News Archive

(2607) Week of June 27, 2007

Freedom Celebration offers fun, fireworks
Celebrate Independence Day
Severe weather causes damage across area
Williamston officials working daily on budget
Pelzer finishes second in contest
South Greenville Fire plans July 4th parade
Monkey park getting upgrades
Spearman Road project complete
Deputies investigate thefts
Veterans Affairs officer Terry Landers to retire
Honor Firefighters
Fish art unveiled
Honea Path Mayor claims county not providing enough services
Seems to Me . . .Let the truth come out

Freedom Celebration offers fun, fireworks

A Freedom Celebration will be held this Saturday, June 30 in Downtown Williamston.

The day long event will feature a bluegrass music festival, special kids entertainment, amusement rides, a cruise-in, plenty of food throughout the day and fireworks.

The all day event will begin around 11 a.m. with food and other activities in Mineral Spring Park. “Bring the kids for a picnic and then let them enjoy the free entertainment or play in the park,” committee member Dianne Lollis said.

Seven food vendors will be set up in Mineral Spring Park offering a variety of food items including barbecue, nachos, hot dogs, foot-long corn dogs, funnel cakes, shaved ice, smoothies, ice cream , cotton candy, candy apples, and more, according to food organizer Jim Riddle.

An opening ceremony will be held on the Amphitheater stage in the park at 1:30. Pastor Mark Roberts of Calvary Baptist Church will give the invocation, Mayor Phillip Clardy will speak, Catlin Tierce will present the Star Spangled Banner and the State Guard will present colors.

 From 2 to 6 p.m., the Amphitheater stage will feature a variety of entertainment including Will Rejoice (clown), New Prospect Praise and Dance, Janie Turner (country and Christian), 418 Dance Club and patriotic program (song and dance) by the Anderson Senior Follies To Go.

Bluegrass music will be the featured music on the banks of Big Creek in the park. There will be jam sesssions and other entertainment from 4 to 6 p.m. Southern Grass Review and Cane Creek will perform two sets each from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Admission to the music festival area along the creek bank is free with pickin’ during the afternoon and featured performers from 4 p.m until the fireworks begin,

Area pickers and music makers are invited to join in the fun by bringing an instrument, finding a spot in the park and picking on their own or with others or on  stage during special jam sessions, organizer Jack Ellenburg said.

There will be prize drawings every half hour at the bluegrass stage. Tickets for a chance at more than $800 in prizes will be available all day for a $2 donation.

Tickets will be available at 5 locations, organizers said. Special souvenir T-shirts commemorating the Freedom Celebration will be available for $10. They are expected to sell quickly, so get yours early, T-shirt printer Mark Pitts said.

During the day, kids amusement rides will be offered in the park by Palmetto Amusements.

The classic car cruise-in will officially get underway at 4 p.m. with many local and out of town car enthusiasts bringing their custom vehicles to show off. Cruisers will park in the Town Square Center parking lot adjacent to McDonalds. There is no registration fee and anyone interested in displaying a vehicle is invited to participate, said Steve Ellison, organizer.

The cruise-in is sponsored by the Williamston Fire Department and McDonald’s of Williamston.

McDonald’s will offer specials on items, including 25 Cent Coke Floats from 7 - 9 p.m.. There will be a cash give-a-way  of $50 on the hour at 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Persons attending may want to purchase a ticket to win a 42" LG Plasma High Definition Television from the Williamston Fire Department which will be given away at the Spring Water Festival Auto Show in August.

The firemen will also offer rides on Williamston’s restored 1936 Chevrolet fire engine.

The evening will culminate with a big fireworks show on the ballfields behind the Municipal Center.

In case of inclement weather, the bluegrass music will be relocated to the Municipal Center auditorium. Other events will go on rain or shine, officials said.

The Freedom Celebration is being presented this year by The Greater Williamston Business Association, The Spring Water Committee, and The Town of Williamston with help from Strong Communities, New Prospect Baptist Church, and others.

Celebrate Independence Day

If you would like to see fireworks or maybe a parade to celebrate our nation’s independence, there are several opportunities locally between now and July 4th.

The Town of Pelzer and the Town of West Pelzer will join together to sponsor a fireworks show on the Pelzer ballfields on Saturday, June 30.

Williamston is hosting a freedom celebration with fireworks on June 30.

Whitefield Baptist Church will host a Freedom Celebration on Sunday, July 1 at 7 p.m. There will be food, games, inflatables, entertainment and patriotic presentations ending with a fireworks display. Bring a lawn chair.

Beech Springs Tabernacle will hold their annual Freedom Celebrationon on Sunday, July 1st beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The public is invited to bring lawn chairs and enjoy an exciting evening of live music, food, games and a new fireworks display synchronized to music. For more information call 243-3697.

The Second annual South Greenville 4th of July Celebration Parade will be held at 11am on the 4th of July on Old Hundred Road at The Ware Place. The Ware Place is on US Hwy. 25 South of Greenville (Augusta Road). Old Hundred Road is approx 1mile east of the Ware Place off Highway 418.

For more information contact: Gordon Vinson, by email at or phone 243-3550 or South Greenville Fire Department Chief Ken Taylor at 505-6787

Severe weather causes damage across area

Severe weather swept through the area Monday bringing high winds, hail and heavy rain.

Trees and power lines were down throughout the area, bringing a fleet of Duke Power and Pike trucks to the area to restore spotted power outages.

Williamston Fire Department answered eleven calls from trees and power lines down, to lightning strikes, according to Fire Chief Steve Ellison.

In the Williamston Park, a large tree and several power lines were down.

The Palmetto Primary School took a direct lightning hit on the roof of the cafeteria and the roof was on fire for a period of time.

Palmetto High alarms went off and firemen reported no visible damage, but there was a burning smell in the Freshman Academy.

A large tree and power line were down near the cemetery.

Three transformers on Academy and Mauldin St. were on fire and several trees and power lines were down.

Power lines and tree limbs were down on Academy St. behind Calvary Baptist.

Trees were also down on 2nd and 3rd Street and Hamilton St. A large tree and tree on fire was reported on Hamilton St. and a tree fire was reported on Traxler Ave. with power lines burning in trees.

On Crawford road in the Cheddar Community, Bill Smith and son Chad reported considerable damage.

At Chad Smith’s residence, a metal truss roof on a 30x60 building was blown off, travelling approximately 80 to 100 ft. and crashing down on two vehicles, one a 1996 F-350. Large limbs were also broken from a tree.

The building housed antique furniture and other items, some of which were damaged by rain and wind. One wall was unstable.

Three stored vehicles in the building were not damaged, Smith said.

Next door, Bill Smith had limbs broken off of several trees and a trampoline was blown approximately 140 ft. across the road.

“I can’t describe the sound,” Smith said. “There was also hail and it was blowing sideways,” he said.

Just up the road at Callaham’s Orchard, there was considerable damage to produce.

Squash and tomatos suffered wind and hail damage, corn stalks, already suffering from the drought conditions were blown over. Several fig trees were damaged.

In addition, power was out from  5 p.m. to about 10:30 the next day, threatening ice cream which was being kept cold by generators.

Callaham’s was hit hard earlier in the year by a freeze which destroyed the entire peach crop, nectarines, plums, apples and 40 percent of the blackberries, according to Andy Callaham.

“This has been a rough year,” he said.

On Willingham Road, a steel roof structure collapsed at Hughey’s Auto Ranch and a nearby barn was heavily damaged.

West Pelzer Fire Departement responded to numerous calls in the Cherokee Rd. Hogg Road and Beaverdam Rd.

Cox’s Buildings on Beaverdam Road had heavy roof damage to two structures housing other businesses behind the main building.

Trees were reported down on Cherokee Road, Debonshire Rd. and other surrounding areas.

Though no confirmation of a tornado has been made, officials were looking at damage to determine the cause. One possible cause is a phenemenon  associated with severe thunderstorms known as a micro burst, which is quite common in the Carolinas and Georgia, especially in June and July.

Microbursts, more commonly referred to as straight-line winds, are typically produced by thunderstorms that develop rapidly and then dissipate just as quickly. Microbursts are capable of producing wind gusts in excess of 100 mph. The typical tornado that occurs in the Carolinas and northeast Georgia produces wind speeds of 70 to 90 mph.

In other words, microbursts are capable of producing wind speeds... and therefore damage, just as significant as that of a tornado.

The National Weather Service issued a statement that said   straight line winds from severe thunderstorms can be just as dangerous and destructive as tornadoes.  When significant wind damage occurs,there is a natural tendency for people to conclude that the damage had to be the result of a tornado.

According to the NWS, tornadoes are extremely rare in the Carolinas and northeast Georgia.

The peak tornado season is March through May. From about mid-June through mid-August, tornadoes in this area are almost unheard of unless they are associated with the remnants of an early season tropical storm.

Tornado development requires very specific atmospheric conditions that almost never exist in this part of the country during the late Spring and Summer.

 The NWS issues a Severe Thunderstorm Warning if a thunderstorm is expected to produce straight line wind speeds of greater than 57 mph and/or hail the size of a penny or larger.

Another natural tendency that some people have is to ignore severe thunderstorm warnings, whereas most people take immediate action when hearing of a Tornado Warning.

People in the southeast are much more likely to have their lives negatively impacted by severe thunderstorms than tornadoes. Severe thunderstorms are dangerous, and pose significant threats to lives and property. Severe thunderstorm warnings should be heeded and taken seriously, officials said.

Williamston officials working daily on budget

By Stan Welch

The Williamston Town Council is giving new meaning to the term ‘crunch’, whether it’s used in the phrase ‘crunch time’ or ‘number crunching’.

The Council has been crunching and chewing its way through the 2007-2008 budget, as time runs down. The budget is scheduled for a second and final reading Thursday night, and Council reconvened its marathon budget work session Wednesday morning, with the general fund still to be dealt with.

Despite the pressure and time constraints, Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr., who has spearheaded this assault, says he is very pleased with the process and the product so far.

“This is going to be a great budget, in terms of accountability and getting us to a position to really turn out accurate and good budgets in the future.”

Middleton envisions a cut in the $14 a month sanitation fee Council imposed as part of its response to last year’s financial crisis. As the budget stands as of Tuesday night, the fee would be cut in half, reducing the revenues it generates to $153,000. But Councilman Carthel Crout thinks it is more likely that it will be cut to $10 dollars, which would reduce the revenues by approximately $80,000, or the amount which the hospitality tax is expected to generate.

In order to compensate for that loss in revenue, a tax increase of approximately four mils is anticipated. That is close to the maximum amount allowed by Act 388, a state law setting a cap on millage increases. Four mils in increased taxes would generate approximately $35,200 a year, but would allow the additional revenue to be used for more purposes than the sanitation fee, which is restricted by law in the ways it can be used.

One new feature of the budget is the establishment of contingency funds in both the water and sewer departments. These funds, which the Town has long lacked, will allow for those utilities to be prepared, at least to some extent, for emergencies or unexpected expenses.

Both departments balanced their budgets by cutting costs, and applying the entire savings to the contingency fund. The water department, as of Tuesday night, had budgeted $48,000 for emergency use, based on total revenues of $1,201,482, while the sewer department had established a cushion of $102,220 based on its revenues of $731,200.

General fund revenues as of Tuesday night were $2,427,071, but working through the expenditures in that budget was the main task remaining for the Council, which was scheduled to meet on Wednesday morning.

The police department budget was tweaked and changed until a new position was created, allowing for an additional police officer to be hired. The new position will be funded almost entirely by the reallocation of funds used to pay overtime last year, overtime that was inevitable due to major reductions in the department’s personnel in response to financial pressures.

A number of demands will be placed on this budget, according to Middleton.

One of those demands was discovered as late as Monday night, when a powerful thunderstorm moved through the area, knocking out power to all nine of the Town’s lift stations.

Luckily, power was restored before any of the lift stations spilled sewage, but the potential wasn’t lost on Middleton.

“We need to get our lift stations on a system that will allow us to transport a generator to each one, pump it out and move on to the next, during times when we lose power.”

He also cited anticipated costs that the sewer department will experience during the upcoming change to a different method of disposing of the Town’s wastewater.

“When we buy the land for our new land application sewer system, we have to do environmental impact fees, notify Indian tribes in the area, and do all kinds of studies. We need to have about $80,000 put away to pay those costs up front. Once we get to a certain point, Goldie &

Associates will absorb those costs until we get the grants. But we need to be thinking about this, because hopefully in a year or so we can be moving dirt on this project.”

Mayor Phillip Clardy also sees the budget process as a good thing. “This is how a budget process should work. We knew when we decided to switch from a calendar budget year to a fiscal year in midstream we would have some rough patches. But this is what it takes to give our citizens the kind of process and results they deserve.”

Pelzer finishes second in contest

It’s official. Pelzer is a finalist in the Yahoo! campaign to find the Greenest City in America. Coming in second place behind winner Hastings, Nebraska, the town will receive 2500 compact fluorescent light bulbs which will be distributed to each of the Town’s water and sewer customers, according to Pelzer Mayor Kenneth Davis.

Davis received a partial shipment of three boxes of the bulbs Monday. “Each of the water customers will be given 2 bulbs when they come in to pay their water bill,” Davis said. “I think it is a great thing for this town to be the second greenest city in America,” he said.

Davis said he still doesn’t know who initiated the entries in the contest that kept the town of 97 residents in the lead for nearly a month before being edged out by Hastings.

The challenge ran May 14 through June 8 and Yahoo! offered the winning city a free fleet of hybrid taxis or a check for the equivalent value, to be spent on a green project for the city.

“We sure could have used the money for projects in the town,” said town Administrator Skip Watkins. Watkins said any Pelzer or West Pelzer resident who is a water customer of the town can receive up to 2 bulbs when they pay their bill.

The bulbs are supposed to use 75 percent less energy, replacing a 60 watt bulb, and using only 13 watts.

Other top finishers in the contest were San Carlos, California; Mill Valley, California; Topeka, Kansas; Dover, Delaware; Spring, Texas; Lawrence, Kansas; Walnut Creek California and Fairfax Virginia. 350 cities competed in the challenge, officials said.

So how did Pelzer compete with the larger cities on a national contest?

Cities were compared on a weighted scale to allow the smaller towns to compete, according to the Yahoo! website. Participants answered green questions on the site as part of the contest which was designed to encourage people to be more eco-friendly, according to the web site.

Monkey park getting upgrades

By Stan Welch

Pelzer’s Monkey Park is getting a facelift, thanks to the efforts of Mayor Kenneth Davis, a number of volunteers, and the Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Mayor Davis, local businessman Dick Leopard and volunteer Wallace ‘Bucky’ Queen were at work Tuesday, digging trenches in preparation for the installation of irrigation lines that will help nourish plant and sod growth in areas of the park that are now bare.

“We’re going to put in a large flower bed next to the picnic shelter,” said Mayor Davis. “Then, we plan to mulch around the various trees, to make the area look good. We’ll place sod over in the playground area, both for appearances and to help hold the water on the ground.”

Between  July 16-21, members of the Tabernacle Baptist Church, which Mayor Davis attends, will work on the landscaping and improvements, including what promises to be a very popular feature – a beach volleyball court, complete with eight truck loads of masonry sand. The level space for the court had to be created at the bottom of the park.

We’re not using river sand. This masonry sand will be very durable and will drain much better,” said the Mayor as the crew headed back to work after a lunch break.

An existing concrete slab once used for shuffleboard will be repainted with hopscotch courts for young children.

“I think it’s really great that the church is helping. I hope Ms. Cindy Wilson will be able to help us with the funding. I think fixing the park up will give more kids some place to go, and maybe cut down on the vandalism that we see now.”


South Greenville Fire plans July 4th parade

The Second annual South Greenville 4th of July Celebration Parade will be held at 11am on the 4th of July on Old Hundred Road at The Ware Place.

A contingent of “Patriot Guards” from the US Marine Corps Reserve Detachment in Greenville will lead the parade.

The Patriot Guard Riders are a diverse group from across the nation on motorcycles. “We have an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America’s freedom and security. If you share this respect, please join us,” a spokesperson said. “We don’t care what you ride or if you ride, what your political views are, or whether you’re a hawk or a dove.”

Their mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family. They show sincere respect for fallen heroes, their families, and their communities and shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.

“We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means,” the spokesperson said.

The Ware Place is on US Hwy. 25 South of Greenville (Augusta Road). Old Hundred Road is approx 1mile east of the Ware Place off Highway 418.

For more information contact: Gordon Vinson, by email at or phone 243-3550 or South Greenville Fire Department Chief Ken Taylor at 505-6787

Spearman Road project complete

By Stan Welch

 A project to replace a culvert on Spearman Road in the White Plains area was completed a week early, much to the delight of local residents who had been using detours and alternative routes during the last few months.

Anderson County transportation director Holt Hopkins instructed the crew to reopen the road Tuesday.

While removing some debris and other materials from the small creek which flows through the culvert, county crews discovered that the old metal culvert had begun to corrode and rot out.

“As it happened another culvert replacement project we had planned didn’t work out because of some right of way issues. Luckily, the culvert we had gotten for that project was just fine for the Spearman culvert. We did all the hydrology engineering and construction in house, with county crews. The total cost of the project was a little over $75,000.”

Hopkins was an advocate of establishing the road and bridge crew which did the job, often telling Council that having such a capacity in house would result in significant savings, as well as in being able to address certain projects more quickly.

Hopkins says he hopes to do some widening and resurfacing later this year, in preparation for paving Spearman Road in the not too distant future. Spearman Road runs from Highway 8 at Spearman Elementary School over to Cherokee Road.

Deputies investigate thefts

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated the following incidents recently:


June 18 –J.A. Frazier responded to 323 Palmetto Rd. where Brenda Howard reported that she had been away from her home for several weeks, and had returned to find her 1974 Ford Ranger pickup gone. The truck was a short bed, primer gray with SC tag number 2104CH. A neighbor said that soon after Howard left , a red rollback truck with gold lettering had come and taken the vehicle.

June 18 – Sgt. R.J. Murphy was dispatched to Old River Rd. and Hwy. 20, where he met with Ashley Jordan, who stated that she had been assaulted during an argument. She said her uncle was drinking and yelling at her about she and her boyfriend when he stuck his finger in her right eye. She turned to leave but he asked her something, and when she turned to answer, he struck her in the left eye, according to the report. Sgt. Murphy said he observed injuries to her face, and concluded the report by saying that a warrant for assault would be obtained from a magistrate.

June 18 – R.K. Holliday received a call reporting an incident at 151 Richardson Dr. Stephanie Harris reported that someone had broken into her husband’s car and stolen a Craftsman power tool combo valued at $500.

June 19 – J.T. Bowers and M.D. Campbell were dispatched to 144 Leslie Rd. where David Botero reported the theft of his moped scooter.

June 20 – D.W. Davis responded to 116 Pine Circle Charles Miller reported the theft of several tools used in auto repair had been stolen from his shed. The tools were valued at $2200. A dark colored car was seen at the residence between two and three in the afternoon.


June 18 – J.J. Jacobs observed a green Chevrolet Cavalier traveling the wrong way on southbound I-85 near exit 34. Jacobs approached the vehicle head on and managed to stop it. The driver, Thomas Hannon, of 226 Melrose Drive in Greenville, said he was lost. A subsequent license check revealed that Hannon’s license was under suspension, and had been suspended twice before. He was arrested and taken to ACDC.

June 18 -  J. A. Frazier responded to 1311 Shiloh Church Rd., where Julia Miller, WF, 42, stated that she and her boyfriend, David Dicken, of the same address, had been arguing, when he pushed her. Miller fell on an old sewing machine, cutting her back. Dicken, WM, 43, 5’11", 189 pounds, confirmed the argument, but denied pushing Miller or seeing her fall. Miller declined to give a written statement or press charges, but Frazier, acting on behalf of the state, placed Dicken under arrest and he was transported to ACDC.

 June 18 – J. J. Jacobs and J. A. Frazier responded to the BB&T bank building at 900 Anderson St., where they found a white male asleep outside the bank. They woke the subject, who was subsequently identified as David Savacool, 42, 6 feet tall, 150 pounds of Greenville. He was found to be severely intoxicated , according to the report, and was placed under arrest for public disorderly conduct.

June18 – T.L. Chapman was dispatched to 401 Highway 183 where Dwayne Cutshaw reported the theft of his 2007 Black Ford Ranger truck.

June 19 – M. Voigt responded to two reports of malicious damage to property at 605 Anderson St., where Terry Wells and Debra Kernells reported that both their vehicles had been shot with a BB gun. Kernells said a Hispanic male, had admitted shooting her vehicle. Damage was estimated at $600. Garcia, however, claimed that he did not shoot Wells’ vehicle and did not know who had. That damage was also estimated at $600. Both victims said they would not press charges if the vehicles were repaired.


June 18 – M. Voigt was dispatched to 799-A Joe Black Road, to a business where Clarence Mathis reported that someone had stolen $410 in cash from his business over the weekend.

June 19 – M.D. Campbell was dispatched to 614 H. I. Taylor Rd. where Bruce Dotson reported that someone had stolen a CD player valued at $250 from his van.

Veterans Affairs officer Terry Landers to retire

By Stan Welch

 In 1963, Terry Landers joined the Army, and fought what he calls his war. Some know it as the Viet Nam war, but a lot of other soldiers call it what Terry calls it . . . their war.

After twenty years in the service, and with a Purple Heart to show for his trouble, Landers retired and returned home to Anderson. According to him, he spent the next few years exercising his right to quit any job he didn’t like. There were a lot of them.

One day, while he was sitting at his table and drinking coffee, he got a phone call from an old childhood and Army buddy, Johnny Edmondson, who asked how he would like to make twenty two thousand dollars a year. “After he convinced me he didn’t want anyone killed, he told me about this job as a veterans’ service officer,” said Landers, who will retire from another twenty year hitch on June 20.

He credits the support of former State Representatives Pat Harris, Johnny Tucker, and Dolly Cooper for his longevity. Since the veterans’ affairs position is appointed every two years by the legislative delegation, such support was welcome. It proved to be appropriate as well.

Since 1987, Terry Landers has been The Man that veterans of both sexes and all colors have turned to for help in finding their way through the red tape maze that the VA can sometimes be. The day this interview was done, a black female veteran was in the office, worrying that Landers’ replacement “might screw my stuff up. They’re all good when they come through the door, but do they know what they’re doing?”

Landers says not to worry too much about that. “Do you think I knew what I was doing when I walked in here the first time? My replacement will be certified by the VA within two years. They will also have to continue to earn that certification. When I started we all got together down at Post 6 in Columbia for about two hours a year for training. I learned this job by getting cussed out when I messed up.”

Improved training has been paralleled by advances in technology as well. “We file our reports and claims electronically now. The VA used to be able to say they didn’t get this or that form. Now, when we hit send, we’ve got ‘em, baby.”

Still despite the improvements in the system and the technology, Landers says the qualifications for his replacement are pretty simple. “Most important of all, they need to be a people person, because despite all the bureaucracy and paperwork, this job is about helping people. Personally, I would like to see the job go to someone with at least two tours of duty, and with combat experience if possible. Combat compresses the experience tremendously. Once you’ve served in combat, you’ve experienced just about everything the military has to offer. Sleeping on the ground, being shot at, being scared to death and hungry and thirsty – you get all that in one package.”

Landers says that such experience establishes a rapport with other vets that you can’t know otherwise. “Veterans like to talk to somebody who was there, who knows what they are saying. A vet trusts another vet in ways that they can’t even explain. But it’s very important in this job to have that trust.” That level of trust allows Landers’ no nonsense approach to work. A veteran told him prior to this  interview that a broken foot she had suffered was related to a previous condition that she receives partial disability for. “Get that from a doctor in writing, and we’ll go from there. But a doctor has to tell you that,” said Landers, never breaking stride as he headed for his office.

Such a background would also make a person eligible for membership in the various service organizations, something else Landers considers very beneficial. Landers is a member of the Veterans’ of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantry Association, the 25th Infantry Association and the Viet Nam Veterans of America. “Being part of those groups is a big help in keeping abreast of the average veteran’s concerns. It helps you stay ahead of things.”

Landers says his office serves 17,000 veterans on an annual total budget of approximately $175,000, or ten dollars per veteran. The county provides the great majority of the funding. The state provided less than ten thousand dollars last year. Landers says that his office processed claims of various types last year that brought twenty three million dollars into Anderson County for veterans. Added to that is approximately a million and a half dollars received for the treatment and care of those two hundred plus veterans at the Richard Campbell State Veterans’ Nursing Home, and the number approaches twenty five million dollars.

The one thing he would like to see would be a domicilatory added to the facilities at Campbell’s. “We have a lot of veterans who don’t need fulltime nursing care, but they really can’t stay at home by themselves. I’d like to see them have a place where they could receive residential care, and be with others.”

Landers credits the support of the legislative delegation and the County Council throughout the years. He had particular praise for current county administrator Joey Preston. “He has never failed to meet a need if it was within his power to meet it. All I had to do was pick up that phone. He has always come through for the veterans in this county.”

Landers says he has watched veterans from the First World War fade away, and has watched veterans of the Gulf War begin to enter the system. “I always said if I made it to 62, I’d grab that Social Security money and run. I’m gonna fish and play with the grandkids and sit on the porch a lot.”

Honor Firefighters

Four Williamston firefighters were among hundreds attending the memorial service for fallen firefighters in Charleston Friday. Williamston Fire Chief Steve Ellison said when a fellow firefighter falls in the line of duty, it is like losing a member of your family. Attending were Lt. Travis Rankin, firefighters David Harvell, Tim Wortham, Bryan Smith. Wortham took this photo.

Fish art unveiled

Piercetown resident Ellen Spainhour and her son Nathan with the fish art she and her daughter Erin created to go with 30 other fish as part of Fish out of Water Hooked on the Arts 2 promotion for Anderson. The Public Art Project is one of the most successful projects ever in Anderson County, officials said. The big fish will be on pubic display through out the city of Anderson. Spainhour’s display named  “Maestro Basshour,” will be on display at the Anderson County Library. The art idea and the name of the fish was inspired by Ellen’s husband Alex, who is a professional orchestral conductor.

Honea Path Mayor claims county not providing enough services

By Stan Welch

Honea Path Mayor Earl Lollis Meyers has a bee in his bonnet, and it’s been there for about five years.

That’s about the time that the county informed the Mayor that they would no longer provide mowing services inside the town limits. That’s also about the time that the County changed substantially the arrangement between it and the various municipalities in regards to the paving of roads within the town’s limits.

The issue, which has simmered for years, came up again during a meeting held in Honea Path two weeks ago to seek support for the proposed road fee that at one time formed a large part of the budget proposal by the County.

In 2002, County Transportation director Holt Hopkins delivered to Mayor Meyers a copy of the S.C. Code of Laws dealing with the issue of responsibility for road paving and maintenance. Featured in that information was Section 5 -27 -120, which states that towns and cities are responsible for the repair of all streets ways and bridges within its corporate limits.

Hopkins also cited a 1995 ruling by the S.C. Supreme Court related to a case where the City of Greenville raised the same issues with the County. The Supreme Court took the position that the county had no obligation to provide those services to the City.

Hopkins says he also was concerned that some Towns were receiving services while others weren’t. “The City of Anderson came to us wanting us to replace some pipe and other drainage materials. The cost just for the pipe was $20,000. We just felt like we had to change the way we approached those things. We weren’t cutting grass for Anderson, but we were for Honea Path. That just seemed unfair to me, so we stopped doing those things and developed a formula, based on the assessment value in the various towns that would give us a predictable budget on what each town would receive.”

Hopkins says the changes caused the towns to prioritize a bit more. “I think it helps them to know what they will have to work with,” he said.

Based on the various legal factors, Hopkins and the County effectively stated the position that they are not required to assist the various municipalities by providing such services. Hopkins has frequently pointed at that the County in fact continues to provide such services to the various municipalities, and says he doesn’t anticipate that would ever change.

Mayor Meyers is quick to point out that the County bills the Town for such services. 

“We get twenty five thousand dollars a year for our paving use. If the County puts in a driveway apron, they bill us for it. If they put up a Stop sign, they bill us. If I used that money up for paving, I’d never know when I was going to get billed for a driveway apron or something, so I really can’t turn that money loose. Our Councilman used to come down here and see what we needed done and then he brought up for a vote, and they did it.”

Meyers was dissatisfied with Hopkins’ explanation in 2002, and he asked the Municipal Association of South Carolina for more information.

In a letter from the MASC’s legal counsel, dated August 26, 2003, the sections of law cited by Hopkins and the county are described as “having lost their functional utility but which remain on the books”.

The letter goes on to say that Section 5-27-120 predates the Home Rule Act of 1973, thereby rendering it inoperative. Sections 57-17-10, 57-17-70 and 57-17-80 are offered instead in support of the town’s position. Those sections of the state code state respectively that “the county shall have control and supervision” of the public roads; that “the governing body of each county shall take charge of and superintend the repair of the highways in the county”, and lastly, that it is a misdemeanor for “members of the governing body of any county to neglect to have repaired any of the highways and bridges which by law are to be kept in repair . .”

The letter also raises the question of the constitutionality of basing services provided on the populations of the municipality.

The Mayor says that the City of Anderson did a double taxation study approximately twenty years ago, and found they were receiving less than 60% of what they paid in taxes back in services.

“That’s what happens on those deals. The people living in the towns get charged double and they just don’t get their money’s worth.”

Mayor Meyers says that mowing and paving aren’t the only aspects of double taxation with which he takes issue. “They just added four and a half mils to the Sheriff’s levy to help him pay for his deficit. We already pay 30.8 mils towards the Sheriff, and Honea Path has its own police department. I know we have a mutual aid agreement with the Sheriff and that’s fine. But I guarantee you my police help the Sheriff more than he helps us.”

Seems to Me . . . Let the truth come out

By Stan Welch

The recent news that no charges will be filed concerning the ACSO/SLED investigation into allegations of stalking and harassing behavior towards county officials leaves many questions unanswered.

For starters, how could an investigation which had supposedly yielded so much physical evidence in its early stages produce nothing of legal use in the subsequent months of its life?

According to Chief Deputy Tim Busha, who later left the Sheriff’s Department after it was revealed that he not only had suffered several suspensions of his driver’s license, but was also not certified to conduct any investigative activities, the investigation had yielded  dozens of letters, records and recordings of harassing phone calls, and surveillance videos of those allegedly making the calls.

What in the world went wrong? How could an intensive investigation covering more than ten months and involving hundreds of man hours of work, fail to produce a single criminal charge? How?

You know, SLED takes a lot of heat and abuse for its various activities and investigations. As the state’s premier law enforcement and investigative agency, that is to be expected, I suppose. And perhaps they did step on a banana peel in this case. Maybe they just blew it, or maybe they got too involved in the politics of the matter to do an objective job of investigating. That is an allegation they have heard before.

But I get the feeling that’s a little too easy an explanation. You know, people just assume that once SLED is called in, local law enforcement and legal authorities no longer have anything to do with the case. Officially, that’s probably true. Unofficially, give me a break. By all reports, Solicitor Chrissy Adams received at least the preliminary results of the SLED investigation in late January of this year. Why would it possibly take five months to discern the meaning of a report that basically said there was either no evidence or insufficient evidence of criminal actions?

What reason could there be for such a delay? The most cynical among us think that since Adams and Sheriff Crenshaw are such close colleagues, perhaps she was trying to find some way to file some charge, no matter how inconsequential it might be, so that the ACSO wouldn’t look too bad. It wouldn’t be the first time someone cut off their nose to save some face.

Others, equally cynical, feel that Adams was delaying in order to accommodate the timing needs of the county administrator, who despite his public statements, could hardly have been happy with the outcome of the investigation. The only question among that particular group of cynics is whether the timing of the release was designed to take advantage of the uproar over the passage of the County budget, and slip under the radar of public attention, or to distract people from the budget by giving them something more, shall we say salacious, to talk about.

I’m not cynical enough to dabble in those speculations. But I am curious about the whole nature of this incident, which has drawn the spotlight in local politics for so long.

It seems to me that this whole thing was way oversold by Busha and Preston at the March 2006 County Council meeting where Busha presented the rather remarkable explanation of how the ACSO, using Preston and a female county employee for bait, had been luring these alleged stalkers into various locations in efforts to cement their identification of those culprits.

Oh, the righteous indignation of Mr. Busha, his obvious dismay that Preston’s family had been subjected to such treatment was something to behold. His voice literally trembled with anger, and a fine determination to bring these scoundrels to justice. Mr. Preston’s voice actually broke as he read a statement calling those who had subjected him and others to such assault ‘terrorists’, and vowed that their cowardly actions would not drive him from Anderson County. The inescapable implication was that they would be captured and punished for their misdeeds.

Sheriff Crenshaw said as much, reminding Council that he and his department were there to protect the citizens of Anderson County, including the Council and administrator. Chairman Larry Greer went out of his way to make sure that everyone knew that Mr. Preston’s presence at Cater’s Lake in March of 2006, with a female county employee, was at the direction of Chief Deputy Busha. He elicited that information from Chief Busha three different times.

So what happened? I mean, we had letters by the dozen, surveillance tapes, forensic evidence.  SLED must have figured that their part in all this would last about three days, including the press conference that would be held to announce the capture of the sorry devils who had dared behave in such a manner.

Instead, it dragged on and on, with countless attendant rumors of what was and wasn’t found. Counter charges were made months after the investigation began, allegations so ludicrous that they were dropped as soon as their subject declared her intent to challenge them in court. 

Worst of all, the story just wouldn’t fade away. It was a story, as we say in the media,   that had legs. Finally, when the story had long outlasted what should have been its normal shelf life, I believe powers higher than the Sheriff and the Solicitor decided that enough was enough, and the decision to release the information was put into action.

I could be dead wrong about that, but that is how it seems to me. And now, all that information, contained in the case files on the four separate investigations conducted by SLED, becomes public information. So far, four media outlets that I know of have filed Freedom of Information Act requests for access to the files. SLED has made clear its intention to comply with the FOIA in a timely manner.

Let the games begin. Let the truth come out.





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