Fire at Ekom Volunteer Fire Department

Ekom Volunteer Fire Department is on fire.

The building is fully involved with ALL apparatus still inside.  We’re working on the story for WLBG News now.

Avoid the area of Neely Ferry Road between Ekom Road and Indian Mound Road in Laurens County.

WLBG is working on this story and will have details as soon as possible.  For now, this is an active, working fire.  Please stay out of the area for the next several hours.


UPDATE:  1330 hours

A call for assistance went out Thursday afternoon and at least a half dozen fire departments in Laurens County have responded.


The fire, this time, was a place near and dear to the heart of any firefighter – a fire station.  Ekom Volunteer Fire Department caught fire Thursday afternoon reportedly with all firefighting apparatus still inside the fully involved building.  Reports from the scene indicate that the building and most of the equipment have been lost.


Neely Ferry Road is closed between Ekom Road and Indian Mound Road.  Please avoid the area as firefighters are still working to bring this fire under control.  Stay tuned to REAL Radio 860 WLBG and for further information.


ALL District 56 School on LOCKDOWN

Lockdown One.


That was the status of all schools in Laurens County School District 56 today after district officials received what they termed a “threatening written communication” earlier today.

Lockdown One means that exterior doors are closed and locked but inside the school, students, teachers and faculty are free to conduct normal operations.  As schools are being dismissed parents are required to sign out each student.


District 56 officials tell WLBG that a written communication of a threatening nature was received and was immediately turned over to officials with the Clinton Department of Public Safety.  We are told that both Clinton City officers and SLED officials are now involved in the investigation.


While the threat was deemed serious enough to prompt a lock down and involvement of local and state law enforcement officials, district representatives tell WLBG that with the safeguards immediately instituted today they do not believe that any students are in imminent danger.


Please stay tuned to WLBG and for more details on this developing story.

Top 10 Best (or worst) Clemson/USC Jokes

#10     How do you get a USC graduate off your front porch? 

            Pay him for the pizza.


#9       Why did IPTAY offer to pay for a complete renovation of the football facilities at Woodmont High School?

It’s the closest football field to Perry Correctional Institute.  They can use it for practice.


#8       Did you hear that Coach Spurrier is only dressing 12 players for tomorrow’s big game?

            The rest can usually get dressed by themselves.


#7       Tragedy near Clemson.

A truckload of Clemson fans ran off of the road into Lake Hartwell last night. The two fans in the cab managed to roll the windows down and swim to safety. The ones in the bed of the truck drowned because they couldn’t get the tailgate down.


#6       What will you never  hear a Clemson fan say?

            We have reviewed your application……


#5       A Carolina fan got a job at a sawmill.  Just below lunch on his first day, he lost a finger.  His foreman wanted to know how that happened?

He said…….I dunno.  I just touched this big spinning thing like this and…..damn, there goes another one.


#4       Why do Clemson fans like smart women?

            Opposites attract.


#3       If you see a Carolina player riding a bicycle why should you swerve to avoid him?

            It might be your bicycle.


#2       Yesterday they found a skeleton on the Clemson campus.

            It was the 1967 Hide and Seek Champion.


#1       Hear about the Gamecock fan who was sentimental about his license plate?

His dad made it in prison.




 That’s the only thing I can think of. There’s no other explanation.

 There’s no other explanation I can think of really. Either that or Superman does exist……and he has a brother…..a brother of another color.

 On 18 August the Flight of the Dove was held in Laurens County. They call it a bicycling event or a bicycle ride but if you ask the participants you get to the truth……’s a race. Walk around and talk to the competitors….uh participants….and that becomes clear. These folks are serious.

 And the distances involved are a bit overwhelming. Pick your poison……..thirty miles or sixty……on bicycles. Okay.

 This year Billy Pitts contacted me in the early Spring. He asked me to be involved in a special part of the Flight of the Dove. An orgainization called ‘Ride 2 Recovery’ wanted to participate. Ride 2 Recovery brings wounded soldiers to these bicycle races……….uh, sorry………events as a part of their therapy. Billy asked me if I could help with that part of Flight of the Dove.

 I, along with several others…..SSG Scot and Mrs Patti Canupp, Teresa Mahaffey plus Greg Alexander and Amanda Munion from the Chamber, set about finding a way to provide lodging and food for these soldiers while they were in Laurens County.

 The Hampton Inn and Suites gave us a sweetheart deal. VFW Post 3354 in Laurens stepped up to say they’d be happy to host a cook out. One local Patriot called me and volunteered to feed them all at Hickory Hills on the evening after the race. Without that kind of help I doubt we would have made it. Still, it was gonna take money. We set about attempting to raise the funds necessary.

 Now, all of the bills haven’t come in yet but……..I believe we made it. We at least came close. My thanks to everyone who helped out.

 On the morning of the race we watched our troops pull out. Among them was Specialist Payton. SPC Payton rode a 3 wheel cycle that he pedaled with his hands due to having lost his right leg in the service of his country. Staff Sergeant Rueben Pedro CHOSE to ride the same kind of cycle. He didn’t have to but SPC Payton was his battle buddy. “If Payton has to do it….I have to do it. He will not do this alone.”

 Everyone left at 0800 and man, some of these folks were blinding fast. Less than three hours and a significant number of riders had already ridden sixty miles and were done.

 Our wonded warriors began to trickle in one and two at a time. By 2:00pm all of them were back. All except Payton and Pedro.

 Storms rolled in. Rain came down. Lightning flashed. Flight of the Dove officials came to me wanting the pair to quit due to the safety hazard. I asked. They said no.

 Up hills, around potholes, by pastures with curious cows, past barking and threatening dogs………they kept pushing. SSG Pdro’s cycle developed problems and started losing gears. He ended up with only one. Come on, there’s no shame in quitting now……you didn’t quit, the cycle did.

A brisk “Sir. No SIR” was the reply.

 Riding escort for the pair on a motorcycle was tiring. Watching them push through each obstacle was inspiring. There were honestly times when I was wiping tears.

 At ten minutes past five……….more than nine hours after the start, SPC Payton and Staff Sergeant Rueben Pedro, American Soldiers, pulled back into Presbyterian College.

 They finished last but they never quit. They endured much hardship but they never quit. Hardly anyone was left to see the moment but……..they never even considered quitting.

 Heart. That’s the only explanation.

 I still get a lump in my throat just telling you about it.


Let me start this one by saying that I’m a big fan of free enterprise.  If you work hard and make lots of money……….good for you.  If you go into business for yourself and you make it big…….Congratulations!


Now that I have that out of the way let me speak to anyone who is considering getting a pet………a dog in particular.  Please don’t go someplace and buy a puppy.  I can get you a deal.


First of all, let me explain a little science to you.  We know through genetic science that the broader the gene pool, the healthier the population.  A narrow gene pool results in serious physical and mental health conditions.  We joke about people whose family tree doesn’t fork but, in reality, that isn’t funny.  People who come from situations like that have a much higher incidence of all sorts of problems.


The same is true in the dog world.   There is only one way to achieve a narrowly defined canine breed………in breeding.  You can assure your customers that all the puppies will look the same.   It’s also a safe bet that they will share physical and mental problems.  That’s why there are so many deaf Dalmatians.  Once a defect enters that narrow gene pool……it’s there and will never go away.


Mixed breed dogs may not have the ‘designer’ look but they’re much healthier.  They come from a broad gene pool generally and they have a better disposition and MUCH fewer inherited disorders.


I wish that Laurens County Animal Control operated a ‘No Kill’ shelter.  That is not the case.  So, while you’re heading up to Greenville to pay $200 for a puppy, those folks are tasked with killing another puppy. 


Now, that pup may not have designer looks but he’d be a happy, loyal friend.  He’d help you entertain and protect your children.  Men, if you have to work at night, you’ll come home to find that dog stretched out in the hall and you’ll know that nobody will approach your family without coming through him.  Please, consider adopting a beautiful, lovable mutt.


It’s not expensive.  The adoption fee is only $45 and that includes the cost of having your dog spayed or neutered as well as the first round of vaccinations at a local vet.  For that small price you’ll have a valued new member of your family and you’ll know that, most likely, you saved that dog that loves you.


And then do me one more favor:  Tell everyone where you got your dog.  There are tons of people who have no idea where our animal shelter is.  Help spread the word.  You’ll be doing a good deed.  If enough people know then maybe there will come a Friday that the folks at Animal Control can really enjoy.


Oh, I suppose I should tell you how to find the animal shelter.  It’s on the corner of Torrington Road and Mount Vernon Church Road.  It’s right across from the end of the runway at Laurens County Airport.  Here’s a map:


Now I’ll get off my soapbox.  Have a tail wagging, bow-wow week.

Top 10 Indications You May Need a Bath

10.   People say about you what Martha and Mary said about Lazarus:  He Stinketh.

9.     You take off your pants and…..they stand up by themselves.

8.     You’re considered very attractive…..but you only attract flies.

7.     You change your underwear and the pair you take off aren’t tighty whiteys.  They’re more brown, yello and sometimes green.

6.     The Department of Defense asks you to come in for some tests.  They’re working on a new chemical weapon.

5.     Pigs and other farm animals won’t come near you.

4.     People run away from you screaming ‘Bloody Mary!’ –Jobori, where did you come up with using ‘Mary’?

3.     The zoo won’t let you in.  They’re afraid you may harm the animals.

2.     You’re not allowed in public places.

1.     If doo doo smells better than you do.

It’s a Matter of Respect

On Wednesday, 27 June, South Carolina’s Governor issued an order for all flags in the state to be flown at half mast beginning at sunrise on Thursday, 28 June.

The reason? On Thursday morning an aircraft was to land at Columbia Metropolitan Airport bearing precious cargo……..the bodies of two soldiers, SGT John Meador, II and 1LT Ryan Rawl, members of the 133rd Military Police Company, South Carolina Army National Guard. Another plane was scheduled to fly into Greenville-Spartanburg Airport on Friday morning with yet another Hero aboard….the body of Sergeant First Class Matthew Brad Thomas.

The order was to extend from sunrise Thursday until all services for all three Heroes were completed. It’s a matter of respect. It’s a symbol of mourning and grief. Among other messages sent by this display is a message to the families of the fallen. It says that the entire state acknowledges the sacrifice of their loved one, that we all hurt as they grieve a great loss.

So, what does it say when that order is ignored?

Now, I’ll give a pass to some. Perhaps not everyone had heard of the order. It was issued rather late on Wednesday afternoon. So, I waited until after 2:00pm on Thursday and then I took a little ride around Laurens County.

Flags controlled by the cities of Laurens and Clinton were at half mast and I was encouraged but various industries had their flags at full staff. I rode past my kid sister’s house. She had taken the time to dip the flag in her yard to show respect. It seemed that all of these businesses and industries could do it if she could.

The flag in front of the court facility in Laurens……..full staff. Same at the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and I suppose all other county offices. That bothered me. Maybe they didn’t know but I would think that local governments would know. Laurens and Clinton knew. There was at least one exception: Laurens County EMS had their flags at half mast. Thanks guys.

As I rolled past the National Guard Armory near the Laurens County Airport I saw their flag at half mast and I thought how it must have felt for them to lower that flag, knowing they were doing so because some of their brothers in arms had fallen in battle.

And then I got to the Clinton National Guard Armory. Those soldiers, not very long ago, were in Afghanistan. They had soldiers wounded there. I knew their flag would be lowered.

It wasn’t. I couldn’t believe my eyes but there it was……….full staff. For these businesses and industries to not lower their flags is a sign of being uninformed and maybe lazy. I might even say that some of them just didn’t see the importance of complying with the Governor’s order.

But a South Carolina Army National Guard Armory? There is no question in my mind that by 2:00pm on Thursday they should have been informed of the order. I announced it several times on the air Thursday morning. And one would think that the National Guard would make certain that every armory got that memo.

Embarrassing. Embarrassing and profoundly disappointing. Like I said, it’s a matter of respect. Or disrepect.

Ain’t Gonna Tell Ya……..Ain’t Got To


Here I am on the side of the road. Parked directly behind me is a really sharp looking vehicle with flashing lights on it. There’s a logo on the door that indicates this is a South Carolina State Trooper. And so, it begins.


“License, Registration, Insurance information please” says the young trooper.


“Sorry. Can’t do that. It’s privileged information.” is my response.


“Excuse me?” says the trooper. “When a law enforcement officer requests that information you have no choice but to comply.”


“You mean, kinda like a subpoena from Congress?” I ask. “I’m envoking executive privilege. If I provide that information it will serve to make it impossible to accomplish my very important task.”


“And just what is you very important task?”


“Can’t tell ya……executive privilege.”


My question is………….do you think I could get away with that? Could you?


No…………didn’t think so.

Fatality – Monday on Neely Ferry Road


An early morning single vehicle crash Monday resulted in a fatality.


According to Laurens County Coroner Nick Nichols, 35 year old Reginald Mathiaus Gray of 122 Kluch Street in Greenwood was killed in the accident.  Mr. Gray was the driver and only occupant of a 1990 Ford Mustang.


The crash occurred on Neely Ferry Road just north of the intersection with Indian Mound Road in the Ekom Beach community.   Trooper Billy Elder of the South Carolina Highway Patrol tells us that Mr. Gray was…

“…travelling northbound on Neely Ferry Road when he travelled off the left side of the road and struck a tree.  He was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.  He was pronounced at the scene.”


According to Trooper Elder the investigation into the accident is continuing.

Murder in Laurens Thursday Evening

 Laurens Motel and Apartments on East Main Street was allegedly the scene of a murder. Just before 8 o’clock yesterday evening a call was received at the 911 center by a man who said he thought he had just murdered someone. Officers were immediately dispatatched and did discover the body of a 36 year old female.

Laurens County Coroner Nick Nichols told WLBG this morning that notification of next of kin has not yet been completed. He is not able to release the victim’s name at this time.

An autopsy is schedule for 9:30 Friday morning. Officers of the Laurens Police Department and the State Law Enforcement Division are continuing to investigate. No formal charges have been filed but a person of interest is in custody.

Stay tuned to WLBG News and for further details on this developing story.