News Archive

Week of Mar. 3, 2004

Town sets election date for mayor, council seats
Town, County may take legal action CSX on Gray Drive bridge
Otis Scott seeking Ward 4 seat
Pelzer election March 23
Winter storm brings snow to area
County Council approves air quality control proposals
Authorities investigate Pelzer shooting
Stolen vehicle recovered
Clemson University breaks ground for automotive research campus

Town sets election date for mayor, council seats

During their regular meeting Monday, Williamston officials set Nov. 2 as the date for an election to fill two council seats and the mayor’s seat and discussed eliminating a petition requirement for candidates for mayor.

Council is considering an ordinance to repeal a town election requirement that a potential candidate for elected office must have at least five percent of the town’s registered voters sign a petition.

The requirement applies to potential candidates for mayor and council seats.

Mayor Phillip Clardy said that most municipalities across the state have eliminated the requirement which they adopted along with home rule in 1974.

The current election ordinance requires that a petition be submitted 75 days before an election and that it be validated at least 60 days prior to the election for a candidate to have his/her name placed on the ballot.

Clardy said that after talking with municipal association members, there has been some interest by councilmen in changing the petition requirement. Council will discuss the issue and submit their wishes to the attorney at a later date, according to Clardy.

Council approved an ordinance authorizing an election on November 2 for Williamston residents to choose a mayor and two councilmen.

Clardy, currently in his fourth year as mayor, has not made his intentions known whether he will seek reelection to the position which is a four year term.

He said Wednesday he intends to make an official announcement in the near future

Council seat Ward 3 and seat Ward 4, currently held by David Harvell and Wade Pepper respectively, are also up for reelection in November.

There is a $100 fee for persons planning to run for the mayor’s seat and a $50 fee for candidates intending to run for council.

Books will open for filing in Williamston August 13 and will close August 20. Council approved the ordinance 5-0.

Council also approved the reappointment of judge James M. Cox and assistant judge Sherman Woodson for one year terms as the town’s municipal judges. There was some discussion on possibly changing the term and revoking an appointment. Councilman Harvell voted in opposition to the appointment.

Council also decided to accept input from the public on color and any design or decal that may be placed on the Virginia Drive water tank which is being refurbished later this year.

Council unanimously approved a request by the town of  Central to join the Anderson County Joint Municipal Water Association. Each of the association members must approve the request.

Council unanimously approved a request by the Williamston Area Historic Commission to use the cemetery for a lantern tour and the gym at the Municipal Center for a period dance on the weekend of Mar. 19 and 20.

Lee Luff, president and CEO of the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce also addressed Council. Luff offered “assistance in your community.” He said the changes in Anderson County are a microcosm of what is happening in the state. He also said the recent announcement of the Walgreens distribution center coming to the area is an example, that he believes will bring prosperity to Anderson city and county and the Town of Williamston. The center will offer an opportunity for employment for 450 persons.

Clardy also announced that Williamston will host the next county municipal association meeting  March 11 at 7 p.m. Howard Duvall, of the state municipal association will  speak on property taxes, Clardy said.

Acting on a motion made by the mayor, Council voted to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter. Before taking the vote, Mayor Clardy said council would adjorn from executive session because there was no reason to reconvene in a public session.

Prior to the regular meeting at 6 p.m., Council held a worksession at 5:35 p.m.

During the worksession, the mayor read through the agenda and commented on some agenda items. He also answered some questions asked by councilmembers.


Town, County may take legal action CSX on Gray Drive bridge

Williamston Town Council approved a resolution during their regular monthly meeting Feb. 2, authorizing the town to use legal means, if necessary, to get the Gray Drive Bridge repaired or replaced.

Local officials had expected an agreement with CSX railroad officials  to have the bridge replaced. However it remains unclear to each of the parties involved exactly what CSX will be responsible for.

Williamston officials, along with State and County officials including Senator Billy O’Dell, Representative Michael Thompson , Representative Dan Cooper and other Anderson County officials have attempted to have the bridge replaced since it was closed in 1991.

 According to those involved in the discussions, CSX officials have admitted they are responsible for the repair or replacement of the bridge to the pre-existing state.

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy said that those conditions would not meet specifications necessary for school buses or emergency vehicles to travel the bridge.

Negotiations through the years included having the bridge replaced with a modern structure to current standards, however the additional cost became a barrier to the project.

According to those involved, CSX officials agreed to fund the replacement project up to the amount it would cost to replace the bridge to the original state. Local officials had hoped to fund the remaining cost of the project with grant money.

The project has basically been on hold since the bridge was closed in the early 1980s.

Periodically through the years, discussions resume, but no definite agreement has been made between local and CSX officials.

Anderson County officials have also indicated that legal proceedings may be necessary.

During the worksession prior to town council’s regular meeting Monday, Clardy said, “We want CSX to be responsible for what they are obligated for. The County is to pursue additional negotiations, including litigation if necessary.

Clardy said he has discussed the situation with the McNair Law Firm, which is working with the county on the legalities of the situation.

Any developments will be brought back before Council, Clardy said.

Otis Scott seeking Ward 4 seat

Williamston resident Otis Scott announced this week that he is seeking election to the Williamston town council Ward 4 seat.

Scott said he is not running against Wade Pepper, who currently holds the seat which is up for reelection. He said he is seeking the seat because  “I have new ideas that I would like to bring in with me.”

Scott said he would like to see the soccer fields and the museum projects completed.  “There is room in lots of areas for improvement,” he said.

Scott, 64, resides at #4 A St., Williamston. He is the son of the late frank Scott and Addie Luo Scott of Williamston. He is married to the former Gail Morgan, daughter of J. T. and Louise Morgan of Williamston. They have a daughter, Tonya Michelle.

Scott is a deacon at Big Creek Baptist church where he is a lifetime member and has been a volunteer with Meals on Wheels. He is a graduate of Palmetto High School.

Scott worked 30 years in the construction business before retiring in 1979.  He also worked as a carpenter for several area builders.

Pelzer election March 23

A new general election for mayor and four council members for the Town of Pelzer will be held March 23 according to a recent announcement by the Pelzer Municipal Election Commission.

Authorities called for a new election for the town after results of the November 4 election were overturned as a result of two protest hearings which challenged the election results due to irregularities in the election process.

Unofficial election results showed that political newcomer Kenneth Davis received 19 votes while incumbent Page Henderson received 18 votes for the office of mayor. Council results showed that incumbents Betty Edens and Steve McGregor along with Tony Riddle and write-in candidate Sandra Ragsdale received the most votes.

Henderson protested the election for mayor on the grounds that two individuals who lived outside the corporate town limits were allowed to cast ballots in the election.

Five citizens protested the town council election due to confusing instructions on the ballot as well as how write-in votes were counted.

Pelzer Town Attorney Jimmy King worked with the governor’s office to order a new election after being cleared through the Department of Justice.

Voters who were registered by October 5, 2003, and who are still residents of the Town of Pelzer are eligible to vote in this election.

All candidates who qualified for the November 4 election will be listed on the ballot.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Pelzer Community Building in Pelzer Park.

The election commission will hold a hearing at noon on March 25 to determine the validity of any ballots which are challenged in this election. If a run-off election is required, the election will be held April 6, authorities stated.

Winter storm brings snow to area

The Upstate received another full dose of winter last week as snow blanketed the local area Thursday and threatened to turn into ice overnight as temperatures dropped.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) activated the statewide toll-free Help Center mid-afternoon Thursday. Staffed by SCDOT and Federal Highway Administration employees, the center provided information on road conditions to anxious travelers around the state until mid-afternoon on Friday.

Staffers handled at least 200 calls per hour and as many as 500 calls per hour during heavy morning and afternoon commuting hours. Administration employees reported assisting more than 3,300 callers seeking information about road conditions.

Road condition information was also available on the SCDOT website The website provided access to SCDOT cameras on interstate highways and allowed travelers to monitor interstate highways conditions.

By Friday afternoon, 1,452 SCDOT employees were busy clearing roads, working in shops to keep equipment operating, or providing support in county and central offices.

More than 400 equipment units - salt spreaders, plows, and motor graders – were in use for road-clearing operations.

Ice on roads and bridges received 4,194 tons of salt, 7,625 gallons of calcium chloride, 69,100 gallons of salt brine, and 3,200 tons of sand.

Fortunately, the local area received a much lighter dose of the winter storm than predicted. Four counties – York, Chester, Union, and Lancaster – received the most significant amounts of snowfall.

George Acker, Duke Power District Manager, admitted that he “greatly appreciated receiving snow rather than ice.” There were a few problems with limbs due to the wind, but the wind also decreased the snow accumulation on trees, Acker added.

Municipalities in the area reported no major accidents or fires as a result of weather conditions. Some minor traffic accidents were reported, but no serious injuries occurred according to local authorities.

Anderson School District One students and teachers received another snow day, while Greenville County Schools were closed Thursday and Friday.

Temperatures in the 50s going into the weekend resulted in a quick melting of the white stuff.

County Council approves air quality control proposals

Air quality control issues and county initiatives to meet the federal standards of the Clean Air Act consumed much of the regular meeting of the Anderson County Council Tuesday.

Facing a deadline of April 15 for being in violation of ozone limits, county officials proposed a resolution adopting measures proposed in the Early Action Compact developed by the Air Quality Steering Committee composed of representatives from Anderson, Greenville and Spartanburg counties.

County Environmental Services Director Vic Carpenter explained that the document developed by the committee contained a series of proposals for study to be sent to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to show the Environmental Protection Agency that measures were being taken to reduce ozone levels.

Council member Larry Greer raised questions about certain proposals involving a fee to be paid by a purchaser of a vehicle that does not get good gas mileage and eliminating property tax deductions for high-mileage vehicles saying that these would “change tax methods on vehicles.” Council member Cindy Wilson echoed Greer’s concerns and suggested the council have more time to study the proposals.

Greer proposed an amendment to the resolution stating that “the council does not endorse any particular strategy contained in the Early Action Compact.” A 4-3 vote defeated Greer’s amendment.

With the majority of the council believing that any final decisions on the proposals was yet to come, a split council vote supported the original resolution. Greer opposed the resolution, and Wilson abstained from voting.

In other action, the council unanimously supported a resolution by Council member Bill Dees requesting that legislation be introduced to rename a portion of S. C. Highway 88 the Captain Kimberly N. Hampton Memorial Parkway to serve as a memorial to Captain Hampton who died in a helicopter crash in Iraq.

The council also unanimously approved Dees’ request for $600 for repairs to tennis courts at Hurricane Springs Park and $6,000 for recreation programs at the Wren Youth Association.

In closing remarks, Wilson emphasized that she had not received weekly financial reports or monthly solid waste tonnage reports as she had requested.

Authorities investigate shooting

Authorities are investigating an incident which occurred at approximately 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Pelzer EMS building on Lebby St.

According to Anderson County Sheriff’s reports, Deputy D. C. Fouts responded to the Pelzer EMS at approximately 6:30 in reference to a shooting incident.

Reports state the Med Trans helicopter was on the scene preparing to transport a victim, Lloyd Ray Davis, 188 Dunlap Rd., Belton, to Greenville memorial Hospital.

No other details were available at press time.

Stolen vehicle recovered

A traffic stop by Williamston police officers resulted in the recovery of a vehicle reported stolen in Greenville County.

Feb. 23 - Jason Andrew Tomsha, 34, 2418 Marchbanks Ave., Anderson, was arrested for failure to dim headlights, unsafe equipment, driving under suspension more than first, operating an uninusured vehicle and possession of a stolen vehicle after a 1992 Honda Accord was observed on Anderson Dr., a passenger, Teresa Michelle Watts, 23, 195 Glenn St., Anderson, was arrested for simple possession of marijuana. B. L. Wilson II investigated.

Feb. 22 - Samuel Lee Roberts, 30, 112 Hampton St., Anderson was arrested for disregarding a stop sign, operating an uninsured vehicle after a 1988 Jeep Cherokee was observed on Bigby St., Sgt. D. Munger investigated.

Feb. 20 - Harvey Lonnie Morgan, 49, 1399 Beaverdam Rd., Williamston, was arrested for failure to give proper signal and no S. C. drivers license after a blue Dodge truck was observed on Academy St. D. Munger investigated.

Feb. 21 - Heavenly Nails, Anderson Dr., Williamston, reported 12 necklaces valued at $10 each were taken from the business. D. W. Alexander investigated.

Feb. 21 - Jimmy Monroe Brock, 36, 129 Highland Dr., Belton, was arrested for public disorderly conduct and open container after being observed lying on the ground at Sav-Way. He also had outstanding warrants in the area. Z. E. Gregory investigated.

Feb. 20 - Nocole Rene Zahnd, 20, was arrested for driving under suspension after being stopped on Minor St., Z. E. Gregory investigated.

Feb. 20 - Cothran’s P&M Store, 620 Greenville Dr., Williamston, reported a $10 gas drive off. B. L. Wilson II investigated.

Feb. 20 - William Adams, 56, 709 Mill St., Williamston was arrested for failing to register a motor vehicle, improper vehicle license, altering a vehicle license, no proof of insurance after a 1972 Ford truck was observed on Mill St. K. P. Evatt investigated.

Clemson University breaks ground for automotive research campus

Officials recently broke ground on a 400-acre Clemson University automotive research campus, to be anchored by a graduate engineering center and unique research and development facilities.

Governor Mark Sanford, Helmut Leube, president of BMW Manufacturing of S.C.; and Todd Kirtley, general manager, industrial sector, of IBM Global Services; joined Clemson University President James F. Barker in turning the first shovels of dirt at what will be the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research. Barker said the research campus could help make South Carolina the hub of the nation's automotive and motorsports industry cluster.

At the groundbreaking, Leube announced that BMW would build an Information Technology Research Center on site, making BMW the park's first non-academic tenant. The 84,000-square-foot center will support research that focuses on improving automotive software systems and software/hardware compatibility for BMW products.

The $15 million facility will be owned by Clemson and leased by BMW.  State funding to build the center is part of the state incentive package offered to BMW last year when the company announced an investment of $400 million and the creation of 400 new jobs over the next several years.

IBM also announced its plans to form a long-term partnership with Clemson in this project, starting with a first-year commitment valued at $1.1 million. Kirtley said the commitment includes $750,000 worth of software and the assignment of an IBM executive at the research campus to support the work of Clemson faculty and students.

 IBM is working with both Clemson and BMW on extended participation in the future.

"This project represents a new era in economic development  in South Carolina, an era when research universities are actively engaged in creating high-paying, knowledge-based jobs and enhancing the productivity of key industrial sectors," Barker said. "The automotive research campus proves that the combination of academic strength, industry partnerships, local leadership and strong state support is a very powerful formula."

The campus consists of a 250-acre Clemson campus and an adjacent 150-acre property that will be privately developed.

 Eventually, the campus is expected to include unique research and testing facilities, such as an automotive electronics systems lab, crash-worthiness lab, fuels lab with an emphasis in hydrogen-based research, and a full-scale wind tunnel.

Unlike traditional industrial parks, the campus is intended to attract tenants whose products include new knowledge and technology and whose business requirements include a highly educated and well-trained workforce.

Barker also announced that the graduate engineering center, at BMW's request, would be named for Carroll A. Campbell Jr., the former governor who helped recruit the company to South Carolina. The center will house nine faculty and up to 50 graduate students, who are expected to generate $5 million a year in external research support.

The graduate programs will focus on systems integration, addressing a growing challenge in the automotive industry as car components become increasingly computerized and complex.

Graduates of the program will be prepared to meet the engineering and management challenges of designing and building a highly complex modern automobile, in which mechanical, electrical and digital technologies work together to drive safety, performance, comfort and even entertainment.

Clemson will collaborate with Greenville Technical College to prepare the technical staff that will be needed as the campus develops.

The Clemson project already has generated more than $90 million in public and private support:

$10 million gift from BMW to endow the graduate engineering center; $5 million in additional private support for the graduate center from BMW suppliers; $15 million in matching funds from South Carolina's new Research Centers of Excellence Act, which earmarks lottery revenues for endowed chairs; $40 million from the state's economic development incentive bond act to build and equip the graduate engineering center and build the information technology center that will be leased by BMW; $14 million in state funding for roads and other infrastructure; $1.1 million first-year commitment from IBM; $7 million to be raised by the Clemson University Foundation to purchase land.

The campus will be built on 400 acres of prime Greenville, S.C., property that fronts Interstate 85 halfway between Charlotte, N.C. and Atlanta, Ga., a corridor that is home to two-thirds of the nation's motorsports racing teams. There already are 200 automotive-related businesses in South Carolina and another 114 automotive industry suppliers located in the Palmetto State.

"The campus will serve the state's existing automotive industry cluster and help attract new ones by bringing together a graduate program that can provide a highly educated workforce and research expertise with testing facilities not available in the United States," said Chris Przirembel, Clemson's vice president for research. "This project could help South Carolina become the focal point of the nation's automotive economic cluster."





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