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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - It’s a struggle most working caregivers know too well: finding childcare.While most childcare facilities provide quality care, many parents are still hesitant.“I just had this feeling that something wasn’t right, but I didn’t know exactly what it was,” Tabitha Tatum said as she recalled the time when her son was in childcare.“I went and toured it, everything looked really nice, it was clean, it smelled good,” she said. “You read all the stuff abo...
HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - It’s a struggle most working caregivers know too well: finding childcare.
While most childcare facilities provide quality care, many parents are still hesitant.
“I just had this feeling that something wasn’t right, but I didn’t know exactly what it was,” Tabitha Tatum said as she recalled the time when her son was in childcare.
“I went and toured it, everything looked really nice, it was clean, it smelled good,” she said. “You read all the stuff about what to look for so, I looked around, paid attention in the rooms to see how they were taken care of, how they were cleansing, the different utensils, and things, their everyday schedule. So, I felt good. It just seemed like a happy place.”
Tatum’s son is now nine years old, but when he was an infant, she and her husband both worked, so she put their three-month-old in the facility that she felt was best for her family.
“I called every single day, like a new mom,” Tatum said.
She added that the only way she would put her son in childcare was if there was a camera system in place; not knowing how crucial it would be. “This one particular day,” she recalled. “I called, and I heard crying in the background, and I thought, ‘That sounds like my son.’ So, I asked, ‘Is that Maverick?’ and they said, ‘Yes, I think he just woke up from a nap.’ So, I thought that was a little odd, but I mean, babies cry.”
Tatum said when she picked up her son that day, he seemed abnormally hungry.
“He just ate as if he’d never eaten before,” she remembered.
He was also tired. She said he then fell asleep and slept for the rest of the night.
“You used to have to feed your baby every two hours,” she said. “So here I am expecting to wake him up to feed him again, and he won’t wake up, because he’s so exhausted.”
Tatum said the childcare center gave her a log each day, noting the times he would eat, sleep and have diaper changes, but something just didn’t add up. She told the center she would be keeping her son home but wanted to come in and see the video of that day.
“I’m watching my son, as a three-month-old baby, crying that he’s hungry, that it’s time to eat,” she recalled. “And he’s in a swing going like this, three months old, and they’re putting the bottle in his mouth, and just going like this, trying to feed him, and he wouldn’t take it, he wouldn’t take it, because he’s going like this, side to side, and I’m just watching, I’m watching the hour, the time progress of him just wailing, crying and never eating a bottle.”
Tatum said she doesn’t know if the childcare staff fed her son that day.
“I just know that I watched my baby for a few hours,” she explained. “Because you can fast forward, she fast forwarded on the time, and he was still crying, and he was still crying, and he was still crying.”
She said she never took her son back to the daycare.
Connelly-Anne Ragley, the director of communications and external affairs at South Carolina’s Department of Child Services said Tatum did everything right by picking up on the signs that her infant son was giving her.
“Watching their changes in their behavior, checking their bodies, if you see a suspicious mark or a question, talking to the childcare provider,” Ragley said. “Children, even though they might not be able to communicate with us, they do give us lots of signs that maybe something is just not right at school or their childcare facility.”
DSS is responsible for licensing and regulating the health and safety of all childcare facilities in the state, and it’s a big job.
There are currently more than 2,400 legal centers in the state, and each center is inspected annually.
“We have a lot of things in state law and state regulations, as far as sanitary guidelines, health and safety, as well as spacing to make sure there’s enough space for children, making sure the employees of the childcare center have been fingerprinted and background checked. To make sure they are not on the abuse registry for child abuse and neglect, make sure they can pass a SLED and FBI fingerprint background check,” Ragley explained.
In addition to employee records, sanitary regulations and spacing, each year DSS will look at ratios, making sure there’s the right number of staff for each age group.
For example, the state requires one staff member for every five infants, because babies need more hands-on care than older kids.
DSS also looks closely at the safety protocols for how children are signed in and out of and moving through, a facility, meaning staff knows exactly where a child is supposed to be, and with whom. Finally, it also checks the condition of the building, as well as outdoor play and meal areas.
A parent herself, Ragley said choosing where to place your child for care can be overwhelming.
“At the end of the day, parents and caregivers are making such an important decision about where to leave their children, so they can go and work and make a living so they can help provide for their families,” she said. “Safety is of the utmost importance for parents when they are making the choice as to which childcare center works for them.”
Ragley said Tatum’s experience is heartbreaking, but it doesn’t represent the majority of childcare workers.
“Think about it, they’re caring for these children, like their own, during the day, and there are hundreds of thousands of childcare workers in South Carolina that you never see on the news, that are wiping the noses and helping prepare the bottles, and helping children get ready for school every day, that are unsung heroes,” Ragley said.
Tatum said she knows her son’s situation was likely an exception, and there are plenty of wonderful childcare facilities and workers.
She wants her experience to warn other families to be aware of what can happen. It’s an experience that still, nine years later, stirs up emotions.
“This is going to sound so crazy, but I couldn’t even drive by it. It would make me feel so sick to my stomach, I couldn’t even drive by it, I had to take a detour because I couldn’t... it’s your baby,” Tatum said.
Ragley said every licensed childcare center in the state is available on the SCDSS website, from small, in-home family care with fewer than six children, to large facilities with hundreds of kids.
MORE INFORMATION | South Carolina Department of Social Services website
She said the first step for parents is to check to make sure a center is on that site. If it’s not there, it’s not licensed. You can also find inspection reports for each licensed facility.
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CONWAY, S.C. – Coastal Carolina University head women's basketball coach Kevin Pederson has added Tatum Burstrom to his 2023-24 coaching staff as an assistant coach.Burstrom arrives in Conway, S.C., after spending the previous seven seasons at Carson-Newman University working with the Eagles women's basketball team. ...
CONWAY, S.C. – Coastal Carolina University head women's basketball coach Kevin Pederson has added Tatum Burstrom to his 2023-24 coaching staff as an assistant coach.
Burstrom arrives in Conway, S.C., after spending the previous seven seasons at Carson-Newman University working with the Eagles women's basketball team. During her tenure at CNU, the Eagles averaged 22 wins in every season she was on the sidelines with the exception of 2020-21 when Carson-Newman only played 19 games going 15-4, in the COVID-19 shortened season.
"Coach Burstrom is a home run hire for our Coastal Women's Basketball Family! She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience as a talented player and subsequently, an assistant coach, for a very successful Carson-Newman team," said Pederson. "The first characteristic we look for when hiring staff is someone that will serve our student-athletes through a mentorship role as an assistant coach, and we believe Tatum is a person that our student athletes will love working with!"
In her time on the bench, the Lady Eagles are 155-51 overall with an 113-30 mark against the South Atlantic Conference (SAC). The program has won four regular-season championships, two SAC Tournament Championship, and one NCAA Southeast Regional Championship, while earning the first Elite Eight appearance in the program's history. Burstrom helped guide the Lady Eagles to six NCAA tournaments, five as an assistant coach and one as a player.
With the Eagles, Burstrom had a hand in recruiting and developing five NCAA Division II All-Americans in two-time winner Haris Price (2017-18, 18-19), Mika Wester (2017-18), Kayla Marosites (2019-20), and Braelyn Wykle (2020-21). The last All-American the Lady Eagles had seen prior to that run was in 2010.
On March, 6, 2019, Burstrom was named to the WBCA's Thirty Under 30 list honoring 30 up-and-coming women's basketball coaches age 30 and under at all levels of the game. She was one of nine coaches from the NCAA Division II ranks to be listed.
Before settling on the bench at her alma mater, Burstrom played four years where she became the 17th Lady Eagle to score 1,000 points in her career with 1,234 career points. She wrapped up her career as the program's all-time leader with 254 career made three-pointers, which ranked fourth all-time in the SAC.
She was the fifth Lady Eagle to earn postseason honors in three seasons after being named to the SAC All-Freshman team in 2012-13, earning honorable mention All-SAC honors in 2014-15, and garnering All-SAC second team accolades in 2015-16.
"Burstrom was an all-conference guard that set the record for career three-point shooting at Carson-Newman and we have a lot of confidence that she will do a great job working with our backcourt at Coastal Carolina," Pederson continued. "Her hard work, experience developing all-conference guards, and most importantly, her passion to see our student-athletes reach their maximum potential, make her an outstanding addition to our Coastal WBB Family!"
For complete coverage of CCU women's basketball, follow the Chants on social media @CoastalWBB (Twitter), facebook.com/CCUChanticleers (Facebook), @GoCCUSports (Instagram) or visit the official home of Coastal Carolina Athletics at www.GoCCUsports.com.
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SCDNR NewsThe S.C. Department of Natural Resources recognized its top law enforcement officers during a ceremony Sept. 16.Pfc. JP Cooler was honored as the State Officer of the Year. Cooler, also named the top officer for Region 4 covering the state’s coastal counties, worked 136 cases during the previous year, including investigations of illegal taking of alligators, illegal dump sites, commercial shellfish violations, trespassing to hunt and more.Law enforcement leaders noted Cooler’s work on a complex, thr...
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources recognized its top law enforcement officers during a ceremony Sept. 16.
Pfc. JP Cooler was honored as the State Officer of the Year. Cooler, also named the top officer for Region 4 covering the state’s coastal counties, worked 136 cases during the previous year, including investigations of illegal taking of alligators, illegal dump sites, commercial shellfish violations, trespassing to hunt and more.
Law enforcement leaders noted Cooler’s work on a complex, three-month investigation into a commercial fisherman who built a network of other suspects to illegally exploit the state’s flounder fishery. The main suspect in the case was taking undersize flounder by gigging – sometimes up to hundreds of fish in one night – as well as other saltwater fish and selling them to local seafood dealers and restaurants.
The case resulted in seven people pleading guilty to multiple charges, a total of $42,000 in fines and the first three-year suspension of saltwater fishing privileges in the state’s history.
“Through his hard work and diligent efforts, Officer Cooler was able to stop one of the most egregious abuses of South Carolina’s flounder fishery in recent years,” said Col. Chisolm Frampton, head of the SCDNR Law Enforcement Division.
In addition to Cooler, officers were also recognized for boating enforcement and education efforts and a top officer was chosen from each of the four regions in the state.
Among the other awards were:
National Association of State Boating Law Administrators Boating Officer of the Year – Pfc. Brian Hoover
During the 2021 budget year, Hoover conducted 313 hours of boating patrol, inspected 203 boats and logged 59 investigation hours. Hoover led Region 3 in boating enforcement by working 31 cases, including eight boating under the influence cases and assisting in 12 other BUI cases.
Hoover was recognized by supervisors for being willing to help any of his fellow officers in keeping people safe on Lake Murray. He was also named the Officer of the Year for Region 3.
Law Enforcement Education – Staff Sgt. Philip Robertson
Robertson took over as coordinator of South Carolina Archery in the Schools in March 2021 and helped revive a program that had been hit hard with declining participation due to COVID-19. He helped recruit 20 new schools to the program during his first year.
Some 2,100 archers participated during the most recent school year. The state tournament included more than 1,500 archers and Pelion Elementary School represented the state by winning the National Archery in the Schools tournament.
Region 1 Officer of the Year, Lance Cpl. Zach Tatum: Tatum, assigned to Greenville County, recorded 202 night patrol hours and 210 hours patrolling Heritage Trust properties in his jurisdiction. His cases included investigating hunting and trapping out of season, dove, waterfowl and turkey hunting violations and game fish infractions. Tatum was noted for his skilled use of game cameras to document bait sites, trapping offenses and trespassing.
Region 2 Officer of the Year, Lance Cpl. Matthew Owen: Owen, assigned to Chester County, worked 72 cases, including 19 major cases, and logged 154 night patrol hours. His major casework included taking deer out of season, illegal import of a deer head from a state with known chronic wasting disease, hunting dove, waterfowl and turkey over bait and rabbit trapping violations.
Region 3 Officer of the Year, Pfc. Brian Hoover: See above.
Region 4 Officer of the Year, Pfc. JP Cooler: See above.
There’s a growing list of people who believe that if Emoni Bates were drafted by an NBA team this year, he’d be able to hold his own.In February, ESPN analyst and former Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perk...
There’s a growing list of people who believe that if Emoni Bates were drafted by an NBA team this year, he’d be able to hold his own.
It would be an outlandish thing to say about most 16-year-olds. But Bates, a phenom at Ypsilanti Lincoln, is in his own category as a player.
It’s why on Tuesday, Bates became the first sophomore to win the Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award. The historic accomplishment is another sign that the 6-foot-9, 205-pound forward, considered the best high school player in the country regardless of class, is significantly ahead of the curve.
Add Celtics forward Jayson Tatum to the list of those who believe Bates is NBA-ready. Tatum, who won the award in 2016, "presented" it to Bates via video call.
“I didn’t win this award until I was a senior,” Tatum said. “I talked to him for a little bit and told him how big of a deal it was to win this as a sophomore. He was definitely on the right track and the right pace to ultimately get what he wants. Just to keep working, don’t get complacent and be happy and be proud of his accomplishment. To continue to strive and continue to be better.”
Bates’ length, ballhandling and shooting ability has drawn comparisons to Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant. He averaged 31.6 points, nine rebounds and 2.6 assists this past season.
“He has the capability to do everything,” Tatum said. “He’s athletic, he’s lanky, he can dribble, he can shoot and score from anywhere. He plays hard, with a high motor. He’s just an overall really good player, especially to be this young. And he’s going to get better. That’s what I look forward to because of how good he is now. He can do it all.”
Bates realistically is still a couple of years from playing in the NBA. But once he graduates high school in 2022, he could have the opportunity to skip college. The NBA is reportedly targeting the 2022 draft for the elimination of the one-and-done rule, which mandates U.S. basketball players be at least a year removed from high school to be draft-eligible.
If Bates were to skip college, he would join previous Gatorade player of the year winners Al Harrington, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwight Howard as those who went to the NBA directly out of high school.
A year of college could be beneficial for Bates, however. Tatum said that his lone season at Duke helped him prepare his body for the physical rigors of the NBA. At just 205 pounds, Bates is extremely lean for his frame, and certainly will fill into it as he gets older.
“For me, when I made the transition coming out of Duke, I was well-prepared,” Tatum said. “Taking that one year from high school and being able to get my body right, learn from Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) and play in different environments. Doing that in college really helped me out.”
Bates hasn’t ruled out reclassifying before next season. Doing so would make him a senior, and allow him to play college basketball during the 2021-22 season. He already has offers from several schools, including Michigan and Michigan State.
“He’s obviously ahead of the curve for a sophomore or most kids in high school,” Tatum said. “He’s definitely talented enough, I feel like, to make that leap now. What people don’t understand or realize is how physical the game is in the NBA, because there are grown men out there that got kids and have been playing in the league 14, 15 years. The physical part is just as important, which he’ll get since he’s 16 years old. Once he gets that, he’ll be ready.”
Bates isn’t rushing his decision either way. Winning the Gatorade award has given him more proof that his best option is staying the course and letting those decisions work themselves out.
“I work hard every day,” Bates said. “It just shows me why I’m always in the gym and why I’m staying focused on all of this and not letting it get to my head. It’s showing me that I’m dedicated and I’m humble, so I will always be humble and keep working and being myself.”