News Archive

(4704) Week of Nov. 24, 2004

Whitefield to offer Thanksgiving Meal
Christmas spectacular kicks off holiday season
Winter Fest offers holiday activities, craft items, parade in Piedmont

SCHCA honors Cooper as Volunteer of the Year
South Greenville son takes flight in experimental craft
Mock exercise offers valuable experience to firefighters
Mancino died from fall injuries
Citizen input wanted on Saluda Valley Trail

Whitefield to offer Thanksgiving Meal

The 13th Annual Community Outreach Thanksgiving Meal will be held Thanksgiving Day at Whitefield Baptist Church.

The day will begin with a prayer circle at 7 a.m. and plate preparation will begin at 7:30 a.m.

The menu will include a traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey, ham, macaroni and cheese pies, green beans, corn, dressing and gravy, cranberry sauce and desserts.

 Last year, more than 30 churches, garden clubs, and organizations contributed to prepare over 1,000 meals for area residents. About 200 volunteers, including students from area high schools and Meals on Wheels drivers, managed and served food, set tables, and delivered meals.

Meals are delivered in Belton, Williamston, Pelzer, and West Pelzer.

About 300 persons are also expected to come to Whitefield Baptist Church to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal in person, organizers said.

Volunteers are needed to help serve food, set the tables, and deliver meals. Contributions of food or money are also accepted.

Churches and organizations can volunteer to provide one item for the meal such as rolls, macaroni and cheese, green beans, corn, dressing, gravy, or desserts.

The meal is served and coordinated at Whitefield Baptist Church. However, the event remains nondenominational since persons of all faiths and walks of life pitch in to help.

Area students donated about 1,600 cans of food last year to be distributed along with the meal, organizers said.

Persons interested in contributing financially to the effort may mail contributions to “God Provides & God Feeds,” Whitefield Baptist Church, 207 Mitchell Road, Belton, 29627.

Anyone who would like to help or knows of someone who would appreciate a meal but does not have transportation may call the church office at 226-6384.

Christmas spectacular kicks off holiday season

Hometown holiday events will help local residents get into the holiday spirit beginning with the Williamston Christmas Spectacular this Saturday, November 27 at 6 p.m.

The Christmas Spectacular will include the official lighting of the Christmas Park, the opening of the third annual “Deck the Halls”, the opening of the Scout Hut for visits with Santa, seasonal refreshments and entertainment for the holidays.

An official ceremony will be held in front of the Williamston Municipal Center with lighting of the Christmas Tree. Generations Group Home and other local talent will provide entertainment.

Open house at the Municipal Center will highlight the “Deck the Halls” event which features live or artificial trees decorated in various themes by local churches, businesses and other organizations.

The festive trees can be seen during regular business hours at the municipal Center weekdays during December from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Municipal Center will also be open during the week of Nov. 29 - Dec. 5 until 9 p.m. for visitors to enjoy the event.

The evening will include the official lighting of the Williamston Christmas Park, a holiday tradition in the upstate for more than fifty years.

Visitors from throughout the area come to view the lights and scenes depicted by the various commercial and civic organizations of the community.

The park will be lighted nightly through January 1. The Scout Hut is open for visits with Santa from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. nightly (except Sunday) through Dec. 23.

Any business, church, individual or other organization participating in the annual Christmas Park Celebration should have displays set up by 3 p.m. Nov. 29. For more information on any of the Williamston events call Williamston Town Hall at (864) 847-7473.

Three area parades are planned in December, beginning with the West Pelzer Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 4 at 11 a.m., followed by the Piedmont and Williamston parades on Dec. 11.

West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton said the West Pelzer parade will begin at the West Pelzer Fire Department and end near the traffic light at the intersection of Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 20.

Participants are asked to gather at Palmetto Road behind West Pelzer Elementary School beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Paxton said she is very pleased with the support the parade has received since being reinstated as an annual event two years ago.

“I’m really excited. It should be bigger than last year,” she said.

Paxton and other volunteers were instrumental in organizing the 2002 parade, which was the first Christmas parade held in West Pelzer in 40 years.

Entry forms may be picked up at Town Hall. There is no fee required to participate. Trophies will be awarded to the top ten scores. For more information call (864) 947-6297.

The annual Piedmont Christmas Parade organized by the Bonnes Amies Club will be held Saturday, December 11 at 11 a.m.

This year’s theme is “Christmas Treasures” and the grand marshals will be Piedmont’s veterans.

Veterans will be honored by riding on their own parade float and attending a reception at the conclusion of the parade. Veterans of any war are invited to participate.

Entry fee is $10 per float. Deadline for entry is December 4. Trophies will be given to bands, cars, commercial floats, religious theme floats, and best over all theme float.

For more information call Betty White at 845-5543 or Maxie Freeman at 244-3435.

Winter Fest 2004 will also be held in downtown Piedmont, December 11 following the Piedmont Christmas parade.

Winter Fest activities are scheduled from 12 noon to 7 p.m. with more than 40 crafters expected to participate, offering Christmas shoppers a large selection of handmade craft items.

Horse-drawn carriage rides through the Piedmont “village” will be offered during Winter Fest. Rides will be $5 per person.

The holiday event is sponsored by the Pride in Piedmont organization.

The Williamston Christmas Parade is scheduled for 3 p.m. December 11.

The theme will be “Keep Christ in Christmas.” Organizer Walter Smith said there is no fee to enter the parade. “Just bring plenty of candy,” Smith said.

The parade route will begin at the traffic light at Hamilton St. and end at the traffic light at Academy St. in front of Calvary Baptist Church.

Registration forms for the Williamston Christmas parade are available at the Williamston Municipal Center.

Interested participants can call Town Hall at 847-7473 and give a name and type of entry for judging. Deadline for entries to be judged will be Thursday, Dec. 9.

On the day of the parade, parade entrants can pick up numbers at Fort Hill Gas Co. on Hamilton St. starting at 1 p.m. and ending at 2:50 p.m. Those who do not want their entries judged can register the day of the parade at Fort Hill.

Judges will be located in front of the Municipal Center. Entries to be judged should show their numbers there organizers said.

Line-up for the parade will include double lines formed on Hamilton St. For dance groups, performances should be no longer than three minutes. All horses will stay in the rear. Rules and other information will be given when registering at the Municipal Center.

Trophies will be given out immediately following the parade.

Smith states, “We continue to look for all participants this year and let’s have a good parade.”

Anyone interested in helping with this year’s parade can call Smith at 847-7929. For more information, call (864) 847-7473.

Winter Fest offers holiday activities, craft items, parade in Piedmont

Piedmont area residents can enjoy an old fashioned Christmas this holiday season including the annual Christmas parade, the new Winter Fest event and even enjoying a horse drawn carriage ride during the month of December.

The events are being sponsored by the Bonnes Amies Club and Pride in Piedmont.

The Piedmont Christmas Parade will get things started on Saturday, December 11 at 11 a.m.

This year’s theme is “Christmas Treasures.” Grand marshals will be Piedmont’s “national treaures,” veterans of any war.

Organizers of the parade, the Bonnes Amies Club, will pay tribute to veterans by honoring them on a float and with a reception at the conclusion of the parade. Veterans of any war are invited to participate.

Area businesses are urged to decorate a float and advertise their business at the parade.

Churches, choirs, youth groups, clubs, dance groups, bands, beauty queens and any organization or family are also invited to participate.

Organizers are still in need of flat bed trucks to be used for floats and volunteers to drive them. Also needed are convertibles and drivers.

Entry fee is $10 per float. Deadline for entry is December 4. Trophies will be given to bands, cars, commercial floats, religious theme floats and best over all theme float.

To volunteer or for more information call Betty White at 845-5543 or Maxie Freeman at 244-3435.

The parade will begin on the Anderson County side of Piedmont at Hwy. 86 and Old River Rd., and will continue to the triangle of Greenville St., and Hwy. 86.

The Bonnes Amies Club invites the surrounding community to participate in the parade or come out and help make this the best Piedmont Christmas Parade ever.

Winter Fest 2004 will also be held in downtown Piedmont, Saturday December 11 following the Piedmont Christmas parade.

Winter Fest activities will be held from 12 noon to 7 p.m.

More than 40 crafters are expected to participate offering Christmas shoppers a large selection of handmade craft items.

One of the featured crafters was featured in Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Decorating magazine.

Greenville crafter Babs Martin will offer special pressed flower creations available on wedding invitations, note cards, Christmas ornaments, candles, bookmarks and framed verses or sayings.

Crafters from North Carolina and Georgia as well as local crafters will offer hand painted items, Christmas decorations, crocheted items, unusual gourd art, wood and leather crafts and much more, organizers said.

Winter Fest will also include holiday entertainment from Sue Cleveland Elementary Chorus, Wren Middle School Drama, Powdersville Middle School Strings and Wren Elementary Chorus.

Life Church outreach will be doing skits and Life Next Generation Youth will perform.

Horse-drawn carriage rides through the Piedmont “village” will be offered during Winter Fest. Rides will be $5 per person.

There will be a craft workshop for children and Santa Claus will be present, organizers said.

Parents can leave their children at the children’s corner while they shop at the craft fair.

Children can make their own holiday craft choosing from a different activity each hour.

Scheduled crafts for the day include: 1 p.m. - tree ornaments; 2 p.m. - photo frames; 3 p.m. - Christmas decorations; and 4 p.m. - Christmas door hanger.  Space will be limited to 12 children each hour so organizers urge parents to sign their children up  when they enter the craft fair.

Teal Photography will also offer professional portraits with Santa. 

Activities will be centered in the historic Piedmont Community Building, downtown Piedmont.

The holiday event is sponsored by the Pride in Piedmont organization.

The Pride in Piedmont organization will also sponsor horse drawn carriage rides each Friday and Saturday evening in Piedmont during December.

Beginning Dec. 4th, carriage rides will be offered at 6 p.m. each Friday and Saturday except Saturday Dec. 18 and Dec 25.

Area churches are encouraged to join in the spirit by caroling in the streets of Piedmont during the month of December.

The Bonnes Amies Club will sponsor an outside Christmas decorating contest for residents of the Piedmont area on Saturday, December 18.

Participants are asked to light up their home and/or yard with holiday decorations. 

Winners will be recognized with a sign placed in the yard. To be included in the judging just turn on your lights.

For more information call Betty at 845-5543 or Lorri at 269-7876.

The Piedmont Fire Department will be accepting donations for the Needy Family Fund at traffic lights in the Piedmont area December 9 and 10 and also on December 16 and 17. With the closing of local plants, demands for assistance are expected to be especially high this Christmas, a spokesperson said. Donations may also be dropped off at the Piedmont Fire Department. For more information call (864) 845-6817.

SCHCA honors Cooper as Volunteer of the Year

The South Carolina Health Care Association (SCHCA) has named M. J. “Dolly” Cooper as the 2004 Volunteer of the Year. Carla Heritage, administrator of the Riverside Nursing Center in Piedmont, announced the recognition for Cooper at a meeting Thursday of staff and residents at the facility in Piedmont.

Cooper will be honored and presented with an award at a luncheon during the SCHCA’s membership meeting at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Columbia December 2.

Mary Ann Cooper, Activity Director at Riverside Nursing Center, nominated Cooper for the honor in recognition of his contributions to the facility over the last 13 years.

According to the nomination letter submitted by Mary Ann Cooper, “Dolly visits our nursing center almost daily and encourages the residents and staff with humor, fresh vegetables and fruit. Our residents look forward to his visits as he keeps them informed of all that is happening in the state and area. Our residents are made to feel they are still a valuable part of their community and state.”

According to officials at the nursing center, Cooper was instrumental in Riverside Nursing Center being located in Piedmont. While serving in the House of Representatives, Cooper knew the need for such a facility in the area and lobbied to get the certificate of need to ensure his constituents were taken care of.

“Riverside Nursing Center and this community would not be what we are today except for the contributions and influence of Dolly Cooper,” Mary Ann Cooper stated. Cooper is is not a relative of the former legislator.

South Greenville son takes flight in experimental craft

When Fred Mirgle was growing up in South Greenville County, he was always interested in airplanes. The love of flight turned into a lifelong passion and a career for the Pelzer native

Known in aviation circles as Professor Fred Mirgle, he is currently the department manager of the Aviation Maintenance Technology Department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (EARU) in Daytona Beach, Fla.

When he gets the opportunity, Mirgle returns to the area three or four times a year to visit family and, if the weather cooperates, he usually takes to the air in an experimental ultralight.

During a recent visit, he demonstrated the experimental aircraft, a powered parachute, which he has owned for three years. The two-place (two seat) ultralight weighs in at 325 pounds and travels at 28 miles per hour.  It costs about $16,000 and

The flying machine looks like a three wheeled go-kart with a large fan on the back. Instead of wings, it is connected to a parachute. The experimental craft can take off and land in local fields.

Though he has piloted numerous different types of flying machines, Mirgle said his favorite is a glider.

“They are quiet and peaceful, but they are a challenge. You can’t make any mistakes. You only get one shot at landing. It’s a neat way to do business.”

He and his wife Joyce, a retired teacher, are originally from Ware Place area of  South Greenville County.  They have two sons, Michael and Douglas, and five grandchildren.

He is the son of Wilma and Al Kissimon and has two sisters in the area, Jan and Susan.

Mirgle was always interested in flying and had many model airplanes which he flew as a child, according to his mother.

After graduating Ellen Woodside High School in 1962, he joined the Air Force for four years.

He graduated from Embry-Riddle in 1969 and became a fixed base operator (FBO) in DeLand, Fla., where he also began originating air shows.

Eventually he returned to teach at Embry-Riddle, renowned as the world’s largest civilian aviation school.

During his 39 years in aviation, Mirgle has been involved in many aspects of the industry, from studying and teaching to antique aircraft and engine restoration.

Mirgle worked with the Smithsonian Institute to restore Charles Lindbergh’s Mohawk, a plane Charles Lindbergh owned while he lived in Europe.

He was in high demand during the 2003 centennial flight celebration of the Wright Brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Mirgle was asked to present several programs and lectures on the history of flight and particularly on The Wright Brothers.

Embry-Riddle  has a full-size replica of the Wright Flyer, with a wingspan of more than 40 feet, in the center of its campus.

“Aviation history is captivating to me, particularly the early days when people did everything,” Mirgle said. “I am intrigued with airplanes and airplane people,” Mirgle said.

He has given numerous presentations on aviation history over the years. Most of his research is on early aviation from the early studies of Da Vinci in the 1500s until 1920.

“I began flying fliers in Germany as an 18-year-old,” Mirgle said. “I had the good fortune to fly many different general aviation airplanes and a few experimental, antiques and ultra light aircraft.”

In his 27th year at ERAU, Mirgle has taught 15 of the 22 subjects offered in the AMT curriculum. He has served on the faculty senate for 23 years including two terms as speaker. He has also served as an elected member of the ERAU Board of Trustees for six years.

In his department, he has served as department chair, associate department chair, program chair, general department supervisor and program manager. He is currently the manager of the aviation maintenance and avionics training department.

He has served as a board member of the Aviation Technician Education Council for 23 years, having served as president and vice president.

He chaired numerous committees and has been involved with numerous aviation maintenance training regulatory pursuits at the FAA headquarters in Washington.

Mirgle is a board member of the Northrup Rice Foundation and the Aviation Maintenance Career Commission (AMCC). He is a member of the Aerospace Technician Advisory Committee at Brevard Community College at the Kennedy Space Center.

He received the 2003 Joe Chase Award for outstanding personal achievement in improving the knowledge, dignity and professional image of the aircraft technician. The award is sponsored by the Flight Safety Foundation and awarded by the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association.

Mirgle is among 37 faculty members at Embry-Riddle who have been recognized as Professor Emeritus by having their names placed on a plaque at the university.

The professors and associate professors have served on the faculty for at least 10 continuous years and have made significant contributions to the university.

Mirgle holds an Airframe and Power plant (A&P) certificate and he is an FAA  designated maintenance examiner (FAADME).

Embry-Riddle was founded as the Embry Riddle Company at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati Ohio on Dec. 17, 1925, by barnstormer John Paul Riddle and entrepreneur T. Higbee Embry.

The following spring they opened the Embry-Riddle School of Aviation. The school closed during the depression era.

After WWII, Embry-Riddle opened several flight training centers in Florida and became the world’s largest civilian aviation school. The School moved to Daytona Beach in 1965.

Mock exercise offers valuable experience to firefighters

Area firefighters got an afternoon of experience fighting a fire in a multi-level building in a mock exercise at the local Holiday Inn Express Sunday.

Management and guests at the 83-room three-story complex just off I-85 cooperated fully with the Piercetown Fire Department and approximately 45 volunteer firefighters who participated in the drill.

With more industry and commercial growth in the area, Chris Trotter, Assistant Chief of the Piercetown Fire Department, said the fire department felt they needed to practice the techniques in fighting a fire in a multi-level structure.

The drill was the result of six months of planning by the fire department and involved the purchase of special equipment, Trotter said.

With approximately $3,000 in donations from industry and the community, the fire department purchased high rise hose fire fighting packs. Assembled in an accordion-type fold and strapped to the firefighter, the packs allow each firefighter to carry hose which can be connected to a standpipe located in the stairwell on the floors of each building.

The fire department also purchased evacuation tags which could be inserted into the key slot of each hotel room once a room was checked and evacuated by firefighters. With a highly-visible reflective strip attached to each tag, firefighters could quickly ensure that all rooms on a floor had been evacuated.

Piercetown firefighters were joined by personnel from the Hopewell and Whitefield Fire Departments along with the Anderson County ladder team in the one-hour mock drill. The ladder team has a 95-foot aerial platform truck with rescue and firefighting capabilities for multi-level buildings.

According to Trotter, fighting a fire involves a great deal of coordination and management of essential stations.

A command station was manned by personnel who were in charge of the overall firefighting effort.

A rehabilitation station was manned by Williamston EMS who checked vital signs on firefighters coming out of the fire and then released them to a staging area where they could return to the fire.

A new county policy adopted since 9/11 requires that an accountability officer is located near the “hot zone” of the fire. Firefighters must present an identification tag to the accountability officer and be cleared by the officer before being assigned to an area in the building.

The accountability officer keeps the identification tag from each firefighter who is sent in to a burning building so that all personnel can be accounted for once a fire has been contained.

Close by the accountability officer is a Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) who has no firefighting duties but remain on standby to assist with any injured personnel.

During the mock drill, Sandy Chamblee of the Anderson County training staff and Jonathan Tingen, Chief of the Powdersville Fire Department, acted as observers and evaluators. They met with personnel after the drill to offer input on the conduct and success of the exercise.

Mancino died from fall injuries

Joseph Mancino, the missing hiker who was found dead in Jones Gap State Park last week, died minutes after he fell from a park hiking trail officials said.

An autopsy showed Mancino died from a pelvic fracture and scalp lacerations he received when he fell from the Ishi Trail November 13.

Greenville County deputy coroner Chris Bryan said the injuries were so severe he could have lived only a few minutes after the fall.

Mancino, 75, was a former Anderson County school administrator. His death was ruled accidental.

Citizen input wanted on Saluda Valley Trail

Area communities and the Palmetto Conservation Foundation are seeking final input on feasibility of the Saluda River Valley Rail Trail

Interested persons are invited to a drop-in and presentation between 4 and 6 p.m. . Dec. 2 at the main Anderson County Library at 300 N. McDuffie St. in Anderson. A 30 minute presentation on the proposed trail will be held at 6 p.m.

Since the summer of 2002, public and private organizations in Anderson County have been meeting to explore a potential 20-mile “rails-to-trails” conversion that could connect the towns of West Pelzer, Pelzer, Williamston, Belton and Honea Path.

A task force consisting of the area’s top civic and legislative leaders and many citizens has been seeking input on a study to determine the feasibility of the project.

The Public Meetings are an opportunity for citizens to assist in the study efforts. A pedestrian trail expert will be present to answer questions. Maps of the study corridor and community input surveys will be available at the hearing.

The final study will be presented to Williamston Town Council in January 2005, officials said.







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