(2405) Week of June 15, 2005
Week of June 15, 2005
Sewer Phase 2 receives streamlined permit
Kelly McCorkle, Miss SC 2002 and a participatant in the The Amazing Race which aired recently on CBS, is planning a similar event in Anderson County in August.
Proceeds from the local race event will go toward a new Calvary Home for Children cottage named after her friend, Leslie Ann Mazzara, who was murdered along with her roommate last October in Napa California.
The great race type event is being planned for mid August and will include 50 to 100 two person teams competing for prizes, according to McCorkle. Teams will pay an entry fee and can obtain sponsors she said.
The event is expected to draw statewide and national attention.
48 Hours Mystery will be filming the event for a segment to be aired in September, according to McCorkle.
The show has been following the Mazzara case, which remains unsolved.
A 48 Hours film crew conducted interviews recently in Williamston with Mayor Phillip Clardy and McCorkle and also at Freedom Weekend Aloft, where McCorkle and others, including Miss Greenville, Anna Hanks were manning the Calvary Home for Chilren booth.
Hanks was a close friend to Mazzara and McCorkle knew her before they both participated in the Miss South Carolina Scholarship Pageant in 2002.
Mazzara was a graduate of Belton Honea Path High School, a member of the Greenville Ballet Company and attended the S. C. Governors School for the Arts. She graduated in 2003 from the University of Georgia with a Bachelors degree in philosophy.
She was crowned Miss Williamston in 2002 and went on to compete in the the Miss South Carolina Pageant.
Mazzara became an advocate for abused and englected children, speaking at church and school events to raise awareness, by promoting legislation for the cause and conducting fundraisers for Stephanies Cottage at Calvary Home for Children.
Stephanies Cottage, was named after Stephanie Carter, a four-year-old Anderson girl who died on October 17, 2000 after a year of torture at the hands of her father and stepmother.
With Leslies help, the cottage was completed and the first children moved in in 2002.
She moved to California and was working for a winery when she and a roommate were brutally stabbed on October 31, 2004. No arrests have been made.
McCorkle has taken up the cause of her best friend and the efforts of the family and friends of Mazzara who have begun a memorial fund to raise money for a third cottage.
Calvary Home for Children is a long term residential care facility that provides a home for abused, neglected and orphaned children from all over the Southeastern U. S.
Children from the upstate of South Carolina and surrounding areas receive special consideration, according to director Sam Henderson, director of Calvary Home for Children.
A ribbon cutting for the second cottage, the White Cottage will be held Monday, June 20, at 11 a.m. and will be followed by an open house.
The Leslie Mazzara Cottage will be the third in the center located on Simpson Road and will cost approximately $250,000 to construct, according to Henderson,
The center is on 25 acres of land and includes plans for 6 homes and a multipurpose building.
The cottages are 6,000 sq. ft. eight bedroom brick homes which are built to special set of safety codes which include walls, doors, fire codes and other standards.
They also include other amenities including two stoves, 2 washers and 2 dryers.
Children placed with Calvary Home for Children can stay from a few months to 2 years if neccessary, according to Henderson. They also attempt to keep siblings together.
The homes are sponsored by churches, businesses, and fundraisers, according to Henderson and receive no federal support.
The organization is a 501C3 non profit which was incorporated in 1998.
Calvary Home for Children also operates a Rags to Riches Thrift Store located at 511 West Whitner St. in Anderson.
Anyone interested in making a donation toward the Leslie Mazzara Cottage or helping with the great race event being organized by McCorkle can contact Sam Henderson at Calvary Home for Children at (864) 296-5437.
By Stan Welch
Despite numerous violations of federal regulations on Phases 1A and 1B of the controversial Beaverdam project, the US Army Corps of Engineers has allowed Anderson County to use the same lenient streamlined permitting process for Phase 2.
According to Corps spokesperson Alicia Gregory, the permit has been issued for Phase 2, which will cover more than ten miles of the Beaverdam projects length, running from Long Road all the way past Cox Road, before tying into the citys sewer lines near Snow Road.
Gregory also confirmed that there is a continuing enforcement action concerning the first two phases of the project.
The two parts of the project are considered separately, but the parties are continuing to work out the enforcement options on the first phases.
Project consultant Dewey Pearson confirmed that the Corps is reviewing information on the restorations and mitigation work done at the Corps direction, adding, We should hear something from them by the end of the week. Not long after that, they will be up here to inspect.
Permitting of the project under the more lenient NWP 12 process surprised and angered long time critic of the project, District 7 County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson.
The Corps said they dont take into account the level of compliance on previous permits. So they just issued the NWP 12 to the same folks who committed so many violations on Phases 1A and 1B. The worst thing is, so many times the contractors exceeded the agreed upon right of way on those phases. Now, according to the person I spoke to at the COE, the landowner can be held liable for any damage or violations outside that ROW, even if the contractor is the one who committed the violation.
Wilson has sent letters, dated June 3, to both U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint, as well as to Congressman Gresham Barrett, asking that On behalf of the affected landowners, and the many concerned citizens in Anderson County Council District 7, including my immediate family, we respectfully request that your office insist that the US Army Corps of Engineers formally rescind the Nationwide 12 Streamline Permit under which Phase II cannot qualify, and require that Anderson County reapply using the COE Individual Permit for this phase of the construction, which in my opinion, is more appropriate.
The letter goes on to say that such an approach would protect the environment and property owners from unnecessary destruction.
During a telephone interview, Wilson added that the acquisition of the necessary rights of way is underway, but added that many landowners along the proposed route are not eager to cooperate.
Theyve seen the track record of this project, and they dont want it in their back yards, said Wilson, whose original opposition to the projects early phases led to her candidacy for and election to the County Council. She has continued to oppose the project consistently.
That opposition resulted in an inspection by a USFWS biologist earlier this year. As a result of that inspection, the COE issued a cease and desist order to the County in March, citing more than 20 violations, and requiring that repairs and mitigation be performed to restore the damage done.
Corps procedures provide for two methods of enforcement. One is a fine imposed by the Department of Justice through the Attorney Generals office. The other allows for restoration and mitigation in lieu of the fine, such as is being conducted on phases 1A and 1B currently.
One reason for the surprise of some that the lenient streamlined permitting process was allowed, especially for a project of such scope, can be found in the results of that inspection, during which FWS biologist Mark Caldwell said that repeated and obvious violations had occurred, and that the best scenario would involve re-permitting of the existing project under the more stringent individual permitting process, as well as imposing that permit on future phases of the system as well.
As has been pointed out several times by Anderson County officials and media, the COE is the permitting agency, and therefore has primary authority. Other agencies, including USFWS, are commenting agencies, with no real enforcement authority.
Wilson, whose family owns land along the proposed route, cautioned other property owners along that route to conduct no negotiations with John Gaffney, an outside negotiator brought in to acquire rights of way.
Wilson says that property owners liabilities will be lessened by negotiating directly with the projects owner, which is Anderson County.
I have told Mr. Gaffney that we will negotiate with no one but the projects owner, although he is welcome to be present at the negotiations.
By Stan Welch
The Town of Pelzer will seek an Inter Service Transportation Enhancement Act (ISTEA) grant to restore and preserve the old Pelzer Mill gym.
The Town Council approved the application following a public hearing Monday afternoon.
The grant, which provides $200,000, requires a 20% match of those funds. The Preliminary Estimate Report for the project shows a projected cost of $239,000, but town administrator Skip Watkins explained that there have been no bids let.
Its like with most grants, you have to have a PER as a starting point, so the granting agency has some idea to work with.
The mill built the gym sometime between 1910-1920, Watkins estimated.
Some of the larger expenditures reflected in the PER include HVAC, $19,332; handicap ramp, $13,600; rough carpentry materials and labor - $12,328; roofing, $12,000;new restrooms, $8,000; replacing windows on the upper level, $15,700 and electrical work, $10,825. The estimate was prepared by Trehel Corporation from Clemson.
The $239,000 price tag includes approximately $44,000 in design and contingency costs. Actual construction is estimated at $198,600.
The grant is a reimbursement arrangement, according to Watkins. If we get the grant, then for every $100,000 we spend, the grant reimburses $80,000. If we go over the $200,000 grant, Pelzer is responsible for the rest all by themselves.
According to Mayor Page Henderson, Sen. Billy ODell suggested seeking the funds under the ISTEA program which covers several areas, including historic preservation. Mayor Henderson said the town had met with Sen. ODell and County Administrator Joey Preston recently and all had agreed that the town should pursue the grant.
He added that the County had indicated no intention to help the town match the grant, but stressed that the town hadnt asked yet. We want to see how things go as far as the grant is concerned, he said.
Municipal Consultant Rusty Burns, who is assisting the town in seeking the grant said the gym would play a part in revitalizing the downtown area, even though it will not be staffed. He explained to the three council members and one citizen who attended the public hearing that the state usually returns the grant application after 30-40- days, seeking modifications and additional information. They always return it at least once. Well probably hear something by the end of September.
The mayor stressed that no money will be spent until the grant is obtained, if that is the result.
By Stan Welch
Tuesday evening, West Pelzer Town Council held its first meeting since the untimely death of one of its members, Terry Davis, just days before the June 7 election.
In a room so crowded that extra chairs had to be brought from the fire department, the Council conducted a civil and businesslike meeting, showing no signs of the political and personal wrangling that has marked recent meetings.
The agenda was short, but included a moment of silence for Davis, who died unexpectedly on June 2. Following the moment of remembrance, Maida Kelly, another Council member, added a personal tribute to Davis, saying, Terry always tried to do what was right and to help the citizens of West Pelzer. It is our loss that he has gone.
Moving into the business portion of the agenda, Council voted to separate the operations of the water and sewer departments, as well as the accounting applied to both departments.
The separation will allow for more precise measuring of the costs of the two departments, as well as streamlining operations.
Mike Mahaffey is fully qualified to oversee the towns water system, while Brad West is equally qualified to oversee the sewer operations. Mayor Paxton made the motion; Joe Turner seconded.
Council also voted to allow a one time adjustment in the sewer bills of customers who had leaks in their water lines. The adjustment will be made on the sewer bill, because the town has to pay for the water, which it obtains from the Greenville Water Works.
The adjustment will be made only once, and the customer is expected to make repairs to address the leak. No specific time was set for the repairs, but as Councilman Turner pointed out, It behooves them to fix that leak, since theyll have to pay for it after the first time. Joe Turner made the motion; Mayor Paxton seconded.
Mayor Paxton also announced that the bids for the water system repairs and expansion will go out in the next 30 days or so. Thats all locked in and in the process now, she said.
The Council also discussed an ordinance to enforce clean up of vacant lots in the town limits. An ordinance is apparently in place, but a stronger one may be needed.
Earl Brown came in for praise and thanks from those in attendance. Brown, who narrowly lost his reelection bid earlier this month, was attending his last meeting as a Council member. It was also his 79th birthday.
Speaking to The Journal after the meeting, he said, Ive really enjoyed being on Council. I also appreciate the support I received during the election. I hope everyone on Council will try and work together. If they will, they can do a lot of good for this town. I have also enjoyed working with the Mayor. She is doing a great job for this town.
Mayor Paxton said after the meeting that she was grateful for the tone of the meeting, saying, We really have no choice but to work together. The town faces challenges that we need to meet together. I was very pleased with how everyone here tonight conducted themselves. It speaks well for the town, and for the future.
The Williamston Police Department, IWA Flashfire and Crimestoppers will present pro wrestling on Sat. June 25 at 8 p.m. in the Williamston Municipal Center gymnasium.
Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for children age 6-12 and under six is admitted free.
IWA produces shows for the entire family according to promoter Shayne Castro.
IWA Flashfire features a host of qualified pro wrestlers and promotes family shows without the vulgar language and behavior of other promotions, according to Castro.
The organization is involved in community support and has hosted benefit shows throughout the upstate area and north Georgia to help raise money for nonprofit charities, schools, children with medical problems and others, Castro said.
The wrestlers are also involved in outreach programs for children and as role models, attempt to set good community standards.
The organization includes approximatly 22 wrestlers who come from the Anderson area as well as Easley, Hart County, Ga. and other areas across the state.
They promote 2 to 3 shows each month and held 38 last year.
The show offers clean fun and a lot of action, according to Castro. It is a family atmosphere which kids and adults can enjoy.
Castro said the wrestlers try to get the fans involved. It brings back the old school memory of wrestling the way it used to be, he said. Everybody seems to have a good time.
For more information on particular wrestlers involved in the IWA, check the website at www.iwaflashfire.com.
Williamston Police officers investigated several thefts of lawnmowers and other items. Among incidents investigated:
June 10 - Rudgle Adlia Smith Jr., 28, 203 Williamston Court, Williamston, reported a hit and run in which his vehicle was struck from behind by a white vehicle while at the intersection of Anderson Drive and Beaverdam Rd. Sgt. A. B. Singleton investigated.
June 10 - Monte Ray Perkins, 31, 7 Ridge Court Williamston, reported a Dodge Dakota pickup valued at $2,000 stolen.
June 12 - Monte Ray Perkins, 31, 7 Ridge Court, Williamston, was charged with filing a false report after admitting to officers he had wrecked his Dodge Dakota pickup on the way to work and abandoned it because he did not have insurance. Sgt. J. H. Kirby investigated.
June 7 - Chandler Allen Lindekugel, 36, 181 Rich Dr., Pelzer, was charged in the theft of an electric scooter valued at $250, which was reported stolen by Ruth K. Ferguson, 35 Pelzer Ave., Williamston. J. T. Bauer investigated.
He was also charged with taking a 22 inch cut Troy Bilt lawnmower valued at $200 from 8 Rockwood Dr., Williamston. J. T. Motes investigated.
June 6 - Charles Michael Martin, 48, 101 Parker St., Williamston was arrested for public disorderly conduct after being observed on Main St., Sgt. A. B. Singleton, G. R. Heydrich investigated.
June 7 - Stewart W. Burkart, 208 Pelzer Ave., Williamston, reported a Montogomery Ward Yardall riding mower valued at $2,000 stolen. C. J. Sanders investigated.
June 6 - Christopher Everette Blackwelder, 20, 101 Cliftwood Lane, Greer, was arrested for simple possession of marijuana after a Mitsubishi Eclipse was observed on Middleton Blvd. with a brake light out. Reports state that during a search of the vehicle seven marijuana roaches were found in the ashtray. A warning was issued for the brake light. C. J. Sanders investigated.
June 5 - Wai Tong, 25, 203 Guthrie Rd., Belton, was arrested for open container and unsafe equipment after a 1993 Ford was observed on East Main with a headlight not working. J. L. Barnes investigated.
By Stan Welch
For months, a tug of war between Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston and District 7 County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson has been going on. Wilson has persistently sought answers to a series of questions concerning various aspects of the Countys finances. Preston has offered what Wilson calls responses, not answers.
The latest round in this ongoing struggle came at the end of the last Council meeting, when Preston provided a combination of written responses to Wilsons questions, as well as several challenges to Wilson to provide supporting evidence for several claims she has made in recent weeks.
Key among those issues is the purchase and proposed renovation of The Stitchery, a somewhat dilapidated building downtown, which is slated to be renovated at a cost of more than twice the purchase price.
Wilson has mentioned a sales price of $35,000 for the property, a figure which Preston challenged her to document. In turn, Preston provided documentation indicating that the property was purchased for $98,000 and was assessed at $96,400.
Prestons memo to Wilson, dated June 7, goes on to explain that a contract for renovating the building was awarded to Lazer Construction in the amount of $220,483. The memo also states that the purchase price came from the capital projects account as budgeted in the year 2004.
Wilson argues that no specific authorization for those expenditures is reflected in Council minutes.
We clearly never voted to authorize those expenses. That expense cannot be found in either the last two budgets, or the proposed budget. Mr. Preston has implied that the funds may have come from bonds issued for special projects, but that would clearly have required some discussion by the Council, said Wilson recently.
Also, every time Mr. Preston explains what the stitchery will be used for, the story changes. At first, it was for the arts warehouse; then it was for the farmers market. By the way, isnt it interesting that Mr. Preston is the treasurer of the Arts Commission?
Wilson has also questioned the distribution of Chamber of Commerce checks to County employees as a form of Christmas bonus. She has wondered aloud whether employees even knew what they were, adding that she threw hers away, thinking it was worthless. She wonders how many other employees were unaware of what the checks were, and whether the County was refunded any monies for checks that werent redeemed at Chamber businesses.
If I recall, the County spent more than $15,000 on those checks. Another question I have is how does $20 multiplied by the number of employees come out to an odd number? Theres a discrepancy there that Joey still hasnt explained to my satisfaction, Wilson said.
Wilson has also stated that she thinks many employees would have preferred to receive their cost of living allowance (COLA) instead; a claim Preston calls misleading since, according to a memo dated May 26,employees received both. Preston added that the Chamber checks were purchased with funds from a personnel account but did not replace employees COLA.
COLA issues have arisen in other contexts as well. Wilson has said in the past that she knows of county employees who have not received COLA increases. Preston has repeatedly denied that, though he has explained that employees who have not been employed beyond their probationary period at the time the COLA calculations are applied do not receive it. He also added that County Council did not approve COLA increases in 2003.
Another issue that arose at the last Council meeting involved Wilsons charge that several department heads had indicated a budget statement which Preston presented in support of his original budget proposal had been signed under duress. Preston conceded that Chief Magistrate Nancy Devine, after originally signing the statement, rescinded her endorsement soon after, citing judicial codes of conduct which prohibit any such endorsement of policies or individuals.
At the June 7 Council meeting, Preston challenged Wilson directly, saying that he would like a list of those department heads or elected officials who had indicated that. Wilson declined to provide the names, saying Im sure you would, Mr. Preston. Im certain they would be on your list to be fired by tomorrow morning.
Legal expenses are another issue which Wilson has questioned, including the expenditure of $288,000 to the McNair Law Firm in a 2 week period.
Preston responded in written form to the entire Council on May 9, explaining the general billing procedure and reminding Wilson pointedly that the question of her access to any further legal vendor information is an issue before the courts.
I remind you that this remains the subject of a lawsuit that you have filed against the County, and I have received no direction from County Council indicating a reversal in their previous decision regarding this matter, Preston said.
Wilson is currently seeking a writ of mandamus to force the release of the information, on the grounds that as a member of the County Council, any privilege which might exist between the County and the legal vendor does not apply to her since she is an elected member of the Council.
She has conceded that she is not entitled to review legal files pertaining to the Countys side of a lawsuit concerning the Beaverdam sewer project; a lawsuit to which Wilson was a party as a private citizen before her election to the council.
She also argues, through her attorney and FOIA author, Jay Bender, that Prestons argument that his office is a co-equal partner to the Council itself is ludicrous and totally unsupported by the Home Rule Act.
Anderson County Sheriffs Deputies investigated numerous incidents recently. Among those investigated:
June 6 M.K. Davis received a report from Reverend Tony Edwards, of the Pelzer Church of God, of the theft of a license tag from a church van, SC# 474CHX.
June 6 M.K. Davis received a report of a stolen tackle box from a boat at 103 Old River Road. The tackle box, obviously belonging to a serious bass fisherman, contained $1,200 worth of lures and gear, according to Judy Lock, the anglers wife. The next day, June 7, Ms. Lock reported the theft of SC tag # 279PKU from a brown and white Chevy truck at the same location.
June 6 M.K. Davis received a report of the theft of a SC license plate # 647TNV from Deanna May Poseys car while it was parked at Bi-Lo.
June 9 D.E. Tench investigated a complaint of breaking and entering by Tracy Saylors, who went to her rental property at 102 McCuellion Drive, where she found two people in the mobile home. They told her the owner sent them to fix it up. She told them she was the owner, at which time they left. The man was described as a WM, 40, 58 with black hair, while the WF was 52 with brown hair. Nothing was reported taken.
June 12 J.J. Jacobs made a traffic stop of a white 1985 Dodge Charger on Highway 8 near Pelzer. The car had a tag that was two months out of date. Reports state the driver, Tonya Campbell, 26, allowed the officer to search her car and person, and was observed trying to hide a white metal tin from her wallet. She was arrested for the out of date tag and transported to ACDC. The tin, according to the report, contained a substance which proved to be methamphetamine, and the charge of possession was added.
June 7 D.B. Anderson received a complaint from William Reid, 1705 Elrod Rd. concerning the theft of his Model 150 John Deere riding mower. The mower had a 36 deck.
June 8 T.B. Dugan received a report from Gary C. Watson of the theft of his black 5 X 10utility trailer from a self storage facility at 2531 River Road.
June 8 T.B. Dugan and B.W. Parker responded to 101 Trotter Road, where a 39 year old man was holding a knife on his two brothers.
Reports state the mother said that the two brothers came looking for a fight and accosted the man about living at his mothers home while not helping with the bills.
June 9 T.B. Dugan investigated a complaint by Danny Byrum, 23, of 825 Joe Black Road that a man threatened to beat his brains out with a metal pipe, and chased him in an attempt to do so. A witness said the man did threaten Byrum, but not with a pipe. The man had left when the police arrived.
June 9 J.A. Frazier investigated a report of auto theft from Joseph Harrison Jr., of 53 Buckeye Ct. Harrison said he left the 1987 Mercury Grand Marquis on the ramp of I-85 and River Rd. He said he was in the process of buying the car from Tonya Sutton, of Ayden NC. He said the car had to be started with a screw driver.
June 9 Brian Parker received a report from Trence E. Holdbrooks, of 125 Constellation Road that two handguns had been stolen from under his mattress.
June 9 T.B. Dugan received a complaint from Jonathan H. Brooks, 2200B River Road, that someone had broken into his house by throwing a large rock through the window. Closets, drawers and cabinets had been gone through but nothing appeared to be missing.
June 10 J.H. Pruitt responded to a complaint of assault by Karen Camden, 21 Hammette St. She was at Mechanic Tire and Lube getting work done on her car when she and the mechanic, Jeff DePolo got into a heated argument. According to Camden, it was the second time DePolo had replaced the same part. DePolo reportedly told her she could have her car, and threw the part, hitting her in the foot. Depolo then pushed the car back out of the garage and Camden drove it home.
June 10 J.L. Bergholm responded to a complaint from Sherrie Mitchell, 27, was in the car with her boyfriend, Hank W. Easton, 23, when they began to argue. She drove him to his sisters house where he reportedly stabbed her in the right arm with a box cutter. The report indicates her shirt was cut and her arm slightly scratched. She left the car to call 911 and he slashed all four tires on the car. Warrants were obtained.
June 10 J.J. Jacobs received a report from Bubba Barentine, 301 Ridge Stone Ct., of the theft of four 15 inch chrome rim sand wheels from his 1993 green Honda Accord.
June 10 A. Digirolamo responded to a complaint of auto theft from William Cantrell, of Powdersville Motors, 3127 Hwy 53. A 1990 Ford 350 dual pickup, black with a chrome tool box, was stolen. The drivers window was smashed during the theft.
June 11 - J.L. Bergholm investigated a complaint by Keith Wykle, 115 Jesse Dr., who is maintenance man for several properties owned by Sherry Holcombe of Easley.
Wykle reported hearing noises coming from one of Holcombes vacant mobile homes. Upon entering, he found a man using a hacksaw to cut a wall in the bathroom. Wykle told Bergholm he thought the manwas stealing the shower unit. Damage was estimated at $800.
June 7 M.J. Giovanni received a report from Judy Page, 109 Tripp St., of the theft of two CPR training dummies and various other items from her garage.
June 11 J.H. Pruitt received a complaint of the theft of the decal from a SC license tag from the vehicle owned by Virginia Anderson, 705 Belton Highway.
June 12 J.J. Jacobs received a report from Mary Lou Reid, 121 Yale Lane, that someone broke in her house through a window while she was outside gardening. She reported the loss of silverware, steak knives and cooking spoons.
June 13 R.A. Malone responded to a complaint of auto theft by Nathan Lee Roach, 217 E. Briar Ridge Rd, who reported that his 1996 white Chrysler Sebring had been stolen, the tag number was SC # 563-SHC. He also reported that the keys had been stolen a month or so previously.
A fundraising concert and spaghetti dinner will be held this Friday from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Palmetto High School Auditorium.
The show will feature Talya Henrickson, who was recently the first place winner of the FAMEUS challenge hosted by Debbie Allen of Fame.
The concert is being held to help with expenses she will incur in travelling with her family to California to participate in the National Competition in August.
Tickets are $10 per person in advance or $12 at the door and will include a spaghetti dinner served with garlic bread and drink.
The concert will feature Talya who will perform country songs. Also entertaining will be Mandy Prater and Carlissa Brock. Henricksons voice coach Ben Gantt will also perform.
Talya , 14, is a rising ninth grader at Palmetto High School. She placed first in a national vocal talent competition held recently at the Greenville Expo Center.
The FAMEUS Vocal and Dance competition was one of eleven competitions being held in cities throughout the country under the direction of Debbie Allen, of FAME fame.
Talya was one of 67 participants to go before three judges, and placed first in her division.
The family plans to travel to California for the FAMEUS National Finals in Los Angeles August 8-10, where Talya will compete in front of a panel of judges made up of producers, talent agents, and celebrities.
She is the daughter of Mike and Cindy Henrickson of Williamston.
Anyone interested in attending can purchase tickets in advance by calling 864-244-2150 or (864) 947-6486. Tickets can also be purchased in advance at M&D Upholstery or The Journal in Williamston.