Grinch Takes Over the Bookmobile

The Grinch is on the run! Throughout the month of December the Laurens County Public Library Bookmobile is celebrating Christmas with a “Grinchy” spirit. The theme of the month is based on the classic children’s book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel.

The famous story follows the Grinch, a mean and grouchy creature, who attempts to bring an end to the joyous celebration of Christmas. Despite his best efforts, citizens of Whoville celebrate anyway and even bring happiness to the foul creature.  As part of the library’s outreach services, this event through December is designed to encourage literacy during the holiday season. The Bookmobile has been transformed into Whoville, and staff members are portraying characters from the story.

This December, adults, families and children are invited to visit the Bookmobile and meet the friendliest Grinch in Laurens County.  You can pickup up a book, CD or DVD and get a little holiday surprise from the “Grinchy” man and his friends.  Don’t have a library card? No problem. There are books and goodies for you too!

As the Bookmobile makes it’s rounds through December, the Grinch and his friends will be traveling to locations in Clinton, Cross Hill, Gray Court, Greenpond, Hickory Tavern, Joanna, Lanford, Laurens, Mountville, Princeton, Ware Shoals, Waterloo and in Whitten Center.

For information is available from Outreach Director Julian Shabazz at

(864) 681-7323, extension 219.

Ware Shoals One of 11 Towns Getting CDBG Money

Eleven communities from across South Carolina are slated to benefit from public improvement projects supported by more than $4.3 million in funds from the latest round of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The S.C. Department of Commerce is awarding CDBG funds to these communities, representing more than 26,600 residents.

The awards include a grant to the Town of Ware Shoals. This is a grant of $228,670 that is to be used for Demolition of the Fairview Avenue Apartments. Another nearby grant is $500,000 to the City of Greenwood for the Mineral Court Apartments Demolition project.

Other cities receiving grants across the state range from a Rail Depot Demolition project in Pickens to a Neighborhood Revitalization projects in Gaffney and Beaufort and new fire trucks in Yemassee and Georgetown.

Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said “The CDBG program continues to be a powerful tool in our economic development arsenal, allowing local communities to offer the best quality of life possible.” Hitt added “Businesses don’t locate to states or regions but, rather, to communities. And, that is why the CDBG program is essential to attracting new investment to communities in all corners of South Carolina.”

$2,000 Loss from Apparent Fraud

A Laurens area woman reported the loss of $2,000 thru an apparent case of Fraud. She advised Sheriff’s Lt. Higgenbotham that she had seen an ad on Craig’s List where a woman advertised a Polaris 4-Wheeler for sale. She said that after corresponding thru email with the woman, she followed instructions and used E-Bay gift cards totaling $2,000 in value on an Ebay link to pay for the vehicle. Since then, she had not received the Polaris 4-wheeler and the other “woman” is not responding. She suspects she was given a false link, as Ebay said no such purchase had been made through their system. The Sheriff’s Office received the name of a female suspect in Maryland.

Professional Parcel Sale Gets 1st Reading Approval

Laurens County Council last night approved selling a parcel of land in the County Professional Park. The move came following discussion in executive session. Councilman Stuart Jones made the motion to sell lot #5 in the Professional Park for $90,000 in the first reading. The land being sold is the lot behind the County Health Department. A second vote of approval is required before the sale can be consummated.

Violation of Probation

State Probation and Parole yesterday arrested 31-year-old David Lee Evans of 111 McWaters Drive, Clinton for a Violation of Probation charge. A warrant cites conditions of his probation as being violated, alleging that he had admitted to possession of a pistol, that he was found in possession of said pistol as indicated by reports from Clinton Public Safety. The warrant also states that Evans is failing to pay his fees as instructed.  With a cash or surety bond set at $75,000, David Lee Evans remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Arrest from March 17th Incident

Clinton Public Safety yesterday charged a local man from an alleged assault at Clinton Manor this past March. 29-year-old Allen Ross Smith of Jenkins Trailer Park, Clinton was charged with Assault and Battery 3rd Degree. Smith is accused of threatening an employee of Clinton Manor with bodily harm while having present ability to do so. This allegedly happened on March 17th. Allen Ross Smith was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing.

Facebook Post Changes Pig Story

   Sheriff’s Corporal Noble responded to Beaverdam Church Road, Mountville at 57 minutes after midnight this morning and met with a woman concerned about her pigs. She said the two pigs were in their pen in her back yard when she left for work Tuesday morning and that when she returned yesterday afternoon the pigs were gone. She said she checked with a neighbor, who told her he had seen the pigs running up the road around 2:00 in the afternoon Tuesday. She said she later was looking at Facebook and saw where the neighbor had posted that he had shot two pigs. When she questioned the neighbor about that post, he reportedly told her that he thought it better to tell her the pigs ran away that to tell her he shot them. He reportedly told her that the pigs were on his property biting at his dog and that’s why he shot them. The officer documented the Facebook post and attempted to speak with the neighbor, but he was not located during the initial investigation.

Harassment Via Facebook

A Laurens area woman met with a Sheriff’s Deputy at the Laurens Police Department early last evening with a report of harassment. She reportedly advised Sgt. McMahan that, following a divorce mediation hearing this week, her husband began posting things on Facebook about her that were obscene and threatening. The matter was documented for court purposes.

“Principal for a Day”

Laurens County School District 55 hosted several community leaders today as a “Principal for a Day” at each of its nine schools. A 10th served as “Superintendent for a Day” in the District Office. These 10 guests shadowed their counterparts to see the day-to-day operation of a school. The guest Principals included Brian Harlan  of the Laurens YMCA at Laurens District High School, Laurens City Fire Chief Bill Hughes at Sanders Middle School, Rhett Rinaca of ZF Transmissions at E.B. Morse Elementary, Police Chief Sonny Ledda at Laurens Middle School, Laurens Mayor John Stankus at Ford Elementary, United Way of Laurens County Director Amanda Munyan  at Waterloo Elementary, Geoff Hart of  WYFF News)at Laurens Elementary, Gray Court Mayor John Carter at Gray Court-Owings and Laurens County Sheriff –Elect Don Reynolds at Hickory Tavern. Laurens attorney Bryan Able shadowed Superintendent, Dr. Stephen Peters.

At the Principal for a Day Luncheon, held at the District Office, the guests were able to share some of their insights from the day. Geoff Hart summed up the day by saying, “I saw the best today of everything I’ve seen through my ‘Golden Apple’ visits.” Dr. Stephen Peters, LCSD 55 Superintendent said, “Vision is one thing on paper, but it is another in action. We will continue our quest to be the best.”

Dr. Rhett Harris with "Principal for a Day" Chief Sonny Ledda. Cover Picture: "Principal" Amanda Munyan at Waterloo Elementary

Dr. Rhett Harris with “Principal for a Day” Chief Sonny Ledda at Laurens Middle.
Cover Picture: “Principal” Amanda Munyan at Waterloo Elementary

587 ESOL Students, 587 Spanish Dialects

English is a second language to hundreds of students in Laurens County School District 55. In their November meeting last night, the District 55 School Board received a review of their title III ESOL (English as a Second Language) program from Jody Penland. He’s Director of Federal Programs and Professional Development for District 55.  Penland’s report explained the process of acclimating non-English speaking students to the district. He said “We have students coming from five different countries, such as Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, China, and U.S. Territories. He said that the now 587 ESOL students include students speaking 473 Spanish dialects.

Penland also told the School Trustees that District 55 has 9.5 certified teachers and one paraprofessional for teaching ESOL students, with a ratio of 60 students to 1 per teacher. He explained “We want equity for each learner and our process to help them involves a beginning of just listening and trying to make sense of English, early production of talking to others.” He said that full proficiency in English can take almost 7 years, considering their educational background before coming here, their age, and the level of English used in their home country.

School Board Member Terri Martin remarked that the 60 to 1 student to teacher ratio “is pretty stretched out to reach those kids.”Jody Penland replied “It is very hard. We would love to expand and to have more teachers.” He added “We wish the board would recommend to add them,” and noted “as the population grows we will need more teachers.”.

WLBG asked District Superintendent Dr. Stephen Peters how he feels the new Trump Administration will affect the number of incoming ESL students. Peters replied that only time will tell, saying “I would only be guessing on what will happen.” Dr. Peters also said each ESL student must have U.S legal status to be admitted to district schools.

Assault While Possessing Knife

Charges were served yesterday on a Waterloo woman for an alleged assault on a Laurens woman Sunday. Deputy Richey was dispatched to Riverfork Road just before 4:00 pm and arrived to observe the victim walking toward his patrol car. She was out of breath and crying. She alleged her girlfriend had just beaten her and threatened her with an open-bladed knife. She said she defended herself by scratching the alleged aggressor, and then fled to a neighbor’s to call for help. The officer made contact with the woman and noted the smell of an alcoholic beverage, a black knife in her right pocket and that she was yelling, using profane language.

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Corporal Rickey arrested 24-year-old Shakia Kinyata Turner of 386 Riverfork Road, Waterloo. Yesterday, Ms. Turner was served with a warrant charging her with Assault and Battery 2nd Degree. In it, Corporal Richey states that on November 27th Turner intentionally committed battery upon the victim by striking the victim about her face while in possession of a knife.
A cash or surety bond was set at $50,000 on the 2nd Degree Assault and Battery charge. Shakia Kinyata Turner remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

More Charges from Earlier Saturday Morning


Yesterday we reported on the arrest of a Clinton woman around 4:00 Saturday morning near Lake Greenwood, noting she was served with two drug possession charges from Saturday morning along with a November 10th shoplifting of between $2,000 and $10,000 in goods from a local Dollar General.

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Clinton Public Safety yesterday served two additional charges for other alleged activity earlier that day. 32-year-old Heather Marie Wymer of 708 Charlotte’s Road, Clinton was charged with two Petit Larceny charges. She is accused of taking a smart phone and a Kindle, together valued at below $2,000, from a Palmetto Street address and she’s also accused of taking jewelry valued at less than $2,000 from the same address, both on Saturday. Personal recognizance bonds were set totaling $1,000 on the two Clinton charges. Heather Marie Wymer remained in custody this morning with cash or surety bonds totaling $14,615 on the Sheriff’s Office charges.

Counseling Offered after Student Death

School District 55 administration yesterday announced the death of a Laurens High student. A release said school officials were made aware of the tragic loss of an LDHS student Sunday night. Details of the death were limited “to respect the privacy of the family.” Noting the death of a student has a ripple effect on the school community, the release said that the District and Laurens High were providing counseling services to any student at the high school who may be adversely affected by this loss. Superintendent, Dr. Stephen Peters, said “We are grieving for the loss of a young life and its infinite possibilities; and, we pray for the family, friends, and students most affected by this event.”

Violation of Parole

A Laurens man was charged yesterday with Violation of the Terms of his March, 2015 release on Parole. 38-year-old Stephen Trase Fincher of 112 Tiger Lane is accused of failing to follow advice and instructions of his supervising agent. The warrant states that these failures include failure to report to the parole office since April 22nd of this year, failure to refrain from violating law, noting a Simple Possession of Marijuana guilty plea from Magistrate’s Court last March. Also listed was an arrest by Greenville County this past October for a Larceny, four counts of 2nd Degree Burglary and Grand Larceny charges. The Parole Violation warrant also noted an arrest by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office November 8th for 2nd Degree Burglary and Grand Larceny. Fincher is also accused of being behind on his supervision fee. Stephen Fincher was being held until he could go before a Circuit Court Judge regarding any possible release on bond.

Violation of Probation

A metro Atlanta man was lodged in the Laurens County Detention Center yesterday. 56-year-old Patrick Donneld Todd of 1240 Leisure Lake Drive, Lawrenceville, Georgia was charged with Violation of Probation. He is accused of failing to follow advice and instructions of his agent. These failures allegedly include providing false residence information and absconding supervision, failing to report, failing to attend and complete substance abuse counseling and failing to make payments required by the court. A cash or surety bond was set at $50,000 yesterday. Patrick D. Todd remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Whitten Center Parade at 1:00 PM Saturday

Another Parade has been confirmed for this Saturday in Laurens County. After the Clinton Christmas Parade at 10:00 AM Saturday, Whitten Center is again holding its parade at 1:00 PM. Noting that some center residents do not have the opportunity to leave campus for attending other parades, Whitten Center Director of Volunteer services Tara Glenn said “Our residents love having visitors…especially Santa.” Glenn added “The parade of floats and people that come through every year bring so much joy and celebration to our folks.  Their smiles say it all!”

Anyone interested in participating in the 2016 Whitten Center Christmas Parade should contact Shelby Benson at sbenson@ddsn.sc.gov or 864-938-3310.

Parade day continues at 2:30 Saturday afternoon in Gray Court, and wraps up with the evening Parade at 5:00 on Laurens’ West Main Street.

Burglary Early Last Evening

A report of a Burglary dispatched a Deputy to a residence on Smith’s Village Road, Waterloo at 5:40 last evening. Deputy Galloway spoke with a woman who said that between 5:20 and 5:40 last evening, someone had used a tool to pry open the back door of her residence. She said they took a Sony Playstation 4 that was on her sofa. She said it was still in its box, since she had discovered her TV was not compatible with operating the Playstation. The officer observed pry marks on the rear door, but noted he was unable to detect foot prints in the garbage-covered back yard. Value of the Playstation was $640.

Rifle Taken with Wife at Home, Husband Nearby

A Laurens area couple reported a stolen firearm to the Sheriff’s Office Sunday night. Sgt. Timothy Byrd responded to Bermuda Road at 8:46 pm Sunday and met with a man who said he had been selling items at a nearby flea market earlier in the day when his wife walked to him to say his Ruff-Rider .22 caliber hand gun was missing from the TV stand in the living room, where he had left it. The wife reportedly indicated she had discovered it missing when she walked into the living room. The $300 value firearm was thought to have been taken from the unlocked house between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm Sunday.

Man with Gun Allegedly Threatening Family

Reports of a man with a gun threatening his family dispatched Sheriff’s Deputies to Mundy Road, Laurens at 11:25 Friday morning. Deputy Boyd reported arriving to observe the man walking down off the porch. Deputies ordered him to the ground and took him into custody.

54-year-old Jeffery Paul McCartney of 375 Mundy Drive, Laurens was later charged with Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature, two counts of Kidnapping and with Use of Weapon during a Violent Crime.

In the Domestic Assault warrant, Deputy David Staton states that on November 25th Mr. McCartney threatened the victim and had in his possession a .35 mm rifle. Both kidnapping charges allege that McCartney unlawfully seized, confined, kidnapped or abducted the victim without authority of law. He’s also accused of knowingly displaying a weapon and of having already been convicted of a violent crime.

Bond was denied on all four charges. Jeffery Paul McCartney remained in the Johnson Detention Center.

Two Face Drug Charges from Checkpoint

Two people were arrested on drug charges early Saturday morning as officers from Clinton Public Safety, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and the Highway Patrol were conducting a Traffic Safety Checkpoint on North Broad at Oakland Street.

Lt. Casey Jones reported a white Dodge single-cab pickup approached the checkpoint at 20 minutes after midnight. During the check of the driver and passenger by Highway Patrol Officers substances were reportedly found.

The driver was identified as 30-year-old Brandy Christine Dunaway of 383 A.B. Jacks Road. She was booked with an address on Ekom Beach Road, Laurens. She was later charged with being in possession of less than one gram of a white crystal-like substance that field tested positive as methamphetamine on North Broad. Brandy Christine Dunaway was released this weekend on a $2,000 personal recognizance bond.

The passenger was identified as 45-year-old Joseph Boyd Wilkes of 383 A.B. Jacks Road, Clinton. He was charged with Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance, accused of possessing a quantity of a white capsule-shaped pills believed to be Lortab without authority to do so. Wilkes allegedly has two prior convictions for the same offense within the past five years. Joseph Boyd Wilkes was released on a $2,000 personal recognizance bond.