Daily Archives: 01/10/2023

Authorities investigate Easley shooting death

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office and the Pickens County Coroner’s Office are investigating after a woman was shot to death over the weekend.

According to a sheriff’s office news release, deputies responded to a home on Crest Way in Easley on Saturday after a 911 call about a disturbance.

Upon arrival, deputies found a woman who had died of an apparent gunshot wound.

All parties have been identified and are cooperating with the investigation, the release said.

No arrests had been announced as of press time Tuesday.

The name of the victim had also not been released by press time.

More information will be released as it becomes available, the release said.

Reynolds hired as Pickens High football coach

PICKENS — After he received unanimous approval from the Pickens County School Board on Monday night, Pickens High School has named River Bluff defensive coordinator James Reynolds as the Blue Flame’s new head football coach.

“I’m extremely excited to begin my journey as a Blue Flame,” Reynolds said. “It has been a lifelong dream to lead a football program at a school that shares the same vision for success: community involvement, high academic standards and athletic performance. I know how much pride Pickens has in their football history. On

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‘Tipping point?’

Group wants stricter development regulations

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — A large crowd of local residents turned out to a meeting in Easley on Friday night to discuss their concerns about uncontrolled development not only in their area, but across Pickens County.

The meeting at Arran Farm launched the Community Alliance for Sustainable Development, a grassroots group that wants city, county and state leaders to hear those concerns.

“It’s really important to have this kind of turnout, because if we don’t, we’re not going to be able to affect any change,” Dr. Daniel Lee said. “We’re really concerned about the roads, the schools, the policing, the sheriff’s department … the water, the sewer.”

Speakers agreed that both the county and the municipalities need more stringent development standards.

“Changing the regulations in the county is not going to do us any good if all these properties that border the jurisdiction of the cities just keep getting annexed,” Lee said. “This isn’t going to work if we don’t have the county and the city working together, the city of Easley.”

A planned 1,268-home development at the intersection of Lenhardt Road and Jim Hunt Road “has been our tipping point,” he said.

Those roads are poorly maintained, according to Lee.

“I’ve been here 30 years,” he said. “It’s never been repaved — just patched and scrapped.”

Before more large developments are completed or announced, infrastructure studies are needed, as are studies about their impact on schools, water and sewer, according to Lee.

“We just think there ought to be rational development,” he said.

The county’s development standards ordinance “really hasn’t been changed in 30 years” and was written in a way to encourage development, Councilman Roy Costner told those in attendance at the meeting.

“They never thought about something at this scale,” he said. “Now we need to protect and preserve what we have.”

The DSO needs to be stricter, Lee said.

Pickens County Planning Commission vice chairman David Cox said the commission once reviewed two subdivisions a year.

“Now we’re doing sometimes two to three a month,” he said.

If that trend continues, in 10 years, Pickens County could have 150-250 more subdivisions, Cox said.

“It’s only going to get worse,” he said. “If the DSO doesn’t address this, where and how are all these cars going to fit on our roads?”

The group’s main goals include raising awareness about how the current lack of regulations is negatively impacting residents, demanding a moratorium targeted at large residential projects until a development plan is in place and getting a development plan passed, Jessica Massey said.

The DSO “needs a few tweaks,” she said.

“We want to get that on and we need to do it quickly,” Massey said. “The big developers are pouring into Pickens County specifically, because unlike our neighboring counties, we don’t have the zoning in place. It’s very easy for them to come in here and make their maximum profits.

“Legally, they can do it,” she continued. “They can’t be stopped. We don’t have the rules in place to regulate what they’re doing to the degree that needs to be done.”

The group wants the county to create a position to enforce the DSO, Massey said.

The proposed McKissick development would place 1,268 single-family home and townhomes in one square mile.

“We’re just not ready for that many people in such a concentrated area,” Massey said.

After 100 people voiced their concerns to the planning commission, Ryan Homes withdrew its application, she said.

“But we know they’ll be back, and if not them, it’ll be another developer,” Massey said. “It is critical that we get these changes in place immediately, that we apply the word ‘urgency’ and ‘emergency’ to this situation.”

The group is proposing a six-month moratorium on large development until the DSO can be updated or a new development plan is created.

“We need to get ahead of this and make sure it’s done right, rather than waiting until it’s too late and having regrets about how it’s done,” Massey said.

The moratorium would be specific to large residential developments.

“We do not want the moratorium to accidentally adversely affect current residents trying to build or improve on their property,” Massey said.

Impact fees are needed to help pay for infrastructure needs caused by developments, she said.

“Money does have to come from somewhere,” Massey said.

The group is not anti-development, Lee said.

“We just want sustainable, responsible development,” he said. “We need to enact some of these reforms.”

At the end of the meeting, the group broke into breakout sessions to get volunteers to work on areas such as technology, canvassing, information gathering and fundraising.

Massey urged residents to contact their elected officials often about their concerns.

“So they feel the active and constant pressure from residents to enact change,” she said.

Learn more about the group on Facebook by searching for “Community Alliance for Sustainable Development (Pickens County, SC).”

“We’re not just Pickens County,” Lee said. “We’re not just Easley city. We’re not just Clemson. We’re a community of people. We’re banding together.”

Man charged with exploiting minors

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — A Pickens man was arrested last month on charges connected to the sexual exploitation of minors, according to South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson.

Lewis Matthew Hardenbrook, 34, was arrested on Dec. 21, Wilson said in a release last week.

Investigators received a CyberTipline report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that led them to Hardenbrook, Wilson said.

Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigators with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office made the arrest, he said.

The crimes were allegedly occurring at a home in Pickens, according to a Pickens County Sheriff’s Office release.

Investigators allege Hardenbrook engaged in criminal sexual conduct with a minor and produced multiple files of child

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COVID-19 case numbers on rise in county

COUNTY — COVID-19 levels are on the rise again, in both South Carolina and across the country.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported in a Monday news release that numbers have risen steadily since the week ending Oct. 29, when the agency recorded 3,459 cases. DHEC recorded 10,481 cases for the week ending on Dec. 31.

“Fortunately, we have not seen a significant uptick in severe cases, meaning those that end in hospitalizations and deaths,” DHEC public health director Dr. Brannon Traxler said. “We want that trend to continue, and masking when recommended is

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Red Devils taken down by seventh-ranked Landrum

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

LIBERTY — After picking up their first win of the season two days earlier against Crescent, the Liberty High School boys’ basketball team knew they would have their work cut out for them against the seventh-ranked Landrum Cardinals on Thursday night.

The Red Devils (1-13, 0-1 Region I-2A) seemed ready for the challenge early on, but the lengthy, athletic Cardinals (14-3, 1-0) outmatched them on the boards and wore them down in the second half as Liberty dropped its region opener, 75-50.

All told, the Cardinals outrebounded Liberty 43-18 on the night, with 13 offensive rebounds alone, leading to second and third chance opportunities that the Red Devils were unable to keep up with.

“We knew coming into it that rebounding was going to have to be a point of emphasis,” Liberty head

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Liberty girls fall to Cardinals

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

LIBERTY — Opening up region play against arguably the toughest team in their conference, the Liberty Red Devil girls’ basketball team didn’t seem fazed early on as they trailed just 13-8 after one quarter against the Landrum Cardinals on Thursday night.

However, missed opportunities at the charity stripe and an overall lack of offensive production were too much for Liberty to overcome despite a solid effort in a 35-19 loss.

“We had a few lapses, but I thought our girls played really well,” Liberty head coach Gregg Thomas said.

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Green Wave drop close game to Wildcats

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — Battling back from an eight-point deficit, the Easley Green Wave entered the fourth quarter with all the momentum on their side tied at 49-49 against the Woodmont Wildcats last Tuesday before letting the lead slip back to eight with less than two minutes to go.

Having done it once before, Easley went to work on the comeback, getting two baskets from senior forward Jayvion Leavell, including a huge putback with 17 seconds left to keep the Green Wave alive.  Easley quickly fouled Woodmont’s Dre Huff, and despite making almost every basket to that point in a 30-point effort, Huff missed the front end of the one-and-one to give Easley a chance, but a crucial Leavell turnover on the ensuing possession ended Easley’s chances in a 62-58 loss.

“I told the guys we’re not good enough to overcome a lot of errors,” Easley coach Michael Jones said. “We did some things that obviously hurt ourselves. We had a stretch where we had four straight pretty bad turnovers in the first half, and we gave up too many offensive rebounds.”

After an opening basket from Carson Freeze, the Green Wave quickly fell behind as they struggled to contain Huff. Huff scored 10 points in the opening quarter to start his electric night, but Easley kept things close enough behind baskets from Leavell and senior guard Todd Williams.

Trailing 16-10, Easley used the sharpshooting skills of Ethan Crews and Kaleb Owens to tie the game at 18-18. A technical foul on leading scorer Kristian Chapman threatened Easley’s momentum, but Williams hit an and-one layup on the ensuing possession to give Easley its first lead of the night, 21-19. The Green Wave were unable to lead for long, though, with Huff scoring seven more points down the stretch in the quarter as Easley struggled with possession and rebounding, allowing the Wildcats to retake control with a 37-31 lead at the half.

Coming out of the break, the Green Wave cut into the deficit with ease as an 8-0 run bolstered by three-pointers from Owens and Chapman tied the game before Huff went on another scoring tear. This time, though, the Green Wave matched him, with Chapman hitting two huge shots and Crews nailing a couple of free throws to tie things at 49-49 heading to
the fourth.

Woodmont refused to go down easy as they opened the fourth on a 10-3 run, but Easley was as resilient as ever. Leavell carried the Easley offense down the stretch scoring seven of his team-high 17 points in the final quarter cutting the lead to four, but five missed free throws and the final, crucial turnover clouded his impact on the game as Easley fell 62-58.

“He’ll be fine,” Jones said of Leavell. “He is a competitor and he really wants to win. I know he is frustrated right now, but he is going to come back to work tomorrow.”

Despite the loss and disappointing start to the season, Jones was happy with the effort for his team in the loss especially after their prior play against the Wildcats and he feels good about his team as they head into region play.

“I’m really very proud of the guys,” Jones said. “We’re talking going to the wire with a team that beat us in the J.L. Mann Christmas tournament by 30. It’d be nice to have some of the games we lost this year back, but we our main focus is region play and we think we can be competitive.”




Woodmont 62, Easley 58

WHS 16 21 12 13 — 62

EHS 10 21 18 9  — 58


Easley (58) — Leavell 17, Owens 11, Williams 10, Chapman 8, Crews 8, Freeze 3.

Woodmont (62) — Huff 30, Kellett 9, Stewart 9, Ainslie 4, Bentley 4,  Parry 4, Streetman 2.

Easley girls can’t keep up against second-ranked Woodmont

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — Falling behind 9-0 at the start of a matchup with Class 5A’s second-ranked Woodmont Wildcats last week, the Easley Green Wave girls’ basketball team needed to defend at its highest level and stop turning the ball over.

The Green Wave were able to do that for the rest of the first half, cutting the Wildcat lead to 20-19 at the break, but just couldn’t keep up for the full 32 minutes in a 50-35 loss on Jan. 3.

“My concern was they started the game on a 9-0 run because of turnovers,” Easley head coach Ivan Raymond said. “We were able to get back in the game because wecleaned it up, but we got much worse with it in the second half, and it caught up with us.”

On the night, the Green Wave committed 26 turnovers, with the lion’s share coming in the second half, leaving Raymond pleading with his team to take care of the basketball.

“The kids just have to understand that they have to be comfortable with the ball,” Raymond said. “Too many times turnovers get the best of us, and until we put the time in to get better with it, it will continue to be an issue.”

Turnovers were a major factor in Easley falling behind 9-0 at the start, but the Green Wave showed a lot of fight, battling back with a 13-4 run over the final five minutes of the quarter aided by baskets from forwards Olivia Gramblin and Reagan Horn to head to the second quarter tied at 13-13.

The game slowed in the second quarter, with neither side gaining much traction offensively. Easley led for much of the quarter, with baskets by Horn, Anaya Sligh and Mattison Hayes keeping the Wave ahead until Woodmont’s Anaya Muhammad hit a three-pointer just before the break to give the Wildcats a 20-19 halftime lead.

Early baskets from Hayes and Gramblin gave Easley life to start the second half, but the turnovers and a lack of offensive cohesion allowed the Wildcats to regain control and take a 36-29 lead into the fourth. Things didn’t improve for Easley in the final frame, as the Green Wave managed just six points in the quarter, while the Wildcats continued to roll on the way to the win.

While disappointed with the loss, Raymond still believes his team has the potential for a memorable season as it prepares for region play.

“Right now I think we’re at a crossroads where the girls have to think about what they actually want,” Raymond said. “I’ve said before that they have a chance to do something special this year, but you have to be willing to do the work. My challenge to them all year has been, ‘Are you going to put the time in so that you don’t get uncomfortable when someone gets in your face?’”

The 8-5 Green Wave opened region play on Tuesday against Greenwood, with results unavailable at press time.


Woodmont 50, Easley 35

WHS 13 7 16 14 — 50

EHS 13 6 10 6  — 35


Easley (35) — Horn 12, Gramblin 7, Hayes 4, Leach 4, McKinney 4, Eron 2, Sligh 2.

Woodmont (50) — Muhammad 18, Nesbitt 12, Stewart 9, Chambers 4, Earle 4, Pullman 2, Thurman 1.

Bowers reelected council chairman

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Chris Bowers was reelected as chairman of Pickens County Council last week.

At the start of the Jan. 3 meeting, Pickens County Probate Judge David Allison administered the oath of office to the two members of county council.

“Congratulations to Claiborne Linvill of District 1 and  Chris Lollis of District 2,” Allison said. “We all appreciate your efforts in joining the leadership of this county.”

The state Constitution of 1895 requires the oath of office, he said.

“Every officer of this state, since then — the last 127 years — from the governor on down has taken this same oath,” Allison

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