Criminal Defense Attorney inRidgeland, SC

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CDH Law Firm: Giving Hope to
Criminal Defense Clients in
Ridgeland, SC

Getting charged with a crime in Ridgeland can be a traumatic experience. Even "petty" crimes can cause an individual's life to fall apart professionally and personally. Spending time in jail is bad enough, but the ramifications of a criminal record run deep, resulting in loss of employment, loss of friends, and even family. For many people, having a zealous criminal defense attorney in Ridgeland, SC, to defend their rights is the only shot they have of living a normal life.

That's why, if you have been charged with a crime, you need the help of a veteran criminal defense lawyer early in the legal process. That's where CDH Law Firm comes in to give you or your loved one hope when you need it the most.

Our criminal defense law firm was founded to help people just like you - hardworking men and women who are looking at diminished employment opportunities and a possible lifetime of embarrassment. But with our team of experts fighting by your side, you have a much better chance of maintaining your freedom and living a normal, productive life. When it comes to criminal law in Ridgeland, we've seen it all. With decades of combined experience, there is no case too complicated or severe for us to handle, from common DUI charges to complicated cases involving juvenile crimes. Unlike some of our competition, we prioritize personalized service and cutting-edge criminal defense strategies to effectively represent our clients.

Criminal Defense Attorney Ridgeland, SC

Clients rank CHSA Law, LLC as the top choice for Ridgeland criminal defense because we provide:

  • One-on-One Counsel
  • Education on the Ridgeland Legal Process and Its Risks
  • Ardent, Effective Representation
  • Commitment to Our Clients and Defending Their Rights
  • Prompt Inquiry Response
  • Robust Experience with Criminal Law Cases in Ridgeland
  • Innovative Defense Strategies
  • Effective, Thorough Research and Investigation

Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer in Ridgeland can mean the difference between conviction and acquittal. Our firm has represented thousands of clients in the Lowcountry, and we're ready to defend you too. Some of our specialties include:

 Law Firm Ridgeland, SC
The-Cobb-Dill-Hammett-Difference

DUI Cases
in Ridgeland, SC

DUI penalties in Ridgeland can be very harsh. Many first-time DUI offenders must endure a lifelong criminal record, license suspension, and the possibility of spending time in jail. Officers and judges take DUI very seriously, with 30% of traffic fatalities in South Carolina involving impaired drivers, according to NHTSA. Criminal convictions can have lasting impacts on your life, which is why CDH Law Firm works so hard to get these charges dismissed or negotiated down. In some cases, we help clients avoid jail time altogether.

 Criminal Defense Lawyer Ridgeland, SC
When you hire our DUI defense firm, our team will always work towards your best interests and will go above and beyond to achieve the best outcome in your case. Depending on the circumstances of your DUI charges, we will investigate whether:
  • Your DUI stop was legal
  • You were administered a field sobriety test correctly
  • The breathalyzer used was calibrated correctly and properly maintained
  • Urine and blood tests were administered and collected properly

The bottom line? Our criminal law defense attorneys will do everything possible to keep you out of jail with a clean permanent record. It all starts with a free consultation, where we will take time to explain the DUI process. We'll also discuss your defense options and speak at length about the differences between going to trial and accepting a plea bargain.

DUI Penalties in Ridgeland, SC

The consequences of a DUI in Ridgeland depend on a number of factors, including your blood alcohol level and how many DUIs you have received in the last 10 years. If you're convicted, the DUI charge will remain on your criminal history and can be seen by anyone who runs a background check on you. Sometimes, a judge will require you to enter alcohol treatment or install an interlock device on your automobile.

If you're on the fence about hiring a criminal defense lawyer in Ridgeland, SC, consider the following DUI consequences:

Criminal Defense Attorney Ridgeland, SC

First Offense

Offense

48 hours to 90 days

in jail

with fines ranging from

$400 to $1,000

Second Offense

Offense

Five days to three years

in jail

with fines ranging from

$2,100 to $6,500

Third Offense

Offense

60 days to five years

in jail

with fines ranging from

$3,800 to $10,000

Additional consequences can include:

1

Alcohol or Drug Treatment

When convicted of DUI in South Carolina, most offenders must join the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. This program mandates that offenders complete a drug and alcohol assessment and follow the recommended treatment options.

 Law Firm Ridgeland, SC

2

Community Service

Some first-time DUI offenders in Ridgeland may choose to complete community service in lieu of jail time. Community service hours are usually equal to the length of jail time an offender would be required to serve.

 Criminal Defense Lawyer Ridgeland, SC

Sanctions to Your Driver's License

Typically, when a person is convicted of driving under the influence in Ridgeland, their driver's license is restricted or suspended. The length of restriction or suspension depends on how many prior DUI convictions an individual has.

First DUI Offense

First-time DUI offenders must endure a six-month license suspension. Drivers convicted with a blood-alcohol level of .15% or more do not qualify for a provisional license. However, sometimes they may still drive using an ignition interlock device.

Second DUI Offense

Offenders convicted of a second DUI charge must use an ignition interlock device (IID) for two years.

Third DUI Offense

Offenders convicted of a third DUI charge must use an ignition interlock device (IID) for three years. That term increases to four years if the driver is convicted of three DUIs in five years.

Immobilized Vehicle

For offenders with two or more convictions, the judge will immobilize their vehicle if it is not equipped with an IID. When a judge immobilizes a vehicle, the owner must turn over their registration and license plate. Clearly, the consequences of receiving a DUI in Ridgeland can be life-changing, and not in a good way. The good news is that with CDH Law Firm, you have a real chance at beating your charges and avoiding serious fines and jail time. Every case is different, which is why it's so important that you call our office as soon as possible if you are charged with a DUI.

Traffic Violation Cases

Most drivers brush off traffic law violations as minor offenses, but the fact of the matter is they are criminal matters to be taken seriously. Despite popular opinion, Traffic Violation cases in Ridgeland can carry significant consequences like fines and even incarceration. If you or someone you love has been convicted of several traffic offenses, your license could be suspended, restricting your ability to work and feed your family.

Every driver should take Traffic Violations seriously. If you're charged with a traffic crime, it's time to protect yourself and your family with a trusted criminal defense lawyer in Ridgeland, SC. Cobb Dill Hammett, LLC is ready to provide the legal guidance and advice you need to beat your traffic charges. We'll research the merits of your case, explain what charges you're facing, discuss your defense options, and strategize an effective defense on your behalf.

Common Ridgeland
Traffic Violations That CDH Law
Firm Fights

There are dozens and dozens of traffic laws in Ridgeland, all of which affect drivers in some way. Our Ridgeland defense attorneys fight a full range of violations, including but not limited to the following:

Criminal Defense Attorney Ridgeland, SC
  • Driving Under Suspension: If you drive while your license is suspended, revoked, or canceled, you could be looking at 30 days in jail and fines up to $300.
  • Driving Under the Influence: Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated on drugs or alcohol is illegal and often results in jail time and fines.
  • Reckless Driving: You could be ordered to pay up to $200 in fines or jailed for up to 30 days if you drive with wanton disregard for the safety of other people.
  • Racing: You can be cited and fined if you aid or participate in street racing.
  • Hit and Run: When you leave the scene of an accident that involved injury to another party, you can be arrested. This serious charge can lead to up to one year in jail and fines of up to $5,000 for first-time offenders.
  • Disregard Traffic Signals: Drivers must obey all traffic signals and control devices, less they be ticketed and sometimes fined.

As seasoned traffic violation lawyers, we know how frustrating it can be to get charged with a Traffic Violation. While some traffic charges can be minor, others are severe and can affect your life for years to come. Don't leave your fate up to chance call CDH Law Firm today for the highest-quality Traffic Violation representation in Ridgeland.

Juvenile Crime Cases in
Ridgeland, SC

At Cobb Dill Hammett, LLC, we understand that children are still growing and learning about the world around them. As such, they may make mistakes that get them into trouble with the law. Children and teens who are arrested in Ridgeland can face much different futures than other children their age. Some face intensive probation, while others are made to spend time in jail.

This happens most often when a child's parents fail to retain legal counsel for their son or daughter. Cases referred to the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice often move quicker than adult cases, so finding a good lawyer is of utmost importance. With that said, a compassionate criminal defense attorney in Ridgeland, SC, can educate you and your child about their alleged charges. To help prevent your child from going to a detention center, we will devise a strategy to achieve favorable results in their case.

 Law Firm Ridgeland, SC
 Criminal Defense Lawyer Ridgeland, SC

Juvenile Detention Hearings

Unlike adults, juveniles don't have a constitutional right to a bond hearing. Instead, once your child is taken into custody a Detention Hearing is conducted within 48 hours. This hearing is similar to a combination of a Bond Hearing and a Preliminary Hearing. Unfortunately, there is little time to prepare for these hearings, which is why you must move quickly and call CDH law firm as soon as possible.

Our team gathers police reports, petitions, interviews your child at the DJJ, speaks with you about the case and talks to the prosecutor to discover if they have plans for detention. In most cases, we strive to avoid detention and seek alternatives like divisionary programs or treatment facilities. This strategy better addresses your child's issues and keeps them out of the juvenile legal system in Ridgeland. If your child is charged with a crime, and South Carolina decides to prosecute, your child will appear before a family court judge, who will find them delinquent or not delinquent. There are no juries in juvenile cases in South Carolina, which is why it's crucial to have a lawyer present to defend your child if they go in front of a judge.

Common penalties for juveniles charged with crimes in Ridgeland include:

Criminal Defense Attorney Ridgeland, SC
  • Probation: Children charged with probation are released to their parents or guardians. Depending on their charges, they must abide by certain stipulations while at home and may be subject to random drug screenings. Violation of probation often results in jail time.
  • 90 Days in Juvenile Detention Center: When probation is not a viable option, prosecutors may push for 90 days of jail time in a juvenile detention facility.
  • Juvenile Detention: Children who commit very serious crimes can be sent to a juvenile detention center for a long time. These sentences can last up to the child's 21st birthday.
  • School Expulsion: When a child is convicted of a crime, their school is notified of the offense. Sometimes, the administration may decide to expel the child from school for the misdemeanors or felonies they commit.

We Fight to Protect
Your Rights So You Can
Provide for Your Family

Whether you are facing a DUI charge or a serious traffic violation, CDH Law Firm is here to fight for your rights so you can continue living life. The future might seem bleak, but our criminal defense lawyers in Ridgeland, SC, have the tools, experience, and strategy to win your case, as we have with so many others. Don't lose hope call our office today and maintain your freedom tomorrow.

Ask us anything

Call Now 843-936-6680 PH

Latest News in Ridgeland, SC

Three seeking two Ridgeland council seats, mayor running unopposed

There will be three candidates for two seats in the Nov. 7 election in the Town of Ridgeland. Current Mayor Joey Malphrus will be running unopposed, according to town officials.There will be several precincts open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.Those voting in the Ridgeland 1, 2, or 3 precincts will cast ballots at the Kingdom Touch Ministries Gymnasium, 6714 Tillman Road in Ridgeland.Those voting in the Grahamville 1 and 2 precincts will vote at the Mt. Carmel Baptist Center Fellowship Hall, 3376 B...

There will be three candidates for two seats in the Nov. 7 election in the Town of Ridgeland. Current Mayor Joey Malphrus will be running unopposed, according to town officials.

There will be several precincts open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Those voting in the Ridgeland 1, 2, or 3 precincts will cast ballots at the Kingdom Touch Ministries Gymnasium, 6714 Tillman Road in Ridgeland.

Those voting in the Grahamville 1 and 2 precincts will vote at the Mt. Carmel Baptist Center Fellowship Hall, 3376 Bees Creek Road in Ridgeland.

Current Town of Ridgeland Mayor Joey Malphrus first took office in 1988 and won two more terms afterward. He resigned in 1999 when he was elected probate judge. He was elected mayor again in 2011 and took office in 2012. He is currently seeking another term unopposed.

Prep for the polls: See who is running for president and compare where they stand on key issues in our Voter Guide

The two seats up for election in the town were vacated following the resignations of council members Chris Dubose and Grady Woods. The two councilmen's seats were up for re-election in November before the two resigned ahead of the election.

Dubose resigned Aug. 1, stating he was moving out of the area. He served for more than 10 years.

Woods, who served for 18 years on council, sent a resignation letter to the town dated Aug. 3. Woods did not provide a specific reason for his resignation. But according to records of a July 11 Beaufort City Council work session, he applied for the Beaufort Historic Review Board. He told Beaufort officials in July that he now resides in the City of Beaufort.

The three candidates filing for the two open council seats are Bill Fishburne, Johnny L. Jackson Jr. and Libby Malphrus.

Fishburne has lived in Ridgeland for the past eight years. He is a general contractor and has operated Coastline Construction Services, LLC for the past 40 years. He has also served as chairman of the Ridgeland Planning Commission for the past five years. He and his wife, Beth, have one son, William.

"I am concerned for Ridgeland and I am running because I believe Ridgeland can be the community those living there remember," Fishburne said. "Growth is inevitable, but we can grow responsibly. We need to have the best tools available to make it community friendly for everyone."

Jackson has been a resident of Ridgeland for more than 50 years and is an insurance agent at Jackson Insurance Agency, LLC.

"If you look at Ridgeland, nothing seems to be getting done," Jackson said. "I am running because there are not many businesses and I want to know how I can help the town to grow. I want to leave the town better than I found it."

Libby Malphrus has been a Ridgeland resident for 20 years and is an assistant program director of the genetic counseling program at the Medical University of South Carolina. Malphrus and current Mayor Joey Malphrus are not related. She and her husband, Deak, have one daughter, Grace. She also serves on the board of directors at Thomas Heyward Academy.

"Jasper County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the state and the housing developments coming in are overwhelming," Malphrus said. "I am running because Ridgeland needs long-term goals, better communication with its citizens and transparency. Social media is a benefit and it could be used to help the town promote its events and any current information. We need to keep the community involved."

Dementia patient left Ridgeland care facility in owner’s car. Family cites security issues

The Beaufort County family of a 67-year-old dementia patient is still reeling after the man managed to leave a Ridgeland hospice facility and drive the company owner’s unlocked car miles down the highway Tuesday afternoon, arriving at his families’ neighborhood confused and disoriented.“It was the best case scenario,” said Olivia Shultz, the patient’s daughter. Her father, who stopped driving after being diagnosed with ...

The Beaufort County family of a 67-year-old dementia patient is still reeling after the man managed to leave a Ridgeland hospice facility and drive the company owner’s unlocked car miles down the highway Tuesday afternoon, arriving at his families’ neighborhood confused and disoriented.

“It was the best case scenario,” said Olivia Shultz, the patient’s daughter. Her father, who stopped driving after being diagnosed with Lewy body dementia in 2021, was uninjured in the incident, she said, and the car did not appear to have crashed on the nearly five-mile route to Sun City.

Even still, Shultz says the situation reflects a security issue at Friends of Caroline Hospice, located off S.C. 170 in Jasper County. Although the family cannot pursue legal action against the facility due to a lack of monetary losses, she says her father’s escape — and the amount of time his absence went unnoticed among staff — is troubling.

“If you know someone has dementia, why wouldn’t you be more on guard?” Shultz told The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette. She said Tuesday was the first time her father had wandered away from anywhere since his dementia diagnosis more than two years ago.

Lindsay Roberg, the president and CEO of Friends of Caroline Hospice, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Shultz dropped her father off at Friends of Caroline just before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, planning to go shopping on Hilton Head with family before picking him up that evening. They had entrusted him to the facility once before in June, she said.

But around 2:30 that afternoon, Shultz got a call from Bluffton firefighters. Her father was at the Tidewatch Drive gate of Sun City, where the family lives, and appeared not to remember where he was or how he got there. Sun City security initially flagged down the man’s vehicle after noticing his car did not have an entrance decal.

“He wanted to go home, so he walked out the door,” Shultz said.

The car her father used in the attempt to drive home was registered to Roberg, the family soon discovered. The owner’s Forerunner had been left unlocked outside the Friends of Caroline facility with a spare set of keys inside, Shultz said, allowing her father to get inside and drive off.

Roberg later arrived to the scene, claiming her car and apologizing to the family, Shultz said.

The bulk of the family’s questions about Tuesday’s incident remain unanswered — how often their father had been checked on that afternoon, which door of the facility he walked out of, how long he was gone before staff noticed — but Shultz says the incident has damaged their trust in the company. They’ve now started the long process of updating their hospice and respite plans to find new caretakers for her father, she said.

“It was a traumatic experience for us all,” Shultz said. “I woudn’t want anyone else to have that same experience.”

This story was originally published July 23, 2023, 6:00 AM.

Ridgeland Christmas lights show helps raise money for child battling cancer

RIDGELAND, S.C. (WSAV) — It first started as a light show for their children. Now, 26 years later, Chelsea and Barry Brendlen put on a free Christmas display for the Ridgeland community.However, the sparkling lights have a deeper meaning giving a helping hand to a family in need.During the day the lights are hard to see. But as soon as the sun goes down the Brendlen home, with more than 100,000 lights brightens the whole community.Jolly Ole Saint Nick, Mrs. Claus, reindeer, and more all light up to bring in holiday...

RIDGELAND, S.C. (WSAV) — It first started as a light show for their children. Now, 26 years later, Chelsea and Barry Brendlen put on a free Christmas display for the Ridgeland community.

However, the sparkling lights have a deeper meaning giving a helping hand to a family in need.

During the day the lights are hard to see. But as soon as the sun goes down the Brendlen home, with more than 100,000 lights brightens the whole community.

Jolly Ole Saint Nick, Mrs. Claus, reindeer, and more all light up to bring in holiday cheer.

“We started off like everybody, just a few strings of lights here and there for our kids when they were little. And it has grown into this for the community,” Chelsea said.

Beyond the sparkle, the Brendlens hope the lights shine a bit brighter. They’re helping raise money for a family whose four-year-old child, Ravel, is in the biggest fight of her little life.

She’s battling leukemia.

“My son actually came to me this year about wanting to do it for her, that he knows the family and that meant a lot to him to be able to help them out this year,” Chelsea said. “And that’s one of the reasons, too, that we continue to do this, that we’re able to to help a family or families in need each year. It’s pretty important to our family to be able to do that.”

For the past couple of decades, the Brendlen home has become a winter wonderland for Ridgeland families. It takes the couple six to eight weeks to get every light delicately placed around trees and on structures.

“Every year we talk about, well, this might be our last year,” Chelsea said. “It’s a lot of work, but when you hear the kids laughing and pointing at things and the excitement in their eyes and their faces as they’re driving through, that’s the reason that we keep doing this.”

However, it’s not just a light show. There’s hot chocolate, decorating cookies, train rides, and more. All to make sure children and their families have a jolly Christmas.

“If you’re able to leave a donation for our cause that year, that’s wonderful, but definitely not necessary,” Chelsea said. “We just want you to come through and enjoy this with your family. Start a new tradition.

The lights are on display every night from 6 to 10 up until the New Year’s Eve.

TICO sparking industry with EV solution

TICO, located in Ridgeland, SC, is sparking industry with emission-free, electric vehicle (EV) solutionSpecial to Bluffton TodayAt TICO, you can feel the energy pulsing through the plant. It seems….electric.And soon, it will be electric.Terminal Investment Corporation (TICO) began in 1946 as an inter-city bus transportation business by the Booker family in Savannah, Georgia. Over the next seven decades with two generations of family at the helm, the business evolved.In the early 1970...

TICO, located in Ridgeland, SC, is sparking industry with emission-free, electric vehicle (EV) solution

Special to Bluffton Today

At TICO, you can feel the energy pulsing through the plant. It seems….electric.

And soon, it will be electric.

Terminal Investment Corporation (TICO) began in 1946 as an inter-city bus transportation business by the Booker family in Savannah, Georgia. Over the next seven decades with two generations of family at the helm, the business evolved.

In the early 1970s, Randall S. “Randy” Booker, chairman and CEO of TICO, recognized an opportunity and developed a concept through which TICO could own and operate its tractors and lease them for port operations. This would allow the ports to have continually dependable vehicles without the burden of owning and maintaining them. TICO began building tractors to move containers around at the nation's busiest ports.

"This innovation has proved to be a critical aspect in the successes recorded by numerous ports,” according to TICO’s website.

“We are a pretty unique business,” said Mallery Pindar, TICO’s director of sales, marketing and commercial development. “Our products were born out of necessity.”

TICO’s leadership looked for a location and found it in Ridgeland. Booker said recently, “We selected the Ridgeland site in 2004 because we saw long-term value in the rural workforce concept. Today, with the largest private workforce in Jasper County, we are immensely proud of the men and women who drive a culture of safety, quality and productivity.”

In 2008, TICO entered the retail market, selling to businesses and industries that were also in need of specialized vehicles. “The tractors were built by people who not only run them but also understand the customer support side.”

This has led TICO to become the second-largest provider in the industry in a relatively short time, said Pindar. The majority of TICO’s annual production volume is sold through its growing North American dealer network, with the balance of production being National Fleet Accounts and TICO’s internal port operations.

“Our dealer networks are critically important,” said Pindar.

Like electricity, the company isn’t sitting still. “While we are second at the moment, we have a world domination scheme,” he said with a smile.

That includes the introduction of an electric version of their tractors. TICO teamed up with Volvo-Penta to create a new model, the TICO Pro-Spotter Electric.

The Pro-Spotter Electric is an emission-free electric vehicle (EV), powered by Volvo Penta’s electric driveline, according to company promotional documents. “Full battery capacity can be reached in 40 minutes with a 150-kW charger. The design delivers faster acceleration, instant torque, improved efficiency and optimized utilization of energy. Additionally, the Pro-Spotter Electric was designed with the operator in mind for enhanced comfort and a better driving experience.”

“TICO is pairing customers with approved charger vendors so the technology does not restrict the end-user to a proprietary charging solution (unlike some of our competition), rather uses the CCS-1 standard charging protocol for the US,” said Pindar.

Booker added, “Our success in the market validates and drives the capital investments we are committing to future growth. Our team is gearing up to embark on full production of electric trucks in the next successful chapter of TICO Manufacturing.”

The new electric vehicle was showcased on Feb. 27 in Orlando, Florida, at the Transportation and Technology Exhibition. Orders are now being taken.

Daryl Berryman, senior director of engineering, research & development, and quality said, “The demand for electrification is in all the markets and applications we support. It’s the natural evolution of transportation and goods movement. With our partner, Volvo Penta, we’ve developed the best and most efficient EV solution for our customers. The new product has the benefits of eliminated fuel costs, reduced maintenance, and improved uptime.”

Pindar said the move to electric vehicles is four-fold. “First, there is a lot of regulatory pressure and some states are taxing industries to reduce their emissions. Second, some of our customers are leading the charge for sustainability and having a cleaner fleet. Third, there are subsidies being offered to purchase electric vehicles. And fourth, diesel engines are increasingly more complicated and costly to build. If our customers can get great funding and less operating costs, then this an obvious ‘win-win’.”

TICO leadership didn’t want to rush into a new product. “We wanted to hold out for the best solution,” said Pindar. They didn’t want to create a product that was put together piecemeal. They wanted something special that would combine ''TICO’s tractor design with the electric Volvo electrobility technology and driveline.''

The real spark was in 2020 when TICO met with Volvo Penta. Volvo was founded in 1907 and is headquartered in Goteborg, Sweden. Volvo acquired Penta in 1935 and Volvo Penta has been part of the Volvo Group since then. It provides complete power systems to the marine industry, power-generating equipment, and similar industrial applications.

In 2021, TICO and Volvo Penta formed a full partnership. “It has been a transformational partnership,” said Pindar.

“Volvo Penta has a vision to be a leader in sustainable power solutions, and TICO is a very important part of this transformational journey,” said Darren Tasker, vice president of industrial at Volvo Penta North America.

“Partnering with TICO on our project to introduce an emission-free, electric terminal tractor leverages Volvo Group technology and Volvo Penta’s experience and full-system approach to the electric driveline — from development to installation — and TICO’s manufacturing capabilities and extensive customer service and support. We are growing and innovating together to secure market position and achieve a technologically advanced powertrain portfolio.”

“Volvo has proven technology,” said Pindar. “We use all Volvo components plus the support.”

“It is important to know that our trucks are not just being redesigned. This is a proven driveline solution,” said Pindar.

Locally, the new product line is having an impact. “We have beefed up our engineering resources. We’ve had to staff up to build the prototype vehicles. We will have changes in our assembly line – tooling and staff training.”

The expansion of the facility is being determined. “This facility will build about two times as many vehicles in near future as we did this past year,” said Pindar. “We are doubling our production.”

“The high-voltage components will be installed by select, highly-trained employees,” said Pindar.

Currently, there are about 300 employees working at the Ridgeland facility.

“TICO has invested in the people of our region, providing great job opportunities while manufacturing a state-of-the-art vehicle,” said Kay Maxwell, Vice President of SouthernCarolina Alliance, the regional economic development organization representing Jasper County and six other counties. “We are proud of the role that TICO plays in their industry sector, and now we have even more to tout in Jasper County as TICO has brought more innovation to the table in the EV market.”

Jim Grooms, chief operating officer, said, “TICO Manufacturing is excited about adding an Electric Terminal Tractor to our existing lineup of industry-leading products. EV benefits are far-reaching, benefiting the environment and customer operations. Our workforce is energized by the new challenge of building an electric vehicle and to be a part of providing such an important capability to the marketplace.”

"The change has been complex but we are getting there as a team,” said Pindar.

“It’s an exciting time to be on our TICO teams,” he said. “TICO has something special going on. Growth is off the charts. We are a force to be reckoned with in the terminal trucking industry.”

Laura J. McKenzie is a Volunteer In Service To America (VISTA) volunteer with SouthernCarolina Alliance, a 7-county regional development alliance in South Carolina.

Critics slam filthy, crowded Jasper animal shelter as county seeks outside help

National and local animal advocates agreed this week to work with a Jasper County animal rescue group to improve its operations after months of community complaints about overcrowding and poor conditions at the organization’s Ridgeland center.The advocates convened at the Jasper Animal Rescue Mission on Monday afternoon, walking through the county-owned building and suggesting fixes for a safer, more sanitary facility for the 300-plus animals, volunteers and employees. The meeting was organized by Jasper County officials....

National and local animal advocates agreed this week to work with a Jasper County animal rescue group to improve its operations after months of community complaints about overcrowding and poor conditions at the organization’s Ridgeland center.

The advocates convened at the Jasper Animal Rescue Mission on Monday afternoon, walking through the county-owned building and suggesting fixes for a safer, more sanitary facility for the 300-plus animals, volunteers and employees. The meeting was organized by Jasper County officials.

For months, volunteers and former rescue mission board members pushed Jasper County to address concerns about the shelter. Volunteers and former board members told the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette that dogs and cats are left in their own feces, cages are stacked three-to-four high, water bowls are full of algae, and soiled laundry is piled feet-high. They describe the building as “unsafe” for workers and animals, with a rat infestation.

During a July Jasper County Council meeting, Jeanne Francisco — speaking on behalf of the group pushing for change at the rescue mission — presented photos of the group’s facility to council members and detailed what the group says is the building’s unsanitary conditions.

“Safety is our No. 1 priority,” Francisco told council members. “Right now, the safety of the staff, the volunteers, potential adopters, visitors inside and outside this county is in jeopardy.”

She asked the council for help to address the facility’s problems. The mission leases the county-owned building for $1 annually.

Rose Dobson-Elliot, the county’s director of engineering services, said Monday she hoped shelter staff takes advantage of the resources offered. Dobson-Elliot was tasked with handling complaints about the rescue mission.

Among those assessing the mission on Monday was Steve Carriere, Florida State Animal Response Coalition manager. He said the issues identified could be remedied, and he offered temporary volunteer help, suggestions for sanitation and sick animal isolation, and training for the mission’s staff.

Officials of the Hilton Head Humane Association and Beaufort County Animal Services provided advice on tackling the overcrowding that the rescue mission’s executive director, Caitlyn Schake, said has been unavoidable because she cannot turn away cats and dogs brought in by county animal control officers.

“It’s time to fix this before it gets worse,” Carriere said.

On Monday afternoon, over 100 dogs were housed in wire cages or crates outside or in the back of the building, and smaller dogs’ crates were stacked atop each other. Boxes of scooped feces sat outside several of the larger cages. A few of the dogs darted inside a fenced area that was strewn with toys and debris.

An estimated 150-200 cats were spread across the property and facility. Some lounged in beds, others freely walked outside or leapt onto roofs, and dozens were inside the building, with some sectioned off into smaller rooms.

Toward the front of the building — its hallway lined with filled dog crates — food bags, blankets and other donations were piled high. In the back, soiled laundry was heaped near the washer and dryer.

Schake, who’s been at the helm for nine years, said a shortage of staff and resources makes it difficult to keep up with the bursting population while also consistently deep-cleaning parts of the building and creating barriers between sick and well animals. A rescue mission worker estimated seven staff members are at work on a normal day.

On a typical day, the mission will get between two and 15 animals, Schake said. Anywhere from zero to eight animals leave the facility in a day. Currently there is no set animal capacity for the mission.

“How many volunteers would you need?” Carriere asked Schake. She estimated five, and Carriere said it was possible to provide her with that temporary help.

In October, six of the mission’s board members resigned, according to a former board member.

Robin Artz, a former vice president of the board who left during the summer, said in a resignation email that the board was not holding themselves “accountable to the animals.” Artz described conditions that included water leaking through the floor and ceiling, mold, and rats. Further, Artz detailed animals in crates upon crates upon crates — “they need space to run and not sit in a 4x2 crate up on another crate,” she wrote.

“Conditions of the shelter are horrendous to say the least,” Artz’s July email read. “There are volunteers, mostly elderly individuals who are putting their health at risk by giving of their time. Most importantly, we are putting our own employees and animals at risk for disease, illness or worse. WE [sic] owe the humans that help us and the animals more.”

Along with a shortage of staff, Schake said Monday the mission’s financial resources were less than its Beaufort County counterpart. According to its most recent 990 tax form, the mission’s revenue was $457,000 in 2022, with expenses at $460,000. Dobson-Elliot said the county contributed $185,000 that year. The nearly half-million in funds is meager compared to the Hilton Head Humane Association, which raked in over $3 million in 2021, according to its most recent 990 tax form.

Beaufort County, with 191,748 people, is also much larger than Jasper, which has 30,324 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

To increase funding, Carriere advised accepting any donation large or small and applying for grant funding. Local animal advocates suggested pushing for support at county council meetings and holding fundraisers to better engage the community.

Dobson-Elliot said she would work with county animal control to ensure the mission had “breathing room” to work to keep its animal population down.

While she could not provide an immediate timeline for when to re-assess the mission’s conditions and the steps to take from there, Carriere said if the shelter staff embraces his suggestions and accepts the temporary volunteer help, changes are typically seen within three to four weeks.

This story was originally published November 15, 2023, 9:30 AM.

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