Note: The following information is from the Looking Back at 2002 story and only offers highlights from each of the publications during the first six months of 2002. Complete stories may be added periodically to complete news stories in 2002.
Week of January 9, 2002
Jan. 9 - Former Williamston Town Clerk Donna Ellis withdrew her lawsuit against the Town of Williamston, which alleged the Town ignored its own employee procedures and insinuated she was guilty of criminal wrongdoing. Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy said the Town planned to move to dismiss the lawsuit, citing that Ellis was an officer, not an employee, of Williamston and was subject to different procedures.
A spokesperson for the 10th Circuit Court Solicitors Office said that they had completed the review of an investigative report compiled by SLED on the finances of the Town of Williamston. The spokesperson would not say if or when any charges may be made.
During the first meeting of 2002, Williamston Mayor and Town Council were presented with a request for a bike helmet ordinance, guidelines for the fire department and a list of questions by a Williamston citizen.
Anderson County Council elected Larry Greer Chairman and Gracie Floyd Vice-Chairman during their first meeting of the new year. A large portion of the meeting focused on the EMS situation in Pendleton and the effects on other EMS providers in the County.
Jan. 16 - Community Columnist Nadine G. Williams, who wrote a news column for The Journal for more than 40 years, died Jan. 13. At age 90, she was still writing her weekly columns. She continued writing her columns until she suffered a stroke several months back.
An investigation conducted by the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) into the finances of The Town of Williamston resulted in the arrest of former Mayor Marion Middleton and former Town Clerk Donna Ellis. Middleton and Ellis turned themselves in to SLED officers at the Anderson County Sheriffs Office on Jan. 11 and were booked at the Anderson County Detention Center. Both were released on bond.
The State Department of Commerce awarded $1.9 million to Anderson County which will be used to help pay for sewer lines in Northern Anderson County. $1 million will go to build an 11,500 feet gravity sewer line at S. C. Hwy. 8 and I-85 in an area targeted for future expansion of the Alliance Industrial Park.
Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy announced the Town and The Heritage and Arts Council Museum Committee received a $50,000 check from the State for the Towns museum project. The funding will allow work to begin on converting the old town hall building on Main St. into a museum, Clardy said.
A major step in restoring Pelzers railroad station was taken as officials met to begin laying the groundwork for the effort being spearheaded by DeWitt Stone, assistant vice president for academic affairs at Clemson University, along with local officials.
Anderson School District One Board members approved reinstating a policy of having no attendance zones in the District and heard preliminary plans for a health initiative that will include a health fair and walk/run.
Feb. 6 - The Palmetto Athletic Hall of Fame committee honored five new inductees during a special ceremony Feb. 8. Hall of Fame inductees included: Karen Ashley, Randy Boggs, Ray Callaham, Ronnie Cobb and Eunice Williams.
David Rogers, a freelance news photographer for The Journal received a first place spot news award from the South Carolina Press Association for his photograph of the July 4th, 2001 fire which destroyed Cedar Grove Baptist Church.
Anderson County Council adopted resolutions requiring all EMS providers in the County to conduct criminal background checks prior to hiring EMS responders, adopting a tiered response emergency dispatch program and a resolution in support of a bill that will extend health benefits to nonprofit corporations that receive public funds to provide EMS services in the County.
Former Williamston Mayor Marion Middleton and former Clerk Donna Ellis, facing charges of embezzlement and conspiracy, will each see their cases presented to a grand jury. Magistrate Jerry Mullikin ruled evidence presented at the preliminary hearings on Feb. 1 was enough for the cases to be bound over for consideration by the Grand Jury. Charges against Middleton included embezzlement of public funds, breach of trust, breach of trust with intent and criminal conspiracy. Ellis is facing charges of embezzlement under $5,000, embezzlement over $5,000 and conspiracy to commit a crime.
Anderson County Council decided to divide applications for state loans for sewer projects so that the Beaverdam Creek line sewer project is separate. The move will allow work on a phase which connects sewer lines along Hwy. 81 north to the Six and Twenty Wastewater Treatment Plant while legal challenges proceed on the Beaverdam sewer project.
Travis Boggs was presented the Donnie Clardy during awards ceremonies held at Wren High School.
West Pelzer Mayor Bill Alexander said the Town is facing a possible crisis concerning their aging sewer system and is awaiting word on the progress of the joint sewer project with The Town of Pelzer, which has been on hold while property right of ways were being obtained.
The Williamston Post Office celebrated the 150th anniversary of the founding of the local post office.
Renovations at the ballpark which included a new ball field, lights, walking track, concession and restroom facilities.
Anderson County Council recognized County veterans with several resolutions and entertained a question and answer session on County finances. Members of the Palmetto High School AFJROTC Color Guard presented colors at the beginning of the meeting.
911 simulator, fire safety smoke house and other special activities including landing of the Med Trans helicopter, organizers said. Steve Collopy of Williamston EMS and Safe Kids Coordinator Dwayne Smith of AnMed Health coordinated the event.
Persons opposing the planned expansion of the Anderson Regional Landfill by another 100 acres, expressed their concerns during a public hearing at the National Guard Armory in Belton.
Mar. 13 - Williamston officials approved second reading on an ordinance authorizing the Town to join the Anderson County Joint Municipal Water System in the purchase of the Duke Water System. Residents of Shorebrook subdivision in Williamston were again asking the Town to help get sewer service to the subdivision.
The United States Department of Agriculture designated all 46 counties of the State of South Carolina as a primary disaster area due to farm production losses because of ongoing drought conditions.
Auction sale of property in the David Roberts estate prompted Williamston officials to take a closer look at property located on Cherokee Road that was deeded to the Town by Roberts in 1989.
Anderson School District One Board Member Fred Alexander announced he is hoping to preserve an old school building located in Piedmont by moving it to a location, possibly in Williamston, where it will be restored and become a living history display. The school served the black community in the area during the 1890s until approximately the 1940s, according to Alexander.
Williamston Town Council approved ordinances allowing the Town to join the Anderson County Joint Municipal Water System, and to refinance water works and sewer system bonds at a lower rate providing $28,825 in interest savings.
Mar. 20 - A dedication ceremony was held for the newly renovated Piedmont ball park on Mar. 19. The ceremony included a ribbon cutting for the park and unveiling of a memorial marker recognizing the facility as the Tom C. Pack, Jr. Memorial Park and designating it as the former Buchanan Field.
Williamston Police officers made two arrests in connection with a methamphetamine lab on Tripp St. that had been under surveillance for several weeks.
Members of the Greater Williamston Business Association were introduced to Miss Williamston, updated on downtown revitalization plans and finalized plans for their annual Easter Egg Hunt promotion.
The Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of two new fire trucks for the Piedmont Fire Department. Commissioners approved the $290,520 purchase of two pumper trucks at a special called meeting on Mar. 29.
Apr. 3 - Former Palmetto High School Band Director and Williamston resident Loy Eugene Wagner was presented the Order of the Palmetto at his home Mar. 29. Senator Billy ODell of Ware Shoals made the presentation.
The Williamston Heritage Players presented A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum at the Pelzer Auditorium. Lynn King was co-director
Additional four-laning of U. S. Highway 29 was placed on a list of projects to be funded in the next five years officials said during the Anderson County Council meeting.
Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy and Town Clerk Hala Cochran presented Loy E. Wagner with a proclamation and key to the city.
Anderson County Council approved several requests by Council representative Bill Dees for funding of Piedmont area projects including improvements at Hurricane Springs Park.
Stephen Haloulos was selected Mr. Wildcat at Woodmont.
Approximately 45 Williamston residents participated in a Town sponsored trip to the State Capitol on April 16.
Apr. 17 - The Piedmont Public Service District held second reading on the budget for fiscal year ending June 30, 2003. Changes to the proposed budget reflected a 3.3 percent cost of living salary increase for District employees. The budget reflects estimated revenues for all departments at $1,070,522 with total expenditures of $1,056,396, for a surplus of $14,126.
Anderson County Council tabled their noise ordinance to get additional information, but not before considerable discussion on the proposed ordinance. Piedmont area residents appeared before Council again to ask their help with a noise problem and what they say are health and safety concerns over the use of property in their neighborhood as a gun range.
The Palmetto Baseball team defeated Crescent 7-4, giving them the Region AA Skyline Championship. The Mustangs finished regular season play with a 12-7 overall record, 8-2 region.
Members of the Piedmont Incorporation Committee decided to move forward on the issue of incorporating and to secure signatures on a petition necessary to have the issue placed on the Nov. general election ballot.
Williamstons first annual Diamond Days celebration was held Apr. 20 to celebrate the start of Little League baseball and softball play. Williamston Recreation Department head Dale Martin was recognized for 39 years of service to the community.
The 2002 Footbridge Festival is held Apr. 26 and 27 in downtown Piedmont. The 13th annual event was sponsored by the Piedmont Chapter of The Bonnes Amies Club.
The Wren Hurricanes had an impressive showing at the Region I-AAA track meet held at Clemson University Apr. 27, with the boys track team finishing in a tie with Daniel for first place and the girls team finishing in third place.
F. L. Gilreath of Williamston was featured for a tool that he invented to help contol fire ants.
Members of the steering committee for Williamstons Sesquicentennial anniversary celebration were named and included: Mr. and Mrs. David Ford, Thomasina Anderson, Bobbie M. Mackey, Mr. and Mrs. James Pressley, Mr. and Mrs. Elmo Sims, and Lt. Col. Mike Creamer.
Williamston Town Council heard a report on the Towns financial situation and a request to take over operations of a privately owned sewer lagoon serving the Forest Hills subdivision.
May 15 - Palmetto High School held graduation on May 17 at the Anderson Civic Center. Wren High School graduation ceremonies were held Sat. May 18. Woodmont High School graduation was held May 31 in Timmons Arena at Furman University.
Williamston Planning Commission member Jim Simpson presented a proposed zoning map for Council and the Zoning Appeals Board members to consider.
Celebrating 150 years, the Steering Committee began planning events for the sesquicentennial celebration.
The Piedmont Public Service District held second reading on the budget for fiscal year ending June 30, 2003. The budget included a 3.3 percent cost of living salary increase for District employees and reflects estimated revenues for all departments at $1,070,522 with total expenditures of $1,056,396, for a surplus of $14,126.
Anderson County Council approved several requests for funding of area projects including scraping, priming and painting the public swimming pool at Pelzer, a sewer project in West Pelzer, improvements in Williamstons Mineral Spring Park, matching funds for a Williamston Fire Department grant and communication equipment for the Williamston Fire Department.
Council also approved a request by Councilman Bill Dees for $6,520 from the District 6 paving account to resurface a portion of Old Powdersville Rd. Council also approved second reading on the Countys proposed $91 million budget.
May 29 - The cost of mailing a first class letter went from 34 cents to 37 cents. Postal officials say a slow economy and the ongoing impact of electronic mail have caused a $1.6 billion revenue loss.
The Town of Williamston held a special Memorial Day Service program at the Williamston-Pelzer War Memorial located at Middleton Field. Williamston Councilman Dr. Harold J. Mackey, Mayor Phillip Clardy and Dale Harper and others participated in the program.
Balloons filled the air over Anderson with color during a mass ascension held at Freedom Weekend Aloft.