First Freeze Winner

Jonathan Irick and Tim Clayton

Congratulations to Timothy Clayton of the Hickory Tavern Community.  Tim had the closest prediction to the actual moment of the first time the temperature at the Laurens County Airport hit 32.0 degrees………officially freezing.

Participants were able to register predictions of the first freeze by qualifying through an on air contest with WLBG or by visiting select merchants who are Main Street Laurens members.

As the winner of the WLBG/Main Street Laurens First Freeze Contest Mr. Clayton was awarded the $86 cash prize by Jonathan Irick of Main Street Laurens.

By the way, Tim’s prediction for the first freeze was October 30th at 6:08AM.  The actual first freeze occurred on October 30th at 7:15AM.  He didn’t predict the exact time but was only 1 hour and 7 minutes off and was the closes prediction to the actual time.

New EMS Station at Owings

A new EMS station for Upper Laurens County is in the works. The EMS sub-station is to be built at the Owings Industrial Park on Old Laurens Road. News at last night’s County Council meeting was that ZF Transmissions has donated land for the new EMS building and Representative Mike Pitts has arranged for the state to pay for the building’s construction.

The Public Works Committee of Council recommended a Laurens County EMS Master Plan, that included the building for Owings. County Council approved the plan, with a “no” vote from Stewart Jones.

Job Fair Today 10:00 ‘till 3:00

Employers in Laurens, Greenwood and other Upper Savannah counties are looking to hire people for over 2,000 now available jobs. 50 employers are going to be an Upper Savannah Regional Job Fair is from 10:00 this morning until 3:00 this afternoon at the Greenwood Mall on Greenwood’s 72 By-Pass.

Billy Morgan, Deputy Workforce Development Director of Upper Savannah Council of Governments, said “We want people to connect with employers who are hiring, but we also want them to work toward getting the skills needed for the jobs those employers are ready to fill.”

In addition to the 50 employers, job seekers today visit a table from Piedmont Tech to get information on educational programs available to get people ready for the jobs that are now open. Rusty Denning, Associate Vice President of Economic Development and Continuing Education at Piedmont Tech, said “This new partnership is a great opportunity to help residents see the connections between the training they can receive at PTC and the workforce needs in our region.” He added “Whether you’re talking about health care, manufacturing or other areas, several companies are facing staffing shortages in skilled positions. We’ll be there to help visitors understand the steps they’ll need to take to ready themselves for those jobs.”

Ann Skinner, Upper Savannah Director of Workforce Development, said most of these jobs are full-time, with benefits. She also added that plans are now in the works for another job fair in Laurens County in another month.

Parent Honored for Volunteer Work

The ‘Spirit of 56’ made another appearance at this week’s September meeting of the Laurens County School District 56 Board of Trustees.

The Spirit of 56 Award is presented to individuals who have gone above and beyond in the furtherance of education for students in District 56. One might expect that award recipients would be employees of the district, but not this time.

Melodie Edwards, Principal at Clinton Elementary School told the trustees Monday evening of a parent who provides assistance constantly. She said that she has never asked him for anything for her students that he did not find a way to provide. Edwards specifically mentioned his assistance with the students during the recent total solar eclipse, saying his presence, patient instruction and assistance greatly enriched the experience for students at Clinton Elementary. Principal Melodie Edwards then presented the ‘Spirit of 56 Award’ to Mr. Tim Howard. Joining her with thanks for his service to District 56 students were Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields and the members of the District 56 school board.

LDHS Student Semi-Finalist in National Merit Scholarship

A Laurens District 55 student is among semi-finalists in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Officials of the program this month announced 16,000 semifinalists from about 1.6 million juniors from over 22,000 high schools wo entered the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. Aden Keith Partee of LDHS now has an opportunity to continue in the competition for one of some 7,500 scholarship worth more than $32 million. They will be awarded next spring. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

Laurens County Drops to 9th in Traffic Fatalities

We reported yesterday that a Monday afternoon wreck that killed a Batesburg man on Highway 56 South of Clinton brought Laurens County’s total highway fatalities to 25, based on the Highway Patrol’s count.

As of midnight Sunday night, the weekly traffic fatality update from South Carolina’s Department of Public Safety showed Laurens County had finally dropped from 8th place in the top ten counties with the most highway fatalities, still in the top ten counties as #9. Our now 25 fatalities is more than double the number this time last year.

Horry County, which includes the Grand Strand, now has the most traffic fatalities, with 46 as of Sunday midnight. Greenville was next with 45 and Charleston is 3rd with 42. Of other neighboring counties, Spartanburg is tied with Lexington for 5th with 34 deaths on roadways and Anderson County is in 7th place with 28 traffic fatalities.

Domestic Assault 2nd Degree

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested a man on allegations of a domestic assault Monday. 30-year-old Demik Anthony Wells of 1311 Pinehaven Street Extension, Laurens was charged with Domestic Violence 2nd Degree.

A warrant citing an investigation of Lt. Timothy Byrd states that on September 25th Mr. Wells inflicted moderate injury on the victim by pushing her forehead with his fist and breaking her cell phone, preventing her from calling law enforcement. He is also accused of breaking her windshield while children were present.

With a cash or surety bond set at $15,000 during arraignment yesterday, Demik Anthony Wells remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

3rd Degree Domestic Assault

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested an Upper Laurens County man yesterday, alleging an assault that day. 30-year-old Casey Jack Carroll of 3981 Durbin Church Road, Fountain Inn was charged with Domestic Violence 3rd Degree. Deputy Bryan Willard states that on September 26th Mr. Carroll struck the victim about her nose and face, causing bleeding, bruising and swelling. Mr. Carroll was being held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing.

Unlawful Change of Address

State Probation yesterday served a Violation of Probation warrant in Laurens County on 35-year-old Michael Zachery Bibb of 17 Swan Lake Road, Anderson. Mr. Bibb is accused of failing to follow his agent’s instructions to report, allegedly having last reported on May 15th of 2015. He’s also accused of failing to obtain authorization before a change of residence and of providing false information on his residence, thereby absconding supervision. Bibb is also accused of failing to make required payments such as a Public Defender Fund payment and supervision fees.

Michael Zachery Bibb was being held overnight, awaiting a bond hearing today.

What? Driving Again!?

Repeatedly driving after your license has been suspended it not encouraged by local law enforcement. In fact, it can add to the charges.

At 2:40 yesterday afternoon in the Laurens County portion of town, Fountain Inn Police arrested 24-year-old Shayla Denise Walker of 2735 Anderson Road, Greenville. Officer Adair issued Ms. Walker one ticket charging her with 3rd Offense, Driving under Suspension in the vicinity of Gulliver Street and Gray Circle. Officer Adair added a second ticket also charging her with Habitual Offender. Shayla Denise Walker remained in the Laurens County Detention Center overnight with cash or surety bonds set at $7,500 for the Habitual Offender charge and $2,105 for the Driving under Suspension.

ZF & Piedmont Tech Announce the Latest Apprenticeship Program Students

Thursday night at the Piedmont Tech Center for Advanced Manufacturing Piedmont Tech instructors and staff, ZF representatives, students and their families were all in attendance to present the latest class of apprentices in the ZF Apprenticeship Program.

Robbie Ellis, Apprenticeship Program Director for ZF began by explaining the recruiting process of the program and recognition of the 9 new apprentices that were accepted into the program out of 90 applicants.

Landon Adams, Elvis Fitz, Austin Francis , Bryson Vaughn, Bryson Patterson, and Jose Hernandez, all of Clinton High School; Antwan Clark, Jertavious Miller, and Mathew Sullivan, all of Laurens High School then signed letters of intent for their scholarships.

After an opportunity for pictures with family members each student received their ZF hat and back pack. It was very much like college signing day for athletes.

Michael Morris, Director of Human Resources for ZF addressed the students by telling them to look in their empty bags. He then told them that over 20 years of work at ZF they could put 8000 one hundred dollar bills in those bags.

These nine apprentices will begin New Hiring Orientation at ZF this coming Monday and begin classes at the CAM the following Monday.

Laurens Rotary Reviews Year, Installs New Leadership

Jennings, Dixon, Seymour

The Presidential Gavel was passed today at the Laurens Rotary Club. 2016-2017 President Michael Seymour wrapped up the Rotary year by reviewing some of the highlights of the just completed year for the local club. He noted the club’s achievement of having reached 100% of members being “Paul Harris Fellows.” Members receive this designation after $1,000 or more has been donated to the Rotary Foundation in their name. The foundation uses the money to fund efforts around the world to promote healthier living and encouraging communication between peoples from various parts of the earth. Highlights of the Laurens club noted yesterday included funding “Shelter Boxes” for victims of crises all over the world, placing two defibrillators in Laurens High School and purchased an Amazon Echo for the Bell Federation Center for the Blind. The Laurens Rotary Club this year also received word of completion of a water project in Las Legunas, Honduras which the club helped fund in recent years with a donation of $3,750.

Former Rotary District Governor King Dixon this afternoon installed Jaselyn Jennings as Rotary President for 2017 – 2018. She pledged to continue building on the service work of the club.

Other officers and board members were installed by King Dixon during today’s program.

Laurens Shooting Kills Two

A party on Wynetta Street just outside Laurens turned violent and then deadly on Saturday night.

Laurens County Coroner Nick Nichols tells WLBG that deputies were called at about 11:15pm Saturday.  Upon arrival they found 43 year old Sydney Speaks of 96 Ron McNair Road in Mountville dead.  He was pronounced dead at the scene as 12:18am.

Also shot was 26 year old Roydecilous Irby of 310 Mangle Drive in Gray Court.  He was transported to GHS Laurens County Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The cause of death for both men is listed as multiple gunshot wounds.  An autopsy will be performed on both and is scheduled of 9:30am on Monday in Greenville.

Fundraising For Family of Fallen Hickory Tavern Firefighter

Hickory Tavern Firefighter Billy Daniel Whitt died tragically on 29 April 2017, while working at his family owned business.

“The Hickory Tavern Fire Department is saddened to announce the passing of Firefighter Billy Daniel Whitt”, Chief Lance Roper.

Billy was 43 years old and leaves behind a wife (Bettina), a son (Steffan), and two younger daughters (Sabrina and Sylvia).

The Hickory Tavern Fire Department has established a go Fund Me Account to assist with the expenses that the family has incurred during this time. The address for his page is

Billy died out of state, in a tragic accident, and the expenses are quickly mounting and any help is greatly appreciated.

Billy Whitt was an active member of the Hickory Tavern Community. He was a Veteran of the US Army, serving in Kuwait in Operation Desert Storm, as a Tank Commander. Billy was Volunteer Firefighter, a leader of Boy Scout Troop 109 of Hickory Tavern, and a Lieutenant in the Michelin Emergency Team. Billy was honorable, selfless, quiet and caring. His presence will be greatly missed.





CDV, Burglary, Kidnapping, and Property Damage Charges

Jason Leon Herbert Sr, age 33 of 211 Green Acres lane, Silverstreet was booked into the Johnson Detention Center Thursday charged with domestic violence 2nd degree, burglary, kidnapping and malicious damage to property. Warrants allege that he did enter a dwelling in Joanna without consent and with the intent to commit a crime therein. He entered the dwelling at night and caused physical harm to the victim. That upon investigation by the sheriffs office on October 17th 2016 he did willfully unlawfully and maliciously do damage valued at 2k or less to the personal property of a victim by breaking her cell phone, did confine, and kidnap the victim from a residence in Joanna without authority to do so,  And did cause physical harm or injury or offered or attempted to cause physical harm and had the apparent present ability to cause physical harm or injury under circumstances that reasonably created fear of imminent peril to the victim. He remains in the detention center with bond denied on all charges.


Wrong Way To Become a Classic Car Collector

35 year old Travis Aaron Jarnagin of 109 Creamer Street Laurens was booked into the Johnson Detention Center on Wednesday charged with 2 counts receiving stolen goods and 1 count of grand larceny.

Warrants state that on May 2nd he did take and carry away a 1967 ford mustang valued at $3k without permission and with intent to permanently deprive the victim, did receive a license plate, property of the victim knowing at the time the property was stolen or having reason to believe it was stolen. And on May 3rd did receive a 2002 Toyota Tocoma 4 door truck valued at $7k knowing at the time the property was stolen or having reason to believe it to be stolen. Jarnagin remains in the detention center awaiting bond

Drug Distribution Charges

17 year old Zachary William Marler of 7 Hamett Street Laurens was booked Wednesday into the Johnson Detention Center charged with drug possession and intent to distribute. Warrants allege that on May 3rd he did possess with intent to distribute marijuana and, within half mile of Sanders Middle School and Gleamns Head Start possess with intent to distribute marijuana. He remains in the detention center awaiting bond as of this post.


Prosperity Death Ruled Homicide. Boyfriend Charged With Murder

Newberry County Coroner Laura Kneece reports that the autopsy performed today, May 4, 2017, on 35 year old Ms. Clatie Stribble, concluded that the immediate cause of death was Asphyxia due to Strangulation with a contribution of a Stab Wound to the Neck. The manner of death has been ruled a homicide.

According to Cheif David Beddingfield of the Prosperity Police Department, Clifton Curtis Boozer,40, has been charged with the murder of 35-year-old Clatie Dean Stribble.

Just before 8:30 a.m. Wednesday Boozer called 911 and reported that he killed his girlfriend. After being interviewed by the Prosperity Police Department, he confessed to killing Stribble at a home on Conifer Drive.



Pepper Spray Attack Alleged

Thursday morning at 11:14, Clinton Department of Public Safety received a walk-in from an adult woman, who reported that she had been attacked that same day. The woman stated that she had been driving when another woman flagged her down at Elizabeth and West Pitts Streets in Clinton and began yelling at her, exclaiming, “Your man right here, come and get him.” When the victim responded that she did not want him, the angry woman reportedly began spraying pepper spray at her. She rolled up her window to keep from getting sprayed.

While an police officer was gathering information from the victim, the suspect who had attacked the woman showed up. The officer, advising the victim that she could leave, engaged in conversation with the suspect. According to her, the victim had drove up to her car so that they were window-to-window and began yelling and spouting profanity at her. She then stated that the victim got out of her car, continued to yell, and aggressively shook her fist as if she were going to throw a punch. According to the statement, the victim got back into her car and then back out again, and that is when the suspect reportedly began spraying pepper spray at her.

The officer determining that the suspect’s statement of the case was false due to the fact that there was pepper spray on the driver’s side front window, indicating that that the victim was still in her car rolling the window up as the other woman was spraying at her.

Both woman completed a written statement of the incident, and the officer filled out a victim’s form for the victim, who stated that she did want to press charges.

Piedmont Tech Service Awards

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Awards for service to Piedmont Technical College totaling 390 years were presented at a recent luncheon. Recipients and their individual service totals are, front from left, Charles Dixon (20); and Kevin Moore (20). Second, Lynn Mack (40); Sherry Holmes (20); Melanie Cochran (10); Beth Moore (10); Tamatha Sells (20); Dr. Dale Smoak (30); Dr. Sung Kim (20); John Edwards (10); Claudia Edwards (10); and Travis Bouknight (10). Back, Ben Higgins (10); Phil Wheeler (10); Sheryl Maffett (10); Lisa Toland (20); Gail Carruth (10); Michelle Liggett (10); Beverly Burton (30); Michael Rhinehart (10); and Dr. Ray Brooks, president of PTC. Not pictured are Dianne Gortney (30); Doug Massey (10); Eric Fisher (10); and Marc Renwick (10). The group represents every sector of the institution, including faculty and staff.