News Archive

(2708) Week of July 2, 2008

Williamston represented in Miss SC pageant
Pet is semi-finalist in national contest
Planning underway for annual festival
Pelzer EMS building continues on schedule
Trouble follows Smith to Malibu Sports bar
Weight restrictions imposed for Hamlin Road
Detention Center guard fired after having sex with inmate
Deputies investigate incidents
Seems to Me . . .It’s time to remember

Williamston represented in Miss SC pageant

Holly Whatley, Miss Williamston 2008, will compete in the Miss South Carolina Scholarship pageant competition  July 1, 2, 3, and 5 at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium.

 Whatley will be competing with 50 other Miss South Carolina contestants from across the state during the pageant which will be held in conjunction with the Miss South Carolina Teen pageant.

During the week, she will be making appearances at restaurants around Spartanburg including Krispy Kreme, The Beacon Drive-In, Capri’s (Spartanburg and Boiling Springs), Brasserie Ecosse, Rock Water Tavern, Chick-Fil-A, Marble Slab Creamery, Walnut Grove, and The Peddler Steakhouse.

Preliminary competition for swimsuit, evening gown, talent and on-stage questions will be held at each day on Tuesday through Thursday at 2 p.m. for the Teen contestants and at 8p.m. each evening for the Miss South Carolina contestants.

The Miss South Carolina final will start at 8 p.m. with the announcement of the 2008 Miss South Carolina Teen, followed by the announcement of the top 10 Miss contestants and the crowning of the 2008 Miss South Carolina.

 Five local dancers will perform as part of a twelve member Miss South Carolina Dance Troupe. All members of the Mary Jolin Dance Studio, they are  Eandra Hall  of Anderson, Jordan Ashley of Honea Path, Lindley Evans, of Honea Path, Kendal Beacham of West Pelzer, and Kendall Cole of Williamston. 

Other members are from  Greenville, Florence and Gastonia, North Carolina.  

The Troupe has been rehearsing for the past two months and will perform in the opening and closing production numbers as well as in each phase of competition for both the Teen Miss and the Miss South Carolina Pageants.

It has been seven years since Williamston has been represented in the Miss South Carolina Pageant.

Whatley, 20, is the daughter of Mary Ellen Wilkinson and Max Whatley Jr. She is a 2006 graduate of Travelers Rest High School and attends Presbyterian College in Clinton where she is a Business Management and Spanish major.

The youngest of three siblings, Holly has a sister Hayley and brother Max.

Last fall the town was asked to support reinstating the Miss Williamston Pageant by another pageant director. Williamston Town Council approved  funding and became the sole sponosor for the local pageant and established the Leslie Mazzara Scholarship fund.

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy said he is very proud of Whatley’s accomplishment and her endurance to bring the title of Miss Williamston back to the town.

He said it was very difficult to reinstate the pageant because of the memories of Leslie Mazzara, who was tragically killed in 2004 in California.

Whatley said she is proud to follow in the footsteps of Mazzara, who also was a first time pageant winner when she was named Miss Williamston.

Clardy said Whatley has many of the same standards that Mazzara brought to the title of Miss Williamston in 2001.

“There could not have been a better person to hold the crown,” the Mayor said. “They are very similar in their spirits and vision for our town.”

Clardy commended the town council for the appropriation to sponsor the pageant and allow a Miss Williamston to again represent the town.

“We have supported the pageant before, but this is the first time the town has been the sole sponsor,” he said.

“I hope she has the opportunity to represent us as a finalist and wish her well as she represents the town and the state in the Miss South Carolina Pageant,” he said.

Whatley said she is really excited about representing the town which can claim a Miss South Carolina named from among her queens. Danielle Davis, Miss Williamston 1999, went on to become Miss South Carolina.

Since being named Miss Williamston, Whatley has appeared at several town related functions including the Freedom Celebration and a town sponsored cookout for the Salkahatchie group last week. She recently held a meet and greet in Mineral Spring Park where she sang, passed out pictures and autographed them and has visited many of the businesses in town.

She has helped raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network as as a participant in the Miss SC pageant and she ran in a 5k race for the Children’s Miracle Network.

As a contestant, she will also write an essay on “Woman of the Year” and “Child of the Year” as part of the Children’s Miracle Network program.

Her platform is Breast Cancer Awareness and promoting the importance of early detection and self exams in young women.  Her mom is a six year survivor.

Whatley said she is looking forward to competing in the Miss South Carolina Pageant.


Planning underway for Spring Water Festival

The Spring Water Festival will celebrate its 27th year of providing a fun filled family event when it is held on Saturday, August 23 in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park. This year promises to be as big or bigger than ever, organizers said.

This year’s festival will again feature expanded hours, from 10 a.m to 8 p.m. with an impressive line up of entertainment on three stages, including one dedicated to children.

 The Spring Water Festival amphitheater will feature the return of Southern Crescent. One of the upstate’s favorite party bands, the group was the featured band each of the first seven years of the festival. They will return 20 years later for an exciting performance at 2 p.m. The festival will also feature one of the biggest gospel showcase events in the upstate with daylong music on the park’s center stage.

Expanding the entertainment lineup, organizers are planning to bring in a household name entertainer as the final performer of the day. All music at the Spring Water Festival is free.

The 2008 festival will feature a Spring Water Run, being organized by Chris Bradberry and Renee Rowland. Persons interested in participating in the event can pick up an entry form at The Journal in Williamston, Nationwide Insurance in Belton, on the festival website or call Bradberry at 864-420-3282.

Local crafters who would like to display handmade items for sale at the festival are also invited to participate. Contact Ellen Harvell at 847-5588.

The festival will again feature one of the upstate’s largest antique and classic auto shows, being sponsored by the Williamston Fire Department. To register contact Steve Ellison at 864-847-4950.

Local businesses are invited to have displays at the festival. For more information contact Dianne Lollis at 864-847-5743.

The Springwater Committee, a committee of volunteers which organized the festival last year, will again take responsibility for the annual event and will continue the tradition with the support of the town officials. The Springwater Committee is  chartered with the State of South Carolina and has a 501C3 non-profit status.

Proceeds from the festival go toward improvements in the park and to fund the town’s other special event, the Christmas Park, held each year in December.

David Meade will  chair the festival. Co-chair is Steve Ellison. Other committee members include Jim Barnes, treasurer; Barbara Davis, secretary; Ellen Harvell, crafts; Dianne Lollis, displays/children’s entertainment; Catlin Tierce, gospel stage; Jim Riddle, food; Mark Pitts, souvenirs;  Shirley Pace, Kenneth Bearden, Joe and Diane Greco. The Williamston Police Department and the State Guard will provide traffic control and security.

Pet is semi-finalist in national contest

Local pet owner, Ricki Riddle of Pelzer recently received notice that her 4 year old Shih-tzu Charlie Brown was chosen as a semi-finalist in the Cutest Pet Photo Contest co-sponsoredby

Riddle entered the contest after an article ran in The Journal with information on the compeititon.

Charlie will be featured in a 250 pg. hard cover book titled, “Cutest Pets Around the Globe Photo Book.” As a finalist he could possibly be placed on the front and back cover of the book.

Riddle was recovering from open heart surgery when a neighbor asked if she wanted the eight week old puppy.

Riddle’s husband Tony said it “was not the right time to have a pup in the house” but she stated that she “fell in love with him,” and he quickly became a part of her family.

“Charlie Brown came to me at a low point in my life. I was recovering from open heart surgery and my dog of 14 years was dying,” she said. 

Riddle describes Charlie as her “therapy dog” because he never leaves her side and senses when she has bad days.

Charlie loves peanut butter, vanilla ice cream, tomatos, children, rideing in cars, and going to the groomers. Charlie is afraid of heights and has to be carried up and down the steps of Riddle’s house.

He often goes to the Riddle’s grandaughter’s baseball games and according to Riddle, is a dedicated Clemson Tiger fan. On game day he wears his Clemson T-shirt and bandana.

Riddle hopes to one day be able to take Charlie to nursing homes and children’s hospitals to “bring a smile to others.”

Riddle  is a very proud pet owner and does not care if Charlie Brown wins the competion or not.

“What matters is he is a true companion to our family and a blessing to us,” she said. 

Charlie advanced to the final round of judging which will take place within the next couple of  months.

Trouble follows Smith to Malibu Sports bar

By Stan Welch

The adventures of an Anderson County magistrate currently under suspension for his role in a recent barroom brawl that saw several people injured continued in the wee hours of June 25, when the estranged wife of Judge Mike Smith accosted him in the same bar where the brawl took place.

Smith was in the Malibu Sports Bar on Beaverdam Road at approximately 3 a.m. when  Cynthia Smith,  his estranged wife, from whom he is separated, came into the bar. An argument ensued, and according to Deputy B.K. Baxter’s report, she began throwing things, breaking at least one bottle of liquor in the process. The warrant issued for her on a charge of malicious damage to real property called her behavior “an act of rage.”

Deputy Baxter proceeded to her residence and she told him that she and Smith had been arguing earlier in the day, and she had gone to his house and “trashed the place”, before going to the bar and throwing things at him. According to the warrant, she broke a bottle of liquor and damaged a cooler door.

Judge Smith, who is currently awaiting trial on a charge of simple assault stemming from a barroom brawl several weeks ago at the bar, left the scene.

Several weeks ago, Smith, his stepson Jerrod Roberts and an off duty Sheriff’s Office investigator were arrested for their roles in a brawl at the bar. Gene Brock, the investigator, was terminated by the ACSO and faces charges of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. Roberts faces similar charges. All three men are out on bail.

Smith is the magistrate for the Powdersville area. He was suspended by the S.C. Supreme Court pending his trial.

Weight restrictions imposed for Hamlin Road

By Stan Welch

Efforts by citizens and by District Six Councilman Ron Wilson to stop a proposed construction and demolition (C&D) landfill in the Three and Twenty area have included public opposition, as expressed to DHEC, a proposed zoning of the precinct which would prevent the landfill, and the measure most likely to have any immediate effect, a weight limit imposed on Hamlin Road, the only road that allows access to the site.

The Anderson County Council unanimously passed the weight restrictions, giving two of the three necessary approvals without even knowing what the weight limits would be.

On April 15, Council gave third reading approval to an ordinance which effectively prohibits any trash truck from reaching the facility. The prohibition is against “any through trucks in excess of six wheels, and/or weighing more than 25,000 pounds.” The ordinance exempts all government vehicles, public service maintenance vehicles, school buses, or local delivery vehicles serving residences on Hamlin Road.

The fine for exceeding the weight limit is five hundred dollars. Whether the exemption for local delivery trucks applies to construction material haulers such as cement trucks, ro lumber trucks, is unclear, although the landfill site’s owners have sworn to fully exercise their legal rights as well.

The efforts to deny access to the C&D site intensified several months ago when  an administrative judge upheld the site’s owners in a dispute with the county over the suitability of the site in reference to the county’s overall solid waste management plan.

The owners claim that they informed the county of their intentions and received the county’s blessings for their proposed landfill. A C&D landfill accepts and largely recycles debris and construction materials. They accept no household waste, under penalty of law. The partners of Greenpoint, LLC, the company planning to operate the facility, say that the rate of growth and construction in the Powdersville/Slabtown area makes the site very attractive to contractors who currently have to haul their debris all the way to the Starr C&D landfill at the other end of the county.

The partners appeared before the County council at the public hearing on the ordinance establishing weight limits and told them that the county not only encouraged them to locate in that area, but actually informed them of the location they finally chose. “We have done everything we have been asked to do. Anderson County encouraged us to come here and then they turned their backs on us for some reason,” said Jim Brown to the Council.

Detention Center guard fired after having sex with inmate

A female guard at the Anderson County Detention Center has been fired and arrested and charged with one count of sexual misconduct with a male inmate of the Detention Center.

Gina Marie Loftis, 35, WF, 5’2", 160 pounds, red hair/blue eyes, had been a guard at the county facility for less than a year, according to ACSO spokesperson Susann Griffin. According to ACSO documents, an internal investigation was conducted prior to the termination and arrest of Loftis.

The incident in question took place while Loftis was on duty. Following her arrest, Loftis provided a written statement acknowledging her actions. She has been released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.

The inmate has been transferred to another facility.

Pelzer EMS building continues on schedule

By Stan Welch

Construction on the new Pelzer Rescue Squad building on Highway 20 is gaining momentum. Exterior portions of the brick walls are going up as well as interior studs to form and define the various rooms and areas of the facility. Plumbing work is also underway, much to the delight of the rescue squad’s board chairman, Dan Durham.

“We’re coming along now,” said Durham in a recent interview. “We don’t have a definite finish date in sight yet, but we’re hoping for late August or early September. But it’s definitely starting to look like something now.”

The squad has managed for many years to work out of a facility that was never designed for a rescue squad, adding on several bays over the years. The squad has been in existence for forty years and recently purchased the land where the new building is going up. They purchased the land from the Town of Pelzer for $75,000.

Durham said that the final cost of the 11,000 square foot building will approach $900,000. That figure includes land acquisition, site preparation and construction. The squad received a state grant of $325,000 and obtained the remainder of the financing through Community First Bank in Williamston.

“Their name must mean what it says, because they really worked with us to make this possible. We’re just looking forward to being in our new location and being able to continue providing this important service to our area,” said Durham.

Deputies investigate incidents   

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


June 18 – P. D. Marter was dispatched to 1141 Briarwood Dr. where Mark Ramei reported that tools and cash had been stolen from the truck he uses in his business, which is selling tools. He indicated that he felt that a teenager in the neighborhood had something to do with it. Marter spoke with the teenager and his parents, and the 16 year old denied any knowledge of the theft. Marter left but was later recalled to the location, where the boy’s parents informed him that the boy had in fact confessed to them that he had stolen the tools and cash. He was released to his parents but was charged with the theft and will face juvenile proceedings.

June 19 – T.B. Dugan responded to 112 Granny’s Village Dr. where Emma Glover, BF, 63, reported that her brother William Edwards, BM, 60, 5’7", 170 pounds, had struck her during an argument. Dugan checked all the parties for warrants and found that North Carolina had warrants on Edwards for drug charges and wanted to extradite him. Dugan placed him under arrest for assault and battery and transported him to ACDC, where a hold was placed on him for extradition to NC.

June 20 – K. J. Winn was dispatched to a construction site at the intersection of highways 8 and 88 in the Wren area. Herbert Wates, of Eagle Construction Company, reported that a fuel trailer used to hold off-road diesel had been stolen. The trailer, which was full of fuel at the time, was white with the letters ECC and an eagle decal on each side of the trailer. The loss was estimated at $5000.

June 23 – R. D. Smith was dispatched to 212 Wren Crossing Lane where Michael Mickens reported the theft of his 1998 Infiniti while he was out of town. Smith entered the vehicle into the NCIC national reporting system. A short time later, Smith was informed that Greenville County deputies had made two arrests from that vehicle and Mickens was able to go and retrieve his car.


June 19 – An ongoing problem at 209 Ina Marie Lane kept several deputies busy over the course of a few hours. T. B. Dugan was first dispatched to the scene at approximately 5 p.m. where Rick Freeman reported that he had evicted some renters from the residence at that location. He later entered the house and found two air conditioners missing , as well copper wiring and the copper coil from the central air conditioning unit. The loss was estimated at $3000.  About ninety minutes later, P.D. Marter responded to the same location where Freeman reported that one of the tenants, known only as Sammy, had returned to get more of his property and was told he was not welcome, due to the earlier incident. Sammy allegedly tried to punch Freeman, who defended himself and struck Sammy before leaving the scene in his truck. A witness to the altercation supported Freeman’s account.

About an hour later, at 7:30 p.m., Ciara Freeman, Rick Freeman’s daughter, called the police and K.D. Pigman responded. Ms. Freeman reported that Sammy had returned with another man, again seeking to retrieve property from the location. Those two men got into a shouting match with Rick Freeman and another man. No arrests were made at the time but the case was to be presented to a magistrate.

June 21 – M. Voigt was dispatched to 11 Spring St., Lot 5, where Janet Grant reported that Joshua Gantt, WM, 25, 5’10", 155 pounds, brn/blue, of Belton, had thrown a cement block through the windshield of her car. Gantt was arrested and transported to ACDC. The damage was estimated at $250.

June 18 – M. J. McClatchy responded to 500 Campbell Rd. where Melissa Thomas reported that her friend Sherry Campbell, WF, 43, 5.6", 280 pounds, of Piedmont, had come to the house where Thomas resides and knocked on the door. When Thomas opened the door, Campbell allegedly sprayed her with mace. Campbell then retreated to the yard and screamed at the other occupants of the house that she was going to kill them. Several witnesses supported Thomas’ story. EMS was summoned and treated Thomas on the scene.

June 18 – C. Whitfield and M. J. McClatchy responded to a report of shots fired at 144 Pine Circle. They were told that a subject was reported to be in the yard with two guns pointed at his own head. Upon arriving, they found Shane Cantrell, WM, 18, 6’1", 165 pounds, blonde and blue, sitting on the ground near a truck and talking to his brother. Cantrell was taken into custody and told the deputies he was stressed over a DSS case involving his daughter. Cantrell began slamming his head into the hood of the truck and was placed on his back on the ground by the deputies, who he began kicking. It was also learned that he had fired two shots into a residence at the location, and he was arrested and transported to ACDC.


June 17 – R. D. Smith spoke with Diane Nebors on the roadside of Hwy. 153. Nebors reported that she was changing a tire when she heard something hit the road behind her. Turning, she found a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber handgun in a black carrying case. The gun’s serial number was checked and came back clear. The gun was placed into evidence as found property.

June 19 – K. D. Pigman was dispatched to a convenience store at11068 Anderson Rd, where Ray Reid Jr., reported the theft of his vehicle while he was inside the store. He left the vehicle running and returned to find it gone.

June 20 – K. J. Winn responded to 3430 Highway 153 where James Pierce, of Sweet Memories Ice Cream, reported that someone had broken into two of their trucks and stolen some ice cream. The loss was estimated at $100.


June 17 – W. B. Simpson responded to 225 Cantrell Rd. where William Cantrell Jr. reported the theft of a power auger and a 100 foot power cord valued at a total of $700.

June 18 – J. J. Jacobs and J.D. Martin were dispatched to 100 Crappie Dr. where they observed two white males and two Hispanic males bleeding and engaged in an altercation.

According to the incident report filed, Joel Rodriguez, 26, 5’9", 165 pounds, of 109 Crappie Dr., had cut through the yard of Carl James Ebert, WM, 18, 5’7", 160 pounds, and was struck in the face by one of the subjects. Eventually all four men, including Christopher Michael Wall, WM, 18, and Henry Rodriguez, 29, 5’10", 170 pounds, became involved in the scrap.

Henry Rodriguez received a serious laceration to the face and was treated by Williamston EMS at the scene. Ebert complained of feeling lightheaded ands transported to Greenville Memorial.


June 22 – A. R. Hyslop was informed that the Williamston Police Department was holding an active warrant on Haynie T. Cox in reference to an incident earlier in the day and went to his residence and took him into custody on a warrant for resisting arrest and failing to accompany a police officer.

Seems to Me . . .It’s time to remember

By Stan Welch

Tempus fugit. Time flies.

Not only are we in the year 2008, but it’s more than half gone already! Tempus is really fugiting!

It is the Fourth of July, and I find myself wondering just what we have to celebrate this year? Millions of us are canceling our usual summer vacations, or turning them into stay-cations, because of the incredible gas prices.

Millions of Americans, who thought the American dream of owning one’s own home  could be a reality, are facing foreclosure and eviction, homelessness and ruin, all because federal regulation of the lending industry somehow became a bad thing awhile back. Funny how corporate America equates freedom with being allowed to do any damn thing it wants, then avoid the cost of their actions by sending a few scapegoats to the chopping block. Funny how often it works.

On the 236th anniversary of our nation’s birth, we find that nation’s boundaries being slowly but steadily erased, and our national identity being diluted by a tremendous influx of people who seem more interested in simply relocating their cultures to our topography than they are in becoming assimilated into an American way of life once envied by the world, but apparently no longer considered the standard to be sought.

The demands they make on our support systems, whether educational, medical, social or vocational, are immense and becoming more burdensome each day. Thousands upon thousands of American jobs were sent to these people’s countries in the hopes of slowing the flood, with the result that the jobs were lost, and so was the advantage we once held in the world market.

We are represented by a collection of elected officials who appear incapable of or uninterested in hearing what we have to say. And we are too lazy and too caught up in the next reality show to vote in numbers meaningful enough to shake them by the scruff of their necks and tell them to quit pandering to special interests and fat cats and do their jobs!

We seek distraction instead of remedy, and then have the gall to moan about our circumstances. We watch football games in numbers ten times greater than we watch presidential debates, and we dare to claim we are informed, or even interested.

This is the same nation, that less than fifty years ago, led man from his earthbound, tiny universe to the moon, and did it in just eleven years. Eleven years! That’s how long it took to put men on the moon, once one of the last real leaders this nation had, dared us to do it, demanded that we do it.

Understand me. The Democrats didn’t put men on the moon. The Republicans didn’t put men on the moon. A politically divided, globally challenged nation, recovering from its first energy crisis, and still trying to makes sense of the Viet Nam war, put men on the moon. They found the heart and the will and the iron in themselves to put aside the things that separated them, and set a national goal. Then they achieved it.

America put men on the moon! And they did it in just eleven years. They did it because even in the midst of the turmoil that was the decade of the Seventies, this nation believed we could do anything we set out to do. And we could! And we can!

What has changed so drastically that we find ourselves impotent in the face of the challenges flung at us by our own complacency and by the world’s growing contempt for us? Have we become so divided by party loyalties that we can’t reach those with different ideas and find a way forward? Has party membership become more important than citizenship? Is this possible?

Are we so depleted morally and in terms of national confidence that we can’t find a way to use our own natural resources without defiling the amber waves of grain and shining seas we sing about?

If you ask me to believe this, I must refuse. There is still a strength that lies beneath the surface of our national identity, a sinew that can  twist steel and turn the future, if we will only flex it.

Two hundred and thirty six years ago, the one thing that set this country on a course that has forever altered the history of this planet was our belief that no matter what we had to lose, we had infinitely more to gain. That belief is less valid today by not a single whit. It seems to me it’s time we remember, and the world remembers, just who the leading nation on earth is.

Happy Birthday, America. Celebrate yourself. Then get busy. There’s lots to do.






Printing Services About Us Weather Powdersville Piedmont Pelzer / West Pelzer Online Bookstore Community Williamston Anderson County Bulletin Board Classifieds School News Sports Obituaries Opinions Happenings Index Front Page News