Friday Arrest Following Domestic Altercation

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office served charges Saturday alleging a Friday assault. 23-year-old Markevious Rydell Simpson of 3940 Springdale Drive, Clinton was charged with Domestic Violence 2nd Degree. A warrant citing the investigation of Deputy McLain states that on March 17th Simpson punched the victim in the forehead in the presence of their six-year-old child, creating fear of imminent peril for the victim. With a cash or surety bond set at $25,000, Markevious Rydell Simpson remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Deputy Charged in Greenwood County

A Laurens County Sheriff’s Deputy has been placed on administrative leave, without pay, following a domestic dispute Saturday. The Greenwood Index-Journal reported that Greenwood County deputies went to Sgt. Jeremy McMahan’s residence at 8:30 Saturday night, citing a release from the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office. McMahan was charged with second-degree domestic violence and taken to the Greenwood County Detention Center.

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office was to conduct an internal investigation.

Friday Arrest Cites Monday Domestic Assault

The Sheriff’s Office arrested a man Friday in connection with a domestic assault last Monday. 28-year-old Kevin Duane Patterson of 28 Aquarius Drive, Gray Court was charged with Domestic Violence 3rd Degree. He is accused of pushing the victim into a wall on March 13th, causing minor injuries to her face. He and the victim have a child together. With a cash or surety bond set at $10,000, Kevin Duane Patterson remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

January Domestic Assault Alleged

The Sheriff’s Office arrested a Wattsville resident Friday for an alleged assault in January. 26-year-old Terry Lamont Powers of 9 Beattie Street, Laurens was charged with Domestic Violence 3rd Degree. He’s accused of grabbing the victim around the neck in a choking manner on January 12th.  Terry Lamont Powers was released on a $25,000 cash or surety bond.

Physical and Verbal Assault Alleged

The Laurens Count Sheriff’s Office Saturday arrested 43-year-old Danny Lee Crain of 4989 Poplar Springs Road, Ware Shoals and charged him with Domestic Violence 3rd Degree. A warrant states that Crain assaulted the victim by placing his hand around her throat and pressing her against a wall, leaving red marks on her neck. He is also accused of asking her to kill herself to solve everyone’s problems. He reportedly had the apparent present ability to cause physical harm or injury under circumstances that reasonably created fear of imminent peril to the victim. Danny Lee Crain was released on a $5,000 bond.

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.