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Friday
Feb082013

Community Leader Jimmy Stathakis Dies at 82

ANDERSON, SC - James J “Jimmy” Stathakis, age 82 , of Anderson, SC died on February 7, 2013.  

James was born in Gastonia, NC to the late Alexandria and John P. Stathakis but moved to Anderson as a young child.  Jimmy was married to the deceased Despo P. Stathakis and is survived by his sons William J. and  John J. who is married to Diann Pelias with three beloved grandsons, James J, Gerald J, William J. all of Anderson. He was predeceased in death by his brother, Pete J. Stathakis and survived by two sisters, Mary S. Raftakis of Anderson and Ellen S. Coclin of Orange , CT as well as many nieces and nephews who shared in his kindness and love.  Jimmy was a faithful member of the St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Greenville SC and also supported the Paracletos Monastery in Antreville.

Jimmy graduated from Boys High School and was a proud member of the Class of 1948 with many enduring friendships.  He proudly served his country in the United States Army during the Korean War, stationed in Vienna, Austria.  He was a local Realtor, businessman and community volunteer until his death.  He was owner of the first Pete’s Drive Inn No.5 in Anderson, Stathakis Realty Company, and for most of his adult life James J. Stathakis Liquor Store.  His community activities included serving on Anderson City Council, Jaycees, as Past President, Mid Day Lions, Karyae Park, Anderson Board of Realtors, as Past President, the Elks Club, the Masons, and Shriners, past board member of the North Georgia College Foundation,  the St. George Church Parish Council and was a Commissioner and Chairman for many years on the South Carolina Highway Commission.  In most of these organizations he held various leadership roles always giving of his time and energy when asked. Through the Board of Realtors he led the Dogwood Planting Campaign of Anderson. He was also active in the Greek Festival of Anderson as a founder and one of its most ardent supporters. 

A Funeral Service will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, February 9, 2013 at Grace Episcopal Church in Anderson with Reverend Father Tom Pistolis as Officiate .  Interment will follow at New Silver Brook Cemetery. 

The family will receive friends from 6:00 until 8:00 pm on Friday, February 8, 2013 at The McDougald Funeral Home, Anderson, SC.  The Trisagion will be at 7:00 PM on Friday.  

Flowers are optional, or memorials in his memory to the Building Fund,  St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral , 406 North Academy Street,  Greenville, SC 29601

A message of condolence may be sent by visiting www.mcdougaldfuneralhome.com   

Thursday
Feb072013

Raffles for Non-Profits Could Soon Be Legal

Nonprofits could legally hold raffles under legislation advancing in the South Carolina Senate.
 
A Senate Judiciary panel voted Wednesday to allow schools, churches and other nonprofits to hold a limited number of raffles yearly. That is, if voters approve changing the state constitution to allow it. The panel approved a separate measure that puts that question on 2014 ballots.
 
The only raffle currently legal in South Carolina is the state lottery.
 
Still, raffles are held regularly across the state anyway. Enforcement of the ban is selective, depending largely on whether someone complains.
 
Previous efforts to make raffles legal have failed as gambling opponents feared the unintended consequences of any change to gambling laws.
 
But those concerns seem to be allayed. The idea's previous opponents say they support this latest version.

Thursday
Feb072013

S.C. Bill Would Negate New Federal Gun Laws

A new piece of legislation in the South Carolina senate looks to ensure any new federal gun control laws do not compromise the security of the Palmetto state and goes about a rather unorthodox way to do so.

Senate Bill 247 proposes that all South Carolina citizens over the age of 17 be allowed to keep any firearm legally acquired before Dec. 31, 2012, citing that those citizens must have access to those weapons as members of the state’s “unorganized militia.”
The bill was filed on Jan. 16, the same day President Barack Obama unveiled his new gun control
proposals in hopes of curbing gun violence nationwide, and lists senators Tom Corbin, Tom Davis, Kevin Bryant and Danny Verdin from the upstate as sponsors.

Corbin authored the bill and is its primary sponsor. Despite the often controversial nature of most proposed legislation dealing with firearms the Greenville Republican said he doesn’t think the bill will ruffle the feathers of too many individuals. Even though all its sponsors at filing were
members of the GOP, Corbin said he hopes Democrats will support the measure as well.
“I think it’s a bipartisan bill myself,” Corbin said. “I’m sure some people won’t see it that way.” The “unorganized militia” is a term that appears in the state constitution that describes all citizens over the age of 17 and grants the governor power to call upon those able bodied citizens to take up arms in South Carolina’s defense should conventional military forces prove unable to adequately protect the state.

It is one of three defined levels of militia defined in the state constitution, the other two being an
organized militia and the National Guard.

A new piece of legislation in the South Carolina senate looks to ensure anynew federal gun control laws do not compromise the security of the Palmetto state and goes abouta rather unorthodox way to do so.Senate Bill 247 proposes that all South Carolina citizens over the age of 17 be allowed to keepany firearm legally acquired before Dec. 31, 2012, citing that those citizens must have access tothose weapons as members of the state’s “unorganized militia.

”The bill was filed on Jan. 16, the same day President Barack Obama unveiled his new gun controlproposals in hopes of curbing gun violence nationwide, and lists senators Tom Corbin, TomDavis, Kevin Bryant and Danny Verdin from the upstate as sponsors.Corbin authored the bill and is its primary sponsor. Despite the often controversial nature of mostproposed legislation dealing with firearms the Greenville Republican said he doesn’t think the billwill ruffle the feathers of too many individuals. Even though all its sponsors at filing weremembers of the GOP,

Corbin said he hopes Democrats will support the measure as well.“I think it’s a bipartisan bill myself,” Corbin said. “I’m sure some people won’t see it that way.”The “unorganized militia” is a term that appears in the state constitution that describes all citizensover the age of 17 and grants the governor power to call upon those able bodied citizens to takeup arms in South Carolina’s defense should conventional military forces prove unable toadequately protect the state.It is one of three defined levels of militia defined in the state constitution, the other two being anorganized militia and the National Guard.

Thursday
Feb072013

College Rankings Under Scrutiny after Reports of Misinformation

Tulane University officials were preparing to send statistics to U.S. News & World Report for its annual graduate school rankings when they noticed something peculiar in early December: sharp drops in admissions test scores and applications to their business school.

Their curiosity became alarm and then embarrassment, as the New Orleans university discovered and disclosed that the business school’s admissions figures from previous years had been falsified. Soon afterward, Bucknell University in Pennsylvania announced that for several years it had reported inflated SAT scores for incoming students.

These and similar revelations in the past year have come from Claremont McKenna College in California, Emory University in Atlanta and George Washington Universityin the District. In each case, the highly regarded schools acknowledged that they had submitted incorrect test scores or overstated the high school rankings of their incoming freshmen.­

At a time of intense competition for high-achieving students, the episodes have renewed debate about the validity of the U.S. News rankings, which for three decades have served as a kind of bible for parents and students shopping for colleges.

Much of the information colleges present about themselves to U.S. News, other analysts and the federal government is not independently verified. That makes it impossible to know how many might have misreported data over the years as they angle for prestige to stand out in a crowded market.

“Rankings have become omnipresent in higher education, and they have enhanced the competition among institutions,” said Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president at the American Council on Education, which represents university presidents. “And in any highly competitive environment, there is always a temptation to cut corners.”

In some of the recent cases, college officials said an employee intentionally submitted inaccurate data. In others, it was unclear whether the mistake was intentional. GWU attributed its errors to a flaw in data-reporting systems that dated back a decade.

A survey of 576 college admissions officers conducted by Gallup in the summer for the online news outlet Inside Higher Ed found that 91 percent think other colleges had falsely reported standardized test scores and other admissions data. A few said their own college had done so.

“There’s definitely a widespread feeling that this goes well beyond those that have been caught or come forward,” said Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed’s editor.

U.S. News Editor Brian Kelly said the number of schools that have corrected their record is “a pretty small universe,” which he considers a sign that reporting problems are not pervasive. He said he would not be surprised if a few more cases emerged.

Wednesday
Feb062013

DeMint Forms S.C. Think Tank

Retired U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, president-elect of one of the nation’s prominent conservative think tanks, has formed a conservative think tank in South Carolina.

DeMint, a Greenville Republican who spent 13 years in House and Senate, is investing $300,000 from his remaining campaign money to establish the Palmetto Policy Forum. He also will serve as chairman.

In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, DeMint said, “All over the country states are becoming the innovators of bold public policy” on topics including education, energy development and tort reform.

“The muscle behind these ideas is often coming from very innovative...policy groups” at the state level, DeMint said. “South Carolina can be one of those policy innovators.”

The Heritage Foundation, where DeMint is president-elect, is working with state-based policy groups around the country, he said.

Oran Smith, director of the Palmetto Family Council, will serve as a senior fellow contributing to legislative research at the Palmetto Policy Forum. Education, healthcare and infrastructure will be the first topics the forum tackles, Smith said.

Ellen Weaver, DeMint’s former state director, will become the forum’s president and chief executive on March 4 after helping with the transition of U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, a North Charleston Republican whom Gov. Nikki Haley appointed to fill DeMint’s seat last month.

Tuesday
Feb052013

Bill Would Outlaw Sweepstakes Machines in S.C.

A bill specifying that sweepstakes machines are illegal gambling is advancing in the South Carolina House.

The Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to move the bill to the House floor. The Senate approved the measure last month.

The bill is designed to close any loophole business owners cite to operate so-called sweepstakes cafes.

State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel says the law would make it clear to local judges that the machines are illegal.

Magistrates have issued conflicting rulings on them.

South Carolina banned video gambling in 2000. Keel and other law enforcement officers say the new machines violate that prohibition.

Supporters of the machines liken them to contests offered by stores and even McDonald's. They sell products such as long-distance phone cards, then offer customers a chance for prizes.


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Bill-on-sweepstakes-machines-advances-in-SC-House-4253150.php#ixzz2K4IUE6NJ

Tuesday
Feb052013

Housing Prices Jump Most in 6.5 Years

U.S. home prices jumped by the most in 6 ½ years in December, spurred by a low supply of available homes and rising demand.

Home prices rose 8.3 percent in December compared with a year earlier, according to a report Tuesday from CoreLogic, a real estate data provider. That is the biggest annual gain since May 2006. Prices rose last year in 46 of 50 states.

Home prices also increased 0.4 percent in December from the previous month. That's a healthy increase given that sales usually slow over the winter months.

Steady increases in prices are helping fuel the housing recovery. They're encouraging some people to sell homes and enticing would-be buyers to purchase homes before prices rise further.

Higher prices can also make homeowners feel wealthier. That can encourage more consumer spending.

Most economists expect prices to keep rising this year. Sales of previously occupied homes reached their highest level in five years in 2012 and will likely keep growing. Homebuilders, encouraged by rising interest from customers, broke ground on the most new homes and apartments in four years last year.

Ultra-low mortgage rates and steady job gains have fueled more demand for houses and apartments. More people are moving out into their own homes after doubling up with friends and relatives in the recession.

At the same time, the number of previously occupied homes for sale has fallen to the lowest level in 11 years.

"All signals point to a continued improvement in the fundamentals underpinning the U.S. housing market recovery," said Anand Nallathambi, CEO of CoreLogic.

The states with the biggest price gains were Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, California and Hawaii. The four states where prices fell were Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Tuesday
Feb052013

S.C. Sponsoring Student Stop Gun Violence Logo Contest

South Carolina's top federal prosecutor is sponsoring a contest for school children to design a logo for upcoming gun violence prevention publications.

U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles' office is sponsoring the 10th Annual Project Sentry Logo Contest. The statewide contest gives students a chance to show how they prevent gun violence in school by designing a logo for use on upcoming Project Sentry publications.

Any South Carolina student currently enrolled in elementary, middle or high school can enter. Winners in four grade categories receive a $50 savings bond. The overall winner receives an additional savings bond and is featured in Project Sentry publications.

The contest deadline is April 5. Applications and more information can be found online at http://www.justice.gov/usao/sc/programs/logowinners.html 


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Federal-prosecutor-in-SC-sponsoring-logo-contest-4251119.php#ixzz2K26NfALy

Monday
Feb042013

" So God Made A Farmer" a Top Super Bowl Ad Pick

An ad created by Chrysler that uses conservative Christian and celebrated broadcaster Paul Harvey's 1978 "God Made a Farmer" tribute has emerged as a favorite among Super Bowl viewers.

"And on the 8th day God looked down on His planned paradise and said, 'I need a caretaker!' So, God made a farmer," begins Harvey's remarks that play over Chrysler's dramatic Super Bowl commercial. "God said I need somebody to get up before dawn and milk cows and work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board. So, God made a farmer."

The "Farmer" ad played during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLVII in which the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31. The commercial drew praise Sunday night and has become one of the most-talked about ads among viewers, including many Christians who took to Twitter to share their reactions.

"Legit commercial, Dodge. Well done. Classy. Unique. Refreshing," wrote spoken word poet Jefferson Bethke.

"Ram Trucks Super Bowl commercial 'Farmer'...best commercial – and nobody was half-dressed," commented LifeWay Research president and missologist Ed Stetzer.

"What Dodge/RAM Executive greenlit that Paul Harvey 'God Made a Farmer' ad? I want to know. He deserves America's undying gratitude," wrote Dietrich Bonhoeffer biographer Eric Metaxas.

While Chrysler's use of dramatic montages of farmers at work juxtaposed with Harvey's powerful and well-timed remarks were appreciated, others also felt Chrysler succeeded in simply drawing interest to its Dodge Trucks with the two-minute commercial.

"This is one of the best commercials I've ever seen. Not only does it pay homage to the men and women [whose] labor was the basis of the American heritage, but it serves it's purpose to draw in the consumer. It makes you want to buy a Dodge; it makes you want to be a farmer. It makes you want to be an American farmer," commented another viewer of the Super Bowl ad on YouTube.

Jason Cummings, Chair for the Department of Leadership and Military Science in the U.K., shares in a post on Christian pastor Ron Edmonson's blog that he found that Dodge's "Farmer" commercial affirmed "virtuous characteristics" that "resonate with our souls," and listed among them disciplined work ethic, compassion and character.

"Americans respect farmers, and the farmer was extolled for his virtuous characteristics," Cummings writes.

Read more at http://global.christianpost.com/news/god-made-a-farmer-super-bowl-ad-for-ram-trucks-a-top-favorite-89401/#AOAV27hR8PIjR2qv.99 

Monday
Feb042013

AU Announces Lifelong Learning Institute Lineup

The spring term for Lifelong Learning Institute at Anderson University offers six courses including poetry, history, a Broadway musical, a writing workshop, and international relations.

Classes meet once a week and are scheduled on several different days, making it possible for participants to take more than one class, All courses meet at AU’s Athletic Campus (the old fairgrounds), with a parking lot near the classroom wing.  All classes are on ground level. 

Harriett Richie’s “Reading Poetry for the Joy of It” will meet 2 to 3:30 p. m. on three Mondays, March 18, March 25, and April 1. Mrs. Richie has written fiction and nonfiction for national publications and is a two-time winner of the South Carolina Arts Commission's annual Fiction Project. She has taught Creative Writing for the Anderson School District Five Community Education program and for LLI.

Dr. Bonnie Ledbetter will lead six sessions on “Colonial American Naturalists,” Tuesdays, 3 to 4 p.m., beginning March 5 and ending April 16.  She will trace 18th century searches for seeds and plants in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.  With combined interest in history and science, Dr. Ledbetter has taught at Texas A&M University and Clemson University. 

Scott Withrow, who has taught several history-related LLI courses at AU, will teach “Carolina Genesis, studying a mixed ethnic people who migrated from the Carolinas to the Old Southwest.  He is a retired public school teacher and a guide at the Cowpens National Battlefield site.  The class will meet four Tuesday nights, 7 to 8:30, beginning February 19, with an optional fifth night.

Jan Osburn will lead a workshop for writing fiction and non-fiction on six Wednesday mornings, 10 to 11:15, beginning February 20.  Mrs. Osburn holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of the South in Sewanee.  Beginning and intermediate writers will submit original manuscripts of not more than 15 pages and provide copies for other members of the workshop.   Enrollment will be limited to 15 participants.  

Dr. Jim Chisman will conduct five sessions on the historic Broadway and Hollywood musical, “Show Boat,” on five Wednesday afternoons, 2 to 4, March 20 through April 17.  The class will view several movie versions of the classic based on Edna Ferber’s novel.  A retired professor of industrial engineering from Clemson University, Dr. Chisman has also done productivity consulting work in the U. S. and abroad. He enjoys performing in musicals, collecting antiques and art, sports and has written seven books so far.  He has taught several LLI courses.

Craig Johnson will lead the popular current international issues course, “Great Decisions,” on eight Thursdays, 3:45 to 5:15 p.m., from February 21to April 18.   He has taught LLI courses for a decade, including his popular audio-visual presentations. Topics include “Future of the euro,” “Egypt,” “NATO,” “Myanmar and Southeast Asia,” “Intervention,” “Iran,” “China in Africa” and “Threat assessment.”

Lifelong Learning Institute is a membership program.  Costs include an annual $30 membership fee, which entitles members to register for courses, each of which costs $20.

Membership includes various benefits: discounts for ticketed student drama and music productions, access to AU’s Thrift Library, discounts at campus food service locations and special one-shot programs for members.

For additional information call 231-2058 or e-mail cboles@andersonuniversity.edu. 

Monday
Feb042013

Vocalist Denyce Graves at Brooks Center Friday

Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves will perform at Clemson University’s Brooks Center for the Performing Arts at 8 p.m. Friday, as part of the Utsey Chamber Music Series.

The combination of Ms. Grave’s expressive, rich vocalism; elegant stage presence; and theatrical ability has allowed her to pursue a wide breadth of operatic roles that have taken her to the world’s greatest opera houses and concert halls. Her programs include classical repertoire of German lieder, French mélodie and English art song; as well as the popular music from Broadway, crossover and jazz and American spirituals.

She joined the voice faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore and continues to educate and teach the singers of the next generation.

As part of the Lillian and Robert Utsey Chamber Music Series, the performance is offered free of charge and no ticket is required for entrance. For more information, visit www.clemson.edu/Brooks or call the box office at 864-656-7787 from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Monday
Feb042013

County to Consider Zoning, Competitive Purchase Orders

Anderson County Council will consider zoning requests for part of Crestview Road, an ordinance to inccrease competitiveness in purchase orders and allowing limited legal power to the County Administrator for collecting debts to the county as part of Tuesday's meeting at 6 p.m. in the historic courthouse downtown.

See full agenda here

Monday
Feb042013

Graham May Have Primary Challenger

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a maverick Republican hailing from a conservative state, has long been considered vulnerable to a primary challenge in 2014.

Several prominent names in Palmetto State GOP politics have passed on taking on Graham next year, but it now appears he may have a serious opponent.

Saying that Graham has betrayed a number of conservative principles, state Sen. Lee Bright told CNN Monday that he is still in the process of making a decision, but the chances of him entering the Senate race are "definitely better than 50 percent."

"I was a huge fan of Lindsey's for the six years he was in Congress," Bright said in a phone interview. "Since he got into the Senate he has gone off the reservation in terms of the conservative ideals I believe in. I don't feel like that can go unchallenged."

Bright, who has represented Spartanburg in the state Senate for four years, called himself a "liberty-minded candidate" with a "bulletproof voting record." He has been regularly backed by the South Carolina Club for Growth since his first election in 2008.

His conservative posture has also been the subject of some criticism, especially when he proposed in 2011 that South Carolina examine creating its own currency.

"If folks lose faith in the dollar, we need to have some kind of backup," he said at the time.