(3306) Week of Aug 16, 2006
Fire receives DHS grant
With only two weeks left, organizers of the 2006 Spring Water Festival are preparing for an event that they say is expected to be bigger and better than ever before, and community involvement is making the difference.
On a rainy Saturday morning, local volunteers helped clean up Mineral Spring Park in preparation for the festival August 26. The volunteers picked up limbs and replaced rocks that had either fallen or been knocked off rock walls that line the park sidewalks.
Helping with the cleanup were local scouts, festival committee members and family members of a town councilman.
Earlier this year, 13 volunteers ranging in age 20 something to 50 something, stepped forward to form the Springwater Committee and to organize the festival.
Volunteers making up the festival committee are contributing to the success of this years festival, according to festival chairman David Meade.
The enthusiasm brought by the committee members is reflected in the events and activities planned for this years event, Meade said.
Visitors can obtain a variety of information from as many as 50 business and nonprofit displays that are expected to line the sidewalk through the park. More than 40 crafters will display and sell their handcrafted and unique items.
Others will demonstrate their skills, including a local blacksmith and a broommaker.
The festival will feature several live historical demonstrations by reenactors.
There will also be expanded kids activities with games and special stage entertainment for kids of all ages, Lollis said.
The 5K open race will begin at 7:45 a.m. and will be followed by the fun run at 8:30 a.m. Race day registration will be held between 6:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.
Entry fee is $15 before August 23, $20 on day of race and will include a special Spring Water Run T-shirt.
Run application forms are available at Renea Rowland Nationwide Insurance in Belton, The Journal in Williamston and at runner related locations throughout the upstate. Application forms and race map are also available online, along with other festival information, at www.thejournalonline.com.
For more race information contact Rowland at 864-338-1600 or Bradberry at 864-420-3282 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2006 Spring Water Festival features a specially designed T-shirt commemorating the event which is now on sale at ERS Video & Appliance, Debras Designs, and Colorfast in Williamston.
Two designs are being offered for the 25th Anniversary. A limited supply of special gold colored shirts with black imprint featuring the Boy Scout Hut continues the tradition of featuring a park related scene on the shirts.
This design is also available in a very limited color of red with brown ink. A second design features the SC state emblem and the Spring Water Festival logo in red and blue ink on a gray shirt. All shirts are $10.
Local artist Thomas Addison contributed his talents for the design which also features images of local scouts performing a variety of scout related activties.
The Scout Hut was chosen as the 25th anniversary design because it is a local landmark located in Mineral Spring Park and it is currently being renovated.
Members of The Williamston Area Historic Commission (WAHC), have taken on restoration of the Boy Scout Hut as a project.
Generations of local residents and visitors from across the Upstate still recognize the hut as the place to visit with Santa Claus when the towns second popular attraction, the Christmas Park, is open in December.
The flooring has been replaced but work remains including replacing the roof and rotting log walls.
The hut will be open during the 2006 Spring Water Festival as the Santa Hut, according to Dianne Lollis, who is helping coordinate work on the project for the WAHC.
During the festival, the Scout Hut will be decorated for Christmas and Santa Claus will be there, a rare occasion for this time of year, Lollis said.
A photographer will be available to make pictures with Santa, Lollis said. The WAHC will also offer baked goods and drinks and will be taking donations, with proceeds going to the renovation project
Any business, club or individual who is willing to help save the Scout cabin may contact WAHC committee members Lollis at 847-5743, Johnnie Bell, 847-9157 or Pamela Owens at 847-8767.
This years festival is also expected to draw a record number of entries for the antique and classic auto show according to organizer Steve Ellison. The show is sponsored by The Williamston Fire Department. Ellison said entries are expected from as far away as Charleston. To register contact Steve Ellison at 864-847-4950 or go to www.williamstonfire.com.
The Fire Department will also be offering rides on the antique fire truck, a festival favorite.
Local non-profit organizations will provide food items for this festival.
The entertainment lineup for this years festival will feature all local performers. Coordinated by local gospel entertainer Catlin Tierce, who will also perform, the festival will have two stages filled with local performers who will entertain throughout the day.
Local bluegrass picker and promoter Jack Ellenburg, of Pickin Parlor fame, will continue to spread his love of bluegrass music as he presents talented young bluegrass performers who are sure to please. Bluegrass will be performed in the historic depot.
Festival visitors will also be able to find out what it is like to float in a hot air balloon with tethered rides being offered on the Anderson County hot air balloon from 9 a.m .to 11 a.m.
All activities and events planned for the 2006 Spring Water Festival will be featured in a special tabloid section next week in The Journal.
The Rai$ing Race II, a fundraiser for Calvary Home for Children, is coming to the upstate in two weeks. Based on the TV reality adventure show, The Amazing Race on CBS, the event is scheduled for August 24-26, and offers participants an opportunity to experience what its like to be contestants as they complete tasks that will carry them throughout the upstate.
Proceeds from the event will go toward a cottage at Calvary Home for Children, which houses abused and neglected children from all over the southeast. The Raising Race is organized by Kelly (McCorkle) Parkison, Miss SC 2002 and a participant in the Amazing Race Season 7 on CBS. Parkison, who has since married, organized the first event as a fundraiser for a cottage which will honor Leslie Ann Mazzara, a former Miss Williamston who was murdered along with her roommate in October, 2004 in Napa California.
Parkison competed with her boy friend Ron Young in the TV reality show race that covered 5 continents 25 cities and more than 40,000 miles.
She will use that experience to organize an event that will allow participants in the Rai$ing Race to experience what its like to be a contestant firsthand including having a camera follow them. Last year the event was held in Anderson County. This year The Rai$ing Race II has been expanded and will take teams to Greenville, Pickens and Oconee counties.
Rai$ing Race organizers are still accepting two person teams. Anyone can enter. There is a $400 entry fee and teams can obtain sponsors to pay for their expenses. The number of teams will be limited.
There will be various tasks for the participants as they obtain clues, and negotiate obstacles that could include detours, roadblocks and rest stops along the way. There will be prizes and a $2,000 cash grand prize for the first team to arrive at the final pit stop.
Cant race, but would still like to be involved? Then you can be a Rai$ing Race volunteer. Filming this years event is covered, but organizers still need team monitors and task monitors in all upstate counties.
Team monitors will follow a team through the various tasks and clues, assuring that Rai$ing Race rules and local laws are observed. Being a team monitor requires a certain amount of physical activity.
Task monitors set up and monitor the various tasks. Monitors must be at least 15 years of age and can volunteer for one day, part of a day or all days. Volunteers can be in one upstate county or float in any or all counties. Floating allows access to observe more of the race, organizers said.
Volunteers will be required to attend one of several volunteer meetings that will be held in the upstate. There is a $15 fee which covers your official Rai$ing Race t-shirt, Finale Celebration ticket, and BBQ meal at the party.
Parkison said cast members from the Amazing Race Season 7 and Survivor are expected be at the finale celebration which will be held at the Anderson County Fairgrounds on August 25 and is open to the public. Admission is $15 and includes a barbecue plate. Tickets should be ordered in advance.
To sign up a team, order finale celebration tickets or for more information, check the website at www.raisingrace.org or www.lesliemazzarafund.com.
Williamston Town Council will hold a budget work session Thursday August 17 at 5:30 p.m. followed by a meeting at 6:30 which will include discussion on hiring additional personnel. Also on the agenda will be second reading on the election ordinance and possible budget amendments related to additional hiring.
Although there has been little discussion of details of a tax increase, it has been mentioned by Council several times during months of discussions in setting the 2006 budget.
Though Council has not openly discussed their intentions, Appalachian Council of Governments advisor Joe Newton, who has guided the town through a perilous financial situation, has indicated the town is facing an approximate 20% increase in the tax rate, from the present 106 mills to a rate of 127 mills.
If approved, the increase will be effective for the 2006 tax year billing which will go out later this year, officials said. The tax receipts will be applied to the 2007 budget, according to Newton. A public hearing is set for 6 p.m. next Thursday, August 24, to receive public comment on the proposed property tax millage increase for the fiscal year 2007.
Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy said he is comfortable with the proposed increase if there is a roll back in the garbage fee. Clardy said he would like to see the fee, which was implemented earlier this year, reduced from $14 to $10.50 per household. He also said that after a trial period he anticipates the town being able to roll back the fee even more.
Clardy said he would rather roll back some and then more than cut back and have to reinstate the previous fee to make up a shortage. He also said that with recent adjustments the town is in a much better financial state.
Clardy said he expects to be able to make the towns finances public soon and that preliminary indications from the towns accountant indicate the town is on the road to recovery.
He said even with improvements, he doesnt think there can be a reduction in the water rates. The town has absorbed two rate increases since joining the Anderson Joint Regional Water Authority. He said the town was able to not increase rates to residents due to renegotiating a bond rate.
The town council will discuss the tax millage and the 2007 budget at upcoming meeting. Anderson County Auditor Jacky Hunter has set the deadlline for municipalities to set their millage rate as the 24th of August, Clardy said.
The tax levy rate for 2007 normally would have been set with the towns 2006 budget which should have been approved by December 31, 2005. Even if approved at that time, council still had the opportunity to change the millage rate at a later date to meet changing needs, Newton said. If a required public hearing is scheduled, the rate can be changed until it is requested by the County auditor, who is responsible for setting the property assessment.
Mayor Clardy said that changing the town to a July 1-June 30 fiscal year would help the situation.
Numerous detailed discussions on the $3.39 million general fund and the $1.8 million water/sewer fund 2006 budgets were held by town officials, with the help of accountant Bob Daniel and Appalachian Council of Governments advisor Joe Newton.
The towns 2006 budget was officially approved five months and 24 drafts later when the council unanimously approved it in June of this year.
Town officials immediately began working on the 2007 budget. The millage rate for the 2007 budget is based on the tax levy being discussed now, Newton said.
The proposed 2007 budget, which is currently under discussion, is based on general fund revenues of $2,648,100 (tentative) and expenses of $2,886,531. If approved by council, the tax levy will make up the difference.
The 2007 draft budget includes repayment of a $250,000 TAN note (if borrowed in 2006), repayment of other debt, and building a contingency fund to $600,000.
The water and sewer fund draft budget projects revenues of $1,809,300 and $1,788,989 in expenses. The revenues include a $173,300 transfer (loan) from the general fund and a $150,000 restricted reserve fund. The 2007 draft budget contains numerous estimates and unknowns and will be revised over the next few months, Newton cautioned.
Mayor Clardy said that if the current finances of the town continue to improve, there may not be a need to transfer the $173,300 from the general fund to the sewer fund.
Upcoming meetings include a budget work session on Thursday August 17 at 5:30 p.m. followed by a meeting at 6:30
A public hearing is set for 6 p.m. next Thursday, August 24, to receive public comment on the proposed property tax millage increase for the fiscal year 2007.
A called meeting is set for August 31 at 6 p.m for second reading on the tax levy and a budget work session.
Members of the Strong Communities organization were presented a check by members of the County Legislative Delegation Michael Thompson, Rep. Dan Cooper and Sen. Billy ODell.
The funds will help pay for continued improvements for an activity center room at the Caroline Community Center.
Strong Communities spokesperson Doris Cole said that the building was purchased from the School District for the community and is still being used by the community.
Cole said that 109 volunteers worked on the room which had peeling paint and worn carpet. The room was straight out of the 1950s, complete with chalkboard and radiator heaters.
The volunteers washed walls and windows, scraped paint, and pulled carpet.Then improvements were begun on the room including painting the walls and ceiling and placing an window air unit.
The $29,000 legislative grant will help pay for sanding and refinishing hardwood floors, locking cabinets, new sink and toilet, new windows and a new heating and air condition system which will serve two rooms.
We are so glad you guys made it possible, Cole told the delegation members. We appreciate it so much.
Rep. Cooper said the funding was obtained from $256 million in requests for competitive grants statewide.
Sen. ODell said he was impressed with the work done by volunteers at the center. This is what makes a strong community, ODell said.
Rep. Thompson said that the dedication and hard work of the volunteers made it possible.
The family friendly activity center is a place where parents of young children can meet for special activities and programs designed to help them cope with the stress of raising small children, Cole said.
The project was the first organized by members of the Family Activity Centers Advisory Board for Strong Communities, a public service initiative of Clemson University and the Duke Endowment.
Volunteers scraped and painted an empty room at the Caroline Community Center as the first step in the extreme makeover of the room.
It is one of the first activity centers in the area and will be used for activities and events associated with supporting parents with young children.
Examples of activities planned for the room include Drop In and Play, Moms and Tots Exercise, Parents Night Out, and Grandparents Raising Young Children.
In addition to volunteering manhours, play items have been donated.
Coles daughter Casey donated a variety of play items from her childhood for the room.
The improvements already made have allowed the room to be used.
Rev. Kempie Shepard said that the volunteer group had recently held a mothers morning out at the center.
Goals of the Strong Community initiative are to expand support for parents of young children, from newborn to 6 years old, by renewing community norms of neighbors helping neighbors.
The goal is for every parent and every child to be confident that someone will notice and someone will care whenever they have cause for joy, sorrow or worry. This is an important step in preventing child abuse and neglect and for building strong communities where respect is practiced in everyday life, Cole said.
Representative Gresham Barrett (SC, 3) announced this week that the Williamston Fire Department will receive a grant in the amount of $26,410 for Operations and Firefighter Safety through the United States Department of Homeland Security 2005 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
Our firefighters risk their lives to save others. This money will ensure these brave Americans have the tools and resources they need to perform their job in the safest and most effective manner possible, said Barrett.
Williamston Fire Chief Steve Ellison said that the grant was part of 9/11 monies that were not allocated by FEMA in 2005. The grant is part of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate.
Ellison said the department requested $59,900 last year for a thermal imaging camera and turnout gear which was not approved. He said the grant funds will be used to pay for 15 sets of turnout gear and 20 sets of leather boots.
The Williamston Fire Department has also applied for a
$43,900 FEMA grant in 2006 which he said was also for turnout gear because the first grant was turned down in 2005.
A complete turnout suit costs approximately $2000, he said. Ellison said the grant requires a 5 percent match by the town.
Ellison reported that the town has been approved for 4 out of 5 grants submitted each year since the grant program began after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grants ensures that the nations firefighters continue to have the basic capability they require to do their jobs, improve safety and save lives, said David Paulison, Acting Undersecretary for the Department of Homeland Securitys Emergency Preparedness and Response.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFGP) awards one-year grants directly to fire departments to support the nations firefighters and the services they deliver. The Department of Homeland Securitys Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP) administers the program, in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration. The Operations and Firefighter Safety Program includes training, equipment, personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness, and modifications to fire stations and facilities. Also, in 2005, Emergency Medical Services activities were incorporated into the appropriate activities area under the Operations and Firefighter Safety Program area.
Two Williamston men were recently arrested on charges of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in connection with an incident involving a 13 year-old female.
Patrick Wayne Ellenburg, 25 of 4 Attaway St., Williamston and Brian Matthew Guyton, 22, 303 Mauldin St., Williamston, were arrested after the grandparent of the female reported the incident.
Guyton was charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor second degree and accessory before the fact.
Ellenburg was charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor second degree, and one count of accessory before the fact.
According to reports, the juvenile was contacted on her cell phone at approximately 10:30 p.m. on April 11 and asked her if she wanted to sneak out of the house and hang out with the two men.
After allegedly providing alcohol, Ellenburg then had sex with the minor while Guyton watched. The incident occurred at 303 Mauldin St.
A second incident occurred at 303 Mauldin St. on April 26 involving both men, in which Guyton allegedly had sex with the minor.
A third incident occurred on May 11 at 303 Mauldin St., again involving both men, in which alcohol was again provided to the minor and Guyton allegedly had sex with her.
A fourth incident occurred May 17 at 3 Attaway St., again involving both men and alcohol being provided, in which Ellenburg allegedly had sex with the minor.
At the time of this report, both men were being held in the Anderson County detention center awaiting bond.
A man was shot and wounded last Friday afternoon in what is being investigated as a robbery. Williamston Police Chief David Baker said that the man, whose identity has not been released yet, received wounds in both lower legs as the result of a single gun shot. He was transported to a local hospital and has since been released,a ccording to Chief Baker.
We have no reason, based on evidence or witness testimony to think that more than one shot was fired. But the victim definitely suffered wounds to both legs, said the Chief.
A shots fired call came into Central Dispatch and Williamston police officers searching the area found the victim lying along side the road, said the Chief.
Chief Baker, Capt. Kevin Evatt and Patrolman Tracy Call responded to the scene at 9 Washington Street. We also had some officers who responded and covered the other calls at the jail for us, said Chief Baker.
On Saturday, Mantez Perez Hatton, of 196 Payton Road, in Belton, turned himself in at the Williamston Police Department, and was subsequently taken into custody. He remains in the Anderson County detention center after bail was denied. He is twenty-one years old, six feet tall and weights approximately 150 pounds.
Chief Baker says he was identified as the shooter within hours of the incident, both by witness statements and other evidence. We were able to speak with the suspects family and strongly encouraged them to have him come in. He did so on Saturday.
Chief Baker says the indications are that the men were acquainted, but nothing more than that.
By Stan Welch
The latest efforts by Mayor Phillip Clardy to address the issues raised by the towns decision to accept leachate turned ugly last week. A public forum held to allow residents of the Town who live near the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) to express their concerns quickly turned into a shouting match between some of the more vocal residents, and Mayor Clardy. Things heated up early and stayed that way for most of the hour long meeting.
James Bowman, one of the leaders of the group who has vehemently opposed the Towns decision to accept leachate from the Anderson Regional Landfill for pretreatment, immediately challenged Clardy; saying that he had failed to keep his word that he would notify the residents of the time and place of the meeting. Clardy countered by saying that he wasnt there to argue. Nothing gets settled by arguing, said the Mayor.
Nevertheless, the majority of the meeting was spent doing just that. Area resident Mindy Fox demanded to know why police failed to fill out a report reflecting her concerns that the driver of a septic tank truck had a key to the WWTP, and had let himself in.
Mayor Clardy said that the man was authorized to have the key by him, and that no law had been broken.
Fox continued to berate the Mayor for the easy accessibility to the plant, saying, You have chemicals in that building that could blow up Williamston. She also stated that neighborhood children could be in danger, to which Clardy answered, I would ask where those childrens parents are?
Bowman also questioned the Towns efforts to close the sizable gap in the gate which is designed to prevent entry into the plant.
The gate hasnt been repaired. All we want you to do is not feed us a bunch of malarkey. Nothing has been done and you know it.
Clardy challenged Bowman saying, Can you seriously believe that any one from this town wants to see a child hurt?
Replied Bowman, I guess so. Clardy strongly denied that, and left the room to retrieve a tape recorder to document the rest of the forum. There has been enough of this you said, I thought stuff. Well record the rest so we can check it later.
Sonya Harrison, representative of Goldie & Associates, tried to get the meeting back on track by reporting on what testing was being done and what had been found.
She told residents, we are taking you and your concerns very seriously and were trying our very best to get this situation under control. She reported that of nine organic compounds tested for and identified, None of the nine is even on the EPA list of possible carcinogens.
Fox asked for a copy of the results, saying her neurologist wanted the information before conducting blood tests to determine the cause of her migraine headaches. Harrison provided a copy of the results to her.
Clardy and Bowman continued their exchange of barbs and insults, with Clardy asking what it would take to make Bowman and the others happy. Bowman replied that a decision to stop taking the leachate would make them happy.
Bowman also demanded to know who the Towns liability insurer is, and was eventually told by the Mayor that the Municipal Association of South Carolina provides that insurance.
Clardy went on to say that the steps the Town was taking would provide protection against any future claims.
Im no lawyer, but I have been involved in dealing with enough lawsuits against the Town that I can tell you this. God forbid, if someone were to get ill, the first question the lawyers will ask is what steps can be proven to have been taken? said the Mayor.
Clardy also reported that he had contacted a local doctor who preferred to remain anonymous, adding, He said that many of the symptoms you are reporting could be caused by the extreme heat weve been having. Bowman said, You dont get a whole neighborhood having these symptoms because of heat.
Harrison told the crowd of approximately 20 people that they had begun feeding a chemical to the system that is designed to reduce odors by as much as ninety per cent. This is not a masking agent. We dont want to perfume the problem. We want to fix it. We will locate the offending odor causing compounds and get rid if them.
Bowman conceded that Harrison and town staff are doing all they can, adding, This is not a personal attack.
Clardy said, It feels personal to me, to which Bowman retorted, Well, in your case, it might be.
Clardy also challenged Bowman, saying that he had called the mayor a liar in the newspaper, saying, I take that personal. My word is all I have. Again, Bowman responded, saying Well, you did lie and that is what I said.
Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr. explained his part in the unanimous vote to accept the leachate by saying, I looked into it and havent found anything to indicate that we shouldnt be taking it. I really dont want to lose the revenue if it isnt going to solve the problem to get rid of it.
Anderson Regional Landfill has been paying the Town thousands of dollars a month to receive the leachate, which is rainfall that has leached down through the landfill and been collected in holding tanks on the site.
By Stan Welch
West Pelzer may face a critical shortage of police officers within days, according to Town officials. During a Town Council meeting Monday night, at which virtually all the agenda items were rescinded from the agenda, one issue of interest arose during the citizen comment portion of the meeting.
Hulan Ford asked about the problems the Town has had in keeping police officers once they receive their training at the SC Justice Academy. During the ensuing discussion, Mayor Peggy Paxton announced that within a week, the Town will have only Chief Bernard Wilson on the force. She also hinted that political infighting and bickering were the cause of the problem.
Ford conceded that an Officer Miller, with whom he spoke, agreed with that, saying, He wanted to lay it on the Council. I worked for the mayor and some of these Council members when they were running. If I was on the council, Id vote to get rid of the Police and let the County have it.
Paxton countered by saying, What would be the purpose of collecting taxes? What would we offer our citizens as a benefit or advantage of being in town? She continued, saying, We cant harass these people and follow them around town and expect to keep them. We as a Town are employers, and if we keep doing these kinds of things, its going to hurt us. It isnt the job of these policemen to sit and listen to me or anybody else gripe and complain about how the Town is run.
When asked after the meeting to explain her remarks, the Mayor declined, saying that one of the resigning officers had asked that his letter of resignation be given to the press, but she was reluctant to do so. I would prefer to check with him again before doing anything like that.
Chief Wilson would say only that he was planning to hire some more officers, but he did confirm that once the current officers worked out their notice, he would in fact be the lone police officer in town. These officers can often better themselves by moving to another department. Our police cars are our offices for twelve hours a day. Our offices are barely road worthy. Also, many times, they can get better pay or benefits by going elsewhere.
So pervasive had been the practice of larger departments letting small towns absorb training costs that the state passed a law requiring compensation of the department losing the officer. The latest officer to leave has been hired by the Town of Honea Path.
The chief explained that state law requires that any department hiring an officer from another department within the first year after he completes his training, must pay the town for all its lost revenues in training and equipping the officer.
In other business, the owners of two properties who had sought annexation withdrew their requests. Mayor Paxton withdrew the budget presentation from the agenda saying that more information concerning water and sewer rates was needed before the budget could be accurately prepared. She also announced that an additional $50,000 in funds was expected to be approved next week, to be used in meeting unexpected costs increases for the Towns water system improvements. Councilman Joe Turner reported that transmission repairs on one of the police cars were almost complete, and Council agreed to put decals on it as soon as it returned from the garage.
A lengthy executive session of more than thirty minutes to discuss personnel resulted in no action being taken.
By Stan Welch
The Anderson County Council met Tuesday night after an extended summer recess.
County Transportation Director Holt Hopkins gave an update on several road and bridge projects that are currently underway. The projects are funded in large part by federal funding sources known as earmarks.
The East Reed Street project, which adjoins the AnMed campus, involves the installation of turn lanes, curbs, sidewalks, and other aesthetic features. The project costs $1.2 million, of which the federal government paid one million, while AnMed paid the $200,000 spent on engineering and legal fees.
The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on September 5.
The McClellan Road bridge, funded at just over a half million dollars, is well along. The federal funding for that project came to $248,000. The superstructure of the old bridge which was removed intact will be transported to District 3 and used in replacing the old bridge that was washed out on Sam Turner Road more than a year ago.
The most visible project, the Brown Road bridge, will probably require an additional matching of funds, due to cost increases, but the project is funded at almost 75% by state and federal money. It should be completed in the summer of 2007.
Hopkins also reported that a total of $6.5 million in earmarks has been obtained, with an additional $1.8 million provided by the state and $1.7 million by the County.
District Two Councilwoman Gracie Floyd applauded the projects, but added, Everybody got a piece of this pie, but poor old District 2 didnt get a dime.
Floyd, facing a Republican challenger in the November general election, said My constituents are going a to ask me why I didnt get any part of all that money.
She questioned why the Broadway Lake Road and spillway project is still on hold.
County administrator Joey Preston replied that the cost of the project, $32 million, and the complexity of replacing the spillway, made the project a very difficult one.
Weve invited Senator DeMint to come and meet with the residents, because federal funds are the only way we can really hope to do this.
Preston took the opportunity to defend his previous and controversial decision to employ a lobbying firm to seek federal funds, saying, I hope the message that gets delivered is that before 2002, these funds werent available. You hear people saying that our Representatives and Senators could have gotten that money, but if they could, why didnt they? We have a staff now that knows how the process works.
Floyd expressed her complete confidence in the staff, but added, If the federal money doesnt come through, I still have that bridge. What are we going to do then?
Preston replied that the money would simply have to be budgeted, as $25 million has been budgeted in Greenwood for a project there.
An attempt by Councilwoman Wilson to impose specific operating hours on tattoo parlors by amending the land use ordinance fell short, when County Attorney Tom Martin explained that there were two problems with Wilsons proposed amendment.
He said it was quite likely unconstitutional, because the courts have consistently ruled that where the State had regulated or attempted to regulate a situation, the county was not empowered to impose stricter regulations. He also pointed out that the proposed change to the land use amendment had not addressed operational aspects, but simply land use.
The amendment was defeated, and the original change in the land use ordinance, which allows tattoo parlors in Anderson County, was passed.
Council unanimously supported a request from Floyd for a $25,000 matching grant to secure a half million dollar Community Development Block Grant to held rehabilitate a number of substandard homes in the Appleton Mill area.
In supporting the request, Council Chairman Larry Greer said, Its important that we support each others efforts to improve our individual districts. We may represent our personal districts, but we also represent the people of Anderson County.
Council also approved changes to the Countys current flood plain regulations. The county is currently operating from twenty five year old maps, which were last updated in 1981.
The SCDNR and FEMA are preparing to update those maps, but required some changes in the language of the regulations. One of the major changes will require future structures to have their ground floor two feet above the flood plain, instead of one foot, as is the case now.
Council also gave third reading approval to an ordinance lowering the assessment ratio on airplanes from 10.5% to 4%, a move that several members stated would keep the county competitive in the field of attracting aviation customers.
Nearly four and one half inches of rain fell Tuesday afternoon in less than an hour in Williamston. Water reached the front doors at Palmetto High School at one time and nearly flooded vehicles parked in front of the school. Severe lightning also accompanied the storm sending area firefighters to check out lightning strikes to homes. Several wrecks were also reported during the storm.
Forty-one teachers in Anderson School District One were notified this week by the SC State Department of Education that they will be receiving grant funding for use in teaching their students. Anderson School District One has continually been a leader in the EIA Teacher Grant Program sponsored by the South Carolina General Assembly. Grant awards are based on proposals submitted to find new and creative ways of working with all students to improve academic achievement. Individual awards range from hundreds of dollars up to $2,000. Teachers can apply for unit grants where the awards range up to $6,000. Anderson One received six of the unit awards with a grand total for all awards exceeding $97,500.
This year, 714 proposals were reviewed for the 2006-07 EIA Teacher Awards. Of those, 366 were funded with appropriations from the South Carolina General Assembly.
Our teachers are to be commended for participating in this very valuable program that literally brings in tens of thousands of dollars to the classrooms for the purpose of improving student achievement that would otherwise not be there, stated Dr. Wayne Fowler, Superintendent, Anderson School District One. This is a great example of our teachers going the extra mile for their students as well as looking to serve as good stewards of our public funds. The students and the communities are the true beneficiaries.
Cedar Grove Elementary led the district in the number of grants as well as the total amount awarded with ten awards totaling over $25,000. Wren High and Wren Middle School received over $16,600 and $14,000 respectively. Over one hundred Anderson One teachers participated in the program this year.
Anderson County Sheriffs Deputies investigated the folowing incidents recently:
August 8 R.M. Cooper responded to Firetower Road in reference to a stolen vehicle. Leroy Hare reported that he had found his brother, Leroys, stolen 93 Ford Taurus.
August 8 R.M. Cooper investigated a complaint of malicious damage to property. Timothy Vanausdoll, of 200 Hattie Road, reported that someone had shattered the back window of his 2005 Ford Explorer
August 9 B.C. Bowen received a complaint from Jeremy Tucker, of 235 Bryant Road, who stated that his brother-in-law, Landon Smith, of 108 Davis Mills Road, Seneca had been entering his home and stealing a number of items, valued at approximately $1300. Bowen said that Smith had admitted to him that he had taken the items about a month ago.
August 8 J.F. Parker spoke with April Foust at the Sheriffs Office in reference to a series of bad checks she had received notification of. The checks, which were all written to the SavWay on Main Street in Pelzer, totaled more than $300. They were drawn on a personal account belonging to Foust, which had been closed in October. Foust stated that she was scheduled to appear in court to address the situation and needed the police reports for that appearance.
August 1 M.J. Giovanni investigated an accident involving a SCHP trooper, Toni Gaylord, who had hit a deer while traveling south on Hwy. 20 towards Belton. The damage was minor, with no airbag deployment. The deer was found in a nearby yard and removed by the Highway Patrol. Gaylord was not injured and no charges were filed.
August 1 R.M. Cooper responded to 533 Drake Road, where he received a report of grand larceny, from Dennis Glenn, involving the theft of a black 6X9 custom trailer, with some tools on it. The trailer and tools were valued at approximately $1620.
August 2 P. D. Marter received a complaint from John Bagwell, of 105 Roxanne Dr. that someone had stolen a camper trailer he parked at 700 Dean Springs Road in Belton, and had dumped it in Williamston after taking an axe to it and totally destroying it. Marter determined that it had been destroyed at the Dean Springs Rd. location. The trailer was valued at $900.
August 6 N. J. Peluso responded to a call at 1065 Smith Circle, where he found two men leaving the premises. The call had come from the woman who lived there, 71 year old Lucy Laubshire. One of the men, Raymond Branyon said that he had gone to the house to get help because his vehicle was out of gas. The vehicle, however, was parked in the driveway. Laubshire said she had told the men through the window on the back porch that she couldnt help them and asked them to leave. The officer ran both men for warrants and Branyon, WM, 47, 6,185 pounds, brn/brn, had an outstanding warrant in Anderson County. He was arrested and transported to ACDC.
August 2 R.S. Turner met on Sitton Road with SCDNR Officer Benny Owens who stated that he had been asked to watch a piece of property for an absentee owner. On the day in question, he had found a red utility trailer that had recently been painted black, hidden in the woods and covered with brush. The trailer was taken to the Cooley Building at the Sheriffs Office and placed into evidence storage.
August 6 J.J. Jacobs met with Buffy Peterman, of 106 Kaleope Rd., who reported that someone had broken into her home and stolen a variety of jewelry, valued at $7150.
August 1 P.D. Marter investigated a report of malicious damage to property at 11 Spring St., where Judy Davis reported damage to her door frame, apparently in an effort to break in. the property was placed on keep watch order.
August 2 J.R. Finley received a report of a stolen license plate from Douglas R. Jackson, of 31 Smythe Street. The SC tag, #1924BY, was stolen from a 1974 Toyota Celica.
August 5 M.D. Creamer reported a high speed pursuit of a Suzuki GSXR100 near Hwy. 8 and I-85. The chase was terminated due to the high rate of speed and the number of other cars present. The rider was a BM, 25-30 years old, wearing jeans and a white tank top. The license plate was redacted from the incident report, but the bike was registered to an Edward E. McMorris, according to the report.
August 2 M.A. Whitfield was responding to a call concerning a stolen Moped when central dispatch informed him that the suspects had been in an accident with the Moped. He responded to the victims address At 1700 Elrod Rd. Lot 3, where Brian Hammond, the victim told him the suspects had wrecked, and showed him where. Whitfield found a 1995 Mazda truck in the ditch with the Moped behind it. Information in the truck identified two different people, which coincided with Hammonds account. The registration indicated that the vehicle belonged to Robert Atkinson of Seneca, while other information in the truck identifying George Fuller of Easley. The investigation continues.
August 2 D.W. Davis received a complaint of grand theft auto at the Pilot Store located on Hwy. 86. The owner of the car, a 1995 blue Mazda truck, was identified as George Fuller, who said he met an unknown female while visiting friends, and parked his truck at the store. He returned the next morning to find it gone. (See report above)
August 6 W.T. Cunningham went to 121 Woods Lane, Lot 7 to see if a vehicle belonging to Judy Pearson had been returned. The vehicle had been reported missing on August 5. A warrant had been signed by Deputy Cunningham against Pearsons daughter, Sherry Garrison, for use of a vehicle without the owners permission. Garrison was found sleeping in the bedroom in the home and was told that there was a warrant on her. She refused to change from her nightgown with the officers (Deputy Digirolamo was also on scene) in her room. While waiting in the hall, they heard a noise and discovered that Garrison had climbed out the window. They pursued her twice around the trailer before catching her. She was still clad in her nightgown, which she wore to ACDC for her booking.
August 2 T.B. Dugan received a report of grand theft auto from David Jordan, of 3 Coker Circle, who reported that someone had stolen his 1996 Ford Explorer, which is white with a blue stripe around it.
By Stan Welch
If anyone has ever seen Rick Driver, talk show host and owner of WAIM-AM radio, 1230 on your dial, you would know how silly it seems for me to defend him. And really, thats not what Im doing here. Im just offering my view of someone who is a controversial figure in the Anderson County area.
And while Im at it, Im going to do the same thing with another fellow I know, Ed Jean. The reason Im doing this is because these two men, who arent as different as they may think they are, share one thing in common. Both are talked about and lied about and vilified; perhaps occasionally even by each other, but consistently by others on opposite sides of the political fence that so divides this county.
To listen to the Anderson Independent blogsters and their ilk, (yes, Senator, I said ilk), you would think that Rick dashes babies brains out against trees for kicks. He is the embodiment of hate radio. What the devil is hate radio? To me, if it plays rap, I hate it.
Ed Jean, on the other hand, is running as a Democrat for the District Seven County Council seat currently held by Cindy Wilson. If you listen to Ricks morning show, which is almost certainly the only show of its kind that is routinely recorded by the county government (thats sworn testimony, folks. I really dont make this stuff up), youll hear Ed referred to as Joey Prestons boy, or the water toter. His attendance at several Republican events earlier this year, after he filed as a Democrat, did seem a bit strange, but politics in Anderson County is more than a bit strange. Or had you noticed?
My point is this. Those who demonize or minimize these two men are almost always people who have either never met them at all, or have met them only under the most casual of circumstances. Anyone who spends a couple of hours with Rick Driver will learn a few things, including these: he really does believe in the individual over government, and in freedom as a real and tangible thing. Man, is this guy a freak or what?
Youll also learn that he has an encyclopedic knowledge of and an exuberant enjoyment of oldies but goodies music, whether R&B, rock, beach or country and western. If youve never seen a guy whos six foot five, and weighs about 240, boogeying at the control board during breaks, you aint really been to the circus.
Rick Driver is a big, somewhat loud, and extremely opinionated man. He used to be a huge man, by all accounts, but had the self discipline to push back from the table in the interest of living longer; probably so he can drive certain members of Anderson society crazy for that much longer. He is well read on the subjects he speaks on, and he is both a gentle man, and a gentleman.
He has a temper, and he doesnt suffer fools gladly; and yes, like so many in Anderson County, he makes his own decisions about who the fools are and arent. One thing he is not is a hater. He can be scornful and occasionally self-righteous, although a healthy and self-deprecating sense of humor usually keeps him from that. But he does not hate. His religious faith and his personal makeup prevent it. He is simply not a mean spirited man.
Ed Jean isnt often accused of being a hater, at least not to my knowledge. He is accused by the folks who listen to Rick Driver a lot of being a sycophant of Joey Preston; a water boy for the wonder boy. Ive interviewed Ed a couple of times and spoken with him a number of times, most recently for the interview that appears elsewhere in this issue. I have to tell you, I dont buy the water boy routine. Somebody help Charles Crowe up, please. I know he just fainted.
Ed is a moderate in my book, not as liberal as many of Joey Prestons supporters, and for dang sure not as conservative as Rick and his friends. But whatever Eds political position is, he arrived at it by making his own decisions. Thats my opinion. Thats how it seems to me. He has a pretty good brain, and it shows signs of having been used. He aint from around here, as folks say, but he has been around. I think he paid attention along the way.
A few weeks ago, as I often am, I was the target du jour on the Anderson Independent blogsite hosted by my dear personal friend, Nick Charalambous. One particular blogger, writing then as the Senator, was really ripping me. He attacked my professional performance and questioned my personal integrity. He didnt mention my Momma, I will give him that. Friends (yes, Senator, I have three in this area) were calling to tell me what he had said. Some of it sounded pretty mean, considering I wouldnt know the Senator if he walked up to me painted blue.
A number of people opined that the Senator was really Ed Jean, but I never bought that for a second. I dont know Ed Jean extremely well. I dont know him as well as I do Rick Driver, with whom I have developed an on air chemistry and an off air friendship, despite our own considerable political differences. Im pretty sure Rick doesnt hate me because of those differences, unless hes planning to kill me with home made apple jelly and fresh produce from his garden. Its a risk Im willing to take.
But I digress.
The reason I never once considered that Ed was the Senator, who has since eased up on the personal stuff and identified himself on the blog, is that Ed Jean would say anything he had to say to my face. He is a straight up kind of guy and not one who would talk about someone behind their back. I find him to be a gentleman and a gentle man. He, too, is able to laugh at himself, and thats a lot more than I can say for some of the people Ive met up here.
So folks, before you start demonizing and minimizing those who disagree with you, buy them a cup of coffee or a cold beer, and spend an hour or so just talking with them. You might save yourself and all of us a lot of grief.
Seems to me, if I could get Rick and Ed together for a couple hours they might at least get a better understanding of each other. Of course, I could take the easy way out and work on the Israel/Lebanon problem instead.
by Saluda Sam
A man known for his athletic achievements, to many people in the Saluda River Valley Area. The best Basketball player this area ever turned out, and also probably the best Baseball player. The following are a listing of some of his accomplishments over the years.
Everyone has an Earl Story, and the amazing thing about them is that they are all true. Truly an outstanding athlete as well as a friend to everyone he ever met.
He is probably best known for his achievements in the Southern Textile Basketball Tournament, held annually in Greenville. He still holds many of the Tournaments records and they had thirty before he stepped on the court and have had another thirty since he played in his last.
Member STBT Hall of Fame, Most Free Throws in one game (21), Most Consecutive Free Throws (21), Most Times over 100 Points (5), All Tourney Scoring Record (1,262 points in 45 games, 28 avg.), Most Times played in Tournament (21), Most Times All Southern (12), Played and coached many championship teams at Pelzer and Piedmont and later in the Open Class for Guthrie Motors of Williamston.
When they formed the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame, Earl was one of the first to be inducted, for both Baseball and Basketball.
In his basketball career which spanned over twenty years he is credited with scoring over 20,000 points.
He once scored 70 points in a Dixie League Game. His high game in the STBT was 50 in the finals against Enka in 1957.
Earl first began to be noticed as a 14 year old when he scored over 700 points leading his Pelzer C Team to the Championship of the STBT.
When he was starting to learn the game he nailed a basketball goal on a tree in his yard, without a backboard, which he credits with helping him develop his sharp shooting eye. He still has the goal with part of the tree trunk growing around it in his trophy room.
As an eighth grader at Pelzer High, Coach Marshall Stone would always put him in the close games at the end to take advantage of his ability to draw fouls and his knack of hitting the pressure free throws. He went on to lead the Pelzer High Team to two State Championships.
J.C. Curt Terry remembers the first time he played against him in Textile Class A basketball, that when they put Earl in the game, that none of the older Piedmont Rangers could keep up with the fast as lightning little left hander, and nobody wanted him as their man.
He was on the Pelzer American Legion Baseball Team that lost to eventual National Champion Spartanburg on a Bad Hop Grounder, in the State Finals.
In 1943, he was the winning pitcher in one of the annual Fourth of July doubleheader games beating arch rival Piedmont, pitching a shut out.
Was signed to play Pro Baseball with the Washington Senators organization in 1944. He went on to play for the Atlanta Crackers, Chattanooga Lookouts, and the Milwaukee Brewers. While with Milwaukee he was on the winning Little World Series team. He played two years with the big league Washington Senators. The team owner, Clark Griffith, cut him in 1949 when he would not quit playing Textile Basketball during the winter.
During the 1948 exhibition season, the Senators played in Anderson and Greenville. He hit a Home Run in Anderson but did not play in the Greenville game.
He always claimed he would have hit for a much higher average in the Majors if he hadnt always had to play when his team played the Cleveland Indians and everyone would claim to be hurt. The Indian pitching staff at that time consisted of Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Mike Garcia, and Early Wynn. He hit one Home Run in Detroit.
In 1955, his last season in Pro Baseball he was playing manager of the Greenville Spinners.
After the baseball season was over he came to Piedmont Mills as Athletic Director and managed the Baseball Team and coached the Basketball Team. He led both teams to several wins, winning both the Pennant and Playoffs in the Western Carolina Baseball League, being named Most Valuable Player a couple of times, and the same in the Dixie Basketball League and the STBT. His youth teams also won several Championships.
In Baseball he did everything from pitching No Hitters to clinch Championships to playing third base when the team was short handed, even though he was a lefty.
In a late season game with Dunean in the late 50s, his most famous or infamous fete became a part of Textile Baseball Legend. In a game, at Dunean, that would decide the Season Pennant Winner, the Rangers were leading late in the contest.
Wooten was in centerfield when a line drive skipped past him. The man on first and the batter both scored, while Wooten raced back to the centerfield fence and began to kick around in the high grass. He was soon joined by the umpires and members of both teams.
He pointed to a hole in the bottom of the fence and a ball lying near the creek on the outside. Duneans Manager, Bob Stowe, and his players, frantically searched for the ball, but since it couldnt be found on the inside of the fence, both runners had to return to third and second base and Piedmont managed to hold on to its one run lead, winning the game and the pennant.
Playing golf with one of the Dynamos later he told him where to look in a small hole just inside the fence. The ball had rolled in and as Earl pretended to search for it he gradually covered it with the high grass. He had found another way to beat you.
Jerry Weisner, a Piedmont youngster remembers the game that Earl called his hit. Standing in the on deck circle, Jerry was hitting in front of Earl, who walked up to him and pointed out that the third baseman was playing the batter, who like Earl was right handed, way off the bag. He told Jerry, If he plays me there, Im going to hit it right by him down the line for a double. He did, and Earl did.
His basketball specialty was his overhead two handed set shot, which he could hit from anywhere on the court. He was also unstoppable going to his left and shooting a running hook shot. He always told the other players to move over and give him the left side corner. He won close game after close game with this manuever.
Ward Williams, long time Dunean great, who played both against and with Earl, remembers a time they went to Birmingham and played in a real low gym. It had rafters like the Piedmont Beattie Hall, but they were real low and you had to shoot lower than normal. One of the ground rules relayed by the Refs before the game was that if a ball went into the rafters, as long as it didnt hit anything, it was in play.
Ward continues, I looked at Earl and he was smiling. As the game went on I could see it coming, finally Earl stopped just about half line and lifted the ball in his overhead shooting position and let it fly. It went up through the rafters and didnt hit nothing but the net. The place went wild, and they continued to holler for Earl to do it again and he did several more times.
He was all over the court with his quickness and many a player suddenly found himself reversing his direction as Earl had slipped in and picked his dribble right out of his hands. This also caused him to be fouled frequently and at the line he hardly ever missed.
His ability to draw the fouls was well known but Buddy McCall remembers a time that a foul Earl committed won a game for him. Buddy was playing with Monaghan, one of his teammates was Jack League, a big robust fellow well known for his temper and low boiling point.
The game was drawing to a close and Monagahn was leading. League rebounded a missed shot and Earl really clawed at him trying to get the ball, but also with a force that he knew would upset Jack. It did and the result was a technical foul against him. League missed his, but Earl didnt, giving his team the lead and they went on to win the game.
One game that Earl would just as soon forget, occurred in his latter years at Piedmont. The Piedmont Lions Club would schedule the Girls team, Hazel Walkers Arkansas Travelers, who would barnstorm the country playing only mens teams. They put on a good show and one of the features was at the half Ms. Walker would shoot a series of fouls shots against three of the men. One would shoot regular shots, and one would shoot kneeling and the other would shoot from a sitting position. She seldom lost.
It was a fun night and one time the Rangers had too much fun, allowing the Girls to tie it up just at the buzzer. The fans started hollering, Let Earl and Hazel settle it at the foul line. Of course, Earl had to agree. Hazel hit all five of hers and Earl hit only three.
Many a referee found himself with the fans on their case when he would call a foul on Earl. Virgil Pruit, one of the Textile Refs always loved to tell of the time when he called one on Earl and as they walked back to the other end of the court, Earl was right up in his face. The fans thought he was giving Virg a hard time, but he really was saying, Next time you come to Chattanooga in the summer time you better call me for supper. He was really using this time to catch his breath.
One year in the Annual Tourney at Enka, Earl thought a referree had been unfair in the game he called against the Rangers. He found out the ref was a preacher and when we got back to the room, he kept telling me that, We are going to church in the morning and sit in the front row and look him in the eye his whole sermon. If it hadnt snowed us in that night I believe we would have done it too.
No one ever really managed to stop him. He was held to a low score a couple of times in his prime, but both times he came back in the next game and scored over forty off the same guy that had held him down.
Even with his varied number of shots he never really shot a jump shot as we know it today and even then some of the others were using it. The only time he ever shot one was once in a game against Enka that decided the season title at Piedmont.
Enka had a two point lead and Earl went to the left corner and threw up his left handed hook. It missed.
Time was running out as Earl followed and claimed his rebound. He was right in front of the basket. If he came down with the ball the game would have been over. All he could do was throw up a jump shot. It went in and the Rangers went on to win the game in overtime.
In the mid fifties, when they built the original Charlotte Coliseum, the Rangers played the Preliminary game to the Fort Wayne Pistons and the Boston Celtics. This was the first year the pros used the 24 second clock. Since they didnt have a trained clock operator they asked Earl if we minded playing under the new clock rules. Of course Earl agreed. Neither team was charged with a violation of the new rule.
Earl would always help out in anything he could. The Piedmont R A Tournament sponsored by the Piedmont First Baptist Church for several years did not pay anyone for anything and the referees were all volunteers. Earl was always one of the fellows who gave freely of their time.
His athletic endeavors in his later years have been on the golf course. He has been a good one, winning his flight in several tourneys. He plays in most of the Invitational Events and is a favorite back in Chattanooga and Atlanta areas of his pro days.
No matter where you are, if Pelzer is mentioned, you will most likely be asked, Do you know Earl Wooten? This was former Mayor Marion Middletons experience on a cold hill in Korea during the fifties.
He made many friends of opponents and fans over the years and anywhere you go it is known you are from the Williamston area, the question is always, Hows Earl?