News and Announcements

Public news and announcements are brought to you by the Horry County Public Information Office.


Horry County News and Announcements

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Weekly Update for September 23-September 27, 2013

Click HERE  for a PDF of Horry County Government's Weekly Update for September 23 - September 27, 2013.


25th Annual Beach & River Sweep

Conway, South Carolina – The 25th Annual Beach Sweep/River Sweep is being held this Saturday. Beach Sweep/River Sweep is South Carolina's largest one-day volunteer cleanup event. Every third Saturday in September, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., thousands of South Carolinians come together to clean our beaches, rivers, lakes, marshes, and swamps of litter and debris. Beach Sweep/River Sweep is organized by the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium and S.C. Department of Natural Resources and has taken place annually since 1988. This statewide event is held in conjunction with The Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, which involves several hundred- thousand volunteers in over 75 nations. 

There are numerous opportunities to get involved in the Beach Sweep/River Sweep, no matter where you live or vacation in Horry County. Visit nearly any beach access, boat landing, or waterfront in the Grand Strand, and you are sure to find a group of volunteers that will welcome your assistance. The Waccamaw Riverkeeper and its partners, including Keep Horry County Beautiful, will be hosting cleanups along the Waccamaw River starting at 9 am. Volunteer groups will be at Chris Anderson Landing on Hwy 9, the Conway Marina, Little Savannah Bluff Landing, Pitch Landing, and Peachtree Landing. Cleanup supplies will be provided. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing and bring along your rain boots and waders, sunscreen and bug spray. The use of motorized boats, kayaks, and canoes are also welcomed.  

Interested in finding a cleanup site near you?  Visit the SC Sea Grant website.

Want to get involved in keeping our boat landings, waterways, parks, and roadsides beautiful and litter free throughout the year? Contact Keep Horry County Beautiful (tindalln@horrycounty.org or 843-915-5340) to adopt stretches of county roads and public spaces or reach out to the Waccamaw Riverkeeper to adopt a landing (Riverkeeper@winyahrivers.org or 843-349-4007). 

Waccamaw River Cleanup Sites
  • Conway waterfront and boat landings, (Christine Ellis and Kelly Davis, 349-4007 or Riverkeeper@winyahrivers.org)
  • Chris Anderson Landing on Hwy 9 (Bo Ives, 843-903-5122 or ives5122@sccoast.net) (a partnership between Keep Horry County Beautiful and the Riverkeeper)
  • Little Savannah Bluff Landing to Black Slough (Biff Johnson, 843-742-0402 or biffjohnson29@yahoo.com)
  • Pitch Landing (Shari Carr, 843-222-6998 or sharoncarr@sccoast.net)
  • Peachtree Landing, Jane and Chris Ochsenbein   

 



Maurice Ward Found Guilty for the 2010 Freewill Baptist Church Burglary

Conway, South Carolina-Before the Honorable Larry B. Hyman, Jr. on Tuesday, September 17, 2013, Defendant Maurice Wallace Ward was found guilty by a jury of his peers for the 2010 burglary of Freewill Baptist Church located in the Conway section of Horry County.    

The incident occurred on the night of August 14, 2010, when Ward entered Freewill Baptist Church without consent and with the intent to steal personal items from the building.  During the investigation, the officers discovered DNA left behind on a broken window believed to be Ward’s forced-entry location on the night of the incident.  After a long investigation, the DNA testing results returned as a match to Ward’s.  These results were later verified through further analysis, thus, placing Ward at the scene of the crime on the night the burglary occurred.   

Based on the facts provided above and Ward’s lengthy criminal records, including two past burglary/housebreaking convictions, Ward was convicted of Second Degree Burglary (Violent) and sentenced by Judge Hyman to serve the maximum sentence of 15 years.  This is a “violent” and “serious” Class D felony offense under South Carolina law, meaning this conviction adds a “strike” to Ward’s criminal record under South Carolina’s “three strike” laws.    

For questions concerning this criminal trial and conviction, please contact the Horry County Solicitor's Office at 843-915-5460.           



Repeat Offender Pleas Guilty to Club Crush Shooting

Conway, South Carolina-Gerard “PR – Paddy Rod” Watts pled guilty to Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature, Use of a Weapon during the commission of a Violent Crime, Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin Second Offense and Threatening the Life of a Public Official on September 5, 2013.  The State recommended a sentence range of 10-15 years, without the option of parole release, where all sentences would run concurrently.  On September 11, 2013, Judge Larry B. Hyman sentenced Watts to concurrently serve 13 years, without the option of parole, on the Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature offense, 5 years on the Weapons offense, 10 years, without the option of parole, on the Heroin offense, and 10 years on the Threatening the Life of a Public Official offense.         

 

Over the past year, Watts has been a danger to our community and a constant cause of disruption and crime along the Grand Strand.  Starting on December 1, 2012, Watts attacked a victim inside Club Crush in the Myrtle Beach section of Horry County.  An investigation revealed that there was an ongoing dispute between Watts and the victim.  Inside the club, Watts grabbed the victim and when the victim pulled away from him, Watts produced a small caliber handgun and began firing at the victim, striking him at least once, from the rear as Watts chased him outside the club.  As Watts continued to pursue the victim into the parking lot, gun in hand, a security officer was forced to deploy his sidearm.  The security officer instructed Watts to drop the handgun and when Watts refused, the security officer fired several shots, striking Watts.  Watts was loaded into a truck by friends and was eventually taken to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center where he was treated after giving a false name.  Upon his release from the hospital, Watts was arrested and charged, eventually posting bond and being released from J Reuben Long Detention Center.      

While out on bond, Watts was arrested on marijuana charges in February 2013 and released on bond again.  Subsequently, in April 2013, Troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle Watts was operating, for a moving violation.  Watts fled in the vehicle into a motel parking lot, where he hopped out of the vehicle, leaving the vehicle to continue moving and strike the motel near the lobby.  Troopers pursued Watts and eventually apprehended him.  While searching the area, Troopers found approximately 40 bindles of Heroin Watts had attempted to hide.  Upon apprehension, Watts threatened the Trooper, telling the Trooper he ought to “Whoop his ass like his friend whooped another Trooper’s ass.”  After being released from handcuffs at J Reuben Long Detention Center, Watts attempted to lunge at the Trooper to assault the Trooper, before being restrained by Detention Officers.      

Watts was eventually freed on $150,000 bond on or about May 17, 2013.  While out on bond, Watts was arrested again on weapons and marijuana charges on or about May 23, 2013.  His bond was revoked and Watts was held at J. Reuben Long Detention Center disposition of his charges.  Watts has an extensive prior record including numerous convictions for drugs and a federal charge of Felon in Possession of a Firearm.     

For questions concerning these convictions, please contact the Horry County Solicitor's Office at 843-915-5460.  



Horry County To Utilize CodeRED Emergency Notification System

Conway, South Carolina – Horry County has contracted with Emergency Communications Network, Inc. of Ormond Beach, Florida, for its “CodeRED” high-speed telephone emergency notification services. The CodeRED system gives county officials the ability to deliver pre-recorded emergency telephone notification/information messages to targeted areas or the entire county at a rate of up to 60,000 calls per hour.   

 

Randy Webster, Horry County’s Emergency Management Director, cautioned that such systems are only as good as the telephone database supporting them. “Although the system houses a database populated from multiple sources, if your phone number is not in the database, you will not be called,” stated Webster. The CodeRED system gives individuals and businesses the ability to add their own phone numbers directly to the system’s telephone database. The system allows you to enter as many phone numbers as you need for other family members or employees at your business by re-entering your information. The system also allows you to enter email addresses as the emergency notification can be broadcasted by phone, text or email.   

To ensure no one is omitted, Webster urges all individuals and businesses to log onto Horry County’s website and follow the link to the “CodeRED Residential and Business Data Collection” page. Your contact information will remain private and will only be used for emergency notifications. Those without internet access may call the Horry County Public Information Office at (843) 915-5390, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to give their information over the phone to be added to the CodeRED system. Required information includes first and last name, street address (physical address, no P.O. Boxes), city, state, zip code, primary phone number (if a cell phone number is used, you will need the name of your cell phone provider) and additional phone numbers are optional. 

Again, no one should automatically assume his or her phone number is included. All businesses should register, as well as all individuals who have unlisted phone numbers, who have changed their phone number or address within the last year, and who use a cellular phone as their primary home phone. Since the system is a geographical based notification system, street addresses are needed to select which phone numbers will receive emergency notification calls in any given situation.   

Horry County will conduct an “All Call” validation test beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday, September 23. Numbers that are registered in the system will get a call from Horry County, which will be a test of the CodeRED emergency system. The “All Call” will scrub the database of numbers that cannot be confirmed as valid and will be removed from the system. This will create a cleaner list resulting in more connected calls and less network congestion when a real emergency happens.   

Other CodeRED features:   

  • TTY/TDD Functions – The CodeRed system allows those hearing impaired to also sign up to receive emergency notifications. Text Telephones (TTY), also known as Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD), are used by the deaf, hard–of–hearing, and individuals with speech impairments to communicate   
  • Message Playback – You may hear the last message to your phone through the CodeRED system by simply dialing back the number on your Caller ID. Community members can easily identify calls coming from the CodeRED system as the recipient’s Caller ID will read Emergency Communications Network or 866-419-5000.   
  • CodeRED Mobile Alert App – The free, available app is geo-aware so no matter where you are when an alert is issued, you will receive notifications that affect you – right on your mobile device. The app delivers information from community officials in areas that are subscribed to the CodeRED Emergency Notification System. The free app is available on Horry County’s website.   
  • CodeRED Weather Warning – This is an opt-in only weather warning product that taps into the National Weather Service’s Storm Based Warnings. This geographical targeted weather warning product is built into the CodeRED system and will alert citizens moments after a severe thunderstorm, flash flood, or tornado warning has been issued. Community members can easily identify calls coming from the CodeRED Weather Warning as the recipient’s Caller ID will read Emergency Communications Network or 800-566-9780. The CodeRED Weather Warning also provides a CodeRed Weather Warning Mobile App which is $4.99 per year, but comes with a complimentary 30-day trial with the CodeRed Mobile Alert App.   


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