News Archive

(0105) Week of Jan. 5, 2005

Week of Jan. 5, 2005

Board members extend Superintendants contract
Town secures loan for outstanding debt
Oath, reception preceed first meeting of council
Senior Solutions now in Williamston
Gracie Floyd elected County Council chair

 

Looking back at 2004
2004 - Second half of year continues to make news . . .

Board members extend Superintendants contract

In a meeting held January 4, Anderson School District One Board of Trustees members Sallie Lee and David Merritt were administered the oath of office and Board Members extended the contract of Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler to June 2006.

Sallie Lee, who previously served on the Board, was selected to fill a vacancy created when Steve Garrison resigned to serve on the County Board of Education.

Both members were sworn in by Dr. Fowler who thanked them for being willing to serve and for their contribution in the past. “I know you will make a contribution in the future,” he said.

In his superintendents report, Dr. Fowler said school investments have increased as property values have increased. He said that the district did make it from July to December without having to enter into a tax anticipation loan.  “We are now investing money,” he said.

Director of Finance, Steve Uldrick reported the district has received $944,831 in property taxes revenues and $215, 814 in vehicle tax revenues.

December revenue totals amounted to $6,248,388 or 38 percent of budget with expenditures of $4,649,396, or 41 percent of budget.

Responding to a question by board member Dale Martin concerning budget or categorizing sports expenses, Dr. Folwer said the district is looking at producing an athletics handbook and could look at providing sports budgets.

In the instructional report, Director of Elementary Education Jane Harrison reported that the Edutest was a useful tool for providing diagnostics. The online tool provides specific feedback for children, she said.

She also said that every school showed a weakness in the measurement and geometry and comparing and contrast.

She reported the district has formed academic teams to work on social studies for grades four and five, and American History grant is being used to provide classroom materials, science curriculum development for grades 1-5, ELA assessments for grades 1-2 and assessments for reading books.

She also reported the district is in the process of developing a plan including identification and curriculum units for gifted and talented students.

In the ESOL (English as a Second or Other Language) program, the district has 93 students with five different languages represented. Included are Vietnamese, Chinese, German, Spanish and Quiche.

The students are being served by one full time teacher, 2 part time teachers and a part time tutor, Harrison said.

She also reported the district has a strong strings program which serves 226 students in grades 4-7.  According to Harison, the district is working on a handbook to make the program uniform across the district.

Harrison reported a new NAEP reading test will be administered to grade four students at Powdersville Elementary and Hunt Meadows Elementary Jan. 24-25. She also presented board members with a list of other testing dates.

In his nutritional report, Assistant Superintendent David Havird reported revenues of $280,363 and expenses of 217,155. Total profit for the program for November was $63,208.

Havird said the schools served 5542 more meals than in November of last year. 

In his building program update, Dr. Fowler reported workers worked over the holidays on the Freshman Academy building at Palmetto High School.

The district has received an occupancy for district workers and maintenance and computers, he said. No students or teachers will be allowed until after the next building inspection which is set for Jan. 17.

Fowler said the academic portion of the building should be available for use after passing that inspection, though he said it is also dependent on paving being completed, hopefully before the next rain.

He also said they want to be sure moisture is out of the floor before placing tile in the gymnasium portion of the building.

Upon recommendation of Superintendent Fowler, board members unanimously approved a $1.5 million budget for the IDEA program.

Assistant Superintendent Havird reported that the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act)  provides federal grant money to fund special education programs in school districts.

District One will receive $1.5 million which will be applied to people who work in the area of special education in the district, Havird said. The funding provides for 15 teachers, 15 assistants and includes psychologists and physical therapists for the program, according to Havird.

Havird, who heads the countywide calendar committee also presented as information only comments on the the countywide school calendar.

The committee is comprised of 10 representatives, five from each Anderson County School district.

Havird reported that four of the five districts are in favor of a school calendar similar to the one used this school year, however School District Five representatives have indicated that they want an independent calendar with a spring break early in March instead of the mid-April break  traditionally favored by the districts teachers and parents.

“It is an instructionally and academically focused calendar,” Havird said. “It maximizes days students have before tests.”

The calendar will be presented to the Board for consideration at the January meeting. Havird said it could cause some scheduling problems if approved with District Five not having the same calendar.

Board members then went into executive session to discuss a personnel matter and to meet with a parent.

Upon returning to regular session, board members unaimously agreed to support the decision of the administration and principal.

Board members also unanimously approved extending the contract for Dr. Fowler one year, to June 2006.

Also approved were the following personel recommendations made by Dr. Fowler:

Resignations -  Bianca Swanson, Wren Middle, Language Arts Grade 7; Katie Wyatt, Concrete Primary 5K.

Retirement - Doug Angel, Palmetto High Science.

Recomendations - Anna Jollie, Palmetto Elementary, Grade 1; Christie Stewart, Wren Middle, Language Arts, Grade 7.

Town secures loan for outstanding debt

The Town of Williamston has secured funds from a banking institution which has paid the town’s outstanding Municipal Association insurance premiums, caught up state retirement fund payments for employees and will provide funding to pay any local vendors, Mayor Phillip Clardy said Tuesday.

The $350,000 Bond Anticipation Note (BAN) was secured from a lender Thursday, Dec. 30, according to Clardy.

During a special called meeting of Council last week, Mayor Clardy said that the town has one year to pay back the $350,000 Bond Anticipation Note (BAN) or bonds will be issued.

He said it was the intent of Council to pay it back before the maturity date and that the town has two options of repayment.

According to Clardy, the town intends to sell the Cherokee Road property with any proceeds going directly to repayment of the BAN note and is also considering renegotiating an internal loan to free up additional funds to pay on the note.

With the renegotiated loan and the sale of the property, the town will have funds to repay the $350,000 BAN,  Clardy said, without having to make budget cuts or increasing any taxes.

Clardy said he expects to set a price on the property at the next meeting of Council. It will then be sold through a real estate agent or through an auction/bid process, he said.

“Any proceeds are to go toward the outstanding debt,” he said. “We do not know the exact amount the property is to be sold for and if there will be any outstanding balance.”

Clardy said the bank the town is negotiating the BAN with suggested that the town could also take a loan with them to pay off an internal loan made from the general fund to the water fund in 1996.

Yearly payments of $24,000 have been included in the budget to repay the internal loan, treasurer Michelle Starnes said.

Clardy said by transferring the balance of the loan to a bank, a smaller payment amount and low interest will free up additional funds for paying back the BAN.

Details of the BAN loan will be presented at the January 12 meeting of Council, he said.

Clardy said Council members will be presented receipts showing what has been paid including the Municipal Association fees, the State Retirement System and local vendors.

Clardy said the town is dealing with “recurring debt transferred from year to year” and he hopes to be able to stop the cycle of carrying prior debt.

The new budget reflects some water department equipment upgrades, but very few equipment purchases or other expenditures in other departments other than the day to day necessary items, Clardy said.

He said the budget reflects some cuts in supplies and expenses, some expenditures not recurring, and is a bare bones budget.

He also said  salary revisions made in the budget between first and second reading were made by not including the last two weeks of the year in the figures.

Oath, reception preceed first meeting of council

Phillip E. Clardy, David R. Harvell and Otis M. Scott officially took their oath of office during a special swearing in ceremony held January 3 at Williamston’s Municipal Center auditorium.

Following an invocation by Rev. Mitch Gambrell, a crowd of more than 60 people watched as Rev. Michael Jo Harvell administered the oath of office to his father David Harvell.

 Rev. Gambrell then administered the oath of office for newly elected councilman Otis Scott.

Robert Dale Harper administered Phillip Clardy’s mayoral oath.

Each of the candidates were surrounded by family members at the podium while taking their respective oath.

In his address, Mayor Clardy said the town has seen many challenges and that he has strived to do what is best for the community and will continue to that to the best of his abilities.

He said he was elected not to make the polular decisions, but to make the right decisions.

He also said that with prayer and constructive criticism the town can move forward “with your help and support,” he said.

Following the ceremony, those in attendance were invited to a reception in the Pink room where they were treated to refreshments. The reception was sponsored by various citizens with no taxpayer expense involved, organizers said.

Following the reception, Council members met in council chambers to discuss several items and set a date the next meeting.

The next special called meeting of Council.will be held Monday, Jan. 10 beginning with a work session at 5 p.m.

On the agenda will be appointments of municipal judges and appointments for vacancies on the Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Commission, Clardy said.

Council will also be presented details of the bond anticipation note Mayor Clardy recently negotiated.

Clardy said a price will be set on the Cherokee Road property which will be sold or auctioned.

Councilman David Harvell was unanimously elected mayor pro-temp.

  Senior Solutions now in Williamston

Senior Solutions officially opened a new senior site in Williamston a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Caroline Community Center on January 4.

Senior Solutions executive director Douglas Wright said the organization plans to partner with the center to offer lots of activities.

The satellite center will offer an ongoing schedule of games, travel opportunities, computer classses as well as seminars addressing the health issues facing seniors and the caregivers.

“Our long range goal is to develop a volunteer powered home delivered meal program for the homebound seniors in the Williamston area,” Wright said.

He also said they plan to offer medication management classes, exercise, dance and other programs. “We hope to make Williamston a hub,” he said.

“We will need participation from the local community and the County,” Wright said.

“We extend an invitation to all seniors and churches to build this into a great senior center that everyone can enjoy,” Wright said.

Also participating in the ribbon cuttting were Rev. Nealy, Rev. Pearson, WACC representative Ted Mattison and Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy, and Anderson County Council representative Cindy Wilson.

Williamston Councilmen Cecil Cothran and Otis Scott were also present.

Rachael Grate will be the site manager for Senior Solutions in Williamston.

She said the center will probably be open 4-5 hours daily through the week.

The goal is to get approximatley 25 participants attending on a regular basis. “We are here to find interests and needs,” she said. “The organization plans to have a quartely activity calendar and provide a warm, pleasant and kind atmosphere. We will be here for them.”

The organiation also hopes to offer a home delivery meals program, where meals can be packed in Williamston and deliverd throughout the area.

Senior Solutions already provides about 125 meals a day to seniors in Williamston, Pelzer, Piedmont and Honea Path, Grate said.

According to Grate, other activities will include games, checkers, bingo, arts and crafts, quilting or any other interests seniors may have.

There will be periodic shopping trips and programs focusing on health and nutrition issues.

There will also be a devotional offered each week, she said.

Transportation to and from the center will also be offered in the future, according to Grate.

“We want to keep our seniors active, alive and energetic,” she said.

One goal is making friendships through meeting and greeting, which develop into life long friendships, she said.

Currently Senior Solutions offers three adult daycare sites, home delivered  meals, in home care and transportation to senior citizens in Anderson and Oconee County.

“As always, our goal is to improve the quality of life for our area seniors and their caregivers,” Wright said. “This new site is just another step in our ongoing plan to make positive progress towards that goal.”

For more information about the Senior Solutions Williamston Activity Site or any of the upstate facilities, call (864) 225-3370.

Gracie Floyd elected County Council chair

By Stan Welch

A little more than five years after her husband, William A. Floyd, died while serving as chairman of the Anderson County Council, Gracie S. Floyd assumed that same seat this week when she was elected Chairwoman.

Floyd has been on County Council since Sept. 1999, when she ran for and won the seat left vacant by her husband’s death earlier that year.

Incumbent Councilman Larry Greer was chosen as Vice-Chairman. Two new council members were seated, Michael Thompson, of District 5 and Bill McAbee of District 4.

Greer and another veteran member of Council, William C. Dees, presented a proposal to use a reduction of the current unreserved cash fund by approximately $717,000 along with Anderson County’s projected continued growth to effect a reduction of the property tax millage by 1.5 mills.

That figure is based on the projected value of a mill being $509, 123 this year; up from $499,123 last year.

Following the Councilmen’s visual presentation to a crowd of almost 100 people, County Administrator Joey Preston called on his staff to also make a presentation, indicating that both the continued exemplary fiscal performance of the county, as well as the reduction in millage could be achieved coincidentally.

Preston indicated that staff recommended the proposal to reduce the millage. Council unanimously approved building the proposal into the pending budget document.

Moving smoothly and with decorum under the new Chairwoman’s guidance, the council approved several resolutions, including a third reading approval of a resolution enabling the Homeland Park Water District to issue $300,000 in general obligation bonds in order to finance the refurbishing of an existing water tank as well as the construction of a new tank.

Newly seated Councilman Michael Thompson opposed the resolution, saying that the taxpayers shouldn’t be held responsible for repaying the bonds. He suggested instead that the bonds issued be revenue bonds, thereby shifting the burden of repayment from the general public to the Water District.

Councilman Greer pointed out that the current ordinance would involve no tax increase in order to satisfy the bonds, while a revenue bond would inevitably cause significant increases in the water rates paid by the approximate 5000 households in the district. The ordinance received final approval by a vote of 6-1.

Second reading approval was given to an ordinance requiring an annual physical inventory of all county capital assets of a non-consumable nature which are valued at more than 200 dollars.

First reading approval was given to a resolution offering certain concessions to KW Real Estate Investments LLC to induce them to locate a multi-million dollar Budweiser distributing facility near exit 35 on Highway 85 in Piedmont.

The inducements include a fee in lieu of taxes, considerations on the cost of infrastructure construction, and other proposed concessions.

Despite some concerns by Councilman Thompson about the fiscal wisdom of offering such inducements, the resolution received unanimous approval.

Senator Waldrop appeared in support of the establishment of a regional task force to study issues related to the Savannah River Basin.

The task force proposal, presented by Warren Brown, of the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce Water Resources Committee, grew out of the impact of the severe drought that affected the area six years ago.

Sen. Waldrop stressed the importance of being involved in decisions affecting the accessing of the waters of the basin, and pressed for the task force’s establishment.

He also drew the evening’s biggest laugh after the unanimous vote of approval, saying “I’m just glad it wasn’t a tax issue”.

During a brief presentation by Councilwoman Cindy Wilson, she reiterated her concerns about some accounting issues that face the county, and asked that a meeting with the county’s independent auditor be scheduled as soon as possible.

She also is seeking the appointment of a citizen’s advisory committee to be involved in some aspects of the county’s finances. “I’d like to see us establish a financial review committee as provided for under the law,” she said. “A more complete budgetary process, perhaps with various council members sitting in on some finance meetings when possible would be helpful.”

Earlier in the evening, Fred Whitten was honored with a resolution recognizing his years of service and his great contributions to the Anderson County Museum Advisory Committee. Councilman Fred Tolly made the presentation.

Looking back at 2004

Jan. 7 - Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy suggested the windfall revenue the Town was expecting could be used to begin building back the town’s fund balance or for other reasons town officials feel are necessary. At the time, the town was expected to receive a windfall of approximately $112,000, which was not included in either the 2003 or 2004 budget.

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees approved a $2 million bond issue request by Dr. Reggie Christopher for classroom additions at Cedar Grove Elementary and Palmetto High School.

Anderson County Council began the New Year  by approving a resolution authorizing a Fee in Lieu of Tax Agreement (FILOT) between the county and Walgreen Co. The Fortune 500 company was to build a distribution center at Alliance Industrial Park creating up to 450 jobs and representing an investment of at least $140 million over the next five years.

Pelzer Presbyterian Church celebrated their 120th anniversary.  The historic area church was founded in 1883 and continues to hold services in the original building constructed in 1886.

Jan. 14 - Greenville County School Superintendent Dr. William E. Harner painted a promising picture for Greenville County schools in a town meeting held at Woodmont High School.

A grievance committee for The Town of Williamston found that Police Chief Troy Martin acted within the “bounds of his authority” in terminating former Williamston Police Sergeant Stephen Turner.

The Saluda River Valley Rail-Trail feasibility task force committee met at the Williamston Municipal Center, to discuss whether the primary focus area for the feasibility study should be on the CSX or Norfolk Southern lines.

The Town of Pelzer began moving ahead with plans for a contract with West Pelzer to provide police protection.

Jack H. King announced his candidacy as a Republican for the State House of Representatives for District 10.

Former Comptroller General and Lt. Governor Earle E. Morris, Jr., Chairman of Carolina Investors, was indicted by the state grand jury on 24 counts of securities fraud.

West Pelzer officials received an unqualified or “clean” opinion although there were several recommendations and shortfalls were discovered in the current and past audits. No formal investigation was recommended.

Jan.21 - Anderson County Sheriff Gene Taylor announced that he will not seek reelection.

West Pelzer officials voted to pursue annexation of several areas which already receive town services.

Anderson County Council resumed debate on whether county personnel should staff the Quick Response Vehicle (QRV) after Council member Larry Greer unexpectedly moved to activate a resolution that was tabled in the November 4 council meeting.

The Piedmont Fire Department lost a familiar face as Sylvia Dill Brown officially retired after 10 years as administrative assistant.

Jan. 28 - Approximately 50 people showed up for the “Night on the Town” forum cosponsored by The Town of Williamston and The Greater Williamston Business Association (GWBA). A historical video of Williamston in the 1930s was shown at the beginning of the meeting. A video featuring less appealing images of the town in 2003 was also shown.

Freezing temperatures led to icy roads and hazardous driving as well as some power outages across the area.

Feb. 4 - The Williamston Police Department announced it had been awarded a Drug Control and System Improvement Grant which will allow the department to provide computer generated copies of incident reports. Chief Troy Martin said the $24,000 grant will provide updated computers and software including a server, a desktop computer and five lap tops for the department.

David L. Crenshaw, former deputy sheriff, law enforcement administrator, and summary court judge announced he will seek election as Anderson County Sheriff in the June Republican Primary.

The Anderson County Council received copies of the annual audit and heard a brief report on the document and the audit process. The county received an unqualified opinion for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2003. The county collected 2% more than projected and spent 95% of the budget according to the report. Auditors reported a healthy fund balance of $10.7 million.

Feb. 11 - Williamston Town Council approved a resolution authorizing the town to use legal means, if necessary, to get the Gray Drive Bridge repaired or replaced.

The West Allen Williams and family memorial grave site located in Mineral Spring Park will soon receive beautification improvements including a memorial plaque and decorative fencing, funded by a $3,995 Palmetto Pride grant.

Hearings on a misdemeanor assault and battery case against former Williamston Police Chief Richard Turner are scheduled. The hearings will focus on motions filed by Turner’s attorney Bruce Byrholt in December asking for a speedy trial and change of venue.

The State Law Enforcement Division confirmed a Williamston related investigation had been completed and that a report was sent to Spartanburg-based 7th Circuit Solicitor Trey Gowdy’s office for review. Solicitor Gowdy confirmed that the report involved an audio tape but also included a broader investigation by SLED. Gowdy said his office began reviewing a several-hundred page SLED report in January, which detailed events as recent as 2002.

The possibility of annexation drew a large crowd of citizens who live outside the town limits to the regular meeting of the West Pelzer Town Council.

Pelzer officials authorized an expenditure of $24,000 to begin needed repairs on the Pelzer Gymnasium.

Feb. 18 - Williamston Municipal Judge James M. Cox decided that an out-of-town jury will hear proceedings on a misdemeanor assault and battery case against former Williamston Police Chief Richard Turner. The town hired attorney Bill Mayer of the Mayer Law Firm in Laurens to prosecute the case.

The Williamston Heritage Players  presented their latest production,  Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, at the Pelzer Auditorium.

Feb. 25 - Anderson School District One Superintendent Dr. Reggie Christopher told board members that a $2 million general obligation bond was awarded to Ross, Sinclaire & Associates, Inc., the lowest of eight bidders, at an interest rate of 2.144 percent. The five year bond will cover building additions at Cedar Grove Elementary and allow the district to begin an addition at Palmetto High School.

West Pelzer officials voted to hire an additional officer to provide round-the-clock police protection.

Sgt. Maj. (ret) Foster McLane was recognized by families and officers of the 151st Signal Battalion at a surprise reception at the Williamston Municipal Center for his efforts as a military advocate and liaison.

Approximately 30 residents posed tough questions to county planning personnel at the Powdersville meeting, one of two community planning meetings which focused on tough issues in the fast-growing northeast corner of Anderson County. Hosted by the Anderson County Planning Division, the meetings were held at Wren Middle School and Powdersville Middle School to gather citizen input on periodic, state-mandated updates of the county comprehensive plan.

Honea Path town councilman Theodore Carroll Parker, Jr.,was among three area men who pled guilty in federal court to charges involving counterfeit currency.

Mar. 3 - A new general election for mayor and four council members is set for the Town of Pelzer. Results of the Nov. 4 election were overturned as a result of two protest hearings which challenged the election results due to irregularities in the election process. Kenneth Davis received 19 votes while incumbent Page Henderson received 18 votes for the office of mayor in the Nov. 4 election.

Williamston officials set Nov. 2 as the date for an election to fill two council seats and the mayor’s seat and discussed eliminating a petition requirement for candidates for mayor.

The Upstate received another full dose of winter as snow blanketed the local area and threatened to turn into ice overnight as temperatures dropped.

Air quality control issues and county initiatives to meet the federal standards of the Clean Air Act consumed much of the regular meeting of the Anderson County Council.

Mar. 10 - Palmetto Middle School principal Barry Knight was named S.C. Middle School Principal of the Year.

Pelzer officials finalized plans for limiting access to the Pelzer Park to the Hwy. 20 entrance.

West Pelzer officials faced frustrated representatives of businesses who voiced their objections to changes in parking policy along Main St.

Palmetto Middle School captured the prestigious Palmetto’s Finest award. A group of almost 200 students, parents and faculty were in Columbia to accept the award and celebrate the honor for the school.

Anderson Sheriffs Deputies searched for two men who robbed the CCB branch office in Piedmont.

Mar. 17 - Bob Austin announced  that he will seek the Anderson County Council District 7 seat. Austin lost by seven votes to incumbent Cindy Wilson in the 2002 Republican primary. Council District 7 representative Cindy Wilson announced she will seek reelection to the position she has held since taking office in January 2001.

The Strong Communities initiative began working to develop a food bank to be located in the Piedmont Community Building and run by local churches, Chief Administrator Butch Nichols reported at the regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the Piedmont Public Service District.

A touch of Ireland came to Piedmont as the community celebrated its heritage and its 131st birthday with a luncheon at the Piedmont Community Building in honor of the community’s founding father David Garrison. Sponsored by Pride in Piedmont and Strong Communities, the Founder’s Day Luncheon featured traditional Irish fare - corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and beef stew.

West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton  asked for the resignation of Councilman Joe Turner in a statement issued after the regular meeting of the town council. Turner responded one week later that he would not resign.

The Williamston Area Historic Commission (WAHC) sponsored a Heritage Weekend event with a Southern Ball featuring the McGowans Band of Spartanburg playing live music for dancers to enjoy the Virginia Reel and other period dances.

Mar. 24 - Anderson County 911 operator Julia Nichols took the call from Hunter Thompson, an Anderson County boy who disappeared from an Anderson Kmart. Later that week, Anderson County sheriff’s deputies arrested Jonathan Craig Marcy, 27, at a home at 108 Academy Street in Williamston in connection with the abduction.

The Battle of Anderson County, a reenactment of the last Civil War skirmish between the organized forces east of the Mississippi which took place in Anderson County in May 1865, was held.

The Town of Pelzer saw no changes in leadership from a new election. Forty of the town’s 57 registered voters cast votes in the special election. Incumbent Page Henderson received 21 votes while Kenneth Davis received 19 votes for the office of mayor. Also elected were Steve McGregor, incumbent Betty Edens, Tony Riddle and Terry Mitchell, who received 17 write-in votes to capture the fourth seat.

Mar. 31 - Jane Harrison was named Director of Elementary Education for Anderson School District One. Harrison was a Principal at Concrete Primary and taught in the district since 1976.

Michael (Mickey) Moss from Lake City High School was named the new head football coach and athletic director at Wren High School for 2004-2005.

Construction is underway on the new Sue Cleveland Elementary School located off Woodland School Road and Bessie Road.  Greenville County school officials made the decision to relocate the school after the acreage at the present site in Piedmont was determined to be less than what is needed to support a new or renovated school.

The Williamston Action Community Club (WACC) held a Founders’ Day Celebration Banquet at the Caroline Community Center.  Former Mrs. USA contestant Bonita G. Young was a special guest speaker.

Apr. 7 - Work began on a new addition at Cedar Grove Elementary School. The addition increased student capacity at the school from 500 to 650 and is the second at the school since it was constructed in 1991.

“Not enough &ldots;” were the words the Williamston Town Council heard more than once as they were presented with the results of the financial audit for fiscal year 2003.

Though the Town received an unqualified opinion based on the audit and had improved record keeping and internal financial controls, auditor Larry Finney described the financial condition of the town as “weak” and emphasized a “growing concern with the Town’s decreasing fund balance over the last three years.” The Town has suffered significant reductions in fund balance that raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern, the report stated.

The possibility of a professional baseball team in Anderson was the main topic of discussion at the Anderson County Council meeting.

Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston and members of the county staff presented two Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to Mayor Phillip Clardy at the Williamston council meeting. Representing a total value of $4,400, the life-saving equipment was received through the South Carolina Rural Health Association.

The man accused of taking Hunter Thompson from an Anderson Kmart remained in jail after being denied bond.

Anderson County authorities were searching for a man who robbed a bank in Powdersville.

Apr. 14 - Wren clinched the Western Conference I-AAA Baseball Championship with a 10-0 bashing of Berea.

West Pelzer officials worked to resolve questions about sewer funds and trash collection.

Members of the 151st Signal Battalion were standing by waiting on a plane to transport them home after more than a year of deployment in Operation Enduring Freedom. Family members expected to learn that the local unit was on its way to South Carolina.

Newly-elected Pelzer officials heard an engineering recommendation which proposed over $250,000 in renovations to the Pelzer Gymnasium.

Apr. 21 - Greenville County Recreation District announced day camps will be held at the Piedmont Community Center, Chairperson Marsha Rogers announced at the regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners for the Piedmont Public Service District.

The Saluda River Valley Rail Trail committee and the Palmetto Conservation Foundation hosted a public meeting in Williamston to gather input on a study to determine the feasibility of a potential 20-mile trail corridor  through the area.

Company C of the 151st Signal Battalion were returning to Williamston after more than a year of deployment in Operation Enduring Freedom. Local officials were in the process of finalizing plans for a homecoming celebration for the returning soldiers.

Anderson County Council member Cindy Wilson continued efforts to receive specific information on county finances. Wilson stated that she had been attempting to review information in legal expense vendor files for three years.

Apr. 28 - Gladdis Kroll, 82, of Cannon Bottom Rd., Belton, was fatally injured when she was struck by a vehicle as she was attempting to cross East Main St. in downtown Williamston.

Company C of the 151st Signal Battalion returned to a real homecoming celebration in Williamston. Two buses carrying the local unit traveled from Columbia through the main streets of Pelzer, West Pelzer, and Williamston and into the Mineral Spring Park for the official homecoming ceremony. Citizens of all ages lined the streets along the way waving flags and showing signs of support from the local community.

Palmetto High School Class of 1954 celebrated the school’s 50th Anniversary with a 50th class reunion and Fifties Celebration for all students who attended Palmetto in 1953-1954.

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees approved construction bids for the new Palmetto High Freshman Academy addition. The construction management division of M. B. Kahn was awarded the bid of $2,919,224.

May 5 - The Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners held first reading of the 2004-05 budget. The budget shows estimated revenues at $1,118, 494 for all departments with total estimated expenditures of $1,113,998 leaving an estimated surplus of $4,496.

Williamston Town Council approved second reading on a land use and planning ordinance to bring the town’s standards in line with county standards and took the first steps in updating the town’s comprehensive plan.

The Williamston Police Department was investigating an incident in which a Williamston man died after he was allegedly struck by a pipe during an altercation that happened on East Carolina St.

The first reading of a proposed budget for the new fiscal year met with mixed responses from Anderson County Council members

May 12 - The Strong Communities organization honored four Piedmont area organizations for their contributions to the community. Receiving awards for their work in the Piedmont community were Kim Carnes YMCA, Mamie Reid, Shady Grove Baptist Church, Micheelle Anderson, Pride in Piedmont, and Marsha Rogers, Piedmont Public Service District.

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy met with Main Street business owners to discuss options to improve safety in the downtown area.

West Pelzer Town Council focused on continued delays in the replacement of water lines along Main Street and discussed possible solutions to the problem.

Baccalaureate services were held for graduates of Anderson School District One.

May 19 - Firefighters from across Anderson County attended a funeral for Michael Martin, 18, of Belton, who died when he crashed his truck responding to an emergency call. Martin was a volunteer for the county’s Ebenezer station.

Country music artist and host of the LPGA Franklin American Mortgage Championship, Vince Gill, caddied for Brandi Jackson after Jackson reminded him of a promise made  while signing autographs at a concert at Clemson University in 1995. 

Greenville County District 26 Council member Judy Gilstrap faced about two dozen frustrated citizens at the first town meeting in recent memory at the Piedmont Community Center.

The Board of Commissioners for the Piedmont Public Service District unanimously approved second reading of the annual budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2005. Millage rates remain unchanged.

A portion of South Carolina Secondary Highway 77 from S.C.  Hwy. 20 to Beaverdam Road (S. C. Secondary Hwy. 75) was named the “David R. Chastain Highway” in honor of David R. Chastain.

The Town of West Pelzer announced it is applying for a Community Development Block Grant which they plan to use for replacement of water lines in the town.

During a special called meeting members of West Pelzer Town Council took on several sewer related issues and were updated on the USDA Rural Development loan and grant which is the financial basis for a joint sewer project with Pelzer.

The Class of 2004 from Palmetto High School and Wren High School readied for commencement exercises at the Anderson Civic Center.

May 26 - Freedom Weekend Aloft,  one of the largest Memorial Day Weekend, hot-air balloon and entertainment festivals in the Southeast,  returned to the Anderson Sports and Entertainment Center for Memorial weekend.

One of the stories of faith in a book released and edited by Oliver North, entitled “Friends in War,” features former local resident Sammy Horne, Jr. and his friend Chris Huggins from Bangs, Texas.

School District One Board of Trustees approved a resolution authorizing a TAN borrowing program of up to $1.7 million and approved  a policy change to make honor graduate guidelines uniform within the district.

Pelzer Mayor Page Henderson reported Pelzer and West Pelzer ready to close the contract on a joint sewer project. The mayors and attorneys of both towns were to meet with Rural Development to resolve legal terminology of the closing papers.

June 2 - Approximately forty citizens of West Pelzer attended a meeting to offer input on community needs and priorities for the town as the first step in a grant application for a Community Development Block Grant which West Pelzer officials hope to use to replace aging water lines in the town.

A split Anderson County Council approved the third and final reading of a $94 million budget for the new fiscal year.

June 9 - The Woodmont High School Class of 2004 observed commencement exercises at the Palmetto Exposition Center in Greenville.

Voters returned incumbent Cindy Wilson to the local seat on the Anderson County Council after she overcame a challenge from Bob Austin in the Republican primary.

State House District 10 Representative Dan Cooper soundly defeated challenger Jack King in the Republican primary.

A runoff election was necessary  between David Crenshaw and John Skipper in the Republican sheriff primary. Bob Appell captured the Democratic nomination and will face the winner of the runoff election in November.

Ace Hardware and Rental celebrated a grand reopening. Formerly True Value, the business is one of the oldest in the area and is a historic part of the Williamston business community. The business had its beginnings in the area when J. L. Simpson operated the Pelzer Oil Mill from 1911until 1924.

Williamston Town Council heard questions from several Williamston citizens and heard a request by Attorney James M. Cox for the town to  relinquish any interest it may have on property on Williams Street that was formerly used as a library.

The State Law Enforcement Division confirmed a followup report on a Williamston related investigation had been completed and sent back to Spartanburg-based 7th Circuit Solicitor Trey Gowdy’s office.

June 16 - The Town of West Pelzer was facing a penalty from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) after failing to meet environmental regulations in the town’s waste water treatment facility. Mayor Peggy Paxton said the town could expect a fine by DHEC between $8,000 and $60,000 as the result of the town ignoring the problems with the system.

Officials announced the assault and battery case against former Williamston police chief Richard Turner will be heard by Saluda Judge W. Frank Partridge.

Charter Communications contractors Guy Rimel and Don Spinner were instrumental in catching a bank robber who was hiding under a house where they were installing cable.

More than 50 youth and adults of all ages from across the state were working as volunteers in the Salkehatchie Summer Services of the South Carolina United Methodist Church.

United States District Judge Henry M. Herlond, Jr., of Greenville sentenced William M. Mattison, Theodore Carrol Parker, Jr.,  and Coree Reeder, 53, to four years probation with certain conditions after finding them guilty of conspiracy to possess and pass counterfeit currency.

June 23 - Pelzer officials unanimously approved first reading of a new fiscal budget showing an estimated total income of $435,219 and estimated total expenses of $391,141. The $44,078 surplus will be paid to Dunn & Associates for engineering fees associated with the sewer project, Mayor Page Henderson said.

The Anderson County Board of Education approved the School District One budget of $40,356,835 for school year 2004-2005 without changes. The budget includes additional training and certification, materials and adds 12 new teachers for the District.

Dr. Randy Reagan was named the principal of Woodmont High School.

West Pelzer Town Council unanimously approved first reading of an ordinance establishing a new schedule of rates and fees for the town.

David Crenshaw captured the Republican nomination for Anderson County sheriff in the runoff election.

June 30 - The Town of Williamston Freedom Celebration featured a free fireworks show, a dance with a DJ, an old fashioned community cookout in Mineral Spring Park and a cruise-in at a local restaurant.

Officials of the Town of West Pelzer unanimously approved the first reading of a proposed budget. Officials estimated that general fund revenue and revenue from the operations of the water and sewer departments would amount to $605,269.91 for the coming year.

The Greater Williamston Business Association appointed a five member committee to make recommendations for a downtown redevelopment project the organization is spearheading.

Piedmont residents were planning an old fashioned street dance at the Piedmont Community Center. The event was to be reminiscent of similar events held in the community years ago, organizers said.

Among the 40 young women competing for Miss South Carolina were three local representatives including: Miss Powdersville Felicia Welch of Irmo, Miss Travelers Rest Jamie Roach of Piedmont, and Miss Duncan/Lyman/Wellford Nina Gilliam of Pelzer. Williamston did not have a contestant in this year’s pageant.

The Town of West Pelzer held a 4th of July Celebration at the Pelzer ballfields.

The second half review of 2004 will continue in the January 5 issue of  The Journal.

2004 - Second half of year continues to make news . . .

July through December of 2004 was also eventful for residents of the area. The following events occurred during the second half of the year:

July 7 - Williamston Town Council approved the renewal of an insurance policy which was set to expire July 1 and went behind closed doors to discuss borrowing $565,000. The town considered changing insurance carriers due to increases in the policy premium but decided to keep the insurance currently being provided through the Municipal Association of South Carolina.

Local churches, businesses, and schools provided accommodations and helped feed Salkehatchie volunteers  who helped improve five home sites in the area. The local Methodist mission camp was coordinated by Jo Hood.

Dr. Ryan Cook assumed ownership of the dental practice located at 110 Blossom Branch Road in Piedmont. The office was formerly owned by Dr. Joe Palmer and was known as Distinctive Dentistry.

Anderson School District One trustees terminated Jay Bradley McJunkin after McJunkin was accused of sexually assaulting two boys in Anderson County and Pickens County. McJunkin  pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The West Pelzer Town Council unanimously approved second reading of an ordinance establishing a new schedule of rates and fees for the town.

The Board of Commissioners for the Piedmont Public Service District unanimously revised the salary agreement with consultant Rusty Burns after they held an executive session to discuss personnel matters. The board then unanimously approved the third and final reading of the annual budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2005.

An ominous funnel cloud was spotted about one mile outside of Williamston just after a tornado warning was issued for Anderson County. Though the cloud had an updraft and rotation and appeared to be near the ground, no damage was reported in the area.

July 14 - Governor Mark Sanford visited Anderson County to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for Walgreens Distribution Facility at the Alliance Industrial Park at the intersection of  S. C. Hwy. 81 and I-85.

The Cancer Association of Anderson offers “Live Strong” yellow bracelets from the Lance Armstrong Foundation available for $1 each as Armstrong competes for his 6th Tour de France victory.

West Pelzer officials held a second public hearing to review information and paperwork for a grant application for a Community Development Block Grant.Town officials are requesting a $500,000 grant which they hope to use to replace aging water lines in the town.

Williamston Town Council approved a resolution in support of a downtown revitalization effort being spearheaded by the Greater Williamston Business Association. Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy said he will divulge everything in a report called Williamston’s Status: Past, Present and Future to be presented in August. Due to public questions concerning the town’s operations, Clardy announced that he is planning to present a written report “comprised of the various issues currently related to the town, as well as any and all prior issues that do affect present and future matters and decisions.”

Also the entire records of The Town of Williamston, including the mayor’s office, will be on display for the  public to inspect during two days in August.

Willliamston Town Council unanimously agreed to have property located on Cherokee Road appraised    and will consider placing the property on the market for sale as a revenue option for the town.

Organizers of the Piedmont July 4th street dance said the event was a great success with more than 700 people participating in the activities. Proceeds from the event amounted to more that $1,000 and will be evenly split between the Piedmont Needy Family Fund, the Bonnes Amies’ Christmas Light Project and the Sue Cleveland Elementary School Playground Equipment fund.

The Town of West Pelzer will pay a civil penalty in the amount of $6,400 for SCDHEC violations in the town’s waste water treatment facility.

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees unanimously approved a $40,356,835 budget for 2004-2005. According to retiring Superintendent Dr. Reggie Christopher, the budget includes no tax increases while allowing materials for teachers at a level they once had and with everything covered. The budget also includes $524,087 for 12.2 additional teachers needed due to student growth in the district.

An armed robbery suspect was apprehended by West Pelzer Police Sgt. Bernard Wilson after a high-speed chase through West Pelzer and Williamston.

July 21 - Pride in Piedmont will sponsor a cleanup along the Saluda River in Anderson County where a picnic shelter is planned. Professors and students from Furman University were also expected to join in the cleanup effort

John C. Neel, III, a former assistant municipal judge and educator, officially announced his candidacy for mayor of Williamston.

“Woody” Simmons, long-time local businessman and legendary motorcycle racer, passed away following a courageous battle with cancer. He was the owner and operator of Woody Simmons Auto Service, which was recognized by AAA as the oldest and longest running AAA wrecker service in the Carolinas, and was the former owner of the Ritz Restaurant. He started racing motorcycles at the old 3/8 mile Pelzer Race Track, and went on to thrill crowds for decades. The highlight of his storied racing career came in 1939, when he won the first Daytona 100-Mile Beach Race.

The 23rd annual Spring Water Festival will be held Aug. 28 in Williamston’s Mineral Spring park. Town employee Bennie Hyder is coordinating the 2004 festival. It is the third year for the town to take responsiblilty for the annual event.

Anderson County Council voted to table a request to rezone property located at the intersection of Cherokee Road and Joe Black Road

Accused kidnapper Jonathan Craig Marcy was recently released from jail after a $200,000 bond was posted on his behalf.

July 28 - Dr. Wayne Fowler, officially took over as Superintendent of School District One. Board members were updated on financial department computer and software upgrades and the building and construction programs currently underway in the district.

Williamston resident Gary Bannister announced that he intends to run for the Ward III council seat currently held by David Harvell.

With assistance from Rep. Dan Cooper, Pride in Piedmont organization has received a $10,810 Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) grant to improve areas along the Saluda River.

Aug. 4 - Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy met with SCDOT officials to look at options to improve safety along East Main St. The meeting was in response to a  pedestrian being struck by a vehicle, the second accident in recent months. Department of Transportation officials installed new pedestrian crossing signage at the East Main crossing and installed new signs warning approaching motorists of pedestrians before they reach the congested area.

Boxes of town records dating to 1992 were brought into the municipal center auditorium and town employees and supervisors were on hand to answer questions. Citizens were invited by the mayor to come find out the status of Williamston, but only a few showed up.

Williamston Town Council dealt with a personnel matter, approved first reading on a new trash ordinance and scheduled a special meeting to discuss borrowing more money

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy scheduled a special called meeting  for Council to reconsider allowing the town to borrow money to cover operating expenditures through the end of the year. Clardy said he will ask the council to consider a general obligation bond (GO Bond) of no more than $300,000 to be paid back over a period of five years.

The Upstate Baseball Team advanced to the semifinals of the Big League World Series with a stunning 25-3 rout of previously unbeaten Michigan in the third-round action at the J. B. “Red” Owens Recreation Complex in Easley.

A crew of workers with Old Mississippi Brick was busy working in the summer heat tearing down a portion of the top stories of the Upper Mill in Pelzer.

Aug. 11 - The Piercetown Fire Department was awarded a $60,687 grant from the Assistance to Firefighters grant program offered through the U. S. Department of  Homeland Security.

Williamston officials are taking a closer look at the town’s finances Councilmembers were expected to look at spending and possible cuts before deciding on borrowing proposals being presented by the mayor.

Williamston Town Council discussed two borrowing proposals presented by Mayor Phillip Clardy along with several other items concerning the town’s future finances.

Pelzer voters chose Sandra Ragsdale in a special election to fill an open seat on the town council.

Problems and complaints surfaced in the Town of West Pelzer after some citizens received unusually high water bills. Town employees who were usually responsible for reading meters on the 15th of every month were unable to do the meter reading last month due to other job duties, and the town had contracted with an individual to perform the routine task. After receiving many complaints, town officials and citizens alike were disturbed to find many variances and inconsistencies in the monthly readings.

The Journal reported the Town of Williamston had been as much as $90,000 in arrears with the Municipal Association insurance provider which provides the town’s property/liability, workers compensation and health insurance coverage.

School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler reports a record enrollment of 8,295 students in District One schools – an increase of almost 200 students from this time last year and over 50 students more than projected by the district. The largest increase in enrollment was in the K5 program.

New bleachers at Wren High School football stadium increased the seating capacity to 6000.

Aug. 18 -  Six candidates filed for two seats available on the Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners in the Nov. 2 general election. Candidates for the open seats included Michelle Anderson, William Dickson, Frankie Garrett, Robert Higgins, Dan Rawls, and Marsha Rogers.

A reluctant Williamston Town Council approved first reading to borrow money after Mayor Phillip Clardy made a motion for town officials to pursue a $565,000 general obligation bond. A 4-1 council vote approved the first reading of the proposal with Councilman Wade Pepper casting the only opposing vote.

The Williamston Police Department installed five new Dell laptops in patrol units. The laptops allow officers to electronically enter incident information for reports, Williamston Police Chief Troy Martin said.

The Board of Commissioners for the Piedmont Public Service District voted to assist in a fund raiser to buy new Christmas lights. The Bonnes Amies had contacted the district about assisting with the local project.

Reports showed Anderson School District One seniors ranked number three of the 85 districts in South Carolina and exceeded state and national averages on the American College Test (ACT).

The Town of Pelzer is restructuring its system for managing past due bills. Town officials decided to declare a one-time moratorium and stop assessing late fees on certain past dues balances for utility bills.

PC’s on Main coffee house and restaurant holds their grand opening. Owner Phillip Clardy said he hopes it will be an example of a new trend he envisions for the town.

Citizens offered suggestions to Williamston officials to improve the town’s financial condition during public comments at a special called meeting.

A new pedestrian crossing signal was installed by South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) at the intersection of Mill St. and Main St. in Williamston.

Aug. 25 - The 23rd annual Spring Water Festival will be held in Mineral Spring Park this Saturday, Aug. 28 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy and Spring Water Festival organizer Bennie Hyder presented bluegrass musician Ansel Guthrie the key to the city during special  recognition. Guthrie delighted the crowd with his skills on mandolin with several songs.

Sept. 1 - The assault and battery case against former Williamston police chief Richard Turner was dismissed on a technicality involving the warrant process. Saluda Municipal Judge Frank Partridge dismissed the case after Sgt. Zack Gregory testified that he “couldn’t recall 100 percent” whether his affidavit was sworn before Judge Jimmy Cox before police Lt. Brent Brooks obtained the warrant for Turner’s arrest.

Anderson School District One Board meeting board members were told that standards for schools are increasing this year under the No Child Left Behind Act and board members approved a resolution asking Congress to support  funding for federal mandates and Title I requirements.

Spring Water Festival organizer Bennie Hyder said she was well pleased with the 2004 festival. Unofficial estimates suggest at least 1000 visitors in the park hourly, with people coming and going throughout the day.

The average Anderson School District One SAT score for the 2004 Senior Class was 1001 which exceeds the state average by 16 points but falls below the national average by 25 points. 

A 3-day community outreach program is held at Sue Cleveland school campus in Piedmont. The event was organized by  Pastor Rich Stoddard of the New Mt. Bethel Baptist Church.

Sept. 8 -  Johnny Ray Gambrell, 44, of 1108 Brown Road in Anderson was arrested and charged with the murder of Lois Annette Bridges Gambrell who lived at 314 Mahaffey Road in Williamston. According to reports, bone pieces were discovered around the remains of a fire “pile” that had been burned at the residence.

Construction workers were busy putting finishing touches on new facilities for Cedar Grove Baptist Church. The church sanctuary and education facilities located on Highway 20 in the Cheddar community were completely destroyed by fire on July 4, 2001 when it is believed that lightning struck the building.

Anderson School District One students continued to rank among the top five districts in the state in the percentage of students scoring basic and above in English Language Arts and mathematics on the Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test (PACT) according to information provided by 

The State Department of Education.

The U. S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division finished an investigation involving a complaint that The Town of Williamston violated the civil rights of Richard L. Turner. A letter stated that after careful consideration, the Civil Rights Division “concluded that the evidence does not establish a prosecutable violation of the federal criminal civil rights statutes.”

The rights and responsibilities of property owners generated much debate and opposing viewpoints at Anderson County Council. Residents of the Cox Road area participated in a public hearing opposing a request by Howell-Black, LLC, on behalf of Mary Jo Wilson to rezone 109.31 acres at 2729 Highway 29 North from R-A (residential agriculture) to PD (planned development).

Remnants of Tropical Storm Frances continued to move through the upstate bringing periods of heavy rain and localized flooding. Big Creek in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park was close to overflowing its banks. People along  creeks and streams were advised to monitor water levels frequently and be  prepared to move to higher ground quickly if flooding was observed. According to WeatherUnderground, Belton reported 6.68 inches of rain and Anderson reported 4.50.

Sept. 15 - Due to the threat of inclement weather from Hurricane Ivan, Palmetto High School homecoming was rescheduled for Oct. 1.

Williamston Town Council tabled second reading on a GO bond ordinance which includes borrowing cash for operating expenditures and debt consolidation. Mayor Phillip Clardy,  presented a new borrowing option for council to consider, a Bond Anticipation Note, along with their consideration of a tax anticipation note (TAN), or a General Obligation Bond (GO Bond) to cover operating expenditures for the town for the remainder of the year.

Officials of the Town of West Pelzer announced plans to pursue a $200,000 grant to improve the Main Street area.

 A new pedestrian crosswalk marker was installed on Williamston’s East Main St. The marker  instructs motorists to yield to the pedestrian crosswalk. It is bolted into the center of the street and is constructed to give if struck by a vehicle. The safety device was the latest attempt to slow traffic and draw attention to the crosswalk which has been the site of two accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles this year.

Cedar Grove Baptist Church held special dedication services for their new sanctuary and education facilities.

After months of discussing the issue, Pelzer Town Council approved first reading of an ordinance for a preliminary agreement to receive police protection from the Town of West Pelzer Police Department.

Sept. 22 - In a 3-2 vote, Williamston Town Council approved first reading on a Bond Anticipation Note (BAN) authorizing the town to borrow $400,000. Councilmembers Cecil Cothran and David Harvell voted with Mayor Phillip Clardy to proceed with the borrowing option.

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy responded to comments made by resident and town council candidate Gary Bannister. After hearing Bannister’s comments, the mayor admonished him for making comments and asking questions during the meetings.

A dedication ceremony was held for a 1250 sq. ft. home built by Habitat for Humanity for Cindy Huckaby and her family of four. Project supervisor Walter Smith recognized volunteers who helped on the project.

A divided Anderson County Council continued to support local rezoning requests despite repeated concerns expressed by residents and a lack of support from the Planning Commission and the Citizens Advisory Board.

Rains from Hurricanes Ivan and Frances caused the Saluda River to rise to near flood levels. The dam at Pelzer provided an opportunity to see the power of the rain swollen river.

Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston filed a lawsuit in federal court in Anderson against the Town of Williamston, Council member Cindy Wilson, Steve Lovelace, and Robert Stansell. The action was brought against the defendants for a violation of the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), civil conspiracy, and invasion of privacy.

Sept. 29 - During a special called meeting, Williamston Town Council, in a split vote,  approved second reading on a bond anticipation note (BAN), clearing the way for the town to pursue borrowing $350,000. Council members Greg Cole and Wade Pepper voted against the proposal, while Cecil Cothran and David Harvell sided with Mayor Phillip Clardy on the vote.

The Board of Commissioners for the Piedmont Public Service District voted to assist victims of recent hurricanes. At the suggestion of Chairperson Marsha Rogers, the group agreed to collect and send a truckload of supplies from the community to an area affected by the devastation.

Anderson School District One Board members received a special presentation by District One Athletic Directors. Palmetto High School Athletic Director and coach Tommy Davis and Wren High School Athletic Director and coach Mickey Moss presented ball caps and throws bearing their respective school logos to each of the board members.

Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler also  presented an IHBEA policy for approval by the board. The policy includes a district wide plan to meet the needs of students speaking a language other than English. There are approximately 100 students in District One to which this applies, he said.

Fork Shoals Elementary and Sue Cleveland Elementary were among 40 out of 50 Greenville County elementary schools that met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on results released this week by the State Department of Education.

Anderson School District One reported that all eight elementary schools, one primary school, both high schools, and one of three middle schools met Adequate Yearly Progress for 2003-2004.

During their regular monthly meeting, Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy announced that he wants Council to hold budget workshops every two weeks between now and Dec. 6 and he also wants council to consider changing the calendar year the town operates under. During the public comments portion of the meeting, Williamston resident Larry Strom presented information to Council stating the town borrowed money on numerous occasions between 1974 and 1999.

South Carolina Lt. Governor Andre Bauer travelled throughout the area along with Senator Billy O’Dell who is seeking reelection to the Senate.

Palmetto High School celebrated homecoming crowning Meagan Pack  homecoming queen during halftime ceremonies of the Palmetto-Woodruff football game.

Plans for a new major outdoor shopping mall were unveiled at the meeting of Anderson County Council. Commercial Resources Group announced plans to invest between $60 to $70 million in the development of 150 acres off the intersection of I-85 Exit 19 and U.S. 76.

Oct. 13 - Local gospel singer and songwriter Catlin Tierce was recognized at the King Eagle Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, where he received the “Star of Tomorrow” Male Christian Artist award.

Crystal Davis  was named Miss Woodmont and Grand Talent winner in the Miss Woodmont Pageant.

Reports of a shortage of flu vaccine led many area residents to converge at Williamston First Baptist Church Friday to receive flu shots.

Arriving at 7:45 a.m. to set up for the event, Anderson County Health Department personnel found 60 to 70 people already waiting to receive the shots.

A shagging contest, tug-of-war and free children’s activity area were among new events for visitors to the 15th annual Piedmont Footbridge Festival.

Police Department changes and issues consumed a major portion of the regular meeting of the West Pelzer Town Council meeting. Council unanimously approved second reading of an ordinance for a preliminary agreement to provide police protection to the Town of Pelzer. The agreement assures $1,500 per month in revenue to the town for the service with a six-month trial period for evaluation by both towns.

Oct. 20 - Woodmont High principal Randy Reagan, 42, was charged with assault in connection with an incident which occurred at the school. Officials later determined he had acted properly in handling the incident.

Pelzer Town Council made their final move toward receiving police protection and heard plans for Christmas lighting.

Council approved second reading of an ordinance to receive police protection from the Town of West Pelzer Police Department.

Delta Woodside Industries announced that its board of directors approved a comprehensive realignment plan that will streamline the company’s operations and provide for significant cost reductions. As part of the realignment plan, the company will close its Estes Plant, a cotton and cotton blend spinning and weaving facility located in Piedmont.

District 7 Council member Cindy Wilson continued her lone opposition to county borrowing and expressed her frustration with an inability to receive requested financial information from the county.

Oct. 27 - Scores on the 2004 High School Assessment Program (HSAP) for Anderson School District One high schools exceeded the state average and placed the district among the top five districts in the state.  In English Language Arts, 92% of district students met the standard compared to 85% statewide. In Mathematics, 88% of Anderson One students met the standard compared to 80% of students statewide.

Johnnie Ray Shaw of Williamston won first place in the State Checker tournament at the Sugarfoot Festival in Honea Path.

Dr. John Pruitt, Director of Secondary Education, presented information on the master’s cohort program to the Board of Trustees for Anderson School District One. The district-based program is designed to assist personnel in obtaining advanced degrees locally rather than traveling to Clemson University.

Senior Tiffany Marler was crowned homecoming queen during halftime ceremonies at Woodmont High School.

The Williamston Police department is in the spotlight again this week after a news report raised questions about the handling of police fines. According to records, the Williamston Police department had a long standing practice of reducing speeding tickets of 15 miles per hour over the speed limit, a 4-point violation,   to driving 9 miles over the limit, a  2-point violation. Violators would be asked to pay a fine and assessment based on the original 4-point violation. The practice was apparently stopped in 2002.

The Town of Williamston has insurance coverage after a town employee was sent to Columbia with checks to pay delinquent payments on the town’s insurance, which was under threat of cancellation if payment was not received by October 31.

Former Williamston Mayor Marion Middleton disputed statements made by Williamston’s current mayor and others concerning finances of the town under his administration.

Phillip E. Clardy survived a challenge by John C. Neel III, and will return for a second four year term as mayor of Williamston. Unofficial results showed Clardy received 879 votes to Neel’s 571 votes.

Leslie Ann Mazzara, a former Miss Williamston and Belton-Honea Path High School graduate, was killed in a house invasion in California. According to police reports, two of three roommates were killed in the double homicide.

State authorities confirmed that the West Pelzer Fire Department received fines totalling $2,800 for failure to submit reports on time to the Secretary of State as required by state law.

Election results show that voters in the Piedmont Public Service District returned one incumbent and elected one newcomer to fill the two seats on the Board of Commissioners. Marsha Rogers will return to her seat on the board and Frankie Garrett will fill the additional seat on the board.

Anderson County voters elected Republican David Crenshaw to succeed Gene Taylor as Sheriff. Jacky Hunter unseated Anna Marie Brock for Anderson County Auditor. Michael Thompson was returned to represent House District 9. Sen. Billy O’Dell continued to represent District 4 in the State Senate after receiving almost sixty percent of votes cast over Democratic challenger Jay West.

The Williamston Fire Department announced that it will receive a U. S. Department of Homeland Security firefighters grant of $64,844. Williamston Fire Chief Steve Ellison said the federal funds will be used to purchase Scott Breathing Apparatus equipment for 16 firefighters at a cost of $3,834.75 each.

Nov. 9 - West Pelzer Police Chief Bernard Wilson reported continuing improvements in the police department

Williamston voters will have the opportunity to decide in a run-off election November 16 who will represent Ward 4 on  town council. Political newcomers Otis Scott and Pam Owens were to face off in a special run-off election. Scott was to face incumbent Wade Pepper in a runoff for the seat, however Pepper announced that he did not intend to participate.

In a special called meeting, Williamston Town Council met with town department heads in another budget worksession. During the meeting council was presented with an overview of each department and the expected needs which ranged from replacing old equipment to the need for additional personnel.

A special barbecue fundraiser to benefit needy families in the Piedmont area was to be held at FGS Wholesale.

County Council member Cindy Wilson initiated a lawsuit to obtain information which she says she has been repeatedly denied by County Administrator Joey Preston.

Responding to “misinformation” about county debt, Anderson County authorities presented information on county debt at the regular County Council meeting.

Nov. 16 - The Board of Commissioners for the Piedmont Public Service District voted to begin a cleanup of sewer lines in order to comply with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandate on the district’s sewer system.

The Palmetto High School Varsity Competition Cheer Squad was named the State AA runner-up in competition held at the Carolina Coliseum in Columbia.

A former Wren High School football coach and Pendleton High Principal who disappeared after he left a group of hikers in Jones Gap State Park was found dead just 200 feet from the trail he had been hiking on. More than 100 emergency workers and volunteers had searched for approximately 72 hours for Joseph Mancino.

Otis Scott was the winner of a run-off election and will represent citizens of Ward 4 on Williamston Town Coucil.

Controversy surrounding the Anderson County Solid Waste Management Plan consumed a large portion of the regular county council meeting. A fear that the plan was designed to eliminate small, independent trash haulers in favor of a large single hauler had reportedly been fueled by information on a local radio station and critics of the plan.

Nov. 23 - The South Carolina Health Care Association (SCHCA) named M. J. “Dolly” Cooper the 2004 Volunteer of the Year. Carla Heritage, administrator of the Riverside Nursing Center in Piedmont, announced the recognition.

The 13th Annual Community Out reach Thanksgiving Meal was to be held Thanksgiving Day at Whitefield Baptist Church.

University of South Carolina head football coach Lou Holtz was on the sidelines of his last college game at Clemson. Holtz, 67, announced his retirement the following Monday, after six years at USC.  It was officially announced the same day that Steve Spurrier would be taking over the position as head coach at USC.

Dec. 1 - During a work session meeting held Nov. 22, Williamston Town Council unanimously agreed to a motion made by councilman Cecil Cothran to limit the use of the mayor’s vehicle and a town credit card and requiring the mayor to present a written statement of policy and procedures for both and for other town vehicles.

The Christmas Spectacular  included the official lighting of the Christmas Park, the opening of the third annual “Deck the Halls”, and the opening of the Scout Hut for visits with Santa.

Anderson School District One board members heard a positive year end audit report and elected and appointed officers and other positions for 2005.

Marion Middleton, Sr., applied to the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Service for a pardon.

Dec. 8 - West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton announced that the town has been awarded a $500,000 community development block grant which will be used to replace water lines in the town.

The Town of Williamston is having difficulties paying bills, alienating local business owners and putting the town in jeopardy of losing health insurance benefits and garbage disposal privileges.

Local emergency responders were first on the scene of a plane crash which killed three people when a single engine corporate plane crashed just off Hardwood Road, near the Big Creek Reservoir just outside West Pelzer and Williamston.

Anderson based Senior Solutions announced the opening of a new senior site in Williamston  with a ribbon cutting ceremony planned for  10 a.m. on January 4 at the Caroline Community Center.

Anderson School District One students averaged a scale score of 86.2, equivalent to a grade of B on the state’s 100-point uniform grading scale, on the first-ever end-of-course algebra test administered in the spring of 2004 as mandated by the state’s Education Accountability Act (EAA).  The results place the district among the best in the state.

A groundbreaking ceremony for an expansion project at the Anderson Regional Airport was held. The airfield was dedicated to Councilman Fred Tolly.

Dec. 22 - West Pelzer officials are considering backing out of a joint agreement with Pelzer to hook onto the Western Carolina sewer system.

Duke Power entered into a voluntary agreement with the SCDEHC to install additional nitrogen oxide emission controls on its coal-fired Lee Steam Station in Williamston. The controls support the Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson Early Action Compact to reduce smog-forming emissions in Upstate South Carolina.

Former Williamston Police Chief Richard L. Turner filed a $1 million lawsuit against The Town of Williamston.

Spartanburg Solicitor Trey Gowdy’s office completed a review of four separate State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigations into alleged public corruption and misappropriation of funds in the Town of Williamston and no charges are to be filed.

At a special called meeting Williamston Town Council approved first reading on a $2.2 million general fund budget for 2005 based on a 106 mil tax levy, a roll-back from the 120 mils last year.

Dec. 29 - Approximately 40 to 50 West Pelzer citizens and residents in the surrounding communities attended a celebration and thanked local and state representatives who helped in securing a grant.

At a special called meeting Dec. 28, Williamston Town Council approved second reading on a revised $2.2 million general fund budget for 2005 with a 4-0 vote. Outgoing Councilman Wade Pepper abstained from the vote. 

The area celebrated the New Year, 2005.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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