Already Has Five Convictions!

One traffic offense reportedly resulted in two charges yesterday. Laurens City Police arrested 29-year-old James Michael Pitman of 169 Quail Run Drive, Greer on a charge of Driving under Suspension, 3rd or Subsequent Offense, then added a 2nd charge of being a Habitual Offender.

Warrants state that the investigation of Officer Van Pelt indicate that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle on the highway yesterday while his driving privileges were suspended and revoked, and that this was a third or subsequent offense. The Habitual Traffic Offender warrant states that the subject’s criminal history indicates five prior convictions for driving under suspension.

Cash or surety bonds were set totaling $7,100 on the two charges. James Michael Pitman remained in custody overnight.

Carroll Wins County Council District 05

The unofficial tally of votes for the District 5 seat on Laurens County Council gave a win to Jeffrey Carroll. He led the three-way race with 50.47% of votes cast, or 486 total votes. Incumbent Keith Tollison was 2nd with 284 votes, or 29.49% and Dale Mitchel came in 3rd with 193 votes, or 20.04% of the vote. If no significant shift occurs in the canvas Thursday morning, Carroll will be the party nominee and the only candidate for the General Election this November.

County Councilman Keith Tollison issued a statement overnight regarding the results of yesterday’s vote. He said, “Congratulations to Jeffery Carroll for winning the County Council Seat for District 5. We think the residents of District 5 made a good choice. We want our supporters to fully stand behind him as we move Laurens County forward. I have enjoyed serving Laurens County and the residents of District 5. I would like to thank my family and constituents for their support in these many years of service.”

1st 4, Now 2 Seek County Council District 01

Last night’s unofficial results from the Republican Primary indicate a run-off will be necessary for the District 01 seat on County Council, where four candidates were on the ballot. Kemp Younts led the ticket with 353 votes, or 40.44%. Coming in 2nd with 253 votes, Susan K. Thackson received 28.98% of the vote. It appears that Kemp Younts and Susan Thackston will face-off in a run-off vote for County Council District 01. Candidates Howell and Thorne each received just under 17% and 14% each, with 146 votes for Howell and 121 votes for Thorne.

Doug Gilliam Wins House Seat 42

A big lead in Union County gave Doug Gilliam the Republican Nomination to State House Seat 42. Laurens County gave Phillip Russell 57.73% of the votes, here, with 381 votes. Doug Gilliam came in 2nd with 35.91%. However, Gilliam won Union County by a large spread to become the winner of the total vote across House Seat 42. The unofficial State House Seat 42 total from both counties last night was 1,653 for Doug Gilliam, 1,163 for Phillip Russell and 220 votes for Brooks Carwile. Following the expected rubber stamp in the General Election this fall, Republican Doug Gilliam will replace Democrat Mike Anthony in the State House next January.

Laurens County Mirrors State Governor & Congressional Vote

Republican Gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Templeton offered her concession last night as unofficial results came in from across the state. In two weeks, the GOP primary runoff will be between incumbent Henry McMaster, who led the statewide vote, and businessman John Warren. Laurens County’s vote was similar, with McMaster getting 2,440 votes and Warren receiving 1,808.

No runoff will be needed for the Democrats to select a candidate for Governor. James Smith won yesterday with 136,810 votes, giving him 62.29% of the vote in the three-way race. Smith also won Laurens County with 1125 votes, with both his opponents together receiving 787 here.

Voters across the 3rd Congressional District approved Mary Geren as the Democratic Candidate to face incumbent Jeff Duncan this November. She received 11,683 votes, or 70.81% of the vote, in defeating Hosea Cleveland. Ms. Geren also carried Laurens County, where the vote was 1,122 to 716.

Laurens County Had Just Over 20% Turnout

One out of five of Laurens County’s registered voters participated in yesterday’s primaries. Out of 36,489 registered voters in the county, the 7,576 who voted yesterday represent a turnout rate of 20.76%. Just over a 4th of those who voted here, 1,944, voted in the Democratic primary. 5,632, or 74.34%, voted in the Republican Primary.

Newberry Inmates Coming to Laurens County

Laurens County Council members were updated last evening about an agreement between the Laurens County Detention Center and the Newberry County Detention Center. It calls for Laurens County’s center to house Newberry County inmates while renovations are underway at the Newberry facility over the next year. The agreement reportedly states that Laurens County will house Newberry County detainees for a period beginning about July 9th of 2018 and lasting until June 30th, 2019, or the completion of the Newberry renovations, whichever comes first.

A memorandum of understanding for detention housing services was submitted to council. It includes a $25.00 fee per inmate per day to cover provision of some services and the costs of facility use, including food and laundry.

Medical services for all inmates will continue under current contracted terms through Southern Health Partners, who provide services for both facilities.

Sheriff Don Reynolds told County Council last evening that this arrangement will be of a financial plus for his department and should help to finance the detention center’s new kitchen.

New Bobcat on the Way

Equipment needs for Laurens County that were demonstrated, in part, by a tornado that struck last year were a part of business at last night’s Laurens County Council meeting. Council approved a request from the county’s Roads and Bridges Department for use of capital funds saved in this year’s budget. Council was told that recent events such as the tornado that inflicted damage in the county including the Sandy Springs Road area show a need for an equipment upgrade. The Roads and Bridges foreman noted that the county had $15,000 left over in this year’s budget due to a decision to purchase a smaller dump truck than budgeted for. The foreman said this, in addition to other funds remaining in the budget, would finance the $30,000 needed to replace a 1992 M0del 883 Bobcat the county owns.

Family Court Jails Two

Two men were placed in the Laurens County Detention Center yesterday by Family Court.

47-year-old George Edward Williams of 324 Old Groub Road, Greenville was charged with a Bench Warrant, citing him with Contempt for failure to appear and failure to pay child support.

Williams also was served a Bench Warrant from General Sessions Court, showing him with an address on Fellowship New Cut Road, Waterloo. It states he failed to appear in General Sessions Court March 1st to face a charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance.

33-year-old Jeremy Joseph James of 590 Bal Harbour Drive, Ware Shoals was served yesterday with two Bench Warrants from Family Court, each cites him with Failure to Appear in court last month and failure to pay child support.

Over 600 Attend Girls State at PC This Week

More than 600 students from across South Carolina will are spending this week, June 10th thru 16th, at Presbyterian College for the 72nd annual session of Palmetto Girls State. This marks the ninth consecutive year PC has hosted the American Legion Auxiliary program. This leadership and citizenship training program brings top rising high school seniors to the College’s campus.

Palmetto Girls State is “created to educate outstanding high school students about state and local government and citizenship,” according to its website. It’s operated since 1947.

Girls attending Palmetto Girls State experience governmental procedure by simulating political campaigns, elections and the political process. They also learn about the principles of citizenship and public service from guest speakers, expert panels and staff members.

Students, who are known within the program as “delegates,” are selected for the program based on the leadership and involvement they’ve shown in their respective schools and communities.

Peri Imler, from Rock Hill, graduated from PC last year and is now pursuing a law degree. She attended Palmetto Girls State and said she enjoyed her experience. Said said, “I was excited to win my first election as city manager, thrilled to serve as county councilwoman, and elated to be elected my party’s candidate for lieutenant governor.” She added, “What I learned from most, however, is my loss on the final evening of PGS 2013. I learned that to be a successful candidate (and human being), it helps to focus on fostering strong relationships with your peers. I learned that failure isn’t an end, rather, it is a lesson that leads to a new beginning.”

For Imler, Girls State also influenced her decision to attend PC — and she found out she wasn’t alone in that decision.

Need for “Soft Skills” for Getting Jobs

Piedmont Technical College Humanities Department Head Jennifer Lopes gave a presentation at the South Carolina State University Division of Academic Affairs Leadership Institute in Savannah, Georgia last month. Her topic, titled “The 21st Century Student and the New Paradigm for Higher Education,” emphasized the importance of “soft skills” such as work ethic and professionalism, listening, promptness, attitude and dependability in the marketability and employability of young people.

Unofficial Results From Primary Elections

State House Seat 42:

Totals (Laurens and Union Counties)

Doug Gilliam   1653

Phillip Russel   1163

Brooks Carwile  220

Laurens County Council District 1:


Kemp Younts         353

Susan K Thackston 253

Adam Howell         146

Ryan D Thorne       121

Laurens County Council District 5:


Jeffrey Carroll         486

Keith Tollison         284

Dale Mitchell          193

Primary Voting Underway

Polls are now open across Laurens County and throughout South Carolina for the 2018 Primaries. While both Democratic and Republican Parties have multiple options for the Governor’s Office, the options are more limited here on local ballots.

3rd District Congressman Jeff Duncan is unopposed for the Republican nomination for another term. In the General Election this fall, he’ll be facing Dave Moore, the only candidate who filed in the American Party, along with the winner of a two-person contest in the Democratic Primary. Local voters today can select between Hosea Cleveland and Mary Geren for the Democratic Party nomination for that congressional seat.

The county-wide offices up for the voters this year only had incumbents file for the Republican Primary. Sailing through the primary process today are Probate Judge Kay W. Fridy, Auditor Jim Coleman and Treasurer Cynthia M. Burke.

In State House contests, Mike Pitts is unopposed for House Seat 14 while Mark Willis faces Brooks Carwile for the Republican nomination for House Seat 16 today. Doug Gilliam and Phillip Russell are seeking the Republican Party nomination for House Seat 42 to replace the retiring long-time Democrat Representative Mike Anthony. Seat 42 includes all Union County and parts of Eastern Laurens County, including major areas in Clinton and Joanna.

While County Council incumbent Stewart Jones is unopposed for another term today for Seat 4, there are contests in the Republican Primary in two other county council seats. Seeking to replace retiring County Council member Ted Nash from District 1 are Adam Howell, Susan K. Thackston, Ryan D. Thorne and Kemp Younts. In County Council District 5, incumbent Keith Tollision is being challenged by Jeffery Carroll and Dale Mitchell.

3 Precincts Have New Voting Locations

Voters in three precincts will have new voting locations in today’s primaries. The Laurens County Election Commission made changes to better comply with federal ADA guidelines, making access easier for those with disabilities.

Joanna precinct votes at Joanna-Woodson Elementary School, 510 South Ellis Street. Lydia Mill voters will vote at Bell Street School, 600 Peachtree Street and Long Branch Precinct votes, starting today, at Leesville Southern Methodist Church, 2252 Leesville Church Road, Clinton.

WLBG will have live results from the primaries starting at 7:00 this evening on Real Radio 860 WLBG and at


Back in the Top Ten Deadliest

After an unusually high number of traffic fatalities last year, Laurens County was doing much better in the early part of 2018. Lately, however, our highway deaths are mounting.

Yesterday’s weekly report from South Carolina Public Safety Department indicates Laurens County is now one of the top ten deadliest counties for traffic. The report announced a preliminary count of eight persons killed on state roadways this past weekend. As of midnight Sunday, 423 people have died on South Carolina highways, which is a state-wide improvement from 465 highway deaths during the same time period in 2017. Of the 465 traffic fatalities, 301 were motor vehicle occupants. 152 of those were not wearing seat belts. The traffic deaths through June 10th include 62 pedestrians, slightly up from 60 at this point of 2017. 42 motorcyclists have died, down from 48 on this date last year. 7 bicyclists have died on state highways, compared to eight in 2017.

Last weekend’s 8 fatalities across South Carolina included the tragic death of a 31-year-old Cross Hill woman at 1:38 Saturday morning. This brought Laurens County’s traffic death toll for 2018 to 16 people. That’s only 3 fatalities short of last years’ exceedingly high 19 as of June 10th, and it’s over triple the 5 fatalities for this point of 2016 here in Laurens County. Greenwood only has 8 deaths to date and Union County has no fatalities yet for 2018.

Lexington County has the highest number of traffic fatalities as of midnight Sunday night, with 48 deaths. Spartanburg County was next with 33, Greenville County was 3rd highest with 28. Then Charleston with 27 and Horry County had the 5th highest county with 26. Anderson and Richland Counties each have 21, Orangeburg is next with 18, Florence has 17 and Laurens County is back in the 10th highest position with 16 fatalities thru midnight Sunday night.

Possession of Meth with Intent

A Meth Distribution charge was served yesterday following an early morning Fountain Inn arrest by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office. 49-year-old Shelly Deeanne Burns of 206 Craig Street, Fountain Inn was initially issued a ticket by Deputy Beau Robinson charging her with 2nd Offense, Driving under Suspension on Gulliver Street at Gray Circle at 2:20 yesterday morning. A warrant served later yesterday cites an investigation by Deputy Roberson as indicating that on June 11th Ms. Burns knowingly had in her possession 1.7 grams of methamphetamine in three separate baggies with intent to distribute.

During arraignment yesterday, cash or surety bonds were set at $10,000 on the Meth Distribution warrant and $1,270 on the traffic offense. Shelly Deeanne Burns remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Multiple Drug Charges Follow Traffic Stop

Multiple drug charges were served on a man and woman from Clinton yesterday following a Laurens Police traffic stop on South Harper Street.

46-year-old Jerome Eugene Reynolds of 1441 Double A Road, Clinton was served with two warrants charging him with Possession of a Narcotic and with a 3rd warrant charging him with Possession of Less than One Gram of Methamphetamine. The warrants cite an investigation of Lt. Charles Simmons as indicating that during a lawful traffic stop on South Harper Street yesterday Mr. Reynolds was in possession of methamphetamine and well as a Schedule 2 narcotic and a schedule 4 narcotic. Cash or surety bonds were set totaling $9,000 on the three warrants yesterday. Jerome Reynolds remained in custody this morning.

40-year-old Viola Shawn Case of 261 Apple Orchard Road, Clinton, also known as “China and “Shaun,” was charged with 2nd Offense, Possession of a Schedule 2 Narcotic and 2nd Offense, Possession of a schedule 4 Narcotic. Her warrants also state that an investigation of Lt. Charles Simmons indicates that on June 11th during a traffic stop on South Harper Street Ms. Case was in possession of both schedule 2 and 4 narcotics. Cash or surety bonds on her two charges were set totaling $5,000. Viola “Shawn” Case remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Rosi Revolver Cited in Probation Violation

A Clinton police report was cited in a warrant served yesterday by South Carolina Probation, Pardon and Parole. 26-year-old Joshua Tyler Towery of 2443 Ekom Beach Road, Laurens was arrested Saturday, and held for the warrant that charges him with Violation of Probation. It states that there is probable cause that Towery was in constructive possession of a firearm, per a Clinton Public Safety incident report from March 29th. The weapon was described as a silver .22 caliber Rossi Revolver, loaded with cartridges. Towery is also allegedly behind on payments he’s required to make. Joshua Tyler Towery remained in the detention center overnight, awaiting a bond hearing on his Violation of Probation charge.

This Way, She Won’t Miss Next Time

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday booked 48-year-old Viola Denise Beaman of 4451 North Old Laurens Road, Gray Court and served her with a Bench Warrant from General Sessions Court. It states that she failed to appear in court this year on March 23rd to face a charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance in Schedule I to V, 1st offense. She is to be held until her next court date, ensuring her presence next time.

Primaries Tomorrow Starting at 7:00 AM

After weeks of campaigning, it’s almost time to find out what the voters think about their choices in the 2018 Primaries, to be held tomorrow.

The Laurens County Elections Commission joined with the State Elections Commission in reminding voters about who can vote in a primary.

Unlike some states, South Carolina does not register voters by party. Therefore, the statewide primaries are open to all South Carolina Registered voters. Poll managers will ask voters, “In which party’s primary do you wish to vote today?”

Note, while you may select which primary you want to vote in tomorrow, you can only select one. State law prohibits voters from voting in more than one party’s primary on the same day.

Some voters have asked if, after voting in one party’s primary, can they vote in another party’s runoff? The answer is no. The Election Commission notes that a runoff is a continuation of the primary. If you voted in a party’s primary, you can vote only in the runoff of the same party.

But what if you didn’t vote in either party’s primary? Then, the Elections Commission states, you have the option of voting in either party’s runoff.

While the primaries are set for tomorrow, some voters have already cast their vote by absentee ballot. Note that the final deadline for absentee voters who want to vote in the Elections Office is 5:00 this afternoon.

Voting places around Laurens County will be open tomorrow from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm for primary-day voting.