Category Archives: Local News

Pickens High student killed in wreck

Driver charged with DUI

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

GREENVILLE — A Pickens woman faces multiple charges, including felony DUI with death, after a single-car accident that killed a Pickens High School senior on Saturday night.

Madison Bagwell, 19, is charged with one count of felony DUI with death, two counts of felony DUI with great bodily injury, one count of child endangerment and one count of simple possession of marijuana, according to Cpl. Bill Rhyne of the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Greenville County deputy coroner Kent Dill said Pickens High School senior Jessica Faye Adeline Adams, 17, was killed in the accident.

The wreck occurred at 11:52 p.m. Saturday on U.S. Highway 25 near Pine Hill Drive, Rhyne said.

Rhyne said Bagwell was driving a 1997 Jeep Cherokee with four passengers when she lost control. The Cherokee went off the left side of the roadway into the median and overturned, coming to rest in the northbound lanes.

Rhyne said Adams was in the front passenger seat, was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle. She was airlifted to Greenville Memorial Hospital, where she died at 3:25 a.m. Sunday, Dill said.

The cause of death is pending, he said.

A 13-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, both from Pickens, were injured and transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital, Rhyne said. They were both wearing seatbelts.

Cal Rampey, 20, of Pickens, was also injured and transported to Greenville

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Suit alleges girl assaulted on school bus

By Greg Oliver

Courtesy The Journal

EASLEY — A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court against the School District of Pickens County alleges district officials failed to protect a 7-year-old student from sexual assault and blamed the victim for the assault.

“This case is about keeping children safe in schools and making sure those in power don’t take a bad situation and make it worse,” said Charleston-based attorney Josh Slavin, who is representing Pinnacle Financial Partners as conservator and guardian ad litem for the victim, identified as Jane Doe, and, separately, the victim’s mother and father. “When a young child is sexually assaulted, she needs help and love and support.

“Our lawsuit alleges, based on our investigation, that the assistant principal did the exact opposite — she interrogated, blamed and bullied this 7-year-old girl. Schools must train their employees how to properly handle sexual assaults and then make sure the employees follow their training. That’s not what happened here, and that’s why we are bringing this lawsuit.”

The lawsuit says the victim was a student at McKissick Elementary School with no significant disciplinary record. The suit alleges a male student

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Driver dies after dump truck flips

SUNSET — A dump truck driver died after his truck flipped down an embankment Monday morning in Pickens County.

Pickens County deputy coroner Gary Duncan identified the victim as 55-year-old Allan J. Cyr of Chesnee.

A call came in at 10:28 a.m. reporting a dump truck accident on F Van Clayton Memorial Highway near Hancock Road, authorities said.

Upon arrival, Pickens County Emergency Services found a dump truck overturned at the bottom of a 60-foot embankment, according to a county

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SDPC’s Merck joins education leaders in Finland

By Greg Oliver
Courtesy The Journal

EASLEY — School District of Pickens County superintendent Danny Merck is currently on a weeklong trip to Finland, joining 22 other South Carolina leaders visiting public schools.

“I have studied Finland’s success extensively, as we are constantly looking for the best ways to improve learning,” Merck said. “To see their schools and speak to their education leaders in person is an invaluable opportunity.”

Merck, who is the only school official from the tri-county area of Oconee, Pickens and Anderson counties making the trip, said he received an invitation to join the group in May.

“We are studying many areas, including early childhood, career and technology education, special education, world language in elementary, afterschool programs, personalized learning, project-based learning, retention philosophy, engagement, culture, safety and philosophy,” he said.

The public education system in Finland consistently performs at the top of

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Pickens County councilman says hotel survey would help with ATAX requests

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Pickens County Council members approved a number of accommodations tax funding requests last week, but they want more data to accompany future requests and recommendations.

In discussions about funding recommendations from the ATAX committee, council members have expressed frustration with what they say is a lack of information from applicants regarding the amount of tourists their events bring into the county.

“What I’m looking for is … actual numbers as to how many people you put in hotels,” Councilman Trey Whitehurst said. “I haven’t seen that in really

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Pickens County: More than 150 years in the making

By G. Anne Sheriff

Courtesy Pickens County

COUNTY — Pickens County was Cherokee Indian territory until the American Revolution.

The Cherokees sided with the British, suffered defeat, and surrendered their South Carolina lands. This former Cherokee territory was included in the Ninety-Six Judicial District.

In 1791, the state legislature established Washington District, a judicial area composed of present-day Greenville, Anderson, Pickens and Oconee counties, and then composed of Greenville and Pendleton counties. Streets for the courthouse town of Pickensville (near present-day Easley) were laid off, and soon a cluster of buildings arose that perhaps included a large wooden hotel, which served as a stagecoach stop.

In 1798, Washington District was divided into Greenville and Pendleton

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Easley Community Band to play at Foothills Playhouse

EASLEY — The Easley Community Band will perform its first concert of the 2018-2019 season at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22, at the Foothills Playhouse in Easley.

Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted. Proceeds benefit the Easley Community Band and the Pickens County Humane Society.

For more information, visit or find the band’s Facebook page.


Easley could provide boost to new affordable housing development

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — An assist from the city of Easley could help spur interest in an affordable housing development, officials hope.

During a work session last week, city council members discussed the Trailside Active Affordable Housing development, located at North 5th Street and West D Street, near the Doodle Trail.

Council passed an ordinance in June transferring 18 lots to Quinn Satterfield Inc. “for the purpose of constructing affordable home occupied single-family units.”

The homes will range from $120,000 to $160,000. Phase I of the development includes 12 home sites.

Applicants must be approved for a loan for the property they want to build on at Trailside. Once they’re approved, applicants will draw down that property for construction.

But so far, applicants haven’t made it all the way through the application

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Jeep club plans 8th ‘Memory Lane’ trip

PICKENS — Pickens County is celebrating its 150th birthday. With so many great milestones to commemorate, a local group is remembering Larry Hinkle and the impact he had in the community with the World’s Largest Jeep Dealership located in Pickens.

The legend continues today through “Upstate Legends Jeep Club” with its annual “Memory Lane” trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., to pay tribute to Hinkle. This year marks the eighth year of the Memory Lane trip, and a special limited shirt design was released for the members taking the trip this year.

Because of Hinkle’s influence and impact on Pickens County, Upstate

Legends was formed in June 2010 by Gary Robinson, Roger Cassell and

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Blue Flame finish region undefeated on senior night

PICKENS — Once again, it’s in the books. In her second year as coach of the Lady Flame, Rikki Owens and second year assistant coach Pamela Clarkson led the 2018 Lady Flame volleyball team to another undefeated

Pickens Blue Flame seniors are L-R front row
Jewell Porterfield, Sabrina Stewart, Sarah Stewart and Sydney Skipper. Back Row; Savannah Noblitt, Abigail Durham, Sydney Bolding and Lexi Wierzbicki

Region I-4A championship.

The Lady Flame wrapped up the region title by defeating Daniel on Oct. 8, but needed to defeat Palmetto on senior night Oct. 10 to remain undefeated, and that they did, defeating the Mustangs 3-0.

On the night of the final region match, eight seniors huddled together then took their places on the court. The eight seniors, most of whom have played together since the seventh grade or competed against each other while some were students at Dacusville Middle, led their team to a 3-0 victory.

This group of seniors defeated Palmetto 25-13, 25-9, 25-4, sealing the deal on another undefeated season in region play.

As they do before each home match, Sarah and Sabrina Stewart led the

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