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Friday
Jun162017

S.C. Attorney General Investigating Drug Manufacturers

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is working with other attorneys general from across the country to investigate whether drug manufactures have "engaged in unlawful practices in marketing the sale of opioids." 

Wilson said the investigation is ongoing.

"We're not pointing the finger at any one person in the distribution, our any one group, we're looking at this holistically and trying to determine the best way for South Carolina to attack and combat this epidemic to keep our citizens safe," he said.

The attorney general said the opioid problem has been going on for at least four decades and he and his staff want to see change. He said a consumer protection division is working to gather as much information from these manufactures and on down the line. 

The South Carolina Attorney General's Office said "Nationwide and in South Carolina, opioids—prescription and illicit—are the main driver of drug overdose deaths.  Opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths in 2015, and opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999."

Wilson said they are looking to the manufactures for more information.

"Maybe they knew this drug was far more addictive than they let on and purposely withheld that information, there are all kinds of things that we have to look into to determine if in fact that is true, and if it is then we have to make a decision on how to make that individual accountable," he said.

Friday
Jun162017

Trump to Set New Restrictions on Travel to Cuba

Donald Trump will on Friday announce new restrictions on trade and travel to Cuba on Friday, but will not entirely reverse Barack Obama’s 2015 rapprochement with Havana.

Diplomatic relations will remain, and so will commercial flights, but travel to Cuba will be more tightly monitored and business will face restrictions aimed at ensuring that Cuban military and intelligence organizations do not benefit.

“The new policy will empower the Cuban people,” a senior White House official said. “It does not target the Cuban people but the measures are designed to restrict the flow of money to oppressive elements of the Cuban regime.”

Trump will declare the new policy in Miami, at the heart of the Cuban exile community in Little Havana, fulfilling an election campaign promise. 

Obama’s opening to Cuba, negotiated in secret with the help of the Vatican and which culminated in a presidential trip to Havana in March 2016, was regarded by his administration as one of its signature foreign policy achievements, ending an embargo of more than a half century, which had failed to produce a softening of the communist regime. 

Flights and sea links were reopened and travel increased to an estimated 400,000 Americans expected to visit the island this year. Administration officials said that those who had already booked trips before the new policy takes effect would be able to go ahead with their plans, but future travel would be policed more rigorously to ensure it fitted one of twelve authorised categories as part of the Obama rules laid down in 2015.

Those categories allowed Americans to travel to Cuba for educational, professional, humanitarian, sporting, artistic or trade purposes, but not for general tourism, but Trump administration officials said the policy was not carefully monitored and was abused to allow tourism.

Thursday
Jun152017

Doctors Call for Transparency in Prescription Meds Pricing

The American Medical Association is calling for more transparency in drug pricing amid skyrocketing costs that are putting some lifesaving medications out of reach for patients and communities.

During its annual meeting, the doctors' group adopted new policies on drug pricing to protect patients.

"Taken together, these policies would bring much needed transparency to drug pricing and provide a clear benefit to consumers struggling with exorbitant costs," AMA President-Elect Dr. Barbara McAneny said in an association news release.

One policy calls on pharmaceutical companies to list the suggested retail prices of drugs in direct-to-consumer ads. The AMA will urge federal regulators to include that requirement.

The association pointed out that one study found a 34 percent increase in prices for prescription drugs advertised directly to consumers. For other medications, the increase was 5 percent.

Direct-to-consumer ads were illegal in the United States until 1997. Only one other country -- New Zealand -- currently allows these ads.

Thursday
Jun152017

Anderson County Housing Permits Up 53 Percent in May

New Single-Family and Multi-Family Dwelling permits were up 53% in Anderson Couinty compared to May 2016.

This year saw 101 new permits, up from 66 in 2016. As a result, revenue also increased by 43 percent, bringing in almost $130,000 in 2017. 

“It’s always encouraging to see an increase in residential growth, mainly because it implies continued confidence in our community," said Steve Newton, govenmental affairs director for Anderson County. "It means people want to be here and are willing to invest in the future with us.”

Thursday
Jun152017

Clemson Expects Big Impact from New Business School

Clemson’s business school completed its inaugural year as a standalone college by christening the careers of more than 600 graduates this spring, and with ambitious plans to expand its campus footprint and impact on the university.

Business school graduates display their rewards at commencement.

“The most recent graduating class is a testament to the business school’s ability to prepare students for 21st century business and the role we can play in raising the university’s stature at a national level,” said Bobby McCormick, dean of the College of Business. “And, university leadership validated the importance of business education in Clemson’s future with its support in building the college’s new home in the heart of campus.”

Construction on the 170,000 square foot, $87 million new business school building across from Bowman Field is expected to begin later this year and be ready for occupancy in 2020. McCormick said the state-of-the-art, five-story towers will further draw attention to the high level of business scholarship available at Clemson and build on the program’s already esteemed reputation.

Clemson’s College of Business is ranked No. 1 in South Carolina and No. 24 among the nation’s top undergraduate business degree programs, according to College Choice’s 2017 rankings.

“The business school’s new home will be one of the most defining structures built on campus in the last 100 years. Its central location and world-class amenities will complement the outstanding and most caring faculty you’ll find at any business institution of higher learning in the country,” McCormick added. “We are building a home that our current business students will be proud of and one that future students will want to experience.”

The College of Business awarded degrees to 604 undergraduates at spring commencement, and 63 masters and doctoral degrees. The undergraduate degrees, by department, included Economics, 64; Finance, 118; Graphic Communications, 60; Management, 137; Marketing 141 and Accountancy 84.

“This was a strong crop of future leaders in business and education that benefited from the Clemson business experience. We have all the pieces in place to not only elevate the quality of education for students like these, but increase their numbers considerably.”

McCormick said the university has ambitious plans to grow enrollment in the next 10 years, and he sees the College of Business in as strong of a position as any educational discipline on campus to help meet those goals.

“The bricks, mortar and glass of our new facility will be impressive and exceed the expectations of most,” McCormick said. “But there’s far more to business education at Clemson and every day we work to improve that experience. From faculty, resources and new, 21st century learning programs, Clemson is the business school of choice for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and leaders of industry.”

Thursday
Jun152017

Library to Offer "Construction 101" Program for Kids 8-12

The Anderson County Library will offer "Construction 101" to chidren this summer, allowing them to learn about construction from the ground up.

This new program is scheduled to be offered at the main branch of the library on July 13 and July 27 at 3:30 p.m.; in the Honea Path branch of the library on June 29 at 3:30 p.m.; and in the Pendleton Library breach of the library on July 25 at 3:30 p.m. As with all library programs, the program is free. 

The STEM program is made passible by a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) administered by the South Carolina State Library (SCSL). In partnership with Tri-County Technical (TCTC) College, the library will host the hands on building and engineering programs using "Keva Planks," cuboid wooden blocks that stack, a modern version of the Lincoln Logs. Engineers and teachers from TCTC will lead participants age 8-12 through various phases of construction, showing them how buildings are built from the ground up.  Kids will use their imaginations for the design and learn about the importance of a good foundation – in building a bridge and in building their minds.

“This is an wonderful experience for all,” said Diane Smiley, Head of Youth Services at ACLS.  “Kids are using their creativity to learn about STEM topics and being guided by Tri-County Technical College professionals who can inspire them as well as teach."

For more information about "Construction 101," call  864-260-4500, extension 158 or visit www.andersonlibrary.org.

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. 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook and on Twitter.

The South Carolina State Library is the primary administrator of federal and state support for the state’s libraries. The State Library is a national model for innovation, collaboration, leadership and effectiveness. For more information, please visit www.statelibrary.sc.gov or call 803-734-8666.

Thursday
Jun152017

ECP "The Boys Next Door" to Benefit Special Olympics

Electric City Playhouse in collaboration with The Anderson Theatre Festival will present "The Boys Next Door," beginning tonight and running through June 25.

The production focuses on  the daily lives of four gentlemen living in a group home, where "little things" sometimes become momentous and often very funny, and become moments of great poignancy.

Throughout, the play serves to remind that persons with disabilities, like all of society, want only to love and laugh and find meaning and purpose in the brief time we are allotted on this earth. Two dollars from every ticket sold for this production will be donated to the Anderson Area 14 Special Olympics.

There will be a free panel on Saturday at 3 p.m., where different organizations in the Anderson community will be coming together to discuss, and answer questions, on what our local community is doing to help those with disabilities and special needs.

Thursday
Jun152017

Trump Under Investigation for Obstruction of Justice

Donald Trump is reportedly being investigated for potential obstruction of justice by the special counsel looking into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. This marks the first time that the investigation, which has hung over Trump since his inauguration, has potentially implicated the president himself.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday night that the federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia during the 2016 campaign, being overseen by Robert Mueller, has now expanded into whether the president attempted to thwart that investigation.

Trump tweeted early on Thursday morning: “They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice.” He later repeated his claims that such investigations were a “WITCH HUNT”.

The allegations of obstruction of justice apparently center on Trump’s efforts to encourage former FBI director James Comey to drop an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Comey testified under oath to Congress last week that Trump told him in a private meeting, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” Trump has since said Comey said things that “weren’t true” while under oath and that he was “100% willing” to testify before Congress.

Wednesday
Jun142017

Insurance Companies Won't Help Duke in Coal Ash Cleanup

Dozens of insurance companies say they're not obligated to help pay for Duke Energy Corp.'s multi-billion dollar coal ash cleanup. They say the nation's largest electric company long knew about but did nothing to reduce the threat of potentially toxic pollutants.

The claim is in a filing by lawyers for nearly 30 international and domestic insurance companies Duke Energy sued in March. The Charlotte-based company wants to force insurance payments to cover part of the utility's coal ash cleanup in the Carolinas.

The insurers say they're not paying because Duke Energy stored its coal ash in unlined pits as part of its normal business practices. Insurance company lawyers say no distinct pollution events triggered coverage.

Coal ash contains arsenic, mercury and other elements that may be hazardous in sufficient concentrations.

Wednesday
Jun142017

Sheriff's Office Offers Safe Place for Online Transactions

Anderson County Sheriff’s Office has joined the SafeTrade initiative for safer completion of online transactions. 

SafeTrade is a simple program for law enforcement agencies to encourage transactions at their facilities to strengthen safety and security of residents who may wish to conduct business through online trading groups, websites, and other buying and selling apps.

Users of various online transaction platforms have often fallen prey to scammers and criminals who used sites such as Craigslist and others to swindle, rob or more seriously, physically harm unsuspecting individuals who meet in person to trade. 

“With the recent growth of websites and online trading forums, opportunities for criminals to cheat good people out of their stuff has also grown,” said Sheriff Chad McBride. “One of the goals of our office is to continually provide Anderson County residents with resources to keep them safe and reduce the chances they will be harmed by criminals. By offering a safe place for exchanges, we hope to reduce the number of crimes related to this type of business activity.”

Two parking spaces at the front left of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, located at 305 Camson Road, have been designated with special signage as the SafeTrade Station. Those who finalize online transactions from this location can do so knowing that surveillance cameras are monitoring their exchanges during regular business hours Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Additional tips when buying or selling through online marketplaces below:

Even when meeting at your local police station remember the following tips when buying or selling on Craigslist and other online marketplaces:

  • Some police departments have rules: specific hours of availability, “no guns,” “no drugs” (especially no illegal drugs!), or the like.
  • Police typically will not get involved in the details of the transaction. They’re only there to make sure you’re safe.
  • Ask for proof of the seller’s identity, if the item is something that might have been stolen. Many police departments (but not all) are willing to check the serial number of an item for sale to determine if it’s in a database of stolen property.
  • If you’re carrying a large sum of cash, either before or after the transaction, don’t make it obvious, and be careful to ensure that you’re not followed after the transaction.
  • Beware of common scams, like checks for an amount higher than the amount of the deal; “cashier’s checks” that are forged and presented when the bank is closed.
  • If you are given a cashier’s check, money order or other equivalent, call the bank --- at the number listed online, not a number the buyer gives you --- to verify the validity of the check. 
Wednesday
Jun142017

Understanding Why We Celebrate Flag Day

Wednesday
Jun142017

McMaster Signs Law Aimed at Protecting Highway Workers

Gov. Henry McMaster is ceremoniously signing a law that aims to slow down drivers in highway construction zones to protect workers.

The Republican governor is holding the ceremony Wednesday at the state Department of Transportation maintenance facility in Aiken.

A driver who disobeys traffic control signs or disregards orange cones can be charged with endangering a highway worker. The fine is up to $1,000 if no one is injured. It increases to up to $5,000 if injury results, depending on the severity.

It took effect with McMaster's signature May 19.

The bill was approved unanimously after two DOT workers were struck and killed in a hit and run near North Augusta in March.

The legislative effort began in 2013 after a highway worker was killed in Williamsburg County in 2013.

Tuesday
Jun132017

Post-Courier: State Rejects Making Columbia S.C.'s Front Porch

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Not everyone is excited about the city of Columbia's $195,000 grant to turn the Statehouse grounds into South Carolina's "Front Porch."

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has awarded the money to the city to hold special events on the Statehouse grounds.

But an official says the city failed to get state approval for the idea, The Post and Courier of Charleston (http://bit.ly/2s6cEkS) reported.

The city's proposal would create a temporary park called "The State's Front Porch" with cafes, hammocks, putting greens, beach chairs and umbrellas, and pingpong tables at various times over the coming year.

The South Carolina Department of Administration is concerned the city cannot create such a venue while maintaining what it calls "the appropriate decorum, aesthetic or level of dignity required for the Statehouse grounds." The agency is responsible for the grounds that have seven buildings and 31 monuments and markers.

Director Marcia Adams wrote Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin last month and pointed out that the city's grant application listed the state as a partner without getting state approval.

"Imagine a welcoming and inviting entrance that is more than a walkway or place for rallies, protests and celebrations," Benjamin wrote Gov. Henry McMaster earlier this month. The city would monitor events to prevent damage to the grounds, Benjamin wrote.

Columbia wants to hold activities such as outdoor meetings and pop-up movie nights, twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Benjamin said.

Benjamin told the newspaper he met with McMaster last week and the governor was receptive.

Gubernatorial spokesman Brian Symmes said McMaster did not endorse the project and told the mayor he would have to get state approval.

The administration department said the city's request would need legislative approval.

The Statehouse grounds are often used for rallies and demonstrations. The administration department said 237 events were reserved for the grounds last year.

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Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com