Monthly Archives: March 2018

Man faces child porn charges

EASLEY — An Easley man was arrested last week on 11 child pornography charges, according to state authorities.

South Carolina attorney general Alan Wilson’s office announced the arrest of 38-year-old Michael Jermaine Lewis.

He was taken into custody by Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigators and Pickens County Sheriff’s Office deputies. Investigators with the attorney general’s office, also a member of the state’s ICAC Task Force, assisted with the investigation.

Lewis, who was arrested last Thursday, faces 10 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. The charges are

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Clean Sweep

16.5 tons of trash collected on county roads

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

COUNTY — Pickens County’s “Team Up and Clean-Up” effort that kicked off on Friday and continued through the weekend “couldn’t have gone better,” county council chairman Roy Costner said.

In county council meetings leading up to the cleanup, Costner said the county was expecting a lot of guests as part of its sesquicentennial celebration.

“We wanted to clean up before we celebrated 150 years,” he said.

More than 300 Pickens County employees signed up to take part in the cleanup from 8 a.m.-noon on Friday.

“We had 100 percent participation from county council, the state delegation, South Carolina

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Making His Mark

At the Golden Corner Invitational track meet in Seneca earlier this month, Liberty High School senior Keyshawn King set the nation’s best triple jump mark of the year with a 51-feet, 3-inch jump. A two-time state champion in the triple jump, King set the record for the Seneca High School facility and the meet record, and also took first in the long jump at the event with a personal best 22-feet, 9-inch mark. King has signed to attend Stanford University on a track scholarship this fall.


Business reopens after devastating fire

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — Hawks Motorsports reopened its doors last Thursday, just two days after a fire destroyed one of its buildings.

Easley Fire Chief Butch Womack said the call came in around 11:30 a.m. March 20.

Firefighters were on scene at the business, located at 937 Pelzer Highway, a little more than two minutes later, he said, and found a “heavily involved fire” at the end of the business nearer to Anderson County.

“It was the end that had the most fuel in it at the time,” Womack said. “Both doors were open at the time and probably fueling the fire a little bit.”

Three engines, two service trucks, a squad unit and a supervisor’s vehicle responded to the fire initially.

All of the Pickens rural fire departments responded to assist, as did Pickens City and Clemson University Fire Department firefighters.

Anderson County provided a Hazmat unit, Womack said, and SLED was also called.

There were several explosions during the fire, including one that was filmed and posted to social media.

That particular explosion was caused by a liquefied petroleum gas tank on a forklift, Womack said.

“It was parked inside one of the bays,” he said. “That was the large explosion that was on

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Owens takes over PHS girls’ hoops

PICKENS — Pickens High School officials announced this week that Rikki Owens will be the school’s new head girls’ basketball coach.

Owens, who also took the reins of the powerhouse Blue Flame volleyball program last season, “has a passion for women’s athletics and young people,” according to a news release from the school.

A special education teacher at Pickens Middle School, Owens graduated with honors from Easley High School, where she lettered in volleyball, basketball and softball. On the hardwood, Owens starred as a four-year letterman under Easley High School Athletic Hall of Fame coach Steve Beasley.

In her first season in charge of the Pickens volleyball program, Owens led the Lady Blue Flame to an Upperstate championship and an appearance in the Class 4A state championship game. Owens has also served as coach of the Pickens Middle School girls’ basketball team.

“Rikki has a passion for women’s sports,” PHS athletic director Chad Smith said. “She is a fantastic ball coach that makes everyone around her better. She truly fulfills our PHS athletic motto, which is ‘As Iron Sharpens Iron, So One

Grand opening set for April 6 at Elevate Audiology

EASLEY — Elevate Audiology Hearing and Tinnitus Center is an inviting and independent audiology practice in Easley serving those with hearing, communication, and tinnitus difficulties.

Dr. Alexandra Tarvin established Elevate Audiology with the mission to elevate and empower patients’ lives by providing superior education, transparent treatment options, evidence-based hearing and tinnitus care and an excellent patient experience. Elevate Audiology believes in best practices listening to the research to ensure patient’s success and satisfaction. The practice is also different in their pricing structure offering many hearing aid technologies along with itemized and bundled services to meet the diverse financial needs of the community. If patients

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New event center planned in Central

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

CENTRAL — Pickens County planning commissioners have approved a businessman’s plans for an event center on Pike Road in Central, provided certain conditions are met.

Property owner Steve Peckham presented his plans to the Pickens County Planning Commission during its March 12 meeting.

Some confusion over the nature of the project arose. Documentation presented to the commission listed the land-use request for the creation of a campground and RV park.

“We’re not an RV park,” Peckham said. “The planning department looked at what was the closest thing that they could call what we were doing. That was what they came up with. We’re not asking for an RV park. We would not put an RV park there.”

Peckham said he and his wife, Paula, would like to create a business on the 30-acre property that their daughters, who have special needs, can run.

“They are functioning enough to be a part of a home-based business,” Peckham said.

They decided on creating an event center with open pavilions and an amphitheater on the Pike Road property that Peckham said could host “meetings, parties, weddings — that sort of thing.”

“It’s more or less open barns that we’d be

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SWU students part of national research team

Southern Wesleyan University student Dynestee Fields photographs graves as part of a project to identify graves and list them in the nationwide Find-a-Grave database ( A group of SWU students, faculty and staff joined Anne Sheriff and Keith Brown of the Central History Museum on March 13 at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Central. The project was organized as part of the university’s Day of Service and also the Pickens County sesquicentennial. Fields is an English major from Anderson.


Railroad fest planned April 28

CENTRAL — The Central Railroad Festival will pull into historic downtown Central Saturday, April 28, with music, great food and festivities for all ages.

This year’s Railroad Festival is in collaboration with Pickens County’s sesquicentennial celebration. Central figures largely into county history with its strong railroad heritage. The town gets its name because the town is situated at the “central” point of the railroad line between Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C.

The festival will begin at 10 a.m. and run until 5 p.m., featuring entertainment, food, music and arts and crafts vendors.

There will be free entertainment for all ages, including oldies, rock, jazz and bluegrass. On the

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Azaleas ready to bloom

The Pickens Azalea Festival Committee is working hard to get everything in place for another huge festival in downtown Pickens on April 20-21. The fun will all get started on Friday night with the annual cruise-in, featuring some of the hottest rides from around the area and the sounds of the Sweet Potato Pie kids and the Jake Bartley Band. As part of Pickens County’s 150th anniversary celebration, the committee has planned a costume contest, with winners chosen for the best 1800s costume. The committee is also taking advantage of Pickens’ downtown amphitheater, with entertainment being moved to the location in the center of historic Pickens this year. The downtown amphitheater, which was designed for musical events such as this, will offer spacious seating. Assistance will be available for anyone having trouble walking down to the venue. Saturday will continue festivities along with an entertainment schedule loaded with talent, including Benton Blount, Mac Powell and more. There will be additional information booths on West Main Street this year. Pictured are committee treasurer Jeff Hogan, festival sponsorship coordinator Pamela Dodson, committee members Michael Ralston, Frances Wannamaker and Susan Ralston, committee chairman Russ Gantt and committee member Roy Costner.


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