News Archive

(0205) Week of Jan. 12, 2005

Middleton denied pardon

West Pelzer considering $200,000 enhancement grant
Stolen van recovered from Saluda River
Auction to benefit Tracy Earnest Parker
Williamston to reinstate reserve officer program
Questions continue on Cherokee Road property
West Pelzer Fire Department elects new officers - Former chief resigns
Honda Specialties Auto Service & Repair opens In Powdersville
Miss Palmetto pageant Saturday

Middleton denied pardon

Former Williamston Mayor Marion Middleton, Sr., was again denied a state pardon.

Middleton, 75, was considered for a pardon for the second time on January 5, 2005 at 2 p.m. at the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services, 221 Devine Street, Columbia.

Pete O’Boyle, a spokesperson for the board of Probation, Pardon and Parole Services, said the seven-member pardon board rejected his request.

Middleton was convicted in August 2002 of embezzling $76,000 in town funds. He was ordered to re-pay the money and spend 46 days in jail.

Middleton was accompanied by some family members and others who offered their support.

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy and others also attended the hearing in Columbia to oppose the pardon.

Clardy said he went to Columbia not to represent his personal interest but to restate a resolution passed by Council before the first pardon hearing which he said opposed the pardon.

Clardy said he and others felt Middleton had not done enough to show the town’s residents he was sorry for his crime.

“He has not publicly apologized,” the mayor said.

Clardy said he had polled councilmembers and a majority of council still viewed the resolution as being the position of the town, though no new vote by Council was taken. Clardy said that a pardon was not inappropriate at some point but that at present was “untimely.”

“Our town is still healing,” he said.

The pardon report recommended rejection based on the duration  of the embezzlement, the large sums of money and the violation of the public trust.


West Pelzer considering $200,000 enhancement grant

By Stan Welch

West Pelzer Town Council began the new  year  by taking things for granted. 

Mayor Peggy Paxton confirmed that the town had received a $500,000 community development block grant to be used in repairing a number of  existing sewer lines in town.

That grant was applied for last year and notification that the grant had been awarded was made at the December 13, 2004 meeting.

The town is considering applying for a $200,000 ISTEA grant, according to a presentation by the mayor.

The grant would be used to create an area unique to the town which would help to identify the town and set it apart, according to Mayor Paxton.

An artist’s drawing of a similar project in Ware Shoals was presented. 

The goals of such a grant project, which requires SCDOT approval, would include increasing pedestrian safety, improving traffic flow, and enhancing the area’s appearance.

The area affected would comprise the stretch between Dunlap Street and Railroad Boulevard.

Mayor Paxton expressed her full confidence that the town would be awarded the grant if it applied, and added, “This project would set us apart from Pelzer and would clearly motivate the businesses in the area to enhance their appearances as well. The local businesses will definitely benefit.”

Council voted to hold a called meeting next Monday, January 17 at 6 p.m. to receive a more thorough presentation.

The main concern was the fact that an up front fee of $3,380 would be required before the consulting firm will prepare the drawing and application, which must be received by the end of February.

The fee would be partly reimbursable if the grant is awarded, but would not be refunded if the application  is  not approved. Public input would be sought prior to the final application’s submission.

In other business, town council decided to purchase a new control panel for the lift station on Spring Street from the original vendors.

Council had sought other bids but the companies contacted failed to provide complete figures, so the original, local bidder was chosen.

“Mr. Darby and his company are local, so they’ll be there when we need service,” said Mike Mahaffey, of the water and sewer department. “I can go knock on Jim’s window at 3 o’clock in the morning if I need to.” 

Jim Darby, who was present, suggested that Mahaffey call first.

The total cost of the control panel, which had become unsafe and undependable, will be $1,500.

Council also gave first reading approval to an ordinance of annexation for the SavWay store on Highway 20. Council also approved the purchase of two windows to replace two in the town hall. The windows will cost less than $500 for the pair and city employees will install them.

The council also decided to conduct a trial test of a copier the town is considering purchasing . The unit, if purchased would cost $1400.

Stolen van recovered from Saluda River

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated the theft of fireworks and recoved a stolen van which was found in the Saluda River recently. Among incidents investigated were:

Jan. 2 - Wallace Simpson reported that as he passed the intersection of River Road and Melone Road he saw taillights showing above the river’s surface. He reported the vehicle to sheriff’s deputies who traced it to its registered owner, Gerald Lee Culler of Piedmont. When contacted Culler stated that his van had been stolen 2 weeks earlier, but it had been recovered. When informed of the situation, he looked outside and found that his van was indeed missing again. He reported that he leaves the key in the console and deputies confirmed that the key was in the ignition. The van suffered approximately $2000 in water damage.

Jan. 1 - Edward E. Nelson, 49, 1951 Centerville Road, Anderson was arrested on New Year’s day following a high speed chase from West Pelzer. According to the incident report, West Pelzer Police Chief Bernard Wilson radioed that he was in pursuit of a 2004 blue PT Cruiser. A responding deputy put down stop sticks which he removed after the suspect had driven across them. The suspect continued at high speed and Chief Wilson discontinued the high  speed chase. He soon found the suspect unable to continue driving the PT Cruiser due to tire damage and made the arrest.

Jan. 1-Brothers Tucker Waylon Porter, 20, and Tyler Wade Porter,24, Williamston, became involved in an altercation at the home where they both lived.

According  to Anderson County Sheriff’s reports,Tyler Porter became angry with is brother’s girlfriend when she would not provide him with her mother’s telephone number. Tyler punched his brother Tucker in the face, starting a scuffle which ended when Tyler began firing a .22 caliber pistol. The house quickly cleared and Tyler Wade Porter, was subsequently arrested on five counts of Assault & Battery w/intent to kill 5 counts.

Jan. 3 - A thief or thieves struck two residences on Welcome Road in  Willamston in the early morning hours of January 3. James Richard Miller, of 2215 Welcome Rd. reported that about 3:50 a.m. he heard someone and went outside to find that his truck had been broken into. Nothing was missing, but he reported seeing a small dark Chevrolet truck riding slowly in the area. At approximately 4 a.m. Dale Lee Bentley of 2217 Welcome Rd. reported that his vehicle had been entered and approximately 50 CDs taken.

Jan. 3 - A Williamston  man reported that a female, only known name is Mary, with black hair and blue eyes, approximate age 30, took $60 from his wallet. He found the money missing  after she asked to use his bathroom, then left through the back door.

Jan. 4 - Benjamin Lewis Barnes of Reidsville Road, Williamston reported the theft of a $50 CD player from his vehicle.

Dec. 30 - 50 pieces of OSB and 50 12 foot long 2 X 4s were stolen from a job site at 1424 Keone Circle in Williamston. The construction materials were valued at $875.

Deputies R.D. Gray and T.A. Caron were on routine patrol when they noticed a man near the corner of a building in the Piedmont Plaza shopping center on Highway 86. He ran behind the building when he saw them. Upon following, they saw him and another man running up a hill behind the store, and a door into the store standing open. Gray stayed at the open door while Caron pursued and apprehended the suspects.  Charged with burglary and petit larceny were Matthew Dalton Johnson, 18, of 507 Shiloh Road, Piedmont and Daniel Ryan Tompkins, 129 Dickerson Road, Williamston. Officers discovered that a power winch on a nearby vehicle had been partly unbolted and a bolt matching the others was found in one of the suspects’ pocket.

The Super 8 Motel, 1304 Highway 153, Piedmont, was robbed early on New Year’s Day by a man with a gun who entered at approximately 1:39 a. m. and demanded money from the clerk.

Dec. 30 - AA Fireworks, Piedmont, reported approximately 200 pieces of fireworks valued at $800 was stolen.

Auction to benefit Tracy Earnest Parker

A fundraiser benefit auction is being planned to help with medical and travel expenses for Tracy Earnest Parker.

Tracy, a 1987 graduate of Palmetto High School, was diagnosed with a brain tumor on September 1, 2004 and will travel to the Medical University of Virginia in Charlottesville on January 25 for treatment.

“Friends of the Manor” will host the benefit auction on Sunday, January 23 at the Manor in Greenville to help pay for extensive medical and travel bills that are expected to be associated with treatment for Tracy.

The event will include barbecue plates which will be available during the day and an auction that will continue until all items are sold.

Tracy is a single mom who has worked at The Blood Connection on Grove Road in Greenville for two years.

She has two boys, Dilland, 13 and Walker J., age 10. She is the daughter of Randy and Anne Earnest of 23 Norwood Dr., Williamston.

Tracy remains postive about the diagnosis, joking and laughing as she is interviewed at The Journal offices.

Though no local doctor or surgeon would take on the tumor, Tracy and her parents have found a doctor in Charlottesville, Va. who plans to use laser surgery to try to stop the active growth of the tumor.

Her doctor Dr. Sheehan, is a neurologist who treated Christopher Reeves.

Tracy said there will be an MRI done in three months, and if the doctor sees no growth in one year, “They will try to take it out,” she said.

Tracy said she would like to thank everyone for the support coming from the community, and especially her friends at the Manor.

“I appreciate all the support of the community and the prayers,” she said.

Anyone wishing to donate auction items or to make cash donations may do so by contacting Barbara or Sandy at 232-4513.

Donations may also be sent to her parents home at 23 Norwood Dr., Williamston, SC, 29697.

The benefit for Tracy Ernest Parker will be held  beginning at 1 p.m. on January 23 at the Manor, 730 S. Pleasantburg Drive in Greenville.

Williamston to reinstate reserve officer program

After welcoming new council member Otis Scott, Williamston Town Council got down to the first business of the new year.

Council approved a request to reestablish the reserve program with the Williamston Police Department, briefly discussed options for the Cherokee Road property, and approved Fire Department officers.

Mayor Phillip Clardy announced the town’s business offices will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr., day Jan. 17.

Council unanimously approved a request by Pam Owens for use of the Municipal Building auditorium on March 19 for a Southern Ball. Owens said the first ball was a success and that the organizers of the event, The Williamston Area Historic Society, expect this year to be even bigger and better. For $10 admission, the event will include a meal, entertainment and dancing. All proceeds will go back to the community and for preserving the cemetery, Owens said.

Council also unanimously agreed to make nominations and approve appointments to various committees at the February meeting of council.

 Council unanimously re-approved Municipal Judge James M. Cox and Assistant Municipal Judge Sherman Woodson to their positions.

Council also approved officers for the Williamston Fire Department, with councilman David Harvell, who is a member of the volunteer department, abstaining from the vote.

Williamston Fire Chief Steve Ellison announced the results of the recent election in which current officers were returned to their positions.

Approved were Steve Ellison, Chief; Harold Nichols, Assistant Chief; LeDane Baker, Captain; Phillip Ellison, Captain; Ricky Heatherly Lieutenant; Tim Wortham, Lieutenant.

Clardy announced that the Muncipal Association will meet in Pendleton for their monthly meeting.

Before discussion on the Cherokee Road property was held, Council went into executive session at the advice of the town attorney, to discuss what mayor Clardy said was contractual matters.

Upon returning to public session, Clardy said no action was taken in executive session but council had received advice of the attorney in regards to the Cherokee Road property.

Clardy said an ordinance concerning the terms and  specifics of selling the property will be presented and made public at the Feb. 5 meeting.

There were questions concerning timber and infrastrucure on the property.

“We want to do what is in the best interest of taxpayers and there has been no agreement to specifics or the appraisal,” Clardy said.

Council approved Clardy’s motion to present the ordinance with the specifics at the next meeting with a 5-0 vote.

Council also unanimously approved first reading on an ordinance to revise the Williamston Municipal Code concerning reserve police officers.

At the request of Police Chief Troy Martin, the town is considering reinstating reserve officers to replace state constables the town has been using.

The move comes after a recent change in policy and procedures by SLED concerning the state constable program.

He also said there are several town employees who are interested in participating in the program.

Constables leaving the old program can be added as reserves under the new program.

Martin said there are advantages to having them because they are well trained. According to Martin the training is transferable and they will only need about 12 additional hours which he said can be done in-house.

Basic reserve officers are required to have 60 hours of training, Martin said.

He said the reinstated reserve program will provide cost savings to the town and will not cost any more than the constables did other than providing a different shirt and patches which will easily identify them as reserves.

“They have the full powers of police officers while wearing the uniform and on duty,” Martin said.

Martin said state constables which have been used for festivals and other special events have saved the town as much as $7,000 to $8,000 in overtime by regular officers.

The reserves will be covered under an umbrella liability insurance policy which also covers the volunteer fire department, Clardy said.

Councilman Cecil Cothran said “it sounds like it would be a big benefit to the town.”

Questions continue on Cherokee Road property

During a work session held before the regular meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council discussed the 21.5 acres of property located on Cherokee Road which the town is planning to offer for sale or auction in the near future.

Council has discussed the property several times since July 2004 when it was proposed by Mayor Phillip Clardy to use proceeds from the sale to repay a portion of a $350,000 Bond Anticipation Note.

During the discussions Water and Sewer Department head Tim Hood pointed out that pump stations in the area may not support additional development that could result from the property is sold.

The property does have sewer lines in place, but Hood said he didn’t know if it was tied in to the towns current infrastructure in the vicinity.

The town has water and sewer lines servicing the Waterford Subdivision, which is located across from the property.

There was some discussion of checking into the value of timber on the property and the consideration of whether it should be sold with or without the timber.

The question of having the timber harvested raised additional questions concerning the possibility of damaging the sewer infrastructure on the overgrown property.

The town acquired the 21 acres “as a gift” from late councilman David Roberts in 1989, six years after sewer improvements were made by the town on the privately owned property.

The improvements were made in the early 1980s and paid for with two grants totaling $83,500 that were acquired through the Town of Williamston.

The low income development never happened and eventually the property was deeded to the town, though follow through paperwork was not finalized, leaving the property in limbo until Clardy came into office and began looking into the situation.

It was determined that the town needed to finalize court records and incorporate the property to legalize the transaction and officially make the acreage property of the town.

Clardy presented the matter of annexation to Council in 2001 in an attempt to reconcile the  matter of questionable property owned by the town.

Site Design, Inc, of Greenville was then asked to estimate the cost of the sewer project on the property and to present a revised map.

The estimate by Site Design valued the existing sewer improvements on the property at approximately $161,177 if the work were done today and at $89,240 in 1981, depending on the inflation rate.

A real estate appraisal was recently conducted, though Mayor Clardy declined to make the results public Monday.

Clardy said the town attorney will present an ordinance with specifics on the property sale or auction at the next meeting of Council.

The sale of the property is being touted by the mayor as an option to repay a recently approved $350,000 BAN note which is being used to pay outstanding debt the town has accumulated and to pay the town’s health insurance and state retirement obligations.

The recent discussions have raised some concerns over whether the property will bring as much as originally predicted by the mayor.

Council also discussed appointments to committees which are comprised of nominees from each of the town’s four wards.

Mayor Clardy suggested each committee have five members, one appointed by each councilman and one at large appointed by the mayor.

Appointments will be made at the Feb. 7 meeting of Council.

West Pelzer Fire Department elects new officers - Former chief resigns 

By Stan Welch

Following a controversial week which saw the resignation of the chief and the suspension of the assistant chief, the West Pelzer Fire Department has regrouped this week with the election of new officers.

Dale Mahaffey replaces Mark Vickery as Chief at West Pelzer. Vickery resigned after several months of controversey sparked by internal issues in the department.

The newly elected leadership includes Hank Chastain, Assistant Chief; Donnie Jeanes, Captain; Don Spruell, 1st Lieutenant; Adam Maw, 2nd Lieutenant ; Mike Mahaffey, 3rd Lieutenant.

Glenn Holliday, Anderson County Fire Commissioner for District One, which includes West Pelzer, confirmed that those issues and conflicts led to an internal review that is still ongoing.

Holliday, who has referred to the problems as personality conflicts, acknowledged that some financial questions have been raised, but added, “I don’t think anything has been proven concerning those allegations.”

When asked if former Assistant Chief Nathan Ellison’s 90 day suspension was related to those allegations, Holliday said that Ellison was suspended for violating department and county rules, but declined to be specific.

The West Pelzer Fire Department Board of Directors will hold their monthly meeting on Tuesday, January 25th at the fire department located on Hwy. 8 in West Pelzer.

Until further notice, monthly meetings will be scheduled on the 4th Tuesday of each month.

The meetings are open to the public and members of the community are invited to attend.

Persons wishing to discuss an issue with board members should schedule time on the agenda by contacting one of the board members.

Present board members are Danny Sutherland, Chairman; J.C. Cox - Vice Chairman and Gene Roberts, Secretary and Treasurer. 

Phone numbers for board members can be obtained by calling Anderson County Fire Headquarters at 260-4016.

Requests to be placed on the agenda must be received by 3 pm on the Thursday preceding the Tuesday Board meeting, Sutherland said.

Honda Specialties Auto Service & Repair opens In Powdersville

Wayne Taylor knew he wanted to be a mechanic when as a 9-year-old boy leaning over the fender of his dad’s ’55 Cadillac, he watched and helped his dad take the engine apart.

He took his interest and made it a career and with the encouragement of friends and family, recently opened his own auto repair business in Powdersville.

Honda Specialties Auto Service & Repair specializes in Honda repair. The business does major and minor repairs and does oil and filter changes.

Taylor and his family have lived in Powdersville for 22 years and have watched the area progressively grow larger.

“We felt there was a market for a Honda repair shop in the area,” Taylor said. “I enjoyed working in the area in the past and my ideal workplace is one close to home.”

Taylor said that even though he specializes in Honda vehicles, he will work on others.

He attended Berea High School and Enoree Vocational Center and started his career as an auto mechanic in 1976 at George Coleman Ford in Travelers Rest.

He received Honda repair training while employed by Century Lincoln Mercury on the Motor Mile, Tedeschi Auto Repair and with Especially Honda in Greenville, where he worked  for the past 12 years.

“The timing was right for me to open a business and I would have always wondered about it if I hadn’t at least tried,” Taylor said.

 He has a 24-year-old son who is also a mechanic. “When I retire, I would like to hand my business over to my son,” Taylor said.

Honda Specialties also offers same day service. 

“Most people can’t do without their cars overnight, so my goal is to finish the customers’ cars in a timely manner each day,” Taylor said.

The business is located at 10914 Anderson Road (Hwy. 81) in Powdersville, across from Ingles.

Hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays by appointment. For more information call (864) 295-0939.

Miss Palmetto pageant Saturday

The Miss Palmetto pageant will be held this Saturday, January 15 at 7 p.m. at Palmetto High School. Admission is $5.

The mistress of ceremonies is Miss Anderson College, Lauren Gibson. The theme is “Thanks you for Letting Me Be Myself!”

Reigning Miss Palmetto, Shannon Smith, will crown the new Miss Palmetto. 

Contestants will participate in a choreographed opening number, followed by evening gown and talent competitions. Interview will also be a part of the overall score for contestants.

Senior Miss Palmetto contestants include: Katie Wilson, daughter of Joseph and Kathy Wilson; Starr Hammond, daughter of Ronnie and Debra Jo Hammond; Jessica Cooley, daughter of Jimmy and Kelly Cooley; Ashley Branton, daughter of Dwight Thurman and Victoria Lewis; Brooks Gray, daughter of Lee and Debra Gray; Nicole Lovinggood, daughter of Jim and Denise Lovinggood; Ezelis Sistrunk, daughter of Rev. and Mrs. William Martin Sistrunk, Jr.; Cala Martin, daughter of Steven Martin and Jeanette and Doug Carver; and Meagan Pack, daughter of Lana and Joey Pack.

Underclass contestants include: Jill Bagwell, daughter of John and Cathy Bagwell; Emily Mahaffey, daughter of Lyndon and Jeannie Mahaffey; Carla Childs, daughter of Dawn and Carlos Childs; Mandy Prater,  daughter of Teresa Crews and Martin Prater; Mandy Cannon, daughter of Grady and Sherry Turner; Brittany Mays, daughter of Tina Summerville and Rodney Brown; and Hayley Meade,daughter of David and Renee Meade.










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