News Archive

Week of June 25, 2003

District One proposed budget anticipates no tax increase
Freedom Celebration to include fireworks, cookout
Sgt. Turner fired from police department
Warrant issued on former chief
State Constables to help with events
Thieves strike area homes, businesses
Local musician to offer music workshop
Avery leaving District One

District One proposed budget anticipates no tax increase

Based on current projections, Anderson School District One will not be requesting an increase in tax millage from the Anderson County School Board in July. Facing a growth in student population, increased operation costs and a reduction in state funding, preliminary figures indicated the increase would be necessary to meet the budget for the coming school year.

Reports show that the district has received budget cuts totaling $3,081,009 over the last two years. Anticipated increases for the 2003-2004 budget include the cost of insurance (workers compensation, health, and property), Step salary increases of .65 percent and teacher certification upgrades, and the cost of utilities and general maintenance.

To maintain the current pupil teacher ratio with the anticipated addition of 303 students next year, officials estimate an added cost of $406,350. The current elementary pupil teacher ratio is 21.5 to 1 while middle and high schools have a 23.0 to 1 pupil teacher ratio.

The district plans an increase in student material costs and nutritional services which should generate an additional $26,100. Elementary students will pay a material fee of $15, middle school students will pay a material fee of $20, and high school students will pay a material fee of $55. The cost for breakfast will increase from 80 cents to 90 cents. Elementary lunches will cost $1.50 while middle and high school lunches will cost $1.65.

Anticipated revenue from local and state sources is estimated at $37,343,064. Budgeted expenditures are estimated at $37,797,500 leaving a deficit of $454,436 in the cost of operations. Dividing this deficit by the value of a mill ($123,208) projected a tax increase of 3.6 mills. However, a projected decrease in debt service through bond refinancing creates a credit of 3.55 mills which would eliminate the need for a tax increase.

Although the 2003-2004 budget will not be set until July when all figures are finalized and passed on to the Anderson County School Board, the board voted unanimously to accept the proposed budget.

Director of Finance Steven Uldrick reported that budget forecasts for this year are “fairly close” with approximately 95% of revenue received and expenditures totaling 86% of the budget.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler reported that all assessment information such as PACT scores and readiness results would be available at the beginning of the school year for all teachers.

The following personnel actions were approved by the board:

Resignations – Robin Davis, District Strings Teacher; Sandy Tolbert, Palmetto Elementary, Grade 1.

Request for 3-year leave of absence – Donna Norman, Wren Middle, Math.

Recommendations – Paige Baker, Wren High, Math; Lisa Bower, Hunt Meadows Elementary, Elementary Teacher; Carrie Davenport, Wren Elementary, Grade 1; Lori Davis, Cedar Grove Elementary, Grade 5; Steve Deyo, Wren Middle, Grade 6; Amy Drabik, Powdersville Elementary, Grade 3; Wendy Eaton, Concrete Primary, Grade 1; Rachel M. Foster, Hunt Meadows Elementary, Grade 4; Teresa Garrett. Powdersville Elementary, Academic Assistance; Dawn Hooker, Powdersville Elementary, Grade 3; Darby Innerst, District Strings Teacher; Jason Lesley, Spearman Elementary, Primary P.E.; Lisa McDonald, West Pelzer Elementary, LD/SC Teacher; Hope Meares, Palmetto Elementary, Early Childhood Teacher; Kara Monk, Wren High, English; Amanda Moore, Powdersville Elementary, Grade 4; Erin Muirhead, Wren High, English; Lisa Patterson, Powdersville Middle, 8th Grade Math; Katherine Saylors, Wren Middle, 7th Grade Science; Jonathan Scrivner, Spearman Elementary, Grade 5; Jessica Shealy, Wren Middle, 7th Grade English; Carole Lark Simmons, Palmetto Elementary, Grade 5; Deborah Simmons, Pelzer Elementary, Grade 5; Diane Teal, Wren High, Chemistry; Natalie Trammell, Concrete Primary, Grade 1; Roger Whitt, Palmetto Middle, Band; Ali Wienke, Pelzer Elementary, Media Specialist (.5 FTE).

Transfers – Emily Bolt – Powdersville Middle, from .6 FTE to .8 FTE Ind. Technology; Rick Taylor, Wren High, from .25 FTE to 1.0 FTE Social Studies.

 Freedom Celebration to include fireworks, cookout

The Town of Williamston is planning a Freedom Celebration this Saturday June 28 which will include a free fireworks show, a teen dance with a DJ, an old fashioned community cookout in Mineral Spring Park and a cruise-in at a local restaurant.

The fireworks show is being sponsored by the Town and will be held in the vicinity of the ball fields located behind the Municipal Center as in past years, Mayor Phillip Clardy said.

The fireworks show will begin at approximately 9:30 p.m.

A viewing area will be located on the grassy area located behind the municipal center with parking in the paved parking area behind the municipal center. Handicapped parking will be located next to Moore’s.

Another activity planned in conjunction with the fireworks display is a cruise-in sponsored by the Williamston Fire Department.

Fire Chief Steve Ellison said the department will sponsor the cruise-in which will begin at 6 p.m at McDonald’s in Williamston.

Between 100 and 150 vehicles are expected, Ellison said. There is no cost and anyone who wants can show up and participate in the event.

The public is also invited to come by and look at vehicles during the cruise-in, he said.

Tickets will be sold for cash drawings at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. with proceeds going toward the purchase of trophies for the Spring Water Festival car show the department sponsors in August. Tickets will be available for $1 each or 6 for $5.

McDonalds will offer a special on Coke floats from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and Ronald McDonald is expected to be there at 6 p.m. Live bluegrass music will be held next to the restaurant during the cruise-in and possibly in the park during the day, organizers said.

A teen dance with a DJ will be held following the fireworks show. The dance will be held on the tennis courts in Mineral Spring Park. There will be a $2 admission charge for teens attending the dance which will help offset costs of providing the DJ.

Town residents are also encouraged to participate in a community cookout in the park prior to the fireworks display.

Everyone is invited to bring grills and food to the park and join in.  A cookout for town employees will also be held in conjunction with the event, Mayor Clardy said.

The fireworks show will be put on by Pyrotecnico of New Castle, Penn. and will last approximately 20 minutes, Ellison said.



Sgt. Turner fired from police department

Sgt. Steven Turner has been terminated from employment with the Williamston Police Department effective Monday, June 23, according to Williamston Police Chief Troy Martin.

Martin declined to make public details leading to the action other than to say he was terminated on grounds of insubordination and that it is a personnel matter involving the department and Turner.

No other officers have been terminated from employment this week, Martin said.

Turner claimed the town’s new police chief and Mayor Phillip Clardy were out to get him. He said he had recently been put on straight third shift and was demoted from sergeant to patrolman while meeting Monday with Chief Martin.

He also said that Chief Martin had passed him over for promotion and didn’t include him in supervisor meetings.

Turner said that during the meeting Monday, he asked Martin about an opening in the School Resource Officer (SRO) program. Turner said he had sent a letter requesting appointment to the program, but had not received a reply.

Turner said he has received training and is certified for the position.

After being told by Chief Martin that he was demoted to patrolman, Turner said, “You can do what you want, but you won’t make me quit.”

At that point he was told by Chief Martin that he was fired.

Turner, 27, has been with the department since 1994, working two years as a dispatcher and then as a patrol officer. He has served as  sergeant for three years.

He said he plans to file a grievance in accordance with the town’s policy and procedures.

Mayor Clardy said that Turner has not been given any preferential treatment and has been treated with the same expectations as any other officer in the department.

A situation that developed after the younger Turner was told he had been terminated may result in charges against his father, former police chief Richard Turner.

Apparently the situation developed in the police department parking lot between the former chief and another officer, when he showed up to give his son a ride home.

A warrant for assault was issued for Turner in connection with the incident.The warrant is pending and has been turned over to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, Chief Martin said Wednesday.

Mayor Clardy said it is an unfortunate situation resulting from a situation that didn’t regard the former chief directly. Clardy said he told Chief Martin to treat the situation according to what the law requires and to treat the former chief as he would any other person.

The former chief said Wednesday he didn’t know if a warrant had been issued, saying that if he had done something wrong, he would have been arrested at the time because three other officers were present.

“I know I haven’t done anything,” Turner said.

The department has been the focus of attention lately as a restructuring process has been underway under the new police chief.

Former Williamston Police Lt. Danny Hart, a 20 year veteran of the department, was also recently terminated from employment with the town.

Hart met with Mayor Clardy and Chief Martin and was officially terminated from employment by the mayor on Monday, June 9, with no official explanation.

He had been on suspension with pay for an undisclosed reason since April 8.

State Constables to help with events

The Williamston Police Department is calling on State Constables for extra security for special events being held in the town.

State Constables have arresting authority and provide their services at no charge, according to  Williamston police chief Troy Martin.

The new policy of having constables present for festivals and other events will also save the town money, according to Martin.

Martin said using the constables will provide extra manpower for the police force at no extra cost and will help eliminate overtime in the police department due to special activities.

Constables were used at the the recent Blue Grass festival held in Williamston and have been on patrol with officers recently.

Martin said 10 constables will help patrol and assistwith parking during the July 4 Freedom Celebration this Saturday.

The new chief said he plans to have 20 State Constables helping officers during the Spring Water Festival in August.

Mayor Phillip Clardy has said that police department over time has been one of the town’s largest expenses associated with the annual festival which draws 8,000 to 10,000 people.

The town plans to eliminate the $7,000 cost of police overtime associated with the festival by using the constables, Clardy said.

In addition to the use of constables, other visible changes associated with the department restructuring include painting the exterior of the police department and municipal court and adding new signage.

Inside, the chief’s office has been  rearranged and redecorated with new paint and wall paper and new office furnishings.

Martin said he plans to clean out closets in the department and will turn one storage room into an interview room.

Video cameras installed in the training room, the court room and in front of the evidence room will offer better monitoring, Martin said.

Martin said the department is also looking at new uniforms and patches and adding decals on police vehicles.

The decals will identify vehicles as Williamston police and provide a direct email address for the chief, Martin said.

Martin said he also plans to develop a web site for the department soon.

Martin has said that he wants the department to have a completely different image with better police-community relations, including more patrols in the neighborhoods and having officers meet and speak with business owners.

Thieves strike area homes, businesses

Anderson County sheriff’s deputies investigated the following incidents this week:

June 20 – Sav Way, 80 Main St., West Pelzer, reported that a customer left without paying for two cases of beer valued at $30. W. Mills investigated.

June 19 – Fairview United Methodist Church, 200 E. Church Rd., Easley, reported that someone forced entry through a kitchen door and stole approximately $25 from an offering container and vandalized a sanctuary chandelier. C. McBride investigated.

June 19 – Bi-Lo #201, 3518 Earle E. Morris Jr. Hwy., Greenville, reported that a customer left the store without paying for $190 worth of groceries. C. Brock investigated.

June 19 – H S Used Furniture, 122 Lebby St., Pelzer, reported that someone smashed the glass out of a front door causing $400 in damage and took a cash register and a box containing rings valued at $300. J. W. Lindsey investigated.

June 18 – Amy Lynne Wasniewski, 28, 105 Red Maple Circle, Easley, reported a wallet and its contents valued at $31 stolen from her vehicle. A. M. Rivest investigated.

June 18 – Citgo, 11201 Anderson Rd., Greenville, reported that a customer left the store without paying for beer valued at $18. D. C. Fouts investigated.

June 17 – Karen Ann Black, 37, #54 Copeland Rd., Williamston, reported a handgun, camcorder, and chainsaw valued at $750 stolen. D. O. Hill investigated.

June 17 – John David Huss, 36, 108 Ravenwood Circle, Powdersville, reported that someone took a 6x12 utility trailer valued at $1500 from his front yard. J. Durham investigated.

June 17 – Joseph Franklin Barnes III, 36, 110 Irby Rd., Piedmont, reported that someone removed a gas generator and hand trucks valued at $1150 from his yard. M. D. Campbell investigated.

June 17 – Terry Lee Chappell, 48, 220 Chafin Rd., Piedmont, reported that someone took a billfold and its contents valued at $203 from his home. L. B. Culbertson investigated.

June 17 – Century Farm Amoco, 2100 Hwy. 86, Piedmont, reported that someone removed an undetermined amount of money from coin operated machines in the store. M. D. Campbell investigated.

 Local musician to offer music workshop

Professional musician John Gambrell will offer a music industry workshop for aspiring musicians at 12 p.m. on July 5 in Williamston.

The “rock-n-roll” workshop will include a seminar with an insiders view of the industry by Gambrell, a member of the George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic group,  inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

Gambrell is a 1973 graduate of Palmetto High and a 1978 graduate of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N. C.

He has been a touring member of the P-Funk group since 1981. He plays various instruments including guitar and is a vocalist.

The seminar will offer information on the music business such as how to write songs, how royalties work, copyright, recording and distribution.

He will also offer a personal look at some of the risks involved. 

The seminar will include a question and answer session and a jam session where participants can play together and make up songs.

Gambrell is still actively touring with George Clinton’s group and will go back on the road in August.

“I have been blessed to come out of Williamston and do this,” Gambrell said.

When he is not touring, he is a substitute teacher at Palmetto High. 

He said he has had many students and others ask him to do a seminar of this type and he hopes the information offered will clear up some of the misconceptions people have about the industry.

Gambrell said he has a brother, Grady, who is also in the music business, who has toured with several well known artists.

He said he got his first paying job as a musician when he was 12 years old.

“I spent my first pay at  the Williamston Theatre,” Gambrell said.

For details or to register for the rock and roll music industry seminar being presented by Gambrell, call 864-847-6574.

Avery leaving District One

Dr. Joanne Avery, Director of Recruiting and Communications & Webmaster with School District One, will be leaving the district this week for a position in another school system in Anderson County. Avery will become Director of Human Services and Professional Development in School District Four in Pendleton on July 1.

Avery began working with the local district in 1988 as Tutoring Coordinator, became Director of Public Information in 1991 and was promoted to her current position in 1998.

Avery says she appreciates the support she has received from the local school board in allowing her to grow professionally in her 15 years with the district. She says that she has found the work “personally gratifying in making a difference for the people of the district.”

Among her many accomplishments, she is most proud of the communications effort she has made to get recognition for area schools and their staff members. Finding the best candidate for any position available in the district has also been a high priority for her.

Driven by her own personal interest in exercise and health, she is also especially proud of the district HealthSmart initiative and the support it has received from school personnel and the local community.

District One Superintendent Reggie Christopher has high praise for Avery and the outstanding job she has done in communications, personnel, and recruiting. He feels that her “strong suit” has been the good teachers and principals she has helped to attract to the district. “She is high energy and very talented. We will miss her and wish her well in her new job,” he concluded.




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