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.



Alleged Break In in Clinton

Wednesday afternoon just before 1pm, Sgt. Wicker of the Clinton Department of Public Safety responded to a report of burglary. Upon arrival, he spoke with the female complainant, who stated that she had left her residence the previous day and returned later to find that her side door was open and some of her property stolen. She claimed to be missing a 36” Samsung TV, a 32” Roku TV, a 19” Vizio Tv, and a Playstation 3 and its controllers. She stated that a pillow case was misplaced and was laying in her floor; inside the pillow case were PS3 games, a controller, and various jewelry. She also claimed that in her bedroom were two plastic spoons, an orange t-shirt, and three Cigarette butts that did not belong to her. Officer Wicker collected these items for evidence and dusted the residence for fingerprints. The officer advised the woman that this situation would be investigated further. The monetary value for stolen items was $600. The case remains active.



Relay For Life Saturday at Laurens 55 High School

Don’t forget the American Cancer Society Laurens County Relay For Life is tomorrow, Saturday at the Laurens District 55 High School football stadium from 4-10pm. Go out and support the great teams there like PRTC, LCWSC, Founders FCU, Laurel Hill Baptist, Duncan Creek Baptist, White Plains Baptist, Springfield Baptist, Mount Zion Baptist, School District 55, Walmart Distribution, Renfro, Ceramtec, and many more.

Meat Product Recall That Affects South Carolina

Marcho Farms, Inc., a Souderton, Pa. establishment, is recalling approximately 5,620 pounds of boneless veal, and ground veal, beef and pork products that may be adulterated withnon-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O111, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The veal, beef and pork products were produced on April 11 and April 14, 2017. The following products are subject to recall:

  • 60-lb.cases of “VEAL BONELESS TRIMMINGS HALAL” with case code “5398” and “MANFU. DATE” of “04/11/2017.”
  • 60-lb. cases of “VEAL TRIMMINGS USDA CHOICE” with case code “98” and “MANFU. DATE” of “04/11/17.”
  • 9-lb. cases of “VEAL, BEEF, PORK GROUND FOR MEATLOAF” with case code “3122” and “Sell By” date “05/05/17.”
  • 10-lb. cases of “VEAL, BEEF, PORK GROUND FOR MEATLOAF BULK PACK” with case code “3125.”

These items were distributed to retail stores and food service locations in Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.

FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers.

Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

Drug And Alcohol Charges Alleged Against Laurens Woman

26 year old Lakella Shari Robinson of 255 East Main Street #7 Laurens was booked Wednesday into the Johnson Detention Center by the Laurens Police Department ticketed for possession of drug paraphernalia, for transporting alcohol in a motor vehicle, and open container. She was also charged with possession of cocaine. The warrant alleges that she did commit the crime of possession of crack cocaine, did knowingly and willfully possess approximately less than one gram of a cocaine based substance which did field test positive as cocaine. The incident occurring on West Farley within the city limits of Laurens during a lawful traffic stop. She remains in the detention center on $11,014 bond as of this posting.

Clinton Man Booked For Alleged Assault

Deshavione Marquez Browning, age 26 of 123 Harolds Park Rd. Clinton was booked Wednesday into the Johnson Detention Center by the Sheriff’s Office charged with Assault and Battery 3rd degree.

The warrant alleges that upon investigation by the Sheriff’s Office on August 10th of 2016 Browning did knowingly commit battery upon a victim by striking the victim on the head. He remains in the detention center awaiting bond as of this posting.

Laurens PD Tickets Waterloo Man for Drugs

27 year old Randall Sherodrick Moore of 5312 Todd Quarter Rd Waterloo was booked by the Laurens Police Department Wednesday into the Johnson Detention Center ticketed for possession of drug paraphernalia and simple possession of marijuana. Moore remains in the detention center awaiting bond as of this post.

25th Annual United Way Golf Tournament is Friday

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Dont forget that tomorrow, Friday is the United Way of Laurens County Cinco De Mayo Golf Tournament at Lakeside Country Club. It’s the 25th anniversary of the United Way of Laurens County Golf Tournament. It’s Sponsored by The Greenville Health System, Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission, The Laurens Electric Co-op and PRTC.

Laurens High Coach named Region 2-AAAAA Coach of the Year

Coach Andrew Chavarria was recently named the Region 2-AAAAA Coach of the Year in Soccer. Chavarria took over the soccer program at Laurens District High School (LDHS) in 2016 and he has been working to increase the number of student-athletes participating in the program. According to Ed Murray, District Athletic Director, “Coach Chavarria has clearly generated increased interest in the program and we are working with him to provide the resources necessary to build a successful program.”

Chavarria has been playing soccer since he was 3 years old. Throughout his life he has competed at some of the highest levels of soccer in the country. Chavarria was a player for the South Carolina Olympic Development Program for 5 years, played on the Lexington County Soccer Club (LCSC) for 9 years where he was part of a state championship in 2007. The team also won the Region III Premier League and earned the right to compete in Regional and National tournaments.

In the fall of 2015, Chavarria took on his first teaching job working with the strings program at LDHS. Chavarria is proving to be as successful in the classroom as he is on the soccer field, with 2 of his students recently receiving superlative ratings. But, teaching did not quell Chavarria’s love for soccer. He initially volunteered to work with the varsity soccer team under Denis Balanta; but, he soon took over as the Raiders Head Coach. While victories were hard to come by in 2017, the Raiders showed marked improvement in their overall performance (especially on defense). This caught the attention of the other coaches in the region and led to Chavarria’s selection as Region Coach of the Year. Chavarria’s only comment was simply, “I am working to build a reputable program.”

First Auditions For “Laurens Sings” is this Saturday

Image courtesy Billy Dunlap & City of Laurens

The City of Laurens Parks and Recreation Department has announced a new singing competition to be held during the summer of 2017.

Laurens Sings will take the place of Laurens Idol, which entertained audiences for nine seasons. The competition is open to ages 8 and up.

Laurens Sings will include the top 15 finalists after auditions are completed. Auditions will be held on Saturday, May 6 at 10am and Thursday, May 11 at 6:30pm. All auditions will be held at The Ridge at Laurens.

All audition participants will be asked to sing a one-minute a cappella version of a song of their choice. Auditions are open to individuals, groups and bands. Judges will select 15 finalists for the Laurens Sings competition. The finalists will be announced on Monday, May 15.

Laurens Sings will offer participants a chance to sing each week during the three-week preliminaries beginning June 8. Preliminaries will be held on June 8, 15 and 22. The top 15 will perform each week and then online voting will be combined with judges voting to determine the rankings after each week of performances.

After each week of performances, the top 15 will be ranked 1 through 15. The No. 1 ranked performer after the June 8 and June 15 performances will receive $50. The No. 1 ranked performer after the June 22 performances will receive $100.


The top 15 will perform in the finale on June 29. The winner will be announced at the Riverfront Freedom Festival on July 3. The winner of Laurens Sings will receive $1,000.

Laurens Sings is sponsored by the Laurens Parks and Recreation Department and

More information on Laurens Sings is available from Laurens Recreation Director Jason Pridgen at 864-6817275

Piedmont Tech Holds 43rd Annual Student Awards

At Piedmont Technical College’s 43rd annual Student Awards and Recognition Program, president Dr. Ray Brooks applauded the achievements of more than 40 student leaders. The ceremony attracted students, faculty, staff, friends and family members.

The institution’s most prestigious honor, the President’s Award, went to Kenneth McDaniel of Whitmire, a building construction technology student. McDaniel was also named outstanding graduate in the engineering and industrial technologies division and in his curriculum.

Each academic division of the college honored its top graduate with the Distinguished Student Award. In addition to McDaniel, winners included Kathryn Kratz of Ware Shoals, business, information technologies and public service;

Outstanding graduates in each of the college’s academic programs also received special recognition.

Outstanding graduates in the business, information technologies and public service division included Katheryn Kratz, criminal justice; and Pamela Williams of Donalds, early care and education.

In the engineering and industrial technologies division, winners included Ashley Shepheard of Laurens, horticulture; Taylor Barnett of Hodges, machine tool technology; Thomas Whelan of Ware Shoals, mechanical engineering technology; and Dillon Qualls of Waterloo, mechatronics technology

Outstanding graduates in the health science division included Erica Lewis of Kinards, pharmacy technician.


Chamber of Commerce Red Carpet Breakfast Coming Up

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The Laurens County Chamber of commerce invites Chamber members and business people in the community to purchase tickets for the May 12th Red Carpet Breakfast with keynote speaker Fred Cartwright. Tickets are $15 per person, or $100 for a reserved table of 8.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available.
There is limited seating so register now while space is still available!

Call Diane Wyatt at 833-2716 for more information.

South Carolina Teacher of the Year Announced

State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced last that the 2018 South Carolina Teacher of the Year is Erin Fox, an English teacher at Gaffney Senior High School in the Cherokee County School District.

“Erin truly embodies the qualities and characteristics of a great educator,” said Superintendent Spearman. “She is so deserving of this honor and I look forward to working with her over the next year to continue to lift up the teaching profession and empower educators across our state.”

Fox pulls from her dramatic, dance and musical background to create dynamic lessons and units for her students.  In her roles as a teacher and cross country coach, she ensures that her students are challenged everyday.   As part of the state Teacher of the Year awards program, Fox receives $25,000 and gets to drive a brand new BMW for one year.

The Teacher of the Year program celebrates excellence and strengthens the teaching force by honoring and recognizing exceptional teachers on a district, state, and national level.. These awards not only assist in retention efforts but serve as a powerful recruitment tool.

Graduation Ceremony Held at Johnson Detention Center

The second Laurens County Adult Education Graduation Ceremony at the Johnson Detention Center was held yesterday, Monday afternoon.Dr. R. Joseph Makla, Director of Adult Education, presented the graduate, Aaron Devain Brown his high school G.E.D certificate, and told those in attendance, that the graduate also earned a silver cord, which represented his silver WorkKeys Career Readiness achievement.After the invocation and the pledge, opening remarks were given by Captain Kathy Tucker, who quoted a line for the movie, “The Blind Side,” where Michael Oher said, “Don’t ever allow yourself to feel trapped by your choices, and that you are a unique person created for a specific purpose, and you matter.”Special thanks were given to Janet Thompson, the classroom teacher, Sheriff Don Reynolds, Sergeant Scott Weeks and the staff at the detention center who made this graduation happen, and Jostens for their generous donation of the cap and gown. We salute this young man for furthering his education and preparing for his future.