Category Archives: News

‘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,

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

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.


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

Chamber, PRA honor award winners

The Greater Pickens Chamber of Commerce and Pickens Revitalization Association held their annual awards banquets on Friday, March 13. Pictured below are the winners of the annual awards presented by the PRA and the chamber.


PCMOW alters delivery schedule amid pandemic

PICKENS — With the nation reeling from an outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Pickens County Meals on Wheels is continuing its service of delivering meals to homebound citizens — with some modifications.

“It is very important that we continue to provide a daily meal and safety check,” according to an email from PCMOW executive director Kim Valentin. “As conditions change, we are modifying how we run our program.”

Effective this week, PCMOW switched to a three-day delivery schedule, with deliveries on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The organization is delivering a hot meal along with a frozen meal every Monday and Wednesday. On Fridays, the nonprofit will deliver a hot meal along with the weekend frozen meals for those on the weekend frozen program.

“On Tuesday and Thursday, we will be calling all clients for a safety check,” Valentin’s email said.

Volunteer Tuesday-Thursday drivers who would like to continue to help on the Monday-

This is not a drill

There is plenty of doom and gloom about the coronavirus out there, so how about a little good news for a change? The good news is there is something that actually works. It’s not a cure-all drug, a vaccine (which is at best a year away) or some snake oil concoction you can buy on the internet. It’s called social distancing, and it is easier and more effective than you might think.

Let’s look first at what social distancing is and what it is not. It is not locking yourself up in the house for some undetermined length of time. You can go outside and take a walk around the neighborhood. You can sit on the porch and watch the squirrels and the birds and your neighbors as they pass by. You can drive to a park, stroll a well-worn path and commune with nature. You can go to the store to get groceries, or to the gas station to fill up the car, or to the drug store to get your medicines, or to big box stores to replenish your supply of all those things essential to life.

The term social distancing actually refers to two things. First, it does indeed mean spending most of your time at home, but you can avoid cabin fever or just plain old boredom by venturing out from time to time. More about how to safely do that later on. The other aspect of social distancing is maintaining a safe distance of six to eight feet between you and other people at all times and in all places.

Your goal in social distancing should be to make your home your safe space, the one place where you can be reasonably certain that you will not come in contact with the coronavirus. To make that happen, you will have to do something that goes against our natural instinct, the very fiber of our being. Humans are social creatures, and here in the South, we are some of the friendliest, most hospitable and gracious people on the planet. Our southern hospitality is legendary. Lord knows I love the South and thank the good Lord every day that I grew up where I did, and that I was raised the way I was.

Regardless of where you are from or how you were raised, in order to create your safe space, in order to protect yourself, you are going to have to make sure that someone does not bring the coronavirus into your sanctuary. This means that you should not invite or allow anyone, other than

State schools to stay closed through April

COLUMBIA —  Governor Henry McMaster and South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman today released the following joint statement announcing that South Carolina’s schools will remain closed for the duration of the month of April:

“At this time, students, parents, and families should plan for South Carolina’s schools to remain closed through the month of April. Our dedicated teachers and school administrators have done a tremendous job in making it possible for our students to learn at home. We understand that the prospect of schools remaining closed for an extended period of time places stress and strain on parents and children. Rest assured, if there is any way to safely open our schools earlier, we will do that, but schools must remain closed to protect the health and safety of South Carolinians.”

On March 15, Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-09, which closed public schools for students and non-essential employees through March 31st. The governor will issue an additional executive order to extend the K-12 school closures through the month of April in the coming days.

As his previous executive order did, the governor’s executive order will apply to the state’s public colleges, universities, and technical colleges, and encourage those institutions to maintain existing plans to provide instruction through virtual learning. 


SDPC is offering breakfast and lunch for anyone under the age of 18

SDPC is offering breakfast and lunch for anyone under the age of 18 (and special needs adults up to age 21) on school days (Mon.-Fri.). Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, meals will be available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the following locations:

School locations

  • Central Academy of the Arts
  • Chastain Road Elementary
  • Dacusville Elementary
  • McKissick Academy of Science & Technology
  • Pickens Elementary
  • West End Elementary

Church locations:

Pickens Area: 

Shady Grove Baptist Church

2901 Shady Grove Rd

Sunset, SC 29685

Holly Springs Baptist Church

3450 Table Rock Rd

Pickens, SC 29671

Six Mile Area: 

Kings Grove Baptist Church