Probation Terminated

State Pardon, Probation and Parole yesterday charged 66-year-old Joseph John Ortega of 900 Prather Circle, Clinton with Violation of Probation. He was accused of failing to report to the probation office on February 14, 2017 or any time since and of moving to an undisclosed location, thereby absconding supervision, as evidenced by a home visit March 29th. Mr. Orega was also accused of failing to report to the office on his release from the Laurens County Detention Center on bond on March 12th, 2017 and with failure to make payment on required fees and charges. The warrant states that he has failed to follow the advice and instructions of his agent.

In General Sessions Court yesterday, probation was revoked. He’s now required to serve 20 days on two drug distribution sentences from June of 2015. He was also given financial obligations with probation terminated.

Assault Alleged in May

A Domestic Assault over four months ago was alleged with the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrest yesterday of 40-year-old Richard Donald McBride. He was booked showing an address at 308 Almond Street, Jonesville, charged with Domestic Violence 3rd Degree.

In a warrant showing a Waterloo address on Highway 72, Deputy Benjamin Perry states that on May 2nd of this year Mr. McBride struck the victim, causing bruising to the neck, left eye and upper body.

Richard McBride was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing today.

Another Highway Fatality

A man injured in a wreck in Western Laurens County earlier this month died Sunday in Greenville Memorial Hospital. Laurens County Chief Deputy Coroner Vickie Cheek said the wreck occurred in the Ware Shoals area on US Highway 25 near Buzhardt Road on September 9th.

Ms. Cheek said that 39-year-old Ivan Cruz of 15 Montague Road, apartment 108, Greenville died at 1:15 Sunday morning. Cause of death was listed as Blunt Force Trauma to his Head.

Eviction Discovers Dead Infant

The body of an infant was found by a Laurens County Deputy this afternoon in Fountain Inn. Chief Deputy Sheriff Jarvis Reeder said the officer was serving a “set-out” notice of eviction, where items from the apartment were to be removed, when the infant’s body was found. Reeder said this occurred at Fountain Hill Apartments on Chapman Road in Fountain Inn just before 1:00 this (Monday) afternoon.

The Laurens County Coroner’s Office and Fountain Inn Police responded to the apartment.

Laurens County Chief Deputy Coroner Vickie Cheek told WLBG this afternoon that a lot of questions remained unanswered, but the infant’s remains were taken to Greenville, where an autopsy will be conducted Tuesday morning.

2,000 Employees Sought

A chance for people seriously looking for work to get face-to-face with professionals who are hiring new employees was noted with news of a regional job fair coming to our area this month. Piedmont Technical College and the Upper Savannah Regional Government are planning an Upper Savannah Regional Job Fair Wednesday September 27th, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Greenwood Mall.

Billy Morgan, Deputy Workforce Development Director of Upper Savannah Council of Governments, said “We want people to connect with employers who are hiring, but we also want them to work toward getting the skills needed for the jobs those employers are ready to fill.”

During the five-hour event, job seekers will have an opportunity to connect with more than 50 employers. Hiring professionals will be grouped by industry sector. And a table from Piedmont Tech featuring related educational programs will be available in each of these locations.

Rusty Denning, Associate Vice President of Economic Development and Continuing Education at Piedmont Tech, said “This new partnership is a great opportunity to help residents see the connections between the training they can receive at PTC and the workforce needs in our region.” He added  “Whether you’re talking about health care, manufacturing or other areas, several companies are facing staffing shortages in skilled positions. We’ll be there to help visitors understand the steps they’ll need to take to ready themselves for those jobs.”

Attendees will have an opportunity to connect with companies in the areas of manufacturing, government, health care, community service, education and much more. Plus, companies who have signed up are seeking to fill over 2,000 jobs.

The Upper Savannah SC Works System suggested people review the list of employers and determine who you want to see first, then do some research of those employers before the event. They also suggest people serious about locating a good job to bring plenty of copies of your resume and dress like you are going to a job interview.

More information about the job fair September 27th is available from Upper Savannah Council of Governments at 1-800-922-7729, by email to: on online at

New Flag over Waterloo

In addition to the Annual Waterloo Festival underway this weekend, the Waterloo Fire Department held a flag raising ceremony Saturday with a flag and new flag pole that was donated by the Woodmen Life Organization. Woodmen’s Division Chief Chris Rooney welcomed those in attendance and Miss Ranya Jackson sang the National Anthem.  Chapter Vice President Chester Martin presented remarks “In honor and Remembrance of America’s Heroes.”

After the raising of the flag by Boy Scouts, and a moment of silence, Representative Mike Pitts also addressed those in attendance, followed by Laurens County Councilwoman Diane Anderson.

Hiding Loot from Grand Larceny Alleged

Clinton Public Safety made an arrest Thursday regarding a theft in town this past June. Friday, 49-year-old Nancy Sutherland Leslie of 115 Loblolly Court, Easley was charged with Accessory After the Fact of a Felony. Sgt. Prather states that on or about June 9th the defendant, knowing that a male subject had committed the felony of Grand Larceny, rendered assistance to him with the intent of assisting him avoid the consequences of his crime, by hiding or disposing of stolen property belonging to the victim of that crime. This reportedly occurred in the City Limits of Clinton. Leslie Sutherland Nancy was released Friday on a $3,000 personal recognizance bond.

Two Charged Child Neglect, That Just by L.C.S.O.

A man and woman from Western Laurens County were arrested Friday on charges of Child Neglect that day. 27-year-old Brandi Marie Daniel and 29-year-old Jason Morris James, both of 590 Bal Harbor, Ware Shoals, were charged with one count of Child Neglect. Warrants citing an investigation of Deputy Willard state that on September 15th each placed a minor child at unreasonable risk of harm. They had custody of and were parents of the children, ages 9 months, 4 years and 9 years old. Personal Recognizance bonds were set at $10,000 for each. Brandi Marie Daniel remained in custody early today pending pickup by Travelers Rest Police. Jason Morris James was released this weekend to Ware Shoals Police.

Traffic Offenses, Plus Malicious Damage & Resisting Arrest

A Greenwood woman had multiple charges following an interaction with a Laurens County Deputy near Cross Hill late Saturday morning. 30-year-old Ashley Nicole Levanich of an apartment at 1010 Grace Street, Greenwood was issued four tickets and one warrant. Deputy Boyd issued tickets alleging Ms. Levanich was Driving under Suspension of her License and that she did Malicious Damage to personal property at 11:02 Saturday morning in the vicinity of Highway 72 and The Pines Road. Other tickets charged her with an Uninsured Vehicle violation and with Use of a License Plate for Wrong Vehicle.

In a Resisting Arrest warrant, Deputy Thomas Boyd states that the suspect knowingly and willfully opposed or resisted arrest by an officer Saturday by refusing to exit her vehicle, having to be physically removed, then allegedly pulled away from an officer who was trying to place her in restraints.

Ashley Nicole Levanich remained in the Laurens County Detention Center earlier today with cash or surety bonds totaling $4,122.

One Victim Knocked Down by a Truck

A Greenwood man was charged with three assaults over two days this month, following his Friday arrest by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office. 27-year-old Walter Alan Grover of 1802 Highway 72, Greenwood was charged with Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature on another man September 2nd, accused of deliberately hitting the victim with the front of his truck, causing him to fall to the ground, bruising his lip and thigh. The victim was reportedly treated at Laurens County Memorial Hospital. Mr. Grover was charged with Assault and Battery 3rd Degree and Domestic Violence 3rd Degree on September 8th, accused of striking a woman in her arm, causing bruising. One warrant states he and the victim have a child in common. Walter Alan Grover was released this weekend on bonds that included $6,000 cash or surety and a $1,000 PR bond.

Throwing Wife to the Ground

A 2nd Degree Domestic Violence warrant was served yesterday following a Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrest of 26-year-old Shawn Daniel Bowie of 2060 Indian Mound Road, Laurens. A warrant states that an investigation of Deputy Hildrandt indicates that on September 17th one Shawn Daniel Bowie committed 2nd Degree Domestic Violence by inflicting physical harm and injury to his wife by throwing her to the ground. This allegedly took place in front of the couple’s 13-year-old daughter, after the defendant had taken the victim’s cell phone. Shawn Daniel Bowie remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning with a cash or surety bond set at $3,500.

Intimidation by Throwing Dishes, Clothing

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Joanna man Friday for an alleged Domestic incident that day. 39-year-old Charles Samuel Coker of 513 Milton Road, Joanna was served with a warrant charging him with Domestic Violence 2nd Degree. The warrant states that an investigation by Deputy Crosby indicates that on September 15th Charles Samuel Coker committed 2nd Degree Domestic Violence in that he intimidated the victim by throwing dishes and clothing around the residence, created hear in her. The incident reportedly occurred in the presences of the victim’s 4-year-old daughter. Charles Samuel Coker was released on a $5,000 cash or surety bond.

Local High School Football Scores From Friday 9-15-2017

Abbeville 49 – Clinton 12…. Click on following for quick stats: CHS+vs+ABV+Quickie


Boiling Springs 30 – Laurens 14…. Click on following for stat package: Boiling Springs at Laurens Stats


Cathedral 42 – Laurens Academy 12… Will Tindal had a rushing TD for the Crusaders and Joshua Moore caught a TD pass from Thomas Lowery


Greenwood Christian 33 – Ware Shoals 20… Greenwood Christian came from behind to defeat the Hornets not allowing the Hornets to score in the second half.

Pipe Fabrication Facility to close in Laurens, costing 250 jobs

From our news partners at the South Carolina Radio Network:

A large Texas-based engineering corporation has confirmed it will close a pipe fabrication facility in Laurens, impacting 250 employees.

“After careful evaluation, CB&I has decided to close the facility for economic reasons,” CB&I spokeswoman Gentry Brann said in an email. “We expect the closure to happen by the end of March 2018 and have given notice to the approximately 250 employees at the site as of (Friday) morning. WSPA TV reported on Friday.

CB&I acquired the plant as part of its 2013 merger with Shaw Group. The Laurens County Council approved a June 2015 fee-in-lieu agreement on the condition that the company invest $4.4 million and create 56 additional jobs.

The Laurens plant was involved in expansion construction at the ill-fated VC Summer nuclear plant, fabricating piping spools for the reactors. VC Summer’s operator South Carolina Electric & Gas has blamed CB&I for delays in the reactor design and construction. A Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspection team found issues with the plant’s quality assurance program in 2015.

Brann did not respond to a follow-up question on whether VC Summer’s failure played a role in the plant’s closure.

SLED Audit Looks at Evidence Storage

A six month audit by the State Law Enforcement Agency reportedly revealed “gross mismanagement” of criminal evidence by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office. A long-promoted story on WSPA-News 7 yesterday states SLED found thousands of pieces of evidence from various cases thrown together, not properly labeled and not properly stored.

The story on TV last evening noted that a lot of evidence had been stored in the old Detention Center in Downtown Laurens, including during the annual “Haunted Jail” events.

A story noted that SLED audits of evidence departments in cities and counties are not required, only done when they are requested. It stated that overall, SLED reported 885 pieces of evidence were found that were not even logged in the system Laurens County had set up. They also discovered 6 guns were not located, 391 pieces of evidence not located, and $386.18 was missing from one case.

The News 7 story added that two new evidence custodians have created a new system to log in and log out evidence and they also have spent months working to track down owners of evidence that was found that should have been returned or destroyed years ago.

7News stated it reached out to former Sheriff Ricky Chastain multiple times for comment, but that none of their calls or texts had been returned by yesterday’s story deadline.

Culture Shift in Health Care

“We’re in a culture shift,” in the way health care is delivered. This was an analysis presented yesterday before two local civic groups. The Laurens and Clinton Rotary Clubs held a joint meeting in the GHS Laurens County Memorial Hospital and heard from Justin Benfield, Chief Operating Officer of the Southern Region for GHS. He said the method of providing health care over the past thirty years has been reactive. He said people have gone to their doctor or to an emergency room with a medical problem and they’ve been examined and given a treatment for the symptoms. Benfield said the culture shift now in progress is seeking to be more proactive. He outlined how GHS is seeking to fulfill the new model of proactive health care delivery by seeking to address causes of poor health.

Justin Benfield noted that a recent reorganization of GHS services to the upstate has created different areas. The southern region he serves includes medical practices and other services for Laurens, Greenwood, Newberry and Abbeville counties. A big feature for this area is the GHS Laurens County Memorial Hospital, but Benfield noted the proactive approach is putting emphasis outside the hospital. He noted special events like the recent GHS Splash and Dash and the Mud Run, as well as investment in promoting healthier food with support of projects like the Clinton Community garden, on South Bell Street.

He also noted a plan now underway to add an additional eight mile section of the Swamp Rabbit Trail in the Laurens-Clinton area. He noted that in addition to promoting a healthier lifestyle, the current GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail from Travelers Rest through Downtown Greenville and out to Mauldin has also stimulated new economic activity in that area.

Benfield listed several Laurens County groups GHS is partnering with to extend services available outside a hospital. These include the Good Sheppard Free Medical Clinic and the Laurens County Cancer Association. He said GHS is also developing a Mobile Care Unit that will be stationed at GHS Laurens County Memorial to provide transport services for patients between that facility and Greenville Memorial. He said it will also be used as a back-up for the Laurens County EMS.

While primarily focusing on proactive opportunities outside GHS Laurens County Memorial Hospital, Justin Benfield pointed out that with the new fiscal year starting October 1st, GHS has budgeted $2 million of investments in the hospital facilities. He also said GHS is addressing impact of the national nursing shortage with a big recruitment effort this weekend. A Job Fair in the main lobby of GHS Laurens County Memorial is being held from 9:00 until Noon Saturday morning, seeking to fill many openings for nurses and other categories.

Reschedule of Disability Board Meeting

Heavy rain and strong winds from the remains of Hurricane Irma caused extensive power outages and other damage across Laurens County early this week, including a cancellation of school Monday and Tuesday.

Among events postponed during the storm was the September meeting of the Laurens county Disability and Special Needs Board. LCDSNB has rescheduled that meeting, with a notice that the public is always invited to attend. The September 11th meeting is rescheduled for Monday, September 25th. This will begin at Noon at the Laurens County Disability and Special Needs office building on Highway 14 on the edge of Laurens.

Thanks for Dr. Suzanne Smith

A new fiscal year starts October 1st for GHS Laurens County Memorial Hospital, and the entity GHS leases the facilities from. With a new Chair of the Board about to take office then, the Laurens County Health Care Board of Directors this week recognized current leadership. Dr. Suzanne Smith, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Laurens County Health Care System, was honored Tuesday for her dedicated leadership over the past year. In addition to her role as chairman, Dr. Smith has been an active trustee member since 2007, credited for helping lead the organization into an era of transition and growth.  Fellow Trustee Jay Peay thanked Dr. Smith for her lengthy service to the health care system and to the entire Laurens County community before presenting her with a gift of appreciation.

Pictured, Left to Right, are Trustee Jay Peay, Dr. Suzanne Smith; Justin Benfield, Chief Operating Officer of GHS Southern Region and Dr. David Williams, Chief Clinical Officer of GHS Southern Region.

Two Attempts at Too Much Ephedrine


Two charges of Attempting to Purchase “Too Much Ephedrine” were served yesterday on 53-year-old John David Hannah of 28571 Highway 76 East, Clinton. Laurens County Drug Investigator Nations states that on February 22nd this year Mr. Hannah attempted or conspired to obtain more than the 9 gram limit of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine products in a 30-day period. These attempts allegedly occurred that day at Walgreens and Wal-Mart locations on East Main in Laurens. Mr. Hannah was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing today.

3rd or Subsequent Meth Charge

Fountain Inn Police have arrested a woman for an alleged 3rd or Subsequent Possession of Methamphetamine. 24-year-old Kristen English Clark was booked in the Laurens County Detention Center yesterday with a Hazel Street, Taylors address. In a warrant showing a Bolt Drive, Anderson address, Fountain Inn Officer Kunz states that on August 1st in the Laurens County portion of Fountain Inn M. Clark had .06 gram of a substance that field tested positive as meth. She was being held with a cash or surety bond set at $15,000.