News Archive

Week of June 2, 2004

Republican primary to decide House District 10 seat
A look at the Anderson County Sheriff’s race
Williamston business robbed
Ace Hardware has Grand Re-opening
West Pelzer meeting begins grant process
Wilson, Austin face off for County Council  District 7 seat

Republican primary to decide District 10 seat

With no Democratic contenders in the race, the June 8 Republican primary will decide who will represent House District 10. Incumbent Dan Cooper faces a challenge from Jack King for the Republican nomination for the state legislative seat.

Cooper has represented the district for 14 years and succeeded his father who represented the district for 16 years. He chairs a budget subcommittee of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee and feels that his experience and seniority help him meet the needs of his constituents.

A 32-year veteran educator, King, 56, served as athletic director and head football coach at Wren High School. He currently serves as an assistant principal and has worked in administration for five years.

State funding to schools and rising property taxes prompted King’s run for office. King hopes to bring a fresh perspective and face to state government.

“The legislature has done a disservice to education in this state,” King contends. More testing and accountability is required with less and less funding to support it according to King.

Reassessment and rising property taxes are also a concern.

King would like to see a fairer tax base created in which property taxes will not have to be raised by local municipalities and school boards to get the revenue they need to operate. He believes that other tax revenue options should be explored. “If the state legislature does their job to support the services demanded by the people, then it will not be passed down to the property owners,” King says.

King is concerned about mounting traffic congestion and rising insurance rates because of the number of accidents in the district. He wants roads fixed and widened so that people can travel more safely to school and work.

King says that he is also interested in sufficient financial support for law enforcement so that there are enough officers to keep towns and communities safe. “Small stuff tends to grow into larger stuff” without proper policing, King says.

King said recent information circulated in the area makes it look as if the state legislature is funding educaion adequately. “It is true, but it is not all of the story,” King said.

According to King, Anderson School District One has had $3,081,009 in cuts between 2001 and 2003.

The District has also had to deal with $700,000 in car tax rollbacks over the last four years.

King said there are two options: not replace the funding by cutting staff, programs, and maintenance or raise property taxes to have enough to meet the needs.

“The school board is faced with raising taxes while the state legislature sits back and takes credit for not raising taxes,” King said.

King also points out that the information put out by his opponent states that the state increased spending on textbooks by $5 million last year.

King said that three years ago there was $43 million available for textbooks, 

“This year in the Appropriation Bill drafted by the House Ways and Means committee, which his opponent sits on,  the actual amount they were to receive was $37,498,804, a $400,000 cut from last year,” King said.

“This was changed with the Senate budget, so they did raise it another $5 million from somewhere. That still does not reach the $43 million of three years ago and does not take into account the rising cost of textbooks,” King said.

“Until we start truly protecting the children of this state with the funds that should be there, we will not progress to be the great state that we can be,” King said.

King earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Clemson University. He and his wife Lynn have two children.

Cooper, 43, is in his sixth term representing House District 10. He is vice president of sales at Capstone Insurance Services and earned a bachelor’s degree from Clemson University.

Tort reform, growth management and economic development of the Upstate are priorities for him.

Cooper, who has a daughter in the second grade and a son starting kindergarten, says that he wants his children “to get the best possible public school education.”

In addition, Cooper’s wife Missy is a teacher. “I see firsthand the challenges that educators face, and I am dedicated to putting more funds into the classroom,” Cooper says.

Cooper contends that lawmakers have kept education in the forefront while other state agencies experienced deep cuts this year.

Cooper said the Anderson County legislative delegation introduced legislation that would freeze assessment at the price paid for the property until the property is sold again. Though the proposal would not be retroactive, it would prevent further increases.

Cooper says he’s working with the Department of Transportation to improve some dangerous intersections and to straighten out some roads to make them safer. He also wants more fire trucks and emergency medical service in the area.

Cooper is also concerned about a safe supply of water to all areas of the district. He wants to pursue grants to extend water lines to areas where wells are running dry. Another water tank in the Wren area would increase water pressure, Cooper says.

Aging water and sewer lines in the towns of Pelzer, West Pelzer, Williamston, and Piedmont also need attention according to Cooper.

A look at the Anderson County Sheriff’s race

Five candidates are hoping to be elected to the position of Anderson County Sheriff.

Republican candidates are: David L. Crenshaw, John Skipper and Greg Williamson.

Democratic candidates are Bob Appell and Brad McGuire.

The Democratic winner will face off in the general election with the Republican candidate who will also be decided in the June 8 primary election.

David L. Crenshaw, former deputy sheriff, law enforcement administrator, and summary court judge seeks election as Anderson County Sheriff in the June 2004 Republican Primary.

Crenshaw, who currently serves as vice president for Crenshaw Electronics, a family owned and operated business in Pendleton, and as Pendleton Fire Chief began his law enforcement career in 1969 as an officer for the Pendleton Police Department.

Later, he worked 15 years at the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office rising through the ranks to become an administrative assistant to the sheriff. As administrative assistant, Crenshaw’s responsibilities included management, planning, budgeting, and acting as liaison to federal and state law enforcement agencies.

Eventually he became a summary court judge before retiring from that position after 28 years of service as a criminal justice practitioner.

If elected, Crenshaw pledges to responsibly manage all of the human and fiscal resources of the Sheriff’s Department, to be accessible and accountable to all Anderson County citizens, to cooperate with all levels of government, and to provide a professional and speedy response to crime.

Crenshaw points to current deficiencies in leadership at the Sheriff’s Department that have impeded the efficiency of the agency’s response to burglaries, hindered cooperation with other area law enforcement agencies, and failed to ensure that the public received “a dollar’s worth of service for every tax dollar we spend.”

“Criminals pay no attention to political boundaries. The Sheriff’s Office needs to work hand-in-hand with other enforcement and emergency services as well as the Solicitor’s Office, the courts, human service agencies and the schools,” Crenshaw commented.

Crenshaw stated that the importance of ensuring that the department continues to be progressive could not be underscored enough. Advanced law enforcement technology used for crime detection and administration should be maintained and enhanced to the highest industry standards and will be a priority in his administration, he said.

Crenshaw’s first priority will be to put as many officers on the street as possible. “Properly trained and equipped police officers with the right attitude are what solve and prevent crime,” he emphasized.

In 1992, Crenshaw ran for sheriff against incumbent Gene Taylor and was defeated by the narrow margin of 401 votes.

A lifelong resident of Anderson County, Crenshaw and his wife Lynn attend the Pendleton United Methodist Church. Lynn Crenshaw works as nursing coordinator for School District Four.

The Crenshaws’ daughter Jennifer works as a reference librarian for the Pickens County Library. Their son Ben works as a firefighter EMT for the Clemson University Fire Department and is a lieutenant in the Pendleton Volunteer Fire Department.

John Skipper has been a captain at the Anderson County Sheriff’s office for 16 years.

He was hired by the Richland County Sheriff’s office when he was 21. 

Skipper joined the Anderson County Sheriff’s office under Sheriff Gene Taylor in 1989. He headed the detectives division and later was placed over support services.

Born in Columbia, his wife of 31 years, Judy, is a stay-at-home mother to their 13-year-old son, Chandler who is home schooled.

Nearing retirement age, Skipper said he decided to run for sheriff to implement programs he did not have the authority to begin as captain.

Greg Williamson is running for the office of Anderson County Sheriff as a republican.

Williamson, a native of Anderson, is a U. S. Navy veteran and has 14 years experience in law enforcement. He is married, with three children.

If elected, Williamson plans to focus the department on community policing. His plans are to increase the number of uniformed deputies by restructuring the department. He also plans to increase manpower by utilizing reserve deputies and state constables.

According to Williamson, his emphasis will be on reducing burglaries and larcenies throughout the county.

Williamson said he plans to improve working relations with other law enforcement agencies in the county.

He said he will do this by providing support for all law enforcement agencies and create a joint drug interdiction task force with law enforcement agencies within the county.

He also has plans to increase law enforcement presence in the Powdersville area. Williamson said he will provide a direct link to the sheriffs office from the Powdersville substation and have it manned 24 hours a day.

Bob Appell is running as a Democrat for the office of Sheriff.

“Our citizens are being deprived of quality law enforcement. I can no longer sit by passively and watch as citizens of Anderson County are misled into believing that they are receiving the best protection, in the most economical manner,” Appell says.

“The Sheriff’s Office must be held accountable for the taxpayer dollars it receives and spends in a manner that minimizes costs while maximizing public safety,” Appell adds.

Appell moved from New York to the upstate in 1994 and worked as a police officer with the city of Greer before beginning work as a deputy in Anderson County in 1997.

Appell worked with the Sheriff’s Department for five years until November 2003 when he resigned in order to run for office.

Current Sheriff Gene Taylor “brought the agency out of the dark ages” according to Appell. Yet Appell would “do more with less” by restructuring work schedules and shift assignments, decreasing administrative positions and increasing deputy manpower with no tax increases.

The manpower coverage in the northeast corner of the county has not kept up with the growth and the tax base, according to Appell. He would put more deputies on the road for quicker response times.

With 20 years of experience in business as well as law enforcement, the 48-year-old Appell describes himself as a “fair but firm, hard-working, detail-oriented” administrator who expects employees to do the best job they can.

Good lines of communication must be established between citizens and the Sheriff’s Office, Appell says.

He plans a Community Oriented Police Enforcement (COPE) team as a first step to making the Sheriff’s Office a proactive agency rather than a reactive one. The COPE team would work directly with citizens to assess the needs of the community and research ways to solve problems and lessen concerns.

Appell is also concerned that the issue of criminal domestic violence is not taken seriously in Anderson County which is ranked 8th in the state in number of incidents.

The county could take advantage of grant money to address the problem and help reduce occurrences, Appell says.

Appell feels that his experience and education make him “the right man at the right time.”

Brad McGuire is a Democratic candidate in the June 8 primary for sheriff.

McGuire, a native of Anderson County, said he has an interest in making Anderson County a safe place to live.

A 1979 graduate of McDuffie High School, he worked in a family owned store before he established his own business, McGuire’s Automotive in 1982.

McGuire began working as a volunteer officer at the Anderson County sheriff’s office in 1993 and was hired as a full time deputy in 1995.

Upon graduating from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, he worked for a year as a hostage negotiator and in uniform patrol until 1996, when he was promoted to the narcotics division.

He served as a narcotics investigator until 1999 when he was named the senior investigator in the narcotics division.

McGuire said his 10 years of experience and training make him an ideal candidate for sheriff.

If elected,  he said he wants to offer more police protection from professionally trained police officers and wants to change from re-active policing to pro-active policing.

He plans to establish  a special crime and drug task force and community groups. He promises to form and organize a major crime and drug task force working with all municipalities within Anderson County and to work with adjoining counties in policing efforts.

He said he will work with the solicitor’s office to ensure maximum sentences are given to violators.

He would also like to see more deputies in the Pelzer, Piedmont, Wren  and Powdersville areas of the county and more officers on the street.

He said he was forced to retire from his position with the narcotics position with the sheriff’s office because he was no longer able to kick in doors.

“I feel have a  lot to offer. Though I’m not kicking doors, I am still  physically fit to do the job as sheriff,” McGuire said.

Williamston business robbed

The Williamston Police Department is investigating an armed robbery in which approximately $10,000 was taken from Gusto Inc., 523 West Main St., Williamston. Reports state the business was robbed by two hispanic males, one armed with a small handgun,  around 1 p.m. Friday, May 28.

The clerk working at the business was tied up and placed in a back room. 

 Captain David Baker said the men were wearing ski masks and gloves when they entered the business.

Witnesses indicated they left in a small blue truck which may have been lowered. The incident remains under investigation. Z. E. Gregory investigated.

Other incidents investigated include: 

May 31 - Andrew Mueth Patton, 21, 112 Browning Rd., Piedmont, and Michell Simon Patton, 21 of the same address were arrested for fighting and public disorderly conduct in connection with an incident occurring at 416 Belton Dr., Apt. C-4, Williamston. Michell Patton was also charged with breach of peace. B. Lewis investigated.

May 29 - Rionnie Nolan Gossett, 34, 412 Highlann Avenue, Greenville, reported $500 in damage to the passenger side of his vehicle while parked at 526 West Main. St. T. A. Striss investigated.

May 30 - JiJon Ramirez Arturo, 26, 319 McAlister Rd., Williamston, was arrested for reckless driving, operating an uninsured vehicle and public disorderly conduct. Laura Yuridia Dustos Arroyo, 20, 319 McAlister Rd., Williamston, was also arrested and charged with public disorderly conduct. D. Munger, D. Alexander investigated.

May 28 - James Bruce Painter, 21, 7 Adele St., Greenville, was arrested for no vehicle license and public disorderly conduct after a white Chevrolet Cavalier was observed on Mattison St. and Bigby St. in Williamston. Sgt. D. Munger, C. Sanders investigated.

May 27- Richard Al Thurmond, 28, 825 Joe Black Rd., Williamston was arrested for simple possession of marijuana and failure to stop on command after officers were dispatched to Parkview Apts. Reports state Thurmond was observed holding a small brown cigarette like paper filled with a green leafy substance and also had a clear plastic baggie with approximately 1 gram of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. Officers chased the man approximately 150 yards after he laid the baggie down and ran down Gossett St. Sgt. D. Munger, Sgt. J. T. Motes investigated.

May 26 - Reece Doyle Glick, 28, 121 Pearson Rd., Belton, was arrested for driving under suspension, operating an uninsured vehicle and failure to return a suspended tag after a silver Ford truck was observed with an expired tag. The driver parked at Ace hardware and entered the store, exiting from a side door and began walking down Pelzer Avenue where he was arrested. K. P. Evatt investigated.

May 25 - Stanley Richard Witt, 46, 19 1/2 U St., Honea Path, was arrested for no vehicle license, and driving under suspension after a green Pontiac was observed with an expired tag on West Main St., D. Munger investigated.

Ace Hardware has Grand Re-opening

Ace Hardware and Rental will hold a grand re-opening celebration beginning with a board cutting Thursday June 3.

Formerly True Value, the business recently joined the Ace Hardware program which will allow them to better serve their customers in the Williamston, Pelzer and Piedmont area, according to owner Jim Simpson.

The re-opening will include four days of giveaways, specials and special activities.

Customers can register for grand prize giveaways including first prizes, a Weber Q grill with stand; second prize, Hi Wheel 4 hp push mower; and third prize, a tool combo pack.

The activities will begin with a board cutting at 8 a.m. Thursday. The first 200 customers will receive a free 5 gallon paint pail and 20% off any items that fit in the pail. There will also be a drop in from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres.

On Friday, the first 100 customers will receive a free tool box. Hot dogs and drinks will be offered during lunch and a rental demonstration will be held in the afternoon.

Saturday activities include a free 32 gallon ACE trash can to the first 100 customers who will receive a 15% discount off any items that fit in the can. Grand prize drawings will also be held Saturday and there will be a classic car show from 1-3 p.m. in front of the store.

The first 100 customers who visit the store on Sunday will receive a free 4 pack 60-watt light bulbs.

In addition to a complete line of Ace hardware and paint, the business offers commercial and industrial supplies.

Ace Hardware is located in Town Square Shopping Center in downtown Williamston. For more information call 847-9669.

West Pelzer meeting begins grant process

Approximately forty citizens of West Pelzer attended an important meeting Thursday to offer input on community needs and priorities for the town.

The needs assessment public hearing is the first step in a grant application process for funds to meet those needs.

Pelzer officials are applying for a Community Development Block Grant which they hope to use to replace aging water lines in the town. The federal grant is a HUD program managed by the S. C. Department of Commerce, office of grants administration.

The town is receiving assistance in the application process from the Appalachian Council of Governments (ACOG), a public non-profit organization. ACOG representatives Judith Romano, Grants Project Manager, and planner Dan Wagner conducted the needs assessment meeting for the town at the Pelzer Community Building.

West Pelzer qualifies for the grant because the town is classified as a low to moderate income area according to the 2000 census, Romano said.

The town could receive up to $500,000 through the grant with a 10% local match required as part of the grant, Romano said.

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

Mayor Peggy Paxton said she felt that the town has a “good chance of getting the grant since Sen. Billy O’Dell and Rep. Dan Cooper are really pushing for us.”

As part of the needs assessment, citizens were asked to state what they liked about West Pelzer. Many citizens agreed that they liked the friendly atmosphere of the town where “neighbors help neighbors.” Others added that they enjoyed the location of the town and the fact that the cost of living is lower than in many other areas.

Other citizens commented that there is a good school system and that the town has a good fire department and police department.

When citizens were asked to list their dislikes about the town, many were quick to mention water pressure and sewer problems.

One resident on Burkett Street reported that there is a “strong sewer smell” in a creek near her home.

One resident reported serious water pressure problems in her mother’s home on Stephanie Drive. Another citizen reported that their household has to wait for enough water to wash their hands after flushing the commode.

Another citizen reported that she cannot make coffee in the morning if her husband is taking a shower. Other citizens reported problems with the quality of the water in the town due to the aging lines.

Another resident mentioned “double taxation” for citizens of the town without any real benefits from the county. “Where is the county assistance?” he asked.

One citizen expressed concern about a lack of community pride in areas where trash and garbage are visible.

One person present said she would like to see better police coverage on weekends while another complained about “big trucks speeding through the town.”

One frustrated citizen who had been caught by surprise when water was cut off to replace a section of lines expressed a desire for a better communication process in the town.

Romano was pleased with citizen participation and input at the meeting which she said is an important step in the grant process. Information from the meeting will be compiled and reviewed at a second public hearing before the grant application is completed, Romano added.

Wilson, Austin face off  for County Council  seat

Bob Austin is seeking the Anderson County Council District 7 seat currently held by Cindy Wilson.

Austin opposed Wilson in the last race for the seat with only “seven votes seperating the Republican nomination in 2002. Citing a “low turnout” in the last primary election, Austin said he hopes to get more voters – especially younger voters - out for this election.

Austin stated that his “civic passion” and his love for the community were driving forces in his candidacy.

“You make a living by what you take out of the community, but you make a life by what you put back into the community,” he stated.

Operating a dental practice in Anderson and Williamston for 19 years, Austin feels that he can bring a business perspective to county council especially concerning budgets and fiscal matters. “I’m all about checks and balances,” Austin emphasizes.

Austin also points to his four years experience in the U. S. Air Force as a time that built his self-confidence, organizational skills and patriotism.

Austin says that his highest priority will be “to balance our need for jobs and increased economic development with a desire to maintain the beauty that makes our district a great place to live.”

“There’s a right way and a wrong way to get things done,” Austin says. Austin hopes to remove the current “negativity” and “work with and through people” to get things done.

Austin has been an active volunteer and leader with Keep America Beautiful of Anderson County and the Anderson Free Clinic. He is the father of three children and is married to the former Kristi Jacks of Williamston.

Anderson County Council District 7 representative Cindy Wilson is seeking reelection to the position she has held since taking office in January 2001.

Wilson is the first official elected to sit on one of two new seats on the expanded county council.

The District includes the Anderson County municipalities of West Pelzer, Pelzer, Williamston and Honea Path and rural areas surrounding each town.

District 6 was redrawn for the 2002 election to include all of Pelzer, West Pelzer, Williamston , which were split districts and Honea Path. The district includes rural areas surrounding the municipalities including.

She said she plans to continue to push for “honest, open, accountable local government,” which according to Wilson, includes pushing for a line-by-line audit of the County’s finances and a real budget process resulting in more wise government spending.

She said she plans to continue to work for improvements for the area she represents. Wilson said that residents and the legislative delegation have been very instrumental in focusing on solutions to problems in the district.

“I am looking for a continuation of the team work in District 7,” she said.

Wilson said many of the questions she receives from her constituents are well thought out.

She praised the legislative delegation for their efforts in finding funding for projects and helping solve problems in the district she represents.

“Our legislative delgation have been extremely helpful to the citizens of this district,” she said.

Wilson said she plans to continue to focus on needs in the area. Some of the needs already being addressed include water needs in Honea Path, and aging water and sewer lines in Pelzer, West Pelzer and Williamston.

Wilson pointed out recent meetings with Congressman Gresham Barrett, whom she said told her, is working to get grant money to help with the infrastructure problems facing the municipalities.

Most of the funding for projects in the area is coming from grants and outside sources according to Wilson.

“Most of the funds come from other sources. We need to focus on fire and police protection which is funded the same as it was 10 years ago.”

Wilson also pointed out the soccer field complex project in Williamston.

Wilson said $25,000 was designated from her discretionary paving fund, to be used for the complex which is now being planned for an area behind the depot just off Main Street.

Wilson said the county spent $52,000 on engineering studies to determine that a site selected on Mill Street was not usable after it was discovered that it was located on bedrock.

“Starting and ending with citizens. Help put me in office for another two years.”

Wilson said she plans to focus on clean air and economic development issues.

She points out industries such as the Walgreens distribution center as the environmentally friendly type industry she would like to see locate in the County.

She said she is also focusing on projects such as paving lanes for foot and bike traffic in the district and will focus on tourism and promoting the Heritage Corridor, which runs through the area.

Countywide issues Wilson said she will continue to focus on include stricter accountability for the county administrator and taking Allied Waste back to the negotiation table.

She also said that an expansion permit issued to Allied Waste about 18 months ago, is a justifiable reason to bring Allied back for renegotiation.










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