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Year in Review: A look back at 2011

Posted: December 27, 2011 - 3:22pm  |  Updated: January 3, 2012 - 9:36pm

It's been a year of joy and sorrow in North Augusta. Pupils at Merriwether Elementary School lost two of their schoolmates three months apart. Seniors were told they'd have to drive farther to receive a hot meal. Fred Layman, the owner of the North Augusta Country Club, was convicted of mortgage fraud. On a positive note, the Yellow Jackets' softball team gave the school its first Lower State victory.

JANUARY

• Riverfront Antique Mall closed its building of 200-plus stores for renovations and moved next door where it can hold about 62 booths.

 • Aiken Area Council on Aging closed the congregate meal site at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Those who were meeting at the site were told they would have to go to Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church in Gloverville. The Lower Savannah Council of Governments chose to close the site based on lack of participation and budget cuts.

 • Kristen Lee Dutton, a fourth-grader at Merriwether Elementary School, died from injuries she received when the family pet dog attacked during a walk. The dog was a 98-pound Japanese Akita.

FEBRUARY

• Matthew Campbell, John “Fuzzy” Floyd, Hubert Morris and Hugh Eggersman were named to the North Augusta Sports Hall of Fame.

 • The North Augusta Lions Club celebrated 75 years of service to North Augusta. It sponsors three $1,000 scholarships to North Augusta High School seniors, sponsors sports teams and gives about 70 eye exams and new glasses to people in need each year.

 • Jimmy Adams, Carolyn Baggott and Ken McDowell defeated newcomers Joe Pippen and Lee Weatherington on Feb. 8 in the at-large Republican primary for city council.

 • Lynn Thompson was named Citizen of the Year by the Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce.

MARCH

• The chairmen and CEO of the North Augusta Golf and Country Club, Fred Layman  pleaded guilty March 23 to federal charges that he perpetrated a mortgage-fraud scheme to fund his purchase of the golf club.

 • Tyron Wade, of North Augusta, pleaded guilty to murder in the 2009 shooting death of Julius Walker, also of North Augusta. He was sentenced March 28 to 30 years in prison.

 • Dr. Gary Redding retired from First Baptist Church of North Augusta on March 31 after 22 years, and 40 years in the ministry.

 • Dr. Tim Murph, of Fox Creek High School, was named Class A Principal of the Year by the South Carolina Administrators Association.

• The Aiken County School District reorganized its structure for the first time since 1967. The school board voted 7-2 on March 22 to close the district’s area offices and reassign the assistant superintendents to new roles at the district office on Brookhaven Drive in Aiken. Area 2 Assis-tant Superintendent Peggy Trivelas became one of two elementary academic officers. Update: The Area 2 office remains unsold, but it is closed.

APRIL

• Timothy Houston, 42, pleaded guilty April 12 in the 2009 shooting of North Augusta Public Safety Officer Kevin Hayes and was sentenced to 55 years in prison by the 2nd Judicial Circuit of South Carolina’s General Sessions Court. Hayes was shot June 3, 2009 during a traffic stop. He was shot at eight times and a bullet struck Hayes in the face.

• Carley Peace, a second-grader at Merriwether Elementary School, died April 20 after being hit by a vehicle April 12.

MAY

• Vehicle break-ins became an increasing problem at locations such as Walmart, Riverview Park, the Greeneway and Brick Pond Park.

 • The North Augusta High School softball team won the Lower State title May 13 at Riverview Park in the seventh inning, beating Dutch Fork 4-3. It’s the first Lower State championship win in the school’s history.

 • City officials and staff visited Beaufort, S.C., on May 19 to view areas and bring ideas back to North Augusta’s riverfront in Hammond’s Ferry.

JUNE

• S&S Cafeteria in North Augusta closed June 5 after 41 years in business. General Manager Dean Ashley said it was closed as a result of the economic downturn.

 • Miss South Carolina Courtney Turner, of North Augusta, represents the state during Miss USA on June 19. Turner made it to the semifinals.

 • The Aiken County school board approved an increase of the debt-service millage by 9 mills. As a result of increasing the debt-service millage the district will issue $16 million in bonds for 2011-12 to be used for “cyclic maintenance and for building renovations, expansion and upgrades,” according to Tray Traxler, the district comptroller.

JULY

• American Legion Post 71 received third place for community service from the state department. Pat Carpenter also received the department’s Distinguished Public Service Award.

 • A group of adult league tennis players out of Riverview Park came to the July 18 city council meeting to express their desire to have tennis courts at the park renovated or resurfaced. The park is in the process of applying for a grant from the United States Tennis Association to fix the courts.

AUGUST

 • Belvedere Elementary School was added to the Golden Harvest BackPack Program after Leadership Aiken raised $42,000 to start the program at Belvedere, Millbrook and East Aiken elementary schools.

 • City Administrator Sam Bennett announces that his last day of employment with the City of North Augusta will be Sept. 30. He took a job as the manager of economic development with Santee Cooper in Moncks Corner, S.C.

 • Edmunds Bar-B-Que on Edgefield Road closed its doors Aug. 12 after an Aiken County building inspector condemned the structure.

• The splash pad at Summerfield Park opened Aug. 24, after being delayed for months because of permitting issues.

SEPTEMBER

• The North Augusta Junior Women’s League was organized by five women who want to give back to the community. Their first meeting was Sept. 15 at Living History Park. They can be reached at najuniorwomensleague@gmail.com.

• Renovations at River-view Park began. Some improvements being made with the $6 million renovation by R.D. Brown Contractors consists of a new 225-foot youth baseball field that can be used for softball, three new score towers and two playgrounds.

• Uyen Griffis, of Hammond Hill Elementary School, was named Aiken County Teacher of the Year for the 2010-11 school year.

• Fred Layman, the owner of the North Augusta Country Club, was sentenced to 16 months in prison followed by three years probation on Sept. 28. He pleaded guilty March 23 to charges of mortgage fraud.

 

OCTOBER

• American Legion Post 71 held a dedication ceremony on Oct. 15 for its new post home on East Spring Grove Avenue. The 6,000-square-foot building replaced the former on-site building that was built in 1948. The public is able to rent the meeting hall.

NOVEMBER

• Bob Brooks retired Nov. 30 after working for the city 38 years in the parks, recreation and leisure services department. He was the director when he left.

• John Younginer is given the Sertoma Service to Mankind Award at a Nov. 16 ceremony by the Sertoma Club of North Augusta.

 

DECEMBER

• Regina Sherard became the 13th homeowner through Habitat for Humanity of North Augusta on Dec. 4.

• Byron Thomas, a 2011 graduate of North Augusta High School, causes a national stir when he hangs the Confederate battle flag in his dormitory window at University of South Carolina Beaufort. Thomas said he doesn’t see the flag as a racist symbol, but as Southern pride/heritage. The university asked him to take it down after receiving complaints from parents, but later gave him permission to put it back up as to not inhibit his freedom of speech.

• Todd Glover is announced as the new city administrator. The former assistant Aiken County administrator begins Jan. 3.

• The North Augusta Department of Public Safety adopted the Smart911 program, which provides the department with information about people’s homes. Residents can sign up to use the program at www.aikencountysc.gov.

 

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