Looking back at 2014 . . . Williamston, Pelzer, West Pelzer, Piedmont, Powdersville

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By David Meade/Stan Welch

The Williamston, Pelzer and Piedmont area saw a number of new events and cultural activities develop during the year and other interesting happenings that made the news. Here is a look back at the first half of the year:

Jan. 1, 2014 – Williamston Police Officers investigated at least 10 car break-ins in the Woodmere Court Royal Drive and Ridge Ct. area of town during the first week of January. There were also two vehicles stolen during the period, both of which were recovered.

Jan. 8 – The Pelzer Heritage Commission held a public meeting at the Pelzer Community Building to present information and receive public input for a $400,000 grant for cleanup of the Pelzer Mill Property.

During their first meeting of the New Year, Williamston Town Council again postponed taking action on a request for a shed at the Gray Drive Park, tooks steps to annex the new Family Dollar property into the town and approved a resolution honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by designating a heavily traveled street in his honor.

Caroline Alex, Executive Director of the town’s new Main St. Program, reported that the program’s National Directors will soon have recommendations for a mission statement and first year plan for the town. The recommendations will come from input gathered during the two day Baseline Assessment held in December.

Jan 15 – The Piedmont Public Service Commission held an emergency meeting to consider bids for a new HVAC for the main fire station.  The old unit, which was over two decades old, went out leaving the day room and bunk room without heat.

Approximately 350 sewer customers in the Powdersville area found out they will pay almost $2 more per month, per thousand gallons, for sewer service.

 

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies and SLED officers investigated a shooting incident in Piedmont in which Billy Joe Crane, 27 suffered a non-life threatening wound when he was shot by a sheriff’s deputy during an incident.

Approximately 25 people attended a public meeting to hear about a Brownfields Cleanup Grant being applied for to help with cleanup of the old Pelzer Mill trash dump located on Parker St and Frost St. in Pelzer.

During their first meeting of the year, Pelzer Town Council members were administered the oath of office which wes followed by an update on a proposal by Greenville Water.

A professional architect with The Main Street SC team from Columbia was in Williamston evaluating the town.

Jan. 22 – Greater Williamston Business Association (GWBA) members discussed a business alert system, plans for a membership drive as well as Main St. Williamston and other programs.

Sharon Lothridge, a nurse supervisor for Greenville County Schools, earned the Dee Dee Chewning award for outstanding administrative leadership by South Carolina DHEC and the State Department of Education.

The Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners retained all sitting officers and committee assignments. Chairman Ed Poore and Vice Chairman Rudy Rhodes were both reelected. The Commission reviewed bids received for paving the community building parking lot and awarded King Asphalt the contract as low bidder.

Pelzer town workers and West Utilities worked into the night to repair a break in an 8 inch water main on Orr St. Pelzer residents in the upper mill village area were advised to boil their water for drinking or cooking for several days.

Jan. 29 – The Palmetto Area Cultural Arts Center (PACAC) kicked off fundraising effort including a Founder’s donation of $1,000. Members were also woking on the National Guard Armory building to transform it into a multi-use location for various art disciplines and for educational and community events.

A winter snow storm blanked the area with 1 to 2 inches of snow and ice which closed schools, businesses and government offices while creating hazardous conditions for motorists. The South Carolina Highway Patrol responded to 1240 incidents related to the weather event.

Feb. 5 – The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees meeting was postponed two days due to the inclement weather. The Board approved a reissue of bonds, approved a resolution of support for a local option sales tax, approved the 2014-15 school calendar and renewed a contract for Superintendent David Havird for the 2014-15 school year.

Approximately 30 people attended a community crime watch meeting hosted Tuesday by the Williamston Police Department and Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. Many of those attending have been victims of a recent rash of car thefts and burglaries in and around Williamston.

While no official announcement had been made and local officials remain silent on whether a Walmart is planning to locate a store in Williamston, a website that caters to builders, contractors and others in the construction and building industry confirmed that bidding for a project may be possible in February or March of 2014. Location for the project on East Greenville Drive and Roberts Blvd. matches the address for property that was recently annexed by the town and zoned for commercial use.

Powdersville firefighters Brandon Herrington and Eddie Workman were presented the Anderson County Fire Department Courage & Life Saving Award for a rescue which saved a life during a structure fire in 2013.

As part of Black History Month in Feburary, the Town of Williamston and The Journal highlighted several local African Americans who have had an impact on the community. Williamston Ward 1 Councilman Tony Hagood spearheaded the project.

Honorees included Gladys Washington Henry (109 years old), Milton Owens, Dr. Harold Mackey and wife Bobbie and Roosevelt Thompson.

Feb. 12 – As winter storm Pax approached the Upstate, emergency preparedness personnel began to coordinate and organize efforts.

Anderson School District One teachers and students were using new IPads and related apps for both learning in the classroom and for training teachers. The District had obtained 356 IPads and approximately 200 teachers were already using the new technology in the classroom.

Feb. 19 – Members of the Greater Williamston Business Association (GWBA) heard an update on a phone text and email alert system, their membership drive and other town related information.

Williamston Town Councilman Rockey Burgess provided a brief response from the state ethics commission which stated that a property transaction in close proximity to a rumored major retail development appeared to be righteous and ethical.

The Anderson County School Board of Education voted to support a proposal for a new one cent sales tax which would be used for school security, capital improvements for all five school districts and a reduction in property taxes. County Board Member Dale Martin cast the only dissenting vote.

All five school districts, including District One, had already passed resolutions in support of the tax increase.

The sudden death of Greenville County Councilman Dan Rawls shocked and saddened the Piedmont community. In addition to serving on County Council, Rawls served on a variety of other government, professional and civic organizations.

Bobby Higgins, longtime member of the Piedmont Fire Department and member of the Public Service Commission, lost a long battle with cancer.

Feb. 19 – Members of the Greater Williamston Business Association heard an update on a phone text and email alert system, their membership drive and other town related information. The group partenred with the Williamston Police Department on the Nixle phone text alert system which provides innovative technology which uses real time messaging for public alerting and private messaging.

Feb. 26 – Animal Control officers from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office seized 119 animals from the Golden-S Rescue in Easley. The owner was cited for one count of Ill Treatment of Animals and one count of Improper Burial.

Pelzer Town Council addressed town elections and problems with littering and mischief on property along the river. Council agreed to request the Anderson County Election Board take over running town elections in future.

Anderson School District One was presented a $25,000 check from Bosch to be used in a program designed to encourage students to pursue science and engineering. The funds will be used for the purchase of STEM kits.

The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees heard a presentation on the benefits of digital learning before deciding to move ahead with a $7 million bond issue to purchase iPads for every student in the district along with related software and training that will be necessary. Approximately $6 million of the bond issue will fund a mobile device initiative that will bring 7000 new mobile devices and related wireless upgrades, software and instruction to District One. $3.9 million of that will go to purchase iPads for every student in grades 3-12;

Williamston Town Council met for an informal work session covering a variety of topics including a town ordinance requiring three signatures on any checks issued by the Town.

Mar. 5 – After 52 years of working as the Parks and Recreation Director for the Town of Williamston, Dale Martin is retiring. During that time he worked under five different mayors and helped build Williamston’s recreation program from non-existent into one of the best around.

The Town of Williamston was approved for a $100,000 PRT grant for a multi use trail project. The grant is the first trails grant awarded in Anderson County.

Williamston Town Council approved a property annexation, agreed to lease the armory for an arts center and entertained funding requests for various events. Persons attending the council meeting were treated to art-in-progress displays and string music prior to the meeting. The exhibit in the halls of the Williamston Municipal Center was presented by the newly formed Palmetto Cultural Arts Center organization.

Boyd Green presented information on five year revenue projections from the establishment of the cultural arts center in Williamston.

A suspect is in custody after three people were killed in a shooting at a home in Pelzer around 2:45 pm Wednesday.

Jared Michael Williams, of Williamston, was arrested for shooting and killing three people at a home in Pelzer. A fourth victim, Tara Hendricks, was injured but managed to exit the house and go to a neighbor for help.

Victims were Wanda Anderson, 40, of Pelzer, Victor Vandegrift, 48, of Columbia, and Hank Eaton, 32, of Pelzer.

Mar. 12 – The S.C. Supreme Court officially disbarred Williamston attorney Philip Earle Williams from practicing law after an investigation showed he was taking money from client estates. According to the disbarment agreement by the Supreme Court, Williams violated 13 different rules of Professional Conduct in addition to other actions taken after he was placed on interim suspension on Mar. 15, 2013.

According to the Supreme Court document, Williams had 30 days to enter into a restitution plan with the Commission on Lawyer Conduct to pay restitution of $344,000 to nine individuals and entities.

Senator Billy O’Dell was honored by the American Legion Department of South Carolina as one of the Outstanding Legislators of the Year for 2014.

A thirteen year old Wren Middle School student Tallin Magruder helped rescuers find a 72-year-old man who wandered from his home in the Hunt Road, Easley area. Magruder climbed a tree and spotted him in a heavily wooded area where even the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office helicopter could not see him.

Jared Michael Williams faced a total of twenty criminal charges, most in connection with a triple homicide killing spree in Pelzer.

For the fourth year, the Olde Timers Textile Athletes held their reunion at Piedmont Community Building.

West Pelzer Police Chief Mike Clardy and Town Councilman Jimmy Jeanes had words in a meeting as Clardy defended his department and its policies after Jeanes questioned the practice of stopping vehicles outside the town limits.

West Pelzer Town Council approved spending up to $1700 to buy and install a thirty foot flag pole at the entrance to the Chapman Park.

Dallas Mahaffey, ten year old son of West Pelzer firefighter Dale Mahaffey, raised suspicions about activity in his neighborhood that led to the arrests of two suspected burglars.

The Pelzer Heritage Commission and the Pelzer Mills Property LLC board met with the Executive Director of The Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, Michael Bedenbaugh, to receive information about having properties placed on the State and National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Anderson School District One and Two Career and Technology Center Board named Holli Harrell the center’s new Director. Harrell, who was the Assistant Director, replaced retiring CTC Director Dr. Jere Kirkley for the 2014-15 school year.

Mar. 19 – Williamston’s new economic development and revitalization program, Main Street Williamston, took a big step toward becoming a working organization when approximately 30 members of the program’s four committees met for a two hour training session at Town Hall

The Piedmont Public Service Commission approved a refinancing agreement with 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. The new rate of 3.75%, dropped the annual cost to $34,788, for a savings of $1164 a year. There are eight years left on the loan.

Mar. 26 – The South Carolina Ethics Commission ruled that former Williamston Administrator Phyllis Lollis was in violation of one count of the Ethics Reform Act related to a complaint filed against her in 2012.

According to the decision Lollis was in violation for authorizing an increase in compensation to her son, Kenneth Lollis, a Williamston police officer who was attending training with the SC Criminal Justice Academy in Columbia.

The 11th Annual Battle of Anderson County was held just outside Honea Path. The living history encampment commemorates the last skirmish of the War Between the States East of the Mississippi, a skirmish which took place in what was then the Williamston Township near Shiloh Methodist Church in Piedmont.

Gladys Henry, of Williamston, celebrated her 110th birthday. Henry was born on March 22, 1904.

The main topic of discussion at the Pelzer Town Council meeting was crime and what to do about it. Just a week earlier, three people were fatally shot in a house less than a few hundred yards from the Pelzer Town Hall building. Councilmember Cheryl Boudreau reminded everyone that a newly formed Crimewatch group had begun meeting in Pelzer and that the community needed to become more involved.

In District One Superintendent David Havird’s report to the Anderson District One School Board he expounded on recent changes implemented as a result of Governor Nikki Haley’s proposed modifications to the state’s educational efforts. Haley proposed significant changes earlier this year, including major reallocations of funds for technological and infrastructure improvements for the state’s impoverished counties and school districts.

Major funding adjustments were proposed in such programs as those targeting at risk children. Also targeted for additional funding are programs for gifted children. The rub comes in relation to the formula for determining the redistribution of funds.

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

Anderson County Council District Six representative Ken Waters was actively involved in determining recreational and facility needs in the Powdersville area. Alta Planning and design conducted a two day charette to help with recommendations.

Apr. 2 – Retired Major League Baseball player Rusty Tillman, who played for the Oakland Athletics and New York Mets, relocated to the Williamston area where he plans to teach aspiring baseball players how to play the game, on a higher level.

Apr. 9 – Siblings Kenneth, Randle, Cassidy and Taylor Lewis were arrested in connection with thefts of animals from the Anderson County PAWS facility. A week later, the Lewis siblings, along with Perry Jacob Sprayberry of Piedmont were arrested after they broke into a storage building on Stewart Street in Pelzer and stole a welder valued at $250.

Williamston Town Council entertained funding for several entertainment and tourism related events including the Spring Water Festival, Party in the Park and a branding charette.

Apr. 16 – The Pelzer Heritage Committee sponsored a Springfest Gospel Singing at the Pelzer Auditorium.

The Palmetto Farmers Market kicked off their second season in Mineral Spring Park

Pelzer Town Council members heard an update on the annexation progress of seven pieces of property and plans to annex Town Hall, the Gym, and the mill properites were not located in the physical limits of the town.

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees held a worksession as they began the budgeting process for the 2014-15 school year. Superintendent David Havird presented “very preliminary” information and told the Board they may have to consider using some of the fund balance money to cover the difference.

A request by the Greater Williamston Business Association (GWBA) for additional funding from Williamston Town Council to expand their “Party in the Park” series failed with a split 2-2 vote. Council also declined to increase funding for the Spring Water Festival.

GWBA President Chris Trotter began a campaign to make council aware that there is a lot of local support for the events. GWBA members and the public were encouraged to show their support, which they did.

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. Both organizations have applied for grants for additional cleanup and are eventually hoping to develop parts of it into recreational and possible commercial use.

Apr. 23 – West Pelzer Town Councilman Johnny Rogers is chairing the formation of a West Pelzer Crime Watch Group.

The South Carolina Department of Education Gold and Silver awards named ten of fourteen schools in Anderson School District One Gold for academic performance. Three received a Silver award for closing the achievement gap.

Wren High School was among five percent of schools in the state to make Gold on both academic performance and closing the gap

In Greenville County, twelve high schools, nine middle schools, 31 elementary schools, and three career centers earned state recognition for their academic performance and/or closing achievement gaps.

Woodmont High received a Gold for General Performance; Ralph Chandler Middle received Gold for General Performance and Woodmont Middle Silver for Closing the Gap.

Main Street Williamston sponsored a Branding and Marketing Workshop for the Town. The “branding charette” was the biggest project yet for the new Main Street Program and input from the two day session was to be used to develop an “image” that will be key in future revitalization efforts.

During a budget worksession, Williamston Town Council discussed limb and leaf pickup schedules and possible changes in the Municipal Court. There was also some discussion about paving and use of hospitality tax funds.

Apr. 30 – The Piercetown Fire Department Rescue 13 response truck was struck by a vehicle while working an accident on I-85. Two people were injured

Anderson School District One Superintendent David Havird spoke to approximately 260 people at an informational meeting held on a Sunday evening at New Hope Baptist Church.

The meeting was open to persons in the community concerned about a decision by the school district not to hold the baccalaureate service at Palmetto High School.

Havird said that after evaluating the legalities of the issue and receiving legal advice from attorneys in Columbia, the decision was made to have a local church or churches organize the annual service for graduating seniors.

The issue was addressed again during the regular meeting of the District One School Board. The district released a statement which explained the legal issue and confirmed that any group wishing to use a school facility for such a purpose can submit an application under the appropriate board policy.

The Main Street Williamston Branding and Marketing “Charette” Team met with local business owners, groups, citizens and students, as well as touring the town as part of their two day intensive workshop.

Molly Spearman, Republican candidate for State Superintendent of Education, made a pre-election appearance at the Williamston Municipal Center.

Tennessee entertainer James Rogers returned for a performance at the Historic Pelzer Auditorium.

Williamston Mayor Mack Durham, Councilman Rockey Burgess and Main Street Williamston Director Caroline Alex and Blake Sanders met with representatives of Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood engineering firm to begin the process of getting the trail site survey, project details and bidding done in time to begin work on the project in July.

Lynn Ballard was the front runner of the four Republicans in the race to determine the Republican nominee for the District 26 seat on Greenville County Council. Ballard will face Todd Frederick who had just one more vote than Ed Poore.

May 7 -Williamston Town Council adopted an updated town seal and destination logos which will be used for marketing and branding for the town and approved funding for entertainment for four GWBA events.

The PPSD announced that the District had received an ISO rating of 2. The upgrade should reflect a reduction in fire protection insurance premiums in structure fire protection from the insurance companies writing in the Piedmont area.

Palmetto High graduating seniors and their families will have the opportunity to attend a Baccalaureate service in the Palmetto High School Auditorium.

The annual event, which in the past has been organized by the school, was being hosted by New Hope Baptist Church, with help from other local churches.

West Pelzer Town Councilman Robert Alexander announced his resignation. Alexander told the Council and a small audience that he was accepting an attractive job opportunity that would require him moving out of town. In business conducted during the meeting, the Council gave first reading to an ordinance that will ban smoking in any workplace in the town limits. The ban also includes the electronic cigarette substitutes, or e-cigs. Smoking outdoors within ten feet of an entrance to a workplace, or the intake of a ventilation system, is also prohibited.

May 14 – West Pelzer Town Council declined to approve a deal that would lower water rates and made plans to borrow money to get through until tax revenues come in. In a remarkable action, Council members failed to approve a proposal to buy future capacity from the Greenville Water Company. The decision left the Town paying more per thousand gallons than they would under the proposal, while leaving them vulnerable to much higher prices in the future.

Lynn Ballard won the Republican runoff election and will face 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.

The Palmetto High “Class of 1954” celebrated being the first graduating class of a new school named Palmetto High School which opened in September 1953 for grades 7-12. The new school was formed when Pelzer High School and Williamston High School consolidated in 1952 as the Pelzer-Williamston High School.

The 4th annual Pig in the Park Barbecue Festival and Cook-Off was held in Mineral Spring Park. The event, sponsored by the Williamston Masonic Lodge, featured cooking teams from all over SC.First Place Winner in the competition was Up In Smoke cooked by Brian Teique.

Pelzer Town Council approved first reading on an annexation ordinance to bring 17 parcels of property, including Town Hall, the Pelzer Gym and upper and lower mill properties, into the town limits.

It was the first large scale annexation of property for the town as an increasing number of residents and property owners pushed to be included in town limits.

It was also announced that the Pelzer swimming pool would not be opened this summer.

The Main Street Williamston Branding and Marketing “Charette” Team presented their newly created branding designs and slogan to the community, receiving a round of applause when the presentation ended.

Ben Muldrow of Arnett Muldrow and Associates presented a branding statement and explained the new concept designs and a new slogan for the town, Historic Williamston –

Spring to Life.

May 21 – Senator Billy O’Dell was named the SC National Guard Association of SC Legislator of the Year during the National Guard Association annual conference held on Hilton Head Island.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported two cases of Whooping Cough in Anderson School District One schools. Wren Middle and Wren High School each had one reported case,

The first of three Party in the Park Music Series events being planned by the GWBA was held. The free event featured live music by the Anna Leigh Band and Carolina Rhythm Section. There was also free activities for young children.

The retail newsstand price of The Journal changed from 75 cents to $1. The last price increase was made eight years ago.

The Piedmont Public Service Commission gave unanimous final approval to the 2014 – 2015 budget which avoids any millage increase, also provides 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.

The Greater Williamston Business Association approved a change in the bylaws and plans for three Party in the Park Music Series Events.

May 28 – The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees unanimously approved first reading on the 2014-15 school year budget. The budget had anticipated revenues of $60,160,887 with expenditures of $60,687,117. The $526,230 deficit will be made up from the District’s reserve fund. The District’s fund balance currently stands at $9,790,926.

The School Board also approved an interest saving bond issue and heard from concerned parents about a decision to move a special education class to Powdersville High.

Fourteen households in the Ridge Crest development, which is plagued by an outdated, decrepit waste water treatment device were looking for options for the system.

Residents of the area met 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 refused to take ownership of the lagoon which needs to be repaired. The preliminary estimate for the cost of making the needed repairs is between $50 – $60,000.

June 4 – A Greenville County Sheriff’s Deputy was involved in a shooting at a Piedmont Hwy. gas station after a suspect refused to follow commands of deputies, then exited the vehicle approaching deputies and reaching into his waistband as if he was reaching for a weapon.

The Annual Saluda River Rally was held at the Dolly Cooper Sports Complex and Park located on the Saluda River in Powdersville. The event features revolving paddle trips for kayaks, canoes and tubes.

The Greater Williamston Business Association held their second Party in the Park music event featuring Nashville recording artist Benton Blount.

Williamston Town Council approved second reading on a $2,975,921 General Fund budget, learned the police department was under budget, approved funding for Main Street projects and passed a new drug ordinance.

Williamston Mayor Mack Durham said the town had reorganized departments, made operational changes and implemented cost saving measures that saved the town money and which are reflected in the new budget.

Highlights of the budget included adding investigators to the police department, being able to provide Main Street program funding and a focus on using the hospitality tax money more effectively.

Under a new vision for the town and eagerness and support from the community, the town has seen the start up of an arts center, a farmers market, a music series event and will soon see the beginning of a trails system.

West Pelzer Town Council had second and final reading on two ordinances. One allows for the ownership of domesticated chickens in the town limits, while the other one prohibits all smoking in workplaces within the town limits.

The Wildcat Players of Woodmont High won high honors at the Fourth Annual SC State High School Improv Tournament at the Charleston County School of the Arts. Woodmont High students were members on four out of five teams in the final round of the double elimination tournament. First place was awarded to Billy Hawthorne and third place was awarded to Drake King.

June 11 – The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office arrested three people in connection with a crime spree in Piedmont. A fourth person allegedly involved was shot and killed by a Greenville County Deputy the previous week in Piedmont and was not charged.

Deputies arrested Michael Dewayne Harden, 20 of Anderson, along with co-conspirators, Dylan Lamar Tiller, 21, and Jordan Browder, 22, both from Piedmont, are accused of breaking into numerous vehicles along Tall Oaks Circle, Madison Bridge Road, Pleasant Woods Road, Bentwood Drive in Anderson.

Jordan Browder was shot and killed by Greenville County deputies during an altercation at the Citgo Gas Station on Piedmont Highway a week earlier.

West Pelzer Town Council held a special called meeting to address issues left unsettled from their June meeting including first reading approval of the proposed budget for the coming year, as well as considering the issuance of a tax anticipation note (TAN). At that meeting, Council was told that the core issue was not cash flow, which the TAN addresses, but insufficient revenues; which have left the town with no viable reserves to address such matters, as well as any emergencies that might arise.

Mayor Paxton acknowledged that the town has the lowest tax rate of any municipality in the county. No one on the Council or the staff could recall the last tax increase the town has experienced.

The Palmetto Area Cultural Arts Center began activities including two Summer Art Camps for ages 6 to 12 for the summer. The camps were offered in June and July.

June 18 – Residents and local officials were wondering why the water tasted bad. Described as earthy, musty or tasting like wood and though the smell and taste isn’t pleasant, officials of the Anderson Regional Joint Water System said the water is safe to drink.

According to a spokesperson with ARJWS, the problem was blue-green algae in Lake Hartwell, where the water system pulls water that supplies 15 water systems in Anderson and Pickens Counties.

The algae are caused by a long drought the area experienced followed by a period of heavy rainfall.Vegetation and trees along the banks and other exposed areas when Lake Hartwell water levels were low are now underwater causing the lake to be “nutrient rich” officials say. The odor and taste that area water customers are experiencing is being caused by algae bloom resulting from the nutrient rich water. The problem lingered on for months.

The Piedmont Emergency Relief Center (PERC) was the recipient of food items collected during the annual Postal Food Drive. Tracy Smith of the Piedmont Post Office helped organize the pick-up in the Piedmont area. PERC received mor than 7, 600 pounds of food, which is almost 1,000 pounds more than the previous year.

The Piedmont Public Service Commission unanimously approved the budget for the upcoming year. The budget is balanced and involves no fee or millage increases. They considered charging fees for response requiring extra services but the issue was tabled.

After almost four hours of debate and discussion, during which one Councilman walked out of the meeting, the members of 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.

June 25 – The 78th annual Miss South Carolina Pageant competition included two local contestants competing for the title. Taylor Kuykendall of Six and Twenty Rd., Williamston represented the Colleton County Rice Festival while Katie Porter of Simpsonville is represented Powdersville.

There were four contestants, all from Piedmont, competing for the Miss SC Teen title including Caitlin Frederiksen representing Anderson; Morgan Reynolds representing Fountain Inn; Samantha McCarson representing Powdersville and Amberlyn White representing Simpsonville

Joan Ragsdale announced that she plans to run for the Williamston Town Council Ward 2 seat. Ragsdale resides on Hamilton Street.

Woodmont High School named Chris Carter Athletic Director. Carter was chosen from forty-one applicants for the position. Coach Carter was the former AD of Easley High School where he spent four years with the Green Wave.

Woodmont High School named Ned Cuthbertson as their new head football coach.

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees amended the budget, approved a process to award diplomas to students who failed the exit exam and approved personnel recommendations for the upcoming school year.

The Town of Pelzer approved the 2014-15 budget with projected revenues of $852,554. Projected expenditures are $807,331. Town Administrator Skip Watkins said the budget reflects an increase in water and sewer fees of 50 cents per 1,000 gallons. Watkins said the increase was necessary to establish and maintain depreciation funds for the town’s water and sewer.

The budget also reflects a decrease in expenditures associated with operating the public pool which the town announced would not be open for the summer.

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

We hope you have enjoyed this look back at theWilliamston, Pelzer and Piedmont area for 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.

Looking Back Part 2 – July through December

July 2 – The Town of Williamston and the Greater Williamston Business Association (GWBA) hosted a Freedom Celebration and Fireworks event which featured an expanded fireworks show and live music featuring Jukebox 45, a classic oldies and rock and roll band.

Anderson Regional Joint Water System (ARJWS) users, including Williamston and Big Creek/Hammond, 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.

The Pelzer Presbyterian Church and Williamston Presbyterian Church congregations voted to unify and establish a new church.

The two churches had discussed joining as one church for about eight years and have been worshiping together as one congregation, alternating churches, since 2013.

The Williamston Farmers Market in its second season continued momentum as an attraction for the downtown area as word spread about the offering of local produce and other handmade items.

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.

An enthusiastic crowd was on hand at the historic Pelzer Auditorium July 1 for a Launch Party for the Mill Town Players.

July 9 – Tommy Bolger was named principal at Wren Elementary School, filling a position vacated by former principal, Rhonda Rhodes, who accepted an administrative position with the Greenville County School District.

Robby Roach was named the new Principal at Palmetto High School.

Williamston Town Council named a new attorney, addressed bat problems in a shed in the park and approved Hospitality Tax funding for a new sidewalk project which was just completed in the park. Lee Cole was named town attorney.

Councilmembers Rockey Burgess, David Harvell and Otis Scott all expressed concerns about the sidewalk project in Mineral Spring Park, stating funding was not approved prior to it being done. Mayor Mack Durham said the project was part of a series of projects in the park and there was some extra work done due to a “misunderstanding” with the contractor.

Powdersville teen Hope Havard was crowned Miss South Carolina Teen 2014 during the Miss SC Pageant. She was a double-preliminary winner and performed a character dance on pointe for the talent competition. She will also compete in America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant in Orlando, Fla. in August

Anderson School District One created procedures to assist anyone seeking to petition for a diploma after the SC General Assembly approved legislation removing the exit exam as a requirement for graduation. The change is retroactive to the Class of 1990.

West Pelzer Town Council approved the Town’s 2014-15 budget which included a number of cuts, including several in the police budget but did not include firing a police officer. The budget, for the first time in well over a decade, raised taxes by three mills.

Someone in the Piedmont area purchased a $300,000 Pick 5 lottery ticket sold at a Piedmont convenience store. The ticket would have been worth a hundred thousand dollars, except that the buyer spent an additional dollar to qualify for the power up multiplier feature.

Greenville County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a husband and wife in connection with a string of armed robberies in the Piedmont area. Tracy Lynn Tate, 40, and Stephen Mark Tate, 53, of Faith Drive, Greenville, were both charged with three counts of armed robbery and criminal conspiracy after they were taken into custody for questioning following a traffic stop.

ARJWS officials said that all water samples drawn and tested confirm that water being delivered is free from contamination and meets all primary standards for health and safety.

After being completely shut down, portions of the system were experiencing increased turbidity and increased color in the water as the system was refilled. ARJWS said sediments that are always present in water systems storage tanks and pipelines were being resuspended.

West Pelzer established and continued a Crime Watch meeting held at the fire department.

July 16 – Phil and Glenda Hughes returned from a trip to China where Phil was pictured on the Great Wall reading an English language edition of The Journal.

Several Williamston area residents reported seeing a large black bear cross Anderson Drive near the new Family Dollar store in Williamston.

Construction on the Mineral Spring Trail Project will begin in late August. Williamston Mayor Mack Durham had hoped the project would be underway and finished by the Spring Water Festival however the proposed timeline for contractors was too tight.

Pelzer Town Council met with representatives of Greenville Water System to discuss a water supply agreement and with a representative of Utility Service Group to discuss maintenance of the town’s water tank.

Organizers of the 33rd Annual Spring Water Festival announced that award winning country music singer/songwriter Lucas Hoge would headline the event.

July 23 – Katherine Brady of Williamston, a student at Wren High School, was one of only 98 young women attending the 68th American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Girls Nation in Washington, D.C.,

The Powdersville League for Athletic Youth (PLAY) began practice for four football teams.

July 30 – The Town of Williamston and GWBA were reading for the Party in the Park. Fox Carolina 21 TV reporter Joe Gagnon was in Mineral Spring Park for a live broadcast.

The Town of Williamston began flushing hydrants and draining the tank on Virginia Drive in an effort to clear up lingering effects of a foul odor and taste that had been present in the town’s water for about two months.

The town also contracted with Utility Services Company to do a complete washout and sterilization of the town’s water supply tank.

Williamston Councilman Rockey Burgess proposed a ten dollar credit on the water bills of the town’s citizens, in response to the extended problems involving the taste, smell and potability of the town’s water supply.

Williamston Fire Chief Steve Ellison was presented with the National Society Fire Safety Commendation Medal during the National meeting of the Sons of the American Revolution held in Greenville. State Society President Daniel Woodruff nominated Ellison for the award based on the professionalism of the volunteer fire department. Williamston Fire Department ranks in the top 3.7 percent of all volunteer fire departments in the nation.

The Town of West Pelzer had decided to issue a tax anticipation note (TAN) to ease cash flow problems and Council continued looking at a proposed deal with Greenville Water system to ensure the town’s access to a viable water supply well into the future.

An 11-year-old Pelzer child was fatally injured by a gunshot. Anderson County Deputy Coroner Don McCown confirmed the death was a suicide.

July 30 – Anderson School District One Board of Trustees approved wording for a sales and use tax referendum and heard an update on the technology rollout of more than 7420 iPads planned throughout the district.

The GWBA “Party in the Park” music series event featured Delvin Choice, a top five finalist on “The Voice” singing competition and Outshyne, whose single “Moonlight Crush” hit #1 on Sirius XM.

Aug. 6 – Organizers of the Party in the Park were pleased with the response and overall success of their third and biggest event of the summer. Officials estimated the crowd of 3000-5000 came to Mineral Spring Park for the free event.

West Pelzer Police Captain Chris Brewer was involved in a high speed car chase that ended with the perpetrator crashing just past the Saluda River bridge on Hwy. 20. The speed of the car when it passed Brewer was confirmed by radar at 104 mph.

Williamston Town Council heard a report on water quality issues and were surprised when a motion was made by Councilman Otis Scott for a change in the town’s form of government.

Scott and councilmember Rockey Burgess both said that the issue of changing the town’s current form of government came up primarily because “council is not being informed on certain things.”

Council was in the executive session for more than half of the three hour meeting to discuss a contract and economic development issue. There was no detailed explanation given for either issue.

Williamston Police Chief Tony Taylor said the town will begin enforcing the town and state sign ordinance prohibiting temporary yard sale, business and political signs from being placed along roadways and in rights-of-way.

Approximately 30 people attended a dedication ceremony held in Williamston for the designation of a portion of North Hamilton Street as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial Drive.

The program, held in the

Palmetto High School auditorium, was as much about recognizing the African American community in Williamston as it was about honoring Dr. King and the civil rights struggle that he led.

Approximately 80 people attended a community outreach meeting held at the Pelzer community building which revealed that crime in the area is the number one concern of those who live there. Pelzer Heritage Commission Dianne Lollis presided over the meeting.

Aug. 13 – West Pelzer Town Councilman Robert Alexander officially resigned his seat on the Council, necessitating a special election later this year.

The West Pelzer Town Council had just one topic, sewer project progress. Mayor Peggy Paxton and Town Clerk Paula Payton said that some right of way (ROW) issues were causing the delay, but the town’s engineering firm was in the process of addressing those problems.

Students and teachers in Anderson School District One celebrated state PASS scores. 20 of 30 categories improved placing Anderson One’s scores among the top in the state.

Anderson School District One also scored among the highest in the state on HSAP testing with Powdersville High School having the highest school score in the state.

South Greenville firefighters and Greenville County EMS rescued a woman from the Saluda River just inside Greenville County at the Pelzer Dam.

Following a presentation on the different forms of goverment, Williamston officials were told that they could not meet the requirements to have the issue placed on the November General Election Ballot without opening the town up to a lawsuit.

The 33rd Annual Spring Water Festival kick off on Friday the Carolina Coast Band and a guest performance by five time CBMA Female Vocalist of the Year, Rhonda McDaniel.

A small crowd enjoyed a performance by Lucas Hoge who has recorded three country albums, a Christian EP, had songs featured on two TV shows, starred in an HBO TV series and entertained and supported military troops and their families.

Piedmont residents, growing impatient with the condition of the roads due to the sewer update project were told they can expect awhile longer before seeing improvements. The extensive project included replacing and repairing approximately 9 miles of sewer lines.

Tommi Rae Fowler, a Wren High Junior, received national attention for her culinary skills, winning the Food Networks’ “Chopped” teen competition.Fowler was among sixteen teens who competed over five episodes to win the tournament.

Ralph Holloway, a former Williamston resident and Palmetto High School Athletic Hall of Famer, was honored for being inducted into the 28th class of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) Hall of Fame.

Aug. 21 – Newly elected Greenville County Councilman Lynn Ballard stopped by the Piedmont Public Service Commission and was introduced by PPSD Chairman Ed Poore, one of several candidates Ballard defeated for the District 26 Council seat.

The PPSD voted unanimously to continue publishing an agenda in advance of their meetings, despite a recent state Supreme court ruling that would remove that requirement. The Commission also voted to give thirty days notice to the contractor responsible for cutting the grass at the ball fields and the fire houses after assurances that problems would be resolved went unfulfilled.

Growth in the Powdersville area continued with projects including Wren Baptist Church site improvements for Phase I. The second phase will include a New Family Life Center in the near future. Grading permits were issued for 52 proposed residential lots in the Caledonia subdivision, located off of Three Bridges Road. The Hunt Meadows Subdivision, received a grading permit for 70 proposed residential lots subdivision located on Hunt Road/Highway 8/3 & 20 Road.

 In addition, plans for a proposed Chic-fil-A Restaurant were reviewed. Plans for retail shops located at Center Point Shopping Center located on Highway 153 were also submitted for review by county staffers.

Anderson School District One ACT scores showed an increase for the 2014 school year with a composite score of 22.7, up from 21.8 the previous year. All content areas assessments, English, reading, math and science showed improvement. The five year trend for Anderson One students indicates improvement in all areas and reaching a new all time high.

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the Volunteer Mounted Search and Rescue Team (MSaR) participated in a mock search and rescue in the Cheddar community.

Williamston Recreation Department’s Mickey Stone retired after 31 years of service to the town. BJ Tompkins was asked to oversee programming for the Williamston Recreational Program.

Farmers Market Organizer Rebecca McKinney said more vendors and shoppers were coming to the market each week.

Aug. 28 – Jennifer Bertram, an English teacher at Wren High School was named the Anderson District One Teacher of the Year.

Anderson School District One began introducing its Digital Innovation initiative which includes a technology rollout of more than 74230 iPads. The rollout began at Powdersville High School at the start of classes.

District One Superintendent David Havird said the District had more than 9600 student enrolled. Havird said the District expected 160 to 200 this year.

Organizers of the 33rd Annual Spring Water Festival said the event may have broken two records with a high temperature of 96 degrees and a heat index of 105, the festival was one of the hottest in recent memory. That heat in turn affected attendance, which was off considerably.

Sept. 3 – A new “Welcome to Pelzer” sign was placed on Hwy 20 at Parker St and River Road. The sign, which features a picture of Mill #1 and the year it was built, was another project funded by the Pelzer Heritage Commission.

ARJWS monitoring showed numerous algae blooms during the summer affecting water taste and odor increased at near exponential rates then dropped dramatically. While the treated water at all times met the standards for safe consumption, maintaining aesthetic quality was an ongoing challenge. An activated carbon treatment process was started to help alleviate problems. They also engaged Clemson University and Synterra Corporation to conduct research into additional treatment options.

After working steadily for three years to make the all volunteer fire department one of the best in the state, the Williamston Fire Department received an ISO evaluation with a Class 3 rating making them the only all volunteer department in the state to receive a rating that high.

During a council worksession, Williamston Mayor Mack Durham presented a water filter which he said he would like to consider making available to the town’s residents. Durham said the filter is an alternative to a one time $10 reduction in the water bill which Councilman Rockey Burgess wanted council to consider.

The Town of Williamston Planning Commission was in the process of evaluating and reworking the town’s sign ordinance and how to best fit signs into the new Main Street program. The Commission also discussed way finding signs. Two businesses, the Pink House Antiques and All About Fabrics, were the focus of the effort.

Sept. 10 – All types of Volkswagens including campers, restored, custom and rails were in Williamston for the Steve White Volkswagen Camp Out and Show.

Sept. 17 – The Mill Town Players presented their first production, “Always Patsy Cline” at the Historic Pelzer Auditorium.

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. The suspects were involved in at least 14 separate criminal incidents and netted over $43,000 in stolen goods.

The Piedmont Public Service Commission Commissioner Lib Pack reported that the community building had generated $620 in rental revenues in August. Chief Tracy Wallace reported that the department received training in the areas of safety gear, and self contained breathing apparatus, while Assistant Chief Craig Lawless received training in FEMA grants.

Sept. 24 – The annexation of five parcels of property into the Town of Pelzer earlier this year was rescinded after town officials were told there could be legal problems.

The decision was made after Council members went into an extended executive session of well over an hour, to receive legal advice concerning the annexation of several pieces of property.

Pelzer Town Council also approved an agreement with Greenville Water to ensure adequate future capacity as well as favorable pricing for the town’s water supply well into the future.

The Pelzer Fall Festival was held in Pelzer’s Monkey Park. It was the third community festival the Pelzer Heritage Commission

has sponsored.

Hundreds of classmates and friends came to Bowman Field in Clemson for a vigil organized on social media for their classmate, Tucker W. Hipps, whose body was found in Lake Hartwell Monday. Hipps was a 2013 graduate of Wren High School where he was on the Principal’s List and a member of the football team.

Oct. 1 – More than a dozen Anderson County deputies along with police officers responded to an incident on East Carolina Street in Williamston involving 40 to 50 people. A verbal altercation during a birthday party resulted in a divisive situation between two families. Due to poor radio reception in the area, Anderson County Deputies were dispatched and State troopers were summoned as backup but were canceled as the situation was brought under control.

Anderson School District One Board members were updated on the District’s IPad technology instruction, a Mentoring program and the one cent sales tax referendum.

The second annual Homesteading Festival featured a variety of free classes, demonstrations, music and more than 50 vendors. Vendors offered products for homesteaders, farmers, gardeners, and people interested in natural and local products.

The Palmetto Area Cultural Arts Center (PACAC) held the first annual West Allen Williams Old Time Musical Festival in association with the Homestead Festival with musicians and artists showcasing skills from the late 1800s.

Scores were released by the State Department of Education. showed Anderson District One students performed well on all 2013-14 assessments. Students secured the third highest score in the state on the Algebra I assessment with 96.8 percent passing, up from 93.6 last year. This well surpassed the state average of 85.5 percent.

Tops on the list for discussion during a Williamston council work sessin was the Gatewood subdivision entrance which had road damage from recent heavy rains. The damage occurred after heavy downpours resulted in backflow at the culverts where Big Creek flows under road of the Gatewood entrance.

Oct. 8 – Williamston Town Council heard an audit report that shows the town is in very good financial condition, with the general fund increasing by $360,000. Water and Sewer funds are also in good financial shape auditors said. Auditor Ken Meadows, of Greene, Finney and Horton, CPA firm, said the town’s fund balance increased from $1.4 million in 2013 to almost $1.77 milllion in 2014.

Students at Wren High, Palmetto High and Powdersville High ranked second overall in South Carolina on the SAT, with a total of 1515, up from 1492 in 2013. The scores topped state and national averages. 

Williamston Police Officers recovered a stolen item valued at $3000 after the victim saw the item listed on popular online classified site Craigslist. The dual turn table CD player, was stolen from a 2002 Cadillac Escalade in Williamston in October of 2011.

Craft workshops were being offered at the Palmetto Area Cultural Arts Center (PACAC).

Oct. 15 – The Anderson County Transportation Committee turned down a request for $425,000 for improvements where the storm related washout was causing concerns for the town and residents of Gatewood Subdivision.

West Pelzer Town Council filled two vacancies on the election commission, in advance of the upcoming November elections and the opening of filing for candidates in a special town election later this year. They also discussed ideas for several events.

Pelzer Town Council gave second and final reading approval to an ordinance annexing the Pelzer Church of God. That addition made it possible to annex properties in the upper mill area that are now contiguous to the town. Council also gave second and final reading approval to the rescinding of the annexation ordinance that had added four pieces of town property and the residential site of Roger Scott after concern whether those properties were contiguous and eligible for annexation.

Oct. 22 – The Piedmont Public Service Commission held a brief, meeting where Recreation committee chairperson Lib Pack reported that the community building generated $342.50, while the ball fields generated revenues that are paid on a monthly basis by the groups using the fields. The department responded to a total of sixty seven calls, the second highest monthly total for the year. Those calls were dominated, as usual, by medical assistance calls, with twenty nine medical responses.

South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers arrested Jason Yeargin, of Piedmont, in connection with a fatal hit and run on Hwy. 86. The man who was killed, Varick Scott Kimbrell, had been released from the Anderson County Detention Center less than an hour earlier.

The South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA) has honored Teri Gilstrap with its Champions for Public Education award. Gilstrap is the Existing Industries Manager for the Anderson County Office of Economic Development and has been a key partner with local schools.

The Mill Town Players’ presented their production of Dark of the Moon. The production was entered in the South Carolina Theatre Association Community Theatre Festival competition in Aiken in November.

Williamston’s Ace Hardware was chosen to host the the Ace Neighborhood Tour celebrating the announcement that Ace was ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Home Improvement Retail Stores” for the eighth year in a row by J.D. Power.

Anderson School District One was ranked number 5 among 11 districts in the state with Federal Report Card Rating of “A”. The district’s 2014 graduation rate increased from 86.9 to 91.8, the fourth highest in the state following York 4, Barnwell 29 and Calhoun.

Homecoming Queens for the area’s four high schools were crowned: Alex Whiteside – Palmetto; Shelby Brown – Wren; Meredith Jacks – Woodmont; Mary Catherine Patterson – Powdersville.

Oct. 29 – The 12th Annual West Pelzer Fall Festival was held at the Pelzer Ball Fields.

Williamston Town Council held a work session in which Councilman Rockey Burgess reported that he is having difficulty in getting bids on some work to be done at the long shed at the Mineral Spring Park. The shed has a ceiling and bats have roosted in the enclosed area, making guano a real problem.

Nov. 5 – After more than a year of discussions, Williamston Town Council finally approved a new sign ordinance and in a related vote, approved funding for three new wayfinding signs during their regular meeting Monday. Council also heard department and program updates, revised a sewer ordinance and passed several resolutions.

In Williamston’s municipal election, incumbent Ward One Councilman Tony Hagood received 236 write-in votes to challenger Greg Cole’s 166 write-in votes to retain his seat on Town Council.

In Ward Two, incumbent Rockey Burgess had 405 votes to challenger Joan Ragsdale’s 346.

Anderson County voters approved the one cent sales tax referendum. The stated goal of the sales tax is to reduce property tax, reduce debt service and provide school improvement funds. In School District One, proceeds will also be used to install, maintain and improve security and public safety in each school in the district and make other capital improvements across the district.

Delbert and Rachelle Hart were announced as the Grand Marshals of the Piedmont Christmas Parade. The parade, is sponsored by the Bonnes Amies Club.

The Palmetto Area Cultural Arts Center was offering “Mini-Quarter” winter session classes including pottery, jewelry, photography, quilling and Christmas ornaments at the Artory.

An early season snow resulted in more than 1000 power outages across the area and a delay for Boo in the Park.

Nov. 12 – Riley Christopher McDermott, an Anderson University assistant baseball coach, was facing charges of felony DUI resulting in death in connection with an accident in which three people were killed.

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office arrested Adam Ali Valipour, in connection with the stabbing of his mother multiple times, resulting in her death at Willimon Drive in Piedmont.

West Pelzer Town Council declined three bids for repairs to the roof of town hall and will seek new bids. Council also learned that using magnesium hydroxide instead of lime in the town’s wastewater system will result in an increase in operating costs of $12,000- $16,000 a year. Mayor Peggy Paxton said that the increase will probably require some adjustments in the budget.

The Mill Town Players production of “Dark of the Moon” won first place at the South Carolina Theater Association (SCTA) Community Theatre Festival held at the Aiken Community Playhouse. The production, the second for the newly formed theater group.

As the winner of this year’s SCTA festival, the Mill Town Players advance and will represent South Carolina in the regional competition at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in

Chattanooga, TN on March 4–8, 2015.

A WorkReady Job Fair and Training Expo for the towns of Williamston, Pelzer and West Pelzer was held at Williamston’s Municipal Center. The expo was sponsored by a new local partnership initiative Helping Others Pursue Excellence (H.O.P.E.). Sixty-two people participated in the job fair with 35 candidates being referred for job interviews.

Nov. 19 – Anderson School District One was one of seven districts in the state to earn an Excellent rating on performance and growth on the State Report Card ratings. It is the fifth year in a row to earn the Excellent rating and the District placed 5th in the state for student achievement. The district also earned an Excellent for growth. Thirteen schools in Anderson One earned excellent ratings, while one school earned a good rating.

Greenville County Schools earned an Absolute rating of Excellent on its Report Card for the first time since the State has released the annual data.

Jared Michael Williams was sentenced to three consecutive life terms after he pled guilty to charges related to the Pelzer shooting incident in March in which three people were killed.

Greater Williamston Business Association (GWBA) members elected new officers to serve in 2015 including President-Robin Tucker; 1st Vice President-Mike Simpson; 2nd Vice President- Tammy Pitt; 3rd Vice President-Lee Cole; Treasurer- Nancy Sisk; Secretary-Paula Payton.Outgoing president Chris Trotter thanked the members for their support during his term as president.

Pelzer Town Council discussed water rates and selling some town owned property. They also approved the annexation of two additional pieces of property. Meetings will be held on the second Monday of the month at 7 p.m. The meetings will be held at the Community Building to allow additional space for more people who are expected to attend.

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

Nov. 26 – Greenville & Western Railway Company held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its Big Creek Machinery Distribution Hub in Williamston. The facility offers heavy machinery manufacturers and dealers a way to ship new equipment from the Southeastern US to anywhere on the North American rail network.

Four people filed to run for the West Pelzer town council seat vacated by Robert Alexander last month. They are Donnie Jeanes, Jim Riddle, Shyanne Webb, and David Odom. The special election is set for December 30.

The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees held their November meeting at Powdersville High School where they heard the yearly audit presentation, discussed the penny sales tax and presentation the 2015-16 calendar.

They also recognized the Powdersville High School Marching Band for their 2A State Championship.

Auditors Kevin Tomas and Ken Meadows of the Accounting firm of Greene, Finney and Horton, CPA said the general fund balance in 2013-14 decreased $391,000, less than a planned decrease of $549,000. The district has an unassigned fund balance of $8.9 million. In summary the audit found the district in good financial condition and commended the district on weathering the recent economic downturn very well.

Dec. 3 – Marlee Rhodes, a former All-State runner at Palmetto High School and a standout for the Erskine College Flying Fleet Cross Country Tream competed in the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championship Meet in Louisville, Kentucky on Dec. 6.

Williamston Town Council recognized the Palmetto High Competition Cheerleaders with a resolution congratulating them for their 2nd place finish in the SCHL 3A State Championship Competition in Greenville. A video of the runner-up performace was shown during the presentation.

Main Street Williamston Executive Director Caroline Alex announced two property achievement awards which were presented to local businesses for investment in the town and facelift on property. Alex presented Modern Supply and Fiesta Mexican Restaurant awards for their investment in Williamston.

Council approved second reading on the new sign ordinance and first reading on the closure of a portion of Hospital Street and conveyance to abutting landowners.

Dec. 10 – The Palmetto Area Cultural Arts Center offered a Victorian Christmas at the Artory with a dinner and theater event in which David Burke portrayed Charles Dickens in an original one man show.

The Mill Town Players will presented “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 12-14 and Dec. 18-21 at the Pelzer Auditorium.

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested two individuals in connection with eight burglaries in the Big Creek Road, Belton area and a burglary in Pelzer. Arrested wre Barry Dean Stone of Belton and Joshua Logan Davis of Williamston.

Winners of the 2015 Miss Wrenicycle pageant at Wren High School were Miss Freshman; Abbie Freeman.Miss Sophomore, Ashton Bramlett.; Miss Junior; Mckenzie Davinna; Miss Senior, Chandler Neal and Miss Wrenicycle, Sara Sargent;

A public outreach meeting held at the Pelzer Community Building to present information on a grant application also included discussion on dilapidated houses, crime and annexation.

The main focus of the meeting was for an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant for cleanup work on a former dump site on the Pelzer Mills property.

West Pelzer Town Council authorized a consulting firm to seek a wastewater waiver from DHEC. DHEC designated the town as an urbanized area, resulting in stricter permit requirements including the creation of nine different programs, related to storm water runoff, as well as submitting a variety of annual reports. The steps needed to attain compliance would cost the town approximately $30,000 per year. If the waiver is refused, county officials will design a specific program for the town.

West Pelzer Police Chief Mike Clardy presented a badge and a certificate to Christopher Browning, Jr., making him an honorary police officer. Browning, a ten year old Cedar Grove third grader, is awaiting a heart transplant. As a classmate of Clardy’s son, Christopher has impressed the Chief, among many others, with his courage and determination.

Dec. 17- Williamston’s Main Street Program Director Caroline Alex announced that she is resigning her position with the town’s economic development program. Alex served as the programs coordinator for one year and will be taking a position with Clemson University.

Dec. 24 – As a result of a dispute with a neighbor, Williamston councilman Otis Scott appeared before a judge in Powdersville Summary Court. Scott will contest the charges and requested a jury trial during his court appearance. . Scott was charged with malicious damage to real property after moving a mailbox.

Residents of West Pelzer went to the polls on the last Tuesday of the year for a special election to fill one vacant seat on town council. The seat was vacated by the resignation of Robert Alexander earlier this year.

Dec. 31- The area prepared for for the new year, 2015