Richland County

Update: Missing Richland County man found

A man missing since Thursday has been found and is safe, according to Richland County Sheriff’s deputies. Mark Barnes II (photo provided) Mark Barnes II and his 10-month-old son disappeared Thursday after Barnes sent his fiancee a text message saying they were on the way home. The baby was returned unharmed Saturday by a family friend, but the search for…

Update: Missing baby found; deputies still searching for father

A baby boy reported missing Friday is safely home, but Richland County Sheriff’s deputies still are looking for the child’s father. Mark Barnes II (photo provided) The 10-month-old boy was dropped off at a family friend’s home and was not hurt, according to investigators. Authorities would not comment on who dropped the child off. His father, Mark Barnes II, last…

City manager excuses Columbia Police officers from marching in SC Pride parade

Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson overruled Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago and excused two officers from marching in the SC Pride parade Sept. 28. The front of the SC Pride parade (photo by Allen Wallace) Santiago said the officers told him they objected to the assignment because of their religious beliefs. However, Santiago said that excuse is not acceptable for…

Richland Two schools consider allowing security officers to carry pepper spray

Richland Two School District might arm all security officers with pepper spray. At a Sept. 24 school board meeting, board members were presented with a proposed policy that would permit security officers to carry pepper spray, also known as oleoresin capsicum spray, as a last resort defense for certain situations. Some board members considered pepper spray as an option after…

Strong-mayor debate focuses on accountability

Panel at the strong-mayor forum on Sept. 25. (photo by Kelly Petty) With about two months left until the strong-mayor special election, the question remains for most Columbia voters: Who’s the boss? Accountability appeared to be the main issue of the debate over whether the city should return to a “strong” mayor-council form of government. At a debate hosted by…

Richland Library launches light bulb exchange

Residents can cut down on energy bills by heading over to the library for some free light bulbs. Richland Library launched the “Make the Switch” light bulb exchange to give residents access to energy efficient bulbs. Residents just need to bring eight regular household bulbs and exchange them for eight Compact Fluorescent Bulbs. The limit is eight per person. The…

Richland Library employees urge support for bond referendum

Representatives from Richland Library spoke Thursday at the Richland Neighborhood Council meeting about the upcoming library bond referendum and what the funds would mean for improving the county’s library system. “The library is a gathering place,” library volunteer Jerry Jewler said. Melanie Huggins, executive director of Richland Library, said that when the library asked for a referendum in 1989, they…

Columbia Police conducting public safety checkpoint

Columbia Police officers will be in the Colonial Life Boulevard area throughout the day Friday for a public safety checkpoint, and all vehicles passing the checkpoint will be stopped. Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago said in a news release that the location was selected because of the number of traffic violations in the area recently. He said the goal of…

Update: Lexington-Richland Five remains in negotiations over school prayer lawsuit

Lawyers are still at the table over an issue raised by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and a suit filed on behalf of district students against Lexington-Richland Five School District. Lexington-Richland Five Chief Information Officer Mark Bounds said Monday at the board meeting that an attempt to bring the lawsuit to a close was made by the district but things…

Richland County Sheriff’s Department hosts international law officers

Laws and governments are different, but law enforcement officers all over the world have something in common, and that was demonstrated this week in Richland County. Richland County Sheriff’s deputies and German officers practice special responses at the weapons range (photo by Allen Wallace) The Sheriff’s Department welcomed visitors from the Queensland (Australia) Police Service and the German Police Service. Sheriff…

Columbia City Council approves contract for homeless shelter

The Columbia City Council unanimously approved a contract with Christ Central Ministries to run the homeless winter shelter at Tuesday’s council meeting. The scheduled opening will be no later than Sept. 30, a change from the previous plan to open the shelter next week. The winter shelter, which Christ Central Chief Executive Officer Pastor Jimmy Jones deemed an emergency shelter,…

City Council to hold public hearing Tuesday

The Columbia City Council will hold a council meeting and public hearing Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Eau Claire Print Building on Ensor Avenue. Council is expected to vote on several projects and purchases for equipment for city improvements. The public also will be given a chance to comment on the findings of the 2012 Consolidated Annual Performance and…

Richland County Library hosts Affordable Health Care Act forums

A packed crowd listens as panelists discuss the Affordable Care Act. Photo by Richland Library. Confused by what you’ve heard about the Affordable Care Act? The Richland County Library will host several forums leading up to the unveiling of ACA healthcare marketplaces across South Carolina. The library held its first panel discussion Thursday in front of a full crowd. Guests…

‘Jeopardy!’ whiz kid recognized at Richland County Council meeting

Josiah Washington, the “Jeopardy!” champion who scored $20,000 during a February taping of the show, was presented with a resolution this past Tuesday from the Richland County Council for his win and support of the Richland County Library at a public hearing. His younger sister, Micah, also received a proclamation for speaking on behalf of the library at that same hearing. Josiah…

H.E. Corley Elementary School students thank first responders at 9/11 gathering

An H.E. Corley student proudly shows off his handiwork before the school welcomed first responders for a thank-you lunch in honor of 9/11. (photo courtesy of Lexington-Richland Five) A Lexington-Richland Five school continued a 9/11 tradition Wednesday and allowed its students to show their appreciation in person to those who keep them safe in their community. First responders from the…

Councilman Runyan’s forum on homelessness leaves questions, doubt about shelter plan

Columbia City Councilman Cameron Runyan’s public forum on homelessness Monday evening left more questions than answers to the controversy surrounding the winter shelter proposal. Pastor Jimmy Jones (left) and Councilman Cameron Runyan speak to residents about the winter housing option for the homeless. (photo by Kelly Petty) Residents and some of the city’s homeless brought their concerns about the city’s…

Lexington-Richland Five district board approves plans for new middle school

A look at the proposed plans for Lexington-Richland Five’s new middle school. Sketch provided by the district. A brand-new middle school is on the way for Lexington-Richland Five after a unanimous vote by the district board Monday. To address growth in the Chapin area, school officials aim to have the proposed campus ready by 2015. Designs drawn up by Quackenbush…

Search for Columbia police chief on hold

It looks like Columbia will have an interim police chief for the foreseeable future. The search for a permanent chief is on hold until a SLED investigation of the department is complete. The investigation began in July, after former Columbia Police Capt. Dave Navarro accused Interim Chief Santiago of ordering him to plant evidence of crime in a city employee’s…

Lexington-Richland Five celebrates grandparents across district

Grandparents enjoy lunch with one of their favorite students at a Lexington-Richland Five Grandparents Day celebration. National Grandparents Day isn’t until Sunday, but that didn’t stop Lexington-Richland Five from celebrating the influential people a little early. The past two weeks have been filled with events including “Grits for Grandparents” to “Goodies for Grandparents.” Grandparents are able to see where their…

Lexington Two school bus involved in wreck

A group of students was taken to the hospital with minor injuries after a Lexington Two school bus was involved in a wreck Thursday morning. According to reports, the incident occurred at the intersection of U.S. Highway 21 and Old Wire Road. The district stated that three students from Busbee Creative Arts Academy were riding on the bus at the…