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Anderson Library Named Tops in S.C.

The Anderson County Library has been listed as the top public library in South Carolina, by Best Things South Carolina.  

South Carolina’s libraries offer so much more than books. For some, it’s their go-to place to conduct research online, job searches, or simply a little peace and quiet. Most libraries in South Carolina have public meeting spaces where clubs and other interest groups can share their passions. Best of all, they offer everything you need to ignite your child’s passion for reading. Despite the rise of the digital age, libraries in South Carolina are still thriving, offering the best of both print and digital resources—all of which are free to enjoy. Discover everything a library can offer at these 10 best libraries in South Carolina. 

 1. Anderson County Library, Anderson, SC 

This library is everything a county library should be: a resource center for the community. Aside from a huge selection of books of all sorts, the library also offers additional services, including tax prep assistance, book clubs, a LEGO club, story time for kids, computer classes, how-to fairs, activities for teens, and so much more. This place will redefine everything you thought you knew about libraries.

2. Hughes Main Library, Greenville, SC

Part of Greenville’s extensive library system, the Hughes Main Library makes every guest feel right at home. Tucked in downtown Greenville, the library provides excellent resources on the area’s local history, as well as digital resources that make this branch a center for myriad activities. Its large, airy interior is a far cry from stuffy research centers of decades past, making it an enjoyable place to visit. 

3. Aiken County Public Library, Aiken, SC

This stunning place proves there’s much more to a library than books. Their events calendar is chock full of fun activities for kids of all ages that go well beyond your standard book clubs. The library is part of a four-county system that shares a bookmobile to deliver the magic of reading all over the region. 

4. Hampton Memorial Library, Easley, SC 

Having opened its doors in 1929, this library was the first in its area and has now grown to four locations. The Hampton Memorial Library serves the public well with its abundance of meeting spaces, computer classes, free-use computers, books, and home delivery service. Parents can take advantage of their dial-a-story line that delivers a new children’s story every other week by calling their local phone number.

5. Spartanburg County Public Library, Spartanburg, SC 

From tax workshops to downloadable content to research sources and more, there’s no end to things you can discover here. Ebooks, audiobooks, and digital magazines complement their extensive selection of printed materials, all of which are free for public use. They offer a variety of workshops throughout the year that are free to the public. They also have a large library of movies you can check out and enjoy at home along with your reading selections. 

6. Charleston County Public Library, Charleston, SC 

The outside looks more like upscale living, and inside you’ll find an interior that’s just as inviting. Meeting spaces, printing services, and free Wi-Fi are just a sampling of what this branch offers. Folks love coming here to see special collections that occasionally make an appearance, such as the eye-opening Holocaust collection that contains photographs and documents you won’t find in any history book.

7. Thomas Cooper Library, Columbia, SC 

Though part of the University of South Carolina, this library is open to the public. Inside you can find a variety of collections that showcase the area’s history, including news, film, maps, and rare books. Students rely on this library to find their next favorite read, conduct research, or expand their knowledge in a free workshop. Students and public visitors alike opt for this library over the public ones because of its quiet environment that’s conducive to work.

8. South Carolina State Library, Columbia, SC 

There’s something new to explore each time you visit, which is why this place is a favorite among locals and out-of-towners alike. From creative contests and workshops to exhibits and guest speakers, their event calendar offers plenty for all ages and interests. If you can’t make it to their physical location, they offer a large volume of collections and resources via their website you can access from home. 

9. York County Library, Rock Hill, SC 

This place is a homeschooler’s dream come true. From homework help to book clubs to technology services and storytelling sessions, this place is the perfect partner for homeschooling parents. In fact, their strong community presence makes this library a favorite destination for kids and adults of all ages. Here you can fuel your passion for learning and know that you’re never too old to discover something new, especially when it comes to soaking up the local history. 

10. Beaufort County Library, Beaufort, SC

With six branches and a book mobile, the Beaufort County Library system is among the best because of their staff’s dedication to helping others. Their guests rave about the services they offer, including technology help, meeting spaces, events, online resources, DVD selection, and local history. Locals love going to the library here because it’s clean, inviting, and offers plenty of activities and information for kids and adults of all ages and interests. 


An Appreciation: Billy Graham Left Lasting Impression on Me

By Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer 

Others have offered wonderful tributes to the life and work of Billy Graham, who died today at 99. His sermons often came along a excellent times in my life. His books were important in my very early understanding of the good news. Those who knew him best have more profound things to say. But this appreciation is simply my modest personal offering of a man who was kind to me in each of my meetings with him.

The first time I met Billy Graham was at a restaurant in Black Mountain, N.C. 

I would like to say I remember every detail, but I don’t. Can’t even recall the name of the place. What I do remember is that he was with his wife Ruth, and they were laughing when I came in. I watched them out of the corner of my eye, hoping to find an opening between the time the finished their meal and rose to leave.

They were both gracious and obviously accustomed to being approached by admiring strangers, even in their own neck of the woods (the wait staff seemed equally unfazed by the fuss), though the smiles were barely shadows of the ones they shared across the booth in which they ate. 

They both shook my hand, and his was enormous, hers strong, I stuttered something about having read his books and been inspired by his support for the Jesus Movement (which was still in full swing, with me as a card-carrying, long-hair-and-bearded poster child for that generation). They smiled and thanked me for the kind words. 

What I do remember was neither said “God Bless You,” or put forth any religious face on the encounter with a goofy teenager who literally was trying a little too hard to look like Jesus.  

I sat back down and tried to watch them leave, wanted to see what kind of car he was driving, but the line of sight offered no such view of the departure of one of the most famous men on the planet. 

The next time I saw him in person was almost a decade later, when he held a press conference at the release of his “A Biblical Standard for Evangelists,” his book addressing the scandals of that day which brought some giant Christian ministries to their knees and impacted the budgets and staffs of almost every other Christian group in the country.

As is my customer on coverage of things more than an hour or so away from home, I arrived early. Five hours early. It was a nice day, and I was sitting on a bench outside waiting, when I noticed a tall man taking a seat right beside me. 

I said hello, and he again offered his big hand to shake. I did not mention we had met before.

After introducing myself and offering up a few questions for a quick interview - which included my showing him a photo I had brought along of his visit to Anderson with the hope I’d get a chance to discuss it with him (he said he remembered, and I think he did) - I put my notebook away, and we talked about his love for Western North Carolina and baseball. I asked him if he was considering retirement (he was in his 70s at this point, although still almost athletic in his comportment) and he gave me his standard “bible doesn’t mention” retiring answer. 

I mentioned by dad’s friendship with Graham’s long-time music man Cliff Barrows, and we talked about music for a while.  

Almost an hour passed before one of his people came to get him to prepare for the press conference. We both stood up, he shook my hand again, and left.  

I remember watching him leave and wishing I had recorded the conversation, or brought a camera to preserve the moment. Pleased now that I did not fumble around for a tape recorder or camera and just enjoyed a long, casual conversation with that year’s most admired man in the world.

The last time I met Billy Graham was three years later in 1987, at a media event leading up to the Columbia crusade. He took a question from me during the press conference and I took a photo of him afterwards.  

After thanking him for the photo, and getting another smile and big handshake, he said: “Good to see you again.” 

And he left. I am not convinced to this day he actually remembered me, but it remains my personal recollection of a man many are saying is the “most important Christian messenger since the Apostle Paul.”

Graham outlived Ruth far longer than most thought, not to mention so many of his other longtime friends including Barrows, T.W. Wilson,  George Beverly Shea and so many others that joined him in his near-100 year journey on this mortal plane.

Today as he is reunited with all of his family and friends who went before, I can’t help but smile when I think  how often he must hearing those folks saying to him the last words I heard him speak to me 30 years ago: “Good to see you again.” 


Supreme Court Denies New Protection for Whistleblowers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to broaden protections for corporate insiders who call out misconduct, ruling they must take claims of wrongdoing to the Securities and Exchange Commission in order to be shielded against retaliation. 

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court building is pictured in Washington, DC, U.S., November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

The justices ruled 9-0 in favor of Digital Realty Trust Inc, throwing out a lawsuit brought against the California-based real estate trust by a fired former employee who had reported alleged wrongdoing only internally and not to the SEC. 

The 2010 Wall Street reform law known as the Dodd-Frank Act is unambiguous in offering no protection from retaliation such as firing or demotion to employees who report claims of securities law violations only in-house, the court ruled. 

“The plain-text reading of the statute undoubtedly shields fewer individuals from retaliation than the alternative,” said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the court. 

The ruling could inhibit employees from trying to resolve complaints of wrongdoing without involving the SEC and impede retaliation suits filed by workers fired after making in-house complaints. 

Whistleblowers not covered under Dodd-Frank still may have protections under another federal law, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, but it offers a shorter time frame for filing a whistleblower lawsuit. 

Digital Realty, a publicly traded San Francisco-based company that owns and develops data centers, had appealed a lower court ruling in favor of a fired executive, Paul Somers, after he informed senior management about alleged violations by his supervisor but never reported the matter to the SEC.


Billy Graham Dies at 99

(Reuters) - U.S. evangelist Billy Graham, who counseled presidents and preached to millions across the world from his native North Carolina to communist North Korea during his 70 years on the pulpit, died on Wednesday at the age of 99, a spokesman said.

Graham died at 8 a.m. his home in Montreat, North Carolina, according to Jeremy Blume, a spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. 

With his steely features and piercing blue eyes, Graham was a powerful figure when he preached in his prime, roaming the stage and hoisting a Bible as he declared Jesus Christ to be the only solution to humanity’s problems. 

According to his ministry, he preached to more people than anyone else in history, reaching hundreds of millions of people either in person or via TV and satellite links. 

Graham became the de facto White House chaplain to several U.S. presidents, most famously Richard Nixon. He also met with scores of world leaders and was the first noted evangelist to take his message behind the Iron Curtain. 

“He was probably the dominant religious leader of his era,” said William Martin, author of “A Prophet With Honor: The Billy Graham Story.” “No more than one or two popes, perhaps one or two other people, came close to what he achieved.” 

In a rare trip away from his home in his later years, Graham had celebrated his 95th birthday on Nov. 7, 2013, at a hotel in Asheville, North Carolina, where some 800 guests, including Republican politician Sarah Palin, business magnates Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump and television hostess Kathie Lee Gifford paid tribute. 

The celebration featured a video of a sermon that his son Franklin said was Graham’s last message to the nation. Graham had been working for a year on the video, which was aired on Fox News. In it, he said America was “in great need of a spiritual awakening.” 

In his prime Graham had a thunderous, quick-burst speaking style that earned him the nickname “God’s Machine Gun.” Through his “Crusades for Christ,” Graham sowed fields of devotion across the American heartland that would become fertile ground for the growth of the religious right’s conservative political movement. 

His influence was fueled by an organization that carefully planned his religious campaigns, putting on international conferences and training seminars for evangelical leaders, Martin said. 

Graham’s mastery of the media was ground-breaking. In addition to radio and publishing, he used telephone lines, television and satellites to deliver his message to homes, churches and theaters around the world. 

Some 77 million saw him preach in person while nearly 215 million more watched his crusades on television or through satellite link-ups, a Graham spokeswoman said. 

Graham started meeting with presidents during the tenure of Harry Truman. He played golf with Gerald Ford, skinny-dipped in the White House pool with Lyndon Johnson, vacationed with George H.W. Bush and spent the night in the White House on Nixon’s first day in office. 

George W. Bush gave Graham credit for helping him rediscover his faith and in 2010, when it was difficult for Graham to travel, Barack Obama made the trip to the preacher’s log cabin home in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Graham’s ties to the White House were mutually beneficial. His reputation was enhanced as preacher to the presidents, while the politicians boosted their standing with religiously inclined voters. 

“Their personal lives - some of them - were difficult,” Graham, a registered Democrat, told Time magazine in 2007 of his political acquaintances. “But I loved them all. I admired them all. I knew that they had burdens beyond anything I could ever know or understand.” 

Graham’s reputation took a hit because of Nixon after the release of 1972 White House tapes in which the two were heard making anti-Semitic comments. Graham later said he did not remember the conversation and apologized. 

In the early half of his career, Graham often spoke his mind on social and political issues of the day, including his strong anti-communist sentiments. He dismissed Vietnam War protesters as attention-seekers and, while he eventually refused to hold segregated revival meetings, he did not take an active role in the 1960s civil rights movement. 

But Graham’s politics were not as overt as those of some religious leaders who came after him, such as Pat Robertson, who ran for president in 1988, and Jerry Falwell, co-founder of the Moral Majority, an organization whose purpose was to promote Christian-oriented politics. 

As he grew older, Graham said he felt he had become too involved in some issues and shifted to a middle-of-the-road position in order to reach more people. He did, however, dive into the gay marriage issue in 2012 when he came out in support of a state amendment to ban same-sex marriages in North Carolina. He also met with Republican Mitt Romney in October 2012 and told him he supported Romney’s run for the presidency.


Study: Working Night Shift Brings Higher Risk of Diabetes

Working the night shift may play havoc with your blood sugar levels, a new study contends.

For the study, researchers looked at data on more than 270,000 people in the United Kingdom and found that those who worked irregular or rotating shifts that included night shifts were 44 percent more likely to have type 2 diabetes than those who worked only days.

"Shift work, particularly night shifts, disrupts social and biological rhythms, as well as sleep, and has been suggested to increase the risk of metabolic disorders, including type 2 diabetes," said study co-first author Celine Vetter. She directs the University of Colorado's Circadian and Sleep Epidemiology Laboratory.

The more often a person worked an irregular night shift, the greater their risk for type 2 diabetes, the findings showed. For example, working nights less than three times a month increased the risk by 24 percent, but working nights more than eight times a month increased the risk by 36 percent.

"Our study is one of the first to show a dose-response relationship, where the more often people work nights, the greater their likelihood of having the disease," Vetter added in a university news release.

However, working a permanent night shift was not linked to an increased risk of diabetes. The study authors suggested that these people might adapt to a consistent night-shift schedule, or perhaps they were "night owls" who had a natural tendency to be awake at night.

About 15 million American workers have permanent night shifts, rotating shifts or shifts with irregular schedules, the study authors noted.

If a person can't avoid working nights, they may be able to reduce their health risks by eating a healthy diet, watching their weight, and getting enough exercise and sleep, Vetter advised.


Council Chair: Time to Take Action on Opioid Abuse in Anderson

On Tuesday night, Anderson County Councilman Chairman Tommy Dunn said it's time Anderson County address the opioid crisis which is creating acute problems locally.
"I think Anderson County needs to be in the lead and forefront on this issue," Dunn said, adding that Anderson County has already paid a steep price due to opioid abuse and that it would grow worse in the future if action is not taken.
Dunn said that in 2016:
  • Anderson County had 20 deaths from opioid overdose
  • Anderson County EMS administered 265 does onf NARCAM to tread opioiid overdoses.
  • Almost seven in 1.000 babies delivered in Anderson County were born with an opioid addiction
  • 94 opioid prescriptions were written for every 100 citizens. 
"We need to get on this now and do what we can for the citizens of Anderson County," Dunn said. "I've asked Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns to examine what the county can do to move forward on dealing with this isssue."
Also on Tuesday night, council:
  • Heard a report from the finance committee, which included an agreement to search for a new building to house the Anderson County Public Defender's office.
  • Approved, on second reading, tax incentives for "Project Spindle," which will create 71 new technical jobs, and invest $10 million in the expansion. The new facilities will produce a 20-year economic impact of more than $67 million, according to Anderson County Economic Director Burriss Nelson.
  • Approved, on first reading, an Anderson/Oconne hazard mitigation plan.
At the council's 6 p.m.meeting, which spotlight's achievement by citizens, honors were given to the Palmetto Mustang Varsity Cheerleaders for their selection as the 2017 South Carolina State 3A Competitive Cheer Champions, and to Ms. Donna Roper for her decades of service to the Anderson County Museum, The Pendleton District Commission and "to Anderson County as a whole." 

Bill to Ban All Abortions Advances in S.C.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina senators have advanced a bill that would likely ban all abortions in the state.

Local media report the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-9 Tuesday to advance a bill that says life begins at conception and at that moment, an embryo has all the rights as any other citizen.

The "personhood" measure now goes to the Senate floor. It was sponsored by Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant and endorsed by Gov. Henry McMaster, both of whom are seeking this year's Republican gubernatorial nomination.

Similar bills have failed in other conservative states, and the measure has fallen short multiple times in South Carolina before.

The measure does not offer an exemption for cases of rape or incest. South Carolina already bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.


Study: Older Men Who Exercise Live Longer

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Older men who participate in moderate physical exercise have a lower risk of death, according to researchers in Britain.

Just 150 minutes of activity weekly makes a difference for men between age 40 and 59, researchers at four hospitals and universities concluded in a paper published Monday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

"The results suggest that all activities, however modest, are beneficial," the researchers wrote. "The finding that [low intensity physical activity] is associated with lower risk of mortality is especially important among older men, as most of their daily physical activity is of light intensity.

"Furthermore, the pattern of accumulation of physical activity did not appear to alter the associations with mortality, suggesting that it would be beneficial to encourage older men to be active irrespective of bouts."

Current exercise guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity in bouts that last 10 or more minutes. Researchers determined that the time duration is not necessary.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from 7,735 participants from 24 British towns originally recruited from 1978-80 who were between 40 and 59. From 2010-12, 3,137 survivors underwent a physical examination and were asked about their lifestyle, sleeping patterns and heart disease diagnosis.

Of the initial participants, 1,655 wore an accelerometer during waking hours for seven days, and researchers then monitored their health until June 2016 or death, whichever came first. Light activity included gentle gardening or taking the dog for a walk.

The final analysis was based on 1,181 men, with an average age of 78, who wore the device the entire time and didn't have pre-existing heart disease.

Over five years, 194 of the men died.

In the data, each additional 30 minutes of light intensity exercise led to a 17 percent reduction in the risk of death. On average, the reduction in the risk of death was around 33 percent.

With sporadic bouts of moderate to vigorous activity, there was a 41 percent lower risk of death. And sessions lasting 10 or more minutes had a 42 percent lower risk.

"Given the rapid decline in physical activity with age among the oldest old populations, encouraging even light activity may provide benefits for longevity," the researchers wrote.


When and Why Christians Mark Lenten Season

Millions of Christians have been celebrating Lent since last Wednesday - a time of year that many non-believers may associate with fasting or abstinence. 

Lent is traditionally marked with fasting, abstinence and prayer.

Most believers tend to give up something until Lent ends to "purify" their bodies.

For children it could be something such as chocolate, sweets, television or certain toys, while adults tend to give up things such as alcohol, coffee or smoking.

Some households may give up meat, eggs and dairy products.

Many believers use the time to volunteer at a charity or donate money to a good cause.

But there is a lot more to the religious observance than giving up something, as it is regarded as a period of spiritual preparation to grow closer to God in the run-up to Easter .

Certain days are excluded from Lent, and many Christian denominations observe the period in different ways.

Here is everything you need to know about Lent - from the meaning behind it to the traditions that many worshippers follow.

Why does the date move?

Easter feast days are moveable days, in that they don't fall on a fixed date in the normal Gregorian or Julian calendars, which follow the cycle of the sun.

Easter instead is determined by the lunar calendar, which is based on the phases of the moon.

Easter is scheduled to fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox around March 20.

The Spring, or March, Vernal Equinox is the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north.

So, in Western Christianity, Easter will always fall between March 22 and April 25.

However, for Eastern Orthodox churches it begins on Clean Monday (February 19 this year), two days before Western churches.

What is Lent?

Lent takes place every year in the 40 days leading up to Easter, and is treated as a period of reflection and a time for fasting from food and festivities.

The fasting period is to remember when Jesus went into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days despite being tempted.

When does Lent finish? 

This depends where you are. For Western churches the 40-day period of Lent ends on Holy Saturday (March 31), the day before Easter.

But the liturgical season of Lent ends two days earlier on Holy Thursday (March 29).

For Eastern churches it ends on the Friday before Palm Sunday .

What days are excluded from Lent?

Lent technically lasts 46 days, but Sundays are not included in the overall count.

That means it is observed for 40 days in the run-up to Easter, and is often a time when instead of fasting people will give up certain food and drink such as chocolate and alcohol.

The six Sundays are not counted because each one is seen as a "mini-Easter" celebrating Jesus' victory over sin and death.


Elon Musk Gets Permit for N.Y.-D.C. Hyperloop Shuttle

In the middle of last year, Elon Musk announced that he had “verbal government approval” to build a Washington DC to New York City Hyperloop that would shuttle passengers between the two cities in just 29 minutes.

The plan was classic Musk-level audacity, but one thing that was also quintessentially Musk was the lack of details. “Verbal government approval” doesn’t mean much, and without any hard plans or route guidance to go off, most people filed the plan away in the Things Elon Says drawer.

But thanks to a permit from DC government, The Boring Company can now conduct preparatory and excavation work in an old car park in Washington’s NoMa district. The Boring Company didn’t divulge its full plans for the site, but a spokesperson told the Washington Post that “a New York Avenue location, if constructed, could become a station” in the broader Hyperloop system.

To be clear, this isn’t a permit to build a Hyperloop. It’s a license to dig a big hole in the ground and do some prep work. Obtaining permission from the federal government and four states to dig a giant underground tunnel, all associated infrastructure, and a bunch of stations will take much longer.

But if nothing else, it shows that The Boring Company is serious about following through on Musk’s vision. Government officials at every level have been cautiously welcoming of a Hyperloop, but without clear details about the route, timeline, or funding, it’s difficult for any government to take a real policy stance. The DC Mayor’s Chief of Staff, John Falcicchio, gave a statement to the Washington Post that demonstrates just how hard it is for any administration to go all-in on Musk’s plan just yet:

“We’re just beginning, in the mayor’s office, our conversation to get an understanding of what the general vision is for Hyperloop,” Falcicchio said. Asked whether the Bowser administration supports the project, he was somewhat upbeat but noncommittal, adding: “We’re open to the concept of moving people around the region more efficiently.”


Trump Says He Favors Improved Gun Background Checks

BBC - Donald Trump supports efforts to improve background checks on gun ownership, the White House said on Monday.

He spoke with Republican Senator John Cornyn about a bipartisan bill that seeks to improve the checks in place before someone can buy a gun.

The suspect in last week's Florida school shooting, in which 17 people died, bought his gun legally. Nikolas Cruz appeared in court on Monday.

Students from the school have demanded action on gun control.

"While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said on Monday. 

What checks are currently in place?

Federal licensed dealers must run checks on anyone trying to purchase a gun. A potential buyer presents identification and fills in a form with personal information and criminal history. 

That information is then submitted to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which processed more than 25 million applications last year. 

But the system has holes because it relies on state and federal officials to report any criminal convictions and mental health issues that should legally stop someone buying a gun to NICS.

Its failings were put in the spotlight last year after the US Air Force admitted it had failed to flag a gunman's domestic violence conviction before he shot dead 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. 

What changes are being proposed?

After the Texas shooting, a bipartisan bill was introduced by Mr Cornyn and Democratic Senator and gun-control advocate Chris Murphy.

It would require federal agencies to better report background information thoroughly and accurately. It also proposed offering states financial incentives to do the same through a penalty and reward system.

At the time, Mr Cornyn presented it as a fix to a "nationwide, systematic problem".

But it remains a proposal, and has not been passed by Congress.

Media captionBarack Obama told the BBC in 2015 that gun control was the biggest frustration of his presidency

On Monday, Mr Murphy said the president's support for the bill was "another sign the politics of gun violence are shifting rapidly", but added that "no-one should pretend this bill alone is an adequate response to this epidemic."

What does Trump think about gun control?

Mr Trump's view on gun control has changed over time. He spoke out against gun control during the 2016 election race.

Last year the president told a National Rifle Association convention that he would "never, ever infringe" on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Mr Trump has repeatedly emphasised the role of the shooter's mental health for Florida's school attack, but last year, he repealed an Obama-era rule that allowed certain people who receive mental health-related benefits to be entered on to the database.

Florida suspect Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, had been investigated by the authorities for posting disturbing content online, according to reports. 

Survivors from the shooting have been vocal since Wednesday's attack about the need for changes to existing laws around gun control.

One student, Emma Gonzalez, told the BBC that politicians were being handed a "blank slate" by the survivors.

"We are telling you to take this blank slate and make something with it. We are giving you the chance to get on the right side of this."

Other students across the US have also proposed other actions such as staging national school walk-outs. 

On Saturday, Parkland students, their parents and some politicians took part in an emotionally charged rally in nearby Fort Lauderdale.

Mr Cruz appeared in court for the second time in Fort Lauderdale on Monday, charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

He sat with his head bowed during the short hearing, and was remanded in custody without bail.


S.C. Lawmakers Call Emails Against SCANA Sale "Dubious"

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina lawmakers say they're receiving dubious emails that urge them not to pass laws that the senders say could kill a proposed sale of SCANA Corp. to Dominion Energy.

House Majority Leader Gary Simrill tells The Post and Courier of Charleston that he began receiving the emails Thursday in the aftermath of the state's failed $9 billion nuclear project. At least two came from friends who said they didn't send them.

Dominion, SCANA and an outside group that crafted the messages say they don't know why the emails are being sent without the knowledge of the sender.

SCANA subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas owned a majority share of the unfinished reactors at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. Lawmakers don't want the power company to charge its ratepayers $37 million a month for them.

But Dominion and SCANA say blocking the charges could kill the $14.6 billion sale and force SCANA into bankruptcy. The emails said lawmakers "could make matters even worse" for its electric customers.

One email that came from one of Simrill's friends, William Barron of Rock Hill even listed his home address. But Simrill noticed the email address was different from the one he had on file. And SCE&G doesn't sell electricity in Rock Hill.

When Simrill questioned his friend, Barron said he didn't know anything about it.

Then another acquaintance supposedly emailed Simrill. She hadn't sent it either, he said.

"They're being impersonated. These folks never wrote these emails," Simrill said. "I mean it's really despicable that they are using our constituents' names and physical address as if they had written us an email."

Barron said he was upset to see his name and address attached to the email. "Someone's impersonating me," Barron said. "It's very discouraging, and it reeks of fraudulence."

David Holt, the president of the Consumer Energy Alliance, confirmed that his group wrote the form email, which is on its website as a template for constituents to contact their legislators.

Information from: The Post and Courier,


$157,000 Grant Will Aid in Cleanup of Pelzer Mill Site

Cleanup of the old Pelzer Mill properties is one step closer to reality after the Pelzer Heritage Commission and Anderson County received a $157,000 award from the S.C. Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund (BCRLF). 

“This is certainly welcome news to all of us in Pelzer." Pelzer Mayor Roger Scott. "The Saluda River is one of the town’s most underutilized resources, and the restoration of the old disposal site will help set the stage for great things in our future.”

The award, which is in the form of a subgrant and not a loan, will be combined with a previously-awarded $400,000 Environmental Protection Agency cleanup grant and used to provide a required two-foot thick earthen cap on the old Pelzer Mill disposal sites. The BCRLF grant was awarded by S.C. Department of Health and Evironmental Control, which administers the state’s revolving loan fund.

“DHEC has been working with the County and Pelzer Heritage on these sites for several years now, and they have been helpful every step of the way”, said Pelzer Heritage President Dianne Lollis. “When we learned that a two-foot cap would be needed on the old landfill we were so worried that the funding gap would prove an insurmountable obstacle, but thanks to a lot of negotiation and hard work we found a solution.”

Installation of the cap is the main component of the cleanup project at the disposal site, which encompasses two large, separate parcels in the vicinity of Parker and Frost streets.  The cap will remediate known and potential environmental legacies on these sites. Gail Jeter with Cardno, Inc. serves as the effort’s project manager.  The disposal site project budget is approximately $500,000.  

“I am absolutely thrilled, and so incredibly grateful to DHEC and Gail Jeter for their help” said Anderson County Councilmember Cindy Wilson.  “This project will greatly enhance the livability of the Pelzer community and help ensure a much better future for the town and its residents.”

Cleanup of the disposal sites is just one part of a comprehensive effort by Pelzer Heritage and Anderson County to address the environmental legacy left by the Pelzer Mill and its successors.  Other efforts include: debris cleanup and asbestos abatement of the Lower Mill; asbestos and lead paint abatement for the Lower Mill Administration Building; and redevelopment of the Upper Mill property.