Category Archives: News

West Nile virus confirmed in Easley

By Rocky Nimmons

EASLEY — Authorities said Monday that a Greenville County resident had become the first person in the state to die of West Nile virus in 2018, just days

Rocky Nimmons/Courier
Easley fire chief Butch Womack speaks during a news conference announcing a case of West Nile virus had been confirmed in the city on Friday. Listening, from left, are Pickens County councilman Chris Bowers, Easley Police Capt. Rashad Murray and Pickens County Emergency Management director Denise Kwiatek.

after a case of the virus was confirmed in a person in Easley.

In a special news conference at Easley City Hall on Friday, Pickens County and Easley officials confirmed that a single person in the Easley area had tested positive for the disease.

Officials said this is the first case ever reported in Pickens County, although

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Man heads to prison for years of abuse

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

PICKENS — A Pickens man has been sentenced to more than a decade in prison for sexually abusing a child.

Russell Lewis Evans, 35, pleaded guilty on Aug. 29 to third-degree criminal sexual conduct, according to a news release from 13th Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins.

The case was investigated by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, Wilkins said. Evidence presented at the plea hearing established that Evans sexually abused a child in Pickens County between 2014 and 2016, he said.

The victim was 8 years old when the abuse began, Wilkins said.

Judge Alex Kinlaw sentenced Evans to 15 years in prison.

Upon release, Evans will be required to register as a sex offender and will be on lifetime GPS monitoring.


Clemson interchange named for Skelton

By Greg Oliver

Courtesy The Journal

CLEMSON — Former State Rep. B.R. Skelton has been honored for his life to public service with a concurrent resolution of both houses of the S.C. General Assembly naming “Dr. B.R. Skelton Interchange,” with a total of four signs now featured at the intersection of U.S. Highway 123 and S.C. Highway 93.

“B.R. Skelton has done many things in this community, from his service on (Clemson) City Council to being a member of the (Pickens) County Transportation Committee — not once, but twice,” State Rep. Gary Clary said as he presented the framed resolution. “Every day when I walk in the House (of Representatives), someone always tells me a B.R. Skelton story.”

Clary said replacing Skelton in the legislature “has been quite a task.”

“I appreciate the counsel and guidance he has given me in my time here,” he

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Liberty finds success on offense for win against St. Joseph’s

By Clay Counts
Special to The Courier

LIBERTY — After struggling through a hard-fought loss against county rival Pickens, the Liberty Red Devils turned their focus to ironing out a few kinks ahead of another non-region tune-up game last Friday against the St. Joseph Knights.

With one last non-region battle planned this week before the heart of the schedule begins with region play, the Devils showed their progression from previous weeks against St. Joseph’s Friday night, putting together their most balanced and sharp game for a 32-16 win.

St. Joseph’s received the opening kick and drove the ball quickly down the field to gain an early 7-0 lead on the Red Devils.

The Knights’ run game appeared to be a struggle for Liberty early on, but quick adjustments by the coaching staff kept St. Joseph’s at bay most of the game.

Not to be outdone, the Red Devil offense brought out its most balanced attack of the season on its opening drive, rushing for 57 yards and going 4-for-4 through the air, with the final Carter Smith pass to Jeremy Cason ending in a six-yard touchdown. An unsuccessful two-point conversion attempt left Liberty down 7-6 with 2:10 remaining in the first quarter.

In a quick turn of events, the opening play of the Knights’ following drive was intercepted by Liberty’s Dale Gantt and returned all the way to the 1-yard line.

Clay Lollis, who led the team with 78 yards on 22 totes, punched in a touchdown on the following play to give Liberty a 12-7 lead.

The second quarter started with a successful drive for St. Joseph’s, ending with a 24-yard K.D. Boyd touchdown run. The PAT put the Knights ahead 14-12.

The following drive for Liberty showed some hope, but quickly stalled, forcing a punt.

St. Joseph’s took over with good field position at its own 46-yard line. The drive stalled after a third-down tackle for loss by Liberty senior Jack Brissey. The Knights attempted to convert on fourth down, but were stopped behind the line of scrimmage in a joint effort from Brissey and Hunter Powell.

With the ball on their own 41-yard line with only 37 seconds until halftime, the Red Devils pass game led by Smith drove the field, finding the end zone on another six-yard

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Feeling the Frustration

Pickens drops third game by one score

By Rocky Nimmons

PICKENS — Frustration.

That one word best sums up the Pickens Blue Flame’s season thus far in 2018. Pickens is now 1-3, but the Blue Flame players, coaches and fans know it should be better.

The Blue Flame have lost three one-score games by a combined 14 points. In all of those losses, Pickens was in the contest until the final whistle was blown.

Friday’s game at Bill Isaacs Field was the culmination of the frustration. as the Big Blue fell to the undefeated Travelers Rest Devil Dogs by a single point, 20-19.

The Flame were hoping to end TR’s win streak, but the loss held no more anguish for the Pickens than the first two in 2018 did.

“It is pretty tough, but I wouldn’t say it was any worse than the loss to Pendleton or Easley,” Pickens coach Chad Smith said. “We are right there, but we just have to make plays. There were about 15 plays in this game that if we made them, we win the game.

“Some of them were on us as a coaching staff for not have the correct people in at certain times. Some of it was on the kids. We will get it fixed.”

Turnovers were the biggest issue. The Blue Flame fumbled the ball away five times, with the Devildogs recovering three.

“We turned the ball over, and we can’t turn the ball over, and they were sloppy turnovers,” Smith said. “Give Travelers Rest credit. They take a lot of pride in forcing turnovers, but some of these tonight were not forced. We have to take care of the ball, we have to take care of the penalties and we have to take care of our execution. That is 100 percent on us. If we take care of those things, we will be a difficult team to beat.”

Despite the mistakes, the Flame played hard, like they always do — especially defensive coordinator Eric Houston’s unit. The defense allowed TR only 278 yards of offense all

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Payne named EHS baseball coach

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — There’s a new head man for the Easley High School baseball team, and he’s a familiar face for the Green Wave faithful.

Gill Payne was named as Easley’s new head baseball coach on Aug. 30. Payne was already serving the school as its athletic director and took over the baseball job following the sudden departure of coach Josh Warner a few weeks ago.

The Green Wave were in dire need of a coach as the school year approached and were lucky to already have the more-than-capable Payne on staff.

Payne has an extensive baseball background, with 18 years at the NCAA Division II, NAIA, NJCAA and high school levels. He was a Major League Baseball associate scout

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West Nile Virus confirmed in person in Easley

City and county working together to spray Easley area with insecticide

By Rocky Nimmons


EASLEY — A case of West Nile virus has been confirmed in a person in Easley.

In a special news conference at Easley City Hall on Friday, Pickens County and Easley officials confirmed that a single person in the Easley area had tested positive for the disease.

Pictured are Pickens County Councilman Chris Bowers, Easley Police Capt. Rashad Murray, Easley Fire Chief Butch Womack and Pickens County Emergency Management Director Denise Kwiateck.

This is the first case ever reported in Pickens County, although some have occurred in the Upstate in Greenwood and Spartanburg counties.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) West Nile is a virus most commonly spread to people by mosquito bites. In North America, cases of West Nile virus occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues

Antiques take center stage at annual Dacusville Farm Show

By Pamela Dodson

Staff Reporter

DACUSVILLE — Residents turned out by the thousands this Labor Day weekend at the Dacusville Farm Show, braving the summer heat to browse the many rows of farm equipment and a variety of crafts.

The event has become a Pickens County tradition for those who love old tractors and many other antiques that can always be found at the show.

The sixth annual Dacusville Farm Show was held Saturday and Sunday at Tom Turner’s 55-acre farm off Earls Bridge Road.

The event brought out the young and old to experience a piece of Americana that just can’t be found elsewhere in the Upstate.

Previous years have brought more than 3,000 people to the Dacusville area, and this

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Venables, Lions explode for big

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

SENECA — The Daniel Lions scored early and often in an explosive 51-14 win over the rival Seneca Bobcats on Friday night.

“I challenged these kids to get off the bus and play well,” Daniel coach Jeff Fruster said. “All summer we challenged them to get off to good starts, and that is exactly what we did tonight.”

The Lion offense jumped on Seneca from the get-go, scoring 38 points in the first half, with the star being junior quarterback Tyler Venables. Venables scored his team’s first four touchdowns of the game on the ground to make his impressive season thus far all the more exceptional.

“It was very fun, (and) we’ve got a lot momentum in our hands,” Venables said. “I didn’t do great in the passing game tonight, but the offensive line did a great job of giving me some gaps to run through.”

The Lions’ new offensive staff is hitting its groove right now and putting up numbers that fans haven’t seen in years. In fact, the Lions’ 50-plus points in each of the last two games marks the first time Daniel has scored 50-plus in consecutive weeks since their 2013 state runner-up season.

“The kids believe in them,” Fruster said of his new offensive staff, led by coordinator Page Wofford. “This staff has shown they have a lot of prowess the last couple of weeks. But we knew what we were getting when we hired them. It’s just good to see our offense pick up some momentum.”

The defense was also stellar on the night, as the Lions allowed almost nothing through the air, with Seneca only getting 36 passing yards and throwing three interceptions. The Seneca run game was also held in check outside a 74-yard scoring burst by Bobcat running back Jeremiah Mackey.

“It’s like I said before the game, you can’t stop Mackey,” Fruster said. “The best you can hope for is to contain him, and I thought we did a good job of that.”

Daniel received the opening kickoff and Venables started his impressive game with two

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Easley exits bye week looking for more consistency

By Eugene Jolley
Courier Sports

EASLEY — As odd as it may be, the Easley High School football team’s open date was taken care of before August ended Friday night.

The open date in years past has rolled around after the non-region schedule was over for teams in September, but after playing in Week 0, the Green Wave had an off week in Week 2.

Heading into this week’s home game with Wren, both sides of the ball have questions to answer for Easley.

Offensively, the first question would be: What is the identity of the offense? In the first game against Pickens, Easley only attempted nine passes with a three-year starter in Weston Black. Black did go to the air a little more against Daniel in the second game, hooking up several times with senior Ethan Boyles.

The Green Wave (1-1) would like to be balanced with the pass and run, and with the

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