No JV Broadcast Today

Due to circumstances beyond our control we will not be able to broadcast the Wade Hampton at Laurens JV game tonight

Voices to Organize; Clean Up Crime & Trash

Concern of criminals putting people in fear in some neighborhoods developed during Laurens City Council’s September meeting this week. It began with complaints of litter, waste and other unsightly materials in neighborhood yards along with grass not being cut, voiced Tuesday evening by Ward Four Council Member Sara Latimore. Mrs. Latimore expressed her concerns on the problems in her ward, saying, “We want to find out the right way to get the word out to get something done, and have residents keep their property decent.” She noted some trash is piled as high as her height and said, “I have people in my district that are concerned about the look of their property, but their neighbors are not concerned about theirs.”

Calvin Whitmire of the Bridging the Gap program raised his hand and asked Mrs. Latimore if she was going to address the major problem, or just talk about trash and grass. Council Member Latimore responded she realizes there is a drug problem, “but you can’t say anything unless you see it.”

Mr. Whitmire came to the podium and said, “There are senior citizens in this audience now who have come to say that they are afraid. I am up late at night and I watch; some seniors say that if they complain it gets back to the street and they are harassed. They are scared, and they are tired.” He suggested some entities have placed people in an area to take over the neighborhood, noting “These people have no regard, they feel they have the run of the community.” Suggesting the community needs to put people together to contact landlords about having their properties cleaned up, Whitmire said, “It’s going to take a collective effort to get this done. We can’t put it all on the police, we have to work together.” He added, “This glove is off now; when you have senior citizens crying and afraid, something must be done. I can’t confirm or deny but these seniors have no reason to lie. Just my opinion, but when you are 70 or 80 years old, you should be able to live in peace. The grass and the trash, yeah, but the prostitution and drug dealing, this is actually happening, and we have to set up a strategic plan and one part would be a (police) substation.”

Council Member Alicia Sullivan spoke up, thanking Calvin Whitmire for bravely speaking up and thanking also people from the Washington Heights neighborhood for coming in. Sullivan noted there is a community meeting set for Saturday at Springfield Baptist Church and said other meetings are going to be held in other communities of Laurens. Hosted by Council Member Marion Miller, it features a breakfast and begins at 9:00 Saturday morning.

Councilwoman Marion Miller then spoke up, saying “I want to say that I am not going back, this is a new day and a new time. We all know that in the past this stuff went from Sullivan Street to Pay Less Market back to Washington Height back to Sullivan Street.” Miller recalled a previous person coming forward to complain of drugs, prostitution and child solicitation on Sullivan Street. Saying “We only have so many police officers, and she added, “My cry is to get us all organized.”

Mayor Nathan Senn responded, “Councilor Miller you have hit the nail on the head. Today is a new day. That means addressing the issue of crime, and we will target illegal littering and dumping, if it a law it will be enforced, we will not be viewed as a messy, crime-ridden city. It will not stand! The mayor said the law will be enforced, adding, “We will have a city to be proud of.”

Progress Update for Newest Industrial Park

An update on progress being made in development of Laurens County’s newest industrial park was part of a report to the Laurens County Development Corporation this week. At their bi-monthly meeting Tuesday, LCDC Director Jonathan Coleman reported that bids were in from companies interested in constructing a 150,000 square foot spec building in the new Connexial Industrial Park. Connexial faces Interstate 385 just north of the Friendship Church Road overpass. Coleman said he expects contracts for constructing the building will be signed by the end of this month. He added that a sign identifying the new center will be installed soon.

Report on Companies Looking at Laurens County

Jonathan Coleman updated the LCDC Board this week about inquiries from companies looking for a place to locate a new facility. The Laurens County Development Corporation’s Executive Director said they’ve had twelve requests for information over the past two months, since the last LCDC meeting. He noted this brings the total RFI’s (Requests for Information) for this year to 39. Coleman also reported on companies who are showing additional interest in Laurens County as a possible site for a new plant. He said that two companies have visited Laurens County over the past two months and a third was to visit Laurens County this week.

Clinton Native Honored

Clinton native Tanisha Jenkins has been named a 2019 Outstanding Young Alumna of Presbyterian College. Jenkins served as a student assistant in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs during her freshman and sophomore years at PC in 1998 and 1999. That work foreshadowed the work she does now as the director of Multicultural Student Life at the University of Tennessee, a position she’s held since 2012.

Jenkins has been named a 2019 Outstanding Young Alumna for her work. The honor is presented to an alumna under 40 years of age at the start of the award year and recognized early competence within the chosen field of endeavor and exceptional promise of future achievement. “I never look to receive awards for the work that I do,” Jenkins said. “I simply try to be the best person I can be and help others be their best selves as well. She added, “It is very humbling to be recognized by my undergraduate institution that instilled so much in me and means so much to me.”

The Outstanding Young Alumna Award follows two other honors that Jenkins has received for her exceptional work. Earlier this year, the Knoxville News -Sentinel named Jenkins to its “40 Under 40” List. According to the newspaper’s website, the list “recognizes leaders with a passion for making Knoxville and its surrounding areas better communities through professional and philanthropic efforts.”

Four years ago, students at the University of Tennessee honored Jenkins by creating an award in her name, the ‘Tanisha L. Jenkins Beacon of Light Award.’ Jenkins was the first recipient of the award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to diversity and multiculturalism at the university.

Jenkins said, “My ultimate goal is to leave a lasting legacy, where I have positively impacted the lives of others and helped them reach their full potential.” She added, “Having the students surprise me with this honor reminded me that the work that I do is important and that I’m on the right track to leaving that legacy.”

While at PC, Jenkins was heavily involved on campus and was a member of many organizations, while also working in the Office of Student Life. Still, the idea of making it a career never dawned on her back then.

Tanish Jenkins said, “My goal was to go work for a Fortune 500 company where I would do corporate recruiting.”  She worked in HR for six months before landing a position in student affairs in higher education. She went on to earn a master’s degree in counseling from Clemson University and is completing a doctorate of philosophy in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Tennessee.

Proclamation for September Suicide Prevention Month

Laurens City Council this week gave unanimous approval for a Proclamation recognizing September as National Suicide Prevention Month.

The proclamation states there are an average of 123 suicides each day in this country. It’s the tenth leading cause of death in America, the second leading for ages 25-34, and third leading cause of death in the ages from 15-24. The resolution urges all to participate in the fight by getting involved with local organizations and listening to those who need help.

Missed Court on Resisting Arrest Charge

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office booked a woman Tuesday afternoon for General Sessions Court. 40-year-old Christina Marie Foreman of 201 Chapman Road, Fountain Inn was served with a Bench Warrant issued last Thursday calling for her to be brought into detention. She remains in the Johnson Detention Center until her next opportunity to appear in court to face her charge of Resisting Arrest.

“Patriot Award” to Sheriff Reynolds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A large group of people gathered in Council Chambers of the Historic Laurens County Courthouse last evening as the South Carolina Army National Guard Presented the “Patriot’s Award” to Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds.

South Carolina Adj. General Van McCarty said that a successful Guard and Reserve requires committed troops who have support from their family and who critically need support from their employers during deployments.

General McCarty said the Patriot Award was being presented to Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds because of his support to the members of the Guard and Reserve who are employed by the Sheriff’s Office.

As an example, Johnson Detention Center Director Don Evans, who is a veteran, and his wife Major Carla Evans, both spoke of the Support the Sheriff provided for them during Mrs. Evan’s recent 14-month deployment to service in the Pentagon, leaving Officer Evans in care of their young children.

General McCarty thanked Sheriff Don Reynolds for going the extra mile in support of his employees serving in the guard. “First thing of a leader is taking care of people, because it really is all about taking care of people. We can buy equipment to replace equipment lost, we can do those other things, but our people are really what make us successful.”

8th Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo read a letter from the state Attorney General Alan Wilson, who was unable to attend last evening’s presentation due to his own military duties. “As South Carolina’s Attorney General and a member of the National Guard I want to thank you for your support of service members and their families. You are truly the embodiment of the Patriot Award.”

Sheriff Don Reynolds said the reason folks were gathered last evening was because of the commitment of the employees of the Sheriff’s Office. “The deputies around this wall here, I’m very proud of the Sheriff’s Office. A lot of people don’t even know what the word ‘commitment’ means. And to do what these guys do, and they’re heroes in military and law enforcement, not trying to shun any first responders, but the Sheriff’s Office, the volume that they dig in and do, day in and day out, would scare half of you out of your shoes. It’s amazing the anguish they go through every day to help people out here in this county. So, these are my heroes, just like those around the wall. So, my heart and my commitment will always be with my guys, because they know that I will gladly fight with them anywhere in this county, anywhere in this state, because I believe in all of them very much.”

I-385 Improvements from $4.02 to $57 Million

A look at improvements needed for the Interstate 385 corridor in the upper part of Laurens County were reviewed yesterday at the bi-monthly meeting of the Laurens County Development Corporation. Brad Sanderson and John Culbreath of Thomas and Hutton presented their findings from the recent Interstate 385 Corridor study to the LCDC Board members.

They noted that by the year 2022, exit 19 near Owings Industrial Park will be at a “failing” level of service. That handles traffic onto and off I-385 onto Highway 14 at the Owings Industrial Park. Other improvements are needed for the next interchange to the north, exit 22, where Highway 14 traffic into and out of Fountain Inn accesses I-385.

Some of the specific improvements proposed would be realigning the Exit 22 southbound ramp and install a signal light, at a cost of $1.2 million. A relocation of Woods Drive is expected to cost another $1.63 million. Total of the early improvements needed for I-385 was $4.02 million.

Looking further into the future would be an all new interchange for Interstate 385 with Friendship Church Road. That would provide an exit right beside the new Connexial Center. The projected cost of the entirely new interchange was $57 million.

Laurens County Development Corporation Chair Randy Garrett thanked Mr. Sanderson and Mr. Culbreath for the information they provided. No action was taken. Funding sources are being investigated.

News of economic development is sponsored by Piedmont Technical College. “PTC: Your Goals. Our Mission.”

Cities Considering Referendum Appointments

Last night’s agenda for Laurens City Council indicated that Mayor Nathan Senn was to announce the representative for the City of Laurens’ seat on the Laurens County Capital Projects Sales Tax Commission for the 2020 Referendum. The Mayor asked that this be tabled, however, until he had discussed it with City Council.

Clinton City Council had a special called meeting set for 8:00 this morning on the same matter. The agenda called for an executive session for discussion of the matter before an open vote announcement of Clinton’s member of the Capital Sales Tax Commission.

Downtown Site to Host “Back Street Market”

The daughter of a pharmacist who once operated a drug store on what was called “the back street” in Downtown Laurens addressed City Council last evening. Ms. Ralphine Pughsley announced plans for a “Black Street Market” this weekend at the cite of the late Dr. Pughsley pharmacy on what was then Sullivan Street. She indicated she’s returned home from Maryland after retiring and is using the site of her father’s store on what’s now called North Harper to host a “Back Street Market” this Saturday, September 21st. She said this is an effort to bring people together. She said prophets will be for Hurricane victims in the Bahamas. The money raised here is reportedly going to a fund set up by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, which they’ll match, then send for relief in the Bahamas.

Regional School Trustee Training at LDHS

Many of the Laurens County School District 55 trustees will be attending a South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA) Regional Workshop this evening. The program will be held at Laurens District 55 High School.    This is one of a series of these workshops held at various locations throughout the state. This informational workshop is open to school trustees from neighboring districts, as well as District 55.

Gunfire in Gray Court-Area Domestic Incident

Gunfire is alleged in an assault leading to an arrest by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday afternoon. 49-year-old Christopher Joe Cumbie of 945 Bush River Road, Clinton was charged with Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature along with Possession of Weapon During a Violent Crime. Mr. Cumbie is accused of discharging a weapon in the 1300 address range of Georgia Road, Gray Court while making threats, causing the victim to fear for her life. Christopher Joe Cumbie remained in the Johnson Detention Center overnight, awaiting a bond hearing.

Charging to the Company

A man Clinton Police arrested Monday night has been charged with Breach of Trust. 36-year-old Mark Steven Woods of 590 Phillips Street, Clinton is accused of using a company credit card to purchase electronic equipment, auto supplies and other items for himself. The purchases allegedly occurred between November of 2017 and February of 2018. The card was supposed to be used in providing maintenance for an apartment complex he was employed by. Mr. Woods was later released on a $2,000 personal recognizance bond.

Arrest at Evergreen Skills

Laurens County Sheriff’s Sgt. Thomas Boyd made an arrest yesterday morning at or near the Evergreen Skills center near the airport. A 24-year-old Laurens area man was issued two tickets charging him with Assault and Battery 3rd Degree. He was later released from the Johnson Detention Center on personal recognizance bonds.

Chasing with Pruning Shears

A man was arrested yesterday morning following an alleged assault on another man in Clinton. 64-year-old Michael Lynn Copeland of 507 Elm Street, Clinton was charged with Assault and Battery 2nd degree. According to an investigation from Sgt. Ryan Mercer, the victim said that he went to the subject’s house to drop off his girlfriend and two small children, ages one year and one month old. The victim indicated he helped his girlfriend get the children and their items into the house, apparently although he’d been advised not to return to the property. He indicated that after he gave the kids a goodbye kiss and exited the house, the subject approached as he walked back to his car. Copeland allegedly grabbed a pair of pruning shears and struck the victim twice with the shears, once on a forearm and once on a leg. Copeland reportedly chased the victim for a distance before returning home. Following his arrest and booking, Michael Lynn Copeland was later released on a $3,000 personal recognizance bond.

Roger Rice Ride-On Fund Benefits from Memorial Ride

The 8th Annual Deputy Roger Rice Memorial Ride was held Sunday afternoon with the ride beginning and ending at Destination Powersports on US 76 between Laurens and Clinton.

Motorcycles began gathering about Noon on Sunday and by 2:00 pm there were well over 100 of them that pulled out on a ride on Highway 76 to Clinton then on SC 72 toward Mountville, with a turn onto Lisbon Road. Then up to US 221 near Maddens Station and up Highway 221 to Laurens then eventually back to Destination Powersports.  The riders were escorted by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, Clinton Police Department and Laurens Police Department along the route.

The Memorial Ride remembers Laurens County Deputy Sheriff Roger Dale Rice, Jr. who was killed in the line of duty in July of 2011.  It is also the primary fundraiser for the Roger Rice Ride On Fund.  The fund is a hardship fund used to assist first responders in our area who are struggling financially due to some unforeseen circumstance.  The fund has assisted first responders who had experienced a house fire or serious illness in order to keep them on their feet financially so that their minds can be focused completely on their jobs.

The Father of Deputy Rice, Roger Dale Rice, Sr., thanked all of the volunteers, the law enforcement officers and the many motorcyclists for honoring his son and providing the money that makes the Ride On Fund work.

Meetings & Special Events Today

This is a busy day for public entities in Laurens County. The Laurens County Development Corporation will hold its regular bi-monthly meeting of the board at Noon today. The location for this meeting has been moved from the Chamber/LCDC building to the nearby Laurens County Hospital.

 

Laurens City Council holds its September meeting starting at 5:30 this afternoon in Council chambers, 3rd floor of City Hall. A postponed 2nd and final reading on an ordinance adopting the International Existing Building Code, 2015 edition, is to be held this evening, with City Attorney Tom Thompson on hand to answer questions from council. Other matters concerning code of ordinances are also on the agenda for this evening

Mayor Nathan Senn is to be presenting a special representative for the City of Laurens seat on the Capital Projects Sales Tax Commission for the 2020 Referendum.

The Mayor will also present a Proclamation recognizing September as National Suicide Prevention Month.

 

As City Council begins, the South Carolina Army National Guard is to present Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds with “The Patriot Award.” This presentation is at 5:30 at the Historic Courthouse on the Laurens Square.

Also meeting at 5:30 this evening, the Laurens County Planning Commission gathers in the conference room of the Hillcrest Square Administration building. Old business is to feature discussion on an RV Ordinance. New business is to include an update on a Comprehensive Plan and a Lake Greenwood Impact ordinance.

 

The National Director of Faith Engagement for the Republican National Committee is to be in Laurens this evening. Chad Connelly is guest speaker for a meeting of the Laurens County Republican Party. The public is invited to the event, beginning at 7:00 Tuesday evening in the Laurens County Museum’s Witherspoon Building on the south side of the Laurens Square.

Traffic Fatalities

Laurens Police charged a man with two counts of Felony DUI after his car’s alleged collision with a motorcycle on Church Street Saturday night. A man and woman from Waterloo, who were on the motorcycle, died following the crash.

Otherwise across the state over the weekend, SC Public Safety yesterday reported a total of four fatalities on state highways. That brings South Carolina Public Safety’s count of traffic fatalities for the year to 670 people as of midnight September 15th, less than the 728 highway deaths the same date in 2018.

Of the 670 people who have died in 2019, 436 had access to seatbelts, and 214 were not wearing seat belts. Through September 15, 108 pedestrians have died compared to 113 in 2018; 82 motorcyclists have died compared to 80 in 2018; and 22 bicyclists have died compared to 14 in 2018 on state roads and highways.

Public Safety shows 13 traffic fatalities for Laurens County for 2019, as of midnight September 15th. That’s down from 24 this date last year and 25 the same date in 2017.

The highest traffic fatality county of neighboring counties is Greenville’s 51, 3rd highest in the state.

Spartanburg is well below last year’s 53 fatalities with 38 this year. Anderson has 26. Neighboring counties with fewer fatalities that Laurens are Newberry with 6, Union with 5, Greenwood with 4 and Abbeville with just one traffic death for the year. Abbeville joins Saluda, McCormick and Lee Counties with the lowest number of highway deaths as of September 15th.

Highest traffic fatalities are Horry with 59, followed by 56 roadway deaths in Charleston County.

Man Charged with Theft of Skid Steer Loader

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office made an arrest yesterday in connection with the theft of a Skid Steer Loader last month. 53-year-old Jerry Dean Ledford of 320 Gap Creek Road, Duncan is charged with Grand Larceny. He is accused of taking a 2003 New Holland LS 190 valued at over $10,000 between the dates of August 27th and 28th.

Jerry Dean Ledford remained in the Johnson Detention Center overnight, with a cash or surety bond set at $10,000.