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Anderson Democrats to Meet Saturday

Anderson County Democrats will hold their monthly meeting Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at their headquarters located at 115 N. Main Street.

The SCDP has announced the dates for the Precinct Reorganization  (January 20th) and the County Convention (March 6th).  Anderson Democrats will discuss the reasons for the scheduling being different than in the past as well as begin planning. 


U.S. Warns North Korea, Ask China for Sanctions

SEOUL/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States warned North Korea’s leadership it would be “utterly destroyed” if war were to break out, after Pyongyang test fired its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile, putting the U.S. mainland within range.

The Trump administration has repeatedly said all options were on the table in dealing with North Korea’s ballistic and nuclear weapons program, including military ones, but that it still prefers a diplomatic option.

Still, speaking at an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting, U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley warned:

“We have never sought war with North Korea, and still today we do not seek it. If war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed yesterday ... And if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.”

Haley said the United States has asked China to cut off oil supply to North Korea, a drastic step that Beijing - the North’s neighbor and sole major trading partner - has so far refrained from doing. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping talked on the phone earlier on Wednesday.


Supreme Court Appears to Support Digital Privacy Rights

Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Members of the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared to back digital privacy rights in a case involving the FBI's use of cellphone tracking data without a warrant.

But in the evolving age of digital technology, they struggled with how far to allow privacy.

"A cellphone can be pinged in your bedroom. It can be pinged at your doctor's office," Justice Sonia Sotomayor said during arguments. "I am not beyond the belief that someday a provider could turn on my cellphone and listen to my conversations."

The high court's case concerns the government acquisition of cellphone records against Timothy Carpenter that revealed his approximate location over 127 days, placing him in the area of armed robberies. Authorities did not have a warrant to obtain those records.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is defending Carpenter, said in briefs that AT&T received 75,302 requests for cellphone location information from July 2015 to June 2016.

Conservatives justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts and the court's newest justice, Neil Gorsuch, questioned whether permitting police to get information from wireless carriers could be unconstitutional.

Justice Stephen Breyer said he was concerned about "highly personal"information being obtained.

Despite those concerns, consumers should realize their locations aren't private, Justice Anthony Kennedy said.

"I think everybody, almost everybody, knows that," Kennedy said. "If I know it, everybody does."

Several justices said Congress may decide rules on privacy instead of the courts.

With advanced technology, cellphones' location information has grown more precise.

Facebook, Google, Apple and other companies filed a brief in support of neither party but advise the court to "forgo reliance on" outmoded rules.


Clemson Lighting of the Carillon Garden Tuesday

CLEMSON – The annual Lighting of the Gardens will take place at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, at Clemson University’s Carillon Garden.

The annual Lighting of the Gardens will be Tuesday. Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

The event will start with opening remarks by First Lady Beth Clements. Student singing groups Take Note and the Clemson Gospel Choir will perform and trees and bushes throughout the garden will be lit with holiday lights.

There will be holiday cookies, a hot chocolate bar and opportunities for photos with Santa Claus.

The event is sponsored by Undergraduate Student Government, which has partnered with Clemson Hope, a student-led nonprofit organization dedicated to improving Title 1 schools in the area.

The groups encourage attendees to bring school supplies or cash donations to help support students who attend these schools.

“Student Government plans events like Lighting of the Gardens for the entire university to come together during special times of the year and it has been our hope to continue to grow in attendance,” said Lindsay Looper, Undergraduate Student Government activities director. “We would love for this event to become a way for students to give back to the community that gives us so much.”

The event is free and open to the public.


S.C. Troopers Cracking Down on Texting While Driving

The South Carolina Highway Patrol is launching a new effort to crack down on texting and driving during this holiday season.

As part of the effot, troopers in unmarked cars will be looking for drivers distracted by cellphones on interstates and highways across the state.

“Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The South Carolina Legislature enacted a law on June 9, 2014, that makes it unlawful to text and drive.

Last year, SCHP issued 1,034 citations for texting and driving, according to a release from the S.C. Department of Public Safety.

Cellphone usage led to at least 72 collisions that injured 28 people in South Carolina in 2015, according to the latest statistics available in SCDPS’ Traffic Collision Fact Book.

Distracted driving killed 3,477 people that same year across the United States, the NHTSA notes on its website.

“Distracted driving is one of the most significant problems we see on our highways now,” said SCDPS Director Leroy Smith. “As technology in the vehicle grows, so does the temptation to look away for just a few seconds, which can — and does — have deadly consequences.”


County Christmas Parades Kick Off This Weekend

This year's downtown Christmas tree during test lighting. Official Christmas tree lighting downtown Friday at 6 p.m.With Christmas less than a month away, Anderson County is getting ready for the holiday, as usual, with a series of parades starting this weekend.

The following Christmas events have been announced in Anderson County: 

Saturday, Honea Path, 11 a.m.

Saturday, Pelzer/West Pelzer, 3 p.m.

Saturday, Belton, 3:30 p.m.

Sunday, Anderson City, 3 p.m.

Dec. 9, Piedmont, 11 a.m.

Dec. 9, Iva, 2 p.m.

Dec. 9, Williamston, 3 p.m.

Dec. 10, Pendleton, 2 p.m

Dec. 10, Anderson County, 3 p.m.

Know of other Anderson County Parades/Christmas events? Email Us


Clemson Students Take Top Honors in Turf Bowl

MYRTLE BEACH — When it comes to turf, a group of Clemson University students recently showed they’re tops in the Carolinas.

Clemson Turf Club members pose with the traveling trophy after the university’s two teams took first and second place in the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association Student Turf Bowl in Myrtle Beach. Pictured are (front row, from left) Nathan Bailes, Graham Gowan, Andrew Massey, Tyler Babb, (back row) Ben Childress, Justin Beitz, Blake Ware, Ryan Anderson, club adviser Don Garrett, Brandon Waddell and Will Landry.

The Clemson Turf Club took first and second place in the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association (GCSA) Student Turf Bowl competition as part of the Carolinas GCSA Conference and Show from Nov. 13-15 in Myrtle Beach.

Competing against 10 teams from North Carolina State, Horry Georgetown Technical College, Sandhills Community College and Central Piedmont Community College, Clemson’s two teams advanced through the preliminary rounds and advanced to the three-team finals, where the team of seniors Justin Beitz of Seneca, Will Landry of Camden, Brandon Waddell of Spartanburg and Blake Ware of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, came out on top.

The second-place team included senior Graham Gowen of Spartanburg and juniors Ryan Anderson of Richmond, Virginia, Nathan Bailes of Clover and Ben Childress of Clinton.

Tyler Babb, Andrew Massey and Brandon Welch are also members of the Turf Club, which is composed of Turfgrass majors in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Science’s department of plant and environmental sciences.

The GCSA Student Turf Bowl is a “Jeopardy”-style quiz bowl competition in which players use buzzers to signal their intent to respond to trivia in a variety of turfgrass management and related topics.

“This is one of their big events,” said Don Garrett, club adviser and golf course superintendent at The Walker Course at Clemson University. “They want to have dominance in the Carolinas. It’s kind of the highlight of the year for them, especially if they don’t go to the national event. They got to participate in not just the Turf Bowl, but all aspects of the conference.”

First place in the contest awarded $700 and the traveling trophy, while the second-place team earned $500.

“Of course, they were carrying the trophy around like the Stanley Cup,” Garrett joked. “So they’re pretty proud of that. They haven’t won it in a couple of years. Our kids did very well this time. I was here in school in the early ‘80s, and our turf program has really come a long way.

“We have some of the top instructors and researchers in the turfgrass science field at Clemson, which our students get to work with on a daily basis. The kids are in high demand for internships from superintendents all over the country.”


Local World War II "Code Girl" Still One Lively American

Starr native Jeuel Bannister Esmacher still works puzzles every day. Not a suprising revelation from a woman who spent most of World War II decrypting enemy communications, helping save the lives of untold numbers of United States service men and women in the South Pacific.

One of the subjects of Liz Munday's book "Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II," Esmacher shared her story Tuesday morning at the Anderson County Museum, where the overflow crowd of 175 witnessed first hand the quick mind and spunky spirit of the now 94-year-old hero of the war.

Interviewed by Anderson Author Kathryn Smith, Esmacher said she finally returned home a few years ago for retirement. 

After finishing high school in Iva at 16, Esmacher (then Bannister) left for Winthrop (which she finished in three years) where, after graduation, she was eventually recruited by the U.S. Army Air Corps to participate in training to become a crypotgrapher. She spent the entire war working in secret in Washington, D.C., heling dechyper code from the Japanese war machine. The job was so secret, many of the women who participated died without every telling anyone of their involvment.

"It was so secret. They had us take an oath of secrecy and said if they ever heard that we spoke of where we worked or what we did, we would be fined $10,000 - which is about $150,000 today - or spend 10 years in jail, so we never talked about what we did," Esmacher said, smiling. She said the Army sent in "spies" to check and see if anyone was talking about the work, and that even roomates who both worked in the project never mentioned it aloud.

Their work was not declassified until long after the war, and some of the women who participated in the program died without ever telling their husbands.

Esmacher enchanted the gathering with her stories of being a young woman serving the country as a civilian during the war, and of love at first sight. Her late husband of 63 years, Harry, is still proof of love at first sight, Esmacher said.

Today she's still playing piano and staying active, voluteering at her church, reading, crocheting and talking about her years as a code girl. She also wishes more folks were patriotic in the same way they were during WWII.

"My big regret comes to the present," Esmacher said. "I'm just sorry we are not patriotic like we used to be. Back then you were an American, that's all that would matter. I wish we were like that today. I wish there were no Democrats, no Republicans, just Americans."


December "Super Moon" Biggest and Brightest of Year

Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The 'supermoon' set for Dec. 4 is expected to be the brightest of the year as the moon's orbit will be at its closest point to the earth.

Public astronomer Dr. Marek Kukula at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, Britain, told AGN News a supermoon is when"a full moon happens to occur when the moon is also at its closest point" to the earth and appears brighter and bigger than usual. 

It all begins with the December full moon, which will officially occur at 10:47 a.m. EST on Dec. 3, according to National Geographic. Later that night, the "supermoon" will be out and appear 7 percent larger and 16 percent brighter than usual because the lunar orb will be at its closest point to earth in its cycle, coming within 222,443 miles of earth by 4:00 a.m. EST on the 4th.

"It is a natural part of the moon cycle and happens around once a year," Kukula said. "The differences in apparent size and brightness amount to few percent but they can enhance the already beautiful sight of the full moon, making a supermoon worth looking up for."


One-Third of Arthritis Suffers 18-64 in U.S.

More younger Americans experience the aches and pains of arthritis than once thought.

Roughly 91 million adults had arthritis in 2015. But the most surprising fact was that nearly one-third of sufferers were aged 18 to 64, a new study found.

Those estimates are 68 percent higher than previously reported, said lead researcher Dr. David Felson, a professor of medicine at Boston University.

"Arthritis is incredibly common, and we have underestimated how common it is," he said.

This off-kilter count most likely occurred because previous research only included a doctor's diagnosis of arthritis, Felson explained.

"It turns out that especially people under 65 who have arthritis say 'no' to that question, so they are never included in the estimates," Felson said.

Obesity and stress on joints from vigorous exercise and sports are likely causes of arthritis among younger men and women. Doctors often miss arthritis in younger patients because they don't expect to see it, Felson noted.

Keeping weight down and exercising safely are the best ways to help prevent arthritis, he suggested.

For the study, Felson and his colleague, Dr. S. Reza Jafarzadeh, an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University, collected data on more than 33,600 men and women who took part in the 2015 U.S. National Health Interview Survey.

To estimate the true extent of arthritis in the United States, Felson and Jafarzadeh took into account not only people whose arthritis was diagnosed by a doctor, but also those who reported chronic joint symptoms lasting more than three months.

The investigators found that among those under 65 years of age, 19 percent of men and nearly 17 percent of women reported joint pain, although they did not have a doctor's diagnosis of arthritis.

Among participants 65 and older, nearly 16 percent of men and almost 14 percent of women also reported joint pain without a doctor's diagnosis.

The prevalence of arthritis was nearly 30 percent among men under 65, and 31 percent in women under 65. Among men aged 65 and older, the prevalence was nearly 56 percent, while it was 69 percent among women in the same age group, the findings showed.

The report was published online Nov. 27 in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology.


GAMAC Holiday Concert Dec. 9

The Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium (GAMAC) will ring in the holidays with its 27th annual Christmas concert  "Sounds of the Season." Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m, at Boulevard Baptist Church.  Join the GAMAC Chorale, Chamber Orchestra and Children’s Chorus as they take you on a musical sleigh ride with beloved songs and carols for the whole family.

Christmas favorites will include selections from "The Nutcracker" and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s "Wizards In Winter."  

Patrons attending holiday event are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy for a child ages 8-13 years to benefit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Anderson County’s toy drive. Those who bring a toy will receive one complimentary child’s ticket to the concert while helping children throughout Anderson County. 

Tickets may be purchased by calling the GAMAC office at (864) 231-6147 or online at . Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door that evening. Prices are $20 for adults and $10 for students.  Seating is by general admission.  P


Belk Red Kettle Holiday Ban Hits Anderson Salvation Army Hard

Ho, ho, no.

Is the Grinch the Christmas mascot at Belk this year?

When the Salvation Army launched it’s annual Red Kettle Campaign Nov. 17, they found out the welcome mat at Belk stores across the South had been withdrawn. Red Kettles are no longer allowed at Belk, entrances during the holidays.

The move will cost the Salvation Army in Anderson approximately $20,000 dollars.

“It was one of our best locations,” said Lt. Rob Dolby, Officer Commanding at The Salvation Army in Anderson. “It wasn’t Belk that was giving us any money, it was their customers. We really believe that Belk’s customers want to give. It’s disappointing.”

Dolby said the loss of funds is particularly difficult this year with the closing of the Anderson Kmart, where kettles generated more than $5,000 each holiday season.

The $25,000 loss will hit hard the Anderson Salvation Army, which has been here for 110 years. 

“Belk changed their giving consciousness, which is to be very blunt, a lot of corporations are doing to avoid allowing faith-based organizations to raise funds,” Dolby said. 

The ministry serves 1,500 children each Christmas in Anderson, and dozens more with the caregiver program called Silver Bells. The group also operates a emergency shelter on Tolly Street, which houses 40 people every night, and an additional 25-35 when the weather is cold. They also served more than 38,000 meals to those in need this past year., and provided emergency utility assistance to more than 1,700 this year.

The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs serves 104 children with after-school enrichment and summer camps. Dolby said that 85 percent of those who participate in the programs “get A’s on their report cards.”

He said Anderson is facing a crisis in family homelessness, and the ministry’s current two rooms for families is not enough. 

“We need to add three more rooms for families, because we are seeing more and more families living in their cars,” Dolby added.

Nationwide, Belk has 300 stores in 16 states. The refusal to allow Red Kettles for the holidays will cost the Salvation Army more than $1 million this year.  

To help make up for the loss, I am asking people to be generous this year by giving online,” Dolby said. Information on giving to the Anderson Salvation Army and about the services the ministry provides to the community can be found at 

Businesses interested in hosting a Red Kettle or tabletop kettle can also find information at this site.

Dolby also asked to remind citizens that the Salvation Army does not receive any government funding for their work.

He said other local businesses continue to be strong supporters of the Salvation Army in Anderson, including the Anderson Mall, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Quality Foods, Bi-Lo, Ingles and Hobby Lobby. Angle tree displays, where local citizens can find a local child or family to help during the holidays are hosted at the Anderson Area YMCA, Walmart, Chick-fil-A and a number of other sites across the area.

According to Andy Izquierdo, vice president of communications and social impact, Belk is launching a new social impact strategy in December called “Home for the Holidays” that The Salvation Army doesn’t factor into. 

“We're partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build a home with a family. During this holiday season, we're asking our customers to contribute what they can toward this wonderful cause,” said Izquierdo. “There is great power in all our Belk associates and customers rallying around one cause — and we really want to focus all of our efforts on this impactful campaign.”

Izquierdo stated that though Belk has never had a formal contract with The Salvation Army, there has been a longstanding tradition of allowing Salvation Army bellringers to stand outside of Belk stores.

“The Salvation Army does a lot of important work in the community, and perhaps there will be opportunities to partner with them in the future,” he said.

For now, the Salvation Army local facilities will have to find ways to do more with less. To volunteer as a Red Kettle ringer or to donate, visit the website, or call 864-225-738.


STEAM Grants Available for S.C. Educators

South Carolina educators can now apply for grants to pay for projects considered part of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) education programs.

The grants are called  “Growing in SC: The Future of STEAM is Here.” They come from the S2TEM Centers SC, an affiliate of South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics & Science. They are part of the centers’ 25th anniversary celebration.

The goal of STEAM is to provide opportunities for students to learn skills employers say are in demand. 

Five grants will be awarded to educators who are interested in starting new STEAM projects targeted toward students from prekindergarten through grade 12.

Educators from across the state can apply for grants that pay for new STEAM projects, such as those on display at the iMAGINE Upstate festival in downtown Greenville each spring.

Each grant recipient will receive up to $2,500 and eight hours of STEAM-focused professional development valued at $1,500. Educators in the public and private sector are invited to apply, and eligibility extends to those involved in out-of-school learning, such as after-school clubs.

The deadline to apply is Jan. 12 at 5 p.m.

The grants are called  “Growing in SC: The Future of STEAM is Here.” They come from the S2TEM Centers SC, an affiliate of South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics & Science. They are part of the centers’ 25th anniversary celebration.

Tom Peters, executive director of the South Carolina Coalition for Mathematics & Science, said the grants will help establish new and innovative projects across the state.

“STEAM education inspires the next generation of leaders and prepares them for some of the state’s most in-demand jobs,” he said. “With these grants, we are planting seeds for the future.”

One grant will be awarded to an educator from each area of the state as defined by the coalition: Coastal Pee Dee,  Lowcountry, Midlands, Upcountry and Western. Recipients will be recognized at an anniversary celebration planned for March at the Capital City Club in Columbia.Applications can be downloaded at