The Museum has vision of expanding
local cultural opportunities

November 6, 2005

Index-Journal regional editor

Matt Edwards’ vision is for the The Museum in Uptown Greenwood to be an “active and vibrant place.”
Named executve director of The Museum in July, Edwards spearheads a plan to renovate the inside of the building, fitting it into the Emerald Triangle Project, and bring in interesting traveling exhibits — all the while maintaining a local feel.
“Our outreach program will target non-traditional museum audiences,” Edwards said in a presentation to Greenwood County Council, “and we will accent other community activities.”
Founded in 1967, The Museum came to its current location in 1982. Its collections focus on local/regional history, science and technology, world culture and art. Edwards calls The Museum’s holdings “a phenomenal collection.”
In July, The Museum acquired the Railroad Historic Center on South Main Street, and Edwards said plans are in the works for revitalizing the exhibit of seven rail cars and the gardens.
His plans for The Museum are: community outreach programming, expanding community partnerships, an exhibits revitalization project, further development of a Destination Exhibits program, and expanded development of the Railroad Historic Center.
Partnerships that The Museum is cultivating include the Emerald Triangle Project, the Greenwood Arts Council and local artists, Lander University for internships, local schools and the Education Enrichment Foundation, the Greenwood County Library, other tourist attractions and commercial venues. The Emerald Triangle Project is a massive restructuring of Uptown venues centered on the development of the former Federal Building as an arts center.
On Thursday, The Museum is providing a forensics display in conjunction with the Mystery Writers Conference at Inn on the Square.
Edwards said the physical revitalization of The Museum’s interior is designed to “spark a renewed interest in The Museum and create a better story for visitors.” More schools participation is being encouraged and more hands-on exhibits will be displayed, he said. The Museum’s own collections will be tapped for more rotating exhibits to display for public view what is on hand at the Uptown location.
In 2006, The Museum will play host to an Ansel Adams exhibit as the only viewing location in this part of South Carolina. In 2007, The Museum tentatively will play host to a Frederick Remington exhibit.
These Destination Exhibits give The Museum a chance to highlight one prominent person or topic each year, Edwards said.
The Museum Store also is undergoing a face lift, he said, and The Museum is preparing to promote the reprinting of the Greenwood history book. In a partnership with Leadership Greenwood, The Museum staged a fundraiser poker run.
And there is a chance that Greenwood could shine in the spotlight of the movies. Edwards said when the revitalization of the Railroad Historic Center gets rolling, with the locomotive turning 100 years old this spring, he will pitch the area to the state’s film office.
The interiors of rail cars there, he said, would be perfect for films portraying the glory days of rail travel.



Unique shops make Willington fun, educational place to visit

November 6, 2005

Index-Journal staff writer

WILLINGTON — With a population of less than 180, this quaint community brings new meaning to the words “small town.”
From S.C. 81 in McCormick County, the only things that mark it as more than another endless stretch of rural scenery are a welcome sign and a row of brick buildings along the road.
If you aren’t looking for it, it’s easy to miss the entire town.
Yet for those travelers perceptive enough to not only recognize Willington, but to stop by for a visit as well, the town has a wealth of history and charm to offer.
There aren’t many places to visit in Willington, but the few that are there are unique and can offer an entire day of browsing and enjoyment.
Nestled in the heart of Willington, right off S.C. 81, are the Willington Book Shop, the Willington History Center, the African-American Cultural Center and the town’s only restaurant, the Taste of Thai Café.
The businesses are all unique, something that wasn’t an accident, said Sara Juengst, president of the Willington on the Way restoration committee and president of the project planning commission.
“We wanted to bring back economic viability to these buildings,” Juengst said. “Something unique is not only economically viable, but it compels people to come into a place they might not ordinarily be traveling to. We set out to bring in businesses that can’t be found just on any corner.”
Juengst is also known as the town historian, so she often gives tours of the history center and spends many weekend hours volunteering next door in the bookshop.
The bookshop offers thousands of volumes, all used. Most were donated, while a few special or rare books were purchased for resale, Juengst said. The books range widely in condition and price. Most sell for 50 cents to a few dollars, while the rarer volumes, such as a first edition Ernest Hemingway novel, sell for hundreds.
It’s easy to get swept away in the multitude of subjects and titles. Juengst said she’s seen dozens of people get lost in the stacks after having stopped in while driving through the area. In addition to rare first editions and out of print books, the shop has recently-released romance novels, children’s books and religious books lining its shelves for very low prices.
The shop is volunteer-run and all profits help fund the on-going restoration of Willington, Juengst said.
The restoration project started just a few years ago after Willington was twice (in 1994 and 1997) named to the state’s list of “Eleven Most Endangered Historic Sites.”
Willington was settled in the late 1800s around Willington Academy and the town was chartered in 1897.
“The community of Willington is significant, not only because of its connections with the state’s Huguenot history and a prestigious educational institution, but as a reminder of the role of the railroad in community development in rural South Carolina at the close of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century,” Juengst said. “We would like to preserve and celebrate that unique heritage.”
The town’s history, original settlers and much more can be studied in-depth at the history center, where file cabinets are filled with information on individual families, places and important events. Many area residents visit the center to do genealogical research, Juengst said.
In addition to files and newspaper articles, the center has a collection of books (many of them rare and out-of-print) about the area and its history.
The history also has displays of photos, old town records and artifacts.
“There isn’t a museum in the county, so we thought it was especially important that we have a place here for people to find historical information and for artifacts to be stored,” Juengst said.
Across the street from the history center is the African-American Cultural Center, created to “enlighten and enrich the public about the culture, history and heritage of black African-Americans in South Carolina.”
“We don’t have anything else of that nature in the county, so we thought it would be a good thing to open here,” said Donald Moss, vice president of Willington on the Way and chairman of the cultural center.
The center is set up in a former schoolhouse for blacks, the Green Olive School, which was donated by the Springfield-Green Olive AME Church. In addition to historical and cultural information, the center has African-based art on display and plays host to cultural events, including storytelling.
Just next door, visitors to Willington can experience an entirely different culture at the Taste of Thai Café, owned and operated by Bill and Aranya “Toy” Wood. Located in a renovated house, the cafe promises authentic Thai food, prepared by a master chef and cooked to order.
Toy, the café’s chef, grew up in Bangkok and spent much of her youth in the kitchen with her family’s chef, learning the complexities of Thai food. She worked in food service for nearly 20 years with the Marriott Corporation and was a chef at the IBM management center in Armonk, N.Y., as well as at the Girl Scout headquarters in New York, where she learned American food preparation standards.
Thai food is similar to Chinese food, but more flavorful, with more spices and herbs, Bill Wood said. The couple opened the restaurant after retiring to indulge Toy’s passion for cooking and as “a bridge to Social Security.”
While most of the foods are quite spicy, Toy said she will make her dishes to suit customers with milder tastes. Her specialty is chicken, beef, pork, tofu or shrimp in coconut and curry sauce, on a bed of sautéed spinach and topped with peanut sauce. She calls it the Taste of Thai Special. Though many of the customers who visit the café are weary, Bill said Toy’s food almost always draws rave reviews.
For information about the café, visit its Web site at
Most of the visitors to Willington wind up visiting all four locations, Juengst said. She added that many clubs and other groups meet for lunch or dinner at the café, and then tour the other three locations.
As the restoration project continues, other businesses will open in Willington, Juengst said. A craftsman who builds antique replica furniture already is signed on to set up shop and Willington on the Way also is hoping to draw in antique and crafts shops.
The bookshop, history center and cultural center are open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday or by reservation. The Thai Café is open from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday or by reservation.



Area mission trip team members
recount horrors of hurricane

November 6, 2005

Index-Journal regional editor

Blue tarps. They’re everywhere.
They’re on top of houses whose roofs are blown away. They’re covering homes where the people inside are just barely surviving. They’re gifts from FEMA, whose people came, took down some names and were never seen again.
They’re a sight that some people from Greenwood and Laurens County won’t ever forget.
“Something I remember, ninety percent of the homes had blue tarps,” Geraldine Mattison said of a profound recollection from a mission trip she and others from Morris Chapel Baptist and Duncan Creek Baptist churches took to Mississippi and Louisiana in late October.
They took food, water, clothes and medical supplies gathered from Greenwood and Laurens County residents to what they had been told were “forgotten people” living in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
They visited Harvey, Barataria and Marrero, La., working with ministers there. Their mission teams included ministers from Pearl, Miss., and McAllen, Texas. And they even ventured deeper into the devastation, into the Ninth Ward of New Orleans — a place wiped out by the hurricane’s floodwaters.
“The first thing I thought was, ‘What happened to the people, have they all been located?’ Everything was in shambles,” said Edith Childs, who coordinated the team’s medical response.
“When we got there they told us ‘Be sure your hands are clean.’
“We didn’t want anybody getting a disease,” the retired nurse said, “and they didn’t. It was a blessing to be part of a team. All of us were there for the same purpose.”
“It was a blessing to be fulfilled,” said the Rev. J.L. Robinson, who was charged by the moderator of the Little River Baptist Association, Sylvester Jackson, to direct the relief effort. “It was remarkable how like clockwork it went. We met with the pastors, heard their needs and we’re bringing the information back. The effort is still out there.”
Mission team members each brought back from the trip, from Oct. 24-26, recollections of the people they touched. One hurricane victim said she just wanted a bed, another just wanted a stove to get back to cooking. And all wanted their roofs fixed.
“We saw people who were hurting,” Robinson said.
There were no birds where they went, no cats or dogs, no lights. Red marks the house where dead bodies were found. At a car dealership there were acres of cars underwater.
Later, the mission team saw rollbacks loaded with cars streaming from the New Orleans area headed back up the East Coast where the vehicles would be “refurbished” for sale. Their advice: “Don’t buy a used car.”
“The full reality of the situation struck me on a 7-8 mile stretch of I-10, it was total desolation,” said the Rev. Andrew Mattison, pastor of Duncan Creek Baptist Church. “Cars sitting on top of another car. Wal-Mart and McDonalds closed. It was as if the water had flushed stuff out.”
Emma Dawkins of Duncan Creek said a woman there told her, nobody can help anybody else — “everybody’s affected … we have to rely on the kindness of strangers. That’s what affected me the most.”
“What affected me the most was, these people have nothing,” said the Rev. Gladys Nance of Duncan Creek. “They got notices that by this particular Saturday if there was no rent (payment) they would be evicted — evicted from what? FEMA did not do anything in Jefferson Parish and Orleans Parish.
“But they still had their faith. They were glad to see us, to deliver them.”
Mattison said there is help being funneled into New Orleans, to rebuild the infrastructure, to restore jobs. “But the outlying areas will be the last people to get infrastructure. We’re not saying there’s no help, but the way it’s going in, it will not help some.
“Our little help would not mean anything spread out. We had to concentrate on one area,” he said. “If everybody would take one area, the whole area would be replenished.”
And that was the message that Mattison said the mission team wants people to get.
Yes, there is devastation, death and blame — but get beyond it. Decide now what will be done now to help these people.
“It’s time for us to show what we’re made of,” Robinson said. “Some people have fallen through the cracks.”
Mattison said the mission team’s goal right now is to keep in the minds of people that the needs of hurricane victims are not going away. “We will maintain a line of communication between here and people there, to keep the line (of relief efforts) going, to help them find some comfort in their live.”
To that end, Duncan Creek has brought back a woman and son from the area to live in Laurens County. Church members are preparing a house for them. And they’re looking for two more families to adopt.
“There will be no Christmas for us,” Nance said. “It’s all going to the hurricane.”
Duncan Creek and Morris Chapel are serving as collection points for people who still want to make donations to the hurricane relief. Childs has assembled one box of medical supplies and shipped it, and has another box in the works.
“Everybody can afford (to give) a Band-aid,” she said.
And, they’re going back. They don’t know when just yet but the mission team members nod in agreement at the notion that if they don’t fix things in their little corner of Louisiana, they won’t get fixed.
“If you don’t have faith,” Robinson said, “you won’t want to help somebody else. The government is not going to do it all for us — we must have a vision and a passion to reach out.”



EHS girls lead area runners at state meet

November 6, 2005

Index-Journal sports writer

COLUMBIA — Five teams and four individuals from Greenwood and the Lakelands area were represented at Saturday’s State Cross County Championship at the Sandhills Research Center in Columbia.
The best team performance of the day came from the Emerald girls, who finished eighth out of 24 teams in the AA-A race. Ninety Six finished 12th and Dixie came in next at 13th. Broome was crowned state champion in the division.
The top individual performer among area girls AA-A runners was Emerald’s Stephanie Whitmire, who came in 22nd with a time of 22 minutes, 7 seconds. The Ninety Six boys squad finished 10th in the AA-A race, with Emerald 15th. Pendleton went home with the state title.
Ninety Six’s Michael Rounds posted the best time of area runners. Rounds came in 10th in the 5K race with a time of 17:34.
Greenwood’s Brenden Feucht finished 17th in the AAAA boys race, while the Lady Eagles’ Evan McKibben finished 82nd among AAAA girls.
In AA-A, Abbeville’s Zach Little finished 46th in boys competition while the Lady Panthers’ Emma Williams finished 60th.
Some coaches and runners had expressed concern the Sandhills Research Center course might play slower than most. However, the consensus seemed to be just the opposite.
“It was a lot faster than last year,” Dixie senior Louise Sosebee said. “There was one really big hill, but they took some of the other hills out of play.”
Emerald’s Katie Henderson agreed.
“The course was different than we had seen before,” said Henderson, a junior.
“It’s always hard in big races like this. You can get boxed in and pushed into little holes if you don’t watch out.”
For McKibben, competing in her first state meet, the course offered few surprises.
“Actually, it was pretty much how I thought it would be,” McKibben said. “It was pretty fast. A little sandy, but no big deal.”
The experiences of Lakelands area runners in the event were varying.
In no situation was that more evident than in the cases of Abbeville’s Little and Emerald’s Kevin Quan. Both runners were competing in their first state-level meet, but at starkly different stages of their running careers.
For Little, a senior, the race was the culmination of four years of trying to get there. After his run, he spoke about what competing in the meet meant to him.
“It was awesome,” Little said. “Four years of hard work to make it here. It was worth it definitely. There were some great athletes out there today.”
In the case of Quan, an eighth grader, he was able to compete in his very first year on the team, finishing 112th with a time of 19:37.
“I did better than I thought I would,” Quan said. “Before I graduate high school I’d like to win state or make All-State.”
Emerald coach Emily Polatty was pleased with the placement of both of her teams. Polatty said she was impressed all year with the way her team responded from race to race, and she expects another strong season next year.
Though he had designs on winning the individual competition in A/AA, Rounds was generally pleased with his performance.
“It was what I was hoping for,” said Rounds, who won the All-Lakelands meet earlier this year. “I wanted to win, of course. But I knew if I could finish in the top 10 to 15, that would be about right.”
Rounds is optimistic about the Wildcats’ chances next year.
“We have our top five runners coming back,” Rounds said. “It should be pretty awesome.”
Dixie coach Libby Folk was reflective about here team’s season and participation in the State Championship meet.
“We didn’t run as well as we could have today,” Folk said. “But we had to run pretty fast just to get here. Our teams worked hard this season, and we’re real proud of them.”




Calvin Hale Silcox

CROSS HILL — Calvin Hale ‘Buddy’ Silcox, 63, husband of Kristine Stenberg Silcox, passed away peacefully on Friday, November 4, 2005 at Hospice House of the Piedmont.
Mr. Silcox was born in Pensacola, FL, a son of the late Henry David and Annie Olive Givens Silcox. He was employed by Solutia, Inc. in Greenwood, and was of the Baptist faith.
Surviving are his wife of the home; five children, Christy Silcox-Black, Lori Silcox-Pitts, Calvin Silcox, Jr., Angela Silcox-Walker, and Michael Silcox, all of Atlanta; three stepchildren, Max Brannen, Jr. of Charleston, Robert Brannen of Cross Hill, and Jennifer Wells of Simpsonville; four grandchildren, Terri Black, Robby Black, Jordan Walker, and Austin Walker; two sisters and one brother, Margaret McLarin, Thomas Silcox, and Alyce Emmons, all of Pensacola, FL.
A memorial service will be held at 2 PM, Wed., Nov. 9 at the Ninety Six Church of God.
Contributions may be made to Hospice of the Piedmont, 408 W. Alexander St., Greenwood, SC 29646. Cremation Society of South Carolina is serving the Silcox family.

Isaac ‘Ike’ Parks

AIKEN — Isaac “Ike” Parks, 60, of 268 Locke Lane, died Saturday, Nov. 5, 2005 at his residence.
He was a member of St. Noah Church of God In Christ.
Survivors include six daughters, Rose Ester Pinckney, Greenwood, Leona Parks, Johnston, Stroy Eliza-Lynn Parks and Albertina Newton, both of Berlin, Md., Tabitha Robinson, Samantha Robinson and Eunice Robinson, all of Aiken; two sons, Leroy Leonard, Berlin, Md. and Larry Robinson, Aiken; three sisters, Eliza Davis and Queen Ester Lukie, both of Greenwood and Barbara Jean Tate, Aiken; two brothers, Thomas Parks Jr. and James Edward Parks, both of Greenwood; and 18 grandchildren.
Services will be announced by G.L. Brightharp & Sons Mortuary, Aiken.

Mary A. Yassney

AUGUSTA, GA. — Mary A. Yassney age, 52, entered into rest on Thursday November 3, 2005 at University Hospital.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph Yassney and Helen Willis Yassney Allen.
Survivors include two brothers, Joe Yassney Jr. and his wife, Callie of Greenwood, S.C. and Eddie Yassney and his wife, Shirley of Grovetown; three sisters, Esther Hawkins and her husband, Bob of Evans, Bebe Eberhart of Augusta and Miriam A. Highfill of Grovetown; several nieces and nephews and one great niece, Michaela Marr.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, November 7, 2005 at 11:00 a.m. in the Belair Rd. Chapel with Dr. Francis L. Ford officiating. Interment will be in Westover Memorial Park.
Mary had retired from the Richmond County Youth Development Center in 1996 as an administrative services supervisor. Mary was a beloved sister and she will be missed by her family and friends.
The family will receive friends Sunday, November 6, 2005 from 6 until 8 p.m.




The family gives stability foundation for the future

November 6, 2005

Is the family important to the stability of the nation in general and the people of South Carolina specifically? Who would answer that in the negative? Fools? If so, we have a lot of fools around us. We have torn family ties asunder in so many ways it almost defies imagination, and it’s not all that difficult to see. You can’t argue with statistics ….. or the results when families falter and/or disappear.
It’s nothing new, of course. Consider this observation: “The root of the kingdom is in the state. The root of the state is in the family. The root of the family is in the person of its head.” Those words came from a man named Mencius, a major Chinese philosopher who lived two or three centuries before Christ. They made sense then. They make even more sense today, even if it’s sometimes hard to see.

CONTRAST THOSE WORDS OF wisdom to what’s going on around us. A recent report from the National Center for Health Statistics showed that 1.5 million babies, a record, were born last year to unmarried women in the United States. It might be easy to think those numbers pertain more to teens more. According to a Center official, “people have the impression that teens and unmarried mothers are synonymous.” However, last year teens accounted for only 24 percent of unwed births, down from 50 percent in 1970. The increases in unmarried births have been among women in their 20s, especially those 25 to 29. Nevertheless, among teens, more than 80 percent of mothers were unmarried.
That’s no commentary on everywhere but Greenwood and the rest of South Carolina. It is and has been a problem hereabouts for years.

THIS PHENOMENON APPARENTLY doesn’t bother a lot of people. They don’t care or see nothing wrong. When put in perspective, though, it can have a different impact. Perry Tuttle did just that at Greenwood’s Tranquil United Methodist Church the other day. Tuttle, a former Clemson football star and a number one draft in the National Football League, had a strong message not only for the young, but for all of us.
In effect, Tuttle said the family and the church depend on what men do ….. and too many men are leaving. He said the number of children being raised without fathers is a curse on society. He emphasized that kids today need real men – responsible men – to be role models, not professional athletes and entertainers. They need men with strong values, he said, men who have a relationship with God.
Can we hear an Amen!?

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