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Daily Archives: 07/02/2019

County administrator to retire

Roper to serve as acting administrator

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter
jevans@thepccourier.com

PICKENS — After three years as Pickens County administrator, and more than 25 years as a county employee, Gerald Wilson will be retiring next month.
Wilson said he planned to tell county employees of his decision Tuesday afternoon.
“I’m going to be retiring Aug. 23,” he said.
His decision came after discussions with his wife and family, Wilson said.
“I’ve got my 31 years in the state retirement system,” he said. “It’s the thing we want to do at this point in my life.”
Thoughts of his retirement factored into his decision to become county administrator in 2016.
“They offered me a four-year contract, but I only agreed to two,” Wilson said.
He considered retiring last year, but changed his mind after a discussion with County

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A whole new direction for county museum

‘Doodleville’ could make museum more kid-friendly

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter
jevans@thepccourier.com

PICKENS — Plans to make a portion of the Pickens County Museum of Art and History more appealing to children are in the works.
County tourism director Jay Pitts discussed the museum with county council June 17 as he went over the Accommodations Tax Committee’s recommendations on applications for funding.
The museum’s foundation is requesting $50,000 in funding toward the creation of “Doodleville,” an interactive children’s museum.
“The committee granted $50,000,” Pitts said. “This was a recommendation to fund the full amount. The ATAX committee was very excited about this idea.”
Children’s museums across the Upstate are “very successful in drawing tourists,” he said.
“This could be the same for Pickens County,” Pitts said.
County administrator Gerald Wilson said Doodleville would be more interactive, with more “touch and feel” displays.
Pitts agreed.
“Staff at the museum is looking at ways they can enhance the museum to bring more people in,” he said. “What they want to do is create Doodleville and do storefronts of each of our municipalities inside the museum. Once a child or even an adult goes through that storefront, there are going to be activities that represent each of the municipalities for them to participate in.”
Doodleville would be located at the back of the museum, Pitts said.
“This is a whole new direction for the museum,” Councilman Trey

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July 4 events set for this week

COUNTY — Pickens County residents are preparing to celebrate America’s independence this week with events across the county.
The events will kick off the day before July 4 and will run all the way through this weekend.
Clemson will kick off the festivities Wednesday with the 26th annual ClemsonFest. The event will be held at Spittoono field, located at 1569 Eighteen Mile Road in Central. The cost of the event is $5 per person or $10 per carload.
The gate will open at 5 p.m., and the festival will continue until 10 p.m. Carolina Coast Band will provide live entertainment starting

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Pickens County fugitive caught

ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. — A Six Mile man charged with attempted murder after deputies say he attacked his ex-girlfriend was arrested last week in Tennessee.
Boyce Derek Lowrance, 39, of John Holliday Road, was arrested in Rogersville, Tenn., on June 26, according to a report in the Citizen Tribune of Morristown, Tenn.
A Hawkins County (Tenn.) Sheriff’s Office detective told the newspaper he received a tip that Lowrance had been living in the county, and he was arrested and charged with being a fugitive from justice.
Lowrance will have to go through an extradition process to be returned to Pickens County, where he is charged with attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, according to a news release from Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Chief

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County to stay in Upstate Alliance

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter
jevans@thepccourier.com

PICKENS — Pickens County will remain a member of regional marketing group Upstate Alliance.
The county’s continued membership in the alliance was a question for county council members as they discussed the Fiscal Year 2020 budget.
During a May budget work session, Alliance Pickens executive director Ray Farley advocated for continued membership in Upstate Alliance.
Membership gives Pickens County “a bigger platform to launch from,” than the county, with its population of 120,000, would otherwise have, Farley said.
“Sometimes site searches require a populace of 800,000, 1 million, 1.2 million folks,” he said. “In those kinds of searches, by virtue of

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Cat conundrums

Well, I guess I can’t go any further without telling you about my cats.
I call them my cats, but they’re not really mine. I didn’t choose them.
They chose me.
Or rather, God sent them to me.
I think it was to teach me deep spiritual and sociological truths.
I’m not sure how well I’m learning my lessons, but let me relate to you the most recent episode.
As I write this, one of our three cats — named “Bluesy” — has gone missing.
These are all “outside” cats, you know, so this can happen any time, and has happened twice before with other cats we’ve had. One of those times, the cat came back — after an absence of three or four years!
I’m worried about Bluesy, though, because I think she has been going deaf recently. She doesn’t seem to hear me walking up behind her, and then all of a sudden, she’ll jump when she realizes I’m there. So I’m worried that she may not have heard a car coming.
Or, she may just be mad at me because I gave her some grief over her pooping right next to the walkway in the front yard, where I was planning to plant an herb garden.
Bluesy is a little like me — she has (or had) somewhat of an oversized appetite. She was

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County hopes to help conservation district

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter
jevans@thepccourier.com

PICKENS — County council hopes to be able to allocate additional funding to the Pickens County Soil and Water Conservation District.
During a budget discussion at council’s June 17 meeting, council chairman Roy Costner moved to allocate an additional $20,000 to the district.
“We do fund them at $3,000, but they operate on a shoestring budget,” he said. “I do believe that we have other opportunities to benefit the county as a part of that because of the facilities that they have.”
The district’s main priority is maintenance of seven dams, board of commissioners chair Amy Wilson told council members at a May budget work session.
“Without their protection and work on those dams that we have in the area, we could be in a world of hurt,” Costner said. “I appreciate all the work that they do.”
Councilman Trey Whitehurst asked if the funds would be taken out of reserves.
County administrator Gerald Wilson said county policy states reserves should be used for one-time costs. The district is asking for some operational costs, he said.
“This is not a one-time cost,” Whitehurst said. “If we do it one year, we’re pretty much saying we’re going to get involved in this thing. You can’t give someone an operational cost one year and then turn around the nextt year and say ‘You know what? We’re not going to do that this year.’ I think that’s setting them up for failure.”
Costner agreed.
“But I do believe that they are set up for failure right now,” he said. “Right now they can’t do all that they need to do to protect those

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County officials frustrated with accommodations tax applications

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter
jevans@thepccourier.com

PICKENS — As Pickens County Council members considered proposals to be funded through accommodations taxes, members expressed their frustration with a lack of requested data.
During council’s June 17 meeting, county tourism director Jay Pitts presented recommendations from the county’s accommodations tax committee. Pitts said this was the first year he’s been involved in the ATAX process.
Councilman Trey Whitehurst said accommodations tax funds are supposed to be used for programs and events that bring in visitors

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Keeping up is hard to do

The first thing to get straight after waking is to determine what day this is. They have all seemed to run together lately.
Checking the calendar can bring surprises. Oh! It’s not Tuesday, it’s Wednesday.
The hummingbird feeder needs to be filled again, even though it seems as though I just finished doing it.
Overnight, the grass has grown three inches.
Weeds have dared to grow among the flowers.
And the dogs have been somewhere they shouldn’t have been. It appears they have been wallowing in the pond, and once thoroughly wet, have rolled diligently in dirt and sand until the color of their hair can barely be seen.
They smell. A bath is essential. After coffee, breakfast, filling the washer, folding clothes and feeding the Chihuahua and deleting emails, the time has come.
The last time Boomer had a bath ended in the washer becoming as wet as the washee.
Sebastian was an exception, as at his age he’s had many a bath and has grown much more accustomed.
Fortunately, with experience and age and hopefully, wisdom, Boomer has learned

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A boy’s first paying job

At the beginning of my sixth-grade year at Twelve Mile Elementary School, the school bus route changed. It came by my house two times. I would often catch it the first time around and either ride the complete route or occasionally depart at the school. When I arrived early, I would often be the first person there. As the school year progressed and the weather got colder, I would build a fire in each of the three heaters in the classrooms, thus having the rooms warmed when the bell donged at eight o’clock. Previous to my contract with the principal, each teacher had to build their own fire.
These old heaters burned coal, but required wood to heat up the coal to get it to burn. On extremely cold days, I recall some of the girls sitting up close to the heater studying while wearing their overcoats. They looked like some of the gold-digging immigrants to Alaska in the 1800s.
Well, the principal, Mrs. Annie Durham, came to me one day and made me a deal. She would pay me 10 cents per day to build fires in each classroom. I jumped at this deal and

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