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Study: S.C. Among States with Worst Drivers

SEATTLE - South Carolina drivers are on Santa's naughty list of worst drivers in the United States. 

With holiday travel season officially here, QuoteWizard (, an online insurance comparison marketplace, is releasing a new proprietary study ranking the best and worst driving states in the nation. 

Following QuoteWizard's 2016 best and worst drivers by state and city studies, this year's study provides updated rankings on all 50 states.  

From worst to best, here are the rankings of all 50 states: Among its findings, QuoteWizard found that these are the nation’s five worst driving states for 2017:

  •        California
  •        Minnesota
  •        Utah
  •        South Carolina
  •        Washington

On the other hand, these are the five best driving states for 2017:

  •        Rhode Island
  •        Florida
  •        Mississippi
  •        Michigan
  •        Arkansas

In addition to ranking all 50 states, the study also addresses a possible discrepancy in driving skills along political lines.

“If you’ve ever been cut off by someone with an out-of-state plate and thought, ‘Oh, it figures,’ this study may be for you,” said Adam Johnson, QuoteWizard content manager. “QuoteWizard analyzed millions of datapoints on drivers from throughout the US and what we found provides a pretty interesting and sometimes surprising snapshot of the best and worst drivers in America.”


QuoteWizard sampled incident data (with more than two million data points) from drivers who used its services and linearly extrapolated it to Federal Highway Administration fatality data. To quantify overall driver standards for comparison, QuoteWizard then weighted various incident counts for each state with its frequency. The final rankings are a sum of weighted means which is calculated from total accidents, speeding tickets, DUI, citations and fatalities.


Clemson Warns of Holiday Wreaths with Plant Disease

CLEMSON — Seemingly innocent holiday wreaths sold across the Palmetto State have been found to carry a devastating plant disease.

Boxwood blight, a fungal disease that can be deadly to the familiar boxwood shrub, was confirmed on wreaths containing boxwood cuttings from a single North Carolina nursery. From that nursery, sales of the wreaths have stretched from the mountains to the sea in South Carolina and reached as far away as Indiana.

“The good news is, it’s not lot of plants, it’s just cuttings. The biggest risk comes when people dispose of the infected wreaths after Christmas,” said Steven Long, assistant director of Clemson University’s Department of Plant Industry (DPI) , a state regulatory agency that oversees plant nurseries and regulated diseases like boxwood blight.

“Those who obtained a Christmas wreath this year containing boxwood plant parts should treat it as infected and dispose of it after Christmas by burning or, even better, double-bagging it and including it with their trash for deposit in a landfill,” Long said.

Wreaths displayed outdoors are also a potential concern if they are exposed to the elements, Long said.

“The disease moves readily when water is present, so wreaths that are very exposed to rainwater or raindrops would be risky to keep in place if they are near landscape plantings of boxwood,” he said. “The disease could move with the water right down into the landscape beds. In contrast, wreaths used indoors would be harmless.

“What we’re worried about is the chance that the fungus may migrate into soil where it may infect other plants,” Long said. “It should not be disposed on people’s property, especially not chipping it and using it as mulch. As long as it goes to a designated landfill it will be harmless.”

Found throughout Europe, boxwood blight was first discovered in the United States in 2011. It has since appeared in at least 24 states. Its only prior detection in a South Carolina nursery was in 2016, where it was contained and destroyed.

Long said his office was notified of the diseased shipments by the Plant Industry Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “We are extremely grateful that they reached us early in this process,” Long said, “because it gives us time to spread the word about containment of the disease.”

More Here


The State: Poll Finds McMaster With Big Lead Over Challenger

The State

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster holds a commanding lead in the GOP race for governor, according to a new poll released Friday.

Fifty-one percent of S.C. Republicans polled said they would vote for McMaster. Only 21 percent said they would pick Mount Pleasant attorney and former state agency chief Catherine Templeton.

S.C. Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, picked up 8 percent in the poll, followed by 1 percent who said they would vote for former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill, R-Williamsburg.

About one in five Republicans said they were undecided.

Released Friday, the poll was conducted by Mason Dixon Polling and Strategy from Dec. 6-10 and surveyed 625 registered S.C. voters. The poll included a sample of 400 regular GOP primary voters. The poll was conducted by telephone with live interviewers.

McMaster also dominated his challengers in terms of likeability.

Forty-six percent of Republicans said they have a favorable opinion of the Richland County Republican. Only 23 percent said the same for Templeton.

Seven percent of those polled said they had an unfavorable opinion of McMaster, compared with 2 percent for Templeton.

More than half of Republicans polled – 53 percent – said they did not recognize Templeton’s name at all.

Templeton’s campaign declined to comment on the poll.


Guilty Plea Includes Quinn Cooperation with Investigation

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The guilty plea from a powerful South Carolina lawmaker may not be the climax of an investigation into Statehouse corruption, but instead the end of the second act.

Prosecutor David Pascoe's plea deal Wednesday with Rep. Rick Quinn Jr. and his Republican consultant father Richard Quinn Sr. requires the father's full cooperation with investigators in exchange for dropping charges with a maximum of six years in prison.

Pascoe said he expects to learn a lot from Quinn Sr.'s January testimony to a grand jury.

Quinn Sr. has been a political consultant for nearly 40 years with powerful clients ranging from Gov. Henry McMaster to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and state Attorney General Alan Wilson.

Quinn Jr. pleaded guilty to misconduct in office and faces up to one year in prison.


FCC Set to Reverse Net Neutrality Rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines on Thursday to repeal landmark 2015 rules aimed at ensuring a free and open internet, setting up a court fight over a move that could recast the digital landscape.

Democrats, Hollywood and companies like Google parent Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc had urged Pai, a Republican appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump, to keep the Obama-era rules barring service providers from blocking, slowing access to or charging more for certain content.

Consumer advocates and trade groups representing content providers have planned a legal challenge aimed at preserving those rules.

The meeting was evacuated before the vote for about 10 minutes due to an unspecified security threat, and resumed after law enforcement with sniffer dogs checked the room.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, said in a statement he will lead a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the reversal. He called the vote “a blow to New York consumers, and to everyone who cares about a free and open internet.”

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat, said in the run-up to the vote that Republicans were “handing the keys to the Internet” to a “handful of multi-billion dollar corporations.”

Shares of Alphabet, Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp moved lower after the vote.

The FCC voted 3-2 to repeal the rules.


Upgrades Should Boost T. Ed Garrison Arena Attractions

PENDLETON — Versatility is fast becoming the name of the game for hosting livestock events and the T. Ed Garrison Arena at Clemson University is taking its game to the next level.

Already one of the Southeast’s premier multipurpose livestock facilities, the Garrison Arena is undergoing a series of upgrades to continue supporting South Carolina’s $1.2 billion livestock industry while increasing its adaptability to host a variety of new shows and events.

The upgrades include a trio of projects, two of which were recently completed: the conversion of a warmup riding arena into an all-weather competition arena and the addition of 25 full-service RV sites.

Additionally, the renovation of the 10,000-square-foot, concrete-floor cattle sale complex into a fully conditioned space is slated for completion January 2018.

“We are very excited about this renovation and feel it will greatly enhance the marketability of our facility,” Garrison Arena director Chris Heintze said.

The project will not only improve the complex’s ability to host existing events, but also open it up to a wide variety of new events. Existing events include poultry shows, bull and cattle sales, the student-led Little North American Livestock Show and the Spring Dairy Show for 4-H and Future Farmers of America.

The renovations will include new LED lighting, two 25-ton heating and cooling units and general upgrades to the facility, such as new insulation and fresh paint to transform the complex.

“We’re still going to house all of our agriculture events as we’ve done in the past while pushing for outside-the-box events, such as weddings and banquets to supplement revenue,” Heintze said. “We currently have fewer than 10 events there each year, which means it’s really been unused space most of the time. These renovations will maximize its value.”

A second project saw a warmup arena upgraded into an all-weather, 125- by 240-foot riding arena. This upgrade provides another competition venue for shows that will be usable no matter the weather. Completed in the fall, the all-weather arena hosted the Western Carolina Arabian Horse Association dressage events.

“It replaced a sand/clay-based arena that, if it rained, was completely unusable for weeks on end depending on how long it took to dry,” Heintze said. “The new arena contains all-weather footing that remains rideable in rainfall rates of up to two inches per hour. We now have the ability to host a show outside. It also helps bring in some of the larger events because they need more riding space, and weather is not going to be an issue with that arena anymore.”

The third project, also recently completed, was the addition of 25 full-service RV sites to bring the venue’s total to 70 sites with 30- and 50-amp power, water and sewer hookups, expanding the RV parking on both sides of the arena.

“We have a few shows that max out our existing RV sites, so this allows for more RVs for the patrons of our shows,” Heintze said. “It also allows us to show a dual presence. We can have a show going on, have folks come in and tailgate for football games or trail-riders come and stay. It gives us a way to self-promote the facility without it having to be tied to an event.”

Operated by Clemson Extension in the division of Public Service and Agriculture, the Garrison Arena is South Carolina’s only full-service, public facility designed to promote the state’s livestock industry by providing opportunities for shows, sales, exhibits and educational programs to benefit agriculture, agribusiness and the youth of South Carolina.

Slated for completion in January 2018, the Garrison Arena’s cattle sale complex renovations include new LED lighting, two 25-ton heating and cooling units and general upgrades to the facility such as new insulation and fresh paint to transform the complex.

All three projects were accomplished within a $1 million budget approved by state legislature in 2016. Clemson is seeking additional funding for future upgrades that include a convention and expo center and new covered arena. The future upgrades would bolster the Garrison Arena’s value to South Carolina’s livestock, agriculture and tourism industries.

“The proposed covered arena would allow us to have multiple shows at one time or host some of the bigger shows, which require multiple event and arena spaces,” Heintze said. “That’s something we’re lacking. We have 440 permanent stalls, which will house most of those shows, but they need more event and arena space. It is not uncommon for these large horse shows to have three or four arenas going at one time. We would also be able to host multiple events over the same weekend.”

Plans for the convention and expo center call for a 30,000-square-foot expo hall and 10,000-square-foot convention center with office space and a full commercial kitchen.

“That brings in another realm of what we could host, such as trade and craft shows, graduations and big events like that,” Heintze said. “There is a market, here in South Carolina, because there are very few expo centers in this area, and we’re in the perfect location on Interstate 85 in the center of the Southeast.”

A 2012 impact study showed the Garrison Arena provided $4.38 million in direct spending to the local economy annually.

Glenn Brill, director of Anderson County Parks, Recreation and Tourism, agreed the proposed improvements would attract more events by providing meeting and exhibition space not currently available in the Upstate.

“Tourism is one of the top 10 industries in Anderson County, and certainly the proposed improvements to the Garrison Arena would only increase that,” Brill said. “Adding an exhibition hall would make for bigger and better livestock shows. It could also extend the length of these events. Instead of just having a two-day horse show, you could have a three-day show with lectures and seminars and a trade show, and that would just generate more heads in beds and more economic impact for Anderson County, but also for Oconee and Pickens counties.”

Clemson Area Chamber of Commerce tourism director Kade Herrick said the recent upgrades have already begun to generate interest in using the Garrison Arena for many new uses.

“We are looking at hosting a couple of different wrestling events, archery and using the sales barn as a vendor/distributor area for a fishing tournament,” Herrick said. “Because of its size, parking and ease of access, Garrison is a wonderful place to host many events. Livestock will always be the main focus, but if we can fill in off days with other events, it makes the venue that much more impactful. We also believe that Garrison Arena would be a great location to host country concerts, as well.

“I really think that with the right events that Garrison could be a goldmine for the university and the local community,” he added. “The list of events that could be held in the arena or on the surrounding property is endless.”


AU Winter Graduation Friday

A total of 211 students are graduating with degrees from Anderson University during commencement exercises Friday, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Rainey Fine Arts Center.

The new AU alumni will hold degrees from the South Carolina School of the Arts; the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Business; the College of Christian Studies and the Clamp Divinity School; the College of Education; the College of Health Professions; the School of Interior Design; and the School of Public Service and Administration.


Could Alabama Outcome Effect S.C. Governor's Race?

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - As conservative Republicans reel from Tuesday's loss in Alabama by the candidate picked by former White House strategist Steve Bannon to fill Jeff Sessions' U.S. Senate seat, Republicans and Democrats alike are questioning Bannon's influence in horse-race politics.

That includes a race in South Carolina, where GOP gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Templeton has aligned herself with Bannon.

In Alabama, President Donald Trump initially backed another GOP candidate before ultimately saying voters should support Roy Moore over Democrat Doug Jones. He's already waded into South Carolina's race, backing Gov. Henry McMaster in his quest for a first full term.

That sets up a primary showdown that could mirror the GOP contest that led to Moore's nomination - and ultimate general election defeat - in a very red state.


Friday Last Day to Sign Up at

SALEM — Friday is the last day to get 2018 health insurance during open enrollment.

Oregonians who do not get coverage through their job or another program should go to and choose a plan before time runs out. is the only place to get help paying for coverage.

“People who need coverage and haven’t enrolled at could be leaving money on the table,” said Chiqui Flowers, administrator of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. “They should go to by Friday and see if they qualify for financial assistance.”

In 2017, more than 70 percent of Oregonians using qualified for financial assistance, and they received an average of $346 per month to help pay for coverage. This year, individuals making less than about $48,000 annually or families of four making less than about $98,000 annually may qualify.

A recent analysis estimated that many Oregonians who were eligible to use and receive financial assistance did not enroll last year, including more than 78,000 men and more than 33,000 people ages 25 to 34.

“Enrollment this year has been strong so far, but as the deadline approaches, it’s essential to take action if you need coverage or, if you’ve already signed up, remind your friends and family that it’s time to enroll and see if they can get help paying for coverage,” Flowers said.

To start shopping for plans, visit or call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).

After the Dec. 15 deadline, people will be able to get 2018 coverage only in special circumstances, like when they move or lose job-related coverage.


Doug Jones Elected Alabama's New Senator

Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Doug Jones on Tuesday narrowly won Alabama's tightly contested race over controversial Republican Roy Moore -- becoming the state's first Democrat elected to the Senate in a quarter-century.

Jones topped Moore by about 1 percent of the vote.

"Thank you ALABAMA!!" Jones wrote on Twitter following the win.

In his victory speech, Jones said Alabama has "shown the country the way, that we can be unified."

"I have always believed that the people of Alabama have more in common than divides us," he said.

Jones' victory narrows the Republican Senate majority to 51-49 -- meaning the upper chamber could switch majorities after next year's midterm elections. No Democrat from Alabama had been elected to the U.S. Senate since 1992.

Moore refused to concede the race, with Jones leading by about 20,000 votes with virtually all the votes counted, according to NBC News.

"When the vote is this close, it's not over," Moore said at his election night rally. "Part of the problem with this campaign is that we've been painted in an unfavorable and unfaithful light. We've been put in a hole."


Creator of Bible App Reveals Most Popular Scripture of 2017

In 2017, more people than ever read, listened, reflected and shared the Word of God, according to the popular YouVersion Bible App. But what was this year's most popular scripture passage?

The Bible verse that was shared, bookmarked and highlighted most often by the global Bible App community during 2017 is Joshua 1:9, which reads, "This is my command — be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

However, the report says that in the United States, this year's most popular verse was Romans 8:28: "And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."

Created in 2008 as one of the 200 apps available in the iPhone app store, the YouVersion Bible App has now reached the 295 million download mark.

On average, 1.4 people installed the app and 10.8 verses were shared each second of every day in 2017.

"We believe the Bible is an enduring source of courage and strength," YouVersion founder and Life.Church Pastor Bobby Gruenewald said in a statement to Faithwire. "We are encouraged to see from this year's data that people all over the world are finding hope in God's Word."

He added, "In recent years, technology has made it possible to accelerate Bible translation like never before. There's incredible momentum around this effort that we know won't stop until every person has Scripture available in their heart language."


Meals on Wheels Anderson to Benefit from Subaru Charity Event

Meals on Wheels-Anderson is proud to announce that it is participating in the tenth annual "Subaru Share the Love Event" as a member of Meals on Wheels America – one of four national "Share the Love" charitable partners. Now until January 2, Subaru will donate $250 for every new Subaru sold or leased to the customer’s choice of participating charity. Meals on Wheels-Anderson, will receive a share of the revenue raised by Subaru in their state. 

"It is part of our culture at Subaru to support causes important to our employees, retailers and owners and we are proud to have continued that tradition for ten consecutive years," said Alan Bethke, senior vice president of marketing, Subaru of America Inc. "Through the Share the Love event, we are excited to continue our commitment to support our national and hometown charity partners and aim to donate $115 million in total by the end of this year's campaign."

By purchasing or leasing a new Subaru during the Event and selecting Meals on Wheels America as your charity of choice, you can help deliver nutritious meals and other important services to the elderly and disabled right here in Anderson County.

For more information, visit To find out how you can support Meals on Wheels-Anderson financially or as a volunteer for the program, call 864-225-6800 or visit


Green Pond Books Another Bass Championship for 2018

The 2018 American Couples Series National Championship, presented by American Bass Anglers, will be hosted by the Anderson Convention & Visitors Bureau on Sept. 16-21, 2018 at Green Pond Landing and Event Center.

“We are so excited about the opportunity to have the ABA Couples Championship back in Anderson County, Green Pond Landing and Lake Hartwell after hosting them in October 2016," said Neil Paul, Executive Director of Visit Anderson. "In hosting the Couples Championship, we found that the participants traveled to Anderson and made a significant economic impact to our community in addition to being able to enjoy our great facilities and our championship lake. "

 The event will be open to couples that have competed in four, one-day events. These couples will be competing for the first-place prize of $4000, and bragging rights for the year. 

“Returning to Lake Hartwell is always a pleasure and our Couples love the fishing and the community support," said Morris Sheehan, President of American Bass Anglers. "Anderson County is the most angler friendly of any host community we have been associated with, their support for the fishermen is second to none.” 

For more information on this tournament, call ABA at 256-232-0406 or visit