Considering Projects for a Special Sales Tax

A special meeting is set for this evening to discuss the upcoming referendum for a Special Projects Sales Tax for Laurens County. Walter Hughes is Chair of the Special Project Sales Tax Commission, which has selected the list of projects to be funded, should the sales tax be approved by voters.

On the WLBG Morning News Magazine this morning, Hughes said the commissioners have worked hard to bring to the voters a solid package that hits a lot of categories in different areas of Laurens County. He said he is very comfortable with the projects list, noting it includes everything from parks and recreation to a renovated EMS facility, balancing needs and wants. Other projects include a facility at the site of the fairgrounds for an agricultural exhibition center, a Martha Dendy Center and a new library for Clinton.

Walter Hughes noted that, other than Union County, all other counties that surround Laurens County have already had a special projects sales tax; in fact, some are on their second or third. He said having a special projects sales tax of one percent funds these needed projects without having to increase property tax.

Walter Hughes said that the special projects sales tax will not be paid on the purchase of gasoline, groceries or prescription drugs. He said the Special Projects Sales Tax Commission has worked hard to bring the voters a solid package that hits a lot of different categories along with different locations around Laurens County.

The Special Projects Sales Tax Commission is holding a meeting at 7:00 this evening to explain more about the projects and the process of a Special Projects Sales Tax. Walter Hughes said that the public may view the meeting live at the Special Projects Commission’s Facebook page. That can be accessed by going to:

This site also has information on the projects that are to be funded, should Laurens County voters approve the referendum November 3rd.

District 55 Trustees Debate, Then Approve Hybrid Operation

At the September meeting of the Laurens County District 55 School Board last evening, Superintendent Dr. Ameca Thomas reported that the district is still on the Hybrid Model with students attending class face to face two days a week.

Noting that in a survey, 62% of Parents said that they want their kids back in school five days a week, Trustee Cathy Little said, “We need to have these kids back in school now. Why do we even send these surveys out, if we don’t pay attention to the results? What do we do, just look at them?”  Mrs. Little said that surrounding districts have returned to a five- day face to face schedule safely.

District 55 Trustee Terri Martin replied, “I want these kids back the same as you, but I would rather have a parent mad at me, than me having to look at a parent who has lost a child to this virus.”

Susan Calhoun Ware was granted permission to distribute a letter she had written to the board and read it aloud. It began, “In all my years with the district we have never faced anything like this, and as a collective board we have failed to be supportive of each other, the administration, and the communities that we represent. We are seven individuals who had taken the oath of office and agreed to ethical procedures, but we have failed to uphold them.”

Calhoun-Ware went on to say that we should not be influenced by personal politics, special interest groups or personal agendas, and that, “I feel compelled, to say that this is not  a one man show, no one person should speak on behalf of the board. We can’t listen to special interest groups.” She asked, “Have we listened to the vocal minority or the silent majority? Our superintendent is hired to run the district, we should not interfere. Some are using micro-managing tactics to conduct their own personal agendas. It is disappointing, unethical, and It needs to stop. We should not call weekly meetings with Dr. Thomas, it interferes with her job.”

The discussion ended with a vote to approve a plan suggested by Superintendent Thomas to remain in the yellow, Hybrid, learning phase until conditions improve, allowing District 55 to move to the Green phase, with students back in class five days a week.

District 56 Staff Praised for Extra Effort

Laurens County School District 56 Superintendent David O’Shields had praise last evening for the district administrators, teachers, bus drivers, nutrition personnel and custodians. Dr. O’Shields’ Superintendent’s report heaped praise on what he termed a “team of super-heroes” who undertook tasks without being asked and often times worked without compensation in order to make the opening of school happen for the district’s students.  O’Shields said that he honestly could not have predicted that, given the array of challenges facing the district, the beginning of the 2020/2021 school year would have gone as smoothly as it did.  He expressed gratitude to all district employees and said he was proud to be associated with people of such caliber.

Toward the end of the board meeting, it was Dr. O’Shields’ turn to receive accolades.  The board conducted their annual review of the superintendent’s performance.  Chairman Jim Barton used words like “exemplary” and “outstanding” to describe the performance of Dr. O’Shields just after the board voted unanimously to extend his contract for another year.

Chairman Barton also pointed out that due to the prevailing uncertainty of finances facing the district, the board had voted unanimously to extend the contract with no change in salary.  He stated that when the financial picture came more into focus the board has the option of revisiting the salary package of the superintendent.

Couple Accused of Willfully Starving One Dog

Calvin Evatt Curenton


A Laurens area man and woman are accused of willfully starving a dog that was left in their care. 58-year-old Calvin Evatt Curenton and 60-year-old Dorica Jackson Cureton of Madden Heights Circle, Laurens were both charged with Ill Treatment of Animals. Warrants citing an investigation of Animal Control Deputy Brown state they willfully starved a dog left in their care at their residence. They allegedly had food available and fed other dogs on the property but intentionally did not feed this dog. This was reportedly discovered last Friday. Mr. and Ms. Curenton remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning, awaiting a bond hearing on the Ill Treatment charge.





Dorica Jackson Curenton

Burglary & Domestic Violence on Indian Mound Road

William Ethan Edwards

A man arrested Sunday following an alleged assault in Western Laurens County has been charged with Domestic Violence in the 1st Degree. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office has also charged 29-year-old William Ethan Edwards of Sparks Avenue, Ware Shoals with 2nd Degree Burglary. He is accused of entering a residence on Indian Mound Road in the Ware Shoals area Sunday and then assaulting the victim. He allegedly pushed her into a wall, while in the presence of a minor child Sunday. William Ethan Edwards remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning, awaiting arraignment on his two charges.

Homeless Couple Accused of Stealing Diapers

Laurens Police yesterday arrested a man and woman for allegedly stealing children’s diapers and an easy bake oven. 32-year-old Brandon Scott Bradly and 33-year-old Sharon Kayla Oliver were booked as homeless persons, charged with Petit Larceny. They are accused of taking the items from a location in Western Square shopping center off West Main yesterday. Ms. Oliver was also charged with Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute. She is accused of having 1.2 grams of a crystal-like substance believed to be methamphetamine in her possession yesterday. Brandon Scott Brady was released on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond later yesterday. Sharon Kayla Oliver was released on personal recognizance bonds on her two charges totaling $11,000.

Man Charged with September 4th Assault

An assault early this month in Laurens County was alleged with an arrest by the Sheriff’s Office yesterday. 49-year-old James Robert Long of Old Stable Lane, Laurens was charged with 3rd Degree Assault and Battery. He is accused of striking the victim on the chin with his fist on the 4th of September. Mr. Long remained in the Johnson Detention Center earlier this morning, awaiting a bond hearing.


School Boards for Districts 55 & 56 Meet This Evening

The District 56 School Board will be meeting at 7:30 this evening in the Clinton High School Auditorium.

The District 55 School Board meets at 6:30, with only staff, trustees and those scheduled to speak to the board allowed. The public may view the proceedings online, with a link available at

Stalking Over Three Months

Ryan Zane Jackson

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office has charged a man with Stalking over the past three months. After his arrest Friday, 25-year-old Ryan Zane Jackson of Relax Street, Waterloo was accused of going to the victim’s residence in the middle of the night at least five times in the past three months, after being advised to have no contact with her. This reportedly caused the victim to fear for her safety. During arraignment, bond was denied. Ryan Zane Jackson remains in the Johnson Detention Center.

Disorderly in E.R., Threats & Resisting Arrest

George Timothy Layel III


A Laurens area man remained in custody this morning on multiple charges, including his alleged behavior in a hospital emergency room Friday. The Laurens County Sheriff’s office arrested 51-year-old George Timothy Layel III of Conway Ave, Laurens and charged him with Public Disorderly Conduct, Use of a Vehicle without Permission, Driving the Vehicle under Suspension of his Driver’s License along with Resisting Arrest and Threatening the Life, Person or Family of a Public Official.

Mr. Layel is accused of acting in a disorderly manner Friday in the emergency room of the Laurens County Hospital, reportedly screaming obscenities at the Emergency Room staff. He is further accused of taking a 1998 white Ford Explorer without consent of the owner and driving it while his license to drive was under suspension. Warrants state that after released from the Emergency Department, and following a traffic stop on North Broad in Clinton, he physically resisted arrest by Sheriff’s Deputies by trying to jerk away from deputies and threatened the life of a public official.

While personal recognizance bonds were set totaling $905 for the Public Disorderly Conduct and Driving under Suspension charges, George Timothy Layel III remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning with bond denied on his charges of Resisting Arrest, Threatening the Life of a Public Official and Use of a Vehicle without Permission.

Multiple Charges Follow Police Chase

Larry David Davenport


Clinton Police Sgt. Howard had multiple charges following a police pursuit Friday. 56-year-old Larry David Davenport of Fortunate Drive, Clinton was charged with Failure to Stop for Blue Lights, Reckless Driving, Driving an Uninsured Vehicle, 3rd Offense Driving under Suspension and with a Habitual Offender offence along with Posting a License Plate that Belongs to Another Vehicle and Littering. A Drug Paraphernalia warrant further alleged he had a clear baggie with white residue. Davenport allegedly drove at a high rate of speed through a residential neighborhood, running of the roadway into grass.  He allegedly through trash out the window while driving.

Larry David Davenport remained in the Johnson Detention Center with $9,000 cash or surety bonds on the Failure to Stop, Driving under Suspension and Habitual Offender warrants and with personal recognizance bonds on the other charges.

1st Degree Burglary, Theft of Lottery Ticket

Joshua Lee Sellers


A nighttime burglary this month was alleged with a Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrest Saturday. 31-year-old Joshua Lee Sellars of Dagnall Circle, Laurens was charged with 1st Degree Burglary, Petit Larceny and Receiving Stolen Goods. He is accused of entering a residence during the nighttime hours of September 15th and of taking a lottery ticket. Sellers is further accused of having a stolen license plate on his vehicle Saturday.

A $50,000 cash or surety bond was set on the 1st Degree Burglary charge. Joshua Lee Sellers remained in the Johnson Detention Center earlier today with bonds on all three charges totaling $56,000.

1st Degree Burglary & Cell Phone Theft

Martin Cornelious Bailey


A man Clinton Police arrested Friday is charged with a Thursday nighttime break-in. 44-year-old Martin Cornelious Bailey of Pruitt Park, Clinton was charged with Burglary 1st Degree, Malicious Damage to Personal Property, Petit Larceny and Trespassing.

He is accused of entering a residence at night by breaking a window, after being told to leave. He allegedly took a black Samsung galaxy cell phone from the victim from a location on North Livingston Street, Clinton.

While $300 personal recognizance bonds were set on the Malicious Damage and Trespassing charges, Martin Cornelious Bailey remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning, with bond denied on the charges of Burglary and Petit Larceny.

Picked Up by Her Neck

Workman Thomas Hardt Gregory


The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office made an arrest yesterday in connection with a May 22nd assault. 19-year-old Workman Thomas Hardt Gregory of Roscoe Drive, Waterloo was charged with 2nd Degree Domestic Violence. He is accused of picking the victim up by her neck, impeding her airflow and causing bruising and scratches to her throat May 22nd. Workman Thomas Hardt Gregory remained in the Johnson Detention Center earlier this morning, awaiting a bond hearing.

Woman Assaults Other Woman

One woman arrested following an alleged assault on another woman last Thursday was charged Friday with 2nd Degree Assault and Battery. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office served a warrant charging 21-year-old Brittany Ann Faith Lockey of Windy Lane, Simpsonville with punching the victim in the head and face multiple times, causing her to lose consciousness. The victim reportedly sought medical treatment following the assault. Brittany Ann Faith was later released from the Johnson Detention Center on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.

Burglary Last Monday

David Dillon Summer

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office made an arrest this weekend in connection with an alleged burglary and theft last Monday. 41-year-old David Dillon Summer of Shady Grove Church Road, Clinton was arrested Saturday and charged with 3rd Degree Burglary, Safecracking, Petit Larceny and Malicious Damage to Personal Property. Summer is accused of entering a building and taking items valued at approximately $1,100. Property taken from the building reportedly included a safe, which he is accused of attempting to forcibly enter by use of a tire iron/pry bar. He is further accused of pushing down a 65-inch flat-screen TV, then walking on the screen. David Dillon Summer remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning with cash or surety bonds on his four charges totaling $30,000.

Couple Charged with Burglary from Mountville Home

Michael Scott Allmond





Theft of a TV and other items from a home on the eastern fringe of the Mountville area was alleged with two arrests this weekend. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested 47-year-old Michael Scott Allmond and 44-year-old Rebecca Marie Allmond of Dillard Road, Waterloo Saturday and charged both with Grand Larceny. They’re accused of taking a 32-inch TV along with electronic games, a weedeater/blower combo and a camouflage bow and other items from the residence on Highway 560, Mountville. Both Michael and Rebecca Allmond remained in the Johnson Detention Center earlier today with $5,000 cash or surety bonds on the Grand Larceny charge.


Rebecca Marie Allmond

Theft of Trailer, Selling Stolen Trailer

William Michael Watts

The theft of a trailer and sale of a stolen trailer last month were alleged with a Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrest Friday. 24-year-old William Michael Watts of Morgan Road, Hodges was charged with Petit Larceny and Obtaining Signature or Property under False Pretense. He is accused of taking a 2015 Superior slat-side utility trailer from a victim on August 9th and of selling a stolen trailer valued at $925 on the August 16th. With cash or surety bonds set totaling $20,000 on the two charges, William Michael Watts remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Moving Without Permission

Vickie Lynn Cheek

After a Thursday arrest, State Probation charged 41-year-old Vickie Lynn Clark of Highway 76 East, Clinton with Violation of Probation. Failures allegedly included changing residence without the consent of her agent. Vickie Lynn Clark remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning with a cash or surety bond set at $50,000.

Knocked Out Car Window

Laurens Police arrested a Southern Greenville County resident yesterday in connection with an assault to a woman and her car earlier this month. 32-year-old John Ellis Patton of Augusta Road, Belton, between Princeton and Ware Place, was charged with Assault and Battery 3rd Degree and Malicious Damage to Personal Property. He is accused of breaking the driver’s side window of the victim’s vehicle while she was seated inside on September 16th, causing fear of harm. While personal recognizance bonds were set totaling $3,212.50 on the two charges, John Ellis Patton remained in Laurens County’s Johnson Detention Center this morning, on hold for Abbeville County.