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Report: Switzerland Happiest Place to Live; U.S. 15th

People living in Switzerland are the happiest in the world thanks to positive social and economic factors, the 2015 World Happiness Report says.

Published Thursday, the report from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network found the fellow northern hemisphere countries of Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada rounded out the top five happiest in the world. The United States came in 15th, down from 11th in the report's inaugural year of 2012.

"The aspiration of society is the flourishing of its members," said Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University. "This report gives evidence on how to achieve societal well-being. It's not by money alone, but also by fairness, honesty, trust, and good health. The evidence here will be useful to all countries as they pursue the new Sustainable Development Goals."

The report authors looked at a variety of factors to determine the ranking of 158 countries: GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and perceptions of corruption.

"As the science of happiness advances, we are getting to the heart of what factors define quality of life for citizens," said report editor John F. Helliwell. "We are encouraged that more and more governments around the world are listening and responding with policies that put well-being first. Countries with strong social and institutional capital not only support greater well-being, but are more resilient to social and economic crises."

Coming in as the least happy country was the western African nation of Togo. Neighboring Benin came in 155th. Filling out the rest of the bottom five were Burundi, war-torn Syria and Rwanda.


Colorado Business Moves to Myrtle Beach Because of Pot Problems

When workers at his Colorado business went to pot, Mark Brawner said it was enough for him to roll out of the Rockies and head for South Carolina.

Brawner, who ran Little Spider Creations out of an old  Denver warehouse for years until this month, told KUSA-TV Thursday he moved because pot was hurting his company. He said employees started to come to work stoned after the state legalized the drug for recreational use in 2012.

“The main reason we pulled out was because of marijuana,” Brawner said. “Marijuana got into our industry. Half the sculptors will come in high. As soon as we’d catch it, they’d be let go. We went through 25 sculptors. Only five of (our sculptors) either were quality or would show up unimpaired.”

“The main reason we pulled out was because of marijuana.”

- Mark Brawner

But Brawner told FoxNews.com Friday his comments got “twisted out of proportion,” although he did not deny relocating to the Myrtle Beach area, where smoking pot is still illegal.

“They had an agenda. They got what they wanted and not what they heard,” he said.

A call to KUSA news director Christy Moreno was not immediately returned.

Little Spider has built Halloween-like props for Six Flags amusement parks, the Dollywood Theme Park in Tennessee, and other haunted house entertainment venues.

The company's a new home is a spacious facility in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. The local Chamber of Commerce lured Brawner to move with a $25,000 grant. In exchange Brawner pledged to create 35 jobs and to make a $2.65 million investment in his business. In Colorado, Little Spider employed 47 sculptors, artists and animators.

The Myrtle Beach Sun News reported that back in Colorado, Brawner had been dealing with a “nasty” local government regulator and too many stoned workers. Those problems made his wife’s entreaties to move more appealing.

Now Brawner would like to take back remarks he made to KUSA like this one:

“A painter doesn’t do production as quick as we want. If you build a house you can build a house to the plans. When we’re asking you to sculpt a giant dinosaur, and it has to have personality and stuff, when you’re high you can’t see it. Your whole body says its good enough, when it’s not. The quality suffers.”

A Colorado business group told the station Little Spider’s departure is the first they heard of a company leaving the state because of legalized marijuana.


Draft of County's 2015-2016 Budget Promises Office Building, Raises

The Anderson County Council Finance Committee took the first step toward determining next year's county budget Friday, and if all recommendations in the new draft budget are approved, citizens could be looking at a potential tax increase and other fees.

The budget would include $14.5 million for a new office building, which would among other divisions house the department of economic development. The budget also calls for some system of raises for county employees, many of whom are not paid as much as other counties in South Carolina the size of Anderson.

Anderson Council Councilman Francis Crowder, who is chairman of the finance committee said other smaller counties in the state have far more impressive space to court industry, and said upgrading Anderson's facility is overdue.

The early draft of the budget, if it survives the weeks ahead, would bring a 2-mill tax increase - the equivialent of $16 per year on a $200,000 house, and even the potential for other fees, such as a road use fee imposed on every vehicle.

But Councilman Tom Allen, also a member of the finance committee said he wants to see the budget frozen at the current year's total and only then consider each item proposed in the draft budget for 2015-2016.



S.C. House Passes Bill Allowing Gun Carry Without CWP

A bill that would allow South Carolina residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit has passed the House.

Supporters of getting rid of concealed weapons permits amended a bill Thursday allowing permits from Georgia to be accepted in South Carolina. The changed bill was approved on a 90-18 vote.

Rep. Mike Pitts introduced the amendment. The Laurens Republican says it is a good compromise because people would still have to keep their guns hidden from view in public, but would not have to go through hours of training for a constitutional right.

A bill that would have allowed people to openly carry guns without a permit was killed last year by a Senate committee.

Opponents of the bill say training is important to safely carry a gun.


Lynch Confirmed as Attorney General

More than five months after her nomination, Loretta Lynch was confirmed by the Senate to the post of attorney general Thursday.

The Senate voted largely along party lines to confirm the U.S. attorney to the position, 56 to 43.

Lynch, 55, is the first African-American woman to hold the title of attorney general.

Her confirmation was held up for more than five months after President Barack Obama nominated her.

First, Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, threatened to block her in November since so many members of the 113th Congress had lost their seats in the recent election.

It's no secret that Republican senators were on the fence about Lynch; many wanted her to disapprove of Obama's executive action on immigration.

Her nomination then was held up by an anti-abortion provision in a human-trafficking bill in March. That bill was passed Wednesday night, paving the way for Lynch's confirmation.

Lynch was first appointed as U.S. attorney by President Bill Clinton in 2000 and again by Obama in 2010.

Full Story Here


S.C. May Borrow $150 Million to Lure Volvo Plant

The race to land Volvo’s first U.S. auto plant is heating up as the Swedish-based manufacturer nears its decision.

Volvo is scouting Georgia and South Carolina for a site to build a sprawling factory that would employ thousands.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley sits beside Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal at a 2013 event.

The State newspaper reported that South Carolina lawmakers are paving the way for the state to borrow as much as $150 million to land the deal. The newspaper also reported that two key agencies called emergency closed-door meetings this week to discuss an economic development project.

Georgia officials have also taken steps to land the plant, including a mid-year budget approved by Gov. Nathan Deal that includes $40 million for state “deal-closing” funds, legislation that makes it easier for state agencies to buy vehicles made in Georgia and an overhaul of a state environmental commission that Deal has said could make it easier to land major projects.

Volvo is said to be examining numerous Georgia sites, including land along the coast near the Savannah and Brunswick ports, as well as at least one tract in the outskirts of metro Atlanta. The State newspaper reported that Volvo’s search in South Carolina is focused on a site in Berkeley County, which sits just north of Charleston.

Landing Volvo would be a landmark victory for either state, though it would come with a price. The automaker would likely require a bounty of incentives, including grants, tax credits, infrastructure improvements and job training assistance.

From The State:

The flurry of activity could indicate South Carolina is closing in on a Volvo deal or attempting to match an offer made by Georgia, the other state the Swedish automaker reportedly is considering for its first U.S. plant.

While no state leaders officially have said Volvo is considering locating in South Carolina, legislators have dropped the automaker’s name with increasing frequency.

As the Senate Finance Committee was debating a proposed state borrowing bill Wednesday, state Sen. Ray Cleary, R-Georgetown, asked if the bond proposal included the $125 million to $150 million that the state would need to borrow to land Volvo.

State Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman, the Florence Republican who also heads the Finance Committee, responded that GOP Gov. Haley had said Tuesday the state would not need to borrow to pay for incentives for Volvo.

The Senate borrowing plan includes money for colleges, technical schools and state armories, Leatherman said. “There’s no economic incentives in this bond bill.”

Cleary called Haley’s willingness to borrow to lure Volvo — but not colleges and technical schools — a double standard.

“I’m interested that we can bond for bringing industry here, but we can’t bond for the future of our children for schools and technical colleges that they can actually work at Volvo and Boeing,” Cleary said afterward.


Long Road to Close May 5 to Replace Bridge

Anderson County Roads and Bridges will close a portion of Long Road, from Wilson Road (C-06-0017) to Midway Road (S-04-0076) on May 5 to begin replacing the existing 59-year old narrow bridge over the Beaverdam Creek.  The project is expected to take one year to complete. 

The new bridge will be 36-feet wide and 60-feet long.  The deck will consist of pre-cast hollow core slabs with an asphalt overlay.  Adjacent roadwork will raise the structure four feet higher than it is now.  All of the bridge and roadway work will be completed by Roads & Bridges crews using county general funds.  The total cost of the project is anticipated to be $250,000.

The signed detour route from the SC 81 & Long Road intersection will run south 1.25 miles to Hopewell Road, east on Hopewell Road 1.95 miles to Midway Road and north on Midway Road 0.80 miles to Long Road. Only adjacent residents and delivery vehicles will be permitted within the road closure area.


Councilman Water to Host Town Hall Meeting April 30

Anderson County Councilman Ken Waters has scheduled a Public to a Town Hall Meeting for April 30, 2015
at 6:30 p.m. at the Powdersville Branch Library; 4 Civic Court; Powdersville.

For more information, call the Anderson County Council Office at (864) 260-4062.


Great Anderson County Fair Starts Today

The Great Anderson County Fair announced that this year’s event will run for two weekends; Thursday-Sunday, May 3 at the Anderson Sports and Entertainment Center.
The hours of operation: Monday-Friday: 4pm – 11pm Saturday: 10am - Midnight Sunday: 12:30pm – 11pm

The Great Anderson County Fair is a fun and exciting event for the entire family. It will be filled with exhibits, games, rides, music, animals and food. The Exhibit Hall will feature an extensive exhibit of antique tractors, the Butterfly Encounter, Anderson County quilt display, and the Red Dragon Laser Tag. One new addition to the fair is a meet and greet with Lanie Hudson, Miss South Carolina 2015 on Sunday, April 26 from 2-4pm.

This year’s fair features some incredible music. Nightly concerts at the fair are FREE with paid admission. All performances are featured on the Anderson Ford Mazda Stage.

Thursday - Benton Blount

Friday - Ashla Taylor & Bucky Covington

Saturday - The Jake Bartley Band
Sunday - Big Shot Jimmy
Monday - Connor Christian & Southern Gothic
Tuesday - Tailgate Homeboys
Wednesday - Jason Michael Carroll
April 30 - Cassadee Pope
May 1 - StoneEcho
May 2 - outshyne & Justin Anderson Music
— with Jackie HarrellBenton BlountCassadee Pope,Bucky CovingtonConnor Christian & Southern Gothic,StoneEchoTailgate HomeboysoutshyneAshla TaylorJason Michael CarrollThe Jake Bartley Band,Tim Holtzclaw and Chad Hill.


***Ride tickets are $1.25 each, $20.00 for 21 tickets (you save $6.25) and $50.00 for 55 tickets (you save $18.75) $100.00 for 120 (you save $50.00). All rides require more than one ticke


Pendleton Fall Festival Set for Oct. 24

Pendleton's 17th Annual Fall Harvest Festival will be help Oct. 24 on the beautiful, historic Village Green from 10 am to 5 pm. More than 100 craft and food vendors, great entertainment, and old fashioned games for the children are expected to participate in the family event. This year is Pendleton's 225th Anniversary and this is one of the official events to celebrate our town.

More up to date information will be posted here soon concerning the 2015 Fall Harvest Festival and the Scarecrow Contest so please check back often. Thank you. We also have a fan page on Facebook where information will be posted regularly.


Study: S.C. Parks, Historic Sites Generated $103 Million in 2014

A new study estimates that South Carolina six national parks and historic sites mean about $103 million to the state's economy.

The report released Thursday found 1.5 million people visited National Park Service sites in the state last year and spent more than $80 million within 60 miles of those sites. The study finds that spending generated almost 1,300 jobs.

The peer-reviewed study was prepared by economists for the U.S. Geological Survey.

South Carolina's National Park Service sites include the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site in Mount Pleasant, Congaree National Park, Cowpens National Battlefield, Fort Sumter National Monument, Kings Mountain National Military Park and the Ninety Six National Historic Site.


Researchers Discover Root Cause of Asthma

Researchers in Wales and England have developed a highly effective asthma drug, and in the process may have uncovered the disorder's root cause.

In a recent study, scientists explored the breathing disorder via both mouse and human airway models, using tissue from asthmatic and non-asthmatic people. Their work highlighted the body's calcium sensing receptor (CaSR) as the main culprit in triggering asthma symptoms -- airway narrowing, airway twitchiness and inflammation.

Much as the immune system of allergy patients overreacts to pollen or other particulates, the research models showed CaSR went into overdrive when asthmatic tissue was irritated by external stimuli.

The research also demonstrated the impressive effectiveness of a class of drugs known as calcilytics, which manipulate CaSR and in lab experiments reversed asthma symptoms. Calcilytics are currently mostly used to treat osteoporosis.

"Our findings are incredibly exciting," lead researcher Daniela Riccardi, a professor at Cardiff University School of Biosciences, said in a press release. "For the first time we have found a link airways inflammation, which can be caused by environmental triggers - such as allergens, cigarette smoke and car fumes -- and airways twitchiness in allergic asthma."

"If this research proves successful we may be just a few years away from a new treatment for asthma, and we urgently need further investment to take it further through clinical trials," said Dr. Samantha Walker, the policy and research director at Asthma UK.

Walker was influential in funding the research -- a collaboration between scientists at Cardiff University, Kings College London and the Mayo Clinic.

The study was published this week in the journal Science Translational Medicine.


Missing Elderly Man Found

A missing, elderly Anderson Co. man has been found according to family.

The Anderson County Sheriff's Office said 91-year-old Palmer Cleveland was last seen around 3 p.m. on Tuesday near the Anderson County/Greenville County line at the Piedmont exit off Interstate 85.

 Family members told the sheriff's office that Cleveland has form of dementia.

On Wednesday afternoon, SLED issued an endangered person advisory regarding Cleveland's disappearance.

At about 10:45 p.m., Cleveland's son, Steve Cleveland, said the missing man had been found in Chamblee, Georgia after a car accident.

Steve Cleveland said Palmer Cleveland suffered minor injuries, but was overall OK. The family was alerted by dispatchers who found the man when he wrecked his car.