Daily Archives: 01/15/2019

Pair charged in church burglaries  

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

PICKENS — A Travelers Rest man and a Greenville teen have been arrested in connection with two church burglaries in the Dacusville area.

Jordan Allen Mason, 20, was arrested without incident on Jan. 2, Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Creed Hashe said. He is

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New name for Easley’s post office?

Duncan’s bill would honor

Capt. Kimberly Hampton

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

EASLEY — U.S. Congressman Jeff Duncan would like to see Easley’s post office renamed in honor of Capt. Kimberly Hampton.

Duncan, who represents South Carolina’s Third District in the House, filed the “Captain Kimberly Hampton Post Office Act” on Jan. 3.

The bill would designate the post office facility located at 810 S. Pendleton St. as the “Captain Kimberly Nicole Hampton Post Building.”

The bill stipulates that any reference to the facility “in a law, map, regulation, document, paper or other record of the United States” shall refer to it as the “Captain Kimberly Nicole Hampton Post Office Building.”

The bill was one of eight filed by Duncan during the first day of the 116th Congress.

Duncan filed the bill the day after the 15th anniversary of Hampton’s

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MLK celebration planned Monday

PICKENS — The city of Pickens will once again celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this Sunday and Monday with joint church services, a unity walk and community service projects.

On Sunday, a 10 a.m. joint worship service is planned at Griffin Ebenezer Baptist Church, located at 450 Garvin St. The guest preacher for the service will be the Rev. Nath Briley, pastor of Pickens Presbyterian Church. A covered-dish fellowship luncheon will be held after the service, and all churches are invited.

The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration Monday will begin with a meet and greet at Pickens Presbyterian Church, located at 311 W. Main St., beginning at 10 a.m. The meet and greet will feature a light breakfast brunch, pastries, juice and coffee. The annual unity walk from the church to the front lawn of the Pickens County Courthouse will begin at 10:40 a.m. Guest speaker for the memorial celebration on the courthouse steps will be the Rev. James Pitts, pastor of Zion Circle Baptist Church in Central.

Following the celebration, MLK Day community service projects will be held around the city from 1:30-3:30 p.m., sponsored by Boy Scout Troop 51, the Pickens Lions Club and AFTA. Volunteers will meet at Legacy Square at 1 p.m. for coordination of teams. Volunteers are asked to bring work gloves and trash pickers — all other supplies will be provided.

Projects will include litter pickup on S.C. Highway 8 and the Doodle Trail, among others.


Guardian ad litem program needs more volunteers

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

LIBERTY — More volunteers are needed to serve as guardians ad litem in Pickens County.

Guardians ad litem give a voice to children in the family court system and provide recommendations to judges on their behalf.

Cherie Walker spoke to Pickens County Legislative Delegation members about the guardian ad litem program during their annual meeting Monday.

Walker is the director of county operations for the Cass Elias McCarter Guardian ad Litem program.

“During fiscal year 2017-18, there were 2,200 guardian ad litem volunteers statewide who served over 14,000 South Carolina children,” Walker said. “Here in Pickens County, our volunteers advocated for 557 abused and neglected children.”

Pickens County’s GAL program is the seventh largest in the state in terms of caseload, she said.

“Our volunteers are very dedicated and compassionate,” Walker said. “They all make a difference in the lives of children in our community.”

She shared some examples of the work of guardians ad litem in the community with the delegation “so we can honor them.”

Mitzi Bowles learned a GAL teenager didn’t have a dress to wear to her military ball.

“She donated a brand-new ball gown to the program so that young lady could go to the military ball with a beautiful, quality gown,” Walker said. “Mitzi’s very familiar with the struggles of children in foster care. She grew up in foster care herself at Connie Maxwell, and now she chooses to give back to the program and serve in that way.”

Guardian ad litem Pat Smith remained on a guardian case for six years with multiple children “as they went through the process and were placed and adopted,” Walker said.

“Two of the children initially didn’t want to be adopted,” she said. “She supported that foster parent and those children as they went through that transition. It’s very difficult. Eventually, the children were ready, decided they wanted to be in a forever home and those two children were adopted this year and that case finally closed after six years.”

Guardian ad litem Nika Phipps was a guardian for a 17-year-old girl “who was about to age out of foster care and go into independent living,” Walker said.

Phipps advocated for the teen.

“She provided inspiration, guidance and support to this young lady, and she is now enrolled and doing well at Presbyterian College,” Walker said.

Those success stories highlight the importance of the program, she said.

“It’s so important for these children, statewide and here in Pickens County, to have volunteers so that their voices are heard in family court,” Walker said.

The program actively recruits and trains new volunteers, she said.

“Our goal is that every child that comes into the system has a volunteer guardian ad litem to speak on their behalf,” Walker said.

The time commitment is flexible for GAL work, she said. Volunteers receive 30 hours of free training.

“We screen them,” Walker said. “They need to be 21 years old and pass various background checks.”

The program is particularly interested in recruiting more male volunteers, she said.

“They make wonderful role models for many children that don’t have a male role model in their life,” Walker said.

Those interested in learning more about the guardian ad litem program should visit


PRA announces challenge winners

PICKENS — The Pickens Revitalization Association has announced the winners of the latest Main Street Challenge, an entrepreneurial startup competition for the purpose of generating additional retail occupancy in Pickens.

PRA awarded the top cash incentive of $7,500 to first-place winner The Colonial House, followed by $5,000 for second-place winner Twisted Skillet Bistro and $2,500 for third-place winner Burgess & Taylor General Store.

“The selection committee was impressed with all three businesses and wanted to help each of them,” PRA director Allison Fowler said. “We were fortunate to be able to offer a cash incentive to all three

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Legislators asked about plastic bag bill

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

LIBERTY — Two local legislators agree that pollution is an ongoing issue in South Carolina, but they aren’t sure that allowing municipalities to regulate plastics is the answer.

 During the Pickens County Legislative Delegation’s annual meeting lats week, resident Kate Byrd told Sen. Thomas Alexander and Sen. Rex Rice that she understood that House Bill 3529 would likely come before the Senate during this term.

The bill would prohibit local governments from regulating the use of plastic bags or other auxiliary containers by retail or food establishments.

The bill states that any regulation regarding the use, disposition, sale

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Painting the town orange

Fans line streets to celebrate Tigers’ third national title

By Alex Maminakis
Courtesy The Journal

CLEMSON — Even the frigid temperatures and a short bout of sleet couldn’t put a damper on the Clemson Tigers’ national championship celebration on Saturday morning in Death Valley.

The Tigers rode through downtown Clemson and then through campus in their second championship parade in three years as thousands of fans filled the streets and Memorial Stadium to celebrate their beloved champions.

For the last time this season — and for some players, the last time ever — the Tigers entered Memorial Stadium down the Hill and celebrated their 44-16 College Football Playoff National Championship Game win over Alabama to finish the season a perfect 15-0.

“This is definitely special — getting to the mountaintop, everything we’ve worked so hard for,” senior defensive tackle Christian Wilkins said on stage to the large crowd in attendance. “Not just these four

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What can SC schools learn from Finland?

This fall, I had the pleasure of joining a group of educators and leaders on a trip to Finland led by Public Education Partners, Furman University’s Department of Education and the Riley Institute at Furman. Our goal was to learn about what makes Finland’s public school system one of the best in the world, and how we could put some of their strategies to work here in South Carolina. On the way home, the lessons I learned there began to form in my mind into a simple rhyme:

Build more.

Feed all.

Test less.

Play ball!

One of the first differences I noticed at Finnish elementary schools was how much the students worked with their hands. They were constantly making, crafting and building! Finland is not afraid to put

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The devil is in the details

There’s a bird feeder I dread refilling with seed. Not because it’s difficult to take down and fill, but because it is almost impossible to replace the top. It’s pretty. There’s no denying it. And it was on sale. That’s the most appealing part.

It’s hard — no, almost impossible — for me to resist those alluring words, 50 percent off, when they’re printed on a big, square yellow sticker on an item, I’ve wanted but hesitated to buy because after agonizing over it, I’ve decided it is, “Too expensive.”

Habits of economy are strictly engrained into my DNA. It’s that McBride ancestry on Mama’s side.

That’s the side that saves everything, reuses everything and repurposes everything.

Grandmama didn’t buy lunch bags to pack our lunches in. She drew

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Meals on Wheels head says thank you for 11 years

I know this news may come as a shock. It has certainly been a very emotional decision for me. After much deliberation, I have resigned as executive director of Pickens County Meals on Wheels. My last day will be Jan. 18. I will start my new role as the executive director of the Meyer Center for Special Children on Jan. 21.

What an amazing journey it has been! I am so thankful for my time at Meals on Wheels and for people like you who are committed to caring for those in need in our community. I feel so fortunate to have had the privilege of working with so many kind and generous people. What I have learned here will never be forgotten.

In 2008, I started temporary and part-time at Pickens County Meals

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