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Anderson Library Summer Reading Program Starts June 1

The Anderson County Library System’s Summer Reading Program blasts off with programs by family friendly performers encouraging literacy and reading.  The space-themed program, which runs June 1 – July 31, is for children from birth to adults. 

Summer Reading is especially important for students and their academic achievement. Children who don't read over the summer experience learning loss. And the effect is cumulative. Kids who lose reading skills over the summer will be two years behind their classmates by the end of 6th grade. The Summer Reading Program aims to solve this problem with easy fun ways to encourage reading throughout the summer.  All activities are free and open to the public, throughout the county.

“Summer is a time of possibilities and discovery.  And what is better than discovering a great book?” said Faith Line, Director of the Anderson County Library System. “Online registration makes it simple to participate and fun, free activities, plus buildings full of books, makes discovery for all ages easy!”

This summer will see the return of some favorite programs and performers, such as Ronald McDonald, and new programs like Robots and Rockets with artist and enthusiast J. Chris Campbell and space technology hands-on activities for teens in TechLab.  The Main library will feature the StarLab Portable Planetarium from Roper Mountain Science Center.  The end of Summer Reading will be celebrated at each branch with a SplashDown Party.

Early registration for Summer Reading has already begun.  Community members may sign up at any of the eight Anderson County Library branches or online at Program completion is based on the ages of the registrants. Babies from birth through 5 years old are encouraged to read or listen to 30 books. Elementary school to Middle school participants, 6 – 12 years old, are asked to read 15 books or for 15 hours.  Completers will receive a voucher for the Greenville Drive All Star Game and a chance to win a Kindle Fire or Leapfrog LeapPad 3. Teens, age 13-18, and adults have a goal of 20 hours of reading and will have opportunities to win various prizes including chances for $100 gift certificates from Amazon and Target

The Summer Reading Program is supported, in part, by the generosity of The Friends of the Anderson County Library, Brett and Elaine Stoll, McDonalds, and Park Sterling Bank.  More information may be found at or by coming into any Anderson County Library.

The Anderson County Library System serves more than 190,000 county residents of all ages and includes the main library in the city of Anderson, eight branches located throughout the county, and a bookmobile. The System’s staff and board are committed to freedom of access for all, offering a forum for ideas. For more information, visit 


Court Upholds Ruling Blocking Trump Travel Ban

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that blocked the implementation of President Donald Trump's so-called "travel ban."

In March, federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked Trump's revised ban, ruling it likely violated the Constitution by disfavoring Muslims. The Fourth Circuit is the first appeals court to rule on the revised immigration order.

Trump said his second order, signed March 6, was a "watered down" version of the first, crafted to withstand the legal challenges that prompted the first order to be struck down -- specifically, that it applied a religious test to those seeking to enter the United States.

Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall told the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that Trump's immigration order was "not a Muslim ban."

"Its text doesn't have to anything to do with religion. Its operation doesn't have anything to do with religion," Wall said during proceedings.

The appeals court disagreed and upheld the injunction blocking Trump's immigration order from taking effect.

In the revised order, the Trump administration pointed out that the ban applied to people of all religions in the affected countries, not just Muslims. The administration also argued the order did not create a religious test because the total number of Muslims affected by the ban amounted to about 9 percent of the world's Muslim population.

The president's revised order seeks to ban travel from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for at least 90 days, and temporarily halt all refugee applications for 120 days. Trump has said that the suspensions allow much-needed time to review the nation's immigration and refugee evaluation procedures to ensure potential terrorists aren't allowed to enter the country.

Trump's revised travel ban dropped some of the most controversial elements of the first one. It removed Iraq from the list of nations excluded from immigration after the military said it threatened to sour relations with the country, which is leading efforts to fight the Islamic State in Iraq with the support of a U.S.-led international coalition.


Retired Clemson Professor "60 Minutes" Feature Sunday

Clemson University alumnus and professor emeritus Col. (Ret) Ben Skardon, a World War II hero and survivor of the Bataan Death March, will be featured on the CBS news program “60 Minutes” this Sunday.

Skardon was the commander of Company A of the 92nd Infantry Regiment PA (Philippine Army), a battalion of Filipino Army recruits on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. He led his troops through some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting of the war, earning two Silver Stars and three Bronze Stars for valor in combat, as well as a Purple Heart during the first four months of the war — an incredible array of awards for any one soldier.

On April 9, 1942, he became a prisoner of war with tens of thousands of his brothers-in-arms when American troops in that area of operation were forced to surrender to the Japanese. Skardon and his fellow POWs were marched 80 miles north by their captors in one of the most notorious war crimes in history: The Bataan Death March.

Skardon survived the march only to suffer three years in Japanese prisoner of war camps. He survived despite becoming deathly ill with malaria, beriberi, diarrhea and other ailments. Two fellow Clemson alumni, Henry Leitner and Otis Morgan, kept him alive by spoon-feeding him and eventually by trading his gold Clemson ring — which he had managed to keep hidden — for food.

Incredibly, as the tide of the war was turning against his captors, Skardon miraculously survived the sinking of two unmarked Japanese transport ships trying to steal him and other POWs away to mainland Japan, including the infamous sinking of the Oryoku Maru.

Skardon is an alumnus of Clemson University, which he attended as a cadet from 1935 to 1938 when it was an all-male military school. He returned to Clemson after the war and became an English professor, was named an Alumni Master Teacher in 1977 and taught until his retirement in 1985.

Correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi interviews retired U.S. Army Col. Ben Skardon at his home in Clemson.

In 2006, at the age of 88, Skardon managed to add yet another remarkable chapter to his life when he became the only survivor to walk in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. He walked six miles, and has returned and walked 8.5 miles every year since but one. This year, at the age of 99, he completed it for the 10th time.

“60 Minutes” correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi, producer Draggan Mihailovich and their team of cameramen and sound engineers followed Skardon on his walk last year and interviewed him in his home and at significant places on the Clemson campus.

The story first aired last year on “60 Minutes Sports” on the Showtime cable network. This is the first time Showtime has allowed CBS to replay a “60 Minutes Sports” segment on the popular Sunday night show — the oldest and most-watched news program on television — in less than their normally contracted three-year waiting period.


S.C. Accused of Needlessly Hospitalizing Mentally Ill

A group that advocates for patients with disabilities is accusing South Carolina's mental health agency of needlessly hospitalizing people instead of providing them in-home services.

Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities says in a federal class-action lawsuit filed Wednesday that the Department of Mental Health is unnecessarily hospitalizing men and women with disabilities at a Columbia facility instead of providing them with services in their homes.

The lawsuit accuses the agency of "a long, unfortunate history of confining people with mental disabilities to isolated asylums." The complaint cites a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision in which the high court ruled segregation of people with disabilities violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A Department of Mental Health spokeswoman didn't immediately return an email message Thursday seeking comment on the suit.


Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast

U.S. government forecasters expect warm ocean waters will fuel an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast calls for 11 to 17 named storms, with five to nine hurricanes. Two to four hurricanes could be "major" with sustained winds of at least 111 mph.

Acting NOAA Administrator Ben Friedman says atmospheric conditions suppressing hurricane development could be weak or non-existent this year over the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

The six-month Atlantic storm season officially starts June 1. A rare April tropical storm formed this year over the open ocean.

National Weather Service Deputy Director Mary Erickson says high-resolution hurricane model upgrades should provide "much improved" forecast guidance this year.

Friedman says a new weather satellite will help forecasters see developing storms in greater detail.


Bond Court Moved to Townsend Building

Anderson County Bond Court has moved from the County’s Detention Center to the Ronald P. Townsend Building, located at 2404 North Main Street at the request of Sheriff Chad McBride.  

Effective immediately, bond court will be held at the Townsend Building. Bonding hours are daily at 6:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. For more information, please call 864-231-3119

During a bond hearing, the inmate is at the detention facility for a video-conferenced hearing. The Magistrate that is presiding over the hearing had been located at the Stone Building (1019 David Lee Coffee Place), but is now located in the Townsend Building.


Newspring War Vet Honors Other Veterans Through Service

Editor's Note: The following story is reprinted with permission of Newspring Church in Anderson. For more information on the church, or if you are a veteran looking for someone who understands your experience, visit or email here.

Jonathan Kyle, the son of and Anderson doctor, lost two military brothers in combat. Honoring them is a daily commitment to live victoriously in Jesus.

Bursts of small arms fire and occasional rockets whizzed continually over the eastern Afghanistan U.S. Army forward operating base where Jonathan Kyle was deployed.

In the brutal winter months of early 2014, they were nothing more than a once-a-week “fireworks show” for the fellow members of the 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.

That was until the start of fighting season in May, when the frozen passes of the Afghan mountains had cleared and terrorist insurgents from across the battle-scarred region assembled to resume their attacks on Coalition forces.

Jonathan Kyle on patrol in the Eastern Afghanistan's Laghman province. 

‘This is War’

There were four complex attacks by lunchtime on the first day of the fighting season on the town of Azizkhan, where Jonathan’s unit was patrolling.

The experience went “from a bad summer camp to, ‘This is war!’” says Jonathan, who served as an officer in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

Rockets fired from the mountains often missed the troops, many times killing innocent people nearby.

In one of the attacks the first day, Jonathan felt the debris from enemy rockets and mortars hit him in the back and legs.

Never before had he felt so mortal. 

Just because you lived, doesn’t mean you're always going to.

The Ultimate Sacrifice

The 502nd Infantry Regiment lost one of its brothers one month later.

Army Spc. Matthew Walker, 20, was on a routine truck patrol. When the unit dismounted, a rocket-propelled grenade hit his vehicle, and a shard of metal from the explosion ripped through his femoral artery, Jonathan says. He died before the medevac chopper could reach him.

“There was just so many emotions at the time,” says Jonathan, whose breathing becomes shallow and halting as he recalls the event and glances down to the metal Killed In Action bracelet he wears in his brother’s honor.

“You don't have the time to mourn. But as soon as you try to go to sleep, or do something, other thoughts creep in: Just how easy it is to die. You are very mortal. Just because you lived, doesn’t mean you're always going to. Then you have to go back out the next day. You have to take those thoughts and submit them to training — and, for me, to Christ.”

Jared Day, left, served as a special forces operator with U.S. Navy Seal Team Six. U.S. Army Spc. Matthew Walker, right, served in the 101st Airborne Division, 502nd Infantry Regiment.

Fallen Heroes

Specialist Walker is one of two servicemen who died in combat Jonathan remembers personally every Memorial Day.

The other brother he lost was his mentor, Jared Day, a member of the U.S. Navy’s Seal Team Six and one of 38 warriors killed in Aug. 6, 2011 crash of Extortion 17. He met Day at U.S. Army Airborne School, where the two got injured on the same jump and spent a lot of time sitting around, laughing and talking together.

“You literally remember facial expressions and things about their personality,” Jonathan says.

Memorial Day is a traumatic time for veterans.

A day of joy, laughter and summer cookouts for many others is for them enveloped in grief, emotional flashbacks, and the funereal silence of contemplating the cost of love and ultimate sacrifice.

“We remember the sounds, the smell, the feel — it’s so much more vivid,” Jonathan says of the events surrounding battle. “You re-live it. You didn’t just witness it.”

I owe them living in freedom, living in victory, and giving life my best

Daily Honor

But honoring the dead isn’t an annual commemoration. It’s a daily commitment, Jonathan says.

“You ask yourself, ‘Have I repaid what these men have paid for me to live? Have I done what these men would have been proud of?’ That's something that you really have to struggle with,” Jonathan says. “I owe them living in freedom, living in victory, and giving life my best because they gave their best for our country. I owe them my best shot.”

That “best shot” is possible because of Jesus, Jonathan says, and helping others find joy, peace, and purpose in Christ is now his mission.

“If vets are not living that life, I want them to get to the place they are. That's how you honor the fallen,” he says.

Jonathan pictured after completing a mission with special forces operators.

Divine Calling

Jonathan’s family has a proud history of military service, including his brother, many cousins, and uncles, and both grandfathers.

Jonathan’s six-year military career grew out of a burden to reach servicemen with the love of Jesus, a calling he first felt as a high school senior. That was when Jonathan fully surrendered his life to Jesus after asking Him into his life at the age of 10.

Jonathan knows the hope of eternal life and the power of the Holy Spirit are the only true escape from the bitterness, anger, despair, and suicide that plagues so many veterans.

Zac Strass, a captain in Jonathan’s unit at Fort Jackson, took his own life just days after completing the classes to leave service. The so-called “American Sniper,” Chris Kyle, Jonathan’s dad’s cousin, was murdered trying to help a disturbed veteran.

The Lord pressed on my heart, ‘You've got to do this.'

“NewSpring Afghanistan”

During Jonathan’s 10 months deployed in Eastern  Afghanistan, he ran weekly worship services inside a tent at his combat outpost.

“When I got there in January, the Lord pressed on my heart, ‘You've got to do this,’” Jonathan says.

Jonathan took with him a hard drive filled with a year’s worth of NewSpring messages. His experience as a volunteer on the NewSpring Production Team in Anderson had equipped him to edit video and use audio-visual equipment to make a seamless “live” experience, consisting of two songs and the message.

The teaching was from the same week of the year, just one year older.

“God is not bound by time,” Jonathan says.

Attendance ranged from a low of zero — during a seven-week span when his military and spiritual mission seemed most doomed — to a high of eight people at an early-August salvation service.

To invite people to come, Jonathan used protein bars sent over in care packages by friends at the Anderson campus.

He knows of several people who asked Jesus to be their Lord and Savior during his deployment.

Jonathan ran weekly worship services using NewSpring messages at the chapel set up at Forward Operating Base Gamberi.

Seeing Miracles 

Jonathan also saw the hand of God countless times.

There was the initial OK and the help he received from his unit’s chaplain, in contrast to his predecessor, who was opposed to evangelism.

And then there was the unlikely intervention from a non-commissioned officer who saved the “chapel” when the base was collapsed.

Standing on the empty site where the chapel once was, “he asked me what I was doing there. I said, ‘I ran a church, but you guys just tore it down.’ His face froze. He blinked and said, ‘We'll take care of that.’ He brought his team over, hooked up generator with air conditioning and set up the equipment and chairs and everything. It was the only building left standing.”

Jonathan’s favorite miracle was the time the 220-volt converter powering the Mac book, projector and speakers blew, with a visible puff of smoke. With no replacement on hand, he put his hand on it and prayed — and it worked for church that day.

A lot of veterans live defeated lifestyles.

A Circle of Support

Now Jonathan, an owner at NewSpring Anderson, is co-leading a military group with veteran Ryan Hulon, seeking to provide love and emotional support for veterans and their families.

Typically, the group discusses a video Bible study and often ends the evening at a restaurant.

The importance of community was underlined for Jonathan when he returned to Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina, and met a NewSpring attender struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal thoughts. 

“He was broken,” Jonathan says.

Jonathan led him to Jesus at Starbucks, but he wasn’t able to connect him to lasting community, and they lost track of one another, something which still troubles Jonathan to this day.

“A lot of veterans live defeated lifestyles. It’s because they deal with heavy demons and burdens that drag them down. You should never have to carry those burdens alone,” Jonathan says.

WATCH: Ryan Hulon's story, Blood And Sacrifice: The Battle Of A Soldier’s Soul.

Jonathan invited people to chapel services using protein bars that were part of care packages, one of which is pictured above.

Victorious Living

Ultimately, Jonathan’s desire is to see military groups form at every NewSpring campus in a state that has one of the largest populations of active and retired military men and women.

But Jonathan knows that ministering to veterans is fraught, especially when it’s easier not to engage with emotional wounds or push people away.
People have walked out of his group several times.

Although Jonathan’s faith gives him an inward strength others may not have, he says a therapist still has been essential to working through his own post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety symptoms.

“We have learned to compartmentalize and stick our pain deep down in us, to the point where we don’t let it affect us. We have to keep on,” Jonathan says, trailing off as he recalls his battlefield experience. “People can only do that so long. You have to let someone come alongside you.”

Are you in active military service or a veteran looking to make a connection with others in your area? Send an email to, and we’ll do our best to help.


No Budget in Sight as S.C. Lawmakers Special Session Begins

South Carolina senators approved legislation to keep state government running if legislators can't agree on a budget before the fiscal year starts.

The Senate approved the continuing resolution 40-0 Tuesday without debate.

Senate President Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman says it's "simply to have a backstop" and he doesn't expect it to be necessary.

Before the regular session ended May 11, legislators created a three-day special session starting Tuesday.

Without a budget to vote on, a mostly empty House met for less than 15 minutes. Speaker Jay Lucas recommended representatives not return until there's agreement.

A legislative panel failed to reach a compromise last week between the chamber's $8 billion proposals. It met briefly in public Tuesday afternoon.

The fiscal year's July 1 start is still more than five weeks away.


New S.C. Child Safety Seat Rules Start June 1

A new law goes into effect June 1 in South Carolina requiringing parents to follow certain restraint laws regarding their child's car seat. Governor Henry McMaster signed the law last week. The law requires children under the age of 2 to sit in rear-facing car seats. 

Additional child car seat laws in the state include: 

- Children under 1 year old or weighing less than 20 lbs must be in a rear-facing child safety seat.
- Children 1 through 5 years old, weighing between 20 to 40 lbs., must be in a forward-facing child safety seat.
- Children over 1 through 5 years old, weighing 40 to 80 lbs., must be in a belt-positioning booster seat.
- Regardless of age, children weighing over 80 lbs. or those who can can sit erect against the car seat and bend their legs over the seat's edge are not required to be in a booster seat.

Parents are encouraged to take advantage of free car safety seat inspection stations around the state to ensure your seats are installed correctly. Click here to find one near you.


Salad River Rally Set for June 3; Registration $25

The Saluda River Rally, an annual kayak event in Anderson County, is scheduled June 3 this year, and offers a number of new opportunities for anyone looking to enjoy the river.

“This will prove to be an asset to all of our riverside towns and communities in Anderson County," said Anderson County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson. "Witnessing the development of the Upstate SC 48-mile Blueway expand downstream is a dream come true.” 

Any citizen, including those with disabilities, will have the opportunity to enjoy self-guided kayak tours of the Saluda River, which will launch from M. J. “Dolly” Cooper Park in Powdersville, and end at Piedmont Dam or at the Timmerman Jr. Kayak Launch Facility in Pelzer. The 9/15-mile paddles include shuttle service from the landing sites back to Dolly Cooper Park. The event will also offer camping at Dolly Cooper Park June 2-3. Registration for the event is $25, which includes a day of kayaking, BBQ, camping, entertainment, shuttles and a tshirt, is required.

Those who participate are asked to bring their own kayaks and floatation devices.

Registration details here.

“I am excited to see the growth in this event. This 15-mile paddle trip is going to be huge," said Anderson County Councilman Ken Waters. "I am proud each year to participate in this event and see familiar faces.”

The event will offer exclusive access to the river and access points, for not only beginner and experienced kayakers, but disabled kayakers as well. Since its inception in 2008, the rally’s primary purpose continues to promote kayaking, Saluda River recreation and Anderson County’s 48-mile ADA accessible corridor along the river. The event also serves as a Special Olympics Area 14 fundraiser to send Special Olympics athletes to the National Games.

Among the many public and private partners for the event are: Anderson County Council, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Anderson County’s Legislative Delegation, Duke Energy, Anderson County Special Populations Recreation, Grady’s Great Outdoors, Sunrift Adventures, SC Kayak Fishing Club, Senior Solutions, Upstate Forever, Saluda River Grill, Save Our Saluda, Touch the Future, Woods and Water Outdoors, Blue Lion Digital, The Angler Magazine, Piedmont Fire Department and Powdersville Fire Departments, as well as many local residents whom return each year to volunteer their time.

The registration fee for this year's event will allow for an enhanced experience and the opportunity for longer, exclusive paddles down the river, and will help offset some fo the costs to the county.


Drought Officially Ends in Anderson County

From Observer Reports

Recent rains have finally moved Anderson County out of the drought category after more than a year. With more than four inches of rain reported in some parts of the county since Saturday, lake levels are rising and the county is finally beginning to move toward normal precipitation status.

According to the United States Drought Monitor, the county has moved into abnormally dry category, after more than a year of being designated as severe drought and drought.

The threat of flooding continues across the area as heavy rain soaked the area have prompted new flood watches as a massive storm system sweeps eastward.

The National Weather Service said flash flood watches early Tuesday extended from southeast Louisiana across Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and a sliver of southern Virginia.


Sewer Pump Repaired after Failure Near Stonewall Woods 

Repairs have been completed on the force main failure and the ewer pump station is back in normal operation effecting the Stonewall Woods, Phil Watson Road ares. Crewsare still working to reestablish the creek bank today in anticipation of more rain in the next 48 hours.

Anderson County officials have estimated 150,000 gallons of Wastewater was released due to the failure of the pump. County officials have posted signs around spill area notifying people in the area of the recent spill along with a no swimming warning until further notice.

Hembree Creek sampling is currently being performed to detect any increase in E Coli bacteria in the stream.


Survey: Which Christians Argue Most Online?

Verbal fights on the Internet are common, be it comment sections or social media posts. Do Christians also fight online? Does one denomination argue more than the others? And why? To answer these questions, the Barna Group conducted a survey, and here's what it discovered.

When U.S. adults were asked if they ever get in arguments on social media, 55 percent said never, 24 percent said it's a rare occurrence, and only 21 percent said they argue online at least sometimes, the study says.

Among practicing Catholics, 16 percent admit they frequently argue on social media — the highest percentage of any faith segment, Barna says.

Practicing Protestants, on the other hand, are fairly conflict-averse, with six in 10 saying they never have this experience, compared to 41 percent of practicing Catholics, says Barna, and adds, "Evangelicals often seem to be caught in the crosshairs of internet controversy, with recent debates covering everything from the Benedict Option to the rules of the blogosphere. Still, they claim to mostly bite their tongue; seven in 10 evangelicals (70 percent) say they never argue on social media."

What's the most common reason for social media spats? "They started it!"

Thirty-three percent of practicing Christians — particularly Protestants (43 percent) and non-mainliners (41 percent) — those with only a high school degree (34 percent) and white adults (29 percent) are groups likely to say strangers come to them with disagreements about something they posted, the survey says.

"Our most fraught conversations seem to have moved from the dinner table to the screen," says Roxanne Stone, editor in chief at Barna Group. "However there are very few rules of etiquette in place for the internet yet. Where once family members could put a stop to an argument with a cry of 'no religion or politics at the table!' the digital world does everything to encourage such debates. And, of course, it's a lot easier to be an anonymous jerk to a stranger than it is to yell at your mom."

However, there is a real person on the other end of that comment, and online bullying has proven to be a truly destructive force, Stone adds. "The number of teen suicides attributed to it is but one extreme and horrifying example of its potency. Our level of civility and straight-up kindness should not be dependent on whether we are physically with a person or whether we know them."

Best-selling conservative author Rod Dreher's new book, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, recently created a debate over the direction of American Christianity and its relation to mainstream society, leading to online arguments. The book suggested that Christians of various denominations must create a counterculture and leave a mainstream American culture that is increasingly hostile to biblical Christianity.

"It seems important today that we expand our idea of 'neighbor' to the digital space as well," Stone concludes. "Treating our digital neighbors as ourselves — even loving our digital enemies — would go a long way in making the internet a better place. Perhaps a simple guideline for all of us might be: If you wouldn't say it 'in real life,' then don't say it online. There's no such thing as someone who is super nice in the physical world and then a bully online. The world is no longer so bifurcated. Your online actions are as revealing as your real life ones."