News Archive

Week of Feb. 25, 2004

Bonds awarded for additions; Board approves principals 
Military families, officers honor Foster McLane
West Pelzer now has 24 hour police protection
Powdersville, Wren residents raise tough issues for county
Three plead guilty to counterfeiting

Bonds awarded for additions; Board approves principals 

Anderson School District One Superintendent Dr. Reggie Christopher told District One board members that a $2 million general obligation bond was awarded Tuesday to Ross, Sinclaire & Associates, Inc., the lowest of eight bidders, at an interest rate of 2.144 percent.

The five year bond will cover building additions at Cedar Grove Elementary and allow the district to begin an addition at Palmetto High School, according to Christopher.

The addition at Cedar Grove will include six classrooms, a resource room, a teacher work room and bathrooms. It will increase student capacity at the school from 500 to 650, which according to Christopher is “a good number for elementary schools in the district.”

This is the second addition for the school since it was constructed in 1991. A new wing was added in 2000.

Christopher said the population in the area the school serves has grown rapidly. “We didn’t expect that,” he said.

Christopher said the district will be accepting construction bids for the project March 10 with a completion date of August 2004.

About half of the $2 million will go to the Cedar Grove project. The rest will be used to begin work on the Palmetto project.

An additional $2.5 million bond issue is expected (to be let out) next February to complete the freshman academy project at Palmetto High, according to Christopher.

The planned 30,000 square-foot addition will include administrative offices, six classrooms, two science labs, a student commons and an auxiliary gym.

Palmetto has operated a freshman academy, which is housed in a new addition at the school, since the beginning of the 2001-2002 school year.

The student population at the school has increased enough to require the new rooms, district officials said.

In other business, District Director of Finance Steve Uldrick told board members that 100 percent of the tax money has been received. Total revenues are at $41,283,245 or 68.7 percent to expenses of $35,771,567, or 59.3 percent of budget.

Christopher pointed out that the County Board added a half mill for the fund balance and the county auditor added an additional amount that has helped the district with finances.

Dr. Wayne Fowler recognized five District One school principals for receiving academic achievement awards.

The awards include $40,000 in funding to be used to improve instructional programs at the schools, Fowler said.

Recognized during the meeting were: Mason Gary, Palmetto High School, receiving $7,344; Jack King, Wren High School, $14,605; Robin Fulbright, Wren Middle, $7,769; Becky Brady, Wren Elementary School, $5,473 and Nancy Prince, Hunt Meadows, $4,865.

“These schools and principals are to be commended,” Fowler said.

Assistant Superintendent David Havird reported that the District nutritional services continues to do well, with January showing a $44,128 profit. “Our average daily participation is up significantly,” Havird said.

In other business, the board  unanimously agreed to ask the County Board of Education for permission to sell a 1986 Ford van.

Board members also approved the following personnel recommendations:

Request for leave of absence -  Mandy Wimpey, Palmetto High, math.

Resignations - Tommy Bobo, Wren High, Athletic Director and head football Coach; Matt Miller, Palmetto High LD; Kara Monk, Wren High, English.

Retirement - Joe Allen, Wren Middle, Assistant Principal; Donna Huffman, Palmetto Middle, grade 6; Carol Leggett, Wren High, Media Specialist; Pat Murphy, Palmetto Elementary, Grade 2; Melrose Sentell, West Pelzer Elementary, Academic Assistance (.3FTE).

Administrative Recommendations - Brenda Ellison, Cedar Grove Elementary Principal; Debbie Gill, Powdersville Elementary Principal; Jane Harrision, Concrete Primary Principal; Nancy Prince, Hunt Meadows Principal; Torie Tourtellot, Hunt Meadows Elementary, Instructional Assistant Principal; Mason Gary, Palmetto High Principal; Brian Couch Palmetto High Assistant Principal; Mike Kelly, Palmetto High Assistant Principal;

Also Barry Knight, Palmetto Middle Principal; David Armstrong, Palmetto Middle, Assistant Principal; Jerome Hudson, Palmetto Elementary Principal; Kim Clardy, Palmetto Elementary, Instructional Assistant Principal; Milford O. Howard, Jr., Spearman Elementary principal.

Stacy Hashe, West Pelzer Elementary Principal; Robbie Binnicker, Wren High Principal; David Coyne, Wren High Assistant Principal; Jack King, Wren High Assistant Principal; Kelly Pew, Wren High Freshman Accademy Principal.

Robin Fulbright, Wren Middle Principal; Charles Edmondson, Wren Middle, Assistant Principal; Becky Brady, Wren Elementary Principal; Pat Russell, Wren Elementary, Instructional Assistant Principal.

Jan Dawkins, School Psychologist; Nathalie Smith,  School Psychologist; and Tanya Richbourg, Family Services.

Military families, officers honor Foster McLane

Almost a year ago, local families gathered to send off members of the local Army National Guard unit who were deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Many of the family members of the 151st Signal Battalion had no idea what the year ahead held for them or for their soldier. Fortunately, Sgt. Maj.(ret) Foster McLane arrived on the scene soon after the deployment to help the families begin to handle the upheaval in their lives.

McLane, one of five Family Assistance Center Coordinators working through the 228th Signal Brigade in Spartanburg, the parent of the local battalion, was brought out of retirement to act as a liaison and advocate for families involved in the deployment. He helped get the Family Readiness Group organized, met with the local group twice a month and maintained contact with family members in order to stay abreast of their needs and the needs of their soldiers until December.

Now unofficial reports indicate that the local battalion stationed in Kuwait should be stateside soon – probably within two months.

With an end to the deployment in sight, the military families wanted to honor McLane for all his assistance with a special surprise celebration.

Almost 50 guests filled a reception room decorated in red, white, and blue at the Williamston Municipal Center. Outgoing Deputy Commander Col. Wayne Brock and incoming Deputy Commander Lt. Col. (P) Eric Gladman joined the members of the Family Readiness Group honoring McLane. Other guard officers present included: Maj. Clarence Bowser, Brigade S1; 2nd Lt. Amanda Baughcome, Aide-de-Camp; Sgt. Maj. (ret) Larry Bilton; 1st Sgt. Terry Bennett, Brigade HHC; Sgt. 1st Class Ed Chandler; Sgt. 1st Class James Wright; and Sgt. Karl McCullough.

A cake decorated as an American flag punctuated a buffet table filled with delectable goodies of every description. Entertainers “Switchblade, Razor and Rosebud Bucket” from Hillcrest Baptist Church were in costume and in the wings ready to perform.

Completely unaware of what was in store, McLane arrived with his wife Lynda who is a Reading Recovery teacher in Spartanburg County. Believing that he was coming to a routine support group meeting, McLane had told his wife they would stop by “for a few minutes” on their way to Atlanta to celebrate their 33rd wedding anniversary.

Sgt. David Phillips revealed the true purpose of the event when he began to outline McLane’s military career and extensive awards and then presented him with a gift from the group.

McLane responded in classic fashion by asking everyone with a family member deployed to stand so that he could honor them.

The bond between McLane and the families becomes obvious as he freely dispenses hugs and expresses his appreciation personally after the presentation.

“Being shown this kind of gratitude is humbling,” McLane admits, his face filling with emotion.

His passion for soldiers and their families is revealed as the statuesque soldier continues, “After serving overseas, I came home to somebody who loved me – maybe that’s the reason for me being as blessed as I have.”

It would appear that McLane wanted to do everything he could to be sure the members of the 151st Signal Battalion are able to experience that same feeling when they return home.

West Pelzer now has 24 hour police protection

The Town of West Pelzer will have round-the-clock police protection this week after town officials voted to hire an additional officer in a special called meeting February 18.

Mayor Peggy Paxton stated that she felt the town needed to have an additional officer in order to have someone on duty at all times. Paxton also stated that the pending agreement to provide police protection to Pelzer would require an additional officer.

Police Chief Mark Patterson introduced Jerry Ramos, 33, to the council and outlined his credentials to the group. Ramos lives in Easley and speaks Spanish fluently, Patterson added.

After a discussion of the financial implications of hiring an additional officer, the council unanimously supported a motion by Councilman Earl Brown to hire Ramos.

“(We should) feel lucky to have him,” Paxton told the council. 

Referencing a growing concern about hookup fees for anyone considering annexation, Paxton asked the council to go on record stating that the town would waive those fees in order to encourage annexation. The council supported Paxton’s request and agreed to waive hookup fees for annexed residents.

Jerry Atkins appeared before the council to discuss two trailers which do not meet current zoning laws since they are more than five years old. Zoning Chairman Charles Ellenburg explained that if Atkins would like to change existing laws he should complete a form requesting a change. The completed request is then given to the town council to make a decision as to whether zoning laws are to be changed.

Paxton reported that materials are on hand to replace water lines from Holliday Street to Stephanie Drive. After a “snag” with permits to cut the road, the town will have to replace asphalt up to state specifications according to Paxton. Fire hydrants will be added at Holliday Street and Main Street and at Stephanie Drive and Main Street. Maintenance Supervisor Mark Vickery estimated that everything should be in operation within three weeks.

Vickery stated that Organic Products had quoted an initial cost of $3,145 to perform a 30-day trial test of the Bio Miracle product designed to reduce sludge in the town’s sewer system.

Town officials had voted unanimously to pursue the trial after company representatives presented information at the December council meeting. The decision to continue use of the product after the trial would be on a month-to-month basis with no contracts involved according company representatives.

Vickery also reported that the water tank needs to be cleaned and resurfaced. The service was last performed in December 2000 at a cost of $1,785 to the town, Vickery added.

Don McCluney, a representative of RAM/soft in Columbia, was present at the meeting to discuss a proposal for Windows software upgrades which would provide more capabilities on the town computer. McCluney said that he would provide an installation plan for payroll, general ledger, accounts payable, billing and receipting programs at a total cost of $3,800. Half of the cost would be paid initially, and the balance would be due after each application is installed, he stated. After a motion by Councilman Terry Davis, the council unanimously accepted McCluney’s proposal.

As a result of a recent meeting in Columbia, Paxton reported that the town will need to repeal any ordinances which refer to employment since employment issues should be addressed in an employee handbook and not in ordinances.

After a motion by Councilman Joe Turner, the council voted unanimously to renew a contract with Roger Scott to provide trash pickup for another year.

Powdersville, Wren residents raise tough issues for county

Two community planning meetings last week focused on tough issues in the fast-growing northeast corner of Anderson County.

Hosted by the Anderson County Planning Division, the meetings were held at Wren Middle School and Powdersville Middle School to gather citizen input on periodic, state-mandated updates of the county comprehensive plan.

Approximately 30 residents posed some “tough questions” to county planning personnel at the Powdersville meeting.

A residential, bedroom community for many residents who commute to jobs in Greenville or Anderson, the area is the fastest-growing area in the county and probably the state according to County Councilman Bill Dees who represents the area and was present at the meeting.

According to Dees, roads in the district have simply not kept up with the development in the area. Traffic issues on the aging “road-to-market” roads as well as major thoroughfares in the area drew strong citizen response.

“Small county roads are turning into speedways – is there any plan for speed control?” one resident asked.

Traffic issues on James Road, Three Bridges and Mt. Airy Church Road caused by students going to Wren High School were of specific concern to another resident.

A frustrated commuter detailed the hazards of exiting I-85 at Highway 153 during rush hour due to a lack of “stacking room” on the exit.

Another resident asked about an “8-month-old giant hole” on Mayfield Road. Dees explained that money has been appropriated, and the hole should be repaired in the spring.

“Has a traffic light been considered at the intersection of Highway 153 and Roe Road?” another citizen asked.

A shortage of recreational areas and convenience centers sparked comments from other citizens.

“Are there plans for additional parks in the area?” one citizen asked. Newton explained that the property cost in the area as well as lack of money available to purchase land present a challenge to the county. One suggestion county planning manager Steve Newton proposed was that the county might be able to partner with churches in the area to lease unused land on an interim basis for recreational facilities.

Newton responded similarly to questions from other citizens about a recycling center or a convenience center. “Money and available land are the issues,” Newton explained.

Although many citizens may want a convenience center, many also do not want one “in their back yard,” county zoning manager Bill West added.

County personnel were very open to one citizen’s suggestion that centers could be located in the back of shopping centers behind grocery stores for easy access.

A transplanted resident asked if the county had considered impact fees for developers to help fund road improvements in the area.

“It’s a great idea for the community, but impact fees are resisted by developers and builders because they add to the cost of homes,” Newton explained.

Impact fees would have to be enacted through an ordinance by county council, Newton explained further after the meeting. Directly opposed to impact fees, Dees added, “We would price ourselves out of selling homes in Anderson County.”

In a meeting at Wren Middle School, Newton advised approximately 20 residents in attendance that the county had only one revision to the plan developed five years ago for the area.

Newton recommended that more property along I-85 be generally designated for industrial/commercial use in order to facilitate infrastructure and road planning and to attract “clean”, environmentally-friendly industry.

The county proposed that the rest of the Brushy Creek and Three and Twenty area would remain primarily low-density residential and residential/agriculture.

Citizens basically agree with the plan but questioned future road improvements such as widening Highway 81. Newton indicated that current road improvements are “on target” and that widening the busy thoroughfare was classified as a “20-year project” by the county.

Responding to a citizen concerned about “controlled growth,” Newton reminded the group that county zoning is an initiative generated by citizens and not by the county.

Newton encouraged further input on questionnaires distributed at both meetings and announced that an area-wide meeting for School District One would be held once all input from the meetings was processed.

Three plead guilty to counterfeiting

A Honea Path town councilman was among three area men who pleaded guilty in federal court in Greenville last week to charges involving counterfeit currency.

Theodore Carroll Parker, Jr., 40, and Coree Reeder, 52, both of Honea Path, and William M. Mattison, 45, of Anderson, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess and pass counterfeit currency, a violation of Title 18, United States code, Section 371.

Parker, who was in the last year of his first four year term on the Honea Path Town Council, was suspended late last year after he was charged with passing counterfeit currency.

He ran an unsuccessful campaign for Anderson County Council against incumbent Cindy Wilson in 2002.

According to a release from the office of U. S. Attorney J. Strom Thurmond Jr., United States District Judge Henry M. Herlong, Jr. accepted the pleas and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence reports prepared by the U. S. Probation office.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing revealed that the case came to the attention of the U. S. Secret Service in October 2002 when a relative of Parker’s passed a number of counterfeit $20 bills at a business and a bank in Honea Path. The relative was interviewed and explained that the money came from a quantity of cash that was kept at home. As a result of this information, Parker was interviewed by Secret Sevice agents.

Parker admitted to replacing the relative’s genuine currency with about $3,000 in counterfeit twenties and hundreds that he had gotten from Mattison about a month earlier. Parker also told the agents that he had given about $600 in the bogus bills to his cousin, Corrie Reeder.

Reeder was interviewed and confirmed that Parker had given him a quantity of counterfeit $20s and $100s which he had spent.

Mattison was interviewed by the Secret Service and admitted that about a month earlier, at Parker’s request, he had supplied Parker with about $3,000 in counterfiet $20s and $100s.

United States Attorney J. Strom Thurmond, Jr. stated the maximum penalty they can receive is a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment for 5 years, plus a special assessment of $100.

The case was investigated by agents of the U. S. Secret Service and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney William C. Lucius of the Greenville office.





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