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Anderson County Leader Honored for P.A.W.S. Leadship

Anderson County Public Works Director and Deputy County Administrator  Holt Hopkins was recently named the South Carolina American Public Works Association’s Manager of the Year for his leadership and management over the past three years at Anderson County Pets Are Worth Saving. Under his direction, P.A.W.S. has been transformed, and has become a resource for neighboring counties and agencies.

“Mr. Hopkins is passionate about his work with public works and is very deserving of this award,” said Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns.

Under his direction, P.A.W.S. has been transformed, and has become a statewide resource for other counties and agencies.

The award is given to a public works manager with outstanding initiatives, innovations, and improvements during the past three years in South Carolina.


Seed Makers Want Restrictions on Monsanto Weed Killer

CHICAGO (Reuters) - America’s two biggest independent seed sellers, Beck’s Hybrids and Stine Seed, told Reuters they are pushing U.S. environmental regulators to bar farmers from spraying dicamba weed killer during upcoming summers in a potential blow to Bayer AG’s Monsanto Co. 

Rodrigo Werle, a weed scientist at the University of Wisconsin inspects soybean fields as part of the university's research into whether the weed killer Dicamba drifted away from where it was sprayed in Arlington, Wisconsin, August 2, 2018. REUTERS/Tom Polansek

Limiting spraying of the chemical to the spring season, before crops are planted, would prevent farmers from using the herbicide on dicamba-resistant soybeans that Monsanto engineered. The seeds are sold by companies including Beck’s and Stine. 

Last summer, after farmers planted Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant soy seeds en masse, the herbicide drifted onto nearby farms and damaged an estimated 3.6 million acres of non-resistant soybeans, or 4 percent of all U.S. plantings. 

Problems have not gone away. As of July 15, the University of Missouri estimated that more than a million acres of non-resistant soybeans were hurt by dicamba. Homeowners who live near farms have also complained of damage to their trees and flowers. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now weighing such complaints as part of a high-stakes decision on the herbicide’s future. 


McMaster Asks for Patience on Trump's Tariffs

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - As the debate over potential implications of the Trump administration's tariff plans continues, one of the president's earliest allies is stressing he's made the administration aware of South Carolina's concerns but still thinks a wait-and-see approach is the best way to proceed.

Gov. Henry McMaster told The Associated Press he's had tariff conversations with President Donald Trump and members of his administration. But McMaster reiterated he sees it as imperative not to make rash decisions before specifics are implemented.

McMaster's comments Wednesday came a day before White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the United States and China were resuming talks. The United States has imposed taxes on $34 billion in Chinese goods, drawing Chinese retaliation. Trump is readying tariffs on $216 billion more, and Beijing has vowed to counterpunch.


Feeding Innovation Anderson Could Help Food Entreprenuers

The South Carolina Community Loan Fund and Clemson Agricultural Extension are now accepting applications for Feeding Innovation Anderson. Healthy food producers and retailers in Anderson County and the surrounding areas who are interested in opening or expanding a healthy food business are welcome to apply. Participants must have an interest and focus on increasing access to
healthy food in underserved areas.

Feeding Innovation is an eight-week small business training program that provides entrepreneurs with the framework and skills needed to develop and grow a healthy food business. Will Culler (Clemson Agricultural Extension) and expert facilitators will utilize an interactive process to help participants create or expand their business plans by: (a) evaluating their business model/strategy, and (b) clarifying their market niche, their pricing structure, and their financial health. At the end of the program, participants will pitch their requests for funding to a panel judges and the entrepreneur with the strongest business plan will receive a $12,500 seed capital award.

Feeding Innovation Anderson classes will take place on Tuesday evenings beginning in October at the Clemson Extension Office in Anderson. All participants must commit to attending each class as well as the program orientation and final pitch event. Participation requires a $100 reimbursable deposit that will be returned to each participant following the successful completion of the course and final pitch. Feeding Innovation Anderson will be limited to 15 participants. All interested parties should contact Anna Lewin for an application at anna@sccommunityloanfund.orgCompleted applications must be submitted to Anna by 5pm on August 31st, 2018 and selected applicants will be notified how to register for the program.


Newspapers Nationwide Rebuke Trump Attacks on Media

Note: The Anderson Observer is the only South Carolina newspaper on this list. View our editorial here.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hundreds of U.S. newspapers devoted print space on Thursday to a coordinated defense of press freedom and a rebuke of President Donald Trump for saying some media organizations are enemies of the American people. 

The Boston Globe and the New York Times took part in the push along with more than 350 other newspapers of all sizes including some in states that Trump won during the 2016 presidential election. 

The Globe said it coordinated publication among the newspapers and carried details of it on a database on its website. 

Each paper ran an editorial, which is usually an unsigned article that reflects the opinion of an editorial board on a particular subject and is separate from the news and other sections in a paper. 

The Globe’s editorial accused Trump of carrying out a “sustained assault on the free press.” 

“The greatness of America is dependent on the role of a free press to speak the truth to the powerful,” the Globe’s editorial said. “To label the press ‘the enemy of the people’ is as un-American as it is dangerous to the civic compact we have shared for more than two centuries.” 

Trump has frequently criticized journalists and described news reports that contradict his opinion or policy positions as fake news. 

In February 2017, for example, he tweeted that “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people!” 

His comments reflect a view held by many conservatives that most newspapers and other news outlets distort, make up or omit facts because of a bias against them. 

The New York Times editorial said it is right to criticize the news media for underplaying or overplaying stories or for getting something wrong in a story. 

“News reporters and editors are human, and make mistakes. Correcting them is core to our job,” it said. “But insisting that truths you don’t like are ‘fake news’ is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. And calling journalists the ‘enemy of the people’ is dangerous, period.” 

A representative for the White House could not immediately be reached for comment on the editorials. 


Beaufort County Bans Single-Use Plastic Bags

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) - Plastic bags will be banned in a South Carolina county.

WCSC-TV reported Wednesday that single-use plastic bags businesses provide to their customers will be forbidden this fall in Beaufort County. The county along with several cities enacted an ordinance banning the bags that goes into effect Nov. 1, and businesses that violate it may be cited.

A joint statement from the municipalities of Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Port Royal and Beaufort says the ordinance aims to better protect the environment, especially waterways and marine life.

Companies will be encouraged to offer recyclable paper bags instead of plastic ones. Some exceptions to the rule include dry cleaning bags and grocery store produce bags.

Several Charleston-area cities and towns have enacted similar bans including Folly Beach, Isle of Palms and Mount Pleasant.


Weed Killer Residue Found in Breakfast Cereals, Instant Oats

A number of popular breakfast foods, including cereals, granola bars and instant oats, were tested and found to contain potentially dangerous amounts of cancer-linked glyphosate, the main ingredient in weed killer.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an environmental advocacy organization that conducted the study, said Wednesday that glyphosate was found in all but five of 29 oat-based foods that were tested.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, the most heavily used herbicide in the United States. Every year, according to the EWG, more than 250 million pounds of glyphosate is sprayed on American crops.

The World Health Organization has determined that glyphosate is "probably carcnogenic to humans" and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a safety level for the potentially dangerous chemical. Just last week, Monsanto was ordered by a court to pay nearly $300 million to a man who claims his terminal cancer was caused by exposure to Roundup. Hundreds of other cases are working their way through the courts.

Monsanto strongly disputes the finding that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen and notes that over four decades, the EPA has consistently supported the safe and effective use of glyphosate.

The company notes on its website that on Dec. 18, the EPA stated the following: “The draft human health risk assessment concludes that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans. The agency’s assessment found no other meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label. The agency’s scientific findings are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by a number of other countries as well as the 2017 National Institute of Health Agricultural Health Survey.

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The products tested by the EWG showed levels dramatically lower than current EPA standard for glyphosate.

For example, the amount allowed in grains is 30 parts per million. Most of the products tested by the EWA showed glyphosate levels that measured in parts per billion.

Yet California, which is known for its robust cancer warnings, has determined there is a one in 100,000 risk of cancer from glyphosate when more than 1.1 milligrams is consumed per day. EWG says it has calculated a one in one million risk if more than 0.1 milligrams is consumed and a similar risk for children if even 0.01 milligrams is consumed daily.

The worst offenders were Quaker oat products, which regularly clocked in at 400 or more glyphosate parts per billion — meaning they would be dangerous for children if even 27.5 grams were consumed daily. A single packet of Quaker's dinosaur eggs instant oatmeal contains more than three times EWG's daily safe limit for children.

Kellogg products largely passed muster — of the two evaluated, only one of the Michigan-based cereal company's oat foods came anywhere near dangerous to children and neither posed a threat to adults. 

The full list of products tested and their results is available below:

Potentially dangerous to children

Back to Nature Classic Granola

Quaker Simply Granola Oats, Honey, Raisin and Almonds

Nature Valley Granola Protein Oats 'n Honey

Giant Instant Oatmeal Original Flavor

Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal

Great Value Original Instant Oatmeal

Umpqua Oats, Maple Pecan

Market Pantry Instant Oatmeal, Strawberries & Cream*

Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal

Lucky Charms (without marshmallows)

Barbara's Multigrain Spoonfuls, Original, Cereal

Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran oat cereal*

Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Oats 'n Honey

Quaker Steel Cut Oats

Quaker Old Fashioned Oats

Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats*

Contains safe amounts of glyphosate

Back to Nature Banana Walnut Granola Clusters

KIND Vanilla, Blueberry Clusters with Flax Seeds

Kellogg’s Nutrigrain Soft Baked Breakfast Bars, Strawberry

Nature's Path Organic Old Fashioned Organic Oats

Whole Foods Bulk Bin conventional rolled oats

Bob's Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

Contained no glyphosate in any tests

Nature's Path Organic Honey Almond granola

Simple Truth Organic Instant Oatmeal, Original

Kashi Heart to Heart Organic Honey Toasted cereal

Cascadian Farm Organic Harvest Berry, granola bar

365 Organic Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats


S.C. Ends Budget Year with $177 Million Surplus

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - State officials say South Carolina ended the latest budget year with a surplus of $177 million.

South Carolina Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom said in a news release Tuesday that the state took in $542 million more last year than the previous year.

Eckstrom provided the calculations based on the fiscal year that ended June 30.

He called the 7 percent increase in revenue good news, but warned lawmakers about rushing to spend the extra money.

Eckstrom said the state spent more than $1 billion in extra revenue in 2007 and 2008, only to see the Great Recession lead to massive cuts for state agencies.

He says a good place to spend the money would be on the underfunded state retirement system and the retiree health plan.


Survey: Tech Sector Still Boasts Highest Salaries

For the fourth consecutive year, the technology sector boasted the highest-paying jobs in the U.S., according to an annual report from Glassdoor.

Thirteen of the 25 highest-paying jobs this year were in tech, up from 11 in 2017, according to the report, which was released on Wednesday. Within the industry, enterprise architects, software development managers, software engineering managers and software architects received the highest pay, with the lowest average base salary well over $100,000.

The report gathered salary data from millions of employees, examined job titles that received a minimum of 100 salary reports over the past year, and used algorithms to estimate the median annual base pay. C-suite-level jobs were excluded from the report. 

While tech jobs pay well across the board, the health-care industry offers the largest paychecks at the very top of the spectrum. Physicians topped the list of highest-paid employees in America, with a median base salary of $195,842. Pharmacy managers and pharmacists came in second and third, with a base pay of $146,412 and $127,120, respectively. 

Top 10 Highest-Paying Jobs in the U.S. 

Health-care jobs offer the highest median base salary, topping off at nearly $200k.

Source: Glassdoor 

“Technology and health care are the two industries that are making the greatest impact on the economy,” said Sarah Stoddard, a community expert at Glassdoor. “There’s a high demand but short supply for those roles, driving up salaries.”

While men are overrepresented in the country’s highest-paying jobs, the breakdown is different between tech and health care. Tech companies employ more than twice as many males as females, according to a 2017 LinkedIn report. Health care, on the other hand, has a slightly bigger proportion of women. But there’s still a significant pay gap between medical specialties. 

Doctors and engineers have technical skills that come with a high price tag for employers. But Stoddard said business and consulting expertise, along with interpersonal communication skills, are still valued in the job market. Strategy manager and consulting manager joined the list of the country’s top-paying jobs for the first time this year. 

Nearly 7 in 10 workers and job seekers said salary is a key factor in determining a career, Glassdoor found. But 27 percent of Americans said they “don’t have a good sense of their career path,” and about a quarter said they felt as though they’re “on a treadmill going nowhere,” according to a LinkedIn survey of 2,000 professionals, also released on Wednesday.

More than half of employed Americans are looking to leave their current jobs, according to a Gallup survey that came out last month. The average American, however, remains in the same job for about 10 years. Hiring experts have dubbed this demographic “career sleepwalkers.”

Perhaps the potential for higher pay could wake them from their slumber.


County, State Officials Praise Michelin Pact with AIT

The Anderson Institute of Technology, scheduled to open in the Fall of 2019, got a boost from Michelin on Tuesday.

The AIT, which will serve as a career center for Anderson County School District Three, Four and Five, received an $75,000 and a pledge of future support from Michelin to create targeted job training at the facility.



Clemson to Help Improve Rural Health Through Broadband

CLEMSON — Clemson University has received a funding commitment from the Universal Service Administration Company Rural Health Care Program to bring high-speed broadband technology to 102 health care sites across South Carolina to improve the efficiency of rural health outreach efforts. The three-year funding commitment amounts to $5.24 million, with the possibility of renewal at the end of the term.

Clemson’s Joseph F. Sullivan Center began pursuing the funding in 2015 to improve telecommunication capability at health care sites frequented by its mobile clinic and those from other health care organizations. The funding will provide wireless broadband technology to stationary health sites and mobile clinics that will allow both entities easy, secure and reliable access to electronic health records and telemedicine for patients in rural, remote areas.

Paula Watt, director of the Clemson’s Sullivan Center, said it will streamline the way mobile clinics can operate in rural areas and provide an economic boost to South Carolina companies tasked with hardwiring sites and mobile clinics. However, the real beneficiaries will be the people in underserved communities who stand to gain the most from this infusion of technology.

“The Sullivan Center has spent decades bringing health care to communities that face an absence or limited amount of services,” Watt said. “Hardwiring these health care sites will increase the amount of people our mobile clinic and these sites can serve and improve every service we offer.”

Watt said the enhanced technology should make a night-and-day difference in the way Clemson’s mobile clinic can serve its patients. The clinic’s staff often waits up to five minutes per patient to connect to a health record that is protected through private networks. This process repeats each time service drops off, which is a regular occurrence.

The delay in service is part of the reason the clinic has gotten creative over the years. It moves patients through three or four different programs to provide comprehensive care and buy itself time lost by spotty connections. In the more remote locations, clinic staff resorts to paper documentation, which has to be transcribed later to add to the electronic health record.

An improved, stable connection takes away the need for paper documentation and the extra staff hours and risk of mistakes that come along with it. It also means the clinic can see more patients.

Clemson’s work on this project has required cooperation with other South Carolina health care systems and the patience to contend with the unknown. DeLorenzo said Watt and the Sullivan Center team have played a vital role in helping to write the “how-to manual” on acquiring the type of funding that will serve to expand access to health care for underserved rural populations throughout the state and across the nation.

Considering the future benefits, Watt is happy to be the model for something new.

“Clemson and many other mobile clinics will see the benefits of this funding at every stop we make across the state,” Watt said. “We’re going to bring an even better experience to more of the patients who need us most.”


Seven Candidates Seek Vacant S.C. Seat

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Four Republicans and three Democrats are seeking their parties' nomination for a vacant state Senate seat in South Carolina.

Republican Columbia Sen. John Courson resigned in June after pleading guilty to misconduct in office related to his use of campaign funds. The district covers parts of Richland and Lexington counties.

If no candidate gets a majority in Tuesday's voting, a runoff will be held Aug. 28. The special election to fill the seat is set for Nov. 6.

Former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian is one of the candidates. He faces Kyle Lacio and Dayna Alane Smith, who would be the first openly transgender member of the General Assembly.

The Republicans are former U.S. Senate candidate Benjamin Dunn, Christian Stegmaier, John Holler and Bill Turbeville.