(1907) Week of May 9, 2007
Groundbreaking held for
Dolly Cooper Sports Complex
By Stan Welch
Dignitaries, politicians, and family members gathered Monday afternoon to see the groundbreaking for the Dolly Cooper Park in Powdersville. The park, which according to plans presented at Mondays ceremony, will include soccer fields, baseball/softball fields, and a recycling and environmental education center.
Two grants totaling five hundred thousand dollars have been secured through the S.C. Competitive Grants Committee. The first grant was used in the purchase of the forty-six acre tract, which cost approximately $600,000. The second grant will be used in constructing an entranceway to the property, which is expected to cost approximately $425,000. Construction of the entranceway is expected to take five or six months.
Milford June Dolly Cooper served as a state representative for many years, and is a decorated veteran of World War II. He referred to those days, saying he once endured two days of continuous bombing. I told the Lord then if hed just let me get back to Piedmont, thats all I asked. Just give me a little spot on the mill hill where I could build a shack I could look out the back door of and see the Blue Ridge. He gave me that, and much, much more.
Cooper who has lived in the Piedmont area for his entire life, said that the park was a tremendous opportunity for the community. I think Anderson County is really on top right now. The county has come a long way in the last few years.
State Representative and Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Dan Cooper, the honorees son, said that he gives county administrator Joey Preston kudos for figuring out the way to get money was to name the project after Dolly Cooper.
Mr. Preston was smart enough to figure out the Chairman of Ways and Means might be able to find some money somewhere if he named the park after someone in my family. You have to give him credit for that, said Rep. Cooper, laughing. But this is a great honor for my Dad, and the family and I truly appreciate it.
State Rep. Brian White spoke as well, saying that he and Rep. Michael D. Thompson had decided the first thing to do is to get some PARD grant money. That way we can put some road signs up so I can find this place. Michael and I rode around and around looking for it.
Rep. Thompson also spoke, telling Cooper I can safely say that your legacy of service to South Carolina continues in Columbia to this day, through the work that your son is doing. Thompson also told Cooper to walk, not run through this moment. It is the honor of the thing that is important.
District Six Councilman Ron Wilson, serving as host of the ceremony, graciously acknowledged the role played by former Councilman Bill Dees in bringing the park to pass. Bill Dees had a lot more to do with this than I did. He worked long and hard to make this happen. Wilson later called Dees to the podium to make some comments.
This is a dream come true for me and for the Powdersville community. Once I let Mr. Preston and his staff know about the need, they got right to work. They just had to find the money and go spend it. But Mr. Wilson has followed up on this dream, and his role in it is significant. Without his support, its quite likely this wouldnt have happened, Dees said.
The Wren Youth Association will play a major role in the operation of the park as well. A small home on the property, which is currently being renovated, will be given to the WYA as a headquarters, and they will be instrumental in laying out and maintaining the fields.
Speaking after the ceremony, Councilman Wilson said, This is of course a huge benefit to the community. As Bill Dees said, this area pays tremendous taxes and provides a lot of revenue for Anderson County. Were finally starting to see a return on that, and its about time. Having the Wren Youth association here will be very helpful as well.
The first South Carolina State Veterans Cemetery, currently under construction, will be named after decorated World War II veteran and former state Rep. M.J. Dolly Cooper. The cemetery is located adjacent to the Richard Campbell State Veterans Nursing Home on the Belton Highway and is expected to open in June of this year.
The Legislature quickly overrode Gov. Mark Sanfords veto last Thursday to make the naming official after Sanford issued a veto the day before, saying public projects should not be named for people while they are alive. The House overrode the veto 91-0, and the Senate followed 44-0.
The measure names the new Department of Veterans Affairs cemetery opening this summer in Anderson the M.J. Dolly Cooper Veterans Cemetery. Cooper, 86, retired from the House in 1990 after 16 years in office. His son, current House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Cooper, won the election to fill his seat.
Cooper, a staunch supporter of his fellow veterans, oftern visits the Campbell facility.
For his service to our country, he was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, E.A.M.E.T. Medal with five Bronze Service Stars, American Defense Service Medal, and Combat Infantry Badge.
Cooper was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1974, serving on the Medical, Municipal, and Military Affairs Committee where he worked to improve health care for all South Carolinians.
Cooper was awarded the Order of the Palmetto in 1990 by longtime friend and neighbor, Governor Carroll Campbell.
The construction of the cemetery is the result of collaboration between the State of South Carolina and the Veterans Administrations Cemetery and Memorial Affairs Department, which resulted in South Carolina receiving a grant from the Federal Government to build and initially equip the cemetery.
After the cemetery is completed, the responsibility of operating the cemetery reverts to the State of South Carolina, and will be managed by the South Carolina Office of Veterans Affairs. The Cemetery Superintendent is Larry Montandon.
By Stan Welch
Just a little more than a year after taking steps to address a grave financial crisis, the town of Williamston has reached a milestone in its ongoing recovery.
The towns fund balance has reached one million dollars, providing significant relief from the financial pressure of the last several years. That figure is based on the Towns audit ,which is being finished now.
Mayor Phillip Clardy cites a list of factors in achieving the fund balance, but says the sale of Town property and the cutting of payroll and associated expenses both played large roles.
We received approximately $480,000 in proceeds from the land sale, which we used to address our delinquent taxes. We also cut our number of employees by almost half, and those reductions, as painful as they were, also made a big difference.
The Town was within weeks of failing to meet its payroll when Town officials asked Joe Newton, Director of Government Operations for the Appalachian Council of Governments, (ACOG), and CPA Bob Daniel to advise the town on its recovery efforts. Mayor Clardy was quick to point out that the advice received was essential to the Towns efforts.
Clearly, the advice we received was sound. I have no problem in saying that we would not have made it without Bob Daniel and Joe Newton in our corner.
Aside from the recommendations mentioned above, among the advice the Town received was to impose fees for the services the Town was performing. Those services included garbage pickup, both residential and commercial. The Town imposed fees on those services, which has made the sanitation department essentially self-sufficient.
The fees made a tremendous difference, since the services were being paid for out of the general fund. The department is basically paying its own way, said the Mayor. We are considering a review of those fees, with an eye towards adjusting them.
Daniel, who has assisted a number of small towns in the Upstate through financial difficulties, said in an interview Tuesday that he was not surprised by the Towns rebound.
I projected a fund balance of approximately $1.3 million, based on the Town also enacting a tax increase. They chose not to do that, so a figure of a million dollars sounds about right. Im glad to hear things are working out for them. As long as they dont run out and hire a whole lot of people before they can afford it, they should be okay. But there are still a lot of challenges to be met.
The town has added a police officer in recent weeks, and is considering hiring another. A position in administration will be filled when the current employee leaves in the coming weeks. A street department worker was also hired in the past few weeks.
Still Clardy says the sacrifices of the townspeople, as much as the hard work of the council and the town employees, is the key. He also says he understands that last year was a unique situation. We wont have a land sale this year to generate those funds. We also cant cut more employees like we did last year. We can be proud of what we have achieved together, but we cannot become relaxed or over confident. We still have a lot of work to do.
One task will be to continue to build contingency funds in various departments, such as water and sewer.
We need a cushion for the major expenses that always come along, sooner or later. But its good to know that we have two or three months of operating expenses in the fund balance.
The audit is tentatively scheduled for presentation to the Council at the first meeting in June.
By Stan Welch
Joe Newton, one of the architects of the Town of Williamstons economic recovery, says recent reports of a significant fund balance are encouraging, but not indicative of a complete recovery.
The early drafts of the upcoming audit show that there is money in the bank, and that is always good, said Newton, Director of Government Operations for the Appalachian Council of Governments (ACOG). But any real exuberance is premature. There are lots of challenges still to come, and the situation the town is in is different than before in ways both good and bad.
For example, says Newton, the sale of Town assets, such as numerous pieces of real estate, was a one time opportunity. The land sale was crucial and very helpful. But it wont generate any money this year, except for property taxes that now apply to the properties since the Town no longer owns them.
The Town took other steps to reduce costs during the financial crisis that occupied much of the Town Councils time and energies last year. The Town Council, seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, is considering revising or even reversing some of those measures, according to Newton.
For example, the Town significantly increased the deductibles of the employees covered by the towns health insurance. That move saved thousands of dollars in insurance costs. The Council is now considering reducing those deductibles again, which will increase their premiums.
The Town is also discussing cost of living increases for the towns employees, who havent had an increase in some time. Since we finally got a budget done for this year, we have seen fuel increases of 20-30%. A couple of the many positions that were vacated by the staff cuts have been refilled and a few more are under consideration. That doesnt seem like many people, but at fairly low salaries, once you include benefits and insurance, those four people will easily cost $100,000 a year, every year.
Newton makes no judgement on whether such changes should be made. He says simply that the Council must look at the measures and understand that each of them will impact the towns finances.
Some things are going on that will affect the Town, and they have no control over those things. The South Carolina Retirement System is increasing the employers contribution to the fund. The town has no say in that. Health insurance is going up seventeen per cent starting in July, instead of the projected fourteen per cent. The Town has no say about that. Workmans compensation is going up even as I speak. These are all demands that have to be met. The town simply has no choice.
Newton adds that the Town faces some capital expenses, because there are equipment needs that have been put off for so long.
In fact, the Town purchased a new tractor last week, because the repair bill on the old one came to approximately ten thousand dollars.
At the same time that such costs are increasing, Newton says that other forces are at work to restrict the growth of revenues. The General Assembly has imposed a cap on millage increases. The formula begins with a cap of 3.2 per cent. Then, a growth factor is added on. In Williamstons case, that growth factor is .7 per cent, making the total millage increase 3.9 per cent. Multiplied by the current levy of 106 mills, that comes to approximately four mills. The town couldnt increase taxes by more than that if they wanted to. That wont produce a whole lot of revenue.
Still, Council is discussing adjusting the sanitation fees imposed last year, fees which Mayor Clardy concedes made a tremendous difference in the sanitation departments ability to function without draining the general fund.
Again, Newton makes no case for or against the decisions being considered. What must be done is to realize that every bit of revenue lost will have to be made up somewhere else. There may be money in the bank, but there is none to spare. There is no surplus of funds. The Town, its Council and employees, and its people have made great sacrifices and great strides in recent months. The situation is good, but it is not wonderful. There is still work to be done.
During the regular monthly meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council decided the town should get an additional patrol officer, outsource tax billing and heard a presentation that shows just how helpful a grant person can be.
In a report made to Council, the towns newly rehired grant writer, Rusty Burns, stated that the town is in jeopardy of losing a $105,861 grant already awarded for a downtown streetscape project and that a contract associated with the grant needs to be signed and delivered in 10 days.
He also reported that applications for the next round needs to be in within three to four weeks.
We need to be moving rapidly, he told Council.
Burns said that a 20% match is needed for the grants and that a request could be made to the Anderson County Transportation Committee for the needed match.
Burns said that he recently had a meeting with the landscape architect and that the downtown committee needs to look at the plan again.
The next round of grants are for up to $200,000 and will require a twenty percent match, or $40,000.
He said hospitality tax money that will be collected beginning July 1 could be used for the match.
There is no need for out of pocket expense, he said, with the grants.
He said the town also has a $90,000 grant request in for work on the water tank on Virginia Drive and that the Budget and Control Board is another source from which up to $30,000 can be requested. Two other nearby towns have received $51,000 and $25,000 recently, he said.
Burns also announced that though not finalized, the town has been approved for a $160,000 PRT grant for the park and other recreation needs in Williamston.
He said the funding still has to be approved by the Senate and House Conference Committee.
Burns said that he is 95% sure the town will receive the funding, requested by Senator Billy ODell and with the help of Rep. Dan Cooper who is the Chairman of the State Ways and Means Committee.
Burns reported that the town will be applying for other parks and recreation development grants and he is also looking at other sources of money for the town.
Burns is also assisting Councilman Otis Scott with a letter which will be sent to the towns merchants concerning the implementation of the new hospitality tax July 1.
Mayor Phillip Clardy made a motion to authorize Burns to seek matching funds up to 30 percent from the Anderson County Transportation Board.
Councilman David Harvell seconded and the vote was unanimous.
Council approved a request for an additional police officer on the Williamston Police Department.
Following up on a request made at the last meeting, Williamston Police Chief David Baker again asked Council to allow him to add one additional officer to his staff.
Baker made the case that he could hire the new officer and stay within his existing budget.
I am still in desperate need of another man, Chief Baker said to the Council.
Baker said the department is operating at 15 officers, two of whom are school resource officers.
He said that by reducing expenses in five line items in his budget he could pay for the addititional officer who would also help provide back up if someone is out sick or out for training. He said the new hire will allow one additional person on routine patrols and will bring in additional revenues.
It is my duty to supervise the police department, to effectively and efficiently provide public safety and protection and to do so within the budget, Baker said. It is councils responsibility to insure I have what I need to do that.
After some discussion, Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr. stated that he believed the department needed another officer. He also said that it is councils duty to protect the towns money and watch the budget.
Appalachian Council of Governments advisor Joe Newton responded that the town should hire the officer if needed and not make it a budget decision.
If you hire a police officer, do it because you need it, he said, Not based on the budget.
Newton said that he and council overbudgeted some areas last year when the town was in financial bind and that some of the accounts still needs to be tightened.
If you need an officer, do it, but dont do it based on the budget, he reiterated.
Baker said that he would like to increase his force back, but not necessarily back to where it was.
The staff is where it was in the 1980s, he said, prior to crack cocaine and methamphetamine and all the crime that comes with the drugs.
Acting on a motion by Councilman Scott, Council unanimously approved filling the requested position.
After a short presentation, Council unanimously agreed to allow tax payments for the town to be collected by the County next year.
According to information presented during the meeting, the county will collect the taxes including providing billing, collection and a delinquency sale if needed for a fee of 50 cents per collection. The County will also accept credit card payments.
The town will conduct their own billing and collection this year and possibly have a tax sale if needed.
Council unanimously decided to unearth the towns buried time capsule and move it in conjunction with the Fireworks Celebration and Pickin in the Park being planned for June 30.
The schedule will be announced along with other activites planned for the day, Mayor Clardy said.
After returning from a short break, Council amended the agenda to allow a comp time issue to be added following an executive session.
A representative of Cushman Mill requested use of the amphitheater for activities associated with a fund raising ride they have planned for the March of Dimes.
After a ride to Table Rock, participants will return to the park for barbecue and music on Saturday, July 28. Tickets for the barbecue, to be provided by Lazy H BBQ, will also be available that day. The public is invited to participate, he said.
Council unanimously approved amending the budget to reflect the purchase of a new tractor. The payment of $28,000 will come out of the contingency fund.
Councilman Carthel Crout said that the town needs to be asking for road paving from the C-fund and Anderson County Transportation Committee.
Crout said the town has not gotten anything from the Anderson County paving fund.
We need to have one street per month submitted, Crout said. We are not getting anything.
There was considerable discussion of the towns animal control ordinance.
Councilman Middleton reported that the town has transported as many as 300 animals to the County Animal shelter at $40 per trip for a total of approximatley $12,000.
He suggested some sort of registration or ID for pets.
Clardy said that most of the animals transported to the shelter were pit bulls which were unclaimed by their owners.
Town Attorney Richard Thompson said the town has a zero tolerance on wandering animals.
Mayor Clardy then recommended Council enter into executive session to discuss a contractural and personnel matter.
Councilman Crout stated that the reason for the session needed to be more detailed.
Clardy then said the contractural matter was about a proposed development and the personnel matter involved compensation.
Upon returning to open session, Council unanimously agreed to pay in full all comp time accumulated and that future comp time be used on the next scheduled day whenever possible.
A total of $16,812 in accumulated comp time, across all departments, will be paid out.
During the meeting, Connie Barnwell invited council members to a beach party in Mineral Spring Park on May 12. Proceeds from the event will help fund an enhancement project for the West Allen Williams Memorial gravesite located in the park.
Willie Wright asked for a list of historic places in Williamston, status on providing Ward numbers on residents water/sewer bills and suggested that the town consider changing the election ordinance so that residents vote only for the representative from their ward.
One person spoke in support of some type of restriction on transfer trucks being allowed in certain areas of the town.
Pamela Owens said that trucks on city streets and parked at residences are causing pot holes and safety concerns in her neighborhood.
No one else spoke during the public hearing on the issue.
Town Attorney Richard Thompson replied that town officials had four issues to deal with: the absolute prohibition of tractor trailer on certain streets; allowing trucks to park at the drivers residence; and if there will be exceptions for moving vans and delivery trucks.
There was discussion of limiting traffic to certain streets and eliminating them crossing the newly replaced Gray Drive bridge.
It was decided that a traffic study would be done by the police department and the issue will be discussed again at the next meeting in two weeks.
Councilman Crout asked for a report on park security. Councilman Scott replied that the company was coming Wednesday to put the cameras up and that the project should be completed in two days. Wiring for the system has been completed, he said.
Gates that are being replaced at the park entrances have been sanded and straightened and will be painted after being hung, according to Park Committee member Walt Smith. There was discussion of painting them a fluorescent color to be more visible. Acting on a motion by Councilman Crout, Council decided to have the Park Committee decide on the color of the gates.
A report on fines and fees from attorney was tabled.
Discussion on the building and codes position was brief. The town recently voted to hire Tim Cole to fill the position on a part-time basis, but Cole declined to accept the position later, turning in a letter stating that he would not be accepting the position.
Councilman Scott suggested training a police officer to take the duties. We are in desparate need of having someone to do this, Scott said.
Area graduates are preparing for the final days with classmates, with activities leading to their graduation and a new chapter in their lives. For Anderson School District One graduates, the Mustangs will be the first to receive their diplomas with Palmetto High graduation Saturday May 19 at 10:00 a.m. at the Anderson Civic Center. Wren graduation ceremonies will follow on the same day at 1 p.m.
In a prelude to graduation 2007, District One seniors attended their respective Baccalaureate programs on Sunday.
At Palmetto, Honor Grad Haley Charlene Ramsey welcomed guests. Honor Grad Kadie Elizabeth Zahnd gave the invocation.
Honor Grad Harrison Blake Martin led conngregation in singing the hymn Amazing Grace.
Honor Grad Hunter Woodson Brooking read scripture from Jeremiah 29:11-13. David Charles Beck prayed.
The Palmetto High Chorus presented the musical selection Find Your Wings.
Andrew Press Driver introduced speaker Rev. Larry Baldwin, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church. Baldwin spoke on The Canvas of Life.
Hannah Camille Rogers pronounced the benediction.
Palmetto High graduation will be Saturday May 19 at 10:00 a.m.
At Wren, Honor Graduates Joshua Campbell and Alexis Usry led the Doxology. Invocation was given by Lori Quach, honor graduate.
Honor Grad Zachary Chapla led the pledge to the flag.
Honor Grad Buddy Ballew and R. Robert Binnicker principal welcomed guests.
The concert choir under the direction of Kathy M. Smith sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Honor Graduate Jessica Burton and Kelsey Porter led To God Be the Glory.
Honor Grad Lauren Hughes introduced speaker, Reverend Greg Allgood, Director of Baptist Campus Ministries, Anderson University whose topic was entitled Pay It Forward.
The concert choir and senior members performed Benedictus.
Honor Graduate Kyle Childers pronounced the benediction. Kathy M. Smith pianist performed the recessional God of our Fathers.
Wren graduation will be Saturday, May 19 at 1 p.m.
The Journal will publish a special salute to area graduates next week. Dont miss it.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials will celebrate the completion of a $33 million refurbishment and upgrade of electrical generators at the Hartwell Dam powerplant this Thursday, May 10. The refurbishment will increase capacity of each of four generators by 30 percent.
The celebration begins at 10 a.m. at the Hartwell Dam powerplant. Brig. Gen. Joseph Schroedel, Commander of the South Atlantic Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will deliver the keynote address. Powerplant tours will follow the formal presentation.
A recommendation to refurbish the generators was approved in 1993. Congress provided initial funding in 1995 and actual on-site construction began in early 1997. Four of Hartwells five generators were refurbished to increase the output of each from 66 megawatts to 85.5 megawatts. (The fifth generator remains rated at 90 megawatts and did not require refurbishment.) This will provide approximately $3.3 million dollars of added annual benefits over the next 35 years. The refurbishment will also greatly improve the reliability of the powerplants ability to provide constant power on demand through the Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA) to local utility companies.
The Anderson Joes spring training is already underway and the entire team will be available for a meet and greet event at the Anderson Texas Roadhouse on Thursday, May 10. Beginning at 7 p.m., fans can meet the players who will be taking the field at Anderson Memorial Stadium this summer. Fans are encouraged to bring their cameras and any souvenirs they would like signed.
The coaching staff will be at Texas Roadhouse as well. Manager Desi Wilson, hitting coach Edgar Varela and pitching coach Dallas Mahan will join the team for the this special event. Players who will suit up as Joes this season are from all over the United States and South America and are excited to call Anderson home for the summer.
Texas Roadhouse is located at 4119 Clemson Blvd. in Anderson. Fans are encouraged to mark their calendars for the May 18th Opening Day Celebration against the Aiken Foxhounds. The game will begin at 7:05 p.m. and will feature a fireworks extravaganza after the game. The Joes will play at Anderson Memorial Stadium at 1921 White Street Extension in Anderson. For more information on tickets contact the Joes office at 864 225-7500 or check out the Joes on the web at www.andersonjoes.com.
On Saturday, May 12, letter carriers in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America will collect non-perishable food items donated by customers and deliver them to local community food banks, pantries, and shelters as part of the 15th annual NALC Food Drive. Postal employees in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands will participate in the worlds largest one-day food drive, which has resulted in delivery of over three-quarters of a billion pounds of donations to community food banks and pantries over the past 14 years.
An estimated 35 million people are at risk of hunger in America, including 12 million children. Around late spring, most food banks begin running out of donations received during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods. This drive is one way people can join the U.S. Postal Service, Campbell Soup Company, Americas Second Harvest, local United Ways, Cox Target Media, the AFL-CIO Community Services Network, and other local sponsors to help stamp out hunger in communities across the country.
More than 115 million postcards will be mailed to customers in towns and cities throughout America letting them know how they can help. Customers who do not receive a postcard can check with their local post office to find out if it is participating in the drive this year.
On Saturday, May 12, postal customers are asked to place non-perishable food items next to their mailbox before their letter carrier delivers the mail. The letter carrier will do the rest, taking the food to the post office where it is sorted and delivered to an area food bank or pantry.
Visit www.stampouthunger.com for more information and to sign up to receive an e-mail reminder to place non-perishable food items next to your mailbox on Saturday, May 12.
Anderson County Sheriffs Deputies investigated the following incidents:
May 4 B.K. Baxter was dispatched to 48 Dendy Rd. where Tammy Murphy reported that she had seen someone in her fathers vacant residence. The house had been broken into several times before and no evidence could be obtained. The case was closed.
May 5 R.E. Callahan was dispatched to 199 Mills Rd. where James Breazeale reported the theft of his bicycle.
May 5 T.B. Dugan was dispatched to 759 Cherokee Road, where Dennis Cason stated that he had been in a vehicle with an unknown female and a suspect whose identity and description was redacted from the incident report. This suspect was punching the female when Cason tried to stop him. The suspect stopped the car and dragged Cason out and assaulted him. The female later dropped him at his residence and continued on with the suspect. The car was later found abandoned and was towed. Warrants are being sought on the suspect.
May 1 J.F> Parker was dispatched to 129 Beardsley Dr. in reference to shots fired. Kyle Farmer told Parker that a car had driven slowly by his apartment. He walked outside and observed an older gray Pontiac 3800 with no license tag. The car was at the stop sign a couple of apartments down the street. A male voice came from the car, cursing Farmer and threatening to kill him. He said he counted five shots being fired, and saw the muzzle flash coming from the passenger side. He said the flashes were pointed into the woods away from his location. He then grabbed a .22 rifle and fired it into the ground, causing the car to flee. Deputy Parker could find no evidence or shell casings. May 5 D.W. Davis and S. Proner were dispatched to P1 Auto Sales, at 6808 Hwy. 81 N where they received a report from Glen Burkett that his 2001 Dodge Ram truck had been broken into and a CD player stolen. The drivers window was smashed out as well.
May 5 S.E. Mauldin responded to 233 Longview Dr. where Minnie Rodriquez stated that someone had stolen the SC tag, baring number 422-TALE from her car.
May 5 T.B. Dugan responded to 422 Willow Dr. where Amy Elissa Jean said that someone had stolen her 1994 Jeep Cherokee. She had called her ex-husband Jason Luker to get the tag and vehicle information. He began to search for the vehicle and found it on Osteen Hill Rd. Dugan and Elissa responded and found the vehicle with a hole punched in the hood and interior damage as well.
May 2- J.J. Jacobs responded to 404 Elaine Way where Michael Bibb stated that someone had entered his home and stolen $6000 in cash and some power tools he had unsecured behind the house.
May 2 T. L. Chapman was dispatched to 107 India Dr. where James Hollingsworth complained that Jerry Duane Jordon, Jr., WM,32, 511", 155 pounds, black/brn, had walked into his house uninvited. Chapman said in the report that the response was his third to that location on similar complaints. When he arrived the suspect was standing outside the house arguing with the houses occupants. He was placed in custody for safety, and a nine millimeter pistol was subsequently found in his vehicle. According to witnesses he had been fussing at his ex-girlfriend, Angela Purnell, WF, 36, 56", 130 pounds, blond/brn. A check for warrants disclosed that she was a wanted felon in Texas. Both were taken into custody and transported to ACDC.
May 4 T.B. Dugan was dispatched to 303 Trail Court where Donna Woessner stated that she was in the process of moving out and when she returned to the house, the air conditioning unit had been stolen. She called the houses owner, Pamela Allen who said the unit was worth at least $1500. The wiring and lines had been cut away and the entire unit stolen.
May 5 J.M. Collins was dispatched to 107 Locke Rd. Andy Smith reported that an unknown subject had attempted to enter his residence during the night. His wife found the back door would not close the following morning, and the locks were damaged. It was the third such incident.
By Stan Welch
Ive been practicing my believing lately. You know the old saying, Everybody has to believe in something? (My personal favorite variation of that is W.C. Fields classic line, Everybody has to believe in something, and I believe Ill have another drink.) Well, in Anderson County you have to practice believing, because there is so much unbelievable stuff happening that you can get distracted.
On the other hand, statements are made with such nonchalance, such expectation that they will be believed just because they were said aloud, that you can begin to think youre in Wonderland.
For example, I am trying to believe that only $226,000 has been spent on Michelin Boulevard repairs since 2002, but it is difficult, when you ride along and look at the amount of repair work done. Its even more difficult to believe when Im told only thirty-three thousand of that came from the county with the rest coming from C funds. Well, gee, what other neat stuff could have been done with that hundred and ninety-three thousand bucks if it hadnt gone repairing the Tire Track, as I have grown fond of calling it? Those were public funds too, right?
Its also hard to believe that in this day of computer records and easy accessibility, a newspaper seeking access to public information would be billed, IN ADVANCE, more than $250 for county employees to retrieve and assemble that information. I have a nephew in college that would sit down at a computer terminal and get that stuff printed within an hour. Sorry, sometimes, I just cant believe it.
Another example of having to work to believe is the controversial road fee which county officials, including the administrator, are pushing as a source of revenue. After hemming and hawing and huffing and puffing, the administrator and financial analyst Gina Humphreys finally admitted that the fee would be used, at least in large part, to provide pay raises for county employees. Thats actually not so hard to believe. Whats hard to believe is that then they cant understand why many in the public are distrustful of them and their plans. It sure makes one cents sales taxes tough to sell.
Its also hard to believe that Williamston has gone so long without a new library. Belton, Pendleton, Anderson; all these towns have new libraries. Williamston, and West Pelzer and Pelzer, which share one built in the 1980s.
Its hard to believe that any county bureaucrat would be so petty as to reward his political allies and punish his critics by depriving rewarding or depriving their districts, according to the level of support or opposition. On the other hand, based on appearances, its not that hard to believe.
It is hard to believe, however, that the proposed budget would provide funding for Keep America Beautiful in excess of a quarter million dollars. Im not arguing yea or nay. I make no judgement of the benefits of such an organization, or the lack thereof. Im simply saying that I cant believe that an organization receiving more than a quarter million dollars in public money could even be considered voluntary. Dont the definitions of words count any more?
I cant believe that Mr. Preston said why Environmental Services Director Vic Carpenter wasnt at a recent Council meeting to explain his departments budget needs. Preston said that Carpenter was suddenly called away because one of his children had to have emergency surgery. Well, that was true, his daughter did have an appendectomy. But according to a news story in the Greenwood newspaper, Carpenter was actually called away from the Greenwood County Council meeting on the same night, the meeting at which Carpenter was being announced as their new county manager. To make the tale even more incomprehensible is the fact that Carpenters hiring by Greenwood County was publicized within forty eight hours. What was the point of concocting such a story?
I cant believe that Solicitor Chrissy Adams decided to prosecute Mike Holden on charges of misuse of campaign funds in just three or four months, while her much anticipated release of the SLED investigation into Catergate, which began seventeen months ago, and reportedly ended in January, is still hanging fire.
Seems to me bread gets buttered on all different sides in Anderson County. If your bread hits butter side up, its a good day for you. Looks like Holdens hit butter side down. Looks like somebody elses hit butter side up. I guess the best thing is just dont drop your bread.
One thing that I really cant believe is that out of a proposed budget of well over one hundred million dollars, the County Council cant find at least a couple of million dollars worth of fat that can be trimmed. I mean, is it even possible that there are no cuts in a budget that size that could be applied to providing employee raises? Is it just not possible that well-intentioned elected public officials working with the committed cooperative efforts of highly skilled professional bureaucrats can chip off some icing from an ever increasing cake? I mean if you cant believe in that, what can you believe in?
Seems to me I better keep practicing.