News Archive

(2106) Week of May 24, 2006

Freedom Weekend Aloft features music, fun
Remember Leslie, support CHC at FWA
Budget discussions center on borrowing, council salary
Resolution allows for treatment of hauled waste at town plant
Dees hopes to continue serving Council District 6
Ron Wilson running for District Six seat
Freemantle challenging for District 6 seat
Powdersville recycling center ready for bids
Driver fatally injured
Wilson platform remains the same
Wilson to appeal judges decision
Council Candidates state positions in forum

Transports Lt. Governor from crash
Update on the condition of Lt. Governor Andre Bauer
Deputies investigate various incidents
Seems to Me . . .Graduation

Freedom Weekend Aloft features music, fun

The 25th annual Pontiac GMC Freedom Weekend Aloft promises to be four days filled with hot-air balloons, concerts, disc dog competitions, multiple free stages, great food and more.  The 2006 event is scheduled for Friday, May 26th through Monday, May 29. 

On Friday, May 26  the event will begin with a proven favorite of country music fans as Travis Tritt returns to kick off the event with his high energy show and endless hits! Tritt’s hits include “Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)”, “I’m Gonna Be Somebody”, “Anymore”, “Foolish Pride”, “T-R-O-U-B-L-E” and  more!  Opening for Travis Tritt will be up and coming artist Craig Hand whose new release “Direct Connect” is catching on. Tickets for the concert are on sale at participating Bi-Lo Grocery Stores.

On Saturday, newcomer Toby Lightman opens the evening at 7 pm and will be followed by Jewel and Train.

Lightman is known for her acoustic, soulful, blues and rock roots apparent in songs like “Devils and Angels”, “Real Love” and she has a new CD in the works. 

Jewel also has a new CD that will be released in May and she is enjoying the success of her current release “Again and Again” which is in Billboard’s Adult Top 40. Jewel’s five CDs have sold over 25 million copies and all have reached the Top 10 in radio airplay.  She has three Grammy Award nominations and won both an MTV and American Music Award.  Other Jewel hits include “Intuition”, “You Were Meant For Me” and “Who Will Save Your Soul”.

TRAIN will be promoting their newest CD, For Me, It’s You.    The current release “Cab” is #12 on Billboard’s Adult Top 40 Chart and has been in the Top 40 for 19 weeks!  With awards including Song of the Year for the earlier “Drops of Jupiter” and endless hits including “Calling All Angels”, “Meet Virginia”, “Drops of Jupiter”, “Something More” and many more!

On Sunday May 28, Need To Breathe starts the evening at 7 pm, followed by Collective Soul and Rob Thomas. Need to Breathe is led by brothers Bear and Bo Rinehart who grew up in, of all places, Possum Kingdom. Their debut album Daylight was released on April 4th. Collective Soul has experienced a career spanning decades that has been highlighted by rock radio smashes including “Gel”, “December”, “The World I Know”, “Shine”,  and the list goes on.

Rob Thomas’ current release Ever The Same is currently on Billboard’s Top 100 Singles, Pop 100, Hot 100 and the #3 on the Adult Top 40 Singles where the single has been for over 20 weeks.  Thomas has contributed to worldwide sales of more than 75 million CDs as a solo performer and with various bands including Matchbox Twenty and Santana.  He has earned 13 BMI Awards including both Songwriter and Song of The Year, and was named Billboard’s Songwriter Of The Year two consecutive years.  In 2004 the Songwriters Hall of Fame awarded him its first “Starlight Award,” created to recognize a musician’s accomplishments in the early stages of a career.  His hits are many and a partial list would include; “Lonely No More”, “Smooth”, “Unwell”, “Push”, “If You’re Gone” and more!

General Admission for each of the conerts is $25 per person and a limited number of Gold Circle General Admission are available for $35 per person.

Three fireworks shows originally scheduled at the conclusion of each evenings featured amphitheater concerts have been rescheduled. On Friday fireworks will be held at approximately 9 p.m., just prior to Travis Tritt taking to the stage.  On Saturday the fireworks will follow Jewel’s concert at approximately 9:20 p.m. just prior to TRAIN in concert.  On Sunday fireworks will be at approximately 9 p.m. after Collective Soul’s concert and just prior to Rob Thomas performing.  Organizers considered the move of fireworks to earlier times as a positive in that fireworks appeal to all ages and the earlier times will allow families throughout the event grounds to enjoy the shows!

Several free shows will be held during FWA. On Saturday, May 27th  attendees can check out the band Hotel California from 4 -6 pm. The tribute band will play all the hits of The Eagles.

Local favorite Catlin Tierce will perform on the Community Stage at 12 noon on Sunday.

Attendees can sit back and enjoy a free Bluegrass Bash featuring over six free hours of mandolins, fiddles, banjos, vocals and more as GrassStreet and Lo-Fi Breakdown perform on Sunday, May 28 from 2-8 pm.

A beach blast will be held on Monday, May 29.  One of the event’s most popular attractions as FWA literally brings “The Boardwalk” to Anderson with trucks of sand being hauled in for shagging, sand castle building and great family fun.  The Catalinas and The Embers will perform from 3-9 pm.  There will be contests including shagging, limbo, hula hoop, water balloon toss and more.

Organizers said they feel confident that this musical line-up is without question the best in the event’s 25 year history. There will also be spectacular special shaped balloons, more fireworks than ever before and more.

A hot air balloon glow will be held on the launch filed at dusk on Friday. Key grab competition is set for 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Saturday with a mass ascension at 6 p.m.

Balloons will fly onto the field on Sunday and Monday mornings between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. with a mass ascension scheduled between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. All times are weather permitting.

There is a new express parking pass available at BI-LO stores for $6 which will save time and money for attendees. Several new parking areas and gates have been established, however the best advice is to go early.  The event opens every day at 12 noon.

For more information look online at www.freedomweekend.org.

Remember Leslie, support CHC at FWA

A number of  special fun activities are being planned in conjunction with Freedom Weekend Aloft to help raise funds to build a home for abused children at Calvary Home for Children in memory of Leslie Ann Mazzara, Miss Williamston 2002.

Activities will include face painting, a dunking booth, Little Miss and Mr. FWA pageant, a Balloon Chase - 5K walk/run, Sit for Stephanie 2006, Rock Paper Scissors Tournament, and the Rai$ing Race Family Edition. The Little Miss Freedom Weekend Aloft will be held on Friday, at 4 p.m.

The Balloon Chase - 5K walk/run will be held Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. Registration 6 - 8 a.m. Sit for Stephanie 2006 will be held on Saturday and Sunday. Participants will collect donations for CHC before and during the event. Although participants are encouraged to collect donations, it is not a requirement. Donation forms are on the FWA page on the website.

A Rock Paper Scissors Tournament will be held on Sunday. The rules are simple. Paper covers rock. Rock crushes scissors. Scissors cut paper. Rock Paper Scissors may only take a minute to learn, but a lifetime to master. Tournament Rock Paper Scissors proceeds much like a tennis competition: game, set, match. The first to win two games wins the set, the first to win two sets wins the match. The winner moves on to the next round; the loser is eliminated. $5 gets you in the game. The champion will win a cash prize and a trophy. The tournament is for children under 12.

The Rai$ing Race Family Edition will be held on Sunday or Monday depending on weather. It will be a one-day race similar to CBS’s The Amazing Race in a mini format and limited to the Sports and Entertainment Center grounds. Two-person teams must be a parent and child (under 12). Volunteers are needed to monitor the racers and tasks and participants are needed.

Full details as well as application/entry forms for all events can be found on the Leslie Mazzara fund web site.

Anyone interested in volunteering can find additional information on the web site at www.lesliemazzarafund.com. For more information, contact Renee Tollison, Event Coordinator at 864-224-6836 or 864-934-6279 or by e-mail at rtollison@lesliemazzarafund.com to sign up.

Budget discussions center on borrowing, council salary

During a special budget work session Tuesday, Williamston Town Council discussed police dispatch, council and mayor salaries and approved a resolution providing a framework for dealing with commercial waste haulers which could bring additional funds to the town.

While working on budget items, Appalachian Council of Governments Advisor Joe Newton said that the town is still closing on properties and has not received the full proceeds from the recent property auction.

He said he expects the town will need to borrow approximately $250,000 later this year. Newton said the budget figures presented Monday have a contingency reserve of $324,796, which includes proceeds from the proposed TAN note, which he said will be needed to finish the year.

In discussion about borrowing short term as a TAN or longer term as a GO Bond, Clardy stated that borrowing the smaller amount as a TAN would not help break the cycle of borrowing to finish the year.

Newton responded, “Not if you raise taxes.” Newton said that the borrowed TAN funds should be used to pay off the current TA N and other debts still owed by the town.

Newton said that borrowing was a sign of not having reserves. He suggested raising the millage rate and paying off the TAN note rather than borrowing a higher amount for a longer period of time.

Newton also suggested Council should begin looking at the town’s codes. “Right now you don’t know what authority the mayor and department heads have. It depends on how you want to do it,” Newton said.

Newton said he could provide samples of codes that allow for line item authority.

There was additional discussion among Council and Chief David Baker concerning the option of keeping police dispatch at the Williamston Police Department or moving it to County 911 dispatch.

Except for a $12,200 equipment charge, the cost of hiring a dispatcher or paying the county to hire a dispatcher is very close.

Baker estimates the cost to the town of hiring a dispatcher and paying benefits including medical and retirement, will amount to approximately $32,000. The county pay of $25,493 is slightly more than Williamston’s base of $23,600, but has an additional $4800 to $5000 in health insurance costs, putting the cost around $30,500.

Baker maintained that hiring a dispatcher, which would bring the department total to 16, would allow him to place an investigator back on the road.

Going to the County would also allow the department one more patrolman on the road, but will have an additional cost of $12,200 for necessary equipment.

Baker said that by hiring an additional dispatcher the town will be gaining services and not losing anything.

Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr. suggested going to central dispatch. “In six months, we’ll know,” Middleton said, citing financial uncertainty facing the town. He said that with all police and fire dispatch in the County going through Central, except Williamston police, there must be some benefit.

Clardy expressed concerns about not having the “physical presence that our citizens have become accustomed to.” Clardy said he supported the chief’s recommendation.

Middleton indicated he thought there would be savings by sending the dispatch to the county. “The opportunity for savings is greater, and would allow us to do more,” he said.

Councilman David Harvell said he wanted to wait on a contract from Anderson County, which would provide more accurate details on the cost.

Newton said he had been in contact with County officials and that he is expecting information from the County soon. He said County officials are also in the middle of preparing their budget.

Councilman Greg Cole said  that having 14 employees in the department allows for 14 here and one at the county, and will free up an investigator. He said the change would allow the clerk and victims advocate to do their jobs without the additional duties of being a dispatcher.

In other discussion related to the budget, Newton presented a chart of salary comparisons for mayor, council and administrators for comparable towns across the state.

Williamston’s $24,000 yearly salary for mayor and $7200 yearly for each councilman, plus health benefits, appeared high compared to the mean salary of $4650 for mayor and $2,400 for councilmen.

Last year Mayor and Council salary and benefits amounted to $79,000.

N ewton suggested the town could consider hiring an administrator, paying a salary of around $51,000, which could be made up by a cut in the mayor and council salary.

Newton said council needs to decide what salary to go to and at what point to go to that salary. He said he will need some figures from Council for the 2007 budget which Council is also beginning to look at.

Council then went into executive session with Goldie & Associates to discuss a contract matter.

Upon returning to regular session, Council unanimously approved a resolution providing guidelines and documentation for treatment of waste brought to the town’s waste treatment plant by commercial waste haulers. (See separate story)

Resolution allows for treatment of hauled waste at town plant

Williamston Town Council approved a resolution during their work session Monday that sets guidelines and restrictions on accepting hauled waste products for treatment at the town’s waste water treatment plant.

In addition to addressing the removal, transportation and disposition of hauled wastes, approval of the resolution allows the town’s contracted environmental laboratory and engineering service, Goldie & Associates, to pursue a treatment agreement with Allied Waste for rain water runoff, which will be transported to the facility by truck for treatment.

Mayor Phillip Clardy said the document requires more information and places restrictions on accepting hauled waste. He also said the document relates to a proposal the town is considering to treat rain water runoff brought to the town’s treatment facility by Allied Waste.

Clardy said the agreement could result in as much as $10,000 per month being paid to the town to treat the hauled waste from Allied.

Goldie & Associates pretreatment project manager Sonya T. Harrison said the town’s facility could handle the quantity, estimated by Clardy to be as much as 200,000 gallons per month.

The resolution relates to “permitting and accepting for treatment hauled waste, defined as all putrid or offensive matter, the contents of all privies, septic tanks and cesspols, commercial waste products including septic tanks from commercial sources, industrial wastes that require pretreatment permitting and are not connected to the system’s trunk line, collection and transportation system , but are transported via some overland carrier to the treatment works.”

Dees hopes to continue serving Council District 6

By Stan Welch

Incumbent District Six Councilman Bill Dees has seen a great deal of progress in his three terms on the Council, and says  he hopes to see more from that same vantage point. “My major reason for running is that we live in one of the most progressive parts of the state, and I want to be a part of that progress,” said Dees in a recent interview.

Among the accomplishments he takes pride in are the proposed Powdersville recreational complex, and the Dolly Cooper Park. “I’m also proud of the work done on the park in Piedmont, and on the Wren recreational complex. As corny as it sounds, I enjoy helping people. That’s really my reason for running.”

Dees’ well known interest in law enforcement and public safety will continue to be a focus for him, if he is reelected. “Safety in one’s home and community is more than just a fact, it is a perception as well. People need to feel safe as well as actually be safe. It is a function of government to provide fire and police protections, as well as emergency medical services,” he said.

“Last year, we gave the sheriff three additional mils with one of those coming from the general fund. I think he’s done a great job with that money. It helps give the people what they need, and it attracts others to the area,” said Dees. “I had a lady call me last year, shortly after we gave the sheriff that funding. She had seen a deputy on her street and wanted to know what was going on. So I called and checked and they told me it was just a routine patrol. I called her, and she said it had been so long since that had happened that she just knew there was trouble.”

Dees also understands the importance of infrastructure, and says he would like to see a different approach to funding such projects. “I wish, and I stress the word wish because I don’t think it will happen, but I wish we would put all paving and infrastructure funds in one pot, and let the professionals do their job. For every district to have its own paving fund is not the most efficient way to do these things.”

Dees saw first hand the problems that can result, when a hundred year flood did extensive damage to roads and bridges in his district a few years ago. “It took us two years to finish up some of those projects. It took all the paving funds we had, and forced us to do without a lot of other things that should have been done. I’d personally like to see all the district’s roads marked and lined.”

Said Dees, “I am a positive person, and I will do my best  to make life safer and better for everyone in the district I serve, and in Anderson County.”

Dees faces two opponents in the upcoming June 13 Republican primary, Rick Freemantle, a local contractor, and Ron Wilson, a local businessman who resigned his seat on the state Board of Education to run for Anderson County Council.

Ron Wilson running for District Six seat

By Stan Welch

Ron Wilson, who is running for the Anderson County Council seat from District Six, says he has two major issues he feels need to be addressed.

First is the redefining of the relationship between the Council and the county administrator. “The county administrator is hired by the Council, and he needs to be far more helpful and respectful to the Council and its members than he has been lately. Questions and requests for information, no matter which Council member makes them, should be addressed quickly and thoroughly. The entire situation has drifted far from the traditional role that I think most people want to see,” said Wilson, in a recent interview.

Taxation is also on the Wilson priority list. “We have some of the highest property taxes in the Southeast in Anderson County. We have plenty of money to work with, but poor priorities and excessive waste are killing us.”

Wilson points to his 17 months on the state Board of Education, a seat he resigned to run for County Council. “We reduced our budget for both the years I was there, simply by making sensible choices and setting priorities. There is no problem in our educational system that stems from a lack of money. There is plenty of money. We are awash in money, but we must use it wisely. The same is true at the County level,” said Wilson.

Wilson says an essential step in setting priorities would be “an absolutely complete and thorough audit to see what the sources of the money are and where it is going. Right now, the budget for Anderson County is basically a shell game, with money being moved by the administrator from here to there to cover something, then being moved somewhere else. It is impossible to make a financial plan, which is what a budget is, without knowing the details of the County’s finances.”

Closer to home, in District Six, Wilson would like to see a greater return on the taxes sent to the County. “Anderson County loves District Six as a tax base, because of the incredible growth in the last twenty years. But we should get a lot more back in terms of infrastructure. That inequity hurts the district a great deal. We have major schools in the district, yet we have miles and miles of unmarked and unlined roads. There is no reason for that, and I intend to harp on that issue a great deal if elected.”

Wilson says that infrastructure can be provided without resorting to a proposed $.01 sales tax. “We don’t need that tax. I call that an extortion tax. ‘If you’ll vote for this, we’ll give you some money’. I keep hearing about how so much of it will be paid for by non-Anderson people. I’m not worried about them. I’m worried about the Anderson county residents who will have to pay that tax every day, every time they buy something.”

Wilson points out one difference he sees  between himself and the other candidates, not just in his district, but across the county. “I will work to roll back taxes. For forty years, every politician runs on ‘less taxes, less government’, and for forty years, we’ve gotten more taxes and more government. You think you’re free? Try to build a shed on your own property without a permit. You think you own your property? Miss a payment on your taxes. Our granddaddies would have never stood for what’s going on today. It’s time to get government back to its proper role, which is the protection of life and property.”

Wilson also makes it plain that he offers no apologies for his involvement in the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an issue which received great attention when he was seeking a seat on the state Board of Education. He takes the local daily newspaper to task for what he sees as their attempts to use that involvement against him. “The Anderson paper hasn’t interviewed a single person who knows me to ask them about my involvement, or whether I’m a racist. They haven’t contacted a single member of the Board with whom I served and asked them whether I’m a racist. For whatever reason, they’ve just decided to attack me again. They’ve installed a link from Nick Charalambous’ blog, to the Southern Poverty Law Center and accepted at face value what they say about the SCV.”

Wilson said he understands the purpose. “They are mad because I might just win this thing, and that would put a fairly effective hard core conservative right in the middle of their delicate balance of power. It’s a personal attack and it won’t work. But that’s okay. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Well, I’m in the kitchen to stay.”

Freemantle challenging for District 6 seat

By Stan Welch

Rick Freemantle, candidate for the District Six County Council seat in the upcoming June 13 primary, may be a newcomer, but he has very clear and specific reasons for running, as well as very clear intentions if elected.

“If I am elected, it will be a horse race between me and Ms. Wilson to see who would be the first to demand a complete forensic audit of the county’s finances. I would also tell Mr. Preston where to go, and to look for a job while he was there; because he wouldn’t be working for Anderson County anymore.”

Freemantle’s interest in county politics took shape a little over a year ago, when he called his representative Bill Dees to ask him why he had voted for Democrat Gracie Floyd to serve as Chairperson of the Republican dominated Council. “He blew up at me. He told me he didn’t have to explain his vote to anyone, and for me to never call his home again. I decided that there was something wrong when a Council member is that touchy about his vote.”

Freemantle says his subsequent research into the County’s operations convinced him that many problems existed. “For one thing, I think that Joey Preston is a cancer on this county, and he is tearing the county’s heart out. I would greatly enjoy explaining the food chain to Mr. Preston once I had taken my seat on the Council. He is hired help, and the current Council has ceded their authority over to him, placing no parameters on his conduct. That is wrong, and it would not continue if I were on that Council.”

Freemantle says that “With me, things are black and white, right or wrong. It is the Council’s job to set the limits for Preston to follow, and they have not done so. They are not doing their job.”

Freemantle, who is married with three sons, also questions the use of recreational funds for a variety of purposes. “I see Bill Dees and other members of the Council giving out a few hundred dollars here and a couple of thousand there, so some group can hold some festival or something. That kind of behavior is no different than Joey Preston’s putting three thousand dollars for meals on a credit card. Those funds should be done away with. The government should provide only the things that the people cannot provide for themselves, like roads and fire and police protection. That’s my view.”

Freemantle, who has had a home repair and remodeling business for thirty years, admits he has a lot to learn. “I expect to work hard to learn how things should be done. I am lucky enough that what I have is mine. It’s paid for, and I owe no one anything. I have not asked for or accepted any campaign donations. My wife and I print my brochures on the computer at home. We sit around at night and fold them ourselves. She’s been a great help in this campaign.”

He is currently attending college part time and hopes to eventually become a veterinarian in five or six years. “I have been around farms and livestock all my life, and I think I would really enjoy working with farmers and treating their animals. But the main benefit would be that my sons would see me going to college and realize that’s the smart thing to do. I only got my GED a couple of years ago, but you’re never through learning in this world.”

He realizes he has an uphill battle against the incumbent Bill Dees, and a challenger with high name recognition, Ron Wilson. “I know people don’t know a lot about me, but I won’t beat around the bush. I will say what I think and I will say it to people’s faces. I’m not a sneaky guy. I come at you straight on. I just want a chance to work for the people in District Six to stop this tax and spend mentality we have in county government right now. Government has no business buying hot air balloons and barbecue grills and tennis nets for playgrounds. And I’ll promise you one thing. If I’m elected and you call me to talk to me, I won’t hang up on you.”

Powdersville recycling center ready for bids

Anderson County has begun the bid process for phase one of the Powdersville Convenience Center project and bids are due on May 25, County officials said. The bid is expected to be awarded sometime early in June with construction expected to begin in July.  The new recycle-only facility will be constructed on Old Anderson Road in Powdersville. It will be the fourth recycling-only site in the County and will serve as a drop-off point for recyclables. Future plans for the site include horticulture displays, a learning and picnic pavilion, an ecology walking trail, recreational spaces, and the second recycling education center in the County.

“I think this project is going to be a real asset,” said County Councilman Bill Dees, who represented Council District 6. “I believe it will be well received and welcomed by the community.  If one looks at the status of landfills in America and in this county, they are rapidly filling up.  Many waste products do not deteriorate rapidly; some may last for hundreds of years.  We must as a nation and as a county, take steps to recycle, saving land, natural resources, and money.  Recycled materials may be used over and over, at a great savings to us all.”

“This site will have more convenient access, larger facilities and improved safety,” said County Environmental Services Director Vic Carpenter. “This site represents progress in our goal to provide equal and convenient access to waste disposal at a reasonable cost.”

In 2005, Anderson County Environmental Services collected and processed approximately 6,700 tons of recyclables; disposed of 64,225 tons of solid waste generated by local residents; and processed more than 3,000 “40-yard” containers collected at the 15 local convenience centers.

Driver fatally injured

Mildred Ann Davis, 56, of Piedmont, was fatally injured in an accident May 19, which occured at the intersection of Old Pelzer Rd. and S. C. Hwy. 86 in Piedmont. According to Greenville County Deputy Coroner Linda Holbrooks, Davis died from blunt fource trama to the head and was pronounced dead at the scene. According to Lance Cpl. Dan Marceau of the S. C. Hwy. Patrol, Davis was driving a 1987 Ford van travelling north on Old Pelzer Road, which disregarded a traffic light at the intersection and was struck in the driver’s side door by an 18-wheeler driven by Dennis Barrett, 45, of Travelers Rest. The van was pushed into a canopy support pole and gas pumps at the Shell station located at the intersection. The driver of the truck was transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries. The Piedmont Fire Department and Greenville County EMS responded. Modern safety features on the pumps prevented fire or explosion, Piedmont Fire Chief Butch Nichols said.

Wilson platform remains the same for third term

By Stan Welch

District Seven County councilwoman Cindy Wilson, who is seeking her third term on the Council says her only campaign promise is the same one she has always run on.

“From the very start, I promised the people that I would pursue honest, open accountable local government. Well, that quest is not over yet, but I renew that pledge,” said Wilson in a recent interview.

That quest, as Wilson describes it, suffered a major setback earlier this month, when Tenth circuit court Judge Alex Macaulay ruled in county administrator Joey Preston’s favor in a writ of mandamus lawsuit brought by Wilson to force the release of the County’s financial records, including its legal vendor files. (See related article elsewhere in this issue of The Journal.)

“People need to have their voices heard, and they need to be able to see the records of how their money is spent. They should have their input respectfully heard, and where appropriate, incorporated into the way the County does business. Instead, we have what I consider a rogue, out of control form of government,” said Wilson

She answers the charge that her adversarial relationship with Preston is affecting her ability to serve her district by saying, “Since I first got on Council, the administrator has tried to make my questions about his administration into a personal vendetta. That is not true, but it is how he treats anyone who dares to question him.”

She points to water lines in her district that have been installed or funded since her first election to Council.  The proposed redesigning of the Hwy. 29 and Cherokee Road intersection is scheduled to begin this year. She adds that several traffic signals have been placed where they were needed.

“There is a great teamwork between the people of my district, and the officials at the various levels of government. The county delegation to Columbia has been very helpful in several of the public works projects in the District. The Williamston Downtown Business Association, for example, put in both a great deal of work and money into obtaining grants for the sidewalks and the cityscape project that is coming up. It’s not all about one politician. Our Congressmen and US Senators, as well as our elected state officials have all been accessible and cooperative.”

That cooperation, said Wilson, is the reason she doesn’t see the need for lobbyists to represent Anderson County. “That’s the job of elected officials, especially at the state and national level. Our people in Washington and Columbia do a good job for our people, and it’s the job they were sent there to do.”

Wilson said she doesn’t make a lot of promises because “If I can fulfill the one that I have made, a lot of the other problems facing us will take care of themselves.”

Wilson to appeal judges decision

By Stan Welch

District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson has lost another round in her long legal fight to gain access to public records which the County Council and County Administrator Joey Preston have steadfastly refused to grant her.

Tenth Circuit Court Judge Alexander Macaulay ruled on May 15 in favor of Preston, who has denied Wilson full access to financial and legal records of the county. In November 2004, Wilson filed a writ of mandamus lawsuit to force the case to a conclusion. Macaulay’s ruling provided a temporary conclusion, though Wilson has indicated that she plans to file an appeal.

“The entire conduct of this process, as well as the ruling itself, has a chilling effect on the public’s right to information, and sets a horrific precedent for other counties in the state. I do not know if Mr. Bender has filed the appeal yet, but it is in the works,” said Wilson in a recent interview.

“I find it hard to believe that the judge would cite South Carolina Code 4-9-630, ( editor’s note: which states that the administrator’s duty is to ‘prepare annual, monthly and other reports on finances and administrative activities of the county’) and then later rule that providing those reports is at the administrator’s discretion. We believe that by doing so the judge has moved in conflict with the law, and we will appeal that ruling.”

Wilson concedes that she actually lost ground in terms of access to the routine financial records of the County. In an earlier hearing on the writ of mandamus, Judge J.C. “Buddy” Nicholson, Jr., instructed Preston to provide the general ledger reports and routine financial records of the County to Wilson, reserving on the legal vendor files for further ruling.

Macaulay, who took over the case after Nicholson’s health forced him to remove himself from the case, reversed that earlier decision.

One of the findings of fact which Macaulay referred to in his ruling was the fact that Wilson’s repeated motions seeking a vote by Council to instruct the release of the records all died from a lack of a second. This fact reflects the Court’s position that the attorney client privilege belongs to the Council as a whole, and can only be released by a majority vote.

 The ruling also described various aspects, including the one mentioned above, of  Preston’s official duties as “discretionary” and stated that such discretionary duties are not subject to a writ of mandamus, which according to the document, is  a coercive writ that orders a public official to perform a ministerial duty.”

The legal battle has dragged on for the virtual entirety of Wilson’s terms on the council. Shortly after her election in 2000, Wilson sought access to the County’s legal vendor files. Due to her involvement in a legal contest with the county over the Beaverdam sewer project, she agreed that the legal narrative of the files, which can often reflect legal strategies, was not appropriate for her to view. She did however seek access to the legal vendor files, and was denied them by Preston, who claimed attorney/client privilege. Macaulay’s ruling is unusual in that it is in conflict with two opinions issued in recent years by two different SC Attorneys General, Charles Condon and Henry McMasters. Both opinions were issued strictly in reference to Wilson’s demands for access. Both Preston and a majority of the County Council had refused to honor those opinions, leading to the writ of mandamus lawsuit.

Council Candidates state positions in forum

By Stan Welch

Virtually every candidate for any of the seven County Council seats took advantage of the candidates’ forum sponsored by the Anderson Independent-Mail and WRIX FM Radio last Thursday at Anderson University.

The forum, which drew everyone but District Six candidate Rick Freemantle, was broadcast live on WRIX.

On hand from the District Six Republican primary race were incumbent Bill Dees and challenger Ron Wilson. Both Republican candidates from District Seven, incumbent Cindy Wilson and challenger Julia Barnes appeared as well.

The format, due to the large number of candidates and the time restraints inherent in a live radio broadcast, was limited to each candidate being given the exact same amount of time to answer the exact same questions, which were presented to all candidates before the next question was posed.

Those voters who usually say that there’s no point in voting because the candidates are all the same will need a different excuse this year. There were distinct and sharp differences between the candidates, and they broke consistently on either side of incumbency.

In the Districts further from The Journal’s readership area, such as Districts Two, Three, Four and Five, the challengers frequently raised the performance of County Administrator Joey Preston as an issue.  In fact, one of the formal questions posed to the candidates asked them each to grade his performance from A to F, and to state simply yes or no whether they would retain him as administrator.

While several hedged, saying they would need hands on experience to judge Preston’s performance, several of the challengers made it clear that they considered the issue a major one.

One of those was Ron Wilson, of District Six, who stated flatly that he graded Preston at F and would not vote to retain him. Bill  Dees’ view was just the opposite. “I give Mr. Preston an A- or B+, and I would certainly retain his services.”

Councilwoman Cindy Wilson’s clashes with Preston are well known ,and her answer surprised no one. “I would give him an F, largely due to the County’s out of control spending. As far as retaining his services, a proper budget process would take care of that question.”

Julia Barnes gave Preston a B and said she would vote to retain him.

 On the issue of keeping discretionary funds in the hands of the individual Council members, Dees and Ron Wilson again disagreed. Wilson called the funds “ a big chance for mischief”, while Dees said that council votes on the funds’ uses and said they are not slush funds, as they are frequently called.

Ms. Wilson stated that they are useful, in the absence of a proper budget process, while Ms. Barnes, while making no specific accusations, said that the funds had been used for “vote buying” in the past.

The question about the need for lobbyists to represent the county in Washington DC again revealed the significant difference of opinion, again, except for Ms. Wilson, the incumbents supported the practice. Ron Wilson said that the practice is a vicious cycle, adding, in reference to a statement by District Three incumbent Larry Greer,  “I’m sure Senators DeMint and Graham, and Congressman Barrett will enjoy learning that they’re considered junior members of Congress.”

Dees stated that lobbyists were needed if Anderson County were to compete with the entire country, saying, “If they can bring home money to the County, call me Porky too.”

Ms. Barnes referred to the kind of influence the late Strom Thurmond had in Congress, but added, “It takes time to develop that. I approve using lobbyists. You can call me Pork Barrel Barnes.”

Ms.Wilson said, “Absolutely not. We have a great team in place who understand that this is part of their job. I think the money spent on lobbyists would be much better spent here at home.”

Transports Lt. Governor from crash

Flight Nurse Greg Krakos and Paramedic Rodney Gilmer restocked their helicopter, MedTrans One, after getting back to home base in South Greenville Tuesday evening. The two along with pilot Don Rodgers responded to Cherokee County and transported Lt. Governor Andre Bauer to Greenville Memorial Hospital following a plane crash. Bauer, 37, was piloting a Mooney 231 single engine plane when it apparently crashed on take off at a private airfield near Blacksburg. According to witnesses Bauer was able to get out of the plane on his own but his passenger, 70 year old John Leonhardt was pinned inside the wreckage. The witnesses managed to get Leonhardt out of the wreckage just seconds before it burst into flames. Leonhardt was flown by Regional One to Spartanburg Regional Hospital. The two had flown up earlier in the day to visit the family of a friend who had recently died. Governor Mark Sanford issued the following statement after speaking with Lt. Gov. Bauer’s attending physician at Greenville Memorial Hospital: “I’ve spoken to André’s attending physician and nurse, and they’ve both let me know he’s doing fine,” Gov. Sanford said. “Although I wasn’t able to speak directly to André while he was undergoing treatment, he did ask through those attending to him to pass along that he is all right. I’d again ask that every South Carolinian join Jenny, the boys and me in wishing André and Mr. Leonhardt ‘Godspeed’ for a complete recovery.”

Update on the condition of Lt. Governor Andre Bauer:

Thursday, May 25 - Following a plane crash, the Lt. Governor was transported by helicopter to Greenville Memorial Hospital last evening at approximately 7:45 pm. He was admitted to the trauma unit for treatment of multiple injuries, including lacerations to his head and face; lacerations and inflammation of his right knee; a shattered left heel; and several additional lacerations and abrasions.  Tests are continuing, including an MRI scheduled for early afternoon. There will be surgery required to repair damage to his foot, but at this time, we do not know when that surgery will occur. Mr. Bauer spent the night in the ICU, where he remains. He will remain hospitalized today, and at this time, we have no indication of when he will be released.

 

Deputies investigate various incidents

Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies investigated the following incidents:

 PELZER

May 21 – P. D. Marter stopped a vehicle on Hwy. 8 after it crossed the center line several times. The driver, Derrick Robinson, BM, 19, 6’2", 150 pounds, was found to be driving under suspension. He was arrested and transported to ACDC.

 PIEDMONT

May 19 – J. M. Roberts received a report of petit larceny from Ben Trein, at 107 Clair Drive. Trein stated that someone had come onto the property and stolen an assortment of lumber and a ton of rebar steel. The total value was approximately $400.

May 19 – J. M. Roberts responded to 300 Cooper Road where he spoke with John Fowler, who reported the theft of an engine from a 1990 Honda Civic parked at that location.

May 20 – David Munger ran a license check on a green car he was following on I-85. It came back as belonging to a Chevy van. He stopped the car and subsequently arrested Nicole Ashley Goad, WF,19, 5’5", 200 pounds, blk/brn, of Osteen Hill Road for improper vehicle license and operating an uninsured vehicle. He also ran a check on her companion, Ronald Roach, WM, 34, 6’, 180 pounds, grn/brn of the same address. There were two outstanding warrants on Roach. Both subjects were arrested and transported to ACDC.

May 21 – D. P. Hodges  responded to a complaint of petit larceny at 210 S. Circle where the owner of a vehicle reported the theft of the license tag from her Mercury Sable. The tag was SC#515 BAM.

WILLIAMSTON

May 21 – M. D. Creamer responded to a call at 243 Longview Road, where Nena Crothers, WF, 27, reported that Jane Beddingfield had tried to run over her while Crothers was talking to Charles Beddingfield in the yard of her house. Though she was gone from the scene when Creamer arrived, reports state he spoke with her on the phone and confirmed that she had tried to scare Crothers by driving towards her. According to the incident report, Beddingfield was later arrested by Williamston Police for a separate, later incident. She was then also served with the warrant for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and transported to ACDC.

May 21 – T. B. Dugan received a report of a stolen vehicle from Elizabeth Scott, of Belton, who reported that an unknown WM, 18-25 years old, 6’ tall with brown hair, wearing blue shorts and a white shirt, had stolen her 1997 Honda Civic while she was inside the Ritz Restaurant at 7005 Hwy. 29 North. The vehicle was teal green with four doors.

May 21 – T. B. Dugan observed a vehicle at Hwy. 29 and Welcome Road stop, but in the wrong lane. At the next stop sign, the car turned right onto McAlister Road without stopping. Dugan stopped the car and found that the driver, who jumped out of the car, was Desmond Oneal Pickens, BM, 28, 6’, 315 pounds, of 1111 Evergreen Church Road in Anderson. Reports state he failed several field sobriety tests and was eventually found to have a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit. He was arrested and transported to ACDC.

  April 7 – R. S. Turner received a report of malicious damage from Natasha Estes, who owns a mobile home at 112 Wateree Lane. She reported that someone had broken into the trailer, damaging the door and jamb.

 April 9 – J. J. Jacobs and Deputy Campbell were at the scene of a one car accident at Willingham and Windy Hill roads. Two Hispanic males were there and the officers were trying to decide who had been driving, when Freddie Carmona, WM, 23-25 years, took off running. Jacobs tackled him, suffering several minor abrasions, and tearing the knee of his uniform trousers. Carmona was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct.

Seems to Me . . .Graduation

By Stan Welch

Well, it’s that time of year when high schools and colleges alike are disgorging thousands upon thousands of unemployed, inexperienced people out into the work force. Look out illegal immigrants! Here they come!

I had a nephew graduate from Wren High School this past weekend. He’s going to USC (don’t worry, we have both his parents on suicide watch) to study pre-med. I told him Saturday I expect a discount on my hip replacement when he gets out of med school.

He’s a sharp kid and what my Dad used to call a good citizen. We’re all really proud of him and wish him well. But enough about him. Let’s talk about Buster Carrier.

Every year at graduation time, when I reminisce about my own high school graduation, I also think about Buster Carrier. I graduated when I was seventeen years old; Buster was twenty-one and he was in my senior class. In fact, after several attempts, Buster finally graduated with my class.

Buster wasn’t stupid, or even a bad student. What he was, was the coolest high school kid in South Carolina history. Buster made the Fonz look like a booger, when it came to cool. He was the first guy I ever saw with a tattoo who wasn’t in the Navy.

 Buster played saxophone, or sax as the real cats called it, in a band called the Catalinas. Back in the mid to late sixties the Catalinas were one of the hottest show bands in the Southeast. Did I mention that I grew up in Charleston?  They played at piers and music halls and beach clubs all up and down the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, from Virginia Beach to Panama City. They opened for a lot of bigger bands but played a lot of solo gigs too.

Buster was a pretty good sized dude, who wore pointed boots, tight pegged jeans and the DA to end all DA haircuts. He drove a 1957 Chevrolet convertible, and he absolutely killed the chicks all over Charleston County. I mean he was American graffiti East Coast style.

We weren’t exactly  friends ( I mean I looked like Ernie on My Three Sons), but since he’d also been in the senior class with my sister, who is two years older than me, we knew each other and got along all right. If the Cats were playing the Folly Pier, Buster would get me past the bouncer, and make sure the bartender knew I was cool. Of course back then, the main form of ID was being able to get the money up on the bar, so it wasn’t a real big deal.

Back in those days, the Folly Pier and the Sea Breeze at Sullivan’s Island and places like that were the only place to be on a summer night, when the salt and air were so thick they stuck to you, and the rhythm and blues were LIVE! and magical. The Tams, the Temps, the Four Tops, The Drifters, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs – man, if you could keep your feet still you were in a coma or passed out under the boardwalk.

If it was the latter, it was okay; the high tide would wake you up, or save your life, like it did mine one night.

I was out of high school and in The Citadel the night this happened. It was summer and my hair was long enough to at least get a girl’s attention, so it must have been late summer. It was a pretty warm night, and as usual, all the storm shutters on the pier were pulled up out of the way to let the breeze in. The band was Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts, that bawdy, naughty bunch who always sold the place out.

The perimeter of the pier’s dance floor was lined with benches and you could sit on them, or sit up on the window sill with your feet in the seat, so you could  see better and really catch the breeze. I was doing my share for the stockholders at Anheuser Busch and having an excellent time, as I recall. The evening was moving right along, when I turned up a near empty beer to finish it and went right out the window backwards. The last thing I remember seeing were Bill Rodwell’s outstretched arms reaching for me, and his laughing face.

 Bill had a blue 1967 Chevy Malibu SS with a 327 cubic inch engine, and he and Allan Ballantine and I spent a lot of good times in that car. Bill’s a banker in Myrtle Beach nowadays, and I have no idea where AB is. As long as it’s not maximum security, he did alright.

It was probably twenty-0five feet down or so, giving me just enough time to worry about what I was going to hit. Luckily, I hit water, on my back like a turtle, with my legs drawn up with my knees to my chest. The water wasn’t very cold at all, but the shock undid all that the beer had done.  It was high tide, and the water where I splashed in was about six feet deep. I was stone sober by the time I came up.

I had grown up on the coast and swam well. I made it easily to the beach and sloshed back up to the pier and headed back in. When the bouncer saw me, he just shook his head and grinned. “I already heard about it. Go on in and stay there this time.”

Anyway, the reason Buster took so long to graduate was because he missed so many days of school each year. If the band had to play in Virginia Beach on Friday night, he had to skip Friday, and sometimes Thursday. Sometimes, he’d miss Mondays too, because it took awhile to get back from Cocoa Beach or Lauderdale. But he was making around a grand or more a month, and there were a lot of grown men with fulltime jobs that weren’t making much more than that in 1968.

Yeah, Buster was one of my heroes, and I hope he’s well. I’ve lost track of him, like I have so many others. He’s probably in a witness protection program somewhere in Oregon. I just hope he’s not in some burger chain management program or performing brain surgery every other day. I mean being a brain surgeon is okay, but it seems to me like a really hot sax man is getting hard to find these days.

Anyway, congratulations to all you grads. Try and keep your sense of adventure for awhile. It’s good for you. And once you lose it, it’s hard to get back.

 

 

 

 

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