Finally Friday Beach Bash Tonight on the Public Square

For the second summer, Main Street Laurens is having a “Finally Friday” celebration each final Friday of the month. Main Street Director Jonathan Irick said tonight’s theme focuses on the Beach.

tropical island players “We’re excited! Tonight is our ‘Beach Bash’ and we’re going to be featuring the Caribbean sounds of The Tropical Island Players from 7:00 to 9:00. The total event ‘Finally Friday on the Square’ will be happening from 6:00 to 9:00 tonight and we’re going to be doing Ice Cream Floats for $6, with a commemorative mug you get to take home. The businesses will be open late. We’ve got some activities for the kids. We’ll be doing some …what’s we’re calling ‘Beach Blanket Bingo’ where you can win some prizes. ….and a lot of fun going on tonight.”

Irick said there will be concessions, including beer and wine.

Group Study on Population Decline in Laurens County

Laurens County is the largest county in South Carolina……that’s losing population!

It’s one of 12 counties in the state where the population is declining. And one of four here in the Upstate, Neighboring Union and Abbeville are also in that group.

On the other hand, neighboring Greenwood and Newberry counties have positive growth, along with the bigger Greenville and Spartanburg.

kingWhy is this? King Dixon spoke to Laurens Rotary Thursday about a grassroots group that has been looking to see what needs to change here. He explained it like your doctor, when you go for an annual checkup. King said the doctor doesn’t spend time going over all that’s right about your health, but focuses on what’s wrong, so you get healthier. Citing his love for Laurens County, he said that’s what this group has been doing – looking to see what needs fixing. And now they’re making the tour, meeting with local groups and governmental entities, explaining what they found.

Of several areas their study revealed, he focused on the need for planning. He said the county needs to plan for positive growth, where the value of our land increases, and where others can’t come in next to our property with something that decreases our value while also making our life less enjoyable.

Noting that the state requires a new comprehensive plan to be submitted every ten years, King Dixon suggested the group wants to have a through plan prepared for 2020. He noted that County Council has just approved funding a part-time planner to work on planning, at the suggestion of the new County Administrator; and that a grad student from Clemson is being brought on board in a part-time capacity for that purpose

Dixon said that good planning will help increase the tax base so that the county can afford to provide services without raising taxes.

Clinton Man Arrested on Multiple Warrants

Officer Yelton of the Clinton Department of Public Safety responded to the area of the Home Store in Lydia Mill concerning an assault. The complainant stated that he arrived at a Pechtree Street Residence and knocked on the door. He stated he was invited in and upon entering was grabbed by a male suspect. He said a female then pulled a gun out and pointed it at him. He said it was dark and he couldn’t see what kind of gun was pointed at him. Other officers spoke with a resident of the home, who stated the victim was inside the home but was not assaulted. The resident stated that she requested the complainant leave the home and he did so without incident. While speaking to the complainant further he was asked if he wished to prosecute and he said no. Te officer offered the complainant a ride to his cousin’s residence and he declined. He then identified the subject that allegedly grabbed him. Officers then found the subject had warrants for his arrest. While confirming the warrants, the complainant left the location with no further issue. taylor rodriquez 0000080721(3)Rodriquez Dakim Quamane Taylor age 24 of  590 Phillips St. M1 Clinton was booked Thursday into the Johnson Detention Center charged with multiple previous warrants:

DUS 2nd, Warrant states on May 14th 2016, did operate a motor vehicle on a public highway while license was suspended with one prior conviction of dus within last 5 years, Offence occurred within the city limits of Clinton.  $26,903 surety bond

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia warrant states on May 14, 2016 did have in his possession one electronic scale with reidue

Possesion of a stolen handgun: Warrant states on May 14th did knowingly posses a stolen handgun a Taurus 38 special revolver.

Weapons / Unlawful Carrying of a Pistol warrant states did knowingly carry a handgun about his person without authority to do so

Breach of Peace, Aggravated in Nature warrant states may 14th did go armed offensively to the terror of the people by acting in concert with two other defendants and offensively brandishing and waiving a revolver about a convenience store parking lot open to the public. The defendant taunted other patrons of the establishment in a pervasive and aggravated nature.

Failure to Stop for Blue Light warrant states did fail to stop a motor vehicle when signaled by a city of Clinton officer by means of a flashing blue light. the defendant did accelerate his vehicle and disregard a stop sign in an attempt to avoid the persuing law enforecement vehicle. The defendant then fled on foot after abruptly stopping his vehicle behind a residence in Clinton.

Rodriquez Dakim Quamane Taylor remains in the detention center on $26,903 surety bond

Two Rotarians Honored for 50 Years of Service

The Laurens Rotary Club honored two members for 50 Years of Service through the Rotary Clubat Thursday’s meeting. Recognized for meeting the Rotary International standard for good citizenship and solid reputation were Rotarians Herbert Adams and Bland Roper. In making the presentations, Rotarian Joe Babb said Adams and Roper have been “doing good in the world for 50 years.”


Two Cross Hill Residents Charged With Grand Larceny

burnett tyler 0000112428Tyler David Burnett age 25 of 146 Hannah Drive  Cross Hill was booked Wednesday into the Johnson Detention Center by the Sheriff’s Office, charged with burglary and grand larceny. Warrants state that on July 1st, it is alleged that  Burnett did enter a dwelling in Laurens County without consent and with intent to commit a crime therein and did take and carry away tools and money with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property valued at $2,025 and is the property of the victim. Burnett remains in the detention center on $8000 bond.


harris tina 0000092843(1)His alleged accomplis, Tina Ann Marie Harris was also charged with burglary and Grand Larceny and released on $6000 bond.


Reckless Driver Arrested in Gray Court

Thursday at 4:30pm, Corporal Edwards of the Sheriff’s Office was traveling on Highway 14 headed towards the interstate when a white in color Dodge Dart was traveling in the same lane as the officer. The vehicle in front of the patrol car had to slam on brakes and swerve because the Dart came close to striking it. Corporal Edwards spun the marked patrol car around and intitiated a traffic stop. The driver, 31 year old Nicholas Robert Sommerfield of 5202 Lucerne Ave. Kalamazoo Michigan was arrested, charged with reckless driving and transported to the Johnson detention center. He was later released on bond.

Young Man Charged With Multiple Traffic Violations

herbert killijah 000011242919 year old Killijah Deva Herbert of 178 John Rushton Rd. Saluda was ticketed thursday for Driving Vehicle at Speed Greater than is reasonable under conditions, Violation of Beginner’s Permit and Leaving the scene of accident,vehicle unattended. He was later released on $5,310 bond


Handgun Stolen From Clinton Residence

At 1:12 Thursday afternoon Sergeant Johnson of the Sheriff’s Office met with a Lake Rd. Clinton resident concerning a stolen revolver. The complainant said she saw it on July 7th when a person that no longer lives at the residence had it in his hand and was walking toward a truck still on the property. She said that she believed the weapon was put back in the shed on the property and on July 8th she noticed the gun missing because someone was interested in buying it. The complainant said she would have the info on the gun when investigators follow up so it can be entered into NCIC.

Suspicious Card Activity

Sergeant Johnson of the Sheriffs Office met with a complainant Thursday at 4:49. The complainant stated that he had gone to the beach and was looking at his banking information online and discovered someone had made 2 atm withdrawals on July 21st in Las Vegas. He said he had contacted his bank to freeze the card and that he had this happen on July 5th from the same location and had a separate incident report for that occurrence. Investigations will continue with this case.


Alleged Burglary In Gray Court

Deputy Edwards of the Sheriffs Office was dispatched Thursday at 10:22am to an Epperly Lane Gray Court residence in reference to a burglary. Upon arrival, Corporal Edwards spoke with the complainant who stated his wife had been gone for around 2 weeks to visit family and when she returned she noticed some of her jewelry missing. Te complainant said that he had two subjects come over to his residence to clean his home on July 15th while his wife was gone. He stated that another subject was with them. e stated that on July 17th he noticed two of his rings were missing from his dresser drawer. He said he walked outside and confronted these same subjects telling them he was going to stay outside and for them to go in and make his rings reappear. He said they came out and said they had found the rings. He said since his wife had returned she found a vacuum cleaner and two necklaces missing. He said a witness had told him he saw his stolen items in on eof the subject’s house. Te incident will be turned over to investigations.

Stolen Spray Gun

Lieutenant Richards of the Sheriffs Office responded to a Terry’s Park Drive Laurens residence Thursday at 8:53 am concerning a theft from a motor vehicle. The complainant stated a commercial spray gun had been stolen for the back of a truck at the residence. She said an alleged subject had been in the park late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning knocking on resident’s doors. The Sheriff’s Office was notified and Sergeant Johnson responded and found no one in the park at that time. The incident will be forwarded to investigations.

Missing Person Sought – Newberry County

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The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a missing person.

Robert Lester Jones, 32, (pictured above), was last seen on Sunday, July 24th around 7pm on Evans Street in Newberry.

Jones is described as a white male, 5 foot 11 inches tall and weighing approximately 200 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

He was last seen wearing a blue striped shirt, blue jeans and a multi-colored welder’s cap.

Anyone with any information abut the location of Robert Lester Jones is asked to contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office (803)321-2211.  Their email address:

Bonds Denied on New Arson Charges

Bonds were denied yesterday afternoon for three men who have been charged with the burning of the old Laurel Hill Baptist Church building in Waterloo last Saturday.

The Sheriff’s Office Tuesday arrested 72-year-old William Edward Prince of 253 Kirby Road, Waterloo on two counts of 1st Degree Arson and one charge of Criminal Conspiracy. In addition to the church fire, one warrant stated that he did counsel and procure the burning of the Masonic Lodge located behind the church, in addition to having conspired with the other two men and burned the old church building.

The second 1st Degree Arson charge was added Tuesday for the two men initially arrested last weekend on charges they conspired to and then burned the church building. As with the first two charges, bond was denied also on the 2nd Arson charge yesterday afternoon for 31-year-od Patrick Kendall Sullivan and 34-year-old Timothy William Pyle, both of 1142 Dogwood Road, Gray Court.

All three men remained in the Laurens County Detention Center today.

  4th Person Charged in Waterloo Church Fire

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested a 4th person in connection with the fire that destroyed the old Laurel Hill Baptist Church off Highway 221 in Waterloo last Saturday. 29-year-old Joshua Allen Fowler of 80 Diane Drive, Laurens was charged with Accessory after the Fact to a Felony. Sheriff’s Lt. J.D. Shelton states that on July 23rd Fowler rendered assistance to a felon, knowing that the felon had committed 1st Degree Arson; this assistance rendered with the intent of assisting the felon to avoid the consequences of his crime.

A $15,000 cash or surety bond was set on the Accessory after the Fact to a Felony charge. Joshua Allen Fowler remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

24 New Charges allege Mail and Bank Card Thefts

A woman arrested two weeks ago for drug and firearms warrants is now facing another 24 charges from the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office.

At 8:36 Thursday morning, July 14th Deputy Richey was dispatched to a residence on Indian Mound Road in the Ware Shoals area where a resident reported a woman had come to her door, appearing to be on some form of drugs. The woman had asked for directions, indicating she was lost The resident noted observing a pistol in the woman’s possession. On arrival Deputy Richey noted the visitor spoke with slurred speech. In checking a bag for the pistol, the officer reported finding a 25-caliber semi-automatic handgun, methamphetamine and four yellow tablets of Clonazepam. He also allegedly found 20 debit cards with different names and a bag containing mail with various addresses.

27-year-old Candace Heather Tranah of 505 Oak Hill Road, Belton was served Laurens County warrants charging her with Possession of Less than One Gram of Methamphetamine, Possession of a Controlled Substance and with Unlawful Carrying of a Pistol. Cash or surety bonds were set totaling $10,000 on these three charges.

Now, the Sheriff’s Office has added another 24 charges to Ms. Tranah. Following further investigation from Sheriff’s Sgt. Farrah Cook, Tranah has been charged with one Count of Bank Transaction Card Theft and 23 counts of Petit Larceny. She is accused of stealing mail from some 20 Waterloo addresses and 3 Ware Shoals addresses. Jail records note that bond has been denied on the 24 new charges.

Candace Heather Tranah remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor

The Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested a man on allegations of sexual conduct with a four-year-old boy earlier this year. 28-year-old Joseph Darrell Smith of 14434 Highway 221 South, Waterloo is charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor, or Attempt, 1st Degree. Sgt.Carter states that on or about March 11th, 2016 in Laurens County Joseph Darrell Smith did engage in sexual battery by touching a four-year-old victim’s genital and by having the child perform oral sex on him. Joseph Darrell Smith was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing today.

3rd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct with Minor

A Gray Court man was arrested yesterday on charge of inappropriate touching of a minor female. 56-year-old Gary Lewis Sullivan of Gray Court was charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor in the 3rd Degree. Sgt. Carter states that on or about June 3rd 2016 Mr. Sullivan did commit the crime of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a minor in that he touched the victim’s genitalia with his hand. Gary Lewis Sullivan was being held overnight, pending arraignment today.

Undercover Drug Deal 13 Months Ago

The Sheriff’s Office arrested a man yesterday in connection with an alleged undercover drug deal just over a year ago. 28-year-old Dantonio Demarcus Westfield of 100 Dial Street, Laurens is charged with Manufacture, Distribution of Cocaine 3rd or Subsequent Offense. Sgt. Matt Veal states that on June 2nd, 2015 Mr. Westfield manufactured crack cocaine, a schedule II controlled substance to a confidential informant of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, and that the subject has a prior conviction for this offense.

No bond was set during arraignment. Dantonio Demarcus Westfield remained in the Laurens County Detention Center today.

Drug Charge Follow Wattsville Arrest in Early Daylight

Drug charges were served yesterday after an early morning traffic stop in Wattsville. Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Howard reported he was on patrol on US221 at 5:40 am when he observed a car pull onto Sirrine Street between the mill and Verdin’s Farm and Garden Center, then stopped in the middle of the roadway. The officer approached the driver, noting she started to act very nervously. Van Pelt joined Deputy Howard during an investigation that led to the discovery of a book bag, in which they reported finding a scale and a silver tin pouch with 16 small clear baggies. Deputy Howard reported observing that three of the baggies had some type of crystal substance inside. Laurens City Police responded to the scene with a test kit, which reportedly showed the substance to be methamphetamine.

32-year-old Angela Lynn Galmiche of 180 Dodd Street, Welford was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute and Possession with Intent within Proximity of a School.

Deputy Brandon Howard states that on July 27th one Angela Galmiche possessed methamphetamine on Sirrene Street, Laurens with intent to distribute, and that this occurred within a half mile of Ford Elementary School.

Cash or surety bonds on the two charges were set totaling $35,000. Angela Lynn Galmiche remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Child Neglect

The Sheriff’s Office made another arrest on a Child Neglect charge yesterday. 58-year-old Jean Campbell Parker of 510 Curry’s Lake Road, Gray Court is charged with Unlawful Neglect of Children. A warrant states that on or about June 3rd, 2016 Ms. Parker did place at unreasonable risk of harm or did cause to be done unlawfully or maliciously any bodily harm to or abandonment of a minor child. The defendant had custody of and/or charge of the minor child and is the child’s parent or guardian. Jean Campbell Parker was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing today.