Category: Local Government

County Council helps make walking to Sanders Middle School safer

Laurens County Council received thanks Tuesday for supporting an effort to make walking to Sanders Middle School safer.

Members of Bridging the Gap’s Hype Team said they appreciate the support of council, and Councilman Stewart Jones, in having warning lights installed on West Farley Avenue in Laurens.

They previously told council that walking from Washington Heights subdivision and the Bridging the Gap headquarters, across the busy street and to the school was dangerous. The Hype Team joined with a nationwide safe-walking-to-school initiative to bring the matter to the attention of people who could fix it.

The SC Department of Transportation installed the warning lights on one of Laurens’ busiest streets.

“They wanted to express their appreciation to the council in their own words,” said Calvin Whitmire, founder of Bridging the Gap Advocacy.

The young people made their presentation at Tuesday’s regular council meeting, which featured a brief agenda and then a budget discussion among the council members. The county budget will go for 3rd and final reading, and a public hearing on June 27. It is expected to be balanced, close to last fiscal year’s figures, without a property tax increase. The new budget must be in place by July 1.

In other action, council approved Resolutions of Recognition for Clinton High School. Principal Maureen Tiller accepted the resolutions recognizing CHS as a Bronze Medalist for U.S. News & World Report’s top high schools in the U.S., and recognizing the Science Olympiad teams of Clinton High and Middle Schools as South Carolina Champions.

Jones made the resolutions presentation to Tiller, who thanked the council on behalf of Clinton High School and District 56.

Council approved 3rd and final reading of a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes resolution for Birdseye Energy (Project Angus), an $80 million solar farm to be built between Clinton and Joanna. Ground-breaking is expected in 2018.

Company officials met this week with Laurens County officials about buildings codes, the council was told.

Council also congratulated the Laurens County Emergency Medical Service.

EMS is one of 13 SC services receiving Silver Status in the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline awards program. The service receives the award for “implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks,” a news release said.

Originally appeared in

Laurens County Republican Party honors County Councilman Stewart Jones

The Laurens County Republican Party presented Laurens County Councilman Stewart Jones with a “Local Government Official” award at their Bronze Elephant Dinner on Monday night at the Laurens County Higher Education Center.

The award is for “outstanding service to Laurens County, steadfast dedication to the Constitution, and for upholding the general principles of freedom.”

Jones, right, is pictured with Laurens County GOP Chair Keith Tripp.

Originally appears in

Jones Tops Coleman for County Council District 4 Seat

After more than 20 years of service to Laurens County, former County Council chairman Jim Coleman is being replaced by newcomer Stewart Jones as the new County Council Representative for Laurens County District Four.

“I’m honored to have served the people of Laurens County,” Coleman said. “We’ve made a lot of progress.”

Coleman went on to say that there are still a lot of good people on the County Council and he hopes that they can keep the trend of progress moving forward.

“The team’s still in place [so] we’ll be ok,” Coleman said.

Coleman conceded to Jones around 8:30pm on Tuesday night, with eight precincts still yet to report in their numbers.

“I’ve given my life to it [County Council] for 20 years,” Coleman said. “Now it’s time for somebody else to take over the reins.”

Jones was ahead the whole night, taking the lead from the first precinct report.

This will be Jones’ first government official position at any level, though he has been involved with politics for years, most recently with the Laurens County Tea Party.

As Councilman, Jones says that he plans to increase government transparency and fiscal responsibility.

“The people of Laurens County District 4 are my first concern,” Jones said. “It is important for the citizens of Laurens County to be aware of the workings of our local government that ultimately affect them.”

Jones beat out Coleman for District Four Representative, 1,555 votes to 1,100. Click here to see votes by precinct.

Originally appeared in

Jones Challenging Coleman for County Council District 4

The filing period for political office submissions in Laurens County ended on Sunday as County Council Districts 1,4, and 5 are open for election this year, as well as S.C. House seats in District 14 and District 42.

The offices of Laurens County Probate Judge, Treasurer, and Auditor are also open and will be unopposed.

Incumbent Councilmen Ted Nash and P. Keith Tollison, both Republican, have filed to run unopposed for Districts 1 and 5, respectively, while the District 4 seat will see a challenger to incumbent Democrat and chairman of the council, James Coleman, in Laurens Tea Party member, Stewart Jones.

Jones, who filed on March 27, 2014 at 11:01 a.m., is a member of the Lakelands Republican Liberty Caucus and contributed $206 to the Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign according to

Incumbent Rep. Mike Pitts is running unopposed for S.C. House District 14. 

Former Mayor of Clinton and S.C. House District 15 representative David Tribble submitted to run for the District 42 seat, which represents portions of Union County and Laurens County.

The current representative, Rep. Mike Anthony, intends to run for the State Superintendent of Education office this year.

Tribble will face a primary election in June, running against Republican Mark Cathcart, a Union County native and Clemson graduate who is making his first run for public office.

Judge Kaye W Fridy, a Democrat, filed for another term as Probate Judge. She has served as Probate Judge for Laurens County since June 28, 1993.

Sally Lancaster, a Democrat, filed for another term as County Auditor. She has held the position since 1993.

County Treasurer, Democrat Cynthia M Burke, filed to serve another term as well. Burke has served as County Treasurer since 1996.

Originally appeared in