News Archive

(1408) Week of Apr. 2, 2008

Introducing Miss Williamston . . .
Local event planned to Celebrate Earth Day
Pelzer Pool getting upgrades
Children’s Hospitals Benefit Saturday
Home school group offers support
County approves incentive package for Cheddar project
Welcome or not? Owners paint different picture of landfill location
2008 Candidates complete filing
Swiped bank card used illegally
Seems to Me . . .Election Year politics - It could get ugly!

Introducing Miss Williamston . . .

Holly R. Whatley is the new Miss Williamston.

It has been seven years since there has been an official “queen” to hold the title and the opportunity to represent the town in the Miss South Carolina Pageant.

Whatley, 20, was awarded her crown when she was chosen  the winner of the Miss Williamston Pageant, held March 8. 

She is the daughter of Mary Ellen Wilkinson and Max Whatley Jr. She lives in Greenville and attends Presbyterian College in Clinton where she is a Business Management and Spanish major.

Whatley is a 2006 graduate of Travelers Rest High School, where she was a standout in basketball and tennis and participated in track. She was selected the most athletic female.

The youngest of three siblings, Holly has an older sister Hayley and older brother Max.

Growing up as a tom-boy, she said she enjoyed participating in sports, but still kept her “girly side.”

She began participating in pageants in high school. She said she enjoyed getting ready for pageants and “shining on stage.”  Each time she was selected runner up or placed, but never won a pageant.

She said she did two preliminary pageants her senior year and just began doing them again this year, deciding only the day before the Miss Williamston pageant to participate.

“The Miss Williamston pageant was one of those meant to be things in my life,” she said.

The Miss Williamston pageant was reestablished after a seven year break.

The newly formed Springwater Committee entertained the idea of bringing the pageant back two years ago, but due to a lack of funds and the time necessary to plan for the Town’s annual festival, the idea was put on hold.

Last fall the town was asked to support reinstating the Miss Williamston Pageant by another pageant director. Williamston Town Council approved  $2000 and established the Leslie Mazzara Scholarship fund for the pageant which was originally scheduled for December, 2007. It was rescheduled and was one of the last preliminary Miss SC pageants.

Whatley said she is really excited about representing Williamston, a town which can claim a Miss South Carolina named from among her queens.

Danielle Davis, Miss Williamston 1999, went on to become Miss South Carolina.

In addition to being chosen Miss Williamston, Whatley won the swimsuit competition. She sang a jazz melody for her entertainment portion.

“I love to entertain and have fun on stage,” she said, “and to entertain the crowd.”

She also said she was proud to be selected the first Miss Williamston the town has had since 2001, and to follow in the footsteps of Leslie Mazzara, who also was a first time pageant winner when she was named Miss Williamston.

Mazzara was tragically killed in 2004 while pursuing her dream in Napa, California.

“I am looking forward to walking in her footsteps and getting to know this town the way she did,” Whatley said.

She said she is in the process of learning more about the town and its people.

“I am looking forward to having a town I can call my own,” Whatley said.

She said she is “glad to represent a small town where the people are so friendly and welcoming, a town so personal, with people I’ll know a second time when I meet them. Everyone has been so supportive.”

Since being named Miss Williamston, she has attended the last Miss SC preliminary pageant and ran a 5k race for the Children’s Miracle Network.

She attended the Miss SC March Forum to get information about the upcoming pageant including the events and activities list for this summer.

Other activities included a brunch and vendors’ showcase and hearing current Miss South Carolina Crystal Garrett’s story of her experience. 

Whatley said she is looking forward to competing in the Miss South Carolina Pageant at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium July 1, 2, 3 and 5.

She said she is currently preparing, trying to stay in shape for the swimsuit competition, deciding what to sing and which evening gown to wear.

She is also asking a lot of questions to prepare for the interview portion of the competition.

In addition to preparing for the pageant, the contestants will be participating along with the National Miss America program, in the “Millions of Pennies” fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network.

They are also making signature squares for the Quilts for Fallen Soldiers program.

As a contestant, she will also write an essay on “Woman of the Year” and “Child of the Year” as part of the Children’s Miracle Network program.

Her platform is Breast Cancer Awareness and promoting the importance of early detection and self exams in young women. 

“I chose this platform because six years ago my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and it has impacted my life tremendously.”

Her mom is a six year survivor.

Though breast cancer is her platform, she said she is looking forward to visiting the Calvary Home for Children, a project adopted by Mazzara when she was Miss Williamston.

“I want to go and say hello and get involved,” she said.

She is also looking forward to visiting local schools and being able to speak there.

Miss Williamston is available for speaking engagements. Contact her by email at

She also has a website at

Excerpt from Miss Williamston web site blog

“The Miss Williamston pageant was one of those “meant to be” things in my life. After the couple of pageants I had already competed in this year I kept wondering what happened?...then I would reassure myself that I would be okay, that everything happens for a reason and maybe that title is not where my heart is supposed to be. And isn’t it amazing how God’s hand works and puts you exactly where you’re supposed to be? And winning this title has felt so right with the wonderful background behind the amazing Leslie Mazzara who held this title last in 2002 and was unfortunately killed. It was her first title and this is my first title, and now I have the honor of following in her footsteps and being surrounded by this wonderful little town! I am very thankful of the opportunities that are about to come my way and I am going to take full advantage of them!”

Local event planned to Celebrate Earth Day

On April 26th, Williamston will hold its first Earth Day event in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park.

The Global Earth Day event takes place annually on April 22. 

More than 141 countries and 200 million people from around the world celebrate throughout the week. The event is a collective expression of the world’s will to create a sustainable society and it inspires action on personal, community, national and international levels, organizers said.

Organizers are a small group of people from Grace United Methodist Church. 

 “Our church continues to look for new ways to help our community. Earth Day seemed to be a fun and exciting opportunity. We are not experts; we have a minimal budget; and we only started planning last month, but we’ve been surprised at the level of participation that we are getting in Anderson County and the Upstate,” said Marc Edlein, spokesperson for the event.

“Although the event is being held in Williamston, we really consider it an Anderson County community event that is open to everyone.”

 Other organizations participating include Upstate Forever and the United Resource Recovery Corporation, (URRC), a very large bottle-to-bottle PET recycler in Spartanburg.

“During our weekly planning meetings, we each review the latest organization or business to sign on,” Edlein said. “When we learn what they do, our typical reaction is “I didn’t know we had that in the Upstate!” Our hope is that everyone that attends our Earth Day event will have the same reaction on April 26th.”

Edlein said the goal of the event is the same as the Global Earth Day event, to inform the community about sustainable actions.

“We want to remind everyone that we live on a beautiful planet, but we are doing things on a personal, community, national, and international scale that have a negative impact on the planet for future generations. But the good news is that we can do small and easy things that help make a difference.”

Visitors attending the event will move through the park to different zones that will help communicate Themes including Beauty, Crisis, Local green actions and resources, Things being done beyond our community and Easy steps an individual can take.

The 6th zone will be an opportunity for people to share their ideas with the community. 

Event organizers said they have had people ask them about the Town’s decision to eliminate the recycling program due to budget constraints. 

“Mayor Clardy and the town council have been very supportive of our  event, and if it is successful, people will see that taking action begins with individuals and there are creative ways to do things in a community regardless of the situation,” Edlein said.

Participating Organizations include: Advanced Environmental Options, Gaffney; Anderson County Environmental Services; Anderson County Keep America Beautiful; Callaham’s Orchards; Cedar Grove Elementary School; Clemson Asphalt Rubber Technology Service  (ARTS); EPSI Environmental Protection Services; Girl Scouts; Grace United Methodist Church; Happy Cow Farm ; Palmetto Elementary School; Palmetto Middle School; Roylco ; South Carolina DHEC; Split Creek Farm; Taybor Pallet & Recycling, Anderson; UpstateForever and United Resource Recovery Corporation (URRC).

For more information on the Earth Day event planned in Williamston, contact Marc Edlein at 375-1319 or  Joe Tysinger at 844-4203.

Pelzer Pool getting upgrades

By Stan Welch

The municipal pool in Pelzer is undergoing significant repairs and refurbishing, to the tune of just under $91,000. 

 The pool, built in 1980 by the Kendall Company and later deeded to the town, has had very little maintenance done since, according to Town Clerk Skip Watkins. “We’ve replaced the occasional loose tile, and put in safer grates on the bottom, to keep anyone from being sucked in, back when the pool was used in the event of fire at the mill. But basically, no real work has been done on it until now.”

A major overhaul is underway, including replacing damaged tiles, relining the entire pool with gunnite, spray the pool with a scratch coat, and a laundry list of improvements and repairs.

Mayor Kenneth Davis told The Journal that the lowest of three bids, submitted by Collins Pool Company, was the one accepted unanimously by the Council.

“The money is coming from the general fund. No grant funds were available this time, but the Council and I all feel that this pool is a central feature of our town, especially in the summer. It gives our kids something to do and someplace to go. It keeps them off the streets and out of trouble, and that’s important to us.”

Work began several weeks ago, and will be completed in time for the pool to open. “As soon as school lets out, we’ll be ready to go swimming,” said Mayor Davis.

Children’s Hospitals Benefit Saturday

The tenth anniversary Benefit for Children’s Hospitals will be held this Saturday, April 5 at 6 p.m. at Hillcrest Baptist Church.

The annual benefit organized by Catlin Tierce, will feature concerts starting at 6 p.m. by Tierce, the Providence Quartet and Trevor Thomas.

Tierce has a smooth country voice that delivers a solid, positive message and has a genuine desire to share Jesus with everyone he comes in contact with.

The Providence Quartet features four individuals from diverse backgrounds who share a common calling.

Trevor Thomas creates characters that people can laugh at and learn from, whether it’s Pastor Ferrell Faultless, a passionate preacher, to Pontius Pilate. Thomas combines music, monologues, poems, sketches and mime with humor and sincerity for an unforgetable worship experience for the believer and a picture of salvation for the lost.

The event is being held at Hillcrest Baptist Church due to renovations at the Pelzer Auditorium which has hosted the event in the past. The church is located at 1300 Anderson Dr. in Williamston.

Hot dogs will be available from 3 to 5:30 p.m. All proceeds will go to benefit the Children’s Miracle network and Greenville Hospital and Shriners Hospital.

For more information, call 864-608-0257 or go to

Home school group offers support

Christian Home Educators of Easley (CHEE), a Christian based support group is now offering a variety of support for home schooling students and parents.

CHEE is coordinated by volunteer  member home schooling parents who offer support, advice and ideas for home schooling members while also offering fun, yet educational experiences that go beyond the classroom to homeschooled students.

The group meets on Mondays from 9 am to noon at Covenant Presbyterian Church on Hwy 86 in Powdersville.  

The type of classes that are offered vary and are based on the needs of the students, orgainizers said.

 Algebra, Biology, Spanish, Human Anatomy and Physics are a few of the classes offered to high school age students this year.  For  middle school students, a sample of classes offered include Old World History and Geography, Renaissance & Reformation, Language Arts, General Science and Math.  For the elementary students, classes have included Words for a Week (includes spelling, nouns vs. verbs and the introduction to the use of a dictionary), Learning Skills and Science-God’s way (hands-on science experiments to build moral character). ABC’s & 123’s, math and Bible stories.

Classes for the K4/K5 students.  PE is also offered to elementary and middle grade students.

Other special activities are offered through the group.

High school students recently enjoyed a night of suspense at a Murder Mystery Banquet held in January.  Parents enjoyed a Valentine’s Banquet in February consisting of a 7 course meal and entertainment in a talent show performed by students.

Students have also participated in fund raisers for an upcoming senior trip to New York.  A Prom is scheduled for April and a graduation for both seniors and K5 students in May.

Other activities planned by CHEE include spelling and geography bees, a science fair, field trips to plays and musicals, visiting The Stumphouse Tunnel and Issaqueena Falls (history & nature), the Imagine It! Children’s Museum in Atlanta, GA, the Georgia Aquarium, the ‘Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies’ at Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC.

Other activities include the dissection of cow eyeballs in Anatomy (high school students), history day, funny hat day, Christmas Craft Day,  a cookie contest, car washes, monthly scheduled days for skating and Partee Time with more activities planned for the near future. For more information visit their website at

Fountain opens with floating fundraiser

The Anderson County Museum will open the Robert Anderson Memorial Fountain on April 5 with a Ducks A-Float fundraiser to benefit the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.

“This is a great way to welcome in spring by filling the historic fountain with water and ducks, dressed in their Sunday best of course,” Museum Director Beverly Childs said. “It’s also a fun way to raise money for the March for Healthier Babies.”

The festivities will begin at 2 p.m. around the historic fountain with a Duck Parade&ldots;of sorts. 

When all the ducks have “jumped into the fountain,” each duck owner can rescue a floating duck from the fountain. If your rescued duck has a lucky number, you will win a prize.

A $5 donation to the March of Dimes entitles you to Duck ownership and all proceeds will benefit the March for Healthier Babies. More than half a million babies each year are born too soon or sick. Since 1938, the March of Dimes has been dedicated to fighting premature birth and illnesses that threaten the lives of babies in our community and across the country.

Duck ownership can be purchased at the Museum in advance or on the day of the event. Ice Cream Floats will be available for $1. While there visit the Museum gallery and store and view the new Paul Brown Exhibit – “Still News” and the Anderson Trophy.

The Anderson County Museum is at 202 East Greenville Street in downtown Anderson. 

Gallery and museum store hours are Tuesday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Reading and Research Room is open 1 to 4 p.m. on Thursdays.

Admission to the Museum is free, but donations are always welcome. For more information, contact the Anderson County Museum at (864) 260-4737.

County approves incentive package for Cheddar project

By Stan Welch

Anderson County Council unanimously approved an incentive package that will bring a $10 million capital investment to the Cheddar area. Project Cheddar, as it was dubbed, will add ethanol to the mix of fuels being stored and shipped from the Belton tank farm.

According to McNair Law Firm attorney Jim Price, who represented the County in negotiations, B&B Properties will acquire a tract of less than fifty acres adjacent to the tank farm, and then lease the facility to Lincoln Oil, a Greenville based company. The facility will be a distribution point for ethanol which will be shipped in from the Midwest.

The project is expected to produce only five jobs directly related to the facility’s operations, and a similar number of indirectly related jobs. 

The incentive package included a six per cent fee in lieu of taxes, a twenty per cent special source revenue credit and inclusion in a multi-county industrial park.

District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson supported the incentive package, but only after her motion to table the issue failed by a 4-2 vote. Wilson wanted the delay while she received answers to several questions about the proposal.

She questioned several things, including the role which District Four Councilman Bill McAbee and his economic development board appointee Amy Plummer played in the transaction.

According to Wilson, McNair attorney Price confirmed in a private conversation during a recess in the meeting that McAbee and Amy Plummer, who is a realtor, who frequently travels with McAbee under the aegis of economic development, were the realtors involved in the transaction.

Councilman Bob Waldrep, himself an attorney, confirmed Wilson’s report. “That is my recollection as well. Mr. Price told Ms. Wilson that Plummer and McAbee were the realtors.”

McAbee recused himself from the vote. McAbee has in the past recused himself from votes related to the Greenville and Western Railroad, the short line railroad that owns the 12 mile stretch connecting CSX and Norfolk southern tracks.

Wilson has recently questioned McAbee and Plummer’s reported use of County credit cards to pay for travel, lodging and other expenses in the name of economic development. She also asked what the amount of taxes being paid on the property is currently. She also asked what the jobs produced would pay.

County Administrator Joey Preston seemed eager to see the package approved. “This company has other choices and they aren’t going to go where they aren’t wanted. The impact of the FILOT for District One schools is estimated at $545,000.” That figure is presumably based on the current level of FILOT revenues shared by the County, which last year tried to double the percentage of such funds which it withheld from the various districts.

Council also voted to impose a vehicle weight limit on Hamlin Road in an effort to derail a construction and demolition landfill currently proposed for the Three & Twenty area. The measure received unanimous second reading approval despite the comments of one of the partners in the company that would operate the landfill. (See related story elsewhere in this issue.)

Council also gave first reading approval to a proposed amendment to the County zoning ordinance that would place the issue of zoning in the Three & Twenty voting precinct on a referendum later this year. That measure is also aimed at derailing the landfill. A third measure designed to stop the landfill also received unanimous approval. That was a resolution to impose a building permit moratorium in the Three & Twenty precinct.

The measures are part of an all out effort to stop the landfill, which would not accept household garbage, but only yard waste and building and demolition debris.

District Six Councilman Ron Wilson said that he intended to do whatever it took to stop the landfill. “This thing will be ten stories tall if it’s built. You’ll be able to see it from anywhere in Powdersville. I am flatly against it and will do whatever is necessary to stop this disaster.”

Council also gave third reading approval to the creation of an oversight committee to supervise and review the expenditure of funds generated by a proposed capital project sales tax which may appear on the November ballot as a referendum issue. The committee would be comprised of seven members with each member appointed by a Council member.

Neither McAbee or Plummer were able to be reached for comment.

Welcome or not? Owners paint different picture of landfill location

By Stan Welch

Even as District  Six Councilman Ron Wilson mounts a full offensive against a proposed C&D landfill in the Slabtown area, the operators of that facility are making plans of their own.

County Council has been totally cooperative in approving three different measures which Wilson has proposed. 

Tuesday night, Council approved a moratorium on building permits in the Three & Twenty precinct, where the facility would be located. They also gave first reading approval to an ordinance to zone the area, as well as giving second reading approval a weight limit to be set for Hamlin Road, which is the only road to the facility.

Both readings have been approved with no public mention of what the weight limit would be. Several citizens from the area spoke at a public hearing in support of the weight limit. (See related story elsewhere in this issue).

Wilson went on record at the Council meeting saying that the proposed landfill is “a disaster” and vowed “to do whatever is necessary to stop it.”

Jim Brown, a partner in the company that will operate the facility, which will accept construction and demolition debris, and not household garbage, spoke to the Council twice during the evening.

A public hearing on the weight limit was also held. 

Brown told Council that he and his partners had approached the County even before buying the land. “We asked them if there was any problem with such a landfill in that part of the County. They said no, and they even told us where a better location in that area might be. We were encouraged to locate there.”

Brown added that Vic Carpenter, who was the County’s Director of Environmental Services at the time, sent his company a letter indicating their welcome to locate in the area.

He also said he was aware of the real issue. “This isn’t about the roads in that area. If it was, you’d be setting a weight limit on every road around there. This is about stopping the landfill.”

Brown and his partners had applied for a permit and were expecting approval when they learned that Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston had sent a letter to DHEC saying that the landfill was inconsistent with the County’s solid waste management plan. Based partly on that stance, DHEC disapproved the permit application sought by Greenpoint LLC.

Greenpoint appealed to an administrative law judge who overruled DHEC and told them to resume the permit process. That process will reach a tipping point next week, when the period for public comment ends. In recent weeks, public opposition to the facility has exploded, as citizens have turned out in large numbers to voice their opinions.

Brown pointed out that the County had supported their efforts at one time, then turned on them. “We have done everything that Anderson County or DHEC has asked of us. What has changed since we first approached the County? “

Preston vehemently denied that he or his staff ever encouraged the company’s application. Brown countered by asking why the County actually negotiated tonnage to be disposed of if the County’s position was that the landfill wasn’t consistent with the County’s solid waste management plan.

Current environmental services director Greg Smith retorted that DHEC informed them that the company would in all likelihood receive its permit, so in defense, the County tried to reduce the tonnage.

Brown said he had documentation for all his claims and he would be glad to meet with the Council and show them his case.

Radford Jenkins, a partner in WasteCo, a company which operates a roll off dumpster service from the Hamlin Road site, said in an interview Tuesday morning that the company has been running that business from the site for more than two years.

“We have a temporary business license with Anderson County for that business. Now they are going to say we have no place here? We came to them before we ever bought this land and told them if there was a problem, we’d take our toys and go home. Vic Carpenter looked me right in the eye and said we had no problems. Now that we have invested in the land and begun one aspect of our business, this happens. Is this how Anderson County does business? We have been lied to time and time again.”

Asked if he and his partners would pursue legal action against the County in the event of a weight limit being imposed, Jenkins replied, “I think it would be fair to say that we are going to use our legal avenues regardless of what happens. Our feelings are hurt by the way we’ve been treated, and by the lies we’ve been told. If a weight limit is imposed, how do you suppose construction trucks will get into these areas to build all these homes? They better not come down Hamlin Road.”

2008 Candidates complete filing

By Stan Welch

The 2008 elections promise to be a lively affair, if the filing results for both parties are any indication. 

For starters, not a single Republican member of the Anderson County Council is running unopposed in the primaries, and some also face opposition from Democratic opponents in the general election.

The Council’s sole Democratic member, District Two’s Gracie Floyd, is being challenged by Bill Holder in the general election. Both are unopposed in the primary. Holder faces a stout challenge in opposing Floyd, a veteran of the heavily black district.

District One incumbent Bob Waldrep faces three Republican challengers. Waldrep’s persistent questioning of county policies concerning financial performance and access to information has been the trademark of his first term. Brooks Brown IV, Raymond McKay, and Roger Pedrick all signed up for the D1 seat.

District Three incumbent Larry Greer faces a challenge in the primary from Eddie Moore, who ran against him as a petition candidate in 2006 and was defeated. Moore received the highest percentage of votes of any petition candidate in the state that year, gathering forty five per cent of the votes. Greer’s last primary challenge resulted in a slim nineteen vote win over Matthew Hilley, also in 2006.

 Moore says he is opposed to closed book government. “They keep raising taxes, but they won’t tell us what’s happening to our money. That isn’t right. I also think that the bureaucracy has grown way too big at the county level. If I can swing a couple hundred votes from last time, I think I can win this race.”

Incumbent Bill McAbee faces an interesting challenge in District Four, as Tom Allen, a member of the  Anderson County Republican Party’s Executive committee signed up for the seat. Allen a retired military officer, sees the challenge as one of truly running the county as a business. “To do that, Council needs to reassert itself and resume its responsibilities,” said Allen in an interview earlier this year. Allen downplays his position on the executive committee, refusing to confirm or deny whether that committee encouraged his candidacy. “I simply think that Council needs to work together to do what is best for Anderson County.”

McAbee has recently faced questions concerning his use of County credit cards to pay for travel and expenses for both he and his appointee to the economic development board. If he gets past Allen, Democratic challenger William Bridges awaits him in November.

In District Five, current Council Chairman Michael G. Thompson has three challengers, including Skip Gilmer who ran against him last time. Also running are local businessman L.K. Bailey and Tommy Dunn. Dunn is considered a strong challenge due to his strength in the first responder community.

Thompson’s labeling of a local taxpayers’ advocacy group as terrorists, as well as his penchant for gaveling down members of the public who try to speak at Council meetings, has sparked controversy.

District Six incumbent Ron Wilson again faces Rick Freemantle, who opposed him and Bill Dees in the last primary. Freemantle has become a vocal and persistent critic of Wilson’s challenging his changes of position on various issues, as well as raising questions about the propriety of Wilson’s daughter receiving a county contract to be an agricultural consultant. Wilson denies any impropriety.

In District Seven, three term incumbent Cindy Wilson faces a challenge from former Hopewell fire Chief Doug Hooper. Hooper, who currently works as a Greenville county paramedic, says he thinks District Seven gets shortchanged because of Ms. Wilson’s often prickly relationship with the majority of the Council. “I just have watched for several years as that situation continues. I just don’t know if she can really represent our District effectively,” said Hooper.

Wilson is a relentless critic of county administrator Joey Preston, his policies, and his performance. She has sued the County for access to routine financial records and other public information. That drawn out proceeding has been before the S.C. Supreme Court awaiting a ruling for more than a month now.

Wilson has suffered some extraordinary actions by the Council, including votes to censure her, blame her for economic development shortcomings and to accuse her of being involved in a series of salacious letters received by Preston and other members of Council. She also had her recreation discretionary funds commandeered by the Council and spent contrary to her wishes.

Following each action, Wilson seems to rebound, with public opinion frequently turning against the Council. She has won her last four races, including primaries, by an average margin of thirty points.

County Sheriff David Crenshaw is facing the challenge of John Skipper, formerly in the Gene Taylor administration. Crenshaw’s budget problems as well as persistent public interest in the Cater’s Lake episode two years ago continue to resonate in the County.

Solicitor Chrissy Adams is facing a challenge from Sarah Drawdy, a former member of Druanne White’s office when she was solicitor. Drawdy claims that Adams is an administrative solicitor, trying almost no cases and allowing the circuit’s court time to be cut almost in half.

In the State Senate races, Dr. Marshall Meadors, widely seen as AnMed’s candidate, has filed as a Democrat against incumbent Sen. Kevin Bryant for the District 3 seat. Sen. Billy O’Dell, in District 4, faces two Democratic newcomers in Leonardo Ortiz and Roger Odachowski.

In the State House of Representatives, Representatives Dan Cooper (D10), Brian White (D6), and Michael D. Thompson (D9) are running unopposed, while first term incumbents Mike Gambrell and Don Bowen face Democratic challengers.

Gambrell, in District 7 faces Democrat Richard Kelly, while Bowen, in District 8, faces Democrats Charles Griffin and Tom Dobbins.

Those holding the positions of county auditor, clerk of court, county coroner and county treasurer are all running unopposed.

( Editor’s note: As the primaries approach, in depth interviews with several of the candidates for the various offices will appear in The Journal.)

Swiped bank card used illegally

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated several thefts and a mail box vandalism recently. Among incidents investigated were:


March 25 – W.B. Simpson investigated a series of fraudulent financial transactions concerning the debit/credit card belonging to Phyllis Ann Hall Bryant. Over the course of the last five weeks, an unknown suspect used her card, issued by SunTrust Bank, twelve times to receive a total of $2146.17 in goods and money.


March 25 – J.J. Jacobs responded to the Saluda Valley Country Club where Steven Selman reported the theft of two pin flags from the course, valued at $80. The two suspects were a while male and possibly a Hispanic male, approximately 14 years old.

March 25 – W. B. Simpson responded to 1311 Welcome Road where Ban Anderson reported that someone had stolen the NAPA battery from his lawn mower, as well as the NAPA charger for the battery. The loss was estimated at $200.

March 25 – M. Voigt was dispatched to a reported break-in in progress at 401 Boiter Rd. A witness at a nearby residence reported that her 14 year old son had seen two men in a 2000 gray Tahoe or Suburban back into the driveway beside the vacant residence and enter the house. They came out with two or three plastic containers and drove off towards Hwy. 20. The trailer, which has been vacant for a year, had been used for storage until recently. The two occupants of the vehicle were described as a black male 5’9", 220 pounds with a pony tail and wearing a green army jacket, and a white male, 5’8", 180 pounds with blond hair and wearing a blue striped shirt and jeans.


March 25 – K.J. Winn responded to 1125 Breazeale Rd. where Brian Cox reported that approximately two weeks earlier someone had broken into a storage shed at that location and stolen a riding lawnmower valued at $1200.

March 25 – K.J. Winn was dispatched to 3814 Hwy. 29 North where Reginald Sloan reported the theft of some copper from two compressors and a propane tank behind his business at that location. The compressors and tanks were damaged during the theft.

March 25 – K.J. Winn responded to 105 Lester Ashley Rd. where Jessica McGill reported that someone had broken into an outbuilding and removed a four wheeler and a riding lawnmower. For an unknown reason, both items were left at the scene, after being removed from the building.


March 25 – W.B. Simpson was dispatched to 131 Brookstone Dr. where Alan Sweezy reported that he had been robbed by an old acquaintance he had accidentally met earlier that day. They struck up a conversation, during which Sweezy said he removed some cash from his pocket and began counting it. He said that the acquaintance snatched the money, $110, and fled.

March 27 – K.D. Pigman was on patrol in the area of 360 Camperdown Court when he noticed that the mailbox at that location was missing. He contacted the resident, Shirley Houston, who reported that she was sure the mailbox was there the previous night. While the mailbox was valued at only $20, an additional $150 worth of damage was done to the ornamental post that it sat on.

Seems to Me . . . Election Year politics - It could get ugly!

By Stan Welch

Well, all the candidates have filed and there is no more ring to throw hats into. For months we’ve heard about the dissatisfaction with certain members of the County Council and the filing results would support that presumption.

Oddly enough, the dissatisfaction is somewhat balanced, if dissimilar in its source. For example, public and party dissatisfaction with Council members Greer, Thompson and McAbee resulted in opposition to all three for the Republican nomination to be decided in the June primary.

In McAbee’s case, he will face opposition both from within and without his party, with a Democratic opponent waiting in the wings, should McAbee get past Tom Allen, his challenger in the primary. Allen’s status as a member of the Anderson County Republican Party’s Executive Committee at least hints of a deep dissatisfaction with McAbee’s performance, if not outright screaming it.

Greer once again faces Eddie Moore, whom he narrowly defeated last time the two faced off. Greer faces the same challenging perception among his support base that Thompson and McAbee face. That perception is that they are unswerving in their support of county administrator Joey Preston, a perception that many equate with a surrendering of their authority to Preston and a concomitant collusion in the raising of taxes that has been a salient feature of the county administration in recent years.

While Greer defeated Moore by a larger margin in the general election, his nineteen vote win over Republican challenger Matthew Hilley in the primary speaks of a real vulnerability. Moore’s switch to the Republican party, and his apparently warm welcome since joining, may be sufficient to garner him the extra votes he needs.

Thompson also bears the burden of having made an extraordinary presentation to the public during a Council meeting at which he used a strong expletive as well as branding a local taxpayer’s group “terrorists”. He has since repeated those charges, although he appears to have learned his lesson about barnyard language in public meetings. Thompson also escaped by a nineteen vote margin in his race in 2006. Clearly, he is hardly a juggernaut.

Both Thompson and McAbee ran with the blessings of the Republican Party and the Anderson County Taxpayers’ Association, based on their avowed opposition to increased taxes and their support of a close review of the policies of Preston and his administration. Both have since become consistent supporters of Preston, seldom, if ever, casting a vote contrary to Preston’s recommendations.

Both men say they didn’t understand the realities of County government at the time they were campaigning, and have since come to realize what a good job Preston does. Their critics maintain that both men have sold out and become Preston supporters for their own personal and political reasons. Which viewpoint prevails is the key to the races in those two districts.

District Six is a somewhat different story. Councilman Ron Wilson has suffered misstep after misstep. He ran on a promise of actively pursuing a full audit, and of being a stalwart ally for Councilwoman Cindy Wilson in her efforts to obtain financial records of the County, declaring loudly that no member of Council should ever suffer the lack of a second for a motion he or she brought to the floor.

His campaign to obtain a full audit of the County’s finances consisted solely of one motion to amend a Council meeting agenda to allow a discussion of the topic. That motion failed and Wilson abandoned that campaign promise henceforth. He later voted in the affirmative when Councilman Greer asked that Preston be given a vote of confidence. Wilson’s explanation for his turn around? He said he owed it to Preston.

Wilson’s critics, including his challenger, the vocal and visible Rick Fremantle, think that acknowledged debt refers to Preston’s role in helping Wilson secure the national convention of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in 2010, as well as for a contract Wilson’s daughter received from the County within weeks of opening an agricultural consulting firm. The particulars of that contract have led Wilson’s opponents to raise the issue of conflict of interest; charges Wilson denies.

He sponsored a zoning ordinance earlier this year which set fire to his District, bringing out hundreds of opponents to public meetings. He suffered real damage in that fiasco and continues to oppose a C&D landfill in his district in an effort to regain that lost ground.

As for his support of Cindy Wilson, within weeks of his swearing in, he began publicly castigating her for her insistence on answers concerning the County’s finances. He has publicly disavowed any alliance with her and has promised to refuse to second any motion she might make. This appears to be the promise he will keep.

According to excellent sources, he went so far as to go into Wilson’s district and recruit opponents to run against her. Whether Hooper was a lesser choice, or even a recruit at all, is unknown. But at least one well respected member of the EMS community refused to run against Wilson.

The District Six race involves a diverse voting populace. The rapidly growing suburban area of Powdersville is Wilson’s chosen stronghold, but there are many rural residents in the other parts of the District who supported Wilson against Bill Dees in 2006. How many of them feel betrayed by Wilson’s turnaround is the question that will be answered in June.

In District Two, conventional wisdom is that Councilwoman Gracie Floyd is entrenched in the heavily black district, but her Republican challenger Bill Holder disagrees. Floyd’s flamboyant and sometimes confused performance, as well as her apparent focus on issues affecting her black constituents, has him hopeful that the only Democrat on the Council can be unseated.

If those five Council members have stirred public dissatisfaction with their performance, District One’s representative, incumbent Bob Waldrep has certainly raised the ire of the power structure that is the Preston administration. Long before Waldrep referred to Preston and his top financial analyst Gina Humphries as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the honeymoon between administrator and Council Chairman was clearly over.

Not surprisingly, several candidates have stepped forward to challenge Waldrep, led by Brooks Brown, a political gadfly who spends more time in Preston’s office than either Waldrep or Cindy Wilson, who would be hard put to gain entrance to that office.

As for District Seven, Cindy Wilson will face a Republican challenge in the primary, as she has since taking her seat on the Council in 2001. Wilson’s dogged pursuit of financial information about the county, as well as her relentless criticism of Preston, has led to a procession of candidates recruited and sent forth into political battle against her.

Two major problems face her opponent, Doug Hooper, despite an apparent strategy of using the controversial 800 MHz system as a political foil. The first is that Wilson is a pretty popular watchdog in her district, routinely winning 65 per cent of the vote. The second problem is that Wilson is a pretty popular watchdog in her district, routinely winning sixty five per cent of the vote.

What I mean is that Hooper has to sway sixteen to seventeen per cent of the voters in order to beat Wilson. Seems to me that’s asking an awful lot, especially for a political newcomer.

I suspect the political process in Anderson County is going to get ugly, and get ugly early. If you’re squeamish, turn away now. And that includes candidates.





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