News Archive

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(4508)Week of November 5, 2008

Clardy out as mayor
Harvell retains Council seat
Voters speak - Change is coming
Clerk shot in armed robbery
Vehicle theft leads to chop shop operation
Williamston establishes cemetery trust fund
Pelzer Avenue relocation project moving forward
Palmetto Middle partners with natural resource programFirst in Nation
Anderson County Council instructs attorney to release bond information
Personnel committee meeting in privateAnderson County
Clardy responds to ad
Traffic stops lead to arrests

Clardy out as mayor

In a very close race for the office of mayor of Williamston, it appears that Carthel “Coach” Crout has defeated incumbent Phillip Clardy with 50.60 percent of the vote.

Crout managed to get 668 of the 1311 total (unofficial results) giving him 13 votes more than the 50 percent required to be declared the winner. Clardy received 401 votes and Otis Scott 242.

There was some question about at least four of the ballots which could be added to Clardy’s total, but they would not change the outcome, officials.

Williamston Election Commission Director Jerry Davis said that his understanding of the election law is that a candidate receiving 50.001 percent of the vote was enough to avoid having a runoff election.

A recount was being held at the Williamston Municipal Center today (Wednesday) at 10 a.m. to confirm the results.

Crout has served on Williamston Town Council for two years and in his announcement said, “I am running for the Mayor of Williamston to provide leadership and integrity to the office of mayor and to the citizens of Williamston.”

Crout said his experience and background will help him in his duties as mayor and in running the town.

Crout said cleaning up the town is a priority. He plans to hire a codes enforcement officer and to condemn dilapidated structures in the town. 

He also said that some areas of the town have serious infrastructure problems. “The communities of the Williamston Mill village, Brookdale Community and the Parker St. Community have serious problems with water and sewer lines.”

He said he will work to get grants to renew those areas of town and to upgrade the water and sewer lines which are 50 years old and failing.

Harvell retains Council seat

Incumbent councilman David Harvell received 700 votes to Walter Smith’s 550 to retain his Ward 3 seat on Williamston Town Council. Harvell will be serving his third term.

Mike Looper ran unopposed for the Ward 4 seat.

Voters speak - Change is coming

By Stan Welch

Voters across the area and the nation waited in long lines to cast their ballot Tuesday, with the average wait locally being about an hour and a half. From Cedar Grove and Calvary in the lower part of the district to Piercetown and Powdersville in the upper, polling precincts saw heavy turnout. The trend followed across the state and nation.

The theme of change swept America’s first black president into office and had effects at the local level as well, although those effects weren’t nearly as profound as they were on the national scene.

Democratic candidate Barrack Obama, the son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, and running mate Joe Biden, defeated Republican candidates John McCain and Sarah Palin to win the office of President and Vice President of the United States.

On the local level,  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham won handily in his race for reelection, defeating Democratic challenger Bob Conley by a margin of 58% to 42%.

In doing so, Graham, unlike presidential candidate John McCain, survived his close political association with President George Bush.

U.S. Congressman Gresham Barrett also won handily over Democratic challenger Jane Dyer, garnering 65% of the vote.

On the state level, incumbent Senator Billy O’Dell from District 4 won his sixth consecutive term. Based on incomplete results at the time this article was written, O’Dell had a 68% to 32% lead over Democratic challenger Leonardo Ortiz.

Incumbent Senator Kevin Bryant won his first quest for re-election despite a strong effort by Democratic challenger Marshall Meadors. 

With eighty four per cent of the votes in, Bryant was leading by a margin of 57% to 43%, despite a concerted effort and an expensive campaign to unseat him.

State Representative Mike Gambrell, from District 7 won reelection with 73% of the votes, handily defeating Richard Kelly. Representative Don Bowen won re-election by a margin of 54.5% to 45.5% over Democrat Tom Dobbins.

In the race for Anderson County Sheriff, Republican John Skipper routed independent Dennis Gough with a strong 82% of the vote. Skipper had earlier squeaked past incumbent David Crenshaw in the Republican primary in June.

In the Anderson County Council races, only Democratic incumbent Gracie Floyd faced a challenger in District 2. She defeated Bill Holder by a margin of 75% to 25%. Incumbents Bob Waldrep, Ron Wilson and Cindy Wilson all ran unopposed after winning their primary races in June.

Three new Council members, who also ran unopposed after winning their Republican primary races, are Tom Allen, Eddie Moore, and Tommy Dunn.

A proposed one cent sales tax was defeated by a margin of 59% to 41%.

In the local school board for District One, area 6, incumbent Joe Pack defeated Rick Bell by 53% to 47%.

Five candidates sought two seats on the Piedmont Public Service Commission. Lib Pack and Rudy Rhodes were the two top vote getters and will assume those seats in January.

Incumbent Frankie Garrett finished third, followed by Gary Alexander and Ken Brown.

The vote totals for the Piedmont Public Service Commission are as follows: Lib Pack, 948 votes (33%), Rudy Rhodes, 687 votes (24%), Frankie Garrett, 540 votes, (19%), Gary Alexander 450 votes (16%), and Ken Brown, 227 votes, (8%).

Clerk shot in armed robbery

By Stan Welch

 Two men were charged Monday night in connection with the armed robbery of the Shell Station at the intersection of Hwy. 8 and I-85 in which a Williamston man was shot.

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputy A.T. Grasty was on patrol near the interchange of Highway 8 and I-85 just before midnight when he saw two men come out of the Shell station at that location. They ran across the parking lot toward  Highway 8, then turned in the direction of the interstate.

As Grasty approached the two men, one ran towards the interstate while the other slowed to a walk in the same direction. Grasty saw that the running subject was wearing a make shift mask, made from a toboggan. He stopped and pulled his weapon, ordering the subject to get on the ground. The subject stopped and removed an object from his pocket, which he threw across the guardrail. He then lay down and was handcuffed. The other subject was also cuffed and placed in custody.

While Grasty was apprehending the subjects, someone in the Shell station called 911 to report a robbery and shooting. Pelzer EMS was dispatched as well as forensic units from the Sheriff’s Department.

Blake Darby, a twenty one year old clerk at the store, was shot in the chest. Darby was transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital, where he remained in intensive care late Tuesday afternoon.

Charged with assault and battery with intent to kill is Travis Todd Bennefield, WM, 28, 6’, 155 pounds, brn/blue, of 335 Owens Road in Piedmont. He is also charged with conspiracy, armed robbery and possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

Charles Dewayne Graham, WM, 24, 6’1", 170 pounds, brn/blue, of 514 Wilderness Trail in Liberty, is charged with armed robbery and conspiracy.

Both men remain in the Anderson County Detention Center.

Vehicle theft leads to chop shop operation

By Stan Welch

The theft of three vehicles from the Carolina Auto Auction on September 9 eventually led Anderson County Sheriff’s investigators to a chop shop in Williamston, and resulted in the arrests of four men.

Todd Jeckel, WM, 40, and Mike Mardis, WM, 43, were each charged with three counts of grand larceny and one count of conspiracy in connection with those thefts.

A few days later, on September 14, Brandon Milledge Taylor, WM, 27, 5’10", 150 pounds, of 735 HI Taylor Road, was driving a white Mustang and allegedly rammed a vehicle driven by Edward Abercrombie at the corner of Brown Road and Hwy. 29 North. ACSO deputies J.R. Brown and J.W. Mills attempted to stop Taylor and he fled at high speed. The Mustang was  subsequently located at HI Taylor Rd. and Willingham Rd.

Jerry Anthony Gillespie, WM, 34, 5’7", 155 pounds, brn/green, who was at 208 Willingham Road, where the pursuit ended, consented to a search of the property. Stolen vehicles were found there, including vehicles with stolen parts from other vehicles installed.

As a result of the investigation and search, Gillespie was arrested on charges of possession of stolen goods, operating a chop shop, and conspiracy.

Taylor was charged with one count of assault and battery with intent to kill, one count of criminal domestic violence, failure to stop for a blue light, two counts of possession of stolen property valued at more than $5000, two counts of conspiracy, operating a chop shop, one count of being a habitual offender, one count of DUS, violation of probation, eight counts of grand larceny, possession of burglary tools, and two counts of breaking into motor vehicles.

Taylor was transported to ACDC where he remained on a $220,000 surety bond. He apparently made bond and was released, since an incident report dated October 29 states that he was seen deliberately driving a four wheel drive Ford Explorer over a John Skipper for Sheriff sign at the corner of Pine Top Rd. and Brown Avenue Extension.

Williamston establishes cemetery trust fund

Duirng their regular meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council hurriedly addressed issues including waste water treatment, hired an auditing firm, rebidding the generator and establishing a cemetery trust fund.

Water/Sewer Department Head Tim Hood reported that a DHEC consent order has been updated to allow the town more time to address their sewer issue.

He said a new entrance to the treatment plant is in and the town is going forward with sludge removal.

Town officials are awaiting word from DHEC on whether they should proceed with a drip or spray system associated with the land application process they are pursuing.

Hood said DHEC officials prefer the spray system but there is not enough land available.

The town is currently in negotiations with a land owner, but details have not been made public.

The underground drip system would have to be coordinated with the landowner, he said.

Mayor Phillip Clardy said the town will soon begin to remove sludge from the basins and the new access will be used as a construction access when the upgrade begins.

Councilman Marion Middleton Jr. said the town is looking for a place to dump the sludge which he said may have to go to a landfill.

Acting on a motion by Councilman Otis Scott, Council unanimously agreed to keep the current auditing firm of Greene, Finney and Horton as the town’s yearly auditor. The motion included increasing the budgeted amount for an audit from $20,000 to $30,000 to cover the cost of the service.

Mayor Clardy again asked the Council to reconsider a 3 percent cost of living raise for town employees. Discussion of the raise was cut off when the issue was tabled with a 4-1 vote, with Clardy opposed.

Council decided to rebid the old water treatment plant generator due to low bids received on the first round.

Town Administrator Phyllis Lollis said that Lee Wardlaw bid $1500, Keith Almond $3000 including removal and damage.

According to Lollis, Brian Jarvis, a dealer who buys and sells similar equipment, said that $3000 was a fair bid. He indicated that it was worth approximately $8000 if it was up and running, but that it has been sitting for 20 years and would cost approximately $4000 to repair.

The generator will be bid as a package along with a smaller generator for a period of 60 days.

Council unanimously agreed to establish  a trust fund account for the Williamston Cemetery. The fund will be called the Dalton  Cemetery Trust Fund.

Attorney Richard Thompson said that he has received correspondence from the Dalton family including a $2500 check for the Williamston Cemetery Committee and a $7500 check for the endowment account.

Council then went into a very short executive session. Upon returning to public session, Council approved a paving request and a ditch cleanout request.

The next meeting of Council will be Monday, November 17.

Pelzer Avenue relocation project moving forward

By Stan Welch

A preliminary meeting of the various parties involved in relocating Pelzer Avenue was recently held in Williamston.

Attending were representatives of the Anderson County Transportation Department, Anderson County Transportation Committee, the Town of Williamston, Dunn & Associates Engineering, as well as grant writer Rusty Burns and local businessman Jim Simpson.

Town of Williamston officials included Mayor Phillip Clardy, Council members Carthel Crout and Otis Scott and Town Administrator Phyllis Lollis. Despite a quorum of council being present, the Council was not convened in a formal sense.

The project is designed to relocate Pelzer Avenue and create a four way intersection at the traffic light at Main Street and Mill St. in the center of town.

The Anderson County Transportation Committee recently appropriated $373,000 to the project, which is considered vital to efforts by Simpson to attract a major supermarket to his shopping center at that site.

Anderson County Transportation Director Holt Hopkins and Ms. Mary Jane Dobbins reminded the group that state procurement procedures must be used in connection with the project. That means that there must be a selection of the engineers, following a request for qualifications (RFQ) to be advertised in the local newspaper and on a state website that publishes any contracts to be let.

Non-construction  costs, including engineering, for the project are currently estimated at  $78,032. 

In addition, five per cent of the contract work to be done has to be set aside for minority contractors, as well as women owned businesses respectively.

“We are the administrator of all C funds used in the county,” said Hopkins. “We assure that all the paperwork is done properly, and we will require all records to be provided to us.”

Mayor Clardy assured Hopkins that Ms. Dobbins would receive all the records and documents in a timely manner. “We will co-copy her on everything as it happens,” said Clardy.

The contractor awarded the project will have to post both a bid bond and a performance bond. The county can either reimburse the town for its expenses or pay the invoices incurred directly.

Hopkins also stressed that during the RFQ phase, the low bid should not be the determining factor. “You are looking for the best qualified engineer, not the cheapest, necessarily,” he said. “In fact, you might want to do the bid process separately from the RFQ.”

Councilman Carthel Crout asked if the contract could be awarded to Dunn & Associates, who have a long relationship with the town, and who have been involved in the Streetscape project. Hopkins said that was not possible, but did say that familiarity with the downtown revitalization program could be an ingredient in the RFQ process.

A subsequent traffic study will likely be conducted by Sprague & Sprague as part of the RFQ process. “It will take months if we have SCDOT do it for us. It will save time and money to have it done privately,” said Burns, who was instrumental in obtaining the funds for the project.

Simpson, who is executing a land swap with the adjacent property owners and the town in order to make the project possible, raised the issue of turn lanes for entrance into the shopping center.

He was told that the preliminary estimates did not reflect designing and installing turn lanes. He was adamant that such lanes are essential. “We are making a great stride in creating a true four way intersection to help create a real focus for the downtown area, but if we don’t include turn lanes, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot. “

He added that the elimination of some street side parking to create enough room for turn lanes is a possibility, but added, “If need be, I will donate more land on my side of the street to make this happen.”

Palmetto Middle partners with natural resource program

The South Carolina Department of Education, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Palmetto Middle School have launched a partnership that uses natural and social resources and conservation education to connect students to the outdoors.

The “Natural Resource Schools: Educating Outdoors” partnership is the first of its kind in the nation, officials said.  

The goal is to improve student achievement and behavior through natural resources and conservation education by increasing environmental literacy, desire to learn, critical thinking skills and problem solving ability, said DNR agency director John Frampton.

An open house held at Palmetto Middle last week featured Department of Natural Resources’ demonstrations and exhibits that included nature photography, archery and crossbow, shooting simulators, hunting and boating safety, hiking and outdoor survival skills, law enforcement, fishing and climate information.

Palmetto Middle Principal Barry  Knight said, “A great education does not happen just inside the classroom. Therefore, we are very excited about extending the learning of our students through this venture with the Department of Natural Resources and the support of State Superintendent Dr. Jim Rex.”

“Thirty percent of children nationwide are overweight and a contributing factor is the decreasing amount of time kids spend playing in nature,” said DNRs Frampton. “Natural Resource Schools integrate natural resources, outdoor skills and conservation education into all aspects of the classroom to improve student achievement and their knowledge about the importance of natural resources and conservation.”

As the pilot school, Palmetto Middle School will serve as a model for using natural resources, conservation, the outdoors and community for integrating instruction and curriculum,  promoting  research and investigations, improving student learning, enhancing extended-day activities and implementing service projects. 

State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex said, “I congratulate Palmetto Middle for being chosen as South Carolina’s first natural resource school. This pilot program is a unique way to get our kids outdoors for a variety of activities and to help them understand the connection between human beings and natural resources in our world, and in our state.”

Superintendent Rex has made increasing public school choice a focus of his administration.  He said that the potential exists for Natural Resource Schools to become a choice option for parents and students across the state.

South Carolina’s current curriculum choices include magnet programs, schools-within-schools, alternative schools, virtual schools and charter schools. Some of the state’s public school choice programs include single-gender initiatives, middle college/early college, Montessori Education, evening high school, language immersion, academic academies, arts integration and international baccalaureate programs.

Program activities, based on student and parent input, are slated to begin in January 2009. 

Parents who want to get involved can volunteer to become trained program instructors to assist teachers as students explore both their academic standards and the great outdoors.

Anderson County Council instructs attorney to release bond information

By Stan Welch

The Anderson County Council met Monday night, and adjourned with no mention of pending legal claims against the County by County Administrator Joey Preston.  Apparently, those claims and Council’s reaction to them were slated for review by the personnel committee in a five o’clock meeting on Tuesday, Election Day.

Preston has retained legal counsel and lodged claims against the County Council stating that statements made by some of the members, as well as incoming members for next year, amount to his having been fired without cause. Council also retained an attorney, who met with the personnel committee last week. Council members Waldrep and Cindy Wilson attended despite having been told they couldn’t.

According to county ordinance, the personnel committee was required to make a report to the full Council at Monday’s meeting. No such report was forthcoming.

Waldrep and Wilson have both stated their concerns that the majority of Council hopes to buyout Preston’s contract before the end of their terms, which end on December 31 of this year. The cost of such a buyout has been estimated at between $500,000-$900,000.

In other business, Council voted to instruct the county attorney to release information concerning the series of debt instruments enacted by Council this year to the two incumbents and three incoming Council members who asked for it.

 Again, Waldrep and Wilson, along with incoming Council members Tommy Dunn, Eddie Moore, and Tom Allen, had asked  that the McNair Law Firm, which authored the various bond ordinances which have been approved by Council, imposing more than $20 million worth of new debt, provide any information they might have on the impact that recent economic developments might have on those bonds.

 The letter sought information concerning the impact the recent economic downturn would have on such things as the interest rates on the bonds offered by banks, and the impact on the revenue streams expected to fund some of the special source revenue bonds, such as the airport bond.

 Councilman Larry Greer actually led the move to release the information, rebutting Chairman Thompson’s list of options. 

Thompson offered three choices: to release the information completely, to release such information fell within McNair’s area of expertise, or to refer the issue to County Administrator Joey Preston. Greer pointed out that the McNair Law Firm had asked for guidance from the Council. “I don’t see how we can refer this to the administrator when the letter from McNair asks specifically for guidance from this body politic,” said Greer, just before casting the deciding vote to defeat Councilman McAbee’s motion to refer it to the administrator.

Councilman Ron Wilson also voted with Waldrep and Wilson to provide the fourth vote.

Following the defeat of McAbee’s motion, Greer moved to instruct the McNair Law Firm to provide any and all information where they had expertise. “I have no problem with these five people receiving this information. Greer’s motion passed by a vote of 6-1 with Councilwoman Floyd opposed.

County Attorney Tom Martin took offense at reference Ms. Wilson made to his law firm and what she sees as conflicts of interest which arise at times. He argued that his firm goes out of the way to avoid even the perception of a conflict of interest. He said that in the situation where his law firm represented the developer of Kohl’s, they had sought and received a signed release from the county to do so.

Wilson tried to respond but was cutoff by Chairman Thompson. She did later, however, get Martin to confirm that County Administrator Preston signed the waiver he had referred to. “Didn’t you help amend his employment contract at one time,” she asked. Martin said he had. “Well, that would seem to be a conflict of interest in itself,” she said.

Wilson kept the pressure on, as she raised the issue of a letter related to the closing of Lewis Drive. She had stated at the last meeting that a letter from County Fire Chief Billy Gibson, advising further study before the closure of Lewis Road, had not been provided to Council before the vote, which allowed the road’s closing.

County Administrator Joey Preston stated that both Gibson’s letter, as well as a letter from Ike Brissey, of the Public Safety Department recommending closure, had been given to Council before the vote.

Monday night, at Greer’s insistence, Preston read a memo from Clerk to the Council Linda Edelmann, which Preston said referred to the Gibson letter.

In that letter, Edelmann reportedly said that she had withheld the letter from Wilson’s information packet on previous instructions from Wilson not to add backup documentation to items she placed on the agenda unless she was asked to do so by Wilson.

Preston presented the memo as if it referred to the Gibson letter, but a reading of the actual memo from Edelmann to Preston contains no mention or reference to the letter from Chief Gibson. It refers only to the letter from Brissey, which Wilson says she did receive in her agenda packet. Edelmann declined to comment on the memo to Preston and its comments.

Council also gave third reading approval to the economic incentive package offered to Lincoln Oil Company to locate an ethanol facility at the Belton tank farm, which has played a major role in the closure of Lewis Road.

The third reading came after Wilson’s motion to table the issue pending further study was defeated by a vote of 3-2. Councilwoman Floyd had left early, while Councilman McAbee again recused himself due to an ongoing business relationship with Lincoln Oil.

Personnel committee meeting in privateAnderson County

By Stan Welch

The Anderson County Council personnel committee met Tuesday afternoon, as they continue efforts to address legal claims against the County being pressed by county administrator Joey Preston.

The committee, composed of Chairman Ron Wilson and Councilmen Larry Greer and Bill McAbee, met Monday with attorney Thomas Bright for nearly an hour and a half in executive session. Council members Cindy Wilson and Bob Waldrep were banned from the closed session, in contrast to the last meeting, during which they were allowed into the session, after Waldrep presented an ordinance that states all members of a board which establishes a committee can attend meetings of that committee.

Monday, Chairman Wilson told Waldrep that he had done further study into the issue and discovered that executive sessions are exempted from that ordinance. “I have talked to three parliamentarians and a couple of lawyers about this, and they assure me that this is right.”

Waldrep disagreed and read the ordinance which says that members of the establishing board can attend any meeting of a committee (emphasis is Waldrep’s), to which Wilson replied, “Non-members of the committee can attend the meetings but cannot vote. As to executive sessions, they cannot attend unless invited by the committee to do so. Members are defined as those with the authority to vote.”

Wilson offered no explanation as to why the committee would not invite the two Council members to attend the executive session. 

The personnel committee has been meeting to try and address claims by Preston that statements made by Waldrep on behalf of three incoming members of Council constitute a firing of him without cause. Attorney Bright, who was hired by Council to represent them, has met with the committee twice so far.

Following the extended executive session Tuesday, the committee returned to open session, and Wilson announced that they had several questions still to resolve. “This is an ongoing process and when we reach a decision, we will make it public.” The committee has not made any report to the full Council yet, despite a county ordinance that requires that they do so at the next scheduled Council meeting. That meeting was held Monday night.

Clardy responds to ad

Following the Williamston Town Council meeting Monday, Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy addressed what he called cowardly allegations in an advertisement in The Journal

Prior to the address, Clardy faxed a press release from the Mayors office stating that he planned to address “any and all concerns regarding the recent cowardice allegations that were allowed to be anonymously printed in this week’s edition of The Journal.”

The statement read “Although Mayor Clardy feels confident these and all other frivolous allegations were more than adequately dispelled by the State Law Enforcement Division in years past, he will remain available Monday to respond to any question of the residents in keeping with an administration of open government.”

The heading on the ad said “Tell the truth Phillip” and content included reprinted copies of bills and invoices for various charges for services including a flower purchased for the mayor’s mother, charges for refreshments for an inaugural for mayor and council when Clardy was first elected, cell phone bills, and several restaurant charges on a town credit card.

Clardy said he was not addressing the issue as a candidate but “as Mayor” and that it was not being done “as a political stunt.”

“It’s my name. It is all I have,” he said.

He said that allegations were investigated thoroughly by SLED and none were found.

Specifically addressing items in the ad, he explained a flower purchased for his mother in 2002, which he said was for her birthday. The invoice was sent to the town by the florist at his request because he did not want his mother to see it. He said the staff overlooked the invoice and it was paid by the town. When he later checked on it, he was told by the business that it had been paid and he immediately reimbursed the town for the payment.

“I paid the town back,” he said. “That wasn’t printed in the paper. It was an honest mistake.”

He said there was no inaugural ball, but the reception following the swearing in of the town’s elected officials in 2001 included food and refreshments. He said it was organized by the town’s clerk/ treasurer at the time.

“Donna Ellis contacted me and asked what did I want? I told her I don’t know, to do what you normally do.”

He said the ledger payment indicating it was per mayor, was “Not this mayor.” He also said that the reception was open to the public.

Clardy explained some credit card purchases on a statement in the ad as for an administrative dinner held during the holidays at the Peddler . Another was for shrimp trays from Red Lobster for the town supervisors and department heads. He said it was made available to all town employees including the administrative staff and council. Other restaurant charges on the statement were not explained.

An excessive cell phone bill was explained as being the result of roaming charges incurred when the mayor and other town employees and officials traveled to Grand Isle La. for hurricane relief.

He said the perk of a cell phone was not uncommon and other town officials including the police chief and other administrative positions also had phones.

Clardy stated that the SLED findings were public record and anyone with questions could contact Billy Tabor of SLED.

He said the information in the ad was apparently from someone who had access to the SLED report and findings and chose not to print the findings.

In closing, Clardy said that as an elected official he is “not immune to slander.”

Editors note - The full page ad appearing in The Journal did not identify who placed it, only that it was not a candidate.

South Carolina law requires that advertising supporting or opposing a public official, a candidate or a ballot measure must include the name and address of the sponsor.

There is no such requirement for other types of advertising or an ad addressing statements made by an individual.

Traffic stops lead to arrests

Traffic stops by Williamston officers led to a number of arrests recently. Among incidents investigated were:

Oct. 16 – W.M. Ritter was on patrol when he observed a white Ford Explorer fail to give a turn signal. He initiated a traffic stop and found the driver, Jose Jijon, Hispanic male, 28, 5’6", 134 pounds, of Belton, to have a strong smell of alcohol and to be unsteady on his feet. Jijon was eventually arrested for public disorderly conduct, open container and no driver’s license. He was transported to WPD and booked.

Oct. 16 – Z.E. Gregory was on duty at the Williamston Police Department when Harry Dean, BM, 57, came in carrying a large stick. Dean said that Melissa Crowder, BF, 4’11", 160 pounds, of Pelzer, had just cut him and was following him. He had a torn shirt, and an eight inch superficial cut across his chest. She soon came into the WPD where she reported that Dean had hit her with the stick. She had a strong smell of alcohol on her person. She was arrested for public disorderly conduct and simple assault and was booked.

Oct. 16 – W.M. Ritter was dispatched to 109 C St. where Marie Evans reported an arrow stuck in the siding on her house.

Oct. 16 – Z.E. Gregory and M.W. Ritter responded to the apartments at 606 N. Hamilton St. where they found Kevin Smith, WM, 34, 6’, 225 pounds, brn/brn, of Pelzer, and Brandon Gosnell, WM, 19, brn/brn of Pelzer. The two admitted to having been in a fight with each other. Both were cited for fighting and placed on trespass notice for the apartments.

Oct. 17 & 18 – Political signs for all three mayoral candidates were stolen. The losses were estimated at $203 (Crout), $90 (Clardy) and $125 (Scott). Scott reported an older model white Monte Carlo had been seen near the signs with two white males inside.

Oct. 18 – M.D. Creamer responded to the Middleton Blvd. Apartments after receiving a complaint that Candice White, WF, 5’2", 103 pounds, brn/green was in one of the apartments after having been placed on trespass notice. He found her there and placed her under arrest and transported her to WPD.

Oct. 19 – R.S. Creamer responded to Mineral Spring Park where Tim Gentry, a town employee, reported he had seen two white female juveniles run from the men’s room. He also observed smoke from the men’s room and went in to find a fire in one of the stalls. The damage was estimated at $250. Witnesses in the park said the two subjects left the park on foot but returned and left in a silver van pulling a trailer.

Oct. 19 – R.S. Creamer received a report of a possible drunk driver having been involved in a hit and run. The subject vehicle was spotted near McDonald’s and turned into the parking lot, where he accelerated and attempted to escape. He lost control and ran into a yard on Minor St. Creamer and Sgt. M.D. Creamer, who also responded, blocked the driver and took him from the truck. Robert Hughes, WM, 32, 6’1", 180 pounds, of Greenville, was arrested for DUI. He was also charged with failure to stop for a blue light. The truck was found to be stolen and he was driving under suspension, more than one offense. The victim of the hit and run also identified him, and he was charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

Oct. 20 – D.E. Whaley was on patrol when he observed a car speeding on Ida Tucker Road. He stopped the car and asked the driver, Ana Maria Martinez, Hispanic female, 41, 5’6", 165 , of Williamston, for her license. She had no driver’s license and was arrested and transported to WPD.

Oct. 21 – D.E. Whaley was on patrol when he observed a vehicle speeding on Belton Drive. He stopped the vehicle and asked for the driver, David Montejo Solis, Hispanic male, 32, 5’4", 150 pounds, of Greenville, for his license. He did not have a driver’s license and was arrested and taken to WPD.

Oct. 22 – M.D. Creamer observed a vehicle speeding on Belton Drive. He stopped the vehicle and asked the driver, Neyro Martinez, HM, 23, 5’6", 140 pounds, of Greenville, for his license. He did not have one and was arrested and transported to WPD.

Oct. 24 – R.S. Creamer stopped a driver who he had earlier warned at an apartment complex that if he drove, he would be arrested for DUS more than first offense. Leonard Bannister, Jr., WM, 52, 5’8", 170 pounds, of Belton, had been sitting in his truck in the parking lot when Creamer told him to stay in the truck until he sobered up and not to drive and he would be okay. Creamer later saw Bannister driving the truck and arrested him.

Oct. 24 – D. E. Whaley and T.A. Call observed a vehicle speeding on Tripp Street. A subsequent search and interview with the driver, Regina Gambrell, WF, 35, 5’9", 155 pounds, blond/blue, of Honea Path, revealed that she had a suspended license, a stolen license plate, no registration, no insurance, and was in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. She was arrested and transported to WPD.

Oct. 25 – M.W. Ritter responded to the Hardee’s in response to a complaint that David Gannon, WM, 41, 5’10", 155 pounds, brn/blue, was trespassing after being put on notice. Gannon was arrested and transported to WPD.

Oct. 25 – Z.E. Gregory and J.P. Carpenter observed a male subject walking unsteadily along Academy Street. Gregory stopped his cruiser and tried to speak with the male subject. The subject continued to walk away and tried to enter a nearby house. He was also seen to be throwing something on the ground. Gregory finally placed him under arrest. The items thrown down were recovered and included a Guatemalan ID card, which identified the subject as Mateo Nicolas-Martin, HP, 5’7", 150 pounds. He was arrested for failure to stop when commanded and public disorderly conduct.

Oct. 26 – D.E. Whaley responded to Mineral Spring Park where Barbara Levy reported that she was in her electric wheelchair when Clyde Alton Bishop, WM, 61, 5’9", 190 pounds, blue/grey, approached her in his golf cart and tried to lift her from the wheelchair. She held on to the chair because she didn’t want to get out of it, she said. According to her statement, Bishop then struck her on the side of the head. Witnesses gave identical accounts of the incident. Bishop was located and told he was under arrest for criminal domestic violence, more than one offense, and Whaley attempted to take him into custody. He resisted and was also charged with resisting arrest.

Oct. 29 – D.E. Whaley responded to 21 Ridge Court where Sandra Smith  reported that someone had broken into her storage room and stolen several items, including 4 pool sticks, 6 swords, a crystal chess set and antique china set. The loss was estimated at $850.










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