Category Archives: Williamston

Councilmember uses loophole in sign ordinance he helped create


By Stan Welch

Note: This article contains excerpts from a prepared statement provided by Williamston Town Councilman Rockey Burgess. Space restrictions prevent running the entire statement, but passages used in reference to the issues raised in this article are produced verbatim, and will appear in quotation marks and italics.

The June 9 referendum on whether the town of Williamston will continue to operate under the strong mayor form of government has been an issue of considerable debate.

Recently the placement of a billboard, and then a temporary (portable) political sign in response, has inflamed passions and tested the town’s new sign ordinance.

Hwy. 20 near Career Center

Wreck on 20 web

An accident involving a Volkswagon beetle and a Honda Accord occurred on Hwy. 20 around 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning near the Career and Technology Center in Williamston. Williamston EMS and the Cheddar Fire Department responded to the scene which blocked traffic in both directions.

Williamston EMS under SLED investigation

By Stan Welch

County officials have confirmed that the Williamston EMS squad is under investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), although they were quick to stress that there are only allegations at this stage. The active investigation is expected to begin within the next two weeks.

Those allegations surfaced in a letter sent by several Williamston EMS employees to county director of emergency services Scott Stoller. From there, the allegations were presented to the Sheriff’s office, which then contacted SLED.

Duke Energy begins movement of first coal ash loads

Special designed trucks recently began removing coas ash from the Lee Steam Station. (Photo courtesy Duke Energy)

From W. S. Lee Steam Station

The first truckload of coal ash to be excavated from the W. S. Lee Steam Station site and relocated to an off-site landfill took place Thursday as specially designed trucks began moving the first tons of the material – left from burning the coal that’s powered the the plant for more than 60 years.

“This is an important milestone for our customers as we transition out of the wet ash business altogether,” said John Elnitsky, senior vice president of Ash Strategy. “This ash movement is the next step toward safely closing ash basins in the Carolinas.”

In this first phase of excavation, Waste Management is relocating about 1.4 million tons of ash from the inactive ash basin and an ash fill area to its landfill in Homer, Ga. This represents about 39 percent of the material on the property and is expected to take two to three years.

Williamston EMS experiencing financial, leadership difficulties

By Stan Welch

The Williamston EMS squad is undergoing extraordinary changes, beginning with the ousting of long time director Joe Barr, who resigned last week after a vote of the membership. That vote reportedly followed Barr’s tendering of his resignation to the Board of Directors, who declined to accept it.

Leah Davis is currently serving as interim chief. The Board of Directors was scheduled to meet with County Administrator Rusty Burns Tuesday afternoon. The purpose of that meeting is unclear, since the county contracts with each EMS or Rescue squad individually for emergency medical services, but has no direct involvement in the provision of those services.

The problems, and alleged mismanagement, have been going on for some time; recent events brought the issue to a head.

Faith Presbyterian to hold first service May 24th

Pelzer and Williamston Presbyterian

Pelzer and Williamston Presbyterians will observe Pentecost Sunday, May 24, as one church – now Faith Presbyterian. The worship service at 11 a.m. will be at the sanctuary in Williamston on Mill Street. Most weekly services will be held in the sanctuary in Williamston, with fifth Sundays and special services to be held at the sanctuary in Pelzer. Members of both churches will become members of Faith Presbyterian Church.

Pig in the Park BBQ Festival & Cookoff this weekend!


The Pig in the Park Barbecue Festival and Cook-Off will be held in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park this weekend, May 15 and 16. The event is sponsored by the Williamston Masonic Lodge and is celebrating its fifth year. According to organizers, cooking teams from all over South Carolina and two from North Carolina are registered for the cookoff.

The activities begin on Friday with barbecue and food, craft vendors and a children’s play area from 12 noon until 9 p.m. There will be live music from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with the Original Out of Towners.

Palmetto Farmers Market opens season

The Palmetto Farmers Market is now open from 4-7 p.m. Thursdays along the new walking trail in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park.

Winners of the first Palmetto Farmers Market Dollar drawings were Olene Bear and Kathy Lloyd. The market holds a drawing each week in which winners receive $25 in Palmetto Market Dollars to spend at any farmers market vendor.

At the first market held last Thursday, farmers brought yellow squash, locally grown in a high tunnel (hoop house); leeks; lettuce; radishes; turnips; mustard greens; strawberries; sausage, pork chops, and ham hocks; goat cheese and milk; Gouda cheese; honey; eggs; locally-made soap and skin care products; pound cake; smoked olive oil; green onions; bok choy; rabbit and rabbit sausage; chard; kohlrabi; jams, jellies, and salsas; boiled peanuts; handmade dog treats; Leopard Forest coffee; and plants.

Town of Williamston General Fund Budget 2015-16

Williamston Town Council recently approved first reading of the 2015-16 draft budget.

Total General Fund Revenues expected $2,830,373. Total General Fund Expenditures expected $2,830,373. The following are revenues and department expenses as budgeted:

Williamston Water & Sewer Fund Budgets for 2015-16

Town of Williamston Water and Sewer Fund Budgets 2015-16 as approved on first reading last week:

Town of Williamston Water Department Fund has total revenue and expenses of $900,851. Sewer Department revenues and expenses of $925,500.

Community hears more on ash removal process


From Duke Energy Lee Steam Plant site

By Stan Welch

Duke Energy continued its process of involving the public in the ongoing renovation, upfitting and cleanup underway at the W.S. Lee Steam Plant by hosting a community meeting last week. Several hundred people attended the open house meeting which focused on providing information and receiving input from the public concerning the coal ash removal project that Duke, along with Waste Management, is beginning this month.

There are two active ash basins, referred to as the promary and secondary basins. The site also has an inactive ash basing consturcted in the 1950s, a structural fill and an ash fill. These ash storage area hold a total of about 3.2 million tons of coal ash.

Town’s sign ordinance affects political signs

With the upcoming Change in the Form of Government Election Referendum June 9, Williamston Police Chief Tony Taylor reminds anyone interested or considering placing an election related sign or other type sign in the Town of Williamston of the town’s recently implemented sign ordinance.

Assessment team completes first round of input sessions, more planned


For Community Master Plan

By David Meade

A two day strategic assessment being conducted in Williamston this week began a process of creating a community master plan for the town.

As part of “Envision Williamston”, a project team consisting of Randy Wilson, Community Design Solutions; Blake Sanders, Alta Planning & Design; Allison Brant representing Williamston native Andy Sherard) of Site Design and Project Manager Tee Coker of Arnett Muldrow & Associates, conducted 12 sessions resulting in input from approximately 120 people.

The sessions are the first steps of a process that encourages intensive public interaction combined with indepth market research and assessments over the next few months. Input from the current and future sessions will be used to develop a master plan for the community.

Project Manager Tee Coker said a community plan is built on a foundation of community input (from residents, business owners, community advocates, pastors, parents, children, seniors, etc.) to create a shared, implementable vision for the future of the community.

Main Street Williamston director brings experience to position



By David Meade

Sonya Albury-Crandall, of Clemson, has had a crash course on Williamston since being named Executive Director of the Main Street Williamston Program. Crandall officially began her duties as director for the town’s marketing and economic development program last Friday.

Her first two days on the job this week involved attending input sessions as part of the Envision Williamston strategic assessment being held Monday and Tuesday. During one of the sessions, Crandall said she sees Main Street as actively engaging the community as part of a broader “Envision Williamston” which includes supporting health and wellness and quality of life.

Crandall brings experience as an executive director, instructor and research and policy advisor to the position.

With a background in planning initiatives, health and human services, research projects, marketing, communications, government relations and resource development, Main Street boardmembers believe Crandall will move the program forward and facilitate expanding it into the broader and more encompassing Envision Williamston.

Council approves $113,800 end of year expenditures with budget amendment

Approves 2015-16 budget with no discussion

Wiliamston Town Council – long version

ByDavid Meade

During their monthly meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council approved changes to the current budget and approved a new budget as well as changing the time of council meetings. Council also held second reading on an amended smoking ordinance, amended wrecker ordinance, declined to purchase property, and addressed the change of government by setting a time when it will take place and intentions of council if it does.

Grace Methodist Pastor Kempie Shepard said that toddlers and parents were enjoying the new playground equipment recently placed in Mineral Spring Park and that the whale “is the most popular.”

She also said there had been some complaints about the size and the cost. “If anyone has $16,000 they would like to contribute we will add to it,” Shepard said.

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