News Archive

(0107) Week of January 3, 2007

Looking Back at 2006 - January through June
Looking Back Continued - July through December

Williamston Council decides issues Monday
Belton woman one of first to try new cancer treatment
Former clerk hopes to see city hall building preserved

Williamston Council decides issues Monday

For their first meeting of the new year, Williamston Town Council is expected to look at several issues which were postponed during the final meeting of the year including what to do with the old Town Hall property and advertising and accepting applications  for a grant writer.

Town Attorney Richard Thompson is expected to provided information about questions that were raised at the last meeting concering the  liability of the property due to asbestos, lead paint and other legal liabilities as far as cleanup. Thompson was asked to look into the terms of the sale.

Councilman Otis Scott requested council take a final vote on the issue to move, tear down or donate the property by the Jan. 8 meeting. Mayor Phillip Clardy said that the spirit of the discussion about the sale was to try to salvage the building. Newly elected council member Carthel Crout will also be sworn in during the meeting. The next meeting of Council will be held on Monday, January 8.

Former clerk hopes to see city hall building preserved

Kathleen Owen Powell served as Town Clerk and Treasurer for the Town of Williamston from 1939 to 1941. She is undertaking an effort to preserve the historical old town hall building.

The question of what to do with the building, which some consider to be historical,  is currently being dabated by Williamston’s elected officials.

Powell submitted a cartoon to The Journal (See Page 2) to help draw attention to the issue.

“I want to try to get public attention  to understand and appreciate the history and preserve it,” she said.

According to Powell, the old Town Hall building stands as a reminder of events that have taken place during Williamston’s history.

Some of her memories of the building and events that took place during the time include WWII air raid drills, election time, and other special events. Powell recouted these memories:

“During WWII, the message system that signaled firemen to go to a fire was also the signal for the town to practice for an air raid drill. This system was initiated by a button pushed inside this building. During an air raid drill, instructions included lights out, curtains closed in the evening, activities outside buildings were to be urtailed until the all-clear sound was given.”

“Elections were held for various offices, local, state, federal and presidential. Voting materials were delivered from Anderson County election headquarters and brought to the Town Hall. If it was not a local election, instructions were given to place the Democratic ballots in view on the desk top. The Republican ballots were placed in the drawer, and one would be handed to a voter if the voter specifically asked for it.”

“When a transient came into town, they were placed in the jail for the night, and escorted to the city limit sign the next morning. Some food would be provided for them while they were in the jail.”

“Members of the tax evaluation board held meetings in Town Hall to determine the amount of taxes would be paid for the next year. A new car, new cow or a new horse, new farm equipment would be discussed among the members. The new tax amount would be recorded based on knowledge of new acquisitions.”

“The town officials approved for residents to pay phone and electric bills at Town Hall because this made it a convenience for them.”

The fire truck owned by the town, (which is used for ride by the FD during the Spring Water Festival)  was housed next to the Town Hall and different volunteer firemen would come during the day and make a trial run with the truck to be sure the truck was ready for any emergency.” (Powell is pictured with the vehicle in the “History of Williamston, A Town Spring Forth,” book authored by Gene Welborn.)

Other memories include: “During earlier years, an annual event took place on City Hall grounds and a Maypole was assembled. Little girls were dressed in paper costumes to resemble flowers.”

“The Highway Department would come at various times and give driving tests so residents could obtain their new driver’s license.”

Powell states that the historical building could be moved to the Lander property and be preserved.

“A building that was used for the residents of the town in so many ways in the past should be-must be-preserved,” she said. 

She also said that the building is part of the history of the town that is very unique.

“The Town of Williamston was in many ways developed differently from other towns,” she said. “There were hotels for people to come to drink the mineral water, and a college instead of the usual mill was begun.”

There was also a park that was used for many different activities for many years, she said. 

“This history should be preserved in some way. The Town Hall is one of the few remaining ways a history of the town of Williamston could be preserved. The youth of today should be given the opportunity to cultivate a  desire to appreciate the history of their town and would want to continue its heritage in the days ahead.”

Powell lives with her husband Ken in Loganville, Ga.

She urges anyone interested in preserving the history of Williamston, especially the old town hall building, to offer input to Williamston’s Town Council before they make the final decision.

A public hearing was recently held on the issue to allow citizens a final opportunity for input on what they would like to see done.

Only two citizens spoke to the issue and both raised questions which led to the mayor asking the town attorney to clarify the terms of the sale of the property auction sale and any liablilities that may go with it.

Mayor Phillip Clardy has indicated that there are grants to help with moving the structure, though the town has not been able to secure one in the 6-8 months since Council decided to sell the property.

Clardy has also said that he has one quote from a company that says the building can be moved at a cost of $50,000 to $70,000.

Council is expected to discuss the issue at the next meeting on Jan. 8.”

 

Belton woman one of first to try new cancer treatment

Cancer patients often have to endure five to seven weeks of radiation treatment, a process that takes its toll on the patient’s health, both mentally and physically. But a new cutting edge cancer treatment which takes less than five days, which has recently become available locally, could change that.

The treatment,  called MammoSite, has only been administered to 20,000 women nationally and a Belton woman was one of the first in the area to experience it.

Carol Black said she never had anything wrong with her, not even a cold. She was a healthy 64-year-old woman who spent her time working at an assisted living facility helping people.Then, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

After her yearly mammogram in September showed a tiny lump which proved to be cancer, Black’s physicians, Dr. Bill Buice and Vic Tomlinson of AnMed Health Services, told her about a new treatment that could get her back to her normal life in just five days.

Her doctors encouraged her to get MammoSite, a partial breast irradiation (PBI) treatment and is comprised of a balloon catheter that internally delivers radiation to the tumor site.

Because the cancer was so small, they suggested a lumpectomy with follow-up radiation. 

When Black learned there was an alternative to standard therapy or, whole breast radiation, which takes about six weeks of daily treatments to complete and involves radiating the entire breast, she was quick to choose it.

With MammoSite, treatment is completed in five days and radiation exposure to the rest of the breast, skin, ribs, lungs and heart is minimized. 

The AnMed Health Services team is the first team in the area to offer the MammoSiteâ Radiation Therapy System (RTS).

The rediation treatment was cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 and has been used to treat more than 20,000 women to date.

By internally delivering radiation directly to the tissue surrounding the original tumor, where recurrence is most likely, the MammoSite RTS minimizes radiation exposure to healthy tissue and reduces the length of treatment from to one to five days.

“AnMed Health Services is excited to offer this new internal treatment option to women with breast cancer who are confronting difficult choices regarding their care at a very stressful time,” said Vic Tomlinson, M.D., radiation oncologist of AnMed Health Services.

“The fact that MammoSite is minimally-invasive for patients, coupled with the short treatment time, could make it easier for more women to consider the choice of lumpectomy,” said Ravinder Malik, M.D., radiation oncologist of AnMed Health Services.

“MammoSite represents the next generation of internal radiation therapy, providing doctors and patients with a site-specific treatment option that can be completed in five days,” said Dr. Buice.

The MammoSite device is a balloon catheter that is inserted into the cavity created by a lumpectomy (the surgical removal of a breast tumor). MammoSite RTS delivers radiation from inside the lumpectomy cavity over a course of five days. The device targets radiation to the area where tumors are most likely to recur, while minimizing exposure to healthy tissue.

Safety and performance of the device for delivery of internal radiation were evaluated in a multi-center study, which involved women with early-stage breast cancer. The study results were reported in 2001 at the annual scientific meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

For Black, there was no doubt in her mind that MammoSite was the best treatment for her. 

Knowing that it would be over with soon was important to Black. In the past, she had watched her husband endure long, painful medical treatments and she could not bear the thought of facing something similar.

All she wanted was to get back to being the healthy person she had always been. And that she did. 

Black said she felt no pain from the MammoSite treatments and was back to feeling like herself very quickly.

She is thrilled her cancer was so small when it was spotted. Early detection is one of the factors that made her a good candidate for MammoSite. Black encourages other women to make their yearly appointments and to follow through so they can lead longer, healthier lives.

In addition to his role as the medical director of cancer care at AnMed Health, Dr. Buice is a general surgeon at Piedmont Surgical Associates, P.A.

Piedmont Surgical Associates, P.A. performs the latest procedures in breast surgery and offer a wide variety of surgical procedures including General, Thoracic, Vascular, Endovascular, Advanced Laparoscopic surgery and Endoscopy.

AnMed Health Radiation Oncology Services provides external beam radiation therapy with the use of 2 Varian high-energy linear accelerators. 

The machines are equipped with multi-leaf collimation and have electron beam capability. Eclipse 3-D treatment planning software is used in the physics area. 3-D conformal therapy & IMRT are routine treatments of choice for prostate & head and neck cancer patients.

Transperineal ultrasound guided radioactive seed implants are also available for specific prostate cancer patients through collaboration with Urologic Surgery Associates.

Cancer care at AnMed Health utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach. Patients requiring combined chemo/radiation benefit from the interaction and coordination between Medical Oncologists and Radiation Oncologists.

Breast conservation radiation is practiced on a daily basis. HDR brachytherapy is also available for certain GYN cancer patients 

For additional information about MammoSite, go to the Internet at www.mammosite.com

Looking Back Continued . . . July through December

News for the year 1996 was dominated by financial problems facing the Town of Williamston. As Williamston began making progress on their situation during the second half of the year, other local officials faced problems of their own. From the front page of The Journal, here is rest of the story for 2006 year in review:

July 5 - A new Miss South Carolina will be crowned at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium. Among the forty participants are two local young ladies. Elizabeth Ridgeway represented Powdersville and Farrah Norris represented Piedmont while competing for the crown.

Bloom grocery stores opened the doors of two new locations in the Upstate, Hwy. 81 in Anderson and Pleasantburg Dr. at the intersection of  Augusta Rd. in Greenville.

A preliminary investigation by SLED into the financial circumstances of the Town of Williamston was originally spurred by the efforts of several townspeople who approached the Tenth Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams with their concerns, she said.

Mayor Phillip Clardy send a letter to accountant Bob Daniel, Thompson and King attorneys and SLED,welcoming the investigation. The letter also authorized the towns auditors to cooperate with SLED in any questioning that may arise.

The Piedmont Public Service Commission adopted its budget with estimated total revenues of $1,160,637. Total estimated expenditures came to $1,155,158, for a surplus of $5479. 

July 12 - Williamston Town Council decided to leave dispatch in the police department. Mayor Clardy announced that items donated for hurricane relief had been delivered, that work will begin on repairing the Gray Drive bridge, and that the old city hall building could be moved. Council decided to address hiring an administrator and salary discussions for mayor and council at upcoming work sessions.

A portion of SC Hwy. 20 was named for Highway Patrol Trooper Randall Lamar Hester who was killed in the line of duty.

The week of July 4th was a dangerous one in the area as a bicyclist, a motorcyclist, and two others persons involved in vehicle accidents lost their lives.

Jay Bender, County Councilwoman Cindy  Wilson’s attorney in her FOI legal battle with county administrator Joey Preston,  spoke out after a denial of a Writ of Mandamus application by Judge Alexander Macaulay. Bender represented Wilson for more than two years in her struggle to obtain access to legal vendor files of the County and routine financial records. Bender said  he will ask that the case go directly to the state Supreme Court, due to its impacts on the issues of public access and open government across the state.

West Pelzer Town Council, and a capacity audience, heard about proposed changes in the water and sewer rate structures for the town. Also discussed were annexation of several lots on Arthur Davis Circle, a proposed new rate structure for water and sewer, the possible need for the town to make up a significant deficit in funding for proposed water line improvements, and questions about how to handle the Town’s municipal court.

Plans to construct sidewalks in the area of the three Wren schools were slightly behind. The only remaining obstacle was the lack of an actual agreement with SCDOT to begin the project, officials said.

July 19 - Pelzer voters chose Donna Ide as their representative on Council during a special election to fill the seat vacated by Tonya Scott, who resigned because she was relocating outside the town limits.  Ide received 15 votes. Her opponent, Kay Beard,  received 7 votes.

Anderson County Transportation Director Holt Hopkins stated that county crews had been dumping spoils and road debris along the shoulders of Spearman Road and the banks of a tributary of Beaverdam Creek

Cindy Wilson raised concerns and allegations about the manner in which a  dispute within the Clerk to Council’s office was resolved. The dispute arose over an email that Wilson said showed the Assistant Clerk to Council Tammy Shealy was sending “reports to Mr. Preston on the activities of the Council members.” The dispute was resolved by the reassignment of Shealy to another position in the county.

Williamston Fire Chief Steve Ellison reported the department will be receiving an unexpected FEMA grant of $28,000 to $35,000 for the 9/11 monies that were not allocated by FEMA in 2005. The grant is part of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate. The funds will be used to pay for 15 sets of turnout gear and 20 sets of leather boots.

With the approval of a 2006 operating budget, Williamston Town Council turned their direction toward working on the 2007 budget and an expected tax millage increase.

Eric Copple, the man accused of the murder of Leslie Mazzara and her roommate in California,  plead not guilty to stabbing the two Napa women to death on Nov. 1, 2004.

Plans for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office to assume law enforcement responsibilities in the Town of Pendleton hit a snag after  several members of Council objected to the short notice.

July 26 - Tensions that plagued the West Pelzer town government in recent months became so bad that representatives of the Appalachian Council of Governments held a retreat to try and address some of the issues. ACOG officials called for the retreat following an incident that resulted in the arrest of both  the husband of Town Clerk Beth Elgin, and the son of Town Councilman Joe Turner.

Anderson School District One registration and orientation for the 2006-2007 school year was underway with students returning to the classroom on August 3.

Residents of the Gatewood subdivision in Williamston met with town officials to express their concerns about tanker trucks and a foul odor associated with the town’s sewer treatment plant. Approximately 15 residents  complained of health problems, foul odor, and other concerns they had with the treatment plant and conditions in the subdivision and their concerns about tanker trucks.

Aug. 2 - Williamston Town Council briefly discussed budget related items, entertained information on electrical upgrades needed in the park, and held an executive session to discuss personnel matters.

Mayor Clardy said that air quality samples would be taken in the Gatewood subdivision in response to complaints about foul odor and other concerns by residents. Council discussed several budget related items as they looked over draft 8 of the 2007 budget.

Months after the Williamston  Council slashed jobs in an effort to recover from an ongoing financial crisis, the remaining members of the street and water departments were feeling the pinch of a growing labor load on a fixed amount of manpower. Three Town employees shared their concerns and their expectations with The Journal

Weather forecasts across the Carolinas were calling for near triple digit temperatures with heat indexes well into the 100s. Due to the extreme conditions and the possibility of record energy use in the area, Duke Energy asked customers to help save power. Area textile plants which had signed up for the energy load sharing option were forced into a temporary shutdown of production.

The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees held a brief  meeting with introduction and approval of new hires for the school year as the primary business of the evening.

West Pelzer Town Council and Mayor met with Joe Newton, ACOG Director of Government Operations to address issues that had been causing tension among its members and town employees. Newton said that the meeting was very positive and encouraging.

Questions and concerns continued following the decision by Williamston officials to accept landfill leachate for pretreatment in the municipal wastewater treatment facility.

The Journal reported that a technique known as land application may be used  by the Town.  A second option called for the Town to upgrade and expand the existing plant, retaining the current method of treatment, at a cost of as much as $11.6 million.

Workers began makeing repairs on the CSXT bridge over Gray Drive. The wooden structure which has been closed to traffic since 1992, will be repaired to original 1920s standards, officials said.

Anderson County workers  made improvements to a road shoulder area on Spearman Rd. which was being filled in by County workers when it was discovered that the fill contained materials which should not have been placed there.

Aug. 9 - Nine Williamston residents were being treated for rabies after exposure to an infected puppy. It was the seventh confirmed rabid animal in Anderson County.

Williamston Town Council  authorized overtime for employees in the street and water department in an effort to clean up limbs and debris  to get the town ready for the Spring Water Festival.

Williamston Town Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr. expressed  concerns about the town’s wastewater problems citing health concerns and reports of offensive odors from residents near the wastewater treatment plant.

Residents of the Gatewood area met to discuss a variety of health issues, including nausea, stomach problems, respiratory trouble and nosebleeds, as well as the continuing presence of an offensive, sulphurous odor.

Cindy Wilson and Attorney Jay Bender asked the South Carolina State Supreme Court hear their FOI  case with Anderson County.

Representative Gresham Barrett announced that the Williamston Fire Department will receive a grant in the amount of $26,410 for Operations and Firefighter Safety through the United States Department of Homeland Security 2005 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

The Town of Williamston held a public hearing on a proposed property tax millage increase for 2007. The town was proposing a tax millage increase from the present 106 mills to a rate of 127 mills, an approximate increase of 20%.

Approximately 20 students escaped injury as they were evacuated from an Anderson District One bus when smoke was seen coming from the vehicle. The fire was similar to fires that have occurred on the same model of bus elsewhere in the state. School officials praised the actions of driver Sonya Hall in evacuating the bus. 

A broken water main in West Pelzer led to a boil water recommendation from DHEC.

Aug. 16 - Earl Wooten, a beloved athletic legend in the community, passed away at the age of 82.

The Rai$ing Race II was organized by Kelly McCorkle, Miss SC 2002 and a participant in the Amazing Race Season 7 on CBS.  The event was the second annual fundraiser for a cottage  at the Calvary Home for Children,which will honor Leslie Ann Mazzara.

Forty-one teachers in Anderson School District One were notified by the State Department of Education that they will be receiving grant funding for use in teaching their students. Grant awards are based on proposals submitted to find new and creative ways of working with all students to improve academic achievement. 

Volunteers helped clean up Mineral Spring  Park in preparation for the festival August 26. Helping with the cleanup were local scouts, festival committee members and family members of a town councilman.

Nearly four and one half inches of rain fell in less than an hour in Williamston. 

Sen. Billy O’Dell presented an $8,000 check to Williamston officials to be used for tourism related expenses. Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy promptly spent $2500 of the money pressure washing town hall and planting flowers.

Members of the Strong Communities organization were presented a $29,000 legislative grant to help pay for improvements at the Caroline  Center.

County Transportation Director Holt Hopkins gave an update on several road and bridge projects underway in the Anderson area. Gracie Floyd complained that no projects were in her area.“My constituents are going a to ask me why I didn’t get any part of all that money,” she said.

A public forum held to allow residents who live near the Williamston wastewater treatment plant quickly turned into a shouting match between some of the more vocal residents and Mayor Clardy.

West Pelzer Town police Chief Bernard Wilson said that he was planning to hire more officers and  confirmed that once the current officers worked out their notice, he would be the lone police officer in town.

Aug. 23 - Beverly Allen, a specialist on senior issues with the ACOG was the guest speaker at the Piedmont Emergency Relief Center (PERC) meeting

With an ACT score that ranked the district sixth among the state’s eighty-five school systems, Anderson School District One administration expressed mixed feelings. “We’re not used to having the feeling of going backwards on test results.  But looking at those of other districts across the region and the state, it seems it was a year for many to take small steps back,” remarked John Pruitt,

Mayor Phillip Clardy and Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr. clashed openly and loudly over financial issues. Irate citizens who spoke added to the volatility of the meeting which was held prior to the second reading of the town’s election ordinance and to establish a reserve fund in the 2007 budget.

The 2006 graduating class from  Palmetto and Wren High Schools received approximately $6.4 million in scholarships.  When compared to previous years, the amount represented an approximate 400% increase over the total just five years ago.

The Imagine Anderson initiative was announced to allow residents to share their ideas for planning the county’s future.

Concerned residents from the Pelzer mill village gathered  to air concerns about a growing crime problem. Inspector Bill Graham, of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, placed the blame on a recent surge in the manufacture and use of methamphetamine.

The Town of West Pelzer continued to face staffing problems, with Police Chief Bernard Wilson being forced to patrol the Town without any other police officers.

A spokesman for  Gresham Barrett said the Congressman had no specific response to comments by County Administrator Joey Preston concerning the County’s decision to employ professional lobbyists to seek federal funding for road and bridge projects.

Alyssa Strom competed on a basketball team that finished as runner up in the USA Junior Nationals National Sports Festival Championship in Columbus, Ohio.

More than sixty citizens packed into the Williamston Council chambers to hear discussion and debate of a proposed twenty per cent tax increase. What they heard was an odd series of motions which died for lack of a second; in effect, a series of non-votes that led to the failure of the Council to give first reading approval to an ordinance that, if approved  would have raised the millage from 106 mills to 127 mills.

Aug. 30 - Anderson County’s efforts to protect a critical portion of the CSX Railroad from abandonment paid off as  the Surface Transportation Board (STB) denied the proposed abandonment of 12.74 miles of railroad.

Luke Christie of Due West was named the National Goodwill Ambasador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association for the year and appeared on the Jerry Lewis telethon.

SAT scores among seniors continued to rise placing District One students 21 points above the national and 57 points beyond South Carolina’s student average.  District One ranked 4th in the state among 86 school districts.

During a public hearing held to allow Williamston residents another  chance to share their feelings on the Town’s financial problems, several called for the Mayor’s resignation. Mayor Clardy, during a television interview conducted prior to the meeting said, “Resignation is not an option. That’s one thing that hurts me the most, is that people call for my resignation because I was doing my best to do what I am supposed to do.”

The South Carolina Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of a ruling by Judge Alex Macaulay in the writ of mandamus action brought by County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson against County administrator Joey Preston. Wilson’s attorneys, Jay Bender and Holly Beeson, submitted an appeal asking that the Court address the case because of its import across the state.

Anderson School District One began the 2006-2007 school year with the largest enrollment ever, a total of 9045 students in all grades. Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler said it was the first time the District has surpassed 9,000 students.

History Teacher Iris Achenbrand was presented the Preserve America Award by book publisher representative James Bryan.  One teacher in each State and one nationally are recogized for their teaching of history and heritage of the United States.

For the third time in a week, the Williamston Council met and again failed to approve a tax increase. Instead, council voted 3-2 to maintain the current millage level of 106.

Spring Water Festival Chairman David Meade presented Mertie Kelly-Owens with a plaque recognizing her service to the Spring Water Festival and the Williamston Park Committee between 1981 and 2006. Among special events at the 25th annual Spring Water Festival were demonstrations by a skilled Shaker broom maker and a skilled blacksmith.

The Rai$ing Race 2, which came through Williamston and featured tasks at the SWF, ended at the Anderson County Fair Grounds with Aaron Kincaid and Larry Elrod winning the event for the second year in a row.

The Williamston Museum Committee officially disbanded citing a lack of support as the reason.

Sept. 6 - Greenville resident and Tour de France stage winner George Hincapie outlasted a 102-rider field to capture the second Stars and Stripes jersey in his career during a race in Greenville.

Going against the advice of the their financial advisors, Williamston Town Council decided not to increase taxes funding the 2007 budget. The decision was made citing a lack of trust of the Council by citizens and the mayor’s past performance with the town’s finances, according to comments made by Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr. during the meeting.

The drum beat for accountability by and fiscal control of Mayor Phillip Clardy’s administration continued for the third time in a week, when a stream of citizens came to the podium to demand that Council and the Mayor conduct the Town’s business responsibly.

A thief with more nerve than sense struck in Pendleton breaking into Anderson County Sheriff David Crenshaw’s garage and stealing several hundred dollars worth of lawn care equipment.

County Administrator Joey Preston presented his plan to address the issues of overcrowding at the county jail, as well as security and safety issues at the courthouse. That plan, with a $7.3 million price tag, would include the purchase and renovation of two existing buildings, as well as the construction of a new dormitory at the detention center.

Anderson Regional Landfill, LLC continued to receive more than twice as much mainstream solid waste from outside Anderson County than it does from inside.  A review of the host fees paid by Allied Waste, Inc. to the County, obtained by The Journal through the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, revealed that in none of the ten quarterly reports obtained did that trend falter. It is the host fee paid for that out of county garbage that generates the bulk of the host fees paid by ARL,LLC to the County under the terms of the sale of the old Big Creek Landfill to Allied Waste, Inc., which then formed ARL,LLC to operate the facility.

Sept. 13 - Woodmont High School student John King competed in the Junior World Skeet Shoot, where he placed third in the World in Doubles.

Williamston Town Council, in a 3-2 vote, decided to look into having a forensic audit on the town’s financials. Councilmembers Greg Cole, Marion Middleton, Jr., and David Harvell voted to approve a motion made by Middleton to provide up to $10,000 to look into having a forensic audit. Initial funding was to come from removing grant writer and town consultant Rusty Burns.

Williamston Town Council approved a request to allow a fall festival event in the park, discussed problems arising from recently implemented checks and balances and voted 3-2 to look into having a forensic audit done on the town.

B. C. Moore and Sons retail department store which served the  community for more than 57 years  were closing the store.

The Town of West Pelzer continued to inch towards adopting a budget by scheduling a public hearing to discuss two possible rate structures for water and sewer. The budget could not be completed until one of the structures was adopted.

West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton announced that a grant in the amount of $19,335 had been obtained by State Rep. Dan Cooper, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Sen. Billy O’Dell. The funds were to be used to address a shortfall in a CDBG grant that is slated for use in the Town’s water line improvement project which was in danger of being delayed because the original grant had become insufficient because of delays in the project’s start, as well as increases in the cost of materials following Hurricane Katrina.

A permanent memorial marker was placed at the corner of Minor St. and Main on the Williamston Municipal Center property to remind all of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001. The Country recognized the five year anniversary of the attack on United States homeland.

Sept. 20 - Williamston Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr., said that the forensic audit he proposed would help end speculation and concerns citizens and councilmembers have about how the town got into the financial mess.

The Town of Pelzer had several projects underway including renovation of the 102-year-old Pelzer gym. Included were a new parking lot and a metal decorative rail fencing.

Phillip Clardy’s use of a dumpster provided by the Town to assist in his preparations to re-open his restaurant was not the result of special treatment, said the Mayor, even though the town eliminated trash pickup for  businesses in February and businesses were told they must find a private hauler to provide the service.

The SC House Legislative Ethics Committee ordered local talk radio host Rick Driver to stop questioning their decision concerning a complaint Driver sent to the Committee earlier this year.  Driver sent a letter to the House Ethics Committee questioning the propriety of State Rep. John L. Scott’s sponsorship of a bill from which he stood to benefit. 

Reports that  Anderson County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Timothy Busha had his driver’s license suspended several times sent Busha scurrying to find out what had happened to his driving record.   Contacted by The Journal for comment Busha, expressed his bewilderment at the report of his suspension.

 A meeting by  West Pelzer Council to consider an exemption to the town’s zoning ordinance accomplished nothing except to delay the opening of a small business by at least several weeks.

A general obligation bond to borrow $7.3 million to relocate government offices was the focus of the County Council meeting. A public hearing on the matter drew a long line of speakers, both in support of and opposition to the proposal. The funds would be used to purchase and renovate the old Kroger building on River Street and move many of the County’s offices to the new facility. Some state offices would be relocated to existing county space. An addition to the detention center was also included in the proposal.

Sept. 27 - The Spring Water Doctor column formerly written by Dr. Dwight H. Smith, returned to The Journal, penned by Smith’s grandson, Dr. Jeffrey Preston Smith. Smith is a resident physician of internal medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Nikki Green was crowned Palmetto High School’s 2006 Homecoming Queen.

Anderson School District One students continued to score among the top districts in the state on the 2006 PACT test. Students in Anderson One exceeded the state level in all grades and in all four subject areas.

Chief Deputy Tim Busha resigned just days after published and broadcast reports that his driver’s license had been repeatedly suspended over the last two years.

The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, or CEDS, was presented to the Anderson County Council including several projects in the area, however there was little for municipalities of Pelzer, West Pelzer and Williamston.

Cedar Grove Elementary volunteer Mike Philyaw was recognized for his fundraising efforts at the school when he was presented the Palmetto Serves award. Peggy Hogan of the South Carolina State Department presented the award.

Oct. 4 - NewSpring Church had 413 people publicly declare Jesus Christ as their personal savior through baptism! The prior Sunday, the growing church had 214 people come foward and accept Jesus Christ and had more than 8200 people in attendance.

Grand Opening was held for the new Peebles store at 17 Pelzer Avenue in Williamston.

Williamston Town Council unanimouly approved a contract for upgrades at the sewer plant, amended 2006 budget reflecting several adjustments and agreed to make an early payment on the BAN note due in December.

Ann Chapman, daughter of Reverend Lloyd Brown, honored her father’s request that $10,000 be donated to the Shriners Hospital 

The Town of Williamston was moving forward on proposed upgrades to the town’s waste water treatment plant that may cost as much as $11 million. Funding in the form of a grant/loan for the upgrades will be obtained from the Rural Development Agency (RDA). The project that will probably take a year to begin and three years to complete. The town is seeking a 40% grant and 60% RDA loan.

Anderson County residents are being invited to share their ideas for planning the county’s future through an initiative called Imagine Anderson.

Woodmont High School Principal Randy Reagan resigned five days after an incident described as an altercation occurred between him and a custodian at the school, officials said.

The Woodmont High Senior Homecoming Court included  Shupeaku Lutta, Jovandra Patterson, Homecoming Queen Tia Downs and Rachel Rinehart.

The Anderson County Council meeting lasted more than four hours, including a long public hearing on the issue of $7.3 million in GO bonds to purchase and renovate additional office space and a discussion of whether to hire a deputy clerk for the Council, which lasted for more than a half hour and resulted in no decision.  Council heard a presentation concerning the issuance of $7.3 million in general obligation bonds, which will be used to purchase and renovate a vacant Kroger supermarket building on River Road in Anderson.

Sheriff David Crenshaw named Creed Hasshe his new Chief Deputy following the resignation of Tim Busha.

 Senator Billy O’Dell and District Seven County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson met with Pelzer Mayor Kenneth Davis Monday to present him with a check in the amount of $8000. The funds, obtained by O’Dell through the Parks, Recreation and Tourism grant program, are intended for related uses.

Oct. 11 -  Former Palmetto Head Football Coach Tommy Davis was  inducted into the PHS Athletic Hall of Fame. Coaching the Mustangs from 1991-2005, Coach Davis posted a record of 101 wins and 64 losses. In his career he posted 218 wins and 128 losses, placing  him as the 17th  most winning coach in the state.

Eight of District One’s schools met or exceeded achievement objectives for the 2005-2006 school year under the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Employees of the Bosch Corporation celebrated the 100th anniversary of doing business in America and the 21st year in Piercetown.

There was no Footbridge Festival held in Piedmont, but there was a Piedmont History Exhibit at the Community Building that featured Saluda Sam’s collection of Piedmont memorabilia including a varied assortment of artifacts, articles, and pictures from Piedmont’s past.

State Rep. John L. Scott, whose company’s qualifications as a consultant on mass transit for Anderson County were questioned in this newspaper, denounced The Journal as a racist hate organization during remarks made before the Starks Terrace Homeowners Association in Columbia.

A proposed sewer treatment process the town of Williamston is looking at will be one of the first of its kind in the Upstate and may be the trend of the future in dispersing treated water from a waste water treatment plant. The land application process has been used in Georgia, and allows treatment systems to avoid costly upgrades necessary to meet increasingly stricter water quality standards.

Williamston Councilmember Greg Cole announced that he will not be seeking reelection to the Town Council seat he has held for four years.

Following a surge of deliveries of landfill leachate to the Williamston wastewater treatment plant, the number of tankers traveling from Anderson Regional Landfill dropped off as the weather became dry.

Approximately thirty citizens of the Powdersville/Piedmont areas gathered at Wren High School to discuss their vision of Anderson County twenty years from now as part of the Imagine Anderson initiative.

Oct. 18 - West Pelzer’s water system improvement project is underway including installing 16000 feet of mostly six inch water line. The project, funded by a Rural Development Grant, costs more than $.5 million. It is being constructed by West Utility and will replace leaky and unsafe water lines and should increase water pressure in the town.

 Anderson County broke ground on a $2 million expansion of the Health Department. Matrix Construction is the contractor and expects the work to be completed in October 2007.

The bridge on Hwy. 25 in Ware Shoals was dedicated as the William H. O’Dell Bridge.

The Pelzer Town Council and the Pelzer Rescue Squad will vacate the facilities it currently occupies, which the Town owns, and construct a new building on approximately an acre adjacent to the Odd Fellows Club on Hwy. 20.

County Council’s decision to purchase the vacant Kroger building on River Street underwent further scrutiny as Cindy Wilson  continued to question aspects of the sale.  Despite the discussion, the issue was moot, since third reading approval was given to the sale at the previous Council meeting.

Oct. 25 - Inaccurate wording attributed to The Journal in a political mailout by County Council candidate Ed Jean became the subject of attention. Douglas F. Dent, a Greenville attorney and the owner of Shado Consulting Group, a political consultant that Jean has used in his campaign against incumbent Cindy Wilson, was responsible. When contacted, Dent responded that some of the discrepancies were the result of printer errors and that the rest of the content was verifiable and allowed to be used because it was “in the public domain.”

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office ACE team, while executing a traffic stop on I-85, seized 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1 pound of methamphetamines.

Joyce R. Wilson, a fifth-grade math and science teacher at West Pelzer Elementary School,began work as a newly elected member of the National Education Association Board of Directors.

Less than 10 people showed up at the Imagine Anderson forum held at Palmetto High School to offer input on the future of Anderson County. 

The refusal by the West Pelzer Town Council to consider a budget that incorporates a water and sewer increase is simply another attempt by the Council to make her look bad, said Mayor Peggy Paxton.

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies were involved in a manhunt on Hwy. 17 near Piedmont after deputies responded to the scene of a burglary and were fired upon. The suspect ran into a nearby wooded area. Michael Keith Gilliam was arrested and the incident resulted in extra security precautions at Wren area schools.

Nov. 1 - Jerome A. Hudson, principal of Palmetto Elementary School was selected as one of South Carolina’s two 2006 National Distinguished Principals.

Three candidates were vying for the Williamston Council seat being vacated by Greg Cole, who announced that he will not seek reelection. Willie Wright was listed on the ballot. Write-in candidates were Tommy Walker and Carthel Crout.

Four candidates were running for three seats on the Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners. They are Al C. McAbee, Jr, Ed Poore, Rudy Rhodes, Bobby Stover.

West Pelzer Town Council held a called meeting to resolve a zoning issue that had dragged on for months. Council gave approval to a zoning ordinance amendment that will allow a home at 81 Main Street to be used for neighborhood commercial purposes.

Council Dist. 7 candidate Ed Jean raised almost $18,000 in the weeks prior to the election while  incumbent Cindy Wilson raised approximately $5,200 during a similar period.

The First Annual Boo in the Park event held in the Mineral Spring Park was a sucess with over 2000 people attending, organizers said.

Nov. 8 - The Palmetto girls cross country team completed their season with a second place finish at the State AA Championship in Columbia.  Ashley McClellion claimed the individual state championship by posting a winning time of 19:46.

A year after an investigation into the alleged harassment of County Administrator Joey Preston began, no arrests have been made and the investigation seems to have ground to a halt. Although described as “open and ongoing” by the Public Relations Office of the State Law Enforcement Division in Columbia, no progress has been made public in the investigation since March.

Anderson Board of Education write-in candidate John Sherard a dental technician in Williamston, won the Area 3 seat formerly held by Keith Cole.

Williamston voters will go back to the polls in two weeks to choose their representative for the Ward 1 seat on town council. Top two vote getters Carthel Crout and Willie Wright will face off in two weeks.

Williamston Town Council approved a revised 2006 budget which reflected approximately $174,000 in reduced revenues and expenses which had been underestimated.

Newton said that the town is currently operating on 2007 tax revenues and will continue to do so unless a short term tax anticipation loan (TAN) is made available. With  the TAN, the town shows a $179,000 contingency fund. Without it, the budget shows a $71,000 deficit.

Council unanimously approved second reading on the revised 2006 budget 5-0.

Williamston Town Council discussed decorating the park for the holidays and heard comments concerning economic development and zoning issues.

During a 3.5 hour meeting, Williamston Town Council, acting on a motion by Councilman Otis Scott, agreed to create a position of grant writer for the town but failed to appoint one until a job description could be prepared and the position advertised.

District Seven County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson retained her seat, handily winning a fourth term over challenger Ed Jean. 

Nov. 15 - Johnathan Craig Marcy, pled guilty but mentally ill to charges he kidnapped Hunter Thompson, who was 7 at the time, from an Anderson K Mart. Marcy was arrested in Williamston in March of 2004.

Twelve out of fourteen schools in Anderson School District One remain rated as Excellent or Good, with the remaining two schools scoring Average according to the Annual School Report Card released by the State.

West Pelzer Town Council moved closer to obtaining a combination of grant funds and a loan from the RDA, when they gave first reading approval to a budget for 2006-2007. Also approved was an increase in the sanitation fee by $1 and a compromise measure to raise water rates by $1 per month on minimum use, instead of a two dollar increase.

After almost a year of budget cuts, adjustments and other drastic changes, discussions of the Williamston Town Council were  returning to what could be described as almost normal.

Williamston Town Council unanimously approved a bond issue ordinance for the Anderson Joint Regional Water System (AJRWS), discussed a proposed hospitality tax, approved a sewer capacity payment to Anderson County and set a date for a time capsule ceremony.

 Sen. Billy O’Dell and Sen. Danny Verdin III, delivered the latest in a series of grants that helped rehabilitate the Thomas C. Pack Jr. Park in Piedmont. Fire Commission Chairperson Marsha Rogers accepted the $7500 grant.

Wren Fire Department Station 2 received a grant of $85,600 to be used in obtaining needed equipment. The grant was issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,

Nov. 22 -  Freedom Weekend Aloft officials announced the event is leaving Anderson. Simpsonville’s Heritage Park will be the site for the 2007 FWA event which will be held Memorial Day weekend May 25 - 28.

A two per cent hospitality fee in Williamston, suggested several times by Councilman Otis Scott in recent months, has proved to be a windfall for other towns in the area.

The South Greenville Fire Department presented a pumper truck valued at $50,000 to the Michelin Company and a fire equipment step van to Greenville Tech.

The opening ceremony for the Christmas Park was held. This year’s theme is “Sharing the Season.” Members of the Springwater Committee, which coordinated a number of special events and displays for the 2006 Christmas Park. Also helping this year are AFJROTC cadets from Palmetto High School and other community service volunteers.

The Palmetto High School Competition Cheerleaders finished their season as the state runner-up at the State AA Cheer Competition held in Columbia.

The 2006 GWBA ornament featured Ms. Leona Parker, a local educator.

Several PARD grants were awarded by the Anderson County Delegation. Among those receiving grants were Pelzer,  $5000; Piedmont PSD, $5000; as did Iva, Honea Path and a project slated for Hurricane Spring Park. The Town of Williamston neither sought nor received funds in this funding cycle.

One week after giving first reading approval to a 2006-07 budget that was supposed to be approved in June, West Pelzer Town Council came very close to completely undoing what had been done. The Council approved a strange hybrid budget that removed all rate increases for water, sewer and sanitation services. The rate increases have been conceded to be necessary by every member of Council, yet have been fought at every turn.

Nov. 29 - The Town of Pelzer held its 2nd annual Holiday Fair at the Pelzer Gym. Pelzer and West Pelzer hosted a Christmas Parade.

Anderson County Council disclosed plans for an amendment to an existing general obligation bond which would allow the County to withhold an additional fifteen per cent of the fee in lieu of taxes generated by the  multi-county industrial and business park was proposed by County Administrator Joey Preston.

 Several educators and school board acknowledged the county’s authority to increase the amount of FILOTs withheld, yet all stated their dissatisfaction with how the proposal was handled. The proposal had educators in an uproar, as much over the method the county employed as over the fee in lieu of tax (FILOT) changes being implemented by the County,

Anderson One Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler said the County was attempting to pass the measure without notice to the school districts.

Anderson School District One received an unqualified opinion, which is the best opinion the district can receive and the balances and amounts in the financial statements are materially correct.The District general fund balance had increased $1 million to $4.7 million which is approximately 11 percent of operating expenditures.

Subway weight loss celebrity Jared Fogle spoke to students at Cedar Grove Elementary School. The stop was one of two in the upstate in which Fogle stressed the importance of creating a healthy diet, exercise and emotional wellness. Fogle lost 245 pounds by eating almost nothing but Subway sandwiches for nearly a year.

Williamston voters chose Carthel Crout to represent them on the Williamston Town Council Ward 1 seat.

Dec. 6 - The Piedmont Christmas Parade theme was “Christmas - A Time For Giving”.  The Bonnes Amies Club sponsored the parade and Grand Marshals were Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Thomas. Thomas served as minister of Piedmont Presbyterian Church since 1974. The Williamston Christmas Parade was held the same day, with the theme “Keep Christ in Christmas.”

The Town of Williamston is investigating a situation involving a rare civil war cannon that was returned to the town defaced. The historic cannon was under the care of the Williamston National Guard unit.

Williamston Town Council approved first reading on the 2007 budget and agreed to make adjustments to the 2006 budget to pay out end of year bonuses to town employees.

Just months after CSX Transportation announced their intention to abandon a 12.74 mile stretch of rail lines from Pelzer to Belton, the line was purchased by the Greenville & Western Railway Company (GRLW,LLC).

County Council denied itself the increased percentage of fees in lieu of taxes (FILOT) revenues that had been proposed. Following a public hearing which saw not a single speaker in support of the ordinance, which would have allowed the County to withhold thirty per cent of the FILOTs instead of the current fifteen per cent, Council voted 3-3 on the measure.

Cindy Wilson continued pressure on Joey Preston, asked for several items of information including the amount of money spent in blasting operations conducted in conjunction with the construction of the Beaverdam sewer line and the hiring of an intern who was active in the campaign of Ed Jean.

Williamston officials approved Saturday, January 13 as a tentative date for unearthing and reburial of a time capsule. The ceremony will include digging up  a time capsule buried July 4th 1976, from the old city hall property and placing it, along with a new sesquicentennial time capsule in the ground at the Municipal Center.

Mayor Clardy asked Council to be prepared to make a decision at the next meeting on what to do with the old town hall building.

Dec. 13 - Eric Matthew Copple, 27, of Napa California pled guilty to killing Leslie Ann Mazzara and her roommate in November of 2004. He will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole according to Napa County District Attorney Gary Lieberstein.

According to the 2005-2006 Education Accountability Act mandated end-of-course tests, Anderson School District One students again scored near the top in the state and demonstrated great progress in Algebra and English. 

An incident involving Williamston’s historic civil war cannon remains under investigation and will possibly result in a military JAG investigation local officials.

County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson extended her interest in the County’s operations to include solid waste and animal control divisions of the environmental services department, asking Preston for information on both.

Dec. 20 - Following the annual election of board members for the West Pelzer Fire Department, Curtis Mahaffey will be serving a three year term, Rocky Spears Jr. will be serving a two year term and Peggy Cleveland will be serving a one year term. They will begin serving their terms on January 1, 2007.

Williamston Town Council rescheduled agenda items but continued as planned in holding a public hearing on the 2007 budget. Items originally to be discussed, including second reading of the 2007 budget ordinance, discussion of the old town hall and discussion on hiring a grant writer were moved to the following evening. Also on the agenda, the old water treatment plant, a calendar committee, personnel issues and municipal building maintenance and upkeep.

Williamston Town Council  put the final touches on the 2007 budget, approving second reading on the $2.587 million budget ordinance.

Over the last eight years, the Insurance Reserve Fund, on behalf of Anderson County, paid out more than $1,649,062 in claims, and an additional $22,451 in expenses, such as paying insurance adjusters to review such claims. One suit, brought by a group of twenty-seven inmates at Anderson County Detention Center, claimed that the inmates were bitten by spiders. A violation of the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment was alleged and a total of $300,000 was awarded.

Dec. 27 - Three members of Williamston Town Council attended a meeting in which the 2007 budget was approved and a preview of the first of the year was laid out.

Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr., Otis Scott and Mayor Phillip Clardy unanimously approved second reading on the 2007 budget. Council members Greg Cole and David Harvell were not present at the meeting.

What will the new year bring? Be sure to read The Journal or check us out online each week to keep up with the happenings and events in the Williamston, Pelzer and Piedmont area.

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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