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Wednesday
Nov152017

Clemson House Implosion Set for Dec. 3

At 8:30 a.m. Dec. 3, a series of small explosions will pulverize columns on the first, third and fifth floors of the Clemson House at Clemson University, and what remains of the building will collapse as it succumbs to gravity.

Windows, exterior bricks and materials that might produce dust have been removed from the Clemson House building.

On the morning of the implosion, Clemson University and city of Clemson safety officials will restrict access to an “exclusion zone” around the building. This area borders Highway 93 on the south and southwest and Sherman Street on the west, and includes an area north of Daniel Drive and the Douthit Hills construction site to the east. Traffic on Highway 93 and Daniel Drive will be stopped a few minutes before and after the implosion. Once the “all clear” is given, traffic may resume.

The exclusion zone has been established for safety. It indicates an area where persons are not to be outside of their building during the implosion to ensure they are not exposed to noise levels that could exceed OSHA regulations.

Neuber Environmental Services Inc., the general contractor, has stripped the building of material to help minimize dust when the building comes down. The windows have been removed along with drywall and exterior bricks. Portable water misters will be on site to spray the dust cloud, which should dissipate in minutes. Neuber will also begin sweeping the adjacent streets after the “all clear.”

There will be no parking within that exclusion zone after 4:30 p.m. Friday, Dec 1. Once the streets are cleaned after the implosion, parking will be permitted in the area. North Palmetto Boulevard will remain closed to parking and vehicle traffic due to the College of Business building project.

The best view of the implosion will be online, where it will be streamed live at Clemson.edu/tv/live. It also will be online at http://www.clemson.edu/webcams/?q=business. For spectators who want to watch in person, a good vantage point is parking lots R7 and R8, which are off Martin Street east of the building and north of Daniel Drive.

Built in 1950, the Clemson House began as a hotel and later became a residential and office facility.  In recent years, it had become the most expensive housing building to operate and it would be cost-prohibitive to renovate and bring up to current standards. Its iconic neon sign was taken down earlier this year and has been placed in storage.

The building site eventually will become a green space and parking area.

There will be a community outreach meeting at 5 p.m. Nov. 27 in the Bellsouth Auditorium of the Madren Conference Center on campus to provide information about the implosion.

Wednesday
Nov152017

ACA Signups Up Nearly 50 Percent in 2017

Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Signups in 39 states this month for the Affordable Care Act increased at least 47 percent over the same period last year, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In a weekly update posted Wednesday, the agency reported enrollment under the ACA reached almost 1.5 million people during the first 11 days of enrollment -- including 876,788 in the second week.

Of the total so far, 345,719 are new customers since enrollment began Nov. 1.

During the first two weeks last year, the number was 1,008,218. Total enrollment for coverage this year was 12.2 million people.

The federal exchange sells individual plans in the states that do not operate their own ACA marketplaces.

California, the largest state-run exchange, reported enrollments on the first day of signups increased 25 percent from last year.

The Trump administration has cut the signup period in half compared with previous years and has slashed budgets for Affordable Care Act outreach, called Navigators, to $36 million and advertising by 90 percent.

People without insurance for 2018 are subject to a tax penalty of $695 per adult, or 2.5 percent of household income. Many uninsured can avoid the penalty if they qualify for an exemption.

Senate Republicans hope to eliminate the individual mandate as part of their tax reform bill. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated about 13 million fewer Americans would have insurance over a decade without the mandate.

Loss of the mandate, though, would save over $338 billion over 10 years.

Enrollment for ACA coverage runs through Dec. 15.

Wednesday
Nov152017

S.C. Reports First Flu Death in Upstate

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina health officials have confirmed the state's first flu-related death this flu season.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control said Tuesday the death happened in the Upstate.

Last flu season, more than four dozen people died of the flu in South Carolina. State health officials say those at greatest risk are young children, pregnant women, people 65 years or older and those with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease.

DHEC urges anyone over six months old to get the flu vaccine every year.

Wednesday
Nov152017

S.C. House Bill Aims to Avoid Future Problems Like Nuclear Fiasco

South Carolina lawmakers are moving forward on proposals to shake up state laws and boards that enabled the nuclear fiasco that has cost ratepayers billions.

Media outlets report a House panel Tuesday unanimously approved six bills designed to limit how much more the state's power customers must pay for a now-closed reactor project co-funded by South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. and state-owned utility Santee Cooper.

The utilities had already collected $2 billion from ratepayers on behalf of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station project when they abandoned it in July. In introducing the bills last week, House Speaker Jay Lucas said they would "gut existing laws" that allowed such charges before the reactors were complete.

Lawmakers, state and federal authorities and Wall Street regulators are probing the failed project.

Wednesday
Nov152017

Georgia Students Win $3M Settlement after Drug Sweep

Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Georgia high school students who sued their local sheriff over a school-wide drug search won a $3 million settlement from the county Tuesday.

The Southern Center for Human Rights, which filed the federal lawsuit against the Worth County Sheriff's Department earlier this year on behalf of the students, said their "voices have been heard."

"Their rights were violated on April 14, and they took the steps to ensure that these illegal searches would not go unnoticed," said SCHR attorney Crystal Redd, according to the Daily Report.

On that date, Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby approved a drug sweep of the high school and deputies put the entire school of nearly 900 students on lockdown to conduct a school-wide, physical search without a warrant or probable cause. No drugs or paraphernalia was found.

"This settlement is a victory for the hundreds of Worth County students whose constitutional rights were violated," said Mark Begnaud, an attorney for one of the students.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal suspended Hobby this week after he was indicted on two charges of false imprisonment, one count of sexual battery and one charge of violating his oath of office.

Hobby has denied any criminal wrongdoing.

Each Worth County High School student will receive between $1,000 and $6,000, but students who attorneys say suffered more invasive violations will receive higher amounts.

Hobby's attorney, Raleigh Rollins, said the settlement will be paid through the county's insurance policy rather than directly from public funds.

Wednesday
Nov152017

Boston Bluegrass Band Set for Clemson Benefit Concert

The Boston-based band Mile Twelve Bluegrass Badn will present a concert to benefit the local charity Helping Hands Thursday, at 300 Frontage Road, Clemson. Doors at 6:30 p.m., music at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Winners of the 2017 IBMA band Momentum Award,  Mile Twelve captures the many shades of bluegrass, bringing their music to The Southeast States this fall. 

Tuesday
Nov142017

Extension Service Offers Food Safety Tips for Holidays

CLEMSON – Enjoying delicious meals with family and friends is something many people will do during the holiday season, but are you prepping your meals in a way that ensures you’re not creating a food disaster?

Food safety experts with Clemson’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences’ Cooperative Extension Service can help you avoid spreading foodborne illnesses while creating holiday cheer.

1. Continuously wash your hands and keep them clean

People underestimate the importance of simply washing their hands the correct way, said Kimberly Baker, state consumer food safety program coordinator.

“Unwashed hands cause most foodborne illnesses so it is important for people who are preparing food to always keep their hands clean,” Baker said. “Wash hands in hot soapy water and rub them together for 20 seconds after touching raw meat, poultry or seafood, as well as before handling ready-to-eat foods.”

Baker also advises when handling raw meat, don’t forget to thoroughly clean your hands around and under your fingernails.

“This is sometimes a forgotten area where raw meat or juices can hide,” she said.

After washing, use a clean cloth towel or paper towel to thoroughly dry hands.

2. Be aware of cross-contamination

Keeping counters and equipment clean is important in helping prevent cross-contamination, said Adair Hoover, Extension food safety and nutrition agent.

“Wash cutting boards, knives, utensils and countertops in hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before going on to the next one,” Hoover said. “Use one cutting board for raw meat, poultry or seafood and a different cutting board for ready-to-eat foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, sanitize cutting boards and other surfaces that have been in contact with raw meat, poultry or seafood.”

To sanitize kitchen items, Hoover recommends immersing them in a solution of 2 tablespoons of liquid, unscented, chlorine bleach per gallon of warm, not hot, water and leave for several minutes. Plastic cutting boards also can be sanitized in a dishwasher using the wash and dry cycle.

Sanitize non-metal kitchen sponges by placing those that are still wet in a microwave oven for one minute. Avoid burns by allowing the sponge to cool before using it. You can also put them through the wash and dry cycle of a dishwasher.

Use paper towels to clean up raw meat and poultry spills on kitchen counters and other surfaces. If cloth towels are used, do not reuse them if they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry juices until the towels are washed using the hot cycle of the washing machine and dried in the dryer.

Thoroughly wash cutting boards with hot soapy water after each use. They should be sanitized occasionally by using 1 ½ teaspoons of liquid chlorine bleach per one quart of water. Flood the surface with the bleach solution and let it stand for several minutes. Dry fully before using. It’s important to replace battered cutting boards. Once they become excessively worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves, they should be discarded.

3. Make sure food is fully cooked

Use food thermometers to make sure meat and poultry are thoroughly cooked. Use an instant-read food thermometer to check the internal temperature toward the end of the cooking time but before the food is expected to be done. The food thermometer should be placed in the thickest part of the food and should not be touching bone, fat or gristle.

“Bacteria can survive on foods that are not cooked properly,” said Marie Hegler, Extension food safety and nutrition agent. “Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of cooked foods. Cook all poultry to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Insert the thermometer the full length of the sensing area, past the indentation or “dimple.” Check egg dishes, meat casseroles and irregularly shaped foods such as roasts, in several places. Compare your thermometer reading to the recommended internal temperatures in the bulleted list below. Make sure to clean the stem of the food thermometer with hot soapy water before and after each use, but do not immerse the head in water. Follow the instructions for the specific type of food thermometer being used. Use only oven-safe thermometers in the oven during cooking. Remove food from the oven to test with instant-read thermometers.

The minimum internal temperatures of foods should be:

  • 145 degrees F for fish steaks or fillets. All cuts of beef, lamb, pork and veal. For both safety and quality, allow meat to rest for four minutes before carving or eating;
  • 155 degrees F for ground, mechanically tenderized or injected meats as well as ground fish and egg dishes; and
  • 165 degrees F for poultry and wild game, stuffing and casseroles.

If cooking a turkey, Hegler said to make sure it is completely thawed before cooking. Allow 24 hours for every four to five pounds of turkey thawed in the refrigerator. A 20-pound turkey will take between four and five days to completely thaw in the refrigerator. She also said cooking overnight at a low setting (200 to 250 degrees F) is unsafe.

“Bacteria can easily grow under these conditions,” Hegler said. “Roast a turkey in a preheated oven set at 325 degrees. The color of meat and poultry does not show if it is safely cooked. Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of cooked foods and cook all poultry to at least 165 degrees. Place the food thermometer in the thickest part of the poultry, not touching bone, fat or gristle.”

4. Safely store leftovers

Now that the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is cooked and everyone has eaten, safely store the leftovers to enjoy the meal for a few more days. Julie Northcutt, professor and Extension program team leader for Clemson’s Food Safety, Nutrition and Health Program Team, said it is important to store food at proper temperatures.

“Food that requires refrigeration should be put in the refrigerator as soon as possible,” Northcutt said. “It is important to use the ‘two-hour rule’ for leaving items out at room temperature that require refrigeration. It does not take long for bacteria to grow. When putting away leftovers, go ahead and portion them out into smaller allotments and put them in the refrigerator as soon as possible. This will help prevent food poisoning.”

The two-hour rule for leftovers means don’t leave food out in room temperature for longer than two hours. The goal is to minimize the time food is in the “danger zone,” between 40 and 140 degrees when bacteria multiply and the risk of food poisoning is increased. Other tips for making sure leftovers are kept safe include:

  • Always keep a thermometer in the refrigerator. Make sure that the temperature in your refrigerator is no higher than 40 degrees F.
  • Within two hours after cooking, remove the stuffing from the turkey and carve the meat off the bones. Put leftovers in a shallow container, no more than 2 inches deep, to allow quick cooling.
  • Never put a big pot of hot food in the refrigerator — it will take too long to cool down to safe temperatures.
  • Store leftovers in a refrigerator or freezer. It is best to use refrigerated leftovers within four days. If you won’t be eating your leftovers in that time, put them in the freezer where they will keep safely.
Tuesday
Nov142017

Digital Pill Will Allow Doctors to Track Some Patients

(Reuters) - U.S. regulators have approved the first digital pill with an embedded sensor to track if patients are taking their medication properly, marking a significant step forward in the convergence of healthcare and technology. 

The medicine is a version of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co Ltd’s established drug Abilify for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression, containing a tracking device developed by Proteus Digital Health. 

The system offers doctors an objective way to measure if patients are swallowing their pills on schedule, opening up a new avenue for monitoring medicine compliance that could be applied in other therapeutic areas. 

Shares in Otsuka rose 2.5 percent on Tuesday after news of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) late on Monday. 

The FDA said that being able to track ingestion of medicines prescribed for mental illness may be useful “for some patients”, although the ability of the digital pill to improve patient compliance had not been proved. 

“The FDA supports the development and use of new technology in prescription drugs and is committed to working with companies to understand how technology might benefit patients and prescribers,” said Mitchell Mathis of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. 

The system works by sending a message from the pill’s sensor to a wearable patch, which then transmits the information to a mobile application so that patients can track the ingestion of the medication on their smartphone. 

About the size of a grain of salt, the sensor has no battery or antenna and is activated when it gets wet from stomach juices. That completes a circuit between coatings of copper and magnesium on either side, generating a tiny electric charge. 

In the longer term, such digital pills could also be used to manage patients with other complicated medicine routines, such as those suffering from diabetes or heart conditions. 

Poor compliance with drug regimens is a common problem in many disease areas, especially when patients suffer from chronic conditions. 

Monday
Nov132017

S.C. REAL ID Cards Available in First Quarter of 2018

(WRDW/WAGT) -- The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles has released images of the new REAL ID cards.

They say South Carolina residents will begin seeing these and non-compliant cards in the first quarter of 2018.

The READ ID cards are compliant with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. These cards may be used as identification to pass security at airports nationwide, enter secure federal buildings, and visit military installations. Instead of a REAL ID license or ID, you may use a valid US Passport or other federally accepted identification for the above activities in the future. A valid US Passport is still required for international travel.

The state is also issuing new non-compliant licenses and IDs will say “Not for Federal Identification” across the top.

Beginning October 1, 2020, these cards and current South Carolina licenses and IDs, may not be used as identification to pass security at airports nationwide, enter secure federal buildings, and visit military installations. Individuals with this card or the state’s current card must present a different form of federally accepted identification, such as a valid US Passport or military ID, for the above activities in the future.

Changing your current card and purchasing a REAL ID is voluntary, but you must have a REAL ID or other federally approved identification in the future for the federal activities above. People who will not be passing airport security or visiting federal facilities do not need to take any action besides renewing their current card as normal when it expires.

The SCDMV must be printing the cards in order to submit its certification for full compliance with the US Department of Homeland Security.

Once that certification occurs, all unexpired SC driver’s licenses and identification cards will be valid to pass airport security, enter secure federal facilities, and visit military installations until October 1, 2020. While you have until 2020 to change your card, you’re encouraged to visit the SCDMV sooner to avoid anticipated long lines closer to 2020.

Monday
Nov132017

Danny Ford to Speak at TD Club Season Finale Friday

Former Clemson Football Coach Danny Ford will be the final guest speaker at the Anderson Area Touchdown Club Friday.  Ford, now a famer in Pendleton,  led the Clemson University football team to its only National Football Championship in 1981.  

The Touchdown Club meets at the Anderson County Library and visitors are welcome.  The meal line opens at 11:30 a.m.. Meals are $15 for visitors and the meeting begins at noon. 

Visitors are welcome.  Call 864-226-7380 for additional information.


Monday
Nov132017

New Standards Leave Half of U.S. with High Blood Pressure

MONDAY, Nov. 13, 2017 -- Nearly half of all adult Americans will be considered to have high blood pressure under new guidelines issued Monday by the nation's top heart health organizations.

The new guidelines lower the diagnostic threshold for stage 1 high blood pressure to 130/80, down from the previous level of 140/90, according to a joint statement from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

Further, the guidelines also call for more aggressive treatment of high blood pressure, asking doctors and patients to set 130/80 as the new goal of therapy.

High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, strokes and heart failure.

But the guidelines also press for more judicious treatment of high blood pressure -- sometimes called hypertension -- and an emphasis on lifestyle risk factors. Prescriptions for blood pressure drugs are not expected to leap under the guidelines, experts said.

The two heart organizations announced the new guidelines Monday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting, in Anaheim, Calif. The guidelines were last revised in 2003.

This change means that 103 million Americans will be considered to have high blood pressure, or about 46 percent of the adult population, said Dr. Paul Whelton. He is chair of the 2017 Hypertension Practice Guidelines and a professor of Global Public Health at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans.

That's a 14 percent increase from the previous guidelines, under which 72.2 million Americans (32 percent of adults) were considered to have high blood pressure.

Monday
Nov132017

Clemson to Study Human Use of Parks, Protected Areas

CLEMSON — Clemson University faculty have established the Park Solutions Lab to study the social aspects and human dimensions of issues related to parks and protected areas. The lab will allow faculty to benefit from a physical space that will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of capturing data related to visitor use and human-environment interactions.

Wayne Freimund, chair of Clemson’s parks, recreation and tourism management department, said its increased research productivity in this area made a physical lab space a natural next step. Freimund’s own research interests lie in monitoring park visitor use and experience, so he is excited to see what advantages the lab provides to department faculty.

“The faculty members in our department concerned with this area of research are highly sought after for their knowledge and expertise and they have accomplished a great deal operating independently,” Freimund said. “We want to give them even more tools to collaborate and make Clemson a destination for the type of work that informs policy and practice in parks.”

The lab, located in Barre Hall, combines a meeting and teleconferencing room with a dedicated space for the computing power tailored to applications used in faculty research, including geographic information system (GIS) tracking.

GIS allows researchers to track the movement of park visitors from the time they leave home to the time they return home and all activities in between. All travel data to and from parks and movement related to activities such as hiking or biking contribute to representative sampling that extends results to a park’s larger population of visitors.

Monday
Nov132017

Tiger-Gamecock Blood Drive Kicks Off Today

It's a bloody rivalry, so the state's two top football teams want to take it a step farther and ask their fans to donate blood.

The 33rd annual Carolina-Clemson Blood Drive, nicknamed the Blood Bowl, kicks off today and continues through Friday at locations across the state. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and fans are encouraged to participate by giving a pint of blood to support their school.

During its run, the blood drive has collected more than 110,000 pints of blood in South Carolina.

The American Red Cross said the donations critical this time of year, since blood donations typically decline during the holidays.

To find out where to participate, contact the Anderson Red Cross at 864-225-8666.