News Archive

(2806) Week of July 12, 2006

Area roads were deadly during first week of July
Williamston to leave police dispatch in house for now
Gray Drive Bridge agreement reached
Legion Post to honor local Guard with cookout

Portion of Hwy. 20 named for SCHP Trooper Hester
West Pelzer advised to increase water rates
West Pelzer discusses annexation of properties
Pelzer election Tuesday
Wren sidewalk project delayed
FOI attorney Bender addresses   information issue
Gas drive off costs store $80
Tri-County Ride for Meals Saturday


Area roads were deadly during first week of July

The week of July 4th was a dangerous one in the area as a bicyclist, a motorcyclist, and two others persons involved in vehicle accidents lost their lives.

A 19-year-old bicyclist died Saturday morning (July 8) on Highway 20, when he was hit by a car. 

Anderson County Deputy Coroner Charlie Boseman said that at about 4 a.m., two bicycle riders were traveling along Highway 20, near the intersection with U.S. 29 when a car approaching from behind hit one of the riders.

Ralph Zachary Williams, 19, was killed instantly, Boseman said. 

“One of the boys that was on one of the bicycles told the boy in the front that there was a car behind him,” Boseman told WYFF News 4. “They were trying to pull off the side of the road and the boy from behind was hit.”

The car that hit the bicyclist was driven by a man who was heading to work Saturday morning, Boseman said. 

Boseman said that the riders had gone more than 10 miles and were riding wearing dark-colored clothing. He also said that the bicycles had no reflectors.

No charges will be filed in the accident. 

Williamston EMS along with Williamston firefighters responded to an accident that left an 85-year-old Pelzer man dead Thursday, July 6. According to authorities a car driven by Charles W. Coker was struck by an oncoming vehicle at the intersection of Wilson and North Hamilton Streets. Coker was rushed to an area hospital where he died. The occupants of the other vehicle were not injured.

A single vehicle accident  Saturday night July 8 on Highway 20 north of Highway 86 in Piedmont left the driver with minor injuries.  

According to authorities, a pickup truck was traveling south when the trcuk drifted to the right shoulder of the road and struck a utility pole. The truck then overturned. Greenville EMS and Piedmont firefighters responded.

On Tuesday July 5, a 20 year old motorcyclist lost his life in an accident in Pelzer in which the motorcycle struck a pickup truck, causing the truck to overturn.

West Pelzer firefighters assisted Pelzer EMS in cutting the roof off the truck in order to remove the driver.  According to authorities, the truck was apparently attempting to turn left from Hwy. 20 South onto Smythe Street when the accident happened.

The motorcyclist, 20 year old Justin Waymon Mahaffey of Williamston, was killed and the driver of the truck was transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital.

The SC Highway Patrol and Whitefield Fire Department responded to an accident Monday, July 3 on Breazeale Road in which the car left the roadway and overturned. Williamston EMS also responded to the scene.

Williamston EMS and Whitefield firefighters worked the scene of a two vehicle accident on Saturday July 1 on the SC Hwy. 20-29 Connector. Several people were transported to area hospitals after a car and pickup truck collided.

One person died following a July 2 accident on Six and Twenty Road in which an SUV apparently ran a stop sign and was struck broadside by an oncoming car at the Pickens Drive intersection. Several people in the SUV were ejected with one being flown to Greenville Memorial Hospital by Med Trans One. Pelzer EMS transported the others to the hospital.





Williamston to leave police dispatch in house for now

During their regular monthly meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council temporarily decided the 911 dispatch issue and made several other noteworthy announcements.

During the meeting it was announced that items donated for hurricane relief had been delivered, that work will begin July 17 on repairing the Gray Drive bridge, and that the old city hall building could be moved. Council decided to address hiring an administrator and salary discussions for mayor and council at upcoming work sessions.

Acting on a motion by Councilman Otis Scott, Council unanimously decided to allow the town’s police dispatch to remain in the Williamston Police Department until the end of the year, at which time it will be revisited.

Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr. asked that the motion be amended to include a statement that it remain until the end of the year, and if the department is over budget at that time, the 911 dispatch will be sent to Anderson County Central Dispatch.

Town officials said they have still not received anything in writing from Anderson County other than a cost estimate on radio equipment.

Responding to Middleton’s concerns with overtime and other expenses, Williamston Police Chief David Baker said, “We made it through the first six months without considerable overtime. I don’t see us exceeding our budget for salaries or compensation.”

Baker said the department is having some overtime associated with officers covering for those who have vacation, but added “It has to come off.” “It has to be either paid or taken,” he said.

Councilman Scott said he had numerous calls not to send the local dispatch to Anderson County.

To clear up confusion about the 911 system, Chief Baker said that residents can call 911 in an emergency situation, where they will be asked questions and then transferred to local dispatch or if they prefer, can call the local number 847-7425 for police service. “A lot of folks prefer to reach the police department at this number,” Baker said.

The number is considered a non emergency number and is for business use, he said.

Baker said the number is not published in the phone book directory because of an error by Bell South.

Baker also stated that items donated for hurricane relief last year have been delivered to Grand Isle by a local businessman.

Dr. James Bullock recently offered to take the items. Mayor Phillip Clardy said that Bullock will be reimbursed $350 for costs incurred in taking the donated items. The amount will come out of the Hurricane relief donations. The remainder of the cash in the account will be sent to Grand Isle, Clardy said.

Though there was some discussion about hiring an administrator, the issue was tabled for  future budget work sessions. 

Acting on a motion by Councilman Scott, council unanimously agreed to table the issue until a 2007 budget work session.

Councilman Middleton said that council should receive some compensation.

Mayor Clardy said that, “With reduced staff and employees, it could be argued if we need an administrator.”

Council also unanimously agreed to discuss mayor and council salaries in future worksessions.

Middleton said he will propose council be paid $50 per month and mayor $100 monthly beginning in July 2007.

He suggested the pay go to $200 for Council and $400 for mayor monthly beginning  January 1, 2008.

Middleton said he thinks council and mayor should receive some compensation for their time and efforts on Council and his proposals are on the low range of salaries across the state that were presented by ACOG Representative Joe Newton.

Councilman Scott said he would prefer to leave the salary issue where it is at present, with  mayor and council not receiving any compensation.

Council unanimously agreed to hold work sessions on the following dates: Tuesday, July 18 at 9:30 a.m.; Tuesday July 25 at 6:30 p.m. meeting with public comment; and Tuesday, Aug. 1 at 4 p.m.

In other business, Council unanimously agreed that the meeting minutes should conform to the guidelines of the Municipal Association of South Carolina.

At the request of Mayor Clardy, council agreed that requests by the mayor or council to staff members be made in writing.

Council also discussed designating a a town cleanup day or week in August. Dates will be set after consulting with department heads. 

Councilman Middleton suggested that instead of hiring outside help to perform the necessary cleanup, that town employees be allowed overtime on evenings or weekends to pickup the limbs, brush and other items. Middleton also said a number of people have volunteered to help with the cleanup effort.

Mayor Clardy stated the town should receive information from Goldie and Associates within 30 days to discuss capacity issues with the town’s sewer treatment facility allowing them to meet with the Anderson County Administrator.

Clardy said he has received one professional opinion that the old city hall property can be moved but declined to provide additional details or costs. He said a sealed bid was presented to Council members and he will attempt to get one more estimate before making details public.

Clardy also said he is talking with state officials about possible funds available to help with projects of this type. “We are already asking for the money,” he said.

Though no details have been discussed about where to move the building, the Lander property at Gossett and Main has been mentioned. Clardy said Council will decide at a later date.

Council then agreed to amend the agenda to allow Councilman Middleton to bring up two items.

Middleton asked about the status of the soccer fields and about water rates for vacant houses.

Clardy said Anderson County has funds appropriated for the soccer field. Middleton suggested the town consider a special water/sewer rate for vacant houses which are awaiting sale. No action was taken.

Councilman Greg Cole made a request for Calvary Baptist Church to use the Amphitheater on July 30 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. for a Sunday night worship service. The request was unanimously approved.

There were several speakers during the public comments portion of the meeting. 

Kenneth Bearden expressed concerns about 911 and whether the costs will increase taxes.

Carthel Crout questioned what information is allowed or provided to Council.

West Cox asked about skateboarders which he said need restrictions and one place designated for them to use.

He also said the mayor should offer an appology to the fire chief for comments made at the last meeting in which Cox said the fire chief was ridiculed for raising money for life saving equipment.

Cox said that the town was hiring an administrator to make up for bad financial decisions. “You are hiring somone to do your job.  What does that say to employees that are having to do their jobs, even with all the cuts.”

Jan Dawkins brought up questions about the property tax sale and whether council voted for the town to move the old city hall building.

Clardy and Scott both said they voted “with the intent to move if it could be moved.”

Clardy said that the building was “not to be included on that property “the building or the time capsule would not be the property of the owener,” he said.

Dawkins also questioned who was the auditor and if Bob Daniel was continueing tobe paid. Clardy said he was.

Following comments, Council went into executive session for approximately 35 minutes to discuss a personnel issue.

Gray Drive Bridge agreement reached

The Gray Drive Bridge, a Williamston landmark that has been in the news numerous times over the last 15 years, is finally going to be repaired and reopened, at least officials are saying again that it will.

According to Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy, workers for CSX transportation are supposed to begin repairing the wooden structure on Monday, July 17.

An agreement was recently reached and signed by CSX, Anderson County and Williamston officials after a lawsuit was brought against CSX in 1994.

According to Anderson County Transportation Director Holt Hopkins, the structure will be repaired to original 1920s standards. Hopkins said once the repairs are made, SCDOT will inspect the structure and determine if it will be be reopened and the weight limit. Hopkins said he expects the weight limit to be 4 tons.

Williamston citizen Pamela Owens, who has been instrumental through the years in keeping the issue alive,  stated numerous times the bridge needed to reopened for safety reasons, to allow medical and emergency vehicles access to the area.

The bridge will not support most of these vehicles, according to Hopkins. The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in 1992.

According to the settlement, CSX answered the lawsuit shortly after it was filed in 2004, denying the complaint, and ownership or responsibility for repair or maintenance of the bridge.

In the compromise settlement, CSX agreed to complete sufficient repairs to the Gray Drive Bridge so that the bridge can be reopened at a load limit no less that the load limit the bridge supported when it was closed in 1992. The repairs are to be completed within six months of the agreement, which was signed by Mayor Phillip Clardy in February of 2006.

The agreement also states that CSXT will continue obligation for the bridge as long at it owns and operates the track running underneath the bridge.

If CSXT sells or leases the track, the buyer/lessor will assume obligations. Also if CSXT abandons the track, an option that has recently been discussed, CSXT will transfer their interest to Anderson County and make a cash payment of $25,000 to the county.

Legion Post to honor local Guard with cookout

American Legion Post 121 will host a cookout at noon this Saturday, July 15, for area National Guard Troops, many of whom have recently served in Iraq.

First Vice President and former Marine Corps veteran James Maynard said, “It’s a good way to let the troops know how much we thank them for going over seas and standing up for our Country. People like them make the USA the greatest nation in the world.” Maynard said that the Legion is going to have a National Guard Day every year and that they are working on having a day honoring  all Branches of Service, one in each month, with the dates to be determined.

“This is what being a legion member is all about. Being able to be a part of this is special to me. These young  men deserve more than just a cookout, they deserve respect and a thank you.”

Anyone with a special dish for the troops is invited to bring it to the Post, Maynard said.

“We want to thank the National Guard for letting this day happen and hopefully this will be the beginning of a tradition for years to come. If anyone is interested in the National Guard, this would be a good time to stop in and ask a few questions and find out about the National Guard,” Maynard said.

As many as 100 troops are expected to attend. “It is also a great time for the troops to see what the Legion is about and what it stands for and what it means to be an Amecian Legion member,” Maynard said.

Maynard said he is working toward having a military appreciation day every second Saturday beginning in July through November. An Army day is planned in August, Navy day in September, Air Force day in October and  Marine Corps day in November.

Post officers will also hold a  meeting at 10 a.m. on the second Saturday. “It would be a good time while everyone is together to put on an event,” Maynard said. “We have several members that love to cook and having something like this not only gives us a chance to say thanks, but a chance to show off our cooking skills as well.”

“The main reason for these special days is to show our thanks for the men and women who have served our country and made it the nation it is today,” Maynard said. Each branch of the Services Recruiting Department will be invited to the Post for their special recognition day, Maynard said. For more information, call 847-4242.

Portion of Hwy. 20 named for SCHP Trooper Hester

A portion of SC Hwy. 20 between Williamston and Belton has been named for a local man who was killed in the line of duty while serving as a SC Highway Patrol Trooper.

A memorial ceremony remembering the life of SC Highway Patrol Trooper Randall Lamar Hester was held Monday at Cedar Grove Baptist Church,  Hwy. 20, Belton, in the Cheddar Community. The service was followed with the unveiling of a sign naming a portion of S C 20 in Trooper Hester’s memory.

Hester was killed in the line of duty on April 20, 1994, in a motor vehicle collision. Hester, an Oconee County native, lived in the Cheddar Community and served on the SC Highway Patrol from 1991 to 1994.

According to people who spoke during the service and who served with Hester, he was known for his easy going attitude, demeanor and for arresting drunk drivers.

The ceremony, sponsored by the South Carolina Highway Patrol, SCDOT and the family of Trooper Hester, was attended by fellow SC Highway Patrol officers, law enforcement officers, Sen. Billy O’Dell, Rep. Dan Cooper, Rep. Michael Thompson, Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy and representatives of the SCDOT including Fred Teeter, along with members of Cedar Grove Baptist Church, of which Hester was a member.

Rev. Dean Webb of Cedar Grove Baptist Church welcomed guests and gave the invocation. The SCHP Honor Guard presented colors.

Speaking during the program, Rep. Thompson said it was an honor to work with Sen. O’Dell and Rep. Cooper to have the road named in Hester’s honor.

Thompson said Hester made the ultimate sacrifice  and was “simply doing his job.”  “He didn’t know, but he left a proud legacy for his family, God and people of South Carolina. Something we shall ever be grateful for.”

Colonel Russell R. Roark, III, Commander of the SC Highway Patrol said he was the 35th person killed in SC while performing the duty of a SC State Trooper.

 He praised Hester for being a dedicated son, husband, a Christian and for coaching basketball at the church. “He will continue to represent everybody in SC and the SC Hwy. Patrol,” he said.

His father-in-law Rock Reinhart related several personal stories about Hester, who married his daughter Dawn.

Anderson County Sheriffs Office Chaplain Brad Adams presented special music along with a video presentation.

Fellow Trooper and friend Lance Cpl. Jim D. Dean and Lance Cpl. Derek H. Bracken also made remarks.

Dean, who worked with him in 1992, said he loved to enforce traffic laws and especially catching drunk drivers. “Let’s go get some drunks,” he would say.  Rev. Jerry Mize, Hester’s pastor made closing remarks and offered a prayer.

The sign unveiling was held at the intersection of SC Hwy. 20 and Academy St. in front of Calvary Baptist Church. Signs designating the Highway as the Trooper Randall Lamar Hester Memorial Highway are located at the intersection and on Hwy. 20 just outside of Belton.

West Pelzer advised to increase water rates

By Stan Welch

At Monday’s Council meeting, the West Pelzer Town Council, along with a capacity audience, heard about proposed changes in the water and sewer rate structures for the town.

The Rural Water Administration provided the Mayor with recommendations for two approaches to increasing water and sewer rates for the Town’s customers. Mayor Peggy Paxton repeated her statement of several weeks ago that rates would have to be increased. “The Town absorbed the last two rate increases without passing them along to the customers, but we just can’t do that anymore.”

The first recommendation called for a minimum base rate of $14 for the first thousand gallons of water used, with a cost of $2.90 per thousand for each additional thousand gallons used. That proposal would apply to those inside the town limits.

For those outside the town limits, the rates would call for a minimum of $25.50 for the first thousand gallons used, and $2.90 per additional thousand gallons used.

The second proposal called for a minimum of $15 for the first thousand gallons, with a charge of $2.75 for each additional thousand gallons, inside town limits. For those outside, the minimum would be $26.50 with an additional charge of $2.75 per thousand gallons.

 Under current rates, those customers inside the town limits pay a minimum of $12 for the first thousand gallons, while a graduated scale adds $.10 to the charge for additional thousands until a customer using over 30,000 gallons would pay $2.50 per thousand.

Those living outside the town limits currently pay a minimum of $25.50 per first thousand gallons and a sliding scale which results in a customer using over 30,000 gallons paying $2.90 per thousand.

The proposal for the sewer rates was a single one. Those inside the town would pay a minimum of $18 per thousand and $2.25 per each additional thousand gallons, while those outside the town would pay a minimum of $30 with an additional charge of $2.50 per thousand after that.

Mayor Paxton pointed out that the customers outside the town limits had borne the brunt of the latest rate increase. She also added that once the Town is required to send their wastewater to Western Carolina, the rates will increase tremendously.

West Pelzer discusses annexation of properties

By Stan Welch

Annexation of several lots on Arthur Davis Circle, a proposed new rate structure for water and sewer, the possible need for the town to make up a significant deficit in funding for proposed water line improvements, and questions about how to handle the Town’s municipal court; all received considerable attention by the West Pelzer Town Council Monday night.

Three ordinances to annex properties on Arthur Davis Circle were on the agenda. Two were due for final approval, while the other was due for first reading. A question about the presence of two mobile homes being on one of the lots, a violation of town ordinances, was raised by Councilman Pete Davis. “If we annex someone who doesn’t meet our ordinances, are we breaking our own ordinances?” Davis asked.

Town Attorney Carey Murphy explained to Davis that any such issues should be clarified with those seeking annexation before any decision was made. “If the council wants one trailer moved, that should be made clear. If you wish to grandfather the trailers in, that needs to be specified in the ordinance itself,” said Murphy.

Councilman Marshall King moved to table the vote, a parliamentary option that ordinarily immediately stops any further discussion of the issue at hand. Instead, Council continued to discuss the matter at some length, including whether to table all three ordinances, or just the one in question.

King expressed his opinion that someone should go and talk to the applicants for annexation and explain the situation. Mayor Peggy Paxton asked if he wanted to do so, and he said he would prefer that she did. They eventually agreed to go together, after an admonition from Murphy that to take a third Council member would constitute a meeting of the Council and would require legal notice of that meeting to be given.

Discussion then continued on what to tell the applicants. Some Council members favored telling them that one of the trailers would have to be moved in order to comply with town ordinances. Mayor Paxton preferred grandfathering the trailers in under the annexation ordinance, so as to expand the town limits.

Carey advised the council that there was no need to contact the applicants until the Council had decided whether to grandfather the situation, which he said was perfectly proper and had been done before. “The main point is to clearly define the grandfathering in the ordinance. It should state the specific conditions under which the two trailers are allowed on one lot, and the circumstances which would change that, such as the property being sold or one of the trailers burning. “

Council eventually voted to table the matter until the next meeting.

Council also heard a brief report from Mayor Paxton on the two proposals for water and sewer rate changes presented to the Town by the Rural Water Administration. The details of those proposals, as well as a comparison to the current rate structure can be found in a separate article in this issue of The Journal.

Mayor Paxton also reported that the funding for the Town’s water system improvements was getting complicated. “Our lowest bid on the project is $470,000 and we have received $500,000. ACOG takes a percentage for administering the grant, so that we are facing a possible deficit of $40-$50,000, which we need to make up.”

She added that Rusty Burns, the town’s consultant on grants and other projects, would be providing an application form within the week that would allow the Town to seek additional funding to address the shortfall. “Senator O’dell is going to bat for us on this and I feel confident that we will be able to manage this,” said Paxton. Speaking after the meeting, Councilmen Joe Turner and Marshall King stressed that if the funds were not  obtained by grant, the Town would have to pursue other avenues.

Said Turner, “We can’t afford to lose that project. It is essential to the town and its future. We’ll have to do what we have to. If we have to borrow the money through a bond or some other way, that’s what we have to do.”

Following a twenty three minute executive session to discuss personnel, after which no action was taken, Council discussed possible solutions to some issues which Mayor Paxton raised with the manner in which municipal court is conducted. She reported receiving complaints about the use of an office for closed door hearings.

Judge Roger Scott was present and assured her that privacy or intimidation was not the goal of his use of the office. “There are lots of people and kids in Town Hall on court days so I use the office and close the door to maintain order, not to deny people from knowing what’s happening in the courtroom. Murphy, who serves as Belton’s magistrate, reinforced the judge’s right to close his courtroom to maintain order, but added that the court proceedings are open by law and by nature and should be conducted that way.

He and Scott discussed some possibilities for managing the problem, and it was decided that the Judge, the Mayor and Town Clerk Beth Elgin would meet and decided on a two day a month schedule that would accommodate the court traffic as well as the Town’s normal operations.

Pelzer election Tuesday

By Stan Welch

The Pelzer Town Council had a quiet night Monday, according to Town Administrator Skip Watkins. “All they did was make a couple of appointments and get ready for our special election coming up on July 18,” said Watkins.

That election is being held to fill the seat vacated by Town Councilwoman Tonya Scott, who resigned because she was relocating outside the town limits.

Kay Beard, who lives on Lebby Street, is running for the seat against Donna Ide. 

The appointments became necessary because Ide was the Pelzer Election Commission Chairman until she resigned to run for the vacant Town Council seat. Jackie Vaughn, a member of the Election Commission, was made chair, and Rikki Riddle was appointed to replace Ide.

 The polls will be open from 7 a.m. till 7 p.m. at the Pelzer Community Building.

Registered voters who qualify, and intend to cast absentee ballots for the Pelzer Municipal Election may do so in person through Monday July 17,  8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. or if wanting to vote Absentee ballot by mail may contact our office at (864) 260-4035 for more information.

The Voter Registration Office is located in the old Bailes Building, directly behind the historic courthouse, 107 South Main Street, Suite 101.    

Wren sidewalk project delayed

By Stan Welch

Plans to construct sidewalks in the area of the three Wren schools are still in place, if slightly behind the desired pace for getting started. Holt Hopkins, Anderson County Transportation Director, says the only remaining obstacle is the lack of an actual agreement with SCDOT to begin the project.

Hopkins says that the $200,000 project, which will involve construction of sidewalks from the intersection of Highway 81 and Wren School Road to just beyond the Wren Middle School, is funded by the federal government, and administered by the state. The transportation enhancement grants are made available to rural areas, while urban areas are able to access other, but similar, grants.

 “We simply haven’t received the formal agreement that will allow us to begin work. Our early hopes were that we would be able to begin this summer, but that won’t be the case. We will probably let it for bids in January or February of next year, with construction slated for the summer school break”, said Hopkins.

The need for the sidewalks became apparent after very little study of the situation, said Hopkins. “We sent teams out there to observe, and it was scary how unsafe the situation is. There were kids crossing streets everywhere, walking in streets, skateboarding in the streets. The whole time, three schools were letting out within an hour and a half period, and the traffic was very heavy.”

The crosswalks in the area will be redesigned, as well. The sidewalks will turn along the side of the middle school and extend towards the ball fields, with some existing sidewalks being replaced. There will also be a short stretch of sidewalk installed along Rogers Road between Wren High School and Wren Elementary School.

Hopkins says that the County is also working with the officials of School District One to enhance the efforts. “They are working on budgeting some things themselves that will help redirect some of the traffic. It may take two years to get everything done, but it will help move things along much better.”

FOI attorney Bender addresses information issue

By Stan Welch

The stakes in District Seven’s County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson’s legal battle with county administrator Joey Preston were raised this week when Wilson’s attorney Jay Bender came to town.

Bender, speaking to a crowd of between forty and fifty, took off the gloves, calling the current council “lapdogs” for Preston and attacking their refusal to vote to release the legal and other documents which Wilson has been seeking. He urged the crowd to take political action against the current council and get rid of them.

Bender, a widely acknowledged authority on issues of public information, has represented Wilson for more than two years in her struggle to obtain access to both legal vendor files of the County, as well as routine financial records. A recent denial of a Writ of Mandamus application by Judge Alexander Macaulay, in which Wilson sought extraordinary relief in the issue, clearly both stung and astonished Bender.

Speaking after the ruling by Macaulay, Bender said, “The argument that Mr. Preston, as a hired employee, is somehow an equal to the elected officials of this county is astonishing and flawed. I cannot imagine that it will be sustained at any higher level of the state’s courts”

He has stated since then that the decision by Macaulay will certainly be overturned at the next level. He filed a notice of appeal approximately two weeks ago, and has said he will ask that the case go directly to the state Supreme Court, due to its impacts on the issues of public access and open government across the state.

Wilson, who ran for Council partly in response to the manner in which she says the County conducted itself in the matter of the Beaverdam sewer project’s early phases, has conceded that she should not receive access to legal vendor files for that case. She has waived any such claim in the past. She does claim the right, however, to review the County’s legal expenses, as well as full access to all other financial records of the County’s dealings. Public records indicate that the county spent more than $700,000 dollars with the McNair Law Firm alone last year. Wilson has consistently suggested that the County establish an in house attorney and hire specialists as they are needed.

Bender agrees wholeheartedly, saying that such access is part and parcel of the concept of governing. “How can an elected representative possibly perform their duties properly when hired help can deny them the information they need to make proper and informed decisions?”

Bender essentially encouraged the crowd to exercise their rights to public information, rights which are identical to those of elected officials under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act. “Go down to the courthouse and demand some of these items under the FOIA. Maybe you’ll get their attention,” said Bender.

A non-profit organization, Anderson Citizens for Accountable Government, or ACAG, was established a few months ago. Monday, those attending the meeting with Bender and Wilson, were encouraged to make a tax deductible donation to help defray Wilson’s legal expenses. Those donations can be made at any People’s Bank branch.

The County claims to have spent almost $80,000 in defending itself against Wilson’s demands. Wilson and Bender have declined to confirm Wilson’s expenses.

Gas drive off costs store $80

A local convenience store was hit with a gas drive off in the amount of $80 last week. Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated this and other incidents recently:


July 9 – J.L. Bergholm responded to the Century Farm Convenience Store on Hwy. 86 where store owner Pete King, who stated that an unknown white male had driven off without paying for more than $80 in gas. The driver, described as 20-25 years old, was driving a silver Dodge truck. King followed in his vehicle and got the license plate, NC# TXM8296. The tag came back as belonging to a car rental company in Charlotte.

July 9 – J. M. Roberts responded to the Super 8 Motel , where Glenda Cowart of Williamston reported that someone had entered her vehicle while she and her husband were visiting friends and stolen a wallet containing $580 in cash.

July 8 – W.T. Cunningham responded to a complaint of theft from David Dancy, of 402 Woodfield  Dr., who stated that someone had broken into two trucks parked in his driveway and stolen a number of tools and other items. Among the items, which were stolen from the unlocked vehicles, included a gas powered generator, an air compressor, two Hilti cordless drills, and a sawzall.

July 8 – A. Digirolamo received a complaint from Jonathan Gosnell, of Grandma Peaches’ Café, that someone had pried open the cash register and stolen $200, possibly during business hours.


July 8 – M. J. Burns responded to 1910 Easley Highway, where Williams Wilson, Jr. reported that the residence of his son, Michael Wilson, had been burglarized. Missing from the house was a laptop computer and s single shot shotgun. In addition, two outbuildings were also broken into, but no determination could be made as to what, if anything, was taken.

July 9 – M.D. Creamer located a 1988 Honda Accord which had been reported stolen to the West Pelzer Police Department. West Pelzer Police Chief Bernard Wilson was called to the scene. Creamer also found a stolen tag that had been reported to the Simpsonville Police Dept.


July 9 – M.J. Burns received a complaint from Jason Johnson of a burglary at his home at 165 Lesley Drive Johnson reported the theft of approximately 20 DVDs from the residence, valued at $200.

Registration is now underway for the 2nd Annual Tri-County Ride For Meals benefitting Meals on Wheels to be held on Saturday July 15th.  There is a $25 entry fee which includes 1 poker hand, an event t-shirt, event packet and lunch, organizers said.

Tri-County Ride for Meals Saturday

The Tri-County Ride For Meals, a poker run benefiting Meals on Wheels of Anderson, Greenville and Pickens will begin at the Upper SC State Fair Grounds located off Hwy. 123.  More than 100 participants in cars and motorcycles will ride on a scenic 70-100 mile route thru the Carolina countryside.  The event will finish at the Fair Grounds and live entertainment, food and prizes will be provided.  Everyone is welcome and proceeds will help feed hungry homebound, elderly and disabled in the Upstate.  For more information or to register call 233-6565 or go to 

Meals on Wheels in Anderson, Greenville, and Pickens Counties is a home-delivered, hot meal service for persons who are unable to prepare their own food, primarily the frail elderly who are confined to their home. Volunteers are the “life-line” of the MEALS ON WHEELS program. Community volunteers in Anderson, Greenville and Pickens counties together deliver approximately 45,000 meals per month. Volunteers provide the human touch that means so much to the homebound person.   Meals on Wheels programs in Anderson, Greenville and Pickens are supported





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