News Archive

(1506) Week of Apr 12, 2006

Outreach programs, volunteers recognized By Clemson, Duke
Play and Learn program encourages children, parents
Family Activity Center kickoff at Caroline Center
West Pelzer avoids fines, Council chages decision on unpermitted water line
Pelzer residents consider annexation
Skate Park Ride a success
Spring Break Bash Sat. at Pelzer Sk8 Park
Police looking for bank robbery suspect
Property purchased with hopes of bringing new tenant
Deputies investigate Hanna bomb threat
Festival, tourism meeting set
Community wide service
Charges dropped

Outreach programs, volunteers recognized By Clemson, Duke

During a luncheon held last week at the Reedy River Baptist Church in Mauldin, Clemson University celebrated two outreach programs that are having a huge impact in local communities.

Clemson University Trustees and others recognized the significance of the Strong Families and Strong Communities programs and the efforts of volunteers and organizations that have partnered or expanded partnerships with the program. The Strong Communities Program is being spearheaded through Clemson University with funding from the Duke Endowment.

Anderson School District One was recognized for their Family Services program which has partnered with the Strong Communities program to offer better services to families in the District.

Other local partnerships recognized were Children’s Medical Center of Simpsonville, Latino Outreach Advisory Group of the Simpsonville Police Dept., Grove Station Apartments and the Caroline Community Center in Williamston.

Representatives from numerous community organizations participating in the Strong Communities program attended the event.

Among those represented were the Williamston Action Community Center, Senior Solutions, Town of West Pelzer, Williamston Police Department, Piedmont Emergency Relief Center, area churches and other organizations.

 “Strong Communities for Children was launched in Simpsonville four years ago and is based on the idea that children will be safer when every child and parent know that whenever they have a reason to celebrate, worry, or grieve, someone will notice and someone will care,” Clemson University Trustee, Patricia McAbee said.

During its first four years, approximately 4000 individuals in the upstate have contributed their time and talent and hundreds of commuity organizations have participated including businesses, churches and synagogues, civic organizations, fire departments, health clinics, local governments, neighborhood associations, and police and sheriff’s departments, according to McAbee.

Outreach workers with the Clemson Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life have facilitated the program which is being offered in communities in southern Greenville County and adjacent areas of Laurens and Anderson counties.

Gary B. Melton, Professor and Director of the Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life at Clemson University heads the Strong Communities program.

Information provided by Melton, states, “Strong Communities is a landmark child protection initiative based on the premise that child protection should be a part of everyday life. Strong Communities seeks to mobilize entire communities to increase support for families of young children in order to prevent child abuse and neglect.”

One of the new partnerships recognized during was the Family Service program being administered in Anderson School District One. Under the direction of Tanya Richbourg, the program  is working in conjunction with the Strong Communities program to offer better services to families in the District.

Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler said that he first became aware of District One’s involvement with the program three years ago when Dr. Charlotte McLeod received a Champion for Children award. He said as he learned more about the program he became excited and later Richbourg was recognized. After the recognitions, Fowler said he became even more interested in the initiative, “and realized their vision perfectly matched Anderson District One’s vision for children,” which he said was providing a safe environment where they have a sense of belonging.

“We can’t meet the needs of our children until their basic needs are met,” Fowler said. “Thank you for allowing Anderson District One Family Services to partner with Clemson University.”

Fowler also recognized Dr. Doris Cole and Dr. Lucinda Quick for their contributions to the program and their passion for the children .

Fowler said he presented the program to the Anderson District One Board of Trustees and asked them to allow the District to look at the possibility of expanding the network of opportunities for children.

At the request of Fowler, The Board recently approved a Memorandum of Agreement for the program.

“Because I know we all want to work together, we had to break down barriers. The program allows us to better understand needs and will pull together resources,” Fowler said.  “I can’t tell you how excited I am and what this could mean to the children of Anderson District One.”

Also recognized for their actions at the Caroline Community Center, were Ted Mattison, President of The Williamston Action Community Club and Dr. Doris Cole, Strong Communities Outreach Worker.

Mamie Reid, Ministry Development Coordinator for Shady Grove Baptist Church in Pelzer presented recognitions for awards received in the past year of service in Strong Communities.

Clemson University Trustee Patricia McAbee welcomed guests to the program. Dr. John W. Kelly, Vice President for Public Service and Agriculture also made statements about the program which he said allows participating in problem solving, engaging in community, working with public, listening to the communities and forming new alliances. It also involves service learning for Clemson students.

Greenville County Council Chair Herman G. (Butch) Kirven, Jr. also mad remarks.

A videotape presentation by Clemson University President Dr. James F. Barker was shown. In the presentation, Barker said that outreach was a vital part of Clemson.

Strong Communities is a product of a long term grant of $1.65 million from the Duke Endowment to the Clemson University Research Foundation.

Strong Communities for children is a groundbreaking initiative to engage all sectors of the community in prevention of child abuse and neglect.

The program is geared toward residents who are expecting new babies, those who already have children under the age of 6 and newcomers to the community who are in these categories.

The program is also designed to deal with isolation young parents often encounter. 

Play and Learn program encourages children, parents

If you are the parent of a young child, or take care of someone else’s child, you may want to consider attending a free program that encourages reading and other activities to help that child do better in school and in life.

The Play and Learn Center at Shady Grove Baptist Church in southern Greenville County, offers fellowship among a growing group of moms, godparents, grandparents, friends and children, according to coordinator Mamie Reid.

 The program includes a variety of learning and fun activities for parents and children. The weekly format includes a greeting and sharing time, two stories read by facilitators, musical activities, and crafts. Meals are provided for children and parents or caregivers attending.

 One of the main goals of the program is to encourage reading. “We work to help each child have an appreciation of reading,” Reid said, “which helps them to be successful in reading, do better in school, and to become healthy productive citizens.”

At the conclusion of the session, each child is given a book to take home. 

“The goal is to help children develop socially, emotionally and cognitively at this critical stage of learning,” Reid said. “The desire is to build upon a well researched theory, that early learning equals future success,” Reid said. “A great way to accomplish our goal for the children is by building upon the community support systems for parents and our childcare providers.”

“The church creates community,” Reid said.

The Play and Learn Center was started October 6, 2005 with 15 children and 13 parents/caregivers, according to Reid. It averages 8 to 12 children.

The center is funded with a grant received from the State Office of First Steps. It is designed to help children and families learn together.

“The goal is to work with the faith community, parents, child-care providers and young children so that these children are given opportunities to reach their full potential,” Reid said. “The program centers on a weekly meeting facilitated by faith-based volunteers who are trained and passionate in the area of early childhood development.”

The Play and Learn Center holds reach and teach sessions on the first and third Tuesday of each month from 6 to 8 p.m and on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is open to the public and anyone interested is invited.

“Through reaching and teaching, we are supporting our young children and families through learning,” Reid said.

Facilitators include Mamie Reid, coordinator, Channon Reid and Barbara Jones.

In addition to the weekly Play and Learn Center meetings held at Shady Grove Baptist, there are a variety of informative seminars and other support programs being offered to the local community.

A parenting seminar entitled Discipline and Manners for Children Today will be offered on April 29, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Shady Grove Baptist Fellowship Building. Brunch will be included. The program is free and open to the public and child care will be provided. To reserve a spot, call 864-243-3406 by April 21.

A caregiver support group meets at the church on the fourth Thursday of each month at 10:30 a.m. The program is offered to persons who support and care for a relative or close friend. A different speaker is scheduled each month.

The program offers a safe and supportive environment to discuss experiences, educate and inform, develp methods for problem solving, encourage personal growth and provide information and local resources.

The church has also adopted the Riley Center and provides supplies, incentives and gifts for teachers and volunteer readers at the school.

They are also involved in programs offered through the Strong Communities initiative through Clemson University.

For additional information on any of the programs being offered at Shady Grove Baptist Church, contact Mamie Reid, Ministry Development Coordinator at 243-2522 or call the church at 243-3406. James W. Nesbitt is Pastor.

Kickoff event planned for Family Activity Center

A kickoff event to create family activity centers in the Williamston, Pelzer, and West Pelzer area will be held on Saturday, April 22, at the Caroline Community Center. The day will include entertainment, food, a community-wide baby shower, and a work day.

The community is being invited to participate in the special event which is the first project organized by members of the Family Activity Centers Advisory Board for Strong Communities, a public service initiative of Clemson University and the Duke Endowment.

Goals of the initiative are to expand support for parents of young children, zero to 6 years old, by renewing community norms of neighbors helping neighbors. The goal is for every parent and every child to be confident that someone will notice and someone will care whenever they have cause for joy, sorrow or worry. This is an important step in preventing child abuse and neglect and for building strong communities where respect is practiced in everyday life a Strong Communities spokesperson Doris Cole said.

Volunteers are needed to scrape and paint an empty room at the Caroline Community Center as the first step in an “extreme makeover” of the room into a family friendly place for parents and young children.

When completed, it will be one of the first activity centers in the area and will be utilized for activities and events associated with supporting parents with young children.

 Activities planned for the room include “Drop In and Play,” “Moms and Tots Exercise,” “Parents Night Out,” and “Grandparents Raising Young Children.”

The Family Activity Center Advisory Board will publish an April/May calendar of events for families of young children. Events will be held at various churches, schools, the Pelzer Gym and the Caroline Community Center.

The Family Activity Center Advisory Board for Pelzer, Williamston and West Pelzer includes the following members: Larry Baldwin, youth minister at Calvary Baptist; Amy Bell, early childhood coordinator at Palmetto Elementary; Dr. Doris Cole, outreach worker for Strong Communities; Diane Cooley, children’s director at Tabernacle Baptist; Kenneth Davis, mayor of Pelzer; Melanie Ford, Operation Care volunteer and member of Tabernacle Baptist; Clara Gilreath, customer service with BB&T and member of Beaver dam Baptist; Mae Grier, board member of Williamston Action Community Club (WAAC); Jane Harrison, Director of Elementary Education for School District One; Holly Howard, victim’s advocate for Williamston Police Department; Phyllis Lollis, branch manager of BB&T; Sandy Koontz, co-owner of Palmetto Family Medicine Center; Jill McLeigh, family activity centers coordinator for Strong Communities; Dr. Charlotte McLeod, principal of Pelzer Elementary; Marion Owens, board of WAAC; Tanya Richbourg, family services for Anderson School District One; Mary Kate Shepard, parent and adult education student; Kempie Shepard, pastor of Grace United Methodist Church; Debbie Welborn, guidance counselor at Palmetto Elementary; Dr. Eunice Williams, curriculum coordinator for Palmetto and Pelzer Elementary Schools.

The Family Activity Center Kickoff at Caroline Community Center will include hotdogs served by members of Senior Solutions and a community-wide baby shower at the center hosted by members of Women’s Missions from Calvary Baptist Church.

Interested persons are asked to bring a new, unwrapped baby gift of diapers, wipes, books, clothing, toys, or other items for babies. 

The items will be distributed to families through the Family Services of Anderson School District One and Operation Care of the Palmetto Baptist Association.

Volunteers are also needed to provide stage entertainment from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and groups of 10 to 15 workers are needed 2 hour blocks of work time scraping and painting. Work will begin at 7 a.m. and continue to completion. Volunteers are also needed for supervising children’s activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

For more information on helping or attending the Family Activity Center Kickoff at Caroline Community Center, contact Doris Cole, Outreach Worker for Strong Communities at 847-9186.

West Pelzer avoids fines, Council chages decision on unpermitted water line

By Stan Welch

After dodging a bullet from DHEC that could have resulted in crippling fines, possibly amounting to  millions of dollars, West Pelzer Town Council decided to forgive the water bill accumulated during the life of a questionable water line that led to the trouble.

In June of 2005, city workers installing a blowout valve on a six inch city line, discovered a tap that they knew nothing about, and left it disconnected following the repair. Lee Atkins, a property owner living almost 1000 feet outside the town limits, appeared at Town Hall to complain that his water had been cut off. The dispute led to a special meeting on June 14 to address the issue.

Atkins stated, and several current and former elected town officials agreed, that Atkins had been told he could tap on if he paid the cost of doing so. He was not to be charged for the water, but any future taps to the line would benefit the town. Atkins’ father was on the Council at the time, during Mayor Bud Brown’s administration. Town ordinances at the time would appear to prohibit such an arrangement.

At the June meeting, the council worked out a deal with Atkins which allowed him to reconnect the service, but charged him $1870 for the ten plus years’ of water he had received. The total amount was estimated at 800,000 gallons, on which Atkins paid no sewer fees either. At the suggestion of former Mayor Brown, the Council voted in June to drop the $585 tap fee.

Earlier this year, while water department head Michael Mahaffey was out with health problems, a DHEC survey of the town’s water lines resulted in the discovery of the non permitted tap. That discovery led last week to an enforcement conference between the Town and DHEC to address the issues raised.

The notice of the enforcement conference issued by DHEC stated that, on January 25, the line was discovered during a routine town survey. Sources familiar with the discovery of the tap say that a town employee inadvertently mentioned it during the survey, assuming that DHEC inspectors had heard about it since it had been in the newspaper.

If DHEC had been unaware, they were unaware no longer. In the notice of the conference, DHEC made the following findings of fact: that the Town had installed the line without a permit; that the line was placed into operation without final DHEC approval; and that the line was improperly constructed.  The letter went on to state that civil penalties of $5000 per day per violation, or a total of $15,000 a day, could be levied for each day of the violations.

Since the exact day of the installation is unknown, the total possible fine cannot be calculated; nor was it ever a real possibility that the full fine be imposed. Still, using the 1995 installation date provided by the Mayor, the potential fines easily pass $50 million. Even using the 60 month figure Atkins stated, the figure could have surpassed $27 million.

Instead, Atkins faced a bill of $1870, based on the minimum water bill of $25.50 a month for the 60 months he says the line was in place. Mayor Paxton says the line was installed much earlier than that, a claim supported by the 800,000 gallons reportedly used by Atkins during the time in question.

Former councilman Bill Alexander argued in favor of Atkins, saying that the Council had approved the deal. He asked town attorney Carey Murphy, “You mean this agreement wasn’t good?” Murphy reiterated, as he had last June, “It was in violation of your town ordinances.”

The point became moot Monday night when the Council voted 4-0-1, first to rescind their agreement with Atkins reached last summer. Councilman Joe Turner, who was on the Town Council when the original deal was made to allow the tap, abstained in the vote to rescind.

He then made a motion to drop any charges related to the 800,000 gallons of water used by Atkins during the time the tap was in place. Councilman King seconded the motion, saying “This will make people happy and that’s what we should do.”

Atkins has been paying for water used since last summer, and will continue to do so for the next 60 days or until he taps on to another line, whichever comes first. As a condition of the consent letter that DHEC will issue within the next 30 days, Atkins has to obtain his water elsewhere. That motion was approved 4-1, with Mayor Paxton opposing.

Water and sewer issues continued to dominate the evening. Prior to the activities mentioned above, the Town received a report from grant coordinator Rusty Burns and ACOG representative Dan Wagner about the status of the Town’s proposed water line extension and upgrade.

The two agreed that the Town needs to re-bid the project, because the lowest bid received March 7 came in $145,000 higher than the amount the town received to fund the project.

Wagner stated that the grant, approved in 2004, is inadequate because of increases in construction costs and the impact of the last hurricane season, when so much of the Gulf coast was damaged.

That damage drove the price of water and sewer lines up, and the availability down. He added that several similar projects across the state were being re-bid as well. “This is not an isolated incident. This is a big challenge for small towns everywhere right now,” he said.

Burns added that State Rep. Dan Cooper and Sen. Billy O’Dell had assured him that an additional $30,000 could be obtained, bringing the available monies to $480,000, instead of the $450,000 that was available, after ACOG deducted its 10% ($50,000) for administering the grant. Wagner reported that ACOG was looking for ways to reduce that share to $40,000, freeing up an additional $10,000 and bring the total available for construction to $490,000.

Wagner reminded Council that returning the grant funds would cost $16,000 in costs already accumulated, adding, “The next time you applied for a grant, it would hurt your chances to have returned one already.”

Burns said that he feels there are a lot of companies out there that would like to bid. Once the original 60 day bid period expires on May 7, the project will be let for bid again. This time, a 30 day bid window will be in place. The project will be re-bid just as it was bid the first time, without changes.

The Mayor also informed Council that the Town needs to consider an increase in water rates, due to a total increase in wholesale costs from Greenville Water System of $.40 per thousand gallons in just the last year.

“We can’t continue to absorb the increases,” said the Mayor. Councilman Turner agreed. “You catch one here and catch one there, and all of sudden you’re trying to figure out where your money went.”

 The Mayor will be scheduling a meeting with Rural Water to discuss the rates, and how they should be structured. 

Pelzer residents consider annexation

By Stan Welch

A proposed ordinance designed to establish an inside-outside rate for utilities in Pelzer sparked a drive for annexation that will at least be explored by the Town and its surrounding residents.

The Pelzer Town Council voted Tuesday night to table second reading of the proposed ordinance for 60 days, and to explore the possibility of annexing approximately 560 homes; thereby increasing the size of the town by seventeen hundred per cent. The change in direction came after more than 30 residents appeared at the Council meeting to express their interest in being annexed into the Town.

Town attorney Jimmy King explained to Harold Tennihill Sr., a spokesman for the “outsiders”, or those living outside the small corporate limits of Pelzer, that annexation clearly offered advantages to both sides. “Will annexation benefit absolutely everyone in the village? You bet it will.”

He stressed however that the process isn’t without cost. “I have done a number of annexations, but never one as large as this would be,” said King. “One of the main expenses would be in establishing recordable boundaries for the area involved. You’ll be adding about 560 homes to the existing 33 that are in the town.”

King explained that of the several methods available for annexation, the seventy five percent method would probably be the most efficient. “You would have to present petitions seeking annexation, signed by 75% of the adult residents in the area in question. That would be the first step, but certainly not the last.” He went on to state that an ethnic breakdown of the residents would have to be provided to the Department of Justice’s Voting rights Division.

“There will be a long litany of state and federal agencies that will have to approve the annexation. If we were to start today, it will be at least a year before we can achieve this. It will be very important that you folks work within your areas and neighborhoods to organize and obtain the needed signatures.”

The annexation drive began when the ordinance to abolish the water and sewer surcharges for the Town’s 33 existing households was revived by Councilwoman Sandra Ragsdale. She had intended the ordinance as an incentive to annexation; it was clearly successful.

Tennihill, speaking for the outside residents, said that it was time they had a vote on the issues affecting their lives. “We have people going overseas to fight for other people’s right to vote, but these people haven’t had the right to vote in over 100 years. They’ve been called sideliners, people who don’t get involved. I think they’ll prove otherwise on this matter.”

King stressed the value of performing one grand annexation, instead of doing sections of the village or even smaller units. “You have to follow each and every step each and every time you annex, so it clearly serves us all to try and do the entire thing at once. Otherwise, six months from now, we’ll have Mill 4 coming and saying they don’t have a vote. Then we’re starting all over again.”

After Tennihill’s presentation to the Council and King’s response to a number of questions, Council voted to go into executive session. Speaking to The Journal during that session, Tennihill said that those not voting to support annexation “are giving their proxy to the Council and Mayor to do whatever they want. I don’t think we’ll have any trouble getting the needed names.”

Olene Bear said that she had sought annexation several times in the past but was told it would result in paying high taxes. “It turns out that they don’t even pay town taxes. It was just a scare tactic.” She also took issue, as did several others, with a letter to the editor from town administrator Skip Watkins, which appeared in last week’s issue of The Journal. “He doesn’t even live in town. He lives in Clemson, so he should just butt out.”

Tennihill pointed out the irony in the fact that the Town Hall where the meeting was held is in fact outside the existing corporate limits of the town.

Following a twenty minute executive session, council returned to open session and voted, upon Ragsdale’s motion, to table the proposed ordinance for sixty days. They then announced that they would hold a public meeting at the community building at 5:30 on May 4. The annexation supporters were told to bring as many people as they could, so that the various issues and aspects of annexation could be explained and discussed thoroughly.

Skate Park Ride a success

The first Spring Ride held April resulted in $3,600 being raised (before expenses) for the Pelzer Skate Park, organizers said. Motorcycles came from across the upstate to participate in the event which began at the Pelzer ball park. The roar of the 100 motorcycles and the smell of barbecue filled the air Saturday morning. Pelzer Mayor Kenneth Davis said the success of the day was due to the many volunteers and sponsors of the ride. “The ride went very well and plans are to have another one next year,” Davis said. The event was coordinated with the help of HAMC of Greenville, Chrome Diva’s of Greenwood, Todd Creamer of Bi-Lo (for donating bread). and Donnie Neely, who cooked 300 lbs. of barbecue. Numerous volunteers helped with the event.

Spring Break Bash Sat. at Pelzer Sk8 Park

There will be a Spring Break Bash this Saturday, April 15 at the Courts, located at the Pelzer Sk8 Park.

The event will include an Easter Egg Hunt at 10 a.m., a free throw contest and a skate board contest at 11 a.m. 

Registration for the contest will begin at 10 a.m. Entry fee is $5. Divisions will be 12 and under, intermediate, advanced, and sponsored. The skate board contest is being sponsored by Brokn Boards, Eastern Skate Board Supply and Imperial Skate Shop. There will also be hotdog plates available for $5 as a fundraiser for the park.

Police looking for bank robbery suspect

The Williamston branch office of Suntrust Bank on Hamilton St. was robbed Friday April 7 at approximately 11:40 a.m. Williamston Police officers and the FBI are still searching for a suspect.

The suspect has been identified as Jeffrey Dean Gragg, 49, aproximate height 6’2”, approximate weight 180 lbs. and wears prescription glasses.

The man was last seen driving a 1989 Ford Econoline van, dull gray or silver in color with a burgundy stripe. the vehicle is bearing a SC “In God We Trust” tag with number 2013AR.

He is suspected to be from the Ninety Six, Greenwood area.

Williamston Police Chief David Baker said that no one was hurt during the robbery and that the suspect was armed.

According to Baker, the suspect is a drifter and had not been involved in other crimes.

Law enforcement officials began working tips while at the crime scene and eventually tips that led to the Ninety Six and Greenwood area.

Williamston officers have been in the Greenwood area checking out the tips. Baker said the man was a suspect within 24 hours of the robbery.

Anyone with information that may be related to the incident is asked to call the Williamston Police Department at 864-847-7425, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Greenville Office at 864-232-3807 or the Anderson Area Crime Stoppers at 864-231-STOP.

Property purchased with hopes of bringing new tenant

Jim Simpson, the Town Square Center developer/owner who was the high bidder on the old Williamston city hall property, said he had no deal in the works involving the property when he discussed it with Council in executive session prior to the auction.

Simpson said his intention in bidding on the property was to enhance the value of the shopping center and to attract a major tenant in the center.

The center has been without a primary tenant, which also happened to be the town’s only grocery store, since Winn-Dixie closed last year.

“My sole intention is to enhance the possibilities for the shopping center and attract a very desirable tenant for the center and the town,” Simpson said this week.

He also said he would like to move the entrance to the center to make ingress and egress to the shopping center better for customers.

Simpson said he intends to cooperate fully with the downtown development plans and to improve traffic flow and parking. “I certainly want to cooperate any way I can there,” he said.

With the recent property sale, the Greater Williamston Business Association (GWBA) and the Town will have to go back to the drawing board concerning their downtown plan.

A SCDOT enhancement grant of $105,000 was recently approved for the project, which was to include an amphitheater or water feature at the site of the old town hall.

Members of the GWBA downtown revitalization committee will probably meet within the next two weeks to take another look at the project.

Simpson said that discussions held with the mayor and council in an executive session prior to the auction sale were with the intent of providing necessary information about the property and related restrictions to Council before they made a decision.

According  to Simpson, the property did have protective covenants.

According to the convenants, a sight easement indicates any building constructed on the parcel cannot exceed one story nor be in excess of 22 feet in height or 8,500 square feet in area. There was also an ingress/egress easement to and from Main Street to the three parcels.

The restrictions also provide for Pelzer Avenue to remain a street, which for 16 years has gone through the property.

Simpson said he did not intend to influence council whether to sell the property or not, but only to provide information about the property restrictions.

There was also some question as to whether the property owned by the town was a triangle which included common parking lot facilities between the entrance and McDonalds or whether Simpson owned a portion of the property in question.

According to Simpson, Anderson County tax maps show the triangle portion of the property as part of the shopping center property, on which he has paid taxes and made improvements and maintenance since the center was constructed in 1988.

Mayor Phillip Clardy also indicated that the “contract” discussion was about the actual property lines which were in question.

Since Simpson was the high bidder, the question is a moot point.

Clardy also indicated that a member of council did entertain the thought that the property could be pulled from the auction and sold at a later date.

When council returned to public, there were some comments made by Clardy concerning the property, though none of the details were provided.

Clardy said that though he could not go into detail, the property could have implications concerning a significant tenant in the shopping center.

Before taking the vote, Clardy indicated that he was not opposed to selling the property with the stipulation that an effort be made to preserve the past.

He said he would request that the old town hall building and the time capsule buried on the property be given back to the town.

It was stated during the auction, that the property was being sold with the intent that the building be moved within 120 days and at the expense of the town.

Mayor Clardy stated that the town will have two contractors look at the possibility of moving the building and provide estimates.

Clardy also said that he believes that with the land sale, the downtown revitalization plan and the road plan for the town, Williamston is poised for growth.

Clardy said that he is optimistic and that there is a “great potential for growth.”

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies and Anderson City Police officers responded to a bomb threat at T.L. Hanna High School on April 6, after a teacher found writing on a  stall in the women’s restroom. The writing said that the high school would “blow up at exactly 10:45 on Friday April 7, 2006.”

K-9 units, including a bomb dog from Oconee County, were brought to the school and a search was conducted. No devices or explosives were found, and extra police officers were assigned to the school on Friday the 7th. No incidents occurred.

Deputies investigate Hanna bomb threat

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies and Anderson City Police officers responded to a bomb threat at T.L. Hanna High School on April 6, after a teacher found writing on a  stall in the women’s restroom. The writing said that the high school would “blow up at exactly 10:45 on Friday April 7, 2006.”

K-9 units, including a bomb dog from Oconee County, were brought to the school and a search was conducted. No devices or explosives were found, and extra police officers were assigned to the school on Friday the 7th. No incidents occurred.nderson County sheriff's Deputies investigated the following incidents:


April 7 – R. S. Turner responded to the Fred’s store at 297 Highway 20, where Jo Ann Robinson reported that a black male in his 20s left without paying for a tool set.

April 8 – R. S. Turner responded to 8 Lopez St. where a juvenile reported that his mother had thrown a Pepsi can at her 81 year old mother, striking her in the face. Ethel Gibbs received a cut under the left eye, and Patricia Ann Gibbs, 43, was arrested and transported to ACDC after admitting throwing the can.


April 7 – M.D. Looney investigated the theft of a 2004 white Dodge Truck 4X4 from a gas station on Hwy. 153. Norman Gene Haskins, of Anderson, went inside to pay for his gas and came out to see his truck going down the road. He also stated that he had a Ruger. 45 pistol in the truck as well. He could give no description of the driver.

April 7 – J.A. Frazier responded to a case of assault at 105 Barclay Road. Claude Jackson , BM, 50, 6’2", 180, grey/brn, stated that his son Dexter and he had been arguing over a dog Dexter, BM, 17, 6’2", 170 pounds, blk/brn, brought home. Deputy W.T. Cunningham had been to the home before and had left with a .22 pistol which Claude said Dexter had brought into the house. In the latest incident, Dexter threatened to harm and kill his father. He was arrested and transported to ACDC.

April 8 – W.T. Cunningham responded to 151 Lame Duck Dr., where he received a .32 caliber revolver, which Donald Hood had found on his property. It was placed in evidence to be destroyed.

April 9 – C. Donald received a report of a stolen license plate from Edwin Darrell Hutchison, Sr., of 119 Sherman Court. The tag was stolen from a 2003 black Dakota Truck. It was a USC tag with number U13901.


 April 5 – K. Smith received a report of damage to a vehicle from Joe Cothran at the BiLo. Cothran parked his truck and went in to work. Upon returning, it had been broken into and the steering column and wheel damaged.

J.W. Mills received a report from Nikolaos Rozakos, who said that his 1999 Honda had broken down on Hwy. 29 North the day before. He later had it towed, and the tow truck driver called him and told him his radio was gone from the car. He subsequently found that clothes, electronics and other items were missing.

April 7 – R.S. Turner received a report of malicious damage from Natasha Estes, who owns a mobile home at 112 Wateree Lane. She reported that someone had broken into the trailer, damaging the door and jamb.

 April 9 – J. J. Jacobs and Deputy Campbell were at the scene of a one car accident at Willingham and Windy Hill roads. Reports state two Hispanic males were there and the officers were trying to decide who had been driving, when Freddie Carmona, WM, 23-25 years, took off running. Jacobs tackled him, suffering several minor abrasions, and tearing the knee of his uniform trousers. Carmona was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct.

Festival, tourism meeting set

All civic leaders, public servants, business persons and area residents interested in a more prosperous community through tourism are urged to participate in a tourist and festival planning session in Williamston. The first will be held at 7:15 am Thursday, April 13 at MV Pizza at Town Square Center in Williamston. A second is set for 7:15 pm on Monday April 17 at the historic Williamston Depot. Questions or comments can be directed to 847-1668. Area business leaders and others interested in the future of Williamston are also invited to the regular monthly meeting of the Greater Williamston Business Association (GWBA) on April 18 at noon at MV Pizza.

Community wide service

There will be a community-wide Easter Son-Up Service at 8 a.m. Sunday April 16 on the grounds of Pelzer United Methodist Church located at the corner of Hale and Lebby St. in Pelzer. The event is hosted by five area churches including Pelzer Presbyterian, Williamston Presbyterian, Grace United Methodist, Bethel United Methodist and Pelzer United Methodist. A free breakfast reception will follow the service and the event will be held rain or shine organizers said. For more information call 947-9475.

Charges dropped

Charges of driving under suspension and operating without insurance against Stan Welch, reporter and columnist for The Journal, were dropped last week, according to a letter from Magistrate Ronald Whitman.

Welch had been arrested on February 24, after leaving a restaurant where he had attended a birthday party for radio talk show host Rick Driver.

 The letter, dated April 7, stated that the arresting officer, Sgt. Mike Arflin, had left the Sheriff’s Department and would be working predominantly out of town. The sergeant asked that the charges against Welch be dropped.

The charges were the result of a situation which occurred two years earlier resulting in the suspension of which Welch was unaware.

 Welch, in a statement to The Journal, thanked Arflin for his professionalism and courtesy on the night of the arrest. “Sgt. Arflin was kind enough to allow a family member to come and get my son, thereby avoiding placing him in DSS custody. For that, and his courtesy to me, I thank him. I’m sorry to hear he has left the ACSO. They could use more officers of his caliber.”

 Welch also thanked his publisher and employer at The Journal for his support while the situation was resolved. “David and Richard Meade, and everyone at The Journal, have been great. I especially appreciate them not running my mug shot in the paper. That was an ugly picture.”

The incident was reported along with others in the Anderson County Sheriff’s report which appears weekly in The Journal.









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