News Archive

Dec. 17, 2003

2004 Williamston budget based on actual 2003 revenues, expenditures
Florida volleyball standout  has Williamston connection
Palmetto’s Davis heads South Carolina Shrine team 2003 Shrine Bowl
Coach Abrams honored by Woodmont Wildcats
Pelzer Light People brighten the holidays
Thieves hit area homes and businesses
Lengthy meetings remain an issue for County Council
Officials to answer questions at January town meeting


2004 Williamston budget based on actual 2003 revenues, expenditures

Williamston Town Council approved second reading on a $2.29 million general fund budget and a $1.475 million enterprise fund budget during a special meeting Dec. 11.

Mayor Phillip Clardy said the 2004 budget is based on actual figures from 2003.

“We had an entire year on the system,” Clardy said referring to new accounting software system the town is now using.

Clardy has blamed the old software program and problems associated with changing to a new program for inaccurate financial information the town has received since he took office in 2001.

Clardy said financial information is now based on a correct chart of accounts which matches line items on the budget.

Clardy said that in the past he attempted to provide a “simple budget” which he said “broke items out too far.”

“The actual budget is what is our chart of accounts,” he told Council. “It provides greater accountability in departments.”

Councilman Greg Cole asked if there could be a budget cap which would have to be approved by Council.

Clardy suggested that Council look at the budget each quarter.

He said new procedures being implemented will provide greater accountability in each department.

A new purchase order system for supplies will start in January, according to Clardy. The program will deduct purchases automatically from the budget.

“The new procedure will make individual departments accountable,” Clardy said.

He said there could be quarterly amendments to the budget if necessary, to reflect actual expenditures or changes.

“It will bring some type of organization and allow us to get good accurate information based on the actuals,” Clardy said.

Clardy said his goal was to not be “overbudget” at the end of the year.

“Every year there is a tremendous overbudget,” Clardy said. “Not just expenditures, but also revenues.”

Council approved the 2004 budget 5-0.

Florida volleyball standout  has Williamston connection

Attention volleyball fans. The third-ranked Florida Gator volleyball team will face Hawaii on Thursday in the national semifinals in Dallas, hopefully advancing to Saturday’s national championship match which will air live on ESPN2 at 3:30 p.m. EST.

When they do, there will be a top ranked player with a local connection for sports fans to watch.

The Gators team features middle blocker Sherri Williams, whose father Michael Williams, is a Williamston native.

The SEC standout has often visited Williamston, spending summers from 1984 through 1996 with her grandparents.

Williams is a junior at the University of Florida.

She was recently rnamed to the All-South Region team by the American Volleyball Coaches Association after leading the nation in hitting efficiency for five weeks during the season, according to information on the school’s website.

She is on pace to set the school record for hitting percentage in a season and has set career highs in almost every category.

Williams, who leads the team with a .473 hitting efficiency, hit a league-high .498 in SEC matches. She was named to the All-SEC second team and was named the conference’s player of the week earlier in the season.

She had double digit kills and led the Gators in blocks in Florida’s wins over Georgia and Tennessee in November. She also tallied a career-high three service aces against Georgia and a career-high five digs at Tennessee. Her team-high six blocks contributed to the Gators 70th straight win, setting an NCAA record for consecutive games won.

Williams received a medical redshirt her freshman year in 2000, rehabilitating her right knee after reconstructive surgery. She was a reshirt freshman during 2001 season when she played in 17 of 30 matches with impressive stats.

During her sophomore year, she hit a perfect 1.000 (4-0-4) against eventual national champion Southern California in the NCAA semifinal match. She also recorded impressive stats during the season.

Prior to Florida, she helped the United States place sixth in the Youth World Volleyball Championships in Portugal.

 She received numerous county and state awards and recognitions during her highschool career at Edgewater High, where her No. 3 jersey was retired. Her Edgewater High volleyball team won the 2000 Florida State Championship.

Williams is the daughter of Beverly L. Williams of Orlando, Florida and Michael N. and Barbara R. Williams of Lithonia, Ga.  Grandparents are the late J. N. and Nadine G. Williams of Williamston.

Williams was born and reared in Orlando, Fla. and graduated Edgewater High School.

At 6’2”, she has a 10’4” vertical jump. She was the highest rated highschool volleyball player to attend the university of Florida, according to her father.

She has a 14-year-old sister, Britney, who has also spent summers from 1991-1996 with her grandparents in Williamston.

Florida enters its match with Hawaii with a 35-1 overall record. Most recently, the Gators swept Penn State 3-0 to win the NCAA East Region and advance to their seventh national semifinal match since 1991. Aury Cruz leads the team with 4.42 kills per game and 3.40 digs per game, while Williams is the team leader in hitting percentage at .470.

Williams is averaging 1.35 blocks per game. As a team, Florida has held opponents to just a .093 hitting efficiency while the Gators are hitting at a .344 clip on the year. The Gators also average five and a half more kills per game than their opponents, three more digs per game than the opposition and are averaging 3.17 blocks per game. Florida is 2-2 all-time against Hawaii with both wins coming in 1998.

Hawaii enters its match with the Gators with a 36-1 overall record. Most recently, Hawaii defeated Georgia Tech 3-1 to advance to the national semifinal match.

ESPN2 will show the match on a taped-delay basis on Friday at 3 p.m.

Palmetto's David to head South Carolina Shrine team

Palmetto High School will be well represented at the 2003 Shrine Bowl which will be played Saturday Dec. 20 at 1 p.m. at the Rock Hill District Three Stadium.

Palmetto football Coach Tommy Davis is the head coach for the 2003 South Carolina football team. Josh Caggiano is an assistant.

Palmetto’s Jim Slatten is the team manager and Woodmont defensive lineman John Barber is on the South Carolina team.

The Palmetto High varsity cheerleaders will also be there to cheer for the South Carolina team.

Two Palmetto Cross Country runners, Ben Sherard and Justin Meade will participate in the 18th annual game ball run.

Sherard and Meade will be among the last  runners to relay the game ball from Columbia to Rock Hill in time for the kickoff of the Shrine Bowl football game.

Runners are escorted by the SC Highway Patrol and managed by the Shriners of the Jamil Temple.

Participants are selected according to performance at the State Cross Country Championships.

The Shrine Bowl is in its 66th year, of giving to the Endowment Fund, Shriners Hospitals for Children, which includes proceeds from the six sponsoring Temples.

700,000 crippled and burned children have been rehabilitated and restored as a result.

It was started by a group of Shriners sitting around the fire at the Red Fez club discussing the East-West game in San Francisco, for many years one of the chief benefactors of the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

This inspired group suggested high school players from North Carolina and South Carolina instead of college players.

The first Shrine Bowl game was played in Charlotte in 1937, and has been played every year since.

2001 was the first game outside of Charlotte, the 65th game was moved to Rock Hill, South Carolina.

That first game, under the general chairmanship of Ernest J. Sifford, brought $2,500 in net proceeds to the Greenville Unit of the Shriners Hospitals.

Last year the 66th Shrine Bowl game presented the check for the amazing total of $1.7 million and raised the total endowment for the hospitals to more than $62 million.

There are now nineteen Shrine Orthopedic Hospitals and three Burns Institutes. 

“By aiding the crippled and burned child, the Shrine glorifies its spirit of making not only the fortunate but also the unfortunate happy. Thousands of boys and girls have been cured. The Shrine has made America “crippled and burned children conscious”, and in so doing, it has greatly enriched itself,”  a spokesperson said. All treatment is free.

Five Temples - Omar, Sudan, Hejaz, Jamil and Amran sponsor the Annual Shrine Bowl.

For more information or tickets, call the Shrine bowl hotline at 1-800-648-BOWL.

Coach Abrams honored by Woodmont Wildcats

by Mike Matthews

Former Woodmont teacher and coach Ben Abrams was joined by family and friends as he was recognized for his committment to the Woodmont school and community. Abrams was presented a plaque recognizing 37 years of service. The Woodmont school gym was dedicated to him and officials announced that the gymnasium at the new Woomont High School will be named in his honor.

The following feature is reprinted form January 2003:

Every high school has a living legend.  That’s someone who has dedicated his entire adult life to making life better for our children and young people.  Willie Varner was that kind of person at Woodruff; John McKissick has been the same at Summerville; and Ben Abrams more than fits that bill at Woodmont.

“Coach Abrams,” as he’s more affectionately known, gave 36 years of his life to serving the educational and athletic needs as well as the overall up-bringing of youngsters in southern Greenville County.

And to this day, some 17 years after he officially “retired” from teaching and coaching, he’s still one of the area’s biggest and most devoted supporters of its younger residents.  It’s that kind of love for others that has earned him the love, respect, and admiration of those whose lives he has touched along the way.

Many of those who have been touched by his sincere caring and influence and working toward putting together what they hope will serve as a lasting tribute to a man they so dearly love and cherish.  They want to name the Woodmont High School gymnasium in his honor.  The current structure (followed by the facility at the soon-to-be-constructed new Woodmont High School) would bear his name as a permanent show of gratitude for all he has done for, and meant to, the Woodmont community.  And he certainly has done a lot for and definitely means a lot to that rural part of Greenville County bordered by Ware Place, Pelzer, Moonville, and Piedmont.

Coach Abrams came to what was then Ellen Woodside High School in 1950 as a teacher and a coach.  He remained there until the school was consolidated with the former Piedmont High School to create Woodmont High School.

After Woodmont opened, he continued to teach and coach for another two decades.  All in all, he gave a total of 36 years of service to those two schools.

And there’s not enough room in a month’s worth of newspapers to even begin to outline all of the many things he accomplished during his near-four-decade career.

When asked what he considers his biggest accomplishments or successes, Coach Abrams doesn’t mention any athletic wins or other feats.  Instead, he takes the greatest pride in “seeing so many boys and girls grow up and become such fine young men and women.

“I taught and worked with a lot of boys and girls over the years, and they were all pretty much good children overall,” he recalls.  “I was always happy to see them go on and do well in life.  That’s what really meant the most to me, to see those boys and girls become such fine adults later on in life.”

That’s the kind of person Coach Abrams is, someone who takes greater pride in seeing others succeed.  But he has been a life-long success story himself.  And while he has enjoyed successes in every area of his life, most of those who know him well best remember his accomplishments on the various athletic fields.

He began his local coaching career as the basketball coach at Ellen Woodside.  He continued coaching that sport until 1971 when he “retired for the first time” from Woodmont.

During his two decades as those schools’ varsity basketball coach, Ellen Woodside and Woodmont developed a well-earned reputation as being one of the area’s top programs.  And while he doesn’t recall his overall record during that time, long-time residents and fans will quickly tell you he won a lot more games than he lost.

Coach Abrams didn’t stay retired from basketball for very long.  He was talked into taking over coaching the junior-varsity girls team for five years, and then assumed head coaching duties for the varsity girls team at Woodmont.

His Lady Wildcats were a true powerhouse on the varsity court.  They claimed two conference chapionships and a school-record 25-2 season among their numerous accomplishments under the leadership of their gifted veteran coach.

And basketball wasn’t the only sport he coached and enjoyed success with.  Ellen Woodside and Piedmont combined to field a football team during his early years of coaching, and he served as an assistant coach for those teams.

When Ellen Woodside began fielding its own team in 1960, he was named its head coach and served in that capacity for several years.

He also coached baseball during the 1950s.  He later coached track at Woodmont where his teams are still regarded as having been among the best in the school’s history.

“Hal Hall, who later coached record-setting teams at Palmetto, was the coach at Belton back then, and they always had one of the best teams around here,” Coach Abrams remembers.  “But we always gave them a good, tough time when we ran against them.”

“Hal and I always looked forward to having our teams compete against each other,” he adds.  “We always knew we were going up against a really good team when we ran against each other.”

When asked to compare athletes of his day with those of today, Coach Abrams replied, “They both have a lot in common in that they love to compete, and they always want to be the best they can be.

“Things are a lot more up-tempo these days, and you have all of the other new advantages that we didn’t have,” he notes.  “But for the most part, it’s still the same love of the game that our youngsters had that keeps these youngsters today involved in athletics.”

It’s that “love of the game” and a love for youngsters in general that keeps bringing Coach Abrams out to games some 17 years after he “officially retired for good.”

Anytime Woodmont is competing in any athletic contest of any kind, whether it be football, basketball, or whatever, whether it’s a varsity or junior-varsity contest, you’re almost certain to find Coach Abrams there cheering on the Wildcats.

He still cares about youngsters and wants to do everything he can to help them go on to become upstanding adults.

Youngsters mean so much to him, just like he means so much to everyone who knows him.

He will always be loved, respected, and admired by all of those whose lives he has touched in some way.


Pelzer Light People brighten the holidays

A well-known area attraction, the Pelzer Light People started 14 years ago when Louise Watson wanted to do something special and different at Christmas. Watson’s son-in-law Sonny Lozano suggested putting lights on a suit, and the rest is history.

The one suit has now grown to twenty or so different ones with multi-colored lights from head to toe.

Originally, family members donned the light suits, plugged in extension cords, and stood by the roadside waving to vehicles filled with smiling faces. Then neighbors and friends began to join in on the fun.

A few years ago the National Foundation for Transplants based in Nashville, Tennessee had a group of local volunteers who joined the Light People to assist in raising the $100,000 needed for a heart transplant for Pelzer native Linda Gambrell.

Volunteers Steve and Becky Hinton, Richard and Lisa Freeman, Tony and Ricki Riddle and others joined Watson and her family nightly and raised all but $30,000 of the money needed to help pay for Gambrell’s transplant.

Over the years, other famous personalities including WYFF-TV’s John Cessarich have joined the Pelzer Light People to spread Christmas cheer. Watson made a personal light suit for Cessarich who officially became one of the Light People as he delivered the local weather forecast.

Elvis himself will join the Pelzer Light People this year for a special appearance on December 22.

Rick Wade, an Elvis impersonator from Simpsonville, will be on hand from 7 to 9 p.m. to shake, rattle, and roll at 19 Adger Street with members of the illustrious group.

Weather permitting, the Light People are out nightly in the mill village from 6:30 to 9 p.m. through Christmas Eve. For those who have never been to see the Light People, follow these directions:

From I-85 Exit 32, take Highway 8 toward Pelzer. Travel approximately six miles and go through a traffic light at CVS Pharmacy. Take the third street on the right and follow the traffic.


Thieves hit area homes and businesses

Two area businesses discovered apparent robberies which occurred over the weekend when they opened for business on Monday this week.

Tri-County Heating and Air and Chambers Grading, both located at 1806 Circle Road in Easley, reported a total of more the $15,000 in equipment missing from their businesses.

Tri-County reported a standpipe machine, a backer rack machine, a Cargo Craft utility trailer, two flow hoods and various tools missing which amounted to a value of $11,450.

Chambers Grading reported an Alkota hot high pressure washer and accessories valued at $3,465 taken from a storage building on the property.

Anderson County deputies also investigated the following incidents:

Dec. 15 – John A. Cox Builders, 980 Beaverdam Road, Williamston, reported a 1997 New Holland LX665 skid loader valued at $13,000 taken from a work site at Mergon Corporation on Old Pearman Dairy Road in Anderson. R. W. Miller investigated.

Dec. 15 – Mignonne Matheson, 105 Shadow Oaks Drive, Easley, reported that someone took an electric scooter and tools valued at $320 from her garage. R. K. Scogins investigated.

Dec. 15 – David Millard Owens, 51, 21 McCaughrin St., Pelzer, reported that someone broke an ignition and cut several wires on a 1999 Honda Fourtrax ATV parker under his carport. A. Digirolamo investigated.

Dec. 14 – Harold James Redden, 33, 126A Pebble Brook Drive, Easley, reported that someone stole a 1:64 scale Dale Earnhart Petermax car valued at $150 from a table at the Anderson Jockey Lot. F. Wooten investigated.

Dec. 14 – William Charles Garren, 52, 1301 Garren Road, Belton, reported that an orange Kubota T-1870 lawn mower value at $4,200 was missing from a shed. S. C. Weymouth investigated.

Dec. 13 – Bobby Othel Davis, 69, 101 Jackson Court, Easley, reported that someone entered his pasture and stole a three-year-old donkey valued at $400. D. B. Anderson investigated.

Dec. 13 – Patrick Neal Kelly, 35, 6902 Hwy. 81 North, Piedmont, reported that someone kicked in a side door and stole an air compressor and tank and a yellow 50cc Suzuki valued at $1,710 from a shop area. D. B. Anderson investigated.

Dec. 13 – John P. Hall, 64, 534 Bonanza Circle, Piedmont, reported that someone entered a laundry room and took a car stereo, a leaf blower, and tools valued at $505. W. Mills investigated.

Dec. 12 – William Douglas Prescott, 41, 1603 Old Mill Road, Easley, reported that someone ransacked his van and company truck but was not sure if anything was stolen. W. Cunningham investigated.

Dec. 12 – Shannon Marie Johnson, 24, 4819 Hwy. 86, Easley, reported that someone entered her vehicle and stole her driver’s license and credit and debit cards valued at $101. W. Cunningham investigated.

Dec. 12 – Tony Spoon, 36, 102 Brookstone Drive, Easley reported that someone carried away two leaf blowers valued at $400 which were stored inside a utility trailer. W. Cunningham investigated.

Dec. 12 – Carla Jean Norton, 36, 123 Robinwood Lane, Pelzer, reported that someone took a blowup Santa and snowman valued at $50 from her front yard. J. M. Durham investigated.

Dec. 12 – Michael A. Demizio, 38, 1434 Old Mill Road, Easley, reported that someone entered his vehicle and took 10 CDs valued at $120. R. W. Miller investigated.

Dec. 12 – Gregory Scott Goss, 36, 4908 Hwy. 86, Easley, reported that someone entered his vehicle and carried off 20 CDs valued at $200. S. F. Jones investigated.

Dec. 12 – Johnny Dean Enloe, 55, 4418 Hwy. 86, Easley, reported that someone entered his vehicle and carried away a Minolta camera valued at $150. S. F. Jones investigated.

Dec. 11 – Dorothy T. Roberts, 50, 510 Ballard Road, Williamston, reported that someone took $500 from an envelope in her purse at Dottie’s Body Shop. T. A. Caron investigated.

Dec. 11 – Li’l Cricket, 1601 Anderson Dr., Williamston, reported that someone stole three ticket books for Carolina Riches/Game 77 valued at $900. G. G. Diaz investigated.

Dec. 11 – Red Snapper Seafood Restaurant, 4802 Hwy. 29 North, Williamston, reported that someone stole a 36’ aluminum ladder valued at $400 which was behind the restaurant. R. W. Miller investigated.

Dec. 11 – Margaret Jamison, 64, 3 Lyman St., Pelzer, reported that someone took a silver butter dish and two candle holders valued at $225. R. W. Miller investigated.

Dec. 11 – Samuel Roy Black, 51, 142 Pine Circle, Pelzer, reported that someone stole a license plate valued at $25 from a truck parked in his driveway. R. W. Miller investigated.

Dec. 10 – William L. Burger, 70, 107 Amber Gate Court, Easley, reported that someone stole a license plate valued at $25 from his van. R. W. Miller investigated.

Dec. 10 – Benjamin Thomas Allen, 28, 106 Wigeon Way, Easley, reported that someone entered two vehicles parked in his driveway and stole an ashtray filled with change and CDs valued at $185. G. G. Diaz investigated.

Dec. 10 – Edie Pickens, 31, 310 Stone Briar Drive, Easley, reported that someone entered her vehicle and stole cash and medication valued at $180. C. R. Mize investigated.

Dec. 9 – John William Imand, 41, 101 Pondstone Court, Easley, reported that someone took a white 2002 Pace enclosed utility trailer containing motorcycle equipment valued at $4,000. M. B. Sloan investigated.

Dec. 9 – Bobby Wayne Holdbrooks, 46, 508 Woodcock Road, Pelzer, reported that someone pulled off the latch on the front door of his mobile home and stole three firearms valued at $150. G. G. Diaz investigated.

Dec. 9 – Pilot, 110 Frontage Road, Piedmont, reported that a customer removed starting fluid valued at $4 and left without paying. D. C. Fouts investigated.


Lengthy meetings remain an issue for County Council

Anderson County Council will continue to deal with the issue of free speech and debate versus reducing the length of time spent in council meetings as they face a new council year.

Council meetings which have lasted six or seven hours this year have brought several proposals to the table about ways to reduce the length of the meetings.

The latest proposal came from Council member Gracie Floyd in the form of an ordinance limiting the time for citizen comments on agenda matters and citizen comments on other matters to 30 minutes for each item.

Voicing opposition to the ordinance, Dan Harvell of the Anderson County Taxpayers Association called the proposal “a veiled effort to subdue the voice of the people.”

Council member Larry Greer reminded the council that the majority of the time in the longest meetings this year was spent in council discussion and not in citizen comments.

Council member Mike Holden countered that much of the time in citizen comments involves repetitious input from some of the same people every week who “want to get Joey Preston (county administrator) fired.”

After a first reading and a second reading with a public hearing, Floyd’s ordinance died with a split council vote on third reading. Council members Bill Dees, Fred Tolly and Floyd supported the proposal. Opposition came from Council members Cindy Wilson, Clint Wright, and Greer. Holden abstained from voting on the issue.

In other business, the council unanimously approved an ordinance to rezone 1115 Dunlap Road from R-20 (Single Family Residential) to POD (Planned Office Development). Joseph Renna, president of Motherboard, Inc., spoke in favor of the ordinance in the time set aside for a public hearing. Renna stated that his company has occupied the property near Orian Rugs for 10 years, has 15 full-time employees, and refurbishes laser printers.

In time set aside on the agenda, Wilson questioned County Administrator Joey Preston about the amount of county funds spent on a proposed baseball project. Preston responded that no county funds were allotted to a baseball project.

Holden explained that he had been approached by a realtor about such a project and that he had referred the realtor to Planning Division Director Jeff Ricketson to get additional information.

Wilson continued her persistence on financial issues by requesting a current chart of accounts as well as information on funding for senior citizen programs in District 7 from Preston.

Officials to answer questions at January town meeting

Williamston Town Council approved second reading on a $2.29 million general fund budget and a $1.475 million enterprise fund budget during a special meeting Dec. 11.

The 2004 budget does not include expected windfall revenue resulting from property reassessment in Anderson County this year even though the town’s tax bills for 2003 will bring in the revenues between now and January.

There has been no official action taken by council on what to do with the reassessment windfall.

The town has the option of keeping the “windfall” or granting a rollback to taxpayers on their 2003 tax bill.

As it stands, the town will receive the windfall of approximately $112,000, which is not included in either the 2003 or 2004 budget.

Clardy said the revenue was not included on the 2003 budget because there was no way of knowing the effect of reassessment when the 2003 budget was approved in December of last year.

The revenue will not be included in the 2004 budget, “until we can determine whether to use it,” Clardy said.

The Town is looking into whether it is required to have public input in determining whether to keep the “windfall”

Clardy said that based on legal advice given by town attorney Richard Thompson and past records on how reassessment was handled, he sees no problem with the way the town has handled the windfall/rollback situation.

The 2004 budget approved by Council will give Williamston taxpayers a rollback on their tax notices next year, reducing the millage rate from 120 mills to 106 mills.

Clardy said he will have the town auditor and attorney available at a meeting in January to answer any questions council or the public may have on the budget process.

Council may also be asked to approve an amended budget in coming months, Clardy said.

The 2004 General Fund budget shows anticipated expenditures of $2,292,202 to income of $2,292,202, an overall increase of $149,762 over 2003.

With the windfall, property tax revenues for the town will be approximately $112,000 more than the budget reflects.

The 2004 budget includes an extension on a $100,000 tax anticipation note from last year that was due in October.

The ordinance also authorizes the mayor to borrow up to $500,000 in tax anticipation notes, with Council approval, if the need arises.





Printing Services About Us Weather Powdersville Piedmont Pelzer / West Pelzer Online Bookstore Community Williamston Anderson County Bulletin Board Classifieds School News Sports Obituaries Opinions Happenings Index Front Page News