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Trey Gowdy to Speak at Clemson's Summer Graduation

U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., will address the summer graduates of Clemson University at 11 a.m. Aug. 7, in the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville.

Officials will award degrees to approximately 850 graduates at the school’s first graduation ceremony in Greenville, scheduled as a result of renovations under way at Littlejohn Coliseum on campus.

The ceremony will be broadcast live on the ClemsonTV website.

While the usual pomp and circumstance of every Clemson graduation will be in place, graduates and their family members also can take advantage of special accommodations and activities. For more information, go to

There will be free off-site parking with a shuttle available throughout the afternoon, enabling families to walk downtown for lunch after the ceremony and go into Experience Clemson, the university’s new visitor center and interactive virtual museum in the ONE Building at the intersection of East Coffee and North Main streets.

On Aug. 6, the day before graduation, the Clemson Alumni Association will offer free photo sessions to graduates in their caps and gowns, between 3 and 5 p.m. on campus at Howard’s Rock, the university sign at the corner of Bowman Field and the tiger statue by Littlejohn Coliseum. The photos will be available for downloading online after graduation.

The Clemson Forever Fund representatives will be at each location to distribute tiger paw $2 bills to the graduates in honor of the occasion and their achievements. They will be at graduation Aug. 7 also.

Gowdy, representing South Carolina’s fourth district, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. He serves on the House committees on Ethics,; Oversight and Government Reform; and Judiciary. He also serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. In May 2014, he was named chairman of the House Select Committee on the events surrounding the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi.

Before his election to Congress, Gowdy was a district attorney for the state’s Seventh Judicial Circuit and also spent six years as a federal prosecutor. He received the highest performance rating a federal prosecutor can receive for two consecutive years. He has been recognized statewide for his commitment to victim’s rights and enforcement of drunk driving laws.

Gowdy graduated from Baylor University in 1986 with a degree in history. He received his law degree from the University of South Carolina in 1989.

His is married to Terri Dillard Gowdy and they have two children. His son is a 2015 graduate of Clemson University and his daughter will attend University of South Carolina this fall.


S.C. Could Require Permit for Future State House Ralllies

State Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler says groups that want to rally at the State House should be required to get permission from state law enforcement.

Peeler said Wednesday he will introduce legislation for next year that creates a permit process through the Department of Public Safety for demonstrations on State Hhouse grounds. Legislators' first opportunity to pre-file bills is in December.

Peeler's announcement comes a day after his committee asked a Department of Administration official why the Cabinet agency authorized the Ku Klux Klan and an affiliate of the New Black Panther Party to hold overlapping rallies July 18 on opposite sides of the Statehouse.

Peeler says the answers lacked common sense. He believes the state can limit when and where demonstrations occur without trampling on First Amendment rights.


Senate Schedules Vote on Plan Parenthood Funding

Senate Republicans are turning up the heat on Planned Parenthood -- taking a step Wednesday that could lead to the group losing its federal funding -- as controversy continues over newly released undercover videos that include group personnel discussing fetuses.

The Senate scheduled a vote for Monday on whether the longtime pro-abortion group should lose the millions in federal fiscal support it has received for decades.

Republicans and even some Democrats have criticized the videos, and conservative Sen. Ted Cruz suggested Planned Parenthood should be stripped of its federal backing -- even if that might lead to a possible government shutdown this fall, POLITICO reported Wednesday.

Other Republicans are sharing similar sentiments. Wednesday, 18 House GOP members told leaders that they "cannot and will not support any funding resolution ... that contains any funding for Planned Parenthood."

If Congress stripped the funding, Planned Parenthood would lose nearly $530 million it receives in annual financial assistance. And it doesn't appear to be a strictly partisan issue at this point.

Full Story Here


S.C. House Panel Considers Teacher Pay

A House panel's solution for putting more high-quality teachers in rural South Carolina classrooms could involve paying higher salaries.

House Education Committee Chairwoman Rita Allison said Wednesday the Legislature needs to consider paying teachers more in the early years of their career. She said young teachers often leave the profession because they can't make enough in the classroom to provide for their families.

Members of a House study panel agreed that attracting quality teachers to poor, rural schools and keeping them there will require incentives. But what sort of compensation package would work remains unknown.

The panel's recommendations so far include interviewing teachers in poor districts and surveying education majors in college to get their opinions.

Other ideas discussed include improving college instruction and setting criteria for school board members.


Voter Registration Office Completes Move to 301 N. Main

Anderson County Voter Registration and Elections offices have completed their move to new offices at 301 North Main Street.

"This new location is more convenient for residents with adequate parking and a much more welcoming facility" said Anderson County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn. "County staff are now beginning the asbestos abatement of the Bailes and Old Woolworth Buildings in order to prepare for demolition of the buildings."

"The Board of Voter Registration and Elections members and staff are excited to announce that we have moved into a new location at 301 N. Main Street," said Katy Smith, Director of Registration and Elections. "This move would not have happened without the assistance of County Council Chairman, Mr. Tommy Dunn and the County Council.  We would like to also extend our sincere thanks to the many members of our Anderson County Family that helped during this transition and made it possible."

County staff are planning a grand opening on August 10. Details will be announced next week.

The Board of Voter Registration and Elections is responsible for conducting all county, state, and federal elections that are held in Anderson County; to ensure that all elections are orderly, fair, and transparent. The Board also serves as a resource for election support for Municipal Election Commissions. The seven-member Board of Voter Registration and Elections is appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Anderson County Legislative Delegation. An Executive Director is appointed by the Board to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Board of Voter Registration and Elections.


Obama Held Secret Meetings with Jon Stewart

President Barack Obama held private meetings with Jon Stewart at least twice at the White House to discuss policy, as well as the Daily Show's connection to younger voters.

According to the official White House log, the president called Stewart to the Oval Office in 2011 and 2014.

Former aides told Politico, in a report published Tuesday, that Obama wanted to sell his platform to the longtime Daily Show host in an effort to galvanize support for his reelection.

"The White House itself was quite interested in at least explaining its side of the story to Jon Stewart," Austan Goolsbee, Obama's former economic policy adviser, told the site.

David Axelrod, the president's former senior adviser, said Obama and Stewart acted as a "useful" challenge to White House policy.

Former White House aide Daz Vega told The New York Times that the president also wanted to reach out to younger voters who relied on Stewart for news.

"Jon Stewart was a key influencer for millennials," Vega said. "They relied on him for an honest take on the news, and the president and senior staff know that."

Vega also said that it was "often remarked in senior staff meetings that he was the Walter Cronkite for the millennial generation. That's why it was important to meet up with him and engage with him."

Stewart's final episode of the Daily Show, which he has hosted since 1999, will air August 6.


Feds Could Hike Interest Rates in September

The Federal Reserve is expected on Wednesday to point to a growing U.S. economy and stronger job market as it sets the stage for a possible interest rate hike in September.

The U.S. central bank is scheduled to issue its latest policy statement at 2 p.m. EDT following a two-day meeting, spelling out how policymakers feel the economy has progressed since they last met in June.

Earlier this year the Fed embraced a meeting-by-meeting approach on the timing of what will be its first rate hike since June 2006, making such a decision solely dependent on incoming economic data.

With a slew of employment, inflation and GDP reports to come before its September meeting, the Fed is unlikely to hint too strongly about its plans, Barclays economists Michael Gapen and Rob Martin wrote in a preview of this week's meeting.

But simply hewing to the language of the June policy statement, when the Fed said the economy was expanding moderately, or even strengthening the outlook a bit, "leaves the door wide open for September," they wrote.

Full Story Here


S.C. Campaign Aims to Reduce Traffic Fatalities

South Carolina is setting a goal of reducing the number of traffic fatalities to zero.

And on Wednesday, the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Transportation are holding events in four cities to announce a team of 24 Highway Patrol troopers who will work toward that goal.

The team, called the Target Zero Team, will focus on the three main violations that lead to highway fatalities - not using seat belts, drunken driving and speeding.

The Target Zero team is being introduced at events in Columbia, Charleston, Greenville and Myrtle Beach.


Clemson to Add Extension Agents, 4-H Agents

Clemson University Extension will hire specialists across the state and expand programming to better meet the needs of South Carolina’s residents and economy in a five-year strategic plan approved by university leaders.

Youth development efforts will increase with added 4-H programming, particularly in rural areas, said Extension Director Thomas Dobbins. Extension also is adding urban programming to focus on farm-to-school, farm-to-table, healthy living, animal science and agribusiness development efforts in the state’s metro areas.

The popular Home and Garden Information Center will extend its hours and add staff to answer more of South Carolinians’ questions about landscaping, gardening, plant health, household pests, food safety and preservation and nutrition.

“We began the process of crafting a five-year strategic plan a year ago to ensure our efforts accurately align with the needs of South Carolina residents, businesses and communities,” said Dobbins.

Extension serves as the university’s public outreach arm, providing unbiased, research-based information to help improve the quality of life in South Carolina, a core responsibility of a land-grant university such as Clemson. Its goal is to improve the value of the state’s $42 billion agriculture and forestry industries; strengthen families and communities; improve stewardship of natural resources and the environment; strengthen connections between people and their food; and expose South Carolina youth to opportunities in agriculture, science, technology, engineering and math.

New hires include specialists in soil health, soil fertility, precision agriculture, forestry, crop physiology and crop pathology. It also is adding agribusiness experts; an agronomy economist; and Extension agents in Richland, Aiken, Hampton, Williamsburg and Greenville counties.

Additional 4-H agents are to be hired across the state as well. Extension will partner with the S.C. Department of Education to establish a leadership certificate program in K-12 schools, Dobbins said.

“It’s very important that we teach children soft skills and develop future leaders,” he said.

Clemson Extension is expanding its assistance to new and emerging farmers through entrepreneurship assistance across the state and introducing new technologies to improve farm profitability and environmental stewardship through its growing precision agriculture program. Programs to assist with fruit and vegetable production across the state also will grow.

“I want to thank the state Legislature and our many partners across the state, including the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, the South Carolina Farm Bureau, the Forestry Commission and many others for supporting us as we work together to lift the quality of life in every corner of the state,” Dobbins said. “Our five-year plan serves as a guide to ensure we’re hitting our goal of economic advancement in South Carolina and we’ll evaluate that plan regularly so we stay on that path.”


Congress Grills Kerry on Iran Nuclear Deal

Secretary of State John Kerry intensified efforts on Tuesday to beat back criticism of the Iran nuclear deal and convince U.S. lawmakers that rejecting it would give Tehran a fast track to a weapon and unlock billions of dollars from collapsed sanctions.

Battle-hardened from years of negotiations with Iranians, Kerry sharpened his response to U.S. congressional criticism that the deal's provisions were temporary and would not prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon in the long run.

"Iran has agreed to refrain from producing or acquiring highly enriched uranium and weapons-grade plutonium for nuclear weapons forever," he told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

"When it comes to verification and monitoring, there is absolutely no sunset in this agreement. Not in 10 years, not in 15 years, not in 20 years, not in 25 years; no sunset ever."

"If you kill the deal, you are not making America safer," he said.

Joined by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, two other members of President Barack Obama's Cabinet, Kerry was part of the administration's blitz to coax skeptical lawmakers into supporting the nuclear deal.

The Republican-controlled Congress has until Sept. 17 either to endorse or reject the agreement. Rejection would prevent Obama from waiving most U.S.-imposed sanctions on Tehran, a key component of the deal.

Under the July 14 pact, world powers agreed to lift sanctions on Tehran in return for curbs on a nuclear program the West suspects was aimed at creating an atomic bomb, but which Tehran says is peaceful.

The four-hour hearing turned testy. Some Republican House members shouted at Kerry, days after Senate Republicans accused him of having been "bamboozled" or "fleeced" during the talks.

Full Story Here


Anderson County to Present Halloween Boograss Bash

Anderson County will present the First Annual Halloween Boograss Bash Oct. 29-31, bringing together the best of the area's bluegrass muscians for a three-day extravaganza of talent, music plus a youth camp.

Details are still being arranged for this event, but will be released at the link below.

More Details to Come


Navy to Use Transparent Material as Armor

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is working to improve a transparent material for use as bullet-proof windows and for military optics.

The material is called spinel.

"Spinel is actually a mineral; it's magnesium aluminate," said Dr. Jas Sanghera, the researcher leading the NRL project. "The advantage is it's so much tougher, stronger, and harder than glass. It provides better protection in more hostile environments -- so it can withstand sand and rain erosion.

"For weight-sensitive platforms-UAVs, head-mounted face shields -- it's a game-changing technology."

The NRL said it developed a low-temperature process, called sintering, that uses a hot press to mold the mined material into transparent sheets. Using shaped presses, the spinel can be made into multiple shapes, such as a wing for an unmanned aerial vehicle.

"You put the powder in (a hot press), you press it under vacuum, squash this powder together -- and if you can do that right, then you can get rid of all the entrapped air, and all of a sudden it comes out of there clear-looking," Sanghera said.

The NRL said Spinel can be ground and polished, like gems, to increase optic quality and allows infrared light to pass through it, which makes it optimal for military imaging systems.

Additional uses for spinel are being investigated.


S.C. Panel Asks Why Black Panthers, KKK Allowed to Rally at Same Time

South Carolina legislators are asking why state officials allowed two opposing hate groups to hold overlapping rallies at the Statehouse.

A legislative panel that oversees Statehouse grounds will question a Department of Administration official Tuesday about the July 18 rallies. The agency permitted the Ku Klux Klan and a group affiliated with the New Black Panther Party to rally on opposite sides of the Statehouse.

Five people were arrested. Law enforcement ended the white supremacists' rally an hour early for safety reasons.

Agency spokesman Brian Gaines says requests to hold an event on Statehouse grounds are approved on a first-come, first-served basis.

The North Carolina-based Loyal White Knights of the KKK applied June 23 to protest the Confederate flag's removal. The Florida-based Black Educators for Justice applied July 6.