Category Archives: Local News

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

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

Courier Calendar of Events 3-25-20

• Vietnam vets to be honored March 29

March 29 has been set aside as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. The day will be a chance to honor all Vietnam veterans and a moment to say welcome home and thank you for your service. As Vietnam veterans came home, most were not shown the respect and honor that other veterans from other eras before and after received. Vietnam veterans are America’s greatest population of veterans, who suffered in war and are still fighting the battles of cancers and other diseases caused by Agent Orange today.

• Library system to sponsor contest

April is national poetry month. Celebrate by entering the Pickens County Library System’s 10th annual poetry contest sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Those interested may submit an original poem between now and March 31 at any library location or electronically to Winners from each age category will receive a cash prize. Categories are as follows: Youth — up to age 11; Teen — ages 12-18; Adult — ages 19 and up. For official rules, visit Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 25.

• Samaritan Health dance postponed

For the safety of all, due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Samaritan Health is postponing and more likely canceling this year’s barn dance fundraiser. As you can imagine, Samaritan Health services are expected to be in immense demand over the next several months with many people now being out of work. Samaritan Health resources will be extremely taxed to support this influx in patients, and the barn dance is a very large portion of the organization’s funding for the year.

Samaritan Health officials ask residents to find it in their hearts to consider a donation to help the organization through this difficult time. Potential donors can visit the Tickets and Sponsorship tab at and select a donation option.

If Samaritan Health is able to move forward with the dance, the organization will apply all funding and ticket purchases to the event and notify donors of the new date.

• Liberty to host BBQ and Jeep Festival

Liberty Festivals and Events and the city of Liberty are pleased to announce the upcoming Liberty BBQ and Jeep Fest, to be held Saturday, May 9 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. in downtown Liberty.

This year’s festival will offer a wide variety of activities for the whole family: arts, crafts, children activities, displays from nonprofit organizations, food, music and entertainment.

A Jeep cruise-in will be held from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. The BBQ competition that runs from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. is a Certified South Carolina Barbecue Association-sanctioned event.

The main stage will feature Hot as a Pepper shortly after 11 a.m., followed by Split Shot shortly after 3 p.m. Liberty’s festivals have been very successful, with 100-plus vendors and more than 3,000 in attendance. Sponsors and vendors are still being accepted. Find out more information at

• WPO offers chance at monthly fellowship

The Widowed Persons Organization (WPO) organization is not a grief therapy group, but it does provide an opportunity for widowed persons to come together, make new friends and share conversation and food while finding a new beginning in life. The group meets on the second Saturday of every month at 1 p.m. in the fellowship building of Lakeview Baptist Church on Mauldin Lake Road in Pickens. For more information, call (864) 850-1987 or (864) 878-6215.

• Volunteers needed to paint Hope Globes

The Hope Globe is an Upstate South Carolina charity that was created to provide emotional support for children at Prisma and other hospitals of the Upstate. The charity is currently looking for volunteers to paint globes and raise awareness, and the group is also asking for donations of any kind — furniture, appliances, cars, etc. — for its online thrift store. To find out more about the charity, visit or contact the group at or (864) 247-0702.

• Beginner sewing lessons offered

The women’s department of the Church of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God is offering beginner sewing lessons on the third Sunday of each month at 3 p.m. All supplies are furnished. For information, call Donna Anderson at (864) 420-9489.


YMCA of Easley, Pickens and Powdersville temporarily closing through April 1

EASLEY – The YMCA of Easley, Pickens and Powdersville has kicked off its Annual Campaign, sharing the exciting work being done in the community as the organization seeks to continue its life-changing work in the community.

These are truly unprecedented times. COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is now a global pandemic and we are uncertain about the days ahead. It’s hard to imagine more difficult circumstances for our community and our YMCA. We are a Christ-centered community organization with a mission of putting Christian principles into practice through our powerful programs that can change lives for

Power companies adjust in face of state pandemic

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

COUNTY — Both Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative and Duke Energy have taken steps to help both customers and employees in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  “Because we are a service provider for more than 67,000 members in the Upstate, our concern for our communities, our members and our employees is paramount in our decision process,” Blue Ridge said in a news release. “We know that keeping our workforce healthy and ready to respond to any situation that arises on our system is our priority.”

Both companies said they will not disconnect any customer’s service for non-payment. Duke officials said the company will continue to read meters and send bills

School district makes plans

By Greg Oliver

Courtesy The Journal

COUNTY — On Monday, school district officials announced their latest responses to COVID-19, which includes student prescription medicine and Chromebook pickups, as well as plans to thoroughly clean school buildings.

School District of Pickens County spokesman John Eby announced late Monday that schools will be open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday to allow students to pick up medication and belongings. Students and parents will be accompanied by a staff member when entering the building and should be prepared for potential wait times, as the district limits the number of visitors in the building at a time. School staff will deliver medication directly to severely medically fragile students on

Head-on collisions kill three

PICKENS — Three Pickens County men lost their lives in two separate head-on collisions over the weekend, according to authorities.

The first wreck happened on U.S. Highway 178 at Belle Shoals Road near Liberty at around 11:30 p.m. Friday.

Master Trooper Brandon Bolt of the S.C. Highway Patrol said a 2002 Honda driven by 74-year-old Doma James Cantrell of Liberty crossed the centerline and hit a 2012 Nissan.

Cantrell, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was taken to Prisma Health Greenville, where he was later

Election filing now available

By Bru Nimmons

Staff Reporter

COUNTY — Despite the threat of COVID-19, primary election filings opened as scheduled on Monday, March 16.

All who file in the March 16-30 window will be eligible for the South Carolina state primaries on June 9, with runoffs to be held on June 23. The winners will then take part in the general election on Nov. 3.

While any elections in March and April have been postponed in South Carolina due to the virus, candidates in Pickens County may still file for the following seats in the upcoming primary election

Official: Salaries make up bulk of county’s general fund budget

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Salaries and other personal services make up more than two-thirds of Pickens County’s budget each year, according to the county finance director.

County council held a budget discussion last month, early in the budget process.

“I wanted to have this meeting because of what we talked about in our council goals,” county council chairman Roy Costner said.

During a planning session in November of last year, council discussed looking at the budget in a different way than in prior years.

“We were talking about really taking a hard look at our budget in the sense of what percentage of