Daily Archives: 03/05/2019

Just another ordinary day

It was an ordinary, uneventful Friday evening, cool and, of course, raining as it had every single miserable day for more than a week. As often happens on Friday evening, I was meeting a group of friends for supper at a fairly new restaurant. And I was looking forward to it.

I got into the car, pulled out into the driveway and headed toward town.

About halfway there, I thought I felt something brush against my foot. I thought it was the bottom of my jeans, but I was mistaken. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a mouse ran over my leg, raced across the gear stick and darted across the floor on the passenger side, escaping beneath the glove compartment. It was mousey in

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Voting by mail in SC would save time and money

After deciding to vote early in last year’s election, my wife and I stood in line for more than three hours at a Charleston shopping center early voting facility. The first hour was spent huddling in line under an umbrella to ward off the rain.

What is now proposed in our legislature is the state spending more than $500 million for new voting machines that would include a paper trail for every vote that is cast. A far better alternative would be a vote-by-mail system, as already proven in Oregon, a vote-by-mail pioneer in 1998, and since adopted by the states of Washington and Colorado.

When you’re voting at home, there’s no standing in line or having to rush to the polls after getting off work. This explains in part why the

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Major win for the environment

Feb. 26 was a good day for conservation and the environment. President Donald Trump has an opportunity to make it even better.

Nearly five months after Congress allowed the critical Land and Water Conservation Fund to expire, the House followed the Senate and permanently reauthorized the fund as part of a massive public lands bill. President Trump should sign the bipartisan measure into law as soon as possible.

In South Carolina, the fund is an important supplement to land conservation and outdoor recreation efforts. The fund has contributed almost $300 million to the state over the past 50 years.

Losing support of that magnitude would be a terrible blow to South Carolina, where the fund has aided land and historic site projects in all 46 counties. Among those are Fort Sumter and more than 20 parks in Charleston, including Waterfront Park, as well as Congaree National Park in Columbia, Falls Park in downtown Greenville, and

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Don’t be seduced by romance scams

Romance can be lovely … except when it isn’t. Disaster can be part of the package if the new “perfect match” is a scammer. There are far too many ways for thieves to con seniors.

Online Dating Sites — You can’t really know who’s on the other end of the ads you view, but there are some warning signs that a potential date might not be honest. He or she might profess love all too quickly, or send photos that don’t look real. You

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Pickens’ Wierzbicki named top 4A player

PICKENS — On Feb. 24, Pickens High School senior Lexi Wierzbicki was presented the S.C. State 4A Volleyball Player of the Year award. The award was presented by the South Carolina Coaches Association of Women’s Sports. The ceremony was held at the S.C. Museum in Columbia.

Wierzbicki, a senior middle hitter, led Pickens to a 32-2 record and a second straight state runner-up finish in Class 4A. A Jacksonville University signee, she led the Blue Flame with 327 kills, 386 digs and 46 solo blocks, and was second on the team with 74 total blocks.

In September, Wierzbicki was named to the all-tournament team at

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Liberty’s standout Boozer signs to play for Limestone

By Bru Nimmons

Staff Reporter

LIBERTY — Liberty High School is sending another athlete to the next level, as football standout Zane Boozer signed with Limestone College on Feb. 28.

“Zane is a complete package,” Liberty coach Kyle Stewart said. “Not only is he a great player on the field, but he does his job in the classroom. He has worked hard to set himself up with this opportunity, and we are very excited for him.”

Boozer, a two-time all-region player, finished his senior season with

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More than a game

Easley coach faces son on the diamond

ANDERSON — The Easley High School baseball team opened its Region I-5A schedule on Tuesday evening on the road at Westside, but for the head coaches of both teams, it was much more than a game.

Father and son faced off in opposite dugouts for the first time in more than 20 years, as two first-year South Carolina head coaches did battle with Gill Payne leading the Green Wave and his son, Jarrod Payne, at the helm of the Rams.

Although the results were unavailable at press time Tuesday, both Paynes reflected on the significance of the game ahead of time.

“Honestly, this is something that I never imagined would happen,” said Gill Payne, whose coaching career includes experience at the

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PHS baseball plans first Military Appreciation Day

PICKENS — The Pickens High School baseball team will host its first-ever Military Appreciation Day on Friday, March 22, at 6 p.m. at Blue Flame Field.

This special event will be held in conjunction with the Blue Flame’s game against the Walhalla Razorbacks. Pickens baseball coach Stan Butler would like to invite all current military service members and veterans to the event, as well as families of current or retired military members.

The event will be free of charge to all military members and their

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Courier Obits 3-6-19


EASLEY — John “Bobby” Robert Finley, 78, husband of Sonja Pryor Finley, passed away on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, at Cottingham Hospice House in Seneca.

Mr. Finley was born in Oconee County, a son of the late William Odis and Bernice Smith Finley. He was a 1958 graduate of Liberty High School, and he retired as a district manager with United Life Insurance Company. Bobby was a member of Curtis Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga., Bates Lodge No. 189 A.F.M., and was a Hejaz Shriner. Mr. Finley served our country in the U.S. Army Reserve during the Vietnam era. Mr. Finley enjoyed playing golf.

In addition to his wife of 53 years, Bobby is survived by one son, Charles Usry of Clemson; two brothers, Howard Finley (Phyllis) of

Upstate Forever honors Chastain for conservation advocacy

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter


Pickens resident Dennis Chastain was recently recognized by Upstate Forever for his decades of dedication to preserving the history and beauty of this area.

Chastain received the Extraordinary Achievement Award at the 2019 ForeverGreen Awards Luncheon held Feb. 19 in Greenville.

The Extraordinary Achievement Award recognizes an individual who, through dedication and leadership, has made an extraordinary contribution to conservation and/or sustainable growth in the Upstate, according to a news release from Upstate Forever.

The award recognizes Chastain for this more than 40 years of work as a writer, historian, botanist, guide and conservation advocate, the release said.

Chastain is an award-winning outdoor writer, historian, tour guide and interpretive naturalist.

“I’ve written about everything from black bears to butterflies,” he said in a video shown at the awards ceremony. “You’d think there were no more topics, but actually there’s always something to write about.”

Chastain is currently the Blue Wall vice president of the Pickens County Historical Society. Among his work for that group is helping to secure funding for a historically accurate reconstruction of the colonial era Fort Prince George.

“I think the best way to describe Dennis is ‘Renaissance Man,” Upstate Forever founder Brad Wyche said in the video. “Dennis has been such a great ally for Upstate Forever and other conservation organizations on so many important initiatives in the Upstate over the last 40 years. He is such a treasure for the Upstate.

Chastain has “helped us learn more about the region in which we live,” he said.

“He’s helped make the Upstate a much better place,” Wyche said.

Chastain’s roots in the area run deep. His ancestors arrived in the region in 1796.

He and his wife, Jane, live on the Chastain family’s homeplace in the shadow of Table Rock.

In the video, Chastain said he spent a lot of his summers growing up at the old homeplace.

“Somewhere along the way, I just developed this enduring love for all things wild and wonderful,” Chastain said.

Speaking with the Courier, Chastain said the award “came out of the blue.”

“It’s honestly just incredible,” he said. “It was an absolute, complete surprise.”

He’s the sixth person to receive the award.

“I have the greatest respect for Upstate Forever as an organization,” Chastain said. “Jane and I have been members since the organization consisted of three people. We’ve been associated with Upstate Forever for a long time. It made the honor even greater.”

Filling out a questionnaire in preparation for the award ceremony sent him on “a journey back through time,” he said.

“One of the questions was ‘what was your greatest environmental or conservational success?’” Chastain said.

One was a battle in the 1980s to keep the waters near Table Rock pristine after a developer proposed a sewage treatment plant.

“They were proposing to discharge the effluent into the Oolenoy River at the very point where the wildlife department stocks trout,” Chastain said.

A concerned group appointed him to “take on the task of fighting this thing,” he said.

“It really was a David vs. Goliath story,” Chastain said. “Just me and my powers of persuasion and the documents.”

Chastain studied the permitting system and “found a way to beat them,” he said.

“You’ll notice there’s no sewage treatment plant on the Oolenoy River,” Chastain said with a laugh.

“Rivers at Risk,” one of his articles for South Carolina Wildlife magazine, led to statewide changes. His research revealed that two-thirds of the state’s lakes, rivers and streams were classified by DHEC as Class B, a classification that permitted fecal coliform bacteria at levels considered “unsafe for swimming and fishing,” he said. That was a direct violation of the Clean Water Act’s “fishable/swimmable” standard, Chastain said.

“The agency charged with protecting our health was allowing discharges to the point where it wasn’t safe to swim or fish,” he said. “This was outrageous.”

The article created “a drumbeat of support” from residents, and six weeks after its publication, Chastain received a call from Mike Jarrett, then the executive director of DHEC.

“He said that he had read my article and made the decision while actually reading the article that they were going to totally eliminate the Class B classification and revamp their entire stream classification system,” he said. “Amazing. It was honestly one of the most gratifying moments of my life.”

Chastain says he’s used a quote from President Theodore Roosevelt as his guiding philosophy in life.

“‘Do what you can, with what you have, where you are,’” he said. “That says it all.”