News Archive


(3208) Week of August 6, 2008

Spring Water Festival features Julie Roberts
Runners preparing for Spring Water run
Council names Scott to represent town on projects
Smith announces for council seat
Forest Hills residents facing higher water/sewer rates
PERC to sponsor school supply drive
West Pelzer holds 08-09 budget workshop
Ethanol operation not in violation, DHEC says
Three & Twenty referendum Aug. 12
New Council to handle internal audit, conditions
Deputies investigate thefts
Deputies investigate assaults, vandalism to vehicles
Traffic stops lead to arrests
Seems to Me . . . A hot summer

Spring Water Festival to feature Julie Roberts
Nashville recording artist

Organizers of the 27th annual Spring Water Festival announced this week that Nashville recording artist Julie Roberts will headline the entertainment scheduled for August 23 in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park.

Roberts, a stunning blonde from Lancaster, SC, became a favorite  of fans and music critics alike following the release of  her  2004 self-titled debut CD which featured the aching and resolute hit, “Break Down Here.”

The song was one of the year’s best country ballads, many critics said and received tremendous rotation on Country Music Television (CMT).

Known for her deep, blues-soaked voice, she quickly stole everyone’s heart with her honest music, cover-girl looks, exuberant personality and irresistible laughter.

Spotting her talent early, CMT selected Roberts to be the first artist to appear in In the Moment, the music network’s hour-long documentary on the making of a star.

Her first album was certified gold and led to two Horizon Award nominations from the Country Music Association, as well as a Top New Artist nomination and a Top New Female Vocalist nomination from the Academy of Country Music Awards, as well as a Breakthrough Artist nomination from the CMT Awards.

She was chosen over artists in all musical genres to sing the “Good To Go” theme song of the television show Good Morning America. 

Her second album, entitled Men & Mascara, reflects a honed signature vocal style and a newfound confidence from touring nonstop for two years.

The recording features twice the number of musicians as her first album and introduces the fiddle to Roberts’ music, as well as more steel guitar and mandolin.

The daughter of an engineer and accountant, Roberts has been singing as long as she can remember. She performed at every opportunity, including class musicals, summer camp productions and beauty pageants. During junior high and high school, she spent her weekends playing festivals in the Southeast. She spent summers working at music shows in Carowinds theme park in Charlotte, N.C. and Dollywood in East Tennessee.

She attended the University of South Carolina-Lancaster for two years before transferring to Nashville’s Belmont University to focus on her music. She performed in local clubs and restaurants until graduation, after which she landed a job as the assistant to Luke Lewis, Co-Chairman of Universal Music Group Nashville.

She began working during her off-time with producer Brent Rowan, who eventually played Roberts’ demo to Lewis without telling him who it was. Lewis was reportedly floored by the demo made by the young woman sitting just outside his door.

Since then, many doors have opened for Roberts who has walked across some of the nation’s most famous stages and rolled down the backroads to too-often forgotten small towns.

Roberts is scheduled to perform at 7 pm. The festival will feature an expanded variety of stage entertainment throughout the day, organizers said.

If you enjoy music, plan to bring a lawn chair and stay all day or just come to hear your favorite.  There will be bluegrass, country, rock, beach, gospel, and Christian music.

The festival also will  feature the return of Southern Crescent, the band which headlined the first seven festivals. 

Also appearing will be singer songwriter and storyteller Daniell Howle, a beach blast with beach music provided  by The Royal Scotsmen Band, bluegrass with NewFire, Miss Williamston  Holly Whatley and Hannah Rogers.

The park’s center stage will feature one of the upstates largest showcases of gospel music.

A variety of styles of gospel music will be performed by many well known groups  featuring the Melodyaires and 16  more.

Special entertainment will be held on a  stage just for children and there will be new games with prizes for children. There will also be amusement rides, crafts, displays, car show, motorcycle ride and show and a 5K Spring Water Run.

Additional infomation is available online at www.springwaterfestival.com.

Runners preparing for Spring Water Run

By Hayley Meade

The Spring Water Run will again be held in conjunction with the 27th annual Spring Water Festival on August 23. The run has been held sporatically through the years but this year marks the third consecutive year under the direction of Chris Bradberry.

Local runner Lisa Epps plans to run in her third Spring Water race along with her 8 year old daughter Chloe, a rising fourth grader at Cedar Grove Elementary School. Epps has competed in a number of local races over the past four years, winning many awards and trophies. She is currently training for a half marathon that will be held in the fall. Epps stated that the Spring Water Run is “a good race for anyone to participate in whether they want to run in it or simply walk. “You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to participate in this race. I’s just something that anyone can do for fun.”

Epps’ daughter showed an interest in running at the age of 6 and has participated in many races since.  This will be her second Spring Water Run. Last year she ran the mile in 7 minutes and 19 seconds in the 10 & under age group. This year she plans to run the 5K alongside her mother.

Bradberry, also a runner, expects more participants than in previous years and expects the race to be even more successful than it has been  in the past. Last year more than 150 runners participated.  He explains that “in past years the race was 4 miles but we decided to bring it down to a 5K and a 1 mile race so more people would be interested in participating.”

The sanctioned RRCA Grand Prix event includes both a 1 mile fun run and 5K race. The race will start off at  McDonald’s in Williamston and will run through city streets and country roads through Williamston. Splits will be called at the one and two mile mark and water stations will be on the course.

Registration forms are available at area businesses including The Journal and online at www.springwaterfestival.com.

The entry fee is $15 in advance or $20 on the day of the race. The 5K open race will begin at 7:45 a.m. and the one mile fun run will be held at 8:30 a.m.

Registration will be held on the morning of the race between 6:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot beside McDonald’s. 

Medals will go to all finishers in the one mile race and trophies will go to the top two males and females in the 5K, the top two male and female masters and the first three places male and female, by age group.

Age groups will include 10 and under, 11-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, and 65 and over.

Awards and drawings will be held following the one mile run. All registered runners are eligible for race day drawings which will include a variety of prizes. Food and drinks will be provided after the race for the runners.

The Williamston Police Department will secure all major intersections. 

Terry Times will provide timing and results will be posted at terrytimes.com

For additional information contact Chris Bradberry at 864-420-3282 or by email at bradberry9600@msn.com.

Additional information on the festival is available online at the Spring Water Festival website at www.springwaterfestival.com. 

Council names Scott to represent town on projects

Williamston Town Council decided Monday to designate Councilman Otis Scott as the representative for the Town on project requests being made to the Anderson County Transportation Committee (ACTC) (C fund committee) and to the County Transportation department.

Scott will represent the town on two projects currently under consideration for funding by the ACTC, the paving of Academy St. and the relocation of Pelzer Ave.

Acting on a motion made by Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr.,  Council first agreed Scott should represent the town on the Academy St. request.

Scott initially stated that he did not want to represent the town on the Pelzer Avenue project, but later said he would after a motion was made for him to.

During discussion, Middleton also stated there was some confusion about the process for councilmen to get an item placed on the C funds list.

The process, according to Mayor Phillip Clardy, is that the County requires a list and the C funds committee requires a resolution stating council supports a project request.

Clardy said that the town should be represented based on the decision of council as a whole and to eliminate confusion.

Councilman Carthel Crout then made a motion that Scott also represent the town on the Pelzer Ave. relocation request. Middleton said, “My view is that you (Scott) represent the town.”

Mayor Clardy said that it would show if anyone with second thoughts were making the request. Clardy also pointed out that two of the councilmen signed the resolution requesting the relocation, but added (on the resolution) that they dissented on the issue.

Clardy again made the point that when council votes on an issue, the decision should represent the town’s position as a whole.

“When this council by majority vote approves (something), my opinion is null and void,” Clardy said.

Clardy said that a member of the ACTC had told them that they preferred the mayor to appear before them to make a request, though there is no formal guideline as to who can appear before the ACTC group that makes the decision on dispersing the C fund money.

Council approved Scott as the representative for the town on the Pelzer Ave. request, voting 3-1 with Mayor Clardy opposed and Scott abstaining.

Council also approved guidelines for submitting projects to the proper committees.

Individual council requests will be submitted to Bruce Peterson for consideration by Council and an agenda vote will be held at the first meeting of the month. The motion by Councilman Middleton was approved unanimously.

After considerable discussion on the town’s cell phone service, Council decided to allow the mayor to continue with a 2200 minute plan at $89.25 per month The plan allows one phone.

Prior to the vote, the mayor asked for clarification on whether the council was intending to do away with the mayor’s cell phone or to change the service.

Councilman Crout stated that he had no problem with the mayor having a cell phone, but that council had voted to terminate the service because the cost was too high for the amount of minutes. “It was voted to be done way with, but it never was done,” Crout said.

Clardy said that he understood that the phone service would continue until council made a decision on whether to change the service. He also said that rollover minutes accumulated would be lost if the service were terminated.

The vote was 4-1 for the mayor’s phone service plan, with councilman Harvell opposed.

Councilman Crout asked about the town budget being placed on the website. Town personnel are looking at how to do it, officials said.

Council unanimously agreed to move a truck from service in the water department to the sewer department and allow $300 for tools for the vehicle.

Council will seek a second opinion on the value and possible use of a huge generator at the town’s old water treatment plant. The generator was being considered for sale or auction, but the value has drastically decreased with age, according to Williamston Police Chief David Baker.

Town officials had hoped to either use it or trade it on a newer generator capable of supplying power to town hall, the police department and the fire department.

Council authorized the town to advertise locally for a licensed and trained person to help with abating nuisances.

Councilman Middleton asked  that the town consider hiring an architect/engineer to come up with a plan for the best use of the town’s municipal building. It was also noted that there is considerable termite damage to portions of the building.

There was some discussion on the purchase of a trailer for the cannon and how to dispense the funds from the town to the group that is making the purchase. Middleton suggested quotes be presented to Council for a vote. No official action was taken.

Council also confirmed that the budget included funding to provide staff and a vehicle for trash pickup during the Spring Water Festival.

Spring Water Festival chairman David Meade had requested confirmation that the service would be provided by the town for the annual event.

Meade also announced that female country music singer Julie Roberts will perform at the festival.

Smith announces for council seat

Walter H. Smith, Sr., of 119 Mattison Dr., Williamston, announced this week that he will seek the Ward 3 seat on Council.

“My desire is to work with all the citizens in the Town of Williamston,” he said. Smith said that he wants to see the whole town get attention and that he will be willing to listen to the concerns of any elective official or residents.

He also said he will respond to calls within 24 hours.

Smith retired from owning and operating his business Smith Grading and Building Construction Co., in 1997.

He has 32 years experience of building new houses, commercial buildings and remodeling throughout the Anderson and Greenville areas.

After retiring, Smith continued in the building and construction industry, working for mission outreach projects to others.

“Since that time I’ve worked just as hard, but it all was mission,” he said. “My goal is to continue to reach out to others.”

In the past, Smith has been involved in getting a number of projects accomplished in the town.

Smith was instrumental in getting gas lines for the Cherokee and Mattison Drive community, getting donations for mission work in the city and working with Christmas in April as a construction leader.

He oversaw construction and helped build the first Habitat House on Circle St. in Williamston.

Smith was also responsible for the town receiving a grant through the Appalachian Council of Government for a sewer project on Randall St. His contribution was recognized by the town naming the project the Walter Smith Sr., pumping station.

He is currently a member of the town’s park committee which oversees improvements in both Mineral Spring Park and Brookdale Park and has chaired the Williamston Christmas Parade for 16 years.

Smith is the Chairman of the Trustee Board for the Williamston Action Community Club for the Caroline Community Center and is treasurer of Men United in Williamston.

“There are many things to be added as far as missions that take me to many cities, but being a resident of the town of Williamston since 1949, I certainly want to devote my time to the city,” he said.

He has been married for 47 years and is the father of four children, grandfather of seven and great-grandfather of two.

Smith is a business owner, operating a car wash, auto detailing and EnStyle, a beauty and barbershop located on Greenville Dr.

He is a member of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church where he serves as Chairman of the Deacon Ministry.

He is a graduate of Spearman High School and has mastered many other degrees from trades and hands on experiences.

“I thank God in whom I put all my trust for all my success,” he said.

Forest Hills residents facing higher water/sewer rates

By Stan Welch

Residents of the Forest Hills subdivision are in the middle of a rate increase roller coaster ride that could see their rates exceed $80 a month within the next year.

The ride began in 2004 when the South Carolina Public Service Commission approved a three tier phased in rate increase for J.C. Cox Utilities. At the time, Forest Hills residents were paying an artificially low rate of $14.85, a rate that left Cox Utility with an operating margin of minus 380 per cent.

Stated in another way, the utility spent more than $26,000 to operate the system, while the customers paid just over $6000 for the service. Clearly, something had to be done.

The Public Service Commission realized that as well; however,they also realized that the increases needed to provide Cox Utilities with a reasonable profit margin would impose an extraordinary burden on the customers.

The order issued by the PSC in 2004 stated , “The Commission finds that the public interest requires phased in rates in order to lessen the impact of such a dramatic increase in rates.”

That order established a structure that would result in a first phase increase of $15.65, bringing the bill to $30.50 and reducing the operating margin to a minus 139.61 per cent. The second rate phase in began on August 1 this year, and increased the cost to $53.16. That reduces the operating margin to a minus 39 per cent.

Shortly after this rate increase was approved, Cox Utilities, which had been owned by Jeff and Crystal Ellison, was purchased by Steve Goldie, of Goldie & Associates, the engineering firm which is currently handling the Town’s sewer upgrades.

The order was issued in March of 2004, and in May of that year, Steve Goldie registered Jacabb Utilities, LLC with the Secretary of State’s Office. Those documents identify him as the registered agent and sole owner.

Mayor Phillip Clardy was surprised to learn that Goldie owned and operated the facility. “I was unaware of that fact and I feel sure that Council is also. I have no reason to think there is anything illegal or unethical involved, but it seems that would have been better brought to the fore.”

The rate increases were directly tied to certain benchmarks. For example, certain improvements were necessary before the second phase could be enacted, such as providing a construction timetable for a lift station needed to transport the sewage to the town’s treatment plant.

One issue which Cox Utilities faced was being unable to tie onto the town sewer system. Mayor Clardy said there were two reasons that the Town declined to accept Forest Hills, even though Goldie & Associates, which represented the Cox Utilities, pressed for that to happen.

“For one thing, we had capacity issues with the County already, having encroached onto their 300,000 gallons per day reserve. Then, Cox wanted us to take over the whole system, lines and all, which was in bad shape, instead of just taking the effluent itself.”

In July 2002, Anderson County sewer consultant Dewey Pearson sent Steve Goldie a letter stating that the County would not takeover the Forest Hills sewer system. The letter did offer to make some of the County’s reserve capacity in the Williamston treatment plant available, “if appropriately compensated.”

According to figures released by Mayor Clardy, the Town currently charges $2.55 per thousand gallons, and the County adds an additional $2.76 per thousand, bringing the cost to $5.31 per thousand. Jacabb then charges a flat rate, according to Sonya Harrison, a Goldie & Associates engineer.

Mayor Clardy said the reason the town agreed to accept Forest Hills the second time around was that the entire system was not accepted, but only the effluent itself. “We also came to realize that if those folks had to upgrade that lagoon on their own, their rates could increase by more than 1400%. So we did the best we could for them.”

Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr. said he did not recall whether Council was ever made aware of Goldie’s role in Jacabb, but said it was certainly not put out in the forefront. “But my concern is that those folks are going to see tremendous increases, and they could go even higher when the Town’s rates increase in the future.”

Steve Goldie was out of the office when The Journal tried to contact him for comment, but Ms. Harrison returned the call and said he had asked her to answer any questions The Journal had.

When asked when the final rate increase, which would increase the monthly bill to $82.82, and put the operating margin into the black at 8.16%, she said that there is no time frame.

“Mr. Goldie said there might not be any need for the final increase, if the utility was breaking even.”

According to the figures provided to the PSC when the rate increase was applied for, the current rate of $53.16 leaves Jacabb operating at a negative operating margin of almost 40%. Those figures would indicate that the utility will not break even at the current rate.

The milestone required for the final increase to be imposed is the construction of the lift station. Harrison reported that the lift station has recently had the power connected and is awaiting inspection by DHEC.

 PERC to sponsor school supply drive

The Piedmont Emergency Relief Center (PERC) is hosting a “Drive for School Supplies” to benefit children in the surrounding Piedmont area. PERC representatives will be  at the Wal-Mart in Easley from 10am to 4 pm on Saturday August 16 and donation boxes will also be placed through August 15th in  Powdersville at Ingles, CVS and Total Fitness, in Pelzer at Bargain’s Food Store, in Piedmont at Fred’s Discount, IDEAS Graphics and More. AGFA in Greenville and Ingles in Moonville will also hold  donation boxes.

The “Drive for School Supplies” will accept any of the following donations: crayons, markers, 3-ring binders,colored pencils, folders, spiral notebooks, composition notebooks, filler paper, glue, pencils, pens, colored pencils, erasers, dry-erase markers, scissors, dividers, calculators (scientific, TI-83, TI-84, TI-89), flash drives, hand sanitizer, hand soap, tissues/Kleenex, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, highlighters, index cards, flash cards, cardstock, clipboards, dictionaries, pencil boxes, protractors, rulers, Play Doh, modeling clay, sheet protectors, pencil bags, and pencil sharpeners.

 Families are eligible to receive donations if they can demonstrate a government determined need such as food stamps, free/reduced lunch, disability  or unemployment.Families who live  within the 29673, 29611, 29669, 29697- zip code areas are eligible to receive donations as well as anyone referred by the Piedmont Fire Department, church, or business within the 29673 zip code.

PERC is open Monday 10am-2pm, Tuesday and Thursday 4pm-7pm, Friday 10am-2pm, and Saturday 9am to Noon. For more information on PERC or the “Drive for School Supplies” please call 864-845-5535 during business hours or visit www.piedmontperc.org.

West Pelzer holds 08-09 budget workshop

By Stan Welch

The West Pelzer Town Council held a budget workshop Monday night, and moved closer to giving approval to a budget.

The proposed budget for fiscal year 2008-2009 shows projected general fund revenues of $363,226.55,with anticipated expenses for payroll, administrative and professional fees of $150,240.96.

Councilman Jimmy Jeanes questioned the large amount of professional fees, which came to $31,761.62. Mayor Peggy Paxton explained that those figures include the town attorney, the grant writer, the bonding agent, the auditor and other services the Town employees during the year.

Under the police department expenses, also under the general fund, salaries and benefits for the department totaled $128,760.43, with an additional $63,092.83 slated for operational expenses. The total general fund expenses came to $342,094.22, for a surplus of $21,131,11.

Under the water department, projected revenues were $415,118.18 with payroll and related expenses budgeted at $101,520.61.

Operational expenses were projected at $225,627.46. Sewer operating expenses were set at $67,073.13 for total expenses of $394,221.20, resulting in a surplus of $20,896.98.

The full budget indicates a surplus of some $42,000. Mayor Peggy Paxton said those funds will be allocated among several of the existing accounts, such as water and sewer contingency and other line items.

A governmental entity, such as a town, can produce a surplus, but it cannot budget for one, according to town attorney Carey Murphy. Since the town is facing significant expenses in addressing water and sewer issues such as ingress and infiltration, Mayor Paxton said she saw no problem with reallocating those funds to the appropriate needs.

During the meeting, Councilman Marshall King asked if the town could take part of the surplus and put it in an interest bearing account. “We know we will need it sooner or later, especially with the water and sewer projects. Couldn’t we put it where it can earn us some money?” asked King.

Murphy explained that money placed into accounts had to be placed into accounts specifically designated for a purpose. “You can’t just put it in a savings account. That’s the way the law reads.”

Mayor Paxton is hoping to have the budget approved at the next meeting. “We can always amend the budget as we need to, even months from now. I just don’t want us to be as slow in approving a budget as we have been in past years.”

Ethanol operation not in violation, DHEC says

By Stan Welch

Concerns raised by local citizens concerning the operations of an ethanol blending operation in the Belton area will be among the topics at a meeting between company officials and DHEC officials in the coming weeks.

Paul Wilkie, of the Belton regional DHEC office, told The Journal that he and other DHEC officials had begun inquiries into the conditions under which Lincoln Energy is offloading and transporting ethanol from a rail facility in Belton to two locations near Williamston.

The company, which was recently awarded an incentive package by Anderson County to entice it to locate here, has already begun some operations, despite the fact that its proposed $10 million facility has not even been started.

Local residents contacted The Journal three weeks ago expressing concerns related to the risks involved in offloading and transporting the ethanol to the old Bigelow Sanford mill on Youth Center Road as well as to the now closed P&M Convenience Store in Williamston, where the volatile fuel additive is being stored in underground tanks.

Wilkie said that while the agency has some concerns, there is no evidence of the company being in violation of any regulations at this time. 

“We are trying to set up a meeting later this month with the representatives of all the companies which are transporting and blending ethanol. This is a very new area for us in South Carolina, and we are feeling our way along in a sense.”

Lincoln Energy also operates at least one other ethanol blending facility in Edgefield County. Other companies are opening such facilities as well, and the absence of information about those operations is one problem DHEC faces.

“We have emission standards in place, but we lack data on where the loadouts are the worst, so that we can take steps to regulate them,” said DHEC air quality official Kari Terry, of the Belton office. She encourages anyone with questions about the operation of the facility to contact the office at 260-5569.

Wilkie characterized DHEC’s questions about the operations as “nothing we can’t work through. Lincoln energy has been very cooperative with our inquiries.”

Anderson County Fire Chief Henry Gibson stated in a recent Journal article that no department in the county has the necessary specialized equipment to fight an ethanol fire, were one to occur. “The foam usually used to fight fires is worthless against ethanol. The heat is so great that the foam actually cooks off before it can smother the fire. A special foam buggy is also needed to put the foam on the fire, and we don’t have one of those. The closest one is at GSP Airport.”

Lincoln Energy has reportedly agreed to donate $10,000 towards the purchase of a foam buggy. The BP Oil Company has already made a similar donation.

Three & Twenty referendum Aug. 12

By Stan Welch

A movement towards zoning that got its impetus from a proposed C&D landfill in the area will come to a head next Tuesday. A special referendum on whether to impose zoning in the Three and Twenty voting precinct will take place on August 12. Voting will take place at the Three and Twenty Fire Station.

The referendum is one of several steps undertaken to try and stop the proposed construction and debris landfill which would be located on Hamlin Road. Also enacted was a weight limit on trucks as well as state legislation.

Area residents have opposed the permitting of the landfill despite the County’s original support of the proposal. The county later declared the proposal inconsistent with its solid waste management plan.

The question which will be on the referendum ballot is “Do you favor adoption of a zoning map to impose zoning on the Three and Twenty voting precinct by ordinance of the Anderson County Council?”

Zoning is currently imposed on a precinct by precinct basis. An attempt to impose county wide zoning earlier this year was met with such opposition that District Six councilman Ron Wilson withdrew his proposed ordinance.

He has found it much more comfortable to advance this particular zoning cause. He is confident it will pass. “I expect a low turnout as usual with these local referendums standing alone. But if the people who signed the petition to put it on the ballot all vote, that should be enough to pass it.”

Officials of AnMed must share that confidence. The tax exempt organization, which owns several hundred acres of prime real estate in the precinct, has already petitioned County Council for an exemption from any zoning that is approved.

New Council to handle internal audit, conditions

By Stan Welch

Anderson County Council, currently dominated by supporters of county administrator Joey Preston, unofficially agreed to let the incoming Council set the terms and focus of a proposed expanded audit of the County’s finances.

The decision was unofficial because it came at a workshop meeting which prevented a formal vote from being taken. But the consensus of Council was that the new Council, which includes three new faces so far, should define the scope of the audit.

Councilman Bob Waldrep read a list of conditions that the incoming Council intended to attach to the audit, which he said incoming members and he had worked together to produce. At the top of that list was the new council’s intention to place both county Administrator Joey Preston and finance department director Gina Humphries on paid administrative leave, thereby divorcing them entirely from the audit process.

Also on the list of conditions were the use of a bid process, an assurance that no auditor with any connections to county employees be used, that a temporary administrator be hired while the audit is underway, that an audit committee be established, including members of the new Council, that a citizens financial advisory committee be formed, and that the acting administrator would meet with council prior to awarding the contract.

An audience of approximately fifty people applauded the decision, which is clearly another indication that a significant change in the power structure of Anderson County is underway.

So obvious is that shift that at one point, District Six Councilman Ron Wilson asked Councilman Waldrep and Councilwoman Wilson directly, “What is it you want from this audit?”

When Waldrep answered that his main goal was to clarify the accounting lingo and arrive at a workable approach to the audit, Wilson asked if he could draw that up in formal language before the next Council meeting. Told that Waldrep could, Wilson said “Do it. Let’s get this done.”

Wilson had earlier questioned Larry Finney, the current external auditor for Anderson County, who appeared before Council to address the idea of the “total complete penny-in, penny-out audit” proposed by the presented ordinance.

Finney had explained that to his knowledge there had never been an “absolute assurance” audit, as he called it. “I don’t know that such a thing is possible because as an auditor, you could never know for certain that every single transaction appears in the general ledger. So to offer absolute assurance that every penny has been accounted for is virtually impossible.”

Finney instead recommended, upon Waldrep’s request for his opinion, that if he were on Council he would use one or both of two methods. One would be the use of agreed upon procedures, which lets the Council define areas outside the scope of a usual audit, which the auditors would then review more thoroughly.

Some of the areas mentioned were legal expenses and credit card use.

Councilwoman Wilson indicated a shift from her persistent demands for a total audit by citing the fact that the county has established policies and procedures in place for such matters as credit card use. “The problem is that this administrator chooses not to follow those policies. We need to look at those and look into better compliance with them before we determine the scope of this audit,” she said.

Councilmen McAbee and Greer, both handily defeated in the June primary, said nothing, but Chairman Michael Thompson assumed that the consensus was to let the new council handle it.

“I want the people who are asking for this to get what they are asking for. Since I won’t be around to answer the ins and outs, I think the new Council should handle this. It’s my feeling that is the consensus of  Council as well.”

Speaking after the meeting, Ms. Wilson said, “I think we are on the way to greater accountability. The citizens advisory committee is a huge step in  that direction.”

Waldrep was pleased as well, saying that the full audit would not have achieved the goals. “The approach we seem set on now will let us get into problem areas quickly and deeply, and most importantly, if we run across a trail we can follow it.”

Deputies investigate thefts

Anderson County Deputies investigated thefts and vandalism. Among incidents investigated were: 

BELTON 

July 29 – M. J. Gregory made a traffic stop on Hwy. 252 near Belton and arrested the driver, Bradley Joe Granger, WM, 5’9", 225 pounds, brn/brn, of Elrod Rd. in Anderson for possession of methamphetamines with intent to distribute. While Gregory was retrieving the registration from the glove compartment, the passenger made a startled comment. The prisoner, who had been standing at the rear of the vehicle had run off into the woods, despite being handcuffed. He was not found despite a K-9 unit being brought in.

July 30 – W.T. Cunningham responded to 1908 Cheddar Rd. where Lisa Wooten reported the theft of her four wheeler valued at $2800.

Aug. 1 – J.T. Bowers responded to 1270 Cheddar Road  where David Richey reported that someone had stolen his blue 2006 Yamaha four wheeler valued at $4000.

EASLEY

July 31 – M.J. McClatchy was dispatched to Hwy. 153 where David Mill of Simpsonville, reported that while his black 2001 Nissan GXE was in the median out of gas, it was stolen. The loss was estimated at $6,300.

PELZER

July 29 – J.T. Bowers was dispatched to 108 Sleepy Hollow Rd. where Justin Pearce reported the theft of a green and black 2005 Yamaha Big Bear four wheeler. It was valued at $4000.

July 30 – P.D. Marter responded to 1501 Elrod Rd. where Seymore Talmadge reported the theft of scrap metal from that location valued at $200. The next day, July 31, K.D. Pigman was dispatched to the scene where Talmadge reported the theft of several items from the scene including a pressure washer, several electric motors, and other items. The loss was valued at $2150.

July 31 – W.B. Simpson spoke with Beth Hoffman, of 3130 River Rd. She stated that she had loaned her 1989 Chrysler LeBaron to someone and it had not been returned. When reported,she stated she planned to press charges whether the car was returned or not.

PIEDMONT

Aug. 1 – K.W. Pearson responded to the Wachovia Bank where Doris Pierce reported that Roscoe Miller, BM, 38, of Taylors, had presented a fraudulent check for approximately $2700.

Aug. 1 – R.D. Smith investigated two complaints of damage to property at 1243 and 1245 Massey Rd. where someone had shot both houses with green paintballs.

Aug. 2 – R. Beddingfield responded to 415 Old River Rd. where Teresa Sellers reported that her son Michael, 20, had become violent during an argument and punched a window. He was found in the bathroom bleeding from his arm and hand. EMS transported him to Greenville Memorial for treatment.

Aug. 3 – A.R. Hyslop was checking businesses on River Road and pulled into the Shell Station. He saw a car backed in next to the dumpster. He then observed a male subject coming up the hill behind his car. The subject, Wayne Sarra, WM, 47, 5’11", 170 pounds, gray/hazel, of 208 Siegler Rd. in Pelzer, dropped something which proved to be copper line. He was arrested and transported to ACDC.

Aug. 3 – J.T. Bowers was dispatched to 2206 River Rd. where he received a report from Kimberley Pace that her yellow 2007 World  Motors moped had been stolen. It was valued at $1050.

Aug. 3 - K.J. Winn responded to 3518 Hwy. 153 on a report of a possible drunk driver. He found Annette Vickery, WF, 45, 5’2", 130 pounds, grey/brn, of Greenville, in a white BMW in the Bi-Lo parking lot. She was unable to tell the deputy where she was and was arrested for disorderly conduct. Her license tag was later determined to be two years out of date.

Aug. 4 – K.J. Winn responded to an alarm at Sunrize Sporting Goods where the door was found to be broken. The loss was estimated at $4600.

WILLIAMSTON

July 29 – J.T. Bowers was dispatched to 2647 Anderson Hwy. where Melanie Patterson reported the theft of her 1994 white Pontiac Firebird. The loss was estimated at $4000.

July 29 – R. Beddingfield was dispatched to 199 Sandy Lane where Ralph Stoudemire of VMC Mow reported that two four wheelers valued at $5800 had been stolen.

July 30 – M.D. Campbell responded to 905 Beaverdam Rd. where Donald Bunton reported the theft of a four wheeler and a golf cart valued at $6000.

July 30 – K.D. Pigman was dispatched to 4 Willow Oak Court where Dan Campbell reported that someone had stolen all the copper tubing and wiring from underneath the house. Loss was estimated at $800.

Deputies investigate assaults, vandalism to vehicles

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated numerous assault incidents last week, some resulting in arrests. There also were numerous reports of vehicles being vandalized. Among incidents reported were:

BELTON 

July 26 – T.B. Dugan responded to an anonymous tip that April Nimmons, WF,18, 5’4", 120 pounds, blond/blue was at 502 Garren Road. She was wanted on an active warrant from Georgia for failure to appear in court. She was arrested and transported to ACDC.

July 27 – W.T. Cunningham responded to 429 Cheddar Rd. where Wayne Burnette reported the theft of his Yamaha Grizzly 600 ATV, valued at $4500.

July 27 – K.R. Thomason was dispatched to 1404 Mill St. where Renee McCary reported that she was in her yard when her neighbor, came out yelling and brandishing a handgun. He demanded that McCary’s boyfriend come outside. She said as she ran toward her house she heard a gunshot and heard the bullet strike something metallic. Once  contacted, Josh Coley, WM, 32, said he fired a shotgun in the air and noticed that McCary was outside at the time.

EASLEY

July 25 – T.B. Dugan responded to 519 Shadow Oaks Dr. where Ronald Beasley reported that someone had written on his car with yellow paint, wrapped the vehicle in clear plastic, took the two rear tires off, leaving the car on blocks, threw one tire in a nearby pond, and hung the other tire in a tree.

July 26 – M.J. McClatchy responded to the Easley Palmetto Baptist Hospital in reference to an assault that took place in Anderson County. Alvin Bracken, WM, 53, 6’, 200 pounds, reported that he had arrived at a friend’s house and was met in the driveway by a white male known to him only as Jimmy. Jimmy was intoxicated and asked for a ride to the corner convenience store, where he bought more beer. On the way back, Bracken offered Jimmy some counseling about alcohol and the trouble it can cause. Jimmy apparently didn’t like the advice and beat Bracken up when they got back to the house.

PELZER

July 22 – E.B. Nubern was dispatched to 41 Smythe St. where Anthony Menendez reported the theft of his 2005 Honda 750 motorcycle, valued at $4500.

July 23 – A.R. Hyslop responded to the Fred’s store at 297 Highway 20 where Tracie Finley, store manager, reported the theft of 30 lawn chairs from the site. The loss was estimated at $600.

July 25 – M.J. McClatchy responded to 103 Lockaby Rd. where Roscoe Spear reported the theft of a number of items from his shed, including a chainsaw, trolling motor, and four fishing rods. The loss was estimated at $1700.

July 25 – M.D. Campbell was dispatched to134 Whites Dr. where Joseph Hitt reported the theft of prescription drugs valued at $200.

July 25 – M.D. Campbell was dispatched to 150 Whites Dr. where Robin White reported the theft of a wrecked 2003 Ford Taurus from her yard. The loss was estimated at $2500.

July 26 – M.D. Campbell responded to 452 Looper Rd. where Timothy Ray reported that someone had broken the back window out of his vehicle. The damage was estimated at $300.

July 26 – M.D. Campbell was dispatched to 720 Bryant Rd. where Roy Medlin reported that someone had broken the back window out of his vehicle. The damage was estimated at $300.

July 26 – T.B. Dugan was dispatched to 215 Country Glen Rd. where Dean Lanier reported that someone had smashed the front window of his vehicle, causing $1500 in damage.

July 26 – M.D. Campbell responded to 301 Country Glen Rd. where Glenda Eller reported that someone had broken the rear window and cracked the front window of her vehicle, causing $600 in damages.

PIEDMONT

 Officer C. Whitfield was called to River Road and Melonie Drive, where Juanita Whitten reported that her son, Jeffrey Gilliland, WM, 37, had left a suicide note on her table. She had gone to the River Road location because she knew it was one of his fishing holes. Whitfield followed the path down to the river and found the subject there. The subject waved the gun around and threatened to shoot himself. Negotiators were summoned and soon talked the subject into surrendering. He was taken into custody for illegal possession of a firearm and presenting a firearm.

July 21 – M.D. Campbell was dispatched to the 37 mile marker on I-85 where David Freeman reported that he had left his business truck at that location the day before due to a flat tire. Upon returning to take the tire to be repaired, he found the gray van missing. The truck was valued at approximately $1700.

July 22 – T.B. Dugan responded to the construction site behind the Cracker Barrel restaurant on Hwy. 153 where a witness from North Carolina reported that he had been leaving the restaurant when he saw a white male and two white females loading rebar into a rusty old pickup truck. When they saw him watching, they jumped in the truck and fled. Todd Morrison, construction superintendent, estimated the loss at $2000.

July 22 – W.T. Cunningham responded to Crawford Rd. where UPS driver Robert Dailey said that he was flagged down by a white male in his twenties, 5’11", 140 pounds, black/brn, driving a gold car. Dailey stopped and the man approached him holding a knife down by his side. While he never raised the knife, Daily said he lunged at him several times, while cursing him. The license tag on the subject’s car was 519UVN according to the report.

July 23 – J.T. Bowers was dispatched to 104 Piedmont Rd. where Lee Gilpin reported that someone had entered his home and stolen a safe, a jug full of change and a six pack of beer from his house. Total loss estimated at $10,000.

July 23 – J.B. Coker and M.A. Bannister served a family court warrant on Harvey Roundtree of Anderson at his work location in Piedmont.

July 25 – T.B. Dugan responded to 100 Evelyn Lane, Lot 9 where Marie Millmaker reported that her son-in-law had assaulted her by pushing her into the wall during an argument.

July 26 – Sgt. T.L. Chapman responded to 90 Sleepy Hollow Lane in reference to a suspicious fire. Sandra Howard said she got up during the night to go to the bathroom and found the back porch on fire and a plastic chair on fire and melting. Her son was able to put the fire out and get the chair off the porch. The case has been turned over to arson investigators with the Anderson County Fire Department.

WILLIAMSTON

July 21 – W.T. Cunningham was dispatched to 797 Joe Black Rd. where Jill Cox, owner of Stutler’s Auctions, reported the theft of a $3000 air conditioning unit.

July 21 – W.B. Simpson responded to 224 Williamston Court, where Kayla Walters reported that Tyrone Haynie Cox had repeatedly contacted her in violation of a family court order of protection.

July 21 – W.T. Cunningham responded to 707 Belton Hwy. where Johnny Propes of South Carolina Tel-Con reported that someone had broken into a fenced antenna site he was working on and stolen a Wacker Jumping Jack ground tapper valued at $2000.

July 24 – J.J. Jacobs observed a red and black Chevy S-10 pickup run a stop sign at Midway and Cherokee roads. He attempted a traffic stop and the truck accelerated up to 80 miles an hour before losing control and hitting a tree. The driver, Tony McJunkin, WM, 40, 5’11", 180 pounds, of Williamston, was arrested for failure to stop for a blue light, and receiving stolen goods. The license plate on the truck had been reported stolen previously.

July 27 – A. Land received a report from Cole Starnes of 1406 Beaverdam Rd. that his 2002 Kawasaki Prairie 660 four wheeler had been stolen. The loss was estimated at $4500.

July 27 – T.B. Dugan responded to 211 Lewis Rd. where Elona Garrett reported that her son, Kyle Garrett, WM, 17, 6’, 177 pounds, brn/hazel had assaulted her during an argument. The subject, as well as his brother, confirmed the incident, while telling a different version. Garrett was arrested for assault and battery and transported to ACDC.

Williamston traffic stops lead to arrests

Williamston Police officers investigated thefts and made several drug and alcohol arrests during July. Among incidents investigated were:

 July 14 – Sgt. T.A. Call responded to 1 Pinecrest Dr. where Wendy Rogers of Honea Path reported that someone had stolen an assortment of power tools, hand tools and miscellaneous motors from her locked storage building on Pinecrest Dr. The loss was estimated at $2200.

July 15 – Sgt. T.A. Call responded to 35 Woodmere Court where Jessica Richmond reported that her 20 inch black and white bicycle had been stolen from her yard. The loss was estimated at $100.

July 15 – Cpl. J.M. Hall received a complaint from Josephine Martin that a screen door valued at $300 had been stolen from the vacant house at that address.

July 16 – Sgt. M.D. Creamer observed a vehicle turn onto Mattison Street without using a signal. He initiated a traffic stop and the driver Marvin Beeks, BM, 47, 5’9", 140pounds, of Greenville SC, was found to have a suspended license, which he presented to Creamer. He was arrested and transported, charged with DUS, failure to use a signal, and presenting a suspended license.

July 17 – Sgt. M.D. Creamer clocked a vehicle doing 47 in a 35 mile an hour zone on Anderson Dr. He stopped the car and asked the driver, Katrina Yarborough, WF, 44, 5’4", 125 pounds, blond/blue for her license. She presented a Florida license. Sgt. Creamer ran the license and also determined that Yarborough had a suspended SC license. She was asked to exit the vehicle and informed Creamer there was an open beer in the car. She was subsequently arrested and transported on charges of speeding, DUS, open container and operating an uninsured vehicle.

July 17 – Cpl. D.W. Bryant observed a 2002 Hyundai disregard a No Left Turn sign at West Main St. He stopped the car and found the driver, John Wilson, WM, 43, 5’10", 240 pounds, brn/brn of Belton, to have an open container in the car. He was arrested and found to have two warrants outstanding in Belton.

July 17 – Cpl. D.W. Bryant responded to 514 Parker St. where Gertrude Files reported that two copper planters had been stolen from her home. They were valued at $120.

July 17 – Sgt. A. Digirolamo, along with Chief David Baker and Capt. K.P. Evatt, located subject Jeffrey Rogers, WM, 21, 6’1", 205 pounds, brn/green, of Pelzer, following a report that he was in the area and wanted on warrants from both Anderson and Greenville counties. They located him near the Fast Fuel convenience store. He was intoxicated and admitted to smoking some marijuana earlier. He was found with more than two ounces of marijuana on his person and was arrested for possession with intent to distribute and public disorderly conduct.

July 17 – Sgt. M.D. Creamer stopped a vehicle on Greenville Drive. The driver, Cindy Beam, WF, 46, 5’7", 150 pounds, brn/brn of Pelzer, was found to have an open container. She was arrested and transported to WPD.

July 17 – Ptl. M.W. Ritter and Sgt. M.D. Creamer stopped a vehicle for an expired paper tag. The driver, Saul Salcido, WM, 41, 5’1", 140 pounds, black/brn, of Williamston, was found to be driving under suspension, second offense. He was arrested and transported to WPD.

July 18 – Cpl. J.M. Hall was dispatched to 58 Woodmere Court where Raymond Chapman reported that someone had knocked down his mailbox and the one next door. The damage was estimated at $80.00.

July 19 – Cpl. R.G. Alexander was dispatched to a wreck at Gossett St. and  First Street, where he found that a 1997 Ford Mustang had gone through a fence at the Mt. Vernon Mill. Justin Lee Evatt , WM, 22, 5’11", 160 pounds, brn/brn, of Piedmont, approached him and admitted that he had been driving and that he had no driver’s license. His license had been suspended for DUI. He was arrested for DUS and driving too fast for conditions.

July 20 – Ptl. J. Digirolamo was dispatched to 4 East 2nd St. in response to a disturbance call. Upon arrival, Sherry Kelly reported that Sharon Miller, WF, 24, 5’8", 140 pounds, blond/blue and she had been arguing and Miller wouldn’t leave her alone. While Digirolamo was trying to sort the situation out, Miller began cursing loudly at Kelly and was arrested for breach of peace.

July 21 – Sgt. Z.E. Gregory received a report from Jennifer Gosnell of 19 Parker St. that someone had stolen an old Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun from her home. The gun was valued at $100.

July 22 – Sgt. A Digirolamo responded to the Rite Aid Pharmacy where Rice, BM, 35, 6’1", 180 pounds, blk/brn of Greenville, was arrested for shoplifting replacement razor blades valued at more than $460.

July 22 – Sgt. Z.E. Gregory received a report from Ethel Staggs that she had gone to the Sun Trust Bank to cash a check and had then gone to the grocery store. At the store, she was told that some of her money was counterfeit. She turned over three twenty dollar bills to Gregory as evidence.

July 23 – Sgt. M.D. Creamer received a telephone call that a subject was at the Fast Fuel convenience Store and was highly intoxicated. Guadalupe Lopez, Hispanic male, 34, 5’3", 130 pounds, blk/brn was arrested for public disorderly conduct and transported to WPD.

July 24 – Sgt. T.A. Call responded to 306 Academy Street where David Solvesky reported that someone had stolen his red and black 150cc Tomos scooter, valued at $1800.

July 25 – Sgt. A Digirolamo received a report from Wendy Rogers that she had received a counterfeit twenty dollar bill while working at a yard sale. The bill was entered into evidence.

Sgt. A. Digirolamo responded to Main Street Motors at 612 Greenville Dr. where Kelley Thompson reported the theft of two Flowmaster mufflers valued at $250.

July 25 – Ptl. M.W. Ritter was dispatched to Middleton Blvd. Apartments to assist reserve officer J.L. Barnes in a traffic stop.DerrickOwen,WM,21,5’11", 160 pounds, brn/hazel, of Belton, was found to be in possession of marijuana. He was arrested and transported to WPD.

July 26 -  Ptl. M.W. Ritter and Sgt. M.D. Creamer clocked a vehicle traveling at 50 mph in a 35 mph zone. While trying to stop the vehicle, it pulled over and the driver walked to the front and lifted the hood. Upon arriving at the scene the officers saw that the passenger had moved into the driver’s seat. The subject was asked for driver’s license and other documentation and was unable to produce it. He was arrested for DUS 3rd offense and transported to WPD. Once there, he was searched and two pills, both later identified as Schedule 3 narcotics, were found in his pocket. He was then charged with possession of the drugs as well.

July 27 – Sgt. M.D. Creamer observed a 1994 Cadillac traveling at a high rate of speed on Anderson Drive and initiated a traffic stop. The driver, Roger Starks, agreed to a search of the vehicle after Creamer asked due to the passenger’s intoxicated state. An open container was found under the passenger’s seat and he misidentified himself to Creamer as Billy Ray Starks. He was placed under arrest for open container and was later identified as Bobby Dean Starks, who was also wanted by the Anderson City Police.

July 27 – Sgt. A Digirolamo observed a vehicle on Main Street that he  knew to belong to a driver with a suspended license. He stopped the car and found that Scott Logan, BM, 50, 6’4", 172 pounds, to be driving under suspension, first offense and he also charged him with failure to return a suspended license tag.

Seems to Me . . .
A hot summer

By Stan Welch

Wow! Did anybody else hear that? It was a sonic boom that exploded in the special called meeting held Tuesday morning to discuss a special audit of the County’s finances.

The room was full with fifty or more people who clearly supported the audit. For all the naysayers who like to pretend that conservative radio talk show host Rick Driver is a lone voice calling in the right wing wilderness, I have to tell you, he throws a heck of an echo. He sounded a clarion call to his listeners to attend, and attend they did.

But the size and makeup of the crowd isn’t what set off the blast that is still ripping through the Anderson political atmosphere. No, it was the quiet and almost meek manner in which county administrator Joey Preston’s usually staunch supporters laid down their arms and surrendered.

Chairman Michael Thompson made it clear from the start that he was more than happy to wash his hands of the matter, saying it was the purpose of the meeting to reach a consensus on how to proceed on the issue of the audit.

What had been sought was a complete penny-in, penny out audit, accounting for every single cent and transaction conducted by the county. Thank goodness cooler heads prevailed. Such an undertaking would not only be enormously expensive, but terribly inefficient.

If there is mismanagement, it is hardly across the board. If there is malfeasance in the record keeping, it will show up as indelibly in a few areas as it will in a broad review.

What was left at the end of the meeting was an alleged consensus that the audit be left for the incoming council to manage. I say alleged because two Council members, McAbee and Greer uttered not one word between them; nor did they nod one nod of assent when Thompson asked for the consensus of the Council.

Given McAbee’s reported use, or misuse depending on the audit’s results, of county credit cards, he may find it very problematical to abandon the wing whose shelter he has so enjoyed for the last two terms of Council.

Greer may be simply continuing a tradition of playing his cards close to his vest, or it may not have dawned fully on him yet how badly Preston mismanaged his reelection efforts. Ms. Floyd was unusually docile in her demeanor during the meeting, but it’s her actions in open session that matter. Continued docility is not a bet for smart money.

Mr. Wilson seems to be well aware of the tide change and appears to be making adjustments as deemed necessary.

But of all the tremors, all the aftershocks of the June primaries, none can compare with the teeth rattling, roof shaking, knee knocking magnitude seven point six quake that came in the form of a list of conditions that Mr. Waldrep read to the council. He stated that he and some of the new Councilmen had been working together and this list was the results of that collaboration.

I won’t bother you with the whole list. The item that split the sky and turned loose the thunderclap that is probably still giving Mr. Preston a headache is the announcement of the new Council’s intent to place both Preston and financial director Gina Humphreys on paid administrative leave while the audit is conducted.

Do lawd! If there has ever been a clearer expression of distrust, I can’t imagine what it was. I don’t know that such a move has ever been suggested or enacted during the course of an exploratory audit. It may have been done during a criminal investigation into alleged malfeasance, such as the recent case in Union County.

The message shouldn’t be lost on any department head or division head. Assistant administrator Michael Cunningham should certainly understand the import of a proposal to hire an interim administrator in the meantime, rather than letting him assume the duties of the administrator.

It’s been a very hot summer, and it shows signs of getting hotter. But it seems to me the winds of change should make autumn and winter very different seasons indeed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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