The expanded Washington County Detention Center is about ready to house inmates and the public will get its first view this Saturday at a special open house.The addition increases the number of beds to 204 and includes a new kitchen and laundry areaSheriff Claude Combs took my on a tour through the new addition of the Washington County Jail in May 2014 along with Chief Deputy Sheriff Roger Newlon.Looking into a cell block area where prisoners will be housed in cells manufactured in Georgia and trucked to Salem and installed.This view of another Cell Block shows an area for prisoners to congregate outside of their cells on the lower level.Sheriff Claude Combs stands in the command center were jail personnel can view all cell blocks at one time. A state-of-the-art surveillance system has been installed.According to Commissioner Dave Brown, the public can attend this open house from 11a to 6p.“We’re getting ready to put a small batch of inmates in next week just to test out the systems,” said Brown. “We want the public to see what it looks like and how this project has progressed.” To date, just over $9 million has been spent on the jail project. That’s less than the maximum $12 million the county may spend without a referendum.And good news for Superior Court Judge Frank Newkirk – there is about $1.5 million left over from the jail that could help expand the tight quarters of the courtroom.Individual cells are located around the perimeter of the new jail with a command center in the middle — an elevated room, from which jail personnel can see every pod and every cell. Security cameras, some 58 of them, will assist jail personnel with keeping an eye on the prison population. The control center will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.“You won’t move anywhere in here where you won’t be watched,” Sheriff Claude Combs told me during a tour back in August.The pre-fabricated cells, complete with built in fixtures such as beds, were made at a plant in Georgia and trucked to the site. There are two-, four- and eight-person cells, grouped in clusters or pods.Each pod has a common area.The cells are made of steel, similar to what is used on battleships.One cell in each block is handicapped accessible.A maintenance corridor runs behind the cells; workers can access plumbing and electrical systems without actually entering the cell.The addition is equipped with a backup generator in the event of a power outage; a battery provides power for the few minutes it takes for the generator to kick in.There is a state of the art security system, only one door in the new facility can be opened at a time.Combs said some employees recently visited Stanley Security Solutions in Noblesville to learn about the new security system.Combs explained that the new system is an enhanced, upgraded version of the one in place at the old jail, so employees are already familiar with its basics.The current jail dates to 1986 and was designed for a population of 56. These days, the population runs from the mid-80s to the high 90s.The addition increases the number of beds to 204 and includes a new kitchen and laundry area.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the NCSBI have charged an individual in the homicide of Timothy Vincent Norris.Charged is Thomas “Tommy” Glen Palmer Jr., 33, listed with a Tignall, GA address. Palmer is the step son of Timothy Norris. Palmer is currently being held in Wilkes County, GA on unrelated charges stemming from an armed robbery in Georgia on December 13th. Jackson County has begun the process to have Palmer extradited back to North Carolina.No further case details are being released at this time.Norris, a 49-year-old Cashiers man, was shot dead inside his home on February 3rd. Tim Norris’ wife, Tami, left their home on Feb. 2 at about 6 p.m. for her job at Highlands-Cashiers Hospital. She worked the night shift. She discovered her husband’s body the following morning.
Dingaan Thobela established himself as a charismatic, gifted fighter and a favourite of the South African public.Former boxing champion Dingaan Thobela is known as “The Rose of Soweto”.(Image: Cara Viereckl, via IOL)Brand South Africa reporterDingaan Thobela has proved himself as one of South Africa’s most talented boxers, although perhaps not the most hardworking fighter. The charismatic Thobela started his professional career in 1986 as a junior welterweight, but has since moved up to the light heavyweight ranks – representing a rise of almost 16 kilograms.He has even spoken of possibly campaigning as a heavyweight whether he was serious or not remains to be seen.After an amateur career that saw him win 80 times and lose just three bouts, Thobela’s first professional fight pitted him against Quinton Ryan, a bout he won in four rounds. The slick-punching Thobela was held to a draw in his fourth fight, but proceeded to win 25 fights in a row over the next five years, registering 19 wins by knockout along the way.Dingaan Thobela starts his professional career in 1986 as a junior welterweight, but later moved up to the light heavyweight ranks – representing a rise of almost 16 kilograms. (Image: African Ring)Fighting outside South AfricaAs he scored more and more wins, Thobela became increasingly marketable and began to fight outside of South Africa. In 1990, three of his five fights were in the United States and all three ended in victories, two by knockout over Pascual Aranda and Mauricio Aceves who he both disposed of in the fifth round.In 1991, Thobela’s three contests were all won on points, and in 1992 he fought only twice, defeating Tony Foster over eight rounds and stopping Peter Till in nine rounds.At the beginning of February 1993, “The Rose of Soweto” took on Tony Lopez for the WBA lightweight title. Lopez had previously fought twice against South African boxing legend Brian Mitchell. Mitchell, who retired as WBA champion after 13 successful title defences, had fought Lopez in Sacramento on both occasions. The first bout ended in a controversial draw and Mitchell left the matter in no doubt the second time around.Controversial lossThobela discovered how difficult it was to win in Lopez’ backyard when he lost on a controversial points decision. Four months later he faced Lopez at Sun City, and this time he captured the title.Thobela made his first defence in October, but came up against a superior fighter in the unbeaten Orzubek Nazarov, who claimed a convincing 12-round decision. Thobela challenged for the title again in March 1994, but Nazarov had his number and won over 12 rounds in a repeat of his previous victory. Later in the year Thobela faced journeyman Karl Taylor in England and was surprisingly knocked out in the eighth round of their contest.In 1995 Thobela got back on track with five victories, all of them by knockout, and added a further two KO victories by June 1996. However, matters went haywire again for “The Rose” when he faced Geoff McCreesh in November. McCreesh, who came into the fight with a record of 15 wins and three losses, mostly against little-known British opponents, stunned Thobela in the second round, sending the South African to the canvas for a huge upset victory.Beaten by a journeymanIn his next fight, in March 1997, Thobela was beaten by American journeyman Willy Wise, who came into the fight with 21 wins – only six by knockout – three losses and four draws. The South African was favoured to win, but Wise secured a points victory.Questions were being asked about Thobela’s commitment, but he secured a big win later in the year, defeating fellow South African Gary Murray on a fourth-round TKO. In 1998 he fought only once, drawing against Carlos Baldomir over 12 rounds. Thobela looked rusty and out of shape and doubts grew about his boxing career.However, he returned for two fights in 1999. He won in seven rounds against Walter Danett, but was beaten on points by Cornelius Carr for the WBF middleweight title.World title winIn early 2000 he won a points decision over Soon Botes to earn a crack at Glen Catley’s WBC super middleweight title. The Briton was heavily favoured to retain his crown, but Thobela, way behind on all three judges’ scorecards, staged a strong finish, dramatically knocking Catley out with only seconds remaining in the bout. He was once again a world champion.As had happened previously, Thobela was unable to defend his world title, losing to Canada’s Dave Hilton on a controversial points decision in Montreal. Shortly afterwards, Hilton was jailed for rape and Thobela was given another crack at the title against Eric Lucas in November 2001. He struggled to make the weight, however, and Lucas dominated the fight before winning on a TKO in the eighth round.Thobela was a natural: a gifted boxer who, at the the height of his career, established himself as a charismatic, gifted fighter and a favourite of the South African public.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Women in the private sector have away to go to catch up with the progresstheir peers in the public sector have made. (Image: MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. For more free photos, visit the image library) MEDIA CONTACTS • Jeanette Hern Partner, Grant Thornton Johannesburg +27 11 322 4562 • Lesley Ann Foster Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre +27 43 743 9169 or +27 83 325 2497 RELATED ARTICLES • Empowerment for SA’s women• Women’s rights in SA to advance • Towards gender equality in SA • NGO fights for gender equality in SAShamin ChibbaSouth African women are making strides in the country’s private sector in terms of taking up senior positions, according to a recent international survey.The 2012 Grant Thornton International Business Report, which surveys trends in privately held businesses in 40 economies around the world, stated that 28% of senior management positions in South Africa were held by women.This is higher than the global average of 21%.Grant Thornton’s corporate finance head in Johannesburg, Jeanette Hern, said that this strong representation is indicative of the country’s progress towards gender equality.The percentage actually indicates an improvement from 27% last year. However, it falls just short of 2007’s figure of 29%.Creative ways to accommodate womenHern said, however, that more needs to be done for that figure to increase.“We need more innovative solutions in order to make a significant dent in the number of women still excluded from senior management,” she said.This includes finding more creative ways to accommodate women in the workplace. Hern said that just 39% of women surveyed in South Africa said that their businesses offer working conditions that accommodated flexible hours and alternative working locations.Also, the research found that women were not represented across a spectrum of management roles. Most were either human resource or finance directors.Just 8% of CEOs and 9% of COOs were women but according to Hern, this is an improvement from 2011, when only 3% of women held positions at these levels.Women have progressed, but can progress moreAccording to Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre’s executive director, Lesley Ann Foster, the exact number of women in leadership roles should be taken into consideration when analysing such statistics.Foster says that taken in context, the figures leave much room for improvement – but acknowledged that women have progressed in the past decade and they have occupied many senior positions, although not yet to a satisfactory degree.“Women make up 53% of the population so they should at least take up 50% of leadership positions but this is not happening,” she said.Foster was clear about the benefits that equality between men and women will have on society. She said that in a society where women are on an equal basis with men progress is quicker, the standard of living is higher and quality of life improves.“Women bring a lot of expertise and value to life,” she said. “If a woman works, the whole family and the community benefit. To be on par with men, women should receive decent work, decent pay.”Private sector must catch upFoster referred to studies done by the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa (BWASA) in 2010, which stated that there are millions of women who are either unemployed or earn very little.The BWASA research indicates that 64% of women earned less than R1 000 per month, 80% earned less than R2 500 and more alarmingly, only 45% of women were employed. In addition, 53% of black women are currently unemployed.She also said that there are not enough women from previously disadvantaged backgrounds in leadership positions.BWASA East London’s chairperson, Lizelle Maurice, agreed with Foster’s sentiments, saying that while women have progressed tremendously in the public domain, with 47% being represented in government, they are still lagging within the private sector.When speaking of ways to ensure women are given a greater chance to participate within business, Maurice said: “Black economic empowerment status should also have a gender component.”
The equipment to set-up the cinema is portable and can be taken anywhere. (Image: The Sunshine Cinema)Using solar energy for power, the Sunshine Cinema screens short films of uplifting and useful content, targeting youth and rural communities, to promote self-empowerment by sharing practical ways to improve life.Sunshine Cinema produces a range of “how to” videos and facilitates workshops, as well as makes narrative-based short films that address social issues.Sydelle Willow Smith, the co-founder of Sunshine Cinema, told Redbull Amaphiko, “a collaborative platform for social entrepreneurs who want to change their corner of the world”: “We’re a collaboration between the skills development collective, The Shift, and the documentary filmmakers, Makhulu.”The group chose to use solar power, she said, because as filmmakers and design innovators they had worked in a variety of environments where electricity was not prevalent, and because renewable is sustainable. “We use solar power because we’re passionate about sustainable forms of energy.”RURAL AND DISENFRANCHISED BENEFITThe filmmakers decided to take their productions to the rural and disenfranchised people who were marginalised and did not get the opportunity to view their work.“As filmmakers from privileged backgrounds,” Smith said, “we felt we were often making films in areas where the people we were filming wouldn’t get a chance to see the work. This was problematic so we wanted to find ways to bring films to communities across the digital divide.“We screen community-tailored documentary content in the hope of promoting skills development, dialogues and enabling communities to become their own ‘engines of development.’”The screenings differ but in general they start with warm-up games to connect with the audience, before the viewers are shown the solar-powered cinema kit. “We then screen a selection of short films, including documentaries and our DIY tutorial clips for the day.”RECEPTION OF FILMSAnd the movies are well-received. “[The reception is] fantastic, everyone loves a cinema,” said Smith. “In the last two years we’ve visited diverse communities, youth, farmworkers and rural women’s groups, and all have responded well. We ran a record-breaking crowd-funding campaign on Thundafund and we’ve been featured on local and international media platforms.”Smith singles out the screening workshop in the township of Langa, in Cape Town. “One of the most impactful screening workshops we’ve hosted was in Langa, where we showed a video on how to make seats out of discarded tyres. It was a fantastic experience.“After our tyre seat workshop we screened a local animation film called Khumba. This meant the kids could roll their seats into the makeshift cinema we had created and watch their favourite cartoon.”CHALLENGES AND PLANS FOR THE FUTURESunshine Cinema started as a worthy idea but snowballed into a demanding start-up enterprise, according to Smith.“This rapid growth for Sunshine Cinema has been driven by a small team, which we would love to grow so that we can scale our impact too. Accessing early stage funding is never easy, and most of Sunshine Cinema’s development to date has been funded by the founding partners.”The Sunshine Cinema team will be going on a roadshow in August. “We’re partnering with other organisations to test the reception of the cinema beyond South Africa’s borders. We’ll be travelling from Cape Town to Kenya conducting research about our approach. We’re also working on making our content easily accessible to a wider audience.”