Anderson County Year in Review . . .

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By Stan Welch
JANUARY

After a decade of discussion and empty promises, SCDOT finally scheduled the Cherokee Road bridge over Hwy. 29 for redesign and renovation in 2018. 2019 was to be the year that the inadequate bridge and the poorly designed access roads nearby were going to be modernized and made safer. Those expectations took a major hit  when SCDOT announced that the project had been moved back two years, till 2021. District Seven County Councilwoman learned of that decision  from the district engineer. Wilson reminded The Journal that former county councilman Frances Crowder had obtained a significant percentage of the funding for the project from the Appalachian Council of Government, leading to the promise that work would begin on the project this year.
FEBRUARY
West Pelzer, Wren, and Powdersville firefighters responded to a structure fire on Moore’s Mill Road. When firefighters arrived flames were coming from the structure.  Anderson County Deputies responded to a shooting on Willingham Road. One person was taken to an area hospital by Medshore Ambulance Service with at least one gunshot wound. One person had been detained and according to deputies there was no threat to the community.
Anderson County District Six Councilman Jimmy Davis joined Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns and County Attorney Leon Harmon in a meeting with ReWa officials to pursue a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Greenville based utility. The MOU concerns future arrangements about northern Anderson County’s wastewater management. The explosive growth in the area makes the customer base very attractive to utilities providers.
The Piedmont Public Service Commission selected a company to repair the main section of the community building roof. Lee Maxwell Roofing, which submitted the low bid of $13,976, was awarded the job. Two other companies had comparable bids in the $14-$15 thousand dollar range. The commission will have to match the difference between the bid and a PARD grant of $10,625; or approximately $3300.
Anderson County Council adopted a resolution honoring the Palmetto Mustangs Varsity Cheerleaders. The squad won the state 4A Competitive Cheer Championship.
MARCH
Anderson County Council voted to file an amicus brief in connection with a lawsuit in Hawaii that is going to be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). The ruling in that case will have a significant impact on a case pending against Kinder Morgan, the owner of the pipeline that leaked and spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel into the watershed in the Belton/Cheddar area. That suit was brought by the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of other environmental organizations.
APRIL
Investigators with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office investigated a shooting that occurred at 1000 Anderson Road on Saturday. Investigators learned that the shooting stemmed from a verbal altercation between two roommates. The gunshot victim, Daniel Sanchez-Altamirano, 43, was transported to the hospital for treatment. Sanchez-Altamirano (gunshot victim) was subsequently charged  with Assault & Battery 1st degree after Investigators learned that he initiated the altercation by throwing multiple large kitchen knives at the victim.
A reported carjacking in Greenville County ended with gunfire near Belton in which a suspect shot at deputies who returned fire striking him as least once. The car was reportedly taken at gunpoint at a QuikTrip gas station at 6050 White Horse Road. The Sheriff’s Office issued an alert for neighboring law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for a stolen 2008 black Ford Taurus. Anderson County deputies spotted the car in Belton and began chasing it. The car crashed into a tree near Wright School Road and State Hwy. 252. Two men got out of the vehicle and ran from deputies, according to Sheriff Chad McBride. One was taken into custody. The other fired shots at the ACSO deputies, who returned fire, striking the subject at least once.
Voting locations for several precincts were changed prior to the April 30 school bond referendum vote. Those changes will be permanent. The changes for two of the precincts are due to a November settlement with the United States Department of Justice to ensure accessibility of polling locations to persons with disabilities, and one due to concerns over the location according to Anderson County Elections Director Katy Smith.
Pelzer and West Pelzer precincts moved due to the DOJ settlement agreement and Piercetown Precinct because the potential of traffic incidents getting in and out of the location.
MAY
Councilwoman Cindy Wilson, chair of the planning and public works committee reported to the full Anderson County Council that her committee had voted to approve $3.1 million in capital improvements at various convenience centers as well as at the county recycling and recovery facility. Council followed the committee’s lead and unanimously approved the amount as well.
JUNE
District Six Councilman Jimmy Davis hosted the latest in a summer long series of workshops at Shiloh United Methodist Church. The meetings were intended to identify and formulate solutions to the various challenges facing the District, which includes the Powdersville, Wren and Piedmont areas of the county.
A set of personal circumstances erupted into violence, ending in the shooting deaths of two people in Piedmont.  Tony Mitchell Robinson, 51, was arrested and charged with two counts of murder. According to reports, a sixteen year old witness stated Robinson appeared at 110 Lilly Maid Drive, a residence shared by Robinson’s ex-wife, Lisa Faith Robinson and Patrick Joseph Sierra. Both Robinson and the witness, who was unharmed, remained at the scene until police arrived.
The official kickoff of the Pelzer Master Plan took place on June 27, and was a day long effort to gather input from various groups and individuals about the potential future of the town. A partnership of the town of Pelzer, The Pelzer Heritage Commission, Friends of Pelzer, the Palmetto Business Association and Anderson County will follow the lead of MKSK, a planning consulting firm from Greenville, as they conduct a series of round table sessions over the course of the summer, designed to gather input and information from various sectors of the community.
The information gathered will be reviewed and evaluated, and incorporated into possible strategies for the town.
The Piedmont Public Service Commission gave third and final reading to the 2019-2020 budget. The new budget showed revenues of $1,553,716 and expenses of $1.553,140, with a surplus of $576. The budget is broken into three different sections: one for fire operations; one for  recreation; and one for light operations.

The second half of Stan Welch’s Year in Review 2019 will be published in the Jan 1, 2020 issue of The Journal and The Journal Online.