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Friday
Nov172017

AnMed Recognized for Work with S.C. Vocational Rehab

AnMed Health has been recognized by the Sout Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Association for their status as valued business partner of Vocational Rehab’s Anderson office and for their work as a host site for the internationally recognized Project SEARCH school-to-work transition program. Project SEARCH is a business-led model that includes a collaborative effort between school districts, VR and other partners. AnMed provides real-life work experience to help youth with significant disabilities successfully transition from school to adult life.

The partnership between AnMed Health and VR has resulted in ten VR clients being hired into career opportunities since the beginning of 2017.

Friday
Nov172017

Anderson County Jobles Rate Holds Steady in October

Anderson County's unemployment followed the overall trend in South Carolina's jobless rate remaining unchanged for October. Anderson's rate held at 3.5 percent.

The Department of Employment and Workforce said in a news release Friday the unemployment rate in the state was 3.9 percent, unchanged from September.

The national unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent in October compared with 4.2 percent in September.

The agency said the leisure and hospitality segment added more than 4,500 jobs in October. Professional and business services added more than 3,500 jobs.

The manufacturing segment lost about 2,200 jobs in October. Trade, transportation and utilities lost 800 jobs.

Fairfield County had the highest rate at 9.4 percent. South Carolina Electric and Gas Co. and the state-owned utility Santee Cooper abandoned construction of two nuclear reactors in Fairfield County earlier this year.

Charleston County had the lowest rate at 3.1 percent.

Friday
Nov172017

Public Works: Be Care What you Put Down Drains 

Anderson County Public Works Department is asking citizens to be careful what they put down the drain.

Officials say disposing of cooking fats, oils and grease will build up in your service line eventually causing a clog. The grease will also build up in Anderson County wastewater sewer mains and the pump stations, requiring  them to be cleaned more often to prevent problems. 

There is alreay an Anderson County Wastewater Sewer Use Ordinance which prohibits the disposal of fats, oils and grease into the sewer system, but it is obviously difficult to enforce. For more information, contact Anderson County Public Works at (864) 260-4000.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control also offers recommendations and suggestions for helping ease and/or prevent this problem here www.scdhec.gov/library/CR-009555.pdf

Friday
Nov172017

Cities, Towns Worried about GOP Tax Reform Plans

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - From Pataskala, Ohio, to Conroe, Texas, local government leaders worry that if Republican tax-overhaul plans moving through the U.S. Congress become law, it will be harder for them to pave streets, put out fires, fight crime and pay teachers. 

House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) looks on during a news conference announcing the passage of the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

A tax plan approved by the House of Representatives on Thursday would sharply curtail a federal deduction that millions of Americans can now claim for tax payments to state, county, city and town governments. 

Ending that deduction, the local leaders say, could make their taxpayers, especially in high-tax communities, less likely to support future local tax increases or even tolerate local taxes at present levels. 

The proposed repeal of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction is part of an “assault on local governments” by Republicans in Washington, said Elizabeth Kautz, the Republican mayor of Burnsville, Minnesota, near Minneapolis. 

“My hope is that we look at being thoughtful about what we’re doing and not ram something through just to get something done before the year is out,” Kautz said of the plan being rushed through Congress by her own party. 

In the United States, local governments run schools, operate police and fire departments and maintain streets, parks and libraries, among other essential services. The federal government’s role at that level is limited. 

Cities, towns, counties and states collect their own property, sales and income taxes. Under existing law, payments of those taxes can be deducted, or subtracted from federal taxable income, lowering the amount of federal tax due. 

The House tax bill just approved would eliminate the deduction for individuals and families of state and local income and sales tax, while capping property tax deductions at $10,000.

More here

Friday
Nov172017

CDC Wants Americans to Eat More Fruit & Vegetables

THURSDAY, Nov. 16, 2017 -- Fruits and vegetables can be delicious andnutritious -- but too many Americans are still passing them by, a new report finds.

Just 9 percent of adults eat enough vegetables and only 12 percent get the recommended amount of fruit daily, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vitamins, minerals, fiber and other good stuff in fruits and vegetables can help ward off heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and obesity.

But just one in 10 adults is eating more fruits and vegetables than recommended in the government's 2015-2020 dietary guidelines.

How much is enough? One-and-a-half to two cups of fruit, or its equivalent, and two to three cups of vegetables daily.

Men fare worse than women on the fruits-and-veggies scorecard. And by age, young adults, aged 18 to 30, are less inclined to eat their greens, broccoli and bananas than older folks.

"Continued efforts are needed to identify and address barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption," wrote researchers led by Seung Hee Lee-Kwan, of the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

High cost and limited availability may prevent some Americans from following the guidelines. Also, the misperception that vegetables and fruits require extra prep time could put some people off, the study authors said.

Actually, for vegetables, often the simplest preparation is the best, a New York registered dietitian said.

"There are few vegetables that you can't cut up, drizzle with olive oil, season with a little salt and herbs, and roast in an oven or toaster-oven," said Stephanie Schiff, of Northwell Health's Huntington Hospital. "They will be delicious."

For the new report, the CDC used data from a 2015 national survey to update 2013 findings. Participants were asked how many times in the previous month they ate 100-percent fruit juice; whole fruit; dried beans; dark green vegetables; orange vegetables; and other vegetables.

States reported significant differences, with fruit intake at a low of 7 percent in West Virginia and a high of almost 16 percent in Washington, D.C. Vegetable consumption was even lower -- ranging from about 6 percent in West Virginia to 12 percent in Alaska.

All socioeconomic groups scored poorly. However, the wealthiest Americans were more likely than others to meet vegetable requirements, the investigators found.

Schiff said buying fruits and vegetables in season -- like apples in the fall -- can cut costs. "And if fresh fruits and vegetables aren't available, frozen or canned can be just as good," she said.

"Frozen vegetables are picked at their peak ripeness, and are a wonderful option," said Schiff, who wasn't involved in the research.

By eating fruits and vegetables in different colors, especially dark colors, you can take full advantage of the antioxidants plants have to offer, she noted. Antioxidants can protect cells and help ward off conditions such as heart disease and cancer, she added.

Thursday
Nov162017

Sen. Scott Among Sponsors of Gun Database Bill

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's Tim Scott is among the sponsors of bipartisan legislation to ensure federal agencies and state governments accurately report relevant criminal history to the FBI's database of prohibited gun buyers.

The Republican senator is one of more than half a dozen sponsors of the "Fix NICS Act," which would penalize federal agencies that fail to properly report required records. It also rewards states that comply by providing them with federal grant preferences.

The measure comes after the Air Force failed to report the criminal history of the gunman who slaughtered more than two dozen at a Texas church. The Air Force has acknowledged Devin P. Kelley should have had his name and domestic violence conviction submitted to the National Criminal Information Center database.

Thursday
Nov162017

Columbia Mayor Wants to Ban "Bump Stocks," "Trigger Cranks"

Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina, said he plans to introduce a city ordinance that would ban "bump stocks and trigger cranks" like the ones used in the deadly Las Vegas massacre last month.

“I believe in responsible gun ownership, and I believe in common sense,” Benjamin said in a statement announcing the ordinance on Wednesday. “That’s why I’ve decided to do what our federal and state governments are either unable or unwilling to do.

“The simple fact is that automatic weapons have been illegal in this country for more than 30 years, and the only purpose these devices serve is to circumvent that law multiplying firing rates tenfold to approximately 400-800 rounds per minute and turning a semi-automatic firearm into a mass murder machine,” he added. 

He did not layout a timeline for the ordinance, but he is set to hold a news conference at 3 p.m. Thursday to provide more details on the plan.

Benjamin's statement echoed similar ones made by some South Carolina legislatures who have advocated for a statewide ban.

Earlier this month, South Carolina Reps. Leon Stavrinakis, Michael Sottile and Gary Clary said they had drafted a bill to ban bump stocks for the legislature to consider when it reconvenes in January. Stavrinakis is a Democrat, while Sottile and Clary are Republicans.

Graphic: Bbump stocks that can make a semi-automatic weapon mimic an automatic weapon. AP

Graphic: "Bbump stocks" that can make a semi-automatic weapon mimic an automatic weapon.

"Simply put, the use of bump stocks is a loophole that allows legal firearms to replicate illegal ones," Stavrinakis said in a press release last month when he announced the forthcoming bill. "As we have so unfortunately now learned, in the wrong hands, bump stocks can be a tool for mass murder.

"These devices can turn our community into a killing field where neither civilians nor law enforcement has a chance in the line of fire."

Thursday
Nov162017

Perry Noble to Start New Church in Anderson

Perry Noble has officially confirmed his plans to launch Second Chance Church in Anderson, though exactly when has yet to be determined.

Noble, founder and former pastor of Newspring Church, wrote on his Facebook account, as part of a post titled "Has The Church Let You Down?":

"While the details of Second Chance Church are taking place I will continue to serve as CEO and President of The Growth Company...which allows me to partner with local churches in order to help them have maximum impact on their community and the world.

(Lots of awesome announcements regarding some of the new things we are doing are coming soon!)

Second Chance will begin in Anderson, SC - and there is no start date as of yet. I have yet to hire a staff (sorta hard to do with no salary to offer) - and there isn’t a team of volunteers or a physical location as of yet...but there will be in due time! Will there be other campuses? I hope so!"

Noble, who led Newspring Church from a small Wednesday night bible study of less than a dozen to one of the largest megachurches in the country with more than 33,000 in attendance each week, was asked to leave Newspring in 2016 after struggles with alcohol were revealed. Noble entered rehab for this problem last summer and has been a business and church consultant over the past year.

Meanwhile, relations with his former church have been strained, and Newspring attendance has dropped by roughly half across the 15 statewide campuses since that time.

Thursday
Nov162017

School Dist. 1 Boasts Top Graduation Rate in 2016

Anderson County School District One’s state report card release shows the graduation rates above 90 percent for the fourth year in a row. In 2014, the graduation rate was 90.8 percent, in 2015 it rose to 92.0 pecent, in 2016 it was 93.1 pecent, and 2017 it was 91.9 pecent.

Statewide, the four-year graduation rate for 2016 is 82.6 percent, according to the South Carolina Department of Education School Report Cards for the year. Full information on each district can be found at their site.

For 2016, Anderson County School District Five posted a graduation rate of 80.9 percent, District Four 87.9 percent, District Three 89.3 percent and District Two 86.7 percent.

Anderson School District Five Superintendent Tom Wilson said his district is making steady progress.

"While we are definitely not where we want to be, we are proud of the increase at each of our schools," said Wilson. "Going back to 2013 we have made substantial gains across the board, but even going back only a couple of years show a methodical improvement. Particularly notable is the increase in graduation rate at the Charter School, going from 67% to 83% in two years. Now more than ever it is important to not only have students graduate, but to have them graduate as prepared adults ready to enter the workforce or to continue their education. In regards to McCants, we have had no movement on the land."

“The graduation rate is a  most accurate and important measure of a school district's educational success," said Anderson One Superintendent, David Havird. "As the record indicates, teachers and educators in Anderson District One have worked tirelessly to support students in their graduation plans and have been fully committed to their acquiring of a high school diploma. We salute and celebrate our students success and the dedication of teachers, staff and school leadership that accomplished this important goal.”

Thursday
Nov162017

Ram Truck Fishing Championship Set for Green Pond in 2018

The 2018 Ram Trucks American Fishing Tour Championship, presented by American Bass Anglers, will be hosted by the Anderson Convention & Visitors Bureau Oct. 21-26, 2018, at Green Pond Landing and Event Center on Harwell Lake. The onsite registration and dinner os scheduled for Oct. 23, 2018. 

Since opening in December 2014, Green Pond Landing has hosted the ABA Ray Scott Championship, the ABA American Fishing Tour National Championship, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic as well as the Wal-Mart FLW Tour. Anderson provides a multitude of lodging and dining options close to Green Pond Landing for the competitors, as well as many activities for the families and participating anglers. The competitors will fish the 56,000-acre lake along the Savannah and Tugaloo Rivers, which spans part of the South Carolina-Georgia border.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to have the ABA AFT Championship back in Anderson County, Green Pond Landing and Lake Hartwell after hosting such a memorable championship in October 2015, where a local angler won the championship in a borrowed truck and boat," said Neil Paul, Executive Director of Visit Anderson. "The AFT Championship was the first ABA event that we hosted at Green Pond Landing. In hosting the AFT Championship, we found the participants made a significant economic impact to our community in addition to being able to enjoy our great facilities and our championship lake. Since that successful event in 2015, we have been very grateful of the relationship we have with the great team at ABA. Our community continues to be very supportive of fishing and with the commitment that Anderson County has made to improving Green Pond Landing, we expect to raise the bar on the service that our guests experience each time they visit Anderson County.”

The event is open to anglers that are in the top 500 points standings nationally. There will be three new Triton Boats with Mercury Outboards, Garmin electronics, T-H Marine products, and Carlisle Tires included as prizes for winning anglers from the more than 30 states expected to qualify for this event.

“Returning to Lake Hartwell is always a pleasure and our anglers 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 Anderson County area information, call the Anderson County Convention & Visitors Bureau at (864) 716-3660 or visit www.andersoncountysc.org For more information on this tournament, call ABA at 256-232-0406 or see www.AmericanBassAnglers.com.

Wednesday
Nov152017

Senate At Odds Over Proposed Changes to Tax Reform Bill

Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Republican and Democratic Senators clashed over changes made to the Senate's proposed tax reform bill during a markup session Wednesday.

Democrats, including Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, criticized Republicans' attempt to include a repeal of the requirement that all uninsured Americans purchase coverage under the Affordable Care Act as well as permanent tax cuts for corporations but temporary tax cuts for individuals.

"This bill seems to get worse by the hour," Wyden said. "This is not just another garden variety attack on the Affordable Care Act, this is a repeal of that law."

Senate finance committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, released the newest details of the plan late Tuesday, saying, "we not only ease the financial burdens already associated with the mandate, but also generate additional revenue to provide more tax relief to individuals."

"We'll hear claims that the inclusion of the individual mandate tax relief is some kind of process foul and that we've somehow expanded the scope of the markup by including it in the modification," Hatch said. "As we reiterated several times yesterday, the individual mandate is a tax."

Loss of the mandate would save more than $300 billion over 10 years, but would leave 13 million Americans without health insurance by 2027, the Congressional Budget Office said in an analysis this month. It could win the support of the GOP's most conservative senators and ensure approval in a Senate vote along party lines.

This week, President Donald Trump called on Congress to include the mandate in its tax overhaul. The Senate's version accomplishes the GOP's goal of ending the mandate by 2019, as well as further lowering some of the individual tax rates.

Still under discussion, though, are the fate of child tax credit figures, 529 savings plans for children born before 2026 and other features that would need to be reconciled with a House version of the legislation, which does not address the ACA mandate.

Under the Senate's version of the bill, the tax changes for individuals expire in 2025, although modifications for businesses are permanent.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., spoke in opposition of the tax package, saying it unfairly benefits corporations by providing permanent tax cuts while leaving out "pass-through entities" such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies and S Corporations, whose owners pay taxes through individual returns and at individual income-tax rates.

"I have no problems in making all American businesses competitive globally," Johnson said. "This isn't anti-big corporation at all. When you're going to do a tax reform, you have to treat them equitably so they can maintain their competitive position here at home as we're making them competitive globally."

Johnson said he refuses to vote for the tax package, jeopardizing Republicans' chances of passing the measure as they can lose no more than two votes without receiving additional votes from Democrats.

"If they can pass it without me, let them," he said. "I'm not going to vote for this tax package."

Wednesday
Nov152017

Williamston Councilman Wants to Allow Guns in Park

From WHNS Reports

There's a sign posted at the front of Mineral Springs Park in Williamston that says "No Weapons Allowed" but Williamston Town Council member Rockey Burgess doesn't believe that sign would stop a criminal from striking.

"I think it's pretty obvious that those who intend to harm to others could care less whether there's a sign there or ordinance, or even a state statute that prohibits firearms," said Burgess.

In a post of Facebook, Burgess shared a draft of an ordinance that would get rid of signs like that one at Mineral Springs Park. 

In short, it says all CWP holders should be able to carry weapons on certain town properties such as parks.

"Unless otherwise prohibited by South Carolina state statute, any town property is not off limits to lawful CWP holders," said Burgess.

For Williamston Police Chief Tony Taylor and Training Officer Jody Culbertson said two concerns pop up, training and liability. 

"What would happen if there is an accidental discharge and some child is hurt during an accidental discharge? We have events with alcohol, could there be liability issues. Those are some of the things we want to look at when it comes to this ordinance," said Chief Taylor.

Culbertson said unlike officers who retrain every year, in South Carolina CWP holders only have to attend one 6-8 hour training class to legally carry and they can renew without training every three years. 

"Shooting is a perishable skill. If you do not train with it, you lose those skills. CWP holders aren't put under stress situations, they're not taught to shoot in lo-vi conditions, they're not taught weapon retention," said Culbertson.

Meanwhile Burgess, who is a former Anderson County deputy, said he believes allowing people to carry could save lives. 

"I'd much rather have the good guys carrying in addition to the bad guys who are going to carry anyway," said Burgess.

However, Culbertson fears that if tragedy did strike at a place like a park, having CWP holder's armed could hurt rather than help the situation. 

Full Story Here

Wednesday
Nov152017

S.C. Secretary of State Releases "Angels and Scrooges List"

From WIS Report

South Carolina Secretary of State Mark Hammond has unveiled the annual Scrooges and Angels list Wednesday morning. The event highlights the charities worth giving to this time of year versus those whose who aren't necessarily worth giving to.

"Angels" are charities that make sure most of their money goes directly to the people they're working to help. "Scrooges" are organizations that use most of their money on administrative costs and other things.

The Angels honored represent organizations that exemplify charitable giving in South Carolina.  Representatives from all organizations were in attendance to receive a plaque and recognition from Secretary Hammond. The Angels recognized, with the percentage of their expenditures that went toward their program services, are listed below. 

Those recognized are listed in alphabetical order, and are NOT ranked by the Secretary of State.

  • Chapin We Care Center, Chapin, SC   93.4%                                   
  • Christmas Is For Kids, Gaffney, SC   99.7%
  • Friends of the Animal Shelter, Inc., Aiken, SC   83.9%
  • Golden Corner Food Pantry, Seneca, SC   91.3%
  • Help 4 Kids Florence, Florence, SC   97.4%
  • JumpStart South Carolina, Spartanburg, SC   91.0%
  • Meals on Wheels of Horry County, Inc., Surfside Beach, SC   97.7%
  • Operation Sight, Mount Pleasant, SC   87.5%
  • Project Hope Foundation, Inc., Greenville, SC   95.4%
  • Samaritan’s Purse, Boone, NC   87.8%
  • The Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, Hilton Head Island, SC   93.4%

As of last year, Secretary Hammond included both charities and professional fundraisers in the list of Scrooges.  The designation of Scrooge is based upon a charitable organization’s failure to spend a high percentage of its total expenditures on charitable programs, or a professional fundraiser’s failure to remit a significant amount of its gross receipts to the charity for which it solicits.  The organizations designated as this year’s Scrooges are listed below, along with the percentage of expenditures used for program services or percentage of gross receipts remitted. 

The charitable organizations and professional fundraisers recognized are listed in alphabetical order and are NOT ranked by the Secretary of State.

Charitable Organizations

  • American Association of State Troopers, Inc., Tallahassee, FL   15.5%
  • American Veterans Foundation, Sarasota, FL   8.3%
  • Childhood Leukemia Foundation, Inc., Brick, NJ    19.6%
  • Firefighters Support Foundation Inc., Greenfield, MA   6.8%
  • Honor Bound Foundation, Inc., Darien, CT   29.7%
  • Melanoma International Foundation, Glenmoore, PA   33.9%
  • Project Cure, Inc., Bradenton, FL   24.6%
  • United Cancer Support Foundation, Knoxville, TN   3.7%

Professional Fundraisers

  • Hal. E. Erwin, Bingo Promoter d/b/a Paradise Amusements, LLC, Chapin, SC   3.2%
  • Truck, Trailer & Equipment Sales, Inc., Summerville, SC   6.1%

“The Secretary of State’s Office is responsible for enforcing the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act, and has recognized Scrooges and Angels for the past 22 years,” said Secretary Hammond.  “As the holidays approach, people are reminded to open their hearts and help those in need.  Recognizing Scrooges and Angels not only promotes accountability and transparency to charitable donors but also acknowledges and extends gratitude to the charities that uplift our communities.  I encourage all South Carolinians to continue to give generously, but to always research charities and professional fundraisers before they give.” 

Charitable donors may research organizations registered in South Carolina by visiting the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.sc.gov.  

To review an organization, select the Charity Search button to learn a charity’s total revenue, program expenses, total expenses, net assets, and fundraiser costs.  The website even calculates the percentage of total expenses that the charity has devoted to its program services. You can also call our Division of Public Charities at 1-888-CHARITI (242-7484) for more information.