Daily Archives: 04/05/2022

Woman charged with murder

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

LIBERTY — A Liberty woman is charged with murder after a shooting at her home last week.

Nicole Michelle Heape, 27, is charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, according to a release from Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Chad Brooks.

Pickens County deputy coroner Heather A. Harrison identified the victim as Kennedy Drayton, 31, who shared the home

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Paying Tribute

Blue Flame douse Green Wave on Military Appreciation Night

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Hosting Military and First Responders Appreciation Night last Tuesday, the Pickens Blue Flame held off a late Easley rally to capture a 7-5 win on the softball diamond.

“It was a tremendous team effort,” Pickens head coach Lizzie Fela said. “Our defense was able to come together and support our senior pitcher, Autumn Barnhardt. Every single player contributed to this win, whether on the field, through hitting or pumping us up from the bench. I am so proud of them.”

After an early Easley run on an RBI single by Maggie Spence, the Blue Flame took control of the action, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second on RBI singles from Kylie Meece, Ella Grace Lawton and Ashlyn Knight.

The Blue Flame lead continued to grow in the fourth, starting with an RBI double by Knight that brought home Emma Mitchell. Amber Clark and Kaylee Bolding brought home two more runs in the inning to increase the lead to 6-1 heading to the fifth.

The bleeding continued for the Green Wave in the fifth as Kylie Thornall scored on an error for Pickens.

While the Blue Flame lead was growing in the middle innings, Easley struggled to get on the board, with Barnhardt keeping the Wave bats in check.

Heading into the top of the seventh up 7-1, Pickens seemed to be  in a safe spot, with Barhardt giving up just five hits and one run through the first six innings.

However, the Green Wave finally got going in the batter’s box with a Rylee Saxon single to lead off the inning. An error allowed Spence to reach base, and a single for Maddie Haynes loaded the bases for Easley and they managed to get on the board for the first time since the second inning on an Emily Morgan single.

A sacrifice fly from Emily Faasse cut the lead to 7-3, but Barnhardt got a much-needed strikeout against College of Charleston softball commitment MK Scott.

Needing just one out for the win, the Blue Flame were bit by two errors, allowing two more runs to score, before picking up  the final out to secure the 7-5 victory.

For her efforts on the night, Barnhardt picked up the win and finished the night with just two earned runs and four strikeouts in the complete-game effort.

While happy with the result for her team in the rivalry matchup, Fela also made sure to  stress the meaning of the night after the game.

“We want to thank all the military and first responders who came out to the game,” Fela said. “This game was meant to honor and recognize them for their amazing service to our country and community.”


Pickens 7, Easley 5

EHS 010 000 4 5 8 2

PHS 030 310 X 7 13 3


WP: Barnhardt 7 IP, 8H, 2ER,  4K

LP: Haynes 6 IP, 13H, 7ER, BB, 4K

PHS: Knight 3-3, 2 RBI, R; Thornall 3-3, 2R.

EHS: Morgan 2-4, RBI, R; Saxon 2-3, R.

Pickens city administrator Trotter resigns

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Pickens city administrator Philip Trotter has announced his resignation.

Philip Trotter

Trotter turned in his letter of resignation on Monday, following an executive session meeting of Pickens City Council.

Trotter said his last day will be May 31.

In his resignation letter, addressed to Mayor Fletcher Perry and city council, Trotter wrote “it has been my honor to serve you, our

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Candidate fields set for elections

COUNTY — Local voters will be faced with several contested races on the ballots for the upcoming Republican primary and November’s general election after filing closed last week.

The two-week filing period closed at noon March 30, with party primaries set for June 14 and the general election scheduled for Nov. 8.

Two seats are up for grabs on Pickens County Council this year after incumbents Ensley Feemster and Trey Whitehurst opted not to seek reelection.

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Man facing meth trafficking charges

LIBERTY — A local man is being held without bond at the Pickens County Detention Center after his arrest on multiple felony charges last week in Liberty.

According to a news release from the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, deputies executed a search warrant at 221 Freedom Forest Drive after multiple undercover operations conducted by the PCSO Special Operations Unit.

Authorities said the undercover investigations led to two warrants against Blitch for trafficking methamphetamine, and the search warrant led to half a dozen more charges against him.

In addition to two third-offense counts of trafficking between 10 and 28 grams of methamphetamine, Blitch is

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School board trustees, parents discuss textbooks

By Andrea Kelley
Courtesy The Journal

EASLEY — After several rounds of discussion and revision, the Pickens County School Board has updated policies relating to instructional materials.

Policy IJ references instructional resources and parental rights to view those materials.

School district assistant superintendent for instructional services Sharon Huff said she updated wording to clarify parents have the right to look at all

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Lakes and Bridges Charter School celebrates 5 years

EASLEY — Five years ago — on April 6, 2017 — Lakes and Bridges Charter School was awarded its charter by the South Carolina Public Charter School District Board of Trustees.

The milestone came after almost three years of discussion, research and planning by the school’s charter committee, a group of nine passionate and devoted individuals who worked to improve

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DHEC urges second booster shot

COLUMBIA — A few different groups of people should receive a second COVID-19 booster shot, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) recommended in a news release Thursday.

The agency said people ages 12 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should get a

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Pickens officials OK work on Legacy Square fountain

Renovation project to cost $134K, no timeline set yet

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Pickens officials have approved fixing and upgrading the fountain in Legacy Square, a project that will cost $134,000.

Last year, officials announced the fountain would be temporarily removed from its foundation, which is cracked.

City administrator Philip Trotter said officials last discussed the fountain in

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Jeep Explosion event scheduled for Sept. 24

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Jimmy Patten picked a good day to update Pickens City Council members about this year’s Pickens Jeep Explosion event.

Patten spoke at council’s regular monthly meeting on Monday, which just happened to be National Jeep 4×4 Day.

This year’s event is set for Sept. 24.

The 2021 Pickens Jeep Explosion was “a huge success,” he said.

“415 Jeeps went on the ride,” Patten said. “We had over 500 on Main Street

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