News Archive

Week of Mar. 10, 2004

Barry Knight named Principal of the Year
Pelzer officials to limit access to Monkey Park

West Pelzer businesses protest parking restrictions
Palmetto Middle receives Palmetto’s Finest award
Officers investigate incidents

Barry Knight named Principal of the Year

Palmetto Middle School’s Barry Knight was named S.C. Middle School Principal of the Year in an announcement at a state luncheon Friday in Columbia.

Beaming and acknowledging that the award is a highlight in his 24-year career in education, Knight admits that it is “refreshing and rewarding to be recognized” in such a way. He is quick to add that the award also recognizes the outstanding, caring staff at Palmetto Middle which makes the school unique.

“Toot your own horn,” Knight advises his staff regularly yet he seems to hesitate to take his own advice. In fact, Knight admits that Susan McAbee, one of the teachers at Palmetto Middle, actually forced him to complete the application process in order to be considered for the state award.

Beginning his career in education coaching and teaching at Wren High School in 1980, Knight was hired by Reggie Christopher who was then the principal at Wren.

Knight’s father had died just a few months before, and he admits that Christopher became somewhat of a father figure to him. Over the years, Knight says he has continued to admire Christopher and has tended to emulate his leadership style.

Knight became assistant principal at Palmetto Middle School in 1988 and moved to the position of principal in 1994. His nine years as principal have been a time of “personal and professional growth” according to Knight.

He emphasizes that he is thankful for the support from his staff, school board members, and the superintendent “for sticking with me” through some tough times.

Over the years, Knight says he has learned to be more open to input and a better listener. An accident in 1998 in a mountain bicycle race left him with a broken neck. Not knowing if he would live or be paralyzed, Knight says he heard God say, “Take time – don’t be such a hard nose.” According to Knight, the following months in a brace were his “reminder to be good.”

Knight says he could not be more proud of the “tremendous strides” of his school. Walls lined with awards and commendations testify to the accomplishments of the school and the staff.

One can only wonder what remains for the stellar school and principal. “We’ll continue to be a model for other schools and work to achieve an excellent report card rating,” Knight says.

In addition to outstanding professional support, Knight credits his family - wife Anne and sons Wes, a senior at Wren High, and Graham, a 6th grader at Wren Middle - for a great deal of personal support. “I am truly blessed,” he concludes.


Pelzer officials to limit access to Monkey Park

Pelzer officials finalized plans for limiting access to the Pelzer Park to the Highway 20 entrance only at their regular meeting Monday night.

Mayor Page Henderson reported that the town is proceeding with plans to install an 18-foot pasture-type gate near the water tank in the park. The council unanimously approved purchasing an auger for town employees to install posts on each side of the gate so that vehicles are not able to drive around the gate.

The council also voted unanimously to spend $3,000 on an engineering recommendation before beginning work on the Pelzer Gymnasium. Trehel Corporation of Clemson will develop the recommendation on structural repairs, fire protection, heating and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for the local landmark.

Town officials unanimously authorized an expenditure of $25,000 to begin repairs on the structure after the engineering recommendation is received.

According to Henderson, the town received an estimate of $10,517 to prepare the gymnasium for painting and to apply two coats of paint and an estimate of $13,500 for installing a new roof.

Henderson reported that the town is continuing with plans to contract with the Town of West Pelzer for police protection. Attorneys are seeking information on administering a court system for the town since the Town of West Pelzer would have no jurisdiction in Pelzer.

The town must also have a codification of ordinances in order to proceed with police protection. Municipal Clerk Skip Watkins reported that he had issued a check for $2,100 to Municipal Code Corporation of Orlando, Florida to begin the codification process. Officials will meet next week with representatives of the company to begin legal research and cross-referencing necessary to systematize the ordinances.

Though Henderson admitted that he was not sure of the exact cost or complexity of the project, he estimated a cost ranging from $5,000 to $18,000 to develop a set of ordinances for the town using state ordinances as a guideline.

According to officials, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department has provided some assistance in enforcing the 25 mph speed limit near Pelzer Elementary School. County officers have provided limited patrolling in the area of the school and have issued several warnings and tickets, Henderson reported.

Henderson also reported that the town talked with Misty Skipper of CSX about the “300 to 400 buckets of spikes” at a railroad crossing. According to Skipper, CSX anticipates that the railroad crossing should be cleaned up by the end of March.

Watkins reported that he had begun work on the extensive National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) reports – a waste water discharge requirement to renew permits every four years administered through the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

West Pelzer businesses protest parking restrictions

West Pelzer officials faced frustrated representatives of businesses along the town’s Main Street, who voiced their objections to recent changes in parking policy, at the regular meeting of the town council Tuesday.

New “No Parking” signs placed along a portion of the street were the result of a sequence of events which began in the September meeting of the town council.

A citizen expressed concerns at that meeting about an individual who continued to park illegally at the intersection of Spring Street and Hwy. 8. Responding to the complaint, Mayor Peggy Paxton referred the issue to Council member Terry Davis to resolve.

Davis obtained written permission from representatives of NAPA, Touch of Class and Boots & Thelma’s Restaurant to allow the extension of a “No Parking” zone at the intersection of Spring Street and Hindman Street along the main thoroughfare. Paxton then contacted the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) about conducting a traffic study of the area.

DOT personnel studied the area and posted the “No Parking” signs on February 11 much to the dismay of local business owners.

“Is taking parking off Main Street helping West Pelzer?” Pat Chandler asked. Chandler operates Boots & Thelma’s Restaurant and used the spaces in front of the business for carry-out customers or for the convenience of elderly customers.

Kathy Griffith of Touch of Class asked, “Who would buy a business in West Pelzer that has no parking?”

Lanita Driggers of Touch of Class insisted that the parking change “hurt the town terribly” and was the result of a conflict between Paxton and Mike Smith who operates Smith’s Fine Woodworking over Smith’s “big red truck” – the illegally parked vehicle which began the chain of events.

Eric Dillon, a district traffic engineer with SCDOT, was present at the meeting and explained that “the main focus of the department is safety.” However, Dillon did admit that the SCDOT technician “got a little sign-happy” in the Main Street area.

Linn Smith of Net’s Flowers expressed frustration over not being asked for her business’ input on the issue.

Other business owners reported that their businesses have been negatively affected by the signs which “do not welcome customers.”

Citizens countered that the intersection at Hindman Street and Hwy. 8 is a dangerous one and warrants attention from authorities.

“What business is it that is worth my life or the lives of my children or my grandchildren?” asked another citizen. She also suggested that restricted parking could at least be considered during heavy traffic hours.

“I apologize for what’s been done,” offered Dillon after listening to complaints from the businesses. Dillon told the group that he would review the situation, work on an alternative, and keep them advised.

In other business, Terry L. Davis presented a petition to the council signed by 65 citizens who opposed being annexed to the town. Davis said he had spoken with only three citizens who wanted to be annexed to the town. According to Davis, citizens objected to the annexation based on an increase in taxes.

Town officials had sent letters proposing annexation to 80 homeowners who live on Hindman Street, Mill Street, Holliday Street, Arthur Davis Circle, Belleview Drive, Hoyt Street and James Street and who currently receive water and/or sewer services through the town but are located outside the town limits.

A citizen asked about the amount of money in the special sewer fund for the Rural Development project. Town Clerk Wanda Sutherland reported that $20,000 had been paid to Dunn & Associates for engineering fees and that the account now contained $21,000.

Sutherland said that she began putting $1,000 – approximately half of the funds collected from billing – in the reserve sewer account each month beginning in July 2000.

The citizen said she had understood that the entire amount collected was to go into the reserve sewer account when the town began the special billing to collect funds for the project.

Officials could offer no further explanation on the issue. Paxton suggested that the council consider appointing an oversight committee to handle the sewer funds, but the council took no action on the issue.

Paxton reported that she had received several calls from citizens who were upset that the council renewed the contract for trash pickup without putting the contract out for bids. After a motion by Councilman Joe Turner at a called meeting on February 18, the council had voted unanimously to renew an annual contract with Roger Scott for the service.

After a new motion by Turner, the council voted unanimously to reconsider the issue and put the contract out for bids.

In other business, the council unanimously approved $1,530.90 to purchase a new computer from Atlantic Computers to use with the new software already purchased for the town.

Paxton reported that several trees will need to be moved in order to install the new water line. Since the homeowner requested that the trees be saved, the council unanimously authorized Paxton to spend up to $1,000 to remove and relocate the crape myrtle trees affected by the water line replacement.

Paxton circulated drawings of signs proposed for the two entrances to the town as well as one for the Town Hall and requested citizen input on the drawings.

The meeting adjourned, but Paxton requested that anyone who could remain after the meeting while she read a prepared statement addressing issues affecting the town.

Palmetto Middle receives Palmetto’s Finest award

Palmetto Middle School captured the prestigious Palmetto’s Finest award in ceremonies at the Koger Center in Columbia Tuesday night.

A group of almost 200 students, parents and faculty were on hand in Columbia to accept the award and celebrate the honor for the school.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the school has been in the top four contenders for state award for the last three years. The school is the first school in District One to receive the coveted honor.

“The award validates all that we have been doing for years to make this the excellent school that we knew it could be,” says David Armstrong, assistant principal. Armstrong credits “staying with the job over the long haul” to the school winning the award.

The school received a huge banner announcing the award which will be displayed the lobby of the school. A special school-wide event is also planned to celebrate the accomplishment.

Along with Palmetto Middle, other finalists for the middle school award included: Northside Middle in Lexington County, Riverside Middle in Greenville County, and R. H. Rollings in Dorchester County.

Officers investigate incidents

Williamton Police officers investigated the following incidents:

Mar. 9 - Caroline Smith, 232 E. Carolina St., Williamston, reported a box of checks stolen from the residence. Several incidents of forgery involving the checks, which were on a closed account, have been reported. D. Baker investigated.

Mar. 8 - John Stephen Fricks, Jr., 21, 234 Belton Farm Rd., Belton, was arrested for malicious injury to municipal property in connection with $500 in damage done to cell # 3 at Williamston Police Dept. Sgt. K. P. Evatt investigated.

Mar. 7 - John Stephen Fricks, Jr., 21, 234 Belton Farm Rd., Belton, was arrested for simple possession of marijuana, possesison of crank and outstanding warrant after being observed in a gray Lumina.  B. L. Wilson II investigated.

Mar. 6 - Gregory Richard Smith, 18, 3 Front St., Pelzer, was issued a courtesy summons for simple possession of marijuana after a red Eagle Talon was observed on Gossett St. with no tag. Reports state officers found a small marijuana roach in the ashtray and other trace amounts in the console during a search of the vehicle. B. L. Wilson II investigated.

Mar. 3 - April Antoinette Adams, 17, 219 Tripp St., Williamston, was arrested for assault and battery and disturbing school in connection with an incident involving a 16-year-old male student at Palmetto High School, 804 N. Hamilton St., Williamston. D. W. Bryant investigated.

Mar. 2 - William Derico Ferguson, 21, 307 Pinckney St., Greenville, was arrested for failure to give proper signal and driving under suspension (more than 1st) after a 1999 Malibu was observed on Prince St. turning onto Main St. without using a proper turn signal. B. L. Wilson II investigated.

 Feb. 16 - Two 17-year-old students at Palmetto High School were arrested  and charged with disturbing school after being involved in an incident occurring at Palmetto High School, 804 N. Hamilton St.  Rashunda Lanise Anderson, 17, 104 Tripp St., Williamston and April Antoinette Adams, 17, 219 Tripp St., Williamston, were arrested and suspended from school. Both were released to their mothers. A 15-year-old female was suspended for her part in the incident and released to her mother. D. W. Bryant investigated.

Feb. 20 - A 16-year-old male student was arrested and suspended from school after an incident in which he refused to go to class and became loud and disrespectful to the principal. He was released to relatives. D. W. Bryant investigated.

Feb. 17 - Two 14-year-old students were arrested for fighting and suspended from school after an incident at Palmetto High School , 804 N. Hamilton St. D. W. Bryant investigated.

Feb. 26 - Johnny Michael King. 28, 1338 Donaldson Rd., Greenville, was arrested for simple possession of marijuana after a 1988 Ford Thunderbird was observed with a paper tag. A small baggie containing approximately 5 grams of a green leafy like substance believed to be marijuana was found in the vehicle. A second person, Alan Wayne Sanders, 723 Conners Blvd., Greenville, was arrested for an outstanding warrant. D. Alexander, Sgt D. Munger investigated.

Feb. 22 - Officers observed a front window open at Martin’s Fireworks Stand, 934 Anderson Dr. The window was forced open but nothing appeared to be taken. D. L. Wilson II investigated.

Feb. 26 - Anthony Leroy Snyder, 34, 241 Longview Dr., Williamston, was arrested for failure to give a proper signal and possession of crack cocaine after a 1993 Ford was observed turning onto Washington St without using a turn signal. Reports state 2  white rocks, weighing a total of 2 grams, were found in his pockets.

Feb. 20 - Harvey Lonnie Morgan, 49, 1399 Beaverdam Rd., Williamston, was arrested for failure to give proper signal and no SC drivers license after a blue Dodge truck was observed on Academy St. turning onto Mahaffey St. without giving a proper turn signal. Sgt. D. Munger investigated.

Feb. 26 - Charles Edward Hall, 44 10 East 4th St., Williamston, was arrested for driving under suspension more than 1st and outstanding warrant after officers serving a warrant observed him drive up in a Jeep Cherokee. D. Alexander, Sgt. D. Munger investigated.

Feb. 25 - James Dwight Sullivan, 52, 106 Bigby St., Williamston, was arrested for failure to give proper signal, violation of habitual offender act and failure to accompany officers, after a 1987 Chevrolet truck was observed turning from Hamilton St. onto West Caroline St. without using a turn signal. Sgt. D. Munger, D. Alexander investigated.

Feb. 25 - Tommy Walker, 18 Austin St., Williamston, reported a rock thrown through the windshield of a 1973 C65 dump truck causing $200 in damage. Sgt. D. Munger investigated.

Feb. 19 - Billie Jo Ebe, 26, 13926 Hwy. 20, Belton, was arrested  for failure to display vehicle license, failure to surrender license and driving under suspension after a 1997 Chevrolet pickup was observed on Hwy. 20 Williamston. M. Abramson investigated.

Feb. 24 - Nicholas Chad Turner, 24, 221 B South Blvd., Anderson, was arrested for reckless driving after a Mazda was observed traveling at a high rate of speed on Greenville Dr. Sgt. K. P. Evatt investigated.

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

Feb. 17 - Dale Martin, Belmar Enterprises, 5 S. Hamilton reported $150 in damage to a window at 5 S. Hamilton St. J. T. Motes investigated.

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






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