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S.C. High Court Says Timeshare Owners Can Sue Developers

The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled that timeshare owners are now able to sue developers for violations of industry regulations.

The Island Packet reports ( ) the unanimous decision on Wednesday will allow the estimated 100 lawsuits filed against two Hilton Head Island timeshare companies to go forward.

Lawyers for timeshare companies Bluewater by Spinnaker and Coral Resorts LLC have argued that complaints should be decided by the state Real Estate Commission, not the courts. The state Supreme Court ruled that commission oversight doesn't preclude buyers' rights to file civil lawsuits.

Timeshare buyers' attorneys Joseph DuBois and Zach Naert say that many of the lawsuits that can now move forward have been stalled for more than five years.


Baker to Lead County Emergency Services

Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Lt. David Baker has been chosen as Director of the Anderson County Emergency Management Division after serving five months as its interim director. 

Baker, 47, will lead the County’s emergency readiness, response and recovery efforts and brings over 20 years of law enforcement and incident command experience to the position.

“Lt. Baker has a proven record of outstanding leadership. He is a familiar face to many of our partnering agencies and the relationships he has with community leaders will definitely be an asset as he transitions into this role,” said Anderson County Sheriff Chad McBride. “With David in place, we’re going to be well positioned to meet the needs of our community during times of crisis and I am so glad to have him on our team.” 

Baker joins the Emergency Management Division after working in the Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Investigations Unit where he was responsible for the oversight of seven investigators who focused on the interdiction and seizure of illegal drugs. Prior to that time, Baker served at various ranks including Chief of Police for the Town of Williamston from 2005-2009.

“In leading the Emergency Management Division, I’m looking forward to continuing to foster relationships with our community partners as well as building a stronger, well equipped and more resilient Anderson County,” said Baker. “As a team, we’ll work to serve the residents of Anderson County and ensure, no matter the type of incident we encounter, that we’ll have the resources and manpower to keep our residents safe.”


Report: Trump Campaign Had 18 Contracts with Russia

Advisers to President Trump's campaign reportedly had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russian officials and those with ties to Moscow.

Reuters reported that former national security adviser Michael Flynn, along with other advisers to Trump, had contact with Russians in at least 18 calls or emails during the last seven months of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Of the 18 undisclosed contacts, six were phone calls between Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, and advisers to Trump, Reuters reported, citing current and former officials.

The calls and messages happened between April 2016 and November 2016, according to Reuters. The communications covered issues such as improving the U.S.-Russia economic relations and fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Officials said Flynn talked with Kislyak ahead of the president's inauguration about creating a back channel for communication between Trump and Russia.

Officials said they had no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The report comes after the Justice Department on Wednesday appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigation Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

Full Story Here


Multiple Sharks Spotted Near Garden City Pier

A video of sharks swimming near the Garden City Pier has now gone viral, with over 3 million views and nearly 100,000 shares on Facebook.

The video was taken Tuesday afternoon by Cody Kinzer of King, North Carolina, and shows how close the sharks got to the shoreline. 

“It was our second day there fishing, and as soon as we walked on the pier there were people already looking over the edge,” Kinzer said. “We decided to see what was going on, and it turned out to be eight to ten pretty decent sized sharks just really close to shore, so we started filming.”

The video shows two of the sharks swimming just feet away from the shore, and several sharks swimming below the pier. 

“I’ve fished down at the beach a pretty good amount so I’ve seen sharks before, but I was just really amazed that there was a bunch of them that close to the shore and the size that they were,” Kinzer said. “In my mind, I just thought it was a really cool experience.”


S.C. Education Chief Says Need for New Buses Serious

The state school superintendent in South Carolina is pushing to get legislators to finally come up with money to pay for a new fleet of very old buses, money that is long overdue. 

“Our bus fleet for many years has been noted as one of the oldest in the U.S.,” says South Carolina state education superintendent Molly Spearman.

She has been pushing for years to get help. Just how bad is it?

Seventeen South Carolina school buses have caught fire or overheated in the last two school years.

“They are in dire need of replacement,” Spearman pointed out.

Hundreds in the fleet date back all the way back to 1988. Another 900 are from 1995 but have rear-mounted engines that are malfunctioning and spraying hot steam on kids. Over a dozen kids have been hurt in recent years. 

Spearman has asked for the $95 million they need to replace all the old and malfunctioning buses. The House and Senate are right now debating their budgets, but are expected to come through with at most one-third of what's needed to get rid of all the old and malfunctioning buses.

“The bottom line is we can no longer wait to address needs of student transportation.”


Runoff to Replace Mulvaney Headed to Recount

The runoff election for the Republican GOP nomination to replace Mick Mulvaney in South Carolina's 5th District is too close to call.

The difference in votes between former lawmaker Ralph Norman and state legislator Tommy Pope on Tuesday night was less than 1 percent, meaning a recount is automatic.

Mulvaney vacated the 5th District seat to become White House budget director.

The runoff was required when voters in the Republican-leaning district gave Norman and Pope roughly equal support while rejecting the flamethrowers and outsiders in a seven-way GOP primary.

Both candidates selectively align with President Donald Trump, supporting his proposed border wall with Mexico as well as favoring his efforts to promote U.S. economic growth by loosening federal regulations.

The winner will go up against Democrat Archie Parnell on June 20.


Council Still Looking to Fund Roads, Shave Budget

Anderson County Council members agreed finding money for roads and keeping taxes down are their chief goals while working on the fiscal year 2016-2017 budget Tuesday night. 

“We have been for years done a good job of operating Anderson County on a shoestring for the last few years,” said Anderson County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn. “But we have been putting off some things and, as (former County Councilman) Mr. Crowder used to say: ‘kicking the can down the road’” 

Dunn said capital projects such as a roof for the new Anderson County Courthouse, are among the major issues facing the county. 

He also said finding ways to retain county employees should be a priority.

“It’s our obligation to take care of our employees,” Dunn said. Dunn recently said that Anderson County is losing many good employees to neighboring counties due to low salaries. 

Dunn suggested that any savings in cutting the currently proposed budget be used to ease the 2.9-mill hike. One mill is designated to fulfill county obligations to Tri-County Technical College. A half-mill would be used for EMS, and the remainder for new positions, capital projects, vehicles for law enforcement and other growth-related county services. 

The chairman joined other council members is also calling for finding ways to acquire funds to maintain and repair county roads. 

“We are going to have to somehow determine some way to fund road maintenance and repair,” said Anderson County Councilman Ray Graham. “We need $7-8 million to basically maintain our roads.” 

Graham said while there is hope the new state money will provide some help, the county is still going to have to come up with a way to fund paving. 

He said a $10 vehicle tax, though not popular, could raise more than $2 million. 

“That’s about a quarter of what we truly need,” Graham said. “That won’t fund our roads.” 

“We are responsible for putting together a budget that is as lean as possible. But we have provide services and for economic development. We have to look at all options as far as the best direction to go for the county.”

“There are some tough decisions to be made.” 

Anderson County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson, also expressed concern about some of the increases in the currently proposed budget while the funding for road maintenance is still lacking. 

“We’ve still got a long way to go,” said Anderson County Councilman Ken Waters, who is chair of the finance committee. 

Also on Tuesday night, council: 

Made official tax incentives for Electrolux to implement at $228 million expansion at their Anderson facility. The expansion will include a number of capital projects and updates to the existing facility which employs nearly 1,500 employees with a $38-million payroll. The 20-year economic impact of the company's investment in the county will top $1.49 billion, said Anderson County Economic Development Director Burriss Nelson.  

Approved on first reading an ordinance to allow the transfer of authority to conduct municipal elections scheduled for November of odd-numbered years for the Town of Pendleton to the Anderson County Registration and Elections Board.


Trump Asked Corey to Shut Down Flynn Investigation

UPI - President Donald Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to shut down an investigation into ties between former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russia, an associate of Comey, who has seen the memo, said on Tuesday.

The associate told Reuters that the details of the document as first reported by the New York Times were accurate. 

“I hope you can let this go,” Trump told Comey, according to the language of the memo, which the source confirmed.

The White House denied the report in a statement to reporters, saying it was "not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the President and Mr. Comey."

The memo was written by Comey immediately after his meeting in the White House Oval Office with Trump one day after Flynn resigned over his contacts with Russians. 

Flynn's resignation came hours after it was reported that the Justice Department had warned the White House weeks earlier that Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail for contacts with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak before Trump took power on Jan. 20.

A spokeswoman for the FBI declined to comment on the details of the memo.


McMaster Oks Alcohol Sales at More S.C. Sporting Events

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed a bill that will allow liquor sales at more sporting events, including minor league baseball games. 

The bill states that a license can be issued to motorsport complexes, tennis specific complexes and baseball complexes in South Carolina. 

These permits, which owners must apply for, will allow the sale and on-site consumption of beer, wine and liquors at any occasion held at that location on any day of the week.

According to the bill, the owners of the complex can designate areas within the complex where buying and drinking the alcohol is allowed.


Big U.S. Companies Push Lower Offshore Taxes

Major U.S. multinationals are pushing the Trump administration to deepen the tax break it has already tentatively proposed on $2.6 trillion in corporate profits being held offshore, a key piece in Washington's intricate tax reform puzzle.

As President Donald Trump tries to deliver on his campaign promise to overhaul the tax code, lobbyists for technology, drug and other manufacturers are working with officials behind closed doors, six lobbyists working with various industries told Reuters.

In line with tax cuts already embraced by Republicans in the House of Representatives, the lobbyists said they are telling the White House and Treasury Department that if companies are forced to bring home, or repatriate, foreign earnings, they want a sharply reduced tax rate.

The lobbyists are making an aggressive case that cutting the tax rate on offshore profits to 10 percent from 35 percent, as the administration has indicated it may favor, is not enough.

Rather, the lobbyists said they want a lower, bifurcated rate of 3.5 percent on earnings already invested abroad in illiquid assets, such as factories, and 8.75 percent on cash and liquid assets.


Council to Look at Budget, Roads Tuesday

Anderson County Council will discuss the fiscal year 2017-2018 budget, and ways to find more funds for roads, as part of Tuesday's regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the historic courthouse downtown.

Complete agenda here


Mill Town Players "Smoke on the Mountain" Starts Friday

The Mill Town Players will present "Smoke on the Mountain," the story of a Saturday Night Gospel Sing at a country church in North Carolina's Smoky Mountains in 1938, Friday-June 4.

Tickets ate $10, with discounts for seniors, military, and students, and can be purchased online at, by calling (864)947-8000, or at the door. Almost half of all tickets are already sold. 

The show features two dozen bluegrass songs played and sung by the Sanders Family, a traveling group making its return to performing after a five-year hiatus. Pastor Oglethorpe, the enthusiastic minister of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, has enlisted the Sanders Family in his efforts to bring his tiny congregation into "the modern world." Between songs, each family member "witnesses" -- telling a story about an important event in their life. Though they try to appear perfect in the eyes of a congregation who wants to be inspired by their songs, one thing after another goes awry and they reveal their true -- and hilariously imperfect - natures. By the evening's end, the Sanders Family have endeared themselves to us by revealing their weaknesses and allowing us to share in their triumphs.

The play is directed by Myra Greene, with musical director Tricia Dyar.

The cast includes: Tricia Dyar, Tom Dyar, Mckelvie Wilder, Aaron Pennington, Libby Crews, and Mary Katherine Sosebee as the Sanders Family and Will Ragland as Pastor Oglethorpe. 


Trum Ordered to Turn Over Taped Conversations with Corey

U.S. lawmakers on Sunday called on President Donald Trump to turn over any tapes of conversations with fired FBI chief James Comey, potentially setting up a showdown with the White House as Democrats considered a boycott of the vote on Comey's replacement.

In a highly unusual move, Trump last week appeared to suggest on Twitter that he might have tapes of conversations with Comey and warned the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation against talking to the media. Trump and a White House spokesman declined to confirm or deny whether such tapes exist.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the White House must "clear the air" about whether there are any taped conversations.

"You can't be cute about tapes. If there are any tapes of this conversation, they need to be turned over," Graham told NBC's "Meet the Press" program. 

Trump sparked a political firestorm when he abruptly fired Comey last week. The FBI has been investigating alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election and possible ties between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

Democrats have accused Trump of attempting to thwart the FBI's probe and have called for some type of independent inquiry into the matter. 

Trump has said he removed Comey because he was not doing a good job and that Comey had lost the support of FBI employees.

Trump tweeted on Friday that "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"

If there are recordings, Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah told the "Fox News Sunday" program it was "inevitable" that they would be subpoenaed and the White House would have to release them.

Lee, who was on Trump's list of potential replacements for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, also said recording conversations in the White House is "not necessarily the best idea."