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Thursday
Oct032013

ASPCA Gives $5,000 to P.A.W.S. for Care of Puppy Mill Dogs


County Pets Are Worth Saving (P.A.W.S.) on Wednesday announced the award of a $5,000 Emergency Assistance Grant from the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®).  The funds will be used to help defray expenses incurred in the rescue and treatment of 153 dogs removed from a suspected puppy mill in Anderson County on August 10.   

“The dogs rescued had a variety of medical problems and their needs were tremendous,” said Jessica Cwynar, Director of Anderson County P.A.W.S.  “Thanks to the assistance provided by the ASPCA, P.A.W.S. was able to offer the specialized care these dogs needed while also maintaining the high standard of care we provide to all the animals in residence at our facility.  We cannot thank the ASPCA enough for their assistance in our time of need.”

“Puppy mill dogs often suffer from inhumane conditions that are unacceptable,” said Justine Dang, ASPCA Senior Director of President’s Office Operations. “The ASPCA is proud to support the life-saving work of P.A.W.S. and hopes these animals will find loving homes soon.”

For more information, please visit http://www.petango.com/andersoncountypaws or www.NoPetStorePuppies.com.

Thursday
Oct032013

Clemson to Host Latino Ballet Oct. 17

Ballet Hispanico will use its unique brand of dance to explore and celebrate Latino cultures when it performs at 8 p.m. Oct. 17, at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts.

Recognized for her achievements by the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest cultural honor, Tina Ramirez founded Ballet Hispanico in 1970. From its grassroots origins as a dance school and community-based performing arts troupe, the organization has grown into a world-class institution.

The ensemble will explore the diversity of Latino culture through a fusion of classical, Latin and contemporary dance. Ballet Hispanico’s choreographers represent a multitude of nations, including Venezuela, Cuba, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets and information are available at www.clemson.edu/Brooks or by calling the box office at 864-656-7787 from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Thursday
Oct032013

"Inland Port" Finally Set to Open in October

South Carolina’s $25 million inland port is set to open this month, a little later than expected because of this year’s heavy rains, according to an update on three terminal projects given Tuesday to the board of the agency operating the state’s ports.

Jim Newsome, the president and CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority, said data tests will start Friday using the computers that will track shipments through the inland port providing a direct rail link between Greer, S.C., and the state’s coast.

“We are in good shape with this,” Newsome said, adding that heavy rains caused crews to lose 72 days of work time. The original opening date had been in early September.

Once open, the terminal is expected to eliminate as many as 50,000 truck trips a year on busy Interstate 626 between Charleston and the Greenville-Spartanburg area.

The terminal is part of $1.3 billion in capital improvements the ports are undertaking during the next decade.

One of those projects is a $525 million container terminal at the old Charleston Naval Base now under construction and expected to open in 2019.

David Kinard, an engineer with the state Department of Transportation, told the board work on a road linking the port with Interstate 26 in North Charleston could begin as early as 2015.

But he said that depends on exactly when the new terminal is going to open and the authority providing $100 million toward the project’s $282 million construction cost.

Land acquisition is already underway and the last federal permit needed for the project, from the Federal Highway Administration, was issued last week. Under agreements with local governments, the access road must be completed before the terminal opens.

Wednesday
Oct022013

LifeHacker: What to Buy in October

It may only be the beginning of fall, but holiday deals have already started, which means you can grab all sorts of deals during the month of October. Here are the best things to buy this month.

A bit of planning can save you a ton of money when it comes to buying throughout the year. 

Every month, we look back at the best times to buy anything during the year, and pull out items each month to remind you what's coming. Obviously, none of this is to say you should go on a shopping spree—but if you've been holding off for a lower price on something, these are the things that get the sale treatment in October.

All Autumn

  • Cars: New car models come out in the summer, which makes the end of the year a great time to buy a car—as long as you're willing to get last year's model, say Consumer Reports,Bankrate, and Dealnews. Deals should be even better in October than they were in September. Make sure it's not better for you to lease a car instead of buy, and if you're looking to get a good deal, you can save some money by haggling or (if you're evil)screwing with the car salesmen. 
  • Cookware & Kitchen Accessories: Anyone who's walked into a mall in October knows that the holidays get earlier and earlier every year, which means the sales start now! Cookware is one of the more popular things to start early say Bankrate and Dealnews, so check out Consumer Reports' cookware buying guide, our five must-have kitchen tools, and give your kitchen a makeover. 
  • Digital Cameras: Cameras see some nice deals early in the year, but if you need one now, you'll probably see another round of deals coming off the latest announcements. According to Digital Photography School and Digital Camera HQ, check out older models for a lower price.
  • Gas Grills and Air ConditionersJust like in September, most stores are trying to get rid of their summer gear. As Forbes says, no one wants to store the stuff no one is buying—it's cheaper to just sell it at a discount. So if you have the space to store it, stock up on your grills, air conditioners, and other summer-only items now.
  • Plants: Most plants aren't going to survive the harsh winter ahead, but if you have an indoor garden or greenhouse going on, Real Simple and Dealnews recommend picking up your new plants cheaply as the weather starts to cool down.
  • Toys & Games: Places like Toys R Us are starting to ramp up their holiday sales, so now's a good time to get kids' stuff at a discount—whether for Christmas gifts or not.
  • Wedding Supplies: As beautiful as it is, winter isn't exactly prime wedding season for most people, which means planning one gets a lot easier. Find a venue, negotiate services, and buy or rent supplies for much less as the fall and winter go on say Bankrate and Dealnews.

October

  • Appliances: As we said in September, fall is a good time for appliances. Most new models start coming out around this time, says Bankrate, so pick up last year's leftovers at a discount. 
  • Jeans: Interestingly, says Real Simple, jeans are one of the more common leftover items after the back-to-school rush. As the weather gets a little cooler, make sure you're all stocked up jeans now.
  • Patio Furniture: You probably won't need it in the snow, but if you have somewhere to store it, Dealnews recommends grabbing the last bits of patio furniture for next summer while the stores try to get rid of them.
Wednesday
Oct022013

Obamacare Computer Glitches Prevalent on Day 1

Customers can expect "glitches" for the first few months when they try to sign up for the new health care exchanges, President Barack Obama explained. Some early reports suggest his prediction is correct. As the system went live Tuesday morning, some have had difficulty signing up for the new insurance coverage.

"In the first week, first month, first three months, I would suspect that there will be glitches," Obama said in an NPR interview that was recorded Monday and aired Tuesday morning. "This is 50 states, a lot of people signing up for something. And there are going to be problems. And I guarantee you, there will be problems because we've got precedent. When Massachusetts, just one state, set this up, it took quite a long time. It took several months before everything was smoothed out. Of course, the same was true with Medicare and Social Security and every other social program that we've set up, the Children's Health Insurance Program."

The health care exchanges were set up as part of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as "Obamacare." Private insurance companies offer plans on the exchanges for those who are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare, and who do not get their health insurance through their employer. Depending on their income, some will be eligible for government subsidies to help them pay for the insurance on the exchanges.

Early Tuesday morning, HealthCare.gov, the federal website that helps customers find the websites for their state-level exchanges, was not working. According to Daily Finance, visitors to the site were greeted with the message, "The System is down at the moment," which was changed by 10:45 a.m. to, "Health Insurance Marketplace: Please wait." At the time of this publication, the site appears to be working.

There were also reports of problems with some of the state health care exchange websites and community centers. The Weekly Standard found local news stories from three different states reporting on some of the difficulties. In Minnesota, the website was down. In one town in Connecticut, a community center that was supposed to help people sign up for health insurance had a sign posted saying it would be closed for weeks. And in Oregon, the health care exchange will not be available for weeks.

In a Monday op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Michael Astrue, the former Commissioner of Social Security, wrote that there will be major problems with the computer programs designed for the health care exchanges. At least half a dozen states, including Oregon and Colorado, will be unable to offer online enrollments for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday
Oct022013

S.C. Launches ID Theft Unit

South Carolina has now officially launched its new ID Theft Unit at the state Department of Consumer Affairs, a four-person unit focused on preventing ID theft through education and helping victims.

Unit director Marti Phillips says, "We're going to provide education and outreach to consumers across South Carolina about what identity theft is, the steps that consumers can take to protect themselves, and then what they need to know if they're the victim of identity theft."

Almost every taxpayer in South Carolina was affected by a hacker stealing personal information last August from the state Department of Revenue. The state is paying for credit monitoring through Experian, and plans to enter into a contract with another company, CSID, to provide ID theft protection and resolution services for at least another year.

But the ID Theft Unit at Consumer Affairs will help anyone, not just those affected by the DOR breach.

Carri Grube Lybarker, administrator of the state Department of Consumer Affairs, says, "Identity theft complaints were the number one complaint that was received by the Federal Trade Commission last year."

While the DOR breach affected more than 6 million state taxpayers and businesses, Consumer Affairs had been notified of 81 security breaches before that one, affecting more than 1 million state consumers, and 36 more security breaches since the one at DOR, affecting 77,000 South Carolinians.

To contact the new ID Theft Unit, you can go to consumer.sc.gov and click on "Identity Theft Resources," or you can call toll-free 1-800-922-1594 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wednesday
Oct022013

Council Oks Incentives for Mergon Corp Expansion

On Tuesday night, Anderson County Council passed a resolution offering incentives which promises a $4.5 million new investment and additional 22 full-time jobs for Mergon Corporation in Anderson. The company, which already operates in Anderson County and which the county had identified by the code name Project Windermere, has been indentified by the Anderson Observer as the Irish-based business as advanced plastics manufacturer Mergon, which operates on Pearman Dairy Road. The new agreement includes fee-in-lieu-of tax structures for the business and other infrastructure inducements. The average salary for the new jobs will be $13 per hour. 

Burris Nelson. director of economic development for Anderson County, said the company’s economic impact for the first year will be $4.3 million, with a 20-year total community impact of $26 million. 

Nelson said the international company considered moving the current operation which includes 100 jobs, to Eastern Europe or Mexico before deciding to stay in Anderson.

Mergon Corporation is a private company established in 1998 and incorporated in South Carolina.

More information on Mergon expansion here

Tuesday
Oct012013

Crowd at Council to Voice Bus Support; Tax Levy Certified

While no official action was taken on identifying funding for the Clemson Area Transit and Homeland Park bus routes at Anderson County Council on Tuesday night, it was high on the agenda of a packed house who told council the buses were an essential part of life for many Anderson citizens.

“My only transportation is the Anderson city bus and the Clemson bus to get me to work.,” said Anderson native Joyce Ann McIntosh. “If the buses get taken away, I will have to find another job.” 

One full-time student said the buses were the only way he had to get back to school. Another citizen commented that she had visited with those who ride the buses and many depended on the buses on a regular basis to get to the doctor, library, store or any other place they had to go. Former bus riders said the buses allowed them to get their education and that there are many others who absolutely need the public transportation.

“I am disabled and the Homeland Park and CAT buses are my only means of transportation,” said William Bolt. Bolt said the bus was his only means of transportation to his doctor and the grocery store.

“Not everybody is privileged to have transportation,” said Rev. Sam Stewart, pastor of Charity Springs Community Church in Anderson. Stewart, who said his son rode the bus while earning his degree at Southern Wesleyan University and that his daughter, currently a Tri-County Technical College student, is also riding the CAT bus to school.

“I hope we believe what we just professed (in the pledge of allegiance), that we desire liberty and justice for all,” Stewart said. “Let’s do what we can so everybody can make it.” 

“The CAT bus, the Homeland Park bus should stay because people are using the buses for almost everything,” said Anderson County Councilwoman Gracie Floyd, stepping out from her official role to speak as a citizen. “If we would think ahead, we could have a means of mass transportation in Anderson County for everybody.”

“Yes, the bus will run until June 30, 2014, but we have to make a decision by Dec. 30 to let people know what we are going to do, “ Floyd said. “Fellow council members, let’s not drag this out,” Floyd said. “Let’s let people know what we are going to do.” 

Anderson County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson said she resented the implication that she in not concerned with underprivileged citizens in the county. Wilson told those in attendance that Floyd was chairman of the Planning and Public Works Community last year and did not push the issue forward. 

Wilson said she is working to understand what funding is available for the bus routes and how it can be appropriated and that she has contacted U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, Rep-SC, to find out what grants are already available.

Floyd shot back that she was not allowed to bring the issue up last November because Wilson hijacked the issue into the finance committee which she chaired. 

Later, in a report from the Planning and Works Committee, Wilson said no official recommendation would be made to the full council on the bus system until more complete information and economics were clearly defined. Plans are to talk to officials in Clemson as the group moves forward on the Clemson Area Transit decision. 

The contract between the county and city was also discussed concerning the Homeland Park bus route. 

She added that a potential fee from bus fares or Tri-County Technical College were discussed. The committee is hoping Sen. Scott’s grant writer could participate in future meetings.  

“This issue is a complex one,” Wilson said. “It will probably be many meetings before we are ready for a vote.”

Tackling the official agenda, council passed a resolution to offered an inducement agreement incentives which promises a $4.5 million new investment and additional 22 full-time jobs for Mergon Corporation in Anderson. The company, which already operates in Anderson County, was being called Project Windermere, but the Anderson Observer has indentified the Irish-based business as advanced plastics manufacturer Mergon. The agreement includes fee-in-lieu-of tax structures for the business and other infrastructure inducements. The average salaries for the new jobs will be $13 per hour. 

Burris Nelson. director of economic development for Anderson County, said the company’s economic impact for the first year will be $4.3 million, with a 20-year total community impact of $26 million. 

Nelson said the international company considered moving the current operation which includes 100 jobs, to Eastern Europe or Mexico before deciding to stay in Anderson.

Also on Tuesday night, council:

Certified the County Tax Levy for 2013. 

Heard a report from the South Carolina Upstate Equine Council, which outlined the contributions of the group and the T. Ed Garrison Arena ,and noted that Anderson ranked second in the state in horse populations.  

Approved on first reading an ordinance amending Ordinance 1/99-00-1, the Anderson County Zoning Ordinance, as adopted lily 20, 1999, by amending the Anderson County Official Zoning Map to rezone from C-2 (Highway Commercial) to R-A (Residential

Agricultural) two parcels of land, identified along Lakeside Drive, Denver Road, and Clemson Boulevard, consisting of +/- 24.93 acres in the Denver-Sandy Springs Precinct

Approved on second reading fee-in-lieu-of tax structures for SMF-SC, LLC. 

Approved an ordinance limiting some forms of traffic on Orr Road.

Approved on second reading an ordinance to provide for the creation of the Sharen Ridge Subdivision Special Tax District.

Tuesday
Oct012013

Opinion: County Should Keep Bus Routes Running

It is no secret that we are in a tight budget year for Anderson County and county council has shown caution committing new funds to any project. But there are rare occasions when serving the greater good requires extraordinary creativity to invest in our citizens and our future. 

The Clemson Area Transit bus, which runs from the city of Anderson to Clemson, Pendleton and Central, with other stops along the way, provides transportation primarily to students attending Tri-County Technical College, Clemson University and Southern Wesleyan University is one such project. The bus, which serves 150,000 riders each year, will run out of the $180,000 annual grant money required to service the route at the end of the 2013-2014 budget year ending in June. That leaves a lot of hard working people and students attending college without transportation to get to work or to do the work required to better their exsistence through education. 

The Homeland Park bus route. which served nearly 40,000 passengers last year, will also lose their federal funding of almost $170,000 at the end of the budget year. This bus also offers transportation to so many citizens who depend on it to get to their jobs, medical appointments and other places out of reach without it.

Thus, Anderson County Council has been charged with coming up with the funds to keep those buses running beginning in January. The options are not pretty. The money will have to either come from other county budgets, most of which are already stretched thin, new taxes, bus fares or some other creative source of funding no one has been able to nail down as of today. 

Council needs to remember history and take a long-term approach to this situation. If the routes are shut down, it is very unlikely we will see them again.

Remember when the City of Anderson had a contract with Duke Power to run our city buses in perpetuity? Duke had signed an agreement to offer bus service across the city forever and were allowed to wriggle out of the deal by offering a paultry one-time payoff to the city. This remains one of the most short-sighted decisions in the history of our local government.

And while the current situation is not directly about a financial payoff, there is a payoff involved. 

Even with all the research and statistics, there is really no way to know how many lives would be impacted by the discontinuation of the bus routes. Some would lose their jobs, others their only shot at higher education, and still others their ride to the doctor.

In a tight budget year, county is council wise to consider every reasonable option for finding funding for these bus routes, and they have been searching. But charging those who are using the buses to get to work or school is not a good option.

Tuesday
Oct012013

Councilwoman Releases Video Supporting Bus Routes

 

Anderson County Councilwoman Gracie Floyd has released a video in support of funding the 4U bus routes which includes the Clemson Area Transit (CAT) bus and the Homeland Park route. 

Anderson County Council will hear a report from the Planning and Public Works Committee tonight on the future of the buses beyond the currently funded 2013. 

 

Tuesday
Oct012013

Health Care Sites Buggy on First Day of Obamacare

Several state and federal government-run health insurance marketplaces opened Tuesday with glitches, delays and even crashes, marring the launch of the centerpiece of President Obama's health care law.

Some of the delays were due to high volume. President Obama said in a White House conference that more 1 million people tried to use the sites before they officially opened at 8 a.m. ET.

The exchanges are the critical part of the Affordable Care Act's requirement that uninsured Americans buy health insurance. They opened Tuesday for business and the open-enrollment period for insurance customers will last until March 31.

"Like every new law, every new product signup, there are going to be some glitches that we will fix," Obama said.

Those glitches frustrated potential insurance customers around the country, such as John Sanders, of Kaukauna, Wis. He said he signed up on the exchange website three weeks ago but hit snags Tuesday.

Sanders called the system's launch "reckless at best. I will not accept the 'heavy traffic' argument. What else would be expected on the national launch date?"

He and others faced many of the same problems online shoppers often do on the busy Monday after Thanksgiving known as Cyber Monday or like the launch of a new retail site.

Tuesday
Oct012013

S.C. Ranks 11th in Car/Deer Collisions

Drivers around South Carolina have more chance of crashing into a deer than drivers in most other states, according to an insurance company study.

“South Carolina drivers face a higher likelihood of striking a deer than the national average and rank 11th out of the 50 states,” says Justin Tomczak, a spokesman for State Farm insurance company, the nation’s largest auto insurance firm..

Already this year, four people – three on motorcycles and one in a car – have died after crashing into a deer. Six South Carolinians died last year.

The last three happened in September.

Several weeks ago, a husband and wife riding their Kawasaki motorcycle down a road in a wooded area in Barnwell County died after striking a deer.

A few days later, in Richland County, Jonathan J. McNaughton, 31, died after his motorcycle struck a deer in the 3100 block of Kennerly Road Tuesday., according to county coroner Gary Watts.

In 2012 in South Carolina, 518 people were injured in deer -human collisions and 1,935 vehicles or other property were damaged, according to the Department of Public Safety. So far this year, as of Aug. 31, 238 people have been injured and 805 cases of property damage to vehicles have been reported.

Around the country, the odds that a driver will strike a deer has declined by about 4 percent, State Farm’s study said.

West Virginia is the state in which a driver is most likely to strike a deer, with the company estimated that the chances are 1 in 41. Hawaii is the state in which deer-vehicle crashes are least likely.

 

Tuesday
Oct012013

Pompous Pig Ranked Top BBQ in S.C.

The Pompous Pig Barbeque Restaurant & Catering in Anderson, has been honored with a No. 1 ranking in the Oct./Nov. issue of Garden & Gun Magazine.  Rankings appear under "Palmetto Pit Stops" as recommendations for traveling tourists and BBQ aficionados.

Rounding out the top three are Scott’s Bar-B-Que in Hemingway, SC, and Hite’s Bar-B Que in West Columbia, SC.  The listing feature, "Best BBQ in Town," is part of a new campaign by Discover South Carolina through the South Carolina Parks, Recreation & Tourism office in Columbia.  The article notes that "There are plenty of places around the state serving up authentic 'cue, but here is a  trinity of tried and true establishments from the Upstate to the Low Country that will set you on the right path for your Palmetto State barbecue quest." 

Pompous Pig Owners Chet and Kim Newsom were humbled by the recognition from Discover South Carolina. "There's great BBQ throughout the state," said Chet, "and for us to be mentioned as one of the best in the state is truly an honor."  What had started with one Big Green Egg smoker and a passion for entertaining friends and family developed over the years into a successful catering business.  At the urging of friends and customers, the Newsoms decided to take a leap of faith and follow their dream, and in 2008 they opened The Pompous Pig in Kim’s hometown of Anderson.