By David Meade/Stan Welch
Part 1 – January – June, 2018
Looking back at the news covered by The Journal during the year 2018:
Jan. 3 – West Pelzer Town Council, after conducting a public hearing on the matter, voted to proceed with the purchase of a thirty foot deep strip of land adjacent to the rear of Chapman Park. Council also unanimously gave second reading approval to an ordinance regulating mobile food vendors, discussed rentals of the O’Dell Community Center, which is awaiting remodeling and upgrading.
Jason White presented the results of the audit for FY 2016-2017, and informed the West Pelzer Town Council that the town had received an “unmodified” opinion, the best it can get.
Pelzer Town Council held a special called meeting to hire a new town clerk after Clerk Shane Black resigned. Cheryl Boudreau was namejd town clerk with a unanimous vote.
During their first meeting of the new year, Williamston Town Council heard from three residents, recognized the Palmetto High Cheerleaders for their 3A State Championship and approved final reading on garbage fee increase and new requirements for business licenses for vendors at events. Council went into executive session to discuss two contract issues. When asked about an entertainment contract that was discussed, Mayor Durham said there was no “contract” however the town is allowing an individual to hold an event in the newly renovated auditorium, which Durham said the town is sponsoring. There was no vote taken on the issue.
Jan. 17 – The Town of Pelzer held their first regular monthly meeting of the new year, with a new mayor, new town council and new municipal clerk. The new town administration includes Mayor Roger Scott Sr., Councilmembers Eddie Waits, Olene Bear, Michael Matthews and recently named clerk Cheryl Boudreau. Councilman Gary Pridmore was not present due to sickness. Mayor Scott announced that the Pelzer Town office has been moved back to Pelzer. The office, which had been located in the West Pelzer municipal center for about six months, is now located in the original town office on Courtney Street.
The Palmetto Business Association met at the Williamston Municipal Center. The incoming president is Pastor Bobby Winburn, of Restoration Church. Winburn said that his goal with the association this year is to “build community with our businesses” and “build community with our customers.”
Jan. 24 – The Town of Williamston sponsored a memorial breakfast program in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The event was held at the historic Caroline Community Center and featured guest speaker, Senator Karl Allen of Greenville. Williamston Mayor Mack Durham welcomed approximately 200 guests.
Jan. 31 – The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office is investigating two separate incidents involving malicious damage that occurred at two Piedmont area churches. Two wooden crosses were cut down from the front of Bessie Road Baptist Church. The second incident occurred at Joy Fellowship, located at 492 Bessie Road. In that incident, vandals spray-painted the church building with the Spanish words “Venceremos por el Diablo”, which translates to “We will overcome for the devil”.
The Piedmont Fire Department passed a milestone in 2017, but it wasn’t one that they especially cared to achieve. For the first time in their history, the department answered more than 1000 calls.
Anderson School District One Superintendent David Havird announced that he will retire at the end of the school year. Havird has served in the district for the past 27 years as a principal, assistant superintendent, associate superintendent and superintendent. As Superintendent, Havird guided District One through a referendum which voters approved in 2008 for $85,750,000 to improve school facilities. He then led the district through 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.
Anderson School District One, along with school districts across the state, and nation, are finding it increasingly difficult to fill teaching positions. During the monthly meeting of the School Board Tuesday, District One Director of Personnel Becky Brady said there is a “teacher crisis” with “a lack of teachers available.”
The Lander Memorial Library in Williamston held a ribbon cutting for the renovated facility. Renovations include new carpeting and paint as well as new furniture and play area for kids. There is also an updated collection of books, audiobooks, magazines, and DVDs for children, teens and adults. The Library’s meeting room space also has a refreshed look.
Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to the intersection of Travis Rd. and Martin Rd. in reference to a device that had exploded. The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad along with ATF and FBI are investigating the incident.
Feb. 7 – Williamston Town Council heard several comments and reports. Among information presented was a special request from a local three time national karate champion, Envision Williamston report on investments of $2 million dollars, a new community policing initiative and accepted a donation to the recreation program from a local industry.
Envision Williamston Executive Director Sonya Crandall reported the Adopt A Rest Stop program has nine locations and five more are being added throughout downtown area. The program will be announcing additional facade grants of $39,500 and with other public and private partnerships the program has seen more than $2 million investment in Williamston.
Williamston Town Council approved first reading on an ordinance allocating funds for Indigent Defense and immediately following, unanimously passed a resolution opposing the Indigent Defense Proviso by the State.
They also approved a dispute settlement and funding for sound improvements in the town’s auditorium.
The South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) launched a statewide public education campaign to address the opioid epidemic in South Carolina. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and South Greenville Representative Eric Bedingfield represented campaign.
A Pelzer man involved in a shop lifting incident at a Walmart in Anderson shot himself in the head when Anderson police confronted him outside a Sam’s Club. Javier Castaneda, 23, died at AnMed after being transported there.
Feb. 14 – The obstacle presented by the requirement for a two foot thick layer of soil to cap the old Pelzer Mill disposal sites was removed by the awarding of an additional subgrant of a $157,000 to the Pelzer Heritage Commission and Anderson County. The additional funds will be added to a previous grant of $400,000. The funds came from the S.C. Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund (BCRLF). The money is not a loan, however, but a grant.
West Pelzer Town Council approved a resolution renaming Donald Street from Highway 8 to its intersection with Stephanie Drive (a distance of .13 miles) to Palmetto Station Way. The change was made at the request of a developer that purchased land adjacent to Donald Street, with plans to build houses on the property which has eleven lots.
Officers for the West Pelzer Fire Department were announced. They are as follows: Chief Lee Blackwell; Asst. Chief Justin Emery; Captain David Huff; 1st Lt. Don Spruell;2nd Lt. Jordan Smith; 3rd Lt. Brian Bell; and Safety Officers Gordon Smith and Kevin Bell.
Pelzer Town Council discussed water and sewer and explained higher bills in January during their meeting. They also heard comments from citizens and answered questions about a variety of issues. Town Clerk Cheryl Boudreau reported that 82 water meters have been replaced with the new radio read water meters. The goal is to replace all of the towns 562 water meters. Mayor Roger Scott said the town’s annual audit is being done.
Anderson School District One Board held a special called meeting to approve new personnel and for discussion on hiring a superintendent. No action was taken on the matter regarding the superintendent position.
The Town of Williamston Planning Commission approved a 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 which included four requests.
Planning Commission Chairman Marion Middleton Jr. said the planned Dollar Tree business location is a direct result of the Community Master Plan the town invested in, which he said “is now paying dividends.”
Feb. 21 – With the Townville Elementary School shooting back in the news, students, parents and others in School District One were already feeling anxious. Then the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida happened, receiving non-stop media attention over the week.
Superintendent David Havird addressed those concerns and reassured students, parents and staff that “Schools are generally very safe places for children” and that the school administrators will take a closer look at safety and security procedures in Anderson District One.
Anderson County Council recognized the Palmetto High School cheerleaders for winning the 2017 South Carolina State 3A cheerleading championship. They followed up by honoring Donna Roper for her decades of service to the Anderson County Museum and to the Pendleton District Commission. The Council also approved the disposal of a surplus automobile by awarding it to the Town of Pelzer.
Ribbon cutting for the newly renovated McDonald’s of Williamston was held. The $1.2 million renovation included outside and inside and features technology making it one of the most advanced in the upstate and northeast Georgia. Owner Terry Shugart thanked the Williamston community for the opportunity to be here.
Feb. 28 – Approximately 25 people attended a public meeting at the Pelzer Community Building to hear details of a project to close and cap two old dumpsites in Pelzer. The project, when completed, will close the door on the one portion of a Brownsfield Cleanup on the Pelzer Mills properties that began over eight years ago. It will also make the property usable with plans for a possible Saluda River overlook park and walking trail.
The Pelzer Heritage Commission (PHC) and Anderson County recently received a $157,000 award from the S. C. Brownsfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund (BCRLF).
Anderson School District One Board unanimously approved Assistant Superintendent Robbie Binnicker as the new Superintendent. Binnicker will take over the position effective July 1.
Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a Pendleton middle school student for Disturbing School after disturbing text messages were sent to several students at Riverside Middle School.
Mar. 7 – West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders presented two budget options to councilmembers during a budget work session. The first included revenues and costs associated with the current agreement with Pelzer on the joint public works department the towns have shared for less than a year. The second budget option reflects town operations without Pelzer. Sanders said the $1,115,577 budget has no tax increase and said either way, West Pelzer will be self sufficient and will “stand on our own.”
Mar. 14 – The Envision Williamston Board of Directors announce the allocation of $28,000 in matching funds for Phase II of the Façade Improvement Grant Program. A total of 11 awards were allocated to local businesses and commercial property owners. Support for these grants was made possible through funding by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Palmetto Business Association and the Town of Williamston.
Envision Williamston announced winners of the Mural Design Contest. They were: Heather Dowell “Mineral Waters: Then and Now”; Thomas Addison “Unbroken Chain of Mineral Spring Water” and Rebecca Vaughn “Modern Spring”.
Pelzer Mayor Roger Scott confirmed ongoing discussions between Pelzer and Williamston concerning a number of issues, including the operation of the town’s water and sewer systems. Scott said, “We are exploring a number of possibilities. I would concede that we backed off from our arrangement with West Pelzer because we thought Williamston has more to offer us. I am committed to whatever is best for Pelzer.”
A 15 year-old student at Woodmont High School was arrested for making specific threats against specific students, staff and more general threats against the school. The student was charged with Disturbing Schools and Threatening the Use of a Destructive or Incendiary Device and was transported to the Greenville County Juvenile Detention Center.
The body of a man with Williamston ties, who disappeared from Anderson, was found in a wooded area near the Saluda River in South Greenville County. Bobby Shane Harvey’s body was found off Holliday Circle within a few miles of where his burned pickup was discovered. Harvey’s white Ford F-350 was found burned on the Greenville County side of Pelzer several days earlier.
Anderson School District One students participated in an in-school activity to discuss and advocate for increased school safety and honor those killed in the recent Parkland Florida school shooting tragedy.
As in other school districts, members of the media were not allowed to be inside District One school buildings to observe nor record any of the activities.
In an effort to give students a platform for voicing their feelings and concerns, Greenville County Schools Administration asked principals at the middle and high school levels to work with their student leadership to determine how, or if their students wanted to participate in events to remember the 17 victims of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Members of the media were not allowed to be a part of the acitivites in Greenville County Schools.
Pelzer Town Council conducted its routine business including the purchase of eighteen radio read water meters, at a cost of thirty six hundred dollars and voted to decline taking responsibility for a road currently on property owned by the Pelzer Heritage Commission. Town attorney Jimmy King’s opinion on the issue was succinct. “You don’t want that. The town is eventually going to have to start maintaining and taking care of its own roads. There is no point adding to that burden.”
Mayor Scott made a point of reminding the crowd that, while he and the Council are talking with other towns’ representatives about possible cooperative efforts, there is no deal in place, other than with West Pelzer.The Council then voted to go into executive session concerning some contractual issues, but took no votes or actions afterwards.
Mar. 21 – Envision Williamston Executive Director Sonya Crandall announced winners of the 2018 Mural Design Contest. Winners were Heather Dowell, Thomas Addison and Rebecca Vaughn. Each of the winners received a cash prize of $500. The project is part of the Williamston Downtown Accelaration Program (WDAP) that is being funded by a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The Palmetto Business Association (PBA) sponsored their annual Easter Egg Hunt in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park.
Mar. 28 – Anderson School District One Board of Trustees approved a $785,000 budget change and a $981,872 bid for the Roe Road Connector project at Powdersvile Middle School. Before taking action, the Board heard a financial report, information on counselors and mentors in the district and a report on the nutrition program.
Williamston’s Historic Cannon, nicknamed “Miss Annie Lee”, is on loan to The Citadel in Charleston. The cannon is displayed and fired during special events held at the institution.
The Town of Pelzer announced they will sponsor a flea and farmer’s market at the Monkey Park beginning in April.
The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees recognized the YMentor program director and heard information about the program. Christy Coffee, Director of the YMentor program thanked the district for the support for the program and said the number of mentors this school year has doubled.
The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees named Dr. Kelly Pew as Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Amy Bagwell principal at West Pelzer Elementary.
Apr. 4 – Williamston Town Council approved second reading on the 2018 election ordinance, approved use of the Veterans Park for a scout campout and heard several reports. Miss Upstate Teen Rosalee Summerlin introduced herself to Council and volunteered to be involved with community outreach in her hometown of Willliamston.
The Williamston Police Department, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and the Transportation Security Administration responded to an incident in which an individual boarded a moving train and attempted to enter the locomotive cab. No arrest was made.
The Town of Williamston will begin enforcing an ordinance for rental housing regulations that requires landlords to obtain a $10 permit from the town each year. The ordinance, which was approved almost a year ago, provides for a three strike law enforcement response violation in which the rental permit can be suspended.
West Pelzer Town Council unanimously approved first reading on their 2018-19 budget of $1,154,217 which includes the partnership with the Town of Pelzer on the Joint Public Works Department. Budget highlights included: Stabilization of police protection by scheduling part-time officers; a decrease crime, increase in fund balance due to conservative spending and purchase of two new police cruisers.
A former educational director atthe Williamston Youth Academy was arrested by the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office on two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. William Avery Moulton-Fowler, of 9 Park Vista Way, Greenville was charged with two counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor 3rd Degree.
Apr. 11 – The first Town of Pelzer Flea and Farmers market was held at the Monkey Park. The Pelzer Flea & Farmers Market will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second and fourth Saturday of each month.
During a budget worksession, Williamston Mayor Mack Durham presented a brief overview of his vision for growing the town and presented preliminary budget information related to requests made by each of the town’s department heads. Mayor Durham said he wants to encourage positive growth by “leveraging resources in a maximum way” and making “efforts to add to the general fund.”
A 21 year old Charlotte man was sentenced to life in prison without parole in connection with the murder of Terry Lollis in Pelzer in 2016. Dmarrion Gilmore pleaded guilty to murder, attempted murder, kidnapping and armed robbery according to the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s office. The charges are related to an incident in June of 2016 when Gilmore wrecked his car near the 418 Dance Barn and Gilmore stole the car keys from two men who came to help him.
Duke Energy’s new 750-megawatt combined-cycle natural gas plant at the W.S. Lee Station near Williamston officially began serving customers on April 5. Construction on the $700 million project began in March 2015, creating more than 600 temporary construction jobs and contributing $12 million to local subcontractors
Pelzer Town Council tabled a proposed executive session to discuss contractual matters related to the arrangement between Pelzer and the Town of West Pelzer, following an objection by The Journal.
During the course of the meeting, a number of citizens, as well as the mayor, expressed the view that Pelzer is not getting its money’s worth in the arrangement with West Pelzer. Pelzer pays fifty five per cent of the total costs that West Pelzer incurs in providing public works and other services to both towns. That percentage is based on the number of customers each town has.
Apr. 18 – The Palmetto Business Association Toast and Topics breakfast meeting was sponsored by First Citizens Bank in Williamston.The group also heard from Mill Town Players Executive Director Will Ragland. Ragland presented information about the local theater company which is enjoying tremendous success.
Former Greenville County Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown was sworn in as Sheriff of Greenville County following the indictment and removal of Sheriff Will Lewis. Lewis was served with the indictments by SC Law Enforcement Division (SLED), accused of misconduct and obstruction of justice after a seven month investigation. Brown served as Sheriff for 24 years, from 1977-2001.
Incumbent District Six Councilman Ken Waters announced that he will seek reelection, but will face opposition in the Republican primary by Jimmy Davis.
Apr. 25 – Employment and labor force numbers for Anderson County reached record numbers in March as 588 jobs were added during the month, according to figures released by S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.
The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) report for March 2018 shows Anderson County’s employment at 86,988. That figure represents an all-time high in the number of employed county residents,
The Piedmont Manufacturing Company Footbridge spanning the Saluda River over the dam in Piedmont is among eight properties listed on the Preservation South Carolina 2018 list of most At Risk historical sites.
The Footbridge site is a historical, industrial property, and the dam and footbridge were constructed in 1888 when the mill built the third plant on the Anderson County side of the river.
The Williamston Youth Academy announced that they are voluntarily relinquishing their group home license through DSS. Following the announcement, all 24 kids that were at the facility were placed in new group homes. According to reports, officials with the youth academy told DSS and community stakeholders that it was being shut down so the facility could go through a full transformation and reboot.
Anderson School District One Board of Trustees heard a building program update and approved personnel for the 2018-19 school year during their meeting Tuesday. They also held a budget worksession following the regular meeting.
Anderson School District One Superintendent David Havird presented preliminary 2018-19 budget information to the School Board. District One is expecting a 1.5 percent increase in enrollment, which will result in the need for 9.5 additional professional staff and 5.5 support staff. The budget shows anticipated revenues and expenses of $74,647,387, an increase of $2.5 million over the current budget. Havird described the budget as “conservative.”
During a work session, the Pelzer Town Council made it clear that significant changes will be made to the working arrangement the town currently has with West Pelzer. Mayor Roger Scott began the workshop by pledging to become more proactive as mayor. Scott also said that the town has received a list of various ordinances to consider for adoption and that they could use some existing funds as a match to seek up to $165,000 in seed monies to repair some of the worst potholes and other problems in the town’s streets.
May 2 – A ReWa Letter of Intent to purchase the Town of West Pelzer sewer system was unanimously approved by West Pelzer Town Council. The letter of intent included fourteen terms under which ReWa is willing to acquire the system and assume all respnsibility for continued operation and development. ReWa will assume ownership and operation of the town’s wastewater collection system, including two pump stations, the EQ Basin and Transfer Pump Station (Treatment Plant).
In a special called meeting Pelzer Town Council voted to terminate an agreement with West Pelzer, concerning the joint operations of the two towns’ public works duties. They followed that action by voting to create the position of maintenance man for the town of Pelzer.
Beaverdam Baptist Church is planning a Sports and Outdoor Banquet and Fundraiser in May. The Call Wild Game Outdoorsman Banquet will be held May 5 in the old Winn Dixie building, located at Town Square Center in Williamston. The event will feature keynote speaker, former Atlanta Braves first baseman, Sid Bream.
May 9 – Williamston Town Council approved a lease agreement for the Armory building, first reading on the 2018-19 budget, amended garbage regulations and established a new zoning district for light industry. Council unanimously approved first reading on an ordinance adopting the 2018-19 budget.
Revenues are up, primarily from a tax increase and an increase in the garbage fee last year. Overall revenues are expected to increase from $3,125,840 to $3,217,990.
Williamston Town Council approved first reading on the 2018-19 budget. Revenues are up, primarily from a tax increase, described by the mayor during a worksession as “small” and an increase in the garbage fee last year. Overall revenues are expected to increase from $3,125,840 to $3,217,990.
The Town of West Pelzer hand delivered a letter of termination of the agreement with Pelzer that saw the two towns experiment with a cooperative approach to the public works duties of the two towns. The experiment lasted a little more than a year.
When the Town of Pelzer decided to pull out of the joint public works agreement with West Pelzer, there was an unhappy, if not unanticipated, consequence. Michael Mahaffey, a seventeen year veteran of the West Pelzer Public Works Department was informed that he would be laid off as of June 15.
The Anderson Regional Joint Water System held a ribbon cutting for their new Ozone water treatment facility which they said should help with seasonal odor and taste issues. The $13 million project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget.
Palmetto High math teacher Lisa Houston was involved in an incident in which Houston’s interactions with a student in the classroom were captured on a video and released to the press through social media.
Houston resigned following the incident. There were conflicting reports of whether Houston voluntarily retired or was pressured to resign over the incident. District One Board member Dr. Doug Atkins resigned in protest of the way the situation was handled.
The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees scheduled a special called meeting to hear comments from the public and receive legal advice regarding the incident at Palmetto High which resulted in the resignation of teacher Lisa Houston. The meeting was moved from the District One office on Hamilton Street tothe Palmetto High Auditorium to accommodate what was expected to be a large crowd.
May 16 – The announcement of development in downtown Piedmont has some people calling the area the “next Travelers Rest”.
Greenville Developer Larry Webb announced that he has committed an investment of more than $2 million to restore the former Piedmont Manufacturing Company mercantile building. That restoration project, along with historic preservation efforts for the “Footbridge”, could lead to a transformation for the former mill town.
Piedmont Fire Chief Tracy Wallace said adequate fire protection services for the project won’t be a problem. Wallace said that growth for Piedmont is a great prospect, and that he was proud his department and the public service commission had enough foresight to purchase a ladder truck last year.
The annual Pig in the Park Barbecue Festival and Cookoff will be held in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park. In addition to barbecue festivities, two live bands will entertain, the Larry Gillis Band and the Jake Bartley Band will perform.
It was announced that the Piedmont Manufacturing Company Footbridge spanning the Saluda River over the dam in Piedmont is among eight properties listed on the Preservation South Carolina 2018 list of most At Risk historical sites. The Footbridge site is a historical, industrial property, and the dam and footbridge were constructed in 1888.
After listening to five people, including Palmetto High Student Body President Lane Hunter, speak in support of teacher Lisa Houston , the Anderson School District One Board went into an Executive Session lasting two and a half hours “to receive legal advice.” Upon returning to open session, the Board unanimously approved allowing their legal counsel to contact legal counsel for the “former employee” “to see if a compromise can be reached between the former employee and the district.” Approximately 500 people attended the Special Called Meeting of the School Board.
Senator Mike Gambrell confirmed the awarding of a $650,000 grant to the town of Williamston. The grant was awarded at a meeting of the committee that oversees the Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA)
May 23 – All three Anderson School Distict One High Schools will hold Commencement Services at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson.
Anderson and Greenville County officials and others associated with a planned redevelopment of downtown Piedmont met to look over plans and offer suggestions for the project.
Palmetto High art students under the direction of Palmetto High Art Teacher Gregg Davis, worked on the first of three murals chosen in a mural contest project sponsored by Envision Williamston.
Incumbent District Six County Councilman Ken Waters will face opposition by lifelong Wren area resident Jimmy Davis in the Republican Primary.
May 30 – Rainy weather failed to put a damper on the dedication of the Billy O’Dell Community Center, but it did force the ribbon cutting indoors. Citizens, elected officials, and county staff attended to honor deceased Senator Billy O’Dell. West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders said that the original building was built for nine thousand dollars, while the renovation cost twelve thousand.
An armed robbery occurred at the First Community Bank in Powdersville. The suspect was armed with a handgun and demanded money. He then left on foot with undisclosed amount of US currency.
The Anderson School District One Board approved first reading on the 2018-19 budget, with the understanding that there will probably be some minor changes on second reading or soon after, depending on what legislators decide in the state budget. The $74,647,387budget reflects a 3.4 percent increase over last year’s budget of $72,197,307.
Highlights of the budget include: covering the costs associated with projected growth of an estimated 150 new students, which will result in a need for additional teachers and staff and increased health insurance and retirement costs, teacher and support staff raises.
In a joint statement, the Anderson School District One Board of Trustees and Administration, along with teacher Lisa Houston, announced that they reached a resolution regarding the incident involving Houston’s interactions with a student in the classroom that were captured on a video and released to the press through social media.
Houston was offered her job back and will returned to the classroom at Palmetto High in the fall.
A Williamston Town Council workshop focused on the Minor Street sinkhole, as Mayor Mack Durham called it. The erosion beneath the road bed in the vicinity of the rear parking lot for the Municipal Center and the ball fields is so bad that the road has been closed.
Pelzer Town Council held a workshop and tackled several issues, including adopting certain county ordinances for the town.
The first ordinance discussed, would make River Street one way. After considerable discussion, it was decided that the one way restriction should extend all the way to Baptist Street, due to the narrowness of the road and the on road parking.
The county ordinances address the discharging of firearms, manufactured homes, unfit dwellings, a grass ordinance, hours for public use of the park, open burning, a livestock ordinance and a curfew for minors.The question of fees for late payment of water bills and an increase in the fee for trash pickup.
In 2015, Duke Energy began a two pronged attack on one of the last coal fired power generating facilities in the Carolinas. A remarkably short three years later, a new efficient natural gas fired plant is online, and more than three million tons of coal ash have been removed from the site.
Duke Energy officials invited The Journal to tour the new facilities of the W. S. Lee Station which have been producing some eight hundred megawatts of power since April.
Duke Energy’s new 750-megawatt combined-cycle natural gas plant at the W.S. Lee Station officially began serving customers on April 5.
The clean, high-tech natural gas plant is now operating continuously, benefiting 2.5 million Duke Energy customers in South Carolina and North Carolina.
June 6 – A grand opening and ribbon cutting was held for Duke Energy’s new 750-megawatt combined-cycle natural gas plant at the W.S. Lee Station. Lynn Good, Chairman, President and CEO of Duke Energy and Duke Energy South Carolina state president Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, along with many Duke representatives also attended.
Williamston Town Council approved second reading on the budget, heard an update on the water meter upgrade project and a report on hazard mitigation. Overall budget revenues are expected to increase from $3,125,840 to $3,217,990. Anderson County Emergency Management Director David Baker presented information about the Anderson County and Oconee County Hazard Mitigation Plan.
Quick response by local authorities resulted in an armed robbery suspect being apprehended within an hour of a robbery at O’Reilly Auto Parts in Williamston. Kevin Patrick Bryant, 41, 223 Looper Rd., Pelzer was arrested by Belton Police Department after being observed entering the Belton City Limits.
In a highly unusual proceeding, Pelzer Town Council met with representatives of the Goldie & Associates engineering firm, as well as a developer who is involved in a major project along the town’s riverfront, and voted to hire Goldie & Associates ( G&A) to operate the town’s water and sewer systems for a four month period, at a cost of $8600 per month. At the end of the four month period, it is expected that the agreement will be extended at a renegotiated fee.
The Greenville Chautauqua celebrated its 20th Anniversary History Alive Festival with performances throughout the upstate. The ten-day – two-weekend festival had one show in Pelzer, Winston Churchill, at the Historic Pelzer Auditorium.
West Pelzer Town Council moved their July meeting date and heard comments about the sewer system from former councilmember Jimmy Jeanes. In the most serious discussion of the evening, the former councilman stated that the town was making a mistake selling their sewer system to ReWa. “I think it is worth more,” he said.
June 13 – Pelzer Town Council voted to extend the 55%/45% public works agreement with West Pelzer for four months, or until a new deal is negotiated, whichever comes first. The vote replaced an anticipated vote to table West Pelzer mayor Blake Sanders’ request for a vote affirming the split payment agreement. Pelzer Mayor Roger Scott had extended an olive branch to Sanders earlier in the day; an offer quickly and happily accepted by Sanders.
Pelzer Town Council approved first reading on a budget and tabled motions to make River Street one way and whether or not to renew the town’s lease agreement with American Tower on the cell tower.
The Piedmont redevelopment committee held a public meeting, with citizens and community leaders to discuss plans for the redevelopment of down town Piedmont. Developer Larry Webb spoke to a packed crowd inside the Rowell Club Room of the Piedmont Community Building, about plans to redevelop the Old Piedmont Mercantile Store Building. Webb said the old building will be restored to former beauty it had when it was originally built. He projected that the project should be completed in about 18 months.
The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees is seeking someone to serve out the vacant Area 5 Board position through November of 2018. The position became open with the resignation of former board member Dr. Doug Atkins over the handling of the situation with teacher Lisa Houston.
June 20 -Williamston Town Council held a special called meeting to address second reading on an ordinance to sell property owned by the town on McDonald Avenue and renovation bids for upgrades at the Armory (former Artory) building. The town is leasing the building for a 24-hour workout facility and the lease calls for installing heating and air and electrical work for the project at a price of $57,437.
Williamston Mayor Mack Durham said the town and County engineering firm BLE are considering an option to fix the “sink hole” problem on Minor Street. The original plan was to replace a corrugated drainage pipe that runs under the road, however because the drainage area is defined as a “blue line” navigatable stream on EPA records there are additional requirements and requires “wetland mitigation”. The cost of the project, estimated at $365,000, includes the wetland mitigation which is estimated to cost the town approximately $41,000.
June 27 – The Town of Williamston will host the annual Freedom Celebration and Fireworks event with food vendors, live music, a cruise in and car show and fireworks.
Anderson School District One’s new Superintendent Robbie Binnicker presided over his first meeting with the District One Board. A new Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Kelly Pew was also present. Binnicker’s first report as the new superintedent was related to the budget.
Artist Andy Gambrell, who resides in West Pelzer, painted a wall mural for Jim and Mike Simpson on the Goody’s building.“The mural is titled, “The Dream,” referencing West Allen Williams’ vision of founding a town around the mineral spring.
The spread of the national and statewide opioid epidemic was evident when West Pelzer Police Sgt. Scott Stoller responded to an overdose call while they were already on scene at another overdose situation. He administered Narcan to both of the overdose victims were revived and transported by EMS personnel.
Stoller is uniquely positioned to deal with such circumstances as a member of the LEON project training team. The LEON project resulted from the 2015 passage of the South Carolina Overdose Prevention Act. That law offers immunity from civil or criminal prosecution to doctors, nurses, pharmacists, caregivers and first responders who administer Narcan to someone suffering an opioid overdose.
The Town of Pelzer estimated operating budget shows revenues of $1,005,331 and expenses of $1,006,041.
A new “Welcome to Anderson County” sign is being located just as drivers cross the Saluda River on I85 South in Powdersville. The project is sponsored by the Leadership Anderson Class 33. The ribbon cutting will be held at Palmetto Engineering, 3017 Highway 153 in Powdersville.
July 4 – The area celebrated Independence Day.
The second half of Looking Back at 2018 will be posted later this week.
Thank You for reading The Journal and The Journal Online.
Happy New Year!
Looking Back at 2018 – Part 2 August – December
The following news items are from the second half of 2018 as covered in the pages of The Journal:
Aug. 1 – All four members of Williamston Town Council were present for a brief work session in which Mayor Pro-Tem Tony Hagood presided. Mayor Mack Durham was not present. Among items discussed were second reading on an ordinance addressing setback guidelines, discretionary accounts for each ward and projects requests not being followed up on.
Pelzer Town Council voted to adopt a series of county ordinances as their own. The vote was conditional and tentative, in light of information presented by Town Attorney Jimmy King. The absence of a municipal court, and the inability to fund one, left the council with few options; with the main one being to adopt county ordinances verbatim and let the county enforce them. Pelzer Mayor Roger Scott said county officials including Administrator Rusty Burns and County Attorney Leon Harmon agreed verbally to assume all responsibility for enforcement of the adopted ordinances, as well as collecting and administering all fines. The County Administrator did not share that recollection.
The Town of Williamston hosted a Party in the Park event featuring the Eric Scott band.
Aug. 8 – Williamston Town Council heard reports from department heads and approved first reading on a setback ordinance. Spring Water Festival Chairman David Meade thanked the Council for the town’s support and invited the mayor and council to the opening ceremony.
Envision Williamston Executive Director Sonya Crandall announced that Envision Williamston is in the process of setting up a mobile phone app. The mobile app will be a digital guide to historic downtown Williamston and will include a business listing, digital version of the new walking tour and more. EW is working with the PBA on coordinated Economic Development with the Main Street Challenge.
Documents showed Pelzer and West Pelzer were on the “fast track” to consolidation, which was slowed down when both town attorneys raised serious concerns about the speed with which things were moving.
Williamston officials were working with the Anderson County Transportation Committee and their engineering firm Bunnell Lammons Engineering (BLECorp.) to get the repair work on Minor Street completed soon. Unfortunately, with just over two weeks until the start of school, it appeared the project won’t be completed by the first day of school.
West Pelzer Town Council denied a request for a zoning variance for a mobile home park and approved a request by the police department to sell two decommissioned patrol vehicles.
The West Pelzer Planning Commission recommended the town not approve three requests for variances for a mobile home park in the town owned by Jerry and Beverly Atkins.
Zoning Commission Chair David Odom said the commission unanimously agreed that the town’s current ordinance is there to improve the town and a variance in the ordinance would not be in the best interest of the future of the town.
Keith Wilson had a huge tree in his front yard struck by lightning. The strike ripped off a three inch strip of bark, approximately 30 feet down the side of the tree. There was a hole approximately one foot in diameter at the base of the tree where the lightning entered the ground. Several visible scorch paths could be seen where the lightning went out into the yard.
Aug. 15 – The West Pelzer Police Department made a number of arrests involving fairly large quantities of methamphetamine. West Pelzer Police Chief Chris Brewer said the department confiscated approximately 130 grams of meth in various incidents, most on traffic stops on Hwy. 8.
Local officials are reminding the public that back to school traffic and Spring Water traffic flows will be affected by the Minor Street situation.
Pelzer Town Council voted to adopt a block of Anderson County ordinances governing such matters as manufactured homes and parks; litter; junkyards and open storage; and weeds and rank vegetation. The various ordinances all fall under the category of the county’s building codes and regulations, including unfit dwellings. As usual, the public hearing turned into a town hall forum, with members of the audience making complaints about specific situations, as well as expressing concerns about just how strictly the laws would be enforced, and the nature of the charges.
Students and teachers, including Lisa Houston, returned to the classroom.
Another focus group meeting concerning the Piedmont dam and footbridge was held. A variety of interested parties attended, including Greenville Councilman Lynn Ballard, ENEL representative Beth Harris, Ty Houck and Matt Schell of Greenville and Anderson County recreations departments, Richard Greer of State Investors and Larry Webb of KDS Properties. Representing the Piedmont Public Service District were PFD Chief Tracy Wallace and Craig Lawless. Key items of discussion continued to center around ownership of the footbridge as well as the placement of the proposed kayak launch.
Aug . 22 – The 37th Annual Spring Water Festival was held in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park. The Carolina Coast Band with Rhonda McDaniel, ten time and current CBGMA Female Vocalist of the Year, and Georgia singer/songwriter Thomas Fountain headlined the entertainment. The festival also included performances by 13 artists on the Gospel music stage.
The effects of a dispute over the ownership of several business locations in West Pelzer, and the actions to be taken by the town council as a result, led to a special called meeting of the West Pelzer Town Council. The special called meeting was held to receive legal advice from town attorney Carey Murphy regarding council member liability. After returning from the executive session, which lasted approximately 45 minutes, council entertained a motion to correct the address of a business license for Mill Town Tattoo, to 22 Main St., Councilmember Vicky Farmer abstained from the vote due to a conflict of interest, as an owner of one of the properties involved.
Aug. 29 – No one officially signed up to run for the Williamston Town Council Ward 1 and Ward 2 seats in November. Councilmembers Tony Hagood and Rockey Burgess will run as write-in candidates.
Anderson School District One saw an increase of 58 students for the opening of school and were expecting that number to double. District One Superintendent Robbie Binnicker reported that the first day and week of school went very well. A new traffic pattern at Powdersville helped tremendously in that area and in Williamston, drivers made adjustments for the Minor Street closure.
The Anderson School District One Board gave approval to develop a request for proposals for pre-construction phase services, new construction, additions and renovations phase services for the planned building program. Superintendent Robbie Binnicker said the approval will allow the architect to begin working with a construction management crew on two middle school projects. Replacement plans for Palmetto and Wren Middle school buildings were announced in August of 2016.
Anderson School District One teachers and administrators celebrated the first day back at the annual kick off meeting at Wren High School. Tamara Cox, Librarian at Wren High, was named the Anderson School District One Teacher of the Year.
Sept. 5 – Richard Greer, of Upstate Investors, said that steps taken by the Town of Pelzer to enable county enforcement of certain ordinances shows a commitment by the town towards change, and that he and possible investors are very encouraged.
Greer has also served as a consultant and advisor to the town in recent months.
Anderson School District One students performed well on the third year of the SC Ready (ELA and math) and SCPASS (science and social studies) state assessment testing. They also did well with online testing.
Williamston Town Council is taking a second look at changes to the town’s rear setback limits for Multi-Family Residential construction.
The 6th Annual Homesteading Festival was held in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park. The event is free to the public. Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, organizers said. The event featured live music, draft vendors, homesteading classes, demonstrations and a food truck rodeo.
During the West Pelzer Town Council meeting, Preston Shipman raised the issue of his dispute over a business license issued by the town. Council, including Councilwoman Farmer, listened silently, and then proceeded to the next agenda item, which was the acceptance of two bids on defunct police cruisers.
West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders announced that the Third Annual Mile Long Yard Sale will be held Oct. 6 and a new event, Mistletoe on Main will be held Nov. 10. He also reported that last year, locally sponsored events attracted fifteen thousand people to the town.
Sept. 12 – State Investors confirmed their purchase of the old J. P. Stevens plant in Piedmont. The purchase gives the company properties in or near all three area towns located along the river in what some call the Saluda Valley. Developer Richard Greer told The Journal that the properties owned by the development company will be included in an overall project that will be known as Saluda Falls.
The Piedmont segment will be largely residential, with apartments in the old mill building, and with walking trails and green space.
West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders made an appearance before the Pelzer Town Council requesting the Pelzer council to consider renaming Stewart Street because West Pelzer also has a street by the same name, which is causing confusion and problems with emergency responders and utility services.
Pelzer Councilman Eddie Waits reported repairs and renovations on the Pelzer gym have been completed and continued with requests for additional remodeling and refurbishing projects including the community building where he recommended duplicating the covered entrance and additional lighting and an ADA compliant deck. The cost will be covered by the remaining funds from a 2015 PARD grant that funded the work on the main entrance. Waits also asked the council to consider adding security lights under the picnic shelter and enclosing the wiring.
Williamston Town Council tabled second reading on changes to the town’s zoning ordinances and approved funding up to $5000 for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast event planned in January.
Sept. 10 – Sixteen year old Megan Wetherald of Pelzer will represent the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Greenville at the Shriners hospitals for Children Open, an official PGA Tour event in Las Vegas in November. Megan was chosen as one of 22 patient ambassadors throughout the country to represent the hospital network at the tournament.
Soon to be retired state representative Joshua Putnam was hired as Palmetto Family’s new President, making him the fourth leader since its creation in 1993. Putnam was elected in 2011 to represent House District 10, becoming one of the youngest elected to the SC House.
Sept. 26 – A meeting of the Piedmont focus group included two key items, the planning and building of a kayak dock and portage and the restoration of the footbridge across the top of the dam.
ENEL, the energy company that owns and operates the dam and the power generating plant, announced that company attorneys had established their ownership of the footbridge. According to the announcement, the company indicated a willingness to divest itself of the bridge for one dollar.
Anderson School District One Board members heard a report on district test scores, chose delegates for the delegate assembly later this year and head a presentation on the architectural designs for new Palmetto Middle and Wren middle Schools. District One Finance Director Travis Thomas reported that Anderson took in $2,167,000 from the Local Option Sales Tax in June. District One received 31 percent of that, or $674,942 in August. Of that, $134,988 went to property tax relief and $539,954 went to capital projects fund. The fund balance has $2,459,000 in it, Thomas said.
The School Board got their first look at preliminary architectural designs for the two new District One middle schools.The two designs are very similar and construction will be in two phases for Palmetto Middle and three phases for Wren Middle. Plans are for a bond referendum to be presented to the public in 2019.
Williamston Town Council held a brief workshop meeting. Mayor Mack Durham reported that the auditors would present the audit results, which Durham said were favorable, at the next meeting of council. He also mentioned that an ongoing zoning issue, concerned with different figures for setbacks, resulted from a typographical error in the ordinance. Roger Dickson updated council on a promotional website and database that the town is considering. The database would expand the town’s scope beyond just reaching concert goers.
Oct. 3 – Caroline Community Center will hold a fundraiser event that will include a kids zone, car show and live music.
Envision Williamston invited all area residents and businesses to participate in the Annual Scarecrow Decorating Contest.
A live music event will be held in the renovated Municipal Center Auditorium featuring Southern Country Gospel music by Jason Crabb.
Anderson County Deputies arrested a Myrtle Beach man in connection with five armed robberies in Anderson County including the Williamston and Powdersville area. During a traffic stop; in Anderson, Deputies identified Jessie Edwin Holt who was a suspect in multiple armed robberies in Anderson County.
Envision Williamston Executive Director Sonya Crandall reported that the Adopt A Rest Stop program was nearing completion with 15 rest stops locations. The project, which was funded through grants and the private sector with 20 community partners, had budget of $33,000, of which the town had only the expense of $2900 on the pocket park on West Main.
The Envision Williamston Facade Grant program had an investment of $217,000 by 28 business/property owners with $46,000 in grants being awarded through the Appalachian Regional Council (ARC) The project is to improve business or commercial properties in the town. Three gateway projects are also underway.
Art students at Palmetto High School, under teacher Gregg Davis, are working on the third EW mural, which will be placed on the wall of Friendly’s Barbershop on Greenville Drive.
Ken Meadows of Green, Finney Accounting Firm reported that the Town of Williamston received an “Unmodified Opinion” which is the best it can get” and had no management letter issues. He said the General Fund and Water Fund are in “very good condition” and that the Sewer Fund “Is in adequate condition.”
Meadows did recommend the town begin developing a long range plan, such as a five year plan for capital expenditures and related funding.
Williamston Town Council unanimously approved second reading on amendments to the zoning ordinance changing the setback limits and approved a resolution authorizing recovery of debt due for utilities to be collected by the state from a tax refund if the debtor is getting a state tax refund.
West Pelzer Town Council approved a resolution recognizing the week of Oct. 7-13 as Fire Prevention week, accepted information on FOIA fees and approved a Hazard Mitigation Plan with Anderson County Emergency Preparedness.
Oct. 10 – Several local agencies participating in the South Carolina law Enforcement Officer NARCAN (LEO) Program including Anderson County EMS, Greenville County Sheriff’s Dept. and West Pelzer Police Dept. were recognized by the Governor for providing NARCAN Opioid overdose training across the state.
Sergeant Scott Stoller of the West Pelzer Police Department was among those recognized at the 2018 SC Governor’s Opioid Summit hosted by the Office of the Governor and the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS).
Pelzer Mayor Roger Scott announced that the town was not going to honor a request by West Pelzer to rename Stewart Street in Pelzer. Town Council also discussed work on the community building, park hours, rentals in the community building and narrow streets. A bid of $4500 was approved for the work which includes repairing soffit.. The last project will allow the town to close out the 2015 PARD grant that paid for the work.
The Pelzer Crimewatch Program provided 160 hotdog plates to officers and employees of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, County Dispatch, and other departments. Members of the White Plains and Piedmont Crime Watch groups and Pelzer Town Council also helped.
Oct. 17 – A team of amateur South Carolina golfers won the inaugural Watson Cup Competition played at Kiawah Island. One member of that eight man team, which defeated their Scottish visitors, was Logan Hawkins, a sixteen year old golfer from Palmetto High School.
Richard Greer, representative of State Investors development corporation, presented his company’s plan for the development of the area along the river in the downtown area of Piedmont to the Piedmont public Service Commission. The project, which Greer said is pretty well fixed, will include from fifty to sixty townhouses contained in six different buildings. The plan refers to them as apartments. Greer explained that the textile rehabilitation credits received require that the properties produce income for the first three years.
Oct. 24 -West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders in one of seven South Carolina mayors to be awarded the Joseph Riley Fellowship, a product of the national Mayors Institute on City Design. The program, the only one in the country, is intended to encourage planning and focused development in towns and cities. Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley, Jr. founded the program.
Williamston native, Staff Sgt. Ross Alewine, has been selected as 1 of 500 competitors to participate in the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia.
The Invictus Games, established by Prince Harry in 2014, brings together wounded and injured veterans from 18 nations to compete in 11 adaptive sporting events, including track and field, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, swimming, sitting volleyball and golf.
Tiger Paw Martial Arts Academy in Williamston celebrated 44 years. Sensei Michael Logan received his eighth degree black belt at the start of the Tiger Paw United States Southern Challenge, which is their 8th Invitational karate Tournament. The event was held in the Piedmont Community Building.
The fifth annual West Allen Williams Heritage and Old Time Music Festival was held in the Williamston Municipal Center Auditorium. It features local history displays, live music and free admission.
Oct. 31 – Wesley Dallas Ayers, 27, of Anderson, pled guilty in federal court to using, attempting to use and threatening to use weapons of mass destruction; possession and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime; and use of an explosive devise during the commission of a felony. Ayers admitted that he construct, and then placed three explosive devices in various parts of Anderson County between January 24 and Feb. 24, 2018.
For the first time, all three high school bands in Anderson School District One, Palmetto, Wren and Powdersville High, placed first in separate band competitions.
Williamston Town Council approved second reading on a debt setoff ordinance, heard and EMS update from Medshore Ambulance Service and department updates. Sherrie Cole announced that the annual Christmas Parade will be held Dec. 8 at 3 p.m.. There was brief discussion about changing the route next year to include Greenville Drive.
The Anderson School District One Board heard about a new report card grading system that replaces Every Child Left Behind Act, approved a construction manager for a new building program and recognized District One Band Leaders.
They also held first reading on new and revised board policies including two related to content and credit recovery and one on non-discrimination/equal opportunity.
Following an executive session lasting approximately 40 minutes, the board returned to open session and unanimously approved Harper Construction to act as the Construction manager at Risk for the new District One building program.
It was announced that Will Ragland will serve as Grand marshal of the Piedmont Christmas parade, organized by the Bonnes Amies Club of Piedmont. The club also decorated the bridge over the Saluda River with garland and 100 bows.
Artist Andy Gambrell’s Studio, located in a white metal building behind his house in West Pelzer, was a part of the Greenville Open Studios Tour. Gambrell was one of 143 artists featured in the self guided tour.
Former Williamston attorney Philip E. Williams was sentenced after he pled guilty in “US District Court to one count of mail fraud. Counts two and three were dismissed by a motion of the United States records show. Williams was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay restitution of $343,042.42.
West Pelzer Town Council discussed nuisance animals, leaf and limb pickup and a new sign ordinance. They also recognized area Veterans and approved a proclamation recognizing West Pelzer as a Purple Heart City.
Both Williamston Town Council incumbents Tony Hagood and Rockey Burgess retained their seats on council. Both were running as write-in candidates.
Nov. 14 – The Town of Pelzer held their Old Fashion Christmas market at the historic Pelzer Gym. There were indoor and outdoor vendors including local artisans, handmade crafts, candles, jewelry, gifts, home decor and more.
The SC Theater Association held their 52 Annual Convention at Anderson University. Mill Town Players was named State Winner in the Community Theater Festival with their production of Romeo and Juliet. They will represent SC and compete against the rest of the Southeast at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in Knoxville, TN in Feb. (2019).
Palmetto High won 10th place for their production of Yoo-hoo and Hank Williams and All-Star Cast Awards for Jacob Hensley and Chloe Burnett.
Woodmont High won 8th place for Medea, as well as Best Ensemble and All Star Cast Awards for Grace Hayes and Maddy Fiema.
Powdersville High was recognized with All Star Cast Awards for Aimee Larson and Jacob Gardner for their production of The Yellow Boat.
Pelzer Mayor Roger Scott reported that security lights were installed under the shelter in the Monkey Park by Terry Davis and they are still there and still working. Council approved an allocation of $1200 to the Mill Town Players theater group that will go toward the purchase of a new sign.
Nov. 21 – The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office issued a warrant and were seeking the where abouts of an individual wanted for murder in the death of Jose Alfredo Martinez Jimenez who was found deceased in a Williamston driveway.
Former state legislator and Wren area resident Dan Cooper was named the Chief of Staff for the President of Tri County Technical College. The move came in advance of Dr. Booth’s retirement next summer.
Opening night ceremonies and lighting of the Christmas Park was held in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park. There was special holiday music and visiting with Santa in the Scout Hut.
Nov. 28 – Three new “Welcome to Williamston” Gateway signs were completed by Envision Williamston, with finishing touched including plants, irrigation, paint, lettering and lighting. The signs were also decorated for the holiday season.
Another Envision Williamston mural, entitled “Mineral Waters: Then and Now”, is placed on the side of Friendly’s Barbershop on Greenville Dr. Palmetto High art students Kerrigan Campbell and Rebecca Stephen, along with teacher Gregg Davis, painted the design by Heather Dowell.
The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees began their meeting with the swearing in of recently elected members, including one new board member. Newly elected member Wendy Burgess joined Pat Cox, Nancy Upton and Melissa Hood, who were all returned to their seats on the school board, in taking their oath of office.
The Piedmont Neighborhood Crime Watch group hosted a meeting attended by sheriffs of both Anderson and Greenville Counties. Anderson County Sheriff Chad McBride and Greenville County Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown both spoke at the meeting. The West Pelzer/ Pelzer Christmas parade was rained out.
Dec. 5 – Council approved a resolution recognizing the Palmetto High School Cheerleaders, who recently won the AAAA State Championship, and they watched a video of the performance. Council also approved second reading on a lease agreement for MedShore Ambulance Service for use of the EMS building on Anderson Drive, a resolution for easements for a sewer project and agreed to provide a fifty percent match for an ARC Economic Development Grant.
West Pelzer Town Council held a short worksession to discuss a new sign ordinance, before approving second reading on the ordinance later in the regular council meeting. Mayor Sanders said nonconforming signs, already in place but not allowed by the new ordinance, will be allowed to stay unless there is renovation work of 50 percent or more of the appraised value of the property.
Anderson School District One is pleased with the state report cards released for their 14 schools: 7 Excellent schools, 4 Good and 2 Average. In the first year of a new accountability system, the schools did well. Four elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school rated Excellent.
Powdersville Elementary, under Principal Brad Moore, earned one of the highest Excellent ratings in the state.
The Palmetto Business Association held its 5th annual Christmas banquet at the Saluda River Grill in Piedmont. The event was attended by approximately 80 people representing a variety of businesses in Williamston and the surrounding area.
Dec. 12 – The Williamston Theater, which hosted movies and entertainment since it was built in the 1940s, was torn town. Several people, including the owner, watched the work throughout the day.
Waste Connections requested that discussions begin between the company and Anderson County concerning a lateral expansion of the Anderson Regional Landfill, with an attendant increase in the tonnage cap. District Manager Tim Fadul supported his request by citing an increase in the amount of solid waste received at ARL from 236,757 tons when Waste Connections assumed operations to 426,630 tons last year. The latest amount is essentially the permitted capacity.
Dec. 19 – Tamara Cox, librarian at Wren High School who was named District One Teacher of the Year, was among ten winners of the prestigious “I Love My Librarian Award”, the American Library Association announced. Recipients were chosen from more than 1,000 nominations from library users nationwide who submitted applications that showcased how their local librarians have profoundly improved lives within their community.
Dec. 26 – The year ended quietly and the area prepared for a new year.
The Clemson Tigers won their playoff game defeating the fighting Irish of Notre Dame and will play the Alabama Crimson Tide for the National Championship Title on January 7.
Happy New Year!