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CDC Says Most Foods Exceed Sodium Levels

Bostonians wondering why their roads were frozen all winter now have answers -- all the salt was used to make America's most beloved processed foods. CDC researchers recently found more than half of nearly 4,000 packaged foods exceeded recommended sodium levels.

A new study published by the Centers for Disease Control reveals the aisles of U.S. grocery stores to be littered with salt. This reality, researchers say, is why a large reason why Americans have so much trouble meeting the agency's sodium intake recommendations.

According to the CDC, more than 90 percent of Americans exceed the daily sodium limits set by federal nutrition experts. High sodium intake is linked with hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

"The most important thing for consumers to know is that they should be reading labels, comparing food products, and looking for low or no sodium food options at the grocery store," lead researcher Linda Schieb told ABC News.

If shoppers don't read the labels, the new study proves the odds are against them selecting a food item with a healthy amount of salt.

The study found more than 70 percent of pizza, pasta mixed dishes or meat mixed food items exceeding the sodium-per-serving levels the Food and Drug Administration designates as a "healthy" choice. Some 50 to 70 percent of cold cuts, soups and sandwiches were also found to unhealthy levels of salt.

Across all packaged food items, 50 percent of products failed to meet FDA standards for healthy salt levels.

Nutritionists say the findings aren't all that surprising. While some food manufacturers have tried to reduce the amount of salt in their products, salt acts as a preservative -- an essential component for foods that have to last on the shelves.

The best solution to avoiding a high-salt diet is to avoid processed foods as much as possible, and to only use low-sodium packaged foods as a base. Experts recommend sticking to home-cooked meals, heavy on fruits and vegetables, as much as possible.

But eliminating processed foods can be difficult for people on the run -- managing families, working multiple jobs. That's why, researchers argue, it's important to push food companies for healthier options.

"These data support recent findings that suggest that meeting sodium recommendations may be difficult in the current food environment," study authors concluded.


Company Expansion May Bring Anderson More than 200 Jobs

“Project Machine,” an existing Anderson County company is hoping for a massive expansion, if tax incentives can be worked out beginning Tuesday night at the county council meeting.

“If it all works out, it could be a game changer,” said Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns on Friday. “This is big.”

The company is expected to create at least 200 new jobs, with the potential for more growth in the future. The property the company has expressed interest in purchasing Interstate 85 near S.C. 81.  

Council will also vote on second reading tax incentives to attract a 40-year-old international automotive supply business to Anderson County, which will initially bring 49 new jobs to the county. Code named “Project Owl,” the investment will represent the company’s first investment in the United States. The company’s total investment in the county would top $11.1 million. Council also gave initial approval to the sale of property in Alliance Park as part of this proposed new project. 

Anderson County Council will meet Tuesday at 6:30 in the historic courthouse downtown. The public is invited.


Spring Jubilee Kicks Off Pendleton's 225 Birthday Celebration

Pendleton is celebrating it’s 225th celebration, and this year’s Spring Jubilee kicked things off with record crowds and near-perfect weather.

The 38th annual festival brought thousands to Pendleton’s Village Green for food, music, art and crafts, a parade and an early morning race.

Perfect Spring weather helped attract thousands to kick off the Pendleton Spring Jubilee on the Village Green Saturday.

Pendleton Mayor Frank Crenshaw, whose family electronics building has been a mainstay of the town since 1949, said the town’s birthday and perfect weather brought larger than usual crowd.

“It is just beautiful and the crowds are already huge,” Crenshaw said. “We could not ask for a better day.”

Dozens of vendors and artists agreed with the mayor, many saying by late afternoon it had been their most successful Jubilee to date.

The festival continues tomorrow on the Village Green in downtown Pendleton.

Celtic Authors-Historians Millie Huff Coleman and Caroline Smith Sherman reminded the crowd at the Jubilee of their Scottish and Irish heritage.


Blood Moon, Brief Lunar Eclipse Tonight

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, the moon will begin to darken as the moon passes into Earth's shadow.

As moon moves directly into the shadow, its face will begin to glow a dim red -- Earth's atmosphere having filtered out the blue wavelengths of the sun's rays. For this reason, a full lunar eclipse is sometimes called a "blood moon."

The lunar eclipse will only appear in full form in the western United States, but a partial eclipse will be visible elsewhere in North America. It will be the shortest total eclipse this century, lasting less than five minutes -- from 4:58 to 5:03 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. The full process -- from the shadow's first appearance to its last -- will last roughly 3.5 hours.

NASA put together a helpful world map of the lunar eclipse's appearance, organized by time and place.

It will also be broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

The eclipse, which will be streamed live on NASA TV, is the third in a series of four lunar eclipses in a row -- a phenomenon known as a "tetrad."


S.C. Man Rescued After 66 Days at Sea

A man whose family reported him missing at sea more than two months ago was found floating on the overturned hull of his sailboat 200 miles off the North Carolina coast on Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Coast Guard officials in Portsmouth, Virginia, said they received word from a German container ship about 1:30 p.m. indicating they spotted a man and his sailboat approximately 200 miles east of Cape Hatteras.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew from North Carolina flew to the ship and airlifted Louis Jordan to a hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, said Lt. Krystyn Pecora, a spokeswoman for the Coast Guard's 5th District office. She said Jordan, 37, had a shoulder injury, but she did not have any additional information about his condition.

Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss said Jordan's 35-foot sailboat had lost its mast and capsized. The tanker crew said it found Jordan sitting on the hull.

Doss said it was not known where or how long the boat had been capsized, but said Jordan told them he ate fish he caught to survive.

"We won't really know what happened to him out there until we talk to him," he said.

Jordan had been living on his docked sailboat at the Bucksport Plantation Marina in Conway, South Carolina, until January, when he told his family he was "going into the open water to sail and do some fishing," said his mother, Norma Davis, of Jacksonville, North Carolina. The family had not heard from him since, she said.

"We expected him to come back and he did not return," Davis said in a telephone interview. "We knew something happened. To us it's just a miracle. We're just so thrilled that he was found alive."

Davis said Jordan's father, her ex-husband Frank Jordan, spoke to their son after he was recovered by the Coast Guard and that in addition to injuring his shoulder, he was dehydrated.

"It's amazing," she said. "It's been very difficult not knowing anything and I just feel like all of our prayers have come true. They've been answered."

Jordan had spent months sanding and painting his docked 1950s-era, single-masted sailboat in Conway, where marina manager Jeff Weeks said he saw him nearly every day. Jordan was the only resident in a section of about 20 boats docked behind a coded security gate, Weeks said.

"You'll probably never meet a nicer guy," Weeks said. "He is a quiet gentleman that most of the time keeps to himself. He's polite. I would describe him as a gentle giant:" measuring 6-foot-2 and weighing 230 pounds.

Jordan appeared to be knowledgeable about wild fruits and mushrooms and fished for his meal in inland waterways, Weeks said. But his January trip may have been his first time sailing in the open ocean.

"He might sail up and down the Intercoastal Waterway, but he didn't have the experience he needed to go out into the ocean," Weeks said.

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Devil in Details of Iran Nuclear Deal

Tehran's nuclear programme will shrink significantly under a framework deal to make any Iranian moves towards building an atom bomb virtually impossible for years - but the devil is in the detail.

Iran has agreed with six world powers to curb its nuclear activity in three main areas: the size and grade of its uranium stockpile, the number of centrifuges that enrich uranium, and the maximum fissile purity of the product of these machines.

"The approach outlined will effectively prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb for an extended period of time," said Robert Einhorn, senior fellow at the U.S.-based Brookings institution.

Still, some details have yet to be determined and the pact will take effect only if a final deal is agreed by June 30, a big "if" which can still scupper an agreement.


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Clemson Gets $3 Million Grant from NSF

The National Science Foundation is funding Clemson University in collaboration with technical colleges to advance the talent pipeline in aerospace, automotive and advanced manufacturing. The grant is for $3 million.

Collaborators are South Carolina Advanced Technological Education, Greenville Technical College, Florence-Darlington Technical College and Spartanburg Community College.

Lessons, including some in virtual reality, can be accessed through the online portal at

Those from Clemson come from the department of industrial engineering, the department of mechanical engineering, the department of engineering and science education and the School of Computing.

The recipient of the funding is CA2VES, which stands for the Center for Aviation and Automotive Technological Education Using Virtual E-Schools.

Anand Gramopadhye, the dean of the College of Engineering and Science, is the principal investigator on the CA2VES grant. Kris Frady is director of operations for CA2VES, and Kapil Chalil Madathil is technology director.

Congratulations came from across the state, including from Clemson University President James P. Clements.

“This is a great example of teamwork, and it reflects the incredible quality of our faculty, staff and students,” he said. “A big part of what has made the state of South Carolina successful in economic development is our ability to collaborate with other colleges to create the pipeline of talent that industry needs.

“This center will be a major component of that effort as we move into the future. We appreciate the NSF’s support.”

Experts with the center began developing “digital learning tools” in 2011 and have been distributing them at no cost to high schools and technical colleges.

Their virtual reality simulations have been used in a quarter of the state’s technical colleges and in 17 two-year colleges outside the state.

Lessons include online texts and videos, but a big part of what makes the lessons stand out are the virtual reality simulations that feel more like playing a video game than going to class.

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Indiana, Arkansas Approve Fixes to "Anti-Gay" Laws

Lawmakers in the Republican-dominated statehouses of Indiana and Arkansas on Thursday easily approved fixes to religion acts that had met a nationwide storm of criticism because they were seen as allowing for discrimination against gays.

The changes to both states' Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) now go to their Republican governors for approval. The revisions are meant to make the laws more closely mirror a federal law crafted under then President Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

Twenty U.S. states and the federal government have RFRAs, which allow individuals to sue the government if they believe their First Amendment religious rights have been violated.

After the passage into law last week of Indiana's act, the state was flooded with protests, threats of boycotts and warnings from powerful U.S. firms such as Apple Inc. about looming economic damage for its perceived stand against U.S. ideals of inclusion.

In Indiana, lawmakers flanked by gay-rights activists unveiled changes to protect civil liberties. Thursday's news conference was a dramatic turnaround from Republican Governor Mike Pence's governor's signing act, which was attended by some religious activists who decried homosexuality as a mortal sin.

In Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson requested changes on Wednesday in the wake of the criticism to Indiana's law.


Haley Says Union Bullies Behind S.C. Boeing Vote

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley considers the bid to unionize workers at Boeing Co's North Charleston plant a threat to one of her state's corporate crown jewels, and she is turning to radio, speeches and social media to denounce the campaign.

"We don't need their bully middleman tactics between our associates and their employer," she wrote on Twitter last month. It was a message in keeping with Haley's previous declarations that she is a "union buster" who wears high heels to kick out organized labor "thugs" seeking to gain a foothold in the state.

The April 22 union vote at the aircraft maker's 787 Dreamliner factory in the state could offer Haley a chance to burnish her conservative credentials at a time when potential Republican contenders for the White House court her ahead of South Carolina's early primary in 2016.

If she stands up to Boeing's biggest union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), and wins, it could enhance the second-term governor's prospects for higher office, political experts said. That could include a Cabinet post in a future Republican administration, a national party leadership position, or even being a vice presidential running mate in 2016.

Her anti-union position "very much bolsters her with conservatives around the country," said South Carolina-based Republican strategist Chip Felkel.

A hard-line stance against unions already raised the profile of Haley's friend and fellow governor, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who is an early favorite in the race to become the Republican presidential candidate, though he has yet to declare he is running. Walker cut back collective bargaining rights for public sector workers in a state with deep labor roots and survived a 2012 recall campaign sparked by his labor reforms.

Haley faces far less political risk in South Carolina, which federal data shows had the second-lowest union membership rate in the country in 2014 at 2.2 percent of wage and salary workers. South Carolina has for many years had a "right-to-work" statute that allows employees to decide whether or not to join or pay dues to a labor union, and prevents unions and employers from reaching agreements that require employees to join a union.

As a result, party strategists doubt she will gain as much momentum as Walker by fighting a union in the private sector.

Full Story Here


County to Lease Old Bank of America Site for Elections Commission, Voter Registration

The Anderson County Council Finance Committee has recommended leasing the old Bank of America Building at 305 North Main Street to provide adequate space for the Anderson County Election Commission and Voter Registration offices, and to allow the county to begin demolition of the old buildings in which those offices currently reside. The elections offices must move before the June 1 deadline or wait until the beginning of 2016.

The full council will vote on the recommendation at Tuesday's meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the historic courthouse downtown.


Tonight's Downtown Block Party Cancelled

Tonight's downtown Anderson Main Street Program Thursday Block Party has been cancecelled due to inclimate weather.



Army Relaxes Tattoo Policy

The U.S. Army is revising its tattoo policy to remove restrictions on the size and number of tattoos for men and women in uniform.

The new rules still forbid ink on the neck and face or any tattoos with racist, sexist or extremist imagery.

In March 2014, new physical standards went in to effect, allowing only four small tattoos visible on the arms and legs and forbidding full-sleeve tattoos. Those who had tattoos in those areas before the new regulation was created were automatically grandfathered in.

Soldiers complained that the new ban could hinder their ability to advance in the military and eventually the Army decided to relax the policy.

The Army has not yet specified a date as to when the new rules will come into effect.


Rev. Robert Schuller Dies at 88

Rev. Robert H. Schuller, founder of the megachurch Crystal Cathedral, died at the age of 88 Thursday.

His grandson Bobby Schuller tweeted the news Thursday morning.

Schuller formed the Crystal Cathedral in Southern California and built an empire with the self-help message of "possibility thinking." His church held thousands at his services which were broadcasted to millions across the world.

He started the Reformed Church of America in 1955 out of a drive-in theater.

I'm not interested in people who have religion. I'm interested in talking to people who turn God off," he said in response to criticism that he was too secular.

He was an unofficial adviser to Presidents Gerald R. Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. For the most part, though, he tried to stay away from politics.

The church began to fall into crisis in 2008 and in 2010 when it filed for bankruptcy protection. The church owed creditors millions and began laying off employees while still giving the top people in the church large salaries.

In 2013, his grandson Bobby sold the cathedral to a Catholic church and began to lease space at another church. Schuller cut ties with the church, saying it owed him millions of dollars. At the same time, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and given two years to live.

His wife, Arvella, died last year at 84.