Arrests for Bench Warrants

Two men were placed in the Laurens County Detention Center yesterday on Bench Warrants.

43-year-old Anthony Ray Overman of 121 Patterson Road, Piedmont had two bench Warrants from General Sessions Court. The November 16th, 2016 Bench Warrants indicate he failed to show to face charges of Grand Larceny and Giving False Information to Law Enforcement. He remains in custody, pending his next General Sessions Court appearance. The warrants show a Gray Drive, Gray Court address for Mr. Overman.

39-year-old Adam Ray Zanker of 55 Rolling Hills Road, Gray Court was served with a Bench Warrant from Magistrate’s Court stating he was convicted April 10, 2016 on a Receiving Stolen Goods charge with a sentence of a $581.95 Fine or jail time of 30 days, to run consecutive with any and all other sentences. He remained in custody this morning.

Xanax Ups the Charges

Laurens Police Sgt. Simmons responded to Wal-Mart at 9:19 Monday night on a shoplifting report. An employee reported a male and female were suspected of taking a cart load of items, then trying to return them for cash. While Sgt. Simmons was in route to the store, he was advised that the employee had spotted them trying to get into a car with a plastic clothes hanger and a stick. He arrived in time to stop them, and reported detecting a strong smell of alcoholic beverage. Meanwhile, the store alleged the shopping cart involved was filled with items valued at $296.55. Both suspects were arrested. During booking in the Johnson Detention Center, the man was allegedly found to have a Xanax in his pocket.

Yesterday, 22-year-old Joshua Shane Skaggs of 52 Linda Drive, Laurens was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance. He and 23-year-old Heather Renae Taylor, of the same address, were both charged with Shoplifting and Pedestrian under the Influence. Joshua Skaggs was released yesterday on cash or surety bonds totaling $2,250 on his three charges. Ms. Taylor remained in custody this morning with bonds of $1,250 on her two charges.

Trouble from Unborn Baby’s Daddy

Clinton Public Safety Officer Yelton responded to a complaint of an unwanted guest on the north side of Clinton after 3:30 yesterday morning. A woman at the scene indicated she was at her female neighbor’s home and the father of her unborn baby was pestering both women. She said she told him to leave and went upstairs. Later coming downstairs to lock the door, she discovered he was still there. He reportedly grabbed the pregnant woman, refusing to let her go. He did leave, but came back beating on the door. When the neighbor woman opened the door and told him to leave, he allegedly pushed his way inside, hitting the neighbor-woman in the mouth. That woman fought back, forcing the man to leave her house.

The girlfriend wanted to prosecute the ‘baby’s daddy,’ and to put him on trespass notice for her house; but he is reportedly a resident there, as well.

 Woman Reports Stabbing

A report of a stabbing dispatched Laurens Police Officer Van Pelt to a residence on the northwest side of town at 10:33 Monday night. He reported arriving to find a woman in the house who said she stabbed her children’s father, following an altercation over his wanting to take the children. He had since departed, heading to the hospital. The woman stated that she was afraid for her life after the man tried to choke her and threw her against a wall. She then reportedly grabbed a picture frame and threw it at him to get away. She then ran into the kitchen. She indicated she stabbed him when he came at her again. The case was under investigation.

Who Stabbed You?  Where?

At 8:41 Sunday Evening, Laurens Police Sgt. Jones responded to a report of an assault on Sunset Park. On arrival he observed a man who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.

The man said that he was watching a football game at his friend’s house, when they got into an argument and his friend hit him in the head. He added that he had lost his wallet in the scuffle.

The officer observed no visible injuries, and the man refused medical attention. He also refused to give any information as to where the alleged assault took place and who stuck him. Sgt. Jones told the man to go home and get some sleep. As the officer was about to depart, the man’s daughter arrived and said she would take her father home with her.

BMW Reactions to President-Elect Import Tax Threat

President-Elect Trump’s recent comments about a 35% tax on every imported car into the United States are receiving push-back from a major industry here in the Upstate of South Carolina. WYFFNews4.com has details on this reaction. The WYFF-TV website provides details of a statement received from Ken Sparks, head of corporate communications for BMW of North America.  “The issue is about commitment and BMW made a significant commitment to the U.S. when it began manufacturing vehicles in America more than 22 years ago.” Sparks notes the BMW plant in Spartanburg County is now the company’s largest in the world, producing more than any other BMW plant — 411,000 vehicles in 2016.

In the article at WYFF4.com, Sparks states BMW exports 70% of U.S. production to 140 markets around the world and said the BMW annual export value of nearly $10 Billion is greater than any other auto company in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

As for the President-Elects concern about BMW plans for a plant in Mexico, Sparks, in the release to WY FF4.com, said “BMW’s decision to build a plant in Mexico is strategic; it will supply cars to our markets around the world and will join our BMW Group Global Production Network of 31 plants in 14 countries.”

In other reaction, Spartanburg County Council member David Britt told WYFF4.com “I think the President-elect needs to look at this issue more carefully.” He said “I welcome him to call me to talk about BMW and South Carolina. This is a company helping make America great again.”

BMW notes some 70,000 people are employed in the United States, in the plant, in distribution and in dealerships across the county.

 

In addition to Laurens County residents who commute to Greer for jobs at the BMW plant, many more are employed in a number of plants in Laurens County that supply BMW and other automakers with materials used in auto manufacture.

Wanted Man Flees Traffic Stop on Foot

Friday Night, Sgt Metz of Clinton Public Safety reportedly noticed a vehicle stop in a road and the driver and front passenger switching seats. After the new driver subsequently failed to put on a turning signal while turning down a road, the officer pulled the vehicle over, and noted a strong smell of marijuana. He advised the female driver why he had stopped her. When questioned about the smell of marijuana from the car, the driver and her three passengers reportedly claimed there was nothing in the car. Suddenly a back seat passenger on the far side quickly exited the vehicle and dashed away on foot. Other units arrived on the scene and chased the fleeing suspect as Sgt Metz stayed with the car. The units were unable to capture the runner, but they were able to identify him and to discover that he was wanted by both the Clinton Department of Public Safety and the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office.  Clinton Lt. Anderson then arrived on the scene to assist Sgt Metz, and after the two officers removed the driver and remaining passengers, they conducted a search of them and the vehicle. The female driver advised the officers that she had a small amount of Marijuana wrapped in a receipt and gave it to them. When the two officers searched the car, they reported locating a recently used Marijuana blunt in the glove box, an open bottle of Ciroc Vodka in the back passenger side floor board, and an open can of Bud Light in the center console. The driver was issued citations for simple possession of Marijuana and Driving under Suspension of her license. A front seat passenger was issued a citation for Simple Possession of Marijuana because of her direct access of the area containing the Marijuana blunt. The back passenger was issued a citation for open liquor because of the open vodka bottle found beneath his feet. The three were then released, pending their court appearances on the charges.

Passenger Arrested at Traffic Checkpoint

Clinton Police Officers were conducting a safety checkpoint early Saturday morning on Highway 56 near Phillips Street. Shortly after 1:00 am, one driver who approached the stop said he did not have his driver’s license. Public Service Officer Gandee asked him to pull to the side of the road to verify his license. Officer Gandee spoke with the diver while Sgt Metz attempted to make contact with a passenger. This passenger reportedly refused a request to roll his window down. He reportedly gave a name determined not to be his name. When he finally rolled his window down, Sgt. Metz asked him for his ID. Using the passenger’s bank card, Sgt. Metz verified that the suspect had given a false name. A check on the man’s real name reportedly determined that this man was wanted for a Bench Warrant from Clinton Municipal Court.

26-year-old Marquis Asyaquan McGowan of 358 Leaman Street, Cross Hill was arrested. Officer Gandee issued a ticket charging him with Giving False Information to Law Enforcement at 1:08 Saturday morning. He was also served with the Bench Warrant from Clinton Municipal Court showing he had been convicted February 29th of 2016 on a Simple Possession of Marijuana charge and sentenced to a $620 fine or 30 days in jail.

During arraignment this weekend, he was given a $470 personal recognizance bond on the False Information to Police charge. Mr. McGowan remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning, serving the sentence from last February.

Violation of Order of Protection

An elderly Western Laurens County man remained in custody this morning, following his arrest by the Sheriff’s Office Sunday. The man was served with a warrant charging Violation of an Order of Protection. In the warrant, Deputy Jonathan Brown states that the man was found in the basement of the victim’s home on Sunday, thereby knowingly and willfully violating the terms and conditions of an Order of Protection issued in Family Court of the 8th Judicial Circuit. He remained in the county detention center this morning.

What Injuries?

Laurens Police Officer David Lindsey responded to the Roadway Inn on Bolt Drive at 10:37 Friday night on complaint of a disturbance at the motel. A woman reportedly said she had been assaulted by a man in her room, who had since left walking. As Officer Lindsey was looking for the man, another officer spoke with the woman, who indicated she wanted to be treated. EMS responded but reported they didn’t find any injuries on the alleged victim. After the male subject was located, he reportedly said he was trying to leave the motel room and the woman didn’t want him to leave, so he pushed her aside in order to exit the room.

Due to conflicting descriptions of what happened and the lack of injuries being seen on the woman, officers did not charge anyone. They were going to present the matter to a municipal judge for review.

Six Charged Meth Trafficking to Possession with Intent

Five men and one woman arrested by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office Friday had Meth charges ranging from Possession with Intent to Trafficking.  The suspects are from Anderson, Abbeville, Greenville and Laurens Counties.

A Waterloo man was charged with Meth Distribution Friday and last fall. 36-year-old Brandon Curtis Horne of 248 Co-op Road, Waterloo was charged with Distribution of Meth 2nd Offense. That warrant states he distributed meth to a confidential informant on October 4th 2016. Charges alleging violations last Friday include Trafficking in Methamphetamine, 2nd Offense, two counts of Unlawful Neglect of a Child and Receiving Stolen Goods. Brandon Horne is accused of having 88 grams of methamphetamine in his possession Friday. He was further accused of placing two children under age 11 at unreasonable risk of harm by having the children in the residence where unlawful drugs were present and being used. Horne had custody of the children and is their parent. Brandon Horne was also accused of having a stolen Marlin rifle in his possession Friday.

No bond was granted on any of the five charges. Brandon Curtis Horne remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

42-year-old Jason Andrew Davis of 18,367 Highway 25 South, Ware Shoals was arrested Friday and charged with Possession of Meth with Intent to Distribute, 3rd or Subsequent Offense and Possession of a Controlled Substance. Narcotics Investigator Charles Nations states that on January 13th Davis had more than one gram of ice/Methamphetamine with intent to distribute. He also allegedly possessed two Schedule II controlled substances. During arraignment, Judge Paul Dean Lyles denied bond on both charges. Jason Andrew Davis remained in custody this morning.

Deputy Sheriff Morgan issued a ticket initially charging 26-year-old Barry Lee Davis Jr. of 502 Conway Avenue, Laurens with Public Disorderly Conduct at 5:03 am on Conway Avenue near Walker. He was later served with Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute and with two charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance. Barry Lee Davis Jr. allegedly possessed multiple baggies of methamphetamine Friday with intent to distribute. Two additional warrants allege that Davis also unlawfully possessed schedule II and IV controlled substances. A 4th warrant alleges he Resisted Arrest. Cash or surety bonds were set totaling $60,232. Barry Lee Davis Jr. remained in custody this morning.

Three of the six persons arrested on Meth charges Friday are accused of 1st Offense Possession of Meth with Intent to Distribute. Warrants on all three state they were in possession of more than one gram of meth Friday with intent to distribute.

A Cash or Surety bond was set at $50,000 for 31-year-old Christopher Joseph Bowen of 46 Winding Creek Court, Honea Path.

$25,000 cash or surety bonds were set for 38-year-old Tami Crystal Roberts of 302 South Leach Street, Greenville and 35-year-old Brandon Michael Glazier of 412 East Broad Street, Iva.

New Laurens High Considered

Could there be a new Laurens High School in three years? That was among the ideas expressed Saturday night as District 55 Superintendent Dr. Stephen Peters spoke at the 40th Annual Laurens County NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet. His keynote speech expressed a lot of ambition for accomplishments, including having the 1st class graduate from the new Laurens High in 2020. Focus groups are reportedly being conducted in the district.

Bond Denied on Three Charges involving 9mm Handgun

Clinton Public Safety arrested a woman Thursday night after she allegedly pulled a loaded handgun on her boyfriend. 47-year-old Kavonne Ruff of 608 Shands Street, Clinton was charged Friday with Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature, Possession of a Weapon during a Violent Crime and Possession of a Firearm by a Violent Felon.

Kavonne Ruff is accused of offering to cause physical harm under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. This allegedly occurred January 12th when she pointed a loaded 9mm caliber handgun at the victim’s head, creating reasonable fear of great bodily injury or death. She and the victim live did live together. This reportedly occurred at 608 Shands Street. Ms. Ruff is accused of possessing a 9mm caliber weapon at her residence January 12th, unlawful as she has been convicted of Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature.

Bond was denied on all three charges. Kavonne Ruff remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Alleged Assaults on Girlfriend & Neighbors

Laurens Police Sgt. James Nolen responded at 1:34 Saturday morning after a man reported seeing a woman being attacked by a male subject at a neighboring house. The complainant reportedly said the man had placed the female victim in a headlock, then pushed her to the ground, shoved her face into the dirt and struck her face several times. He said when he yelled at the subject to stop assaulting the woman, he got a wood shovel handle and struck him. Then the witness’ girlfriend reportedly came outside, grabbed a folding chair and threw it at the subject to get him away from her boyfriend, the subject then reportedly left the scene in a blue car, accompanied by the woman he had allegedly been assaulting and another man who had been on the victim’s porch.

Laurens Police yesterday charged 23-year-old Kristopher Kantay Valentine of 387 Watson Street, Laurens with two counts of Assault and Battery 2nd Degree and with one charge of Domestic Violence 2nd Degree. He is accused of assaulting one victim on Pine Street by striking him multiple times on his chest and arms with a stick. A second warrant alleges he struck this victim on her right wrist with a stick. The Domestic Violence warrant states that Valentine assaulted the victim by striking her about the body and placing her in a choke hold, and that it was aggravated due to the defendant restricting the victim’s air way. Kristopher Kantay Valentine remained in custody overnight, pending a bond hearing.

Don’t Drive After Drinking, But Do Lock Your Car!

A report of a stolen vehicle dispatched Laurens Police Sgt. James Nolen to the Rack-and-Roll club on East Main just before noon Sunday. The vehicle owner said he had been at the club Saturday night and because he had been drinking, he caught a ride home, leaving his vehicle there. He said on arrival to retrieve his car Sunday morning, the 2016 black Jeep Wrangler was missing. He indicated it had been left unsecured, but he did have the keys.

Loan Me Some Money for a Tattoo!

Clinton Public Safety Lt. Cathy Anderson responded to a convenience store off I-26 Friday night on a report of suspicious people at the business. The father of a woman working at the store had called the report in, saying people were asking the daughter for money. Arriving at the scene, the frightened woman reportedly said two suspects came to her house earlier, asking for money to get a Tattoo, and she refused. Later, they reportedly came to the store where she was working, asking for money again and roaming the store, then leaving in a vehicle. Lt Anderson advised the young woman that if the two suspects bothered her again she should call the police and not her father. The subjects were not located by police.

“Equity in Education” Theme for NAACP

“Education Equity: Opening the Door of Freedom for All Children” was the theme for the 40th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet Saturday night. A full house of some 350 people was on hand as the Laurens County Branch of the NAACP held the annual event in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Mount Carmel AME Church’s Family Life Center.

Keynote Speaker, Laurens County District 55 Superintendent Dr. Stephen G. Peters, remembered words of the late Dr. King from a speech written at age 18 in 1947 at Morehouse College, and from the famous “I Have a Dream” Speech given during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.

On the theme of Education Equity, Peters explained the difference of the words Equality and Equity by saying that with equality, every child has a pair of shoes; while with equity, each child’s shoes actually fits them. He also used two school board members in an exercise to illustrate how the child who has an intellectually stimulating summer break gets further ahead each year while the student who does not gets further behind.

 

Three NAACP members were honored for their work on behalf of the organizations efforts. Mr. James Mason won the C.D. Beasley Sr. Service Award. Carolyn Beasley Shortt presented it, saying that for a number of years, Mr. Mason has been extremely active in the organization. This activity included his being chair of the committee that organized this year’s annual Freedom Fund banquet.

There were two recipients of the President’s Award this year. Laurens County NAACP Chapter President Adolphus Brewster presented the award to Mildred Henderson of Waterloo and Wilamenia Jones of Enoree.

MLK Holiday Celebrations

Laurens County residents have multiple opportunities to celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday this weekend. The Thomas Sanders Alumni Association is having its annual MLK Day celebration at noon tomorrow at Sanders Middle School. Festivities include youth presenting their essays on Dr. King’s impact. The 40th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet of the Laurens County NAACP starts at 6:00 Saturday evening at Mt. Carmel AME Church near Gray Court. This year’s national theme of “Education Equity: Opening the Golden Door of Freedom to All Children, the keynote speaker for the Laurens County celebration will be Dr. Stephen G. Peters, Superintendent for Laurens County District 55 Schools.

A Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Gospel Showcase is planned for 3:00 Sunday afternoon at Friendship A.M.E. Church, 118 South Bell in Clinton. On Friday’s WLBG Morning News interview, Church Pastor Stephen Evans said local choirs, quartets, duos and soloists are invited to join in the celebration.

County Council Hears Concern About New Pipeline

Concern about a new natural gas pipeline coming through our area was expressed this week at the Laurens County Council meeting. During the first council meeting of the year Tuesday evening, Shelley Robbins of Upstate Forever addressed council regarding the proposed Dominion Pipeline and its impact on Laurens County. Presenting a map of the pipeline’s proposed route, she noted it will come right through the center of Laurens County.

Robbins told council that this pipeline is part of the Transco to Charleston Project. She said that Dominion is a for-profit company and that the natural gas is to be exported to other countries.

Ms. Robbins, Project Manager for Upstate Forever, was accompanied by Environmental Attorney Michael Corley. They painted a picture of negative impact on Laurens County, should the pipeline come through here. This included concern expressed about property owners being threatened with use of imminent domain, should they not agree to sell their property for the pipeline.

Local sources advised WLBG that the proposed pipeline would transport natural gas from the northeast to Elba Island, some five miles downstream from Downtown Savannah, Georgia, where it would be converted to liquefied natural gas so it could be exported to other countries.

County Council agreed to accept the report as information. Ms. Robbins later told WLBG News she is attempting to get more news coverage of the proposed pipeline to make the public more aware of their concerns about the pipeline.

Visible Evidence of Readiness for Economic Development

Anyone looking for visible evidence of preparations for economic growth in Clinton need only gaze at activity off Highway 72 east. Earthmoving equipment is now busy along the new frontage road on the west side of Interstate 26, near the Highway 72 interchange. The city is having the land transformed to welcome restaurants, retail and other business operations that will be easily seen by people passing by on the interstate.

This past year, huge earthmoving equipment transformed property along Highway 72 east of I-26 for industrial development. Two areas now have land leveled and ready for construction, and walls have risen for a new 75,000 square foot “spec” building.

This week, at Monday evening’s Clinton City Council meeting, City Manager Frank Stovall recommended that council pass a Reimbursement Resolution related to potential improvements to infrastructure there in the I-26 Commerce Park. The 750 acre park has seen considerable investment in the form of a 100,000 square foot industrial building pad, a the 75,000 square foot “spec” building currently under construction, the extension of electric service, a sign for the park and an access road into the park.

Stovall told council that the city may soon undertake the extension and improvement of both sewer and water utilities within the park.

If the city does move forward on the water and sewer project, it is likely that the expense involved – just over One Million Dollars – would require a bond issue to fund it. However, there will first be expenses involved for engineering and design. Payment for this work will need to be paid before any bond funds become available. Frank Stovall this week proposed that council approve a Reimbursement Resolution so that any money spent from the city’s general operating funds could be eventually reimbursed from the proceeds of the bond, when it is issued.  The resolution, he explained, does not obligate the city to move forward with the project or to issue industrial bonds.  It simply makes it possible for the city to reimburse its operating funds for the upfront engineering and design expenses from the proceeds of the bond should it eventually be issued.

Council approved the resolution as requested on a unanimous vote.