Anderson County Year in Review – Part 2 July through Dec.

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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!

Entire County Year in Review

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.

Entire County Year in Review