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.

Major Grant to Help Prepare Students for Work

   District 56 and 55 officials were joined by representatives from Piedmont Tech, Upper Savannah plus Laurens County and City governments and others yesterday afternoon to announce that a Federal Department of Labor grant of over $6.8 million to fund a Youth Career Connect Program in South Carolina. District 56 Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields said a Department of Labor and Education grant was announced yesterday for the Carolina Alliance for Technology and will be used in Laurens and Clinton High Schools from Districts 55 and 56 and at two High Schools in Richland County District 2.

 “The goals of this program are to boost computer science and engineering, to earn post-secondary credits while in High School, to provide academic counseling, educational course work, mentorships and apprenticeships for our students, and to better prepare our students for college and for careers, but most importantly for life in a demanding and ever-changing workforce.”

     The money will be matched over the next four years, not with local dollars but by local school and industrial involvement to prepare students for jobs of the future. 

     District 55 Superintendent Billy Strickland said with the news of the Grant yesterday, the rainy day became a great day in Laurens County.  “I think this is exciting for Laurens County. Not only from the education side of it, from industry, county government and the economic development. And it’s fitting that we are here at the Chamber because I think it pulls all the groups together.”

    The Obama Administration yesterday announced a total of 24 programs across the country that will share $107 million as part of a high school redesign competition for improving integration of real-world experiences into the classroom. In addition to the  Laurens 56 and 56 and Richland 2 partnership, other winners in the $7 million range were New York City, Los Angeles, Denver, Pike Township of Indianapolis and Prince George’s County in Maryland. 275 groups applied for the 24 Department of Labor grants announced yesterday.

   In addition to Clinton and Laurens High Schools, the Carolina Coalition will fund these new services in Ridgeview and Westwood High Schools in Richland County School District 2. 

   At yesterday’s news conference at the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce,  District 55 Superintendent Dr. Billy Strickland said the news marks an exciting day for our area. He said that work-based learning experiences will be fostered by strong partnerships through companies like ZF Transmissions, Bosch Rexroth, Laurens County Government, SCANNA, Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, Intel and Moore Center for Orthopedics. He said these and others will allow students to participate in field trips, job shadowing, leadership, field experiences and mentoring. Strickland said an important part of the grant is providing partnership with employees to create a path for students to industries and occupations. “Apprenticeship Carolina will work with employers in both regions to find and create registered apprenticeships matching employers with students. And that is what we’re all about. We are excited about getting this process in High Schools and going on to Technical Schools – Piedmont Tech and also Midlands Tech for the Richland 2 area – is an exciting time for them to make this happen for our young people.”

   District 56 Superintendent  Dr. David O’Shields said of 24 national grants that were announced yesterday in this program, the grant announced for the consortium between Districts 55, 56 and Richland 2 was one of the 6th largest.

   O’Shields said “Students today need deeper knowledge and an expanded skill set to prepare them for college and the jobs of the future. These grants will expose and engage our students with much more hands-on, relevant academic opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.”

  Dr. O’Shields and Dr. Cynthia Pitts of the Upper Savannah Regional Education Center  were on the actual grant writing team. She said they had to select specific areas of study to be enhanced with this program, “…and we’re going to be doing computer technology and we’re also going to be doing engineering.

     Superintendent O’Shields told WLBG preparations will be made the rest of this school year to be ready to start the program with the next school year. The grant funds the program for four years.

Metal Stolen near I-26

   Sheriff’s Corporal Christy Johnson was dispatched to Frontage Road near Joanna at 9:07 yesterday morning on a report of stolen metals. A man said that several piles of metal posts were taken from his vacant lot. Someone had used some kind of torch to cut the pipes in order to move them. In the process, they had apparently set the grass on fire. The theft is believed to have occurred between 8 and 8:30 Sunday night.

Pay the Bills!

     Clinton Public Safety was dispatched just after 8 last night on an incident between a man and woman who live in the same house. The woman told of concern about handling money. She noted an incident last week when she gave the man money to pay the electric bill, but the electricity was turned off. She said he then had the power restored. Last night, there was more argument about the same type issue when the man reportedly threw a soda can that broke a window in her house. She wants him to pay for the window repair. Meanwhile, she was going to talk with her landlord about having the man evicted.

Identity Pending on Human Remains Found Near Clinton

    Human remains were found outside Clinton yesterday afternoon on property owned by the City of Clinton. A man with a timber company was surveying the area around the old Clinton sewer pond north of town to prepare for harvesting trees when he reportedly stumbled over a bone. Clinton Public Safety Department Director Robin Morse estimated the discovery occurred around 2:30 in the afternoon. Clinton Public Safety has a shooting range and fire training facility on nearby property. The site is off Highway 308 between the city limits and Interstate 385.

   The Coroner, the Sheriff’s Office and SLED were called to the scene. SLED assisted local law enforcement with processing the scene.

     Laurens County Coroner Nick Nichols said that most of the skeletal remains of a person were located, including the skull. He was optimistic that the person’s identify could be determined through dental records. He said that a pathologist would conduct an examination of skeletal remains at 10:00 o’clock this morning.

Crimes Come in Twos – Twice

    Deputy Kenneth Sibley was dispatched to Wells Road in the Owings area at 7:35 yesterday morning on a report of a theft from a construction site. He was advised that sometime since 8:30 Sunday evening someone had removed several batteries from three separate grading machines that had been left on the site and nearby. The stolen batteries were estimated to be worth $1,410. Damage to the equipment in taking the batteries was estimated at $2,500. The equipment belongs to a Newberry business.

   While investigating the theft on Wells Road Deputy Sibley was made aware of an earlier theft from another nearby construction site. Another Newberry contractor reported that between March 9th and 10th someone had taken a bundle of plastic pipes his company is installing around the Owings Industrial Park. The bundle of some 520 feet of 6-inch plastic pipe was valued at $2,500.  

 

  In another case involving two nearby crime scenes, the Sheriff’s Office was dispatched at 8:57 yesterday morning to an unoccupied residence on Brown Road, southeast of Laurens. A side door was discovered forced open when a brother of the owner visited yesterday morning. A crow bar had been used to force open a lock. Items in the house had been piled onto the floor,

   Deputy Jeremy McMahan learned that another, nearby unoccupied residence had also been broken into. A back door was broken into at this house and someone had rambled through the house.

Senator Scott Wants Parental Choice Maintained

     U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina yesterday introduced an amendment to maximize parental choice in child care, noting the intent to nullify attempts by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to limit the options parents and states have in regards to Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds. The amendment would revise the CCDBG Act of 2014 (S. 1086), which is scheduled to come to the floor of the Senate this week.

   Senator Scott’s amendment would clarify that the CCDBG Act does not favor or promote the use of grants or contracts over the use of child care certificates or vouchers, nor does it adversely impact the use of certificates in faith-based or other settings. The most recent HHS data, from 2011, shows that South Carolina uses only certificates to supply care to families in South Carolina under the CCDBG program.

   Scott said “We have seen that this administration’s preference for limiting individual choice, be it in education, health care and now child care, simply is not the best path forward for American families” Senator Scott added “With HHS’ proposed rule to limit parental choice in child care as well as flexibility available to states, this amendment was necessary to ensure parents keep the options they have today in regards to caring for a most important part of their lives – their kids.”

   States currently have the flexibility to provide for the payment of child care services through certificates, grants or contracts, and nationally 90 percent are awarded as vouchers. However, HHS has proposed a rule to increase the use of grants and contracts over certificates, limiting parental choice in child care.

Theft at Home Discovered After Jail Release

 Laurens Police were dispatched to Laurens Terrace at 9:06 last night on a theft report. A woman said she was arrested earlier in the day, and after returning home following release she discovered her Playstation 4 and Nintendo Wii were missing. Her boyfriend was also at the residence, and stated he left around 1:30 pm to go obtain money and make bond for the girlfriend. They returned home together to discover the theft of the items, valued at $600.

Sports Report for Wednesday, 3-12-2014

Local Sports Results:

CHS:

  • CHS 4 – Chapman 3… The JV baseball team at Clinton had their first home game last night and it took them 8 innings to do it but they defeated the Chapman Panthers 4-3… Coach Mike Turner said he his team competed well last night that was a great game played by both teams… For the Red Devils, Brayden Gibbs went 2-4, Tyler Kelly 2-5 and Tristan Smaltz 2-3… Smaltz was the starting pitcher going 5⅓ innings but Gibbs picked up the win in relief…. The team will be back in action tonight as they host Woodruff at 6:00 pm.
  •  Update on CHS softball win over Whitmire Monday… Yesterday I told you that the CHS softball team took a 14-6 win over Whitmire at home on Monday but that I did not have any details on the game… Well I do now… On offense the team had 12 hits and was led by Brittany Templeton who went 3 for 4 with a walk and Brittany Wright who went 3 for 5 with a homer and 5 RBIs… Jessica Wood pitched 4 innings getting the win while giving up only 2 hits while striking out 9 & walking 3… Kayleigh Pitts also saw pitching duty and giving up 3 hits while walking 4 and struck out 2… The Lady Red Devils will travel to Whitmire today for a JV / Varsity rematch starting at 5:00 / 7:00.

 

LDHS:

  • SB: LDHS 10 – GHS 7… The Lady Raider softball team opened their season at home last night and they took a 10-7 win over the Lady Eagles of Greenwood… Laurens had an 8-0 lead going into the 5th inning when Greenwood managed to get their first run… The Raiders then led 10-1 going into the top of the 7th inning but the Greenwood bats suddenly came alive and that coupled with a couple of Raider miscues allowed them to put 6 runs on the board before Laurens finally got the third out to end the game 10-7…Maria Williamson led the Raiders on offense going 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs… Tara Bond went 2 for 3 and Elizabeth Carman 2 for 2 with a homerun… Allison Foreback picked up the complete game win giving up 13 hits while striking out 7 and walking none…. Click on the following for more game statistics: 14-3-11_SB_LDHS-Gwd_stats      Click on the following for the game scorecard. 14-3-11_SB_LDHS-Gwd_scorecard
  • JV SB: Laurens 16 – Greenwood 0
  • BB: LDHS 4 – Greenwood 3… The baseball team also faced Greenwood last night but it was down in Greenwood… Good news here as the Raiders took a 4-3 win in their first region game…. The Raiders had 4 players collecting multiple hits on the night… They were Thomas Jones 3-4 with a double, Grayson Bailes 2-2 with an RBI, Hammer walker 2-4 and Cody Smiley 2-3 with a double and an RBI… Tanner Adair picked up the win going 4⅔ innings with Kevin Dean finished the game in relieve and picked up his 2nd save of the season…. The Raiders will host Hillcrest Friday night at Ed Prescott Field
  • JV BB: Laurens 6 – Greenwood 0…  In the JV game before the varsity, the Raiders took a 6-0 win over the Eagles… Morgan French, Cade Patterson & Nick Powell all collected key hits for the Raiders… Kendevron Stenhouse picked up the win pitching 5 innings and allowed just 2 hits… Matt Holcombe allowed no hits in 1 inning of relief… They also will face Hillcrest Friday afternoon

 

Laurens Academy:

  • BB: Crusaders 5 – Anderson 4 in 8 innings… The Laurens Academy Crusaders’ Josh Urwick executed a suicide squeeze in the 8th inning scoring Ryan Holmes to give the Crusaders a 5-4 win over Anderson Home School… Urwick had 2 hits and 2 RBIs for LA… Caleb Greene picked up the win pitching the last 3⅓ innings in relief giving up a run on 2 hits while striking out 6 & walking 3.

     

Local Sports Schedule:

CHS: [Read more…]

Cocaine & Marijuana Seized from Traffic Stop

   Clinton Public Safety Officer Stephen Lawton reported he was performing routine patrol on West Main Street at 2:23 Monday morning when he observed a vehicle make a left turn onto Elizabeth without signaling. He followed and made a traffic stop on Oakland Street. Officer Lawton reported that on approaching the car he could detect a strong smell of marijuana, and called for backup. A front right seat passenger was taken into investigative custody after he was observed keeping his hand in his pocket. A baggie containing marijuana was reportedly found on his person. A baggie of cocaine was reportedly located on the ground near the car. Checking video from Officer Lawton and Lt. Cathy Anderson’s car, they observed it being thrown from the car. The passenger, 24-year-old Lamarcus Rashadd Westfield of 100 Dial Street, Laurens, was jailed on a ticket charging Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and warrants were obtained for additional charges yesterday. Westfield was then charged with Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute and with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute.

  Public Safety reported seizing 208.18 grams of marijuana and 8.07 grams of cocaine. $342 cash and a set of electric scales were also seized. Westfield was placed in the JohnsonDetentionCenter, and released later yesterday after posting Surety Bonds totaling $25,000.

Danger: Tree Falling

   Downtown Clinton is loosing its “Town Oak Tree” that has stood near the intersection of Broad and Main for many years. City Manager Frank Stovall reports a large limb fell from the tree Friday, February 21st, damaging the Depot building. He said city personnel with advanced training in tree car noted other structural defects in the tree. He noted special care has been taken of the tree over the past ten years, but increasing decay and structural defects led to calling in a certified professional tree expert. The ISA Certified Arborist determined the tree was in imminent danger of loosing a large, heavy portion, which could result in injury to pedestrians and people in passing cars on Main and Broad.

   Specially trained personnel from the Department of Public Works Electric Distribution Division were to begin the removal of the tree Friday afternoon. Removal was expected to take several days as it must be done in a very careful and coordinated manner to prevent a structural collapse from occurring during the removal, jeopardizing the safety of city employees.

  Last Friday, City Manager Frank Stovall noted “While it saddens the Mayor, Council, and staff of the City of Clinton to lose this beautiful part of our downtown, we must place the lives of our citizens first and foremost, and it is out of a desire to ensure the safety of the public that this decision to remove the tree was made.” The Public is encouraged to maintain their distance from the tree until the area is safe.

   The City intends to conduct an appropriate ceremony to replace the tree during the next Arbor Day Celebration.

$8.6 Million County Surplus

    Laurens County Government finished the past fiscal year with a surplus of $8.6 million, according to an audit reviewed at this week’s County Council meeting. The report by Davis, McNeish and Cooke gave the county a clean audit. 

   County Council Chairman Jim Coleman said “With an $8.6 million surplus, we are very strong, and that is a compliment to council and staff. Thank you to all.”

    Councilman Joe Wood asked about long-term debt capabilities. County Administrator Ernie Segars replied that the county could borrow up to three million dollars for the county and general fund, and that should county need to borrow more state law requires that would require the county to have a referendum to get approval from the voters.

    Jim Coleman also remarked that the county had been shortchanged a million dollars by the state not funding local governments to the statuary limit. He asked everyone to urge the state to increase funding in next year’s budget.

     Councilman Keith Tollison addressed the need to prepare for potential future financial concerns by saying “With the problems that cities like Detroit are having with the high costs of pensions, we will need to keep an eye on our county retirement employees.”

Sports Report for Tuesday, 2-25-2014

Local Sports Results:

CHS:

  • Lacrosse: Dorman 20 – CHS 0… This was the first game of the season for the lacrosse team…. They will be back in action today as they host Hillcrest at 5:30

 

LDHS:

  • Adair Signs with Newberry… On Friday 2-21-2014 Laurens District 55 High School senior Tanner Adair signed a letter of 85-cropintent to further his education and play football at Newberry College next season… Tanner is the son of Susan and Kevin Adair… During his senior season he played defensive end and recorded 51 first hits, 23 assists, 3 sacks and 13 quarterback hurries… After the end of his senior season of football Tanner was also selected to the All-Region I-AAAA Team… He was also selected by the Laurens County Touchdown Club to the All-County Defensive Team and as their County Player of the Year… He also participated in the 2013 North-South All-Star game in Myrtle Beach on 12-14-13… Congratulations to Tanner

 

College Baseball Notes:

  • Div. I Rankings… well the new baseball rankings are out and the one that is the most favorable to both Carolina and Clemson is the Baseball America Poll…  That poll has Virginia #1, Florida State #2 and South Carolina #3… Oregon State and Cal State Fullerton round out the top 5… NC State, LSU, Vanderbilt, Oregon and Louisiana-Lafayette round out the top 10… Clemson just missed the top 10 coming in at #11.
  • Clemson… The Clemson Tigers baseball team improved its record to 5-1 on the season with a 3 game sweep of the Maine Black Bears over the weekend… The final scores in those 3 contests were 5-2, 13-3 and 10-2… Today the Tigers will host the Presbyterian College Blue Hose in a 4:00 pm contest… Pc comes into the game with a 4-2-1 record.
  • South Carolina…  The SC Gamecocks had good weekend as they swept Eastern Kentucky 4-0, 2-0 & 6-0 in a 3 game series… The Gamecocks are now 7-0 on the season and have allowed only 6 runs in those 7 games… The Gamecocks next foe will be Clemson this weekend in their annual 3 game series.
  • PC… The Blue Hose baseball team went 2 for 3 this weekend as they were up in Spartanburg taking on 3 different teams… On Friday they defeated USC Upstate 5-1… Then on Saturday they defeated Fordham 9-3… Sunday they faced off against Wofford and came up on the short end of a 8-7 final score…. PC is now 4-2-1 and will travel to Clemson today for a 4:00 pm contest.  

Local Sports Schedule: [Read more…]