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AnMed Asks Visitors to Stay Away from Hospital

AnMed Health posted this on their Facebook page, asking those who are not seriously ill to stay home.

"AnMed Health is requesting that, for the health of our patients and community, all visitors voluntarily stay away from the hospital. The Medical Center also is urging the public to bring only emergency medical needs to the Emergency Department. 

The Emergency Department staff is working with an unusually high number patients with flu or gastrointestinal distress.

AnMed Health infection prevention experts urge visitors to take precautions to avoid spreading influenza and other respiratory illnesses. Precautions to prevent spread of gastrointestinal distress are similar: keep hands washed and limit contact with other people.

Precautions also include not exposing patients to visitors who are sick, or visitors to sick patients.

· Please limit visitors to two adults per patient at any time. Limiting the number of visitors per patient will help control the spread of the illness.

· Please do not bring children on hospital visits. Children are more likely to get sick and spread viruses.

· Please wash your hands frequently. Look for hand-washing stations around the hospital, and use them often. Please make sure to clean your hands when entering and leaving the hospital either by washing with soap or rubbing your hands together with hand sanitizer.

· Please do not visit the hospital if you have symptoms of the flu or gastrointestinal illness. Signs of the flu include fever, cough, sneezing, runny nose or sore throat. Signs of gastrointestinal distress include vomiting and diarrhea.

· If you haven’t already, get the flu vaccine. Getting the simple shot can help increase your chances of staying healthy and avoid getting others sick.

· Keep your hands washed at all times.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that between 5 percent and 20 percent of U.S. residents get the flu, and it is estimated that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized on average for flu-related complications each year."


Hyco's Law Moves Forward in General Assembly

A bill designed to require tougher penalties for those who harm or kill law enforcement K-9s is moving forward in Columbia.

"Fargo and Hyco's Law," named after two K9s killed in the line of duty in South Carolina, passed a subcommittee Thursday.  Lawmakers said they hoped it would be passed in both houses of the legislature and on the Governor's desk by May.

Brandon Surratt, who was Hyco's handler when the dog was killed during an Anderson County manhunt in 2015, testified at the subcommittee in support of the bill, which essentially doubles or stiffens the penalties for killing a K-9.

"There is not a stiff punishment for killing a K-9," he said in an interview with FOX Carolina on Thursday.

"Current law is, if you're convicted of a felony, a judge sentences you to 1 to 5 years, with a fine of $2,000 to $5,000," said Representative Neal Collins of Pickens, who is the primary sponsor of the legislation to stiffen the penalties.

Collins said the legislation may face some hurdles as it advances through Columbia, partly due to the current discussion of mandatory minimums.

Surratt supports the law as-is.

"If it wasn't for God, if it wasn't for Hyco, I wouldn't be standing here right now," said Surratt.

You can donate to the Hyco K9 Fund, which raises money for protective gear for police K9s, HERE.


12 States Want Exemptions from Offshore Drilling

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Twenty-two Democratic U.S. senators from 12 states on Thursday joined the chorus of local representatives seeking exemptions from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s newly proposed offshore drilling plan, after his surprise move on Tuesday to shield Florida.

FILE PHOTO: An offshore oil platform is seen in Huntington Beach, California, U.S. September 28, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

Zinke surprised lawmakers, governors, and industry groups on Tuesday night by announcing that Florida would be removed from the Interior Department’s proposal to open up over 90 percent of federal waters to oil and gas leasing.

Zinke had met in Tallahasee with Republican Governor Rick Scott who told the Interior chief that drilling puts his state’s coastal tourism economy at risk. Scott is widely expected to challenge Democratic Senator Bill Nelson.

The White House dismissed suggestions that Florida’s exemption was a political favor to Scott. “I am not aware of any political favor that that would have been part of,” spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.

“Just like Florida, our states are unique with vibrant coastal economies,” wrote the 22 senators, who include Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Kamala Harris of California. “Providing all of our states with the same exemption from dangerous offshore oil and gas drilling would ensure that vital industries from tourism to recreation to fishing are not needlessly placed in harm’s way,” they wrote.

Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift said Zinke intends to meet with every coastal governor affected by the agency’s proposed offshore drilling plan, a process that could take a year.

Democrats are not alone in pressuring Zinke to exempt their states from drilling. South Carolina’s Republican Governor Henry McMaster asked Zinke for an exemption, citing the value of his state’s coastal tourist economy.

Maine Governor Paul LePage and Alaska Governor Bill Walker are the only coastal state governors who support the expansion of offshore drilling, with many of the rest seeking exemptions in the wake of the Florida decision.

Zinke’s abrupt announcement on Florida also took industry groups by surprise.

National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) President Randall Luthi called the move “disappointing and premature” while American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said it puts thousands of jobs at stake.

Industry groups and companies told Reuters last week that the eastern Gulf of Mexico and parts of the southern Atlantic were most attractive to drillers despite 90 percent of federal waters being on offer. [L8N1P049V]

The Interior Department has declined to answer repeated requests for detail on which parts of those areas might be off limits due to Florida’s exemption - saying only “all of Florida.”


McMaster Ends 2017 with $2.6 Million in Campaign Fund

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster raised just over $1 million in the final quarter of 2017, ending the year with almost $2.6 million cash on hand.

That's according to online records from the State Ethics Commission.

The figure marked the Republican incumbent's best quarterly fundraising report since taking over the governorship nearly a year ago. McMaster's campaign says 72 percent of those contributions came from in-state donors.

Former state labor chief Catherine Templeton is challenging McMaster for the Republican nomination. She brought in $720,000 in the same time period, nearly 80 percent of which was raised in-state.

Templeton ended the year with $2.3 million on hand.

On the Democratic side, state Rep. James Smith brought in more than $525,000 last quarter. Phil Noble raised almost $98,000.


Kool Smiles Reaches $23.9M Deal on Unneeded Services

The U.S. Department of Justice said a $23.9 million voluntary settlement has been reached with Benevis LLC and Kool Smiles Dental Clinics after allegations surfaced claiming medically unnecessary services were performed on children.

According to officials, Kool Smiles clinics in 17 states submitted false Medicaid claims for "baby root canals," tooth extractions, stainless steel crowns and other procedures which were unnecessary for the pediatric patients between January 2009 and December 2011.

An investigation was launched after former Kool Smiles employees filed lawsuits under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act.

"Such claims include, but are not limited to, stainless steel crowns placed on primary teeth that were likely to exfoliate on their own without intervention or stainless steel crowns placed on teeth when no pain was reported," the settlement states.

The settlement also states pulpotomies, or the removal of part of the tooth pulp, were performed when less expensive and less intensive treatments would have been appropriate. The affected Kool Smiles Clinics are also accused of submitting claims for pulpotomies that were never performed.

More than 130 clinics operated by Benevis, including Kool Smiles locations in the Upstate, are part of the settlement. The following Upstate Kool Smiles locations are named in the documents:

  • 31112 North Main Street in Anderson
  • 3227 W. Blue Ridge Drive in Greenville
  • 629 Highway 28 Bypass in Anderson
  • 3 K-Mart Plaza in Greenville

States Can Require Work for Medicaid Under New Trump Rules

Jan. 11 (UPI) -- For the first time, states will be allowed to move toward requiring some Medicaid recipients to work to receive benefits, under new guidelines issued by President Donald Trump's administration Thursday.

The policy shift by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services instructs states on how to compel "able-bodied, working-age" Medicaid recipients to work in order to receive benefits. 

"Medicaid needs to be more flexible so that states can best address the needs of this population. Our fundamental goal is to make a positive and lasting difference in the health and wellness of our beneficiaries, and today's announcement is a step in that direction," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said.

The new policy is a response to numerous state test programs through Medicaid projects in which recipients participated in community engagement activities, including skills training, education, job search, volunteering and care giving.

The conditions would exclude individuals eligible for Medicaid due to disability, elderly beneficiaries, children and pregnant women.


S.C. Considers Using Electric Chair for Executions

Jan. 10 (UPI) -- South Carolina lawmakers are considering a proposal to allow its first electric chair execution in a decade if lethal injection drugs aren't made available.

State Sen. William Timmons, R-Greenville, proposed a bill, discussed in a subcommittee Wednesday, that would allow the state to electrocute death row inmates because the state lacks chemicals necessary for lethal injections.

"I'm not changing any options, I'm just changing the way we're operating within the legal structure," Timmons said.

Presently the state is unable to execute any of its 35 death row inmates unless they elect to be executed by electric chair, a choice no inmate has made since James Earl Reed requested it in 2008.

State Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, said he could support the bill, despite disagreeing with the death penalty, because it allows corrections officers to do their jobs.

"This, to me, is a question about efficiency, not about the death penalty," Hutto said.

The Dec. 1 execution of 52-year-old Bobby Wayne Stone, who was convicted in the murder of Sumter County Sheriff Sgt. Charlie Kubala in 1996, was postponed because South Carolina's supply of pentobarbital and two other drugs used in the state's lethal injection protocol expired in 2013.

Like many other states South Carolina is unable to receive new shipments of the chemicals because distributors and pharmacies that provide the drugs fear retribution or exposure.


Williamston Library to Display Renovations at Jan. 30 Event

The Lander Memorial Library in Williamston is inviting the community to and event Jan. 30 at 10 a.m. to witness the updated building and new features. Refreshments will be served and there will be a story time for children. 

Renovations to the facility include: new carpeting and paint; new furniture; and new play area for kids; and an updated collection of books, audiobooks, magazines, and DVDs for children, teens and adults. The library’s meeting room space also has a refreshed look and will be available free for civic and nonprofit meetings.

As part of the Anderson County Library System, the Lander Memorial Library serves the Williamston, Pelzer, and West Pelzer communities. The Library was first established in 1960 and is named for the Lander family, specifically librarian Susie Lander. Today, the Library offers regular story time and Lego® Club activities for children as well as monthly book club meetings and adult coloring programs. To find out about events or more information, visit or call 864-847-5238.


S.C. Launches Opioid Awareness Campaign

The South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) has launched a statewide public education campaign to address the opioid epidemic in South Carolina. The Just Plain Killers campaign will raise and deepen the public’s awareness of opioid use and abuse in the state while destigmatizing those affected by opioid use disorder.

“No single group or entity can solve this damaging and pervasive problem alone – it will take the rare and powerful spirit of South Carolinians educating themselves and providing necessary support for those in our communities suffering from opioid use disorder,” said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. “We have seen South Carolina at work in the most difficult of times, and I believe, together, we will prevail again.”

In South Carolina, nearly five million opioid prescriptions are filled every year – more than one prescription for every resident in the state. 

“The foundation of the outreach is the website containing lifesaving information about prescription storage, disposal and use, but also printable resources, including a brochure, fact sheet and PowerPoint presentation. This campaign is not just for treatment professionals, but to be used in homes, schools, businesses and places of worship,” said Sara Goldsby, DAODAS Director. “This is a problem for our entire state. Pain killers can kill relationships, futures, careers…or just plain kill.” 

The campaign asks elected officials, business leaders, school administrators and residents to take a pledge to educate themselves and their loved ones about the potential dangers of opioid use, and the resources available in our state.  

“As Chairman of the House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee, we heard over and over again how addiction is too often stigmatized. We need to reframe the conversation, and publication education is the key,” said Representative Eric Bedingfield. “This campaign will be a critical tool for raising awareness and educating South Carolinians on the devastating effects of this disease, serving as an incredibly important component of the statewide effort to rid South Carolina of this terrible problem.”

For more information about safe storage, disposal and use of prescriptions, as well as where to find help for yourself or a loved one affected by opioid use disorder, visit


McMaster Seeks Exemption from Offshore Drilling Expansion

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's governor says he's seeking an exemption from the Trump administration's offshore drilling expansion.

Gov. Henry McMaster told reporters Wednesday the risks associated with drilling are too great a threat to South Carolina's lush coastline, around which much of the state's $20 billion tourism industry is based.

McMaster wants a reprieve recently achieved by another tourism-rich state. On Tuesday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the administration wouldn't allow drilling off Florida's coast, following a meeting with Gov. Rick Scott.

The Trump administration last week announced plans to expand offshore drilling.

McMaster has said he opposed offshore drilling. The Republican has been closely aligned with President Donald Trump, who is backing McMaster's re-election bid this year.


Grace Episcopal Jan. 25 Soup Lunch to Benefit Meals on Wheels

It's one of Anderson's tastiest winter traditions. Grace Episcopal Church will hold it’s annual soup luncheon Jan. 25 from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at the church located at 711 S. Main Street, with all proceeds to Meals on Wheels-Anderson. 

“We are very thankful to the folks at Grace Episcopal Church for making Meals on Wheels a priority," said Laurie Ashley, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of Anderson. "Every dollar donated to Meals on Wheels will help us continue to carry out our mission of delivering meals to our disabled and elderly neighbors.”

The meal features home-made soup, cornbread, dessert and tea all for $7. Eat in or take out. Call ahead orders are also welcome at 225-8011.


U.S. News: AU Among Top S.C. Online Programs

Anderson University's  online program has been ranked U.S. News & World Report’s top online bachelor program among all institutions of higher learning in Upstate South Carolina, and is third among all South Carolina schools ranked.

The "Best Online Bachelor’s Programs" list, offers a comprehensive ranking of nearly 1,500 distance education degree programs.

AU offers 16 online bachelor degree programs among its eight colleges and schools.

More than 550 of roughly 3,500 students attend AU online. Many on-campus students learn also through hybrid courses.

The new report compiles its ranking based on a four-part formula that examines a school’s student engagement; its student services and technology infrastructure; the credentials and training of its faculty; and its reputation among its peers. 


Judge Blocks Trump Plan to End Young Immigrant Protection

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday night temporarily blocked the Trump administration's decision to end a program protecting young immigrants from deportation.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup granted a request by California and other plaintiffs to prevent President Donald Trump from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program while their lawsuits play out in court.

Alsup said lawyers in favor of DACA clearly demonstrated that the young immigrants "were likely to suffer serious, irreparable harm" without court action. The judge also said the lawyers have a strong chance of succeeding at trial.

DACA has protected about 800,000 people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or came with families who overstayed visas. The program includes hundreds of thousands of college-age students.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in September that the program would be phased out, saying former President Barack Obama had exceeded his authority when he implemented it in 2012.