Looking back at 2011 . . .


Looking back over the year, these are some of the newmakers you may remember during 2011:

Jan. 5 – A resolution by the Anderson County Council seeking to retain lower traffic speeds for trains using the Greenville & Western Railroad drew a strong response from the railroad and its legal counsel.

The Greenville & Western Railroad stated that it had invested approximately $1.5 million in upgrades and improvements of their rail lines since 2008 and an inspection recently conducted by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), confirmed there are no problems with the rail lines or with the various crossings.

Two new council members were sworn in and took their respective seats on Williamston’s Town Council. Tony Hagood (Ward 1) and Dr. Mack Durham (Ward 2) took their oath of office and were seated for what turned out to be a very short meeting.

Jan. 12 – Anderson School District One Board of Trustees approved the IDEA budget, selling a 1991 maintenance van, a new school calendar and they extended the contract for Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler for one additional year.

Powdersville Elementary was among five South Carolina schools awarded the National Blue Ribbon Schools Award presented by the U.S. Department of Education.

Approximately six inches of snow blanketed the area and was followed by a light coat of freezing rain which turned roadways and parking lots into a sheet of ice.

Jan. 19 – Though may roads appeared clear, lingering patches of ice caused problems for motorists across the area. There were numerous accidents at a location on Beaverdam Road.

West Pelzer Town Council approved second reading on a weed and grass ordinance, mobile home ordinance and discussed the Chapman Park project.

School District One Board of Trustees approved changes to the school calendar to allow for a snow make-up schedule for the five days in January during which there was no school held due to snow and ice.

The 1960-61 Palmetto High School basketball team which went undefeated with a 19-0, regular season record, were recognized during a special ceremony at the Palmetto-Carolina basketball game. The team was the conference championship winners going 19-0 before losing in the first round of the playoffs.

A blaze at the old Pelzer Depot destoyed most of what was left of the historic building.

Work was finally underway on a repaving project on Williamston’s West Main Street to repair crumbling pavement resulting from manholes and infrastructure located in the traffic lanes.

Feb. 2 – The Williamston Fire Dept. was awarded a FEMA Assistance to Firefighter grant of $32,783 which was used for replacement of 5″ supply hose on Williamston Fire Engine’s 1 and 2.

Duke Energy’s Lee Steam Station at Pelzer was being evaluated for upgrades to make it more energy efficient in providing power to meet the needs of Duke customers, officials said. The conversion being considered is fueling the boilers with natural gas.

Due to a computer error on the final scores for the Miss Palmetto Pageant, Rachel Ellison and Tiah Ann Timms shared the crown of Miss Palmetto 2011.

A West Pelzer woman won $100,000 on a SC Education Lottery scratch off ticket.

The Piedmont Public Service Commission addressed rights of way issues related to the construction of new sewer lines prior to the take over of the sewer system by Metropolitan Subservice District.

Fork Shoals Elementary School and Ralph Candler Middle earned recognition for academic achievement and/or closing achievement gaps in 2010.

Feb. 9 – Williamston Police Officers investigated the theft of copper valued at $10,000 from the Williamston Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Williamston Town Council postponed a vote on the purchase of property adjacent to the town’s soccer fields, heard a report on fire department grants and set a date for the annual Freedom Celebration.

Officials conducting environmental site assessments at both the upper and lower mill properties and two landfill locations in Pelzer, reported Phase I of the assessment had been completed.

West Pelzer Town Council set a date for a public hearing to receive public comment on the proposed Chapman Park project and decided to apply to the state insurance program.

Not a single citizen appeared at a public meeting to hear Metropolitan Sewer officials talk about the sewer system upgrade project in Piedmont.

The Piedmont Public Service Commission was in the process of obtaining rights of way from customers who will be served by the Metropolitan Sewer Sub District, (MSSD) when they construct and take ownership of the lines, relieving the PPSD of its toughest and most expensive duty.

Feb. 16 – The Town of Pelzer is actively seeking multiple grants to aide in the development and enhancement of the Town’s historical character, enhancing the quality of life through community interaction, engagement, and recreation including keeping the pool open.

The South Greenville Fire District received a 2010 FEMA (Assistance to Firefighters Grant) in the amount of $36,504. The funds will be used to purchase 19 mobile radios for each of the District vehicles and 8 mobile repeaters for its front line engines, according to South Greenville Fire Chief Ken Taylor.

The Pelzer Heritage Commission originally started as the The Pelzer Pride Committee changed their name to the Pelzer Heritage Commission. The commission is made up of local people, all of whom were either born in Pelzer and/or lived in Pelzer from a very young age, who have the goal of preserving the town and village and to restore pride.

Feb. 23 – Eleven Anderson School District One schools received either gold or silver awards for general performance.

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees approved personnel and administrative positions for 2011-12 which included staffing for Powdersville High School. The board approved sixteen teacher transfers of teachers from four schools in the district, with more than half coming from Wren High School.

Mar. 2- Three Wren High students were suspended and faced explusion after knives and drug paraphernalia were found in cars.

Derek Watson was arrested on a drug trafficking charge in Greenville County.

The Greenville Spring Training bike racing series held a race in the Fork Shoals area of South Greenville County with the start/finish line and parking at Fork Shoals Elementary School. Cycling legend George Hincapie participated in the race.

The fatal shooting of two U. S. airmen in Germany drew national attention but hit close to home for Anderson County residents. Nick Alden, 25, who lived in Williamston and graduated Palmetto High School in 2003, was one of two airmen killed in Frankfurt Germany.

Mar. 9 – A Williamston mechanic was the lucky purchaser of a lottery ticket and matched the numbers in a Powerball drawing for $1 million. The ticket was purchased at the Pelzer Food Store on U. S. Hwy. 29.

Williamston Town Council heard input for a grant, approved entertainment funding for the Spring Water Festival and changed the date of the annual Freedom Celebration. They also received public input for a Community Development Block Grant.

West Pelzer Town Council and citizens reviewed and revised the proposed design for Chapman Park.

Mar. 16 – A benefit ride, concert and other events were being planned to support the construction of a new veterans memorial park in West Pelzer.

Williamston EMS was awarded a 2010 Assistance to Firefighter Grant for $191,750 which was to purchase up to date equipment with technology for evaluating heart patients on site.

West Pelzer Town Council addressed issues including a rezoning request from a group to have a residence on Holiday Street rezoned, received information on an ordinance addressing junk and junk cars stored outside at people’s homes and businesses and ReWa’s failure to start construction of its new wastewater treatment plant

Mar. 23 – Unitex Group USA celebrated the grand opening of their facility on Hurricane Creek Road in Piedmont.

Michael Allen, Architecture Project Manager for Goodwin, Mills, Cawood presented three conceptual designs for Chapman Park to West Pelzer Council members and citizens during a public meeting.

Goody’s held their grand opening in the Peebles store location in Williamston.

Stephen Chad Vickery dropped an appeal of his suspension as a Palmetto Middle School teacher and voluntarily and permanently

surrendered his teaching certificate. Vickery, who was a science teacher at Palmetto Middle School at the time of his arrest in May of 2009, was charged with six counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The repair, replacement and relocation of its antiquated sewer system continued to be the focus of the Piedmont Public Service Commission. Estimated cost for the project, which will give Metro control and ownership of the system, is $9 million.

After four years as a finalist, Wren High School was one of four schools to be awarded Palmetto’s Finest by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators.

Senior Airman Nicholas J. Alden was laid to rest with full military honors at the M. J. “Dolly” Cooper Veterans Cemetery.

Mar. 30 – The Battle of Anderson, a reenactment of the last Civil War skirmish east of the Mississippi, was held near Honea Path. Williamston’s historic cannon “Miss Annie Lee” was on display along with another extremely rare weapon, a breech-loading rapid-fire cannon which was the first machine cannon to be used in combat.

Wren High was named one of the four 2011 Carolina First Palmetto’s Finest School. Principal Robbie Binnicker accepted the award in Columbia.

The 2010 U.S. Census showed the countywide (Anderson) population increased by 21,386 people, or an increase of 12.9 percent. The greatest growth was in the Powdersville area, with a jump of 43.1 percent. The census numbers confirmed that County Council district lines will be redrawn prior to the 2012 elections.

More than 35 residents of the Pelzer Mill Villages participated in a visioning session at the Pelzer Community Building. Representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Corps of Engineers hosted the session.

West Pelzer Town Council accepted a design for Chapman Park.

During a special called meeting Pelzer Town Council heard an update on the town’s sewer project and approved an architect for the EMS/old hospital building renovation the town is planning. Work on Pelzer’s sewer upgrade project continued and was expected to be finished in just a few months, but there was no treatment plant for the new upgraded lines to pump to.

Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler told the School Board that his three budget goals for the 2011-12 school year were to keep teacher/pupil ratios in the District schools where they are now, restore furloughs and freeze salary schedules at the 2009 levels.

Apr. 6 – A benefit ride, concert and other events were held to support construction of a new veterans memorial in the proposed Chapman Park in West Pelzer.

Peeble’s shoppers visited the store in Williamston for the last time as it reopens as Goodys. Stage Stores purchased the rights to the Goody’s name in 2009 opened stores in select markets where loyalty to the Goody’s brand was strong.

Williamston Town Council approved a resolution authorizing the town to commit $52,389 to pay for engineering services associated with a CDBG grant for sewer infrastructure improvements. The sewer project includes an upgrade of 3,000 feet of sewer line in the Academy St. and Broad St. area of the town.

Williamston residents saw a 6 percent increase in their water and sewer bill. The new water rates reflect an increase by the Anderson Joint Regional Water System (AJRWS) which supplies the town’s water while the sewer rate increase is being mandated by the Rural Utility Service (RUS).

Battle of Anderson organizer Allen Ashley estimated over 1,500 people attended the event held near Honea Path.

Work finally began on Highway 20 (West Main St.) in Williamston. The project corrected problems that resulted from relocated travel lanes off the original concrete base and put them over existing drainage devices, causing serious problems with both the road and the sewer system.

Apr. 13 – The historic Tucker home, also known as the Oaks Plantation just outside of Williamston, was torn down. Some wood, mantels and other items were salvaged during the demolition.

An event to raise funds for construction of a Veterans Memorial in West Pelzer raised more than $3,000 officials said. Approximately 50 motorcycle riders participated in the benefit motorcycle ride sponsored by the Defenders Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club.

West Pelzer Town Council approved a resolution in support of a grant match, held first reading on a new junk and junk vehicle ordinance and tabled a yard sale ordinance.

The Williamston area was represented well on the County Republican Party as Susan Aiken, was elected executive committee person; Dan Harvell, Chairman, Jane Jones, Secretary and Eddie King, treasurer. Janis Hunter, first Vice Chair, Mark Powell, second Vice Chairman and Lee Cole, third Vice Chair.

Williamston Town Council held a budget work session at the ACOG offices in Greenville. Town Administrator Phyllis Lollis presented information and budget recommendations for the 2011-2012 budget.

Apr. 20 – The Greater Williamston Business Association held their annual Easter Egg Hunt. The event was rescheduled from the previous Saturday due to bad weather.

Organizers of Williamston’s Pig in the Park Barbecue Cookoff were readying for the event which will be in May.

Apr. 27 – Sammy Rowe of Piedmont was named the Greer Dragway 2010 Sportsman of the Year .

The Piedmont Public Service Commission gave first reading approval to a balanced budget that included a two per cent raise for all full time employees but did not raise taxes.

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees recognized principals for Gold and Silver Awards, heard positive Instructional and Nutritional reports, were updated on the budget and approved personnel recommendations for the upcoming school year.

Ten Anderson District One schools were recognized for academic achievement with Gold and Silver Awards and Closing the Achievement Gap Awards. For the first time, both Palmetto High School and Wren High School achieved excellent ratings in both categories at the same time.

May 4 – Williamston Town Council approved first reading on the 2011-12 budget. Highlights for the budget included two new police cars, a $200 bonus for town employees, no administrator bonus, repaving the municipal center parking lot and security cameras in Mineral Spring Park.

Allegro Industries announced that it will locate a new manufacturing facility in the Upstate Industrial Park in Piedmont. The initial capital investment will be $1.65 million with the generation of 45 new jobs.

House District 10 State Representative and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Dan Cooper tendered his resignation from the South Carolina General Assembly announcing that he will vacate his seat at noon on June 29. The date marked the end of the legislative session and would have been the 91st birthday of his father, former State Representative M/ J/ “Dolly” Cooper, who passed away last year.

May 11 – Greenville County School Superintendent Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher was honored by the SC PTA with the PTA Honorary Life Membership Award.

Williamston’s Pig in the Park Barbecue Cookoff, sponsored by Williamston Masonic Lodge No. 24, featured a sanctioned championship barbecue cookoff, festival food, vendors, live music and the opportunity to sample a variety of delicious barbecue.

West Pelzer Town Council heard a brief audit report, received a quote on Chapman Park, approved the new junk ordinance and discussed a water rate increase. Auditor Jason White reported that the town received an unqualified opinion on their audit and that there was a net increase in assets of $900,000, which was from Federal Grant funding for the town’s water and sewer upgrades.

May 18 – No real news this week.

May 25 – Pelzer Town Council unanimously approved first reading on their 2011-12 budget and approved an increase in water and sewer rates. Water and sewer rates increased beginning June 16 and customers saw the increase on their August bill.

Williamston Town Council held a budget work session during which detailed information was presented on several line items in the budget after Councilman Mike Looper, requested the work session. Administrator Phyllis Lollis presented a packet of information to council in response to a list of questions by Looper.

Paving was finally underway on West Main St.in Williamston where motorists had endured bumps, pot holes, dust and delays during the last four months.

Woodmont High Graduation was held at Furman’s Timmons Arena. Valedictorian was Ashley Rebecca Pittman and Salutatorian was Ainsley Grace McWaters.

June 1 – The Town of Pelzer was awarded a $2,000 grant by the National Trust for Historic Preservation from Hart Family Fund for Small Towns. The grant funds will be used to develop a historic preservation plan outlining the future goals for preserving the past while enhancing future development.

Anderson County Parks Department and Grady’s Great Outdoors hosted a two day event on the Saluda River. Kayakers and outdoor enthusiasts met at the Dolly Cooper Sports Complex in Powdersville for a day of water sports, food and family fun on the Saluda.

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees got their first look at football and band uniforms for the new Powdersville High School, heard an update on the building program which included a video presentation on the new high school and approved first reading on the 2011-12 budget.

After a recap of the budget by Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler, the board unanimously approved the 2011-12 budget as presented with revenues of $49,889,898 and expenses of $50,831,048.

June 8 – The Williamston Heritage and Arts Council announced they were reviving the Players performing arts at the Pelzer Auditorium.

Williamston Town Council learned that the water enterprise fund had only recently begun to pay for itself, as required by law, and then only after $232,000 in accumulated fund transfers were forgiven, on the advice of the Town’s auditors. Over the last few years, rate increases in the wholesale cost of water purchased and provided by the Town had been absorbed instead of being passed on to the customers.

Palmetto High School held commencement services at Clemson’s Littlejohn Coliseum. Palmetto High Salutatorian was Michael Scott Bell and Valedictorian was Madison Grey Bronson.

Wren High graduation was held at Clemson. Valedictorian was Adam Birchfield and Salutatorian was Medha Vyavahare.

The Pig in the Park barbecue cookoff and festival was a success. The Palmetto Baptist Association received a check for $7260 for the Christian Learning Center (CLC) and Operation Care.

Local Blues Legend Mac Arnold and Plate Full of Blues performed at the Caroline Community Center in Williamston.

Williamston Town Council approved second reading on their 2011-12 budget, approved a five year economic development plan and a proclamation encouraging accessibility in the town.

Williamston Mayor Carthel Crout said he had heard all the rumors and concerns about the brass coins he had been handing out to citizens, visitors and dignitaries, and offered a simple answer. “The Town sponsored a contest at the middle school, to have the kids make posters to try and encourage pride and unity in the Town. The winning design, by Joseph Addison, was the basis for these coins, which we distribute as a public relations tool,” said Mayor Crout.

State and county officials met with the public in the Powdersville area seeking input into a number of transportation issues facing the area.

Judy Shelato, of the Anderson County roads and bridges department, said that the meeting was well attended, with approximately fifty people in attendance. Chief among concerns was the impact of the new Powdersville high school on traffic along Hood and Roe Roads.

June 15 – The Heritage and Arts Council, which brought numerous live theater productions to the local area in the past, has been reorganized with a new energy and direction to bring performing arts with the announcement that Will Ragland will be the new Artistic Director.

West Pelzer Town Council gave first reading approval to a proposed budget that will increase water and sewer bills. Town Clerk Paula Payton and Mayor Peggy Paxton explained that the annual cost of water purchased from ReWa by the Town will increase by more than $16,000 in the coming budget year.

Residents of Pelzer met with Jason Harpe last week to discuss ways to preserve, if not restore, some of the history of the town. Approximately twenty residents met to reminisce and to lament the loss of some of the physical symbols of the town’s past.

June 22 – After being inactive for several years, the local performing arts organization formerly known as the Heritage and Arts Council, was reorganized with a new energy and direction.

Well known local actor and director Will Ragland, who was elected Artistic Director during a recent reorganizational meeting, will oversee the new theatre group.

SCDHECreported that the ethanol blending facility at Cheddar had withdrawn its application for a permit to modify its equipment in order to increase capacity.

The South Greenville Fire District held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new fire station located inside the Matrix Business Park on Old Grove Rd., off Hwy. 25, Augusta Rd., in the Moonville area. The new station will be South Greenville’s 7th station. A federal grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will help fund the building. The new fire station will be South Greenville’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building, a new benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance “green” buildings.

Spring Water Festival Chairman David Meade announced that entertainment for the 30th year of the festival would feature country music legend Earl Thomas Conley.

The Piedmont Public Service Commission gave final approval to the 2011-2012 budget Monday night. The Commission voted unanimously to apply $5500 saved on workers’ compensation insurance to two other line items.

The Super Bowl of the livestock auctioneering profession come to the area when the Upstate Livestock Exchange ihosted the 2011 World Livestock Auctioneer Championship. Thirty-three auctioneers, from 19 states and two Canadian provinces competed for the title of world champion.

Ten people were injured in an accident in which a vehicle crashed into the waiting room at AnMed Health in Williamston.

June 2 9 – According to a report from the South Carolina Department of Education, Anderson School District One’s high school dropout rate shrank from 2.2 in 2008-2009 to 1.3 in 2009-2010. Male dropouts were cut in half from 3.1 in 08-09 to 1.5 in 09-10.

Local businessman, Jim Simpson is in the process of converting a historic building in Williamston which once housed a hardware store into what he is calling “Yesterday’s Ride Classic Cars.” The building was renovated to replicate an old 1950s Texaco Service Station and will serve as a showplace to house Simpson’s Classic Car collection as well as a functioning mini-garage.

Approximately 40 people attended a community meeting held at the Cheddar Fire Department which focused on safety and emergency preparedness.

Graduation for Anderson Districts 1 & 2 Adult Education was held at Palmetto High School’s Auditorium. The Adult Education program graduated their largest class ever, Director Janice Walpole, M.Ed, GCDF said. The program, housed at the historic Pelzer Elementary School building, had 109 graduates ranging in age from 17 to almost 64. 103 GEDs and 6 high school diplomas were awarded.

The West Pelzer Planning Commission received and reviewed the Town’s latest comprehensive plan. The information contained in the plan made it clear that the town’s future lies in its potential and attraction for those who work elsewhere but like the small town feel for their place of residence.

Williamston EMS Captain Marty Evans said that quick response by area public safety and AnMed personnel was a key factor in a coordinated and efficient response to a situation in which ten people were injured a week earlier. The victims, ranged in age from 13 to 91.

Five local contestants, or at least contestants with local ties, represented the Powdersville and Williamston area in the 75th Miss South Carolina Pageant. Representing Williamston was Teen Miss Williamston, Kelly Atherton and Miss Williamston, Hannah Barfield. Representing Powdersville was Teen Miss Powdersville, Reagan Foster and Miss Powdersville, Daja Dial. Former Teen Miss Williamston Lauren Waynick made her second appearance as Teen Miss Fountain Inn.

Williamston observed Independence Day with a cruise-in, food and fireworks. Pelzer and West Pelzer joined together to celebrate with a day of fun activities and fireworks.

July 6 – The level of contamination at the old Pelzer mill sites could be worse, according to the brownfields consultants working with the town and Friends of Pelzer to determine just what the status of those sites is.

Gail Jeter, brownfields specialist with CTC Public Benefit Corporation, reported that some sites on the old mill property are less contaminated than others; but further testing will be conducted to determine exactly what the town and its citizens are facing.

Senator Billy O’Dell has been recognized for his efforts in support of his District’s first responders. Senator O’Dell was awarded the SC Emergency Medical Services Association Legislator of the Year Award.

The process of finding the right contractor to construct the proposed new wastewater treatment plant in Piedmont continued. The new plant will serve West Pelzer, Pelzer and Piedmont , who have been working to find solutions to their chronic wastewater problems. Most recently, they have been involved in rehabilitating their sewer lines and building new transmission lines to a proposed ReWa treatment facility.

The Anderson County Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the ReWa application land use application. Approval of the full Council was still necessary.

The Town of West Pelzer received preliminary confirmation that it had been approved for a grant of $29,900 towards its ten per cent match requirement for $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, which will be used on Phase Two of the Town’s water line rehabilitation and repair project.

Greenville County Schools Superintendent Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher announced that she plans to retire within the next year, after serving more than seven years as the leader of the state’s largest and nation’s 50th largest school system.

Efforts to determine the levels of contamination at Pelzer’s two mill sites on the Saluda River will continue in coming months, and efforts to address and correct the problems that are found will continue for some time after that, according to the consultants who are working with both the Town and the Friends of Pelzer organization deeply involved in the project.

July 13 – Six Republicans signed up to run for the SC House District 10 seat which had been held by Dan Cooper or his father M. J. “Dolly” Cooper for the last 37 years.

The University of South Carolina baseball team celebrated their victory over Florida to clinch the College World Series Championship in game two of the series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha Nebraska.

The historic building that once housed a hospital and later served as headquarters for the Pelzer Rescue Squad will not be torn down. Pelzer officials firmly downplayed rumors that the local landmark was going to be demolished, while offering possible solutions to restoring the building during a meeting of the Pelzer Town Council.

West Pelzer Town Councilman Mike Moran tendered his resignation from the Council. His letter of resignation, which Mayor Peggy Paxton said was totally unexpected, cited private circumstances which prevented Moran from giving the job the attention he believes it requires and deserves.

Williamston Town Council presented special plaques of recognition for response to the AnMed incident, heard comments from a former mayor and council member and heard a request to help purchase a marker for the town founder’s burial site.

The race for the SC House District 10 seat will require a runoff between Joshua Putnam and Hamp Johnson.

July 20 – A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new AnMed affiliated Wren Family Medicine facility in the Wren/Powdersville area.

Cadets of The Palmetto High School AFJROTC unit learned leadership skills and discipline while attending the Southeastern Region Cadet Summer Leadership School held recently at Mercer University in Georgia. In doing so, they brought home nine awards including the Outstanding Unit Award, which was awarded for having the highest score of all participating units.

The Anderson County Council brought government to the people as they held their July meeting at Wren High School, in Council District Six. Approximately thirty five people attended.

Powdersville residents Joshua Putnam and Hamp Johnson, were the highest vote getters of the six candidates who ran in the primary election. They will face off and the winner faces Constitution Party candidate Dave Ballard in the general election on Aug. 30. No Democrats entered the race.

July 27 – The long-awaited construction of the Piedmont Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant officially began with a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled August 10. Renewable Water Resources, ReWa, formerly known as Western Greenville Sewer, will build the plant, which will use the latest in treatment techniques to produce extremely clean water to be returned to the Saluda River.

The state of the art facility will consolidate four existing treatment facilities and take them off line. Instead, Pelzer, West Pelzer and Piedmont will all send their wastewater to the new plant for treatment before it is discharged into the Saluda River.

Work on the new Powdersville High School is nearing completion with final touches being put on the building and it is expected to be ready for the start of the school year in early August.

Students in Anderson School District One showed improvement in 2011 state standardized test scores. Overall, performance levels for ELA and Math increased in third, fourth, seventh and eighth grades over the 2010 scores. Students in grades six and seven made gains in math. Students in grades three to eight improved their scores of meeting proficiency in science and social studies.

West Pelzer Town Council voted to amend their election ordinance to comply with county standards. The changes eliminated the need to provide petition of support from the voting population, and established the validity of a plurality in municipal elections.

West Pelzer was awarded a $447,500 community infrastructure grant to be used in upgrading the Town’s water lines.

In an extremely close runoff for the District Ten S.C. House of Representatives seat, Joshua Putnam defeated Hamp Johnson by just 79 votes.

Aug. 3 – Williamston Town Council approved the purchase of a plaque for the town founder’s gravesite, announced several grants and heard comments from two former mayors during their meeting. Former mayor Phillip Clardy made comments about social media website Facebook where he said the town’s Police Chief, Richard Inman posted that he is running for sheriff of Laurens County in 2012 and made other comments.

Anderson Districts I & II Career & Technology Center was selected as an Outstanding Technology Centers That Work (TCTW) Center. The award is based on the success of center leaders and teachers in improving center practices and raising student achievement.

District Six Councilman Ken Waters spoke with approximately two dozen citizens in an informal town meeting at the Powdersville library. Traffic was one of the constant topics, as Waters and county administrator Rusty Burns answered questions and heard concerns from the audience. .

Aug. 10 – During the West Pelzer Town Council meeting, Mayor Peggy Paxton explained recent water and sewer rate increases and said she and council supported town employees who had taken a lot of verbal abuse from customers since the increases went into effect.

Mayor Paxton explained that the town had no choice in the recent water and sewer rate increase which was the result of increases by the Greenville Water System, which supplies the town’s water, and USDA/RDA as part of their loan agreement for the sewer treatment project.

Members of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Tracking Team found the body of a missing Pelzer man. After a three day search of the surrounding area and the Saluda River where Zachary Thompson disappeared, officers located his body in a heavily wooded area.

Powdersville High School is on schedule to open on August 16, 2011 for students. The administration moved into the building over the weekend and teachers had access to their rooms.

The long-awaited construction of the Piedmont Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant officially began with a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for August 10.

Renewable Water Resources, ReWa, formerly known as Western Greenville Sewer, is building the plant, which will use the latest in treatment techniques to produce extremely clean water to be returned to the Saluda River.

Aug. 17 – Police Chief Richard Inman resigned at the request of Mayor Carthel Crout. According to Crout, Chief Inman’s resignation was sought because of items posted on his FaceBook page and other issues which he declined to comment on.

Former mayor Phillip Clardy had challenged Inman at a recent town council meeting because of things he had posted on FaceBook, but Inman defended himself by saying his page was personal and no one else’s


Police Captain Jay Grubbs was named the interim chief of the Williamston Police Department.

Anderson District One named Kristen Hearne as the Teacher of the Year for the 2011-2012 school year.

Taunja Pool, a fifth grade teacher at Summit Drive Elementary School, was the 2011-12 Greenville County Teacher of the Year.

The Greenville Water System announced plans to disassemble and remove two water tanks that have stood as landmarks in the Piedmont area for decades .The Transylvania Street tower was erected sometime between 1905 and 1937, and the Hotel Hill tank was built between 1937 and 1961.

The Pelzer Town Council heard several updates on various issues including the possibility of PARD funds for the construction of a new picnic structure at the Monkey Park and three trophy cases to be located in the old gym would be ready for display by the time of the town reunion. The Pelzer Heritage Commission is paying for the construction and installation of the cases.

Zachary Wayne Thompson, 29, the Pelzer man whose body was found just outside of Williamston after he went missing near the Saluda River likely died of an overdose of prescription drugs and alcohol, Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore said.

Aug. 24 – The Anderson School District One ACT score average for the 2011 year was a composite 22.2, 1.1 points above the national average and 2.1 points above the state average. The five year trend for Anderson One students indicates improvement in all areas with this past year reaching a new all time high.

Aug. 31 – Congressman Jeff Duncan dropped in on the local coffee club at the McDonald’s. The bunch is never short of opinions or advice, and Duncan heard plenty of both.

The Williamston Police Department was looking for a 23-year old Williamston mother who has been missing for nearly two weeks. The case was picked up briefly by national news media. Sheena Pierce was reported missing after her stepfather, Jerry Michael Allen, became concerned when his step daughter’s cell phone would not ring and went straight to voice mail.

According to Captain Jay Grubbs of the Williamston Police Department, Pierce was found safe a few days later. According to Cpt. Grubbs, “She stated that she needed a little time away.”

The 30th annual Spring Water Festival was the largest ever according to organizers, with lots of special activities to make it one to remember.

The 2011 festival came and went as fast as Hurricane Irene. Early last week, festival organizers and participants had concerns about the hurricane and the possible effects it might have on the annual festival, however, Irene skirted the Carolina coast before taking a turn to the East and heading up the East Coast.

The festival drew a large crowd over two days and featured entertainment by Angela Easterling and Earl Thomas Conley.

The West Pelzer Streetscape project is on schedule for completion in October. That came as good news for everyone, and even better news for businesses that have been dealing with the project which was delayed because of failed material tests.

Sept. 7 – Several events were planned in the area to commemorate the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and other targets in the United States by the Islamic extremists.

The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees recognized two schools, heard good educational reports on ACT scores and Read 180 program and reports of a smooth opening of the school year and new Powdersville High School.

The Board recognized Powdersville Middle Principal Todd Binnicker for his school being named one of eight outstanding “making middle grades work” school. The Palmetto High School AFJROTC was recognized by the board for being named the Distinguished Unit five years in a row at the Southeastern Region Summer Leadership School in Georgia.

Duke Energy and Palmetto Middle School announced that they are boosting their partnership in outdoor education with Duke Energy’s donation of 50 iPads to enhance the sixth grade science curriculum. The iPads will allow students to use technology more easily in outdoor classroom settings, specifically the nature trail at the Lee Steam Station in eastern Anderson County. 

Sept. 14 – A ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony was held to celebrate the opening of Anderson School District One’s newest school, Powdersville High School. The new school brings the total of schools in Anderson One to fourteen: one primary, seven elementary, three middle and three high schools.

The celebration featured key speaker, Senator Lindsey Graham, as well as participation by Superintendent Wayne Fowler and school board members, the Powdersville high school chorus and band.

Williamston Town Council approved second reading on a flood prevention ordinance, voted on the date of the 2012 Independence Day Celebration, appointed a first responder Chaplain, tabled voting on Brookdale Park restrooms and approved proceeding with the Phase 2 Street enhancement project during their meeting Monday.

Williamston Mayor Carthel Crout announced that he had named Jay Grubbs the town’s Chief of Police and introduced him.

The South Carolina Children’s Theater production of the Broadway-sized family musical Doctor Dolittle, held at the Peace Center Gunter Theater featured a Williamston family.

Charles Poore and his entire family including his wife and their three children were all in the cast of the musical based on the classic story.

The West Pelzer Town Council heard plans for the proposed Chapman Park project. The Town awarded the contract for garbage pickup to Kenneth Davis, who had the low bid at $17,460.

Sept. 21 – The Powdersville community officially dedicated their new school with students, teachers, dignitaries and contractors joining Anderson School District One officials for a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony for the new Powdersville High School.

The celebration featured key speaker, U. S. Senator Lindsey Graham, Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler and school board members Tom Merritt, David Merritt and Melissa Hood. Board member Nancy Upton sang the National Anthem.

Officials of the towns of Williamston, West Pelzer and Pelzer joined together to promote economic development opportunities in and around the three towns to prospective industries. The consortium plans to do the necessary groundwork of identifying sites and making sure infrastructure is available and then working with Anderson County Economic Development, County and State elected officials to make it happen.

The average Anderson County homeowner will see a savings on their homeowner’s insurance as a result of an ISO inspection and rating upgrade, from 5/9 to 4/9.

The Piedmont Public Service Commission learned the sewer project that will begin in December came in more than a $1.5 million under projections. The bid for the Anderson County part of the project, which will repair and replace the antiquated sewer system currently in use, came in at a bid of approximately $3.99 million, well under the projected cost of $5.1 million.

Sept. 28 – Bosch awarded a total of $25,000 to Anderson County Public Schools in an effort to further educate students about technologies that conserve natural resources in the local community.

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees heard a student nutritional report, approved delegates for an assembly in December and heard an update on the building program at Powdersville High during their meeting. Several personnel recommendations were also approved.

Oct. 5 – Williamston Town Council approved an updated version of the town’s ordinances, approved proceeding with the Brookdale Park restroom project and heard that the town’s finances are in good shape. The town’s fund balance increased approximately $100,000 from $1.514 million to $1.614 million.

Lamar Jack, an Anderson University basketball player, passed away. The 19-year old from Piedmont played baskeball at Woodmont High and was a redshirt freshman forward on the AU basketball team. He collapsed during routine pre-season workouts on the Anderson campus Friday morning and had been hospitalized since that time.

The death led to a new Anderson County ordinance banning designer drugs known as bath salts and synthetic majijuana.

West Pelzer Councilman Jimmy Jeanes announced that he intends to run as a write-in candidate for mayor of West Pelzer.

Oct. 12 – After more than two decades of service to the people of Williamston, the AnMed Pharmacy located at 310 E. Main Street announced they will be closing. The pharmacy opened as part of the Wellspring facility, a 27 bed hospital focusing on chemical dependency cases. In

2003, the pharmacy moved to its present location. Wellspring subsequently closed a few years later.

Oc.t 19 – A Piedmont business, Ashland Inc. donated $200, more than 800 pounds of food and a brand new refrigerator to the Piedmont Emergency Relief Center.

The issue of health insurance and its increasing cost was a major topic at the October meeting of the Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners.

The commission also heard that the number of rights of way signed for the area’s sewer project had probably peaked with ninety five of one hundred and five ROWs on the Greenville side, and seventy six of eighty three ROWS on the Anderson side.

Fire chiefs from the Upstate are preparing to welcome fire chiefs from all over the state to the Sixty Seventh Annual State Association of Fire Chiefs Conference held at the Anderson Civic Center. Piedmont Fire Chief and Association officer Tracy Wallace said that more than 150 fire chiefs are expected to attend.Tracy Wallace is the third vice president for the state association.

Two District One Schools received the National School of Distinction status from the Schools Fight Hunger program. Palmetto Middle School and Wren High School were among fewer than 2,000 schools nationwide that earned the distinction. The status is awarded to schools that demonstrate notable enthusiasm, creativity or dedication in getting involved with the hunger cause.

The Boys Home of the South annual golf tournament raised $91,618. Over the last ten years, the tournament raised over $700,000.

Oct. 26 – Students at Wren High and Palmetto High earned outstanding scores on the High School Exit Exam (HSAP). Anderson One students were second in the state for first attempt passing rate on both English Language Arts and Mathematics. They scored first in the state on first attempt in Math HSAP and fourth in the state on ELA.

Though the turnout for the second annual Pelzer Reunion was not quite as large as last year, organizers said they were well pleased with more than 1000 people enjoying a fun day of socializing and special activities.

Members of the Pelzer Heritage Commission organized special events that included presentation of new trophy case displays in the Pelzer gym, photo and historical displays, a performance by the Textile Heritage Band, presentation of the movie Mill Town Pride, tours of the school and adjacent church and a sock hop in the Pelzer Community Building.

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees approved the IDEA Budget, a home schooling application and three personnel changes during their regular monthly meeting.

The Wren Girls Golf Team won the 4A state championship. Maegan Higgins won the individual State AAAA Golf Championship and led the way for the Wren golf team to win the State 4A title playing on their home course at Brookstone Meadows Golf Club.

Higgins and teammates Kaitlin Matheson, Cayla Smith, Morgan Kallio and Makalyn Poole won the title with a state record score of 597, defeating seven-time defending champion Lexington, which finished with a score of 630.

Nov. 2 – Organizers of Williamston’s Boo in the Park said that the event continues to grow. Estimates were more than 4000 people enjoyed activities offered during the event by area businesses, churches and the Town of Williamston.

The Pelzer Heritage Commission asked the community to help with clean up of two cemeteries which were in disrepair.

Kathleen Owen Powell, who served as the first female town clerk and treasurer for the Town of Williamston from 1939 to 1945, presented a historic pistol to the town during a special called meeting of Town Council. Powell presented the boxed pistol and a plaque with information about it to the mayor and council.

The Erskine Athletic Department inducted Eric Moody into the Flying Fleet Hall of Fame at Erskine College. Moody, a Palmetto High School baseball standout went on the play at Erskine and then the major leagues with the Texas Rangers. He is The Flying Fleet’s first Major League baseball player since 1970.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) is investigating an incident in which approximately 40 gallons of oil were poured onto Law Street in Pelzer. The oil was mainly on the road and little had run into the grass. There was no threat to public safety, officials said.

West Pelzer voters returned incumbent mayor Peggy Paxton to serve as the town’s mayor for another term . Two new faces, Robert Alexander and Blake Sanders were elected to serve on the town council.

Nov. 9 – Williamston Town Council approved second reading on the town’s new code of ordinances, heard plans for parking lot improvements at the rear of the municipal center, accepted ownership of a piece of property that could have historic value and filled two vacancies on the town’s planning commission. The new code ordinance book is a complete catalog of the town’s ordinances which were recently updated and codified.

Former football standout Derek Watson is facing more drug charges for an incident in March in which he allegedly sold marijuana to an undercover agent working at the Creekside Apartments in Piedmont. The alleged drug deal occurred just 15 days after he had been arrested on drug charges in Greenville County.

August 11, Watson pleaded guilty to the Greenville County charges on August 11 and received a 15-year suspended sentence and three years’ probation. He was arrested again August 27 in Greenville and was charged with possession of marijuana and interfering with officers serving a warrant.

The 2011 district annual report card data released by the South Carolina Department of Education reports Anderson School District One as an excellent school district. District One received an absolute rating of excellent on the report card for the second year in a row, continuing efforts to make academic progress for all students and meet state standards.

At the school level, ten Anderson One schools (six elementary, two middle and two high) earned an excellent Absolute report card rating. Of those ten schools, eight earned excellent Absolute ratings and excellent Growth ratings. Three schools earned Absolute ratings of good.

Nov. 16 – West Pelzer Town Council heard an update on the Chapman Park project, discussed leaf and limb pickup and burning, clean up of property on Drake St. and purchasing bulbs for Christmas lights. Council also approved a new procedure for requesting information.

Michael Allen, of Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood firm which is designing the Chapman Park project said that drawings were finished and the project was ready to bid.

Anderson County Deputies and the FBI served warrants and arrested a Williamston man, Jerry Bogan, of 106 Hillcrest Dr., in connection with the armed robbery of an armored truck in North Carolina.

The South Carolina Staffing Association honored Senator Billy O’Dell as the 2011 Legislator of the Year for his work to obtain $146M in appropriations for state unemployment tax (SUTA) relief.

The Piedmont Public Service Commission moved their monthly meeting up a week in order to review and sign legal documents that will allow the Metropolitan Sewer Subdistrict to assume ownership of and responsibility for the district’s sewer lines. The project to install new lines is underway and is expected to be completed in 2013.

Following some contentious demands for information by some council members, and the publication of information that is considered to be private on a public forum website, West Pelzer Town Clerkrequested a change in the policy by which the Town provides information, even to members of the Town Council.

Following a burglary and chase which began in Anderson County, Zachary Scott Whitfield, 25, of Greenville, was shot by Greenville County Sheriff’s deputies after a two hour standoff in the Berea area Tuesday. The incident began with a burglary call in Powdersville which resulted in a chase that ended in Berea.

Nov. 23 – Pelzer Town Council was in the process of acquiring property rights of way for sewer upgrades and looking into the possibility of adding a “Miracle Field” to the town’s recreation program. The Pelzer Council heard an update on the sewer project, decided to pursue grants for a miracle athletic field and set dates for holiday meals.

Town officials are looking into the possiblility of constructing a miracle athletic field which is specially designed for handicapped children.

Anderson County Sheriff’s Investigators investigated the theft of part of an air-condition

unit at Powdersville High School. The part was estimated to be valued over $8,361.

The Town of Williamston, the Greater Williamston Business Association, the Springwater Committee and local businesses continued to invest in new holiday decorations for the town and park for the 2011 holiday season. Several new displays were purchased by the Springwater Committee including a five part train display, four deer, a big snowman and a 12 ft. Christmas tree with two toys.

Nov. 30 – Christian Men United in Prayer, a prayer group of 40 to 50 men that meets weekly at a local restaurant, were in Mineral Spring Park cooking enough turkeys to provide a Thanksgiving meal for more than 160 families. The group planned to deep fry approximately 160 turkey breasts.

Two Palmetto High seniors took big steps toward breaking into the music industry. Dajquan Pruitt, 17 and Mike Valentine, 18, both of Williamston have affiliated with another local entrepreneur, Step Skylatics and artist Dustin Wright to come up with a catchy song that has become a popular anthem and internet sensation.

Wren High Principal Robbie Binnicker was named the 2012 South Carolina High School Principal of the Year by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators.

The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees received an “unqualified opinion” on their audit, elected board officers and recognized the Wren State Championship ladies golf team and coach Bobby Tripp. They also recognized Wren Prinicpal Robbie Binnicker for being named the state “Principal of the Year.” Board member Fred Alexander was elected Board Chairman, a position he has held for many years; Nancy Upton was elected Vice-Chair; and Tom Merritt as Secretary.

Alexandra Reagan Foster, a spphomore at Wren High School, won the title of Miss Wrenicycle 2011. Along with winning the title, she won Casual Wear, Photogenic, Evening Gown, and Overall Interview.

Dec. 7 – Town of Williamston officials heard a presentation on a camera network that could provide security cameras and free Wi-Fi for the Mineral Spring Park area. They also decided to rebid the Brookdale Restroom project.

The seven Greenville County Sheriffs Deputies involved in the standoff and shooting of Zachary Whitfield on November 16, were cleared. The investigation determined that seven deputies fired 42 rounds at Whitfield after he first fired multiple rounds at them.

Dec. 14 – The West Pelzer Town Council voted to recommend the low bid for the construction of the proposed Chapman Park. That bid, submitted by Zorn Construction Company was for $174,777. The original estimate of the costs for the project was $322,000.

Anderson County Sheriff’s investigators charged six people in connection with a theft ring that stole at least nine vehicles from the Piedmont and Powdersville area in recent weeks.

Pelzer Town Council heard plans for an event to be called the Miracle Field Mud Run Challenge which organizers hope to hold in May of 2012. Proceeds from the event will go toward funding for a Miracle Field which town officials hope to locate in the area.

The Santa Express made five stops in the area where Santa was greeted with larger crowds than any of the previous five years. The annual holiday event is sponsored by The Greenville & Western Railway Company, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Carolina Railway Service Corporation.

Dec. 21 – Metropolitan Sewer Subdistrict (Metro) and Piedmont Public Service District (PPSD) announced that $7.9 million in funding necessary to begin full-scale rehabilitation of the Piedmont Sewer System had been secured.

A complaint filed last year by Williamston resident Tim Williams resulted in an investigation into the condition of a sidewalk in Williamston and the town being required to provide a list of planned improvements for streets and sidewalks to the Federal Highway Administration in response to the complaint.

The Journal announced plans to launch a new redesigned web site in January 2012. The new website will feature a blog style format, with facebook and twitter access directly from the site. Readers will be able to comment on postings which will include current news stories and pictures.

The area celebrated Christmas and readied for the new year. Welcome 2012!

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