News Archive

Week of Jan. 21, 2004

“Night on the Town” opportunity for input January 22
Williamston police officers make numerous drug arrests
West Pelzer officials to pursue annexation
County Council resumes debate on QRV staffing
Easley man stabbed in Piedmont parking lot
Easley man pleads guilty to felony DUI
New softball team looking for sponsors
Williamson announces candidacy for sheriff
Reward being offered in Ricin poison letter incident
Saluda Valley Rail Trail committee plans public meeting in Honea Path
State grand jury indicts Earle Morris for fraud

“Night on the Town” opportunity for input January 22

The Town of Williamston and members of the Greater Williamston Business Association (GWBA) are hoping to hear a lot of constructive criticism this Thursday.

Anyone interested in revitalizing the town of Williamston and planning for the future is invited to a “Night on the Town” event being cosponsored by the town and the local business organization.

Doors for the informal forum will open at 5:30 p.m.  January 22 at the Williamston Municipal Center.

Interested persons can inspect and discuss drawings of two different Main Street proposals and offer input for a possible revitalization effort the forum sponsors are hoping to spark interest in.

An enlightening video presentation featuring visuals around the town will begin at 6 p.m. An explanation and details of the two proposed drawings will be offered as well as discussion on other items.

The informal gathering will offer an opportunity for business owners, property owners and citizens to express likes or dislikes, ideas or suggestions for their vision for the town, organizers said.

Persons attending will hear from individuals involved in Belton’s Square renovation project who will offer their perspectives on the major revitalization project recently completed.

Attendees will also be invited to point out what they like and dislike about the Town in which they work, live and shop.

Business owners will be able to talk with a professional municipal consultant who is knowledgable about business related grants.

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy said he would like to have input from everyone in the community. He said he hopes to see a combination of businesses owners, church congregations, residents and the general public at the informal forum.

Officials are also hoping for input from new residents in the community and others with a “fresh perspective”.

Mayor Clardy sounded very optimistic about the future of the town as he met with GWBA members Tuesday to finalize plans for the event.

“Just look at Helen, Georgia,” Clardy said. “It is a place to go. There is no reason we can’t do that.”

Clardy pointed out that the town was once known as a resort town. “In the 1930s, Williamston was a resort town, known for our hotels and mineral spring.”

“Williamston is in a unique situation,” Clardy said. “Main Street is a state highway making it available for Transportation Enhancement grant funding such as the $192,000 sidewalk grant the town recently received.”

“But, they will not award a dime unless you have a plan,” he said.

“We should not wait any longer.” the mayor said. “You don’t want to wait for a certain momentum.”

If there is little interest now, persons who didn’t come to the forum will be told, “You had your opportunity,” Clardy said.

Clardy said several projects are already underway in the town.

The museum is in the process of being refurbished, gas lines are being installed for the historic depot, the sidewalk project will begin soon and the Virginia Drive water tank will be repainted.

“A lot of good things are about to happen,” he said.

“When they see something happening, people start getting involved, anticipating,” the mayor said.

Clardy said a lot of people have been calling the town to verify times for the “Night on the Town” event Thursday.

“There is a lot of interest,” he said.

The event could be the catalyst for a larger plan that will encompass numerous individual projects.

Clardy said that several groups in the town are already working in the same direction.

Local groups such as the museum committee, the historic commission and the GWBA are all involved in projects to improve the town.

There is also a task force currently looking at the feasibility of a potential 20-mile rail-trail conversion through the area.

“We hope to start an initiative to let down the walls and realize we are working toward the same things,” Clardy said.

The Night on the Town will begin with a drop in at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22 at the Williamston Municipal Center. Presentations will begin at 6 p.m. The public is invited.

Williamston police officers make numerous drug arrests

Williamston Police officers made numerous drug related arrests recently. Among incidents investigated:

Jan. 19 - Rebecca Lea Bates, 33, 155 Pearson Rd., Belton, was arrested for simple possession of marijuana, violation of S. C. gun law and possession of a controlled substance after a 1975 Ford truck was observed on S. Hamilton St.  Reports state .2 grams of a green leafy type substance was found and field tested postitive for marijuana. B. L. Wilson investigated.

Jan. 16 - Johnnie Ray Shaw, 53, 1  Pine Lane, Williamston, reported two drop cords and a Black and Decker trimmer valued at $120 taken from the location. J. L. Barnes investigated.

Jan 15 - Kevin Matthew Welborn, 23, 307 Claudine Dr., Anderson, was arrested for improper vehicle license and operating an uninsured vehicle after a 300 ZX Nissan was observed on East Main and Greenville Dr.  A passenger, Brian Martin Welborn, 29, 2818 Wright School Rd., Belton was arrested for allowing operation of an uninsured vehicle.

Jan. 15 - Gloria Jean Martin, 57, 1002 Anderson Dr., Williamston, reported a letter containing a check for $474 taken from the mailbox. Z. E. Gregory investigated.

Jan. 13 - Larry Smith, 610 Gr. Dr., Williamston, reported radios valued at $900 taken from three vehicles at the location.  J. L. Barnes investigated.

Jan. 13 - Edward Allen Phillips, 21, 115 W. Roosevelt Dr., Anderson, was arrested for simple possession of marijuana and speeding a after a black Ford Mustang was observed travelling at a high rate of speed on Academy St. Reports state two clear plastic bags containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana and  four burnt roach cigarettes were observed in the vehicle. J. L. Barnes investigated.

Jan. 12 - Three men were arrested for possession of ice, crank, crack cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of  ice, crank, crack cocaine proximity of a school, after a 1979 Chevrolet truck was observed on Academy St.

Arrested in connection with the incident were James David McClain, 38, 1004 Bowman Avenue, Anderson; Bobby Mark McClain, 33, 330 HI Taylor Rd., Williamston; and Fred William Darby, 48, 2288 Cannon Bottom Rd., Belton.

Reports state officers found a bottle with 2.5 grams of a brown powdery substance believed to be crank, one gram of a white powdery like substance believed to be crank in a clear plastic baggie and a homemade pipe with a residue which field tested positive for methamphetamine. Darby also allegedly threw down   in the hallway of the police department a plastic baggie with approximately one gram of a white powdery substance believed to be crank.  Sgt. D. Munger, B. L. Wilson II investigated.

Jan. 10 - Fred William Darby, 48, 2288 Cannon Bottom Rd., Belton, was arrested for operating uninsured vehicle, no drivers license in possession and improper vehicle license after a 1977 Chevrolet truck with a taillight out was observed on Parker St. A passenger, Tamela Deanna Darby, 37, 5 Scott St., Williamston, was also arrested after officers allegedly found in her purse one gram of a green leafy like substance believed to be marijuana rolled into a cigarette paper, 2 grams of a brown liquid like substance believed to be crank and 2 grams of a white powdery like substance believed to be crank. Sgt. D. Munger investigated.

Jan. 10 - McArthur Sanders, 53, 222 E. Carolina St., Williamston, was arrested for possession of crack cocaine and bench warrant after a blue Chevrolet Blazer was observed with no tag light. A search of the vehicle allegedly found .3 grams of a white rock like subtance which field tested positive for crack cocaine. B. L. Wilson II investigated.

Jan. 10 - Robert Jeffrey Farmer, 29, 406 Cheddar Hill Rd., Belton, was arrested for reckless driving, no vehicle license and operating an uninsured vehicle after a 1991 Ford was observed on Parker St. Robert Lamar Beddingfield, 29, 109 Clearview Rd, Belton, was arrested for allowing operation of an uninsured vehicle. St. Sgt. D. Munger investigated.

Jan. 9 - Two men and a 15-year-old juvenile were charged with possession of marijuana after a small roach, which field tested positive for marijuana, was found in the ashtray of a vehicle. The driver, Anthony D. Wentzky, 18, 7 Oakwoood Court, Williamston, was also arrested for unsafe tires. A passenger, Ricky Alexander Lee, 18, 92 Monticello Dr., Piedmont, was charged with underage possession of liquor and disorderly conduct. The minor was released into the custody of his mother and will have his case forwarded to family court. B. L. Wilson II investigated.

 Jan. 9 - Daniel Allen Lowe, 31, 120 Surry Dr., Liberty, was arrested for operating an uninsured vehcicle and improper vehicle license after a 1982 Dodge was observed on W. Main St. with slick tires. Sgt. D. Munger investigated.

Jan. 6 - Jack Lowe, 204 River Dr, Williamston, reported damage to a garage door and frame. D. W. Alexander investigated.

Jan. 2 - Cindy Gail Martin, 41, 1049 Cherokee Rd., Williamston, was arrested for improper tag, no drivers license, operating an uninsured vehicle and simple possession of marijuana after a 1989 Nissan was observed on Main St. A passenger in the vehicle, Angela Dawn Hollingsworth , 33, 3 Peden Rd., Piedmont, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and possession of crank.

West Pelzer officials to pursue annexation

West Pelzer officials voted unanimously at their council meeting January 13, to pursue annexation of several areas to the town . The areas most likely to be annexed are those which already receive town services.

According to town records, 80 residences currently located outside the town limits are billed by the town for water and sewer . The residences are located on Hindman Street, Mill Street, Holliday Street, Arthur Davis Circle, Belleview Drive, Hoyt Street and James Street according to town officials.

Town Clerk Wanda Sutherland reported that surveys have already been done in these areas. The next step would be to initiate a petition supporting annexation. To proceed with the process, the petition would have to be signed by 75% of those residents in the areas proposed to be annexed.

Mayor Peggy Paxton reported that results of tests on the new sewer product to reduce sludge were not yet ready. Town officials voted unanimously to pursue a 30-day trial test with Organic Products of South Carolina after company representatives presented information at the December council meeting.

Paxton reported that a workshop will be scheduled soon to develop an employee handbook. Paxton reported that she had received a sample document from Appalachian Council of Governments (ACOG) to use as a guideline.

The council discussed the installation of a light at the Sav-Way to increase security due to a recent robbery. The council voted first to ask the store’s management about adding a light at their expense. A second option would be to add a light at the town’s expense.

Mark Vickery of the Maintenance Department discussed the possibility of selling the town maintenance truck and purchasing a bucket truck. The council voted unanimously for Vickery to check into the issue and return to the council with a recommendation.

As a service to citizens, Paxton announced that AnMed will perform blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol screenings at Town Hall on March 8 from 10 to 12 noon.

Paxton also reported that the town had received a donation of $250 from the West Pelzer Get Together Club to put up hangers with baskets for flowers along Main Street.

County Council resumes debate on QRV staffing

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

A split vote at Tuesday night’s regular meeting supported Greer’s motion to remove the resolution from the table. Council members Gracie Floyd, Mike Holden and Fred Tolly opposed the motion.

According to authorities, a light-duty QRV containing basic equipment for initial trauma care would provide emergency coverage to “dead areas” in the county where an ambulance is neither economically feasible nor readily available. A QRV would provide stabilization until an ambulance could arrive to transport patients since a QRV is not designed for that purpose.

Tolly led the opposition to the resolution saying that “so much is up in the air” about the location of the vehicle as well as a budget for the project. In supporting the resolution, the council would be “writing a blank check to the county,” he argued.

A unanimous council vote supported an amendment to the resolution proposed by Council member Bill Dees that no action be taken until a study could be conducted by the county staff and the EMS commission.

After an extended debate on the issue, the council voted unanimously to table the resolution once again.

Tolly made a motion that the county request formal bids from the rescue squads along with the county’s proposal to staff the QRV. The council unanimously supported Tolly’s motion.

Greer inquired about the timetable for the bidding process. County Attorney Tom Martin and county staff anticipated that the process would take about 45 days which would allow the issue to be revisited in March.

In other business, the council unanimously approved the third and final reading of an ordinance to rezone 1115 Dunlap Road from R-20 (Single Family Residential) to POD (Planned Office Development).

In a public hearing during the first reading of the ordinance, Joseph Renna, president of Motherboard, Inc., spoke in favor of the ordinance. Renna stated that his company has occupied the property near Orian Rugs for 10 years, has 15 full-time employees, and refurbishes laser printers.

The council also voted unanimously in support of the first reading of an ordinance prohibiting certain vehicular traffic on Airy Springs Road, Browning Road, and Paulan Road. Residents of Airy Springs Road and Paulan Road addressed the council in previous meetings about traffic concerns on both thoroughfares.

The first reading of an ordinance extending an incentive agreement with Electrolux Home Products also received unanimous council approval.

A 6-1 council vote supported a resolution directing the county administrator to request the S. C. Department of Transportation to conduct a traffic study on Highway 81 from the intersection of Crestview Road to Interstate 85 to determine the appropriateness of increasing the speed limit from 45 mph to 55 mph. Floyd cast the only opposing vote to the resolution.

Council remarks at the end of the meeting focused on the QRV issue. Tolly expressed concern about being surprised without any knowledge that the issue would be discussed at the meeting.

Floyd emphasized that she had made a point to check with all council members as late as 3 p.m. about any issues that might come up in the meeting. “Things were going well until the QRV issue came up,” Floyd stated. “This secrecy business is not going to work,” she concluded.

Council member Cindy Wilson presented a formal freedom of information request for legal expense vendor files from the county administrator. She produced a sample printout from the Department of Commerce of the type of information she expected to receive.

Easley Man stabbed in Piedmont parking lot

An Easley man received multiple stab wounds in a fight that occurred in a parking lot in Piedmont Sunday night.

Daniel Charles McClure, 20, of 406 Blue Ridge Street in Easley told Anderson County deputies that he and friends went to the parking lot at the corner of Highway 86 and Old River Road around  6 p.m. to meet with subjects “over a problem that occurred the night before in Anderson County.”

McClure and his friends started talking with the subjects, and then everyone started fighting. McClure said that he heard someone say, “He’s got a knife.” He reported looking down and noticing that he was bleeding.

McClure’s friends put him in a car and left to get medical attention for him. Pelzer Rescue Squad transported him to Greenville Memorial Hospital where he was treated for wounds to his stomach and upper leg.

Authorities are continuing to investigate the incident.

Easley man pleads guilty to felony DUI

Travis Eades, 25, of 104 Lee Road in Easley pled guilty January 12 to three counts of felony driving under the influence resulting in death.

Judge J. C. Nicholson, Jr., presiding over the General Sessions Court of Anderson County sentenced Eades to 15 years imprisonment on each count to be served concurrently.

On the evening of March 30, 2000, a vehicle driven by Eades struck a vehicle driven by Jacqueline Cuzzourt, 41, of Easley, as the vehicle driven by Cuzzourt attempted to cross the intersection of Highway 81 and Airy Springs Road. Cuzzourt’s 15-year-old daughter Crista and Adam Cox, 14, of Williamston were passengers in the vehicle. Jacqueline and Crista Cuzzourt were killed upon impact, and Cox died the next day as a result of injuries in the accident.

A reconstruction of the accident by the South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP) revealed that the vehicle driven by Eades was traveling at a speed of at least 70 mph in an area that had a 50 mph posted speed limit. A blood alcohol analysis of Eades determined that his blood alcohol content did exceed the legal limit at the time of the accident.

New softball team looking for sponsors

A new girls fastpitch softball team  being organized in the Pelzer/New Hope area this season is looking for sponsorship.

The Xplosion team will feature players from Pelzer, Piedmont, Williamston, Easley and Pickens. “Our mission is to provide female athletes the opportunity to improve their skills and demonstrate their softball abilities at the highest level of competition, preparing them for the high school and college level softball,” said representative Sharon Teat.

The local team is not affiliated with a league and has no league funding. Team members are looking to the community for sponsorship to help defer expenses for players and families.

Expenses facing the team include uniforms, tournament fees, equipment, insurance and travel.

Several levels of participation are available for persons or businesses interested in sponsorship.

“As a sponsor of a tournament, you will be reinforcing the values of dedication, teamwork and sportsmanship,” Teat said.

Sponorships include: Grand Slam Sponsor - $200, includes business name on team banner which is present at all games, name on fan/parent shirts and a plaque recognizing the donation.

Home Run Sponsor - $100 to $199, includes name on fan shirts and plaque.

Dugout sponsor - $50 to $99, includes plaque. 

“We appreciate any support that may be offered,” Teat said.

 For more information or to become a sponsor, call 864-855-5604. 

Williamson announces candidacy for sheriff

Greg Williamson recently announced that he will be running for the office of Anderson County Sheriff as a republican.

Williamson, a native of Anderson, is a U. S. Navy veteran and has 14 years experience in law enforcement. He is married, with three children.

If elected, Williamson plans to focus the department on community policing. His plans are to increase the number of uniformed deputies by restructuring the department. He also plans to increase manpower by utilizing reserve deputies and state constables.

According to Williamson, his emphasis will be on reducing burglaries and larcenies throughout the county.

Williamson said he plans to improve working relations with other law enforcement agencies in the county.

He said he will do this by providing support for all law enforcement agencies and create a joint drug interdiction task force with law enforcement agencies within the county.

He also has plans to increase law enforcement presence in the Powdersville area. Williamson said he will provide a direct link to the sheriffs office from the Powdersville substation and have it manned 24 hours a day.Williamson announces candidacy for sheriff.

Reward being offered in Ricin poison letter incident

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) are offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for introducing a threatening letter addressed to the DOT and containing the poison ricin into a U. S. postal facility located in Greenville on October 15.

The author of the typewritten letter claimed that he or she was a fleet owner of a tanker company and demanded that the present laws regarding truck driver hours of service regulations remain unchanged. New federal regulations went into effect on January 4 mandating more rest and orienting drivers toward a 24-hour work/rest cycle.

A typewritten message on the exterior of the envelope indicated “caution RICIN POISON Enclosed in sealed container Do not open without proper protection.” Inside the envelope was a small, metal vial which contained ricin, a white granular, potentially deadly poison.

The author(s) of this letter claimed to have the ability to make large quantities of ricin and to use this poison if the new hours of service regulations were not repealed by January 4. The letter was signed “Fallen Angel”.

Anyone with information concerning the identity of the individual(s) responsible for authorizing this threatening letter is requested to contact the FBI toll-free at 1-866-839-6241.

Rail-trail committee plans public meeting in Honea Path

The Saluda River Valley Rail-Trail feasibility task force committee will hold a public meeting in Honea Path  at 6 p.m. February 17 to gather input from Honea Path residents and others interested in the proposed project.

The public hearing will also offer an opportunity for citizens and potentially affected property owners in the Honea Path area to express their concerns and questions regarding the project.

A pedestrian trail expert and local legislative officials will be present to answer any questions.

Approximately two miles of the proposed trail will pass through Honea Path.

In a meeting Jan. 13, at the Williamston Municipal Center, committee members  discussed whether the primary focus area for the feasibility study should be on the CSX or Norfolk Southern lines.

On the advice of Yon Lambert of the Palmetto Conservation Foundation, the group plans to begin working on the proposed project in Honea Path and proceed north.

The Palmetto Conservation Foundation was selected to provide basic groundwork on the project including identifying possible routes, conducting GPS reading of the possible rail route and checking ownership of property adjacent to the abandoned rail lines.

Lambert said he is in the process of investigating the ownership status of both rail lines and the properties adjoining each of them.

Lambert is also looking at potential CSX leasing requirements and right of entry forms.

The group will begin looking at the feasibility of the project beginning just south of town near the county line and Mattison Dr.

They plan to focus on a two mile stretch which runs through Honea Path and ends just north of town at Johnson Rd.

The committee filed a RTP program letter of intent in December, which states that they intend to apply for grants monies to be used in funding the project.

The task force is currently looking at the feasibility of a potential 20-mile rail-trail conversion.

The proposed Saluda River Valley Rail Trail will link Honea Path, Belton, Williamston, West Pelzer and Pelzer.

Still in the early stages, the proposed project will offer a combination of walking, biking and equestrian trails linking the towns, possibly along former rail corridors which have been abandoned or are no longer in use.

State grand jury indicts Earle Morris for fraud

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster announced Tuesday that former Comptroller General and Lt. Governor Earle E. Morris, Jr., Chairman of Carolina Investors, was indicted by the state grand jury with 24 counts of securities fraud.

If convicted on all counts, 75-year-old Morris who resides in Lexington could face 233 years in prison and over $1 million in fines.

Morris was indicted for one felony count of using a scheme to defraud investors, 22 felony counts and one misdemeanor count of making untrue statements or omissions to investors of Carolina Investors.

The indictment alleges that between 1998 and March 2003, Morris used a plan to defraud investors and that he made untrue statements or omissions to investors.

Twenty-three counts in the indictment are punishable by 10 years imprisonment and a $50,000 fine. One count of the indictment is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for three years and a $30,000 fine.

“The State intends to prove that Mr. Morris knowingly and willfully participated in a large scale securities fraud scheme which he facilitated by intentionally making false misrepresentations while pressuring investors not to withdraw their money or to invest more money,” McMaster said.

Morris is the second Carolina Investors’ official indicted as a result of the state grand jury’s investigation into the company. Former president Larry Owen was indicted last November on 23 counts of securities fraud.

McMaster emphasized that the criminal investigation is continuing and has not been completed leading to speculation that more indictments are to follow.





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