable.
“They've done so much for our community and especially for Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church,” she said. “They're a precious couple and the perfect example of what love is. I've known them all my life and I love them dearly. Over the years, they've invited me over to their home to talk. You can't go there without being offered lunch. Laura always says she can't cook, but I've never eaten anything there that wasn't delicious. They are so polite to each other and you can see love all over their faces. Whenever there is sickness or a death in our church or community, they're always among the first to arrive on the scene bringing food and serving in any way they can. They always seem to know what to do and they do it without hesitation.”
Ned and Laura are both Godly people, Mary Ann said.
“They love God, their family, their church family and everyone the way Christians are expected to do.,” she said. “I've heard Laura say numerous times that we all need to accept each other as we are and if we would do that, the world would be a much better place. They are always concerned about the spiritual growth of the church and they attend all services and functions as long as their health allows them to. The Bible says that we are all given at least one spiritual gift, but as I read scripture about the fruit of the spirit, I find that Ned and Laura both seem to have been blessed with all of them. They'll leave a legacy when their earthly life transitions to their eternal life for they have inspired so many of us to try to follow in their footsteps. Although, I don't think that will be possible, it does give us something to be hopeful for. I feel so blessed and honored to be loved by them and I hope they know how much I love and appreciate them.”
The Farrs said they don't want any praise for anything they have done and there is no secret to having a long and happy married life, it takes commitment.
“You give a little and take a little,” Ned said.
“I think it has to do with loving and accepting each other the way we are,” Laura said. She said she and Ned still kiss each other frequently and before they go to sleep they give a kiss and tell each other they love one another.
Probate judge announces retirement
By ANNA BROWN
Probate Judge Donna Cudd says she is retiring.
“It is with mixed emotions that I announce that I will not seek re-election for the office of Probate Judge,” she said in a prepared statement last week. “I was appointed to this position 25 years ago this month by Gov. Carroll Campbell and ran successfully every election cycle after that. This is not a decision that was made on the spur of the moment. Ever since the last election in 2010 I have been contemplating my retirement. It was then and still is my intention to serve out this term, which ends Dec. 31, 2014. I have thought about this decision many times over the last four years; however, now that the time is actually here I am excited that I will enter retirement and hopefully be able to help my family. At the same time, I am sad that I will be leaving an office that I worked in for over 40 years.”
Mrs. Cudd thanked her family, friends, co-workers, employees and supporters for their support and encouragement over the years.
“I will never forget and am thankful for the support given to me by Mrs. Betty Greer and Mrs. Marjorie Nichols,” she said. “These former probate judges taught me about probate court and its many responsibilities. Except for law changes that we had to adjust to, the office is still run about the same way as when they were in office. Most of all I want to thank my husband, David, who supported me and worked hard for me during my time in office. Many times he worried about me when I had to go back to work in the middle of the night while he stayed home with two small children.”
Mrs. Cudd pointed out that her retirement will leave the door open for a new probate judge in Union County.
“Changes are sometimes challenging, but I have all the faith in the world that someone qualified will come forward, be elected by you (the public) and serve you, the people of Union County as I have had the privilege of doing for all these years. I humbly thank you, Union County, for allowing me to serve as your Probate Judge. I love this county, its people and have nothing but fond memories of my association with you. May God bless you all.”
Besides probate judge, the county offices of coroner, auditor, treasurer, supervisor, county council districts 1 and 4 and school board districts 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9 will be on the ballot. Filing opens at noon on March 16 and closes at noon on March 30. Filing fee checks should be made to the appropriate state political party.
Atwater joins education superintendent race
By ANNA BROWN
Growing up in Union, Sally Dunbar Atwater said her mother, Theo, stressed to her and her brother the importance of an education and living within your financial means.
“She always said, 'Be a teacher, be a teacher,” Mrs. Atwater said. “She really believed in education and she was going to make sure we got an education. I know what education has done for me.”
As she hits the road in her race for State Superintendent of Education, Mrs. Atwater said those lessons and her desire to be an advocate for teachers are foremost in her mind.
A Republican, Mrs. Atwater is among the candidates for the post now held by Mick Zais. Zais is not seeking re-election. House District 42 Rep. Mike Anthony of Union is among those seeking the Democratic nomination.
Other Republicans running for superintendent of education are Anderson County school board member Gary Burgess; Zais' former deputy superintendent, Charmeka Childs; attorney Amy Cofield of Lexington; GOP activist Sheri Few of Lugoff; University of South Carolina professor Don Jordan; and Charleston County school board member Elizabeth Moffly.
Zais' former director of school transformation, Montrio Belton of Fort Mill also is seeking the Democratic nomination.
According to the Associated Press, Mrs., Atwater filed her initial disclosure Wednesday with the State Ethics Commission after opening a campaign account with a $47,575 loan to herself. That infusion, from selling stock, puts her at the top of the money race among an ever-growing field
Mrs. Atwater has resigned from her job as special education teacher at Hendersonville Elementary in Colleton County. This is her first run for a political office but she is no stranger to politics. She is the widow of Lee Atwater, political consultant and strategist to the Republican Party. He was an advisor of U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush and chairman of the Republican National Committee.
A graduate of Union High and Winthrop University, Mrs., Atwater is the mother of three grown daughters- Sara Lee, Ashley and Sally T. (Theodosia) two of the girls are teacher s and the other soon will earn her nursing degree. Mrs. Atwater has one grandchild.
Mrs. Atwater's family ties in Union include her brother and sister-in-law, Curtis and Sonja Dunbar and her uncle, John Heath.
She said she made her decision to run for State Superintendent about two months ago, when S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley visited Colleton County. Mrs. Atwater says she learned about Haley's new education initiatives and her proposal to improve South Carolina's public schools and she wanted to be part of it.
“I thought it was a good initiative,” she said. “She is looking at a new formula for poverty and having more technology and broadband in the classroom. I knew when you have a governor interested in education that is important. “
Mrs. Atwater said she hopes to come to Union while on the campaign trail and high school friends already have offered to host an event.
Most importantly, Mrs. Atwater said she would like for people to know that she will be a voice for teachers.
“With my teaching background I think Columbia needs and teachers need a voice in Columbia,” she said.
Mrs. Atwater taught over nine years at schools in Rock Hill, Gilbert and Columbia before moving to Washington with her husband.
While there, she worked in the U.S. Department of Education under Reagan and served on education committees at the National Institutes of Health. Throughout President George W. Bush's tenure, she was director of the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.
Mrs. Atwater said Bush and First Lady Laura Bush had a deep concern for people with intellectual challenges and that helped changes be made, she said.
“He came up with the New Freedom Initiative and that gave us the blueprint for action at the federal level for people with disabilities- housing, education, transportation,” she said.
(Posted March 3, 2014)