Anderson County Year in Review

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By Stan Welch

The following events and happenings made news around Anderson County during 2017:
JANUARY
Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated a shooting at the Town and Country Lounge in which one person was injured. The shooting happened at about 8:40 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28. There were no charges filed and the shooting remains under investigation.
SCDOT personnel set up shop at the Powdersville High School, seeking public input on their concerns with current traffic conditions and operations along I-85, as well as their suggestions for improvement.
Rocque Kneece, one of several engineers on hand, said that the original study was very productive and helpful, leading to DOT’s decision to expand it to the stretch of interstate in Greenville and Anderson counties. Thus, the I-85 Corridor Management Plan is being born.
A fatal shooting on Hamlin Road was in self defense according to the woman who shot the man on her property. Jerry Wayne Sanders Jr., 37 of Pickens County was fatally shot according to Anderson County Deputy Coroner Don McCown.
Interest in the issues created by the 2014 fuel spill by the Kinder Morgan company at the Belton tank farm continues to expand across the county, and among the members of the County Council.
The spill, which involved approximately three hundred and fifty thousand gallons of gasoline, occurred when a repair patch on the company’s pipeline failed.
District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson had been involved for some time in seeking to require a total cleanup of the polluted waters by the company. She had also been demanding more timely information about the cleanup from DHEC.
FEBRUARY
District Six Councilman Ken Waters hosted a public meeting at the Powdersville Library to begin the process of formulating the Northeast County Area Plan (NECAP).
The meeting was a reflection of the extraordinary rate of growth in that part of the county, a rate that County Planning Director Michael Forman says requires additional effort and preparation.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) added a “Project Viewer” to the agency’s website that allows anyone to “point and click” on an interactive road map of South Carolina. The user can choose between a list of project types (resurfacing, widening, bridge replacements, etc.) all across South Carolina, or a list of projects within a certain area of the state.
Approximately one hundred and twenty five area residents joined county and DHEC officials at the Cedar Grove Elementary School for an update on the Plantation Pipeline cleanup efforts.
Don Siron, assistant chief of the Bureau of Land and Waste Management, anticipated some of the public comments to come by informing the crowd that DHEC had personnel at the spill site on the day that it was discovered. He offered no explanation for the fact that a private citizen, and not pipeline officials, discovered the leak, after almost four hundred thousand gallons of gasoline had been released into the environment.
After several weeks of consideration and contemplation, District 9 State Representative Anne Thayer decided to remain in the House, instead of entering the race for the recently vacated State Senate seat held by Kevin Bryant.
Bryant’s election by the Senate to the office of Lt. Governor led several candidates to announce for his seat. Bryant was appointed Lieutenant Governor as a result of Governor Nikki Haley’s appointment by President Donald Trump to the post of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Her confirmation set off the latest incident of turnover in the office of Lt. Governor.
Newly installed Sheriff Chad McBride brought the issue of a sixty year old detention facility that was overcrowded to almost double its approved capacity to the public, at an appearance before the Anderson First Monday Club.
On that day, the jail, which has an official capacity of two hundred fifty seven was in fact incarcerating two hundred more inmates than that.
Information obtained by a consulting firm, Aquilogic, Inc. on behalf of the Southern Environmental Law Center, supports the possibility that the 2014 leak in a pipeline owned and operated by the Plantation Pipeline Company (PPC) may have been either a recurring or ongoing spill, and not a defined single event.
The results of the testing performed by the company were shared with Anderson County officials by the Southern Law Center, which is one of several parties to a lawsuit against Kinder Morgan, which owns PPC.
Anderson County Council discussed the Kinder Morgan fuel spill, spending of recreation funds, EMS and a new terminal for the county airport.
District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson gave an update on the cleanup of a 2014 fuel spill from the Plantation Pipeline in Cheddar.
There was a very brief report on the EMS situation by Councilman Graham, who said that the consultants who are preparing a proposal for modifying the current system had traveled around and met with the various squads, seeking input.
A search for a 60 year old Powdersville businessman had been conducted when he was reported missing by family members.Anderson County Sheriff Chad McBride said that the body of missing person Bert Henderson was located in an area adjacent to the Henderson property in Easley.
Two bills purportedly designed to streamline and standardize the issuance of business licenses across the state ruffled feathers among the leaders of some of the small towns in the area.
Introduced by Rep. Bill Sandifer, House Bills 3650 and 3651 are the latest efforts to address business license reform in the General Assembly. But the bills seek to put the process under the supervision of the Secretary of State’s Office, a change that has many small towns up in arms.
Several mayors and Council members from Anderson County municipalities expressed concern about the information they received at a local gathering of the Anderson County Municipal Association held in Williamston.
Matters continue to move smoothly with the Piedmont Public Service Commission as they enter the new year. Incumbent commissioners Lib Pack and Rudy Rhodes were sworn in at the January meeting, after having faced no opposition in the general election.
Chief Tracy Wallace reported that the department’s recently obtained and refurbished ladder truck has been finished, and training is underway to qualify all full time personnel to operate the truck, which gives the department a seventy foot vertical capability.
MARCH
Sheriff Chad McBride met with several dozen citizens and members of the White Plains Crime Watch and outlined his plan to improve law enforcement, not only in that area, but across the county.
Much of the discussion focused on the issue of the overcrowded jail, and McBride’s proposal to address the problem.
Anderson County released its first Population Update, as well as creating a new online Population Portal on the county website.
According to U.S. Census information, Anderson never lost population over any ten year cycle, since being formally established in 1826. The county gained twelve thousand residents in the five years following the 2010 census, and is projected to maintain that rate, gaining twenty four thousand by the next census, in 2020. Perhaps most indicative of the accelerating growth in the county is the projected increase of more than fifty thousand people between 2010 and 2030.
Both Williamston and West Pelzer lost population during the period between the 1990 and 2000 census reports, but both had recovered by the 2010 census, and have continued to gain residents since then. Pelzer held its own during that period, and has recently seen a huge increase in population, due to the annexation of hundreds of households.
APRIL
Richard Cash defeated former Pendleton mayor Carol Burdette in the Republican runoff primary for Lt. Governor Kevin Bryant’s vacated seat in the S.C. Senate.
The preliminary results of a study of the northeast part of Anderson County confirms that the people in Powdersville and surrounding areas want better roads, more recreational facilities, and more autonomy over the area’s future development, as long as getting those things doesn’t raise their taxes. Those conclusions form the core of the Northeast County Area Plan (NECAP). The great bulk of the area is comprised of District Six, which is represented by Councilman Ken Waters.
MAY

A Williamston man, Zachary Earl Powell, was in custody at the Anderson County Detention Center on multiple charges, including one count of murder. Warrants issued for Powell stated he shot Crystal Marie Kuykendall of Pelzer in the face, causing her death.

Two Powdersville men responded to a call for help from an elderly couple, and detained four men at gunpoint until Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene of a potential home invasion.
Nathan Wimbrow got a call from his grandparents asking him to come to their house nearby. Wimbrow and a neighbor, Michael Williams, armed themselves and went to the home. Upon arriving, they found four men trying to talk their way into the house. They pulled their weapons and made the men lie on the ground, until deputies, who were en route, arrived to take charge of the scene.
Anderson County’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.8% in March as 548 county residents found employment during the month. Employment increased from 85,252 in March of 2016 to 86,582 in March 2017.
Anderson County Sheriff’s Office investigators continued to search for an unidentified black male who shot and killed Mradulaben Patel during an armed robbery at the BP gas station and convenience store at the interstate exit for Highway 153 in Powdersville.
Just weeks later, Anderson County jurors found Justin Jamal Warner guilty of murder and attempted armed robbery and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime on May 25 after four days of hearings and testimony. The Honorable Lawton McIntosh sentenced Warner to life in prison.
The Journal reported on an issue that had long lain dormant between Anderson and Pickens counties that could result in the relocation, at least politically, of twenty nine families from Anderson County to Pickens County, and from Anderson School Districts One and Four to Easley schools.
At issue is a one hundred foot wide strip of land along the shared county lines. In 2002, the improvements in GIS, or the Geographic Information System, resulted in a more precise location of the county lines, and revealed the existence of the one hundred foot discrepancy along the disputed border.
Anderson County Assessor Mike Freeman said there are approximately 95 parcels that are shared to some extent by the counties. Since the areas along the shared county lines weren’t well developed at that time, the two counties worked together on designating them.
JUNE
A Williamston man, Zachary Earl Powell, was in custody at the Anderson County Detention Center on multiple charges, including one  count of murder.
According to the warrant, Powell shot Crystal Marie Kuykendall in the face, causing her death. Another woman was in Kuykendall’s truck with her and Powell at the time. She was not harmed, but witnessed the shooting.
The firing of Captain Garry Bryant, who ran the Anderson County Detention Center for a decade, will have absolutely no impact on a study that is scheduled for August into the current and future operation of the jail, according to Chief Deputy Mike Mitchell.
Sheriff Chad McBride cited some issues with Bryant’s administration of the state inmate program, which deals with state inmates who are finishing off their sentences back at the county level.
Governor Henry McMaster and the S.C. Department of Commerce announced that Electrolux is expanding its existing manufacturing facility in Anderson County with a capital investment of more than $200 million.
The proposed county budget for FY 2017-2018, promised to benefit two area rescue squads. The budget calls for an increase in the millage reserved for EMS services.
A half mill was added to the EMS levy to meet the obligations of the EMS providers and the terms of a new medical control contract, which was being negotiated with the EMS providers.
Both Pelzer and Belton stand to benefit from the additional funding, as they are the number two and number three providers of emergency medical services, based on the percentage of calls answered.
The budget called for no millage increase for the general fund budget. It also provided no funding for paving and road repairs.
Powdersville businessman Richard Cash was elected to fill Lt. Governor Kevin Bryant’s District Three seat in the state Senate.
In response to widespread citizen concerns over the encroachment of coyotes, wild hogs, and ground hogs into urbanized areas, Anderson County and County Councilmember M. Cindy Wilson hosted a nuisance wildlife seminar on Monday, June 5, at the Civic Center of Anderson.
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 sheriff’s office stated the deputy feared for his safety and the safety of other deputies on the scene.
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office later arrested three people in connection with a recent crime spree in Piedmont. A fourth person involved was shot and killed by a Greenville County Deputy the previous week in Piedmont.
Authorities investigated the shooting of a Williamston woman in Anderson.
Tytianna Marisha Hill of Williamston was driving near the intersection of Appleton Street and West Whitner Street just outside of Anderson city limits when someone fired shots into her car striking her twice and shattering the rear glass in her car.
Approximately thirty people attended a public meeting sponsored by Councilman Ken Waters. Roads and increased sewer fees were discussed. The sewer fee increase is necessary because residents paid little or nothing for their access to the county system for a long time, Waters said.
MetroConnects (Metro) announced that the main line construction phase of the full-scale rehabilitation of the Piedmont Sewer System was almost complete. It is the first phase in a two phase project to replace an aging and badly deteriorated sewer system.
In a runoff election more notable for the extremely low turnout than for the actual results, there were few surprises.
Former state attorney general Henry McMaster defeated Mike Campbell, the son of former governor Carroll Campbell, for the nomination for lieutenant governor.
The Anderson County Council concluded their budget preparations in a special called meeting. Following more than two hours of haggling and pencil sharpening, the council went into executive session to receive legal advice on two lawsuits that had been pending for almost five years.
The two lawsuits, both brought by Easley attorney Candy Kern Fuller on behalf of two selected clients, Erick Bradshaw and Patricia Jones. They lawsuits were filed before the county began legal efforts to recoup the severance package former County Administrator Joey Preston received. Council approved settlements in both cases .. Each case was settled for $2500 apiece.
The Anderson County Council concluded their budget preparations in a special called meeting
The Piedmont Public Service Commission unanimously approved the budget for the upcoming year. The budget is balanced and involves no fee or millage increases. The commissioners also heard a proposal concerning establishing a schedule of fees to be charged for certain services.
Several Anderson county fire departments assisted the city fire department in shuttling water to the main campus and the north campus to keep the air condition chillers running after parts of Anderson ran out of water following a problem at the Anderson Regional Joint Water System treatment plant.

JULY
The Anderson County Council convened  a special called meeting to approve a sixty day extension of the contracts the county currently has with the various emergency medical services providers. The county also distributed draft copies of the proposed full contract for the coming year so the squads and their officers can review it.
An individual wanted by multiple law enforcement agencies was apprehended by Anderson County deputies along with members of the DEA Task Force Team. Jonathan Wayne Herndon, 33 was arrestedat a home on Richardson Dr. near West Pelzer. Greenville, Anderson, and Spartanburg Sheriff’s office all had active warrants out for his arrest.
One person was killed when a cruiser driven by an Anderson County Deputy crashed into his car. at the intersection of SC 8, 81, 88, and Moore Road in the Wren community. The deputy was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries by Pelzer EMS.
According to reports, the Sheriff’s Office received a call about a stolen vehicle at the 7-Eleven on S.C. Hwy. 8 before the crash. The driver of the stolen vehicle fled the store and as officers were pursuing the car, adeputy was involved in the collision with a separate vehicle that was not part of the chase.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol has identified the driver of the 2010 Ford Crown Victoria involved in the accident as Timothy Ryan Chapman, 26 of Piedmont. The man who was killed, Joshua Caleb Martin, 22, of Piedmont was driving a 2008 Honda Civic.
According to the highway patrol, the Honda was heading north and the Crown Victoria was heading west when the Crown Victoria struck the Honda in the passenger’s side.
Martin was a Wren High School graduate and was attending Greenville Tech. He had just left a nearby church after a meeting with the preacher.
AUGUST
Northern Anderson County continued to show an extraordinary rate of growth, based on activity in the housing market. In Anderson County Council District Six, which encompasses Powdersville and Piedmont, generated requests in 2016 affecting two hundred four acres, and proposing construction of three hundred seventy eight single family residences.
District Seven saw proposals to construct ninety nine single family residences on fifty seven acres, while District Four, which essentially borders The Journal’s readership area, proposed construction of one hundred twenty six family residences on seventy nine acres.
District Six leads the way in proposed new construction, with fifty three single family residences, thirty two townhouses, and two hundred eighty eight apartments proposed for construction on a total of fifty three acres.
More than a hundred fifty residents and concerned citizens attended a meeting of the Anderson County Planning Commission. They were there primarily to oppose two proposed housing developments in the Powdersville area.
A long, tangled trail of motions and hearings and lawsuits and countersuits involving Anderson County and its former county administrator, Joey Preston, reached its penultimate status this week, as the South Carolina Court of Appeals issued its ruling on Preston’s appeal of the court’s findings against him. The  appellate ruling leaves Preston  with only one more avenue to pursue – an appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Deputies from the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office responded to 240 Hamby Street in Pelzer, in regards to a fight in progress. When deputies arrived on scene they learned than an altercation ensued between two adult-male family members which led to the victim suffering significant blunt force trauma. The victim was transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased.
Investigators from the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office Violent Crimes Unit arrested and charged 23 year-old, Edward Allen Scroggs in connection with the death of Eaton.
Robert Lee McCall, 230 Long Rd., Piedmont was arrested and charged with attempted murder and possession of weapon during a violent crime in connection with a shooting incident at 230 Long Road in Piedmont.
SEPTEMBER
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office charged Nathan Lee Roach, 36, of Williamston, with Murder/Homicide by Child Abuse and Cheyenne Michelle Otto, 19, of Easley, with Murder/Homicide by Child Abuse, aiding and abetting after deputies responded to a residence on Mahaffey Rd in Williamston in reference to a juvenile in cardiac arrest. Upon arrival, deputies learned that 7 month old Camden Shaw Kidder was being transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital for possible injuries. On August 25, 2017 ACSO Investigators were notified by hospital personnel that baby Camden had died. Roach and Otto were subsequently arrested and charged.
Officials of the Anderson Area Crimestoppers and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, along with members of the family of Richard Martin, marked the twenty second anniversary of Martin’s murder by announcing a seven thousand dollar reward in  the case.
Martin was assaulted and murdered by an unknown assailant or assailants while walking along an Anderson County road in 1995. He was twenty four at the time. Both the Martin family and Crimestoppers contributed to the reward.
In a special called meeting the Anderson County Council took a major step in addressing the county’s infrastructure needs by approving a twenty million dollar bond issue to fund a sewer capital improvement program. The program includes three significant elements that affect the areas around exits 27 and thirty five along I-85.
The plan includes the ‘mothballing’ of the Six and Twenty wastewater treatment plant, a decision that will save half of the projected eleven million dollar cost to upgrade the facility which is near capacity, and outdated in terms of equipment.
September 11 saw county, municipal and school offices close early, in anticipation of significant winds and rainfall, as the remnants of Hurricane Irma moved through the area.
The legal woes of Easley attorney Candy Kern-Fuller continued to grow. Kern-Fuller was named as a defendant in a federal lawsuit filed recently in U.S. District Court in Greenville.
The suit, filed by Public Counsel on behalf of several U.S. Veterans, alleges that Upstate Law, Kern-Fuller’s law firm, acted as the central bank in a scheme that allegedly bilked veterans out of their retirement and disability benefits. The veterans were enticed into surrendering those benefits for a certain period of time, in exchange for a lump sum payment. Most of the veterans claimed to be in financial hardship at the time and planned to use the cash infusion to address those problems.
Kern-Fuller is also a figure associated with the Ron Wilson Ponzi scheme of several years.
Anderson County Planning Commission denied approval for two residential developments in the Powdersville area, ignoring the planning department’s recommendation of approval.
OCTOBER
Anderson County deputies investigated an incident in which a pipe bomb was tossed out the window of a passing car. The device went off in the front yard of a home on Pinewood Drive near Williamston. There were no injuries or property damage.
The Northeast County Area Plan (NECAP), showed the area is growing at a rate of three per cent each year; a figure put into perspective by the fact that the entire county is growing at one per cent. Further evidence of the rapid growth can be seen in the area population projected to double in just 30 years.
Anderson County Council approved a rate increase for EMS providers which will amount to approximately six per cent, but will not affect those clients on Medicare or Medicaid.
SCDOT officials met with the public to explain the major construction project planned for the Cherokee Road bridge over Highway 29 North. Construction is slated to begin in spring of 2021 and last between nine and eighteen months.
The Anderson County Planning Commission denied several requests for variances related to a major housing development on Shackleburg Road, effectively stopping the project, until or unless the developer makes some changes to the proposal.
Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated a shooting incident on Joe Black Road in which a male victim was shot by two individuals. According to reports, the man was transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital by Medshore Ambulance Service with a gunshot wound after being shot while sitting on the front porch. Officials said he was not cooperating and would not give investigators information on who shot him.
Anderson County landed yet another major economic development as Arthrex, a pioneer in the field of arthroscopic medicine, as well as a major developer and manufacturer of orthobiological products, announced its decision to locate on two hundred acres purchased from the county and in the Sandy Springs industrial park. More than a thousand jobs will be created over the next five years, and a capital investment of almost seventy million dollars will be made.
Troopers investigated an incident in which a pedestrian was struck and killed on Highway 29 near Old Williamston Road. A seventy-nine year old man was attempting to cross the roadway when he was struck by a southbound car. The victim was crossing from the jockey lot to a restaurant across the street when he was hit by the car.
NOVEMBER
Anderson County’s unemployment rate dropped in September to 3.5% from 4.2% in August, according to the latest statewide labor force report issued by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. The county added 537 jobs from August to September, and 1,684 jobs since September 2016.
Since September 2010, Anderson County has averaged annual job increases of 1,604 compared to the previous September.
The Neighborhood Improvement Program, a one time program funded by the South Carolina Housing Authority, expired in Anderson County. The program resulted in seven decrepit homes being demolished in Williamston and four demolished in Pelzer.
Authorities are investigating the death of a Ronald Keith Crowe, 60, of Piedmont during a reported disturbance in Woodruff. Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said the victim died at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.
Two people were shot at a homeon Lynchburg Drive in the Slabtown Community. According to reports, deputies arrived to find two people shot at the location. Both were transported to the hospital. The Anderson County Coroner’s Office said one of the victims later died from injuries. The victim, identified as Christopher Albert Burton, 30, died of a gunshot wound to the chest, the coroner said. Ryan Christopher Ballard was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted murder.
A Pelzer man was killed and at least four others were injured in a crash on I85 north in Spartanburg County. The accident near BMW Manufacturing Plant shut down traffic and involved five vehicles. The driver of a 2014 Dodge who was killed in the wreck was 32-year-old Dequincy Raynard Neal of Pelzer.
The Anderson County Legislative Delegation endorsed a request from Anderson County for $350,000 in funding through the State’s Water Recreation Resource Fund for infrastructure improvements at the Green Pond Landing and Event Center on Lake Hartwell.
Jeffery Scot Dalton, 32, of Spring St., Williamston was fatally injured in a head-on crash on Augusta Rd. in Greenville. Dalton was wearing a seat belt and died at the scene according to the SC Hwy. patrol.
Greenville County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated a vandalism incident at Woodmont High School. Beth Brotherton of Greenville County Schools reported someone forcibly entered the Woodmont High athletic complex by breaking the bolts on the gate near the scoreboard. After driving a vehicle onto the field, a “figure eight” was done on the playing field. There were also “donuts” done by a vehicle on the practice field behind the stadium which was entered by cutting across the lawn on the east side of the campus.