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Sunday
Apr142019

Tiger Woods Wins Fifth Masters Title

AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) - Tiger Woods completed one of sport’s great all-time comebacks to end an 11-year major title drought at the Masters on Sunday by claiming a fifth Green Jacket.

Golf - Masters - Augusta National Golf Club - Augusta, Georgia, U.S. - April 14, 2019 - Tiger Woods of the U.S. celebrates on the 18th hole after winning the 2019 Masters. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

A gritty two-under 70 clinched a one-shot victory over Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele and earned the 43-year-old a 15th major title that many thought would never come. 

Unsurprisingly, the triumph also renewed talks of Woods making a run at Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors. 

Not since the 2008 U.S. Open had Woods hoisted a major trophy and the last of his four Augusta titles came in 2005. 

But after a beaming Woods slipped on his fifth Green Jacket, he will be aware that Sunday’s win has brought him tantalizingly close to another Nicklaus record - that of six Augusta titles. 

The victory also marked the first time Woods had reached the winner’s circle at major without leading after 54 holes.

Sunday
Apr142019

County Council to Meet Tuesday

Anderson County Council will consider transfer a tract of land to the City of Belton, vote on tax incentives for new and expanding industry as part of Tuesday's regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the historic courthouse downtown.

At 6 p.m., council will honor the Mill Town Players and a pair of Clemson University football players. 

Agenda here

Sunday
Apr142019

Three Days of Mourning Planned for Hollings

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Visitation is scheduled for Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings, who helped shepherd South Carolina through desegregation as governor and went on to serve six terms in the U.S. Senate.

The family of the longtime politician will receive visitors from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday at James A. McAlister Funerals and Cremation.

Hollings died April 6 at his home on Isle of Palms. He was 97.

Three days of mourning are planned for Hollings, one of the last of the larger-than-life Democrats who dominated politics in the South.

His body will lie in repose at the Statehouse building in Columbia on Monday. A funeral is planned Tuesday at The Citadel, where former Vice President Joe Biden and Gov. Henry McMaster are among the speakers.

Sunday
Apr142019

Forbes: Tips for Tuesday's Tax Day Deadline

Forbes

It was a clunky tax season opening on January 28, 2019, with taxpayers grappling with new tax forms, new rules, and a government shutdown. While some 50 million taxpayers have yet to file (as of April 12, 2019), tens of millions have already filed and are eagerly awaiting their tax refunds. While they wait, taxpayers are often bombarded with bad information about what to expect. To help sort out the truth from the confusion, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a list of refund-related myths:

Myth 1: Calling the IRS or a tax professional will provide a better refund date.

Put the phone down. You might have heard that calling the IRS or calling their tax professional is the best way to find out when they will get their tax refund. It is not. Here’s what will really happen:

  • You may stay on hold for a phenomenally long time; and
  • Your tax professional will hate you (he or she is still trying to get returns out for other clients) 

The fastest way to check on your refund is online through the Where’s My Refund? tool at IRS.gov or via the IRS2Go mobile app(you can find out more here). Those without access to the internet can call the IRS automated refund hotline at 800-829-1954. 

When you go online or call, you’ll need your Social Security number, filing status and the amount of your anticipated refund. If you filed your return electronically, you can check your refund status within 24 hours after IRS indicates receipt of your return. If you file a paper tax return, you’ll need to wait longer – usually about four weeks. There’s no need to check over and over throughout the day: records are only updated by IRS once per day, usually overnight.

Still itching to pick up the phone? You should only call the IRS tax help hotline to talk to a representative if it has been:

  • 21 days or more since you e-filed your tax return;
  • Six weeks or more since you mailed your tax return; or
  • If Where’s My Refund? indicates that you should contact the IRS.

Myth 2: Ordering a tax transcript is a "secret way" to get a refund date.

It’s always fun when you find a life hack on the internet. Who knew that trick about how to best eat a pineapple or the special method to clean your ceiling fan? But when it comes to taxes, don’t believe the hacks. Specifically, ordering a tax transcript will not help you find out exactly when you might get your refund. The information on a transcript does not necessarily reflect the amount or timing of a refund. While you can use a tax transcript to validate past income and tax filing status for mortgage, student, and small business loan applications and to help with tax preparation, you should use Where’s My Refund? to check the status of their refund. The codes that you’ll see on your tax transcripts do not offer additional information about when your refund will be issued.

Myth 3: Where’s My Refund? must be wrong because there’s no deposit date yet.

Not all tax returns are created equal. Even if you and your best friend filed at the same time and had relatively similar tax returns, there’s a chance that they won’t be processed at the same time. Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, it’s possible a refund may take longer for a variety of reasons including when a return is incomplete or needs further review. 

And remember, updates to Where's My Refund? are made once per day, usually overnight. This means that in some cases, a taxpayer who filed later may receive their refund sooner than someone who filed earlier in the season. 

If you don’t see your deposit date just yet, don’t call. The IRS will reach out to you by mail (or signal on the Where’s My Refund? app) if it needs more information to process your tax return. See again Myth #1.

Myth 4: Where’s My Refund? must be wrong because the refund amount is less than expected.

Just because you think you know what your refund check will look like doesn’t mean that’s what will land in your bank account. According to the IRS, several factors that could cause your tax refund to be larger (or smaller) than expected, such as:

  • Math errors or mistakes;
  • Delinquent federal taxes;
  • State taxes, child support, student loans or other delinquent federal non-tax obligations; and
  • IRS holds a portion of the refund while it reviews an item claimed on the return. 

If the IRS makes an adjustment on your return, they will mail a letter to you explaining the changes. You may also receive a letter from the Department of Treasury's Bureau of the Fiscal Service if all or part of your refund was reduced and offset to pay certain financial obligations.

(For more on offsets that might affect your refund, click here.)

It’s also possible that your refund check could be affected by your spouse’s liability or obligation (child support is a common). If that’s the case, you may be able to get the portion attributable you by applying to the IRS for Injured Spouse Relief.

(To find out more about Injured Spouse Relief, click here.)

Finally, if you filed your taxes and requested a refund anticipation loan, fees and other deductions might apply to your refund check - not from the IRS, but from the loan originator or agency.

(For more about refund anticipation loans, click here.)

Myth 5: Getting a refund this year means there’s no need to adjust withholding for 2019.

Withholding was a huge tax topic this year following the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). But checking withholding is important every year, refund or not. IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig says, “We urge people to check their withholding again this year to make sure they are having the right amount of tax withheld for 2019.” 

(For more on form W-4, click here. For more on withholding, clickhere.)

And that's it. There are no magic codes, keys or other tricks to getting your tax refund faster this tax season. The IRS encourages taxpayers who are expecting tax refunds to file as early as possible, using e-file and direct deposit. The IRS issues nine out of 10 tax refunds in less than 21 days. 

For a peek at when you might expect your tax refund, click here.

Sunday
Apr142019

Palm Sunday Kicks Off Holy Week for Christians

Palm Sunday is a significant day on the Christian calendar, marking the start of Holy Week and the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem.

The day is observed by Christians from various denominations of the religion, including Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists and Presbyterians. 

The practices of Palm Sunday, such as processions, singing and carrying palm leaves, can be traced back for centuries. 

Here’s everything you need to know about Palm Sunday:

What is Palm Sunday?

Palm Sunday, otherwise known as Passion Sunday, is the first day of Holy Week – the last week of Lent which starts on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday.

The day celebrates Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem riding on a donkey days before he was crucified. 

When is Palm Sunday?

Palm Sunday always falls on the Sunday before Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Why is it observed? 

The day marks Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem riding on a donkey days before he was crucified, according to Christian teaching.

As Jesus approached Jerusalem, he told two of his disciples to go into a nearby village and bring a donkey on which he would ride into the Middle Eastern city.

The Bible states the messiah’s procession was welcomed by people waving giant palm leaves.

"They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, 'Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!'" reads John 12:13.

How is it observed?

There are many traditions that take place on Palm Sunday but one of the most common is for individuals to give out or receive small crosses made from palm leaves, as a reminder of Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem and his death on the cross, the Salvation Army states.

While some Christians keep these in their homes all year as a symbol of their faith, other congregations burn them at the end of the day and save the ashes to use on Ash Wednesday of the following year.  

Processions symbolic of the one Jesus undertook are also commonplace on Palm Sunday, typically ahead of a church service. 

In Catholic South American countries and in the Philippines, it is usual to re-enact the entrance of Jesus in Jerusalem with the priest arriving at the church riding a donkey while people great him with the palm branches and lay clothes.

Saturday
Apr132019

Belton's S.C. Chili Cook-Off Draws Crowd, Crowns Winners

The International Chili Society (ICS) winners and amatuers in this year's Belton Chili Cook-Off Champions Saturday are as follows:

Amateur: Parvangada Bojappa
Organization: When Life Sucks Veterans Organization 
ICS: Dale Yousey
ICS Red: Joe Harter
iICS Verde: Tana Harter
ICS Homestyle: Donald Perry
ICS Vegetarian: Henry Stephens 
Cooks from 18 states and three countries particiapted in the Belton event Saturday.

The ICS winners can now participate in the championships later this year in Des Moines, Iowa.

 

 

Saturday
Apr132019

S.C. Senate to Preparing to Begin Budget Debate 

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Senate is getting ready to have its say on how the state should spend its nearly $9 billion budget for the upcoming year that includes raises for teachers, other state workers, and judges and a freeze on college tuition for in-state students.

Senators will begin their debate Wednesday so they can attend the funeral of U.S. Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, who died April 6 at the age of 97.

The plan, approved earlier this month by the Senate Finance Committee, allows for nearly $1 billion more in spending than the last budget.

Raising the pay of state workers was a priority, including $159 million going toward increasing the minimum starting teacher salary by $3,000 to $35,000 and to give all teachers a 4% pay raise.

"I want to commend the House for sending us a great budget, one of the best budgets I think we've received over there in a long, long time," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman said Thursday.

The committee agreed to spend $41 million to cover a 2% cost of living pay raise for state workers as well as $50 million to cover state employee health and dental insurance increases.

State workers who make $70,000 and less a year also would get a $600 bonus. The one-time bonus would cost $20 million, according to the Senate committee's plan.

"Although we weren't able to get more, and I appreciate members of this committee that work with us, I think that this is something that is substantial," Democratic Sen. Darrell Jackson said. "I have talked with state employees and others and they will be very appreciative of this."

Some judges also get a 15% raise under the Senate plan. The Senate budget sets aside nearly $8 million in salary increases for judicial department employees, while the House set aside $11 million. The Senate version increases pay for current, sitting judges, solicitors and public defenders, Senate President Harvey Peeler said during budget deliberations.

"We've wrestled with judges' pay for quite some time ... especially our chief justice and the Supreme Court," said Peeler, a Republican from Gaffney. "We've wrestled with 15% judges pay versus what we've increased our teachers and state employees, but we've heard loud and clear that judges need this increase and have needed it for quite some time."

Other provisions in the Senate's budget would pay $25 million in one time money for South Carolina farmers hurt by flooding caused by Hurricanes Michael and Florence in 2018. Farmers who accept aid from the state would have to sign an affidavit and pay back the state if federal aid funds become available to them or if the federal grant arrives prior to the act becoming law.

Additionally, $40 million would go toward purchasing a new statewide voting system; $10 million would be spent to improve prison safety; and nearly $44 million would be spent to freeze college tuition for in-state students.

The Senate plan also takes the $64 million the state expects to receive in income tax paid by the winner of October's $878 million Mega Millions jackpot, combine it with an additional $6 million and send $50 rebate checks in December to the address on every South Carolina income tax form.

Leatherman told senators to expect a few days of long debate to pass the budget before the end of the week.

Saturday
Apr132019

Census: Fewer Farms in U.S., Remaining Ones Getting Larger

The latest five-year agricultural census, released this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, confirms that the number of farms in the country continues to shrink while the remaining operations are becoming larger.

"The current picture shows a consistent trend in the structure of U.S. agriculture," Hubert Hamer, the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service administrator, said in a statement.

Between 2012 and 2017, the nation lost nearly 70,000 (3.2 percent) of its mid-sized farms. However, the number of large farms (more than 2,000 acres) increased. And the largest of those farms -- the 4 percent making more than $1 million in annual sales -- accounted for more than 65 percent of all sales in 2017.

This trend is present in nearly every agricultural sector, but it is most prevalent in dairy. During the census period, the United States lost nearly 15 percent of its dairies, while the number of dairy cows in the country increased.

Because the census reflects information collected between 2012 and 2017, it does not include the recent upheaval from America's various trade disputes, which have crashed various crop prices and could force many farms out of business.

The more than 700-page report includes 6.4 million points of information about farms, ranchers and operators.

Some highlights, according to the USDA, include:

- The number of small farms -- those that comprise fewer than 9 acres -- increased during the census period to 273,325 from 223,634.

- Those 273,325 small farms comprise 0.1 percent of all American farmland. Meanwhile, the 85,127 largest farms (of more than 2,000 acres) make up 58 percent of the farmland.

- Just 5 percent of American farms accounted for 75 percent of all sales in 2017.

- Average annual farm income is $43,053, but only 43.6 percent of farms had positive net cash farm income in 2017.

- Ninety-six percent of farms and ranches are family-owned.

- About 75 percent of farms had internet access in 2017, up from 69 percent in 2012.

- In 2017, more than 130,000 farms sold directly to consumers -- through farm markets or other means -- with revenue of $2.8 billion.

- The number of female farmers in growing. Between 2012-2017 the number of women producers climbed by 27 percent to 1.23 million. The number of male producers, meanwhile, fell by 1.7 percent to 2.17 million.

- The average age for producers is increasing, to 57.5 in 2017 from 56.3 in 2012.

- The number of military veterans entering farming grew by 11 percent.

- Of the nearly 3.4 million producers in the U.S., only 321,261 were considered "young producers" -- age 35 or less. Those young producers tended to be at larger than average farms.

Saturday
Apr132019

S.C. Begins Testing Cellphone Jamming in Prisons

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Federal officials this week oversaw the test at a South Carolina prison of a cellphone signal jamming technology that some hope will help combat the threat posed by inmates with smuggled cellphones, officials told The Associated Press.

The test took place over the course of five days in a housing unit at Broad River Correctional Institution, a maximum-security prison in Columbia, South Carolina, according to Department of Justice officials. Assistant Attorney General Beth Williams told AP it's the first time federal officials have collaborated with officials at a state prison for such a test.

Officials did not release the results of the test, which will be included in a later report to be done by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

The test marks progress on the state-level quest to stamp out contraband cellphone use, which officials have long said represents the top security threat within their institutions. Micro-jamming technology was tested last year at a federal prison - where officials said they were able to shut down phone signals inside a prison cell, while devices about 20 feet (6 meters) away worked normally - but a decades-old law says state or local agencies don't have the authority to jam the public airwaves.

South Carolina Corrections Director Bryan Stirling, who for years has spoken out on the dangers posed by the devices smuggled into institutions by the thousands, told AP he was recently deputized as a special deputy U.S. Marshal, thus giving him the federal status needed to conduct the jamming test.

"I'm very encouraged by what we witnessed at Broad River this week," Stirling told AP on Friday, adding that he's optimistic about federal legislation, introduced last month, that would give state prison officials the ability to jam signals.

In 2008, South Carolina officials received a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission to conduct a jamming test at a different maximum-security prison, in a demonstration for media and other officials but not in a prison dorm.

Stirling and other state prison directors use other measures - like perimeter netting, monitoring by drone, and scanners - to detect cellphones but advocate a jamming technology that would shut down all signals as the best possible defense.

Friday
Apr122019

Bill Aims to Help Disabled/Caregivers During Traffic Stops

BY CHRISTINA L. MYERS, Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina lawmaker has introduced legislation that would allow people with disabilities or their caregivers to apply for a special vehicle registration that would note their condition and alert law enforcement during a traffic stop.

The proposal filed last week in the South Carolina House would allow individuals with a disability, neurological disorder, brain injury, neuro-immune condition or mental illness to register up to three vehicles with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The optional registration would notify officers checking the license plate that the driver or occupant of the vehicle has impaired cognitive functioning. The alert would not specify the diagnosis.

Anyone seeking the special registration would have to provide proof from a physician certifying the conditions, bill author Rep. Kambrell Garvin said.

The Columbia Democrat said he wants to create a fair system that protects law enforcement officers and state residents.

"There are so many people that have disabilities that aren't visible to the naked eye," Garvin said. "It's just trying to make the lives better for all citizens of South Carolina, so whether you're black or white, rich or poor, you can benefit from this legislation."

The proposal also would require the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, which trains and certifies all the police officers across the state, to offer courses on how to handle people with cognitive disabilities.

The academy currently provides one 4½-hour class on mental illness, though the subject matter may be discussed in other training courses, Criminal Justice Academy Maj. Florence McCants said.

"As the classes are taught, the subject is taught and discussed several more times," McCants said in a statement to The Associated Press.

The bipartisan legislation has 19 co-sponsors and was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee. Although the proposal will likely not pass this year, Garvin said he's optimistic it will pass in 2020.

"I think the bill is good for everybody across the board. I hope it passes. When it passes, it'll be a victory for all people of South Carolina," the freshman lawmaker said.

Friday
Apr122019

Fisher-Price Recalling All Rock 'n' Play Sleepers

Fisher-Price is recalling all models of Rock 'n Play sleepers after more than 30 infant deaths, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The recall effects about 4.7 million products.

On Friday, the CPSC says anyone with a Rock 'n Play Sleeper should stop using them immediately and contact Fisher-Price for a refund or voucher.

On Tuesday, the American Academy of Pediatrics called for the immediate recall of the Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper, citing a Consumer Reports analysis linking the popular sleeper to 32 infant deaths. 

Since 2009 when the item was introduced, more than 30 infants have died in the Rock 'n Play Sleeper.

Contact Fisher-Price online at www.service.mattel.com and click on “Recalls & Safety Alerts” or at 866-812-6518 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday for more information.

Friday
Apr122019

New Business: Hardware Store Hosts Grand Opening Saturday

Friday
Apr122019

Dist. 5 to Have New Principals at Hanna, Robert Anderson, Glenview

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

Anderson School District Five will make several leadership moves in schools for the 2019-2020 school year.

Walter Mayfield, who currently is principal of Glenview Middle School, will be the new principal at T.L. Hanna High School. A graduate of Clemson University, Mayfield has spent his entire career in Anderson School District Five, serving as assistant principal at Southwood Middle Shool, as a math teacher at Lakeside Middle School and a math teacher at T.L. Hanna High School, where he taught math for nine years. He replaces retiring Hanna Principal Shawn Tobin.

Leonard Galloway, who currently serves as principal at Robert Anderson Middle School will be Glenview's new principal. Galloway previously was assistant principal of the Nevitt Forest Community School of Innovation, where he earlier taught fourth and fifth grades.

Curtis Smith, assistant principal at Westside High School, will be principal at Robert Anderson for next year. Smith has been with Anderson School District Five for eight years.  He taught social studies at Southwood Middle School and Robert Anderson Middle School and was the Instructional Facilitator at Robert Anderson for three years.  Smith joined Westside High School in the summer of 2015 as the Assistant Principal for Instruction.

 

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