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Ray Scott Championship to Return to Green Pond in 2020

Another major national fishing tournament is heading to Green Pond in 2020.

The American Bass Anglers announced today that the Ray Scott Championship will be hosted by Visit Anderson at Green Pond Landing on Harwell Lake April 6-12, 2020.The competitors will fish Lake Hartwell, the 56,000-acre reservoir along the Savannah and Tugaloo Rivers, which spans part of the South Carolina-Georgia border.

Since opening in December 2014, Green Pond Landing has hosted the ABA Championships as well as numerous major events including the Bassmaster Classic and FLW Tour. The economic impact of these events for the Anderson community has already passed the $52 million mark.

“We are very excited to have American Bass Anglers and the Ray Scott Championship coming back to Anderson County, Green Pond Landing and Lake Hartwell for another championship fishing tournament," said Neil Paul, Executive Director of Visit Anderson. "We have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the great folks at ABA over the years and the ABA family has contributed significantly to the economic impact of fishing tournaments in Anderson County. Ray Scott is the Godfather of competitive bass fishing and to be able to host a championship tournament that bears his name is an honor and privilege for our community and we look forward to this tremendous opportunity,” 

“The Anderson SC area and Lake Hartwell provides the exact mix of fishing and Southern heritage for this event," said Morris Sheehan, ABA President. "Neal Paul at Visit Anderson and the local community rolls out the red carpet and always go above and beyond to welcome the ABA anglers.  We are excited to return to to Anderson for the 2020 Ray Scott Championship.” 



New S.C. Law Changes Rules on Parenting

BY CHARLES DUNCAN/The State Newspaper

Parents in South Carolina can get in trouble with the law if they leave their kids in a parked car or let them play in a park by themselves. But a new bill in the state senate wants to change that, clarifying the rules to say kids who are old enough and mature enough don’t always have to have adult supervision. 

Utah made national headlines when lawmakers approved its “free range parenting” law last year, the New York Times reports. The Utah law, like the proposal for South Carolina, says kids who are mature enough can walk to school or a park, or wait in a car while parents run errands, according to the Times. 

The bill up for debate in Columbia would change the state’s child abuse and neglect statutes, clarifying the rules for law enforcement and the state Department of Social Services, according to the Free Times. 

“This is not saying you can treat your children badly,” Vincent Sheheen, D-Camden, told the newspaper. “But allowing some freedom for your children before they’re adults is not neglect.”

eheen said parents can use common sense to give children more freedom and independence, according to the Free Times. “Clearly you shouldn’t leave a kid in a car that’s 100 degrees, but if your kid is 12 and you run into the store and it’s 50 or 60 degrees outside — I mean, my parents did that,” Sheheen told the paper.

The change to the law states, “‘Child abuse or neglect’ or ‘harm’ does not occur if the parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s welfare permits the child, whose basic needs are met and who is of sufficient age and maturity to avoid harm or unreasonable risk of harm, to engage in independent activities.” 

Those activities include walking to school, a nearby store or a park, playing outside, waiting in the car or staying at home alone.

Sheheen told the Free Times the changes would give a “clearer guideline for authorities” on what constitutes child neglect when kids are left alone, the newspaper explains.

“Parents should be free to raise children in ways that they see fit without fear of someone looking over their shoulder as long as they’re not harming their child,” Sheheen told the Post and Courier.

“We encouraged our children’s independence as much as possible,” he told the newspaper. “I felt it was very important for us not to micromanage or ‘helicopter’ their lives.”

New York columnist Lenore Skenazy is credited with bringing the “free range parenting” movement to the national stage after she wrote about letting her 9-year-old son ride the New York City subway alone, according to the New York Times.

“Skenazy was roundly criticized – some called her the worst mother in the United States – after she left her son in the department store with $20 and instructions on how to use public transit to get home,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

Utah is the only state to pass a “free range parenting” law, the AJC reports. A similar bill was introduced in Arkansas but did not pass the state house in 2017, according to the newspaper, and several other states have discussed making these types of changes.


SNAP, Child Nutrition Programs Funded Through March

an. 9 (UPI) -- Food stamp recipients won't miss their February benefits even if the partial government shutdown continues, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday night.

The agency found a way to fund the USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for 38 million Americans without new appropriations from Congress, the agency said in a news release

January's payments went out although the USDA's funding expired on Dec. 21. The shutdown of 25 percent of the government involves several agencies, including USDA. The other agencies are fully funded through September as President Donald Trump is demanding funding for a border barrier along Mexico, which Democrats oppose.

"At President Trump's direction, we have been working with the administration on this solution. It works and is legally sound," Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in the news release. "And we want to assure states, and SNAP recipients, that the benefits for February will be provided.

And Perdue told reporters that the agency will look into options for March.

"We've provided an additional month of SNAP benefits with this solution, I believe that gives Congress ample time to act," he told reporters.

The child nutrition programs, which include school meals and after-school programs, are funded through March.


Legislative Delegation Looks Ahead to 2019


Legislative Delegation Answers Questions About Priorities

Topics include opioids, mental health, education and the economy.


New Council Sworn in at Year's First Meeting

Two new Anderson County council members were sworn in Tuesday night, as part of the first meeting of the new year. Anderson Council Council Chairman Tommy Dunn and Anderson County Council Vice-Chairman Ray GrahamTwo new Anderson County Councilmen were sworn in Tuesday night. Brett Sanders, left, now represents district four, and Jimmy Davis, right, now represents district six. were also re-elected to lead council in the year ahead. 

Anderson County Councilman Brett Sanders took over the District Four seat which has been held by Tom Allen, who retired from the post. Sanders said he is looking forward to serving the county and hopes to help small businesses.  

Anderson County Councilman Jimmy Davis, who defeated former District Six Councilman Ken Waters in the GOP primary last year. Davis said he thinks the county is moving in a good direction and that he wants to help citizens better understand what is going on in local government.

Both councilmen have been attending council meetings for several month in preparation of their new roles. Both thanked their predecessors for their service to the county and for making their transitions smooth.


Jackson Named Director of Clemson Emeritus College

CLEMSON — Debra B. Jackson, professor emerita of nursing at Clemson University, has been appointed director of the Emeritus College, which comprises retired Clemson faculty members who continue to serve the university as mentors and in other roles.Debra B. Jackson Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

Jackson, who was vice provost of academic affairs and assistant to the president before retiring in January 2017, was appointed to lead the Emeritus College by Robert Jones, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost.

During her 26-year career, Jackson also was the first chair of the public health sciences department, acting dean of the Graduate School and vice provost for institutional effectiveness at Clemson. Before that, she spent 19 years in various roles at Emory University, including as a tenured associate professor of nursing.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the Medical University of South Carolina, a master’s in nursing from Emory and Ph.D. in higher education administration from Georgia State University.

Since retiring, she has remained active as a consultant and serves on the Emeritus College Advisory Board and chairs the awards committee.


Last Lt. Gov. to Preside Over S.C. Senate Steps Down

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A lieutenant governor stepped down from his role presiding over the South Carolina Senate for the last time Tuesday after more than 150 years.

The Senate unanimously approved a new position called "President of the Senate" on Tuesday to preside over the body like the lieutenant governor used to do. The step comes in response to voters changing the state constitution in 2012 to make the lieutenant governor a ticket with the governor and more of a vice president than the executive branch's representative in the Legislature.

Senators unanimously voted to make 38-year Senate veteran Harvey Peeler their new president. The Republican from Gaffney is a favorite for his passion and his sense of humor. He immediately donned the purple robe over his orange tie — appropriate for the day after his beloved Clemson Tigers won the national championship in football — and promised to lead fairly.

"You chose me to lead you. And lead you — by God I will," Peeler said at the end of his speech, emphatically banging the gavel.

Senators also passed new rules, most simply inserting the Senate President into roles held by either the lieutenant governor or the President Pro Tempore. The new rules had to happen with the amendment removing power from the lieutenant governor. Voters approved the amendment after proponents convinced them it made more sense in the modern world to let the governor pick a lieutenant governor than end up with the two leaders from different political parties.

There was one key change from the past — senators agreed the Senate President cannot be the leader of a Senate committee to prevent consolidation of power. It was a victory four years in the making for Republican Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey of Edgefield, who in the Senate's collegial fashion, praised the final man in the Senate leadership role instead of gloating in his victory.

The final Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman didn't take the new job because of that rule. The Florence Republican decided to remain chairman of the powerful Ways and Means committee, which considers the state budget.

"This state is steeped in tradition. We don't change often," Leatherman said of the Senate, whose roots go back 300 years to the South Carolina Royal Council.


S.C. Lawmakers Begin Session with $1B Extra to Spend

BY MEG KINNARD, Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Lawmakers returned to the capital for the new session that began Tuesday promising to overhaul the state's education system and choose how to spend an extra $1 billion in the state's coffers.

Over the 18-week General Assembly session, House and Senate leaders plan to focus on improvements to the state's K-12 and higher education systems. House Speaker Jay Lucas of Hartsville has yet to provide specifics; other Republican House leaders said bills will be introduced soon with details.

Republicans have begun to suggest the bigger challenge is deciding how to spend the available revenue, which surpassed what state economists had forecast due to improvements in the economy.

"I want to know exactly what we spend per child in South Carolina and what it costs to go to college in South Carolina," says House Majority Leader Gary Simrill of Rock Hill, who chairs a budget subcommittee on higher education. "Tackling K-12 education needs to be done correctly, not quickly."

Democrats have said lawmakers taking a wholesale look at education need to address growing poverty in rural areas and how school systems with poorer and minority students have always lagged behind.

"There is no magic wand," Democratic Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter of Orangeburg, the longest-serving House member. "We are looking at 20-plus years of underfunding, and that does not change overnight."

Gov. Henry McMaster also thinks education needs to be a top priority, his spokesman said.

The 123rd legislative session also began with new leaders for several key committees, including the budget-writing House Ways and Means Committee. There are also new rules for the Senate, now that the lieutenant governor no longer presides over that chamber.

On Tuesday, the House met briefly for largely ceremonial duties before adjourning for caucus meetings.

The extra money will drive many legislative decisions, among them whether to give raises to teachers and other state employees, improve equipment for law enforcement or restructure the state's income, property, and sales tax systems.

McMaster spokesman Brian Symmes has said the governor wants to cut income taxes and stop taxing military retirement payments.

The lawmakers in both chambers — a total of 105 Republicans and 63 Democrats (with two vacancies) — may also decide what to do with state-owned utility Santee Cooper, which is saddled with around $9 billion in debt, about half of it from paying for nuclear reactors that were never finished. Much of last year's session was devoted to how to satisfy ratepayers of South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., the project's majority owner, who have already paid more than $2 billion toward the failed endeavor.

"I believe SCANA pales in comparison to the issues involved with Santee Cooper," Democratic Senate Leader Nikki Setzler of West Columbia said. "I believe Santee Cooper is much bigger, much larger than the issues we dealt with SCANA and SCE&G."

The Senate welcomed a new leader, creating a position of Senate President and voting Republican Harvey Peeler of Gaffney to it. The rules need to change because voters approved a constitutional amendment changing the lieutenant governor's job to running as a ticket with the governor and no longer presiding over the Senate.

There was also a new senator. Dick Harpootlian won a special election in November for the final two years of the term of Republican John Courson, who resigned during a probe into corruption at the Statehouse. Harpootlian, a Columbia Democrat, railed against corruption and the unwillingness of lawmakers to do what is right for the people.

But he said on Tuesday that two months of talking to his new colleagues has led him to see that there is hope for the General Assembly after all. The former head of the state Democratic Party also poked fun at his well-known habit of outrageous comments, pointing out he was reading his first floor speech from prepared notes.

"When I go off script, things can go awry," Harpootlian said.


Fox21: Clemson to Celebrate Championship with Parade Saturday

Clemson, SC (FOX Carolina) - After winning their second national championship in three years, the Clemson Tigers and all of Tiger Nation will celebrate Saturday, January 12 with a parade beginning downtown and ending at Memorial Stadium. 

Beginning at 7 a.m. the gates will open at Memorial Stadium for fans who want to grab a seat early.  

Until the parade begins at 9 a.m., highlights/replay from the Championship game will play on the video board up until it's time for the parade to start. 

To view the parade you have two options:

Option 1: Set up along the parade route 

  • The parade will start downtown at the intersection of College Avenue and Keith Street.
  • The parade will proceed to Highway 93 and turn left onto Highway 93 in front of Bowman Field.
  • The route will then take a right onto Calhoun Drive and finally take a right onto Fort Hill Street where it will end at the east side of Memorial Stadium. 

Option 2: Watch inside Memorial Stadium

  • Inside Memorial Stadium the parade will be shown live on the video board beginning at 9:00 a.m. 

The parade will include players, coaches, administrators, invited guests, Tiger Band, cheerleaders, Rally Cats, mascots and more. 

The stadium celebration will start at approximately 10:30 a.m. Inside the stadium coaches, players, and special guests will be speaking. 

The celebration will conclude prior to noon so fans can attend the Clemson vs. Virginia Basketball game. Tickets are available for purchase here


IRS to Issue Tax Refunds Despite Government Shutdown

Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The Trump administration has assured Americans that federal income tax refunds will be sent out despite the government shutdown that's been going or two weeks.

Only about 12 percent of the IRS staff is working during the shutdown and there will be very few available to help taxpayers with questions.

The agency announced Monday that tax filing season will begin Jan. 28, when Americans get their W-2s from employers.

"We are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown," IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said in a statement. "I appreciate the hard work of the employees and their commitment to the taxpayers during this period."

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While that may inconvenience taxpayers and accountants, the administration has reversed course from its predecessors by issuing refunds during a shutdown. The IRS said it's able to issue refunds from a permanent, indefinite appropriation -- it's just hasn't been directed to do so in the past.

"Tax refunds will go out," said Russell T. Vought, the acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The IRS will make it as "painless as possible consistent with the law," he added.

Issuing refunds on time would make it easier for President Donald Trump to continue the shutdown without affecting taxpayers waiting for money. Last month, Trump refused to sign a spending bill unless it included more than $5 billion for a wall along the southern border -- part of his firm stance against illegal immigration. Several agencies shut down Dec. 22 after Congress failed to agree on a spending bill to send to Trump.

Other agencies, like the IRS, are operating with a skeleton crew. The Transportation Security Administration's airport screeners are also working temporarily without pay.


County Council to Swear in New Members Tonight

Anderson County Council will swear in two new members at 6 p.m. in the historic courthouse downtown to kick off 2019. Both men were elected in November.

Brett Sanders replaces the retiring Tom Allen in Dist. 4, and Jimmy Davis was elected to serve Dist. 6.

The regular council meeting, with a light agenda, is scheduled for 6:30.

Agenda here.


AnMed Gets Accreditation from Healthcare Organization

AnMed Health has received accreditation from DNV GL Healthcare, an accreditation program consistent with the hospital system’s long-term commitment to quality and patient safety. Accreditation is essential credential for hospitals in order to participate in Medicare reimbursement. 

"DNV GL accreditation aligns beautifully with our strategic plan. It gives us a framework to work within to achieve our strategic objectives in patient safety," said Barbara Beverage, AnMed Health assistant vice president of patient safety and quality.

The DNV GL accreditation will allow AnMed Health to customize efforts to address areas of need in its long-term commitment to quality and patient safety. DNV GL’s accreditation program integrates the ISO 9001 Quality Management System. 

DNV GL’s accreditation program, called NIAHO® (Integrated Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations), involves conducting hospital surveys annually instead of every three years. It encourages hospitals to share information across departments openly to discover improvements in clinical workflows and safety protocols.