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Holly, Jolly Holiday Fair Starts Friday

Anderson's Holly, Jolly Holiday Fair begins it's sixth year this week, despite some confusion on Facebook which suggested to some that it had been cancelled.

According to reports, a vendor who pulled out of this year's event caused confusion on Facebook which for some now show the event as cancelled.

The event is still scheduled to be help Friday from 5- 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday from 1-5 p.m., at the Anderson County Civic Center. General admission tickets are $5. 

The holiday fair will feature more than 200 artists and crafters, and vendors selling holiday items. Music and food will also be available.

For more information, visit here.


Moore Now Trails Democrat in Alabama Senate Race

Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, has lost his lead in the race in the aftermath of allegations that he had sexual contact with teenagers years ago, and the election is now a toss-up, a new poll indicated Sunday.

Moore trails Democratic candidate Doug Jones 46% to 42% among Alabama voters, a lead for the Democrat that is well within the poll's margin of error of 4.1 points in either direction, according to the new survey by Louisiana-based JMC Analytics. That finding is consistent with two overnight polls that were released since the allegations first came to light Thursday.

Before the news broke, Moore had an eight-point lead in the race, reflecting Alabama's heavily Republican tilt. The election is scheduled for Dec. 12.

Republican leaders nationally have been scrambling to try to prod Moore to quit the race. But the former Alabama Supreme Court justice, a staunch religious conservative, has insisted he will not quit, saying the allegations against him by four women are politically inspired.

Some Republicans have talked about mounting a write-in campaign for another candidate. Others fear that would merely split the party's vote and hand the election to Jones.

The poll showed Democrats united behind Jones, but Republicans split over whether to support Moore. It also showed that Moore's campaign had largely failed to persuade the state's voters that Jones is too far to the left — only 31% of poll respondents said they saw him as a "liberal," with 26% calling him moderate and 37% saying they did not know. 


S.C. Offers Free Legal Help for Veterans

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina veterans and military members are getting some new assistance on legal issues, thanks to the state's top prosecutor.

Attorney General Alan Wilson on Thursday announced a new program called V.A.L.O.R. That stands for Veterans, Active/Reserve Legal Outreach.

Wilson says the program will help veterans, active duty military and members of the Reserves get free legal assistance. That will start in January with free legal clinics around the state for handling simple legal issues, like writing wills.

There will also be a referral line to help connect veterans and military members with lawyers who can give free or heavily discounted assistance for more complicated topics.

The top prosecutor is also a colonel in the South Carolina National Guard.


Why We Celebrate Veterans Day Nov. 11

Today, we celebrate Veterans Day with parades and Old Glory T-shirts, with salutes to those who served and prayers for those who fell.

But the version of Veterans Day we know now wasn’t always so. It wasn’t always a holiday, it wasn’t always on Nov. 11 and, at first, it wasn’t even called Veterans Day. The original intent, established in the wake of World War I, was to celebrate world peace. Then the wars never ended, so Veterans Day changed.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Nov. 11, 1918

At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, fighting between the Allied Forces and Germany stopped, putting an end to the bloodshed of World War I per the terms of an armistice agreement signed in France that same day.

But World War I — the “War to end all wars” — did not officially end until seven months later.

Nov. 11, 1919

On the one-year anniversary of the armistice agreement, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation commemorating Nov. 11 as Armistice Day. The celebrations were to include parades, public meetings and a two-minute suspension of business at 11 a.m.

The proclamation read: “… Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations …”

June 4, 1926

Congress passed a resolution urging state governors to observe Armistice Day with “thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through goodwill and mutual understanding between nations.”

At the time, 27 states had already made Nov. 11 a legal holiday.

May 13, 1938

More than a decade later, Congress made Armistice Day an official holiday dedicated to world peace.

June 1, 1954

World War I was not the war to ends all wars, and lawmakers believed that veterans from World War II and the Korean War also deserved their own day of remembrance. So President Eisenhower signed a bill changing the name of Armistice Day to the more inclusive Veterans Day, a holiday to thank all who had served the United States of America.

Oct. 12, 1954

Eisenhower published a proclamation in the Federal Register, instructing citizens to recognize Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

He wrote: “On that day, let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”

June 28, 1968

Fifty years after the armistice agreement, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968, which moved Veterans Day from its original Nov. 11 date to the fourth Monday in October. The act also declared that Memorial Day, Columbus Day and Washington’s Birthday would be observed on Mondays throughout the year.

The new dates were meant to take effect in 1971.

Oct. 25, 1971

Veterans Day, federally recognized for the first time on a day other than Nov. 11, is celebrated with much confusion. Many states and most veterans organizations disagreed with the date change and continued to celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 11, which held historic and patriotic importance.

Sept. 18, 1975

Congress passed a bill changing the observation of Veterans Day back to Nov. 11, where it has remained for the 47 years since.

Much has changed in the 98 years since Armistice Day was first observed.

Now we honor not just servicemen, but servicewomen. Our wars are not fought with cannons, but with drones. The war to end all wars didn’t end war at all. Soldiers have fought and died all over the globe.

But through the past century, despite its different names and dates, the purpose of Veterans Day has remained the same — to say thanks.


Thank You for Your Service


Carolina Wren Ice Skating Kicks Off Season Nov. 22

Carolina Wren Park's annual Holiday Ice Skating is scheduled to open Nov. 22. Last year nearly 5,000 skaters from 30 states and 70 cities visited the facility during the holidays.

This year, the facility will remain open through Jan. 7, with the following schedule:

Nov. 22-Dec. 17:

Monday-Thursday 5-8 p.m., Friday 5-9 p.m., Saturday 2-9 p.m.,and Sunday 2-6 p.m.

Dec. 18-Jan.1

Monday-Thursday 2-8 p.m., Friday-Saturday 2-9 p.m., and Sunday 2-6 p.m.

Check here for special holiday hours and information about parties. 

The cost is $5 for ages 7 and up, and $3 for the Kiddie Rink. 

Carolina Wren Park is home to other special events during the year including summer “Block Parties,” “Shakespeare in the Park,” “Movie Night” and “Sounds in the Park.”


Anderson Salvation Army Opens Shelter

With tonight's temperatures expected to be near or below freezing, the Salvation Army in Anderson will hope a cold weather shelter this weekend.

The shelter will open tonight and Saturday at 6 p.m. at the ministry's facility at Friday and Saturday  112 Tolly St. 


S.C. House Speaker Wants Nuclear Reactor Laws Changed

The South Carolina House speaker is proposing six laws after the abandonment of two nuclear reactors in the state.

House Speaker Jay Lucas of Hartsville said in a news release Thursday the proposals would prevent customers from paying for the failed project.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. and the state-owned utility Santee Cooper abandoned construction July 31, blaming the failure in large part on the bankruptcy of Westinghouse, the chief contractor.

The utilities had already spent more than $9 billion, much of it from ratepayers.

Lucas' legislation would cut SCE&G customer rates by 18 percent, the amount they're currently paying for the project. Customers might also get refunds for what they've already paid.

The company wouldn't talk about the proposals Thursday but said previously such ideas would be disruptive.


S.C. Says Amazon Owes State $500 Million in Taxes

South Carolina has just put a price tag on Amazon's tax obligations: $500 million.

That's how much the state could lose over about five years if Amazon doesn't start collecting sales tax as required by state law, South Carolina's Department of Revenue said in a motion filed on Wednesday.

The motion said that Amazon owes South Carolina $57 million in uncollected taxes from 2016, and the state extended its analysis over five years, which is how long it said litigation on the case could last. The state is asking that Amazon collect taxes now and put the money in a trust until the case is resolved.

"Ordering Amazon to collect the tax due and remit it to a trust simply ensures that the state will receive what it is owed at the end of the litigation," the motion said.

The case, initially filed in June, alleges Amazon has failed to collect taxes on sales made by third-party merchants, who account for about half of all units sold on the company's marketplace. Amazon currently only collects taxes on products that it sells.

Many third-party sellers store their products in Amazon's warehouses, which are now spread across dozens of states. When those products get sold in the state where they're stored, sales tax has to be collected.

Amazon says the sellers should be responsible for the collection, but South Carolina is arguing that it's up to Amazon to collect and remit taxes for the sellers. As it stands, Amazon's third-party sellers have a price advantage over brick-and-mortar sellers, who collect taxes on all products.

"This advantage threatens to put compliant taxpayers out of business," the motion said.

The outcome of the case could determine whether other states follow South Carolina's lead. Amazon warned in its quarterly report that even though it disputes the claims, the company could ultimately "be subject to significant additional tax liabilities."


S.C. To Cease Jailing Citizens for Unpaid Traffic Tickets

New York Magazine Reports

In the United States, many municipalities rely on fines from traffic violations and other misdemeanors to fund basic government services. The upside of this means of revenue generation, from a political perspective, is that it’s invisible to most voters, and painless for rich people (who are often campaign donors).

But the policy’s downsides are considerable.

For one thing, you generally need to milk those fines from the most disempowered community in your area (any police chief who aggressively cracks down on every little misdemeanor rich, well-connected people commit won’t be in office for long). But the thing about disempowered people is, they don’t have a lot of money. So it can be a real hassle to get them to pay up. And then, if they wish to contest their fine in court, you’ve got to provide them with an attorney. Pretty soon, you’re spending more on collecting the fines than they’re even worth.

South Carolina found a pair of elegant solutions to this conundrum:

(1) Intimidate poor people into dutifully paying their fines by imprisoning those who don’t (debtors’ prisons may be a tad costly, but you’ve gotta spend money to make money).

(2) Don’t inform poor defendants that they have a constitutional right to an attorney.

This worked really well for a while. As the American Civil Liberties Union demonstrated in a 2016 report, the South Carolina municipalities of Beaufort and Bluffton were able to extract fines from thousands of poor people every year, without ever providing them access to a public defender. Meanwhile, South Carolina’s Lexington County sent a strong message to its fine-evading poor, by sending hundreds of impoverished people to modern-day debtors’ prisons.

Alas, on November 1, South Carolina Supreme Court chief justice Donald Beatty informed summary court judges that the Constitution requires them to honor poor defendants’ rights to an attorney, and prohibits debtors’ prisons — and as judges, they actually do kinda need to adhere to that document.

The instructions came during a training session, and followed studies and lawsuits from the ACLU, drawing attention to the myriad due-process violations in the state’s court system. The chief justice told the summary judges that “violating someone’s constitutional rights is an offense and that there are consequences for an offense,” according to the Post and Courier.

After learning that they could face legal consequences for violating the Constitution, these summary judges decided that they may have issued an improper arrest warrant or two … thousand. As the Post and Courierreports:

Tens of thousands of South Carolinians wanted for arrest for skipping court dates or blowing off fines might be breathing a sigh of relief as judges have stopped jailing some of these low-level offenders under instructions from the state’s chief justice … Many summary courts, which include county magistrates and municipal judges from the Lowcountry to the Upstate, have suspended all arrests on bench warrants as they scramble to figure out which cases are affected.


… Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said the victims are her primary concern.

But she was startled to learn, she said, that even defendants who had bond hearings on magistrate-level offenses were not told of their rights.


“By recalling all those bench warrants, it seems the judges are admitting that failure,” she said. “It is a positive step that the chief justice is correcting this huge flaw in the magistrate court process.”

And they would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for that meddling ACLU.


Cutting Back on Alcohol Can Reduce Cancer Risks

(Reuters Health) - A large organization of cancer doctors has issued a call to action to minimize alcohol consumption.

With a newly released position paper, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) hopes to draw attention to the strong links between drinking alcohol and risks for several types of cancer.

“People are not aware of this,” said Susan Gapstur, a vice-president of the American Cancer Society who was not involved with the position statement.

In a phone interview, Gapstur stressed that people living with cancer remain at risk for other cancers so it’s important that they realize alcohol’s role in cancer recurrence, too.

The call to action from ASCO follows a survey the group commissioned, which found that 70 percent of Americans do not recognize drinking alcohol as a risk factor for cancer. In fact, alcohol consumption is known to increase the risk of several cancers, including head and neck, esophageal, liver, colorectal and female breast cancers. 

Alcohol is classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Cancer Research. Approximately 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S. - about 19,500 deaths - are alcohol related, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The ASCO statement, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, cautions that while the greatest risks are seen with heavy long-term use, even low alcohol consumption (defined as less than one drink per day) or moderate consumption (up to two drinks per day for men, and one drink per day for women because they absorb and metabolize it differently) can increase cancer risk.

Among women, light drinkers have a four percent increased risk of breast cancer, while moderate drinkers have a 23 percent increased risk of the disease. Heavy drinkers who consume more than eight drinks a day have a 63 percent increased risk of female breast cancer because alcohol increases levels of the female sex hormone estrogen.

Heavy drinkers of both genders increase their risk of head and neck and oral cancers by more than 500 percent because tissues come into direct contact with alcohol carcinogens.

ASCO also notes that alcohol can worsen the impact of smoking. In addition, alcohol abuse can complicate outcomes among patients with cancer by contributing to prolonged recovery, longer hospitalizations and increased surgical procedures.

All forms of alcohol, whether beer, wine, champagne or shots, cause the same cancer risk.


County Offices, Including Libraries, Closed Friday

Anderson County offices will be closed to observer Veterans' Day on Friday.


AnMed to Eliminate Jobs, Outsource Some Services

AnMed Health will eliminate 94 jobs before the end of the month due to "budget challenges." The 65 positions that are currently vacant, will also be eliminated. 

The hospital system said reimbursement declines, softer volumes, and the cost of necessary investments in technology have contributed to the budget challenges. Some services, such as the AnMed Health Physician Surgery Center which closed Monday, will be closed or outsourced.

For example, Med-Trans Corp. will take over full management of the LifeFlight operations.