News Archive

(5207) Week of Dec. 26, 2007

Looking Back 2007
County Council highlights and lowlights for 2007
West Pelzer to get website
Williamston Council discusses fees, personnel and policies
Piedmont considering streetscape plan
Seems to Me  . . .Playdoh
Residents asked to conserve water

Looking Back 2007

As we approach the end of the year and enjoy the holidays, we can begin taking a look back at the local events that occurred during the year. The following events took place and were reported in The Journal over the first quarter of 2007:

Jan. 3, 2007 - Carol Black of Belton was one of the first in the area to experience a new cutting edge cancer treatment which takes less than five days. Called MammoSite it had only been administered to 20,000 women nationally.

Kathleen Owen Powell, who served as Town Clerk and Treasurer for the Town of Williamston from 1939 to 1941, became involved in  an effort to preserve the historic town hall building.

Jan. 10 - The first meeting of the year for Williamston Town Council was a lengthy one, lasting more than 3.5 hours, with public comments and related discussions taking up more than half of the meeting. Discussions included what to do with the old city hall, hiring a grant writer and second reading on the hospitality tax ordinance.

Newly elected councilmember Carthel Crout was sworn in, Marion Middleton, Jr. was sworn in for his first full term and Otis Scott was elected mayor pro-tem.

Council decided not to relocate or preserve the old city hall building due to costs, instead opting to demolish and remove it from the site in 120 days. The property on which the building stands was sold at auction along with other town owned properties in 2006 to help pay outstanding debt.

Wmstn. Fire Department officers were approved including Steve Ellison, Chief; Harold Nichols, Assistant Chief; LaDane Baker, Captain, Phillip Ellison and Ricky Heatherly, Lieutenants.

The Pelzer Rescue Squad  was presented a check for $325,000 from the State by Rep. Dan Cooper, to pay for a new building.

After giving first reading approval to a budget which incorporated increases in water, sewer, and sanitation fees, then rescinding those increases, West Pelzer Town Council decided to reinstate the increases after all. The increases were recommended by Mayor Peggy Paxton, as a means of preparing the Town for upcoming rate increases with Western Carolina Water.

 The first of three meetings to address the concerns of County Council members about the County’s financial operation was held. The meetings were scheduled in response to an effort by new Councilmember Ron Wilson to conduct a full and thorough audit of the county’s finances.

Jan. 17 - Wren High School hosted a 50th year basketball reunion. Former players of the last 50 years were invited and recognized.

West Pelzer Town Council held a special meeting to give final approval to a water and sewer rate structure designed to increase revenues in order to build a contingency fund for those infrastructures.

Court documents were filed in support of Councilwoman Cindy Wilson’s appeal to the S.C. Supreme Court. The case had its beginnings in the early months of Wilson’s first term on Council, when she asked for access to the County’s legal vendor files.

The Williamston Lions Club recognized David C. Meade as their 2006 Citizen of the Year. 

Longtime Fire Chief and Administrator for the Piedmont Public Service District, Butch Nichols, announced he was leaving the position he had held with the District for 15 years.   He joined the fire department 47 years ago.

Newly elected members of the Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners were installed. Bobby Stover and C. E. Ed. Poore Jr., were sworn in.  Poore was elected chairman. Tracy Wallace was named Interim Fire Chief.

Hannah Rogers was named Miss Palmetto at The Miss Palmetto Pageant at Palmetto High School. 

The decision to reinstate the County’s blue laws was discussed after a vote to abolish the laws was taken at the last meeting in 2006, and then rescinded at the first meeting of 2007.

The most significant news to come out of the presentation of the County’s annual audit was that the Sheriff’s department was operating on $2,473,563 loaned from the County’s general fund.

Members of the Greater Williamston Business Association elected John Thomason President, replacing Dave Maddox who served for six years.

Six Anderson School District One schools were named either Gold or Silver award winners under the statewide Palmetto awards program.

Jan. 24 - Williamston Town Council set guidelines for meetings, passed a resolution supporting Marion Middleton’s pardon and agreed to hold a retreat to discuss goals and other issues.

Williamston Town Council voted 4-0 with Mayor Phillip Clardy abstaining, to pass a resolution in support of a pardon for Marion Middleton, who pled guilty to embezzling $76,000 from the Town of Williamston during his term as mayor.

Anderson County Planning Director Jeff Ricketson presented numbers showing the County’s average growth rate from 2000 to 2006 was 1.92%. Based on that projection, Anderson County should reach the 200,000 mark in population in 2010. In 10 years, it will be nudging a quarter of a million people.

Governor Mark Sanford’s plan to restructure state government dominated the session of the South Carolina General Assembly.

 Anderson District One School Board approved the County wide school calendar and renewed Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler’s contract for next school year.

The megapolitan area that is engulfing the Upstate area, especially along the I-85 corridor between Atlanta and Charlotte, is known as the Carolina Piedmont. Its northernmost limit is generally accepted to be the Raleigh area. The ever expanding Atlanta mega is known as the Georgia Piedmont. Within twenty years, the two areas will be virtually contiguous.

Marion Middleton Sr. was denied a pardon on his third request, despite the passage of a resolution by the current Town Council supporting his application for pardon.

Jan. 31 - The Palmetto Middle School girls basketball team celebrated a victory for the first time in almost three years.

Dr. Robert Lagroon, a dentist with a Williamston office, was arrested in Georgia and charged with  providing alcohol to minors. 

District Six County Councilman Ron Wilson said he sees his first responsibility as finding funds for roads in his district and to initiate a full audit of the County’s finances.

Anderson School District One considered realigning attendance lines for four elementary schools located in the northern part of the District to ensure current facilities in the growing area are evenly used while the District makes plans to meet future growth.

Officials are looking into the disposal of a flight simulator which was left at the Anderson County Airport after a deal fell through with a flight school.

Sgt. Joseph Chase Stewart of the 1st Armored Division was  presented The Army Commendation Medal with “valor” for his exceptional service and valor while serving in the Middle East.

Feb. 7 - Williamston Town Council approved a security system for the park and heard from several persons offering to help with improvements in the park.

County Council, which approved the abolition of the blue laws last December, and then reinstated them at the first meeting of this year, gave first reading approval to an ordinance again removing Sunday work prohibitions from the County books.

In revealing the extent of the deficit under which the Sheriff’s Office is operating, county financial experts referred to loans to the Sheriff in the amount of $2.5 million. Gina Humphreys, county financial analyst, stated that the requirement to notify Council of any fund transfers in excess of $2500, did not apply to the loan.  County Councilman Bob Waldrep clearly refuted that position.

Approximately one inch of snow mixed with sleet fell on the area covering the ground and making driving hazardous. The winter weather was the first of the season for the Upstate and was followed by several days of below average temperatures.

Feb. 14 - Williamston Town Council held a goal setting retreat at the Appalachian Council of Governments (ACOG) offices in Greenville. They came up with 20 items they felt were important for them and the town. The top five priorities were establishing and refining purchasing procedures; revising personnel policies procedures manual; improving communication between council, mayor and staff; improving financial reporting; and working on  compensation, classifications and job descriptions for the town’s employees.

Interest among citizens and civic organizations in restoring community pride and helping the town improve is being reflected in offers to help the town with several projects.

Representatives of the Anderson County Council, as well as from various municipalities and other civic organizations gathered in Honea Path to explore funding possibilities for a wide spectrum of projects.

Anderson County Sheriff David Crenshaw makes no bones about accepting the final responsibility for the financial difficulties his department faces. Crenshaw was responding to published statements by county administrator Joey Preston that the Sheriff had been warned by members of the county finance department that his fuel and personnel costs were going to lead to a considerable deficit.

Governor Mitt Romney, of Massachusetts, visited Anderson 

After 15 years of on again, off again announcements, the Gray Drive Bridge in Williamston is finally going to be reopened.

Feb. 21 - After completing an investigation involving allegations made by five female Palmetto High School students  Anderson School District One officials requested the school be assigned a replacement for School Resource Officer Donnie Bryant.

Williamston Town Council approved a hospitality tax, discussed an ordinance to help deal with vandalism in the park, and approved a sludge removal option at the town’s sewer treatment plant.

Just weeks after he was installed on Council, District Six Rep. Ron Wilson became the target of a ruthless attack on the Internet with an e-mail that was sent to more than 100 media outlets, businesses and educators.

The efforts of the Piedmont Fire Commission to save money ran the gamut from concern over cashews to the cost of copies used by the members to the money paid to the members themselves.

 A 600 linear foot pipeline project slated for River Road was ready to proceed. The project is expected to cost approximately $73,000.

A standing Finance Committee composed of County Council members Gracie Floyd, Cindy Wilson and Bill McAbee saw McAbee join Floyd in supporting a proposed new system of reporting the County’s financial activities. Councilman Larry Greer, in a totally unexpected departure, stated his opinion that Wilson should receive the GLR100s as she has requested for more than four years.

County Council took steps to address what Chairman Bob Waldrep called an abdication of authority over the last ten years. District Three Councilman Larry Greer led the way, offering a motion to include language in the upcoming budget ordinance that would require Council to give prior approval to the transfer of funds, by any means, between departments. He also asked that a method by which the “loan” could be repaid by the Sheriff be included in the budget ordinance, as well. The motion was passed by a vote of 6-1, with Councilwoman Floyd opposing

Feb. 28 - Cindy Wilson (CC Dist. 7) held another of a series of joint meetings between various municipal, county, state and federal officials. One result of the meeting was interest in a plan to run sewer lines from the Pelzer to Ware Shoals.

Wilson (CC7) was less than pleased with a report by County external auditor Elliott Davis, LLC concerning delays in the reporting of fund transfers between various departments.

Williamston Town Council approved a hospitality tax, discussed an ordinance to help deal with vandalism in the park, and approved a sludge removal option at the town’s sewer treatment plant.The hospitality tax on prepared food will go into effect on July 1st.

A local production company was trying to interest investors in an independent film about a local legend, Manse Jolly. A local Civil War history buff, Julia Barnes provided a location for filming, family members to play various roles, and a horse named Dixie Chick.

Anderson County Council took a second look at setback guidelines, an animal cruelty ordinance and the blue laws.

Actor George Clooney was in downtown Anderson filming the movie “Leatherheads.” The film is based on football in the 1920s.

Anderson School District One officials decided to proceed with rezoning attendance lines for four Powdersville Elementary Schools back to where they were in 2000 and in line with current middle school attendance lines.

Mar. 7 - Williamston Police Cpl. Donnie Bryant, faced with five charges of harassment while serving as School Resource Officer,  will  be retained on regular duty, but will be replaced as SRO at Palmetto High.

Williamston Town Council decided to rehire the town’s former grant writer, approved a contractor to tear down the old city hall and hired an auditor.

The Williamston EMS squad expanded its operations to include a second location at the intersection of Cherokee and Hembree Roads.

 A public hearing was set to address environmental and health concerns raised last year by residents near the Town’s wastewater treatment plant. Mayor Phillip Clardy said the preliminary results of testing indicated that there are no significant health issues.

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees heard a report from Dr. John Pruitt on The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) High Schools That Work initiative. The project involves all high schools in the state as part of a restructure movement that blends high school and technical education to improve all students preparation for academics.

Anderson District One School Board of Trustees approved the upgrade and expansion of the kitchen facilities at Spearman Elementary, the addition of a multipurpose room at Palmetto High and HVAC improvements at two Wren schools.

For the second meeting in a row, through  a maneuver that Anderson County Council Chairman Bob Waldrep called “gamesmanship”, the Council abruptly and unexpectedly adjourned little more than halfway through its agenda. Aside from finally putting the blue laws to rest, the Council accomplished little of note during the four hour meeting.

Mar. 14 - The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office sold one of its three helicopters and is in the process of closing the sale of a second machine. The sales reduce the Anderson County Air Force, as some refer to it, to one OH-58 observation helicopter.

West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton and Town Council listened as a representative of Goldie and Associates engineering firm made a pitch for a feasibility study of a joint approach to the sewer problems facing West Pelzer, Pelzer, and Williamston. The Mayor and Council basically responded that they had been there and done that several times.

Senator Billy O’Dell presented a check for $8000 to West Pelzer Town Council. The funds will be used to match grant funds being spent on the town’s water and sewer projects.

Mar. 21 - The Tiny Trotters, the world’s smallest basketball team comprised of grown little people, appeared at the Piedmont Community Building.  Playing with the Trotters against a group of local All-stars was former Wren High great and Erskine Basketball player Reid Long.

Williamston Town Council discussed adding two sewer treatment systems to the current system, financial inaccuracies, the town’s cannon and numerous other issues.

The Town of Williamston is in the process of looking for alternatives to the sewer treatment lagoons currently used by the town which eventually discharge into the Saluda River. The Town is also in the process of working out a capacity issue raised more than a year ago by Anderson County.

Williamston Council appointed a new committee that will oversee improvements in the town’s two parks.

The Piedmont Fire Commission received more than $100,000 in back taxes from MetalCraft, Inc.

In a retreat Anderson County Council  set a number of goals, including achieving better communications with the local school districts; being more aggressive in telling the County delegation their wishes; seeking alternate sources of revenue; promoting local agriculture as an aspect of economic development; and exploring the need for employee raises in the near future.

A public forum held to review the results of air quality testing done in and around the Gatewood subdivision drew two couples from the neighborhood, which was the scene of the controversial dumping of landfill leachate beginning last year.

Sheriff David Crenshaw announced that the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office joined a handful of other sheriff’s departments in the Palmetto State which have received national accreditation.  A little over two hours later, County Administrator Joey Preston informed Council that the Sheriff was seeking an additional $445,000 in operating costs for the detention center for the remainder of the budget year.

Mar. 28 - The Gray Drive Bridge was closed for additional work after complaints of noise associated with loose boards on the newly renovated structure led officials to close the bridge until the problem can be remedied.

Despite repeated attempts by Anderson County to place Michelin Boulevard under (SCDOT) supervision, the state continued to resist accepting the road.

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees received a preliminary budget calendar, heard information on projected school enrollment and related funding, and decided to postpone two building additions due to high bids. 

District One officials are in the process of pulling together information for the new budget. The District will need 17.7 new teachers and projected student attendance is 9,294 students.

A former pilot and mechanic for the Sheriff’s department said that the UH-1 helicopter, which the county originally purchased for $500 through a surplus program, should have sold for $1.5 million..

The ninth annual concert to benefit The Children’s Miracle Network and The Children’s Hospital was held at the Pelzer Auditorium. The event is organized by Catlin Tierce.

Apr. 4 - Efforts to restart a downtown beautification  project in Williamston were being rekindled.

A representative of the sewer consulting firm that is working with the Town on their facility upgrade and treatment options said they are still proposing a regional treatment option to include Pelzer, West Pelzer and residents of Forest Hills subdivision.

Williamston Town Council reinstated commercial garbage pickup for Williamston businesses.

Anderson County Council explored options for creating additional revenues. Among items discussed were the way the County shares fees in lieu of  tax revenues with the school districts, a possible road fee to be used to finance infrastructure projects, and an increase in the solid waste fee of almost forty per cent.

A community-wide Son-Up Service was held Easter Sunday at the amphitheater in Mineral Spring Park. Rev. John L. Hallman, pastor of the Williamston and Pelzer Presbyterian churches delivered the message.

Apr. - 11 - German exchange student Patricia Fachtner was finishing up a year with a local family, the Ratchfords, of Williamston.

Sandlapper magazine included a photo on the back cover by local photographer Steven Faucette. The “Hung out to dry” photograph featured colorful dresses on a clothes line near Marietta.

An effort to change the way  municipal fines are collected, transmitted to the state, and accounted for in Williamston is unworkable and unlikely to be approved, according to Judge James M. Cox Jr., who was instrumental in shaping the system currently in use. Cox responded to a proposal by Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr. calling for all fines to be collected and transmitted on a monthly basis.

Joe Kelly said he has been fighting the battle over access to the old proposed Tri-County Landfill site for fifteen years and even as the Appalachian Council of Governments (ACOG) advertised the 516 acre site for sale, Kelly says he still controls access to the property.

 West Pelzer Town Council told a representative of Goldie &Associates that they were willing to listen to a plan to merge the wastewater treatment programs of Pelzer, West Pelzer and Williamston despite frequent discouragement from DHEC over the possibility but still expressed concerns that DHEC’s professed support of the plan might not materialize.

Apr. 18 - The second Annual Spring Ride for Pelzer’s Kids was held at the Pelzer ball fields. The event included a poker run, barbecue, a T-shirt and a variety of vendors.

The Community of Pelzer  Historical Society organized, hoping to raise awareness about the history of Pelzer and provide the community with a way to talk about the past and how to preserve and celebrate it.

Superintendent Dr. Phinnize (Penny) J. Fisher received a positive evaluation from the Greenville County School Board during a special called meeting. The School Board extended Dr. Fisher’s contract one year, through June 30, 2010, and approved a 2.5% merit increase effective immediately.

Natives of the Greenville County Textile communities held a meeting at Garrison Shoals — Piedmont, the site of Henry P. Hammett’s successful cotton factory built in the 1870’s which proved the southern folks could manufacture quality cloth, leading to the building of many more textile villages around the South.

Former County Councilman Mike Holden, facing allegations that he improperly used campaign contributions, accused Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston of acting as his campaign manager and funneling checks to him for his campaign. Preston denied the charges.

Anderson County Transportation Director Holt Hopkins, in a plea for an increase in department funding of almost $7 million over the next few years, offered suggestions including the levying of a road fee of $25 per vehicle registered in the county. Hopkins said that would generate $4 million annually and would fund the county’s program to replace and rebuild bridges. Anderson County currently has more than 25% of its bridges in serious need of repair.

The Pelzer Town Council heard from Goldie & Associates representative Sonya Harrison about the possibility of reviving an alternative solution to the Town’s wastewater treatment problems. 

A joint meeting of Williamston,  Pelzer and West Pelzer officials was held to discuss alternatives to sending  wastewater to Western Carolina.

An effort to provide more oversight on Williamston finances turned into a review of how police fine payments are collected, accounted for and paid to the state.

Williamston Town Council unanimously approved a motion to reimplement commercial trash pickup, giving businesses the option of two or three pickups per week. Honea Path is the only other municipality in the County providing commercial trash service.

 Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston presented the preliminary budget for 2007- 08. The financial woes of the Sheriff’s Department did not deter Sheriff David Crenshaw from asking for an increase of $1.775 million. Personnel increases would account for $1.4 million. The budget would leave the Sheriff operating at a deficit of $213,000 next year.

Apr. 25 - More than seventy five firefighters spent more than twelve hours at the ACE (A Cleaner Environment) reclamation center on Cherokee Road bringing a fire under control.

Pelzer Town Council approved the Town’s participation in a feasibility study of sewer options other than connecting to the Western Carolina treatment plant at Piedmont.

The Piedmont Fire Commission gave first reading approval to its proposed 2007-2008 budget with some changes in salary and fire run numbers before second reading. The fire department’s budget is based on 55 mills with  revenues of $931,488.

With events at Virginia Tech in mind, Anderson School District One board members and administration discussed security at District schools during their meeting.

The Board also approved funding for six portable classrooms, work to improve traffic flow and other improvements at Wren Middle and new personnel.

The rescue of a blind and stranded pony by members of the County’s technical rescue squad, showed a number of flaws in the county’s animal control system, according to Nicole Walukewicz, director of PEARL, (Palmetto Equine Awareness and Rescue League) a large animal rescue organization.

May 2 - The Anderson County Republican Party elected Lee Rogers of Williamston Chairman. at the ACRP County Convention. 

Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park is getting a makeover, thanks to Mission Jerusalem, a  mission group from Calvary Baptist Church who are bringing their outreach program home to help with restoration and improvement projects in the historic park.

According to figures provided to The Journal in response to a Freedom of Information request, the Anderson County Transportation and road maintenance department had spent $226,000 in repairing and maintaining Michelin Boulevard since it opened in 2002. Only $33,000 of that amount was provided by Anderson County, with the additional $193,000 being provided by C funds.

The Town of Williamston purchased a new Case 570M-XT two wheel drive loader landscaper tractor. Total price on the equipment was $46,695.  The equipment is the first in several years purchased by the town and was paid for with funds collected from the $14 garbage fee added to residents water/sewer bills last year.

Anderson County’s jail is full  and needs replacing according to Solicitor Chrissy Adams and Sheriff David Crenshaw.

District Five Councilman Michael Thompson announced his intention to introduce a resolution that would seek a referendum on a one cent sales tax to fund construction of a new jail.

In a four hour meeting that remained civil, if contentious, Council voted to table first reading of the 2007-2008 budget ordinance, amid what Chairman Bob Waldrep called “deep concerns” about the County’s finances and the administration’s manner of conducting business.

May 9 - Area graduates are preparing for the final days with classmates, with activities leading to their graduation and a new chapter in their lives.

Dignitaries, politicians, and family members gathered to see the groundbreaking for the Dolly Cooper Park in Powdersville. The park will include soccer fields, baseball/softball fields, and a recycling and environmental education center.

Joe Newton, one of the architects of the Town of  Williamston’s economic recovery, said reports of a significant fund balance are encouraging, but not indicative of a complete recovery. The town’s fund balance reached one million dollars.

Williamston Town Council decided the town should get an additional patrol officer, outsource tax billing and heard a presentation on grants.

The first South Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Belton will be named after decorated World War II veteran and former state Rep. M.J. “Dolly” Cooper.

May 16 - Williamston resident Larry Rachels finally met his German brother, whom he found out about in 2003.

A historic landmark in the town of Williamston was torn down with emolition of the 92 year old City Hall.

Kathleen Powell, the town’s first female city clerk to work in the building,  watched intently over the two days it took to level the building.

Rusty Burns and Heather Fields of Ware Shoals gave a presentation to the GWBA on the hospitality tax and how it works in the town of Ware Shoals.

Chairman Bob Waldrep, during a discussion concerning filling a vacant position in the Clerk to Council’s office, asked Council to give serious consideration to hiring an auditor who would answer only to the Council, to verify information provided by the county’s routine financial reports.

West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton presented Council with the first financial reports generated by the Town’s new accounting software.

Williamston Mayor pro tem Otis Scott, along with Rusty Burns, the Town’s grant writer, appeared before the Anderson County Transportation Committee to request funding for paving and emergency lights at the fire station.

County Administrator Joey Preston said a road fee of $25 dollars charged on each vehicle registered in the county will generate an additional $4.1 million in revenues. The controversial  fee that was a linchpin in the proposed 2007-08 budget was eventually put on hold.

May 23 - Three area Bluegrass musicians, Ansel Guthrie, Larry E. Jefferson and Thomas Williams were honored during a special recognition event at the historic Williamston depot.

Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston refused to provide documents requested under  FOI related to an alleged trip to Las Vegas made by two county employees and their families to The Journal, until a meeting was held with a division head for an explanation of the documents.

Vance Rowland was almost hit by a car, which pulled out in front of him as he traveled on Hwy. 81in Anderson County. Forty minutes later, and after numerous 911 calls, Rowland watched as the car slammed into a stalled eighteen wheeler on White Horse Road in Greenville County.

Williamston Town Council approved first reading of a mobile home ordinance allowing older homes to be replaced, discussed restricting trucks on Gray Drive and adjoining streets and approved additional cameras for the park.

The 26th annual Freedom Weekend Aloft event was moved from Anderson to Heritage Park in Simpsonville.

May 30 - State Sen. Billy O’Dell said that significant differences between the budgets approved by the S.C. House of Representatives and the Senate may lead to a continuing resolution which would require the state to continue to function at last year’s budget levels.

June 6 - The Anderson School District One Board presented a proposed $51 million budget to the Anderson County Board of Education. The proposed budget includes hiring 20 additional teachers and other new expenses for the School District. The proposal will increase property tax rates for District One operations by 6.5 mills for businesses, rental properties and properties that are not owner occupied.

The Greenville County School District Board of Trustees approved third and final reading of $429.6 million General Fund Budget for fiscal year 2007-08 which adds teachers and other school staff to serve a projected 1,525 additional students, fund cost of living and salary step increases for teachers and other employees, pay increasing costs for health insurance and retirement, cover increasing costs for utilities, provide additional custodial services to maintain school buildings, and expand the school system’s Twilight School (evening school) and Virtual High School.  The District expectes more than 68,000 students for the upcoming year.

June 13 - Pelzer officials deny knowing anything about a Yahoo! Internet promotion which listed the town as being in the running for a grand prize fleet of hybrid taxis. The promotion involved earning green credits for cities across the globe and when the promotion ended, the town was at the top of the list.

Organizers of Williamston’s Freedom Celebration said the event will feature a fun packed day including a bluegrass music festival, kids entertainment, amusement rides, a cruise-in, food and fireworks.

The Big Creek Water District broke ground on construction of a 750,000 gallon elevated water storage tank in the Beaverdam Road, U. S Hwy. 29 area.

West Pelzer Town Council discussed ordinances of various natures, none of which was brought to a vote. A new position for an employee was established, and a long standing position was vacated.

Mayor Peggy Paxton won re-election in a close contest with former Councilwoman Maida Kelly. Jimmy Jeanes and  Mike Moran were also elected to Council.

County District Six Councilman Ron Wilson visited area Mayors in hopes of convincing their Council representatives to revive a road fee proposal that was defeated earlier this year during a vote on the proposed County budget.

West Pelzer Town Clerk Beth Elgin left her job, taking an administrative job as head billing clerk with the Town of Williamston. 

Williamston Town Council approved first reading on a $2.5 million 2008 budget, taking the first steps toward changing their budget year from a calandar year to a fiscal year beginning July 1 of this year. The $2,587,100 budget is based on the 2007 calendar year budget already approved and the millage rate remains at 106 mills.

Sixty youth and adults, participating in the Piedmont Salkehatchi Summer Service program were working on five homes in Williamston and Pelzer.

June 20 - More than a hundred Piedmont area citizens attended a retirement party for  Jerry Lee “Butch” Nichols. Nichols  officially retired after forty three years of service as a fireman and the Chief of the Piedmont Fire Commission.  In 1973, he became one of the first full time employees of the fire department, and in 1992, was named Chief.

Williamston’s new hospitality tax seems to have gained general acceptance by the businesses that will have to collect it. A meeting, to allow the affected business to ask questions about the tax and how it will be applied, drew only two people. Both were familiar with such taxes and seemed to support it.

Col. Peter Brooks, spokesman for the South Carolina National Guard, denied persistent rumors that the Belton and Williamston National Guard armories are scheduled to be closed.

Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners discussed use of the gym and approved third and final reading on their $1.1 million budget for 2008. They also named acting chief Tracy Wallace as the full time chief and administrator for the District.

The Piedmont Community Building gym was closed to free use while District Commissioners decided how to monitor it.  There were some problems reported at the community building during the free play hours of operation.

Williamston Town Council approved first reading on an ordinance to allow acceptance of waste water from the Forest Hills subdivision. Contract details with Anderson County are still being finalized and there was some discussion about whether the capacity will be allotted from the Anderson County capacity reserved in Williamston’s treatment plant.

Williamston Town Council put off first reading of the 2008-2009 budget after two Councilmembers expressed concerns that the budget being presented by Mayor Phillip Clardy is exactly the same budget that was approved for 2007.

State and local political figures were among hundreds of individuals attending a special open house at the new Walgreens Distribution Center located on 101 Alliance Prkwy, just off Highview Rd.., Williamston. In addition to housing state of the art distribution technology, the facility is breaking new ground in hiring practices and in the process changing the perception of hiring people with disabilities.

Anderson County Council approved a tax increase of  7.9 mils. Of that amount, 4.5 mils will be dedicated to paying off a $2.3 million deficit incurred by the Sheriff’s ofice.The proposed road fee which would have generated an additional $3.28 million was defeated.

After an investigation lasting more than a year, and involving more than 400 hours of investigation, Tenth Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams declared four cases stemming from charges of stalking and harassment closed, having found no cause for action in any of the investigations. The cases stem from charges of stalking and harassment which were first brought to light by former ACSO Chief Deputy Tim Busha during a presentation to County Council in March of 2006.

June 27 - Pelzer was announced as a finalist in the Yahoo! campaign to find the Greenest City in America. Coming in second place behind winner Hastings, Nebraska, the town received 2500 compact fluorescent light bulbs which were distributed to each of the Town’s water and sewer customers.

Severe weather swept through the area bringing high winds, hail and heavy rain. Trees and power lines down throughout the area, resulted in a fleet of Duke Power and Pike trucks responding to restore power.

Pelzer’s Monkey Park is getting a facelift, thanks to the efforts of Mayor Kenneth Davis, a number of volunteers, and the Tabernacle Baptist Church. Volunteers were digging trenches in preparation for the installation of irrigation lines that will help nourish plant and sod growth in areas of the park that are now bare.

July 4 - Don’t stop new, the second half of the year has even more to remember.July 4 - The second annual South Greenville 4th of July Celebration Parade was held at Ware Place.

The BI-LO grocery store in Pelzer celebrated a Grand Re-Opening as a Super BI-LO. 

Just months after former Chief Deputy  Tim Busha of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office was found to have had his driver’s license suspended several times, The Journal confirmed that Anderson County Sheriff David Crenshaw had allowed his driver’s license to expire.

Mayor Phillip Clardy paid for a business license for his restaurant, but did so too late to avoid being included on a  list of businesses that were late in paying their business license fees. Clardy said that his delay was caused by the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) assessing sales taxes against his restaurant, PC’s on Main, during several months in 2006 when the restaurant was closed.

During a work session, Williamston Town Council discussed reducing the sanitation fee of $14 to $10. Council then budgeted $100,000 for the purchase of a garbage truck.

After three intensive days of work sessions, Williamston Town Council put their approval on a $4,487,953 budget that became effective on July 1. The budget reflected the current millage rate of 106 mills, with the anticipation of adding an additional four mills later.

Cindy Wilson (Anderson County Dist. 7) was wondering how a budget including a tax increase of almost eight mills was passed in a surprising change of direction by several members of the Council.

The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees approved  the 2007-2008 school year budget of $51,636,973. The budget included a $552,500 deficit which the district will make up with a 5.6 mill increase.

Mabel Bell, a letter carrier with the Williamston post office, found resident Colie Browning was injured after mail began piling up unopened at the home on Lander St.. Browning had apparently fallen two days earlier and could not get up.

July 11 - Piedmont residents were without power for several hours after high winds associated with a severe thunderstorm blew through the area, toppling a tree which knocked down a power line.

The South Greenville Fire Department headquarters dedicated a new wing  named for retired Fire Chief and current Fire Commission Board Chairman Billy Campbell. The wing added 5800 square feet including space for four more truck bays, two offices, a large training room, a kitchen, a bathroom and additional space upstairs.

Six weeks after its rescue from an island, the blind Shetland pony had a new home in Georgia, and a new purpose in life as a therapy pony, visiting patients at hospitals, rehab centers, and nursing homes.

The Anderson County Republican Party Executive Committee passed a resolution disapproving the budget vote of Anderson County Council stating “the Anderson County Republican Party stands for the Republican ideals of smaller government, lower taxes and personal responsibility.”

Despite a two hour work session held a week earlier to address the Town’s debris ordinance and its budget, West Pelzer Town Council failed to take action on either one.

Senator Billy O’Dell and State Rep. and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Dan Cooper were helpful in obtaining a $15,000 grant for the Piedmont Public Service district to be used in purchasing fire and rescue equipment.

Cooper also obtained $69,728 in funds for the Powdersville Water District to be used in constructing a six inch main extension to the Shady Acres development.

A casual announcement at a recent Town council meeting, by Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr,. that he had gathered a crew of town employees and dug up the Town’s time capsule shocked and surprised Mayor Phillip Clardy, as well as raising questions about the authority of Council members to direct town employees to do anything without a formal vote.

The Town of Williamston approved a $4,487,953 budget for 2007-2008 that includes a $2.55 million general fund budget, $1.2 million water fund budget and $731,000 sewer budget.

 The new budget reflects a change from a calendar year to a fiscal year beginning July 1 of this year. The budget includes additional revenues from a 4 mill increase and a new hospitality tax. The general fund budget is $32,000 less than the 2007 budget approved earlier this year.

During their July 2 meeting, Williamston Town Council heard an update on grants and briefly discussed the effects of the new hospitality tax on the upcoming Spring Water Festival but conducted little business.

Work in Mineral Spring Park is progressing thanks to the Mission Jerusalem team of Calvary Baptist Church who provided labor and materials to make improvements on structures in the park.

A fierce thunderstorm swept across Northern Anderson County and the southern end of Greenville County knocking down trees and power lines. More than 17,000 Duke Power customers were without power. A large tree  blocked Highway 20 for almost four hours before SCDOT crews could respond and remove it from the road.

July 18 - Wren High School was among two high schools in the state that have been selected as national High Schools That Work Pacesetter Schools.

The 2007 EIA Teacher Grant list for Anderson School District One will include more unit grants than ever before and a new record high total funding of $130,653, school officials said.

Members of Williamston Town Council denied charges by Mayor Phillip Clardy that they have been violating the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act.

The Town of  Pelzer showed a budget surplus of approximately $45,000 for the budget year 2007-2008, according to figures prepared by Town Clerk Skip Watkins.

Williamston Town Council approved an agreement with Anderson County concerning disputed use of capacity in the town’s waste water treatment plant. Under the agreement the town will repay Anderson County $73,756 for the town’s past use of County capacity at the plant.

Williamston Town Council took the first step toward having an administrator help run the town by creating the position and a salary range. Council also approved first reading on an amended budget reflecting a 4 mill increase.

July 25 -  After thirty three years at the helm of the Anderson County library system, Carl Stone iannounced that he will retire. 

West Pelzer Town Council circumvented open meeting laws in their efforts to appoint a Town Clerk, according to Council member Mike Moran.

Aug. 1 - On July 10, the Williamston EMS turned 40 yrs old.  Originally organized as a volunteer rescue squad, the Williamston EMS has grown into a paid professional emergency medical service. 

A local mission effort by Tabernacle Baptist Church put the finishing touches on improvements at Pelzer’s Monkey Park. Members of the Church put a new coat of paint on  playground equipment, the picnic shelter and restroom building, which also received a  new roof. Benches were installed throughout the park, sod was placed, plants, flowers, trees and irrigation system were installed.

The Town of Williamston approved an amended budget for 2007-2008 on July 16 that reflects a 4 mill increase from the 106 mills to 110 mills.

Allegations by West Pelzer Town Councilman Mike Moran were confirmed during and after a meeting of Council held last Wednesday.

The Williamston Planning Commission voted to approve and recommend to the Council a land swap arrangement that will make it possible to re-route Pelzer Avenue, increasing the town’s chances of attracting a major retailer or supermarket chain.

Aug. 8 - A ground breaking ceremony was planned for Grove Station Lodge #166 A.F.M. The building site, donated by Brother J.T. Vinson, is located 1/2 mile off Hwy. 20 on Bracken Road. Vinson is a Master Mason and long time member of Grove Station Masonic Lodge.

Piedmont resident Nancy Upton had the honor of singing the National Anthem at an Atlanta Braves baseball game.

A town meeting was scheduled in Piedmont to address citizen concerns about the crime rate in the area, as well as the response, or lack of it, by law enforcement. Piedmont Public Service Commission member Frankie Garrett spearheaded the effort after having a window broken from a vehicle and a truck stolen.

A group of men in Piedmont offered advice to local residents. at “The Situation Shelter,”at 2 King Street in Piedmont.

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy publicly responded to concerns about his performance as Mayor brought up by a councilman.

Clardy read aloud a four and a half page statement addressing concerns made public during a recent meeting by Councilman Carthel Crout.

It was announced that the national convention of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be held in Anderson County in the year 2010. Ron Wilson, District Six County Council representative, and eleven year veteran of the national Board of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, played a key role in bringing the convention to the County.

A heated discussion between Mayor Phillip Clardy,  Councilmen Marion Middleton, Jr. and Carthel Crout took place during the Williamston Town Council meeting. Clardy  presented 95 pages of information he said reflected his involvment in the budget process and alleged FOI violations by Council Councilman Middleton then brought up the issue of a teenage boy being on a town computer while the mayor was working late in his office.

The discussion came after what was described by some as an “ overreaction” by the mayor which led to the police being called to investigate two females, who turned out to be Middleton’s wife and a friend, looking in windows at town hall. The women said they were looking for Middleton who was in the building at the time, to give hime milk for a baby goat.

As the financial status of The Town of Williamston continues to improve, the town is showing signs that things are definitely better than a year ago. Council approved second reading on the 2007-2008 budget which includes three new police vehicles and decided to set aside money monthly for the purchase of a new packer truck. The Council is also considering an across the board raise for town employees.

Following the tragic bridge collapse that occurred in Minnesota, SCDOT issued the statement on the status of bridges in S. C.

Aug. 15  - Mayor Peggy Paxton opened the West Pelzer Town council meeting with a plea for greater tolerance and cooperation between the members of Council. Despite the pleas for, and promises of, action, the Council adjourned two hours later without having given first reading approval to a budget, and after tabling the debris removal ordinance for the second meeting in a row.

Don Roper announced hopes of history museum or room in the Piedmont Community Building.to display his Piedmont history collection 

The Town of Williamston received $40,000 from the Anderson County Transportation Committee to be used in conjunction with an ISTEA grant that is being used for the Town’s Streetscape project.

Aug. 22 - Powdersville Middle School teacher Tammie Collins was been selected as the Anderson School District One Teacher of the Year.

The Anderson County Taxpayers Association called for the termination of the contract for Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston.

 Michael Davis, brother of Pelzer Mayor Kenneth Davis, drowned while fishing at the Saluda River.

An industrial accident at the Cushman Plant Division of Milliken & Co. resulted in the loss of life of Jerry Lee Reid.

 Anderson School District One Board members heard a presentation by M. B. Kahn Sr. Executive Vice President Rick Ott, and began disucssion about a District building plan.

His medical emergency came just hours before a controversial Town Council meeting was scheduled, or not scheduled, depending on who you asked.

The actions by Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr. in unearthing the Town’s time capsule became the subject of an inquiry by the South Carolina Attorney General after Mayor Phillip Clardy asked Attorney General Henry McMaster to render an opinion on the legality of Middleton’s actions.

Citizens, law enforcement officials and politicians gathered at the Piedmont Community Building to discuss crime rates and response times. State Rep. Eric Bedingfield served as moderator for the meeting.

Aug. 29 - Anderson School District One SAT Scores for 2007 were among the State’s Best according to recent test results.

Anderson One’s composite average of 1035 ranks the district as the 5th highest performing among South Carolina’s 86 districts. 

SLED has released a report concerning the investigation into Mayor Phillip Clardy’s alleged misuse of his position for personal gain. The report indicated no criminal wrongdoing but did reflect that poor or non-existent policies and procedures, as well as a lack of fiduciary responsibility, created a number of questionable circumstances.

Organizers of the 26th annual Spring Water Festival said the festival was a success, though hot humid temperatures and the threat of late afternoon thunderstorms may have kept some people away. Crowd estimates were about 6000 to 7000 people, down from the estimated 10,000 to 11,000 for last year.

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees began discussion of a new building program and approved personnel recommendations.

West Pelzer Town Council gave first reading approval to the 2007-08 budget. Councilman Marshall King was elected mayor pro tem.

Despite persistent rumors of a Food Lion supermarket being in the works, more than a year and a half after a transfer of sewer lines between School District One and Anderson County was approved in order to allow development of a shopping center in the Wren area, the site remains bare of any signs of progress.

Sept. 5 - Ivan Kershner, a Palmetto Middle School teacher and a recipient of the prestigious $25,000 Milken Educator Award in 1995, was awarded a community service grant from the Milken Festival for Youth (MFFY) program.  The grant will be used to preserve and maintain several historic cemeteries.

Piedmont resident and Anderson School District One Board member Nancy Upton sang the national anthem just before the start of the USA Cycling Professional Championships held in Greenville.

Anderson County continues to enjoy steady growth according to the twenty year comprehensive land use plan presented by the County planning department. That growth has produced an estimated population at the start of this year of 187,000. By the year 2010, the population will exceed 200,000, and five years later, 220,000.

A special ceremony was held for the relocation and burial of Williamston’s Bicentennial time capsule.

Sept. 12 - A former Anderson District One math teacher and cross country coach Jay Bradley McJunkin was awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to two counts of lewd acts with a minor.

Anderson District One students continue to show improvement on the Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test (PACT) according to 2007 scores.

District One Elementary and middle grades were among the best in the state with grades three to eight scoring second in the state for English Language Arts.

The Town of Williamston, through the efforts of Senator Billy O’Dell and Rep. Dan Cooper, received a $29,900 grant to be used in replacing the Cherokee Road lift station, and the associated wiring at that station. The funds came from the state Budget and Control Board. The Town is required to match those funds with $15,100, for a total cost of the project of $45,000,

Williamston Town Council heard a report on money saving insurance options, the RDA/sewer facility upgrade, and they discussed the downtown streetscape project and garbage pick-up. Sonya Harrison of Goldie and Associates said finding land for application and rock under the existing plant are holding up the sewer facility upgrade and the RDA funding.

The Palmetto Soccer Club and Town of Williamston held a ribbon cutting and dedication for new soccer fields located in the center of town. The club began searching for a home field in 2000.

Paula Payton, whose original selection sparked debate over the process followed by the town in narrowing the field, began work as West Pelzer Town Clerk.

Sept. 19 - U. S. Staff Sgt. Terry Daniel Wagoner of Pelzer was killed by an IED while on patrol in Iraq.

More than a year after the events known as “Catergate,” Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston provided a sworn affidavit challenging the claims that he and a female county employee were engaged in sexual activity in a public location.

Sept. 26 - The new Up Country History Museum opened in Greenville and featured  speaker was Milford “Punchy” Howard, of Piedmont Ranger fame. Don Roper, (Saluda Sam) who grew up and attended many events during the glory days of Textile Sports, was moderator.

West Pelzer Town Council passed a budget with projected general fund revenues of $347,000, while projected expenditures are estimated at approximately $301,000. That leaves a projected amount of approximately $46,000 for capital projects.

 An opinion issued by the SC Attorney General’s Office confirmed that Marion Middleton, Jr. acted improperly by commandeering a crew of municipal workers, along with town equipment, to exhume and relocate the time capsule.

Anderson School District One Board members looked at enrollment figures for the District’s 14 schools in preparation for consideration of a building program  to meet the needs of the growing area.

Oct. 3 - The Owen Cattle Farm in the Piercetown community was recognized as a Century Farm, which is one that has been owned by the same family for more than 100 years. Martin Owen and his wife, Mary Ellen, operate the beef cattle farm on more than 200 acres of land.

Despite videotape evidence of a uniformed employee of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office changing price tags on a number of items at the Hamrick’s Department store, no arrest was made after the store manager decided not to press charges.

Less than a year after  reopening after being closed for fifteen years, the Gray Drive Bridge was closed again. 

Williamston Town Council decided to purchase a new packer, reestablish the Miss Williamston pageant and to proceed with a downtown revitalization project. Before that, they hammered out the details of a job description for an administrator.

Oct. 10 - The Piedmont Emergency Relief Center (PERC) began offering a  Job Bank to help potential employees and employers find each other.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Wren Middle School for a network of sidewalks.

The West Pelzer Town Council conducted a quiet, businesslike meeting. Among the items of business covered was the appropriation of approximately $17-$18,000 per year for the next five years to insure testing of the town’s elevated water storage tank.

Oct. 17 -  A study group in Anderson County is considering the County’s lack of an organized countywide recreation system, and looking for ways to address the problem. The committee, chaired by Joe Drennon, was expected to recommend a two per cent hospitality tax to be instituted in the unincorporated areas of the county.

Williamston Town Council approved first reading on an ordinance establishing a job description for an  Administrator, postponed a pay raise for town employees and discussed the future of the town’s cannon. They also began work on revision of the town’s policy and procedures manual.

Washington Baptist Church sponsored a Sportsmen’s Banquet which featured speaker Nikita Koloff, a former World Champion Wrestler.

The Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners restructured the recreation department, assigning Johnny Cantrell the duties of accepting reservations for the ball field and community building and that Tommy Rogers report to Cantrell.

A proposed countywide two cents hospitality tax moved closer to reality when the Anderson County Municipal Association gave the measure its unanimous support at their monthly meeting. The proposal calls for 90% or more of the tax to be dedicated to the development of a county wide recreation system.

Oct. 24 - Boo In The Park was held in Mineral Spring Park.

In a special called meeting that lasted just fifteen minutes, West Pelzer Town Council accepted the low bid for running water lines to six houses on Burkett Street, and also to spend $80,000 over the next five years to bring the Town’s water tower up to DHEC standards.

A billing discrepancy between the Town of Williamston and Big Creek Water & Sewage District, ongoing since 2005, remained a point of contention. The town has withheld payment of  $37,831.50 for 75,663,000 gallons of water that Big Creek officials say was transferred from their system into the town’s system.

Oct. 31 - Memories by the Fireside events were being held monthly at the Historic Pelzer Gym. The theme “Conflict”  featured Professor Bryant Simon’s book “A Fabric of Defeat The Politics of South Carolina Millhands, 1910-1948" which is dedicated in remembrance of the Pelzer Strike.

Anderson District One  issued a warning about a strain of the staphylococcus infection which does not respond to the antibiotics normally used to combat such infections.

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees heard a positive audit report, responses from a focus group on school needs and  agreed to proceed with a construction management contract.

District one showed improvement as reported by the S. C. State Department of Education, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), an annual determination of whether schools, districts and the state makes progress toward the goal of having all students meet academic standards by 2014.

According to figures provided by the Anderson County planning department, more than 2800 building permits were issued in the last seven years in District One.

Anderson County Councilman Ron Wilson presented a $10,000 check to the Wren Youth Association for improvements at Hurricane Springs Park.

Nov. 7 - Local singer Joe Greco had a single, “Call on Jesus,”debut at # 83 on the Christian Country Top 100 list and being played on radio stations across the nation.

Williamston Town Council decided to pay the Big Creek water bill and received a very favorable report concerning workers comp and liability insurance.

A public forum held to receive input from the public about the County gave District Six Rep. Ron Wilson the inclination that the people in Powdersville want zoning. The forum attracted about fifty residents who clearly  wanted zoning.

Nov. 14 -  Anderson School District One tenth grade students improved in both academic areas of the High School Assessment Program (HSAP). Overall 87.9 percent of the tenth grade class met the standard on both exit exam tests, which surpassed the state’s average of 77.1% of students passing the test on the first attempt.

Anderson School District One’s overall performance on the HSAP Exit Exam placed District One in the top five districts of the 85 school districts in the state.

A land use forum held at Palmetto High School attracted only two people, but Councilman Ron Wilson said it was one of the most successful of the series of such meetings that had been held.

Following years of controversy and construction, Phase II of the Beaverdam sewage line opened providing treatment for the Rocky River basin and freeing up capacity at the Six and Twenty treatment plant, according to the county.

Efforts were begun to have the Town of Pelzer designated as a National Historic District, Pelzer Mayor Kenneth Davis and Pelzer Historical Society President and Chairperson Beth Rostron.

The Greater Williamston Business Association 2007 Collectors Christmas Ornaments featured the old city hall building which was constructed in 1914 and torn down this year.

Nov. 21 - Dedication and opening of the Daniel T. Cooper Library and Government Center was held in Powdersville. The facility comprises 18,000 square feet of space.

The Powdersville Water District expanded their office building from four thousand to eight thousand square feet to increase service and make the utility and its operations more accessible to the public. said Norbert Steeber, chairman of the District Board of Directors.

The Third Annual Pelzer Holiday Fair was held at the Historic Pelzer Gym.

West Pelzer Town Council hired  the Byrely, Payne &White firm as their new auditor.

Anderson School District One had twelve of fourteen schools rated as Excellent or Good, with the remaining two schools Average according to the Annual School Report Card. The district absolute rating remained at Good, along with only six other districts in the state.

Following months of discussion and after being tabled several times for lack of information, Williamston Town Council approved a 3.4 percent pay raise for town employees. The raise is retroactive to July 1.

Approximately two hundred people attended a meeting at the new Powdersville library to voice their opposition to both zoning and the abrupt proposed change by the County Dist. 6 representative Ron Wilson.

Opening night ceremony was held for the lighting of the Christmas Park  The event was being organized by members of the Springwater Committee.

Nov. 28 - Vandals struck the Wren High School football stadium over the Thanksgiving break. Despite several walls and a storage building, as well as an equipment trailer used by the band boosters, being spray painted, the worst result was the theft of a plaque naming the field after long time coach Jack King.

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

Zoning is a dead issue said District Six County Councilman Ron Wilson who made it clear that the people had spoken and that this time he heard their voice.

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

Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler presented a list of projected building needs during a work session with the Anderson School District One Board. The list includes classroom additions to all but three schools, new front entrances for  three elementary schools, camera upgrades for all of the districts schools, and assorted specific upgrades at various schools.

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees heard a report from a State House member who is working toward educational improvements, entertained a request for a new release time program for high school students and discussed building needs.

Dec. 5 - Williamston Town Council worked on wording for advertising the administrator’s position, set yard sale fees, and looked at purchasing gas in bulk.

Congressman Gresham Barrett was in town meeting with various elected officials, as well as representatives from Williamston’s two textile plants.

Senator Billy O’Dell presented West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton with a check for $10,000. The funds, obtained through the state’s competitive grants program, will be used to purchase software that will allow residents’ water meters to be read from a moving vehicle.

Anderson County Sheriff’s officers, along with private investigators and representatives of several industries, swept into the Jockey Lot making several arrests and confiscating counterfeit merchandise valued at more than $101,000.

Local builder and businessman Gary McAlister was in the process of renovating the old Winn Dixie property on Beaverdam Rd.

Santa Claus visited the area via the Santa Express on The Greenville and Western Railway Company LLC (GRLW) drawing large crowds at five area stops along the railway.

The Anderson County Delegation approved a $34,000 grant for Hurricane Springs Park and $20,000 for Brookdale Park in Williamston.

The West Pelzer Fire Department purchased twenty three sets of turnout gear, as well as other gear with a $42,755 FEMA grant.

Dec. 12 - Legendary blues musician Mac Arnold, who was born in the the Pelzer area, attended the Pelzer Christmas Holiday Fair which featured carriage rides, food and vendors offering  unique gifts.

West Pelzer Town Council approved applying for a credit card from Hickory Point for gas purchased by police officers and other town employees when operating town vehicles. Mayor Paxton also announced that the Town is in the process of constructing an official website.

The Anderson County Transportation Committee pledged more than $140,000 for the resurfacing of Academy Street in Williamston.

Senator Billy O’Dell and Rep. Dan Cooper were named 2007 SCEDA Legislators of the Year by the South Carolina Economic Development Association, for their efforts to sponsor and support legislation which encourages economic development efforts in the state.

What will the next year hold. Read The Journal or Journal Online each week to find out!

County Council highlights and lowlights for 2007

January - The personalities, both collective and individual, of the newly reconfigured Anderson County Council continued to be revealed as several major issues were dealt with.

 The Council’s decision to reinstate the County’s blue laws at the last meeting continued to be a political football, with several people speaking against the Council’s reconsideration of the earlier decision to abolish the laws. One woman said that she had been called a Yankee devil for circulating a petition to seek the abolition of the laws, and had gotten calls from “back home in Connecticut asking how South Carolina could be so backward.”

 The vote to abolish the laws was taken at the last meeting in 2006, and was rescinded at the first meeting of the new Council, after incumbent Cindy Wilson brought the issue up for reconsideration, and received the votes of the two new Councilmen, Ron Wilson and Bob Waldrep.

The most significant news to come out of the presentation of the County’s audit was the information that the Sheriff’s department is currently operating on money loaned from the County’s general fund, to the tune of $2,473,563. The revelation was referred to by County financial analyst Gina Humphries as the “rough patch in the audit.”

February - A public hearing concerning the rezoning of a tract of land along the Highway 28 bypass in Anderson dominated Tuesday night’s County Council meeting, lasting almost two hours, Speaker after speaker came to the microphone in support or opposition to the proposed change from a C-1 commercial status to a PD planned development rating.

After a long and sometimes contentious hearing, Council voted 5-1-1 to give first reading approval to the change. 

The Anderson County Council took the first steps to address what Chairman Bob Waldrep called an abdication of authority over the last ten years. District Three Councilman Larry Greer led the way, offering a motion to include language in the upcoming budget ordinance that would effectively require Council to give prior approval to the transfer of funds, by any means, between departments. He also asked that a method by which the “loan” could be repaid by the Sheriff be included in the budget ordinance, as well. The motion was passed by a vote of 6-1, with Councilwoman Floyd opposing.

A public hearing approaching two hours in length preceded the Council’s decision to give second reading approval to the abolishing of Anderson’s blue laws. An effort by Ron Wilson to force an advisory referendum was defeated by a vote of 4-3, with Wilson, Cindy Wilson and Larry Greer voting in the affirmative, while the other four Council members voted against the referendum.

The vote to abolish the blue laws was the exact reverse, with the same three voting to retain the laws.

March - The Anderson County Council meeting Tuesday night began with an announcement by Sheriff David Crenshaw that the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office has joined a handful of other sheriff’s departments in the Palmetto State which have received national accreditation.

Under the next item on the agenda, Councilwoman Wilson then presented Councilwoman Floyd with some letters she had referred to two meetings ago. The letters had been referred to as having been sent to Council raising serious allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct in the central dispatch office. Floyd had said that she had never received such letters, even though one of them was addressed to her when she was the Chairwoman.

Ms. Wilson then moved to the next agenda item, the issue of fund transfers and the proper procedures for the Council’s notification of any transfers over $2500 in value within 30 days of that transfer. She cited approximately $1.6 million in transfers that remained unreported from late June of 2006 till just a couple weeks ago, She asked that the Chair obtain the working papers used by external auditor Elliott Davis in conducting their study of the County’s transfer system.

April - The Anderson County Council held a called meeting Tuesday to explore options for creating additional revenues. 

Among the items discussed were the manner in which the County shares fees in lieu of  tax revenues with the school districts, a possible road fee to be used to finance infrastructure projects, and an increase in the solid waste fee of almost forty per cent.

County financial analyst Gina Humphreys reported on the results of a survey conducted by the financial staff concerning the manner in which other counties in the state handle their FILOT revenues. According to the survey’s results all but one county in the state uses FILOTs. Thirty six of them share the revenues based directly on the tax levy

Humphreys said that there is a trend in the state towards alternative formulas for distributing the funds. “Seven counties, including Anderson, are moving in that direction,” said Humphreys. “We share more with our schools than all but two other counties,” she added. “After taking fifteen per cent off the top for infrastructure, we share an average of 69% of the remaining revenues with the schools.”

Anderson County Council members Bill McAbee (D4) and Larry Greer (D3) launched a preemptive strike against impact fees, sponsoring a forty five minute presentation on the negative aspects of implementing such fees.

Waldrep then asked about the proposed increase in the household fee for solid waste. Humphreys explained that the fee was established in 1992, at ten dollars per household, increasing to $25 in 1995, and then to the current rate of $40 in 1996. “Bottom line, we need $55 per household to break even on operating costs,” said Humphreys. 

County administrator Joey Preston informed Council that the solid waste department is running a $700,000 deficit. 

Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston, along with several members of his staff, presented the preliminary budget request for fiscal year 2007-’08 Tuesday night.

The increases in solid waste fees, including a fifty per cent increase in the residential fee (from $40 to $60 a year), and a forty per cent increase in the commercial fee (from $50 to $70 a year), is projected to generate an additional $1.4 million next year, and each year thereafter The road fees are also being touted as the solution to the county’s woes in relation to infrastructure. The proposed road fee of $25 per vehicle registered in the county would produce an estimated $4.1 million annually. That money would be designated for use in constructing, paving and repairing roads, and in building and repairing bridges. 

The well-publicized financial woes of the Sheriff’s Department did not deter Sheriff David Crenshaw from asking for an increase of $1.775 million. Personnel increases would account for $1.4 million. The budget as proposed would leave the Sheriff operating at a deficit of $213,000 next year.

 May - In a close 4-3 vote, the controversial twenty five dollar road fee that was a linchpin in the proposed 2007-08 budget was put on hold.

The decision to remove the proposed fee from the budget ordinance allowed first reading approval of the ordinance, but gutted County Administrator Joey Preston’s efforts to create an additional revenue stream he says is needed to replace funds lost to the state mandated reduction in tax rates on private vehicles.

The fee was intended to generate an additional $4.1 million in revenues, to be used for matching funds that would be used to secure federal grants for some bridge repairs. One of the sticking points was the fact that approximately $1.7 million was slated for employee raises. (See related story elsewhere in this issue.) That is the amount needed to provide a five per cent raise, according to Preston, who told Council that each percentage point that salaries are increased requires $350,000.

The vote to remove the fee was 4-3,with Ms. Wilson, Mr. Greer, Mr. McAbee, and Mr. Waldrep voting for the amendment. The subsequent vote to give first reading approval was by a vote of 6-1 with Ms. Wilson opposed.

June - Progress towards a budget was grudgingly made by the Anderson county council, as second reading approval was given to a budget with a four million dollar hole in it.

That is the approximate amount of revenue that was carved from the budget when Council deleted a proposed twenty five dollar road fee from the budget at first reading.

 Councilman Greer offered an amendment to reduce the increase in the solid waste fee from twenty dollars to fifteen dollars. “I believe that we can do this and reduce the deficit in the solid waste department in three to four years, while still beginning to address the needed updates to our conveneience centers.” he said. His amendment did from a lack of a second.

 After considerable discussion, the budget received second reading approval.

Following an hour long executive session, Council voted to refuse an offer from  a developer for the purchase of the Tricounty Regional Landfill site that is jointly owned by Anderson, Pickens  and Oconee Counties.

Council approved a tax increase of  7.9 mils. Of that amount, 4.5 mils will be dedicated to paying off a $2.3 million deficit incurred by Sheriff Crenshaw during the last budget year. A proposed road

Chairman Bob Waldrep, who said the compromise was needed because of the County’s overwhelming needs, said “I was just grateful to get the cuts.”

Those cuts came from a budget of approximately $122 million.

Under the new budget, that 30.6 mils would be allocated differently, with 18 mils being dedicated to road maintenance, and 12.6 mils left for general operations. As a result, two mils of the 3.4 mil increase will be dedicated to roads, a condition which District three Councilman Larry Greer called “the most significant thing we did tonight.” Those two mils would generate $1,022,000 for bridges and the bridge crew.

The actual vote on the final budget was 5-2 with Ms. Wilson and District Five Councilman Michael Thompson voting in opposition. Following a recess after the vote, Council reconvened and immediately reconsidered the budget vote. Without further discussion, they reaffirmed their decision by the identical 5-2 vote, thereby making the budget ineligible for further review.

July -  Plans for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office to assume law enforcement responsibilities in the Town of Pendleton hit a snag at Tuesday’s County Council meeting.

Presented at the last minute with an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) that defined the terms of the agreement, several members of the Council objected to the short notice.

In another matter, Councilwoman Wilson had requested that Council enter executive session to receive a legal briefing on a news article that appeared in the Anderson Independent Mail, containing allegations of embezzlement of funds at the County animal shelter.

Second reading approval was given to an ordinance to reduce the property tax rate on airplanes from 10.5 per cent to 4 per cent; an ordinance to change the land use plan to allow for tattoo parlors, and ordinance amending the master road plan.

August - Anderson County Council met after an extended summer recess.

County Transportation Director Holt Hopkins gave an update on several road and bridge projects that are currently underway. The projects are funded in large part by federal funding sources known as earmarks.

The East Reed Street project, which adjoins the AnMed campus, involves the installation of turn lanes, curbs, sidewalks, and other aesthetic features. The project costs $1.2 million, of which the federal government paid one million, while AnMed paid the $200,000 spent on engineering and legal fees.

The most visible project, the Brown Road bridge, will probably require an additional matching of funds, due to cost increases, but the project is funded at almost 75% by state and federal money. It should be completed in the summer of 2007.

Hopkins also reported that a total of $6.5 million in earmarks has been obtained, with an additional $1.8 million provided by the state and $1.7 million by the County.

September - County Administrator Joey Preston presented his plan to address the issues of overcrowding at the county jail, as well as security and safety issues at the courthouse. That plan, with a $7.3 million price tag, would include the purchase and renovation of two existing buildings, as well as the construction of a new dormitory at the detention center.

A former Kroger grocery store, containing more than 47,000 square feet, would house the offices of the assessor, the treasurer, the auditor, and the register of deeds, all of which currently occupy space in the new courthouse, as well as building and codes, E911 addressing, development standards, buildings and grounds and the county mailroom.

The cost of that building, located at 401 E. River Street, would be $1.3 million, with another $3.7 million slated for renovations, for a total of $5 million.

The second building which Preston proposes purchasing, is the old Piedmont Natural Gas offices located at 2404 N. Main St. The building, containing more than 25,000 square feet, would be used to house all the state offices currently occupying the Bailes Building, right behind the historic court house.

Those offices would include the legislative delegation offices, registration and elections, veteran’s affairs, and summary court. The cost of the building is $1.6 million, which has been obtained through a state grant secured by State Representative Dan Cooper and Kevin Bryant.

October - A general obligation bond to borrow $7.3 million to relocate government offices was the focus of attention at Tuesday night’s  County Council meeting.

A public hearing on the matter drew a long line of speakers, both in support of and opposition to the proposal. The funds would be used to purchase and renovate the old Kroger building on River Street and move many of the County’s offices to the new facility. Some state offices would then be relocated to existing county office space. An addition to the detention center would also be included in the proposal.

The first major clash came as the Council heard a presentation concerning the issuance of $7.3 million in general obligation bonds, which will be used to purchase and renovate a vacant Kroger supermarket building on River Road in Anderson.

Tammy Shealy, who had filled the post of deputy clerk, had resigned amid charges that she was reporting on the Council’s activities to county administrator Joey Preston. Both Shealy and Preston have denied those charges.

Council also voted to reschedule the October 17 meeting, due to a conflict with the Imagine Anderson meeting in the Honea Path/Belton area that night. Councilwoman Wilson, who along with Chairman Greer, represents those areas, said that Imagine Anderson should reschedule, since Council was doing the people’s business. Floyd stated that five members of Council and the Vice Chair would still be present. “That’s why we have a vice chair, isn’t it? So we can meet without the Chairman if we need to?”

Despite Floyd’s opposition and Wilson’s opinion, as well as the advice from county attorney Martin that at least one public hearing would have to be rescheduled, the Council voted to reset the meeting’s date. They also cancelled the November 7 Council meeting due to the elections that day.

November - The last meeting of Anderson County Council resulted in the startling disclosure that the County plans to withhold from the school system twice as much of the fees in lieu of taxes it collects as it did last year.

In a maneuver that District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson called “a sneaky, outrageous grab of funds,” an amendment to an existing general obligation bond which would allow the County to withhold an additional fifteen per cent of the fee in lieu of taxes generated by the  multi-county industrial and business park was proposed by County Administrator Joey Preston.

County Financial Analyst Gina Humphreys stated that the additional fifteen per cent withholding would generate $2 million for the County, with approximately seventy per cent of that coming from the schools.

“We’ll be taking it from one fund and putting it in another,” said Humphreys. “Without this, solid waste fees either have to go up or services have to be reduced.”

In a surprisingly quiet vote, Council voted 4-2 to give first reading approval to an ordinance that would abolish the County’s blue laws. Absolutely no discussion took place on the matter at all.

December - In an unexpected refusal to give second reading approval to the measure, County Council Tuesday night denied itself the increased percentage of fees in lieu of taxes (FILOT) revenues that had earlier been proposed.

Following a public hearing which saw not a single speaker in support of the ordinance, which would have allowed the County to withhold thirty per cent of the FILOTs instead of the current fifteen per cent, Council voted 3-3 on the measure.

Council members Wilson, Greer and Dees voted against the measure, while members Tolly, Thompson and McAbee voted for it. The tie vote in effect defeated the measure, much to the delight of the many educators and interested onlookers. Councilwoman Gracie Floyd was out of town on County business. She did however send a letter to be read asking the Council to delay the measure until 2007 to allow the schools time to adjust to the potential loss of revenues.

 In other business, second reading approval to abolish the County’s blue laws was given by a vote of 4-2 with Wilson and Greer opposed. Second reading approval was also given to an ordinance requiring those speaking before Council to disclose any persons whom they might be representing if they are doing so for compensation.

Chairman Larry Greer, who described Dees as “a dear friend whom I will miss terribly” read a resolution honoring Dees for his service to Anderson County. Among the many achievements listed in that resolution was Dees’ four years in the United States Navy, as well as his thirty year career with the City of Greenville Police Department.

During the last meeting of 2007,  Anderson County Council, Council members went into an unannounced executive session late in the meeting, and emerged to pass a resolution censuring District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson.

According to Wilson and other Council members, the impetus for the resolution to censure was her efforts to gather information about a certain county employee.

The employee in question has been the topic of considerable interest and speculation in recent months, since reportedly being present with County Administrator Joey Preston at a local lake, in what some witnesses have described as a compromising situation.

County Council Councilman Michael Thompson moved to amend  expunging several pages of verbatim text read into the record by Cindy Wilson at the last Council meeting. That material consisted of four disclosure forms Wilson had sent to County Administrator Joey Preston, concerning the disbursement of a lease buyout associated with the purchase of the old Kroger property for use as County offices. Wilson attempted a maneuver popularized by Chairman Larry Greer this year; by  voting for the prevailing side in order to be eligible to revisit the issue at a later time. Immediately after voting 6-1 to expunge the material, with McAbee honoring his promise to oppose, Greer reintroduced the question, and it was defeated by a 5-2 vote upon reconsideration, leaving Wilson with no further recourse.

West Pelzer to get website

By Stan Welch

If all goes according to plan, West Pelzer will have its own website up and running sometime in January, says Mayor Peggy Paxton.

“We won’t have it completed, but it will substantially be in place,” said the Mayor, who sees the website, westpelzer.com, as a means of promoting the town and increasing public participation in the town’s affairs.

“This site will let us showcase West Pelzer and let people everywhere know all the good things we have to offer,” said Paxton. “We can also let people know what we have coming up, what’s on our agendas for various meetings, we can post the minutes of past meetings. Eventually, we could even publish the town ordinances so people could check them without having to come to Town Hall.”

Atlantic Computers, of Williamston, is constructing the site for the town, a circumstance that Paxton considers lucky for a couple of reasons. “Danny Sutherland and Todd Phillips are both local guys who have really invested a lot of time and energy into this. They feel connected to the town and are really trying to make sure we have a great website. Plus, they’re working so cheaply on this.”

The website construction has begun, but gathering historical information and photos is time consuming, says Paxton. “Some of the history of the town is not easy to get hold of locally, so we’re working with the state archives to retrieve some of it. If any residents have any old photos, if they would bring them by Town Hall, we’d love to see if we can use any of them.”

According to Mayor Paxton, the possibilities are virtually endless. “We’ll have links to all the town’s businesses that we can link to. The other businesses, we’ll just include the basic contact information for them. We’re going to have a periodic message from senator O’Dell, and hope to do the same with Councilwoman Cindy Wilson. We’ll have links to various state agencies that the Town deals with. There’s just so many things we can do to really promote our town and to increase te participation of our citizens. I’m really excited about it.”

Williamston Council discusses fees, personnel and policies

By Stan Welch

Despite having only four items on the agenda for Monday night, December 17, the Williamston Town Council held a three hour meeting. Two hours of it were spent in executive session, reportedly discussing specific personnel matters, related to legal issues, as well as contractual matters.

The first agenda item involved Council giving second reading approval to a new rate structure for the rental of the various Town Hall facilities. For example, rental of the gymnasium normally costs $200. Now, if Town employees set up the gym for a function, an additional fifty dollar charge will be levied. For use of the entire facility, the current three hundred dollar fee will also increase by fifty dollar if set up is performed by Town employees.

Additionally, Councilman Carthel Crout suggested that a twenty five dollar charge be made for use of the conference room, “if somebody from outside wants to use it.” After considerable discussion over the criteria to be used in determining who should pay the fee, (not the Boy Scouts or Girl scouts, but anyone using the facility after business hours, but mostly those profit making entities ) the motion was changed to leave it to the discretion of the mayor or his designated representative. Any decision to waive the larger fees for the gym or other facility’s use remains the authority of full Council.

The Mayor also raised the question of wedding parties using champagne to toast at the wedding or reception. “I have been asked to raise this question by several people.” The issue was quickly settled by the town attorney’s opinion that the wedding party would need a one day ABC permit in order to do that. The town also has an existing prohibition against any use of alcohol on the premises.

The Mayor then recommended, and the Council approved moving the second agenda item, a scheduled work session with the Town’s labor attorney concerning the policy and procedure manual, and other town policies, to the end of the agenda where it could be discussed in executive session.

 

The South Carolina Freedom of Information Act would not seem to support such a closed door session concerning a public policy manual, but Mayor Clardy explained at the end of the two hour executive session, that specific employee issues had made it a legitimate use of the executive session privilege. “We received legal advice on two personnel matters. We also discussed the personnel policy manual, which involved specific employees. Our attorneys were satisfied that everything was done legally,” said Clardy.

Following their reconvening in open session, Council addressed  the third agenda item, voting unanimously to appropriate $17,500 for the purchase of two pumps for the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). A pump at the plant recently failed and a replacement had to be rented at a rate of $2000 per month. The cost of the repairs to the exisiting pump were so high that the decision was made to go ahead and replace it.The two pumps purchased meet the specifications for the pumps that will be installed as part of the plants pending upgrade. The cost quoted does not include installation, since there are still two options available concerning installation. That issue will be addressed at the January 7 meeting of the Town Council. The pumps won’t arrive for 4-6 weeks.

In the fourth agenda item, Council gave unanimous approval to a resolution acknowledging and requesting a previously made commitment by the Anderson County Transportation Committee to appropriate $143,000 for the resurfacing of  Academy Street. Councilman Scott had appeared before the ACTC earlier in the month and received a commitment for the funds  sometime early next year. Anderson County Transportation Director Holt Hopkins, citing a “somewhat incomplete application” asked that the Town pass such a resolution to make its intent clear.

Mayor Clardy asked that the Council also go ahead and approve a similar resolution seeking the repair and resurfacing of Main Street, which has suffered from the installation of a center turn lane by SCDOT several years ago. That installation moved the two travel lanes over existing drainage and sewer lines, causing significant settling and uneven road surfaces. The resolution passed unanimously.

In two non-agenda matters, Council also approved spending an additional $5,717.98 to cover the cost of renovations and work done in Brookdale Park. That amount was how much the costs exceeded a $20,000 PARD grant which was used to fund the project. The funds were to be taken from hospitality tax funds  which will become available for expenditure in January.

Council voted to make Chris Coleman a full time employee under Dale Martin, whom he has been working for part time. The change will result in an amendment to the busget, since the salary and benefits will be higher than the costs of the two part time employees, including Coleman, who had been used previously.

Piedmont considering streetscape plan

By Stan Welch

The Piedmont Fire Commission met last week with landscape architects to discuss possible plans to beautify Main Street. Several business people from the area were also on hand.

Hotel Hill, with its striking topography and the monuments established there, seemed to be the focal point of the proposal. Tip Pitts and Chris Thompson, of the LandArt Design Group, Inc. were on hand to offer their opinions and to receive input from the others. The two men design a variety of projects, but have designed and installed a number of streetscape projects in the Anderson County/Abbeville County area in recent years. They are currently working on a similar project in Williamston.

Grant writer and consultant  Rusty Burns was on hand to explain the various funding possibilities, including ISTEA grants, which can go as high as $200,000. “We may be able to access other funding sources as well, and speed the process up some,” said Burns, after Pitts explained that the first step was to formulate a grant plan and submit it, which would be followed by a 6-8 month wait.

One limitation of the ISTEA grants is that they must be spent on projects adjacent to a state right of way, which Main street is. Commissioner Bobby Stover pointed out that the area needs more parking, including bigger parking spaces as well as handicap parking. Commissioner Frankie Garrett hinted that he had promises of support if a veteran’s monument were to be included in the plan.

Commissioner Marsha Stokes was adamant about preserving the historic nature of the area and its role in the town’s past, as did Commission Chairman Ed Poore. Commissioner Al McAbee was unable to attend the midday gathering, which saw a quorum of the Commission present. The Commission, however, never convened as a body, and took no votes.

John Senn, branch manager of the Carolina First Bank, and Jean Weisner, owner of Permanent Impressions Hair Styles, both located on Main Street, were supportive of the ideas. “It’s time that we did something to br4ing more life to this part of town,” said Senn. Weisner, like the commissioners, liked the idea of burying the power lines in the area. “That would open this up so nicely, without all that clutter overhead,” said Weisner.

Thompson and Pitts will prepare a preliminary proposal for the Commission’s next meeting in January.

Seems to Me  . . .Playdoh

By Stan Welch 

As some of you may know, there is a new puppy at our house. Her name is Playdoh, a name she earned through a most unfortunate habit. No further explanation is offered, nor should one be expected.

She is a pretty little thing. Like her uncle Jerry Lee, she is an English Springer spaniel. My son and I chose to take a female when we decided to replace Jerry Lee, the greatest dog who ever lived. Jerry Lee died from kidney failure earlier this year, and Luke and I had been missing him very much. So had Ruger, our year old bulldog whom Jerry taught a myriad of bad habits to.

Ruger had gone off his feed, not refusing to eat, but eating much less than usual. He had become very demanding of affection in Jerry’s absence. And believe me, when a seventy pound bulldog wants affection and attention, they can get it!

Ruger is the first pit bulldog I’ve ever owned. I had a couple of boxers way back when I was younger, and I liked them fine. But Ruger is a pure blooded pit bulldog, and I, like many others, was wary of the breed. To be honest, I still am a little wary, but this bulldog has shown me a very different side than most people think of when they hear the words pit bull.

We chose not to cut his tail or bob his ears when we got him, largely because many people react to the look of a pit bull. If they react tensely, the dog in turn senses that, and situations arise that never should have. Besides, Ruger likes to wag his tail a lot, slapping us in the legs. It’s one of his gentler methods of asking for attention.

Anyway, when my sister’s Springer female had a litter of pups shortly after Jerry Lee died, she was kind enough to offer us one. We took the little female with more white than liver in her coat, and she turned out to be a real piece of work. She is head strong and stubborn and as wild as the wind. I sometimes think we should have named her Jerr –aldine.

When she isn’t aggravating the devil out of me, I love her to death. But she can spend three hours out in the yard, and within minutes of coming in the house – bam-playdoh! Then she gives you this look like “You’re not going to leave that are you?”

I was pretty worried about bringing such a young pup into the family of male animals that makes up our household. Ruger worried me because he had become very protective and jealous of my son and me since Jerry Lee died. I wasn’t sure how he would react to a new puppy, and his first response made my fears seem very real.

When I brought her home, he came right up to me. I cautiously extended the puppy towards him to sniff and he immediately went into full pit bull mode, lunging at her and snarling to beat the band. He wasn’t playing. Luckily, I was prepared and caught him between the eyes with a stiff right hand, as my left hand swung the puppy out of harm’s way. Man, that dog has a hard head! I thought I’d broken my hand.

Three days later, I tried to introduce them again. Again, he went straight for her, and again, I stopped him with my best Sunday punch. This was getting old, so I kept them apart for a couple of weeks, while he and I talked about the situation.

Finally, one Saturday, I got up and walked into the living room and right into Playdoh’s latest offering. My first thought can’t be printed here. My second thought was “Playdoh, seems to me it’s time you met Ruger.”

And I did, I took her out front and set her on the ground. Ruger came around the corner of the house and headed straight for her. I just watched, hoping I could save her if he really went after her. He is a powerful dog, weighing well over fifty pounds and with the broad jaws that make the breed so valued by cattle ranchers.

He trotted up to her and lowered his head to sniff her, and I swear, she jumped right on him and grabbed his ear with her teeth. He never batted an eye, and they have been friends ever since. She even goes into his dog house if she wants to, and eats from his bowl. He is dazzled wither and woe be to any passing dog that threatens her.

They run and romp and he’s eating better again and all is well at our house. Except she still spends three hours outside and comes in and  -bam! Let’s just say there are no plans to change her name.

Residents asked to conserve water

The Town of Williamston is in the process of instituting the Severe Drought Phase of its Drought Management Plan and Response Ordinance. This is due to the fact that the water level at Lake Hartwell is at 646’ above sea level. The Anderson Regional Joint Water System, from whom we purchase our water, can safely pump until the water level falls below 620’. The following is the second of three phases. Should the winter be unusually dry the Extreme Drought Phase would take effect on March 1st ,2008. However the Severe Drought phase begins Christmas Day but residents are asked for all practical matters to begin conservation immediately. Residents are also to repair any leaks that they may have at their home. Also, should you see a water leak along the streets of Town please notify Town Hall or the Police Department at (864)847-7425 immediately. Should you have any questions please contact Tim Hood or David Rogers at the Williamston Town Hall. The phone number is (864)847-7473. To see a list of ways that you can conserve water please log onto www.arjwater.com or call Town Hall.  Please note the following restrictions, which include both voluntary and mandatory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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