By Stan Welch
The year began with continuing concerns about the Anderson Regional Landfill. Approximately thirty five citizens of the Cheddar area, and one from nowhere nearby, gathered at the Cheddar Fire Department Tuesday night to reiterate their long lived complaints about the Anderson Regional Landfill (ARL).
District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson and District Three Councilman Ray Graham fielded complaints and concerns, while Wilson also gave a brief update on the Lee Steam Plant coal ash project and the status of the Kinder Morgan fuel spill.
The question of zoning for the Powdersville area was a hot issue. The specter of several large housing developments panicked many residents who appeared at several meetings to express their opposition. As a result, zoning was proposed as a form of control; a proposal that met vehement objections from many residents. Still, a petition to place zoning on a referendum was organized and circulated.
Philip E. Williams, of Williamston, pled guilty in federal court in Greenville to mail fraud. United States District Judge Bruce H. Hendricks, of Charleston, accepted the plea and will impose sentence after reviewing the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office. Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that prior to his disbarment, Williams was an attorney practicing in the upstate of South Carolina. A large part of his practice was the probate of estates. Records indicate that he used money in his trust account to pay for living and personal expenses rather than to pay devisees and others for estates that he was handling. United States Attorney Beth Drake stated that the maximum penalty Williams could receive is a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment for 20 years, supervised release of up to life, plus a special assessment of $100.
The effort to put the issue of zoning in Powdersville on a pair of referendums in May failed when the two petitions came up less than fifteen signatures each short of being certified. Michael Forman, in his last week as Anderson County’s planning director, was informed by the elections commission office that the two petitions, one from the Powdersville precinct, and one from the Concrete precinct, both failed to produce the required number of certified signatures.
The organizers of the petition drive were eventually successful in obtaining enough qualified signatures to place the issue on a referendum later in the year.
Chairperson Cindy Wilson led the Planning and Public Works Committee on a long, persistent, and ultimately fruitless search for a way to add some teeth to the county’s authority to enforce a more vigorous building code. The culprit in question was Omega Farms, a development being built on Long Road. According to Wilson, there are numerous issues with the development, with a main one being drainage problems.
Wilson was further frustrated by the fact that the county essentially follows the state building codes, which Wilson considers inadequate.
Greenville County School Resource Officers arrested 19 year-old, ZaQuel Shumaud Lewis, a student at Carolina High School, after locating a loaded handgun in his backpack. Lewis also had marijuana and was subsequently charged with several violations.
Preparations continued for the replacement of a Quick Response Vehicle (QRV) currently serving the Three & Twenty Fire Station with an ambulance. The change is slated to be accomplished by March 1.
The Pelzer EMS, which already serves adjacent areas in the northern end of the county, offered to provide the more complete service possible with an ambulance, and the County Council quickly accepted the offer. A QRV, while essentially equipped the same as an ambulance, is manned by only one paramedic and is unsuited for patient transport.
Later in the month, the Council approved an offer from the Pelzer Rescue Squad to provide and operate the ambulance.
Anderson County Council discussed joining other Upstate counties in bringing a lawsuit against major pharmaceutical companies for their role in the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the country and the state. Greenville and Spartanburg counties approved legal action against the companies and Anderson is expected to follow suit once the council members have studied the proposal more closely.
The statistics supporting the decision are shocking. Anderson County had twenty deaths due to opioid overdoses in 2016. Another 265 potential overdoses were prevented by the administration of doses of NARCAM, a drug developed for just such a use.
After a week long hearing, Judge Edgar Long granted the State’s Motion to have Townville Elementary shooting defendant Jesse Osborne waived up as an adult to the Court of General Sessions. Tenth Judicial Circuit Solicitor David R. Wagner said he is facing a minimum sentence of 30 years and a maximum life sentence for his murder and attempted murder charges.
A 27 year old nurse from Piedmont was killed in an accident on Interstate 85 in Spartanburg County. According to the SC Highway Patrol, Talon Kade Gambrell, 27, of Piedmont was fatally injured when the Jeep he was driving ran off the right side of the roadway and hit a sign before striking a tree. Gambrell was a nurse at Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital, according to the Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office.
Ashford James “AJ” Simmons, 29, of Gray Court, and Brittany Nicole Smith, 24, of Piedmont, were sentenced for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors. Simmons was also sentenced for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. According to United States Attorney Beth Drake, District Judge Timothy M. Cain, of Anderson, sentenced Simmons to 210 months imprisonment, followed by a life term of supervised release, and sentenced Smith to 57 months imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised release. The defendants were also required to pay $14,480 each in restitution to the victims.
TechTronic Industries (TTI), global leader in the production of power tools, cut the ribbon to open a new twenty five thousand square foot facility at their site near Highway 81 and I-85. The state of the art additional facility will focus on research and development in the area of outdoor lawn care equipment, including string trimmers, chainsaws, leaf blowers, pressure washers and generators. The facility will also be able to test the various products for compliance with emission standards.
Anderson County Council approved the purchase of two boats for the Sheriff’s Office. One will replace the craft that was involved in the drowning death of a deputy last year, while the other will be a smaller craft that will be more versatile. The smaller craft will be used on Broadway Lake as well as on the Saluda River during certain events.
Michael Crawford, 23 of Piedmont was charged with attempted murder in connection with a shooting that occurred at 35 Jackson Road, Piedmont, on October 21, 2017.
A 15 year-old student at Woodmont High School was arrested for making specific threats against specific students, staff and more general threats against the school. According to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, School Resource Officers with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office arrested the student at approximately 11:30 a.m. after receiving information about the threats from the school administration. Officers initiated an investigation and to arrested the student at the school. The student was charged with Disturbing Schools and Threatening the Use of a Destructive or Incendiary Device and was transported to the Greenville County Juvenile Detention Center. Resource Officers did not locate any weapon or incendiary devices on the student or at the school.
Anderson County’s focus on economic development in recent years resulted in record breaking employment statistics this year.
In March, the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS)report showed that an additional 588 jobs had been created, bringing the county’s number of people employed to a record high of 86,988. That number reflects an increase of 1,012 since the same month last year. The county, which in 2010 had double digit unemployment, now has an unemployment rate of 3.8 per cent.
The county’s work force also reached a new record high of 90,441, surpassing a record of 90,333 set in June of 2017.
The Pelzer Heritage Commission was one of seven communities in South Carolina that were selected for US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields environmental Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup grants.
The Pelzer Heritage Commission (PHC) grant is for $200,000 will be used to clean up the former Upper Pelzer Mill located at the intersection of Smythe and Stevenson Streets. Grant funds will also be used to develop a community involvement plan and support community outreach activities.
Five fire departments fought a house fire on Smith Street in Pelzer early Sunday morning. West Pelzer, Wren, Cheddar, Powdersville, and South Greenville fire departments responded to the fire. Pelzer EMS stood by as firefighters fought the blaze. The house was a total loss.
A lawsuit against Kinder Morgan concerning a 2014 fuel spill near the Belton tank farm facility was revived when the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a ruling by a District Court judge last year.
Senior District Court Judge Henry Herlong’s decision to dismiss a suit filed by two environmental organizations last year was reversed by a 2-1 vote of the three judge Court of Appeals. The suit, filed by Upstate Forever and the Savannah Riverkeeper charged that Kinder Morgan was responsible for the spill of approximately 370,000 gallons of fuel into two creeks in the Belton area, fuel which they claim eventually reached Broadway Lake, Lake Secession, Lake Russell and eventually the Savannah River.
The leak, which resulted from a failed patch on the underground pipeline, went undiscovered until the fuel became visible above ground, where it was discovered by local residents.
United States Attorney Beth Drake announced that a Federal Grand Jury in Greenville indicted a Pelzer man on Federal Gun and Drug Charges. Ronnie Beauford Eugene Gilmer, Jr., age 53, of Pelzer was charged in a six-count indictment with possession of firearms and ammunition by a prohibited person previously convicted of a felony and a criminal domestic violence crime; possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime; and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine. The maximum penalty Gilmer could face is a fine of $1,000,000.00 and/or life imprisonment.
County, state and local officials gathered for the ribbon cutting and opening of the Senator Billy O’Dell Community Center in West Pelzer. Following the relocation of the town hall to its current Main Street location, the old town hall was renovated and rededicated in Senator O’Dell’s name. Senator Mike Gambrell, Rep. Anne Thayer, county administrator Rusty Burns and Mayor Blake Sanders all shared memories of the Senator.
County and local officials from both Anderson and Greenville counties, including Councilman Ken Waters and Lynn Ballard, respectively, gathered to discuss future actions to be taken to further the development of the downtown Piedmont area. Those plans include using the dam and the attached footbridge as a centerpiece, and securing a launch a launch and recovery site for non-motorized watercraft.
An armed robbery occurred at The First Community Bank located at 11000 Anderson Rd in Powdersville. According to reports, a male subject, dressed in all black clothing and with his face covered, entered the bank. The suspect was armed with a handgun and demanded money. He then left on foot with an undisclosed amount of US currency.
Wren resident and businessman Jimmy Davis announced his candidacy for the District Six County Council seat currently held by Ken Waters.
A developer who was denied approval by the Anderson County Planning Commission for several multi-family residential projects last year has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Anderson County and anyone and everyone associated with the decisions, as well as a number of individuals not related to the county or its administration.
A number of the defendants are sued both as county officials and as individuals.
The lawsuit is largely the result of actions taken by the Anderson County planning commission at their June, July, August and September meetings in 2017.
Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a standoff in Piedmont in which a man barricaded himself inside a house on Prospect Street. Deputies used a loudspeaker to try to get the suspect out. After more than two hours deputies fired tear gas into the home. Sheriff Chad McBride says the suspect, Daniel Bennett, then came out and was taken into custody. Bennett was taken to the Anderson County Detention Center on charges including Armed Robbery, Receiving Stolen Goods, Breaking into Auto/Tanks Where Fuel Stored and Failure to Stop for Blue Light.
The Anderson County Council gave approval to an economic incentive package to a company known as Southern Current, LLC, which will establish five to seven separate solar farm sites in the northern end of the county.
The sites will comprise a total of 128 acres of solar power generation capacity, and will potentially provide 13.4 megawatts of power; enough power to power approximately twenty three hundred homes. Four of the properties are located in County Council District 6, while one is in District Seven. The tracts of land currently generate a paltry $260.52 in tax income. Once the solar equipment is installed, the tax revenue from that equipment, as well as from the land itself, will total $77,600.
ACSO deputies participated in an automobile chase started on Jasper Drive outside of Belton when deputies responded to a reported domestic call. A man there got into a van and sped away reportedly striking a deputy with the van. A chase began that went through downtown Belton before ending on Old Tabernacle Road in the Cheddar community. The driver fled on foot but was captured shortly afterwards by deputies. He was arrested on multiple charges.
Approximately fifty property owners who thought they resided in Anderson County received a letter from the Pickens County attorney Ken Roper, informaing them that due to technological improvements in the location of the Anderson County/Pickens County line, the owners in question now live in Pickens county and will be taxed accordingly beginning with the September tax bills.
While the location of the county line is established by state law, the locations of the parcels of land involved has been recently clarified by the GIS department of the county. The fifty parcels noted were found to exist predominantly inside Pickens County rather than Anderson. Some rest solely in Pickens County.
An Anderson County deputy attempted to stop a vehicle for an alleged traffic violation but the driver sped away. As the deputy came around a curve on McNeely Road he saw the car had struck several trees and pieces of the car scattered along the roadway. The driver, Damian Austin Bailey, 21 and his passenger Lyndsie Terressa Wright, 28, both of Greenville, died.
The Anderson County Council addressed several items of business, ranging from establishing a franchise fee for non-emergent ambulance service to giving first approval to a large scale solar power project.
Public Safety committee chairman Ray Graham informed the council that his committee recommended that the franchise fee for non-emergent care providers be set at five hundred dollars. Other aspects of the ordinance include requirements, standards of operation and other administrative details.
The Council also gave first reading approval to a fee in lieu of taxes (FILOT) agreement with a company, currently known as Project Avocado, which will establish a significant solar power production facility on six different tracts. The power generated will be sold to Duke Energy.
Two referendum items were approved for inclusion on the general election ballot in November. One would impose a two per cent hospitality, and the other would allow Sunday liquor sales in Anderson county.
The Powdersville Water Authority implemented a schedule for those with irrigation systems on their property. Due to the demands of such systems during the breakfast hours of the day, the levels of the storage tanks have become difficult to maintain.
Wren resident Jimmy Davis defeated incumbent Ken Waters for the District Six County Council seat in the Republican primary. He faced no opposition in the general election.
The issue of a possible four mill tax increase to support the 31 volunteer fire departments in the county was raised once again. The fire commission, which has functioned on a six mill levy for many years is seeking a four mill increase.
Anderson County authorized a study of infrastructure needs in the Powdersville area. The crux of the need centers around water and sewer lines, with an emphasis on sewer. The possibility of the construction of lines ranging from to 18 inches in diameter to serve as trunk lines would carry a potential price tag of thirty million dollars over the projected 20 year build out schedule. The study is preliminary.
The towns of Pelzer and West Pelzer continued an on again/ off again approach to the joint public works agreement between them. Both Mayors Blake Sanders and Roger Scott exchanged e-mails that appeared to reestablish the agreement. But Pelzer officials made it clear that they do not like the agreement which calls for their town to foot 55 per cent of the operational costs of the systems.
In a highly unusual proceeding, the Pelzer Town Council met with representatives of the Goldie & Associates engineering firm, as well as a developer who is involved in a major project along the town’s riverfront, and voted to hire Goldie & Associates ( G&A) to operate the town’s water and sewer systems for a four month period, at a cost of $8600 per month.
At the end of the four month period, it is expected that the agreement will be extended at a renegotiated fee.
The decision appears to have been pre-ordained, as evidenced by a brief letter from G&A to Pelzer Mayor Roger Scott dated the day before the meeting, which expressed the firm’s “understanding Goldie & Associates will become the water distribution and sewer collection operator starting June 1 at midnight.”
The move came just a week or so after the town council had voted to reinstate the mutual operations agreement with West Pelzer for the public works operations of both towns.
Anderson County Year in Review . . . Part 2
August – December, 2018
By Stan Welch
The following new items were covered in The Journal during the second half of the year:
Anderson County Roads and Bridges Department prepared to close a portion of Shiloh Church Road near Highway 17 in the Wren community on to replace the west bridge near Shiloh Creek Subdivision. The road will be closed for eight or nine months.
District Seven Representative Cindy Wilson allocated varying sums of money from her paving fund to the municipalities in her district.
Mayor Roger Scott told The Journal that Pelzer has no specific plans yet for the seventeen thousand dollars they will receive. “ I’m sure we can find something to do with it. We certainly appreciate it,” said Scott.
West Pelzer received twenty five thousand dollars. Mayor Blake Sanders said that the typical use of such funds is as a match for C fund projects. Williamston received fifty two thousand dollars, for which Mayor Mack Durham was effusively grateful.
The only fly in the ointment was the timing of the allocations. They came after the window for the towns to apply for ACTC funds. None of the three towns applied for any projects since the funds weren’t available to be used as matching funds.
The effects of a dispute over ownership of several business locations in West Pelzer, and the actions to be taken by the town council as a result, were the subject of an executive session held by the West Pelzer Town Council . The executive session was the sole item on the agenda of the special called meeting. The dispute, which has been ongoing for several months, is between the owner of two locations, 22 Main Street and 20 Main Street, (the sites of a beauty salon and ice cream shop, respectively) and the lessor (owner) of 18 Main Street (the Mill Place Café).
The dispute has been heard in summary court, and will be taken to the court of common pleas next, according to one of the parties, Mr. Preston Shipman.
Following a public hearing that lasted almost twice as long as it was scheduled for, Pelzer Town Council voted to adopt a block of Anderson County ordinances governing such matters as manufactured homes and parks; litter; junkyards and open storage; and weeds and rank vegetation. The various ordinances all fall under the category of the county’s building codes and regulations, including unfit dwellings.
Pelzer’s efforts to utilize county resources to enforce a group of county ordinances within the town limits gained traction, according to Anderson County Attorney Leon Harmon.
Negotiations with the town’s attorney, Jimmy King, were underway, said Harmon. Chief Magistrate Linda Dudley Graham was also involved in discussions, and Harmon indicated that she is in accord with the use of the magistrate’s court. That concession would allow Pelzer to postpone, or possibly avoid, the expense of establishing a municipal court of its own.
The council had been studying the question of enacting ordinances governing such issues as weed control, littering, building codes, unfit dwellings, manufactured homes and parks, and junkyards and open storage. The absence of a municipal court, and the inability to fund one, left the council with few options; with the main one being to adopt county ordinances verbatim and let the county enforce them.
The major changes in the makeup of the Pelzer town council at the last election has since resulted in a dissolution of a cooperative arrangement between the town and West Pelzer. The merging of the two towns’ administrative and public works departments lasted just a few months before the Pelzer town council voted to terminate the agreement.
After the termination, Pelzer employed a town clerk and a maintenance man, as well as hiring Goldie & Sons to operate the town’s water and sewer systems. But more than a year before the cooperative agreement was dissolved, the towns had been on the verge of officially consolidating the two towns into one.
In a brief e-mail from West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders to then Pelzer Mayor Steve McGregor dated February 14, 2017, Sanders mentions the 55/45 ratio of shared costs under the cooperative agreement.
By May 11, Sanders had produced an ambitious timetable for consolidation that he sent to McGregor for review and comment. Then came the elections, with moderates Will Ragland and Kimberly Wilson being defeated, and McGregor not running. The balance of power swung completely to newly elected Mayor Roger Scott and his conservative majority. Soon, momentum was building to dissolve the lines of communication and cooperation between the towns.
County, state and federal authorities continued a search for a wanted Virginia man who was sighted in the Wren area of Anderson County.
Daniel Earl Webb, wanted by the U.S. Marshals on several drug and weapons charges, was reported to be in the area. ACSO deputies assisted the U.S. Marshals in the search, but Webb was not located. The ACSO released a brief statement noting that they are continuing to assist the federal authorities, and that there is a considerable law enforcement presence in the area.
Another focus meeting concerning the Piedmont Dam and footbridge was held. A variety of interested parties attended, including Greenville Councilman Lynn Ballard, ENEL representative Beth Harris, Ty Houck and Matt Schell of the Greenville and Anderson county recreation departments, respectively, Richard Greer of State Investors, and Larry Webb of KDS Properties. Also on hand representing the Piedmont Special District were PFD Chief Tracy Wallace and Craig Lawless.
The key items of discussion continue to center around ownership of the footbridge on top of the dam, as well as the placement of the proposed kayak launch. Harris reported that ENEL is running a survey to analyze the dam’s stability and to determine whether it is a public safety hazard.
Cheddar firefighters assisted Medshore Ambulance Service with patient care at the scene of a serious accident. A vehicle rear ended another at the intersection of Highway 77 and Belton Highway. Six people were transported to the hospital. Belton and Pelzer EMS also assisted.
DHEC officials, meeting with two County Council members and representatives of the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to a full cleanup of the fuel spill that contaminated at least two streams in the area of the Belton tank farm in the Cheddar community.
County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson expressed ongoing concerns she has about the cleanup of more than three hundred fifty thousand gallons of petroleum products spilled from a leaking weld in the Plantation pipeline in 2014.
Brandon Nathan Tyson, 17, who had recently withdrawn from Wren High School, died after sustaining two gun shot wounds from the homeowner of the residence at 210 Merritt Drive in the Wren area.
The incident report stated that the deputy found a male with a serious laceration to the left side of his face, and a subject on the garage floor with a gun shot wound to the head. Mark Chastain, the homeowner of the residence, was transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital and admitted to the ICU. Tyson, was also transported to GMH where he was declared dead. The Anderson County Council gave third reading to several ordinances including one providing economic incentives to a project designed to redevelop a somewhat blighted stretch of Main Street across from the town hall and police station. In addition, the Council approved the issuance and sale of $28.7 million dollars worth of special source revenue bonds to finance the expansion of the county sewer system.
The question of whether to file charges against the Wren area homeowner who shot and killed seventeen year old Brandon Nathan Tyson earlier in the month remained unanswered. Tenth Circuit Solicitor David Wagner said he is awaiting test results from the SLED lab, including toxicology results before making a decision.
The county made preparations, as did the entire Upstate for the impact od Hurricane Florence. Ball games were moved up to beat the storm; patients from hospitals on the coast were received at area hospitals; dozens of animals from shelters in the lowlands were transported and housed at the PAWS animal shelter.
But in the end, the impacts were not serious, freeing up a number of different emergency personnel to be deployed to the coast and other regions hammered by the powerful storm.
Anderson County Deputies arrested a Myrtle Beach man in connection with five armed robberies in Anderson County including the Williamston and Powdersville areas.
Anderson County Deputies completed a vehicle stop on Martin Luther King Blvd. in Anderson.
Deputies identified the driver of the vehicle as Jessie Edwin Holt. Upon further investigation, deputies learned that Holt was the suspect in multiple armed robberies in Anderson County.
Piedmont firefighters worked to extricate the driver of a sport utility vehicle following a collision in which one person was fatally injured.
John Edward Wood, 75, of Piedmont, was fatally injured in the accident on Highway 20 at the intersection of Oak Hill Drive near Piedmont.
Wesley Dallas Ayers, 27, of Anderson, pled guilty in federal court to several federal charges related to the construction and use of explosive devices. Ayers admitted that he constructed, and then placed, three explosive devices in various parts of Anderson County between January 24, 2018, and February 24, 2018. A device placed by Ayers on January 30, 2018, at the intersection of Travis and Martin Roads, in Anderson County, detonated and injured one individual. Two other devices, were intercepted and rendered safe by law enforcement.
West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders was one of seven South Carolina mayors to be awarded the Joseph Riley Fellowship, a product of the national Mayor’s Institute on City Design. The program, the only one in the country, is intended to encourage planning and focused development in towns and cities. Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley, Jr. founded the program.
Construction began on one of five solar farms to be located in the county. The site is on Highway 8, between the New Hope ballfields and Highway 29.
The majority of the proposed sites are in northern Anderson County, including the Piedmont area.
The facilities will capture and convert solar power to electricity, and feed it into the transmission system of the utility accepting and purchasing the energy.
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office had warrants for the arrest of Todd Hampton Wingard in connection with the shooting death of Brady Michael Blymiller in Pelzer last Friday. Hampton, a 31 year old white male, was being sought on charges of murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
The first case of West Nile Virus in a horse was confirmed in Anderson County. The horse was housed near the intersection of Johnson Rd. and Highway 8 in Pelzer.
The Emergency Management Division in coordination with Gregory Pest Solutions, the County’s pest control contractor, subsequently sprayed the affected area within a one-mile radius of where the horse is housed.
Richard Greer, representative of State Investors development corporation presented his company’s plan for the development of the area along the river in the downtown to the Piedmont Public Service Commission Monday night.
The project will include from fifty to sixty townhouses contained in six different buildings. In addition, what Greer calls “a huge amount of public space” will also be available.
A team of amateur South Carolina golfers won the inaugural Watson Cup competition, played at Kiawah Island. One member of that eight man team, which defeated their Scottish visitors, was Logan Hawkins, a sixteen year old golfer from Palmetto High School.
Three new cases of West Nile Virus were confirmed in dead birds found in Northern Anderson County. The birds were located near the intersections of A.M. Ellison Rd. and Hwy. 81 N. Anderson; Chestnut Springs and Mountain View Rd., Williamston and Hwy. 86 and Hwy. 81 N. Easley.
A new case of West Nile Virus was confirmed in a bird near the intersection of Stringer Rd. and Old Williamston Rd. in Belton. The Emergency Management Division in coordination with Gregory Pest Solutions, sprayed the affected area within a one-mile radius of where the dead bird was found.
Anderson County deputies investigated the scene of a stabbing on River Street near Smythe Street. The victim was rushed to Greenville Memorial Hospital by Pelzer EMS where he later died. The Anderson County Coroner’s Office identified the man killed as William Robert Prather, 39, of River Street in Pelzer.
Wesley Dallas Ayers, 27, of Anderson, pled guilty in federal court to using, attempting to use and threatening to use weapons of mass destruction; possession and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime; and use of an explosive devise during the commission of a felony. Ayers admitted that he construct, and then placed three explosive devices in various parts of Anderson County between January 24 and Feb. 24, 2018.
Former Williamston attorney Philip E. Williams was sentenced after he pled guilty in US District Court to one count of mail fraud in violation of 18U.S.C.1341. Counts two and three were dismissed by a motion of the United States.
Williams was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay restitution of $343,042.42. He will also be placed on one year home confinement with electronic GPS monitoring, which he will pay for. Williams will be allowed to leave his residence to attend work, church or to meet with his attorney.
Demecca Denise Austin, 31, Holden Ct. Piedmont was fatally injured in an accident in Spartanburg. Emergency responders and law enforcement were called to the intersection of Warren H Abernathy Blvd. and Nazareth Church Road where Austin was pronounced dead at 3:03 am. The incident remains under investigation by the coroner’s office and the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
One person was flown to Greenville Memorial Hospital Thanksgiving night after being stabbed in the head at a residence on Longview Drive near Williamston. The suspect fled on foot and a massive manhunt began in and around the south western area of Williamston. The suspect was found off Harper Street where he had taken his own life. Williamston firefighters along with Cheddar and West Pelzer established a landing zone off Academy Street where the patient was flown to the hospital by LifeFlight.
Plans are underway to install a water line from Youth Center Road to Sherrard Road at Highway 20. When completed, the line will provide improved firefighting ability in the area around the fuel tank farm. The Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) reviewed Anderson County’s original proposal, submitted in August, to install the line in two separate phases, spread across two grant funding cycles, and determined that the project should be done in one fell swoop.
In support of their viewpoint, RIA provided five hundred thousand dollars, the maximum amount available in a single grant cycle. The total cost of the project is estimated at $1.1 million, with the county providing a twenty five per cent match.
December got off to a violent start, with several shootings, at least one of which was fatal.
George Ernest Morgan, 60, of Pelzer, was charged with attempted murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, and resisting or assaulting a police officer after Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched for a welfare check to a residence on Lebby Street. Upon arrival, the responding deputy made contact with Morgan who presented a firearm and exchanged gunfire with the deputy.
During the exchange, Morgan sustained non-life threatening injuries and was transported by ambulance to Greenville Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released.
A forty nine year old Piedmont woman was killed in Easley after she was shot in a convenience store where she worked. Stacey Regina Branham exchanged gunfire with two armed suspects who were wearing hoodies and disguises over their faces. It happened at B-Pam’s store in the city of Easley. The two left in a Subaru Forrester after the shooting.
Anderson County deputies and Pelzer EMS responded to a shooting on Quail Lane, off Joe Black Road in Pelzer and a wounded individual made his way to a nearby home where he was found in the yard. He was taken to an area hospital and the investigation is continuing.
Tim Fadul, district manager for Waste Connections, requested that discussions begin between the company and the county concerning a lateral expansion of the landfill, with an attendant increase in the tonnage cap. Fadul supported his request by citing an increase in the amount of solid waste received at ARL from 236,757 tons when Waste Connections assumed operations to 426,630 tons last year. The latest amount is essentially the permitted capacity for all practical purposes.
Greenville County deputies investigated an armed robbery at the Stop A Minit Friday night at the intersection of Highways 20 and 86 in Piedmont. Two armed men entered the store and fired at least one shot. The duo made off with an undisclosed amount of money. One of the suspects was wearing a “Scream” mask.
Anderson County Council members and couple of organizations showered departing Councilmen Tom Allen (D4) and Ken Waters (D6) with affection and gifts during their last meeting of the year.
Both men are Veterans, of both the armed forces and the Council. Their military service, Waters was actually deployed when he ran for council the first item, was the reason for the recognition by the Quilts of Valor Foundation. The Foundation creates hand made quilts and presents them to veterans in gratitude and recognition.