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Senate Subcommittee to Discuss Education Overhaul Bill

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A small group of South Carolina senators plan to discuss potential changes to a massive bill to overhaul the state's education system.

A Senate subcommittee discussing the bill will meet at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Statehouse. The agenda says they will discuss an amendment to the proposal.

The House passed a 60-page bill backed by Gov. Henry McMaster earlier this year that included a student bill of rights and a new committee to oversee education from pre-kindergarten to universities.

Hembree says he wants to send the bill to the full Senate Education Committee so it can debate and pass it and have the proposal on the Senate floor when lawmakers return for the 2020 session in January.


School Dist. 3 Superintendent Looks to Year Ahead

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

Anderson School District Three Superintedent Kathy Hipps looks back to the past school year and into the coming school year in this interview with the Anderson Observer.


Salvation Army to Distribute Backpacks Monday

The Salvation Army of Anderson Countywill be hosting a School Supplies Giveaway on Monday, for Anderson County students in need of school supplies.

More than 18,000 items were collected on Aug.3, and more than 300 backpacks will be distributed to those in need.

Doors will open at 7 p.m., and children must have a guardian present to be eligible.

For more information, contact the Salvation Army Youth Director Rashad Poole at (404) 552-1739.


24-Hour Musical to Present "Footloose" Tonight

Anderson Observer

The mystery is over, and cast and crew are now hard at work on tonight's show "Footloose."

The Anderson Theatre Festival's 24-Hour Musical is set for tonight in the Henderson Auditorium of the Anderson University's Callie Stringer Rainey Fine Arts Center, with all proceeds going to benefit The Lot Project in Anderson. The Market Theatre Company is in charge of the production.

Admission is free, but donations will be received at the door for the charity. Seating is first come, first served.

True to the 24-Hour Musical's name, the show that is being performed, as well as the cast list, is a mystery (to the cast and to the public) until the Kick-Off Party just 24 hours before showtime. Everything is learned, created, gathered, and rehearsed in 24 hours by an expansive team of volunteers.

The cast and crew met for the first time Friday night, giving them only 24 hours to memorize lines, learn choreography and music, build sets, find/make costumes, market the event, and prepare every aspect of the production.

The goal of the 24-Hour Musical is to create excellent theatre to better our community, while also building a creative atmosphere for artists to commit themselves fully to their craft. The group attempts to do this by welcoming imperfection and building a relationship with the audience, an audience that understands passion means more than perfection.

The name of the show will be announced Thursday.

For more information, visit The Market Theatre Company. For more information on the charity, visit The Lot Project.



FLW Tour to Return to Green Pond April 20-May 2

Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, will bring the 37th annual T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American would also be held to Green Pond Landing and Event Center at Hartwell Lake, April 30-May 2.

“We’re very proud to be a part of the FLW Tour schedule for 2020,” said Executive Director of Visit Anderson Neil Paul. “A lot has changed at Green Pond Landing since the FLW Tour last visited Anderson County in 2016. There were folks from the FLW team that played an integral role in the initial development of Green Pond and we’re excited to be able to show off the progress of our world class facility to the FLW Team, the professional anglers among the tour and the fans that will come out and participate in what will be an exciting event in Anderson County.”

The FLW Tour has visited Lake Hartwell four times previously, with 2020 marking the fifth visit in the Tour’s 25-year history.

The full schedule for the 2020 FLW Tour season was announced live to anglers and media Thursday at the annual pre-FLW Cup banquet in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

The event will be hosted by the Anderson Convention & Visitors Bureau.


Metric Ton of Plutonium Moved Out of S.C.

AIKEN, S.C. (AP) — Officials in South Carolina say the U.S. government followed a requirement to remove weapons-grade plutonium from the state.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said 1 metric ton (2,200 pounds) of nuclear material has been shipped out of the Savannah River Site near Aiken.

The U.S. Energy Department was ordered in 2017 to remove that much plutonium by January.

Federal court records said half the plutonium was sent to Nevada. Wilson's statement Wednesday didn't say where the other half was shipped.

South Carolina sued the federal agency after it halted a plan to turn plutonium once used to make nuclear weapons into fuel for nuclear reactors.

The Energy Department owes the state $200 million in fines in part because 11 metric tons (24,250 pounds) of plutonium remain at the site.


Anderson School Dist. 5 to Ban Cell Phones in Elementary Schools


Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

Anderson School District Five will have new cell phone policies for all schools in place for the upcoming school year.

"We've got to get a handle on cell phone use in schools," said Anderson School District Five Superintendent Tom Wilson. Wilson said most parents will like the new policy.

A no cell phone policy will be in place for elementary schools in the district. Phones will be taken from students in elementary schools who bring a phone to school and a parent will be required to come to the school to retrieve the phone. 

Middle school students' cell phones may not be used during school hours or seen or heard during the day. Students who violoate the policy, like those in elementary schools, will have phones taken and only returned to a parent.

High school students are only allowed to use their cell phones during lunch, a limited free-time use with similar punishment if the policy is violoated.

"We've had cell phones stolen and other problems, so we decided we needed to do something," Wilson said, adding that the entire nation of France has banned cell phone use in public schools and seen academic achievement improve as a result of the move. 

"The whole thing of bringing them to school was part of the 'bring your own' technology, which is no longer necessary since all students are provided with Chromebooks," Wilson said.



Moorhead, Thompson to Join Anderson Hall of Fame

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

ANDERSON — Well-known Anderson photographer Lewis Dalton Moorhead, whose Works Progress Admnistration work chonicled the area during the 1930s and 1940s, and Major Frank Rogers Thompson, a 1945 Bronze Star recipient and the founder of Anderson Petroleum Company, are the two newest members of the Anderson County Museum's Hall of Fame.

The ceremony will begin Oct. 8 at 5:30 p.m. and will be followed by a reception. The ceremony and reception is free and open to the public.

Born in Sandy Springs and raised in Pendleton, Moorhead was Anderson's best-known photographer of the Twentieth Century. After graduating Clemson in 1930, Moorhead ahe webt ti work at LaFrance Mills in La France.

After being laid off from the mill, he found himself walking on Anderson’s North Main Street and ran into a long line of people waiting to take "penny" pictures at a local photography studio.

“I thought I had better get into the picture business,” Moorhead later said at that moment. He joined John Green’s studio which had been operating in Anderson since 1892, working for Green for a dollar a day and dinner.

Many in Anderson still have "man on the street" photographs of their relatives taken by Moorhead.

After his initial training Moorhead worked for Green photographing local events.  Among the most notable is his photo of Amelia Earhart, who landed at the Anderson Airport on Nov. 14, 1931 as part of her 13-state Beech-Nut Gum promotional tour. Earhart stayed in town only for a few hours, but before departing she posed with several of Anderson’s civic leaders for the photo taken by Moorhead. Moorhead was an exceptionally prolific photographer, taking photos for Franklin Roosevelt’s WPA and in 1938 had his “Five Way Crossing at Three & Twenty Creek” published by Robert Ripley’s Believe it or Not. 

Major Frank Thompson always lived his life by his motto: “help every needy person from the humblest class up.” Born in Concord, North Carolina on June 15, 1903, as a teenager he attended North Carolina College and Porter Military Academy in Charleston where he earned a Civil and Mechanical Engineering degree. He also worked as a cadet at the U.S. Army Supply Base in Charleston. It was here he took up boxing and actually became a welter weight champion during WWI.

Thompson’s intelligence, integrity, and initiative helped him gain rank until he would eventually serve as a commissioned officer of the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers during the Second World War. He traveled to North Africa and Europe as a member of Task Force “A” advanced echelon with General George S. Patton, Jr. and General Arthur Wilson. Thompson planned and oversaw the construction of the first trenches in the port area of Casablanca after the North Africa invasion. For this achievement and his outstanding service in the Tunisian, Italian, and Balkan campaigns, Frank Thompson was awarded the Bronze Star in 1945.

In 1930, Thompson founded the Anderson Petroleum Company and constructed the plant on Glenn Street along with several service stations. His contributions to Anderson’s economy also included hangers provided for the county airport to help Washington to assist the Corps. of Engineers in the planning of the Hartwell Dam Project. He remained a vehement defender of the lake through the rest of life, recognizing the economic potential it represented for Anderson County and the Upstate.

Each year the Anderson County Museum (ACM) Advisory Committee honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to Anderson County and South Carolina. This year, we honor Lewis Dalton Moorhead and Major Frank Rogers Thompson. Two very deserving individuals who influenced Anderson County and our State.

Appointed by Anderson County Council, the ACM Advisory Committee members made the selection of Moorhead and Thompson from more than 20 applications. Nominees must be deceased at least 10 years for nomination eligibility. Moorhead was nominated by Jeanie Moorhead Christopher and Major Thompson by William Owens.

Applications are now available for the 2020 Hall of Fame at the ACM or on the ACM Website The Anderson County Museum is at 202 East Greenville Street, in downtown Anderson. The Fred Whitten Gallery and Whitner’s Mercantile store hours are Tuesday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Roper Research Room is open 1 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and by appointment with the Curator. ACM is handicap accessible and admission is free. Donations are always welcome. For more information, contact the Museum at (864) 260-4737.


Downtown Parking Lot on Whitner Closed Today, Tomorrow

The Generator Park lot on Whitner Street downtown will be closed for repairs today and tomorrow. Here nearby parking accommodations.  

  • Whitner Street Garage: 250 Spaces
  • East Church Street Lot: 130 all day; 45 2-hour spaces
  • Belk Lot (behind Carolina Wren Park): 98 spaces 



S.C. Supreme Court Says Preston Must Repay Anderson County

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

The South Carolina Supreme Court today upheld the lower court ruling that former Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston must repay the $1.39 million severance package, minus witholdings. The court also ruled that the $355,848 paid into the S.C. State Retirement System, cannot be recovered by Anderson County. The county will be able to recoup the cost of the 2006 Denali county vehicle Preston received in the settlement.

The high court upheld the Court of Appeals decision which found the severance agreement invalid due to the county council’s lack of a quorum and remanded to the circuit court the exact amount Preston must refund the county. 

The amount Preston will be required to refund, based on current figures provided by the court, would be just over $1 million, plus the cost of the vehicle. 

The decision could mean the end of court battles between Preston and Anderson County dating back to his dismissal in 2008. 

The county had appealed a previous verdict in the case which favored Preston, and won a verdict on appeal to the Court of Appeals which required Preston to repay the settlement. The county will also be able to go after Preston for legal fees in the case, which to date have reached around $4 million.

“It shows we were doing the right thing protecting the citizens of Anderson County,” said Anderson County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn. “I hope it will set a state precedent and help other counties, too. I think it’s taken way too long, I’m glad it’s over.”

Read the ruling here.


Anderson County Council Aug. 6 Recap


County Council Envision 6 Final Meeting Thursday

Envision 6, a series of meetings hosted by Anderson County Councilman Jimmy Davis, will have its final wrap up meeting at Powdersville YMCA this week on Thursday at 7 a.m..The public is invited to the town hall meeting to get the opportunity to talk to with representatives from multiple groups to share your vision for Anderson County.


Tax Cuts Approved for New 500-Unit Luxury Apartments in Pendleton

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

Anderson County Council approved tax incentives for a cooperative project between the county and the Town of Pendleton for a company seeking to build 500, high-end apartment units. 

The site of the apartments is near the Falls at Meehan of South Mechanic Street in Pendleton. 

The agreement is in part, to make sure Arthrex, which is planning to invest an additional $74 million and bring an additional 1,000 jobs with an average hourly wage of $21 per hour. Arthrex recently expressed concern that the local governments of their Naples. Fla,, facility had failed to help provide adequate housing for employees. 

“Using other peoples' money to bring housing needed for those who would be working at Arthrex, for example, or any other company in Anderosn County, and bring a $31 million investment, is always good,” said Nelson. 

The seven-acre track, which currently $12,500 annually will generate more than $800,000 in taxes the first year after development. Anderson County Council Economic Development Director Burriss Nelson said the $31 million investment would benefit the county, Anderson County School District Four, and the Town of Pendleton 

The first year would bring $116,000 in tax receipts to School District Four, $215,000 to the Town of Pendleton and $78,000 to Anderson County. Year two would bring $250,000 to the school district, $430,000 to Pendleton and $156,000 to Anderson County.  

By year 10, the county part of the divided funds would be $10.5 million, said Nelson.