News Archive

(4807) Week of Nov. 28, 2007

Building needs presented; District One School Board awaits price tag
Ron Wilson drops push for zoning changes
Zoning, radio system dominate County Council meeting discussions
Former operator turns in license - DHEC report shows 21 violations
Piedmont receives $15,000 PARD funds
Bring food drive items to Piedmont Parade
Sign up for now Piedmont Parade
Bonnes Amies sponsor Miss/Master Contest
Holiday Fair to be held in Pelzer
Sign up now for Williamston parade
Country Christmas Parade Dec. 15
Vandals strike Wren stadium
Deputies investigate incidents
Seems to Me . . . My Christmas wish

Building needs presented; District One School Board awaits price tag

Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler presented a list of projected building needs during a work session Tuesday with the Anderson School District One Board of Trustees.

The list was compiled after feedback was received from community focus groups, school prinicpals and other district officials  about what is needed to keep up with growth in the District.

The list includes classroom additions to all but three schools, new front entrances for  three elementary schools, camera upgrades for all of the districts schools, and assorted specific upgrades at various schools.

Dr. Fowler said the needs were based on meeting projected student growth in the District over the next five years and added safety. He said the building plans had been scaled back where possible to save money.  The plan would hold the district until student enrollment reaches 2000 students, Fowler said.

The list did not include a new high school, which is still under consideration.

There was some discussion on whether the plan was longterm  enough and if it should include a 10 year plan, which probably will include a new Powdersville High School.

Board member Tom Merritt said he would like to see extended planning, even if it is a five year plan  followed by another five year plan.

Dr. Fowler said the responses received from focus groups were helpful but that they had requested numbers to go with the information.

Board members agreed, stating they too would like to see the numbers that go with the list presented to them by Dr. Fowler.

Fowler said that M. B. Kahn had preliminary figures which will be discussed when he and Associate Superintendent David Havird meet with them on Wednesday. He said the company needed additional information on the entrances and where to put the wings to finish their preliminary figures and should have more definite figures by Dec. 12.

In his report, Dr. Fowler said that  upgraded security is a priority at all schools and the district’s cameras are outdated and worn out.

He said that adding classrooms may result in the need for additional cafeteria space. He also stated that adding a wing “is still less expensive than building an entire school.”

He pointed out that two of the District’s middle schools were built in the 1950s and though they have been remodeled, classrooms have only two outlets.  “The buildings were wired for a fan and an overhead projector, which was state of the art at the time,” Fowler said. “It is different now. The needs are different,” he said.

He said the two schools may also need some painting, door locks and possibly some windows replaced.

Concerning the middle schools, Board member Tom Merritt said they may “need to look at it and face the music.”

There has been some discussion about replacing the two buildings.

District One Finance Director Steve Uldrick stated the district may also need to assess approximately one third of the  roofs on buildings in the District and have a timeline for improvements or replacements. A roof will last 20-25 years, he said.

Board Chairman Fred Alexander quoted figures stating the US had a 1 percent growth rate, SC had a 1.5 percent, Anderson County had 1.7 percent and Powdersville was at 4.2 percent.

Dr. Fowler said that the district is building to keep up with the growth, and not to replace older buildings. They also discussed the type buildings constructed in the District in the past.

The type of buildings built in District One are not typical of other school districts.

“The kind of buildings we build in District One, are good sound, solid buildings. They are nice looking, but not expensive,” Alexander said.

Board member David Merritt asked if the list was bare needs necessity or if it was a wish list.

“I think most of this is reasonable,” Merritt said. He also said that he would like to see numbers and the added cost of a high school. He also said he didn’t want to have to add money to add onto lunch rooms after the program is approved by the public .

Dr. Fowler said that he and Havird trimmed the plan to five years and that the elementary schools may hold out a couple more.

Tom Merritt said the district had been fiscally responsible but will be growing.

Dr. Fowler said it will take three years to get it built. “It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” he said. “You’re the barometer of what the public feels they are willing to spend at this time,” Dr. Fowler told the board.

The Board then discussed a timeline of what needed to be done to put the issue before the public in a referendum, probably in April. A referendum held eleven years ago was voted down.

“The first time a referedum was defeated was because a high school was in it,” Dr. Fowler said.

David Merrit said the district had always been “fair to both ends of the district and that is what makes this board different than some others.”

“We’ve got to get a price tag, that people will say, I’m behind this.”

Fowler said the district millage rate is based on 30 mills for four more years then there will be a drop of 10 mills.

“It  is not that bad,” he said, stating it is low millage rate for a school district, especially with the growth.

“Look at other schools districts,” Board member Nancy Upton said.

“It is a perfect time but we will be in a crisis stage if we wait. We will be starting at 30 mills, will be at 34 mills. For a few years it will go up and then after four years will go down.”

“We will have to make a decision on what the public will suport.”

After additional discussion, board member Dr. Doug  Atkins asked if the figures M. B. Kahn was to have to Dr. Fowler by Dec. 12 could be obtained by Dec. 5.

The board decided to push M. B. Kahn to get the figures and to possibly hold a work session in December.

Dr. Fowler said he would follow up with the focus group participants providing the figures and have feedback for the board by the next meeting, which is set for January 8 at 7 p.m.

See the complete list of needs online: www.thejournalonline.com 

Ron Wilson drops push for zoning changes

By Stan Welch

Zoning is a dead issue in District Six, at least as far as County Councilman Ron Wilson is concerned.

That is the pledge he made to a crowd of three hundred, all of whom clearly opposed the recent proposal to zone District Six, except for approximately fifteen who raised their hands in support. Wilson made it clear that the people had spoken and that this time, he heard their voice.

The controversial proposal died at a public meeting at Wren High School, the same place where it was born less than a month ago. At that meeting, which was scheduled to allow public input into the county’s land use plans, a contingent from Cely Acres and the Powdersville area made it clear that they wanted zoning. Numbering approximately fifty, they recounted the legal battle they had to fight to prevent the building of a business in their neighborhood.

Wilson, who scheduled the series of  land use meetings in his district and elsewhere, responded by proposing an ordinance to allow district wide zoning, instead of the precinct method currently in place. In addition, he proposed allowing County Council to make the decision by passing an ordinance in three readings, rather than conducting a referendum as is currently required.

In subsequent meetings, it has been a toss up as to which aspect of the proposal raised the public’s ire the most. At two recent meetings, one in Powdersville and the most recent meeting Monday night at Wren High School, hundreds of District Six residents turned out to condemn both zoning and the method proposed for implementing it. That same message was delivered loudly and consistently at a meeting of the Anderson County Council last week. (See related story elsewhere in this issue.)

Those speaking Monday included large landowners, developers, business owners and regular citizens. Dan Durham, of White Plains, asked county planning director Jeff Ricketson to explain what he meant by zoning having more teeth then the land use plan. “When somebody talks about more teeth, I want to know how big those teeth really are,” said Durham, whose family has lived in the northern end of Anderson county for more than 150 years.”

He pressed Ricketson for an answer until Ricketson stated that those who currently fail to comply with development standards and land use regulations end up in magistrate’s court. Ricketson also stressed that any existing uses of land would be grandfathered under a new zoning ordinance. “No one is trying to take you out of the farming business if that’s what you do with your land now. The proposed ordinance is blind to ownership. If you sold the land to your children or left it to them, they could continue to farm it or whatever its present use is.”

Hugh Durham, a realtor and developer, expressed his concerns with the change in the process. “We start talking about district wide zoning in Mr. Wilson’s district and all of a sudden, we’re going to do it differently. I appear before the Council on zoning requests all the time, and I’m here to tell you, politics always makes the difference. Council ends up going against what their own planning commission or planning staff recommends because forty or fifty people from a neighborhood show up and challenge the request.”

“White Plains and Powdersville are different. People want to use their land differently. Why should someone who bought a half acre lot in a subdivision tell me what to do with my land? We should be voting on this by precinct. Why are we changing that?”

Jerry Tripp, also a developer, has spoken at each meeting held since the first one at Wren resulted in the proposed changes. He repeated his concern that only District Six was being proposed for zoning. “Let’s put it up to the whole county if we’re going to do it,” he said. He also told the crowd that they should attend a Council meeting in person. “It was a fiasco. You really need to go and watch the way your government works.”

Council Chairman Bob Waldrep attended Monday night, and told the crowd that Mr. Wilson isn’t the first one to misjudge public sentiment about zoning. “Seventeen years ago, this was part of District One and I was the Council member. I overestimated the public’s enthusiasm for zoning once myself. So don’t fault Mr. Wilson too much. It was a humbling experience for me, and I know it has been one for Mr. Wilson. Just remember that this is about the process. I cannot promise you how the Council will vote, but I assure you, you will be listened to. Sometimes we elected officials think we know what you folks want, but really we don’t. That’s why meetings like this are important.”

Wilson echoed much of what Waldrep said, saying “I misread this matter. At the first meeting, I thought I understood what the people in my District wanted. I realize when I’ve made a mistake, and I’ve made one here. I promise you that I will kill this matter at the next Council meeting. Furthermore, I will never again raise the issue of zoning while I am on Council, and if someone else does, I will be the first to oppose it. “

Wilson’s promise, along with an offer to stay  “as long as anybody has a name to call me” brought a standing ovation from the great majority of the crowd.

Zoning, radio system dominate County Council meeting discussions

By Stan Welch

The Anderson County Council meeting held November 20 was dominated by two issues. The first was the purchase of an 800MHz radio system for the county. The other was zoning. Council also approved  funding for a sewer project in the Wren area.

The 800 MHz purchase has been under consideration for several years but until recently, little information concerning the system had been made public.

Council Chair Bob Waldrep became concerned in recent weeks that no formal bid process was followed by the county. Despite assurances that the County’s decision to adopt the Palmetto 800 system which the state and Motorola Corp. established in the 1980’s met all bid requirements, Waldrep continued to question the process, as well as several aspects of the actual deal itself.

“The cost and complexity of this system calls for the involvement of this Council. I am very disturbed by the way in which the Council is abdicating all authority for this contract to the administrator. The issue of safety for our responders is a given. We all want the best system. But there is no reason we shouldn’t pursue the best price as well. Here, we have one company sitting in the catbird seat. That disturbs me.

At the last Council meeting, Waldrep brought in a consultant on such systems. Steve Macke, owner of Advent, Ltd., which consults with various governmental and other entities, made several strong statements concerning both the system being considered as well as the nature of the contract that the county would enter into with Motorola.

His first concern was that the entire system, at an approximate cost of $15 million, is being sole sourced. “With a sole source vendor, one thing happens again and again, with the passing of a few years. The tail begins to wag the dog. There is no competition to benefit the buyer. There are trap doors involved in acquiring any technology. The vendor builds those trapdoors. He is after all a vendor, a seller. If you don’t know where those trap doors are, you get clobbered.”

Macke also questioned the County’s process. “You should never accept a vendor’s contract. You should give them yours and negotiate from there. Let’s be grown ups here, folks. Motorola, or anybody else, is in business to sell product and make money. It’s the responsibility of your commissioners here to make sure they do their best for you.”

Councilman Bill McAbee aggressively questioned Macke and his previous connections with other vendors in the telecommunications field, questioning cost overruns those companies have incurred in other states. “Quite frankly, sir, I don’t care about their cost overruns. I consulted with those agencies to insure that the request for proposal standards were met. The cost overruns are not unusual, as in any business, and I have seen nothing to suggest that there was anything questionable involved in those situations.”

McAbee challenged Macke’s engineering expertise, to which Macke replied, “I’m not an engineer. I don’t need to be. I oversee engineers in putting systems together. I’m a technologist, and I know what I’m doing.”

A representative for Motorola responded to a question from District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson by saying that the county attorney had negotiated the contract. “This is as good as it gets,” he said, before informing Chairman Waldrep that in fact, the County would have to pay the $25,000 sales tax. “I’m afraid you’re not exempt from that, sir.”

Following an extended and sometimes acrimonious discussion, Council voted 5-2 to give third reading approval to the Motorola purchase. Following the vote, Councilman Larry Greer chastised Waldrep and Wilson indirectly, saying he felt the two negative votes had already been cast before the discussion began. “These Council members are not representing their people. They are representing a small group of people that are opposed to everything.”

District Two Councilwoman Gracie Floyd agreed, saying “We all know there are some people who are against everything they try and do in this county. Everything we do can’t be wrong.”

Waldrep responded by saying that the questions asked were fair ones, which should have been asked. “The lack of a competitive process concerned me. The contracts have been turned over to the administrator and that concerns me. The minority should not be suspect in the process. I will not be intimidated by those who say I’m against progress. As long as I am here, I’ll ask every question that occurs to me.”

The question of zoning for District Six was another major issue during the meeting, but it has since been settled, following a series of community meetings within the District. Councilman Ron Wilson, who proposed district wide zoning for his district has been persuaded otherwise.

He told a crowd of approximately 300 citizens at a Monday night community meeting that he would kill the question of zoning for the district and would never raise the issue again. (See related story elsewhere in this issue.)

One other action taken by Council was to restore $600,000 in funding to a proposed bond issue to include construction of a sewer system for the Flat Rock Elementary School. Also included in that funding will be a sewer project in the Wren area, near the intersection of Highways 81 and 86. The total bond amount is $2.8 million.

Former operator turns in license
DHEC report shows 21 violations

By Stan Welch

 Two years after the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation initiated an investigation into the operation of the Williamston Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), the former operator of that plant voluntarily surrendered his license.

The LLR is responsible for issuing such licenses and in assuring that the certifications required are maintained by the licensee. That’s according to the LLR website, although Mayor Phillip Clardy says the Town has yet to receive any official response from LLR.

“Sonya Harrison, of Goldie & Associates, was doing some research for a presentation when she came across the information on the website. She printed out the official document, which stated that Mr. Robert Hammett had voluntarily surrendered his wastewater treatment operator’s license.”

According to the document, which is signed by LLR officials as well as Hammett, that license was surrendered in July of this year. The action was ratified by the South Carolina Environmental Certification Board on August 8, when it became official.

Also according to the document, which is a matter of public record, LLR determined that Hammett was responsible for 21 violations of DHEC regulations at the treatment plant.

Those violations were related to records keeping, according to Mayor Clardy, who said he has made the full Council aware of the action. “Two members of our Council weren’t serving at the time this happened, so they have been brought up to speed.”

In 2005, Hammett, who had worked for the Town since 1979, retired unexpectedly. Clardy says the Town brought in Goldie & Associates to assure that certified operators continued to do the proper testing. The Town had a history of enforcement problems with DHEC by that time.

“It didn’t take Goldie & Associates long to discover serious problems with the records keeping that had been done. It appeared that Mr. Hammett had altered the test results in order to indicate compliance with DHEC standards. We quickly discovered that, according to accurate testing, we were far from being in compliance. That is when LLR began looking into the matter of the license.”

The LLR finding states that “twenty one violations noted by DHEC can be directly attributed to Robert Hammett’s neglect. Either did the work and did not record it or he failed to do it. The daily log sheets, the daily reading sheets, and the lab bench sheets for these parameters were not complete.”

According to the terms of the document, Hammett expressed his desire to cease operating wastewater treatment facilities and also waived all further proceedings. He also voluntarily relinquished any right to judicial review of his case. Should he seek reinstatement at a later date he would have the burden of proving his qualifications and ability to operate a WWTP to the satisfaction of the licensing agency as well as accepting any and all restrictions placed on that license.

Mayor Clardy, who expressed surprise at not being officially notified by LLR, said that he continues to be concerned that future problems could arise as a result of Hammett’s job performance. “The Town currently has no action against Mr. Hammett but I would say that this is not a closed issue at this point. I am concerned about possible problems down the road and I want to make sure what the Town’s options are. The Council and I will be receiving information from both Goldie & Associates and our labor attorney on this matter.”

Piedmont receives $15,000 PARD funds

State Representative Eric Bedingfield, of Greenville, presented the Piedmont Fire Commission with a check for $15,000 last week. The money, obtained through a PARD grant, will be used to repair the small gym in the community building, as well as additional projects as the funds are available.

Commissioners Bob Stover and Frankie Garrett had grant writer Rusty Burns on hand to answer questions about the possibility of obtaining funds for some downtown revitalization projects. A meeting between Burns, a landscape architect familiar with such projects, and several members of the business community will be held December 11 to explore possible avenues for obtaining grants.

Several issues concerning the community building and the rates charged for its use were discussed. After a considerable discussion, it was decided that Tracy Lawrence and Craig Lawless would review the rate structure and present recommendations to the Commission at the January meeting. In the interim, all users will pay the established rate. In addition, rental of the building on Sundays will no longer begin prior to one o’clock in the afternoon. The Outreach Fellowship which rents space downstairs on a full time basis had raised concerns about noise made by those setting up for events on Sunday afternoons.

The Town’s Christmas lights are now up, but damage from a previous ice storm, as well as the relocation of several poles damaged by vehicles, has resulted in approximately a quarter of those lights being dysfunctional for this season.

Sign up for now Piedmont Parade

The 2007 Piedmont Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday, December 8, beginning at 11 a.m. Parade Headquarters will be under the drive-thru awning of SunTrust Bank, located at Hwy. 86 and Blossom Branch Road.

The parade is being organized by the Piedmont Bonnes Amies Club. The theme for this year is “SEASON OF LIGHT”. Space is still available for anyone wishing to enter the parade organizers said.

 “We invite all individuals, families, churches, businesses, civic organizations, community groups, etc. to enter this parade,” co-organizer Paige Crawford said.

Entry forms are available at Piedmont Fire Department, Highway 86, or can be mailed.

For information, contact  Paige Crawford or Maxie Freeman at 864-244-3435. 

“Everyone not involved in a parade entry is invited to come join us as spectators, lining the streets of Piedmont to enjoy this event,” Crawford said.

Bring food drive items to Piedmont parade

The Bonnes Amies Club will sponsor a food drive in conjunction with the Piedmont Christmas Parade which will be held on Saturday, December 8 at 11a.m. “We encourage everyone attending the parade; entries and spectators alike, to participate in this part of the parade by bringing a staple food item to the parade with you,” organizer Paige Crawford said.

 Items may be brought to the Parade Headquarters located at SunTrust Bank or given to a Cub Scout Troop walking the parade route. “These guys have graciously agreed to donate their time and effort for this much needed cause. Any and all food items will be donated to PERC to be distributed to those families in need at this time of year,” Crawford said.

 Suggested items to bring are: Canned goods, flour, corn meal, sugar, cooking oil, grits, oatmeal, powdered milk, etc. (anything non-perishable).

“Your efforts will truly be appreciated by those receiving the food products,” Crawford said.

Bonnes Amies sponsor Miss/Master Contest

The Bonnes Amies will sponsor the Miss/Master Christmas contest for children up to 6 years old with a boy and girl winner in each category.

Categories are birth to 2 years; 2 to 4 years; and 4 to 6 years.

Winners will be invited to ride in the Piedmont Christmas parade.

Votes will be a penny per vote. Parents are asked to get their child’s entry forms in early and get the jars out as soon as possible.

Winners of this event will receive a crown with every entrant receiving a participant’s trophy. All children entered, both winners and their court, will be able to ride on a float in the parade.  A photographer will be on site to make pictures to be entered into local papers.

For more information or application forms, contact Paige Crawford, Chairman at 864-244-3435 or Maxie Freeman at 864-845-6372. Applications are also available at the Piedmont Fire Department.

The Piedmont Christmas Parade will be held Saturday, December 8 at 11 a.m.

The parade will be sponsored by the Bonnes Amies club and will have the theme of “Season of Light.”

Organizers invite individuals, families, churches, schools, organizations and businesses to begin planning an entry now.

Entry forms are available at the Piedmont Fire Department or can be mailed out by contacting Maxie Freeman at 864-244-3435.

Holiday Fair to be held in Pelzer

The Town of Pelzer invites all who love the Christmas spirit to the Third Annual Pelzer Holiday Fair. The yule-time celebration and fair  will take place at the Historic Pelzer Gym on Friday, November 30 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, December 1 from noon until 8 p.m. On Friday, Santa will hold court from 6:30pm until 8pm. On Saturday, his court will start immediately following his appearance in  the Pelzer/West Pelzer Christmas parade and continue until 8pm.

If you are looking for presents, there will be vendors selling all types of wares inside the Gym. Historic carriage rides will be offered all day on the 30th and from 6 to 8p.m. on the 1st. Rides will start at the Gym and journey up and down Lebby St. for only $10 per family. A Town of Pelzer archival scrapbook will also be on display in the Historic Pelzer Gym. All with memories of Christmas in Pelzer are welcome to record them by writing them inside where they will be preserved for future generations.

The Community of Pelzer Historical Society will host two local authors, Gene Welborn and Virginia Major.  The authors will be selling their books as a fund raiser for the  Community of Pelzer Historical Society’s efforts toward preserving Pelzer history. Also featured will be a complete set of miniature wooden reproductions of historic buildings in the Pelzer area by distinguished artist Judy Young. The wooden reproductions will be sold  individually and in custom orders. There will be information available on the holiday celebrations planned  in the Westminster area as well.

Sign up now for Williamston parade

The Williamston Christmas Parade is scheduled for Saturday, December 8 at 3 p.m.

Parade Chairman Walter Smith said the committee is accepting applications from businesses, churches, organizations, individuals and others interested in participating in the event.

The Theme for the 2007 parade will be Keep Christ in Christmas. There is no entry fee however organizers urge participants to bring plenty of candy.

Registration forms for the parade are available at the Williamston Municipal Center or register by phone by calling 864-847-7473. Callers should give the name and type of entry. Entries must be registered to be judged. Registration deadline is Thursday, December 6.

Entries may be registered the day of the parade and entry numbers can be picked up at Fort Hill Gas offices on Hamilton St. beginning at 1 p.m. until 2:50 p.m.

A double line will be formed for parade line up on Hamilton St. Horses are to be in the rear.

Trophies will be given out at City Hall immediately following the parade, Smith said. For more information, call Smith at 864-847-7929.

Country Christmas Parade Dec. 15

The 2nd annual Country Christmas Parade sponsored by the South Greenville Fire Department will be held Saturday, December 15 at 11 a.m. in the Ware Place area.

The parade will begin at Hwy. 418 and Old Hundred Road and continue to  Old Hundred Grocery. Everyone is weelcome to participate. Contact SGFD Chief Ken Taylor for more information at 864-243-5650.

Vandals strike Wren stadium

By Stan Welch

Vandals struck the Wren High School football stadium over the Thanksgiving break. Despite several walls and a storage building, as well as an equipment trailer used by the band boosters, being spray painted, the worst result was the theft of a plaque naming the field after long time coach Jack King. Coach King, who coached for more than thirty years, was also an assistant principal and teacher at the school. Some blocking dummies were also damaged.

Assistant Principal Chris Ferguson said that the only good thing about the incident was that the vandals used less profanity in painting the field house wall and other structures than is the usual case. “This isn’t the first time this has happened, that’s for sure. Except for Coach King’s plaque being removed, it could certainly have been worse.”

The stadium is not locked, since the running track which circles the field is open for public use. “A lot of our students and nearby residents use the track for exercise, whether walking or running. So we don’t lock the area up. Whoever did this didn’t have to climb any fences,” said Ferguson.

Ferguson also cautioned against reaching any conclusions about the identity or loyalties of the vandals. “The fact that they used Easley High School colors of paint and painted Easley slogans really means nothing. It may have even been Wren students or people from elsewhere who did this. One thing that all the area schools do is to cooperate with each other in matters like this. If someone at Easley hears some kids talking about this, they’ll let us know and we’ll proceed from there. We do the same. This is just childish behavior and none of the schools tolerate it.”

In addition to cooperating with each other, Ferguson says the priority in District One is to remove all graffiti as soon as possible, after documenting all the damage. “Sometimes, insurance pays for the repairs. Sometimes it doesn’t.”

Deputies investigate incidents

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated the following incidents: 

PELZER

Nov. 13 – T.B. Dugan responded to 119 Page Rd. where Timothy Garrett reported the theft of gasoline which was siphoned from two vehicles at the location. Approximately 18 gallons, valued at $54.00 was taken.

Nov. 13 – J.F. Parker responded to 20 River Rd. where he met with Spencer Sneed. Sneed was at 15 River Road checking a meter for Duke Power Company when he was approached by a white male who allegedly told Sneed that his truck lights were shining in the house. He allegedly pointed a gun at him, threatening to blow his head off. Deputy Parker spoke to the resident at 20 River Road, who said the man had been there selling him some marijuana. The man could not be located in the area.

Nov. 14 – R.D. Smith responded to 261 Hardwood Rd. where Clara Gilreath reported that an unknown subject driving a dark blue or black four door BMW had driven past her house shooting paintballs at the residence. Her house was hit several times, as well as her Suburban. In addition, her son, Jonathan was also struck by one of the paintballs, bruising his arm.

PIEDMONT

Nov. 13 – J.T. Lee responded to 602 Anderson St. where Rex Shell told him that someone had stolen his 1988 navy blue Isuzu Trooper from the Dollar Store on Hwy. 86 while he was inside buying groceries. The vehicle carries SC tag # 145-5BV.

 Nov. 13 – J.A. Frazier was dispatched to 110 Frontage Rd. to the Pilot Station, where Jason Crawley reported the theft of his 1997 Volvo tractor cab from the location. Crawley had left the vehicle, with the key in the ignition, and with the doors locked, to be serviced over the weekend. The cab, supposedly burgundy but closer to brown, was valued at approximately $29,000 along with several thousand dollars worth of electronics. The SC tag # was P794289 with the markings CRST on the door.

Nov. 13 – S. Proner responded to 201 Shiloh Church Rd. where Richard Page, of 204 Shiloh Church Rd. reported seeing a white male teenager walking near the 201 location. He later checked on the house and found the glass side door shattered. The officers who responded found freshly cooked food inside. Page said the victim, Ronald Pingley was out of state and no one should be in the house. Two days later, on November 15, R.D. Smith responded to the same address in reference to a grand theft auto report. Before arriving, he was informed that the Williamston Police Department was in pursuit of a vehicle for reckless driving. The victims, Mr. And Mrs. Ronald Pingley reported that they returned home from out of town to find their son William Pingley, WM, 17, in their house. He had broken in after his father changed the locks two weeks earlier, following the younger Pingley’s theft of his father’s truck, which he wrecked in Greenville County. Mrs. Pingley reported that William had stolen her 2000 Camry and left their home.

At that point, ACSO deputy J.T. Foster deployed three spike sticks to try and stop the pursuit which had reached the area of Hwy. 29 and Plantation Dr. The rear tires of the vehicle were flattened and the vehicle entered the Anderson City limits, where Cpl. C. Brewer of the Anderson City Police took Pingley into custody.

BELTON

Nov. 13 – M.J. Giovanni responded to 102 Canton Lane, where Brian Pendergrass, who owns the location property as a rental property, reported that someone had entered the residence and stolen the hot water heater. While Giovanni was investigating he discovered that the entire air conditioning unit had also been stolen. The total loss was estimated at $1800.

Nov. 13 – M.J. Giovanni was dispatched to 215 Richey Road where Beth Perkins reported that her nephew had assaulted her during an argument over his failure to contribute to the finances of the household. Perkins declined to press charges but asked how to proceed with eviction if it was necessary.

Nov. 14 – D.L. Barton responded to a report of a stolen auto at 601 E. Calhoun Rd. Francina Thompson, of Apt. D-25 at that location reported that her 1997 green Honda Civic, SC tag # 105XCM had been stolen overnight. The vehicle was valued at $3000.

Nov. 14 – M.B. Arflin was dispatched to 116 Elrod Dr. where Joshua Spearman reported the burglary of his home and the theft of welding tools and equipment valued at approximately $125.

Seems to Me . . . My Christmas wish

By Stan Welch

Well, the holiday is behind us and the holiday season has begun. Actually, it began about a week before Halloween, and will continue till the St. Patrick’s Day hangovers subside.

Black Friday, that Nirvana for retail America, has passed, and its increasingly legitimate cousin, Cyber Monday, is underway as I write this.

Almost 150 million people in this country went shopping on Black Friday, while the other two hundred million loosened their belt buckles and thought about one more piece of pie. Experts anticipated forty four billion dollars in sales in a three day period. Forty four billion dollars! That surpasses the gross national product of about half the countries on the African continent.

Somewhere is an Afghan tribesman, watching over his flock by night, who is pretty sure only the great Satan spends that kind of dough on Game Boys and perfume. It’s harder to argue with those guys sometimes than it is at others.

During no other period of time in our western calendar year does the gap between the talk we talk and the walk we walk look as wide as it does during the holidays. Oh, it’s all about the manger, but wouldn’t that dirt floor look better with a nice area rug from Bath & Beyond?

Three wise men? I’d settle for one if he’d announce for office. He can forget the frankincense and myrrh, but he’ll need all the gold he can lay his hands on.

We often forget that the lucky couple was in town to register for the census. Two thousand years ago government was intruding on the lives of the simple folks and collecting taxes.

There is one part of this season that I really like, though. Radio and television stations run holiday greetings from our soldiers overseas to their families back home. I love those things. I love knowing that somewhere in Topeka, Kansas a little blond haired girl is jumping up and down in front of a television screen yelling, “Look it’s Daddy!” I love knowing that a mother on Long Island is seeing her son safe and sound before her very eyes, at least for one more day. It tickles me to realize that a Mom in camo fatigues is telling her kids in Chicago that she loves them and she’ll be home soon. It’s a kick to see an eighteen year old kid telling his folks he’s okay and so are his buddies from the National Guard unit back home.

I get a lump in my throat when I see these men and women, some not much older than my son, and some not all that much younger than myself, who stand in the heat of a foreign land and on the bulls eye of a foreign war, and grin and wave and think of home.

I think of the mothers and fathers, the mates and the children, the sisters and the brothers, who stare back at the most precious thing in their world, and how they fear and how they dread and how they hope and how they pray.

Can anyone dare believe that not every one of those watching would trade all the material goods in all the stores in all the land just to have their loved one home safely? What wouldn’t they give to see them step off a plane safe and whole, or even just safe, and to know that they are home?

It is a time of the year when we begin to list the things we would like to have for Christmas. “What do you want for Christmas? What do you need?” we ask each other. We should be asking ourselves instead. I think if we did, the answers would be different. I know mine would.

This is what I want for Christmas and for New Year’s and for Valentine’s Day and for St. Patrick’s Day.

I want to be convinced every day, in my heart and in my mind, that the leaders of this country, who send our sons and brothers and mothers and friends into foreign lands and onto foreign bulls eyes, value them as much as their loved ones do.

I want to be sure, without ever having to wonder, that those who see war as an instrument of foreign policy, rather than a means of self defense, do not foolishly send our neighbors into harm’s way.

This is not to say that they have or have not. This is just my Christmas wish from them. Seems to me it’s not too much to ask.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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