GREER NEWS From December 2011


Downtown Homeland Security building opens in January
DEC 26, 2011

The Homeland Security office on Pennsylvania is scheduled to open in early January.

Staff at the new Homeland Security building on Pennsylvania Avenue are transferring its contents in the new the next two weeks.  The building that will service United States Citizenship and Immigration Services between Greenville and Spartanburg is scheduled to open in mid-January.

The federally funded building is the most contemporary designed building since the City Hall and Municipal Building complexes. The offices at 142 West Phillips Road, off of I-85 and Pelham Road, have become outdated and too small.

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BMW in Greer moving forward solar energy
DEC 22, 2011

BMW in Greer moving forward solar energy

Solar panels are being installed at Greer’s BMW Manufacturing Co. that will power the Zentrum and two electric charging stations, GreerToday.com has learned.

A BMW official would not comment on the activities that are ongoing at the facility, costs, savings or timetable for completion and implementation. “The company is not prepared to comment at this time,” the official said. BMW Manufacturing Co. closes for the holiday season Friday through Jan. 2. The manufacturer is expected to release its plans for solar energy at that time.

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CPW approves water, electricity rate increases
DEC 22, 2011

Commissioners of Greer Commission of Public Works, on a split vote, approved 2012 rate increases of 5 percent for water and 4 percent for electricity today. A 2 percent bonus for all employees was also approved.

The 2012 rate increases take effect Jan. 1.  Sewer and gas rates are not affected.
The one-time bonus for 130 employees is about $166,000 and will be distributed by March 31.

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Record breaking $327 million verdict upheld in Spartanburg
DEC 22, 2011

The jury verdict in the case of State of South Carolina versus Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson, Inc. has been upheld and requests for a new trial denied, affirming groundbreaking $327 million in civil penalties against the manufacturers of the drug Risperdal. 

Circuit Court Judge Roger Couch announced the rulings Tuesday in Spartanburg through two written orders. One order denies the defendant's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, in the alternative, for a new trial; the second order denies the defendant's motion to alter or amend the judgment and/or for a new trial. 

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Trash services unaffected by holidays; emergency services remain 24/7
DEC 17, 2011

Trash collections in the city will not be affected by this year’s Christmas and New Year’s holiday schedule.  Emergency services will be staffed 24 hours a day throughout the 
City offices will close Friday (Dec. 23) and Monday (Dec. 26) for Christmas and will close Monday. Jan 2 for New Year’s.

“Christmas week, in particular, produces a lot of trash because of wrapping paper and boxes.  We urge residents to recycle as much of that material as possible and know that trucks will be in their neighborhoods on a regular schedule,” Skipper Burns, director of public services, said.

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City Council approves redistricting
DEC 13, 2011

Greer City Council approved the redistricting ordinance tonight setting in motion the procedure for the Justice Department to approve the plan.

Council approved Map 2, 6-0, as the new district plan. Councilman Lee Dumas was absent. Map 2 was selected because it met redistricting guidelines and the districts remained similar by roads.

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Veach didn't pass on a second chance to join police department
DEC 13, 2011

Brenda Veach

Night crime has a different persona. “There’s a completely different nature of people in the day than there is at night,” Corporal Brenda Veach of the Greer Police Department, said.

“Even though there are DUIs (Driving Under the Influence) in the day there are more at night,” Veach said. “Alcohol makes people more active at night and all of us have to be more observant at night.”

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Watching crime shows with her grandpa led Blackwell into law enforcement
DEC 13, 2011

Watching crime shows with her grandpa led Blackwell into law enforcement

Kara Blackwell remembered when her grandfather watched crime shows, and much to the chagrin of her mother, he let her sit with him. Those days, Blackwell said, is what got her interested in law enforcement.

“I knew very young what I wanted to do,” Blackwell said. “I want to be out with the people, I want a challenge and I’m a risk taker,” Blackwell said.

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Off the Record finds new home
DEC 10, 2011

Leland Burch will continue his columns on GreerToday.com.

(I want to express my appreciation to Jim Fair and GreerToday.com for publishing this Off the Record column, which was to be my final column in The Greer Citizen, explaining my exit. The owners of the newspaper refused to publish it, however, so my thousands(?) of readers have been left to wonder what happened. – Leland Burch)

Dear John

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GreerToday.com welcomes Leland Burch
DEC 10, 2011

Leland Burch

Leland Burch has joined GreerToday.com, the community’s first free daily online newspaper serving the greater Greer area, as a contributor. 

Burch’s award winning “Off The Record”, column of which he is the licensed owner, will now be published under the GreerToday.com banner. His farewell column, which put closure on his family’s 70-year ownership of The Greer Citizen, what was formerly the bible for Greer community news, was rejected for publication. However, the final “Off The Record” for print editions can be found here.

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CPW proposed 5 percent rate hike has commissioners split
DEC 7, 2011

There’s some tussling over the Greer Commission of Public Works 2012 budget that recommends a 5 percent increase in power and water rates to keep pace with prices it is paying for its utilities. Commissioners and CPW officials held its second workshop on Monday and adjourned with both sides agreeing to further study the financial report.

CPW General Manager Nick Stegall, after paring $1.2 million that included a 2.5 percent merit raise, told commissioners, “We’ve got about as low as we can go. We’ve had two years with no rate increase and the only other thing we can do is cut salaries and lay off people.” Stegall said expenses have been trimmed from $80 million to $74 million over the past three years.

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Wanted: Public?s help with Cops for Tots program
DEC 6, 2011

The Greer Police Department isn’t a public service that frequently asks for help from the citizens it protects. But with less than two weeks before the annual Cops for Tots distribution of toys, they can use some help.

“At this time of the year we’re a little more behind than we usually are,” Lt. Jim Holcombe said. 

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