Monthly Archives: December 2018

Short on 2019 resolutions? Try these on for size

What are you going to do in 2019? Do you have a list of resolutions all ready to go?

Making a resolution to go to the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday is all well and good, and sometimes we keep those types of vows. Mostly we don’t. Resolutions that we’re most likely to keep involve doing things for others.

If you’re more comfortable taking small bites, rather than committing to doing something for a whole year, try making one resolution for every month or season of the year.

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SC facing tough year with flu

South Carolina during one week in early December was the sickest state in the country, with 4.3 percent of the population (about 176,300 people) experiencing flu-like symptoms, according to Kinsa, a company tracking where flu-like illness is spreading in real time with the help of its smart thermometers.

Kinsa has collected more than 10 million (anonymous) temperature readings (averaged 40,000 per day last flu season) and the Kinsa Insights team tracks outbreaks of the flu by studying aggregate data of where fever and other symptoms are popping up around the country.

Kinsa says its numbers are nearly perfectly aligned with the CDC’s influenza data over the past three years.

And the data show South Carolina is having a tough go in 2018. The number of illnesses represents an 89 increase over this time last year and a

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Pickens County at 150

Local professor and outdoorsman

reflects on a century and a half

By Dr. Thomas Cloer, Jr.

Special to The Courier

I can’t believe it! Has it really been 50 years since we celebrated the centennial birthday of Pickens County in 1968? I remember the old tie I wore for a picture. I remember the long beards the men grew, and the long dresses with bonnets that the women wore. The year 1968 really sticks in my memory, because the gigantic Keowee-Toxaway Project had started developing lakes Keowee and Jocassee. I think that I could make a good argument that nothing has affected the physical features of Pickens County more for millions of years, much less for 50 years, than that massive earth-changing project.

Looking Back to the Keowee-Toxaway Project

People first heard of the Keowee-Toxaway Project of Duke Power when it was announced at Clemson University. The announcement was made Jan. 2, 1965, by W.B. McGuire, president of Duke Energy. My fiancée, Elaine Kowalski, and I were in college in Kentucky, and were planning to marry after that sophomore year. It was not until 1966 that we got the word that

Above: Tom and Elaine Cloer pose with baby Tom III at the 1968 Pickens County centennial celebration.
Top left: The building of Duke Energy’s Oconee Nuclear Station, pictured in this early artist rendering, marked a major turning point in the history of Pickens County.
Top right: Tom Cloer and his father, Carl T. Cloer Sr., speak at the Pickens sawmill, which was built “to accommodate the treasures of timber to be removed for the gargantuan Keowee-Toxaway Project,” according to the author.
Top: Tom Cloer fly fishes in the Jocassee Gorges, one of the great natural features of Pickens County that dates back much, much farther than the county’s 150-year history.

the big steam band-saw mill that controlled our lives was to stop producing lumber on the bank of Stinking Creek, Tenn.

A brand-new sawmill was to be constructed in Pickens to accommodate the treasures of timber to be removed for the gargantuan Keowee-Toxaway Project. This would lead eventually to the damming of such national treasures as the Whitewater, Thompson, Toxaway, Horsepasture, Eastatoe and Keowee rivers in the Jocassee Goorges. Bearcamp Creek, Wright’s Creek, Laurel Fork and Mills Creek would all be backed to their highest falls. I fished them all. They had

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Pickens County Farm Bureau helps spread holiday cheer

PICKENS — Pickens County Farm Bureau and local Farm Bureau Insurance agents have been bringing a little more joy to this holiday season by helping those in the community facing hardship.

The local office donated $1,000 to assist a Farm Bureau member who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. He and his wife have four young children. A surgery to remove the tumor is scheduled in early 2019.

The donation is part of a company-sponsored holiday community outreach

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Norris fire chief heading into retirement

By Greg Oliver
Courtesy The Journal

NORRIS — Joe Bracken may be a Liberty native, but he says his heart has been in Norris for 40 years.

“I love this little ol’ town,” Bracken said. “I’ve never lived inside the town limits until last year, even though I have served here 40 years and have grown to love the people here and love this little town. I’m glad it hasn’t changed.”

For the past four decades, Bracken has been a member of the Norris Fire

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Courier Obituaries 12-26-18

Robin M. Usher

CLEMSON — Robin Marie Usher, 54, died after a brief illness Monday, Dec. 17, 2018.

She was born in New Jersey, May 3, 1964, a daughter of William “Bill” Johnson and Virginia Muzzy.

Robin worked for 12 years for the city of Clemson in administration. When she wasn’t working, nothing was more important to her than her family. She also enjoyed traveling.

Robin is survived by her significant other, Alan Godfrey of Seneca; two sons, Eric Masker (Billie) of Greenville and Ethan Usher of Clemson; a daughter, Channing Usher of Clemson; two grandchildren, Katelynn and Ava Masker; a brother, Sean Johnson (Katie) of Belton; and a sister, Doreen Trotter (Jim) of Conway. She was predeceased by her parents.

A memorial service will be held at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28, at the Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home, 108 Cross Creek Road, Central.

The family will receive friends at 4:45 p.m., prior to the service.

Condolences may be expressed online at

Calvin Joe Watts Sr.

EASLEY — Calvin Joe Watts Sr., 69, of Easley, passed away Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, at Baptist Easley Hospital.

Born in Fletcher, N.C., he was the son of Louella McCall Watts of Easley and the late John Watts.

Mr. Watts served in the U.S. Army and enjoyed reading.

Surviving are his sons, Calvin Joe Watts Jr. (Ashley) of Scott Air Force Base, Ill., and Paul Allen Head of Lugoff; a daughter, Kathy Clay (Darren) of Pickens; one sister, Joyce McJunkins of Easley; 11 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

In addition to his father, he was predeceased by a daughter, Christina Watts; brother, Jimmy Watts; and sister, Reva Goodine.

Funeral services were held Dec. 21 in the chapel of Robinson Funeral Home Downtown, with burial following at the Mountain View Baptist Church cemetery in Six Mile.

Flowers will be accepted.

Condolences may be expressed online at or in person at Robinson Funeral Home – Downtown Easley, which is assisting the family.

Samuel “Sam” Dyar McJunkin

SENECA — Samuel “Sam” Dyar McJunkin of Seneca passed away Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, at the Foothills Assisted Living in Walhalla.

A native of Seneca, Mr. McJunkin was the son of the late J.C. and Maybelle Dyar McJunkin. He was a retired sergeant major of the Army Reserves 108th Division and was a member of the Seneca American Legion Post No. 120. He was a past master and longtime secretary of the Courtenay Masonic Lodge No. 249, a current member of the Blue Ridge Lodge No. 92 of Walhalla, Mr. McJunkin was a Past Most Excellent Grand High Priest of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of South Carolina. He was a life member of the Hejaz Shrine Temple for more than 62 years, a member of the Blue Ridge Shrine Club where he was past president and also served as secretary for many years. Mr. McJunkin was a member of Corinth Baptist Church. He was retired from Dan River Carpets in Greenville after 40 years.

Mr. McJunkin was preceded in death by his first wife, Jewel Hightower McJunkin, his second wife, Linda Burns McJunkin, brothers, James and Julius McJunkin, and a sister, Sarah McJunkin.

Graveside services were held Dec. 22 at the Corinth Baptist Church cemetery with military honors.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials be made to the Greenville Shriners Hospital, 950 W. Faris Road, Greenville, SC 29605.

Brown-Oglesby Funeral Home of Seneca is in charge of the arrangements.

Mary Ellen Kelley

SIMPSONVILLE — Mary Ellen Kelley, 84, went to be with her heavenly Father on Dec. 18, 2018.

Born in Six Mile on Aug. 27, 1934, she was the daughter of the late Elbert Allen Mitchell and Mozell Davis Mitchell.

She was a Southern Wesleyan University alumnus and retired school teacher with a master’s degree, serving more than 30 years at Bethel Elementary School, and an ADK member. She was a member of Simpsonville United Methodist Church and former member of Greenville First Wesleyan Church.

In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her husband, Elvin R. Kelley, and siblings, Vera Mitchell Peek, Dr. Virgil Mitchell, Eugene Mitchell, Edna Mitchell, Joseph Mitchell and Charles Mitchell. She was the last surviving member of her immediate family.

She is survived by her daughters, Denise Cauley (Johnny) and Kim Stroud (Robert); grandchildren, Erica Cauley, Ashley Robinson (Justin), Jared Stroud (Taylor) and Ethan Stroud; two great-grandchildren, Aubrey Stroud and Emma-Grace Stroud; and beloved nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.

She lovingly devoted her time serving Greenville First Wesleyan Church as tithing secretary and secretary of Greenville First Wesleyan Women. She was actively involved in her women’s circle. She and her husband served as caregivers to many over the years, unselfishly giving of their time to help the sick or lend a helping hand. The family would like to personally thank her many friends and family who came to her aide. A special thanks to the nurses and CNAs at Brushy Creek Rehab and Healthcare and Palladium Hospice for their loving care.

Services were held at Dillard Funeral Home in Pickens on Saturday, Dec. 22, with burial following at Hillcrest Memorial Park and Gardens.

Memorials may be made to Simpsonville United Methodist Church, 215 SE Main St., Simpsonville, SC 29681. Dillard Funeral Home in Pickens is assisting the family.


Historical society to plant seedling deodar cedar trees around county for 150th

PICKENS — After the division of Pickens District into Oconee and Pickens counties in 1868, the citizens of Walhalla presented a number of deodora cedars to the town of Pickens, and then to Easley. The trees originated in the Himalaya Mountains of Asia and have fared well here in Upstate South Carolina.

The towering evergreens grace important spaces to this day and can be seen, among other places, along West Main Street and S.C. Highway 93 in Easley. A notable example stands in front of the offices of Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative on Main Street in

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Appalachian music lessons start in January

COUNTY — Enrollment is now underway for local residents to learn to play the banjo, fiddle, guitar or mandolin.

The new six-week session will begin the week of Jan. 21 on various evenings at various locations. This program is open to students from third grade through adults of all ages and is designed to teach students to play Appalachian music. Beginners are welcome.

The cost is $60 for the six-week session, and rental instruments are available and can be reserved if needed. Anyone interested in registering

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Clemson athletes build Habitat home

CLEMSON — Clemson University’s athletic department has partnered with Pickens County Habitat for Humanity to build a much-needed home for a family of four in the Clemson community.

More than 1,200 volunteer hours by Clemson student-athletes, coaches and staff has been provided toward the construction process.

“The student-athletes building my home means we can have a stable space where my loving family can grow and call home,” future homeowner

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Courier Community Calendar 12-26-18

• Legion Post 67 seeks members

American Legion Post 67 in Liberty is accepting applications for membership from all U.S. military wartime veterans.

For more information, call (864) 787-2322.

• Conservatives to meet in Pickens

The next meeting of the Conservatives of the Upstate will be Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m. at Pizza Inn in Pickens. This will be a planning meeting to discuss what action items the group wants to pursue in the next three