“I Have a Dream” 50th Anniversary

Governor Nikki Haley is to issue a statewide proclamation today designating this date as “Let Freedom Ring Day.” The proclamation will recognize American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for his dedication to improving our society by promoting freedom, justice and equal opportunity for all people. Today marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s delivery of his celebrated “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28th, 1963.

Gov. Haley is encouraging South Carolinians to recognize and honor this historic event by commemoratively ringing bells across the state this afternoon at 3 o’clock.

New Look for Hospital Coming Soon

Last night the Board of the Laurens County Memorial Hospital held its second meeting after its merger with the Greenville Health System.

According to Laurens County Memorial President Rich D’Alberto, things seem to be going well in all areas here at the Laurens campus. “We are still learning, but so far the transition has been very good, all our employees got paid with only a few minor errors on the checks, the Greenville Health System could not be more accommodating and giving us everything that we asked for, I am very pleased,” said D’Alberto.

Last night’s meeting began with the financial summary for the month of June, which reported income from operations was a loss of $608,274 VS a budgeted loss of $109,067. The hospital had a lower bottom line than the budget due to 10% lower net revenue.

The board was informed that within a few weeks purchase of a one-acre parcel of overgrown land adjacent to the hospital is to be completed. Chair Mike Ellison said “When the purchase of this property is finalized, we will have it cleaned up and will use it to display some new signage.” The Greenville Health System is working on the standardizing signs for every campus. Laurens County Memorial CEO Rich D’Alberto described the new signs as a uniform green color with side curves and a new concept of emergency room signs that are long and red and posted on the road at entrances leading to the emergency department.

Board member Dr. Suzanne Smith reported on the Quality and Academics meeting she attended at the Greenville Campus last Tuesday. She said the meeting mainly dealt with quality and safety issues and financial reports from four hospitals. Attendees received a recent Consumer Reports article that rates 36 of South Carolina’s 77 hospitals. Laurens County Memorial was one of eighteen found in the middle of the list, with only four higher and four below.

Smith emphasized that the ratings were based on patient surveys, and noted that when considering the rating of each hospital consideration must be given to its location and demographics, the types of patient care, and the severity of each patient’s condition.

Sex Crime Charges

A Clinton man was arrested yesterday by Clinton Public Safety on sex crime charges. 40-year-old Steven Wesley Rhinehart of Apartment 7 at 1321 South Broad, Clinton was served with two warrants alleging or relating to allegedly committing a Lewd Act on a Minor Child. A warrant alleges that from June 1st until August 27th Steven Wesley Rhinehardt allegedly did willfully and lewdly commit, or attempt to commit, an act upon or with the body of a child under the age of 16 with the intent or arousing, appealing to or gratifying the lust, passions or sexual desires of himself or the minor child. Bonds were set at $75,000 on each charge. Bond conditions also stipulate that if released he is to have GPS monitoring and is not to be alone with minor children. Steven Wesley Rhinehardt was transferred to the Johnson Detention Center, where he remained this morning under bonds totaling $150,000.

So You Don’t Want to Be Married?

Laurens Police were dispatched to Creamer Street at 4:48 yesterday afternoon on a report of a Simple Assault and a child custody matter. Lt. Heath Copeland reported arriving to find a young Cross Hill man had his child in his arms who indicated his wife had assaulted his mother. The wife said she had allowed her husband to come visit their daughter. They reportedly began to argue about being married. The man’s mother indicated she was in the truck when the daughter-in-law jumped in the truck, getting the truck keys, and that the daughter-in-law assaulted her by striking her arm while trying to get the couple’s marriage license from the mother. She then allegedly tried to tear the license up. After speaking with the parties, they decided to allow the child to go back home to her Cross Hill residence, and the couple agreed to talk after a couple of days over custody and on whether or not to stay married. The mother-in-law said she didn’t want to press charges for the alleged assault.

Metals Valued at $11,456 Stolen

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission yesterday afternoon where a report was filed on the theft of over $11,000 worth of metals from a warehouse. Various brass fittings and other metals valued at $11,456 were reportedly removed in June. Deputy Hodges obtained video evidence of the thefts, along with the identity of a suspect. The matter remained under investigation.

Child Neglect Charged

Clinton Public Safety yesterday arrested 46-year-old Sharon McRay Rhinehardt of 1321 South Broad. They charged her with Neglect of a Child. Mrs. Rhinehardt was released on a $20,000 personal recognizance bond.

3 Drug Charges Pending Overnight

Clinton Public Safety arrested a man pending drug charges after being dispatched to a residence last evening. Booked at 7:45 last night was 33-year-old James Aaron Campbell of 301 Elizabeth Street. He was being held overnight in City Jail pending charges of Illegal Possession of a Schedule II controlled substance, Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Hypodermic Needles and/or Syringes. He is alleged to have been found with two coffee filters in his possession that contained methamphetamine, which would be a second offense for him. He also is alleged to have had five orange and white capsules identified as a Schedule II narcotic in his possession. James Aaron Campbell was to be formally charged this morning.

FTC Fraud

Laurens City Police yesterday arrested 20-year-old Maisie Michelle Stansberry of 236 Shaw Court, Waterloo on a charge of Financial Transaction Card Fraud. A warrant alleges that on November of 2012 between the 2nd and 5th of the month Ms. Stansberry used the Arthur State Bank debit card of another person at two stores in Laurens making purchases of just under $30 at Wal-Mart and over $107 a Pavan Food Store without consent of the card’s owner. A cash or surety bond was set at $2,000. Maisie Michelle Stansberry remained in the Johnson Detention Center this morning.

Violation of Probation

South Carolina Pardon, Probation and Parole services yesterday placed 44-year-old Tommy Wayne McWatters of 405 Francis Street, Clinton in the Laurens County Detention Center on a Violation of Probation charge. A warrant alleges that he failed to report on three dates in August as instructed, failed to maintain gainful employment, failed to show for counseling as well as other alleged failures. McWatters was being held in the Johnson Detention Center.

Domestic Threats

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested a man in connection with an alleged domestic incident last Thursday. 31-year-old Timothy William Pyle of 1142 Dogwood Road, Gray Court is charged with Criminal Domestic Violence. Deputy Sibley states that on August 22nd Mr. Pyle placed his wife in fear of imminent peril by verbally threatening to cause her harm, with the present ability to commit the harm threatened and acting in an aggressive and intimidating manner. Timothy Pyle was being held in the Johnson Detention Center pending arraignment this afternoon.