Today in Anderson History

February 12, 1903
It is a sign of the passage of time. Old buildings and homes are demolished to make way for newer structures. This was even true in the “good old days,” when, on February 12, 1903, the Leverette Osborne House was torn down. The house was located on West Whitner Street at the crossing of the Charleston & West Carolina Railroad. 

During the Civil War, Osborne had a tan-yard on his property. After his death, the Osborne family sold the property to the railroad. A brick freight depot, belonging to the Charleston & West Carolina Railroad was built on the site. Appleton Mill is not far from the depot. When the Osborne House was demolished, it was nearly 60 years old and was one of the oldest houses in Anderson.

More about Historian Brian Scott here.


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Clemson Research Among 2014 Physic Breakthroughs

Bubble-filled glass created by Clemson University researchers produces images clearer than the best commercially manufactured optical fibers available for invasive medical procedures.

The reach and scope of this discovery could lead to endoscopes taking clearer images to identify digestive problems, colon cancer, ulcers and other serious medical concerns.

The milestone achievement earned a spot on Physics World’s Top 10 Breakthroughs of 2014. The research was published early this year in the journal Nature Communications.

John Ballato, a Clemson professor of materials science and engineering, led efforts to manufacture the glass optical fiber at the university’s Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies. He said the optical fiber created contained bubbles comparable to foam on beer, making the glass hard to see through when viewed from the side.

Full Story at Greenville News


6.4 Million Sign Up Through Obamacare

The Obama administration on Monday said that 6.4 million people had selected health insurance plans or had been automatically re-enrolled in coverage sold through the federal insurance marketplace.

New customers accounted for 30 percent of the total, or 1.9 million.

For 2014 enrollees who took no action by Dec. 15, coverage was automatically renewed for 2015 by the federal government.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, who is in charge of the federal marketplace, said she did not know how many people had been “automatically re-enrolled” by her department. But she and her aides suggested that the number was in the range from 2.7 million to three million.

Dec. 15 was the deadline to sign up for coverage starting on Jan. 1. The automatic or passive re-enrollments, combined with a surge of interest among consumers just before the deadline, produced a big increase in activity in the federal marketplace. People could sign up a first time, switch to a new plan, choose to extend coverage in their existing plan for a year or do nothing and be re-enrolled in the same or similar plans.

In the first four weeks of this three-month open enrollment period, through Dec. 12, nearly 2.5 million people selected health plans, the administration said. In the week after, more than 3.9 million people signed up or had their coverage automatically renewed, lifting the total to 6.4 million. The enrollment period ends Feb. 15, 2015.

Officials said that more than 30 percent of people already enrolled came back to the marketplace, allowing them to shop for new health plans as the administration had recommended.

“This is an encouraging start,” Ms. Burwell said, but “we still have a lot of work to do.”

Officials said they were on track to meet their goal of having 9.1 million people enrolled and paying premiums next year.

Those who go without coverage in 2015 may be subject to tax penalties that could approach 2 percent of household income for some taxpayers., the website for the federal marketplace, is working much better than last year, but the “back end” of the system, used to update enrollment information and to pay insurers, is still a work in progress, so federal officials often lack vital data.


S.C. Still Among Fastest Growing States

One more year, and South Carolina's population growth will make it the nation's 23rd largest state, bumping Alabama to 24th.

South Carolina's population growth continued at a brisk pace through mid-2014, putting the state among the top 10 in the nation for both the pace of growth and the actual number of additional residents, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

South Carolina is the nation's 24th largest state, but number 23, Alabama, had just 16,895 more residents as of July 1 and was growing at a much slower rate. In fact, South Carolina's population is likely higher than Alabama's right now, but census estimates haven't caught up yet.

Nearly two-thirds of the Palmetto State's 2013-14 population growth came from people moving to the state. That may not sound surprising to Charleston-area residents surrounded by ongoing development, but no other growing state saw more of its rising population come from net migration - the difference between people moving in and moving out.

In most states, the "natural increase" that comes from having more births than deaths is a larger factor than it has been in South Carolina.

According to the Census Bureau, from the beginning of July 2013 to July 2014 the Palmetto State's population grew by 60,533 - a larger gain than all but eight other states. For contrast, that's about 10,000 more residents than New York gained during the same time.

Previous census reports have shown that most of South Carolina's population growth is concentrated in coastal areas.

In March the Census Bureau said the Charleston, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach metro areas were the three fastest-growing on the Atlantic Coast in 2013. The tri-county Charleston metro area grew by roughly 1,230 people each month last year.

The new population estimates put South Carolina's population at 4,832,482 and the U.S. population at 318,857,056. Rapid population growth - about 803 people per day - allowed Florida to pass New York to become the nation's third most populous state, behind California and Texas.

Also in the South, North Carolina's rising population pushed that state into the number 9 spot, bumping Michigan. North Dakota, due to its small population and the rapid growth of the oil exploration industry, had the nation's fastest-growing population.

But even North Dakota could not top South Carolina, in terms of population growth driven by migration.


Update: Broken Sewer Pipe at City Hall Repaired

A broken pipe sent work crews into action to clean up a sewage spill inside Anderson City Hall.

Officials said the sewer line broke on the second story where the city jail is located at about 3:30 p.m. Monday. Anderson City Manager John Moore said when the 3-inch sewer line broke, sewage went through the ceiling tiles into Judge Ken Mattison’s office and the office of his assistant.

Computers, file cabinets, desks, the carpet and more were covered in sewage and will need to be replaced, officials said. The city manager’s, finance department and information technology offices were evacuated Monday afternoon because of the smell from the shared ventilation system.

Some paperwork was lost and officials are still accessing damage to computers, etc. The building was being disinfected Tuesday and carpet was being ripped up.

Court was held in council chambers Tuesday  morning and will continue on a limited basis. Crews worked through the night to clean up the mess, and the sewer line that was damaged has now been repaired.


Sony to Release Controversial Movie After All

Controversial comedy The Interview will be released on Christmas Day, reversing an earlier move by Sony to pull the film following a massive hack of the studio.

Sony held a conference call with theatre owners on Tuesday and gave them the go ahead to release the movie in a limited number of independent cinemas. The decision came after President Barack Obama said Sony had “made a mistake” pulling the movie following a campaign to kill the movie that the US government believes was organised by North Korea.

“We have never given up on releasing The Interview and we are excited our movie will be in a number of theatres on Christmas day,” said Michael Lynton, chairman & CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment in a statement Tuesday. He said the company was exploring other ways to distribute the movie to the “largest possible audience.”

Sony has been subject to a lengthy and embarrassing hack coordinated by a group calling itself Guardians of Peace (GOP). The hackers have released a slew of personal emails from Sony’s top executives as well as compromising the personal details of 47,000 employees past and present.


60 Journalists Killed in 2014

At least 60 journalists around the world were killed in 2014 while on the job or because of their work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

An “unusually high proportion” – about a quarter – of those killed were international journalists, though the overwhelming number of journalists threatened continue to be local, the New York-based organisation’s new report said.

Those killed in 2014 include Anja Niedringhaus, a photographer for the Associated Press who was shot to death while covering elections in Afghanistan.

The CPJ report released early on Tuesday said the number of journalists killed in 2014 was down from 70 the year before, but the past three years have been the deadliest since the organisation started compiling such records in 1992. According to the report, 44% of journalists were targeted for murder this year.


Lawmakers to Seek Road Solutions in New Term

As S.C. lawmakers are working to come up with a solution to repair South Carolina’s crumbling roads, a record number of Palmetto State residents will be driving during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Interstates and primary roads carry 75 percent of South Carolina’s traffic, according to the S.C. Department of Transportation. Many of those roads contain cracks and potholes that are deteriorating steadily — threatening to put travelers on the side of the road changing a tire instead of eating Christmas ham and exchanging gifts at Grandma’s.

South Carolina’s interstate system is more than 50 years old, and 39 percent of the roads are in poor or fair condition. The primary roads — made up of U.S. and S.C. routes — are in worse shape, with 84 percent of those roads in poor or fair condition.

Nearly 1.4 million South Carolinians will use the state’s roads to take holiday trips of at least 50 miles during the next 13 days, according to AAA Carolinas. The spike in travel is due in part to the lowest gas prices since 2009, according to the organization. Gas prices averaged $2.22 per gallon in South Carolina Monday — 84 cents cheaper than a year prior.

Meanwhile, S.C. House members have been working since September to find solutions to reform the Transportation Department and fix the state’s roads — estimated to cost $43 billion that the state does not have through 2040.

The panel will meet Jan. 12, just before the next legislative session starts, to work on proposals to suggest to the full House.

The representatives on that panel are familiar with just how troublesome traveling on South Carolina’s roads can be.

“Quite often I am on I-95, and I am embarrassed by the fact my car has a state legislator tag on it,” said Rep. Weston Newton, R-Beaufort, who is on the committee.

The I-95 interstate narrows from six lanes in Georgia to four in South Carolina, which can cause congestion during heavy traffic.

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WYFF: Sewer Spill Being Cleaned Up at Anderson City Hall

Crews are working to clean up a sewage spill that happened around 3:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

Officials said the sewer line broke on the second story -- where the city jail is located -- and began leaking into the first floor.

Computers, file cabinets, desks, the carpet and more were covered in sewage and will need to be replaced, officials said.

City Hall closed early for cleanup.

The City Manager John Moore said he will reassess Tuesday at 7 a.m.


Good Samaritan Returns S.C. Man's Wallet

A South Carolina man who lost his wallet with over $300 in cash inside thought his money was gone when he received a package with the wallet and a list of three Bible verses inside.

Bruce Rylant, who had lost his wallet and $305 during a recent trip, said, "I was running crazy, canceling credit cards, debit cards, trying to scramble and get the insurance cards and drivers license," when he received the package in the mail. Inside was "all of my identification, all of my cards, and $305," Rylant told WMBF News.

The note attached to the wallet read, "Three scriptural reasons I am moved to do this. Please read them for yourself."

The anonymous Good Samaritan's reasons were the Luke 10:27 command to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind" and "Love your neighbor as yourself," the Luke 16:10 admonition that those who can be trusted with little can also be trusted with much, and Psalms 83:18 which states, "Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD-- that you alone are the Most High over all the earth."

Rylant said he was traveling from Atlanta to Columbia when he stopped at a Georgia gas station. It was there he misplaced his wallet. Unfortunately, Rylant did not realize it was missing until he had reached his destination. The discovery left him in "a little bit of a panic."

In addition to receiving his wallet and all his cards and cash, Rylant said there were no charges on his credit cards.

Rylant has tried unsuccessfully to track down the sender who only identified him or herself as "N. Cummings" to thank the good neighbor in person. Eager to express his appreciation, Rylant said he sent a thank you note with a gift card for the same amount he had lost, $305, to the return address on the package.


Downtown Belton Still Cleaning Up from Tanker Spill

Belton police said several blocks along Main and Thompson Streets remained closed Monday morning as hazmat crews  clean up a fuel spill after a fuel tanker overturned. The incident happened around 8:45 a.m. Sunday at the intersection of Main and Thompson Streets. Dispatchers said no injuries were reported.

Police chief Tommy Clamp said officers closed Main Street between Blake and River Street. The entrance to Thompson street was also closed. As of 11 a.m. Clamp said fire and hazmat crews had managed to stop the fuel leak but still had a "substantial" cleanup process to complete. Clamp said the truck was carrying approximately 8,200 gallons of fuel. Crews suspect around half that amount spilled from the tanker. Clamp said crews would have to safely drain the tanker before the truck could be towed from the scene.


Sony: "The Interview" Release Delayed, not Cancelled

Sony says it will release the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy 'The Interview' mere days after it announced the film would not in theaters for its scheduled Christmas release date.

Sony cancelled the film's release last week after the hackers threatened real-world attacks on cinemas screening it.

'Sony only delayed this,' said company attorney David Boies on today's NBC's Meet the Press.

President Obama later said Sony had made a mistake in cancelling the movie, and that he would have intervened to make sure it went ahead.

The hackers leaked embarrassing emails between Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin joking in a racially insensitive manner about Obama's film tastes.

'Sony has been fighting to get this picture distributed,' he said, according to The Daily Beast. 'It will be distributed.' 


Doctors Hope Christmas Break Slows Spread of Flu

School systems across South Carolina say they are happy for the Christmas break for a different reason this year - it provides a good chance to stop a flu outbreak.

Several school districts warned parents of a high number of absences before the break started because of the flu.

The peak of flu season is usually in January or February, but the state Department of Health and Environmental Control said the flu is currently widespread across South Carolina.

Some health officials say the flu is worse this season because doctors chose the wrong strain to put into the flu vaccine.

DHEC also says this year's flu strain is affecting younger people.

Doctors hope the break for Christmas allows the flu's spread to slow down.


Saying Goodbye to Late Night's Brightest Mind

From Where I Sit

By Greg Wilson

I said goodbye to an old friend, Friday night. Makes little difference I never met the man.

Craig Ferguson signed off his final “Late, Late, Show” on CBS Friday night with the same tv-is-not-to-be-taken-seriously attitude that marked his 10-year run. You can catch it on if you haven’t already heard the payoff.

But while Ferguson was the master of silly, his approach to deconstructing the format to which he was attached was unmatched.

“I do a show,” Ferguson once said. “It comes on late at night on TV. And if that means I'm a late-night talk show host, then I guess I am, but in every other regard I resign my commission, I don't care for it.”

As someone who started watching late night televison when Jack Parr was a year away from handing over the reigns to Johnny Carson, who (even though his wishes were ignored) passed the torch (if not the tonight show) to David Letterman 30 years later, there is no one I will miss more than Craig Ferguson.

It was Letterman’s brilliant, snarky, mocking of the talk show format that built the platform from which Ferguson launched the neutron bomb which blew up completely up.

From tearing up the screener’s questions on air before every interview, to his never-ending stream of consciousness monologues which generally reached the desk afterward, he was never a part the joke machine fraternity that even the best of the others who populate the format have not overcome.

During the last weeks he got a haircut (he called it “more mohawk, less anchorman”) which he asked the audience if it made him look more Samuel Beckett or Adolf Hitler. Actually, his resemblance to Beckett was striking. All the while he engaged in conversation with Geoff Peterson, his gay robot skeleton sidekick (and his dozens of spot-on celebrity voice impersonations) who shared the spotlight with Ferguson across the stage from two guys in a horse suit for the last half of the shows run.

Don’t get me wrong, Ferguson is wickedly funny. I have seen most of the top-tier stand ups, from acts at the Comedy Cellar in New York City and the Comedy Store in Los Angeles, the high dollar tours of legends like Bill Cosby and Bob Newhart. None of them can match the raw energy and diamond precision madness of one of Ferguson’s live shows. At one 90-minute set, I was astounded that he managed to get funnier and funnier as the night went on. Think Robin Williams channeling Steven Wright and Sam Kinnison with Dick Cavett as a writer and you might pick up some of the energy Ferguson generates on stage.

And he brought a lot of that to his CBS show. But what always set him apart from the others with a monologue, a desk and guests, was how he was never shy about injecting thoughtful quotes, ideas and sometimes even serious guests into the madness.

Just last week, after being censored for cursing about some news story, he tossed out “the more humanity advances, the more it is degraded,” a quote from Gustave Flaubert and maybe the most acute analysis of our age.

In 2013, after asking Stephen King to autograph a book live on the air, Ferguson proceeded to discuss the Jungian nature of King’s work and ask him about Jung’s “Red Book.”

My personal favorite quote, though was after a beautiful dissecting of why this generation is the first society that worships youth, or in his words, why everything sucks:

“I’ve figured it out. I’ve figured it out What? Everything. Why everything sucks.
Here’s why. In the 1950s, late ’50s, early ’60s, a bunch of advertising guys got together on Madison Avenue and decided to try to sell products to younger people. We should try to sell to younger people because then they will buy things their whole lives. We’ll try to sell them soft drinks, or bread, or cigars — or whatever the hell they were trying to sell them. It was just an advertising thing, they didn’t mean any harm by it, just a bit of market research.

So they told the television companies, and the movie companies, and the record companies — and everybody started targeting the youth. Because the youth was the place where you were going to be able to sell things.

What happened was, in a strange kind of quirk of fate, youth began to be celebrated by society. This was in a way that it had never been at any time in human history. What used to be celebrated was experience, and cleverness. But what became valuable was youth — and the quality of youth was being a consumer.

I know what you’re thinking, you’re saying “but wait a minute, Craig, in Ancient Greece they deified youth.” No they didn’t. They deified beauty. Different.

What happened is youth became more important and became more important. Society started to turn on its head. Because youth has a byproduct — inexperience. By the nature of youth you don’t have any experience. It’s not your fault. You’re just kind of stupid.

So the deification of youth evolved, and turned into the deification of imbecility. It became fashionable to be young and to be stupid. And that grew, and that grew, and that grew, and now that’s what all the kids want to be. “I just want to be young and stupid!” But you know what? That’s not what you want to be. You do not want to be young and stupid.

Then what happened is that people were frightened to not be young. They started dyeing their hair, they started mutilating their faces and their bodies in order to look young. But you can’t be young forever, that’s against the laws of the universe. To try to make yourself younger is to buy into the idea that young people are somehow better, and they’re not.”

Amen. When I heard this rant, I wondered where were the other voices that should be shouting this (until I remembered they are all getting facelifts and dyeing their hair to look good for the next campaign cycle.)

But Ferguson himself trended mostly toward modesty. He once said: “I'm a terrible interviewer. “I'm not a journalist - although I have a Peabody Award - and I'm not really a late-night host. What I am is honest.”

He was only partially right. His Peabody was for a stunningly strong interview with Bishop Desmond Tutu, one which he introduced with the the most amazing summary of what had happened in South Africa over the past 500 years. And he did it in five clever minutes. No monolog that night, no cue cards, telepromters, just passionate conversations with one of the most important figures of the 20th century.

He also managed to put any guest willing to be honest at ease. And so many were. Those who were not, he forced to think on their feet. He talked about what interested him, and pulled them into conversations.

And Ferguson was never afraid to talk about his own battle with addiction and his 25 great years of sobriety, his divorces and career struggles. He also was never one to pile on to those in trouble for some of the same things.

In 2007, while the rest of the late night world tore Britney Spears apart for her breakdown, Ferguson dedicated his monologue to defending her, opening up about his alcoholism, drug abuse and near suicide. He spent a whole episode each to eulogize his parents after their individual deaths. A man so enthusiastic in his patriotism that he reminded us every day that it was, in fact, a great day for America, he dedicated his first show back after being granted United States citizenship to his new status, including a taped segment on the ceremony and a pipe and drums performance by The Wicked Tinkers, which Ferguson joined in on to prove he was still just as Scottish as he was American.

And yet, after 2,058 episodes, Ferguson and what he did still defies an easy definition. It’s not something that makes talking point conversation around the water cooler. And that is exactly the point. Those of us who discovered Ferguson and his brand of brainy, compassionate insanity and have made it a part of our late night (or dvr) lives, are left with great memories and a nagging hope that he will return again soon, reinventing the talk show format yet again. Until that time, Beannachd Dia dhuit, Craig.