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Category Archives: Local News

Courier Community Calendar 5-15-19

• Reece reunion planned for May 26

The family of John S. and Ada Cantrell Reece will host their annual family reunion on Sunday, May 26, at Mountain Grove Baptist Church.

The group plans to eat at 1 p.m. Cups, plates, napkins and silverware will be provided. Everyone is asked bring a well-filled basket.

Mountain Grove Baptist Church is located at 644 E. Preston McDaniel Highway in Pickens.

• Legion Post 67 seeks members

American Legion Post 67 in Liberty is accepting applications for membership from all U.S. military wartime veterans.

For more information, call (864) 787-2322.

• Mile Creek Baptist to host May days

Mile Creek Baptist Church pastor Kevin Kuykendall and the Mile Creek church family will welcome all in Christian fellowship to their

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Hagood Mill director fired

McDaniel resigns as foundation chair

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

jevans@thepccourier.com

PICKENS — Pickens County administrator Gerald Wilson said Hagood Mill Historic Site director Billy Crawford was terminated with cause on Thursday.

“We had a personnel issue we had to address,” Wilson said.

Crawford became Hagood Mill’s director following the death of director Eddie Bolt in 2013.

Wilson said the Hagood Mill director position will be filled at some point in the future.

“After all the dust settles, we’ll regroup and put a plan in place,” he said.

Crawford’s termination will not cause any

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Coal ash saga still continues

I sort of hate to bring this up since most of you probably think it’s a long-dead issue, but the legal battle over a proposed coal ash landfill near Liberty is raging on.

In fact, lawyers representing Pickens County have filed a motion asking for a jury trial.

This fight has taken all kinds of nasty twists and turns ever since the local legislative delegation got the state law changed to specifically bar coal ash from being deposited in a Class 2 landfill, which is the type of facility that a company called MRR Pickens wants to operate. The company, however, says the county breached its contract, which predates the change in the law.

The two sides have been at each other’s throats in depositions, motions and maneuvers.

“MRR has engaged in obstruction and delay extensively in this case, in addition to its ongoing misrepresentations and deceit from June of 2014 to the present,” lawyers for the county assert in one of the recent court filings.

I checked in with Gary Poliakoff, the lead attorney representing Pickens County, to see if anything has happened since Jan. 29, when he filed the motion asking for a jury trial.

“That motion and several other motions remain pending,” he wrote in an emailed reply. “Hopefully they’ll get scheduled and heard soon, but no date yet.

“Also, we are hopeful that trial will take place before the end of this year.”

The lead lawyer for MRR didn’t reply to my email.

So, here it is, approaching the middle of 2019, and this dispute, which dates back to late 2015, may be coming to a head sometime

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Easley budget has no millage increase

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

jevans@thepccourier.com

EASLEY — The city of Easley’s proposed fiscal year 2019-2020 budget does not contain a millage increase.

“Property tax is proposed to remain the same at 68 mills,” city administrator Stephen Steese told council during a budget work session April 23. “There is no tax increase recommended.”

Some residents will see an increase related to the local option sales tax.

“That is the amount that we get from sales tax that comes in annually to offset property tax,” he said.

Officials say the local option sales tax multiplier will be decreasing.

“This is the first time it’s dropped in about four years,” Steese said. “What that means is people will receive a smaller discount off their property taxes. Even though millage will not be going up, they’ll probably see some small increase from that multiplier being

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Chief releases more in women’s killings

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

jevans@thepccourier.com

PICKENS — A woman kidnapped and later killed by an ex-boyfriend initially told police the man had not threatened her, according to Pickens Police Chief Travis Riggs.

Riggs released more information about the killings of Rebecca Purry and her aunt, Claudette Purry, on Friday.

Claudette Purry was shot by Marco Vaught in the early-morning hours of April 17 at her home on Pendleton Street, police said. Vaught then forced Rebecca Purry to get into a black 2000 GMC Denali, according to witnesses.

Claudette Purry died later that morning. Vaught, initially charged with aggravated assault and kidnapping, was charged with murder

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No tax hike in district budget proposal

By Greg Oliver

Courtesy The Journal

goliver@upstatetoday.com

EASLEY — The Pickens County School Board approved first reading of a proposed $128,597,450 general fund budget last week that includes pay raises for teachers and support staff and expands district services for early childhood, mental health and world languages, but does not include a tax increase.

“We are very pleased with the increase in teacher pay, and specifically the improved starting teacher pay ($38,513),” district superintendent Danny Merck said.

Merck said the district is adding teachers for 3- and 4-year-old kindergarten in Liberty, world language teachers at Clemson Elementary, Six Mile Elementary, Pickens Elementary and Hagood Elementary and another teacher to the Pickens County Career and Technology Center.

“We are making these improvements and more without recommending a millage increase,” Merck said. The proposed budget consists of a 4 percent increase on each cell of the teacher state minimum salary scale, one step increase for certified teachers paid on the teacher scale who are not at the top of the scale and pay initiatives for other employees, including one step increase for bus

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State commission OKs rate hike for ‘tone deaf’ Duke

By Riley Morningstar

Courtesy The Journal

rmorningstar@upstatetoday.com

SENECA — The South Carolina Public Service Commission has approved a request allowing Duke Energy to raise its monthly basic facilities charge to from $8.29 to $11.96 per month for residential customers.

But a member of the commission criticized Duke officials this week, saying they “demonstrated they were tone deaf” about the impact the company’s original request for an increase in the basic facilities charge to $28 per month would have had on elderly, disabled, low income and low-use customers.

The commission took action last week on the rate increase application on the request proposed by Duke to increase monthly basic

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Sheriff’s office warns of utility phone scam

PICKENS — Residents should beware of phone calls from scammers trying to pass themselves off as utility company representatives, according to police.

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office issued a news release Monday that said local residents have received phone calls from unknown people claiming to be utility companies.

The callers tell homeowners their monthly bill is overdue and unless they provide funds over the phone using “Green Dot” cards or

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VA officer asks for assistant, more hours

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

jevans@thepccourier.com

PICKENS — Pickens County Veterans Affairs officer Sherry Harris says the claims and paperwork her office deals with are becoming more complicated and time-consuming.

“It’s a constant, ever-changing environment,” Harris said. “We have over 8,000 (veterans) in our system.”

Harris asked county council at its meeting last week to fund a part-time administrative assistant, as well as increasing her work

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Officials debate value of Upstate Alliance

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

jevans@thepccourier.com

PICKENS — Pickens County Council weighed the benefits of staying a member of Upstate Alliance against the annual cost of membership.

County staff has recommended council fund the more than $55,000 membership cost, according to county administrator Gerald Wilson.

“Being part of Upstate Alliance opens doors for us that we couldn’t open without being a member of Upstate Alliance,” he said. “It’s almost like membership in a country club to an extent. It’s a small fee for the services it brings to us.”

Wilson said the county has seen an increase in the number of state grants it has received, he said.

“Keep in mind, the economy’s booming,” Wilson said.

Pickens County was recently awarded a $500,000 Set Aside grant to help with costs associated with bringing IPSUM Technologies to

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