News Archive

(3006) Week of July 26, 2006

Retreat held to ease tensions following assault incident
District One registration, orientation begins this week
Adult Ed program gives workers a second chance
Gatewood residents express concerns with treatment plant
Council hears public comments
Police investigate local incidents
Williamston police report June 27-July 7
Sheriff’s Deputies investigate calls
Seems to Me . . .It will take some work
Candidates to file

Retreat held to ease tensions following assault incident

By Stan Welch

The tensions that have plagued the West Pelzer town government in recent months have become so bad that representatives of the Appalachian Council of Governments held a retreat Wednesday evening to try and address some of the issues.

Joe Newton, Director of Government Operations for ACOG, called for the retreat following an incident last week that resulted in the arrest of both Billy Ray Elgin, the husband of Town Clerk Beth Elgin, and Jeremy Turner, the son of Town Councilman Joe Turner.

According to an Anderson County Sheriff’s Office incident report obtained by The Journal, Deputies Jacobs and Digirolamo responded to the West Pelzer Town Hall, where Billy Elgin, 47, reported that Jeremy Turner, 21, had struck him in the head.

The deputies then spoke with Tammy Turner, Jeremy’s mother and wife of Councilman Joe Turner.  Both parents provided voluntary written statements to the officer, although Jeremy Turner made only a verbal statement, and declined to make a written one.

According to Beth Elgin, the incident started when her son, Justin Elgin, 18, lost his cell phone while reading water meters for the Town earlier in the day. “Justin helps out sometimes, and he was helping that day. He lost his cell phone and was retracing his steps, trying to find it,” said Elgin.  “He drives a Mustang Cobra, which is monstrous loud, but he said he was trying to keep it as quiet as possible. He came back after awhile and said that when he went past the Turner’s, Jeremy was flipping him the finger and cursing at him.”

Elgin says that bad blood is the reason for the trouble she says has been going on between Jeremy Turner and her son. “This stuff has been going on for two years now, and it’s got to stop.”

Elgin says that Tammy Turner called her at Town Hall, complaining that Justin had been revving his motor at Jeremy. When Elgin went home for lunch later, she was still mad about the call and mentioned it to her husband. Later in the day, Billy Elgin came to town and cruised by the town hall. Beth Elgin says she was away from Town Hall on town business and her husband, seeing her car gone, continued on up Hindman Street towards the Turner’s home, which is about two blocks past the Town Hall.

Elgin concedes that she did not witness the following events, but recounted what her husband told her and the deputies later. She said that Jeremy Turner was outside and her husband stopped the car in the street and stepped out of it to speak to him. He reportedly asked Jeremy what the problem was between him and Justin. According to Beth Elgin, Jeremy Turner cursed and threatened him, and flipped him the finger too.

At that time, Tammy Turner allegedly came out in the yard and made some derogatory remarks about Beth Elgin. According to both Beth Elgin and the incident report, Billy Elgin invited Jeremy Turner into the street to settle the problem, although Beth Elgin says it was after Turner told her husband that he and his friends would mess Elgin and his son up. “Billy told Jeremy that he was there right now, to come on out in the street and do something. But Jeremy wouldn’t do it.”

Billy Elgin reportedly turned to get in his car and was struck in the head by Jeremy Turner, who ran off afterwards. Elgin then returned to the Town Hall where he complained to Police Chief Bernard Wilson about the incident. Wilson decided to call the ACSO and ask them to handle the situation.

The Turners, who spoke only briefly about the incident before hanging up on a Journal reporter, told a different story. According to Joe Turner, Billy Elgin came roaring up to the house. “He got real smart and tried to hit my wife. Jeremy was protecting his mother.”

Tammy Turner said that she knew that only one side of the story would be in the paper, “because you have to wait for Peggy (Paxton) to tell you what to write.” They then hung up, though Turner did acknowledge that he would attend the Wednesday meeting at the ACOG offices in Greenville.

Both men were eventually transported and held overnight at the Anderson County Detention Center. According to booking records at the center, Elgin was charged with simple assault, while Turner was charged with assault and battery. Both men were released on their own recognizance.

Beth Elgin says the whole incident, added to the strain of several health issues facing various members of her family, has stressed her to the point of physical illness. “I don’t see how I can go back to work there.”

Elgin holds out little hope for the planned retreat. “They’ve had these kinds of hash it out sessions before, and they didn’t do any good.”

Joe Newton understands the pessimism, but adds, “We have got to try and address these issues and find some way to deal with them. It never helps a town for their government to become a laughingstock. The job of the town council, or any government, for that matter, is to do the best it can for its people. Right now, I’d have to say West Pelzer is doing a pretty poor job of that.”

District One registration, orientation begins this week

Anderson School District One registration and orientation for the 2006-2007 school year gets underway this week with students returning to the classroom on Thursday, August 3. August 1 and 2 will be teacher/staff development days.

The Labor Day holiday, Sept. 4, will be the first for students, who will have a second day off, with Sept. 5 scheduled as a staff development day.

Registration and orientation schedules for District One schools are as follows:

Cedar Grove Elementary will hold registration on Thursday, July 27 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday, July 28 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Orientation and open house will be held Tuesday, Aug. 1 from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Concrete Primary will hold registration on Thursday, July 27 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. as a drop-in in the multipurpose room.

Orientation will be held in individual classrooms on Monday, July 31 at 5 p.m. for kindergarten and Tuesday, Aug. 1 from 4:30-6:30 p.m for Grades 1 and 2.

Hunt Meadows registration and orientation schedule will be as follows: Monday, July 31, 5 p.m. teacher/parent meeting for special education and kindergarten (K5). Teacher-parent meeting for grades 2 and 4 will be at 6 p.m. Parents may drop in to pay fees in the multipurpose room from 5 to 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 1, at 5 p.m. teacher parent meeting for K4 and 1st grade. grades 3 and 5 at 6 p.m. and drop-in to pay fees in the multi-purpose room from 5-7 p.m.

Palmetto Elementary registration and fees paid on Thursday, July 27, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and July 28, 9 a.m to 3 p.m.  Orientation will be held Tuesday, Aug. 1 from 6 to 7 p.m.

Pelzer Elementary registration will be held Tuesday, Aug. 1 from 4-6 p.m. Parents and students may pay fees and meet teachers in the cafeteria.

Powdersville Elementary orientation and registration will be held Tuesday, Aug. 1. Third grade will be at 6 p.m. followed by 4th and 5th grade at 7 p.m.

Spearman Elementary will hold orientation/registration on Tuesday, Aug. 1 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

West Pelzer Elementary will hold registration on Monday, July 31 from 4-7 p.m. for K4-5th grade. Fees can be paid in the gym. Orientation will be held Thursday, Aug. 10 from 6:15-6:45 for K4, K5, 1st and 2nd grade. K4, 3rd, 4th and 5th will be held 7-7:30 pm. K4 may attend either session.

Wren Elementary Registration will be held Tuesday, Aug. 1 from 3:30-6:30 p.m.

Palmetto Middle registration was held Tuesday, July 25 and Wednesday, July 26 from 12 p.m to 5 p.m. Orientation will be held Monday, July 31 at 6 p.m for 6th grade only.

Powdersville Middle registration and orientation will be held Tuesday, Aug. 1, from 6 -7:30 p.m for all grades.

Wren Middle registration and orientation, including fee payment and schedule pickup, will be held Tues. Aug. 1 6-8:30 p.m. for 6th grade and Wed., Aug. 2 for 7th and 8th grade. Fees will also be accepted July 24-28 from 9 a.m to 3:30 p.m. in the main office.

Palmetto High registration was held July 25 and 26. Open house will be held Thurs., Aug. 10 from 5-8 p.m. Hot dogs will be served 5-7 p.m.

Wren High registration was held July 26 for Seniors.

Registration for Wren Juniors Thurs., July 27 8-11:30 a.m. Sophomores 1-4 p.m.

Freshmen registration will be Aug. 1 from 6-7 p.m. Orientation for all grades will be Tuesday, Aug. 1 7-8:30 p.m.

School District One Student Activity Fees are $20 for elementary, $25 for middle and $55 for high school.

Accident insurance is also available: School Time Plan A is $22; Plan B is $20; 24 hour plan A is $87; 24 hour Plan B is $79.

Adult Ed program gives workers a second chance

By Hayley Meade

With the closing of Upstate textile mills during recent years, many former workers have been left with no jobs and lack the education required to begin a new career. Many feel it is too late to go back to school or to even think about a new career at this point in their lives.

Instructors with the Adult Education Program at the Career and Technology Center hope to change that and encourage adults to banish their fears in order to obtain a GED so they can get ahead in today’s work force. 

Earning a GED gives many a sense of pride and opens doors to additional options in a career field.

Dianna Jones of Honea Path and Mary Katherine Eaton of Pelzer recently graduated from the Adult Education Program. Both ladies never finished high school and entered the work force at a young age. In a recent interview, both women talked about the challenges and rewards of going back to school as adults.

Jones began working at age 15 years waiting tables at a restuarant and describes herself as “having a job with no future.” When she first entertained thoughts of going back to school she had her doubts.

“I thought I was far too old to go back but I soon found out that I was scared of going back because I didn’t know if I could ever get through it,” she said.

When she started the classes she decided to stay with the program to achieve her goals. “There were times when I did just want to give up but I knew that wasn’t an option. I knew that if I worked hard enough and stayed with it (the program) then I could actually do it. I’m amazed of everything that has come out of receiving my GED. I now work in the medical field, something I never thought I would be doing. I love my job and I can honestly say I have only one regret about obtaining my GED and that was that I didn’t do it earlier.”

Eaton married young and considers herself a very independent person. “Once I started working I never wanted to stop, that is just the kind of person I am. I always thought I would be working in the mill and when it closed I wasn’t sure what to do. When I started looking for jobs, I began to see that there weren’t many jobs that were open to someone who didn’t have a high school diploma or a GED. I then thought about going to school but I was told it would be a waste of time at my age to try to receive my GED.”

But she decided to do it anyway.  

“Once I did enroll in classes I realized it was one of the best decisions I could have made. The people here really care and want to help in any way they can. Without the help of people like Gloria Eaves, I wouldn’t have been able to get through it. She was always there pushing me and making sure I didn’t give up.”

Eaton went on to say that receiving her GED was a self rewarding experience and something that someone can have only when they put forth the effort to achieve it.

Coordinator Larry McCartney, stated that “Sometimes people use health or age as an excuse to not go back to school but these ladies prove that excuse wrong.” McCartney went on to say that anyone can obtain their GED if they just try, but “they have to have that drive.”

With the upcoming retirement of many baby boomers, workers are needed to replace them and without a diploma or GED potential replacement employees will not be hired.

“There are so many good jobs out there but without a GED or diploma it becomes harder to receive these jobs,” he said.

McCartney hopes that others will see that it’s not impossible to go back to school and in the long run it really does pay off.

“I hope that others will hear Dianna and Mary Katherine’s story and realize that they can do the same thing.”

Head Director of the Adult Education Program, Charan Lee agrees, “Some people just have to face their fears and realize that they too can earn their GED but they just have to try and vow not to give up.”

The Adult Education program serves approximately 1100 students every year and helps adults to receive their pre-requisite units in algebra, biology, and chemistry to enter the medical careers program at Tri-County Technical College.

Other programs are offered at the Career Center including introduction computer classes, summer sessions for high school seniors who need 1-2 more units to graduate, literacy programs for adults who want to improve their reading skills, English as a Second Language Programs for adults who want to learn the English language, and a Basic Skills Program for adults who want to improve their reading, writing, and math skills in order to begin the high school diploma or GED program.

Adults interested in attending classes this fall should call 864-847-3549 to sign up. The fall session begins August 14. Registration will be held on August 7 and 8 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information on any of these programs or the Career and Technology Center, call Larry McCartney at 864-847-3549.

Gatewood residents express concerns with treatment plant

Residents of the Gatewood subdivision in Williamston met with town officials Tuesday to express their concerns about tanker trucks and a foul odor associated with the town’s sewer treatment plant.

The residents were invited to meet with Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy and a representative of Goldie and Associates, the environmental service company contracted to run the plant for the town, prior to a scheduled budget work session Tuesday. Gatewood is located just off Mill St. adjacent to the treatment plant.

Approximately 15 residents  complained of health problems, foul odor, and other concerns they had with the treatment plant and conditions in Gatewood subdivision. The residents expressed their concerns about 18 wheel tanker trucks which are coming through their neighborhood and a sickening odor which they said has appeared during recent weeks.

 The trucks, which are transporting leachate, or liquid runoff from the Anderson Regional Landfill, have been bringing their loads to the facility for approximately 5 weeks, about the same time the residents said the foul odor became unbearable.

Leachate is produced when water filters down through a landfill, picking up dissolved materials from the decomposing wastes. Depending on characteristics of the landfill and the wastes it contains, the leachate may be relatively harmless or extremely toxic.

Williamston Town Council approved a resolution in May that sets guidelines and restrictions on accepting hauled waste products for treatment at the town’s waste water treatment plant. In addition to addressing the removal, transportation and disposition of hauled wastes, the resolution allowed the town’s contracted environmental laboratory and engineering service, Goldie & Associates, to pursue a treatment agreement with Allied Waste for rain water runoff, which will be transported to the facility by truck for treatment.

At that time, Mayor Phillip Clardy said the document related to a proposal the town was considering to treat rain water runoff brought to the town’s treatment facility by Allied Waste.  According to Clardy, the agreement could result in as much as $10,000 per month being paid to the town to treat the hauled waste from Allied.

Goldie & Associates pretreatment project manager Sonya T. Harrison said the town’s facility could handle the quantity, estimated by Clardy to be as much as 200,000 gallons per month.

The resolution relates to “permitting and accepting for treatment hauled waste, defined as all putrid or offensive matter, the contents of all privies, septic tanks and cesspools, commercial waste products including septic tanks from commercial sources, industrial wastes that require pretreatment permitting and are not connected to the system’s trunk line, collection and transportation system, but are transported via some overland carrier to the treatment works.”

A spokesperson for the residents requested air quality samples, tanker samples, additional security measures for the plant including locking the gate and asked about sludge removal.

Mayor Clardy said that what was being transported to the facility was safe, based on the analysis of Goldie and Associates and that it was allowed under the law. Responding to a question, Clardy said, “The reasons we allow it are the revenues.” A second meeting with the residents will be scheduled Town officials said.

Council hears public comments

Williamston Town Council heard public comments from  several town residents during a public hearing on the 2007 budget held Tuesday.

Tim Cox asked about comments at the end of a meeting, moving old town hall and said he would submit his questions in writing since the mayor and council were not answering questions during the hearing.

Judy Ellison made recommendations on the budget including being in favor of an administrator, having council involved in the interview and hiring process, having the position report to Council, and suggesting that the mayor not be paid at all, with the amount being set in reserve for a new mayor.

Carthel Crout stated, “Council deserves every right to know what is going on in this town,” and stated that some pages of copies he received in response to a request were not readable.

Willie Wright asked about pay for council beyond Dec. 31, 2006. Wright said the council salary should be reinstated as an incentive for new council members.  He also asked about having the Ward in which residents reside being printed on water bills.

Jan Dawkins asked if the town would schedule a question and answer session “to actually get answers” and asked about the amount of the tax millage rate increase, paying delinquent taxes, and expressed support for an administrator. Dawkins also mentioned gas consumption stating that during two recent trips to Clinton, she had seen a Williamston patrol vehicle apparently coming from Laurens on Hwy. 418.

During the work session, council briefly discussed changes to the draft budget including adding a police officer. Other discussions included gas consumption and how to keep records of use, trash, limb and debris pick-up.

The town’s reduced staff is struggling to keep up with the pickup and town residents are complicating the matter by not having materials separated as required to meet landfill standards.

John Owens of the Street Department told Council that some limbs or other debris are not picked up because items are mixed.

When picking up household garbage, Owens said the town is not allowed to pick up anything else. Items going to the C&D landfill in Starr can not have trash or lead paint. “We don’t have time to sit and separate it for the citizens,” Owens said.

There was also considerable discussion on how to handle voting on issues during a work session or special meeting, when to bring a purchase before council and mention of an RDA loan for improvements at the sewer treatment plant.

Appalachian Council of Governments Advisor Joe Newton suggested the town hold two regular meetings each month for awhile.

Police investigate local incidents

Williamston police investigated thefts and assaults during the last two weeks. Among incidents investigated were:

July 23 - Courtney Travis Arnold, 18, 2 Bigby St., Williamston, was arrested for disorderly conduct after making an obscene gesture to police officers who were dispatched to Brown St. Several groups of teenagers were observed in the area. Sgt. Z. E. Gregory, C. J. Sanders investigated.

July 21 - Jerry Samuel Driver, 52 Ridge Court, Williamston, was arrested for assault and battery involving a 14-year-old juvenile. The juvenile was also charged with assault. Sgt. Z. E. Gregory investigated.

July 19 - Beverly Elizabeth Holcomb, 66, 440 Boiter Rd., Williamston reported a check written in the amont of $5 altered to the amount of $50. Capt. K. P. Evatt investigated.

July 18 - Garrett Lee Brown, 17, 12 Bruce St., Williamston was arrested for fighting in connection with an incident in which a 15-year-old juvenile had struck him with a stick. The juvenile was also arrested. Lt. J. T. Motes investigated.

July 17 - Melissa Gay Kinman, 38, 12 Ridge Court reported a disturbance. Upon investigating, Michelle Dawn Ricketts, 27, 430 Grate Road Anderson was arrested for malicious injury to property after admitting to flattening the right front tire on a vehicle owned by Jonathan Glen Wells, 24, 101 K and M Farm Rd., Belton. J. T. Motes investigated.

July 17 - Kevin Michael Saylors, 25, 14  Glendale Ave, Williamston, was arrested for simple possession of marijuana and improper lane usage after a brown Mercury Grand Marquis was observed on North Hamilton St. C. J. Sanders, Sgt. Z. E. Gregory investigated.

July 17 - A 16-year-old juvenile was arrested and charged with simple assault and battery, malicious damage to personal property and public disorderly conduct after an incident occurring on Gray Drive and L Street in Williamston. According to reports, the juvenile, who had been drinking rum, was mad at his sister, shoved her and did approximately $150 in damage to her vehicle. Sgt. Z. E. Gregory investigated.

July 16 - Richard Keith Williamson, 24, 500 Campbell Rd., Pelzer, was arrested for public disorderly conduct after officers were dispatched to Pinecrest Dr. in reference to a white male going home to home begging for money. J. R. McCauley II investigated.

July 16 - Oscar Dean Horne, 72, 1209 Dickens Ave., Williamston, reported two bikes valued at $100 taken from Kilgore Ave. The bikes  belonged to his grandson and a friend.J. R. McCauley investigated.

July 16 - Crystall Lee Maness, 30, 16 East 1st St., Williamston, and Dawn Michelle Martin, 32, 112 E. 1st. St. Williamston were both arrested for fighting after officers were dispatched to 16 East 1st Street. T. A. Call, Capt. K. P. Evatt investigated.

July 16 - Charles Randall Wardell, 40, 125 Baker St., Belton, was arrested for open container after he was observed taking a sip from a silver can, which turned out to be Natural Light Beer, in the parking lot of the Williamston Police Station. T.. A Call, Capt. K. P. Evatt investigated.

July 15 - Charles Randall Wardell, 40, 125 Baker St., Belton, was arrested for public drunkenness after being observed at Fast Fuel, 207 West Main  St., Williamston. Dawn Michelle Martin, 32, 112 E. First St., Williamston was also arrested for public drunkenness when she approached officers and asked why Wardell was being arrested. J. R. McCauley II, reserved M. W. Ritter investigated.

July 14 - Brenda Gail Howard, 45, 113 Williamston Ct., Williamston, reported a battery valued at $65 taken from a 2001 Oldsmobile. Capt. K. P. Evatt investigated.

July 14 - Eric Ray Moody, 18, 140 Bagwell Rd., Liberty, was arrested for failure to accompany an officer after a motorcycle was observed on Anderson Drive traveling in excess of the speed limit and failed to stop. The motorcycle was followed on Hwy. 20 at Elrod Rd. Sgt. D. W. Alexander investigated.

July 14 - Daniel Richard Morrison, 19 - 1175 Old Pelzer Rd., Piedmont, was arrested for possession of beer by a minor and driving under suspension after a vehicle was observed on Bigby St. with a defective rear light. A passenger in the vehicle,Joseph Creed Roberts, 17, 112 Rabon Chase Ct., Ft. Inn, was arrested for possession of alchohol by a minor. A second passenger, Hichloas Ryan Heinrich, 18 - 1603 Old Pelzer Rd., Piedmont was arrested for possession of marijuana. Reports state a clear plastic bag containing approximately 3 grams of a green plant like material which did field test positive to be marijuana was found in the vehicle. $80 in cash was also seixed. J. R. McCauley II , Sgt. D. W. Alexander investigated.

Williamston police report June 27-July 7

Williamston police officers investigated the following incidents prior to and following the July 4th holiday.:

June 27 - Rodriquez Blanding, 26, 1003 Camelot Forest, Belton, was arrested for misrepresentation of identity and failure to stop on command after police officers were dispatched to Williams St. and South Hamilton in reference to a suspicious person. Sgt. Z. E. Gregory, J. R. McCauley II investigated.

June 26 - Cash Time, Inc., 8 Greenville Drive Williamston, reported three counterfeit U. S. postal money orders presented to the business on June 14 in the amount of $850 each. Capt. K. P. Evatt investigated.

Gusto Inc., 523 West Main St., Williamston, reported a counterfeit money order in the amount of $850 presented to the business. Capt. K. P. Evatt investigated.

June 28 - Sherrie Denise Campbell, 42, 1499 Durham Rd., Piedmont, was arrested for public drunk, open container and speeding after a 1992 Oldsmobile was observed speeding on Greenville Dr. Sgt. D. W. Alexander investigated.

June 29 - Anna Montufar, 551 West Main St. reported a window broken out of the location. T. A. Call investigated.

June 30 - Roger Eddleman, 36, 50 Ridge Ct., Williamston, reported an unknown person hit his house with four eggs. T. A. Call investigated.

July 1 - David Lee Hoover, Jr., 31, 114 W. Moore St., Anderson, was arrested for driving under suspension after a 1997 Chevy Tahoe he was driving was observed on Anderson Dr., along with a Chevy truck which had no vehicle license. The truck had just been purchased in West Pelzer. The driver was issued a warning for vehicle license violation and Hoover, who was driving the man’s Tahoe back to Anderson were arrested. Capt. K. P. Evatt investigated.

July 2 - Robert Fredrick Graham, 51, 114 Winfield Hill Rd., Williamston, was arrested for driving under suspension 2nd offense, after a vehicle was observed at a traffic checkpoint on N. Hamilton St. J. R. McCauley II investigated.

July 1 - James Gregory Chastain, 34, 15 Dyer Lane, Piedmont, was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle after a GEO Prism, reported stolen in Anderson, was observed at 141 Church St, Williamston. Capt. K. P. Evatt investigated.

July 4 - Tammy Rene Shirley, 35, 43 Adger St., Pelzer, reported forced entry to the residence by unknown persons through a  sliding glass door at the rear. Damage to the door was estimated at $200. Items valued at $660 were reported missing. J. Digirolamo investigated.

July 6 - Nathan Wayne Meyers, 24, 130 Harper St., Williamston, was arrested for driving under suspension after a white Ford van was observed at a license checkpoint. The license was suspended for failure to pay a traffic citation. J. R. McCauley II investigated.

July 7 - Courtney Arnold, 18, 2 Bigby St., Williamston reported being assaulted by a juvenile at Mattison St. and Greenville Dr. Sgt. D. W. Alexander investigated.

July 7 - Kolita Juantez Blanding, 17, 323 E. Carolina St., Apt. 221, was arrested for public disorderly conduct following an incident in which officers attempted to disperse several people in the roadway. A 13-year-old juvenile was also arrested and released to a relative. Sgt. D. W. Alexander investigated.

July 7 - Robert Earl Bellue, 44, 81 Hurtsdale Rd., Clinton, was arrested for public drunkenness and failure to accompany an officer after being observed on a moped on Longview Dr., J. R. McCauley investigated.

July 8 - Victoria Lyn Land, 29, 423 N. Major Rd., Belton, reported the theft of a vehicle valued at $15,000 from 6 North Hamilton Dr. Reports state Land was approached by a man who stated his car had run out of gas and wanted money. The man was described as older, approximately 6 ft. tall and 190 lbs with gray hair. A second man, appeared to be in his 30’s with dark hair. Both were wearing ball caps. Reports state Land went around the building to put trash into a dumpster. When she returned to the front parking lot both men were in her vehicle attempting to drive off. The vehicle drove over the curb and traveled north on North Hamilton St. A pocketbook containing two debit cards, a Walmart credit card and personal keys was in the vehicle. K. P. Evatt investigated.

July 10 - Cole Anthony Starnes, 20, 1406 Beaverdam Rd., Williamston, reported fireworks thrown on his vehicle  while parked at Town Square Shopping Center causing approximately $100 in damage. J. R. McCauley investigated.

July 7 - Marie Payton, 51, 108 L. St., Unit D, Williamston, was arrested for petit larceny in connection with an incident at Ace Hardware, 29 Pelzer Ave., Williamston. Reports state that Payton, an employee of the business allegedly sold merchandise valued at $131.24 on July 7  and then did a return transaction for the same merchandise, a wet/dry vac, and kept the money. Chief David Baker, Capt. K. P. Evatt investigated.

Sheriff’s Deputies investigate calls

Anderson County Sheriffs Deputies investigated the following incidents:

PELZER

July 18 – Deputy J. J. Jacobs responded to the intersection of Highway 8 and I-85 to assist Deputy J. L. Barnes who had stopped a suspicious vehicle driven by Larry Scott, BM, 53,of 122 Blake Drive. A license check revealed four warrants from Pickens County for Scott, who was arrested and taken to the county line where he was transferred to Pickens County officers.

July 21 – T. B. Dugan  responded to 241 Clardy Road where Randall Holcombe reported the theft of a 1996 blue Thunderbird from his home.

PIEDMONT

July 19 – A. Digirolamo responded to Hurricane Creek where Kenneth Place stated that a suspect had climbed into a Verizon cell tower location and stolen 20 feet of copper cable, valued at approximately $20.

July 21 – D.W. Davis responded to 1715 River Road, where Brandon Segars, WM, 19. 5’10", brn/brn, reported  the tires on his SUV had been stabbed and an epithet painted on the window.

July 21 – D. L. Barton investigated a break-in at the Powdersville Party Shop on Highway 153, where Gary Price reported that someone had cut a section of metal siding from the building and broken through the bathroom wall to gain entry. An inventory was to be conducted to verify what, if anything, was stolen.

July 22 – R. G. Alexander investigated a complaint of auto theft at Y110 Wedgefield Drive. The car stolen was a 2004 silver Mustang Cobra SC license tag # 7278BM. It belonged to Lisa Rainey.

July 22 – R. M. Cooper  responded to 2501 River Road, where Russell Smith, who works at the store there, said that Lindsay Cardell, Jr., BM, 45, 6’1", 180 pounds, from 300 Furman Hall Road in Greenville, had found a cell phone in the men’s room and wanted a reward for turning it in. The ensuing argument turned into a fight. Neither man wanted to press charges, but Cardell was placed on trespass notice at the store.

WILLIAMSTON

July 18 – M. D. Campbell investigated a theft at Knot’s Landing Barber Shop at 4535 Highway 29 North. Pamela Hill reported that someone had broken into the business and then into the computer store next door, which shares a sliding glass door with the barber shop. Electronics valued at $600 were stolen.

July 19 – M. D. Creamer investigated a case of petit larceny concerning the theft of a mailbox and post from 5205 Hwy. 81 North.

July 22 – D.W. Davis received a report from Kathy Fortner, of Pawley’s Island, that someone had keyed her car while it was parked at her daughter’s residence at 110 Kensett Drive. Damage was estimated at $500.

Seems to Me . . .
It will take some work

By Stan Welch

Small town politics have long had a reputation for being more centered on personalities and social preferences than on policies and public service. Certainly, evidence of that slant has been apparent in recent months in this part of the county.

Williamston faces many challenges in coming to grips with its financial problems. But one of the greatest challenges the town and its people face is the irresistible urge to blame individuals, and not recognize the policy and procedural flaws in the town’s government that allowed things to spin so wildly out of control.

 It is so much easier to blame an individual or group of individuals than to review and revise a system of government that may need substantial renovation in order to be prepared to address the changing demands that small towns face in this era of federal and state funding.

The same urge is obviously alive and well in West Pelzer, where the tensions between the Town Council and Mayor Peggy Paxton, and apparently the Town staff, continue to grow, despite what appears to be a fairly solid and competent performance so far by Paxton in her two years in office. Certainly, financial accountability and steadiness appears to have improved steadily in recent years, at least as is reflected by the budget audits of the last two years. When Paxton took office, the Town faced serious questions about the manner in which it managed its finances.

The former Town clerk resigned and Paxton defeated Joe Turner, a long time veteran of the Council that instituted many of the policies in question, in a mayoral race. Apparently, there was some level of desire for a change among the people of the Town. Also apparently, Paxton’s performance hasn’t been enough for many people in the town, though she certainly has her supporters. Midterm election efforts to add more youth to the Council failed, leaving Paxton with few, if any, allies on the Council.

Still, one has to wonder, as the Town Council seems unwilling to take aggressive action on major issues, saving their energy and ammunition for what appears to an outsider as small potatoes and petty sniping.

While it would be naïve and willfully ignorant to deny the role that personalities play in this soap opera that is small town politics at its worst, it would also be inaccurate not to understand that there is a real sea change in such politics on the horizon. The nature of modern government, and the manner in which it is funded, makes that inevitable.

No small town can afford to meet all the state and federal requirements in terms of public safety and health that exist today. The cookie jar at the local level is just too small to hold enough money to build infrastructure for even the smallest of towns. So it is unavoidable that more sophisticated projects will demand more sophisticated government.

By that, I don’t mean that everyone needs a college degree or be a computer whiz. But participating in local government now requires that some homework be done. And the gist of that homework needs to be more involved with policy and funding and establishing a direction for the town one serves, and less involved with personalities and petty resentments and positioning oneself for the next election.

In another example, Paxton spearheaded the drive to update and install a new software package that will consolidate and simplify the town’s finances, such as billing and tax notices. Council insists that the installation and mastering of the new system is taking too long. Their complaints are accompanied by insinuations that the delay is somehow designed to allow for a longer period of lesser accountability. It is likely to take even longer in the wake of recent events which have almost certainly cost the Town the second highly qualified employee in recent months.

A physical confrontation between a family member of the Town Clerk and a family member of a Town Councilman has brought long simmering resentments and personal conflicts to the surface.

In an article elsewhere in this issue of The Journal, a fuller treatment of those events appears. Each reader can decide for themselves what happened, as ultimately a judge or jury will decide.

The point is that the incident ever occurred at all. So unsettling and discordant was the incident that Joe Newton, of ACOG, felt it necessary to hold some sort of governmental group therapy session to try and get adults to act like adults. Hope he had some luck, but things don’t look promising.

The town of West Pelzer faces formidable challenges, not just to its growth but to its very survival as a political entity. The idea of small towns surrendering their charters and accepting County authority and services is attracting increasing attention as health and safety mandates from above impose greater and greater demands on the towns and their finances.

To meet those challenges will require cooperation of a real and sincere nature, and not some lip service given at a government retreat.

Destroying employee morale and driving off qualified people whose talents and training are not easily replaced hardly seems to be the approach to take. Most employees of small towns make less than comfortable salaries. Giving them the idea that their services are appreciated and their judgment and conduct are considered trustworthy can help make up for a few less bucks in the pay envelope.

Seems to me small town doesn’t have to mean small time, but it takes some work.

Candidates to file

Persons interested in filing to run for offices in the November 7 General Election can sign up beginning Tuesday, August 1.

Offices to be filled are on the Anderson County Board of Education, School Trustees, Homeland Park Water District (3 seats), Piedmont Public Service District (3 seats) and Watershed Conservation Districts.  There are no filing fees for these offices. 

Filing for candidates will open at 12 noon August 1, and close at 12 noon August 15.  Candidates will file their Statement of Candidacy and Statement of Economic Interests in the Voter Registration and Elections Office at 107 South Main Street, Room101 (Green and white building directly behind the Historic Courthouse).

New legislation covering the election of members of the County Board of Education states that beginning with the 2002 election, the single-member election districts from which members of the Anderson County Board of Education must be elected by the qualified electors of that district are as follows: Districts 1, 3, 4, 5, 6  Anderson County School Trustee -

School District 1Areas 1, 4, 5, 7

School District 2Areas 1 (2 seats) 3, 4, and At-large

School District 3Areas 1, 4, and At-large

School District 4 Areas 2, 4, 5

School District 5Areas 2, 5, 6, and At-large

Seats are open for Watershed Conservation District Director in the watershed districts located solely within Anderson County including Big Creek, 3 seats and Broadmouth Creek, 2 seats; Candidates will file in the Anderson County Registration & Elections office.

Watershed Conservation District Director Candidates filing in multi-county districts include Brushy Creek, 4 seats; Three & Twenty, 2 seats; Wilson Creek, 2 seats. These candidates must file with the State Election Commission in Columbia.

 

 

 

 

 

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