Reimbursement Rather Than Car Provided

Clinton City Council last week made a change in the City Manager’s contract regarding providing him with a car for use in work. At the request of City Manager Bill Ed Cannon, council voted to amend his contract to remove the provision of a city owned car for his use. They added a clause whereby Cannon is provided with $500 each month as a transportation expense.  He will be responsible for all maintenance and operational costs of the vehicle. This change was to take immediate effect.

Check Theft in 2016 Alleged

The theft of a check in Laurens County over a year-and-a-half ago was alleged yesterday in a warrant served on a Spartanburg County woman. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office served a Petit Larceny warrant on 32-year-old Ashley Michelle Robinson of 3091 Old Spartanburg Highway, Moore.

Investigator McIntosh states that on June 24th of 2016 Robinson took a check with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property.

Ms. Robinson was released yesterday on a $1,087 personal recognizance bond.

Charges Allege Assaults on Two Females Wednesday

Charges were served yesterday in connection with alleged assaults on two women Wednesday. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office charged 21-year-old John Daniel Chandler of Laurens with Domestic Violence 3rd Degree and Assault and Battery 3rd Degree. Records indicate addresses on Revelations Drive and Indian Mound Road for Mr. Chandler. Warrants cite an investigation of Sheriff’s Lt. Byrd.

In the assault warrant, Chandler is accused of attempting an assault on a victim by scratching her on the hand, causing a small abrasion.

The Domestic Violence charge alleges that Chandler assaulted the victim by punching her in the nose with a closed fist, causing a possible broken nose, and that he had the apparent present ability to cause physical harm or injury under circumstances that reasonably created fear of imminent peril to the victim.

With cash or surety bonds totaling $2,665, John Daniel Chandler remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

He Didn’t Know He Was Shot Until a “Homeboy” Told Him

Laurens City Police had an encounter with an uncooperative gunshot victim this week. Officers responded to the E.R. at GHS Laurens County Memorial Hospital early Wednesday morning regarding a gun-shot victim being treated in the Emergency Department. A report on the incident indicated that Central Dispatch advised police the shooting had occurred on Sullivan Street, where the victim stated he had heard gun shots and began to run. The victim reportedly indicated he didn’t notice he had been shot until some two hours later. The report states the victim indicated he did not want police involved and did not want to press charges should the shooter be apprehended.

The victim was quoted in the police report as saying he was “at a homeboy’s house on Sullivan Street,” but he said he didn’t know the street number of that house, since he’s not familiar with Laurens. He reportedly told officers  “I heard shots and began running, and another one of my homeboys told me I had blood on my pants.”

While the gunshot victim refused to sign a victim’s form, the case does still remain active, pending further investigation.

West Main Sinks, Equipment Tilts!

A street paving crew had a sinking feeling in Clinton yesterday morning. The road surface where they were working on West Main Street began to sink. The sinking road surface caused a large piece of paving equipment to overturn. Satterfield Construction Company, under contract with the South Carolina Department of Transportation, was working to resurface West Main Street yesterday morning when a portion of the road sank causing the equipment to overturn. Mary-Wallace Riley said City and State personnel acted swiftly to secure the area involved, and close off public access. She said additional resources were called to the scene to right the overturned equipment and tow it off for repairs.

That area of West Main Street remained closed to traffic yesterday, as crews continued working on the roadway.

Water & Sewer Repair Underway on South Broad

SC-DOT also has plans to repave South Broad Street from Downtown out past P.C. Knowing that both water and sewer lines under South Broad need extensive repairs and some replacement, Clinton Utilities is now in the process of making those repairs, to hopefully prevent having to dig up the new pavement that’s coming as sections of water and sewer lines continue to fail over coming years.

Dale Satterfield, Director of Clinton Public Works, told WLBG it’s important to get these repairs done ahead of the State Transportation Department’s repaving of South Broad, saying they don’t want to have to dig up sections of a newly-paved street for repairs. He said work on the upgrade began in December.

A small area of Clinton’s South Broad Street, near Thornwell, was limited to one-lane traffic yesterday as city crews were working to repair a portion of the sewer line.


County Council Say “No” To New Clinton Apartments

Laurens County Council this week refused to give a letter of recommendation for a new apartment complex outside Clinton. A representative WODA Development Construction Management appeared before County Council, asking them to give the company a letter of support for a 42-unit affordable housing project just outside Clinton at 309 Jacobs Highway.

Tammy Stansbury from The WODA Group explained that her company consists of experienced developers, general contractors, and property managers specializing in the design, construction, and management of affordable housing in rural, suburban and urban communities. She said the 29-year-old company is based in Westerville, Ohio, but has built housing in 14 states. Stansbury told County Council Tuesday that this housing project is only for working families and is not for the Section Eight program. She said they’re proposing an investment of $8.4 Million in a part of Laurens County where growth is stagnant. She told Council, “We are not asking for any money, we just need a letter of support that is required for us to receive tax credit through the Low-Income Housing Credit.”

Council members Garrett McDaniel and Diane Anderson cast the only votes in favor of providing the letter of support. McDaniel said, “I believe that by us saying that we don’t want housing designed to be affordable for households making less than $40,000 says that we only care about industry and those building million-dollar houses.” He later expressed displeasure to WLBG about Council’s refusal to support the project.

Councilman Keith Tollison told council Tuesday evening, “I am very much concerned over bringing lower income families that devalues the system to our county. I see neighborhoods that houses people who play the system, and residents in the area do not want this type of housing.”

One of the most vocal critics of the project was Councilman David Pitts, a Clinton resident, who told council that the value of the homes in his area would go down if the plan went through.

Barry Accountius, Vice President of WODA Development Construction Management, told WLBG News yesterday that the project is now, “Dead in the Water, and we will just move on to where we are wanted.” He said Council “Did not truly understand what we were trying to say.” Repeating they’re not affiliated with the federal Housing and Urban Development program, he said We just receive a tax break for keeping rents reasonable.”

WLBG spoke with Councilman Pitts yesterday and he said that he had received thanks from many of the residents in his district for voting down the project.

Moving All Magistrate Trials to Hillcrest

Laurens County Council this week approved two resolutions for relocating the Gray Court Magistrate’s Office to the County Complex at Hillcrest Square, and to renovate Hillcrest Square to accommodate the change. When completed, all Magistrate’s jury trials will be at Hillcrest Square. Renovations to the complex will ensure that Judges will have a private passage between courtrooms, and a new judge will not have to be hired to work at Gray Court.

Constructing Starts in Spring for Laurens “Spec” Building

The newest “Spec Building” for Laurens’ Hunter Industrial Park is now closer to the start of construction. Laurens CPW General Manager John Young told Commissioners at this week’s meeting that the Laurens County Development Corporation has closed on a loan from Santee Cooper to finance construction. The 75,000 square foot structure will provide a quick-start that most industrial expansion projects are looking for, as they expand or relocate plants. Young said construction of the new shell building will start this spring.

New Sports & Literacy Summer Program in District 55

School District 55 this week announced the inaugural year of District 55’s Laurens Lifelong Literacy (L3) Summer League. Its mission is to provide structured athletic opportunities that assist in the development of District 55 student’s academic, physical, mental, and emotional goals. L3 will be an annual summer program that fuses co-ed basketball and education through its three goals of live, learn, and literacy. L3 Summer League provides free opportunities for 9-13 year-old girls and boys across District 55. There will be two age brackets, the elementary bracket is for rising fourth (4th) and fifth (5th) graders and the middle school bracket is for rising 6th -8th graders. The league is to serve approximately 200 total students. Player registration forms are available in school and online.

Two Assaults Alleged on February 6th

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office made an arrest yesterday on charges of two assaults on February 6th. 45-year-old Thomas Benneau Harris of 482 Durbin Road, Fountain Inn was charged with both Domestic Violence and Assault and Battery in the third degree. The Domestic Violence warrant states that Harris slapped the victim in the face and had the ability to cause physical harm or injury that reasonably created fear of imminent peril to the victim. The 3rd Degree Assault warrant alleges that he struck a man in the face with his fist, causing minor injury.

A $1,087 personal recognizance bond was set on the Assault charge, but Thomas Harris remained in custody this morning with a cash or surety bond set at $2,000 on the Domestic Assault warrant.

Failure to Appear 14 Months Ago

Failing to appear in court 14 months ago was alleged with a booking by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday. 53-year-old Robert Wayne McNair of 407 Bypass 72, Greenwood was served with a Laurens County General Sessions Bench Warrant issued in December of 2016. It cites Failure to Appear in Court to face a charge of Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent. Mr. McNair is ordered held until he can be discharged by due course of law.

Failure to Show for Drug & Gambling Charges

Laurens County General Sessions yesterday had a local man jailed on charges he failed to show up to face five charges last April. 39-year-old Maurice Antwan Anderson of 146 Crane Drive, Laurens was served with five General Sessions Bench Warrants, citing failure to Appear in Court on April 21st, 2017. He is ordered to be safely held until he can be discharged by due course of law. Anderson is charged with failing to appear in court for charges of Trafficking in Ice, Crank or Crack, Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute, two charges of Drug activity with Proximity of a School and with Operating a Gambling House. He remained in custody, pending his next court appearance.

Another Solar Farm Approved

Fee-In-Lieu-of-Tax agreements (FILOT) for another Solar Farm in Laurens County have now been approved. A hearing was held during last night’s Laurens County Council meeting regarding the FILOT plan for the newest Solar Farm. No one came forward to speak on the matter. County Council then gave 3rd reading on ordinance #840 by unanimous vote. This represents an agreement between Laurens County and Southern Current, LLC, for a solar farm in the northwest area of Laurens County. The installation is  estimated to bring a $2.7 million investment to the county.

Noise Ordinance Changes Approved

Laurens County Council held a final reading for an ordinance dealing with noise control last evening. The changes had been requested by Sheriff Don Reynolds, who said the current regulations required two or more neighbors had to lodge a complaint about an unreasonable noise situation. Sheriff Reynolds said that pits one neighbor against the other. He suggested changes which would make dealing with problems of unreasonable noise much better. The new regulations are to amend ordinance #634, for the purpose of establishing and providing regulatory matters for “common sense determination of noise, disturbances and public nuisances.”

There was a public hearing on the change in noise regulations, but no one came forward to speak out on the matter.

Councilman Stewart Jones the only “no” vote. Jones later told WLBG that the ordinance listed unreasonable use of firearms, which he felt was too vague and could ultimately infringe on county residents second amendment rights.

1st Degree Burglary & Theft

Warrants were served yesterday on a man arrested Monday, following an alleged burglary and theft from another house on his roadway. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office served charges of 1st Degree Burglary and Petit Larceny on 32-year-old Jonathan Lee Bridges of 114 Puckett Ferry Road, Cross Hill.

Sheriff’s Investigator Farrah Cook states that on February 12th Mr. Bridges entered another man’s dwelling on Puckett Ferry Road with intent to commit a crime therein. This allegedly occurred at night, while the defendant was armed with a deadly weapon. Bridges is accused of carrying away approximately $100 in loose change and another $400 in cash. He’s also accused of taking way medicines including 90 Lortabs, and a 12 gauge shotgun. Officer Cook states that Bridges took property valued at approximately $690.

Jonathan Lee Bridges was being held a second night, awaiting a bond hearing on his charges.

Pointing & Presenting Firearm

Unlawful threats with a firearm were alleged in a warrant served by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday. Deputies had arrested 47-year-old Gary Dean Mann of 195 Tenant Drive, Waterloo Monday. He’s now charged with Pointing and Presenting a Firearm at a Person. Investigator Veal states that on February 12th Mr. Mann unlawfully, and not in self-defense, pointed a firearm at a victim and fired it into the ground, toward the victim. Gary Dean Mann was released on $4,000 cash or surety bond.

Four Adults Charged with Child Neglect

Four adults from one household in Laurens were charged yesterday with Unlawful Neglect of children they had custody of. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office charged the woman and three men with three counts of Unlawful Neglect of a Child or Helpless Person, on a date earlier this month.

Arrested yesterday were 33-year-old Sandtravis Deon Sanders, 55-year-old Willie James Sanders, 59-year-old Charlie Raymond Smith and 33-year-old Shemike Laquinda Spivey. All four were listed as living at 104 Middle Street, Laurens.

Three warrants were served on each of the four adults, alleging Neglect of three children for each adult. Sheriff’s Investigator Charles Nations states that on February 5th, 2018 the defendant had custody and/or charge of a minor child and did place the child at unreasonable risk of harm.

All four adults charged with Unlawful Neglect were being held overnight in the Laurens County Detention Center, awaiting bond hearings on their three charges.

Sign Up for Pre-School Continues in District 55

Laurens County School District 55 has announced they’re still accepting preschool registrants for the 2018-2019 school year. “There’s increasing evidence that children gain a lot from going to preschool,” says Kathleen McCartney, PhD, dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “At preschool, they become exposed to numbers, letters, and shapes. And, more important, they learn how to socialize — get along with other children, share, and contribute to circle time.” Preschool education also helps children develop confidence, learn patience, and provides exposure to diversity. Laurens District 55 is part of the Child Development Education Program (CDEP), which provides funding for supplies, resources, and teacher salaries in a majority of our 4K classrooms. Students entering the 4-year old pre-school program will either attend full day or half-day sessions. The SC State Department of Education establishes the criteria for student placement. Students that qualify for “free and reduced lunch” (based on family income) and those who receive Medicaid coverage will be automatically enrolled in the full day program.

Parents and guardians should contact the school their child is zoned to attend for additional information about registration and the two learning paths offered to students for the 2018-2019 school year. The Scholar Path follows the Big Day for Pre-K/Creative Curriculum approach, which was developed using research-based best practice and current brain research.

There is also a Path using the Montessori Method, where students may choose as an alternative learning path. Montessori uses specific materials to address the various learning needs of children. The Montessori Philosophy includes the beliefs that children learn through discovery, construct knowledge using concrete material before moving to the abstract and are natural learners.  It’s available at five of the six elementary schools in District 55.

Possession with Intent to Distribute Meth

Laurens Police served drug charges yesterday on a woman arrested Monday. 19-year-old Amanda Grace Cronic of Ninety-Six was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute and Possession of a Stolen Vehicle.  Warrants citing an investigation of Officer Van Pelt state that on February 12th Ms. Cronic had 6.5 grams of a crystal-like substance as well as a hypodermic needle containing .25 ML of a clear liquid, both believed to be methamphetamine. This reportedly occurred at 621 North Harper in Laurens Monday. Amanda Grace Cronic of Ninety-Six was released yesterday on $12,000 cash or surety bond.