News Archive

Week of Sept. 29, 2004

Council vote allows town to pursue $350,000 loan
Piedmont collecting supplies for victims of recent hurricanes
New voting machines to be displayed locally
Hurricane season challenges county emergency services
Athletic Directors address District One School Board
Palmetto High to crown  homecoming queen Friday
Greenville Schools show improvement on Adequate Yearly Progress
AYP reflects well on District One schools
Thieves hit area homes, businesses
Local murder case moves to grand jury
Saturday last day to register to vote
Piedmont First Baptist plans Oct. homecoming

Council vote allows town to pursue $350,000 loan

During a special called meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council, in a split vote,  approved second reading on a bond anticipation note (BAN), clearing the way for the town to pursue borrowing $350,000.

Council members Greg Cole and Wade Pepper voted against the proposal, while Cecil Cothran and David Harvell sided with Mayor Phillip Clardy on the vote.

Upon the approval of a lending institution,  the town will proceed with a BAN note which offers some flexibility in payment terms, the mayor said.

A BAN note can be paid back within one year, it can be extended at the end of the year, or paid off with a bond issuance if necessary, according to the mayor. The promise of a bond is the collateral for the loan, he said.

The decision was made by Council after discussing borrowing options in a series of meetings over the past three months.

The funds will pay off any standing debt of the town and for needed expenses through the end of the year, according to Clardy.

Clardy said $250,000 to $280,000 will be used primarily for health insurance premiums that are due and to bring everything owed by the town to current status.

The remaining $70,000 to $100,000 will cover town expenses through the end of the year, according to Clardy.

With three months to go, Clardy said he and treasurer Michelle Starnes determined that the $350,000 would suffice.

“We are willing to do what we need to do. We can make it work,” he said.

According to Clardy, the town faces monthly health insurance costs of $25,000, monthly utility bills of $20,000 to $25,000 and a weekly payroll of $16,000 to $20,000.

Clardy said that he would have preferred going with the original proposal to borrow $565,000 which would include refinancing some debt but he said he could live with the compromise made with the council to borrow the lesser amount.

He also said that even with the lesser amount approved, he intends to get through the year without using incoming property tax money until after the first of the year.


Clardy said the advice he received from the town’s auditors and accountants to fix the problem was to raise taxes.

He said he didn’t want to do that because of the shock factor that would be involved for citizens.

“We need to raise taxes so much to keep up,”  he said.

He said the ultimate fix would be to not roll back taxes which the council approved last year, and to actually increase them.

Clardy said he has discussed, not at a legal meeting, but by phone, the issue of property taxes with members of Council.

“We have many senior citizens who can’t keep up,” he said.

“Borrowing is the only option that doesn’t directly hit your pocketbook,” Clardy said.

He also said the town can make adjustments and there are extras that can be cut.

“Cutbacks are not hard to do. But making the town still work is the challenge,” he said.

Clardy said he has a dual responsibility to the citizens and the town’s employees.

As an employer, he said he is not going to be insensitive to their needs. and that he will look out for the best interest of the town’s employees.

“I do care about their jobs,” he said. 

He also said the Council will be involved in adjusting the budget for 2005.

“We have some serious issues to resolve. We  have to set aside personalities,” the mayor said.

Piedmont collecting supplies for victims of recent hurricanes

The Board of Commissioners for the Piedmont Public Service District voted to assist victims of recent hurricanes at their regular meeting September 27.

At the suggestion of Chairperson Marsha Rogers, the group agreed to collect and send a truckload of supplies from the community to an area affected by the devastation.

Individuals, businesses, and civic groups are encouraged to drop canned goods, blankets, diapers and general supplies by the Piedmont Fire Department for the project.

Anderson County Councilman Bill Dees was on hand at the meeting to present a check for $5,000 to be used for improvements at Pack Park. The money will be used to fund grandstand seating and to purchase an attachment for the tractor used for maintaining the park.

“We could not have done everything we have done without Anderson County,” Rogers said.

“We are trying to keep memories alive that were part of everyone’s lives for so long,” she added.

During the business meeting, Rogers reported that the Community Building had received a pest treatment in preparation for holiday activities.

Commissioner Al McAbee reported a total of 31 calls to the fire department in August which included: 5 structure fires, 1 grass fire, 3 vehicle fires, 2 vehicle accidents, 14 medical calls, 2 electrical calls, 1 gas leak, and 3 sewer calls. One structure fire involved major damage to a mobile home, McAbee said.

Chief Administrator Butch Nichols reported that the district had received a letter about the sewer which he passed on to the lawyer and a consultant on the project.

The commissioners scheduled the next meeting for October 18 at 7 p.m. and adjourned.

New voting machines to be displayed locally

As part of the state’s Help America Vote Act (HAVA) plan, the South Carolina Election Commission and local county election commission offices have launched the SC Votes Tour - a traveling bus that will take demonstration machines to festivals, events and other public venues between now and November 2.

The display will allow local residents a hands-on opportunity to try out the new electronic touch screen voting machines to be used in the November general election.

HAVA was enacted to upgrade election systems nationwide, protect the integrity of elections and promote public awareness and participation in the electoral process.

As part of the state’s HAVA plan, South Carolina is leading the nation as one of the first states to replace the remainder of its punch-card, optical scan and older electronic systems with state-of-the-art electronic touch screen voting machines.

The SC Votes Tour Bus will travel throughout the 15 counties in South Carolina that will use the new touch screen electronic voting system during the 2004 election.

Participating counties include Abbeville, Aiken, Anderson, Calhoun, Cherokee, Florence, Greenville, Greenwood, Kershaw, Lexington, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg, Union and York.

The tour bus will be at the Belton Standpipe Festival on Saturday October 2 from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. and  at Wal-Mart, 3812 Liberty Highway, in Anderson from 4 6 p.m.

On Thursday, October 14, the SC Votes Tour Bus will be at the Williamston Municipal Center, 12 West Main St., Williamston from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and at the Ingles Grocery Store, 10903 Anderson Rd., in Powdersville from  3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The demonstration machines on the tour bus include a S.C. Fun Ballot, where voters can vote for their favorite vacation spot, barbecue sauce, iced tea, state college football team, NASCAR driver and “fair food.”

Those votes will be tallied and reported throughout the fall. For more information, visit or call your county election commission.

Hurricane season challenges county emergency services

While many area residents may be breathing a sigh of relief following the aftermath of yet another hurricane this season, employees at the Anderson County Emergency Services Division are still on the job working to protect the lives and property of county citizens.

According to Deputy Director Taylor Jones, the county was fortunate to have no major catastrophes reported related to the latest hurricane as of Tuesday afternoon. Since the path of the Hurricane Jeanne veered west of the local area, areas such as Asheville in North Carolina were hit much harder than the upstate area.

Yet Jones and his office were still keeping a watchful eye on the Saluda River for potential flooding Tuesday. He also explained that with the ground saturated from so much rain, there was still a potential for further damage from older trees or trees with weak root systems.

Located on Towers Street in Anderson, the Emergency Services Division 911 dispatch center features 10 operators at state-of-the-art computer stations constantly coordinating and dispatching incoming calls with the various law enforcement, fire, EMS, Emergency Management, and governmental agencies.

The center also serves as the Anderson County 24-hour warning point to activate emergency warning systems when necessary.

Anticipating extensive damage, the Emergency Services Division began more concentrated efforts to deal with local problems related to weather a few weeks ago. As Hurricane Ivan began to manifest itself, the county department held a county-wide meeting to raise awareness and to discuss a plan for disaster preparedness and a coordinated response to emergencies.

One of the functions of the county department is to act as liaison to coordinate field operations and to maintain communications with state and federal agencies in emergency situations, Jones explains.

According to Jones, mayors, fire department representatives, and police chiefs of each municipality met with county personnel to review reports from a meteorologist with the National Weather Service and from representatives with Duke Power about potential hurricane damage since tropical force winds were expected as far out as 240 miles.

With technology available through the 911 center, the group reviewed maps of each municipality in order to pinpoint and discuss problem areas in each town and to raise awareness of what the area could be facing as a result of the hurricane.

Vulnerable areas, evacuation routes and procedures, and a coordination of efforts were discussed at the meeting. Fortunately, other than localized flooding in low lying areas, local damage has remained minimal from the hurricanes this season.

Recently, Jones and Director Tommy Thompson returned from nine days in Port Charlotte, Florida, one of the areas hit hardest by one of the hurricanes. Port Charlotte compares roughly to the size of the city of Anderson, Jones explained.

Jones and Thompson were uniquely qualified to be part of a state emergency response team dispatched to the area to assist with disaster relief.

A paramedic and a registered nurse, Jones says that there is “no way to ever train” for the experience of an actual disaster and the situations that arise. “There’s nothing like being there and seeing it firsthand,” Jones explains.

He and Thompson worked with a community relations team to conduct damage assessments and to develop temporary housing for hurricane victims.

Though Jones admits that he is used to having access to a complete set of information, he was assigned a “small piece of a puzzle” of a larger team effort to create temporary housing for over 250 people in the Port Charlotte area.

According to Jones, it was amazing to see the entire project come together as planned through a coordination of efforts from people who had never met each other or worked together before the disaster.

Having worked with disaster efforts with Hurricane Hugo, Jones emphasizes that so many more capabilities for dealing with disasters are available as a result of 9/11. After witnessing what he saw in Florida, Jones firmly believes that the time and money directed for terrorism response “has been well spent.”

Jones says he came away from the experience with an even stronger belief in the importance of outreach and having all parties involved working together. He plans to expand upon what has already been done in that area in Anderson County to set the stage for better emergency planning.

He adds that he came away with a better understanding of the scope of things such as debris removal and a greater need for available disaster shelters and reception centers.

Jones admits that the “solid principles” that he and Thompson learned through their experience in Florida will “serve Anderson well in the future.”

Athletic Directors address District One School Board

During their regular montly meeting Tuesday, Anderson School District One Board members received a special presentation by District One Athletic Directors.

Palmetto High School Athletic Director and coach Tommy Davis and Wren High School Athletic Director and coach Mickey Moss presented ball caps and throws bearing their respective school logos to each of the board members.

Davis thanked the board for their support of the school and the athletic program and for their effort in making the district “one of the finest schools in the state of South Carolina.”

Coach Moss told the board that he is also impressed with the district. 

“The first thing is the kid,” he said. “Academics is number one.”

Moss also said that athletics is a big part of the Wren community and he was glad to be the first to use the new stadium. He said he has had a number of compliments from walkers and joggers using the facility.

Moss also thanked board members for their efforts for the district. “With 25 years as an athletic director, I know how hard it is,” Moss said.

In other business, Director of Finance Steve Uldrick told the board that the district has received revenues of $10,637,854 year to date and $3,087,360 for the month of September.

Expenses have amounted to $11,211,653 year to date and $4,015,129 for September.

In his instructional report, Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler said the district continues to work toward improving test scores.

“Our students are improving at all levels of testing from the third to eighth grade,” he said.

Fowler said the district is analyzing all of the test results and involving teachers and principals in the process of looking at new strategies to improve.

“They are raising the bar,” Fowler said, referring to the “No Child Left Behind” legislation.

In his nutritional report, Associate Superintendent David Havird reported the program had revenues of $298,075 and expenditures of  $293,791 for a profit of $4,283 for the month of August.

He also stated that the District is looking at spending $36,000 for additional equipment for the lunch program interface at the middle schools.

Dr. Fowler reported that the Cedar Grove building program is completed with only minor landscaping left to be done.

Wet weather has slowed progress on the Palmetto High building program, he said.

Even with the weather delays, Fowler said he is optimistic the building will be ready to occupy in January as scheduled.

“We still expect to be on schedule,” he said. “When they get the roof on we can catch up.”

Board members unanimously approved two requests for leave of absences.

Lee Morgan, Wren Middle requested a three-year leave of absence to serve as a teacher specialist and Janet Willimon, Powdersville Middle, Language Arts requested a 12-week leave of absence under the Family Medical Leave Act.

Dr. Fowler also  presented an IHBEA policy for approval by the board. The policy includes a district wide plan to meet the needs of students speaking a language other than English. There are approximately 100 students in District One to which this applies, he said.

The board also approved  Joe Pack, Nancy Upton and Dale Martin to serve as delegate assembly voting members.

Palmetto High to crown  homecoming queen Friday

Palmetto High School is celebrating homecoming this week culminating with the crowning of a new homecoming queen during halftime ceremonies at the Palmetto - Woodruff football game Friday night.

2004 homecoming candidates are: Shannon Smith, Brittany Lufkin, Nicole Lovinggood, Lindsey Snipes, Alston Brooks, Sarah Riddle, Whitney Franks, Erica Bromeling, Jessica Cooley and Meagan Pack.

The Palmetto Homecoming court and sponsors include Shannon Smith and Justin Medlock; Meagan Pack and Jim Slatten; Nicole Bush and Paul Herrmann; Amber Sammons and Mike Morgan; Whitney Franks and Cody Stewart; Nicole Lovinggood and Brandon Meares; Dorothy Davis and Jared Nichols; Lauren Blassingame and Lorenzo Simmons; Rachel Irwin and David Worley; Megan Roberts and West Cox; Jessica Cooley and O.J. Arnold; Erica Bromeling and Matt Valkenburg; Anna Dunlap and Andrew Preuss; Burnadette Gains and Bryan Henry, Ashley Rogers and Josh Phillips.

Senior Mustang football players include Bryan Henry, West Cox, Brandon Meares, Jim Slatten, Lorenzo Simmons, Cody Stewart, Mike Morgan, O.J. Arnold, Matt Valkenburg, Justin Medlock, David Worley, Josh Phillips, Jared Nichols, Paul Herrmann, Greg Sims and Andrew Preuss.

The Palmetto Mustangs will take on the Woodruff Wolverines at 7:30 p.m. this Friday. Hayley Meade will sing the National Anthem.

Greenville County Schools show improvement on Adequate Yearly Progress

Fork Shoals Elementary and Sue Cleveland Elementary were among 40 out of 50 Greenville County elementary schools that met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on results released this week by the State Department of Education.

The District showed a significant increase from the 28 percent of county schools that met AYP in 2002-03, Greenville School officials said.

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is a measurement of student achievement progress required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

AYP performance standards reflect the percentage of each student group scoring Proficient and Advanced in English Language Arts and mathematics on either the Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test (grades 3-8) or High School Assessment Program (grade 10).

South Carolina’s performance standards are among the highest in the nation, according to The Princeton Review.

High performance standards and an increasingly diverse student population make meeting AYP more difficult, officials said.

The more diverse a school’s student population, the more potential objectives (or targets) are required to meet AYP.

Greenville County Schools were required to meet more objectives in 2003-04 as compared to results from 2002-03. A school does not meet AYP if only one student group does not meet improvement requirements.

On average, Greenville County elementary and middle schools met 18.7 of 22.3 objectives in 2003-04, compared to 15.7 of 19.6 objectives in 2002-03.

Ellen Woodside met 20 of 21 objectives.

No middle schools met AYP this year and only four of 14 high schools met AYP, up from two last year.

Of the elementary and middle schools in 2003-04 that did not meet AYP, six percent missed by only one indicator.

Woodmont Middle met 15 of 21 objectives while Woodmont High School only met 12 of 21.

AYP reflects well on District One schools

Anderson School District One reported this week  that all eight elementary schools, one primary school, both high schools, and one of three middle schools met Adequate Yearly Progress for 2003-2004.

The South Carolina State Department of Education released the results of schools progress toward meeting the accountability requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

The Act sets performance levels that schools must achieve in order to meet annual goals for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

Schools meeting Adequate Yearly Progress standards were Concrete Primary, Cedar Grove Elementary, Hunt Meadows Elementary, Palmetto Elementary, Pelzer Elementary, Powdersville Elementary, Spearman Elementary, West Pelzer Elementary, Wren Elementary.

Also  Wren Middle, Palmetto High, and Wren High School. 

Palmetto Middle and Powdersville Middle did not meet the overall AYP standard. However, both middle schools obtained 20 out of 21 objectives meeting 95% of the federal performance indicators.

Overall twelve of fourteen schools in the district met AYP for a total of 86% of the schools.

In addition Anderson District One met AYP as a district. 

“Each of our schools does an excellent job in providing a quality education for all students and we are extremely pleased with our AYP results,” states Jane Harrison, Director of Elementary Education.

“Anderson District One’s AYP results indicate that our schools are making excellent progress toward moving high percentages of students into the proficient and advanced levels on the state tests,” said Wayne Fowler, superintendent. “Our teachers, principals, and staff work together with one common purpose and that is to help all students achieve at high levels.”

Thieves hit area homes, businesses

Anderson County deputies investigated the following incidents this week:

Sept. 28 – K K Truck Sales, 308 Frontage Rd., Piedmont, reported that someone cut a chain around the gate and broke the steering column on a 1993 Chevrolet Camaro. A 1993 Jeep Wrangler was also reported missing from the lot. B. W. Parker investigated.

Sept. 27 – Team’s Texaco, 2908 Hwy. 86, Piedmont, reported that a black male entered the store and asked for a lottery ticket. When the clerk opened the register, the man pushed her back, grabbed an undetermined amount of money from the register, and ran out of the store. R. S. Turner investigated.

Sept. 27 – William Charles Emery, 37, 12 Allen St., Pelzer, reported that someone stole three guns from a closet – a Smith & Wesson pistol valued at $100, a Thompson center muzzle loader valued at $150, and a military 7.62 rifle valued at $200. T. B. Dugan investigated.

Sept. 27 – Tommy Aye, 16 Tripp St., Williamston, reported that someone entered his residence and stole a chain saw, a battery charger, and a jump box valued at $380. D. B. Anderson investigated.

Sept. 27 – America’s Supply Co., 239 Hurricane Creek Road, Piedmont, reported that someone cut the lock on a gate and stole a white 1998 Ford F250 work truck valued at $12,000. A. Digirolamo investigated.

Sept. 25 – Kathleen Shannon Wilson, 27, 124B Grant Road, Pelzer, reported that someone removed a silver 2004 Nissan Altima valued at $26,000 from Starlight Cinema 14 in Anderson. J. A. Burdette investigated.

Sept. 25 – Laurel Trading, 113 White Plains Rd., Pelzer, reported that a male customer asked an employee to look for a comforter in the back. During this time, a female started loading comforters valued at $400 into a white mid-sized 4-door car. Reportedly, the male customer jumped in the car, and they drove away. T. A. Caron investigated.

Sept. 25 – Tony Randal Bannister, 42, 7 Adger St., Pelzer, reported that someone entered a 1978 Chevrolet El Camino and attempted to steal the vehicle. The suspect ripped apart the ignition switch causing $500 in damages and stole a Craftsman tool box with tools valued at $100. T. A. Caron investigated.

Sept. 25 – S. C. Public Schools, 900 Wren School Rd., Piedmont, reported that someone attempted to steal a 1986 International school bus valued at $40,000. The bus was located parked in a grassy area on a roadside below the school property. An orange traffic barrel from the school was trapped between the tire and a fender, and the key was still in the ignition. J. M. Durham investigated.

Sept. 24 – Tonya Marie Hall, 24, 129 Apt. 2 Beardsley Rd., Piedmont, reported that someone entered her residence by forcing open the back door and took $50 from a wallet and CDs valued at $1,000. T. B. Dugan investigated.

Sept. 23 – Lisa Brown Hadden, 40, 3601 Old Williamston Rd., Belton, reported that someone broke into her residence by prying open a rear door and took a Sony video camera, jewelry, and hand weights valued at $940. C. H. Beusse investigated.

Sept. 22 – Russell Tallyen, 47, 15 Monroe Ct., Piedmont, reported that someone cut the screen on a back porch and took two jugs of pennies valued at $800. C. C. Brazier investigated.

Local murder case moves to grand jury

A grand jury will consider indicting a local man accused of killing his wife and burning the evidence after a preliminary hearing was held Friday morning in the case.

Johnny Ray Gambrell, 44, of 1108 Brown Road in Anderson was charged September 2 with the murder of Lois Annette Bridges Gambrell who lived at 314 Mahaffey Road in Williamston.

An investigation began August 22 into the disappearance of Lois Gambrell when a family member reported her missing. According to reports, she had last been heard from around July 11.

When Anderson County investigators began the search of the home on Mahaffey Road, several pieces of evidence led investigators to believe that Lois Gambrell had been killed at the residence.

According to reports, bone pieces were discovered around the remains of a fire “pile” that had been burned at the residence. Initial reports from an anthropologist identified the bones as those of a human female.

Additional testing by the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) laboratory identified DNA found in the bones to be a descendant of the mother of Lois Gambrell.

Reports showed that Johnny Ray Gambrell had a previous history of domestic violence which included assaulting the victim.

Gambrell had been arrested and placed in jail on August 19 for several outstanding warrants which included domestic violence, a bench warrant, and assault and battery with intent to kill and carjacking.

Saturday last day to register to vote

Saturday October 2, 2004, is the final day to register to vote in the November 2, 2004 General Election.  The Anderson County Registration and Elections office will be open Saturday, October 2,  from 9 a.m. until 1p.m. 

To vote, you must have been registered at least 30 days prior to an election. If you are already registered in Anderson County and have moved, please call the county voter registration office at 864-260-4035 for information on how to update your address to the correct precinct.

Registered voters, who qualify, and intend to cast absentee ballots in the November 2, 2004 General Election may call 864-260-4035 or 864-260-4058 to request an absentee ballot application.  The Voter Registration Office is located in the old Bailes Building, directly behind the Historic Courthouse, 107 South Main Street, Suite 101.

Piedmont First Baptist plans Oct. 10 homecoming

A homecoming celebration is being planned to mark the 125th birthday of the Piedmont First Baptist Church on Sunday Oct. 10.

Special services will begin with Sunday School at 10 a.m. and worship from 10:45 to 12:15 p.m.

Special presentations will be made by those who have served within the ministry over the years.

Lunch in the Morgan Building church social hall will follow services.

Prior to the October 10th celebration, the church is planning a Renewal Week with service leading up to homecoming. Special services will be held Monday Oct. 4 and Wednesday Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m.

First Baptist Church invites all past and current members, as well as their family and friends to join them for any or all of the special services.





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