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Monday
Dec172012

Haley to Name Tim Scott to DeMint Seat

Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina has chosen Representative Tim Scott to replace Jim DeMint in the United States Senate, according to three Republican officials. The move will make Mr. Scott the first black senator from the South since the late 19th century.

The governor will make the announcement at noon at the State House in Columbia. She began informing the roster of finalists on Monday morning about her decision to go with Mr. Scott, who was the preferred candidate of many conservative leaders and groups in Washington.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, three Republican officials familiar with the process confirmed to The New York Times the decision to select Mr. Scott. Aides to the governor declined to comment before the noon announcement.

Ms. Haley seriously considered a number of potential contenders, particularly Jenny Sanford, the ex-wife of former Gov. Mark Sanford, who had been supportive of Ms. Haley in her race two years ago. But in choosing Mr. Scott, she selected a senator with a strong conservative voting record during his two years in Congress.

Additionally, Mr. Scott offers a unique story and background, one that is in scant supply in the Republican party right now. Raised by a single mother, he was, by his account, a lost child who struggled with school and with life until a Chick-fil-A franchise owner took him on as a protégé and schooled him in conservative principles.

Full Story Here

Monday
Dec172012

Haley to Announce DeMint Replacement at Noon

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is announcing a replacement for U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint at noon on Monday.

State law gives the Republican governor the authority to pick DeMint's successor. DeMint announced less than two weeks ago that he would resign Jan. 1 to take the helm of a national conservative think tank.

Haley's appointee will fill the seat until 2014, when voters will choose who will fill the remaining two years of DeMint's term.

Haley's five finalists are reportedly former first lady Jenny Sanford, U.S. Reps. Tim Scott and Trey Gowdy, former Attorney General Henry McMaster and state health agency director Catherine Templeton.

Monday
Dec172012

Holiday Recycling Saves County Money, Landfill Space

According to HolidayRecycling.com, Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday season than during any other time of year. This amounts to 25 million tons of trash. Bringing this trash for recycling  to the county recycling centers will also generate revenue for Anderson County.

“Anderson County Council encourages all residents to recycle during this holiday season,” said County Council Chairman Tom Allen. “Every effort helps us reduce the amount of refuse ending up in our landfill. The more we reduce, the longer we can sustain our current landfill and postpone the need for another. Anderson County has several programs in place to assist residents in their recycling efforts, such as the Greens Collection for US Army Corp of Engineers, where residents can bring their Christmas trees, wreaths or garland to any of the county’s convenience centers through January 19. The Corp of Engineers will then recycle these into fish habitats in Hartwell Lake.”

Recycling also saves the county money. Through September 2012 donations to the county collection sites are down nearly 80 percent, a shortfall for the county for more than $300,000 for the year. Private recycling collections are to blame for some of the shortfall, but it is important the residents remember the county-run convenience centers as the holiday season comes to a close.

For more information about Anderson County’s recycling programs or Keep America Beautiful of Anderson County, contact 

Dana Owens
dwowens@andersoncountysc.org
864.260.1003
or 
Jessica Powell
jpowell@andersoncountysc.org
864.260.1003

or visit 
www.andersoncountysc.org/KAB 

A complete list of convenience centers is located here:

http://www.andersoncountysc.org/web/ConvCtr_00.asp

Monday
Dec172012

Legal Pad: Three Myths of Criminal Court  

By M. J. Goodwin

Founding Attorney, Goodwin & Pruette, Attorneys at Law, LLC 

I have worked in the criminal justice system of South Carolina for over 20 years.   I have been a prosecutor in both General Sessions (“big court”) and Summary or Municipal Court.  I have defended all sorts of cases from murder to DUI.  Every time I think I have heard or seen everything, I am reminded that such a feat is not possible.  My clients always seem to find another niche of the law for me to ponder.  But there are a few myths that come up again and again in criminal defense work.  It is my belief that these myths are planted and nurtured by the “jailhouse lawyers.”  Desperate people believe these myths in hopes of finding the magic way out of trouble.  These defendants would be better served if they were simply properly represented and followed the advice of counsel.

This writing is devoted to debunking some common myths that are routinely stated to me as fact by defendants in criminal cases. 

  1. “The State has to make me three offers before I plead guilty.”  WRONG!  You have a right to a trial by jury.  You have no right to plead guilty.  The State is not required to make you any plea offers at all.  If the State does make you a  plea offer, you should consider the evidence against you and weigh your chance of conviction by a jury and that possible punishment against what is offered to you.  Typically plea “bargains” are offered to induce guilty pleas and move the State’s docket along.  They generally are for a lesser charge or lesser sentence.  Some general rules to consider are that if a plea offer changes a violent charge to a non-violent charge, it can considerably reduce the potential for actual jail time.  If a plea offer is for probation, then the immediate risk of incarceration is gone, but a long term risk of incarceration remains if the probation is violated.
  2. “I am entitled to a bond hearing every thirty days.”  WRONG.  You are entitled to a bond hearing.  Once bond is set or denied, you do not have a right to go back to Court every thirty days to ask that the bond be set or lowered.  Just because you cannot pay a bond does not mean that the bond is unreasonable.  The criteria for bond are whether the Defendant is a threat to the community or a flight risk.  If you are out on bond and are arrested again, most Judges will deem you a risk to the community.
  3. “My charges will be thrown out because the police did not read me my rights.”  WRONG.  Miranda rights are only required during custodial interrogations by the police.  In those situations, law enforcement presents the person giving a statement with a waiver of rights form that is signed and made part of the investigation.  If the police do not question you, they do not have to read you your rights.  If you blurt something out to the police, that statement is likely admissible whether or not the police have read you your rights.  In all cases, you do have a right to remain silent.  It is most prudent to remain silent.  In my experience, remaining silent is very difficult for defendants to do.  Consequently, they are often convicted with their own statements.

What you can and should do is protect yourself legitimately and intelligently.  If you find yourself charged with a crime, be quiet.  Do not make any statements.  Resist the temptation to explain yourself.  Retain a lawyer immediately.  Make sure that attorney is well versed in criminal defense.  Your entire future may depend on it. 

**Disclaimer:  M. J. Goodwin, is a partner in Goodwin & Pruette, Attorneys at Law, LLC, which is located at 113 North Main Street, Anderson, SC 29621.  864-375-0909.  The information in this column is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice for any given situation.  Only clients who have hired M. J. Goodwin, Attorney at Law, LLC, are receiving actual legal advice that pertains to their particular situation.  If you would like to hire M. J. Goodwin, Attorney at Law, LLC to represent you in your family, criminal or civil court action, please call 864-375-0909.

Monday
Dec172012

Commercialism Defines Christmas for Many

The Christmas season is once again upon us and with it overwhelming encouragement from Madison Avenue to spend what we have not earned to buy what we cannot afford. The day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday (indicating the point at which retailers are in the black-or at least hope to be), signaled the start of the "holiday shopping season." That phrase in and of itself reveals the commercialized emphasis that has unfortunately come to define Christmas for many Americans.

The thrust of this consumerist message is that the holiday is best enjoyed or most fully realized through the acquisition of "things." Advertisements bombard us with images of bountiful Christmas scenes in which beautiful packages surround the tree, and "happiness" is realized upon the receipt of this or that consumer product. Credit card issuers alone (those most interested in seeing you spend what you don't have) spend more than $150 million on holiday advertising and promotions. Evidence that these messages work is found in the fact that, according to financial advisor Dave Ramsey, "over 50 percent of Christmas shoppers will spend well over what they planned to and will go further into debt."

As to the severity of this debt, Ramsey points out that "more than $70 billion, over half of what was charged last year, ended up as revolving debt and the interest on last year's gifts are still being paid today." On average, "two-thirds (65 percent) of shoppers overspent their budget by $100–$500 and 75 percent overspent by $50–$100."

Of course this consumerist philosophy-rooted in the notion that making more money, which enables you to buy more things, will necessarily result in greater life satisfaction and happiness-is a pervasive message year-round in America. Recent studies show that most Americans believe they would be "perfectly happy" with just 20 percent more income. And according to Boston College sociologist Juliet Schor's 1998 best-seller The Overspent American, "one-quarter of Americans making $100,000 believe they don't have enough cash." (In 2011, the US average wage index was $42,979.)

However, renowned economist and USC professor, Richard Easterlin observed that "once a society's basic needs-food, shelter, employment-are satisfied, the accumulation of greater and greater wealth does not generate greater collective or personal happiness over the long run" (USC Trojan Family Magazine). This has become known as the Easterlin Paradox.

Read Full Story Here

Sunday
Dec162012

Clemson to Kick Off Lifelong Learning Institute Jan. 17

On January 17, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Clemson University will be hosting its Spring 2013 Kick Off, an open house event where OLLI members can preview the new semester, sign up for classes, meet their professors, and get information on a wide offering of special programs to be held throughout the semester. The open house will take place at the Charles K. Cheezem Education Center, 100 Thomas Green Blvd., Clemson, SC 29631 from 10 a.m. to noon and will also feature refreshments and door prizes for attendees.

Sunday
Dec162012

Council to Look at Zoning, City-County Accommodations Tax

Anderson County Council will look at an agreement between the City of Anderson and the County on accommodations tax revenues and vote on a zoning proposal as part of Tuesday night's council meeting at 6 p.m. in the historic courthouse downtown.

Full Agenda Here

Sunday
Dec162012

Schools Around Country Review Security

Schools around the country are reviewing security plans, adding extra law enforcement patrols and readying counselors for the first day of classes since a shooting massacre at an elementary school in Connecticut.

Districts from Alabama to Arizona and Florida to New England were asking local law enforcement to increase patrols on Monday. School officials in some areas sent messages to parents addressing security or stressing that they have safety plans that are regularly tested. While some officials refuse to discuss plans in detail, it was clear that vigilance will be high this week at schools around the country.

Additional police patrols are planned this week in northern Virginia around the Fairfax County Public Schools, which is the largest school system in the Washington area with 181,000 students. Counselors will also be available at all schools.

"This is not in response to any specific threat but rather a police initiative to enhance safety and security around the schools and to help alleviate the understandably high levels of anxiety," Superintendent Jack Dale said Sunday.

Those sentiments were echoed to the South in Florida's Hillsborough Co., where Sheriff's office spokesman Larry McKinnon said unmarked and marked cars will patrol the schools along with deputies in plain clothes. He wouldn't say how many extra officers will be involved.

The additional patrols will supplement deputies already assigned to every high school and junior high school in the area to ease the fears of parents "who may feel uneasy about sending their children to school." The county's public school system in the Tampa area includes around 195,000 students.

The precautions come after a gunman shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday and killed 26 people before shooting himself. The dead include 20 children ages 6 and 7.

Aside from their students' physical safety, administrators were also concerned about the psychological toll of the shootings. In Maryland's suburbs outside Washington, Montgomery County Public Schools will have counselors available at each school Monday to support the system's 149,000 students. Chief of Staff Brian Edwards said officials posted advice online from the National Association of School Psychologists on Friday to help parents talk about acts of violence.

"Obviously, this is a very difficult situation that all school communities are dealing with and the entire nation is dealing with," Edwards said, adding that the system doesn't discuss security procedures. "You can't change what occurred, but you try to do the best you can to help families cope."

In Tucson, Ariz., where a January 2011 mass shooting killed six and wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others, the largest school district increased security after Friday's shooting. Tucson Unified School District spokeswoman Cara Rene said Sunday that the district was participating in a memorial being held at one of its schools on Sunday evening, with Gifford's replacement, Rep. Ron Barber, a featured speaker along with Superintendent John Pedicone. Barber was with Giffords at the constituent meet-and-greet and was among the wounded.

Rene said planning was under way to help teachers and students with grief and fear issues when school resumes Monday, and the district was working with Tucson police on security issues.

At Deer Valley Unified School District in suburban Phoenix, one of the state's largest, a spokeswoman said teachers were given direction on how to answer students' questions and a message to parents was posted on the district's website emphasizing the district's security policies. Spokeswoman Heidi Vega said no extra security or counseling was planned.

Officials in South Carolina's largest school district sent a note to parents Friday ensuring they have safety plans that are regularly tested for a number of possible events.

Officials refused to details their plans, saying that would threaten the safety of its more than 70,000 students. Just last week, before the school shooting in Connecticut, Greenville County schools Superintendent W. Burke Royster said the school system met with members from every law enforcement agency in the county to review what to do in an emergency, and make sure they can all communicate. The meetings take place frequently, and the next round will likely involve any lessons that can be taken from the latest school shooting.

Full Story Here

Sunday
Dec162012

Museum Post Holidays Hours, Closings

The Anderson County Museum will be closed for the Christmas Holidays on December 24, 25, and 26. The museum will be open December 27 and 28 for normal gallery hours of 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and be closed for the New Year Holiday on Saturday, December 29 through January 1. They will reopen on January 2 for normal gallery hours of 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Sunday
Dec162012

Little Miss/Teen Miss Anderson County Pageant Feb. 2

Registration is now open for the Little Miss-Teen Miss Anderson County (Official Little Miss South Carolina Preliminary) Pageant February 2 at 6:00 p.m. at the Calhoun Academy of the Arts Elementary School

Age Categories:  2 - 19 years

Entry Fee:  $65.00

Registration Deadline:  January 24

For more information, please contact Kim Blackwell at (864) 716-6268 or kimb@andersonareaymca.org.

Sunday
Dec162012

New Changes in Anderson County “Copper Law”  

On December 16, 2012 two new laws become effective that will have an impact on those members of the public who engage in the business of collecting and selling scrap metal, particularly copper and other non-ferrous metals.  Additionally, a new auto demolisher law becomes effective on December 16th as well.

The primary changes in the “Copper Law” include certain exceptions and exemptions from the law for the business community selling or purchasing scrap metal from another business, governmental entity, a manufacturing or industrial vendor that generates or sells regulated metals in the ordinary course of business, or is a holder of a retail license, an authorized wholesaler, an automobile demolisher as defined in Section 56-5-5810 (d), a contractor licensed pursuant to Chapter 11  Title 40, a residential home builder licensed pursuant to Chapter 59, Title 40, a demolition contractor, a provider of gas service, electric service, communications services water service, plumbing service, electrical service, climate conditioning service, core recycling service appliance repair service, automotive repair service, or electronics repair service, or organizations, corporations, or associations registered with the state as charitable organizations or any non-profit organization.  Additionally, no manhole cover or drainage grate may be sold for scrap.  It is unlawful to pay cash for any copper product, catalytic converter or beer keg.

Permits:  The Sheriff’s Office will no longer issue 48 hour non-ferrous metal permits.

Beginning December 16 2012, permits will be valid for two years. Applicants can be denied a permit if they have been convicted for crimes related to the non-ferrous metal statute and can have their permit revoked if arrested under the statute during the 2 year permit. In order to qualify for the permit a criminal background screening will be conducted on the applicant. 

Auto Demolishers

As of December 16, 2012, the only way an auto demolisher may purchase a vehicle for the purpose of demolishing the vehicle, the seller must provide one of the following four items:

1. Title to the Vehicle

2. A magistrate bill of sale

3. An affidavit provided by DMV swearing ownership (auto must be held for 72 hours before being demolished

4. Sheriff’s Certificate of Disposal (only for vehicles 12 years old or older and completely inoperable. 

A vehicle should not be considered ‘inoperable’ merely because it does not have a battery or key for the ignition if by appearance the vehicle appears operable. 

For further information contact Jeff Moore at the South Carolina Sheriffs’ Association at 803-772-1101.


Thursday
Dec132012

S.C. Rep. Pre-files Bill to Stop ObamaCare

South Carolina may soon join the ranks of states struggling to reclaim their constitutional sovereignty stolen from them by the federal government.

On December 11, South Carolina State Representative William Chumley pre-filed a bill in the South Carolina General Assembly that would prevent the enforcement of ObamaCare within the borders of the Palmetto State.

Using language that would prohibit state officials from participating in the implementation of state healthcare exchanges or from enforcing the individual mandate that are key elements of ObamaCare, Chumley’s measure — the South Carolina Freedom of Health Care Protection Act — requires state lawmakers to “prevent the enforcement of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” [ObamaCare] within the limits of this state.”

South Carolina, a state with a long history of resisting federal despotism, joins three other states currently considering bills nullifying ObamaCare. The state legislatures of Maine, New Jersey, and Oklahoma have also had bills introduced aimed at stopping ObamaCare at the state border.

Simply stated, nullification is a concept of constitutional law that recognizes the right of each state to nullify, or invalidate, any federal measure that exceeds the few and defined powers allowed the federal government as enumerated in the Constitution. Nullification is founded on the assertion that the sovereign states formed the union, and as creators of the compact, they hold ultimate authority as to the limits of the power of the central government to enact laws that are applicable to the states and the citizens thereof.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ObamaCare decision, state legislators and governors are boldly asserting their right to restrain the federal government, and are accordingly considering bills that will stop ObamaCare’s multitude of mandates at the state border.

As quoted in a story published by the Tenth Amendment Center, Chumley said he will offer this bill (H 3101) “because of federal over-reach” and because following the Constitution “is the right thing to do.”

Full Story Here

Wednesday
Dec122012

Clemson Grad Donates $1.05 Million for New Center

Clemson University President James F. Barker Wednesday announced a $1.05 million gift from Joe and Gretchen Erwin, co-founders of leading advertising and marketing firm Erwin Penland, to establish the Erwin Center for the Study of Advertising and Communication at the school. The gift creates a unique relationship between the Erwin family, Clemson University and Erwin Penland. 

“This unique program will emphasize new methods and techniques to further establish the value of creativity in driving commerce,” said Erwin, a 1979 Clemson graduate. “Top companies, including most of our clients, are extremely proficient at developing more innovative and reliable products and services by using cutting-edge technology and insight-driven ingenuity. The Erwin Center will help prepare future generations of marketers to similarly use information, technology and modeling methods to skillfully promote these products and services.” 

Initially, the Erwins’ gift will provide up to five new courses to support a new emphasis area in advertising and communication for communication studies majors at Clemson. The courses also will be offered as a minor to students in other majors. Many of the classes will be taught in collaboration with industry experts at Erwin Penland, a 400-person agency with offices in Greenville, New York and Detroit.

Full Story Here