The following stories and events were reported in The Journal during 2022 . . .
Jan 5 – During the first meeting of 2022, Williamston Town Council held first reading on an ordinance to rezone a property on East First Street, an ordinance to sell two pieces of property and approved a contract with Clearwater for operations of the Waste Water Treatment Plant. Council also approved a resolution honoring longtime Williamston resident and teacher Olive Lander Wilson who had recently passed away.
DHEC released updated guidance on COVID stating that a close contact may shorten quarantine to five days if certain conditions are met.
Envision Williamston, in partnership with Town of Williamston reopened the Main Street Challenge New Business Program. The Main Street Challenge offers an incentive package up to $5,000 for a new retail business or restaurant to locate in downtown Williamston.
The Palmetto Business Association (PBA) held a membership breakfast meeting at the Lebby Street Chapel and Events in Pelzer. PBA President Carolann Newton, said the organization was starting a new year building on the success of local business and past events and “Know before your go,” shop small/shop local campaign.
Jan 12 – Pelzer Town Council started the new year accepting the offer of two donations from the Pelzer Heritage Commission that will enhance recreation opportunities at Wardlaw Park and along the Saluda River. Two councilmembers, Mike Matthews and Donna Ide, and mayor Will Ragland were also sworn in.
Pelzer Heritage Commission (PHC) President Larry Coker told Pelzer Town Council that the PHC would like to donate “upper mill property” along the river to the town. The only stipulation was that the property stay in the town and be used for green space such as parks and trails.
House Dist. 10 Rep West Cox was the primary sponsor on three bills including Reserves, Homestead Exemption Reform and Making EMS a Required Service.
During their first meeting of 2022, West Pelzer Town Council amended the budget to reflect the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding of $235,480.19. Mayor Blake Sanders said the funds will likely be used for capital projects or infrastructure and that Council will have a work session to discuss possible projects the funding could be used for. New Councilmember Jeff Lee and returning Councilmember Johnny Rogers were sworn in.
Jan. 19 – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced it is continuing to address issues with multiple COVID-19 testing vendors and reporting facilities for failures to process tests and report results and case counts since the omicron-fueled surge began in late December.
On Jan. 20 DHEC reported daily case numbers topped 15,000. There were 8,896 new cases and 3,413 probable cases of COVID. There were 19 deaths and 5 probable deaths related to COVID reported.
The Supreme Court issued a decision to block President Biden’s vaccine mandate on large workplaces and allow the mandate for healthcare workers at federally-funded facilities. In a statement Congressman Jeff Duncan said, “I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to block Biden’s authoritarian vaccine mandate on large workplaces but condemn its move to continue to allow the COVID vaccine mandate on those in healthcare,”
Roberta Barrs Hamby agreed to serve as Envision Williamston’s new part time Executive Director.
Williamston Town Council held a special called meeting and public hearing for comments on rezoning property on First Street and regarding a South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT) Grant. Also on the agenda were second reading on an ordinance to sell a piece of land in Gatewood Subdivision and second reading on an ordinance to sell a strip of land to Ingles.
Jan 26 – The Anderson School District One Board heard an update on the building program, student math scores, growth and the AAA State Champion Wren Competition Cheer Squad was recognized. Board members Brenda Ellison and Mike Wilson were recognized for 10 years of service and presented pins.
Wren Middle Phase 3 construction, which connects Phase 2 to Phase 1, is almost complete and is expected to be finished by the end of February. The building program was started in 2019 and included two new schools, new additions, security improvements and more at every school in District One.
The Board approved funding of $120,000 from the Local Option Sales Tax Fund (LOST) for the Career and Technology Center and two policy changes.
DHEC announced that four days of reports will be delayed.
DHEC reported 10,469 new cases and 3,429 probable new cases of coronaviruses. DHEC also reported with 42 related deaths and 13 probable deaths.
Feb. 2 – The Woodmont High School Athletic Hall of Fame inducted three honorees, Mary Grace Thurman, Coach Keith Godfrey, and Tony Davis, into the Class of 2021 Hall of Fame.
Palmetto High School was put on heightened alert after a social media post indicated a threat, which was later deemed not credible, officials said.
The Anderson County Council Public Safety Committee received an update on the new unified EMS system in Anderson County which showed record response times. The new system is 100% staffed and response time goals—defined as 9 minutes, 59 seconds or less—are being met 95% of the time on priority 1 calls compared with 65% this time last year. County staff noted the progress has been made in the middle of a pandemic and despite a 40% increase in the number of calls for service coming into 911.
A “Welcome Home” celebration was held at Palmetto High School for Hunter Barnard. Hunter, a senior at Palmetto, received a heart transplant on September 11, 2021 and remained in Charleston until Dec. 15. Faculty and students at Palmetto came out to welcome Hunter home during the “drive through” celebration.
Feb. 9 – The Mill Town Players production of Driving Miss Daisy is being performed at the Historic Pelzer Auditorium. This Pulitzer Prize-winning play starred Upstate acting veterans Myra Greene, Clark Nesbitt, and Bruce Meahl.
Palmetto senior Claire Barnes was crowned Miss Palmetto 2022. She is the daughter of Jimmy and Ann Barnes.
DHEC updated its School and Childcare Exclusion List to allow exposed teachers and school staff without symptoms to continue to work during quarantine in times of crisis staffing conditions (i.e., otherwise the school would have to close due to insufficient staffing). Teachers and staff must wear a mask and be tested on day 5.
A portion of Gossett Drive in Williamston was temporarily closed to thru traffic due to an ongoing problem of large vehicles striking the railroad trestle. Despite additional signage, a flashing light and a banner on the trestle indicating the low clearance height, a box truck struck the trestle Jan. 24 and a church bus struck it Dec. 22.
Jeff Martin Auctioneers auctioned a custom 2012 Harley Davidson Road King motorcycle at the 3-day Kissimmee, FL, auction event.
Pelzer Town Council held a short meeting that mostly included discussion of trash pickup and an executive session.
West Pelzer Town Council approved second reading on a change to their budget to reflect the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding of $235,480.19 the town is receiving. A Strategic Planning Session was held later to decide how to spend the funds.
Local artist Thomas Addison presented drawings and an oil painting of his interpretation of a mythical creature called a “Williamston Naiad”. Inspiration came from Lander College, which had its beginnings in Williamston as the Williamston Female College and named their yearbook “Naiad” as a tribute to the college’s early days (in Williamston) and being located near the historic mineral spring.
Williamston Town Council approved a Ward map, recognized Black History Month and heard a presentation from Envision Williamston and local artist Thomas Addison.
The Ward map was revised based on information currently used to define the areas. It was based on Hwy. 20 to Big Creek and then divided by the old P&N railroad track. The railbed is no longer recognizable and left room for questions.
Envision Williamston Executive Director Roberta Hamby reported that Faye Meares will be serving as Vice Chair of the organization and a new firepit area will be placed in Mineral Spring Park.
Feb. 16 – Work finally began on the Cherokee Road/Hwy. 29 bridge project which includes total bridge replacement along with interchange modifications and reconstruction. The existing bridge was built sixty years ago. Completion date for the project is June 30, 2024.
Anderson County Council held first reading on changes to an ordinance regarding operation and maintenance of the new Anderson County Emergency Medical Services System and provided for annual tax funding and transport fees to support it. It also addressed non-emergency transport operations in the County and an action plan for Quick Response Vehicles (QRVs) staffed by paramedics to provide Advance Life Support (ALS) services and the contract provider to provide services through the County’s 911 system.
Anderson County is applying for funding from the National Park Service Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). If awarded, funds will be used to support development of Piedmont Riverfront Park, a public access facility on the Saluda River.
A Baptists and Bootleggers program was presented in the Club Room of The Community Building.
West Pelzer Town Council held a Strategic Planning Session to discuss possible projects to be paid for with (ARPA) American Rescue Plan Act funding. The town is receiving $235,480.19 from the program. Council approved 16 projects to be done in two phases. Following the work session, Council held a Special Called meeting to approve a resolution to appropriate the funds for the projects.
Feb.23 – Anderson School District One Board heard a presentation on a new professional learning program that adminstrators say “will bring student learning to the next level” and heard an update on the building program.
Assistant Superintendent of Administration and Instruction Dr. Jeff Wilson and his support team presented information on Professional Learning Communities (PLC), a professional development concept the District is embracing. Team members include Director of Secondary Education Dr. Chris Ferguson, Director of Planning & Development Tiffany Estes, Coordinator of Digital Learning Kristen Hearne and Director of Testing & Accountability Christie Shealy.
Envision Williamston and the Town of Williamston held a ribbon cutting for a new fire pit installed in Mineral Spring Park.
The Town of Pelzer filed required documents to exercise the authority of eminent domain and re-acquire property that was at one time the municipal pool site.
The town submitted $50,000, the amount the property appaised for, to the Anderson County Clerk of Court, along with the court summons and paperwork to move forward on reclaiming the property. Mayor Will Ragland said it will be used for public benefit and could possibly be used for athletic or recreational activities, parking, a farmers market or a number of other things that benefit residents. The current owners have the option of accepting the $50,000 the town has offered or they can choose to fight it in court.
The South Carolina House of Representatives passed legislation unanimously to increase South Carolina’s Reserve Funds. This legislation was filed by Rep. West Cox to amend the South Carolina Constitution to increase the state reserve funds. The legislation would send a constitutional question to the voters asking if they wish to increase the amount of tax revenue saved by the state each year.
Mar. 2 – DHEC began scaling back the number of agency-managed vendor COVID-19 testing sites across the state. The reduction was based on the declining demand for in-person testing and the increasing demand and supply of COVID-19 at-home rapid antigen tests.
From 2019 to 2020, the total number of opioid-involved overdose deaths in South Carolina increased by 59 percent, from 876 to 1,400. The total number of all drug overdoses increased by 53 percent across the state, from 1,131 to 1,734.
Investigators with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit obtained a murder warrant on a man in connection with the 2009 murder of Allison Southerland-Craine. Craine’s body was found on August 7, 2009, under a bridge near Lakeside Road, in Greenville. The twenty-four-year-old had suffered multiple blunt force trauma injuries, and following the initial investigation, the case went cold due to a lack of leads. Investigators obtained a murder warrant on 38-year-old Jeffery Ray Phillips, 38, who was incarcerated in Sullivan County, Tennessee, for an unrelated murder.
Approximately 22 people attended a meeting in Piedmont to hear information and make comments on a proposed riverfront park on the Saluda River. Anderson County is planning to construct a nature park and kayak launch facility on 28.02 acres of property located at 550 River Road. The project will be developed in two phases with an estimated total cost of $1.5 million. The County is in the process of applying for a $300,000 grant from the National Park Service Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to help pay for Phase One.
Mar. 9 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that they will change their approach to tracking COVID-19 by reducing focus on daily case counts and putting emphasis on severe cases that result in hospitalizations.
The Palmetto Business Association met at The Lincoln Taproom in West Pelzer
During a Safety Meeting in Pelzer, Captain Jacob Bowland of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and several other deputies provided information about law enforcement in the county and in Pelzer. Fielding questions about speeding and crime, Bowland said answering 911 calls is their primary objective. Speeding and traffic enforcement is not.
Pelzer Town Council addressed trash, streetlights, property purchases, renovation grants and fireworks. During the business portion of the meeting, Council agreed to annex the newer Church of God cemetery into the town limits.
West Pelzer Town Council held first reading on an ordinance clarifying zoning on Main Street and added two members to the planning commission
Mar. 16 – Anderson County Council approved first reading on an ordinance establishing a special tax district for the River Oaks subdivision and authorized a grant for pickleball courts at Hurricane Springs Park.
Anderson County PAWS was recognized for receiving the No Kill South Carolina’s Organization of the Year Award. Abigail Kamleiter, Director No Kill South Carolina/Charleston Animal Society, presented the award.
Gary Garland, 54, and Shannon Garland, 49, both of Anderson, were sentended to 35 years and 26 and a half years for their roles in conspiracies to sex traffic minors and to produce child pornography. Patrons of the Garland’s sex trafficking operation were also sentenced. According to court documents, the Garlands solicited and advertised for the sexual encounters on the internet.
The Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners heard a presentation from the Piedmont Village Christmas Lights, a new organization of local citizens working to make sure Piedmont has Christmas lights during the Holiday Season. Marsha Rogers asked the PPSD to approve an agreement which will allow pole decorations to be placed along Hwy. 86. PPSD Commissioner Rudy Rhodes reported the district had received a PARD grant with the help of House Dist. 10 Rep. West Cox. The grant will be used for bulbs and additional lights for the ballfield at Tom Pack Park.
Anderson County approved a bid for improvements at Hurricane Springs Park. The project includes construction of eight USAPA standard pickleball courts, ADA compliant walkways, parking spaces, fencing, electrical and other related work. The bid was awarded to Lesley Courts and Paving, LLC. The local company was awarded the $312,000 bid which includes $15,200 for lighting.
Anderson County also approved first reading on an ordinance to create the River Oaks Special Tax District in Powdersville. Chairman Tommy Dunn said the roads in the subdivision are not up to county standards and proceeds from a bond sale will be used to bring the streets up to county standards.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) held a public information meeting regarding proposed improvements to the intersection of US 29 and S-96 (Welcome Road).
Proposed improvements include a roundabout intersection, curb and gutter installation, and drainage improvements. Nearby S-4-144 (McAllister Road) and two local roads (Cantrell Road and Crappie Drive) would also be impacted by the proposed improvements.
Obtaining Right of Way would begin early next year with construction beginning Spring 2023 and completion date of approximately twelve months.
Mar. 23 – The South Carolina House of Representatives passed legislation to designate emergency medical services (“EMS”) as essential in the State of South Carolina and ensuring that such services are provided by each and every county in the state. This legislation was filed by House Dist. 10 Rep. West Cox at the request of many EMS providers throughout the state and the state EMS Association. The bill must also be voted on by the Senate.
Investigators with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office have made an arrest in connection with the shooting death of Jorrell Wright that occurred on March 9, 2022 at 544 Emily Ln. The Atlanta Police Department arrested Jason Daiyon Taylor, 21 in their jurisdiction following ongoing communication with the GCSO.
Williamston Mayor Rockey Burgess said the Town of Williamston and SCDOT are working out details in an attempt to get Gossett Drive re-opened. The Town is proposing accepting the roadway and being responsible for all neccessary current and future repairs of the roadway.
Mar. 30 – During their worksession, Mayor Rockey Burgess updated Councilmembers on several items including ARPA funding, Gossett Drive and nuisance abatement. TheTown will receive $2.1 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by congress in 2021.
The town committed $300,000 from the funding to purchase 300,000 gallons of sewer capacity from Anderson County and $100,000 for equipment. Burgess said $500,000 could be used for Phase 1 of Waste Water Treatment Plan (WWTP) improvements including new sewer lines from Brock Lane to the WWTP.
Unfortunately, a mishap resulted in an aerator being dropped into the sewer lagoon. The equipment, which weighs several thousand pounds and is valued at $10,000, will be recovered by Clearwater, the environmental engineering company doing work at the facility.
Hunter Quinn Homes was expected to begin work on the Brock Lane subdivision soon.
Anderson School District One Board heard information on a District Strategic Plan for improved learning from 2022-2027 and approved several policy changes during their March meeting.
Dr. Tifffany Estes, Director of Planning and Development shared information on the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan that was developed from the Cognia Accreditation process and visit. Dr. Estes looked at the impact COVID had on education and District level administrators met with principals and teachers to determine goals. The Capital reserve fund balance is $8,059,674. The Building Program fund balance is $14,768,897.
Transfer of the West Pelzer town sewer lines and pump station to ReWa was completed March 31.
Apr. 6 – The Palmetto Business Association and Alive Wesleyan Church partnered to sponsor the Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Easter Jam in Williamston’s Mineral Spring. The event included a Petting Zoo, Carnival Games, Putt-Putt, Inflatables, Craft Station and Bubble/foam Machine and face painting by Thomas Addison. Alive Wesleyan Pastor Mark Tolan said more than 600 people registered at the event and even more showed up.
A public meeting was held in Pelzer with Renewable Water Resources (ReWa) in which ReWa
representatives provided information to residents and answered questions. The Town of Pelzer and ReWa began discussing the purchase of the town’s sewer system in 2017 and negotiations had been ongoing since then.
ReWa initially offered $800,000 for the system, however Mayor Ragland said after inspection of the system, they are withholding funds for some needed upgrades including clearing of the right of way over the sewer line. There will be considerable work to clear the overgrown right of way, he said.
During a special called meeting, the Town of Pelzer held first reading on the sale of their sewer lines to Renewable Water Resources (ReWa). There were no other items on the agenda for the meeting.
South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) officials presented information and answered questions regarding proposed improvements to the intersection of US 29 and Welcome Road during a public information meeting at the Williamston Municipal Center. Persons attending the meeting were able to speak directly with SCDOT officials about the project. Some of the recurring concerns were about a “roundabout on Hwy. 29”, “the effects of peak traffic periods”, “speed: and “18 wheelers.”
Republican West Cox filed to run for re-election for the South Carolina State House of Representatives District 10.
West Pelzer Municipal Center was closed for a week for renovations.
The Greenville County Coroner’s office and sheriffs department are investigating the death of Charity Loretta Lee Southerland, 21, who was found dead in a home on Eastview Road. According to the Greenville County coroner’s office, Southerland died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Prisma Health Midlands (“Prisma”) agreed to pay a record $1 million to resolve allegations that it committed recordkeeping and dispensing violations of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The civil settlement included a memorandum of agreement and is the culmination of a joint Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation that began in November of 2018 when two Prisma patients were arrested for distributing drugs, some of which, the United States alleged, they were able to receive through Prisma’s pharmacy. This marks the largest settlement involving allegations of CSA violations in the state of South Carolina.
Williamston businessman and Mayor Rockey Burgess announced that he and three other partners purchased the historic building at 100 West Main as well as the former “Miss B’s” building. Burgess said the partners are discussing potential options for the site. Partners are Rockey Burgess, Pete Murray, Will Smythe and Ryan Gambrell.
South Greenville Fire District Station 77 dedicated their new firefighting apparatus, Platform 77, a 100’ platform ladder truck during a ceremony at the station located at 1820 Old Grove Road, Piedmont.
Retiring Williamston Police Officer Tina Eichelberger was recognized during the Williamston Town Council meeting. Police Chief Tony Taylor presented Eichelberger with her police ID, badge and service revolver. She was also presented a plaque recognizing her service to the town and 25 years as a police officer.
Stephen Greer presented information on a music festival he would like to hold in Mineral Spring Park in July. Greer said the festival will include a variety of independent music artists, vendors and food vendors. He said the event will be family friendly and will be free to the public. Council agreed to reserve the date pending logistics and additional information.
Envision Williamston Director Roberta Hamby said that EW has 37 Hometown Hero banners reserved and plans to have them up by Armed Forces Day in May.
The new Raines Restaurant in Williamston was awarded the Envision Williamston Main Street Challenge grant. Envision Williamston Board Chairman Marion Williams and Executive Director Roberta Hamby presented owners Jamie and JoieLynn Baldwin with the award for $5000 to be used in the business.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced that Army Staff Sgt. Grady H. Canup, 30, of Greenwood, killed during World War II, was accounted for Jan. 26, 2022. Canup’s name appears on the Veterans Memorial in Williamston,
Apr. 13 – Anderson County Council approved second reading on the River Oaks Special Tax District and paving for Hamlin Road, both in the Powdersville area of the county. Council also approved the donation of a used animal control truck to the Town of Williamston.
District 6 Councilman Jimmy Davis announced a groundbreaking for improvements at Dolly Cooper Park. When finished, the improvements will include eighty nine new paved parking spaces with ADA accessible spaces and a new 24×24 ft. covered pavilion with picnic tables. He also said construction on the Pickelball Courts at Hurricane Springs Park had started.
Second reading on the sale of Pelzer’s sewer system to Renewable Water Resources (ReWa) was expected at the Pelzer Town Council meeting, however the vote was postponed until numbers on the purchase are finalized.
Apr. 20 – State and local officials joined Anderson County for a groundbreaking ceremony for improvements at M. J. “Dolly” Cooper Park in Powdersville.
Main Street (Hwy. 8) in West Pelzer was closed for approximately six hours on Easter Sunday morning while work crews replaced broken power poles and downed lines resulting from a wreck. The driver of the Hummer which caused all the damage left the scene. At least five poles were hit by the vehicle.
West Pelzer Police were involved in a traffic stop in which a speeding driver was stopped and then drove off resulting in a chase through Pelzer. West Pelzer Police Chief Scott Stoller said the driver of a 2014 Kia Soul SU was traveling 53 mph in a 25 mph zone and was stopped at the Pelzer Post Office.
West Pelzer Town Council heard an update on their sewer system sale to ReWa, plans to address traffic on Palmetto Road and a new four way stop. They also heard a report on the two traffic incidents that drew alot of attention and caused problems.
West Pelzer Municiapl Clerk Paula Payton completed the MASC Business License Officials course.
West Pelzer Municiapl Clerk Paula Payton is serving as a member of the Community Connections Committee (CCC), which is a sub-committee of Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. As the municipal representative, she appointed three area representative to the CCC. They are Chaplain Roy Lee Jones of Belton, Assistant to the Mayor Leslie Walker of Honea Path and Councilwoman Donna Ide of Pelzer.
West Pelzer Poet Laureate James Campbell recognized two people who submitted poems of their “favorite memory”. The contest was the third for the town. Larsen Guill was recognized as second runner up for her reflections in a piece call “Forever” about wedding day emotions. First place winner was Mishelle Gray-Jones for a piece entitled “On the Porch” which she read.
Apr. 27 – Anderson School Districts 1 and 2 Career and Technology Center Director Hollie Harrell was named the 2022 South Carolina Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Administrator of the Year. Harrell was presented the award at the S.C. Education and Business Summit.
Three ACTC students were recognized for receiving awards as State Champions in the SC Skills USA competition. Kenneth Bright, a Palmetto student in the Automotive Collision Program at ACTC was named State Champion in the Automotive Refinishing Technology Competition. Wren High student Alora Freeman was State Champion for Graphic Imaging Sublimation and Powdersville High student Maisie Cheek won the gold medal for Advertising Design Competition.
According to the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), vaccine coverage among kindergartners dropped from 95 percent to below 94 percent during the 2020-2021 school year, which amounts to more than 35,000 children who entered kindergarten without documentation of complete vaccination against common diseases like measles, whooping cough, and chicken pox. In addition, enrollment in kindergarten dropped by 10 percent which means around 400,000 fewer children entered kindergarten than expected.
Lesley Snyder, a Piedmont native who attended Wren Middle School and Wren High School before pursuing her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of South Carolina, recently received a $25,000 Milken Educator Award.
Snyder, an eighth grade English teacher at Dutch Fork Middle School received the award for her work encouraging student-led learning through “passion projects,” serving as a teacher mentor and school leader, and pushing her students to reach their full potential through a variety of educational opportunities.
There were several reports of a bear sighting on Lebby Street and Front Street in Pelzer.
Williamston Town Council held a budget worksession which included discussions on salary increases, recreation and other items being presented in the draft budget for 2022-23. Work had begun on the Pickelball Courts in Mineral Spring Park which required additional soil remediation due to wet soil.
Envision Williamston and the Town of Williamston sponsored Working On Williamston (WOW) Town Clean Up Day on April 23.
May 4 – South Carolina House District 10 Representative West Cox (R-Anderson) filed legislation for payment of child support and maintenance to victims of DUI fatalities. The legislation would require a person convicted of DUI that results in the death of the parent of a minor child to pay child support and maintenance to the minor children of the victim.
Envision Williamston and a new business opening soon, Christina Ortiz State Farm Insurance, hosted a Cinco de Mayo event in Mineral Spring Park. The event included rides, food, drink, a band and a pinata.
Deputies with Greenville County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a shooting at Owens Rd. and Old Pelzer Rd. which resulted in one death. Greenville County deputies responded to the location in reference to a call of shots fired. When deputies arrived, they located an adult male in the roadway who was deceased from at least one gun shot wound.
The Powdersville Business Council hosted a new free family-friendly outdoor event at Dolly Cooper Park, “Rhythm on the River” which included a fun night of live music, food trucks, kids activities, local vendors, and more. The Powdersville High School Jazz Band and the Powdersville and Wren High Color Guard were a part of the festivities.
Williamston Town Council approved first reading on the 2022-23 budget which included salary increases, recreation and other items. Mayor Rockey Burgess said his two main goals for the budget was to include step payroll increases for employees and look at a possible restructure of the police department.
Williamston Town Council recognized “Slammin’ Sammy” Horne for being officially inducted into the North and South Carolina Boxing Hall of Fame. The induction banquet was supposed to have taken place April 24, 2020, but was postponed due to COVID.
Anderson County Council approved a resolution honoring the life and service of the late Anderson County Treasurer Jacky Hunter. ACOG representive Steve Pelizzier said the county invested $94,000 in ACOG and received a return on investment of $13.2 million in 2021.
Some of the projects ACOG has been involved with include working with SCDOT and Anderson County on the Hwy. 29 improvements near the Jocky Lot and Cherokee Road Bridge replacement. They also assisted with a Powdersville Water District grant, Williamston Mahaffey Road sewer project, a greenway project and CDBG grant in Williamston, and $1.1 million in services to allow seniors to stay home and Meals on Wheels improvements.
They have also provided service to municipalites including Pendleton and Williamston with technical assistance with comprehensive plans and keeping ARPA funding on track.
Twenty area middle and high school students were honored by the Anderson County Human Relations Council for their efforts to promote acceptance and diversity within the school community. From Anderson School District One were Caden Landreth (Palmetto High), Mason Bell (Palmetto Middle), Aidan Rueda (Powdersville High), Guadalupe Casa Escobar (Powdersville High), Breanna Leonard (Wren High), Kristian Freeman (Renaissance Academy).
Deputies with the GCSO F.A.S.I.T. (Fugitive Apprehension Specialized Investigations Team) arrested 30-year-old Jarred Emille Clement and 20-year-old Shakim Jovon Johnson in Greenville in connection with the May 1 murder of William “Jordan” Fletcher. Investigators learned that the pair had been with the victim before his body was found in the roadway on Owens Road, near Old Pelzer Road. Investigators believe Clement and Johnson conspired to kill the victim and that the shooting was premeditated.
May 11 – The Journal published an article about the establishment of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Divison (SLED) for the purpose of enforcing the newly enacted State Liquor Laws. Governor Olin D. Johnston signed the Act into law on May 14, 1935.
Pelzer Police Chief and former Game Warden J. Henry Jeanes was appointed by Governor Johnston as Chief. Twenty one new officers were hired to enforce the liquor laws and augment the three existing officers in the State Constabulary.
Pelzer Town Council approved second reading on annexation of the (new) Pine Lawn Cemetery and sale of the town’s sewer system to ReWa.
Under the sale agreement, ReWa will pay the town $600,000 for the system and will take over all maintenance of the sewer lines and pump stations. The $2 million USDA grant/loan which was for recent upgrades, will also be paid off. The town will continue to read meters and bill for water and sewer services when ReWa takes over.
The annual Pig in the Park Barbecue Festival and Cookoff returned to Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park May 13 and 14. After taking two years off due to COVID, the event will return with barbecue and food sales, craft vendors and other activities. Judging of BBQ will be held on Saturday.
A new art and photography exhibit on display in the Williamston Municipal Center Exhibit featured Impressionist paintings by Kaleb Simmons and digital art and photography by Joseph Addison both graduates of Anderson School District One.
May 18 – The Proposed Anderson County School District One Impact Fee will be on the agenda for the next Anderson County Planning Commission. The fee is being proposed to help offset costs associated with tremendous growth District One is experiencing and expecting over the next ten years. The study made recommendations of an impact fee maximum of $11,208 for single family construction and $7,779 for multifamily construction.
As cases of COVID-19 rise in the state and across the nation, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is encouraging residents to monitor the most effective indicators of COVID-19 severity –weekly hospitalizations and deaths data – and continue to take the proper measures to prevent getting a severe case of the virus.
The PIedmont Historical Preservation Society purchased a historic building in Piedmont which will be the new home for the organization and the Piedmont Museum.
The “Women’s” Building” of Piedmont was built in 1908 by Piedmont manufacturing Co. as a home for single women working inthe mail. It also served as the Piedmont YWCA.
May 25 – The Anderson County Planning Commission voted 5-3 to not approve the proposed Anderson School District One Impact Fee, killing the issue and preventing it from being addressed by County Council. Planning Commission members heard from 45 speakers including teachers, principals, administrators, and parents, almost all residents of the district, who all urged them to vote yes. Eight people including realtors, builders and a representative of the manufactured housing industry spoke against the fee.
The Bonnes Amies Club resumed monthly meetings after a long delay due to COVID. The club was started in 1954 to create friendship and to promote improvement and betterment of the community
Graduation ceremonies for all three Anderson School District One High Schools were held at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson.
Palmetto High Salutatorian was Kailee Ashton; Valedictorian Madison Grace Cox.
Powdersville High Valedictorian was Luke Auburn Hiller; Salutatorian Ryann Ashley Roth.
Wren High Salutatorian was Lillian Merrill Smith; Valedictorian Anna Grace Jellicorse
June 1 – The Anderson School District One Board approved two policy changes and heard a presentation on the 2022-23 draft budget.
The projected budget is $96,654,017 and includes a tax millage increase of 8 mills.
The $140.5 million building program is in the final stages of completion and has a fund balance of $9.5 million.
FedEx, a multinational conglomerate holding company focused on transportation, e-commerce and services, announced plans to begin operating in Anderson County. The company’s $45 million-dollar investment will create 12 new jobs.
The company will locate in Pelzer Point Building One, Anderson County’s first speculative, Class A industrial development with I-85 frontage.
June 8 – Envision Williamston, in partnership with Williamston Police Department, sponsored a Jazz in June music event in Mineral Spring Park. Jamie Wright performed.
State Farm agent Cristina Ortiz, who recently opened a new office in Williamston, presented Envision Williamston with a $10,000 grant from State Farm as part of their Outstanding Community Engagement Program. Envision Williamston was selected by Ortiz to receive the grant as part of her recognition for being 1 of 100 agents nationwide who were nominated and seleced for their outstanding community engagement.
Williamston Town Council approved rezoning of 116 parcels of land within the town limits from Multi-Family Residential (MFR) to R-7 Single-Family Residential. The R-7 zoning is a new classification the Town approved last year to allow for larger lots of 7000 square feet and plan for future growth in the town. The properties are located on Market Street and Brown Street in Williamston.
Williamston Mayor Rockey Burgess said after lengthy discussions with town department heads, they were able to come up with a balanced budget with no tax millage increase. The draft budget initially had a $187,000 deficit. Burgess said the approximately $4 million budget allows the town to “operate within our means.” The budget remains at the current millage rate of 112.5 mills.
Williamston Town Council approved first reading on a contract rate for Jacob Utilities, which provides sewer service and billing for residents of Forest Hills Subdivision, located just outside of the town limits. Mayor Burgess said with the transfer of 300,000 gallons of sewer capacity at the town’s waste water treatment plant, from Anderson County back to the Town of Williamston, Jacob Utilities is now a customer of the town. The system services approximately 30 customers and feeds through one tap to the town’s treatment facility.
Mayor Burgess announced that he has a “handshake deal” with the owner of property at 610 Greenville Drive and asked council to approve a resolution authorizing him to proceed with the property purchase “for economic development purposes”. He said the town plans to purchase the three lots, raze the area and provide greenspace, other municipal services or possibly market the property. The town is paying $325,000 for the property which has appraised market value by the county at approximately $324,000.
Funding for the property purchase will be from the general fund, which was boosted with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding of $2.1 million. Burgess said the funding was first designated for broadband and infrastructure, but now can be spent on a variety of items. Since the ARPA funds are not restricted, they will be placed into the General Fund Balance.
June 15 – In the June Primary election, Anderson County Voters decided that they wanted some changes in who represents them on the local level.
Longtime State House District 6 incumbent Brian White lost his seat to challenger April Cromer and House District 10 representative West Cox lost his seat to challenger Thomas Beach. For Anderson County Probate Judge, J. T. Foster was the top vote getter, defeating James Saxon.
Pelzer Town Council voted down a Duke Energy franchise fee increase, approved first reading on a “temporary” budget and approved two property annexations.
Mayor Ragland asked council to adopt the current budget until the town can finalize the Greenville Water system purchase. Ragland said they are in the middle of negotiations on the sale of the system and should know something in the next week.
According to Ragland, Greenville Water is trying to get ARPA funds to help with necessary upgrades to the system, which are estimated to cost $6.9 million.
Council also unanimously approved annexation of approximately 56 acres on Courtney Street. That property has recently been purchased by a developer who plans to build residential single family homes on it, according to the mayor.
June 22 – West Pelzer Town Council approved second reading on their 2022-23 budget, annexation of property on Woodcock Road and an Annexation and sewer/water service ordinance. The 2022-23 budget totals $1,306,588. General Fund budget is $652,388, Water/Sewer Fund budget is $606,200 and Hospitality Tax Fund is $48,000.
The new budget includes a three percent increase for all fulltime and permanent part-time town employees. The budget also reflects some capital expenditures for the police department including new tazers, radar, uniforms, ammunition, fingerprint kits and other needs.
Williamston Town Council held a special called meeting which included a public hearing for the 2022-23 budget and approval of the site plan for a residential development on Mahaffey Rd. The budget reflects a twenty-two percent increase, increasing by over $1 million from $5,588,552 to $6,804,138. There is no increase in taxes and the millage rate of 112.5 will remain the same. The budget reflects a decision by Council to not raise water rates, even though Anderson Regional Joint Water System (ARJWS), which supplies the town’s water, recently approved a 4.32 percent rate increase.
In a special called meeting, Pelzer Town Council approved a resolution authorizing a contract with Greenville Water System to operate the town’s water system. The contract allows Greenville Water to take over operations of the system while the final details of the sale of the system to Greenville Water are worked out.
Williamston’s held their Freedom Celebration, which was bigger and better than ever before, on July 2.
The Pelzer Fourth of July Celebration and Fireworks was held July 4 at the Lower Mill Warehouse on the corner of Murry St. and McCauthern St.
The Anderson School District One Board approved the 2022-23 Budget, a $25 million General Obligation Bond and improvements to Palmetto High Baseball field. Before voting on the budget, the Board was presented with the following information: The current mill is at 163 and is the lowest in Anderson County by 14 mills. FY 20-21 to 21-22 student count increased 357 students with an increase of 70 ESOL students and 139 special education students. The District already has classroom shortages and is in need of building upgrades and new equipment. The Board was also reminded that District One must maintain competitive salaries for teachers, support staff, bus drivers, and food service departments within the district.