(2906) Week of July 19, 2006
Water Festival to celebrate 25th Anniversary
One of the Upstates largest running festivals, Williamstons Spring Water Festival, will celebrate their 25th year of providing a family oriented event celebrating the founding of a town that was once a popular tourist town, drawing people from across the state to enjoy the benefits of a spring with medicinal qualities.
The annual festival more than doubles the towns population of 4300 residents, drawing from 7000 to 15000 people to the Mineral Spring Park located in the center of town.
The Spring Water Festival was organized in 1981 by Mertie Kelly and other interested citizens as a funding source for the Christmas Park in December.
The annual event has the reputation for being one of the best family oriented festivals in the upstate.
The event will be organized this year by a new committee comprised of 14 volunteers.
The Springwater Committee, formed earlier this year to organize the festival after the town announced they would not be able to organize it this year.
The organization is chartered with the State of South Carolina and working toward receiving a non-profit status.
Committee members are Festival Chairman David Meade; Vice Chair Steve Ellison; Secretary Barbara Davis; Treasurer Jimmy Barnes; Crafts Chair Ellen Harvell; Entertainment Catlin Tierce; Bluegrass Entertainment Jack Ellenburg; Car Show Williamston Fire Department/Steve Ellison; Childrens activities/entertainment Dianne Lollis; Displays Dianne Lollis; Artwork Thomas Addison; Souvenirs Mark Pitts/Colorfast; Hot Air Balloon/special events Ed Jean; Spring Water Run, Chris Bradberry; Shirley Pace and Kenneth Bearden.
The Williamston Police Department will provide traffic control and direct parking.
This years festival will feature expanded activities including more business and non-profit displays, more kids activities and entertainment, additional amusement rides, an expanded lineup of local entertainment, a hot air balloon and other special attractions never before seen at the Spring Water Festival.
Committee member Dianne Lollis is recruiting groups with historic significance such as Civil War and Revolutionary War reenactors, a Cherokee Indian organization and other non-profit groups about participating in the festival.
Local businesses are also invited to have a display at the festival to promote their goods and services. For more information contact Lollis at 847-5743.
Lollis is also working to make sure younger festival goers have plenty to do.
The 2006 Spring Water Festival will feature more childrens games and activities and special stage entertainment.
There will also be rides offered by Palmetto Amusements, which provided rides for the festival last year. New this year will be a pirate ship ride. The attraction was purchased specifically with the Spring Water Festival in mind the owner said.
The 2006 Spring Water Festival will also feature a 5K Spring Water Run, which features a new course and a 1 mile fun run/walk. The run is 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 or call Bradberry at 864-420-3282. The form is available online at www.thejournalonline.com.
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 upstates largest antique and classic auto shows, being sponsored by the Williamston Fire Department. To register contact Steve Ellison at 864-847-4950.
The Fire Department will also be offering rides on the antique fire truck, a festival favorite.
Local non-profit organizations will provide food items for this festival.
Entertainment is being coordinated by local gospel entertainer Catlin Tierce. Tierce said he has two stages filled with local performers who will entertain throughout the day.
Jack Ellenburg of the Pickin Parlor, will be organizing bluegrass music at the historic depot.
Festival visitors will also be able to find out what it is like to float in a hot air balloon with tethered rides being offered on the Anderson County hot air balloon.
Other special activities will be announced, organizers said.
During a work session held Tuesday morning by Williamston Town Council, the biggest news was a report from Williamston Fire Chief Steve Ellison that the department will be receiving unexpected FEMA grant.
Chief Ellison said that the Williamston Fire Department has been notified that it will receive between $28,000 and $35,000 for the 9/11 monies that were not allocated by FEMA in 2005. The grant is part of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate.
Ellison said the department requested $59,900 last year for a thermal imaging camera and turnout gear which was not approved.
He said the funds will be used to pay for 15 sets of turnout gear and 20 sets of leather boots.
The Williamston Fire Department has also applied for a
$43,900 FEMA grant in 2006 which he said was also for turnout gear because the first grant was turned down in 2005.
A complete turnout suit costs approximately $2000, he said. Ellison said the grant requires a 5 percent match by the town.
Ellison reported that the town has been approved for 4 out of 5 grants submitted each year since the grant program began after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York.
Spring Water Festival Chairman David Meade asked council to consider allowing the towns garbage collection equipment and three town employees to pick up trash during the Spring Water Festival. The request was received as information.
The work session was the first to be held by the Council on the 2007 budget after recently approving the 2006 budget.
Appalachian Council of Governments advisor Joe Newton, advised council that the town will probably need to have a tax millage increase to meet the financial needs and build a contingency fund.
Newton suggested that the Council could consider lowering the sanitation fee to help ease the burden on the elderly poor and make up the difference needed with an increase in taxes.
According to Newton, the sanitation fee, currently being paid by all households, could be lowered or dropped, with the difference being made up on property tax bills. Many of the elderly residents would not be affected by a tax increase under the homestead exemption.
Newton said he will recommend Council consider a $250,000 TAN later this year, which will be paid back in 2007.
When questioned by Mayor Phillip Clardy whether the town should go with the short term Tan Anticipation Note, or a longer term GO bond, Newton said he preferred the TAN option.
Newton suggested the town Raise the tax millage enough to knock out that TAN and build a contingency, which he recommended be done quickly and not stretched out.
There was some discussion about police department salaries and how officers are paid for either 40 or 42 hour work weeks and how to handle overtime and comp time pay issues. Newton said police departments are allowed 28 day work cycles resulting in the difference.
The town is still paying for accumulated comp time from previous periods, according to Mayor Clardy.
Clardy said the town has cut out all overtime and comp time and is trying to deplete accumulated comp time to get it off the books.
Newton said that the town was dealing with accumulated comp time, general leave and time and a half pay issues at the same time as it is dealing with cutbacks in personnel.
There was brief discussion on insurance and accounting for fuel use.
Clardy asked council to consider funding for the historical depot project which has been underway for the last five years. Chairman John Brannon said the project needs about $8,000 for wiring and a little more to install fixtures.
Clardy said recent work has included painting, finishing one restroom and some other work.
Williamston Town Council will meet Tuesday July 25 at 6:30 p.m. for a 2007 budget work session and to hear public comment. Persons with questions or comments on the 2007 budget are invited to speak at the meeting.
With the recent approval of a 2006 operating budget, Williamston Town Council turned their direction toward working on the 2007 budget.
Though the figures are preliminary, there will be an expected tax millage increase. Discussions are only now beginning and both revenue and expense figures could change during the budget process, town officials said.
The following are starting points for the council based on actual 2005 and 2006 expenses figures generated by accountant Bob Daniel, who has been working with the town since earlier this year.
Based on figures in the 2007 draft budget, the general fund revenues are projected at $2,643,100, considerably less than the 2006 revenue of $3,391,100 , which includes a $250,000 Tax Anticipation Note (TAN), proceed of $481,100 from the property auction, $48,000 in grants and implementing the sanitation fee.
The 2007 revenues are approximately $150,000 more than revenues of 2005, primarily due to the sanitation fee and increases in the Duke Energy franchise fee.
The 2007 budget includes repayment of a $250,000 TAN note expected to be borrowed this year and plans for an increase in the towns contingency fund, which Newton stresses is necessary, from $323,596 to $600,000.
The 2007 budget reflects dramatic decreases in expenditures resulting from drastic personnel and other cuts made by the town earlier this year.
According to the draft budget information presented Tuesday, Administrative Staff salaries of $248,231 in 2005, dropped to $108,710 in 2006. The administrative salaries, for three people in 2007, is budgeted at $86,800.
Mayor and council salaries, which were budgeted at $54,800 plus insurance benefits, is being proposed to be set at $14,200.
With the staff reductions also comes considerable reductions in payroll taxes, retirement and health insurance.
Payroll taxes will drop from $18,900 to $6,637; retirement, $17,200 to $6941; and health insurance costs $46,180 to $12,555.
Supplies and expense for the administrative department has also been cut from $71,747 to $33,500. Capital expenditures is cut from $18, 618 to $2,500.
The Street Department expenses also reflect the drastic cuts of 2006.
Salaries of $269,826 in 2005 have been reduced to $148,500 for 2006 and will drop even further, to only $116,605 in 2007. The department is funded based on four employees.
Payroll taxes for the department also reflected the cuts, dropping from $20,547 in 2005 to $7,650.
Retirement, health insurance vehicles all reflect the cuts. Retirement will drop from $19,595 to $9,328; health insurance will drop from $53,417 to $16,740; supplies and expense has been cut from $16,895 to $10,000; uniforms from $6,994 to $2,300.
Unemployment costs for the department in 2006 amounted to $55,190.
County solid waste fees are also expected to drop from $11,240 to $5,620.
Police Department expenses show considerable changes reflecting the 2006 cuts.
Salaries in 2005, which amounted to $696,390, are budgeted at only $435,096 based on the current 14 persons employed with the department. Staffing includes two SRO officers and a victims advocate.
Payroll taxes of $53,031 drop to $33,285; retirement of $68,657 drops to $44,112; health insurance of $88,115 drops to $58,600.
Unemployment for the department amounted to $12,800 in 2006.
Other cuts show reductions in vehicle expense from $30,908 to $25,500; facilities repair and maintenance from $24,232 to $19,000; and uniforms from $13,874 to $7500.
The Parks and Recreation Department also shows considerable decreases reflected by the cuts.
Salaries are going from $82,655 to $11,000; payroll taxes of $6296 to $1500; retirement from $5199 to $1165; health insurance from $24,641 to $4185 and vehicle expense from $12,142 to $4185.
Fire Department expenses remain at 2005 levels except for Capital expenditures of $11,471 for 2005 which are being reduced to $2500.
Other debt payments reflected in the 2007 budget include paying $25,000 due to SC Retirement, and $125,000 remaining on the BAN.
General fund expense for 2006 amounted to $3,393,784. For 2007 general fund expense is budgeted at $2,834,866.
With estimated revenues of $2,643,100, the town will need approximately $191,766 from a tax increase to make up the difference.
As work on the budget continues, all numbers are subject to change and some are based on current estimates.
According to the 2007 draft budget, the water and sewer fund will also need a rate increase to bring in approximately $200,000.
Total revenues for the department, with a $173,300 transfer from the general fund, are projected at $1,809,300.
Water department salaries saw the biggest changes, going from $239,056 in 2005 to $186,909 in 2007.
Payroll taxes, retirement and health insurance also saw corresponding drops due to cuts leaving the department with six employees.
Water purchased in 2005 which amounted to $283,098 will increase to $311,000.
The budget also shows an increase in the reserve fund from $97,000 this year to $150,000 in 2007.
Water/sewer fund expense of $1,784,989 to projected revenues of $1,809,300 will leave a $24,311 surplus.
Williamston Town Council will meet Tuesday July 25 at 6:30 p.m. for a 2007 budget work session and to hear public comment. Persons with questions or comments on the 2007 budget are invited to speak at the meeting.
The man accused of the murder of former Miss Williamston Leslie Mazzara, and her roommate in California in 2004 has plead not guilty.
Eric Copple recently plead not guilty to stabbing the two Napa women to death in the upstairs bedroom of their rented house in southwest Napa on Nov. 1, 2004.
Copple, 27, also denied the two special allegations of committing multiple murders and lying in wait, charges that give prosecutors the option to seek the death penalty. Copple is charged with the homicides of Adriane Insogna and Mazzara, both 26.
The next court date is Nov. 15, giving the defense team of Napa County Deputy Public Defender Greg Galeste and Vallejo defense attorney Amy Morton time to prepare to argue that Copple should not face capital charges.
Copple was to speak with Public Defender Greg Galeste during a court appearance last week in Napa. Napa County District Attorney Gary Lieberstein will decide if the prosecution seeks the death penalty. He, along with the prosecution team of Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Boessenecker and Deputy District Attorney Rob Wade, will review Copples past, talk to the families of the victims and evaluate the defense teams arguments against the death penalty, reports said.
Napa police investigators interviewed more than 1,300 people after the murders and collected 218 DNA samples. The big break in the case came in September 2005, when they found DNA on cigarette butts outside the home that matched DNA taken from the blood found inside the home.
The cigarettes were Camel Turkish Blend, the same brand Copple smoked. Fearing police were closing in on him, he turned himself in to police on Sept. 28 and admitted to killing the women.
Copple is being held in the county jail without bail. The defense may change its plea at any time to guilty or not guilty by the reason of insanity.
If Copple does plead insanity, there would be a jury trial to determine if he is guilty and if so, the same jury would hear evidence to determine if he was insane at the time he committed the murders.
If found insane, a state medical board would decide what mental institution he would be sent to. While at the hospital he would be given periodic evaluations and at some point he could be deemed sane. He would then be released and be under out-patient care for the rest of his life.
By Stan Welch
Reversing his previous denials of any dumping of dirt and road debris, Anderson County Transportation Director Holt Hopkins conceded this week that county crews have indeed been dumping spoils and road debris along the shoulders of Spearman Road and the banks of a tributary of Beaverdam Creek
Said Hopkins, when once again informed by The Journal Tuesday morning that county dump trucks had recently been seen at the site, I will have to look into that. It may have been some of our crews dumping some dirt to widen the shoulders of the road, which we do from time to time.
Within an hour, Hopkins contacted The Journal, conceding that the dumping had in fact taken place. Your reports are correct, said Hopkins. I apologize for any previous statements that I may have made denying it, but I truly did not know the extent of the dumping. But I have spoken to my road crews and their supervisor, and this situation has occurred. The Journal had first raised the issue with Hopkins several months ago.
Hopkins went on to say that he planned to inspect the site himself later that afternoon. We do dump spoils from ditching projects along the shoulders of roads to widen them, but apparently this situation has gotten out of hand. The crews say that some weekenders have dumped items there as well. They even found a cow there once.
Among the items that The Journal observed at the site, which lies near the intersection of Spearman Road and Owen Drive in the White Plains area, were tires, concrete and plastic drain tiles, tree trunks and stumps, and chunks of asphalt and concrete, as well as mattresses, which were likely dumped by private citizens. In some spots, the shoulder has been widened as much as ten yards, and fill and debris have been pushed into the creek bed itself.
Hopkins told The Journal, I certainly understand your concerns about getting silt in the creek. We will do what we have to do to make it right. If that means dredging it out and hauling it off, thats what well do.
By Stan Welch
District Seven County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson has serious concerns and allegations about the manner in which a recent dispute within the Clerk to Councils office has been apparently resolved.
The dispute arose over the manner in which the Assistant Clerk to Council Tammy Shealy was performing her duties. According to Wilson, Clerk to Council Linda Edelmann discovered and read some e-mail communications from the assistant clerk to County Administrator Joey Preston. Councilwoman Wilson characterizes those e-mails as reports to Mr. Preston on the activities of the Council members. It is my opinion that Ms. Shealy was spying on Council and reporting to Mr. Preston about our various activities and areas of interest.
The dispute, according to a letter sent to the Council members by Chairman Larry Greer and Vice Chairman Bill McAbee last week, was resolved by the reassignment of Ms. Shealy to another position in the county government.
The letter says, In an effort to immediately reduce the tension in the Clerks office, Ms. Shealy was temporarily assigned to another department, along with the funding associated with the position. Shealys new position was not stated in the letter, but sources familiar with the situation state that it involves in part performing some duties for Preston. Assistant County Administrator Michael Cunningham said such an issue would be handled by Council. A call to personnel director Phyllis McAlister was not returned.
According to the letter, Greer and McAbee met with both clerks. A source familiar with the situation says that Preston was also involved in those meetings, but that has not been confirmed.
After these meetings, it is clear that there are irreconcilable differences, says the letter. It goes on to say that Shealy had previously asked about reassignment and stated that such a reassignment was in keeping with the Countys personnel policies. According to the letter, the assistant clerks position will remain unfilled until Council as a whole makes its decision to hire someone for this position.
Preston subsequently did meet with Greer and McAbee, and according to the letter was instructed to reassign Shealy and her salary.
The reassignment was originally a temporary one, but was apparently made permanent without any action by the full Council, according to Wilson.
When this issue first came up, I contacted Mr. Greer and made it plain that I felt the entire Council should be involved in any decisions concerning the personnel involved. He assured me that would be the case. Then he and the Vice Chairman acted without authorization by the council, and in my opinion, beyond their authority in making this arrangement.
Wilson, whose stormy relationship with Preston is well documented, said that she thinks the arrangement was made to avoid an executive session to address the situation.
Wilson said, In addition to arbitrarily reassigning the funding for Ms. Shealys position, they also removed her computer from the Clerks office, again without any valid authority. Under county codes, the Council employs just three people. That includes the County Administrator, the Clerk to Council, and the Assistant Clerk. I do not believe that the Chairman has the authority to make the decisions he has made without the full Council being involved.
Shealys duties as assistant clerk were officially ended at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 18th, the day of the County Council meeting.
By Stan Welch
Plans for the Anderson County Sheriffs Office to assume law enforcement responsibilities in the Town of Pendleton hit a snag at Tuesdays County Council meeting.
Presented at the last minute with an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) that defined the terms of the agreement, several members of the Council objected to the short notice.
Councilwoman Gracie Floyd said she hadnt had time to read the IGA and asked if the issue was time sensitive. County Administrator Joey Preston replied that it was. The intergovernmental agreement is what the Sheriff negotiated with the Town, said Preston.
County Attorney Tom Martin reported that the Sheriff had only officially approved the IGA at four oclock that afternoon, and the Clerk to Council had received it twenty minutes later. I apologize for the lateness of the hour, but it was unavoidable.
At Floyds request, Chairman Larry Greer granted a five minute recess to give the members a chance to a look the document over. Upon returning, Floyd said she had even more questions.
District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson agreed, and questioned whether the $595,000 which Pendleton proposed to pay annually would be sufficient to provide the services agreed to.
According to the IGA the ACSO would provide nine patrol officers and two administrative personnel, as well as logistical and technical assistance as needed. Chairman Greer and Councilwoman Floyd also questioned those figures, saying that salaries and benefits for eleven personnel would leave little or nothing for actual operating costs, such as vehicles.
Councilman Bill McAbee, whose District Four includes Pendleton, explained that the town already has nine officers on staff. He added that if Pendleton had no police force, the Sheriffs office would have the responsibility to provide law enforcement services. This agreement basically allows the Sheriff to get paid for doing what he would have to do anyway.
Still, Wilson, Greer, and Floyd continued to balk, although all three insisted that they didnt oppose the notion of the Sheriff taking over, simply the mechanics of the operation. Wilson proposed a special called meeting to be held in a week to vote on the IGA, giving Council time to study it.
After considerable discussion, District Six Councilman Bill Dees, a consistent supporter of law enforcement, offered an amendment that would require the Council to reconsider the IGA at their next meeting, if the proposal passed.
The matter was complicated by the fact that the Council was expected to vote later in the meeting to cancel their first meeting in August so that they could attend the annual South Carolina Association of Counties meeting. That meeting was subsequently cancelled.
The Council finally approved Dees amendment, as well as approving the IGA. Martin told the council that their vote in effect provided a thirty day approval of the agreement, with reconsideration to be taken up at the next meeting.
In another matter, Councilwoman Wilson had requested that Council enter executive session to receive a legal briefing on a news article that appeared in the Anderson Independent Mail, containing allegations of embezzlement of funds at the County animal shelter.
Councilman Michael Thompson immediately protested, saying that the situation involves a former county employee. County employees dont report to Council. They report to the administrator. This is also a possible criminal investigation, so Mr. Preston cant disclose anything. I just dont understand what we could hope to achieve.
Wilson responded that there were legal and personnel issues to be addressed. This is both legal and appropriate that we have this briefing.
Councilwoman Floyd agreed, saying, We are responsible for the Countys finances. We need more information on this. We need to start asking more questions.
Preston told Council that Solicitor Chrissy Adams had told him not to discuss the matter. I cannot discuss anything, and neither can Mr. Martin. Council voted 4-3 against the executive session.
In other matters, Council gave final approval to an ordinance to establish a joint county industrial park with Greenville County.
Second reading approval was given to an ordinance to reduce the property tax rate on airplanes from 10.5 per cent to 4 per cent; an ordinance to change the land use plan to allow for tattoo parlors, and ordinance amending the master road plan.
First reading approval was given to an ordinance providing a fee in lieu of taxes agreement with Famous Craft Boats,Inc.
Anderson County Sheriffs Deputies investigated vandalism incidents with damage done to several residences. Among incidents recently investigated:
July 11 R.W. Miller responded to 4 James Street where he received a complaint of theft from Mark Weaver, who stated that someone had taken the license tag off his F-350 truck while it was parked at an employees home. The tag was number SC P179672.
July 11 J. L. Bergholm received a complaint of burglary from Roger Seymore, of 3709 River Road. Seymore reported that someone had kicked in the doors of his three bay garage/workshop and had stolen a number of tools and equipment, valued at approximately $2200. Included among the items were a sawzall, a pressure washer, a wheeled leaf blower, cordless drills, a gas hedge trimmer and a mitre saw.
July 11 R. W. Miller responded to 1210 Durham Rd. where Nathan Croston reported the theft of his mail box, which was removed from the post and taken off.
July 12 R. M. Cooper responded to 2301 Firetower Road, where Heidi Feil reported that someone had broken into her home and stolen a number of items, including a computer, electronics, and recordings. Total value was estimated at $2500.
July 13 A. Digirolamo received a report from Diane Reid, of 505 Wren School Road that someone had set her trashcan on fire in the middle of the road. He also received a complaint from Jessie Reid, also of 505 Wren School road, that someone had set her newspaper mailbox on fire.
July 13 J. L. Bergholm responded to 101 Wilson Place Court where Steve Thomas reported that he had been awakened by a loud noise shortly after midnight. He went downstairs and found his front door casing and frame kicked in. No evidence of property loss could be found, other than the damage to the door.
July 13 J. J. Jacobs observed a suspicious vehicle with a broken tail light and effected a traffic stop of the vehicle at the intersection of Highway 86 and River Road. The driver, Charles Eugene Farley, wm, 42, 58", 180 pounds, brn/grn, of 113 Paisley Drive, Williamston, stated he had no insurance on the vehicle. Reports state when asked if he had any drugs on him, he said yes, and produced several tablets of prescription drugs. He was placed into investigative custody and gave consent for the vehicle to be searched. That search revealed .6 of a gram of methamphetamine and a glass pipe. Farley was placed under arrest and transported to ACDC.
July 11 R. S. Turner responded to 114 Sayle Drive to a report of a damaged vehicle and the front door of the residence being open. The call was made by a neighbor. Turner found a Honda CRV with the tires slashed and the windows smashed out, and the front door of the home open with all the glass broken. All the furnishings in the house were destroyed. Turner located David Herdon Owen, a WM, 49, asleep in the bedroom. He said he didnt know why his home would have been destroyed. His cell phone was missing.
Anderson School Districts One-Four recently announced their policy for free and reduced meals for children served in schools under the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast program. Local school officials have adopted the following household size and income criteria for determining eligibility:
Income guidelines for free meals are as follows: Number in household, annual income, monthly income, weekly income:
For each additional family member add $4,420 annually, $369 monthly or $85 weekly.
Income guidelines for reduced price meals are as follows: household size, annual income, monthly income, weekly income:
For each additional family member, add $6,290 annually or $121 weekly.
Children from families whose income is at or below the levels shown may be eligible for free or reduced price meals.
For school officials to determine eligibility, the household must provide a food stamp or TANF case number certifying the household is currently eligible for either of the assistance programs and an adult household signature or names of all household members, the name and social security number of the adult household member signing the application form, monthly income by source for each household member and a signature of an adult household member certifying the information provided is correct.
Foster children may also be eligible for these benefits regardless of household income. If a household has foster children living with them and wish to apply for such meals for them, they may do so by completing a separate application form.
A complete copy of the policy is on file in each school and in the office of the District Superintendent.
School District One parents wishing to make a formal appeal may make a request either orally or in writing to Anderson District One Superintendent, Dr. Wayne Fowler, P. O. Box 99, Williamston, S. C. 29697, for a hearing to appeal the decision. The hearing procedures are outlined in the policy.
If a household member becomes unemployed or if household size changes, the household should contact the school to file a new application. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for free or reduced price meals if the income falls at or below levels.
A complete copy of the policy is on file in each school and in the office of the District Superintendent where it is available for review.
Anderson County Democrats will join Democrats across the nation in celebrating Democrat Reunion Day on Saturday, July 29 from 5-8 p.m. at the Anderson County Farmers Market at 402 N. Murray Avenue in Anderson. There will be barbecue, live entertainment by the band, Last Road, and candidates for local and statewide office will be present. There will be no charge. Individuals interested in attending may register at www.democrats.org, though it is not required. Local and statewide candidates will speak on the issues. Plans for the fall campaign will also be discussed organizers said. Democratic candidates have a vision for constructive change at the local, state, and national level. They have proposals for maintaining progressive city and county government, improving public education, addressing health care needs, protecting the environment, and leading a strong but compassionate foreign policy, said Stuart Sprague, Chair of the Anderson County Democratic Party. Democratic Reunion Day will show us that we are a party that is ready to lead and not just to be critical of those in power. Upstate South Carolina is ready for change. For more information contact Sprague at firstname.lastname@example.org or 864-314-5640.
Pelzer voters chose Donna Ide as their representative on Town Council Tuesday. A special election was held to fill the seat vacated by Town Councilwoman Tonya Scott, who resigned because she was relocating outside the town limits. Ide received 15 votes. Her opponent, Kay Beard, received 7 votes.
Life at the beach - As good as it gets
By Stan Welch
When the weather gets as hot as it is right now, many peoples thoughts turn to the beach, where it is just as hot, but the promise of ocean breezes and pretty girls somehow makes things seem more bearable.
I have lived a great deal of my life at one or the other of the Carolina beaches, whether Tarheel or Sandlapper. I grew up going to Folly Beach in Charleston on many hot, steamy weekends. In fact, the entire family would go, Papa Carl, Granny Bea, Dad, Mom and the kids. We would go down to the end of the beach towards the harbor mouth, where the US Coast Guard Base was located.
We would go early and stay late, with Papa Carl and daddy fishing all day, while the rest of us ran wild and ate everything in sight. In those days, a fire on the beach was perfectly normal, so we would cook and eat, sometimes cooking the fish as quick as they could be cleaned and dropped in the grease. Fish will never taste better than they do then.
Later, when I was out on my own, I lived on Folly Beach for several years. That was when hippies and working people and social outcasts of every stripe ruled the island, before corporate America and the real estate industry rediscovered the beach and reclaimed it for themselves.
One summer, after the old Folly Beach pier, which had hosted every R&B or beach band within a thousand miles, had burned and been battered by several storms, there was nothing left of it but the old pilings that had supported it. The tides had wallowed out huge holes at their bases, so that a pool of twenty feet across and neck deep on a grown man surrounded each one at low tide.
It was a hot and steamy day, with little breeze to salvage it. The salt air clung to the skin and thickened the breathing, as a couple of friends and I stood staring at those pools, and remembering the good times we had shared on that pier. The Tams, Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts, The Swinging Medallions, The Temps, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, man, they all came through Folly Beach sooner or later. The first time I saw Maurice and the Zs, they were all wearing purple and yellow outfits with bell bottoms and fringe eight inches long on the sleeves and legs.
This little old Southern white boy had never seen anything like that before. They didnt dress like that or sing like that at the Lutheran church in West Ashley, I can tell you that. It was love at first sight.
Anyway, me and Mitch and Andy Nelson, two Viking brothers from Minnesota, yah, were standing around talking, when a big old blue crab drifted to the top of the nearest pool. The merest glimpse immediately spurred the same thought in all of us. If one crab was trapped in the pool, there were others.
We scampered home and got our dip nets, and into the pools we waded. We dragged those nets blindly along the bottom of the pools and in less than an hour, we had almost a hundred beautiful blue crabs in our sheet rock buckets. We headed for my house where we put the kettles on the fire and the beer on ice.
The beach telegraph worked flawlessly, and by six oclock, there were thirty people in the yard, ready to eat crabs and shrimp and whatever else they had brought. Beverages were readily available, and the music was blasting out of the windows on the ground floor. A sea breeze sprung up in late afternoon, as they are wont to do, and it was life at the beach, as good as it gets.
Life on the Souths beaches has changed a lot in the years since then. Fires on the beach are forbidden, and piers now serve as fishing platforms for the boatless, or dining sites for the clueless. Beach bands play motel lounges and fringe is oh, so uncool. But when the temperatures reach the nineties and the humidity reaches damp, the beachs call is still pretty hard to resist, at least for this Southern white boy.