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Monday
Nov062017

Sheriff Offers Free Active Shooter Training for Churches

In light of the shootings in Texas Sunday, it is good to remember the Anderson County Sheriff's Office offers free active assailant response training to schools, businesses, churches, community groups and any other civic organizations interested in protecting its people.

The training is tailored to meet the time restrictions of the requesting organization and can range from 1 hour to a full day seminar with individualized break-out sessions.

Not only will participants learn take down techniques and other protective actions, but you will also learn how to control bleeding and administer critical life-saving trauma treatment until emergency medical personal arrive.

This training is provided by Anderson County Sheriff's Office and Anderson County EMS & Special Operations personnel at no cost.

For more information or to schedule training, please contact Lt. Todd Caron at (864) 222-3970 OR by email at tcaron@andersonsheriff.com.

Sunday
Nov052017

Panel Chosen to Consider Refunds on Failed Nuke Project

South Carolina's governor gets a chance to pick a member of the utility oversight board considering whether electricity customers should get refunds after a failed nuclear project.

The State newspaper of Columbia reports that Gov. Henry McMaster could announce his choice for a vacancy on the state Public Service Commission as early as this week.

Nikiya "Nikki" Hall said last month she's quitting the seat on the commission she's held for seven years to take a job with a Washington, D.C. electric utility.

Hearings in two cases before the commission seek to recover some of the $1.7 billion that South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. customers spent on its bungled V.C. Summer nuclear expansion. Hearings are scheduled later this month and next.

The company abandoned construction plans in July. 

Information from: The State, http://www.thestate.com

Sunday
Nov052017

Commerce Secretary Failed to Report Russian Financial Interests

Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Leaked documents show President Donald Trump's commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, didn't disclose holdings in a company tied to Russian interests while being confirmed for his Cabinet post.

The 7 million internal documents of Appleby, a Bermuda-based law firm, were leaked to German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and shared with outlets such as NBC News through the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. 

The documents known as the "Paradise Papers" show Ross retains an interest in a shipping company, Navigator Holdings, which has business ties to, Sibur, a Russian energy firm controlled by Gennady Timchenko, a Russian oligarch subject to U.S. sanctions, as well as Putin's son-in-law, Kirill Shamalov, and other members of the Russian president's inner circle.

The Appleby files also contain references to members of the Trump administration, including chief economic adviser Gary D. Cohn and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, although there is no evidence of illegality in any of their dealings, according to The New York Times.

Full Story Here

Sunday
Nov052017

All County Library Branches Closed Friday For Veterans' Day

All branches of the Anderson County Library, along with the Bookmobile will be closed Friday observance of Veterans’ Day. Regular hours will resume Saturday, Nov. 11.

Saturday
Nov042017

Daylight Savings Time Starts Tommorow

All will be right in the world again this Sunday. Well, sort of.

The U.S. will be setting its clocks back one hour on Sunday, realigning itself with Europeans, who changed their clocks last week.

There are plenty of countries and even some states—looking at you, Arizona and Hawaii—that choose not to tweak their clocks at all. But for the most part, the U.S. and much of Europe participate in Daylight Saving Time, though they do so at different times. That means for the past week, the financial hubs of London and New York City have been only four hours apart, rather than the standard five.

What’s to blame for this oddity?

It’s actually a rather recent phenomenon. Not too long ago, both sides of the Atlantic adjusted their clocks at the same time twice a year—in April and October. That changed in the U.S. in 2007 after President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act, which extended Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. Rather than starting on the first Sunday in April and ending on the last Sunday in October, the U.S. began observing Daylight Saving Time on the second Sunday of March, with it lasting until the first Sunday in November. Europe’s Daylight Saving Time schedule, meanwhile, stayed put.

The bill, first enacted a decade ago, was intended to ease the country’s energy problems. The U.S. has adhered to the new system ever since, even though plenty of people complain that the need to change the clocks is obsolete entirely.

Abolishing Daylight Saving Time would align the U.S. with more than 100 other countries. They don’t fiddle with their clocks one bit.

Saturday
Nov042017

County Council to Vote on Northeast Anderson Plan

Anderson County Council will vote on the Northeast County Area Plan as part of Tuesday's regular meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the historic courthouse downtown.

The public is invited.

Friday
Nov032017

BMW Recalls 1.4 Million Cars and SUVs

BMW is recalling 1.4 million cars and SUVs in North America due to the risk they could catch fire.

The company has filed two recalls with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They affect versions of the 3-series, 5-series, X5, X3 and Z3.

The first recall, which spans more than 740,000 vehicles, covers a part of the engine that can short circuit and melt. This increases the chances of a fire, even when the vehicle isn't in use.

BMW, in its NHTSA filing, said it's not aware of any related accidents or injuries.

The second recall, which is for roughly 673,000 vehicles, deals with faulty wiring for the heating and air conditioning system. There's a chance it can overheat, causing the electrical connectors to melt and increasing the risk of fire, even when the vehicle is unattended.

BMW received four incident reports related to this issue, with three reports of injuries.

In both cases, dealers will replace the necessary parts starting Dec. 18.

Friday
Nov032017

Duke Energy to Upgrade S.C. Grid, Add 3,000 Jobs

Duke Energy plans to create 3,000 new jobs as part of a plan to strengthen the energy grid in South Carolina. The move is expected to include an investment of $3 billion over the next 10 years.

Power/Forward Carolinas will allow for upgrades that will make the grid stronger against storms and outages, and protect the grid from cyber and physical threats according to a spokesman for Duke Energy. 

“Safely powering the lives of hard-working families and maintaining the vitality of our communities are our most important responsibilities,” said Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, Duke Energy’s South Carolina president, in the news release.

Friday
Nov032017

Study: Seniors Should Lift Weights to Lose Weight

Seniors who want to lose weight should hit the weight room while they cut calories, a new study suggests.

Older folks who performed resistance training while dieting were able to lose fat but still preserve most of their lean muscle mass, compared with those who walked for exercise, researchers report.

"The thought is if you lose too much lean mass, that this will exacerbate risk of disability in older adults," said lead researcher Kristen Beavers, an assistant professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. "Our findings show if your treatment goal is to maximize fat loss and minimize lean mass loss, then the resistance training is probably the way to go."

Excess pounds significantly contribute to frailty and disability in old age, but there's concern that dieting alone might rob older adults of the muscle they need to maintain their mobility and independence, researchers explained in background notes.

To suss out the best way for seniors to lose weight, Beavers and her colleagues randomly assigned 249 people, average age 67, to one of three different weight-loss groups.

All of the groups went on a diet, but the second and third groups also were asked to exercise four days a week. The second group lifted weights, while the third walked briskly.

After 18 months, the resistance training and aerobic groups both had lost more fat than those who only dieted -- 17 and 15 pounds, versus 10 pounds, respectively.

But the resistance training group maintained more of their muscle mass, losing only 1.7 pounds of lean mass compared with 3.5 pounds of muscle lost in the walking group and 2.2 pounds in the diet-only group.

The findings were published in the November issue of the journal Obesity.

Minimizing the loss of muscle is important not only for protecting seniors' mobility and independence, but also as insurance if they eventually put some pounds back on, Beavers said.

Thursday
Nov022017

Clemson Study Says Politics Can Influence Hiring Decisions

CLEMSON — By many accounts, political divisiveness today has reached an all-time high, which tends to affect fundamental attitudes about health care, immigration and national security, but also hiring decisions, according to researchers in Clemson University’s College of Business.

A three-year Clemson study involving more than 400 participants found political beliefs can play a significant role in how a hiring manager assesses a job applicant’s qualifications.

“Very little research has been conducted on how political beliefs can affect a person’s hireability, and we felt strong political convictions probably spilled over into workplace decision-making, so our study went down that path,” said Phil Roth, management professor, who was joined in the study by Jason Thatcher, also a management professor.

The researchers created two versions of a student Facebook page infused with the political leanings of either a Democrat or Republican. The pages were sent to two groups, upperclassmen business majors at a Southern university and employed MBAs. A series of hiring-related questions accompanied the Facebook pages. At the end of the survey questions, the participant was asked to identify themselves politically.

“The bottom line is decision-makers have a tendency to hire their own like-minded people,” Roth said. “Based on our experiment, the study showed political similarities correlated with ratings on how a respondent liked the candidate and how they thought the candidate would do their job.”

A study by the Pew Research Center this summer, based on surveys of more than 5,000 adults, revealed a dramatic widening in differences between Republicans and Democrats on a range of issues and measures Pew has been asking about since 1994. Roth said that growing political divide can have significant implications for job applicants and hiring managers.

“From a job applicant’s perspective, sending clear signals of your political affiliations on social media channels carries both risks and rewards,” Roth said. “If you get a decision-maker who has the opposite of your political viewpoint, there may be consequences. On the other hand, should the hiring manager align with your political beliefs, your chances of being hired may be enhanced.”

Likewise, the study suggests political affiliation has important implications for hiring managers.

“First, managers should be cognizant of the power of similar or dissimilar political affiliations between them and applicants or subordinates seeking promotion,” Roth added. “There is no evidence that political affiliation relates to job performance, so a decision to hire or not based on a political ideology could be construed as political discrimination.”

Roth said hiring decisions based on one’s political beliefs can not only hurt a candidate who may have been qualified but didn’t get the job, it also can impact the organization if the best applicant wasn’t hired.

“Hiring leaders might want to have their diversity training to include political affiliation as a variable that would be considered job-irrelevant. And, lawmakers might consider whether political affiliation is a characteristic that should be protected in hiring decisions,” Roth said.

The research by Roth, Thatcher and Caren Goldberg of Bowie State University was recently highlighted by a London School of Economics blog.

Thursday
Nov022017

Prosecutors Pushing Feds on Cellphones in Prisons Problem

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - A national prosecutor group is pressing federal regulators to find a solution to the dangers they say are posed by inmates' access to illegal cellphones inside prisons.

In a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, National District Attorneys Association president Michael Freeman writes his members have seen effects of inmates' use of cellphones, such as witness intimidation and harassment.

The letter dated October 27 was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

Pai has signaled willingness to work on the issue. Last month, he said he would arrange a meeting with corrections officials, telecom companies and the FBI and report its progress to Congress.

South Carolina Corrections Director Bryan Stirling has long pressed for a solution to the problem he says is the top security threat within his prisons.

Thursday
Nov022017

Affordable Care Act Facing New Challenges This Year

MIAMI (AP) - It's not easy being an advocate for the Affordable Care Act right now.

Health care advocacy groups are making an against-all-odds effort to sign people up despite confusion and hostility fostered by Republicans opposed to President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy achievement.

The Trump administration has taken numerous steps to undermine the law, and many states are doing little to promote coverage as health insurance open enrollment begins this week. Health care advocates are particularly concerned about people in Republican-led states with hundreds of thousands of uninsured residents, like Florida, Texas and Georgia.

Many of these groups are scrambling to fill in the gaps and combat misinformation, helping people decide which insurance policies are best for them and encouraging them to act quickly during the tight enrollment period of Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.

A coalition of nonprofits in Kansas' largest county paid $66,000 for a television commercial airing 500 times in the coming weeks and created fliers dispelling myths about the law. They're being sent home in the backpacks of 20,000 students, and distributed with utility bills to another 8,000 residents. They also hired 12 new enrollment counselors, up from their usual four.

"We knew that we needed to band together," said Molly Moffett of the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County.

President Donald Trump repeatedly claims that the Affordable Care Act is in a death spiral, and has withdrawn support for it in many ways, fostering turmoil that has prompted many insurers to drop out or raise rates by double digits. The consulting firm Avalere Health predicted that individual plans bought through the health insurance marketplaces will rise an average of 34 percent nationwide.

Now that it's time to enroll again, his administration has slashed marketing budgets completely in some areas, and shortened the sign-up period from 12 weeks to six. Across the country, Trump cut spending on health care counselors, or navigators, by roughly 40 percent, from $62.5 million to $36.8 million, and reduced advertising from $100 million spent last year to $10 million, according to federal health officials.

Almost every state will feel the spikes at a time when enticing consumers to sign up for coverage has never been harder.

In Florida, where premiums are expected to rise 49 percent, the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida is hosting a handful of house parties during which navigators will assist with sign-ups.

Victor Rodriguez said during a phone-banking session in Miami that he recently began getting insurance through disability, but he's planning to re-enroll his wife through the federal marketplace.

"I'm concerned that (the law) is going to go away or the premiums are going to be very high and we are going to be priced out," he said.

In Ohio, the largest state navigator group shuttered its program after losing nearly 88 percent of its funding, dropping from $1.7 million to $486,000. The group helped sign-up about 10,000 residents last year, said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director Ohio Association of Food Banks.

It was similar in Iowa, where Planned Parenthood of the Heartland in Des Moines dropped out after its funding went from more than $304,000 last year to $45,000.

Shelli Quenga leads South Carolina's navigator program under the Palmetto Project, which previously served all 46 counties in the state. This year, her group will be in only the most densely populated areas after losing nearly half its funding. Rural areas will feel the brunt.

"You have so much land to cover and not very much money to do it," said Quenga. "Our state is mostly rural, so that means traveling great distances between small numbers of people, and it's just not cost-effective to do that when you also only have six weeks."

Enrollment groups warn the cuts will have real-life consequences when people miss the opportunity to get the right insurance for them.

Health policy experts and insurers also worry the cuts and misinformation could disrupt the market's delicate balance - meaning more sick people will sign up because they need insurance the most, while those who are younger and healthier (and wait longer to sign up) will stay away.

One group that targets this crowd, Young Invincibles, has beefed up social media efforts around the county and has had a surge of volunteers.

"That lack of awareness and confusion over what's available has kind of tripled and become so much more difficult this year because of all the repeal efforts in Congress," said Erin Hemlin, a director with Young Invincibles.

Alaska is one of the few states offering good news for consumers: a drop in premiums. But a 25 percent budget cut meant the Alaska Primary Care Association had to cut its marketing program. A coalition of local groups stepped in to pick up some of the slack.

In Texas, where premiums are rising an average of 23 percent and many counties only have one or two providers, local health officials fear the price spike and lack of competition will turn consumers away.

"When you are sitting with a family of four below 125 percent of the federal poverty level and they look at you in the eye and say, 'Do I buy food for my kids tonight or do I pay a premium,' it's heartbreaking to see," said Daniel Bouton, a director at the Community Council of Greater Dallas.

Thursday
Nov022017

House Unveils Tax-Cut Plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Republicans unveiled long-delayed legislation on Thursday to deliver deep tax cuts that President Donald Trump has promised, setting off a frantic race in Congress to give him his first major legislative victory.

The bill, representing what would be the largest overhaul of the U.S. tax system since the 1980s, called for slashing the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent, cutting tax rates on individuals and families and ending certain tax breaks for companies and individuals.

But congressional passage was far from certain, and some business groups quickly came out against it. Contentious provisions will test Republicans, who control the White House and both chambers of Congress but have been unable to deliver any major legislative achievements for Trump since the businessman-turned-politician became president in January.

“This is a very important and special moment for our country, for all Americans. Are we going to let the defenders of the status quo win and see our country continue down this downward spiral?” Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan asked, despite data showing about eight straight years of economic growth.

Trump has asked Congress to pass the tax overhaul by the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 23, an ambitious goal for such a long, multi-faceted piece of legislation. The administration earlier in the year had set an August goal for tax legislation to be passed.

Trump called the bill an “important step” toward tax relief for Americans, adding in a statement, “We are just getting started, and there is much work left to do.”

The bill presented by the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee would consolidate the current number of tax brackets to four from seven: 12 percent, 25 percent, 35 percent and 39.6 percent. An earlier Republican tax outline had called for cutting the top rate for the highest earners to 35 percent.

A number of provisions in the bill would hit taxpayers in Democratic-leaning states hardest, like rolling back deductions for state and local taxes and cutting in half the popular mortgage interest deduction.

The National Association of Home Builders blasted the legislation, saying it would damage home prices and punish homeowners in urban areas.

“We’re concerned if enacted, this bill will throw us back into another housing recession,” Jerry Howard, the group’s president, said in an interview.

The group said the provision in the bill capping the interest deduction for future home purchases at $500,000 - half the current amount - was unacceptable. Howard said 7 million homes are currently above $500,000 and in high-cost regions like Washington, D.C., New York City, California and Hawaii, the impact would be felt the most.

The National Federation of Independent Business, the influential small business lobby, also came out against the bill.

More Here