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More Colleton County residents could be receiving help via state housing funding from the October 2016 storm that damaged multiple Lowcountry counties.
Officials with the S.C. Department of Disaster Recovery Office (DRO) say:
In all, 46 South Carolina families in 11 Lowcountry-area counties have new homes as a result of the housing funds. Each of these residents either lost their homes in the October 2016 storm or suffered major damage in their homes, according to Beth Parks, spokeswoman for the S.C. DRO. “They are the first of many families SCDRO will serve,” said Parks.
These counties whose residents are eligible for financial housing assistance to include Colleton County, along with Charleston, Clarendon, Darlington, Dorchester, Williamsburg, Florence, Horry, Lee and Orangeburg counties. In these counties, about 1,500 homes were impacted by the October 2016 storm. “The program is designed to assist Low to Moderate income households and serve South Carolina’s most vulnerable population,” said Banks. “The highest priority is given to households with documented damage, households with persons who are 65 years old or older, persons with documented disabilities, or households with children five years old or younger,” she said, in a press release.
So far in Colleton County, 65 applications for housing assistance have been accepted. Of those 65 applicants, 15 have been approved thus far for financial help. None of these, however, are currently in construction. To compare, Charleston County has 162 applications for help.
Of all of the counties receiving funding, Williamsburg has the most, with 709 applications for assistance and more than $1 million designated to that county for housing reconstruction.
The SCDRO will continue to accept citizen applications related to the October 2016 storm through April 30th of this year. There are two permanent application intake centers for residents of the above-listed counties. These intake centers are located at 318 E. Main Street in Kingstree and 725 Broad Street in Sumter.
Each office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The SCDRO is also operating several mobile offices for intake applications. These mobile offices can be found in neighboring Charleston, Dorchester, Bamberg and Orangeburg counties. There is not a mobile intake center in Colleton County.
To make an appointment at one of the intake centers, citizens of the impacted counties can visit the SCDRO website at www.scstormrecovery.com or call 1-844-330-1199.

Local Man Faces Child Porn Charges
A Walterboro man is charged with multiple counts of child pornography after he was caught by local and federal officials.
Lawrence E. Reid, 35, of Walterboro, is charged with 10 counts of the sexual exploitation of minors. The S.C. Attorney General’s Office announced Reid’s arrest on March 24th. He was taken into custody from his Colleton County home on March 22nd.
Reid was caught by a multi-level investigation that involved the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, the federal Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Department of Homeland Security.
According to information provided by S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson, Reid is accused of distributing child pornography from his home computer. Broken down, his charges are felonies that each carry maximum prison terms of up to 10 years. Wilson’s office will oversee the prosecution against Reid.

Edisto Beach Elected Go Back to School
Two Edisto Beach Town Council members are now graduates of the Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government. According to the town’s Web site, Councilmen Jerome Kizer and Crawford Moore received their graduation certificates last week. The program was created in 1986 and is part of the umbrella organization, the Municipal Association of South Carolina. The institute teaches elected leaders more about their role with local governments and with state and federal leaders.
“For more than 30 years, the Association has encouraged local elected officials to participate in the Institute, whether they are newly elected or have served for a while,” said Miriam Hair, executive director of the Municipal Association. Hair gave this statement via a press release. “This Institute gives elected leaders with diverse personal and professional backgrounds an understanding and overview of the details of running a local government,” she said.
In order to graduate, Kizer and Moore took about 25 hours of classroom work, including classes on budgeting, the Freedom of Information Act, ethics and planning and zoning.

A Body has Been Found Underneath a Colleton County House.
According to information released on Monday by the Colleton County Sheriffs’ Office, a property owner of a house at 7725 Pleasant Grove Road called authorities after she found a body laying underneath a house on the property. The house was unoccupied. “Upon arrival, the deputy located a badly decomposed body at this location,” said Tiger Benton, spokesman for the sheriff’s office. “It is unknown at this time the cause of death or the identity of the individual,” he said.
According to an incident report, the female homeowner has not lived in the house since 2011. She returned to the property and immediately noticed a pair of shoes coming out from underneath the house. The woman called 911. Law enforcement officers stated they believed the deceased individual may have been homeless, as stated in an incident report.
The body was transported to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston by the Colleton County Coroner. There, the remains will be investigated for a cause of death and identity, said Benton. There are no other details being released by the sheriff’s office at this time.

Missing Teen said to be Avoiding Police
The missing Cottageville teenager has been found. Amanda Lauren Ferguson, 16, of Cottageville, was originally reported missing on March 20th by her parents. Local law enforcement officials say Ferguson was not in any danger, and believe that she was instead trying to evade them. Ferguson left home with a cousin: that cousin later returned safely, but Ferguson has not yet been located. As of press deadline, Ferguson was located in a private residence. Colleton County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Lt. Tyger Benson says they believe Ferguson was purposefully avoiding them, and that they do not believe she is in any danger. “We do not suspect foul play,” he said. It is unclear if any charges will be filed against Ferguson. According to social media posts made by members of the public and her acquaintances, Ferguson ran away to the West Ashley area of Charleston.

Heather Walters (1203 Posts)