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Friday
Apr142017

B.A.S.S. National Championship Set of October at Green Pond

The 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Championship presented by Magellan will be held on South Carolina’s Hartwell Lake, Oct. 19-21.
 
Competitors from all over the world will compete for a chance to return to Lake Hartwell next March for the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

“We are excited to be going to Anderson, S.C., and Lake Hartwell for the Championship,” said Jon Stewart, B.A.S.S. Nation director. “It is a great fishery, and Green Pond Landing is a fantastic launch and weigh-in areaAnderson County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did a great job renovating the ramp area for the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic a few years ago, and they have improved it even more since then. We are expecting the weather and the fishing to be excellent that time of year.” 

There are several routes anglers can take to qualify for the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.
 
Forty-seven states and one Canadian province (Ontario) will send 20-person teams (10 boaters and 10 nonboaters) to one of three regional tournaments — Central, Western and Eastern. The top boater and nonboater from each state will then advance to the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on Hartwell. 
 
Also invited to the Championship are the top boater and nonboater from nine other foreign countries (which have their own qualifying events), the Paralyzed Veterans of America champion and the defending B.A.S.S. Nation champion.
 
“We are so proud of the opportunity to host the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship at Green Pond Landing and Lake Hartwell,” said Neil Paul, Visit Anderson’s executive director. “In Anderson County, we take great pride in being able to host anglers from all over the country in our community, and the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship is yet another opportunity to host a championship event in our championship facility on our championship lake.
 
“It’s an honor and privilege to be able to host the great team from B.A.S.S. in Anderson County, and we cannot wait to welcome the anglers and their families to our great community.”

Thursday
Apr132017

Surfside Beach Bans Tents on Beaches

A town on South Carolina's Grand Strand has given tentative approval to banning tents on its beaches.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports (http://bit.ly/2ou1shO) that Surfside Beach endorsed the idea earlier this week.

The rule would allow umbrellas and tents for small children.

The ordinance must get one more vote before it becomes law.

Surfside Beach is the last town along the Grand Strand to allow the tents. Town officials say some people have been setting up tents that stay on the beach all day.

Councilman Randle Stevens said Surfside Beach has looked like a refugee camp compared to neighboring Garden City, which doesn't allow tents on the beach.

Town officials also said the tents can be an obstruction when emergency vehicles need to ride along the beach.

Thursday
Apr132017

Poll: Trump Approval Rating Remains Steady in S.C. at 42 Percent; Residents Say Growth Outpacing Services

President Donald Trump’s approval rating of 43% has remained steady in South Carolina for the past two months, according to the latest Winthrop Poll. His approval numbers in South Carolina continue to be a few points higher than his national average.

The 45th president has a disapproval rating of 47% among Palmetto State citizens. An earlier Winthrop Poll in February showed similar ratings.

Trump has strong support within his own party; the president has support from 79% of residents who identify GOP or lean Republican.   

Trump’s support is more than two and a quarter times higher than that of Congress. Only 19% of South Carolina residents approve of the way Congress is handling its job. 

ECONOMY AND STATE GOVERNMENT

Nearly 60% of Winthrop Poll respondents said our country is headed in the wrong direction. Yet two thirds of South Carolina residents said our country’s economy is very good or fairly good.

More than half (54%) think South Carolina is moving in a positive direction, while 67% think the condition of the state’s economy is either very or fairly good. Nearly 54% described their own financial situation as good or excellent.

S.C. residents said the most important problem facing our country is politicians/government, followed by racism, jobs/unemployment, then immigration/refugees. Those surveyed said the most important issues facing the Palmetto State are roads/bridges/infrastructure, education, jobs or unemployment, and racism.

When asked if state services, including highway troopers, social workers, mental health experts, and schools, have kept pace with the growth of the Palmetto State, 62% of poll respondents said they somewhat or strongly felt that these services have not kept pace. Only 11% said that they strongly felt that  services have kept pace with growth.

SC GOVERNOR HENRY MCMASTER AND OTHERS

S.C. Governor Henry McMaster’s approval rating in South Carolina stands at 47%. However, his approval rating is 25 points higher than his disapproval rating, putting him very much “above water.” According to Huffmon, “the key for Governor McMaster are those 28% who have yet to form an opinion of his job performance. More than a quarter of South Carolinians are taking a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude in these early months of his administration, but, among those who express an opinion, it is more favorable than unfavorable.” McMaster has announced plans to run for governor next year. Elected as the lieutenant governor in 2014, McMaster took over as governor on Jan. 24 after Trump tapped S.C. Governor Nikki Haley to be the United Nations ambassador.  

The S.C. General Assembly got an approval nod from 47% of those polled while 38% disapprove of the job they’re doing.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s approval is nearly evenly split among all South Carolinians. He has a 45% approval rating and a 47% disapproval rating. His approval among Republicans, and those who lean Republican, stands at just under 50%. The state’s junior senator, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, is much more highly rated among the Republican base. He has a strong 82% approval rating among the GOP (including ‘Leaners’). Scott’s popularity among the general public remains high as well, with  60% reporting approval of the job he is doing.

South Carolinians have complex, and somewhat conflicting, views on equality of opportunity in our state. Fifty four percent say that they believe that all people in South Carolina have an equal chance to succeed if they work equally hard, yet, a plurality believe that people born into poverty are less likely to be in the middle class as an adult than someone who was born into the middle class if both persons put forth the same amount of effort in life. The implication of the latter finding is that those born into poverty must worker harder to end up in the middle class setting up a cognitive conflict with the former finding that most say equal work brings equal success.

South Carolina remains a faithful part of the Bible Belt. Forty seven percent of South Carolinians report attending worship services at least once a week compared to only 36% nationally, according to Pew. Additionally, nearly 70% report that religion is a ‘very important’ part of their life.

Thursday
Apr132017

Apple Quietly Hires Team to Treat Diabetes

Apple Inc has hired a team of biomedical engineers as part of a secret initiative, initially envisioned by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, to develop sensors to treat diabetes, CNBC reported citing three people familiar with the matter.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

The engineers are expected to work at a nondescript office in Palo Alto, California, close to the corporate headquarters, CNBC said. (cnb.cx/2nGgn9P)

The news comes at the time when the line between pharmaceuticals and technology is blurring as companies are joining forces to tackle chronic diseases using high-tech devices that combine biology, software and hardware, thereby jump-starting a novel field of medicine called bioelectronics.

Last year, GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Google parent Alphabet Inc unveiled a joint company aimed at marketing bioelectronic devices to fight illness by attaching to individual nerves.

U.S. biotech firms Setpoint Medical and EnteroMedics Inc have already shown early benefits of bioelectronics in treating rheumatoid arthritis and suppressing appetite in the obese.

Wednesday
Apr122017

Library Sponsors April Poetry Contest

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Anderson County Library System is inviting professional and amateur writers from age 12 up the opportunity to submit their poetry to the Library’s annual poetry contest. Poetry can be on any theme but must be suitable for an audience of all ages. 

Up to 100 entries will be selected to be published in a book that will be available online, at all branches, and for sale in June. Poems will be judged on originality, creativity, and artistic quality by Dr. Bob Hanley, Professor of English and Education at Anderson University.

Poets may submit through the website at www.AndersonLibrary.org or complete a form available at all library branches. Submissions are due by April 30. One submission per person is allowed.

“We love poetry month, especially when we have the opportunity to celebrate with the community is this creative way,” commented Faith Line, Director of the Library. “It showcases the talent in our part of the state and is part of what the library is all about.”

One adult and one teen will be selected for the grand prize, a $50.00 gift certificate to McDowell’s Book Emporium and a printed copy of the book. Winners will be announced at the Book Release Reception on  June 19 at 7 p.m. Poets and their families and friends are invited to the Main Library to celebrate. Light refreshments will be provided and books will be available for purchase.

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

Wednesday
Apr122017

April 26 S.C. Advocacy Day Event Supports Employment for Those with Disablities

The South Carolina Employment First Initiative is thrilled to participate in Advocacy Day for Access and Independence at the South Carolina State House. This event will take place on April 26 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The day's events will feature speakers from the disability community, an advocacy rally, and an opportunity for attendees to meet with their legislators about their concerns as a person with a disability or an ally/advocate. 

Advocacy Day for Access & Independence is an initiative of more than 20 organizations statewide all unified in an effort to ensure people with disabilities have equal access and opportunity. People with disabilities face unnecessary and discriminatory barriers to transportation, employment, healthcare, and housing. Advocacy Day for Access and Independence will shine a light on these barriers in hopes of improving the lives of all South Carolinians. 

Despite South Carolina’s unemployment rate falling below 4.5 percent, over 68 percent of working-age residents with disabilities do not participate in the labor market. The S.C. Employment First Initiative hopes to utilize Advocacy Day as a platform to address employment barriers such as subminimum wage and to advocate for competitive, integrated employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

“Individuals with disabilities are capable and ready for employment, with valuable skills and insight that South Carolina cannot afford to overlook. Ensuring equal access to inclusive and competitive work creates opportunities for the disability community to decrease reliance on government benefits and lead fulfilling, independent lives,” stated Sandy Jordan, Director of Employment Programs at Able South Carolina.

The public is invived to advocate for inclusive employment with competitive pay for individuals with disabilities. Registration is free and open to the public. T-shirts will be available on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the event. To register, click here.

Wednesday
Apr122017

Duke to Test Sirens at Oconee Nuclear Station Today

Duke Energy and Oconee County officials will perform the quarterly test of the emergency sirens around Oconee Nuclear Station on Wednesday. The three-minute test will begin around 11:50 a.m.

All 65 sirens within 10 miles of the Oconee Nuclear Station will be tested to ensure each siren works properly.

Duke Energy said in the event on an actual emergency, the sirens are a signal for residents to tune to a local TV or radio station and listen for emergency alert messages.

Wednesday
Apr122017

Study Explains Why Shoes Come Untied

Are loose shoestrings tying you up in knots? Don't let them. Turns out there's a scientific reason why shoestrings come untied.

A new study by mechanical engineers at the University of California in Berkeley illustrates why. Whipping forces act like an invisible hand, loosening the knot and then tugging on the free ends of your laces until the whole thing unravels.

"We deal with them coming untied all the time," said Colin Adams, a mathematician at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., who was not involved with the study. "And yet, nobody's ever taken the time to say: Why does it happen?"

Now we have a better idea why. One more thing: The "square knot" holds up better than the "granny knot."

And if you need a hand, there's a TED Talk video on how to tie your shoes.https://hls.ted.com/talks/1150.m3u8

 

Tuesday
Apr112017

Study: Exercise at Middle Age Can Protect Brain Health

Healthy aging of the brain relies on the health of your heart and blood vessels when you're younger, a new study reports.

People with risk factors for heart disease and stroke in middle age are more likely to have elevated levels of amyloid, a sticky protein known to clump together and form plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease, the researchers said.

MRI scans revealed larger deposits of amyloid in the brains of seniors who smoked, had high blood pressure, were obese, diabetic or had elevated cholesterol levels when they were middle-aged, said lead researcher Dr. Rebecca Gottesman. She's an assistant professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

All of these risk factors can affect the health of a person's blood vessels, otherwise known as vascular health, leading to hardening of the arteries and other disorders.

"Amyloid is what we think, by leading hypotheses, accumulates to cause Alzheimer's disease. So this suggests that vascular risk in middle age may play a direct role in the development of Alzheimer's disease," Gottesman said.

Two or more risk factors nearly tripled a person's risk of large amyloid deposits. One risk factor alone increased the likelihood of amyloid deposits by 88 percent, the study found.

Obesity in particular stood out as a strong risk factor, on its own doubling a person's risk of elevated amyloid later in life, said Steven Austad, chair of biology of aging and the evolution of life histories at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

"In terms of one risk factor by itself, that turned out to be the most important one, which is interesting," Austad said. "Twenty years ago obesity was not the problem that it is now, suggesting that 20 years from now things might be considerably worse."

Gottesman and her colleagues examined data from nearly 350 people whose heart health has been tracked since 1987 as part of an ongoing study. The average age of the study participants was 52 at the start of the study. Sixty percent were women, and 43 percent were black. The average follow-up time was almost 24 years.

When the participants entered the study, none of them had dementia. About two decades later, they were asked to come back and undergo brain scans to check for signs of amyloid.

The researchers discovered a link between heart risk factors and brain amyloid. The relationship did not vary based either on race or known genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's.

Heart risk factors that cropped up late in life were not associated with brain amyloid deposits. What a person does in their middle age is what apparently contributes to their later risk of elevated amyloid, not what happens later, Gottesman said.

The study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship, but there are several theories why the health of a person's blood vessels might be linked to Alzheimer's.

Blood and spinal fluid contain amyloid, and some think that unhealthy blood vessels might allow amyloid to leak out of the bloodstream and into brain tissue, said Austad, a spokesman for the American Federation for Aging Research.

"The idea that the first injury to the brain is really an injury to the blood vessels of the brain has been around for a while, and this would support that, generally," Austad said. "The amyloid plaques, you're not seeing them inside the vessels. You're seeing them outside the vessels, in the brain."

Blood vessels also play a role in flushing out broken-down amyloid particles that naturally occur in a person's brain, said Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer's Association.

"You can imagine if there's something wrong with your brain's circulation, it could affect the clearance of this amyloid in some way," Fargo said.

Hardened arteries also can lead to strokes or mini-strokes that affect the ability to think and remember in some people as they age, which contributes to dementia and Alzheimer's, Gottesman said.

Based on these findings, people who want to protect their brain health should protect their heart health, and the sooner the better, Fargo said.

"You don't want to wait until your 60s to start taking care of yourself. It has to be a lifetime commitment," Fargo said.

The findings were published April 11 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

More information For more on Alzheimer's disease, visit the U.S. National Institute on Aging.

Tuesday
Apr112017

Burdette, Cash Headed to April 25 Runoff

With a turnout of less than 10 percent of registered voters, Carol Burdette and Richard Cash are headed to the April 25 primary to see who will replace former South Carolina State Senator Kevin Bryant in District 3. Registered voters, even those who did not vote in the primary are elible to vote in the runoff election.

Results:

Carol Burdette    2,403

Richard Cash     2,031

John Tucker       1,822
James Galyean     840
Don Bowen          313 
Brad Johnson       293   
Dean Allen            91          
Corey Bott            79      

Tuesday
Apr112017

Teachers Learn to Use Gardening Science at Clemson Event

Teachers from Upstate South Carolina, including Anderson, gathered in Greenville recently to learn more about how to use school gardens to sow student knowledge about healthy eating and garden-based science concepts.

About 30 educators from 18 schools met with Extension agents and community partners to learn more about how to use school gardens to teach their students the healthy benefits of eating fresh vegetables they grow themselves. (See images) The event last month at the Clemson Extension office was part of an initiative funded by grants from Boeing.

“Research shows that if children grow it, they will eat it,” said Amy Dabbs, an area horticulture agent and Master Gardener coordinator from the Charleston Extension office.

All of the teachers who participated in the event have completed an online training course and now have gardens at their schools, said Patricia Whitener, a Greenville County 4-H agent. As part of the training, the teachers received pre-packaged gardening kits; calendars with planting, harvesting and crop rotation schedules; and vegetable transplants from Wabi Sabi Farms.

Laura Bell from Centerville Elementary School in Anderson said students at the school have learned about science and developing social skills by growing a garden.

“Some of the students who planted the garden at our school are in the special education program,” said Bell. “We also have students in the English as a second language program and students who have autism or are learning-disabled. This program has been great because it gives these students an opportunity to be leaders. They are growing vegetables and sharing these vegetables with other students. It’s great to watch how this gardening project has our students to interact with one another and how it has given students who might otherwise not have opportunities to be leaders be able to engage in a project that has campus-wide recognition.”

The first-grade class at Centerville Elementary School is using the garden as part of their science curriculum.

The teachers also learned about food safety and the Seed Fairy program from Zack Snipes, commercial horticulture Extension agent for Charleston. The Seed Fairy program provides seeds to school and community-based garden projects throughout South Carolina thanks to a donation from Botanical Interests. These donated seeds are distributed from the Clemson Extension office in Charleston and Greenville counties for use in nonprofit, school and community garden projects. Visit here for more information.

Participants also learned about services provided by Clemson Extension Master Gardeners around the state, as well as the South Carolina 4-H Small Garden Project, a composting program provided by Greater Greenville Sanitation and the Ag in the Classroom program provided by the South Carolina Farm Bureau.

The program was designed to teach educators the horticulture principles so they can be successful building and growing school gardens. The program was developed in partnership with the College of Charleston’s Food Systems Change Initiative, a multiagency partnership that works to improve student learning and health outcomes with funding from Boeing South Carolina.

Tuesday
Apr112017

Polls Open in S.C. Senate 3 GOP Primary

The polls are now open in Anderson Count for the GOP primary to determine who will fill the empty South Carolina Senate District 3 seat Kevin Bryant vacated when he became South Carolina Lieutenant Governor.

Those running for the seat are Dean Allen, Corey N. Bott, Don Bowen, Carol Burdette, Richard Cash, James Galyean, Brad Johnson and John Tucker.

Voters must have one of the following to vote: SC driver's license, SC Department of Motor Vehicles ID card, SC voter registration card with photo, Federal military ID, or US passport.

The polls close at 7 p.m. If no candidate receives a majority of votes, which is likely, then the winner will be decided in a runoff on April 30.

No Democrat filed to run for this seat.

Tuesday
Apr112017

Corn Farmers Stockpile Crop as Prices Drop

Reuters - Iowa farmer Karl Fox is drowning in corn.

Reluctant to sell his harvest at today's rock-bottom prices, he has stuffed storage bins at his property full and left more corn piled on the ground, covered with a tarp. 

He would rather risk potential crop damage from the elements than pay the exorbitant cost of storage elsewhere.

"That's how poor people do it," said Fox, who has been farming for 28 years. "You do what you have to do."

Farmers face similar problems across the globe. World stockpiles of corn and wheat are at record highs. From Iowa to China, years of bumper crops and low prices have overwhelmed storage capacity for basic foodstuffs.

Global stocks of corn, wheat, rice and soybeans combined will hit a record 671.1 million tonnes going into the next harvest - the third straight year of historically high surplus, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). That's enough to cover demand from China for about a year.

In the United States, farmers facing a fourth straight year of declining incomes and rising debts are hanging on to grain in the hope of higher prices later. They may be waiting a long time: Market fundamentals appear to be weakening as the world's top grain producers ponder what to do with so much food.

The persistent glut is a striking contrast from the panic a decade ago, when severe droughts in Russia and the United States sent prices soaring. The shrinking supply forced big importers such as China to enact policies to encourage more domestic production and increase the volume of storage to improve food security.

China abandoned that policy last year and is now selling off hundreds of millions of tonnes of old stocks.

Russia, too, is looking at exporting from state-held stockpiles, with storage stuffed after a record harvest in 2016.

A surge of Chinese and Russian exports would put even more downward pressure on prices in an oversupplied global market.

That means U.S. farmers will likely be producing more grain for less money. The USDA forecasts net farm income will fall 8.7 percent this year to $62.3 billion - the lowest level since 2009.

CATERPILLARS, RODENTS AND DONKEYS

In farms across Iowa, corn bulges in plastic tubes that snake across the fields. 

The grain-stuffed silo bags are taller than a man, often longer than a soccer field and look like monstrous white caterpillars.

On the other side of the globe in Australia, demand for the storage bags has exploded after farmers produced record crops of wheat and barley.

They are laying across fields in Argentina, too. There, wheat production spiked 41.6 percent this year over the 2015/16 season, according to the most recent USDA data.

There are risks to using the bags, however, as wild animals ranging from rodents to armadillos and even donkeys can be tempted to break in for the grain, said Mariano Bosch, the head of Adecoagro SA (AGRO.K), which farms more than 225,000 hectares of row crops in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.

When the company expanded its grain plantings in northern Argentina, he said, they started building electrified fences around their silo bags to keep out cougars and pumas.

"They won't eat the grain. They're just curious," said Bosch, who added that about 40 percent of the company's grain this year is stored in silo bags.

In neighboring Brazil, the world's largest soybean shipper and the second-largest exporter of corn, towering grain silos have sprung up all across the country.

GRAINS ON THE RUNWAY

Storing grain gives farmers more control over when and how they sell, to avoid low harvest-time prices and to best take advantage of spikes in futures or currency swings.

But with storage running short - and a mountain of grain to move ahead of summer or early autumn harvests - that control is slipping away. Farmers with mounting bills, tight cash-flow and nowhere to store crops may have to sell them - even if it means taking a loss.

In Goodland, Kansas, where the next wheat harvest begins in late June, farmers holding grain in silos are facing cash wheat prices of about $3.15 a bushel and cash corn prices of $2.90 a bushel - both well below production costs of at least $4 a bushel. CORNSCUGDL-C1 WHRWFAGGDL-C1

Permanent storage in the United States can handle about 24.3 billion bushels - well short of the 25.9 billion bushels of wheat, soybeans and feed grains the USDA said was piled up by the end of last autumn's harvest.

The overflow in the United States has prompted a rush for temporary storage. The USDA has approved permits for more than 1.2 billion bushels of temporary and emergency grain storage - such as tarp-covered piles and open-air mounds. That's a record amount, according to the USDA.

In Kansas, some grain owners are renting airport tarmacs from decommissioned military bases, empty farm fields and parking lots to stash their corn as the situation becomes acute, according to farmers and local, state and federal officials.

Meanwhile, there are no signs of a slowdown in grain production.

The USDA already expects 2016/17 global harvests to be the highest since its records started in 1960/61 at 340.79 million tonnes of soybeans, 1.049 billion tonnes of corn and 751.07 million tonnes of wheat.

"Nobody is going to cut back," said Fox, the Iowa farmer.

With spring planting coming up, he is scouting for more storage space for this year's harvest.

"I have a note at the bank to pay off," he said. "I can't do less."