County Finance Committee Meets Thursday

The Anderson County Finance Committe will meet Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in the historic courthouse downtown. The public is invited.


P.A.W.S. to Compete in Rachael Ray Challenge

Beginning Saturday Anderson County P.A.W.S. will be a contestant in the 2013 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge. Anderson County P.A.W.S.is competing for a chance at more than $600,000 in grant funding, including a grand prize of $100,000. 

The 2013 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge is a nationwide competition for animal shelters (and their communities) aimed at getting more animals adopted or returned to their owners than ever before. 

“The ASPCA Rachel Ray $100K Challenge is a great way for the community to come together and save lives,” said Jessica Cwynar, Director, Anderson County P.A.W.S. “Working together, we plan to save hundreds of animals lives, while providing best friends for life. We have an opportunity to win the $100,000 grant which would help us save more animals’ lives” 

Anderson County P.A.W.S. will be offering promotional adoption events throughout the challenge. The first event is our ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Kick Off Event June 1, 2013 through June 8, 2013. For the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Kick Off Event all animal adoptions will be $10.00. Adoption fees include cost of Spay/Neuter Surgery; first set vaccinest; feline Leukemia test for cats/kittens; heartworm test for adult dogs; and rabies vaccination for all animals 4 months or older. Anderson County P.A.W.S. is located at 1320 Highway 29 South. P.A.W.S. will be open Monday through Friday 12 pm till 6 pm and Saturday 12 pm till 4 pm. 

For more information about Anderson County P.A.W.S., please visit andersoncountysc.org/pets


AP: Some May Have Insurance Cancelled in the Fall

State insurance regulators say many people who buy their own health insurance could get surprises this fall: cancellation notices because their policies aren't up to the basic standards of President Barack Obama's overhaul.

These people, and some small businesses, will have to find replacement plans - and that has some state officials worried about consumer confusion.

The changes don't seem to square with one of the president's promises: "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan."

But supporters of the overhaul are betting that consumers won't object once they realize that the new coverage they will get is better than current bare-bones plans.

Large employer plans that cover most workers and their families are unlikely to be affected.


Emergency Services Drill Scheduled for Thursday

Anderson County Emergency Services, in collaboration with local, state and federal agencies, will conduct a drill on tomorrow, beginning before noon. The drill will simulate a coolant leak at the Oconee Nuclear Station.

First responders and partnering utility and response agencies will use this exercise to hone procedures and practices in order to protect residents in times of emergency. he exercise will include evacuation procedures, as well as preparation to treat injured citizens. For more information, contact Taylor Jones at  864.844.3005


Coming Thursday: Great Recipes By Chef Jason Cobb

Beginning Thursday, the Anderson Observer's Food section will feature regular recipes by Anderson's own Chef Jason Cobb. Cobb is a graduate and Culinary Fellow of the prestigious Johnson & Wales University.

Tomorrow's recipe: Grandmother's Classic Poundcake


State: Report Says Make S.C. Model for Dealing with Abuse Cases

Training and coordination are the keys to eradicating child sexual abuse, according to a report aimed at making South Carolina a leader in successfully resolving the thorny and difficult cases.

Victor Vieth of the National Child Protection Training Center conducted a year of research on child sexual abuse in South Carolina. He interviewed more than 160 people associated with child welfare and issued surveys based on interview information to an additional 400 professionals.

The resulting report is called “The View from the Trenches: Recommendations for Improving South Carolina’s Response to Child Sexual Abuse Based on Insights from Frontline Child Protection Professionals.”

“Our report proposes concrete steps to help those who help children,” Vieth said. “It turns out South Carolina’s front line of child protectors know what they are talking about. They are worth listening to.”

The report was released Tuesday in Greenville County Council Chambers. Vieth was joined by Lisa and Bob Castellani — research funders and founding members of the nonprofit Silent Tears: Giving a Voice to Child Sexual Abuse — and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-North Charleston; U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-Spartanburg; and S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson, R-Lexington.

The study found most of those directly involved in handling child sexual abuse cases have no undergraduate or graduate training specific to child-related cases. The report calls on colleges, seminaries, medical and law schools to develop or expand child protection curricula. Continuing “trench training” to hone daily skills and an online portal, available 24-7, for standardized text-based learning, should be mandatory, according to the report.

Gowdy, a former prosecutor, said child sexual abuse cases are “the most difficult in all the criminal justice system.”

“They are extraordinarily difficult, and they take highly trained individuals,” he said.

The report outlines investigative goals for child sexual abuse cases, including photographing every crime scene, gathering five pieces of corroborating evidence and conducting forensic interviews within two hours of the abuse being reported.

The report also calls for speeding up the trial process and forging alliances with community agencies to enhance reporting of crimes.



House Committee Sends Guns in Bars Bill to Debate

A bill that would allow South Carolinians with permits to carry concealed weapons to take their guns into restaurants and bars advanced in the House on Tuesday with the support of Democrats – increasing the bill’s chance of passing this year.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 19-1 to send the bill to the House floor to debate. Among those voting for the bill were seven Democrats. Republicans control the S.C. House. However, Democratic opposition could have made the bill difficult to pass this year and could do so yet, in the state Senate.

The bill, a version of which already has passed the Senate, would allow people with permits to carry concealed weapons to take their guns into restaurants or bars as long as they do not drink alcohol and property owners do not post signs prohibiting concealed weapons.

House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, was among the bill’s supporters. During the meeting, Rutherford acknowledged “those people who think that we are crazy to pass this,” emphasizing business owners have the right to ban concealed weapons.

Supporters say the bill would expand the rights of responsible gun owners to carry their weapons in more places. Critics have been leery of allowing guns in places where people are consuming alcohol.

The proposal, Rutherford said, also would address the problem of people with permits having to leave their guns in vehicles before going into a restaurant, instead of keeping the weapons on them.

The bill heading to the House floor is different than the proposal that passed the Senate.

The Senate voted to include a midnight curfew on carrying weapons into places that serve alcohol. The Senate proposal also would have banned people from entering and remaining in areas of businesses dedicated to serving alcohol. Those restrictions were adopted as a compromise to ease the concerns of some that the bill would allow people to carry guns into bars past midnight.

A House panel removed those restrictions, calling them arbitrary and difficult to enforce.



AIM, Grace Sponsor Free Distribution Food Event June 8

Anderson Interfaith Ministries and Grace Episcopal Church will sponsor a Manna Free Food Distribution MANNA at Grace Episcopal Church June 8 beginning at 9 a.m. Volunteers from the chruch will gather early to unload and prep the more than 5,000 pounds of fresh produce and other food items that will arrive on a truck from Golden Harvest Food Bank.

Food will be given to those who need it on a first-come, first-served basis as long as it lasts.  The event will be held partially outside come rain or shineParticipants are encouraged to bring a rolling cart, or large bin or laundry basket to hold their food, as the packages can become quite heavy.

No ID or documentation is required to participate, but each person will be asked three questions about the ages of the people living in their households.  Please encourage anyone who needs food assistance to attend.

For more information call 965.9077.


BuzzFeed: 28 Cleaning Tips for Incredibly Lazy People

Sitting through ads can be obnoxious. BuzzFeed suggests making better use of that time by always cleaning one thing during commercial breaks.

Depending on the type and medium of television you're watching, an average 36% of an hour-long program could be advertisements. Even shows on Hulu can have a solid 90 seconds of down time several times an episode. If you get in the habit of always working on dishes, running the vacuum a bit, or dusting something, you could tidy your house before the credits roll.

28 Helpful Cleaning Tips For Incredibly Lazy People


Washington Post: The Weird Racial Politics of South Carolina

By Mary C. Curtis,

 South Carolina, the cradle of the Confederacy, is represented by African-American Sen. Tim Scott, and has an Indian-American governor, Nikki Haley – both conservative Republicans. Yet any idea that the state is progressing on the racial conflicts that have defined much of its history took another hit on Sunday. That’s when the Haley for Governor Grassroots Advisory Committee, her grass-roots political organization, asked for and received the resignation of one of its 164 co-chairs after his statements on racial purity came to light.

Civil-rights groups and Democrats had been pressuring the Haley campaign, which initially stood by Roan Garcia-Quintana, a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens. But his defense of his beliefs didn’t work out so smoothly. In an interview last week with The State explaining his position on the board of directors of the council, Garcia-Quintana denied that he and the group are racist. The council “supports Caucasian heritage,” he said. “Is it racist to be proud of your own heritage?” he asked. “Is it racist to want to keep your own heritage pure?”

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, in a 2011 photo. A Haley campaign volunteer has resigned following his statements on racial purity. (Stephen Morton/Bloomberg)

It wasn’t exactly a secret that Garcia-Quintana had ties to the Council of Conservative Citizens, which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as a “white nationalist hate group,” a “linear descendant” of the old White Citizens Councils formed in the 1950s and 1960s to fight school desegregation.

In a 2010 Washington Post article on a NAACP-backed report that accused white nationalist groups of trying to align themselves with the tea party movement, Garcia-Quintana talked about his council activism. “There’s a difference between being proud of where you come from and racism. We should be able to celebrate price as Europeans and Caucasians. What troubles me is it seems like if you’re not some kind of minority, you’re supposed to be ashamed of that. . . . As a tea party organizer, all I’m trying to do is to be a community organizer,” he said.

Garcia-Quintana, a naturalized citizen born in Havana, has referred to himself as a “Confederate Cuban.” He is also executive director of the anti-immigration Americans Have Had Enough Coalition, based in Mauldin, S.C., which says it stands against an “illegal alien invasion.”

A Sunday statement from Haley political adviser Tim Pearson said: “While we appreciate the support Roan has provided, we were previously unaware of some of the statements he had made, statements which do not well represent the views of the governor. There is no place for racially divisive rhetoric in the politics or governance of South Carolina, and Governor Haley has no tolerance for it.”

Haley has tried to turn Garcia-Quintana’s departure into a political advantage. She has characterized the forced, if belated, resignation as a sign that Republicans don’t tolerate intolerance, while challenging Democrats, particularly her former and perhaps future opponent, Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, to disavow Democratic political operatives who have attacked her in racial terms. (Phil Bailey, who is political director of the state Senate’s Democratic Caucus, last year called Haley a “Sikh Jesus.” He was reprimanded at a Senate Democratic Caucus meeting and apologized, but not, says the Haley campaign, to her.) The governor has come in for her share of racially insensitive comments, even from members of her own party during her primary race.

This kind of racially divisive back and forth is par for the course. No, you can’t make this stuff up, and in South Carolina, you don’t have to.

Mary C. Curtis, an award-winning multimedia journalist in Charlotte, N.C., has worked at The New York Times, Charlotte Observer and as national correspondent for Politics Daily. Follow her on Twitter: @mcurtisnc3


Clemson 1981 Champs Headline PlaySafe Golf Classic

PlaySafe, a 501c(3), non-profit organization, providing certified athletic trainers (ATCs) to high schools and many community athletic events in Anderson, Pickens and Oconee Counties,  announced today that the organization will host  their Inaugural Kickoff Golf Classic “Saluting the 1981 Clemson National Championship Team on Monday August 5th at The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards.

The event will be hosted by 1981 National Championship head coach, Danny Ford and team captain, Jeff Davis.  Also expected are two NFL SuperBowl Champions - Terry Kinard, Clemson’s 1st Consensus All-American and Pro Bowl safety with the NY Giants, and James Trapp, cornerback with the Baltimore Ravens and a world class sprinter.  In 1981, Clemson faced a national powerhouse, the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Orange Bowl with the chance for their first National Championship in football on the line.  Representing Nebraska at this years’ tournament will be 1983 Heisman Trophy running back, Mike Rozier and 1984 1st round NFL draft pick, Irving Fryar. In addition, 1980 Heisman Trophy winner, George Rogers of the University of South Carolina and Ed Marinaro, actor and former Minnesota Vikings running back are expected to attend as well. More former Clemson players and special guests are expected to be announced soon. 

“We wanted our first fundraising event to be special so we chose the magnificent course at The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards”, offered Jim Stoker, Chairman of the Board of PlaySafe. The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards features eight holes bordering on Lake Keowee and five offering views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. “We will have some great challenges along the course for our participating golfers, with a chance to win JetBlue round trip vouchers, an 8 day 7 night stay in Puerto Rico, and a Cadillac from the Richard Kay SuperStore,  just to name a few of the prizes that have been secured to date.” “Fun at every turn is our goal so that those who play this year will look forward to next years’ event and those that didn’t  participate but have heard about it after the fact, will make sure to mark it on their golf calendars for 2014!” added Stoker.

PlaySafe works to raise funds from corporations, foundations, and the community at large in order to secure full time certified athletic trainers for the high schools in the tri-county area.  

PlaySafe exists to support our schools, parents, businesses and the community at large in an effort to keep our youth and community Safe, Healthy and Active. PlaySafe is funded in part by Clemson Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation, AnMed Health and Blue Ridge Orthopaedics . For more information on the 2013 Inaugural Kickoff Classic, PlaySafe and ways you can get involved, please visit www.playsafesc.org or contact Bob Garguilo, Executive Director bob.garguilo@playsafesc.org or (864) 973-4412.


S.C. Among Friendliest States for Small Business

Small business owners should now find South Carolina to be an even friendlier state to operate in, according to Thumbtack.com.

A new poll released by the website and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation shows South Carolina earned an A- in this year’s Small Business Friendliness Survey after earning a B+ last year.

Sander Daniels, co-founder of Thumbtack.com, said South Carolina ranks among the best in the country to grow a small business, particularly due to the state’s highly-rated employment laws and training programs.

South Carolina’s Upstate was ranked as the best part of the state for small businesses, while the Northeastern portion of the state, including Florence and Horry counties, ranked the worst. The Midlands portion of the state, including Aiken County, was ranked in the middle range.

The survey considered a number of factors that could affect businesses, including ease of hiring, tax codes, environmental regulations and zoning requirements.


Public Schools Rethinking How Reading Money Spent

A plan to make reading a focus in S.C. public schools will require few new dollars and a lot of rethinking of how existing money is spent, supporters say.

But education groups have raised questions about the price tag of the sweeping education reform proposal, inspired by Florida, whose trademark policy would be holding back third-graders who score the lowest on a statewide test for a year of reading-intensive instruction aimed at getting them reading on grade level.

Third grade is the year students must become independent readers in order to “read to learn” and have academic success later.

The proposal, critics note, does not include money for training teachers or reading coaches for schools — two essentials for making that reading instruction worthwhile, they say.

“Everyone who has been successful (with that approach) says you’ve got to train teachers, you’ve got to have reading coaches and after-school programs,” said Molly Spearman, director of the S.C. Association of School Administrators, which supports the proposal in concept.

“(Florida) really committed to it financially,” Spearman said. “South Carolina needs to step up to the plate.”

The bill, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, calls for summer reading camps for struggling readers. The Senate put $1.5 million for reading camps in the state budget beginning July 1.

Democrats also want to expand a state 4-year-old kindergarten program for children living in poverty — another way to prepare students for the third-grade reading test, they say. The Senate also included $26 million for the expansion in next year’s budget.

Under Peeler’s bill, school districts would develop district-wide plans for reading instruction with help from a new $500,000 state Department of Education office.

But, concerning educator groups, the bill would leave the cost of literacy training to teachers and, without committing any money to specific reading initiatives, leave it to districts to decide how to pay for reading programs.