News Archive

Week of Sept. 3

Tape sent to authorities; content not made public
Area residents present concerns to county council
EMS issues dominate county council meeting
‘Run for the One’ race set for Sept. 20
Meals on Wheels in need of volunteers 
Police investigate incidents

Tape sent to authorities; content not made public

Richard E. Thompson, Jr., legal counsel for The Town of Williamston, advised Mayor Phillip Clardy in a letter that if he received a tape of alleged criminal wrongdoing, he should turn the tape over to the appropriate law enforcement agencies or if unsure of who to send  it to, to send it to any applicable agencies.

“If you as Mayor of the Town of Williamston and by virtue of your office received a tape of alleged criminal wrongdoing, it would be our advice, that if you do nothing with the tape you could probably be accused of either covering up alleged criminal activity, at a minimum or possibly although more unlikely, you could be accused of actually being in complicity with the wrongdoing,” the letter stated.

The law firm also advised the town not to release the tape under Freedom Of Information guidelines “because of possible or alleged criminal wrongdoing or actions which might be construed to constitute criminal wrongdoing.”

According to the attorney, the contents of the tape would then not be divulged under the terms of the FOI acts under the criminal investigation exemption.

The letter also advises that if the tape contained matters of an extremely sensitive personal nature, it would be another reason  not to disclose the tape.

Mayor Clardy has confirmed that he has sent a tape to the FBI, the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the State Attorney General’s Office but has declined to comment on the contents of the tape.

Clardy said he informed the members of Town Council of his action during an executive session held at the end of the town’s last council meeting, August 4.

Rumors of a tape began circulating in the town several weeks ago. 

The Journal was told by Mayor Clardy that there was a tape, but no additional details were being made available. Earlier reporting on the issue by The Journal was declined due to lack of information.

At that time The Journal told Clardy that the issue would not be reported on until or unless authorities acted on it.

Clardy publicly acknowledged the existence of a tape in a report published in a local daily newspaper August 19, the same day as the referendum to change the town’s form of government.

Area residents present concerns to county council

Residents from Wren and Powdersville areas addressed Anderson County Council Tuesday about problems in their communities and requested assistance from the council in developing solutions.

Carol Hollis and residents of Airy Springs Road in the Wren community requested assistance with an ongoing speeding problem and presented several solutions for the council to consider.

Hollis explained that a petition for speed bumps generated in the spring of 2002 and signed by 95% of the residents had “fallen through the cracks.” Instead, the county had raised the speed from 25 mph to 35 mph on the shortcut from Hwy. 81 to Hwy. 86 since it was “not considered an urban district” and to comply with state law.

Hollis provided a folder of documentation of the problem to each council member and emphasized that 16 homeowners would “bear any expense” to alleviate the situation.

Proposals submitted by the group included: converting the thoroughfare to a one-way road, dead-ending the road at a specific curve, creating a 3-way intersection at Country Lake and Airy Springs, or revisiting the addition of speed bumps in the area.

Anderson County Transportation Holt Hopkins apologized to the group for the inattention by the county and explained that the employee handling the project had been deployed. He also reported that the county had received petitions supporting and opposing speed bumps. According to Hopkins, 47 area residents opposed speed bumps while 21 residents supported them.

Council Chairman Bill Dees who represents the area requested that Hopkins arrange a community meeting with residents to discuss the issue and begin to develop a solution.

Lewis Crittenden, a resident of Heritage Acres near the intersection of Hwy. 81 and Pine Road near Powdersville, addressed the council about a problem with neighbor Dale Elrod who is “dumping produce” on his 15-acre farm in the area. According to Crittenden, 79 families have signed a petition protesting the “unreasonable smell” and insects created by the process.

Crittenden reported that Elrod receives as many as six dump trucks of produce a day from Country Fresh Produce in Greenville County to feed a herd of bulls in his pasture. According to Crittenden, the 1800-pound animals do not consume all of the produce which then decomposes and creates an odor in the community. The smell “lifts you off your feet when you come out of the house” according to Crittenden who says he has had to discontinue outdoor activities due to the odor.

Council member Gracie Floyd requested advice from County Environmental Services Director Victor Carpenter about the problem. Carpenter reported that he would consult with Clemson about the proper amount of food required to feed the animals. He also reported that any excess produce could be considered “out of county waste.” County Administrator Joey Preston added that this was a DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Control) issue. Dees encouraged Carpenter to develop a solution “within the law.”

Elrod’s wife who was present at the meeting reported that they were feeding the animals organically with fresh produce remnants, not garbage. She also stated that no one had approached her husband to discuss the problem.

Dees encouraged Crittenden and Elrod to meet with Carpenter to discuss the issue and develop a solution to the problem.

EMS issues dominate county council meeting

Anderson County Council’s review of a QRV (Quick Response Vehicle) proposal for the county at their regular meeting Tuesday brought up many questions and differing points of view about the present and future EMS system.

According to authorities, a light-duty QRV would provide emergency coverage to “dead areas” in the county where an ambulance is neither economically feasible nor readily available.

Greg Shore, head of Medshore Ambulance Service and a bidder on the QRV, described patient care in the county as “second to none” and said that the 8:59 minute response time has “set the bar high.”

Shore said that the 18-month-old QRV bid process and discussions became complicated by a “hidden agenda” on the part of some individuals. Referring to some members of the EMS Commission, Shore added, “I feel like I’m fighting a Greenville County EMS coalition.”

Danny Durham, board chairman of the Pelzer Rescue Squad, said that there are a lot of questions which have not been addressed about the QRV service. Durham questioned the “true needs” and asked for a study of the volume of calls in a year in remote areas as well as an assessment of “valid emergencies.” Durham added that a county-operated service would involve liability and insurance issues which would need to be addressed.

Bill Brock of the Honea Path EMS and a bidder on the QRV questioned the existence of personnel job descriptions and management plans for the QRV system. Referring to a shortage in EMS personnel, Brock added, “Where will medics come from without raiding existing services?”

Brock also criticized communication between the EMS Commission and the rescue squads saying that the “traffic flow” of information had been changed bypassing input from the chiefs.

EMS Commission Chairman Kent Berg reminded the council that members of the commission were “hand selected” by the council. He emphasized that the commission has had no hidden agenda and that their recommendations for a county-operated service come from experience, education, and information.

“The future is at risk,” Berg said and referred to the adversarial relationship between Medshore and the rescue squads as well as conflicts among the squads themselves.

Berg said the commission remains “undaunted” in its recommendation that the county operate the EMS system in order to “catch up” with the level of care in other counties. “The system is broken,” Berg said of the current system which he said is often referred to as “the worst EMS system in the Upstate.”

Berg encouraged the council to remain “solidified and coordinated” in support a consistent, county wide system.

Council member Fred Tolly responded that the system would be “ridiculously expensive” for the county to operate and that the private sector could operate the system more efficiently.

Council member Gracie Floyd emphasized that she was “tired of done deals” and that the county needed to stop and “do the studies” before making a decision.

Council member Larry Greer presented a detailed explanation of the bid process and bids received from the county, Medshore and Honea Path. According to Greer, the county bid for one unit amounted to $932, 681 over a 5-year period. Honea Path’s 1-unit bid totaled $900,000 while Medshore’s 2-unit bid totaled $919,000 over the same period.

Greer questioned Medshore’s low bid and an apparent willingness to lose money as an attempt to move out into the county and encroach on other areas. Shore emphasized that it is not his goal to take over other rescue squad areas.

Greer also questioned Shore about apparent violations of his contract with Anderson County regarding a mutual aid agreement. Greer cited 21 instances where Medshore had billed three squads for mutual aid assistance when the contract stated that no charge should be attached to the service. Greer expressed concern about a “history of compliance” and a “willingness to abide by an agreement.”

Greer stated that a “county QRV would protect the rescue squads and improve patient care” and prevent the county from “putting all our eggs in one basket.”

Council member Cindy Wilson cited “inherent conflicts” in the current system and asked County Attorney Tom Martin to investigate a possible conflict of interest in which a physician was being paid by the county and also by Medshore.

Emphasizing that this is a “business decision involving cost versus return,” Council member Clint Wright requested copies of all information that the commission had used to make its recommendation. Council Chairman Bill Dees requested that all council members receive that same information in order to make an informed decision on the issue.

In other business, the council unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance authorizing a FILOT (fee-in-lieu of tax) agreement between the county and Orian Rugs. A neighbor of the business, Elizabeth Peace spoke in support of the agreement during the public hearing on the ordinance.

The council also gave unanimous approval to the second reading of an ordinance establishing procedures and standards for reimbursement of expenses incurred in the course of official business on behalf of the county. There was no response during a public hearing on the ordinance.

The second reading of an ordinance extending a lease agreement with Michelin North America received unanimous approval. A public hearing on the ordinance generated no response.

The first reading of an ordinance rezoning approximately 3.5 acres on Evergreen Road in the Hopewell Precinct from I-2 (Industrial Park) to O-D (Office District) received unanimous approval. There was no response during a public hearing on the ordinance.

The council voted unanimously to oppose the rezoning of approximately 5.89 acres on Concord Road from R-20 (Single Family Residential) to O-D (Office District). A public hearing on the ordinance generated no response. Jeff Ricketson explained that the area had been designated “low density residential” according to the county comprehensive plan.

A resolution authorizing an inducement agreement between the county and J & S Properties for an industrial park in the Five Forks area received unanimous approval.

A resolution proposed by Wilson asking for an Attorney General’s opinion on the process applied to the tax assessment rollback died due to lack of support from other council members.

In a split vote, the council tabled a resolution to cease maintenance on four tracts on Chef’s House Way in Double Springs due to a concern about land locking two tracts of the property. Tolly and Wright opposed the motion to table.

‘Run for the One’ race set for Sept. 20

Runners and walkers from all over the area will pound the pavement Sept. 20 to raise money and awareness for wellness.

Run for the One, in its second year, is a four-mile foot race organized by Anderson School District One’s HealthSmart program.

The run, originating at Spearman Elementary School on Hwy. 8, is set for 8 a.m. 

Two events are slated for the morning – a one-mile “fun run” designed for children and novice runners or walkers, and a four-mile, certified USATF Grand Prix run.

Cash awards ($100/50/25) will be given to the top three overall male and female finishers in the four-mile Open and Masters divisions.

Awards will also be given to the top three four-mile male and female finishers in each age group division.

Medals will be presented to all children (12-under) who finish the one-mile event.

Age divisions for males include: 12-under, 13-18, 19-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-69 and 70-over. Female age divisions are: 12-under, 13-18, 19-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59 and 60-over.

Debbie Whittaker of Anderson School District One says the run, just one facet of the HealthSmart program, offers something for every participant.

“This event is a wonderful way for the employees, students and community members to get together, spend the morning and participate in something healthy,” she says.

Participants who pay the $15 entry fee by Sept. 5 will also receive a Run for the One T-shirt.

All proceeds from the race will benefit District One schools and the HealthSmart program – the district’s employee wellness program.

To register, log on to strictlyrunning.com or the district’s web site, www.anderson1.k12.sc.us, or pick up a brochure at any Anderson One school. For more information, contact Debbie Whittaker at 847-7344 or email at whittakd@anderson1.k12.sc.us.

Meals on Wheels in need of volunteers

Anderson and Greenville County Meals on Wheels organization is in dire need of drivers officials said.

Since many volunteers are only available during the summer months, Meals on Wheels is currently facing a volunteer shortage.  

Anderson County MOW is especially in need of drivers in the Pelzer area, according to program coordinator Jean Edwards.

Edwards said there are approximately 40 people in the Pelzer area who are need of meals and not enough drivers to have the meals deliverd once daily each week.

Edwards said there are several routes that only have 2 or 3 drivers on a regular basis and that each route needs 5 drivers and substitute or two.

Drivers usually volunteer for one morning each week or once every 2 weeks for approximately two hours. They are also looking for substitute drivers for one time each month.

Anyone interested in volunteering to be a driver in Anderson County can call 225-6800 for information.

   There are approximately 20 delivery routes in Greenville County that are without volunteers to deliver meals, according to Volunteer Coordinator Jan Dewar.

Over 100 volunteers are needed daily to prepare and deliver approximately 1,600 meals to homebound elderly and disabled people living in Greenville County. 

According to Dewar, “there are volunteer opportunities for those who can deliver meals daily, weekly or on a monthly basis.”  

Meals on Wheels is a non-profit, home-delivered, hot meal service for homebound disabled and elderly persons who are unable to prepare their own food.  The organization relies solely upon private contributions without funding from the Government or United Way.

Meals on Wheels of Greenville has served its citizens at no charge for thirty-five years.

Volunteers make up approximately 98% of the staff at Meals on Wheels and are the lifeline of the program. 

This year Meals on Wheels of Greenville will prepare and deliver approximately 400,000 life-sustaining meals to residents living in Greenville County.

For more information about Meals on Wheels of Greenville call Jan Dewar at 233-6565 or go online at  www.mealsonwheelsgreenville.org.

Police investigate incidents

Williamston police officers investigated the following incidents:

Aug. 31 - Nicolas Mateo Gonzales, 38, 7 Hill Avenue, Williamston, reported windows being broken out of the residence. B. L. Wilson II investigated.

Aug. 31 - Danny R. Neal, 43, 603 Tripp St., Williamston, reported his house being struck with bright orange paintballs. While investigating the incident, officers noticed the Veterans memorial and another house was also hit. C. Sanders investigated.

Aug. 29 - Marcus Anthony Holsclaw, 29, 1 Lewis Circle, Williamston, was arrested for outstanding warrant and possession of marijuana after a warrant was served at his residence. After he was transported to the Williamston Police department, five grams of a green leafy substance  believed to be marijuana was found in a clear plastic baggie in the rear of the patrol vehicle. Sgt. D. Munger, P. D. Marter investigated.

 Aug. 29 - James Steven Biggs, 16, 408 Tripp St., Williamston, reported a liquid substance and scratches on the hood of a 1994 Dodge pickup causing $500 in damage. The vehicle belongs to Charlene Ross Biggs of the same address. J. L. Barnes investigated.

Aug. 29 - Jackie Smith, Williamston Ceramics, 501 Greenville Dr., Williamston, reported a vehicle struck  her building causing $500 in damage. Z. E. Gregory investigated.

Aug. 26 - Tara Diminique, 32, 217 Lufkin Dr., Williamston, reported a CCB visa /ATM card removed from an unlocked vehicle while at Palmetto Primary School, 1 Roberts Blvd. The card was used at the Honea Path Post Office, Williamston Post Office, Belton Post office and an unknown location.

Aug. 27 - Phillip Lawyne Milam, 31, 602 Tripp St., Williamston, was arrested for no tag light, expired vehicle license and possession of a controlled substance after a 1991 Chevrolet GEO Storm was observed on South Hamilton St. K. P. Evatt, D. P. Munger investigated.

 

 

 

 

 

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