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S.C. Joins States Seeking to Stop Coastal Drilling Plans

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Some coastal states opposed to President Donald Trump's plan to allow oil and gas drilling off most of the nation's coastline are fighting back with state laws designed to thwart the proposal.

They've come up with what amounts to a back-door ban on drilling by making it difficult, if not impossible, to bring oil and gas ashore.

Although the drilling would take place in federal waters, states control the 3 miles of ocean extending from the shore.

States including New Jersey, New York, California, South Carolina and Rhode Island have introduced bills prohibiting any infrastructure related to offshore oil or gas production from being built in or crossing their state waters.

The petroleum industry says offshore drilling provides revenue that can help states fund essential needs, including schools and hospitals.


2018 Bassmaster Sets Attendance Record

The 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods over the weekend attracted record attendance from bass fishing fans, B.A.S.S. officials announced today.
Starting with Fan Appreciation Day Thursday through bass tournament competition on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, a total attendance of 143,323 was recorded at one or more of the activities, according to law enforcement counts, host facilities officials and other independent sources.

“Our Anderson County Team worked tirelessly to provide the most complete experience to B.A.S.S. and the thousands of people who came out each day to cheer on their favorite anglers,” said Neil Paul, executive director of Visit Anderson, who also noted that the attendance reports did not include nearly 500 people who turned out at Green Pond Landing in the afternoons just to watch the anglers load their bass boats and begin driving toward the weigh-ins in Greenville.

“And once again, Green Pond Landing proved to be an invaluable resource on Lake Hartwell, a Top 100 Bass Lake in America," Paul said. "After three Bassmaster Classics since 2008, the bar has been set. We are honored to have been a part of the greatest Bassmaster Classic in history.”
The previous record was 137,700, set in 2009 at the Bassmaster Classic in Shreveport, La. The 2017 Classic in Houston last March drew 115,000 fans to Lake Conroe and downtown Houston venues.
“This record-breaking attendance would not have been possible without the loyalty of our fans and the partnerships between B.A.S.S. and our sponsors, exhibitors, the media and our host communities — Visit Greenville and Visit Anderson,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “We’re thankful for the hard work of the entire B.A.S.S. family and our great volunteers in Greenville and Anderson who made this Classic such a success, and we are grateful to the devoted B.A.S.S. members and fans of the Classic anglers who came to Greenville and Anderson in record numbers.”
“The Upstate’s beautiful outdoors shines even brighter when we welcome B.A.S.S. to the community,” said Chris Stone, president, VisitGreenvilleSC. “We have been able to create a first-rate partnership with B.A.S.S. that we hope to continue for years to come. Something very special happens when we host these anglers, sponsors and enthusiastic followers to Upstate South Carolina. We can’t wait to serve as host again soon.”
Fans in the Bon Secours Wellness Arena stayed through the entire weigh-in to watch one of the most exciting finishes in the 48-year history of the Bassmaster Classic. Jordan Lee, a 26-year-old former college bass fishing champion from Alabama, performed final-day heroics for the second consecutive year to claim bass fishing’s most prestigious title. Lee is the youngest of three anglers to win the Classic back-to-back. The others are Rick Clunn and Kevin VanDam, who each have four Classic victories in their careers.
In addition to the daily weigh-ins, huge crowds attended the takeoffs each morning at Green Pond Landing and Event Center on Lake Hartwell in Anderson, S.C. The Classic Outdoors Expo presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods in Greenville’s 250,000-square-foot TD Convention Center drew numerous fishing fans and their families as well. A new event this year, the Fan Appreciation Day, enabled fans to mingle with the professional anglers for two hours Thursday afternoon.

“We are very appreciative of all the fans who came to Greenville and Anderson to help us celebrate 50 years of B.A.S.S.,” said Eric Lopez, director of Event Operations at B.A.S.S. “It wasn’t long ago that we were hoping to reach the 100,000 milestone for the Classic, and now we are consistently surpassing that mark.”
The previous Classic on Lake Hartwell, in 2015, drew an attendance of 103,091, Lopez noted. Classics in Tulsa, Okla., in 2013 and 2016 drew 106,850 and 107,605, respectively.


S.C. Could Consider Consolidating Some Small School Districts

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's schools chief is hopeful the Senate will go along with plans to consolidate some of the state's small school districts.

State Education Superintendent Molly Spearman told The Post and Courier of Charleston she thinks lawmakers should focus on nine small school districts that have financial problems, poor test schools and small populations.

Lawmakers have long avoided the subject, fearing voters who don't want to lose the identity of local school systems.

The South Carolina Supreme Court several has suggested that consolidating smaller school districts would help students in poor, rural areas get a better education.

Spearman says consolidating small districts would cut administrative costs and expand academic offerings. She says smaller schools often cannot afford to offer as many different classes, especially the more challenging Advanced Placement courses.


Filing Season for S.C. Elections Under Way

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Candidate filing is now open for this year's elections in South Carolina.

Filing opened at noon on Friday. Candidates have until noon on March 30 to file their paperwork and pay required fees.

The governor and other statewide elected officials face voters this year, as do all of South Carolina's seven U.S. House members. Neither U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham nor Tim Scott is on the ballot.

This year's elections mark the first time South Carolina's governor and lieutenant governor have run together on a ticket. Incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster faces several opponents in the June GOP primary, and several Democrats are vying for their party's nomination.


Supreme Court Rejects Case Defining State Death Penalty

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to consider whether Arizona's death penalty law is so broad that it's unconstitutional.

The court also passed up an invitation to examine whether capital punishment should be banned nationwide.

Lawyers for an Arizona man, Abel Hidalgo, told the court that the state has loaded up so many factors on the list of death-eligible crimes that virtually everyone convicted of first-degree murder is eligible for the death penalty.

As for the nation as a whole, "states simply cannot provide the guidance necessary to ensure that the penalty is imposed only on the worst offenders. " said Neal Katyal, a Washington lawyer representing Hidalgo. "Nor can states administer the penalty without ensnaring and putting to death the innocent,

Hidalgo was convicted of killing the owner of an auto repair shop in exchange for $1,000 from a gang member. He also killed a bystander. The Arizona courts rejected his claim that the state's death penalty procedures were unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court stopped executions in 1972, ruling that the death sentence was being imposed in a haphazard and unpredictable manner. States responded by requiring juries to evaluate whether certain specific factors were involved in the offense that would justify the death penalty.

The Supreme Court approved the new system, saying it would "minimize the risk of wholly arbitrary and capricious action" and restrict capital punishment to the worst crimes.

Two justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Steven Breyer, have recently said the court should re-examine the death penalty, but the other seven members of the court have shown no similar concerns.

States executed 23 prisoners in 2017, the second lowest total since 1991. Only 2016's figure was lower.


S.C. House to Consider New Dept. of Children's Advocacy

The South Carolina House of Representatives will consider a measure this year this week create the Department of Children’s Advocacy, to be lead by a State Child Advocate, to ensure that children receive adequate protection and care from services or programs of State agencies. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report on several bills last week that will now be on the calendar for the full Senate.  Among those was H.4729, which would amend the Code of Laws of S. C. to prohibit the Department of Revenue from issuing more than three retail liquor dealer licenses to one licensee, among other regulations. This bill is aimed at protecting the small business owner, the “mom and pop” operations, by preventing any unfair advantage by the larger liquor wholesalers, including their ability to buy in bulk for multiple locations, which is not allowed in the smaller, independent stores. The bill will be debated on the Senate floor in the coming weeks.

Another bill, H. 4977 was given third reading last week in the Senate, and will be ratified and is expected to get the governor’s signature this week. This legislation provides allows the governor to appoint a Lt. Governor if that office should become vacant by resignation or removal, and to establish the procedure by which a person nominated for the Office of Governor shall select a Lt. Governor as a joint ticket running mate.  This would also provide that candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor must be considered a single candidate for contributions and for establishing a committee.


24 Largest Retailers Ask Trump to Avoid China Import Tariffs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Several large U.S. retail companies, including Wal-Mart Inc, Target Corp, Best Buy Co Inc and Macy’s Inc, on Monday sent President Donald Trump a letter urging him not to impose massive tariffs on goods imported from China. The Trump administration is said to be preparing tariffs against Chinese information technology, telecommunications and consumer products in an attempt to force changes in Beijing’s intellectual property and investment practices. Washington could impose more than $60 billion in tariffs on goods ranging from electronics to apparel, footwear and toys. 

“At the same time, we are concerned about the negative impact as you consider remedial actions under Section 301 of the Trade Act could have on America’s working families,” the letter stated. “Applying any additional broad-based tariff as part of a Section 301 action would worsen this inequity and punish American working families with higher prices on household basics like clothing, shoes, electronics, and home goods.” 

The Section 301 would allow Trump to impose unilateral tariffs on China in response to a conclusion by the U.S. government that the Chinese had violated intellectual property rules. The tariffs would not need approval from Congress. 

The White House did not respond to a request for comment about the letter. 

The letter is the latest example of the growing division between the Trump administration and many in the business community over trade policy. On Sunday, a group of trade associations that represent most of the United States’ large businesses sent a letter echoing concerns about the economic ramifications of tariffs. Trade associations publicly pushing back include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation and the Information Technology Industry Council. 

Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which organized Monday’s letter, argued that tariffs would eliminate any benefit the recent tax overhaul provided the economy. 

“This is not American industries crying wolf,” she said in a statement. 

The letter was signed by 24 companies, which also included Abercrombie & Fitch Co, American Eagle Outfitters Inc, Big Lots Inc, Chico’s FAS Inc, Columbia Sportswear Co, Costco Wholesale Corp, Dollar Tree Inc, Gap Inc, Havertys Furniture Cos Inc, J.C. Penney Co Inc, Jo-Ann Stores Llc, Kohl’s Corp, Ikea North America Services Llc, Levi Strauss & Co, Qurate Retail Group, Sears Holdings Corp, The Michaels Companies Inc, VF Corp, and Wolverine World Wide Inc. 

The letter asked the administration to work with companies to find a solution.


Lee Repeats at Bassmaster Champion

After three magical days on Lake Hartwell, South Carolina, Jordan Lee now belongs to one of the most exclusive fraternities in professional bass fishing. 

Lee, who began Sunday’s championship round in sixth place, caught five bass that weighed 16 pounds, 5 ounces and won the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods with a three-day total of 47-1.

Local favorite Casey Ashley of Due West finished eighth.
Lee, who won last year’s Classic on Lake Conroe, Texas, joins fishing legends Rick Clunn and Kevin VanDam as the only anglers in history to win the Super Bowl of professional bass fishing two years in a row.
“That part of it hasn’t set in for me,” said Lee, who pushed his career earnings with B.A.S.S. past $1 million with the $300,000 Classic win. “I’m still just freaking out.
“It was just a perfect week for me. I caught fish on five different baits and a lot of different techniques.”
Unlike last year, when Lee struggled during the first round of the Classic before rebounding to win, he got off to a good start during this year’s first round with a catch of 18-10.
Since he didn’t have a good practice, he said he decided to stay within his comfort zone and fish boat docks — much like he does on Smith Lake in his home state of Alabama.
“I just wanted to cover as much water as I could to give myself the best chance of putting a bait in front of a fish,” he said. “On this lake, I knew boat docks were going to play because they always do — and that’s what I like to do.”
With no solid pattern identified, Lee alternated between a Strike King Rage Swimmer and two Strike King stickbaits — an Ocho and a Shimmy Stick. He stuck with green pumpkin and green pumpkin/blue as his primary colors.
He also caught fish throughout the week on an unspecified jerkbait and a homemade bladed jig.
“I really didn’t have a game plan,” he said. “I knew I could catch a lot of 2-pound spotted bass, and I knew those fish weren’t going to win me the tournament. But that’s what I wanted to do, and everything just kind of fell into place.”
Lee weighed in all spotted bass on Day 2 and saw his weight drop to 12-2. But he still easily made the Top 25 cut in sixth place to fish on Championship Sunday.
But being behind on the final day is nothing new for Lee, considering he started last year’s championship round in 15th place and came back to win.

Once again, he hit the jackpot on the final day.
“Today, I went in the back of this one little pocket and the water was 57 degrees,” he said. “I caught a fish — probably my biggest one of the day — and then it turned out there were bass under every dock in there.
“They were swimming around by my boat. It was just loaded.”
There was one tense moment for Lee in that pocket when he thought he might have let the historic victory slip through his fingers.
“I really thought I had lost the tournament on my last cast,” he said. “There was one bass about 4 or 5 pounds under a dock, and I pitched my worm right on it and it swirled and ate it. I set the hook and the worm popped off.
“If that one had cost me, it was going to be tough to sleep at night.”


NHTSA Investigating Air Bag Problems in 425,000 Kia, Hyundai

DETROIT — Air bags in some Hyundai and Kia cars failed to inflate in crashes and four people are dead. Now the U.S. government's road safety agency wants to know why. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it's investigating problems that affect an estimated 425,000 cars made by the Korean automakers. The agency also is looking into whether the same problem could happen in vehicles made by other companies. 

In documents posted on its website Saturday, the safety agency says the probe covers 2011 Hyundai Sonata midsize cars and 2012 and 2013 Kia Forte compacts. The agency says it has reports of six front-end crashes with significant damage to the cars. Four people died and six were injured. 

The problem has been traced to electrical circuit shorts in air bag control computers made by parts supplier ZF-TRW. NHTSA now wants to know if other automakers used the same computer. 

On Feb. 27, Hyundai recalled nearly 155,000 Sonatas due to air bag failures, which the company blamed on the short circuits. Hyundai's sister automaker Kia, which sells similar vehicles, has yet to issue a recall. 

In a statement Saturday, Kia said that it has not confirmed any air bag non-deployments in its 2002-2013 Kia Forte models arising from "the potential chip issue." The company said it will work with NHTSA investigators. 

"Kia will act promptly to conduct a safety recall, if it determines that a recall would be appropriate," the company said. 

But a consumer complaint cited in NHTSA's investigation documents said Kia was informed of a crash near Oakland in which air bags failed to deploy and a passenger was killed.

More Here


School Dist. 5 to Consider Waiving Days Lost to Bad Weather

Anderson School District Five will look at bids on artificial turf for athletic fields and waivers of days lost to weather problems, particularly Hurricane Irma, as part of Tuesday night's meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the district office.



County Council Meeting Set for Tuesday

Anderson County Council will hear reports from committees as part of Tuesday night's meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the historic courthouse downtown.

The agenda, which is light, can be found here.


Graham Says Firing Mueller "End of Trump Presidency"

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican senators warned President Donald Trump on Sunday against trying to shut down the federal probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, saying it was important to let Special Counsel Robert Mueller do his job. 

Trump, a Republican, has renewed his Twitter attacks on both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mueller’s probe since the firing on Friday of the bureau’s former deputy director, Andrew McCabe, days before he was eligible to retire with a full pension. 

Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who has criticized Trump harshly, said it appeared the president’s latest comments were aimed at the firing of Mueller. 

“I don’t know what the designs are on Mueller, but it seems to be building toward that, and I just hope it doesn’t go there, because it can’t. We can’t in Congress accept that,” Flake told CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

“So I would expect to see considerable pushback in the next couple of days urging the president not to go there. He can’t go there.” 

On Saturday, Trump personal lawyer John Dowd urged the Justice Department official overseeing Mueller, Rod Rosenstein, to “bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey.” 

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said it was very important that Mueller be allowed to proceed without interference and that many Republicans share this view. 

“The only reason Mr. Mueller could ever be dismissed is for cause. I see no cause when it comes to Mr. Mueller. He needs to be able to do his job independent of any political influence. I pledge to the American people as a Republican, to ensure that Mr. Mueller can continue to do his job without any interference.” 

“As I have said before, if he tried to do that, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency, because we’re a rule of law nation,” Graham said.   


Ashley Moves Up to Eighth Place After Second Day

After two days of fishing on Lake Hartwell, the leaderboard for the GEICO Bassmaster Classic remains unchanged at the top. 

Oklahoma angler Jason Christie leads the way, with Edwin Evers — a fellow Okie and Christie’s roommate on the Bassmaster Elite Series — sitting close behind in second.

Local favorite Casey Ashley moved up to eighth place after the second day of competition.