News Archive

(0207) Week of January 10, 2007

Council decides not to relocate old city hall
Citizens, council question mayor about closing, other issues
Proposed Pelzer EMS building receives funding
West Pelzer Council reinstates fee increases
Copper remains a hot item for thieves
Alleged internet predator recently fired from job
WPFD elects officers
Seems to Me . . .Thoughts for the New Year

 

Council decides not to relocate old city hall

During their first meeting of the new year, newly elected councilmember Carthel Crout was sworn in with family members present including wife Sharon, daughter Leslie who administered the oath and grandchildren Chase and Riley Hill held the Bible.

Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr. was also sworn in for his first full term as the Ward 2 councilmember. Son Will Middleton held the Bible as Marion Middleton Sr. administered the oath of office for his son.

Councilman Otis Scott was elected mayor pro-tem.

First on the agenda was discussion on what to do with the old city hall building. Mayor Clardy said the Council has the option to move and preserve it, demolish it or make it a gift to the current property owner.

Jim Simpson, who purchased the property at auction last year, declined to accept it as a gift, offering to help Council with any decision they made.

Councilman Crout began the discussion asking for the feasibility study that was supposed to be done. Mayor Clardy responded that it was never completed because of the controversey associated with the building.

Clardy said he had an estimate of $60,000 to $70,000 to have the building moved approximately one quarter of a mile. Additional costs include moving power lines, providing a foundation, utilities and other necessary preparations.

The town attorney also addressed a question concerning the terms of the auction which was held in March 30 of 2006.

There was some question as to the exact wording of the terms of the sale. When asked if the building went with the property minutes before the auction began, the auctioneer, repeating Mayor Clardy’s statement, said that the property was being sold with the town moving the building within 120 days. Clardy stated that he said the property was being sold with the town moving the building (if possible) within 120 days.

Attorney Richard Thompson said after two internet searches, he could not find a case in the U. S. in which the terms of the sale indicate a property was sold with an open ended promise to move the building. He said that most property is transferred with whatever is on it at the time of the sale.

He also indicated that a statement made by the auctioneer, acting as an agent of the town, prior to the sale is binding as a term of the sale.

“It is a very unique situation,” Attorney Thompson said.

Mayor Clardy said it was his hope and intent to preserve the building and believed that funds could be available, a statement which has been made since the property sale almost 7 months ago.

After the discussion, Council defeated a motion 3-1 to relocate the building. Mayor Clardy voted in favor while Councilman Scott abstained.

There was then discussion of having a group of Ukrainians come in to salvage and reconstruct it.

Mayor Clardy mentioned restricting 500 brick to be sold, keeping the tin ceiling and windows.

Attorney Thompson said the town will need a document relinquishing interest from Simpson and a vote of council to dispose of the property.

Eventually an amended motion was made to declare the intention of the town not to preserve and move the building intact, but to demolish and remove it from the site in 120 days. However if the building can be donated to some charitable oganization or group for purposes of removal, it will be donated. Also the town will seek to preserve any part of the bulding that might be kept for preservation.  The property owner can request the town to have the building removed in 30 days with appropriate notice to Council.

The motion was approved 4-1 with Clardy opposed.

With no action being taken by the town on advertising a grant writer position, establishing a job description or compensation, and no one applying, Council unanimously agreed to bring qualifications to the next meeting and put together the terms at that time.

Council unanimously agreed to table second reading on the hospitality tax.

Under council concerns, Councilman Crout said that council members need to know about everything that is going on with the town. He then introduced for first reading an ordinance establishing that minutes be timely, read and approved, be taken by the same person and presented on or before the Friday preceding a meeting of Council. Council unanimously approved the motion.

Councilman Middleton presented an ordinance for the regulation of purchasing procedures requiring the town to take bids on any service or item costing more that $2500, and on any personal property more than $5000. On items costing less that $2500, town officials will use the same procedures they have been, with councilmembers signing off on invoices and checks requiring two Council signatures and the treasurer’s. First reading on the ordinance was approved unamiously 5-0.

Fire Department officers were approved 4-0 with Councilman Harvell abstaining as a member of the department.

Officers include Steve Ellison, Chief; Harold Nichols, Assistant Chief; LaDane Baker, Captain, Phillip Ellison and Ricky Heatherly, Lieutenants.

Chief Ellison also updated Council on purchases made with a FEMA grant including purchasing 23 turnout suits at $1700 each, extrication equipment and a RAM.

Council unanimously approved a request by Councilman Middleton to have regular meetings on the first and third Monday, unless the Monday falls on a holiday, through June.

Clardy said there was an internal investigation into the cannon situation with the guard with any findings will be turned over to the town in 30 days.

Councilman Harvell read a statement by Gary Bannister and Jane Chastain stating that they did not agree to the terms of pending lawsuit involving a delay in an FOI response and theey would like a copu of the agreement to settle their case.

Harvell also mentioned a vendor asking for payment of approximately $4000.

Council then went into a brief executive session to discuss a contractural issue and a personnel issue.

Upon returning to regular session, Mayor Clardy announced that no action was taken.

The next meeting of Council will be Monday, Jamuary 22.

Citizens, council question mayor about closing, other issues

The first meeting of the year for Williamston Town Council was a lengthy one, lasting more than 3.5 hours, with public comments and related discussions, taking up more than half of the meeting. Topics of discussion ranged from the town business to why town offices were closed on Dec. 22 and Jan. 2.

Dianne Lollis encouraged Council to consider installing a security camera system in the park to deter vandalism and for safety reasons. She also encouraged the council to pass the hospitality tax which she said could help fund necessary repairs in the park. Citing rotting roofing on shelters and missing slats on benches, Lollis said “There is a lot of work that needs to be done.”

Mayor Phillip Clardy responded that the town has tried to make repairs including replacing sidewalks and handicapped access, and reopening the old restroom. Clardy said the town has looked into a security system in the past but was not offered the lease option.

Chief David Baker said that vandalism annually exceeds the cost of the system and said that it would be a great tool if there was vandalism or an abduction in the park area. He said the system allows monitoring from the department and over the internet.

Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr. suggested Duke Power representatives be contacted to see about additional lighting.

Clardy said the cost of the system is $350 per month with a 60 month lease. The discussion was accepted as information by Council.

Robert Vaughn said he supported installing a security system in the park. He asked council to consider reducing the garbage fee and said that concerning council pay he felt there were people who will serve at no cost to the town.

Rev. Kempie Shepard said there should be some kind of appreciation shown for volunteers who have been involved in the Spring Water Festival, Boo in the Park, the Christmas Park and the parade. “We appreciate what these volunteers have done,” she said.

Shepard, who was asked to chair a committee to look into the skateboard issue, asked to be removed from the position and the committee be disolved if the town was not going to do anything. “It has been a year and nothing has been done,” she said.

Mayor Clardy responded that the project was worthy and the town has considered options for three years. He said there is a liability issue.

Attorney Richard Thompson said that insurance required for a skateboard park will cost approximately $9,000 and will have a $10,000 deductible. The special coverage is necessary because it is an ultra hazardous activity. Other requirements include having a full time trained skate person present, the facility must be fenced and others.

Thompson said that towns are often asked to provide the recreation because businesses can’t afford to do it privately. Councilman Middleton said he had concerns and asked Shepard to stay on the committee.

Cheryl Middleton reported that the town Christmas dinner served approximately 60 people and did not cost the town anything. Volunteers and businesses hosted the event, at a cost of $600, to show appreciation to the town employees.

Jan Dawkins had several questions for council including the presentation of the audit, lack of advertising for the grant writer position, a list of grant projects being unavailable, and how to keep up with payments if the hospitality tax is implemented.

Mayor Clardy responded that the town’s last auditor, Bud Branyon, notified him that his firm may not be able to continue as the town’s auditor because they are not currently with enough staff to perform the audit.

Clardy also said that the town had not placed any advertising for the grant writer position and had not received any response. He also said that it will cost money to run the ads.

Councilman Middleton responded that he has only been able to find three grants received by the town including the $105,000 downtown redevelopment grant, the $225,000 sidewalk grant and a $35,000 grant. He said there has been multiple PARD grants but the list has not been completed at this point.

Dawkins said she had no problem with the hospitality tax if the money is used for the park, soccer fields and baseball. “I don’t feel like I have the assurance that it will be used and won’t be misappropriated,” she said.

Councilman Middleton said he would like to see a list of prioritized items that could be funded by the hospitality tax presented to be voted on by council.

Shaun Lister asked questions concerning the penalty for not paying the hospitality tax, why grant project information could not be provided in detail, and why the town offices were closed on the afternoon of Dec. 22. The closing led to considerable discussion about the town’s holiday policy.

Mayor Clardy said that he authorized the town’s business office employees to use comp time and to leave early on the Friday afternoon before Christmas and that the town does not have a policy. “I made the decision as mayor to close at noon.”

Councilmen Middleton and Carthel Crout both said there was no effort to keep the business window open and that there should have been an effort to have someone there to accept payments and serve residents.

Middleton made a motion that employees of the town who continued to work that day should receive double overtime and that the budget funding be reimbursed from some other account. Council approved the motion 4-1 with Mayor Clardy opposed.

The closing of the town office for President Ford’s mourning was also questioned. Clardy said that the decision to close was based on precedence of closing for President Reagan’s funeral, Sen. Thurmond’s funeral and Councilman Roberts funeral.

Judy Ellison questioned the number of personal days available to employees, check signing authority and gas cards.

Personal days were cut from 12 to 0, Clardy said. He contacted councilmen David Harvell and Otis Scott by phone but did not contact Councilman Middleton. Clardy said that discussions with the  police department determined that officers who worked would be paid straight time.

After the discussions Ellison told Clardy, “I don’t think you are thinking like a town that is in debt.” Clardy responded that Ellison was “nitpicking.”

Ellison also mentioned several votes that had taken place but nothing had been done.

John Rutland brought up the issue of a stop sign at Dickens Avenue and Hardy St. which has been the topic of several discussions at previous meetings.

Clardy said the town and county are working on a solution to the issue which should be implemented in coming weeks.

Council then began their regular meeting which included discussions on what to do with the old city hall, hiring a grant writer, second reading on the hospitality tax ordinance and other items.

Proposed Pelzer EMS building receives funding

By Stan Welch

The Pelzer Rescue Squad saw its plans for a new facility take a couple of giant steps forward this week.

First, the squad received a check for $325,000 from Rep. Dan Cooper, to pay for the new building. The funds came from the state’s competitive grant program, and was obtained through an eleventh hour application, which Cooper helped shepherd through the process.

“We knew there was some surplus money in the program this year, but we literally had hours left to make application for funding. Dan Durham worked with me to get the application in on time, and the funds were made available. This is a great project. The squad has served this community for many years, and they are due for some new surroundings,” said Cooper, whose children, Leanne and Daniel, helped him present the check.

On behalf of the squad, Durham and other Board members  also accepted  a check a few days later,  for $5000 from the TriCity Medical Center, to be used to purchase the lot in Pelzer, adjacent to the Odd Fellows Club on Highway 20. Former State Rep. Dolly Cooper and Rev. Tom DeVenny, two of the original founders of the TriCity Center, were on hand to present the check to Pelzer Mayor Kenneth Davis. Cooper said, “We have the best rescue squad in the state here, and we’re very lucky to have this quality of people working to provide this service.”

Rev. DeVenny pointed out the long relationship between the medical center and the rescue squad. “Forty years ago, we had no medical facilities in this part of the county. These two groups have done a great deal to improve the quality of medical care in the TriCity area.”

 Mayor Davis said that the Town was glad to see the squad remain in town, and was glad to help make that possible. “We think it is very important that the town retains the squad in our area. We really didn’t want them to have to relocate outside of town, because of the cost of the property.”

The squad has occupied and expanded its current location over the last forty years. That site belongs to the Town and is inadequate for the squad’s needs, especially as ambulances continue to grow in size and complexity.

The Town, in order to make staying in town affordable for the squad, agreed to sell them approximately an acre for $5000. Town administrator Skip Watkins said at the time that the land was worth more, but stated the Town’s appreciation of the squad and the town’s willingness to make it easy for them to remain nearby.

Dan Durham, chairman of the squad’s Board of Directors, agreed, saying, “We are the Pelzer Rescue Squad, and we want to stay in Pelzer. “

The building will include five bays that allow two vehicles to park back to back in each bay. There will also be a two story section to house bunks, a kitchen, storage and administrative space, as well. The building should comprise approximately 5500 square feet.

West Pelzer Council reinstates fee increases

By Stan Welch

Just weeks after giving first reading approval to a budget which incorporated increases in water, sewer, and sanitation fees, then rescinding those increases a week later, upon second reading of the budget, the West Pelzer Town Council voted Monday night to reinstate the increases after all.

Councilman Marshall King, who was a staunch advocate of the lower rates, admitted Monday night that the increases had to be made. “I’ve looked over the figures for the water and sewer departments, and we can’t pay the March water bill to Greenville Water Works unless we increase these rates.”

Councilwoman Maida Kelly agreed, saying, “We have right at $14,000 in the water account right now. In March, we have to pay a water bill of around $27,000. We’ve got no choice but to increase rates.”

Councilman Joe Turner, who made the motion to rescind the original increases, conceded that he now supports the increases. “I have been against this, but the fact is we have to do this, and I support it. If we had a major breakdown in the sewer plant, we’d be up the creek.”

The increases were first recommended by Mayor Paxton, and supported by town Attorney Carey Murphy, as a means of preparing the Town for upcoming rate increases which are anticipated as part of the Town’s contractual agreement with Western Carolina Water.

“We know that we have huge increases coming down the road. Why not prepare our people a little bit, so it doesn’t hit them so hard at once,” said Paxton at the October 18 meeting, when the rates were first approved.

As approved Monday night, water rates will increase from twelve dollars for the first thousand to fourteen dollars. Each subsequent thousand gallons used would cost $2.90. Sewer would increase to $18 for the first thousand gallons, with each subsequent thousand gallons billed at $2.25. The sanitation fee would increase from $3.50 to $4.00. King reduced the dollar increase by half, saying that it could always be increased in the future.

The rates had remained flat for the last several years, while the town absorbed two rate increases since 2004. While the rates were sufficient to pay the water bill itself, the operating costs for the systems, as well as a contingency fund for future needs, were not being met. The general fund was being tapped to make up the difference each quarter. “We just can’t do that anymore. This has to be run like a business,” said Paxton in an interview after the Oct. 18 meeting.

The large increases anticipated once the town ties its updated water and outdated sewer lines to Western Carolina will be imposed by the Rural Development Authority. The RDA will provide the funding through a combination of  loans and grants. The Town’s water and sewer rates will be established at a level sufficient to repay the monies. Those levels are certain to be significantly higher than the current ones.

A special called meeting will be held next Monday at 6:00 p.m. to give second and final approval to the new rates.

Copper remains a hot item for thieves

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated thefts to area homes and businesses including another incident of copper wire being taken, this time from auto transport vehicles. Among incidents investigated during the last week of the year were:

EASLEY

Dec. 27 – R. D. Smith investigated a burglary at the home of Tracy Cochran, at 703 Lake Rd. Cochran said she returned home to find the front door of her house open. Missing were a TV, a camera, a laptop computer, and a jar of cash. Total value was approximately $2000.

Dec. 31 – T. B. Dugan investigated a complaint at Heritage Propane Company. Doyle Black, an employee, stated that someone had broken in and had damaged the office of personnel manager Peggy Mabry, who also responded to the scene. Damage to the door was $1000, and other damage to office equipment was being checked.

Jan. 1 – T. L. Chapman responded to 113 Merrimeadows Rd. where Lee McElroy stated that someone had broken into his basement ands stolen a Henry .22 rifle with a silver scope.

PIEDMONT

Dec. 29 – J. L. Harris responded to Wren Baptist Church, where Harold Sanders stated that someone had broken into the church bus and stolen emergency roadside equipment, as well as causing $350 worth of damage to the door.  Sanders also reported that the tool box on the other church bus had been opened and a Craftsman wrench set was stolen.

Dec. 31 – D. O. Hill responded to the Century 21 real estate office at 3401-A Hwy. 153. Richard Merritt reported that someone had broken into the building and tried to steal a Dell computer from the office.

Dec. 31 – R. Cooper investigated a complaint of burglary at Shiloh Methodist Church, where Michael Upton reported that several items had been stolen from the church, including a variety of audio-visual equipment valued at approximately $660.

Jan. 1 – J. C. Wright was dispatched to Classic Pizza, at 1411 Hwy. 86, where Nevin Frarg reported that someone had broken in and stolen the cash register and its contents.

 Jan. 1 – M. D. Creamer responded to 1120 Wren School Rd. at the Canes Corner store, in response to an automated alarm. Store owner Wilma Orr arrived and confirmed that a small amount of cash and $300 worth of unused lottery tickets were taken.

WILLIAMSTON

Dec. 29 – R. D. Smith was dispatched to 1322 Fire Tower Rd. Kirk Dockery reported that his fatherin law, Andy Hamby, had witnessed a distant relative stealing Dockery’s go cart. Hamby watched as the man loaded the go cart into a vehicle. He said in the report that he tried to stop him but was unable to.

BELTON

Dec. 29 – E. S. Russell received a complaint of petit larceny form Ronald Oyler, of 205 Broadway School Rd. Oyler stated that between November 23 and the incident date, someone had stolen the copper hydraulic lines from four of his auto transport vehicles. The 600 feet of 3/8 inch copper was valued at $1000.

Dec. 29 – E. S. Russell received a complaint from William Osborne, of 140 Wright School Rd., that someone had broken into his truck and stolen a .380 Hi-Point pistol, a black and brown Carhartt jacket, several power tools, and a digital camera. The items were valued at approximately $1300.

Dec. 30 – S.C. Weymouth  responded to the Southland Exxon station at 4751 Hwy. 29, where owner Niravkumar Patel reported that a WM, 6’1", 200 pounds, blonde hair,unknown age, wearing black clothing and a black stocking cap had robbed the store at approximately 9:50 P.M. He demanded the money at gunpoint and left on foot, according to the owner. Another employee, Steve Shaw, also gave a statement to Weymouth. The amount stolen was unknown.

Dec. 31 – R. S. Turner responded to the Jockey Lot, where Sherry Brown reported that someone had stolen her husband, Paul Brown’s, 2006 Dodge Ram pickup truck from the parking lot. The truck was valued at $32,000.

Jan. 1 – N. M. Mitchell responded to 600 Beeks Rd., where Bobby King reported that someone had damaged his truck while trying to steal it. Both door locks were damaged and the ignition was also damaged.

Jan. 2 – J. A. Frazier investigated a complaint by Reggie Fowler, of  U-Save Auto Rentals at 6122 BHP Hwy. Fowler reported that James Shaw, Jr. had failed to return a rental car, or to pay the amount due for keeping it over the due date. Frazier contacted Shaw who told him the vehicle was at his home in Anderson. Frazier and Fowler went to the location, where Fowler made arrangements to retrieve the vehicle. During the process, Frazier discovered that Fowler had an active warrant out for fraudulent checks. He was arrested and transported to ACDC.

Jan. 2 – J. M. Williams received a report from Mark Thayer, of 225 Ansonborough Plantation that someone had entered  his 2000 Ford Expedition and stolen a black and silver Ruger 9mm handgun.

Jan. 3 – C. Whitfield received a report from Jeanette Buckner that someone had stolen the speakers from her vehicle.

Alleged internet predator recently fired from job

By Stan Welch

A Williamston area man who was arrested on charges of criminal solicitation of a minor approximately three weeks ago had been fired from his job just days before his arrest. On December 15, later in the day of his firing, he called his employer, GlenRaven Mills, and threatened to kill himself.

According to an ACSO report, Morgan Wilson, a twenty-four year old white male, of 103 Bragg Dr., Williamston, called the company from a pay phone at a convenience store, and said he was going to kill himself. ACSO deputies were contacted by the employer, and responded to the general store location. They were unable to locate Wilson, either at the store or at his residence.

On December 19, Wilson allegedly initiated an internet chat with an Anderson undercover police officer posing as a twelve year old girl. During a subsequent conversation the following day, Wilson allegedly solicited the supposed minor for sex, and made arrangements to meet her at an agreed upon location.

Upon arrival at the scene he was arrested by Anderson City Police. The ACPD is a member of the S.C. Attorney General’s  task force, designed to intercept and arrest sexual predators on the Internet. The law passed in 2004, making the solicitation of a minor for sexual purposes a felony, also enabled law enforcement to aggressively pursue and target those who solicit children.

Wilson was the fiftieth person arrested by a member of the task force.  Forty three of those arrests came during 2006, due to the rapid growth of the task force from one member at the beginning, SLED, to twenty-seven members now, including both the Anderson Police and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.

Wilson was also charged with attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, as well as with a probation violation for an unrelated offense. The reasons for his firing are not known at this time.

WPFD elects officers

The West Pelzer Fire Department elected officers Monday night, following a departmental dinner at a local restaurant.

Elected to the Chief’s position was Dale Mahaffey, with Lee Blackwell serving as Assistant Chief. Ryan Long was elected Captain, with Don Spruell, Chase Rapien, and Kevin Paxton elected First, Second, and Third Lieutenants respectively.

Chief Mahaffey said that increased experience is the biggest gain the department has made. “We are getting more experienced leadership all the time. We have really come a long way in two years. I think we have some really good guys in here now, and I’m looking forward to a good year for the department.”

Seems to Me . . .Thoughts for the New Year

By Stan Welch

Well, I hope you all enjoyed the holidays as much as I did. As we enter the new year, a lot has changed. We have two new County Council members, as well as a new Chairman and Vice Chairman.

The election of Bob Waldrep as chairman surprised me, though not as much as it surprised Bill McAbee. Waldrep brings a lot to the job, including years of experience, both on Council, and in the General Assembly. Actually, his experience in the General Assembly worked against him a little bit during his first Council meeting. He was obviously working from his familiarity with the state level of procedures, often calling for votes by acclamation, rather than a show of hands, as County Council routinely votes.

Those are matters of procedure and method, which he will quickly adjust to. Perhaps his greatest asset as Chair will be his wit and ability to defuse situations amicably and respectfully. As a reporter, I can only say that a politician with a sense of humor and a quick wit is a blessing to the media. There should be no shortage of usable quotes for the next couple of years.

Whether there will be a substantive shifting of alliances, with resulting changes in policy within the County, remains to be seen. Long time Council pariah, and recent censuree, Cindy Wilson, was successful in leading the reestablishment of the blue laws at the year’s first Council meeting. Other efforts, led by Wilson, to reconsider decisions made by the outgoing Council were unsuccessful, however, as was District Six Councilman Ron Wilson’s first attempt to generate a full and thorough audit of the County’s books. The coming year promises to be very entertaining, if not particularly productive in terms of sweeping changes.

Based on published reports in the Anderson daily paper, Sheriff Crenshaw has finally acknowledged what has been a well known fact for months. His department is so far past broke, it’s in the same league as Williamston. One point eight million dollars. Sound familiar? Somebody call Bob Daniel and Joe Newton!

What may be less well known is that the huge deficit the department is experiencing has resulted in the layoff of a large number of officers, reducing those available for patrol to just a handful per shift. It’s gotten so bad, even some of the Sheriff’s buddies have been let go. Sources within the department tell me that there are as few as four officers on patrol during some periods. The number of departmental cell phones has been reduced to almost nothing, making communications problematic.

Dispatchers have been transferred to central dispatch, to move their salaries from the Sheriff’s budget; a move which has infuriated many who took the dispatch jobs as a step towards law enforcement certification and becoming deputies. That promise has been lost, according to many, and they are not happy about it. Talk of large scale resignations can be heard in every hallway of the ACSO, except for the hall right outside Crenshaw’s office.

Sheriff Crenshaw says that the people demanded a greater presence and faster response times, and that he has worked hard to provide them. I sat in the Council chambers last year as Sheriff Crenshaw asked for six mils in taxes to run the department. I wasn’t here when he ran for sheriff, so his promise to run the department for less than the former sheriff did doesn’t ring as loudly in my ears as it does some folks’.

What does jump out at me, however, is the fact that he asked for six mills, and settled for three, with a promise he would get the rest the next year. The only problem was that the next year was an election year. How anyone in Anderson County, much less an official who is elected, could believe for one moment that he would get a three mill boost in an election year is beyond me.

Of course, I’m still trying to figure out why in the world he gave the Chief Deputy’s job to the guy who ran against him in the election? Tim Busha, in addition to his own problems with certification and driver’s license suspensions, clearly failed to produce a workable budget for Crenshaw. If I were the Sheriff, I’d be a little worried by the fact that Busha and county administrator Joey Preston have coffee together several times a week

It’s good to hear Tommy Thompson landed pretty much on his feet. Sources tell me he is a consultant on the project to clean up the old abandoned mill sites in District Two. Guess retirement was just too quiet for Tommy. I didn’t realize his expertise lay in the area of brown fields restoration. Maybe there’s going to be a bomb shelter put in or something? Perhaps a tower for the 800 megaherz communications system is in the future?

As events churn relentlessly and futilely towards a resolution of the Cater’s Lake/ stalking investigation, an interesting development has come up. By the time this column is published, there will have been a court hearing at which Ms. Kelly Nichols, the female employee who was with Preston at Cater’s Lake, will ask for a restraining order against former Preston associate Dr. Jena Trammell.

As reported in this paper, Nichols recently filed a complaint against Trammell for harassing Nichols and her husband during the period between November of 2005 and February of 2006. In that complaint, Nichols conceded that Trammell never posed any threat to her or her family. She also conceded that the incidents allegedly took place during that four month period mentioned in the complaint. 

Now, I’m planning to attend this hearing, because I’m a curious kind of a guy. I’ve seen enough of the judicial system in this county to know that anything, and I mean anything, can happen. But if Nichols can get a restraining order based on admittedly non-threatening behavior that, according to her own statement to the police, ended almost a year ago, then I want to be there. Seems to me, Trammell has been practicing restraint already.

Anyway, as you can see, the new year promises to be just as interesting and newsworthy as the last one.

Keep reading The Journal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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