24th CHAMPS Summer Program In Progress

CHAMPS students are getting a taste of college life for three weeks this summer. While many high school juniors and seniors are taking trips to prospective colleges,128 seventh through 10th grade Laurens County students are taking classes on the PC campus as part of CHAMPS summer program. Classes began June 8th and continue this week, through Friday, June 28th.

A member of the Presbyterian College graduating class this May remembers her participation in CHAMPS program. Katelyn Norris was on a 7th grade student at Hickory Tavern Middle School when she attended CHAMPS. She remembered, “It was thrilling being on a college campus.” She added, “I loved being with a group of people who really focused on you and wanted you to succeed.” Katelyn received the Jerman Disasa Scholarship to attend PC. While she graduated in May, Norris remembers being on the PC campus for the first time. Ms. Norris said of CHAMPS, “It was hard classwork, but it was fun because we were doing science, we were doing public speaking, and we were doing fun things that we didn’t get to necessarily do during the year.”

This summer, CHAMPS students are taking STEM and storytelling classes taught by teachers from local school districts. CHAMPS mentors and volunteers are teaching students life skills in fun classes like Art, Devotions and Game-making.

CHAMPS students are also participating in praise and worship this summer. Seventh and eighth grade students were on campus one week, followed by ninth and 10th graders.

Now in its 24th year, CHAMPS stands for Communities Helping, Assisting, and Motivating Promising Students. According to Ms. Norris, the program’s acronym matches its mission. She said, “I like that CHAMPS is community-based. Many churches and businesses aren’t recognized for what they do, but they help a lot.”

Norris also says the program helps keep students motivated. “Some students may not get the motivation at home, and that’s the kids we’re really trying to reach.” Norris is among mentors helping 11th and 12th grade students navigate their college search by reminding them to ask questions about financial aid.

Since 2001, CHAMPS has been channeling more than 90% of its graduates to colleges and universities.

Clinton City Council Considers PMPA Legal Issue

Clinton City Council is meeting behind closed doors this morning to discuss a legal matter related to the Piedmont Municipal Power Association. The called meeting was to begin at 8:30 this morning in Council Chambers, with an Executive Session on the agenda for discussion of one legal matter relating to PMPA.

Council member and Mayor reports and recommendations were on the public portion of the agenda for this morning’s called meeting of Clinton City Council.

Domestic Violence & Drug Distribution Alleged

A resident of the Youngs Community of Laurens County was arrested Saturday on Domestic Violence and Drug charges from Friday and Saturday. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office charged 45-year-old Billy Paul Lipford Jr. of 7186 Highway 101, North, Gray Court with 2nd Degree Domestic Violence and with Distribution of Methamphetamine.

One warrant citing an investigation of Deputy Kanipe alleges that on June 21st Lipford committed Domestic Violence in the 2nd Degree by placing the victim in reasonable fear of injury. The warrant alleges that on Friday Lipford used a wooden plank to threaten the victim, noting use of the plank was likely to have caused moderate bodily injury to the victim if the assault on her was carried out. The warrant also states that this threat occurred in the presence of his and the victim’s child.

A second warrant cited an investigation of Deputy Davis as indicating that on June 22nd Mr. Lipford did knowingly distribute or intend to distribute approximately four grams of methamphetamine on Highway 101 North at Knighten Chapel Road.

With cash or surety bonds set at $5,000 on the Domestic Violence charge and $25,000 on the Meth warrant, Billy Paul Lipford Jr. remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Failure to Pay Lawyer

Being untruthful with a deputy and failing to pay an attorney’s fee were cited with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrest last Friday of 36-year-old Ryan Edward Ericksen of 106 Tarleton Drive, Fountain Inn.

A Family Court Bench warrant states that Mr. Ericksen was ordered last October 19th to pay $10,000 in attorney fees. He is to be held for up to one year unless the fee is paid.

A warrant charging him with Giving False Information states that on October 21st of 2018 Ericksen admitting to hiding a wanted person in his home when the warrant division came to serve a warrant on that person.

A $250 personal recognizance bond was set on the False Information charge.

Forging Church Check

Forging a church check was alleged among warrants served on a man arrested Sunday by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office. 35-year-old Tracey Braydon Black of 11 North Hammett Street, Anderson is charged with Forgery, Fraudulent Check and with Giving False Information.

Deputy Daniel Duckett issued a ticket charging Mr. Black with Giving False Information to Law Enforcement at 2:20 Sunday morning on Double-A Trail, Clinton.

Warrants citing an investigation of Sheriff’s Lt. Byrd state that on Saturday, June 22nd, Black uttered a check payable to another person for $1,500 and received merchandise or other consideration in return. He’s accused of publishing as true a check he knew to be forged, that check for $1,500 belonging to a church.

With bonds set totaling $5,750, Tracey Braydon Black remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Clemson Street Saturday Burglary

A Clemson Street Burglary Saturday was alleged with a Laurens Police arrest that day. 46-year-old Christopher Stanton of 211 Clemson Street, Laurens was charged with 2nd Degree Burglary. Sgt. Thibodeau states that on June 23rd in the 200 block of Clemson Street, Stanton unlawfully forced entry into a dwelling belonging to the victim without her consent. Christopher Stanton remained in custody this morning with a bond set at $1,000.

Trespassing, Unlawful Drug Possession

A man and wife were arrested early Sunday morning on charges of Trespassing at a Laurens motel. Laurens Police Officer Sherfield issued tickets charging both with Trespassing at 621 North Harper at 2:49 Sunday morning. The wife was also charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance. Citing an investigation of Officer Sherfield, the warrant alleges that 37-year-old Gena Denise Wright of 307 Beauregard Street, Clinton was in possession of two controlled substances without authority at 621 North Harper. These were listed as four blue, round pills believed to be Alprazolam, a schedule 4 controlled substance, and a yellow, oval-shaped pill believed to be acetaminophen and hydrocodone bitartrate, a schedule 2 controlled substance, without authority, at 621 North Harper Street.

$250 personal recognizance bonds were issued on the Trespassing charges. The husband was released. Mrs. Wright remained in custody this morning with a $2,000 cash or surety bond on her Possession of Controlled Substance charge.

DUI & DUS, Again…

Clinton Public Safety Friday arrested 30-year-old Corey Charles Bryant of 110 Mountain Creek Road, Gray Court and charged him with Driving under the Influence, Driving under Suspension and Hit & Run. He’s accused of driving under the influence with his licenses suspended on South Broad March 29th of this year. After his car struck another, he allegedly left the scene and did not fulfill his duties as a driver.

Corey Charles Bryant was also served Bench Warrants showing he was convicted May 23rd of previous DUI and DUS charges with sentences of 30 days or fines of $922 and $647.50.

Bench Warrants & New Arrests for DUI, DUS

The Highway Patrol arrested 44-year-old Tyneiko Byrd Leake of 118 East Bluford Street, Extension, Clinton early Saturday morning. Trooper McCord issued tickets charging Ms. Leake with DUI, DUS & Striking Fixtures Adjacent a Highway on Puckett Ferry Road, Cross Hill at 1:45 Saturday morning. He also charged her with Giving False Information to Law Enforcement. Bonds were set totaling $2,277.

The Sheriff’s Office also served Bench Warrants citing August 7th, 2018 convictions for DUI and DUS with sentences to spend 30 days in jail on each or paying fines of over $1,538.

Breach of Trust Charge Alleges $750 Acquisition

An Upstate man is being held with bond set at $2,000 for allegedly stealing $750 from a Laurens woman. Laurens City Police Friday charged

41-year-old Ernest Donnell Mitchell of 113 Owens Meadow Court, Piedmont with Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent. A warrant citing an investigation of Officer McLain indicates the defendant took $750 cash from a woman from a Garlington Street address.

Multiple Warrants and Drug Charges

Antonio Torres-Juares. 33  of 159 Hayfork Rd. Fountain Inn was booked Wednesday into the Laurens County Detention Center charged with possession of less than 1 gram meth, trafficking meth, trafficking cocaine and possession of a firearm. Warrants allege that on May 13th Torres-Juares did knowingly sell, manufacture, deliver, bring into this state, or possess 28 grams or more of ice/crank a schedule ii controlled substance. Also that on May 13th Torres-Juares did knowingly sell, manufacture, deliver, bring into this state, or possess 30 grams of cocaine a schedule ii controlled substance, and did possess a handgun stolen from Anderson county. Further warrants allege that on June 19th Torres-Juares did knowingly possess less than one gram of meth and did have an open container while on a state highway. Antonio Torres-Juares remains in the detention center awaiting bond court.

Car Theft From Convenience Store- Subject Apprehended in Greenville County

Laurens City Police were dispatched to East Main Street, to the Corner Mart, in reference to a motor vehicle theft on Wednesday at 1:39am.

The report states that the owner of the vehicle told police that he had only been in the store for about 10 minutes, but he left his car unlocked with his wallet, a pistol, and his phone on the front seat.

When he realized he left his wallet in the car, he went back outside and then saw that his car was gone.

Two witnesses told police that they saw a man run across the street, jump into the vehicle and drive it off into the city of Laurens.

One of the witnesses let the victim use her Iphone to track his phone with a special app, which placed the phone and alleged car thief on Highway 221 North near the S & H Truck Stop, which is above the I-385 exit, when the phone they were using to track it ran out of battery power.

Greenville Police were alerted and located the subject, McKenzie Remel Cunningham Jr, who already had charges against him in Greenville as well.

Cunningham was located as he ran out of the vehicle on foot and left a passenger inside. Cunningham admitted to taking the vehicle and the stolen handgun was found on his person.

Cunningham was held at the Greenville Detention Center and a detainer hold will be placed on him for the Laurens Police Department.


Leaving Scene of Accident With Damage

Sherry Lynn Driver, age 40 of 136 West Bluford Street Clinton was booked into the Laurens County Detention Center Wednesday charged with Leaving the scene of an accident with damage. She was sentenced to 30 days or $200.


Laures Police Respond to Shoplifting Caught on Tape at Walmart

On Wednesday at 2:48pm Laurens Police were called to Walmart concerning a shoplifting incident that had already occurred, and was in view on video surveillance.

According to the report, the video showed two people at the self-checkout, with the woman putting items in a bag without being scanned, and also covering the bar code of a bag of frozen food with a Kool-Aid envelope so that only the cheaper item would register.

Both people were identified through motor vehicles and will have warrants issued for their arrest.


More Disposed Cases From Common Pleas Court

WLBG continues reports of disposed cases from Common Pleas Court this week under Judge Hocker:

Colin Richard Tata, 35, of 1608 Winding Way, Taylors, pled guilty to reckless driving, and was sentenced to 2 days (time served) 90 days to pay court costs. Charges dismissed under Nolle Prosequi were; driving under the Influence, less than .10, 2nd offense, driving under suspension, license suspended for DUI – 1st offense, uninsured motor vehicle fee violation, 1st offense, and possession of less than one gram of meth. or cocaine base, 1st offense.

In more disposed cases from Common Pleas Court this week under Judge Cooper:

Jertavious Mantrail Mack,27, of 452 Patterson Plant Rd., Enoree, pled guilty to possession of less than one gram of meth. or cocaine base, 1st offense, and was sentenced to time served. Charges dismissed under Nolle Prosequi were; armed robbery, robbery while armed or allegedly armed with a deadly weapon, manufacture, distribute or possess Cocaine 1st offense, unlawful carrying of pistol, possession of 28g (1 oz) or less of marijuana or 10g or less of hash – 1st offense, distribution of methamphetamine, 1st with intent to distribute, and possession of a weapon in a violent crime,

Brandon Kip Teal, 20, of 109 Creamer St., Laurens, pled guilty to common law robbery, strong arm robbery, and was sentenced under the Youthful Offender Act not to exceed 5 years suspended to 3 years’ probation.

City of Clinton Announces Garbage Collection Changes For the Week of June 30th

The City of Clinton Department of Public Works Sanitation Division will revise their garbage collection schedule for the week of June 30, 2019 due to the observation of the July 4th holiday on Thursday, July 4, 2019.

Monday, July 1, 2019   Monday’s route – No Change

Tuesday, July 2, 2019   Tuesday’s route – No Change

Wednesday, July 3 2019   Wednesday’s route – No Change

Thursday, July 4, 2019   No collection

Friday, July 5, 2019   Thursday’s and Friday’s route will be collected

The Department of Public Works reminds all customers to have their garbage carts on the curb by midnight prior to your collection day.

For more information please contact the Department of Public Works by calling (864) 833-7520.

Piedmont Tech Program Explores Cybersecurity

One challenge in cybersecurity work is that the playing field is constantly changing, and not just in a binary way. That can make training and certification a moving target. Piedmont Technical College (PTC) Computer Technology Instructor Henry Ecker says that people interested in the profession need to be good at time management and willing to constantly learn more to keep abreast of rapid technological expansion and innovation.

“It can be intensive,” he said. Employment for people qualified in cybersecurity is strong, but even the companies doing the hiring can be challenged to refine their job descriptions. “Not everyone knows what they need. So it’s a challenge to get the right people in the right positions. That has always been the problem with computer technology.”

Currently there are approximately 2 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the United States, yet there are not enough qualified applicants to fill them.

Piedmont Tech’s cybersecurity concentration program covers many topics on the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) exam, a professional certification that can qualify those who pass for job titles like information security analyst, cybersecurity analyst and security engineer. Part of the coursework is taught using the exam’s preparatory material. The average salary for a cybersecurity analyst in South Carolina is more than $70,000 a year. An “ethical hacker” is defined as a non-malicious person who penetrates a computer network for the purpose of evaluating its security, basically using their skills for good rather than criminal intent.

The PTC program is rigorous and comes with reams of content. Three thick books cover content over two semesters; one is a textbook, and two are lab books.

For more information about Piedmont Tech’s computer technology program, visit www.ptc.edu/computer.

SC Youth Challenge Academy Speaks at Laurens City Council

Stephen Johnson of SC Youth Challenge Academy

At Tuesday night’s meeting of Laurens City council, Stephen Johnson of the South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy presented an

overview of the South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy Program.

Johnson told council that the mission of the South Carolina Youth Challenge Program is to form a strong partnership with youth between the ages of 16 and 18 years old in creating and maintaining a viable plan for their educational and career goals while reaffirming the skills and talents they possess.

“We offer two classes per year, in January and July. Our program provides a wealth of educational enrichment offered by the staff and facilities with the SC National Guard’s commitment to serving the state’s at-risk youth. This collaboration makes an unprecedented pledge of success to our at-risk youth–youth who represent South Carolina’s future,” said Johnson.

The information provided to council states that the Youth Challenge Academy is not for everyone. It’s not a summer camp…it’s tough. When you enroll, you commit to no alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs. You commit to discipline which is the critical factor in helping you build your own confidence, self-respect and physical conditioning.

The Youth Challenge Academy is designed to help youth acquire the basic skills and education necessary to succeed in life. Youth will have the opportunity to earn their General Equivalency Diploma or GED.

“Not Guilty” Verdict in Elrod Trial

Early yesterday afternoon the jury came back with a not guilty decision in the trial of Daniel Stephen Elrod, 34, of 200 Bryson Drive Lot #115 Fountain Inn.

Elrod had been charged with grand larceny and receiving stolen goods, but was tried in absentia, after disappearing after lunch Monday.

Elrod’s defense attorney Dorothy Manigault of Greenville, succeeded to win her case, with neither defendant nor witnesses.

Deputy Solicitor Jared Simmons was unable to prove to the jury that Elrod was actually involved in a crime that involved a Quinton Eaton who is already incarcerated at the Johnson Detention Center.

Eaton, and April Reddin, who is incarcerated at the South Carolina Department of Corrections in Columbia, were both transported to the courtroom to testify that Elrod was involved in the thefts, although the stolen goods were located on Eaton’s mother’s property.

Reddin is serving five years for meth manufacture, larceny, robbery, receiving stolen goods, and grand larceny.

Both Eaton and Reddin denied that they were offered anything in exchange for their testimony.


Continued Coverage of Common Pleas Court From Tuesday

We continue coverage from yesterday when WLBG News learned of a sentence for Eric Preston Finley, 45, of 5061 Highway 49 Laurens. On tuesday he pled guilty to possession of less than one gram of meth. or cocaine base, 1st offense, and was sentenced to 3 years provided upon service of 45 days (time served) balance was suspended to 3 years’ probation – concurrent with other sentences.

Finley also pled guilty to petit or simple larceny – $2,000 or less, and was sentenced to 30 days (time served) 90 days to pay court costs, unlawful carry and was sentenced to 1 year provided upon service of 45 days (time served) balance was suspended to 3 years’ probation concurrent to other sentences, possession of 28g (1 oz) or less of marijuana or 10g or less of hash – 1st offense, and was sentenced to 30 days (time served) 90 days to pay court costs, possession of less than one gram of meth. or cocaine base, 1st offense, and was sentenced to 3 years provided upon service of 45 days (time served) balance is suspended to 3 years’ probation, concurrent with other sentences, possession of less than one gram of meth. or cocaine base, 1st offense, and was sentenced to 3 years provided upon service of 45 days (time served) balance is suspended to 3 years’ probation – inpatient drug rehab and restitution ordered

Finley also pled guilty to resisting arrest, and was sentenced to 1 year provided upon service of 45 days (time served) balance is suspended to 3 years’ probation concurrent with other sentences

Charges dismissed under Nolle Prosequi were, possession. of narcotics 1st offense, Possession of less than one gram of meth. or cocaine base, 1st offense, another count of unlawful carry, possession of other controlled substances 1st offense, distribution of methamphetamine, 1st which excludes manufacturing meth.

Jeremy Daniel Grice, 32, of 131 Able Dr. Laurens, pled guilty to financial transaction card theft, use of vehicle without permission for temporary purpose only, unconnected to other crime, and was sentenced to 3 years suspended to 1-year probation. Charges dismissed under Nolle Prosequi were Grand Larceny, value more than $2,000 but less than $10,000, and two counts of financial identity fraud or identity fraud.

Thomas Lee Jarnagin, 23, of 304 Davidson St., Clinton, had these charges dismissed under Nolle Prosequi; breach of trust with fraudulent intent, value more than $2,000 but less than $10,000, possession of other controlled substance 1st offense, breaking into motor vehicle or tanks, pumps, where fuel, lubricants stored, use of vehicle without permission with intent to deprive, and domestic violence, 2nd degree.