News Archive

(2807) Week of July 11, 2007


Rescued pony now has new life providing therapy
Time capsule dug up without notice
Grant requests are underway
Park improvements continue courtesy of local mission group
Bi-Lo now Super Bi-Lo
South Greenville FD adds new wing
Debris, budget top agenda for West Pelzer Council
Competitive grants  being awarded locally
Piedmont hit with high winds
Deputies investigate deaths, thefts and other incidents
Sheriff's office memo required valid driver’s license
Anderson Senior Center to present Jo Brown award
Anderson County Republican resolution cites Anderson County Council
Seems to Me . . . “The Fourth File”

Rescued pony now has new life providing therapy

By Stan Welch

The little blind pony found by a Williamston couple on an island in the Saluda River earlier this year may not know what a happy ending is, but its story sure has one.

Six weeks after its rescue, the pony has a new home in Georgia, and a new purpose in life. The pony will be used as a therapy pony, visiting patients at hospitals, rehab centers, and nursing homes.

Called ‘Spirit’ by some and ‘River Rat’ by others, the Shetland pony was found by Steve and Sandra Claytor, of Williamston, on a small river island adjacent to their property. Anderson County swift water rescue personnel managed to get the pony off the island and onto the Anderson County bank of the river.

The pony was in bad shape, but Anderson County animal control officials offered no help in dealing with the situation. So the Claytors put the pony in an extra dog kennel they had, which seemed only fair since it was their dogs’ incessant barking that led the Claytors down to the river where they found the pony.

The Claytors got in touch with PEARL, the Palmetto Equine Awareness and Rescue League, an organization that performs large animal rescues and rehabilitations.The Claytors’ grandchildren named the pony ‘Spirit of the Saluda’. Nancy Traynum, an officer with PEARL, is one of those who calls the pony River Rat. She’s earned the right to call it whatever she wants.

For six weeks, as the horse, which is almost totally blind, went through bout after bout of life threatening colic, Traynum was up every three hours around the clock, checking on the pony, and experimenting with different sources of food and hay, trying to find something it could tolerate. It was an exhausting schedule that paid off in the end.

“That pony is so lucky it’s unbelievable. When I went to get it and saw the shape it was in, I fully expected to end up putting it down out of mercy. But the Claytors just didn’t get that. They were certain the pony would survive. I guess the fact that it swam the Saluda to get to the island in the first place, then was rescued by a swift water rescue team is unusual enough. But to survive all its health problems and end up with a good home and a great purpose is just the way it was meant to be. Things just don’t come together like this most of the time. It’s really remarkable.”

PEARL members used the internet to spread Spirit’s story, and to look for a home. Within a couple of days, the close knit equine community had come through. A woman named Brooks Hunneycutt in Georgia had contacted PEARL and wanted the pony. She already has several horses she has rescued and put into service as therapy horses.

“River Rat will be perfect for that. He is so sweet and well trained. I don’t know why the people who abandoned him did it, but they lost a great little pony. We’re all just so pleased it worked out. If the Claytors hadn’t gotten involved, and done what they did, this story would have had a much different ending. It just goes to show that you can make a difference if you just get involved,” said Traynum.

Nicole Walukewicz, also a member of PEARL, says Traynum’s hard work played a big role in the success story. “A big part of that pony’s luck was in having Nancy Traynum around to care for it. She just wouldn’t quit on that pony, even when common sense said that was the thing to do.”

Time capsule dug up without notice

By Stan Welch

A casual announcement at a recent Town council meeting, by Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr,. that he had gathered a crew of town employees and dug up the Town’s time capsule shocked and surprised Mayor Phillip Clardy, as well as raising questions about the authority of Council members to direct town employees to do anything without a formal vote.

Towards the end of the July 2 meeting of the Town Council, Middleton casually announced that he and a crew of employees had dug up the time capsule, which was buried on the site of the old Town Hall, and had moved it to a secret location, pending its reburial on the current Town Hall grounds, along with a second time capsule which is currently being prepared.

Mayor Clardy was clearly surprised and apparently, not pleasantly so. He turned to Councilman Harvell and asked if he knew anything about it, to which Harvell replied no. Councilman Otis Scott said Middleton and Councilman Carthel Crout had mentioned it to him, but he didn’t know they planned to dig it up.

He then asked Middleton where it was located, and Middleton said he would tell him later in private. In a recent interview with The Journal, conducted several days later, Clardy said Middleton has yet to reveal the location of the time capsule.

That isn’t Clardy’s only problem with the way the matter was handled. 

“I can’t understand first of all, why Mr. Middleton would dig it up with no press there, none of the Town’s citizens, some of whom were around seventy years ago, when the capsule was buried, nobody to verify that the contents are intact and the integrity of the capsule was maintained.”

 Councilman Middleton said that the capsule was supposed to be moved from the old town hall site within 180 days of the sale of that property.

“It was supposed to be done in January. The rest of the Council found out that it wasn’t done by reading about it in The Journal,” said Middleton.

Clardy says the 180 day deadline was established by the terms of the sale, but added that there was no rush to move it. “If anything were to be done with the property, we would have plenty of notice to move the capsule.

Clardy acknowledges that two previous dates for the capsules exhumation were not kept. “We had a date in April scheduled to dig it up, but the capsule that was approved for burial as part of the Town’s Sesquicentennial celebration, simply wasn’t ready. Then, we were going to do it on the Fourth of July, but we got hit by the big storm, and the crews were so busy dealing with cleanup, they couldn’t prepare the site. I informed the Council of the delay and the reason for it.”

Middleton says when the capsule wasn’t dug up in time for the Freedom Celebration, he and others became frustrated. “I called Councilman Scott and told him if he didn’t mind, I’d get this thing dug up. This is just a symptom of the frustration that Council feels with the Mayor. We have issues hanging fire with Big Creek Water, with the Council on sewer capacity issues, and then this. This Council is about getting things done, and that’s what we did.”

Middleton denied polling Council members about the decision, saying no vote was taken. “We already had voted to dig up the capsule. I just checked with Otis Scott to see if he had a problem with it.”

Clardy says the Council had agreed to exhume the original capsule and rebury it at the same time, “so there would be no question about the integrity of the capsule or its contents. I simply don’t understand why they thought they should do this,” said the Mayor.

He also said that he doesn’t understand why they thought they could do it. 

“That decision is completely outside their authority. Some members of Council are assuming more and more authority, but the fact remains that we have a strong mayor form of government, and I am the Mayor. The role of the Council members is as a member of a convened Council with a vote in an open session. As Mayor, I could have made the decision to dig up that capsule, but I would never do so, for the same reasons I wish they hadn’t. That is part of our Town’s history and it should have been handled with some dignity and respect.”

Clardy says that the assumption of authority by members of Council has been accompanied by a series of illegal meetings and votes taken by telephone or in unannounced meetings, which do not comply with the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act. “There is far too much of that going on. Polling over the phone, or three Council members standing in the hall at Town Hall and making decisions about things is illegal. It has to stop. I’ve discussed this issue of authority with the Council on other occasions, but it continues. And the town employees are caught in the middle. A Councilman goes to them and tells them to do something, and they can hardly say no. But the Council member has no right to put them in that position.”

Middleton says that the problems arise because the Mayor is not doing his job. 

“We have four Council members trying to run this town. That’s not how it should be and it’s not what I want. I’ll be the first to tell you that. But we are tired of waiting.”

Clardy says he is tired of being told to do his job. “My answer to that is get out of my way and let me do that job.”

The South Carolina Freedom of Information Act specifically prohibits informal meetings, or the use of telephonic or electronic means, such as e-mails, to  reach decisions without holding a legal, open meeting.

Clardy says the Town’s recent check requisition policy may in fact be a violation of the open meeting laws of South Carolina. “We hire a temporary worker, and we have a check requisition that requires two Council members’ signature, as well as mine. Those three signatures constitute a quorum approving an expenditure without an open meeting. Is that illegal? It certainly seems like it might be.”

He said he would welcome a forum that would allow either ACOG or perhaps the South Carolina Press Association to conduct a seminar on the various forms of government and the open meetings laws. “We need to understand these things because we are going to get ourselves in trouble if we continue the way we are going. I’m trying to protect the Town’s interest, and to follow our established form of government.”

Current plans are to bury both time capsules, one on either side of the Town Hall fountain during the Spring Water Festival next month.

Grant requests are underway

By Stan Welch

During their July 2 meeting, Williamston Town Council heard an update on grant situations and briefly discussed the effects of the new hospitality tax on the upcoming Spring Water Festival but conducted little business.

Perhaps the biggest news of the meeting was the announcement by Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr. that he and a crew of town workers had dug up the Town’s time capsule and moved it to an undisclosed location. (See related story elsewhere in this issue.)

Council also heard a report from the Town’s grant writer Rusty Burns, who informed them that District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson was expected to provide $10,000 from her recreation fund for use in putting fencing on the soccer field. Burns also discussed the Town’s upcoming PARD grant request. “The County’s share is expected to be $100,000” said Burns. “We should request $25,000.”

He reminded Council that they had requested $40,000 from the Anderson Transportation Committee to be used as matching funds for the Streetscape Project. An additional grant in that amount will be sought later as Phase two of the project gets underway.

A request for funds for work at the Mineral Spring Park has been approved and the Town is currently seeking $30,000 for the lift station on Cherokee Road. Community Development Block Grants are being sought for other sewer work, Burns said.

In other business, following an executive session, Council voted to authorize Mayor Phillip Clardy to seek further clarification and documentation concerning the Town’s disputed water bill with Big Creek Water Company.

No action was taken concerning the issue of the County’s reserved capacity at the wastewater treatment plant, since negotiations are still underway.

Questions were raised about the Town’s new two cent hospitality tax, and how, or if, it will be applied to food vendors at the Spring Water Festival. There is apparently an arrangement already in place that results in the Spring Water Festival committee receiving a higher percentage of food sales than the hospitality tax would generate. No decision was reached. Council also went into a second executive session to discuss contractual matters related to the Town’s efforts to demolish and remove some dilapidated homes and buildings in town.

During the public comment part of the agenda, Judy Ellison asked Council to reduce Mayor Clardy’s salary to only $50 a month, rather than the $200 a month salary that they recently returned to the budget for themselves. Town attorney Richard Thompson, on request from Councilman Carthel Crout, stated that the Mayor is also a member of council and that all must be paid equally.

Crout took Clardy to task over his failure to provide the Council with a list of all the grants the Town has received since 2000.

“We have asked for that list several meetings ago. But we do not have it. Why not?” asked Crout. “Should I ask Mr. Burns for the list myself?”

Clardy responded that, if that made Crout feel better, to go ahead and do so.

“ Just do your job, sir,” retorted Crout.

Park improvements continue courtesy of local mission group

Work in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park is progressing thanks to the Mission Jerusalem team who are providing labor and materials to make improvements on structures in the park.

The  mission group is from Calvary Baptist Church 

In the past, the mission group has been involved in Church starts, building projects, renovations of houses and other community unifying events such as block parties, Bible clubs and holiday festivals.

They participate in two or three mission trips each year, often out of state or out of the country.

Thisyear, they decided to bring their efforts closer to home.

Calvary Baptist Pastor Mark Roberts said that the group  decided to become involved in making improvements in the park, and in the process, to help build community unity and restoration.

After hearing of repair needs in the park, they decided they could provide manpower and funding and in doing so “strive to rebuild harmony and unity within our community.”

“We just wanted to make a difference in our own community this year,” said Pastor Roberts.

He also said they hoped to get other churches involved and “work side by side so people would see how we can make a difference.”

“We want Williamston to get back to being the great community it was and for people outside the town to see Williamston is a great little town.”

A work day is planned in the park this Saturday. Youth from Calvary will be painting park structures and a group from Hillcrest Baptist Church will be staining the park amphitheater.

The Mission Jerusalem team is headed by Jim Davis, Hal Jordan and Ken McInnis and includes 10 to 12 other men who work closely with them. Most are retirees who want to get involved.

The group also includes youth and senior adults on two day projects that may include as many as 45 individuals doing things like scraping paint or painting.

The group helps elderly persons or others in need of repairs or other minor work at their home and is continually taking applications.

If someone knows of a need, they can call the church or come by and fill out an application form which includes the scope of the work and estimated cost for consideration by the mission team, Roberts said.

The group has already placed metal roofing on three park shelters and will be starting on a fourth soon.

Other projects being worked on in the park were designated priorities by the Park Committee, which includes  members of the community appointed by Williamston Town Council to oversee the improvements. The park committee is led by Chairman Dale Martin.

Plans are to have as much as possible completed before the town’s annual showcase, the Spring Water Festival, on August 25.

The Mission Jerusalem team repaired rotting benches at the park’s amphitheater last year prior to the Spring Water Festival, covering them with aluminum seating.

Additional work to be done in the park includes replacing the roof and repairing the large “Fireman’s” Gazebo.

Other priorities include placing a shelter over the electrical box on the Amphitheater, putting a lean-to roof over the small Gospel stage, roof repair and metal doors at park restrooms, sidewalk cleanup and rock replacement.

Other improvements which the town will spearhead include work on the creek bank where it has eroded near the covered bridge, and bracing and creek erosion at the concrete bridge.

Longterm plans include adding playground equipment for younger children and possibly sandtables.

Plans also include placing 10 decorative pole lights along the sidewalk and possibly a clock tower near the playground area.

Area businesses have already contributed $300 each to help pay for the lights, officials said.

To help deal with vandalism and security, the town recently installed security cameras to the park area and replaced gates to close the park during overnight hours.

Several improvement projects were already underway in Mineral Spring Park before the park committee was formed.

Most recent and at the top of the list was stabilization of the town’s centerpiece, the springhouse over the mineral spring

The Bethlehem building was recently painted a sand color.

For more information on Mission Jerusalem, call Jim Davis at 864-847-6032 or Calvary Baptist Church at 864-847-9215.

Bi-Lo now Super Bi-Lo

The BI-LO grocery store in Pelzer celebrated a Grand Re-Opening last Wednesday as a Super BI-LO.

Local Mayors Kenneth Davis of Pelzer, Peggy Paxton of West Pelzer and Phillip Clardy of Williamston assisted Store Manager Todd Creamer and other BI-LO officials in the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The 46,600-square-foot store has recently undergone a major renovation. BI-LO officials confirmed that nearly $1.5 million was invested in this project. The Pelzer location is one of three Super BI-LO locations that opened in the upstate that day. Others include an additional remodeled store on Woodruff Road in Greenville, as well as a new store in Simpsonville.

The Super BI-LO format offers more products in each department and more customer service throughout the store, while providing the same great BI-LO value. The Pelzer Super BI-LO also features a convenient drive-through pharmacy.

In remarks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, BI-LO Regional Vice President Dwayne Goodwin said, “We are delighted to open this Super BI-LO in Pelzer. Our loyal customers in this area deserve the best shopping experience that we can deliver and we intend to meet or exceed their expectations with this Super BI-LO.”

As part of the Grand Re-Opening celebration, there will be a Kids Day on Saturday, July 14 featuring a magician, Walter’s Pals mascots and special appearances by characters Spiderman, Dora the Explorer and Sponge Bob Squarepants. A hot dog wagon will be open, with all proceeds going to the Boys Home of the South.

BI-LO, headquartered in Mauldin, operates 227 supermarkets in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee and employs approximately 17,200 people. The company held its annual BI-LO Charity Classic golf event on June 11, raising nearly $5.6 million. Grants from the BI-LO Charity Classic focus on children’s charities, hunger relief and education.The Pelzer BI-LO recently celebrated its Grand Re-Opening as a Super BI-LO. Mayors Kenneth Davis of Pelzer, Peggy Paxton of West Pelzer and Phillip Clardy of Williamston assisted Store Manager Todd Creamer and other BI-LO officials in the ribbon cutting ceremony.

South Greenville FD adds new wing

By Stan Welch

Firefighters, emergency responders, politicians, dignitaries and just plain folks gathered at the South Greenville Fire Department headquarters on the Fourth of July to see a new wing of the firehouse dedicated.

The wing, named after retired Fire Chief and current Fire Commission Board Chairman Billy Campbell, added 5800 square feet to the existing building. Included in that space are four more truck bays, two offices, a large training room, a kitchen, a bathroom and additional space upstairs that has not been assigned a specific use yet.

The headquarters currently houses a pumper truck, a shift supervisor’s vehicle, a rescue truck, a 100 foot platform truck, and a special operations truck. An EMS ambulance is also stationed there. The department has seven firefighters on duty 24 hours a day, and also has a chief, an administrative assistant, a fire marshal and the department mechanic on hand from 8 till 5 Monday through Friday.

Chairman Campbell said he could look around and see firefighters he had helped train and raise. “These firefighters are like my children. I have watched them come up through the ranks, as the department has grown into the tremendous operation that it is today. This is a great honor and a wonderful day for this department.”

State Representative Eric Bedingfield was also on hand for the dedication. “Billy Campbell has played a huge part in this community over the years. These fellows and gals do not receive the credit or thanks that they deserve for the service they provide. This is a great way to say thank you for their sacrifice and service. This is a great day for a great fire department.”

Greenville County Councilwoman Judy Gilstrap was also on hand, and presented a check for five thousand dollars for use for infrastructure for the station house. “This is a wonderful day for Billy and for this department, which does so much for so many in this part of Greenville County,” said Gilstrap.

Chief Ken Taylor was also presented a plaque by the firefighters, recognizing his contributions t the department as well.

The addition cost approximately $500,000 and the contractor was Green Earth Construction. Chief Taylor praised Green Earth owner Dave Altman, saying, “When we chose Dave and his company as out contractors, things began to go smoothly. They were easy to work with and professional in every way.”

Debris, budget top agenda for West Pelzer Council

By Stan Welch

Despite a two hour work session held a week earlier to address the Town’s debris ordinance and its budget, West Pelzer Town Council failed to take action on either one Monday night. Instead, two more weeks will pass before any further work is done on the two issues. A special work session is scheduled for July 23 at the Town Hall.

The work session will expected to result in the final reading of the town’s debris ordinance, and first reading of the town’s budget, both of which were scheduled for votes Monday night.

The debris ordinance has already received one reading and approval, and amendments were made at a work session held on July 3.  But newly installed councilman Jimmy Jeanes seemed concerned that the ordinance would pose a hardship on some of the town’s citizens.

The ordinance consisted of an existing ordinance and several amendments that had been made to tighten up the law to the point that it could be enforced. The ordinance deals with the issue of grown up lots and abandoned homes and other eyesores and health hazards.

The most controversial facet of the law is the provision that allows the town to do necessary work if the owners refuse, and to place the costs of the work as a lien on the property. That lien would have to be paid the next time the taxes came due.

Jeanes and Councilmen Marshall King and Joe Turner all expressed concerns that the older people in town would be put at a disadvantage by the ordinance’s requirements. Mayor Paxton stated that those in need of help would receive it, whether from churches or individuals. “It’s our job to help our citizens. I think the people of West Pelzer will make sure that happens.” Jeanes also stated that the ordinance was aimed at a specific person, J.C. Cox, who has a large tract of land that is overgrown. Mayor Paxton denied that the ordinance was aimed at any specific person, saying that such an approach would be illegal.

Jeanes questioned whether the Town would actually enforce the ordinance against Cox, and was assured that the ordinance would be enforced against everyone it applied to.

“We are not aiming this at any special person,” Paxton repeated. “We have properties all over town that need to be cleaned up. That’s why we’re trying to pass this ordinance, so that it is specific enough to be enforceable.”

Discussion of the issue continued long after a motion was made and passed to table the matter until the work session. (Editor’s Note: A motion to table stops all discussion until the motion is approved or defeated. If approved, the motion to table supposedly stops all discussion until the issue is brought back to the floor by a vote of council.)

Council was still discussing the matter during the citizen comments portion of the agenda and attempted to remove the issue from the table and bring it back for a vote.

Turner, King and Jeanes declined to approve that motion, but did indicate they would approve the ordinance at the next meeting if a sixty day window for compliance was added.

The proposed 2007-08 budget fared little better. Despite having been studied to some extent at the workshop last week, several members of Council wanted more time. Mayor Paxton provided a budget analysis document generated by the Town’s new accounting software that compares the budget for this year with the actual expenditures and revenues for the year. Several council members wanted more time to study that document.

Newly installed Councilman Mike Moran referred to the current surplus of $121,000 that the town has, and questioned why it wasn’t known about until now.

“We need to put a capital projects line item in so we know during the year if we have this kind of money available for some of the things the town needs. For example, both lift stations need work. The Town needs a police car desperately, but nobody knew we had this kind of money on hand to work with.”

Mayor Paxton agreed, saying that she always erred on the side of caution. “I just don’t want to go over budget, so I underestimate some of these things to be sure.”

The question of hiring a Town Clerk also continues. Applications were directed to the Town’s auditing firm to assure that all applicants meet a minimum standard of experience and ability to insure that they could perform their duties in such a way as to meet the standards of the audit the town undergoes each year.

Council will hold a special called meeting to conduct those interviews during an executive session. That date has not been scheduled.

A challenge by Council to the Mayor’s authority to fill the newly established part time position of clerk of court was defeated at last week’s work session, when Town Attorney Carey Murphy offered his opinion that Council, under Home Rule and the strong mayor form of government, could only appoint the Town Clerk, the Town Attorney, and the Town Judge.

That position was established due to the increased demands imposed by the state’s new court management program.

Competitive grants  being awarded locally

By Stan Welch

A recent listing of competitive grants awarded by the state show that area representatives were effective in helping several local governments access those funds.

Senator Billy O’Dell and State Rep. and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Dan Cooper were helpful in obtaining a $15,000 grant for the Piedmont Public Service district to be used in purchasing fire and rescue equipment.

Cooper also obtained $69,728 in funds for the Powdersville Water District to be used in constructing a six inch main extension to the Shady Acres development.

Senator O’Dell and Rep. Mike Gambrell were instrumental in helping Belton receive grants to resurface the tennis courts ($10,000) and to renovate the town’s ball fields ($10,000). A separate grant, applied for by Anderson County, will provide $79,551 for the stabilization and rehabilitation of the Belton train depot.

Anderson County also received two other grants, including $100,000 to support the Great Southeast Balloon Fest, which was created to replace the Freedom Weekend Aloft event which returned to Greenville County this year, and an additional $100,000 to bring the Arts Center into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA.

Additional grants will be awarded as the year progresses, officials said. The state competitive grant program was developed to decrease the amount of pork barrel projects which were traditionally placed in the state budget as amendments and riders to other legislation.

Piedmont hit with high winds

A fierce thunderstorm swept across Northern Anderson County and the southern end of Greenville County Tuesday, knocking down trees and power lines. More than 17,000 Duke Power customers were without power.

Piedmont Fire Chief Tracy Wallace said that a large tree  blocked Highway 20 for almost four hours before SCDOT crews could respond and remove it from the road.

“We ran four calls after the storm. We responded to three calls of power lines down, and the call about the tree on Highway 20. Just about everybody in town was without power until about eight o’clock at night.” The tree was an old oak that had been pruned in a Vee shape to allow power lines to run right through its canopy.

Greenville County had almost 10,000 customers without power, while Anderson County had approximately 6300. Pickens County also had approximately 1100 homes without power, as the strong storm swept across the area.

The storm was the latest in a series of strong summer thunderstorms to hit the area in recent weeks. Two weeks ago, Williamston and the surrounding area were hit by a powerful supercell which damaged homes, uprooted trees and knocked out power.

Deputies investigate deaths, thefts and other incidents

Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scenes of three separate deaths in the area last week.

On July 7 Deputy J.J. Jacobs responded to a call of a possible assault resulting in the victim going into cardiac arrest. Upon arriving at 184 New Hope Rd., in Pelzer, Jacobs found Clyde Edward Bryant, WM, 78, lying in his bed fully clothed and unresponsive.

According to a spokesperson for the Coroner’s Office, a subsequent investigation revealed no evidence of an assault and an autopsy found no signs of foul play or trauma.

 Also on July 7, Deputy R.N. Holbrooks was dispatched to 1067 Erskine Rd. in Belton where he was shown into a back bedroom, where Donyale Jones, BF, 28, was found on the floor. She was unresponsive and was later pronounced dead. According to a spokesperson for the Coroner’s Office, a subsequent autopsy revealed a medical condition that resulted in her death. Privacy considerations prevented the Coroner from releasing any information on the condition.

 On July 8, Deputy M. D. Campbell responded to 1603 River Rd. in Piedmont where he found EMS personnel on the scene. Robert Allen Hazen, 47, WM , was found deceased in his truck. A spokesperson for the Coroner said no autopsy was performed, indicating that the cause of death was natural causes.

PELZER

July 5 – K.D.Pigman was dispatched to Lebby St. where Scott Watson stated that someone had stolen his white S-10 pickup truck.

PIEDMONT

July 5 – T.B. Dugan responded to Road Runner Autos at 3470 Hwy. 153, where Timothy Cash reported that Timothy Lee Owens, of Liberty, had sold him a motor home approximately a year ago. When Cash tried to title the motor home, it was allegedly found to be stolen. Cash is pressing charges against Owens.

July 6 – J.J. Jacobs responded to The Cracker Barrel on Hwy. 153 in Piedmont where three vehicles had been entered and property stolen.

July 6 – M.D. Campbell was dispatched to 201 Edmonton Dr. where Kimberley Coleman reported that someone had cut three of the four tires on her vehicle as well as scratching the paint job.

July 6 – T.L. Chapman was dispatched to 1501 Elrod Rd. where he received a report that Nancy Mullins and Talmadge Seymore  had encountered a man while inspecting their property. When they asked him what he was doing there, he pulled a handgun on the two. He was described as a white male between 30-40 years old with blond hair. He was 5’7" and weighed approximately 170 pounds. He pulled the gun from his black and silver motorcycle.

July 7 – M.D. Campbell responded to 4 Haynes St. where Shane DeSoto reported that someone had stolen a stereo amplifier from his car.

July 7 – T.L. Chapman was dispatched to 130 Cool Meadows Dr. to investigate a complaint by Jeffrey Holland that a storage building had been broken into and several items stolen while the family was on vacation.

WILLIAMSTON

July 6 – S.M. Ambridge was dispatched to 224 Anita Court where Crystal Garrett reported that a Hispanic male had assaulted her by throwing an object and hitting her in the head. Garrett was at her parents’ home feeding their pets while they were out of town, when a van resembling her mother’s pulled into the yard. She went outside to greet her mother, but the man got out instead. He spoke no English, but was apparently angry. She told him to leave and he threw an object striking her in the head, according to the report.

BELTON

July 5 – J.R. Finley was dispatched to the AnMed Medical Center to investigate a report of assault and battery. Sylvester Sanders, Jr., BM, 30, reported that the day before he was at a party on Camelot Drive in Belton. A fight started and Sanders was hit in the head by a thrown beer bottle. He did not call the police but the hospital was required to notify law enforcement.

July 5 – K.D. Pigman was dispatched to 1421 Big Creek Rd. where Jerry Stone reported the theft of eight sheets of sheet metal from his pasture.

July 8 – J.W. Mills responded to 3604 Hwy. 29 North where he received a report of kidnapping. Mary Annette Simmons reported that Tiffany Sims, WF, 41-45 yrs. Old, 5.9", 145 pounds, brn/brn had been at her house because Sims was afraid of her ex boyfriend, Billy Roof. According to the report, Roof called several times looking for Sims. He came to the house early the next morning looking for Sims, who went outside to talk to him. During a heated argument, Sims was heard to tell Roof she did not want to leave with him. She then returned to the house. Simmons said she heard a single gunshot and Roof came in the house and pushed Sims out the front door. He then picked her up and carried her to his motorcycle and put her on it. They left.

Deputy Mills determined that Roof was wanted for Criminal Domestic Violence involving Sims. He and several other deputies went to Roof’s address at 201 Willingham Rd. in Williamston where they found both Roof and Sims. Roof was arrested and transported to ACDC.

July 8 – R.J. Payne responded to Architectural Millwork, at 9529 BHP Hwy., where Anthony McDonald reported that someone had broken into the business and stolen $200 from an office. They had cut through a roll up door to gain access.

Memo required valid driver’s license - Sheriff’s Office

By Stan Welch

Sheriff David Crenshaw apparently just didn’t get the memo. That would be the memo, issued last December 11, requiring all ACSO employees to maintain a valid S.C. driver’s license, or face possible termination.

Crenshaw, who recently acknowledged reports that he had been operating on an expired driver’s license for more than a year, apparently wasn’t subjected to the bi-annual license review.

The policy was put into place on December 11, 2006. It was apparently initiated by Chief Deputy Creed Hashe, who signed the memo announcing the policy.

The memo read as follows: “The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office will start conducting bi-annual Driver’s License checks on all employees starting this month. Employees must maintain a valid SC Driver’s License, and failure to do so can result in termination. License checks will be conducted every six months to verify a valid status.”

According to the memo, the distribution pattern was pattern A, or to all personnel. The memo was issued approximately two months after Chief Deputy Hashe replaced Tim Busha, whose driver’s license had been suspended more than once for non-payment of insurance. Busha denied those charges and also denied that the charges led to his resignation in late September. Sheriff Crenshaw did cite media scrutiny as one reason for Busha’s decision, however.

Anderson Senior Center to present Jo Brown award

At 2 pm on Friday, July 20th, the Anderson County Senior Center will honor the 11th Annual Jo Brown Senior Citizen of the Year. This year’s award presentation will be at the Jo Brown Senior Activity Center, located in the library of the Historic McCants Middle School, 101 S. Fant St.

In 1996, The City of Anderson proclaimed July 20th as “Jo Brown Senior Citizens Day as a memorial to Jo Brown. Brown served the Anderson community as the first program coordinator for the Anderson County Senior Citizens Program. She was instrumental in keeping seniors active and involved by organizing programs such as the Anderson County Senior Citizens Band, ‘OverEasy’ Exercise and dance classes, and the Golden Years Jamboree. Her untimely death from cancer on September 11, 1996 inspired the City to set aside July 20th as a day to celebrate seniors.

The July 20th Open House Celebration will include unveiling the “Walls of Dedication” and a “Sunflower” Dessert Decorating Contest between program participants. Also a very special 104th birthday celebration for Claudia Williford, an original member of the Tolly Seniors. Entertainment will be provided by Pat G’Orge-Walker, a standup comedian, author, actress and singer, better known by most as “Sister Betty.” Also performing will be Gospel Recording Artist, Tracie Oliver. Both entertainers will also be onstage Friday night at the Civic Center of Anderson.

“You’ve never seen sunflowers in full bloom like you’ll see at our Jo Brown Senior Center Open House,” said Kelly Jo Barnwell, Director of Anderson County’s Jo Brown Senior Center. “The Anderson County Senior Sunflower invites the community to help celebrate the July 20th Open House at 2 pm.”

Resolution cites County budget vote  - Anderson County Republicans

The Anderson County Republican Party Executive Committee recently passed a resolution disapproving the budget vote of Anderson County Council.

According to the resolution, “the Anderson County Republican Party stands for the Republican ideals of smaller government, lower taxes and personal responsibility.”

It goes on to say “The recent passage of the county budget by the Anderson County Council contained the  largest tax increase allowed under state law as well as a 50% increase in the solid waste fee which is also a tax increase.

Unfortunately, this budget passed with a majority vote of Republican members of county council.  Those voting “yes” were Bob Waldrep, Bill McAbee, Larry Greer and Ron Wilson.

Some Republican county council members campaigned on the promise to vote against unnecessary spending and tax increases.   These votes are willful violations of campaign commitments. 

Under SC law, the Party may not reject anyone who wishes to seek office on the Republican ticket.  The voters of Anderson County should be informed that when deception occurs, the Anderson County Republican Party is limited to the option of publicly expressing our disapproval.

Therefore the Executive Committee of the Anderson County Republican Party strongly disagrees with these votes for increased taxes upon hardworking families without serious reductions in county government spending.

The Executive Committee of the Anderson County Republican Party hereby resolves that these votes are not in keeping with the values and ideals of the Republican Party. 

We strongly condemn these votes to increase taxes in Anderson County which forsake the conservative principles of the Republican Creed.”

Lee Rogers is Chairman of the Anderson County Republican Party.

Seems to Me . . . “The Fourth File”

By Stan Welch

Well, anyone who thinks the political merry go round that is Anderson County has slowed down for the summer needs to be very careful trying to get on or off, because it is spinning nicely.

 The recent release of the files concerning SLED’s investigation into several issues here in the County, including the one known as Catergate, has tongues wagging and fingers pointing fast enough to make a breeze. After more than a year of investigation, no charges were filed, although county administrator Joey Preston is muttering his obligatory threats to sue somebody, anybody.

District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson’s name appears several times in those files, including one reference by the investigating SLED agent that surprised no one who knows Wilson, and her opinion of that law enforcement agency. According to Special Agent Kindley, when contacted about some letters received by Council, Wilson referred to SLED’s handling of another incident involving Preston, in which she alleges that SLED, rather than investigating, instead gave Preston the information Wilson provided to SLED.

According to Wilson, that resulted in Preston filing a lawsuit against her and two other people in Anderson County. Those lawsuits were later settled out of court, with Preston receiving moderate settlements. According to Kindley, when he contacted Wilson about the recent allegations of harassing letters being sent to Preston and council members, she told him she considered his agency an embarrassment to law enforcement and challenged him to prove her wrong.

Many people were under the impression that there were three SLED files. There were in fact four. In case number 34-06-69, Wilson herself became the subject of investigation. The allegations stemmed from Wilson’s opposition to a project developed by a Mr. Jeff Ellis. The project, Rivendell, is located off Midway Road. Wilson had frequently questioned the storm water plan, in both its concept and its implementation.

She openly and persistently challenged the project, citing complaints from her constituents, and providing evidence of several violations of DHEC permits and regulations, including the draining of a large swimming pool into a nearby stream.

According to the SLED documents, the investigation was launched because “Ellis, a developer, alleges that DHEC official(s) were influenced into citing violations against him.” He charged harassment and official misconduct on Wilson’s part. Never mind that a review of the projects and the actions taken by DHEC indicates a history of compliance with regulations which usually occurs after violations are cited. Mr. Ellis getting ahead of the curve on such matters doesn’t seem to be a large part of that regulatory history.  Apparently, Agent Kindley figured that out too.

Wilson’s consistent complaint has been that the County does not strictly enforce such permit conditions and regulations, leading to the need to seek cooperation from state agencies. County planning director Ricketson says it isn’t his responsibility to inspect such things, a claim at which Wilson scoffs loudly and often.

Ellis also charged that Wilson, in front of witnesses including an SDCOT official, told him “not to build a second entrance to the development and she would use her influence to get approval for all the traffic to go out onto Bowen Rd.” To suggest that Ms. Wilson, even if she were so inclined to make such an offer, would do so in front of witnesses strains the imagination. Wilson has lived on a bull’s eye long enough to know better than that.

Perhaps the most remarkable part of this file, which took Agent Kindley only seven hours to compile, if that tells you how serious the charges were, is the fact that Jeff Ricketson is the one who contacted SLED, on Ellis’s behalf. So here we have a hired employee of the County contacting SLED on behalf of a private contractor to lodge a complaint against an elected official. I’m guessing that like Joey Preston, Jeff Ricketson was never in the military, since the idea of a chain of command is apparently unknown to him.

I find it remarkable that an employee would undertake such an action at all, but certainly not without his boss’s knowledge. If he did do so, he should be fired immediately. If he did it with his boss’s knowledge, they should both be fired. If Ellis had a problem, and took it to Ricketson, who never saw a development he didn’t like, then Ricketson should have done one of two things. One, he should have shown Ellis how to use a phone book so he could look up SLED’s number. It’s not that hard to find.

Or he could have told Ellis, “Mr. Ellis, these are serious charges against an elected official. I think we should go and tell Mr. Preston and see what he thinks we should do.” Perhaps he did that. Perhaps he went to Preston and Preston said to call SLED. I don’t know if he did. I don’t know if he didn’t. What I do know is that Ms. Wilson was never approached about the charges, never given a chance to explain or address the matter, never even informed of the complaint by Ellis.

Such an approach would seem to be both common sense and common courtesy, two elements which are often missing from the struggle between Preston and Wilson. What Ricketson could possibly offer as justification for his actions remains to be seen, but he should certainly have to offer some explanation.

Whether he authorized Ricketson’s extraordinary injection of the County into a situation that was none of its business or not, one can easily imagine Preston’s satisfaction with the fact hat his foe was under the gun, no matter how briefly.

For his part, Agent Kindley was quick to realize either the political nature of the charges, or the fact that they were completely unfounded, or both. In any event, he spent seven hours looking into the matter and sent it along to Solicitor Adams, who presumably spent even less time deciding that most criminal acts of official misconduct don’t occur in open sessions of Council, and are seldom recorded on County Council letterhead and signed by the evildoer.

Seems to me, an explanation of why Ricketson felt compelled to involve the county in such a matter is the more interesting question. And it should be asked, and answered, in open session at the next meeting of County Council.

 

 

 

 

 

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