Daily Archives: 03/24/2020

‘People have to take this seriously’

Easley woman quarantined after positive COVID-19 test

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

EASLEY — As the Pickens County area’s first confirmed case, Jeanette Jewsbury knows firsthand just how serious the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is.

The Easley resident’s test came back positive Friday — the first confirmed case of the virus in Pickens County — and she’s been quarantining herself at home since then.

“I was under the impression it was more that you’d have some type of flu-like symptoms,” Jewsbury said. “I had no symptoms.”

People need to listen to the government’s warnings, advice and precautions, she said.

“People have to take this seriously,” Jewsbury said. “They may be walking around with allergy symptoms and coming into contact with people who may not recover.”

Her son recently flew in from Los Angeles to visit her, she said, and he began feeling like his allergies were acting up.

“I have a dog, so I was thinking ‘OK, that’s what is is,’” she said.

Pat used one of his mother’s breathing treatments and started feeling better, but Jewsbury said four

SDPC continues to feed children during statewide school closure

COUNTY — With schools statewide closed amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the School District of Pickens County is offering breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday for anyone under the age of 18 and special needs adults up to age 21.

Beginning this week, the meals are available from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Central Academy of the Arts, Chastain Road Elementary in Liberty, Dacusville Elementary, McKissick Academy of Science and Technology and West End Elementary in Easley and Pickens Elementary.

In addition, meals are available at the same time at churches around the county, including Shady Grove and Holly Springs Baptist churches in the Pickens area,

Woman, 25, dies after fall

SUNSET — A Simpsonville woman died over the weekend after falling from the top of a Pickens County waterfall in the middle of the night.

Taylor Coleman, 25, was camping with friends when she fell from the top of Laurel Fork Falls in Sunset around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, according to Pickens County Coroner Kandy Kelley.

Emergency officials responded to the scene just before 4 a.m., according to Pickens County Emergency Management, which said the woman fell about 75 feet.

After steep terrain prevented crews from extricating Coleman by ground, the S.C. Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team was called to help

Kelley said Coleman was later pronounced dead at Prisma Health Greenville. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.


Local hospitals preparing to face pandemic

By Ron Barnett

Staff Reporter

COUNTY — Pickens County’s two hospitals have issued restrictions on visitation as they try to hold down the possible spread of the coronavirus that had infected nearly 300 South Carolinians by early this week.

The state Department of Health and Environmental Control listed one person in Pickens County as having contracted the virus by Tuesday morning, but the growth in numbers across the state had jumped by about 100, with 15 cases in Anderson County, 31 in Greenville and with Oconee registering its first two cases. There had been five deaths reported across the state from the virus as of Tuesday morning.

As of March 20, no visitors are allowed at any Prisma Health hospitals, emergency departments or

Virus may have halted road fix

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

PICKENS — The uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus strain is causing Pickens County Council and staff to rethink preparations for the upcoming budget.

The outbreak’s timing “is unfortunate,” acting administrator Ken Roper said. “It’s budget time.”

Council members discussed what the coronavirus means for the budget during a special meeting March 16.

County staff are exploring the county’s legal requirements for the budget, Roper said.

“Could we give you a bare-bones budget, could you pass it in a reasonably short amount of time, with no tax increases and those sorts of things, so the public doesn’t have to have anxiety about it?” he said. “We don’t need to add additional anxiety to what the public’s already feeling.”

The county’s response to the virus will create unforeseen expenses, Councilman Ensley Feemster

Spring events affected by outbreak

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

COUNTY — The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused a number of spring events to be postponed or canceled, including the Pickens Azalea Festival.

The Azalea Festival Board of Directors announced the 2020 festival’s cancellation on social media March 19.

“We are in uncharted territories and this decision does not come lightly,” the post read. “We ask that you keep our health officials and afflicted in your thoughts and prayers as our country goes through these trying times.”

Vendors who’d planned to be at the festival can

School board suspends meetings

By Greg Oliver

Courtesy The Journal

EASLEY — Due to restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pickens County School Board won’t be having its regular monthly meetings the fourth Monday of the month anytime in the foreseeable future.

On Friday morning, with only chairwoman Betty Garrison present and the remaining six trustees attending via conference call, the board unanimously voted to suspend regularly scheduled meetings until further notice. School district spokesman John Eby said virtual meetings, such as those held Friday, may continue with at least 24 hours notice to the media and public.

The virtual meeting was held based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines not allowing more than 10 people to be gathered at once.

“With the current restrictions on social distancing and group limitations, the traditional public input format of citizens coming to a podium in a public meeting isn’t possible,” Eby said.


Prayer, common sense and love

Every morning for the past few days, a thick fog has enshrouded the view outside my kitchen window. The gray skeletons of bare trees seem to be brooding over a dark, cold and very quiet world.

It’s not hard to imagine that the Angel of Death is lurking out there in the mist. It passed over us this time, but who knows what the future holds?

These, of course, are just the melodramatic musings of someone who has been virtually quarantined for the past couple of weeks, tracking the news of the spread of the coronavirus. As I write this, Pickens County has yet to be touched by the virus, but by the time you read it I expect we will have had our first confirmed cases.

I know that many of you have accepted the notion that this pandemic is basically a story that has been hyped up by the media, possibly for political purposes, or just because that’s

Help is only six feet away

One advantage to growing up in the middle of nowhere was the need to be able to make what we needed out of whatever was on hand.

There was no way to get to town until Saturday, when Mama drove in for groceries and to pay bills. If we went, we’d head for the dime store with our dimes and spend a blissful hour trying to decide what to buy.

But most of the time we’d entertain ourselves with our own home-constructed creations. This has served us all well as adults.

We can make a raincoat out of a shopping bag and a sun visor out of a folded paper plate and a shoestring. We made our own golf course out of soup cans and built our own boat. It leaked, but it floated fine if somebody bailed. We experimented with filling eight Coca-Cola bottles with the levels of water needed to make the notes of an octave when you blew across one. We

County administrator weighs in on coronavirus pandemic

As we all plan and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, I want all of our citizens to know that your county government is still at work. We are all receiving a flood of information (some reliable, some not so much) about the current situation in our country and our state.

Local events and meetings are being canceled, and health experts are urging preparation for when COVID-19 inevitably comes to our community. Accordingly, I felt it would be helpful to share with the public a letter I recently sent by email to all county employees addressing COVID-19.

To All County Employees:

We are all focused on and concerned about COVID-19, the new Coronavirus. With so much news coverage on this issue, and with numerous other voices speaking on the topic, it is easy to become confused or frustrated. It is important to be informed, so please only turn to trusted sources for your information, such as I encourage all county employees to remain focused