News Archive

Week of May 19, 2004

Commencement services Saturday for area grads
Community concerns aired at Piedmont Town Meeting 
Piedmont Public Service District approves second reading on budget
Hwy. 77 named for Chastain
Public input critical for grantWest Pelzer
West Pelzer officials looking at sewer problems
Split County Council supports second reading of budget

Commencement services Saturday for area grads

The Class of 2004 from Palmetto High School and Wren High School will observe commencement exercises May 22 at the Anderson Civic Center.

Palmetto High seniors, who will hold graduation at 1 p.m., will be led by valedictorian Evan Rebekah Patterson and salutatorian Sheila Leneice Wright. Both will deliver keynote addresses during the ceremony.

Palmetto will open commencement exercises with an invocation given by honor graduate Teri Lee Hancock followed by welcoming remarks by honor graduate Amy Michelle Stubbs and the Pledge of Allegiance led by honor graduate Brett Renee Stroud.

After remarks by Palmetto High Principal Dr. Mason Gary, diplomas will be presented by him and Fred Alexander, school board chairman; Dr. Reggie Christopher, school superintendent; and Mike Kelly and Brian Couch, assistant principals.

Closing remarks will be given by honor graduate Jessica Robyn Murphy. Palmetto High’s chorus will perform the school’s alma mater, and graduation exercises will conclude with a benediction by honor graduate Amy Elise Blume.

Honor graduates include: Amy Elise Blume, Ashley Nicole Callaham, Tangela Shanell Canty, Kelly Taylor Cooley, Alvin Lee Day, Rebekah Gail Edens, Thomas Chandler Everett, and Crystal Marie Frady.

Also, Jessica Marie Garrett, James Travis Guthrie, Teri Lee Hancock, Jessica Lynn Keefe, Gina Cherie Kelly, Rhonda Len’e Manley, Justin Curtis Meade, Jessica Robyn Murphy, and Amanda Blake Musielak.

Also, Evan Rebekah Patterson, Morgan Rebecca Poole, Jessica Nicole Rasnake, Ashley Alana Rentz, Amber Denise Sanders, Brett Renee Stroud, and Amy Michelle Stubbs.

Also, Stephen Albert Taylor, Barry Kyle Timmons, Katherine Anna Watson, Catherine Lane Whitten, Erin Leigh Whitten, and Sheila Leneice Wright.

Junior marshals include: Erica Bromeling, Kayla Campbell, Lee Cole, Lindsey Fincher, Nancy Haguewood, Cody Moore, Meagan Pack, Sarah Riddle, Ryan Sloan, and Shannon Smith.

Wren High seniors, who will hold graduation at 4 p.m., will be led by valedictorian Daniel Eils and salutatorian Justin Moody. Both will deliver keynote addresses during the ceremony.

Wren will open commencement exercises with the invocation delivered by honor graduate Kelsey Darity, followed by the presentation of colors by the NJROTC Color Guard and the pledge to the flag led by honor graduates Andrea Teuber and Melissa Teuber.

Honor graduate Charlotte Balentine will lead attendees in the “Star Spangled Banner.” Jason Ridlehoover, an honor graduate and Wren High student body president, will offer welcoming remarks.

For special music, Hayley Miller will perform “There You’ll Be,” Wren’s Concert Choir will perform “Like an Eagle,” and Colby Fair will perform “You Raise Me Up.”

Diplomas will be awarded by Wren High Principal G. Robert Binnicker, David P. Coyne, Jack H. King and Dr. Kelly U. Pew.

Honor graduate Charles Alex Cable will lead attendees in the school’s alma mater, followed by the benediction delivered by honor graduate Kelly Anderson. Closing remarks will be given by honor graduate Robert Armstrong.

Honor graduates include: Kelly Anderson, Robert Armstrong, Charlotte Balentine, Tiffany Barnett, Wilton Bowman, Elizabeth Brabham, Keri Burger, Charles Cable, Britteny Caldwell, Ryan Campbell, Lauren Chapman, Leah Cochran, Donald Cox, and Steven Craig.

Also, Kelsey Darity, Thomas Davidson, Daniels Eils, Elizabeth Forsyth, Brittany Galloway, Jennifer Gunter, Tabitha Halstead, Robert Henderson, Daniel Holzberger, Tiffany Honea, Margaret Irwin, Kimberly James, and Celeste Joyner.

Also, Eva Karageoriou, Everett Keller, Sul Kim, Ryan Knauer, Emily Langford, Kelly Linsley, Christopher Mann, Adam Meeks, Brian Melacon, Nicole Mirti, Justin Moody, Elizabeth Morgan, and Corey Myers.

Also, Joel Pinson, Chris Lauren Price, Laura Reeves, Kristie Rhodes, Jason Ridlehoover, Chris Roberts, Amanda Rogers, and Heather Rose.

Also, Robyn Scott, Jonathan Senn, Andrew Shipman, Heather Shook, Jennifer Smith, Elizabeth Squires, Joshua Tyler Stone, Andrea Teuber, Melissa Teuber, Whitney Wood, and Susan Worthington.

Those receiving Certificates of Mastery include: Jeremy Arrowood, Brittany Caldwell, Crystal Cox, Nicole Dallin, Amber Day, Alyssa Dickerson, Brittani Galloway, Samantha Harrison, Janet Justice, Brittany Porter, Laura Michelle Reeves, Kristie Rhodes, and Matthew Wood.

Junior marshals include: Justine Chasmar, Cassidy Compton, Kathryn Ann Mooneyham, Jamie Nichols, Lindsey Sporrer, and Hayley Ulmer.


Community concerns aired at Piedmont Town Meeting 

Judy Gilstrap came to Piedmont to listen to the concerns of residents, and listen she did. The Greenville County District 26 Council member faced about two dozen frustrated citizens at the first town meeting in recent memory at the Piedmont Community Center Thursday night.

Gilstrap opened the meeting by admitting that “Piedmont has not asked for much” and has “tended to be behind the scenes” in the county. She emphasized that she came to let Piedmont citizens know “what the county can do for you.”

Gilstrap continued with an update on County Council issues affecting Piedmont. She explained that each district gets a paving budget with an allotted number of paving miles.

Gilstrap said she had been looking at roads and streets carefully and gave a list of streets scheduled to be paved in the Piedmont area this year which includes: Church Street, Painter Road, Bowen Hill Road, Boyce Street, Playground Road, Smith Street, Moody Road and Sandlapper Trail.

Gilstrap then introduced Sgt. Brian Donnelly of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Department who is stationed at the substation at Donaldson Center.

Donnelly encouraged citizens to consider Neighborhood Watch programs stating that 150 programs had been implemented in the county. He also encouraged the community to make use of the Stranger Danger programs and said that 1800 programs had been conducted in businesses, churches, and schools last month.

“Why is the response time so awful for Piedmont?” a frustrated citizen asked.

Donnelly explained that there is a community officer who covers Piedmont and southern Greenville County weekdays. Dispatch times and arrival times are routinely recorded, Donnelly explained and admitted that response may be delayed if officers are called to other incidents which take priority.

“We’re going to respond to every call,” he emphasized and encouraged citizens to use him as a liaison on specific complaints. Suspected drug problems should be reported to narcotics at 422-2050, Donnelly advised.

A citizen admitted to being “negative toward the sheriff’s office” due to a lack of presence. Another citizen said they had to “threaten an officer to get assistance.”

Other citizens complained about dirt bikes and 4-wheelers in areas with small children.

“We need help bad,” another citizen added and asked how a substation could be located in Piedmont. Donnelly advised that the community could consider a contract deputy which would be quite expensive.

Master Deputy Richard Lane of the Directed Patrol Unit of the Selective Enforcement Division also spoke at the meeting and admitted that a “45 minute response time is not rare” due to a manpower issue and a shortage of officers.

Paula Gucker, Assistant County Administrator for Public Works, explained that through the Prescription for Progress initiative roads and streets are rated and placed on a “worst first” paving list. She explained that the county works on pot holes, drainage problems, beaver control, tree trimming, and street signs on county-maintained thoroughfares.

She also explained that the county offers free triple-ground mulch and assists with sidewalk rehabilitation through enhancements funds.

Gucker emphasized that her department tries to handle incoming phone calls efficiently without passing citizens from one office to another. She distributed a list of employee phone numbers and contacts for issues within the Public Works Department.

Codes Enforcement Manager Keith Drummond explained that the county has six animal control officers and that the county has no leash law for animals on personal property.

Drummond reminded the citizens that they are the “eyes and ears” in the county and pointed to a 90% success rate in dealing with property maintenance code issues. Drummond admitted that he had seen several violations of county codes as he drove down Highway 20.

Gilstrap referred to progress that has been made in certain problem areas in District 26. She closed the two-and-one-half hour meeting with a promise to continue the dialog and the contact with the Piedmont community.

“Call me if you have a problem,” Gilstrap offered and gave her phone number 444-1415 and email address to the citizens.

Piedmont Public Service District approves second reading on budget

The Board of Commissioners for the Piedmont Public Service District unanimously approved the second reading of the annual budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2005 at their regular meeting Monday night.

The budget shows estimated revenues at $1,118,494 for all departments with total estimated expenditures of $1,113,998 leaving an estimated surplus of $4,496.

Millage rates remain unchanged at .055 for the fire department, .024 for the sewer and light department, and .002 for the recreation department.

Chairperson Marsha Rogers reported that Anderson County Councilman Bill Dees had been very helpful in getting an additional $3,000 from Anderson County to pay for a tractor to maintain the ball field.

Rogers also reported that Chief Administrator Butch Nichols was helping with a question involving the survey of Hotel Hill which is owned by the district. Representatives of the Heritage Corridor project are looking into funds for the landmark for remodeling, replanting trees, and adding lighting to the monuments.

Nichols reported that a new truck had a 6” split in a tank with a lifetime warranty and was in Bennettsville for repair.

Nichols also reported that he had been unable to get additional quotes on painting the substation. After a motion by Commisioner Al McAbee, the board voted unanimously to accept the only quote received.

McAbee reported a “good response to all calls” from paid personnel and volunteers. He reported a total of 41 calls to the fire department in April which included: 3 structure fires, 4 grass fires, 1 vehicle fire, 4 vehicle accidents, 18 medical calls, 7 sewer calls, 2 street light calls, and 2 haz mat calls.

McAbee said that the haz mat calls involved gasoline and not hazardous material. 

The board scheduled the next meeting for June 21 and adjourned. 

Hwy. 77 named for Chastain

Upon a request from the General Assembly, the South Carolina Transportation Commission recently voted  to name the portion of South Carolina Secondary Highway 77 from S.C.  Hwy. 20 to Beaverdam Road (S. C. Secondary Hwy. 75) in honor of David R. Chastain of Williamston.

The portion of highway will be named the “David R. Chastain Highway.”

The SCDOT Commission also voted to name a portion of S. C.  Hwy. 88 from S. C. Hwy. 81 to U. S. Hwy. 178 as the “Kimberly Hampton Memorial Highway” in honor of the late Captain Kimberly Hampton of Easley who lost her life in Iraq on January 2, 2004 while piloting a helicopter.

The Executive Director of SCDOT is Elizabeth S. Mabry. The SCDOT Commission includes Chairman Tee Hooper of Greenville; Bob Harrell Sr., 1st Congressional District; John N. Hardee, 2nd Congressional District; Marion P. Carnell, 3rd Congressional District; William C. “Bud” Turner, 4th Congressional District; Bobby T. Jones, 5th Congressional District; and John M. “Moot” Truluck, 6th Congressional District.

Public input critical for West Pelzer grant

 The Town of West Pelzer will hold a public hearing Thursday, May 27 at 6 p.m. at the  Community Center at the Pelzer Monkey Park to gather public input on community needs and priorities in the town. The public hearing is the first step in a grant application for funds to meet those needs, officials said.

The  Town of West Pelzer is applying for a Community Development Block Grant which they plan to use for replacement of water lines in the town.

The federal grant is a HUD program managed by the S. C. Department of Commerce, office of grants administration.

West Pelzer qualifies for the grant because it is a low to moderate income area according to the 2000 census, said Judith Romano, Grants Project Manager with the Appalachian Council of Governments.

Romano said it is very important to have citizen participation at the public hearing to develop a community needs assessment which must be done before the application for the grant can be done.

“Citizens participation is a strong determining factor,” Romano said.

Funds up to $500,000 can be received through the grant, according to Romano. A 10% local match is required as a part of the grant.

According to Romano, the grant application process is extremely competitive since there are limited funds to distribute and a large number of applicants.

Town officials will also present a Citizen Participation Plan at the hearing which will explain the grant process.

The Citizen Participation Plan is available for review in advance at West Pelzer Town Hall, 3 Hindman St., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Persons with questions or comments concerning the public hearing or the Citizen Participation Plan may contact Judith Romano at the Appalachian Council of Governments, PO Drawer 6668 Greenville, SC 29606 or call 864-242-9733.

Anyone requiring special services to attend the meeting is asked to call the Appalachian Council of Governments or West Pelzer Town Hall at least 48 hours in advance so that arrangements can be made. 

West Pelzer officials addressing sewer problems

During a special called meeting May 18, members of West Pelzer Town Council took on several sewer related issues and were updated on the USDA Rural Development loan and grant which is the financial basis for a joint sewer project with Pelzer.

The loan and grant were approved by Rural Development in 1999 for construction of a sewer line to connect Pelzer and West Pelzer to Western Carolina Sewer, yet due to legal issues, construction on the project has yet to begin.

Laura Payne of Rural Development said the town received a $441,000 loan and a $495,000 grant for the project in 1999.

Since that time, in addition to legal delays, there have been changes in staff at Rural Development and in elected officials in West Pelzer.

Payne provided council members with background information and requirements on the project and answered questions to bring them up to date.

 Also addressed were questions concerning a RDA fee that was added to residents’ water bills several years back. Due to the extended period, none of the officials knew for sure but consensus was that town officials added the RDA fee soon after the loan and grant were approved in anticipation of requirements for the project.

Bill Dunn of Dunn and Associates engineering firm, which is woking with the town on the project, said he thought the initial fee was put on the bills so that residents wouldn’t see a huge increase at one time with the required fee and when the town actually hooked on to Western Carolina Sewer.

Requirements of the loan state that the town is to put back 10 percent of the monthly Rural Development payment into a special restricted account. According to Payne, it usually takes 10 years to fund the account to the point where there are enough funds to make  one year of payments as required.

The requirement only becomes effective at the time the permanent loan is closed and the town begins making monthly principal and interest payments to Rural Development, according to Payne.

Questions concerning the town’s RDA fee have been raised recently because approximately half of the $2,000 monthly income from the fee has been placed into the town’s general fund and the other half going to the special account.

Payne explained that the funds are not restricted until the interim construction loan is replaced with the Rural Development loan, which is used for longterm financing on the project.

“It is not a bad thing. It is not required to be paid back. Citizens thought it was supposed to go into that fund and felt they have been misled,” Mayor Peggy Paxton said.

Paxton initially made a motion to remove the RDA fee from residents’ water bills and to use the money accumulated in the RDA special account to pay an outstanding engineering design bill.

Dunn and Associates has billed the town for $115,000 or 70 percent of a design fee for the project.

Dunn said his company has basically been sitting on the bill since the project was started and could no longer afford to carry the balance.

According to Paxton, the funds which are currently sitting in an account are not being used and if paid to Dunn, will be reimbursed by the Rural Development grant when the actual construction on the project begins.

After further discussion, Council unanimously agreed to a second motion by Paxton to repeal the earlier motion, keep the RDA fee on the water bill and to use the $2,000 that it brings in  to make a monthly payment to Dunn and Associates.

Rural Development requirements also include having the town submit a new three year budget, which Paxton said she is working on.

Payne said Rural Development will look at the budget projections provided by the mayor, including principal and interest payments, then look at water and sewer rates to see if adjustments should be made.

Payne also suggested the town begin looking for an interim lender to provide initial construction funding for the project.

Ongoing problems at the town’s sewer plant, which will be eliminated when the new line is constructed, were also discussed at the meeting.

Paxton said town officials are meeting with DHEC and state and local officials June 9 in Anderson in reference to a notice of conference issued to the town by SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC).

The town has been out of compliance for some time and may be facing DHEC fines, according to Paxton.

“They are not going to let us do this any longer,” she said.

Paxton said the town has made efforts to deal with problems at the plant, including changing operators, but the town is facing as many as 30 different violations.

Paxton said local officials including Senator Billy O’Dell make up “a good team” which she said, “Will do everything they can to help us.”

“We can show we are making improvements,” she said.

Bringing up another sewer issue, Paxton said the town has applied for a federal grant for a project to replace deteriorated sewer lines in the town.

The mayor said she hopes to receive a $2.5 million grant to help replace sewer lines. She said the town will also look to the county for help.

In other business, council accepted bids for trash pickup services from Upstate Sanitation, Waste Management and Roger Scott.

Paxton said the town has a 30 day period to review the bids and contract and said council will discuss the bids at a budget workshop set for next Thursday, May 27 at 10 a.m.

Paxton also reminded council and residents of a public hearing to be held at the Pelzer Community Center at the Monkey Park at 6 p.m. on May 27.

Paxton said citizen turnout at the meeting will be helpful with a grant application being submitted by the town.

Council also heard a request to divide a parcel in the town into two lots for conventional homes. The request will be made to the zoning board and brought back before Council.

Paxton also told Council that she thought the town should  proceed on a water line problem which would cost approximately $6,000 to correct.

The problem has left residents on Stephanie Drive with little or no water pressure and has been an ongoing problem for years.

Paxton said she felt the town has the finanacial resources to correct the problem.

“I think we can do this,” she said.

Acting on a motion by Maida Kelly, council unanimously approved the repair.

Council also discussed adding an additional court date and will look at the issue and costs at the budget workshop meeting.

Paxton said the town had more than 200 court appearances on the monthly court date last month.

Split County Council supports second reading of budget

The second reading of a $94 million budget for the new fiscal year received narrow support from Anderson County council members at their regular meeting Tuesday night.

Council members Cindy Wilson and Larry Greer opposed the budget ordinance, Council member Mike Holden abstained from voting, and remaining council members supported the proposal. Council member Bill Dees was not present at the meeting.

Wilson opened the budget discussion by targeting accounts which she said were “deep in a hole” such as solid waste and the sewer enterprise fund. County Administrator Joey Preston responded to Wilson’s statement by saying that the county “lost four years due to legal action.”

Wilson questioned “$1.1 million in transfers” at the end of the year. Preston responded that those were necessitated by decisions by council.

Preston responded to Wilson’s question about lodging for Celebrate America by explaining that the lodging which was paid for by corporate sponsors was for pilots with the Balloon Federation of America. Wilson responded that that information was “not verifiable.”

Concerned about an increase in the millage rate, Greer requested that the budget ordinance state that the rate cannot exceed 75 mils. Preston assured Greer that County Attorney Tom Martin would add language to the budget ordinance that would reflect that stipulation.

Holden expressed concern about the $6.8 million bond indebtedness. 

Council Chairman Clint Wright emphasized his support for the bond which would include a library for Pendleton. “Pendleton outgrew the library five years ago,” Wright stated and referred to comments by a citizen that now is the time to build to avoid inflation rates.

After a council vote supported the second reading of the budget, Greer proposed that county personnel present two alternative budgets to council at the next meeting – one to reflect a .001 reduction in millage and one to reflect a .002 reduction in millage. A 5-1council vote supported Greer’s proposal. Council member Gracie Floyd cast the only opposing vote to the motion.

Floyd referred to Greer’s proposal as an attempt to locate “sacrificial cows” to reduce the budget. “Don’t cut anything that pertains to District 2,” Floyd stated.

In other business, Wilson received unanimous council approval divide $5,000 in additional recreation funds equally among the four municipalities in District 7.

Floyd requested that council members consider contributing $4,000 each to support the summer work program in the county for students. According to Floyd, she would not be able to substantially contribute as she did last year and encouraged her colleagues to assist in the effort.








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