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Anderson ComiCon Set for Aug. 5 at Library

The Anderson County Library System will host the Third Annual Electric City ComiCon from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. August 5 at the Main Library. The event features young adult authors, comic artists, local authors, vendors, and artisans, a Cosplay contest, food trucks and more. Anderson County Library staffer Dani Lubsen gets the giggles over The Black Knight (from Monty Python) at last year's ComiCon.

This year’s keynote session is at 3:45 p.m., and will feature Marvel artist Sanford Greene, best known for his work on Marvel’s "Power Man" and "Iron Fist" series.  Joining him for a panel at 1 p.m. is "Squirrel Girl" and "Spider Gwen" colorist Rico Renzi, and local artist for the "Flintlock" books, Anthony Summey.  Young adult authors Ryan Graudin ("Wolf By Wolf"), Megan Spooner ("Hunted"), and Alexandra Duncan ("Blight") will talk about their adventures in writing that morning at 11 a,m. Their books will also be available for purchase and signing. 

At 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., the Con will feature "LightSpeed Demos." The morning demonstrations will include "Cosplay with Jo-Ann Fabric," a "Mini Robot Art Session" with J. Chris Campbell, and a discussion of An Abridged History of Anime with Dustin Kopplin.  Afternoon demos feature Hero Training with Heroes in Force, and "Anime through Space and Time" with Dustin Kopplin.

The Cosplay Contest, open to all, is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.  Registration, for both individuals and a groups, is required prior to the contest. 

Partial funding and special assistance for the ComiCon has been provided by Empire Games, the S.C. Arts Commission, the S.C. Humanities Council, Friends of the Anderson County Library, Walmart, Magnolia Veterinary Hospital, Forx Farm, and Dollar Bin Productions.  For more information, visit, email, or call Brianna McDonell at 864-260-4500, ext. 103.


High Court Says Domestic Violence Laws Cover Gay Couples

South Carolina's highest court says people in same-sex relationships should get the same legal protections against domestic violence as heterosexual couples.

The state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a portion of the state's criminal domestic violence statute is unconstitutional. The court had been asked to weigh in after a woman tried to get a protective order against her former fiancée, also a woman, and was denied.

Current law defines "household members" as a spouse, former spouse, people with a child in common, or men and women who are or have lived together. It does not include unmarried same-sex couples.

The Ohio Supreme Court in 2016 adopted the use of gender-neutral references in family court cases. California and Massachusetts proactively changed language in their laws.


Big League World Series in Easley Friday

Baseball players worldwide will head to the Upstate on Friday to celebrate the Senior League Baseball World Series, according to the Easley Chamber of Commerce.

Teams from Asia Pacific, Latin America, and all across the U.S. will compete in the 2017 tournament in Easley.

Community members are encouraged to line the crosswalk leading into the amphitheater to welcome players, coaches, and their families. Team members will be escorted into Old Market Square, located in downtown Easley, to be formally introduced by the country/region they represent.

A free concert will take place from 7:30 - 9:30 p.m. in the outdoor amphitheater featuring "Jack n’ Diane’s Dueling Pianos."

The Clemson University Rally Rats, along with several food vendors will also attend the festivities.

The Senior League Baseball tournament will begin on Saturday at 8 a.m through August 5.

Tickets start at $5 a day or $25 for the entire competition.

Kids ages 5 and under are free.


Senate Rejects Bill to Repeal ACA

The U.S. Senate narrowly voted Tuesday to move ahead with efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act -- with only Republicans supporting the measure -- but hours later rejected a bill that would have accomplished the long-held GOP goal.

The rejected legislation was a modified version of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's Better Care Reconciliation Act, a comprehensive effort to replace the ACA. It needed 60 votes to overcome parliamentary barriers but fell short, with only 43 in favor and 57 opposed, including nine Republicans.

The strong objection to the BCRA, the Senate version of the House's American Health Care Act, by many in McConnell's own party indicates Republicans are still far from a consensus over how to replace the Obama-era law with a more GOP-friendly healthcare bill.

The rejection of McConnell's plan occurred soon after Republicans narrowly won a procedural vote to debate a repeal-and-replace plan -- in which Vice President Mike Pence, the Senate's president, broke a 50-50 tie.

McConnell had scheduled a procedural vote even though it was uncertain what the replacement might look like. The senators voted on proceeding to debate the bill with numerous amendments certain from extremes of the political spectrum.

Voting no on debate were two moderate Republicans -- Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

GOP senators who opposed the latest Senate proposal but backed the procedural motion were Rand Paul of Kentucky, Dean Heller of Nevada, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.


Supply and Demand Pushes Gas Prices Up

Supply and seasonal demand pressures are catching up with U.S. travelers, pushing gas prices up in all but 11 states, motor club AAA reported.

The motor club reported a national average retail price of $2.28 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline on Tuesday, unchanged from the previous day, about 1 percent higher than last week and 5 percent, or 12 cents per gallon, higher than this time last year.

Nation-wide, 39 states reported an increase in prices at the pump over the week, compared with nine states the previous week. The average increase in retail gasoline prices over the last week was the sharpest since before Memorial Day, the first major holiday of the season.

Jeanette Casselano, a spokesperson for AAA, said demand pressures suggest gas prices could remain relatively high for the rest of the summer driving season, which runs through September.

"Demand has remained strong as gasoline stocks dip for a fifth consecutive week, driving up prices at the pump," she said in a statement.


Clemson, Auburn Lead Efforts to Save Worldwide Tiger Populations

Clemson University and Auburn University have joined forces to throw the weight of multiple academic disciplines behind efforts to save wild tiger populations worldwide.

The two universities, along with Louisiana State University and the University of Missouri, are leading the efforts of the newly formed U.S. Tiger University Consortium, so named for the mascots the institutions share.

Brett Wright, dean of the Clemson University College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, the dwindling tiger populations are an issue demanding the attention of land-grant institutions such as those belonging to the consortium. For Wright, the issue should also be central to the many who cheer on their preferred teams on game days.

“Students, faculty and alumni chant ‘Go Tigers’ on a daily basis, but not many know the truth about the animal we hold so dear,” Wright said. “These universities share the tiger mascot and benefit from that majestic symbol of strength, dignity and beauty, so they share a moral responsibility to apply all of our resources to save the animal that inspires that symbol.”

The consortium was initiated by Clemson University President James P. Clements, who also serves on the Global Tiger InitiativeCouncil. This international council made up of business and conservation leaders was formed to assist the Global Tiger Forum save the remaining populations of wild tigers with a goal of doubling tiger numbers in the wild by 2022.

Thanks to the council’s efforts, tiger numbers in 2016 were on the rise for the first time in 100 years, but the work to restore their numbers fully is just getting started. Janaki Alavalapati, dean of the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, said that with more than one university approaching the problem, the odds of success only increase.

“Each of our institutions possess various academic disciplines important to the future of tiger conservation and protection,” Alavalapati said. “This is an obvious example of the need for multi-disciplinary contribution, not just across colleges and departments, but across universities.”

Wright said the consortium will focus on several avenues to achieve its goal, including research that supports evidence-based decision-making by conservation professionals. Participating universities also have planned strategic communications to raise awareness of the worldwide problem with their many stakeholders.

As far as concrete action that can take place in countries where tiger populations are most affected, Wright and Alavalapati hope to create the next generation of conservation leaders through university-supported academic scholarships and assistantships. Participating universities will equip these leaders with means to make direct change where it is needed across the globe. There will also be an emphasis on the application of technology that will allow monitoring and data analysis related to wild tiger populations.

The Global Tiger Forum estimates there are only about 3,900 tigers remaining in the wild. According to Keshav Varma, chief operating office of the Global Tiger Initiative Council, the reasons for dwindling populations are varied. Major issues include deterioration of the tigers’ natural habitats and poaching, which affects the 13 countries in which tiger populations remain.

Two-thirds of the world’s tigers live in India, where numbers have increased during the past five years thanks to anti-poaching patrols and sustainable tourism initiatives. However, with other countries such as China, Vietnam and Laos reporting numbers in the single digits, the need for direct intervention is more dire than ever.

“Each of the 13 tiger range countries now has a recovery plan in place, which is a better situation than we were in even five years ago,” Wright said. “The consortium is committed to supporting these national programs through training and research, and the work is already well under way.”

Members of the U.S. Tiger University Consortium and the Global Tiger Initiative Council will convene for a meeting in Clemson on Sept. 8 and 9 to discuss progress and next steps.


AU Gets $200,000 Grant to Help Rocky River Cleanup

Anderson University has received a grant of $200,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency to aid in the further development of the Rocky River Nature Park adjacent to campus. The funds will be used to clean up an industrial site (known as the Seabrook facility), which abuts the Rocky River wetlands.

The University has partnered with the Rocky River Conservancy, Upstate Forever and others in the development of the natural wetlands into a nature park and environmental education facility for the community. Whatever funds from the grant that are not needed for the cleanup of the Seabrook facility will be used for community outreach and education regarding the Rocky River.

“EPA is committed to working with communities to redevelop Brownfields sites which have plagued their neighborhoods. EPA’s Assessment and Cleanup grants target communities that are economically disadvantaged and include places where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "These grants leverage considerable infrastructure and other investments, improving local economies and creating an environment where jobs can grow. I am very pleased the President’s budget recognizes the importance of these grants by providing continued funding for this important program.”


Hot Days Can Pose Health Risks

The long, hot days of summer can bring dangerously high temperatures. The American Red Cross has steps people can follow to stay safe when it’s hot outside. 

HOT CARS CAN BE DEADLY Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees. Other heat safety steps include:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol. 
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes. 
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays. 
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day. 
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities. 
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors. 
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat. 
  • Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water.
  • If someone doesn’t have air conditioning, they should choose places to go to for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day (schools, libraries, theaters, malls).
  • HEAT EXHAUSTION Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes.  

    If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number. 

    HEAT STROKE LIFE-THREATENING. Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice. 

    For more information on what to do when temperatures rise, download the free Red Cross Emergency App. The app also gives users the option to receive alerts for excessive heat watches, warnings and heat advisories.


    S.C. To Require Psychological Testing for Law Enforcement

    Becoming a law enforcement officer in South Carolina will require psychological testing under a new requirement aimed at weeding out people not suitable for the job.

    The board that oversees the state's Criminal Justice Academy voted unanimously Wednesday to mandate the screening for all aspiring officers. Starting Jan. 1, all law enforcement agencies' potential new hires must bring proof of the testing to enroll for training.

    Academy director Jackie Swindler says psychological screening is already standard for the 59 agencies in South Carolina that are either state or nationally accredited. But there are nearly 300 law enforcement agencies statewide.

    Legislators provided $550,400 for the tests in the budget that took effect July 1. That will be used to reimburse agencies, up to $300 per screening.


    Anderson Unemployment Rate Jumps to 4 Percent in June

    Even though every county in the stage posted increases in unemployment, South Carolina's jobless rate has fallen to its lowest level in more than 16 years.  The Department of Employment and Workforce said Friday that South Carolina's unemployment rate was 4 percent in June.

    Anderson County jumped again in June, up to 4.0 percent, an increase from the 3.4 in May. Out of a workforce of 90,282, 86,725 were employed, leaving 3,567 without work.

    State officials say the number of unemployed people in South Carolina dropped in June to 91,710, the lowest that figure has been since February 2001. Manufacturing, professional and business services and education and health services jobs grew by a combined 2,700 positions over the month.

    Nationally, unemployment increased from 4.3 percent in May to 4.4 percent in June.


    Poll: Those Who Say Abortion Immoral, Don't Want it Illegal

    Most Americans who find the abortion procedure to be immoral also do not believe it should be illegal, according to Gallup.

    In an analysis published Thursday, Gallup examined data compiled from surveys conducted 2013–2017 and found that while nearly half of Americans view abortion as immoral, only one in five want it to be illegal.

    "That means that almost three in 10 Americans have the combination of attitudes that is our primary focus: viewing abortion as morally wrong but at the same time believing it should remain legal (at least in some circumstances)," noted Gallup.

    KINNEY)Democratic vice presidential running mate and former Virginia governor Tim Kaine giving remarks at the Progressive National baptist Convention, Inc. annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana on Thursday, August 11, 2016.

    "Americans are often more likely to view behaviors as morally wrong than they are to advocate that these behaviors be made illegal. This underscores a general tendency for Americans to hesitate before deciding that banning an action is appropriate."

    Gallup also found that only 2 percent of respondents in the survey held the opposite opinion "that abortion is morally acceptable but should be illegal."

    "Apparently, once Americans have decided that abortion is morally OK, there is little question in their minds that it should be legal," continued Gallup.

    "About four in 10 Americans hold the consistent beliefs that abortion is morally acceptable and should be legal. Almost two in 10 Americans are consistent in the other direction -- saying that abortion is morally wrong and should be illegal."FREE SIGN UP CP NEWSLETTER!In political circles, there have been many politicians, especially Catholic Democrats, who have said they personally oppose abortion but refuse to champion legislation to restrict it.

    For example, former Democratic vice presidential hopeful Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia professed this position in an interview with CNN last year.

    "I have a traditional Catholic personal position, but I am very strongly supportive that women should make these decisions and government shouldn't intrude," said Kaine in July 2016.

    "I'm a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade and women being able to make these decisions. In government, we have enough things to worry about. We don't need to make people's reproductive decisions for them."

    Others, including Catholic Bishop William Murphy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, took issue with such a reasoning and called on the faithful to not vote for such candidates.

    "Support of abortion by a candidate for public office, some of whom are Catholics, even if they use the fallacious and deeply offensive 'personally opposed but ...' line, is reason sufficient unto itself to disqualify any and every such candidate from receiving our vote," wrote Bishop Murphy last October.

    "Which ones will recognize and respect the role of religion in the lives of citizens and the Church's right to mediate the truths of the Gospel and the Church's teaching as part of the public life of our country, in public ministries like health care, education and charitable works, without being forced to adopt and facilitate those cultural practices that are not consonant with Church teaching?"


    Event to Honor Former Geer-Gantt High School Significance

    Former students of Geer-Gantt High School and community leaders will hold a dedication ceremony Saturday at 11 a.m. at Honea Path Middle School. The event is on the site of the former school, and will feature the dedication of a permanent marker, a banner and a showcase of trophies won by the former African-American High School in Belton. 

    Anderson County School Distict Two Superintendent Richard Rosenberger will join organizers of the event in the celebration.

    The public is invited. 

    Geer-Gantt High School won state football and basketball titles in the 1968-1969 season.

    Geer-Gantt High School was closed down after that year of championships.  By fall of 1970, all South Carolina schools were desegregated and Geer-Gantt was integrated into Belton-Honea Path High School.


    Library to Host Christian Fiction Writer July 28

    The Anderson County Public Library’s Youth Services Department will host Christian fiction writer Caroline George at the main Anderson County Library in Anderson on July 28 at 7 p.m. George is the author of The Prime Way Trilogy and The Vestige, which is being released this month.  Books will be available for sale and signing.Caroline George

    Told at 15 that she was too young to get a book published, George decided to learn how to do it herself.  Since then, she has refined her writing and continued to learn about the publishing world, creating a body of work that is getting noticed. She is a two-time Georgia Author of the Year nominee and writes for the teen magazine PURSUE. George’s plot-driven blend of suspense, science fiction, and romance have made her Prime Way trilogy a big hit with teens and adults.  Her newest, The Vestige, is an exploration of another “world gone wrong” scenario that tests humanity.  

    George’s visit to the Anderson Library is part of the Library’s ongoing Story-Lines series. Story-Lines includes programs that allow audiences to discuss books with the author, and author-led workshops that relate skills and techniques.