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Three businesses are preparing to open their doors, but the city wants more shops to call the area home, leading to a change in zoning ordinancesCAMDEN, S.C. — New life is coming to downtown Camden as businesses hang up their signs and prepare to open their doors.“It's really important for us to get businesses downtown because that's the core of the commercial area. If downtown is strong, the rest of the city is strong,” said Shawn...
Three businesses are preparing to open their doors, but the city wants more shops to call the area home, leading to a change in zoning ordinances
CAMDEN, S.C. — New life is coming to downtown Camden as businesses hang up their signs and prepare to open their doors.
“It's really important for us to get businesses downtown because that's the core of the commercial area. If downtown is strong, the rest of the city is strong,” said Shawn Putnam, director of planning & development for the city.
Putnam says they’ve been working to ensure more shops are opening by using the Bailey bill for several buildings.
“We’ve helped business owners package federal and state tax incentives together to make projects more realistic, so we’re doing a lot of work to make downtown an attractive place to open a business,” Putnam said.
Three businesses are currently in the works downtown, including a cigar lounge known as Silver Leaf Cigar Lounge, a new steak and seafood destination called B Colson’s, and a third business that has yet to be named.
The city remains hopeful more businesses will come. To do so, leaders have proposed zoning ordinance amendments that will face final reading at Tuesday's city council meeting.
The proposal states that businesses like automobile dealers, auto parts stores, pawn shops, home centers, and wholesale durable goods will no longer be permitted in the downtown district, while others like arcades, ballrooms, escape rooms, laser tag, and brewpubs would be allowed downtown.
“We hope that will attract locals to stay here but we also hope it will attract people from the surrounding area; we know that some of the restaurants and businesses downtown are attracting people from neighboring counties, so we want that to continue as well,” Putnam said.
Multiple businesses and shops are also in the works near the interstate that remains under construction.
City Council meets Tuesday, August 8th at 5:30 pm at City Hall.
The cigar lounge is anticipated to open on August 9th. No opening date has been announced for the other two businesses.
Archaeologists with the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at USC have studied the Camden Battlefield for decades, but their most recent finding is the discovery of a lifetime.The SCIAA team found the remains of 14 Revolutionary War soldiers at the historic Camden Battlefield and Longleaf Pine Preserve, the site of a 1780 battle that claimed more lives than any other in the revolution.“I was standing over the grave of a soldier who woke up that morning not knowing it was his last,” says Doug Bo...
Archaeologists with the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at USC have studied the Camden Battlefield for decades, but their most recent finding is the discovery of a lifetime.
The SCIAA team found the remains of 14 Revolutionary War soldiers at the historic Camden Battlefield and Longleaf Pine Preserve, the site of a 1780 battle that claimed more lives than any other in the revolution.
“I was standing over the grave of a soldier who woke up that morning not knowing it was his last,” says Doug Bostick, executive director of the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust. “It’s a surreal experience that connected me with military history (in a way) that I’ve never felt before.”
The trust preserves historic battle sites across the state, including the Camden site. Together with SCIAA and a handful of other invested organizations, researchers are piecing together what this discovery means for South Carolina's history and what we know about the deadliest battle of the American Revolution.
Steven D. Smith, research professor and lead on the Camden site, says the project aims to learn more about the lives of Revolutionary War soldiers, excavate remains that were endangered from human discovery and rebury them with dignity.
Many people do not realize that historic battle sites are often cemeteries because fallen soldiers were buried where they fell during the Revolutionary War and are still there, says SCIAA archaeologist James Legg, who has studied the Camden battle site since 1980.
Beginning in 2020, SCIAA archaeologists discovered the bodily remains and personal artifacts of several soldiers who fought at the Battle of Camden buried in shallow graves. This year, the Battleground Trust and SCIAA finalized plans to excavate the site.
Working from September to early November, the archaeologists unearthed 14 individuals in seven graves, including one which held five bodies. The shallow gravesites provide insight into burial practices during the war.
“The burials were very cursory in nature,” Legg says. “Prisoners of war were likely made to bury the dead in extremely shallow graves — we’re talking 12 to 14 inches deep. Some of them even showed evidence of plow marks from 20th century farm machinery, that’s how poorly these soldiers were treated.” The manner and location of the graves informs the history of the battle itself, including the participants and the skirmish areas. Artifacts found with the skeletal remains, such as uniform buttons, reveal the soldiers’ allegiances: 12 Continental, one British and one Loyalist.
Outside of the findings’ historical significance, Legg says this new evidence of battle helps solidify the reality of the war, which can be difficult to conceptualize outside of history books.
“It’s almost like a mythology, the Revolution, like a story we all agree happened, but may not feel that it was real. These gravesites make it real.”
Once the graves were identified and assessed, a SCIAA team carefully removed the soldiers’ remains to a lab for further study.
Carlina de la Cova, bioarcheologist and professor of anthropology, said many of the remains were extracted in blocks of soil to limit further damage. De la Cova, along with forensic examiners from the Richland County Coroner’s office, will X-ray the skeletons to learn about out each soldier’s age, height, cause of death and experience of battlefield trauma.
Several of her former students, now working at the coroner’s office, have volunteered to help with the project. Using dental evidence, they’ve already identified the ages of many of the soldiers. At least one half of them were under 35 years old, including two teens estimated to be ages 14-16. The Continentals came from Maryland or Delaware, and the British soldier was from Scotland.
“When we think about the independence of this nation, we think about the Declaration of Independence, we think about Washington crossing the Delaware, but here in South Carolina we have this very tangible evidence that tells the human side of that story,” de la Cova says.
While de la Cova values what she and the other researchers can learn from the fallen soldiers, she says her other focus is identifying the soldiers based on their biological profiles so they can be honored with a proper burial.
After the forensic data is collected, the soldiers will be reinterred in sealed vaults at the locations where they were found on the Camden Battlefield, Bostick says. S.C. Battleground Trust, Historic Camden and Kershaw Country are planning a service for April 2023.
“These are America’s first veterans,” Bostick says. “We think it’s important for the public to be able to see and understand all the things that will happen.”
Until then, the USC researchers will continue to learn what they can from the boys and men who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
“I felt honored to be there, to connect with the men who gave their lives for the liberty that we all enjoy today,” Bostick says. “They gave their lives for what they believed in.”
After leading her team to a state title last week, Camden High School’s Joyce Edwards picked up another big achievement Wednesday.The junior was named South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Yea...
After leading her team to a state title last week, Camden High School’s Joyce Edwards picked up another big achievement Wednesday.
The junior was named South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year, an award that encompasses athletics, academics and character.
Edwards is the second Camden player to win the award, joining head coach Natalie Norris (formerly Natalie Funderburk) who won it in 1992. It’s the second-straight year a Midlands girls player has won the award. Cardinal Newman’s Ashlyn Watkins, who is now at South Carolina, was the recipient in 2022.
Edwards is the 15th different girls player from the Midlands to win the award historically. Lower Richland’s Morgan Stroman won it three straight years from 2007-09.
“I say all the time Joyce is the best player in the country,” Camden coach Natalie Norris said after the state championship game. “She showed it today. She handled the ball, she can shoot it, she rebounds, she can pass it. She can do it all and has the size too. We are certainly very fortunate she is on our team.”
Edwards averaged 28.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.5 steals, 2.9 assists and 2.6 blocks this season in helping the Bulldogs to their first state championship since 1981. In the title game against Wren, the 6-foot-3 forward scored 33 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and had five steals in the win.
Edwards also went over the 3,000-point mark in career during the game. She has been a starter on varsity since the seventh grade.
Off the court, Edwards has volunteered locally at the Beyond the Court basketball camp as a coach and at the Jackson Teen Center, where she tutors students in math and science. She’s also a member of the National Beta Club.
Edwards is the No. 2 ranked prospect in the country for Class of 2024 by ESPN’s HoopGurlz rankings. She has more than 30 Division I offers, including top-ranked South Carolina.
Edwards said she will be narrowing down her top colleges during the spring and summer.
South Carolina signee Tessa Johnson won the Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year award. Johnson averaged 24.3 points, 6.6 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 steals per games this season and became the school’s all-time leading scorer with more than 2,000 points in her career.
2023 – Joyce Edwards, Camden
2022 – Ashlyn Watkins, Cardinal Newman
2019 – Danae McNeal, Swansea
2017 – Jaelynn Murray, Dreher
2016 – Jhileiya Dunlap, Dreher
2014 – A’ja Wilson, Heathwood Hall
2013 – Alaina Coates, Dutch Fork
2012 – Asia Dozier, Spring Valley
2011 – Xylina McDaniel, Spring Valley
2009 – Morgan Stroman, Lower Richland
2008 – Morgan Stroman, Lower Richland
2007 – Morgan Stroman, Lower Richland
2004 – Keturah Jackson, Dreher
2000 – Nikki Jett, Columbia
1997 – Elena Vishniakova, Heathwood Hall
1992 – Natalie Funderburk, Camden
1989 – Jessica Barr, Batesburg-Leesville
CAMDEN, S.C. (WIS) - After 51 years under the scope of a Camden hospital, the Karesh Long Term Care center has secured its own space. The long-anticipated move came after two decades of discussion and two years of construction for the stand-alone facility off Liberty Hill Road.The $40 million project was made possible through state funds secured through the Kershaw County Health District. This, according to its Board Chairman Derial Ogburn.Now titled Karesh at Beechwood, approximately 88 senior residents were relocated from the...
CAMDEN, S.C. (WIS) - After 51 years under the scope of a Camden hospital, the Karesh Long Term Care center has secured its own space. The long-anticipated move came after two decades of discussion and two years of construction for the stand-alone facility off Liberty Hill Road.
The $40 million project was made possible through state funds secured through the Kershaw County Health District. This, according to its Board Chairman Derial Ogburn.
Now titled Karesh at Beechwood, approximately 88 senior residents were relocated from their longstanding facility within the MUSC Health Kershaw Medical Center on Wednesday.
Less than 24 hours in, residents told WIS the new facility was “unbelievable” and far better than its previous location.
90-year-old Thema Bodiford invited us to her new room where WIS Channel 10 was already playing.
“At first, I would say, thank the Lord that they got together, such a beautiful place as this. It’s like being in a hotel… I’ve had some visitors in my room, and they want to take the bathroom home with them,” said Bodiford who moved into the Keresh thirteen months ago.
Karesh at Beechwood is a 95,000 sq. ft. facility that holds 132 beds. The complex is split into three “neighborhoods” that are still being furnished.
“We did try very hard in the hospital to make it more of a home life. And it’s hard to get away from that institutional look. So today, the biggest difference - the care will remain the same, but we have more of the furnishings of an actual home,” said Loretta Wrigley, Director of Nursing.
Karesh Administrator Scott Neal said the expansion comes after a statewide demand for senior living care.
“We have a large waiting list now to get into Karesh. And we will be going through that list as we speak. So, there’s definitely a need here,” said Neal.
Karesh added at least 50 new nurses and certified assistants to the 100-plus staffers carried over from the previous facility.
This new home for 132 seniors includes free-standing departments for food service, laundry, and housekeeping.
“I just love it here. Everyone is so nice. At Karesh wing they were good, but the place is nothing like this one. Kershaw County’s got a lot to be proud of to have this facility in it,” concluded Bodiford.
Neal said they will start admitting those with immediate needs as soon as possible.
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Camden boys tennis snapped its championship drought with a dominating performance on Saturday.The Bulldogs defeated Daniel, 5-1, to win the Class 3A championship at the Florence Tennis Center....
Camden boys tennis snapped its championship drought with a dominating performance on Saturday.
The Bulldogs defeated Daniel, 5-1, to win the Class 3A championship at the Florence Tennis Center.
It is Camden’s second state championship in program history with the other coming in 1992. The Bulldogs were making their first championship appearance since 2010.
Camden’s three previous championship appearances came under Hall of Fame coach Roger Smoak, who won more than 500 matches and is second in the state in wins.
Smoak was in attendance at Saturday’s championship match.
“He is a mentor to our boys and to us,” Camden coach Abby Baytes said. “We love having him around.”
The title is the second for the school this season as Camden’s girls basketball team defeated Wren in March.
It also comes in Baytes’ first year as head coach. She replaced Pamela Smoak, Roger’s daughter, as head coach, and took the job in February right before the season started.
“Piece of cake right?” Baytes joked about winning a title in her first season. “We always knew we could do it but to be here and be reality, it is surreal.”
Baytes inherited a strong team that made it to the Lower State championship before last season but lost to Oceanside.
The team had one senior in the team’s starting rotation, Alex Hinton and two strong players at the top in David Pope and Slade Funderburk. Hank Greenway, Hinton and Wilson Nash, a linebacker on the football team, the team’s No. 3-5 players, stepped up big and didn’t drop a match in the playoffs.
The Bulldogs defeated Beaufort, Waccamaw and Philip Simmons in the postseason to make it to the championship. Camden finished at 13-2 with only losses to Class 5A schools River Bluff and Spartanburg.
“It is kind of unreal if you sit here and think about it,” Hinton said. “We all played well as a team and have been playing well all year. And we got it done. That is all that matters.”
Hinton said he was unsure how to act as he was getting ready to storm the court to celebrate with his teammates. Funderburk clinched the title with a 6-3, 6-2 win.
Then, Pope won his match 6-3, 6-4 to end it as the celebration spilled onto the court and ended with Hinton picking Pope up and Baytes getting doused with water.
“It is something we have been waiting for since we were little,” Hiinton said. “It is everyone’s dream and a dream-come-true-type thing.”
Daniel was making its second straight championship appearance. The Lions lost in the championship to Oceanside Collegiate, which won the 2A title Saturday.
Daniel coach Zaina Nait Omar thought her players might have played a little tight in the championship match.
“I told them we played too tight and that the other team played as if they wanted to win,” Nait Omar said. “They got to learn the lesson from that and they got to learn next when they want to win something, they have to go out and take it.”
Singles: David Pope (C) def. Allen Hong, 6-3, 6-4; Slade Funderburk (C) def. Andrew Mogge, 6-3, 6-2; Hank Greenway (C) def. Brian Truong, 6-2, 6-2; Alex Hinton (C) def. Ian Burton, 6-1, 6-0; Wilson Nash (C) def. Brooks Dunn, 6-2, 6-4. Doubles: Nolan Garrett/Aidan Rollins (D) def. Brett Elliott/James Burns, 6-3, 6-2.
At Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center
Class 5A: JL Mann 6, Summerville 0
Class 4A: Myrtle Beach 5, Riverside 1
Class 3A: Camden 5, Daniel 1
Class 2A: Oceanside Collegiate 6, Academic Magnet 0
This story was originally published May 6, 2023, 4:43 PM.