Daily Archives: 03/28/2023

Man faces 10 child exploitation charges

EASLEY — A 57-year-old Easley man was arrested earlier this month on 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a release that Richard Douglas Wooten III was arrested by Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigators with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office on

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4 students, driver taken to hospital after bus wreck

EASLEY — Four students and a bus driver suffered minor injuries after two School District of Pickens County buses were involved in an accident last Wednesday.

The two buses collided around 3:45 p.m. on Sheriff Mill Road near Easley, district spokesman Darian Byrd said. One bus had 37 students on

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District names Nelson Project GO head

PICKENS — Jacob Nelson has been selected as the new director of the School District of Pickens County’s Project GO alternative education program.

School board trustees on Monday night approved superintendent Danny Merck’s recommendation to hire Nelson to replace current director James Adams, who is set to take over as the school district’s new director of student support and interventions at the end of the 2022-23 school year.

“I am thrilled to announce that we have found an exceptional leader to head our district’s alternative

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School district invites input on federal projects

COUNTY — The School District of Pickens County is inviting public input about its 2023-24 federal projects.

A public meeting will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, at the district’s Curtis Sidden Administrative Building at 1348 Griffin Mill Road in Easley.

The meeting will focus on the Title I project titled “Improving the Achievement of the Disadvantaged,” the Title II project on teacher quality, Title III projects on English speakers of other languages and immigrants, the Carl D. Perkins Vocational-Technical Education Act and the

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Utility co-ops across state join forces for broadband expansion

COLUMBIA — The push to ensure every South Carolinian has access to affordable, high-speed internet just got stronger.

In a first-of-its-kind collaboration, member-owned electric cooperatives and telephone cooperatives have joined forces to create The Broadband Cooperatives of South Carolina.

The association will support its not-for-profit member organizations as they continue to deploy fiber optic cable to residents in remote areas

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Easley chamber presents annual awards

EASLEY — The Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce presented leadership and small business awards to honor several businesses and individuals for their leadership, business success and community service at its annual meeting and awards luncheon on March 21.

Three awards were presented for volunteer leadership to the chamber. Artis Bufford with One Church-Easley was honored as the 2022 Board Director of the Year in recognition of dedicated service to the chamber’s Board of Directors.

Leebo Keels of the YMCA of Easley, Pickens and Powdersville was recognized as the 2022 Powdersville Business Council Advisory Board

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Pickens Chamber March Members of the Month

The Greater Pickens Chamber of Commerce recently announced Dillard Memorial Funeral Home and Hillcrest Memorial Park as the Chamber’s March Members of the Month. Dillard Memorial Funeral Home and Hillcrest Memorial Park are located at 2402 Gentry Memorial Highway in Pickens. Dillard Memorial Funeral Home and Hillcrest Memorial Park stand ready to help families during the loss of a loved one. Helping local families — like yours — is something they have done for more than 70 years. The team at Dillard and Hillcrest believe they serve families best by listening to their needs and offering many options. Dillard’s compassionate, professional funeral directors and cemetery team understand the difficult decisions that families face when planning funerals and burials, and they will help you create a memorable tribute for yourself or someone you love. Dillard employees understand that losing a loved one is an emotional and difficult experience and are committed to providing compassionate care and professional and personal service. Dillard Memorial Funeral Home and Hillcrest Memorial Park are here to assist every step of the way. Contact them if you need immediate assistance, wish to tour the funeral home or cemetery grounds, or would like more information about preplanning services. Pictured above in front row are Angela Dalton of Dalton Jewelry, office manager Teri Bearden, general manager Tanya Gravely, funeral assistant Maria Schlesier, receptionist Norma Fortner, funeral assistant Sharon Bellino, Dillard Funeral Home and Palmetto Cremation Service manager and funeral director Ricky Tomlinson and Brittany Chapman of Alliance Pickens. In the second row are Debbie Gravely of the chamber, office manager Madison Ramey, funeral assistant Bobby Duncan, family service counselor Anita Holloway, apprentice funeral director Melody Alexander and funeral director CB Dunson. In the third row are funeral assistant Jody Vissage, family service counselor Brian Hatchett, apprentice funeral director Mark Alexander and funeral assistants Hamp Summey and Marion Summey.

SC House includes another raise for teachers in budget

By Andrea Kelley
Courtesy The Journal

COLUMBIA — Teachers across South Carolina could see another pay raise if the State House of Representatives has its way.

The House budget for fiscal year 2024 includes a $2,500 raise in teacher salaries, bringing the minimum starting salary up to $42,500,

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according to Rep. Bill Whitmire of Walhalla, who represents most of Oconee County and the northwestern corner of Pickens County.

“We’re trying to get more people into the teaching profession,” Whitmire said last week. “We have had so many people opt out, especially younger teachers. I think I was told last year 20 percent of all new teachers don’t make it past five years in the profession, so that’s very concerning. And we were short 1,200 to 1,500 teachers at the start of last year, I think, statewide.

“I don’t think that’s a real issue up here, but you go down to the lower part of the state and they are really struggling to find teachers there,” he added. “They don’t have a local supplement like we do here in Oconee and Pickens and Anderson and Greenville counties, so it’s hard.”

The School District of Pickens County salary schedule lists a starting salary of $41,492 for first-year teachers, and the district’s employment webpage showed more than 50 open positions as of last week.

School districts are required to meet the statewide minimum salary schedule in the current fiscal year and provide the annual step increase, according to the budget, but do not have to increase salaries above that amount.


Boosting other  school positions

The House budget also includes a 20 percent starting pay increase for bus drivers, Whitmire said, and provides enough funding to have a school resource officer in every school in the state.

The Ways and Means Committee, which Whitmire sits on, is also working to make sure districts can afford to have a nurse in each school.

“We had a very good budget. I can say it — I’m over public education,” Whitmire said, laughing.

His tone then turned serious as he brought up the battle with the private sector to keep state employees, including school employees.

“Private sector comes in and offers these folks more money, and you can’t blame them. They’re going to go where the money is,” he said. “Keeping folks is not easy.

“They deserve (the raise), because it is a tough profession now with all the different issues,” Whitmire added. “It didn’t used to be that way, but it’s gotten to be very hard, so I really respect folks that go into it.”

The budget was passed by the House on March 15 and headed to the Senate.

Library, BHSPC plan substance abuse town halls

COUNTY — The Pickens County Library System and Behavioral Health Services of Pickens County are partnering to present a series of four town hall meetings to be held across the county next month.

The town halls will discuss different “hot topics” in substance use prevention and will give community members a chance to discuss these issues and have their questions answered.

The meetings are set to be held at 5:30 p.m. each Monday in April, with all four at different library branches across the county and each focusing on a single topic.

The first town hall, set for April 3, will focus on marijuana and be held at the Captain Kimberly Hampton Memorial Library in Easley. The second, with methamphetamine as the topic, will be held April 10 at the Sarlin Library in Liberty. Underage drinking will be the focus of an April 17 meeting at the Village Branch Library in Pickens, and the April 24 town hall at the Central-Clemson Library will concentrate on vaping.

Free enterprise should do people right

Can somebody tell me why anyone would pay $60,000 for a pickup truck?

OK, I guess I know. Probably for the same reason I might pay $60,000 for a vintage Les Paul and a wall of Marshall amplifiers: to make me feel like a big man.

But I don’t have $60,000 to spare.

I have nothing against big fancy pickups (although the diesel ones are really annoying) or people

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