Special County Council District 3 Election Underway

A special election is now underway in Laurens County Council, District 3, to select someone to finish the current unexpired term of the late Councilman Ed McDaniel. The candidates, selected last month in special primaries, are Republican Dianne Belsom and Democrat Garrett McDaniel.

Precincts open for the special election today are Laurens City precincts 1 thru 6, Bailey, Trinity Ridge, Barksdale-Narnie, Maddens, Owings and Gray Court. Only District 3 registered votes in these precincts are eligible to vote.

These polls are open until 7:00 this evening. WLBG will be broadcasting election results from the Historic County Courthouse this evening.

That’s My Husband!

Clinton Public Safety Officers were dispatched to the House of Pizza on Musgrove Street at 6:53 last evening on a report of an altercation between two women. One woman had reportedly entered the restaurant and observed another woman eating with her husband, then allegedly grabbed her by the hair and assaulted her. The victim reportedly had abrasions to her neck and leg. 32-year-old Natalie Michelle Cogsdill of 306 Beauregard Street, Clinton was arrested on a charge of Assault and Battery 3rd Degree. She was being held in City Jail overnight, pending arraignment this morning.

Fatal Accident US 76

According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the accident occurring at 8:48am on US 76 just east of Laurens near Lakeside Country Club has resulted in a fatality.

Stay tuned to REAL Radio 860 WLBG and wlbg.com for further details as they become available.

Distinguished Graduate

Laurens County Deputy Sheriff Tyler L. Hunter, center in this picture, graduated with honors last Friday, October 31st, from the Basic Law Enforcement Class at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Deputy Hunter was one of only two in the class of 62 to graduate with honors.

Man Charged with Fraudulent Use of Another’s Money

The Sheriff’s Office yesterday charged 49-year-old Charles Randall Driggers of 3071 Torrington Road, Laurens with Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent. He’s accused of receiving between $2,000 and $10,000 in trust between July 7th and August 8th and of using the money for himself with intent to deprive the victim. Charles Randall Driggers was released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.

Historic Grist Mill Coming to Laurens

A Grist Mill that’s well over 100 years old is going to be moved into the City of Laurens. Phil Adair, Chairman of the Laurens County Museum Board, informed the Laurens Rotary Club yesterday that the family that owns the property at Ekom Beach on the Reedy River has offered to donate the mill to the Museum. He said it still has all the internal workings from the late 1800s. The Museum is looking for an appropriate setting in the City of Laurens to serve as the new home for the historic structure.

Sports Report for Thursday, 7-24-2014

Local Notes:

Interviews with Coaches Scott King and Chris Liner… Back on Tuesday morning, Laurens hosted a 7 on 7 passing competition that involved several schools… Clinton was one of the teams present at that completion… That will be the last 7 on 7 competition for both Laurens and Clinton this summer… After the completion was over, we caught up with both head coaches and had a short interview with them about how they thought the competitions went this summer, who stood out at them and about what lies ahead in the next 10 days or so as they get ready for the first day of fall practice… Below are those interviews.


Big League World Series: SC 5 – Southwest 1… The last few days I have been mentioning to you that the Little League Big League World Series was starting last night in Easley and that 3 LDHS current of former baseball players (Cody Smiley, Grayson Bailes, and Thomas Jones) had made the roster for the host SC Dist. 1 team… Well good news as the SC team took a 5-1 win over the southwest team and two Raiders made the starting lineup… They were Cody Smiley at third and Grayson Bailes at shortstop… Cody Smiley actually scored the first run for the host team in the bottom of the 4th inning when he led off and “took one” for the team being hit by a pitch… He later scored the first of two runs in the inning… SC would score 3 more runs in the bottom of the 4th and Grayson Bailes had a key sacrifice bunt in the inning to move the first runner into scoring position… Also in the 4th inning, Cody Smiley was robbed of at least a double down the right field line as the Southwest right fielder made a great diving catch just inside the foul line…. While Smiley went 0-2 scoring a run and Bailes went 0-1… Emerald’s Sheldon Reed and Easley’s Brandon Hood led the host team both going 2-3… TL Hannah’s Adam Hill got the start and picked up the win going 6 innings giving up no runs on 4 hits while striking out 7 and walking only 1…. The SC team will have today off and be back in action Friday night at 7:30 as they face a team from the Central Region of the U.S… Click on the following for more game statistics: 7-24-14-BLWS-SCD1-SW


Braves: Braves 6 – Marlins 1… The Braves and marlins hooked up in game 3 of their 4-game series in Atlanta last night and after losing 2 straight to the Marlins the Braves put one in the win column s they took a 6-1 win over The Fish… The Braves went up 1-0 in the first then pretty much put the game out of reach as they scored 4 runs in the second inning… The big blow in the 2nd came off the bat of Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman who hit his 14th homer of the year a 3-run shot… BJ Upton and Jason Hayward each got 2 of the Braves 8 hits..


Greenville Drive: Drive 9 – BlueClaws 2… The Greenville Drive started a week long road trip yesterday and their first stop is in Lakewood, NJ where they took on the BlueClaws… Good news for Drive fans as they snapped a 7-game losing streak by taking a 9-2 win over The Claws… Greenville trailed 2-1 going into the top of the 8th inning when they struck for 3 runs and added 5 more in the 9th to take the win… The Drive got only 9 hits to the BlueClaws 5 but were the recipient of 5 walks and a Claw error…


Countdown to Start of Football Season: Hang on football fans it’s only 29 days until Clinton opens up its football season at AC Flora, 35 days until PC opens up at Northern Illinois and 36 days until Laurens host BHP in the start of the Chris Liner era at LDHS.


Carolina Panthers… The Carolina Panthers Fan Fest will be tomorrow night, July 25, when the Carolina Panthers conduct their first preseason practice at newly renovated Bank of America Stadium to kick off the franchise’s 20th season…Admission is free, and all fans will receive a 2014 team roster photo card with a 2014 schedule… Then on Saturday the pre-season training camp opens in Spartanburg at Wofford College… Click on the following link for the practice schedule at Wofford and special happenings on certain days of spring training: Panthers Training Camp Schedule.


Upcoming Summer Camps – Clinton & Laurens YMCA, City of Laurens Parks & Recreation and PC

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Sports Report for Friday, 7-18-2014

Local All-Star Baseball Action… Two Clinton area Dixie Youth All-Star teams will be in action tomorrow morning down in Florence.

  • 11-12… The Clinton 11-12 All-Star team starts their day off bright and early at 9:30 as they take on Lake Marion… According to Coach Mike Riser the strengths of his team are pitching and defense… Team members are William Riser, A.J. Gregory, Neil Spelts, Bryant Cantrell, Jack Carrol, Nick Perkins, Michael Cothran, Z.Z Dobbins, Bronson Butler, Alex Tollison, Chandler Rhodes, and Ike Waldren…. Click on the following link for the teams tournament bracket: DY Majors-bracket_2014
  • 10-Under…. The Clinton 10-Under All-Star team will start their day off at 11:00 as they face off against a team from Lancaster… This team has made it to the state with a core group of players who won the state tournament last year in coaches pitch… The team also features a strong pitching staff and tight defense which will be needed in this multi day tournament if Clinton is to win it all…. The Team members are Davis Wilson, Davison Pitts, Austin Copeland, Wil Stewart, Wyatt McWatters, K.J. Adams, Collin Stewart, Luke White, R.T. Corley, Blake barker, Zach Foreman and their Head Coach is Matt Stewart… Click on the following for their tournament bracket: DY AAA-bracket 2014
  • Tournament Address… The tournaments are being held at the Freedom Florence Complex which is located off of Pamplico Highway, at 1515 Freedom Boulevard, Florence, South Carolina 29505…. Good luck to both teams!


New 9-Under Baseball Team Forming… A new 9-under travel baseball team is forming in the area and they are having try-outs on Sunday, August 3 at Laurens City Park – Field 1… A potential player cannot turn 10 before May 1, 2015… If you would like more information click on the following link: New 9U Travel Team Information


SEC Media Predictions: Well the SEC Media Days wound up yesterday and the media voted on the All-SEC Team and predicted the order of finish in the SEC.

  • All-SEC Team… Unlike previous years, South Carolina did not have a single player make the All-SEC First Team either on offense or defense… There were 3 who made the Second-Team Offense from SC and they were RB Mike Davis, OL A.J. Cann and OL Corey Robinson…. The only other player to show up on the any All-SEC team was DB Brison Williams who made Third Team Defense.
  • Order of Finish… In the SEC West, the media pundits predicted Alabama to finish 1st and Alabama 2nd… In the SEC East the Gamecocks got the nod edging out Georgia who polled 2nd… As far as taking the SEC Championship, Alabama polled 1st, Auburn 2nd and South Carolina 3rd.
  • Link… If you would like to see the complete list of the All-Sec Team members and more details on the predicted finish of each school, click on the following link: Complete 2014 SEC Media Pre-Season Polls.


Braves: The Braves had the night off last night and will crank things back up tonight as the all-star break end.. They will start am 11 day home stand and the first team in will be the Phillies.

Greenville Drive: Braves 6 – Drive 4… The Greenville Drive completed their 3-gane series last night against the Rome Braves down in Georgia and as you may recall, each team had won a game so this as the rubber game of the match… The Braves jumped out to an early 5 -0 lead and then went on to take a 6-4 win over the Drive.. Lack of offense again was the problem as the Drive collected only 6 hits…. The Drive return home tonight as they play host to the Ashville Tourist in game 1 of a 4-game series.


Countdown to Start of Football Season: Hang on football fans it’s only 35 days until Clinton opens up its football season at AC Flora, 41 days until PC opens up at Northern Illinois and 42 days until Laurens host BHP in the start of the Chris Liner era at LDHS.


Upcoming Summer Camps – Clinton & Laurens YMCA, City of Laurens Parks & Recreation and PC

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Florida Senator to Speak for Congressman Duncan

South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan announced Wednesday that Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) will be the keynote speaker at his annual Faith & Freedom BBQ held on August 25th at the Anderson Civic Center. Duncan, a two-term Congressman from Laurens is holding the event for the fourth year. Previous speakers have included Senators Jim DeMint, Tim Scott, Rand Paul, and former SCGOP Chairman Chad Connelly. Jeff Duncan said “I’m honored to have a solid conservative like Senator Rubio come to South Carolina to headline this event.” He added “Senator Rubio shares South Carolina’s values of limited government and individual liberty, and I’m looking forward to having him visit our state.”

Saturday Afternoon Domestic Arrest

Laurens Police were dispatched to Downs Street at 1:52 Saturday afternoon about a domestic altercation. On arrival a man told officers that everything was all right, and that he and his live-in girlfriend had been arguing. The argument reportedly began when he began fussing at her for not washing his clothes. The woman reportedly indicated he had pushed her in the chest, and Officer Craven reported observing redness to her. The man said she had sprayed him with Clorox bleach, but there was no discoloration of his clothing to substantiate that. 57-year-old James Henry Gallman of 112 Downs Street, also known as “Mumbles,” was arrested on a Criminal Domestic Violence charge and delivered to the Johnson Detention Center.

Stolen Pistols at 2 Waterloo Locations

The Sheriff’s Office received two reports of stolen pistols from the Lake Greenwood area near Waterloo yesterday. Deputy Steve Paterson was dispatched to Ridgewood Drive just before noon where he met a man who had put his Smith & Wesson 9 mm Police Special on a top shelf to keep it out of the reach of children. Now the $400 value pistol is missing. Deputy Paterson was dispatched to Ruth Walker Road at 3:35 yesterday afternoon and a man reported he had his Taurus 9 mm pistol in his truck and when he looked for it yesterday, it was gone. He said it had been there the day before. It was valued at $300.

Don’t Blame the Dog!

Evidence surfaced yesterday in connection with a Burglary reported last Friday. The owner of property on Miller Road, Waterloo reported he was at the property he owns mowing the lawn Friday morning and discovered a bedroom window broken. Glass was nearby on the ground and a file cabinet in the bedroom where the window was broken had been tampered with. $400 in damage from the Burglary was reported over the weekend. Yesterday, the Sheriff’s Office added 72 pictures from a game camera at the scene of the burglary that shows a female and a male subject and a brown and white dog on the property.

Marijuana Seized at Robbery Site

The Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a report of a robbery at a residence on Lakeview Road outside Laurens and 3:01 yesterday morning. One woman said her roommate, another woman, had been robbed at gunpoint. When Deputy Timothy Byrd arrived he noted neither resident was at home. He checked the area but did not locate an intruder. Both woman then arrived in the same vehicle. One of the women said she was in the residence with a male friend and she went to bed around 10 pm, while the friend was in the living room and later fell asleep there. She continued to say that a man with a gun woke her, asking where the money was. She said he made her open her night stand where she kept a purple Crown Royal bag that contained coins. She said he then had her walk to the living room while he pointed the gun at her and the friend was lying on the floor. She said that as the robber was occupied with the friend she ran from the trailer. At that time her roommate pulled into the yard, having returned home from work. The intruder then reportedly fled on foot. In talking with the roommate, she reportedly indicated she drove up and observed the male subject running toward Lakeview while holding a gun. She said she had seen a Chrysler 300 parked on Lakeview. Meanwhile, investigators on the scene reported observing the strong smell of marijuana in the residence, and located marijuana, which was seized. A report notes 5.8 grams of marijuana was located in the residence. A mobile phone, $33.68 in coins and other items including an x-box and a Dell laptop were taken; with total value of $1,493. The phone and coins, valued at $333, were recovered. The alleged intruder was described as a black male wearing a dark-colored hoodie.

Gray Court Reschdules Easter Egg Hunt

   The Gray Court Easter Egg Hunt that was rained out last Saturday has been rescheudled for this Wednesday, April 23rd.  Mayor John Carter informed WLBG News Monday morning that the Easter Egg Hunt will be held in Centennial Park on Main Street, Up from the Post Office, Wednesday evening starting at 6 pm. The event is open for children from 2 to 10 years old.

Sheriff’s Office Makes Domestic Arrest

    The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office booked a Clinton man Saturday from an alleged domestic assault Friday. 44-year-old Calvin Lavern Dowdy Jr. of 102 College Park Drive, Clinton was charged with Criminal Domestic Violence. A warrant citing his address on Peachtree Street, Clinton states that on April 18th Mr. Dendy caused physical harm or injury under circumstances that reasonably created fear of imminent peril to the victim. A surety bond was set at $2,150. Calvin Dendy Jr. remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Man Charged with Tuesday Assault

    A Laurens man has been charged with an assault from Tuesday, after reportedly turning himself in Wednesday evening. 20-year-old Jonathan Eugene Merchant of 1154 Woodberry Drive, Laurens was charged with Assault and Battery 3rd Degree, accused of assaulting another man April 15th by striking him in the head with this fist. Merchant was released yesterday on posting a $1,092 surety bond.

Anusa Z. Betsill

Anusa Z. Betsill, 34, died Monday, April 14, 2014. Born March 5, 1980 in Germany, she was the daughter of the late MSGT James and Betty Betsill. Mrs. Betsill was employed with the Dougherty County School System and a Marketing Education Teacher.

She leaves to cherish her loving memories her siblings Asher (Deswarn) Manuel of Albany, GA and James E. Betsill, Jr. of Columbus, GA; niece, Amari and devoted friend Schvon (Yvette) Bussey of Leesburg, GA and a host of uncles and aunts.
Graveside services will be held 2:00 PM Saturday, April 19, 2014 at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church Cemetery, Cross Keys, SC. Public viewing will be held to 2:00 to 7:00 PM Friday at the W. J. Gist Memorial Chapel, Woodruff, SC.
An online guest registry is available at
W. J. Gist Mortuary
Woodruff, SC

Raymond Rogerdale “Darrell” Weathers

Raymond Rogerdale “Darrell” Weathers, 69, of 315 Southview Dr. and husband of Janice Brown Weathers, passed away Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at Greenville Memorial Hospital.

Born in Gray Court, he was the son of the late Charles Raymond and Fannie Grace Ross Weathers.  A retired SC National Guard veteran, Mr. Weathers was a member of Second Baptist Church, where he was a former deacon, sound technician, and member of the Knights of the King Sunday School Class.  Mr. Weathers was a faithful volunteer with the Laurens City Fire Department for 38 years and coordinated the tractor show and “farm days” for Squealin on the Square.  He was a devoted husband, loving father, and Papa.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by:  daughters, Julie Weathers Wideman and husband Jeff and Joy Weathers Driggers and husband Phillip all of Greenwood, sister, Edwina Weathers DuPre and husband Jack of Rock Hill; mother-in-law, Mildred Brown of Laurens; brother-in-law, Steve Hinton of Gray Court; and grandchildren, Savannah Wideman, Anna Grace Cox, and Noah Driggers.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a sister Joyce Weathers Hinton and father-in-law, Robert Lewis Brown.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am, Friday, April 11, 2014, at Second Baptist Church, conducted by the Rev. J.D. Shiflet with burial in Forest Lawn Cemetery, with Fireman Honors.

The family will be at the home and will receive friends at The Kennedy Mortuary on Thursday, April 10, from 6:30-8:30 pm.

Memorials may be made to Second Baptist Church, 416 Fleming St., Laurens, SC 29360; or to the Laurens City Fire Department, 411 Mill St.., Laurens, SC 29360.

Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.thekennedymortuary.com.

Laurens Considers Building a Civic Center

   Laurens City Council is considering building a Civic Center. That news surfaced yesterday during a budget workshop. Mayor Sharon Brownlee said discussions include having multiple uses for the facility, including a gym for sports and rooms that could be used for meetings and receptions. She said that the city’s bond attorney indicates the $2.2 million project could be funded without any new taxes because a previous bond for the Sun Trust building is about to be paid off. Other costs could be paid with hospitality tax revenue. Brownlee said the ideas discussed suggest the city will contract with a “Design & Build” firm to oversee the project, both in design and construction, to have a reliable cost estimate going in. A possible location for the proposed civic center would be on a 90-acre tract of land the city owns on Exchange Drive, near City Park. Mayor Brownlee said a hilltop on that property is part of the area where the city is having trees harvested. She expects the concept of a Laurens Civic Center to come up for a first vote at next week’s City Council meeting.


Raider Tuesday Baseball Games Postponed

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The Laurens Raider baseball game at Hillcrest scheduled for today has been postponed
until tomorrow. The Raiders will play a JV/varsity doubleheader starting at 5:00.
As a result, the JV game vs. Clinton scheduled for tomorrow at LDHS will be rescheduled.