Monday, September 1 2014 1:31 PM EDT2014-09-01 17:31:17 GMT
The South Carolina Highway Patrol says a man on a motorcycle was killed in a crash Monday morning.Troopers say the crash occurred on Bookman Rd. about three miles west of Elgin at about 6 a.m. The motorcycleMore >>
The South Carolina Highway Patrol says a man on a motorcycle was killed in a crash Monday morningMore >>
STATE RADARINTERACTIVE RADARWEATHER ON YOUR MOBILE PHONE
Take a real-time look at where it's raining here in the Midlands and across the state with WIS First Alert radar.More >>
BISHOPVILLE, SC (WIS) -
The fight over a potential bypass around downtown Bishopville has deeply divided Lee County officials and voters in the area who fear the project will kill off the already struggling downtown.
The county says the project is a risk worth taking and is trying to usher the plan through.
However, people who oppose the plan wonder why the county is hellbent on pushing the bypass through when Bishopville town officials and thousands of taxpayers spoke out against it.
Each year, Bishopville's Main Street dries up a little more. Doors chained, building permits that once showed signs of life are forgotten, and old employee time cards collect dust behind for sale signs.
It's easy to see the little town is struggling.
Farmer William McElveen stands to lose hundreds of acres to the bypass. It would split his farm in half -- a farm he's spent 40 years building. McElveen hired an attorney to fight Lee County Council and the bypass.
"It's not just about my farm and me," said McElveen. "This is about our community that it's going to destroy. I feel our little town -- there are 19 vacant stores uptown right now. If this bypass comes, what is that going to do to our little city?"
The bypass will do plenty, according to this economic impact study released last fall. It shows diverting traffic away from downtown poses a "great threat" to Bishopville.
Nearly 2,000 county taxpayers sent opposition letters to the state's Transportation Department, asking to ditch the bypass. That hasn't stopped county council.
"As we stand here today with all these vacant buildings, we need to do something different," said Lee County Council Chairman Travis Windham, who also owns an insurance company on Main Street.
Windham is also trying to convince city council to support the bypass so the county doesn't lose millions in grant money.
"Is the bypass going to make Main Street flourish? Probably not. But, it's a $19, $20 million project that only comes along every 12 years," said Windham. "We feel like it's an opportunity and we feel like it's the right thing to do for the county of Lee."
McElveen says he can't understand the county's motivation for pushing the bypass through.
"I don't understand why it's being pushed so hard and the people have spoken," said McElveen. "They do not want it."
In researching the property along the proposed route, we uncovered a deed belonging to an LLC called Longview Family Limited Partnership.
A search of the Secretary of State files shows the LLC is registered to Tyson Eckley, he's Lee County Council Vice Chairman Gordon Eckley's brother. The Eckley family owns 50 1/2 acres right in the path of the bypass. If approved, the state would have to buy a right-of-way from the Eckleys.
So does this plan have anything to do with the Eckley family's land?
"Absolutely not," said Windham.
Vice Chairman Gordon Eckley declined our request for an on-camera interview, but did interview with us by phone. Eckley says he's against the bypass if the city's against it, but says his family's property has nothing to do with the county's push for the bypass.
"They can say what they want, that doesn't make a bit of sense," said Gordon. "I addressed that when we had the public hearing. I'm one-sixth of whatever little bit we would receive out of it coming across our property. To me, if it doesn't come, I'm excited."
That still hasn't erased doubts for people like William McElveen, who vows to fight the county to the end.
"I did not want to look back five years from now when bulldozers are going through the middle of my farm and say, 'I did not do everything that I could have done to have stopped this,'" said McElveen.
So far, this project has cost taxpayers $775,000 and every penny may be headed down the drain. The feds told the county the project is off if the city isn't on board.
Bishopville City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on a motion to set in stone the city's objection to ever building the bypass.
Sunday, August 31 2014 4:12 PM EDT2014-08-31 20:12:10 GMT
CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Dozens of videos are all over Twitter from parties held at Coastal Carolina University. Many of the posts lead back to a group called I'm Shmacked. It makes videos at universitiesMore >>
Dozens of videos are all over social media from parties held at Coastal Carolina University.More >>
Friday, August 29 2014 12:21 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:21:29 GMT
An Alexander County woman is facing charges after deputies say she molested a four-year-old at a church while services were happening. According to the Alexander County Sheriff's Office, 52-year-old CarolMore >>
According to the Alexander County Sheriff's Office, 52-year-old Carol Diane Britto, of Taylorsville, was charged with one count of first degree statutory sex offense and one count of indecent liberties with a child.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 10:35 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:35:14 GMT
You've likely noticed a spike in gas prices across the Midlands. They have jumped almost 15 cents after a steady drop nationwide.Prices are about $3.11 in the area on Labor Day, which, when compared toMore >>
You've likely noticed a spike in gas prices across the Midlands. They have jumped almost 15 cents after a steady drop nationwide.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 8:32 PM EDT2014-09-02 00:32:26 GMT
With a severe thunderstorm moving its way through the Midlands, customers across Richland and Lexington counties currently find themselves without power. South Carolina Electric & Gas is reporting overMore >>
Over 4,000 outages have been reported across the Midlands according to SCE&G.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 7:54 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:54:12 GMT
Whitney Hempsey remembered what doctors told her before she gave birth to her second child years ago. "It's like, 'Hey, are you tired of being pregnant?" Hempsey recalled. "'We can give you this and youMore >>
Mothers come together at Improving Birth Rally in an effort to stop rushed births.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 6:18 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:18:34 GMT
Under a bright Carolina sun, citizens across the state enjoy going out and making a few waves on the lakes. Some like Johnathan Crossland enjoy fishing as a method of recreation and relaxation for a while.More >>
Boaters and law enforcement officials provide safety advice when making waves on the lakes.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 3:55 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:55:16 GMT
As America's population of World War II veterans continues to shrink, respect for their role in history appears to be growing. Among those heroes are the thousands of troops who brought Hitler's EuropeMore >>
As America's population of World War II veterans continues to shrink, respect for their role in history appears to be growing.More >>