14th Straight Year for Clinton Win in Middle School Science Olympiad

The new Clinton Middle School this weekend won its 1st ever South Carolina Science Olympiad. Combined with the previous 13 years of  Bell Street Middle School winning the State Middle School Science Olympiad, that makes 14 years in a row for Clinton youth, and a total of 16 overall.

Vic McDonald reported on ClintonChronicle.com that Clinton Middle School scientists won 11 1st places in the 20 events at Newberry College. According to the Chronicle, Clinton’s 1st Place finish was followed by Mid-Carolina, Banks Trail, Gold Hill, Meadow Glen, Palmetto Academy, McCracken, Irmo, Palmetto and Pine Ridge.

The Chronicle report states the Clinton Middle Science Olympiad team is now raising money to cover the trip to represent South Carolina in the National Science Olympiad, to be held at the University of Wisconsin in May.

Meanwhile, the High School State Science Olympiad is set for February 27th.

Possession with Intent to Distribute

A Wattsville resident was in custody this morning accused of Drug and Driving violations.  Laurens City Police charged 47-year-old Anthony Lamar Dendy of 8 Hammett Street, Laurens with Possession of Marijuana with Intent, Reckless Driving and with Open Container of Beer or Wine in Vehicle. Officer Billy Sellers issued tickets charging Mr. Dendy with Careless Driving and Open Container at 11:00 pm Saturday night on South Harper at South Harper Extension. Dendy was later served with a warrant charging him with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute. It cites the investigation of Officer Sellers as indicating that on January 30th on South Harper Street Anthony L. Dendy had in his possession approximately 5 ounces of marijuana and a digital scale during a traffic stop.

Cash or surety bond was set at $25,000 on the drug charge and $250 on the two traffic charges. Anthony Lamar Dendy remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Stolen, Loaded Pistol in Possession

Laurens City Police yesterday charged a man with possession of a stolen, loaded pistol during a traffic stop in Laurens early yesterday. 26-year old Quintin Xavier Bell of 105 Spencer Street, Clemson was charged with Possession of a Stolen Pistol, Unlawful Carrying of a Pistol and Simple Possession of Marijuana.  Sgt. James Nolen states that based on the investigation of Officer Billy Sellers Quintin X. Bell had in his possession approximately 11 grams of marijuana during a lawful traffic stop Sunday on North Harper Street in Laurens. Another warrant states that Mr. Bell unlawfully carried a loaded pistol yesterday without authority to do so, having in his possession a black Ruger LC 9mm pistol during a lawful traffic stop on North Harper Street. A third warrant states that this pistol was stolen.

During a bond hearing in Laurens Municipal Court yesterday, cash or surety bonds were set totaling $26,000 on the three charges. Quinton Xavier Bell remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Drug Charges on Two Arrested Friday Night

Two people are facing drug charges following a traffic stop on North Harper in Laurens late Friday night. Laurens Police arrested 29-year-old Dominique Sherell Simpson of 206 Lurey Street, Laurens and 30-year-old Tevin Dweayne Barksdale of 223 Truman Street, Laurens. Both were charged with Possession of Cocaine. Ms. Simpson was also charged with Speeding and Driving without a SC Drivers License. Mr. Barksdale was also charged with Open Beer in a Vehicle.

Warrant noting the investigation of Officer Billy Sellers state that between January 29th and 30th Ms. Simpson and Mr. Barksdale had in their  possession approximately one gram of powder cocaine during a lawful traffic stop on North Harper Street. Tickets charge Ms. Simpson with the traffic violations at 11:47 pm Friday on North Harper, and Mr. Barksdale with the alleged Open Container violation.

Dominique Sherell Simpson and Tevin Dweayne Barksdale were released on personal recognizance bonds including $5,000 for the Cocaine charge.

Arrest Friday in January 15th Burglary, Assault

Sheriff’s Corporal Christy Johnson went to a residence on Highway 56 south of Clinton at 9:30 Friday morning to do a welfare check on a woman of that residence. Later Friday, her ex-husband was arrested and charged with an alleged incident earlier in the month.

42-year-old Adger Leroy Gregory of 775 Poole Road, Clinton was charged with 1st Degree Burglary and Domestic Violence 2nd Degree from an incident January 15th. In those warrants Corporal Staton states that on January 15th Mr. Gregory entered a dwelling on Highway 56 South, Clinton without consent and with intent to commit a crime therein. He allegedly entered at night and threatened harm to a victim inside. A second warrant states that in the residence Gregory committed Domestic Violence 2nd Degree by grabbing the victim by the arm and throwing her to the floor in the presence of minor children.

Adger Leroy Gregory was released from the Johnson Detention Center Saturday afternoon on cash or surety bonds totaling $10,000 on the two charges.

Enhanced Simple Larceny

Clinton Public Safety Saturday charged a local woman with an Enhanced charge of Petit Larceny. 41-year-old Sandy Michelle Odom of 200 Spruce Street, Clinton is accused of taking the wallet of another woman Saturday. The warrant states the charge is enhanced due to Ms. Odom having three or more priors for property crimes. With a cash or surety bond set at $5,000, Sandy Michelle Odom remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Enhanced Shoplifting

An Enhanced Shoplifting charge was served on a Clinton woman Saturday from Laurens City Police. 27-year-old Adora Danielle-Skye Gilliam of apartment N-2 at 590 Phillips Street was also charged with Trespassing.

Sgt. James Nolen states that on January 30th Ms. Gilliam violated a trespass notice from the Wal-Mart center at 922 East Main and that she committed Shoplifting by putting boots on her feet in the store and exiting the store past all points of purchase without paying for the merchandise. The warrant states the Shoplifting charge is enhanced due to the defendant having two prior convictions for property theft.

With cash or surety bonds set totaling $3,470, Adora Danielle-Skye Gilliam remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

38th Annual Chamber Dinner

“Home is Where the Heart Is” was the title of last night’s Keynote address at the 38th Annual Membership Dinner of the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce. But Clinton native Almeda Jacks also made no secret of her love of Clemson University, where she recently returned as Vice President for Student Affairs She said she went there as a student in 1970 and really never came back. Mrs. Jacks spoke of big family gatherings on A.B. Jacks Road and stressed the need for knowing the people you work with, pointing out the importance of empathy and the need to appreciate diversity. Almeda Jacks said we should capitalize on our God-given talent.

Some local students who’ve applied their talents were recognized during the awards portion of the annual Chamber dinner at PC last night.

The Cecil Davenport Citizenship Award for 2015 was presented to Ryan L. Anderson of Laurens Academy. Other 10th grade finalists recognized were Alyssa Jane Shiflet of Clinton High and Lauryn A. Turner of Laurens High.

Wendy’s Heisman Award winners recognized were Cynthia McHam and Harrison Fisher of CHS along with Jamie Elizabeth Ackerman and Thomas Russell Jones of LDHS.

District Teachers of the year, Cassie Power of District 55 and Jennifer Howard of District 56, were also celebrated.

The John P. Faris Volunteer of the Year award from the Chamber was presented to Dr. Cynthia Pitts of Clinton. Zeke Benjamin of Mountville was recognized as the Chamber’s Ambassador of the Year.

The Spirit of the Chamber Award was given to Kimberly Kitchens while Jasmine Jennings was honored as the Young Professional of the Year.

Also honored last night were retiring board members Marvin Moss, Tara Glenn and Ernie Segars.

As Theo Lane of Duke Energy began to describe some of the many accomplishments of the person selected this year to receive the Duke Energy Citizenship Award, it started to become likely that last night’s Master of Ceremonies was the recipient. When Theo added the many years of service in Rotary, Boy Scouts as accomplishments as Athletic Director for the University of South Carolina, there was no doubt that King Dixon of Laurens was the recipient for the Citizenship award.

Crack Cocaine & Marijuana with Intent to Distribute

A Laurens man was charged yesterday with Possession of Crack Cocaine and Marijuana with Intent to Distribute. Laurens City Police arrested the suspect Wednesday following a traffic stop Downtown on North Harper. Four warrants served yesterday charge 33-year-old Gregory Lee Burnside of 204 Lurey Street, Laurens with Possession of Crack Cocaine with Intent to Distribute, 3rd Offense, Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute  and with two counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute within Proximity of a Public Park.

In those warrants Officer Benjamin Gallo states that on January 27th the defendant possessed 27 pieces which contained 2.6 grams of an off-white rock-like substance seized from him during a lawful traffic stop, and that the defendant has two prior convictions of Possession of Crack Cocaine with Intent to Distribute, making this a 3rd offense. Officer Gallo also states that Gregory Lee Burnside Jr. possessed two separate baggies of approximately 24.6 grams of marijuana that was seized from him during a lawful traffic stop at North Harper Street and Gordon Street in Laurens January 27th.

These offenses allegedly occurred within a quarter mile of a city park.

During arraignment yesterday, bond was denied on all four charges. Gregory Lee Burnside remained in the Laurens County Detention Center today.

Drug & Firearms Charges

Drug and Firearms charges were served yesterday on a Clinton man. Clinton Public Safety charged 24-year-old Aaron Oryan Butler of 305 Dillard Road, Clinton with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute and with Unlawful Carrying of a Pistol. Warrants state that Mr. Butler had approximately 36.97 grams of marijuana in his possession yesterday, which is prima face evidence of possession with intent to distribute. This allegedly occurred on West Carolina Avenue in Clinton. A second warrant states that Aaron Butler also had a concealed Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol in his possession yesterday without authority to do so. Cash or surety bonds on the two charges were set totaling $6,000. Aaron Oryan Butler remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

New Year’s Shooting Suspect Back in Jail

One of the men arrested early January 1st following reports of New Year’s Eve gunfire in Wattsville was back in jail yesterday, charged with multiple probation charges. 23-year-old Ernesto Roger Eugene Sanchez Jr. of 209 Brandy Lane, Clinton was served with two warrants charging Violation of Probation. One warrant that requires he appear before a Circuit Court Judge for a bond hearing alleges he failed to follow instructions to refrain from violation of state or local law and to immediately notify his agent of his arrest January 1st by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office for Possession of a Firearm or Ammunition by a Person convicted of a Violent Felony and also for being in possession of an AK 47 and four other handguns, confiscated at time of his arrest. The warrant also notes unauthorized possession of a controlled substance. The second warrant also cites failure to follow instructions of his agent noting violations of laws. He’s to see a local Magistrate for a bond hearing on that charge. Ernesto Roger Eugene Sanchez Jr. remained in the Johnson Detention Center today.

STEM Recognition

Accomplishments in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics were recognized this week by the District 55 School Board. At their January meeting held Monday evening, the District 55 School Board recognized STEM 1st Place Winners, presenting certificates to students and teachers from District 55 who had earned those1st place honors.

Fortune Recognized for Statewide Service

Fellow trustees and Superintendent Dr. Billy Strickland this week presented District 55 School Board member Mike Fortune with a certificate and lapel pin in recognition of 15 years of service on the South Carolina School Board Association. Dr. Strickland also thanked all the board members for their service which is all without pay, noting that January is School Board Recognition Month.

More Charges on Man and Woman

A man and woman from rural Laurens County north of Hickory Tavern received additional charges yesterday, following their arrests Wednesday.

49-year-old Anthony Lanier Arrington of 2041 Cowens Bridge Road, Gray Court was initially held for a Violation of Probation charge. A $35,000 cash or surety bond was set on that charge yesterday. Meanwhile, he was also charged with Unlawful Neglect of a Child or Helpless Person

Officer Martin states that on January 18th, 2016 at his residence on Cowens Bridge Road Anthony Arrington placed at unreasonable risk of harm a minor child by testing positive for methamphetamine, and that the defendant is the child’s biological parent. A cash or surety bond on that charge was set at $5,000.

37-year-old Michelle Jo Fair, also of 2041 Cowens Bridge Road, was charged Wednesday with two counts, Attempt to Possess Controlled Substance. She’s accused of attempting to purchase more than the 30 day limit of pseudopherdrine products on Tuesday of this week and also on May 5th of last year. $2,000 cash or surety bonds were set on those charges during arraignment yesterday.

Also yesterday, Michelle Jo Fair was charged with Unlawful Neglect of a Child and with Possession of Methamphetamine. The Neglect charge, like for Mr. Arrington, states she placed her minor child at unreasonable risk by exposure to meth at their residence on January 18th while the Meth Possession warrant states she was in possession of less than one gram of methamphetamine this Wednesday. Ms. Fair was to face arraignment on the two additional charges today.

Michelle Jo Fair and Anthony Lanier Arrington remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

1st Degree Assault of Wife is Alleged

Clinton Public Safety yesterday charged a man with an assault on his wife Wednesday. Michael Lee Turner of 1102 North Sloan Street, Clinton was charged with Domestic Violence 1st Degree. The warrant states that on January 27th at 1102 North Sloan Street he committed 1st Degree Domestic Assault by holding an extended pocket knife while he was walking toward the victim, cursing in an angered and threatening demeanor with the ability to cause great bodily harm to the victim. These actions caused the victim to be in fear of her life and safety. The defendant then allegedly stabbed the victim’s car tire in an angry and threatening manner. The defendant and victim are currently married and have lived together in the past. The warrant states he has a prior conviction for domestic violence in the past ten years.

Michael Lee Turner remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning with a cash or surety bond set at $25,000.

Woman Charged with Another on another Woman

The Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested 59-year-old Elizabeth Jean Pinson of 340 Ekom Beach Road, Laurens and charged her with Assault and Battery 3rd Degree. She’s accused of assaulting another woman by striking her about the head, face and neck while presenting a sharp object. During the alleged assault at another Ekom Beach Road location yesterday, the victim reportedly received a broken left jaw and lacerations around the mouth, requiring the victim to receive treatment in the emergency room. Elizabeth Jean Pinson was held overnight, pending a bond hearing today.

Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree

An SCDC inmate was transferred to the Laurens County Detention Center yesterday.

55-year-old Lee Anthony Evans of 1115 West Main, Union was served with a Bench Warrant regarding a charge of Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree. The warrant was issued Monday, leading to his transfer here from Lee Correctional at Bishopville.

Sex Offender Registry

53-year-old Harold Ernest Mims of 478 Airport Road, Clinton was placed in the Johnson Detention Center yesterday regarding an alleged Sex Offender Registry Violation The Bench Warrant states he was convicted September 2, 2015 on the Violation. A sentence from Judge Thomas Copeland was for a $2,117 fine or 366 days in jail, to run consecutively with any and all other sentences.

Per Pupil Payments Going Down

This week we reported the Base Student Cost figure the state provides to local school districts is expected to be reduced, due to the overall higher number of students that expected across the state. We reported an anticipated cut of $200,000 for District 56.

Today a follow-up from the District 55 school board meeting this week, where the Trustees were advised that District 55 could be looking at a cut of $400,000 in funds for this school year. District 55 Superintendent Billy Strickland and Financial Officer Rodney Smith both indicated they believe that these numbers are very preliminary and that there could be an error in the states calculations.

Dr. Strickland told his school board Monday night “This information will get heated up as the week goes on.” He indicated he’s planning a conference call for today to discuss the matter with state officials.

Fee-in-Lieu Credits Transferred to Home Office

Laurens County Council this week gave final approval on the transfer of Fee-in-Lieu agreements with an existing industry in the county. The 3rd reading approval on Ordinance 805 came following a public hearing. It authorizes and ratifies the transfer and assignment of three separate Fee-in-Lieu of Tax agreements between the County and Emtec. Those FILOTS are being transferred from the industry to its parent company, Continental, located in Germany.

County Council Tuesday night also gave 1st reading approval to Ordinance 810 for a Fee-in-Lieu agreement between Laurens County and a company currently identified as “Project Duo” in the Woodfield Industrial Park near Fountain Inn. This is reportedly related to a previous agreement.