Anderson County Year in Review . . .

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The year 2014 saw many events and occurrences take place around Anderson County. Some were scheduled and some were spontaneous. The following is a summary of those events as covered by Journal reporter Stan Welch during the first six months of the year. The second six months will be summarized in the New Year  issue of The Journal Dec. 31.

By Stan Welch

JANUARY

Due to severe winter weather, the Anderson County Civic Center opened as a shelter during the first few days of the new year. Schools also operated on delayed schedules due to the icy weather.

For the second year in a row, a bid to make District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson the chairwoman of the Anderson County Council failed.

District Five Councilman Tommy Dunn was elected to his second term as chairman. District Four Councilman Tom Allen was elected as Vice Chairman.

Anderson County’s economic numbers continue to show positive gains according to a report released by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW). The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) report issued by SCDEW reported Anderson County’s December unemployment rate at 5.5%.

Due to increased demand for returnable packaging solutions, pack IQ, located in the Piercetown community, announced the expansion of its existing operations in Anderson County. The $2.1 million investment is expected to generate 50 new jobs. The expansion will include a complete shipping rack fabrication facility with powder coat paint and polyurea coating systems.

Years after Anderson County agreed to help the Powdersville area start building their wastewater system, the time came to pay the piper. Beginning in February, the approximately 350 sewer customers in the Powdersville area began paying almost two dollars more per month, per thousand gallons, for sewer service.

Derrick Singleton, Anderson County’s wastewater manager, explained that in the early 1980s, the County agreed to help a few potential customers start up a sewer treatment system. “There were never really any fees put in place,” said Singleton.

Approximately thirty years later, the county has fourteen pump stations and approximately thirty miles of sewer lines in place, and still receives no revenue from those customers.

United States Senator Lindsey Graham toured Williamston’s Walgreen’s Distribution Center. During the tour, Sen. Graham also spoke with The Journal about several issues, most notably the effort to investigate the events at Benghazi, Libya where American ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died on September 11, 2012.

FEBRUARY

Potential environmental threats posed by coal ash retention ponds at several Duke Energy generation facilities, including the Lee Steam Plant, have been in the news lately. But Duke officials confirmed that the planned $600 million upgrade of the Lee plant will address those issues.

Anderson County Council passed a resolution with the intent to offer tax and infrastructure incentives for Duke Energy. Economic Development Director Burriss Nelson told the Council that the Lee Steam Stationt, generates $2.64 million in annual ad valorem taxes. That amount will increase to $4.1 million in the first year of expanded operations. In addition, inclusion of the property in a multi-county industrial park will generate an additional $1.8 million, bringing the annual amount to $5.69 million.

The total economic impact on the local economy the first year will total $229 million. Five hundred construction workers will be involved in the project, and eventually 25 full time jobs at the power plant will be realized. Those jobs will pay in the thirty dollar an hour range.

John Luther Murphy, WM, 26, of Williamston, was arrested near Woodbine, Georgia, after a six-hour chase through the area’s marshes and woodlands, according to the Florida Times-Union. Murphy was wanted in connection with the February 1st Grand Larceny of a 2002 Honda Accord, which occurred at the Spinx Station on Highway 86 in Piedmont. Murphy was apprehended by Camden County Georgia deputies after he fled the scene where the stolen vehicle ran out of gas.

As winter storm Pax bore down on the Upstate, personnel from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, the Emergency Preparedness Department, municipal law enforcement, state agencies and civic and religious organizations gathered to coordinate and organize their efforts.

Taylor Jones, Director of the county’s Emergency Preparedness efforts, assembled a varied group of agencies to synchronize and organize the actions and reactions that will almost certainly be required as what appears to be a major winter storm moves across north Georgia and into Anderson County.

The storm proved to be all it was forecast to be; depositing heavy snow and ice across the area, causing many traffic accidents, school closings, government office closings, and power outages. Utilities workers put in long hours clearing lines and restoring power. The storm was one of the most powerful to hit the Upstate in many years.

Animal Control officers from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office seized 119 animals from the Golden-S Rescue in Easley during a follow-up investigation based on a tip that many animals were in unsanitary and dangerous conditions.

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office charged Joshua Logan Hoover, age 24, of Piedmont SC, with Attempted Murder, Discharging a Firearm into an Occupied Vehicle, and Possession of a Weapon during a Violent Crime in connection with an incident of road rage earlier in the month.

Anderson County Council approved major economic and infrastructure incentives related to Duke Energy’s intentions to upgrade the Lee Steam Station near Williamston. The company is considering plans to build and run a natural-gas-fired plant at the site which will include a $600 million investment.

As the company proceeds, the new plant will take up to 18 months to build and add an estimated 500 construction jobs. The plant will employ 25 people making an average of $30 per hour, a Duke Energy spokesperson said.

A magnitude 4.1 earthquake occurred near Edgefield, South Carolina at 10:23 PM on February 14. The earthquake was felt throughout South Carolina, including here in the greater Charleston area, and into Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. This is the largest earthquake in South Carolina since a magnitude 4.4 earthquake offshore from Edisto Island in 2002.

The explosive growth of the Powdersville area continues to be reflected in the insatiable demand for recreational opportunities and facilities in the area.

District Six County Councilman Ken Waters has been actively involved in determining what some of those needs are, as well as in securing funding for them. Waters has recently received the results and recommendations from a report put together by Alta Planning and Design, a company engaged to conduct a two day charette, or combination public forum/planning exercise.

The charette was focused on determining what the public wants in terms of recreation. Blake Sanders, who works for Alta, told The Journal that three basic scenarios had been developed from the information received, and that those scenarios would be focused and honed down to a single basic plan.

MARCH

Just a few days into the signing up period for the coming primary elections, the majority of incumbents on the Anderson County Council had declared for reelection. Probate judge Martha Newton, an incumbent facing a challenge by magistrate Dan Sharp changed her party affiliation to Republican.

Current Council Chairman Tommy Dunn, from District five, has signed up as has vice-chairman Ken Waters, from District Six. Councilmen Eddie Moore and Tom Allen, from Districts Three and Four, respectively, are also seeking to retain their seats. Councilwoman Gracie Floyd, from District Two, and the Council’s only Democrat, has also signed up. As of press time, the District One Council seat had drawn no official candidate.

The Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners took care of a good bit of housekeeping Monday night, awarding contracts for the next three years’ lawn maintenance and auditing services. They also approved a refinancing of one of the department’s fire trucks.

The lawn maintenance contract, set for three years, was awarded to Evans Landscaping from Simpsonville, for a cost of $750 per month. In the case of auditing services, the current contract holder, Love, Bailey and Associates lowered their bid by a thousand dollars a year, to $7500 for each of the next three years.

The Commission also approved a refinancing agreement with the local TD Bank. The $240,000 cost of the department’s 2010 pumper truck was originally financed at 5.15%, with an annual balloon payment of $35,952. At the new rate of 3.75%, the annual cost will drop to $34,788, for a savings

of $1164 a year.

A Pelzer man was among three people killed when an experimental plane crashed in Hartsville, South Carolina Saturday. Killed were Joseph Melton Loflin II, 29, of Pelzer; his father-in-law George Thomas Rogers, 61, of Society Hill and Leslie Bradshaw, 75, of Hartsville.

According to reports, Darlington Sheriff Wayne Byrd said the plane had taken off from Darlington County Airport and the men were likely trying to return there.

Convicted felon, former Anderson County Councilman, state school board member, and Ponzi scheme con artist Ron Wilson filed for a divorce from his wife of forty six years, according to media reports and documents filed in the Spartanburg Clerk of Court’s office.

Wilson, who is serving a term for two counts of mail fraud in connection with a fifty seven million dollar Ponzi scheme based on investments in silver bullion, claimed in his divorce filing that he and his wife Cassie, had lived “apart without cohabitation since November 13, 2012”, the year he entered a federal minimum security prison in Florida.

The efforts of Tallin Magruder, a 13-year-old student at Wren Middle School, were instrumental in locating a 72 year old man who had wandered off from his home Sunday afternoon and fallen into a gully.

Barry Thrasher , of Hunt Road, Easley, was reported missing around 3 p.m. on a Sunday. He was taking a routine walk around the area, according to Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Lt. Sheila Cole. Magruder, having climbed a tree, spotted Thrasher lying in a gully in the woods and flagged down Journal photographer David Rogers, who in turn contacted the Sheriff’s personnel and directed the helicopter to the site.

Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper enumerated a total of seventeen charges filed against Jared Michael Williams, WM, 32, of McAlister Road in Williamston, and his reported girlfriend Hope Kristian Phillips. WF, 19, of Blue Forest Lane in Greenville.

Williams was charged with the murders, by multiple gunshots, of Victor Vandegrift, Hank Eaton, and the murder of Wanda Anderson by a single gunshot. All three murders, as well as the attempted murder of Tara Hendricks, who escaped and summoned police from a nearby home.

Phillips, charged with three counts of accessory after the fact of murder, was charged with the death of Wanda Anderson because she in effect lured her into the house where she was shot. Phillips, along with Williams, then fled the Pelzer scene in Anderson’s truck, for which both were charged with grand larceny.

Williams subsequently attempted to car jack another vehicle from Janet Walker, WF, 56, at 112 Stephens Circle, but was unsuccessful. He eventually came upon Randy Cape at 707 Old Williamston Road, along with other employees of R.L. Tower Construction Company. They had come outside to see what all the sirens and noise were about when Williams approached, pointed a gun and demanded the keys to a company truck nearby. Williams then fled in the truck, with county deputies in pursuit.

Phillips had gotten out of the truck she and Williams originally fled in, and was apprehended alongside the road. She was taken into custody before Williams was apprehended. According to warrants provided by the ACSO public information office, Phillips provided a video and audio statement about the day’s events, as well as identifying Williams.

Williams was also charged with several counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. The gun used was a Smith and Wesson nine millimeter pistol. He also faces three charges of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, after firing at three different deputies during their attempts to apprehend him. He faces a charge of failure to stop for a blue light also.

Ed Poore, chairman of the Piedmont Public Service Commission announced his candidacy for the District 26 Greenville County Council seat recently vacated by the sudden death of Dan Rawls.

More than three months after a contentious decision to authorize county attorneys to pursue the appeal of the decisions rendered in the County’s case versus Joey Preston, the legal documents to move that appeal to the South Carolina Supreme Court were filed.

The appeal followed what many considered shocking and overreaching rulings by Judge Roger Couch in May of 2013. During that ruling Couch, who had been presented with the County’s case that several members of the Council which approved Preston’s $1.2 million severance package had received or were expecting financial benefit as a result of their votes, ruled that Councilman Waldrep and Councilwoman Wilson, the only two dissenting votes, instead had a conflict, due to other litigation with the county and with Preston.

APRIL

Unofficial results from a special primary election resulted in a runoff to determine the Republican nominee for the Greenville County Council District 26 seat.

Lynn Ballard, a former rural mail carrier, was the front runner of the four Republicans in the race with 304 votes of 625 votes cast, approximately 49 percent, just short of the required 50 percent plus one to win.

It wasn’t clear as who Ballard will face in the runoff. Todd Frederick and Ed Poore had just one vote difference, 120 to 119. The numbers did not include two “challenged ballots,” in which poll workers weren’t sure the voters were registered.

Anderson County Council announced Phase I of the 2013-14 Demolition Plan for Substandard Housing Properties . During the next four weeks, a total of 15 properties were razed.

The remarkable gains in jobs created in Anderson County in recent months continued in March, as well. In February according to statistics provided by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW), similar gains were made. The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) report issued by SCDEW measured Anderson County’s February2014 unemployment rate at 4.5%.

Agents of the S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) arrested a Williamston police officer in connection with an April 16 domestic incident in Anderson County. Christopher Shaw Whitfield, 30, was charged with Criminal Domestic Violence, a misdemeanor with penalties upon conviction of up to 30 days in jail or a fine of up to $2,500.

One obvious conclusion resulting from an informal gathering of Pelzer preservationists and county staff and officials was the realization that annexation will play a key role in future efforts to preserve and restore Pelzer and its history.

County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson, along with county administrator Rusty Burns and county economic development director Burris Nelson traveled to Pelzer to share ideas and tour the various locations. Larry Coker, Dianne Lollis and other members of the Pelzer Heritage Preservation Commission were on hand, as well.

Members of the Pelzer Heritage Commission and Pelzer Mills Property Board met with Anderson County officials to discuss possibilities and look over the Pelzer Mills Property. After recently acquiring the properties, members of both organizations have applied for grants for additional cleanup and are eventually hoping to develop parts of it into recreational and possible commercial use sometime in the future.

An administrative error by the County government led to that rarest of government actions – a tax rebate.Anderson County taxpayers will be receiving a 1.3 mill tax rebate on their next tax bill, said County Administrator Rusty Burns Tuesday.

“ In recent weeks, our finance department began to notice that tax revenues were well above what we had anticipated. Upon further investigation, the cause became apparent. I had failed to apply a one mill tax reduction that the Council approved earlier this year. It was a simple, though inexcusable oversight,” said Burns.

The Anderson County Council presented Tallin Magruder and his family with a resolution, recognizing his efforts in finding Barry Thrasher, seventy-two, who became lost in a wooded area near his home in the Powdersville/Easley area.

The Lewis siblings who were recently arrested in connection with thefts of animals from the Anderson County PAWS facility have been arrested in connection with a Pelzer burglary.

Kenneth, Randle, Cassidy and Taylor Lewis have been arrested and charged along with Cassidy Lewis’s (reported) boyfriend, Perry Jacob Sprayberry, age 20, of Piedmont. The gang of thieves broke into a storage building on Stewart Street in Pelzer and stole a welder valued at $250.

MAY

The handful of residents in the Ridgecrest subdivision faced serious problems related to the decrepit, outdated, and probably illegal wastewater system they use.

To call the leaking lagoon a waste water treatment system would be a hyperbole. The residents of the area met Tuesday night with a variety of DHEC and other agency’s representatives, but in the end the situation remains the same.

The previous owner of the lagoon died fairly recently, and his heirs, apparently knowing a headache when they see one, have refused to take ownership of the lagoon.

County Council put the final stamp of approval on the incentive package used to entice Duke Energy to upgrade the Lee Steam Plant. The project to convert the plant to a natural gas fired facility will create as many as 500 construction jobs and bring a capital investment of between six hundred and seven hundred million dollars.

With little discussion and no dissent, the Piedmont Public Service Commission gave unanimous final approval to the 2014 – 2015 budget.

The budget, which avoids any millage increase, also provided all full time employees with a one and a half per cent pay increase. That increase is largely negated by significant increases in health insurance costs, to be borne by all employees, regardless of the length of their tenure with the department.

Lynn Ballard won the Republican runoff election held May 13 and faced Democrat Windell Rodgers in a special election June 17 to decide who will represent District 26 on Greenville County Council for the remainder of the year.

Ballard defeated Todd Fredrick with 67 percent of the vote, or 343 votes to Fredrick’s 168 votes.

Senator Lindsey Graham spoke to the First Monday Club of Anderson, and his message was largely red meat.

Senator Graham pulled no punches, declaring America’s conflict with radical Islam a holy war, and one which we must win. He made it clear that a shift in political power in the Congress, and hopefully the White House, is the key to such victory

Molly Spearman, one of eight Republican candidates for state superintendent of education, was on hand at the Williamston Municipal Center Monday evening to meet the voters and explain her ideas about South Carolina’s educational system.

JUNE

The Town of Williamston was awarded a Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $445,000 to be used in upgrading sewer lines in the Pinecrest Circle area. The project is one that has been under consideration for some time, according to Williamston Mayor Mack Durham.

The Pelzer Rescue Squad acquired a piece of equipment that simply takes the problem of patient obesity or high weight out of play. The Stryker Power Load System is a device that mounts in the floor of an ambulance, and which extends out for attachment to the stretcher, which it then retrieves into the truck, with little physical demand on the personnel.

The Anderson County Council voted, at a special called meeting, to approve the budget for FY 2014-2105. The Council was divided, approving the budget by a bare minimum of 4-3. At issue were several matters involving the sheriff’s budget.

The Mill Town Players community theater group held a launch party and inaugural season announcement for the 2014-15 season at the Pelzer Auditorium .

The event included entertainment and refreshments and allow those interested to see the historic and beautifully redecorated auditorium, a spokesperson said. “The theater will be the showplace and pride of our area.”

The Mill Town Players are under the direction of award winning theater director Will Ragland.

In a runoff election more notable for the extremely low turnout than for the actual results, there were few surprises. Just over five per cent of registered voters in Anderson County turned out for runoff elections for three nominations. Both parties experienced runoffs for the office of state superintendent of education while the Republicans settled the question of who will be lieutenant governor in January.

The Anderson County Council concluded their budget preparations in a special called meeting. The Council also voted to settle two minor lawsuits, after receiving legal advice on the lawsuits that have been pending for almost five years now.

The two lawsuits, both brought by Easley attorney Candy Kern Fuller on behalf of selected clients, Erick Bradshaw and Patricia Jones, were filed before the county began legal efforts in 2009 to recoup the severance package former County Administrator Joey Preston received. The Council approved a settlement of $2500 in each case.

After almost four hours of debate, discussion, and outright disputation, which saw one Councilman walk out of the meeting, the members of the West Pelzer Town Council who stuck it out voted 3-0 to give first reading approval to a budget that included a number of cuts, and raised the millage by three mills. Based on the valuation of the property within the town, a mill generates approximately $1600 in revenue per year.

MetroConnects (Metro) announced that the main line construction phase of the full-scale rehabilitation of the Piedmont Sewer System was almost complete. This is the first phase in a two phase project to replace an aging and badly deteriorated sewer system.

Construction on the project began in January 2012 after Metro was able to secure $7.9 million of necessary funding from the South Carolina Clean Water State’s Revolving Fund (CWSRF). Phase I construction has consisted of replacing 58,993 feet, just over 11 miles, of main line gravity sewer.

Both United States Senators easily won their primaries in June, with Sen. Tim Scott winning an amazing ninety per cent of the vote. Political newcomers Jonathon Hill and Mitchell Cole upset incumbents in their races for the State House of Representatives and County Council, respectively.

Hill upset Don Bowen, while Cole defeated Eddie Moore for the District Three Council seat. Neither candidate faced Democratic opposition in the general election. All other incumbents either ran unopposed or won their primaries.

Governor Nikki Haley’s return to the Anderson area drew a standing room only crowd to the Anderson YMCA Monday. Speaking to the First Monday Club, she wasted little time in stating her theme, which is that the American dream is alive and well in the Palmetto State.

We hope you have enjoyed this look back at the first half of 2014. News and events for July through December will be in the New Year’s edition of The Journal next week.

Stan’s Anderson County Year in Review 2014 Part 2 July through December. We hope you enjoy it and look forward to keeping you up on the news around the county in 2015!

JULY

Anderson Regional Joint Water System users were asked to conserve water because of a problem with its water intake at Lake Hartwell. Because of a burst pipe, there was no water coming into the water treatment plant.

Several Anderson county fire departments assisted the city fire department in shuttling water to the main campus and the north campus of AnMed to keep the air condition chillers running.

The Anderson County Courthouse and the Anderson County Magistrates Court along with many Anderson restaurants and businesses were forced to close due to lack of water.

After five years as Anderson County’s attorney, Michael Pitts turned the job over in order to become the lead attorney for the City of Greenville. His replacement, Leon Harmon, is a Wren High School graduate and a Clemson honor grad with a degree in chemical engineering. He graduated from Emory Law School in Atlanta.

A Piedmont man was awoken by his alarm and heard someone inside his home at Reedy Drive. The victim told deputies the burglar ran outside while carrying two compound bows and a rifle. The homeowner fired six shots at the man as he was running away, but did not know if he hit the thief.

Anderson County Council recognized Lanie Hudson who was chosen as Miss South Carolina on June 28th. Anderson County teenager Hope Havard was recognized for winning the Miss SC Teen competition. Hope Harvard is a rising junior at Powdersville High school.

Council gave first reading approval to a request for rezoning of the property at the corner of Reed Avenue and Greenville Street (Hwy. 81). If ultimately approved, the zoning change would allow construction of a forty one thousand square foot facility currently described as a neighborhood grocery store.

Council also took steps to counter the effects of a recent ruling by the state Supreme Court which essentially gutted the Freedom of Information Act requirements concerning the amending of agendas for public bodies.

A public hearing prior to the West Pelzer Town Council meeting drew a standing room only crowd and became quite heated. Most of the crowd expressed that they wanted a full time police department and were willing to pay for it.

A Powdersville man returned home from a night out on July 3, only to encounter an armed intruder in the house. In the ensuing gun fight, the intruder was killed and the resident, who is confined to a wheelchair, was wounded.

Orlandous Brown returned to his residence at Woodhaven Court and discovered Darrin Marquez Lowe inside. Shots were exchanged and Lowe was killed.

Officials said the man who died was shot multiple times. Brown was wounded and was transported by Pelzer EMS to the hospital and later underwent surgery. He is expected to recover.

AUGUST

The fourth annual Faith and Freedom BBQ, hosted by District 3 Congressman Jeff Duncan, took place at the Anderson Civic Center. Joining Congressman Duncan were GOP political heavyweights Governor Nikki Haley; United States Senators Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio, from Florida; as well as assorted state and local luminaries. Approximately two dozen protestors, who obviously disapproved of Senator Rubio’s position on immigration and amnesty, were also present.

The proposed Slabtown Convenience Center would soon begin construction. The projected cost is $1.047 million. Located on seventeen acres of land adjacent to the Three and Twenty Fire Department substation on Pickens Drive, the new facility will have three compactors for trash and a separate one for recyclables.

Faced with an almost complete lack of available industrial buildings for use in its economic development efforts, Anderson County Council approved the purchase of twenty acres of land in the Alliance Park, and the construction of a speculative industrial building on the site. The projected cost for the project is approximately $3million, with $400,000 coming from the private sector, and the remainder in the form of a loan from Santee Cooper, at an interest rate of two per cent

While serving an outstanding arrest warrant in West Pelzer , West Pelzer and Williamston Police officers discovered a brick of packaged marijuana inside a home at 199 Mill St. in West Pelzer. The marijuana weighed approximately 501 grams or one pound. After obtaining a search warrant, several smaller quantities of packaged marijuana and other paraphernalia were located in the residence as well.

Anderson County Council recognized Wren High Junior Tommi Rae Fowler, after she received national attention for her culinary skills, on the Food Networks’ “Chopped” teen competition.

US Attorney Bill Nettles announced a new indictment of Ponzi scheme architect and federal convict Ron Wilson, his wife and his brother. Wilson was indicted on two new charges; conspiracy to obstruct justice and giving false statements to federal agents. According to the indictment, Wilson gave his brother Timothy L. Wilson and wife Cassandra Wilson ammunition canisters filled with gold and silver coins and additional currency.

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a Pelzer man in connection with a string of burglaries that occurred in the Easely/Powdersville area . Stephen Anthony Laughter was charged with nine different arrest warrants after a foot pursuit in which he ran through briars and thorny bushes resulting in numerous scrapes and scratches for the suspect.

SEPTEMBER

Oconee County law enforcement began an investigation into the untimely death of Tucker W. Hipps, whose body was found in Lake Hartwell. Hipps was a 2013 graduate of Wren High School where he was on the Principal’s List and a member of the football team.

Hipps’ body was found in the lake between the two SC 93 (Pendleton Road) bridges which span Seneca River (Lake Hartwell) from Oconee County to Pickens County. Hipps had been reported missing Monday afternoon. His body was found by Clemson University campus police at 3 p.m. Monday.

Two Williamston men were among nine individuals arrested who were involved in a “Crime Ring” which committed offenses in the Belton/Honea Path area during July and August.

According to investigators assigned to the case, the suspects were involved in at least 14 separate criminal incidents and netted over $43,000 in stolen goods. The suspects all knew each other, hung out together, and looked for “targets of opportunity” to support their illegal drug habit, investigators said.

County Council began consideration of two proposals to increase parking and pedestrian access to the new East West Parkway. One would involve the simple placement of parking spaces in an existing defunct roadbed at the intersection of the Parkway and King’s Road. That approach would require no cooperation from Duke Energy, which owns the surrounding land, and would cost approximately $30,000.

A more extensive proposal, could involve the construction of a park adjacent to the roadbed.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) along with S & S Construction, Inc. of Anderson began improvements to the intersection of SC-8 with East Church Road, St. Paul Road and Three and Twenty Road.

There were two home invasions in the Powdersville area. Roe Road homeowner, Steven Duncan, was asleep on the couch and was awakened by a white male with no shirt.  The homeowner did not know this individual and called him out.   The unknown male then fired one shot, striking the home owner in the arm and immediately fled the scene. 

In the second incident on River Road Circle, the homeowner, Ronald Messer, reported he was asleep on the couch and was awakened by unknown suspects wearing all black and demanding drugs. Messer told the suspects that he didn’t have any drugs and offered the money he had in his pockets.  The suspects took his money and tied him up. 

They then went to the bedroom and asked the spouse about the drugs and when suspects realized that the two didn’t have any knowledge regarding drugs, the spouse was tied-up and the suspects fled.

Anderson County Sheriff’s Office arrested Brian Emanuel Sims, in connection with an incident on Santee Drive in which Simss reportedly fired one round from a semi-automatic handgun into the hood of his girlfriends vehicle, narrowly missing her.

Council also recognized area residents Joe Barr and Teresa Morgan for their efforts in securing the South Carolina District’s annual convention of the Goldwing Road Riders’ Association (GWRRA). Barr is the director of the Williamston Rescue Squad, and Morgan is a member of the County EMZ Board.

A Powdersville woman faced two counts of DUI of a boat resulting in death after a Labor Day weekend accident. Dawn Bagwell Thompson, of Easley, was charged after the deck boat she was operating overturned and sank on Lake Hartwell. Christian

Henderson, 9, of Belton, and Timothy Dragoo, 5 months old, of Greer, died in the incident. There were seven adults and five children on board the 19-foot boat when it sank near Apple Island.

A joint meeting of the Anderson County Council and the Anderson County Legislative Delegation was held to give the Council, or at least some members of it, a chance to gripe about the level of state funding the County is receiving; while also giving the delegation the chance to essentially remind the Council that times are hard, and they are lucky to be getting as much as they ar

OCTOBER

The Anderson County Council finally removed the ‘interim’ from county administrator Rusty Burns’ title, ending a stretch of approximately five years during which the issue, which really wasn’t much of an issue, persisted. Council also passed a resolution asking that the General Assembly comply with the laws establishing aid to political subdivisions. The laws determine how much of the taxes sent by the counties to the state are returned. There is a set formula, but during the recent economic difficulties, the General Assembly has withheld more than the law allows, at least according to the County.

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team was called to a house near Williamston after a man refused an attempt by deputies to serve a detention order. According to reports, Sheriff’s Deputies went to the home on Cherokee Rd. to serve the order, which required the 42-year-old man to have a mental exam. Because the man refused to cooperate and deputies knew there were firearms in the house, a negotiator was brought in and attempted to talk with the him for about two hours. The SWAT team arrived several hours later. Capt. Darrell Hill said the man was still resistant and was tazed by deputies.

Chief Mike Clardy of West Pelzer and Chief Tony Taylor, of Williamston were the targets of interest at a dunk tank fund raiser in October.

Chief Clardy came up with the idea, as well as several other ways to raise funds for the family of Christopher Browning, a ten year old student at Cedar Grove. Christopher, a third grader, was diagnosed with prenatal heart problems that have required three open heart surgeries already in his short life. Complications from the last surgery have left Christopher in need of a transplant.

Duke Energy announced that the company plans to excavate a portion of coal ash at the W.S. Lee Steam Station while it continues engineering work on the rest of the site.

The 370-megawatt W.S. Lee Steam Station began operating in 1951 and currently manages ash in two active ash basins, referred to as the primary and secondary basins. The site also has an inactive ash basin constructed in the 1950s, a structural fill and an ash fill.

The plant is scheduled for a $600 million project to convert the coal generation plant to gas fired turbines. The project is expected to begin in early 2016 and will create 500 construction jobs.

County, state, federal and company officials were on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony for Chomarat North America’s third Anderson county facility. The facility is located in the Alliance Industrial Park , within sight of the Walgreen’s facility.

Chomarat is a French company with multiple locations across the globe, but it has clearly made a strong commitment to the Anderson area. The company first located here in 1986 and now has three facilities, engaged in various aspects of the company’s varied production efforts.

The White Plains Crime Watch group had visitors at their meeting. Three members of the Anderson Area Crime Stoppers were on hand to share information; and to encourage the White Plains group, as well as the general public, to join in the Walk With The Cops fundraiser .

NOVEMBER

Anderson County’s employment picture continued to improve, according to numbers released by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

Thirteen hundred more Anderson residents were employed this October than were in October of last year. The county enjoyed the sixth lowest unemployment rate in the state, well below the statewide average of 6.7%. Since 2010, more than 9000 residents of Anderson have found jobs.

County Council voted to accept a settlement offer from the Greenville & Western Railroad stemming from the closing of Lewis Drive in the Cheddar area several years ago.

The Anderson County Transportation Committee voted to hire its own engineers to prioritize, plan and oversee the road projects that it funds in Anderson County.

Two relatives of convicted Ponzi schemer Ron Wilson pled guilty Thursday to federal obstruction charges after misleading investigators about hidden assets related to the investigation of Atlantic Bullion and Coin.

Wilson’s estranged wife, Cassandra Kendall Wilson, age 66, of Woodruff and brother Timothy L. Wilson, age 60, of Martin, Tennessee, both pled guilty Thursday in federal court in Greenville, to conspiracy to obstruct justice.

In an election year with very little drama at the local and state levels, South Carolina nevertheless led the way in the Republican wave that swept from the east coast to the west, making history along the way.

Governor Nikki Haley’s historic re-election as the state’s first woman governor was announced within minutes of the closing of the polls, followed quickly by the announcement of Senator Tim Scott’s unprecedented election as the first black United States Senator in the historic South since the end of Reconstruction.

He was appointed by Governor Haley in 2012 to fill Jim DeMint’s term. Scott, South Carolina’s first black senator, won an impressive 61% of the vote to claim the seat for his own.

Senator Lindsey Graham also won impressively, gathering more than fifty per cent of the vote in a crowded field, and avoiding a runoff.

Republicans demonstrated remarkable strength across the board, with Congressmen Jeff Duncan and Trey Gowdy winning easily, while the entire Anderson County delegation was returned to Columbia, and the County Council also remained intact except for Eddie Moore, who lost to Mitchell Cole in the primary.

The West Pelzer Municipal Election Commission was brought back up to full strength, as Pat Black and Pat Alexander were sworn in by Chairman Jerry “Pete” Riddle.

Members of the Pelzer Heritage Commission met with Anderson County officials and Brownfields Cleanup consultants about grants, cleanup possibilities and future use of the old Pelzer Mill landfill properties.

DECEMBER

Senator Kevin Bryant hosted a series of “Firehouse Chats” to update the constituents and taxpayers of Anderson County on a number of issues facing South Carolina.

Ron Wilson’s relatives, Cassandra Kendall Wilson, of Woodruff and Timothy L. Wilson, of Martin, Tennessee, were sentenced in federal court in Greenville to home confinement for their involvement in a conspiracy to obstruct justice. They were convicted for their part in trying to hide almost a quarter million dollars from the authorities.

Officials with Duke Energy announced that they are planning to excavate 3.2 million tons of coal ash currently on the property of the Lee Steam Station near Williamston.

Duke Energy submitted filings to state regulators this week outlining the excavation plans. According to a new release, the company has selected Waste Management to excavate and transport ash from the inactive basin and ash fill area to a fully lined solid waste landfill in Homer, Ga., operated by Waste Management. Trucks will haul the ash because the landfill has no rail access.

Senator Billy O’Dell added to a long list of awards received as a legislator when the South Carolina Farm Bureau honored him with one of its two Legislator of the Year awards. O’Dell was recognized for his support of agriculture in South Carolina and his efforts “to help agriculture survive and thrive in South Carolina”.

Ronnie Gene Wilson, now residing in the Coleman Federal Corrections Institution in Sumterville, Florida, was sentenced in federal court in Greenville for his involvement in a conspiracy to obstruct justice. United States District Judge J. Michelle Childs of Greenville imposed a six-month sentence to be served in addition to the 235 months Wilson is now serving for defrauding almost 800 investors.

The Anderson County Legislative Delegation met last Friday in their annual winter meeting, and awarded several recreation grants to various organizations and municipalities.

Both Williamston and West Pelzer received $5000 grants for use in improving their playground facilities. The towns of Belton and Honea Path received similar grants as well.

A Williamston man faced charges after the vehicle he was driving struck a pedestrian on Anderson Drive in Williamston and then left the scene.

Jon Ross Daughenbaugh was arrested and charged with driving under the influence after an investigation by the SCHP,

Williamston police department and SCHP MAIT . Daughenbaugh was driving a Ford F-250 on Anderson Drive when he struck Jackie Lee Blanding, just before 2 a.m. on Dec. 5. and then left the scene.