News Archive

(5005) Week of Dec. 14, 2005

Williamston over budget by $253,000
Deficits may continue November figures show
Williamston Department heads present needs
West Pelzer budget changes reflect Town Hall improvements
Pelzer to offer skate park facility
Woodmont High School holds dedication service
Wren Elementary among state’s healthy schools
Five schools named state Gold/Silver award winners
Board approves sale of Potato House property
Wren student arrested for bringing gun to game
Police investigate vandalism of Christmas Park displays
Cable contractor arrested
Deputies investigate area incidents
Sheriff's office looking for suspects

Williamston over budget by $253,000

Though Williamston officials have been able to keep two of the town’s larger bills, MASC insurance and AJRWS water, up to date, the two accounts are only a snapshot of the town’s financial status.

The monthly figures for November show the town’s general fund is $253,125.21 over budget with expenses for the month of December still to come.  Based on the figures, it appears the town will show a deficit for yet another year.

As of November, year to date total revenues were under budget by approximately $100,000. Property tax revenues were off $168,037, franchise fees off $21,000, police fines off approximately $35,000 and other revenue off by $14,458. Year to date actual revenues are approximately $96,000 less than budgeted. In addition to revenues being off, expenses are up.

According to the November figures, expenses in almost all departments are over budget. In Administration, payments for professional dues, which includes attorneys, auditors and other professional services, are over budget by $11,000, and now stand at $61,636. Administrative supplies and expense are over budget by $20,000 and utilities are over by $7,000.

In the Street Department, salaries are over budget by $15,000, vehicles by $9,000 and repairs are $14,000 over budget.

The Police Department appears to be the cause of the largest over expenditures for the town. Police salaries are $83,000 over budget, retirement is $10,000 over, vehicles are $8,000 over, supplies are $29,000 over and uniforms are $7,000 over. Police unemployment expense, which was not funded in the budget, is $8,700.

The Parks Department also shows several areas that are over budget. Park salaries are $7,000 over budget, vehicles are $6,000 over, utilities are $9,000 over and little league is $5,000 over. Payments showing for parks retirement are $37,000 under what is budgeted.

The Fire Department budget shows fire vehicle maintenance is over $3,000 and supplies over by $4,000. The Fire Department budget was cut $24,000 last year.

Deficits may continue November figures show

The monthly figures for The Town of Williamston for November show the town is $253,125.21 over budget with expenses for the month of December still to come.  Based on the figures, it appears the town will show a deficit for yet another year.

Last year the Town experienced over spending of $222,635 and  ended the year with a total deficit of $329,468, according to the 2004 audit conducted by Greene, Finney and Horton, LLP.

Auditor Larry Finney told The Journal earlier this year that the audit shows there is an ongoing concern with the Town’s financial situation and that the financial condition of the municipality was “not very good.” Finney recently resigned as the town’s auditor.

Should the town show a deficit for 2005, it will be the fifth year of deficit spending under the administration of Clardy. 

According to information in the 2004 audit, the town has experienced reductions in the general fund balance each year since Clardy took office.

The Town’s fund balance when Clardy took over the Mayor’s office in 2001 was $1,239,800.  As of the end of 2004, the fund balance had been reduced to $411,498.

Yearly reductions were: 2001, ($74,618); 2002, ($398,995); 2003, ($148,733) and 2004, ($329,468).

According to the 2004 audit, the Town’s debt limit as of December 31, 2004 was approximately $666,000 based on an approximate assessed value of $8.33 million. $657,705 of the Town’s debt applies to that limit, leaving the available debt margin at $8,295, according to the audit.

The State of  South Carolina limits the amount of general obligation debt that a government can issue to 8% of the total assessed value of taxable property located within that government’s boundaries.

Clardy has stated that the town has addressed many of the concerns mentioned in the audit. He has also said the financial condition of the town is improving, pointing out that the town did not have to borrow money this year.

Though Williamston officials did not have to approve additional borrowing, they recently extended a $350,000 bond anticipation note (BAN) which was originally used to pay for operational expenses and to meet payroll obligations at the end of 2004.

Proceeds from the sale of 21 acres of property on Cherokee Road will be applied toward paying back the BAN note, Clardy has said.

The Town’s finances could possibly improve during 2006 due to payments totaling approximately $110,000 which will not have to be made on two loans that were paid off during 2005.

The Town has made the last payment of $68,000 on the 2001 GO bond issue which was for $250,000. Proceeds from the bond issue were used for repairs,  a new roof and other improvements at the Municipal Center.

The town has also made the last payment on the 2002 Capital Lease for police vehicles which was initially for $177,409. The 4 year lease had annual payments of $47,371 at an interest rate of 4.57 percent.

The town still has five years to pay on a Capital Lease which was taken out in 2002 for fire fighting equipment.

The lease was originally for $204,742, with 10 year payments of $26,428. It was refinanced in October of 2002 at a lower interest rate and an additional $115,000 was added for fire fighting equipment. The refinanced lease was for 10 years with annual payments of $28,148 at an interest rate of 5.38 percent.

Clardy has also proposed a solid waste collection fee for town residents as a revenue source and cutting out the curbside recycling program to cut expenses to help improve the town’s finances.

He is expected to present the 2006 budget to Council at a  special meeting to be held December 19 at 6 p.m.

Williamston Department heads present needs

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy said the town is expecting increases in insurance costs and he is looking at several options to increase revenue and cut expenses for the town in 2006.

Clardy said he intends to look at a household garbage collection fee as a way of increasing revenues and to cut curbside recycling which he said is a big expense for the town.

Clardy made the comments in a special meeting Monday in which department heads for the Town of Williamston presented their needs to town officials who are preparing for the 2006 budget.

“I do not feel justified in raising taxes until we have exhausted all possibilities,” Clardy said during the meeting. “The good residents of Williamston know services cost.”

Clardy said he is considering cutting out the curbside recycling  program, but is planning to continue to provide a manned recycling center for the town’s residents.

Mayor Clardy said increases in liabililty and property insurance, health insurance and workers compensation costs are expected to be the town’s biggest expense increases for 2006.

He said the town is expecting a 20 percent increase in liability and property insurance and a 15 percent increase in Workers Comp rates. He said there is no way to know what to expect on the health insurance because it is based on a July to June year. It was a low of 6 percent last year but could be higher this year, he said.

During the meeting, each department head updated council on their needs ranging from equipment and vehicles to personnel.

Police Chief David Baker said hiring a warrants collection officer and providing a slight salary increase for his officers are his priorities.

He said the department currently has $182,000 in anticipated fines and $22,000 in bench warrants. He said the department is owed  $165,253 in back fines going back  five years and “even more further back” he said. “We haven’t had the abililty to serve warrants,” he said.

Baker said that the town had an officer assigned to warrants over the summer who brought in $41,532 through fines or jail time served.

“I would like to hire a full time officer for bench warrants,” he said. “The additional revenue he could generate would more than pay his salary.”

Baker said he would also like to have additional funding for salaries for the department’s officers.

Citing poor morale and turnover as the cause of the department’s over budget expense on salaries this year, Baker said he would like to provide a slight increase in salary. “I want to let these people know we appreciate what they do.”

According to Baker, morale is improving in the department since he took over and he has been cutting expenses and making other improvements. He also said fine revenue is increasing.

The police department had a turnover of 30 officers during  the last two and a half year period, Baker said.

The results were high overtime expenses for officers who were forced to cover for those who were out during the period, he said.

Baker said he has reduced pager expense by $200 per month, cell phone expense by $300 to $400 per month, drycleaning $600 per month and is expecting bed linen costs to be reduced by $300 to $400 per month.

He said he also wants the town to consider housing juveniles at the jail facility which will require some remodeling.

Fire Chief Steve Ellison said his department needs funding primarily for extrication equipment, turnout gear and service on fire trucks.

He said the department needs $6,000 for funding for physicals, $1,500 for truck maintenance and one truck that needs pump work of about $1,400. He said the department needs to purchase turnout gear for three firemen at a cost of approximately $800 each.

He said he would also like for the town to consider funding half of the estimated expense of $10,000 for a used set of Jaws of Life extrication equipment.

He also said the department is looking into charging for calls involving non-residents.

Ellison said insurance companies already have charges built in and that he is talking with a company in Alabama that provides the billing service.

“All they need is an accident and fire report,” Ellison said. “They will negotiate with their insurance company.”

The Street Department is in need of vehicles and equipment, according to Department Head David Roberts.

“We have not had any equipment purchased in the last two years,” he said.

Roberts pointed out new subdivisions including Shorebrook, Waterford, Hamilton Hills and numerous apartments that have been built which has resulted in additional garbage and limbs.

Roberts said the town’s two 1995 trucks and one 1992 truck are about worn out and will see increasing breakdowns. He told Council that a 1993 tractor has had expense of $15,000 for rebuilding a motor and hydraulics. “Our equipment is wore out,” he said.

He also initiated some discussion on cutting the recycling program and charging for commercial and residential grarbage pickup.

Roberts also said there is a problem with persons outside the town bringing trash and placing it into dumpsters inside the town for disposal.

Roberts said the town hauls about 400 tons of brush and garbage each month.

He also said that his people provide extra services that a private hauler will not. “We have a good service,” A private contractor will not do these things,” he said.

Dale Martin said the parks and recreation department needs a work truck, new fence and back stop for ballfields, three weedeaters, a push mower and a riding mower.

He said there is also a need for lights for a girls softball field and peewee fields and that there needs to be something in the budget for a new soccer field. Martin also said there is a need for paint for benches and concession stands at the ballfields.

The town needs to upgrade water and sewer lines and make other improvments under the Water Department and Waste Water Treatment Departments, according to Department Head Tim Hood.

Hood said there is a need to dredge the town’s four wastewater treatment ponds at an estimated cost of $50,000 each.He said the town is facing increasing chemical and material costs. “Everything has gone up,” he said.

Hood said the department needs additional shoring equipment.

Hood said lift stations that have been in operation for 25 to 30 years will need upgrades.

Hood said there is also a need for testing  for a byproduct of clorine.

David Rogers reported that there is a need for a generator and replacing and a 1994 Ford truck with 154,000 miles on it.

Rogers also reported that insurance costs went up because of the hurricanes and the town is getting a break on worker comp due to an excellent safety record. which has brought the premium down.

John Brannon, coordinator for the Historic Depot restoration project also requested funding of $11,900 to help with the project.

West Pelzer budget changes reflect Town Hall improvements

By Stan Welch

The West Pelzer Town Council, in a vote to obtain $12,000 for improvements to the Town Hall from the court fines/forfeitures fund, placed their trust in the police department’s ability to generate the additional revenue.

The expenditure, sought by Council member Marshall King at the last meeting, and approved by the Council, had to be accounted for in the form of an amended budget, according to Mayor Peggy Paxton. The amendment was one of several made to accommodate increased or unbudgeted expenses.

An additional $800 for postage was added, as well as an amendment to account for $600 in expenses to be incurred by providing Municipal Judge Roger Scott with a Nextel cell phone/radio to be used in his duties as judge (See related story on polling elsewhere in this issue).

The building fund and postage amendments resulted in raising revenue projections from the fines/forfeitures source from $58,300 to $70,800. The amendment to provide Scott with the Nextel unit was approved and will also be added to the fines/forfeitures projections. A total increase of $13,400 will be needed form that source to account for the revenues now budgeted.

Mayor Paxton also reported that the town’s financial status in reference to the current budget is “very good. Our only shortage is in the area of charitable donations, and that’s just because Pelzer hasn’t reimbursed us for their share of our Hurricane Katrina donations. Otherwise, we are well within our budget boundaries.”

In the water and sewer portion of the budget, an overage exists in the area of dues and publications. “W are still having to pay for the Ramsoft software until we get our new software up and running,” said Paxton. “It has taken a little longer than we expected, but the new folks will be here for three days this week, installing it and training Beth Elgin in its use. Then we can quit paying for software we aren’t using any longer.”

The new software will provide more complete and timely records and will allow for faster and more precise billing for taxes, water and sewer and other fines.

The Council amended the agenda several times as well as the budget. One amendment was made to allow for second reading approval of a change in the business license ordinance. The change would allow a fifty percent reduction in the cost of a license for anyone coming into the Town to do just one job. Should that company return to town to perform other work, they would be required to obtain a license under the standard terms. Council approved change 5-0.

The agenda was amended to allow for old business to be brought up. Councilman Marshall King asked about the reimbursement of funds for a drug dog that had been donated to Dogs against Drugs. Shortly after his election, King had asked what had been done with the money, and whether it could be returned to those who contributed, since no dog had been purchased. Mayor Paxton told King that the organization was exploring whether such donations could be refunded. “We thought we would have this worked out by now, but it’s taking longer than we thought.”

King also presented a preliminary draft of a work order to be used by the Town for future projects. It was accepted as information for review and possible revision. “This is just to give us a starting point. It can be changed however we want,” said King.

The agenda was again amended to allow for the Police Chief to report on his efforts to price two new police cars. Based on a 3 year lease, with monthly payments for the two cars the town needs, the payment would be $1224.95. Payments made on an annual basis would come to $14,338 for two cars. The council accepted the report as information at the time.

The Town is short of vehicles in part because of an accident suffered by Officer Roger Alewine while transporting a prisoner to ACDC.  The car carried only liability, since it was bought used for $3000 two years ago.

The Council adjourned after a 20 minute unscheduled executive session to discuss personnel. The next Town Council meeting will be in January.

Pelzer to offer skate park facility

The dream of a skate board park for area teens may soon be a reality thanks to Pelzer officials.

Interest in providing a place for teens and younger kids to pursue the increasingly popular sport and stay out of trouble has been the talk of Williamston and Pelzer officials for some time.

Pelzer officials announced recently that they intend to allow the tennis courts located behind the Pelzer gym and town hall to be used by the boarders.

Though the skate park is not officially open, the skaters have already taken the town up on the offer, bringing their own jumps, ramps, rails and other accessories to the area they have named “The Courts.”

The tennis courts are not officially open to the skaters until planned improvements are made, according to Councilmember Tonya Scott, who is heading up the project. Planned improvements include repairing the fence and adding lights at the facility, Scott said.

Scott said she is hoping to get area churches involved in helping provide “a Christian based program.” Scott said one area church is planning to bring a praise band to the facility on Wednesday evenings. Those interested can also meet at the gym for a Bible study from 7 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday nights and on Saturdays. She said they are also planning to provide pool tables and amusement games at the gym for teens to use.

Scott said the town plans to eventually provide a new skate park next to the tennis court area which she said will be paid for with donations and fundraisers. At some point officials may charge to use the facility to help pay for upkeep of ramps and a person to supervise the facility, she said.

Persons using the Pelzer Skate Park are required to wear a helmet and children under eight should have a chaperone or older sibling with them.

Scott said there is a tremendous amount of interest in the area for a park for the skate boarders. There is already a group that meets at a local home in the Williamston area that has 89 members, she said.

Anyone intested in helping or volunteering time or making donations for the Pelzer Skate Park can contact Scott at 932-8111.

 

A special dedication service was held for the new Woodmont High School on December 5.  

 Greenville County School District Superintendent Dr. Phinnize Fisher spoke to the audience of over two hundred parents, teachers and students who attended the ceremony.  “Woodmont High has a proud history and now it has a facility to match its pride,” said Dr. Fisher.

School Board Chairman Chuck Saylors and Area 26 Representative Roger Meek were also in attendance.  Woodmont High School Teacher of the Year Sundra Byrd led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Senior Class President Paige Houston sang the National Anthem.  The invocation was led by Rev. Richie Stoddard, Pastor of the New Mount Behtel Baptist Church.

Principal Dr. Randy Reagan spoke about how the new building will impact student success.  “Our students and teachers were able to accomplish so much (at the former school) in a building that was woefully inadequate, but now we have a state-of-the-art facility that will enhance student learning,” he said.

The school district provided a bronze plaque that will be placed in the foyer of the new school.  The new facility is built to accommodate the school’s future growth of up to 2000 students.

After years of planning and a twenty-seven month construction schedule it was completed just in time to start the 2005-2006 school year.

Presiding at the dedication service was Chuck Saylors, Chairman Board of Trustees who also welcomed guests; Prelude was conducted by Woodmont High Band Director, Mrs. Donna Cotter.

The Dedication Service was led by Roger Meek, Board of Trustees Area 26. Unveiling of Plaque and Closing was led by Mr. Saylors.

Greenville County School Board of Trustees include Charles J. Saylors, Chairman; Dr. Grady Butler, Vice Chairman; Danna P. Edwards, Secretary; Debi Bush, William D. Herlong, Roger D. Meek, Crystal Ball O’Connor, Ph.D., Dr. Keith Ray II, Tommie E.  Reece, Leola C. Robinson, Patrick L. Sudduth, Ann W. Sutherlin.

Woodmont High School holds dedication service

Woodmont Administration includes Dr. Reagan, Principal; Ms. Tammy Greer, Assistant Principal; Bradley Griffith, Assistant Principal; Chris Chapman, IB Coordinator; Brenda Elmore, 9th Grade Academy Coordinator; Ashley Jenkins, Instructional Coach.

The new Woodmont High School was designed for a capacity of 2,000 students.  Each grade provides room for core subjects.  Instructional space is also provided for a language lab, reading, keyboarding lab, computer lab, special education resource rooms and a time-out room.

The media center has a large reading room, conference rooms, an office/workroom, an audio-visual storage room, a media production lab and a faculty workroom with space for a professional library.  The dining area seats 667 for lunch.

Fine arts has band and chorus rooms, an art studio with storage for supplies, a kiln room and a patio for outside activities.  Vocational education has a classroom, lab, office and storage room, agricultural education, business and life skills facilities as well.  A state-of-the-art auditorium seats 675.

The gymnasium seats 2,000 and includes a multi-purpose/wrestling room, weight room, laundry room with towel storage, offices for coaches, locker rooms  with showers, restrooms, equipment and uniform storage and a training room.  Athletic and physical education area includes four practice fields, a softball field, a baseball field and six tennis courts.  A new stadium seats 5,000.

The Administrative area has a clerical space, a principal’s office, offices for assistant principals, school secretary, school resource officer, attendance clerk, and a volunteer/PTA room with storage.

The school is flexible, functionally attractive, and operationally cost effective.

The facility was planned and constructed by Craig Gaulden & Davis, Architects; General Contractor, Winter Construction Company; Executive Director for Construction, Bryan Morris; Project Managers, Terry Mills and David Fryer.

Wren Elementary among state’s healthy schools

State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum recently announced that eleven South Carolina public schools have received Healthy Schools Awards for their efforts to promote healthy behaviors among students and staff.

Of the eleven schools, Wren Elementary was one of only two schools to meet all eight school health components. To receive this award, schools must demonstrate a coordinated team approach to improving student health and provide evidence of achieving best practices in all 8 components of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Adolescent and School Health Eight-Component model of Coordinated School Health. The components are: family and community involvement; skills-based health education; health services; healthy and safe environment; physical education and activity; nutrition; guidance, psychological and social services; and staff wellness.

The South Carolina Healthy Schools Awards are a joint effort of the State Department of Education, the Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Healthy Schools Healthy South Carolina Network. The awards are given to schools that demonstrate a coordinated team approach to improving student health and provide evidence of achieving best practices.

“Across South Carolina, there is a renewed emphasis on physical activity and well-rounded nutrition in our schools,” Tenenbaum said. “This focus recognizes the strong link between learning and good healthy behaviors. These award winning schools are models for other schools searching for ways to combat obesity, reduce medical costs and ultimately help students perform better in school and live healthier lives.”

Wren focuses on health and safety and uses a broad community involvement approach. Playground equipment was adapted based on a survey, and safety awareness programs for the faculty were initiated that created a safer environment for students and a 100 percent decrease in workers’ compensation claims. Implementation of the South Carolina Physical Education Assessment Program has integrated math, language arts, science and social studies into the physical education program. The school has seens a 200 percent increase in the number of students participating in local community physical activities.

“Each award reflects a school’s and a community’s commitment to all aspects of health and a healthy environment, not only at school, but throughout their communities as well,” said DHEC Commissioner C. Earl Hunter.

Five schools named state Gold/Silver award winners

Five Anderson District One schools have been recognized as Gold/Silver Award winners as part of the Education Accountability Act for high levels of academic achievement and high rates of student academic improvement.   

Gold Award winners are: Wren High ($25,045), Cedar Grove ($7,349), Powdersville Elementary ($4,872), Wren Elementary ($8,813). Silver Award winning school: Hunt Meadows ($5,376).

Each winning school will receive an award flag, a certificate and a portion of $2 million in state lottery funds earmarked for the awards program.  Financial awards are determined by several factors, including the type of award received, student enrollment, student attendance, teacher attendance and dropout rates.

“Our teachers and principals are dedicated to helping students reach higher standards of achievement which has resulted in receiving the Palmetto Gold/Silver Awards,” said Dr. Wayne Fowler, Superintendent for Anderson One.

Developed by the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, criteria for the awards are based on the absolute and improvement ratings assigned to each school on the 2005 report cards.  At the elementary and middle school levels, report card ratings are determined by PACT scores while Exit Exam results, eligibility for LIFE scholarships serve as the criteria for high schools. 

Primary schools with only grades two and below remain ineligible under the EOC’s criteria for the awards.  Awards are distributed to schools that dramatically improve their students’ performance between 2004 and 2005, and who receive an absolute rating above unsatisfactory.

Board approves sale of Potato House property

During the Anderson School District One Board of Trustees meeting held November 29, board members approved the sale of the Potato House property  on Hwy. 8 for the bid price of $62,000. The property was purchased by Patrick O’Dell and was sold at auction at no expense to the District, Dr. Wayne Fowler said. Closing is expected by January 1st.

During the meeting board member Fred Alexander was unanimously reelected to Chair the board,  Nancy Upton was elected Vice Chair and Sallie Lee was named Secretary.

Joe Pack was unanimously elected to continue to represent the board on the Anderson County Alternative School Board.

 Upton and Pack were elected to continue their service representing District One on the Career and Technology Center Board of Trustees.

During the presentation to the Board, District One nurse Shirley Reid reported that the District has 11 nurses who deal with diverse health related problems in the schools they serve which also affect academics for students.

“We feel there is a definite correlation between health and learning,”she said.

Reid also said the district nurses spend a lot of time counseling students.

Nurse Carolyn Hatcher explained SHIP teams which are involved in a number of nursing activities including health screenings, student medications, faculty and staff health and wellness, communicable disease monitoring, health room management, health instruction and medicaid billing.

Health screenings include vision, hearing, dental, scoliosis and blood pressure screenings. Many times there are referrals.

The nurses are also involved in  faculty and staff wellness including organizing a health fair and providing CPR instruction to first responders and coaches.

Medicaid billing has as many as 704 claims on a monthly basis including anything from medication, stomach ache to screening of indivuduals. If a child is eligible, the district is reimbursed on a percentage.

At the recommendation of Superintendent Dr. Fowler, Board members approved five home schooling applications.

Board members heard from auditor Larry Finney (reported in earlier edition) who reported the District is in sound financial shape.

The Board also approved transfer of the Wren School Sewer System to Anderson County (reported in earlier edition).

Several personnel recommendations were also approved.

Leave of Absence - Amy Love, Concrete Primary, Kindergarten; Donna Yarborough.

Retirment - Judy Murch, Palmetto High, School to Work Coordinator.

Resignation - Lynn King, Wren Middle, Language Arts.

Recommendations - Jelen Gillard, Pelzer Elementary, LD Resource (.3FTE); Jamie Newsome, Palmetto High, Spanish and Service Learning; Toby Major, Palmetto High, English.

There will be no meeting of the Board in December. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 10, at 7 p.m.

Wren student arrested for bringing gun to game

By Stan Welch

A Wren High school student was arrested and detained at last Friday night’s basketball game for being in possession of a firearm on school grounds.

Anthony Tyrece Crite, BM, 18, 5’11", 180 pounds, of 114 Sterling Bridge Road, was observed to be carrying a pistol in his waistband by an unidentified ten year old attending the game. The ten year old informed his father and they told a teacher, Michael Kastner. Kastner in turn informed SRO T.L. Porter, who contacted other officers working the game, Sergeant G. Major and Lt. Lewis Clarkson.

Based on the ten year old’s description of the subject as black, wearing a black jacket, baggie pants and a camouflage hat, lead the officers to Crite. They escorted him outside and asked if he were armed. He denied having a gun, and opened his coat to show he did not have one. He was asked by Porter if he could pat him down, and he agreed. Porter found an unloaded chrome .38 Special revolver in his coat pocket.

He was arrested and transported where he was charged with possession of a firearm on school property and unlawful carrying of a firearm.

District One School Superintendent Wayne Fowler was contacted for comment and stated that the student has been suspended and recommended for expulsion from school. “This is a very sad situation. By all accounts, he just brought the gun to show it off. He showed no ill will towards anyone, and had no ammunition for the gun with him. Also, contrary to rumors, there were no drugs recovered nor drug charges made, according to school principal Robbie Binnicker.”

Fowler went on to praise the officers, the teachers, and the administration for their handling of the situation. “The officers quickly removed him from the presence of other people, and took control of the situation. The young man who first reported the gun did a very good job, both of realizing how serious things like that are, and in describing the student so accurately.”

Added Fowler “This student made a very poor decision. He will come before me as the District One hearing officer, and a decision will be made. I have been in this school system for 36 years, and the last time a real gun appeared on a school campus was seven years ago. I hope it never happens again.”

Police investigate vandalism of Christmas Park displays

Williamston Police officers had a busy period following the Thanksgiving Holiday and going into the first week of December. Among incidents investigated are two involving vandalism in the Christmas Park including the decapitation of a snowman (display).

 Dec. 4 – P. D. Marter investigated a case of a decapitated snowman, as well as damage to several other displays in Mineral Springs Park. Several Christmas displays were damaged, and the head of the snowman in Councilman David Harvell’s display was stolen.

Dec. 2 – P. D. Marter responded to a complaint of malicious mischief. Ronnie Quinn reported that he saw two juveniles, one male and one female, attempting to remove a Christmas display from the Town park. He stopped them, and they got into a red Lincoln Town Car, SC tag # 499-SSL. The car left the park and moved to a side street, where the juveniles got out in an apparent attempt to return and remove the display. Police Chief David Baker, who heard the radio call, stopped the juveniles and advised them to accompany him to the Police Dept. The driver of the car, Melvin Burger, 52, of Liberty, was aware of the juveniles’ actions and took responsibility for them. He was cited for malicious mischief. The two juveniles will each face similar charges in Anderson family court.

Dec. 4 – P. D. Marter received a complaint of a stolen handgun from Nathan Taylor, who stated that a HiPoint 9 mm was stolen from his truck where he had parked it at the Burger King.

Dec. 2 - Mary Nimmons Alemand, 44, 108 Willingham Rd., Belton, was arrested for possession of crank ice (second offense), possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and driving under suspension after a white Ford Ranger truck was observed crossing the center line. Reports state 145 controlled substance pills were found in her possession. Also a plastic bag with .9 grams of a white powder substance field tested positive for methamphetamine was found upon her booking.

Dec. 1 – T.A. Call served an arrest warrant for burglary on Gary Elighue Southerland,  24, of 6 Bennet  Street.

Nov. 30 – P. D. Marter arrested Patrick Ellenburg, 24, for DUS after observing him putting gas in a car at the Save Way. Ellenburg was also charged with reckless driving after leaving the station at a high rate of speed.

Nov. 30 – J. R. McCauley II arrested McArthur Sanders, 55, for shoplifting, disorderly conduct and furnishing a false name to police, after he allegedly stole a bottle of wine and some batteries from the Hickory Point BP station.

Nov. 29 – A. B. Singleton and P. D. Marter responded to a hit and run which resulted in two vehicles being damaged. The driver who left the scene, Nathaniel Alexander, 22, of 9309 Augusta Road in Pelzer, was located and brought to the WPD where he gave a statement and was arrested on charges of leaving the scene of an accident.

Nov. 28 – Z.E. Gregory clocked a vehicle at 49 miles an hour in a 35 m.p.h. zone, and effected a traffic stop. Shawn Marrone, 24, was subsequently arrested for driving under suspension, as well as speeding. He was transported to the city police department.

Nov. 26 – Z.E. Gregory and J.R. McCauley II received a complaint of malicious damage from Sally Tice that her vehicle was struck by a rock as she drove along Greenville Dr. near Burger King. She reported seeing three black male youths in the woods near that location. Shortly after, a second victim, Cleon Bennefield came to the police station and reported an identical incident at the same location. He also reported seeing three black teenagers in the woods nearby. Efforts to locate and identify the youths were unsuccessful, and the investigation remains open.

Nov.26 – J.R. McCauley II, responded to the Williamston EMS where Melissa Ray reported that she started her vehicle to let it warm up, then returned to the EMS station for just a moment. While she was inside, the vehicle was stolen. The incident report gives no description of the vehicle.

Nov. 25 – Z. E. Gregory observed a vehicle traveling along North Hamilton St. at a high rate of speed. He eventually stopped the driver, and subsequently charged him with driving 62 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone. He was also charged with DUI, and placed in custody after refusing to take the breathalyzer test.

Nov. 25 – J. R. McCauley  was called to 42 E. Main St. where he found Carl Andrew Wardlaw to be “grossly intoxicated”. Wardlaw, 42, was arrested for public intoxication, where upon he reportedly became agitated and tried to flee. He later also became combative at the police station and was also charged with resisting arrest.

Nov. 24 – A. B. Singleton responded to the Palmetto High School bus parking lot at 803 N. Hamilton St. where he found several buses egged and papered and otherwise vandalized. 

Nov. 24 – L.T. Motes responded to 305 Belton Drive, where he received a complaint from David Samuel Phillips that he had loaned his car to a woman who failed to return it. The vehicle was a 2004 Cadillac Escalade SUV, champagne in color, with SC tag # 243UJB.

Nov. 23 – P.D. Marter observed a white male, 22, 6’, 155 pounds, brn/brn who appeared to be unsteady on his feet. Upon further examination of the subject, Marter placed Mitchell Simon Patton, of 112 Browning Road, under arrest for disorderly conduct.

Nov. 23 – A. B. Singleton received a report of harassing telephone calls from Angela Lynch, of 6 Pinecrest Drive. She stated that a man had called her repeatedly and left threatening and profane phone calls on her answering machines. Singleton listened to the tapes and contacted the man who agreed to stop calling.

 Nov. 23 – D.W. Alexander observed a burgundy Ford Explorer run a stop sign at East Carolina and Bigby Street. After the officer turned on his blue light, the driver ran at least two more stop signs before the officer terminated the pursuit. The tag number was verified as belonging to a Ford Explorer. Alexander called the owner and found that her grandson was driving the car.

Nov. 22 – T. A. Call responded to 199 Minor St. to a complaint by James Sullivan that someone had broken into his home and searched his home while he was at the doctor’s office. A filing cabinet was pried open and a bag of coins taken.

Nov. 22 – C. J. Sanders received a complaint from Dwayne Howell, of 223 East Carolina Street that someone had slashed the tires on his vehicle.

Cable contractor arrested

A Texas man employed with a subcontractor working for Charter Communications was arrested last week in connection with a rape incident that occurred in Williamston.

Jason Lamar Hicks Sr., 36, of Houston, Texas, was arrested by Williamston Police Captain Kevin Evatt after being interviewed in Williamston about the incident.

Captain Evatt said the man was charged with criminal sexual conduct first degree after evidence at the scene presented a strong case and the man’s statement did not match up.

According to Evatt, the man completed a cable installation at a Williamston residence on Monday Nov. 28 and then returned to the residence around 8 a.m. Friday, Dec. 2. Reports state the victim woke up from sleep with the suspect beside her.

“He returned to the victim’s house, entered her house and sexually assaulted her while she was sleeping,” Police Chief David Baker said.

A Charter Communications spokesperson said the man works for Hal-Tech, a contractor for Charter, and had only been in the area about one month.

“He is no longer working in this market pending charges,” she said.

Deputies investigate area incidents

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated the following incidents:

PELZER

Dec. 2 – M.D. Creamer responded to a burglary call at 15 Square Street, where Robert Smith reported the break-in of his home and the subsequent theft of jewelry and home elctronics valued at $5,400

Dec. 3 - T.B. Dugan was run off the road near the intersection of Hwy. 81 and Hwy. 8 by Megan Baillargeon, 17, of 149 Pine Circle. Baillargeon then ran off the road and flipped her Honda Civic in a ditch. She was treated at the scene and transported to the hospital. State Trooper Coggins transported her parents to the hospital. According to the incident report, the suspect was charged with DUI.

PIEDMONT

Dec. 2 - A. Gilstrap responded to a call at 2312 Easley Highway in reference to a gas drive off at Milestone Exxon. A middle aged white male in an older model gray Lincoln drove off without paying for 27.01 worth of gas.

Dec.2 – R. A.Malone responded to Import Auto Works,Inc. at 216 Cooper Lane where Donald Drennen Jr., the owner of the garage, reported that someone had stolen a 1996 GMC Sonoma pickup, with extended cab. The truck had a seized up engine and belonged to friends of Drennen’s.

Dec.2 – A. Gilstrap received a complaint of a gas drive off at Corner Stop at 901 Anderson Street. The driver, a white male was driving a late model maroon Ford Taurus and left with $15 worth of gas.

Dec.2 – P. N. Turner was called to 332 Hwy. 17, where Barry Davis reported that someone had taken $72 and his truck keys from his home. The truck, a 1993 gray Toyota, had suffered some $500 in damage. After leaving, Turner was called back to the scene where Davis was chasing Benjamin Smith on foot behind the house. Reports state Turner found both men, and Smith admitted taking the keys and money, and hitting a tree with the truck. Warrants were obtained on Smith for petit larceny and malicious damage to property. He was arrested and transported to ACDC.

Dec. 3 – T. B. Dugan responded to 101 Bagwell Drive, where Joseph Bagwell reported that someone had set fire to his mailbox, resulting in $50 in damage.

WILLIAMSTON

Dec. Deputies2 – N. M. Mitchell received a report of a break-in at 139 Harper St. Karen Camden reported that a CD player, several CDs, a chandelier and three Barbie dolls had been stolen.

Sheriff's office looking for suspects

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office is looking for Jeremy Steven Fowler, who managed to elude capture recently while driving a stolen Lexus. (See Police Report elsewhere in this issue.) Fowler is a white male, 27, 6 feet tall, weighing 170 pounds. He is balding with brown eyes and a light complexion. Fowler has been seen in the Williamston and West Pelzer areas, and is considered armed and dangerous. He is wanted on three charges of grand theft auto, 2 counts of receiving and possessing stolen goods, and one charge of failure to stop for a blue light and DUS. He is also wanted by the Greenville county Sheriff’s Department for receiving and possessing stolen goods.

In Piedmont, a black male robbed the Carolina First Bank Friday, December 9, around 3 p.m. He was wearing a black coat, black knit cap and white shorts. He was described as 5’8", 250 pounds. He escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash. A woman was driving the getaway car, a champagne colored Cadillac.

Also in Piedmont, in the early evening of December 12, the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on Hwy. 153, was robbed by two black males with shotguns, which they left behind in the parking lot as they fled.

 

 

 

 

 

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