Threats to Shoot Him While He Sleeps

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested a 50-year-old Waterloo woman and charged her with 3rd Degree Domestic Violence. She is accused of smacking the victim in his face and about his body yesterday and of threatening to shoot him while he slept. She was held in the Johnson Detention Center overnight, awaiting a bond hearing.

Who the Candidates Are

The filing period for the 2020 Election cycle closed yesterday across South Carolina. The most contested position here in Laurens County is for Sheriff. Incumbent Sheriff Don Reynolds is being challenged by three others in the Republican Primary. Challengers are Jarvis Reeder, Ricky Chastain and Ted Richardson.

With Laurens County Clerk of Court Lynn Lancaster retiring, two people are seeking to replace her. They are Mary Lauren Powers and Michelle Simmons. Laurens County Coroner Vickie Cheek is running unopposed for her first full term in that office.

Incumbent County Council member Joe Wood is being challenged by Luke Rankin for the Republican nomination to the District 2 Laurens County Council seat. Democrat Garrett McDaniel is unopposed for re-election to County Council District 3. In a Democratic Party primary, incumbent Council Member Diane Byrd Anderson is being challenged by Arthur Lee Philson Jr. for County Council District 6. County Council Chair Dr. David Pitts is unopposed for the Democratic Party nomination to County Council Seat 7. In November, he’ll face the winner of the Republican Primary race between Brenda Stewart and David Tribble.

All four positions on the Laurens County Legislative Delegation to Columbia will be on the ballot this November, but only one seat has action in the Primary this spring. State House Seat 42, serving Union and part of Laurens County, has incumbent Doug Gillian challenged by Melinda Inman Butler. Representative Mark N. Willis is unopposed for reelection to House Seat 16, Stewart O. Jones is unopposed for House Seat 14 State Senator Danny Verdin is unopposed for another term serving Senate District 9.

South Carolina 8th Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo is unopposed for another term in that position.

The party primaries are currently set to be held June 9th.

Laurens County residents in the Hickory Tavern area were to have a special election in April to elect someone to fill the vacant District 55 School Board Seat 4. Three people filed for the School Trustee seat during a recent filing period. Laurens County Elections Director Lynn West has indicated that the absentee balloting has been postponed, as well, depending on when the special election is rescheduled.

COVID-19 Update

After Laurens County received our first three confirmed cases of COVID-19 Saturday and Sunday, there were no new cases noted yesterday. As of Monday afternoon at 4:00 o’clock, SC DHEC indicated Laurens County and neighboring Greenwood County remained at 3 COVID-19 cases. Abbeville and Union Counties had additional cases, also bringing them to 3 cases each, as of 4:00 pm Monday. Newberry had 2 cases, Saluda County had 1. Spartanburg County had 30 cases as of yesterday afternoon, Anderson County had 31 and Greenville County had 88 COVID-19 cases. Charleston County had the highest number of cases in the state, with 123. The Upstate’s Cherokee County was the largest county still with no confirmed cases, along with Allendale, Bamberg, Hampton and McCormick Counties.

As of 4:00 pm Monday, South Carolina had a total of 925 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 18 people have died in the state with the COVID-19 infection.

1st Degree Violence & Resisting Arrest

Charges have now been served from an alleged domestic assault last weekend. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office charged 29-year-old Gary Scott Templeton of Dakota Drive, Laurens with 1st Degree Domestic Violence and Resisting Arrest. Saturday at Dakota Drive he allegedly grabbed the victim by her throat, choking her, and slammed her onto the bed. To avoid arrest, he allegedly pushed and pulled with his arms and slammed his head into the wall as he attempted to lunge his body forward, trying to get away from the arresting officers Saturday. Gary Scott Templeton remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning, awaiting a bond hearing on his two charges.

Clinton Police Charge 1st Degree Domestic Violence

Clinton Police yesterday made an arrest in connection with a domestic assault last Wednesday. 26-year-old Claude Willard “Will” Davis II of Palmetto Street, Clinton was charged with Domestic Violence 1st Degree. He is accused of a March 25th assault on Phillips Street where he allegedly placed his hands around the neck of the victim, impeding her airflow and struck her in the face. This reportedly occurred in the presence of minors. The warrant states that Davis has two prior convictions for domestic violence in the past 10 years. Claude Williard “Will” Davis II was released from the Johnson Detention Center on posting a $30,000 cash or surety bonds.

Chasing Man Down Street with Blunt Object

A Laurens woman has been charged with a domestic assault last weekend. 56-year-old Karlynn Constance Cannon-Coiley of Conway Avenue was initially issued a ticket charging her with Breach of Pease at 3:30 Saturday afternoon on Conway Avenue. She is now also charged with 2nd Degree Domestic Violence. A warrant alleges she attempted to assault the victim by chasing him with a blunt object Saturday on Conway Avenue. Karlynn Cannon-Coiley remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning with cash or surety bonds on her two charges totaling $6,087.50.

Assaults Alleged on Bluff Road

Charges on a second assault were served yesterday, following a Sheriff’s Office arrest Sunday night. 49-year-old Kimberly Patrice “Bone” Sams of Bluff Road, Gray Court was initially issued a ticket charging her with 3rd Degree Assault and Battery just before 10:30 Sunday night on Bluff Road. She was later served a warrant that charges her with 3rd Degree Domestic Violence. It accuses her of striking a victim in the face, causing a small abrasion under his left eye on Bluff Road Sunday. Kimberly Patrice Sams remained in the Johnson Detention Center overnight, awaiting a bond hearing.

Arson Charge Alleges Setting Fire to Car

Arson charges were served yesterday on a man accused of setting fire to a car. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested 60-year-old Bryan Dale Tumblin of Mill Rock Road, Gray Court late Sunday afternoon, initially charging him with Breach of Peace at 5:00 pm on Mill Rock Church Road. A warrant charging 3rd Degree Arson was served yesterday. It states that Tumblin set fire to a Toyota Tacoma valued $15,000 and allegedly admitted to it Sunday. Bryan Dale Tumblin remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning with bonds on his charges totaling $11,087.50.

Meth Trafficking

Methamphetamine Trafficking was charged yesterday for a man the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested Sunday evening in Western Laurens County. 45-year-old Richard Lee Edmonds of Honea Path Street, Ware Shoals was initially arrested and served a citation charging him with Simple Possession of Marijuana just before 6:00 Sunday evening near the intersection of Indian Mound Road and Riverfork Road. A Meth Trafficking warrant alleges that a search was conducted following a traffic stop Sunday evening, discovering approximately 25 grams of a clear crystal-like substance. Richard Lee Edmonds remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning with cash or surety bonds totaling $10,615.

Probation Violation

State Pardon, Probation and Parole yesterday delivered 34-year-old Shelly Brooks Ray of 1321 South Broad Street, Clinton to the Johnson Detention Center. She was served with Violation of Probation warrant. It accuses her of failing to follow the advice and instructions of her agent. Specific failures cited included failing to report to her supervising agent this year on January 21st, of changing her residence without consent of her supervising agent, as evidenced by the home visit conducted last year on October 22nd. She’s also accused of being behind in her supervision fees and her drug test fee. Shelly Brooks Ray remained in custody this morning, awaiting a bond hearing on her Violation of Probation charge.

Damaging City Park

Laurens City Police yesterday made an arrest for alleged damage to the City Park on Brownlee Avenue. 40-year-old Wade Harrison “Tub” Pinson of East Public Square, Laurens was charged with Malicious Damage to Personal Property and Possession of Cocaine 1st offense. He is accused of damaging multiple items at the City Park and of having less than one gram of cocaine in his possession Sunday at the park. “Tub” Pinson was released on personal recognizance bonds totaling $11,000.

Three COVID-19 Cases in Laurens County

The first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laurens County were noted this weekend. Laurens County Emergency Communications relayed information from SC-DHEC Saturday morning of the first case of the Corona Virus being confirmed from Laurens County. A second Laurens County case was confirmed Saturday afternoon. By Sunday, there was a third confirmed COVID-19 case reported for Laurens County. SC-DHEC notes the three Laurens County cases are for people connected to the Gray Court and Mountville Zip Codes.

As of 6:00 Sunday evening, DHEC reported 71 cases in Greenville County. These included people in the Fountain Inn zip code. 25 cases in Spartanburg County included at least one in the Woodruff area.

Among other neighboring counties, as of 6:00 last evening, Anderson County had 29 cases, Abbeville and Greenwood also had 3 each while Union and Saluda counties each had 1 confirmed case.

As of the Sunday afternoon update, South Carolina had a total of 774 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 16 have died from the disease.

District 55 Learning Packets Go Out April 1st

In response to the March 24th announcement by Governor Henry McMaster that all South Carolina schools are to remain closed through April 30th, Laurens County School District #55 will provide additional learning packets for students. Chromebooks will also be provided for students in grades three through five.

Parents/guardians can receive the learning packets from their child’s school on Wednesday, April 1st, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. In order to minimize person-to-person contact and to follow the guidelines established by health officials, the packets – and Chromebooks for students in grades three through five – will be distributed through a traffic line process at each school. Everyone visiting the school for materials pickup is asked to stay inside their vehicle. School personnel will pass the materials through the vehicle window. Parents/guardians not able to participate in the materials pickup on April 1st should contact their child’s school to schedule an alternate time.

Parents/guardians are asked to also turn in any of their child’s work that is already completed on April 1st. School personnel will be collecting completed work as they distribute the new packet.

Students not using paper learning packets, should continue with the online eLearning procedures previously established for them. Many teachers are providing online lessons and virtual classroom experiences.

All students should complete their 30 for 30 daily reading.

There will be no student assignments during the week of Spring Break scheduled for April 6-10. Dr. Ameca Thomas, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, said, “We hope students and parents are able to rest and refresh during Spring Break. Hopefully, families will be able to enjoy authentic learning experiences and family reading time.”

Superintendent Dr. Stephen Peters said, “I appreciate the commitment, teamwork, and efforts of our students, parents, and staff as we get through this time.” Peters noted, “Please remember that during these times we cannot expect perfection, but are hopeful that we are continuing to make progress.”

Deadline is NOON Today to File for Office

Today at Noon is the final deadline for folks to seek election in the regular 2020 General Election.

Offices involved from our area this year include the South Carolina 3rd District Congressional Seat, State Senate Seat #9 covering Laurens and portions of Greenville County and three State house Seats. District 14 covers portions of Laurens and Greenwood Counties. Seat 16 covers portions of Laurens and Greenville Counties. Seat 42 covers all of Union and part of Laurens County.

Laurens County-wide offices up for election here in 2020 are Sheriff, Clerk of Court and Coroner. County Council seats up for election are for Council Districts 2, 3, 6 and 7.

Candidates have filed for either a Democratic or Republican Party primary nomination. Primaries are set for June, but there is concern whether the state may need to delay them.

In an earlier filing period, three people filed for a Laurens County District 55 School Board seat that covers the Hickory Tavern area. The April Special Election has been indefinitely postponed, due to the COVID-19 threat.

PC Postpones Graduation

With cases of the COVID-19 Coronavirus continuing to increase, Presbyterian College has announced it will complete the spring semester online. Undergraduates began online classes last week after returning from an extended spring break the previous week.

There were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the PC campus or in Laurens County at the time the College decided to finish the semester online, but that changed this weekend, with three cases. SC-DHEC shows they involve residents of the Gray Court and Mountville zip codes.

According to PC President Bob Staton, the College’s leadership team chose to continue remote learning to protect the health of students, faculty, staff and those in the Clinton community. Over the past few weeks, Staton has met regularly with the college leadership team and a COVID-19 working group to discuss how to navigate the College during the pandemic. He said,

“As we have evaluated the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, we’ve kept the safety of the campus community as our top priority. We’ve made all of our decisions to ensure, as much as we may, students, faculty and staff, as well as the Clinton community, will remain safe during this ongoing pandemic.”

In addition, graduation ceremonies for PC undergraduate and graduate students have been postponed. Students who complete their graduation requirements will be issued diplomas by mail. An updated plan for this year’s graduating exercises for undergraduates and graduates will be communicated by Wednesday, April 15. President Staton said, “I understand this is heartbreaking for students, many of whom say they knew they found their college home the moment they arrived on campus.” Staton added, “My heart goes out to all students, especially the seniors, who were looking forward to spending their last semester on campus. Campus simply won’t be the same without our students.”

Knife Laceration above the Knee

Johnny Hitt

Clinton Police arrested a man following alleged assaults on two people Saturday. 30-year-old Johnny Randy “Little Jonny” Hitt of East Florida Street Extension, Clinton was charged with Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated, Possession of a Weapon during a Violent Crime, and Assault and Battery 3rd Degree.

During an incident on East Florida Street Saturday, Mr. Hitt is accused of cutting a person with a large, fixed-blade knife, causing a laceration to the victim’s upper left leg just above the knee. Also on East Florida Saturday, he is accused of attempting to injure a woman by pushing her with significant force into the kitchen sink.    While a  $450 personal recognizance bond was set on the 3rd Degree Assault and Battery charge, cash or surety bonds totaling $15,000 were set on the Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature and the Use of a Weapon in a Violent Crime charges. Johnny Randy “Little Johnny” Hitt remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Now Held for Next Court Appointment

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested 51-year-old Janice Elaine Peace of Glennmont Lane, Greenville Friday and served her with a bench warrant. It states she failed to appear in court January 10th to face a charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute. Ms. Peace remains in custody, pending her next scheduled appearance in Laurens Count General Sessions Court.

Next Step Cancels April Meeting

The Laurens County Next Step group has announced their regular meeting for April is being cancelled, due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the closing area restaurants for inside dining. The group announced their first concern for the well-being of its members, most of whom are in the high risk category. Ted the action is being taken out of an “abundance of caution. It is disappointing for all of us, but a necessary step to halt the spread of this virus.” Future meeting plans are on hold, based on further developments.

Laurens County Next Step is an organization that helps widows and widowers develop new friendships, following the loss of their spouse.

Second Case of COVID-19 Confirmed in Laurens County

As of this (Saturday) morning, Laurens County has its first confirmed case of COVID-19.  Laurens County officials received notification from SC DHEC that

Laurens County Emergency Operations office is asking the public to continue to follow the preventive guidelines from the CDC and SC DHEC:

Another COVID-19 Case in Laurens County


Laurens County’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced this morning. Then, this (Saturday) afternoon, DHEC has confirmed a 2nd case of the virus in Laurens County. Details as to the identity of the persons will not be made available due to medical privacy laws.

The public is reminded that this Coronavirus COVID-19 is an active part of our State with the total number of SC DHEC reported cases statewide standing at approximately 539.

Laurens County Emergency Communications sated Saturday, “We must do our individual preventive efforts in order to limit the spread throughout our state.”

Laurens County Emergency Operations office is asking the public to continue to follow the preventive guidelines from the CDC and SC DHEC:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Refrain from handshaking,
  • Refrain from any large group gatherings

The Laurens County Public is advised not to be alarmed if you see our EMS personnel wearing a mask, gloves and safety glasses with an outer garment that is not part of our normal uniform attire on some calls for service. “We are dressed this way for our protection as well as the protection to you, our citizens. Should you have any questions of that person, please ask them to produce their official county ID which each one carries with then and should be visible.”

For general questions and the latest information about COVID-19, please visit or call the DHEC Care Line at (855) 472-3432, available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. If you believe you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you can be assessed virtually through MUSC by visiting


PC Pharmacy School Responds to COVID-19

Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy responded quickly when the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) issued an urgent request to academic institutions for personal protective equipment last Friday, March 20th.  As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates, a top concern for those in the healthcare field is access to this equipment.

PC Pharmacy School Dean Dr. Kurt Wargo said, “The demand for personal protective equipment is currently greater than the available supply.” On hearing the request from DHEC, Dr. Wargo approved the donation of many of the supplies in the School’s hospital simulation lab. “We are facing an unprecedented time in our world’s history,” he said, noting “We need to do our part to help fight this viral pandemic. Helping those in need is what pharmacists are known for, and it’s simply the right thing to do in this case.”

The School of Pharmacy donated more than 1,000 pieces of personal protective equipment, including alcohol pads, eye protection, gloves, hand sanitizer, hand soap and medical gowns.

Dr. Tiffaney Threatt, associate professor of pharmacy and director of the Pharmacy School’s Wellness Center, helped gather the supplies to send to DHEC. The organization then distributed the items to first responders, hospitals and nursing homes.

Dean Wargo said, “Many healthcare workers are serving at full capacity during this time and risking their own safety. “In this national and global response, healthcare workers are serving on the frontline and must be protected as a valuable yet vulnerable resource. Providing adequate equipment is the first step.”

Hopefully, the manufacturing supply of personal protective equipment will soon catch up with the demand, Wargo says. Until then, DHEC will continue to collect supplies and distribute them to facilities and healthcare workers in need.

During the pandemic, Wargo and others at the PC School of Pharmacy have also worked with Good Shepherd Free Medical Clinic in Laurens to provide emergency supplies of medications to patients in need.

“‘While we live, we serve’ is more than a campus motto for Presbyterian College,” Wargo noted. “They’re words that students, alumni, faculty and staff truly live by. In uncertain times such as these, there is even more reason to serve others.”