News Archive

(1307) Week of March 28, 2007

District One to hire 17 new teachers in response to growth
Two school building projects put on hold
GWBA Easter egg hunt this Saturday
Candidates sign up for West Pelzer election
State will not accept Michellin Boulevard because of substandard work
Former Huey pilot says County sold too low
Benefit show April 7
Deputies investigate vandalism
Woodmont holds Spirit Week events
Woodmont sets cheer tryouts
Tri-county  Tec plans bluegrass show
Seems to Me . . . The old neighborhood

District One to hire 17 new teachers in response to growth

During their regular monthly meeting Tuesday, Anderson School District One Board of Trustees received a preliminary budget calendar, heard information on projected school enrollment and related funding, and decided to postpone two building additions due to high bids.

District officials are in the process of pulling together information in preparation for the new budget. The first budget work session is set for May 22.

Assistant Superintendent David Havird reported that the District will need 17.7 new teachers for the 2007-2008 school year and projected student attendance is 9,294 students.The District also plans to hire 8 full time support personnel for the coming year.

According to Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler, the 2007-2008 budget is based on projected State Education Finance Act funding of $2476 per student, an increase of $109 per student.

Additional funding will amount to approximately $1.9 million more than last year and will be used for mandated teacher salary increases which will amount to approximately $1.4 million for 590 teachers in the District. The funding will also allow the district to add the additional teachers.

Fowler said the state funds average teacher pay at $300 more than the Southeast average, currently at $31,353 for new teachers. Teachers with a masters degree can expect approximately $3000 more, he said. The projected South Carolina average teacher salary for 2008 is $45,479.

Dr. Fowler said he is hesitant to base the budget on promises from state representatives that the one percent sales tax will make up the difference in the reduction on property taxes. The operating expenses for schools will not be billed on the 2008 tax notices, he said.

“We can’t do a budget without knowing how much revenue we will get,” Dr. Fowler said. “We don’t know enough yet on ACT 388 to enlighten you yet,” Fowler told the Board.

Dr. Fowler said that based on current figures of 350 to 360 new students, the school district will receive $1.3 million.

Assistant Superintendent Havird said the District predicted 250 new students for the current year. Enrollment turned out to be 360 to 375, bringing in additional funds which will be used to add as many as 7 new teachers for next school year.

“We collected the money this year, but didn’t hire the teachers,” Dr. Fowler said.

Havird said that with capacity at Powdersville Elementary and Concrete Elementary exceeding 500 students, the district will need an additional full time guidance person, an art and a music teacher and some administration at both schools.

Wren will lose two full time and Hunt Meadows will lose four full time positions. The teachers  will be transferred to Powdersville or Concrete, he said. Wren is expected to lose approximately 70 students and Hunt Meadows approximately 110 due to the recent decision by the board to redraw the attendance lines for the schools.

Dr. Fowler reported that two District One schools took top honors at the Regional Science Fair which included Anderson, Oconee and Pickens County schools. Palmetto Middle and Palmetto High took top honor in the Junior and Senior Division school award sponsored by Duke Energy. Fifty-eight District students were recognized with gold or silver awards.

Dr. Fowler also reported that the District exceeded the national achievement in English, Math, Reading and Science on the Explore test for 8th graders. The test is a good indicator for career and major choices and in determining areas that students need greater assistance in, according to information presented. The District will add three counselors to help students focus on careers, Fowler said.

Dr. Fowler also reported that eight District One schools were recognized by the Education Oversight Committee for their steps in closing achievement gaps among students in the schools.

Schools to be recognized April 9 at the EOC meeting in Columbia include Palmetto Elementary, Cedar Grove Elementary, Pelzer Elementary, Wren Middle, West Pelzer Elementary, Spearman Elementary, Wren Elementary and Hunt Meadows Elementary.

Havird reported that the Nutritional Services program showed a monthly profit of $57,440 and a yearly profit of $263,070.

The program’s success is the result of the number of meals served and the hard work of the program employees, he said.

“They are working extremely hard. I give them great credit for doing that,” Havird said of the employees.

In other action, the board unanimously agreed to reject all bids on construction of the Palmetto High multipurpose room and the Spearman Elementary Kitchen projects after the three bids received were almost three times the estimated cost of the projects.

The Board also voted to delay requesting the EIA reallocated building funds from the State Department of Education until a later date.

The Board gave their permission for Dr. Fowler to pursue proposed improvements at Wren Middle School which are connected with a SCDOT sidewalk project for the Wren area. Cost for parking lot and other improvements is estimated to be approximately $50,000. (See separate story on Wren Middle, Palmetto and Spearman improvements) Work on the sidewalk project is expected to begin in June, according to Dr. Fowler.

Upon the recommendation of Dr. Fowler, the Board approved the following personnel:

Leave of absence - Dustin Gossett, Hunt Meadows Elementary, Kindergarten; Stacy Brooks, Spearman Elementary, Grade 4; Toby Major, Palmetto High  School, English; Beth Fisher Moore, Cedar Grove Elementary, Academic Assistance.

Recommendations - Kristen Bodiford, Palmetto High, Math; Julie Bolton, Wren High, Math; Charlotte Bryant, Palmetto High, Media Specialist; Wanda Cody, Wren Middle, Language Arts/Social Studies; Amie Davis, Wren Middle, Language Arts; Kristie Finley, Cedar Grove Elementary, Academic Assistance; Quentin Grant, Palmetto High, LD Self-Contained; Phillip Hewlet, Wren High, Spanish; Christine Lewis, Pelzer Elementary, Kindergarten; Suzannne Massey, Spearman Elementary, EMD Self-Contained; Beverly Murphy, Powdersville Middle, Math; Casey Sams, Palmetto Middle, Language Arts; Weston Scroggs, Palmetto Middle, Industrial Technology.

Administrative - Ray Callanam was named the Assistant Principal at Wren High School.

Two school building projects put on hold

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees decided Tuesday to postpone two building projects after receiving higher than expected bids. 

The high bids came as a shock to Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler and to the board, which had only last month voted to proceed with the bid process based on estimated costs. The board gave Dr. Fowler permission to pursue proposed improvements at Wren Middle School associated with a SCDOT sidewalk project for the area.

Dr. Fowler recommended the board reject all three bids that were submitted on the Palmetto High multipurpose room addition and the Spearman Primary kitchen addition after bids submitted turned out to be approximately three times the original estimated cost.

The additions were to be paid for with state EIA reallocation of funds from the Barnwell childrens’ endowment. No local funding was to be needed for the two projects.

Because of the high bids, which Dr. Fowler said could be the result of contractors having plenty of work at the present time, Fowler also recommended the board delay requesting the EIA funds from the State until a later date.

Before making the recommendation, Dr. Fowler told board members, “We don’t have this much money,” and he expressed his disappointment in the high bids.

Fowler said the money is available from the state for at least 48 months, so the delay will not affect the District’s opportunity to receive the funding.

The Palmetto High project was originally estimated at $277,000 and the Spearman project was estimated at $257,605.

A bid on the Palmetto project came in at $440,851. Bids on the Spearman project ranged from $605,788 to $658,200.

The estimated building cost was $150 to $175 per square ft. and bids came in at $275 for Palmetto and $417 for Spearman. The low bid was $969,700 for both projects.

At the recommendation of Dr. Fowler, the Board unanimously rejected the three bids.

“We will come back with another avenue at a later time to fund these,” Dr. Fowler said.

The board did agree to allow Dr. Fowler to look into proposed improvements at Wren Middle School, which will be made in addition to a sidewalk improvement project planned for the Wren area.

The additions are estimated to cost approximately $50,000, which will come from School District funding, Dr. Fowler said.

 Improvements include taking out the fence, grading in front of the school, lanscaping, moving a flag pole, constructing a median to separate drive area from parking, and additional paving.

Some trees will be removed and 21 parking spots added, according to Dr. Fowler.

The parking area, once used for buses, will be reworked and restripped to allow “stacking” of cars, according to Fowler.

A circle will be added to Wiggington Road which will allow more vehicles onto the school property and out of the road, Fowler said.

The project includes sealing the asphalt on the parking area and two dumpster pads at the school.

Fowler said funding could come from some maintenance accounts or the general fund.

“The main thing is the children will be safer,” he said of the project.

The sidewalk improvement project is to be funded through a SCDOT transportation enhancement grant which was approved in 2004.

The funding has recently become available for the project which is a joint project for  District One, Anderson County and SCDOT.

In addition to new sidewalks being added from Canes Corner to Wren High School, and to the football stadium and parking area, the project includes sidewalks at Hurricane Springs Park to Wren Middle School. Some crosswalks will also be added at key crossing areas.

The proposed improvements at Wren Middle School were added by SCDOT and County engineers to the overall plans at the request of Superintendent Fowler.

GWBA Easter egg hunt this Saturday

The Greater Williamston Business Association will sponsor the annual Easter Egg Hunt for ages 10 and under on Saturday, March 31, in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park.

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 will be held for a grand prize, a $100 gift certificate from Toys “R” Us.

Dr. Marion Williams, who heads the project for the GWBA, stated that the event is held each year for the kids and is not for profit.  The event will include face painting, balloons and pictures with the Easter Bunny.

In case of inclement weather, the rain date for the event will be the following Saturday, Apr. 7.

Candidates sign up for West Pelzer election

The slate of candidates for the upcoming municipal elections in West Pelzer is set. Registration ended at noon on March 22. 

 The mayoral election promises to be heated with incumbent Peggy Paxton seeking reelection, while current Council member Maida Kelly has decided to seek the Mayor’s job as well. Kelly surrendered her seat on Council in order to run for mayor. If she loses the election, she will no longer be a part of the Town’s government.

David Simmons, a local business owner, has also signed up to run for mayor.

Current Councilman Pete Davis, who ran for the seat vacated by the death of Terry Davis during the last term, did not sign up for a full term. Four candidates, including former mayor Bill Alexander, have signed up for the two open seats on Council. In addition to Alexander, Michael Moran, Randall Ledford, and James Jeans have registered. The two top vote getters will win the seats. The elections will be held on June 5, 2007.

State will not accept Michellin Boulevard because of substandard work

By Stan Welch

Despite repeated attempts by Anderson County to place Michelin Boulevard under South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) supervision, the state continues to resist accepting the road.

The DOT’s reasoning is simple. The road fails, and fails miserably according to one engineer, to meet the state standards for roads. The thickness of the road is more than twenty five per cent below what it should be in places, and has required repeated and extensive repairs.

The road, which was originally built as an enticement to Michelin to locate in Anderson County, was engineered by B.P. Barber, an engineering firm often used by the County. The firm, with which county administrator Joey Preston became familiar during his tenure in Cherokee County, also engineered the vertical and lateral expansions of the Big Creek landfill as it became the Anderson Regional Landfill.

Documents obtained from the South Carolina Department of Transportation under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act include test results that indicate that the overall depth of the asphalt is more than two inches shy of the design specifications.

In the late 1990’s, South Carolina, under then Governor Jim Hodges, offered to build and maintain the road as an incentive to Michelin to locate their plant in Anderson County. According to correspondence during August of 2004, between Anderson County administrator Joey Preston and Cyril Busbee, District 3 engineering administrator for SCDOT, Preston outlines the deal in this way:

Michelin was offered the road as one of many incentives to locate in Anderson County. The road was to be constructed by the County, and then conveyed to the DOT for maintenance. In return, the County would accept ownership and upkeep of several roads, including Dobbins Bridge Road, Cleveland Road, and Marshall Road.

SCDOT doesn’t dispute the facts of such an arrangement. They do however contend that it was always contingent on the road being built to state specifications. “What sense does it make for the state DOT to take over a road that has already been repaired over and over?” asked Bobby Patterson, district maintenance engineer for DOT.

A letter, dated January 31, 2000, from Busbee to Jim McCLure, who was Anderson County Public Works director at the time, contains the SCDOT policy for accepting roads into the state system. The deal with Michelin took place in 1999, so this correspondence occurred during the design and construction process.

In February of 2002, the road was completed and officially opened. In September of that year, Busbee wrote to Anderson County transportation director Holt Hopkins, outlining a number of concerns the DOT had about the Michelin Boulevard project. Chief among those concerns was slippage of the top layer of asphalt, which was already a problem just months after the road opened. The letter stated, “SCDOT requests a one year warranty on the asphalt surface course on the entire project due to the problems encountered in phase 3.” In a response, a BP. Barber representative agreed that the County would provide such a warranty.

Phase 3 is the stretch of road that runs from Dobbins Bridge Road to the Michelin plant. It is on that stretch of road that the County’s transportation department facility is located. That stretch is currently marked with dozens of repairs ranging in size from approximately a lane wide and ten feet long to more than a lane wide and sixty to one hundred feet long. Over the entire length of the road, there are forty five visible repairs within the same size range mentioned above.

 Slippage and shoving are both cited as major problems. Slippage is separation of the two layers of asphalt, while shoving is similar to what happens when a car skids in mud or soft dirt.

A severe dip in the road where Dobbins Bridge crosses it was also an issue. In a letter dated October 17, 2002, B.P. Barber representative John Culbreath assured DOT that the issues were being dealt with. The severe dip, however, was being addressed by Ashmore Brothers Construction. Culbreath asked that B.P. Barber receive “a release of liability from SCDOT associated with any improvements at this intersection regarding Michelin Boulevard Phase 3.” The letter went on to say that the original intent of the design was that Dobbins Bridge Road would remain the through road, and that subsequent changes would “include reversing the crown of Michelin Boulevard – Phase III . .” .

The changes were to be made prior to the request to DOT to accept the road into their system. 

The original contractor, Carolina Mountain Construction Company had gone bankrupt during the project, leading to Ashmore Brothers being brought in.

SCDOT continued to insist on repairs and improvements before accepting the road. In response, the County employed Law Engineering, of Greenville, to do a file review of the project. The paper record of the project was reviewed, although, according to Law’s report, several items they asked for were not provided. Another engineering firm BLE performed some actual testing but DOT personnel said that most of the sampling was done in areas that needed repair. “We already knew what was wrong there. We were hoping to get some data on other parts of the road,” said District Asphalt Manager Kevin Paxton. 

Little, if any, actual testing of the entire phase itself was conducted, at least until 2005 when the DOT decided to run some tests of their own.

A device known as a free weight deflectometer was employed to test the depth of the asphalt in Phase III of the project. In this test, according to DOT engineers, a weight is dropped onto the surface of the road and the resulting vibrations are recorded. The amount of vibration reflects the depth of the asphalt layer. In the 2005 tests, the average depth found was 5.45 inches. The B.P. Barber design recommendations at the time of construction were for 7.5 inches. That was the depth which SCDOT had assumed was the standard being followed, according to various documents.

According to DOT records, the road as designed was assigned a structural value of 5.11. As built, that value was 4.41. Today, after just three years use, that structural value had fallen to 3.1, or  61 percent of the designed structural value.

During the testing, the free weight deflectometer (FWD) test was conducted every five hundred feet, and core samples were taken every 1000 feet. A total of fourteen cores were taken, with an average asphalt depth of 5.45 inches. In some places, the surface depths were as low as an inch and a half, although DOT explained that sometimes the two different layers may vary a bit, which is not a serious issue as long as the overall depth is correct. In the location of the thinnest surface layer, the binder layer was extra thick, at five inches. The total still falls an inch short of design. Nowhere did the surface depth exceed 2.25 inches. In fact, of the fourteen cores taken, at no point did the depth reach design specifications a single time.

Two layers of asphalt make up the test surface. One is a binder level, made up of coarser asphalt, while the surface course, which was rubberized in the Michelin project, is the smoother, more finished surface which vehicles ride directly upon. Both layers rest upon a twelve inch layer of stone, or crush and run material, to provide a total designed depth in the Michelin project of 19.5 inches.

Another measure used by SCDOT is the estimated standard axle load, or ESAL, which a road is projected to experience in a given time. As designed, Michelin Boulevard was projected to handle a little more than 1.7 million ESALs. As built, it was projected to handle approximately one third of that load, or 579,483 ESALs. When last tested in 2005, the calculated load had fallen to 51,571 ESALs, or approximately three per cent of the designed load.

In a series of e-mails following the completion of the FWD tests, various DOT officials and engineers tried to decipher the real story. In one such communication, Fritz Wewers, who had previously worked for Anderson County in public works, opined that the real depth of the stone layer was unknown “since all the other thicknesses did not come up to design specifications. Therefore, I would not assume that the stone was right either.”

In an e-mail to Fritz Wewers dated October 28, 2005, Engineer Chad Hawkins suggested that additional cores be taken at various locations on the road. “If needed, we can test these locations with the FWD later. If the cores average less than the design requires, I think we can assume premature failure will occur, based on what we saw the other week.”

In a recent e-mail sent to district engineering administrator Steve Gwinn, following The Journal’s FOIA request for information, engineer Andrew Johnson summarized the situation by saying, “Bottom line, the pavement ended up 2 inches thinner than B.P. Barber’s design and doesn’t even have the structural capacity that would be expected from the as-built thickness. We would expect the as-designed pavement to carry nearly 1.8 million ESALs, but the as tested strength was barely enough to carry 55,000 ESALs. This would explain why the pavement fell apart within a few years.”

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request to review some of the specifications and contracts for the project, as well as a summary of subsequent repair costs to Michelin Boulevard, County Attorney Tom Martin, of the McNair Law Firm, sent a letter to The Journal.

That letter outlined the projected costs of producing the materials asked for. Including a total of six hours, billed at varying amounts depending on the employee occupied, and adding in the cost of copying up to five hundred pages, the total estimated cost of complying with the FOIA request came to $255.38.

Former Huey pilot says County sold too low

By Stan Welch

Recently published reports concerning the Anderson County Sheriff Department’s sale of two helicopters make no sense to the former pilot and mechanic for the department, who says the UH-1 helicopter, that the county originally purchased for $500 through a surplus program overseen by the state, should have sold for $1.5 million, conservatively.

“That copter was updated until the year 2010. It was not just flyable, it was in great shape. A Huey in ragged shape is easily worth a million and a half. That bird should have brought two million, in the shape it’s in. If it had been sold at auction, like county equipment is supposed to be sold, who knows what it would have brought?” asked Fred Pilgrim, who served as pilot and airframe and power plant mechanic for the Huey. “SLED offered the County $2 million for it several years ago.”

The ACSO reported the sale price at approximately $168,500. According to the S.C. Office of Budget and Control (OBC), both helicopters were sold by using the state’s surplus program.

Michael Sponhour, public affairs officer for OBC, says that both helicopters were up for bid for approximately a month before they sold. “Those helicopters were out there for the whole world to see and bid on. We don’t just market them in the state or in this area. It’s a worldwide process.”

According to an e-mail from Angie Keisler, of the State Surplus Department of the OBC, which oversees the program used to purchase all three of the Sheriff’s helicopters, the OH-58 helicopter sold for $171,111 on Feb. 14, 2007. According to Keisler, the winning bidder was Dakota Air Parts. That sale is still pending. Chief Detective Creed Hashe says the company’s owners are undergoing the required background checks.

That e-mail is dated February 14 of this year. A letter from Crenshaw to Ronald Cathey, who coordinates the 1033 program used to buy the copters originally, asking permission to sell the aircraft, was dated February 13, 2007. Pilgrim says such a time frame is inconceivable.

“There is absolutely no way that such a transaction took place in twenty four hours. Crenshaw asks for permission, which he didn’t need after having the Huey for more than five years, apparently gets permission, or more likely an explanation that he doesn’t need it, runs an auction and has a winning bid in one business day?”

Hashe claims that the Surplus Department contacted the ACSO and requested a written confirmation that the department had in fact requested that the state handle the sale of the equipment. “I think that’s a new requirement they have. Sponhour confirmed that the helicopter was put on sale on January 16, almost a month before the winning bid was accepted.

Asked why the Sheriff used the surplus program to resell the two helicopters when he wasn’t required to, Hashe answered, “We didn’t want any appearance of any special deals or any favors being done. We live in a county where there is a conspiracy theory for everything. We just decided to do it this way to avoid this very kind of controversy.”

Pilgrim, who retired from the ACSO when Sheriff David Crenshaw took office, says that those sales prices don’t fit. “The Huey was a large helicopter used by us for rescues, extractions of victims from very rough terrain and for emergency preparedness. The Huey also still has military uses, which a future buyer could achieve with some, though not much, additional equipment. The OH-58, on the other hand, is basically a traffic watch kind of craft. OH stands for observation, and that’s what they’re good for. To think that it sold for more than the Huey is absurd.”

Hashe says that he considers the figures cited by Pilgrim to be wildly inaccurate. “We took the highest bid. If it was worth the kind of money Mr. Pilgrim says it is, certainly no one bid that amount.” Hashe agreed that the Huey, which was used for troop transport in Viet Nam originally, could be more valuable than the OH-58 in certain environments. “When you have tall buildings, or rugged terrain, that craft can be very useful. We simply don’t have those conditions in Anderson County. And they are very expensive to operate.”

Pilgrim bristles at such statements. “We were the highest rated rescue aviation unit in the state. We conducted rescues and emergency preparedness operations in several surrounding counties. Oconee County used us many times. North Carolina called on us to fly missions after Hurricane Floyd created such bad flooding. That bird earned its keep,” said  Pilgrim, who actually flew that very same helicopter in Viet Nam.

Hashe added that Pilgrim “was not retained by Sheriff Crenshaw, when Crenshaw took office. Pilgrim contends that he retired with thirty years in law enforcement, when Crenshaw took office.

“He hired a buddy of his who had never been near a Huey or a helicopter. As far as I know, the only training he’s had was a two week basic course Bell teaches in Texas, so you can at least change the oil. Other than that, he has no qualifications that I know of, except for being a buddy of the Sheriff.”

The Huey was sold in April of 2006, for the mentioned price of $168,500. It was purchased by a company called Northwest Helicopter in Washington state. It was apparently re-sold to a firm called Turbines, Ltd. in Nebraska, which registered the aircraft with the FAA in September of that year.

Pilgrim also claims that there was an inventory in parts worth approximately $3 million when he left ACSO. “Those parts cost almost nothing thanks to the surplus program. We had replacement rotor blades, replacement motors, rotor assemblies, all sorts of parts. Did they go with the Huey?”

Hashe says he has no knowledge of the parts but agreed to check with the aviation unit to find out. 

“I understand these concerns, although I think some of them come from other sources. What I would like to point out is that Anderson County had assembled an air force out here. They had three helicopters, and people becoming pilots just to fly them. Greenville County doesn’t have three helicopters. Sheriff Crenshaw is selling these assets to put the resources in more important areas.”

Benefit show April 7

The ninth annual concert to benefit The Children’s Miracle Network and The Children’s Hospital will be held at the Pelzer Auditorium at 6 p.m. April 7. Organized by local gospel recording artist Catlin Tierce, the event will feature gospel music by the Providence Quartet, The Centurians, DayStar, Vessels of Praise and Tierce. Hotdog plates will also be available beginning at 11 a.m. All proceeds will go to the Children’s Hospital.

There will also be a Kids Fest with free games and rides for kids at the Pelzer Auditorium that day. An Easter Egg hunt will be held for different age groups beginning at 1 p.m. Under 3 will be a 1 p.m., ages 4-6 at 1:30 p.m., children with special needs at 2 p.m., ages 7 to 9 at 3 p.m. and ages 10 to 12 at 3:30 p.m.

Both events are free. A love offering will be taken at the concert.

Deputies investigate vandalism

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated several incidents of vandalism and the robbery of a Powdersville restaurant. Among incidents investigated:

BELTON

March 18 – J.C. Wright responded to 220 Willingham Rd. where Linda Watta reported that someone had broken the window in a storage building. There was no evidence of theft, but damages were estimated at $75.00

March 18 – M. Voigt was dispatched to 4530 Hwy. 29 where Russell Dennis reported that someone had broken into his vehicle and stolen two speakers valued at $400.

PELZER

March 16 – J. A. Frazier responded to 5 Lyman St., where Kenneth Duvall reported that the driver’s window of his 2001 Camaro had been broken out.

March 17 – M. Voigt responded to 6855 Hwy. 29 North where Sarah Cash reported that someone had slashed the tire on her van, causing $60 in damage.

March 24 – K.D. Pigman responded to New Hope Baptist Church where Danny Rackley reported that someone had kicked in the door and entered the church. There was no evidence of theft.

March 25 – T.B. Dugan responded to 16 Finley DR. upon the request of the West Pelzer Fire Department. The firefighters had responded to a car fire at that address and the car’s owner, Randall McClain, WM, 44, 5’7", 160 pounds, brn/blue, of 727 Iller Road, allegedly interfered with their efforts to extinguish the fire. According to Dugan, he appeared to be intoxicated and was subsequently arrested for public disorderly conduct and transported to ACDC.

PIEDMONT

The  Arby’s restaurant on Highway 53 was robbed at gunpoint by two black males on March 25. The manager of the store said that the two men entered the store, and pointed guns at her and other employees. They took money from several locations in the store and fled on foot. No one was injured. Deputies M.A. Whitfield and J.D. hill responded.

March 16 – T. L. Chapman responded to 2 Haynes St. where Richard Mauldin reported that his separated wife allegedly attacked him, and when he retreated to his truck, began to beat on the truck, doing an estimated $1200 in damage.

March 16 – T.L. Chapman responded to 220 Loche Dr. where Stanley Bowers, of Tri-State Paving reported the theft of several aluminum light poles, four aluminum truck tire rims, and four semi truck radiators. Total value was estimated at $1860.

March 18 – J.J. Jacobs observed a 1987 Chevrolet pickup truck traveling on Hwy 86, with an obscured license plate. He stopped the vehicle and subsequently discovered that the driver, Starla Cape, WF, 5’4", 160 pounds, brn/blue, of 718 South Piedmont Hwy., was wanted on outstanding warrants and driving under suspension. A search of the vehicle also produced a tin container with approximately six grams of a substance that field tested for methamphetamine. She was arrested and transported to ACDC.

March 18 – J.A. Frazier responded to 717 Shiloh Rd. where Larry Myers reported that his stepson had come to his house and broken out several windows in Myers’ car. Damage was estimated at $1100.

March 24 – D.W. Davis was dispatched to 102 Deerland Dr. where Leroy Davis reported someone had broken into the storage box on the back of his truck and had stolen approximately $5400 in tools.

March 24 – M.A. Whitfield responded to 100 Pack Road where Christopher Evatt reported a friend of his,  had become very intoxicated. Evatt followed him when he left concerned that his friend was too drunk to drive. He managed to get his friend to stop and eventually got his keys from him. The friend refused a ride and later returned to the Pack Rd. address. He was angry at Evatt and damaged his car to the extent of $2500.

WILLIAMSTON

March 16 - E.S. Russell responded to 123 Windfield Hill Rd. where Brent Lindsey reported the theft of SC tag#9276BZ from his 2003 Ford pickup.

March 16 -  M. Voigt was dispatched to V & V Equipment at 5046 Hwy. 29, where Eddie Claxton reported that someone had broken into the yard and stolen several items including a Ford F250 pickup and a 6 X 10 utility trailer. The loss was estimated at $10,400.

March 23 – E.F. Kelley was dispatched  to the Malibu Bar and Grill on Beaverdam Rd., where Mitchell Lollis, of Williamston, reported that he had tried to break up a fight outside the building and that one of the men had butted him in the head and pulled a knife on him. While trying to get the knife away, Lollis was cut on the left hand. The suspect was described as a WM in his forties, driving an older blue pickup.

Woodmont sets cheer tryouts

Woodmont Cheerleading  tryouts will be held April 23rd-27th. Interested students are asked to pick up a packet at the front office. Rising 7th through 12th graders will be allowed to tryout.

Woodmont holds Spirit Week events

This week is Spirit Week at Woodmont High School. A number of events have been planned to raise money to support the Enterprise High School relief fund in Alabama and a local charity. Anyone who can is asked to participate in events during the week and to help increase school spirit.

The goal for spirit week is to raise $5000. Parents are asked to help by donating spare change in the car line every morning and afternoon when picking up students. Student Government officers will be out front with  buckets, organizers said.

Spirit Week kicked off Friday with a “Battle of the Bands” and showing of the movie “Gridiron Gang”. A car show was held Saturday with fun contests including muddiest truck,  loudest car, loudest system, and dirtiest interior. The Mr. Wildcat pageant was also held Saturday.

Monday was Team Day. Tuesday was Hillbilly day and the Woodmont student talent show. Wednesday was Wacky Tacky day. Thursday is PJ Day. Students will be required to pay  $1 before entering the building if they plan to wear their PJs. Thursday’s Spirit Supper is at  Chick-fil-A in Simpsonville on Fairview Road. Please eat dinner at Chick-fil-A from 5-8 pm to support our Spirit Week, a spokesperson said. Also Thursday at 6:30 pm is Donkey Basketball in the gym. The community is invited to watch the students battle the faculty on the court while riding donkeys. Tickets are $7 and can  be purchased from the FFA.

Friday is Spirit Day. Everyone is encouraged to wear Wildcat gear.  A Junior/Senior slideshow will be held during 4th period and a Spirit Week Pep Rally will also be held.

Class change wars will be held during all three lunches during  Spirit Week. Students can donate spare change or extra lunch money to their class bucket to help raise money for the charity. 

Tri-county  Tec plans bluegrass show

Tri-County Technical College’s second annual bluegrass concert is free family fun featuring bands, fireworks and department displays.  

The community is invited to attend Bluegrass under the Stars, a free concert and fireworks event for the family set for Saturday, April 7, from 5:30 - 9:30 p.m. in the College’s Amphitheatre. 

Fan favorites Curtis Blackwell and the Dixie Bluegrass Boys will headline the show with additional performances by Last Road and Tugalo Holler.  Blazing Bluegrass, a local youth bluegrass band who has studied under banjo virtuoso Al Osteen, will kick off the show.  The concert will end with a fireworks extravaganza.

There will be a pre-concert Jam Session from 4 - 5 p.m. near the BBQ Food Court close to the amphitheater. BBQ plates, chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs and other refreshments will be for sale during the event. 

Several of Tri-County’s academic departments will offer information and fun activities for concert-goers.  Look for free blood pressure screenings by the Nursing Department and face painting by the Early Childhood Development Department, in addition to dogs and cats from the Veterinary Technology Department and a robotic display by the Industrial and Engineering Technology Division.

Tri-County President Ronnie L. Booth, a lifelong bluegrass fan, initiated the concert last year as a way of strengthening the College’s ties to the community and to connect with the town of Pendleton and its annual Spring Jubilee celebration (April 7 and 8).

For more information, visit Tri-County Technical College’s website at www.tctc.edu and click on Bluegrass Concert or contact Rebecca Eidson at 646-1507.

Seems to Me . . . The old neighborhood

By Stan Welch

Ah, spring has sprung and the air is full of bird song and pollen. I love to hear the birds in spring, but Lord, how I hate that pollen. It seems really heavy this spring, but maybe that’s just me, although Jerry Lee has an odd saffron tint to his coat the last few days.

The pollen is so bad that someone actually wrote, “wash me”, on the driver’s side of my car the other day. Now, folks, that’s just rude. If you are so offended by the appearance of my car that you feel obligated, or even worse, entitled to express your displeasure, then go one step further. Wash the durn thing yourself. I don’t need your opinion, I need my car washed.

You’ve got a lot of nerve, whoever you are. Besides, I happen to think that the red clay and yellow pollen go nicely together. That’s my spring outfit, so get used to it. I’ll wash the car the next time I wash Jerry Lee, after the pollen season.

Still, the incident reminded me of something that used to happen in my neighborhood in Charleston when I was growing up. I may have mentioned this before, but somebody asked me to write a nice column for a change, so bear with me. I only have so many of those in me.

Anyway, we lived next door to a fellow named Ed Hanes. Ed was a very busy guy, VP of a local concrete company and into all sorts of civic organizations. He was Rotating and Civitanning and JayCeeing all the time. As a result, his lawn care wasn’t up to community standards. Now, we lived in a neighborhood. We had an association in that neighborhood, but they mostly organized cookouts and Halloween festivals and got a Santa to visit all the kid’s at home during the holidays.

But it would never have occurred to them to tell someone they had left their garbage can on the street to long, or that the grass needed mowing. And if it had occurred to them, they would have had enough sense to mind their own business and keep their trap shut.

However, the absence of official condemnation of the Hanes’ lawn in no way rescued him from individual attention and comment. Across the street from Ed lived an older fellow, a retired Air Force officer, John Ormond. John Ormond was simultaneously one of the nicest and orneriest people you’d ever want to meet. I was way impressed with his rank as a captain until I got older and realized anyone who retired from the Air Force as a captain had probably spent a fair amount of his career stepping on the wrong people’s toes, or really screwing up.

Knowing John as I did, I was betting on the stepping on toes thing.

But I digress.

Whenever Ed would let the grass go for a couple of weeks (he and his wife had no children to cut the grass for their loving Dad, like some people I know, whose Dad would drag you out at six thirty on a Saturday to mow grass before you even went to the ball field),  John would fire up his push mower. Back then, at least in our neighborhood, the lots were small enough to cut on foot. A riding lawn mower was an object of envy and awe. It was also considered just a bit uppity and pretentious, unless the owner was really too old to push any mower.

John would wait until Ed was gone to work, and then he would cut a path from the edge of the driveway to the front steps of the house. It was one cut wide and as short as he could get it. Ed always got the message, and the yard always got mowed within the next twenty four hours.

Dad and John would be sure to be out in the yard when Ed came home, just to see the look on his face when he pulled up and saw the pathway. It was all in fun. There was more than one occasion when John, or perhaps I, serving as Dad’s proxy, would cut the Hanes’ yard from side to side. Ed, in turn, hired me for my first real summer  job at the concrete plant, and thereby, pretty much convinced me that college was the way to go.

It seems to me there was a good bit more of a sense of neighborhood and community back then. 

 People often cooked out together, they sat on the front porch or in the yard swing and talked to and about each other. Food was cooked for friends and neighbors during times of sorrow or sickness, and it was done without question, much as it still is. Sick children could be left with stay at home moms by moms who had begun entering the work force in increasing numbers. That was day care back then. Kids getting home from school to an empty house knew where a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk could be easily gotten, and where a playmate was to be found.

Mom and Dad would sometimes walk around the neighborhood in the late evening in the summer time, and we’d ride our bikes to accompany them. Or maybe some other folks would come by and invite us to join them. We’d all walk around talking and checking out the neighborhood to see who was doing what. An added on room, or a new riding mower, or heavens to Betsy, a new car! These were all topics of conversation. By the time they made the loop of about a half mile, there might be six or eight more adults and a squadron of bikes in escort.

Everyone knew everyone. There was a sense of community that has greatly diminished as the American lifestyle has changed so drastically. Shoot, when I was a kid, there were four or five mothers in my neighborhood who felt free to cut my fanny if I acted up around them. My Mom was the same way. She’d spank Alton Bivens or David Moon or Ricky Davis and never think a thing of it. Neither would their parents. In fact, we kids were just glad if another parent whipped us and then kept it to themselves, so we didn’t get a second dose when we got home.

Maybe it does take a village to raise a child. Too bad so few of us are villagers these days.

 

 

 

 

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