News Archive

(2008) Week of May 14, 2008

History to be reflected in streetscape project
West Pelzer looks at streetscape project, police vehicle purchases
Piedmont budgets one percent pay raise
Spontaneous combustion causes ACE fire
Public hearings set for Three and Twenty zoning
Republicans  plan stump meeting
21 tons of food donated to needy
Clardy to seek third term as Williamston Mayor
Large crowd turns or to hear County Republicans debate
Anderson County Sheriff’s report
Lines drawn in solicitor race
Seems to Me . . .Kissing babies

History to be reflected in streetscape project

Welcome to Frankville. You may or may not know the town. If you live in the area, and have driven Hwy. 8, chances are you’ve been through it.

Frankville has beautifully landscaped sidewalk areas along Main St. that are lined with decorative light poles and trees.  A brick column with a hanging sign welcomes you to the town. There are decorative trash receptacles and benches for pedestrians to use.

In the center of town is a stamped asphalt intersection known as Frankville Crossroads. The new town hall is located there.

Frankville doesn’t officially exist today, but its memory does. It is the founding name of the town which was later renamed West Pelzer.

And though the images described sound like something from a bygone era, it could become a reality as soon as next year.

West Pelzer Town Council and residents were presented with a preliminary streetscape plan Monday which could transform the town. The streetscape project will be submitted to South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) next week for grant funding.

Chris Watson, of Seamon, Whiteside & Associates, Inc., a landscape architecture firm based in Greenville, said SCDOT officials really likes to see the type improvements included in the plan and that West Pelzer is in a great position to get funding.

Watson said the plan will identify gateways to the town and slow traffic along West Pelzer’s wide main street and make it easier and more appealing for pedestrians who walk along the street.

The plan calls for concrete curbing and bulb outs with plantings, trees, decorative signs and light poles, stamped asphalt and defined parking to improve the town’s main street, which is SC Hwy. 8.

Watson said that in addition to  curb improvements, they plan to convert some current asphalt paving to curbing with planted areas that will help soften the landscape and make it more pleasant.

To address traffic concerns, Watson said the town’s wide lanes can be narrowed by bulb outs, landscaping and striping, all of  which combine to slow traffic.

The plan calls for creating gateways to the town through landscaping, hanging signs and improved sidewalks.

Phase I will begin at the SC Hwy. 20 and Hwy. 8 intersection and extend to the center of town.

Wooden signage designating the town will be placed at a landscaped area already located at Hickory Point. A new median will be added between CVS and the car wash.

To make the area more attractive to pedestrians, both sides of the street will have trees, with smaller trees along the sidewalks on the street side and larger trees where appropriate.

A hanging sign will be placed on a brick column identifying West Pelzer and creating a gateway to the town, Watson said.

Special designed street signs and decorative light poles will also add to the plan.

The project includes a stamped asphalt intersection at the intersection of Hindman St. and Hwy. 20 which could become the focal point of the town.

The area will include a plaque and/or mural reflecting the history  of the town and may be the site of a new town hall (see related story).

Watson said that $200,000 is the maximum grant awarded by SCDOT on beautification projects and the total budget for the plan presented is $250,000. The town will provide a 20 percent match, 0r $40,000.

Once the grant is submitted, awards should be announced by mid summer. If the project is funded, bids will be sent out and construction couuld begin as soon as this fall or next spring. The project could be finished by next spring or summer, Watson said.

Mayor Peggy Paxton pointed out that the plan calls for designated parallel parking and the entrance to parking lots will be improved.

“It will bring growth and make everything look nice,” she said.

Paxton said that other area towns have made similar improvements including Greenville, Abbeville, Belton and Starr.

“It will help our businesses and the morale of the community,” she said.

Residents were allowed to comment on the plan during the meeting.

Longtime resident Sherman Woodson said that the plan presented is the first he has seen during his forty years of living on Main St. that makes the town look better.  “I am proud for the first time seeing something happen.”

West Pelzer looks at streetscape project, police vehicle purchases

West Pelzer Town Council heard a presentation on a streetscape project, discussed purchasing two new police vehicles and water line improvements during their monthly meeting Monday.

The proposed streetscape project will beautify the town’s Main St. and is dependent on grant funding by SCDOT. (See separate story). Mayor Peggy Paxton said that the plan could even include a new town hall.

The new town hall is contingent on the approval of a one cent Capital Projects sales tax by voters in a referendum to be held later this year.

Paxton said that three projects submitted by the town are number 13, 29 and 50 on the overall

Capital Projects list which includes 150 to 160 projects.

Paxton said projects submitted by the town include a new city hall, $300,000; beautification (for Phase 2) , $150,000 and sewer improvements, $50,000.

The new town hall would be in a building located at the corner of Spring St. and Hwy. 20, adjacent to a focal point of the streetscape project which is called Frankville Crossroads. The design includes a stamped asphalt streetprint crosswalk at the intersection.

The building may also have a historic plaque or mural recognizing the history of the town.

According to Chris Watson, of Seamon, Whiteside & Associates, Inc., a landscape architecture firm based in Greenville, Phase 1 of the project includes beautification and sidewalk improvements from the intersection of Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 20 to the center of town at the Spring St. and Hindman St. intersection at Hwy. 8.

Phase 2 improvements will extend along Main St. to West Stewart St. and include a gateway at the entrance to the town just past the fire department.

In other business, the town opened bids on three police cars. 

A 1994 Ford Crown Victoria was awarded to Wade Rainey for $225. A 1996 Ford Crown Victoria was awarded to Wade Rainey for $225. A 1995 Chevrolet Caprice was awarded to Edward Singleton for $1103.38.Acting on a motion by Mayor Paxton, Council unanimously approved the three high bid awards.

An ordinance presented by Attorney Carey Murphy at the request of Councilman Mike Moran to provide a method of dissolving a municipal department failed by a 2-3 vote of council.

The ordinance requires a public referendum within 180 days of second reading approval by council.

The town attorney said he was against the ordinance because he thought it violates state law by restricting power and authority of a future council.

He said that he supported requiring a public reading on a similar ordinance which could be done within state law.

He also stated that the 180 day requirement could present problems in getting approval by the justice department and problems with the budget process.

Murphy also advised that if approved, the ordinance could open the door to future decisions and future councils.

Murphy was instructed to rewrite the ordinance providing for a public hearing instead of a referendum.

Council also heard a presentation on the purchase and lease of two new police vehicles.

Councilman Moran said that the two vehicles the town currently has are in poor condition and are not suitable for a high speed chase.

Council was presented with the option to purchase a 2008 Dodge Charger at $28,024 and lease another at $553.91 per month for five years. There would then be a $1 buyout for the vehicle.

Moran said the town has the money to buy the cars but thought the mayor may be more comfortable with the buy/lease.

“We have a surplus to buy both outright,” he said.

After hearing the presentation, a motion to purchase and lease the vehicles was defeated 2-3 with Councilmen Moran and Mayor Paxton in favor and Councilmen Jimmy Jeanes, Marshall King and Joe Turner against.

Jeanes suggested putting the purchase in the new budget and King wanted to get information on Crown Victoria police vehicles for comparison.

The issue will be discussed in a special called meeting to be held in two weeks.

Also to be discussed at the special meeting will be the purchase of a truck for the water and sewer department.

The town plans to fund the truck purchase with $19,000 received from FEMA due to an ice storm two years ago.

Council approved three appointments to citizens committee. Rey McClain, Ann Odom and Richard Sanders were appointed to the beautification/planning committee.

Council unanimously approved a project that will finish a water line loop and include a cutoff valve.

The improvements will allow the town to isolate certain areas when repairs are being made to the system and not have to shut down the entire system.

“We need to do something to not have to cut these people off,” Councilman King said.

The project will loop the line in the area of Dianne and Welborn Streets. Supplies for the project amount to $1513 and labor of $2,188 for a total cost of $3,600.

Council  discussed a proposed increase for sanitation services. The town’s provider is requesting an increase because of rising fuel costs, Mayor Paxton said.

Council will consider changes to the contract when the contract period ends later this year.

Piedmont budgets one percent pay raise

By Stan Welch

The Piedmont Public Service Commission gave second reading to a budget which reduced a two percent pay raise for the commission’s paid employees to one percent.

Commissioner Marsha Rogers offered an amendment to restore the two per cent raise that was included in the first budget presented, but it died for lack of a motion. Rogers hinted that she would try again at the third reading.

The revised salary figures resulted in additional reductions in payroll taxes and other deductions, and resulted in an overall savings of approximately $3500 for the coming budget year.

The Commission voted to award the contract for the remaining concrete work at the ball fields to Hayden construction Company, which submitted the lowest of the three bids received. The bid of $2295.00 was the only one which was less than the amount available for the project.

Chairman Ed Poore raised the question of what preference if any a minority owned business should receive, but the issue was deemed moot in light of the fact that the bid from that company was well above the amount available.

The Commission also awarded the contract for the lawn maintenance to Piedmont Lawn Care & Maintenance, which submitted the lowest of five bids received. Fittingly, that was the same minority owned business which had failed to receive the contract on the concrete work. The bid was $1030.00, lowest by a considerable margin.

Chief Tracy Wallace reported that all the repairs and renovations on the community building, which were paid for with PARD funds, had been completed. “The small gym is finished and ready for use. The contractors did a great job on the floor and everything else.”

The meeting began with a moderate challenge to Poore’s manner of conducting meetings. Commissioner Rogers said that rules of procedure allow for a less formal atmosphere and relaxed rules concerning the making and discussion of motions by bodies as small as the Commission. Chairman Poore expressed his willingness to let each member fully express their views and ask questions about any issue. “But if we don’t have a motion on the floor, how does the Chair control the discussion? At some point, I have to be able to call for the question and move along.”

Poore asked that the meeting proceed as usual and promised to be more flexible. By meeting’s end, all agreed that the method had worked well.

Spontaneous combustion causes ACE fire

By Stan Welch

 An investigation has confirmed that the most recent fire at the ACE Recovery Center on Cherokee Road was not arson, despite fires having started in several locations by the time area firefighters responded to the call.

The fire, which was reported at approximately 4:40 a.m. on Saturday morning, burned for several hours as six departments from the area responded.

West Pelzer Fire Chief Dale Mahaffey reported the results of Anderson County Fire Investigator Gary Bean’s Monday review of surveillance tapes at the site, which is a major recycling location. The site, which recovers construction and demolition debris, has experienced four major fires in the last two years.

“We informed Mr. Bean that there were surveillance cameras at the site and he conducted a review of the tapes. Apparently some workers had been grinding materials up until just before they left Friday afternoon,” said Chief Mahaffey. “The tapes showed that the fire started in that pile of materials, from spontaneous combustion. We thought we saw some smoke at around ten o’clock on the tape, but we weren’t sure. But by around 10:27, it was clear there was smoke. It started burning pretty good around 3:20 a.m. and started growing fast. At 4:40 a.m. the call came in and departments responded.”

Mahaffey said the winds that preceded the rains had spread the fire from the pile of materials to some cardboard that was in a dumpster nearby. The cardboard was blown around by the winds, which then caught a cardboard compactor on fire, as well as another building on the site, a pile of construction debris, and a track hoe.

“We were lucky in a way that it happened late at night. We’ve had fires there in the daytime when people are up and using water, and we have had pressure and supply troubles,” said Mahaffey. “This time, we had a five inch line from the hydrant at Ballard Road and we had plenty of water and pressure. Plus we had some rain, and that always helps.”

Mahaffey said his department had about fifteen firefighters respond, with the other department supplying about that many as well. “We had about thirty boys altogether, and nobody got hurt. I was real glad to find out there was nobody setting the fire. I feel a lot better knowing that.”

Anderson County Fire Chief Billy Gibson agreed. “We never like hearing that word arson, so we’re glad to find out that it started accidentally. Actually, the surveillance cameras provided a rare opportunity to see a fire from start to finish. But the departments did a good job and we’re always thankful when no one is hurt.”

Public hearings set for Three and Twenty zoning

Anderson County Planning officials have scheduled meetings to receive comments from citizens on the proposed zoning map for Three and Twenty Precinct in County Council District 6.

This is in response to the submission of a certified petition to request a referendum on whether resident voters in the Three and Twenty Precinct desire to have the Anderson County Council adopt zoning in their precinct.

Meetings scheduled for May 19, June 10 and July 15 are as follows:

· May 19, 2008, 7 p.m., Wren High School Auditorium - A meeting is scheduled with Councilman Ron Wilson (District 6) and Anderson County Planning Division staff to review and provide comments on a Proposed Zoning Map for the Three and Twenty Precinct

· June 10, 2008, 6:30 p.m., Planning Commission, County Council Chambers, Historic Courthouse - A Public Hearing on Ordinance #2008-018 regarding proposed zoning in the Three and Twenty Precinct

· July 15, 2008, 6 p.m., Anderson County Council Chambers, Historic Courthouse - A Public Hearing and Second Reading of Ordinance #2008-018 regarding proposed zoning in the Three and Twenty Precinct

The referendum will be conducted at the regular polling place of the Three and Twenty Precinct (Three and Twenty Fire Station, 1301 Three and Twenty Road, Easley) on August 12.

The results of that referendum will be provided to Anderson County Council and at its regularly scheduled meeting on August 19, 2008, final action is anticipated at that meeting.

The meetings are open to the public and constructive comments are welcome. For more information, contact the Anderson County Planning Division at (864) 260-4043.

 Republicans plan stump meeting

State Representative Dan Cooper and the Anderson County Republican Women will host a Stump Meeting on Thursday, May 22 from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

The event will take place at Zink’s Farm located at 1509 Circle Road in the Powdersville Community.

All Republican candidates at the county, state and federal level have been invited to attend. Free hamburgers and the trimmings will be provided along with bluegrass music.

For further information or to RSVP please call 420-8893 . 

21 Tons of food donated to needy

Postal Letter Carriers in Piedmont and Pelzer collected a total of 21 tons of food last Saturday to support the Food Security programs at the Piedmont Emergency Relief Center (PERC).

“Yet again, the people of Piedmont have shown their support for a local agency serving local needs,” said PERC board member Sue Sargent.  “On behalf of PERC’s clients, the board of directors and volunteers would like to thank everyone that donated food.  Now come on down and help us organize it!”

Postal carriers from Piedmont Post Office collected 19 tons the day before Mother’s Day.  PERC volunteers moved the food and stacked it on the floor near empty shelves.  The pile of food was dubbed the Mountain of Blessings as it grew higher and higher.

On Monday, the Pelzer Post Office brought another 2 tons of donated food to PERC.

The annual food drive conducted by postal carriers is conducted on the 2nd Saturday each May. 

PERC has been the recipient of food from the Piedmont Post Office for the past 2 years.  

Piedmont postal carrier Bobby Wells and Postmaster Vickie Arrowood are on PERC’s board of directors.

PERC was recently granted approval to be on the list of nonprofits for the 2008 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) for federal employees.

PERC volunteers will be sorting the food and organizing it over the next 2-3 weeks, officials said.

The food donations were welcome as the shelves were almost bare and some volunteers at PERC were concerned that there would be not be enough food for the communities’ needy. 

Greg Milton, a PERC board member said, “This is a testament to the generosity of the people of Piedmont and Pelzer and the local contributing post offices’ personnel.  This donation is a great resource with which to help our neighbors in need.”

PERC is open Monday 10am – 2pm, Tuesday and Thursday from 4 – 7 pm, Friday 10am – 2pm, and Saturday from 9am to Noon. 

In addition to its food pantry, PERC assists with food stamp applications, is an Angel Food Ministries host site, and provides referral services. 

For more information call 845-5535 during business hours or visit www.piedmonterc.org.

Clardy to seek third term as Williamston Mayor

Phillip E. Clardy announced Tuesday that he will seek a third term as Williamston’s mayor.

Clardy, 36, who has served as the town’s mayor for the last eight years, has been criticized and praised for his decisions and leadership while holding the position.

He said that there have been many accomplishments made and challenges overcome during his time in office.

He said he didn’t take credit for many of the improvements in the town which he said have been a collective effort by various committees.

He said he made certain promises when he ran for mayor and has lived up to those promises.

Some of those include the opening of the Gray Drive bridge, a walking track in that area, parkbenches and grills and sidewalk improvements are others.

He said that during the process, he has seen community effort revived.

Clardy said that the town is about to see ground broken on the downtown streetscape project and he is looking forward to the economic base it will bring.

He said thounsand of dollars in grants have been obtained by the town during his time in office which have been used for the sidewalk improvements (now handicap accessible) and improvvements in Brookdale Park.

He said that when he first ran for mayor , it was not his agenda, but peoples concerns that he addressed.

He said very difficult decisions were made during his time in office in dealing with corruption and personnel issues.

Clardy said  that in dealing with the town’s recent financial crisis, it was difficult to sit and listen to people, many of whom put the blame on him.

Clardy responds that the town could not operate on the paycheck of the 1980’s and 90’s. Taxes had not increased in years and services were needed.

Though the town went through a tough period, he said he believes it is better off now than when he came into office. “I feel I have a lot to offer the town,” he said.

He said he has seen the best and the worst of politics and expects more of that in the upcoming election. He said the truth is there if people ask for it and not form opinions based on false information.

“I have been investigated by SLED three times, the FBI, and the ethics commission,” he said. No charges ever came from the investigations.

“If that doesn’t convince anyone else, it does me,” he said. “I must be doing something right.”

He said the town’s police department image has been improved, a goal he had when he first ran for mayor.

Clardy said his future goals for the town are to see that the downtown revitalization is completed and the effect it will have on the local economy.

He said having a grocer in the town would be a big economic base but the town government is limited in what it can do.

He said he wants to keep on course. “The town is in the best shape it has ever been,” he said.

He said that is mainly due to the sacrifices of the town’s people and the town not continuing a cycle of borrowing.

Clardy before he was elected and even into his term,  the town borrowed money every year to meet financial needs.

 With recent changes and addition of fees the town has stopped that cycle and recovered well, he said.

Clardy is a member of the Anderson Chamber of Commerce where he serves on the board. He also serves on the board of the Heritage Corridor. He is still a minister.

He said seeing people involved and having interest in the town government has been a highlight of his time in office, “even with fingers pointed at me.”

Large crowd turns out to hear County Republicans debate

By Stan Welch

For the second time in less than a week, a political event drew a large crowd Monday night, as the Anderson County Republican Party sponsored a debate among all the Republican candidates for County Council.

Held at the Anderson Civic Center, the public forum attracted approximately two hundred people and sixteen candidates, seeking six of the seven Council seats available. The Republican candidate for the District Two seat, William Holder, did not appear because he faces no opposition in the primary.

A media panel consisting of radio talk show host Rick Driver, of WAIM-AM 1230, Anna Mitchell, of The Anderson Journal and Bonnie Williams, of The Anderson Independent Mail, asked the questions and Anderson County Republican Party Chairman Lee Rogers moderated the event, which was the second of its kind in a week. Last Thursday, the registered Anderson County Taxpayers’ Association sponsored a debate between the candidates for solicitor. (See related story elsewhere in this issue.)

Several common themes emerged as the evening wore on. Economic development, open, honest government, infrastructure, and the 800 MHz radio system came up time after time.

 District Seven incumbent Councilwoman Cindy Wilson listened as her challenger, paramedic Doug Hooper, accused her of failing to support the purchase of the 800MHz system, saying, “She has been backstroking on this since she learned that two firefighters were among the candidates.” Hooper added that the $8.5 million price tag was worth it if it saved one life or an injury to one firefighter.

Wilson again clarified her position on the emergency radio system, saying that she never opposed the purchase of an 800MHz system. “There were serious problems with the contract and with the bid process. I have never denied the need for this system. I have questioned the manner in which the county administrator and the county attorney handled the contract.”

Hooper also said that Wilson’s relationship with the rest of Council hurts her district. “If I am elected, I will tear down the wall between District Seven and the rest of the Council,” said Hooper, whose motto is “Leadership Through Unity.”

Wilson responded by saying that she is aware that some council members don’t like her approach to her duties. “I know some of the members have problems with me. I know the administrator doesn’t like me. But I intend to do my duty and to represent the people of my District. I am ready to work with the rest of Council, even those who don’t like me, for the good of Anderson County.”

The exchanges between District Six incumbent Ron Wilson and challenger Rick Freemantle were among the evening’s liveliest.

Wilson also jousted with media panel member Rick Driver, who asked a question concerning Wilson’s contributions to several challengers in the Council races, as well as his contribution to District Three incumbent Larry Greer.

“I contributed last time to Cindy Wilson, Matthew Hilley, and Mike Holden. It didn’t bother you then because you supported those people too. But this year, I contributed to other people I wanted to see win the races. I earned the money and I’ll write the checks for whoever I wish,” said Wilson.

Freemantle had a different view. “I believe some state laws have been broken in this situation. In my opinion, giving money to an incumbent Councilman is out and out bribery.”

Freemantle repeated his pledge to pursue a full audit of the county’s finances, a position Wilson also claimed. Wilson, who ran in large part in 2006 on a pledge to pursue such an audit, failed to keep that promise in the view of many voters. But Monday night he stated “I’m still for the audit, and I will always be for the audit. My reasons are different now. I’m sick of hearing all this crap all the time and I say let’s do it and get it over with.”

The two men clearly have different opinions of County Administrator Joey Preston and his role in county government. Wilson said he asked his political mentor Rep. Dan Cooper about Preston after being elected in 2006. “Dan told me that Joey is one of the top three administrators in the state. He’s highly motivated and pretty good at what he does. I do disagree with the manner in which he releases information.”

Freemantle said Preston has great vision and considerable talent. “But his bad points are destroying Anderson County. He still has to explain his alleged personal behavior at Cater’s Lake. His refusal to release information and to respond to Council member’s wishes is unacceptable. When I’m elected, he will have his job explained to him.”

District Three challenger Eddie Moore listened as incumbent Larry Greer told about his efforts to obtain supplemental funding for the county’s fire departments, then scolded Greer, saying, “The way to do that is to make a formal appropriation, not go all over the county handing out thousand dollar checks just before the primary, which is what you’ve been doing. To the tune of $77,000 as best I can tell.”

Greer related the fact that more than a billion dollars in economic development had come to District Three in his eight years on Council. “I was elected to help make sure that my district got more of the pie, and I have worked hard to make that happen.”

Moore responded by asking why all economic development discussions seem to take place in expensive, far away locations. “What do Colorado ski trips have to do with economic development? Or trips to New York to go to Broadway plays? Bring these people here to meet with them. Spend the money in Anderson County.”

Anderson County Sheriff’s report

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated the following incidents:

BELTON 

May 10 –M.T. Szymanski was on patrol on Dorchester Road when a gray Chevy pickup ran him off the road. Upon stopping the truck, he discovered that Helen Jackson, WF, 54, 5’2"; 140 pounds, brn/brn , exuded a strong alcohol smell and had bloodshot eyes and badly slurred speech. She subsequently failed several field sobriety tests and was transported to the Anderson city breathalyzer testing room, where she declined to take a breathalyzer test. She was arrested for DUI, and for driving with a license that had been suspended for an earlier refusal to take a breathalyzer test following another arrest for DUI.

May 10 – Lt. L.W. Hunter received a report from Ray Bell of Honea Path that a Williamston man had tried several times to run over him with a van. According to the incident report, Robert Cason, WM, 57, 5’8", 240 pounds, gray/hazel, of 315 A Willingham Rd. in Williamston, was arrested on traffic charges by the Belton Police Department involving an incident that occurred within the town limits. Several witnesses also provided written statements.

May 11 – J.T. Foster responded to the Belton City Police Department to take custody of Christopher Herren, WM, 36, 5’11", 155 pounds, blk/brn, of Pelzer, who was wanted on an active bench warrant by the ACSO.

EASLEY

 May 8 – J.R. Finley was dispatched to 1917 Old Pendleton Rd. in reference to a stolen vehicle. Lynn Lucas, owner of Al’s Auto Parts, reported that two vehicles had been stolen from her lot. One was a 1999 silver Camaro, and the other was an orange 1971 Chevrolet dually flatbed truck. The two vehicles were valued at $3500.

May 8 - W.B. Simpson received a report from Ann Smith of 817 Hamlin Rd. that a Robert Andrew had taken his mother’s car to the store and never returned. The car is a 1996 beige four door Cadillac, SC tag# 236LHB. Andrew is a WM, 39, 5’11", 225 blond/blue.

May 10 – J.M. Perry and J.J. Jacobs responded to 5104 Arlen Ave. where Cynthia Kallenbach reported that someone had struck her car with an unknown object doing approximately $300 in damage to the vehicle’s T-top.

PELZER

May 9 – J.T. Bowers responded to 105 Pittman Rd. where Donald Bunton reported that someone had broken into the house at that location and had ripped the copper wiring from the walls.

May 9 – C. Whitfield was dispatched to 6601 Hwy. 81 N to Rogers’ Outdoor Equipment where he found a broken window. M.J. McClatchey also responded with the property owner and the two deputies searched the building but found no one inside and no evidence of any theft.

PIEDMONT

May 9 – C. Whitfield was conducting a business check when he heard a car leaving the area with its tires spinning. He observed a red Honda Civic turn onto Old River Rd. He pursued and stopped the vehicle. While writing a warning ticket, Whitfield was informed by central dispatch that the driver, Jason Simmons, WM, 21,6’3", 180 pounds, brn/brn had two active warrants on him through the Anderson City Police. He was taken into custody and turned over to APD officers.

May 10  - L. Finley was dispatched to 328 Osteen Hill Rd. where Eric Young reported that he had been at the location, where Rocky Ingram lived. Young said Ingram, WM, 49, 6’3", 150 pounds, bald with blue eyes, had assaulted him and presented a firearm. Later that evening, Finley again responded to that address where he found Heather Hogan, WF, 32, 4’11", 110 pounds, with blood coming from her nose. She stated that Ingram, her live in boyfriend, had punched her in the face and killed her cat. She advised that he was armed. The report does not say what actions were taken or if any arrests were made.

May 11 – R.D. Smith responded to 1102  Williams Rd. in response to a tip that Brandy Smith, WF, 23, 5’3", 110 pounds, of Belton, was at that location. She was located and arrested on an active family court bench warrant, and transported to ACDC.

May 11 – J.J. Jacobs observed Jason Luker, WM, 30, 5’11", 180 pounds, of Pelzer, walking along Williams Road and then entering a white Honda Civic. A records check revealed that Luker was wanted on two warrants. Jacobs stopped the vehicle and Luker was taken into custody and transported to ACDC.

May 11 – R.D. Smith and J.T. Bowers observed a 1994 Dodge Caravan displaying an improper tag. They stopped the vehicle and found that the driver, John McDaniel, Jr., of Easley, had just bought the van and was using a tag off of his Ford truck. It was found that his driver’s license was suspended. A subsequent search of his truck also allegedly revealed an amount of methamphetamine. He was arrested and transported to ACDC.

WILLIAMSTON

May 8 – D.T. Williams responded to Beaverdam Storage at 980 Beaverdam Rd., where owner Jill Cox reported that twelve of the storage units had been broken into the night before. The renters had been notified and asked to report any missing items.

May 9 – Sgt. N.J. Peluso responded to 271 Tripp St. where Robert Suggs reported that someone had fired several shots which struck his house, while he was in the front yard working. Suggs observed three places where the house had been hit. No injuries occurred.

May 10 – L. Finley was dispatched to 825 Joe Black Rd. Lot 12,where he was approached by Johnny Ray Patterson, Jr. who told him he had come to that location to speak with a female that lived there. Patterson, WM, 23, 5’7", 163 pounds, blond/green, lives at Lot 35 at the same address. The resident of Lot 12, Billy Whitaker told Finley that Patterson was on trespass notice for Lot 12. Upon confirming that with Central Dispatch, Finley placed Patterson in custody and transported him to ACDC.

May 11 - R.D. Smith responded to 825 Joe Black Rd., Lot 55,where Harry Bolt reported the theft of a 2006 Moped, valued at $1300.

Lines drawn in solicitor race

By Stan Welch

 For those who like clear choices between candidates, last Thursday night’s debate between 10th Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams and challenger Sarah Drawdy certainly fit the bill.

 Adams defended her running of the office, saying that she had inherited a mess in the Solicitor’s Office when she was elected. “In the three years since then, we have turned that situation around,” said Adams. “We have increased convictions in Anderson County y thirty five per5 cent and in Oconee County by twenty five per cent. We’ve sent more people to prison than at any time in the history of the 10th Circuit.”

 She went on to say that Drawdy is distorting the truth because “She has no record to run on. We have convicted twenty per cent more child molesters than last year. My opponent doesn’t get it on illegal immigration.”

 Drawdy countered by repeating her attacks on Adams lack of hands on involvement. “My opponent doesn’t go to court. She doesn’t try cases. If she is so interested in being a manager, I hear Bi-Lo is hiring. I will be in court trying cases, and I will be asking for more and more court time, and not reducing it by sixty one per cent.”

 Drawdy asked the crowd of approximately 175 people to raise their hands if they got a refund when the court time was cut. “Court time is a precious commodity and you paid for it. So if you didn’t get a refund, you got cheated. I’m basing these statements on the official statistics from the court administration department. During Ms. Adams’ administration, the 10th Circuit has gone to second in the number of cases dismissed, and fallen to fifteenth in the number of convictions. If that’s your idea of how to run a solicitor’s office, your choice is clear.”

 Adams said that her main responsibility is to insure that her staff gets the resources needed to prosecute cases. “If you want to spend your time in a court room,” she told Drawdy, “then remain as an assistant. That’s their job. My job is to run the office efficiently so they can do their work.”

 She also attacked Drawdy’s relatively short time as an assistant solicitor. “My opponent has three years’ experience. As to cutting court time, it was done on purpose and it is the best thing we ever did. We had twenty nine weeks of court last year and had 52 convictions a week on average.”

Drawdy countered that despite her short career so far, “I have still tried more cases than she has. She tried one case last year. Her record screams ‘I’m not trying cases’. She has said she can only manage 28 weeks of court. Well, I can manage 42 weeks and I will seek 42 weeks.”

 Adams said that increasing  court time by that much would cost an additional $700,000- $ 1,000,000.

 Both candidates stood toe to toe, neither giving ground on their clearly different views of the office and its duties.

 The debate was sponsored by the registered Anderson County Taxpayers’ Association at the main library in Anderson.

Seems to Me . . . Kissing babies

By Stan Welch

Some situations, if allowed to exist long enough, will eventually resolve themselves. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say they will define themselves in such a way that a solution becomes more obvious. Sometimes, that obvious solution is expressed mathematically, often the clearest and most elegant expression of a problem.

That may be happening in Anderson County, in terms of the significant lack of public trust in both the elected government and the established administration of this county. I’m not saying or even hinting that the public distrust is total. But it is problematic, and it affects virtually every public issue that arises in this county.

There are many such  issues facing Anderson county, significant ones that will affect the future of this county for the next fifty years. Those issues include, but are not limited to, infrastructure, economic development, the related issue of jobs, and, of course, the ubiquitous question of taxes.

The public debate and discourse on each and every one of those issues will eventually come down to one point. A significant number of people in this county have such a distrust of their government that they simply refuse to support any of these vital initiatives out of that fear the government will misuse, steal, or waste the money.

Public distrust of the government is a time honored tradition, and a generally accepted viewpoint, in this country. Heck, it’s the reason this country was founded after a bloody revolution. It’s the reason a great and terrible civil war was fought in this country less than a hundred years after its establishment as a free Republic.

Such skepticism is an essential ingredient in a healthy political environment. Such skepticism is the reason our brilliant forefathers established a system of checks and balances, designed to keep one branch of government from growing too powerful.

That system is badly out balance of in Anderson County, and is in danger, like an unbalanced and slowing top, of spinning without direction until it simply falls over. The system is currently subject to imbalance in two ways.

First of all, the designed system of checks and balances has been abandoned in Anderson County by a Council whose majority is only to happy to cede all responsibility to the hired administration, while accruing the political and public aspects of the position to themselves.

It’s sort of like preferring kissing babies to changing their diapers. It’s an understandable preference, but it is still a sorry job of parenting. To be fair, though, the county administrator is much quicker to offer a baby to be kissed than he is a dirty job, when it comes to giving the Council something to do.

Now, a majority of the current Council, as well as recent past Councils, will argue that under the Council/administrator form of government, their responsibilities and powers are limited, and that the administrator is supposed to change the diapers. It is a view that is encouraged by the majority of public administrators in the state.

 The problem with that approach is that it results in public distrust among a fair percentage of the population. Voters have an old fashioned and deep seated idea that the folks they voted for are supposed to be responsible for things, and they don’t give up that belief easily.

As a fellow told me the other day, “I been voting in this county for thirty years, and I’ve never seen Joey Preston’s name on the ballot one time.”

The result of that distrust is becoming clearer and clearer, as is the potential solution to the problems it causes. First and foremost among those problems is the fact that virtually all progress or promise of same in Anderson County is at the very least hindered, and at the worst, stifled by this distrust.

Perfect example? The proposed one cent sales tax to be used in building and repairing roads and bridges and public facilities of other types comes to mind. This is a tax that would be collected and administered by the state, not the county. It would be paid for in large part by visitors and tourists, who would kick in forty per cent of the revenues to be collected.

The tax is a proven source of funding for roads and other infrastructure, having been used to great effect elsewhere in the state.

But the argument against it one constantly hears? “Don’t give them another cent until we know what is being done with the money they already have.”

Who are they? It doesn’t matter at this point. The distrust is so deeply rooted that specifics mean nothing. An oversight committee? They’ll be crooks appointed by crooks. An internal auditor to monitor how the funds are used? Yeah, right. Not in Anderson County. They’ll find some way around the law.

Seems to me this county has reached a point where all progress, all improvement, is  hostage to this public distrust. And if we have, is it easier and more sensible to replace one person, or seven? Do those simple numbers define the problem, in an elegant and understandable way?

Depends on which end of the baby you’re kissing, I guess.

 

 

 

 

 

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