Zoning Changes to Accommodate Growth

Laurens City Council gave final approval this week to changes in zoning rules as the city prepares for its first significant residential developments in decades. At Tuesday Night’s Laurens City Council Meeting, council unanimously gave 2nd and final reading approval for Ordinance 21-03-03. This amends the R-3 Classification in the city zoning code to reduce the minimum lot width from 60 to 50 feet and to also reduce the set-back on the side of homes,.  allow homes to be constructed closer together.

City Attorney Tommy Thompson told council Tuesday night, “The planning commission has studied this ordinance in detail and has recommended the lot width be reduced from sixty to fifty feet, and the side yard setback be reduced from twelve to ten feet, which would be five on each side of the dwelling.” City Council gave 1st reading approval on the ordinance on March 16th.

Mayor Nathan Senn indicated the ordinance will avoid new cookie-cutter houses being constructed.

Burglary Armed with Machete

A burglary while armed with a machete last fall was alleged with a Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrest this week. 40-year-old Brandal Dewayne Clary of Mt. Olive Road, Saluda was charged with 2nd Degree Burglary following his booking Tuesday afternoon.

In a warrant, Deputy Sheriff Oggenfuss states that on October 15th, 2020 Mr. Clary entered a storage building on Highway 72 without consent and with the intent of committing a crime therein. This is alleged to have happened while Clary was accompanied with another participant who was armed with a Machete.

The warrant states that Brandal Clary was caught by the storage building owner during the break-in of the building. Another victim’s property was stored in the building at the time.

Wanted for Burglary & Auto Break-Ins

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a man wanted for several crimes. A Sheriff’s alert states that Brian Shane Smith is wanted for Grand Larceny, multiple Burglary Offenses and Breaking Into Motor Vehicles.

Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of a Brian Shane Smith is asked to call the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office or Crimestoppers. The Sheriff’s Office number is (864) 984-4967. You can submit an tip as to Smith’s whereabouts and remain anonymous with a call to Laurens County Crimestoppers: (864) 68-CRIME. That’s 682-7463.

Mr. Smith reportedly frequents the Cross Hill and Greenwood areas.

Financial Literacy Needed for Prosperity

U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina this week introduced a resolution declaring April as Financial Literacy Month. Senator Scott is co-chair of the Financial Literacy Caucus.

According to the 2019 Survey of Household Use of Banking and Financial Services report by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), approximately 5.4 percent of households in the United States are unbanked and, therefore, have limited or no access to savings, lending, and other basic financial services.

Senator Scott said, “For far too long, we’ve seen the chasm between the working class and the rest of America grow deeper and wider. As we celebrate National Financial Literacy Month, we recognize the incredible impact financial literacy has in bridging that gap and uplifting every American. When families are prosperous, our economy is stronger and our future is more secure.”

Greenwood Charge Man with Downtown Vandalism

Greenwood police detectives have arrested a man in connection with weekend vandalism at a Countybank building, a bank-owned vehicle and at a Greenwood Post Office. The Index-Journal reports that 20-year-old Jonathan Israel Corona of Greenwood was arrested, and police say he’s being charged with three counts of malicious damage to property, valued more than $5,000. Corona was booked at the Greenwood County Detention Center.

Indexjournal.com reports that Greenwood police were called Monday morning about vandalism that happened overnight at the Countybank at 419 Main Street., a company car and the U.S. Post Office on Phoenix Street. According to a report, officers reviewed surveillance video from the area that showed a man getting out of a white car parked at the post office, then is seen spray painting a vehicle and the buildings.

The graffiti mostly appeared to be the letters “SOL” with what appeared to be a trident in the middle, though there were other words spray painted as well, according to the report. Officers were able to identify the man through the surveillance video.

Red Flag Alert Today

A Fed Flag warning is in effect today, from 2 o’clock this afternoon until 8:00 this evening. The combination of winds and low relative humidity is expected to elevate fire danger across northeast Georgia, Upstate South Carolina and the foothills and mountains of Western North Carolina.

Again – The National Weather Service in Greenville-Spartanburg has issued a Red Flag Warning for wind and low relative humidity for our area, which is in effect from 2:00 this afternoon until 8:00 this evening.

Historical Markers Proposed for Two Laurens Sites

Sites for two new historical markers were presented to Laurens City Council last night. During the April meeting of Council, Mrs. Elma Morrison, who is Chair of the city’s Historical Markers Committee, presented proposals for two additional locations.

One of the markers would be at the corner of Hampton Avenue and Caroline Street, designating the Possum Hollow area of town. Mrs. Morrison noted the Bethel A.M.E. Church was located near this intersection on Caroline Street. She noted the church building was designed by African-American Architect Columbus White, who had been born into slavery. The 1868 brick structure collapsed around twenty years ago.

The other location proposed for a historical marker is the Charles Duckett House at 109 Downs Street. Mrs. Morrison explained that Mr. Duckett was a successful businessman who built that house in 1895. Charles Ducket operated a lumber yard in Laurens which, at the time, was the only such business operated in the South by an African-American. Other business interest of Mr. Duckett included a funeral home in Laurens.

Addressing Childhood Mental Health

Laurens County School District 55 has announced an increased number of sessions for the Parent Academy Series this school year. Another session is planned for tomorrow evening – Thursday, April 22nd starting at 6:00 pm. There will be two sessions underway tomorrow, one in Spanish and one in English. Session 4 will include the story of Hayden Hurst and his battle with mental health issues.

District 55 Superintendent Dr. Ameka Thomas said, “We have been pleased with the level of participation in these events, and we are looking to expand the opportunity with these three additional sessions.” She added,

“We recognize the need to continuously develop our ability to meet the needs of our students in creative ways and to work collaboratively with parents and the community in achieving that goal.”

These Parent Academy sessions are virtual meetings using the Zoom platform. Parents or caregivers interested in attending these events can register through www.eventbrite.com

 

For this Thursday, April 22nd Parent Academy Session 4:

 

English: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/144658502475

Academia de padres en español: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/148798318777

 

School District 55 has also added three new Parent Academy Sessions in May 2021. In Session 5, on May 13, 2021, the topic will be “Trauma – Signs, Symptoms, and Types of Treatment.” That will be followed by a session on “Early Attachment in the first year and a half and its effects on SEL, the brain, and relationships later in life and what is needed in that time period” on May 20, 2021. The final session of Parent Academy, on May 27, 2021, will present information on “Highly Sensitive Children – 1/5 kids are highly sensitive and often are labeled, medicated, and suffer in silence, feeling like something is wrong with them.”

 

Parents or caregivers interested in attending these events can register at:

 

Session 5: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/151230517549

 

Session 6: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/151230651951

 

Session 7: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/151231287853

Food Lion Open in Clinton

Clinton’s former Bi-Lo store building is reopening today with a new owner. Salisbury, North Carolina-Based Food Lion announces the opening today of their newest Food Lion located at 927 South Broad Street in Clinton. The new store will have approximately 75 associates and

serve customers daily from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m.

The new Food Lion will feature its MVP loyalty program with its personalized Shop and Earn monthly reward offers.

Store Manager Donnie Huyck said, “Clinton is a great community with outstanding people. My team and I look forward to getting to know more of our neighbors and serving our community.” He said the store will be a place for all the community to have a great shopping experience.

Customers can choose from an extensive product assortment, including in-store cut fresh fruits and vegetables, “grab-and-go” meal options to help make any meal easier, delicious hand-battered fried chicken and 100% USDA Choice fresh beef. The store also offers a variety of Food Lion’s Nature’s brand products.

Food Lion said that store neighbors can find an expanded variety of great local South Carolina offerings, such as fresh produce from W.P. Rawl Farms from Pelion, S.C. along with Columbia’s-own Cromer’s Popcorn and Iron City Coffee freshly roasted in Blythewood.

To help invite neighbors to the new store, welcome gifts were provided to

firefighters at the Clinton Fire Department and Joanna Fire Station #1; faculty and staff at Clinton, Eastside, Hartness-Thornwell and MS Bailey Elementary Schools plus Clinton Middle and Thornwell Charter Schools; and staff at Clinton City Hall.

Food Lion notes it has also donated $1,500 to Harvest Hope Food Bank.

The food bank or one of its local feeding agency partners will also regularly

receive food from the new store to distribute to neighbors in need through Food Lion Feeds’ industry-leading food rescue program. Food Lion Feeds has donated the equivalent of more than 750 million meals since 2014 to food-insecure neighbors.

Employee Theft Alleged

An employee theft for a Green Pond convenience store last year was alleged following an arrest this week by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office. 37-year-old Daniel Jason Stephens of Green Pond Road, Gray Court was booked Monday and has been charged with Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent.

In a warrant with that charge, Sheriff’s Investigator Blackmon states that on August 30th of 2020 in Laurens County Daniel Jason Stephens took cash from his employer with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of the Sav-Way store at 3224 Green Pond Road.

Daniel Jason Stephens has since been released from the Johnson Detention Center on posting a $15,000 bond.

Drug & Traffic Charges

Clinton Police yesterday charged a woman with both a traffic and a drug charge which allegedly occurred Monday. Tuesday, 33-year-old Tanya Krystal Geddings of East Ferguson Street, Clinton was charged with Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance and Driving under Suspension.

Clinton Officer Coleman states that on April 19th at a location on Willard Road in Clinton Ms. Geddings had two blue, round pills in her possession which have been identified as Oxycodone Hydrochloride. This was noted to be a Schedule II Controlled Substance which she did not have the authority to possesses. She is also accused of operating a vehicle on the public roadways of South Carolina while her privilege to do so has been revoked or denied by the state. This also allegedly occurred Monday in the City Limits of Clinton.

Tanya Geddings was released later yesterday on personal recognizance bonds totaling $2,148.

Woman Charged in Man’s Death

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office has made an arrest in connection with the death of a man in the Leesville Church Road area last Thursday. Laurens County Deputies were dispatched to Leesville Church Road, west of Clinton at about 7:30 last Thursday evening on report of a person being hit by a vehicle. On arrival, deputies found a man deceased. Initial reports indicated he was taken to the Laurens County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:01 pm.

The Sheriff’s Office today stated that prior to the fatal incident, witnesses observed the man and a female arguing in a truck. At some point, the victim exited the vehicle and the subject attempted to drive away. Deputies believe that at this time, the victim was struck by the vehicle.

The driver was identified as 42-year-old Catherine Ophelia Knight of Gopher Trail, Laurens. She was charged today with Driving Under the Influence and Reckless Homicide for the death of the passenger, 65 year old Marlon Brando Johnson, also of Laurens.

 

 

4K Registration Underway, Plus Tours

M.S.  Bailey Child Development Center in Laurens County School District 56 is continuing to enroll 4K students. Parents who have not yet registered their child for the 2021-2022 school year are invited to stop by M. S. Bailey Monday-Friday from 9:00 to 3:00. Bring with you two proofs of residency, your child’s official birth certificate, immunization record, and Medicaid card if applicable.

If your child is currently a student at Bailey, you do NOT need to register him or her for 5K in District 56. The school will transfer records to the appropriate school.

The M.S. Bailey Child Development Center is planning to host several tours along with question-and-answer sessions for parents and guardians interested in the School District 56 4K program for next year, 2021-2022. Those interested are invited to go to the District 56 website, https://msb.lcsd56.org/, and click on the link to the form linked in the Registration block or across the top of the page in the alert banner. Registration for next year is also open. Anyone with questions is invited to call 864-833-0836.

Assault & Battery of High and Aggravated Nature

A man was arrested this past weekend from an incident that reportedly involved gunfire late last week. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office Sunday charged 51- year-old Duane Deidrea Hope of Queen Street, Fountain Inn with Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature. A warrant cites an investigation of Deputy Williams as indicating that on Friday, April 16th Duane Deidera Hope intentionally committed an assault on a victim by presenting a handgun and firing multiple rounds, following a verbal argument.

Duane D. Hope was released later Sunday on a $30,000 bond.

Possession with Intent to Distribute

Meth Possession inside Clinton this past Friday was alleged of a man arrested this weekend by Clinton Police. 59-year-old Wesley Gregory Moon of Rocky Springs Church Road, Laurens was charged with 3rd or Subsequent Offense, Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute.

Officer Mosley states that on April 16th Wesley Gregory Moon had in his possession in Clinton a quantity of methamphetamine that weighted more than one gram, noting this was prima facia evidence of the intent to distribute. The warrant states that Mr. Moon has had two prior convictions for illegal narcotics.

Wesley Gregory Moon remained in the Johnson Detention Center last night with a bond on his Meth charge set at $5,000.

Assault on a Person and a Car

Assault on a person and a car were alleged with a Laurens Police arrest last weekend at Spring Street Apartments. 29-year-old LaShonda Neshell Henry of Earl Street, Laurens was charged with 2nd Degree Assault and Battery and with Malicious Injury to Personal Property. In addition to an alleged assault on a person, Ms. Henry was accused of maliciously damaging a blue 2001 Honda by scratching it with a knife on both sides of the doors and on the hood.

LaShonda Henry was later released on bonds that included $1,000 on the Malicious Damage and $5,000 on the 2nd Degree Assault and Battery charge.

Disturbance at a Motel

A Saturday night disturbance at a Clinton area motel was alleged with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrest of 38-year-old Steven Shannon Frazier of Reno Road, Clinton. He was allegedly found behaving in a loud and boisterous manner while yelling profanities, all while being in a grossly intoxicated state at the Days Inn on Highway 56 north, Clinton. A ticket charging him with Disorderly Conduct was issued at 8:48 Saturday night. Steven Frazier was later released from the Johnson Detention Center on a $257.50 personal recognizance bond.

Endangering Life

A woman has been charged with endangering following a Sunday afternoon arrest by the Highway Patrol. She is 27-year-old Kendall Ashton Lee of John Dodd Road, Wellford

Trooper J.C. Ward issued tickets charging Ms. Lee with Driving under the Influence and Driving under Suspension of a Driver’s License at 4:48 Sunday afternoon on Highway 14 at North Old Laurens Road. Additional citations accuse Lee of Child Endangerment Sunday afternoon along with two counts of Violating Vehicle Restraint rules, also issued at 4:48 Sunday afternoon.

Kendall Ashton Lee was released from the Johnson Detention Center yesterday.

Failure to Make Support for 7 Years

Failure to make support payments for almost seven years was alleged of a woman arrested this past Sunday. 44-year-old Lisa Ann Long of Taylor Drive, Fountain Inn was served a Bench Warrant citing her with Contempt of Family Court. It states that she had failed to make support payments since June 23rd of 2014. Lisa Ann Long remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Grabbed Shotgun Butt from Gator

Alleged perceived threats were noted following an arrest last Thursday. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested 69-year-old Raymond Truszkowski of Fairview Road, Fountain Inn. He was later charged with Breach of Peace of an Aggravated Nature. Deputy Hall states that on April 15th the accused committed Aggravated Breach of Peace in that he, while involved in a verbal altercation with a property owner, said he would “Finish This,” while picking up the handle/butt of a shotgun from the back of the subject’s Gator recreational vehicle.

Raymond Truszkowski was later released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.