News Archive

Piedmont incoporation will not be on November ballot

Members of  Piedmont Incorporation Committee had hoped to have the issue on the November general election ballot, but a snag will delay the process for at least six months.

Committee members collected more than enough signatures to have the incorporation question placed on a ballot, however other technicalities will prevent the issue from being on the November ballot.

Committee members were informed by the Secretary of State office that a requirement to contact municipalities within five miles of the proposed municipality was not met.

State officials said a letter indicating the intent of The Piedmont Public Service District to incoporate should have been sent to Pelzer and West Pelzer officials and the committee must allow six months for a response.

“We didn’t know,” committee member Jed Daughtry said, (that there is a six month requirement before the issue can be placed on a ballot).

Petitions with 500 signatures, more than 100 over the 378 needed, were sent to Columbia for verification Aug. 9, according Daughtry. 

State law requires 15 percent of the registered voters within the proposed incorporation area sign the petition for the question to be placed on the ballot.

Daughtry said the original objective of the committee, which was to have the question placed on the ballot, has ended. Committee members are now transforming into a new committee with a new purpose.

That purpose, according to Daughtry, is to educate the citizens  of Piedmont on the incorporation issues so they can make an informed decision when they vote on the issue.

“We are disappointed that the issue will not be on the Nov. ballot,” Daughtry said. “We will continue with the work

“The next phase will be less of a neutral position and be openly pro-incorporation,” Daughtry said during a press conference held recently to announce that the signatures were collected.

Daughtry said the committee has adopted the name Piedmont Incorporation Effort (PIE).

“By incoporating we will be better able to get our share of our pie,” Daughtry said. “Our piece of the pie is the resources and services available to a city that are not available to a public service district. We will better be in control of what happens in Piedmont.”

The group has also adopted a slogan, “Think Inc.!” which is being displayed on signs and other materials.

An email address has also been set up to provide additional information.

“We want to make sure the public can ask questions and get the unvarnished truth from a reliable source. There is too much misinformation going around on this important topic,” Daughtry said.

The committee also plans to write a series of columns that they hope to have published, similar to a series of letters written by James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton under the pen name “Publius.” The letters were written to persuade the people of New York to vote for the newly drafted Constitution.

“The series of columns will explain the issues of incorporation with the unvarnished truth and expose any misinformation or myths to the citizens of Piedmont,” Daughtry said.

Daughtry said the committee is making an appeal to Friends of Incorporation, individuals and businesses for funds to help with the costs associated with the effort.

Any unused portion of the monies raised will be donated to Piedmont charities, Daughtry said.

“We think it will happen. There have been some against it, but they have been polite,” Daughtry said. “There is a lot of enthusiasm for it. We really want everyone to voice their opinion.”

Daughtry said the original committee was small enough to make initial decisions to get the process in motion, but other decisions must still be made.

Elected Council members could  look at other issues such as police protection and decide on details such as how many officers or what size department is needed.

Daughtry also said that the municipality doen’t have to have a police force, but can still contract with Anderson and Greenville County Sheriff’s offices for police protection.

“We already have a good fire department with a class 3 rating. We have a good government,” Daughtry said. “It will only be better once we are incorporated.

One of the biggest questions and obstacles to incorporation is the fear of taxes.

“The biggest concern is taxes. We can incorporate Piedmont as is,” Daughtry said, “with no tax increase.”

For more information on Piedmont incorporation, contact the committee at thinkincpiedmont@yahoo.com.


Festival to feature a variety of local talent

Entertainment at the 21st Annual Spring Water Festival will feature a variety of local talent, organizers said, including actors, singers, dancers and musical groups.

The Williamston Heritage Players will present four scenes from their latest production, The Story of Hansel and Gretel on the Amphitheatre stage at 2:30 p.m. Aug. 24.

The Gingerbread Witch, Public Holiday, Tap, Tap, Tap and Hocus, Pocus scenes will give festival goers a preview of the musical which is set to open Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Pelzer Auditorium. The play will continue the weekend of the 24th.

A karaoke contest and a variety of music will highlight entertainment at the festival, according to organizer Jamie Carter.

A Little Miss Pageant, Palmetto High School Band, Jericho Faith, T. J. Stone and Trilogy will also perform on the Amphitheatre stage.

Trilogy offers a mix of beach, classic rock, funk, blues and country.

Bluegrass music will be featured at the historic depot with the Hall Brothers Bluegrass Gospel, Smith Brothers, Grassroots Exchange, Different Strokes, Shady Grove Express, Stoney Mountain Ramblers and other local talent performing.

Bluegrass pickers interested in an old fashion jam are invited to bring your own acoustic instrument to the park and join in along the creek. For more information contact Jack Ellenburg at 847-6140.

More than 70 crafters are expected to offer their wares.

The 5th annual Spring Water Festival  Pageant will also be held at 9 a.m. on festival day.

Contestants should dress in casual summer attire (sundress or short set).

All entry fees along with registration form must be turned in by Friday Aug. 16. Late entries will not be accepted.

Entry fee is $30 per contestant. Registration forms can be picked up at The Journal, Color Fast Screen Printing or The Magic Dance Academy at Carolina Rhythm.  For more information call Angela Walker at 847-7827.

The festival will also feature a karaoke and songwriters contest with the winner of the karaoke contest receiving a $300 prize. The winner of the songwriters contest will receive a free day of recording in a recording studio. For information or to sign up call 847-7473.

The Anderson City Technical Rescue Team will conduct a mock air rescue operation at approximately 12 noon on the day of the festival.

The helicopter rescue will involve removing a person from the roof of the old water plant located just behind the main parking area near the historic depot.

Following the mock rescue,the helicopter rescue team will land behind the old water plant and will be on display and available to the public, according to Williamston Fire Chief Steve Ellison, who is helping coordinate the event.

The Williamston Fire Department is again sponsoring the festival’s auto show, which will include a $70,000 special edition Thunderbird  which will be on display by Foothills Ford.

Antique and classic auto owners may register their vehicles between 8 a.m. and noon. A $10 registration fee will be charged. Awards will be given to the top 50 vehicles. Five specialty awards will be presented. 

Persons interested in displaying a customized vehicle in the show should call 847-4155 or 847-4950 for more information.

T-shirts featuring the Williamston Municipal Center (Town Hall) are now available.

 The design by Thomas Addison features burgundy and green on a white shirt and ties in with the Town’s 150th Anniversary Celebration.

Festival T-shirts sizes small to XL are available for $10 at ERS Video and Appliance and at the Williamston Municipal Center prior to the festival. Children’s sizes are available for $8.

Addison, who has contributed artwork for the Spring Water Festival throughout its history, will also offer limited and signed prints at the festival on Aug. 24.


West Pelzer citizens hear facts on recent rate increase

The Town of West Pelzer held a question and answer session for residents during a special public meeting Aug. 20.

Residents were able to ask questions concerning water, sewer and other items related to the operations of the town, according to West Pelzer Mayor Bill Alexander.

Representatives of the Appalachian Council of Governments, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and Rural Development were present to answer questions.

George McDaniel of the Appalachian Council of Governments told residents that the Town was operating at a deficit in 2001 and that a rate increase was necessary to have a balanced budget and meet the expenditures of operating the town.

Residents were also told that problems and costs associated with aging water and sewer lines was the result of years of not providing routine maintenance and increasingly strict standards.

“Part of the problem is the town is so far behind,” McDaniel said. “They are having to catch up on water and sewer.”

McDaniel said many small towns have very similar problems. Part of the problem is there is not enough of a customer base to cover the costs associated with routine maintenance and upgrades of infrastructure, he said.

“Some of the lines should have been replaced 20 or 30 years ago,” he said.

West Pelzer has been under DHEC consent orders to meet stricter waste treatment requirements for several years, according to the Mayor.

A joint sewer project between West Pelzer and Pelzer to hook on to Western Carolina Sewer is expected to bring both municipalities up to current environmental standards, officials said.

Both towns received Federal Rural Development loans in 1999 to help with the sewer trunk line construction.

Residents currently have an RDA fee on their bill for repayment of the federal loans.

DHEC spokesperson Tommy Rogers said the organization usually tries to work with small municipalities to bring them up to increasingly stricter standards.

Mayor Alexander said several years ago the town was faced with improving two waste treatment drying beds, which would have cost approximately $1 million each and and an estimated $3 million more to improve the town’s treatment plant.

The alternative was a joint project connecting with Western Carolina.

“This is the best option by far, and the cheapest option,” Rogers said.

‘The technology has changed so much. What worked twenty years ago wouldn’t work today, to treat waste water to standards.”

Alexander said DHEC officials have worked with the town, especially over the last three years.

“These people have worked with us. They know we’re trying,” Alexander said.

Rogers said West Pelzer has one year from July 10th to complete the project or the town will be facing a $5,000 fine.

The town will also have to bid the project within 90 days and sign a contract within 45 days after that or face an additional $3,000 fine.

Rural Development representative, Laura Payne said the loan funds for the project were set aside by the federal government in 1999 and technically the letter of conditions has expired. The funds are still available, she said.

The Western Carolina Sewer project has been delayed due to problems in obtaining rights of way, officials said.

Several residents stated that they did not mind paying more if increased taxes are necessary to get the town up to standards.

Other residents suggested the town should consider dis-incorporation.

McDaniel said even if the town disbanded, residents must still deal with the water and sewer problems and would be responsible for any outstanding loans.


Heritage Players’ Hansel and Gretel continues this week

The Williamston Heritage Players’ latest production, The Story of Hansel and Gretel,  is set to open Aug. 16 with a 7:30 p.m. performance at the historic Pelzer Auditorium.

The musical is an adaptation and dramatization of the treasured children’s story by the Brothers Grimm with a few of Broadway’s usual plot twists.

Sent into the woods, Hansel and Gretel meet up with a number of peculiar characters. A fiery troll guards his little wooden bridge. Even more, an articulate owl, a forest sprite and two hobgoblins are in the service of an evil but comical witch. Mayhem ensues when she locks Hansel in a cage and feeds him nothing but cake, and audiences will cheer as Gretel outwits the crone.

The show features such songs as “Public Holiday”, “Hocus Pocus” and “Raise Your Voices”.

The Williamston production showcases Avery Owens as Hansel, Jana Jennings as Gretel and Shannon Faulkner as the Witch.

 Also starring are Hayley Meade as Frick, Nancy Bannister as Frack, Jared Fricks as Frederick, Katyln Meyers as Susie, Jillana Darby as Johanna, Ann Cothran as Lydia, Lisa Crisp as Mother and Michael Crisp as Father.

Other cast members include Tonja Gambrell as Troll, Christie Cothran as Owl, Jenny Pate as Dew Princess, Elizabeth Rogers as Echo, Lindsey Meade as Dream Weaver, Adam Cooley as Caspar and Lyla Allen as Katrina.

The Gingerbread Chorus includes Leslie Adams, Catherine Ann Cochrane, Jeffrey Cooley, Austin Crisp, Anna Davis, Andy Dickerson, Megan Ellis, Rebecca Gambrell, Kathryn Hardy, Emily Isom, April O’Donnell, Ashley Rhodes, Marlee Rhodes, Grace Rogers, Bailey Clair Stokes and Kaylee Summerlin.

The ensemble features Linda Allen, Erin Clardy, Debbie Cooley, Lindsey Cooley, Beth Dickerson, Allison Hood, Harold Jennings, Logan Jennings, Haley Riddle, Patti Riddle, Chris Roberts, Chael Shirley and Cara Stokes.

Hansel and Gretel’s director is Becky Owens, whose past directorial experience includes the Heritage Players’ production of The Velveteen Rabbit. Mary Burns serves as choreographer, with Carol Adams and Carol Pate as musical directors. Stage manager is Danny Owens.

The Williamston Heritage Players will present four scenes from their latest production, The Story of Hansel and Gretel, on the Amphitheatre stage at 2:30 p.m. Aug. 24. the Gingerbread Witch," "Public HOliday," "tap, Tap, tap" and "Hocus, Pocus" scenes will give festival goers a sample of the musical which opened Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Pelzer Auditorium. The play can also be seen at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 23 and 24 and at 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 25. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7.50 for seniors and students. 

For more information, contact Lynn King, Heritage Players president, at 947-9466.


Community memorial services planned

A community memorial service is planned for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at Palmetto Stadium.

It is a joint effort by the Town of Williamston and the town’s Sesquicentennial Committee to hold a community wide service and a memorial service remembering September 11, 2001, said Mayor Phillip Clardy.

Area churches and organizations are asked to participate in the services. 

During the service, the Committee plans to unveil a bronze memorial depicting the three areas that were attacked on Sept. 11 including Somerset County, Pa., New York, N.Y., and Washington, D.C.

The memorial, which measures 60 inches by 40 inches, will be permanently displayed at the Veterans’ Memorial at Middleton Field Clardy said.

The Sesquiscentennial Committee is sponsoring the fund raising for the memorial and plans to pay for it by donations from businesses and individuals and by money donated at the service.

Monies raised above the cost will be used for projects in the community such as enhancing the Veterans’ Memorial or purchasing a marker for the Town’s founder, West Alan Williams., Clardy said.

Details of the service will be released as plans are finalized.

The Piedmont Public Service District will hold a memorial service on the morning of Sept. 11 at 8:30 a.m. in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the attacks on New York City, Washington and Pennsylvania. The service will be held at the Piedmont Fire Department, Hwy. 86 in Piedmont.


Candidates named for Town Council

The Town of Williamston has announced those seeking the office of town councilman this election year.

In Williamston’s Ward 1, Harold Mackey is running as incumbent. His opponents are Greg Cole and John Sherard.

In Ward 2, Jimmy Rogers is the incumbent vying for the post. Those challenging him are Cecil Cothran and Tony Cooley.

The nonpartisan election is set for Nov. 5.

Williamston Town Council members serve four-year staggered terms, with two seats coming up for reelection every two years. The two four-year terms will run from Jan. 1, 2003 to Dec. 31, 2006.


Officials urge caution in response to West Nile virus

Due to confirmed evidence of the West Nile virus in South Carolina, the Town of Williamston will be conducting independent mosquito control operations.

According to the Mayor’s Office, the Town will begin thermal spraying on a “once-a-week basis” throughout the various Williamston wards. The method, the Office says, is “environmentally safe with DHEC regulation approval.”

The spraying schedule, set for 7 to 10 p.m., is as follows: Ward 1, Monday; Ward 2, Tuesday; Ward 3, Wednesday; and Ward 4, Thursday.

Four cases of West Nile virus found in birds had been confirmed in South Carolina at press time. The most recent was a case of two cardinals found dead with the disease in Irmo Tuesday.

The only case in the Upstate involved two crows found dead which tested positive for the virus, according to DHEC.

“I urge South Carolinians to be aware of West Nile virus and to take some simple steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” said DHEC Commissioner C. Earl Hunter. “We have known for a long time that West Nile virus would be found in South Carolina since other states such as North Carolina and Georgia have found birds with the virus.”

Hunter said the crows were found in the Taylors and Greenville areas Aug. 9. Tests conducted on the crows by DHEC’s Bureau of Laboratories confirmed the finding. A dead blue jay found Aug. 6 in Lexington County was the first confirmed finding of West Nile virus in the state.

“West Nile virus can result in flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, weakness, swollen glands and a rash,” Hunter said. “In most cases, the virus results in a very mild disease and many people who may be exposed never become sick. The virus can, in rare cases, cause encephalitis and even death.”

Hunter said mosquito bites transmit the virus to humans.

“This happens when a mosquito bites an infected bird and then bites a human,” he said. “Birds cannot transmit West Nile virus to humans.”

Hunter urged South Carolinians to protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves and long pants. Repellants containing 20 to 30 percent of DEET are effective for adults and lower concentrations of 10 percent are recommended to protect children.

“Be sure to look around your home and property and empty any standing water from containers such as flower pots, tires and birdbaths,” Hunter said. “When participating in outdoor activities at night when mosquitos are most active, be sure to wear protective clothing and use repellents. Screens on porches and windows should be used to keep mosquitos from getting into your home.”

Hunter said South Carolinians should not be alarmed by the additional findings.

“The chance of becoming ill from West Nile virus is low,” he said. “The great majority of mosquitos are not infected and even when a person is bitten by an infected mosquito, the person may not get the virus. Human illness is always much less frequent than illness in birds. For example, in North Carolina, 15 birds and six horses have tested positive for West Nile virus yet there have been no human cases.”

Hunter said surveillance efforts by DHEC staff continue throughout the state. Residents who find dead crows, blue jays and raptors such as owls, hawks or eagles are encouraged to contact DHEC’s local Environmental Health Office.


Jackson is runner-up in U.S. Amateur Championship

Prior to last week’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship golf tournament, very few people knew where Belton, S.C., was.

And even fewer had any idea who Brandi Jackson was.

All that changed last weekend, when the Palmetto High graduate, Furman University senior and defending Southern Conference champion established herself as a top national competitor by surviving a challenging week of preliminary play to reach the championship match of the U.S. Women’s Amateur.

And while the 21-year-old came up a little short in her bid for the championship, she didn’t leave the Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Scarborough, N.Y., empty-handed. She left with new-found confidence and national recognition.

“I came here just wanting to see what happens, to just take it one shot at a time,” Jackson said of the nationally-televised tournament. “I just tried to stay in the moment, tried not to think about winning the match and imagining what it would mean.”

Jackson survived 36 holes of stroke (qualifying) play to reach the match-play level, where she left a lasting impression on her fellow competitors.

She breezed through the first two rounds of match play, triumphing over Vikki Laing of Scotland and Mollie Fankhauser of Columbus, Ohio – two women on Curtis Cup teams.

Her semifinal match against Maru Martinez of Venezuela featured one of the most dramatic comebacks ever witnessed in amateur match-play golf.

Down by three holes in the match as she stood over a four-foot putt on the 15th hole, Jackson needed to make the shot to extend her play.

Then she’d have to win the next three holes to force the match to extra holes.

“Honestly, I didn’t think I had much of a shot,” she said, noting that Martinez “had been playing pretty good. I thought I’d have to birdie the last three holes.”

But she did better than that – winning all three holes to force the match into extra play.

An approaching storm forced a near two-hour delay during that extended play, only moments after Martinez had a short approach stop just off the right edge of the green. Jackson, at the same time, saw her much longer approach roll up just under the hole.

While most everyone else watched televised coverage of the match, Jackson opted to avoid that coverage – spending most of her time talking with her parents, Terry and  Kay Jackson, and hitting a few shots on the practice range.

Once play resumed at the par four, 398-yard hole, Martinez hit her birdie putt about four feet past the cup.

Jackson then sunk a five-foot birdie putt, which broke slightly to the left.

That dramatic victory, called “one of the greatest comebacks in match -play golf” by ESPN’s Judy Rankin, boosted Jackson into Saturday’s championship match against Becky Lucida.

Lucida, a senior at the University of Southern California who has already earned a spot in the 2003 U.S. Women’s Open, proved to be just a little too much for Jackson to overcome.

She won the first and fifth holes and went on to build a six-hole lead after the morning round. Jackson shot an 81.

“I wanted to crawl into a hole. I didn’t even want to know what I shot,” she said about the disappointing first 18 holes.

But there were still 18 more to play, and Jackson won the first two holes to cut the deficit to four. On the par three No. 6, she birdied to pull within three shots of Lucida.

A birdie on the par-three 10th hole narrowed the gap to only two holes, giving the underdog a much needed boost of confidence.

“About the time we made the turn in the afternoon, I started to think comeback,” Jackson said, while also admitting that it “was (realistically) too much to expect to beat such a good player as Becky.”

Lucida birdied the 11th hole to spoil Jackson’s rally and go on to win the tournament.

“I can’t be too disappointed,” the runner-up commented. “To play with the girls I played with all week, the coverage, the level of competition, it all was awesome. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had by far.”

Mic Potter, Jackson’s coach at Furman, echoed his star player.

“Her life and career paths have changed in the last few days,” he said. “Brandi now sees that she can be a great college golfer and a pro golfer if she wants to be.”

The coach of nine current LPGA players also commented, “She definitely has as much talent as anybody I’ve ever had. Ability-wise, she’s capable of doing almost anything.”

Eddie Martin, longtime pro at Saluda Valley Country Club (Jackson’s home course), called her past week’s accomplishments “unreal.

“I told people when she was 12 she could go as far as she wanted to.”

 

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