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Bryant Opens Account for 2018 Governor's Race

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant has taken a tangible step toward running for governor, although he says he hasn't officially decided to enter the race.

Media outlets report the 50-year-old Republican on Wednesday opened an account that would allow him to begin accepting contributions for a potential gubernatorial campaign. He says he'll decided on the race in a few weeks.

Bryant became lieutenant governor earlier this year when Henry McMaster was elevated to the state's top office on Nikki Haley's confirmation as U.N. ambassador. Starting with 2018, the state's governor and lieutenant governor will run on a ticket.

McMaster is planning to seek a full term. Former public health chief Catherine Templeton and former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill are also running.

No Democrats have entered the 2018 governor's race.


S.C. Wants to House Juvenile Inmates Closer to Home

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The acting director of the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice has proposed restructuring housing for inmates in order to decrease recidivism rates.

The State reports agency chief Freddie Pough outlined his proposal Wednesday at a meeting of Gov. Henry McMaster's Cabinet.

Pough wants to house inmates at three regional centers in Columbia, Union and Ridgeville, with the Broad River Road complex in Columbia serving as temporary housing during evaluation. Currently, the centers' purposes are reversed, with regional centers serving as temporary housing during evaluation, and incarceration centralized at the Broad River Road complex.

Pough says the goal is to house inmates closer to home, increasing parental involvement and community job opportunities and facilitating transition.

McMaster lauded the idea, and said he will include it in this year's executive budget.


Exercise Could Cut Third of Demential Cases

More than a third of dementia cases might be avoided by tackling aspects of lifestyle including education, exercise, blood pressure and hearing, a new report suggests.

Approximately 45 million people worldwide were thought to be living with dementia in 2015, at an estimated cost of $818 billion. 

But the new report from the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention and care, stresses that dementia is not an inescapable part of ageing – and that action can be taken to reduce risk.

“There are a lot of things that individuals can do, and there are a lot of things that public health and policy can do, to reduce the numbers of people developing dementia,” said Gill Livingston, professor of psychiatry of older people at University College London and a co-author of the report.

For many of the factors, including exercise and social activities, the best approach to reducing dementia risk is not yet clear, but Livingston stresses that steps can still be taken. “We expect it to be a long-term change that will be needed for exercise; joining a gym for two weeks is probably not going to do it,” she said.

Clive Ballard, professor of age-related diseases at the University of Exeter medical school and also a co-author of the report, added that the evidence suggests individuals should also try to follow a Mediterranean diet, maintain a healthy weight and keep an eye on their blood pressure. 

In total, the study looked at nine lifestyle factors linked to an increased risk of dementia.

The results reveal that as many as 35% of dementia cases could, at least in theory, be prevented, with 9% linked to midlife hearing loss, 8% to leaving education before secondary school, 5% to smoking in later life and 4% to later life depression. Social isolation, later life diabetes, midlife high blood pressure, midlife obesity and lack of exercise in later life also contributed to potentially avoidable cases of dementia, the report notes.


Study: Medicaid Cuts Would Hit Those Suffering Depression Hard

Proposed changes in Medicaid coverage could hit people with depression especially hard, a new study suggests.

"These vulnerable populations are being hit hard by the loss of Medicaid coverage when they need help," said study author Xu Ji. She is a doctoral candidate at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta.

The study included medical records from more than 139,000 adult Medicaid patients with major depression between 2003 and 2004. Medicaid is a jointly funded, federal-state health insurance program for low-income and disabled people.

Among the study patients, those who had disruptions in their Medicaid plans had more emergency department visits and longer hospital stays once they were able to regain coverage than those who did not have these insurance disruptions, the findings showed.

The researchers found that breaks in Medicaid coverage were due to state policies concerning re-enrollment. Areas of the country where these policies were streamlined and occurred on a yearly basis had lower disruption rates than states that forced people to re-enroll twice each year or more often, according to the report.

More recently, under the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), re-enrollment procedures for Medicaid beneficiaries were simplified. Obamacare requires states to limit the frequency of re-enrollment to no more than once per year.

Republicans in Congress have proposed major cuts to Medicaid and the possibility of reinstating more complex re-enrollment procedures, the study authors said. But due to a lack of votes, those proposals are now on hold.

"Without a constant source of coverage, patients could end up missing visits with their doctors until their depression worsens to the degree that emergency visits and hospitalizations are required," Ji said in a university news release.

The study appears in the August issue of the journal Medical Care.

More information available at the U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on depression.


WHNS: Humane Society Seeks Help for Dog Expenses

The Anderson County Humane Society is asking the community to help them cover veterinary expenses for one of the worst cases of animal cruelty the agency said it has ever seen.

The ACHS said “Salem,” a German shepherd, was originally picked up by Laurens county Animal Control in Waterloo on July 3.

The dog’s entire body was covered in sores.

GRAPHIC photos of dog being treated by Anderson Co. Humane Society

“The skin was literally melting off the bone,” the ACHS posted on Facebook. “Salem was transferred to ACHS and we were horrified by her condition, not only was she wounded from head to toe, she had maggots in her wounds and in some places you could see all the way to the bone.”

Salem was also extremely emaciated and weighed only 33 pounds. Officials said she had been eating grass, leaves, and rocks.

Salem has now been undergoing intense veterinary care for more than five days and total costs of treatment are expected to be upwards of $2,000.
“This is day five and the expenses are mounting but we made a commitment to her,” ACHS posted on Facebook Wednesday.  “The vets believe she will survive and we intend to do everything in our power to help her. This is one of the worst cases of animal abuse we have ever saw.”

Officials said the Anderson County Humane Society is a 501c3 no kill rescue and its foster program does not receive any county funding. It is ran by volunteers.

Click here to make a donation.


3 GOP Senators Refuse to Repeal ACA without New Plan

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the plan is to "let Obamacare fail" after three Republican senators said they won't back Senate legislation to simply repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act‬.

Late Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was ditching his plan to repeal and replace the ACA after he couldn't gather enough votes to pass the bill.

Instead, he said he'd work only to repeal the law entirely -- with a replacement proposal to come later.

But on Tuesday morning, three Republican senators -- Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia -- said they would not support a repeal-only measure without another healthcare plan in place. Their "no" votes effectively killed the repeal plan.

"My position on this issue is driven by its impact on West Virginians," Capito said in a statement. "With that in mind, I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians."

Trump said he was "very disappointed" in the bill's failure -- but he also doesn't think it's dead. He said the solution would be to elect more Republicans in 2018.

"For seven years, I've been hearing repeal and replace from Congress. I've been hearing it loud and strong, and when we finally get a chance to repeal and replace, they don't take advantage of it," Trump told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

"It will be a lot easier, and I think we are probably in that position where we will just let Obamacare fail. We're not going to own it. I'm not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it."

Earlier in the day, the president blamed repeal and replace failures on "all of the Democrats and a few Republicans."

"With only a very small majority, the Republicans in the House & Senate need more victories next year since Dems totally obstruct, no votes!" Trump tweeted.


Council Extends ATAX Pact with City

Anderson County Council on Tuesday extended the county's agreement with the City of Anderson by five years on use of Accommodations Tax revenues. The city provides $100,000 each year to the county in exchange for use of the Anderson Sports and Entertainment Complex on weekdays. The money is used to maintain the county’s fields at the complex.

Also on Tuesday night, county ouncil:

Approved a bid for $106,000 to Tech Systems to provide video surveillance cameras and backup batteries for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department.  

Approved moving ahead with a county plan to establish a county program which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin that is consistent with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1969. The document will make sure the county is in compliance with all federal statues. 

Gave final approval to a pair of ordinances to allow expansion of industria/businessl park with Greenville County.


Anderson Hotels, Campgrounds Full for Eclipse, Including Many International Guests

Anderson hotels and campgrounds are already full as people from all over the world prepare to visit the area to view the historic total total solar eclipse Aug. 21.

Visitors from as far away as Sweden and the United Kingdom will be in town for the events, which include Black Out at Green Pond, which will open at 8 a.m., and Black Out at the Anderson County Civic Center. Both locations will have 1,000 pair of special glasses available to view the eclipse. There will also be other viewing events across the county, including the City of Belton, the Jockey Lot, and Carolina Wren Park downtown. All of these events will be free to the public.

“We expect both to be full to overflowing,” said Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns, who added that just today the county was told the student body of Agnes Scott College is coming here for the eclipse.

According to maps, Anderson is in the path of totality and will be one of the best places in the nation to view the eclipse, with an expected time of total darkness of two minutes and 37 seconds. 

 Statewide, more than two millions visitors are expected to make their way to South Carolina for this once-in-a-lifetime event.  The next total solar eclipse in our area will be May 11, 2078.

“This event is going to blow up Anderson,” said Whiney Ellis, sales manager for the Anderson Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I don’t think most people understand how big this is going to be.”

“A lot of people coming here from other countries don’t now what our August weather is like,” said Glenn Brill, director of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Division for Anderson County. Brill said the county is prepared to to help these people with water and other facilities for the events. 

Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights - a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - can be seen, will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun's disk. 

Historic weather forecasts show a 23 percent chance of clouds and/or rain on Aug. 21. The historic forecast for Charleston to have clouds/rain is nearly 80 percent. The current long-range forecast for the date in Anderson calls for sunny weather. 


Great White Shark Located Off N.C. Coast

A great white shark followed by the research group OCEARCH has been tracked off the coast of North Carolina, nine days after being located off the Orlando, Fla, coast.

The Fayetteville Observer reports the shark, named Hilton, pinged Friday morning roughly 20 miles  south-southeast of Bald Head Island. Hilton is fitted with a tag that pings to transmit his location when his fins break the surface.

The Global Shark Tracker indicates that Hilton had traveled 120 miles during the preceding 72 hours. The shark was tagged March 3 by a team working out of Hilton Head Island. OCEARCH says the shark measures 12 feet, 5 inches long and weighs 1,326 pounds.


GOP Divided After Obamacare Replacement Bill Collapses

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. Congress were in chaos over healthcare legislation after a second attempt to pass a bill in the Senate collapsed late on Monday, with President Donald Trump calling for an outright repeal of Obamacare and others seeking a change in direction toward bipartisanship. 

"Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. 

Two of McConnell's Senate conservatives announced just hours earlier that they would not support the Republican leader's latest version of legislation to repeal portions of President Barack Obama's landmark 2010 healthcare law and replace them with new, less costly healthcare provisions. 

With Republican Senators Mike Lee and Jerry Moran joining Senators Susan Collins and Rand Paul in opposition - and amid a solid wall of opposition from Democrats - McConnell no longer had enough votes to pass a Republican healthcare bill in the 100-member Senate. 

It was the latest in a series of healthcare setbacks for Republicans, despite their control of both chambers of Congress and the White House. 

It also came after seven straight years of promising voters that they would repeal Obamacare if they were to control Congress and the White House, only to find that the public liked Obamacare more than their proposed substitutes, according to public opinion polls. 

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has determined that the various versions of Republican healthcare legislation would result in anywhere from 18 million to 23 million people losing their health insurance. 

However, Republicans argue that Obamacare is a government over-reach and costs too much money. 


S.C. Hit by 150,000 Election Day Hacking Events

More information about the scale of attempted election hacks has been released and it involves a rather surprising target -- South Carolina. Donald Trump took the state by 54.9 percent and there was never any doubt that he had the advantage in the historically republican-swinging South Carolina. However, even with almost certain projected results, the state's voter-registration system was hit with nearly 150,000 hack attempts.

After the FBI sent out warnings to state election officials about the potential for cyberattacks, South Carolina officials met with the agency and later hired a private cybersecurity firm to fix a number of vulnerabilities in the State Election Commission's systems discovered by the DHS. All but one was resolved by Election Day and while the state didn't release any data on how many hacking attempts occurred prior to Election Day, its report did show a drop off in hacking attempts after November.

South Carolina was obviously not the only target during the election, but it does speak to how widespread the attacks may have been. Some of the successful election hacks included those of the Democratic National Committee's emails and Illinois' registration records, of which 90,000 were stolen. In a report, the Illinois State Board of Elections noted that its IP addresses were hit five times per second, 24 hours per day prior to the election. In all, there's evidence that hackers attacked voting systems in 39 states.

In regards to many of the other known election hacking attempts, US intelligence agencies have pointed the finger at Russia. But it's unknown as of now who was behind the South Carolina attacks.


S.C. Ethics Chief Oks Bryant's Fundraising for Nonexistent Race

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — There's nothing wrong with Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant raising money for a nonexistent race, said the director of South Carolina's ethics agency.

The Republican lieutenant governor has collected more than $100,000 since January toward a 2018 bid for a full term. But voters won't separately elect the next lieutenant governor. Starting next year, gubernatorial candidates will pick their running mates.

Bryant can legally raise money for the job despite the change, state Ethics Commission director Steve Hamm told The State newspaper .

Voters passed a constitutional amendment in November 2012 to have the governor and lieutenant governor run on the same ticket. But the ballot question specified the changes wouldn't start until the 2018 election.

State law's definition of a candidate also covers Bryant's unique situation, as it includes someone who's seeking an appointment. That could apply to someone hoping to be selected for a gubernatorial ticket, Hamm said.

Bryant's fundraising includes about $60,000 transferred from his state Senate campaign account.

The Anderson Republican, first elected to the Senate in 2004, stepped into the lieutenant governor's role after Nikki Haley was confirmed as United Nations ambassador and Henry McMaster became governor.

While voters approved changing the state constitution nearly five years ago, legislators have yet to sort out in state law how a gubernatorial candidate can pick a running mate.

Until they do, candidates should follow current law, Hamm said. That requires candidates seeking office in 2018 to file with the state Election Commission beginning in March.

Proposed legislation would remove lieutenant governor hopefuls from the required filing and set an Aug. 1 deadline for a party's gubernatorial candidate to name his or her running mate. Both chambers have unanimously approved similar versions of the bill. A House-Senate panel will attempt to reach a compromise when the Legislature returns in January.

If the bill doesn't become law early next year, there will be legal uncertainty over how to proceed, said state Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire.

Information from: The State,


Council to Look at ATAX Agreement Tuesday

Anderson County Council will consider a five-year extension on ATAX agreements as part of Tuesday's meeting at 6 p.m. in the historic courthouse downtown.

Full Agenda Here