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Thursday
Apr112013

Clemson Glee Clubs Concert April 23

Clemson University's Women’s and Men’s glees will present their spring concert at 8 p.m. April 23, at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts.

The Women’s Glee, under the direction of Justin Durham, will perform a variety of pieces from the 20th century, including two motets by French composers Gabriel Fauré and Maurice Duruflé. They also will perform American music by Alice Parker and Eric Whitacre and James McCray’s “Jubilant Song,” a piece set to the poetry of Walt Whitman. It will feature Paul Buyer as guest percussionist.

The Men’s Glee, under the direction of Jared Daugherty, is presenting a program highlighting the presence of faith, hope and love throughout time with pieces ranging from the late 16th century to the 20th century. “Come Again” by John Dowland, the earliest piece performed, will feature a guitar accompaniment to mirror the flavor of the time period.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and are available for purchase online at www.clemson.edu/Brooks and through the Box Office at 864-656-7787 from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Thursday
Apr112013

Affordable Care Act "Complex, Confusing" Say Dem Leaders

Complex. Complicated. Confusing. Beyond comprehension. Two prominent Democrats used these words this week to describe the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare."

One of those Democrats, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), was one of the key architects of the law. The other, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, is in charge of implementing the law.

"I believe that the Affordable Care Act is probably the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress. Tax reform obviously has been huge too, but up to this point it is just beyond comprehension," Rockefeller said Tuesday at a Senate Finance confirmation hearing, according to The Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard.

Rockefeller also warned Marilyn Tavenner, who has been appointed to serve as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, that the ACA is "so complicated and if it isn't done right the first time, it will just simply get worse."

Sebelius was speaking at a Monday forum hosted by the Harvard School of Public Health and Reuters.

When asked about the challenges of implementing the ACA, Sebelius said, "I think that, probably, no one fully anticipated, when you have a law that phases in over time, how much confusion that creates for a lot of people." 

Sebelius also expressed disappointment in the fact that there are some who continue to believe that the ACA is a bad law and do not want it to be implemented. After the U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of the law and Barack Obama was re-elected, she expected the law's opponents to begin supporting it.

"The politics has been relentless and continuous. ... There was some hope that once the Supreme Court ruled in July and then once an election occured there would be the sense that, this is the law of the land, let's get on board, let's make this work. And yet, we find ourselves still having, sort of, state by state political battles. And, again, creating what I think is a lot of confusion," she complained.


Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/democrats-now-admit-obamacare-is-complicated-confusing-93694/#6pCGPAKj8LxsYkhP.99 

Wednesday
Apr102013

Sheheen Announces Bid for Governor

South Carolina state Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Kershaw) announced Wednesday that he is “taking steps” to launch a 2014 gubernatorial campaign, likely pitting the Democratic lawmaker against current Republican Gov. Nikki Haley.

Sheheen announced his bid in an email to supporters and took the opportunity to blast the Haley administration’s record, calling it “failed and dysfunctional," Columbia Patch reports.

“Our state deserves better than the failed and dysfunctional government it has received from our current politicians,” Sheheen wrote. “Now, we need leaders.”

Sheheen -- the only Democrat thus far to jump in the 2014 South Carolina race for governor -- ran a close but unsuccessful bid against Haley in 2010, losing by a 4-point margin. However, citing South Carolina’s high unemployment rate and the state’s recent data hacking debacle, Sheheen said he believes he's in a strong position to win in 2014.

“Three years ago, we came so very close to changing South Carolina for the better,” Sheheen wrote in the email. “Now we can finish the job together.”

Tim Pearson, chief political adviser to Haley, responded to Sheheen’s announcement Wednesday, brushing off any potential threat the Democratic lawmaker may pose if Haley decides to seek reelection.

Full Story Here

Wednesday
Apr102013

CNN: S.C. Democrats Attack Wrong Sanford

It could have been a crucial piece of opposition research: The South Carolina Democratic Party accused Mark Sanford, who criticized his rival for taking union contributions, of receiving campaign cash from labor groups himself during a past run for Congress.

Only problem? They had the wrong Sanford.

The dust-up began Tuesday morning with the news Boeing was expanding its footprint in the Palmetto State, investing $1 billion and creating 2,000 jobs over the next eight years.

Previously, labor groups had filed a complaint with the federal government, trying to stop Boeing from building airliners in South Carolina. The union said the decision to put the new plant in South Carolina was a move by Boeing to retaliate against a strike by company workers in Washington state.

The union later reached an agreement that allowed Boeing to open the South Carolina plant, resulting in the announcement Tuesday the firm was investing in the state.

Elizabeth Colbert Bush, the Democrat running for South Carolina's open House seat, praised Boeing's move, but the Sanford campaign was quick to highlight that Colbert Bush accepted contributions from unions that opposed Boeing's plant in North Charleston.

That's when the problems began for the South Carolina Democrats. The party accused Sanford in a press release of accepting union contributions in his 1998 and 2000 House re-election campaigns. The statement carried the screaming headline, "Colossal Hypocrite Mark Sanford Takes Union Contributions."

"Just when you thought Mark Sanford's strained relationship with the truth couldn't get any worse, we learn that he's criticizing Elizabeth Colbert Busch for something he's done," said SCDP Chairman Dick Harpootlian in a statement. "Mark owes Elizabeth an apology for this ugly attack."

But the "Sanford" they located with contributions from unions turned out to be the wrong politician – the contributions were actually made to a "Sanford Bishop for Congress."

The mistake was called out by Sanford's campaign, who asked for an apology from the South Carolina's Democrats' chairman.

Ultimately, the Democrats owned up to the mistake.

"We learned this evening that the information posted on OpenSecrets.org and used in this release is incorrect," spokeswoman Kristin Sosanie wrote. "We relied on an independent organization used by many journalism organizations and it's disappointing and unfortunate that the source appears to be in error. We apologize for any confusion that this error has caused."

OpenSecrets.org, also known as the Center for Responsive Politics, obtains its data directly from the Federal Election Commission.

"While we often catch errors and correct them for the public, in this case we didn't," said Viveca Novak, editorial and communications director. "The FEC, in the case of these contributions, had coded Democrat Sanford Bishop as Republican Mark Sanford. We pointed this out to the agency yesterday and have been assured that it is being fixed."

Wednesday
Apr102013

Atlantic: Quick Trip, Others Prove Ethical Business Works

The average American cashier makes $20,230 a year, a salary that in a single-earner household would leave a family of four living under the poverty line. But if he works the cash registers at QuikTrip, it's an entirely different story. The convenience-store and gas-station chain offers entry-level employees an annual salary of around $40,000, plus benefits. Those high wages didn't stop QuikTrip from prospering in a hostile economic climate. While other low-cost retailers spent the recession laying off staff and shuttering stores, QuikTrip expanded to its current 645 locations across 11 states.

Many employers believe that one of the best ways to raise their profit margin is to cut labor costs. But companies like QuikTrip, the grocery-store chain Trader Joe's, and Costco Wholesale are proving that the decision to offer low wages is a choice, not an economic necessity. All three are low-cost retailers, a sector that is traditionally known for relying on part-time, low-paid employees. Yet these companies have all found that the act of valuing workers can pay off in the form of increased sales and productivity.

"Retailers start with this philosophy of seeing employees as a cost to be minimized," says Zeynep Ton of MIT's Sloan School of Management. That can lead businesses into a vicious cycle. Underinvestment in workers can result in operational problems in stores, which decrease sales. And low sales often lead companies to slash labor costs even further. Middle-income jobs have declined recently as a share of total employment, as many employers have turned full-time jobs into part-time positions with no benefits and unpredictable schedules. 

QuikTrip, Trader Joe's, and Costco operate on a different model, Ton says. "They start with the mentality of seeing employees as assets to be maximized," she says. As a result, their stores boast better operational efficiency and customer service, and those result in better sales. QuikTrip sales per labor hour are two-thirds higher than the average convenience-store chain, Ton found, and sales per square foot are over 50 percent higher. 

Entry-level hires at QuikTrip are trained for two full weeks before they start work, and they learn everything from how to order merchandise to how to clean the bathroom. Most store managers are promoted from within, giving employees a reason to do well. "They can see that if you work hard, if you're smart, the opportunity to grow within the company is very, very good," says company spokesman Mike Thornbrugh.

The approach seems like common sense. Keeping shelves stocked and helping customers find merchandise are key to maximizing sales, and it takes human judgment and people skills to execute those tasks effectively. To see what happens when workers are devalued, look no further than Borders or Circuit City. Both big-box retailers saw sales plummet after staff cutbacks, and both ultimately went bankrupt.

As global competition increases and cheap, convenient commerce finds a natural home online, the most successful companies may be those that focus on delivering a better customer experience. Ton's research on QuikTrip and other low-cost retailers--now a Harvard Business School case--is applicable across a variety of industries, she says. Toyota's production system, for example, gives all employees--including workers on the assembly lines--a voice in improving products.

But for a publicly traded company under pressure to show quarterly earnings, it's tempting to show quick profits by cutting labor costs. The bad economy has also made workers willing to take lower-paid positions rather than join the ranks of the unemployed. New employer-sponsored health insurance requirements under the Affordable Care Act are only going to give employers an additional incentive to shift workers to a part-time schedule. 

There are also trade-offs to investing in employees. Businesses that spend more on their workers have to cut costs elsewhere. Trader Joe's streamlines operations by offering a limited number of products and very few sale promotions. Costco stocks products on pallets, as a warehouse would. And the QuikTrip model requires investors to have the fortitude to accept possible short-term drops in profits. "You have to take a loss for a little bit," says Maureen Conway, executive director of the Economic Opportunities Program at the Aspen Institute. "You have to pay above market. You have to change how you do business."

At the upper echelons of the American workforce, salaries have soared. Companies are accustomed to thinking of their highest-level employees as "talent," and fighting to hire and reward people who will help grow the company. Now Trader Joe's and QuikTrip are proving that lower-level employees can be assets whose skills improve the bottom-line as well.

Wednesday
Apr102013

Regulatory Task Force Holds First Meeting Thursday

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s newly established Regulatory Review Task Force will hold their first meeting Thursday at 4:00 PM in the Edgar Brown Building Room 252 on the Statehouse Grounds. The Regulatory Review Task Force was created by Executive Order 2013-02.  Its mission is to develop a report that evaluates South Carolina’s current regulatory burdens on all sizes and types of businesses in South Carolina, which will be submitted to Gov. Haley by November 15, 2013

Wednesday
Apr102013

Private Religious Schools Outperform Public, Charter Schools

Private religious schools perform better than public schools, and public charter schools performed no better than regular public schools, according to a new study by William Jeynes, professor of education at California State University at Long Beach and senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute at Princeton.

Jeynes spoke Monday with The Christian Post about the study. He found that religious, mostly Christian, school students were a full year ahead of students who attend public and charter schools.

The results of his research were recently published in vol. 87, issue 3 of the Peabody Journal of Education in an article titled, "A Meta-Analysis on the Effects and Contributions of Public, Public Charter, and Religious Schools on Student Outcomes," and were presented last month in a speech for Notre Dame University faculty.

Jeynes used a research method called a "meta-analysis," which utilizes very large data sets by combining the data from many different studies. Most of the studies used test scores to measure student performance, but there were some other measures, such as grade point average and teacher ratings, as well.

The research uses four different models to show how the outcomes might change using different control variables. Some might argue, for instance, that students at religious schools do better because their parents are more involved in their education, not because the schools are better. Jeynes, therefore, controlled for this "selection effect." Religious schools still perform better, though, even when controlling for parental involvement.

Religious school principals, though, have told Jeynes that they believe parental involvement should not be controlled for because parental involvement is something that is highly emphasized at religious schools. Indeed, some religious schools require parents to sign a consent acknowledging the involvement that is expected of them.

Read full story at http://www.christianpost.com/news/study-religious-schools-perform-better-than-public-charter-schools-93597/#zv8rjyHwc5MCreiW.99 

Wednesday
Apr102013

United Way Grant Aimed at Fighting Hunger

United Way of Anderson County is hoping the public can help them click their way to a grant from Walmart by voting for them in the "Fighting Hunger Together" initiative - a national campaign where money is awarded to programs that get the most votes for their innovative and effective programs that help alleviate child hunger.

The public will decide what organization will receive the grants through a voting campaign at www.facebook.com/walmart that includes more than 300 different hunger relief organizations from across the country. The more votes a Feeding America food bank or partner agency gets, the better chances they have of winning the money. The funds won will then be used to support local child hunger relief programs. 

“Through the Weekend Backpak Snackpak Program, children in Anderson County elementary schools are now returning to school on Monday morning without the burden of weekend hunger pains still lingering over them.  We are a better community because fewer children are hungry on the weekends and we will be an even better community when no child goes hungry on the weekends,” stated Kurt Stutler, United Way of Anderson County.

The public will be able to vote on their favorite child hunger programs through 11:59 pm ET on April 30 at www.facebook.com/walmart. Descriptions of programs from across the country that are dedicated to reducing child hunger in their communities will be posted on the voting site along with a "vote" button. Visitors to the page can award one "vote" a day to their favorite program. At the conclusion of the voting, top vote getters will split $3 million in funding from Walmart.

Funding for child hunger programs is especially critical given the significant need that exists. According to the USDA, more than 16 million children in the United States struggle with hunger. Here in Anderson County, there are an estimated 11,760 children who struggle with hunger.

Tuesday
Apr092013

Big Daddy Weave Concert to Move Inside Civic Center

The Big Daddy Weave "Redeemed Tour," scheduled for Friday, will be moved inside the Anderson Civic Center due to potential weather concerns. 

There are several concerts scheduled in the William A. Floyd Amphitheater, including some big names that will play evening concerts during the Great Anderson County Fair.

For up-to-date listings, visit www.andersonconcerts.com

 

Tuesday
Apr092013

Clemson Singers Spring Concert April 18

The Clemson University Singers will present their spring concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 18, at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts.

The program will range from High Renaissance music to African-American spirituals as the singers prepare for a concert tour of Italy in May.

Clemson’s elite mixed-voice ensemble will begin with three pieces composed in the last century: “At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners” by Williametta Spencer, “In Peace and Joy” by James Fritschel and “All That Hath Life & Breath Praise Ye the Lord!” by Rene Clausen.

The evening moves on to give the audience a taste of the Renaissance period with pieces including “Haec Dies” and “Ave Verum Corpus” by William Byrd and “Super flumina Babylonis” by G.P. da Palestrina. Two modern settings of German chorales will then follow.

The performance concludes with a few spirituals and folksongs such as “Abide With Me” by William H. Monk and “Saints Bound for Heaven” arranged by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students. They are available for purchase online at www.clemson.edu/Brooks and through the box office at 864-656-7787 from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Tuesday
Apr092013

Dunn Schedules April 22 Town Hall Meeting for Dist. 5

Andrson County Councilman Tommy Dunn has scheduled a town hall meeting for District 5, April 22 at 6:30 p.m. at  the Centerville Fire Department, 109 Sullivan Road, in Anderson. The public is invited.

Tuesday
Apr092013

Medicaid Expansion Forum Set for Monday at Boulevard

An Anderson Health Care Advocacy Forum, a South Carolina Christian Action Council Event, will explore "Moral Imperatives in the Medicaid Expansion" Monday at 7 p.m. in the Boulevard Baptist Church Christian Activity Center. 

The Medicaid Expansion debate is one that has created tremendous discussion in the State of South Carolina. There are many sides of this issue that have been debated in the public forum, from the political conversation to the business implications. The goal of this community forum is to discuss the moral and ethical perspective of the Medicaid Expansion legislation in South Carolina. This event will host three speakers providing thoughtful discussion as we consider health care is a basic human need.

Speakers:
1) John Miller (CEO AnMed Health)
2) Bobby Rettew (Advocate/Storyteller & Deacon of Boulevard Baptist Church)
3) Rev. Brenda Kneece (Executive Minister SC Christian Action Council)

Monday
Apr082013

Townville Fire Department Car/Tractor Show Saturday

Townville Volunteer Fire Department's 12th Annual Car and Tractor Show will be held Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm at the Townville School, yard Highway 24 at Townville School Road, only 4.5 miles west off 1-85 Exit 11. Admission is free.

Local and regional new and antique tractors, crafts, vendors, old farm equipment, vintage and classic cars/trucks, fire and EMS apparatus will be on display. The event will also feature live bands, door prizes, a children's play area, tractor games, a tractor parade and a raffle for a 1941 Farmall "A" Tractor. BBQ and hot ogs, snacks, drinks and baked goods will also available.

For more information, contact Ed Moriarty at 864.287.1428