Help for Magistrate’s Office

Concerns about managing the work load in the Laurens County Magistrate’s Office were discussed before County Council this week. Following a report about the time needed to handle cases, and remain in compliance with recent state mandates, County Council approved a request by the Magistrate’s office, authorizing having one employee who is now part-time to become full-time.

Professional Park Covenant Restrictions

Laurens County Council this week approved an ordinance to protect covenant restrictions in the Professional Park, along Highway 76 between Laurens and Clinton. Ordinance #385 is to protect covenant restrictions and conditions for the Laurens County Professional Park, deemed necessary to enhance the long-term development of the park and to protect the investment of the citizens of Laurens County.

Council also gave approval for administration to request quotes for marketing the Professional Park. The area was initially considered for an Industrial Park, decades ago; but was converted to a professional park and selected in the middle 80’s as the site for the Laurens County Hospital.

Goal: Christmas Gifts for Every Child

Laurens Police were on hand at yesterday’s Laurens Rotary Club meeting to update the group on the Christmas in the City program Laurens Police are conducting for their 5th year. Assistant Police Chief Chrissie Cofield said the program grew from ten families the first year to serve some 250 children last year. She explained that Laurens Police coordinates with other agencies to avoid duplication and to serve children around the county. As she later told WLBG News, “We’re trying to cover the families that are in need, that are somehow not covered by some of the other agencies. We just want to make sure that no kid wakes up on Christmas morning without a toy.”

We asked Major Cofield how someone can contribute to the cause. She said : “You can contact myself, Major Chrissie Cofield or Page Burke with Laurens Police Department. That number is 864-984-3-5-3-2. Or, you can come by one of our offices: At the Sun Trust Bank at 201 West Main Street or at the Police Operations Center at 250 West Laurens Street.”

Page Burke of Laurens Police told Rotarians yesterday how seeing faces of the children being served is so rewarding.

Preservation of Historic Courthouse

Concerns about signs of decay on the Historic Laurens County Courthouse were discussed this week as County Council met in their chambers, in what was the court room of the building in past years. A report from the Laurens County Department of Public Works stated the building remains in overall good condition, but noted the exterior of the building is showing signs of significant decay. Examples of the decay that were listed in the report included rotting wood, cracked stucco, non-functioning gutters, and moisture intrusion into the structure. Public Works requested up to $25,000 to prepare and publish a request for quotes for preservation of the historic building and to enter into a contract with an architectural firm as part of that process. Laurens County Council unanimously approved the request in their Tuesday night meeting.

CPW’s Top Ten of 2017

At the Laurens Commission of Public Works’ final monthly meeting of this year, held earlier this week, the Commissioners received a review, highlighting CPW accomplishments for 2017. General Manager John Young presented his Top Ten Accomplishments of the year at the December meeting of the Commission.

Notable items for 2017 included having a new coating applied on the Fleming Street water tank. Another fresh look was noted this year with the unveiling of a new CPW Web Site. John Young gave credit to Kayla McCullough for that accomplishment.

Young reported the CPW added 40 new water taps and 33 sewer taps this year and installed 2,800 feet of water lines and 120 feet of sewer lines. He said the Natural Gas Division of the CPW added 83 new services. The Natural Gas crews replaced 460 gas meters and installed 16,280 feet of 2-inch gas mains.

CPW Administration achieved implementation of a new system for Human Resources. John Young said the EPICOR HR System provides up-to-date benefits administration, compensation management, employee data retention and employee performance reviews.

In this year, the CPW’s Electric Division accomplished having the system’s reliability indexes continue to exceed national averages, and the OSHA total injury rate was the lowest since 2014.

John Young advised the Commissioners of Public Works this week that for the third year in a row, there will be no electric or natural gas base rate increases for the CPW, and for the sixth year in a row, the CPW’s residential natural gas and electric rates are below the state and national averages.

In the CPW’s on-going efforts to attract new industry while also developing more customers, Young noted that plans were accomplished this year for the construction of a new 75,000 square foot industrial shell building, called a “Spec” building. The newest “Spec” building is to be constructed in the Hunter Industrial Park, through a partnership with the Laurens County Development Corporation and Santee Cooper. John Young noted that approval of funding for the project was recently announced.

Possession of Stolen U-Haul

Possession of stolen U-Haul property in Laurens County early last month was alleged with an arrest by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday. 47-year-old James Michael Stoudenmire of 5 Twin Falls Drive, Simpsonville was charged with Receiving Stolen Goods. Deputy Andrew Turner states that on November 3rd, 2017 James Michael Stoudenmire received property of U-Haul, valued at $8,000, knowing at the time, or having reason to know, that the property was stolen. With a cash or surety bond set at $8,000, James Michael Stoudenmire remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

District Office Employee of Month

School District 55 Administration has announced Debbie Lynch as the District Office “Employee of the Month” for November. When asked what inspires her, Lynch said that she can summarize the answer in one word, “People.” A ten-year employee of District 55, Lynch held positions in the Adult Education Program and at E.B. Morse Elementary School before joining the district office finance department as accounts payable clerk four years ago.  Chief Financial Officer Rodney Smith noted, “Mrs. Lynch works and lives by The Golden Rule.  She puts others’ interests before her own.  I’m glad she is on our team.”

Meth Possession

Unlawful drug possession Wednesday was alleged in a warrant served by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday. 44-year-old Angela Jean Anguaino of 1503 Georgia Road, Gray Court was charged with Possession of Less than One Gram of Meth. A warrant cites an investigation of Deputy Roberson as indicating that on December 13th the defendant knowingly possessed or attempted to possess less than one gram of methamphetamine, without authority to do so. With a cash or surety bond set at $3,000 yesterday, Angela Jean Anguaio remained in custody earlier this morning.

Infrastructure Grants

The South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) recently announced approval of grant assistance for 28 communities totaling more than $12 million to ensure safe drinking water for residents and provide infrastructure reliability for area businesses. Funds will be used for construction of pump stations, elevated water storage tanks, line extensions as well as upgrades to treatment plants. Nearly two-thirds of projects are in more rural and less developed counties.

No Laurens County governmental entity received a grant from this fall’s RIA Grants. Nearby grants included $1,000,000 for the City of Union for “economic sewer improvements” while Greenville received a half-million dollars for the same purpose. Funds for water tank improvements included $404,000 for Newberry County Water and Sewer Authority. And 164,897 for the Town of Whitmire. The Union County Town of Lockhart received $365,000 for sewer system improvements.

Pays to Shop Local & Don’t Forget to Pay

Today is December 15th, which means there are now just ten shopping days left until Christmas. The Chambers of Commerce here and across the country encourage you to “Shop Small,” meaning with local businesses, who return a higher percentage of funds from retail back into the local community.

Local law enforcement officers would also encourage you, when out shopping in area stores, that you always pay for what you take. Yesterday, local law enforcement sent three people to the Laurens County Detention Center, each charged with Shoplifting. These included a man and woman from a Waterloo address and a Greenville woman.

Realigning County Pay

Laurens County Council had extensive discussion at this week’s meeting as they were presented with a proposal to help make county payroll more uniform. Clerk of Court Lynn Lancaster appeared before council with a request to more uniformly pay people in the same position, with the same tenure. Lancaster suggested not filling an opening on her 13-person staff, and using that money to fund adjustments in the remaining 12 positions in the Clerk of Court’s office. The open position will reportedly cover the $18,000 increase the new pay structure will cost, and still have an annual savings of $12,000.

County Administrator Jon Caime has completed an evaluation of the county compensation program and this is the first potential application of improvements to the current system. Discussion on the proposal with council reportedly went on for an hour or so at Tuesday evening’s council meeting.

Councilman Keith Tollison made a motion to adopt the plan. It was seconded by Councilman Stewart Jones. The change was approved, with Council members Diane Anderson and Garrett McDaniel voting no.

Councilman David Pitts had left early for school board duty and was not on hand for the vote.

Helping Doctors Focus on Patient

A review of some developments in health care over this year was presented to Laurens County reporters yesterday in Laurens County Memorial Hospital. The hospital was recognized by the State Hospital Association this year for having zero infections in Colon and Knee Replacement Surgeries, which are two of the highest volume procedures.  Development of a Sexual Assault Response Team was also noted.

A move into Electronic Medical Records systems over the past year has been credited in providing improvements such as patient compliance and lowering costs of health care, but with a side effect that the Doctor looks more at his computer than at the patient. WLBG talked about that with Dr. David Williams, III, the Chief Clinical Officer for the Southern Region, at GHS Laurens County Memorial. He explained that GHS is responding with a program to have assistants aid Doctors with data entry. “We’re looking at certified medical assistants – scribes – who can assist the physician by performing that data entry and freeing the physician up to spend time with the patient.”

We asked Dr. Williams if this assistance with data entry has begun in Laurens County. “Well we’re actually making good progress, and that is being rolled out. As a matter of fact, we have already made progress at Laurens Family Medicine with a – it’s a proprietary project called ‘Team Care.’ It embeds scribes in the practice to free the physicians up from the electronic medical records.”

Nevada to Laurens Co. for Murder Charge

A man who is facing charges that include Murder was returned to Laurens County yesterday, after apparently failing to show for court last spring. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office booked 30-year-old Marquis Jermaine Langford of 3505 Jordan Lane, North Las Vegas, Nevada, and served him with seven bench warrants from Laurens County General Sessions Court. The warrants state that he failed to appear in court on April 28th to face charges of Murder, Assault with Intent to Kill, Assault and Battery with Intent to Kill, Pointing and Presenting a Firearm, two counts, Possession of a Weapon during a Violent Crime and Possession of a Stolen Pistol. Marquis Jermaine Langford is ordered held in until he is discharged through due course of law.

Criminal Sexual Conduct with Minor

A Spartanburg County man was charged yesterday with sexual activity with a child in Laurens County. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office charged 48-year-old Robert Sampson Lindler Jr. of 155 Wheeling Court, Glendale with two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor – under age 11 – in 1st Degree. Both warrants allege the activity occurred this year between August 17th and September 3rd. In one warrant, Sheriff’s Investigator Hunnicutt states the subject forced the victim to touch his private and that he touched hers over clothing. The other warrant alleges the subject’s sexual battery was with his hand under the victim’s bathing suit. No bond was granted on either charge. Robert Sampson Lindler Jr. remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Kidnapping & Assault

A man was arrested after allegedly kidnapping and assaulting his girlfriend in their home yesterday. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office booked the subject as 51-year-old James Boyd Nabors of 4525 Milam Road, Clinton. Warrants were served charging him with Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature, Kidnapping and Possession of Firearms or Ammunition by a Person Convicted of a Violent Crime.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Jimmy Johnson states that on December 13th Boyd James Nabors Jr. unlawfully seized, confined, kidnapped or abducted the victim by holding her against her will at her home. Nabors is further accused of Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life that would reasonably cause a person to fear great bodily injury or death in that he physically assaulted the victim while holding a rifle. He allegedly had a rifle with ammunition in his residence yesterday, knowing he was a felon convicted of a violent crime.

James Boyd (Boyd James) Nabors was being held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing on his charges.

Female VS Female

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday charged a woman with an assault on another woman on Tuesday of this week. 25-year-old Laqualayla Chelease Calwile  of 125 Friendly Street, Fountain Inn was charged with Assault and Battery 2nd Degree.

A warrant citing an investigation by Deputy Atwood states that on December 12th Ms. Calwile intentionally committed battery on the victim by striking her with her hands, by kicking her and by pulling her hair. She then allegedly left the residence and returned with a knife, threatening to cut her.

Laqualayla Chelease Calwile remained in custody overnight, awaiting a bond hearing today.

Grand Larceny – Auto

A car theft back earlier this year was alleged with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrest yesterday of 19-year-old Stephanie Brooke Griffin of 106 Downs Road, Hodges. A Grand Larceny warrant alleges Ms. Griffin took a 2005 Chevrolet Colorado valued at $8,000 on June 20th. Stephanie Brooke Griffin remained in custody overnight with a bond set at $4,000.

Alleged Assault on Flatwood

A 3rd Degree Assault and Battery charge was served on a man following an incident at his residence yesterday. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested 35-year-old Calvin Cunningham of 163 Flatwood Road, Laurens and served him with a warrant for the 3rd Degree assault charge. It alleges that he committed battery on a woman at his residence yesterday by slapping her in the right hand while holding her phone. Calvin Cunningham was being held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing today.

Domestic Assault Alleged  on Gray Barn

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man for an alleged assault on his wife yesterday. 34-year-old Rodney Sentell Grant of 113 Gray Barn Road, Gray Court was charged with Domestic Violence 3rd Degree. Mr. Grant is accused of kicking in the front door and having a physical altercation with his wife on the living room floor and again in the bedroom, while having apparent present ability to cause physical harm or injury under circumstances that reasonably created fear of imminent peril to the victim.

Rodney Sentell Grant was being held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing.

Hillcrest Square Roof & A/C Problems

Laurens County Council discussed roof and air conditioner repairs for the Hillcrest Square Court and County Services building at their December meeting last night. Public Works Director Rob Russian requested $813,000 for the replacement of the roof on the building. He suggested using $271,500 in funds from the bond that was used to construct the Administrative Wing onto the building, along with $541,500 from county reserves.

County Council Chair Joe Wood questioned the request for the roof, noting absence of funding for new air conditioning units on the roof. Wood said, “I would like us to come up with enough money to go ahead replace these units, and then put on a new roof.”

Rob Russian said it should cost half a million dollars to replace the 27 aging air conditioning units, and the price will keep going up. He said, “If council approves the roof replacement tonight, we would not start construction till May, and if it approves new air conditioning units, that installation won’t start until May and  work on the roof will not be able to be started till at least August.

Administrator Jon Caime said the county needs to replace the roof and, to do it right, replace the air conditioning units. He said that will be a little more inconvenient, but it makes sense. Council member Diane Anderson said, “I would like to see a plan for where we are getting all this money from.” Mr. Caime said that he would present a plan before Christmas. Meanwhile, Council last night voted to ask for bids for the new air conditioning units and the roof, with Diane Anderson abstaining.