Daily Archives: 08/13/2019

Freedom Village plans scrapped

Public outcry ends proposal to put group home in Sunset

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

SUNSET — Plans to locate a Christian group home in Sunset have been called off, less than two weeks after a community meeting that raised concerns about one of the partner organizations.

National Center for Life and Liberty COO Jonathan Bailie issued a news release Thursday about the change in plans for Hannah Grace Homes.

“The nonprofit Board of Directors for Hannah Grace Homes Inc. has decided not to proceed forward with the South Carolina campus in Sunset,” the release said. “Due to the cost of opening being greater than expected and local concern for the partnership with Freedom Village USA, the Board of Directors determined that it was not in the best

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Preserve and Protect

Cherokee artifact with local family history gets new home at museum

By Zack Mauldin


PICKENS — After being presented to an Upstate man as a sign of gratitude around the turn of the 20th century, a priceless historic Cherokee artifact now has a permanent home at the Pickens County Museum of Art and History.

Local historian and interpretive naturalist Dennis Chastain said he got a call several months ago from Seneca resident Tom Bowen, who told Chastain he and his wife, Tody, had a unique Cherokee artifact and wanted to find a good home for it.

Chastain and his wife, Jane, went to Seneca to see the artifact, which he said turned out to be something he had never seen in his 40-plus-year career — a spatulate ceremonial crescent-shaped medallion.

“I was absolutely blown away,” he said. “I had never seen anything like it.”

And though the artifact is a unique piece of Cherokee history, Chastain said “it is the story that goes along with how they came to be in possession of it that is truly amazing.”

Although the medallion was passed down from Tody Bowen’s father, Rufus Kay “Pete” Nimmons, the story begins

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Sheriff: Jail staff need higher pay

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Sheriff Rick Clark says to draw and retain officers at the county’s new jail, the pay for those positions needs to be increased.

Clark gave an update on the new jail during county council’s August meeting Monday night.

He said that although the jail hasn’t opened yet, that doesn’t mean it’s behind schedule.

“We’re talking about a facility that keeps people against their will,” Clark said. “When you start talking about that, the fire codes change — a lot of things change. All of those regulations jumps about 10,000 percent. Just because it’s not

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Advocacy Center warns of human trafficking signs

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

EASLEY — The Pickens County Advocacy Center wants to alert the community to signs of human trafficking in our area.

“We want to spread the word about human trafficking,” victim advocate Cristel Stancil said. “A lot of people are blinded to it. It’s happening here in the United States. It’s happening here in South Carolina.”

The center offers training on the issue, and Stancil wants to ramp up those efforts.

“I think everybody needs to be trained and educated on it, no matter who they are,” Stancil said. “Especially parents who have kids, or anybody who has kids — grandkids, foster kids, whatever.”

Starting conversations about human trafficking can be difficult, she said.

“A lot of people don’t like to talk about it, just like with sexual assault and sexual abuse,” Stancil said. “A lot of people think it’s an international problem, that it’s not happening here in the United States. It’s happening right in your own

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Easley jamboree set for Friday night

By Bru Nimmons

Staff Reporter

COUNTY — Following two weeks’ worth of physically demanding practice and scrimmages against teams from all over the Carolinas, the last Friday before high school football season is here for all four Pickens County teams.

But for two county teams, there is still one major test before the real games begin.

On Friday, Easley will host its jamboree from 6:30-9 p.m. Daniel will take on Brookland-Cayce in the Lions’ final test before the regular season at 6:30 p.m. before Easley closes out the night against Seneca at 7:45 p.m.

The real games will begin on Aug. 23 with a pair of in-county matchups, with Pickens travelling to Easley for the two

Officials recognize outgoing administrator

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Retiring Pickens County administrator Gerald Wilson had hoped officials wouldn’t make a a fuss over him as his career with the county winds down.

He didn’t get his wish.

County council members recognized Wilson during their August meeting Monday night, presenting him with a plaque.

“We had to get you to turn red in the face just one more time,” council chairman Roy Costner told Wilson.

Wilson has been a county employee since the early 1990s and became administrator in 2016.

“I can’t tell you what you have meant to this organization, the incredible amount of time and hours, the phone calls

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Azalea Festival hosting movie

PICKENS — The Pickens Azalea Festival Committee will host a free family movie on Friday night at the downtown amphitheater.

Set to begin at dusk, the movie will be the Oscar-winning “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

The festival committee will have a table set up selling popcorn, candy, water and sodas, and hot dogs, cotton candy and possibly doughnuts will also be available.


Honeybee Day Festival Saturday

PICKENS — The Bee Well Honey Farm in Pickens will host the World Honeybee Day Festival this Saturday, Aug. 17.

The even will offer live music provided by local bands playing bluegrass and folk. There will also be local food trucks and micro brewers.

For bee enthusiasts, Michael Bush, a leading proponent of treatment-free beekeeping, will be the events keynote speaker. There are two free sessions to sign up for. To sign up, visit

Bee Well Honey Bee Supply is located at 815 W. Main St. in Pickens, and special parking will be provided by Blue Ridge Electric Co-op.

The festival will also offer candle making, soap making, mead making, honey extracting, beekeeping supply vendors, arts and crafts vendors, organic local farmers, music by The Stove Bolts, healthy treats from the Bee Well Honey Natural Market and Coffee Shop, a beekeeping equipment yard sale and lots of door prizes.

Anyone interested in being a vendor is asked to email


One of our country’s grate men

There are many great people living in Washington, D.C., although we can’t seem to agree on who they are. There are also quite a few “grate” people living there, and it is obvious who they are.

This observation was made by my dad, Bobby D. Barnett, during his time working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the nation’s capital in the early days of the Reagan administration.

The grate people, Dad says, are “the scruffy men who spend the winter on the grates that cover the ventilation shafts leading from the subterranean portions of the city.”

Few places, I suppose, have such an excess supply of hot air as to be able to vent it in such a seemingly wasteful

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Now open in Pickens

The AT&T Store located at 2710 Gentry Memorial Highway Suite K in Pickens recently held a formal grand opening. Pictured are Steve Schmidt, Tiffany McCall, Nick Bolding and Brandan Vanduesen of AT&T. From the Greater Pickens Chamber of Commerce board are Liza Holder, Jacquelyn Gamble and Lisa Turnic. From the city of Pickens, David Poulson and a representive from the Pickens Fire and the Pickens Police departments. For more information about the new store, visit or call (864) 898-9440.