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County Council to Consider Zoning Issues Tuesday

Anderson County Council will look at a series of zoning issues, some of which will include public hearings for community discussion, as part of Tuesday's meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the historic courthouse downtown.

Full agenda here.


School Dist. 4 Superintendent Wants Top Customer Service

Anderson County School District Four Superintendent Joanne Avery discusses the past school year and new plans and initiatives for the district, which covers the Pendleton area, in this interview.


S.C. Attorney General Files Suit Against Opioid Companies

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Attorney General's office has filed a lawsuit against major opioid distribution companies, claiming the businesses are partially responsible for the opioid crisis.

News outlets report Attorney General Alan Wilson filed the lawsuit Thursday against Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen, three major pharmaceutical shipping companies, in response to the severe increase in overdoses and deaths in South Carolina.

Wilson claims the companies violated the Unfair Trade Practices Act and were public nuisances. The lawsuit claims the companies failed to report massive and suspicious orders and failed to review new customers.

Wilson says the companies should've known the pills they were distributing weren't being used for legitimate purposes.

The lawsuit is in the discovery phase and is scheduled for a March 2020 trial.

Reports don't include comments from the companies.


Jack McIntosh Book on High Shoals Lights Up History

Anderson attorney, author and historian has written a new book, "High Shoals: Two Tales of a City," which chornicles, among other things, the role of Anderson-Native William Whitner's experiment in alternating current generation over distances greater than one mile. The High Shoals to Anderson project made the city famous as the Electric City.


AU Welcome Week for Students Begins Saturday

Anderson University is welcoming more than 700 new students to its campus community as the 2019-2020 academic year gets underway with a series of events. 

Classes begin Wednesday. but Move-In Day kicks off the week  

Move-In Day, the first of several campus-wide activities during the first week of the school year, begins Saturday, August. 17 at 8:30 a.m. Welcome Week concludes a Saturday Big Welcome Event, designed to bring together faculty, staff and students for food and fun. This event will conclude with a fireworks show. 

The scheduled for Welcome Week include:

Sunday, August 18, 9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.

Matriculation Worship Services at Henderson Auditorium, for students and members of their family to celebrate the start of a new year with worship music.

10 a.m.

The Archway Walk, during which incoming students signal the beginning of their journey at Anderson University with a formal procession beneath the Archway and individual handshakes with President Evans P. Whitaker. 

7:30 p.m.

Trojan Tradition, which brings new students together with returning students on Alumni Lawn for a candle-lighting ceremony and fellowship.

Monday, 8:30 p.m.

Outdoor Movie Night this year takes place on greenspace at the G. Ross Anderson Jr. Student Center and features Disney’s live-action adaptation of “Aladdin.”

Tuesday, 7 p.m.

West Fest is held at the Athletic Campus Pavilion and is a themed carnival featuring music, dancing and food ahead of the first day of classes. 

Friday, 5:30 p.m.

Beach Bash is hosted by President Whitaker and Mrs. Diane Whitaker at their home and celebrates the first Friday of the school year with dancing, a cookout and beach activities and games.


Clemson Kicks Off School Year Monday

CLEMSON — Clemson University begins its academic year officially on Monday, with convocation ceremonies in Littlejohn Coliseum. Freshmen, transfer and graduate students, along with faculty and staff, are invited to take part in the annual ceremony and hear remarks from a number of distinguished speakers, including President James P. Clements and academic cornerstone partner Joe Erwin.

Convocation will be centered around the theme of T-I-G-E-R-S (tradition, inspiration, gratitude, experience, ring and success). Also scheduled to speak are members of freshman council as well as the undergraduate (Logan Young) and graduate (Miles Maynard) student body presidents.

The university’s clear bag policy will be in effect for Convocation, while parking along the Avenue of Champions will be reserved for VIP personnel and event staff.


FFA Team from Pendleton Excels at National Event

JUNCTION CITY, Kansas — As one of two states in the nation with both a 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) team in the National Wildlife Habitat Education Program Contest (WHEP) and with both teams posting stellar scores, South Carolina’s young people made their mark on the national stage after an extended absence.

Four members of the FFA team — Sydney Gambrell, Chase Greene, Julianna Hernandez and Chance Parker — are students or recent graduates from Anderson County (Pendleton High). The Pendleton FFA adviser is Blake Berry.

The South Carolina 4-H Team and South Carolina FFA Team and their coaches/advisers pose together during the National WHEP Contest at the Rock Springs 4-H Center in Junction City, Kansas. Pictured are, from left: Mallory Dailey, Sarah Ebenhack, Chance Parker, Sophie Cox, Chase Greene, Stephen Schutt, Sydney Gambrell, Chase Land, Blake Berry, Shawn Underwood, Julianna Hernandez and Gina Spear. Image Credit: Clemson University

For the first time in more than 20 years, South Carolina had two teams compete in the National Wildlife Habitat Education Program Contest at the Rock Springs 4-H Center in Junction City July 14-17. Its FFA squad finished in first place in the FFA division with a score of 277.36 while South Carolina 4-H finished third place in the 4-H division with a score of 301.56.

“The future of wildlife conservation is in good hands,” said Oconee County 4-H agent Mallory Dailey. “Where else can you find over 70 youth from across the country representing their states at the highest level and putting their wildlife knowledge to the test?”

The Wildlife Habitat Education Program is a natural resources program aimed to teaching wildlife and fisheries habitat management to youth ages 9-18 and providing them the opportunity to make real-life wildlife management decisions and exposing them to potential careers in wildlife management.

All told, 17 teams of three to four youth from 15 states tested their wildlife knowledge in a friendly competition.

Pendleton's Gambrell of the South Carolina FFA team said traveling to Kansas was an eye-opening experience because of the opportunity to see a different ecoregion outside of her home state.

“I became involved because I enjoy being able to take knowledge learned in the classroom, such as South Carolina wildlife and biology, and apply it to real life scenarios,” she said. “Some of my favorite moments were simply exploring the tallgrass prairie found in Junction City, Kansas, with my teammates. I would encourage any curious student to participate in the Wildlife Habitat Education Program for the opportunity to not only become more knowledgeable on their state’s wildlife, but also to work as a team with fellow students.”

South Carolina had eight youth from Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties representing the state, along with their four coaches and advisers. The South Carolina 4-H team was comprised of members from Oconee County 4-H: Sophie Cox, Sarah Ebenhack, Chase Land and Shawn Underwood. The South Carolina FFA team was comprised of Pendleton High School FFA members Gambrell, Chase Greene, Julianna Hernandez and Chance Parker.

Along with Dailey, Oconee County Parks and Recreation Superintendent Stephen Schutt, Oconee County Parks and Recreation park ranger Gina Spear and Pendleton FFA adviser Berry helped prepare and train the kids to compete at the national contest.

Both teams earned the right to compete at nationals with their performance at the South Carolina State Wildlife Habitat Education Program Contest in April at the National Wild Turkey Federation in Edgefield. The contest was held in conjunction with Clemson Extension, Clemson University department of forestry and environmental conservation and private industries.

The contest took place in the Flint Hills region of Kansas, which is home to the first land-grant university in the United States: Kansas State. The primary land-grant institution in South Carolina, Clemson is charged with improving the quality of life of South Carolinians by providing unbiased, research-based information through an array of public outreach programs, such as the 4-H program for youth development.

And while the South Carolina group visited the nation’s first land-grant university, they also had the chance to experience many other firsts — most of the team had never been to Kansas prior to the trip and many had never even been on a plane before. Along the way, they experienced some adventures along the way, such as eating Kansas City barbecue and visiting the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.

The trip was funded by Greg Yarrow and the Clemson University forestry and environmental conservation department. 


New Voting Precinct to be Called Gluck Mill

As reported earlier, a portion of the voters in the Homeland Park Precinct will be notified of a name change of their new precinct. The new location will be called Gluck Mill, but will continue to vote at the Homeland Park Elementary School. 

“We found a way to manage lines and be more efficient within the Homeland Park Polling location by using both sides of the gym for voting," said, Katy Smith, Executive Director of Anderson County Voter Registration. "One side is now the Gluck Mill precinct and the other side will remain the Homeland Park Precinct. Signage will be prominently displayed for voters when entering the polling place to vote.” 

The move came after requests from local citizens that opening the oldl facility on Election Day was a burden. 

Voters will begin receiving their new voter registration card this week with the name change on it.  

If any voter is concerned about where to vote or their voting registration information they may visit the South Carolina Election Commission website at  and click the section titled “Check My Voter Registration”.  Voters may also call the Anderson County Board at 864-260-4035 for more information.


Salvation Army of Anderson Hiring Evening Shelter Monitors

The Salvation Army of Anderson is looking for part-time monitors for the homeless shelter on Tower Street.

The job requires a passion for the homeless, managing residents, paperwork, adminstering medications and breathalyzers. A background check required.

The ministry is hiring for part-time shifts: 6 p.m.-1 a.m. and 1 a.m.- 8 a.m.

Apply here.

"This would be a great part-time opportunity for a retired law enforcement officer," said Breann Szmurlo, Regional Resource Development Director for Salvation Army of the Carolinas. "It would provide them income doing some things they are already familiar with while also adding a level of security to this role."

New Dist. 5 Education Center to Honor "Frog Reames"

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

The work of former Anderson School District Five Educator Carrol Frederick "Frog" Reams will live on in Anderson County.

The C. F. Reames Education Center, which formerly housed the district's career center (the previous site of McDuffie High School with replaced Boys High School at that location), hopes to provide a setting where students and the community can share historical information and remember a school leader who impacted generations.

According to school officials, a new sign should be in place before school begins next week.

The mission of the center is to offer programming for students to learn in non-traditional settings, and will house the Anderson School District Five Charter School, the Bridge Academy and the Personalized Learning Center.

A group of Boys’ High alumni who meet regularly for lunch under the tag line, “Frog’s Boys,” conitnue to remember Reames as an educator who took a strong lead in providing discipline and instilled character into the young men he supervised as principal. These men have kept Reames legacy alive and have become leaders in the Anderson community giving him credit for making “men from boys.”

Mrs. Caroline Tolbert, Reames daughter, has been an unwavering friend and supporter of Anderson School District Five, according to School District Five Superintendent Tom Wilson, who approached her about the project which she "embraced the idea with her usual grace and emotion."

Reames, who died in 1995, was honored by the S.C. Legislature for his lifetime of achievement in education.

Born in Bishopville, Reames attended Furman University and the University of Georgia, and earned his AB degree from Wofford College and his MA degree from the University of South Carolina. He was also conferred a Doctor of Humanities from Wofford College in 1990.

Reames served as director of health and physical education for the Anderson city schools, as well as a teacher, coach and principal at Boys High School from 1927-1962, and was principal of Lakeside Junior High School from 1962 until his retirement in 1969.

A member of South Carolina State Development Board, Reames recognitions include: the Rotary Foundation Paul Harris Fellow; recipient of the Kiwanis Club of Anderson' Citizen of the Year Award; recipient of the Optimist Club of Anderson's Friend of the Boy Appreciation Award; was presented Teacher of the Year Award by the City of Anderson; Life Member Commissioner of the Lee County Soil and Water Conservation Commission and also Anderson Conservation District; former chairman of Administrative board and teacher of the Dick Ligon Bible Class of the St. John's United Methodist Church; past president of the Kiwanis International of Anderson; founder of the C. F. "Frog" Reames Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament.

Reames was also awarded the state's highest civilian honor, the Order of the Palmetto.



Officials: Anderson Institute of Technology "Game Changer"

More than 1,000 students are expected to start the year taking advantage of courses at the new Anderson Institute of Technology. The center will serve Anderson County School Districts Three, Four and Five.

The number is expected to grow quickly as more students become aware of the academic offerings at the center.

The official public opening was Sunday, for the new facility which is a collaborative effort between the public schools, Tri-County Techinical College and industry partners, which inclue Michelin, Bosch and Grainger Nissan.



County Council Vice Chairman Elected to SCAC Board

Anderson County Council Vice Chairman Ray Graham, who represents Council District Three, has been elected to serve a four-year term on the South Carolina Association of Counties (SCAC) Board of Directors. 

“This was a great opportunity to learn from and share ideas with colleagues about what is and is not working in counties across the state,” said Graham. “Having a seat on the SCAC Board of Directors gives Anderson County a voice during discussions of revenue opportunities, legislative proposals, and potential ordinances relevant to Anderson County and the citizens here. This is another opportunity for the citizens of Anderson County to be heard throughout the state and to give them a say in decisions affecting their daily lives and financial resources. We hope this will help bring the best possible solutions for Anderson County.”

Mr. Graham will serve on the Board until his term expires in 2023.

“We in Anderson County were glad to hear of Councilman Graham’s election to the South Carolina Association of Counties Board of Directors," said Anderson County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn. "Since taking office in January 2017, Mr. Graham has hit the ground running, working hard for his constituents, for all of Anderson County, and, now, for all South Carolinians. The growth we continue to experience in Anderson County demands that we are open to new ways of serving our citizens, and we look forward to a renewed and reinvigorated partnership with SCAC through Mr. Graham in his new role.”

The South Carolina Association of Counties is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization, and the only statewide organization representing county government in South Carolina. It is governed by a 29-member Board of Directors, composed of county officials from across South Carolina.  Its membership, which includes all 46 counties, spans the spectrum from predominately urban to rural areas.


Senate Subcommittee to Discuss Education Overhaul Bill

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A small group of South Carolina senators plan to discuss potential changes to a massive bill to overhaul the state's education system.

A Senate subcommittee discussing the bill will meet at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Statehouse. The agenda says they will discuss an amendment to the proposal.

The House passed a 60-page bill backed by Gov. Henry McMaster earlier this year that included a student bill of rights and a new committee to oversee education from pre-kindergarten to universities.

Hembree says he wants to send the bill to the full Senate Education Committee so it can debate and pass it and have the proposal on the Senate floor when lawmakers return for the 2020 session in January.