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Saturday
Nov102018

Some Businesses Offering Specials for Veterans Sunday

On Sunday, a number of businesses are offering discounts or free food/drink to service members. 

BI-LO is offering an 11% discount on qualifying grocery purchases to both veterans and active duty military members on Sunday. People can also donate to 'Folds of Honor' through Monday the 12. The fund provides scholarships for spouses and children of fallen or disabled servicemen and women.

Upstate Dunkin's restaurants offer veterans and active duty members  one free donut of their choosing. 

Chili's is also offering a meal for the day. Information here. 

Saturday
Nov102018

Tensions High as Flordia Election Recount Begins

(CNN) -- The counting is over. Now, the recounting begins.

More than three days after the polls closed in Florida, the secretary of state announced on Saturday afternoon that the razor-thin races for governor, senator and agriculture commissioner will be reviewed in a series of recounts.

According to unofficial results filed by the counties, Republican Gov. Rick Scott leads incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson by more than 12,500 votes, or about .15%. The spread in the governor's race is larger, with Republican former Rep. Ron DeSantis ahead of Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by nearly 34,000 votes, for a lead of .41%. In the narrowest contest, Democratic agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried's advantage stands at 5,326 votes — just .06% — over Republican Matt Caldwell.

With the margins in all three contests at under .5%, the votes will now be recounted by machine. That process must be finished by Thursday at 3 pm ET. Races within .25% will then go to a hand recount of overvotes and undervotes. An overvote means a voter selected more than the allotted options on the ballot; an undervote means a vote selected fewer than the available choices or, in these races, none. The Senate race and the contest for agriculture commissioner both currently both fall within .25%.

The Senate race and the contest for agriculture commissioner both currently both fall within .25%.

In a statement after the unofficial count was made public, Scott's campaign called on Nelson to opt out of a recount, which is his option under state law.

"It's time for Senator Nelson to accept reality and spare the state of the Florida the time, expense and discord of a recount," said Scott spokesman Chris Hartline.

While the politicians tweeted and activists kicked off new protests this weekend, demonstrators on the streets outside the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office on Friday targeted Snipes, chanting "lock her up" and "fake votes don't count" as she and others worked inside trying to finish the initial vote count. "Make America Great Again" and "Trump 2020" signs and hats were also visible as a group carrying signs supporting Scott and DeSantis were met by another backing the Democrats, as nose-to-nose screaming matches nearly escalated into physical altercations.

Saturday
Nov102018

Veterans Day Parade Sunday, Some Roads Closed

The annual Anderson County Veterans' Association Veterans Day Parade will be this Sunday at 3 p.m. in downtown Anderson. The parade route runs along Main Street from Greenville Street to River Street.

A ceremony on the courthouse steps will immediately follow the parade.

Traffic and Parking will be affected along Main Street from E. Highland Avenue to River Street on Sunday between 1-4 pm.

Friday
Nov092018

U.S. Agriculture Chief Visits Clemson, Cites Role of Land Grants

CLEMSON — Declaring America’s agricultural future “bright and prosperous,” United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue cited the vital role of land-grant universities such as Clemson University in sustaining that momentum during a visit to the campus Friday.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue (left) speaks as Keith Belli, dean of Clemson’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences; and Vice President of Clemson Public Service and Agriculture George Askew listen during a banquet Friday at the Hendrix Center. Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

After meeting with Clemson President James P. Clements, Perdue attended a luncheon at the Hendrix Student Center, where he met with students and took questions from farmers, agency heads and other key members of the South Carolina agribusiness industry.

Perdue congratulated the students on choosing to focus their futures on the various aspects of agriculture.

“Agriculture is alive and well and has a bright and prosperous future in so many areas that you all are doing research in,” he said. “I’ve told President (Donald) Trump that I believe if the manufacturing sector in the United States had the same degree of basic research, applied research and a delivery system like the Extension service, we would wouldn’t be talking about the demise of American manufacturing.”

Perdue said the manufacturing aspects of agriculture surpass virtually every other industry in terms of productivity.

“But it doesn’t just happen,” he said. “It is achieved through efforts of places like Clemson University and our other great land grants in conjunction with the Agricultural Research Service through the Department of Agriculture federally, and the U.S. taxpayers obviously are big partners with land grants and certainly in supporting our Extension service and our 4-H programs … and that’s a really important collaboration that we need to enhance and understand more about what we each do and how we can complement one another.”

Perdue said that while the global agriculture industry faces the issue of trying to feed 9 billion people worldwide by the year 2050, the biggest issue currently facing American agriculture is trade.

“How do we sell all the stuff that our farmers and producers grow? That’s one of the things that we focus on at USDA is building markets around the world,” he said. “There’s an international disparity. There’s a proverb that says: ‘When man has not enough to eat, he has one problem; but when he has enough to eat he has many problems.’

“In the United States we are complacent today because we have many problems that don’t have anything to do with the ability to feed our families in the lowest cost, most affordable, most nutritious, healthiest food supply in the developed world. And there are folks around the world that don’t sit at tables like this ever and don’t have what they need.”

Perdue said while he had met many Clemson students during his visit with various agricultural majors, he urged the need for more to set their sights on agricultural communications, citing the importance of “telling the story” of agriculture.

“We can no longer sit behind the farm gate and assume everybody thinks we’re righteous,” he said. “In today’s world of internet and all the social media, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. We lost the language war on GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Now we’ve got new technology out there like non-transgenic gene editing that’s going to help us feed the world. Is that going to be accepted?”

Perdue said the Court of Justice of the European Union has “declared non-transgenic gene editing just as evil as GMOs,” and he expressed concern that U.S. agriculture wouldn’t be able to solve the problem of world hunger with such a constant pushback against science and technology.

“Every time I get with my international colleagues, we’ll sit around these big tables and all of their talking points are about eliminating world hunger by 2030,” he said. “And they get to me — and I’m not very polite with these things — and I say, ‘That sounds all good that you all want to eliminate world hunger while you deny the very tools and techniques that it will take to get there. That’s the facts. Unless you all accept the facts of what our modern crop-protection chemicals have done, as well as our biotechnology efforts have done, you will not eliminate world hunger in that regard.”

Clemson Vice President of Clemson Public Service and Agriculture George Askew gave an update on the work Clemson is doing in the area of water resources management and agricultural water use.

Askew explained that Clemson Cooperative Extension has a presence in each of the state’s 46 counties, while Clemson is also responsible for the state’s Livestock-Poultry Health office, regulatory services unit and USDA-contracted meat and poultry processing inspections.

Clemson also has six Research and Education Centers (RECs) placed strategically around the state to study South Carolina’s unique soil and climate regions, each within their own specific research focus, allowing them to “work as a team” to bring their own area of expertise to the issue of water resource management.

“We have agribusiness in Columbia that can talk about the economics of water issues,” he said. “We have our precision ag people who can work with the sensor-based irrigation people. We have the Advanced Plant Technology people who can work on crops that are more efficient using water — all the way around the state. So we work as a team through the Clemson Experiment Station and then our Extension agents certainly take things out into the state.”

Keith Belli, dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, also gave an update on the status of the college and a brief overview of its five departments: Agricultural Sciences; Animal and Veterinary Sciences; Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences; Forestry and Environmental Conservation; and Environmental Sciences.

The college had 1,906 undergraduate students as of last year, and Belli said he hoped for that total to reach 2,000 within a few more years.

“We’re really pushing to grow in the future,” Belli said. “On top of all that, of course, we’ve got world-class faculty research going on. We’ve got folks like Stephen Kresovich, who is a world renowned for his genetics and genomics work on sorghum and maize and sugar cane, and folks like Sarah White, who has led an eight-institution effort in terms of the clean water program that … has been going on for a few years into what (Perdue) talked about earlier with Dr. Askew and the president about our water initiatives, which I think are really going to take off and it’s very important to this state and everything we do in agriculture.”

Perdue also toured Clemson’s agricultural research and teaching facilities, including the T. Ed Garrison Arena and LaMaster Dairy Center, part of Clemson’s Simpson Research and Education Center.

A former farmer, agribusinessman, veterinarian, state legislator and governor of Georgia, Perdue became the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on April 25, 2017.

Thursday
Nov082018

Study: Fertility Rate in U.S. In Decline Since 1950

The world's total fertility rate has been cut in half since 1950, but the population is still rising, according to a study published Thursday in The Lancet.

The total fertility rate -- or the average number of children a woman would have if she lived through all her reproductive years -- declined from 4.7 live births in 1950 to 2.4 in 2017.

Meanwhile, the global population has nearly tripled since 1950, from 2.6 billion people to 7.6 billion, the report says. An average of nearly 84 million people have been added to the Earth's population every year since 1985.

"As women have gotten more educated and participate more in the workforce and they get access to health services, no surprise, fertility has come down tremendously," said study author Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. "And it comes down faster in younger women."

Other factors have been shown to predict falling fertility rates, including better infant survival rates and later marriage.

"The age at which women are getting married is increasing," said Dr. James Kiarie, coordinator for the World Health Organization's Human Reproduction Team in the Department of Reproductive Health and Research.

"Marriage is one of the biggest drivers of having children all over the world," said Kiarie, who is not an author on the new report.

While total fertility rates fell across all 195 countries and territories in the data, they were split roughly down the middle between those below replacement level and those above, Murray said. "Replacement" describes the total fertility rate "at which a population replaces itself from generation to generation, assuming no migration," which comes out to about 2.05 live births, the authors say.

For example, a woman in Cyprus had one child on average in 2017, while a woman in Niger had 7.1. This range is lower than 1950's, in which total fertility rates ranged from 1.7 live births in Andorra to 8.9 in Jordan.

"The world is really divided into two groups," Murray said. "In a generation, the issue's not going to be about population growth. It's going to be about population decline or relaxing immigration policies."

In countries that want to boost fertility rates, the creation of financial incentives for families, including parental leave, has been shown to have a small effect, Murray said. Only 33 countries, largely in Europe, were falling in population between 2010 and 2017, according to the report.

"The country that's probably the most concerned about this already is China, where the number of workers is now starting to decline, and that has an immediate effect on economic growth potential," Murray said. "In a place like India -- that is still above replacement but very soon going to be below replacement fertility -- that's just such a dramatic change."

That doesn't mean the global population will soon reverse course. A United Nations report last year predicted that the world population would swell to 9.8 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. That report forecast that over half of the expected growth between 2017 and 2050 is likely to occur in Africa.

Thursday
Nov082018

Duke Asking for 12 Percent Residential Rate Hike for 2019

Duke Energy is seeking permission to raise utility rates in South Carolina by 12 percent beginning in 2019.

Duke, which serves 591,000 customers in the Upstate, says the increase will generate $168 million to build a “smarter energy future” for South Carolina.

“The electric power grid is the backbone of South Carolina’s digital economy – not just today, but for decades to come,” said Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, Duke Energy’s South Carolina president in a news release. “Customers want safe, reliable and increasingly clean electricity. They also want more options and control over how they use energy in their everyday lives. We’re working hard to build a smart, secure and flexible electric infrastructure to better serve our customers and keep South Carolina competitive now and in the years ahead.”

Under the plan, residential customers will see an average rate increase of 12.1 percent.

Commercial and industrial customers would see an average increase of 8.3 percent.

“If the proposal is approved, a residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity monthly would pay about $129.43 per month, and increase of about $15.57,” said Ryan Mosier, a spokesman for Duke Energy Carolinas.

If approved, the news rates will go into effect on June 1, 2019.

More at www.duke-energy.com/SCCarolinasRates.

Thursday
Nov082018

Voter Turnout May be Highest of Any Midterm Election

Voter turnout on Tuesday was massive: More than 47 percent of the voting-eligible population cast a ballot in the midterm elections on Tuesday. That's according to early estimates from the United States Election Project.

In Anderson County, the figure was well over 50 percent.

"Almost half of possible voters actually voted" might not sound impressive. But for a U.S. midterm election, it's a whopping figure. Compare that to just 36.7 percent in 2014, and 41 percent in 2010.

That's the highest turnout for a midterm since 1966, when 49 percent of the population showed up to vote.

All told, more than 110 million Americans cast a ballot for their congressional representative in Tuesday's midterm elections, according to a Wednesday estimate from the Election Project.

Voter tallies for the House races, as calculated by the New York Times, show that more Democrats voted than Republicans — as expected, given Democratic outrage at the Trump administration. But the total increase in turnout, compared to 2014, held true for both parties.

 

Thursday
Nov082018

Showerhead Bacteria Could Cause Lung Infections

UPI - You no doubt think that stepping into your shower will wash away dirt and germs, but a new study shows your showerhead might instead dump nasty bacteria on you that may cause lung infections.

Most people know to keep their bathrooms clean, especially the toilet and sink. But researchers discovered that places in the United States and Europe where germs called mycobacteria are found in abundance in showerheads are the same places where bacterial lung infections are most common. In America, that includes parts of Southern California, Florida and New York. 

"We live in a world covered in bacteria, and the bacteria in our showerheads follow some interesting geographic trends, and can be altered by our water source and water chemistry," said study lead author Matthew Gebert.

"We're exposed to microbes constantly in our day-to-day lives, some beneficial, some innocuous and a few potentially harmful," Gebert explained.

He's a research associate at the University of Colorado's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

Bacteria thrive in showerheads and water distribution systems. Although most of these bacteria are harmless, some can cause lung infections, he said.

Still, just because mycobacteria live in your showerhead doesn't mean you'll get sick or are more likely to get a respiratory infection, Gebert added.

RELATED Therapy dogs can spread MRSA, but antibacterials may reduce risk

 

In fact, researchers can't say that a person with a respiratory infection got it through showering, but understanding the sources of mycobacterial exposure is important.

"We don't want people rushing home and throwing away their showerheads or obsessively cleaning them every day, nor should anyone change their showering habits -- swallowing the water is OK," he said.

For the study, Gebert and his colleagues analyzed showerheads from homes around the United States and Europe, and found an abundance of bacteria. The kind of germs varied by location, and by the chemistry of the water and where it came from.

An interesting finding was that homes whose water was treated with chlorine disinfectants had high concentrations of certain germs, the researchers noted.

The study was published recently in the journal mBio.

Dr. Marc Siegel, a professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, noted that bacteria grow in wet places like showerheads.

"This is a reminder to clean your showerhead, which nobody does," he said, though "most of us are likely to tolerate mycobacteria and not get sick from it."

Bacteria in showerheads won't cause an outbreak of lung infections, but people who are run down or who have a compromised immune system or a chronic condition may be vulnerable, Siegel suggested.

Bacteria also live on your toothbrush and in your sink -- any moist surface, he said.

Siegel recommends cleaning your showerhead every week or two with a disinfectant that contains ammonia to be sure you kill all the germs nesting there.

"Add your showerhead to the list of things in the bathroom that need cleaning," he said.

Wednesday
Nov072018

Getting It Right; Why Readers are Important to the Process

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

A story posted last night in the Anderson Observer suggested that 98 percent of Anderson County voters chose to vote straight ticket. This was incorrect, a combination of poor data and a misinterpretation of the numbers.

This would have gone uncorrected if not for Karen Elaine Cole Claflin, who spotted the error and posted the correction, and for that this newspaper is in her debt.

The story has been corrected to refelct a straight-party voting of 64 percent in Anderson County, 71 percent Republican, 72 percent Democrat.

This is an example of why all readers (and those who watch broadcast news) should investigate what is reported and call for corrections when information is in error. The Anderson Observer welcomes this important role readers play in today's news cycles. 

Wednesday
Nov072018

Former UGA Coach Donnan to Speak Friday at TD Club

Former University of Georgia head football coach Jim Donnan will be the guest speaker at The Anderson Area Touchdown Club meeting on Friday. Coach Donnan is now a television analyst for college football and a motivational speaker.

Players and a coach will be also honored on Friday from their play from the previous Friday night games.

The meal lines opens at 11:30 am with the program beginning at 12:10 pm. Visitors are welcome.  Meal cost for members is $10 and $15 for visitors. 

For further information about the Club or to join, call Bill Brissey at 864-226-7380 or Nancy at 864-616-6471.

Wednesday
Nov072018

Democrats Regain House, Pledge Accountability

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Donald Trump faced greater restraints on his presidency after Democrats won control of the U.S. House of Representatives and pledged to hold the Republican accountable after a tumultuous two years in the White House. 

Trump and his fellow Republicans expanded their control of the U.S. Senate in Tuesday’s midterm elections, following a divisive campaign marked by fierce clashes over race and immigration. 

But they lost their majority in the House, a setback for the president after a campaign that became a referendum on his leadership. 

A defiant Trump called the result a “big win” and was due to hold a news conference at the White House at 11:30 a.m.

With some races still undecided, Democrats were headed for a gain of more than 30 seats, beyond the 23 they needed to claim their first majority in the 435-member House in eight years. 

The Democrats had never looked likely to win control of the Senate and in the event they fell short of a tidal wave of voter support that would have given them that. A Senate majority would have allowed Democrats to apply even firmer brakes on Trump’s policy agenda and given them the ability to block any future Supreme Court nominees. 

However, the party will now head House committees that can investigate the president’s tax returns, possible business conflicts of interest and links between his 2016 election campaign and Russia. 

The Democrats could also force Trump to scale back his legislative ambitions, possibly dooming his promises to fund a border wall with Mexico, pass a second major tax-cut package, or carry out his hardline policies on trade. 

“Today is more than about Democrats and Republicans, it’s about restoring the Constitution’s checks and balances to the Trump administration,” Nancy Pelosi, leader of the House Democrats, told supporters at victory party. 

Wednesday
Nov072018

Record Turnout Finds S.C. Voters Favor Republican Candidates

With a 53 percent turnout, a record for a midterm election in the state, South Carolina voters overwhelmingly reelected Republican incumbents on Tuesday.

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster defeated Democratic Challenger James Smith with 54 percent of the 1,676,691 votes cast statewide. 

Full Results of Statewide elections here.

Tuesday
Nov062018

Straight Party Voting 65 Percent in Anderson County (Corrected)

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

NOTE: Updated to correct error in intial story.

In an election that saw 65 percent straight-party voting in Anderson County, voters approved Sunday alcohol sales and rejected and advisory referendum on a 2-percent hospitality tax for unincorportated areas of the the county on Tuesday.

With a turnout of 64,700 registrered voters, more than 50 percent of the county's 117,163 voters, 72.24 percent voted straight Republican, while 27.12 percent voted straight Democract.

The results of such voting were clear fairlly early, with Republicans easily winning their races. 

The Anderson County Legislative Delegation and Anderson County Council, many of whom ran unopposed, each won reelection by substantial margins, while U.S. House Rep. Jeff Duncan garnered more than 70 percent of the vote to return to Washington.

The advisory question on a two-percent hospitality tax for unincoporatred areas of the county was opposed by 66 percent of the voters, while 58 percent voted to approve a binding referendum to allow alcohol sales on Sunday.

Full Voting Results for Anderson County Here.