Category Archives: Local News

State DSS head: Group homes not long-term answer

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

EASLEY — The new director of the South Carolina Department of Social Services believes that group homes should only be a temporary measure.

Department of Social Services and foster care were the main topics of a recent Pickens United meeting.

“Group homes are fine, for the right child,” SCDSS director Mike Leach said. “There’s a lot of research to show that now. The federal government is forcing states to move forward and say ‘Use it, let’s make it sure it’s quality when used, use it for the right kids and don’t use it for too long.’”

Long-term group residency can create “disconnect from the community,” he said.

“That child loses access to their family a lot of times,” he said. “It does more harm than good. A lot of young people do thrive in those settings … but we need to make sure it’s only for the right young people.”

Leach said DSS “is the hardest job in state government,

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Board recognizes SkillsUSA winners

The School District of Pickens County board recently recognized several students from the Pickens County Career and Technology Center who participated in the national SkillsUSA competition this summer. Jacob Campbell (above) was crowned national champion in the CNC technician competition. Campbell is now senior at Pickens High School and still has one year of eligibility to compete. The district’s mobile robotics team (below) also won silver at SkillsUSA. The team’s members were 2019 Liberty High School valedictorian Isaac Cook and Pickens High School senior Brady Reece. CTC teachers Brian Aiken and LaMarr Brooks coached the students to success at the highest levels of competition.


Hagood Mill hosting 23rd annual fiddling convention this month

PICKENS — As autumn approaches and the leaves turn their brilliant colors, it signals the time for fiddle music in the mountains.

On Sept. 20-21, vintage fiddle music will fill the hills and hollers around Hagood Mill as the mill once again hosts the annual Old Time Fiddling Convention. Some of the best fiddlers in the Southeast will gather to compete for the title of South Carolina’s State Champion Fiddler. The traditional contest goes back to the 1920s, when Clemson University opened the doors of stately Tillman Hall to the local musicians

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Suicide prevention workship offered Sept. 13 in Clemson

CLEMSON — Help end the second leading cause of death of people 15-34 years old in our state by attending a free one-day suicide prevention/intervention workshop on Friday, Sept. 13 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Clemson. All participants are welcome, and five hours of professional learning credit is accredited for this course.

Email or call Tom von Kaenel (864) 643-9197 to register or for more information.


Courier Community Calendar

• Pickens Lions need your help on Sept. 7

The Pickens Lions Club has joined South Carolina’s Adopt-A-Highway program to help keep local roads clean and will be on “Litter Patrol” this Saturday, Sept 7. The Lions are in charge of S.C. Highway 8 starting at Walgreens in Pickens and ending at Pickens Animal Hospital. The Lions are looking for volunteers to help with the effort. You do not need to be a member of the club, just have a passion to help keep Pickens. Safety vests and garbage bags will be provided. Call Brian at (864) 507-3146 to get more information.

• Jones Hill set to host Chinese auction

Jones Hill Church of God will host a Chinese auction on Saturday, Sept. 21. Located at 1014 Dalton Road in Marietta,

Hicks awarded CRB designation

EASLEY — Jennifer Hicks, broker in charge of the Easley office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, C. Dan Joyner Realtors, has been awarded the prestigious Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB) designation, the premier brokerage management credential in the industry.

The CRB is conferred by the Real Estate Business Institute and is an official designation of the National Association of Realtors. Hicks joins an elite group of real estate professionals from around the world who have earned the CRB designation. All were required to complete a comprehensive program combining experience with management education and subscribe to the Realtors Code of Ethics.

With a career spanning 16 years in the real estate industry, Hicks has

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Conservatives plan monthly meeting

EASLEY — Conservatives of the Upstate will hold its September meeting from 7-8 p.m. Tuesday at Coyote Coffee in Easley.

The meeting, open to the public, will feature guest speaker David Weikle, who has announced his candidacy to run against Sen. Lindsey Graham in next year’s Republican primary. The public will be allowed to ask questions.

Coyote Coffee is located at 1035 S. Pendleton St. in Easley.

For more information, visit


Business set to expand, create nearly 50 jobs

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

LIBERTY — Officials celebrated the announcement last week that KP Components Inc. will be investing more than $16 million to expand its Easley location, creating several dozen new jobs.

The manufacturer of complex and high-precision metal components has a facility on Sheriff Mill Road.

Officials announced the expansion Thursday afternoon at the Alliance Pickens office.

This marks the 50th anniversary of the company, “a great member of the Pickens County family,” county council chairman Roy Costner said.

In 2011, company officials announced the creation of the Easley facility, making Pickens County “their North

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Former interim police chief arrested

CENTRAL — A former Central police officer who served as interim chief for three months was arrested last week by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division after an arrest warrant accuses him of being a peeping tom.

SLED charged Mark Anthony Bolden with peeping on Thursday after a warrant alleges he recorded a woman naked while she was changing clothes between March 18-25.

Bolden, 54, served as interim chief for about three months last fall.

Central town administrator Phillip Mishoe told The Journal that Bolden had worked for the town as a police officer from June 2010 to December 2018. Mishoe said Bolden left the department on his own accord.

After discovering videos on Bolden’s work laptop, Mishoe said he asked

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Council approves increasing salaries for detention officers

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

LIBERTY — Pickens County Council members approved raising the starting salary of county detention officers, but officials acknowledge nearby counties will still pay more for those positions.

County council held a special called meeting at the Alliance Pickens office following an economic development announcement Thursday afternoon.

Council voted to pass an enhanced recruitment plan presented to it by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office.

“The sense of urgency is, this is something we need to address as they come to the completion of the jail,” council chairman Roy Costner said. “It’s not completed as of yet … but they’re getting close.”

Earlier this month, Sheriff Rick Clark told council filling all the positions

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