News Archive

Week of Sept. 17

Woodmen present flag, pole in honor of 911 victims at Beech Springs Tabernacle
Public participation needed for planning Cedar Grove area
Wilson continues questions on county expenditures
Piedmont Service District board remembers Turner
Firefighter funds benefit Wren Fire Department
State Senator Billy O’Dell switches to Republican party
West Pelzer Council approves stalking, loitering ordinance
Davis presented Shrine Jacket

State Senator Billy O’Dell switches to Republican party

State Senator Billy O’Dell announced Tuesday that he is switching party affiliation and will run for re-election as a Republican.

O’Dell made the announcement during a five-city stop that included Honea Path, Belton, Williamston, Anderson and Greenwood.

“I am announcing that I am joining the Republican Party. I announce this today to make my constituents aware of my actions and to announce that when I run for re-election I will do so as a Republican,” O’dell told a room full of people at the Williamston Municipal Center.

“I’m not going to change the way I represent District 4,” O’Dell said. “I will still decide the issues based on the merits and I will continue to do what is best for my constituents.”

 O’Dell said he considers his job to have three important components.

“The first is to stay true to my conservative philosophy as we tackle the issues that are important today,” he said.

“The second is to keep my ear attuned to what my constituents think and need and to put myself in a position where I can serve them most effectively. The third component to my being a senator is to put my district and state first and party affairs second,” O’Dell said.

O’Dell, who has served 15 years in the Senate as a Democrat, said during the last legislative session, he moved his desk to what could be considered the Republican side.

“I did this because I have been troubled by how I fit and relate to the party that I have belonged. I have not been comfortable in that position. I believe that now my views and those of my district are better served and championed by the Republican Party,” he said.

O’Dell promised not to engage in bashing of his former party or its members.

“I still have many friends across the aisle and each is a decent and honorable person,” he said.

“But I owe it to my district to be the most effective senator that I can possibly be, and I owe it to myself to work with the party that most closely reflects my philosophy and that of my district,” he said.

“It has always been a great privilege to serve this district and an honor that I do not take lightly. I promise to continue to serve you faithfully as I have done in the past and will do everything in my power to serve this district vigorously and with honor.”

O’Dell said the Republican party more closely reflects his philosophy and that of residents of the district he represents.

Among those attending the announcement were Senate Majority Leader Hugh Leatherman, Senator Ronnie Cromer, House Representative Michael Thompson, House Representative Dan Cooper, Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy, Pelzer Mayor Page Henderson and West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton and a number of area residents.

Leatherman said the crowd that showed up for the announcement was a tribute to Senator O’Dell.

“It is a great day for our state and the Republican Party,” Leatherman said. “In Senator O’Dell, we are teaming up with a man of vision, character and leadership. I know that I can speak for every member of our caucus in saying we are excited to have you with us and look forward to continuing what has been an excellent relationship.”

“The people of Senate District 4 have one of the hardest working senators in South Carolina. Billy gets to work early and stays late. He weighs every issue and is one of the most knowledgeable people in the senate. Many times, I have sought his counsel and he never let party affliliation get in the way of working together for the good of the state,” the Senator from Florence said.

House District 10 Representative Dan Cooper, also welcomed O’Dell to the party. “I was the first Republican elected to the House since reconstruction, and Billy O’Dell endorsed me. I’ll never forget that,” he said. “Billy, we’re glad to have you with us.”


Woodmen present flag, pole in honor of 911 victims

Beech Springs Tabernacle and Woodmen Lodge 412 held a special  9/11 remembrance program Sept. 11 at the new church location at Hwy. 25 and Hwy. 247 in Ware Place.

The local program was one of many in which Woodmen lodges across the nation sponsored patriotic ceremonies to dedicate flagpoles and commemorative plaques, and presented U. S. flags in their communities.

Greenwood Lodge 412 President Ronnie Whitt and area manager Hughie Peacock presided over the program which included the dedication of a flag pole and flag in front of the church.

Possum Kingdom Fire Department also participated with several South Greenville firefighters and one pumper present.

The ceremony paid tribute to the heroes of the community including fire fighters, police officers, members of the armed services and others who help ensure our safety each day.

“On September 11, 2001, America was attacked in a way that we could never have imagined, nor will we ever forget. The images we saw on that tragic day, and the emotions we felt, have been forever embedded in our memories,” Peacock said.

“Today marks the anniversary of a day that changed how many of us look at our lives and our nation. Even now, two years later, it is hard to comprehend the scope of this tragic event, as nearly 3,000 innocent victims lost their lives that day.”

“We also remember those who put their lives on the line in the hours and days following the attacks - the firefighters, police officers, medical personnel and other rescue workers at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center,” Peacock said. “The heroism they displayed helped to confirm our belief that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things.”

Lodge Secretary Mary Ann Whitt read information recognizing New York fireman John Vigiano, 36, of Deer Park, N. Y., who lost his life in the World Trade Center attack.

President Ronnie Whitt then read the engraved inscription on the bronze commemorative plaque at the base of the flag pole.

“In Honor and Remembrance of the heroes and victims of September, 11, 2001 and to celebrate the enduring spirit of all Americans. Presented by the Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society.

The flag was then presented and raised to half mast by members of the South Greenville Possum Kingdom Fire Department.

Pastor Eric Boggs also participated. Many members of the church were present for the ceremony.

Public participation needed for planning Cedar Grove area

The Anderson County Planning Division will sponsor a community based public meeting to allow residents to offer input on the Anderson County Comprehensive Map and Plan.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. September 23 at the Cedar Grove Elementary School. Citizens in the Toney Creek, Cedar Grove, Williamston Mill and Bowling Green precincts are encouraged to attend.

A second meeting is scheduled for October 28 at Williamston Town Hall. Residents of Williamston, Pelzer and West Pelzer are encouraged to attend this meeting.

All residents of County Council District 7 are invited to attend the meetings, according to District 7 representative Cindy Wilson.

Wilson said the meeting is important because it is the foundation document for zoning and planning in Anderson County.

The map is also used for planning for infrastructure needs in the county, she said.

Wilson said the meeting will allow residents to see how the county is viewing the area, and to tell county planners how they think the area should be now and in the future.

The community based planning meetings are designed to allow residents of each community to have input into their present and future planning.

“Now is the time for any changes,” Wilson said. “This is an example of how democracy is supposed to work.”

Wilson continues questions on county expenditures

District 7 Council member Cindy Wilson continued to question county expenditures during the regular Anderson County Council meeting Tuesday night.

Wilson read a memo she sent to County Administrator Joey Preston dated September 3 requesting information on expenditures to two consulting firms, a breakdown for expenses for Celebrate Anderson, and disbursements to Susan Stukas.

Wilson also questioned “exorbitant legal bills” and possible violations of the county Budget Ordinance.

Wilson then read the response she received from Preston dated September 8. Preston explained that the two consulting firms “provide transportation planning consulting services” to the county.

Preston stated that he would “provide a breakdown once all expenditures are paid” for Celebrate Anderson.

According to Preston, Stukas “provides professional services as coordinator of the balloon and associated crew at county events.”

Preston explained that the county is in the process of closing out fiscal year 2003. “Any misunderstanding regarding budget transfers for legal expenses” will be clear when this process is finalized according to Preston.

Wilson expressed concern that the council was not being notified within 30 days of any expenditure greater than $2,500 as stated in the Budget Ordinance and requested that Preston provide a written report monthly to the council.

Emphasizing that “we owe citizens a greater accountability,” Wilson stated that she would be drafting another memo requesting more details about expenditures.

In other business, the council unanimously approved the third reading of an ordinance authorizing a FILOT (fee-in-lieu of tax) agreement between the county and Orian Rugs.

The council also gave unanimous approval to the third reading of an ordinance establishing procedures and standards for reimbursement of expenses incurred in the course of official business on behalf of the county.

The third reading of an ordinance extending a lease agreement with Michelin North America received unanimous approval.

The second 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.

The first reading of an ordinance extending a FILOT agreement between Milliken & Company and the county received council approval. Council member Larry Greer abstained from voting on the issue saying that he still had some questions that needed to be answered.

In a split vote, the council approved a resolution to cease maintenance on four tracts on Chef’s House Way in Double Springs. Council member Clint Wright said that he had spoken with property owner who had “no desire to continue county maintenance.” Due to a concern about land locking two tracts of the property, Greer opposed the resolution.

During council requests, Greer received unanimous council approval for $25,000 to pave a multi-purpose track from the Belton Depot to the Farmer’s Market.

Wilson received unanimous approval for $300 for the Pelzer recreation and senior citizens program.

The council also unanimously approved up to $14,000 for electrical repair work at Hurricane Park at the request of Chairman Bill Dees.

The council also unanimously supported a resolution by Wilson recognizing the Honea Path Fire Department as the only department in the state to receive a Class III rating.

County Attorney Tom Martin explained a letter from the Attorney General outlining his legal opinion on the disbursement of discretionary funds by county council. Martin explained that all discretionary funds should be disbursed “for a public purpose.” He encouraged council members to always state the intended public purpose for funds that are to be disbursed.

Representing the Anderson County Taxpayers Association during citizen comments, Dan Harvell expressed concerns that county FILOT agreements are costing schools and taxpayers “desperately needed revenue.”

In closing remarks, Greer described FILOT agreements as a “mixed blessing” but emphasized that the county “must support and strengthen the industrial base.” Greer used an example of one company that would not have located in Anderson County without a FILOT inducement agreement.

PSD board remembers Turner

The Board of Commissioners of the Piedmont Public Service District observed a moment of silence at their meeting Monday night in memory of Commissioner J. C. Turner who served on the board until his death on August 19. Commissioner Al McAbee led in a prayer remembering the Turner family.

Board members acknowledged Turner’s contribution to the community and to the board. Chairperson Marsha Rogers asked the board to submit ideas for something that the group could do in memory of Turner.

The governor who is responsible for filling Turner’s position on the board has not yet named an individual to serve on the commission.

Rogers reported that she would make recommendations as to how to spend the PARD (Parks and Recreation Department) grant money at the next meeting.

McAbee reported a total of 44 calls in August which included: 11 structure fires, 1 vehicle fire, 7 vehicle accidents, 20 medical calls, 1 electrical call, 3 sewer calls, and 1 street light call.

Chief Administrator Butch Nichols reminded everyone that the department will furnish truck rides again this year at the Footbridge Festival which is scheduled October 17 and 18. Rides will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday night and around 9 a.m. on Saturday morning according to Nichols.

The board discussed areas that will be cleaned up prior to the festival according to the service contract negotiated by the board.

The board scheduled their next meeting for October 20 and adjourned. 

Firefighter funds benefit Wren Fire Department

The United States Fire Administration announced recently a $26,820 grant to the Wren Fire Department through the Firefighters Grant Program. Awarded through a peer review process, the grant will provide the department with funding for fire operations and firefighter safety programs.

Bruce Brooks who has served as Wren chief for 10 years said that this is the second year in a row that the department has received funds from this grant. According to Brooks, the department will use the funds to purchase an AED defibrillator, fourteen 50-foot sections of “Hi-Combat” hose, an auto dump valve assembly for the tanker, personal alarms worn on firefighters, and sets of turnout gear. All equipment must be purchased within 90 days from the date of the award.

The station recently used $10,000 in funds from Anderson County to add electrically-operated doors and lighting in two bays as well as upgrading two other bay doors and replacing wiring as well as painting.

One of 27 all-volunteer departments in the county, the station receives almost 200 calls a year in the 20-square-mile area they cover along I-85.

Brooks emphasizes that 70% of national firefighters are volunteer. Other than funds that the department receives from the county or from grants, the station is totally dependent on donations from the community it serves according to Brooks.

West Pelzer Council approves stalking, loitering ordinance

West Pelzer Town Council held a special meeting Tuesday to approve two new ordinances and heard from Anderson County representative Jeff Ricketson concerning future traffic planning options for the area.

Ricketson told Council that the West Pelzer, Pelzer and Williamston areas have an option to be included, for planning purposes, in the Greenville Metropolitan Planning Area or the Anderson County Metropolitan planning area.

Ricketson said each of the towns need to identify which planning area they want to be associated with in terms of funding and planning for future SCDOT road projects.

Ricketson said the towns have been classified as rural areas in the past, but said with the next census count, he expected the area to be classified as urban, meaning, Anderson and Greenville are competing for the area to be included in their planning area.

Ricketson said Northern Anderson County or the Powdersville area is already included with Easley, Liberty and Pickens County in the proposed Greenville planning area.

“We’re trying to get everybody together to keep our road funding together with Anderson County,” Ricketson said.

He asked West Pelzer Council to consider a resolution to join Anderson County, and “to do our own transportation funding.”

“Basically Greenville and Anderson are fighting over us,” West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton said. “Anderson County still needs us and we need them.”

“If we go with Greenville, we will be at the bottom of the list and we know it,” she said.

Council unanimously approved the resolution to join with Anderson County for long term road project planning.

Council also approved a prowling and a loitering ordinance.

West Pelzer Police Chief A. W.  Smith said the ordinance will allow police to arrest a person who is caught on private property.

Smith said that under current ordinances, he cannot make an arrest for being in a person’s yard unless the individual is drunk.

 “Currently, unless a person is drunk, he is not breaking the law,” Smith said.

The ordinance states that it is unlawful for any person to enter lands, buildings or premises of another except to approach the front entrance.

The ordinance excludes immediate family members and others invited to the property, Smith said.

Utility repair and meter reading personnel, police officers, firefighters or other emergency personnel acting within official capacities are also excluded.

The loitering ordinance addresses loitering for drug related activity or purposes, Smith said.

The loitering ordinance states that known unlawful drug users, possessors or sellers who have been convicted of any drug related violations are prohibited from loitering in or near any thoroughfare, place open to the public or nearby any public or private place, in a manner related to the purpose of engaging in drug related activity.

Council unanimously approved both ordinances.

Paxton also said that the town had received $300 from Anderson County for recreation funding. She suggested the funds be used for the Christmas parade or other citizens recreational needs.

Paxton also brought up the status of the change of government proposal.

“If this is for the benefit of the employees, I don’t feel they are threatened about loss of their jobs,” the mayor said.

“We can reconsider. We would have to pass an ordinance to revoke the previous ordinance,” the mayor said.

Council decided to wait to hear from the town attorney on the proposal before taking an additional action.

During citizens comments, overhanging limbs and bushes in the town was discussed as well as trash pickup and fees.

Mail carrier Charles Hood asked if overhanging limbs on several streets could be addressed and mentioned other problems he has when delivering mail.

He said some houses don’t have ID and some mailboxes are in bad shape.


Coach Tommy Davis presented Shrine jacket

Palmetto Assistant Football Coach Josh Caggiano and Head Football Coach Tommy Davis were presented official  Shrine Jackets prior to the Palmetto-BHP football game last Friday. Davis was selected as Head Coach for the South Carolina team and will participate in the annual event to be held December 20 in Rock Hill. Shrine Potentate Ron Kennedy presented Davis with his official Jacket. The game is played to benefit the Greenville SC Unit Shriners Hospital for Children and 21 other Shriners Hospitals across the nation. For tickets or information, check the Shrine Bowl website at


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