News Archive

(1005) Week of Mar. 9, 2005

Week of Mar. 9, 2005

Committee finalizes proposed student attendance lines for Greenville County Schools

County in minority on private hauler tipping fees
Project inspection cites numerous permit violations on Beaverdam sewer project
Judge sides with Wilson on public information, for now
West Pelzer requests help from County
Council approves use of property for soccer fields
Freshman Academy concept presented to school principals
Survivors Gym hosts national powerlifting event
Bricks dropped from bridge onto vehicle
Group CPR training breaks state record
Smokehouse BBQ opens in Piedmont

Committee finalizes proposed student attendance lines for Greenville County Schools

The Greenville County Schools Student Assignment Advisory Committee recently completed the final review of student school attendance lines and will present recommendations to School Superintendent Phinnize J. Fisher.

Fisher will in turn review the recommendations before ultimately presenting them to the School Board for final approval.

Committee recommendations for the Hillcrest/Woodmont area reassignments are as follows, by subdivision:

Editor’s note The assigned elementary school is listed; in each case, both middle school and high school students are assigned to Woodmont from the listed subdivisions. Exceptions to that rule will appear at the end of each section.

Asherdale, Ellen Woodside EW; Athelone, Greenview; Autumn Woods, Fork Shoals FS; Baywood Place, Sue Cleveland SC; Beechwood Farms, SC, Brandy Court, EW;  Brentmoor, FS; The Brooks at Autumn Woods, FS; Buckfield Woods FS; Cannon Estates,  FS; Canterbury, EW; Carolina Hills, Robert E. Cashion (REC); Carrington at Georgia Road,EW; Cedar Creek Ranch,EW; Cedar Glen, EW; Cedar Summit, FS: Chesterfield Estates, SC; Chevy Chase Trl.Park, EW; Collins Trl. Park, SC; Country Air, EW; Country Walk, FS; Deer Creek, FS; Deer Forest, EW.

Exceptions: Students from Athelone subdivision will be assigned to Berea Middle School and Woodmont High, while students from Buckfield Woods will be assigned to Woodmont MS and Hillcrest High.

Other assignment changes are: Dobbins Ridge, FS; Ellen Woodside, EW; Estes Crossing, SC; Fairbrooke, FS; Fairview Chase, FS; Fairview Meadows, FS; Finley Farms,EW; Forest Oaks, EW; Forrest Springs, SC; Fox Trace, EW, Garrison Pines, EW; Garrison Woods, FS; Golden Grove, SC; Griswold Lane, SC; Idlewild, REC; Irish Oaks, FS; Irish Place, FS; Jenkins Estate, FS: Joy Cox Project, FS; Kent Gault MHP, EW; Kentwood, EW; Kimberly Hills, EW; Kingswood  I & II, SC; Lattimer Mill Acres, FS; Laurel Trace, SC; Leafmore Woods, EW; McKelvey Farms, FS; Meadow Ridge, REC; Mill Creek Estates, EW; Morning Mist Farm, EW.

Reassignments also affect: Oakhill Airpark, EW; Owen’s Meadow, SC; Piedmont Estates, SC; Piedmont Farms Two, SC; Pine Shadows, SC; Pinson Place, EW; Ray Carr Farms, EW; Reedy Fork Estates, REC; Remington, EW; Remington  Fields, EW; River Ridge, REC; River Shoals, EW; The Shoals, EW; South Fairview Estates, FS; South Forty, SC; South Park, SC; Southpark, SC; South Lake, FS; Sprouse Farm, FS; Sprouse Lane ,FS; Summer Green, EW; Summer Stream, EW; Three Oaks, FS; Trollingwood , EW; Verdmont, FS;  The Village, EW; Weatherstone, FS; Willow Valley, FS; Winterwood, SC; Woodhaven, REC; Woodmont Acres, SC; Woodmont Estates, EW.

Exception: Oak Mount Lots 9-79 & 90-103 only will attend Fork Shoals Elementary and Woodmont MS &HS.

The current assignments will be in force only through the 2006-2007 school year and are subject to change yearly.

For more information, go to the Greenville County School District website at

County in minority on private hauler tipping fees

By Stan Welch

   Despite its self-proclaimed status as “an oddity” due to the decision not to charge private waste haulers a tipping fee, Anderson County apparently has no intentions of changing that business arrangement in the near future. 

Vic Carpenter, head of the Environmental Services Department for Anderson County, stated that new County Council member Michael Thompson had been familiarizing himself with the department’s operations when the study came up.

Apparently, one particular point of interest was the fact that the county does not charge private haulers a tipping fee at the landfill. “That definitely seemed to get his attention,” said Carpenter.

Carpenter recently conducted an annual survey of 21 counties; 19 in South Carolina and two in Georgia for a comparison of practices.

Carpenter’s report states that counties which charge haulers either a franchise fee or a tipping fee generally are able to charge the taxpayers lower fees for solid waste disposal.

Anderson County currently charges a fee of $40 per household for garbage disposal.

Carpenter’s study, based on communications with various counties, review of DHEC documents, and consultations with various industry experts, indicates that counties which do charge a tipping fee experience either a minimal or no resulting increase in costs to the taxpayer.

According to the study, Anderson County has the lowest tipping fee of any urban county in the state.

At the same time, it pays both Allied Industries, which owns the Anderson Regional Landfill, as well as Allied subsidiary Carolina Container Corporation, monthly fees for the transport and disposal of solid waste.

For example, fees reflected in recent general ledger reports indicate a payment of $32,431.01 for disposal fees and $59,540.00 for a service contract; both payments were made on December 1, 2004 to Container Corporation.

Another ledger entry reflects a payment of $88,863.53 for disposal fees in January of 2005.

While Carpenter states that Anderson County  pays approximately $1.4 million a year in fees, the total of those three payments is approximately $180,000 in a one month period, or approximately $2.2 million if projected over 12 months.

 Of the approximately 200,000 tons of solid waste generated in Anderson County each year, approximately one-third of it, or 65-70,000 tons is transported by private haulers, while commercial haulers and county convenience centers account for approximately the other two thirds.

Several of the higher tipping fee charges levied by counties around the state include $59.50 per ton  (Charleston. Co.), $38.50 per ton (Oconee Co.), $35.00 per ton (Pickens Co.), $43.00 per ton (Beaufort Co.) and $47 per ton  (Spartanburg Co.)

There are approximately 40 private garbage haulers operating in Anderson County, according to Carpenter’s figures.

His report concludes “. . .and in response to Mr. Thompson’s request, it would appear that Anderson is a significant minority in allowing its private haulers to dump garbage at no cost to them.”

Project inspection cites numerous permit violations on Beaverdam sewer project

By Stan Welch

A recent inspection of the Beaverdam sewer project by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has resulted in a strongly worded report to the U. S. Corps of Engineers, citing numerous and significant violations of the Nationwide Permit 12 streamlined permitting process, which allowed the project to be conducted under  less stringent regulation than the individual permitting process.

 As reported in last week’s issue of The Journal, District 7 Councilwoman Cindy Wilson requested the inspection and accompanied the federal wildlife official on a walking tour of  the project, including phases 1A, 1B, and Phase 2.

Wilson has long opposed the project, even participating in a legal challenge by area property owners.

Wilson has also sent a memo to U. S. Senator Jim DeMint requesting a thorough investigation into the project.

She asserts that DHEC has failed in its regulatory and enforcement duties and has alleged that certain documents included in the NWP 12 permitting process were falsified in order to qualify for the more lenient process.

She did so again in reporting to Council on the federal report, when she scolded the other Council members for their lack of support in her quest for a review of the project.

“If you still doubt that this isn’t being done right, ride over to Jones’ Creek Bridge on Shackleburg Road. It’s a no brainer. The damage is incredible,” said Wilson, during the portion of the meeting reserved for Council members’ comments.

“At every juncture of this process, you have pitched fits at me and told me to be quiet. At every opportunity, you took the County Administrator’s word for what was happening. In some ways, I wouldn’t blame you, except for the fact that none of you would even go look for yourselves.

This situation could have been rectified any number of times. I’m sure your mothers and fathers told you the same thing mine told me. Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time. Going back and doing this right is going to cost a lot of money.”

 The report, e-mailed to local COE representative Les Parker, stated that is was “glaringly apparent that the completed work did not adhere to General Condition 3 (and others), as best management practices were nonexistent over the vast majority of the project. . .”, according to Mark Caldwell, wildlife biologist for the USFWS.

The result of that non-compliance, according to the report, was significant sedimentation in the adjacent creek and wetlands, resulting in the creek itself being “severely incised in many locations.”

The creek bed has also been covered with adjacent upland runoff. Downstream areas fared little better, according to the report, due to the lack of sediment and runoff controls, according to Caldwell’s report.

The report also refers to adjacent tracts of private property that have “been negatively impacted through flooding and erosion.”

Caldwell goes on to state that he believes that general permitting conditions concerning use of equipment in wetlands, mitigation, avoidance and minimization of impacts, management of waterflows, creation of impoundments, temporary fill removal, and fill within the 100 year flood plain have all been violated.

Regional conditions, numbers 1-4, 11, and 19-21 are also listed as having been ignored; and Caldwell mentions other conditions he questions, but concedes he does not have the proper documentation to support his suspicions at this time.

He does, however, request, on behalf of the USFWS, that the COE “take necessary steps to ensure restoration of habitat destroyed or damaged by the completed project and require mitigation for impacted areas. If necessary and possible the Service feels the applicant should reapply under a COE Individual Permit for the entire to allow a thorough review by the resource agencies of  South Carolina.”

Ironically, the media packet sent out by the Clerk of Council for the March 8 meeting included a letter from the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce, applauding the County Council and the administration for the “foresight and long range vision displayed . .  in their support of the Anderson County Sewer Program.”

The letter refers to the sewer system as a “tool for economic growth and development in Anderson County by allowing the County to tie land use planning with wastewater infrastructure development.”

Judge sides with Wilson on public information, for now

By Stan Welch

   A judge in the Court of Common Pleas has denied Anderson County’s attempt to end  County  Council District 7 Representative Cindy Wilson’s efforts to force the release of information which she considers public, and which County Administrator Joey Preston considers privileged.

 Judge J.C. Nicholson, Jr. Wednesday denied the County’s motion to dismiss Wilson’s motion for a writ of mandamus, which would effectively force the release of information concerning the County’s legal fees, information known as the legal narrative, which describes the specific actions of the attorneys on any given case.

Attorney Randy Moody argued on behalf of the County that the court had no jurisdiction in the matter due to the provisions of the Home Rule Act, which gives the county the authority to govern itself.

Wilson had sought the release of the information in a series of letters to Preston, beginning in 2003. Preston had responded by claiming that the County Council has client attorney privilege, and had declined to release the information as a body.

Lacking that instruction by the Council, Preston refused to provide it to Wilson. Moody supported that argument, saying that the Council had repeatedly refused, by a vote of 6-1 to instruct Preston to release the information.

Judge Nicholson, Jr. questioned that argument, asking if Wilson, who he said had 1/7th interest in any such client’ attorney privilege, had to assemble the entire council whenever she wanted to see legal information.

Moody said that the County’s position was that she would. Judge Nicholson agreed that the potential publishing or sharing of the information with a third party would put a different spin on the question. He added, however, that a restraining order instructing Wilson not to publish the information could address that issue.

Moody deferred, saying that if the order were ignored, the County would have no remedy.

 “Oh, I have a remedy. It’s called a contempt of court order,” replied the judge. “I certainly have a remedy available.”

When Wilson’s attorney Jay Bender presented his argument, he quickly attacked the County’s claim of separation of powers under the Home Rule act.

“The defendant (Preston) claims co-equal status, but such status clearly refers to governmental bodies, not a hired hand. Mr. Preston is hired help and the question is how will the hired help respond when one of his seven bosses requests something of him?”

At that point the judge interrupted him to say that he wasn’t very impressed by the separation of powers argument, either.

“I am concerned with whether or not a writ of mandamus is the proper vehicle to pursue this case,” said the judge. “Why don’t we save some time and you focus on that question?”

Bender did so, pointing out that the four conditions for seeking a writ of mandamus were clearly present in the complaint.

“It is clearly Mr. Preston’s duty to provide financial information to the council. It is clear that his duties are ministerial, that is, not discretionary but required by law. It is also established that a public official has a specific legal right to require the duty to be performed. How can a member of a governing council perform their duties if they have no access to financial information on a timely basis? And lastly, there is no other legal remedy available, except for the writ.”

Moody sought to have Preston removed as a party to the action, saying that County Council had legislatively approved his performance. The effort failed.

Moody also argued that the involvement of Council and the opportunity for it to direct Preston to comply offered another legal remedy.

Bender conceded that might be so, but it should be argued at the next stage of the proceedings.

“Your Honor, I don’t ’ see how that can be determined just on the face of the complaint,” said Bender. Judge Nicholson apparently agreed, and ordered the case to go forward.

 That will include an amended complaint seeking the release of general ledger information, both on a regular basis, via the weekly GLR110 documents, as well as the periodic GLR153 documents.

In the meantime, Judge Nicholson instructed the County to release no legal narrative information until the issue of client/attorney privilege is settled.

A key point in that issue centers on Wilson’s previous involvement as a landowner in a legal action brought in opposition to the Beaverdam sewer project.

Judge Nicholson made it clear that that situation was unique, and clearly the privilege is  established.

“Clearly, the adversarial position of the plaintiff  (Wilson) to the County in the matter of the Beaverdam lawsuit would preclude any release of narrative information in that case,” said Judge Nicholson.

County hears requests from West Pelzer mayor

By Stan Welch

Anderson County Council’s drive to move a good part of public comment to the end of the meetings came to fruition with third reading approval of the ordinance Tuesday night, March 9.

With the approval, citizens wishing to speak about non-agenda items will have to wait until late into the agenda, after the administrator’s report. The vote was 5-2,with Council members Michael Thompson and Cindy Wilson opposing.

Another issue concerning restriction of speech was addressed  by Council as well. Chairperson  Gracie Floyd’s first words to the Council were an admonition to speak directly into the microphones which each member has in front of them. There have been allegations that County Administrator Joey Preston or some other power has been manipulating the broadcasts of the Council meetings to prevent certain information from being heard.

During the public input portion of the meeting, Tim Williams spoke about his concerns, which he also raised at last week’s meeting.

“The part of the meeting where I accused Joey Preston of cutting out what he doesn’t want to be heard was cut out. Ms. Wilson was cut out while she was trying to get some numbers on the record,” said Williams, a former county employee.

The camera operator, an independent contractor who tapes the meetings for Charter told The Journal after the meeting that he and other technicians had spent two hours earlier Tuesday adjusting sound levels on all the microphones.

“The only problem is that the sound feeds through the county’s system, so I can’t be sure how it sounds until I view the tape later,” he said. Sound quality in the Council chamber itself was noticeably improved.

Councilwoman Cindy Wilson made a brief presentation concerning District 7’s financial needs. She reiterated her position that the district, which includes four municipalities, three school districts and several fire departments and rescue squads, is in a unique position.

“We have seen our paving funds reduced by $43,000 over the last two years. The municipal roads have been deleted. We have many needs, but we also have about 22,000 of the nicest, hardest working people you’ll ever meet, and they pay taxes, too,” she said.

Wilson went on to list several funding needs facing towns and other bodies in her district.

Requests include: $50,000 in matching funds to obtain a grant for Pelzer; Honea Path needs matching funds for grants involving both sewer programs and the fire department. Williamston needs $100,000; $50,000 for sewer works and 50,000 to complete a soccer and park facility started by the County and the Friendship Fire Dept. needs $30,000.

West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton was on hand to present what she called her Christmas list in person.

Wilson asked that the various projects listed be factored into the upcoming budget process. She also asked that Vic Carpenter, director of environmental services, loan the county’s ground penetrating radar to West Pelzer for use in locating their waterlines.

The town, along with Pelzer, will be hooking on to Western Carolina Water Authority’s lines.

“We need to locate all our lines so we aren’t paying for water we’re not using,” said Mayor Paxton. Wilson also asked if the Sheriff could loan some meth lab equipment to West Pelzer Chief Bernard Wilson, who recently received state training in meth lab detection and disassembly.

Chairperson Floyd stressed that Wilson should address her requests to County Administrator Joey Preston, who is currently out of town,

She then left the meeting early, due to a conflict of schedule. Tuesday night’s meeting was held out of synch with the usual bi-weekly schedule because several members have a trip scheduled for next week.

Tommy Thompson, director of Emergency Services gave a presentation on his department, stressing the training and quality of personnel in the various divisions, such as the Park Police and the Hazmat team.

He stressed that the county is well respected across the state and nation, with several of its burgeoning programs serving as models for other agencies and departments. He pointed to the extension of contracts with all EMS services providers with “absolutely no increase in cost to the taxpayers” as a major accomplishment.  “We are equally prepared to fight either a tornado or Osama bin Laden,” said Thompson.

Assistant County Administrator Michael Cunningham, filled in for Preston who is in Washington, DC attending a two week class on homeland security.

Cunningham responded to several of Wilson’s concerns from the previous week, explaining several items from the general ledger reports, which she had questioned.

Speaking calmly and clearly, he acknowledged the needs of several of the towns in Wilson’s district and thanked Mayor Paxton for coming. But he pointed out that there are many needs within the county.

“We try to work with everyone the best we can, but everyone has needs,” he said.

Cunningham also reported to Council that the staff was looking into several issues raised by a recent article in The Journal concerning the Beaverdam sewer project. (See related story in this issue of The Journal.) He also explained that paving funds are allocated according to a formula approved by Council.

Vice Chairman Larry Greer, in the members’ comments at the end of the meeting, took offense with a newspaper article (he did not identify the newspaper) which he said had intimated that the County Council had failed to adequately fund the Anderson County fire system. He pointed out that such a claim was erroneous, because County Council has no authority to fund that system.

“The fire system is funded by a 6 mil tax levy. To say this Council has failed to fund it is simply wrong. It is also erroneous to hint that the system is inadequate. The last time I checked, our system was ranked fifth in the nation in terms of equipment, and seventh in terms of personnel. That’s hardly inadequate by any measure,” Greer said.

West Pelzer requests help from County

By Stan Welch

 West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton, accompanied by Police Chief Bernard Wilson, went shopping Tuesday night at the Anderson County Council’s meeting. It turned out to be window shopping, at least for now. The Mayor, however, remains optimistic.

“I appreciate all the work the County does and all the resources they offer. I think they will work very hard to find ways to help us meet our needs.”

   Paxton appeared before County Council to ask for several forms of assistance, including the most important item, $21,000 in matching funds for a $50,000 grant to be used in upgrading more than three miles of water lines within the city. The total match amount is $50,000, but District 7 Councilwoman Cindy Wilson managed to obtain $29,000 in paving funds in recent weeks after a bitter struggle with Council which saw the appropriation approved by a vote of 3-0-4,with four members abstaining. “This is absolutely the single most important request that we have,” Mayor Paxton told the Council. “It is crucial that we upgrade these lines.”

   Of related importance is a request for $10,000 for an upgrade of the utility billing system. “In order to be efficient or even competent in our billing, we must have a new and effective software package to do our billing,” said the Mayor. She also requested an additional $10,000 to purchase ground penetrating radar equipment to be used in locating old existing, and possibly leaking, water lines in both Pelzer and West Pelzer. “When we hook onto Western Carolina’s water lines we need to know where all the water is going. “We will be responsible for all water filtering the sewer system . . . any unnecessary charges to our citizens would not be ideal,” said the Mayor in a letter presented to Council. 

She also requested $3500 for a pump at a lift station in the sewer system, and an additional $3500 for an asphalt roller. “We would be happy to help out with manpower, if we just had the roller. Then the County wouldn’t have to tie up their employees,” she said, speaking to Council.

Repairs to a sewer machine used to service lines would cost an additional $5000, but the equipment is also used in Pelzer, as well. Police Chief Bernard Wilson recently completed a state course in meth lab detection and disassembly, and the town requested $6000 to purchase the necessary equipment. She cited the danger to both law enforcement personnel and to the public. A final request involved the purchase of a used dump truck, also to be shared by both Pelzer and West Pelzer.

 “This isn’t an urgent need compared to some of the others, but it would certainly be handy not to have to borrow Williamston’s,” said the Mayor.

She explained that the town’s high percentage of both lower income as well as elderly citizens places a financial strain on the town’s resources. The total shopping list came to $59,000, an Paxton said.

“It doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but these things would be so useful to us in our towns. We would really appreciate anything the County can do to help us on these matters,” she said.

Council approves use of property for soccer fields

During their regular monthly meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council unanimously approved second reading on two ordinances and officially authorized the use of property in the center of Town to be used for soccer fields.

Council approved an ordinance authorizing Hugh Durham and Associates of Anderson to sell the Cherokee Road property by public auction.

During a work session held prior to the regular meeting, Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy said a property line adjacent to property of Walt Smith may have to be resurveyed before the property is sold.

Clardy said there is a question about points on the property line. He  also said questions remain concerning sewer lines  on the property and sewer capacity in the town’s lines that would serve the area.

During the regular meeting, Town Attorney Richard Thompson told Council the deed on the property will be a limited warranty deed covering only the time period during which the town owned the property.

Mayor Clardy said Hugh Durham will present a package to Council with a suggested selling price and selling points before the property is advertised.

Council members have discussed the 21.5 acres of property located on Cherokee Road several times since July 2004 when it was proposed by Mayor Clardy to use proceeds from the sale to repay a portion of a $350,000 Bond Anticipation Note.

The $350,000 the town borrowed on the BAN note was used to pay outstanding debt the town had accumulated and to pay the town’s delinquent health insurance and state retirement obligations.

In other action, Council unanimously approved second reading on a change in the business license ordinance regarding pool halls and arcades.

The new wording allows for the playing of pool and billiards in teen clubs under certain circumstances.

Council amended the agenda to consider a request from Palmetto Soccer Club president William Pearson asking the town to appropriate property located along Big Creek behind the Historic Depot for soccer fields.

Clardy said the town will retain ownership and oversight of the property with the soccer club maintaining the soccer league, striping the fields, maintenance and day to day operations.

New soccer fields located in the vicinity of the Mineral Spring Park, would create a recreation area in the heart of Williamston, Clardy said.

Clardy said Anderson County Council District 7 Representative Cindy Wilson has already appropriated some funds for the project.

Mayor Clardy read a letter from Pearson which states the soccer club was faced with higher fees for use of the New Hope Sports Complex and that new Williamston fields would allow the organization to keep participation fees reasonable.

Council  unanimously approved the resolution designating the property, approximately 3-4 acres, to be used for the purpose of a soccer field.

Council also heard from Barbara Levy, who asked about sidewalk repairs and pointed out problems faced by handicapped persons such as herself and others including children and joggers using the town’s sidewalks.

Levy, who gets around by powered wheelchair, asked why debris from a recent auto accident on Main St. which resulted in the sidewalk being torn up, has not been cleaned up and repaired. She also pointed out that broken glass and other debris is on the sidewalks and bridge over Big Creek.

“This is endangering my life,” Levy said.

Mayor Clardy responded that Levy was finger pointing the mayor’s office and him personally.

He also said that the sidewalk project is in the works and that it takes time when dealing with grants, SCDOT and other agencies that are involved.

Clardy said he had responded to Levy’s questions on several occassions and that “The town is doing everything we can do,” he said.

During the work session held prior to the regular meeting, Clardy told Council that the museum  committee has received an additional grant and that there is a possibility that the town may consider annexing the old Winn Dixie shopping center on Beaverdam Road into the city.

Following the 45 minute regular meeting, Council went into a lengthy executive (closed door) session to discuss personnel.

Freshman Academy concept presented to school principals

Palmetto High School Principal Dr. Mason Gary and assistant principals Brian  Couch and Jeff Boozer were recently invited to make a presentation on the Palmetto High Freshman Academy to school principals from across the nation.

The Palmetto High contingent made the presentation to approximately 120 principals during the annual conference of National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) held in San Francisco.

The presentation, titled “If Graduation Were Today...A Look at Palmetto High School's Freshman Academy," showed how Palmetto High School has managed to keep students from dropping out of high school. 

Currently, Palmetto High School has 92 percent of the first Senior Class that went through the program in 9th grade still in school and planning to graduate.

Prior to establishing the unconventional concept, Palmetto’s 9th grade retention was 64 percent, according to Gary.

The freshman academy allows  9th graders to transition to the High School environment by having them in a building separate from upperclassmen during most of the school day.

The idea of a separate area for freshmen was brought to the School District One board by Gary and his staff, and approved, leading to the first freshman academy being constructed at Palmetto High School.

The success it enjoyed led to a similar facility at Wren High, which opened last year.

Parents of 8th grade students who will be attending Palmetto High School next year are invited to tour the new Freshman Academy and meet the teachers on Parent Night.

Parent Night will be this Thursday March 10, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Palmetto High School will also hold CAPPS conferences for all current 9th-11th graders from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday.At national conference

Survivors Gym hosts national powerlifting event

If you were looking for a strong man or woman, Williamston was the place to be Saturday.

Survivors Gym hosted an American Powerlifting Association National World qualifying event which brought in powerlifters from across the nation for the “Battle of the Iron Barbarians” event.

The Survivors Strength Team which consists of 12 local members ranging from 15 to 40 years old also competed in the event.

According to Survivors Gym owner Mikki Free, the team, which originated in 2005, strives to teach younger lifters proper techniques for lifting.

The Survivors Strength Team is also a ministry, “giving all praise and honor to God for their talents and abilities,” Free said.

In addition to the discipline and committment it takes to be successful, Free said members of the team believe strongly in a well known Bible verse, Philippians 4:13.

The verse, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me,” is printed on the back of their team shirts.

“We want everyone to  know that as long as we have faith and practice our faith, anybody can achieve the dream they have,” Free said.

Free said his lifelong dream was to be a gym owner and be able to help people achieve some of their goals.

“Christ has blessed me with that opportunity and I am forever thankful and pray athat I can serve him well,” Free said.

The team includes Mikki Free, Chris Liles, Shane Smith, Steve Moore, Reggie Eller, Jason Rierson, Justin Rhodes, Bruce Glover, Rusty Lewis, Blake Sutherland, Blake Pinyan and Dereck Ihnat.

The local event was the first for the team which hopes to compete in at least two more meets this year, Free said.

He said the team is also looking for additional members who are interested in competing and hope to  do more next year.

Students from area high schools are invited to check out the activities  available through the Survivors Gym.

“Powerlifting is a wonderful sport. The comaraderie among lifters is awsome,” Free said. “ It teachers you a lot about life. It’s so much more than weight lifting.”

Free began training about 21 years ago and currently holds the S. C. Submasters 308 lb. state bench press record.

Survivors Gym recently opened at their new location at 31 Pelzer Avenue, Town Square Center, Williamston.

Bricks dropped from bridge onto vehicle

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated several incidents including one in which bricks were being dropped from an overpass onto U. S. Hwy. 29.

 M.D. Creamer and T.A. Caron responded to an incident March 3 in which  a truck driver had bricks dropped onto his vehicle causing damage and injury.

Timothy White, of Clintonville, West Virginia, reported that he was traveling north on U. S. Hwy. 29 at Beaverdam Road when he saw an object in the road under the overpass. He changed lanes to avoid it and someone dropped a cement brick off of the overpass onto his truck. The brick hit the windshield on the driver’s side and entered the cab. White suffered an eye injury due to flying glass. He reported that after he pulled over, a black two door vehicle, possibly a Firebird or Camaro, entered Highway 29 headed north and passed him at a very slow rate of speed. The officers found a brick in the truck’s cab, as well as four others in the road under the overpass. White was driving for Star Transport at the time of the incident. Damage to the truck was estimated at $1500.

Other incidents investigated include:


March 1 - W. Cunningham investigated the theft of a SC license plate, and its replacement with a previously stolen plate. James Thompson reported his tag, SC #225DNL stolen. He also reported that it had been replaced with a tag, SC#450 BGD.


Feb. 26 - R.R. Rector investigated a complaint of motor vehicle theft. Melvin Stonell, who had recently moved from 428 Pine Road in Piedmont reported the theft of a 1987 van that was left at that address. He reported that a rollback truck was used to remove the van, and that the suspect left a card with a neighbor. The card stated that the individual buys salvage automobiles, and included an address and phone numbers. None of the information was useful in contacting the suspect. The van was entered as stolen in the NCIC system.

Feb. 26 - D.R. Graham investigated a report that a yellow utility trailer was stolen from 1927 Elrod Road. The trailer was valued at $1600.

March 3 - J.J. Jacobs investigated a complaint of theft at the Executive Inn motel on McNeely Road. The manager reported that the following items were taken from a room: the mirror, the ice bucket, an ice tray, bed pad,  bed spread, and bed sheets.

March 4 - M.D. Creamer and T.A. Rabon investigated a shoplifting incident at the Pilot Travel Center on Frontage Road. Wayne Hughes of Washington, S. C. was charged with stealing an oil filter from the store. According to police reports, he admitted taking the filter, which was later found in his truck. He was driving a cold storage tractor  trailer rig for R.D. Johnson trucking from Athens GA.


March 1 - W. Cunningham and R.R. Rector responded to a complaint of kidnapping/abduction and weapons law violations incident at 103 Pine wood Drive in which Charles Michael Martin was arrested after he pulled a gun, threatened the homeowner and wouldn’t let her leave the house. Reports state she managed to call both her sister and deputies who responded. A box cutter was found on Martin’s person, as well as a rusted, empty .38 revolver under a cushion of the sofa where he had been sitting, according to reports. The gun’s model, make and serial numbers were all removed from the weapon. Martin was arrested and transported to ACDC. 


Group CPR training breaks state record

The state’s record for the most number of people trained in CPR has been broken.

On Saturday, Feb. 26, 418 people were trained in Friends and Family CPR at the Anderson Civic Center.

The record attempt, organized by AnMed Health and Anderson County, involved an instructional video followed by practicing resuscitation, chests compressions and the Heimlich maneuver.

Twenty-five CPR instructors donated their time to teach CPR to participants ranging in age from eight to their seventies.

Prior to Saturday, the state record was 259, set in 2004 in Greenville. In 2001, Anderson held the state record with 201 trainees, according to Darlene Lynch, Regional Manager/CPR Specialist for the American Heart Association.

As an incentive, the CPR record attempt offered an AED (defibrillator) to the school, church and business with the most participants.

Lakeside Middle School is the school winner for an AED; Cornerstone Assembly won on behalf of churches and the business winner has donated its AED for use next year. Each AED is worth $2,500 and are utilized when a cardiac emergency happens.

In addition to the potentially life-saving CPR training, a two-mile Walk for the Heart was held to benefit the American Heart Association. Area businesses and individuals in Anderson raised nearly $30,000. Of the $30,000, AnMed Health raised the lion’s share or nearly $20,000.

About 350 participants participated in the walk, and were led by heart disease survivors who wore red caps. Survivors Lee Luff, president of the Anderson Chamber, and Dolores Watkins, another survivor, spoke to the crowd and shared their stories.

Anderson County Council Chairwoman Gracie Floyd served as the honorary chairperson of the walk.

Smokehouse BBQ opens in Piedmont

The Smokehouse BBQ recently opened at 1413 Piedmont Plaza Highway 86 in Piedmont.

The business is owned by Ben and Matt Harnesberger and features fresh smoked pork barbecue, ribs, rotisserie chicken served with baked beans, slaw and bread.

Sandwiches and plates are available. They also offer desserts.

The business is open Wednesday through Sat. from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. They also offer catering, something the Harnesbergers have been doing for businesses and organizations for a number of years.

For more information call (864) 845-7575.






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