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Friday
Mar192010

Tour De La France to Expand for 2010; East-West Connector to Include Bike Lane

Labor Day 2010 will offer more options for riding into the Labor Day weekend while helping the Cancer Kathryn Smith is director of the Cancer Association of AndersonAssociation of Anderson. On Sept. 4, this year's "Tour De La France" will offer a variety of options for cyclists of all ages to participate.

The bike event is also aimed at raising awareness for the Anderson County, City of Anderson Complete Streets Program. The complete streets policy ensures that transportation planners and engineers consistently design and operate the entire roadway with all users in mind - including bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

The event will also be a qualifying race for U.S. Handcycling.

At Friday's press conference, it was also announced that the East-West Connector in Anderson will also include a bicycle lane.

Sponsors for the event so far  include the Cancer Association of Anderson, City of Anderson, Anderson County, poa cycling, the Great Escape, the Complete Streets program, Safe Kids of Anderson County and La France Elementary School. 

 

Friday
Mar192010

Starr Man Pleads Guilty in Meth Ring

Acting United States Attorney Kevin F. McDonald stated that Daniel Eugene “Jackson” Frost, age 48, of Starr, South Carolina, pled guilty to a federal indictment charging conspiracy to possess and distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.  Frost’s co-conspirators in the case, Rusty Lee Pointer, age 32, and John Eric Pruitt, age 30, both of Townville, South Carolina, and Rodrigo Osorio Jamarillo, age 23, of Atlanta, pled guilty earlier this year.  United States District Judge Henry F. Floyd accepted the pleas and will sentence the four men at a later date.

Frost, Pointer, Pruitt, and Jamarillo distributed meth in Oconee and Anderson Counties from 2003 until July 2009.  Law enforcement began investigating the group early last year, making undercover purchases of meth from the group and gathering intelligence on its inner workings.  Investigators identified Jamarillo as the source of supply for the conspiracy, traveling from Atlantato bring multiple pounds of meth to Pointer’s Anderson County residence in exchange for large amounts of cash from Pointer, Pruitt, and Frost. 

The investigation culminated in July 2009 with the execution of a federal search warrant at Pointer’s residence, where agents found more than 12 pounds of meth stashed in a barn.  Frost fled the residence when agents arrived, leading officers on a high-speed car chase, throwing meth from the vehicle before wrecking it.  The meth seized from Frost’s vehicle, as well as the amounts collected after being discarded from the chase, amounted to more than five pounds.

The case was investigated by the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorneys Lance Crick and Andy Moorman of the Greenville Office handled the case.

Friday
Mar192010

Galloway Named Varennes Principal

Leonard Galloway has been named the new Principal at Varennes Academy of Communications and Technology for the 2010-2011 school year. 

He will succeed Dr. Mary Paul, who recently announced her retirement as principal after serving 27 years in that position at Varennes. Dr. Paul has served 44 of her 46 years in education in District Five.

Mr. Galloway’s appointment was approved by a unanimous vote of the District Five Board of Trustees at Tuesday’s Board Meeting. He will begin his new duties on July 1.

For the past three years, Mr. Galloway has served as Assistant Principal at Nevitt Forest Community School of Innovation, where he has spent his entire career. From 2004-2007, he served as a Fourth Grade and Fifth Grade Teacher.

“Leonard is an energetic young administrator who has shown himself to be an instructional leader at Nevitt Forest,” said District Five Superintendent Betty Bagley. “I am confident that he will build on the progress made under Dr. Paul’s tenure.” 

Integrating technology into the classroom has been a focus of Mr. Galloway at Nevitt Forest. 

 “Leonard works with teachers during grade level planning periods to add technology pieces to their lesson plans.” said Nevitt Forest Principal Kelly Elrod. Mr. Galloway has also worked with Clemson University to bring technology skills to children and parents through the school’s “CSI Nights” events to which students, parents and community members are invited, she said.

Mr. Galloway has been instrumental in organizing the Extended Day program at Nevitt Forest, and has worked with community members and grant officials to ensure that the school’s  21st Century program is followed “to the letter,” Mrs. Elrod added. A graduate of Anderson University, Mr. Galloway received his M.A. in Educational Leadership from Furman University.

Friday
Mar192010

Anderson County Museum Wins State Award  

The South Carolina Federation of Museums has awarded the Anderson County Museum (ACM) an “Award of Achievement” for the exhibit Trade Street: The history of commerce in Anderson County and the Trade Street book. The permanent exhibit opened to statewide appeal and recognition in late October 2009, and features over 200 artifacts from the ACM collection. The book contains over 150 color and black and white images of artifacts and historic photographs and postcards from the collection that is displayed within the exhibit.

“It is always exciting when your peers recognize a body of work done by your museum as outstanding” said ACM director Beverly Childs. “So many people were a part of the Trade Street exhibit. Our curator Alison Hinman has always done exceptional work and this exhibit is another fine example. The exhibit was designed by Ducworth and Company and built by Daniel Builders, both Anderson County businesses. The entire $120,000 plus dollars was raised through grants, ACM Friends fundraising, and donations and spent with businesses here in Anderson County.” 

The Trade Street book was complied and edited by ACM Volunteer Carl Compton and ACM director Beverly Childs. “There are tens of thousands of photographs of Anderson that people have never seen. The fun of helping with the book was sharing these items with Anderson County residents,” said Carl Compton. “Hopefully this will elevate our resident’s consciousness to share their historic Anderson County items and photographs with our museum.”

“Both awards were in recognition of ACM’s excellent utilization of resources relative to the size of our museum and the statewide impact this exhibit and book has had overall,” said curator Alison Hinman. “The success of the Trade Street exhibit and book will continue to educate for years to come how the commercial center in Anderson County before and right after the Civil War was bustling and growing. The image of a backward, small commercial town could not have been further from the truth.” 

The Anderson County Museum is at 202 East Greenville Street, in downtown Anderson. The Fred Whitten Gallery and Museum Store hours are Tuesday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Reading and Research Room is open 1 to 4 p.m. on Thursdays and by appointment. ACM is handicap accessible and admission is free. Donations are always welcome

Thursday
Mar182010

Dist. 5 Accepting Magnet School Applications

Lottery applications for out-of-zone students wishing to attend Calhoun Academy of the Arts, District Five’s arts magnet school, must be submitted by Tuesday, April 13th

Approximately 60 to 70 slots will be available at Calhoun Academy for the 2010-2011 school year.

The Calhoun lottery will be held on April 20 at 5:30 p.m. at the District Five Administrative Office, 400 Pearman Dairy Road.

In addition, out-of-zone student applications for District Five’s other magnet schools – Nevitt Forest Community School of Innovation and Varennes Academy of Communications and Technology – must be submitted by Friday, April 30th. Lotteries will not be held for these two schools. Admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Applications for all three magnet schools are available at Calhoun Academy of the Arts, Nevitt Forest CSI, Varennes Academy, the District Five Administrative Office, and online at www.Anderson5.net.

It is important to note that only students outside of the attendance zones of our three magnet schools need to apply for acceptance. Students already zoned for Calhoun, Nevitt Forest and Varennes do not need to file an application to attend their respective school.

Wednesday
Mar172010

Council Sets Limits on Broadway Lake Fishing

In an effort to ensure a sustainable future for high quality recreational fishing at Broadway Lake, Anderson County Council recently approved new bag limits for fishermen. These limits were recommended by the Broadway Lake Advisory Board, an oversight committee appointed by County Council.

“These bag limits will enable everyone to enjoy the sport of fishing on our beautiful Broadway Lake without depleting the fish population,” said Anderson County Council woman Gracie S. Floyd. “Several years ago, district 2 residents came to me with concerns about the low fish population. We researched the issue to find the best course of action. Stocking the Lake with fingerlings last December and Bass early this Spring, partnered with these approved bag limits, will hopefully stabilize a healthy, thriving fish population that will attract residents and visitors to enjoy all that Broadway Lake has to offer.” 

New Bag Limits

5 Large Mouth Bass/Day

15 Crappie/Day

15 Bream/Day

On Thursday, December 3, the SC Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released 125,000 bluegill fingerlings into their new home at Broadway Lake in Anderson County. The bluegill, which averaged about 1-inch in length, were produced at SC DNR’s Jack D. Bayless Fish Hatchery at the Dennis Wildlife Center in Bonneau, SC.

Interval stocking allows for the first population of fingerlings, released last December to take hold before the Large Mouth Bass are released this Spring. The combination of interval stocking and newly set bag limits will help protect the current population from being overfished, while the newly introduced fish are established.

For more information about Broadway Lake or fishing limits, please contact Glenn Brill,  Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department Director at 864.260.1092.

Wednesday
Mar172010

County Gives $3,500 to Local Charites

ANDERSON COUNTY, SC—Anderson County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn will present a check for $872 to the Upstate South Carolina Chapter of the American Red Cross at 5 to 9 pm on Saturday, March 20.  The presentation will take place at the Anderson County Farmer’s Market during the Red Tie Affair, an Oyster Roast and Cajun Cuisine Fundraiser.  The Farmer’s Market is located at 402 North Murray, Anderson, SC.

“We are happy to support our local charities and it is fitting that these funds were collected as a result of the 2009 Regional Disaster Summit,” said Council Chairman Dunn. “The safety and protection of Anderson County residents is always a top priority for Council. These agencies are here to aid during times of emergency and disaster. They stand with us when we need them and we are proud to stand with them in this small way; to demonstrate our partnership with those who are a lifeline to so many Anderson County residents during their times of need. I also want to take the opportunity to encourage our community to come out and support the Red Tie Affair on March 20 and to find ways to support the Salvation Army, the United Way and the Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief.”

The Salvation Army, the United Way, Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief and the Anderson Red Cross will all receive monetary donations this week totaling close to $3,500, with each organization receiving a check for $872.00

“We are honored that we can give something back to these agencies that do so much for the first responders and communities during emergencies and disasters,” said Anderson County Emergency Services Director Taylor Jones.  “These donations were made possible through the generous contributions raised during September 2009 at our Southeast Regional Disaster Summit. During the closing session of the Disaster Summit, sponsoring organizations also presented each agency with $500. The services and assistance through our partnerships with these agencies are priceless and we can never thank them enough.”

For more information on how you can contribute to these agencies or to assist in recovery efforts after a disaster, please visitwww.andersoncountyes.com or call Anderson County Emergency Services at (864) 260-4646. 

Tuesday
Mar162010

Council Vote Allows County to Get Federal Stimulus Money

By Samantha Harris

Anderson County Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to designate Anderson County as a South Carolina Research Authority Recovery Zone. This will allow the SCRA to borrow $4.5 million of federal money to build a 17,0000 square-foot research facility on S.C. 187, about 2.5 miles from Interstate 85 in Anderson County.

The facility will house the SCRA’s Applied Research and Development Institute, which will help new businesses develop. The project will provide laboratory and office space for classified research for ARDI and Clemson University, and will also provide space for new companies operating in the field of advanced materials, as well as companies exploring the possibility of relocating to the area, SCRA spokespersons said.

The project is expected to create 180 jobs within 8 years, they said. Anderson County will not have any obligation to repay the bonds. More than $14 million has been allocated to be used for Recovery Zones in Anderson County, the spokespersons said.

Though no vote was taken, the council’s finance committee continues to trim the number of vehicles driven home by county employees. A year ago, 55 county employees were driving cars home at night, Council member Tom Allen, chairman of the committee, said. Today, that number has been reduced to 20, he said.

“It’s still a work in process,” Allen said. “Two vehicles are outside the county, and those employees are going to be charged mileage. During this time. We’ve received information from several other counties, and we are studying this and figuring out how they are doing it, what they are doing right and what we can do better.”

Allen said the committee would continue to try to reduce the number of cars driven home, and how to shave the budget in other areas, including cell phones, blackberries and insurance plans.

Council also voted unanimously against closing a portion of McAdams School Road during its regular meeting Tuesday night. A handful of landowners requested about a year ago that the county close a portion of the road because of excessive litter and problems with vagrancy, Anderson County Council member Cindy Wilson said.

But Wilson and council member Eddie Moore said a number of residents who live near the road are opposed to its closing. Allen Ashley, a farmer who lives nearby, is one of them. “We don’t need that road closed,” Ashley told the council. “The Craytonville Fire Department needs the road open to provide fire protection. Our community doesn’t want the road closed.”

Moore said he had and Wilson had attended a community meeting last year at the Craytonville Fire Department and heard firsthand the concerns of community residents about its potential closing.

“The fire department was packed out,” Moore said. “It was 10 to 1 against closing the road. Farmers use the road, and many people use it as cut-through road to go to church.”

Moore said the county recently spent tens of thousands of dollars resurfacing the road. If the road closes, “someone should reimburse the county for this money because that would be basically giving away a pretty expensive road,” he said. 

Council member Gracie Floyd said littering and vagrant activity were not good enough reasons to close a road.

“The reason is due to heavy littering and vagrant activity, not because of a bad curve, a terrible traffic situation or a poor road situation,” she said. “I was kind of amazed when I read that because I’m thinking ‘Great, lets go ahead and close Belhaven Road and Hall Street, and a part of Melanie Trail as well. If we are going to get into doing this for this reason, I think it’s a great idea. But if we are going to get into to doing this for one, let’s do it for all communities. It’s not a good enough reason. It’s not right. We are setting a precedent here, so let’s be careful.”

Council members voted to oppose the closing of the road, but Wilson said a hearing would take place March 25 because a landowner has sued to county to push the road closure.

Monday
Mar152010

Bryant Letter Asks School Dist. 5 about Illegal Alien Employees

Third District South Carolina Sen. Kevin Bryant on Monday sent a letter to Anderson County School District 5's Board of Trustees questioning allegations the district hired illegal employees on "several" school construction sites. Bryant said several "frustrated unemployed construction business people will be present" at the Tuesday's 6:30 p.m. meeting.

Here is the text of the letter Bryant sent the Dist. 5 board:

Dr. Mack Burris, Chairman
Anderson School District Five
400 Pearman Dairy Road
Anderson, South Carolina  29625

Dear Mr. Chairman,

I want to thank you for your service to the taxpayers, parents and children of Anderson County. I also want to commend your office for providing me with affidavits regarding the employment practices of the companies with construction contracts with School District 5. These affidavits have been passed on to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation along with a request for audits of the same.

I have been in touch with numerous Anderson County citizens that are frustrated with the current economic climate and in particular, the continued presence of illegal aliens in Anderson County. It is unacceptable that the taxpayer may be funding construction projects that employ illegal aliens.

You are aware that Section 8-14-20 of the South Carolina Code requires that as of January 1, 2010 that all "services contract(s) with a contractor for the physical performance of services within this State" must be completed only with legal workers verified with the Federal verification program known as e-verify. 

I join our constituents in asking the Anderson School District 5 Board to review current and future construction contracts and require e-verify for all employers as required by law.

Respectfully,

 
Kevin L. Bryant
South Carolina Senate District 3

Monday
Mar152010

County Offers Session on Making Information Public

Anderson County is holding an open public session at 2 p.m. Wednesday for municipalities, counties, school districts, etc., to demonstrate the steps taken to make county date available online and to offer assistance to any government/school entity.  The county is also offering to host web sites for local municipalities wishing to post their financial  or other information. The session will be held at the historic courthouse.

The county was recently named one of 39 counties in the nation to receive a perfect score for transparency in government from the American Society of News Editors. (see editorial)

Monday
Mar152010

Council to Hear Finance Committee Report

Anderson County Council will hear a report from the finance committee and a review of the Appalachian Council of Governments Services to Anderson County as part of Tuesday night's meeting. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in the historic courthouse.

A full agenda can be found here.

Monday
Mar152010

Census Forms in Mail This Week

WASHINGTON -- Let the count begin.

More than 120 million U.S. census forms begin arriving Monday in mailboxes around the country, in the government's once-a-decade population count that will be used to divvy up congressional seats and more than $400 billion in federal aid. Fast-growing states in the South and the West could stand to lose the most because of lower-than-average mail participation rates in 2000 and higher shares of Hispanics and young adults, who are among the least likely to mail in their forms.

Did those $2.5 million Super Bowl ads work? Stay tuned.

South Carolina ranked 49th in the nation in returning census forms in 2000, potentially costing the state a great deal of money. This year both money and the possibility of an extra on congressional seat are on the light. Read full story here.

Friday
Mar122010

County Applauded for Transparency at FOI Forum

Around 50 citizens gathered Friday night at the Anderson County Civic Center for meeting marking the beginning of "Sunshine Week," which aims at reminding government of its obligation to keep the doors open on how they do business.

Anderson County was recently awarded a "Sunny Award" and a perfect score as one of the best state and local government websites in America for transparency by the Sunshine Review. Anderson was one of 39 sites to receive the perfect grade. Read more about it and see the county's initiatives here: http://www.andersoncountysc.org/web/Transparency_00.asp

Friday night's meeting featured a presentation by the county on their efforts and a discussion time with Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns and representatives of local media organizations including the Anderson Observer, the Anderson Independent-Mail, the Williamston Journal, WYFF and WSPA. The organizations were quick to praise the county's openess, but expressed concerns that the county remain vigilant in such matters as keeping costs down for Freedom of Information Act requests and reminding elected officials of the narrow guidelines for going into executive session.

State Senator Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, also praised the county's efforts at transparency and told those at the event that he is pushing for state agencies to follow a similar path to open government.