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Saturday
Jul232016

Duke Grant to Benefit Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels-Anderson is ensuring its current recipients who need weekend meal service will continue to receive them with a grant recently received from Duke Energy. 

Of the approximate 500 recipients who receive weekday services from Meals on Wheels, about 300 of them also need weekend assistance. That means they have no means to food or no one to prepare food for them on weekends. 

Laurie Ashley, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels-Anderson, said the grant couldn’t come at a better time. 

“Donations are typically down over the summer months, in general,” said Ashley. “The timing of this grant is just perfect as we are working to build funding due to a deficit in donations and a rise in food costs.” 

The program announced in late May that it was at maximum capacity and could not add new recipients due to funding restrictions. Continued efforts to reduce costs and seek additional monies have occurred over the past few months, and the Board of Directors will meet in August to assess the timeline for opening the program for additional recipients.

“The community has been very supportive as we have reached out to them,” said Ashley, “but the key is sustainability. This isn’t just an issue for the summer. Costs will continue to rise, and our elderly population is continuing to grow. The ‘silver tsunami’ is coming, and we have to be prepared to serve our seniors in need.” For more information on how you can support Meals on Wheels financially or as a volunteer driver for the program, call 864-225-6800 or visit www.acmow.org.

 

Friday
Jul222016

SCDOT Says Most Won't Notice $1.4 Billion in Paving

South Carolina’s transportation secretary says the state’s roads are so bad, drivers probably won’t notice the $1.4 billion worth of pavement resurfacing a new law provides over the next decade or so.

Secretary Christy Hall said Thursday the money will essentially maintain the current poor condition.

The road-funding law allows for roughly $4 billion in spending over the next 10 to 13 years, mostly by borrowing and redirecting money.

Hall told Department of Transportation commissioners the biggest impact will be on interstates and bridges. About $2 billion will widen congested stretches of interstate and $950 million will replace 400 bridges.

The road-funding debate will continue next year.

Legislative leaders have repeatedly said they recognize the law passed in the session’s final days will only jump-start road improvements.

Friday
Jul222016

Anderson Jobless Rate Sees Seasonal June Jump

Anderson County's unemployment rate jumped significantly in June, moving to 5.3 percent, down from 4.5 percent in May. The statewide unemployment rate decreased slightly in May to 5.4 percent, down from 5.6 percent in May, the lowest level since July 2001.

The Local Area Unemployment Statistics Report (LAUS) report for June 2016 shows that the June employment number for Anderson County was relatively stable, with 86,045 employed. The county's labor force increased by more than 850 during the month, rising from 89,971 to 90,835. 

In June of 2015, the unemployment rate was 5.9%, with 84,060 employed and 5,257 unemployed.

The statewide figure is seasonably adjusted and does not reflect the fact that every county in South Carolina saw an increase in their jobless rates in May

"You see it all over the state—lots of people seeking summer employment" said Anderson County Governmental Affairs Director Steve Newton. "We tend to see reduced employment activity in June simply because more people are in the labor force than can be absorbed. With that being said, I am encouraged by the fact that Anderson County has almost 2,000 more jobs now than we did last June."

Nationally, the unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage point to 4.9 percent in June as many people entered the labor force. The state’s unemployment rate has averaged 5.6 percent for the first six months of 2016.

More information here

Friday
Jul222016

Trump Vows to Put America First

Donald Trump accused Democratic rival Hillary Clinton of a legacy of "death, destruction, terrorism and weakness" as U.S. secretary of state and vowed to be tough on crime and illegal immigrants in a speech on Thursday accepting the Republican presidential nomination.

Trump's 75-minute speech was designed to set the tone for the general election campaign against Clinton, an answer to Republicans who say the best way he can unify the divided party is to detail why the Democrat should not be elected on Nov. 8.

As the crowd chanted: "Lock her up" for her handling of U.S. foreign policy, Trump waved them off and said: "Let's defeat her in November." Thousands of supporters who were gathered in the convention hall roared their approval.

When it was over, Trump was joined on stage by family members as balloons cascaded from above and confetti blew around the arena.

A CNN snap poll of viewers of the speech said 57 percent had a "very positive reaction" to the address and 18 percent a somewhat positive reaction, while 24 percent said it had a negative effect.

Social media sentiment toward Trump based on tweets that mentioned his name was slightly more negative than positive shortly after his speech.

The acceptance speech by Trump, 70, closed out a four-day convention that underscored his struggle to heal fissures in the Republican Party over his anti-illegal-immigrant rhetoric and concerns about his temperament. The event was boycotted by many big-name establishment Republicans, such as 2012 nominee Mitt Romney and members of the Bush family that gave the party its last two presidents.

Trump presented a bleak view of America under siege from illegal immigrants, threatened by Islamic State militants, hindered by crumbling infrastructure and weakened by unfair trade deals and race-related violence.

Friday
Jul222016

S.C. Gets $4.5 Million to Fight Zika Virus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded nearly $4.5 million to South Carolina to fight the Zika virus.

The CDC announced Thursday that the award is part of a nearly $60 million fund to states, cities and territories to support efforts to combat the virus.

Funds will be used to support activities to protect public health, improve mosquito control and strengthening laboratory capacity. The funding will be available Aug. 1.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said Thursday that there have been 22 cases of the Zika virus in the state.

Friday
Jul222016

Report: Clinton to Tap Virginia Sen. Kaine as Running Mate

Hillary Clinton is expected to announce Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate Friday morning, sources said Thursday.

Kaine, a popular senator from a battleground state who also speaks Spanish, has apparently beat out Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa, and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker for the second slot on the Democratic presidential ticket, sources told The Wall Street Journal.

The New York Times also reported Kaine was the likely choice, but hedged, saying individuals close to Clinton said she had not made the choice official. She is widely expected to announce the decision in a text message to supporters on Friday afternoon before staging a campaign swing through the battleground state of Florida in advance of the Democratic convention, which begins Monday in Philadelphia.

Thursday
Jul212016

No Warrant Issued in Case of Stolen Petition

Anderson County Magistrate Mary Frances Cole, who was appointed in October, refused to sign a warrant in the case of the petition stolen from Redi-Mart at 6731 S.C. 81 South seeking to stop former Anderson County Councilman Eddie Moore from closing Rhody Farm Road.

On Wednesday, Moore reportedly returned the missing petition and apologized, citing a "misunderstanding."

A video of the indicident shows a Dodge 2500 truck pulling into a parking space at the Redi-Mart, driven by a heavy-set white male in a red shirt with white shorts. The man apparently purchases a newspaper and slipped the petition into the paper before leaving the store. In the video.

Cole was also the magistrate who refused to press charges in a case earlier this year involving Amara, the dog who had been shot and left to wander for 19 days before being rescued by Anderson County Animal Control Officers.

The interior videos of the incident are here. Higher resolution videos and the outside urveillance video should be on the Observer tomorrow.

 

Thursday
Jul212016

Anderson Farmers Eligible for Drought Relief

Anderson County is one of nine counties eligible for for United States Department of Agriculture disaster relief assistance due to the drought.

The disaster designation is a result of losses caused by drought that occurred from July 5 and continuing.  The decision makes all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low-interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).

 The disaster areas were designated on July 13.  All qualified farm operators in the designated counties are eligible for EM loans, provided eligibility requirements are met.  Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.  FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.  FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the emergency loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

USDA has also made other programs available to assist farmers and ranchers, including the Federal Crop Insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.

Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs.  Additional information is also available online at: http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.  To file a complaint of discrimination, write:  USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866-) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866)-377-8642 (Relay voice users).

Thursday
Jul212016

GM Recalls 308K 2009-2010 Impalas

General Motors is recalling nearly 308,000 older Chevrolet Impala sedans in the U.S. and Canada because the air bags might not inflate in a crash.

The recall covers Impalas from the 2009 and 2010 model years that were made before Feb. 10, 2010.

GM says in government documents that the front passenger seat frame can rub against the wiring for a passenger detection sensor. Damaged wiring could cut power to the sensor and knock out the air bags.

Air bag warning lights will illuminate if the wires are chafed. But some gauges may not work. GM says it's aware of two crashes and two injuries that may be related to the problem. Dealers will add anti-abrasion tape to fix the problem. There's no schedule yet for when repairs will be made.

Thursday
Jul212016

Sheriff Joe to Join Speakers at Jeff Duncan BBQ

“America’s Toughest Sheriff,” is among the guests scheduled to speak at Republican Representative  Jeff Duncan's 6th annual Faith and Freedom BBQ at the Aug. 22 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Civic Center in Anderson.

Controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. who has built a reputation for being one of America’s toughests sheriffs will join other coservative speakers for the event.
The annual fundraiser traditionally draws well over 1,000 Republican activists, some from as far away as Charleston and Myrtle Beach.
Tickets can be purchasee here or you can RSVP Drea@JeffDuncan.com. For more information call Drea Byars at 803-413-5951.

You won't find another political event of this quality for this cost anywhere in the state. We can only have events like this with the help of people like you, so if you're interested in sponsoring please contact us as well.
Thursday
Jul212016

Ex-Councilman Returns Missing Petition, Apologizes

An uncomfirmed report close to the story says a warrant will soon be releaed citing former Anderson Coiunty Councilman Eddie Moore in the case of the petition stolen from Redi-Mart at 6731 S.C. 81 South seeking to stop Moore from closing Rhody Farm Road.

On Wednesday, Moore reportedly returned the petition and apologized, citing a "misunderstanding."

The petition, one of serveral seeking to prevent Moore from closing a road connecting Agnew Road with S.C. 81 South, was reported stolen Saturday morning. Following and investigation by the Anderson County Sheriff's Department, Moore reportedly returned the petition and offered an apology.

So far no charges have been filed in the case, but the invesitigating officer is set to present his case to an Anderson County Magistrate this morning.

A video identifying Moore and his vehicle at the scence of the incident is part of the evidence in the case.

The Facebook group "Save Rhody Farm Road," has accused Moore of attempting to close the road, has been closely monitoring the case. 

Watch the Anderson Observer for the video updates availabe and charges charges in this case.

Developing...

Wednesday
Jul202016

Clemson: Dangerous, Invasive "Crazy" Ants Near S.C.

A dangerously prolific invasive ant species, which first surfaced in the United States almost 15 years ago, has been spreading throughout the South ever since and now appears to be on the verge of entering South Carolina for the first time. But a team of Clemson University scientists is hot on the trail.

Native to South America and the Caribbean, the tawny crazy ant was originally found in Texas in 2002. But it has since entered other Southern states, such as Florida, and in 2013 it was discovered in several counties in Georgia. Two years later, it was found as far north as the Savannah River, which indicates it soon might invade South Carolina.

“The predictive models show that the tawny crazy ant could become established in South Carolina in 2016, especially along the coastal counties from Jasper up to Georgetown,” said Eric Benson, professor and Extension entomologist in the plant and environmental sciences department at Clemson University.

“Once established, this invasive species multiplies very quickly and can overwhelm its new surroundings,” he said. “These ants feed aggressively on anything organic and can outstrip an area of available food resources. They can even kill ground-nesting animals and become a danger to poultry, livestock and agriculture. They’re called crazy ants because they run around like they’re crazy, like they don’t know what they’re doing. But they do know what they’re doing, and they are highly efficient foragers.”

Unlike fire ants, tawny crazy ants don’t sting or bite humans. Rather, it’s their sheer numbers that create the most problems. Because their colonies have multiple queens, they can reproduce far faster than most of their ant counterparts. In fact, tawny crazy ants can take over entire areas, both on the ground and in trees and foliage. In the process, they can kill all other ants in their path. This includes “bad” ants such as fire ants, but also “good” ants, which comprise about 90 percent of the ant population.

South Carolina is home to an estimated 200 species of ants, and most of them are beneficial to the environment. But when an invasive species takes over, it can displace all the other ant species, negatively changing the ecology.

“Through sheer strength of numbers, tawny crazy ants can rise to become the predominant species,” Benson said. “In terms of destroying fire ants, this might seem like a panacea. But in reality it’s not the best solution. This is because a monoculture of one particular ant is not as good for the health of the environment as is a diverse group of ants. To some people, tawny crazy ants might seem like they’re only a nuisance because they don’t sting. But in urban settings, they can short out electrical equipment and infest homes. If you have millions of ants moving into a nursing home, a school, a hospital or any place that’s a sensitive environment, they will go from being a nuisance to an extremely serious problem. Entire floors of buildings can become covered with these ants.”

Several Clemson scientists, including Benson, are completing plans for a project to survey areas along South Carolina’s southern coast to see if the ants are there and, if so, to document their spread and habits. The team includes Pat Zungoli, professor of entomology and interim chair of the plant and environmental sciences and agricultural sciences departments; Billy Bridges, a statistical analysis expert in the mathematical sciences department; David Bowers, a graduate student in entomology; Jinbo Song, a post-doctoral scholar in plant and environmental sciences; and Brittany Ellis, a lab technician. Another important player is former Clemson Extension agent Tim Davis, who is now with the University of Georgia.

“We’ll be surveying in places where we think these tawny crazy ants might show up first, and if they show up, we’ll document what happens,” Benson said. “But ultimately we’ll want to look at control strategies. If left to their own devices, a relatively small number of these ants can grow into hundreds of millions. So they are far easier to control if they are dealt with early on.

“In South Carolina, at least, we’ll have the winter as part of our arsenal, as opposed to portions of Texas and Florida that are pretty much always warm, so there should be things that we can do — taking into account our four seasons — that would help with an integrated pest-management strategy.”

On their own, tawny crazy ants establish new territory slowly because they don’t have winged forms that can fly to distant places like some ants do. But since they thrive in a variety of conditions, from shady wooded areas to dry, sandy fields, they tend to inhabit places where they can crawl aboard cars, trucks, boats, shipping containers and plant materials and move from one place to the next like tiny stowaways.

“They’ll often nest in areas that are disturbed or places that normally you might park a vehicle or you might camp,” Benson said. “They’re also found in ports of entry where there’s a lot of activity and a lot of containers and once they’ve moved from point A to point B, they crawl off and begin the process of taking over the new location.”

Treatments against the spread of tawny crazy ants are relatively limited. Insecticides will kill the ants, but this doesn’t help much if you kill a million of them and still have 99 million left. The effectiveness of baits is also limited because the ants strip them to nothing without suffering enough casualties to slow them down. This is why early detection and treatment are so important. Benson and his team are already in contact with dozens of regulatory officials and pest-control operators throughout the state to be on the lookout.

“With other species of pest ants in South Carolina, their numbers aren’t as high in March when they’re just coming out of wintertime. They’ve coalesced their nests and basically put all their eggs in one basket. So we can kill a lot of ants with very targeted insecticides or baits,” Benson said. “This might be something we’ll be able to use against the tawny crazy ant. Unlike more southern areas, we’ll have the benefit of using the winter as part of our control strategies. With pest ant control, the sooner you do something, the better off you are. Research has shown that if you suppress them early in the year, their numbers in July through October, when they’re usually at their peak, will be much lower and easier to combat.”

The Clemson project will begin soon. Its goals are to survey for the presence of tawny crazy ants in the state, establish an ant diversity baseline for species in areas where tawny crazy ants are likely to colonize, and monitor the impact and interactions of ant species before and after the invasion. The ultimate goal of the research is to provide information that will help South Carolina residents and managers of wildlife areas understand the impact of tawny crazy ants and to develop strategies to aid pest-management professionals in controlling these ants.

The scientists will employ techniques that are similar to ones already being used in Georgia. Once they’ve chosen an area to investigate, they will string long lines – usually about the length of a football field – and then sample for ants about every 30 feet. This will establish a baseline for what’s there now. If the tawny crazy ants do appear, a second sampling will show what kind of impact the invasive species has on the other ants.

“We’ll use a host of methods because these ants can be down in the leaf litter, they can be in a log, they can be on a tree,” Benson said. “We’ll use pitfall traps that the ants fall into and can’t escape. We’ll take small logs and break them up in different areas of the forest to see what ants are there. And we’ll put out baits, which are usually either bits of hotdogs or sweet cookies, and collect the ants that swarm on the baits. So if the invasion does occur as expected, we’ll have already acquired some knowledge that will help us fight back.”

Wednesday
Jul202016

S.C. Delegate Says GOP Fractured

The Republican Party may have nominated Donald Trump, but some South Carolina delegates are discouraged by what they describe as divisiveness and negativity at the Republican National Convention.

State Sen. Tom Davis told The Associated Press on Wednesday the convention is focusing too much on "demonizing" Hillary Clinton and not enough time discussing how it will heal after a fracturing primary season.

Talk radio host Bill Pickle expressed frustration at "name calling and childish behavior" among some speakers.

That included New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who on Tuesday effectively put Clinton through a trial-by-delegates "for her performance and her character." The audience responded with chants of "Lock her up! Lock her up!"

Pickle said he'd had to walk away from vendors hawking materials using sexist slurs to describe Clinton.