$80,000,000 Solar Farm Announced

A public hearing was held at last night’s Laurens County Council meeting for “Project Angus.” That’s the code name for a project that has been in the planning stage for a Laurens County facility for over two years. Last night’s Public Hearing revealed that the company behind “Project Angus” is Bird’s Eye Energy. Bird’s Eye operates several large ‘Solar Farms’ in North Carolina, and the Laurens County farm will be the first of this size for Bird’s Eye here in South Carolina. Starting after the first of next year, some 400 plus acres of solar panels will be constructed on farm land on US 76 between Clinton and Joanna, from the Copeland-Stone Estate.

State Senator Vince Shaheen spoke for the energy company during the Public Hearing. He noted the company’s CEO and Project Manager were also present for the Public Hearing. He explained that the plan for the Fee-in-Lieu-of-Taxes for the project is an innovative new way that was developed by Laurens County Administration, in conjunction with the company, to protect the interests of the company and Laurens County. Shaheen said the company expects to use this FILOT plan in other new solar farms.  Council gave 2nd Reading approval to the FILOT. 3rd Reading approval is expected at the next Council meeting.

County Attorney Sandy Cruicshanks noted that this large farm acreage, which has been producing about $2,000 a year in property tax, will be bringing in much more. The first ten years of the 30-year FILOT plan, the company is to pay FILOTs to Laurens County of $384,000 a year. The second ten years the annual fee goes to $472,000. And the final ten years, Bird’s Eye Energy will pay annual FILOTs of $560,000.

Construction is expected to start in early 2018.

Multiple Spirit of 56 Awards Presented

At the May meeting of the Laurens County School District 56 Board of Trustees last night several awards and recognitions were presented.  Among them were the Spirit of 56 Awards presented to individuals exemplifying the standards of the district in a very positive manner.

Usually, the Spirit of 56 Award is presented to a District 56 student, teacher or employee.  At last night’s meeting there was a break from that tradition.

Mr. Larry Franklin of the Clinton Chronicle was  recognized and thanked for his career of service to the Clinton community keeping citizens informed, asking questions and even demanding answers.  As he received the Spirit of 56, the audience in attendance gave Larry a standing ovation.

Also presented with a Spirit of 56 Award was a District employee for her actions several months ago when the bus she was driving was struck by another vehicle which then fled the scene of the accident.

The special needs students on her bus had a variety of disabilities but through her calm determination and calm determination, Ms. Martin was able to keep them all safe and accounted for throughout the ordeal.

A third Spirit of 56 Award was presented to the Crain family of Clinton in recognition of their efforts in locating and returning a missing 12-year-old  girl and returning her to her home.

On Saturday March 24, 2017 Don Crain, his wife Denise and their daughter Cheyenne were looking for 12-year-old  Zoey Carles who was missing.  As they travelled near the Carles home Cheyenne, a District 56 student, said she thought she saw something.  They stopped the car and a short distance from the road located the missing girl.  They were able to convince her to return to her home with them.

Dr. David O’Shields, Superintendent of Schools for District 56 presented the awards and stated that it was service above and beyond that demanded that all three be awarded.

Attempt to Kill Two People Monday

Attempting to kill two people this past Monday was alleged in an arrest by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday. 41-year-old David Duane Crane of 131 Peppermill Road, Gray Court was charged with two counts of Attempted Murder, with Discharging a Firearm into a Dwelling and with Breach of Peace, Aggravated in Nature. The two Attempted Murder warrants state that on May 22nd Mr. Craine attempted to murder victims by shooting a firearm into the house where the victim was seeking shelter. He is further charged with discharging a firearm at or into a house that was occupied by a person or persons. Craine is also accused of aggravated breach of peace by discharging a weapon, causing a disturbance of public tranquility. David Duane Crane was held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing on his four charges.

Attempted Murder during Home Invasion

Laurens City Police yesterday arrested a man for an alleged home invasion in two months earlier. 29-year-old Jeremy Tywon Beaty of 22 Pinetree Lane, Union is charged with Attempted Murder, Burglary 1st Degree and Possession of a Weapon during a Violent Crime. Detective Kanipe states that on March 16th Mr. Beaty did, by his own hands or by means of an accomplice, attempt to kill the victim during a home invasion at a Lurey Street address. The victim was reportedly shot with a .45 caliber handgun during the commission of a Burglary by Jeremy Beaty and his accomplice. The March 16th burglary on Lurey Street allegedly occurred during the nighttime hours, with Mr. Beaty entering the residence while armed. Detective Kanipe states Jeremy Beaty possessed a weapon during the Burglary and Attempted Murder. Bond was denied on all three charges. Jeremy Tywon Beaty was being held in the Laurens County Detention Center.

Two More Arrests Tuesday from Saturday Shooting

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested two men early yesterday afternoon on charges stemming from last Saturday night’s double homicide on Winetta Street.

27-year-old Sterling Orlando Workman of 373 Paul street, Laurens was charged with Breach of Peace, Aggravated in Nature and Obstructing Justice. He is accused of disturbing peace Saturday evening by discharging a weapon, causing a disturbance of public tranquility. He is further accused of obstructing justice Saturday by lying to investigators about knowledge of a felony. Sterling Orlando Workman was being held overnight, pending a  bond hearing this morning.

32-year-old Michael Dewayne Watts of Apartment B-1 at 900 Church Street, Laurens was charged with Assault and Battery 1st Degree. He’s the second suspect accused of beating a man about the face and head with his fist at the Winetta Street gathering Saturday night. Watts also allegedly knew the victim had previous head trauma, with the assault causing great bodily injury. With a cash or surety bond set at $35,000, Michael Dewayne Watts remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Six Charged Possession with Intent to Distribute

As Sheriff’s Deputies were searching Sunday evening for the 1st of two men charged with a fist assault on a man on Winetta Street Saturday night, they executed a search warrant at a Laurens area house. While not finding the man there, Chief Deputy Jarvis Reeder said they did find six men inside, along with guns and drugs. Yesterday, warrants were served on those men.

All six were charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute, some warrants noting this was at 387 Watson Street.

That was the only charge served on 23-year-old Markevious Devante Anderson of 206 Pickens Street, Laurens. Also charged with Obstruction of Justice were 23-year-old Dario Terrell Anderson of 314 Carey Street, Laurens, 20-year-old Zadedrick Montez Anderson of 1-H, 101 Shands Street, Laurens and 19-year-old Dequan Bernard Floyd of 206 Southview Drive, Laurens. 20-year-old Aaron Tyler Simmons of 411 Earl Drive, Greenville was charged with the Possession with Intent and with Giving False Information to Law Enforcement and with Obstructing Justice. 24-year-old Kristopher Kantay Valentine of 387 Watson Street, Laurens, in addition to the drug warrant, was also charged with Obstructing Justice and Possession of a Firearm by a person convicted of a violent crime. He was accused of obstructing a police investigation by disposing of narcotics and of lying to officers about knowledge of a felony.

All six men remained in custody a 2nd night, awaiting bond hearings today.

Arrest Alleges Domestic Assault Last Week

Laurens City Police Tuesday arrested 30-year-old Quentin Nicholas Green of 204 Price Street, Laurens and charged him with Domestic Violence 2nd Degree. The warrant states that an investigation by Officer Chris Gambrell indicates that on May 16, 2017 at 204 Price Street Quentin Green struck the victim on our about her face and pushed her on the floor, while fully aware that she is pregnant. Quentin Nicholas Green was released on a $6,000 cash or surety bond.

Simple Assault

21- year-old Amber Nicole Kirby of 110 Milling Street, Clinton was arrested last evening in Clinton. Public Service Officer Terrin Reel issued a ticket charging Ms. Kirby with Simple Assault at 5:37 Tuesday afternoon at 115 Milling Street. She was being held overnight, pending arraignment today.

3rd Death & More Arrests in Double Murder Saturday

A suspect wanted in connection with the shooting that killed two men outside Laurens last Saturday night was also fatally shot Monday night. Laurens County deputies were reportedly seeking to arrest a suspect in the Saturday night shooting and went to 102 Tifton Court, Fountain Inn to arrest him. However, the suspect was transported to Greenville Memorial with fatal gunshot injuries. Laurens County Chief Deputy Coroner Vickie Cheek identified the deceased as 25-year-old Johnny Lee Pyles Jr. of 216 Morehead Avenue, Laurens. Ms. Cheek said time of death for Mr. Pyles was 8:38 last night. An autopsy was being conducted this morning.
The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office was continuing to hold six men, aged 19 to 24, who were jailed last night. Chief Deputy Jarvis Reeder said the six men were found when Officers went to a Cemetery Street residence in Laurens looking for another man as a suspect in Saturday’s shooting. Chief Reeder said in executing a search warrant at the Cemetery Street house officers found drugs and firearms. Six males found in the house, aged 19 to 24, were being held for drug and firearms charges. Reeder said that it was not clear whether these men were present at the fatal shooting on Winetta Street last weekend. They were not being charged in connection with that.
The man being sought on Cemetery Street Monday night was located elsewhere. 30-year-old Steven Antonie Redd of 298 Cemetery Street, Laurens was charged with 1st Degree Assault and Battery, accused of hitting another man about his face and head with his fist, knowing the victim already had head trauma. This reportedly occurred at about the same time and location as the fatal shooting Saturday night.
The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday charged two women on charges of Breach of Peace, Aggravated in Nature in connection with the Saturday shooting. 20-year-old Alexus Tiquesha Long of 162 Joy Drive, Laurens and 24-year-old Alexus Deshon Coleman of 161 Harris Springs Road, Waterloo are accused of disturbing the peace of the community by shooting firearms. Chief Deputy Reeder indicated their actions are believed to have started the incident during which led to the killing of 43-year-old Sydney Speaks of 96 Ron McNair Road, Mountville and 26-year-old Roydrecilous Irby of 310 Mangle Drive, Gray Court.
Meanwhile, the Sheriff’s Office continues making arrests in connection with the Saturday night shooting. One subject was arrested following a house search around 1:00 this afternoon.

 Woman Gets 30 Years for Fatal Fire  

A woman charged with setting fire to a man in late 2015, causing fatal injuries, has been sentenced to 30 years. The sentence was handed down this morning in Laurens County General Sessions Court. William David Corterville Sr. of 881 Steve Thompson Road, Laurens died while he was hospitalized with burn injuries. In December, 2015 Angela Nicole Berry of Steve Thompson Road was arrested. After his death, she was charged with Murder. In court action yesterday, Ms. Berry pled guilty to Voluntary manslaughter. Late this morning, Judge J. Cordell Maddox Jr. sentenced 40-year-old Angela Nicole Berry to 30 years. The sentence noted credible evidence of a history of Criminal Domestic Violence.

Six Men Held Overnight for Charges


The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested six young men yesterday. They were delivered to the Laurens County Detention Center last evening, and were being held overnight, pending warrants to be served today.

There was no news overnight as to what case, or which cases, the arrests are in connection with. Five of the males are from Laurens. They include a 19-year-old, a 20-year-old, two 23-year-olds and a 24-year old. The 6th person awaiting warrants is a 20-year-old male with a Greenville address.

Two Young Women Accused of Firing Weapons

Two young women remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning on charges of disturbing the peace by discharging a weapon last Saturday.

20-year-old Alexus Tiquesha Long of 162 Joy Drive, Laurens was arrested Sunday and held for charges. 24-year-old Alexus Deshon Coleman of 161 Harris Springs Road, Waterloo was booked early Monday. Both have been served with warrants that charge them with Breach of Peace, Aggravated in Nature. In those warrants, Sheriff’s Officer Michael Polson states that on May 20th each committed breach of peace, aggravated, in that she discharged a weapon, causing a disturbance of public tranquility.

Cash or surety bonds were set yesterday at $20,000 for each of the women. Alexus Tiquesha Long and Alexus Deshon Coleman remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Assault on Man Who Already Had Head Trauma

A Saturday assault on a man who already had head injuries was alleged with an arrest yesterday. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office booked 30-year-old Steven Antonie Redd of 298 Cemetery Street, Laurens on a charge of 1st Degree Assault and Battery. Officer Michael Polson states that on May 20th Mr. Redd intentionally committed a battery upon a victim by beating him with a closed fist about his face and head, knowing the victim had previous head trauma, and causing great bodily injury. Steven A. Redd was being held overnight, awaiting arraignment today on the 1st Degree Assault and Battery charge.

Cocaine Trafficking & Other Charges

Cocaine Trafficking was one of the drug charges served on a local woman yesterday, following an early morning traffic stop on Laurens’ South Harper Street. Laurens City Police arrested 58-year-old Melody Lynn Neely of 228 ½ Sullivan Street, Laurens. Officer Gambrell initially issued tickets charging Ms. Neely with Open Container and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia at 1:08 Monday morning on South Harper. Bonds were set totaling $757 on these two ticketed charges.

Warrants were served yesterday also charging Ms. Neely with Trafficking in Cocaine, Possession of Crack Cocaine 2nd Offense and Possession of a Schedule IV Controlled Substance. The warrants cite an investigation by Officer Gambrell during the traffic stop early in the morning. She is accused of having been found in possession of approximately 10 grams of a powdery substance that field tested positive for cocaine, a schedule II controlled substance. She is also accused of having several rock-like substances which field tested positive for cocaine. Ms. Neely reportedly has at least one prior conviction for Possession of Crack Cocaine. She was also allegedly found to be in illegal possession of two green generic Xanax pills during the traffic stop.

During arraignment yesterday, bond was denied on the Trafficking in Cocaine and the 2nd Offense Possession of Crack Cocaine charges. A $5,000 bond was set on the Possession of a Schedule IV Controlled Substance charge. Melody Ann Neely remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Salute to Students, Changes in School Lunch Policies

The Laurens County District 55 School Trustees last night recognized many student achievements as part of the May school board meeting. Students were recognized in fields including academics, archery and Girls basketball.

The District 55 School Board had 1st reading of some policy changes regarding student health and wellness. These deal most with the time allotted as well as nutritional guidelines for lunch, as well as a restriction on certain kinds of products advertised and on limiting access to vending machines during school hours.

Fugitive from Justice

Laurens City Police early yesterday arrested a man wanted for charges in Georgia. 37-year-old Gary Don Miller of 304 Jones Street, Laurens was initially issued a ticket by Officer Lindsey charging him with an Open Container violation at 2:30 yesterday morning near the intersection of Irby Avenue and West Farley Avenue. A Fugitive from Justice warrant states that Mr. Miller is wanted by an agency in Georgia which will extradite him. He was reportedly found to have a warrant out of Georgia after being stopped in Laurens for a traffic violation. A $257 PR bond was issued on the Open Container charge. Meanwhile, Gary Don Miller remained in custody, pending transfer to Georgia.

Laurens County Now Has 5th Highest Highway Fatalities

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety yesterday announced that five persons were killed on state highways over the past weekend. That brings the total traffic fatality count to 375 people who have died on highways across the state so far this year, as of midnight Sunday. The 375 marks an increase from the 366 highway deaths at this time last year.

Laurens County has slipped one position among counties with the highest highway fatalities here in 2017.  From a 4th place tie two weeks ago, we’re not tied for 5th place with Horry County, home of Myrtle Beach. Laurens and Horry both had 17 fatalities for the year, as of Sunday night.

Greenville County had the most fatalities, with 27 for the year; 10 more than Laurens County. Charleston County has the 2nd highest traffic death count, with 25 for 2017. Anderson County is 3rd highest with 19, Richland County is 4th highest with 18; then Laurens and Horry Counties each have 17. Lexington County is next with 16 highway deaths. Spartanburg County’s 13 fatalities is next.

Of other counties that neighbor Laurens, Greenwood has 6 fatalities so far this year, Newberry County has 4, Abbeville has 3 and Union County has 1 fatality for 2017.

The 375 statewide highway deaths include 272 motor vehicle occupants. 127 of these were not wearing seat belts. The 375 fatalities also include 48 pedestrians, up one from 47 this time last year. 40 motorcyclists have died, down from 48 this time in 2016. 8 bicyclists have died, down from 11 last year.

Allegedly Choked and Drug Her into the Garage

Laurens City Police made an arrest yesterday in connection with an alleged domestic assault last week. 20-year-old Craig Paul Sahaydak of 205 Grant Drive, Laurens was charged with Domestic Violence 2nd Degree. Laurens City Officer Bryant Cheek states that Mr. Sahaydak committed 2nd Degree Domestic Violence between May 17th and 18th by grabbing the victim, placing her in a head lock and by choking and dragging her into the garage of the house and locking the door. He and the victim have a child in common and share the same residence at 205 Grant Drive. Craig Paul Sahaydak remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning with a cash or surety bond set at $5,000.

Alleged Attempt to Fake Urine Test

State Probation, Pardon & Parole yesterday charged 34-year-old Melissa Ann Miller of 110 Welcome Drive, Fountain Inn with Violation of Probation. She is accused of testing positive for THC, amphetamine and methamphetamine on April 12th, 2017, and of having hidden upon her person a sample of urine in order to defraud a drug test. She is generally charged with failing to follow the advice and instructions of her agent. With a cash or surety bond set at $55,000 yesterday, Melissa Ann Miller remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Loitering in Laurens…for Drugs?

Laurens City Police last evening accused a Greenville man of loitering in Laurens……allegedly loitering for drug purposes. 20-year-old Andrew Christopher Terrell Rosemond of 20 Earheart Street, Greenville was arrested by Officer Sherfield, who issued tickets charging Simple Possession of Marijuana and Loitering for Drug at 6:03 last evening at or near the intersection of Pinehaven Extension and West Farley Avenue. Mr. Rosemond was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing today.