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Category Archives: Local News

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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Derrick running for mayor

PICKENS — Jeff Derrick has announced his intent to run for mayor of Pickens.
Calling himself a “self-made” professional, Derrick said he has a “distinctive background in engineering” from design to management of projects spanning some 40-plus years in construction of chemical to nuclear facilities — projects from two-plus million to several hundred million.
He said he also has experience in managing and submitting and  awarding contracts.
“As mayor, I will propose multiple projects of direction for all citizens of Pickens instead of just a chosen few,” Derrick said. “I believe all citizens should have a voice.
“Pickens has had and still has a group of politicians, people that seem to run this city only as they see fit,” he added. “They always put aside the real citizens. Pickens needs a different type of leadership — leadership for all, and not just a chosen few. I pray for your vote. Let’s move forward.”

Lady Devils’ stellar season comes to end

The Liberty Lady Devils 10-and-under softball team saw its season come to a close last week as it finished just shy of an all-star championship against Iva. The Lady Devils, coached by Jody Booth, Scott Moore, Brian Swafford and Tia Swafford, went 13-0 during the regular season before moving on to all-star competition. Liberty opened all-star play with a 7-3 win over Seneca on June 16. The Lady Devils continued to show the winning pedigree they had shown all season when they took on Central/Clemson. Liberty took a 6-5 win in nailbiting fashion before moving on to the championship game on June 26. The team was escorted by friends, family and most importantly, the Liberty Police Department as it headed to Crescent High School for the championship game. The Lady Devils fought a hard fight, coming up short 3-0, but still received runner-up honors in the 10-and-under Dixie Angels division of the tournament.

Courier Community Calendar 7-3-19

• Youth cheer camp set at Pickens High

The Pickens High School varsity and JV cheerleaders are sponsoring a youth cheer camp set for Saturday, Aug. 3, in the cheer room at PHS from 9 a.m. until noon. The cost is $30 per child, and ages 6-12 may register beginning at 8:30 a.m. Cash or checks made payable to PHS will be accepted. There will be a showcase at 11:30 a.m., and all parents, families and friends are invited to attend. Contact AshleyButler@pickens.k12.sc.us or nicholsonbreann@gmail.com for more information.

• Soapstone set to host fundraiser

Soapstone Church invites everyone to a special fundraiser at the church, located at 296 Liberia Road in Pickens, on Saturday, July 20. The event will feature fine cooking and will be held from noon-8 p.m. Visitors will enjoy true Southern cooking, including a fish fry, barbecue and fried chicken with all the fixings right.

• ‘Hee Haw’ play planned in Pickens

A play based on popular 1970s and ‘80s TV show “Hee Haw” was a smash hit on June 8 at the Pickens Senior Center, and a an encore presentation is planned Saturday, July 13, starting at 7 p.m.
The play, written by Carol Baker, is directed by Rick and Susan Grant. Mike Waldrop is the announcer. The cast features a group of talented musicians and actors, including Lewis Pace, Carol Baker, Dale Harward, Bucky Hendricks, Mike Hayes, Lib Cowan, Earl

Officials speak about Behavioral Health’s work, importance

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter
jevans@thepccourier.com

PICKENS — Behavioral Health Services of Pickens County has been serving the community for more than 45 years.
Executive director Angela Farmer spoke at a county council meeting last week.
“Several individuals have asked us to be more public about who we are and our services,” Farmer said.
Established in 1973, Behavioral Health Services of Pickens County is a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit organization.
Neither a county nor state agency, BHSPC has been deemed one of the 34 county authorities on substance abuse in the state.
“Our purpose is to provide affordable and accessible prevention, intervention and treatment services to the residents of Pickens County,” Farmer said. “We hope to help people through their journey to recovery.”
In Fiscal Year 2019, BHSPC served more than 2,500 clients, she said, and 772 of those were under the age of 18.
“We specialize in substance abuse treatment and behavioral health care,” Farmer said. “Sixty percent of our clients fall in behavioral health care, (and) 40 percent fall into the substance abuse treatment program.”
BHSPC treats trauma, depression, anxiety, domestic violence “and other behavioral

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Wilkins: Robber pointed gun at children

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

jevans@thepccourier.com

PICKENS — A 37-year-old Pickens County man was sentenced to 15 years in prison last week after authorities said he pointed a gun at two children and threatened their lives during a 2018 robbery.

Before the start of his June 17 trial, Kelsie Travan McMullen pleaded guilty to armed robbery, first-degree burglary and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, 13th Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins said in a release.

Assistant solicitor Britni McCall presented evidence during the plea hearing establishing that McMullen unlawfully entered a home in Pickens County on March 15, 2018,

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