Week of May 12, 2004
stop Jeep after dangerous drive through town
Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy met with Main Street business owners Tuesday to discuss options to improve safety in the downtown area.
Among suggestions was a reduction in the speed limit, providing a grid or paver crossing, and additional signage, possibly a flashing light.
The Town is working with DOT engineers to come up with a plan to improve a pedestrain crosswalk that is located in a congested part of town that also has limited parking on one side.
This and other actions are in response to an accident that fataly injured an elderly lady who was attempting to cross East Main Street, which is a state highway, when she was struck by a vehicle April 27.
Mayor Clardy said he has talked with SCDOT officials several times about the pedestrain cross walk which is located at the center of the downtown area.
The crosswalk is properly marked with signage and white stripping designating it as a cross walk, DOT officials told the mayor.
However there are problems. The crosswalk is located in an area that is congested with entrances to a shopping center and restaurant on one side of the street and six businesses with limited parking on the other side.
There area only eight parking spaces on the side with the businesses, forcing most customers to park across the busy street in parking spaces located on Main St. and in the parking lot at Town Square Center.
Two SCDOT engineers were in Williamston last week to look at the crosswalk situation.
Williamston spokesperson Joel Vagan said when he met with the engineers, he was told that parked vehicles along Main Street made visiblility at the crosswalk limited.
According to Mayor Clardy, the town began contacting SCDOT in 2001 in an effort to make the crosswalk safer.
He said his office receives about one call each month about the problem.
Clardy said that Main Street is a South Carolina state highway and the town cannot do anything without the consent of DOT.
According to Clardy, DOT officials proposed alleviating all parking along Main St.
Their suggestion to remove all vehicles parked on both sides of the road would free the view entirely, Clardy said.
DOT officials pointed out that if parking spaces on both sides are full, a pedestrian attempting to cross must walk to the middle of the street to be seen. They cannot be seen at the crosswalk, Mayor Clardy said they told the town.
A second option proposed by SCDOT was to eliminate one or two parking spaces on each side of the crosswalk on the business side to allow more visibility right at the crossswalk and eliminate one space on the opposite side.
Other options include installing a crosswalk at the Mill Street traffic light with a push button to change the light for pedestrians wishing to cross.
Clardy said that there arent many mid-street crossings. DOT prefers crossings to be at an intersection or traffic light, he said.
A third option offered by DOT is to provide different signage which is more visible.
After hearing the options suggested by DOT officials, the business owners made their suggestions for changes which they thought would make the most difference for persons attempting to cross the street to get to their businesses or to parking.
The consensus among them was that a reduction in the speed limit, providing a grid or brick paver crossing to help slow traffic and make the crossing more visible and additional signage would make the most difference.
It was suggested that reducing the speed limit from the park area through the downtown area of East Main Street may possibly slow traffic through the area.
Some type of grid or brick paver would also help slow traffic and make the cross walk more visible while also providing a break in the pavement which would signal motorists that there is a reason to slow down when they drive through the area.
Additional signage or lighting, preferably including a flashing light, along with a brighter color sign to designate the area as a pedestrian crossing would also help, they said.
The area has limited parking for customers of the businesses that are located on the old downtown side of Main Street.
Eliminating all parking spaces on the business side would be detrimental to their businesses, the owners said.
Eliminating those on the Town Square Center side of the street would not impact the businesses that much the owners said.
A suggestion to eliminate two spaces on either side of the sign may also impact the businesses who have limited parking on that side of the street, several said.
Mayor Clardy said the town may also look at designating handicapped parking in the area and limiting parking to one hour if necessary.
Town officials and the Greater Williamston Business Association have been looking for a downtown revitalization plan to improve the area. However, no official plan exists at this time.
Clardy said he will take the suggestions offered by the business owners back to DOT for some type of consensus on what can be done to prevent a similar tragedy from happening.
We all want safety to be a priority, Clardy said.
The Strong Communities organization recently honored four Piedmont area organizations for contributions to the community.
Receiving recognition awards at a luncheon held April 30 were Shady Grove Baptist Church, Piedmont Fire Department/Public Service District, Pride in Piedmont and Fork Shoals YMCA.
Shady Grove Baptist Church, located in Ware Place, was recognized for several ongoing projects they have undertaken in the community.
Receiving the award for Shady Grove was Mamie Reid.
Reid said the organization recently began a new mothers ministry in which the church adopts a baby and family for one year. They offer prizes, gifts, a baby club, free pampers and baby sitting.
The church has sponsored three seminars on shaken baby syndrome and a mentoring class for young men in the church. The mentoring program offers a monthly breakfast and other outings for those without a father figure, Reid said.
The church offers an exercise program in conjunction with the Fork Shoals YMCA which has 70 participants. A 4k program at EllenWoodside primary school has 100 children participating, according to Reid.
A reading program is held at Ellen Woodside on the second Wednesday of each month. Other programs include a donation program, an incentive program for teachers, intercessory prayer and a monetary program to buy things needed at the school, Reid said.
It is very rewarding to receive an award for something you should be doing anyway, Reid told those attending the luncheon.
Michelle Anderson accepted the award for the Pride in Piedmont group which she has been very instrumental in.
She said the group has a small number of dedicated people and are in the process of getting their tax exempt number.
According to Anderson, they are trying to boost the morale of Piedmont residents.
Piedmont is a beautiful commuity, with no real unity, she said.
Anderson pointed out the Bonnes Amies and the fire department as organizations that have an impact in the community,.
We are trying to put pride back into the community, Anderson said.
To help with communication, the organization has started a newsletter for the community. Anderson also said that The Journal has been helpful in providing information on Piedmont.
We need something right here in the community, she said. We are trying to make people feel like they belong.
The organization has also been involved in a litter and cleanup campaign in Piedmont
The Fork Shoals YMCA program was also recognized for their activities in the community.
YMCA representative Kim Carnes accepted the award for the organization.
It is an honor to accept this award, Carnes said, addding that they area not really doing anything special.
We are here in Piedmont because you have seen a need for what we can provide, she said. It is really thankful we have the opportunity to be here to serve you all.
Carnes said the organziantion has worked with the fire department and with Shady Grove Baptist Church.
She also said the organization has offered dance classes in Piedmont which were well accepted.
Carnes said the organization also offers programs in the Fork Shoals community, including a parents night out, which could possibly be offered in Piedmont.
She said there were other possibilities for programs that could be offered in the Piedmont area.
The Piedmont Fire Department and the Piedmont Public Service District were also recognized at the luncheon. District Commission Chairman Marsha Rogers accepted the award.
Rogers pointed out community projects the Distict has spearheaded including the ball park renovations and walking track and work done on the community building.
We are only one part of this community, Rogers said. We rely on organization and churches.
She also praised the Bonnes Amies for providing money for the community building improvements including stage curtains and canopies. She said the District has partnered with Pride in Piedmont and YMCA to help improve Piedmont.
There are so many good visions, she said.
Rogers praised Lucinda Quick for her efforts in the community. She had been to every meeting ,schools, churches. She has done a wonderful job, Rogers said.
She thanked Strong Communities for getting area clubs and organzations to work together. She also pointed out that Piedmont representatives have met with the Heritage Corridor people to look at possibilities for the area.
We would llike to have a park on the river and would still love to have one if enough people are interested, she said.
She said the District has applied for a summer program grant for middle school children and the Greenville County Recreation now offers programs for elementary age children in Piedmont.
Rogers said she is proud of Piedmont and glad to live here. I have always lived her, for one reason, I love Piedmont, she said.
Anderson County Council District 6 representative Bill Dees also spoke to the group. Dees said the area is rich in heritage.
I am proud of Piedmont. Piedmont is rich in people, across all classes and cultures. That is what Piedmont is all about.
Dees and Quick presented a new Strong Communities sign for Piedmont.
The sign represents a community that works together and lives together and prays together, Dees said. The sign will be placed prominently in the community, which crosses county lines, as a reminder to us all of what were all about.
Lets see what we can do to make this a better place, Dees said. You have to love thy neighbor. Thats what were all about.
Other thinks mentioned during the luncheon include looking into offering a virtual Piedmont on the internet and programs being offered by the Greenville County School District such as a new babies program.
The economic emergency relief program sponsored by the Fire Department was also mentioned.
Chief Administrator Butch Nichols said the progam raised more than $3,000 and helped more than 20 families last year. We do it because we love this community, Nichols said.
A town hall meeting in Piedmont was also mentioned. The meeting will be held May 13 at 7 p.m. at the Piedmont Community Building. Greenville County representatives will be present to answer questions and receive input from citizens on local issues.
Williamston police officers arrested a man who may have been suffering from a mental illness when he drove a damaged vehicle through town in a wreckless manner last week.
Samuel Lee Roberts, 31, 12 Hampton St., Pelzer, was arrested May 4 after a gray Jeep Cherokee he was driving was observed travelling at a high rate of speed on Greenville Dr. Reports state the vehicle came to a sudden stop to avoid hitting the rear of a mini van stopped at the traffic light at Greenville Drive and Hamilton St.
The vehicle was then placed in reverse and backed up very fast. Officers reported observing the tires smoking and screaming on the pavement. The vehicle then made a right turn into the BP and came off the ground as it exited the parking lot onto N. Hamilton St. The vehicle then made a left on School Street, traveled on Austin, Minor and Main St.
It was stopped by a second Williamston police unit driven by Sgt. J. Motes who pulled across the roadway to stop the vehicle at the intersection of Anderson Drive and Belton Drive. The driver was then pulled from the vehicle and continually refused to comply with officers requests. He was eventually placed in a patrol unit and transported to the police department. Reports state the mans father said he may be suffering from mental illness. J. L. Barnes investigated.
Apr. 28 - An incident at Calvary Baptist Church resulted in children in the church being escorted to a secure location in the church after a man showed up at the church in violation of an order of protection.
The man left the church property without incident after being advised by a church member that it would be in his best interest to leave the church since the person involved in the order of protection was also at the church. Sgt. K. P. Evatt investigated.
May 11 - Robert Andrew Burlson, 49, 20 Langley St., Pelzer was arrested for failure to give proper signal, no drivers license in possession, failure to stop when signaled and driving left of center after a 1981 Dodge truck was observed on Bigby St. D. W. Alexander, Sgt. D. Munger investigated.
May 10 - Ricardo Monroy, 50, 1065 Falling Water Ln., Norcross Ga., was arrested for reckless driving and no drivers license after a 1994 Chevrolet van was observed on Anderson Dr., Sgt. D. Munger investigated.
May 8 - James M. Wine, 49, 2025 Reedy Fork Road, Pelzer, reported a vehicle tag valued at $25 taken from a Mercury Cougar parked at 603 Greenville Dr. T. A. Striss investigated.
May 9 - Jennifer Ann Sexton, 31, 908 Garren Rd., Belton, and Diane Marie McCall, 49, Monticello Rd., Piedmont, were both arrested for fighting after officers were dispatched to 234 Prince St., Williamston. Sgt. J. T. Motes investigated.
May 9 - Eusbio Roman Maldonado, 43, 11 Ellison St., Williamston, was arrested for operating an uninsured vehicle and failure to register a motor vehicle after a vehicle was observed on West Main Street with no license. Sgt. K. P. Evatt investigated.
May 7 - Walter Glenn Fowler, 38, 1103 Cheddar Rd., Belton, was arrested for simple possession of marijuana, driving under suspension and escape from custody after an incident occuring in the parking lot at the Williamston Police Department. A small clear plastic bag containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana was found in his pocket. A second small clear plastic bag containing a substance believed to be marijuana was also found in the vehicle. The man was also arrested for CDV. J.L. Barnes investigated.
Apr. 30 - Two 12-year-old students at Palmetto Middle School were charged with larceny after taking a bookbag valued at $30 and a pair of Nike Air Force One shoes valued at $150 from another student. Both juveniles will be referred to Anderson County Department of Juvenile Justice. C. Sanders investigated.
Apr. 28 - Roger Eddleman, 34, 50 Ridge Court, Williamston, reported a 1998 Honda CRV sprayed with yellow silly string causing $50 in damage. J. L. Barnes investigated.
Apr. 24 - Marcus Dewayne Robinson, 26, 139 Patterson St., Piedmont, was arrested for no vehicle license, driving under suspension, driving an uninsured vehicle and outstanding warrant, after a 1972 Chevrolet pickup was observed on Greenville Dr. with an undated paper tag. A courtesy ticket was also issued to Dionne T. Wright, a passenger in the vehicle, after a small amount of a greenish brown vegetable matter believed to be mariuana and a cigar believed to be filled with marijuana were allegedly found in Wrights purse. M. Abramson investigated.
Apr. 30 - James Kenneth Reeves, 19, 1049 Dean Springs Rd., Belton, was arrested for disregarding a stop sign and simple possession of marijuana after a vehicle was observed not coming to a complete stop at Mill St. and Main St. Reports state a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana and two burnt marijuana cigarettes were found in the vehicle. J. L. Barnes investigated.
Apr. 30 - Jon David Henderson, 32, 118 Bowlan Rd., Belton, reported a Makita saw and propane tourch valued at $300 taken from a job site at Royal Dr. in Williamston. J. L. Barnes investigated.
Apr. 26 - Douglas Jay Quiney, 44, 22 Woodmere Ct., Williamston, was arrested for unlawful possession of a pistol after officers were dispatched to Mill St. and Williams. St. in reference to shots being fired from a black truck. Sgt. D. Munger investigated.
Apr. 24 - Lloyd Ray Davis, Jr., 42, 188 Dunlap Rd., Belton, and Donald Wayne Paige, 8 McDonald Ave., Williamston, turned themselves in to the Williamston Police Department after being advised by Captain D. Baker that they were wanted by the Greenville County sheriffs office in connection with a shooting involving Charles Jason Henderson and other active warrants. They were taken into custody and turned over to the Greenville County Sheriffs office. Cpt. D. Baker investigated.
Apr. 21 - Tim Hood, of the Town of Williamston, reported someone attempted to force entry into the old community center on Gossett Dr., causing $125 in damage to a front door. Z. E. Gregory investigated.
Jack King, candidate for the S. C. House District 10 seat, will hold a forum on May 18 at 7 p.m. at the Williamston Fire Department. District 10 voters are encouraged to come meet King and ask any questions they may have about his candidacy.
Pamela Owens, a life long resident of Williamston, announced this week that she is seeking the Williamston Town Council Ward 4 Seat.
Owens is a volunteer with the Williamston Area Historic Commission, currently holding the office of secretary. She is employed with School District One where she has been an activities bus driver for 13 years. She also worked as a teachers assistant for three years.
She also assists as needed at the Little Angel day care facility in Williamston.
She is the wife of David Owens, Sr. and the mother of two sons, David Owens Jr., and Robert. Her goals include community improvement and safety for all citizens of the town, being available to assist the mayor and council and being a voice for the citizens.
Owens has attended numerous Williamston Town Council meetings and other government-related meetings.
She worked with the mayor and council on the design and completion of a walking track and picnic area on Gray Drive. The track provided a safe place for the citizens of the Williamston Mill area and surrounding community to walk, she said.
Her hobbies include spending time with her family and grandchildren, involvement and support for volunteer organizations, involvement in the town government and being the voice for the citizens of Williamston.
Palmettos Justin Meade, Reggie Wilkins and Jillana Darby competed for the Mustangs at the State AA track meet Saturday at Spring Valley High School in Columbia.
Meade placed third in the 1600-meter race with a time of 4:48. Darby, a 7th grader at Palmetto Middle, also had a third place finish in the 1600-meter race with a time of 5:48.
Wilkins competed in the high jump but failed to make it over the 6 foot starting height.
Palmetto track coach Doug Angel accompanied the three athletes.