News Archive

(5205) Week of Dec. 28, 2005

Town served in FOI delay
Beaverdam Sewer project remains an issue for some
Looking Back at 2005

Town served in FOI delay

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy was expected to have been served with papers last week for not responding in  a timely manner to 21 requests submitted to the Town by Gary Bannister, Jane Chastain, John A. Dacus, Jr., and Sarah Dacus under the states Freedom of Information (FOI) guidelines.

Under FOI guidelines, a response is required in 15 days. 

The original requests were made in person at  the October 3 Council meeting and were submitted in writing as required by the Town.

Mayor Clardy responded in a letter dated October 11 that “It is our intent to provide you the information you have requested in a timely manner as prescribed by law.”

The response also stated it was “the intent of the Town of Williasmton to provide this information in a timely manner not to exceed sixty days from the date of this letter of intent.”

It also states that  “If it is determined by the town that the requests cannot be provided in sixty days from the date of the letter of intent, the Town of Williamston will contact you with a determined approximate date of completion.”

The papers served state that neither the Town of Williamston nor the Mayor, both listed as defendants, have contacted the plaintiffs to indicate that the records requested could not be made available within the time frame stated by the defendants.

The papers also state the more than sixty days have elapsed following the defendants request for the information and that the Town has denied access to or copies of the record requested.

Attorney Jay Bender, of Baker, Ravenel & Bender, L. L. P. in Columbia is handling the case.

 

 

Beaverdam Sewer project remains an issue for some

By Stan Welch

  District Seven County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson takes serious issue with recent statements that Phase II of the Beaverdam sewer project is moving smoothly along. Wilson, a long time opponent of the project, says that the number of property owners who have yet to reach a settlement on their property is closer to twenty than to two, as recently reported in another newspaper.

 Anderson County sewer consultant Dewey Pearson was the source of those reports. He claimed that condemnation letters have been sent out over the last several months, and that only two owners have “eluded” satisfactory settlements with the County. Wilson, who has several family members with river frontage affected by the project, says that none of those owners have settled, and that she knows of many others who have not. “Some of them still haven’t gotten letters of condemnation, while my mother and my aunt received theirs just last week. So how could they have settled already?”

 Wilson’s opposition to the Beaverdam sewer line led her to run for County Council back in 2000; it is an opposition she has not relinquished. She reported perceived violations of state and federal regulations related to the construction of the first phase of the project, and has seen her perceptions confirmed.

  Federal officials cited the County, with USFWS officials calling the project “inappropriate for the NWP-12 streamlined permitting process.” One USFWS biologist, who inspected the first phase after it was completed, said it should be required to be re-permitted under the more stringent standards of the normal permitting process.

 He also recommended significant mediation actions to be taken, and for restoration and repairs to be performed. The U.S. Department of Justice subsequently issued a cease and desist order to the county until such problems were addressed. Pearson referred to that order as “an administrative detail”. The County maintains its position that no serious offenses occurred, and denies that fines were levied against the County, referring instead to “adjustments” that they were asked to make.

 Calls to Pearson seeking comment for this article went unanswered.

 Wilson, however, anticipates a similar approach by the County’s hired contractors this time as well. “While some of the property owners are haggling over the price of their land, their main concern is that their properties be protected from the damage that occurred in the early phases of this unnecessary project.”

 Wilson, who does not personally own any affected property, says that the proposed 50 foot rights of way(ROW) for the line are inadequate. “There’s no way to move that kind of equipment around in a fifty foot ROW, especially in low lying areas which include swamp land. This entire stretch is in a FEMA flood plain.”

 In addition, Wilson says that individual property owners can be held liable by the COE for damage outside the ROW, even if the damage is done by the contractors. “Fifty feet simply isn’t enough room,” she said.

 The presence of livestock and expensive show horses on some of the properties poses special concerns as well, says Wilson. “Some of these folks use the river to water their cattle, and the fifty foot ROW will interfere with that. Cattle may be fenced away from their water. There are also some very highly prized show horses in paddocks along that river, and they have to be considered as well.”

 Wilson says that the property owners have sought meetings with the County’s officials to iron out these problems, but such a meeting has been denied. “We sent them letters asking them to meet with us. We think we could have addressed most of these problems in the early stages, but the County told us we would have to deal with the contractors later. But we know how the contractors performed on the first phase. Why would we anticipate any better performance this time?”

She says that the real problem with the entire Beaverdam project is that it is the wrong approach to the existing problem. “The Six and Twenty sewer treatment plant should be expanded and upgraded so that it is efficient and adequate to handle the waste that is being proposed for transport to the Rocky River plant, all the way on the other side of Anderson. It simply makes no sense, economically or environmentally, to pump sewage fifteen miles to treat it.”

Wilson says that the organization of neighbors in the area to contest the project continues to share information with one another. “We started out as a group of neighbors who watch put for each other. We share appraisals, information, strategies. Some of them have attorneys, some don’t. But this group will hold the County and its contractors’ feet to the fire over this. What property owner in their right mind wants to see their property ruined?”

The proposed Phase II will extend the line from Long Road to the Rocky River plant south of Anderson. Phase I ran from Hwy. 81 and I-85 to Long Road. Much of that line also lies in a flood plain.

A Year In The Life of . . .
Looking Back at 2005

January 5 - Anderson School District One Board Members extended the contract of Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler to June 2006.

The Town of Williamston secured a $350,000 Bond Anticipation Note (BAN) to pay the town’s outstanding insurance premiums, caught up state retirement fund for employees and to pay local vendors.

Phillip E. Clardy, David R. Harvell and Otis M. Scott officially took their oath of office during a special swearing in ceremony at Williamston’s Municipal Center.

Senior Solutions officially opened a new senior site in Williamston at the Caroline Community Center.

Anderson County Council, Gracie S. Floyd was elected Chairwoman. 

Jan. 12 - Former Williamston Mayor Marion Middleton, Sr., was again denied a state pardon.

West Pelzer announced the town had received a $500,000 community development block grant to be used in repairing a number of  existing sewer lines in town.

Williamston Town Council approved a request to reestablish the reserve program for the Williamston Police Department, briefly discussed options for the Cherokee Road property, and approved Fire Department officers.

Following a controversial week which saw the resignation of the chief and the suspension of the assistant chief, the West Pelzer Fire Department regrouped with the election of new officers.

Jan. 19 - Greenville County Schools Superintendent Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher announced that a committee appointed by the School Board and administration will provide recommendations to the District on school attendance line adjustments.

Residents in the Town of Williamston received a tax rollback for 2005. 

Though the town kept a windfall of approximately $87,000 generated from reassessment last year, Council voted to return the millage rate to the level of funding prior to the reassessment.

Hayley Meade was crowned Miss Palmetto during the Miss Palmetto Pageant at Palmetto High School.

Jan. 26 - Williamston Police Chief Troy Martin said the suspension by SLED of two state constables who have been assisting the Williamston Police Department was the result of the two men violating State Law Enforcement regulations regarding the constable program and had nothing to do with policy of the Williamston Police Department.The situation prompted Chief Martin to request Williamston Town Council to reinstate the reserve police officer program for the town.

West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton said she was highly disappointed that three of the Council members voted against applying for a $200,000 ISTEA grant that she said the town had a good chance of getting. The main concern expressed by council members voting against the grant application was the fact that an up front fee of $3,380 was required.

Anderson District One School Board of Trustees approved a $3.45 million GO bond sale to pay off a $2.7 million Bond Anticipation Note which provided funds to begin construction on the Palmetto High School Freshman Academy and to repair and renovate of other school facilities.

Feb. 2 - President George W. Bush began his second term as the 43rd president setting a bold agenda at home and abroad. 

The South Greenville Fire Department continued an effort to upgrade firefighting capabilities in the district improvements resulting in a lower ISO rating.

Anderson County Council members received several reports from Department heads and other program directors including Sheriff David Crenshaw and Chief Deputy Tim Busha who reported on the early results of the restructuring of the Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities arrested a Simpsonville man in connection with the armed robbery of Debra's Floral Designs in Williamston and a Seneca florist.

West Pelzer Fire Chief Mark Vickery was arrested for assault in connection with an incident involving a fellow firefighter.

Feb. 9 - Williamston Town Council approved second reading on an ordinance reestablishing the reserve police officer program for the town and were introduced to officers who will staff the program.

After more than seven months of discussions Williamston Town Council approved first reading on an ordinance authorizing the sale of the Cherokee Road property by public auction.

Anderson County Sheriff David Crenshaw announced that dispatchers for the Sheriff’s Office will be relocating to the Central Communication’s 911 Dispatch Center.

Feb. 16 - The Piedmont Area Hunting and Fishing Expo, co-sponsored by the Piedmont Public Service District and the Greenville County Recreation District, was held at the Piedmont Community Building.

It was announced that the Williamston Fire Department was among the nation’s best, consistently having an onscene response time under six minutes when responding.

West Pelzer Town Council meeting was a lively one with several spirited exchanges between the Mayor, Council Members and citizens in the audience. Council approved annexation of the Sav-Way property; police protection for the Town of Pelzer, and voted to table a discussion of a rate increase from Greenville Water works.

Winners of the Junior and Senior Sweetheart pageant at Woodmont High School were Miss Junior Class Sweatheart Lindsay Stevenson; Miss Woodmont, Crystal Davis; Miss Senior Class Sweetheart, Rachael Cox.

 Developer Caleb Freeman announced an upscale development called Acadia, a small, fairly self contained village, may be in the future for the Piedmont area

Anderson County Council gave first reading  approval  to an ordinance that will change the way citizens address the Council; accepted the prestigious Governor’s Cup for Travel and Tourism; and in a split vote, approved funds for a matching grant for West Pelzer.

One of the lawsuits involving Anderson County Administrator Joey R. Preston, which was brought by Preston in US Circuit Court, charging Cindy Wilson, the Town of Williamston, Robert E. Stansell and  Steven Lovelace with conspiracy to illegally obtain personal information and violations of the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, was settled.

Feb. 23 - The closeness of a County Council vote which made it possible for West Pelzer to retain a $500,000 water improvement grant puzzled and concerned West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton about the future of the town’s efforts to improve.

Violations by the Town of  Williamston  of  Anderson County Detention Center policy concerning the use and supervision of county inmates did not result in a loss of that privilege by the town.

Students from Palmetto High School were introduced to the Victorian Period during a hands on, living history experience  at the Williamston Municipal Center.

The Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners discussed applying for a new sewer grant and how to deal with unauthorized use of the Community Building.

Anderson District One Board of Trustees toured the new Freshman Academy at Palmetto High School before holding their monthly meeting there.

The West Pelzer Fire Department continues to confront financial issues which arose under the previous fire chief’s administration and  possible reasons for those financial issues are the subject of an ongoing audit of the department by the State Fireman’s Association.

Teams from eight Greenville County Schools competed in the First LEGO League Tournament held recently in Columbia. Fork Shoals School was among six local teams that garnered state awards, taking 2nd in the state in the competition.

Mar. 2 - Bryan Davis announces he is stepping down as head football coach at Woodmont High School, after posting a 29-47 overall record in seven seasons with the Wildcats.

Teachers, staff and students moved everything necessary to educate more than 400 students to the new Sue Cleveland Elementary School in Piedmont during their spring break.

As Anderson County officials continue preparations for Phase II of the Beaverdam Sewer Project, questions continue to arise about the permitting and construction of Phases 1A and 1B.

Volunteers worked to establish an emergency relief agency in the Piedmont area with hopes of opening a food pantry. The Piedmont Emergency Relief  Center is located in the lower level of the Piedmont Community center.

Palmetto High School 9th grade students and their teachers began enjoying the new Freshman Academy. Mar. 9 - The South Carolina Regional Puppetry Festival was held at Shiloh United Methodist Church in Piedmont where 343 people registered to attend.

The state’s record for the most number of people trained in CPR was broken as 418 people were trained in CPR at the Anderson Civic Center.  The record attempt was organized by AnMed Health and Anderson County.

Williamston Town Council unanimously approved the use of property in the center of Town to be used for soccer fields. Council also approved an ordinance authorizing Hugh Durham and Associates of Anderson to sell the Cherokee Road property by public auction.

Survivors Gym hosted an American Powerlifting Association National World qualifying event which brought in powerlifters from across the nation for the “Battle of the Iron Barbarians” event.

Palmetto High School Principal Dr. Mason Gary and assistant principals Brian  Couch and Jeff Boozer made a presentation on the Palmetto High Freshman Academy to school principals from across the nation.

An inspection of the Beaverdam Sewer project by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) resulted in a strongly worded report to the U. S. Corps of Engineers, citing numerous and significant violations of the Nationwide Permit 12 streamlined permitting process.

A judge in the Court of Common Pleas denied Anderson County’s attempt to end  County  Council Representative Cindy Wilson’s efforts to force the release of information which she considers public, and which County Administrator Joey Preston considers privileged.

Mar. 16 - Palmetto Elementary and Pre-School and Wren Elementary in Anderson School District 1 were among sixteen schools statewide to be named finalists for the 2005 Carolina First Palmetto’s Finest Schools awards.

Plans continued for improving security at the Anderson County Courthouse in the aftermath of the death of four people by an escaped prisoner in Atlanta.

Chief Magistrate Nancy Devine expressed concerns in a letter to County Administrator Joey Preston that other than one employee, no additional staff has been hired in the office in 15 years.

Circle M Ranch, located in Southern Greenville County, hosted more than 100 of the most infamous bulls in the world when the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Built Ford Tough Series came to the Bi-Lo Arena.

The Williamston Area Historic Commission sponsored a Southern Ball at the Williamston Municipal Center Auditorium.

An effort by one of the defendants in a libel and defamation lawsuit initiated by County Administrator Joey Preston to force Preston to disclose additional information stalled in an Anderson County courtroom. James Walsh, the attorney for Robert Stansell sought a motion to compel discovery. Walsh wanted access to Preston’s bank accounts, tax returns, and other financial information.

Mar 23 -  West Pelzer Town Council moved closer to annexing  two tracts of land adjacent to each other on Mill Street. One is owned by a  resident of the town, while the other is land owned by the town at the sewer plant. The town also gave approval to an agreement to provide police services to Pelzer.

Pelzer’s Hunter Brooking, a sophomore at Palmetto High School was ranked in the top half of the nation in competing in NASTAR ski racing in his division.

The Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners discussed possible ethics violations in the hiring of relatives of Board Chair Marsha Rogers to do work at the ball field and followed up on other questions brought up at the last meeting..

Principal of District One schools receiving the Palmetto Gold Award were recognized at District One School Board meeting.

Apr. 6 - At the request of Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy, Police Chief Troy R. Martin resigned from the position he held for two years. He was replaced almost immediately by David A. Baker, a Captain in the department.

Anderson County Councilman Bill Dees presented a check for $5,800 to the Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners.  County Council approved the funds to help Piedmont make further improvements to the Thomas C. Pack, Jr. Memorial Field.  Commissioners opened sealed bids for installation of siding and an alarm system at the community building. It was decided that a workshop was needed to evaluate the bids because of discrepancies in the quotes.

Three days after the death of a seven month old infant, Anderson County Sheriff’s investigators arrested the child’s 61 year old foster mother for her death. Lillian A. Sims, of 123 Compton Road, Belton,was taken into custody and charged with homicide by child abuse.

An effort by a member of the West Pelzer Election Commission to file a late entry into the Town Council raceto be reviewed. Marshall King eventually ran as a write-in candidate and won the seat.

The seventh annual concert to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network was held at the Pelzer Auditorium. Event organizer Catlin Tierce said he never thought it would go this far.

Apr. 13 - A meeting was held at the Pelzer Town Hall to pursue funding needed to upgrade the historic Pelzer Gym. 

The Piedmont Emergency Relief Center (PERC) hosted a ribbon cutting and  open house for their office at the  Piedmont Community Center. 

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated the armed robbery of a Powdersville fast food restaurant in which several persons were locked in the business freezer.

The Acadia planned community along the Saluda River received rezoning approval by Greenville County Council, allowing the creation of a mixed use project.

West Pelzer police officers were required to park all town vehicles at the end of the day after a vote by Council. Citing high gas prices, council voted 4-1 to require all municipal vehicles to be parked at the Town Hall when not in use.

Apr. 20 - Clemson freshman Trey Kennedy, a 2004 Wren graduate and former Commanding Officer of Wren’s Navy JROTC, placed first at the National Pershing Rifles competition in Bloomington, Indiana. As a member he competed in all eight events at the national competition.

The Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners (PPSD) gave first reading approval Monday to the first budget in at least a decade to reflect a deficit. As written, the budget would fall short of projected revenues by approximately $21,469.

During a special meeting at White Plains Masonic Lodge April 14, members of Grove Station Lodge #166 A. F. M. in Piedmont opened a time capsule box that was sealed in 1972.

Apr. 27 - Former Palmetto High School and University of South Carolina football player Derek Watson was given a second chance at pursuing his dream to play football in the NFL. Watson agreed to a free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and reported to a spring mini-camp training session.

As a community service learning project, Hunt Meadows 3rd grade teacher Janet Cantrell  had an idea for a 5/5/5/ project to come up with $5,000 in 5 weeks in 2005 to help with funding for U. S. President Woodrow Wilson’s boyhood home, which  is located in Columbia. The project received state and national attention.

Continuing tension between County Council Chairperson Gracie Floyd and District 7 Councilwoman Cindy Wilson surfaced once again at the County Council retreat. Wilson accused Floyd of abusing her power as chairman of the council to restrict debate and review of various county related issues.

May 4 - Documents obtained under FOI showed  a cease and desist order was issued in March by the Corps Of Engineers (COE) to project consultant Dewey Pearson, citing 22 different sections of the permit which the project was violating.

West Pelzer Town Council rescinded a 4-1 vote to require police officers to use their own vehicles to go to and from work rather than using their police cruisers.

The Anderson County Transportation Division hosted a meeting at Wren Middle School to solicit support for a sidewalk project to serve the needs of Wren Middle and High School and Hurricane Springs Park.

May 11 - Area high school seniors participated in baccalaureate services in preparation for graduation services.

Williamston Town Council was updated on the status of a sidewalk project, providing sewer to Shorebrook, soccer fields and downtown revitalization.

AnMed Health partnered with The Greater Williamston Business Association for a health and wellness festival in Mineral Spring Park.

Anderson County Council tabled the first reading approval of the proposed 2005-06 county budget. 

A television film crew for the documentary news program 48 Hours visited Williamston to talk with Mayor Phillip Clardy about the death of former Miss Williamston, Leslie Mazzara.

May 18 - Williamston Police Officers arrested two people who were in a mobile methamphetamine lab which was in the back of a Ford Explorer in the parking lot of Palmetto Primary School.

Calvary Baptist Church in Williamston began a new  ministry “Mission Jerusalem,” with a painting and cleanup project on a Pelzer home.

Palmetto High and Wren High School graduation services were held at the Anderson Civic Center.

Chief Magistrate Nancy Devine, redacted her signature on a Budget Statement which Joey Preston had circulated to garner support for his proposed budget.

The removal of two citizens from a  West Pelzer Town Council meeting  stirred a strong reaction in the town.

 The Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners gave second reading approval to a budget that reflects a deficit based on using a grant for sewer line inspection and maintenance to make up the difference.

Talya Henrickson placed first in a FAMEUS Vocal and Dance competition at the Greenville Expo Center.

Palmetto High Cheerleading coach Sheri Alexander was named State Coach of the Year. 

West Pelzer citizen Faye Davis and business owner Pat Chandler continued to raise questions and concerns about incidents involving them and West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton. Candidates running for two positions on Town Council were staying out of the heated discussions.

June 1 - Six candidates, Joe Turner, Earl Brown, Linda Lozano, Pat Alexander, Randall Ledford and write-in Marshall King, were running for two positions on West Pelzer Town Council.

Woodmont High Graduation was held at the Palmetto Expo Center. 

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees approved a five year strategic plan and heard a presentation on Wren sidewalk project and held a budget work session in anticipation of presenting the proposed $43,792,662 budget to the County Board of Education.  The budget showed a $398,939 shortage which will be made up with a 3 mill tax increase if approved.

June 15 - Kelly McCorkle, Miss SC 2002 and a participant in the The Amazing Race on CBS, is planning a similar event in Anderson County in August. Proceeds from the local race event will go toward a new Calvary Home for Children cottage named after her friend, Leslie Ann Mazzara, who was murdered along with her roommate last October in Napa California.

Despite numerous violations of federal regulations on Phases 1A and 1B of the controversial Beaverdam project, the US Army Corps of Engineers allowed Anderson County to use the same lenient streamlined permitting process for Phase 2. The permit will cover more than ten miles of the Beaverdam project’s length.

The community was saddened by the untimely death of West Pelzer Councilman Terry Davis.

 District 7 County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson persistently sought answers to a series of questions concerning various aspects of the County’s finances. Administrator Joey Preston has offered what Wilson called “responses, not answers.”

June 29 - Pride In Piedmont sponsored a July Jubilee on the grounds of the old Estes Plant. The event featured concerts by Nashville recording artist Kelsey DiMarco.

The Towns of Pelzer and West Pelzer sponsored the 3rd annual Pre-Fourth Celebration at the Pelzer ballfields.

The Town of Williamston held a Freedom Celebration which included fireworks, a cruise-in carshow, entertainment and other activities.

Members of the Upstate Forever Saluda-Reedy Watershed Consortium included Piedmont in a field trip where they met with the organizers of Pride in Piedmont.

 The controversy over violations committed in the construction of existing phases of the Beaverdam sewer project continued. District 7 County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson , continued to seek answers concerning violations cited by the US Army Corps of Engineers (COE). County officials apparently continued to resist providing those answers.

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees unanimously approved final reading on the $43,792,662 budget for 2005-2006.  No one spoke at a public hearing on the budget.

The Piedmont Public Service District will not be a part of the grant process for a project to provide a fishing pier and other improvements on the Saluda River. The grant will instead be administered directly through Anderson County, officials said.

July  6 -  Concerns about the Southeastern part of the County obtaining access to seed money for infrastructure and improvements continued to cause concern after Councilwoman Cindy Wilson tried three times to appropriate $10,000 from the special sewer levy to be used in conducting a feasibility study for construction of a sewer line from Williamston to Honea Path.   Her motions to provide the funding received no second from any of her fellow councilmembers.

The Town of Williamston purchased a 2002 Durango for $16,000 after town officials discussed the purchase in an executive session.

July 13 - The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office continues to modernize and upgrade its approach to law enforcement under Sheriff David Crenshaw. Improvements are aimed at crime analysis and more efficient use of patrol resources through two software programs which produce a more comprehensive crime picture.

Newly elected Anderson County Auditor Jacky Hunter found nothing in his office but a chair and an empty desk with a handful of pennies in the drawer. when he showed up for work.

The 2004 financial audit for the Town of Williamston was in the hands of the Mayor and Council but was not being made available to the public or press. Mayor Phillip Clardy said it was a “draft” copy which would not be made public until council members had the opportunity to look it over.

When it was made public, the 2004 audit showed the town experienced a deficit of $329,468, resulting in the fund balance for the Town’s general fund dropping to $411,498. The accounting firm also made numerous recommendations for improving accounting and other procedures for the town and the police department.

Zoning issues, charity, and scoffing at the local print media were the highlights of County Council after completing adoption of the 2005-06 budget.

The West Pelzer Town Council witnessed the swearing in of its two newest members, incumbent Joe Turner and write-in candidate Marshall King.

July 21 - Rep. Dan Cooper presented a check for $550,000 to Glenn Holiday, District One Fire Commissioner. The money will buy a new 75 foot ladder truck for the district which includes 7 fire stations. It will be housed at the Powdersville station.

The Town of West Pelzer received their first audit under the administration of Mayor Peggy Paxton. The audit described the town’s financial condition as “strong.” Paxton still had received no response from requests made to Anderson County Council.

A controversial effort to copyright GIS mapping data, as well as other forms of public information, came to naught as Council refused to give the proposed ordinance first reading approval.

Jimmy Ducworth and his 39 year old son, Doug, both perished in an apparent murder-suicide which shocked the small town.

The Cancer Association of Anderson sponsored a Lance Armstrong celebration celebrating Armstrong’s Le Tour De France victory. Armstrong is a cancer survivor who returned to become the top cyclist in the world, with seven straight victories in the Tour.

The removal of documents, records and equipment from the County Auditor’s office prior to the recent occupation of that office by newly elected auditor Jacky Hunter has resulted in a SLED inquiry into the matter but no charges.

Future improvements are coming for the Cherokee Road, US Hwy. 29 interchange area. The project will include replacing the existing 2-lane Cherokee Road bridge over US Hwy. 29 with a new 3-lane bridge as well as new interchange access ramps and other improvements.

The Duke Power substation on Martin Road in the Piercetown community went off line cutting electrical power to businesses at the I-85 -Hwy. 81 interchange. The resulting power outage affected hundreds of residents in the Piercetown community.  The outage happened unfortunately on one of the hottest days of the year.

An employee fired by the Town of Williamston nearly four months earlier, Ronnie Rowe, is still awaiting a grievance hearing.

Aug. 3 - The Greater Williamston Business Association is sponsoring a prize drawing give-away to win a 2006 Ford Mustang or F-150 pickup truck.

Anderson School District One had a banner year for  EIA Teacher Grants, receiving $86,487, or almost 8% of the total funds distributed across the state. 

Though an audit presentation was on the agenda for the Williamston Town Council meeting, only a brief update was provided by Mayor Phillip Clardy. Clardy said he will be meeting with department heads this week to discuss the audit and then with Council and the auditor in a work session to be announced soon.

Palmetto High School Music and Choral Instructor Susan McKenzie was selected the Anderson School District One Teacher of the Year.

Douglas R. Rhodes, 41, of 105 Hampton Road, Williamston, was arrested in connection with the shooting death of his son, Hunter D. Rhodes, 15.

West Pelzer and Williamston Police officers cooperated in a drug raid at 12 Drake St., Lot #5, West Pelzer, which resulted in a number of charges.

With the first day of school looming only 14 days away, parents and students are beginning the countdown to the start of the 2005-2006 school year. Thursday, August 4 was the first day of classes in District One.

Aug. 10 - Students and teachers will be returning to a brand new Woodmont High School this year.

Duke Energy Corporation applied to (SCDHEC) for a construction permit to install and operate new equipment at the Lee Steam Station.  

West Pelzer Town Council gave first reading approval to the town’s audit and the 2005 budget. The budget was supposed to be approved in June.

Forty-two teams participated in The Rai$ing Race in Anderson’s Amazing Space which raised more than $50,000 for Calvary Home for Children. The Metco Motorsports team won. Team Farm Bureau, Randall Johnson and Travis Rankin, finished second, just yards behind the winners.

County Economic Development Director John Lummus spoke in support of a request for $300,000 to purchase 103 acres in the Clemson Research Center. Lummus said that the Anderson County Development Partnership felt that such a close association with Clemson University and the Advanced Materials Research Center would be beneficial to the county.

Woodmont High School head football coach Richard Schrader entered his first season with the Wildcats.

Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners were look ing to replace windows and doors at the community building.

Aug. 17 - The Piercetown Fire Department will receive a $90,250 Firefighting Vehicle Acquisition Grant. 

Freelance news reporter Paul Brown was the subject of comments at a United Way Roast held in his honor. Approximately $10,000 was raised.

Ronnie Rowe finally got his grievance hearing. By the time it was over, he had asked that either he be reinstated or that Mayor Phillip Clardy resign.

Members of the Williamston Area Historic Commission announced they were taking on restoration of the Boy Scout Hut in the Mineral Spring Park.

After receiving no support from Anderson County Council, political leaders from District 7 asked Congressman Gresham Barrett for assistance in funding a sewer line from West Pelzer to Honea Path.

Aug. 31- The combined 

SAT score of 1037 placed School District One students 9 points above the national score and 44 points above South Carolina’s student average.  Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler reported a record school enrollment of 8,648 students, a gain of approximately 100.

Persons attending a town meeting hosted by Williamston Councilman Otis Scott were looking for answers to questions about the operations and finances of the town.

Artist Thomas Addison was presented the key to the city during the Spring Water Festival.

West Pelzer voters chose Pete Davis over Rey McClain for the Town Council seat vacated by the untimely death of Councilman Terry Davis.

Sept. 7 -  (SCDOT) announced plans to replace the bridge on Country Glen Road over Hurricane Creek in Anderson County.

Piedmont honored Vietnam Veteran Staff Sergeant Joe R. Hooper, one of the most decorated veterans, for his service in Vietnam. Hhe received eight purple hearts, six bronze stars, three silver stars and the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Area residents and businesses helped collect, deliver and distribute more than 22 tons of supplies to Mississippi and Louisiana after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita roared ashore. Fears of a gas shortage caused many area residents to fill up their gas tanks as prices went to $3.29. Later in the week the price settled to around $3.03 per gallon

Anderson County Councilman Larry Greer expressed his feelings about the separation of church and state. He ended his scheduled presentation by informing Council Chair Gracie Floyd that he wanted to be left on the list of council members asked to start the meetings with an invocation.

Sept. 14 - The Town of Williamston was featured on a national morning news program for efforts to help with hurricane relief for the town of Grand Isle, Louisiana.

Sept. 14 - Clemson University leaders joined more than 100 Anderson area civic, political, business and religious leaders to celebrate community efforts by Strong Communities for Children. The event highlighted area organizations and activities that strengthen communities’ support for families of young children.

A special in-depth look at the Big Creek Landfill sale and how it affected Anderson County was published by The Journal. Stan Welch was the investigative reporter on the project.

Anderson School District One students improved Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test (PACT) scores enough to be ranked among the top three school districts in the state in the percentage of students scoring basic and above.

More students in Greenville County Schools scored at the two highest levels (Proficient and Advanced) on the Palmetto Achievement Challenge Tests (PACT).

A hurricane relief team from the Town of Williamston traveled to Grand Isle, Louisiana.

A detachment of 22 Greenville County firefighters returned from a rescue effort along the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Six of those firefighters were from the South Greenville Fire Department.

Sept. 21 - Approximately 80 people from the communities of Pelzer, West Pelzer and Williamston attended a community forum at the Williamston Municipal Center to hear ways to help make the communities safer for children. The forum was sponsored by Strong Communities.

A Powdersville mother, Amanda Worthy, pled guilty to homicide by child abuse after autopsy results revealed that she had smothered the baby with a pacifier.

Attorneys representing Cindy Wilson in her legal fight to obtain public information  filed court documents alleging that Joey Preston is willfully seeking to avoid being deposed.

Work began on a sidewalk replacement and improvement project in Williamston. It is funded by a  $192,000 Rural Enhancement Grant by SCDOT.

The Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners discussed recreation and sewer grants and an expected increase in heating costs 

Anderson County Detention Center Director Bob Daly requested $900,000 to expand the facility. 

The towns of Pelzer and West Pelzer decided to help an extended family of eleven people who fled  Alexandria, Louisiana after the hurricanes and came to Pelzer, where they were staying with family.

Local veterinarian Dr. James Bulloch, traveled to Serrento/Gonzales near Baton Rouge to help provide hurricane relief for animals in shelters.

Longtime school board member and community servant Joe Pack was presented the Order of the Silver Crescent 

School District One Board of Trustees saw a presentation on a grant project that had created an interest in learning for sixth graders at Palmetto Middle School and saw a video taken from an SCETV program highlighting Wren Middle School.

News of the purchase of 44.48 acres of land by Anderson County in Powdersville earlier this year came as a surprise to several members of the County Council.

Oct. 5 - Williamston police officers pulled a woman from a burning vehicle after the driver of the vehicle jumped out and fled, leaving his girlfriend, who had a pre-existing broken leg, in the vehicle.

The Piedmont Community Building hosted the Sculptures & Designs in Wood show competition and sale 

Just one month shy of a year, an arrest was been made in the murder of Leslie Mazzara and her roommate in Napa, California. Eric Matthew Copple, 26, of Napa California, was arrested after providing information linking him to the murders.

Williamston residents Gary Bannister and Jane Chastain presented 21 Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to the Mayor and Council. Mayor Clardy responded that he would respond under FOI law and that some of the requests made were questionable.

The Anderson County Council meeting included zoning issues, and questions about the County’s bond ratings and land purchases which raised temperatures and tensions.

A Walhalla man, after being beaten and stabbed, managed to crawl from a wooded area along Cannon Bottom Road south of Williamston to flag down help.

West Pelzer Town Council gave second and final approval to the town’s 2005-06 budget after amending it to allow for a $12,000 capital improvement fund for renovations to the Town Hall.

POW Ralph M. Knox  told his story about the American surrender of the Philippines to the Japanese in 1942.

Plans for a new library and government center in Powdersville were officially announced.

The Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners discussed fees, taxes and payments.

The Piedmont Footbridge Festival, organized by members of the Bonnes Amies Club, was held in downtown Piedmont. The festival, which has traditionally been a two day event, was an all day event this year.

Oct. 23 - The Journal reported The Town of Williamston had been slow in responding to three FOI requests submitted in  August.

County officials announced the purchase of a 47 acre tract on the banks of the Saluda River that will include a recycling center, a sports complex, a park and walking trail.

Palmetto Head Football Coach Tommy Davis was recognized for his accomplishments. The Mustangs enjoyed their 10th winning season of 15 under coach Davis and he needed one more victory, which he did get, to mark his 100th win as head coach at Palmetto.

The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees approved new band uniforms for Palmetto High and saw a presentation on new technology smart boards being used at Palmetto Elementary School.

Damage done to refineries and the petrochemical industry in the Gulf area caused a spike in the cost of PVC water lines which resulted in a delay in West Pelzer’s water line repairs and upgrades. The town obtained funding for the $500,000 project earlier in the year.

Dr. Dwight H. Smith marked 56 years of serving medical needs of area residents with his grandson, Jeffrey Preston Smith, who is following in his footsteps in the medical profession.

Nov. 2 - The Town of Williamston has decided not to conduct a delinquent tax sale this year for properties with outstanding amounts owed for 2004.

The new Anderson County Arts Center Warehouse project neared completion. The renovation of the 100 year old P&N warehouse building into an Arts Center showcase, has been a five year project.

Anderson County Council enjoyed a relatively quiet and productive meeting despite the presence of several public hearings on the agenda.

The Palmetto Mustang Ladies Cross Country team finished a school best 5th place in Class 1A-2A State Championships held in Columbia 

Williamston Town Council approved an ordinance extending a $350,000 BAN note due in December, and rezoning of approximately two acres will allow The Spinx company to build a new $2.1 million gas station, restaurant and store in Williamston.

Information requested by The Journal in August under FOI was made available on Thursday, October 27. Requested were credit card statements and receipts associated with trips made by Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy and other town officials to Washington, D. C. in May 2005 and to Hilton Head in 2005 and town credit card statements from January 2005 to July 2005.

Pelzer voters chose challenger Kenneth E. Davis over incumbent D. Page Henderson for the office of mayor.

Test scores on the High School Assessment Program (HSAP) for Anderson School District One’s high schools show Palmetto and Wren far exceeded the aggregate average for the state and that they were among the top four districts in the state.

Anderson School District One was one of three districts in the state to receive both an excellent absolute rating and an excellent improvement rating.  Anderson School District One has maintained an excellent report card rating for the past four consecutive years during a time of increasingly rigorous state and federal mandates, school officials said.

Nov. 16 - The South Carolina House property tax committee approved a plan that provides property tax relief by eliminating all property taxes for homeowners. The bi-partisan plan will eliminate property taxes on owner-occupied homes and replace it with a 2-cent sales tax. The full House will consider the plan when it returns to session in January.

West Pelzer town hall was crowded as the Council met to work through a fairly quiet agenda. Approximately 35 people were in attendance, and most not only got their money’s worth, but ended up putting in their two cents’ worth as well.

Judge Jim Busby ordered Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy to repay approximately $4,300 he borrowed from Joel N. Griffin, Jr., a former reserve police officer for the Town of Williamston. The money was used to address debts incurred by Clardy in running his café in the town.

The Palmetto High School Competitive Cheer Squad took first place in the South Carolina High School League State 2A Championship held at the Colonial Center in Columbia.

Mayor Page Henderson conducted his last meeting of Pelzer Town Council. Before relinquishing the position and the swearing in of newly elected Mayor Kenneth Davis, Henderson brought council members up to date on projects currently in the works.

An ordinance intended to add several tracts to a multi-county industrial park became entangled in a parliamentary briar patch that threatened to engulf the Anderson County Council.

A Community Thanksgiving service was held at Cedar Grove Baptist Church. Pastor Dean Webb brought the message. The annual Community-wide Thanksgiving meal was held Thanksgiving Day at  Whitefield Baptist  Church .

Nov. 23 - The Greater Williamston Business Association 2005 Collectors Christmas Ornaments featured Dr. Dwight Smith on his bicycle in winter attire. The first order of the popular Christmas item sold out by mid October and GWBA members reordered to meet demand.

Members of the Greater Williamston Business Association decided to cancel the giveaway of a 2006 Ford Mustang or Ford /F150 pickup citing lagging ticket sales and two hit and run incidents in which the parked 2006 Mustang was hit. Refunds were offered to those who purchased tickets.

 The Town of Williamston hosted Christmas activities throughout the month of December including an opening night Christmas Spectacular, the Christmas Park and Deck the Halls.

 The Pelzer Rescue Squad announced they have outgrown facilities and are looking into possibilities for expansion. The facility currently in use, the old Pelzer hospital, has been the squad’s home for forty years.

The murder trial of a man accused of killing his wife and burning her body ended in a mistrial.  Johnny Ray Gambrell was accused of the murder of his wife Lois Bridges Gambrell, 44, in 2004, after she was reported missing in August, 2004.

Anderson School District One was one of three districts in the state to receive both an excellent absolute rating and an excellent improvement rating on state report cards.

District 7 County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson stated the actions of County Attorney Tom Martin at a council meeting was a “blatant conflict of interest” and said he should be both “censured and forced to resign.”

Greenville County Sheriff’s Department investigators continued trying to piece together the events that led  to discovery of a small child alone in a home with the bodies of a man and woman.

Nov. 30 - Anderson County Chief Magistrate Nancy Devine confirmed that it is the policy of the court system to hold open hearings, despite the barring of a reporter from The Journal from a hearing involving Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy several weeks earlier.

A quarter of elected officials in a statewide survey say they’ve broken state law by letting their closed-door session stray beyond what they promised the public they would discuss while out of sight and earshot.

The Tom C. Pack Memorial Ballfield in Piedmont will be getting new equipment including a two bay swing set, a picnic shelter and a storage container. The improvements totaling $16,834, are being funded by a $17,000 PART grant.

As many as 36 or more businesses have come and gone in the Williamston area in the last five years, with the closing of the Winn Dixie grocery store being the most noticeable. The announcement that Regions Bank was closing their Williamston branch continued the trend.

The transfer of a sewer system serving Wren area schools to Anderson County may allow developers to bring a new grocery store to the area in the future.

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Aggressive Criminal Enforcement Team (ACE) discovered a meth lab operating in West Pelzer and arrested William Anthony Alewine, 33, 113A Whippoorwill Lane.

 For years, District 7 County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson has argued that the County’s weekly general ledger reports are withheld from her as the result of a purposeful act by County Administrator Joey Preston.

 Preston confirmed Wilson’s charges under oath in a deposition where he conceded that the GLR 110 reports are sent to him for review before being released to Wilson.

The Town of West Pelzer held their Fourth Annual Christmas Parade which continued through Pelzer.

Dec. 7 - The Williamston Christmas Parade, themed “Keep Christ in Christmas”, was one of the largest ever. Leona Parker, a longtime Williamston resident and school teacher had the honor of being the grand  marshal.

The annual Piedmont Christmas Parade, presented by the Bonnes Amies Club of Piedmont, was themed “Christmas Treasures” and honored area veterans.

Citing a failure to honor a request to meet with Williamston officials about ongoing concerns with the town’s finances, Auditor Larry Finney resigned as the town’s auditor.

Auditor Larry Finney reported that Anderson School District One continues to be in good financial shape.

Williamston Town Council approved second reading on a GO Bond refund/extension of the $350,000 BAN note, but only after a lengthy discussion between two council members and the mayor about the interest rate on the loan. They also accepted a gift of eleven lots from a landowner.

The proposed $.01 sales tax was the main issue at the December County Council meeting which turned interesting when Council members began funding other programs at the expense of the arts center.

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

Dec. 14 - 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 appeared the town will show a deficit for yet another year.

Five Anderson District One schools were 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 were: Wren High ($25,045), Cedar Grove ($7,349), Powdersville Elementary ($4,872), Wren Elementary ($8,813). Silver Award winning school: Hunt Meadows ($5,376).

State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum 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.

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

 West Pelzer Town Council, based funding of $12,000 for improvements to the Town Hall, placed their trust in the police department’s ability to generate the additional revenue.

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

Dec. 21 - Woodmont High School was among twenty-one Greenville County schools and two career centers that earned cash awards recognizing high levels of academic achievement and high rates of student academic improvement through the Palmetto Gold and Silver Awards program.

The Williamston Municipal Center was opened as a relief shelter offering area residents a place to stay warm and get a hot meal during a record power outage caused by an ice storm that hit the area.

In a 3-2 split vote, Williamston Town Council approved a $2.55 million general fund budget for 2006 that reflects a new household garbage collection fee, increased franchise fees and billing of insurance for non-residents involved in accidents. The budget shows an increase of $350,000 over the 2005 budget.

The world celebrated the birth of Christ during the Christmas season.

During 2005, The Journal staff mourned the loss of two longtime correspondents, Mrs. J. W. Creamer and Miss Elizabeth McDavid.

Dec. 28 - Area residents ready for a new year and all the hope and promise that it brings. Welcome 2006.

 

 

 

 

 

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