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Monday
Dec282009

Report: 14,578 fatal terrorist attacks since 9/11

Saturday
Dec262009

South Carolina Census Could Mean Extra Congressional Seat

Southern Political Report Says Exact Count Key

By Tom Baxter
Southern Political Report

December 24, 2009

The last US Census Bureau estimate of population changes before the actual count is taken next year contains some good news and bad news for the South – and a certain amount of suspense.

With the latest numbers, South Carolina joins Florida and Georgia as Southern states which are expected to gain a new congressional seat in the next round of reapportionment. That’s good news for the Palmetto State, not so good for Florida, which earlier in the decade – before the real estate bust, that is – had been expecting to gain two or three seats in the next decade. Another state with reason to be disappointed in the new data is North Carolina, which in previous population estimates appeared to be on track to gain a seat.

The big winner continues to be Texas, which is on track to gain three or four seats.

The data released this week by the Census Bureau estimate the U.S. population for July 1, 2009, nine months before Census Day next April 1. But according to Kimball Brace, president of Election Data Services, a political consulting firm which specializes in redistricting analysis, there are trends in the new data that “point toward more twists in population growth” in the remaining months, which could lead to a “variety of potential scenarios by the time apportionment happens in 2010.” The competition for congressional seats is “extremely close,” Brace says, with 16 states competing for the last six seats in the 435-seat House of Representatives.

Among the questions still in doubt:

--    Although South Carolina appears to have gained enough to pick up a new seat, Brace says it only has about 15,000 to 20,000 residents to spare in this extremely tight competition. State officials often make pronouncements about the importance of getting a full count, but this is especially true in South Carolina’s case. Problems around Census Day leading to an incomplete count “could be enough to take that seat away,” Brace said.

Friday
Dec252009

Haven Serves More than 2,000 Meals

Anderson's Haven of Rest served more than 2,000 full Christmas meals Friday as part of the ministry's annual holiday Christmas lunch tradition.

The Haven, in partnership with First Presbyterian Church and and dozens of volunteers from throughout the community served turkey and all the trimmings to anyone who showed up looking for something to eat.

Allen Bollick, food services manager for the Haven, offered special thanks Sandra Jordan, director of Food Servers for Anderson School District Five for lending warmers for the Christmas meal.

Friday
Dec252009

Merry Christmas: Our Short Story Winner

CHRISTMAS EVE:  MIDNIGHT IN THE PASTURE

By MJ Goodwin

“That can’t be true,” Phillip said, his eyes wide with disbelief.

“Well, it is,” Grandpa replied, continuing to brush the horse.  “Animals can talk at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve.”

Phillip turned and strode from the barn with a purpose that belied his six years on earth.  He continued his pace into the pasture and up to the huge American Paint Stallion that inhabited it.  “What you gonna say?”  Phillip asked.  The huge animal looked up from his grazing.  Mouth full of grass, his half blue eyes met Phillip’s.  But he said nothing.  He rubbed his head against Phillip’s leg, then returned to grazing.

“Not time yet, son,” his grandfather called from the barn.

“How much longer?”

“Tomorrow night.  But you have to be asleep then.  Or Santa won’t come.”

“That doesn’t seem fair,”  Phillip retorted, as returned to the house.

“Come on sweetie, I’m putting on the Rudolph DVD,”  Mama called.

“Ok, Mama.”  But Phillip couldn’t pay attention.  His mind kept returning to Grandpa’s comment.  Phillip knew animals don’t talk.  But Christmas is a magical time of year.  Everybody knows that.  So maybe, just maybe….

                    ***

Christmas Eve is the longest day of the year for six year old boys.  Phillip played, watched DVDs, and helped Grandpa with chores.  He knew he had to be in bed early so Santa wouldn’t fly right by the house.  But he had a plan.  He was going to find out if animals talk at midnight. 

Right after supper, Phillip brushed his teeth without being told and went to bed.  He carefully set his alarm clock for 11:30pm.  Surely Santa would have come and gone by then.  He could take a short walk out to the pasture and find out for himself.  He put his flash light and his coat by his bedside.  He was ready for his mission.  It was hard, but he finally drifted to sleep.

Beep!  Beep!  Beep!  The alarm clock rang and pulled Phillip from his dream world.  He carefully put on his shoes, socks, coat and hat and slowly made his way through the dark house.  He did take a glimpse into the living room.  He thought he saw the outline of a bicycle in the darkness.  But that would have to wait until morning.  Carefully, slowly, he opened the front door.  A blast of cold air smacked him in the face.  He reconsidered his mission.  He could hear Grandpa snoring in his bedroom.  Mama was going to be mad that he went outside without permission.  But he had to find out.  He just had to find out.

He snapped on the flash light and made his way across the porch and down the front steps.  It was a clear, cold night with a raw, bitter wind.  He had on his coat and hat, but his pajama pants were thin.  It was very hold and he started to shake.  But he had to keep going.  He swept the flash light across the pasture.  It was dark.  He did not see any animals at all.  “Maybe they are in the barn,”  he thought.  He crossed the yard, using the flashlight as best he could.  But he didn’t see the rock.  Suddenly, he was sprawled out on his back.   The world was spinning.  He saw the stars in the sky spinning around; then the world went black.

                    ***

“Phillip!  Phillip!  Phillip!”  a loud voice shouted.  “Wake up!  You’ve got to wake up.  Wake up, Phillip!  Wake up, Phillip!”

Phillip did not recognize the voice he heard.  But he knew he had to try to wake up.  The voice kept shouting.  His world kept spinning.  He couldn’t see who was shouting.

                    ***

Mama was crying.  He was wrapped up in a quilt, on a stretcher.  An ambulance with red lights flashing was in the drive way.  The horse was by the fence, watching everything.

“Mama, Mama,”  Phillip whimpered.

“Baby!”  Mama screamed.  The ambulance man jumped a little when she screamed.

“I’m Ok, Mama.”

“Ma’am, he still needs to be seen at the hospital.  We don’t know how long he’s been out here and he could have hypothermia,”  the ambulance man said.

“What, what time is it?”  Phillip asked.

“What?”  Mama said, wiping tears from her face. 

“It’s midnight,”  Grandpa said.

“Exactly?” Phillip asked.

“What?”  Mama said.

“It is exactly midnight?  What time is it exactly?”

“12:05,” the ambulance man said.

“I missed it!”  Phillip began to cry. 

“You could have frozen to death,”  Mama said.  “If I had not thought I heard a man shouting your name, we would not have known you were outside.   I guess I dreamed it, Phillip.  But I thought for sure that I heard someone calling your name.  Why in the world were you outside, baby?”

“I had to see if it was true.  And I missed it.” 

“See if what was true?”

“The animals.”  Phillip whimpered.

“The animals?”  Mama looked confused.  “I thought I heard someone shouting your name.  I sat up in bed and then I heard the horse raising cain.  I woke your grandfather to see if it was coyote or something.  And we found you.”

“I wanted to find out if the animals can talk,”  Phillips whispered.  “I wanted to see if it was true.”

“Oh, it’s true, son.  It’s true.  Who do you think called your mother out of the house to find you?”  Grandpa said.

The American Paint stallion uttered his low gutteral whinny.  Phillip knew, for sure, that it was true.


Thursday
Dec242009

Haven of Rest Prepares for Christmas Lunch

The Haven of Rest, located at 219 West Whitner Street, Anderson, will be serving the organization's annual Christmas lunch Christmas Day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meal is free to anyone looking for a traditional Christmas meal.

The Haven staff has been preparing for more than a week to serve the meal, and are expecting to serve more than 2,500 meals Christmas Day.

For more information, call 226-6193.


Monday
Dec212009

Christmas Fiction Contest Deadline Thursday

Today we launch the Anderson Observer's First Fast Fiction Christmas Story Contest.

We are looking for orginal, unpublished fiction based on a Christmas theme, and the winner receives an Apple iPod shuffle! Deadline for all entries is Dec. 24.

A $10 fee per entry will allow others to have a brighter holiday. Proceeds from the contest will benefit Anderson Interfaith Ministries and Shalom Recovery Center.

The rules are simple. The story:

1. Must be orginal,

2. Must be 4,000 words or less

3. Must have something to do with Christmastime

Multiple entries are allowed. The winning story will be published here Dec. 25. Authors retain all rights to their story other than the initial publication of the story in the Anderson Observer.

Stories should be emailed to gwilson@andersonobserver.com

Payment is by credit card or paypal only and can be paid online here.

Sunday
Dec202009

Last Minute Shopping? Don't Forget Those in Need

Christmas is less than a week away, and it is a great time to add one the organizations that make a difference in our community to your gift list. Here is a list of a few who help those in need 365 days a year. There are many others deserving of community support as well. (click for more information)

Anderson Interfaith Ministries

Haven of Rest

Salvation Army

Shalom Recovery Center

Foothills Aliance

Cancer Association of Anderson

The Lot Project

 

Saturday
Dec192009

National Health Care Bill has Votes

Saturday
Dec192009

County Council to Meet in Special Session

After cancelling the second scheduled council meeting of Decemeber, a long-stading tradition, Anderson County Council has called a special meeting 3 p.m. Monday to discuss a number of bid projects. No agenda has been posted for the meeting. Call 260-4062 for more information.

Thursday
Dec172009

COUNTY FINALIZES ACQUISITION OF LAND FOR NEW ANIMAL SHELTER 

LONG TIME ANIMAL SHELTER SUPPORTERS MIKE AND CAROL GLENN DONATE PROPERTY AS SITE FOR  ANIMAL SHELTER
 
On Thursday, Anderson County officials witnessed the deed transfer of 12.26 acres on Highway 29 South from owners Mike and Carol Glenn to Anderson County. The acreage will be the site of the new 22,000 sq. ft. Animal Shelter. The bidding process for facility construction is complete. Since the bid exceeds $10,000, County Council will vote on whether to accept the bid during their next scheduled meeting. Once approved, the construction process is anticipated to take between 12-18 months.
 
“We are grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Glenn for their generous donation,” said Anderson County Councilman Tommy Dunn. “It is refreshing to see residents care enough to get involved. The Glenn’s have made a lasting impact on the future of Anderson County’s animals. I hope their example will lead others to do the same.”
 
“Many of the positive things that have taken place at the Animal Shelter can be directly attributed to Mr. and Mrs. Glenn,” said Anderson County Environmental Services Director Greg Smith. “Many pets have found homes because we were able to transport them to various locations with the adoption trailer, which was donated by the Glenn’s. Their constant assistance has come in the form of pet food, money and time. The property on Hwy 29 S will help us better meet the needs of the County’s animals, while providing quality and consistent services to the residents of the Anderson County.”

Thursday
Dec172009

Fusion Warehouse Could Close

Fusion Warehouse, a Christian youth center near the Anderson Mall, could be closing its doors for good before the end of the year.

The center, whose stated aim is "fund with a purpose," provides resources, education, training & other development efforts for youth as well as afterschool care and other special events. The facility is run primarily through the efforts of volunteers, donations and grant money.

From the website: "Fusion, Inc. was founded in 1999 by Randall and Joy Brown. Fusion opened it's doors in October, 2006 and to date has registered 8,200+ students. Fusion is staffed primarily by volunteers. Our volunteer base of 250+ continues to be a vital key to our success in reaching many youth."

Randall Brown did not return calls Wednesday or Thursday, but the electrical power and phone at the facility had both been at least temporarily disconnected as of Thursday morning.

One church, Electric City Fellowship, which meets Sundays at the Fusion facility and shares in some of the mission efforts there, is also effected by the potential closing.

Story Developing...

Thursday
Dec172009

Snow in Forecast for Friday

Snow with a chance of rain is expected Friday morning, followed then rain and sleet in the afternoon. Snow and sleet accumulation of around an inch is expected. Breezy and cooler in the afternoon, with near steady temperatures in the mid-30s. Northeast winds 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph. Chance of precipitation near 100 percent.

Thursday
Dec172009

S.C. To Begin Payments for Extended Unemployment Soon

The South Carolina Employment Security Commission sent out letters this week to those eligible for extended unemployment benefits and should begin sending out checks before Christmas. President Obama approved the federal extension Nov. 6, but antiquated computer software created headaches for some states, including South Carolina, which made it difficult to reprogram to allow such extended payments.

Most of those eligible received notification by mail yesterday, and Anderson's Employment Security Commission was crowded with potential recipients.  Payments to unemployed South Carolinians will be retroactive to the legislation’s signing date. Those who think they might be eligible should visit the local office at 309 W Whitner St, Anderson.