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All Anderson County Schools Closed Monday

Due to the potential high winds from Hurricane Irma, all Anderson County Schools will be closed on Monday. 

In light of the current Hurricane Irma tracking and high wind and rain potential for our area, Anderson  County schools will be closed on Monday.  The latest forecasts predict sustained winds of 40-45 MPH with gusts up to 50-55 MPH.  High winds along with heavy rain prevents safe bus transportation along with the possibility of power outages.  The districts will continue to monitor the weather conditions and will make a decision about Tuesday's schedule by late Monday afternoon.



Eye of Irma Moves Toward Southwest Florida

Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Hurricane Irma's eye headed toward southwest Florida's coast Sunday morning as a Category 4 storm, the National Hurricane Center said.

The NHC said in its 11 a.m. advisory the storm's center was about 80 miles south-southeast of Naples ad 115 miles south-southeast of Fort Myers. The storm had 130 mph wind speeds and was moving northwest at 9 mph.

Irma made landfall at Cudjoe Key in the lower Florida Keys at 9:10 a.m.

A hurricane warning was in effect for Fernandina Beach south around the Florida peninsula to Indian Pass, the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee, Florida Bay, Andros Island, Bimini, Grand Bahama and the Cuban provinces of Matanzas and La Habana. A hurricane watch was in effect for north of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach, S.C.

Storm surge warnings were in effect for South Santee River south to Jupiter Inlet, North Miami Beach south around the Florida peninsula to the Ochlockonee River, the Florida Keys and Tampa Bay.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for west of Indian Pass to the Okaloosa/Walton county line and north of Fernandina Beach to South Santee River. A tropical storm watch was in effect for Bimini and Grand Bahama.


"On the forecast track, the eye of Irma should move over the Lower Florida Keys shortly, and then move near or over the west coast of the Florida Peninsula later today through tonight.," the NHC said.


Christian Author Beverly Lewis to Visit Anderson Tuesday

Best-Selling Chrisitian fiction writer Beverly Lewis, will be at the main branch of the Anderson County Library on Tuesday at 10 a.m. to talk about her latest books, which will available at the event.

Lewis began writing at age nine and is the author of more than 90 books for adults, teens and children.  Herkeen interest in her mother's Plain heritage inspired Lewis, who practically founded the Women's Christian Fiction genre by writing about the Amish. Her writing style and use of this little known, often misunderstood community to launch her onto the popular fiction lists and helped the genre gain popularity among more mainstream readers.

Her books have been published in 11 languages worldwide. Her debut novel, "The Shunning," has sold more than a million copies to date and was made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. Other titles include "The Confession" and "The Reckoning." 

Her awards include the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Inspirational Fiction, a Library Journal Best Book of the Year designation, the Outstanding Achievement in "Letters" by The National League of American Pen Women.

Lewis’ visit to the Anderson Library is part of the library’s ongoing "Story-Lines" series, which are programs that allow audiences to discuss books with the author, and author-led workshops that relate skills and techniques. For more information on this program or on other Story-Lines programs coming this Fall, visit any Anderson County Library, check out the website at, or call 864-260-4500 x126.


BMW Passes 4 Million Mark in Cars Built in S.C.

GREER, S.C. (AP) - BMW is celebrating its 4 millionth vehicle made in South Carolina exactly 23 years after the first car rolled off the plant's assembly line.

The German-based company marked the milestone Friday. The X3 will be shipped to a dealer in Vienna, Austria.

BMW also unveiled its Concept X7 iPerformance on Friday at the 67th International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany. The X7 is set to debut in 2018 and will be produced at the Spartanburg County plant.

BMW announced in June an expansion to make the X models. The company plans to invest an additional $600 million in the plant and add 1,000 jobs over the next three years, for a total workforce of 10,000.

Last year, the plant produced more than 411,000 vehicles, making it BMW's largest plant worldwide.



Study: ACA Helps Lower-Income Cancer Patients

The percentage of poor, newly diagnosed cancer patients without health insurance fell in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but remained high elsewhere, according to a new study.

The American Cancer Society study also found a small increase in early stage diagnosis of some common cancers in Medicaid-expansion states.

"The small shift toward early stage diagnosis for select common cancers, particularly in Medicaid expansion states, adds to the existing evidence on the positive effects of the Affordable Care Act on improving access to and quality of care in low-income population," wrote the researchers led by Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, vice president of surveillance and health services research at the American Cancer Society.

The ACA -- also known as Obamacare -- allowed states to expand Medicaid coverage to a large group of low-income people. Two dozen states and the District of Columbia did so by 2014.

For the new study, researchers analyzed data on more than 1.7 million people between the ages of 18 and 64 who were diagnosed with a first primary cancer between 2011 and 2014.

In Medicare expansion states, the percentage of low-income patients without health insurance fell from 9.6 percent before the ACA to 3.6 percent.

In states without Medicaid expansion, the decline was far smaller: 14.7 percent had no coverage before the ACA, compared to 13.3 percent after.

The study also found that differences in rates of uninsured low- and high-income patients narrowed significantly in Medicaid expansion states, but stayed high in those states that did not expand Medicaid.

States that expanded Medicaid also saw a slight increase in diagnosis of early stage colon, lung, breast and pancreatic cancers, as well as melanoma skin cancer. Similar findings were made for breast cancer and lung cancer in states that did not expand Medicaid.


Irma Moves Toward Florida Today

Hurricane Irma battered northern Cuba early Saturday, as it set its sights on Florida, where dire warnings predict it will hammer the state with pounding gales, heavy rain and potentially deadly storm surge.

Irma weakened slightly into a powerful Category 4 hurricane with 155-mph winds as it made a turn toward the United States. Its eye was due to skitter west Saturday along Cuba's northern coast, then approach Florida's southern tip Sunday morning before driving up the state's southwestern coast on Sunday afternoon and into the night, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Florida authorities have gone door to door to warn residents about the dangerous storm, sending throngs onto jammed highways as they fled north. More than 5.6 million people have been ordered to evacuate, Gov. Rick Scott said, and many coastal residents already have moved inland.

"If you have been ordered to evacuate, leave now -- not tonight, not in an hour, now," Scott said Friday night.

"This is as real as it gets," tweeted the National Weather Service. "Nowhere in the Florida Keys will be safe ... you still have time to evacuate."


Unhealthy Behaviors Cause Poor Grades in High School Students

American high school students with poor grades are much more likely to have unhealthy behaviors -- including illegal drug use -- than teens at the top of the class, federal health officials say.

There's a strong link between teens' health habits and their academic achievement, according to a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey.

"As our nation's children embark on another school year, it's important to remember that health and academic performance are not mutually exclusive," said the CDC's director, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald.

Analyzing data from a 2015 federal government survey, the researchers found that compared to students with mostly A's, students with mostly D's and F's were: 

  • nine times more likely to say they'd injected illegal drugs.
  • five times more likely to say they'd skipped school at least one day in the past month due to safety concerns.
  • four times more likely to say they'd had four or more sexual partners.

And compared to students with mostly D's and F's, the A-range students reported healthier behaviors. The better students were: 

  • twice as likely to eat breakfast every day in the past week.
  • 1.5 times more likely to have been physically active at least 60 minutes a day on five or more days in the past week.

The study doesn't show a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Still, "these findings highlight the connection between student health and academic achievement. Schools, parents and communities can all work together to ensure a healthy and successful future for our children," Fitzgerald said in an agency news release.


Anderson County High School Football Scores

T.L. Hanna 33, BHP 14

South Aiken 28, Westside 8

Pendleton 17, Berea 7

Palmetto 49, Crescent 0

Powdersville 21, Seneca 17

Wren 29, Easley 26


Governor Orders Barrier Islands to Evacuate

South Carolina's governor has ordered the evacuation of seven barrier islands, including Hilton Head Island, because they could be inundated by Hurricane Irma.

Gov. Henry McMaster said Friday that 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) of storm surge is possible on the islands in the southern part of the state even though the center of Irma is forecast to move 200 miles to the west.

With about 40,000 residents, Hilton Head Island is by far the largest island evacuated. It also has a number of resorts, golf courses and hotels.

South Carolina Adjutant General Robert Livingston estimates 20,000 people have already left Hilton Head Island.

Edisto Beach is also being evacuated, along with Harbor, Hunting, Fripp, Daufuskie, Tullifini and Knowles islands.

McMaster says a change in Irma's track back east might require more evacuations.


Hurricane Hotline Offers Info to S.C. Residents

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division said South Carolina residents who have questions about Hurricane Irma can now call a toll-free hotline.

Operators will be staffing the Public Information Phone System (PIPS) 24 hours a day for as long as is needed before, during, and after the storm to answer questions about the state’s response or safety precautions people should take.

The phone number is 1-866-246-0133.

SC EMD said the Emergency Operations Center is activated at Operating Condition Three as state agencies prepare for any possible effects from Hurricane Irma.


S.C. Officials Warn Residents Irma's Path Still Uncertain

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Emergency officials in South Carolina are warning residents to remain alert as Hurricane Irma approaches.

Forecasts early Friday showed the storm likely to head north through Florida and into Georgia and Tennessee. But Derrec Becker with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division said the path is too uncertain for people to relax.

Becker said Friday morning it is important for South Carolinians to review emergency plans and to prepare for high winds and heavy rains.

He noted South Carolina is still recovering from Hurricane Matthew last year and massive flooding in 2015.

A decision on evacuations could come Friday afternoon. Those evacuations could start Saturday morning and include some lane reversals on roads leading from the coast.

McMaster said the state is prepared to open 200 shelters if needed.


Irma Downgraded to Category 4, Still "Extremely Dangerous"

Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Hurricane Irma passed through the southeastern Bahamas' Grand Inagua Island as a Category 4 hurricane on Friday, on its way toward South Florida.

A hurricane warning was issued by the National Hurricane Center for South Florida and the Florida Keys. Current path predictions place Irma hitting the region on Sunday. 

The NHC said in its 5 a.m. advisory that the storm's center was about 495 miles southeast of Miami, with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. It is moving toward the United States at 16 mph, with a west-northwesterly turn expected by late Saturday.

It remains unclear if Irma will travel up through the center of Florida, or along its Gulf or Atlantic coasts. The NHC said the storm remains "extremely dangerous."

The advisory listed expected rainfall from the hurricane to reach up to 20 inches in the Bahamas; 10 to 15 inches, with isolated areas receiving 20 inches, are forecast for the upper Florida Keys and southeast Georgia. Progressively less rain, three to six inches, is currently expected in Georgia and the Carolinas.

"A Storm Surge Warning has been issued from Jupiter Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Bonita Beach" the NHC said, as well as for the Florida Keys.

"A Hurricane Warning has been issued from Jupiter Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Bonita Beach, as well as for the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee and Florida Bay."