News Archive

(3906) Week of Sept. 27, 2006

Chief Deputy Busha resigns
Infrastructure projects planned
Spring Water Doctor column returns
Collects for Shriners
District among top in state on PACT
District One scores among state’s best on PACT
Cedar Grove volunteer receives state award
Palmetto Elementary dedicates amphitheater
PHS crowns Homecoming Queen
Enforcement, education blitz to focus on Anderson County
Voters urged to update information
Mustang Regiment places first
Williamston police report incidents
Seems to Me . . .Joey Preston’s anniversary (and other related matters)

Chief Deputy Busha resigns

By Stan Welch

Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Tim Busha resigned Monday, just days after published and broadcast reports that his driver’s license had been repeatedly suspended over the last two years.

In a brief statement, Sheriff David Crenshaw confirmed Busha’s resignation, which had been rumored over the weekend. Crenshaw intimated that Busha, who did not appear at the brief, hastily called press conference, had resigned because of pressures placed on his family by reports of Busha’s suspension, as well as other rumors concerning his conduct.

Both The Journal and WAIM-AM radio reported last week that Busha’s driver’s license had been suspended during both 2005 and 2006, for non-payment of insurance. Busha, in an article in The Journal last week, categorically denied that his license had ever been suspended. Those denials, however, conflicted with documents obtained from the SCDMV by The Journal.

Busha offered an explanation that the 2005 suspensions resulted from the decision he and his wife made to take two vehicles, which they inherited after the death of Busha’s parents, off the road. According to Busha, they terminated the insurance on the vehicles, apparently resulting in the suspension of his license. Busha insists he was never informed of that suspension.

The suspensions this year were due to a misapplied premium payment by his insurance company, says Busha. He stated in the earlier article that a premium sent to his insurer was applied instead to his motorcycle insurance, which was a separate policy. Busha again insisted that he had never been informed of the suspension.

Busha has also been under some media and public scrutiny as a result of his role in the investigation of allegations of stalking and harassment of County Administrator Joey Preston. In March, Busha appeared before County Council to outline a sting operation which he said was designed to expose those who were stalking Preston, as well as sending him and other members of the Council threatening letters. Sheriff David Crenshaw accompanied Busha at that presentation.

That explanation came a few weeks after an incident in which Preston and a female county employee were reportedly discovered together at Cater’s Lake in Anderson. Witnesses who were there that night have stated publicly that Preston and the employee were engaged in some form of inappropriate physical activity. Anderson city police reports of the incident confirm the presence of both witnesses, as well as Preston and a female county employee at Cater’s Lake that night.

Preston has denied any improper behavior, and Busha stated at the March meeting of County Council that the entire situation was a setup to expose the stalkers. He stated that the investigation had been underway since November of 2005 and had been turned over to SLED. No arrests have been made at this time, although the witnesses who claimed to have seen Preston and the employee engaged in intimate behavior were detained and questioned by SLED agents several months ago. It is unknown at this time what effect, if any, Busha’s resignation will have on the investigation.

According to Sheriff Crenshaw, Busha will be taking a managerial position with a private security firm. He will remain on the job through October. Efforts to reach Busha for comment were unsuccessful.

Infrastructure projects planned 

By Stan Welch

Every year, the Appalachian Council of Governments, or ACOG, presents its updated economic development strategy to the various counties it comprises. The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, or CEDS, was presented to the Anderson County Council earlier this month by Steve Pelissier, of ACOG.

The CEDS focuses on several areas, including infrastructure issues such as water, sewer, and transportation matters. The CEDS document is essentially a planning outline, or wish list. According to Pelissier, in order to apply for grants or other government funding, the project involved has to be included in the CEDS.

The document presented to Anderson County this year offers several projects in the area, however there is little in the way of immediate promise for municipalities of Pelzer, West Pelzer and Williamston.

In the area of water systems improvements, in the Big Creek Water District, several projects are listed, including a new 750,000 gallon elevated storage tank, and the installation of a total of 37,700 feet of six inch water mains through six different projects. Several of those projects are located in the Joe Black Road area, as well as Cherokee and Ballard Roads.

The projected costs of the tank and the water lines total $2,017,500, based on current costs. Of that amount, $1,150,000 would be consumed by the construction of the tank. According to the CEDS document presented to Council, that tank should be constructed within the next year. The first water line project is scheduled to begin in 2008, and the other projects begin at later dates, with the final project slated for 2009.

In the Powdersville Water District, a substantial list of projects is currently underway. Since 2006, projects totaling 23,000 feet of eight inch lines, and 19,200 feet of twelve inch lines, as well as several other projects, have been underway. All are scheduled for completion next year, except for the installation of an automatic meter reading system, which is due for completion in 2009. That system will cost nearly $1 million. A GIS mapping system for the entire water system will cost $250,000 and a planned office expansion will cost $550,000. Other projects bring the total spent in the Powdersville District to approximately $3,473,000.

For the Belton Honea Path area, the projects listed include no estimate of cost at this time, meaning essentially that they will not be started in the near future.

In the area of wastewater projects, the CEDS lists a total of seventeen projects contained in the Anderson County ten year sewer plan. Those include the Beaverdam phase II project, as well as Brushy Creek phases I and II, Belton east and west projects, and Hurricane Creek/ Wren School project, among others. The total costs for those projects, which are slated to be started and/or finished over the next ten years, are currently projected to be approximately $57 million.

In the area of roads, improvements to the Highway 20 corridor are encouraged, including improvements to Concord, Hopewell and Breazeale Roads, although no estimates for those projects are included. Hwy. 29 is slated for major work, and the East West Connector remains a priority. Welcome Road and Cherokee Roads have recently undergone extensive re-paving, perhaps in preparation for anticipated residential and commercial developments rumored to be on the horizon.

It is in the area of economic development that the eastern end of the county sees the least potential, according to the CEDS document. Williamston, for example, shows two projects for economic development. One is to develop a downtown revitalization project; the other is to include bike and recreation paths in the Town’s plans. No estimate is given for either project.

West Pelzer isn’t even mentioned, and Pelzer’s lone project is the renovation of the gymnasium building, which is currently underway.

Spring Water Doctor column returns

The Spring Water Doctor column formerly written by Dr. Dwight H. Smith will return to The Journal, penned by Smith’s grandson, Jeffrey Preston Smith.

Dr. Smith is currently a resident physician of internal medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

He attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock Texas, receiving his Doctorate of Medicine from the Texas Tech University Health Science Center School of Medicine in 2006.

He received his MBA in Health Organization Management from Texas Tech University in 2001.

Prior to that he received his B.S. degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Management with a minor in Biology, graduating Magna Cum Laude at Texas Tech University.

While attending Texas Tech, Smith was employed by the TTUHSC School of Medicine Administration and worked closely with the senior leadership of the health Science Center and the School of Medicine. While there he did rotations through the various support departments including business office, medical records and others.

He was a student member of the Medical Group Management Association, Business Graduate Student Society and Health Occupation Management Student Association where he was vice president of finance.

Honors include Beta Bamma Sigma Business Honor Socitey, Sigma Iota Epsilon Management Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi Senior Honor Society, Golden Key national Honor Society, Gamma Sigma Delta Agricultural Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma Freshman Honor Society, Apha Lambda Delta Freshman Honor Society, National Dean’s List. He had numerous academic scholarships and is an Eagle Scout.

Smith grew up in Seabrook Texas, about midway between Houston and Galveston. His father, a Williamston native, was transferred to Texas to work for NASA at the Johnson Space Center.

He is specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation which he said encompasses two different, but overlapping, areas of medicine.

Physical medicine encompasses non-operative othropedics and neurology of the peripheral nervous system (non-brain).

Areas of interest in physical medicine include sports medicine, electrodiagnostics such as EMGs, and general musculoskeletal medicine.

Rehabilitation encompasses patients with spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, stroke, and other areas, he said.

 Areas of interest in rehabilitation include pediatric patients with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and spina bifida. 

Physical medicine and rehabilitation tends to emphazize functionality more that other medical specialties and focus on how a disease process affects the whole individual.

Dr. Smith is currently completing a year of training in internal medicine for adults.

His fiance Alison is a  resident physician in ophthalmology.

Smith has spent numerous summers and Christmases in the Williamston area and worked with his grandfather, Dwight Smith, in the fall of 2005. “It was an experience I will always remember,” he said.

Dr. Smith also worked with Dr. Roehrs, Dr. Dorton and the AnMed Family Practice in 2005.

He participates in fishing and golf though he said he is not very good at golf. He also enjoys jogging, reading and playing with his dog Steve.

Collects for Shriners

Brian Davenport of Williamston recently presented the Shriners Childrens Hospital in Greenville with $5,000. Brian personally collects funds for the organization and periodically presents the funds to the organization.

Shriners Hospitals for Children relies on the generosity of donors to help  continue their mission of providing specialized pediatric care at no charge, conducting innovative research and providing world-class teaching programs for physicians and other health care professionals.

There are 18 orthopaedic Shriners Hospitals, three Shriners Hospitals dedicated to treating children with severe burns, and one Shriners Hospital that provides orthopaedic, burn and spinal cord injury care.

Shriners Hospitals are located throughout North America — 20 in the United States and one each in Mexico and Canada. These “Centers of Excellence” serve as major referral centers for children with complex orthopaedic and burn problems.

There is never a charge to the patient, parent or any third party for any service or medical treatment received at Shriners Hospitals. Shriners Hospitals accept and treat children without regard to race, religion or relationship to a Shriner. Any child may be eligible for treatment at a Shriners Hospital if the child is under 18 and if, in the opinion of the hospital’s chief of staff, the child has an orthopaedic or burn condition that Shriners Hospitals can help.

If you would like to help the Shriners Hospitals, see Brian at Larry’s Used Cars, Belton Hwy. Williamston or call 847-4848 for more information.

District among top in state on PACT

Anderson County School District One Board of Trustees were told that last year’s PACT testing shows that School District One students tested  among the top in the state.

Director of Elementary Education Jane Harrison and Director of Secondary Education John Pruitt  reported the results to Board members during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday.

Harrison reported that District One results show that in Elementary grades, students tested above the state in all areas whether basic proficient or advanced.

 The District was second in English Language Arts (ELA) in the state and 3rd in Math, she said.

West Pelzer Elementary had 100 percent of the students meet standards in ELA and Math.

In Grade 4, District students ranked first in the state in ELA, Science and Social Studies and 4th in the State in Math.

In Grade 5, District students ranked first in ELA, and 2nd in Math, Science and Social Studies.

Harrison thanked the Board members for providing funding supporting education in District One.

“These are the results of your effort,” she said.

Dr. Pruitt said the District has a culture of high expectations that includes board members, teachers, parents and students.

According to Pruitt, District 6th graders placed second in the state in ELA, third in Math, 4th in Science and 6th in Social Studies.

Seventh graders overall were “tops in the state,” he said.

Seventh grade PACT results show the District 2nd overall in the state in ELA, 1st in Math, 2nd in Science and 5th in Social Studies.

Eighth graders ranked 3rd in ELA, 4th in Math, 6th in Science and 3rd in Social Studies.

According to Pruitt, the lowest ranked middle school category was still in the top 25 of 308 middle schools in the state in any category.

In ELA, all of the district middle schools ranked in the top 5 percent and none were lower than  the top 14 in the state.

Powdersville Middle ranked 6th overall and seventh in the state in ELA. They were also 3rd overall in math.

Palmetto Middle was 8th overall in Math and 12th in Science. 

Wren Middle was 10th in Social Studies.

Pruitt said each middle school was among the top 56 percent in the state in at least three of the four categories with Powdersville having 3 and Palmetto having 4 of the top 5 percent rankings.

Wren Middle had 7 top 5 percent rankings.

Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler commended teachers, parents and students on the achievements.

He said District officials are still not satisfied and want to continue to improve. “We will strive to meet the standards,” he said.

Assistant Superintendent David Havird reported that the nutritional services program had $356,231 in revenues and $398,447 in expenses in August. He said that there are normally startup costs associated with the program which result in a loss for that month.

He also reported that a breakfast in the classroom which began at Palmetto Middle will be expanded to Hunt Meadows in November.

Pelzer Elementary also implemented the program and has 100 percent participation, he said.

He said the nutritional services personnel “work very hard to provide very good meals.” He also said the District will hire one additional worker for the program at Hunt Meadows, which is expected to serve 200 to 300 students.

There was some discussion about hiring for the Director of Maintenance positon. Richard Hood, current Director will be retiring after 28 years with District One. Details of the position are posted on the District One website.

Upon the recommendation of Dr. Fowler, Board members unanimously approved personnel changes including the retirement of Hood.

Also approved were the resignation of Phillip Ingmire, Palmetto Middle School science and recommendation of Brenda Patterson for the Speech position at Hunt Meadows Elementary.

Board members Joe Pack, Nancy Upton and Dale Martin were unanimously approved as alternates and delegates to the 2006 SSCSBA Delegate Assembly in November.  Board Chairman Fred Alexander was also approved as an alternate.

District One scores among state’s best on PACT testing

Anderson School District One students continued to score among the top districts in the state on the 2006 Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test (PACT) administered in grades three to eight. Students in Anderson One exceeded the state level in all grades and in all four subject areas.

The performance of over 3,600 students in Anderson One continues to be impressive as grades four and five lead the state with the highest scores in ELA, while third grade ranked in second place.  Fourth grade students ranked first in ELA, Science and Social Studies while students in fifth grade ranked second in the state in Math, Science and Social Studies.  Third graders were second in the state for ELA and Science.   Seventh grade math scores led the state while sixth and seventh grade ELA scores ranked second with eighth grade ELA ranking third.  Seventh grade science scores also ranked second in South Carolina among the 86 school districts.

Superintendent, Dr. Wayne Fowler stated, “The level of commitment by all stakeholders in the district is the rationale for our success.  We are moving more students to higher levels of proficient and advanced categories in elementary and middle schools. Ten out of twelve areas for elementary increased and eight out of twelve areas improved for middle schools. The school district budget will continue to include funds for new initiatives, after school programs and tutoring.

Nancy Upton, Vice Chairman of the Anderson District One Board of Trustees offered support by saying, “We are fortunate to have dedicated administrators, teachers and support staff working with students and parents to ensure continued success.  Anderson One is privileged to have such wide community support for the district and its initiatives.”

Jane Harrison, Director of Elementary Education shared, “We have set the bar high in Anderson District One, and our early childhood and elementary teachers continue to accept the challenge by providing quality instruction allowing their students to exhibit academic excellence.  Our district office, administrators and teachers work as a team to determine areas of weakness and develop strategies for improvement. We are making better instructional decisions for students than ever before with the implementation of new assessments. Anderson One is fortunate to have the caliber of teacher that is constantly looking for high level ways to engage students in learning.”

“We are very proud of the efforts demonstrated by the achievement scores of our middle school students on all areas of the 2006 PACT,” stated John Pruitt, Director of Secondary Education in Anderson School District One.  The scores achieved by the 2006 middle school test takers in Anderson School District One are to be heartily commended as a result of dedicated and focused efforts on behalf of our students and by our teachers, Pruitt continued. 

“The look towards continuous improvement and high expectations is found in all of our schools.  As a group, our middle school students achieved at a rate to be envied by any educator in the state. Each of our middle schools ranked among the top ten middle schools in the state in various areas,” Pruitt concluded.

According to Dr. Pruitt, of 308 middle schools in the state, the lowest ranked school in any category was still in the top 25 percent.

Seventh grade scores were phenomenal, Pruitt said.

Powdersville Middle was 6th overall school in  state in 7th grade ELA and 3rd overall in Math.

Palmetto Middle was eighth overal school in Math and 12th in science.

Wren was 10th overall in Social Studies and was 7th overall in 8th grade ELA and Math.

Each school was among the top 5 percent in the state in at least 3 of the four tested categories.

Powdersville had three top 5 percent rankings, Palmetto had four top 5 percent ranking and Wren had 7 top 5 percent rankings.

Cedar Grove volunteer receives state award

Mike Philyaw has been a volunteer at Cedar Grove since his daughter Casey began attending the school six years ago. Casey is now at Palmetto Middle School, but her father continues to be involved at Cedar Grove.

Philyaw was recognized Monday for his volunteer efforts, when Peggy Hogan of the South Carolina State Department presented him with the Palmetto Serves award. Hogan also represented the Commission on National Community Service.

The presentation was made with District One Board members, teachers, volunteers and students in  attendance in the school’s auditorium.

Philyaw thanked District for “allowing volunteers to come in and help you teach children.”

Philyaw was recognized for numerous hours he has contributed, primarily in organizing a successful golf tournament for the school. The tournament raises approximately $10,000 annually which is used for staff development and training.

The Palmetto Serves award is  presented by the South Carolina Commission on National and Community Service located in the State Department of Education. The program recognizes one outstanding individual or organizations each month. “It is a very prestigeous award,” Hogan said.

According to their website, Palmetto Serves is modeled after the national Points of Light volunteer recognition program and is funded with a $10,000 gift from BI-LO supermarkets. The funds provide certificates, verification of nominee information and special award presentations.

“Volunteers in South Carolina are the backbone of so many important organizations serving our young people and families,” said Dean Cohagan, BI-LO’s President and CEO. “Most volunteers I’ve met — BI-LO associates as well as those in our communities — are reluctant to accept any recognition for their precious gift of time. They simply believe in giving back to their neighbors. Palmetto Serves lets volunteers know how much they are appreciated.”

According to the application essay submitted, Philyaw’s main goal at Cedar Grove Elementary is to support teacher effectiveness and strengthen the school resources.  The application notes that he realized that staff development for teachers was essential and costly. 

So, six years ago, he and one of the teachers began to collaborate to develop an annual golf tournament to support the staff development at Cedar Grove. 

Philyaw used his business contacts to help put the plan into motion.

Philyaw leads a core group of 25 parents, as well as, organizes assignments for 30 – 40 faculty members on the day of the event.  Usually 23 to 26 teams participate in this tournament  under  Philyaw’s leadership. 

All prizes and trophies are donated to the school.  Each team entering the tournament also pays an entrance fee.  The only expense is the payment to the golf course.  Annually the event raises approximately $10,000 which is used for staff development.

Philyaw also raised an additional $1,500 through a fundraiser at his business., which was earmarked for the purchase of technology equipment for the classrooms.

“Without this money our faculty members would be limited in their resources.  However, teachers are able to receive additional training and attend conferences and workshops throughout the state in order to better their skills in the classroom,” said Principal Brenda Ellison.

Cedar Grove Elementary has 35 faculty members who benefit from the fundraising effort.

 “Because our teachers are able to receive extensive training in their field every one of our nearly 600 students are able to benefit,” Ellison said.

According to the essay application, Philyaw used his creativity to develop a way that money could be raised for necessary training without having students go door-to-door offering merchandise.

The innovative plan resulted in the development of the annual golf tournament.  

According to the application, many challenges face Philyaw each year in making the golf tournament a success.

Included are finding donors, lining up teams to participate, the logistics of scheduling, and often the impending threat of rain can all cause challenges for even the most skilled organizer.  Yet, each year, Philyaw manages to overcome whatever challenges come his way in order to help Cedar Grove Elementary host a successful fundraiser.

The applilcation notes he worked nearly 75 hours preparing for the golf tournament with an additional 12 hours on the day of the event.  Additionally, he has spent countless hours raising money on his own as well as volunteering in numerous ways in the building.

Though Philyaw’s primary commitment to Cedar Grove is the golf tournament, he also volunteers time and equipment to the school.

“The people here are so wonderful,” he said. “The teachers and administrators make you feel like family. It is such a special school. They really care about the students,” he said.

Ellison said the award was also being presented to Philyaw’s family. His wife Deborah and in-laws also volunteer numerous hours at the school.

“We are proud to have had Mike Philyaw to be a supporter of Cedar Grove Elementary School for the past six years,” Principal Ellison said.

“We can’t survive without our community volunteers,” she said. “We truly appreciate everything they do for our children.”

Palmetto Elementary dedicates amphitheater

Palmetto Elementary School held a ribbon cutting and dedication Monday for a new amphitheater located on the hill at the back of the school. The project, five years in the making, came from an idea suggested by Ramona Bowers. The project was completed with materials paid for with an arts and education grant and labor provided by many volunteers.

Jerome Hudson, principal of Palmetto Elementary, said he hopes the amphitheater will be used by the community as well as the school. He also said that a well-rounded education will have emphasis on academics, athletics and the arts. Hudson also said that he hopes that the amphitheater will provide an additional avenue for students to expand their creativity through the arts. The school’s Drama Club has used the stage for the last year.

The Amphitheater Dedication was attended by a crowd of well over 800 people which included the entire student body, parents, members of the community and school district personnel.

The Palmetto High School Drum Corps presented the Salute to Arms and other demonstrations of their skills.

Annette Ghan, teacher at Palmetto Elementary, sang the Star Spangled Banner. Palmetto Elementary School’s Palmetto Singers led by Shelia Cleveland, gave a musical presentation. Phillip Clardy, Mayor of Williamston, and Congressman Gresham Barrett of South Carolina’s Third District, as well as Dr. Wayne Fowler, Superintendent of Anderson School District One, and Fred Alexander, School District Board Chairman, made comments. Other Board members in attendance included Dale Martin and Nancy Upton. District Finance Director Steve Uldrick also attended.

Dr. Fowler commended the school personnel for having a vision. “All I saw was a bank,” he said. He also pointed out that the students at Palmetto Elementary are the students of the future. “You are the future band, drama and visual arts students,” he said.

Board Chairman Fred Alexander welcomed Congressman Barrett and said the amphitheater was a “beautiful addition.”

Barrett said “It is exciting to see what a community can do when it pulls together. This is what making a difference in our country is all about. We’re here to celebrate a community coming together.”

PHS crowns Homecoming Queen

Palmetto Hig School’s 2006 Homecoming Queen, Nikki Green, is crowned by last years queen Bernadette Gains as Homecoming King Chad Davis looks on. Green was named Palmetto’s Homecoming Queen during halftime ceremonies at the football game Friday evening. She is the daughter of Colleen and Rick Green of Pelzer. The Palmetto High School Homecoming Court included(l-r) Dee Powell, Hannah Johnson, Nikki Green Homecoming Queen, Brooklyn Williams and Jill Bagwell.

Mustang Regiment places first

The Palmetto High School Marching Band placed 1st in class 1A at the “Cavalier Clash Of Champions” held at Dorman High School this past weekend. The band was also honored to bring home trophies for Best Drumline, Best Color Guard, Best Hornline, and Best Drum Major. Lindsey Copeland, the Drum Major for Palmetto, earned the highest score of the day over all participating bands at the competition.

Kevin C. Lakin, Director of Bands, also earned the most votes for Best Band Director. Julia S. Bouldin is the Assistant Director of Bands. 

Their 2006 program is entitled “Jekyll & Hyde”, from the Broadway Production, arranged by Jay Bocook.

Enforcement, education blitz to focus on Anderson County

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety and the South Carolina Highway Patrol have undertaken an enforcement and public education blitz in Anderson County to fight a 33 percent increase in fatality numbers since last year.

The effort will remain in place until the fatalities numbers begin to drop, officials said. The S C Highway Patrol has used this “saturation” model successfully elsewhere in the state.

“Anderson County is following a disturbing trend in the Upstate of escalating fatalities due to preventable collisions,” said Highway Patrol Col. Russell F. Roark. “We will be harnessing enforcement resources, including motorcycle units and additional troopers, to apply a concentrated focus on specific highways and areas in Anderson County.”

The State Transport Police will assist with commercial motor vehicle traffic enforcement on I-85 as well as other identified roadways. The Highway Patrol will be working closely with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and the Anderson Police Department. Public Safety checkpoints also will be used throughout the county. Law enforcement will be checking driver’s licenses, registrations, and insurance verification and will be looking for open containers and other traffic violations.

From January 1, 2006, through August 31, 2006, Post A (Anderson) has had a 33 percent increase in traffic fatalities compared to the same time frame in 2005 (36 vs. 24). The leading causes for these fatal collisions include: speed, failure to yield and driving under the influence.  Other areas of concern include: safety belt violations (74 percent of those in a vehicle were not buckled up); motorcycles (21 percent of the fatalities this year involved motorcycles).

A study of the traffic trends in this area also revealed: The majority, 36 percent, of the collisions involve failure to yield the right of way; 63 percent of the time, the deceased was at fault; 33 percent of the fatal collisions occurred on state highways; 33 percent occurred on secondary, city and county roads; 74 percent of the fatalities involve occupants without safety belts; 41 percent of the fatal collisions occurred in the Northeast portion of the county.

The majority of the collisions - 42 percent - occur between 3 p.m.-11 p.m.; 36 percent of the collisions happened between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. 78 percent of motorcycle/bicycle collisions involve drivers without helmets.

The public can expect to see increased enforcement traffic on the following highways: I-85, US 76, US 29, US 178, SC 8 and SC 153 as well as other areas throughout Anderson County as conditions warrant.

“We have seen from past initiatives that when you enlist the public’s help in making their own communities safer, driving behaviors start to shift and fatality numbers and overall collisions begin to drop,” Roark said. “We are calling on the community to work hand-in-hand with us to make this scenic area of our state a safer place to drive.”

The Highway Patrol will be distributing safety fliers in Anderson and bordering counties to announce the increase in enforcement and let drivers know how they can keep themselves safe on the highways.

The Highway Patrol will also work with businesses, schools and churches to present its highway safety curriculum coupled with driving safety tips.

Any organization interested in having the Highway Patrol present its safety curriculum may call L/Cpl. Kathy Hiles at 864-241-5026, the SCHP Office of Community Relations at 803-896-7920 or “Request a Trooper to Speak” online at our web site — www.schp.org.

Voters urged to update information

The S.C. Election Commission is asking registered voters to update their home address or other contact information with their county voter registration office by Oct. 7.

Election Commission Executive Director Marci Andino said updating a change of address or other contact information is the best way voters can help ensure a smoother voting process for themselves – and other voters – on Election Day. 

“Having accurate records helps precincts ensure all South Carolina voters cast ballots at appropriate locations,” Andino said. “If a voter updates his contact information before Oct. 7, he can greatly reduce the potential for delays when he signs in on Election Day – and that could have a significant impact on wait time for all voters.”

Andino said all registered voters can check existing records by calling or visiting their county voter registration offices. Contact information for each county’s voter registration board can be found at www.scvotes.org/howtoregister. Or, voters can securely view their information on the S.C. Election Commission’s Web site: www.state.sc.us/scsec/.

A voter who needs to update his or her contact information has the following options: Download the form from the Voter Information section of www.scvotes.org. The form should be printed, completed and mailed to the voter’s county voter registration office.

Call or stop by the county voter registration office to obtain a form and make all necessary changes.  

Update the information on the back of their voter registration card and mail the card to the county voter registration office. If the card is received by Oct. 7, the voter will receive a new voter registration card by Election Day.

“We hope that voters in all counties will choose to take this step before Oct. 7, because it could truly make a difference in waiting time and the accuracy of voter registration information,” Andino said.

South Carolinians who are currently not registered to vote must also register by Oct. 7 to be eligible to vote in the Nov. 7 general election. Voter registration guidelines are available at www.scvotes.org.

Nov. 7 will mark the second time South Carolina voters in all counties will use electronic touch screen voting machines. All counties also used new machines in June.

South Carolina is 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, in compliance with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. HAVA was enacted to upgrade election systems nationwide, protect the integrity of elections and promote public awareness and participation in the electoral process. 

Williamston police report incidents

Williamston Police Officers investigated the following incidents: Sept. 10 - Richard Keith Williams, 24, 500 Campbell Rd., Pelzer, was arrested for disorderly conduct after officers were dispatched to 309 E. Main St. in reference to a man begging for money. He also had an active bench warrant. J. R. McCauley investigated.

Sept. 9 - Candace Ruchella Jackson, 32, 102 McKay Rd., Honea Path, was arrested for public disorderly conduct after a vehicle was observed rolling through a red traffic light on Anderson Dr. and then in the wrong lane on Beaverdam Rd. J. R. McCauley investigated.

Sept. 9 - Theresa Diane Jordan, 14 Davis St., Williamston, reported forced entry to the residence through a broken window. No items were reported missing. Two street signs belonging to the Town of Williamston were recovered from the location. Lt. J. T. Motes investigated.

Sept. 6 - Jack Baxter Blanton, Jr., 44, 5 E. Third St., Wiliamston was arrested for disorderly conduct after he was observed walking on E. First St. and Williams St. Ext. J. T. Motes investigated.

Sept. 5 - James Ronnie Maynard, 43, 216 J. Maynard Dr., Williamston, was arrested for criminal domestic violence 2nd offense, after an incident in the West Main Shopping Center in which he argued with his wife. While being processed at the WPD, Maynard complained of heart problems and was transported to the AnMed ER and then to the ACDC. J. R. McCauley II investigated.

Sept. 5 - Gerald Eugene Bannister, 46, 209 Prince St., Williamston, was arrested for assault and battery after  an incident in which he allegedly poked Walter Howard Smith, Jr. of 3 Ellison St. in the chest and attempted to provoke a fight. J. R. McCauley investigated.

Sept. 4 - Johnny Alton Armstrong, 23, 211 Southern Rd., Wiliamston, was arrested for open container after he was observed in a black Ford Explorer in Mineral Spring Park. T. A. Call investigated.

Sept. 1 - Dorothy Darlene Powell, 47, 602 Tripp St., Williamston, reported prescription medicine valued at $300 including 90 Xanax tablets, 90 loratab tablets, 60 firocet tablets and 60 phernergan tablets, were taken from her van. Capt. K. P. Evatt investigated.

Sept. 1 - Kenneth Wayne Baker, 44, 5 Forrest Lane, Williamston, was arrested for driving under suspension, 2nd,  after officers stopped a vehicle on West Main St. He was also wanted by several other agencies. J. R. McCauley investigated.

Aug. 30 - While on patrol, officer James Digirolamo observed  a planter on fire on the sidewalk on East Main St. in front of the Wellness Center. The fire was put out with a fire extinquisher. The planter, valued at $50, was completely destroyed.

Aug. 27 - Sav-Way, 309 East Main St., Williamston reported a white male had walked out of the location with a 24 oz. Bud light beer without paying. The man left in a black Ford Explorer which could not be located. J. R. McCauley II investigated.

Aug. 24 - David Keith Dobbins, 31, 805 Anderson Dr., Williamston, was arrested for speeding and driving under suspension after a vehicle was observed traveling at a high rate of speed on Ida Tucker Rd.. J. T. Motes investigated.

Aug. 24 - Joshua Ryan Allen, 17, 226 Belton Dr., Williamston, reported items valued at $950 taken from the residence. Forced entry was gained through a rear bedroom window that was secured with a piece of wood. Missing items included an XBox 360 game console, XBox game console and a Dell computer J. Digirolamo investigated.

Aug. 21 - Lagonda Sanders, 5 Randall St. Williamston, reported a  tag valued at $25 stolen from a 1993 Oldsmobile. Sgt. D. W. Alexander investigated.

Seems to Me . . . Joey Preston’s anniversary
(and other related matters)

By Stan Welch

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the marriage of Anderson County and its controversial County Administrator Joey Preston. As in many marriages, for some the honeymoon continues, while for others, the fighting and dissension far outweighs the affection and trust.

Few would deny Preston’s considerable talents; at the same time, more than a few question the focus and purpose to which those talents are applied. It took just months for Preston to become a topic of conversation and contention across the County. His demolition of the Tri-County Regional Landfill project during his first year on the job, and the subsequent sale of the Big Creek landfill to Allied Waste, served as an early sign that Preston would have a remarkable and recurrent impact on Anderson County.

Also within months of taking over, he had presented and passed a government reorganization plan that placed enormous powers in his hands, and removed them from County Council. He dissolved departments, and consolidated or created others. One of the changes he made was to assume control over the flow of information between his administration and the public.

He imported and employed loyal associates from his past, most notably from Cherokee County, where he worked before coming to Anderson county. A number of them continue to work for the County still.

He has overseen the implementation of a controversial sewer construction plan, and has led an aggressive, if not always effective, economic development program. There have been frequent allegations that he has steered county contracts and transactions toward his cronies, though Preston claims that such decisions are his purview under the Council/administrator form of government under which Anderson County operates

His critics say that he has become insufferable and arrogant, charges he both mocks and nourishes with declarations such as his authority to drive his County provided vehicle whenever and wherever he wishes.

Under Preston’s administration, several municipalities in the county have received new libraries and other boosts in infrastructure. The Eastern end of the county, containing Pelzer, West Pelzer, and Williamston have yet to see any of those new facilities; a circumstance some trace to Preston’s well known adversarial relationship with District 7 Councilwoman Cindy Wilson. In fact, her opponent in the coming election has raised the issue, as did her opponent in the Republican primary. Preston has said in a recent interview that he would like to see the library program completed. Wilson has said she would too.

A recent celebration of Preston’s tenure in the Anderson Independent Mail included a question and answer interview with Preston. Not surprisingly, the innocuous questions posed to Preston resulted in some rather self serving responses. One answer in particular, however, provoked a classic Preston explanation. Asked by the reporter about the County’s relationship with State Rep. John Scott, whom the County employs as a mass transit consultant, despite Scott’s lack of any specific qualifications in that field, Preston raised two issues.

He not so subtly tarred those who question the Representative’s qualification as being concerned because “he is a minority here in Anderson working as a contractor, making money.” Preston went on to point out that Scott is a certified contractor by the SCDOT. What he didn’t point out is the fact that the only qualification provided by Scott for that certification was , in fact, his ethnic status as a minority. Scott is African American, for those who have never met the gentleman.

Mr. Preston also didn’t mention that within a month after Scott’s firm was certified as a minority contractor, Anderson County, apparently without any bid process, had retained the firm to serve as its mass transit consultant.

Also omitted was the fact that he and Scott are personal friends as well. Scott, for example, sponsored a joint resolution in the General Assembly honoring another Preston crony, realtor Marshall Carithers, for his contributions on behalf of the National Guard. Scott also sponsored a bill that would provide both he and Preston, as well as certain other members of the South Carolina State Guard, with an annual $3000 tax deduction. Preston, for his part, has on at least one occasion, gone to considerable lengths to place fresh flowers in a motel room Scott was expected to occupy during a visit to the Anderson area.

But the point that was so classically turned was Preston’s statement that “We pay him an hourly rate.” Sounds like an hourly wage, doesn’t it? Sounds like maybe Mr. Scott is working the night shift at the Waffle House or something.

By the way, the last time I looked, that hourly rate was one hundred thirty-five dollars an hour, plus travel expenses. That may seem like an hourly rate to you, but it seems to me like a sweetheart deal.

In a recent article concerning a gag order placed by the S.C. House of Representatives’ Committee on Ethics on local radio talk show host Rick Driver, the South Carolina State Guard was described as “mostly ceremonial.”

Several members or their spouses took issue with that characterization. May I clarify just a bit? The SCSG’s role is to provide many of the services provided by the National Guard when the National Guard is otherwise occupied, as many are currently. The SCSG recently assisted Katrina victims and was sent to New York after the events of 9-11.

Since the SCNG is generally available to perform its duties, the use of the term ceremonial was intended to convey the nature of the majority of the services provided by the SCSG. No denigration of the Guard and its efforts was intended. I must, however, say that I am more impressed by the SCSG’s membership than I am their leadership.

One last statement, and I’ll be done. An article written several months ago about the county dumping debris along a creek on Spearman Road has resulted in several mentions of my being a mouthpiece for, or confederate of, Councilwoman Cindy Wilson.

The damning evidence offered by these always anonymous conspiracy nuts is the appearance of a Wilson Realty sign in the background of some pictures taken to show the repairs and improvements done to the site after the story broke.

Everybody listen carefully for the sound of a bubble bursting. The pictures taken for the original story, which weren’t used because they were misplaced and not found until after press time, showed a different realtor’s sign on the same tree.

In other words, folks, Ms. Wilson, who quite frankly doesn’t need a mouthpiece, didn’t have the nearby property listed at the time. The infraction was found for the simple reason that I frequently travel that stretch of road, and I know a violation when I see one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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