News Archive

(2408) Week of June 11, 2008

County Council to see new faces; voters show support for C. Wilson
Opportunity of a lifetime comes with flight in supersonic Russian jet 
W. Pelzer holding out on police car
Town seeks funding for street relocation
Williamston approves first reading on $3,614,390  budget
Park, town shaping up with improvement projects
Picnic in the Park with Miss Williamston
Towns celebrate connected history
Alleged violations were reported on campaign disclosures
Piercetown residents go without power
Three facing charges in barroom brawl
Shooting incident may have been racial

County Council to see new faces; voters show support for C. Wilson

By Stan Welch

The political landscape of Anderson County underwent several seismic shifts Tuesday, as voter displeasure found full expression in the Republican primary.

Two incumbents on Anderson County Council suffered shocking defeats, with margins approaching two to one. Two other incumbents face runoffs, with one of those incumbents in the position of a decided underdog.

Councilman Larry Greer, of District Three, was defeated by challenger Eddie Moore. The margin of victory was 63% to 37%, remarkably similar to the 61% to 39% victory that challenger Tom Allen posted over District Four incumbent Bill McAbee.

Moore, speaking after the results were posted, said ”I feel very good about the win, although I am surprised by the margin of victory. I went to more than a thousand homes door to door, and I think the people have serious issues with their county government. We need to address those issues. I hope that we can start looking at building more frontage roads and infrastructure along those roads. That will be a tremendous asset for our county. We also need to do a real audit and get a handle on the budget process. Without that, we are just guessing about what we are trying to do.”

Allen said that as he spoke to the people of District Four, two themes kept surfacing. “The people want to know about these credit cards. When I used credit cards when I was working for the federal government, I would go by the finance office when I needed it and bring it back when I was through. And we were required to provide extensive detailed reports of how and why we used those cards. That should be the county policy from the top down. A related subject that kept coming up was the need for an audit. There seems to be a huge gap between the people who administer this county, who tell us everything is fine, and the people who live here. They want to know where their money is going.”

District One Councilman Bob Waldrep faces a runoff with Raymond Mackay. Both men hovered around the needed fifty per cent level all night, but the third candidate in that race, Brooks Brown IV, captured five per cent of the vote, forcing the runoff.

Brown later announced that he would support Waldrep in the runoff, stating “Mr. Mackay is bought and paid for. He will be a rubber stamp for anything the administrator wants him to do. I support Mr. Waldrep and hope he will be re-elected.”

In District Five, challenger Tommy Dunn, in a field of four candidates, was unable to capture the fifty per cent of the votes, plus one vote, needed to avoid a runoff. He will enter that runoff as the prohibitive favorite against incumbent Michael Thompson, however. Dunn had 49.4% of the vote, while Thompson had 25.49%.

 In District Six, Ron Wilson was one of two incumbents to win an outright victory, defeating challenger Rick Freemantle by a margin 54 % to 46%. Freemantle, who ran a shoestring grassroots campaign, immediately expressed his intentions to run again in 2010.

“I am so pleased with what we accomplished, and the support we got from the people in the District. I have absolutely no regrets about my campaign, and I’d like to let Mr. Wilson know he can be looking for me again next time.”

In the hotly contested District Seven race, the incumbent Cindy Wilson won 59% of the votes, while challenger Doug Hooper received 41%. Those numbers reflected a drop for Wilson who had won her last several contests while garnering 65% or better of the vote. Hooper ran an aggressive, well-financed campaign that saw the unusual sight of another incumbent Councilman contributing to a challenger’s campaign. District Six Councilman Ron Wilson contributed $3000 to Hooper’s campaign.

Wilson also contributed to Councilman Greer’s campaign and to challenger Raymond Mackay. In the end, it wasn’t enough. Serving only to reduce Wilson’s margin of victory, but never placing the outcome in doubt.

Ms. Wilson said she had expected a closer result. “They just spent megabucks in this District, while we got by on hard work and prayer. They started this campaign against me last summer, when they began saying I was ineffective in getting things done in my District. Luckily, the people figured out why I have trouble doing that, and they voted accordingly. I just hope that these results will mean that the tyranny in Anderson county is over.”

All the County Council races reported above are essentially settled now, since there is no Democratic opposition for the seats. The District Two council seat will pit incumbent Gracie Floyd against challenger Bill Holder in November.

In the Sheriff’s race, challenger John Skipper eked out a very narrow win, with only a .4% margin. That close margin will trigger an automatic recount of the votes. In the 10th Circuit Solicitor’s race, incumbent Chrissy Adams won a tough fight by a margin of 53% to 47 %.

Opportunity of a lifetime comes with flight in supersonic Russian jet 

By Stan Welch

Most people know Faye Meares as the senior vice president at the Community First Bank in Williamston, and as the doting grandmother of a boy named Jackson. Few would mistake her for a daredevil aviatrix, who has been up in a former Soviet fighter jet not once, but twice.

Nevertheless, that is exactly what she did earlier this year. Born into a family of fliers, she has two brothers who are flight instructors, and she herself has taken lessons for more than twenty years.

“The only thing I lack for my license is to solo,” said Meares. “For some reason. I’ve just never felt the need to do that. I’m pretty sure though I could land a small plane if I had to.”

She had flown in several aircraft including a seaplane, an open cockpit bi-plane, a helicopter, a glider, and a tail dragger. But she’d never been in anything like the plane she flew in earlier this year.

It was a combination of her love of flying and her love for Jackson that eventually led her to the back seat of the supersonic L39 jet, a Soviet fighter currently owned by Stewart Spinks, owner of the Spinks convenience store chain.

Each year, Spinks donates a flight in the plane to the March of Dimes to be auctioned at their annual fund raiser.

In December of 2004, her grandson Jackson was born prematurely, with a birth weight of only two pounds, eleven ounces. 

“He looked like a little bird,” said Meares, an apt description indeed. For thirty two days the infant struggled in the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU at Greenville Memorial Hospital.

“The March of Dimes folks were just fantastic. They were there for us the entire time. Jackson is doing so well now. He’s just a wide open four year old, full of himself. We couldn’t be happier. My husband’s company had always donated to the March of Dimes, but I had never paid it much mind until I actually saw the kind of work they do. So when this chance came up, I decided if I could get it, I would.”

She was successful, reaching the winning bid and her self-imposed bid ceiling at the same time. “I was so excited. My brothers couldn’t believe it.”

 On March 27, flying out of Donaldson in Greenville, where Spinks keeps his various aircraft, Meares had what she considered a once in a lifetime experience. Pilot Phillip Sill, who flies commercially for USAir is the pilot for the Spinks plane as well.

“He is such a great guy. He explained everything to me and would let me know what was coming up. He took it pretty easy on me because that plane is supersonic and you never know how civilians might react to the experience. Translation: he wanted to make sure I wouldn’t get sick on him,” Meares laughed, during a recent interview with The Journal.

Sill says Meares was simply a fantastic passenger. “She did great. I get a lot of macho guys who tell me to give them the works, and after the first loop, they’ve had enough. But Faye did every maneuver that I can do in this plane and never hollered.”

Sill has been flying for 27 years and had never been in a fighter. His efforts to become a military pilot were doomed by his lifelong need for eyeglasses. “But it is really cool to fly this plane. Civilians can’t get their hands on military aircraft from this country, but this plane came from the Ukraine, and at 560 miles an hour, it is plenty hot.

While she thoroughly enjoyed the experience, Meares later learned there had been a problem. 

“They video your flight and that video is part of the package. Shortly after my flight, Phillip called and said he had bad news and good news. The bad news was the video camera failed for some reason. The good news was he was going to take me up again so I could have my video. I couldn’t believe it. My once in a lifetime experience had just become a twice in a lifetime experience.”

She decided to roll the dice the second time and before her May 8 flight, she told Sill she wanted the whole package. 

“He knew I could handle the experience from the first time, so he let it roll. I don’t think we flew two miles right side up the whole second flight. Rolls, banks, turns, climbs, dives – you name it, he flew it. He asked me if we could buzz the GE plant because he had a friend there who was going to be looking for us. He flew over it upside down. It was fantastic! What a ride.”

 Most of the aerobatics took place near and over Lake Jocassee and Table Rock. He had asked that air traffic be rerouted between eight thousand feet and sixteen thousand five hundred, so he had plenty of room to fly. And boy, did he,” said Meares, eyes sparkling from the memory of it.

 In the steeper climbs the plane, and its occupants, pulled five Gs, or the equivalent of five times the gravity on earth. “When we were headed back, I told him he had lost me once. He asked what I meant and I told him I blacked out for a second. His response was a heartfelt, clenched-fist ‘Alright!’. A very sympathetic guy.”

It turns out he had recently been to an air show and had picked up a few new tricks. “He was showing off and enjoying it. It made for one of the greatest times of my life. I told my husband I used to think he was pretty exciting until I flew five hundred miles an hour.”

Her fingers-crossed hope that the cameras failed again were dashed by a recent call from Sill. 

“He said he had good news and bad news. He said the bad news was that the video didn’t fail this time. The good news was that the video didn’t fail this time. Oh, well, twice in a lifetime is till pretty good.”

W. Pelzer holding out on police car

By Stan Welch

The West Pelzer Town Council again declined to purchase a police car for the Town, despite the fact that Chief of Police Bernard Wilson presented an amended quote for the Dodge Charger cruiser, which matched the Crown Victoria quote, and provided more equipment.

The council split on the vote 3-2, just as they did at the special called meeting earlier this month to consider the purchase. 

At that meeting, Councilmen Joe Turner, Marshall King and Jimmy Jeanes presented information obtained from Honea Path on their police car purchase.

The quote of approximately $24,000 was $3,000 lower than the quotes presented by Chief Wilson, but did not include such equipment as light bars, radar, or the cage in which prisoners are transported. Once those items were factored in, the quotes were all in the $27,000 range.

At that earlier meeting, Councilmen Jeanes and King proposed that they gather more information before making a decision. Both said at Monday night’s meeting that they hadn’t gotten around to it.

Councilman Mike Moran, who voted for the purchase the first time, questioned the reasoning behind the majority’s refusal to purchase the vehicle.

“You keep saying you want to get into the new budget and see where the money is going. But you know we budgeted for this last year, under capital expenses. The money is in the budget. This isn’t about the money, and you know it. We all know it, and we know what the real reason is.”

Earlier this year, the same three Council members voted abruptly at the end of a regular meeting to abolish the police department immediately. When their efforts were denied by Town ordinance which required taking such action in a different procedure, the three members came under intense criticism by the town’s people at a public hearing at the fire station.

 At that meeting, Councilman Turner made a motion to give first reading to an ordinance abolishing the police department. The motion did not receive a second and died. Councilmen King and Jeanes later said it was so loud at the meeting they didn’t hear Turner’s motion.

Since that meeting, the three have twice refused to attend Council meetings at the fire department, though they have attended the last two meetings held there, including Monday night’s.

Since they constitute a quorum, and a quorum cannot be obtained unless at least one of them is present, their refusal to attend those meetings effectively prevent the Council from convening.

While they continued to refuse to purchase a police car, they did approve the purchase of NCIC software for the existing police cars so officers can access criminal records of possible suspects from their cars.

Monday, they also approved the purchase of a spray in liner and toolbox for the new truck that the water department recently purchased.

The Council also authorized Mayor Paxton and the town attorney to sign a newly issued consent order from DHEC which will allow the Town to address its sewer line problems without being fined by DHEC for not complying with the conditions of the town’s NPDES permit.

In other business, Mayor Paxton explained several budget amendments that were needed. 

Several of them were line items that were necessary to allow the town to reflect their receipt of funds from the county for events and activities they had paid for up front.

Those items added $46,000 to an existing surplus of approximately $51,000, for a total of $97,000, with just weeks left in the current budget year. That figure does not include the surplus in the capital project fund.

 During the citizens’ agenda portion of the meeting, several citizens expressed their unhappiness with the failure to provide a new police car. 

Randall Ledford asked why the police officers weren’t being given the tools to do their job. All three Councilmen said the current car could be repaired if needed.

Councilman Jeanes said, “I’ve made up my mind about this and I’m not changing it. We don’t need another police car.”

Town seeks funding for street relocation

By Stan Welch

Members of the Greater Williamston Business Association, the Downtown Streetscape Committee, and Town Council appeared before the Anderson County Transportation Committee Monday afternoon, seeking funding for the Pelzer Avenue street relocation project.

The appearance, made by Mayor Phillip Clardy, Councilman Otis Scott, Williamston Streetscape project chairman David Meade, Williamston businessman Jim Simpson, and GWBA president John Thomason, was a preliminary one, since no formal application for the funding has been made.

The committee is charged with distributing C fund monies received from the state.

The thrust of the presentation by the Williamston contingent was that relocating Pelzer Street to create a four way traffic light and a controlled entrance and exit to the existing Town Square shopping center is essential to attracting a major supermarket to the site.

The Town’s grant consultant, Rusty Burns, began by telling the committee that no funds were being sought immediately. “Today, we are requesting that you would consider a formal application at your next meeting, and that a previous request for funding to make improvements on Academy Street would be delayed and this request would take precedence. “

Mayor Clardy then spoke, telling the committee that Phase one of the town’s beautification was ready to go forward, with construction to begin next month. “This brings us to Phase two, which includes the relocation of Pelzer Avenue. Every prospective retailer or supermarket that we try to attract makes it clear that this is a must do in order to attract them. In our town, which is lucky enough to have two mills still operating, we need this attraction, this center of commerce to attract business to town.”

He also asked that the $143,000 previously sought for the Academy Street be diverted towards the Pelzer Avenue project, saying, “This would give us a true town square and a center for our downtown business district.”

Councilman Otis Scott, who had originally requested the money for paving of Academy St., told the ACTC he would postpone the Academy St. project to a later date if needed to allow the funding to go toward the proposed relocation project.

Current cost estimates for the project are $373,000, of which Councilwoman Cindy Wilson has agreed to appropriate $25,000 from her district paving funds.

 Meade, who is publisher of The Journal, also told the committee how important the project is to the town and its efforts to attract business. “We have a unique situation because a shopping center is also the center of our town. These two projects together will have a huge impact on our local economy and our ability to attract new businesses. It would be of tremendous benefit to the people of Williamston.”

Jim Simpson, who owns the shopping center, as well as the land to be donated for the relocation of Pelzer Avenue, spoke next. 

“I have worked diligently for the two and a half years since the Winn Dixie store closed, trying to locate another supermarket in that building. Every one I speak to insists on this relocation before they will even consider locating there. We need this project.”

 GWBA president John Thomason expressed his organization’s support, saying “I echo these gentlemen’s remarks. This is of vital importance to our town.”

The matter was placed on the agenda for consideration at the next ACTC meeting in August. The committee later delayed a decision on the Academy Street request, thereby keeping the option of diverting those funds to the Pelzer Avenue project available.

Phase 1 work to begin July

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) recently gave final approval to Phase I of the Williamston Streetscape project which includes improvements along East Main St. Low bid on the project was $119,810 by Town and Country Construction. Four other bids on the project ranged from $150,012 to $264,675.

Contracts for work should be completed by June 23 with groundbreaking beginning the week of July 7. Expected completion date is mid August. The project includes bulb outs, plantings, decorative lighting and improvements to the crosswalk on East Main St. An additional crosswalk will be added in front of McDonalds to allow pedestrians a safe place to cross to Mineral Spring Park.

Williamston approves first reading on $3,614,390  budget

Williamston Town Council approved first reading on the 2008-2009 municipal budget Tuesday.

The general fund budget includes projected revenues and expenditures of $2,962,134 at the current 110 mills with no tax increase. The general fund budget includes a contingency fund balance of $652,256.

The water and sewer budget includes revenues and expenditures of $1,787,100.

A public hearing is set for Monday June 30 at 6 p.m. at the Williamston Municipal Center after which second and final reading is expected.

The budget includes changing a part time position in the Street Department to a full time position and purchase of a new 2007 Dump Truck for $59,600. Funding for the truck is from the town’s sanitation fee, Mayor Phillip Clardy said.

The sewer department budget includes two new full time positions for a working crew to address the inflow and infiltration problems in the sewer lines and to meet DHEC compliance.

Clardy said that increased fuel costs and a four percent increase in health care insurance costs were two challenges in the budget.

Council has held multiple work sessions with department heads and accountants to hammer out the details of this year’s budget, the second to cycle an entire year on the the July 1 to June 30 fiscal year which the town changed to in July of 2007.

The work session Tuesday focused primarily on the water and sewer budget and nailing down final figures for the budget.

Discussion included planning to remove sludge from the town’s waste water treatment lagoons, working to reduce inflow and infiltration in the system, a hydraulic study and replacing 80 year old sewer lines.

Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr., said the town is looking at replacing old water and sewer lines on both sides of West Main St. before it is paved in 2010. Middleton said the lines, which are probably clay, will be replaced with steel pipe which will withstand the weight of vehicles and can be paved over.

SCDOT has refused to address the problem, which is the result of traffic being moved off of the original concrete base onto the lines because of a turning median installed by SCDOT several years ago.

Clardy said the traffic over the lines is causing the dirt to settle and the resulting ripple effect.

Clardy said SCDOT officials have told the town that they are not in the water and sewer business and the problem is the towns.

Sludge removal which is slated for later this year will take approximately 10 weeks to complete and will cost approximately $250,000 to $270,000. Council discussed transferring the funds from the general fund to the water sewer fund to pay for the work.

Because the work is part of the sewer system upgrade the town is working on, the cost of the sludge removal will be refunded from the RDA funding.

The town will install a temporary access to the facility to keep construction traffic out of the Gatewood subdivision.

Mayor Clardy said  the budget will be amended to show the expense and the town will see approximately $450,000 reimbursed from RDA for expenses being incurred in related improvements.

Budget revenues were adjusted to allow for a decrease in the use of water and sewer  by the town’s two textile plants, resulting in approximately $15,000 less revenue per month.

Water rates will remain the same, $20.40 for the first 2000 gallons for inside town customers and $26.40 for the first 2000 gallons for outside town customers. Both bills include a 75 cents DHEC fee.

A section of the budget which allows the town to have only one reading on a proposed tax anticipation note (TAN) was struck from the budget after being questioned by Councilmen Middleton and Carthel Crout.

Several other sections which are not applicable to the current budget were also deleted.

Council will hold a budget work session at 4 p.m. June 17 and a regular council meeting at 6 p.m.

Final budget consideration and public hearing will be held on Monday, June 30.

A work session held Wednesday, June 4 included a presentation by Scott Willit of the Anderson Regional Joint Water. Willit said the system is facing velocity and infrastructure issues which will effect Williamston, Big Creek Hammond and Powdersville water systems.

There is some disagreement from members of the system on how they will share costs associated with transmission of water through the system, Willit said.

The Journal will take a look at this issue in a later edition.

Park, town shaping up with improvement projects

Improvements in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park continue with the current renovation of the historic Scout Hut, replacing shingles on the Spring House and planned construction of a pergola.

The most recent improvements for preservation of the Scout Hut structure include new exterior log siding which will cover and protect the original log structure. The siding has recently been stained.

The hut has also received new windows and wooden shutters which will protect the windows when the scout hut is not in use and can be opened when in use.

A window air condition unit will also be installed. A new burgundy metal roof will soon be put on.

There will also be additional work on the foundation including digging out around it and new rock being added to prevent termite damage.

The Spring House and large gazebo known as the Fireman’s gazebo are in the process of getting new cedar shingles.

The current work is a continuation of a renovation project which has been underway over the last two years. The project has been under the supervision of the Williamston Area Historic Commission.

Early work included new wooden flooring replacing old and damaged flooring and termite treatment.

Portions of the original log walls have some deterioration and it was determined that replacing them would cause damage to the structure, so repairs that could be made were and the decision to add siding was made, according to Historic Commission member Dianne Lollis who has spearheaded the renovation effort.

The next structure proposed for the park is a pergola, which will be an Eagle Scout Project undertaken by Judson James Taylor Riddle.

The project includes a cedar pergola to be built over a large concrete slab on the back side of the park. It will provide shade with vines and/or shade trees, he said.

Taylor is a member of Boy Scout Troop 210. Materials funding up to $2,000 for the project is being provided by the Town of Williamston. Labor and construction will be provided by members of the scout troop and their families.

Other improvement projects are being planned including placing decorative street lamps along the sidewalk through the park. Ten lights have been purchased and plans are being made to have them installed soon. The lights will be painted a Charleston green. The lights are a project of the Spring Water Committee.

Other approved projects include a new gazebo and additional lighting on the Gossett St. side of the park.

A number of improvements were made in the park area over the last year by members of the Calvary Baptist Church Mission Jerusalem group and other volunteers.

The downtown area of East Main St. will also see improvements this summer.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) recently gave final approval to Phase I of the Williamston Streetscape project and bids on the project were opened last Friday.

Contracts for work should be completed by June 23 with work beginning the week of July 7. Expected completion date is mid August. The project includes bulb outs, plantings, decorative lighting and improvements to the crosswalk on East Main St. An additional crosswalk will be added in front of McDonalds to allow pedestrians a safe place to cross to Mineral Spring Park.

Picnic in the Park with Miss Williamston

Holly Whatley, Miss Williamston 2008, will hold a meet and greet and picnic in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park at 6 p.m., Thursday, June 12.

Whatley invites everyone in the Williamston area to join her.

Whatley will be passing out pictures, autographing them, and she will be available to take pictures.

As Miss Williamston, she is in preparing for the upcoming Miss South Carolina Scholarship pageant competition which will be held July 1, 2, 3, and 5 in Spartanburg.

During the picnic she will present a preview of what’s to come in the competition, singing her competition song, “Something to Talk About.”

She is also raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network, as part of the national platform of the Miss America Organization. 

To help Miss Williamston reach her goal of $2,500, you can go to the website.

Donations are considered a charitable donation for tax purposes and a receipt will be provided at the end of the year.

The secure on-line donation will be included in Whatley’s fund raising total on her personal page and provide a comparison to other contestants. If you have any questions or would like to contact Whatley, email her at

Towns celebrate connected history

The Community of Pelzer Historical Society invites you to explore the historical connections between the towns of Newry and Pelzer at the Newry Folk Festival 2008!

According to Pelzer Historical Society member Will Rostron, William Ashmead Courtenay of Charleston established the first textile mill in Oconee County along the Little River area in 1893. He named it “Newry” after his ancestral home in Ireland.

Although there is a variation in spelling, Courtney St. in Pelzer is named for Capt. Courtenay. 

What did Courtenay have to do with Pelzer?

Francis Joseph Pelzer, a cotton broker from Charleston, provided much of the financing behind the Pelzer Manufacturing Company, which he organized in May 1880.

The listed President and  Treasurer was Captain Ellison Adger Smyth. The Board of Directors consisted of Francis J Pelzer, William Lebby, W.B. Smith, and David Lopez. The listed solicitor was Augustine T. Smythe and the Secretary Grange Simmons Coffin.

When Mr. Lopez passed away he was replaced by Captain William Ashmead Courtenay who later became Mayor of Charleston. 

Pelzer was the first place in the world to have electricity generated at a distance specifically for manufacturing purposes. The power plant is still in  operation today.

The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 14, in Newry.

It will include crafts, food and music.

For more information on the Newry Folk Festival or Pelzer, contact Rostron at 864.947.8817 or

Alleged violations were reported on campaign disclosures

By Stan Welch

District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson was recently informed by the South Carolina Ethics Commission (SCEC) that an investigation was underway into her use of campaign funds to pay for legal services.

Due to the timing of the investigation, just weeks before the June 10 primary, Wilson waived confidentiality and released information to certain media outlets, including The Journal. The documents provided by Wilson include a letter Dated May 22, 2008 from the SCEC, informing her that a complaint had been registered concerning her use of campaign funds to pay legal expenses, which the complaint alleged were “unrelated to her campaign.”

The expenditures in question were made on various dates in 2006 and 2007. Documents provided by Wilson also included copies of her campaign disclosure forms for that period, which clearly show that she reported those expenditures to the SCEC more than a year before the complaint was received.

 Wilson also provided a copy of a letter, dated January 30,2006, in which her attorney, Jay Bender, who handled Wilson’s unsuccessful writ of mandamus lawsuit against Joey Preston to force the release of public financial information, advised her that such a use of campaign funds would indeed be proper, in his opinion.

“Under South Carolina law, it appears that the office holder may use campaign funds to ‘defray any ordinary expenses incurred in connection with an individual’s duties as a holder of elective office’” Bender goes on to state that “I believe your effort clearly falls within the definition of the duty of an office holder. My suggestion would be that you have your supporters organize a campaign fundraiser and report the contributions as you would for any other campaign fund raising event.”

According to the disclosure forms Wilson filed in February of 2007, that is precisely what she did.

Wilson told The Journal that she waived her confidentiality concerning the investigation because of the timing of the announcement. “I have nothing to hide in this matter. I sought legal advice and I followed that advice. I followed the SCEC requirements for reporting my contributions and my expenditures. The SCEC had that information for more than a year before this complaint was conveniently lodged with them.”

Wilson said she is cooperating with the SCEC investigation, and had sent the documents mentioned to the SCEC. In a letter to SCEC Director Herbert R. Hayden, dated June 5, in which she waived her confidentiality, she said, “My attorneys Jay Bender and Holly Beeson have communicated with Mr. Dan Choate, investigator, and have provided him with documents which should resolve these issues.”

Piercetown residents go without power

By Stan Welch

A malfunctioning regulator at the Piercetown substation operated by Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative resulted in a fire and a four hour power shortage Saturday. On a day when temperatures hovered near one hundred degrees, emergency crews took just four hours to repair the damage and restore power.

The Piercetown Fire Department responded to the call, which is less than a mile from the station.

Terry Ballenger, spokesman for the Cooperative, reported that the area served by that substation provides service to 2239 metered accounts. “We’re certainly sorry for the problem, but our crews responded very well, and the outage lasted approximately four hours. We thank our customers for their patience.

He added that the failure of the regulator did not appear to be heat related. “Our people on the scene said it appears to be a problem with the internal mechanics of the regulator. We will be sending it back to the manufacturer for inspection and diagnosis

Three facing charges in barroom brawl

By Stan Welch

 As a result of a SLED investigation into a barroom brawl involving an Anderson County magistrate, his stepson, and an off duty ACSO investigator, all three men face charges.

Smith, the magistrate for Powdersville, remains free on a $1087.50 personal recognizance bond, and is charged with simple assault.

Jerrod Roberts, his stepson and the alleged instigator of the fight, which occurred on June 1 at the Malibu Sports Bar on Beaverdam Road, is free on a $20,000 personal recognizance bond. He faces two charges of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.

Gene Brock, an investigator for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, is free on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond, charged with one count of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.

Brock has been terminated since the incident. He was on administrative leave at the time of the incident, due to a criminal domestic violence case he was involved in with DSS. According to a spokesperson for the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, Brock was investigated for an incident in which he threw a bottle that struck his seven year old son in the chest, leaving a large bruise.

In an agreement reached with DSS and the Attorney General’s Office, Brock was supposed to attend anger management classes as an alternative to a possible indictment in the case. The day before the bar fight, the AG’s Office informed The Journal that Brock had refused to attend the classes, and DSS had suspended his visitation rights with his son.


Shooting incident may have been racial

By Stan Welch

Last Tuesday, June 3, a black male in a Ford SUV drove into Williamston on Hamilton Street. Turning right on Highway 20, he drove towards Pelzer. As he passed Bill’s Tires he fired two shots, according to a witness. A few minutes later, coming back from the direction of Pelzer, he fired another shot, also witnessed.

Just a few minutes later, retracing his route, he turned left onto Hamilton Street, at the automated ice dispenser. The owners of the Ice To Go dispensing station, Chris and Justin Trotter were at the location, and heard the suspect, later identified as Kimako Mundrell Evans curse them, using racial epithets. He then fired one shot at them as he proceeded onto Hamilton Street.

Evans, who remains in the Anderson County Detention Center, on several charges, then proceeded back to Belton along Big Creek Road.  Along the way, he allegedly fired another shot into a house at 721 S. Hamilton Street. According to warrants issued by Magistrate Ronald Whitman for Evans’ arrest, he also fired shots into a home at 1444 Big Creek Road.

As Williamston police and Sheriff’s deputies responded to the various reports of gunfire, Evans apparently returned to Belton.  According to Belton Police Chief David Dawkins, later that same afternoon, Evans was arrested by Belton Police for an unrelated incident in which he attacked a man with a machete during a dispute. He was transported to ACDC, where the charges resulting from the earlier incidents were lodged against him.

Belton officers later located the Ford SUV as well as the weapon at a location occupied by a relative of Evans.

Williamston Police Chief David Baker said that the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) division of the federal Treasury Department is considering adopting the case against Evans because of his possession of a firearm, despite an extensive criminal record. “Also, the use of the racial language when he shot at the Trotters indicates that this might have been a hate crime, under federal law. I believe the ATF is consulting with the U.S. Attorney about how to proceed on that.”

Baker said the most disturbing thing about the crime is that there was no apparent personal motive. “It looks like he had no personal problems with any of the targets. He was just riding around shooting at buildings and people. That’s really unsettling because it is so difficult to defend against.”

Bond has been denied to Evans.








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