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Anderson County Jobless Rate Holds Steady in August

From Observer Reports

Anderson County's unemployment rate remained at 4.2 percent for August, while the statewide rate was up slightly for the month. Of the county's workforce of 90,406, 86,621 were employed in the month, with 3,785 jobless.

“I’m encouraged by the fact that we held serve last month, whereas many of our sister counties lost ground” said Anderson County Governmental Affairs Director Steve Newton.  “Hurricane Harvey started brewing in mid-August-- I think that made a lot of people nervous and had some impact on the statewide economy.  Even with all that, we added 200 jobs locally in August and are 1,400 jobs ahead of where we were in August 2016.”

South Carolina's unemployment rate moved up to 4 percent, after holding at 3.9 percen in July. Anderson remains among the counties with the lowest rate of jobless citizens.

Nationally, the unemployment rate increased from 4.3 percent in July to 4.4 percent in August.


S.C. Gets Another Extension on REAL ID Enforcement

From WHNS Reports

South Carolina has been granted another grace period by the Department of Homeland Security for REAL ID enforcement, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The REAL ID Act requires forms of identification to meet federal standards in order to access federal buildings, military facilities and commercial flights. Without a REAL ID-compliant license, South Carolinians can still use a U.S. passport, military ID or other federally-approved identification for these purposes.

The state has previously been granted an extension until Oct. 10, 2017 to become REAL ID compliant so state driver's licenses or identification cards could also be used for these purposes.

The period has now been extended through Jan. 22, 2018, meaning an unexpired SC driver's license can be used at airports, federal buildings and military installations until then.

SCDMV is working toward certification to issue REAL ID forms of identification, but is anticipating receiving another extension through October 2018.

The state plans to become fully compliant in 2018.

For more information, click here.


Clemson Gets $2.66M for Diabetes Prevention Efforts

The Greenville Health Authority board (GHA) has awarded Clemson University a total of $2.66 million for diabetes prevention efforts and scholarships to increase diversity in the nurse practitioner workforce.

Clemson University’s public health sciences department and Clemson Cooperative Extension received a grant for $2.25 million to fund a diabetes prevention and management initiative, while Clemson’s School of Nursing received a grant for $410,000 to provide scholarships for nurse practitioner students.

The Greenville Health Authority board, previously known as the Greenville Health System (GHS) board of trustees, is providing the funding as part of a 20-year pledge to make Greenville County the healthiest in America by 2036. All grant recipients will be honored at a reception at 3 p.m. Thursday in the Greenville Memorial Hospital Community Room located at 701 Grove Road in Greenville.


AU Receives $1 Million Gift for Scholarships

Anderson University will be able to provide more scholarships to students next year, thanks to a $1 million gift, University President Dr. Evans Whitaker announced during the school’s opening convocation Wednesday. 

The gift comes from T. Walter Brashier, an Upstate real estate developer, evangelist and philanthropist, and his wife Christine, as part of the Dr. Walter and Christine Brashier Endowed Scholarship Fund. The Brashiers had previously contributed a track of land to the university, the largest such gift in the school’s history, expected to sell for $1.5 million, as well as contributed to the building of the new G. Ross Anderson Jr. Student Center. 

“Dr. and Mrs. Brashier have a passion for Anderson University students, and they are staunch believers in the transformative power of Anderson University as a top Christian university in the nation,” Dr. Whitaker said. “Dr. and Mrs. Brashier have expressed their deep desire to move forward with an additional cash gift so we can get it invested and start earning income that we can distribute next year in the form of scholarships. The Brashiers are one of the most caring, thoughtful, and generous families I've ever had the privilege of personally knowing.”

When combined, the property and the cash gift will equal $2.5 million. Dr. Whitaker said the main endowment amount would be used as an investment tool. 

“Endowed funds are never spent. Instead, they are invested to produce income on an annual basis, and only the earnings on the endowment are spent,” Whitaker said. “That way, the endowment will perpetually provide the University with a large amount of scholarship funds each year that can be awarded to students.”

The scholarships will be given to students in amounts of at least $1,000 per year, and will be given to students from Anderson and the Upstate who are pursuing a degree in a church-related field, and demonstrate financial need. 


Survey: Two-Thirds of Pastor Spouses Say Wages Not Enough to Support Family

From The Christian Post

Nearly two-thirds of pastors' spouses have said that the salary received by their church is not enough to live off of, according to a recently released survey by LifeWay Research.

In research released Tuesday, LifeWay found that 60 percent of surveyed spouses of pastors agreed with the statement "Our family's financial situation requires more than the salary received from the church."

"About a third (36 percent) say they worry every month about making ends meet. Forty-six percent say they worry about not being able to save for the future. Sixty percent say the compensation paid by the church isn't enough to support their family," noted LifeWay.

Fifty-five percent of respondents said that they have a job outside of their spouse's church; of that number, 26 percent work for a different ministry, church, or nonprofit.

Data for the survey was drawn from a mail survey conducted June 21 to Aug. 2, with the sample space being 720 pastor spouses from various Protestant denominations.

"LifeWay Research's survey focused mainly on spouses of a senior pastor or solo pastor at Protestant churches from a variety of denominations, including Baptist (29 percent), non-denominational (15 percent), Methodist (9 percent), Lutheran (9 percent) and Assemblies of God (7 percent) congregations," explained LifeWay.

"The survey also included spouses of Presbyterian (4 percent), Pentecostal/charismatic (3 percent), Church of Christ (3 percent) and Church of God (2 percent) pastors, among others."

Other findings included 59 percent saying that congregational demands interfere with family free time and 72 percent saying their spouse has experienced resistance to their leadership.

LifeWay also found that 85 percent of respondents also said that their church takes "good care of us" and 86 percent saying their church considers their marriage should be a "role model" for the congregation's marital relationships.

"Most pastors' spouses feel a call to ministry and enjoy their roles inside and outside their church," said LifeWay. "Many also have few friends, think they yell at their kids too much, and worry about money."

LifeWay's survey finding that a majority of pastors' spouses believe their church salary is not enough to provide for their financial needs comes not long after a study found a small gender pay gap among church leaders, largely due to a lack of compensation for male clergy.

In a July study, researchers from the University of Oklahoma found that in 2016 female clergy made 93 cents on the dollar, which was far smaller than for secular occupations.

Cyrus Schleifer, assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma's Sociology Department and co-author of the study, told The Christian Post in an earlier interview that this small pay gap was "largely due to the declines in male clergy pay."

"If male clergy income was growing at the same rate as other highly educated individuals in population, then the gender gap in pay among clergy would be much closer to that of the general population," explained Schleifer in July.

"The factors that seem to matter the most for our analyses is the very slow growth rates of male clergy income and, relatedly, the general devaluing of the clergy occupation."


Scott Urges President to Be More Careful on Racial Matters

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate's lone black Republican says he told President Donald Trump to tread carefully when discussing the country's complicated history on race.

The advice from Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina came after the president blamed "many sides" for last month's violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and said there were some "very fine people" among white nationalist protesters.

Scott said he told the president Wednesday there was "there is no way to find an equilibrium when you have three centuries of history versus the situation that's occurring today." He said the nation has had "three or four centuries of rape, murder and death brought at the hands of the KKK and those who believe in a superior race."

Scott said the president shook his head and said that he got it.


Cancer Association Concert Friday Night; Tickets Available

The 16th Annual Cancer Association of Anderson's Concert of Hope and Remembrance is scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. at Boulevard Baptist Church. The concert features a choir more than 150 singers and a youth choir of 35 singers accompanied by instrumentalists. The public is invited to this community event.

This year’s theme, chosen by conductor Dr. Bob Heritage is: “The Hope and Remembrance Choir: Unplugged”. Heritage has included songs such as “Ave Marie”, “Lullabye”, and “O Happy Day” to showcase the choir.

An Afterglow Party is also scheduled at the Anderson Area Cancer Center where those who attend can mix and mingle with the concert choir and symphony orchestra as well as CAA Board Members and staff.

All money raised, which was more than $144,000 in 2016, helps local cancer patients with treatment-related expenses. The Concert of Hope and Remembrance is CAA’s largest and most important annual fundraiser, bringing in almost one-third of the organizations's annual budget. The CAA serves, on average, more than 160 different patients every month.

General Admission tickets are $25; Patron tickets are $100 and include admission to the Afterglow party immediately following the concert at AnMed Health’s Cancer Center on Greenville Street. Tickets may be purchased at the Cancer Association of Anderson, 215 East Calhoun Street, Anderson or by calling the 864-222-3500.

The Cancer Association of Anderson is the only local cancer charity in Anderson County. Their mission is to help reduce the burden of cancer on Anderson County residents battling cancer by providing treatment-related financial assistance, information and referral as well as emotional support. 


Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor to Visit Clemson Thursday

Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, will visit Clemson University next month for a moderated question-and-answer session with students. The event will be held in the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts Thursday at 11 a.m.. 

The event is free and open to the public, but reserved tickets are required. Tickets will be available through the Brooks Center box office to Clemson students first, beginning today. The box office is open 1-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and will open at 9 a.m. Sept. 14. Clemson faculty and staff and the public will be able to reserve up to two tickets online here.

Justice Sotomayor’s visit is sponsored by the President’s Forum on Inclusive Excellence in partnership with the Humanities Advancement Board of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities.

“We welcome Justice Sotomayor to Clemson,” said Richard Goodstein, dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities. “She is a remarkable public servant and an exemplary role model. I am thrilled that our students will have this opportunity.”

Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, was born in Bronx, New York, on June 25, 1954. She earned a B.A. in 1976 from Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude and receiving the university’s highest academic honor. In 1979, she earned a J.D. from Yale Law School where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She thereafter served as Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office from 1979-1984. She then litigated international commercial matters in New York City at Pavia & Harcourt, where she was an associate and then partner from 1984-1992.

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated Sotomayor to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and she served in that role from 1992-1998. She then served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1998-2009. President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, and she assumed this role August 8, 2009.


Almost 3,000 Still Without Power in Anderson

Nealy 3,000 residents remain without electrical service in the wake of high winds from the outskirts of Hurricane Irman earlier this week. Gusts exceeding 50 mph were reported in Anderson County.


R&D Impact on Drug Prices Greatly Exaggerated

Excusing the sky-high price tags of many new cancer treatments, pharmaceutical companies often blame high research and development costs.

But a new analysis, focused on 10 new cancer drugs, finds those costs may have been greatly exaggerated -- and the return on investment for drug companies is lucrative indeed.

The study found that the typical R&D process for a new cancer medication spans about seven years, with an average per-drug cost of between $648 million and $794 million.

Pricey, yes -- but still far below the $2.7 billion-per-drug R&D figure determined by a 2016 Tufts University investigation. It's that number that drug companies have pointed to as their average R&D cost per drug.

And the payoff, once a new cancer drug reaches the market, can be enormous, the new study found. According to the researchers, after an average of about four years on the U.S. market, the 10 new drugs they studied ended up collectively generating $67 billion in revenue.

That's seven times the total cost of all the drugs' combined R&D.

"These results suggest that pharmaceutical drug development is extremely lucrative, and the current drug prices are not necessarily justified by the R&D spending on these drugs," said study co-author Sham Mailankody. He's assistant attending physician with the myeloma service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Mailankody co-wrote the study with Dr. Vinay Prasad, of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. The findings were published online Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

At the crux of the issue are skyrocketing U.S. prices for new cancer medications, which often exceed $100,000 a year, sometimes hitting as high as $200,000.

According to Mailankody, there are three common justifications for this "sticker shock": The drug is a novel approach to treating a cancer; it brings improved effectiveness; and it's been produced after some very expensive R&D.

Mailankody said that, in prior investigations, he and Prasad already found that "the cost of anticancer drugs is unrelated to the novelty of mechanism of action or the efficacy of these drugs."

So that leaves the high R&D cost as the sole justification left standing.

To see if that argument held up, the researchers identified 10 drug companies which -- for the first time -- had each gotten a single new cancer drug to market between 2006 and 2015.

The 10 new medicines included: ponatinib (Iclusig); brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris); cabozantinib (Cometriq); ruxolitinib (Jakafi); eculizumab (Soliris); ibrutinib (Imbruvica); enzalutamide (Xtandi); irinotecan liposome (Onivyde); vincristine liposome (Marqibo); and pralatrexate (Folotyn).

Filings lodged with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission revealed the total amount each company had laid out for all R&D costs related to cancer drugs -- even when the company successfully brought just one drug to market.

"Our analysis actually accounts for the cost of [all drug] failures" as well, Mailankody explained, rather than just the R&D costs of a single successful drug.

R&D cost per drug ranged widely between companies, from a low of $320 million to a high of $2.7 billion, the study found.

However, roughly four years after a drug successfully made it to market, nine out of 10 companies saw their revenues greatly exceed such costs. In fact, four of the 10 companies were raking in revenues 10 times their total investment in R&D, the findings showed.

Mailankody noted that drug companies also "enjoy long market exclusivity/patent protections," averaging about 14 years, so that "in time, it is anticipated that these companies will have substantial profits."

Merrill Goozner has variously worked as a business professor, journalist, and director of the Integrity in Science Project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. He wrote a journal commentary reflecting on the new findings. He believes "the study conclusively shows for the first time that the drug industry's claim that it costs $2.5 billion on average to develop a new drug is completely specious."


Almost 40,000 Still Without Power in Anderson County; School Districts 1,2,3 to Reopen Tomorrow

Nearly 40,000 Andersonians remained without power as of 6 p.m., according a a spokesman for Duke Energy.

Anderson County School Districts One, Two and Three will be open Wednesday on regular schedule with the exception of Anderson District One's Concrete Primary. Due to a power outage at Concrete Primary they will be closed unless power is restored.

Anderson School District Four will be closed due to power outages at schools.
Anderson School District Five has yet to announce, but as of 4 p.m. power was still out at three elementary schools: Concord, New Prospect and South Fant. The district will make a determination by 7 p.m. 




Former UGA QB, SMU Head Coach to Speak at TD Club

Former University of Georgia Quarterback Mike Cavan is the schedule guest speaker for Friday's Anderson Area Touchdown Club. The weekly begining at 11:30 a.m. at the main branch of the Anderson County Library.

Cavan's career includes serving as head coach of Southern Methodist University, and coaching stints at Valdosta State and East Tennessee State.

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


Report: Clemson Ranked Among Top 25 Public Universities

Clemson University once again is ranked among the top universities in the country by U.S.News & World Report. In the 2018 edition of Best Colleges Rankings, Clemson is ranked 23rd among the top public universities, the 10th year it has been ranked among the top 25 public schools.

“Clemson was founded on the principle that the university should be a high seminary of learning,” said Clemson President James P. Clements. “That vision remains as clear today as ever, and is reflected by Clemson’s inclusion among the top 25 public universities every year for the past decade. I am extremely proud of the great work done every day by our faculty, staff and students who make this sustained excellence possible.”

The U.S. News rankings measure institutions’ performance on up to 15 measures of academic quality, as well as on how they are perceived by their peers. The rankings emphasize outcomes, with graduation and retention rates accounting for 30 percent of the score. The top schools all have high six-year graduation rates and strong freshman retention rates. Clemson’s overall score is its highest ever.

U.S. News also noted Clemson is:

  • The 12th most innovative school among all national public universities, based on nominations from top college officials of schools that are making the most innovative improvements in curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities;
  • the 16th best college for veterans among all national public universities; and
  • one of only 11 public universities recognized for excellence in undergraduate research and creative projects.
  • ACT and SAT scores and the number of Clemson freshmen who were in the top 10 percent of their high school classes rank among the top 15 public universities.

Overall, Clemson was ranked 67h among all national universities, including private schools, Clemson also was recognized for its undergraduate engineering and business schools— ranking No. 56 and No. 78, respectively.