TRAVELLE LAMAR BURROS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY AND CHARGED WITH MURDER

Thursday, April 17

The Union Public Safety Department has taken 41-year old Travelle Lamar Burros into custody without incident. He has been charged with murder in the death of his stepfather, 61-year old Raymond Davis, whose body is believed to have been recovered near his home yesterday. Identification and cause of death are pending a scheduled autopsy tomorrow in Newberry. WBCU will continue to follow this story.

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BODY FOUND IN DENSE UNDERGROWTH IS LIKELY RAYMOND DAVIS

Thursday, April 17

A body was recovered from a dense area of underbrush Wednesday afternoon near the home of a man who was reported missing Tuesday night following an alleged argument with his step-son. A dog from the Foothills Search and Rescue K-9 Unit was brought to the scene to aid in the search for the victim. Police were saying nothing concerning the identity of the body, but in a news release from the Union Public Safety Department, an autopsy has been ordered by County Coroner William Holcombe for Friday, April 18th. Holcombe said in a late news release the body is believed to be that of Raymond Davis. All this follows on the heels of police returning to the 902 Union Boulevard address Wednesday afternoon but giving no indication why they were there. The area was sealed off.

Sixty-one year old Raymond Davis, of 902 Union Boulevard, was reported missing Tuesday night by concerned relatives. It was learned by police that Davis had been involved in an argument with his step-son, Travelle Lamar Burros, 41. Police are still seeking information on the location of Burros. Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of Burros is urged to contact the Union Public Safety Department at 864-429-1713, or Crime Stoppers at 864-427-0800.

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SHERIFF AND PROBATE JUDGE MAKE BUDGET REQUESTS

Thursday, April 17

The Union County Council met for a budget session Tuesday afternoon and heard requests from Union County Sheriff David Taylor and Probate Judge Donna Cudd. Cudd, who is retiring at the end of her term, asked the council to reinstate a third clerk in her office. She had requested the clerk to help in the office because of another clerk who was out on medical leave. Cudd said the demands of the office are growing daily, and even though she will no longer hold the position after the first of the year, whoever is elected will need the help.

Sheriff Taylor is requesting funding for five new vehicles to replace the aging fleet. The estimated cost is $30,000 each. In addition, he wants computers in 16 patrol cars. He related that the purchase could actually save money, because officers could do their reports on location without having to travel back to the office. The cost of the computers would be $3400 each, and the mounting bracket would cost an additional $340. There would also be a monthly expense for the Verizon Wi-Fi cards that allow for the in-field operation. The sheriff did not ask for any increases in the office line items.

An exhaust issue has plagued the jail in recent years, and Taylor says he hopes the council will appropriate the funds to get it repaired. He is also asking for jail maintenance funding and the replacement of cameras. There is an air conditioning unit that also need to be replaced. The 911 office is just looking for funds to cover maintenance there.

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DATES SET FOR CHAMBER BANQUET AND HEALTH CARE FOUNDATION FUNDRAISER

Thursday, April 17

A date and time has been set for the annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet. The date is May 15th at 6:30 p.m. in the Family Life Center of Tabernacle Baptist Church. Tickets are available at the Chamber office for $30 each; however, sponsorships are still available. Persons wishing to attend should contact the Chamber by May 7th.

Another event for a good cause coming up soon is Cocktails for a Cure. This is being staged by the Union County Health Care Foundation and will be held at the Nicholson Mansion at Fairforest Creek May 2nd beginning at 6:30. Attire for the occasion is business casual, and admission is $50 each. Persons desiring to attend should RSVP by April 24th to Catherine Childers at 301-2466.

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HIGH SCHOOL DEPARTMENT OF VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS PRESENTS "HAIRSPRAY!"

Thursday, April 17

The UCHS Dept. of Visual & Performing Arts presents the musical Hairspray! The Rotary Club Dinner Theater performance will be Thursday, April 24, at 6:30; advance tickets are required. Non-dinner performances run Friday and Saturday, April 25 and 26, at 7 PM; and Sunday, April 27, at 3 PM. Tickets are available at the door.  Advance tickets are available at Union County High School or at WBCU Radio. Dinner tickets are $15. Non-dinner tickets are $6 in advance and $8 at the door.

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SHERIFF'S OFFICE SEEKING shooter of BULLS

Thursday, April 17

The investigation into the death of four bovines has taken a bit of a CSI twist. Over the past two weeks, sheriff's deputies have been called to investigate three different cases of bulls being found dead in their pastures. In all cases, they are suspected to have been shot. Chief Deputy Perry Haney said the investigation is being taken quite seriously.

Perry said they are in hopes the forensics investigation will lead to a ballistics test. Estimated value of the four bulls is placed at around $10,000.
 


PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS SUSPECT FOUL PLAY IN UNION MAN'S DISAPPEARANCE

Wednesday, April 16

The Union Public Safety Department responded to a report of a missing man Tuesday night. 61-year old Raymond Davis, of 902 Union Boulevard, was reported missing by a relative concerned about his welfare after it was reported he had been in an argument with his step-son. Officers accompanied the relative to the residence, and, upon inspection, determined that foul play may be a factor. Davis's step-son, 41-year old Travelle Lamar Burros, also of 902 Union Boulevard, is being sought as a person of interest. Burros stands approximately 5 ft. 9 inches tall and weighs around 180 pounds. If you have any information regarding this case, contact the Union Public Safety Department at 429-1713. Burros is pictured at left.

 

 

 

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CITY COUNCIL HEARS FUNDING REQUESTS

Wednesday, April 16

The Union City Council met for their regular monthly session Tuesday evening and took up several items for consideration. The first matter concerned changing the May regular meeting date from the 20th to one week earlier on the 13th. Reportedly, Mayor Harold Thompson made the request for the change because he would not be in town for the May 20th meeting.

WBCU Radio had two requests--one for participation in the annual Country Music Showdown. WBCU has hosted the event for the past several years, and this past year, the winner of the Union competition, Casey Sutton, advanced all the way to the national finals. The council voted to make a $225 donation to the event. The other item is a request for participation in the annual Senior Citizens Expo. This will be the 16th year the station has sponsored the event, which draws hundreds of area seniors. The council voted to be a part of the event again this year with a $650 participation.

Family Fest is set for May 2nd through the 4th and was created through a partnership of area churches. The three-day event is billed as being fun for the entire family and will feature everything from live music performances to bow shooting. A strength team will also be featured. The group asked the city to participate with a monetary contribution of $1000. That donation would fund having the strength team go into area schools with an anti-bullying message. Mayor Pro-Tem Robert Garner asked that the matter be tabled until they could get a clarification on city regulations. The matter, in reality, comes down to a church and state issue. Since the event is sponsored by area churches, the question comes to whether or not it is legal to use public money for such an event.

A special budget meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 21st, at 9:00 AM, at which time the matter will be taken up.

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STRIBBLE INFORMS SCHOOL BOARD OF UPDATED BUS ACCIDENT PROCEDURES

Wednesday, April 16

Meeting Tuesday night, the Union County School Board heard recommendations from Director of Personnel and Student Services Jeff Stribble concerning bus accident/emergency procedures. The updated procedures come on the heels of two bus accidents that occurred last month on the same day and involving the same driver. The new policy is fairly in line with the previous one, with one significant addition. Quoting the policy, “Following any type of bus accident, the district will immediately suspend the driver for a minimum of one day, pending the outcome of the investigation by the district.” That was not the case following the previous incidents. Following the first morning accident, the driver was allowed to resume his duties after successfully undergoing a drug and alcohol test. The Highway Patrol did ticket the driver following both accidents. The amended policy continues to state: "If the bus driver receives a citation under state or local law for a moving traffic violation arising from the accident OR if there is a total of $500 or more in damages, the district will: Conduct alcohol and controlled substance tests as soon as practicable AND Immediately suspend the driver for a minimum of one day pending the outcome of the investigation by the district. The school board is to be notified regarding the accident or incident."

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INDOOR PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE PLACES 14TH IN WGI WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN OHIO

Wednesday, April 16

Placing 14th in any kind of competition may not, at first glance, appear to be all that impressive, but when it's number 14 in world competition, that's pretty impressive. Such was the case for the the Union County High School Indoor Percussion Ensemble at the WGI World Championships in Dayton, Ohio, this past weekend. This is the third year of the UCHS Indoor Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Matt Chastain. The ensemble placed 12th during the preliminary semifinals on Saturday, securing their spot in Sunday’s finals, where they placed 14th. The ensemble consist of 29 students, and its show is entitled “The Right.”

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12-YEAR OLD SUBJECT FACES CHARGES AFTER SHOOTING BB GUN AT CAR

Wednesday, April 16

A 12-year old subject is facing charges of shoplifting, discharging a firearm in the city, and malicious damage. A city Public Safety incident report stated that Cpl. David Lee was dispatched Sunday to 408 North Duncan Bypass concerning a child shooting a BB gun toward vehicles. Lee located the subject, who admitted firing the BB gun toward a vehicle and throwing it in a trash can. The subject told the officer he stole the gun from the Dollar General store. A victim of the incident, Johnny Yarbourgh, told the officer he was driving through the parking lot when he heard something hit his vehicle. He said he observed the young subject standing in a stairwell shooting the gun toward the vehicles. The store manager at Dollar General did confirm the subject had been in the store earlier, and that surveillance video would be reviewed. The 12-year old was taken to the Public Safety Department and later released, presumably to a parent.

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WELLFORD MAN CHARGED WITH CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT TOWARDS A MINOR

Wednesday, April 16

A 20-year old Wellford man has been charged with criminal sexual conduct. The warrant states that Christopher Auhn Lee did, between the dates of January 1st and March 31st, commit the act of criminal sexual conduct on a 13-year old victim. The incident is said to have occurred at the Fairforest Apartments. The details of the incident described in the warrant involved inappropriate touching of the victim. At last report, Lee was being held at the Union County Jail.


SUPERINTENDENT ANSWERS BOARD'S QUESTIONS REGARDING WAIVER

Tuesday, April 15

The Union County School Board met Monday evening in a much-anticipated session to hear Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall's answers to questions put forth by Board Chairman Dr. Wanda All during the last meeting. At issue was the matter of the revelation that the district had applied for a waiver with the State Department of Education concerning the number of hours some teachers were actually teaching at Union County High School. The matter of the waiver was believed to jeopardize the school accreditation, and added to that was the fact the board had no knowledge of the action. Dr. All laid out a list of questions during the last meeting, and directed that the answers be forthcoming in the next meeting, which took place last night. The response came in the form of a lengthy prepared statement by Dr. Woodall and Director of Instruction Cindy Langley. A portion of that statement offered by Woodall is as follows:

A major point made by Board Member Jane Wilkes was that at no time was the school's accreditation in jeopardy.

As the discussion continued, there did not appear that too much of anything can be done to remedy the problem of some teachers teaching longer hours than the regulation allows. The administration is looking into a few options, but unless additional teachers can be hired to fill the gap, not much is expected to happen. The question was put before Dr. Woodall concerning what is the answer to the problem. She stated, “The waiver is the answer.”

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RELAY FOR LIFE TEAM CAPTAIN'S MEETING SET FOR TONIGHT

Tuesday, April 15

The last team captain’s meeting will be held today for the Union County Relay for Life organization. They'll meet at the Tabernacle Baptist Church Family Life Center at 6:30pm. Co-Chairperson Beth Lancaster says this is the most important meeting, so please make sure your team is represented. All track signs and banner sponsorships will be due at the meeting. Orders are still be taken for the fundraising shirts.

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VIETNAM VETERANS' GROUP TO MEET THURSDAY

Tuesday, April 15

The monthly meeting of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 644 will be on Thursday, April 17th. The doors will open at 6:30 P.M., but the business meeting will not commence until 7:00 P.M. Members are asked to attend if at all possible, as the annual election of officers takes place at the April meeting. The meeting will be held at its usual location: The Legion Hut at 120 Scenic Drive in Foster Park, Union. The VVA meets there on the third Thursday of each month, and Vietnam-era veterans interested in becoming members are always welcome as guests.

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CITY COUNCIL HAS LIGHT AGENDA FOR TONIGHT'S MEETING

Tuesday, April 15

The Union City Council will be meeting in their regular monthly meeting this evening. The session will get underway at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers. The agenda appears to be fairly light, with only a few items to consider. They will also look at changing the May 20th meeting to May 13th, but no reason was given for that change.

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CARLISLE MAN FACES RAPE CHARGES

Tuesday, April 15

A 20-year old Carlisle man is facing charges for forcible rape of a minor. Few details are available, due mainly to state law that goes to great lengths to protect the identity of the victim. Charged is Bryant Tymaine Harris of 124 T. B. Drive, Carlisle. The incident date is listed as Saturday, April 12th. At last report, Harris was being held at the Union County Jail.

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WOODRUFF MAN ACCUSED OF STEALING 4-WHEELER AT BIG BUCK RACE

Tuesday, April 15

One of the workers at Saturday's Big Buck races had his 4-wheeler stolen. Rodney Surface reported to police that the four-wheeler, belonging to a company, Tom's Marine Sales of Crawfordsville, Indiana, was stolen. Surface reported that a white male got on the 850 Polaris ATV, valued at $9500, and took off into the woods. Officers were able to identify the suspect as Joseph Salatore Brisiano, 30, of 248 Angell's Court, Woodruff, SC. The vehicle was found wrecked in Spartanburg County and returned to the owner. A warrant is being sought for Brisiano.


BIG BUCK GNCC RACES DRAW THOUSANDS

Monday, April 14

The final numbers are not yet in, but estimates indicate that 5000-6000 spectators packed into the Big Buck Farm in the Cross Keys community Saturday and Sunday for the ATV and cross-country motorcycle races. Union County was the fourth stop on the thirteen-event tour that will conclude October 25th and 26th in Crawfordsville, Indiana. The races were described as very exciting in the event that put a national spotlight on Union County. The 550-acre Big Buck Farm is a favorite on the tour by GNCC officials, as well as fans and participants. There was one incident Saturday that temporarily dampened the excitement. Complete details are not available, but it was reported that the brakes locked on one of the ATVs, causing the driver to be thrown headfirst over the handle bars. He was transported to the hospital by Union County EMS, where his condition was not known.

The Big Buck Race was just one of several major events that took place over the weekend. The Rotary Club circus saw good attendance both Friday and Saturday, and was described as successful. Another successful event was the Easter Egg Scramble that took place at Union County Stadium. A multitude of youngsters turned out to participate in games and hunt Easter eggs.

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REPUBLICANS HEAR FROM CANDIDATES FOR LOCAL AND STATE OFFICES

Monday, April 14

Union County Republicans met Friday evening for the purpose of acquainting those attending with the candidates who will be on the primary ballot in June and the general election ballot in November. One of those candidates was Sally Dunbar Atwater, who has offered for the Republican nomination to become State Superintendent of Education. Atwater, a Union native and now a resident of Charleston, said she is running for the office, because:

Also on hand to speak at the Friday gathering was House District 42 candidates David Tribble of Clinton and Mark Cathcart from Buffalo. William All, candidate for Probate Judge, also spoke briefly.

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SCHOOL BOARD MEETS TONIGHT AT SIMS LIBRARY

Monday, April 14

The Union County School Board of Trustees meet tonight in the library of Sims Middle School at 7:00 p.m.. There are a couple of agenda items that may be of interest. During the last meeting, Board Chair Dr. Wanda All issue a directive to the school administration to provide certain information concerning the revelation that the district had made a request to the State Department of Education for a one-year waiver concerning some teachers at the high school teaching more hours than the law allows. Apparently, the biggest issue was that the local board was not aware of the request. The agenda simply lists that District Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall will address the matter under a designation called "accreditation update".

Another area of interest will be a presentation by Jeff Stribble, in which he will discuss some revised procedures since a school bus accident several weeks ago. The matter actually involved two school bus accidents on the same day and involving the same bus driver. That driver had been cleared to resume his duties following an accident early in the day and was involved in a rear-end collision with a passenger car later that same day. Their were no serious injuries reported as a result of either accident.

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CLERK OF COURT REPORTS ON GENERAL SESSIONS COURT

Monday, April 14

General Sessions Court was held this past week. With that report, here is Union County Clerk of Court Freddie Gault.


HOSPITAL DISTRICT TO GET INCREASED REIMBURSEMENT FOR INDIGENT CARE

Friday, April 11

Auditors with the firm of Dixon, Hughes, and Goodman gave a report to the Union Hospital District Board of Trustees during the regular monthly meeting Thursday night. While the audit was good, the bottom line still shows the district to be in a critical financial situation. One line in the audit report stood out--the financial statements were prepared “assuming the District will continue as a going concern.” Union Hospital District Chief Executive Officer Paul Newhouse was asked about that statement.

Newhouse mentioned the reimbursement for indigent care has increased. He explained the reimbursement have been running in the neighborhood of $500,000-$660,000 per quarter, but that amount has been increased. The latest reimbursement came in at $1.7 million for the quarter, and that amount is expected to continue. The increase in effect buys some time.

For the month of February, the hospital showed a loss of $460,000. The physician's groups posted a $430,000 loss, and EMS came in with a $12,000 loss. Ellen Sagar Nursing Home posted $49,000 to the positive.

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BUSY WEEKEND AHEAD IN UNION COUNTY

Friday, April 11

Today marks the beginning of a busy weekend for many Union Countians, as there are a number of activities scheduled. The largest of the happenings will be the Big Buck GNCC races held at the Big Buck Farm off Highway 49 in the Cross Keys community. The event bring hundreds of ATV and motorcycle amateur and professional racers to the county, and it is one of the most notable events on the GNCC calendar. The races begin at 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning and run through Sunday afternoon.

Opening tonight will be the Zerbini Family Circus at the Union County Fairgrounds. The circus is being brought to town by the Union Rotary Club as a fundraiser for the organization. The show will run two nights, with shows at 5 and 8 p.m. both days. Adult tickets are $12, and children's tickets are $10.

Saturday afternoon, the Easter Egg Scramble will take place. Jessica Gallman with the Union County Recreation Department says:

Adding to all the outdoor events is a beautiful weather forecast that calls for sunshine and highs of around 80 degrees.

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REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES COME OUT TO LOCAL PARTY MEETING TONIGHT

Friday, April 11

The Union County Republican Party will be meeting tonight at the Union County Courthouse. The starting time is 6:30. The group will be introducing their ballot to the residents of Union County. Featured speakers will be Union native Sally Atwater, candidate for South Carolina Superintendent. Also on hand will be David Tribble and Mark Cathcart, candidates for South Carolina House District 42. William All, candidate for Probate Judge; Scott Lewis, candidate for Coroner; and Randall English, candidate for County Council District 1, will all attend.  The public is invited to attend and meet with the candidates. Light refreshments will be served.

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VETERANS' ORGANIZATIONS PLAN MEETINGS NEXT WEEK

Friday, April 11

Union American Legion Post 22 will be having its monthly meeting on Monday, April 14th. It will be held in its regular location, the Legion Hut, at 120 Scenic Drive in Foster Park in Union. A meal will be served at 6:00 P.M., followed by a speaker at 6:30, and the business meeting at 7:00. Post 22 meets on the second Monday evening of every month except July, and prospective members are always welcome to attend.

Then on Thursday, the monthly meeting of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 644 will meet. The doors will open at 6:30 P.M., but the business meeting will not commence until 7:00 P.M. Members are asked to attend if at all possible, as the annual election of officers takes place at this meeting. This meeting too will be held at its usual location: The Legion Hut at 120 Scenic Drive in Foster Park, Union. The VVA meets there on the third Thursday of each month, and Vietnam-era veterans interested in becoming members are always welcome as guests.

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JOE NICHOLS NAMED AMBASSADOR FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Friday, April 11

Individuals and companies from every county in South Carolina were recognized last week for the contributions they provide to their communities and to economic development as part of the 23rd-annual Industry Appreciation Week.

Through an official proclamation, Governor Nikki Haley declared March 31-April 4 as Industry Appreciation Week. The South Carolina Department of Commerce observed the week by honoring individuals from each of the state's 46 counties as Ambassadors for Economic Development. These individuals included local leaders from the private sector, representing a variety of businesses and economic development organizations committed to securing new jobs and investment in their communities.

City of Union Utility Director Joe F. Nichols was named as one of the ambassadors. In addition to his duties with the city, Nichols serves as president of the Union County Development Board.


HOSPITAL BOARD MEETS TONIGHT AT ELLEN SAGAR NURSING HOME

Thursday, April 10

The Union Hospital District Board of Trustees and Finance Committee will be meeting this evening at 6:30. There is a change in the venue from the normal meeting location. This session will be held at Ellen Sagar Nursing Home.

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ERNEST MOORE WINS THIRD TERM AS JONESVILLE MAYOR

Thursday, April 10

Incumbent Jonesville Mayor Ernest Moore has been returned to office for a third term after defeating two challengers in Tuesday's municipal election. The uncertified results showed Moore receiving 113 votes to Town Councilman Danny Horlacher's 69 and Mark Goudelock's 25. Certification of the election will come today.

Two incumbent water commissioners were reelected, one of those by a write-in vote. Julia DeHart was on the ballot; however, Fred Faucett did not file for reelection. In spite of this, Faucette was returned to the seat as a result of the write-in vote.

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UNION MAN ARRESTED ON ASSAULT AND BATTERY CHARGES

Thursday, April 10

Tuesday, deputies with the Union County Sheriff's Office responded to a disturbance call at 247 Duncan Avenue. Upon arrival, they found Paul D. Rice highly intoxicated and bleeding from a wound to the head. The incident report stated that Rice was extremely belligerent and would not calm down upon repeated commands of officers. The officer deployed the Tazer in order to get Rice to sit down and somewhat comply with officers. The officer called for assistance.

Also found at the scene was Christopher E. McKenzie, who was bleeding from wounds on the right side of his face and his left hand. Both subjects required medical attention for their injuries, and EMS was called.

Upon investigation, it was determined that Rice started the altercation when Chris Edwards showed up. Witnesses stated that Rice went after Edwards with a thick electrical cord and started swinging at Edwards, striking him several times. Edwards defended himself and struck Rice several times to get away, which is how Rice received the knot and laceration to his forehead, from which he was bleeding heavily.

Rice then jumped into Edwards' vehicle and took the keys out of the vehicle and would not return the keys to Edwards. He also took the electrical cord and struck a nearby vehicle across the hood and passenger side front fender, causing approximately $1500 worth of damage.

Rice then turned his attention to another subject and grabbed a garden hoe and began to swing it around. McKenzie tried to intervene and calm Rice down, but Rice struck McKenzie with the garden hoe on the right side of McKenzie's face and his left hand, causing severe lacerations to both areas. EMS arrived on scene and transported both Rice and McKenzie to the emergency room for treatment.

Warrants were signed on Paul D. Rice for 2 counts of 2nd-degree assault and battery, petit larceny, and for malicious damage to personal property.

At the emergency room, McKenzie received 12 stitches in the right side of his face to close the laceration, and was transferred to Spartanburg Regional for treatment of his left hand, due to the injury involving a compound fracture that requires surgery.

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UNION MAN CITED AFTER AGGRESSIVE DOG ATTACKS MAN AND THREATENS OFFICER

Thursday, April 10

A police taser had to be deployed Tuesday on an aggressive dog that threatened an officer. Public Safety officer Cpl. David Lee was flagged down by Willie Booker while on Thomas Street Tuesday afternoon. Booker told the officer that he had been attacked by a dog. He said he was walking down the street when the dog came out and bit him on the right leg. Lee confirmed the injury to Booker's leg and then summoned EMS to the scene. Animal Control Officer Joe Smith arrived. The animal became aggressive again when officer Smith approached him. It was then that Smith deployed his department-issued taser. The dog ran underneath the trailer, and the officers were not able to retrieve the animal. Officer Smith did leave a cage at that location. Smith also advised Officer Lee that Brandon Mobley, of 114 Thomas Street, had been issued a warning about the dog running at large. Mobley was not at home, but officer Lee did sign a warrant on him for the dog running at large. Booker was transported to Wallace Thomson Hospital for treatment.


COUNTY COUNCIL APPROVES REVISED ANIMAL CONTROL ORDINANCE AMONG OTHER ACTIONS TUESDAY

Wednesday, April 9

The Union County Council met in regular session Tuesday afternoon and heard a request from Pastor Josh Freeman for a $1000 contribution to allow strength performers to go into the Union County Schools for an anti-bullying program. The performers are coming to Union as a part of the Union County Baptist Association's Family Fest. Council said they would take the request under advisement. They also heard a report from Nicki Pyles with Alcohol and Drug Abuse concerning the operation and services provided to the community.

Ronnie Wade, representing the Union County Airport Commission, asked the council to give consideration to allowing the establishment of a fixed-base operator at the Union County Airport. Wade explained why a fixed-base operator would be advantageous.

Interest has already been expressed by an individual who may want to establish such an operation. Such an operator would provide mechanical as well as other services for aircraft.

In other action, council gave approval to a prioritized needs list. Such a list is needed to pave the way to obtain grants.

Third reading was given to a lease amendment between ESAB and the county for Midway Drive to become the property of the county. This road gives access to the property from Highway 49, and the amendment opens up opportunities for future industrial development.

Union County now has a new and revised animal control ordinance. Third reading was given Tuesday to the ordinance, which is much expanded from the previous.

A first reading was given to the 2014–2015 budget ordinance. As it stands, the proposed budget calls for a total expenditure of $12,757,412, but that figure will almost surely change as the council begins the process of considering budget requests from the various county departments.

Longtime Union resident Barbara Rippy was recognized as a recipient of the County Cornerstone Award. Rippy was incapacitated when the ceremony was held last November.

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HIGH SCHOOL INDOOR PERCUSSION TEAM HEADS TO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP COMPETITION

Wednesday, April 9

Members of the Union County High School Indoor Percussion team will head out Wednesday for Dayton, Ohio, to compete for a world championship. Band Aide Club member Candi Sparks Osborne explains how the percussionists got to this point.

This is a major event in the lives of these young people, and the community is asked to come out and show their support as they leave town.

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"TAX FREEDOM DAY" NOTED IN SOUTH CAROLINA

Wednesday, April 9

South Carolina’s Tax Freedom Day, the day on which South Carolinians have collectively earned enough income to pay off their total federal, state, and local tax bills, arrived yesterday at 6:44:34 PM, making it the 8th state to reach Tax Freedom Day. According to the annual report released by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, national Tax Freedom Day falls on April 21st, three days later than last year.

The states with the earliest Tax Freedom Days are Louisiana (Mar 30), Mississippi (Apr 2), and South Dakota (Apr 4). The latest dates fall in New Jersey (May 9), Connecticut (May 9), and New York (May 4). 

Tax Freedom Day is a significant date for taxpayers and lawmakers, because it represents how long Americans as a whole have to work in order to pay the nation’s tax burden.

Historically, the date for Tax Freedom Day has fluctuated significantly. The latest-ever nationwide Tax Freedom Day was May 1, 2000 – meaning that Americans paid 33.0% of their total income in taxes. A century earlier, in 1900, Americans paid only 5.9% of their income in taxes, meaning Tax Freedom Day came on January 22.


COUNTY COUNCIL MEETS THIS AFTERNOON

Tuesday, April 8

The Union County Council meets this afternoon at 5:30, and perhaps the most notable item on the agenda is the first reading of the 2014-2015 budget ordinance. The proposed budget calls for a potential expenditure of $12,757,412. The largest share of the budget, nearly $3,000,000, is designated for non-departmental use, with second-largest amount going to the Sheriff's Office at $1,309,361. Jail operations will take nearly $1,000,000 from the proposed budget. The first reading will open the opportunity for discussions among council members and that final $12.75 million figure will likely change.

Another agenda item is the third reading of a new animal control ordinance. The new ordinance addresses such matters as dangerous animals and exotic pets.

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DEPUTIES REMOVE METH LAB FROM RAVENSCROFT STREET RESIDENCE

Tuesday, April 8

Saturday, deputies responded to a call from Joseph Lester Cochran, III, to come to a residence at 107 Ravenscroft Street to remove a meth lab from the house. Cochran explained that the house was rented under his name, and he wanted it searched for the drug and the chemicals used to make it. Cochran told the deputies that a subject, Kyle Gory, had tossed a pink bag out of the residence into a neighbor's back yard. He also related that there were items that had been placed in a trash can by the subject prior to his leaving because he knew the police were coming. Deputies located the pink bag, which contained several items used to make methamphetamine. The officers also opened the trash can and found two bottles of a substance used to make the drug. Lt. John Sherfield was notified of the findings, and he responded to the residence to dispose of the chemicals. The subject, Kyle Gory, 24, of 410 Rogerstown Road, Jonesville, returned to the location and was placed under arrest and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and unlawful disposal of methamphetamine waste.

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4-H CLUB ANNOUNCES SUMMER CAMPS

Tuesday, April 8

The Union County 4-H program is putting the finishing touches on the summer 4-H camps and day camps for area youth, ages five to fourteen. Interested persons can go to the Clemson Extension Office or the 4-H Facebook page to get a copy of the annual flier listing all of the camps and day camps.

The first will be the "Kids In the Kitchen" day camp, a three-day cooking expedition for youth ages 7 and older, on June 17th-19th. Boys and girls will learn about healthy lifestyles while cooking up (and sampling) some delicious healthy recipes. Each youth will learn basic cooking skills and complete a recipe book. There will also be some time for participants to brush up on table manners and general etiquette.

For youth looking for a residential camping experience this summer, the State 4-H Club Summer Camp will again be offered at Camp Long in Aiken, SC, June 22nd-26th. This traditional camping experience is open to youth ages 8 to 14, and provides such camping fun as swimming, canoeing, fishing, team sports, climbing wall, zip line, hiking, crafts, and much more.

The last week of June will bring hot, sticky days, and another overnight camp. Again this year, Union 4-Hers will combine with neighboring counties to host 4-H Camp Wild at Chester State Park, June 24th-26th. This is truly “roughing it”, since campers will bring their own tent, sleeping bag, and camp chair. Food and plenty of hands-on nature activities will be provided.


SMITH'S JEWELRY TO CELEBRATE 70TH ANNIVERSARY THIS WEEKEND

Monday, April 7

This coming weekend will mark the 70th anniversary for one of Union's Main Street businesses. Smith's Jewelry Store will reach that milestone, and the current owner has been there nearly since the first day. The business actually started in the home of Russell Smith shortly after the start of World War II, and a young lad by the name of Al was hanging around, absorbing knowledge about jewelry. He concentrated on watches and learned how to make repairs to them. Ultimately, Al became the owner of the establishment, which occupied several locations on Main Street.

Saturday, April 12th, will be a special day, and Al's daughter Beth, who works in the store, told how the day will be celebrated.

Beth said her dad is the oldest person still in business on Main Street.

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BIG BUCK SET TO MAKE ITS RETURN to union county THIS WEEKEND

Monday, April 7

Big Buck races return to Union this coming weekend. Promoters say the Big Buck course presents the standard GNCC obstacles: everything from tight woods, to fields, creek crossings, rocks and hill climbs. It’s a fast, wide-open course, but it's definitely not easy. Usually, course designers Jeff Russell and Barry Hawk create a spectacular creek jump where the riders launch off of a bank and over the water, with a path around the jump for those who aren’t as comfortable with air time. It's set to begin Saturday, April 12th, with the youth race at 8:00 a.m., followed by the amateur race at 10. The pro race begins at 1:00 p.m. Weekend pit passes are $20, and youngsters 6 to 11 are only $10. Children five and under are free.

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WOODRUFF MAN ARRESTED AFTER LEADING DEPUTY IN A CHASE ON HIS MOTORCYCLE

Monday, April 7

Deputies were dispatched Thursday afternoon to a situation involving an intoxicated male driving a blue motorcycle in a reckless manner. Deputy Russell Roark observed the subject on the Santuc-Carlisle Highway, turned around and activated his blue light and began a pursuit. The subject accelerated, and Roark observed him turning on to Fish Dam Avenue, passing a car on a double yellow line, and then passing another vehicle that was stopped at the intersection of Highway 72. He turned left toward Chester, and in the 3600 block of Janie Glymph Goree Boulevard, he attempted to turn into a driveway, lost control and wrecked. Roark placed the man, identified as Jeff Collier of Woodruff, under arrest and observed that he appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.

After being placed in the patrol car, Collier made several attempts to kick out the window. He was placed in handcuffs behind his back, and his feet were restrained. A check of his driving record revealed his driving privileges were suspended, and he was listed as a habitual offender. By law, the motorcycle was seized and transported to the Union County Task Force. The Highway Patrol was notified of the wreck, and the trooper placed Collier under arrest for DUI. He is also charged with failure to stop for a blue light and as a habitual traffic offender.

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JAKE TUCKER WINS STATE RECOGNITION IN 4-H WILDLIFE FOOD PLOT CONTEST

Monday, April 7

What is more fun than going hunting on the first day of deer season?  If you ask Jake Tucker, a local 4-Her who participated in the 4-H Wildlife Food Plot Contest, he just may tell you it is planting a wildlife food plot and watching deer and other native wildlife enjoy the fruits of his labor.  Jake was one of nine Union County 4-Hers who participated in the state project for the 2013-2014 year.

The 4-H Wildlife Foot Plot Contest, sponsored this year by Clemson Extension,  4-H, and the QDMA Rack Pack, requires participants to prepare, sow, maintain, and observe a 1/8 to ¼ acre food plot.  Each participate received a five-pound bag of seed to plant in their food plot.   They were required to keep an ongoing record book of their project, including planting dates, rainfall amounts, temperature, growth data, maps, and wildlife sightings.  Each plot was judged in late 2013, and participants turned in their record books on January 10, 2014.  Winner’s scores were based on a combined score of their actual food plot and their record book.  Jake won first place for the project in Union County, and his record book was submitted to the state for further judging. On the state level, Jake won first place in the 4-H Junior Division for the Foothills Region. Other county winners, who will also receive prizes at the local 4-H Awards Program, are second-place county winner John Martin, and third-place county winner Nathan Smith.

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SCHOOL BOARD to MEET next monday

Monday, April 7

The Union County School Board of Trustees meet next Monday night in the library of Sims Middle School at 7:00 p.m.. There are a couple of agenda items that may be of interest. During the last meeting, Board Chair Dr. Wanda All issue a directive to the school administration to provide certain information concerning the revelation that the district had made a request to the State Department of Education for a one-year waiver concerning some teachers at the high school teaching more hours than the law allows. Apparently, the biggest issue was that the local board was not aware of the request. The agenda simply lists that District Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall will address the matter under a designation called "accreditation update".

Another area of interest will be a presentation by Jeff Stribble, in which he will discuss some revised procedures since a school bus accident several weeks ago. The matter actually involved two school bus accidents on the same day and involving the same bus driver. That driver had been cleared to resume his duties following an accident early in the day and was involved in a rear-end collision with a passenger car later that same day. Their were no serious injuries reported as a result of either accident.


CITY EXPLORES REASONS BEHIND DEFICIT

Friday, April 4

The City of Union's proposed budget for 2014 – 2015 is complex, and it can be difficult to understand the expenses and revenues as stated. The council and staff have been involved in budget workshops this past week in an effort to find ways of seeking revenue and cutting expenses. Under the initially proposed budget, the city was facing a $635,420 deficit. Dealing with the deficit was the focus of the workshop, as well as identifying the reasons why it occurred. Sometimes it's the small things that add up to big money, such as the issue of overtime. Public Safety Chief Sam White received a mild chastisement from Mayor Harold Harold Thompson for the overtime expenditures in the police department. The chief gave several reasons beyond his control for the overtime issue, but Mayor Thompson said in a directive tone, “We need to get a little better handle on it.”

Health insurance will cost the city and their employees an additional 4.05% this coming year. Another concern is the 40% increase seen in workman's compensation claims during the previous year. Interestingly, the city is charged a $25,000 deductible per occurrence. With this in mind, safety became an issue, and department heads were charged with the responsibility of addressing the matter.

When you use your credit card to pay your utility bill, it costs the city $6300 per month. They also pay 25 cents for each online transaction. City officials would like to see everybody go to automatic bank drafts to pay the bill but realize that is not likely to happen. There is no cost associated with the bank draft, nor for check or cash payments. These costs and more are the reason the city is facing the $635,420 deficit, but what can you do about it? Cutting expenses and adding fees and taxes are the only two options available.

It is for that reason that no additional employees will be added in the coming year, and the employees that are currently working for the city will only see a 1% increase in their pay, as opposed to a 2% cost of living increase. One of the areas in which to increase revenue is the 8% increase in water rates and a 10% increase in sewer rates. An increase in the garbage collection fee is a possibility, as well as an increase in the millage rate charged for taxes. As previously stated, the budget is a very complex matter, and none of the avenues mentioned are carved in stone. A new budget will be created using the suggested changes and placed before council for consideration. If all else fails, the city will be forced to dip into the reserve fund to make up the difference. A reserve fund is required for such cases as this. Stay tuned: when it comes to the budget, it's not a done deal yet.

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CIRCUS PERFORMER GIVES PREVIEW OF CIRCUS FOR MONARCH SCHOOL KIDS

Friday, April 4

The circus will be in town next week, but performers are already making appearances locally.

Mister Greggy of the Zerbini Family Circus made a special visit to Monarch Elementary School, to the delight of students and faculty members.  Mister Greggy gave the students a preview of the things happening at the Zerbini Family Circus, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Union.  Proceeds from the circus go to local charities such as Meals on Wheels, Boys Scouts, Friends of the Library, and many more worthy organizations. The Zerbini Family Circus will be at the Union County Fair Grounds April 11 and 12 at 5:00pm and 8:00pm each day.  

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ACCREDITATION REPRESENTATIVES EVALUATE COUNTY COMMISSION ON ALCOHOL AND DRUGS

Friday, April 4

CARF representatives have been in town for the past few days. CARF is an acronym for Commission of Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. They were here for an evaluation of the Union County Commission on Alcohol & Drugs. The accreditation renewal comes around every three years. David MacDonald explained what the accreditation means.

Also with the CARF organization was Rusty Hice, who evaluated the clinical side of the program. She says it's all about the person.

MacDonald and Hice will submit their reports to the national organization, and the local office should hear back in about eight weeks concerning the evaluation.


CITY BUDGET WORKSHOP WRAPS UP WITH DEFICIT TRIMMED, BUT NOT GONE

Thursday, April 3

The budget workshop for the City of Union wrapped up just before 7 last night with many questions left unanswered. The number one question was how will City Council make up a $635,000 deficit? There were a few dents made in the proposed budget. One was by allowing city employees a 1% raise, as opposed to the recommended 2% cost of living increase. A 10 mill increase in the tax rate is also proposed. If it stands, there will be a $3.26 per 100 kilowatts increase in electrical rates for residential customers. Inside city water rates will go up $1.69 per 4000 gallons, and inside city sewer rates will increase $2.91 per 4000 gallons. Natural gas rates will remain unchanged. Even with the increases and cuts, the budget is far from being balanced. Mayor Harold Thompson had this to say:

While the mayor sounds confident, City Finance Director Walker Gallman commented during the session, “I'm at a loss. I don't know how to balance this." It would appear that a lot more work is ahead for the council as they seek answers to the dilemma.

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ANDRENA POWELL-BAKER ANSWERS QUESTIONS ABOUT UNION'S WORKFORCE

Thursday, April 3

We often present stories of various happenings in Union County that are designed to attract industrial prospects. Such things might include the acquisition of a piece of property for development, infrastructure improvements, and even the construction of a speculative building. One element that is not often mentioned is the labor force. A year ago, Union's unemployment rate exceeded 20%. The report from February this year showed a drop to 7.7%. The question arises with the unemployment rate dropping, are we running out of people to fill the jobs that potentially come to Union? That question was put to Andrena Powell-Baker, who is the chief industrial recruiter for the county. She says we must look at the labor force from a regional basis, and yes, we do have the people.

The 7.7% unemployment rate mentioned earlier translates into a little more than 1000 people in Union County who are currently listed as unemployed. While a regional workforce may be good to fill jobs, the question still exists, what about those in Union without a job?

For many years, Union was known as a predominately textile town, but that has gone away. Even so, the few textile jobs that remain are in reality “high tech” and require additional training to perform the duties. Such training is available through Spartanburg Community College at the Union County Advanced Technology Center. It is a 14,000 square-foot facility incorporating traditional classroom learning through USC-Union, with hands-on technical training with three traditional classrooms, one industrial classroom, a computer lab and three industrial labs. Persons looking for employment may do well to check with them about training opportunities.

BMW celebrated their 20th anniversary in the Upstate Friday by announcing plans for a $1 billion investment at their Spartanburg County plant. Union County already benefits from BMW's presence with a stamping operation here. In addition, a number of Union County people make the commute to Greer each day to work at the facility. With the expansion, they are expecting to bring their workforce to 8800 people. Will Union County benefit from the expansion?

So the bottom line is that Union County has shown much improvement in its employment situation, and it is expected to continue on an upward path.

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ANNUAL TOUCH-A-TRUCK EVENT SCHEDULED FOR APRIL 26TH

Thursday, April 3

The Touch-A-Truck event will take place on Saturday, April 26, from 9:00 a.m.–12:00 noon at the Union County Fairgrounds. Organizers say this year will be especially exciting, as a new addition to the vehicle lineup will be the Regional One helicopter.

As in previous years, the event will include many different types of vehicles that children can learn about, including a fire truck, school bus, road equipment, dump truck, and the Regional One helicopter. There will also be several different activities taking place around the fairgrounds and inside the exhibit building, including a scavenger hunt, a mobile Born Learning Trail, and resources for parents. Free books will be available to children (while supplies last), children can climb aboard the trackless train, and there will be healthy snacks available.

This year’s event is supported by Lockhart Power Company, Union County DSS, and Aging with Flair, LLC, along with the many partners that are providing vehicles for display and activities for the children and families.

Again this year, there will be a horn/siren-free hour from 9-10 a.m. Very young children and children with disabilities that may be sensitive to loud noises are encouraged to come during that hour and have exciting experiences seeing the vehicles and participating in all of the activities of the day.

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STEM STUDENTS AT LOCKHART WORK ON READING GARDEN

Thursday, April 3

Students in the sixth grade STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) class at Lockhart School recently began work on preparing their “Reading Garden”.  The Reading Garden will provide both an outdoor classroom for science lessons and an attractive space for reading.  The garden is made possible through a grant from Lowe’s, received by sixth-grade teacher, Leslie Owens.  Owens team teaches the STEM class with Tracie Campbell.  The class is also partnering with Shelley Vaughan’s first grade class on parts of the project. 


CITY FACES TOUGH DECISIONS WHEN MAKING NEW BUDGET

Wednesday, April 2

The City of Union budget workshop began Tuesday morning, and from the comments made by Finance Director Walker Gallman, it could be a tough year. In his introductory remarks, Gallman said the city's general fund is struggling, in that it is not growing like the expenditures. He cautioned the council, saying, “We need to be careful on how we spend the city's general fund money.” He pointed out that while all city departments came in under budget, the revenue also decreased. There were several areas where tax or fee increases may be necessary. One of those is an 8% increase in water rates and a 10% increase in sewer rates. He said the loss of industry over the past years has contributed to the problem. He is recommending no cost of living salary increase for city workers.

Mayor Harold Thompson says this is going to be a rough year for the budget.

Does this mean city residents may be in for a tax increase this year?

Gallman suggested the city may have to start downsizing if they can't come up with some revenue. Although it was not a recommendation, he did point out that most cities surrounding Union have a local option sales tax.

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COUNTY COUNCIL APPROVES BUILDER FOR SPEC BUILDING

Wednesday, April 2

The Union County Council Committee on County Administration and Finance met Tuesday afternoon and heard a presentation from Andrena Powell-Baker from the Union County Development Board. Powell-Baker gave an update on the accomplishments of the Development Board and listed some needs. She emphasized the successes in industrial development here and pointed out the great reduction over a year ago, when the unemployment rate was over 20% to the current 7.7%. She then requested an executive session to discuss what was described as information related to personnel matters.

There was also a presentation from Steven Stone with the Union County Coon Hunters Association. Stone and his organization would like to see a major coon hunting event brought to the county. He said he believes 10,000 or more people could come here for such an event.

Stone was asking for a little over $21,000 to make the event happen. The council did not turn him down, but they did agree to recommend to the full council that $2500 be approved to get the project rolling. The funds would come from the tourism tax fund.

Following the committee meeting, the council went into a special session for the entire group. It was during that session the council accepted the recommendation to retain M.B. Conner Construction Company out of Columbia to build the recently-funded spec building. Andrena Powell-Baker said the new building would be marketed even before the construction is complete. Another executive session followed. This one concerned contractual matters dealing with the Union Hospital District. No action was expected as a result of the session.

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WALLACE THOMSON HOSPITAL TO HONOR THEIR VOLUNTEERS NEXT WEEK

Wednesday, April 2

April 6-12 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and Wallace Thomson Hospital will be honoring this special group of people who give their time and talents to make the hospital a better place. There are currently 33 volunteers serving the hospital.

Other activities will include the Wallace Thomson Volunteers holding their annual Spring Bake Sale on Friday, April 18th, in the hospital lobby beginning at 7 a.m.. Money raised will go towards the adult volunteer scholarship fund. Then on April 21st, the volunteers will have a Book & Gift Sale in the hospital lobby from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., and Tuesday, April 22nd, from 7 a.m.-3 p.m.. It is billed as an opportunity to find great gifts and books at affordable prices.

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SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES INVESTIGATE TWO REPORTS OF ANIMALS BEING SHOT

Wednesday, April 2

Last week, deputies were dispatched to 2730 Meansville Road in reference to two bulls being shot. The responding officer attempted to find an entry wound on the animals but was unable to do so. The complainant stated that he had cows shot in the past, and it is hard to find the bullet hole. He said he had just seen the bulls a few days earlier and they were fine. He said there were three bulls in the pasture, and the other one was OK. He said he had no idea of who may have shot the animals. They are valued at $5000.

On Monday, a deputy was dispatched to 219 Deepwater Road in reference to a dog being shot. Upon arrival, the complainant stated that she believed that her neighbor shot her dog. She said that no one heard a shot, but when the dog came by the door of the residence, she noticed that the dog was bleeding. The officer advised there would be no prosecution because there was no subject, and the case was closed due to lack of evidence.


MAN KILLED IN SINGLE-VEHICLE WRECK ON WHITMIRE HIGHWAY

Tuesday, April 1

The Highway Patrol continues to investigate a crash Monday afternoon that claimed the life of one individual. Details are still sketchy but it is known the wreck occurred on the Whitmire Highway near Tinker's Creek Road. One victim was airlifted and others were transported by ambulance. Multiple persons were reported as being trapped in the vehicle with fire and rescue personnel responding to free the victims. Names of the victims have not been released. More details will be forthcoming on this story.

According to a statement released by the Union County Coroner's Office, the coroner was called to the scene of the accident in the 4200 block of the Whitmire Highway, at approximately 2:25 p.m. Monday.  A late model Toyota 4-Runner traveling south had veered off the left side of the roadway, striking several trees before becoming wedged on a steep embankment.  The driver of the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene at 2:50 p.m. by Union County Corner William Holcombe. With the help of the Union County Sheriff's Office and the SC Highway Patrol, the victim was identified as 39-year old Ricky Dale Keisler, Jr., of Union.  An autopsy is scheduled today at Newberry Pathology Associates, Inc.  The accident is being investigated by the SC Highway Patrol.  One passenger was airlifted, and others were transported by ambulance, to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.  There is no word on their conditions.

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COUNTY COMMITTEE, COUNTY COUNCIL SET TO MEET THIS AFTERNOON

Tuesday, April 1

The Union County Council Committee on County Administration and Finance will meet this afternoon at 5:30 p.m. in the Grand Jury Room at the Union County Courthouse to discuss economic development and other financial and administrative matters.  Following the committee meeting, the council will hold a special meeting in the same location. The purpose will be to confirm the engineering firm for the spec building, discuss hospital contractual matters, and discuss other matters. The public is invited to attend.

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ROTARY CLUB BRINGS CIRCUS TO TOWN APRIL 11TH AND 12TH

Tuesday, April 1

The circus will be coming to town in a little less than two weeks. The Union Rotary Club is bringing the event to town as a fundraiser for the organization. For years, the club operated an aluminum recycling station that helped funnel money into their various charitable causes, but as the market for aluminum dropped, the club ceased to buy the product. Persons wishing to donate their aluminum cans and products can still do so by dropping it off at the same location on the Duncan Bypass.  The new fundraiser is set for April 11th and 12th, and they will have two shows both days at 5 and 8 p.m. Tickets for adults are $12, and youth tickets are $10. Tickets are available in advance at a discount here at WBCU.  Should you need additional information about the circus, you should call 427-7595.

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RECREATION DEPARTMENT PREPARING FOR ANOTHER EASTER EGG SCRAMBLE

Tuesday, April 1

Coming up the same weekend as the circus will be the third-annual Evening Easter Egg Scramble. This event will be held at Union County Stadium from 3 until 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 12th. It will feature face painting, games for children, and visits from the Easter Bunny. Each child should bring their own basket and must be accompanied by an adult. More information can be obtained by calling the Union County Recreation Department at 429-1670.

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USC-UNION OFFERS MINI COURSE ON ORGANIC GARDENING

Tuesday, April 1

It's been a long winter, but springtime weather is beginning to creep into the area. That means many folks are getting ready to plant gardens so as to enjoy fresh vegetables throughout the summer. Should you be interested, you can have the opportunity to learn about organic gardening in a mini course being offered at USC-Union. The instruction will take place April 7th from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in room 303. The cost is $25. In the course, participants will learn the basics of organic gardening, proper lighting, timing, temperature, watering and soil health. There will also be a discussion about the differences in heirloom and hybrid plants. If you need more information, contact Kaitlyn Wade at the university, 427-3681, extension 7742.

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H&R BLOCK HOLDS GRAND OPENING OF NEW OFFICE TODAY

Tuesday, April 1

A grand opening is slated for today at 11:00 for a new office of H & R Block. The company has been located on Harwood Heights for a number of years and will continue to operate out of that location, but an additional office is located in the Nixon Center at 708 South Duncan Bypass in order to accommodate more customers. The grand opening celebration will go on all day beginning at 9 a.m. and concluding at 7 p.m. There will be door prizes.

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TWO UCHS STUDENTS ADVANCE TO NATIONAL LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE

Tuesday, April 1

Ten Future Business Leaders of America students traveled to Charleston, SC, to attend the State Leadership Conference March 28-30th. Students competed against schools across the state of South Carolina. Students have been preparing for this trip since February and were given a written test, and gave presentations within their individual event. Areas that they competed in included: Digital Video Production, Introduction to Business, Help Desk, Job Interview and FBLA Principles and Procedures.

Two students placed in the top three and have been invited to the National Leadership Conference in Nashville, TN, to compete with other top three finishers in the nation in each category in June. Advancing to nationals are Grayson Garrett and Kasie Roark. Other students that competed and achieved outstanding results included: Demarcus Booker, Meredith Foster, Shania Jefferies, Lyra Mercado, Cassidy Pridemore, and Mariah Boler. Congratulations to all competitors for their exceptional results.
 


FIVE RACES WILL BE CONTESTED IN UNION COUNTY

Monday, March 31

Several political races for Union County have been established with the closing of the filing period Sunday. The Union County Election Commission kept their office open for four hours Saturday and Sunday to give last-minute candidates an opportunity to turn in their paperwork. One interesting race will be for that of Union County Supervisor. County Councilman Frank Hart filed for the office earlier in the week as a Democrat. He will face primary opposition from incumbent Tommy Sinclair, who also filed as a Democrat.

Incumbent House District 42 Representative Mike Anthony escaped having primary opposition as a Democrat but will face off in the November General Election with the winner of the Republican Primary. Union native Mark Cathcart filed here as a candidate for the nomination. He will face David Tribble in June. Tribble, from Clinton, filed in in his county of residence, as required by law.

Union County Coroner William Holcombe will have opposition in his bid for reelection. Holcombe, who filed as a Democrat, will face Scott Lewis, who filed as a Republican. They will face each other in November. Interestingly, both are funeral directors with competing firms.

Probate Judge Donna Cudd announced her retirement several weeks ago, thereby opening that office for a new face. There will be competition for the office. Calvin Payton is running as a Democrat, and William D. All, III, will seek the position as a Republican.

Running unopposed will be County Auditor Brad Valentine, County Treasurer Diane Smith Wilkins, and Ben C. Ivey, III, running for County Council District 4. Joan Little, County Council District 1, filed as a Democrat and will have Republican opposition from Randy English.

The primary election will be held June 10th, with the general election to follow on November 4th.

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UNION COUNTY'S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DROPS 1.8%

Monday, March 31

Now at a six-year low, February marks the ninth consecutive month the unemployment rate has decreased in South Carolina, and the first time it has been a full point below the national rate in nearly 16 years. 2,039,455 South Carolinians were employed in February – the highest level in the state’s history. Additionally, the decrease of 0.7% marks the largest-ever one-month improvement for South Carolina since the data series began in 1976. The rate for the month of January was 6.4%. Union County showed a remarkable improvement in the rate of unemployed in February, spiraling downward nearly two full percentage points. The county stood at 9.5% in January and dropped to 7.7% for February. Of the labor force of 11,448, the new report shows 10,566 are working.

Officials with the Union County Development Board said they were expecting a good report. They said the industrial investments announced in recent months is just now catching up with the reporting.

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CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PLANS NEW DATE FOR ANNUAL MEMBERS BANQUET

Monday, March 31

The date for the annual Chamber of Commerce Awards has been changed. Scheduling conflicts brought on the change from the April 24th date to the new one of May 15th. The banquet will be held in the Family Life Center of Tabernacle Baptist Church.

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HEALTH OCCUPATION STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN STATE COMPETITION

Monday, March 31

For the first time, the Union County Career and Technology Education Center sent 7 students to Charleston to compete in the State Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) competition recently. Ariana Trejo, a senior Health Science student at the Union County Career and Technology Center, competed in Nursing Assistant Skills. There were 75 students who competed in this event from all over SC. The top twenty students advanced to the skills demonstration portion after taking the Nursing Assistant skills written test. Ariana scored in the top twenty students and advanced. Ariana placed 6th overall in the state. It is important to note that many, if not most, of these students had already completed their clinical rotations in a health care facility, where they had an opportunity to hone their skills. Ariana did not begin her clinical rotation until after the competition. The top 3 placers will continue on to the national competition in June in Orlando.

The other Union County CATE Center students who competed this year were: Destiny Howard in Medical Photography, Lori Garrett, Andrea Nash, Whitney Ivey and Miranda Reynolds in Health Education. Although they did not place, these students competed very well and were excellent representatives for the Career Center.


LARGE, APPRECIATIVE CROWD ATTENDS YOUTH ART SHOW AT USC-UNION

Friday, March 28

An estimated 250+ people turned out Thursday for the Union County Arts Council's Youth Art Show and reception. The event was held in the lobby of the main building of USC-Union. Students from kindergarten through grade 12 entered a total of 178 pieces of art to be judged in one of the five categories.

Arts Council President Bennie Giles said she considers this to be one of the more successful shows and receptions they have staged.

The People's Choice Award is voted on by the attendees at the reception, and that prize went to Lana Fleming from Lockhart Elementary School. Gestamp sponsored the events.

Winners are:

KINDERGARTEN, 1ST AND 2ND GRADES

3rd place--Chloe Toth--Jonesville Elementary 2nd grade--Pleated House Scene

2nd place--Calee Childers--Union Christian Day School K5--Rainbow Fish Collage

1st place--Caroline Yirenki--Foster Park Elementary 2nd grade--Painted Paper/Pastel

3RD, 4TH AND 5TH GRADES

3rd place--Ayden Burgess--Union Christian Day School 3rd grade--Tortoise Mirage

2nd place--Lane Crocker--Monarch Elementary 5th grade--Snowman with Swirls

1st place--Gracie Boulware--Monarch Elementary 5th grade--Cat & Pumpkin pastel

6TH, 7TH AND 8TH GRADES

3rd place--Keely Messer--Union Christian Day School 8th grade--print-Honeycombs

2nd place--Jayden Kimbrell--Union Christian Day School 7th grade--pointillism-Sunday Sundae

1st place--Hannah Hill--Lockhart Elementary/Middle School 6th grade--metal embossing-Fish

9TH AND 10TH GRADES

3rd place--Ford Jolly--Union County High School 10th grade

2nd place--Tori Woody--Union County High School 10th grade

1st place--Morgan Faucette--9th grade--color pencil-Tiger

11TH AND 12TH GRADES

3rd place--Adam Parkins--Union County High School 12th grade--Eyes

2nd place--Braylin Brown--Union County High School 12th grade--Self?

1st place--Grayson Garrett--Union County High School 12th grade--Wolf/Bear

USC STUDENTS' AWARD (voted by USC-Union students over a period of a week)

Madison Frost

PEOPLE'S CHOICE (voted by Youth Art Show attendees)

Lana Fleming

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CIVITAN CLUB RAISES MORE THAN $6000 AT PANCAKE DAY

Friday, March 28

The Union Civitan Club raised more than $6000 during last week's Pancake Day. The event is held annually as a major fundraiser for the organization. The pancake day was so successful that the volunteers were serving as much as a hour beyond the two-hour block they had scheduled. It was estimated that more than 600 plates were served.

Money raised from the event goes to support any number of charities and programs, including Special Olympics, Miracle League Baseball, Union County Special Services, foster care and the Civitan Research Center in Birmingham, Alabama.

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UNION MAN'S LIFE SAVED BY AUTOMATIC EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATOR; RED CROSS PUSHES FOR MORE ACCESS

Friday, March 28

Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Over 350,000 people will suffer from sudden cardiac arrest this year. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere, and at any age. An Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) is the only effective treatment for restoring a regular heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest and is an easy-to-operate tool for someone with no medical background. Having an AED close by is probably the reason Sammy Moorman is alive today. Moorman, an employee for the Union County School District, suffered a heart attack while working at Foster Park Elementary School Monday morning. When discovered, he had no pulse and wasn't breathing. School Nurse Kelly Walton was summoned to the scene and began CPR. Utilizing the device, she was able to get Moorman's heart started, and EMS transported him to Wallace Thomson Hospital. There, he was placed aboard a helicopter and taken to the Heart Center at Spartanburg Regional. He was treated and had a stent put in his artery. He is said to be in good condition.

Having the AED close at hand is critical to saving the lives of people who, like Moorman, suffer a heart attack. The American Red Cross says the national average response time for first responders once 911 is called is 8-12 minutes. They say for each minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced approximately 10%.

Placement of the AEDs in schools and industries is common, and the Red Cross is pushing for more. They say they would like to see enough of the units in circulation that no one is more than four minutes from having access to one.

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STUDENTS HONORED AT JUNIOR SCHOLARS PROGRAM

Friday, March 28

The University of South Carolina's annual Junior Scholars Program was held on March 13 on the USC-Union Campus. There were over 110 Upstate high school juniors from 13 different schools nominated for this program by their guidance counselors. The nominations are based on the students’ academics and community service. This year’s keynote speaker was Miss South Carolina, Brooke Mosteller, who gave a speech on her platform, “Go Higher”, which helps high school seniors through the college application process.

Student representing schools in the Union area included:

Kensley Hill, Casey Stepp and Taylor Gregory from Union Christian Day School; Hayden Osbourne, Ronnie Woodruff, Baylee Turner, Denise Cipriano and Shameek White from Union County High School; Amy Andrews, Andrea Bowers and William Lominack from Whitmire Community School.

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THREE CHARGED WITH MULTIPLE COUNTS OF STEALING CABLE AND TELEPHONE WIRE

Friday, March 28

Michael Todd KnoxKenneth Gerald Walton, IIIKayla Nicole Cooper

Three Union County people are facing charges in connection with multiple counts of stealing cable and telephone wire over a period of three months. The first case occurred on April 9th, 2013, when 250 feet of telephone wire was taken from a location on the Monarch Highway. Then on August 19th, another 100 feet of wire was taken. On August 22nd, 350 feet of wire was taken from a location on the Lockhart Highway. 200 feet of wire was stolen from a location on the Cross Keys Highway on September 14th, and 100 feet was taken November 11th from a location on River Road. In all, some 1000 feet of wire was stolen, valued at $43,000.

Those arrested include:

Michael Todd Knox, 43, of 114 Wedgewood Court, Union, has been charged with 5 counts of grand larceny and 5 counts of obtaining nonferrous metals unlawfully.

Kenneth Gerald Walton, III, 23, of 115 215 Loop, Union, was arrested on August 22, 2013, in connection with the telephone wire stolen from Monarch Highway. Those charges are still pending.

Kayla Nicole Cooper, 24, of 517 Eaves Road, Whitmire, was charged with 1 count of grand larceny.

This case is still open to investigation, and charges are still pending in the case.
 


SCHOOL BOARD ASKS FOR MORE DETAILS ON WAIVER SITUATION

Thursday, March 27

Monday night's meeting of the Union County Board of School Trustees drew controversy on several fronts, one of those concerning the amount of instructional time allowed for teachers at Union County High School. It stems from the revelation that some teachers were spending more time in the classroom, in violation of state policy. That started several years ago when the school expanded to seven periods a day. The issue, as explained, was that there were not enough teachers to fill the gap, and as a result, some had to work longer. The state limits teachers to 1500 minutes weekly in the classroom, and that limit was being exceeded. The school district asked for a waiver on the rule, which would allow them to be in compliance with the state regulation. The waiver was granted. Had it not been granted, the accreditation of the high school could have been impacted. Apparently, the rub, although not explicitly stated, was that the School Board members were not aware of the proceedings until after the fact.

At the board meeting Monday, Board Chair Dr. Wanda All addressed the matter and issued a request for certain questions to be answered by the next meeting. Although stated at the meeting Wednesday, Dr. All had those questions sent to press representatives who were in attendance. Those questions are:

--When (on what specific dates) did the district become aware of the lack of compliance?

--On what specific dates were waivers requested, and on what dates were they granted?

--Please indicate the school year for which the waivers were applicable? If multiple waivers, why?

--A copy of the current schedule (2013-2014) for all teachers 9-12 grades, indicating the number of students/class and the number of classes taught for each school day.

--A copy of the class schedule times/bell schedule.

--The instructional plan for 2014-2015 that addresses this concern.

During the meeting, Dr. All asked board members to contribute an additional question they may have concerning the matter, and there were two.

--We are not the only district on a traditional schedule. What is being done in those districts?

--When we were on the traditional seven-period schedule, were we in compliance in the past?

There was no immediate reaction from District Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall, and questions from the press were deflected as she left the building at the end of the meeting.  The next regular board meeting is scheduled for April 14th in the library of Sims Middle School.

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YOUTH ART RECEPTION SCHEDULED TONIGHT AT USC-UNION

Thursday, March 27

The Union County Arts Council will hold its annual Youth Art Show awards reception at the USC-Union Main Building today from 5:00-7:00 p.m.  The public is invited to attend, and light refreshments will be served.  The reception will celebrate the art of Union County students in grades kindergarten through the 12th grade. This year's show features 176 entries, and awards will be given in five different divisions. There will be first, second and third place awards in each division The USC-Union Students' Awards are voted on by USC-Union students, and the People's Choice is selected by those attending the reception. The event is sponsored by Gestamp.

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USC-UNION RELEASES ECONOMIC IMPACT FIGURES

Thursday, March 27

The issue discussed at Tuesday's County Council meeting concerning duplicate course work being offered through the Advanced Technology Center from Spartanburg Community College and USC-Union has a local economy element. Figures from 2011 shows that the alumni of USC-Union had a $16,863,170 economic impact and led to the creation of 148 jobs. Students there received nearly $1.1 million in financial support through scholarships, tuition assistance and need-based grants during the 2012 fall semester. From 2003 to 2013, there were 913 degrees awarded. There are 24 full-time university employees living in the county, and 55 USC-Union alumni teaching in the county. Dean Alice Taylor-Colbert says these numbers can point to a bright future for the Union campus.

Taylor-Colbert expressed her concern Tuesday that by offering duplicate coursework by the two institutions, some of these positive economic figures could be eroded.


FIVE DAYS REMAIN TO FILE FOR OFFICE

Wednesday, March 26

Here's an update on who has filed to run for political office in Union County. So far in the SC House of Representatives District 42 race, incumbent Mike Anthony has submitted the paperwork as a Democrat. Mark Cathcart filed as a Republican, and David Tribble has filed his paperwork as a Republican in his county of residence, which is Laurens.

For Probate Judge, Calvin Payton has filed as a Democrat, and William All, III, filed as a Republican.

For the office of Coroner, the only person filing so far is the incumbent, William Holcombe, who submitted paperwork as a Democrat. Another Democrat, Ben Ivey, has filed for re-election to his County Council District 4 seat.

There are only five days left to file, according to Darlene Pettit with the Union County Election Commission.

There are four offices for which no one has filed so far. They include County Auditor, County Treasurer, County Supervisor and County Council District 1.

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USC-UNION'S DEAN URGES COUNTY COUNCIL TO ENFORCE AGREEMENT FOR ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY CENTER

Wednesday, March 26

Union County Council held a special meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss the continuation, or in effect, the enforcement of an agreement between Spartanburg Community College and the Union Campus of the University of South Carolina.

A memorandum of understanding between the two institutions was signed in 2008 that called for Spartanburg Community College, then known as Spartanburg Technical College, to offer a technical curriculum at the Advanced Technology Center here in Union, and USC-Union would offer the general education courses, thereby allowing students to meet all requirements for a minimum of an Associates degree. Since that time, Spartanburg Community College began offering the general education courses, which potentially could take away from USC-Union's enrollment and also dip into the finances.

USC-Union Dean Dr. Alice Taylor-Colbert appeared at the council meeting to state the university's case for abiding by the original agreement. Taylor-Colbert told council members, “You have the power to make sure the memorandum of understanding is adhered to." She said if not, there could be a negative affect on the Union institution.

There was no indication as to what the council's next move would be. Dr. Taylor-Colbert called for a quick resolution to the issue.

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LOCKHART RECEIVES CLEAN AUDIT; TOWN SEEKS GRANT TO COMPLETE SEWER UPGRADE

Wednesday, March 26

Accountant Brown Fant appeared before the Lockhart Town Council Tuesday evening. Fant went over the various figures involving the town's finances and declared a clean audit.

Curtiss Hunter, Interim Director of the Union County Tourism Commission, along with John Gibson, Director of Union County Public Works, informed the council about the upcoming “Take Pride Litter Pickup Day” scheduled for April 26. The council received the information and agreed to endorse the project. They also approved a resolution to conform with regulations to seek a $750,000 sewer improvement grant through Catawba Regional Council of Government. If approved, the town will only have to pay $6,414 of the total amount. If all comes together, when the projected is completed, the town will have rehabilitated its entire sewer system.

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HIGH SCHOOL EXIT EXAM STARTS NEXT TUESDAY

Wednesday, March 26

Students in the Union County School District and throughout South Carolina will take the High School Assessment Program (HSAP) Exam April 1st through April 18th. This exam is more commonly known as the high school exit exam. The testing schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, April 1: HSAP English/Language Arts Test (Session 1)

Wednesday, April 2: HSAP English/Language Arts (Session 2)

Thursday, April 3: HSAP Mathematics Test

Friday, April 4 - Friday, April 18: make-up tests

Parents are encouraged to assist students in preparing for testing by making sure they get plenty of rest and have a nourishing breakfast.

All South Carolina public school students in the second spring after their initial enrollment in ninth grade must take the Exit Exam. Passing both the English/Language Arts section and the Mathematics section of the exam is required for a student to receive a South Carolina high school diploma.

For more information, you may contact your student’s guidance counselor.

Union County High School: 864-429-1750

Jane Petty, Ext. 25

Jim Palmer, Ext. 48

Shana Dendy, Ext. 21

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CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WELCOMES NEWEST MEMBERS

Wednesday, March 26

Submitted by the Union County Chamber of Commerce:


SCHOOL BOARD ASKS FOR INFORMATION ABOUT WAIVER FOR TEACHERS TEACHING LONGER THAN ALLOWED

Tuesday, March 25

The first item of business at Monday night's school board meeting was not an agenda item. Board Chairperson Dr. Wanda All addressed the issue that came up this past week concerning the school district seeking a waiver involving a violation of regulations that places limits on the number of hours teachers can spend teaching. It was learned last week the administration sought the waiver before the State School Board without the local board's knowledge. Dr. All opened the meeting by stating the situation and issuing a request for certain information about the matter. Dr. All listed five items for which the administration is to have answers by the next meeting. The questions dealt why the situation developed and why the board did not know about it beforehand.

Joe Floyd appeared before the board to address his concerns about homework assignments given his grandchildren at Jonesville Elementary/Middle School. He said no instruction accompany the assignments.

Floyd also was not pleased with the limitations placed on him in order to address the board.

At the conclusion of the meeting and following an executive session, board member Buck Peay made a motion to hire all teachers for another year who have teaching certificates. Apparently, the recommendation to hire or rehire teachers for another year was included in Jeff Stribble's report during the executive session. Peay's motion was approved by a majority vote. Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall then asked the question about whether uncertified employees could be hired, and if not, did this mean they would be terminated. Board Member Jansen Childers spoke and said that was not the way he understood the motion. Several others agreed. Board Member B.J. McMorris then made the motion to hire the uncertified teachers, and that passed with two dissenting votes. Several words were exchanged between Childers and Peay, and Childers invited him outside for further discussion. The meeting adjourned, and media representatives, including two television stations, charged Superintendent Woodall, who deflected their questions and exited the room. Several board members were witnessed leaving the building through exits other than the normally-used front door.

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COUNTY COUNCIL HOLDING SPECIAL MEETING THIS AFTERNOON; LOCKHART COUNCIL ALSO MEETS TODAY

Tuesday, March 25

Union County Council will hold a special meeting this afternoon at 5:15 p.m. in the Grand Jury Room at the Union County Courthouse. They will be discussing Quick Jobs and have a dialogue with the Mayor about joint activities. They will also make some budget comments, as well as discuss other matters. The public is invited to attend.

Quick Jobs is a joint program between Spartanburg Community College, USC-Union and the Advanced Technology Center that allows for specific training for an industry. Reportedly, some contention has come up regarding the course work offered by each of the institutions. According to an agreement signed in 2008, USC-Union will provide general education coursework, such as math, science, and English, and are not permitted to offer training and technical coursework. Likewise, Spartanburg Community College is prohibited from offering general education course work. Reportedly, Spartanburg Technical College would like to offer the general education courses, which could affect USC-Union enrollment. It is known that USC-Union Dean Dr. Alice Taylor Colbert plans to speak at the meeting.

The Lockhart Town Council is also scheduled to meet tonight at 7:00 p.m. At the Town Hall.

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ANOTHER CASE OF IDENTITY THEFT REPORTED

Tuesday, March 25

This is a story we are reporting far too often. There has been another case of identify theft reported to the Sheriff's Office. Around March 9th, Richard Kelly told officers that someone in another state had used his identity to obtain several credit cards. He said they used his name, date of birth, social security number and a former address. He contacted all the companies involved and informed them of the theft, and they advised him to file a report with local law enforcement. Union County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Perry Haney said crimes of this nature are rampant, but the truth is when it gets to this point, there is very little that can be done. He said they follow up, but the cases usually lead to a dead end. He said, however, they are sometimes successful. Haney said they are employing any means available to investigate the cases, including calling the FBI and Secret Service. The problem has become so bad that even the FBI will not investigate the case unless it's over a certain dollar amount. So what are we to do?

Haney said financial institutions are currently working on some new techniques to help slow down this type of identify theft, but until that comes along, just be alert and careful where and how you use you credit and debit cards.

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MAKAYLA THOMPSON NAMED MISS USC-UNION

Tuesday, March 25

A new Miss USC-Union has been selected. Makayla Thompson received the honor recently at the pageant, which had the theme, "Celebrating the 1990s". The proceeds from the pageant went to The Upstate Alzheimer’s Association, which includes Union, Cherokee and Spartanburg counties. Kimberly Williams, Upstate Executive Director, was in attendance and spoke briefly on how Union County residents and their families could receive assistance if a family member was suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Other young ladies winning included: Shyanne Haney, Miss Photogenic and 2nd runner-up; and Kayce Edwards, 1st runner-up. Jasmine Craig was selected as Miss Congeniality.

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AUTOMATION PERSONNEL HOLDING RECRUITMENT EVENT TODAY AND FRIDAY

Tuesday, March 25

Automation Personnel will hold a recruitment event at the SC Works Spartanburg office at 220 East Kennedy Street today and Friday from 10:30am-2:00pm. The event is for a company located in Spartanburg County. They are looking to hire heavy industrial cleaning personnel at $10/hour and light industrial cleaning personnel at $9.25/hour. A high school diploma or GED is not required, but applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Applicants need steel-toed boots, as well.  They are hiring for part-time, 12-hour shifts. A background check and drug screening is required, and you must bring 2 copies of identification to the interview. Those applying should allow at least 1 hour for an interview. Prior to the event, all applicants must register at www.scworks.org


MUSICIANS, POETS, WRITERS AND COOKS FEATURED AT UPCOUNTRY LITERARY FESTIVAL

Monday, March 24

An assortment of musicians, poets, writers, and even cooks gathered at the University of South Carolina-Union this past weekend. The occasion was the 4th-Annual Union Upcountry Literary Festival. The event is the brainchild of USC-Union instructor Randy Ivey, who has worked to bring noted artists to Union. USC-Union Dean Dr. Alice Taylor-Colbert opened the festival with remarks about the event. Taylor-Colbert said such events are important to the university.

The guest speaker for the festival was noted author on regional American cooking, Ronni Lundy.

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MIRACLE LEAGUE OF UNION COUNTY REALIZES ITS DREAM

Monday, March 24

Amy Austin, Kevin Brewington, and Austin's son Chandler watch as Supervisor Tommy Sinclair makes remarks at the opening of the Miracle League field.Anthony does a great job, as always, in singing the national anthem to open the festivities.Becky Cobb, head of the Union County Recreation Department, throws out the first pitch to Timken Complex Director Kevin Shropshire.

The shout of "Play Ball!" echoed around Timken Park Saturday, as a large crowd gathered for the opening day of the Miracle League of Union County. The work of organizing and building the new Miracle League baseball field was accomplished as a result of contributions by businesses and individuals, with some contributions exceeding $25,000. Spear heading the effort was Amy Austin and Becky Cobb who have had the vision for some years. Austin addressed the assembled crowd gathers at the complex and had a message for the Miracle League players.

Their were two ceremonial pitches: the first when Recreation Department Director Becky Cobb threw the ball from the pitcher's mound to Kevin Shropshire, Timken Sports Complex Director, at home plate. Then, the Miracle League Director Amy Austin took her turn tossing the ball to Shropshire. After the ceremonies, Miracle League players took to the field for the first game in the new facility. The field has a special rubberized coating to minimize the possibility of injuries to the special needs player.

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BORN LEARNING TRAIL IS OFFICIALLY OPEN

Monday, March 24

Officials cut the ribbon for the Born Learning Trail at the Timken Sports Complex.Just prior to the Miracle League ceremony, another opening was held at the Timken Complex. The Born Learning Trail officially opened for young children. The route of the trail occupies a portion of the regular walking trail and is an interactive program that allows the young children to become aware of their surroundings. Beth Lawson, Director of Union County First Steps, explained how the program works.

The trail is open free of charge to young children to explore their world. Parents can come along too.

 

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SCHOOL BOARD MEETS TONIGHT AT CAREER AND TECHNOLOGY CENTER

Monday, March 24

The Union County School Board of Trustees is meeting tonight at the Career and Technology Center. The time for the meeting is 7:00 p.m. The agenda lists, under public comment, Joe Floyd, who wants to discuss an issue at Jonesville Elementary-Middle School. There was no indication as to just what that issue concerns.

Kevin Morrow, who is over the Career and Technology Center, will give information on the 2013 Perkins Performance Indicators. Likewise, there was no explanation as to what the Perkins Performance Indicators are about. Director of Instruction Cindy Langley will give a report on the District’s Strategic Plan. That plan is also listed for a board discussion and vote. Two personnel items are listed for discussion in an executive session.

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ARTS COUNCIL CLOSES IN ON RAISING ENOUGH MONEY TO COMPLETE REPAIRS TO THEIR BUILDING 

Monday, March 24

Members of the Union County Arts Council are hopefully close to having enough money to complete repairs to their Main Street Gallery. The organization has been displaced since December due to the discovery of water damage that had rotted the floor, causing it to have to be entirely replaced. Stabilization of exterior walls also became necessary to stem the flow of incoming water. Arts Council President Bennie Giles said money had been raised, with the Union City Council kicking in $10,000 and the county contributing thousands in in-kind services. Giles said the project just kept growing as necessary demolition uncovered more issues. A great number of individuals have contributed, and a push for membership added to the total needed to complete the renovation. This past Thursday, the Timken Foundation informed the Arts Council that they are awarding a $20,000 grant to the organization. Giles praised Timken plant manager Bob Hart for his efforts to obtain the money. The total project cost is estimated to be $57,000, and the Timken grant should put the council close enough on money to complete the project. Giles said she hopes they will resume operations on Main Street by around the first of May.


UPCOUNTRY LITERARY FESTIVAL, DEBUT OF BORN LEARNING TRAIL AND MIRACLE LEAGUE FIELD HIGHLIGHT THIS WEEKEND'S ACTIVITIES

Friday, March 21

A busy weekend is on tap for those wishing to take advantage of it. It will kick off today with the fourth-annual Upcountry Literary Festival at USC-Union. The two-day event will showcase a number of nationally- and regionally-renowned authors, poets, and musical artists as part of a free public event. This year’s theme is centered around Southern culture and cooking. Daily events will include cooking presentations, poetry, music, and presentations from authors. The Upcountry Literary Festival is also featuring an assortment of authors, poets, and historians. The event is free to everyone and will be held in the auditorium at USC-Union. A full schedule and participant list can be found here:

Click here for the full schedule

Saturday will see the grand opening of Union County's first Born Learning Trail. The Born Learning Trail is an interactive course that young children can utilize to play as well as have learning experiences. The grand opening and ribbon cutting is scheduled to take place at the Timken Sports Complex at 11:30 a.m. This trail is the result of the collaboration of Union County First Steps, Union County Recreation Department/Timken Sports Complex, Union Civitan Club, U.C.A.R.E., Union Lion’s Club, Sherwin Williams, and United Way of the Piedmont.

Then, at 12 noon at the same location, there will be the opening ceremonies for the long-awaited Miracle League Field. Following that will be the first Miracle League game in the new facilities. Concessions, including Miracle League merchandise and food, will be available.  Bo Rabb will have Amy Austin on his Sports Hour Saturday from 9-10 talking about the Miracle League.  Bo will also broadcast the opening ceremony and first game live on WBCU Saturday from 12-2.

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DAVID TRIBBLE reportedly FILEs in laurens county FOR DISTRICT 42 SEAT

Friday, March 21

As of mid-afternoon Thursday, no additional candidates have filed to run for public office with the Union County Election Commission. In a news release Thursday, David Tribble of Clinton stated his intention to file for House of Representatives District 42 as a Republican. Darlene Pettit of the Election Commission said that according to law, candidates are to file in their county of residence, meaning Tribble could not file here for the office. The greater part of District 42 is contained in Union County.

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PUBLIC SAFETY INVESTIGATING SUSPICIOUS APARTMENT FIRE

Friday, March 21

The City of Union Public Safety Department is investigating what has been termed a suspicious fire at a Lakeside Drive apartment. The Union Fire Department responded to the call around 1:00 a.m. today, and upon arrival at apartment 46 at 1111 Lakeside Drive, they found smoke and fire damage. The blaze is believed to have started from a pan of grease and french fries on the stove. Officers contacted the manager, Vicki Smith, who said she had already been contacted by Kimberley Ellis, whose address is listed where the blaze occurred. It was learned that Ellis had been evicted and was supposed to be moving out. The incident report also stated that Ellis appeared to have been drinking. The case has been turned over to investigators.

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MORE VOLUNTEER COACHES NEEDED AT RECREATION DEPARTMENT

Friday, March 21

The Union County Recreation Department is still looking for some volunteer coaches for their T-ball and coach pitch baseball program. The department depends on volunteers to carry out the various programs provided by the Recreation Department. Should anyone have an interest in coaching and mentoring these young people, contact Sam Phipps at 429-1670. All volunteer coaches must complete a volunteer application and undergo a background check.

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SHERIFF'S OFFICE INVESTIGATING UTILITY THEFT

Friday, March 21

Deputy Tyler West was dispatched to 555 Lemonade Road Tuesday in reference to the theft of electricity. Broad River Electric Cooperative employees Gerald Gregory and Donald McHaffey told the officer that electricity at that address had been turned off on Tuesday, and it had been reconnected by someone. The usage meter during that time displayed 142 kilowatts being consumed. That translates to a dollar amount of $35.23. Rita Draper, 41, who lives at the address, came out and talked to the officer. She said the power was back on when she went to bed that night, and she does not know how or who may have turned it on. West told Draper that a warrant would be sought for the theft of electricity.


PAULINE MAN DIES AFTER HIS CAR WAS FOUND IN A UNION COUNTY CREEK

Thursday, March 20

A Pauline man was hospitalized Monday afternoon and later died after he was found in his car in a creek off Mt. Lebanon Road. The SC Highway Patrol said that Ralph Wilson Goodwin, 60, Pauline, was driving north on Mt. Lebanon Road toward SC 215 when his 1989 Honda ran off the left side of the road and down the embankment into the creek. He said Goodwin was not wearing a seat belt and was apparently the only occupant of the vehicle when the accident occurred. A member of Goodwin’s family had contacted Union County Dispatch to ask that law enforcement be on the lookout for him, since he had not returned home Sunday night.

The car was found around 2:30 p.m. Monday when a passing motorist noticed tire tracks running off the embankment into the creek. He was found in the vehicle unconscious and did not regain consciousness when he was extracted from his car. Goodwin was transported by Union County EMS to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center. It is not known at this time if the death occurred as a result of injuries sustained in the incident, or if perhaps some medical condition may have impaired his driving ability.  The accident remains under investigation.

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TOURISM COMMISSION SPEARHEADS COMMUNITY-WIDE LITTER PICKUP

Thursday, March 20

A date has been set for a county-wide litter pickup. It will be staged April 26 at a number of locations around the county. The idea for the county-wide litter pickup grew out of discussions in the Union County Tourism Commission, which determined trash removal from streets and highways, and beautification in general, is vital to the image the county puts forward. From that came the formation of the Union County Beautification Committee. That committee met Wednesday afternoon to begin firming up plans for the pickup day. Officially, it is being called “Pride in Union County Litter Pickup Day” and will reach out to citizens and groups to become participants. Curtiss Hunter, who is the interim Director for the Tourism Commission, said participation in the event is vital.

Plans are still being developed and will be forthcoming at another meeting, scheduled for April 3rd. The group is planning on staging the litter pickup twice yearly.

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BEN IVEY TO RUN FOR REELECTION TO COUNTY COUNCIL

Thursday, March 20

This is day four for filing to run for political office in Union County. Two people filed the paperwork Monday, and so far there have been no others. Mark Cathcart filed to run for SC House of Representatives District 42 as a Republican, and Ben Ivey filed to seek reelection to his currently-held County Council seat. Candidates have until March 30 to file.

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SPARTANBURG MAN ARRESTED FOR SOLICITING PROSTITUTION

Thursday, March 20

On March 18th at 6:31 a.m., an individual responded to a Craigslist listing. The listing was placed on the internet by an undercover narcotics officer indicating that he wanted to meet for a sexual experience. This conversation went back and forth for a while, and the individual who was e-mailing under the name "Trevor Hawkins" agreed to come to 1235 South Duncan Bypass and pay U.S. currency for sexual acts to be performed with someone he thought was a female. The individual arrived and came to the specific room and began knocking on the door. The individual, then identified as Christen Charles Cox, was advised of his Miranda Warning and at first denied agreeing to pay for sex. He was then shown a copy of the e-mails he had sent and then admitted that he in fact had sent those emails, which also contained a nude photo of his private parts. He admitted that he was actually posing as Trevor Hawkins and had driven from Spartanburg to Union for the purpose of having sex. He stated this was his first time responding to a Craigslist listing. Cox was then searched and arrested for soliciting prostitution and then transported to the Union County Jail by uniform deputies. The vehicle, a 2013 Chevy Impala, was towed by Greer's Wrecker Service. All the e-mails were printed and placed into the case file.

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JONESVILLE MAN ACCUSED OF STEALING UTILITIES WILL BE GIVEN CHANCE TO PAY RESTITUTION

Thursday, March 20

A Jonesville man will not be facing charges of stealing water, as long as he pays for what has been consumed. The Sheriff's Office incident report states that Darrell Addis made the discovery while checking water meters. At 124 Rainbow Lane, Addis discovered that a lockout device had been vandalized and the meter turned to the on position. The meter showed a total of 8400 gallons had been consumed since the water was shut off in December. The Town of Jonesville, who operates the utility, decided they would not pursue criminal charges if the amount consumed was paid and restitution for damage to the meter were reimbursed. The subject, Patrick McGill, was contacted and agreed to pay the fees by Friday.


CITY COUNCIL PAVES THE WAY TO APPLY FOR GRANTS FOR SEWER PROJECTS

Wednesday, March 19

Union City Council met in a brief regular session Tuesday evening and approved two resolutions that pave the way to apply for Community Development Block Grants for sewer upgrades. One of those grants will partially fund the relining of some sixty-year old sewer lines in the May Street Area. The project, if approved by the Catawba Regional Council of Government, will cover nearly a mile of 8-inch gravity sewer lines. The total project is estimated to run $515,026, and the amount of the grant would be $371,928. The city will be required to match the grants with 10%; however, all of the project will not be covered by the grant. The engineering cost of $60,500 is not eligible for the funding, and another $78,340 will be paid by the city because a portion of the project area does not meet the low- to moderate-income requirements. In order to qualify, the area must meet the 51% low- to moderate-income requirement. The number of vacant houses is said to be the reason the requirement is not met. The city will have to commit $143,098 to the project.

Another resolution involves a similar project in Buffalo. The sewer line work will cover just a little over a mile and will cost $994,991. The grant request will total $750,000. The grants requires a 10% match by the city.

In other actions, the council recognized Captain Brian Bailey, who is retiring after 20 years of service with the Union Public Safety Department. Also recognized was longtime volunteer to the City Fire Department, Bobby Brown. Brown has been volunteering in one capacity or another for 42 years. He began his service in March of 1972 and has been keeping up with fire records ever since.

Amy Austin, who heads up the Miracle League organization, communicated by letter an invitation to the mayor and council to attend the opening of the Miracle League Field at Timken Park Saturday. That ceremony is set to get underway at 12 noon followed by a Miracle League game.

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SCHOOL DISTRICT TO ADDRESS ISSUE OF SOME UCHS TEACHERS teachING LONGER THAN ALLOWed

Wednesday, March 19

The accreditation of Union County High School could be in jeopardy, according to a letter that was distributed to members of the Union County Education Association. The letter was penned under the signature of Rebecca Rochester, who is employed with the South Carolina Education Association. The correspondence was addressed to the organization’s state president, Jackie B. Hicks.

At issue is the number of hours some teachers spend instructing students. Regulations state that a teacher must not teach more than 1500 minutes per week. The Union County School District admits they are in violation of the regulation, and they requested a waiver from regulation 43-205, which was granted.

The violation occurred when Union County High School switched from six to seven periods per day. The SCEA representative said in the letter, “Since going from the block schedule to the seven-period day, non-core teachers have been working about thirty-seven hours, or five days, more per year than other teachers and beyond the number allowed by state regulations." This waiver request, which was granted by the State Board of Education, was done so that Union County High School would be in compliance with state regulations and could continue their status as an accredited high school. The letter also suggests the reason for some teachers working the longer schedules is because there were not enough teachers to fill the classroom gap. WBCU News reached out to Union County School District Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall and was referred to Director of Instruction Cindy Langley. Langley issued a clarification statement Tuesday afternoon, saying, “We operate on a seven-period day, and to meet the hours of instruction required for students, our classes are 52 minutes in length. The majority of the staff (English, math, science, social studies, and special education teachers) teach five of the seven periods and meet compliance; teachers who instruct six of the seven periods per day exceed the designated minutes by 60 minutes per week. For this reason, we requested a waiver from regulation 43-205, which was granted. We will continue to work on a district plan and with the state board to resolve the conflict in their regulations. For further information about the regulations, please contact the state board.”

The waiver did not include any language that suggests the teachers exceeding the time allotted in the classroom would receive any additional compensation. The matter is expected to be up for discussion at the next school board meeting on Monday, March 24th.

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UNION GRADUATE GIVES UPLIFTING SPEECH AT HIGH SCHOOL JROTC MILITARY BALL

Wednesday, March 19

The Union County High School Yellow Jacket JROTC Battalion held its eleventh-annual Military Ball at the Union National Guard Armory recently.

The guest speaker, Mr. William Rochester, graduated from Union High School in 1967. Rochester entered the University of South Carolina-Union before transferring to USC-Columbia. He graduated from USC in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education, and after graduation he enlisted in the US Navy. He volunteered for the Navy’s Nuclear Power Program and became qualified as a nuclear reactor operator on board the nuclear submarine USS Francis Scott Key. Upon his honorable discharge from the Navy, he worked as a Quality Assurance Engineer at several nuclear plants. He retired in 2004, and he and his wife moved back to Union in 2010. In his address, Rochester spoke on what he referred to as “small town syndrome”, meaning that people from a small town believe they cannot accomplish their goals in competition with people from big cities. He refuted this notion by giving many examples of successful South Carolinians from small towns. He spoke about the challenges in his successful Navy career, showing that a Union student with a “C” in geometry can still become a nuclear physicist. Mr. Rochester also complimented the cadets on being such an excellent group of young people, and stated that he does not worry about the future with such students.


FRANK HART ANNOUNCES HE WILL RUN FOR union COUNTY SUPERVISOR

Tuesday, March 18

It appears that at least two races in Union County this year will be contested. Local Allstate agent and County Councilman Frank Hart announced Monday that he would be seeking the Democratic nomination for the office of Union County Supervisor. In making the announcement, Hart said in a prepared statement:

"I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve the people of Union as a member of County Council over this past year. During that time, I believe that we have made progress in Union County. Over the last 15 months, six companies have announced industrial investments of over $82 million in our county and the creation of approximately 185 new jobs. On council, I supported the Development Board’s business plan, which was centered around developing a spec building and making improvements to two existing South Carolina Certified Sites in Union County. I believe that this will be key for us in our efforts to continue to attract high-paying industries to Union County for jobs. In addition, this year I had the opportunity to serve as chair of the Union County Council committee on Public Health and Social Services. This committee has worked closely with the Hospital Board to identify the key issues threatening our Hospital District and has developed a plan, which, although not completed as of yet, has the promise of ensuring that we will continue to have quality health care in Union County for generations to come. One of my campaign promises when I ran for County Council was that we would provide more financial oversight and transparency in the county. This past year when we introduced the budget, I proposed and council supported amendments which require council approval on discretionary spending from the contingency and capital projects funds. In past years, the money was appropriated to these funds with no clear definition or requirements as to what the funds were to be used for. In addition, this past year I introduced and council supported an amendment to the budget that requires that when an employee leaves the county, the department head or elected official to which that employee reported must present to council the business case for rehiring a replacement employee before a replacement may be hired. This is a standard protocol followed in private industry in these tough economic times, and it is a way to reduce county payroll and expenses over time through attrition.

While I feel that much progress has been made, I believe that there is much more work to be done. As your County Supervisor, one of my primary areas of focus would be the development of a comprehensive business plan with short-, mid-, and long-term goals for the county that connects us to the rest of our region in the upstate. As a rural county, we have limited resources, and it is vital that every investment that is made and every dollar that is spent be done so within the framework of a plan which supports the growth of the county. This plan will include economic development and job creation, road and infrastructure maintenance, and capital projects. The plan will also include quality of life investments through our existing hospitality tax revenues, which will attract and retain folks within our county. My goal and vision is a Union County where folks want to locate and live because of the job opportunities that our regional economy provides and the quality of life we can offer their families. In addition, as County Supervisor I would work to establish an environment of cooperation and open communication within the county. It is imperative that the school district, the municipalities, the county, and the citizens come together in support of a plan and vision for our community. Working together to achieve our goals will make a brighter future for our children and grandchildren. I would appreciate your support."

Tommy Sinclair, who currently holds the position of Supervisor, made his intentions to run for reelection known in a Sunday evening release.

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MARK CATHCART OF UNION FILES AS A REPUBLICAN IN SC HOUSE RACE

Tuesday, March 18

Another race that is developing is for State House of Representatives District 42. A Republican, and Union native, Mark Cathcart, filed Monday for that office. He will face David Tribble of Laurens, who has stated his intentions to seek the post in the June Republican primary. The winner of that election will face the Democratic nominee in the November general election. Incumbent Mike Anthony has already announced his intentions to run for re-election. No other Democrat has announced for that race. As of mid-afternoon Monday, only one candidate has actually filed the paperwork to run for any office, that being Mark Cathcart. Candidates have until March 30th to file.

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UNION COUNTY'S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE RISES WHILE STATE'S RATE FALLS SLIGHTLY

Tuesday, March 18

Governor Nikki Haley issued a statement Monday in response to South Carolina’s unemployment rate declining to 6.4% in January from 6.6% in December. The annual benchmarking report shows January to be the eighth consecutive month where the unemployment rate has decreased in South Carolina. 6.4% unemployment is the lowest rate since June 2008, and the second straight month that South Carolina’s rate has been under the national rate, which prior to last month had not occurred since January 2001. In addition, over two million South Carolinians were employed in January, the highest level in the state’s history.

In Union County the unemployment rate went up slightly to 9.5%, up from 8.7%, but down from 13% a year ago. Union came in 12th in the state, with Marion County being #1 in unemployment at 13.6%. Greenville has the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 5.4%.

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AUTHORITIES INVESTIGATING THEFT OF CLOTHING FROM A LAUNDROMAT

Tuesday, March 18

It doesn't happen often, but it does happen--having your clothes stolen from a laundromat dryer. Chrystal Lynn Ham of 302 Hart Street reported such a thief this past Friday from the Snowhite Laundry, located at 225 North Duncan Bypass. Ham told the Sheriff's deputy that she placed clothes and bed sheets in two different dryers and left the premises. When she returned, she found the clothes were not in the dryers, nor were they anywhere in the building. It is not uncommon for people to remove clothes from a dryer so they can use it, but is it rare for the items to be stolen. The case has been turned over to investigators.

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PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS INVESTIGATING REPORT OF SHOTS FIRED

Tuesday, March 18

Around 4:30 Sunday morning, Union Public Safety Officer Al Griffin responded to a call on Lipsey Street that shots were being fired in that area. The officer talked with several people who heard the shots but could not determine where they came from. The officer failed to locate any evidence of the shots fired after looking around the area. Some twenty minutes later, the officer responded to another call of shots being fired into a home at 121A Chambers Avenue. Marlena Simpson told Griffin that she was awakened by the shots being fired outside her apartment. After the shots had stopped, she began sweeping her upstairs floor, and that was when she noticed a hole in her bedroom wall that separated her room and her daughter's room. She also discovered a hole in some curtains and a window. The bullet had traveled through the rooms and into a wall that divides the next apartment. Shift Supervisor Sgt. Tommy Hart arrived on scene, and he and Griffin located five 40-caliber casings behind 202 Lipsey Street.

Later in the day, officer Edwards was dispatched to 121B Chambers Avenue, where he spoke with Dakelta Fleming, who said her son had found a presumed bullet hole in the wall. Fleming said she had heard the shots being fired the night before and said her son was sleeping in the room when that happened. Edwards located the hole and discovered the bullet was still there. He collected that bullet as evidence.


FILING PERIOD NOW OPEN FOR STATE AND COUNTY OFFICES

Monday, March 17

Filing for state and county offices began yesterday and will run through March 30th, according to the Union County Election Commission and Voter Registration office. In reality, filing begins today, since most county election offices are closed on Sunday.

Both South Carolina US Senate seats are up for election. One of those is for a full term. That seat is currently held by Senator Lindsey Graham. The other will be to fill the unexpired term formerly held by Jim DeMint. Tim Scott was appointed by Governor Nikki Haley to fill the seat until the upcoming election.

County offices slated to be filled include State House of Representatives District 42. That seat is currently held by Mike Anthony. Last year, Anthony announced his candidacy for State Superintendent of Education but suspended that campaign a little more that a week ago, saying he would seek re-election to the House seat.

There will be a new probate judge, due to the retirement announcement by Donna Cudd. Other offices that will be open include Coroner, Auditor, Treasurer, County Council seats 1 and 4, and County Supervisor. All of the mentioned offices are partisan. Non-partisan offices that will become open this election cycle are two seats on the Soil and Water Commission, Union County School Board seats 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9; two seats on the Browns Creek Water Shed, two seats on the Santuc Fire Board; two seats on the Monarch Fire Board; and three seats on the Jonesville Fire Board.

The Union County Election Commission has moved to a new location just in time for the filing. They are now located in what is referred to as the old Chrysler building at 1246 South Duncan Bypass.

Darlene Pettit, who runs the commission's day-to-day operation, said she believes the move to be a good one.

Those desiring to file for the previously mentioned offices should go to the new location between now and March 30th. Additional information can be obtained by calling 429-1616.

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TOMMY SINCLAIR ANNOUNCES REELECTION BID FOR SUPERVISOR SEAT

Monday, March 17

Union County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair has announced he will seek re-election to the position.  He released a statement to local media, saying:

"Please accept this as my announcement that I plan to seek reelection as Supervisor of Union County. This decision was made after careful evaluation of my personal and professional situation in life. I believe that I have the experience in local government and the established contacts and relationships with other local leaders and at the regional and state levels to be of continued service to our community.  I ran before on a plan of real reform for responsible government. I hope that I have demonstrated that as I have served you and this community the last four years. Absolutely, if I could redo the last four years again I would do some things differently.  While the resistance that sometimes comes with changes aimed at reform for accountable and responsible government have certainly had some challenges, the rewards and satisfaction of the outcomes far outweigh the challenges. That satisfaction is only surpassed by the humility that I experience daily as I work with and am reminded of the effort, ability, and contribution that is exhibited at all levels by the great people of our community. On appointment and then election to this position I commented and believed that we absolutely had the people and the resolve from within to take care of and grow our community. I believe that more today than ever. With that belief and resolve I seek reelection with the intent and pledge that we approach the next four years together and build on what we have established together. We can transform our community where our actions and even culture demonstrate that “Good Enough” is never good enough.  There is strength in a union …there is special strength in our Union I ask that you again let me continue to be part of Union’s strength." 

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VALENTINE WILL RUN FOR FOURTH TERM AS AUDITOR

Monday, March 17

Brad Valentine announced his intentions to seek a fourth term as Union County Auditor. Valentine has served as Auditor since July 1, 2003, and states that, “without referring to a calendar, it’s almost impossible to believe that I have already served almost three full terms.” Valentine credits the support of his family, friends, co-workers and the citizens of this county for fueling his desire to remain in public office. “My time as Auditor, although laced with challenges and many hard decisions, has been a true blessing to myself and my family,” he said.

Valentine is a lifelong resident of Union, where he resides with his wife, Brooke, and two children, Abbie and Carson. The family is very involved in their church, Grace United Methodist, where he serves as a Youth Sunday school teacher and is a member of Church Council. He and his wife are the chairpersons of the Secret Santa program there, which has provided Christmas gifts to over 11,000 children in Union County since its inception.  Brad also serves on the School Improvement Council at Monarch Elementary, where Carson attends school. He proudly admits that, when he is not at the courthouse, he is normally on the softball field with his daughter, or often times fishing and hunting with his son.

Since graduating from USC – Spartanburg in 1997 with a BS Degree in Business Administration – Accounting, Valentine has spent his entire professional career serving the public. “Public service is the only thing I have ever done," he said. "I had two retail positions and a banking job during college, and since then I have had three jobs, including my current position as Auditor, and they have all been dealing with the public in some fashion. As I humbly entered this position with pure excitement, I never imagined the joy and blessings that I would receive during the time that I have been here, along with the life lessons that I continually learn each day. During this time of service, I have witnessed myself transform from the new kid on the block of auditors to being recently elected Vice-President of the South Carolina Association of Auditors, Treasurers and Tax Collectors, which is voted on by officials serving in those capacities throughout the state. The relationships that have been formed with those peers, many of whom showed me the way when I was first elected, have been amazing and continue to help me ensure we are doing things the right way.”

Valentine continued, “My appreciation for the opportunity that you have awarded me grows as each day often presents new situations and decisions; and it is my goal to go home every day knowing that I have treated each one of those decisions and situations fairly. As we look to the next four years, my staff and I will continue to strive to make the most of every opportunity we have to serve and hope that you will give us that chance. I want to thank you for the time that I have already served and humbly and excitedly announce my hope for another term as your Union County Auditor.”  

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ARTS COUNCIL HOLDING MONDAY NIGHT MUSIC AT GRACE METHODIST

Monday, March 17

The Union County Arts Council will hold "Monday Night Music" from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Grace United Methodist Church. Any musician playing any type of music is invited to attend. Admission is free to anyone wanting to come and listen. This will be the second time they have met in this venue. The Arts council gallery on Main Street is still undergoing some major repairs.

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TWO ARRESTED IN CASE INVOLVING ASSAULT WITH A KNIFE

Monday, March 17

On March 12, 2014, at approximately 8:15pm, Union County Sheriff’s officers were dispatched to 213 Hancock Street, Union, in reference to an assault with a knife call. Officers arrived on scene and spoke with Caleb Hendrix Roberts, who stated that he had been in a verbal altercation outside his residence with Blake Steven Bright. During the exchange of words, Roberts stated to officers that Clary Dana Woodsby, who lives at 213 Hancock St., came out of his residence and told them both they needed to stop arguing in front of his house or he would make them stop. Roberts was unsteady on his feet and highly intoxicated, so officers placed him under arrest and transported him to the Union County Jail. Officers could not immediately locate a stabbing victim at the residence. Officers began to interview Clary Woodsby about the incident, but Woodsby became irate and began to yell at officers and would not comply with commands, at which time he was placed under arrest for breach of peace and transported to Union County Jail.

While officers were still on scene interviewing witnesses on Hancock Street, someone advised officers that Blake Bright had been cut and was at 231 Hancock Street. Officers located Bright, and he stated that Clary Woodsby did have a knife in his hand and placed the knife to the throat of Bright and pushed him to the ground, at which time he cut his throat. EMS transported Bright to the ER. Officers also learned that an 8-year old relative of Woodsby’s was at this home and may have been present during the incident. Officers contacted DSS, and it was determined that the girl did not live at the residence and was not present during the incident. She was placed in the care of another relative. A knife was later found near the residence, which is believed to be the knife used during the incident.

This case is still open to investigation, and charges are still pending in the case.

ARRESTED:

Caleb Hendrix Roberts, 27, 213 Hancock Street, Union--charged with public intoxication and violation of probation

Clary Dana Woodsby, 49, 213 Hancock Street, Union--charged with breach of peace and attempted murder

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SEVERAL RECRUITMENT EVENTS SCHEDULED IN SPARTANBURG

Monday, March 17

There are a couple of recruitment events coming up at the SC Works Spartanburg Office at 220 East Kennedy Street. The first is for Automation Personnel on March 21 and 28 from 10:30 am to 2 pm. They are looking to hire heavy industrial cleaning personnel at $10/hour, and light cleaning personnel at $9.25/hour. Applicants are not required to have a high school diploma or GED, but they must be able to work 12-hour, part-time shifts and undergo background checks and drug screening. They will need steel-toed boots and have 2 copies of identification. Applicants should allow one hour for the interview and be registered at www.scworks.org prior to the event.

Phillips Staffing will hold the next recruiting event at the same location on March 18th from 9 am until 2 pm. They are looking for assembler and manufacturing personnel at $10/hour for the 5 am to 5 pm shift, and $10.55/hour for the 5 pm to 5 am shift. A high school diploma or GED is required, as well as a background check, drug test and reference check. The applicant should have six months of manufacturing production experience and be able to work a 12-hour shift, 7 days a week. You must be registered at www.scworks.org prior to the event.

On March 19th, Corporate Staffing will be looking to hire machine operators and material handlers, each paying $10-$11/hour. This event will be held from 9 until 12. As usual, a high school diploma or GED is required, and applicants must undergo a drug screening and background check. In addition, 1 to 2 years of manufacturing machine experience is desirable. Applicants should be able to work first or third shifts. These are rotating 12-hour shifts, working 36 to 48 hours per week. All applicants must be registered at www.scworks.org prior to the event.


EXCITEMENT MOUNTS AS MIRACLE LEAGUE OPENER APPROACHES

Friday, March 14

Work on the surface of the Miracle League field is progressing well.More of the specialized rubber surface awaits being put down on the new Miracle League field.Work is being done to the basepaths at the Miracle League field.

Excitement is building for the opening of the Miracle League Field next week at the Timken Sports Complex. In preparation for that event, organizers have opened something of a store at 115 Thomas Street. It features merchandise that will commemorate the event, and it will be open today, Monday, and Wednesday, from 11 until 1 pm. Organizers say they are excited to have available a variety of products for people to show love, support, and spirit of the Miracle League and the players.  The opening ceremony and first game is scheduled next Saturday, March 22nd, at noon.  You can also buy Miracle League merchandise at any Miracle League of Union County games.

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BUS DRIVER SUSPENDED FOLLOWING TWO ACCIDENTS

Friday, March 14

A Union school bus driver has been charged with driving too fast for conditions as a result of two separate accidents the same day. Ronald Holden, 61, was charged earlier Thursday when the bus he was driving went off the right side of Whitlock Lake Road and into a ditch. Six students were taken to Wallace Thomson Hospital by ambulance as a result of that accident, and another 16 were taken to the medical facility in a separate school bus. None of the injuries were serious.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol said the second wreck happened at 4:45 p.m. Thursday afternoon on Highway 215 at East Industrial Park Road. The patrol reported Holden was driving the 1988 bus north on Highway 215 when he ran into the back of a car that had slowed down due to traffic. Holden was wearing a seatbelt and not injured. The driver of the car, 50-year-old Bobbie Butts, of Union, was also wearing a seatbelt and not injured. No students were on the bus at the time.  Holden has been suspended from driving the buses pending a thorough investigation of the incidents.  He was drug-tested after both accidents and was cleared to drive following the morning accident.

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LONGTIME LIONS CLUB MEMBER HONORED FOR 50 YEARS OF SERVICE

Friday, March 14

Longtime Union resident Dewy Adams was honored by the Union Lions Club Thursday evening for his 50 years of membership in the organization. Adams moved to Union in 1956, and in 1963, he became a member of the Union Lions Club. He has held many positions in the organization. Adams was presented a cake with 50 candles and a 50-year pin. He and his wife Frances, who also is a member of the Union Lions Club, are members of Grace United Methodist Church.


BUS ACCIDENT CAUSES MINOR INJURIES

Thursday, March 13

All of the students on a Union County school bus were taken to the hospital to be checked out following an accident this morning. The Highway Patrol stated the accident occurred three miles west of Jonesville on Whitlock Lake Road at Morris Town Road. The driver of the bus has been identified as Ron Holden, 61. He has been charged with driving too fast for conditions. The accident occurred as the bus went off the right-hand side of the road and into a ditch.  Several students sustained minor injuries, and all of the students were transported to Wallace Thomson Hospital for observation. None of the injuries were serious.  Union County Schools Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall released the following statement regarding the incident:

“A school bus accident occurred around 7:15 a.m. Thursday morning on Whitlock Lake Road.  There were no other vehicles involved.  Fortunately, no life threatening injuries were reported.  All of the students were offered medical treatment at Wallace Thomson Hospital.  Six were transported to the hospital by ambulance, and sixteen arrived on another school bus.

We appreciate the patience of the parents and family members as well as the response and compassion from the local hospital district, law enforcement, EMS, and first responders from other agencies.”

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BERICAP HOLDING RECRUITMENT EVENT IN GAFFNEY NEXT WEEK

Thursday, March 13

Bericap will be have a recruitment event at the SC Works Gaffney office at 133 Wilmac Road, on Friday, March 21st, from 9am—12pm and from 1pm—4pm. They are interviewing for packaging material handlers at $13.14/hr. Applicants should have a high school diploma or GED. Data entry skills are required, and knowledge of Microsoft Office is a plus. The job calls for standing and walking for 12 hours, and it will be necessary to lift up to 30 lbs. and use pallet jacks. Applicants must be available to work weekends, overtime and holidays. 1 to 2 years of manufacturing experience is preferred, and applicants must be available to work either day shift, from 7am to 7pm, and/or night shift, from 7pm to 7am. Screened and qualified candidates should complete an ES700 C, and if completed online, forward the applications to atrail@dew.sc.gov. Prior to the event, all applicants must register at www.scworks.org.

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HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION RAISES $16,500 AT SHAG NIGHT FUNDRAISER

Thursday, March 13

The Band of Oz plays a song during Shag Night 2014.The Union County Healthcare Foundation raised a little over $16,500 as a result of their annual Shag Night, held March 1st. The event is held each year and is a major fundraiser for the various projects they promote. The $16,500 they raised will be applied to a $20,000 pledge they made to go toward the purchase of a new ambulance for the Union Hospital District. A new ambulance runs in excess of $100,000.

This year's Shag night featured the very popular group, the Band of Oz. That group has been featured on several occasions and is already booked for next year's program. In addition to shagging, an auction is held, in which local people and businesses donate some major items to be auctioned to the highest bidder.

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SEVERAL MORE RELAY FOR LIFE FUNDRAISERS PLANNED

Thursday, March 13

More Relay for Life events are being announced, with one being slated for Wednesday, March 19th. Fairforest Baptist Church will have a Poor Man's Supper running from 5:30 to 6:30 that day.

Then, on April 12th, Blue Ridge Hospice  will host a “Family Fun Day” from noon-6pm, with hot dogs, silent auction, and singing. For information, contact Leigh Youngblood at 864-918-1745.

Dollar General will hold a basketball tournament on April 26th. Contact Niki Stinespring at 864-674-2603 for details.

The following day, April 27, Covenant Baptist  will have dinner. Interested individuals should contact Ponnee Lovelace at 864-427-3102.

Also on April 27, The Seventh Day Adventists will host a yard sale starting at 1:00pm. Contact Donna Smith at 864-427-0595.

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UNION WOMAN SHOOTS HERSELF IN THE FOOT WHILE DRUNK

Thursday, March 13

Sheriff's officers, along with emergency medical personnel, were dispatched just after midnight Wednesday morning to a call about a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The report came from 215 Belvue Drive. Upon arrival, officers found James Turner and Lauren Vassey, age 34, standing in the driveway of the residence. Turner told the officers that Vassey had shot herself in the foot.

She said she had taken Turner's pistol out of the truck and was just playing around with it, and it went off. Turner stated he repeatedly told her to put the gun down, but she held it to her head at one point and refused to put it down.

EMS arrived, examined Vassey, and then transported her to Wallace Thomson Hospital. Officers met with her at the hospital and advised her of her rights. She told them she was not trying to get hurt, but she was just trying to get some attention. After being released from the hospital, she was transported to the Union County Jail and a Datamaster exam was administered. He blood alcohol sample showed a .23. She is being charged with shooting a firearm while under the influence.

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WHITMIRE RESIDENT COMPLAINS ABOUT POWER TRUCKS TURNING AROUND ON HIS PROPERTY

Thursday, March 13

A Whitmire resident has filed a complaint against Broad River Electric Cooperative. The incident report shows that Matthew Thomas Shields, of 5418 Whitmire Highway, contacted the Sheriff's Office about Broad River Electric trucks coming on his property to turn around. Shield claimed the trucks have no reason to come on his property and wanted the matter documented.


LOCKHART POWER ANNOUNCES LOCAL LANDFILL METHANE CONVERSION PROJECT

Wednesday, March 12

The Union County Council met in a near-marathon session Tuesday, as they began at 4:45 with a presentation from the Catawba Regional Planning Council on procedures necessary to apply for grants.

One of the major moves coming from the council was a public hearing on Project Midas. The not-so-secret endeavor involves a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes project by Lockhart Power, which is being officially announced today. It calls for the establishment of a landfill to power a renewable energy facility, to be located at the Republic Services site on Wildcat Road in the Cross Keys area. Chief Operating Officer for Lockhart Power, Bryan Stone, said the project will contain two generators that together will produce 3.2 megawatts of electricity. In layman's terms, that computes to enough energy to supply around 2000 homes. The generators are powered by methane gas, which is produced by the landfill. It is considered to be a green energy project. The company already has a similar facility at a site in Wellford.

Richard Webel, President of Pacolet Milliken, said, ”This project is another example of our efforts to become a leader in implementing green power alternatives”. The project will employ 15 to 20 individuals during the construction phase.

Another presentation appearing to draw significant interest was a coon hunting event for Union County. That presentation was made by Curtiss Hunter, acting director of the Union County Tourism Commission, and Steve Stone, who is with a local Coon Hunter Association. Stone wants to see a large coon hunting event staged in Union County. Locally-originated coon hunting events have already been held here with some surprising results. A recent hunt competition recently paid a cash prize of $3000. Council members appeared quite interested in hosting such an event, but the money the organization is saying will be needed may be a hold up. Stone said he anticipates $20,000 would be needed to put on the hunt locally in the way it should be. They believe the funds could be taken from the Hospitality Tax. They used as an example the similar amount the City of Union put up for last fall's Uniquely Union Festival, which has been called the most successful ever. The council is asking the hunters to put together a budget with line items when they return for their formal request for the money.

At around 7:45 p.m., the council agreed to enter an executive session to discuss several contractual matters.

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ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION HOLDING DISCUSSION AT CITY HALL TOMORROW

Wednesday, March 12

Persons with concerns and questions about dementia will have the opportunity to have those matters addressed during a special gathering Thursday. The Alzheimer's Association will hold the session to give interested individuals a chance to have discussions concerning such matters as deciding when to stop driving, and making legal and financial plans. The program will begin at 6:00 pm in council chambers of Union's City Hall.

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USC-UNION HOSTING UPCOUNTRY LITERARY FESTIVAL NEXT WEEKEND

Wednesday, March 12

USC-Union will be host to the fourth-annual Upcountry Literary Festival this year on Friday, March 21st, and Saturday, March 22nd. The two-day event will showcase a number of nationally- and regionally-renowned authors, poets, and musical artists as part of a free public event. This year’s theme is centered around Southern culture and cooking. Daily events will include cooking presentations, poetry, music, and presentations from authors. Friday will consist of a poetry block with returning poets and music. Dan O’Shields and Duna Miller will take the stage as new voices in poetry and prose. The event is free to everyone and will be held in the auditorium at USC-Union.

Ray McManusThe Literary Festival’s poetry block will be kicked off with poet Ray McManus on Friday at 9:00 am in USC Union’s auditorium. McManus grew up in South Carolina in a working class, Irish-American family that taught him, “the value of keeping things real by looking at them slant.” Years later, he received his MFA in poetry and Ph. D. in Composition and Rhetoric at the University of South Carolina. His book, Red Dirt Jesus, was selected as the winner of the Marick Press Poetry Prize in 2010. Marick Press is a literary publisher that awards the best work by poets around the world. He has also won the South Carolina Academy of Authors Fellowship, South Carolina Academy of Authors, James Dickey Writing Award in Poetry and many more. His other book, Driving Through The Country Before You Are Born, was published by USC Press in 2007.

Lisa Hammond and Terry Kennedy will also take the stage during the poetry block at the festival. Lisa is a Professor of English at USC Lancaster. She won the 2006 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize and was published by Texas Review Press in 2007 with her chapbook of poetry, Moving House. Her poems have appeared in The South Carolina Review, Southern Poetry Review, English Journal and many more. Terry Kennedy is the author of the chapbook, Until the Clouds Shatter the Light That Plates Our Lives and has been published in literary journals and magazines. He teaches at UNC Greensboro where he is also the Associate Director of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing and editor of the online journal, storySouth.

Poet and fiction writer Debra Daniels will entertain the crowd on Friday with her music and poetry. Retired from a career teaching elementary school, she now she sings and plays mandolin and percussion in an eclectic acoustic band. She is the author of poetry chapbooks, The Downward Turn of August and As Is.

Jim ClarkJim Clark will perform as a writer and an interpreter of his own poetry and stories.  He has published two books of poems, written a play, and served as an editor in various literary journals. Clark began combining his talents as a singer and musician while performing on the guitar, banjo, or mountain dulcimer. He has released two CD’s that feature poems and traditional folk music.

The Upcountry Literary Festival is also featuring an assortment of authors, poets, and historians.

A full schedule and participant list can be found on USC-Union’s website: http://uscunion.sc.edu/. For more information, please call Randy Ivey or John Crocker at (864) 429-USCU. You can also follow the festival on Facebook.

 

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HISTORICAL SOCIETY'S QUARTERLY MEETING SCHEDULED SUNDAY

Wednesday, March 12

The Union County Historical Society quarterly meeting will be held this coming weekend, Sunday, March 16th. The meeting will be held at 3 pm in the museum meeting room. The back door will be open for those wishing to avoid the stairs. The guest speaker will be Ms. Nicole Isenbarger with the Archaeological Research Collective, Inc., of Charleston. Her presentation will be on South Carolina plantation archaeology.

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GAULT GIVES GENERAL SESSIONS COURT REPORT

Wednesday, March 12

General Sessions Court was held last week. Here's Union County Clerk of Court Freddie Gault with the report.


RENEE RODGERS NAMED DISTRICT TEACHER OF THE YEAR

Tuesday, March 11

The Union County School Board met in regular session Monday evening, and perhaps the highlight of the meeting was the naming of the district's teacher of the year. Each of the district's nine schools had already named their teacher of the year, and out of that group, Renee Rodgers was named the District Teacher of the Year. Honorees of each school included: from Adult Education, Brenda Byrd; from Buffalo Elementary School, Paul Wells; Foster Park Elementary School, Corinna Gibbs; Jonesville Elementary/Middle School, Rachel Brewington; Lockhart School, Beverly Woods; Monarch Elementary School, Christine Carlin; Sims Middle School, Bobby Curtis; Union County Career and Technology Center, Travis Dalton; and Union County High School, Renee Rodgers. Rodgers described herself as being shy.

Union County High School Principal Floyd Lyles says she only appears to be shy.

Congratulations to all the teachers honored Monday evening. Other board activities and actions will be reported in subsequent stories this week.

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MAN CHARGED WITH several counts of grand larceny

Tuesday, March 11

On Friday, Investigator Scott Coffer received information that Michael Todd Knox, 43, was hiding at 1214 North Pinckney Street. The informant sent the officer a text message from Knox stating that he was not going to come to the door. Coffer, Lt. John Sherfield, and State Constable Billy Bennett went to the location and could hear noises, but no one would answer. Having knowledge that Knox was inside, the officers made entry and found the subject hiding in a closet. Knox was arrested, and as the officers exited the dwelling, they located a pipe used for smoking marijuana and a small amount of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. Knox was transported to the Union County Jail and charged with simple possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, 5 counts of grand larceny, and 5 counts of injury to property to obtain nonferrous metals, as obtained from previous reports.

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UNION MAN TO BE CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER

Tuesday, March 11

Deputy Jody Willis was dispatched to Wallace Thomson Hospital Saturday in reference to a stabbing victim. The officer spoke to the victim, Jeffery Ryans, 23, of 267 Duncan Avenue in Buffalo. Ryans told the officer that he was approached by Kendrick Sims, 20, of 2102 West Springs Highway, wanting to fight with him over an argument that occurred several days earlier. Ryans said he pushed Sims out of the way, saying he would not fight him, and went into his house. He said when he came out of the house, Sims started running toward him with what appeared to be a small kitchen knife. He said the assailant stabbed him in the right forearm, the left bicep, and the left hand while Ryans was trying to defend himself. People with the subject separated the two, and Sims got into a white Nissan Rogue and drove away. The officer took photos of the wounds, and Ryans was treated by hospital personnel and received stitches. A warrant was being sought charging Sims with attempted murder.

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UNION MAN FACING SEVERAL DRUG CHARGES AFTER TRAFFIC STOP

Tuesday, March 11

Saturday, Sheriff's Deputy Brandon Vaughan was advised by a dispatcher that Marcus Dion Littlejohn, 31, of 116 Littlejohn Drive, was driving a red vehicle that possibly had narcotics and a weapon inside. The caller also advised the subject was at a house on Happy Valley Road. While patrolling, Deputy Vaughan spotted the vehicle and noticed it was traveling left of the center lane. He initiated a traffic stop on Neal Shoals Road. Once stopped, Vaughan asked the driver to step outside the vehicle and informed Littlejohn he wanted to frisk him to be sure he had no weapons on him. He also asked the driver if he had anything illegal in the car and was given consent to search. A medicine bottle containing 5 blue pills, believed to be Viagra, was located, but the name on the bottle was not the same as the driver. As Reserve Deputy Tim Ferrell was standing with the subject, Littlejohn broke and ran. While persuing Littlejohn, the officers noticed the subject had his hands in his pants. The officer apprehended Littlejohn and placed him in handcuffs. Other deputies arrived on the scene to assist in the arrest and to search the area. They located a quantity of narcotics. Littlejohn was transported to the Union County Jail, and the vehicle was towed to the task force for inventory. A check of Littlejohn's criminal history revealed that he had two prior convictions for crack cocaine and a prior conviction for marijuana. Deputy Vaughan charged the subject with possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, 3rd offense; possession with intent to distribute marijuana, 2nd offense; unlawful possession of a prescription medication; resisting arrest; and driving left of center.

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ROTARY CLUB BRINGS THE CIRCUS TO TOWN NEXT MONTH

Tuesday, March 11

The circus is coming to town on April 11th and 12th. All the details are not yet available, but it is being brought to town by the Union Rotary Club. The club ceased to operate their long-running aluminum can project some months ago, and they have been seeking an event to replace the fundraising project. Club members are hoping that the circus will be a financial boost and help them continue to support their charities and projects.

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STUDENTS WILL TAKE PASS WRITING TEST NEXT WEEK

Tuesday, March 11

All students in grades 3 through 8 enrolled in Union County Schools will take the statewide SC PASS (South Carolina Palmetto Assessment of State Standards) writing exam Tuesday and Wednesday, March 18 and 19. Local school officials encourage students to get a good night’s rest, eat a good breakfast, and get to school on time to begin testing. The two-day writing test is administered in March to allow time for scoring the compositions, so that results can be released in June. In May, students will also be tested in reading and research (formerly called English Language Arts), math, science, and social studies. SC PASS is designed to assess student weaknesses and strengths in the core subject areas, as well as to identify how many students are meeting state standards. Test results are also one criterion used to determine if districts and schools have met yearly federal accountability standards as established in the No Child Left Behind Act. If you have additional questions, please contact your child’s principal.


UNION OFFICER NAMED SC GANG INVESTIGATOR OF THE YEAR

Monday, March 10

A Union County Sheriff’s officer has been named the South Carolina Gang Investigator of the Year. Jermaine Smith received the distinction in February during the annual conference of the South Carolina Gang Investigators Association meeting. Union County Sheriff David Taylor said, “Every county and the State Law Enforcement Division qualifies to receive the award, and it is an honor for an officer within our organization to receive it." Smith has been in law enforcement since 1995 and began working with the Sheriff’s Office in 2009. He also serves on the Upstate Gang Task Force. He is able to train with other investigators in his field and develop a strong working relationship that he can bring back into the community.

 

 

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COUNTY COUNCIL HAS TWO PUBLIC HEARINGS AND A MEETING PLANNED TOMORROW

Monday, March 10

The Union County Council will be meeting tomorrow afternoon for their regular monthly meeting at 5:30 in the Grand Jury Room at the Union County Courthouse. Prior to that meeting, a public hearing will be held at 4:45 at the same location to solicit public input on community needs and priorities for housing, public facilities and economic development.

At 5:15, another public hearing will be held to receive comments concerning a proposed ordinance authorizing an infrastructure financing agreement on behalf of Standard Textile Carolina, and the development of a jointly owned and operated industrial/business park in conjunction with Spartanburg County. The public is invited to attend and participate.

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FIRST STEPS TO CUT RIBBON ON BORN LEARNING TRAIL

Monday, March 10

Union County First Steps will hold the grand opening and ribbon cutting of Union County’s first Born Learning Trail Saturday, March 22, at 11:30 a.m. The ceremony will take place at the Timken Sports Complex at 725 Rice Avenue Extension. This trail is the result of the collaboration of Union County First Steps, Union County Recreation Department, Timken Sports Complex, The Union Civitan Club, U.C.A.R.E., Union Lion’s Club, Sherwin Williams, and The United Way of the Piedmont.

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SONOCO PLASTICS LOOKING FOR WORKERS

Monday, March 10

Sonoco Plastics is looking to hire inspector packers for 2nd shift & 3rd shift. The pay will be up to $13.10/hr., plus a shift premium. They are also looking for extrusion techs for 2nd shift, with pay up to $20.39/hr. Past extrusion experience is preferred. Applicants must pass a mechanical aptitude test, and fork truck experience is required. Injection process techs are needed for the 3rd shift, with pay of up to $22.80/hr. Past injection experience is preferred, and you must pass a mechanical aptitude test. Fork truck experience is required.  All job applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, pass a drug screen, a background check, and a basic skills assessment test to be considered for employment. Jobs offer excellent benefits, with 401K, health, dental, & prescription drug card, and 10 paid holidays & vacation time. If you are interested in this position and meet the above qualifications, please apply in person to:

Union County Adult Education Building, 517 E. Main Street, Union.  Applications and testing will be given on: Thursday, March 13th, at 6:00 pm–basic skills assessment; and Friday, March 14th, at 9:00 am–basic skills assessment. Sonoco is an equal opportunity employer located between Union and Jonesville. No phone calls or applications will be taken at the plant.

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PHILLIPS STAFFING HOLDS RECRUITMENT EVENT TODAY

Monday, March 10

Phillips Staffing will hold a recruitment event today at the SC Works Spartanburg office, located at 220 East Kennedy Street. The event will be held from 9am-12pm.  They are looking to hire form assemblers/manufacturing at $10/hour for a 5am to 5pm shift, and $10.55/hour for the 5pm to 5am shift.  Applicants are required to have a high school diploma or GED and must submit to a drug test, background check and reference check. Verifiable work references must be supplied, and you must have 6 months manufacturing/production experience. The jobs are for 12-hour shifts, 7 days a week. Prior to the event, all applicants must register at www.scworks.org. Résumés are preferred.

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SEVERAL MEETINGS SCHEDULED THIS WEEK

Monday, March 10

The Union County School Board will met tonight in room 600 of the Career and Technology Center. The session starts at 7:00 pm.

The Union County Carnegie Library Board of Trustees will meet March 18 at 6 p.m. at the library. The meeting is open to the public.

The March Relay For Life meeting will be held Tuesday, March 11th, at Tabernacle Baptist Church Family Life Center at 6:30 pm. All team captains are welcome, as well as anyone wanting to start a Relay team. Contact Beth Lancaster at 864-426-3438, or Torance Inman at 864-426-0883 for more information.

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RELAY FOR LIFE GROUP HOLDING POTATO SOUP DINNER SUNDAY

Monday, March 10

The Grace United Methodist Church Relay for Life team is hosting a potato soup dinner on Sunday, March 16th, at noon in the fellowship hall. The meal will include soup, salad, bread, dessert, and tea, at a cost of $8/adult and $4/kids 12 years and under. Entertainment will be provided by Gospel Grass. To participate, call the church office at 427-1266 by Wednesday, March 12, to reserve your meal. Payment will be taken on the day of the event.

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ARTS COUNCIL ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO YOUTH ART SHOW

Monday, March 10

The Union County Arts Council will hold its annual Youth Art Show, sponsored by Gestamp, this month in conjunction with national Youth Art Month. Note, however, that both the location and the format for the show will be slightly different from that of past years’ exhibits.

Because of repairs being made to the UCAC gallery on Main Street in Union, the show’s location has been changed and will be held at the USC-Union Main Building. Instead of having two divisions of K-5 and 6-12 as in previous years, the 2014 show will combine all of the grades into one exhibit. The show will run from March 13 through April 14.

“This format will work better for us because of the necessary location change,” said UCAC coordinator Jackie Senn. “We’ll have one big show and one big awards reception. Last year, with both divisions combined, there were one hundred fifty entries. After the exhibit is hung at USC-Union, a judge picked by the UCAC staff will choose the winners from each grade. A representative of Gestamp will present the cash prizes to the first-, second- and third-place winners at the awards reception. The reception is scheduled for March 27 beginning at 5:00 P.M. in the lobby of the USC-Union Main Building on Main Street.

“We have to thank USC-Union for hosting this year’s show,” said UCAC president Bennie Giles. “Our gallery has been closed since late December, and we have been very fortunate to have wonderful support from the community. All of our regular programs have found temporary homes for the duration of the construction, which could last until late April.”

For more information, call 864-429-2817, or email ucac@bellsouth.net.


ONE NEW PHYSICIAN COMING BUT MORE NEEDED, NEWHOUSE tells hospital BOARD

Friday, March 7

During the Wallace Thomson Hospital Chief Executive Officer's report Thursday evening, Paul Newhouse told the Hospital Board that the Hospital District is still making efforts to recruit physicians. He did say a new physician will locate in Union by July, but he indicated the one addition does not make up for the losses that have occurred in recent months. Newhouse was asked if he believes the physician deficit is of a critical nature.

WBCU will continue to follow the recruitment efforts and bring you updated reports.

If there is good news coming out of the financial reports, it is that the losses are not as great as they have been in the past. Overall, the Hospital District showed a loss of $672,369 for the month of January. That's a little more than $107,000 better that the previous month. The hospital alone posted a $310,444 loss, but even so, that's $155,000 better than last month's reported deficit of $465,560. Ellen Sagar Nursing Home and EMS are showing positive numbers, but Carolinas Health Associates are also showing a significant financial drain on the district. That part of the district posted a $369,079 loss, but even that is $60,474 better than the previous month's loss of $429,553.

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DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME BEGINS THIS WEEKEND; SET CLOCKS FORWARD ONE HOUR SATURDAY NIGHT

Friday, March 7

This coming Sunday morning, we will spring forward one hour at 2:00 AM. That’s just one day shy of the earliest that we can now go on Daylight Savings Time, as the current convention established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 during the Bush administration that was enacted in 2007 now sets the beginning of DST as the 2nd Sunday in March.

We’re now on DST for about roughly eight months, or 67% of the calendar year. Don't forget to set your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed Saturday night.

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PERSONNEL SOLUTIONS HOLDING RECRUITMENT EVENT IN UNION MARCH 18TH

Friday, March 7

Personnel Solutions, Inc., has scheduled a recruitment event at the SC Works Union office, at 103 West Main Street. It will be held Tuesday, March 18th, from 9:00am-12:00pm. They will be looking to hire warehouse associates at $8/hour. A high school diploma or GED is required, and applicants must be 18 years of age. They also require a drug test, screening, and background check, and 6 months' experience is preferred. The jobs are for rotating 12-hour shifts—8am-8pm or 8pm-8am. You must lift up to 50 lbs., perform RF scanning, and shipping/receiving. Prior to the event, all applicants must register at www.scworks.org. If you miss this event, job seekers will have another opportunity to apply March 25 at the SC Works office in Gaffney from 9:00 a.m. until 12 noon. That office is located at 133 Wilmac Road.

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AMERICAN LEGION POST 22 SET TO MEET MONDAY

Friday, March 7

Union American Legion Post 22 will be having its monthly meeting on Monday, March 10th. The meeting will be held in its usual location, the Legion Hut at 120 Scenic Drive in Foster Park.

A meal will be served at 6:00 P.M., followed by a speaker at 6:30, and the business meeting at 7:00.  Post 22 meets on the second Monday evening of every month except July, and prospective members are always welcome to attend.

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SIMS MIDDLE SCHOOL GETS GRANT TO HELP WITH THEIR "SCHOOL WITHIN A SCHOOL" PROGRAM

Friday, March 7

A new program has put Sims Middle School in a position to received additional money in state funding over the next few years.

Their “School within a School” program is one of more than 20 across the state to be awarded the 2013-2014 At-Risk Innovation Grant. Over the next two and a half years, it will yield $160,000 in funding.

The focus and overall goal of the “At-Risk Student Innovative Grant” proposal is to raise student achievement, address disparities of students from different socio-economic backgrounds, close racial and ethnic achievement gaps, increase the level of expectations of all students, and ultimately reduce dropout rates in school through a well-developed comprehensive, multidimensional and reliable system of learning supports.

District Coordinator of Instruction and grant writer Tabitha Talley said the program model provides those students with a customized self-paced learning environment. Talley said the grant funding will allow the program to offer more social and academic opportunities and provide additional teacher support. The award will also allow Sims to begin offering after-school programs for students who need extra assistance three days a week, and a summer program will be offered for the next three years to ensure students are successful as they leave the middle school.

Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall praised Sims principal Mickey Connolly and Talley for recognizing the need to provide a different experience for a group of students at Sims. She said the program is an example of how district instructional leaders go above and beyond to best serve the needs of Union's students. 

Talley, Connolly, and Eric Childers were selected to present the "school within a school" model during the South Carolina Association of School Administrators' Innovative Ideas Institute in Myrtle Beach this summer.

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COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY HEARS FROM NOVEMBER HOPEFULS

Friday, March 7

The Union County Republican Party met Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Jury Room at the Union County Courthouse.  A fair number of supporters showed up to hear from two Republican candidates who will be seeking election in this year's election cycle, as well as representatives of the state Republican Party and the Republican National Committee. 

Hope Walker, who is employed by the Republican National Committee, spoke first, and she talked about the need to get Republicans elected at the local level.  She stated that, while South Carolina appears to be a “Red State” at first glance, most offices at the county level across the state are held by Democrats. 

The next speaker was David Tribble, who is a candidate for the House District 42 seat currently held by Representative Mike Anthony.  Tribble currently lives in Laurens County and he formerly served as mayor of Clinton and as a State Representative from Laurens County.  He stated to the group that his record is very different from his opponent and that he is glad his opponent has a defined record, so that it won’t be hard to contrast.

The third and final speaker of the evening was Gary Burgess, who is seeking the nomination for State Superintendent of Education.  Burgess, a longtime educator, stated he is a fiscal conservative who opposes Common Core and stands against government overreach in education.  Burgess stated he is running for this position for two reasons: the first being his love for South Carolina, and the second because he believes South Carolina can be the number one learning environment in the country. 

The Union County Republican Party’s next meeting is scheduled for April 11. For more information, contact Union County Republican Party Chairman Mike Fowler at mielfo@charter.net.


MIKE ANTHONY DROPS OUT OF SUPERINTENDENT RACE, PLANS TO RUN FOR REELECTION TO SC HOUSE

Thursday, March 6

South Carolina House District 42 Representative Mike Anthony will be on the ballot in the June Democratic primary, but not as a candidate for State Superintendent of Education. Anthony said he made that decision after some soul searching, saying he wants to stay in a position to help the people in his county.

David Tribble, a former mayor of Clinton, is the only announced candidate for the District 42 seat. He is running as a Republican. Anthony will be completing his 6th term in the House of Representatives at the end of the year. Anthony's decision was made public Wednesday, when he released the following statement:

"Since announcing my candidacy for Superintendent of Education I have enjoyed traveling around the state and meeting so many others who share my commitment to improving public education in South Carolina.

During this time I have come to the conclusion that I can be more effective at improving our schools by remaining in the House of Representatives, where I presently serve on the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee as well as the K-12 sub-committee. As Superintendent, one of my main goals would have been to put more money into the classroom. By remaining in the House and continuing to serve on the Ways and Means Committee, I have a voice, and more importantly a vote, to put more money in the budget for our schools.

I enjoy serving my community in the legislature and frankly, have not enjoyed spending so much time away from Union and away from my family while seeking statewide office.

Today I am ending my campaign for Superintendent of Education and will be seeking re-election to the South Carolina House of Representatives. The support I've received in my campaign has been both overwhelming and humbling and I am so appreciative to everyone who has helped me up to this point. I remain committed to our schools, and if re-elected to the State House, I will use my position to strongly advocate for a substantial increase in school funding so we can pay our teachers what they deserve and allow every student an opportunity to prosper.”

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PROVIDENT COMMUNITY BANK TO MERGE WITH PARK STERLING; ALL BRANCHES TO REMAIN OPEN

Thursday, March 6

Park Sterling Corporation and Provident Community Bancshares, Inc. announced today the signing of a definitive merger agreement under which Park Sterling will acquire Provident Community for a total value of approximately $6.5 million. The merger has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of each company.
All local bank branches will remain open, and the same people will be there to help customers.  The deal is subject to shareholder approval, which requires a vote of 50% plus 1.  The projected date of the final transaction is expected to be sometime in early May.

Dwight V. Neese, President and CEO of Provident Community, who will remain at the combined company as a senior market executive, said, “We are excited to enter into this partnership with Park Sterling and welcome the opportunity to help bring the combined company’s strong balance sheet and broad array of products and service offerings to our customers.” 

Upon completion of the transaction, the combined company will have approximately $2.3 billion in total assets, $1.9 billion in total deposits, $1.4 billion in total loans, and a network of 54 offices in the Carolinas, Virginia, and North Georgia. there to help customers. The deal is subject to shareholder approval, which requires a vote of 50% plus 1. The projected date of the final transaction is expected to be sometime in early May.

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TWO NAMED TO UNION COMMUNITY FOUNDATION BOARD

Thursday, March 6

Two Union men have been appointed to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Union Community Foundation.  Lewis Jeter, III, and Michael D. Cassels were named as the new members, and they will serve a seven-year term.

Jeter is a retired educator with Union County Schools, and was a special needs teacher, athletic coach, student mentor, faculty adviser for Jr. Civitan and Black Awareness Youth Association (BAYA). Jeter served as an Assistant Principal at Jonesville High School and Principal/Director of the Union County School’s Achievement Academy.  He is an active and vital part of the community, serving on the board of Carolina Community Actions and the Commission of Higher Education for Union and Laurens counties. He is a member of Rotary International, where he serves as President-elect of the Union Rotary Club. Jeter is a graduate of Sims High School and holds degrees from The University of South Carolina, Winthrop University and Converse College. He resides in Union with his wife, Marie Ann Cohen Jeter.

Cassels has been a part of the Union community as a teacher, coach, and school administrator for almost forty years. Cassels is a graduate of Chester High School, received an Associate’s Degree from USC-Union, a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Charleston Southern University, and a Masters in Educational Administration from Winthrop University. Cassels oversaw all areas of school management, including administrative, financial, curricular, and supervision of staff and sought opportunities for development of school programs and curriculum. He is a member of Rotary International Union Rotary and a Paul Harris Fellow. Cassels is an active member of Grace United Methodist Church where he serves on numerous committees. Mr. Cassels resides in Union County with his wife, Linda Melton Cassels.

The Union Community Foundation is a local, non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging the development of a community tradition of philanthropy by assisting individuals, families, corporations, businesses, and charitable organizations to establish funds in support of organizations and entities that will provide for the mental, moral, intellectual, and physical improvement, assistance, relief, and well-being of the citizens of Union County, South Carolina. The Union Community Foundation came into existence in 2006, with the first official board meeting chaired by the late Col. William “Jack” Whitener on April 28 of that year.

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UNION MAN CHARGED WITH SOLICITING PROSTITUTION THROUGH CRAIG'S LIST

Thursday, March 6

A 42-year old Union man has been charged with soliciting prostitution through Craig's List. The report identified the man as Kerry Walker, of 116 Wedgwood Court. It stated that Lt. John Sherfield communicated with Walker beginning February 26th through March 3rd via the internet. Sherfield communicated by e-mail numerous times {26 pages} about Walker coming to 1235 South Duncan Bypass to have sex with who he thought was a female. During these e-mails, Walker was told that the sexual acts would cost money, and on March 3rd he agreed to meet at the incident location and stated he would have to stop and get some cash up before he came. Once Walker arrived and went to the hotel room, he was then stopped by law enforcement and placed under arrest for soliciting prostitution. While inventorying his Dodge SUV, the officers recovered a box of condoms. Walker was transported to the Union County Jail and issued a summons for soliciting prostitution.

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POTTER'S STOREHOUSE HOLDING EMERGENCY DISTRIBUTION FOR FROZEN FOOD SATURDAY

Thursday, March 6

The Potter's Storehouse in Jonesville is having what is described as an emergency food distribution Saturday. Pastor Don Moore explains.

The distribution will take place from 10 a.m. until 12 noon Saturday, March 8th, at The Potter's Storehouse, located on Highway 18. Persons receiving the food must be registered with the Potter's Storehouse but will be given the opportunity to register at the event. This will not affect those who will received food at the regular monthly distribution Wednesday, March 12th.

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REPUBLICAN PARTY TO HEAR FROM CANDIDATES FOR SUPERINTENDENT AND HOUSE DISTRICT 42

Thursday, March 6

The Union County Republican Party will be meeting this evening at the Union County Courthouse. The meeting will be in the Grand Jury Room at 6:30pm. Speakers will be Gary Burgess candidate for South Carolina Superintendent and David Tribble candidate for South Carolina House District 42.


STATE OBSERVES SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK WITH TORNADO DRILL, INFORMATION

Wednesday, March 5

This is Severe Weather Awareness Week in South Carolina. A tornado drill was held Tuesday, during which time schools and some industries participated by taking emergency precautions as though a real tornado was occurring. 

Recent storms in the state have shown that a well-informed public educated in necessary preparedness measures is less likely to suffer personal injury, loss of life, and property damage in the wake of severe weather. The National Weather Service and the South Carolina Emergency Management Division have expressed a desire to work together to increase awareness in South Carolinians about severe weather safety and preparedness.

The US Weather Service and Emergency Management advises citizens to listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information. They say you should look for approaching storms. Danger signs include a dark, often greenish sky, large hail, a large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating), and listen for a loud roar, similar to a freight train.

If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

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HOSPITAL BOARD SET TO MEET TOMORROW NIGHT

Wednesday, March 5

The Union County Hospital District Board of Trustees and Finance Committee will be meeting Thursday evening for their regular monthly meeting. It will be held in the Board Room at 6:00 pm at Wallace Thomson Hospital. The meeting is open to the public. A financial report will be given, and it is expected that an update will be given on any progress that has been made in finding a way to correct their financial situation.

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FILING FOR STATE AND COUNTY OFFICES OPENS MARCH 16TH

Wednesday, March 5

Filing for state and county offices will begin March 16th and run through March 30th, according to the Union County Election Commission and Voter Registration office. Both South Carolina US Senate seats are up for election. One of those is for a full term. That seat is currently held by Senator Lindsey Graham. The other will be to fill the unexpired term formerly held by Jim DeMint. Tim Scott was appointed by Governor Nikki Haley to fill the seat until the upcoming election.

County offices slated to be filled include State House of Representatives District 42. That seat is currently held by Mike Anthony, who will not seek reelection to that post because he has offered as a candidate for State Superintendent of Education. The Probate Judge's office will see a new face, due to Monday's retirement announcement by Donna Cudd. Other offices that will be open include Coroner, Auditor, Treasurer, County Council seats 1 and 4, and County Supervisor. All of the mentioned offices are partisan. Non-partisan offices that will become open this election cycle are two seats on the Soil and Water Commission, Union County School Board seats 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9; two seats on the Browns Creek Water Shed, two seats on the Santuc Fire Board; two seats on the Monarch Fire Board; and three seats on the Jonesville Fire Board.

The Union County Election Commission will be moving to a new location shortly and should be in the location by the time of the filing date. Those desiring to file for the previously mentioned offices should should go to the new location at 1246 South Duncan Bypass. Additional information can be obtained by calling 429-1616.

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COUNTY COULD QUALIFY FOR FEDERAL DISASTER FUNDS FROM WINTER STORM

Wednesday, March 5

As reported on WBCU News several weeks ago, costs from the major winter storm that hit Union in early February could run in excess of $20,000. As Union County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair said at the time, “That may not sound like a lot to some folks, but that amounts to nearly ½ mill.” He said to recoup any of that money, certain thresholds would have to be met. The Associated Press reports that those thresholds should be met statewide for federal disaster relief. The state threshold is $6.4 million, and current estimates are running as high as $120 million. The supervisor, appearing on WBCU's "Let's Talk" show, expressed optimism that some of the money Union County has spent can be recovered. He added, however, the financial recovery could be a long process.

On the economic development front, Sinclair did drop a hint of good things that may be coming to Union County.

That was as much as he would say on the subject, but that is enough to shine a brighter light on the economic outlook for Union.


PROBATE JUDGE DONNA CUDD ANNOUNCES SHE WILL NOT SEEK RE-ELECTION NEXT YEAR

Tuesday, March 4

Union County will have a new probate judge come next January 1, 2015. That will come about as a result of the present judge, Donna Cudd, announcing today her intention to retire from the office at the end of the year. Cudd, a forty-year veteran of the Probate Judge's Office, has served in the position for the past 25 years. She was appointed to the job by the late Carroll Campbell, who was governor at the time. Prior to becoming probate judge, she worked under the late Betty Greer and Marjorie Nichols.

Cudd said of her decision to retire, This will leave the door open for a new probate judge in this county. Changes are sometimes challenging, but I have all the faith in the world that someone qualified will come forward, be elected by you, and serve you, the people of Union County as I have had the privilege of doing for all these years. I humbly thank you, Union County, for allowing me to serve as your probate judge. I love this county, its people, and have nothing but fond memories of my association with you.”

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WALLACE THOMSON HOSPITAL FINDING SUCCESS WITH HEALTHY OUTCOME INITIATIVE

Tuesday, March 4

Some months ago, Wallace Thomson Hospital introduced a program from the State Department of Health and Human Services called the Healthy Outcome Initiative. The stated mission was to reach out to patients who are underserved medically in the community. One of the issues facing many hospitals in the state are patients who use the emergency room much as others would use a doctor's office. Part of the Healthy Outcome program was to stem the number of non-paying patients coming into the emergency room. The program is designed to reach out to the patients and identify health issues and address them prior to an ER visit. Wallace Thomson Hospital CEO Paul Newhouse said a part of the problem was the patient being given a prescription they could not afford to get filled. As a result, their condition continued to deteriorate, thereby prompting another nonpaying visit to the ER.

Under the program, there are 8511 patients identified as being in need of the program statewide. Out of that number, 65 are in Union. Statewide, only about 25% of those people have been reached, but Wallace Thomson has found the program to be far more successful. Newhouse told WBCU News:

The hospital has partnered locally with the Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and the Department of Mental Health.  Jamie Lawson administers the program, and Newhouse believes her success is based in part on the fact that she has gone door-to-door seeking these patients. $69,000 was allocated to the hospital for the program. State officials have been impressed with the success of Wallace Thomson Hospital and are looking to identify the methods they have used to implement the program.

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UNION MAN MISSING $2000 FROM HIS WALLET

Tuesday, March 4

Some really bad luck befell a Union man last week. Arthur Lee Greer, 51, of 457 Old Union Road, reported to the Union Public Safety Department that while at Wal-Mart, his wallet apparently fell out of his pocket. When he realized it was missing, he returned to the store and went to the customer service desk in hopes that it may have been found. The good news was that it had been found by a store employee and turned in. The bad news was the money he had in the wallet was missing. He reported to police that over $2000 was in the wallet. That's a bitter pill to swallow, but investigators are still working on the case.

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COMMUNITY LENTEN SERVICES BEGIN TOMORROW

Tuesday, March 4

Community Lenten services will begin Wednesday, or Ash Wednesday as it is known in the Christian Calendar. That is also the first day of Lent. In the past, Lent was a long, strict religious fast when people gave up all rich food. The Christian church no longer imposes a strict fast. Lent is a time when some Christians try to overcome their own faults, because they believe that it was man's sin which led Jesus to be crucified.

Some Christians try to follow the example of Jesus in the desert by giving up luxuries and practicing self-discipline, and they try to put aside more time to prayer and religious acts so that they can really let God into their lives.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Western Christian calendar. Occurring 46 days before Easter, it can fall as early as February 4, and as late as March 10. According to the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan.  Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this 40-day liturgical period of prayer and fasting or abstinence.

The Lenten services will be held at 12 noon at Grace United Methodist Church, beginning March 5th and running each Wednesday through April 16th. Ministers from area churches will deliver a short message, followed by a light lunch in the church fellowship hall for those who desire to partake for a small fee.


MUSEUM AWARDED CONSERVATION GRANT

Monday, March 3

The Union County Museum has been awarded a $7,190 conservation grant by Heritage Preservation of Washington, DC, through the Conservation Assessment Program (CAP).

Museum Assistant to the Director Peter Triggiani said, “We are proud to announce our approval to participate in the Conservation Assessment Program. This grant will assist us in our efforts in the conservation of both our historic Museum artifact collections and, as we own historic properties, the conservation assessment of our historic structures.”

Administered through Heritage Preservation of Washington, DC, it is a program where professional conservators spend two days on-site at the Union County Museum conducting an assessment and three days writing a report with prioritized recommendations. Heritage Preservation, with the assistance of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, funds the program, up to $7,190. Heritage Preservation is a national non-profit dedicated to the preservation of the nation’s artifacts. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.

“CAP gives our museum technical advice from a conservation or preservation professional. The assessors will observe the current condition of the local collection and evaluate conditions affecting the collections in exhibit, storage, and working areas. The assessors will then produce a report documenting the assessment findings. CAP reports can provide the blueprint for helping the museum improve collections care, develop a long-range conservation plan, and raise awareness and funds for the museum’s conservation needs.”

In other museum news, The Union County Museum also announces it has been awarded a certificate of completion by the American Alliance of Museums for the “Museum Assessment Program,” Organizational Assessment. “By participating and completing the Museum Assessment Program, the museum has demonstrated a commitment to striving for excellence and meeting standards and best practices in the museum field.”

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LEAR CORPORATION HOLDING RECRUITMENT EVENT TUESDAY

Monday, March 3

Lear Corporation will hold a recruitment event at the SCC Tyger River Campus on Highway 290, 1875 E. Main St., Duncan, SC. It is scheduled for tomorrow from 8am-11am and 2pm-6pm. They are seeking to hire production assemblers, quality inspectors, and material handlers. Entry-level pay is $12/hour, and B-Shift has a premium $0.75/hour. Successful candidates will receive a comprehensive benefits package-401K, paid holidays, medical, vision, dental, & performance bonuses. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, and some manufacturing experience is helpful. Applicants must be able to lift 40+ lbs. continuously & stand for 10 hrs. Applicants must successfully complete DDI job fit testing and must undergo pre-employment background check, physical, physical demands & drug screening. Successful candidates must be flexible to work A or B 10-hr. shifts. Overtime is required, and applications will be completed at the event.

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KIM MORRIS LAWSON NAMED DEAN'S ASSISTANT AT USC-UNION

Monday, March 3

left-Susan Jett, Human Resource Director, right-Kim Lawson, Dean’s AssistantUSC-Union welcomed Kim Morris Lawson to the USC family on February 17th as the Dean’s Assistant. Lawson is not a stranger to the campus. She graduated from Union High School and then received her BOL from USC-Union in 2012. She brings creativity, organization, and event planning skills with her, along with experience and familiarity with the job position. She will be involved with graduation, helping to plan the 50th Anniversary, and much more.

Lawson is very active in the community, where she serves on the Board of Directors for Union County Disabilities and Special Needs. She is also very active with the Uniquely Union Festival and Union County Arts Council. Kim and her husband Scott have 13-year old twin boys, as well as a 7-year old dog and cat. Lawson said she wanted to work at USC-Union because, “I love that the campus is small enough to have a family-like atmosphere, but still has the resources of a large university. The faculty, staff and students have the opportunity to get to know each other and interact professionally and socially with all the activities USC-Union has to offer.”

From 2006 to 2014, Susan Jett was the Human Resources Director and Dean’s Assistant. Due to the increasing responsibilities in Human Resources and new projects being by planned by the Dean, Susan was promoted to Human Resource Director, and a full-time Dean’s Assistant was hired. Lawson can be contacted by email kmlawson@mailbox.sc.edu, or call (864) 429-USCU, ext 7798.

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THREE CHARGED WITH SELLING ALCOHOL TO MINORS

Monday, March 3

There have been several cases of alcoholic beverages being sold to minors. One such charge was made by the Union Public Safety Department against a 17-year old employee at Fresh Air Galaxy. This past Wednesday, the Union County Drug Task Force conducted alcohol compliance checks on several stores in the county and city. Two people were charged at separate locations. Guy Lance Whitfield, 42, of 390 Rogerstown Road, was charged at Gene's One Stop ABC, and Jessica Lynn Morris, 24, of 635 Browns Creek Church Road, was charged at HWY 9 ABC.

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SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES FIND DRUGS, RAW SEWAGE WHILE SERVING WARRANTS

Monday, March 3

Union County Sheriff’s Deputies went to 110 Pioneer Road on Friday to attempt to serve three magistrate court bench warrants on Emzlie Young, 28, of the same address. The deputies could hear movement inside the house, but the occupant did not initially respond. The police report stated that a female, identified as Allison Gault, 23, also of 110 Pioneer Road, finally came to the door. The officers ask if Emzlie was there, and Gault told them no. They asked her once again, and she asked if they had a search warrant. Deputies advised that they had three warrants for Young, and they were going in to search. They added that if he were located there, she would also go to jail. Once inside, they detected the odor of burned marijuana.

Following a brief search, Young was found hiding under a pullout couch in their baby’s room. He was placed under arrest. Gault was asked about the marijuana, and she denied any knowledge of the substance but eventually consented to a search of the dwelling. During the search, deputies found a partially-smoked blunt with a green plant-like material in it. That was found in the baby’s room. Also located was a clear bag containing 22 white pills in a kitchen cabinet, one Tylenol pill bottle with 6 pieces of crack cocaine in it, and a pack of Zig Zag cigarillos. Young claimed the found items were his. The deputies observed raw sewage coming from the ground in the back yard, along with several bag of trash and loose garbage there.

The officers told Gault the Department of Social Services would be advised of the drug use in the house, as well as the living conditions. Both subjects were transported to the Union County Jail. Gault faces charges of giving false information to a police officer. Young was ticketed for simple possession of marijuana, and a warrant is being sought for possession of crack cocaine. The 22 pills were identified as an over-the-counter medication for chest congestion.


TOURISM COMMISSION REPORTS TO COUNTY FINANCE COMMITTEE

Friday, February 28

The Finance Committee of the Union County Council met in a special session Thursday afternoon and heard a report from the Union County Tourism Commission. Acting Director Curtiss Hunter gave an overview of their accomplishments and plans for the future. Their plans are ambitious but appeared confident that their goals could be reached. They listed as a priority the need to implement a clean-up campaign in the county, as well as beautification plans for Highways 176, 215, and 49, with a focus on the downtown area. Hunter indicated a good place to start with a clean-up and beautification plan is at your front door.

The full council continued with a meeting following the Tourism presentation. They agreed to a $275,000 bond issue to benefit the Carlisle Fire Department.

They also talked about expiring terms for the Union Hospital District's Board of Directors. There was a general consensus that while the board is in the midst of seeking solutions to their financial woes, it might be best not to make any changes at this time. Nothing was definitely decided, and that discussion will probably continue at the next regular meeting.

Supervisor Tommy Sinclair said he has been involved in talks with the Union County School District's administration. In question is the Buffalo ball field on Highway 215 on property that is owned by the district. Sinclair said the county has maintained that field over the past years, but he says he believes an agreement is needed to cover a minimum of a five-year period. The Recreation Department uses the field for some of their programs, and Sinclair said the five-year agreement would make county upkeep more feasible.

The Supervisor will appear on Tuesday morning's “Let's Talk” program at 9 a.m. on WBCU to give an explanation on this and other matters.

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CHAMBER OF COMMERCE HOLDS FIRST BUSINESS AFTER HOURS EVENT of the year

Friday, February 28

The Union County Chamber of Commerce held their first Business After Hours Thursday evening at Heartland of Union. In addition to Heartland, other sponsors of the event were Costco Wholesale, Medi-Home Hospice and Charter Communication. Current president of the Chamber is Pam Roberts, and she says they are working on some exciting things.

We will bring you more information on the Chamber Banquet as soon as the information is released.

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FIRST CITIZENS BANK TO LEAVE JONESVILLE AT THE END OF MAY

Friday, February 28

The Jonesville community will be losing one of their two financial institutions at the end of May. First Citizens Bank made the announcement saying the closing comes as a result of an ongoing evaluation process. First Citizens will combine the operations of the Jonesville branch with the Pacolet branch. They will officially close May 30, and the Pacolet Branch will be ready to receive Jonesville customers June 2nd. The spokesperson said the bank will notify customers by letter in a few weeks that they will move the safety deposit boxes to Pacolet. There has been no word concerning the future of the bank property. First Citizens is one of two banks located in Jonesville; the other is a branch of Provident Community Bank.

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ROSE HILL OFFERS POPULAR "MANSION BY MOONLIGHT" PROGRAM

Friday, February 28

The most popular program at Rose Hill Plantation will be coming up again in mid-March. The event is when park visitors are given the opportunity to tour the plantation by moonlight. The employment of one's own imagination is encouraged as you think about what life might have been like after the sun went down. What went on in the evening? Where did people go? What did they do? Tour by lantern and candlelight and hear discussions and participate in some of the evening activities for both the plantation owner’s family and the enslaved people who lived at Rose Hill Plantation. The moonlight tour is set for March 15 from 7 until 9 pm. Space is limited to 15, and you are asked to make reservations by Friday, March 14. Prices: $10/adult (age 16+); $7/Student (age 6-15). Call 864-427-5966. E-mail: rosehill@scprt.com

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ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION HOLDING DEMENTIA TALK MARCH 13th

Friday, February 28

A United Way funding partner, the Alzheimer's Association, will host a conversation about dementia coming up March 13th. Joyce Finkle with the Alzheimer's Association said:

There will be three points discussed: Getting the doctor involved, Driving and safety, and Legal and financial planning. The session will be held in the council chambers of City Hall, March 13 at 6:00 pm. This is a free program but registration is required due to limited seating. To register, call 864-542-9998.


ANNUAL 4-H PULLET PROJECT SET TO BEGIN

Thursday, February 27

It’s that time of year again, when 4-H members can sign up for the 2014 4-H Pullet Project. Raising baby chicks from day one to egg laying age can be a rewarding experience, and this has been one of the most popular projects.  It does not require too much time or expense, other than feed and shelter. This year, youth can either order multiples of twelve or twenty-five chicks to grow out over the summer. They return five of the pullets if they ordered 25 chicks, or three pullets if they ordered 12 chicks. These will be auctioned at the Fall Pullet Sale the first Saturday in November. The youth can keep the remainder of the pullets. Chicks will be placed with the youth around the end of April. The three breeds of chicks that will be offered this year are Golden Comets, Buff Orphingtons, and Rhode Island Reds. All of these breeds are hearty, easy to raise, and lay large brown eggs.

To participate in this project, participants will need to complete an application form, available through the local Clemson Extension Office, and pay a deposit of $35 for each twelve or $60 for each twenty-five chicks ordered. All applications are due by March 14. The deposit will be returned to the youth in the fall, after they satisfactorily complete the project and return the designated number of pullets for the Fall Auction. Proceeds from the auction will help finance next year’s pullet project.

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AUTOMATION PERSONNEL SCHEDULES ANOTHER RECRUITMENT EVENT

Thursday, February 27

Automation Personnel will hold a recruitment event at the SC Works Spartanburg office at 220 East Kennedy Street, Friday, February 28, from 10:30am-2:00pm. The company is located in Spartanburg County, and they are looking for heavy industrial cleaning personnel at $10/hr and light industrial cleaning personnel at $9.25/hr.

A high school diploma/GED is not required, but you must be at least 18 years old. The positions are part-time, 12-hour shifts. Applicants must undergo background check/drug screen testing and will need to bring 2 copies of identification to the interview. Steel-toed boots will be needed for the job. You should allow at least 1 hour for the interview. Prior to the event, all applicants must register at www.scworks.org.

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RECREATION DEPARTMENT BEGINS REGISTRATION FOR T-BALL AND COACH PITCH PROGRAMS

Thursday, February 27

Some say a sure sign of spring is the song of a robin, but others maintain that precipice of spring is when baseball starts to ramp up. Such is the case with the Union County Recreation Department, as their T-ball and coach pitch baseball registration has begun. It is being held Monday through Friday at the Recreation Department and will continue through March 14th. T-ball is designed for three- and four-year olds, and players must be age three by September 1, 2014. Coach pitch is for kids five to seven years old, and they cannot have turned eight by September 1st. To register, parents must provide a birth certificate and proof of insurance, and all fees must be paid at the time of registration. The registration fee is $35.00. For additional information, check out the Union County Recreation Department on Facebook, or their website at www.unionscrec.com. You may also call 429-1670.

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UNION NATIVE PUBLISHES BOOK

Thursday, February 27

There's a new book on the shelves of the Union County Carnegie Library that many patrons will find interesting. It's entitled Just Living, Loving and Caring by Aunt Nette. Actually, her name is Marionette S. Daniels, but she acquired the name Nette because her siblings were rather prolific with the dispersion of nicknames. Aunt Nette, now living in Silver Springs, Maryland, is a Union native and took to placing her thoughts and experiences on paper many years ago. She was encouraged to publish the book so that others could enjoy her poetry and other writings. She explained for us how she took to putting her thoughts on paper.

The Union Library has added Aunt Nette's book to their collection and can be checked out there. It can also be purchased online by doing a Google search for Just Living, Loving and Caring by Aunt Nette. The essence of the book might be summed up with Aunt Nette's own words:

Does it matter what we do in service for others?  Before we answer, consider that a smile, a hello, and a thank you makes any encounter worthwhile.

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THREATENING FACEBOOK MESSAGE LEADS TO HARASSMENT COMPLAINT

Thursday, February 27

A Union County woman filed a harassment complaint with the Sheriff's Office after she says she received a Facebook message from another woman threatening to "cut her throat." Marilyn Elyse Redmon, 26, of Deer Trail Road, filed the complaint against Jennifer Lynn Lee, 24, of 131 Brown Street, Union. According to the report, Redmon said it stemmed from a dispute involving her ex-boyfriend. Investigators took a picture of the message and advised her to file for a restraining order.


SHORT IN A LIGHT BALLAST LIKELY CAUSED FIRE AT STANDARD TEXTILES

Wednesday, February 26

A shorted ballast in a fluorescent light is believed to be the cause of a fire at a local industrial plant that inflicted some $10,000 in damage to the structure. Six fire departments were called to the scene at Standard Textiles, located at Highpoint Drive at the intersection of Highway 176. The Bonham Fire Department first received the call around 7:30 p.m., and they soon requested assistance from Jonesville, Union, Kelly-Kelton, Monarch and Southside fire departments. The blaze spread to the roof, and firefighters employed the use of two platform trucks from Jonesville and Union to control the blaze. Bonham Fire Chief Scott Austin told WBCU News:

A portion of the roof had to be cut away, and there was damage to a fan and water damage to some cotton. No one was injured as a result of the fire.

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LOCKHART TOWN COUNCIL TALKS SEWER GRANT, CODE ENFORCEMENT

Wednesday, February 26

The Town of Lockhart is moving ahead with procedures necessary to qualify for a $750,000 sewer improvement grant. The Catawba Regional Council of Governments is handling the logistics, but the mayor and council are in for the pounding of shoe leather. Mayor Ailene Ashe told the council during Tuesday night's meeting that an income survey must be completed of every occupied dwelling that is in the proposed grant area. That means the council will be going door-to-door to gather the information needed.

Union County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair was on hand for the meeting and contributed to the discussion concerning code enforcement in the town. He said for the county officer to enter the town limits for the purpose of enforcement, a specific agreement must be forged between the town and the county council. He told the group that selective enforcement could not be a part of the agreement: it would have to be across the board, consistent with all other code enforcement in the county. One sticking point concerned fines that might be levied on code violators. The Town of Lockhart would not be eligible to receive that money. Sinclair explained that revenue from fines is distributed equally across the county. The council decided to bring the matter back up at a later meeting, where it could be thoroughly discussed.

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THURSDAY IS CHURCH NIGHT PREMIERE OF "SON OF GOD" FILM

Wednesday, February 26

Thursday has been designated as church night for the premiere of a newly released movie, "Son of God". Tickets are $7 and are available at the Grace United Methodist Church, Gene's Hairstyling, and Gault's Small Engine Repair. As a follow-up, Grace United Methodist Church will also offer to the community, beginning on March 2nd and lasting through March 23rd, a four-part sermon series at 11:00AM shared by Rev. David Bauknight.
Week 1 Sermon: THE SON OF GOD (Luke 5:17-26)
Week 2 Sermon: THE SINNER'S FRIEND (Luke 18:9-14)
Week 3 Sermon: THE ANOINTED ONE (Luke 4:16-30)
Week 4 Sermon: THE COMING KING (Luke 19:28-38)

During the same four weeks, a "Son of God" discussion group will be held during the regular Sunday School hour at 10am in the Grace UMC Fellowship Hall. This intriguing study will be led by Bob Love and is open to everyone.

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UNIVERSITY 101 CLASS SPONSORS MISS USC-UNION PAGEANT

Wednesday, February 26

On Saturday, March 8th, the University 101 class, under the instruction of Bobby Holcombe, will produce the third Miss USC-Union Pageant since 1978. The pageant was reincarnated as a community service project, but it also provides scholarships for the queen, as well as first and second runners-up. Proceeds from this pageant will benefit the local Alzheimer’s Association. Since fall 2011, the University 101 classes have raised more than $10,000 towards finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.

This year’s theme, “Celebrating the 1990s”, will showcase 9 young women throughout the evening in casual wear, on-stage questions, talent and evening gown competition. The pageant will be held in the USC-U Main Building Auditorium on March 8th at 7 p.m.

Last year’s Miss USC-Union, Cristen Wheatley, will entertain the audience with her talent and crown the 2014 Miss USC-Union. This year’s contestants are: Jasmine Craig (Union), Kami Edwards (Pauline), Kayce Edwards (Union), Shyanne Haney (Roebuck), Jasmine Navarro (Whitmire), Cassie Sinclair (Union), Alexis Taylor (Union), Makayla Thompson (Union) and Colie Touzel (Santuc).

Admission to the pageant is by ticket only. The tickets are $5 each and can be purchased prior to the pageant from: University 101 students, contestants, the USC-U Financial Aid Office (864-429-8728 or 1-800-768-5566, ext. 7724), or USC-Union in Laurens. Tickets will be sold the night of the pageant at the door.

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COMMUNITY LENTEN SERVICES BEGIN NEXT WEDNESDAY

Wednesday, February 26

Community Lenten services will begin next Wednesday at Grace United Methodist Church. The annual series of services began some years ago and have been a part of the community's observance leading up to Easter. The gatherings will take place at 12 noon each Wednesday and will last approximately 30 minutes. A lunch will follow in the church Fellowship Hall for a small fee. The services, beginning March 5th, will run through April 16th.

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ADECCO STAFFING HOLDING RECRUITMENT EVENT TODAY

Wednesday, February 26

ADECCO Staffing will be holding a recruitment event today at the SC Works Spartanburg office on 220 East Kennedy Street. The time will be 9am to 1pm. They will be looking to hire quality auditors for assembly & inspection at $10/hour, and CNC machine operators, grind machine operators, and heat treat operators at $12/hour.

Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and will need to bring it with them, along with 2 forms of identification. Candidates must be at least 23 yrs. old, with a minimum 5 yrs. experience, and undergo drug screen/background & reference check. Six months consecutive work experience is preferred. They will be hiring for 2nd- & 3rd-shift positions. Prior to the event, all applicants must register at www.scworks.org & apply online at www.adeccousa.com


OPENING DAY FOR MIRACLE LEAGUE SET FOR MARCH 22

Tuesday, February 25

All things being equal, the opening day for the Miracle League field at Timken Park has been set for March 22, with the dedication taking place at noon. Amy Austin says there are only two things that possibly could get in the way: a delay in the final construction details and the weather. Should an alternate date be needed, it will be April 12th. She described some of the activities that will be taking place.

The opening has been a long time coming, as fundraising efforts began in the spring of 2011n. There are also plans for the field to be used by Wounded Warrior leagues.

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SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS REPORT THAT ATTENDING ANNUAL CONVENTION PROVED BENEFICIAL

Tuesday, February 25

The Union County School Board of Trustees met Monday evening, during which time they heard an auditor's report from Lesley Kelly and Harris Darvor of McGregor and Company out of Columbia. McGregor and Company is the firm that won the contract about a year ago to conduct the audit of the Union County School District. The two delivered what they termed as a clean, unmodified opinion of finances for the district. They did say that several deficiencies were uncovered but noted they were corrected prior to the issuance of the report.

Jeff Stribble presented for 1st reading the modification in the GCO policy, which deals with the evaluation of the professional staff; the GCOA, which deals with the evaluation of the instructional staff; and the GCQE, dealing with the retirement of the professional staff.

Several board members gave reports on the 2014 Annual Convention, which was held recently. All were complimentary and stated the meetings were beneficial. One board member, Jane Wilkes, said she found the sessions to be very beneficial and singled out the information she received on the Common Core teaching method.

One overnight field trip was approved, for the Union County High School Bass Anglers to participate in a tournament at Lake Murray. The board entered into an executive session to discuss a contractual and a personnel matter. No decision came out of the session.

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FFA STUDENTS MEET LEGISLATORS IN COLUMBIA

Tuesday, February 25

Union County Career and Technology Center agricultural education students attended the South Carolina Future Farmers of America-sponsored State Legislators Appreciation Ceremony in Columbia February 19.

In attendance were Brendon Cromer, Hunter Cook, Madison Lawson, Cheyenne Anderson, Ashley Gregory, and Zach Valentine. The students, accompanied by Cleveland Jackson, agricultural education instructor and FFA adviser at the Union County Career and Technology Center, began the day by visiting with District 42 State Representative Mike Anthony, of Union County. They were introduced to the members of the House of Representatives while in session.

The week of George Washington’s birthday was designated as National FFA Week in 1947 at a National FFA Board of Directors meeting. FFA Week always runs from Saturday to Saturday and encompasses Washington’s birthday.

The FFA positively influences the young people of America by developing character and leadership skills, and preparing members for successful careers.

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COUNTY COUNCIL AND COMMITTEE SCHEDULE MEETINGS THURSDAY

Tuesday, February 25

The Union County Council Committee on County Administration and Finance will meet on Thursday, February 27, at 5:30 p.m. in the Grand Jury Room at the Union County Courthouse to allow the Tourism Commission to make a presentation and to discuss other financial and administrative matters.

Immediately following that meeting, the Union County Council will hold a special meeting on Thursday, February 27, in the Grand Jury Room at the Union County Courthouse. They will consider second reading of an ordinance for Project Midas and other matters. The public is invited to attend.

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FORMER DEPUTY CHARGED WITH MAKING HARASSING PHONE CALL AND THREATENING SHERIFF

Tuesday, February 25

A former Union County Sheriff's deputy who was initially charged with making an obscene and harassing phone call has ended up with an additional charge of threatening the life of a public official. Union's 911 office requested an officer Sunday concerning 40-year old Dean Lee Clark Gibson, of 134 Catawba Hill Drive, making the call to a dispatcher, who is Gibson's ex-wife. The police report stated that Gibson was using profane language and statements about the dispatcher.

Gibson was arrested by Sheriff's Deputy Brandon Vaughan. At the jail, Gibson was placed in a holding cell for observation by officer Wesley Pruitt. As Pruitt was about to leave the cell area, Gibson told him that when he got out, he had a bullet waiting for Sheriff David Taylor, and that he was going to kill his (the expletive is deleted). Pruitt notified Sheriff Taylor, and Gibson was also charged with threatening the life of a public official. Gibson worked as a deputy until March 2010.

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CHICKEN STEW SALE TO RAISE MONEY FOR UPCOUNTRY LITERARY FESTIVAL

Tuesday, February 25

Organizers with the upcoming Upcountry Literary Festival will be holding a fundraising Chicken Stew sale Thursday, February 27th. The time will be from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm in the lobby of the main building. The stew is $6.00 per quart. The festival is slated for next month.


THREE FIRE DEPARTMENTS PUT OUT BLAZE AT UNOCCUPIED HOUSE ON SOUTH ENTERPRISE STREET

Monday, February 24

Three fire departments were called to the scene of a house fire Sunday afternoon on South Enterprise Street. The unoccupied house was directly in front of the New Clinton Chapel Church. The house was completely destroyed, and the church sustained some damage from the intense heat generated by the blaze. Fire personnel were still trying to gain information about the dwelling late Sunday afternoon but had determined that no one was in the house at the time of the blaze. It was reported that a homeless individual may have been staying there, but that has not been confirmed. The call came into the 911 office at 4:54 p.m. The three fire departments responding were Southside, Monarch and Union.

 

 

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SCHOOL BOARD MEETS TONIGHT

The Union County School District Board of Trustees will be meeting tonight at 7:00 p.m. in the library of Union County High School. Listed on the agenda will be board members sharing highlights of the 2014 Annual Convention. Jeff Stribble will give information on policy GCO, policy GCOA, and policy GCQE. Just what that means will hopefully will be made clear during the meeting. There will be an overnight field trip request and an auditor's report. An executive session is scheduled for a contractual matter and a personnel issue.

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WINTER STORM MAY COST COUNTY $20,000

Monday, February 24

Union County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair says the county took a fairly major hit from the winter storm a little more than a week ago. He was talking from a financial perspective.  He said he does not yet have the final cost figures. He said he believes the storm may cost in excess of $20,000, money the county may not have. Sinclair pointed out that $20,000 may not sound like a lot to some people, but it comes down to equaling ½ of a mill. He added, “That’s the way I have to look at these things.”

So just how does the county recoup this kind of unplanned expense?

Yes, Sinclair said there is another possibility of winter weather moving into our area next week. We, as well as county officials, will be keeping an eye on the forecast.

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COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY CONVENTION SET FOR MARCH 10

Monday, February 24

Officials with the Union County Democratic Party say their convention will be held Monday, March 10, at 7:00 p.m. in the Union County Courthouse. All delegates and alternates are required to attend, and candidates and visitors are welcome. Should you need information about this upcoming event, you may call Ann Stevens at 864-427-6887.

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PERSONNEL SOLUTIONS HOLDING RECRUITMENT EVENT TOMORROW

Monday, February 24

Personnel Solutions, Inc., will hold a recruitment event at the SC Works Spartanburg office, located at 220 East Kennedy Street, February 25th, from 10:00am—1:00pm. They will be hiring hiring warehouse associates at $8/hour. A high school diploma or GED is required. Applicants must be 18 years of age and undergo drug testing and screening, along with a background check. 6 months of experience is preferred. Applicants will work rotating 12-hour shifts: 8am-8pm or 8pm-8am. Candidates should be able to lift up to 50 lbs., perform RF scanning, shipping/receiving. Prior to the event, all applicants must register at www.scworks.org.

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THOM WHITE SWORN IN AS FAMILY COURT JUDGE

Monday, February 24

The 16th Judicial Circuit has a new Family Court Judge. Longtime Union attorney Thom White moved to the bench Friday afternoon, when he was sworn into the job in a special session of Family Court, presided over by His Honor Judge Bruce Williams. Williams, a former Family Court Judge, now serves on the Court of Appeals. White was sworn in by retired Family Court Judge and longtime friend Leslie Riddle. Riddle and White were classmates at Clemson. White addressed a courtroom nearly full of family, friends, and associates, during which he said:

White is replacing Family Court Judge and Union native Robert Guess.

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ROTARY CLUB GRANT HELPS LIBRARY EXPAND INTO E-BOOKS AND AUDIO BOOKS

Monday, February 24

A grant from the Union Rotary Club has enabled the Union County Carnegie Library to expand its services with e-books and audio books available from the library’s website. Beginning March 5, library card holders can borrow popular digital media anytime, anywhere, by visiting http://jasmine.lib.overdrive.com.

Library Director Ben Loftis told WBCU News:

Users may browse the digital collection online, borrow titles with a valid library card, and enjoy on all major computers and devices, including iPhone®, iPad®, Nook®, Android™ phones and tablets, and Kindle®. E-books can be read immediately on any device with an internet browser, and all titles will automatically expire at the end of the lending period. There are no late fees.

The initial collection will feature about 8600 e-book titles, 1000 audio books, and about 2300 children/teen titles (either e-book or audio). The collection grows pretty consistently, as each member library is required to contribute a specific dollar amount to the collection budget.

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AUTHOR DORI SANDERS WILL PRESENT AT UPCOUNTRY LITERARY FESTIVAL

Monday, February 24

USC-Union will be the host to the 4th-annual Upcountry Literary Festival this year on Friday, March 21st, and Saturday, March 22nd. The two-day event will showcase a number of nationally- and regionally-renowned authors, poets, and musical artists as part of a free public event. This year’s theme is centered around Southern culture and cooking. Daily events will include breakout sessions, cooking presentations, and presentations from authors. Dori Sanders is one of the authors that will be presenting at the festival. She is known for her acclaimed books Clover and Her Own Place.

Sanders grew up in Filbert, SC, in York County, as one of ten children. Her father, once a sharecropper, purchased land in 1915, and it is now one of the oldest African-American farms in the region that produces fruits and vegetables. She and her siblings grew up reading and sharing stories with each other around the “storytelling rock.” Her first novel, Clover, is about a ten-year old black girl, Clover Hill, from a small town in South Carolina. Her life changes forever after her father dies and she is left to build a relationship with her new white stepmother. Clover is a winner of the Lillian Smith Award for Southern literature that enhances racial awareness, and it was made in to a TV movie in 1997.

The event is free to everyone and will be held in the auditorium at USC-Union. A full schedule and participant list will be announced closer to time. For more information, please call Randy Ivey or Bill Moore at 864-429-USCU. You can also check out USC Union’s website or our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/upcountryliteraryfestival


SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER ADDRESSES CONCERNS OF CODE OF CONDUCT VIOLATIONS

Friday, February 21

For some time now, reports have surfaced concerning a violation of the Union County School District’s Code of Conduct, specifically by coaches in the athletic department. The allegations concern the use of profanity by coaches and players. The matter was a topic of conversation on WBCU’s morning talk show. School administrators have responded that there is no proof of the allegation, but one school board member disagrees. Buck Peay, who generally represents the Jonesville area of the district, called into the show, saying he believes the allegations to be true. He was asked if he believes his sources to be credible.

Peay actually made the motion that every coach in the school district, both paid and volunteer, be issued a copy of the Code of Conduct. They are to sign, date and return it to the Board Chairperson, Dr. Wanda All.

The matter is anticipated to come up in the next board meeting, but based on previous experiences, it will likely be in executive session.

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FARMER'S MARKET TO RELOCATE NEAR YMCA

Friday, February 21

There have been discussions this past year about relocating the Union Farmer's Market from its present location on Academy Street to the Union County Fairgrounds. After additional study was made, it was decided that the market should move, but not to the fairgrounds. When they open this spring, the location will be on a vacant piece of property adjacent to the YMCA parking lot on East Main Street.

March 15th is the date set statewide for the beginning of the Farmer's Market season, but items are not expected to show up there in any quantity until the growing season gets going.

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WOMAN NOT FOOLED BY FAKE CHECK PURPORTING TO BE FROM PUBLISHER'S CLEARING HOUSE

Friday, February 21

The Union County Sheriff's Office is investigating another attempted fraud incident. This particular case involved a Union woman who said she had received a check from Publisher's Clearing House in the amount of $4,976.85, along with instructions to contact her representative at the listed number. The woman instead called the company that allegedly issued the check and was informed it was not valid. The company also stated they had reports of others receiving such checks. She then called the previously mentioned representative and informed him she had talked to the supposed check issuing company. The representative immediately hung up. A report was taken and is being forwarded to investigators.

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RELAY FOR LIFE FUNDRAISING ACTIVITIES IN FULL SWING

Friday, February 21

Relay for Life in Union is getting into full swing, with numerous events being scheduled. So far there are seven Relay events coming up, starting March 4th with a Pancake supper at the Buffalo United Methodist Church. Then comes the Leprechaun Race for a Cure 5K run at the West Springs Ballfield, sponsored by Bogansville United Methodist Church. If you have never had "Chitlins", you'll have the opportunity to do so at the Chitlins and Chicken Dinner Sale sponsored by Corinth Baptist Church on March 15th. You can follow that up on March 16th with a Potato Soup Dinner at Grace United Methodist Church. On March 22, there will be a Chinese Auction sponsored by Corinth Baptist Church; then on March 27th, there will be a Talent Show at Sims Middle School. The much-anticipated Cow Patty Festival is scheduled for March 29th at the Jonesville Elementary/Middle School. There is much more Relay activity taking place in April, and a full listing of events can be viewed below.

 

Date of Fundraiser

Fundraiser

Relay Team Name

Contact Info

March 4

Pancake Supper

Buffalo Methodist Church

Robynne Burress

864- 415-0049

March 15

Leprechaun Race for a Cure 5K

 (West Springs Ball field)

Bogansville UMC

Lee Gentry

 864-494-3812

March 15

Chitlins and Chicken Dinner Sale

11 am @ 109 Windbush Lane

Corinth Baptist Church

Sallie Bowser

864-427-4289

March 16

Potato Soup Dinner

Noon / soup, salad, bread and dessert

Grace UMC

Grace Church Office

864-427-1266

March 22

Chinese Auction

Starts at 10am/ Drawing at Noon

Corinth Baptist

Emma Garner or

Pam Sloss

March 27

Talent Show

Sims Middle School

Jordan Bright

864-429-1755

March 29

 

Cow Patty Festival

@ Jonesville EMS K-8

Jonesville EMS  K-8

JEMS 864-674-5574

Bernice Inman 864-426-1066

April 5

Spaghetti  Supper & Music

Horn Player that has played with the Gaither Band

Buffalo Methodist Church

Robynne Burress

864-415-0049

April 19

Yard Sale & Fish Sandwich Sale

8am @ Union County Stadium

Corinth Baptist

Sallie Bowser

864-427-4289

April / TBA

Sunday Meal

Bethel UMC

Cindy Whitehead

864-426-0077

Ongoing

Drawing ( May 12th)

1st/ 50% ticket sales

2nd/ Free 45 minute massage

3rd / One month Free Fitness

Austin Rehab

Mandy or Elizabeth

864-429-3003

Ongoing

Hunting for a Cure T shirts (Camo)

Sims Middle School

Jordan Bright 864-429-1755

Ongoing

Long Sleeve T shirts $12

Austin Rehab

Mandy or Elizabeth

864-429-3003

Ongoing

Toilet Seat Fundraiser at UCHS & Buffalo Elementary

UC Youth Leadership

Leticia Wages

Denise Eubanks

Ongoing

Carolina Cure & Finish the Fight T shirt Fundraiser

ALL Relay Teams

Beth Lancaster 864-426-3438

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MEET USC-UNION'S OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARS DIRECTOR, NAZARENE RICE-EDMONDS

Friday, February 21

USC-Union's new Opportunity Scholars Director is Nazarene Rice-EdmondsA new program designed to enhance the educational experience for first-generation college students has been implemented at USC-Union. Called The USC-Union’s Opportunity Scholars program, it provides academic and cultural support services to help adjust to college life. Networking opportunities, various workshops, academic counseling and tutoring are just some of the services that OSP provides. USC-Union’s new OSP director, Nazarene Rice-Edmonds, says she is eager to help the students succeed and get a higher education degree.

Nazarene, a native of Spartanburg, is a busy mother to six children yet brings a calm and friendly approach to work. She graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Strayer University, then went on to get her Master’s in Public Administration with a minor in Human Resource Management. Nazarene brings even more to the table with her retention skills, strong leadership and educational opportunity understanding.

When Nazarene is at home, she enjoys watching any Tyler Perry movies with her family and 8-month old Shih-Tzu dog, Coco. When asked what she liked about USC-Union, Nazarene stated, “It is a small college, and everyone just enjoys helping students any way possible in order to see them graduate. USC-Union makes the students feel like family, not just a number.” For more information about USC-Union’s Opportunity Scholars Program, please call 429-8728, ext 7733.
 


UNION MAN ARRESTED ON CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT CHARGES

Thursday, February 20

On February 14, a complainant reported to the Union County Sheriff’s Office that a criminal sexual assault had been occurring for some period of time against a now 12-year old female victim. As investigators began working the case, they were able to determine that sexual acts against the juvenile had been ongoing since January 1, 2013. Investigators identified the perpetrator as Mark Steven Hubbard, 31, of 106 Teal Road, Union.

A warrant for 2nd-degree criminal sexual conduct was signed against Hubbard. After running from investigators for two days, Hubbard turned himself in to Investigator Scott Coffer on February 16. He is being held in the Union County Jail on a $25,000 surety bond.

 

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UNION MAN CHARGED WITH CRUELTY TO CHILDREN

Thursday, February 20

A 36-year old Union man is facing charges of cruelty to children. On February 1, Public Safety Investigator Mike Gregory received a referral from the Department of Social Services concerning an assault of a male child by his step-father. The report stated that the child had been choked to the point of nearly passing out. As a result, David A. Hughes, 46, of 1208 West Main Street, Apartment 11C, was charged with the offense. He was released on bail from the Union County Jail.

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CHANGES TO PHONE ALERTS UNION WOMAN OF POSSIBLE IDENTITY THEFT

Thursday, February 20

On Tuesday, Sheriff's Deputy Matthew Voiselle spoke to a walk-in complainant about possible fraudulent activity.  The complainant stated she received a text from her phone carrier, Verizon, that changes had been made to her account, and they needed to verify that she approved these changes.  She called Verizon and told them she had not made any changes to her account.  The Verizon Fraud Department looked into this matter and discovered that someone in Colorado had managed to access her account and put her phone service on their phone.  This person also attempted to get the complainant's phone upgraded and changed her personal settings on her account.  The complainant stated that Verizon advised her to get a report from the Sheriff's Office, because the criminal could have accessed her personal information, social security number, credit card number, etc., with what they did.

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CITY NEEDS ASSESSMENT LIST FINALIZED FOR THIS YEAR

Thursday, February 20

Meeting Tuesday evening, Union City Council held a public hearing, during which citizens were asked for their input to the annual needs assessment. The needs that were contributed included:

1. Infrastructure improvements to the Monarch Mill Village in cooperation with Union County, and infrastructure improvements in areas including Main Street and Buffalo.

2. Continue revitalization efforts in the Union Mill Village.

3. Demolition of dilapidated houses in the City of Union.

4. Upgrade of sidewalk, water, sewer services, and drainage and street problems in the city.

5. Neighborhood improvement projects on Carson and Cornwall streets.

6. Increase available affordable housing for low and moderate income, disabled and elderly citizens.

7. Continue activities to support economic development in order to create jobs for low and moderate income persons.

8. Roadway safety improvements.

9. Improve and expand recreation, health care and cultural facilities.

    10. Construct parking and pedestrian improvement adjacent to planned cultural center in downtown.

    11. Implement a gateway and beautification plan.

    12. Promote fair housing opportunities to all citizens.

Just because the needs assessment has been finalized does not necessarily mean the items will be accomplished, but it serves as a guide to prioritizing what needs to be done.

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ANIMAL SHELTER is PARTICIPATING IN WORLD SPAY DAY

Thursday, February 20

Union County Animal Shelter is participating In World Spay Day, and by participating, they are entered for a chance to win a grant that will help fund low-cost spaying and neutering of pets.  Heather Sealy, Union County Animal Control & Shelter Director, said, “We want to draw attention to this and encourage people to come in and sign their pets up.”

Anyone who comes in between 3pm-5pm Monday-Friday for the remainder of February and signs their dog or cat up to be spayed or neutered at a cost of $41.50 will receive a bag of food for their pet and be entered for a prize. County residents are asked to please take advantage of this. Sealy said, “Let your pet be a winner by never reproducing, and you could be a winner of a great prize for doing the right thing.”  Animals must be up-to-date on vaccines; if not, the cost of vaccines are extra. For every pet signed up, participants can enter for one of the prizes that have been donated by local businesses.


COUNTY COUNCIL TAKES UP FEE AGREEMENTS, COMMISSION APPOINTMENTS, AND OTHER BUSINESS

Wednesday, February 19

Meeting in regular session Tuesday afternoon, the Union County Council heard two requests from agencies seeking assistance. The first was from USC-Union, asking the county to contribute $1500 to assist with the Upcountry Literary Festival. This will be the fourth year the festival has been held on the USC-Union campus; it is scheduled for March 21st and 22nd. In a letter from the Dean, Dr. Alice Taylor-Colbert, it was stated that a part of the reason for the festival is to bring additional interest and visitation to Union County and related businesses. Council did not vote on the donation, but they said it would be brought up at the next meeting.

The Town of Carlisle is requesting assistance in replacing playground equipment that has deteriorated because of age. They are also requesting assistance in purchasing two new picnic tables and benches, at an approximate cost of $908. Again, no action was taken.

Three members were appointed to the Airport Commission. Steve Bogan was appointed to fill out a partial term, while Danny Sanders and Daniel Burnett were appointed to full terms.

Council approved a second reading for a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes (FILOT) ordinance concerning a Delaware company that is looking to capture methane gas that can be used to generate power. Such an operation already exists, which is operated by Lockhart Power Company at the Wellford Renewable Energy landfill. The project has been given the code name of Project Midas. The company is looking to invest at least $5 million for a 30-year FILOT agreement.

Second reading was given to an ordinance authorizing an infrastructure financing agreement on behalf of Standard Textile Carolina, Inc., and the development of a jointly owned and operated industrial/business park to be geographically located in Union County. The ordinance provides for a written agreement with Spartanburg County, providing for the expense of the park, the percentage of revenue application, and the distribution of fee in lieu of ad valorem taxes to the counties and relevant taxing entities, to provide that job tax credits allowed by law be provided for businesses locating in said park. That language is a bit difficult to understand, but it translates into a $2.5 million investment by Standard Textiles and will create 15 full-time jobs.

Last July, the Council approved what was in effect a transfer of a FILOT agreement from Sloan Construction Company to Strawser Company. Apparently, things have not worked out and the agreement has never been executed. A resolution that returns the FILOT to Sloan was approved Tuesday. Sloan is the parent company of Strawser.

One other discussion of public interest centered on a new location for the Union Farmer's Market. Earlier in the year, there was a discussion about moving the market from its present location on Academy Street to the Union County Fairgrounds. Later, however, there were several sites that were considered, with a discussion being made to have the Farmer's Market locate on East Main St. on a vacant section of land adjacent to the YMCA parking lot. The market should open in spring.

Two organizations requested financial support. One was for a black history event at Union County High School, and the other was from the Union County High School Band Aide Club. Both received financial support with agreement that the money would be left to each councilperson's discretion, as it would come out of their in-district allowance.

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CITY COUNCIL SETS COMMUNITY NEEDS ASSESSMENT LIST AHEAD OF GRANT APPLICATION

Wednesday, February 19

The Union City Council held a public hearing last night to receive comments from citizens about the community needs assessment list. The subject was also part of the agenda for the regular monthly meeting that followed the hearing. The needs assessment is basically a list of priorities for projects and improvements in the city. First on the list was infrastructure improvement to the Monarch Mill Village, and second was the continued revitalization efforts in the Union Mill Village. These two were listed at the top, because Jason Vance of the Catawba Regional Planning Commission told the council funding for the projects would be more competitive for a grant for which the city is planning to apply. The prioritized list of 12 items was approved.

A second reading was given to an ordinance that transfers a small piece of property on Louise Street to an adjacent property owner.

City council also heard a request from the Union County High School Band Aide Club for a contribution for the band to travel to Ohio for the World Championship Competition. It's the first time the band will have participated in the event. Following a discussion, council agreed to donate $2000. The club had already raised around $9,000, but an estimated $15,000 is needed.

It's nearly that time of the year that the council will be holding their annual budget workshops. During that time, various organizations and departments in the city government will make funding requests. The first date for the workshop was set for April 1st at 9:00 a.m. Other dates include the 2nd and 3rd of April at 1:00 p.m.

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CHAMBER OFFERING WORKSHOP TO HELP BUSINESSES GET ONLINE

Wednesday, February 19

Many businesses are coming to the realization that promoting their products online can be very beneficial. As a result, the Union County Chamber of Commerce is offering a workshop to familiarize business owners and managers as to how to accomplish creating the online presence. It is scheduled for February 26. There will be two sessions held at the SC Works office, located at 103 West Main Street: the first from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m., and the second from 2 until 3:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served at both sessions. The workshop is open to anyone, and the charge is $25, unless you are a chamber member, in which case the fee is only $15. Participants are asked to register by February 24 by calling the Chamber office at 427-9039.


ARTS COUNCIL'S MONDAY NIGHT MUSIC RETURNS

Tuesday, February 18

The Union County Arts Council's Monday Night Music was back in business after a two-month absence. UCAC's gallery on Main Street is still closed for repairs, but musicians and those wanting to listen to the free night of music gathered in the fellowship hall of Grace United Methodist Church.

Co-coordinator of the Arts Council Harold Senn was asked how it felt to be back in the saddle again.

So how are the repairs coming at the Main Street Gallery?

Senn said any donation to the project are welcome.

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EXPRESS EMPLOYMENT HOSTS RECRUITMENT EVENT TODAY

Tuesday, February 18

Express Employment Professionals will hold a recruitment event today at the SC Works Spartanburg office, located at 220 East Kennedy Street in Spartanburg, from 2pm - 4pm.

They are looking to hire:

--Part-time warehouse personnel at $8/hr. and retail clerk at $8.50/hr.

--Office administrator, assembler, inspector (A/B), and machine operators at $10/hr.

--Material handler/forklift operator (A & B shifts available) at $10.50/hr.

Shipping/receiving manager at $11 to $11.50/hr.

Administrative assistant in Union at $12/hr.

Lead shipping & receiving clerk at $12 to $12.50/hr.

Industrial spray painter at $13/hr.

Machine maintenance technicians at $13 to $15/hr.

Welder, administrative coordinator, quality assurance supervisor, and shop workers at $13.50/hr.

Applicants are asked to bring 2 forms of ID and their résumés. They must have a high school diploma or GED, and the company will conduct a background check/drug screening.  Prior to event, applicants must register at www.scworks.org & apply online at www.expresspros.com.

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COUNTY AND CITY COUNCILS BOTH MEET THIS AFTERNOON

Tuesday, February 18

Union County Council will be meeting Tuesday afternoon at 5:30 in the Grand Jury Room at the courthouse. Several items are on the agenda, including the consideration of appointees to the Appeals Board and the Airport Commission. Also considered will be a resolution that, if passed, would support a feasibility study for public transportation in Union County. This meeting was canceled last week due to the snow storm and was rescheduled for this evening.

A short time later, at 6:00 p.m., the Union City Council will hold a public hearing to hear comments on the needs assessment for the city. That matter is also slated to come up during the regular meeting at 6:30.

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NEARLY 50 AWARDED 100-MILE CLUB MILESTONE ACHIEVEMENT AT MONARCH

Tuesday, February 18

Nearly 50 students, faculty, staff and volunteers of Monarch Elementary School were awarded with the 100-Mile Club "Milestone" achievement. Each participant was awarded and recognized on their mile marking goal for the second quarter of the 100-Mile Club journey. Individuals participating are encouraged to walk or go beyond 100 miles by May 2014. The walking is done after school hours and is part of their overall fitness program.


EDGEFIELD EARTHQUAKE RATTLES UNION

Monday, February 17

Union’s 911 office was flooded with calls Friday night with reports of rumbles and shaking as a 4.1 magnitude earthquake hit the area. The quake was centered in Edgefield, South Carolina, and struck at 10:23 p.m., rattling dishes and even shaking some small items from shelves. Even so, there were no immediate reports of damage. There was some minor damage in nearby counties as cracks appeared in sidewalks, walls and driveways. The rupture of a water tank near Augusta is being blamed on the earthquake.

Generally, Earthquakes are thought to be rare in South Carolina, but records show they occur more often than we might think. Annually, South Carolina records eleven to fourteen earthquakes; however, they are generally not noticed by the population.

The 1886 Great Charleston Earthquake was the largest, most destructive, and most lethal earthquake ever to strike east of the Mississippi. To this day, it dominates the seismic history of the entire East Coast. It struck without warning and caused far more deaths, injuries, and property damage than Hurricane Hugo, a Category IV hurricane (1989).

On January 1, 1913, a moderate earthquake estimated to have measured 5.1 on the Richter Scale struck Union County, and shockwaves spread into adjacent Georgia and North Carolina. Damage was minimal and no lives were lost, but the quake took place in a lightly populated area.

Earthquakes often occur without warning, prompting Union County Emergency Management Director Rob Fraim to post on Facebook: “Well, to start the year, we have had a major snow storm and now an earthquake. I don't want to know what's coming next!”

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COUNTY, CITY COUNCILS SET TO MEET TOMORROW AFTERNOON

Monday, February 17

The Union County Council will be meeting Tuesday afternoon at 5:30 in the Grand Jury Room at the court house. Several items are on the agenda, including the consideration for appointees to the Appeals Board and the Airport Commission. Also considered will be a resolution that, if passed, would support a feasibility study for public transportation in Union County. This meeting was canceled last week due to the snow storm and was rescheduled for tomorrow evening.

A short time later at 6:00 p.m., the Union City Council will hold a public hearing to hear comments on the needs assessment for the city. That matter is also slated to come up during the regular meeting at 6:30.

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BROAD RIVER TEAMS WITH TEACHERS FOR ENERGY EDUCATION PROGRAM

Monday, February 17

Area kindergarten through 8th-grade teachers will have the opportunity to learn how to enlighten students with energy-related lessons and activities at a free March 1st workshop hosted by Broad River Electric Cooperative in Gaffney.

Broad River Electric’s workshop is one of several being offered by the state’s independent, non-profit, consumer-owner co-ops as part of their enLIGHTenSC™ energy education program. That is a new initiative aimed at ensuring that understanding how electricity works and exploring our energy future becomes a consistent part of every young person’s school experience.

The enLIGHTenSC workshops will focus on training teachers to use ready-made energy lessons and activities that were selected to fit the state’s education standards for science, technology, engineering and math, so-called STEM courses.

“We are excited to offer this free training opportunity to teachers in our area,” said Doug Wilson, president and CEO of Broad Electric. “We’re proud of our history of supporting area schools, and delighted to see that expanding through the enLIGHTenSC program.”

Teachers who attend the workshop will receive lunch and six credit renewal points, which are required for state recertification.

To learn more or to sign up, go to www.enLIGHTenSC.org and look for the March 1 workshop in the Upcoming Events calendar.

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USC-UNION HOLDING AUDITIONS FOR PLAY TONIGHT

Monday, February 17

USC-Union is holding auditions this evening for the play "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder from 6-8pm in the Main Building Lounge. The cast ranges from large parts to small parts and extras. Also needed are volunteers for technical crew. The play is scheduled to be held on April 26th and 27th. High school students and older are welcome to audition. The Cast will be needed to be available on weeknights for practices. If you are interested in taking part in the production, please contact the director, Caroline Morgan, at mrscarolinecmorgan@gmail.com , or call (864) 529-7519 for any questions.