Week of Sept. 10
places fee restrictions on towing services
Williamston Town Council approved first reading on an ordinance placing caps on fees that can be charged by towing services that are on the towns rotation list.
Councilman David Harvell requested council consider a cap or limit on towing fees during the last meeting of Council after receiving several complaints.
The matter gained additional support after an incident occurred during the Spring Water Festival in which several vehicles were towed from a private lot on Main St., and according to those involved, were charged excessive fees to have their vehicle returned.
The incident involved at least three people and a local towing service and did not directly involve the town, according to Mayor Phillip Clardy.
Clardy said the town was considering caps to make sure fees being charged on vehicles towed at the towns request were fair.
At present, in the event the police department is told to provide a wrecker, they normally call the first wrecker on the list for an accident or other issue where a vehicle is towed and the owner has no preference, Mayor Clardy said.
In a situation where the government intervenes in the privacy of a business owner, the town has to be careful how they intervene, Clardy said.
Clardy said the town can specify who can be on the rotation list and can set guidelines to operate under. Our goal is not to overstep bounds, but to step as far as we have to, Clardy said.
Council heard comments on the topic from several individuals.
Larry Strom, Dickens Ave., Williamston, addressed council about a situation in which cars were towed from property during the festival.
I think this is an absolute abuse of the law, Strom said.
Strom made several suggestions to council including requiring businesses on the list to provide a price list of charges for services they provide.
This town is not built on that type of business, Strom said. He also said he was willing to purchase No parking signs which he said could be put on the highway right-of-way.
I challenge each of you , since the election has been held, that it is time to heal. We have got to come together as citizens to carry on and grow, Strom said. The comments drew applause from many of those attending the meeting.
Clardy responded that he and council have recommitted to work in the best interest of the town.
Our town has endured many hardships and issues and I want to publicly acknowledge that, Clardy said.
Two people who had vehicles towed from a private lot on Main St. during the festival also addressed council.
Linda Walden, of Piedmont Hwy., Piedmont, said she was one of the persons who had a vehicle towed from the lot.
Walden said she had brought her granddaughters to the festival and parked in the lot which she said had no signs indicating it should not be used for parking.
It took four hours to get my car back, she said.Walden said she had to walk five miles and had damage to her car. She also said the towing service refused to take a check, resulting in her having to put the charge on her visa card because she didnt have cash.
She also said she had received phone calls instructing her, not to be here tonight.
Debbie Page of Lexington S. C., a vendor at the festival, said she had parked in the lot which she also said had no visible signs. She said she paid $300 to get her car back after it was towed.
She referred to a State code which she said states that vehicles can be towed if a notice is posted on border of such property.
There were no signs there, she said. She said she had contacted several agencies concerning the matter including the local magistrate.
After hearing the comments, Clardy said, This is not at all the impression we want people who are guests to have of our town.
Yes, it is politically spun. It embarrasses me and it is upsetting, which is what he intended to do, Clardy said.
Clardy said on behalf of himself he wanted to apologize for the actions.
He then said he and council discussed privately in executive session, placing a ceiling on acceptable fees.
Clardy said the town would require a cap of $75 for towing a small standard vehicle, $10 a day for storage and $40 per hour as a recovery fee.
On large vehicles the fee cap would be $200 for towing, $20 per day storage and $50 per hour recovery fee.
First reading on the proposed ordinance was unanimously approved by Council.
Clardy said additional restrictions may be included in the ordinance when it is presented for second reading at the next meeting of Council.
A business license is revocable at the will of council, Clardy said. We want to look at what parameters can be set forward.
Under the new ordinance, Clardy suggested that to be on the rotation list a business must be licensed to do business in the town, have proof of insurance on their property and vehicles and may include other parameters which would be added on second reading.
Town attorney Richard Thompson said that the state code quoted by one of the speakers envisions a contract between a land owner and a vehicle owner and that the issue could be brought before a magistrate court under the fair trade practices section of the state code.
Clardy said a municipality does not have the authority to block a private drive, but suggested that a fence could be erected to separate the property from the adjacent property owned by the town, to discourage people from parking there.
The towing cap ordinance and other issues were discussed during a 71 minute executive session held at the beginning of the regular monthly meeting of Council, according to Clardy.
Prior to going into exective session, Clardy said there were issues council would like to discuss which required legal advice.
He also said there was more than one particular issue and some curent issues including one from the last meeting, which were to be discussed in executive session.
Before taking a vote by council to go behind closed doors, Clardy said the matters to be discussed involved contractural and personnel matters.
After returning to regular session, council heard public comments.
Connie Strom, of Dickens Ave., Williamston, said she had left a written statement of questions for Councilmen Pepper and Cothran and had received no response from either. Strom also asked why minutes of council meetings were not being properly done and in a timely manner.
Kenneth Bearden of Gossett St., Williamston, asked if the former mayors name could be taken off a street bearing his name.
In old business, Councilman David Harvell asked about details of comments made by Strom at the last meeting which were not included in the minutes. Council decided to table approval of the minutes, pending addition of the comments.
Council approved the addition of three names to the disabilities committee.
Mayor Clardy announced that the town has been awarded a $192,000 grant to replace and extend sidewalks in the town. An official check presentation will be held in October, the mayor said.
In other business, council approved the closure of North St.
Clardy said the street had been approved for closure in 1998 but had never been officially closed.
The street presents a serious safety situation and is in disrepair due to recent rains which have eroded a section of the ground supporting it, according to Clardy.
Council approved the matter unanimously.
Council were told of suggested changes to the towns zoning map. Planning Commission chairman Jim Simpson told council the changes would better reflect use of certain properties within the town.
The changes include adding two new classifications, R5 mobile home and R6 institutional public recreational. Ten areas in the town are slated for rezoning to better reflect the changes and the actual property use.
Clardy said that he will be attending a meeting in Pendleton on Sept. 24 to address concerns about services being provided by Anderson County on things like repair on county and city roads and landfills. The meeting will be at 10 a.m.
Council also heard from Town employee David Rogers about insurance issues.
Rogers said there needs to be guidelines for firefighters responding in personal vehicles with siren and/or lights, including a minimum $100,000 liablility insurance.
Rogers also said the town needed to check with Anderson County about workers comp coverage on inmate labor being provided by the County.
The town has until Oct. 1 to respond and could receive a premium credit instead of an increase by providing the information to the towns insurance provider, Rogers said.
Council approved the Williamston Christmas Parade to be held on Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. Coordinator Walt Smith asked council for $1,000 to purchase trophies, pay marching bands, provide candy and pay other expenses associated with the annual event.
Smith also asked Clardy to be the grand marshall for the parade.
Clardy accepted the invitation and asked Smith to consider extending the parade from Calvary Church to Greenville Dr.
Council approved the date and funding 5-0.
Council also approved use of the park amphitheatre by the Williamston Presbyterian Church for an event on Oct. 12.
Councilman Wade Pepper asked Clardy to look into a four way stop at Mill St. and Williams St. The town is also considering the possibility of placing a traffic light on Hamilton St. at Palmetto High School.
Williamston Police Chief Troy Martin said Wednesday morning that authorities have received numerous tips in connection with the death of William Ricky Loskoski but have not made an arrest in the case.
Regardless of rumours, speculation and half truths that seem to be spreading through the community, no warrants have been issued or arrests have been made to date in this issue, Chief Martin said.
Martin said the Williamston Police Department and State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) agents are still following up on the leads in the investigation.
Approximately 100 persons have been interviewed and about 12 polygraphs have been administered, according to Martin.
We have received a lot of cooperation and concern from the community, Martin said.
Martin said authorities have been working as much as 18 hours a day taking statements, interviewing persons and following up on leads.
SLED has continued to be instrumental in the investigation, according to Martin.
One local resident said the rumors circulating throughout the town have hurt his business.
Tim Ellison, owner of Tim Ellisons Auto Service, said rumors circulating recently indicating he had been arrested in the case are untrue and have resulted in a slowing of business.
Ellison said he has seen a decline in business since first hearing of the rumors.
He said he was one of the many persons interviewed by authorities.
I was interviewed and hopefully provided information that was helpful in the case, Ellison said. But I wasnt arrested. I was just trying to help.
Ellison said he sympathizes with the Loskoski family during this time and hopes authorities solve the case soon.
The community needs to stop spreading rumors and let the authorities do their job, Ellison said.
The Town of Williamston has been awarded $192,000 in transportation enhancement funds by the S. C. Department of Transportation Commission, officials said this week.
The funds will assist with the development of a sidewalk project in the town.
Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy said the project will include repair and replacement of existing sidewalks along Main St., and extension of sidewalks along Greenville Drive to the Curb Market and along Anderson Drive toward Hardees.
Clardy said the project will also include providing a graded access to sidewalks, making them usable by handicapped persons.
The funds are part of an allocation by the SCDOT Commission for enhancement projects for a broad range of non-traditional ttransportation related activities such as streetscaping, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, scenic and landscaping and historic preservation.
A Big Check presentation will be coordinated by SCDOT and the town probably in October, Mayor Clardy said.
West Pelzer citizens heard updates on many issues and concerns at the regular meeting of the town council Tuesday.
Mayor Peggy Paxton explained some confusion about the pending sewer project for the town. According to Paxton, the project will involve replacing only a few lines with primary responsibility left to the town for replacing the remaining lines.
Paxton explained her concern that water infiltration will devastate the town without the town replacing aging sewer lines. Paxton said that the town has no choice but to go ahead with the project based on Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) mandates, and that she will be looking for financial assistance from the county and through grants to help fund the cost of replacing the lines.
Paxton also added that there is a possibility of funds available through a grant to the fire department to replace lines up to the facility since there is no hydrant available in the area.
Paxton said that the sewer project will take two years to complete once it is begun and that this will give the town some time to work on the sewer line replacement. She also reminded citizens that billing rates will increase with the project.
Paxton reported that testing on some water meters showed as little as two gallons/minute water pressure in some areas of the town. The town was able to improve water pressure problems at Cuttin Loose on Main Street by replacing some pipes according to Paxton.
Any billing adjustments due to water leaks will be recorded as a part of town council meeting minutes in order to reconcile water department accounting at the end of the year for the audit according to Paxton.
Paxton also reported that garbage pickup has changed to Wednesday only and that plans are in process to pick up limbs and leaves.
Paxton said that she will meet Friday with County Administrator Joey Preston and the mayor of Pelzer to discuss road planning.
Water and sewer employees will be pumping out sludge for the next few days at the disposal plant according to DHEC instructions and then will begin working on Stephanie Drive water problems according to Paxton.
Addressing citizen concerns from the last council meeting, Paxton reported that right-of-way issues with landowners on Burkette and Marguerite Streets had been handled, and that the county would begin clearing property on the two dangerous curves in the area. Paxton also reported that clearing had begun on the burned house on Marguerite Street.
Paxton reminded citizens that a left turn lane has been added at the traffic light at the intersection of Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 20 to improve traffic safety.
Senator Billy ODell will be donating two new flags to the town according to Paxton.
Based on citizen response, the town will not be going to billing every two months, Paxton reported.
During citizen comments, a citizen questioned the continuing absence of Council member Joe Turner. Is he going to attend any meeting under the new administration? she asked. Paxton said that she would be contacting Turner about the matter.
Another citizen questioned the town ordinance banning burning leaves and limbs and asked if the ordinance would be enforced due to the new pickup plan.
Another citizen expressed concern about an individual who continues to illegally park at the intersection of Spring Street and Hwy. 8. Paxton referred the issue to Council member Terry Davis to resolve.
The council scheduled another meeting for September 16 at 6 p.m., moved into executive session to discuss personnel matters and then adjourned the meeting.
A strange turn of events resulted in the recovery of a stolen vehicle in Pelzer Saturday. Someone took a 1989 Chevy S-10 truck belonging to Deborah Jean Duncan, 230 Stoneybrook Rd., Pelzer, from the parking lot of Ashmore Lounge located at 301 Courtney Street in Pelzer. The suspect then sold the truck to an individual who soon realized the vehicle was stolen since items belonging to the owner were still in the vehicle. The buyer contacted the West Pelzer Police Department to report the transaction, and the vehicle was returned to the owner.
Sept. 8 Robin Wilson Mize, 35, 100 Beaver Run Lane, Williamston, reported that someone stole a red and white 1996 Kawasaki jet ski and a 1989 white Yamaha jet ski and trailer valued at $10,000. D. B. Anderson investigated.
Sept. 8 Bobby Davis, 70, 101 Jackson Court, Easley, reported that someone removed several pieces of farm equipment and materials valued at $10,801 from a pasture. C. R. Mize investigated.
Sept. 8 Morris D. Bryant, 63, 1531 Easley Hwy., Pelzer, reported that someone removed an orange 2002 Scotts riding mower valued at $1600 from a shed. F. Wooten investigated.
Sept. 8 Philip Minnie, 45, 106 Bragg Dr., Williamston, reported that someone took a CD player valued at $187 from his vehicle. K. L. Brown investigated.
Sept. 8 Mike James Shriber, 32, 323 Santee Dr., Piedmont, reported that someone broke into a storage bin at Anchor Storage and removed camping gear valued at $4,420. W. Mills investigated.
Sept. 8 Pilot, 110 Frontage Rd., Piedmont, reported that a customer walked out without paying for two 12-packs of Budweiser valued at $16. K. L. Brown investigated.
Sept. 8 West Pelzer Fire Department, Hwy. 8, Pelzer, reported that someone removed a Motorola walkie-talkie valued at $300 from the yard of a volunteer. M. D. Campbell investigated.
Sept. 8 Michael L. Banks, 52, 1333 Old Mill Rd., Easley, reported that someone removed 250 gallons of jet fuel valued at $645 from the tank of a Freightliner while it was in the shop for repairs. M. D. Campbell investigated.
Sept. 8 William Pearson, 45, 1109 Welcome Rd., Williamston, reported that someone removed a trailer and a riding lawn mower valued at $1600 from behind his residence. C. R. Mize investigated.
Sept. 8 David Walton Shaw, 32, 906 Belton Hwy., Williamston, reported that someone pried open a kitchen window and stole a Craftsman sander valued at $40. D. B. Anderson investigated.
Sept. 7 Robin Lee White, 33, 150 Whites Dr., Pelzer, reported that someone took cash, a firearm, a Chevy Blazer, and miscellaneous items valued at $3,325. W. Mills investigated.
Sept. 7 Ronald Lee Holdbrooks, 39, 508 Woodcock Dr., Pelzer, reported that someone took a Savage 12-gauge shotgun valued at $1,000. W. Mills investigated.
Sept. 6 Hector Arcelus, 53, 118 Century Oaks Dr., Easley, reported that someone took tools valued at $2,914 from the rear of his work truck parked in his driveway. W. Mills investigated.
Sept. 6 Larry Seymour, 56, 1136 White Rd., Piedmont, reported that someone pried open a window and stole power tools valued at $775. D. B. Anderson investigated.
Sept. 6 Joshua Daniel Gilreath, 23, #6 Lyman St., Pelzer, reported that someone took a Panasonic DVD player, Playstation games and a pistol valued at $400. M. B. Sloan investigated.
Sept. 6 Mike Anthony Dornella, 35, 310 Sassafras Dr., Easley, reported that someone took a tool box and tools and an ice chest valued at $2,125 from his pickup truck. W. Mills investigated.
Sept. 6 William Colie Johnson, 29, 132 E. Church Rd., Easley, reported that someone took a 1996 Honda CR250 dirt bike valued at $1500 from a shed. M. B. Sloan investigated.
Sept. 5 Billy Wayne Burns, 58, 102 Wyatt Rd. Easley, reported that someone stole a 2002 Yamaha motorcycle from his garage. R. Burns investigated.
Sept. 5 R C Trailers, 4725 Hwy. 29 North, Williamston, reported that someone cut a chain securing a gate and removed a 5x14 black utility trailer valued at $875. C. Diaz investigated.
Sept. 5 Rita Stone, 32, 13 Guy St., Pelzer, reported that someone removed a tag valued at $24 from her truck. D. Hodges investigated.
Sept. 5 Big Creek Hammond Water, 250 Mitchell Rd., Belton, reported that a customer had stolen $500 in water. R. K. Scogins investigated.
Sept. 2 - Mama Mia's Pizzeria, 128 Lebby St., Pelzer, reported that someone forced entry through the back door and removed $600 in cash and video equipment, a cell phone and food valued at $2,181. Alex Burdette investigated.
Sept. 2 - JanPak, 134 Leader Dr., Greenville, reported that someone removed a black 6x16 trailer valued at $1,717 parked behind the business. Alex Burdette investigated.
Sept. 2 - Mary Lynn Westall, 38, 104 Willow Dr., Piedmont, reported that someone took assorted medications valued at $60 from a cabinet. T. A. Caron investigated.
Sept. 2 - Martin & Martin Auctioneers, 1618 Easley Hwy., Pelzer, reported that someone removed a black 16x6 utility trailer loaded with PVC pipe valued at $950 from the business. J. A. Burdette investigated
Sept. 2 - Billy E. McGee, 73, 918 Old Pendleton Rd., Easley, reported that someone removed a brown 1999 Yamaha Big Bear valued at $3,000 from his back yard. M. D. Campbell investigated.
Aug. 29 - Lunch Box Café, 7903 Hwy. 81 North, Easley, reported that someone forced entry into two storage rooms by cutting and prying off locks causing $200 in damages. Value of missing items was not determined. Sgt. G. L. Carter investigated.
Aug. 28 - Francis Carrow, 48, 201 Poinsettia Dr., Easley, reported that someone had entered her residence and that $20 was missing. F. Wooten investigated.
Aug. 28 - Kathy Tallyen, 42, 15 Monroe Ct., Piedmont, reported that someone took a coin bank containing $100 from her residence. T. A. Caron investigated.
Aug. 28 - William Bartley Harris, 72, 19 Conner St., Pelzer, reported that someone took $600 from a wallet in his residence. D. B. Anderson investigated.
Aug. 28 - William Chandler Taylor, 62, 706 Conners Blvd., Piedmont, reported that someone stole a set of Zero Tolerance golf clubs and golfing gear valued at $950 from his vehicle. D. B. Anderson investigated.
Aug. 28 - Anthony Velton Dean, 29, 210 E. Carolina St., Williamston, reported that someone broke the passenger window to his vehicle in the parking lot of Mitchell Manufacturing and took 20 CDs and two registrations valued at $215. R. J. Payne investigated.
Aug. 28 - Powdersville Mart, 101 Cooper Rd., Piedmont, reported that someone broke out a side door, kicked in an office door causing $300 damage and removed $220 in cigarettes. J. R. Jones investigated.
Aug. 27 - Joe C. Chapman, Sr., 58, 216 Brentwood Dr., Piedmont, reported that someone removed a blower and chain saw valued at $350 from his carport. F Wooten investigated.
Aug. 26 - Mt. Airey Church, 210 Mt. Airey Church Rd., Easley, reported that someone went into an office and took $70 in cash and a Sony digital camera and case valued at $1.000. J. Durham investigated.
Aug. 26 - Collins Masonry, 1053 Martin Rd., Williamston, reported that someone took an industrial motor valued at $400 from a cement mixer on a construction site. T. A. Caron investigated.
Aug. 26 - Tri County Home Improvement, 101 Hoddersfield Dr., Piedmont, reported that someone carried away a VanMark metal brake valued at $1,000 from a job site. N. Mitchell investigated.
Aug. 26 - Bennett Equipment & Supply Co., Inc., 1812 Hwy. 86, Piedmont, reported that a customer had not returned rented items valued at $585. David M. Patten investigated.
Anderson County Council is expected to make a decision on bids for a QRV (Quick Response Vehicle) for the county at its next meeting on September 16. Medshore Ambulance Service, Honea Path EMS and the county have all submitted QRV proposals for consideration.
According to authorities, a light-duty QRV containing basic equipment for initial trauma care would provide emergency coverage to dead areas in the county where an ambulance is neither economically feasible nor readily available. A QRV would provide stabilization until an ambulance could arrive to transport patients since a QRV is not designed for that purpose.
Addressing council members at their meeting last week, EMS Commission Chairman Kent Berg emphasized that the commissions proposal recommending that the county operate the system was based on education, experience and information. Berg said the commission remains undaunted in its recommendation for a county-operated 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 of a consistent, county-wide system which would provide uniform training to EMS personnel as well as a consistency of care throughout the county.
Greg Shore of Medshore Ambulance Service said that the 18-month-old QRV bid process and discussions became complicated by a hidden agenda on the part of some individuals on the commission. I feel like Im fighting a Greenville County EMS coalition, Shore added. Bill Brock of the Honea Path EMS added his criticism of the commission saying the group had bypassed input from squad chiefs.
According to Council member Larry Greer, the county bid for one unit amounted to $932, 681 over a 5-year period. Honea Paths 1-unit bid totaled $900,000 while Medshores 2-unit bid totaled $919,000 over the same period.
Greer questioned Medshores low bid and 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 stated that his position 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.
Just over six months ago, family members, friends and local residents gathered in the early morning hours on March 6 to send off the local Army National Guard unit who were deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
While many well wishers returned to their normal daily activities, those who have family and loved ones who are members of the 151st Signal Battalion have had to make some major adjustments in their lives.
SGM(ret) Foster McLane is one of five Family Assistance Center Coordinators who work through the 228th Signal Brigade in Spartanburg, the parent of the local battalion. McLane, who was brought out of retirement to act as a liaison and advocate for families involved in the deployment, meets with a local support group twice a month and tries to maintain contact with family members in order to stay abreast of their needs and the needs of their soldiers.
A brief visit with McLane and members of the support group provides a very quick reminder of some of the issues family members face daily. Although military policy does not allow names or specific details to be revealed, members were willing to generally discuss some of their challenges.
A wife with a disability and a school age child explains that she was totally dependent on her husband for transportation since she cannot drive. Family members are an hours drive away so she cannot depend on them to meet daily needs.
A husband whose wife was deployed explains family health problems and issues he faces with his mother-in-law and his children in the absence of his wife.
A third member of the group discusses the challenges of having both a husband and son called up in the military deployment.
McLane emphasizes that the group is fortunate in that the guardsmen are members of a telecommunications unit. The network that the unit maintains also allows them to communicate sometimes as much as twice a week with their families via telephone or the Internet.
Yet at the same time McLane reminds everyone that the deployment creates special needs for the family members as well as the guardsmen. Transportation and companionship are ongoing needs for family members who do not have either readily available. McLane also mentions the needs that the guardsmen still have for items such as drink mixes, books, stationery, and toilet paper.
Since family members receive no special postage rates, shipping expenses become a financial issue for many of the families who find it difficult to afford the products and the shipping costs regularly.
The unpredictable set of circumstances causes anxiety to grow every day for these families, McLane explains. The disadvantage of a modern information system is that news and media reports may provide information which only creates additional stress for these families according to McLane.
McLane sees his job as to relieve as much stress for the families as possible and to remind everyone that the deployment is ongoing. Assistance that was needed at the beginning of the one-year deployment is needed now as much as ever. Individuals, schools, civic groups or churches wishing to assist in the support effort may call the Greenville Armory at (864) 277-6629 or 277-6669 to receive more information