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Clemson Bioengineering Ranked Fourth in U.S.

Clemson University came in fourth among the nation’s 50 best value schools for biomedical engineering, according to a new ranking from

The ranking included a variety of factors, including graduation rate, accreditation date, degree popularity, engineering popularity and net price.

Martine LaBerge, chair of the Department of Bioengineering at Clemson, said the ranking underscores that students are receiving a high-quality education that remains affordable.

“Best Value Schools has done an impeccable job of describing our program,” she said. “The ranking is a result of our faculty’s hard work and dedication to giving our students not only the best-in-class instruction and experience but also great value.”

The website advised students to “get ready to get hands-on at Clemson University.”

“Just about every day at Clemson includes some type of laboratory study, research project, or side-by-side work with faculty,” according to the site.


Congress Scrambles to Avoid Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Wednesday threw its support behind a Republican proposal to avert a government shutdown at week’s end with a one-month extension in funding, but it was unclear whether there were enough votes to pass it in Congress. 

Congress has been struggling for months to reach an agreement to fund the government, which is currently operating on its third temporary funding extension since the 2018 fiscal year began on Oct. 1. The latest measure expires on Friday. 

Agreement on a spending bill has been complicated by a Democratic push to include a deal on the status of “Dreamers” - young adults brought to the country illegally as children. But there are also disagreements over how to proceed within the Republican Party, which holds majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives. 

“We do support the short-term CR,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters, referring to a so-called continuing resolution to fund government operations through Feb. 16. 

Republican leaders in Congress turned to another short-term spending bill, which they want to pass and send to President Donald Trump’s desk by Friday, as hopes for an immigration agreement with the White House ebbed. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would take up the bill as soon as the House approves it. 

He was still waiting to find out what Trump would support on immigration. “He has not yet indicated what measure he is willing to sign,” McConnell said. 

The White House promised to engage in immigration negotiations next week if Democrats support the stop-gap measure. The talks come after Trump ordered the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to expire in March. He asked Congress to instead come up with a legislative fix for the Dreamers, who received protection from deportation under Democratic President Barack Obama. 

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Anderson Schools, AU Closed Thursday; CU, Tech Open at 11 a.m.

All Anderson County public schools will be closed on Thursday, along with Anderson University.

Clemson University and Tri-County Tech will open for class at 11 a.m.

Anderson County offices and conveninence centers will operate on a two-hour delay.



Study: Good Sleep Can Help with Weight Loss

Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

People plagued by insomnia who began sleeping more cut the amount of sugary foods they tended to eat, an experiment at King's College London revealed.

U.S. experts said the findings show that sleep can help foster healthier eating habits.

"We really need to be looking at sleep as one of these lifestyle factors that can contribute to obesity," said Lauri Wright. She's an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of North Florida and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

For the study, researchers led by Wendy Hall, from the department of nutritional sciences at King's College, recruited 42 people who habitually got less than seven hours of sleep a night.

Half of the people received a 45-minute personalized sleep consultation, which provided them with tips to improve their sleep. The goal was to extend their sleep by as much as an hour and a half each night. The other half received no advice and served as the control group.

All participants were equipped with a wrist-worn motion sensor that kept track of how much they slept each night, as well as the amount of time they spent in bed before falling asleep. They also kept food diaries to track what they ate. Sleep and diet were monitored for a week.

Nearly 9 in 10 of the people who received advice increased their sleep time during the week, anywhere from 52 minutes to about an hour and a half. No significant changes in sleep patterns occurred among those in the control group.

Those folks who got more sleep wound up with a 10-gram reduction in their daily intake of added sugars, the researchers found.

That's not a huge amount of added sugar, only about 2 teaspoons, or 38 calories, Wright said.

But over time those added sugars can add up, especially if sleeplessness also keeps a person from being more active in their daily life, Wright said.

There are a number of different ways sleeplessness could influence a person's food choices, sleep experts said.

A hunger-dampening hormone called leptin is secreted when people enter the deeper stages of sleep, said Dr. Rajkumar Dasgupta, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine.

A lack of sleep could mean that people's appetites are instead being driven by ghrelin, which is known as the "hunger hormone," Dasgupta explained.

"Because they may not be getting into the deeper states of sleep, they're experiencing a dysregulation of the important hormones related to hunger," Dasgupta said.

People with insomnia also tend to develop a lack of inhibition due to their sleeplessness, said Dr. Andrew Varga, an assistant professor of sleep medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

"It just becomes harder to resist certain foods and other things you ordinarily would know you shouldn't indulge in," Varga said. "You're more likely to act on your base impulses."

Dasgupta agreed. "Let's face it, when I'm up late snacking, I'm not grabbing the [water] and the celery sticks," he said, noting people will more likely opt for junk foods and snacks.

However, Varga said there are some potential limitations to the new study.

For example, the wrist device used to monitor sleep relies on motion detection, Varga said. If you're moving, you're assumed to be awake; if you're still, you're assumed to be asleep.

The problem is that insomniacs "will lie in bed awake," Varga said. The device "is picking up motionlessness that would be interpreted as sleep, but actually the person is laying there wide awake, counting sheep in their head."

Sleep experts said the advice provided to participants in this study should help anyone suffering from insomnia.

The tips include: 

  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol about four to six hours before bedtime.
  • Eating a moderate amount in the evening, so you don't go to bed too full or too hungry.
  • Making your bedroom more conducive to sleep by keeping it quiet, dark and cool.
  • Establishing a wind-down routine that gets you ready for sleep.
  • Hitting the sack only when you're truly tired.
  • Getting out of bed if you can't fall asleep within about 20 minutes, to perform some of the practices that help you wind down.

Just keep in mind that what works is going to vary from person to person, Dasgupta noted.

"Sleep is not simple. Sleep is a puzzle," he said. "With each person with insomnia, there are different pieces to the puzzle."

The study was published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


Weather Postpones McMaster's State of the State Address

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Gov. Henry McMaster's first State of the State address has been postponed due to inclement weather.

The Republican's spokesman Brian Symmes posted on Twitter that the speech originally scheduled for Wednesday evening had been postponed to January 24.

State lawmakers began calling off meetings Wednesday morning, with most of the northern and central portions of the state under winter storm and weather advisories.

McMaster was elevated to the governorship a year ago when Nikki Haley was confirmed as U.N. Ambassador. He's now seeking his first full term in office and faces several challengers in the June GOP primary.

Rep. James Smith is scheduled to give the Democratic response. He's also running for governor.


Anderson County Offices Closed Because of Snow, Ice

All Anderson County offices are closed today because of the ice and snow.

The schedule is expected to return to normal on Thursday.


Anderson County Schools Closed Tuesday

All Anderson County Schools are closed today because of the ice and snow.


Council Oks Moving Ahead with 15-Year Solid Waste Contract

Anderson County Council on Tuesday night agreed to move forward on a new 15-year contract with Solid Waste Disposal contract with Anderson Regional Landfill, LLC, in Belton, which would charge an initial disposal rate of $23.90 per ton. A four percent increase of the disposal rate will take place in the sixth and eleventh year. 

The county’s current contract with Anderson Regional Landfill ended at the end of 2017. 

“This was a true effort by the committee to get what was best for Anderson County,” said Anderson County Councilman Craig Wooten.”We exhausted every means to get a higher level of service for less money.” 

Wooten also praised the work of Anderson County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson and Anderson County Environmental Director Greg Smith for their extended work on negotiating the deal. 

Also on Tuesday night, council approved a motion by Anderson County Councilman Ray Graham, chairman of the council’s Public Safety Committee, instruct administrator to begin working on an three-year agreement with EMS providers. The previous agreement with area providers have been one-year contracts, which Graham said created planning problems for the various providers. 

The new contract is the result of a study the county conducted, which includes expectations for performance benchmarks for providers, said Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns. 

At Tuesday’s meeting, council: 

Officially approved the new Anderson County Hazard Mitigation Plan. “We want to thank (Director of Emergency Management) Lt. David Baker and his staff for all the work they’ve done on this,” Dunn said. 

Approved a resolution to begin the process of reviewing the Anderson County Code of Ordinances to streamline land development processes.  “Some of our ordinances contradict what others say, we need to put something in motion to take care of this,” said Anderson County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn. Wilson said she hopes the county can have a meeting with developers to go through the process of revising the ordinances.

Approved $601,000 to allow the Sheriff’s Department to purchase Dodge Chargers Police AWD.


The State: S.C. to Replace 200 Oldest School Buses

More than 200 of South Carolina’s oldest and most fire-prone school buses will be replaced by the next school year. 


Senate Close to Votes to Overturn FCC Net Neutrality Rules

(Reuters) - U.S. Senate Democrats said on Tuesday they had the backing of 50 members of the 100-person chamber to overturn the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s decision to reverse the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules, leaving them just one vote short of a majority. 

Senator Ed Markey said in a statement that all 49 Democrats backed the repeal. Earlier this month, Republican Senator Susan Collins said she would back the effort to overturn the FCC’s move. Democrats need 51 votes to win any proposal in the Republican-controlled Senate because Vice President Mike Pence can break any tie. 

The FCC voted in December along party lines to reverse rules introduced in 2015 that barred internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic or offering paid fast lanes, also known as paid prioritization. The new rules will not take effect for several months, the FCC has said. 

A group of 21 state attorneys general on Tuesday, including California, New York and Virginia, filed a petition for a review of the decision with an appeals court in Washington, arguing the FCC’s action was “arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion” and that it violated federal laws and regulations. An appeal may not be heard until the rules officially take effect later this year. 

A reversal of the FCC decision needs the approval of the Senate, the House of Representatives and President Donald Trump. Trump backed the FCC action, the White House said last month, and overturning a presidential veto requires a two-thirds vote of both chambers. 

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said the issue would be a major motivating factor for the young voters the party is courting. 

A trade group representing major tech companies including Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc and Inc said it would support legal challenges to the reversal. 

The vote in December marked a victory for AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc and handed them power over what content consumers can access on the internet. It was the biggest win for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in his sweeping effort to undo many telecommunications regulations. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, backs the FCC repeal. 


S.C. Bill Seeks to Hide ID of Execution Drug Companies

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina is proposing protecting the identities of companies that provide the state with execution drugs.

Spartanburg Rep. Eddie Tallon told The Associated Press on Tuesday he's filed a bill that will make drug suppliers part of the execution team. Tallon hopes this protection will make companies less reluctant to sell drugs to the state, knowing they'll be used for an execution.

Lawmakers have discussed how to carry out executions after the state's supply of lethal injection drugs expired in 2013. The state has not conducted any executions since 2011, in part because of no available drugs.

Currently, inmates can only be electrocuted if they request that method. South Carolina last used electrocution in 2008 for the execution of James Earl Reed, convicted in 1996 of killing his ex-girlfriend's parents.


AU Nursing Students Excel on National Licensing Exam

Graduates from the Anderson University College of Health Professions’ School of Nursing passed their licensing exams at rates that exceed the national average, according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). NCSBN is a non-profit organization that certifies nursing professionals across the country. It accomplishes this through its NCLEX exam; upon successful passage of the rigorous test, nurses are fully licensed to serve in a professional capacity.

For 2017, 98 percent of AU nursing graduates passed the exam, while the national average passing rate was 89 percent.

AU’s nursing school is home to the South Carolina’s only cadaver lab designed exclusively for nursing students. The lab features a state-of-the-art, full-body simulator lab. AU nursing students also conduct nursing mission trips around the world and have clinical affiliations with numerous organizations, locally and nationally.


GOP Seeks Short-Term Deal to Avert Government Shutdown

Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The clock is ticking for congressional leaders to keep the government open before current funding runs out at the end of the week.

The House this week will consider another short-term funding patch, or continuing resolution, for the fourth time since September as Republican leadership tries to unify on whether to include money for disaster aid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 

Also stalling a long-term spending bill are efforts by congressional leaders to reach a bipartisan agreement on a permanent solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which President Donald Trump said he would end in March.

A federal judge, however, ruled last week Trump's plan to end DACA was unlawful and blocked the plan.

The stakes are high on both sides of party lines, as Democrats ponder whether to vote for the resolution without an immigration deal in place. Democrats are also insisting on equal increases for defense and non-defense programs.

Last week, Trump rejected a bipartisan immigration deal and made volatile comments about immigrants traveling to the United States from "shithole countries" -- throwing a wrench into ongoing negotiations on Capitol Hill.

If Democrats withhold their votes on a new spending deal, House Speaker Paul Ryan will have to convince caucus members to vote for another short-term patch.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., faces the obstacle of not having a filibuster-proof majority, leaving leadership wondering whether Democrats will pick Friday's deadline withhold all their votes on the short-term spending bill.

To overcome a filibuster, nine Democrats are needed to side with Republicans in the Senate.