Daily Archives: 12/03/2019

Perry sworn in as Pickens mayor

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Mayor David Owens knew the swearing-in ceremony for Mayor-elect Fletcher Perry would draw an audience too large for council chambers, so the December Pickens City Council meeting was held Monday night before a packed house at Griffin Ebenezer Baptist Church.

“I think I honestly have to say that in my 19 years on council and (as) mayor, this is the largest crowd that I’ve had at a council meeting, so thank you,” Owens said.

He thanked Griffin Ebenezer Baptist Church for hosting the council meeting and said it was a very appropriate venue.

“The first African-American mayor is going to be sworn in tonight, a friend and a council member for 12 years,”

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‘Tis the season

As part of an annual holiday tradition dating back nearly 40 years, community members gathered for a lighting ceremony for the huge Christmas tree at Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative headquarters on Main Street in Pickens last week. Former Pickens County sheriff C. David Stone, pictured at left looking at the tree along with family members, had the honors of lighting the tree this year. The event also featured a performance from Easley’s own Ansley Burns, right, a 13-year-old singer who competed on the most recent season of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” Photos by Rocky Nimmons/Courier

Local Christmas celebrations set to kick off this week

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

COUNTY — With the arrival of December comes the holiday season for Pickens County’s municipalities, with Christmas parades and other events beginning this week.

After Clemson got an early start to the parade season with its event on Tuesday night, Six Mile is set to kick off its holiday festivities Thursday with its annual Old Fashioned Christmas, with downtown shop owners providing refreshments during the lighting of the town’s Christmas lights at 6 p.m. The town will also host the 49th annual

Womack ready to have Easley’s back

So, we have a new mayor set to take office next month in Easley: Fire Chief Butch Womack!

Good thing he’s handy with a hose, because he had to put out a pretty good-sized conflagration right there at City Hall before ever getting elected.

Not a 451-degree Fahrenheit fire, but one that could have dragged city officials into court, had the mayor-elect chosen to sue the city for suspending him without pay for 14 weeks after he announced he planned to run for the office.


Fortunately, the two sides came to terms, averting what would have been a tumultuous start for the incoming administration.

“I don’t want a lawsuit, I don’t want litigation to go into my time as mayor,” Womack told me. “So I’m compromising with them and settling with them on an

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Garrison new school board chair

By Greg Oliver

Courtesy The Journal

EASLEY — Longtime Pickens County educator and administrator Betty Garrison, who is in the midst of her first term on the Pickens County School Board, has been elected as the board’s new chair.

Garrison, who has been a teacher, assistant principal and principal in the school district, as well as a GED instructor at the Adult Learning Center, succeeds Brian Swords. Swords was elected vice chairman and Karla Kelley was picked as secretary.

“The School District of Pickens County Board of Trustees will continue to push forward with an aggressive agenda to ensure we fully implement the early childhood initiative,” Garrison said. “After that, we will explore how best to expand career and technology opportunities for students. We look forward to

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Outgoing mayor, councilwoman honored at meeting

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Monday night’s Pickens City Council meeting featured tributes to outgoing Mayor David Owens, Councilwoman Patti Welborn and Mayor pro tem Lois Porter.

The meeting was held at Griffin Ebenezer Baptist Church to accommodate the large crowd that came out for the swearing-in of Mayor Fletcher Perry and council members Lois Poster, Isaiah Scipio and Jimmy Davis.

Pickens County Historical Society president Ken Nabors presented Owens with a gift on behalf of the 800 members of the society “for all the years of support.”

“This is a one-of-a-kind pen,” Nabors said. “It is handcrafted from 175-year-old oak from the Pickens Courthouse District, so it goes

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Home Depot gives to Pickens County shelter

Easley mayor commends couple behind shelter effort

COUNTY — An effort to open Pickens County’s first homeless shelter is receiving a big boost from Home Depot.

Pastor Tracy Gantt and his wife, Sunshine, have been working diligently to open Pickens County Shelter of Hope, the county’s first and only homeless shelter.

The Gantts were excited recently to learn that Home Depot is joining in on their mission.

Home Depot awarded Tracy and Sunshine Gantt Ministries with $20,000 worth of in-kind items from Home Deport stores.

But Home Depot didn’t stop there. Several Home Deport locations are coming together to volunteer manpower

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Holly Springs to host forum to help form new SC arts plan

PICKENS — The South Carolina Arts Commission is fanning out across the state this fall and winter, gathering public input to help it form the next long-range plan for arts and culture in South Carolina, and local residents will have a chance to make their voices heard without leaving Pickens County.

Every 10 years, dating back to 1980, the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) conducts the Canvass of the People in public and private forums and through an anonymous online survey to gather South Carolinians’ impressions of the successes and challenges for the arts and culture scene in the state. They are also asked to look ahead and weigh in on what the next steps should be. Results culled from the Canvass of the People help the SCAC form its Long Range Plan for the Arts in South Carolina.

A meeting is scheduled for 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Holly Springs Center, located at 120 Holly

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SWU salutes military at appreciation events

CENTRAL — Southern Wesleyan University honored veterans and currently serving military during military appreciation events held Nov. 13 on the Central campus.

Attending the military appreciation events were veterans of wars in Vietnam and the Middle East, as well as Southern Wesleyan students and alumni who are currently serving in the military.

“I am here today because I am standing on the shoulders of men and women who came before me. I am here today because somebody believed in this country. I am here today because somebody understood that what we do is not only for ourselves but for our God and those who come behind us,” said CH (LTC) Norris Darden, senior chaplain for the South Carolina Military Department, who was the keynote

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Courier Letters to the Editor 12-4-19

Our leaders’ obligation to stand up

Dear Editor,

I am sure many saw the news stories on WYFF 4, the State or the New York Times where Pickens Elementary School had a character-building event, dividing into boy and girl groups. A lecturer from Clemson University got wind of it and complained the event wasn’t gender neutral and was harmful to the girls. TV news came a-knocking, and the school district apologized, saying the school wrongly “reinforced some gender stereotypes.”

Good grief.

The woman was not a teacher at the school nor anywhere in the school district. She is a lecturer in industrial engineering, not a professional in early childhood education. She doesn’t have a child in the school, didn’t attend the event and just read a blurb about it on Facebook.

How did she pass as a credible source, igniting this story in the first place? Well, she was touting a point of view

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