Week of Nov. 26
spectacular to kick off holiday events
A number of events in the area will help local residents get into the holiday spirit beginning with the Williamston Christmas Spectacular this Saturday, November 29.
The special opening ceremony will be held in front of the Williamston Municipal Center beginning at 6 p.m.
The Christmas Spectacular will include the official lighting of the Christmas Park, the opening of the second annual Deck the Halls, the opening of the Scout Hut for visits with Santa, seasonal refreshments and exceptional entertainment for holiday inspiration.
Admission is free, however organizers are encouraging guests to bring an unwrapped toy for the Embrace A Child for Williamston toy drive for the needy.
The Deck the Halls event held in conjunction with open house at the Williamston Municipal Center, 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 Town Hall, 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 the week of Dec. 1-5 until 9 p.m. for visitors to enjoy the event.
The Williamston Christmas Park has been a holiday tradition in the upstate for more than fifty years.
According to town officials, over thirty thousand visitors came to view the lights and scenes depicted by the various commercial and civic organizations of the coummunity last year.
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 through Dec. 23..
Any business, church, individual or other organization interested in participating in the annual Christmas Park Celebration should have a display application completed by November 26. All displays should be 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 6 at 11 a.m.
West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton said the parade will begin at the West Pelzer Fire Department and end at Railroad Blvd. near the stop 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 last year.
Im 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.
Mary Lou Gray will be the grand marshall. Awards will be given in several categories, Paxton said. Judging will be held at the West Pelzer Baptist Church.
Entry forms may be picked up at Town Hall or at various local businesses. There is no fee required to participate. For more information call (864) 947-6297.
The Piedmont Christmas parade will be held December 13 at 11 a.m. The theme for this years parade will be An Old Fashioned Christmas.
The parade will begin at Highway 86 and Blossom Branch Road (Eckerds Pharmacy), on Anderson County side of the Saluda River, and will end at Hwy. 86 and Greenville Street, just before traffic light on Hwy. 20, on Greenville County side.
Organizers invite all churches, schools, civic organizations, businesses, individuals, dance troupes, and beauty pageant contestants in the area to be a part of the parade.
The Piedmont parade will also honor veterans with a special Armed Forces Veterans Float. Organizers invite veterans of any Armed Forces to ride on the special float.
Entry forms are available at the Piedmont Fire Department or may be mailed by contacting Paige Crawford or Maxie Freeman at 864-244-3435 during the day or Betty White, Parade Chairman, at 864-845-5543 during the evenings.
Footbridge Festival T-shirts and sweatshirts will also be on sale at the Piedmont parade by the Bonnes Amies Club, who will have several tables set up along the parade route.
The Williamston Christmas Parade is scheduled for 3 p.m. December 13.
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 has been extended this year, beginning at the traffic light at Hamilton St. and ending at the traffic light at Academy St. in front of Carlvary 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. 11.
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 Town Hall. 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 Town Hall.
Trophies will be given out at Town Hall immediately following the parade.
Smith states, We continue to look forward to a good parade this year. Everyone is invited to get in the spirit of Christmas. For more information, call (864) 847-7473.
Another holiday event planned for the Piedmont area includes an outside Christmas decorating contest on Saturday night, Dec. 20 sponsored by The Bonnes Amies Club.
Members of the club hope the contest will inspire neighborhoods in the Piedmont area to promote the Christmas season. There is nothing quite like houses and yards adorned with sparkling decorations to bring joy to the young and old alike, a spokesperson said.
Judging in Piedmont and surrounding areas will be held on Dec. 20 beginning at dusk. Winners will be recognized with a sign placed in the yard and there will be an overall winner announced.
To be included in the judging, just turn on your lights, organizers said.
For more information call Betty at 845-5543 or Lorri at 269-7876.
The 12th Annual Community Outreach Thanksgiving Meal will be held at Whitefield Baptist Church on November 27.
The day will begin with a prayer circle at 7:30 a.m. in the church fellowship hall followed by putting together the boxes of food to be delivered.
Last year, over 30 churches, garden clubs, and organizations contributed to prepare over 1,000 meals for area residents. About 200 volunteers, including students from virtually every area high school and Meals on Wheels drivers, managed and served food, set tables, and delivered meals.
Meals were delivered in Belton, Williamston, Pelzer, and West Pelzer.
About 300 persons came to Whitefield Baptist Church to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal in person, organizers said. Among those attending were 25 short-term inmates from the Anderson County Detention Center.
Volunteers are needed to help serve food, set the tables, and deliver meals. Contributions of food or money are also accepted.
The turkey and ham alone for last years meal amounted to about $1000. Packaging supplies are an additional expense.
Volunteers are asked to bring a box or two with them the morning of the meal as there have been problems in the past with finding boxes for meals that are delivered.
In the past volunteers have also had to go to the grocery store for something the group has run out of.
Churches and organizations usually volunteer to provide one item for the meal such as rolls, macaroni and cheese, green beans, corn, dressing, gravy, or desserts.
Shortages sometimes occur which send cooks back to the kitchen at the last minute to prepare additional food.
Organizers emphasize that everything that is contributed is used; no food is discarded.
The meal is served and coordinated at Whitefield Baptist Church. However, the event remains nondenominational as 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.
The Clouds of Thunder Motorcycle Group Ministry will be there again this year to help serve the food. Weather permitting, they will bring their motorcycles.
Organizer Debbie Cameron extends heartfelt thanks to all those individuals who give of themselves to help make the community wide meal possible each year.
Persons interested in contributing financially to the effort may mail contributions to God Provides & God Feeds, Whitefield Baptist Church, 207 Mitchell Road, Belton, 29627.
For more information or to help in any way, call Debbie Cameron at 864-847-4954 or Linda Riendeau at 864-847-1631.
The Town of Williamston is in sound fiscal shape going into 2004 according to Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy.
We do not anticipate a deficit this year, Clardy said.
Clardy presented a proposed preliminary budget for 2004 to members of town council during a special budget meeting held Nov. 20.
The proposed budget includes a windfall of approximately $112,000 in property tax revenue resulting from tax reassessment done in Anderson County this year.
Clardy said the figures may change because there may be some appeals resulting from an extension on the deadline approved by Anderson County Council last week.
Clardy also said he will present figures for Council to consider reflecting a possible rollback of the towns 120-mil tax rate. The rollback, estimated by Clardy at $140,000 depending on appeals, could be given to Williamston tax payers if Council decided to give them a break.
Councilman Cecil Cothran asked if the appeals process would cause problems. Clardy responded that it may delay revenue income.
Some wait until the end, some wait until the due date, he said.
We depend on the revenues for the next tax collection to get through the current year, Clardy said.
The proposed budget also reflects an extension on a $100,000 tax anticipation note from last year that was due in October.
Clardy said his budget reflects a number of cuts, the biggest being overtime.
Overtime in the police department was reduced by using State constables to help with special events including the Spring Water Festival and football games, according to Clardy.
Clardy said the budget reflects no new positions. It does include $15,000 for a used truck for the water and sewer department and $3,200 to pay for additional help at the fire department.
Clardy suggested council consider increasing franchise fees in the town to make up for a decline.
According to Clardy, the town received $28,000 less last quarter than the same quarter last year.
Franchise fees are collected by utilities based on usage by customers then paid to the town.
Clardy also said the town is looking at having the state collect money owed for outstanding bench warrants.
According to Clardy, the state can draft the amount owed from an individuals tax refund.
There is not much room for major improvements. Our departments have been asked to hold their own without having to cut services. We are doing everything we can. Any improvements that are being made in the town are with revenues available through grants, Clardy said.
Other issues for council to consider include whether to give salary increases for employees, whether the town will absorb increases in health insurance premiums and whether to increase the franchise fee paid by Duke Power.
The draft version of the 2004 budget, which Clardy said is based on actual revenues and expenditures from 2003, shows revenues of $2,413,791with expenses of $2,355.473, resulting in an excess of $58,318.
Clardy is expected to present the 2004 budget ordinance for first reading by Council at their regular meeting on Dec. 1.
Anderson School District One students outperformed the state standard on PACT tests in science and social studies.
In Anderson One 76% of students met or exceeded the state average of 57.6% in science, and 75.9 % compared to state 60.9% in social studies.
Results of PACT tests, given to students in grades 3-8, will be used to evaluate progress made toward the S. C. Curriculum Standards.
Wayne Fowler, assistant superintendent for instruction said 7th grade science and 3rd and 4th grade social studies students posted the highest percentage, meeting or exceeding state standards.
Even though these achievement scores rank Anderson One students among the top four districts out of 86 in the state, there is still concern with the percentage of students scoring below basic. We will use these results as a baseline to determine changes in curriculum and the instructional program, said Dr. Reggie Christopher, superintendent. Over the years we have noted significant improvement in the areas of English Language Arts and mathematics PACT scores. After the schools have made the necessary adjustments, we expect that the science and social studies scores will improve each year similar to English Language Arts and mathematics.
PACT science and social studies will become a part of the ratings on the South Carolina School Report Cards beginning in 2005. Presently, elementary and middle schools are assigned ratings of Excellent, Good, Average, Below Average, or Unsatisfactory based on PACT English Language Arts and mathematics scores.
Students who score Below Basic in one or more subjects must have academic plans developed that address how the students weaknesses will be remediated either during the school year, in after-school programs, summer school or any combination of the three.
PACT results are divided into four categories. Categories of reporting in which students have met the standards are Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. Students who score in the Basic category have met the minimum expectations for performance based on the curriculum standards. Those who score in the Proficient category have full met the expectations for performance, while students who score in the Advanced category have exceeded expectations.
Students who score in the Below Basic category did not meet the minimum expectations on curriculum standards to pass the test and are not prepared for the next grade.
The holiday season offers everyone in the community the opportunity to pause to give thanks for the blessings of freedom.
It also affords an opportunity to show appreciation and support for the members of our local Army National Guard unit who were deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and are still serving overseas.
As part of Operation Holiday Cheer, the local military family support group is asking that residents write Christmas cards or letters to local servicemen. Since specific names and addresses cannot be released, the group is asking that individuals write general notes or cards and drop them off at boxes located at the Williamston Municipal Center or at State Farm Insurance at 618 West Main Street.
All the cards and letters will be collected, boxed and sent to one location overseas to be distributed to men and women from the local unit.
Schools, churches, and community groups are asked to put their support behind this effort to make this a true community response.
Cards or letters should be dropped off by December 5 in order to meet the current overseas mailing deadline.
The Heritage Players of Williamston will hold auditions for its winter production of Cinderella Dec. 8 and 9 at 6 p.m. at the historic Pelzer Auditorium.
Parts are available for all ages, male and female. Those auditioning must perform a solo and be prepared to read from a script.
Directors for the production are Lisa Sherard and Debbie Blume.
For more information on Cinderella auditions, contact Lisa Sherard at 847-4886.
The Heritage Players of Williamston will present the Broadway comedy Nunsense Dec. 5, 6, 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 7 at 2:30 p.m. at the historic Pelzer Auditorium.
The Broadway musical/comedy tells the story of the Little Sisters of Hoboken who, forced to leave a leper colony they ran in the south of France, returned to their hometown only to suffer another tragedy. Sister Julia, the convent cook, served some tainted vichyssoise soup and caused the death of 52 of her fellow sisters.
Those off playing bingo who skipped dinner were spared. In order to pay for the burial of their fellow sisters, the survivors stage a talent show. Nunsense centers around the mayhem of the nuns crowd-pleasing show.
Starring in the production are Shannon Faulkner as Sister Hubert, Donna Norman as Sister Robert, Jane Sexton as Sister Mary Regina, Lisa Crisp as Sister Leo and Mara Davis as Sister Mary Amnesia.
Nunsense is directed by Shannon Faulkner, with musical direction provided by David Watson.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and students under 18.
For more information on Nunsense, contact Lynn King, Heritage Players president, at 947-9466.
Plans for the 2003 Piedmont Christmas Parade are now underway. The date has been set for Saturday, Dec. 13 at 11 a.m. The parade will begin at Highway 86 and Blossom Branch Road (Eckerds Pharmacy), on Anderson County side of the Saluda River, and will end at Hwy. 86 and Greenville Street, just before traffic light on Hwy. 20, on Greenville County side.
The theme for this years parade will be An Old Fashioned Christmas. Organizers invite all churches, schools, civic organizations, businesses, individuals, dance troupes, and beauty pageant contestants to be a part of this parade. What better way to promote your group while at the same time adding to the parade? Organizers also invite any veterans of Armed Forces to participate by riding on the special Veterans Float.
Entry forms are available at the Piedmont Fire Department. Anyone who would like to have an entry form mailed to them may contact Paige Crawford or Maxie Freeman at 864-244-3435 during the day or Betty White, Parade Chairman, at 864-845-5543 during the evenings.
Also, for anyone who missed out on purchasing Footbridge Festival T-shirts or sweatshirts, they will be for sale at the parade on Dec. 13. The Bonnes Amies Club will have two or three tables set up along the parade route.
The Bonnes Amies Club will sponsor an outside Christmas decorating contest on Saturday night, Dec. 20.
Light up your home and/or yard with your choice of holiday decorations. The club hopes this contest will inspire neighborhoods to promote the Christmas season. There is nothing quite like houses and yards adorned with sparkling decorations to bring joy to the young and old alike, a spokesman said.
Judges will be in Piedmont and the surrounding areas on Dec. 20 beginning at dusk. Winners will be recognized with a sign in the yard, and there will be an overall winner. To be included in the judging, just turn on your lights.
For more information call Betty at 845-5543 or Lorri at 269-7876. Outside