News Archive

(1707) Week of April 25, 2007

Security measures top school board discussions
Portables, Wren Middle improvements approved
Water access a concern as stations battle blaze
Fireworks event to be expanded
Pelzer officials approve sewer feasibility study
Historic Pelzer gym and textile sports on special program
Piedmont approves first budget reading
Murder, suicide in Piedmont
Pony rescue reinforces needs
Spring Water Run set for August 25
GWBA to host golf tournament
Palmetto Middle golf tourney April 27
Seems to Me . . . Shedding some light
WFMC plans two fundraisers
ETV to broadcast Presidential debate

Security measures top school board discussions

With recent events at Virginia Tech in mind, Anderson School District One board members and administration discussed security at District schools during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday.

Board member Wendy Tucker initiated discussion about providing additional funding in the budget for security.

The District budgets between $20,000 to $45,000 for security each year which includes cameras, tapes and backup CDs, according to Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler. The items wear out with use and have to be replaced about every four to five years, he said.

The District already has cameras in place on 10 buses and hopes to add more, eventually having a camera in all of the 46 buses, Dr. Fowler said.

Fowler said he has had several calls from concerned parents about security since the events of Virginia Tech transpired last week.

“Anytime we have a tragedy such as the Virginia Tech massacre, we get phone calls asking for security,” Dr. Fowler said. “We can’t turn them into prisons,” he said. “but we want as good a security system as we can get.”

Assistant Superintendent David Havird said the the school resource officers (SRO) are the biggest security asset for the District, and come at the biggest cost.

The district budgets $250,000 for five resource officers, necessary equipment and offices.

“It is a very wise decision and pays dividends almost weekly,” he said.

The funding provides for three sheriff’s deputies and two Williamston police officers which are contracted as SROs for 190 days, according to Dr. Fowler.

The SROs at the high schools and middle schools are on call for nearby elementary schools if needed, according to Dr. Fowler.

Security options include additional cameras, keyless entry and buzzer systems.

Hunt Meadows Elementary already has a keyless entry and buzzer system in place, according to Dr. Fowler and Cedar Grove Elementary is considering the security measures.

The PTO at Hunt Meadows  helped pay for their system.

“We could spend a million plus, easily,” Havird said to provide security at all of the District’s 14 schools.

“We can’t afford to do it all at one time,” Dr. Fowler said.

Fowler said the District can make improvements each year and plans to add 10 more cameras to buses next year. The cost for 10 cameras is approximately $18,000.

He also said some of the schools could benefit from having cameras to see the front door and some schools already have the security measure in place.

The front of some schools could be redesigned for better safety.

Three of the elementary schools built during the 1980s, Cedar Grove, Palmetto and Wren, are all identical and designed where you can’t see out the front, Fowler said.

“We could add some in the budget for security,” he said. “We need more security,” Fowler said, “We all would like to see more. We just need some direction from the board.”

Portables, Wren Middle improvements approved

Anderson School District One Board members approved funding for six portable classrooms, work to improve traffic flow and other improvements at Wren Middle and new personnel during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday.

Acting upon a recommendation by Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler, the board unanimously agreed to request EIA building funds from the State to purchase six portable buildings and reduce debt.

Half of the $485,350 available to the District will be used to fund the new portables which cost approximately $45,000 each. The other half must be used to retire bond indebtedness, Dr. Fowler said.

A change in the state board resulted in a philosophy requiring half of the EIA funds available to schools must be applied to reduce debt service, he said.

The six portables will be located at one each at Cedar Grove, Spearman, Concrete, Palmetto Middle and two at Wren Middle.

Concrete and Wren already have two portables in use.

Dr. Fowler said he had checked with nearby school districts to see if they had any used portables available and they do not at this time. Often, when districts dispose of their portables, they are the older ones and are in poorer condition, he said.

Fowler indicated the District will need to address a building program in the near future.

“We will have to go to the taxpayers,” Fowler said. “We are on the brink of having to do something again.”

Acting on a motion by Joe Pack, with a second by Dr. Doug Atkins, the board unanimously approved requesting the EIA funding from the state.

The board also approved funding for traffic and other enhancements at Wren Middle School.

The funding was approved for work on school grounds to be done in conjunction with the Wren sidewalk improvement project which is funded through a SCDOT transportation enhancement grant and Anderson County.

Specific improvements at Wren Middle will include grading, some paving of a parking lot and bus area, sealing an existing parking area, striping, a new median, relocation of a flag pole and new dumpster pads. Fences at the school will be taken down. The improvements will allow vehicles to be stacked when entering and exiting the school, helping improve traffic flow, Dr. Fowler said.

The Wren PTO is also helping improve the front of the school by adding brick pavers and benches.

Acting on a motion by Tom Merritt, with a second by Joe Pack, the board unanimously approved a bid of $67,200 by S&S Construction to provide the work.

Acting upon the recommendation of Dr. Fowler, the board unanimously approved the following personnel:

Leave of absence - Summer Landreth, Palmetto High School, Science; Paige Dillard, Wren High School Guidance.

Resignations - April Ficklin, Wren High, English; Keri Harmon, Wren High, Math; Ashley Melton, Cedar Grove Elementary, Grade 4; Tracy Walker-Carter, Palmetto Middle, Career Specialist.

Retirement: Cheryl Daily, Wren Middle, Science.

Transfers - Cathy Chapman, from Spearman Elementary (.5FTE) West Pelzer Elementary (.5FTE) Instructional Coach to Concrete Primary (.5FTE) and West Pelzer Elementary (.5FTE) Instructional Coach; Melody Longtin, from Powdersville Middle, Math/Science, Grade 8 to Wren Middle, Science, Grades 6-8; Gayle Thurn, from Concrete Primary (.5FTE) Powdersville Elementary (.5FTE) Instruction Coach to Concrete Primary, Grade 2 teacher.

Administrative Transfer - Mark McCall, from Wren Elementary Principal to Spearman Elementary Assistant Principal.

Recommendations - Ted Aschenbrand, Wren Middle, Language Arts/Social Studies grade 7; Wesley Ballard, Pelzer Elementary, Special Education; Megan Gregory, Palmetto Middle, Music; Robert Mustar, Wren Elementary, Cedar Grove Elementary, Palmetto Elementary, Physical Education; Jill Hendrix, Powdersville Elementary, Grade 3; Angela Johnson, Wren Middle, Band; Geanie Johnson, Palmetto Middle, Language Arts, Grade 7; Lauren Kilbreth, Palmetto Middle, Language Arts, Grade 6; Sarah Phillips, West Pelzer Elementary, LD Self Contained; Louise Rogers, Spearman Elementary, Grade 4; Sandy Rogers, Powdersville  Middle, Science, Grade 8; Karen Wallace, Concrete Primary, Art and Whitney White, West Pelzer Elementary, Grade 5.

Water access a concern as stations battle blaze

By Stan Welch

More than seventy five firefighters spent more than twelve hours at the ACE (A Cleaner Environment) reclamation center on Cherokee Road bringing a fire under control.

The fire, which occurred at the privately operated recycling and reclamation site, continued to smolder Monday afternoon. West Pelzer Fire Chief Dale Mahaffey, whose department fought the fire from midnight Friday until almost 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon, said, “That fire may burn for a week. We had help from nine different departments, and we eventually called on twenty seven different stations for manpower.”

The reclamation center receives mostly construction and debris waste, including thousands of pallets. The fire, according to Mahaffey, was centered in an area of green yard debris and limbs. “They grind it into mulch and other things. That’s what was so hard to put out.”

Complications arose as the West Pelzer Department worked to bring the blaze under control. An absence of fire hydrants in the immediate area was a problem that the chief had to work around.

“We put assistant chief Lee Blackwell in charge of coordinating the hydrants and pumpers. We would fill a pumper, which then filled the tankers. They would transport the water to a dump tank we set up. But early on, we had a hydrant over on Chippewa Lane by the Hwy. 29 business park blow right out of the ground. I’d never heard of that before but one of the older chiefs had, and he said we were really lucky no one got hurt. But it really hurt the water pressure on the other lines, until we got Big Creek Water Company to come out and shut that line off.”

Assistant Chief Blackwell was using five pumpers, including two from Whitefield, two from West Pelzer and one from Wren, which was equipped with the large five inch lines slated for eventual distribution to all the stations.

The fire grew larger in the meantime, and more manpower was called in from any station that could spare it. “We started getting it back under control after it had burned back towards the center of the yard. Some of the ACE crew were using the trackhoes at the site to cut a fire break. Then one of them turned over, and we had to really work to keep it from burning. We saved it, but it was an added burden to deal with.”

Members of the Piedmont Fire Department crew, which was sent to the West Pelzer station for backup in case of another fire, said the glow of the fire could be seen from town.

Fireworks event to be expanded

The annual Williamston Fourth of July Celebration and McDonald’s cruise-in will be held Saturday June 30, in downtown Williamston.

This year organizers are  expanding the event to include a bluegrass music showcase in Mineral Spring Park along with carnival rides for children, rides on Williamston’s 1936 Chevrolet Fire Truck and other special activities.

The event is being co-organized by the Williamston Fire Department, The Greater Williamston Business Association and the Spring Water Committee in cooperation with the Town of Williamston.

The event is being organized to be self funding, and will not cost the town, officials said. The July 4th celebration has been organized by the Town and the Fire Department in the past, but was among event funding dropped by the town last year when financial difficulties arose.

The Fire Department and GWBA sponsored the event last year. GWBA President John Thomason said his organization will pay for the fireworks again this year. Proceeds from the event will go toward expenses, organizers said.

The Williamston Fire Department will organize a cruise-in at McDonalds which will include a cash give-a-way of $50 at each hour beginning at 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. Registration for the cruise-in  is not required.

Members of the fire department will also have tickets available for  a 42" LG Plasma High Definition Television to be given away at the Spring Water Festival Auto Show August 25.

Members of the Spring Water Committee will organize other activities including food vendors and entertainment. There will be children’s entertainment on the amphitheater stage and the Strong Communities organization and others will help with children’s games and activities.

Local bluegrass promoter Jack Ellenburg will coordinate musicians for Pickin’ in the Park along the creek, which is expected to be a big draw for the event.

McDonalds will also be offering specials including 25 Cent Coke Floats from 7 - 9 p.m.  The Fireworks Display will begin at 9:30 p.m.

Pelzer officials approve sewer feasibility study

By Stan Welch

The Pelzer Town Council, in a special meeting held Friday, April 20, unanimously approved the Town’s participation in a feasibility study of sewer options other than connecting to the Western Carolina treatment plant at Piedmont.

The decision followed a joint meeting earlier in the week with representatives of Williamston, West Pelzer, the Rural Development Agency (RDA) and engineering firm Goldie & Associates. At that meeting, Goldie & Assoc. reported on the land application method which Williamston is pursuing to address their wastewater treatment problems. Under that method, the sewage will be treated to a certain level, then applied to various tracts of land, either by above ground sprinklers or subsurface irrigation lines.

The main benefits of the land application is that it ends the Town’s discharge of treated wastewater into the Saluda River, and exempts it from future DHEC regulations concerning water quality. It will allow the Town’s sewer costs to stabilize, and will be significantly cheaper than the Western Carolina option.

At that same meeting, Lara Ashy, representing RDA, indicated that RDA would support and assist in such an approach, especially if the three towns created a regional plan.

Both Pelzer and West Pelzer expressed their interest, and willingness to fund their share of the $8750 feasibility study, to be conducted by Goldie & Assoc. But both wanted a commitment from DHEC to allow the regional approach.

DHEC, in turn, wanted assurances that the two towns, both currently under deadlines to close their outdated treatment plants, would in fact follow through on the regional plan.

Pelzer’s approval of the feasibility study last week was contingent on DHEC’s assurances. Council also voted to retain Dunn Engineering as the Town’s sewer consultant. “The role Bill Dunn will play will change if we pursue this,” said Town Clerk Skip Watkins. “But he will still have a significant role in this, and he is familiar with our system and our situation.”

Historic Pelzer gym and textile sports on special program

The Pelzer Historic Society will present “Memories by the Fireside: The Historic Pelzer Gym and Textile Sports” May 4, from 6-8 p.m. at the Historic Pelzer Gym.

Special guest speaker will be Bradley S. Sauls, Supervisor of Survey, State Historic Preservation in Columbia speaking on “Highlighting Your Community’s Historic Buildings and Sites” 6:30-7:00 p.m.

Also appearing will be guest speakers Thomas K. Perry, author of “Textile League Baseball” and Mac Kirkpatrick, author of “The Southern Textile Basketball    Tournament” (co-written with Perry) will present “Linthead Sports: A Legacy Remembered” from 7:30-8 p.m.

The Community of Pelzer Historical Society is sponsoring this event, and invites long-time residents as well as newcomers to attend the program.

Organizer Cynthia Welborn said the group is hoping to raise awareness about the history of Pelzer and provide the community with a way to talk about the past and how to preserve and celebrate it.

“This will be a monthly, recurring event that focuses on themes in Pelzer history, as well as Pelzer’s relationship to nearby towns and communities,” Welborn said.

Everyone is invited to bring photographs and other memorabilia to share. “Join us for reminiscing, fellowship, and refreshments at the Pelzer Gym on May 4, from 6 to 8 p.m.”, she added.

For more informaitn contact Cynthia Welborn at 864-634-7700 or the Pelzer Historical Society 864-561-1058.

Piedmont approves first budget reading

By Stan Welch

The Piedmont Fire Commission gave first reading approval to its proposed 2007-2008 budget Monday night.

The budget will undergo some changes in salary and fire run numbers before second reading, but it is materially as presented here. The fire department’s budget is based on 55 mills. Applied to the assessed value of $16,936,147 in both counties, that amounts to revenues of $931,488. For the fire department, an estimated surplus of approximately $1700 is projected.

For the sewer and lights department, based on 24 mills applied to the same assessed value of real property in the two counties, the projected revenues are $118,289, with a projected surplus of $1775.

The recreation budget, funded at 2 mills applied to the value of the real property, generates revenues of $51,130. Budget projections indicate a surplus of $8718.

The budget received first reading only after an hour long executive session to discuss salaries. Following that session, and in open session, several motions were made and passed. Vice Chairman Al McAbee moved that salary and fire run figures be adjusted for the second reading of the budget on May 21. Commissioner Bobby Stover moved to make New Year’s Day and Fourth of July paid holidays for the firefighters. McAbee then moved to make Craig Lawless the deputy administrator effective July 1. All the motions were unanimously approved.

In other business, a motion to apply the remainder of delinquent taxes recently received towards debt service on the department’s fire trucks passed after being defeated at the least meeting. Commissioner Marsha Rogers was not present at Monday’s meeting. It was her vote that provided a tie at the last meeting; a tie which Chairman Ed Poore, in accordance with parliamentary procedure, broke with his vote, which defeated the motion. Monday night, in Rogers’ absence, Commissioner Frankie Garrett reintroduced the motion, which Commissioner Stover seconded. Garrett’s motion was to apply $80,000 of the approximate $87.000 balance of funds towards the debt service.

At first Poore mistakenly voted with McAbee to again create a tie, but Stover challenged that vote, saying that Poore was only supposed to vote to break ties. Poore acknowledged that point of order and withdrew his vote. “I stand corrected, Mr. Stover. You are right,” said Poore.

On another matter, Stover and Poore were in complete agreement. Both heartily endorsed the performance of Chief Tracy Wallace since being promoted upon the retirement of Butch Nichols. Said Stover, “Tracy, I have seen a lot of good changes since you took over. You’re doing a great job, and you are the man down here. Keep it up.” Poore agreed saying, “I second that one hundred per cent.”

Murder, suicide in Piedmont

Anderson County Sheriff’s Office investigators have confirmed the apparent murder/suicide which occurred last Saturday in Piedmont. A press release issued by ACSO public information officer Susann Griffin stated that the investigation had been concluded, and a determination made that Richard Thompson Mauldin took the life of Randall Page McCoy before turning the gun on himself.

The shooting followed an earlier 911 call from 2 Haynes Street, regarding a domestic disturbance. According to published reports, Deputy K.D. Pigman responded to that call and was actually cruising the neighborhood looking for Mauldin when Mauldin returned to the house and opened the door, firing several shots before stepping out on the porch and killing himself.

McCoy, 33 years of age, has a Charleston address and was reportedly seeing Robbie Lynn Mauldin, 34, who had taken out a restraining order on her estranged husband, Richard Mauldin. That restraining order was issued by a Pickens County court.

Calls placed to the Anderson County Coroner’s Office seeking further information went unanswered.

Pony rescue reinforces needs

By Stan Welch

The rescue of a blind and stranded pony last week by members of the County’s technical rescue squad, while successful, points out a number of flaws in the county’s animal control system, according to Nicole Walukewicz.

Walukewicz, director of PEARL, (Palmetto Equine Awareness and Rescue League) a large animal rescue organization, has long been a critic of the county’s approach to animal control and large animal management. She was actively involved in recent efforts to rewrite the County’s animal control ordinance in such a way as to address large animal issues more efficiently. She later denounced those efforts as being inadequate and useless.

She expressed her confusion about the rescue of the pony, which was stranded on a small island in the Saluda River which runs through the Riverview subdivision, near Williamston. The pony, which has since been named Spirit, was found on the island by the Slaytor family, and their black Lab.

Mrs. Slaytor said, “He barks all the time, but this one tone he gets means he’s really upset. He kept on and on until I walked down there and saw the pony, standing on the island across the slue. The river has kind of washed in right there and it makes channel about five feet wide and waist deep. But there’s a lot of mud so we decided we better not try to do anything ourselves. We called animal control.”

According to Slaytor, the animal control people got there about an hour and a half later, and decided they would enlist the swift water rescue squad. Mrs. Slaytor says the squad did a great job getting the pony onto their side of the slue. But that’s where the help ended. “Lt. Keith Bowman said they would take the pony to the animal shelter, but I’ve been out there and I knew they didn’t have any way to care for a horse, or even keep it.” The Slaytors were left to care for it. They kept it in an extra dog fence until Thursday morning, when officials of PEARL came and examined the pony, which is blind in one eye and losing sight in the other from corneal ulcerations. Mrs. Slaytor said the pony couldn’t even find the chinks of carrot they tossed it while it was still on the island.

Walukewicz says that training given to County animal control officers teaches that horses are likely to experience colic after a rescue, due to the stress they experience. In fact, she reports that the pony did experience two mild occurrences of colic but responded to treatment.

“That pony should have been treated. When we picked it up the next day, there was no evidence that it had been examined or treated by a vet. Why Keith Bowman didn’t inform those people about the rescue groups that would help them is beyond me.” Mrs. Slaytor said that Bowman did mention someone named Gimenez who they could call. Dr. Tomas Gimenez is a former professor at Clemson who has recently begun a large animal rescue organization, Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue.

Said Slaytor, “Nancy Traynum (Vice Chair of PEARL) came out the next day. It was obvious she knew what she was doing. She and an assistant examined the pony and transported it to a facility where it could be cared for. We’re hoping to hear if it finds a good home. It was a sweet pony, but it had been through a hard time.”

According to Walukewicz, the pony was rated at a 2.5 for body weight, on a scale of one to ten, with one being dead. She also said the eyes were being treated, but it would be several days before they could tell if it would retain any sight in the one eye. “If not, placement will be much more of a problem, since it will need a special home.”

“We have more than $300 in the care of this pony so far. Anyone wanting to make a donation to PEARL can send it to PEARL, c/o 3620 Centerville Road, Anderson, SC 29625.”

She said anyone interested in adopting Spirit, or other horses, can contact Mary Wilson, Director of Fosters and Adoptions for PEARL, at 356-6657.

Spring Water Run set for August 25

Organizers of the Spring Water Run to be held in conjunction with the 26th annual Spring Water Festival in August are now accepting applications for the event.

The run is sanctioned as an RRCA Grand Prix event and will include a 1 mile and 5k run.

Registration forms are available at area businesses including The Journal and will soon be available online at www.springwaterfestival.com.

Online registration is currently Palmettoavailable at strictlyrunning.com.

Entry fee is $15 in advance or $20 on the day of the race.

The 5K open race will begin at 7:45 a.m. and the one mile fun run will be held at 8:30 a.m.

Registration will be held on the day of the festival, August 25 between 6:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot beside McDonald’s in downtown Williamston.

Medals will go to all finishers in the one mile race and trophies will go to the top two male and females in the 5K, the top two male and female masters and the first three places male and female, by age group.

Age groups will include 10 and under, 11-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, and 65 and over.

Awards and drawings will be held following the one mile run. All registered runners are eligible for race day drawings which will include a variety of prizes.

The course includes city streets and country roads with rolling hills. Splits will be called at the one and two mile mark and water stations will be on the course, organizer Chris Bradberry said.

Food and drink will be provided after the race for runners.

The Williamston Police Department will secure all major intersections.

Terry Times will provide timing and results will be posted at terrytimes.com.

For additional information contact Chris Bradberry at 864-420-3282 or email bradberry9600@msn.com.

Course map, registration forms and other information will soon be available online at the Spring Water Festival website at www.springwaterfestival.com.

GWBA to host golf tournament

The Greater Williamston Business Association 10th annual golf tournament will be held Friday, May 4 at Saluda Valley Country Club in Williamston.

Shotgun start for the four person Captain’s Choice tournament is 10 a.m. Entry fee of $40 per person, $160 for a team, which includes cart, prize drawing and lunch.

 The field will be limited to 18 teams with first, second and third place prizes awarded. Minimum handicap per team is 40.

Anyone, business or individual, interested in entering a team should contact Shirley Simpson at Ace Hardware and Rental or call Simpson at 245-5500.

Proceeds from the event will go toward GWBA projects such as the downtown streetscape project.

Palmetto Middle golf tourney April 27

The Palmetto Middle School Celebrity golf tournament will be held Friday, April 27 at Saluda Valley Country Club.

Registration will be held from 9 a.m. to 9:45 with a shotgun start at 10 a.m.

Several sports and entertainment celebrities will be attending the event, organizers said.

All golfers will receive a lunch and a goodie bag.

Over $10,000 is up for grabs with a $5,000 hole-in-one contest, a $300 putting contest, prizes for closest to the pin and longest drive on the font and back nine.

Trophies will be awarded for first through fourth place. Each member of the four winning teams will receive additional prizes.

Prize drawing tickets are available for $2 each or 3 for $5. Participants must be present to win.

The Captains Choice tournament will include four person teams.

Entry fee is $300 per team with a cut off of 120 players.

A mulligan for the front and back nine and one red tee is available for an additional $10. 

For more information, contact Suzanne Black at Palmetto Middle School at 864-847-4333 or Mike Philyaw at 230-2810.

Seems to Me . . . Shedding some light

By Stan Welch

After being battered and beaten over revelations that he went way ,way over budget last year, Sheriff David Crenshaw has gone on the counterattack in recent statements to the press and to the County Council.

Some of what he says makes sense. But even when he makes sense, he makes a lot of people unhappy by the way he says what he says. For example, his mantra, when told that he may not get all the money he is asking for, in part because he ignored the restrictions Council thought they put on him last year, goes something like this. “You can cut me. That’s fine. Don’t fund me. It’s not hurting me. If you want these meth labs to open up again, that’s okay with me. If you want response times to go back up, that’s up to you. I won’t compromise the safety of the citizens of Anderson County for a dollar. Will you?”

That’s not verbatim what the Sheriff told Council last week, but it’s close.

During twenty plus years of being a journalist, I, like virtually all my colleagues, have developed a third ear, so to speak. We hear what a person is saying with our two visible ears, but we also hear what the statements sound like to our inner ear, that ear which hears between the lines. We learn to hear an alternative cadence, a slightly different tone that can at least be considered to be as true as the actual statement made.

For example, when I heard the Sheriff make the statements paraphrased above, I heard exactly what he said, or was trying to say, which is basically that the protections provided by law enforcement cost money. They can’t be provided for free.

But I also heard an elected official telling the governing body of the County he works in that if he doesn’t get what he wants, he’ll just lie down on the job. He’ll cut patrols and compromise the safety of the public that way.

Now before you start screaming about that being unfair, ask around a bit. Not a few people in the general public heard it the same way I did. Was it meant as a veiled threat? I don’t really think so, but it was heard that way, at east by some ears.

I’ll tell you something else that at least some of the voting public heard the same way I did. Sheriff Crenshaw has said several times, in print and again to the County Council last week, that he doesn’t care about the political consequences of his actions, because he doesn’t need the job. “I can go to the house. You’re not hurting me. I can get along without being sheriff.”

A lot of folks, including me, hear that for the third or fourth time, and we start to wonder. Why did you run for the job then? You weren’t drafted. You spent a good bit of time and money chasing the job. And if you don’t care about it anymore, why not resign now and let somebody else have a shot at it? Or at least announce that you won’t run again and then really pitch in and try to clean up the mess you have in your department right now.

Part of that mess is the staggering turnover in the department. The sheriff  claims that he is losing deputies because he can’t afford to pay them a competitive rate. I can’t completely discount that, but I can say this. I’ve talked to more than a few former deputies, and I’ve talked to some local police chiefs that are hiring some of those former deputies. At least a fair number of them are leaving, not for better paying jobs, but because they were deeply dissatisfied with the jobs they had.

When Sheriff Crenshaw took office, there was a large turnover in personnel. He hired lots of new folks, some qualified and some not so qualified. But hat surge in personnel was a large consumer of his budget, and one he may have kept poor track of. But a lot of those he did hire have since left, citing a hostile work environment and a general dissatisfaction with their bosses. The departure of former Chief Deputy Tim Busha has had little effect on the turnover rate.

The difference in the sound of certain statements to the normal ear and the internal ear is not limited to the sheriff’s statements in this matter. Administrator Joey Preston has said that sheriffs always overspend, but that it has always been handled by concealing those deficits, and absorbing them into the general fund.

The sheriff , for his part, agrees, saying law enforcement is always under budgeted. 

How can that be, if there is always enough in the general fund to absorb their overspending? 

Law enforcement may be incorrectly budgeted, but it can hardly be under budgeted. If they were, the deficits, which they apparently run up as a matter of course, couldn’t be so easily accommodated.

I actually heard from a supporter of Sheriff Crenshaw this week, who said the Sheriff asked to be put in a special revenue fund status so that people would see that he is under budgeted. “He wanted to show people that law enforcement needs more money,” said this person. In other words, he brought this calumny and glaring scrutiny on himself to make a point? And he could think of no better way to do that than to overspend by two or three million dollars?

Well, if that was his intention, he certainly succeeded in shedding some light on the issues of funding law enforcement.

In fact, it seems to me he may have been more successful than he might have hoped.

WFMC plans two fundraisers

The Williams Family Memorial Committee will hold a yard sale this Saturday, April 28 at the former site of Ann McClellion’s Beauty Shop on Belton Highway.

The committee is also planning a beach party May 12 at 5:30 p.m. in Mineral Spring Park.

The event will include live music, hot dogs, drinks, family fun, dancing and horseshoe tournament, organizers said.

Proceeds from the events will go toward improvements of the West Allen Williams Memorial gravesite located in the park area.

ETV to broadcast Presidential debate

ETV and ETV Radio will simulcast the first-in-the-nation Presidential debate on April 26 at South Carolina State University, which will begin at 7 p.m. The 90-minute debate among the eight Democratic candidates will be televised nationally by NBC. At the 60-minute mark, NBC moderator Brian Williams will offer NBC affiliates, including those in South Carolina, the option of returning to regularly scheduled programming. However, ETV, through a special agreement with NBC, will carry the debate in its entirety over ETV’s statewide network of television and radio stations. Then, beginning at 8:30 p.m., a special 90-minute edition of “The Big Picture - Democratic Presidential Debate” will air. ETV’s news and public affair’s Managing Editor and Host Andrew Gobeil will speak with available candidates, including New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, and other political VIPs, such as Dr. Scott Huffmon, associate political science professor at Winthrop University, who will offer commentary on the debate and analysis on how the race is shaping up. To access Internet streaming video of either the Democratic debate or “The Big Picture” program, viewers can visit www.myetv.org.  Looking ahead, ETV will continue its agreement with NBC and will simulcast the first Republican Presidential debate, which will be held on May 3 in Washington, DC.

 

 

 

 

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