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United Way "Buy a Box" Drive to Help Feed Local Children

An anonymous donor has once again challenged the community to join together to support  the United Way’s Weekend Snackpack Program, which feeds 900 school-age children in need every weekend during the school year throughout Anderson County.

On Feb. 13, the United Way will host its fourth annual “Buy A Box” Day. Each box costs $40 and holds eight Weekend Snackpacks that will feed eight children over the weekend so that they can return to school ready to learn.

For every dollar raised through the “Buy A Box” Campaign, the donor will match it up to $25,000.

Also during the 2019 Buy A Box Campaign, those who donate $240 or more will be entered into a drawing for two round-trip airline tickets on Delta Airlines. Winner will be notified on March 1. 

To Buy a Box visit or mail your donation to United Way of Anderson County, P.O. Box 2067, Anderson, SC 29622.  For more information contact Liz Brock with the United Way of Anderson County at 864-226-3438 ext. 110.


Feb 4 Observer Podcast: Updates on County, Schools, Library, Arts


S.C. Lawmaker Wants to Close Sexual Assault Loopholes

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina lawmaker says she hopes legislation she's introduced will close loopholes in the state's laws that hinder prosecution of sexual assault crimes.

Former Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor Mandy Powers Norrell has filed bills in the House to establish a "Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights," create a new crime of rape by fraud and would reclassify so-called date rape drugs as Schedule II drugs which she said would decrease the chances of trafficking and distribution.

The Lancaster attorney said the bills were written to encourage survivors to come forward while fixing a crack in state's legal system. Powers Norrell said she hopes lawmakers make it a priority this year.

The bills have already gained bipartisan support in the House.


Council to Hear Finance Committee Report Tuesday

Anderson County Council will hear a report from the finance committee as part of Tuesday's regular meeting at 6 p.m. in the historic courthouse downtown.
Full agenda here. 

Megachurches Struggle to Find Successors to Founding Pastors

Christian Post

You could see it unfolding. Boomer megachurch pastors are retiring. The number grows every month. And, as we thought might take place, the churches are having difficulty finding their successors. In fact, we are seeing search committees or their equivalents taking longer and longer to find a pastor. This trend will soon become a crisis.

So, how did we get here? How did we get to the point where some of the largest churches in North America are having trouble finding pastors? Here are a few observations:

  • These churches have similar profiles of the type of pastor they want. And there aren’t many that meet that profile. I see it repeatedly. The requisite age is 38 to 49. The candidate must have proven leadership experience. The prospective pastor must currently be serving in a church with an attendance of 500 or more. Dynamic preaching is a given. Doctoral degrees are preferred but not mandated by all churches. Oh, and the candidate must be happily married with 2.6 children.
  • The number of Millennials who are in vocational ministry and meet the profile is small. I am amazed at the same prospective candidates I hear every time one of these growing vacancies unfolds.
  • Fewer Millennials are excited about leading a megachurch. They don’t view bigger as better. They want to plant themselves and their families in a community. They are not the prototypical ladder climbers.
  • Millennials are concerned about the large worship centers many megachurches have. They would rather have more services and more campuses than one large worship center. They see a number of megachurches that can’t come close to filling their current space even now.
  • Many search committees (or their equivalent) try to look for a pastor in the old traditional path. You know that path. Vote on a search committee. Have meetings every third week except on holiday weeks. Receive resumes without a filter. And if the church belongs to a denomination, ask the denomination to send the same recycled names. One recent exception, Mariners Church in Irvine, California, retained Vanderbloemen Search Group to take the non-traditional path and found a pastor in relatively short order. Too many of the megachurch search processes simply are old and stale.
  • Many megachurches did not have a succession plan. For the life of me, I don’t understand why. This process, if done well, could save a lot of time and heartache.

Because of the reasons noted above, we have a supply and demand crisis. The demand is growing, and the supply is small.

By the way, a megachurch by definition has a weekend average worship attendance of 2,000 and more. We are now seeing more churches with an attendance of 1,000 to 2,000 having the same challenges.


Groundhog Forecasts Early Spring

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) — It may be hard to believe as a large swath of the U.S. thaws out from a bitter polar vortex, but spring is coming early, according to handlers for some of the country's most famous prognosticating groundhogs.

Just before 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Punxsutawney (puhnk-suh-TAW'-nee) Phil emerged from his burrow in Pennsylvania at sunrise and didn't see his shadow. Nearly the same series of events unfolded about 300 miles (483 kilometers) to the east, where Staten Island Chuck's handlers also revealed the same prediction.

The festivities have their origin in a German legend that says if a furry rodent casts a shadow on Feb. 2, winter continues. If not, spring comes early.

In reality, Phil's prediction is decided ahead of time by the group on Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill just outside Punxsutawney. That's about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio stopped attending Staten Island's Groundhog Day ceremony in 2015, a year after he accidentally dropped the furry critter that died a week later.

And he wasn't the only New York City mayor who struggled with the holiday. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg was bit at a Groundhog Day ceremony in 2009.


Palmetto Distillery Owners Purchase Watson Village Shopping Center

One of Anderson's oldest shopping centers has new owners.

Watson Village, a longtime fixture on the south side of town, is now the property of of Bryan and Trey Boggs, founders and owners of Palmetto Distillery.

"What makes this great is that it's not that far from downtown, and we hope it will help this community and improve this side of town," said Trey Boggs, who added he and his family had been shopping at the center as long as he could remember.

"We've been working on this for over a year," Boggs said, adding that the shopping center is nearly 100 percent rented and that the purchase should help businesses located there.

"We don't have any specific plans (for the shopping center) other than improving it," Boggs said. Earlly improvements include adding new lighting and repainting the spaces in the parking lot.

Other possible updates could include a satellite office of the Anderson County Sheriff's Department.

Watson Village is also the longtime home of Anderson's hometown hardware store White Jones (Boggs said he'd been going into the store since he could "pick up a hammer"), which will remain a cornerstone of the shopping center. 


S.C. Senator Wants to Increase Time for Gun Background Checks

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina lawmaker is reviving his effort to give law enforcement officials five days, instead of just three, to complete background checks for gun purchasers — a waiting period that played a pivotal role in a 2015 mass shooting at a church.

Democratic Sen. Marlon Kimpson of Charleston said Thursday at a Statehouse rally that gun reform has been debated for too long and the General Assembly continues to take no action.

"Part of getting legislation passed in South Carolina is to get a coalition, and we are adding to our coalition by the day," Kimpson said. "I will not rest until gun reform is passed in this state so we can save lives."

The bill was initially introduced following a racially motivated shooting that claimed the lives of nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2015.

Dylan Roof, the man convicted in the church massacre, was able to legally buy his gun because the FBI failed to confirm a pending drug charge against him within a three-day waiting period.

Kimpson's proposed legislation would extend that period from three days to five days. Kimpson said the bill would streamline the court system and require courts to report criminal case verdicts within 10 days to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and report restraining orders, domestic violence or any cases that might prevent someone from buying a gun within two days. The bill failed to make it out of Senate committee last year.

Kimpson, whose district includes Emanuel AME Church, said he wants to make gun reform a priority in the legislature. The Charleston lawmaker said his colleagues discuss plenty of other topics, but need to focus more on issues of greater urgency.

"We talk about chicken on the Senate floor, bills that would protect big businesses from litigation and lawsuits," Kimpson said. "We must talk about gun reform and saving those dozens of lives that are being killed each day by the hands of criminals."

University of South Carolina freshman Jacob Gamble said he and other student activists will speak specifically to lawmakers who have previously opposed the legislation.

"The students of the state are a real political force beyond just sitting at home tweeting about it," Gamble said. "We're actually going to come out here and show up and make noise."

Democratic Rep. Seth Rose of Columbia, who co-sponsored companion legislation in the House, attended Thursday's rally, hosted by Lowcountry Students for Political Action, and applauded students for their efforts.


Anderson County News Update


County Finance Committee to Meet Friday

The Anderson County Council Finance Committee will meet Friday at 10 a.m. in the administrator's conference room of the Historic Anderson County Courthouse downtown.

Here is the agenda:


Anderson Resident Joins National Guard Hall of Fame

Anderson-resident Harry James Humphrey, was inducted into the South Carolina National Guard’s Enlisted Hall of Fame Wednesday at McCrady Training Center. 

Humphrey retired as a master sergeant and served as the first sergeant for Alpha Battery, 1st of the 263rd Air Defense Artillery in Columbia, and served for 34 years in the South Carolina National Guard. He currently lives in Anderson with his wife, Betty and three children.  

For more than three decades, induction into the South Carolina National Guard’s Enlisted Hall of Fame has honored senior non-commissioned officers who have gone above and beyond in performance of their duties.

Other accomplishments and awards Humphrey accumulated throughout his military career include the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and the South Carolina Active State Service Medal with two silver stars. 



S.C. Bill Banning Drivers from Holding Cell Phones Moves Ahead

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A bill that would ban drivers in South Carolina from holding cellphones in their hands has passed its first hurdle.

A House subcommittee approved the bill Wednesday, sending it on to the House Education and Public Works Committee.

The proposal would fine drivers $200 for using a cellphone or other electronic device in their hands. Drivers could talk on the phone with a hands-free device or use the GPS app on their phone or other electronic device as long as they entered their destination before driving.

Bill sponsor Republican Rep. Bill Taylor of Aiken said South Carolina's current ban on texting while driving is too weak because drivers can claim they weren't texting even when the cellphone is in their hands.

The current law has a $25 fine.


County Helping Salvation Army Collect Blankets

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

It's time to step up.

Anderson County is collecting blankets and coats for our neighbors in need as temperatures have dropped to dangerously cold levels.

The Salvation Army of Anderson has opened an emergency shetler for those seeking a warm place, according to Lt. David Baker, director of the Emergency Managment Division of the Anderson County Sheriff's Department.

But coats and blankets are needed for many who are without protection from the winter weather, so Anderson County has set up a donation center at the Civic Center to provide citizens a way to help. Beginning at 1 p.m. today, and continuing until 5 p.m. Friday, a box will be available at in the Civic Center lobby to collect winter coats and blankets. 

Baker added that Hillcrest Baptist Church in Williamston, is also opening a shelter for those seeking to escape the cold. The church is also offering rides for those needing help getting to the shelter.

Anderson has always been a generous community, and this is another opportunity to help our neighbors in need.