The Year in Review – September

Published 2:42 pm Monday, January 4, 2021

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Over the next several issues, we will publish our annual look back at some of the top stories,

newsmakers and images that shaped the year. The following are several of the top stories

published in the Bulletin in September.

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Crash kills Campobello man

CAMPOBELLO—A Campobello man was killed Sunday morning in a head-on crash.

Othel Wayne Pruitt, 73, died at the scene, according to the Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office.

Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said on Sunday that his office and the South Carolina Highway Patrol was called to 8026 Highway 11 at approximately 8:30 a.m. in reference to a 2-vehicle collision that resulted in one fatality.


Shaping up

TRYON—A project to restore the open-air gymnasium at Harmon Field is coming to fruition with two new goals recently installed and a mural beginning.

New floors were installed this summer.

Harmon Field Superintendent Travis Aldred and staff recently installed new goals on each end of the courts with people already playing basketball at the new gym.

Muralist Dustin Spagnola, out of Asheville, is painting a mural on the back wall and began this week. He expects the mural depicting Tryon will take two weeks to complete.


The new face of TDDA

Tryon welcomes Paige Henderson as the new executive director of Tryon Downtown Development Association (TDDA).
Henderson, 25, is a graduate of the University of Alabama where she earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations and political science. More recently, she is a graduate of Appalachian State University where she earned her Master’s in public administration with a concentration in non-profit management.


North Carolina moves to Phase 2.5

POLK COUNTY—North Carolina Roy Cooper announced on Tuesday that the state will move to Phase 2.5 of re-opening this week.

The Safer at Home Phase 2.5 will mean that beginning this Friday at 5 p.m.

The Phase 2.5 restrictions will mean that mass gathering limits will increase to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. The current restrictions were 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

The new restrictions also will mean that playgrounds can open; museums and aquariums can open at 50 percent capacity and gyms and indoor exercise facilities can open at 30 percent capacity.


Rise in absentee ballots

COLUMBUS—Polk County sent out its first absentee ballot requests on Friday with more requests already than any other year.

Polk County Board of Elections Director Cliff Marr said this week that his office has already had more than 1,800 valid requests for absentee ballots. His office has already sent ballots to most of the county’s military and overseas residents who requested ballots and was scheduled to send the other requests on Sept. 4.

Marr said normally for a presidential election the county would have about 100 requests to send out on the first mailing. The county normally sends out a total of 500 absentee ballots for the entire election.

So far, there have been 815 registered democrats who have requested absentee ballots; 305 republicans and 739 unaffiliated voters, according to Marr.


Dallara grand opening (picture in folder)

TRYON—The Town of Tryon, Harmon Field Board of Supervisors and Harry Dallara Foundation officially opened the new Harry Dallara Baseball Field in Tryon on Saturday.

Officials spoke and unveiled the Harry Dallara statue and a plaque of the Tryon All-Stars.

People in attendance were treated to a free lunch as well as a baseball game from area youth.

The game included first pitches thrown out by Keenysia Young, who is a great niece of Jimmy Young, one of the Tryon All-Stars players from Tryon’s semi-pro baseball team in the 1940s.


Do Not Lose Hope

COLUMBUS—People are invited to view the Walk/Remembrance located at Stearns Park this month in honor of Suicide Prevention Month.

Suicide Prevention Day is Sept. 10 and the community has joined together to do the 6th annual walk this year online. Normally, the walk is held in September and draws 300-500 people at Harmon Field.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions this year, the walk is being done virtually through a Facebook page, Do Not Lose Hope, as well as a banner and sunflowers placed in downtown Columbus.

There are 127 people honored who lost their battles and people are encouraged to walk 132 steps per day to honor the 132 people who lose their battles with mental illness every day.


Protecting the history

TRYON—The Nina Simone childhood home in Tryon will be permanently protected by a preservation easement forever.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action fund, in partnership with World Monuments Fund and Preservation North Carolina secured the protection of the home. The preservation easement is held by Preservation North Carolina.

The easement means that the present and all future property owners of the home agree to permanently protect the historic building’s authentic character. The easement will not impede rehabilitation of the home but will ensure its historic character is maintained forever as well as prevent future demolition of the structure.


Approaching 300

POLK COUNTY—Polk County is up to 296 cases of Covid-19 as of Friday.

The county added another 18 cases this week, up from 278 cases last Friday, according to Polk County health officials.

The county also added another death this week, with a total of 8 deaths, up from 7 last Friday.

Polk County has completed a total of 5,229 tests, with 296 positive and 4,825 negative. The county presumes that of the positive cases, 255 have recovered, including 8 deaths there are 33 current active cases in the county.


Church break-in

MILL SPRING—The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Liberty man last week after catching him attempting to break into Silver Creek Baptist Church in Mill Spring.

Frankie Lee York, 53, of Liberty, was arrested and charged with attempted felony breaking and entering, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to sheriff reports.

The arrest occurred on Thursday, Sept. 10 when deputies received a call regarding a suspicious person near the Silver Creek Campground, off Silver Creek Road in Mill Spring.


Chase leads to arrest

GREEN CREEK—A man from Easley, S.C. led Polk County deputies on a short chase in Green Creek last week before crashing into a house and motor home. 

Timothy Mark Ritch, 38, of Easley, S.C.  was arrested and charged with trafficking in methamphetamine by both possession and transportation; possession with intent to sell and deliver methamphetamine and maintaining a vehicle for the purpose of controlled substance use, according to sheriff’s office reports 

The arrest occurred on Sept. 9 after Polk deputies received a complaint of a suspicious vehicle in the area of Claude Gilbert Road. 

When deputies arrived, they found the vehicle parked in a driveway and upon running the tag discovered that the vehicle was reported stolen out of Spartanburg County, according to sheriff reports. 


New substation in Pea Ridge

PEA RIDGE—A new substation for the Green Creek Fire and Rescue Department will be built on East Pea Ridge Road and some area residents expressed concern over its location this week. 

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday night and heard from Pea Ridge residents Jennie Smith and Michelle Fox-Lynch. 


In Memoriam

Marion Eugene Champion

Rewa Marjorie Donley

Martha Gilbert Foster

Miss Rebeca

Peggy (Margaret) Jaski

Nat Peter Ozmon Jr

William Lee Plowucha

Lenora Christine Spencer

Jerry Tillotson

Alice Wyatt Weaver