Marijuana with Intent to Distribute

A traffic stop by the Highway Patrol in Laurens County early Sunday morning led to a drug charge on a Midlands resident. Trooper Matthews of the Highway Patrol issued a ticket charging 34-year-old Anthonino Navarro Golston of 1150 Wessinger Road, Columbia with Driving under the Influence. The ticket alleges this occurred on Interstate 384 around the 13 mile marker at 2:05 A.M. Sunday. Mr. Golston was later served with a warrant from the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office charging him with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute. A warrant states he was in possession of 27.7 grams of marijuana. A cash or surety bond on the drug charge was set at $15,000. A $1,017 bond was set on the DUI. Anthoniono Navarro Golston remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Attempt to Purchase

Clinton Public Safety arrested a Mountville man Sunday afternoon, and also added a second charge from earlier this year. Officer Devost issued a ticket charging with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia at 5:43 yesterday afternoon on A.B. Jacks Road at Clinton Manor. 26-year-old Gaffney Mac Carson Jr. of 868 Garlington Road, Mountville was also served with a warrant charging him with Attempt to Possess a Controlled Substance. It states that on January 12th, 2017 the defendant attempted to purchase 2.4 grams of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine-based product which would have exceeded the maximum purchase within a 30-day period. This allegedly occurred at 194 Jacobs Highway in Clinton. Gaffney Mac Carson was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing today.

Theft of 40-Foot Metal Container

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office made an arrest Friday regarding the theft of a metal container valued at $3,500. 29-year-old David Charles Chernow of 219 Amethyst Way, Laurens was charged with Grand Larceny.

Officer Bryant Cheeks states that on October 25th, 2016 the defendant took a metal container that measured 40 x 8 x 6, with open top. The container, owned by Republic Services, was taken from 1372 Old Laurens Road, Fountain Inn. David Charles Chernow was released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.

Pastor Finds Clinton Church Burglarized

A Clinton pastor arrived at his church on Henry Street Friday afternoon to discover a Burglary. He reportedly arrived to see the back door had been broken in and the door knob was destroyed. A few lights were left on and some of the interior doors that are usually closed were open. The only thing the pastor noticed missing was a multi-hundred dollar acoustic guitar. Officers documented the intrusion, but the burglar remained at large.

Spotlight on Laurens County Agriculture

The 2017 Laurens County Spotlight on Agriculture was held last night in the Family Center at Clinton’s First Presbyterian Church. The event, highlighting the diverse agri-business industry here in Laurens County, was held in memory of County Agent Merrit L. Outz, who created the annual event in 1974.

Awards for accomplishments in 2016 were presented in several categories last night. They included adults recognized for their service to youth, as well as outstanding youth in agricultural pursuit. The Laurens County ‘Rose Torrey Memorial’ 4-H Volunteer Leader of the Year for 2016 was Edwin Terry of Fountain Inn. The Clinton High School Outstanding FFA Member of the Year award was presented to John Michael Lapromarda of Clinton. The Laurens District 55 High School Outstanding FFA Member of the Year was Nicole Whitt. A new feature of the Spotlight on Agriculture this year was announced by Extension Advisory Committee Chairman David McKittrick. He presented the first annual $1,000 scholarship to Clinton High Senior & Future Farmers of America member, Kyle Smith. Smith will be attending Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia.

In the forestry category, the Laurens County Woodlands Manager of the Year award was presented to William B. Ferguson of Clinton.

The Laurens County Outstanding Beef Producer of the Year for 2016 was Don Jackson of Ware Shoals. Turning to Dairy, the Laurens County Outstanding Dairyman of the Year Award is shared between Ed and Cheryl Ettinger of Kinards. In the area of poultry agribusiness, the 2016 Laurens County Broiler Producer of the Year was Nelson Crisp of Cross Hill. The Special Commodity Producer of the Year award went to Crescent Farm, southeast of Clinton. Margie Levine, along with Jon and Holly Welch were recognized for their work.

Three awards recognized agribusiness men and women from a broad ranges of fields. The M.L. Outz Memorial “Outstanding Extension Supporter of the Year” was Ellington Willis of Fountain Inn. The Laurens County Farm Family of the Year was Glen and Marilyn Easter of Laurens.

And the Laurens County Agriculturalist of the Year for 2016 was Gene Holiday of Laurens.

Another $100,000 Museum Donation

The Laurens County Museum has now reached about 65% of its $1,000,000 fund-raising goal for the new museum on the Laurens Square. Museum Board Chair Robby Bell yesterday confirmed for WLBG News that another $100,000 check came in this month. That’s the second $100,000 donation the Museum Board has received in the past six months. Bell said it brings the total funds now raised for the new museum construction up to about $650,000. Bell said this latest $100,000 donation will be used to make further advances on getting the main floor ready for occupation.

He said the major expenses still needed to complete the Main Street museum building is about $100,000 for a sprinkler system, then about $150,000 for an elevator. A grant is being sought for that.The museum building covers three floors.

On another matter, Robby Bell said that the Laurens County Museum has obtained artifacts valued at some $1.5 million.

Plans for the much more spacious museum on the square include having a gift shop which would include the series of Laurens County history books now being produced. Other ideas being pursued would be a restaurant and perhaps a coffee shop/book store combination in an adjoining building the Museum has acquired.

The Museum is expected to provide a boost to the economy on the square as well as the county, bringing people in to see one of the largest collections of Native American artifacts, already acquired by the Laurens County Museum. Colleges are also expected to have researchers visit Laurens for a chance to study the artifacts in the Museum’s collection, some dating back hundreds of years.

1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor, under age 11, was alleged with an arrest yesterday. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office charged 20-year-old Austin Drake Harvey of 26 Hurricane Road Extension, Gray Court. Sheriff’s Officer Michael Polson states that between 2009 and 2014 the defendant engaged in sexual battery by having sex with the minor victim on multiple occasions, the victim being less than 11 years old. Bond was denied during arraignment yesterday. Austin Drake Harvey remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

This makes the 4th Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor charge in seven days. Three men, age 20 to 41, were arrested on that charge in separate cases last Friday.

Back to Laurens for Christmas Eve Incident

69-year-old David Mosley of 611 Hunter’s Court, Laurens was returned to the Laurens County Detention Center yesterday from the State Department of Corrections. Here, he’s facing three counts of Attempted Murder and one charge of violating a Domestic Court Order. Laurens City Police arrested Mosley on Christmas Eve, 2016 after he allegedly rammed a vehicle that the three victims were that date. He reportedly used his vehicle to ram the victim’s vehicle several times on Jersey Street. The victims reportedly included a woman he was on court order not to have contact with.

A $25,000 cash or surety bond was set on the Violating a Court Order charge. Bond was denied on all three Attempted Murder charges. David Mosley remained in the Laurens County Detention Center today.

Kinards Man Indicted on Federal Charge

United States Attorney Beth Drake stated yesterday that a Federal Grand Jury in Greenville returned Indictments against several defendants in 19 cases. These included a Kinards man, who was indicated on a Federal Gun Charge. 27-year-old James Andrew Gardner of Kinards is charged in a one-count indictment with felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. The maximum possible penalty Gardner could receive is a fine of $250,000.00 and/or imprisonment of 10 years.  This case was investigated by agents of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Max Cauthen of the Greenville office.

2nd Degree Domestic Violence

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested 28-year-old Bryan Keith Bouslay of Unit 30 at 206 Christian Drive, Laurens on a charge of Domestic Violence 2nd Degree. From an incident February 8th, 2017 he’s accused of pushing the victim thorough a glass door, then choking her, cutting off her air supply. Bryan Keith Bouslay was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing today.

Domestic Altercation

The Sheriff’s Office yesterday charged 73-year-old Harold Morgan Vaughn of 289 Maddox Bridge Road, Ware Shoals with Domestic Violence 3rd Degree, from an incident this past Tuesday, where he allegedly hit the victim with an ash tray. He was being held overnight, pending arraignment.

Charge Yesterday Alleges Wednesday Threats

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office served a warrant yesterday on a man arrested Wednesday for alleged threats that day. 58-year-old Michael Wilson Jackson of 55 Allegra Lane, Gray Court was charged with Domestic Violence 3rd degree. He allegedly threatened to kill the victim on March 15th. With a cash or surety bond set at $10,000, Michael Wilson Jackson remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Bryant Departing District 55 High  

As she presents the graduating class of 2017 on May 31st,  Laurens District 55 High School principal Sonya Bryant will do so with mixed emotions. Bryant will be proud of the accomplishments of the graduates, excited for their future opportunities, and happy that she was able to be part of their high school experience.  But the principal of Laurens High the past five years will feel a bit of sadness, too, knowing that she won’t be presenting LDHS graduates next year.  Sonya Bryant has been called to serve as the principal of Batesburg-Leesville High School (BLHS) for the 2017-2018 school year. She is to assume duties there this coming July 1st.

Ms. Bryant said “It’s going home.  It’s been a hard decision.” Sonja Bryant’s career in education began at BLHS as an English teacher in 1993. She said “I will love to give my hometown some of my love and attention for a while.”  She grew up in the Batesburg-Leesville community and on return will live in her childhood home.   District 55 Superintendent Peters said “While we will certainly miss her, we are excited for her to have this opportunity. The L55 family wishes Mrs. Bryant the best in all her future endeavors.” Peters noted “Lexington Three is fortunate to gain her and the leadership skills and qualities that set her apart.”

Laurens County – Most Traffic Deaths in S.C.

Laurens County has the highest number of traffic fatalities in South Carolina, according to a weekly report from the South Carolina Department of Safety. The report states that as of midnight Sunday night, March 12th, Laurens County has 12 traffic fatalities. That s four-times the number we had a this time last year.

Calhoun County was 2nd in the state, with 11 traffic fatalities. Anderson County was 3rd with 10.

Greenwood County, our neighbor with a similar population to Laurens, had only recorded 2 traffic fatalities thru March 12th. Greenville County, our neighbor to the north with much higher population and much more traffic, had 9 fatalities for the year by the same date. Spartanburg County had 5 fatalities.

Of other surrounding counties, Newberry, has 3 traffic deaths, Abbeville with 1 and there were no fatalities through March 12th in Union County.

Statewide as of March 12th, 178 people have died on South Carolina highways, down from 185 highway deaths during the same time period in 2016. This year’s 178 included 135 motor vehicle occupants. 24 pedestrians died, the same as this date in 2016; 12 motorcyclists died compared to 19 in 2016; and three bicyclists died compared to six in 2016 on state roads and highways.

   Clinton Main Street Assessment Starts Tuesday

Representatives from the Main Street South Carolina program will be in Clinton on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. Jerre Threatt, Director of Community Relations for the City of Clinton, said Main Street South Carolina will be doing a baseline assessment for the newly created Main Street Clinton program, announced last November. Clinton’s having been approved as a Main Street city was announced last November before a crowd gathered at the Depot, Downtown. Those on hand for that event included South Carolina Main Street Director Bippie LeGrande . During the celebration, Ms. LeGrand announced that Clinton has also won a competitive grant to fund planning for a project in the Industrial Supply block at East Main and North Broad.

In announcing the assessment work scheduled for next week, Mr. Threatt said this baseline assessment is an evaluative service conducted during a local Main Street program’s first year of operation. Its primary purpose is to introduce and explain the Main Street Approach® to the community, bring stakeholders together to share their perspectives and vision for downtown, and to review and assess the progress made toward establishing a local Main Street program.  In addition, this visit is designed to assist the community in determining the best strategies to build a strong revitalization process.

Threatt said that objectives for the assessment include recognizing the downtown’s strengths and opportunities for having a successful revitalization program. He said the state Main Street visit is to also identify specific needs and obstacles that challenge development of the new Main Street Clinton program, and will provide assistance in organizing a strong leadership base. Main Street South Carolina will also guide Clinton’s program in defining priorities and programming goals to build a proactive work plan in the year ahead.

There will be two community input sessions during the baseline assessment. The first session will be held in the City Council Chambers inside the M.S. Bailey Municipal Center Tuesday evening from 5:30 to 7:00.

The second session will be held in City Council chambers Wednesday morning from 8:00 until 9:30. Community participation is strongly encouraged to help guide the direction and ensure the success of the Main Street Clinton program. Residents with questions may Jerre Threatt, Director of Community Development,  at 864-833-7508 or by email: jthreatt@cityofclintonsc.com.

Failure to Show in Court – Twice in Two Years

A man wanted for alleged failure to show up for General Sessions Court last year and the year before was placed in the Laurens County Detention Center yesterday. 31-year-old Lyndell Tyrell Sims Jr. of 207 N. Marion Street, Newberry – also know as “Rell” – was served with four General Sessions Court Bench Warrants. Two were issued November 14, 2016 and state he failed to show for court to face charges of Simple Possession of Marijuana, 2nd Offense and Distribution of Methamphetamine. Two more issued June 23rd of 2015 state he failed to show for court to face charges of Manufacturing Methamphetamine and Possession of a Controlled Substance. Lyndell Sims Jr. was ordered to be held in custody until he can be discharged by due course of law.

District 55 Arts Show at the Ridge Next Week

Laurens County School District 55 will host its annual Kaleidoscope – Showcase of the Arts in nine days. Its set for Saturday, March 25th from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. The announcement of this year’s Kaleidoscope  notes that, for the first time, the event will be held at “The Ridge,” the City of Laurens’ multipurpose building at 319 Exchange Drive.

Students involved in visual or performing arts classes from all nine schools in the district will be participating. In addition to musical performance, artwork from each school will be displayed in a gallery for the public to view. “There are languages that all people speak,” says Superintendent Peters, adding “The arts cross boundaries and break barriers just as our district teacher of the year and state finalist, Marcie Womble does with her students.” Dr. Peters added “The appeal and impact of arts education continues to drive the conversation surrounding the importance of its appeal to so many. Countless people around the world credit the arts for their ability to make connections and develop cross-sectional relationships throughout their lives.” The superintendent concluded “We will continue to embrace and sustain the beauty and wonder of the arts throughout our lifetime.”

The schedule of events for Saturday, March 25th begins with music from elementary students, then includes the High School Chorus, Middle School orchestra, Middle School band and High School orchestra. A Middle School Gifted & Talented Chorus will perform at 1:00.

Refreshments will be available for sale; all proceeds from sales and donations will benefit the Laurens County School District 55 Arts Fund.

Down to a Final Few Holdouts

The use of electricity in our homes and business has greatly expanded over the past 60 years, but not everyone has converted their electric meter to be able to accommodate the expanded use of electricity.

The Laurens Commission of Public Works was updated this week on progress to get the final few customers using antiquated “A-Based” electric meters to upgrade. The commission is concerned about the safety risks, including fire, these outdated meters present.

The CPW approved changes two months ago to double the monthly meter reading fee for the final four customers, as well as a procedure for disconnection of service.

CPW General Manager John Young advised the commissioners at their March meeting earlier this week that the four remaining customers had been sent letters urging them to allow the upgrade. He said only one customer responded.  At least that response was positive.

The final holdouts reportedly included two business buildings on the Public Square.

PTC Holds Open House Tuesday

. Piedmont Technical College will sponsor an Open House this coming Tuesday in Greenwood at the James Medford Family Event Center on the Lex Walters Campus. Representatives from the more than 80 programs offered at PTC will be available to answer questions. There will be two sessions: a morning session from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and an evening session from 4-6 p.m. Both sessions will provide a unique, trade show-style presentation of the college’s services and programs.

“Open House is an excellent opportunity for the community to see what Piedmont Technical College has to offer in our academic programs and student services,” said Renae Frazier, dean of admissions. “This day will be a showcase of program demonstrations and face-to-face conversations with faculty and staff.”

Varsity Baseball WILL be Broadcast Tonight

There has been a change in plans and WLBG will broadcast the Clinton at Laurens varsity baseball game tonight starting at 7:30. Remember you can also catch the action live in the internet here at WLBG.com.