Published 10:14 pm Sunday, January 5, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Year in Review – November

Landrum teacher wins Literacy Teacher of the Year
Kellie Smith, Media Specialist for Landrum High School (LHS), was voted Spartanburg One Distinguished Literacy Teacher of the Year.


Smith was chosen out of five teachers in the district that were nominated by their colleagues for being a light of motivation to get kids to read. Each teacher nominated is also a huge encourager of understanding and inspires a love for reading within their students. 


Smith will take part in the Spartanburg County Distinguished Literacy Teacher finals and will represent District One. 


Who turned out the lights?

A power outage in Sunny View caused the school to be closed.


High winds during the night knocked out power to the Sunny View community on the Lake Lure side of town. Trees fell on power lines and caused the outage. Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene said Sunny View School has two buildings on Duke Energy and two buildings on REA Electric. He said the cafeteria and several classrooms did not have power, so the school system had to close the school for the day. He also said many of the students also did not have power at home either. 


Information Leaked
Spartanburg District One schools confirmed personal information of district employees being released to the public.


Chief executive communications director for Spartanburg District One, Sandra Williams, sent out a press release that personal information of three district employees had leaked and posted onto social media.


The press release read:


“The district can confirm that personally identifiable information for two Spartanburg One employees and a former contract employee were unfortunately shared with the public. A member of the community on an online social media platform then shared this information. Law enforcement was notified, and reports were led. Spartanburg One places the safety and security of its students and staff above all else and is deeply concerned about the actions, which led to this unfortunate violation of privacy. The district is in the process of purchasing identity theft protection for these employees and is working with law enforcement in this matter. The district would like to reassure all of its employees that the protection of their personal and private information is of the highest priority.” 


Columbus election a close fight
The Town of Columbus had the biggest race this year with six people vying for three open council seats.


The race was close, with the margin being only 24 votes between the high vote getter and the bottom vote getter. Newcomer Brent Jackson was the high vote getter this year with 92 total votes and the highest margin. Also winning seats were incumbents Mark Phillips with 76 votes and Richard Hall with 71 votes, according to unofficial results from the Polk County Board of Elections Tuesday night. Newcomer Steve E. Christopher lost by two votes with 69 votes and incumbent Margaret Metcalf lost with 68 votes. Newcomer Ernie Kan came in last with 62 votes, according to unofficial results. 


High turnout for voters
City of Saluda voters turned out the highest in Polk County during the municipal election, according to figures from the Polk County Board of Election.


Saluda has 497 registered voters in Polk County. Of those, 161 people voted for a 32.4 percent turnout, according to the Polk County Board of Elections Director Cliff Marr. Saluda also had registered voters and votes from Henderson County, which were not included in Polk County’s figures.


Columbus had the second highest turnout on Tuesday at 24.9 percent. Columbus has 680 registered voters and 169 people turned out for the election. 


New Hospice Home
Agape Hospice purchased the Foothills Hospice House, also known as Smith Phayer House, located on Fairwinds Drive in August 2019.


Agape Hospice is currently the largest hospice organization in South Carolina and serves over 800 hundred patients throughout the state. They have four inpatient hospice houses, as well. During the event, there was a welcome from Agape Hospice CEO, Deedee Henderson. Henderson emphasized how grateful they as a company were to be placing roots in Landrum.


Henderson told the audience, “This night is about community, and we at Agape Hospice are so happy to be a part of such a great community in Landrum, South Carolina.” 


No means no
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed new legislation into law that reforms sexual assault laws. Cooper told a group gathered in Greensboro that “Finally, in North Carolina, no means no.” The bill includes provisions to allow prosecutors to charge and convict people of sexual assault who continue to have sex with a person after being told to stop. The bill also includes provisions that it is now considered a crime to have sex with a person who is incapacitated from drugs or alcohol and makes it illegal to drug a person’s drink. 


Horse attack
Horse attacks in the area continue as a fourth horse was stabbed this week in Campobello.


The Spartanburg County Animal Control confirmed Thursday that another horse was possibly cut and had to be euthanized. The Spartanburg County Environmental Enforcement sent a press release one morning saying an injured horse was reported around during the evening on Patterson Road in Campobello. The horse had one cut on its lower leg and a puncture wound under its midsection. A veterinarian said the horse suffered the injuries 24 to 48 hours prior to being examined. 


Polk ranks in upper third for DSS custody
While not one of the highest in the state, Polk County had 47 children in department of social service custody when the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners conducted its 2019 Map Book.


Polk County ranked as the 64th highest in the state for children in state custody. Cumberland County ranked the highest with 787 children in state.


All nearby counties ranked worse than Polk, including Henderson, Rutherford and Transylvania counties. Henderson County ranked 26th highest in the state with 134 children in state custody and Rutherford County ranked 27th highest in the state with 130 children in state custody. Transylvania ranked 60th highest in the state with 50 children in state custody.


The lowest in the state was Gates County with zero children.


Horse attacks bring counties together
Local counties’ law enforcement members came together to answer any questions that community members may have about the ongoing horse attack investigation.


There were three counties represented at the watch group, Spartanburg County, Greenville County and Polk County. Each speaker made a point to share that the counties are working together to find the attacker.


Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright was in attendance representing Spartanburg County. Sheriff Wright shared that as of now they do not have an idea of whom or what may be responsible for the horse attacks.


Audience members questioned the officers, with one audience member asking if an animal could be the cause. That was when Spartanburg County sheriff office members shared that early one morning there was a confirmed horse attack and that trail cameras captured footage showing that a wild boar had caused significant damage to the horse.


Spartanburg County environmental enforcement director Jamie Nelson commented saying that the cuts on the horse attacked by the boar did look very similar to those of the horses attacked previously. This seemed to bring shock to everyone in attendance. 


New position in Polk
Polk County will hire a person soon to focus entirely on substance abuse prevention.


The Polk County Board of Commissioners met last week and accepted a $125,000 per year grant from Drug Free Communities. The grant will be for five years at $125,000 a year for a temporary employee as well as implementing programs. The grant will focus entirely on substance abuse prevention using proven evidence-based strategies and practices. The new employee may create a youth council to allow youth to advocate for policy changes in their communities, youth to youth mentoring opportunities, training for youth and adults in substance use prevention and more. 


In memoriam of:

Irma Jean Anderson

Annie Arledge

  1. David Ausum

Mitchell “Paco” Francsico Bolling

Richard Jay Camp

Richard “Dick” M. Cofer

Sanndra J. Connor

Lynn Thomson Floerchinger

Carol Louise Fitzpatrick

Billy H. Gilbert

Ronald Vance “Ronnie” Greene

Jacqueline Anne Hall

Ruth Hannon Hamilton

Jean Patricia Husband

Nancy Leigh Marburg

Robbin Black Martin

Andrew Perewiznyk

Evelyn Frances Davenport Petty

Susan “Anne: Ross Riggins

Harry Jan Sams

Jeannette L. Schmeichel

Mark Gregory Schweizer

Shauna Thomas

Mary Clifford Johnson Whitehurst

Terrence H. Wise (Terry)