News Archive

Week of Aug. 13, 2003

Referendum vote Tuesday, August 19
Citizens hear presentation on forms of government 
Councilmen comment on change of government
Williams family holds first reunion
West Pelzer Council hears citizen concerns
Authorities following leads in investigating homicide
Anderson One ranks first in upstate for Exit Exam
The Furniture Store plans grand opening
Tolly Furniture closes store after 53 years serving area
Historic Commission names new officers
Crout leaving Meals on Wheels
Pelzer bridge being replaced
Christopher receives Order of the Palmetto

Referendum vote Tuesday, August 19

Williamston residents will go to the polls for a referendum vote on Tuesday, August 19 to decide which form of government the town should operate under.

Williamston currently operates under a strong mayor, weak council form of government.

Instructions on the official ballot for the special election state: Those in favor of the question shall deposit a ballot with a check or cross mark in the square after the word “YES,” and those woting against the question shall deposit a ballot with a check or cross mark in the square after the word “NO.”

Wording on the ballot states: “Shall the municipality of Williamston change its form of government from Mayor Council form of Government pursuant to Section 5-9-20 to the Council form of Government pursuant to Section 5-11-20?

Yes

No

There are 1,299 Williamston residents registered to vote in the Town precinct, located at Palmetto Middle School Auditorium.

There are 711 registered voters in the Mill precinct and 14 registered voters in the Cedar Grove precinct.

The fourteen Williamston residents who are registered voters in the Cedar Grove precinct will cast their ballot at the Williamston National Guard Armory (Mill precinct) on Gossett St.

If a change in the form of government is approved by the referendum, it is effective immediately, according to Town Attorney Richard Thompson.

According to Howard Duvall of the Municipal Association of South Carolina, it will probably take 6-8 weeks for Council to enact the necessary ordinances for the town to operate under.

Voters should realize that another special election for the purpose of changing the form of government cannot be held within a four year period.

Citizens hear presentation on forms of government

More than 150 people turned out Tuesday in Williamston to hear a presentation by  Howard Duvall of the Municipal Association of South Carolina and Joe Newton of the Appalachian Council of Governments.

The information was presented by video and in a question and answer session at the request of Williamston Town Council to help residents decide if Williamston should or should not change the form of government the town operates under.

Opening the session, Duvall said that there are 269 municipalities in the state and the three forms of government they operate under are not that different.

Duvall said that all municipalities in the state had to choose the form of government they would operate under as stated by the Home Rule Act of 1975.

Most chose the type of government that closely approximated the type of government they were operating under at the time, according to Duvall.

The mayor-council form of government, which Williamston currently operates under, and the council form, which is being proposed, is very similar and are different only by ordinances of council, according to Duvall.

“Either can provide a good stable municipal government,” according to Duvall. “Neither will work if elected officials or administration are not working as a team,” he said.

Duvall encouraged residents to consider what is best for the town when they vote in the referendum, not for the present situation.

Under the mayor-council form of government, the governing body is comprised of a mayor and not less than four members of council.

The council has the legislative role and brings problems to the mayor. The mayor is the chief executive and is responsible for the day to day administration.

According to Duvall, the mayor administers the personnel policies adopted by council.

“He is there to direct and supervise and make sure all laws are executed. He also prepares the budget and annual financial reports,” he said.

According to information presented at the meeting, the mayor presides over meetings, calls special meeting, designates a temporary judge, acts as chief administrative officer, appoints and removes employees pursuant to personnel policies adopted by council, supervises departments, acts and votes as a member of council, insures faithful execution of laws, prepares and submits a budget to council, makes an annual financial report to the public and council and reports to council on operation of departments.

Council has all powers not otherwise provided by law including: establishing departments and prescribes functions, has the option to employ an administrator to assist the mayor, investigates departments, appoints the clerk, attorney and judge, elects mayor pro tempore, and adopts a balanced budget.

If Williamston residents vote for a change of government, they will change to the Council form of governement.

Under the Council form of government, also known  as the “weak mayor form,”  the council includes the mayor and is basically government by committee.

“All five have all the legislative and administrative powers,” Duvall said.

Under the proposed council form of government, the governing body has 5 members including the mayor.

The mayor presides over meetings, calls special meetings, designates temporary judge, performs administrative duties only if authorized by council and acts and votes as a member of council. The mayor has no additional statutory authority beyond other council members.

Council on the other hand, has all legislative, policy and administrative power and is involved in preparing and adopting a balanced budget.

Under the council form of government, council also has the same powers as under the present form including: establishing departments and prescribes functions, has the option to employ an administrator to assist the mayor, investigates departments, appoints the clerk, attorney and judge, elects mayor pro tempore, and adopts a balanced budget.

Other general duties of council under both forms of government include establishing wards, appointing an election commission, meeting once per month, comply with ethics laws, and enact whatever laws are needed.

According to information presented at the meeting, Council establishes taxes, municipal court, can purchase, lease and sell property, provide for fire and police protection, planning and zoning, operate utility systems, and can contract with other joint utility systems.

According to Duvall, all powers are vested in the council except otherwise provided by law.

“All legislative functions are the responsibility of council,” he said.

“The biggest difference is under the mayor council form, the mayor has the power to appoint and remove employees. Under the council form, council retains all the power and can hire an administrator to assist,” Duvall said.

He also said that council can control the government and actions of the mayor by legislative actions.

According to Duvall, all powers rest with council. Council sets up departments and requires financial reporting.

“All powers reside with members of city council,” he said.

From the perspective of the Appalachian Council of Governments, Newton told the audience, “Whether you change or keep the form of government, there is a lot of work to do. You will need to continue to work to move your government forward.”

There was some discussion about hiring an administrator and how to pay for the position.

Duvall said the town would not necessarily have to hire an administrator. If they did he said the position would probably be paid $25,000 to $35,000.  “The benefit of having an administrator, is better efficiency and knowledge to bring other resources to the town,” he said.

Duvall said that in many cases, councilmen say they don’t have any power.

“Right now, council has the authority to make a lot of changes if they want to. Council has a lot of power,” Duvall said.

“Council can regulate how a mayor hires and fires. Council can set procedures for review in hiring and hiring is done according to appropriations in the budget by council,” he said.

According to Duvall, if the referendum passes, it will probably take 6 to 8 weeks for council to set the necessary ordinances to run the government. Any new ordinances  must have two readings.

“You will keep the same council members, however they would need to make a decision as to who would run the town,” Duvall said.

“As a practical matter, you need someone in charge. Somebody has to be there running the city on a day to day basis,” he said.

He said the measure is already approved by the justice department.

Remarks from a citizens in the audience drew cheers and applause when a citizen referred to Duvalls earlier statement that mayor and council should “work as a team.”

Responding to citizens questions, Duvall said the council can set limits on the mayor by enacting policy, procedures and personnel policies.

He also said that in some hiring and firing situations, the mayor would consult with counsel, if they were “on a good team.”

Council could also set parameters by adopting a salary, he said.

“Under a council form of Government, all five would make all decisions, have to set policies or have a committee to do hiring,” he said.

“As a practical matter, all five cannot,” he said.

Voters will decide if they want to change the form of government from the mayor-council form to the council form next Tuesday, August 19.

Councilmen comment on change of government

Williamston mayor and councilmen were pleased with the presentation by representatives of the Appalachian Council of Governments and the Municipal Association of South Carolina Tuesday.

All said they thought the information presented was very informative and helped them to understand the differences in the forms of government and the responsibilities of council and mayor under each.

Williamston voters will have the opportunity to decide if the town should change the form of government it currently operates under or if it should remain the same when they take the issue to a referendum vote next Tuesday.

Following the meeting, councilmembers and Mayor Phillip Clardy made these comments about the presentation and the proposed change of government:

Regardless of the outcome, Councilman Wade Pepper said he “is willing to serve either way.”

He said he thought that  if the form of government is changed, council would have more input into decisions. and some control in hiring.

Pepper said he believes council members can work together as a team. “I don’t see why not. I think council is willing to work together and with the mayor.”

He said that if the government is changed, a part-time administrator is an open option though he thinks more authority could be given back to the department heads and the clerk.

Pepper said the form of government is not the only problem the town is facing, he said there is a deficit which needs addressing. Changing the form of government would help, according to Pepper. “I would like to see it changed for the future,” he said.

Mayor Phillip Clardy said he thought the presentation was informative for those in attendance.

“If the government is changed, there is a lot of hard work to be done. It will not fix our problems,” he said. “It will only determine how to fix them.”

Clardy said he has talked with councilmen Harvell and Cole and they agree on many of the same things.

“Williamston is experiencing growing pains. We are moving forward. We all have the same goal, just different opinions on how to get there,” Clardy said.

He also said he thinks he and the four council members are more willing to work together now than before.

“It is not a factor of the type of government, but cooperation to get there. They (council) have made a conscious effort, I’ve made a renewed effort,” Clardy said. “It is not about what I want or what they want, but what the people need.”

“It has been very enlightening,” the mayor said.

Councilman Greg Cole said the meeting was “real informative.”

“It brought to light a lot of questions people had. There were some good questions,” he said.

Cole said whatever the form of government the voters decided on, he will work to the best of his ability to make it work.

“There are good points to both,” he said, adding that he is still undecided as to which way to vote. He said he is leaning toward the council form of government because it gives all members an equal say.

“Either way we’re going to have to hire an administrator or put some one in charge,” Cole said. “I don’t think the councilmen could run the day to day operations.”

Cole said if the government is changed, he believes the town will eventually have to hire an administrator.

“According to Duvall, a good administrator would pay for himself with grant money he could bring in,” Cole said.

Cole said if an administrator is hired, it would have to be under next year’s budget. He also said he is willing to take a cut in salary if necessary to pay for an administrator. However he pointed out that any change in salary for councilmemers or the mayor would not take effect until the next election.

“I’m willing to take a cut if that is what it takes,” he said.

“Council is going to have to be more involved in either form of government,” Cole said. “There is currently not good policy in place.”

He said this is one of the biggest problems for the town now.

Councilman Cecil Cothran said he thought the presentation went well and the speakers did a good job explaining the types of government.

Cothran said that cooperation and teamwork between the mayor and council was one of the main points brought out.

“Regardless of the form of government, you have to work together,” he said. “They stressed teamwork and cooperation.”

Cothran said regardless of the form of government the town operates under, he will work with the mayor and council. “I’m in this for the people and to represent them either way,” he said.

Cothran said if the referendum does change the form of government, he thinks the town will eventually have to hire an administrator.

“A good administrator would work well,” he said. “Either way we have to work together and cooperate.”

He said he is willing to take a pay cut if necessary to help pay for an administrator.

“I would be willing to take a cut. Anything to help the town, I’m for it,” he said.

Cothran said either way, “There are lots of things we’ve got to do. We also need to find out what we can do,” he said.

Councilman David Harvell said he was pleased with the presentation. “I think he did an excellent job. He didn’t try to persuade them either way.”

Harvell said he will support citizens the vote on the form of government. 

“Either way, council still has the power if they would just use it.” He also said, “We still will have to have somebody in charge of the day to day operations.”

Harvell said he didn’t think the town would need to hire an administrator if the form of government is changed, but if they did he would not have a problem with a pay cut to help pay the salary.

Williams family holds first reunion

Descendants of the Williams family from across the United States met Saturday in Williamston for the first family reunion in recent history. The group represented descendants from three brothers in the family – Richard, Samuel, and West Allen who founded the town of Williamston.

Traveling from Texas, Michigan, Florida, New Jersey, Kentucky, and the Carolinas, the family members met at the Williamston Presbyterian Church in Williamston for lunch, fellowship, reviewing information and tours of the area.

Connie Barnwell, the local family member who planned the reunion, chose the church for its proximity to the Mineral Spring Park as well as its connection to the Williams family. When West Allen Williams laid out the town of Williamston, he gave 2.1 acres currently bordering Hamilton Street to the Presbyterians in 1854. According to historical records, the Presbyterians sold the original land and purchased their current property for $300 from Williams in 1855 to build the church.

Though some family members had been researching the Williams family history independently, they admit that the disinterment and re-interment of West Allen Williams was the catalyst that brought the family together. The Internet has also helped with information and communication according to other family members.

Betty Welch of Seymour, Texas and a family descendant admits that “getting to meet everyone gives me a thrill.” Welch’s great grandfather was Thomas Arthur Williams, the youngest child of West Allen Williams, who was orphaned after the death of his parents. He migrated to Texas around 1850 and lost contact with other family members.

Welch sees the family reconnection as a “new chapter” in her life and the life of her family as she meets “new cousins” she never knew about until last year. She also confesses to having taken irises from the original family home site back with her to Texas to maintain a family connection and says that the flowers are still living.

Welch’s sentiments were echoed by many of the other family members who were present. Now that the family reconnection has been made, many family members vow to maintain the connection keeping the Williams family history alive and well.

West Pelzer Council hears citizen concerns

A large group of citizens heard updates on several projects affecting the town, reviewed copies of the proposed budget and expressed concerns about several town issues at the first meeting of the West Pelzer Town Council Tuesday afternoon.

Mayor Peggy Paxton said that she had met with Lara Payne of Rural Development to get an update on the sewer project for the town. The project is in the final stages and should be under construction within five to six months according to Paxton.

Paxton said that the engineering firm Dunn & Associates had requested full payment of over $100,000 for their services on the project. According to Paxton, the town has $35,000 in a bank account in rural development fees that have already been collected. Paxton said that an arrangement was worked out so that the engineering firm would take $20,000 now with Rural Development reimbursing the town when the project is completed. A motion from council supporting the $20,000 payment to Dunn & Associates received unanimous approval.

The Council unanimously supported the second reading of the budget. The budget shows estimated general fund revenue of $286,674.68 derived from taxes, business and franchise fees, fines, and sanitation service billings. Estimated payroll expenses include $36,490.99 for administrative personnel and $118,024.23 for the police department. Total general fund expenditures are estimated at $243,175.74 leaving an estimated balance of $43,498.94.

Operations fund revenue for the water and sewer department is estimated at $268,744. Operations fund expenses are estimated at $234,635.04 which includes $67,102.04 for payroll and $117,378 for operating expenses for the water department. Sewer department payroll and expenses were estimated at $50,155. The projected balance in the operations fund is $34,108.96.

Paxton reported that she had also met with Rusty Burns and Senator Billy O’Dell who confirmed that the town has received a $10,000 recreation, parks, and tourism grant. Paxton asked the council to consider enacting a planning commission to determine how to spend the money and also asked anyone interested to volunteer for the commission

Paxton also reported that an overflow in the town’s system had caused Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) concerns. She said she had consulted with council members who approved the purchase of a $995 pressure washer to help with the maintenance of the system.

Council member Maida Kelly asked citizens to put out garbage on the morning of their regular pickup day. Putting the garbage out any earlier causes problems such as stray animals scattering the contents according to Kelly.

Lanny Bair addressed the council about two “awful” curves on Burkette and Marguerite Streets. Bair asked that trees, canes and bushes be cut down and the road widened if possible. Paxton said that she would get County Transportation Director Holt Hopkins to look at the curves and offer advice on a course of action.

An unidentified citizen requested that the town do something about a house which had burned on Marguerite Street which was described as a “health and safety hazard.” The council discussed several options and promised to take action on the matter.

Another citizen concerned about speeding on Dendy Street asked about the possibility of adding speed bumps to the street. Another citizen who resides near the water tank requested that the grass inside the fence around the tank be cut.

Police Chief Anthony Smith reported that two vehicles were stolen in the town last weekend and reminded citizens about good anti-theft procedures. The thefts occurred on Spring St. and Dendy St., and the vehicles have not been recovered according to Smith.

The council went into executive session to discuss personnel matters and then adjourned the meeting.

Authorities following leads in investigating homicide

Williamston Police Chief Troy Martin said Tuesday that authorities have received numerous tips in connection with the death of William Ricky Loskoski last week.

“We have received a lot of cooperation and concern from the community,” Martin said.

Martin said the Williamston Police Department and State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) agents are still following up on the leads while investigating the death which Chief Martin described as a possible homicide.

Martin said authorities are working as much as 18 hours a day taking statements, interviewing persons and following up on leads.

Martin said a search warrant was issued for the contents of a computer and a lap top and a safe and contents were also seized by authorities.

Martin said a bilinquist has been brought in to help interview hispanics who may have information on the death. A SLED profiler is also helping with the investigation.

“SLED has been a true friend in the investigation,” Martin said “They have hung in there with us.”

Martin said Loskoski was struck at least four times on the head with a blunt instrument and his throat was lacerated.

Jeff Ellison, a relative, discovered the body of Loskoski at his home at 120 Davis St. Aug. 6 after he did not show up for work, Martin said.

Ellison climbed through an unlocked window of the home because the doors were all locked. Police found no other signs of forced entry into the house, Martin said.

Martin said the body was slumped over in a chair in the kitchen. A desktop computer was found next to him and the laptop was on the bed, he said.

The residence also had several satellite dishes and big screen TV’s he said.

 The SLED forensic team was called in to assist with processing the scene and with evidence, Martin said, because they have better resources and technology.

Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore said the man’s throat had been cut and that he probably died sometime Tuesday. 

Martin said there didn’t appear to be signs of a struggle in the home. “We are still looking for a motive,” he said.

Anderson One ranks first in upstate for Exit Exam

Anderson District One students ranked first in the upstate and second in the state on the percentage of 10th grade students passing all three subtests of the Exit Exam on their first attempt. 85.3% of the 10th grade class passed reading, writing, and mathematics which represented an increase of 1.9% when compared to the 2002 results.

In addition, Anderson One ranked first in the state in mathematics posting a 3.2% gain over the previous year. 94.9% of 10th graders passed the math portion of the exit exam. There was a 1.4% increase with 90.9% meeting the standard in reading and 93.1% meeting the standard in writing.

The gains in the area of mathematics can be attributed to the great emphasis being placed on improving our mathematics curriculum and instructional program, Dr. W.R. Christopher, superintendent, said. Principals and teachers have implemented new instructional methods in the classroom and provided additional tutorial assistance for students during an academic enrichment time built into the high school schedule.

“We are very pleased by our Exit Exam scores but not surprised,” said Dr. Christopher.  “Not only is this a tribute to our high school students, teachers, parents and principals but it again demonstrates the outstanding job that our elementary and middle school teachers and principals do to prepare our students.  I commend them on an outstanding job.”

In 2004, the BSAP Exit Exam will be replaced with the new HSAP Exit Exam in grade 10. The new exam will measure student progress based on the South Carolina Curriculum Standards.

The Furniture Store plans grand opening

The Furniture Store will hold a grand opening Saturday August 16 with a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m.

The business, located at 402 E. Main St. in Williamston, is offering special grand opening buys, many advertised in The Journal this week.

WESC 92.5 radio will also have a live broadcast from 10 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday and there will be lots of giveaways during the day, according to owners Al Wood and Paula Payton.

The business will offer  namebrand furniture including a large selection of sofas, loveseats, chinas, curios, entertainment centers, occasional chairs and tables.

Also recliners, dining tables, lamps, pictures, hall trees, consoles, bunk beds, futons, bean bags, bedroom suites, mattress sets, air beds, bedroom suites, adjustable beds. They are also offering a new no flip mattress.

The new owners are not new to the furniture business. Both are former employees of Tolly Furniture and are long time residents of the surrounding community.

Payton is a former sales associate and Wood is the former manager for Tolly.

Wood said they are glad to be able to keep a locally owned furniture store open in the area.

“We are glad to be able to serve area residents,” he said.

The 10,000 square foot store has been completely remodeled and offers all new furniture, fabrics and styles, Wood said, with more items on the way.

The store has a children’s theatre area where parents can leave children to be entertained while shopping the store and The Red Chair Cafe, where customers receive free refreshments.

The business employs six people including owners Wood and Payton; Jaime Bryant, sales associate; Jason Strange, Floor manager; Chris Lackey, delivery and Sean Roberts, delivery.

Wood said customers at the hometown furniture store have a large selection to choose from and will not be subject to high pressure salespeople.

The store motto, “Feels like coming home,”  reflects this attitude.

The Furniture Store is located at 402 E. Main St. in Williamston. Store hours are Mon. thru Fri., 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, call 847-9003.

Tolly Furniture closes store after 53 years serving area

After serving area residents for 53 years, G. F. Tolly & Son Furniture Company has closed the doors to their Williamston store.

“Zeke” Tolly,  the fourth generation family member to operate the business, said he is somewhat sad about leaving Williamston.

“I am somewhat sad about leaving Williamston because we have been there for so many years. The people are so great.”

Tolly said he appreciated the fact that area residents supported the store through the years.

“I have a lot of fond memories of relationships with our friends and customers in the area,” Tolly said.

 G. F. Tolly & Son Furniture Company served upstate residents for 145 years and has a rich history.

Founder George Fred Tolly immigrated from Prussia and settled in Anderson. He founded the business in 1858  in Anderson after marrying the daughter of a cabinet maker. Tolly was also a longtime Mayor of Anderson.

The Tolly Building which housed the furniture store in Anderson was located at McDuffie and E. Whitner, just behind the historic county courthouse, until it burned in December, 1935.

According to Tolly, “It was freezing cold and the liquor store across the street opened to provide firemen fighting the blaze “firewater” to keep them warm.”

Tolly said that a fire fighting apparatus was brought in from Greenville to help with the fire.

The store was located in a three story building.  “At that time it was the oldest and largest furniture name in South Carolina,” Tolly said.

In 1950 a store was opened in Williamston at the location presently occupied by Modern Supply on East Main Street.

In 1960, “Zeke” joined his father,   G. F. Tolly in the furniture business and around 1964 the business relocated to West Main St., next to The Journal office.

In 1967 a small store was opened in Greenville on Anderson Road. Johnny Cooley was the store manager at that location, according to Tolly.

Other stores were opened during the 1970s, including one in Anderson in 1971 and in Easley in 1978.

The White Horse Road location was opened in 1973.

In 1976 Tolly’s relocated to 402 E. Main St. in Williamston, which closed last month.

Tolly said the business remained successful because of customer service offered through the years.  “We were successful because our people were people who care about our customers,” he said.

Though sad about closing the store, Tolly said he is glad that a new furniture store has opened in the location.

“I have seen as many as five furniture stores operating in the Williamston area at one time,” he said. “Williamston needs a furniture store.”

Tolly said he hoped his former customers and the people of the area would support the new furniture business that has opened in the Williamston location.

The new business, The Furniture Store, is owned by two former Tolly Furniture employees, Al Wood and Paula Payton.

“They were loyal employees for years and are more than capable of continuing in the furniture business,” Tolly said.

Historic Commission names new officers

New officers for the Williamston Area Historic Commission (WAHC) are Brown “Sam” Mahon, president; Carolyn Duncan, vice president; Lia Clardy treasurer; and Pam Owens, secrectary.

WAHC recently hosted local artist Thomas Addison who presented information on his First Shot, Last Shot series of the War Between the States.

Addison donated a set of prints depicting the events for a fundraising drawing for the organization. Proceeds from the drawing will help fund a flag pole for the Williamston cemetery.

The  July 31  meeting of the WAHC was a “walk and discover” meeting, officials said.

Following the business meeting, the group walked to the old City Hall where Charles Blakley told the group about plans for the new Williamston Museum.

Next, the group proceeded to the Mineral Spring Park where John Busbin, Commanding Officer, Company D, Gist Rifles, informed the members of the use of the park as a training and mustering camp for the Gist Rifles.

The group then walked to the old depot where John Brannon presented information about the historic value and future plans for the depot.

The WAHC meets on the last Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Williamston Municipal Center. The meetings are open to the public and there is no cost.

The group has been involved in a number of projects since it was chartered in 2001, including restoration of the Williamston Memorial Cemetery, Candlelight and Lantern Tour of the Cemetery, and nomination of the Gossett School to the National Register of Historic Places. 

Anyone interested in preservation, education, and appreciation of the area is invited to join the organization. For further information, please contact the WAHC Chairman, Brown Mahon III at 947-1477.

Crout leaving Meals on Wheels

Williamston’s Sharon Crout has resigned as executive director of Anderson County Meals on Wheels as of August 22 according to board chairman Billy Rhodes.

Crout who has worked with the organization for five years took over as the organization’s second executive director in 1999 after the retirement of Lucille Mayo, the founding director.

During Crout’s tenure, the organization completed a more than $500,000 renovation to the former McCants School on Fant Street and relocated the operation there three years ago.

Meals on Wheels has seven staff members and approximately 500 volunteers who prepare and deliver an average of 724 meals each weekday to primarily elderly residents in Anderson County.

“I will miss working with the Meals on Wheels staff and with all the volunteers who are the heart of this wonderful program,” Crout said. “But I have an opportunity which I am confident is the right thing for me at this time.” Crout will begin work in September as a research assistant with Clemson University and will work on an initiative to strengthen communities.

Speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors, Rhodes said, “Sharon will be sorely missed by all involved in the program. She has taken the organization to a new level during her tenure and replacing her will be a formidable task.”

No timetable has been set to find someone for the position according to Rhodes. In the interim, Rhodes said the operation will continue uninterrupted through the very capable hands of the current staff and volunteers who are already in place. Jeanie Edwards, program coordinator, will serve as interim director until a new CEO is employed, he said.

Pelzer bridge being replaced

CSX construction crews began work last week replacing a wooden bridge that burned in 1998 at the intersection of Green and Lopez Streets in Pelzer.

CSX spokesperson Misty Skipper said that the railroad will rebuild the bridge to its “pre-arson state” which would allow only cars to safely use the structure.

The structure will not be capable of handling school buses or emergency vehicles since the railroad said that the law required it only to rebuild the bridge to its original specifications.

Skipper said that the new bridge should be completed in three to four weeks and would not disclose the cost of the project.

Anderson County Transportation Director Holt Hopkins says the bridge replacement is still a victory for safety and hopes the railroad’s decision will lead to action on the bridge on Gray Drive outside Williamston which has been closed for more than a decade.

Christopher receives Order of the Palmetto

A pleasant surprise greeted Dr. W.R. Christopher as he moved toward the podium to begin this year’s opening of school celebration for Anderson School District One’s teachers and staff. 

He was asked to wait just a moment.  He knew something unexpected was occurring when he spotted some of his children, grandchildren, and long time friends in the audience. 

Summoning his wife of 42 years to the stage to stand by his side and with quotes from letters of support and a letter from Governor Mark Sanford, Dr. Christopher was presented with the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian award. 

Before the reading of the letter from the Governor was complete, the gathering of 600 teachers, administrators, trustees, and other invited guests were giving the Anderson One superintendent a standing ovation. 

Dr. Christopher is entering his 40th year as an educator in South Carolina public schools, the past 15 spent as superintendent of Anderson School District One. 

Governor Sanford cited Dr. Christopher’s “dedication and servant leadership to the citizens of South Carolina” in his letter of commendation. 

In his remarks following the presentation, a humble Christopher thanked his wife, family, friends, trustees, and the Governor for their support and the award. 

He gave credit for his achievements to God and the teachers and administrators he has worked with calling them “those who make education happen.”

 

 

 

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