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Friday
Oct062017

Santee Cooper to Appoint Interim President

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The board that runs South Carolina's state-owned utility is expected to name a temporary leader as the company continues to deal with a failed nuclear project.

The agenda of Santee Cooper's Friday board meeting says the board will consider a resolution on the appointment of an interim president after holding a closed-door meeting.

The agenda does not give any possible names.

Current Santee Cooper President and CEO Lonnie Carter announced his retirement in August after the utility and its majority partner in the nuclear project, South Carolina Electric & Gas announced they were ending construction on two new nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer plant.

The utilities spent nearly $10 billion on the project.

Friday
Oct062017

St. George's Holiday Bazaar Set for Oct. 14

The annual Holiday Bazaar at St. George’s Episcopal Church is scheduled for Oct. 14 from 7 a.m.-noon, inside St. George house.

The Holiday Bazaar will include antiques, a large plant sale, homemade crafts and holiday decorations, tag sale items and much more.

St. George Episcopal Church is located at 2206 E Greenville St. in Anderson. For more information, please contact St. George’s Church Office at 224-1104, email stgeorgee@bellsouth.net, or visit: www.stgeorgesanderson.org

Thursday
Oct052017

Democratic Rep. Smith to Announces Run for Governor

A longtime State House Democrat says he’s running for governor.

Rep. James Smith made it official Thursday after months of speculation. Smith is now the only democrat in the 2018 race. Smith says he feels call to do all he can for the people of South Carolina.

Gov. Henry McMaster is seeking his first full term in the upcoming election. Catherine Templeton, Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant and former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill are the top challengers in the GOP against McMaster.

Thursday
Oct052017

GOP Lawmakers to Look at "Bump Stock" Weapons Issue

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Republican lawmakers on Thursday said they would look into “bump stock” gun accessories after a retiree used rifles equipped with them to rain gunfire onto a Las Vegas concert, killing 58 people in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. 

The influential National Rifle Association, which has opposed efforts to pass federal gun legislation following past mass shootings, said it would not oppose the move. It said the devices that allow semi-automatic rifles to behave as fully automatic weapons should be subject to additional regulations. 

Investigators struggled to understand why Stephen Paddock, 64, assembled an arsenal of nearly 50 firearms and used them to spray bullets from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas Strip hotel into a crowd of country-music fans on Sunday before killing himself. Twelve rifles found in Paddock’s hotel room had bump stocks, authorities said. The shooting spree also injured 489 people. 

Reports also emerged on Thursday that Paddock, a gambling and cruise enthusiast, may have looked into carrying out an attack in Chicago or Boston. 

Audio and video of the Sunday night attack contained the sound of extended periods of continuous gunfire into a crowd of terrified people, stirring the long-standing U.S. debate over how to regulate gun ownership, which is protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

Senior Republicans on Thursday signaled they were ready to examine the sale of “bump stocks.” The devices essentially allow legal rifles to serve as automatic weapons, which are largely illegal in the United States. 

Thursday
Oct052017

Hurricane Season Most Active on Record

WASHINGTON (AP) - An analysis of 167 years of federal storm data by The Associated Press finds that the monster hurricanes that raged across the Atlantic this season are contributing to what appears to be the most active period for major storms on record.

No 30-year period in history has seen this many major hurricanes or overall energy generated by those powerful storms, according to the analysis.

Scientists caution it is too soon to draw conclusions about the data because storms in the distant past may have gone unnoticed. Some scientists say past hurricane data is so weak that it's impossible to connect the recent activity to global warming.

But more intense storms are what scientists expect to see as the planet's climate changes because warmer ocean water is fuel for hurricanes.

Thursday
Oct052017

Sports Radio's Mark Packer to Speak at TD Club Friday

Sports radio talk show host Mark “The Packman” Packer will be the guest speaker on Friday at the weekly meeting of the Anderson Area Touchdown Club 

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

For more information, call 226-7380.

The players and coach to be honored at the meeting are: Offensive Player: Paul Johnson, Westside High School; Co-Defensive Players: Tyler Callaham, T.L.Hanna High School; Carson Galloway, Wren High School; Offensive Lineman: Chandler Skelly, Pendleton High School; Defensive Lineman: Collin Baier, Powdersville High School; Coach Scott Earley, Westside High School.

Thursday
Oct052017

Belton Standpipe Festival This Weekend

This weekend, the Belton Standpipe Heritage and Arts Festival brings new events, updated vendors, and entertaining activities for the whole family.  Celebrating the City of Belton and the Belton community, this festival attracts more than 10,000 visitors annually.

Saturday, from 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM, the city square in Belton will hum to the music of popular Upstate groups while an art show and market, heritage artisans, sporting events, historical tours, fire truck rides, a classic car show, great food, children's activities, over 50 quality craft vendors, and community outreach booths entertain the crowds.

The festival is the longest continously running festival in Anderson County.

This festival is sponsored in part by the Belton Area Partnership, the City of Belton Hospitality Fund, Anderson County ATAX, and Superior Engineering.  Admission and parking are free. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1752490051658928/

Thursday
Oct052017

October Harvest Moon Shines Bright Tonight

October's full Harvest Moon will shine all night tonight while passing by — or fully covering — Neptune in some parts of the world. In the predawn hours, you'll get another celestial show with Mars and Venus close together in the eastern sky. 

The moon reaches its full phase at 2:40 p.m. EDT (1840 GMT), but casual observers will see little difference later tonight. In North America, the Harvest Moon  refers to the first full moon after the autumnal equinox, which took place on Sept. 22. The name of the moon, however, may vary, depending on which culture's literature you consult.

Harvest moons are rare in October, and they are set to occur only 18 timesbetween 1970 and 2050; usually the full moon occurs much closer to the autumnal equinox, which would make the Harvest Moon fall in late September. [The Moon: 10 Surprising Facts]

Full moons occur when the moon is on the opposite side of Earth to the sun. If the three bodies line up exactly, an eclipse can occur that turns the moon dark red or brown. Normally, however, the full moon is fully illuminated by sunlight, providing an excellent view of some of the features on its surface. 

The moon's encounter with Neptune is best seen from New Zealand, Tasmania and the area east of Melbourne, Australia, when the moon passes in front of the planet in Earth's sky. (This is also called an occultation.) In Christchurch, New Zealand, the occultation starts at 1:26 a.m. local time on Oct. 4 and ends at 2:39 a.m. In East Sale, Australia, the occultation starts at 11:18 p.m. and ends at 11:46 p.m. Observers in Hobart, Tasmania, will see the occultation start at 10:58 p.m. and end at 11:55 p.m. [2017 Full Moon Calendar]

Observers on the East Coast of North America won't see the show at all, but on the West Coast, the moon passes by Neptune just before 4 a.m. PDT, slightly before moonset. You will need a strong pair of binoculars or a small telescope to see the planet, which is extremely faint at magnitude 7.8.

Even if you can't see Neptune, there are more planets to check out in the predawn hours. Look at the predawn sky, to the east, to see red Mars and white-yellow Venus shining near the constellations Leo and Virgo, close to the horizon. 

While the brightness of the full moon blots out fainter stars and objects in the sky, it offers a good opportunity to do some observations on its surface.

Some things you can look for include light regions (rock layers that floated to the moon's surface when the moon had magma oceans), dark regions or maria (which were formed when lava cooled at the bottom of craters) and the bright crater Tycho at the bottom-left corner of the moon. With a telescope or binoculars, you can also explore some of the features on the moon that were mapped in high resolution by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

While the entire near side of the moon is visible during a full moon, some observers prefer looking at features when only a part of it is illuminated. This is because the light reflecting off the surface can obscure some of the features. Instead, experienced observers often prefer nights when part of the moon is in shadow. Along the terminator (the day-night line), shadows on ridges and craters make features pop out.

Thursday
Oct052017

New Cars Technology Takes Drivers Eyes Off Road

WASHINGTON (AP) — The infotainment technology that automakers are cramming into the dashboard of new vehicles is making drivers take their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel for dangerously long periods of time, an AAA study says.

The study released Thursday is the latest by University of Utah professor David Strayer, who has been examining the impact of infotainment systems on safety for AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety since 2013. Past studies also identified problems, but Strayer said the "explosion of technology" has made things worse.

Automakers now include more infotainment options to allow drivers to use social media, email and text. The technology is also becoming more complicated to use. Cars used to have a few buttons and knobs. Some vehicles now have as many as 50 buttons on the steering wheel and dashboard that are multi-functional. There are touch screens, voice commands, writing pads, heads-up displays on windshields and mirrors and 3-D computer-generated images.

"It's adding more and more layers of complexity and information at drivers' fingertips without often considering whether it's a good idea to put it at their fingertips," Strayer said. That complexity increases the overall amount of time drivers spend trying to use the systems.

The auto industry says the new systems are better alternatives for drivers than mobile phones and navigation devices that were not designed to be used while driving.

The vehicle-integrated systems "are designed to be used in the driving environment and require driver attention that is comparable to tuning the radio or adjusting climate controls, which have always been considered baseline acceptable behaviors while driving," said Wade Newton, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

But Jake Nelson, AAA's director for traffic safety advocacy and research, said drivers testing all 30 of the 2017 model year cars and light trucks took their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel while using infotainment systems. The test drivers used voice commands, touch screens and other interactive technologies to make calls, send texts, tune the radio or program navigation all while driving.

Clearly automakers haven't worked hard enough to make the systems quick and easy to use, Nelson said. Researchers rated 23 of the 30 vehicles "very high" or "high" in terms of the attention they demanded from drivers. Seven were rated "moderate." None required a low amount of attention to use.

Programming a destination into in-vehicle GPS navigation systems was the most distracting activity, taking drivers an average of 40 seconds to complete the task. At 25 mph (40 kph), a car can travel the length of four football fields during the time it takes to enter a destination. Previous research has shown that drivers who remove their eyes from the road for just two seconds double their risk for a crash.

Under pressure from industry, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2012 issued voluntary safety guidelines to automakers for dashboard technology instead of enforceable safety standards. The guidelines recommend that automakers lock out the ability to program navigation systems while a car is moving. However, the ability to program navigation while driving was available in 12 vehicles in the study.

The guidelines also recommend automakers prevent drivers from texting while driving, but three-quarters of the vehicles tested permit drivers to text while the car is moving. Texting was the second-most distracting task performed by test drivers.

Drivers looked away from the road less when using voice commands, but that safety benefit was offset by the increased amount of time drivers spent interacting with the systems.

AAA said drivers should use infotainment technologies "only for legitimate emergencies or urgent, driving-related purposes." It also urged automakers to block the ability to program navigation systems or send texts while driving. Automakers should also design infotainment systems so that they require no more attention to use than listening to the radio or an audiobook, it said.

Nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults say they want the new technologies in their vehicles, but only 24 percent feel that the technology already works perfectly, according to an opinion survey conducted for AAA.

"Drivers want technology that is safe and easy to use," said Marshall Doney, AAA's president and CEO, "but many of the features added to infotainment systems today have resulted in overly complex and sometimes frustrating user experiences for drivers."

Wednesday
Oct042017

Clemson's "Call Me Mister" Teaches Reading in Barbershops

CLEMSON — DeAvin Rencher is a fixture at Upstate Barbers in Central. But he’s not a customer or barber. He’s a special education major at Clemson University and Call Me MISTER student who works with kids through the Razor Readers program.

Clemson’s Call Me MISTER program is sending its students to local barbershops each week to school children — and their parents — on the importance of reading early and often. These weekly sessions are the focus of Razor Readers, a program funded by the United Way of Pickens County that aims to increase children’s access to reading materials and individuals that can serve as educational role models.

Call Me MISTER works to increase the pool of available teachers from more diverse backgrounds, particularly among the lowest-performing elementary schools. The MISTERs play a key role in Razor Readers as role models, according to Amity Buckner, executive director of Pickens County First Steps. Buckner applied for the United Way grant with the MISTERs in mind to deliver the program. She has seen MISTERs work with children and describes their contribution as a necessary piece of Razor Readers and a blessing to the communities involved.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Call Me MISTER students who are so passionate about education to instill a love for reading and education in children,” Buckner said. “When you realize that a MISTER may be the first African-American male these young learners meet that values education, you realize the potential impact of this program.”

The United Way grant award of $6,200 has been used to provide books for children ages 0-10 in participating barber shops. Children can read the books while waiting in line for haircuts or in their free time. The barbers have punch cards for each child that when filled qualify them for a free haircut.

Tydarius Cobb, 9, poses with DeAvin Rencher at the Uptown Barbers barber shop. Image Credit: Ken Scar / Clemson University Relations

Rencher said the program fits the mission of Call Me MISTER because it caters to students from Title I schools defined by high percentages of children from low-income families. Rencher said he was on board with the idea from the moment he was invited by Call Me MISTER leaders to be involved.

“As a kid, I remember the barber shop as a place where adults talked about football and kids would listen to them; we might as well give them something productive to do,” Rencher said. “I didn’t see an African-American male teacher until high school, and many of these young kids think it’s cool that I’m doing something positive through education.”

He said in the opening weeks of the program late this summer, he concentrated more on breaking the ice with the children, getting them to laugh and talking to them about their favorite things. After gaining their trust, their interest in reading increased.

Parent and caregiver engagement makes up the other half of the program. Before and during haircuts, MISTERs guide parents through early education tools to increase school readiness. The MISTERs deliver the programs, Ready Rosie and The Palmetto Basics, via tablet computers supplied to the barbershops. These tools will help parents engage with their children and encourage reading at home and school. Now kids are excited to make reading a part of their normal barber shop routine and, hopefully, a priority at home.

“I like to talk to parents first to get their consent and also get them on board, and many of them have really gotten involved,” Rencher said. “We want to use every tool we can to get kids more engaged with reading, and coaching the parents to encourage it just increases the odds we’ll succeed.”

Smiley Garvin (left), owner of Uptown Barbers, cuts a customer’s hair while Tydarius Cobb reads with Clemson University student DeAvin Rencher. Image Credit: Ken Scar / Clemson University Relations

Smiley Garvin is owner and operator of Uptown Barbers and he has witnessed Rencher’s work with both parents and children firsthand. Garvin moved an unused barber chair and replaced it with a table and chairs for Rencher and the kids. He said several kids who come in and out of the shop wouldn’t read in their spare time outside of the shop, and he believes they are quicker to embrace reading in a setting that isn’t school, home or library.

Levi “T” Robinson owns D’s Diamond Cuts, another participating barbershop in Easley. Robinson said the program closes an important reading gap for children in an age of smartphones and video games. Robinson has been enthusiastic about the program’s goals since he was first approached to participate, going so far as to create flyers for the program that he distributed via local churches. He’s been thrilled to see kids returning to the shop not for another haircut, but for more books.

“The Call Me MISTER guys are given a gift to educate and when they bless someone else with that gift they are blessed themselves,” Robinson said. “Seeing those guys do what they do for these kids is what keeps me enthusiastic about the program.”

In addition to Uptown Barbers and D’s Diamond Cuts, the program is also featured at A Cut Above the Rest in Easley. Parents interested in the program can stop by these businesses to learn more about the program and can sign children up any time during normal business hours. MISTERs are on site from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturdays, but books are available for checkout during normal business hours all week.

Call Me MISTER began at Clemson University in 2000 with a goal of placing more male African-American elementary teachers from diverse cultures and backgrounds in the classroom. Since then, the program has graduated 203 MISTERs who are now teaching in South Carolina schools and has expanded to include 19 other universities and technical colleges in South Carolina, as well as programs in eight additional states.

Wednesday
Oct042017

Trump Taps Ex-S.C. Schools Chief for Education Post

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's former education superintendent says he's eager to help expand school choice options nationwide.

President Donald Trump announced this week picking Mick Zais as deputy secretary of education.

Zais told The Associated Press on Wednesday he's excited about assisting U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

The retired Army brigadier general was state superintendent from 2011 to 2015. He did not seek a second term. Zais was previously president of private Newberry College for 10 years.

The White House touted a rise in public charter schools and online courses during Zais' tenure.

Zais advocated using tax credits to offset private tuition costs. He opposed Common Core standards and expanding public 4-year-old kindergarten.

During Zais' 31 years in the military, he was a paratrooper and Ranger, and served in Korea and Vietnam.

Wednesday
Oct042017

Library Storytellers Festival Set for Oct. 13-19

The Friends of the Anderson County Library, in cooperation with Anderson University, will present the 13th Annual Starburst Storytellers Festival Oct. 13-19, with performances each day at the main library and at schools across the county. 

Each year the Starburst Storytellers’ Festival features award-winning tellers from around the country. During the day tellers perform at schools throughout Anderson County, with a storyteller-in-residence at Anderson University performing for students bused from Anderson School District Five to on-campus venues, assisted by members of the university’s Teaching Fellows Program. At night, the tellers perform at the main branch Anderson County Library. 

This year, the festival will feature a living history performer along with the more traditional storytellers. On Oct. 15, the festival will present "Bessie Cole: A Living Portrait," Gwendolyn Napier’s first person presentation of the first African-American woman to earn a pilot’s license in the United States. Other top storytellers will be on hand for each day of the festival.

The Storytellers Festival is a program of the Friends of the Anderson County Library, in partnership with the Anderson County Library System, and Anderson University.  

The Anderson County Library System serves more than 190,000 county residents of all ages and includes the main library in the city of Anderson, eight branches located throughout the county, and a bookmobile. The System’s staff and board are committed to freedom of access for all, offering a forum for ideas. For more information, visit www.AndersonLibrary.org.

Tuesday
Oct032017

Council Oks Increase for County EMS System

Anderson County Council on Tuesday night approved a 30 percent rate increase for EMS services in Anderson County. 

“The rate increase does not effect those on Medicare, Medicaid, private pay, it’s mainly for those with commercial insurance,” said Greg Shore, CEO of Medshore, who was speaking on behalf of leaders of EMS across the county. 

The increase in fees is needed for labor, increasing medical costs and other supplies, and will generate approximately a six percent overall gain in revenue. 

Shore said similar rate hikes were already in place across the state, and went into effect last year in other counties. 

Also on Tuesday night:

Council approved moving ahead with A joint endeavor involving three Upstate firms was chosen Thursday to develop the County Square project in downtown Anderson. RealtyLink, a Greenville architecture firm, to help guide the planning for the County Square Project. The project will be built on the site of the former Bailes/Woolworth buildings. 

Gave final approval to an ordinance to enforce stiff laws for repeat litter offenders, defined as those who have received three warnings.

Approved on second reading a resolution to revise and streamline procurement procedures.