Looking Back at 2017 . . .

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By David Meade/Stan Welch
Another year gone by. The following highlights of events and news were covered by The Journal during 2017:
Jan. 4 – A spirit of cooperation continues to grow, as the mayors of Pelzer and West Pelzer explored further opportunities to work together. The two mayors will discuss entering into a feasibility study with ReWa later in the week.
Former Boots and Thelma’s restaurant reopened under new ownership and under the new name, Milltown Place.
Newly installed Anderson County Sheriff Chad McBride made it clear that his department’s attitude and emphasis will be different from that of the outgoing administration. The greatest difference more involvement of the deputies on patrol as investigators, and not just report takers.
Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated a shooting last at the Town and Country Lounge in which one person was injured.
Jan 11 – During their first meeting of the New Year, Williamston Town Council heard reports from Envision Williamston on several grant related projects and approved several resolutions including one amending the fee schedule and rules for usage of the Municipal Center, allowing alcohol to be served during private events.Newly elected Ward 4 Councilman Chris Alexander, reelected Mayor Mack Durham and Councilman David Harvell were sworn in. Councilman Tony Hagood was chosen to serve as Mayor Pro Tem.
Williamston council approved a $56,500 match for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant of $84,500 awarded to Envision Williamston. The grant will be used for low-cost, high impact beautification and community engagement downtown projects totaling $183,650.
Pelzer Town Council was urged to begin deciding services they want to provide and heard that a new non-profit has been established to save the hospital building. An all new town council, were beginning the second year of their terms.
Councilman Will Ragland announced that a new non-profit organization had been established to raise money for renovation projects in Pelzer, starting with the old hospital building. The new non-profit was called Restore Pelzer.
The Clemson Tigers Football Program won their second National Championship. The first was thirty five years ago.
West Pelzer Town Council received good news from the town’s auditor informing them that the town’s fund balance increased by $54,000 over the last year. The Council passed a resolution authorizing the Mayor to accept P.A.R.D. funds for improvements to the current town hall, which will become the Billy O’Dell Community Center.
Approval was also given to a contract between Pelzer and West Pelzer and Arnett & Muldrow, a Greenville consulting firm to develop a community master plan and approved matching funds for a feasibility study to explore whether West Pelzer and Pelzer should sell their sewer systems to ReWa.
Jan. 18 – The Woodmont High School Athletic Hall of Fame honored their 4th class induction with five inductees: Shane Godfrey, Ricky McCombs, Michael Sanders, Sandy Cash, and Cindy Cash.
Williamston Town Councilman Rockey Burgess and family members were in Washington to witness the Inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the forty fifth President of The United States.
The Palmetto Business Association (PBA) started the new year with a new president, Blake Sanders and alternating morning Toast and Topics meeting and evening Business after Hours meetings.
The prestigious Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School Award was presented to Wren High School, during the Blueprint for Excellence National Conference held in Orlando, Florida. Wren High Principal Nichole Boseman and Assistant Principal Chris Chapman received the award for the school.
Williamston Mayor Mack Durham said his first term as mayor was primarily focused on planning and his second term will be focusing more on capital improvements for the town. Speaking to the Palmetto Business Association Durham said he also wants to have a better relationship among the three towns, Williamston, West Pelzer and Pelzer.
Jan. 25 – During a workshop, Pelzer Town Council discussed a number of topics related to the future of the town including several grants, possible improvements, revitalization efforts and setting a millage rate to provide a base for services. They also discussed the REWA offer to evaluate the sewer system to see if there are options and the related effect with West Pelzer.
Citadel Cadet Cory Nathan Taylor of Williamston was among cadets in the Citadel Summerall Guards participating in the Presidential Inauguration Parade held in Washington. He is a 2013 graduate of Palmetto High School.
Anderson County Planning Director Michael Forman met with West Pelzer Planning Commission to begin the process of helping them develop the town’s comprehensive plan.
Residents of the lower mill village in Pelzer learned work was underway to remove pallets from the lower mill property. Anderson County worked with the Pelzer Heritage Commission to obtain funding for the cleanup and the County also assisted in letting the bids and awarding the contract.
Feb. 1 – As construction continued at the Duke Energy Lee Combined Utility site, a second access road was added for ash removal.
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 is a reflection of the extraordinary rate of growth in that part of the county,
The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees packed a lot into their first meeting of 2017 held in the library at Palmetto High School including approving a construction bid for Wren projects, adopted the 2017-18 school calendar, renewed the superintendent’s contract and recommended a new trustee member. Pat Cox. They also announced that the Palmetto High Auditorium will be named in honor of long time Board Chairman Fred Alexander, who died in November.

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. 2800 tons of contaminated soil have been removed from the area. Ninety eight monitoring wells and a total of thirty five product recovery wells have been installed.
Feb. 8 – The Mustang Stage Company of Palmetto High, under the direction of Will Ragland, presented the Italian comedy, Scapino!Scapino! The production was taken to the Palmetto Dramatic Association high school one act festival in Feb. at Dorman High School.
Restore Pelzer, the new non-profit formed by Pelzer Town Councilmembers and Pelzer residents held an indoor yard sale and work day at the old Pelzer Hospital Building.
Members of the Pelzer/West Pelzer steering committee for the Main Street Program met to begin work on a master plan for the revitalization of the community’s business district
Shady Grove Baptist Church in south Greenville County celebrated their 150th anniversary.
Feb. 15 – Twelve year old Gabrielle Wright of Williamston earned her 4th Degree Black Belt in Karate, one of only a few in the area who have achieved the level.. Yondan Wright studies karate at Tiger Paw Martial Arts Academy in Williamston.
Work on the new 750-Megawatt Natural Gas Combined-Cycle plant at the Duke Energy W. S. Lee Steam Station site is about three quarters complete while excavation and removal of coal ash now includes a second basin. The project has been underway since May of 2015. It is expected to be finished by the end of 2017.
Signs of the growing cooperation between the towns of Pelzer and West Pelzer continue as a joint water and sewer committee reached a non-binding agreement where an employee will be hired under the auspices and supervision of the West Pelzer Public Works Department. That department will operate and maintain the water and sewer systems for both towns.
Pelzer Town Council heard comments from five residents, heard an update on grants and announcements that Pelzer and West Pelzer plan to combine their sewer departments into one department for both towns and that Public Works Head Brad West is leaving. Mayor Steve McGregor said combining the departments will result in a cost saving to both towns.
Feb. 22 – The continuing inquiry into the circumstances of a 2014 petroleum spill in the Cheddar area, and its subsequent impacts on the environment has taken a recent twist.
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.
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. The department obtained and refurbished a ladder truck which gives the department a seventy foot vertical capability.
Members of the Palmetto Business Association met for the first Toast and Topics breakfast held at the Williamston Municipal Center. Mill Town Place sponsored the event and provided breakfast. Barret Foust of Goodwin Foust Custom Homes in Powdersville was the guest speaker.
Mar. 1 – A Citizens Input Work Shop for the Town of Pelzer drew comments from five or six of the dozen who attended. Mayor Steve McGregor, council members and town employees heard concerns ranging from neighborhood safety to office hours for the mayor and how to communicate with them in addition to email. Discussion also included youth recreation, monitoring restrooms in the park and beautification of the medians, which resulted in citizens volunteering their services.
The Towns of Pelzer and West Pelzer will hold a Charette in March to gather input for a Hwy. 8 Master Plan for the revitalization of the community’s business district.. Various people and representatives in the community will be invited to participate in the round table discussions.
Ally McCaslin was crowned Miss Woodmont 2017 by Miss Woodmont 2016 Brittany Westbrooks during the Miss Woodmont pageant at Woodmont High School. McCaslin won the Interview portion of the contest as well as Grand Talent and Evening Wear.
Antonia Jacinto, 41, a father of five, was killed when a truck crashed into the bedroom of his home at 221 Tripp Street and Whilden Drive in Williamston. Five children were in the home at the time, and they were not injured. The mother was at work. crash happened.
Austin Burdette, 19, of Belton was driving the truck and faced charges of felony Driving Under the Influence.
During the Williamston Town Council workshop several members of the Williamston Fire Department presented their proposal to purchase a ladder truck. Chief Steve Ellison explained that the proposal was based on both the need for such a unit, and the additional capacity to respond that it would provide, as well as the condition of one existing truck the department has on hand.
Mar. 8 – Williamston Town Council approved first reading amending ordinances on fees and use of the Municipal Center, alcoholic beverage regulations to conform with state code and town purchasing policies.
Council also held first reading on an ordinance establishing an economic development incentive program and gave approval to a proposal by the Williamston Fire Department to purchase a used aerial ladder truck.The truck will replace a 1998 truck purchased new by the department for $208,000. Chief Ellison said to replace the truck new would now cost $400,000.
Pelzer Councilmember Kimberly Wilson graduated from the Municipal Associaton of South Carolina (MASC) Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government.
A crowd of approximately thirty five residents, split pretty evenly, between Pelzer and West Pelzer, met in a Charette to discuss their vision of the future of the two towns. The focus of the event centered on the potential appearance of the intersection of Main Street and Lebby Street, and the adjacent areas.
Deputies with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office began being featured on A&E’s new “Live PD” television show.
Mar. 15 – Anderson County held a ribbon cutting for a second ADA floating kayak launch facility on the Saluda River, this one in Pelzer.
The new kayak launch is a $130,000 project funded partly by Anderson County as well as a Duke Energy Water Resources Fund.
The final pieces of a new electronic message board with a river rock monument base was being placed in front of the Williamston Municipal Center. The new sign is another Envision Williamston project. The electronic sign will be used to advertise specials events, festivals, meeting and other activities going on within the town.
Dignitaries gathered on the banks of the Saluda River in Pelzer to officially open Anderson County’s second kayak launch. The Timmerman Jr. Kayak Launch Facility is fully compliant with the American Disabilities Act, and will provide access to the river, in addition to an identical facility located at the Dolly Cooper Park. The Dolly Cooper facility was the first ADA kayak launch in the state.
West Pelzer Town Council addressed proposed policy allowing town employees, including police, to take official vehicles home and Mayor Blake Sanders announced that the town had formally assumed control and operation of Pelzer’s public works department.
Pelzer Town Council received information from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, heard suggestions for an intergovernmental agreement with West Pelzer for services and heard their first report on the operations of the public works department which recently merged with West Pelzer.
Mar. 22 – Envision Williamston began accepting applications for a Main Street Challenge Program, an entrepreneurial start-up competition for the purpose of generating additional retail occupancy in Williamston. The program offers an incentive package in excess of $10,000 to each of the winning entrepreneurs who are selected to open their new business in Williamston.
The Palmetto Business Association discussed plans for several upcoming events and gave their consent for the organization to move forward on a proposal to expand their Party in the Park event.
Anderson School District One Board of Trustees heard from Palmetto High drama teacher Will Ragland, received an update on the building program and heard from reading coaches in the district about how they are encouraging reading in the elementary schools.
District One Finance Director Travis Thomas reported the District received two months of local option sales tax receipts in Feb. For October and November, (2016) Anderson County took in $3,585,000. District One’s portion, at thirty percent, amounted to $1,108,000. Twenty percent of that, or $221,000 went to property tax relief and $886,000 went into the capital building fund.
Anderson School District One Board of Trustees heard preliminary budget information and approved a large number of teachers and administrators for the 2017-18 school year. The District expected to see an increase in funding from the state of $582,325.
Superintendent David Havird said that property assessments are going up which will help the District One budget.
A number of issues and matters were brought up at the Williamston Town Council workshop including the question of improving the training and skill sets of various town employees in order to keep more projects in house, Mineral Spring Park trail project is ready to be let for bids and a pre-construction conference for the Minor St. sidewalk project. The discussion then moved to actions the town can take to encourage residential development.
The Neighborhood Improvement Program (NIP) began last year, with the acquisition and demolition of nineteen houses, including several in the Williamston and Pelzer area. Once again, a number of houses on the new list are in the Williamston and Belton areas. Following the conclusion of the second phase, twenty other properties will be acquired and razed.
Apr 5 – The Pelzer Heritage Commission is asking for volunteers to help clean up around the old Pelzer Mills office building, parking lot, road and the lower end of the mill site.
Williamston and the surrounding area found out that the area lies directly in the center of the path of a rare solar eclipse that will take place on Aug. 21 and the town will see one of the longest viewing times of the total eclipse of any town in the state and country.
The town, and surrounding area including Piedmont, Pelzer and West Pelzer is perfectly positioned for people to observe and record the historic event. The eclipse will be the first total eclipse in the U.S. since 1979 – and the first one to travel coast-to-coast in almost 100 years.
Mayor Mack Durham took the town of Williamston’s problems with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration) up the chain of command meeting with members of U.S. Congressman Jeff Duncan’s staff at the municipal center. Mayor Durham said that FEMA first estimated $450,000 worth of damage from the torrential rains in the fall of 2015. Of that amount, the town expected to pay a twenty per cent match, which the state offered to help with. But when FEMA made their final offer, it was for just seventy five thousand dollars, an amount Durham called ‘ridiculous.’
Williamston Town Council heard updates on Envision Williamston projects, Codes Enforcement and MedShore EMS report. Medshore Director of Operations Josh Shore said closing with Priority, the Tennessee based company that is buying a significant interest in the MedShore operation, will take place that week and that Medshore will stay the same as far as corporate entity, from the CEO down, using the same trucks and uniforms.
Council approved second reading on four ordinances including Regulations for Use of the Municipal Center, Alcoholic Beverage Regulations, and changes to the Purchasing Policy, and establishment of an Economic Development Incentive Program and heard an update on a GIS mapping project for infrastructure and making the information digitally accessible.
Apr. 12 – West Pelzer Town Council addressed a variety of issues ranging from consolidating the Pelzer and West Pelzer town clerks’ offices to taking legal action against the SCDOT to stop trucks from using Highway 8 to pass through town. Council discussed a resolution presented and approved by both Councils at a joint special called meeting held on March 20. That resolution supported the consolidation of the offices of town clerk “to provide efficient public works and administrative services” to the towns.
The consolidation would include the actual relocation of the Pelzer office to the West Pelzer municipal center.
The South Carolina Department of Commerce, Grants Administration recommended a grant award of $84,500 in Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) funds for the Williamston Downtown Acceleration Program (WDAP). The grant application was made for Town of Williamston through the Envision Williamston program.
Pelzer Town Council gave their approval for consolidation of the Pelzer and West Pelzer clerks’ offices, approved replacement of problem and unreadable water meters and heard concerns from several citizens.
In the Republican primary for the S.C. Senate District Three seat, former Pendleton Mayor Carol Burdette and Powdersville businessman Richard Cash gleaned the two highest number of votes, setting up a runoff in two weeks.
Members of the Pelzer Heritage Commission along with a number of volunteers worked throughout the day cleaning the grounds of the Pelzer Mills Office Building, cutting grass and brush around the water tank and old parking lot and other general cleanup.
The Williamston Fire Department now has an aerial ladder truck. The 2001 truck was purchased from the Patoka Fire Department in Indiana. Though it is used, it has only 16,000 miles on it. The truck will replace a 1998 truck that was purchased new by the Williamston department.
Apr. 12 – The West Pelzer Planning Commission received the draft copy of the town’s comprehensive plan. The county has been assisting the town prepare the plan, as required by state law.
The neighboring towns of Pelzer and West Pelzer have consolidated both their public works departments, and some of their administrative functions.
Negotiations to have West Pelzer provide police coverage to Pelzer are continuing. The towns are also working together through the charrette process to determine a master plan to improve the Highway 8 corridor that the towns share.
Apr. 26 – Anderson County’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.8% as 548 county residents found employment during March.
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.
The conclusions form the core of the Northeast County Area Plan (NECAP), a study conducted by the Anderson County Planning Department over the last several months. Most of the area is comprised of District Six, which is represented by Councilman Ken Waters.
Plantfest will be held in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park featuring a variety of vendors, classes, plants and live entertainment.
A fundraiser concert of old time gospel songs and hymns featuring some of the finest singers in the Upstate, including members of the cast of Smoke on the Mountain, was held in the Pelzer Auditorium.
Sydney Crawford, Miss Greenville County Teen 2017, hosted a pancake breakfast in Piedmont to benefit Children’s Miracle Network.
Taxes, grants, planning and the possible merger of the town with West Pelzer were the topics of interest at the Pelzer Town Council’s citizens’ workshop.
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.
BB&T announced that they plan to close their branch office in Williamston later this year.
Approximately 130 volunteers participated in the townwide cleanup “HOWDY” Day which focused on beautifying Mineral Spring Park, the ARTORY, Brookdale Park and First Street in Williamston.
West Pelzer Police Chief Mike Clardy resigned his position with the West Pelzer Police Department. Chris Brewer was named the new Chief of Police.
May 3 – Approximately thirty citizens were on hand as Tripp Muldrow, of Arnett Muldrow & Associates, presented the findings of the Pelzer/ West Pelzer Master Plan for the shared stretch of Highway 8 that makes up both towns’ Main Street.
Muldrow presented several telling statistics, including population within a five, ten, and fifteen minute drive of the Pelzer/West Pelzer location. Within the smallest radius, there are approximately 6600 people. That number leaps at the ten minute drive to 24,000. It explodes at the fifteen minute limit to 60,000.
Techtronic Industries (TTI), a global leader in the design, manufacturing and marketing of quality consumer, professional and industrial products, broke ground for the TTI Outdoor Test Lab in Anderson County.
The Journal launched an upgraded version of our website.
May 10 – The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees heard an update on the building program, STEA and STEM programs and competitions and approved personnel recommendations.
Pelzer Town Council approved first reading on their 2017-18 budget. Several residents commented that they would like to see the budget and be able to have public input on it before it is approved.

The proposed budget preparation schedule for West Pelzer was derailed when Council voted to table it. Councilman Jimmy Jeanes made the motion to table, citing several concerns about the proposed budget.
Highlights include no tax increase and no increase in water, sewer or sanitation fees. The revenues from the hospitality tax have increased due to the opening of two new establishments that serve prepared food and were projected to reach forty thousand dollars in the coming fiscal year.
May 17 – Pelzer Town Council approved first reading on the 2017-18 budget with very little discussion or details provided for the public.
Mayor Steve McGregor said the budget primarily reflects a savings in employee salary expense due to two employees leaving the public works department and savings resulting from the department being combined with the West Pelzer Public Works Department.
The annual Pig in the Park Barbecue Festival and Cookoff was held in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park.
Williamston Town Council approved first reading on the 2017-18 budget and several ordinances related to housing and codes. Council also approved the purchase of a new tractor.
The $3,204,200 budget reflects one time expenses for operations and maintenance, several facility improvements and other items to encourage economic development and growth.
During a budget work session, Williamston Mayor Mack Durham laid out his vision for the town with an agenda which focuses on community growth through a strong leadership team of council.
Durham said that creating residential growth is the end game in his vision for the town.
May 24 – A budget workshop held by the West Pelzer Town Council focused largely on minor differences in the proposed budget, several of which were the result of accounting changes.
One of the main changes in the town’s financial condition in recent years is that the various departments are stable enough now to stand on their own, eliminating the need for the borrowing and shifting of funds between the departments to cover shortfalls.
During a three hour workshop Pelzer Town Council went through line items in the budget, discussing details on many of them including rental income, franchise fees, professional services and maintenance and grass. Only six citizens attended. It was the first budget prepared under the all new council. It was also the first budget prepared without former Town Administrator Skip Watkins and using the new QS1 billing and accounting system the town changed over to last year.
Town Clerk Heather Holcombe fielded several questions about the budget and expressed frustration that she was not prepared to answer some of those questions, stating if she had known in advance she would have had more information available. Holcombe also expressed frustration that since Watkins and two other employees of the public works department left, the responsililities of operating the town, including those once handled by Watkins, have fallen on one person.
The Saluda River Rally, sponsored by Enel Green Power North America, Inc. (EGP-NA) gave area residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy self-guided kayak tours of the Saluda River.
Launching from M. J. “Dolly” Cooper Park in Powdersville and ending at Piedmont Dam or the Timmerman Jr. Kayak Launch Facility in Pelzer, participants enjoyed one of the area’s most underutilized natural resources.
Anderson County’s unemployment rate dropped in April to 3.3% from 3.8% in March. In the last 12 months, employment gains in Anderson County totaled 979. The number of unemployed county residents dropped by 848.
Anderson County Sheriff’s Office announced the promotion of Lt. David Baker as Director of the Emergency Management Division after serving five months as its interim director.
Baker will lead the County’s emergency readiness, response and recovery efforts and brings over 20 years of law enforcement and incident command experience to the position.
Envision Williamston was approved for an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant of $84,500 for implementation of the Williamston Downtown Acceleration Program (WDAP). The ARC grant will be matched with local funds of $99,150 to bring the total budget for the program to $183,650.
Anderson School District One graduates had commencement exercises at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson.
Palmetto Salutatorian was Hannah Lily Beach, Valedictorian Katherin Nicole Edlein.
Wren Valedictorian was LeAnne Taylor Davison and Salutatorian Madison Skylar Motes.
Powdersville Valedictorian was Mary Ashlyn Parker. Salutatorian was Francisco Andres Del Valle.
High on the Hog BBQ took first place in the Pig in the Park Barbecue Cookoff held in Mineral Spring Park. High on the Hog had total 15.95 points to take the top honor.
May 31 – The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees announced that Seth Young will be the new principal at Wren High School. Young was named principal at Wren Middle, however with the departure of Wren Prinicpal Nicole Boseman, he applied for the principal position at the high school with Board approval, and got the job.
Boseman took a position in School District 4 as Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning, and Innovation.
The Board also approved final reading on the 2017-18 General Fund Budget of $71,145,357.
Highlights of the budget include hiring an additional eight new teachers to meet expected growth of 200 new students and adding three resource officers for elementary schools.
Williamston Mayor Mack Durham presented information to the school board related to a request the town made for a donation of property for recreation.
Durham said the town would like to make improvements to the ballfields located behind town hall, but must own the property to do so. The property is nine acres owned by the school district.
The Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway featured a tribute to U.S. Armed Forces members who have fallen in service to their country. Featured on the No. 14 car driven by Clint Bowyer was Army Staff Sgt. Terry D. Wagoner, of Piedmont. Wagoner attended Woodmont High School and ran track.
June 7 – West Pelzer Town Council gave first reading approval to the budget for FY 2017-2018. Council members Jim Riddle and Donnie Jeanes were not present.
Mayor Blake Sanders reported that an informal traffic count conducted by the town’s intern revealed that the town averages one hundred tractor trailer units along Main Street each hour, while fifty pedestrians each hour cross the street. Sanders said that those numbers are impressive enough to get SCDOT’s attention. The town has been exploring ways to reduce and slow traffic along the thoroughfare.
During a special called meeting, Pelzer Town Council discussed details and associated costs of the town’s QS1 accounting and billing program.
The Town is about one year into using the software program, which includes water and sewer billing, receivables, general ledger and payroll modules.
Williamston Town Council held a public hearing on the 2017-18 budget to which no one spoke, then tabled second reading on the new budget later in the meeting.
Town officials were also considering a seven percent increase in the water and sewer rates. The increases would help address a DHEC consent order and pay for electronic exploration and inspection of old lines to determine the areas in need of repair, as well as pay for six hundred fifty thousand dollars worth of several smaller projects that council has already approved, pending approval of the budget.
Williamston Town Council took two steps to continue the town’s efforts to make improve the downtown and recreation. Council approved a resolution in support of improvements at the town’s little league ballfields and rezoned property on West Main Street that will be improved as a park area. Plans are to turn the West Main property into a “Pocket Park”.
June 14 – Williamston Town Council approved second reading on the town’s 2017-18 budget with a 3-2 vote. A motion to included a 2.5 mill tax increase was approved with a 3-2 vote. However a motion to approve the budget as amended failed after receiving no second.
Budget highlights include infrastructure improvements for the town’s parks and recreation, new police cars, a trash packer truck and bins, a new loader for leaf and limb pickup and a number of small items for the recreation department.
Pelzer Town Council failed to pass second reading on the 2017-18 budget with only Mayor Steve McGregor and Councilman Will Ragland voting in favor of it. Councilmembers Roger Scott, Kim Wilson and Olene Bear were opposed to approving the budget, however none of them said why during the meeting.
The West Pelzer Planning Commission met to consider the town’s updated comprehensive plan.
Mayor Blake Sanders said that the biggest surprise that he found in all of that data was the fact that the median age of the town’s population is getting lower and lower.
June 21 – Four teens and one Miss represented the area as contestants in the Miss South Carolina and Miss South Carolina Teen Pageant in Columbia.
Brooklyn Brewster competed as Miss Greater Greer Teen, Sydney Crawford competed as Miss Greenville County Teen, Morgan Norris competed as Miss Powdersville Teen and Delanie Burnett competed as Miss Piedmont Teen. Johanna Davis is representing the area in the Miss SC pageant as Miss Powdersville.
Three local drag racers placed in the top three at the Southeastgassers drag race in Knoxville Tenn. Of 58 cars vying for a win in Knoxville, the top three were from Anderson County. In 3rd place was Mark Newton of Williamston driving “Red Barracuda”, In 2nd place was Chris Dunn of Anderson driving “Boogie Man” and the 1st place winner was Jimmy Finley of Williamston, driving “Snakebite”.
The Palmetto Business Association held a Toast and Topics breakfast meeting at Mill Town Place in West Pelzer. The Toast and Topics event was sponsored by First Citizens Bank. Pam Christopher, President and CEO of Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce. spoke on “Grooming Your Community for Economic Success.”
Christopher praised West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders and Williamston Mayor Mack Durham for their leadership and vision for the community.
June 28 – Former Williamston Police Chief Richard Edward Inman was accused of robbing a bank in Simpsonville. Inman resigned in 2011 after a controversy arose over postings on social media. He also underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor prior to his resignation.
Dr. Andrew Hooker was named Principal at Wren Middle School and Nathan Croston named Assistant Principal at Palmetto Middle School.
The Anderson School District One Board and Superintendent heard concerns from a local pastor and more than twenty members of his congregation, about the recent Palmetto High graduation program.
Pastor Robbie Robertson of Trinity Baptist Church in Williamston said he wanted to go on record that he was disappointed and offended that the benediction and invocation were removed from the program “to adhere to the law and our constitution.”

The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees approved second reading on a Policy ADF-Wellness Policy, heard a financial update and heard an update on construction projects during their meeting. Assistant Superintendent for Administration Robbie Binnicker reported that the Nutrition Program served 400 more meals per day than it did last year.
The Town of Williamston held their annual Freedom Celebration and Fireworks with food vendors, live music, a cruise in and car show with fireworks.
Following four hours of review and questioning and simplification during a work session, the Pelzer Town Council achieved a balanced budget.
The process took a good bit of tweaking, with defunct and redundant accounts being eliminated or consolidated. Other figures provided for the budget which passed by title only on the first reading had to be significantly adjusted.

PART 2 July – December

JULY
July 5 – The Town of Williamston, Envision Williamston and the Palmetto Business Association planned to host a Tailgate & Tents Solar Eclipse Viewing Event in downtown Williamston in August.
Town of Pelzer held a special called meeting on a Saturday for final reading on the 2017-18 budget. The budget was the third version. The budget was passed by title only on the first reading May 9 but had to be significantly adjusted when it was found that some of the figures were not accurate. A second version was voted on during their regular monthly meeting June 13, but was not approved, failing with three of the councilmembers opposed.
That version, done with help from former town administrator Skip Watkins, failed to pass because some councilmembers wanted to further look over the numbers.
Town Clerk Heather Holcombe re-drafted the budget document that was presented for the Saturday vote. The budget has total revenues of $893,700 and total expenses of $893,700.
A new expense item is Streets and Highways, budgeted at $20,000.
July 12 – The West Pelzer Town Council gave first reading approval to the draft of their comprehensive plan, as well as awarding the four hundred dollar a month lawn care contract to Southern Boys Lawn Service, LLC.
Pelzer Mayor Steve McGregor announced that he will not be seeking reelection when his term ends in November. McGregor cited family committments as the reason and said that it is “not fair for the town” for him to not be as involved as needed.
Williamston Town Council heard information about a $749,000 sewer improvement project on Belton Drive and an update on the Envision Williamston program which has a number of projects currently underway.
The town was awarded a $692,000 Community Development Block Grant for the rehab project which includes installing 3,150 feet of eight inch gravity line and 12 manholes.
EW Executive Director Sonya Crandall said there were eight applications for the Main Street Challenge program and fifteen applications for the Facade Improvement grants
Crandall also reported they are working on a visitor survey for upcoming events, an updated business assistance guide, a new dining and shopping guide, a walking tour and a new rack card for real estate and financial services available in the town.
Williamston Town Council approved funding for a sewer master plan study, a CDBG sewer grant match and use of town property for a Party in the Park event.
Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc (GMC) will be preparing the Sewer Master Plan over a three month period, at a cost of $17,000.
A vote was cast in Williamston by phone from New York by Councilman Rockey Burgess, who was on vacation. Burgess called in to vote on other items on the agenda including approval of the town’s required $97,000 match for the CDBG grant of $789,000 for the Belton Drive Sewer Upgrade project and the Party in the Park event.
The Party in the Park is being sponsored by TRZ Management, the Palmetto Business Association and the Arts Council. Alcohol will be available at the event, however it will only be available in a designated area on town property.
July 19 – The Cultural Arts Foundation of Fountain Inn and the Mill Town Players announced that the Pelzer theater company, led by Executive Artistic Director Will Ragland, will become the resident theater company of the Younts Center for Performing Arts
The Mill Town Players are currently completing their third season at the Historic Pelzer Auditorium and have received several state and regional awards for their productions. They have become one of the Upstate’s most attended community theaters, reaching over 30,000 annually.
The 2017-18 budget approved for the Town of Williamston has restructured water and sewer rates which will result in an increase for some customers. The current base rate for the minimum water usage will not increase, however the monthly minimum usage amount is changing from 2000 gallons to 1000 gallons.
Pelzer Town Clerk Heather Holcombe submitted a letter of resignation informing the Pelzer Town Council that she is resigning her position in two weeks. After submitting her resignation notice, she was informed by the mayor that it would be best if she left the position effective immediately.
On the second anniversary of the “New Pelzer”, town officials were meeting with residents and deciding what to do about an opening for town clerk, the only job position the town has left.
Paperwork necessary to finalize the annexation of the upper and lower mill villages was officially signed by the mayor and council on Saturday, July 18, 2015.
Two years later, in a brief “emergency meeting”, Pelzer Town Council unanimously approved a motion by Kimberly Wilson to have Shane Black serve as interim clerk for the Town of Pelzer. Black currently serves as the Clerk of Court for West Pelzer.
The Journal reported that due to Act 388, the Town of Pelzer, which has never had a property tax millage imposed, can not establish and implement such a millage until the law is amended.
The law included a tax cap, which prevented a political entity, such as a town or county, from imposing any increase above three per cent in any given year.
The Pelzer Historic District was being considered by the South Carolina State Board of Review for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places in Columbia. The proposed Pelzer Historic District has some architecture and place relevant to history in that it reflects textile manufacturing in SC and mill housing in SC.
July 26 – The landlord of a mobile home in Williamston is being sued in connection with the death of Antonia Jacinto Moreno, 41, a father of five who was killed when a vehicle driven by Austin Cole Burdette, 21, crashed into his home in February. The driver of the vehicle, that crashed into the mobile home faces a criminal charge of felony driving under the influence causing death. He was released on a $30,000 bond in March.
Meredith Leigh Rahme, 28, was shot as she sat in the driver’s seat of her Honda CRV at an apartment complex on North Main Street in Greenville. Approximately two hours later, authorities found the Jeep Patriot of Jessica Edens, 36 of Easley, believed to be the person who shot Rahme. Inside the SUV authorities found Edens and her two children, Harper Edens, 5 and Hayden King, 9. All three died from a gunshot wound.
Investigators said they believe the motive and connection of the shootings stems from a broken marriage. Edens had connections to the Wren community.
The Williamston McDonald’s franchise was purchased by Terry and Donna Shugart of Hartwell, Ga. Shugart owns four McDonald’s locations in Hart, Franklin and Elbert counties.
The Anderson School District One Board heard the graduation speech of an adult education graduate Before hearing the speech of adult ed grad Rachel Renee Ossman, amended their budget to reflect unexpected revenue that came in and heard preliminary plans for two new middle schools.
Anderson District 1 & 2 Adult Education Director Janice Walpole presented information about the program. District One has three events planned in connection with the Solar Eclipse. District One provided viewing glasses to students.
The free summer food program served 10,000 lunches and 7000 snacks. Architects began meeting with principals and staff about future plans for upgrading and replacing Palmetto and Wren Middle Schools facilities. Superintendent David Havird said planning for the projects is in preparation for a referendum to voters in 2019 or 2020.
Anderson Career and Technology Center was named an Outstanding Technology Center by the Southern Regional Education Board at the 31st Annual High Schools That Work Staff Development Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jill Francisco, a grant specialist with the Appalachian Council of Government, met with the various interested parties, to consider funding for a $60,000 federal grant to finance Pelzer’s Master Plan. The Appalachian Regional Council, source of the grant, decided to require Pelzer to make a fifty/fifty match for the funds, instead of a twenty/eighty match. The difference means that Pelzer needs to provide $30,000 to get $30,000 instead of providing $12,000 to get $8,000.
The Jake Bartley Band headlined the Party in the Park event held on the town ballfields located behind the Williamston Municipal Center. There were fireworks following the show.
AUGUST
Aug. 2 – Anderson County officials and representatives of The Citadel met with Williamston officials to finalize arrangements for the proper care and maintenance of the town’s historic cannon. The plan calls for the cannon to be housed at the Citadel Campus in Charleston during the college’s normal term, and will be cared for and maintained by the school’s gun crew. The gun will also be fired at appropriate times and will be properly maintained. During the school’s summer furlough, the cannon will be returned to the Anderson County Museum for display.
Aug. 9 – Pelzer Town Council decided to proceed with a forensic audit of the town’s finances two members of council, Roger Scott and Kimberly Wilson, announced that they plan to run for mayor.
New radio read water meters were being installed throughout Williamston over the next three months. The project was estimated to cost $1,576,000 but was under budget by $240,000, Adam Hogan said.
Council approved a resolution to allow the historic civil war cannon known as “Miss Annie Lee” to be displayed at the Citadel in Charleston and at the Anderson County Museum.
The West Pelzer Town Council adopted the town’s comprehensive plan. The plan deals with ten different areas, including transportation, land use, and economic development.
They also unanimously adopted the town’s amended joint public works department policy and procedures manual which included an increase in future tap fees.
Aug. 16 – The Town of Williamston, Envision Williamston and the Palmetto Business Association hosted a Tailgate & Tents Solar Eclipse Viewing Event in downtown Williamston.

The 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse brought a fantastic sight to viewers across the upstate who enjoyed near perfect weather for the event thousands of people would follow, however no one really knew what to expect as far as crowds and where they would go.
While events in Anderson and Greenville drew large crowds, eclipse viewers from across the east coast and even overseas, came to Williamston and the surrounding area to view the celestial event.
Envision Williamston Executive Director Sonya Crandall said people from at least 17 states and the Washington, DC area, stretching from Connecticut to Florida and even west to California, were in Williamston for the eclipse. There were several that came from over seas.
The Solar Eclipse took place the same week as the 36th Annual Spring Water Festival . Christian Country Gospel group Eternal Vision headlined entertainment at the festival.
Bob Seymore portrayed Williamston founder West Allen Williams during the Spring Water Festival. The Living Statue drew crowds of onlookers and festival goers were amazed as the statue began moving or talking.
Aug. 30 – Anderson School District One teachers and administrators celebrated the first week back at the annual kick off meeting, held at Powdersville High School.
Leslie Martin, US History teacher at Powdersville High School, was announced as the 2017-18 Anderson One District Teacher of the Year.
In West Pelzer, incumbents Jimmy Jeanes and Johnny Rogers were seeking reelection, along with newcomer Vicki Farmer.
In Pelzer, current council members Roger Scott and Kimberley Wilson were running for mayor.
All four council seats are open and six people, including incumbents Will Ragland and Olene Bear, are running. In addition to the incumbents, Sandi Jeanes, Gary ‘Garbo’ Pridemore, Michael Matthews, and Teresa Ramsey are candidates for those seats.
Approximately fifty Pelzer residents attended a public forum to introduce candidates for town council. Williamston Town Councilman Rockey Burgess served as moderator.
District Six County Councilman Ken Waters hosted a town hall meeting at Powdersville High School. The meeting was relocated from the Powdersville Library in anticipation of a large turnout. The featured topic was the issue of incorporation.
Dedication was held for the newly renovated West Pelzer municipal center. The building will also house the Pelzer town office. West Pelzer clerk of court Shane Black is currently also serving as interim town clerk for the town of Pelzer.
South Carolina State Representative Eric Bedingfield announced his intention to resign on Jan. 18, 2018. Bedingfield said he is stepping down to become director of government affairs at Greenville Technical College.
Anderson School District One Board of Trustees heard a report on the opening of school, approved the purchase of property for future expansion of the Career Center and approved a bid for work on the Palmetto High Multipurpose facility.
Superintendent David Havird said the opening of school went “very smooth” and that District One enrollment went over the 10,000 mark this year.
SEPTEMBER
Sept. 6 – Anderson County’s annual Labor Day celebration, Celebrate Anderson will take place on Sunday, September 3rd with a free outdoor concert featuring Sara Evans and a patriotic fireworks finale!
More than seven hundred people showed up at District Six Councilman Ken Waters’ town hall meeting. The attendance, which probably exceeded the total attendance of all of Waters’ earlier town hall meetings combined, was spurred by efforts to develop approximately thirty acres in an area in proximity to the Powdersville schools.
Approximately seventy five West Pelzer residents and visitors gathered for the official opening of the new West Pelzer/Pelzer municipal center. State Representative Anne Thayer was on hand, as well as town officials from Pelzer and Williamston.
The 5th annual Homesteading Festival, in partnership with the Steve White Volkswagen Camp Out and Show, was held in Mineral Spring Park with classes, children’s activities, and entertainment.
Robert Lee McCall, of Piedmont was charged with attempted murder and possession of weapon during a violent crime in connection with a shooting incident at 230 Long Road. While Deputies were enroute to the incident location, the victim was taken to Piedmont Fire Department in a personal vehicle. The victim was transported to a local hospital by EMS. Deputies were told that the incident stemmed from a possible family related dispute
Sept. 13 – Due to inclement weather conditions caused by Hurricane Irma, Anderson County and most local government offices, and many businesses closed early. Williamston Town Council and West Pelzer Town Council also rescheduled.
All Anderson County schools were closed as the storm approached and the next day due to power outages and numerous trees blocking roadways.
Following a two hour meeting capped by an executive session to discuss personnel, Pelzer Town Council unanimously approved Shane Black to serve as the Pelzer Town Clerk. They also approved a resolution to begin negotiations with West Pelzer for police protection, provided some funding for recreation and decided not to proceed with a forensic audit.
Sept. 21 – Anderson District One 2017 graduates earned a 19.2 composite score on the ACT as compared to the state’s average composite score of 18.7. The district ranked 9th out of 85 districts in the state in the ACT scores.
Despite a slight drop in composite scores for 2017, the total of scholarships for students increased dramatically to $19,909,380.
Williamston Police Chief Tony Taylor recognized officers Haigler and Creel for excellent service in freezing a crime scene and executing a search warrant during a drug investigation at Middleton Apartments. Chief Taylor said the officers went “beyond their normal duties” which resulted in a drug seizure and arrest and they were to be commended. Both officers were presented a letter of commendation by the Chief.
Williamston Town Council approved the sale of two properties located at 600 Parker St. and 5 Scott St. The two properties were donated to the town several years ago. Council unanimously approved first reading on a related ordinance authorizing funding for nuisance abatement.
Mayor Durham updated council on renovation work being done on the Municipal Center Auditorium including bleachers removed, storage areas at the back of the room, floor being refinished and new paint. Durham said the improvements and others will make the auditorium a more upscale venue for events.
Recyle dumpsters located behind town hall were removed. The mayor said people were bringing trash and other items, some from out of town, creating a problem.
Sept. 28 – Anderson School District One Superintendent David Havird told Board members the District is ending a ten year capital improvement plan capped by three years of improvements funded by the one cent sales tax which began in March of 2015.
The building program included eight room additions at elementary and middle schools and Palmetto High, cafeteria and kitchen improvements, security improvements and athletic field houses, weight rooms and other facility upgrades. Most of the projects were completed between 2009 and 2011, including a big one, construction of the new Powdersville High School in 2011.
The Local Option Sales Tax, which was implemented in 2015, allowed the District to make numerous capital improvements and reduce debt service.
Havird said the next priority will be construction of new Palmetto and Wren Middle schools and the district will need several new 8-10 room building additions, additional safety and security improvements, technology upgrades and significant building upgrades and improvements.
More than fifty residents gathered at the Pelzer community building for the town council’s workshop to consider the possible implementation of town ordinances and the issue of police protection.
Councilman Will Ragland reiterated the council’s position that they had found a $150,000 surplus in the budget this year, a figure which came up constantly during discussions.
The West Pelzer Planning Commission met to review proposed ordinances governing fireworks in the town, and the burning of tree limbs and yard debris.
West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders attended the Pelzer town council workshop to present his town’s proposal for sharing police services with its sister town.
West Pelzer Council approved a resolution empowering Mayor Sanders to proceed with preliminary discussions with the owners of a strip of property adjacent to Chapman Park, which is the site of the town’s original town hall.
Ashland Craft of Piedmont made her appearance on NBC’s “The Voice” and had three of the four coaches on the show wanting her on their team. She went with judge and coach Miley Cyrus.
OCTOBER
Oct. 4 – The Williamston Planning Commission approved a parking space length variation for a new development planned for the former BB&T bank property at 1 Greenville Drive in Williamston. Developer David Rosenburg presented information for a planned Dollar Tree retail store. The old BB&T bank building will be torn down and replaced with a new Architectural Block and Stucco building.
Envision Williamston Executive Director Sonya Crandall presented information on the EW program and its three part “Transformation Strategy” for the town to Williamston Town Council. The strategy had ten projects underway to facilitate and develop Dining, Shopping, Recreational and Placemaking opportunities for visitors and residents; to facilitate and develop Cultural and Entertainment opportunities for residents and visitors and to employ multiple Marketing Methods to promote visitor attraction and community engagement.
Twelfth grade students in Anderson One earned a score of 1096 in reading and writing on the 2017 SAT topping the state’s average of 1058. These scores showed a slight decline from the 2016 score of 1105. All tenth grade students took the PSAT to help prepare them for the SAT. Anderson One students’ average score was 930 above the state’s average of 923.

High winds from the remnants of Hurricane Irma blew over a huge tree at the Williamston Cemetery, knocking over headstones and causing extensive damage to several gravesites. Williamston residents (and councilmembers) Chris Alexander and Rockey Burgess took action after seeing postings on social media about the storm damage. Alexander and Burgess righted tombstones, filled in a gaping hole and repaired coping at the site.
Williamston Town Council held first reading on five zoning related ordinances, heard an update on Envision Williamston projects and an announcement of a new business coming to town.
Crandall said SGA Architects had presented three conceptual designs for a pocket park area behind the historic business district on East Main Street as part of the Mustang Alley feasibility study.
Oct. 11 – Students at Palmetto Middle School showed support for their classmate Samuel Leroy, by forming a heart shaped formation on the football field. Leroy experienced a rare medical complication. A “Go Fund Me” account was started to help offset some of the cost of medical expenses. The link can be found on The Journal website at www.thejournalonline.com
Pelzer Town Council heard comments from several citizens including questions about interns working for Pelzer and West Pelzer, annexing into Greenville County, lights in the gym and park and County sheriff or West Pelzer police protection, and studying taxation. Clerk Shane Black reported that all of the electronic read water meters have been installed and that all town business for Pelzer and West Pelzer is being conducted at the new Municipal Center in West Pelzer.
Oct 18 – Powdersville Volunteer Fire Department held their Community Day with emergency vehicles on display including Fire Apparatuses, Ambulance, Police vehicles, Medical Transport Helicopter, and more. As a “grand finale” firefighters conducted a vehicle extrication demonstration.
Oct. 18 – The Town of Pelzer and the Town of West Pelzer held a special called meeting to consider a Memorandum of Understanding with ReWa for Acquisition of Sewer Infrastructure.
West Pelzer Town Council addressed several issues, including approving a reduction of the town’s tax millage, which was ninety six. It was reduced two mills to ninety four. Mayor Blake Sanders explained that the reduction was made possible by a two per cent growth in the town’s tax base.
Oct. 25 – The West Allen Williams Heritage and Old Time Music Festival was held at the Williamston Municipal Building Auditorium. The festival is sponsored by the Palmetto Area Cultural Arts Center at The Artory.
Following an incident in which three people were shot in Williamston, Police Chief Tony Taylor addressed concerns of the community. Taylor said that the shooting on Caroline Street was the result of an ongoing conflict between individuals and that it was connected to a shooting incident the previous week on Joe Black Road.
To address the problems in the area, Taylor said that the police department is working with landlords and the Housing Authority to get success getting people evicted or not to lease to people with a criminal background.
Taylor said law enforcement needs help from a combination of working with landlords and the community.
Williamston Mayor Mack Durham said the town is taking steps to help address crime in local neighborhoods and would soon implement a new ordinance to discourage landlords from renting properties to criminals in town neighborhoods.
Williamston Street Department employees began distributing new trash receptacle bins to residents. The green 96 gallon capacity containers have the Town logo imprinted in white on the side.
Approximately 40 Pelzer residents attended the second “Meet the Candidates” forum held at the Pelzer Community Building Tuesday. Eight candidates participated including one new one, while one original candidate withdrew from the election. Mayor Steve McGregor moderated the question and answer session which lasted almost three hours.
The Town of Pelzer and Pelzer Heritage Commission were notified that a good portion of the town is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Designated as the Pelzer Manufacturing Company and Mill Village Historic District, the new listing is official as of Oct. 18, 2017.
The town councils of Pelzer and West Pelzer met jointly to discuss the possibilities of selling their sewer systems to ReW

NOVEMBER
Nov. 1 – The Pelzer Heritage Commission (PHC) is submitting another Brownfields Cleanup Grant Application to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct additional cleanup activities at the Upper Pelzer Mill Site. The site includes 13.44-acres located on Stevenson Street in Pelzer. The grant amount being requested is a total of $200,000.
After years of effort to obtain the property, applying for and administering brownsfield cleanup grants, and looking for a party interested in possible development of the Pelzer Mill Properties, representatives of the Pelzer Heritage Commission (PHC) say they are moving closer to their goal of developing the site.
The Journal reported that an agreement has been reached with the Pelzer Heritage Commission to develop the old textile mill site. The development is expected to range from single family residential to industrial.
Anderson School District One Board honored former Board Chairman, the late Fred Alexander, with a plaque placed on the wall outside the boardroom at the Distric Offices. Alexander’s wife Wanda and daughter Rhonda were present for the unveiling.
The man wanted in connection with a shooting incident in Williamston in which three people were injured turned himself in to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday.
Bobby Lee Slade, of Williamston, was arrested and charged with three counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a weapon during a violent crime, in connection with a shooting in Williamston. Brandon Spandau Rowe, Stacy Andre Mosley and Patrice Marcella Peters were injured by gunshots during the incident on Caroline Street.
Nov. 8 – Williamston Town Council approved changes in the town’s garbage ordinance, increased water and sewer tap fees and reappointed municipal judge Matt Lollis. Bonnie McCullough addressed Council about problems on Carolina Street including people standing around, trash and other issues.
Williamston’s Historic Civil War era cannon, nicknamed “Miss Annie Lee” was on public display for “Parents Weekend” at The Citadel in Charleston. The cannon was fired during the parade on Summerall Field.
Piedmont singer Ashland Craft, survived another week on NBC’s “The Voice,” and will go to the live competition rounds.
Pelzer voters decided that Roger Scott Sr. will serve as their new mayor. In the race for the four seats on Pelzer Town Council, Olene Bear was the highest vote getter, Mike Matthews, Gary “Garbo” Pridmore and write-in candidate Eddie Waits will serve on council, with
In the West Pelzer election, incumbent Johnny Rogers and new comer Vickie Farmer were elected to serve on the West Pelzer Town Council. Jimmy Jeanes came out on the short end of the count for the two open seats on council.
Nov. 15 – In one of the shortest meetings since the annexation, Pelzer Town Council heard a brief report from town clerk Shane Black, approved the purchase of 20 new water meters and received legal advise in a short executive session. There was no public comment at the beginning of the meeting and no comments from council at the end.
During a public meeting at the Pelzer Community Building, Gail Rawls Jeter of Cardno, Inc. provided information about the Brownfields Cleanup Grant Application being submitted by Pelzer Heritage Commission (PHC) to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for additional cleanup activities at the Upper Mill Site in Pelzer. The grant amount being requested for the 13.44 acre site is a total of $200,000.
At the beginning of the meeting, PHC attorney West Cox said an agreement had been made with State Investors LLC to redevelop three potential sites on the property and that the grant was a “key component” for cleanup of environmental issues.
State Investors Project Manager Richard Greer provided some information on the first phase of planned development which he said includes two or three commercial and light industrial facilities.
Additional future development is expected to include residential parcels, administrative and research property and a river front trail and park.
The West Pelzer Town Council gave first reading approval to a fireworks ordinance that town attorney strongly opposed, saying that the best approach would be a total ban on fireworks in the town, except for sanctioned municipal events.
Anderson County, Emergency Management held a training exercise in Williamston for a potential EMP attack.
Anderson District One’s state report card release showed the graduation rates have been over 90% for the fourth year in a row. In 2014, the grad rate was 90.8, 2015 92.0, 2016 93.1 and 2017 91.9 The graduation rate has improved over the past 6 years from 85.2 to 91.9.
The third and final jazz event of the season in Williamston was held in Williamston’s newly renovated Municipal Center Auditorium. The event featured Steve Watson and Band. Watson is a former member of the Bruce Hornsby Band and he is director of Jazz Studies at The Fine Arts Center, magnet high school in Greenville. Watson’s works have entered the top 15 in the contemporary jazz charts for 2011 and 2012.
A Mill Town Christmas in Pelzer Holiday Fair was held at the Historic Pelzer Gym.
A customer at Mike & Jack on Augusta Rd. in Pelzer bought a winning lottery ticket for $125,000 taxes paid prize.
Ashland Craft returned to NBC’s “The Voice” to compete in the playoffs and a chance to move on to the live rounds.
Nov. 22 – Opening night ceremonies and lighting of the Christmas Park was held in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park.
Palmetto High School Mustang cheerleaders won the State AAA Championship competition in Columbia at the SC High School League cheer competitions. They were greeted by a large hometown crowd and were escorted through town by a police car and fire engine before arriving at the High School.
Ashley Trantham won the Republican primary Tuesday for the State House District 29 seat that Representative Eric Bedingfield is leaving in January.
The Augusta Road Ruritan Club celebrated it’s 65th anniversary. Representative Eric Bedingfield delivering the keynote address. The meeting was opened and closed by the South Greenville Fire Department Color Guard, and special recognition was given to member Willis Creamer for 64 years of faithful service.
Nov. 29 – Piedmont’s Ashland Craft is going on to the next round on “The Voice” after being voted into the top 10.
The West Pelzer Christmas Parade was held.
Jack Dalton, of Williamston, was honored by the Belle Meade Fox Hunt Club by having a road crossing on the hunt club property named for him.
The Williamston Police Department had four new police vehicles in service. The department was able to purchase the 2017 Ford SUV Police Interceptors due to savings in the police department budget over a four year period, amounting to $150,000, according to Police Chief Tony Taylor.
The Neighborhood Improvement Program resulted in seven decrepit homes being demolished in Williamston and four demolished in Pelzer.
Williamston’s ordinance review committee, chaired by Councilman Rockey Burgess, dropping consideration an ordinance allowing concealed carry permit owners to be armed in town parks, among other locations.
State law establishing the concealed weapon permit prohibits a number of government locations but municipal parks are not included. Burgess argued that his proposal would actually bring the town ordinance into compliance with state law.
Burgess stirred up considerable media attention when he announced on social media that he intended to propose a town ordinance allowing concealed carry permit owners to be armed in town parks and other locations.
After looking at the state law and local ordinances, Williamston Town Attorney Lee Cole said there is no existing town ordinance that prohibits the carry of concealed weapons in Mineral Spring Park or any of the town parks.
Pelzer Town Council held a special called meeting to explain the plans for the development of the Pelzer Mill properties and other sites along the Saluda River. Richard Greer, representative of State Investors, the firm that has contracted with the Pelzer Heritage Commission to develop the upper and lower mill properties explained that his firm is responsible for doing the preliminary site work. He then proceeded to outline the various aspects of the five year plan to develop the sites with a focus on mixed uses.
He immediately debunked rumors that the residential areas are slated for Section 8 public housing.
The Anderson School District One Board approved a property purchase, elected officers and heard the annual audit report during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday.
District One Finance Director Travis reported the Local Option Sales Tax funds for July amounted to $1,806,000 for the county. District One received $559,000.
The Board approved the purchase of a 0.234 parcel of property that will assist with the Roe Road access project. Dr. Doug Atkins was elected Vice-Chair and David Merritt was elected Secretary. Mike Wilson was elected to continued to serve on the Alternative School Board. Dr. Atkins and Upton will also continue to served on the Anderson School Districts 1 & 2 Career and Technology Center Board.
DECEMBER
Dec.5 – Envision Williamston Executive Director Sonya Crandall announced the winners of the Main Street Challenge for two new business start-ups during the Williamston Town Council meeting. Chris and Samantha Wagner are planning to open an events venue at the Davenport House on West Main Street. Khaled Al Fackl and Imad and Rose Alchaieb are the second winners. Fackl and Alchaieb plan to open a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean Sandwich Shop and Deli. The winning applicants will each receive a grant totaling up to $10,000 to start up and operate their businesses.
Ken Meadows of Greene Finney Accounting Firm presented information on the town’s annual audit. Meadows said the town received an “Unqualified Opinion” which he said “is the best opinion you can get.”
The audit showed the town’s General Fund balance decreased from $2.193 million to $2.106 million, however it is still enough to put the town in strong financial condition.
Williamston town council approved increasing the garbage collection fee from $7 to $10. The vote was 4-1 with Harvell opposed. The change also increased the fee for customers outside the town limits to $15 per month. A new ordinance requiring vendors participating in town festivals and events to be required to purchase a $20 one day business license.
Williamston’s Financial Audit showed the town’s General Fund balance decreased from $2.193 million to $2,106 million, however it is still enough to put the town in strong financial condition according to the Green Finney Accounting Firm auditor Ken Meadows.
Greenville & Western Railway Company celebrated the tenth year of Santa riding the rails through the area with the “Santa Express”.’
Dec. 13 – West Pelzer Town Council recognized the West Pelzer Fire Department and Chief David Huff for its service to the town and surrounding community.
They also honored Councilman Jimmy Jeanes, a veteran of almost nine years on the Council, with a plaque in recognition of his service to the town. .
West Pelzer Town Council addressed fireworks, changing speed limit on Main St., a food vendor license and purchasing a parcel of property during their meeting Monday.
Pelzer Town Council held their last meeting of the year, and the shortest, with no old or new business discussed.
The meeting was the last for longtime Mayor Steve McGregor presiding who served as either a councilman or as mayor for the last 21 years.
A swearing in ceremony for the new mayor and council is tentatively set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 at the Pelzer Community Building.
Dec. 20 – Representatives of the Pelzer Heritage Commission, SC DHEC and Cardno attended the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields 2017 Sustainable Communities conference held Dec. 5 in Pittsburgh, PA. Attorney West Cox and Gilbert Garrett of PHC, Mark Berenbrok of SC DHEC and Gail Rawls Jeter of Cardno represented the PHC at the three day conference.
The Town of Williamston will sponsor a pre New Year’s Celebration event called New Beginnings 2018 in the newly renovated Town Hall Auditorium.
The area celebrated Christmas and readied for the New Year.