Saluda County Firefighter of the Year
Charles Long was named the 2016 Saluda County Firefighter of the Year at the annual dinner hosted by the Saluda Fire Department on January 16, 2017. Charles retired from the Saluda Fire Department on September 30, 2016 with 32 years and 8 months of service. He has taken many hours of training in all areas of the fire service during his years on the Saluda Fire Department. He is in charge of all cooking for the annual Lindsey Bradshaw/Autumn Winn Scholarship Barbeque Fundraiser and will continue to do so. Charles is pictured being presented the award by the State Farm-Kelly White Agency Team. Pictured from left to right are: John White, Kelly White, Charles Long, Mitzi Durst and Sherri Ward. Congratulations Charles and thanks to all volunteer firefighters for their time and service.
County Ranks High In Study
SmartAsset, a financial technology company, has released a study on the places with the highest per capita net wealth and Saluda County ranks among the top spots in South Carolina.
The study analyzes income, net worth, and debt in counties across the country to determine which locations had the highest per capita net wealth relative to debt.
In the table below you can see where Saluda County stacked up against other leaders in South Carolina:
You can find additional information on the study, including the methodology and interactive map here: https://smartasset.com/investing/online-brokerage-accounts#southcarolina
Methodology The study aims to find the places in the United States with the highest net worth. To do this SmartAssets calculated the ratio of net worth to per capita income for every county. This number can serve as insight into how much people have saved or invested relative to their income level.
The company also calculated the ratio of net worth to debt per capita for each county. This measure incorporates a view of a county’s debt burden relative to net worth.
Lastly, SmartAsset indexed each factor and calculated an overall index by taking a weighted average of each of these indices. The net worth to income index was given a weight of two and the net worth to debt index was given a weight of one.
Sources: US Census Bureau 2014 American Community Survey, ESRI, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Visit The Museum!
If you haven’t visited the Saluda County Museum in a while, make plans to drop by.
The Museum is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Currently, two exhibits are on display.
One is the “Then and Now” exhibit, showing items and pictures from the past to the current times. The other is an automotive exhibit, featuring vintage oil cans and tags.
Permanent displays include the African American exhibit, the diorama of the Alamo, and Indian artifacts.
Also, there are items for sale such as pictures, T-shirts, books and postcards.
Hope you will stop by and take a look!
Phil Perry (left) and his family as he is inducted into the Frank Lever County Extension Agent Hall of Fame. (Clemson University photo)
Perry Named To
Extension Hall of Fame
Saluda County’s Phil Perry and another former Saluda County Agent, J.M. Eleazer, were honored at Clemson recently along with three other South Carolinians who were recognized for lifetimes of service with their induction into the Frank Lever County Extension Agent Hall of Fame at Clemson University.
Perry and Eleazer join two more former Saluda County Agents, Bill Craven and Bill Riser in the Hall of Fame.
Spanning service from the Blue Ridge foothills to the coast, the five — Jesse Eargle, Eleazer, Perry, Marie Cromer Seigler and David Shelley — worked as agents of the Clemson Extension Service, delivering agricultural research and information to farmers, homeowners and agribusinesses.
The Hall of Fame honors the careers of “longtime, front-line county agents” whose work had an important economic impact on the communities they served. It bears the name of U.S. Rep. A. Frank Lever of South Carolina, co-author of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 that created the Extension Service nationally. With co-sponsor Sen. Hoke Smith of Georgia, Lever sought a national program that would extend research-based agricultural and food science knowledge from colleges and universities to the working people it would benefit.
Early in his career, Phil Perry dedicated himself to what he called the “5-P Agriculture” of Saluda County: ponds, pastures, peaches, poultry and pines. With that foundation, Perry’s efforts reached all production agriculture, helping ensure that annual cash receipts from the sale of Saluda County crops and livestock always ranked among the top in the state.
As the Clemson Extension agent for Saluda County from 1975 to 2013, Perry considered it his job to work with the professional food and fiber producers and help them produce an abundant and high quality yield of agricultural products, said Connie Lake, who nominated Perry for the honor.
“He managed cooperative marketing efforts for millions of dollars worth of beef and dairy cattle. The Performance Tested Heifer Sales and Preconditioned Steer Sales that Phil helped start are still active today,” Lake said. “Phil trained many dairy and livestock judging teams that won at the state and national level. He assisted thousands of 4-H members with their dairy, beef, swine, goat, sheep, poultry, horse and wildlife projects. Many of these young people are successful farmers today or are involved in agriculture in other capacities. Many hold agricultural leadership positions.”
Students from across South Carolina came to know Perry for his leadership in youth programs — none more than those with dairy cattle. He led the state 4-H dairy program and 4-H dairy camp, supervised the state 4-H Dairy Heifer Project, advised the State Junior Dairy Breed Associations, coordinated the Junior Dairy Show at the State Fair, guided the 4-H Dairy Judging Program and chaired the Clemson University Spring Dairy Show Committee.
Long before Clemson became a university, J.M. Eleazer was “the original change agent,” said Phil Perry, who nominated Eleazer to the Lever Hall of Fame. “He helped farm families prepare for and adjust to the many changes that were brought about during his working career,” Perry said.
Among those changes were electricity, for which Eleazer worked with the Rural Electric Administration to bring to South Carolina’s rural areas.
Beginning in 1917 as an emergency farm demonstration agent in Jasper County, Eleazer would continue as a county agent in Saluda and Sumter counties before moving to Clemson to carry out his work statewide.
For 44 years as a county agent and Extension information specialist, Eleazer was a spokesman, writer and promoter for Clemson College and South Carolina agriculture, Perry said.
“With pen and paper, two fingers and a typewriter and radio tapes that he pre-recorded and mailed, he got the word out to the people of South Carolina on improved farming methods,” Perry said. “In 1918 he started writing a farm column that continued for 65 years. He was a legendary county agent, agriculturist, speaker and author.”
Eleazer was recognized in 1957 by Progressive Farmer magazine as Man of the Year in South Carolina Agriculture and was awarded the Distinguished Agriculture Award in 1971 by the South Carolina Farmers Cooperative Council.
Eleazer published four books: “A Dutch Fork Farm Boy,” “50 Years Along The Roadside,” “Our Land is Our Life,” and “Conservation and Me.”
Man Dies In
A 39-year-old Columbia man died in a one vehicle accident in Saluda County Mon. night,. Jan. 16.
According to L/Cpl Tonny Keller of the S.C. Highway Patrol, the man was driving a 2013 Kenworth truck and traveling west on U.S. 178, about 4½ miles from Saluda, when the truck went off the side of the road, overturned and hit the guardrail on the left side of the road.
The driver was not wearing a seatbelt. He was transported to Lexington Medical Center, he died of his injuries.
The accident occurred at approximately 10:15 p.m.
Council Paves Way
For New Business
Saluda County Council approved a roofing project Mon., Jan. 10, that will pave the way for a new business to open in downtown Saluda.
In the first meeting of 2017, Council heard a report from Development Director Ed Parler on the proposed CAB Business Development Center, which will be located at 119 N. Main Street, the former location of Saluda Consignment Shop.
Saluda County will purchase the building, using development partnership funds, and will then lease the building to the town of Saluda, who will sublet it to CAB on a ten-year lease.
The county has received a $115,000 grant from the S.C. Department of Commerce to make repairs on the building. From those funds will come roof repair.
Because the company wants to be in the building by mid-March, Parler contacted area roofing companies to get bids. Parler recommended the county award the job to Aqua Seal Mfg. and Roofing of West Columbia for $43,750. This will replace the existing metal roof with elastometric coating, and will come with a 15-year warranty. Council approved Parler’s recommendation.
While Aqua Seal did not submit the lowest bid, the 15-year warranty was a big selling point, Parler said. The other companies who submitted bids had warranties of five and four years.
CAB has been in business since 1955, and operates a call center-type business. In the first year, the business will employ 29 and will eventually have a payroll of 63 people working in downtown Saluda.
Parler said announcements about employment will be made later.
At the beginning of the meeting, Council Chairman Don Hancock welcomed new Council members Jones Butler and D.J. Miller. Butler and Miller both said they were looking forward to serving the citizens of the council.
Councilwoman Gwen Shealy, who was elected vice-chairman, read a report on the ambulance service.
EMS Director Jacob Starnes, who was scheduled to give the report, got called out of the meeting, so Shealy read the totals.
The ambulance service answered 3873 calls in 2016, and the average response time was 10.57 minutes. This was an improvement from 16-18 minutes the previous year.
2932 calls were answered in eight minutes or less.
Shealy said the improved response time could have something to do with the substations at the Circle and in Ridge Spring.
The service has four new ambulances.
In the old business portion of the meeting, Council ratified a resolution recognizing retired Clerk of Court Doris Holmes for her 43-years of service to the county.
Sidney J. Evering presented some minor changes in the fee-in-lieu of tax agreement between the county and Saluda Solar, LLC. The changes include the name of the business and the number of the tax map. The changes were approved.
Hancock made the following appointments to committees:
ADMINISTRATION & FINANCE: Personnel, Purchasing, Collection & Receipt of County Funds, Bonds & Indebtedness, Property Assessment & Taxation - Don Hancock-Chm, Full Council
PUBLIC SAFETY: Law Enforcement, Emergency Management, Fire Departments, EMS, Risk Management, Animal Control - Gwen Shealy-Chm, Jones Butler
HEALTH & WELFARE: Mental Health, Behavioral Health System, Beckman Center DSS, Council on Aging, Health Department, GLEAMNS, Nursing Center - DJ Miller-Chm, Gwen Shealy
COUNTY PLANNING: Zoning, Building & Mobile Home Codes, Flood Control, Planning Commission, GIS, E911 - Don Hancock -Chm, DJ Miller
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Economic Development, Upper Savannah COG, County Airport - Don Hancock -Chm, DJ Miller
PUBLIC WORKS I: Solid Waste - Frank Daniel -Chm, Don Hancock
PUBLIC WORKS II: Roads & Bridges - Jones Butler-Chm, Frank Daniel
EDUCATION: Don Hancock-Chm, Full Council
JUSTICE: Solicitor, Family Court, County Attorneys, Magistrates, Tri-County Defender; Tri-County Youth Services - Gwen Shealy -Chm, Jones Butler
AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, MILITARY AFFAIRS: Clemson Extension, National Guard, American Legion, Farm Service Agency, Soil Conservation, VFW Jones Butler-Chm, Frank Daniel
COUNTY OWNED PROPERTY: Public Buildings, Capital Improvements, Land - Frank Daniel-Chm, Don Hancock QUALITY OF LIFE: Recreation, Library, Cultural Affairs, Improvement and Beautification - DJ Miller-Chm, Gwen Shealy
Since Jacob Schumpert’s term on Council ended Dec. 31, Council had to replace Schumpert on the Tri-County Solid Waste Authority Board of Directors, and Three Rivers Solid Waste Authority Board of Directors.
Councilman Frank Daniel was appointed to Tri-County, and Hancock to Three Rivers.
Andrew Shaw was appointed to the Building and Mobile Home Appeals Board, and George Todd was appointed to the Planning Commission.
Representative Ralph Shealy Kennedy presents framed House Resolution to retiring Clerk of Court Doris Holmes.
SC House Honors Retiring Saluda
Clerk of Court Doris Holmes
With Representative Ralph Shealy Kennedy as the primary sponsor, the SC House recognized and commended retiring Clerk of Court Doris B. Holmes through a Framed, Formal House Resolution, H.5125. The Resolution was introduced by Rep. Kennedy and joined unanimously by all members of the House. It states as follow: TO RECOGNIZE AND COMMEND THE HONORABLE DORIS B. HOLMES UPON THE OCCASION OF HER RETIREMENT AS CLERK OF COURT FOR SALUDA COUNTY AND TO WISH HER CONTINUED SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS IN ALL HER FUTURE ENDEAVORS. Whereas, the members of the South Carolina House of Representatives have learned that the Honorable Doris B. Holmes will begin a well-deserved retirement after many years of faithful and outstanding service to the citizens of the Palmetto State as Clerk of Court for Saluda County; and Whereas, former Clerk of Court Edith C. Padget, cousin of Representative Ralph Kennedy, hired Doris Holmes in 1974 and encouraged her to run for the office of clerk of court at the time of the latter’s retirement in 1988. Doris Holmes ran unopposed and took office in January 1989; and Whereas, when she retires at the end of the current term, Mrs. Holmes will have served forty-two years in the Saluda County Clerk of Court’s Office, the past twenty-eight as clerk of court; and Whereas, Doris Holmes has always found strength for her duties in the firm support of her family: her husband, Elwyn; their sons, Kirk and William; and their daughter, Amelia, who have been her most faithful encouragers; and Whereas, the South Carolina House of Representatives is grateful for the legacy of leadership Doris B. Holmes has bestowed on this great State and appreciates the exemplary service she has given to the citizens of South Carolina. The members take great pleasure in wishing her well as she enters retirement and trusts she will find much enjoyment in the more leisurely pace of the days ahead. Now, therefore,
Be it resolved by the House of Representatives:
That the members of the South Carolina House of Representatives, by this resolution, recognize and commend the Honorable Doris B. Holmes upon the occasion of her retirement as Clerk of Court for Saluda County and wish her continued success and happiness in all her future endeavors.
Former Rep. Kennedy stated, “Doris Holmes has successfully led our Clerk of Court’s Office here in Saluda County for many decades. She was instrumental in modernizing and bringing the Clerk’s records into the 21st Century. I want to thank Doris for her many years of unselfish and hard work to the betterment of all citizens of Saluda County.”
Year In Review
Like the rest of the country, politics highlighted the 2016 news in Saluda County.
The races for sheriff and coroner dominated the news from March to November, but the incumbents, Sheriff John Perry and Coroner Keith Turner still came out winners.
Nor so fortunate were two incumbent County Council members, Jacob Schumpert and William Pugh were defeated Jones Butler and D.J. Miller, respectively. Schumpert and Pugh both had 12 years experience on Council.
Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton both won their presidential primaries in the county. In November, General Election, Trump was the big winner.
The biggest crime story was the murder of Nancy Caughman Lott. Ms. Lott was reported missing, then her body was discovered a few weeks later in a Ridge Spring recycling dumpster. A murder suspect was arrested in December.
The top sports news belonged to the football teams of Saluda and King Academy.
For the second year in a row, Saluda made it to the 2A Upper State Championship game, and for the second year in a row, the Tigers fell to eventual state champion Abbeville.
King Academy made it to the State Championship game in the 8-man division, and fell to Andrew Jackson.
Following are some highlights. The complete “Year in Review” can be found in the print edition:
Robert and Ann Bowles donated the old Henry’s Cleaners and adjacent car wash property to the Town of Saluda.
ConsumerAffairs.com analyzed FBI and Census Bureau data to create an interactive map displaying the safest cities in the United States, and Saluda was ranked number 7 in SC for lowest crime rate!
The Saluda County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from Town of Saluda Police Department, Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, and South Carolina Highway Patrol, charged Stephen Smith, 35 of Batesburg, with multiple charges after he led police and deputies on a 35 mile pursuit.
Like the majority of counties in South Carolina, Saluda County saw its Republican Presidential Primary ballot led by Donald Trump. Trump received 1248 of the 3431 ballots cast, or 36.4 percent. Ted Cruz was second in the county with 797 votes (23.2%), and Marco Rubio third, 553 (16.1%). Rounding out the balloting were Jeb Bush, 382 (11.1%); Ben Carson, 295 (8.6%) and John Kasich, 156 (4.5%).
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed a decisive victory in Saluda County over Bernie Sanders in the S.C. Democratic Presidential Primary. Clinton received 1023 votes (83.73 percent) to Bernie Sanders’ 192 (15.71 percent). Statewide Clinton got 73.47 percent of the vote to Sanders’ 25.97.
After more than 45 years, Robert Bowles announced he would end his tenure as Administrator for Saluda Nursing & Rehab Center on June 30, 2016. Keith Paul of Seneca, was hired as the new administrator with his first day of work as March 15. With approximately 30 years of experience in long-term care, he brings experience from many perspectives and disciplines. He has been a licensed nursing home administrator since 1989.
On Monday, April 11 at approximately 4:30 PM three suspects entered The Top of the Ridge store on Main Street in Ridge Spring, and attempted to rob the store. During the altercation, an employee of the store was shot in the upper thigh. The victim was treated and released with non-life threatening injuries. Chief Mike Raffield, who was in close proximity, was able to apprehend one of the suspects. The suspect taken into custody by Chief Raffield, was identified as Marcus Clifford Cunningham, 22, of 336 West Crestwood in Greenwood.
At approximately 4PM on May 13th, deputies from the Saluda County Sheriff’s Office and the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department were attempting to serve an arrest warrant on a suspect on Old Lexington Road in Lexington County. The suspect attempted to flee, driving straight at officers. As the suspect attempted to escape, he struck a Saluda County vehicle driven by a Saluda deputy. At that point, deputies fired at the suspect, striking the suspect. One Saluda deputy and the suspect were treated at a local hospital.
Tues., June 14, was a bad Republican Primary day in Saluda County if you were an incumbent or former elected official.
House District 39 Representative Ralph Shealy Kennedy Jr. was defeated by political newcomer Cal Forrest, and 4th District County Councilman Jacob Schumpert lost to another political novice Jones Butler.
Former Sheriff Jason Booth’s attempt to regain his old position was thwarted by Saluda Police Captain Robin Freeman.
On July 10th the Saluda Police Department was notified by a citizen of a possible credit card skimmer located on the ATM at the First Citizens Bank at on Main St., Saluda. Officers arrived and confirmed the device to be a skimmer and also located a camera attached to the ATM. Thanks to the observant citizen, officers were able to conduct surveillance on the bank and detain three suspects when they returned to retrieve the skimmer and camera. The case was turned over to SLED.
On Friday, August 12 , the Saluda County Sheriff’s Office was called by the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office in reference to an unidentified body in their county. Upon arrival in Edgefield County, it was explained to the officers that the Tri-county trash truck that had the unidentified body in it had picked up trash from a location in Saluda County. The Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office, Saluda County Sheriff’s Office, and Aiken County Sheriff’s Office all have missing persons from their jurisdiction assisted in this investigation.
On Friday September 2, 2016, the Saluda County Sheriff’s Office and Saluda County Coroner’s Office were notified by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) that the unidentified body found in Edgefield County was Saluda County’s missing person Nancy Caughman Lott. Mrs. Lott was reported missing and was last seen on June 17, 2016 in the Ridge Spring area of Saluda County.
Saluda County School District One aHall of Fame Class of 2016 was inductedfon Oct. 14. The inductees were: Molly Spearman ; William “Bill” Whitfield; Gloria Caldwell; Diedra “Didi” Clark Rankin ; Jonell Bosket; Tommy Hite.
Despite a high Republican vote in most races, two incumbent Saluda County Democrats won re-election Tues., Nov. 8, in the General Election.
Sheriff John Perry was elected to his second term, earning 5147 votes to Republican Robin Freeman’s 3307. Coroner Keith Turner, in office since 1993, defeated Republican challenger Randall Maffett 4620 to 3822.
William Pugh became the second Saluda County Council member to be defeated this year. Republican political newcomer D.J.Miller took a narrow win the County Council District 2 race, 812-379. Jones Butler defeated Jacob Schumpert in the June Republican Primary for District 4.
After six month long murder investigation, Saluda County investigators along with SLED have made an arrest in the murder of a Saluda County woman. Back in June of this year it was reported that Nancy Caughman Lott was missing. It was not until two months later that her remains were recovered in the Edgefield County landfill. Investigators along with deputies have worked tirelessly trying to get some sort of solid lead into the case. Friday, December 16, 2016, a warrant was issued and served on Kincaid Bobby Mitchell, age 46, of Ridge Spring. He is charged with the murder of Ms. Lott and in connection with her disappearance.