Michael M. DeWitt

Pioneer Award winners devoted lifetimes to Hampton County

With more than 75 years of health care experience between them, these two medical pioneers have offered their healing skills to three generations of Lowcountry residents.

That is why Neal L. Shealy, MD, and Harold B. (Buck) Harvey, PA-C, of Beaufort Memorial Harrison Peeples Health Care Center in Varnville, were jointly presented the South Carolina Office of Rural Health 2017 Pioneer of the Year Award during SCORH’s 21st Annual Rural Health Conference in Greenville on Oct. 11.

Local author dedicates book to animal advocate

VARNVILLE—Hampton County Animal Shelter Manager Amanda “Mandy” Strickland doesn’t like attention or accolades, but when you make such a huge difference for animals and pet lovers around the Lowcountry, such praise can’t be avoided.

Her latest shining moment? On Saturday, local author and pet lover Ellen D. Freeman announced that she had dedicated her second book, Duke (Plus One), to Strickland. Freeman made the announcement during Saturday’s HCAS Yard Sale Fundraiser, much to the surprise of Strickland.

Hampton gets solid audit report

For yet another consecutive year, the Town of Hampton has received an exemplary independent audit report.

Each year, in accordance with state law, Hampton invites an independent auditing firm to inspect its books. During the June Hampton Town Council meeting, auditor Bill Hancock gave the town another excellent “unmodified” opinion.

“There were no unusual transactions or controversial transactions,” Hancock said. “We didn’t’ find anything wrong that needed fixing.”

The Men Behind the Cooter

Slippery and often smelly, cooters come in various sizes and colors. But a Carolina Cooter isn’t something that a gentleman would normally take home to momma or talk much about in Sunday School or at dinner parties. It is the scourge of Lowcountry fishermen everywhere, a stealer of bait, a robber of crawdad traps. But you strap a pair of racing shoes and a contestant number on that repugnant little reptile, and you’ve got yourself a mascot that a small, rural South Carolina county can rally around.

Which came first, the egg or the hemorrhoid?

I pride myself on being a farmer with a conscience, but sometimes making extra cash as a chicken/egg farmer feels a lot like being a pimp: the women do all the dirty work, and some man rakes in all the profits.

You didn’t hear it from me, and if it comes up in court I’ll lawyer up and plead the Fifth, but at the present moment I have about a dozen working girls out there on the strip right now, laying eggs and making money for Big Daddy down at DeWitt Family Farms.  But I can’t help but feel a little sorry for my ladies. It can’t be easy being an egg-laying, working girl.

Fish Farms and Other Crazy Schemes

It was shaping up to be a day for the Daddy Diary.

I was sitting, legs swinging carefree, on the dock of the family fish pond wearing Old Crusty, my lucky fishing hat that I have never washed, and a T-shirt with ventilation holes under the armpits and a treble hook still embedded in the sleeve. I took off my shoes so I could dip a toe in the warm water every now and then.

Hampton raises millage rates, cuts raises

HAMPTON – After several years of having the luxury of giving hardworking employees raises and not raising taxes, the Town of Hampton will be feeling a financial pinch this year.

On Tuesday, March 1, the Hampton Town Council gave second and final reading to its 2016-17 budget while explaining the financial challenges the town is facing this year. A loss of industrial tax revenue and a state-mandated requirement to create a town court system independent of the police department has a town that has recently enjoyed strong finances now feeling a pinch this year.

One order of chicken, please-hold the sex change operation

A normal, totally heterosexual farmer/writer asks the burning question: “How do you like your chicken: original, extra crispy or she-male hermaphrodite?”


There may be some freaky business going on at DeWitt Farms, but I am secure enough in my masculinity to tell you about it. The question is: are secure enough to believe it.

Metal thieves caught, melt under pressure from police

HAMPTON – Good police work – and interagency teamwork – have brought down a pair of busy burglars, but officials say this may just be scratching the surface of a ring active around the Lowcountry.

The Hampton Police Department arrested two men last week in connection to a pair of break ins at the dormant Nevamar factory at 1 Nevamar Place in Hampton, but further investigations have led to charges from the Town of Varnville as well and possibly charges from Hampton County police and others.

Recycling group looks to clean up and market Nevamar site

HAMPTON – Mayor John Rhoden was almost as giddy as a school girl Tuesday night. And he had every reason to be.

During the 5 p.m. Hampton Town Council meeting, Rhoden informed Council and the media that there was once again hope for new life at the old Nevamar manufacturing site, which closed down last year and left many in the community saddened and jobless.  

Recycled Group of South Carolina completed the purchase of the old Nevamar factory site early last week and is now making plans to both clean up the site and market it for future industrial prospects.

Come and celebrate 50 years of USC Salk excellence

It’s not every day that you can celebrate 50 years of meaning “So Much To So Many,” so the University of South Carolina-Salkehatchie is doing it in a grand way.

Since 1965, USC Salk has not only survived growing pains and threats from governors and legislators to close it down, it has thrived and become a source of hope and a bright future for thousands of families and students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to obtain a higher education.

Shrimp Festival to bring 'Unity to Yemassee' this weekend

 Yemassee, S.C.: It’s a town that has made headlines recently for political upheaval and civic discord. The tiny town of less than 1,000 people has changed mayors, forms of government and even police chiefs – all in the last two years.

But J.J. Jinks, a Yemassee town councilman and chairman of the newly reorganized Shrimp Festival Committee, is hoping that his committee can help turn things around and bring people together – with the help of the almighty, delicious Lowcountry shrimp, that is!

Grand-scale World War II event set for Saturday

HAMPTON – Did you know that Hampton County’s sons and daughters fought in almost every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces in almost every theater of World War II? From frozen tundra to tropical shores, these heroes helped the world vanquish the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, and the Imperialist waves of kamikaze Japanese.

Did you know that German Prisoners of War were once housed in Hampton in the 1940s but were often well liked and could be spotted around the countryside helping local farmers and businesses?

District 1 removes Burch as WHHS head baseball coach

The Hampton School District 1 board and administration has made some employee changes going into the 2015-16 school year, including relieving its head baseball coach.

Superintendent Dr. Doug McTeer, Jr. said Tuesday that the administration “shuffled” some athletic coaching positions on Aug. 17 and removed Burt Burch as the Wade Hampton High School head baseball coach.

Town of Hampton recognizes State Champion 'Nobodies'

The Hampton Town Council invited a few special guests to their Tuesday night meeting – the Dixie Boys Under-14 South Carolina State Champions, better known as “The Nobodies.”

The Nobodies clinched the state title recently before going on to compete strongly in the Dixie Boys World Series held in Aiken in early August.


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