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Saturday
May132017

Surfside Moves Forward on New Pier

Surfside Beach has hired an engineering firm as it makes progress on plans for a new pier and is holding a public meeting.

The Sun News (http://bit.ly/2qDsZQ1 ) reports that the beach selected Collins Engineers of Charleston. The Town Council approved hiring Collins at a meeting Tuesday.

Hurricane Matthew in October had done significant damage to Surfside Pier.

The new pier could be a simple walkway or have a restaurant on it.

A public meeting was being held Saturday morning to discuss plans for a new pier.

Friday
May122017

Electrolux Brings New $200 Million Investment to Anderson

Electrolux in Anderson, only a two weeks after donating more than $170,000 to local charitable organizations, announced a $200 million investment to expand its existing manufacturing facility in the county.

"It is wonderful when one of our longtime employers proposes to make such a large investment in our Anderson community," said Anderson County Councilman Tommy Dunn. "I believe this means our relationship with Electrolux grows stronger every year, and it also proves that when you invest with Anderson County, we stand with you every day."

With close to 1,500 employees, Electrolux is among Anderson's largest manufacturing employer. 

Electrolux offers innovative and sustainable solutions for home and professional appliances, including refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, freezers and washing machines. Under brands such as Frigidaire, Electrolux, AEG and more, the company sells more than 60 million products to customers in more than 150 markets each year.

Located at 101 Masters Boulevard in Anderson, Electrolux plans to modernize its facility and create the opportunity to expand production, adding 800,000 square feet for manufacturing capacity and warehousing. Construction will begin in the summer of 2017 and continue through 2019. 

"Electrolux is committed to U.S. manufacturing. The plant will be in a strong position to meet growing demand and the future needs we see in the market to ensure long-term competitiveness," said Electrolux Major Appliances North America President and CEO Alan Shaw.

For more information on the company, visit www.electroluxgroup.com.

Here's video of the company's recent charitable donation in Anderson:

Thursday
May112017

Clemson Maps Lyme Disease Dangers Nationally

CLEMSON, South Carolina — As the rate of Lyme disease grows rapidly across the United States, new research offers veterinarians a forecasting map that tells them which parts of the country are most at risk of Lyme disease infections in dogs, which could also help track and predict Lyme disease in people.

Monthly data from veterinarians across the country feed into a new Lyme disease forecast map. Data show the prevalence of the disease and the increased territory of the ticks that spread the disease.

The forecast map, created by Christopher McMahan, an assistant professor of mathematical sciences at Clemson University, and Michael Yabsley, a parasitologist at the University of Georgia, shows the predicted Lyme disease prevalence — the percentage of dogs who are likely to test positive — in each of the 48 contiguous states. It draws on monthly test data from veterinarians, providing the most timely picture of Lyme disease cases available.

“Our research into modeling disease in space and time shows us how dynamic canine Lyme disease is on an annual basis. It’s our hope that these maps can be used to optimize patient care by veterinarians and public health officials or physicians,” McMahan said.

Ticks that carry the disease-causing bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, were once thought to be limited to northern parts of the United States, but recent research shows they are now in half of the counties across the country, including Southern states.

Yabsley and McMahan combined factors associated with Lyme disease — forestation, surface water area, temperature, population density and median household income — with nearly 12 million B. burgdorferi antibody test results collected between 2011 and 2015 in dogs, by county, in the contiguous United States, provided by the veterinary diagnostic company IDEXX Laboratories Inc.

The research is “a call to action for people to protect their dogs and for veterinarians to engage in conversations with their clients about risks to their pets and options for prevention, including vaccination and tick preventatives,” said I. Craig Prior, a veterinarian at the VCA Murphy Road Animal Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, and president of the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) board of directors.

Ticks feed throughout the year, Prior said. As mice and other animals that ticks feed on move into new habitats, the ticks, and Lyme disease, move with them.

“Awareness is the key, and forecasting helps people and veterinarians know the potential risk in their county,” Prior said.

The research also has implications for Lyme disease in people.

“Dogs really are the canary in the coal mine for human infection. Our research team has growing evidence that the relationship between risk of canine infection and human disease is strong,” Yabsley said.

“Because dogs are being tested for exposure during annual exams, these data are available on a national scale, something that is difficult to achieve when studying the ticks and environment directly,” Yabsley said.

McMahan and Yabsley are expanding this analysis and plan to release additional data on the relationship between human and canine disease later this year.

The research was originally conceptualized by the CAPC, which assembled a team of scientists from a variety of disciplines and institutions to address a major gap in the understanding of parasitic disease prevalence. CAPC is a nonprofit that works closely with academia and the animal health industry to provide veterinarians with up-to-date information on parasitic infections in pets.

Veterinarians have typically relied on a preconceived understanding that Lyme disease was endemic in the Northeast and central United States.

“Integrating data on a national level allows for a more advanced view of the variables impacting Lyme disease prevalence and expands our understanding of the true prevalence of disease across the U.S.,” said Chris Carpenter, chief executive director of CAPC. “The scientists observed an apparent convergence of Lyme disease infection of dogs from the northeastern and mid-central United States in the Great Lakes region, encompassing Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan, all of which is supported by recent studies and CDC reports of expansion of the ticks that carry the pathogen into this region.”

Initial symptoms of Lyme disease, which appear between five and 30 days in humans and two to five months in dogs, are flu-like: fatigue, low fever, achy muscles and joints. But if left undiagnosed or untreated, Lyme disease can cause long-term complications of the heart, nervous system and muscles.

“The research conducted by Drs. Yabsley, McMahan and their interdisciplinary team has been instrumental in helping CAPC fulfill our mission to protect pets against vector-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, and in helping us create the 2017 Lyme disease forecast,” Carpenter said. “We are pleased to have funded this research effort and we look forward to expanding this research in support of human health as well.”

Other research collaborators were epidemiologist Jenna Gettings, recipient of the Boehringer Ingelheim-CAPC Infectious Disease Postdoctoral Fellowship; mathematicians Robert Lund, Stella Watson and Yan Liu from Clemson; and immunologist Shila Nordone from North Carolina State University.

Thursday
May112017

House Closes Loopholes in S.C. Public Records Law

Legislation closing loopholes in South Carolina's open records law is poised to become law, but without a key provision that would have enabled the public to get data from obstinate government agencies without hiring a lawyer.

The Senate on Thursday approved a bill designed to strengthen the public's access to government records after stripping out a section creating a hearing officer to quickly and cheaply settle disputes.

Walterboro Democratic Sen. Margie Bright Matthews insisted on the change, saying she opposed the new division's estimated $140,000 cost.

The bill's House co-sponsors say they're disappointed but urged their colleagues to accept the changes rather than risk it dying again. Reps. Weston Newton and Bill Taylor say the bill still represents progress.

An 89-0 House vote sent the bill to Gov. Henry McMaster.

Thursday
May112017

Business Leaders Thank Legislators for Roads Bill

Business leaders are thanking legislators for "finally" passing a law that eventually provides $630 million annually for repairing South Carolina's crumbling roadways.

Businesses with the state Chamber of Commerce and the Alliance to Fix Our Roads have been urging legislators for several years to find a reliable, steady revenue stream to fix the state's unsafe roads, or risk losing jobs to other states.

They held a news conference Thursday to celebrate the state's biggest infrastructure improvement law in 30 years.

Sonoco CEO Jack Sanders thanked the Legislature for voting swiftly Wednesday to override Gov. Henry McMaster's veto.

Michelin North America President Pete Selleck says legislators who worked toward a solution displayed leadership and courage.

But he cautioned drivers not to expect "instant gratification," as the law has a six-year phase-in.

Thursday
May112017

Legislature to Return to Work on Budget

South Carolina's regular legislative session is ending, but the Legislature will return later this month to finish work on the state budget.

The session that began Jan. 10 officially ends at 5 p.m. Thursday.

But legislators have yet to agree to a budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. A six-member panel of House and Senate members will return next week to work on a compromise between the chambers' roughly $8 billion spending proposals.

The Legislature has set May 23-25 as a special session to take up the budget and potential compromises on other bills passed by both chambers, but with differences.

Beyond the budget, other bills already sent to legislative panels for negotiation include those restricting mopeds and putting crime victim services in the attorney general's office.

Wednesday
May102017

FBI Director Fired for Seeking to Expand Russian Investigation

FBI Director James Comey sought to expand his agency's probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election days before President Donald Trump fired him on Tuesday, a congressional source said on Wednesday.

With the Republican president facing a storm of criticism from many Democrats and some lawmakers in his own party, the Trump administration accused Comey of "atrocities" on the job and denied his firing was related to the FBI investigation into the Trump 2016 presidential campaign's possible collusion with Moscow to sway the election.

The ouster stunned Washington and plunged Trump deeper into a controversy over his campaign's alleged ties with Russia that has dogged the early days of his presidency.

Democrats intensified accusations on Wednesday that Comey's removal was intended to undermine the FBI probe and demanded an independent investigation. Some of Trump's fellow Republicans called the action troubling.

Trump, who met Russia's foreign minister at the White House on Wednesday, defended his abrupt firing of Comey from a law-enforcement post he had held since 2013, saying he had not been doing a good job.

The president had been considering letting Comey go "since the day he was elected," Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told a news briefing. She said he acted in part after Attorney General Jeff Sessions and deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein this week "outlined the basic, just, atrocities in circumventing the chain of command in the Department of Justice" that she said Comey had committed.

A congressional source with knowledge of the matter said Comey told lawmakers within the past few days that he had asked the Justice Department for more funding for the Russia probe. Comey informed lawmakers of that request after the Senate intelligence committee had asked the FBI to speed up its Russia inquiry, the source said.

Democrat Dianne Feinstein, the leading Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters she understood that Comey was seeking more resources for the FBI investigation.

"We know that there are subpoenas being requested in the Eastern District of Virginia, and that this investigation has been going on," Feinstein told reporters.

She said she met with Comey on March 15 along with Republican Senator Chuck Grassley. At the time Comey said it was "a big counter-intelligence and criminal investigation," Feinstein said.

Responding to media reports that Comey had asked Rosenstein last week for a significant boost in resources for the agency's probe, Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior said in an email, "Totally false."

More Here

Wednesday
May102017

Study: Sugar Substitute Leads to Weight Gain

A commonly used sugar replacement used in low-calorie foods that people eat to lose weight may actually have the opposite effect.

Researchers at Cornell University have found that erythritol is a biomarker for increasing fat mass and can be metabolized by and produced in the body.

The sugar alcohol erythritol occurs naturally in foods like pears and watermelons but has been used as a sugar replacement in low-calorie foods. It is found in the sugar replacement products Zsweet, Zero and Sweet Simplicity. Truvia is a mix of erythritol and stevia.

The study was a collaboration of researchers at Cornell, Braunschweig University of Technology in Germany and the University of Luxembourg, on a discovery-based analysis to identify metabolomic markers linked to weight gain and increased fat mass in students transitioning to college life.

"About 75 percent of this population experiences weight gain during the transition," Patricia Cassano, professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell, said in a press release. "With this in mind, it is important to identify biomarkers of risk that could guide its understanding and prevention."

Researchers found that people who gained weight and abdominal fat over the course of a year had 15 times higher blood erythritol at the beginning of the year compared to those who were stable or had lost weight and fat mass.

The study was part of Cornell's ENHANCE project by the Division of Nutritional Sciences to understand how the transition to college affects changes in diet, weight and metabolism in students.

"With the finding of a previously unrecognized metabolism of glucose to erythritol and given the erythritol-weight gain association, further research is needed to understand whether and how this pathway contributes to weight-gain risk," Cassano said.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Wednesday
May102017

House Overrides Veto; Gas Tax Hike, Fees Starts July 1

A law that takes effect July 1 will eventually provide more than $600 million annually to fix South Carolina's crumbling roadways.

The 32-12 vote in the Senate on Wednesday to override Gov. Henry McMaster's veto culminates a three-year legislative effort to find a reliable, steady stream of revenue for repairing South Carolina's highways and bridges.

The House overrode the veto on a 95-18 vote hours earlier after Democrats and Republicans blasted McMaster for providing no leadership on the state's top priority.

House Speaker Jay Lucas said the GOP governor seeking his first full term in 2018 chose to put the advice of campaign consultants above South Carolinians.

The bill would raise the gas tax by 12 cents per gallon over six years. It also increases and creates other fees.

Wednesday
May102017

Closed Section of I-85 in Atlanta Set to Open Monday

Atlanta's I-85 highway, closed since a section of it collapsed on March 30, will reopen in time for Monday's commute, Gov. Nathan Deal announced Wednesday.

Deal said the 10-lane highway will be ready for use one month ahead of the planned rebuilding schedule.

"This is a day of celebration. It demonstrates the can-do attitude Georgia has" he said in a press conference at the capitol.

Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry added that the highway's northbound lanes will likely open on Saturday, with the southbound lanes available for use by Sunday. It was expected that the rebuilding project, projected to cost $16.6 million, would take until June 15.

The road was closed after a fire, allegedly set by a homeless man, spread to construction materials stored under the bridge, rendering about 350 feet of the road in both directions unsafe and unusable. Portions of the highway collapsed in the fire. McMurry said the effort to fix the road was aided by the weather; only one full day of work was lost to rain.

The company contracted to repair the damage can qualify for up to $3.1 million in incentives for finishing ahead of schedule.

Wednesday
May102017

S.C. State Agencies Closed for Confederate Memorial Day

Most South Carolina state agencies are closed Wednesday in observance of Confederate Memorial Day.

The State reports (http://bit.ly/2qYLRVx ) that South Carolina is one of six states with a holiday honoring Confederate dead. The state observes the holiday May 10, the day in 1863 that Confederate Lt. Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson died from pneumonia after being wounded by friendly fire.

State parks and welcome centers remain open. State lawmakers will work Wednesday ahead of the legislative session's end on Thursday.

Lawmakers have engaged in little debate about the holiday this year after the 2015 battle to remove the Confederate flag from State House grounds, but House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford says some are "thinking about" the holiday as they watch New Orleans' efforts to remove Confederate monuments.

Wednesday
May102017

Why Comey Was Fired

Why does the White House say James Comey was fired?

Donald Trump and his allies in the US justice department cited Comey’s handling of the botched investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails as the reason for firing the FBI director.

A statement from the White House said:

 

Today, President Donald J Trump informed FBI director James Comey that he has been terminated and removed from office. President Trump acted based on the clear recommendations of both deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and attorney general Jeff Sessions.”

In a memo to Sessions, which was released by the White House on Tuesday, Rosenstein wrote: “The way the director [Comey] handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong.”

He went on to say:

I cannot defend the director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken.”

Sessions said the Department of Justice was “committed to a high level of discipline, integrity and the rule of law”, and “a fresh start is needed”.

What are the criticisms of Comey’s handling of the Clinton email inquiry?

Comey has been criticised by Democrats for his handling of an investigation into whether Clinton compromised national security by her use of a private email server for work and personal messages. Indeed, the inquiry is widely seen to have benefited Trump.

In a recent interview, Clinton partly blamed Comey’s letter in late Octobernotifying Congress that the FBI was studying newly discovered emails on her laptop for costing her the presidential election. At the time Trump praised Comey’s move, saying it “took guts”.

Comey had also been criticised for holding a press conference last July in which he said Clinton would not be charged but criticised her as “extremely careless”. The move was seen as infringing on the role of the justice department and attorney general.

In the final days of the election campaign, Comey said that, after reviewing the laptop emails, the FBI still believed that Clinton should not face charges. This prompted Trump to say that Clinton was “being protected by a rigged system”.

What about Russia?

The sudden sacking of the country’s most senior law enforcement official outraged Democrats, who suggested the email inquiry line was a smokescreen and that Trump’s real motivation was to influence the FBI’s investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia in the run-up to the US presidential election.

The same allegations are being looked into by the House of Representatives and Senate intelligence committees.

On Tuesday, CNN reported that a grand jury had begun issuing subpoenas to associates of Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser at the centre of the ongoing inquiry into Russian meddling in the election. If confirmed, the report suggests the FBI’s investigation into the Trump camp’s links with Moscow has entered a significant new phase.

“Were these investigations getting too close to home for the president?” the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, said, adding: “This does not seem to be a coincidence.”

One Senate Democrat described the move as “Nixonian”, and there were vociferous demands for a special prosecutor to be appointed to oversee the Russia inquiry.

What are Republicans saying?

Most Republicans backed the president, including the Senate judiciary committee chair, Chuck Grassley, who said the handling of the Clinton email investigation was “a clear example of how Comey’s decisions have called into question the trust and political independence of the FBI”.

There was some dissent. Justin Amash, a Republican congressman from Michigan, described the justification given in Trump’s letter to Comey as “bizarre”, and said he was reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia.

Richard Burr, a Republican leading the Senate intelligence committee investigation into Russia’s influence over the 2016 presidential election, said he was troubled by the timing and reasoning of the decision. “I have found director Comey to be a public servant of the highest order, and his dismissal further confuses an already difficult investigation by the committee,” Burr said.

Wednesday
May102017

Military Bass Tournament Kicks Off Today at Green Pond

The 2017 Military Team Bass Tournament, presented by American Bass Anglers and hosted by Anderson County and the Anderson Convention & Visitors Bureau, kicks off today, 2017 at Green Pond Landing and Event Center on Hartwell Lake. Weigh-ins will begin at 3:00 p.m. today and tomorrow. Final day weigh-in will be at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.

“We are ready to welcome the military members to the Anderson County, Green Pond Landing and Lake Hartwell." said Neil Paul, Executive Director of Visit Anderson. "Our community provides great local dining and lodging choices, as well as, local sporting goods retailers to satisfy the equipment needs of the military anglers while they are in town.”

Members of the United States Armed Forces from all over the country will make the drive to compete in the 2017 event at Lake Hartwell. Any active duty Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, National Guard, Reserve or Coast Guard member may fish in this event. A Military ID, Military Dependent Card, or DD-214 must be presented at onsite registration on May 9th.

“In honor of our military anglers, there will be displays from a bridging unit onsite throughout the 3-day tournament," said Anderson County Councilman Ken Waters. “As a veteran and fisherman, this tournament is good for Anderson County and we encourage our community to come out and get a closer look.”

The Military Team Bass Fishing Tournament began in 1991 as a way to promote fishing and camaraderie among all branches of the military. In 1975, ABA began as the Military Bass Anglers Association, an organization dedicated to providing bass anglers in the military an opportunity to compete in tournaments with other military members. In 2000, Morris Sheehan, a life member who retired from the U.S. Army, bought MBAA, renamed it American Bass Anglers Inc., and relocated it to Athens, Alabama.