News Archive

Week of June 16, 2004

Change in trash services may lower West Pelzer rates
West Pelzer faceing DHEC penalty
Richard Turner case to be tried in Saluda
Celebrity status continues for local cable guys
Runoff election June 22 to determine sheriff candidate
Salkehatchie volunteers spruce up local homes
Planning Commission hears local zoning requests
Three sentenced in counterfeit case
Thieves take equipment from local church


Change in trash services may lower West Pelzer rates

The Town of West Pelzer is looking into the possibility of using the old bank building located at the corner of Hindman St. and Main St. as a police department.

At their regular monthly meeting Tuesday, Police officer Bernard Wilson asked Council to consider looking into utilities and other costs associated with acquiring the building for office space for the department. He said the department, which has four fulltime officers and three reserves,  is in need of space.

According to Wilson, the evidence room is full and there is a need for a gun cabinet to meet SLED requirements. The building also has a vault which could be used for this, he said.

Council unanimously approved the request 5-0.

Council also unanimously approved a motion by Joe Turner to proceed with looking into the government acquisition vehicle program where police cars that carry advertisements are available for $1.

Council was also told that the police department was expecting grant money of $1,750 to reimburse the town for bullet proof vests.

Mayor Peggy Paxton said she had planned to ask the fire department to help with fireworks for the town’s 4th of July Celebration scheduled  for June 26.

The town plans to host an event featuring fireworks, food, snocones and other activities for the community, according to Paxton.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. with fireworks around 9 p.m. Paxton said. In event of rain, the event will be held on July 3.

Council unanimously approved  changing the trash pickup service provider for the town.

The service bid award went to Upstate Sanitation, which had a low bid of $15,400. Other bids received included Roger Scott, $27,288 and Waste Industries, $57,660.

Paxton said, “The charges are too significant to ignore.” She said the new trash service provider will be required to meet town requirements and the contract will be up for review each year. The new contract is effective July 1st, 2004.

“There will be no compromise on service to citizens,” Paxton said.

Paxton also said there may be a reduction in the garbage fee for town residents. The Wednesday pickup schedule will remain the same.

Paxton said the Main St. water line improvements were about eighty percent complete and that Representative Dan Cooper and others are looking into grant funding to help with a line replacement on Stephanie Drive.

Paxton said  police officer John Parales will graduate from the police academy this week.

Paxton also updated Council on a meeting with DHEC, on June 9.

Paxton said the town could expect a fine by DHEC in connection with ongoing problems with the town sewer treatment lagoons.

“We don’t know the amount, but I think they will be as lenient as possible,” Paxton said.

Paxton said the fine, which she expects to be between $8,000 and $60,000, was the result of the town ignoring the problems with the system.

“This is the fourth letter the town has received from DHEC in three years,” Paxton said. “This is the first response they’ve gotten.”

Paxton said the fine was basically the result of nothing being done to change the problems during recent years.

According to Paxton, eighty percent of the problem was the former operator, who has recently been replaced.

“Our new guy is excellent,” Paxton said. “Jeff Bruce is here seven days a week.”

Paxton said that having a new operator and showing DHEC the town is attempting to  address the problem helped  in the discussion.

“Lack of communication from this town is a part of the problem,” she said.

Paxton said there have been numerous compliance problems. “We have made corrective actions,” she said.

Paxton said she has also received some instruction on the Discharge Monitoring Forms that are DHEC required, and which she signs.

“I basically begged for mercy, because I am new,” she said.

She also said the town will be pumping sludge from the lagoons each month as part of the new requirements with DHEC.

She said she expects a new order to be issued by DHEC for the town’s compliance.

“It actually went really, really, well,” the mayor said.

In other business, Council unanimously approved Maida Kelly as mayor pro tempore and decided to hold a budget work session Thursday June 17 at 10 a.m.

Paxton said she was troubled by a complaint received from the police chief in a neighboring municipality.

Paxton told Council she had received a formal complaint from the Williamston Police Chief concerning an incident in which a West Pelzer officer responded to a request for assistance from a Williamton officer.

Paxton said she was told Williamston officers requested County assistance and did not need a West Pelzer officer to respond.

The Williamston officer was involved in a vehicle chase that had gone outside the town and into the county when the request was made.

The West Pelzer officer said he arrived shortly after the vehicle was stopped. County assistance arrived approximately 10 minutes later, according to the officer.

 Paxton said she saw no problem with the West Pelzer officer responding to the request and hoped that if a West Pelzer officer requested assistance that there would be help from another municpality.

“I hope our police offcers will have other officers there when they need them,” she said.

Council also unanimously approved a  request by Pelzer to continue to provide police coverage contingent to what we want to do,” Paxton said.

Councilman Joe Turner said he supported the request as long as West Pelzer officers are covered and Pelzer is liable when an officer responds to incidents for them.

Paxton said the town would be limited at the beginning but the agreement would work in the town’s  favor later.

West Pelzer faceing DHEC penalty

 The Town of West Pelzer faces a penalty from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) after failing to meet environmental regulations in the town’s waste water treatment facility.

Robert L. Proctor of SCDHEC Water Enforcement conducted a conference hearing with Mayor Peggy Paxton and other officials Wednesday to discuss serious non-compliance issues.

Information presented at the hearing showed that the Town of West Pelzer entered into a consent order with DHEC on July 10, 2002 which required the town to accept bids within 90 days for the construction of facilities necessary to eliminate the discharge to the regional sewer provider.

According to the consent order, the town was to complete the construction of those facilities with 365 days and close the town’s waste water treatment facility within 180 days after that. The consent order also contained financial penalties for failure to comply with the requirements of the order.

On May 20, 2003, DHEC conducted a routine inspection of the West Pelzer waste water treatment facility, discovered several deficiencies, and rated the facility unsatisfactory.

On October 23, 2003, the waste water treatment facility was rated as non-compliant because sample analysis indicated that the discharge failed to meet the limits of the permit.

On March 17, 2004, DHEC conducted a routine inspection, noted several deficiencies, and again rated the facility unsatisfactory.

Paxton responded to the issues by outlining the corrective action measures taken on behalf of the town.

Paxton explained that she had trusted the operator of record to handle the DHEC paperwork correctly. She also stated that she had forwarded all communications to the operator of record and was never informed of any deficiencies.

Paxton further explained that when it was brought to her attention that there were deficiencies, she changed the operator of record on May 1 to Jeff Bruce of the Town of Pelzer. Paxton explained that currently the town is working on training another employee to become the operator of record.

Paxton added that other corrective actions included adding two bags of lime per day and pumping out sludge once a month.

Proctor emphasized that the DHEC consent order states that the town “should be done doing something that hasn’t even started.”

Lara Payne of Rural Development was present at the meeting to explain the current status with the sewer project for the town.

“I will work with you as long as due diligence is shown,” Proctor told Paxton. 

Proctor indicated that the hiring of a new operator of record for the town was a “definite plus.”

Other information presented at the hearing by Sen. Billy O’Dell, Town Attorney Carey Murphy, and Rusty Burns also added some positive input on behalf of the town.

Proctor closed the meeting by stating that there still would be a financial penalty assessed to the town for past non-compliance issues. The amount of that penalty would be determined after further discussion with DHEC officials, Proctor said.

Richard Turner case to be tried in Saluda

The assault and battery case against former Williamston police chief Richard Turner will be tried in the town of Saluda according to Williamston Municipal Judge James M. Cox.

Saluda Judge W. Frank Partridge, has agreed to hear the case, Cox said this week. No trial date has been set.

Though Turner asked for a speedy trial, the time between February17 when the speedy trial order was signed, and the announcement of a venue for the trial, will not be included in the time allowed for a speedy trial, according to Cox.

The town consented to a separate speedy trial motion requiring the case to be disposed within six months.

Turner’s attorney Bruce Byrholdt had asked for a change of venue motion over concerns that pre-trial publicity surrounding the case would make it impossible to pick an impartial jury.

Under change of venue rules, the case could be transferred to any municipality or county summary court in the state.

Cox said several venues were considered including Pickens, Oconee, Laurens, Greenwood, Newberrry, McCormick, Edgefield and Saluda.

“This court finds that the venue meets all the requirements necessary to insure that the defendant receives a fair trial.

The order states, “Turner could not find a jury in this town in which no member had preconceived notion of the guilt or innocence of the defendent. It seems clear to this court that the defendent could not receive a fair trial in this venue.

Cox also stated in his order that he is recusing himself due to long standing relationships with the defendant and others involved in the case.

The order states the local court will retain administrative jurisdiction over the case until its resolution.

Turner faces the misdemeanor charge in connection with an alleged assault involving Williamston police Sgt. Zack Gregory in the police station parking lot last June.

Celebrity status continues for local cable guys

A few weeks ago, they were just your regular, everyday cable guys.

Guy Rimel and Don Spinner reported for work every morning at Knight Cable, a Charter Communications contractor located at Chippewa Lane in Williamston, and did what cable guys usually do.

But April 26 drastically changed all that. Besides being Guy Rimel’s birthday, it was also the day the two were instrumental in catching a bank robber who was hiding under a house where they were installing cable.

When they arrived at the location, law enforcement authorities were swarming the neighborhood searching for two suspects who had robbed a nearby bank on White Horse Road in Greenville.

Spinner crawled under the house to do some work and realized that he was under the house with one of the suspects who was partially hidden under some plastic.

That’s when Spinner did some quick thinking and some fast talking. Pretending that he was not alone, he carried on an imaginary conversation with Rimel until he could crawl out from under the house and get assistance.

He ran to get Rimel who was searching for tools in the company truck. The two secured all exit points under the house and contacted law enforcement authorities who were still searching for the bank robbers.

The rest as they say is history except for one thing - the two have now become local celebrities.

They have been featured on several television and radio broadcasts, have each received a $300 award from the FBI, have received special recognition plaques from the vice-president of Charter Communications, and have been recognized by local law enforcement.

To add to the story, the two were actually able to film the capture of the criminal with a digicam that was in their service truck.

Now even national media is picking up on the local story. NBC’s Tonight Show has requested information on the pair and may even furnish them with a free trip to Los Angeles to feature them on a telecast.

And how has all this celebrity changed these guys? 

With classic humor, the two describe the changes that have occurred since the story broke and made them local heroes.

They report that they now are often recognized as they travel through the local area. “Caught any bank robbers today?” is the question they hear from local residents who frequently yell to them at traffic lights.

In addition, the two admit that they really have to keep up their celebrity image and wash their service van much more than they used to. The inside of the van doesn’t necessarily get the celebrity treatment – don’t ask to see it, they caution.

As far as job duties go, they both admit that they crawl under houses much slower now and have even thought about hiring a monkey to do the job for them.

They also insist that they maintain many more supplies in their van than they did in the past. Firecrackers, tear gas, crusader capes and a ton of flashlight batteries are necessities, they say.

Unfortunately, the duo complain that they haven’t attracted any groupies yet but they hope that will be a part of their future.

Although no one has contacted them about the rights to their story for a movie, they both feel that will just be a matter of time. Spinner feels that The Rock should play his daredevil role in the story while Rimel leans more toward John Goodman as a choice for his accompanying role in the escapade.

Until things materialize on the big screen, the two plan to continue their daily routine – reporting for work, installing cable and catching bad guys whenever the opportunity arises.

Runoff election June 22 to determine sheriff candidate

The race for Anderson County sheriff will continue with a runoff election June 22 in the Republican primary between David Crenshaw and John Skipper.

Crenshaw captured 9,339 votes - over 49% of votes cast. Skipper received 7,470 votes from county voters – almost 40% of votes cast. Greg Williamson who received 1,970 votes is out of the race.

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.

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.

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.

Salkehatchie volunteers spruce up local homes

More than 50 youth and adults of all ages from across the state have converged on the area this week with one mission in mind – serving others in need. They are volunteers in the Salkehatchie Summer Services of the South Carolina United Methodist Church.

The idea for the first Salkehatchie camp began 26 years ago in the mind of Rev. John Culp who saw a need to help others. The ministry has now grown to 36 summer camps which cover the entire state.

Culp chose the name Salkehatchie, an Indian word which literally means salt catcher, because the Salkehatchie River runs through the middle of Hampton County dividing the rich and the poor.

The local group sponsored by Shiloh United Methodist Church in Piedmont meets every morning for devotion before leaving to work on four home sites in the area doing much-needed repairs.

The homes located in Williamston, Pelzer, Piedmont, and Easley were selected earlier this year by referrals from local churches and community groups. Some of the projects include adding a first time indoor bathroom.

Local coordinator Jo Hood says it took a great deal of pre-planning to have everything ready for the group to begin work this week. Many supplies, meals, and accommodations are donated by local churches and groups in the area.

Each volunteer pays a $180 registration fee which also helps to pay for construction materials and camp costs.

Planning Commission hears local zoning requests

The Anderson County Planning Commission dealt with two local zoning issues at their regular meeting last week.

The commission held a public hearing on a request to rezone the intersection of Cherokee Road and Joe Black Road from R-20 (residential) to C-2 (commercial).

Area resident Janie Creamer spoke in opposition to the request stating her safety concerns about school traffic and the possibility of more accidents in the area.

Linda Thompson who lives on Joe Black Road explained that the intersection has three stop signs and is “an accident waiting to happen.” Thompson reported that her daughter was involved in an accident at the intersection several years ago.

John Clardy who lives on a farm at 676 Joe Black Road also opposed the rezoning request saying that the area would become “a death trap.”

Mike Creamer of 216 Oakmont Drive in Anderson and a property owner in the area further emphasized that the area is very prone to accidents.

Jeff Ellison supported the rezoning request explaining that there is already a driveway on the property and that the area around the intersection is commercial.

Considering the traffic concerns, Commissioner Dan McKinney made a motion to deny the request, and the Planning Commission unanimously supported his motion.

In old business, the commission discussed a rezoning request by Karen Ellison of 219 Ellison Lake Road to rezone Highway 29 north at McAlister Road from R-20 to C-2 after Anderson County Council returned the request to the commission for reconsideration.

County council was concerned about the C-2 zoning since there is a residential area nearby and questioned whether the designation should be C1N (neighborhood commercial) which would limit use of the property to retail, indoor use.

Since no area residents opposed the rezoning, McKinney proposed the motion that the commission stand by its original decision. The commission unanimously supported McKinney’s motion to maintain the C2 zoning recommendation.

In other business, the commission held a public hearing on the revised future land use map for School District One proposed by the county planning department.

The map generally designated the frontage along Highway 29 as mostly commercial with no designations about specific parcels of land in the area.

With considerable growth in the Powdersville area, McKinney encouraged a hard look at land use in that area. A Powdersville resident took exception to McKinney’s statement saying that the majority of land available for development in the area has already been sold.

Commissioner Alva Goodwin made a motion to accept the map as proposed, and the commission unanimously supported the motion.

Three sentenced in counterfeit case

Two Honea Path men and an Anderson man were sentenced June 10 in federal court for conspiracy to possess and pass counterfeit currency.

United State District Judge Henry M. Herlond, Jr., of Greenville sentenced William M. Mattison, 45 of Anderson, Theodore Carrol Parker, Jr., 40, and Coree Reeder, 53, both of Honea Path to four years probation with certain conditions.

Mattison will have 120 days of home confinement and Parker will pay $500 in restitution.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing in February established that a relative of Parker’s passed a number of counterfeit $20 bills at a business and a bank in Honea Path. The relative was interviewed and explained that the money came from a quantity of cash that was kept at a home. As a result, Parker was interviewed by Secret Service agents.

Parker admitted to replacing the relative’s genuine currency with about $3,000 in counterfeit twenties and hundreds that he had gotten from Mattison about a month earlier.

Parker also told agents that he had given about $600 in the bogus bills to his cousin, Corrie Reeder.

Mattison was interviewed by the Secret Service and admitted that about a month earlier, at Parker’s request, he had supplied Parker with about $3,000 in counterfeit $20s and $100s.

Parker was a member of Honea Path Town Council at the time and is a former candidate for Anderson County Council.

Thieves take equipment from local church

Thieves reportedly attacked a local church Thursday and were able to escape with an estimated $7,620 in equipment.

Pastor Mark Spearman of White Plains Baptist Church located at 1435 Easley Hwy. in Pelzer arrived at the church Thursday morning and discovered that someone had knocked down the door to the pastor’s office and the secretary’s office.

Reportedly, a Compac computer system, a Lexmark printer, a fax machine, two cordless phones, and a computer tower were taken from the offices. Two computer systems were also reported missing from the office of the youth pastor.

Two monitor speakers and six microphones were reported missing from the sanctuary as well as a Yamaha keyboard from the choir room.

Reportedly, a basement window to the church was broken out and a basement door was damaged. T. A. Caron investigated.

June 13 – Eric Travis Kiel, 28, 240 Wadmalaw Dr., Piedmont, reported that someone broke out a window on his vehicle and stole an Alpine CD player valued at $350. A. Digirolamo investigated.

June 13- Jeannie Head, 31, 711 Cooper Rd., Piedmont, reported that someone took a 1996 black Jeep Grand Cherokee valued at $7,500. J. Johnson investigated.

June 13 – Race Trac, 3010 Earle E. Morris, Jr. Hwy. Piedmont, reported that a customer pumped $23 worth of gas and left without paying. K. J. Burns investigated.

June 13 – Twins Crossing, 4427 Pelzer Hwy., Easley, reported that someone broke a front door glass causing $400 damage and activated an alarm. A Sharp cash register valued at $200 was reported stolen. W. Cunningham investigated.

June 13- Hickory Point #23, 3200 Pelzer Hwy., Easley, reported that someone broke a front door glass and activated an alarm. Reported missing were two cash registers valued at $300 and containing $350 in cash, a 24-pack of Budweiser beer valued at $14, and an undetermined amount of lottery tickets. A. Digirolamo investigated.

June 12 – Eugene Francis Lenius, 70, 6 Transylvania St., Piedmont, reported that someone stole a concrete deer valued at $200 from his front yard. G. G. Diaz investigated.

June 12 – Louie Franklin Welborn, 56, 28 Spring St., Williamston, reported that someone stole a radio and microphone valued at $610 from his work truck. K. J. Burns investigated.

June 12 – Teams Shell #4, 2501 River Road, Piedmont, reported that a customer took three 12-packs of Budweiser beer valued at $27 and fled. A. Digirolamo investigated.

June 11 – L&W Auto Sales, 10 Foster Road, Williamston, reported that someone took a white 4-door 1995 Honda Accord LX and a green 4-door 1997 Honda Accord LX valued at $14,500 from the car lot. Reportedly, keys belonging to the vehicles were missing from the key board inside the business but no unlawful entry was discovered. J. M. Durham investigated.

June 11- Ernie Leroy Bryant, 24, 431 Johnson Rd., Pelzer, reported that someone forced entry to a storage building behind his residence by prying open a lock and took a 1996 Harley Davidson Custom Soft Tail motorcycle valued at $13,320. J. M. Durham investigated.

June 11- Southern Scapes, 606 Cely Road, Easley, reported that someone removed a blower and trimmer valued at $600 from the bed of a work truck. J. A. Burdette investigated.










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