Dr. Jerman DeSassa Named “Citizen of the Year”

The original director of the CHAMPS program in Laurens County was presented with a Citizen of the Year Award last night. During festivities at Lakeside Country Club, local members of the Blue Ridge Council, Boy Scouts of America awarded Dr. Jerman DeSasa with the Laurens County Citizen of the Year. The award recognized his many years with the CHAMPS program, which is the Communities Helping, Assisting, Motivating Promising Students. It also recognized his continued work since his association with CHAMPS, working with local schools as he helps educate Laurens County youth; motivating, training and encouraging them for a successful future.

Meth Manufacture & Conspiracy to Manufacture

A Clinton man and woman were served with drug charges yesterday, following their Wednesday arrest at Wal-Mart by Laurens City Police. 26-year-old Joshua Wayne Eubanks and 33-year-old Rory Adrienne Scarboro, both of 162 Cypress Street, Clinton were each charged regarding contents of a vehicle allegedly driven to Wal-Mart by Joshua with Rory as passenger. Warrants allege the vehicle contained a large number and variety of the necessary components required to manufacture methamphetamine.

Laurens Officer Andrew Ashley states these components included chemicals and containers which had been modified from their original state and packaging so they could be utilized in the manufacturing of methamphetamine

Joshua Wayne Eubanks is charged with Manufacturing Methamphetamine. Officer Ashley states that in addition to driving the car with meth manufacturing materials to 922 East Main, Eubanks also purchased an additional component while in Wal-Mart to be used in the manufacture of meth.

Rory Adrienne Scarboro was charged yesterday with Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine, Giving False Information to a Law Enforcement Officer, Possession of Methamphetamine and Trespassing after Notice. Officer Ashley states that Rory Scarboro violated the trespass notice served to her on December 14, 2015 by willfully entering onto Wal-Mart property at 922 East Main Street in Laurens Wednesday. He stated Ms. Scarboro identified herself with another woman’s name when she was lawfully approached due to her having committed the crime of Trespassing.  The Conspiracy to Manufacture Meth warrant states that Scarboro arrived at 922 East Main in the vehicle containing a large number and variety of  Meth-making components. She was also accused of having a case inside her pocketbook in which was a folded coffee filter that contained a small amount of white powdery substance consistent with methamphetamine.

Both remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning. Cash or surety bonds included $20,000 on the Meth Manufacturing charge on Joshua Wayne Eubanks and $41,470 on the four charges on Rory Adrianne Scarboro.

Review of Animal Control Consolidation & Lake Greenwood Master Plan

Laurens County Public Works Director Rob Russian presented County Council this week with an inquiry from the cities of Laurens and Clinton about the possibility of the County Animal Control Division proving animal control services for the cities.

Russian told council that animal control operations in the county have steadily grown over the years and further expansion of the current facility is needed. With a partnership including the two cities, the county would pay half that capitol cost and the two cities would each provide 25%.  Russian said that after the facility expansion a five-year projection of ongoing costs would be paid by the two cities, amounting to $25,106 each. Chairman Joe Wood recommended that a committee of Stuart Jones, Garrett McDaniel, and Diane Anderson look further into the matter.

That same committee this week was also assigned the duty of exploring details of the county’s possible participation in the Lake Greenwood Master Plan, presented recently by Greenwood County.

Bailey Manor Says “Thank You”

A year and a half since a car crashed into the lobby, resulting in fire and smoke damage, Bailey Manor has now reopened following extensive remodeling. New features like a spa and a theater were added during the reconstruction period.

Management invited community leaders in yesterday for one of their ‘Thank You’ luncheons. Clinton Mayor Bob McLean was one of the many folks out for the event. We asked for his thoughts. “I tell you one thing this is a beautiful facility and they’ve done a lot of work here. I’d invite anybody to come out and visit their facility. They’ve got an ice cream parlor here, a movie theatre in here, they’ve got a spa in here. This is just a beautiful, beautiful place. And the people who run this thing, actually, are perfect. Rita Stanley and Pat Adamson and Joe will treat you like a king here. It’s such a great place. I love to see it and glad to see it open again.”

Rita Stanley said the Chamber of Commerce will be on hand for a Ribbon Cutting at 2:30 on the afternoon of March 3rd. Grand Opening will continue at 6:00 that evening with tours of the facility, music and refreshments. She said the entire community is welcome to attend.

Woman Sees Her Car Being Stolen

Sheriff’s Lt. Marlon Higgenbotham responded to Patterson Plant Road in the Lanford community at 11:45 last night to investigate an auto theft. A woman reported that she had heard a ruckus outside her home and looked out the back door to see a white flatbed four-door dually work truck in her neighbor’s driveway. She said it was occupied by three males with ball caps on. They appeared to be in the 25 to 30 age range. She said she later heard her vehicle start and looked out to see it being backed out of the driveway. It reportedly was driven on Patterson Plant Road toward US 221, followed by the Dually pickup. She said that her 2004 Tahoe is 4-door with 4-wheel drive, and indicated there are no loans or liens on it. It’s valued at $4,000.

Three Vehicles Vandalized

Deputy Jamie Lee Edwards was dispatched to Bull Hill Road, Gray Court at 8:24 yesterday morning to investigate vandalism to three vehicles. He observed the back window of a Tahoe broken out with glass all in the yard. The resident named another woman as suspect, saying she’s been harassing her lately. The officer checked with that suspect who said she had been at work all night. Her employer confirmed that. Damage to the Tahoe plus an Envoy and a Chrysler 300 reportedly totaled $8,000.

19-Year-Old Assaulted with Ball Bat

A report of Aggravated Assault dispatched Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Wood to a residence on the 127 By-Pass outside Laurens at 5:15 yesterday afternoon. A 19-year-old male said that a neighbor came onto his property and began to assault him, striking his left elbow with an aluminum ball bat. The victim said he ran into the house to get away from his assailant, but the other male followed. Several items in the house had been broken in the assault. Sgt. Wood noted redness and swelling on the victim’s left elbow. His mother was taking him to the ER. The officer was to see a judge regarding a warrant for the suspect’s arrest.

Suspicious Behavior Report Leads to Arrest

Clinton Public Safety Officers Gutierrez and Harris responded to Highway 72 at I-26 at 2:29 Thursday morning where a truck driver at the scene reported suspicious behavior from a man in a Nissan Altima. The man allowed them to check him, but not his car. Sheriff’s Corporal Rushing arrived with K-9 officer “Diesel” who alerted on the passenger compartment. With that as probable cause, City Officers searched and reported finding a pipe with marijuana residue and other residue in the center console. 54-year-old Billy Leon Barnes of 6-A Pointer Lane, Greenville was arrested on a Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charge and placed in the Johnson Detention Center.

Man Surrenders This Morning, Wants In from the Cold

Sheriff’s Office responded to Green Pond Road regarding a disturbance early this morning. A man reportedly involved in the disturbance left after being placed on trespass notice at 1:48 this morning.

Officers returned to the residence at 2:50 after the resident reported the man had returned and was rapping on a window. He was gone when officers arrived this time, but Corporal Rushing and Deputy Hunter remained in the area. At 4:40 this morning the man reportedly walked up to an officer’s vehicle and knocked on the hood, indicating he was ready to get in out of the cold. The 22-year-old Clinton man was transported to the Johnson Detention Center with a ticket issued charging him with Trespassing.

County Council Special Session on E.M.S.

How to reduce the time it takes to get Emergency Medical Services to people and how to cover the cost of providing these services were among issues discussed this week as Laurens County Council met in special session. Laurens County Council reviewed EMS operations in an hour-long meeting that followed their regular meeting t his Tuesday night.

Laurens County EMS Director Chad Burrell presented an updated report with a complete overview of his department. He showed the 2016 Fiscal Year budget is $3,389,328. That includes the recent pay raises. Noting that 58% of that budget is for “billable services,” the report cited a $1.4 million deficit for this year’s budget. Burrell outlined the patient mix for Laurens County EMS, reporting that 62% of patients served are covered with Medicare and only 11% of those served have private insurance coverage. He stated that 27% of patients are uninsured. He noted that EMS only collects 2.9% of charges billed to these “uninsured,” or “private-pay” patients.

Burrell’s report also noted 2015 write-offs of $1.97 million.

He noted that the new ambulance included in the 2016 budget has been delivered and is awaiting DHEC inspection, expected next week.

Chad Burrell told Council that the volume of calls has increased 4.5% since 2014, and is up 22.4% since the Medic 5 station opened.

His review of response times in 2015 said the average time to get to a patient was 11 minutes, 41 seconds. By contrast, he said the National Response Standard is eight minutes.

Some of Burrell’s suggestions were to increase the billable mileage charge to $13.00 a mile. He proposed consideration of using new, tougher collection tactics which he projected could raise an additional $96,000 a year. He also suggested Council could implement an annual EMS fee of $20 on property. He said there are 29,699 parcels in the county this would apply to, which he said would generate $593,980.

Chad Burrell suggested considering an Emergency Medical Dispatch protocol. He noted a concept of having 911 Dispatcher triage calls for more efficient response. This would be done in partnership with GHS, using a direct line to allow triage without EMS response in some cases. He said this could reduce unnecessary ambulance responses.

County Council member Stewart Jones reported on research he has conducted with nearby EMS services. He gave comparative figures from surrounding counties on a per capita cost of providing EMS services. He said the highest cost he found was in Union County, with a cost of $96. Jones said Anderson County has the lowest cost per capita, at $22. He said Laurens County EMS was $51. Jones still wants to do more research on how to reduce costs for the county EMS and indicated he plans to present a formal report in the near future, perhaps March.

County Council took no voters on EMS operations at Tuesday night’s special EMS meeting, but there does seem to be a consensus on goals. Council appears united on achieving four goals presented by Councilman Keith Tollison. These are, in order of priority, to Manage the Increasing Call Volume, Improve Response Times, Increase Employee Retention and Replenish the Fleet of Vehicles.

Final Vote Approves Economic Development Project

In their regular meeting this week, Laurens County Council gave final approval on a Clinton economic development project. A Public Hearing was held prior to the 3rd reading vote approving Ordinance 806. It provides for the transfer of property in the Clinton Corporate Industrial Park with Pacolet Company.

County Council also approved a resolution which requests 18 acres to be removed from the municipal corporate limits of the city of Clinton for the purpose of an economic development project.

In a matter on the other side of the county, Council gave 2nd reading approval for Ordinance 810. It is designed to authorize a more simplified Fee In Lieu agreement between a company known at this time as Project Duo. This relates to an industry already operating in the Woodfield Park near Fountain Inn.

 

Failure to Show in Court

 

A Clinton man was arrested yesterday on charges that he failed to show up for court last fall. 20-year-old Benjamin Jamael Fuller of 3748 Highway 308, Clinton was served with a Bench Warrant from General Sessions Court. It states that he failed to appear for an initial appearance on October 30, 2015 on charges of Receiving Stolen Goods with a value between $2,000 and $10,000. Benjamin Jamael Fuller was being held in the Johnson Detention Center, pending his next court date.

$25,000 Bond on Domestic Violence Charge

The Sheriff’s Office yesterday charged a Clinton man with a domestic assault that allegedly happened last September. 48-year-old Michael Gerald Simpson of 293 Gastley Drive, Clinton is charged with Domestic Violence 2nd Degree. In a warrant, Deputy Taylor states that on September 6, 2015 Simpson committed 2nd Degree Domestic Violence in that he threw a broom at the victim with the intent to cause injury, while arguing with her in the presence of a small child. A $25,000 cash or surety bond was set during arraignment. Michael Gerald Simpson remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Meth Possession

The Sheriff’s Office yesterday charged 55-year-old Randal Charles Woods of 1140 Stewart Road, Fountain Inn with Possession of Less than One Gram of Methamphetamine. A warrant cites the investigation of Lt. Marlon Higgenbotham as indicating that Woods was in possession of that small amount of Meth yesterday. Randal Woods was released from the Johnson Detention Center on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.

Utility Poles Down, Sewer Drains Clogged

 

From utility poles getting knocked down to clogged sewer lines, Laurens Commission of Public Works General Manager John Young this week updated the commissioners on matters the various CPW departments have been working on.

Young said there is an ongoing problem in the electric department with drivers knocking taking down utility poles. As for the Water and Sewer Department, Young reported another problem, saying “We continue to respond to West Hampton Street to unclog rags and adult diapers lodged in the sewer line.” He also added that South Carolina D-HEC is still considering the CPW’s response to their consent order regarding the Risk Management Plan (RMP) at the sewer plant and water plant.

Young also reported that supervisory employees began an 18 hour, four day leadership training program through Piedmont Technical College.

He also pointed out that CPW employees participated in donation of 46 “Bags of Love” to the United Way, to be delivered to seniors this week with Meals on Wheels and to local residential living facilities for Valentine’s Day.

County Tourism Dollars Appropriated for 2016

This year’s use of funds in local tourism-related efforts was approved by Laurens County Council last night. Andy Howard, Director of Laurens County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism presented agency allocation requests and the recommendations of the ATAX Commission and the county Parks, Recreation and Tourism ( PRT) Commission. The money is to be used in funding events that help draw tourism into the County. The applicants requesting $2,000.00 were the City of Clinton for Town Rhythms, the Laurens County Museum, Hospice of Laurens County for the Flight of the Dove, Main Street Laurens for Squealin’ on the Square, The Waterloo Cotton Festival and the Ware Shoals Catfish Feastival. Another request came from Crappie Masters, a private business, which was deemed non-eligible for any funds. The Laurens County 4-H annual ‘Ms. 4-H Pageant’ requested $750.00, bringing to total requested to $14,750.00.

The County PRT Commission recommended that the full amounts requested be granted, except for the $2,000 requested by the ineligible private business. Council unanimously approved their recommendation, which totaled $12,750.00.

CPW Asked to Help Extend Swamp Rabbit Trail

Future plans for extending the Swamp Rabbit Trail from Greenville into Laurens County were reviewed this week for the Laurens Commission of Public works. At the Monday evening CPW meeting, Laurens County Trail Association Executive Director Don Walker told the commissioners that he wants their input on the possibility of the use and maintenance of property from CPW utility rights-of-way for the trail.  Commission Chair Parker Moore responded “This is just too early to either shoot you down or to commit.” Moore added “We will need to consider cost, insurance and liability issues.” Walker explained that the reality of completing the trail will take time. He also noted that the city of Laurens will also be involved in the process.

Drug Charges from Undercover Operations

Clinton Public Safety yesterday arrested a Joanna-area man who is accused of making illegal drug sales on South Broad twice last year. 30-year-old Mykel Matthew “Mikey”Jacks of 8954 Highway 56, Kinards is charged with Distribution of Cocaine 2nd Offense and Distribution of Cocaine along with two counts of Distribution within Proximity.

In warrants citing the investigation of Clinton Detective Prather, Laurens City Detective Lynch and Sheriff’s Investigator Bridges, Sgt. Shane Prather states that on September 28th, 2015 Mykel Matthew Jacks sold a quantity of crack cocaine to a confidential informant working in an undercover capacity and that this took place on South Broad Street in Clinton, within a half mile of a school. The warrants also allege a second undercover sale of crack cocaine on October 1st, 2015, also on South Broad Street, within a half-mile of a school.

Mykell Matthew “Mikey” Jacks was being held overnight in the Johnson Detention Center, with a bond hearing expected today on these four charges. Meanwhile, he is also on hold for the South Carolina Department of Pardon, Probation and Parole.

Overnight Police Pursuit

A police chase through four counties last night eventually led to an arrest. Laurens County Deputy Robert Van Pelt was notified by Laurens County Dispatch at 11:49 last night that Newberry County was chasing a 2013 gray Chevrolet Impala up Interstate 26. He set up on I-26 near the Newberry County line in preparation to assist. He was then advised that Newberry County had lost sight of the car. Then he observed a car matching the description pass by. He followed and checked the license plate to confirm this was the vehicle wanted in Newberry County. At mile marker 58 he activated blue lights and siren to signal for the driver to pull over. Instead, the car accelerated.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol took over the chase at mile marker 52. It continued into Spartanburg County, with Sheriff’s Lt. Crain assisting from the Highway 49 interchange. The chase was discontinued after officers losing sight of the vehicle as it sped westbound up I-26 around mile marker 28. Spartanburg County later located the vehicle and re-engaged the pursuit, apparently following off I-26 onto I-85 toward Charlotte. Laurens County officers were advised that the subject driving the car was eventually caught in Cherokee County and taken into custody.

Meth Lab Found off Bartee Circle

A Clinton City employee reported finding a book bag on the side of Bartee Circle yesterday morning. Clinton Detective Sgt. Shane Prather was dispatched to the scene at 10:10 am, joined by Lt. Cathy Anderson. Sgt. Prather carried the bag out of the woods to the side of the street. It was found to contain ‘Liquid Fire’ drain cleaner, several glass containers, tubing, salt, an opened cold pack, Pure Lye drain cleaner and coffee filters. The officers then checked the surrounding wooded area. Sgt. Prather located a plastic bag containing two plastic bottles behind an old abandoned house. Both bottles contained a white substance, one of the two bottles also contained what appeared to be lithium strips. Sgt. Prather found a second plastic bag near the road in front of the abandoned house. It also contained two bottles, similar to those in the first bag. Both officers picked up several items in the area that did not appear contaminated to search for finger prints. The book bag and contents were seized. A SLED Meth clean-up crew was called to the area to handle disposal of the hazardous materials.