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Friday
Jul212017

Trump Shaking Up Legal, Communications Staffs

A shake-up involving multiple members of President Donald Trump's communications and legal staff appears imminent.

Anthony Scaramucci will be named White House communications director on Friday, Axios reported, citing unnamed sources.

Scaramucci, a Republican donor and former Wall Street hedge fund owner, will replace Mike Dubke, who resigned in May.

Trump left the position open, and has frequently complained to friends about the performance of the White House press operation, Axios reported.

Since Dubke left, Sean Spicer has served as press secretary and filled the role of communications director. Another source told NBC News that Spicer will remain at the White House, and that Scaramucci's arrival should be seen as a strengthening of the White House staff and not a demotion for Spicer.

Scaramucci, formerly of SkyBridge Capital, works at the Export-Import Bank. He supported Trump in the 2016 presidential campaign after first supporting candidates Scott Walker and Jeb Bush. He appears on Fox News frequently as a defender of the president.

There appears to be turnover in Trump's legal team, as well.

Marc Kasowitz, Trump's personal attorney, has resigned his position or will recede in his role, according to multiple sources. Kasowitz has been Trump's lead attorney in the Russia investigation. Attorneys John Dowd and Jay Sekulow will take over the lead in the probe, CNN reported.

Mark Corallo, the president's legal team spokesman who's been in the job for two months, is stepping aside Friday.

The staff shake-up comes as Trump's lawyers work to confine special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign. Politico reported that Corallo has grown frustrated with his role and is a supporter of Mueller's.

Thursday
Jul202017

Anderson Among Counties to Get Some New Gas Tax Funds

South Carolina Department of Transportation commissioners have voted to give the first $26 million raised by the state's increased gas tax to repaving projects in 27 counties, including Anderson County

In the Upstate, Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, Oconee, Pickens and Spartanburg Counties. Just over 80 miles on 62 highways in these counties will be resurfaced.

In Anderson, the following projects are slated for funds:

Anderson County – 12.02 miles on 14 roads: 

CHERRY ST                      WILMONT ST BARNES STATION RD     BASKIN RD

LAUREL AV                       ELLISON RD

MARLON AV                      GILLESPIE RD

PALMER ST                       MAJOR RD

SMITH ST                         RUBE ASHLEY RD

SQUARE ST                      WHIT CAMPBELL RD

Commissioners met for the first time Thursday since the Legislature overrode Gov. Henry McMaster's veto and decided to raise the gas tax by two cents each year for the next six years.

There are plenty of other projects the DOT plans to take up with its additional revenue. The agency wants to spend $50 million improving rural road safety. South Carolina has recently ranked worst in the nation for the number of deaths on rural roads.

The DOT has longer term plans to add lanes to Interstate 85 north of Spartanburg, Interstate 26 near Columbia and Charleston and Interstate 20 west of Columbia.

Thursday
Jul202017

$151.3 Million in Gifts Set Clemson Fundraising Record

Private gifts to Clemson University and IPTAY in the fiscal year ending June 30 set annual fundraising records for the university.

The record $151.3 million raised this year includes $100.1 million in cash gifts, pledges and gifts-in-kind; $11.5 million in planned gifts; and $39.7 million raised by IPTAY through its annual fund to support athletics. Clemson’s second-annual Give Day contributed more than $2 million from 3,265 donors.

“The value of the Clemson brand — whether it be for the quality of our academics, our research or our athletics — has never been higher, and we are incredibly grateful to our alumni and supporters who helped make 2017 a record year for fundraising,” said Clemson President James P. Clements.

This is the sixth consecutive year that annual fundraising at Clemson has exceeded $100 million.

Thursday
Jul202017

48 Years Ago Today, Man Stepped onto the Moon

by , The Republic | azcentral.com

Michael Jackson's moonwalk glide across the stage on May 16, 1983, motivated one generation to dance — or at least try to.

But another generation credits the first moon walk on July 20, 1969, for inspiring them to become interested in science.

Mark Robinson, now a professor at Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration, was a 10-year-old growing up in Tennessee when history unfolded.

Gathered around the television with his family, he watched in suspense as announcers kept emphasizing that they didn't know whether the lunar module, called "Eagle," was going to be able to land. Astronauts might have had to abort the landing if conditions got too risky.

After astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered the now-famous phrase, "the Eagle has landed," Robinson still didn't relax. He waited impatiently for the first moon walk, which didn't happen for another six hours.

It was late by then, but he wasn't tired. He stayed up to watch the entire broadcast.

Shortly before 11 p.m. Eastern time, Armstrong climbed down the ladder and declared: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

RELATED: Professor: Apollo 11 moon-landing site should be named a National Historic Landmark

Thursday marks the 48th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The milestone is still looked back on today for its technological achievements and as a point of pride for the U.S. space program.

The moon landing was more than just a historical achievement. Grainy footage of the moon walk inspired children, like Robinson, to become interested in geology, science and space.

Robinson, 58, now oversees the cameras on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, an unmanned NASA spacecraft circling the moon since 2009. The camera's images are forming a detailed map of the moon, which could be used to guide astronauts on future missions.

The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com talked with Robinson about the significance of the moon landing, what's happened since and whether there are plans to go back.

Cultural impact: 'Everybody was rooting for them'

The moon landing fulfilled an objective set by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, which was to land a man on the moon and return to Earth safely by the end of the decade.

The United States was in a rivalry with the Soviet Union that extended to the military and to space. The Russians were the first to send an unmanned satellite, Sputnik 1, to orbit the Earth in 1957 and the first to send a human into space in 1961. But NASA's success in landing a man on the moon represented a huge technological and scientific achievement.

MORESee how The Republic covered the event

"We weren’t going to the moon because President Kennedy was truly interested in (the geology of the moon)," Robinson said. "We were going to the moon to prove to the world that we were technologically superior to the Soviet Union."

Robinson said NASA was truly dedicated to accomplishing President Kennedy's goal within the time frame.

"It was an amazing time. Everybody was rooting for them all around the world, and everybody was watching," he said.

Benefits from Apollo: the Dustbuster?

Looking back, Robinson marvels at how everything came together.

"It was an amazing achievement, especially when you consider how fast it was done and how much technology had to be invented, and they just did it," he said.

Astronaut Edwin " Buzz" Aldrin, lunar module pilot of the first lunar landing mission, poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during an Apollo 11 moon walk. The Lunar Module is on the left, and the footprints of the astronauts are visible on the moon's surface. (Photo: NASA)

 

RELATEDListen to audio from the historic mission

NASA had to invent new technology to land humans on the moon for the Apollo 11 and subsequent missions. Dozens of innovations were developed, later improved upon and are still being used today.

For instance, NASA's "cool suit" technology developed for astronauts is used by hazardous-material workers and firefighters.

Medical technology that originated in the Apollo missions was used to create a programmable system where doctors communicate with pacemakers through wireless signals.

Some inventions have become household commodities.

NASA was an early developer of cordless devices, which today are almost taken for granted in electric screwdrivers and drills.

Apollo astronauts used a portable drill to take core samples below the moon's surface. The device was optimized for power consumption, according to NASA, and Black & Decker, a manufacturing company, later refined the technology into a cordless handheld vacuum, the Dustbuster.

What's happened since? 

The Apollo program included multiple launches to the moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

A total of 12 men would walk on the moon. The "Last Man on the Moon" was Eugene Cernan, commander of the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

In the last decade or so, there have been a number of smaller, unmanned missions such as satellites and orbiters.

 

One of the highest profile missions was the 2009 launch of NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The minivan-size spacecraft is designed to help lay the groundwork for the eventual return of astronauts to the moon by identifying safe landing sites. A science team led by ASU's Robinson oversees the cameras aboard the orbiter.

Hundreds of images are downloaded daily with the goal of mapping the entire moon at the camera's science operations center on ASU's Tempe campus.

"We’re getting fairly close to that goal. We really hope that the spacecraft can hang on another three or four years," Robinson said.

Will we return to the moon?

A proposal earlier this year by the Trump administration sought to add humans to a test flight of the Space Launch System, a megarocket scheduled to travel around the moon and back in 2019.

But NASA officials concluded that while the space agency was technically capable of adding the crew, it would be too costly and represent too much risk.

China has plans for an unmanned, sample-return mission on the moon's far side. 

ASU has some of the country's notable planetary scientists, who are involved in NASA missions on Mars, the moon and to distant asteroids.

“It's very exciting what we're doing here. And I feel lucky every day when I get up and come into work.”

Mark Robinson, professor at ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration

Two future unmanned moon missions have ties to the university.

ASU scientists are involved in a project, the Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper, to build and operate a satellite that will orbit the moon. The shoebox-size satellite is part of a new generation of miniature, lower-cost spacecraft called “CubeSat” missions.

The satellite will target the moon's South Pole with the goal of producing a detailed map of the moon's water deposits. Launch is slated for 2018.

NASA announced in April that a camera to be developed by ASU's Robinson and Malin Space Science Systems was selected for an orbiter that will launch in the next couple of years by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute.

Called the ShadowCam, the narrow-angle camera will be capable of capturing images in the moon's shadowed craters, something the cameras on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter are unable to do.

No human trips to the moon by the U.S. are currently slated.

Robinson envisions a time when astronauts will walk on the moon again. This time, they will have a map of the moon, probably on a flexible panel attached to their sleeves.

And that map will be based on the images now being collected by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter cameras.

"It's very exciting what we're doing here," Robinson said. "And I feel lucky every day when I get up and come into work."

Reach the reporter at 602-444-8072 or anne.ryman@arizonarepublic.com.

Thursday
Jul202017

Bryant Opens Account for 2018 Governor's Race

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant has taken a tangible step toward running for governor, although he says he hasn't officially decided to enter the race.

Media outlets report the 50-year-old Republican on Wednesday opened an account that would allow him to begin accepting contributions for a potential gubernatorial campaign. He says he'll decided on the race in a few weeks.

Bryant became lieutenant governor earlier this year when Henry McMaster was elevated to the state's top office on Nikki Haley's confirmation as U.N. ambassador. Starting with 2018, the state's governor and lieutenant governor will run on a ticket.

McMaster is planning to seek a full term. Former public health chief Catherine Templeton and former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill are also running.

No Democrats have entered the 2018 governor's race.

Thursday
Jul202017

S.C. Wants to House Juvenile Inmates Closer to Home

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The acting director of the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice has proposed restructuring housing for inmates in order to decrease recidivism rates.

The State reports agency chief Freddie Pough outlined his proposal Wednesday at a meeting of Gov. Henry McMaster's Cabinet.

Pough wants to house inmates at three regional centers in Columbia, Union and Ridgeville, with the Broad River Road complex in Columbia serving as temporary housing during evaluation. Currently, the centers' purposes are reversed, with regional centers serving as temporary housing during evaluation, and incarceration centralized at the Broad River Road complex.

Pough says the goal is to house inmates closer to home, increasing parental involvement and community job opportunities and facilitating transition.

McMaster lauded the idea, and said he will include it in this year's executive budget.

Thursday
Jul202017

Exercise Could Cut Third of Demential Cases

More than a third of dementia cases might be avoided by tackling aspects of lifestyle including education, exercise, blood pressure and hearing, a new report suggests.

Approximately 45 million people worldwide were thought to be living with dementia in 2015, at an estimated cost of $818 billion. 

But the new report from the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention and care, stresses that dementia is not an inescapable part of ageing – and that action can be taken to reduce risk.

“There are a lot of things that individuals can do, and there are a lot of things that public health and policy can do, to reduce the numbers of people developing dementia,” said Gill Livingston, professor of psychiatry of older people at University College London and a co-author of the report.

For many of the factors, including exercise and social activities, the best approach to reducing dementia risk is not yet clear, but Livingston stresses that steps can still be taken. “We expect it to be a long-term change that will be needed for exercise; joining a gym for two weeks is probably not going to do it,” she said.

Clive Ballard, professor of age-related diseases at the University of Exeter medical school and also a co-author of the report, added that the evidence suggests individuals should also try to follow a Mediterranean diet, maintain a healthy weight and keep an eye on their blood pressure. 

In total, the study looked at nine lifestyle factors linked to an increased risk of dementia.

The results reveal that as many as 35% of dementia cases could, at least in theory, be prevented, with 9% linked to midlife hearing loss, 8% to leaving education before secondary school, 5% to smoking in later life and 4% to later life depression. Social isolation, later life diabetes, midlife high blood pressure, midlife obesity and lack of exercise in later life also contributed to potentially avoidable cases of dementia, the report notes.

Thursday
Jul202017

Study: Medicaid Cuts Would Hit Those Suffering Depression Hard

Proposed changes in Medicaid coverage could hit people with depression especially hard, a new study suggests.

"These vulnerable populations are being hit hard by the loss of Medicaid coverage when they need help," said study author Xu Ji. She is a doctoral candidate at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta.

The study included medical records from more than 139,000 adult Medicaid patients with major depression between 2003 and 2004. Medicaid is a jointly funded, federal-state health insurance program for low-income and disabled people.

Among the study patients, those who had disruptions in their Medicaid plans had more emergency department visits and longer hospital stays once they were able to regain coverage than those who did not have these insurance disruptions, the findings showed.

The researchers found that breaks in Medicaid coverage were due to state policies concerning re-enrollment. Areas of the country where these policies were streamlined and occurred on a yearly basis had lower disruption rates than states that forced people to re-enroll twice each year or more often, according to the report.

More recently, under the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), re-enrollment procedures for Medicaid beneficiaries were simplified. Obamacare requires states to limit the frequency of re-enrollment to no more than once per year.

Republicans in Congress have proposed major cuts to Medicaid and the possibility of reinstating more complex re-enrollment procedures, the study authors said. But due to a lack of votes, those proposals are now on hold.

"Without a constant source of coverage, patients could end up missing visits with their doctors until their depression worsens to the degree that emergency visits and hospitalizations are required," Ji said in a university news release.

The study appears in the August issue of the journal Medical Care.

More information available at the U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on depression.

Wednesday
Jul192017

WHNS: Humane Society Seeks Help for Dog Expenses

The Anderson County Humane Society is asking the community to help them cover veterinary expenses for one of the worst cases of animal cruelty the agency said it has ever seen.

The ACHS said “Salem,” a German shepherd, was originally picked up by Laurens county Animal Control in Waterloo on July 3.

The dog’s entire body was covered in sores.

GRAPHIC photos of dog being treated by Anderson Co. Humane Society

“The skin was literally melting off the bone,” the ACHS posted on Facebook. “Salem was transferred to ACHS and we were horrified by her condition, not only was she wounded from head to toe, she had maggots in her wounds and in some places you could see all the way to the bone.”

Salem was also extremely emaciated and weighed only 33 pounds. Officials said she had been eating grass, leaves, and rocks.

Salem has now been undergoing intense veterinary care for more than five days and total costs of treatment are expected to be upwards of $2,000.
“This is day five and the expenses are mounting but we made a commitment to her,” ACHS posted on Facebook Wednesday.  “The vets believe she will survive and we intend to do everything in our power to help her. This is one of the worst cases of animal abuse we have ever saw.”

Officials said the Anderson County Humane Society is a 501c3 no kill rescue and its foster program does not receive any county funding. It is ran by volunteers.

Click here to make a donation.

Tuesday
Jul182017

3 GOP Senators Refuse to Repeal ACA without New Plan

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the plan is to "let Obamacare fail" after three Republican senators said they won't back Senate legislation to simply repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act‬.

Late Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was ditching his plan to repeal and replace the ACA after he couldn't gather enough votes to pass the bill.

Instead, he said he'd work only to repeal the law entirely -- with a replacement proposal to come later.

But on Tuesday morning, three Republican senators -- Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia -- said they would not support a repeal-only measure without another healthcare plan in place. Their "no" votes effectively killed the repeal plan.

"My position on this issue is driven by its impact on West Virginians," Capito said in a statement. "With that in mind, I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians."

Trump said he was "very disappointed" in the bill's failure -- but he also doesn't think it's dead. He said the solution would be to elect more Republicans in 2018.

"For seven years, I've been hearing repeal and replace from Congress. I've been hearing it loud and strong, and when we finally get a chance to repeal and replace, they don't take advantage of it," Trump told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

"It will be a lot easier, and I think we are probably in that position where we will just let Obamacare fail. We're not going to own it. I'm not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it."

Earlier in the day, the president blamed repeal and replace failures on "all of the Democrats and a few Republicans."

"With only a very small majority, the Republicans in the House & Senate need more victories next year since Dems totally obstruct, no votes!" Trump tweeted.

Tuesday
Jul182017

Council Extends ATAX Pact with City

Anderson County Council on Tuesday extended the county's agreement with the City of Anderson by five years on use of Accommodations Tax revenues. The city provides $100,000 each year to the county in exchange for use of the Anderson Sports and Entertainment Complex on weekdays. The money is used to maintain the county’s fields at the complex.

Also on Tuesday night, county ouncil:

Approved a bid for $106,000 to Tech Systems to provide video surveillance cameras and backup batteries for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department.  

Approved moving ahead with a county plan to establish a county program which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin that is consistent with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1969. The document will make sure the county is in compliance with all federal statues. 

Gave final approval to a pair of ordinances to allow expansion of industria/businessl park with Greenville County.

Tuesday
Jul182017

Anderson Hotels, Campgrounds Full for Eclipse, Including Many International Guests

Anderson hotels and campgrounds are already full as people from all over the world prepare to visit the area to view the historic total total solar eclipse Aug. 21.

Visitors from as far away as Sweden and the United Kingdom will be in town for the events, which include Black Out at Green Pond, which will open at 8 a.m., and Black Out at the Anderson County Civic Center. Both locations will have 1,000 pair of special glasses available to view the eclipse. There will also be other viewing events across the county, including the City of Belton, the Jockey Lot, and Carolina Wren Park downtown. All of these events will be free to the public.

“We expect both to be full to overflowing,” said Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns, who added that just today the county was told the student body of Agnes Scott College is coming here for the eclipse.

According to maps, Anderson is in the path of totality and will be one of the best places in the nation to view the eclipse, with an expected time of total darkness of two minutes and 37 seconds. 

 Statewide, more than two millions visitors are expected to make their way to South Carolina for this once-in-a-lifetime event.  The next total solar eclipse in our area will be May 11, 2078.

“This event is going to blow up Anderson,” said Whiney Ellis, sales manager for the Anderson Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I don’t think most people understand how big this is going to be.”

“A lot of people coming here from other countries don’t now what our August weather is like,” said Glenn Brill, director of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Division for Anderson County. Brill said the county is prepared to to help these people with water and other facilities for the events. 

Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights - a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - can be seen, will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun's disk. 

Historic weather forecasts show a 23 percent chance of clouds and/or rain on Aug. 21. The historic forecast for Charleston to have clouds/rain is nearly 80 percent. The current long-range forecast for the date in Anderson calls for sunny weather. 

Tuesday
Jul182017

Great White Shark Located Off N.C. Coast

A great white shark followed by the research group OCEARCH has been tracked off the coast of North Carolina, nine days after being located off the Orlando, Fla, coast.

The Fayetteville Observer reports the shark, named Hilton, pinged Friday morning roughly 20 miles  south-southeast of Bald Head Island. Hilton is fitted with a tag that pings to transmit his location when his fins break the surface.

The Global Shark Tracker indicates that Hilton had traveled 120 miles during the preceding 72 hours. The shark was tagged March 3 by a team working out of Hilton Head Island. OCEARCH says the shark measures 12 feet, 5 inches long and weighs 1,326 pounds.