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Study: E-Cigarettes May Increase Heart Attack Risk

The nicotine in e-cigarette vapor may cause adrenaline levels to spike in the heart, potentially increasing risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac death, a new study reports.

Electronic cigarettes have been promoted as a healthier alternative to tobacco cigarettes because they deliver vastly lower levels of carcinogens, researchers say.

But laboratory studies show that e-cigarettes still could pose a threat to health because of the nicotine that the devices typically deliver, said lead researcher Dr. Holly Middlekauff. She's a cardiologist with the David GeffenSchool of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Nicotine-containing e-cigarettes appear to promote a fight-or-flight response by the sympathetic nervous system, causing a release of adrenaline that increases heart rate and reduces the amount of time between heart beats, researchers found.

"The concern is that extended use of nicotine is going to expose you to long-term high adrenaline levels in the heart," Middlekauff said. "That has been shown to be a risk factor for heart attack."

Previous studies have linked e-cigarettes to abnormal heart rate variability, or the time interval between heart beats, Middlekauff said. However, researchers weren't sure whether this was caused by nicotine in e-cigarettes or other chemicals contained in the vapor.


Eclipse Marks S.C. Largest Tourist Event on Record

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Last month's eclipse saw at least 1.6 million people travel to or within South Carolina, making it the largest single tourism event in the state's history.

The State of Columbia reports research released Wednesday by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism compared hotel occupancy rates, hotel inventory and surveys of people in states that have a high concentration of frequent visitors to the state to come up with the visitor figure. The study extrapolated that the tourism around the total solar eclipse pumped $269 million into the state's economy.

Department spokeswoman Dawn Dawson-House says the attendance figure doesn't include international visitors or those from states outside the survey area.

She says hotel occupancy statewide was up 50 percent, as tourism usually winds down in the third weekend in August.


11 Cases of West Nile in S.C. This Year

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - State health officials say there have been 11 cases of people infected with the West Nile virus in South Carolina this year.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control said in a news release Wednesday that one person died in Anderson County last month.

Human cases were found in Anderson, Beaufort, Greenville, Horry, Richland, Union and York counties.

Mosquitoes spread the virus. It's also been detected in one horse, 13 birds, and 75 mosquito samples. Infected animal or mosquito samples have been confirmed in Anderson, Beaufort, Colleton, Greenville, Kershaw, Lexington, Richland, Saluda, and York counties.

DHEC says most people do not have any symptoms. About one in five people infected has a fever and some other symptoms. Fewer than 1 percent of those infected develop meningitis, which can be fatal.


Officials Say S.C. Losing Too Many Teachers

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Education officials say stemming South Carolina's growing teacher shortage will require persuading teachers not to leave the profession.

More than 6,000 public school teachers didn't return to their classroom last year, while the number of college students graduating with an education degree shrunk to fewer than 1,900.

Jane Turner with the state's Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement says mentoring programs for new teachers is a key component of bridging that gap. She says districts statewide must do more to help first-year teachers transition from college to career.

Last school year, the center distributed about $6.9 million to 30 districts with the highest teacher turnover. About $800,000 of that went toward mentoring programs.

The biggest chunk of nearly $4.7 million funded salary stipends of up to $1,500 per teacher.


Council Moves Ahead on New Company, Honors Nelson, Nixes Airport Ramp Fees

Anderson County Council approved on second reading financial incentives aimed at bringing 1,000 new jobs to the county during Tuesday night’s meeting. 

The $74 million investment will include the outright purchase of the 240-acre Anderson Technology and Manufacturing Center in Sandy Springs. 

Work could begin as early as October, according to Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns. Completion of the facilities, which Burns said will look like a campus, not a factory, is expected to be complete in early 2019.

The 20-year total economic impact of the company will exceed $1.2 billion, said Anderson County Economic Development Director Burriss Nelson. The annual payroll will exceed $40 million.

Council also recognized Nelson Tuesday night with a resolution honoring him for his work, and in recognition of his recent Local Economic Developer of the Year Award from the Upstate SC Alliance Local Economic Developers Group.

Nelson credited teamwork with his success.

Nelson, an Anderson native, has worked in economic development 25 years, representing Anderson and Pickens counties. Other major projects announced during his time in Anderson include First Quality Tissue, which invested more than $1 billion and created 1,000 new jobs since 2010, and continued investment from Electrolux, the county’s largest manufacturer, which has invested a combined $95 million through expansions in 2011 and 2014.

Also on Tuesday night, council passed a resolution to suspend collection of ramp fees at the Anderson County Airport.

Anderson County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn said though the fees have been on the books at least 15 years, it has only been enforced the last couple of years.

Ramp fees are charges added to any plane which lands at the airport. Dunn said Anderson is the only airport in the area with such a fee. He said that any money lost from collecting the fee should be more than made up by fuel sales and traffic. 

“No one else does it around here, so it’s really a negative at the airport,” said Anderson County Councilman Tom Allen.

Anderson County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson said that we should not be charging those coming into the airport seeking to do business here.

Council also approved request from the Anderson County Sherif’s Department for $132,000 upgrade to the hardware for the county’s 911 system. Another $14,659 was approved for the new UPS backup power system.

“We really need this for the protection of our citizens,” Dunn said.


Council Responds to Preston Appeal of Verdict

Anderson County has responded to the petition for a rehearing with the Court of Appeals filed by former Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston, who is challenging the rulings in the case.

In June, Anderson County Council moved ahead with the fiscal year 2017-2018 budget Tuesday night, and to pursue all legal options pursuant to last week’s South Carolina Court of Appeals ruling that former Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston must return the $1.1 million severance he received when he resigned in 2008. 

The county's challenge states:

"The Severance Agreement awarded to Preston was an unjustifiable abuse of power. In essence, it amounted to a collusive political exit strategy, not a reasoned piece of legislation for the public good. The Court of Appeals' decisicion voiding that Agreement was sound., and should be upheld as far as it went. However, Anderson County is entitled to have an equitable remedy fashioned in this case, including placing a contructive trust . on the Retirement System payments flowing to Preston fro the void Agreement.

For the reasons and the extent set forth in this petition, the Supreme Court should grant certiorari to give Anderson County a just and equitable remedy."

Preston's appeal maintained that the Court of Appeals erred when it invalidated Preston's severance agreement, asking tthat the court grant certiorari to "correct the lower court's errors."


WHNS: Charges Dropped in Death of Anderson Deputy

WHNS - An attorney for a man charged in the death of an Upstate deputy said he received a letter Monday indicating a state charge has been dropped.

Joseph Fleming, 37, was arrested in August after investigators said he was operating a boat when an incident happened, resulting in the death of Anderson County deputy Devin Hodges. Officials said Fleming was attempting to do a maneuver when all of the occupants were thrown from the 19-foot Pioneer boat, leading to Hodges' drowning.

Fleming, an employee of the Army Corps of Engineers, was charged with reckless homicide.

Beattie Ashemore, an attorney for Fleming, said he received a letter from the 11th Circuit Solicitor's office indicating that state charges had been dismissed against his client.

The solicitor's office on Tuesday released a letter sent to the presiding judge in the case dated September 15. In it, the solicitor's office stated they will not be able to prosecute the case due to the Supremacy Clause, a section of constitutional law which limits the abilities of states to prosecute federal workers for state law infractions that occur during the course of federal workers' duties.


Denver Downs Corn Maze Opens Saturday

Denver Downs Farm's Giant Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch opens Sept. 25, with this year's maze featuring a Clemson-USC Football theme. The fall family festival will be open every Saturday and Sunday ( and some Fridays) through Oct. 31, and includes activities for all ages including hay rides, farm football, a hay barn with giant hay bale climbing.

The annual Corn Maze & Giant Pumpkin Patch is held at Denver Downs Farm, a Century Farm on Hwy. 76 one mile north of Interstate 85 in Anderson. The Garrison family has owned and operated the 900-acre farm since 1872.

After finding their way through the 12-acre corn labyrinth, visitors can explore a variety of games and activities that include a cow train, duck races, corn ball volley, corn cannon, goat walk, a giant slide, children's zip-line, and a giant pick your own pumpkin patch. Special events planned during the month long festival include Clemson Day at the Maze on Oct. 17, and a Pumpkin Festival on Oct. 30 that features pumpkin bowling, the Pumpkin Princess Pageant and a Strong Man Pumpkin Wagon Pull.

Admission to the annual Corn Maze & Giant Pumpkin Patch is $15 per person. Children 24 months and under get in free. The festival is open Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 23 until Oct. 31, and the last three Fridays in October. Hours are: Saturdays 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.; Sundays 1 p.m. until 6 p.m.; and 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Oct. 15, Oct. 22 and Oct. 29.

For more information and a complete list of activities, visit Denver Downs Farm Website



Another Case of West Nile Virus Reported in S.C.

ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) - Another case of West Nile virus has been found in South Carolina. A confirmed case was reported in Anderson last month.

The Herald of Rock Hill reported a second case has been found in the city. The case was confirmed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The virus is spread through mosquito bites. DHEC says most people with the virus do not dev3elop any symptoms. About one in five people infected will develop a fever with some other symptoms. Fewer than 1 percent of those infected develop meningitis, which can be fatal.

A pest control company will spray for mosquitoes Tuesday night within a one-mile radius of the home of the person infected. Similar spraying was conducted in Rock Hill in another part of the city in August when the first case was confirmed.


Toys ‘R’ Us Files for Bankruptcy Protection Before Holidays

(Reuters) - Toys ‘R’ Us Inc, the largest U.S. toy store chain, filed for bankruptcy protection late Monday, the latest sign of turmoil in the retail industry that is caught in a viselike grip of online shopping and discount chains. 

The Chapter 11 filing is among the largest ever by a specialty retailer and casts doubt over the future of its about 1,600 stores and 64,000 employees. It comes just as Toys ‘R’ Us is gearing up for the holiday shopping season, which accounts for the bulk of its sales. 

“While today’s decision does not necessarily mean it is game over for Toys ‘R’ Us, it brings to a close a turbulent chapter in the iconic company’s history,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. 

Toys ‘R’ Us received a commitment for over $3 billion in debtor-in-possession financing from lenders including a JPMorgan-led bank syndicate and certain existing lenders, said the Wayne, New Jersey-based company, which also operates the Babies ‘R’ Us chain. 

The financing, subject to court approval, reassures its suppliers they will get paid for their Lego building blocks and Barbie dolls that are being shipped for the holiday season.


Anderson Democrats BBQ Fundraiser Sunday

The Anderson County Democratic Party will hold a BBQ fundraiser Sunday, from 4-7 p.m. at Doolittle's on North Main Street.
Tickets are $30 and include one adult beverage (Wine or Beer). Tickets can be purchased at EventBrite

The group is using the event to raise money to help future Democratic candidates in their run for office. 


Ex-NFL Player Langston Moore to Speak at TD Club Friday

Langston Moore, former defensive tackle with the Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions is thescheduled guest speaker for this week's Anderson Area Touchdown Club.

The meeting begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Anderson Couty Library. Visitors are welcome.

Moore, who also played at the University of South Carolina, joined the Gamecock IMG Sports Network in 2012 serving as the sideline reporter for football broadcasts.

For more information, call 226-7380.


Community Conversation on Addiction Thursday at Library

The United Way of Anderson County continues the current series of Community Conversations Thursday, with a panel discussion on addiction and its effects on the Anderson community.

The meeting will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Anderson County Library. The public is invited. 

The first session, which addressed mental health issues, drew a large crowd. The video of that event can be viewed here.

The final two topics in the series are: "Conflict Resolution" on Oct. 5 and "Gangs," Oct. 26.