(4106) Week of Oct. 11, 2006
Journal articles topic of
mid-state election campaign
By Stan Welch
State Representative John L. Scott, whose companys qualifications as a consultant on mass transit for Anderson County have been questioned in this newspaper in recent months, denounced The Journal as a racist hate organization recently.
The Journal has confirmed reports that Scott, speaking before the Starks Terrace Homeowners Association this week, clearly identified this newspaper as racist and a hate organization. Witnesses who were present said that Scott made several such statements, while brandishing a copy of a magazine.
Richland County Councilman Joe McEachern, who was at the public meeting, stated, Mr. Scott was waving around some magazine that I couldnt see the name of. He clearly gave the impression that The Williamston Journal was identified as a hate group. He never actually said that the magazine identified them, but that was the impression he gave. He left right after making those remarks, so I couldnt verify any of his information. McEachern, who represents District Seven on the Richland County Council, and who, like Scott, is African American, ran against Scott in the Democratic primary earlier this year.
Ms. Denise Jones, who is running against Scott for the District 77 S.C. House seat in November, was also there. I was shocked to hear him make such charges against a newspaper, said Jones. He didnt even clearly identify it as a newspaper.
Jones said that she identified the magazine as The Intelligence Report, a periodical published by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which identifies and tracks hate groups. The Intelligence Report is published quarterly.
An issue which appeared in 2004, and dealt in part with the shooting of two deputies in Abbeville, also referred to several Anderson citizens, and quoted county administrator Joey Preston and former Sheriff Gene Taylor widely.
The Journal was never mentioned in that report; nor has The Journal ever been identified as a hate group by the SPLC, according to Mark Potok, who edits The Intelligence Report. We have never identified your paper in such a way, and have no reason to think that we should. I know absolutely nothing about this situation, said Potok, in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Efforts to reach Juliet Greenlee, vice president of the Starks Terrace HOA, and radio reporter Michelle Harris, who were both present at the meeting, were unsuccessful.
Jones may have sparked the outburst when she recently sent out approximately thirteen hundred letters to mostly black, mostly Democratic voters in the District. That letter included links to The Journals website, and an admonition for the readers to check the articles for themselves. Scott referred to the Jones letter during his attack on The Journal, according to Jones.
Those articles, as well as some personal opinion columns which have appeared in The Journal, questioned the relationship between Anderson County and Scotts C&S Consulting Company, which receives tens of thousands of dollars as the Countys mass transit consultant. According to research by The Journal, Scotts qualifications seem to be comprised primarily of his companys status as a disadvantaged business enterprise; a status awarded to C&S Consulting, and other businesses, as part of the state and federal programs to insure a certain percentage of public works contracts to minority businesses.
Within weeks after his company received DBE status, Scott had been hired as Anderson Countys mass transit consultant. Apparently no bid process was followed in the awarding of that contract. According to information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Scotts firm receives, on average, between five and seven thousand dollars a month for its services to Anderson County.
Scott bills the County at a rate of one hundred and thirty-five dollars an hour, as well as travel expenses.
Fueling the controversy over Scotts hiring is the personal relationship between Scott and county administrator Joey Preston. Both are staff members of the S.C. State Guard and Preston has on at least one occasion gone to the trouble of placing flowers in a motel room Scott was slated to occupy.
Last December, while retrieving information on Scotts contract with the County, obtained under the SCFOIA, a reporter for The Journal was confronted by Rep. Scott, and accused of racial motives in seeking the information. Subsequent research failed to produce any further technical qualifications or expertise by Scotts company in the field of mass transit.
The Journal is a fully accredited member of the South Carolina Press Association.
A proposed sewer treatment process the town of Williamston is pursuing will be one of the first of its kind in the Upstate and may be the trend of the future in dispersing treated water from a waste water treatment plant.
According to Paul Lewis, project manager for Goldie & Associates, the engineering firm recommending the new process as an option for Williamston officials, the land application process has been used in Georgia, and allows treatment systems to avoid costly upgrades necessary to meet increasingly stricter water quality standards.
The process involves pumping treated waste water, water that is currently being pumped into the Saluda River, to a nearby site where it is dispersed through a drip system, essentially watering the ground to which it goes.
The dispersement site can be used to grow grass, turf, even ChristmastTrees, Lewis said.
Lewis made the comments during a public forum Monday on the proposed Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) upgrades for the town.The forum was attended by fewer than 20 people including councilmembers.
Lewis of Goldie & Associates, the towns engineering firm, made a short presentation explaining the concept of the three phase project. Projected costs for the project which is described as one of the first of its kind in the Upstate, are $10 to $12 million.
The Town is applying for a Rural Development RDA grant/loan. The 40 percent grant/60 percent loan amounts to approximately a $7.2 million loan being repaid to RDA on the project.
A typical sewer customer can expect their sewer bill to increase approximately $45.
Lewis said that increasingly stringent DHEC permit regulations on discharges into rivers is the main reason the town is being required to upgrade at the WWTP, which is a lagoon treatment system which discharges treated water into the Saluda River.
According to Lewis, the town has the costly option of connecting with Western Carolina Sewer Authority and pumping to a plant in Piedmont, the potentially costly option of a system pumping to a 20 year old treatment plant in Ware Shoals which may need upgrades in the near future, or a progressive option known as land application.
According to Lewis, the first two options will be expensive. The less expensive alternative, and his recommendation is a land application which includes pumping treated waste water that is now being discharged into the Saluda, to a location where it is sprayed or dripped into the surrounding soil.
Advantages of the system, which is very common in Georgia, according to Lewis, is that it is less costly than WCRSA, sewer rates are expected to remain fairly stable and there is less need for treatment plant upgrades due to changing water quality standards.
Lewis said the project will require approximately 300 acres, of which about half will actually be used in the process, with the rest available as back up..
The project will include building a new holding basin for rainwater near the treatment plant, expanding capacity, replacing a sewage lift station, implementing a drip field and miscellaneous repairs to the towns system.
Impacts from the upgrades and land application process will address odor issues at the WWTP by getting rid of sludge and increasing aeration in basin #2. Land application impacts include implementing a subsurface system, which Lewis said produces no odors and a surface and spray system which will have a minor musty smell.
At the present WWTP, there will be a new holding basin with the rest of the site remaining the same. A new construction entrance will be designated to eliminate traffic in the Gatrewood neighborhood.
Phase I, estimated to be completed by August of 2008, will include submitting a preliminary engineering report, submitting a no discharge permit application to DHEC, DHEC approval, Applying for the RDA package and construction of the facilities.
Phase II, estimated to be completed by February 2009, includes submitting plans and specifications, getting approval, RDA funding and construction.
Phase II, estimated to be completed by February 2010, will include submitting plans and specs, getting approval, RDA funding and construction.
Goldie & Associates has already submitted a preliminary engineering report and RDA application package, Lewis said.
Lewis said the town is also finalizing a report on air sampling and will plan another public forum on the sewer treatment issue in coming weeks.Waste Treatment upgrades
Williamston Councilmember Greg Cole announced this week that he will not be seeking reelection to the Town Council seat he has held for four years.
Cole submitted a letter to Town Clerk Michelle Starnes requesting that his name be removed from the ballot for the upcoming election Nov. 7.
Cole said he intends to finish his term which expires at the end of December of this year.
Cole said that he is not going to run for the office because of a medical condition of one of his employees which will result in Cole being required to devote more time to physically running the day-to-day operations of his business.
Cole is the owner of Upstate Electric, located just outside of Williamston on US Hwy. 29.
As a result, I no longer feel that I will have the adequate time to devote to the duties of council and to the people of Wiliamston, Cole stated in his letter. Due to the uncertainty of my business requirement at this time, I feel that it wold be unfair to continue tin the council race.
Coles seat on Council is being sought by political newcomer Willie Wright, who will now be unopposed.
Grand Opening of the Peebles store at 17 Pelzer Avenue, Williamston, is set for Thursday, October 12 with a ribbon cutting at 8:45 a.m.
During the four-day Grand Opening Celebration all Peebles shoppers can enjoy a 15% storewide discount with a Grand Opening Shopping Pass.
The first 150 customers, age 16 and older, to arrive at the store on Thursday and Friday will receive free gifts.
Thursdays gift will be a canvas tote bag, and Fridays will be a coordinating, compact umbrella.
On Saturday and Sunday customers will receive a Big Bonus Coupon Book offering five weeks of bonus savings.
All shoppers who visit the new store at any point in the four-day festivities can register to win one of three $100 Peebles gift cards, plus a 7 inch portable DVD player, sportswear for misses and juniors, jewelry, handbags and fragrance for men or women.
During the celebration, there will be great savings storewide, according to manager Keith Saylors.
With the new store opening, area residents will have local access to a variety of name-brand apparel.
Peebles not only will offer our local people a breath-taking shopping experience, but great value, quality and style that can accent any wardrobe in Pelzer, Piedmont, Williamston and Belton.
Peebles has a reputation for bringing style, selection and value to neighborhoods and small communities across the New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeastern and Midwestern states.
The Williamston store will offer one-stop shopping convenience with apparel for the entire family, plus shoes, accessories, jewelry and home gifts, all under one roof, Saylors said.
Shoppers can find brand names including Reebok, Haggar, Izod, Sag Harbor, Chaps, Levis, Dockers, Liz Claibourne, Carters, Nike and many more.
In addition to great prices on these brand names, Peebles customers will have access to a store branded credit card and a V.I.P. Rewards Program.
Peebles credit card customers earn V.I.P. rewards such as invitations to exclusive savings events, free gift wrapping and more, based on annual purchases. Cardholders also receive bonus savings coupons via mail. Additionally, Peebles offers a special discount program for its customers age 50 and over.
Stage Stores, Inc., (NYSE:SSI) the parent company of Peebles, operates more than 600 stores in 31 states under the Peebles name throughout the New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeastern and Midwestern states, and under the Stage, Bealls and Palais Royal names throughout the Southern Central states. For more information about Stage Stores, visit their corporate Web site at www.stagestores.com.
A fall festival type event is being planned for Saturday, October 28 in Mineral Spring Park.
There will be entertainment, candy and other special activities for kids including a Halloween costume contest.
Coordinator Dianne Lollis is organizing several groups and organizations that will participate in the event which will begin around dark.
Students from Palmetto High School and Palmetto Middle School will participate by decorating and dressing for Halloween.
Area businesses and churches will have displays and be giving out candy.
Strong Communities will also be participating with fun activities for smaller children and parents.
Entertainment for children is being planned for the amphitheater stage, including a dance group, a professional clown and costume contest, Lollis said.
The Williamston Fire Department is planning to offer spook rides on the 1936 antique fire truck which will leave the park, and take riders on a spooky tour to the nearby Williamston Cemetery and back.
Other special attractions are being planned for the evening, Lollis said. The entire community is invited.
By Stan Welch
Following a surge of deliveries of landfill leachate to the Williamston wastewater treatment plant, (WWTP), the number of tankers traveling from Anderson Regional Landfill to the WWTP has dropped off as the weather has gotten dry.
During the first few months of the arrangement between the Town and the landfills owner/operator, Allied Waste, Inc. paid the Town approximately $59,000 to accept and pre-treat the leachate, or rainwater that leaches down through the landfill and is collected there for treatment, before being released into the Saluda River.
At the agreed upon rate of $45 per thousand gallons, that would indicate acceptance of approximately one hundred thirty-one thousand gallons.
David Rogers says that with the dry weather, the amount of leachate transported has dropped dramatically. I dont know exactly what it is, but there has been nowhere near what there had been coming in. I dont know if weve had a tanker this week, he said Tuesday.
The acceptance and pre-treatment of the leachate had stirred a great deal of controversy, especially among residents from near the WWTP. They complained of odors, and medical problems, including nosebleeds, nausea and headaches.
James Bowman, who was at the forefront of the opposition to the plan when it began, says that the Town continues to be more concerned about the Towns plans to expand and upgrade the WWTP than they are about residents health.
They told us that they were going to put air quality test canisters out here. I thought they were going to test for a week or so, and do it near the ponds. But those canisters werent here for three hours, and one of them they put in my front yard, said Bowman. David Rogers sat in is truck and took it with him when he left. Thats how long they stayed here. Bowman says the residents havent heard anything about test results. They said they would get right back to us with the results. But they havent so far.
Bowman agrees that the number of tankers has dropped considerably. Its the dry weather. We still get a pretty good stench now and then. When it starts raining, theyll be back and how, said Bowman.
By Stan Welch
Approximately thirty citizens of the Powdersville/Piedmont areas gathered at Wren High School Tuesday to discuss their vision of Anderson County twenty years from now.
Doug McDougald, chairman of the Imagine Anderson Steering Committee, opened the meeting by saying that the process was designed to allow all the citizens in the area to be involved. The idea is to build a consensus instead of polarizing the county on any given issue. We can either have a say in our future or just let the future happen to us.
He then turned the meeting over to Lynn Cherry and Roy Bernardo, who conducted the remainder of the meeting.
After more than an hour of discussing the various ideas the audience, which included State Sen. Kevin Bryant, brought to the table, it appears that the vision of Anderson County twenty years from now is very much like the reality of Greenville County today, with two exceptions.
People move here for two reasons, based on what they all tell me, said Wayne Fowler, School District One Superintendent. They want more elbow room, and lower taxes. Thats why Anderson County is Greenvilles bedroom.
The tone of the meeting was set early, as the first person to speak said that the downtown of Anderson needed revitalizing, and offered the Greenville model as one to be followed. The call for more government services quickly followed, with the advice that the services be user friendly. Suggestions for more schools, friendlier people, better jobs, and a clearer civic identity for the area were also discussed.
One woman, who was unidentified, stressed the fractured nature of life in the area. You have two or three phone books here. You get your water bill from Powdersville, your power bill from Easley, and another bill from somewhere else. Where do I live? Sometimes, its hard to tell, she said.
After listening to the audience for a half hour, group facilitator Roy Bernardo said that what he kept hearing from the crowd was that they wanted more services, such as schools, libraries, convenience centers, and recreational facilities. The audience agreed, but when Bernardo asked what the audience liked about Anderson County and what they wished to preserve, the answer was elbow room and low taxes. I moved here twelve years ago for more elbow room. When I got here, I said, okay, now I dont want anybody else to come here. But they keep coming. Im losing more elbow room all the time.
The I word, or incorporation came up once or twice, usually accompanied by laughter and the statement that such an occurrence was unlikely at best.
Infrastructure, not surprisingly, was mentioned as the key to future growth and development. I have recently seen the ten year sewer plan for Anderson County and theres not much in it for the Powdersville area, said one man.
Additional Community forums will be held in the Willliamston, Pelzer, and West Pelzer area at Palmetto High School from 6 p.m to 8 p.m. on Oct. 23. Also the Pendleton/Townville area on October 9, at Pendleton High School; Starr/Iva on Oct. 16; Belton Honea Path on Oct. 17 and the City of Anderson at the City Rec. Center on Oct. 24.
By Stan Welch
District Seven County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson has heard all the reports and claims by her opponent that her prickly relationship with county administrator Joey Preston has hurt her district when it comes to receiving its share of services and resources. She places little faith in such talk, she says.
The one thing I have learned from having to work around the administrator as well as the Council is that there is more than one way to skin a cat, and sometimes, the easy way isnt the best way, said Wilson during a recent interview. But even if the reports are true, shouldnt we be asking why a district should be denied its fair share of the Countys resources and efforts, just because a hired administrator has a problem with an elected representative?
Wilson concedes that both Preston, and in her opinion, the rest of the Council as well, have tried to deny her constituents equal access to the countys resources. You have to realize that District Seven is comprised of all the areas that the other members didnt want. No other district has so many municipalities in it. And when I was first elected, they all came to me and said they were tired of being neglected by the County Council and administrator.
Soon after her first election, she and Preston began to clash, as they had over the Beaverdam sewer project even before Wilson ran for office. Their relationship soon became adversarial, based in large part on both Preston and the Councils refusal to release legal vendor files to Wilson. That battle for access to information has broadened to include financial records of the county, and has resulted in legal action that is slated to be argued before the S.C. Supreme Court.
As recently as the last Council meeting, Preston flatly refused to provide Wilson with a copy of a draft contract for the purchase of a vacant Kroger store slated for renovation as offices, saying he would provide it to Council when it was completed.
Still, Wilson points to a variety of infrastructure advances which have begun or taken place, according to her, with little or no help from the county itself. There is a great cooperative spirit among myself, the people of the district, and our County Delegation, including Rep. Dan Cooper, Rep. Michael Thompson and Sen. Billy ODell. Congressman Gresham Barrett and both our U.S. Senators Graham and DeMint are always willing to lend a hand. Our excellent grant writer and consultant Rusty Burns has been invaluable as well in accessing various sources of funds.
She speaks proudly of seventy miles of water line that has been installed in her District since she was elected in 2000. We had to literally shame members of the Council into letting us begin those projects, even though people were faced with dry or contaminated wells. But the nice thing about our form of government is that theres always another way to skin a cat. Sometimes, its a better way. You just have to think outside the box.
Wilson points to the recently begun construction of water lines in the West Pelzer town limits, saying that it took a great deal of cooperation to get the projects underway. But now we see things happening, said Wilson. She also adds that Burns, with the assistance of the County Delegation, helped to obtain grant monies for those improvements.
We also got thousands for the renovation of Spring Water Park over the last several years, to fix up the bathrooms and other facilities. I also think we have been very good stewards of what we have had to work with, and that has helped us to stretch our resources.
Said Wilson, Considering the treatment I have encountered at the hands of the administrator and the Council, I think survival carries its own merit to some extent. It is really our responsibility to become informed and involved in our government. Id just like to add that despite all that has gone on, we have remained positive.
She added, Those who say my relationship with the administrator is hurting my district will have to prove it to me, and to those in my district. I have never taken their confidence or their votes for granted. To me, this is a sacred responsibility. Any time people have requested help from their district, we have done all we can to help, although the administrator and some of his department heads have not.
Unfortunately there will not be a Footbridge Festival in Piedmont this year, but there will be a Piedmont History Exhibit at the Community Building on Saturday, October 21st , from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
On exhibit will be several articles from Saluda Sams collection of Piedmont history including a varied assortment of artifacts, articles, and pictures from Piedmonts past.
A special exhibit will be Roger Durhams photography of present day Piedmont which concentrates on many local landmarks. Two of his best are shots of the old mill smokestacks and a spectacular view from behind the dam which capture a view of the footbridge not seen by many Piedmont folks. His photos will be available for purchase, framed or unframed.
Featured in Saluda Sams display will be several pictures from the Estes Plant archives. Photos will include from the groundbreaking through its 40 years of operation until the plant closed in 2004. Included are several snapshots of Christmas, with the kids on Santas lap, as well as many casual shots of safety and other employee celebrations.
It is sad to see the festival come to an end, as many of Piedmont natives used the occasion to have a Homecoming, Roper said. Lots of visitors came by the Rowell Club Room to view past exhibits and hopefully some will still observe this tradition. As Mr. Rowell stated, Cross The Bridge and Help Each Other.
On Saturday employees of the Bosch Corporation celebrated the companys 100th anniversary of doing business in America. It also marked the companys 21st year in Piercetown. The company, which makes electronic parts for the automotive industry, employs 1200 people. More than 4000 including family members attended the celebration which included plenty of food, games for the kids, a car show, and even Elvis, (or an impersonator), showed up.
In the upcoming 2006 General Election, voters will choose who will represent them in the following offices: On the State level - Governor, Republican Mark Sanford, challenger Democrat Tommy Moore; Lt. Governor - Republican Andre Bauer, challenger Democrat Robert Barber; Secretary of State - Republican Mark Hammond, challenger Democrat Cheryl L. Footman; State Treasurer - Republican Thomas Ravenel, Democrat Grady L. Patterson, Jr.; Attorney General - Republican Henry McMaster, unopposed; Comptroller General - Republican Richard Eckstrom, Democrat Drew Theodore.
Superintendent of Education - has a number of candidates. They are Independent Tony Fayyazi, Green Arnold E. Karr, Republican Karen Floyd, Libertarian Tim Moultrie, Democrat Jim Rex and Constitution Ralph Lindblad.
Adjutant General - Republican Stan Spears, Democrat Lenny Lindman; Commissioner of Agriculture - Republican Hugh Weathers, Democrat Emile DeFelice.
South Greenville voters will elect the following: Representative in Congress 4th District, (Greenville County) - Green C. Faye Walters, Republican Bob Inglis, Libertarian John Corbin and Democrat William Griff Griffith.
House of Representatives District 28 (Greenville County) - Republican Eric M. Beddingfield, Constitution John A Langville.
County Council District 26 Republican Dan Rawls, Democrat Judy S. Gilstrap.
Dunklin Fire District 3 seats - Running are Jo Burdette, Everett Camp, Fay T. Childress, Morgan Livingston, Dave Riddle.
Four candidates are running for three seats on the Piedmont Public Service District (Anderson and Greenville Counties) Board of Commissioners. They are Al C. McAbee, Jr, Ed Poore, Rudy Rhodes, Bobby Stover.
Greenville County voters will also be voting for County offices including Auditor - Republican Scott Case, Democrat Mary M. Strom; Probate Judge - Democrat Debora A. Faulkner; Treasurer - Republican Jill R. Kintigh; and Scool Board Trustees in Greenville County; and some School Board Trustees in Anderson County District 2
Anderson County voters will decide who will represent them in Congress 3rd District - Republican J. Gresham Barrett, Democrat Lee Ballenger.
Of the House of Representatives Districts in Anderson County (Districts 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11) only District 7 and 8 will have more than one candidate running. Both Districts are not in The Journal coverage area.
House District 9 is represented by Republican Michael D. Thompson and District 10 by Republican Dan Cooper. Both are running unopposed.
In County Council District 6, Republican Ron Wilson is running unopposed. County Council District 7 Republican M. Cindy Wilson, Democrat Ed Jean.
Edward H. Pascoe has signed to run as a Director on the Big Creek Watershed. Dennis Claramunt and Russell Evans as Directors on the Three & Twenty Watershed.
School District One voters will choose between candidates Johnny Sosebee, Wendy Tucker and Phil Landreth for Area 1, Fred G. Alexander, Mary Ann Woodson for Area 4, C. Dale Martin and J. Doug Atkins for Area 5 and Nancy Owen Upton and Rick Freemantle for Area 7.
Williamston voters will have two candidates unopposed for two seats on council. They are Marion Middleton Jr., Ward 2 and Willie Wright, Ward 1.
Eight of Anderson School District Ones schools met or exceeded achievement objectives for the 2005-2006 school year under the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act as reported by the SC State Department of Education. Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is an annual determination of whether schools, districts and states have made progress toward the goal of having all students meet rigorous academic standards by 2014. AYP is based on student performance on the state assessments: Palmetto Assessment Challenge Test (PACT) for elementary and middle schools and the High School Assessment Program (HSAP) for high schools. It also includes graduation rate for high schools. With the increase in criteria each year to make AYP, these factors represent a significant increase in expectations for both schools and students.
NCLB is an all-or-nothing rating system. Schools must meet all of their targets to meet the requirement set by the federal government. Most Anderson District One schools have 13 to 21 targets and falling short on even one means that their school did not meet AYP. NCLB evaluated Anderson District One schools on 198 objectives. Those schools met 184 of the objectives which is over ninety percent met. Eight of the Anderson One schools met all targets for 2005-2006; three schools met all but two of their objectives, while two schools met all but four. Schools and districts must meet annual objectives for participation in testing and for attendance (primary, elementary and middle schools) and graduation (high schools). Schools and districts that meet or exceed these objectives are considered to have satisfied the laws definition of AYP toward the goal of 100 percent proficiency of all students in reading and mathematics by 2014. Districts and schools not meeting AYP for the first year face no consequences.
Independent national research studies have shown that PACTs scoring levels are set higher than annual accountability tests in other states. A students score of Basic on PACT, for example, might be equivalent to a score of Proficient in other states.
State Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum shared that South Carolinas definition for proficient continues to be far more rigorous than other states. The NLCB requirement says each schools performance levels must continue to progress toward the laws ultimate goal of having all students at the proficient level by 2014.
Jane Harrison, Director of Elementary Education stated, We are expecting all students to demonstrate a stronger command of rigorous content sooner than what is required by the federal government but we must be realistic in setting attainable goals. Teachers are providing high level instruction to help students meet these higher expectations. We are committed to making sure all children get the education they deserve and that they can be successful.
Dr. Wayne Fowler, Superintendent for Anderson One said, We will continue to look at all students, as well as subgroups. Our district has systems in place to identify areas of academic weakness and monitor student progress. We will continue to look at ways to improve our instructional practices with specific populations of students. Identification tools are in place to assist in making the best instructional decisions for our students. All of the teachers and administrators are to be congratulated for helping students meet these higher standards.
By Stan Welch
Well, its fall again. Oh, the leaves still have a way to go, but the pumpkins and hay bales are everywhere, and the mornings have that delightful crispness that so clearly marks the season. Wood smoke and the smell of burning leaves take note of the shortening days.
Its comforting to see that the yearly cycle, the timely march of the seasons, continues. Its good to know that we can count on certain patterns in our lives. They give us continuity, they give us predictability; a certain illusion of control, whether the illusion proves true or not.
Surely that was what was in State Representative John L. Scotts mind earlier this week, when he reverted to an old pattern by calling The Journal a racist hate organization. The details of the incident are related elsewhere in this issue, but Scotts reflexive and simpleminded playing of the race card deserves a little more specific treatment.
Scotts opponent in his bid to retain his District 77 House seat, Ms. Denise Jones, has referred to some articles and columns which have appeared in this paper questioning Scotts qualifications to serve as Anderson countys mass transit consultant. She has encouraged Scotts constituents to read those pieces on The Journals website and decide if he is all that he claims to be. It is after all an election year, and while Williamston is a good ways from Richland County, you use the ammo youve got.
Apparently some of that ammunition hit its mark, since Jones and others present at the meeting say that Scott was furious and denounced The Journal as a racist hate organization. Hes obviously never been in the office on press day, or he would have left that organization part out.
This is not the first time Scott has reached for the race card early in the hand. When I first sought information about Scotts business relationship with the County, under the Freedom of Information Act, he was on hand in an effort to intimidate me, and began by asking why he, a black man, was the only contractor whose information I had sought. The clear inference was that the motive in seeking that information was racial in nature.
Mr. Scott was wrong then, and he is wrong now. He clings to this trite and cliched act of oppressed innocence because he simply has no better defense. He knows as well as anyone that his major qualifications are that his company is a disadvantaged business enterprise, or certified minority contractor, and that he has many government contacts. Those are his credentials, not some deep and insightful knowledge of the mass transit industry. If you have credible evidence to the contrary, sir, produce it and I will be still.
The Journal is a small town weekly newspaper, which does its best to provide news and important information to its readers. It has been around for a long time, and will be for a longtime coming, slanderous attacks notwithstanding. It is a fully accredited member in good standing of the South Carolina Press Association, a professional association of newspapers and journalists, and the setter of standards for journalistic conduct and performance in the state.
What I have seen of The Journals owners and operators tells me that their agenda is essentially the good of the town they serve. Some days, serving that town may not be all smiley faces and howdy dos. But thats the newspaper business, and I happen to think that the Meades are pretty darn good at it.
Truth be told, I think Im not half bad at it either. Mr. Scott, however, apparently thinks that anyone questioning him about anything is somehow possessed of an evil motive. It couldnt possibly be the publics right to know, could it? Makes you wonder where he would come by an attitude like that, doesnt it? Must be the company he keeps.
Scotts knee jerk response, and his irresponsible smearing of the good name of this newspaper, with charges which he knows to be a lie, reminds me of a pinochle game I was in once.
I used to love to play double deck pinochle. My Mom says its because Im not bright enough to play bridge. Anyway, a friend and I were playing as a team one night, and we had really pushed the bid. We were down to the last couple rounds, and needed every point we could win. We were right down to it, and Ron played a king ahead of a ten, and we lost three points and the hand. (Believe me, in double deck pinochle, a ten beats a king.)
I just looked at him, and said, Man, what did you do that for?
And he looked at me and said, It was the only card I had. And it was.
I understood why he played it back then, and I understand why Scott plays his only card today. But it seems to me like its still a losing play, Mr. Scott.