New Electronic Medical Record System for GHS-LCMH

Laurens County Memorial Hospital will transition to a new electronic medical record and billing system this Saturday, October 1st. The new system, called “Epic,” has been implemented at other GHS hospitals and physician practices. It’s designed to allow the health system’s providers to more efficiently care for patients by operating on one electronic medical record system. LCMH Campus President Rich D’Alberto said “Epic puts patient’s health information in one secure location that can be accessed anywhere along the care continuum including the physician, specialist, emergency room, and the hospital.”  D’Alberto added “The system also allows patient access, which eases patients’ ability to schedule appointments and view parts of their electronic health record.

This information will be viewable through a secure GHS “MyChart” account available via the GHS website or the GHS MyChart app. Patients with a GHS MyChart account can communicate with their physician offices, schedule and keep track of appointments, view their prescriptions and health conditions. Patients can also view and pay medical bills through the account.

D’Alberto said “We are excited to offer Epic’s innovative health tools to our patients and medical providers. We are also grateful for your understanding during our transition to the new system which may result in longer patient visits during our learning curve.” D’Alberto added that Epic is another example of the GHS mission to transform healthcare and constantly improve.

Council Committee to Visit Animal Control

Laurens County Director of Public Works Rob Russian addressed County Council this week regarding the public outcry over a mass euthanasia at the County Animal Control Shelter. A large group of people were at the previous Council meeting, concerned about the euthanasia of almost all dogs at the center the previous week. At this Tuesday’s meeting, Director Russian said that he was open to council’s direction of an advisory panel to investigate the complaints. Council members Diane Anderson, Stuart Jones, and Garrett McDaniel were assigned by Council Chair Joe Wood to form a committee that will meet with the staff at animal control and report their findings back to council.

Wire Fraud of $32,000

A wire fraud perpetrated on a Clinton resident reportedly led to the theft of over $32,000 this week. A local woman advised Clinton Public Safety late yesterday morning that she had received an email from a business that she believed to be a prominent Clinton business Tuesday, indicating she needed to make a wire transfer of funds. When the verification of transfer came to her she noted it was not written in a manner the local company uses. A contact with the local business indicated that they had not made the request. It was then concluded that someone had gained access to the email server of the local business. Officer Mercer reported it appears that emails had been re-routed several times before getting to their eventual destination. A male suspect was identified from North Georgia. A report notes that the scheme resulted in the theft of $32,832 from the Clinton area woman.

Hit in Head at the Liquor House

A belated reported was filed with the Sheriff’s Office yesterday about an assault with a 9 mm pistol the assault had occurred on Monday, September 19th on S. Cook Street, Cross Hill. He said he’s had several arguments with the suspect, another Cross Hill man. The victim said that the other man, a cousin of his, had shot a 9 mm pistol in his direction, at his feet, on the 19th. He added that while at the liquor house that morning he was hit in the head from behind and he turned around to see the cousin, with the pistol. He said he went unconscious for a time. He said after coming to, he did not call the police, but was going to handle the matter himself. He indicated he has had headaches since being hit in the head, apparently with the gun, and they’re getting worse. He reportedly now wants to prosecute the cousin for the assault.

Forgery Charge from Counterfeit

An attempt to cash a counterfeit check this summer was alleged in a warrant served yesterday by Fountain Inn Police. 30-year-old Christopher Harold Summerall of 148 St. Kitts Court, Greenwood was charged with Forgery. Fountain Inn Officer Joel Rivera states that on July 22nd the defendant signed and attempted to cash a counterfeited check drawn on BB&T in an attempt to permanently deprive the merchant. He states this took place in the Laurens County portion of Fountain Inn.

Christopher Harold Summerall remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning with a cash or surety bond set at $7,500.

NJROTC Drill Team Surprise Themselves


The Laurens High School NJROTC Drill Team started off their drill season with a surprise victory last Thursday at the Upstate/Foothills Drill Meet, held at the Naval Operational Support Center at Donaldson Center.

As in past years, Laurens NJROTC went into this drill meet with the idea that this would be a practice, sizing up where their team was in comparison to other teams around the area. Commandeer Linardi said the Laurens team members were pleasantly surprised when this “practice” turned into an Overall Championship. Laurens NJROTC took 1st Place Overall, for the first time in school history, edging out Boiling Springs and Wren High School teams. The Laurens team placed in the top 3 in all but one competitive area.

Shot in the Buttocks during Gun Demonstration

Clinton Public Safety responded to GHS Laurens County Memorial Hospital at 12:19 yesterday afternoon on a report that a gunshot victim had been brought in by a family member. Sgt. Marshall was advised that the 27-year-old male victim had an apparently minor gunshot injury to his buttocks. The accidental shooting reportedly occurred about noon at Bridgeman’s Park Drive. The victim had been transported to the hospital by a cousin, who was also the shooter. The officer spoke with the shooter, who said he was trying to show the victim how to clean the chamber of a Glock 40 caliber pistol by breaking it down. He said he took the magazine out of the pistol but forgot to clear the chamber, so when he attempted to take the action apart, he needed to pull the trigger. In doing so, he fired the one round from the chamber into the left rear buttocks of the victim. During a police visit with the victim in the ER, the victim reportedly stated he did not want to press charges from the incident.

Administrators Doing Substitute Teaching

School District 55 Superintendant Steven Peters updated the school board this week about his District Office Substitute Teaching Plan. Peters previously announced that District Staff would be assisting in filling the need for substitute teachers in the school district. He reported this week that Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Services, Dr. George Ward, was the first of 10 department heads to serve as a substitute teacher. Other District Directors that are to be doing substitute teaching are Tara Dean, Ed Murray, Ameca Thomas, Bill Finley, Jody Penland, Wanda Knight, Renee Madden and Robert Short. Dr. Peters will be substituting next week – on October 7th – for a high school physics class. He jokingly said that he will have an advisor on speed dial in case he has a problem teaching the class.

Pitts Dislodges $100,000 for Park

Laurens County Council Chair Joe Wood announced this week that the county will receive a $100,000 reimbursement for the new Tumbling Shoals Park, thanks to Representative Mike Pitts. Money to construct the park on the Reedy River at Tumblin’ Shoals was supposed to come to the county from a settlement from the Colonial Oil Pipeline spill some 20 years ago, but, as Chairman Wood put it, “Everyone had their hands in the till.” Chairman Wood added “But Representative Pitts worked hard to see that it came to the place it is designated for.”

Internet Down, Wire Cut

Charter Communications reported vandalism to a cable on Gray Court’s Cook Street. Deputy Turner was dispatched to Cook Street at 2:58 yesterday afternoon and met with a Charter representative. He said a worker, responding to a report of internet service being down, notified him yesterday that it appears someone pulled the Charter line off a pole and broke it in two.

The officer spoke with a resident who reported having had an argument with her estranged husband prior to the internet going out.

Baby Mama Texting Baby Daddy & Daddy’s Fiancé

A Gray Court area man reported harassing text messages from his baby’s mama. Deputy McMahan responded to the man’s residence at 9:20 last night. The man said his Baby’s Mama has been texting him about their daughter, who is reportedly sick and in the hospital. The texts reportedly asked him to sell some pills for Baby Mama because she’s broke and needs some money. The officer took photos of the texts. The man said his baby’s mama is also texting his fiancé. Sgt. McMahan contacted the baby’ mama, who said she wasn’t testing the baby’s daddy. She said he has an app on his phone that can create fake texts. Both Baby Daddy and Baby Mama were advised to find an alternative way to communication about their daughter.

Council Recognizes “State Detention Center Officer of the Year”

South Carolina’s 2016 “Detention Center Officer of the Year” awarded at the South Carolina Jail Administrator’s Awards Banquet September 20th was presented to Laurens County Council last night. He’s Deputy Scott Weeks of the Johnson Detention Center, who Sheriff Chastain promoted to Sergeant after he received the state award.  Johnson Detention Center Administrator Joe Tyson introduced Council members to Sgt. Weeks last night, and reviewed some of his many responsibilities at the county’s detention center.

The 1982 Clemson University graduate is Program Coordinator. He manages inmate religious and educational services. Deputy Weeks introduced “Life Ministry” to the detention center in 2014. Major Tyson noted that of 128 inmates who have participated in the “Life Ministry” program, only twelve have later returned to the detention center.

Deputy Weeks also serves as PREA Coordinator for the Johnson Detention Center. His work is credited with assisting the local center to become the first in the state to achieve this certification on first attempt. PREA implements policies from the Prison Rape Elimination Act.

Tyson said that Deputy Weeks continues to receive numerous accolades and praise for his work with inmates.

After the award was announced this month Sheriff Chastain stated “Sergeant Weeks’ leadership, character and commitment to his chosen law enforcement career is most commendable and worthy of consideration.”  The Sheriff said the recognition and promotion was “most deserving.”

Major Joseph Tyson said “Sergeant Weeks is truly a major asset to the success we have had in operating the county Jail.” Noting that Weeks is the first person from Laurens County’s detention center to receive this award, Tyson told Council last night “Deputy Weeks is a certified G.E.D. instructor, and our disciplinary board chairman, and since he assumed that position, inmates being disciplined decreased by 60%, and fights among inmates that required physical restraint has been reduced by 75%.

Before earning a Bachelor of Science degree from Clemson University in 1982, Weeks was on Clemson’s 1981 National Championship football team.  Major Tyson told council that there are now 16 deputies at the detention center with college degrees.

Safe Routes to School

A lack of safe routes for walking to school here in Laurens County was stressed to Laurens County Council last night.  Calvin Whitmire of the “Bridging the Gap Hype Team” gave council members a power point presentation entitled “Safe Routes To School.” Noting that students who live within a mile of their school are not eligible for taking a school bus, he said the Hype team has researched routes that these students take. Whitmire indicated that in walking these routes, the HYPE team found many hazards along the way. These hazards included areas with no sidewalk, no crossing guard and not enough lighting during the shorter winter months. Calvin Whitmire told council he was delighted to be getting involved with youth , encouraging them to become more civic-minded.” Whitmire and a group of volunteers operate the “Bridging the Gap” program afternoons on the south side of Laurens.

During Council Comment time last night, Councilman Stuart Jones said that he will start to work on Safe Routes to School.

Another person who is involved with the Safe Routes to School program is J.R. Reid, a Physical Education Teacher and Athletic Director at Sanders Middle School in Laurens. Approximately 320 students from Sanders will be walking at school along with teachers, parents and community leaders next week. It’s part of local participation in the International Walk to School Day on October 5th. Walk to/at School Day events are being conducted to raise awareness of the need to create safer routes for walking and bicycling. They also seek to emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children along with pedestrian safety, traffic congestion and concern for the environment.

Efforts to create safe routes to school have been underway in Laurens County for at least a couple of years. Ford Elementary School has been recognized as the first school in this area to make significant progress on this.

PC Hosting Candidates Forum October 6th

Presbyterian College has announced its holding a “Meet the Candidates 2016” political forum next week. It’s Thursday, October 6th at 7:00 pm. The Presbyterian College political science department will hold “Meet the Candidates 2016” in Edmunds Hall. The forum will host candidates running for public office in the upcoming General Election.

Dr. Erin McAdams, associate professor of political science has worked with County Councilman, Garrett McDaniel, to organize the event. McDaniel said “It is imperative that each voting citizen in this county be informed on the policies and plans of every candidate.” He added “Providing events like this where nearly all of the candidates can present their platforms to our community is of the utmost importance. Knowing the facts that are important to you, give each of us an opportunity to help mold the society we want to see.”

Candidates participating in the forum include Hosea Cleveland, Democratic candidate for the US Congress from District 3. For the State House Seat 16 seat, both incumbent Republican Mark Willis and Democrat Challenger Brandon Greene are to participate. House Seat 42 Democratic Incumbent Mike Anthony and Republican Challenger Tommy Mann are also to participate. Also to participate in the forum will be Stephane Williams, Independent candidate for Laurens County Sheriff in the upcoming November General Election.

The moderated forum will be open to the public. The moderator will be asking the candidates questions gathered from the public ahead of the event.

Unlawful Entry & Theft

The Sheriff’s Office made an arrest yesterday for an alleged break-in and theft from a Laurens area home earlier this month. 53-year-old Paul Stephen Romines of 3302Apple Orchard Road, Clinton was charged with Burglary 2nd Degree and Petit Larceny. Investigator Shelton states that on September 11th Romines entered a dwelling on Hanks Road, Laurens without consent and with intent to commit a crime therein. Romaines then allegedly took a Frigidaire air conditioning unit valued at $350, with intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. Paul Stephen Romines was being held overnight in the Johnson Detention Center, pending a bond hearing.

Breach of Trust

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested a Lake Greenwood resident on a Breach of Trust case from this year. 38-year-old Robert Donald Lowe Jr. was booked with an address in Crystal Bay, Cross Hill, while the warrant noted an address on Forrest Drive, Cross Hill. Lowe was charged with Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent. The warrant states that from February 27th to August 18th Mr. Lowe received in trust personal property valued at $2,000 or less and appropriated this property to his own use, with intent to defraud the owner of the property. Robert Donald Lowe Jr. was released on a $2,000 surety bond.

Probation Violation

A Wattsville resident was booked yesterday on a Violation of Probation charge.  State Pardon, Probation and Parole arrested 22-year-old Markevious Devonte Anderson of 7 Wright Street, Laurens. He is accused of failing to give truthful reports to his agent during an office visit yesterday, of failing to allow his agent access to his home the day before, of failing to refrain from substance use, indicated by a positive test for marijuana yesterday. He is also accused of being behind in fees and charges and of failing to follow the advice and instructions of his agent. With a cash or surety bond set at $15,000, Markevious Anderson remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Facebook Checked for Evidence

Clinton Public Safety was dispatched to Bailey Street at 9:13 last night on report of an assault. A woman indicated her teen-aged grandson had been assaulted. The teen indicated a woman from the neighborhood had come up behind him and hit him in the back of the head. Officer Yelton noted redness there. An adult woman was also reportedly listed as a victim in the incident. There was also a report of threats to kill being made. Officers checked a video posted to Facebook which reportedly contained audio with some of the words being exchanged. Officers talked with the suspect, who said she had been angered by slurs directed toward her. She was placed on trespass, but the purported victims declined to prosecute.

District 55 School Trustees Updated on Apprenticeship at ZF

Details on a just-started ZF Transmissions Apprenticeship Program were presented to the District 55 School Board at last night’s September meeting. In partnership with Laurens County School Districts 55 and 56, and Piedmont Technical College, students earn an associate degree from Piedmont Tech and begin their careers as industrial maintenance technicians with ZF in just three years thru this program.

Apprentices are assigned mentors at the facility and receive intensive on-the-job training, supplemented with a specially designed curriculum at Piedmont Technical College. In addition to earning an associate degree, program graduates will receive apprenticeship certificates from the South Carolina Department of Labor along with licensing and regulation from the German-American Chamber of Commerce.

ZF, one of the largest automotive suppliers worldwide, produces approximately 1.2 million transmissions in Laurens County annually. ZF’s Gray Court facility manufactures its 8-speed automatic transmission, as well as the world’s first 9-speed automatic transmission. ZF is currently running similar apprenticeship programs in Michigan and Illinois.

2017-2018 Teacher of Year for District 56 Announced

The 2017 – 2018 Teacher of the Year for School District 56 was announced at last night September School Board meeting. The name of the person selected for the honor had been sealed in an envelope at the conclusion of the selection process, to remain a mystery until last night.

First, the Teachers of the Year from all District 56 schools were called to the front. They are Clara Benson of M.S. Bailey, Ann Brewington of Clinton Elementary, Jo White of Eastside, Kelly Aldridge of Joanna Woodson Elementary, Casey Spain of Clinton Middle and John Michael Hammond of Clinton High School.

District 56 Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields asked for the envelope, it was unsealed and he announced the winner to the school board and gathered audience.

“And the winner is….2017-2018, which is next year, Laurens County School District 56 Teacher of the Year…..Katie Aldridge!” (applause)