Looking Back 2021 . . . Part 2 – July – Dec.

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These are highlights from the second half of 2021 as reported in The Journal:

JULY, 2021
July 1 – The Anderson School District One Board amended the 2021-22 budget by approximately $3 million, approved construction of a new Technology and Transportation building at Spearman, heard an update on the building program and approved an impact fee study. Superintendent Robbie Binnicker said the budget increase basically reflects COVID related expenses and supplies and salary step increases approved by the State.
Anderson School District One is considering an Impact Fee to help pay for growth related infrastructure needs. District One is seeing tremendous growth with 18 subdivisions planned in the area. There is a mega construction project located near I-85 and Hwy. 81 that could have up to 2,200 lots that will bring an estimated 3,300 new kids into District One schools.
Williamston will regain three hundred thousand gallons of sewer capacity from the county; a development that will immediately ease the pressure on the town’s wastewater treatment plant.
The Fourth of July weekend promises a number of activities to celebrate Independence Day including a Freedom Celebration in Williamston, a Freedom Parade in West Pelzer and Pelzer and West Pelzer has “a surprise”.
July 7 – State Representatives West Cox and Anne Thayer shared news that the House and Senate had voted to override Governor McMaster’s veto of several line items in the 2021-2022 budget. One of the items restored will provide $350,000 for further development of the Dolly Cooper Park, while the other will allocate $220,000 to enable the Mill Town Players community theater to upgrade their lighting system.
SC Legislators approved legislation making a Second Amendment sanctuary state, a status that negates any federal attempts at abridgement of the right to bear arms, as a major step. Constitutional carry will also allow open carry by a citizen, without permit or any formal training in the handling of a firearm.
The General Assembly increased funding for law enforcement, allocating an additional $21.1 million. A heartbeat bill, which recognizes and protects a fetus as a viable human being once a heartbeat can be detected also passed.
The Anderson County Bomb Squad was called in to investigate a suspicious package on a Williamston porch which turned out to be an explosive device. Joshua Antone turned himself into the WPD where he stated he and a friend had manufactured the device and their plan was to set it off on July 4th, but due to an altercation with his friend and had left the residence before it was set off
The bridge that washed out on Shackleburg Road last spring re-opened as the Owen Farm Bridge, in recognition of the Owen family’s 106 year tradition of farming in the area.
July 14 – Williamston Town Council approved a purchase agreement with Hunter Quinn Homes LLC, of Mt. Pleasant, for development of the “Milliken property” located at Williams Street and Brock Lane. The total tract includes 31.49 acres. Of that, 27.51 acres is being made available to the developer who plans 64 single family lots. The second tract, which will be retained by the town, is 3.98 acres and will be split zoned for commercial use.
Pelzer Town Council honored Dr. Daniel A. Koontz for thirty six years of service to the town of Pelzer and the surrounding community. Dr. Koontz is retiring after a long practice in medicine. Steve Newton, grant writer and liaison for the county, updated the Council on a grant being sought to study and produce a plan to address the Adger Street drainage problems.
COVID-19 cases across the State , and locally, are seeing a slight, but steady increase. On July 15 DHEC reported 331 new cases and 307 probable cases of COVID-19. There were 5 COVID related deaths, 1 in Greenville.
The CDC issued COVID-19 prevention guidelines for K-12 schools for the 2021-2022 academic year. Guidelines include: Schools should fully reopen for in-person education to the greatest extent possible, Masks should be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated and at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms. There was much more.
The White Plains area, especially in the 32 Interstate cloverleaf, had construction of a 200,000 square foot warehouse built as a spec building by the county. Both the building and the thirty or so acres it sits on was purchased by Ryobi, Inc., otherwise known as TTI, the company also has a large campus at the next exit south, Exit 27.
In the same area, Love’s Truck Stop chain received a permit for the construction of a truck stop on the southwest quarter of the interchange.
July 21 – DHEC announced that 50 percent of eligible South Carolina residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Overall, 44 percent of South Carolina residents are now fully vaccinated, which means they are two weeks removed from their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer, or their single-shot of Janssen.
July 28 – The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees amended the 2021-22 budget to reflect a $1 million increase in revenues allocated in the SC Senate State Budget. The Board also heard an update on the building program and an in depth report on programs that track student “loss of learning” and other areas last year during COVID.
Work continues at Palmetto Elementary and Palmetto High, Wren Elementary and Wren High.
The contract to operate Anderson County’s Emergency Medical System (EMS) was awarded to a single server (Priority Ambulance) and would come under challenge by four rescue squads/EMS providers.
SCDHEC Recommends Vaccinations, Mask Use, and Other COVID-19 Protocols in New School Guidance
Members of the Palmetto Business Association held a meeting to discuss the future of the organization. The PBA organization has been inactive since early 2020 when the COVID pandemic and shutdowns began.
AUGUST
Aug. 4 – The number of COVID cases is growing in Anderson County with an average of a hundred new cases a day and AnMed is experiencing an increase in patients requiring hospitalization. Due to the rise in cases and the increasing threat of the Delta variant, the CDC is recommending public indoor masking for everyone, regardless of vaccination status.
Easley attorney,Candy Kern Fuller surrendered her law license in lieu of disciplinary action following a ruling issued by the S.C. Supreme Court which stated that Kern-Fuller faces three separate disciplinary complaints related to her role in an illegal scheme of inducing veterans to sell their retirement or disability benefits in exchange for cash payments.
Williamston Town Council heard an update on the Spring Water Festival, approved second reading on an ordinance regulating unwanted deliveries and approved $10,000 in funding the Hot Air Affair Event.The Town will also apply for a $25,000 Hometown Economic Development Grant to be used to abate lead paint, repaint and other renovation on the historic depot building.
West Pelzer Town Council approved resolutions to request road funding money, to allow an update of the town’s comprehensive plan and to hold a public hearing regarding new four way stops on three street locations.
The town received $23,500 from the Anderson County Legislative Delegation for the Riverfront West water recreation area.
West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders announced Scott Stoller will serve as the Chief of Police for the Town.

Aug 11 – A box truck struck the railroad trestle on Gossett Drive. The rail overpass had major renovation work done about a year ago and despite numerous signs and warnings to vehicles, truck drivers continue to hit it.
SC has a new law that requires drivers to only use the far left-hand lane on controlled access highways while they are passing or overtaking another vehicle.
Aug. 18 – A Days of Summer Luau Community Block Party was held in the Powdersville Bi-Lo on World Senior Citizens Day. The event was sponsored by CenterWell,
Aug 25 – Spring Water Festival hits a milestone at 40 years! The two day festival featured free kids activities, amusement rides, more than 50 vendors, antique and classic auto show, live music and other special attractions, including beer.

COVID cases across the state and locally continue to be on the rise but may be leveling. The numbers have been in the range of last July (2020) and early January (2021). DHEC reported 3,121 new cases and 527 probable cases of COVID-19 There were 9 deaths and 1 probable death reported.

SEPTEMBER
Sept. 1 – The Williamston, Pelzer and West Pelzer area hosted the 2nd Annual Hot Air Affair – Rising Above Cancer, a weekend of fun fund-raising for the Cancer Association of Anderson with more than two dozen hot air balloons in the area. The event included a balloon glow, food vendors, kids zone, tethered rides and balloon flights and finished at the balloon launch site at the Anderson Convention Center.
Easton Gowan, 19-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist from Williamston, will open for Nashville recording artist John Michael Montgomery at Celebrate Anderson on Labor Day.

Will Ragland signed up for the mayor’s seat he currently holds and four candidates will vie for two seats that are open on town council in the Pelzer election Nov. 2. The four candidates signed up for the two seats are Skip Goldsmith, Mike Mathews, Donna Ide and Matt Turner

Pelzer Town Council agreed to sell property on Courtney Street for development, appointed a planning commission, created a new lot on the lagoon property and completed the sale of the cell tower property (for $700,000) The funds made possible the purchase of two properties by the town – 6 Stewart St. and 4 Blythe St.

School District One named Aubrey Williams, history teacher from Wren High Teacher of the Year. Teresa Meares, from Palmetto Middle, was the support person of the year.

Johnny Rogers Sr. and Jeff Lee signed up for the Nov. 2 election in West Pelzer. Rogers’ seat and the seat held by Vicki Farmer are up for re-election.

DHEC reported a total of 6,697 new cases of COVID-19 on Aug. 25, the third-highest total in a single day since the start of the pandemic. New cases numbers continue to increase on a day by day basis. DHEC reported there have been 6,808 “breakthrough” cases reported in the state with 557 requiring hospitalization and 130 deaths of breakthrough patients.

“We had a fantastic school opening,” School District One Superintendent Robbie Binnicker told the Board, adding, “if we just take away COVID.” Binnicker said opening day went very well, even with some final construction activities going on up to the opening. The 2021 school year began with the largest number of students ever. The District had a ten day enrollment of 10,593 students, which according to Binnicker, was 1,130 more students than last year.

 

Sept. 8 – The 2021 Creekside VW show will be held in Williamston’s Mineral Spring Park.

 

The Town of West Pelzer recognized Anderson University graduate B. Taylor Harrison for her art display in “The Grand Gallery”. Taylor utilizes acrylic paint, oil paint, and textures to “create knots of energy and engagement as well as quiet moments of rest within the paintings.”

Planning for residential growth, extension of the Mineral Spring Trail and property development were the primary topics of discussion during a
Williamston Town Council work session. A number of growth related items are being addressed by the Town’s Planning Commission including adding two at large members and adding the R7 classification to the zoning ordinance. The planning commission also recommended changes to property on Brock Lane to a new classification called Planned Development.

Mayor Rockey Burgess announced that Anderson County approved selling 300,000 gallons per day sewer capacity back to the town. Burgess said the cost will be $300,000 but will not have to be paid until development happens.

Williamston is working with Anderson County, ACOG and SCDOT on preliminary plans to expand the current Mineral Spring Trail to connect with the school system, reservoir, Pelzer, West Pelzer and the Saluda River.

The challenge by several rescue squads and emergency service providers moved to the courts as providers sought a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prevent a single provider system from being implemented.

West Pelzer Town Council approved a resolution supporting three new four way stops in the town, denied rezoning of property for a day care and revised the business license ordinance.
Newly appointed Police Chief Scott Stoller was officially sworn in.

There have been 6,808 “breakthrough” cases reported in the state with 557 requiring hospitalization and 130 deaths of breakthrough patients.

Sept 15 – The unveiling and dedication of a historical mural was held at the Betty Boop Family Hair Care Shop on Highway 8 in Pelzer. The mural depicts Ellison A. Smyth and Francis J. Pelzer, along with other people significant to the history of Pelzer including Gertrude Brown Kelly, a young mother who was killed by a ricochet bullet during the textile strike of 1935. Speakers included Elaine Hunt, Dianne Lollis, Betty Jordan and artist Thomas Addison.
Williamston Police Officers are investigating a robbery at First Citizens Bank, East Main St. in Williamston. The bank was robbed of an undisclosed amount of currency. The Federal Bureau of Investigation responded to the scene and assisted with the investigation.
West Pelzer Police Chief Scott Stoller and former chief Alexis Eliopoulos were recognized by Governor Henry McMaster for saving lives by administering the overdose-reversal drug naloxone in several emergency situations.

Planning for residential growth, extension of the Mineral Spring Trail and property development were the primary topics of discussion during a Williamston Town Council work session.

Williamston Town Council approved the sale of property on Rector Road, funding for trail expansion design, amended the purchasing policy and made changes to the zoning ordinance.

 

Pelzer Town Council was considering a ballfield lease for the Williamston Soccer Club. The club was in the process of making improvements to facilities there.
Mayor Will Ragland announced that improvements at the monkey park have been completed, including tree work, grading, and the construction of a new fence.
Council agreed to purchase a portion of an area owned by the Pelzer United Methodist Church parking for $5000, and to take legal action against Greenville businessman Bob Hughes over $12,500 in arrears. They also voted to exercise the authority of eminent domain on the property that involves the municipal pool site.

Sept. 22 – Members of the Pelzer Heritage Commission were joined by local and county officials and others recently for a long awaited announcement on development plans for the Pelzer Mill properties. Plan include nine new cottages on the banks of the Saluda River, an apartment community for 55 and older on the upper mill property, loft style apartments and two new apartment buildings at the lower mill property and a new restaurant concept in the building that once housed the Pelzer Mill offices. Construction is expected to begin in spring of 2022 with a grand opening in spring of 2023.

Anderson County celebrated a new terminal and runway improvements at the Anderson Regional Airport. The renovations were budgeted at $6.7 million in 2018.

SC Department of Education 2020 school report cards and test scores show Anderson School District One remains among the best in the State. District One had nine out of the District’s thirteen eligible schools receive an “Excellent” rating on the State Report Card and reflected the highest graduation rate ever for the District at over ninety-three percent.

Anderson One’s graduation rate ranks third in the state in public high schools.One major factor in the success is that approximately eighty-eight percent of District One students attended face-to-face instruction during the last school year.

Almost 12,000 people moved to Anderson in 2019, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. The report also showed that 11,041 moved from Anderson County to somewhere else, meaning that Anderson had a net population gain from migration of 874 persons.

Anderson County Council heard an update on EMS and honored Francis Crowder for his service to the county and his community and Colonel Dan Durham for twenty five years as the board chairman for the Pelzer Rescue Squad, and thirty six years as an elder in his church.
(Crowder and Durham had both recently passed away). Council then heard an update on transition to a single provider for the county’s EMS services

A fourteen year-old Woodmont High School student was arrested after School Resource Officers discovered a replica firearm in the student’s backpack.

 

Sept. 29 – Attorney General Alan Wilson was the featured speaker at the
Powdersville Politics meeting at the Powdersville Fire Department.

Anderson County’s unemployment rate declined from 4.0 percent in July to 3.9 percent in August, according to the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) data from the US Department of Labor.

Wren senior Maggie Nolan was elected 2021 Wren Homecoming Queen.

Williamston Town Council amended a contract with Hunter Quinn Houses, the developer of the proposed Brock Lane projec to reflect a zoning change to the new R7 classification. The project will involve construction of sixty homes and will be called Saratoga Villages and Saratoga Oaks.

Mayor Rockey Burgess announced that the town will receive $1.6 million in funds from the American Relief Plan (ARP). The town plans to replace and improve a main sewer line, purchase sewer capacity from Anderson County and address antiquated water lines on the mill hill.

The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees approved a revised Emergency Plan, heard first reading on two board policies and heard updates on the building program and COVID in the schools.

Powdersville was named a Blue Ribbon School.

 

OCTOBER

Oct. 6 – A suspect is in custody in connection with the Sept. 14 robbery of the First Citizens bank. Jason Douglas King had been residing in Vermont for some time, and had family ties in the area. The SLED Fugitive Team worked with the Charlotte (NC) Live Crimes Team to take King into custody in NC.

Williamston Town Council heard results of the town’s annual audit, approved several property sales and zoning changes. Auditor Ken Meadows, of Greene, Finney Accounting, told Council the town has received an “unmodified opinion” on the 2020-21 audit, which is the best it can receive

Council approved first reading on an ordinance to rezone property on Brock Lane to the newly established R7, allowing a 7000 square foot lot. The planned development designation will allow the developer more leeway in shifting home sites closer to or further away than the required setbacks and gives the town more say in the project.

Envision is in the process of getting estimates for a fire pit in Mineral Spring Park and plan to honor local veterans on street banners though a project called “Hometown Heroes”. They are also planning a tree lighting ceremony for the Christmas Park with carriage rides, live nativity, hot chocolate and a holiday market fair.

The town of West Pelzer gave approval to two exceptions of the existing zoning ordinance to allow for two private homes to be used as in-home day care centers. The exceptions are contingent on the facilities being approved by DHEC.
Mayor Blake Sanders announced that approximately ten thousand people attended the town’s Mile Long Yard Sale .

Oct. 13 – A horse was hit by one car on Beaverdam Road near Hogg Road and then the horse struck another car. No one was seriously injured in the mishap.

Shortages of monoclonal antibodies (mAb) for use in the treatment of patients with COVID-19 have been resolved and the state has sufficient supplies to provide for every resident who could benefit from these effective treatments. DHEC encourages healthcare facilities, providers, and eligible patients to take advantage of the treatment.

The Biden Administration had begun rationing the number of treatments being sent to a number of Southern states.

Pelzer Town Council, by a split vote, authorized Mayor Will Ragland to execute documents to advance the purchase of the 90 acre ‘lagoon property’ by a developer who plans to construct housing on the site. The vote was 3-2, with Councilman Eddie Waits and Councilman Mike Matthews opposing.

Oct. 20 – Noel Schronce was crowned Palmetto High Homecoming Queen.

Following water and sewer infrastructure inmprovements, developers and builders began to show interest in West Pelzer. Vicar’s Construction Company, of Powdersville, built a group of homes across from the West Pelzer Fire Department. Another sixty homes is planned for the property in a development called Palmetto Farms,

Williamston Town Council approved Second Readings on an Ordinance to Allocate Funding for Indigent Defense, an Ordinance to Rezone Property on S. Academy Street and an Ordinance to Rezone Property on Minor Street. Council approved First Reading for Additional Funding for Roof Replacement on the Municipal Building.

Oct. 27 – The Anderson School District One Board recognized Wren High Students in Action Team for placing second in the nation for the Multiplying Good program. The organization received national recognition with a Silver Jefferson Award for their work with mental health awareness and fostering an acceptable environment for discussing mental illness following the suicide of a fellow classmate.

Growth in the northern end of the county continues with the ongoing construction of a major convenience store facility at Exit 27, where Hwy. 81 crosses I-85. Located on 4.63 acres near from Sue’s restaurant, the 7-Eleven will resemble other sites along the interstate that allow for large truck traffic. The County Planning Commission is reviewing plans for a 318 lot development at Hembree and Welcome Road.

Anderson County Delinquent Tax Sale was held.

Graveside services for Army Staff Sgt. William R. Linder, 30, of Piedmont, who was killed in Germany during World War II, were held Friday, Oct. 29, at M. J. “Dolly” Cooper Veterans Cemetery. Gray Mortuary in Pelzer made arrangements. The War Department was unable to recover or identify Linder’s remains and he was declared non-recoverable in December 1951. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) officially announced that Staff Sgt. W. Linder, 30, was accounted for on Sept. 23, 2021.

NOVEMBER

Nov. 3 – Seven low-magnitude earthquakes were reported less than 100 miles from the Williamston area, in and around Jenkinsville, SC.

Arthrex, an orthopedic technology innovator, announced plans to expand operations in Anderson County. The more than $100 million investment will create 500 new jobs.

In the West Pelzer election, only forty voters participated, with incumbent Johnny Rogers receiving nineteen votes and newcomer Jeff Lee receiving twenty one. They were the only two candidates running for the two open seats on council.

In the Pelzer race, incumbent mayor Will Ragland was opposed only by a write in effort, which he defeated seventy votes to fifty nine. Incumbent councilman Mike Matthews and former councilmember Donna Ide received the two highest number of votes, with 70 and 78 votes.

Williamston Town Council gave second reading approval to provide additional funding for roof replacement, approved additional funding for the pickleball courts and adopted a revised business license ordinance. Envision Williamston also presented Scarecrow Decorating Contest Awards during the meeting. The award included a special recognition for Sandra Burgess, who has helped with the scarecrow decorating and other special projects for the town.

Nov. 10 – Greenville County Sheriff’s Office Investigators charged James Brian Holmes, 53, of 38 Main St. (West) Pelzer, with Armed Robbery in connection with the robbery of the Wells Fargo bank located at 3043 White Horse Road. An Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputy stopped Holmes at the Stop n ‘Go on Greenville Dr. in Williamston after the suspect’s truck was identified by West Pelzer Police following a tip.

Williamston police officers are getting intensive training that includes teaching options for avoiding use of force in dangerous situations. Several members of Envision Williamston and Williamston Town Council participated in the “response to resistance training” which uses an interactive simulator that uses computerized scenarios to imitate use-of-force and verbal de-escalation encounters.

The controversy in Virginia, and across the nation, over whether parents have the right to know what is being taught in local schools, and the right to speak at public meetings, led to the South Carolina School Boards Association withdrawing from the National School Boards Association.

A proposed housing project in the vicinity of Hembree Road and Welcome Road failed to receive the recommendation of the Anderson County planning commission. The project, which would involve construction of more than three hundred single family homes, was opposed by a half dozen or so residents who raised a variety of concerns.

West Pelzer Town Council approved a resolution in support of road paving and amended the 2021-22 budget to reflect American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding that will be coming to the town. The town will receive the additional $235,489 from ARPA.

The Palmetto High School Air Force Junior ROTC performed a flag raising ceremony to honor new flags flying on a new flagpole donated to the high school. The old flag pole, put up in 1972, was removed during the construction of the new front area of the high school.

Nov. 17 – DHEC announced that the state suffered its first flu-associated death of the season, an individual from the uptsate.

Williamston Mayor Rockey Burgess is warning Palmetto High students, and their parents, that reckless driving near the schools may result in a traffic ticket.

Robert Dale Harper, passed away at age 83. He retired from Anderson School District One following 33 years of teaching and as a ninth-grade pupil at the Pelzer-Williamston High School, won the essay contest naming the new Palmetto High School from which he graduated in 1956 as Salutatorian.

Nov. 25 – Williamston’s Christmas Park lighting, traditionally held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, will be held on Sunday this year. The event will coincide with Envision Williamston’s new “Winter Wonderland” event.

The Pelzer Christmas Market was held at the Pelzer Gym with more than 60 vendors, Petting Zoo, food truck and pictures with Santa.

Stan Welch, news reporter, journalist and columnist for The Journal, passed away on his birthday. He worked as a journalist in the newspaper industry in South Carolina for 40 years.

The Palmetto Business Association reorganized with new officers and a list of projects that include more community involvement. Carolann Newton will serve as Chair, Melanie Dugan as Vice Chair and Roberta Hamby as Secretary.

The Wren Hurricane Competition Cheerleaders won the AAA State Championship held Nov. 20 at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia.

DECEMBER

Dec. 1 – Betty Tribble Wills, who along with her husband Ed, founded The Journal in 1955, passed away in Easley, at age 96.

Long time Williamston resident and former teacher, Olive Lander Wilson, also died at age 99. Olive often told us she was the first paid subscriber to The Journal when it was founded by Ed and Betty Wills. She was on the subscriber mail list until 2017, when her daughter Laura began receiving the newspaper in her name.

The Anderson School District One Board chose Board officers, heard the annual audit presentation and the results of an impact fee study. Auditor Ken Meadows told the Board that the District received an “unmodified” opinion, “the best you can get” on their annual audit report. The District One Fund Balance increased $.5 million to $22.4 million. TischlerBise Consulting President Carson Bise told the Board that the impact study recommended an impact fee maximum of $11,208 for single family construction and $7,779 for multifamily construction.

Williamston’s first Winter Wonderland event was a huge success, drawing more than a thousand people, maybe as many as two thousand, and bringing smiles to people of all ages.
The event was a joint effort of Envision Williamston volunteers, the Town of Williamston, local churches, organizations and individuals.

The Powdersville Water (PW) Board of Directors approved the operating budget for 2022. The new budget includes a 4 percent rate increase for customers that will become effective with the January 2022 billing. Powdersville Water plans to spend $4.2 million to increase the capacity of two major transmission mains as well as other smaller capital expenditures to meet the increasing demands on the distribution system.

The first annual Powdersville Christmas parade was held. Several hundred people turned out and lined Hood Road and the parking lots around the schools to get a view of the parade, which included the Powdersville High Band, football players and other entries.

The Mill Town Players holiday production of Jingle Bell Rock was canceled due to 3 cast members testing positive for COVID.

Dec. 8 – Williamston Town Council approved additional funding of $95,000 for soil remediation in the park and passed a resolution in support of a $500,000 forgiveable loan to address a sewer outfall line problem. Councilmembers Lee Cole and Tony Hagood expressed concerns about the added cost to the park project, which has already been allocated $160,000.
Council also approved a revised business license ordinance.

West Pelzer Municipal Clerk Paula Payton was recognized during the West Pelzer Town Council meeting for recently achieving the Master Municipal Clerk designation.
Police Chief Stoller said new stop signs had been installed at Holiday and Marguerite Streets and that enforcement would begin soon. Mayor Sanders thanked Councilwoman Pat Alexander for coordinating the Christmas parade which had more than 30 entries. He also thanked Councilman Jim Riddle and his wife Sue for placing decorations in town.

Dec. 15 – Due to the high probability of wind, rain and lightning, the Williamston Christmas parade was rescheduled for Sunday. A strong storm which heavy rain hit just as the parade would have started. Earlier in the day, the Piedmont Parade was canceled.The 15th Annual G&WRR “Santa Express” went on as scheduled.

Anderson School District One officials presented information from their Impact Fee study to Anderson County Council and members of the County Planning Commission. The fee is being proposed to help offset costs associated with tremendous growth District One is currently experiencing and expecting over the next ten years.

SCDHEC confirms 3 cases of the Omicron variant in SC. COVID cases increasing; breakthrough cases total 22,488.

Dec. 22 – Pelzer Mayor Will Ragland is in the process of putting together several pieces of a puzzle, that if completed, will add to attractiveness and growth of the town.
Pelzer Town Council voted to purchase 26.71 acres of property owned by the Church of God The property fronts Hwy. 20, and the Saluda River. Ragland said it is needed for a “park swap” that will allow the lagoon property to be sold and developed.

A church bus from Anderson struck the Gossett Drive railroad trestle in Williamston.

COVID cases are on the increase over the holiday period. On Dec. 23, DHEC reported 1,466 new COVID cases and 754 probable cases of COVID-19. DHEC is not reporting which variant of the coronavirus is being found, but from other reports, the OMICRON variant appears to be the dominant strain.

Dec. 29 – The Anderson County unemployment rate dropped to 2.7 percent in November. According to the SC Department of Employment & Workforce, 89,383 Anderson County residents were employed.

Residents prepared to celebrate the end of 2021 and the beginning of the new year.