News Archive

Week of August 27, 2003

Organizers pleased with Spring Water Festival
Details of Middleton pardon hearing released
Anderson District One SAT scores above average
Citizens report being harrassed prior to Williamston election
Festival parking costly
Tip leads to motorcycle recovery
Candidates file in Pelzer election
District leads in exit exam scores, sees SAT scores dip
Beautification project completed
Uniforms give department new look

 

Organizers pleased with Spring Water Festival

Spring Water Festival coordinator Jaime Carter said she was well pleased with the attendance and results of the 22nd annual event.

Carter said that total receipts from the festival have not yet been tallied, but she feels the festival turned a profit this year.

Carter said she is in the process of gathering final information including overtime and comp-time worked by town employees during the festival and she said there are some associated bills still to come.

Carter said that overtime by town employees should be well below previous years, since state constables were used for traffic and security this year.

Police overtime and overtime by town employees are usually two of the biggest costs associated with the festival, town officials have said.

Carter said that there were only two minor complaints during the festival. One concerned a crafter selling items made in China and the other involved two food vendors which were located side by side, both selling barbecue.

Carter said festival officials did have one scare involving a lost child who was located within about 15 minutes.

The child had wandered away from a parent at the petting zoo and was found near the children’s rides, Carter said.

Festival T-shirts featuring the Palmetto Mustangs Football team were big sellers.

“We had a great day on T-shirts,” she said. “We sold a lot of last year’s and only a few of this year’s left,” she said.

Carter also said she thought food vendors had a good day, though she didn’t know if any had sold out.

Catlin Tierce was the winner of both the karaoke and songwriters competition held during the festival.

He received $300 in cash prize money for the karaoke competition and a half day of studio time for winning the songwriters category.

Carter said the children’s rides were popular this year as well as the Eudora Farms petting zoo.

“We had a lot of comments about the petting zoo from parents with small children,” Carter said.

The petting zoo featured a variety of exotic animals including a Gatorade drinking camel.

Children weren’t the only ones taking advantage of the opportunity to ride the beast, as a number of parents, some with small children and some with no children, also took rides.

A percentage of the rides, petting zoo and food proceeds comes back to help fund the annual festival, Carter said.

She wouldn’t venture a count on attendance, however she said some people, including one of the state constables, said between 15,000 and 30,000 people attended. Others said they felt attendance was more like 10,000.

Either way Carter said she was pleased with the day.

Carter said town officials will be meeting this week to discuss the festival and what could be done to improve next year’s festival.

She also said the town hopes to have additional accommodations tax funding available to help promote the festival next year.

“We had another great year,” Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy said.

 “We appreciate all of the hard work that went into running the festival and appreciate everyone coming out and making it a sucess.”

Details of Middleton pardon hearing released

Editor’s note: The following story concerning the pardon request of Marion W. Middleton is reported from taped proceedings of the original hearing held July 16 in Columbia. We regret the delay in making this available to our readers.

During hearing proceedings, former Williamston Mayor Marion Middleton told the S. C. Pardon and Parole board that he “did not perceive the actions he pled quilty to as an attempt to defraud the town and that he deeply regretted them and was sorry.”

Middleton pled guilty in August 2002 to embezzling $76,000 from the Town of Williamston during his term as mayor. He served 46 days of a 90 day sentence, receiving early release due to a work-credit program.

“I will probably, perhaps deservedly so, be remembered for the mistake I made,” Middleton told the board. “As a retired school teacher I was very limited to the amount of salary I could draw, a limit that is no longer in effect now.”

“I did not perceive my actions as an attempt to defraud the town,” Middleton said. “Perception can mask reality.”

“When I realized what I was doing wrong, I stopped the checks,” Middleton said. “While not my intention, the fact is I did commit a crime. One that I deeply regret and am sorry for.”

Middleton said he made no public comment following his guilty plea, “so the mayor and town officials could focus on running the town and people could come together.”

Middleton also told the board he mortgaged property so that he could pay the restitution, stating that he could have paid on the installment plan, but that would have resulted in him being placed on probation for five years.

Middleton said he wanted to spend time with his family which includes two children and grandchildren.

While addressing the board, Middleton cited his military and educational career and accomplishments and improvements for the town while he was mayor.

“I ask you to give serious consideration to the good things I have done in my career and education over 52 years,” Middleton said.

“I am truly sorry for any wrong I have done and any embarassment I have caused,” Middleton told the board.

Attending the hearing in support of Middleton were family members, businessman Tommy Ellison, Betty Holcombe, Charles Shupe, and George Roberts.

Several persons spoke on behalf of Middleton including Karen Radcliff, his pastor at Grace United Methodist Church, Richard McClellion and Larry Holcombe.

Holcombe said he had known Middleton for many years and that he would entrust his family and money to the man.

Radcliff said she had visited Middleton several times in jail and had witnessed his words of forgiveness.

“He is Chairman of the Board in his church and a treasured friend who made a serious error,” Radcliff said.

“Christ has forgiveness for him, the church has forgiven him and I hope my colleague in ministry on the other side can do the same,” she said.

After hearing the comments, one board member asked Middleton what he had told the people in Williamston.

Middleton responded that he had told people who asked him about the situation that he did it, that it was wrong and he had asked their forgiveness.

Middleton also said his attorney had made the statement for him during his court appearance.

After Middleton and supporters left the room, the board heard from several Williamston residents who attended the hearing to oppose the requested pardon.

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy told the board he was there to represent the town and “to oppose the pardon of Marion Middleton.”

“We are advocates of grace and mercy and repentance is a part of that,” Clardy said.

“There has been no public expression of sorrow or remorse other than the restitution, which was required by law,” he told the board.

Clardy said that his office had been flooded with calls that stated from the very beginning opposition to the issue. In response, he and council passed a resolution opposing the pardon, which he then read.

Clardy said they opposed the pardon “not only because of the crime he pled guilty to, but also those things we don’t have tangibly in our possession. For example there were thousands of documents that were destroyed, at his order, which may have more that may never be known,” Clardy said.

Williamston resident Helen Ausburn stated, “I feel very strongly he should not receive a pardon. His punishment was very light. He betrayed the oath of office, his family, friends and every citizen of Williamston.”

Ausburn also cited his light sentence of which he served 46 days. “The full extent of Middleton’s deception is still not known,” she said.

“He cannot claim immaturity or lack of knowledge. He devised a system to divert finances from the city for his own personal use,” she said.

Ausburn also said his error in judgement clearly was deliberate with no real effects other than embarassment he suffered.

“To my knowledge, there has been no remorse to citizens of Williamston,” she said.

Following the hearing, which lasted approximately 45 minutes, the board voted unanimously to deny the pardon.

For previous stories concerning this issue, check our website at www.thejournalonline.com.

Anderson District One SAT scores above average

The average Anderson School District One SAT score for the 2003 Senior Class was 1012 which exceeds the state average by 23 points but falls below the national average by 14 points.

“A decline in SAT scores is cause for concern, but not alarm,” commented Dr. Reggie Christopher, Superintendent of Anderson School District One.

The top ten percent of Anderson One’s students far exceeded the state and national top ten percent in 2003 scoring 1199 compared to 1149 for South Carolina seniors and 1192 for national test takers.

“This points to the fact that students who prepare themselves by taking the most rigorous academic classes do well on the SAT,” said Christopher.

“Traditionally, SAT scores have varied from senior class to senior class. In Anderson School District One, in recent years that trend has been upward. Teachers and students prepared using the same methods for the 2003 test as did the Class of 2002 that provided the highest scores in district history,” cited Christopher.

“SAT scores are not designed to measure the quality of a school or school district. However, we know our communities expect constant improvement,” said Christopher.

Christopher continued, “Anderson School District One has historically encouraged all students to aspire to a two or four year college causing an increasing number of students to take the SAT. In some cases, and this year is one of them as 7% more students took the test than the previous year, that alone can provide a ‘dip’ in scores.”

“The driving forces now behind students taking the SAT are the Hope and Life Scholarships. Students take the PSAT in the tenth grade and often do not do well. Then they take the ACT as juniors, and then as seniors they say, ‘Maybe I’ll get lucky and score well on the SAT and qualify for a scholarship.’ All schools face the dilemma of students taking the SAT who have not prepared themselves appropriately.”

“We will continue to have high expectations and will work with the principals and school staff members to identify short and long term strategies for SAT improvement,” Christopher concluded.

Citizens report being harrassed prior to Williamston election

Several Williamston residents reported being harassed by individuals placing political signs in front of their homes prior to Williamston’s form of government election last week.

Aug 17 - Connie Strom, 1211 Dickens Avenue, Williamston, reported an incident in which a vehicle pulled in front of her neighbor, Martha Harvell, 1209 Dickens Ave. and began video taping. Reports state Harvell confronted the man and exchanged words. Sgt. D. Munger investigated.

Aug. 15 - Steve Clardy, 106 West Fourth St., Williamston, reported a sign being removed from his yard by someone in a red Chevrolet S-10 pickup. D. Munger investigated.

Aug. 15 - Paul Turner, 126 Old Georgia Rd., Pelzer, reported a (vote yes) sign stolen from West Fourth St.  During a check of the area by Williamston officers the missing sign was recovered. The complainant was advised to seek a warrant. J. L. Barnes, Z. E. Gregory investigated.

Aug. 15 - Joyce Graham, 102 West Fourth St., Williamston, reported a political sign placed in her front yard. When asked to remove the sign, the person responsible refused and began taking pictures of her yard and vehicles.  The complainant was advised to file for harassment. J. L. Barnes investigated.

Aug. 15 - Ray Webb, 65, 105 West Fourth St., Williamston, reported a political sign posted in his front yard. J. L. Barnes investigated.

Other incidents investigated by Williamston Police Officers recently include:

Aug. 17 - Sherry Jean Bowen, 38, 257 Longview Dr., Williamston, was issued a citation for improper vehicle license, no proof of ownership and  operating an uninsured vehicle after a 1995 Ford truck was observed on Academy St. with a tag registered to another vehicle.  Reports state the vehicle had a broken windshield, a broken ignition and a broken steering wheel. Sgt. D. Munger investigated.

Aug. 16 - Two Williamston men were arrested for fighting after officers responded to West Third St. in reference to a fight in the roadway. Arrested for fighting were Dean Wade Chadwick, 38, 4 West Second St., Williamston and Robert Dorland Farmer, 100 W. Third. St.

Aug. 16 - John Andrew Baker, 54, 3523 Fork Shoals Rd., Simpsonville, was arrested for driving left of center after a 1992 Chevrolet truck was observed on Main St. Sgt. D. Munger, K. P. Evatt investigated.

Aug. 18 - Williamston True Value Homecenter, 29 Pelzer Avenue, reported a rented lawn mower had not been returned. D. W. Alexander investigated.

Aug. 25 - Linda M. Hays, 8 McDonald Ave., Williamston, reported a tag valued at $25 stolen from a 1985 Dodge truck. C. Sanders investigated.

Aug. 21 - Ken Anderson, 501 Tripp St., Williamston, reported a window broken out at the residence causing $150 in damage. C. Sanders investigated.

Aug. 11 - Robert Thompson, 25 Ridge Court, Williamston reported a lawnmower valued at $1,400 and a trailer valued at $1,200 taken from the residence. D. W. Alexander investigated.

Aug. 22 - Betty Waldrop, 50, 128 Austin Dr., Anderson, was arrested for shoplifting items valued at $50 at Eckerd, 201 West Main St., Williamston. Z. E. Gregory investigated.

Festival parking costly

Several persons attending the Spring Water Festival Saturday found that parking was costly when they found their vehicles towed from a private business lot on Main St., located adjacent to the Town’s parking lot at the Depot.

The vehicles were towed from the  private lot by a local tow service.

The persons who had vehicles towed complained that there were no signs posted at the lot stating parking was not allowed and that the $300 fee they paid to get their vehicle back was exorbitant.

A portable sign at the business had the message “Welcome to Clardyville” and has been the subject of several messages aimed at actions of the mayor during recent months.

A small “No Parking” sign is posted in the window of the business, which is used periodically during the year, usually to sell fireworks.

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy said several people who had vehicles towed and others who heard of the incident had contacted his office and the police department.

Clardy said the incident was unfortunate for those who had vehicles towed.

 “The town has no official position on the situation,” Clardy said.

Councilman David Harvell had asked council at their last meeting to consider an ordinance placing a cap and other guidelines for towing services and storage fees for towing service businesses  that are on the town’s rotation list.

There are currently no local or state limits on fees that can be charged by towing services according to Williamston Police Chief Troy Martin.

Tip leads to motorcycle recovery

An anonymous call to Anderson County authorities resulted in the recovery of a stolen motorcycle in Piedmont Saturday.

Brandon Gabriel Cape of 8 Marshall Street reported that someone had taken a 2002 Suzuki GSX-R 750 motorcycle from his driveway in the early morning hours Saturday. Later that same day, an anonymous caller reported that the motorcycle was parked in the yard of a vacant home at 302 Melanie Drive. Deputy David Patten recovered the $7,500 vehicle a little after 2 p.m. and returned it to Cape.

Anderson County deputies also investigated the following incidents:

Aug. 26 – Larry Dale McBride, 52, 2235 Firetower Road, Piedmont, was exiting the Super 8 Motel on Earle E. Morris, Jr. Hwy., when he witnessed someone tampering with his truck and then speeding away. Suspects broke padlocks on the truck and trailer causing $15 in damages, but McBride reported nothing missing from the truck or the trailer. T. A. Rice investigated.

Aug. 26 – Ingles, 10903 Anderson Rd., Piedmont, reported that two customers altered health and beauty aid items by removing the alarm activating strips. According to store policy, the individuals were placed on trespass notice. During the interview process, Deputy T. A. Rice determined that the suspects were “grossly intoxicated” and charged them with public disorderly conduct. Jason Taylor Edwards, 24, and Patrick James Kubanek, 20, both of 200 Wedgefield Drive, Powdersville, were arrested and transported to Anderson County Detention Center.

Aug. 25 – John R. Watkins, 34, 501 Hwy. 86, Piedmont, reported that someone carried away two bicycles valued at $180 from his front porch. D. Mitchell investigated.

Aug. 24 – Mama Mia Pizzeria, 128 Lebby St., Pelzer, reported that someone kicked open the back door and took $600 and a Nokia cell phone. D. M. Patten investigated.

Aug. 24 – John Hall, 64, 534 Bonanza Cir., Piedmont, reported that someone removed a toolbox and tools valued at $300 from his carport. D. Hodges investigated.

Aug. 24 – James Thomas Hart, 35, 311 Sassafras Dr., Easley, reported fishing equipment and tools valued at $1,010 taken from his garage. C. Diaz investigated.

Aug. 24 – Judy Davenport, 51, 40 Madison Ct., Piedmont, reported that someone removed cash and jewelry valued at $2,700 from her vehicle. D. Hodges investigated.

Candidates file in Pelzer election

Pelzer voters will have a choice between two candidates for mayor in the general election scheduled for November 4. Incumbent D. Page Henderson will seek re-election against Kenneth E. Davis for the office of mayor.

Tony Riddle along with incumbents Steve McGregor and Betty Edens have filed for three of the four council seats available.

The fourth council seat is open for any qualified write-in candidate according to Skip Watkins, municipal clerk.

The town is governed by the mayor-council form of government and currently has 54 registered voters according to the Voter Registration Office.

When asked about the possibility of combining the municipalities of Pelzer and West Pelzer which was mentioned recently at a West Pelzer town council meeting, Watkins stated that he doesn’t foresee that happening.

Watkins added that “combining services” such as maintenance and operations would be much more of a possibility for the two towns.

District leads in exit exam scores, sees SAT scores dip

By Stephanie Summerlin

Citing that more students are attempting the SAT in order to land  scholarships, Anderson District One Assistant Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler announced at the August Board of Trustees meeting that district scores on the test dropped slightly from 2002 to 2003.

According to Fowler, the average SAT score for 2003 was 1012 – down from 1037 last year. And while scores declined, the number of students taking the test rose 7 percent from 2002.

The district did exceed the state average by 23. And the top 10 percent of Anderson One’s students taking the SAT surpassed the state’s and nation’s top 10 percent – scoring 1199 compared to 1149 for South Carolina seniors and 1192 for those taking the test nationally.

“This points to the fact that students who prepare themselves by taking the most rigorous academic classes do well on the SAT,” says Dr. Reggie Christopher, superintendent.

Those not taking the more difficult road academically are not as prepared and usually don’t fare as well on the standardized test, Fowler says.

“The drop in scores can be attributed a great deal to students taking SAT in hopes of getting a Hope or Life scholarship,” Fowler says. “In the past, chances are these same students would have never taken the SAT. While we aren’t pleased with the results, we recognize that fluctuations in scores will occur.”

“Students take the PSAT in the 10th grade and often do not do well,” Christopher says. “Then they take the ACT as juniors, and then as seniors they say, ‘Maybe I’ll get lucky and score well on the SAT and qualify for a scholarship.’  All schools face the dilemma of students taking the SAT who have not prepared themselves appropriately.”

In other testing news, Anderson One led the Upstate and placed second statewide in BSAP exit exam scores, with more than 85 percent of 10th graders passing reading, writing and math on the first attempt.

Fowler also noted in his instructional report to the board that, for the first time in recent memory, Anderson One’s overall math scores have exceeded reading scores.

In response, the district has established “Anderson One Reads”, an initiative aimed at offering teachers at least three graduate/recertification reading courses, staff development seminars focusing on reading, and a district-wide event Sept. 26 bringing nationally acclaimed authors Jim Trelease and Janet Allen to speak on improving reading education kindergarten through12th grade.

In anticipation of the South Carolina End of Course examinations, students taking such courses as Algebra I and Biology I now have notebook inserts outlining the standards that must be met for each class.

“Under the Education Accountability Act of 1998, it was determined that these standards will count as 20 percent of the student’s final grade,” Fowler says.

He noted that pilot programs will be in place this school year for certain history, biology and English courses. Twenty percent of students’ Algebra I grades, on the other hand, will hinge on standards met on the end of the course exam.

Numbers continued to be the focus of the school board meeting, as Christopher announced yet another budget shortfall from the state. According to the superintendent, the State Department of Education announced it had “sequestered 1 percent of EIA funds.” The result is $170,000 less in District One’s coffers this school year.

Christopher also noted that the Anderson County School Board recently approved a millage increase for District One – up .5 mils to 4.5.

To date, the district has seen revenues of $6,906,778 (11 percent of budget) and expenditures of $5,376902 (10 percent of budget), according to Director of Finance Steve Uldrick.

In Anderson One’s Energy Performance Evaluation for 2002, the district spent 67 cents per square feet in terms of energy consumption – 22 cents less than the state average.

On the building front, Christopher reported that Wren High’s Freshman Academy wing is still set to open in January.

“We’ve had problems getting the building to dry out due to all the rain,” he says. “We’ve been very concerned about the gym floor. We’ve been slowed by weather, but we plan to be in the building in January with a move over Christmas.”

The following personnel motions were also accepted by the board:

Requests for leave of absence – Whitney Cox, Palmetto High, eight weeks’ maternity leave beginning Oct. 20; Kathy Simpson, Wren Middle, eight-week medical leave Aug. 4-Oct. 1; Teeka Holtzclaw, Palmetto Middle, six-week maternity leave Oct. 9-Nov. 20.

Transfer – Sallie Moreland, from Palmetto Middle EMD S/C to Powdersville Middle EMD S/C.

Recommendation – Heather Koestline, Spearman Elementary, third grade.

Beautification project completed

The Piedmont Public Service Commission recently completed a beautification project at Piedmont’s Tom C. Pack Memorial Park.

With PalmettoPride Grant funds of $2,060, the District was able to purchase plants, shrubs and trees to beautify the park and surrounding.

“We, along with the citizens and churches in our area have enjoyed the flowers and plants and the added beauty they bring as we enjoy the walking track, ballpark, playgrounds and picnic shelters,” Board Chairman Marsha Rogers said.

 “We appreciated the support of the S. C. legislators and Governor Jim Hodges who created PalmettoPride. We have enjoyed working with PalmettoPride and we feel that we have gained much due to these effort,” Rogers said. “Let’s all work together to keep our park and surroundings clean and beautiful.”

Uniforms give department new look

Williamston Police Department Officers will have a new look beginning this week. The department is dressing out in new uniforms which feature a dark gray shirt and black slacks.

The uniforms are made of a polyester material, making them easier to clean and less expensive than the old uniforms, according to Williamston Police Chief  Troy Martin. The new uniforms include a redesigned town patch which features the municipal center.

According to Martin, the uniforms are cooler and provide a professional look for the town’s officers. Dispatchers will have a more casual look, wearing a cotton polo shirt with an embroidered badge.

Martin has said the new uniforms are part of his plan  to upgrade the image of the department with a different look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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