Stalking While Out on Bond

Another charge of Stalking was served by Laurens Police yesterday. 40-year-old Chadwick Shane Bragg of 5792 Highway 14, Gray Court had been arrested Wednesday. The warrant served yesterday states that an investigation by Detective Doug Jones indicates that Mr. Bragg engaged in stalking Wednesday by sending numerous text messages threatening he would harm the victim. This reportedly occurred while Bragg was out of jail on bond from a previous stalking charge, and had been ordered by Judge Weir not to have contact with the victim. The messages reportedly caused the victim to fear for her safety. Bond was denied on this Stalking charge. Chadwick Shane Bragg remained in the Laurens County Detention Center today.

New Truck for Clinton’s Water Division

Clinton City Utilities’ Water Division will soon be getting a new service truck. Clinton City Council this week approved City Manager Bill Ed Cannon’s request for authorization to purchase the new truck. The truck currently in use was purchased in 2004 and 162,519 miles on the odometer.  While the truck is still in fair condition, council was advised that maintenance costs are expected to be increasing soon. Also, the replacement truck includes a service body comparable with the current truck but also will include an on-board air compressor and a lift gate.  This equipment will increase the effectiveness of the truck.

Two bids were received. The lower bid was from Cooper Motor Company for a new Dodge Ram 4500 at a price of $71,648.00.  That price does include the air compressor and lift gate.

City Council’s unanimous vote to approve the purchase came following discussion. $32,500 of the purchase price is to come from the current year’s Water Distribution Capital Budget, with the remainder coming initially from this year’s Capital Equipment Replacement Fund.  During the next fiscal year, the Water Distribution Budget will repay the Capital Equipment Fund so that the entire purchase price will eventually be paid by the Water Division.



Grand Opening for New CNNGA Showroom

The Clinton-Newberry Natural Gas Authority is having a Grand Opening of their new showroom in the Clinton office today. CNNGA is inviting everyone to come by from 10:30 this morning until 1:00 this afternoon and see their line of grills, gas logs, tankless water heaters and appliances on display in the new showroom. Hotdogs and other refreshments are being served. They’re also registering visitors for a Blackstone Tailgater Grill/Griddle combo. That’s today from 10:30 until 1:00 at the new CNNGA Showroom at 1643 Springdale Drive in Clinton.

CPW Manager Discusses High Heating Bills

Laurens CPW General Manager John Young appeared on WLBG’s “Good Morning Up-Country” program yesterday to answer questions from people concerned about high heating bills from January.

Young noted that the January cold spell had temperatures fall to 8 degrees, a first in several years; but he said that the one night with an 8-degree temperature was not the reason for the high utility bills, but how long the cold spell lasted.  “The sustained length of time that it was much colder weather than normal, I think, it what caused the problem.”

When asked for ways to keep heating bills from being so high. John Young said the #1 precaution is the thermostat setting.    “The federal government, along with most utilities, recommend, for optimum efficiency, to set your thermostat in the wintertime at 68 degrees. I know a lot of people say, ‘that’s freezing to me.’ Wear a sweater. There are a lot of different things you can do, but keep in mind that for every degree that you set your thermostat above 68 degrees, that equates to about a 5% increase in what your heating bill is. Understand that if you like it at 75, that’s okay, but keep in mind, it’s going to cost you about 30% more than if you had it at 68 degrees.”

John Young also said that proper maintenance of your heating system is important. He also encouraged people to check their homes for proper insulation, noting that homes built before 1980 may not have sufficient insulation to reduce the cost of heating.

PWID Crack Cocaine Charged on 2 Women

Laurens City Police yesterday served warrants charging two women with Possession of Crack Cocaine with Intent to Distribute. 59-year-old Melody Lynn Neely and 53-year-old Deborah Summeral Simmons, both of Apartment of 3-D at 309 Exchange Drive, Laurens, are accused of having 1.4 grams of crack cocaine in another Laurens Villa Apartment Wednesday. Warrants cited an investigation by Lt. Simmons. Both Melody Neely and Deborah Simmons remained in custody this morning, with cash or surety bonds for each set at $8,000.

Mob Assault Near Lake Greenwood

A Midlands man was charged yesterday with participating in a Mob Assault Wednesday night in Laurens County. The Sheriff’s Office charged 42-year-old Thomas Jonathan Cobb of 3740 Greenleaf Road, Columbia with Assault and Battery by a Mob, 3rd Degree. A warrant accuses Cobb of

participating in a mob assault that inflicted injury to a victim by striking the victim about his body Wednesday. Deputy Hilderbrandt issued a ticket also charging Mr. Cobb with Pedestrian Drunk at 8:20 Wednesday night on Highway 72, Waterloo. Thomas Jonathan Cobb remained in custody overnight with cash or surety bonds totaling $5,262.

Petit Theft

A theft almost two years ago was alleged with a Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrest yesterday. 33-year-old Hyatt Martin Hendricks of 1395 Allen Bridge Road, Woodruff was charged with Petit Larceny. Sheriff’s Investigator Nations states that on April 8th of 2016 Mr. Hendricks took a ladder stand with intent to deprive the owner of the property, valued at $250. Hendricks was being held overnight, awaiting arraignment.

Stolen CPW Truck Crashes, Suspect Hospitalized

A Laurens man is reportedly facing a Grand Larceny charge after he gets out of the hospital. He is to be charged with the theft of a Laurens CPW truck, reportedly discovered missing from the Wastewater Treatment Plant this morning. Truck 45 was spotted by a police officer and a chase ensured. The chase ended with the vehicle crashing on Ora Road, off US 221 North. CPW’s Blake Davis indicated the truck was a total loss. The man who allegedly took the truck was taken to hospital for treatment of his injuries, with a booking on a Grand Larceny charge pending his release from the hospital.

Woman Dies in House Fire

A Laurens County woman died from a house fire early Wednesday night.

Fountain Inn Firefighters responded to the 100 block of Redmond Drive at 7:32 Wednesday evening. Assistant Fire Chief Russell Alexander said they arrived to find a house fully involved in fire.

Laurens County Coroner Nick Nichols identified the deceased woman as 59-year-old Lugenia ((Lujenna)) Jan Sullivan of 111 Raymond Drive, Fountain Inn. Nichols said Ms. Sullivan’s cause of death was smoke inhalation and thermal burns. He pronounced time of death as 7:35 Wednesday night.

Assistant Chief Alexander told WLBG News that both the victim and a boyfriend were in the house at the time of the fire. The boyfriend was able to escape, and reportedly indicated he thought Ms. Sullivan was just behind him.

The cause of the fatal fire remained under investigation Thursday.

Utility Work & Paving to Delay Traffic on South Broad

Expect traffic complications in the months to come when driving on South Broad in Clinton. Toward the end of the February meeting of Clinton City Council this week, Council Member Gary Kuykendall brought up an upcoming rehab project on South Broad Street. Mr. Kuykendall wanted to remind the public that while doing repair and replacement work on water and sewer lines in conjunction with the State Highway Department’s repaving the street makes sense, it will complicate the process and could add some time to the duration of the project. He said the city needs to communicate well in advance of the start of the work on South Broad so that residents are aware of when the work will begin and how long it should last.

Mayor Bob McLean told WLBG several weeks ago that many of the bumps and dips on South Broad are the city’s fault. He explained that aging utility lines for water and sewer service that are under the street frequently fail, so the street is be dug up to make repairs.

Clinton is now working to coordinate with the South Carolina Department of Transportation, which plans to re-pave South Broad. Prior to the repaving, Clinton Utilities plans to repair and replace sections of the water and sewer lines under and beside South Broad.

Protective Vests for LCSO K9s


Laurens County Sheriff’s Office K9’s Annie & Sandy have received bullet and stab protective vests, thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. K9 Annie & Sandy’s vests are embroidered with the sentiment “In memory of K9 Jethro – Canton, OH Police Department”.

The Massachusetts-based charity has a mission to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided over 2,700 protective vests, in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a cost of over 2.3 million dollars.

The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.

The donation needed to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $1,050.00. Each vest has a value between $1,795 – $2,234 and a five-year warranty, and an average weight of 4-5 lbs. There is an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States. More information including about volunteer opportunities is available with a call to: 508-824-6978.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at or mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718.

132 Flu Cases for Week in Laurens County

DHEC, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, reported yesterday that flu remains a great concern across the state, based on cases reported as for the week ending February 3rd.

With 132 cases reported in Laurens County for that week, Laurens was among counties in the state with a weekly influenza rate, greater than 75 cases per 100,000 population. All counties that border Laurens County also have this highest flu rate for the week. In fact, all but five counties in the state were in the 75 or more cases per 100,000.

Neighboring Greenwood County, with only slightly more overall population than Laurens, has 251 cases for the week. Newberry had 108, Abbeville had 87 and Union had 73 cases. Of our more urban neighbors, Greenville County has 3,316 cases, Spartanburg had 1,102 and Anderson had 312 cases of flu for the week. Only Calhoun County had no cases reported for the most recent week’s report.

DHEC is stressing that due to the seriousness of this year’s flu season, cost should not keep anyone from getting the flu shot. They note that many health care providers, pharmacies and community organizations offer low- or no-cost flu shots. Most insurance plans cover at least part of the cost.

In response to the crisis, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is waiving administrative fees that some pay for a flu shot at its public health clinics. In any case, cost will not be a barrier to flu vaccines offered in DHEC clinics.

“The flu shot is the best protection against the flu. It is extremely important for those who have not gotten their flu shot to be vaccinated now,” said Dr. Tracy Foo, DHEC Immunization Medical Consultant.

Residents can make an appointment at a DHEC public health clinic to receive the flu vaccine by calling 1-855-4-SCDHEC (1-855-472-3432).

In addition to the flu shot, be sure to wash your hands often and avoid contact with sick people. If you become sick with the flu, avoid contact with others.

Expansion in Greenwood County

Van Dyke’s Restorers, Inc., a provider of products for home renovation projects, is expanding operations in Greenwood County to accommodate its continued growth. The company is projected to create 31 new jobs over the next five years.

As a multichannel retailer, Van Dyke’s Restorers offers a broad selection of products designed to serve everyone from the inexperienced remodeler to professional architects and woodworkers. The wide assortment of more than 70,000 items includes everything required for a Victorian era, midcentury, traditional or transitional home restoration. Additionally, the Van Dyke’s collection contains specialty hardware and components for restoring antique desks, tables, chairs, cabinets and more.

Located at 3507 Cokesbury Road, in the Park Seed facilities between Hodges & Greenwood, the company will be consolidating its warehousing, marketing and fulfillment operations to its Greenwood County facility.

Hiring for the new positions should begin in the coming weeks. Interested applicants should contact:

Prizes for Best Academic Work


The recent Score Big/Win Big prizes at Laurens Middle School were gift certificates to the Scholastic Book Fair that is housed this week in the school’s library.  LMS students Bryson Cruickshanks and Chelsea Davis were the winners of these certificates and have several opportunities this week to spend their prize winnings when they visit the library. All students at LMS can earn tickets for the Score Big/Win Big prize drawings by simply doing their very best academic work. Career Development Facilitator, Lisa Crisp, was the winner of the faculty/staff book fair preview prize drawing.



Pictured (l to r) are Cruickshanks, Crisp and Davis.

Theft from Employer Alleged

Laurens Police yesterday arrested a man on charges of taking property from his employer. 36-year-old Christopher Edward McGarry of 178 Harvest Road, Saluda was served a warrant charging Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent. It cites an investigation of Sgt. Thibodeau as indicating that between January 19th and February 7th, the defendant took merchandise belonging to the victim, A T & T, without paying for it.  It states the defendant was employed by the victim and allegedly took an estimated total of $1,253 worth of merchandise from 908 East Main Street in Laurens. Mr. McGarry remained in custody in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning, with a cash or surety bond set at $2,000.

Seeking Money for Damage to Clinton Property

At Monday night’s meeting of Clinton City Council, City Manager Bill Ed Cannon asked for council to authorize City Attorney Allen Wham to begin proceedings to collect from the responsible party for damages to the American Legion Hut on Willard Road.

The damage occurred just over a year ago, on January 19, 2017. According to a Clinton Department of Public Safety incident report, the building had been rented by Rhonda Gary. The Administrative Assistant Amanda Greer said the rental was for holding a family reunion.

The incident report indicates that a fight broke out at some point and included shots being fired. There were several windows in the building broken, the interior was damaged as well as furnishings. Blood droplets were found inside and outside the building.

City Council decided to take the information under advisement to allow them and city staff to more adequately inspect the building, procure estimates of cost to repair the damages and then take action at a later council meeting.

The building has not been rented in over a year, due to the unrepaired damage. The windows broken out were boarded up and the building was secured but no repairs have been made.

Criminal Sexual Conduct Alleged

Criminal Sexual Conduct between nine and thirteen years ago is alleged in warrants served by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday. 51-year-old Billy Todd Weathers II of 1436 Wofford Shoals Road, Fountain Inn is charged with two Counts of 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor, or Attempt, and with one count of 3rd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor.

Sheriff’s Investigator Thomas Hunnicutt states that Mr. Weathers engaged in 3rd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor, or Attempt, allegedly engaging in sexual battery by fondling the breasts of a victim under age 16 between January 1st and December 31st, 2009. The two warrants charging 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor, or Attempt, allege that Weathers engaged in sexual battery by digital penetration and performing oral sex on the victim. One warrant alleges the crime occurred between January 1st and December 31st of 2009, while the other states the offense occurred between January 1st of 2005 and December 31st of 2006.

Cash or surety bonds were set totaling $25,000 on the three charges yesterday. Billy Todd Weathers II remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Failure to Show for 3 Attempted Murder Charge

A man was jailed in the Laurens County Detention Center yesterday on orders in Six Bench Warrants issued from last week’s session of Laurens County General Sessions Court. 42-year-old Aquarious Pernell Meredith was booked showing an address of 2421 Durbin Road, Fountain Inn. The Bench Warrants show an address on Clemson Street, Spartanburg.

They state that Mr. Meredith failed to appear in General Sessions Criminal Court the week of January 29th, 2018 to face charges including three counts of Attempted Murder as well as Use of a Weapon in a Violent Crime, Possession of a Stolen Pistol and Malicious Damage to Property.

Aquarious Pernell Meredith is being held on the orders from Laurens County General Sessions Court until he can be discharged by due course of law.

Assaults on Three, One Allegedly Holding Baby

Clinton Public Safety arrested a local man on charges that he assaulted three people in town yesterday, and of placing his own baby at unreasonable risk of harm in the process. 21-year-old Aaron Travis Hughes of 206 Helen Street, Clinton was charged with Unlawful Conduct Towards a Child and with 3 counts of 3rd Degree Assault. Warrants allege that on February 6th in Clinton he assaulted one victim by striking him numerous times about the face and body with his closed fists. His two-month-old child was allegedly placed at unreasonable risk of harm, affecting the child’s life, physical health and safety, by the defendant’s assault on the victim while this victim was holding his child. Hughes is accused of assaulting a second male victim, also allegedly striking him numerous times about the face and body with his closed fists. In the 3rd Assault warrant, he is accused of assaulting the victim by shoving her in the chest area, causing her to fall to the ground.

Aaron Travis Hughes was released from the Laurens County Detention Center later yesterday on personal recognizance bonds totaling $3,500 for the four charges.

District 55 School Counselors Recognized

This is National School Counseling Week, designated to honor school counselors who contribute greatly to help students as they meet the challenges of the 21st Century. In acknowledging their importance, District 55 Superintendent, Dr. Stephen Peters, said “School counselors help steer students as they examine their abilities, strengths, and talents.  School counselors serve in partnership with parents as they encounter various situations associated with raising children in today’s world.” Peters added, “School counselors work with teachers and other educators to provide an educational program where students can realize their potential and set healthy, realistic, and optimistic aspirations.” Dr. Peters said that school counselors are an integral part of the total education system in District 55.

The sixteen school counselors on staff across District 55 schools include Sarah Wicker at Ford Elementary School, Karen Abell of E.B. Morse Elementary School, Terri Ivie for Waterloo Elementary School and Mandy Tumblin in Laurens Elementary School. Angie Bigham and Chris Hughes work with students of Gray Court-Owings School, while Andrea Parsons and Cindy Godwin serve the elementary & middle school students in Hickory Tavern School. Melissa McDowell is counselor for Sanders Middle School and Lisa Laird serves Laurens Middle School. Laurens District 55 High School student counselors are Yoneko Allen, Shayla Broadnax, Chrys Hill, Josh Dawkins, and Regina Childers. Working with students at Laurens Preparatory Academy is Shana Dendy.

The American School Counselor Association designated National School Counseling Week for 2018 as February 5th thru 9th.