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Monday
May292017

S.C. Oks 8th Alternative Program for Potential Teachers

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A new alternative certification program is being offered for college graduates in South Carolina who want to teach but don't have an education degree.

A Texas-based company called Teachers of Tomorrow is offering a program where participants spend a year as a classroom intern and take about 300 hours of online courses.

After completing those requirements, the candidates will have to complete three years of teaching in sixth through 12th grade with a provisional license before getting their professional state teaching license.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports (http://bit.ly/2qz2gjb ) is the eighth alternative certification program recognized by South Carolina and a bill signed by Gov. Henry McMaster will allow the state Board of Education to authorize more.

The programs are designed to fill teacher shortages around the state.

Monday
May292017

Farmers Market Vouches for Seniors Available This Week

Later this week, Anderson County seniors may apply for produce vouchers as part of the Farmers Market Nutrition Program for Seniors. The Anderson County Senior Citizens Program and Anderson County, in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Social Services and other state agencies, will issue vouchers to eligible senior citizens.

Vouchers can be used to purchase produce at participating farmer’s markets through November 2017. Each eligible person will receive $25 worth of coupons. Vouchers are issued on a ‘first come- first serve’ basis until the supply is exhausted. EBT is accepted year-round.

“For the past few years, low-income Senior Citizens across Anderson County have been given the opportunity to supplement their diets with fresh, healthy and local produce by means of the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program,” said Anderson Council Chairman Tommy Dunn.

“Seniors can apply for these vouchers between May 31 and June 2 at the Iva, Belton and Anderson County Farmers Markets. When residents spend their vouchers at our Farmers Markets, they are supporting our county's farmers and our local economy also gets a healthy boost from those dollars spent. I want to once again, encourage everyone to help us get the word out about this beneficial program and also to remember to support our local farmers at the Anderson County Farmers Market.”

“Once again, Anderson County Senior Citizens Program is receiving $20,000 worth of vouchers for our seniors & farmers,” said Anderson County Senior Citizens Program Manager Kelly Jo Barnwell. “It is so important that each senior who receives their vouchers, spends their vouchers with our local farmers!! We want everyone in Anderson County to WIN with SFMNP!”
 
Individuals aged 60 or older, with a low monthly income, or who receive SSI or Food Stamp benefits are eligible for these free coupons. Individuals must apply in person; provide proof of their identity, age and their Anderson County residency. Applicants must also meet household income eligibility limits. Information regarding the income of all household members is required to determine eligibility. Verification of Social Security numbers is also required.

Individuals wishing to apply for homebound seniors must provide a statement from the senior granting permission to submit an application on their behalf. Proof of identity and proof of income for the homebound senior must be presented at time of application.

The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program’s goal is to supplement the diets of low-income seniors with fresh, nutritious produce while supporting South Carolina’s small farmers. South Carolina is one of several states that receive funds from the USDA to operate this program.

Application for vouchers will be at the following locations & available first come, first served:

Wednesday from 8-10 a.m.: Iva Farmer’s Market
Thursday  from 8-10 a.m.: Belton Farmer’s Market
Thursday  from 8-10 a.m.: Anderson County Farmer’s Market

For more information about the Senior Voucher program, please contact Anderson County Seniors Program Manager, Kelly Jo Barnwell at 231=2237.

Monday
May292017

Broadway Lake Dam to Close Gates Tuesday

Begnning at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Anderson County will close the gate at the Broadway Lake Dam. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has conducted its final inspection of the dam repairs, and has issued a "Certificate of Completion and Operation."

The Broadway Lake Dam repair process began in December 2014 following a routine DHEC dam safety inspection, which resulted in a rating of "Poor." Engineer evaluations of the dam were conducted, and found soil erosion that occurred behind and under the outlet of the lake discharge pipe, which runs through the dam and connects with the riser in the lake. 

Anderson County Council Members Ken Waters and M. Cindy Wilson requested that Woolpert, Inc., an engineering firm, explore repair options and related costs. Jewell Engineering and Terracon were also consulted to assist with the structural, civil, and geotechnical engineering  needs of the project. 

October 2015 brought record rainfall across the low country and midlands that prompted another dam safety inspection by DHEC. As a result of this inspection, an emergency order was issued requiring the County to lower the lake until necessary repairs were complete. Over the next year, investigations were conducted to determine the repair design and engineering design, and secure environmental permitting. The county awarded the work to the local firm, Don Moorhead Construction, Inc. of Belton, SC the contract at a cost of $582,155. 

"We, as a Council, are so delighted that we can close this chapter in the history of Broadway Lake  because on Tuesday we can close the gates," said Anderson County Councilwoman Gracie Floyd. "We appreciate the patience of everyone as we worked to make sure that the dam and community were safe. We will be glad when the lake is at full pool so that Anderson County citizens can enjoy one of our County's treasures."

Monday
May292017

S.C. Law Enforcement to Limit Shooting into Cars

South Carolina's top law enforcement officer spotted an alarming trend while reviewing shootings by police in the state: Increasingly, the suspect's only weapon was the vehicle they were driving.

Shooting at a driver is risky. It's hard to hit a moving target. Passengers or bystanders can be struck. And if the driver is seriously wounded, the car can become an uncontrollable missile.

As stressful as these situations can be for an officer, such shootings are usually avoidable. Because they're so dangerous, a growing number of law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, either deeply discourage or prohibit shooting at a moving car unless someone inside is shooting back.

"The car's not going to go sideways," said State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel, whose overhaul of officer training has reversed the trend, in South Carolina at least. "You're not a barricade. Because you step in front of that car and tell the driver to stop, doesn't mean he is going to stop."

In Texas, a police officer was fired, charged with murder and now faces a federal civil rights probe after fatally shooting a teenage passenger in a car trying to leave a house last month. Balch Springs officer Roy Oliver told his chief the car was backing toward him and he feared for his life, but his body camera recorded the car driving past him when he fired his rifle, killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.

No media, academic or government organization captures enough data on all police shootings to provide a comprehensive national picture, but according to The Washington Post's database , about 7 percent of the 2,300 people killed by police across the country in the last three years have threatened officers with vehicles.

Keel noticed his caseload of similar shootings growing last year: 13 shootings each in 2014 and 2015 in which the officer considered a suspect's vehicle to be a weapon, almost double the average for the four years prior. Four people were killed and 10 injured in the 26 shootings, which amounted to nearly a third of all the officer-involved shootings for those years.

So Keel instituted a new emphasis in training for anyone seeking to become a police officer in South Carolina, and he's seeking to reinforce it with those already serving in hundreds of smaller forces around the state.

Officers are told to position themselves so they can't be hit by cars they approach. Instructors also emphasize that almost all drivers don't want to harm officers, even if they don't want to be arrested. They're reminded that if they've got the license plate number, a suspect will likely be more safely arrested soon.

It paid off, with only six police shootings where a vehicle was the deadly weapon in 2016.

But an expert in police training said making the changes stick may take longer.

"It's very hard to undo training in general especially with the use of force. And it's even harder to undo training that removes discretion, said Maria Haberfeld, a criminal justice professor at John Jay College in New York. "I like to say, people attracted to the police profession have a predilection to using force — otherwise they would have become social workers."

Protecting lives was Keel's top priority, but money is a factor, too: The South Carolina agency that insures many cities and counties has paid out millions in settlements after police shot into cars.

The largest was $2.15 million, to the family of 19-year-old Zachary Hammond, who was killed by Seneca Police Officer Mark Tiller as he tried to drive away. Hammond got spooked when his passenger planned to sell a small amount of drugs to what turned out to be an undercover police officer.

Video of the shooting points to several training issues: He ran up to the front of the car, instead of keeping his distance to the side. He had no knowledge that anyone in the car had committed a violent felony. And he already had both Hammond's tag number and his passenger's cellphone, so they couldn't have evaded arrest for long.

After watching the dashboard camera, state police asked Tiller to explain why he fired. His response, through his lawyer, suggested a hypothetical threat: "The driver was operating the vehicle in a fairly empty parking lot and could have easily reversed his vehicle once past me in order to attempt to run me over again," Tiller wrote.

Officers naturally find it difficult to let a suspect get away, even briefly.

"You have these high adrenaline-pumping incidents, and sometimes officers act before they've really thought this through. They need training to get them to slow down. Time and distance can often be very helpful for the safety of everyone," said Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, a nonprofit working to improve the quality of policing nationwide.

Monday
May292017

Special Election for S.C. Senate 3 Seat Tomorrow

 

On Tuesday, voters will finalize their choice for the candidate to replace the South Carolina Senate seat left vacant when Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant took moved into his new role in state government.

Republican Richard Cash, the Powdersville businessman who defeated former Pendleton Mayor Carol Burdette in a runoff election earlier this month is the only major party candidate onTuesday's ballot for the A seat.

There is no Democratic candidate for the seat.

Anderson Sen. Kevin Bryant became lieutenant governor in January, after Gov. Nikki Haley became the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster took over as governor.

 

Monday
May292017

Monday
May292017

Study: Exercise Best Prescription for Insomnia

If you're one of the third of all Americans who suffer from insomnia -- roughly 108 million of us -- put away your sleeping pills. Science has a much safer solution. 

"There has been more and more research in the last decade showing exercise can reduce insomnia," Rush University clinical psychologist Kelly Glazer Baron said. "In one study I did, for example, older women suffering from insomnia said their sleep improved from poor to good when they exercised. They had more energy and were less depressed."
"There are more solid studies recently that looked at people clinically diagnosed with insomnia disorder, rather than self-described poor sleepers," agreed the University of Pittsburgh's Christopher Kline, who studies sleep through the lens of sports medicine. "The results show exercise improves both self-reported and objective measures of sleep quality, such as what's measured in a clinical sleep lab."
Exercise is not quite as effective as sleeping pills, admits Arizona State University sleep researcher Shawn Youngstedt, but if you consider the potential downsides of pharmaceutically induced shuteye, the equation shifts.
"Sleeping pills are extremely hazardous," Youngstedt said. "They are as bad as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Not to mention they cause infections, falling and dementia in the elderly, and they lose their effectiveness after a few weeks.
"It's less expensive, healthier and just as easy to exercise," he said, "and there's an added bonus: Research suggests those who are physically active a have lower risk of developing insomnia in the first place."

Helping more than insomnia

There's more good news for the 18 million Americans who struggle with sleep apnea, a dangerous disorder in which you temporarily stop breathing for up to a minute during the night. Exercise can help with that, too.
"For sleep apnea, exercise has always been recommended," Kline said, "mostly to jump-start weight loss from dieting, because those with sleep apnea are normally overweight or obese. But we did a study where the participants didn't diet, and exercise alone led to a 25% reduction of sleep apnea symptoms over a 12-week period."
"Exercise has also been shown to help with restless-leg symptoms across all age groups," Youngstedt said. Restless leg syndrome, a disorder of the nervous system, occurs when the legs -- or other parts of the body like the arms or face -- itch, burn or move involuntarily. The irresistible urge to move often happens at night, which disrupts sleep.
Finding a safe, healthy avenue of treatment for sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea and restless legs is critical, these experts say, because disturbed sleep is a key risk factor for diseases and unhealthy conditions such as stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
"There is large amount of literature showing that people who exercise have better sleep," Baron said. "People who exercise reported an increase in deep sleep and a decrease in the number of awakenings. Plus, people felt less depressed, and their mood was better."

Your exercise prescription

How much exercise is needed to get a good night's rest? 
Most sleep studies have focused on the recommended amount: 2½ hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, along with strength or resistance training that targets every muscle group two days a week.
Kline says "brisk walking, light biking, elliptical machine, anything that increases your heart rate so that you can still talk while exercising but have to catch your breath every few sentences or so, is considered moderate exercise."
"I think trying to do it outside is also helpful, because bright light can help promote sleep," Youngstedt added. "Light exposure helps regulate the body clock." 
Other studies show that people who exercise less than the recommended amount, and those who go way beyond in time and intensity, see moderate benefits. It's only when you are training to the level of an elite athlete that exercise can actually interfere with sleep quality. 
"High-level athletes, who may overtrain for a certain event, do have issues with sleep when traveling and under stress," Youngstedt said. "But for the vast majority of us, that's not a factor."
What's the best time of day to do this sleep-enhancing movement?
Experts used to say morning was best; in fact, any exercise within six hours of bedtime was strongly discouraged. On that topic, the science has changed.
"One common myth is that exercise should be avoided at night," Youngstedt said. "There are about 10% of us for whom exercise at night does disturb sleep, but I personally think that's because they aren't accustomed to it. For most of us, exercise at night, even if it ends just a couple of hours before bedtime, will help with sleep."
Busting that myth is especially helpful for those who tend to stay up later.
"Night owls have problems getting up in the morning; they just can't do it," Baron said. "Their mood and ability to apply effort just isn't there. If you're sacrificing sleep for exercise, is that a good tradeoff?"
However, one of the benefits of staying with a morning workout, she adds, is that you are less likely to cancel.
"Morning exercisers are more consistent," she explained. "So many of us have competing demands in our day, so if we leave it to the evening, we might not follow through."
Staying the course is important to keep sleep benefits in place.
"They have to keep it up," Youngstedt said. "I think it helps to have a consistent schedule, so figure out what works best for you and then stick to it."
"If you have insomnia or sleep apnea, it's even more important to exercise," Baron said. "You will likely feel even less inclined to exercise when you're fatigued, but keep with it, because it can really help."
Sunday
May282017

S.C. Students Can Earn New Job Credential

South Carolina students with disabilities will be able to graduate with an "employability credential" that showcases their abilities under a new law designed to personalize students' path to success beyond high school.

Advocates have long pushed for an alternative diploma that recognizes the accomplishments of special needs children and helps them become independent.

Currently, students with disabilities who can't earn the necessary 24 credits receive a state attendance certificate.

Mary Eaddy Baker of Parents Reaching Out to Parents says the certificate "basically says you occupied a chair for 13 or 14 years."

About half of school districts offer their own version of an occupational credential, but criteria vary widely.

Eaddy Baker says students need a uniform credential potential employers can recognize.

The law takes effect in the 2018-19 school year.

Sunday
May282017

U.S. May Ban Laptops on All International Flights

The United States might ban laptops from aircraft cabins on all flights into and out of the country as part of a ramped-up effort to protect against potential security threats, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said on Sunday.

In an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Kelly said the United States planned to "raise the bar" on airline security, including tightening screening of carry-on items.

"That's the thing that they are obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it's a U.S. carrier, particularly if it's full of U.S. people."

In March, the government imposed restrictions on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins on flights from 10 airports, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Turkey.

Kelly said the move would be part of a broader airline security effort to combat what he called "a real sophisticated threat." He said no decision had been made as to the timing of any ban.

"We are still following the intelligence," he said, "and are in the process of defining this, but we're going to raise the bar generally speaking for aviation much higher than it is now."

Airlines are concerned that a broad ban on laptops may erode customer demand. But none wants an incident aboard one of its airplanes.

Saturday
May272017

Gregg Allman Dies at 69

A publicist for rock legend Gregg Allman says the organist and singer for The Allman Brothers Band has died. He was 69.

Ken Weinstein confirmed Saturday that Allman died at his home in Savannah, Georgia.

Allman had cancelled some 2016 tour dates for health reasons. In March 2017, he canceled performances for the rest of the year.

After years of substance abuse, Allman contracted hepatitis C and underwent a 2010 liver transplant.

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Allman was raised in Florida by a single mother after his father was shot to death.

He and his older brother Duane formed the nucleus of The Allman Brothers Band. It featured tight guitar harmonies by Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, a pair of drummers and the smoky, blues inflected voice of Gregg Allman.

Saturday
May272017

Study Links Diesel Fumes to Heart Damage

Researchers at Queen Mary University in London have found significant evidence that particulate matter form diesel pollution can cause heart damage.

"There is strong evidence that particulate matter [PM] emitted mainly from diesel road vehicles is associated with increased risk of heart attack, heart failure, and death," Dr. Nay Aung, a cardiologist at the William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London, said in a press release. "This appears to be driven by an inflammatory response -- inhalation of fine particulate matter [PM2.5] causes localized inflammation of the lungs followed by a more systemic inflammation affecting the whole body."

PM2.5 causes systemic inflammation, vasoconstriction and raised blood pressure, which when combined puts increased pressure on the heart. The result is an enlarged heart to cope with the overload, which reduces the contractile efficiency leading to a reduction of function.

The study was conducted on 4,255 participants with an average age of 62 from the UK Biobank, a large community-based cohort study.

Full Study Here

Friday
May262017

Clemson Professor Gets $1.4M for Laser Weapons Research

Lin Zhu is receiving $1.4 million from the Department of Defense to address one of the central factors that keep diode lasers from becoming efficient, high-energy weapons.

Zhu, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, said his goal is to produce a light beam that has high power but that also goes in one direction, a difficult engineering challenge.

Lin Zhu works in his lab at the Advanced Materials Research Center after receiving a major grant from the Department of Defense.

“You want lasers to go one direction for weapon application,” he said. “But for a lot of lasers you have to do some smart engineering to achieve that, especially when you want to increase the power.

“When the power increases, a lot of bad things  could happen to destroy that good beam quality of  diode laser output. Good beam quality means light goes in one direction. So it’s pretty challenging to get high power and good beam quality at the same time.”

The device Zhu intends to make would look similar to a computer chip and would convert electricity to light. For laser weapon applications, tens or hundreds of them would be stacked together.

What’s unconventional about Zhu’s work is that he and his team are using trench-like gratings that zigzag across a wafer to direct the light.

At less than half of a micron, the gratings are invisible except when viewed under high-powered microscopes. For scale, the width of a human hair is about 75 microns.

“We use gratings to guide light, to create interesting waveguides and interesting lasers so we can get  high power and  good beam quality at the same time,” Zhu said.

Zhu said that if he and his team can improve the technology that is now considered state of the art, it would be a success.

“The state of the art can get less than 10 watts from a diode laser system with good beam quality,” he said. “If we can improve that number by a factor of 10,   which would be great.”

Zhu is building on his prior research. He previously received a DARPA Young Faculty award and a grant through the Army Research Office’s Young Investigator Program. His most recent funding comes from Department of Defense Joint Technology Office High-Energy Laser Program.

Daniel Noneaker, chair of the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, congratulated Zhu on his latest grant.

“The technology Dr. Zhu is creating has the potential to be more than evolutionary– it could be revolutionary,” Noneaker said. “This is well-deserved. Dr. Zhu and his team are well-positioned to contribute to the nation’s defense.”

Friday
May262017

Clemson Professor's Book Tackles the Politics of Wireless

CLEMSON — As a former chief economist for the Federal Communications Commission, Thomas Hazlett witnessed the good, bad and ugly of the agency that regulates our nation’s airwaves.

Clemson economist Thomas Hazlett’s new book was released this week.

Hazlett, Clemson University’s Hugh Macaulay Endowed Chair of Economics, shares those insights in his recently released book, “The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone” (Yale University Press, 2017).

“You see a lot and learn a lot as chief economist at the FCC,” said Hazlett. “As a consultant to the agency’s chairman, you witness the good and bad, from the work of dedicated and knowledgeable professionals who try to do the right thing to the structure of a perverse system that stymies their every attempt to advance the radio spectrum so that it serves the public’s best interests.”

Hazlett’s book opens with a history of the wireless spectrum from radio’s early days to the smart phone. He contends outdated regulation has stymied advancement of wireless communication through its enforcement of cumbersome Hoover-era regulations that are mired in politics and in dire need of an overhaul.

He pins the root of the problem to regulations established by The Radio Act of 1927 that have hamstrung the airwaves and in the process limited innovation and consumers’ access to news, information, public service and arts and culture.

“Though the collar has been loosened somewhat from the Hoover-era regulations, many still remain and as a result the radio spectrum continues to suffer 90 years later. Instead of serving the public interest, our regulatory system is actually limiting it,” Hazlett said.

Communications technology has long outgrown the regulatory system that calls its shots, according to Hazlett, who served as chief economist at the FCC in 1991-92.

He said today more than 6 billion people own wireless phones. “In other words, more people today own cell phones than own toothbrushes or have access to working toilets,” he said.

Despite wireless technology’s staggering growth, the bygone-era regulations have led to underutilized frequency space, which has far-reaching consequences.

“It’s reining in entrepreneurial ventures and restricting market rivalry, which gives way to monopolies,” he said. “In the process, consumers are being punished on many fronts, not the least of which is free speech.”

Though people are constrained in severe ways by the system’s regulatory dysfunction, Hazlett said progress does result and good ideas have traversed through the system.

“There has been a historical arch in the last 30 years where a regulatory liberalization has moved the needle on modernizing the wireless world,” Hazlett said. “The advent of the smart phone and a myriad of social media platforms are only a start. We have seen visionary ideas and competitive enterprises spread and thrive during that time, but we’re not even halfway there.”

Hazlett advocates loosening the spectrum’s regulatory noose by auctioning off its underutilized capacities. He says that would serve the public by creating economic efficiencies and generate billions of dollars for the government.

“There can be a minimalist approach that gets us to a more flexible path to regulating the spectrum. Once we figure that out, I’m optimistic the wireless world’s potential can be achieved and the public’s interests will be better served.”

Hazlett joined Clemson’s John E. Walker School of Economics in 2014. He has held faculty positions at the University of California-Davis, Columbia University, the Wharton School of Business at Penn and George Mason University Law School. His other book credits include “The Fallacy of Net Neutrality” and “Public Policy Toward Cable Television.”