News Archive

(2005) Week of May 18, 2005

Week of May 18, 2005

Rolling meth lab discovered in primary school parking lot
Palmetto, Wren graduation ceremonies this Saturday
Local ministry a success for Calvary Baptist volunteers“Mission Jerusalem”
Health and Wellness Festival Tuesday in Mineral Spring Park

West Pelzer citizens meet to discuss town issues
Lozano to run for West Pelzer Council
Grant to balance Piedmont budget
Job Service manager to speak at PERC meeting
Day Camps being offered in Piedmont

Basketball camps set for Wren area
Summary Judge retracts endorsement of County Budget proposal
County budget recieves first reading; but not without comment
Brothers arrested in year-old Gusto armed robbery
Thieves hit homes, businesses

Rolling meth lab discovered in primary school parking lot

Williamston Police Officers arrested two people who were in a mobile methamphetamine lab which was in the back of a 1996 Ford Explorer in the parking lot of Palmetto Primary School Tuesday.

 Steven Eric Owens, 31, 202 South Hamilton St., Williamston, is facing multiple charges in connection with the incident.

Owens is being charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, manufacture of methamphetamine; possession of ice, crank, crack cocaine; possession of ice, crank, crack cocaine proximity of a school; possession of marijuana; unlawful possession of a controlled substance; illegal possession of a firearm on school property and two counts of child endangerment.

An adult female passenger, Jessica Marie Owens, 22, of the same address, was also arrested for possession of a controled substance.

According to a news release, officers were at the school on Roberts Blvd. to follow up on a code enforcement complaint when they observed Owens, who had an outstanding felony arrest warrant for grand larceny, sitting in the vehicle.

Officer Joshua L. Barnes and Sergeant Jeff Motes then arrested Owens.

At the time of the arrest, Owens was found to be unlawfully in possession of a shotgun and in possession of a quantity of unlawful controlled substances.

Further investigation indicated what appeared to be a possible, “rolling meth lab” inside the vehicle.

At that time, for the safety of the children at the Primary School and individuals waiting to pick up those children, an administrative decision was made to relocate the vehicle to a more safe location for further investigation, Chief David Baker said.

One adult female passenger and two juvenile passengers were also removed from the vehicle for safety reasons.

Mike Miller of the Anderson/Oconee Regional Forensics Law was called to the scene to investigate the potential lab. Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Forensics Unit was also dispatched to assist in processing the scene.

The two juveniles were temporarily released to a family member and the South Carolina Department of Social Services was contacted and informed of the investigation.

Palmetto, Wren graduation ceremonies this Saturday

Area High School seniors are counting down the final days leading to graduation this Saturday. Both Anderson District One High School graduation ceremonies will be held May 21 at the Anderson Civic Center.

Palmetto High School graduates will receive diplomas in a graduation service starting at 4 p.m. Wren High School graduation services will be held at 7 p.m.

The Palmetto graduation will begin with a special slide presentation. Honor Grad Kayla Rebekah Campbell will then lead the pledge of allegiance followed by  singing the National Anthem.

Honor Grad Shannon Rosanna Smith will give the invocation.

Honor Grad Sarah Courtney Riddle will welcome guests.

Salutatorian Meagna Lethia Pack will then give her student address.

The Palmetto High Choral Department will have a special choral presentation, “There You’ll Be” by Diane Warren.

Valedictorian Gregory Lee Cole will then address students.

Dr. Mason Gary, Palmetto High Principal will introduce platform guests and special recognitions.

District One Board Chairman Fred Alexander, Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler, Principal Gary, Assistant Principals Mike Kelly and Brian Couch will present diplomas.

Confirmation of graduates will be made by Dr. Gary.

Honor Grad Erica Lynn Bromeling will have closing remarks.

Sue McKenzie will lead the Alma Mater.

Junior Marshals are Michael Thomas Bagwell, William Lee Clardy, Jessica Ann Cooley, Justin S. Elgin, Jordon Elaine Jackson, Kayla Marie Mack, Elizabeth Hope Plott, Megan Breann Roberts, Jordan Armin Veres, Jessica Ann Vinson.

The Wren Graduation ceremony will follow at 7 p.m.

Honor Grad Justine Chasmar will give the invocation. The NJROTC color guard will present colors.

Honor Grad April Boom will lead the pledge of allegiance to the flag.

Honor Grad Lindsey Sparrer will lead singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

Student Body President and Honor Grad, Graysen Pack will welcome guests.

Special music will be provided by Honor Grads Kathryn Jordan and Jacob Thomason, who will perform “That’s What Friends Are For.” The concert choir will present “It’s Time To Go.”

Principal G. Robert Binnicker will recognize honors.

Valedictorian Kathryn Anne Mooneyham will present her graduation address “New Beginnings, New Beginnings.”

Salutatorian Jamie Nichols will present a graduation address “What Matters Most.”

Wren Junior Marshals are Ridgley Beckett, Jennifer Pate, Kelley Armstrong, Sarah Shirley, Luke Wright, Whitney Chambers, and Kevin Neihaus.

District One Administrators are Dr. Wayne Fowler, Superintendent, David Havird, Associate Superintendent, Dr. John Pruitt, Director of Secondary Ed.

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees are Fred Alexander, Chairperson, Nancy Upton, Vice-chairperson, Sallie Lee, Dale Martin, David Merritt, Jr., Tom Merritt and Joe Pack.       


Local ministry a success for Calvary Baptist volunteers“Mission Jerusalem”

Forty-seven children, youth, and adults from Calvary Baptist Church in Williamston began a new and exciting ministry in the Upstate this week with a local project in Pelzer.

As a part of  “Mission Jerusalem,” the painting and cleanup project on a Pelzer home is the first of an ongoing series of projects planned in the area, coorganizer Larry Baldwin said.

The mission project group is committed to renovating low-income housing in the local area and the Upstate.  

Labor is provided by volunteers made up primarily of members of Calvary Baptist Church.  All funding is completely on a donation basis from individuals, organizations, and businesses.

The idea for Mission Jerusalem came about after several years of taking mission trips out of state and out of the country, according to Baldwin.

“The mission leadership of Calvary was burdened that there are many needed mission projects right here in our own community,” Baldwin said.

“Instead of going outside to help we decided we wanted to help out people right here in our backyard.”

Motivated by this burden and led by the challenge of Acts 1:8 to “. . . be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth,” the group decided to establish a mission organization that will provide renovation and clean-up projects for many in the area who may need the help.

“We want to be a witness here in Williamston/Pelzer,” Baldwin said. 

The group plans to do one project at a time, then regroup raising necessary finances either through donations or fundraisers.

After much prayer and planning, the first project was begun and completed during a one day session on Saturday, May 14.  

Beginning at 8 am and working for nearly 7 hours, the group scraped, sanded and painted the outside of an entire house located on Parker Street in Pelzer. 

The finishing touches were added as flowers were planted in flower beds located in front of the house.  The project was completed at no cost to the homeowner.

Ken McInnis is the coordinator of “Mission Jerusalem,” and Jim Davis, Hal Jordan, and Rev. Larry Baldwin (Minister to Students) comprise his leadership team. 

Ages of participants on the first project ranged from 5 to “something over 70,” according to Baldwin.  

Several ladies of the Church participated in the mission project by preparing and providing lunch for the workers.

Plans are already underway for the next project, organizers said. Volunteer scrapers, painters and others for related activities are needed.

If you would like to become involved in “Mission Jerusalem” or would like to know more about this program, you may contact Rev. Larry Baldwin at Calvary Baptist Church, 10 Academy Street, Williamston, SC.  The phone number is (864) 847-9215.

Health and Wellness Festival Tuesday in Mineral Spring Park

Special presentations and activites will highlight a health and wellness festival next Tuesday in Williamston Mineral Spring Park.

AnMed Health will partner with The Greater Williamston Business Association and Ace Hardware for the family oriented health and wellness festival May 24 from 3 to 7 p.m.

The free event will include special health and wellness presentations, food samples, health screenings and other activities for kids and adults.

Special presentations by local experts will include “Advance Directives, Living Will and Healthcare POA,” presented by Leo Marsden, Hospice of the Upstate from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.; “Discussion on new food guide system-My Pyramid,” led by Danielle Little RD, AnMed Health Outpatient Dietitian from 4 to 4 :30 p.m.; “Dr. Austin’s Top 10 Dental Factoids,” by Robert G. Austin, D.M.D., Family Dentistry from 4:40 p.m. to 5 p.m.; “When Does Your Weight Become Dangerous?” by Dr. Blair M. Rowitz, FACS, AnMed Obesity Care-Surgical Consultants from 5 to 5:30 p.m.; and “Seasonal Allergy Treatments,” Ann Barnes, PharmD, AnMed Health Williamston Pharmacy from 5:30 to 6 p.m.

Free screenings will be offered including blood pressure, blood sugar, total cholesterol (please do not eat 2 hours prior), and body mass index from 3 to 5 p.m.

Other attractions will include healthy pizza samples and freshly squeezed lemonade. Special gift items offered for sale by the AnMed Health Women’s Boutique will be available from 3 to 7 p.m.

There will also be information booths from several Williamston area businesses.

Special activities will include Clemson University Tiger, a Castle bounce for kids, learning exercises, Clemson University Safe Kids, Community Safety and presentations by the Williamston Police Department and the Williamston Fire Department.

The Anmed Health Blood Mobile will also be available for persons who may be interested in donating blood.

Vendors expected include: AnMed Wellspring, Central Carolina Bank, Community First Bank, First Citizens Bank, Edward Jones, MVPizza, Subway, Dr. Austin, AnMed Family Practice, Palmetto Family Group, Morningside Assisted Living, AnMed Dietician, The Legacy, Hanner Physical Rehab, Instill Insurance, Hospice, Anderson Place, Due West Retirement, Carlisle Nursing, AnMed Home Care Services and Life Line.

Special activities will be sponsored by the Williamston Fire Department, Clemson University Safe Kids, AnMed Community Ourtreach Van. There will also be face painting, moon walk for children, and door prizes

For more information, call 716-6466. 

West Pelzer citizens meet to discuss town issues

By Stan Welch

 A recent meeting of the West Pelzer Town council, which saw two citizens removed from the meeting, has stirred a strong reaction in the town; a reaction that spilled over into a citizens’ meeting held Friday night.

More than two dozen citizens attended the meeting held at Boots and Thelma’s Restaurant. Chief among their complaints was the issuing of mailing labels to Councilman Earl Brown for use in his quest for reelection. The labels included the residents’ phone number as well as their water and sewer account numbers.

Several citizens accused Mayor Peggy Paxton of assisting Brown with his reelection campaign. Paxton denies knowing anything about the labels, except that she says that all the members of Council have been supplied with those labels in the past. “

 “I think we gave them out during the annexation a while back, and again around Christmas time,” said the Mayor in a telephone interview this week.

Councilman Brown supports that account, saying that the Council members received the labels several months ago. “It just came up that it would be a good way to get my flyers out to everybody, so we did.”

Councilmen Terry Davis and Joe Turner dispute that account, saying they did not receive any such labels.

 Mayor Paxton says that the attorney for the S.C. Ethics Commission said that such lists would be readily available if requested under the Freedom of Information act, as would voter registration lists.

“Those would include a lot more information about people,” she said.

Several of the citizens at the May 13 meeting were also upset that two of them, Pat Chandler and Councilman Terry Davis’ wife, Faye, were escorted from the council meeting on Monday, May 9. They felt that the Mayor imposed order unfairly, letting her supporters speak while attempting to silence others.

“Where’s America? Where’s our free speech,” asked Chandler during the citizens’ meeting. 

She also complained that the Mayor is often insulting and derogatory to those who disagree with her at the meetings. 

Repeated mention was made of a website chat room, sponsored in part by The Journal Online, where insults and opinions have been exchanged.

“If you disagree with her,” said Chandler,” she’ll go on the website and make derogatory remarks, and put you down.”

Again, Paxton denies doing that, saying she hasn’t posted anything on the website in more than a month. 

She especially denied a recent comment on the website that referred to Councilman Turner, saying he should wheel himself in a corner and be quiet.

Turner is wheelchair bound. She did concede that she should do a better job of running the meetings, so that they “don’t turn into something they aren’t supposed to be.”

David C. Meade, Managing Editor of The Journal, defends the freedom of speech embodied by the internet bulletin board, but regrets the tone some of the exchanges have taken.

“We believe people have the right to express their opinions,” said Meade. “But we have removed some remarks that were foul or obscene. We would hope that people could use the opportunity to express themselves as adults.”

 Another issue brought up involves a photo taken by Faye Davis of the mayor’s truck, which was parked in front of Earl Brown’s house at the time. Davis says she took it to show that the Mayor and Brown were working together, and could even be meeting with a quorum illegally. Any meeting of three council members is illegal, without notice requirements being met.

 Davis says the mayor tried to have warrants served on her and her husband for stalking. The mayor admits being very upset by the photo incident, but says that the town judge, Roger Scott, approached her to try and settle the dispute. “I have filed a complaint about them following me and the photos being taken. How dare they do that?”

Paxton says she agreed to meet with Councilman Davis, but that Davis refused. Both Davis and Turner attended the citizens’ meeting, though neither spoke, in compliance with advice from the director of the S.C. Association of Municipalities.

Seven business owners from the town attended the citizens meeting, and several expressed concern about the mayor and what they consider her dishonesty in reference to the town’s government.

Said Faye Davis, “I  don’t care about the Mayor, except for her dishonesty. She is paranoid and has a vivid imagination. The only person she needs protection from is herself.”

Lozano to run for West Pelzer Council

By Stan Welch

Linda Lozano is no stranger to West Pelzer, or the challenges the town faces.

She has lived in the town or the surrounding area for most of her life. She served on the West Pelzer Town council from 1994-97.

Other civic activities included her membership in the Pelzer Chapter of the Order of The Eastern Star, her membership in the Hejaz Country Girls, two years spent helping to implement the town’s comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance and three years spent as the chairwoman of the town’s Planning Commission.

She is also Mrs. Claus of the Pelzer Light People and a member of Pelzer First Baptist Church. 

Lozano is a homemaker, but worked as photo lab manager at the CVS Pharmacy for three years. She has three children, three grandchildren and one great grandchild. She has been  married to Sonny Lozano for 16 years..

She has definite goals for the town, including annexation and the aggressive pursuit of new business in the town. 

“New business is essential for the town’s survival. We need a bigger revenue base. People think there’s no room for growth but annexation would help us get more room.” 

Improving the town’s water and sewer service “as cost effectively as possible is also essential for the town,” she said.

She would also seek to implement a committee of business people who would have a representative selected to attend Town Council meetings and express the business community’s concerns.

“I love West Pelzer and I want to see it grow and progress for the next generation. I want to be part of a productive town government. I have no axe to grind. I come to this with an open mind and an open heart,” she said.

 Another idea would attempt to help the area’s seniors, perhaps through volunteers who would help them get around or run errands for those unable to do so themselves.

“I want to serve all the people of West Pelzer, and to be available to them all. I would work to address their concerns and do so in a civil and professional manner.”

Grant to balance Piedmont budget

By Stan Welch

The Piedmont Public Service Commission solved their budget woes Monday night – maybe. 

The Board of Commissioners gave second reading approval to the first budget in recent memory that reflects a deficit. But they did so with the knowledge that that deficit will probably disappear if the state keeps its promise to allow the town to use a grant for sewer line inspection and maintenance.

District Administrator Butch Nichols reported that the state had indicated that the town could use a grant to pay those costs, budgeted at $25,000 for the coming year.

That decision would return the budget to the black, erasing a projected deficit of  $21,469. 

Of that amount, sewer operation costs had accounted for $18,004. The remaining $3510 was accounted for by the recreation department. 

Nichols said he was waiting to get that promise in writing before adjusting the budget prior to third reading at the June 18th meeting.

The budget, which will be adopted with third reading approval, reflects total revenues of $1,117,797and expenditures of $1,139,266. 

Second reading approval came after a motion by Commissioner Frankie Garrett to remove $750 from the fire department’s budget. The money is normally used to provide toys to the firemen’s children and a modest bonus at Christmas. The commissioners voted 3-2 to leave the money in.

Commission Chair Marsha Rogers reported that a meeting had been held with the representatives of Palmetto Pride and Anderson County concerning the grant money to build a fishing pier along the river.

“The Palmetto Pride folks have decided to let Anderson County handle the grant funds. We offered to but they declined,” she said.

Job Service manager to speak at PERC meeting

Bill Pendleton, office manager of the Greenville Employment Security Commission, will be the guest speaker at the May 23 meeting of the Piedmont Emergency Relief Center 7pm at the Piedmont Community Center Building. 

He will explain unemployment benefits and describe other employment services offered by his office.

Everyone is invited to attend and food donations will be accepted, a spokesperson said.  

Pendleton will be available for questions following the meeting. Those attending the meeting will hear a report on PERC operations and plans.

PERC is open to partnering with any organization that has a goal of helping Piedmont and local citizens.

Current food needs of PERC are:  hygiene items, toilet paper, drinks and juices, instant coffee, rice, canned tomatoes, canned fruit, sugar, peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and sauce, dried beans, and canned vegetables. 

PERC can also accept some perishable foods and frozen foods.  

“If you have harvested too much food from your garden this year, consider giving some to PERC,” volunteer Jed Daughtry said.

Volunteers are also needed to help staff the office each week and to help pick up food items from area churches.

PERC office hours are Tuesday and Thursday from 4 – 7pm and Saturday from 9am to Noon.

Organizers encourage area churches to consider adopting a day to be a volunteer at the PERC office on Main St. in Piedmont.

Anyone interested in helping can call 906-7351 or 380-8167 for information.

Area residents are also asked to keep June 25 open on your calendars for the Second Annual Piedmont Street Dance which will benefit PERC and other local organizations. 

There will be a collection point for food donations.

Day Camps being offered in Piedmont

The Greenville County Recreation District still has openings in its summer day camps for youth ages 6-11. 

Two week sessions are being offered at Northside, Westside, and East Riverside Parks, Skyland Elementary School, and in Piedmont at the Piedmont Community Building.

The camps offer games, sports, field trips, swimming, visits to the new Discovery Island Family Water Park, and weekly themes. 

Summer day camps will run June 13-Aug. 5. The fee is $95 per session. Call 288-6470 for more information or to enroll.

Basketball camps set for Wren area

Hurricane Future Stars basketball camp will be held at Powdersville Middle School May 30 -June 3 and at Wren High School July 11-15.

Sponsored by Wren girls basketball coach Lynn Hicks and boys basketball coach Fran Campbell, campers will receive top instruction from high school coaches, college players and lecture and demonstration from other area coaches. Campers will also receive a camp T-shirt and basketball.

Normal camp days include individual instruction, learning stations, 1 on 1 moves, situation drills, skills competition and 5 on 5 league play.

Two leagues will be played with the 6-9 age group playing on 8 foot goals and the 10-13 age group on 10 foot goals.

The Hurricane Future Starts basketball camp is open to youth of age 6 to 13.

Advance payment for the Powdersville camp must be postmarked by May 24 and advance payment for the Wren camp must be postmarked by July 6. Cost is $60 in advance or $70 if paid on the first day of camp.

The Hurricane Post and Perimeter basketball camp will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 noon July 5-8.

It is open to boys and girls in grades 7-12. Cost is $60.

The Wren developmental basketball camp is opoen to any 7th or 8th graders who are considering trying out for the middle school teams.

Instruction will be from high school coaches and varsity players and will include individual development of basic bassketball skills such as ball handling, dribbling, shooting, passing, defensive strategies, footwork, rebouding and other aspects of the game. Basketball drills will be used to improve skills.

For more information or to register contact Fran Campbell at 855-4299 or Lynn Hicks at 224-9017.

Summary Judge retracts endorsement of County Budget proposal

By Stan Welch

At least one public official who previously signed a document circulated in support of the proposed 2005-2006 budget put forth by Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston has withdrawn her expression of support.

Chief Magistrate Nancy Devine, citing judicial codes of conduct, recently wrote to Preston redacting her signature on a Budget Statement which Preston had circulated to garner support for his proposed budget.

That budget was tabled without first reading approval, despite the presence of forty signatures on the budget statement.

Judge Devine, who oversees the administration of Anderson County’s Summary Court, cited several  reasons for her decision to withdraw her signature two days after the document was presented to the county Council.

The Code of Judicial Conduct sets the standards for behavior by members of the judicial system. 

Devine cites Canon One, which says that a judge must uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary. Violations are deemed to “diminish public confidence in the judiciary and thereby does injury to the system of government under law.”

 Canon Two states that a judge shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety, while Canon Five states that a judge must refrain from inappropriate political activity that would include public endorsement or solicitation of funds.

The letter, which was also sent to all County Council members, went on to say “Summary Court’s endorsement of the Administrator’s Operating and Capital Budget for Anderson County as a whole might be deemed by some of the general public as questionable, inappropriate, or of a political nature.

 I would like to redact my name from the list of signatures that endorsed your budget proposals and would therefore refrain from any further endorsement of administrator’s proposals.”

County budget recieves first reading, but not without comment

By Stan Welch

Anyone who thought the parliamentary maneuvers that led to the tabling of the proposed County budget last week were interesting should have been at Tuesday night’s meeting, when first reading approval was finally given to a very different compromise budget than the one proposed by County Administrator Joey Preston.

Even before the five hour council meeting, Councilwoman Cindy Wilson held a press conference outside the historic courthouse to reiterate the difficulty she has had in obtaining financial information from the administrator and declaring her subsequent inability to vote for the current budget proposal.

In the prepared statement she read to several dozen people, including Jeff Ricketson, Planning Director for Anderson County, who was dispatched  to take photos of the event, Wilson referred to a writ of mandamus she is seeking in order to force Preston to release legal vendor files, as well as other financial records to her.

She stated that Preston’s argument that the separation of powers applies in the case is so far afield “as to call into question the Administrator’s understanding of his role in government. The Administrator is an employee of Council, not a separate co-equal branch of government.”

The budget maneuvering began following a long public hearing which saw few private citizens speak, amidst the long line of representatives from volunteer organizations, civic organizations, or charitable organizations, as they all sought to maintain their funding in the coming budget year.

Meals on Wheels, seniors organizations, drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities, mental health providers, Keep America Beautiful, the human relations council, the County Library, the YMCA, a literacy group, the Anderson Development Partnership, and more were on hand.

The public hearing was not advertised.

County Attorney Tom Martin explained to The Journal that there is a requirement of one mandatory public hearing before the adoption of the budget. That hearing, which was properly advertised, is set for the June 7th meeting. Public hearings are required by state law to be advertised with a minimum fifteen days notice.

“Since the budget was tabled at the last meeting, the schedule got out of kilter,” said Martin. “The June 7th meeting would have been the one scheduled for the public hearing if the tabling hadn’t occurred. Since there was an intervening meeting, tonight’s public hearing is sort of a freebie for the people of Anderson County. There’s no law saying you can’t have more than one public hearing.”

Others saw it differently, including two members of Council.

Wilson and Michael Thompson, both of whom expressed concerns about reports that many of the organization leaders who appeared had been contacted by county officials and told that their groups were being cut from the budget.

Wilson went so far as to say that she had received calls from several leaders saying that Preston himself had called with such warnings. 

Several Council members reassured the crowd that no such cuts were planned, and in many cases were impossible, since certain organizations’ funding levels were mandated by the state.

Following the hearing, the tabled budget proposal was brought back to the floor for additional discussion.

Councilmen Thompson and McAbee quickly expressed their intention to vote against the budget as proposed. McAbee said he was troubled by the budget process that  provided the information needed to make decisions at such a late date. 

Counting Wilson’s pledge not to vote for the proposed budget until she knew how last year’s budget was spent, that left Councilman Larry Greer as the swing vote, just as he was when the motion was tabled a week earlier.

Greer, who was present despite the weekend death of his brother, stated the need to reach a midline, a compromise, since he could not “in good conscience vote for a six mil tax increase.”

After more discussion, Councilman Thompson, who said he had agonized over the budget, made a  motion  to refer the budget proposal back to the Administrator, with several parameters to be met, including a budget based on 75 mils instead of 77, a 2% cost of living increase for employees making less than $30 thousand a year, and no reduction in force.

The motion was defeated 4-3, amid concerns that such a move would further delay first reading approval of a budget in some form.

Greer was adamant that some form of  a  budget receive approval. “It is absolutely critical that we do that tonight. We don’t need another two week delay in getting a first reading.”

 To that end, and with repeated warnings that he would not support the budget that requires a six mil increase in order to meet all the Sheriff’s Department requests, Greer offered the following amendment to the budget ordinance.

One mil, worth $513,000 according to this year’s figures, would be moved from the 35 mils currently slated for the general fund to the Sheriff’s special levy. An additional 2 mil tax increase would also go to the Sheriff’s levy, giving that department 22 of the 25 mils that had been sought to fund the increase in that department’s budget.

All other levies, such as the library, EMS, bonded indebtedness and others would remain at proposed levels. 

Greer called the proposal “less than some people will want, but maybe something we can live with.” 

Sheriff David Crenshaw declined to comment on the new proposal, saying he hadn’t had time to analyze it.

 Chairperson Gracie Floyd immediately offered an amendment to the amendment. Her proposal would have left the general fund at 35 mils, and  given the Sheriff 4 of the 6 mils he has requested. “That will get us closer to what the Sheriff needs,” said Floyd. “As long as we have to raise taxes, we might as well get as close as we can.” Her amendment died from lack of a second.

Councilman Bill Dees, who has been a persistent and emphatic advocate for the Sheriff’s requests, called for the question. 

The amendment offered by Greer was adopted by a vote of 5-2, with Thompson and Floyd voting against. That led to a 4-3 vote to give first reading to the amended budget ordinance, with Wilson keeping her word by joining Thompson and Floyd in voting against the budget.

As at the meeting where the ordinance was tabled, Floyd was obviously and vocally upset by the turn of events. 

“I don’t think this is a compromise. What we have done is accept one councilman’s terms in order to get the budget back to the floor. I didn’t get a chance to say no, no, no this is what I want to offer. I’m just very disappointed that council didn’t stay in there and fight with me on this. I just want the people to know that what happened here tonight is not necessarily how it’s going to be. ”

 Floyd later had three members of the finance department come to the mike and recite their education and credentials. She then went down the line, telling of the various Council members’ business experience, inferring that they are less capable of handling the financial aspects of running the county than the staff is.

Floyd and Wilson continued their contentious relationship, with Floyd responding to Wilson’s question about what Wilson called Preston’s scare tactics concerning the budget by blaming Wilson instead.

“Maybe word got out that you said that we needed to get rid of the farmer’s market, or that you said we needed to get rid of the museum. Maybe everybody panicked and came running in to say don’t cut my program,” Floyd said.

Wilson responded by saying that she had not made those statements, and Floyd retorted saying, “I know what you said. I was there. You can call me whatever you want to, but I heard it for myself.”

When Wilson later reiterated that she had said that those two departments should hold the line on their expenditures, not that they should be done away with, Floyd again responded by saying to the audience,

“I know what happened. You choose who to believe.” 

She later became even angrier, paraphrasing a woman who cited William Jennings Bryan’s Cross of Gold speech during the public hearing, saying “Don’t crucify the poor on a cross of lower taxes.”

She then made a reference to poor children having to be afraid of rats and roaches when they sleep, and telling Wilson, she would bring such a child to meet her so Wilson could tell her she wasn’t going to raise taxes. 

Floyd also told Joey Preston, after Preston reported that the federal highway bill had passed  the Senate and a sizable appropriation for Councilman Thompson’s district  had survived intact, that if she, Floyd, received money to address problems in the South End in her district, she would get him another car to drive wherever he wanted.

 The reference was to Preston’s recent comments to a newspaper  that he would drive the GMC Denali, which the county leases for him at an annual cost of more than $16,000, anywhere and anytime that he wanted to. The car is provided by  the County as  part of Preston’s contract.

Brothers arrested in year-old Gusto armed robbery

The Williamston Police Department arrested two Greenville County men in connection with an armed robbery incident that occurred May 28 of last year.

Two brothers, Jose Prado Martinez, 28 and Raul Prado Martinez, 24, of 247 Evelyn Dr., Lot 5 Greenville, were arrested last Tuesday, May 10 in connection with the robbery of the Gusto check cashing business, according to Williamston Police Chief David Baker.

Chief Baker said the arrests, made almost one year later, came after additional evidence was found in connection with the case.

Baker said the two suspects were questioned just after the robbery, and though there was some evidence,  no arrest was made. “There was no probable cause at the time,” Baker said.

Capt. K. P. Evatt and Chief Baker conducted the investigation leading to the arrests.

The department has also made an arrest in connection with two vehicle thefts and recovered a third stolen vehicle.

Rickard Eugene Alexander, of Piedmont, was arrested with the help of the U. S. Marshal Service Assistance Fugitive Task Force, Chief Baker said.

Alexander was charged in connection with the theft of a 1998 Chevrolet 1500 truck valued at $15,000 reported stolen by Ken Major on May 1 and a red Pontiac Firebird reported stolen from a Williamston car wash.

A Jeep, reported stolen by Robert Vaughn from 204 South Hamilton St, on Feb. 23 was also recovered while looking for the other two vehicles, according to Chief Baker.

Other incidents investigated include:

May 17 - Lisa Knight, 41, 400 Main St., Williamston, reported damage totaling $150 to the windshield on a 2005 Honda Accord. D. W. Alexander investigated.

May 12 - Billy Ray Ward, 2811 Sam Hodges Road, Donalds, reported $250 in damage to a rental property at 202 S. Hamilton St. by writing on the front and rear door.

May 12 - Billy Chapman, 31, 107 Aleden Hills Way, Anderson, reported entry into a house being remodeled at 13 Circle Dr., in which the house was entered and ransacked. No items were reported stolen. D. W. Alexander investigated.

May 13 - D. W.  Alexander recovered a 2003 Ford F-150 truck reported stolen in Easley. The vehicle was parked at a residence on Williams St.

May 16 - Allan Charles Haynes, 57, 110 Academy St., Williamston reported a 6x12 utility trailer full of tools, valued at $9,500, removed from the property. T. A. Call investigated.

May 15 - Thomas F. Herdara, 38, 41 Middleton Blvd., Williamston, was arrested for public disorderly conduct after being observed sleeping in a teal SUV parked at 41 Middleton Blvd. C. J. Sanders investigated.

May 14 - A Schwinn mountain bike balued at $129 was reported stolen from 107 River Dr., Williamston. J. T. Bauer, C. J. Sanders investigated.

May 16 - Tommy Wayne Carter, 59, 22 Langley St, Pelzer, was arrested for no S. C. drivers license, speeding, and no tag light after a 1988 Chevrolet van was observed on Main St. Sgt. A. B. Singleton, R. D. Brownlee investigated.

May 14 - David Allen Gannon, 38, 108 L. St., Unit E, Williamston, was arrested for public disorderly conduct after being observed sleeping on the side porch of his residence at 805 Anderson Dr., Williamston. Sgt. A. B. Singleton, G. M. Godfrey investigated.

May 13 - James Lloyd Velnoweth, 29, 5 Woodberry Dr., Greenville, reported $100 in damage to a 2003 Ford Focus when the vehicle was struck with an unknown object as it was being driven by the intersection of Brown St. and Greenville Dr. Sgt. A. B. Singleton, K. Walker investigated.

May 13 - Dustin Allen Tiller, 19, 39 Halloway Ln., Abbeville, was arrested for driving under suspension after a Honda Accord was observed with a broken windshield. A warning was issued for the windshield. C. J. Sanders investigated.

May 4 - Gregory Adam Simpson, 32, 683 Marler Rd., Gray Court, was arrested for driving under suspension, operating an uninsured vehicle and improper vehicle license after a Datsun pickup was observed in the roadway of Tripp St. and River Dr.

A passenger in the vehicle, Melissa Dawn Smith, 28, 99 Parker St, Piedmont, was placed under arrest for open container. C. J. Sanders investigated.

May 6 - A 15-year-old was arrested at 803 N. Hamilton St.  for possession of marijuana after a cigar box containing 7.1 grams of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana was found in his possession. D. S. Nelson investigated.

May 17 - Larry Frank Cummings, 37, 825 Joe Black Road, Williamston was arrested for petit larceny, possession with intent to distribute ice, crank, crack cocaine; possession with intent to distribute ice, crank, crack cocaine in proximity of a school and possession of a controlled substance after officers were dispatched to 202 S. Hamilton St., in reference to a loud noice coming from a vacant house.

Cummings stated to officers he had bought a carport shed and a utility building from “Eric Owens.”

A second individual at the scene stated he was helping get the building that had been bought and a third individual was found inside the house.

Arrests were made after the owner of the property was called and confirmed it was owned by him and not by “Eric Owens.” 

While conducting a search of the vehicle, reports state officers found a black case which contained 10 small white tablets identified as Mylan 1 mg; 2 small blue tablets of Dicyclomine, HCI, 20 mg,; three small plastic bags containing 6.6 grams of a white substance later tested positive as methamphetamine. $2,635 in cash and $9.58 in change were found in his front pockets and $397 was found in a bill fold. Z. E. Gregory, D. W. Alex6.6 gramsander investigated.

Thieves hit homes, businesses

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated the following incidents:


May 5 – P.D. Marter responded to a complaint of a break-in at the home of Shirley Ward, 458 Looper Drive. Ward reported the theft of an SKS rifle from her home between the hours of 10 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Later that day, a neighbor of Ward, Samuel Duncan, of 454 Looper Drive, reported forced entry into his home and the theft of a PlayStation video game system and approximately $200 in coins.


May 9 – M.K. Davis responded to a report from Johnny King, of 101 Oliver Park Road, that a SC tag # 197-4VJ was stolen from his VW Jetta.

May 9 – J. L. Bergholm investigated a case of shoplifting at the Hickory Point #15 convenience store. A WM, 40-50, 6’2”, 250 pounds with brown hair, stole a case of beer and fled in a green ’98 Ford Contour, license tag SC 166BHL.

May 10 – S.C. Weymouth responded to a case of gas theft at the Hickory Point #19 convenience store. A BM, 28-39, 6’2”, 170 pounds with black hair and brown eyes pumped $10.15 worth of gas into a ’94 green Cadillac and drove off. The car’s tag, SC 7505AZ, was traced and officers went to the registered address, where they were told the car’s owner had moved without paying the last month’s rent.

May 10 – T.B. Dugan responded to Office Panel Systems, Inc., where Jerry Osborne reported that a BM 20-35, wearing a white T shirt and blue jean shorts, broke into two of the company’s vehicles. A surveillance video was provided to the police.

May 10 – B. Parker received a report of the theft of tools from a vehicle owned by ABTEC, at 202 McNeely Road.

May 11 – S.C. Weymouth investigated a series of phone threats made against Lorraine Beacham, of 711 Cooper Road. The threats had gotten serious, including threats of arson.

May 11 – J.M. Chandler took a report of vehicle tag theft from Tommy Osborne of Piedmont. Osborne said the tag, SC 362 AWG, was stolen from his truck while he was in the Siloam Baptist Church.


May 10 - T.B. Dugan investigated a complaint by Melissa Smallwood, of 114 Oldfield Circle. Jerome Lee Hunnicutt was reportedly waving and firing a shotgun. Smallwood said he shot at her dog and pointed the gun at her. Hunnicutt, WM, 26, 6’1”, 130 pounds, with brown hair and eyes, was arrested. He was carrying a 20 gauge shotgun.

Clarification - In the article written about the West Pelzer Citizens meeting, we would like to clarifiy the following:

Faye Davis said she was ordered to leave during the meeting, while Chandler said she left on her own.

Councilmen Terry Davis and Joe Turner said they did not receive any labels from the town.

Faye Davis said the mayor tried to have warrants for stalking served on her husband,  Councilman Terry Davis, not on her.

The issue involves a photo taken by Faye Davis of the mayor’s truck, which was parked in front of Earl Brown’s house at the time. Davis says she took the photo to show that the Mayor and Brown were working together, and could have been meeting in a quorum illegally.

The mayor admitted to being very upset by the photo incident, but said that the town judge, Roger Scott, approached her to try and settle the dispute.

Paxton said she agreed to meet with Councilman Davis to discuss things, but that Davis did not return a phone call made by Scott.

Davis also said he did not return the call.






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