News Archive

Week of Apr. 21, 2004

Piedmont Community Center to host summer day camps
Public meetings set for rail trail project
West Pelzer to raise funds for police dog
Austin to sponsor spring clean-up
Sheriff's deputies investigate incidents
Concrete’s Jane Harrison to head new district position
Williamston to welcome soldiers home Saturday
Wilson schedules review of county expense files
Kelly to compete in Bench America

Piedmont Community Center to host summer day camps

Greenville County Recreation District will hold day camps this summer at the Piedmont Community Center, Chairperson Marsha Rogers announced at the regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners for the Piedmont Public Service District Monday.

The camps will be offered in four 2-week sessions from June 14 through August 6 for boys and girls ages 6-11 and entering first grade through sixth grade. The registration fee will be $30 per child and $95 per 2-week session.

Rogers added that there is also a possibility that activities will be offered for middle school children through the Greenville YMCA at the Community Center. The commissioners also approved a request from the YMCA to use facilities in the Community Center May 7 through July 1 on Thursdays only.

Rogers reported that Anderson County Councilman Bill Dees had been very instrumental in getting $5,000 from the county to be used toward the purchase of a tractor to maintain the ball field. The Public Service District added $3,500 from the capital outlay fund to purchase the tractor at a cost of $8,500.

Rogers also reported that Hotel Hill which is owned by the district has been surveyed in conjunction with the Heritage Corridor project. Representatives of the project are looking into remodeling and adding lighting to the monuments.

Chief Administrator Butch Nichols reported that the district has received a $25,000 matching grant to purchase sewer equipment. Rep. Dan Cooper and Sen. Billy O’Dell were instrumental in getting the funds for the district, Nichols said.

Rogers said that the commitment certification on the grant expires April 13, 2005 so the commissioners have some time to decide exactly how to spend the funds.

Rogers conducted the first reading of the annual budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2005.

The commissioners voted to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters. After returning from executive session, the commissioners unanimously supported a motion by Commissioner Al McAbee to accept the budget as written with an across-the-board 3% increase in salaries.

Since there had been no increase in “run money” in 18 years, McAbee also made a motion to approve an increase from $10 per call to $15 per call for off-duty personnel and volunteers. The board unanimously supported McAbee’s motion.

The commissioners also unanimously approved a motion for Nichols to purchase one computer to begin the process of filing fire reports online.

McAbee reported a total of 55 calls to the fire department in March which included: 5 structure fires, 9 grass fires, 1 vehicle fire, 3 vehicle accidents, 27 medical calls, 1 gas leak, and 9 sewer calls.

The monthly call report generated discussion about the rising number of medical calls where department personnel are first responders usually arriving “five to seven minutes earlier than EMS personnel.”

The board scheduled the next meeting for May 17 and adjourned.

Public meetings set for rail trail project

The Saluda River Valley Rail Trail committee and the Palmetto Conservation Foundation will host a public meeting in Williamston April 27 to gather input on a study to determine the feasibility of a potential 20-mile trail corridor  through the area.

Still in the early stages, the proposed project will connect the towns of West Pelzer, Pelzer, Williamston, Belton and Honea Path with a combination of walking, biking and equestrian trails, possibly along former rail corridors which have been abandoned or are no longer in use.

A task force consisting of civic and legislative leaders and area citizens are now seeking input on the project.

Two public meetings will offer an opportunity for area citizens to assist in the study efforts.

A pedestrian trail expert and local elected officials will be present to answer questions. Maps of the study corridor and community input surveys will also be available at the hearing, organizers said.

In addition to the first public meeting  Tuesday at the Municipal Center in Williamston, a second meeting will be held the following Tuesday, May 4 at City Hall in Belton.  Both meetings will have a drop-in from 4-6 p.m., followed by a presentation at 6 p.m.

A similar meeting was  held in Honea Path in February.

The public meetings offer an opportunity for citizens and potentially affected property owners in the area to express their concerns and questions regarding the project.

Committee members have been meeting for more than a year and have discussed using portions of the CSX and/or Norfolk Southern lines that run through the area.

The group plans to begin working on the proposed project in Honea Path and proceed north.

The Palmetto Conservation Foundation was selected to provide basic groundwork on the project including identifying possible routes, conducting a GPS reading of the possible trail route and checking ownership of property adjacent to the abandoned rail lines.

The committee filed a RTP program letter of intent in December, which states that they intend to apply for grants monies to be used in funding the project.

West Pelzer to raise funds for police dog

Police Sgt. Bernard Wilson is on a mission to find a new partner – a highly trained, four-legged one.

An officer in the West Pelzer Police Department, Wilson recently received approval from the town council to go ahead with a program to acquire a police dog for the local department.

According to Wilson, the dog would not only be used for fighting crime but also for a special school education program that teaches children the dangers of drug abuse.

The dog would be trained for drug detection, tracking missing persons or fleeing criminals, and building searches. The local K-9 team would be on call for use by neighboring cities and towns and provide an extra measure of confidence for citizens and law enforcement in the area.

The Dogs Against Drugs/Dogs Against Crime (DAD/DAC), a national police K-9 association based in Indiana, has volunteered to help the department raise the funds to buy a dog. In order to fund the entire project including the cost of the dog, training, and related equipment, the department needs to raise $10,000.

The department will be seeking donations from individuals and the business community in the local area to fund the project. Tax-deductible donations should be made payable to the DAD/DAC and mailed to: Sgt. B. L. Wilson II, West Pelzer Police Department, #3 Hindman Street, West Pelzer, SC 29669. Contributors should indicate on their envelope or check that the contribution is for the K-9 program.

Anyone who is interested in more information on the program may call the West Pelzer Town Hall at 947-6297.

Austin to sponsor spring clean-up

Anderson County Council Candidate Bob Austin is taking his campaign to the streets with a spring clean-up in Council District 7 which he hopes to represent.

Austin invites the community to be a part of a team of volunteers that will pick up litter in the area in April and May.

He is planning four clean up dates in various areas that are in the County Council district.

The first is scheduled for the Williamston area this Saturday, April 24.

Volunteers will meet at the Calvary Baptist Church parking lot at 8:30 a.m. Austin said the volunteers plan to pick up trash along Hwy. 20 Conn.

Pick-up sticks, trash bags and safety vests will be provided, he said.

Volunteers can also receive a free t-shirt and drinks will be offered.

Everyone in the community is invited to participate, Austin said.

Other cleanup campaigns will be held May 8 at Dogwood Park in Honea Path, May 15 at Midway Presbyterian Church parking lot for the Midway Road and Beaverdam area; and May 22 at the Monkey Park for the Pelzer, West Pelzer area.

Austin is an active supporter of Keep America Beautiful of Anderson and Palmetto Pride organizations  which are also sponsoring clean-up and anti-litter events in the county and state.

Sheriff's Deputies investigate incidents

Anderson County deputies investigated the following incidents this week:

Apr. 18 – Team’s Shell #3, 1712 Easley Hwy., Pelzer, reported that a customer stole a 12-pack of Miller Lite valued at $8.59. A. Digirolamo investigated.

Apr. 18 – Gary Lee Wilson, 41, 825 Joe Black Rd. Lot 54, Williamston, reported that someone took eight Lortab tablets valued at $3. J. L. Martin investigated.

Apr. 17 – Jackie Phillips, 55, 205 Saluda Dr. Apt. 33, Piedmont, reported that someone broke into a utility building at 3 Murray Street in Pelzer and took two Craftsman tool boxes and tools, an air compressor, a lawn tractor, two trimmers, two mowers, two floor jacks, and two ramps valued at $12,380. J. Johnson investigated.

Apr. 16 – Titus Coy Schuch, 23, 825 Joe Black Rd. Lot 40, Williamston, reported that someone stole a 5x8 angle iron trailer valued at $500. M. B. Sloan investigated.

Apr. 16 – Randal Steve Suttle, 38, 221 Timbrooke Way, Easley, reported that someone entered his vehicle and removed a Sony CD player and cell phone valued at $250. D. O. Hill investigated.

Apr. 16 – Tiffany Dale Simpson, 25, 1005 Saluda Dr., Williamston, reported that someone took a baby stroller valued at $60 from the Family Dollar parking lot. D. B. Anderson investigated.

Apr. 16 – Brian Eugene Yeargin, 31, 424 Elrod Rd., Piedmont, reported that a 2001 Jeep Cherokee valued at $16,000 was stolen after the vehicle was involved in a single car accident on Elrod Road. Witnesses reported that the driver of the vehicle walked away from the accident. W. Cunningham investigated.

Apr. 16 – Guy A. Jones, 73, 10 Spring Meadow Ct., Piedmont, reported that someone entered his residence and took medications valued at $100. M. D. Campbell investigated.

Apr. 15 – Bon Daramuang Dahliing, 30, 523 Willingham Rd., Williamston, reported that someone stole tail lights valued at $200 from his vehicle. G. G. Diaz investigated.

Concrete’s Jane Harrison to head new district position

Jane Harrison, principal at Concrete Primary School, will become Director of Elementary Education for Anderson School District One on July 1. The new position is part of a restructuring plan and a reassignment of duties in the district office.

Harrison will be assuming some of the duties currently performed by Dr. Wayne Fowler who will become superintendent upon the retirement of Dr. Reggie Christopher.

David Havird will continue as Assistant Superintendent after the reorganization, and Dr. John Pruitt will absorb some of the duties currently performed by Fowler in the area of secondary education.

“I am very excited to accept the position for the district,” Harrison said. “This position will provide many opportunities to assist the administrators, teachers, and students across the district with curriculum and instructional issues. Anderson District One is an outstanding district, and I look forward to becoming part of the team that is leading our district to excellence.”

Harrison began teaching at Concrete in 1976 after graduating from Furman University with a degree in Elementary Education. She became assistant principal at Concrete in 2000 and was named principal of the school in 2002.

The school was a state Red Carpet Winner in 2003 for its family-friendly atmosphere. “This was a difficult decision because the past two years at Concrete have been so fulfilling,” Harrison admitted.

Harrison has been active on the state level in education participating on many boards and committees and assisting in the development of state PACT standards.

A mentor teacher, Harrison has led staff development and in-service programs and served on textbook and curriculum committees for the local district and was Teacher of the Year in 1980 and 1996.

Williamston to welcome soldiers home Saturday

Company C of the 151st Signal Battalion will be returning to Williamston Saturday morning after more than a year of deployment in Operation Enduring Freedom. Local officials are in the process of finalizing plans for a homecoming celebration for the returning soldiers.

Members of the local unit flew in to Shaw Air Force Base in Columbia Sunday and were greeted by family and loved ones at Camp McCrady – a National Guard facility located on a rear section of Fort Jackson.

The soldiers have been going through a 5-day demobilization at Camp McCrady this week and have had the opportunity to see their families at night.

A law enforcement escort is expected to accompany the unit from Columbia through Pelzer and West Pelzer between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Saturday.

The caravan will travel down Hwy. 8, turn left onto Stewart Street and then left onto Hamilton Street. A Williamston police escort will take over just outside the city limits on Hamilton Street and escort the buses down Main Street and into Mineral Spring Park.

Mayor Phillip Clardy will welcome the local unit home with a special ceremony at the amphitheater in the park. Each soldier will be presented with a flag flown in the town during their deployment as well as a certificate of commendation.

Representatives of the unit are expected to return to the town a flag which actually flew in Kuwait where the unit was stationed.

Merchants and citizens are encouraged to decorate businesses and homes with flags, signs and patriotic colors in honor of the local unit. Citizens are encouraged to line Main Street and then walk to the amphitheater for the ceremony.

A county-wide celebration honoring the soldiers will follow on Sunday morning at the Anderson Civic Center. Anderson County Council and County Administrator Joey Preston will proudly welcome home the men and women. Governor Mark Sanford and General Stan Spears are expected to be featured speakers at the event, a spokesperson said.

Anderson County plans to provide a meal for the full battalion, approximately 300 soldiers and their families at the Civic Center along with some family entertainment. Sunday’s homecoming celebration will begin at 10 a.m. The ceremony and lunch are ticketed events for the soldiers and their families.

Wilson schedules review of county expense files

After a final formation, the soldiers are expected to be released to their families until their next drill which is scheduled some time in September.

Anderson County Council member Cindy Wilson continued her efforts to receive specific information on county finances at the regular meeting of the council Tuesday night. Wilson stated that she had been attempting to review information in legal expense vendor files for three years.

She provided the council with copies of two letters from the Office of the Attorney General which upheld her right to review the material.

In a letter dated December 3, 2001, Attorney General Charlie Condon stated that “a member of county council must have access to all pertinent information regarding the operation of county government.”

“Access to such county government information must be provided in a timely, easily readable manner,” Condon’s letter further stated.

In a letter dated February 11, 2004, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Robert Cook stated that “in certain narrow circumstances, a member of a public body or council may employ an attorney at public expense to represent the member’s position in any valid legal dispute regarding the performance of official duties.”

Wilson then presented a copy of a letter dated April 20, 2004 and written to County Administrator Joey Preston in which she requested “to have all FY03-04 files for legal expenses available for review at 10:00 a.m. on April 22.”

Wilson further requested “that all legal expense files for FY02-03 be made available for review at 10:00 a.m. on April 26th.”

Wilson had presented a formal freedom of information request for legal expense vendor files from the county administrator at the January 20, 2004 council meeting. The deadline for Wilson to receive that information was February 9.

In a letter dated February 9 and delivered by courier to Wilson, Preston again stated that “the narrative detail contained in those files is protected by attorney-client privilege.”

According to Preston, the entire county council “would need to release the attorney-client privilege to allow the narrative detail of the invoices to be released.”

In a written response to Preston’s letter, Wilson contended that “County Council does not have to pass approval on any request to review documents that I make or that any other council member makes.”

“If you continue to defend your position on my ability to review expense files or any other files I choose to review, be prepared to defend your assertion in a judicial forum,” Wilson’s letter concluded.

In closing remarks at the end of the Tuesday council meeting, Wilson stated, “I hope this standoff is resolved. Not one document is off limits to a council member.”

Kelly to compete in Bench America

Brad Kelly can show his stuff in one of two places – a fitness center or a pulpit. 

The world champion powerlifter and minister is currently training at Total Fitness in Powdersville to compete in Bench America April 30 - May 2. The national event which will be held just outside Chicago will feature 25,000 international powerlifters and will be televised on Fox Sports. Over $40,000 in cash prizes will be distributed at the premier event.

A 10-time world champion, Kelly captured a gold medal at the 1994 Good Will Games in St. Petersburg, Russia. He is a member of the American Powerlifting Association where he is rated third in his weight class - 220 to 242 lbs - and is able to bench press 704 lbs.

The 32-year-old Easley native is also an assistant pastor at Mt. Creek Baptist Church in Greenville. “I believe that God has given me the ability to reach teenagers,” Kelly says and schedules almost 30 speaking engagements each year in order to reach out to young people.

Kelly bears most of the financial costs involved in attending competitive events, but he is fortunate in that Total Fitness sponsors him by providing him with a free membership to train at their local facility.

With a full-time job and a young family, Kelly admits that he sometimes has a hard time finding the time to train three times a week for two hours a session. He and his wife Toni work hard to balance the demands of their life with their two young children, Job and Caleb.

Kelly became interested in weight lifting when he played football and attended Easley High School with his twin brother Bart and has been involved in the sport for 11 years.

He currently competes in major events about three times a year. 

Intent on being the best he can be in his sport and in his life, the focused and determined Kelly says, “I don’t listen to anyone who’s never been where I want to go.”

Yet he is also thankful for the opportunity for ministry that his physical accomplishments have given him. Once many of his fellow competitors realize that he’s “for real,” several have asked for his help and prayer with personal problems.

“When people look at these strong, muscular he-men, they tend to forget that these guys are just as human as anyone else. You know everybody’s got a heart,” Kelly says.

Committed to a healthy lifestyle and to his faith, Kelly explains that both are a way of life for him. “You have to give your body and soul what it needs,” he says.








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