News Archive

Week of Mar. 24, 2004

West Pelzer’s Turner to continue on council
Austin announces run for council seat
Local resident 911 operator takes call from missing boy
GWBA plans egg hunt
Battle of Anderson County highlights historical skirmish
Pelzer leadership remains unchanged


West Pelzer’s Turner to continue on council


West Pelzer Councilman Joe Turner issued a statement this week in response to a recent statement given by Mayor Peggy Paxton. After the town council meeting on March 9, Paxton read a statement in which she asked for Turner’s resignation from the council and explained the reasons for her request.

“I will not resign,” Turner responded. “The citizens gave me the honor to serve on the council, and I will continue to serve as long as they let me,” he added.

“My family and I have lived here for 26 years, and I would not say anything against anyone in the town. Just because I don’t agree with everything put before me doesn’t mean I’m not going to voice my opinion. I’m not a ‘yes man’ and never will be,” he continued.

Paxton stated that Turner had attended only four meetings during her eight months as mayor. Turner stated that he was in the hospital during two of those meetings and was under doctor’s orders to stay inside at the time of another meeting. A fourth meeting was missed when he went to the beach with his son during senior week, Turner explained.

“I called the Town Hall each time I did not attend a meeting. The town could call me to give input,” Turner said.

“My integrity has also been attacked, and I’m tired of having to defend myself and my family. If any citizens have any questions or comments, they may call me at 947-6695,” Turner concluded.

Austin announces run for council seat

Bob Austin officially announced Thursday that he will seek the Anderson County Council District 7 seat currently held by Cindy Wilson.

Austin who opposed Wilson in the last race for the seat was only “seven votes short” in capturing the Republican nomination in 2002. Citing a “low turnout” in the last primary election, Austin hopes to get more voters – especially younger voters - out for this election.

Speaking to a group of about 30 supporters at the Williamston Municipal Center, Austin stated that his “civic passion” and his love for the community were driving forces in his candidacy.

Austin used words from a favorite quotation to emphasize his point. “You make a living by what you take out of the community, but you make a life by what you put back into the community,” he stated.

Operating a dental practice in Anderson and Williamston for 19 years, Austin feels that he can bring a business perspective to county council especially concerning budgets and fiscal matters. “I’m all about checks and balances,” Austin emphasizes.

Austin also points to his four years experience in the U. S. Air Force as a time that built his self-confidence, organizational skills and patriotism.

Austin says that his highest priority will be “to balance our need for jobs and increased economic development with a desire to maintain the beauty that makes our district a great place to live.”

“There’s a right way and a wrong way to get things done,” Austin says. Austin hopes to remove the current “negativity” and “work with and through people” to get things done.

Austin has been an active volunteer and leader with Keep America Beautiful of Anderson County and the Anderson Free Clinic. He is the father of three children and is married to the former Kristi Jacks of Williamston.

Appell joins sheriff’s race

Bob Appell recently announced his candidacy as a Democrat for the office of Sheriff of Anderson County.

“Our citizens are being deprived of quality law enforcement &ldots; I can no longer sit by passively and watch as citizens of Anderson County are misled into believing that they are receiving the best protection &ldots; in the most economical manner,” Appell says.

“The Sheriff’s Office must be held accountable for the taxpayer dollars it receives and spend &ldots; in a manner that minimizes costs while maximizing public safety,” Appell adds.

Appell moved from New York to the upstate in 1994 and worked as a police officer with the city of Greer before beginning work as a deputy in Anderson County in 1997.

Appell worked with the Sheriff’s Department for five years until November 2003 when he resigned in order to run for office.

Current Sheriff Gene Taylor “brought the agency out of the dark ages” according to Appell. Yet Appell would “do more with less” by restructuring work schedules and shift assignments, decreasing administrative positions and increasing deputy manpower with no tax increases.

The manpower coverage in the northeast corner of the county has not kept up with the growth and the tax base, according to Appell. He would put more deputies on the road for quicker response times.

With 20 years of experience in business as well as law enforcement, the 48-year-old Appell describes himself as a “fair but firm, hard-working, detail-oriented” administrator who expects employees to do the best job they can.

Good lines of communication must be established between citizens and the Sheriff’s Office, Appell says.

He plans a Community Oriented Police Enforcement (COPE) team as a first step to making the Sheriff’s Office a proactive agency rather than a reactive one. The COPE team would work directly with citizens to assess the needs of the community and research ways to solve problems and lessen concerns.

Appell is also concerned that the issue of criminal domestic violence is not taken seriously in Anderson County which is ranked 8th in the state in number of incidents.

The county could take advantage of grant money to address the problem and help reduce occurrences, Appell says.

Appell feels that his experience and education make him “the right man at the right time.”

Supporters can attend a fundraising/support meeting for  Appell on Sunday March 28 at 3 p.m. at Anderson’s Coach House Restaurant, 127 E. Shockley Ferry Rd., across from Watson Village Shopping Center.

For more information on Appell and his platform, visit the candidate’s website at or contact him at 864-844-2142.


Local resident 911 operator takes call from missing boy

When Anderson County 911 operator Julia Nichols answered an emergency call Tuesday morning and realized she was talking to missing 7-year-old Hunter Allen Thompson, she said she thought to herself, “I’m talking to a miracle.”

Nichols, a Williamston resident, took the call at 10:10 a.m. Tuesday, from Thompson that alerted authorities he was at the Winn Dixie grocery store on Greenville St. in Anderson.

Nichols said the boy sounded “real grave” when he called 911 after his abductor left him at the Anderson grocery store. Though details of the call have not been released, Nichols said he gave her a description of the suspect and the vehicle. “He is a very smart little fellow,” Nichols said. “I couldn’t believe it was him.”

Nichols said she is proud to be a part of the 911 system that is usually the first agency involved in an emergency situation.

“We start with the information and then notify law enforcement, fire or emergency personnel,” Nichols said.

 “911 starts the whole process,” according to Nichols. “I was excited that I got him,” she said. “There was a lot of celebrating last night, a lot of rejoicing and gratefulness that he was safe.”

Thompson was reported missing at 8:20 p.m. Monday, after he could not be found in the K-Mart store he was shopping in with his parents, Troy and Debbie Thompson.

After it was determined that the incident met the criteria, it was placed on the Amber Alert system. Amber Alert stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.

The nationwide Amber Alert system in South Carolina issued a notice on the abduction at 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, according to the State Law Enforcement division’s intelligence and missing person information center.

It was the county’s first and only the third issued from the state of South Carolina in the history of the system, which began in 1996.

To meet the criteria, officers must believe the child has been abducted and all other possibilities for the disappearance must be eliminated.

The child must be 16-years-old or younger and in serious danger of being hurt or killed. If the person is 17 or older, there must be an immediate danger because of a physical or mental disability.

Also there must be sufficient information to give to the public to assist in locating the missing person.

Before issuing the alert, officers closed Kmart and brought dogs in to search the store.

According to a Sheriffs Office news release, Hunter walked into the Winn-Dixie at 1520 E. Greenville St. shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday and was recognized by employees who called 911.

Reports state he was taken to Anderson area Medical Center for evaluation.

Authorities are looking for a white male, approximately 5’10” weighing 240 lbs. with a large belly, short brown hair, gray short sleeve shirt, possibly a T-shirt, blue jeans and white tennis shoes.

The vehicle is described as possibly white or light colored 4 door with gray interior which was last seen in the Greenville St./Hwy. 81 area.

The Sheriff’s Office is actively investigating the case along with SLED and the FBI. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (864) 260-4400.

GWBA plans egg hunt

The Greater Williamston Business Association will sponsor its annual Easter Egg Hunt for ages 10 and under on Saturday April 3 in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park. Rain date for the event will be April 10.

Ages and time schedules are as follows: under three - 9:30 a.m., ages four and five - 10 a.m., ages six and seven - 10:30 a.m., and ages eight to ten - 11 a.m.

Drawings for prizes and grand prizes will be held for each age group. At the conclusion of the last hunt, a drawing for a playhouse constructed by students at the Career and Technology Center will be held.

Battle of Anderson County highlights historical skirmish

A taste of history comes to the local area this weekend with the second annual re-enactment of the Battle of Anderson County. The event is inspired by the last Civil War skirmish between the organized forces east of the Mississippi which took place in Anderson County between Belton and Williamston in May 1865.

A special Education/Student Day will be held Friday with tours and demonstrations planned for student groups throughout the day.

Camps will open to the public at 9 a.m. Saturday with a battalion drill and living history demonstrations planned for 10 a.m.

Visitors will have an opportunity to observe an actual wedding ceremony at noon which will be performed in true 1860s tradition.

The re-enactment of the battle between Citadel cadets and Stoneman’s Raiders will occur at 3 p.m. and will be presented by the Butler Guard and the Hampton Legion and sponsored by Camp #43, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Saturday night features two performances of the play “War Comes to the Home Front” at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Camps open to the public again at 9 a.m. on Sunday with a true 1800s church service planned for 10 a.m. Battalion drills and living history demonstrations will follow at 11 a.m. with another battle re-enactment planned for 2 p.m.

Adult admission is $5 with a $2 admission charge for children age six and older to the events on Saturday and Sunday.

Admission for the play on Saturday night is $5. Profits from the event will be used to restore and mark graves of Confederate veterans.

All events will occur 10 miles east of Anderson just off Hwy. 185 on Troy Murdock Road between Belton and Honea Path. Signs will be posted to guide visitors to the location.

The event recreates the skirmish which is reputed to have taken place somewhere in eastern Anderson County.

A historical marker located in  Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park states that on May 1, 1865, cadets from the Arsenal Academy at Columbia, under Capt. John Peyre Thomas, who were en route from Greenville to Newberry to be disbanded, met a band of Stoneman’s raiders near here in one of the last engagements of the war, which had begun in Charleston harbor with shots fired from a post manned by cadets from the Citadel Academy.

Some historians claim the engagement occurred near Shiloh Methodist Church in Piedmont, which is located in the Williamston Township of Anderson County. There is also a historical marker in that area commemorating the event.

Pelzer leadership remains unchanged

The Town of Pelzer will see no changes in leadership according to unofficial results of a new election held Tuesday.

Forty of the town’s 57 registered voters cast votes in the special election with unofficial results showing that incumbent Page Henderson received 21 votes while political newcomer Kenneth Davis received 19 votes for the office of mayor.

Council results showed that incumbent Steve McGregor received 33 votes, incumbent Betty Edens received 23 votes, and newcomer Tony Riddle received 27 votes. Terry Mitchell received 17 write-in votes to capture the fourth seat and to continue to serve on the council.

Election results will be certified and finalized according to standard procedure by the county Voter Registration office later this week.

The special election in the town came after results of the November election were overturned as a result of two protest hearings which challenged the election results due to irregularities in the election process.

November 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 the Department of Justice reviewed the issue








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