News Archive

(2706) Week of July 5, 2006

Miss South Carolina to be crowned Saturday
Bloom stores open
Investigation to determine if citizen concerns legitimate
Piedmont budget receives final approval
Seems to Me . . .Vacation

Miss South Carolina to be crowned Saturday

By Hayley Meade

A new Miss South Carolina will be crowned at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium this Saturday, July 8. Among the forty participants, two local young ladies will be competing for the crown.

Elizabeth Ridgeway will be representing Powdersville and Farrah Norris will be representing Piedmont. In a recent interview, both contestants discussed their feelings and plans concerning the upcoming pageant.

Ridgeway, of Anderson, is attending Clemson University where she is pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education. She is the daughter of Mark Ridgeway and the late Emily Ridgeway. She has two siblings, Susan and Mark.

Ridgeway has studied dance for 15 years at Anderson School of Dance, the Dance Warehouse, Clemson Dancers and Upstate Carolina Dance Center. She will demonstrate her dancing abilities in the talent portion of competition as she performs a tap dance to a medley of 50s songs.

In order to compete, each contestant must have a platform in which they spend a number of hours volunteering to help better the community. 

Ridgeway uses her own personal experience in order to help children of cancer patients cope with their feelings and emotions. In Spring of 2005, Ridgeway lost her mother to liver cancer.

“I began my platform as a way to give back to the cancer community which had supported my family during my mother’s fight.”

She uses her own story to encourage children to speak about their experiences through a support group called Kaleidoscope Kidscape. This is a free worskhop offered by the Cancer Association of Anderson that is available to any child who is dealing with cancer in his or her family.

The workshop uses creative arts and crafts as an outlet for children whose lives have been touched by cancer and seeks to teach children that they are never alone and they are given time to discuss their feelings.

“If I can do for one child what so many to hers did for me, I will consider my effort a success,” she said. “I hope I can help ease at least one child’s pain and uncertainty during my year of service.”

Ridgeway serves as a positive role model as someone who “understands the pain and difficulty of experiencing a close family member’s fight against cancer.” She is “extremely excited and anxious to compete in Miss South Carolina” and  hopes to enjoy the week of competition and “make new lifelong friends.”

Ridgeway believes this is a once in a lifetime chance to serve the state and is honored to represent Powdersville.

Farrah Norris is the daughter of Buzz and Kim Norris,  Old Farrs Bridge Road, Greenville. She has a younger brother, Zach. 

Norris is a 2005 graduate of Travelers Rest High School and is currently enrolled at Anderson University. She was actively involved with the GA ACT Teens program at Berea First Baptist Church and is a member at New Spring Community Church in Anderson.

Norris has studied dance for 16 years at Diane’s School of Dance. She will be performing a lyrical dance to “Once Upon a Time” from “Brooklyn Musical” for the talent portion of competition.

Norris’ platform is based on her experience with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. This program is a mentoring program designed to provide role models for children in the local area. Norris’ goal is to implant this program in all of South Carolina.

She considers herself lucky to have been able to participate in the pageant program and have the opportunity to compete in the Miss South Carolina Pageant. She feels that this experience has allowed her to “truly voice her opinion.”

Both young ladies will be competing in the week long process that will come to an end on Saturday, July 8 when the 2006-2007 Miss South Carolina will be crowned. A live statewide broadcast will be shown at 8 pm on WSPA-TV.

Also representing the area in the Miss South Carolina Teen Pageant will be Miss Greenville Teen Elizabeth Boerger, Miss Powdersville Teen Kristin Smith and Miss  Greater Carolina Teen Taylor Fitch.

The teen division competition includes thirty-five ladies.

The Miss South Carolina and Miss South Carolina Teen Pateant competition is a ten day event that consists of interviews, practices, banquets, and many other activities for pageant contestants.

The week began on Thursday, June 29 for Teen Contestants and the Miss Contestants arrived on Friday, June 30. 

The first preliminary competition was held at on Tuesday, July 4 at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium for the Teen Competition and at 8 p.m. for the Miss Competition. The preliminary competition will continue on Wednesday, July 5 and Thursday, July 6.

The final Miss South Carolina Teen Competition will be held at 2 p.m. at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium on Friday, July 7. 

The final Miss South Carolina Competition and the announcement of the new Miss South Carolina Teen, will begin at 8 pm and will be aired on a live statewide telecast on WSPA-TV.

Bloom stores open

Bloom, being promoted as “a different kind of grocery store”, opened the doors of three new grocery stores in the Upstate Saturday, June 24. 

Local shoppers can experience either of two local stores, in Anderson at 3750 Highway 81 or in Greenville at 1332 S. Pleasantburg Dr. at the intersection of  Augusta Rd. (Hwy. 25). A third store is located 1085-D Old Clemson Highway, between Clemson and Seneca.

Bloom grocery stores offer several unique conveniences. One is the option of using hand-held scanners, which are new to the grocery industry, that allow customers to scan and bag their own groceries as they move throughout the store.

“We have had a great response to the personal scanners,” said Karen Peterson, Bloom Media Relations. “Bloom has several unique features that the research showed people have liked,” Peterson said.

Another unique feature is information kiosks throughout the store which allow customers to easily find products, select menus, determine the best kind of wine to serve with a particular meal and if needed, offers electronic games for entertaining children. “Getting information is a breeze,” according to Peterson.

Another unique feature according to Peterson, are lower shelves, which she said are very easy to reach. “Customers responded so well to the lower height,” she said. Other features include uncluttered aisles, an intuitive layout, as well as exceptional product quality and variety.

For shoppers in a hurry, another convenience, the Table Top® area, offers restaurant-quality, ready-to-eat meals along with specially prepared deli sandwiches, handmade pizzas, salads, and more, “allowing shoppers to quickly decide on something for lunch or dinner,” Peterson said.

Bloom also offers a wide variety of fresh-from-the-farm produce; an all-Angus beef; a gourmet bakery; a full-service fresh seafood department; and more.

Trained food experts, known as taste ambassadors, roam the store offering a variety of samples of special food items and menu preparation suggestions.

“We are excited to enter the Upstate community and bring our fresh and novel approach to grocery shopping to local residents,” said James Egan, vice president of Bloom. “Bloom takes the hassle out of shopping and makes it fun and easy. We think Bloom will surprise and delight our guests with exceptional quality on everything from the practical like bread and milk to the exotic, such as Tortilla Crusted Tilapia or Alessi 20-year-old Balsamic Vinegar. The best part is we offer all of this at great prices.”

Bloom was originally introduced in the Charlotte, N.C., area in 2004 following two years of international research into consumer preferences and market studies. A cross-functional team studied customer behaviors, wants and needs. The result was a new concept developed with the grocery shopper in mind.

“Bloom really is a different kind of grocery store,” said Robin Johnson, director of marketing and brand development for Bloom. “Guests can expect to find high quality, fresh products, superior services, surprisingly deep variety and helpful technology that makes shopping a breeze.”

“At Bloom, our knowledgeable associates treat you like a guest. For example, our Taste Ambassadors are ready to assist you in menu and recipe selections. We’re delighted to now serve the Upstate and be a part of its communities.”

The three upstate Bloom stores are the result of other prototype stores which were opened in Charlotte and are prototype stores themselves.

“We are very excited for our team and for our customers,” Peterson said.

Four more stores are set to open in the Upstate later this year, officials said. Bloom continues to hire employees for stores in Greenville, Greer, and the Golden Strip.

Bloom is a banner of Food Lion LLC, a subsidiary of Brussels-based Delhaize Group (NYSE:DEG) and currently operates eight stores.

It is is one of five uniquely positioned brands under the Food Lion unbrella, Director of Communications for Food Lion, Ruth Kinzey said. Bloom offers unique design features and higher end items. She describes the Bloom concept as “customer centric.”

“We did the research nationwide and internationally, and had a lot of  advantages in developing from scratch.”

Investigation to determine if citizen concerns legitimate

By Stan Welch

An investigation into the financial circumstances of the Town of Williamston was originally spurred by the efforts of several townspeople who approached the Tenth Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams with their concerns.

Adams, in an e-mail response to The Journal’s request for information concerning the investigation, said she had met with several town members who had concerns bout the Town’s finances. That meeting led to a preliminary investigation by SLED.

Adams stressed that “A preliminary investigation is an inquiry only and its purpose is to determine whether or not a full investigation is warranted.”

Concerns about the Town’s finances have been front page news in Williamston for months, following published revelations of the $1.6 million of debt the Town faces, as well as a number of other financial problems. Help was called in, in the form of Appalachian Council of Governments Director of Operations Joe Newton, and CPA Bob Daniel, both of whom have worked with other small towns in addressing serious financial troubles.

A series of strong measures was implemented, including a major reduction in the number of Town employees, a freeze on hiring, the establishment of a sanitation fee, and an increase in water and sewer fees. Additional measures are anticipated, including an increase in the tax millage later this summer.

Public meetings to address the issues drew large crowds and loud comments. Mayor Phillip Clardy drew much of the public ire, and rumors and reports of improprieties persisted, even as more and more evidence of general mismanagement of the Town mounted. The controversy also led to the resignation of Councilman Cecil Cothran, and resulted in Marion Middleton, Jr. winning that seat in a special election. Middleton is serving the remainder of Cothran’s term, but has said he will seek a full term in November, when the seat is up for grabs.

When the town’s financial situation came to light earlier this year, the evidence indicated the fact the Town owed both state and federal taxes, and were months in arrears on payments to the employees’ retirement fund, as well as being behind on  payment of court fines and fees. The amount of that debt, and the seriousness of the situation, led the Town to auction off practically all non-essential real estate that it owned, and to dedicate the proceeds to paying the back taxes owed. The plan was successful, leading  both state and federal authorities extending a great deal of leeway to the Town by waiving penalties and interest on the monies owed; thereby saving the Town tens of thousands of dollars.

Still, some townspeople insisted that deliberate wrongdoing had taken place, and they sought out Adams to express their views. Adams said in her e-mail last week that the nature of the Town’s circumstances, which involved both state and federal agencies, made it more appropriate for the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office to conduct the investigation. Special Agent Billy Tabor has been assigned to the investigation. Sources at Town Hall report that he has asked for the completed 2005 audit. Efforts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.

Adams said that the results of the investigation by the AG’s office will determine whether a state grand jury investigation is warranted.

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy stated on June 5 that he had requested the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to thoroughly review the findings of recent investigations by accountant Bob Daniel who has been working on the town finances since the first of the year, and auditor Francis M. Branyon of Anderson.

Clardy said the request is in response to Daniel suggesting a SLED investigation of the finances and “because of concerns of some residents.”

Daniel did preliminary work on the town’s financials in preparation of having an auditor come in to do a formal audit on the books and much of the preliminary work that resulted in the town releasing information about the poor status of the town’s finances earlier this year.

“I do this with the hope and full anticipation that this will dispel any rumors or concerns that our citizens may have on our town and its financial condition,” Clardy stated in a letter send to Francis M. Branyon, the auditor who was hired to finalized the towns required audit. A letter was also sent to Daniel, Thompson and King attorney and SLED, according to Clardy.

The letter also authorized Branyon and Daniel to cooperate with SLED in any questioning that may arise, Clardy said.

Daniel had urged an investigation by SLED when he completed his preliminary work in preparation of turning the town’s books over to an auditor for the required yearly audit. An audit has not yet been made public, though  town officials confirmed that Daniel has met with councilmembers, two at a time, for a verbal report.

Piedmont budget receives final approval

By Stan Welch

The Piedmont Public Service Commission adopted its budget last week, a budget that they struggled to balance. 

Key among the features in that budget were estimated total revenues of $1,160,637. The corresponding total estimated expenditures came to $1,155,158, for a surplus of $5479.  The fire department, while providing the lion’s share of the revenues at $962,109 consumed even more than that, with estimated expenses set at $972,674. The revenues were calculated based on .055 mills. Greenville County, which provides the great majority of funding to the special district, showed a total assessed real estate value of $15,575,680, resulting in funding for the fire department of $856,662. Meanwhile, Anderson County showed a value of $1,917,220, producing $105,447 in funding for the fire department. In addition, the department projects $14,500 in interest income, allowing a surplus of almost $4000.

Greenville County provided $64,930 in funds for light and sewer operations, based on .024 mills of $2,705,430 in value, while Anderson County provided $46,013 based on $1,917, 220. Total revenues were $110,943.With the addition of $29,500 in sewer grants, the department managed a surplus of $1777.

For recreation revenues, Greenville County provided $31,151 at .002 mills, while Anderson County provided $3834, for a total of 434,985. An additional $8600 in projected revenue from the rental of the community building still left the recreation department with a slight deficit of $233. Operating expenses for the community building were estimated at $27,840, while the ballpark expenses were estimated at $15,978, for total expenses of $43,818.

Insurance costs and mandatory withholdings proved to be the fly in the budgetary ointment, with accident, disability, health, life, property and workmen’s compensation, along with the retirement plan withholdings, totaling $274,400. Aside from that salaries and firerun payments consumed $497,240 of the fire department budget. Payroll taxes took another $38,000.

Deputies investigate thefts

Anderson County Sheriff;s Deputies investigated the following incidents last week:

PELZER

June 23 – P. D. Marter responded to 2 frost St. where Tabitha McCarson reported that someone had entered her residence and stolen an XBox from her daughter’s room. The value of the item, and the damage to the bedroom door frame came to $450.

June 25 – P. D. Marter received a complaint from Timothy Garrett, of 119 Page Road, that someone had broken into his company van, breaking the window and doing $500 in damage. Garrett  later discovered and also reported that someone had broken into his shop and stole an EBT/DSS card and possibly other items. Damage to the shop door was $50.

PIEDMONT

June 23 – D. Munger responded to the Dollar Store at 602 Anderson Street where store employee Margaret Dixon reported that a black male had taken several items into the bathroom and placed them in his clothing before leaving the store. Approximately $100 worth of baby clothes was found missing. The subject left in a green Ford with a red paper tag.

June 25 – P. D. Marter received a complaint of vandalism from Jason Davis who reported that someone had damaged his 2001 Trans Am by using a metal instrument to damage his paint job on both sides of the car. The damage was visible and confirmed by Marter.

June 25 – J. C. Moore responded to the Dollar General store where store employee Tammy Payne reported that a black male stole a laundry bag, which he had filled with underwear and clothing before running from the store. He fled in a red F-150 pickup with cardboard over the license tag.

WILLIAMSTON

P. D. Marter  responded to a complaint at 825 Joe Black Road, where Diane Capell and Angie Purnell reported that someone had broken into the residence while they were gone overnight, and had stolen electronics and other items valued at more than $14,000.

Seems to Me . . .
Vacation

By Stan Welch

 It has been several years since I have taken a planned vacation; but this year, I am treating myself to just such a holiday. I am going to Florida to spend some time with one of my best friends on earth. His name is TJ, and he is one of four Citadel cadets, including myself, who somehow survived/escaped with our lives and some of our sanity.

TJ is a home builder in Florida and has a place on the Indian River there which he bought soon after moving back there and which he has restored and expanded since. It is one of the old style waterfront homes that used to give Florida her grace, before pink stucco and Miami Vice architecture made half the state look like a seventy five year old dowager in Tammy Faye makeup.

TJ and his wife, Toby, who secretly loves me but stays with TJ to spare him the heartache of leaving him, are as natural and gracious a pair of friends as anyone is likely to have. I haven’t seen them in several years, and I’m really stoked about breaking that drought.

TJ was one of the craziest guys at the Citadel, and believe me, that covers some ground. We hopped the fence behind Summerall Chapel many a time, headed through Hampton Park and for The Ark, a hole in the wall beer joint where everybody who wasn’t supposed to be off campus went to grab a cold beer and a few minutes of normalcy. For two years we roomed together, and helped each other through some hard times, and pushed each other through some good times, indeed.

There were two others in our tribe, which was a small subset of the more formal military groupings, such as battalion and company. Bud was from Beaufort, and he too returned home to build his life. His wife CeCe has always considered me a bad influence on Bone, as we call him; but the truth is, Bud Boyne never needed a bad influence to steer him into mischief. He has a nose for it. Another truth is that CeCe knows it. Boy, it’s pretty bad when even other guys’ wives misunderstand you.

The fourth of the four horsemen was a big, gentle, dry-witted guy from Greenville named Benjy. He eventually returned to his home territory after serving in the USAF, and flew for several airlines and air freight companies, before retiring and moving to the shores of Lake Hartwell, where he and Marcie live. Benjy lived for flying, and if the Citadel and a stint in the Air Force hadn’t been the quickest way to the cockpit, I’m not sure he would have stayed the whole time. But he did, and having him around sure made it easier for the rest of us. He and Bud roomed together, and if you think Felix and Oscar were an odd couple, you don’t know nothing about odd.

Benjy and I once came to Furman on a campus raid just before a football game. Incredible as it seems, even now, for once Bud avoided trouble somehow. Benjy had a 1962, I believe it was, Corvette Convertible, primer gray, with a Hurst four speed. I fell in a pond on the Furman campus in the middle of November and froze all the way home. But Benjy did get me back quickly, since we ran about 110 or so the whole way.

None of us were exactly model cadets. While some of us occasionally achieved some middle rank within the company, all of us ended up as senior privates when we graduated. Senior privates are regular cadets who made it through the whole four years, or more in some cases, but who never really found their comfort zone within the system.

TJ and I developed some issues with authority fairly early during our college careers. Those issues deepened as time went on, and followed us throughout our time at the West Point of the South, or as TJ and I called it, South Point.

TJ and I walked more tours as cadets than anyone who had come before us, and as I said earlier, that covers some ground. I suspect our records have been broken since then, but for awhile we were numbers 1 and 2 in all time punishments awarded. TJ was number one; I was a much better cadet when I had to be. I reached the rank of corporal and sergeant during my time. Unfortunately, I was caught coming back from the Ark both times, and was busted before assuming my rank. Hey, if a guy and his buddies can’t celebrate his promotion, what are we fighting for anyway? Or something like that.

Those days were many years ago, so many that it stuns me when I stop and think about it. We have all led good lives, and interesting lives since then. I have made other friends in life, as have they. But we have made none better, nor any who would more quickly answer a call for help, whether in getting through one of life’s tough times, or celebrating one of its good ones. Just wanted to let you guys know I’ve been thinking about you. Bud, Benjy, I’ll say hello to the Melbourne wild man for you. Take care, or come on down. There’s always room for more. Right, Toby?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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