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S.C. to Receive $640,000 for Wildlife Conservation Projects

South Carolina will receive more than $640,000 in federal funding for state wildlife conservation projects, per the U.S. deputy secretary. The funds will give “critical support for a diverse array of species and habitats across the country," according to the release. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided the funds.

The $647,221 grant is funded through the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) program. Funds must be used to “address conservation needs, such as research, wildlife surveys, species and habitat management, and monitoring identified within state wildlife action plans. The funds may also be used to update, revise or modify a state’s plan."

To learn more about the accomplishments of the SWG program, click here.


S.C. Joins Other States Suing Drug Makers Over Opoids

South Carolina is the latest state to accuse a drug manufacturer of exacerbating its opioid drug crisis by using deceptive marketing.

Attorney General Alan Wilson on Monday sued Purdue Pharma, accusing the maker of OxyContin and other opioid drugs of violating South Carolina's Unfair Trade Practices Act.

The suit also says Purdue failed to comply with the terms of a 2007 agreement with South Carolina and dozens of other states over allegations of its promotion of OxyContin. Purdue admitted no fault in that case, which accused the company of encouraging doctors to prescribe OxyContin for unapproved uses and failing to disclose its potential for addiction.

Since then, Wilson says the company has continued to mislead doctors about opioids' risk for addiction.

Purdue officials didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment.


Report: Clemson Safest College Campus in U.S.

Clemson University is the safest college campus in the nation, according to a new report from The report was based on a survey of 179,000 students as well as data analyzed from campus safety reports for 100 selected universities.

Clemson was ranked No. 1 in the data analysis with only 0.002 crimes per 1,000 students.

Clemson has the lowest amount of crimes per 1,000 students, according to

“This ranking is reflective not only of the efforts of the Clemson University Police Department, but also the many groups and organizations who work together to prioritize campus safety,” said Chief of Police Jami Brothers. “Through intentional community interaction, frequent communication regarding safety, excellent working relationships with neighboring law enforcement agencies and continuing education for our officers, Clemson is fully focused on the health and well-being of our campus.”

Recent safety and educational initiatives at Clemson include:

  • Rave Guardian app — allows users to connect with the push of a button to guardians (verified members of an individual’s safety network) or CUPD, or to send anonymous tips to dispatchers
  • CU Safe Alerts — Text, email, Twitter and online weather alerts and safety warnings
  • Public Safety Educational Programs — CUPD offers numerous classes each semester, including rape awareness, rape aggression defense, self-defense, workplace violence, DUI awareness and active shooter preparedness (“Run, Hide and Fight”)
  • Tiger Transit — provides safe rides for university students, faculty, staff and visitors between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. to and from any campus location
  • Campus Safety Awareness Month — held each September, this is highlighted by the Campus Safety Walk in which groups of employees and students travel around campus to identify potential safety problems
  • Community Outreach — CUPD holds regularly scheduled socials (such as “Coffee With a Cop”) where refreshments are served on campus

Eclipse Could Bring Record Crowds of Tourists to Anderson

This year's eclipse is expected to be one of Anderson’s largest tourist events ever.

The county’s population of slightly over 200,000, could double during the day of the eclipse, according to county officials. Anderson County is listed on the website as one of the closest points to the center line of the eclipse, with 2 minutes, 34 second of totality, beginning at 2:37 p.m.

So expect heavy traffic if planning to attend one of the viewing events, said Anderson County's Director of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Glenn Brill.

Visitors have booked lodging in Anderson from as far away as Sweden, Spain and the United Kingdom to view the eclipse in Anderson. A quick check Tuesday found all of Anderson's hotels and campgrounds completely full for the weekend through Monday. Most places offering accomodations were booked up for the event six months ago.

The county is hosting eclipse viewing events at Green Pond Landing and the civic center. "Blackout at Green Pond Landing & Event Center"is open to the public, but space is limited, and once the 500 parking spaces are full, folks will be turned away. Duke Power has agreed to cut electricity to the site to prevent outdoor lighting from coming on during the eclipse.

Overflow traffice from Green Pond will be directed to the civic center site and/or other sites in the county.  

Other viewing sites include: 

  • Anderson Rec. Center, 1107 N. Murray Ave., Anderson
  • Carolina Wren Park, in E. Whitner St, Anderson
  • Belton Center for the Arts, 306 City Sq., Belton
  • Anderson Jockey Lot, 4530 Hwy. 29, Belton
  • Blue Jar Barn, 2824 Hwy. 29, Belton
  • Denver Downs Farm, 4915 Clemson Blvd., Anderson
  • Big Water Marina, 320 Big Water Rd., Starr
  • Williamston Town Hall, 12 W. Main St., Williamston
  • Sadler's Creek State Park, 940 Sadler's Creek Rd., Anderson

If watching from home, make sure you have verified eclipse glasses, and look 63 degrees above teh horizon during the totality.

Green Pond Landing will be closed to the public on Sunday, for eclipse event preparations, and the Green Pond Landing boat ramps will be closed on Monday. 

For the latest updates on events and viewing sites, visit:

Blackout at Green Pond  or Blackout at the Civic Center


Intel, Under Armour, Merck CEOs Resign from Trump Council

The CEOs of athletic wear manufacturer Under Armour, computer chip maker Intel and pharmaceutical company Merck resigned Monday from the White House's American Manufacturing Council - with the Merck withdrawal drawing a quick and angry Twitter outburst from President Donald Trump.

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier cited the president's failure to explicitly rebuke the white nationalists who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. He wrote on Twitter Monday that "America's leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which runs counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal."

Frazier is one of the few African-Americans to head a Fortune 500 company.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank resigned from the panel later Monday, saying his company "engages in innovation and sports, not politics." Plank did not specifically mention Trump or Charlottesville, but said his company will focus on promoting "unity, diversity and inclusion" through sports.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich followed, writing that while he had urged leaders to condemn "white supremacists and their ilk," many in Washington "seem more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them."

Trump was under increasing pressure to call out the white supremacist groups involved in the Charlottesville demonstration. He lashed out almost immediately at Frazier, saying on Twitter that he will now "have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!"

The president followed up later in the day, tweeting that Merck "is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S. Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!"


YMCA Nears Completion of Facilities Expansion

The Anderson Area YMCA is expected to complete the $2.5 million, 12,000-square-feet expansion early this week.

In addition to the expanded weight room, new new areas dedicated for functional training classes such as TRX and CrossFit will be included at the facility. There will also be a new studio for cycling with a component that adds a virtual ride, so cyclists will feel like they are biking in the Rocky Mountains, Puerto Rico, or downtown Miami.

Joe Drennon, CEO of the Anderson Area YMCA, said functional training has become an important part of becoming fit, and that it was important to many of the Y members.

Wellness director of the Anderson Area YMCA, Chad Alewine, added that there is a large demand for yoga, TRX, CrossFit, and Pilates classes, and that this expansion will be able to keep up with requirements.

The Anderson Area YMCA employs 204 and the expansion is expected to add five more jobs.

The Anderson Area YMCA moved to the current facility in 2001, and boasted 2,000 members at that time. As of the summer of 2017, the Y now has more than 11,500 members.


Graham Wants Tax Credits to Reboot S.C. Nuclear Project

Proponents of nuclear power are pushing to revive a failed project to build two reactors in South Carolina.

They argue that the demise of the $14 billion venture could signal doom for an industry that supplies one-fifth of the nation's electricity.

Collapse of the V.C. Summer project near Columbia, South Carolina, could cost ratepayers billions for work that ultimately provides no electricity and signal that new nuclear plants can't be built in the United States. The July 31 suspension leaves two nuclear reactors under construction in Georgia as the only ones being built.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham says failure could end a nuclear renaissance before it starts. He's urging Congress to extend a production tax credit to provide billions to the Summer project and reactors in Georgia.


Easley's Joe Lesley Funeral Set for This Afternoon

The funeral for Joe Lesley, owner of Joe's Ice Cream Parlor in Easley, will be held at 3 p.m. today at Easley First Baptist Church. Visitation will be from 1 to 2:45 p.m.

Lesley, 77,  was well known in the Easley community, and his full obituary can be found here.


Great American Eclipse Only a Week Away

From CBS News

What is a solar eclipse?  It's when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun. The darkness is the Moon's shadow. 

"When the sun is about halfway or 3/4 of the way covered, if you have a shade tree around and you look at the sunlight filtering down through the leaves of the shade tree and look down on the ground, you will see crescents on the ground, 'cause the leaves act like pinhole cameras," said retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak, who is known as "Mr. Eclipse."

"Just before totality, the sky starts getting dark, and you get one bright bead on the edge of the sun's disk that's called the diamond ring effect. And then the Sun, its disk, is completely covered, and the corona is revealed in all its glory."

Espenak has witnessed 27 solar eclipses; he met his wife at one. So it should come as no surprise that he lives in the Arizona desert, far from city lights, in a development called Sky Village, where residents all have their own observatories.

The name for an eclipse chaser like Espenak is "Umbraphile" (or lover of shadows). 

Science writer David Baron is another self-proclaimed umbraphile. He's seen five eclipses. "My first was in Aruba in 1998," he said. "It was the most awe-inspiring, I dare say, spiritual experience I've ever had. And I say this as a science journalist."


Baron's new book, "American Eclipse" (Liveright), recalls an earlier era's eclipse sensation, on July 29, 1878: "The path that the Moon's shadow took went right across the Wild West, from Montana Territory down to Texas. Dozens of American astronomers headed out to the west to observe that eclipse. The most prominent scientist to come out that year was Thomas Edison."

Edison had just invented the phonograph. Even by today's standards, he was a media star. 

"Edison's involvement in the eclipse definitely helped raise the profile of the eclipse overall," said Baron. "And the very day after he returned from the eclipse, he started work on a new project, and that was the light bulb."

The 1878 eclipse was critical to the prestige of a nation not yet taken seriously as a force in science. 

"It was one of those key events that really did lead the country not too much later, by 1900, to be an equal with Europe in terms of science -- and then, really, to excel and exceed Europe," Baron said. 

As for prime eclipse viewing spots, if the Wild West seemed exotic in 1878, Makanda, Ill., population 600, might qualify today. 

According to Dave Dardis, the path of totality runs right through the workshop where he is making and selling eclipse art, happily expecting to cash in on his amazing good fortune -- that totality here will be longer than almost anywhere else on Earth (two minutes and forty seconds!). 

It's the probability of not hundreds, but thousands of people showing up in Makanda that has volunteer eclipse coordinator Joe McFarland feeling a little panicky. He said, "I'm feeling more excited than terrified, but I'm a little terrified. Look around you; how many people could fit in this little, tiny valley?" 

"So it's about withstanding the eclipse?" Teichner asked. "As opposed to just enjoying it?"

"It is," he replied. 

A little further along the path of totality is Hopkinsville, Kentucky, where the message is, "Bring it on." The economic impact of an anticipated 100,000 visitors is expected to be $30 million.

In addition to a prime Hopkinsville location to view the shadow of the Moon, Casey Jones Distillery is offering moonshine: 100 proof corn liquor, at $40 a bottle.

Arlon "Casey" Jones makes the stuff by hand in the same kind of still his grandfather, the original Casey Jones, used during Prohibition. "Our total eclipse, we guarantee the lights out. You can have an eclipse any time you want!" he said. "You don't have to wait. And I assure you if you have an eclipse with this, it's gonna last a lot longer than two minutes and forty seconds!"

"It is potent!" laughed Teichner, sampling it. 

"Lights out!" Jones said. 

A little moonshine might prepare you for what will be happening nearby in Kelly; the eclipse will coincide with the annual Kelly Little Green Men Days Festival … taking place exactly 62 years to the day after Geraldine Sutton Stith's father and ten other friends and family members claimed to have had an alien encounter. 

Stith showed Teichner the spot where aliens supposedly landed. "There still a brown spot over there," she said. "They saw this little three, three-and-a-half-foot tall being coming out from the woods."

And it looked like what?  "Well, nothing they'd ever seen before! It had a huge head, huge ears, big glowing eyes, its little arms almost touched the ground, and it was floating on top of the ground."

Given the spooky timing with the eclipse, might they come back? "In a way, I would love it to happen," Stith said, "because it would prove it -- and in another way I'm like, Oh my God, you can come but don't take me with you!'"

Let no one say that the Great American Eclipse of 2017 will not be memorable. Fred Espenak, Mr. Eclipse, has this advice for anyone seeing a total eclipse for the first time: 

"The thing to keep in mind is not to get so carried away with cameras and stuff that you miss the event itself," he said. "Comparing natural phenomena on a scale of one to ten, a partial eclipse might be a three or a four. A total eclipse is a million!"


P.A.W.S. Posts Busy Slate in Weekly Report 

Here is the Anderson County Animal Shelter, P.A.W.S. (Pets Are Worth Saving) Report for last week:

  • PAWS took in 173 animals this week (23 owner surrender, 4 return adoptions, 78 from animal control, 68 strays).
  • Had 78 animals get adopted, 49 were returned to their owner and 21 were sent to rescue groups.  We had 3 animals die, 11 were euthanized due to illness or aggression and 5 animals were owner requested euthanasia.
  • Met with staff from Tri County Tech’s Veterinary Technician program to see how we can better work together to help the animals and students of Anderson County.  We look forward to saving even more lives together.
  • Sent kittens on a daytrip to NHC Healthcare.  The residents loved being able to spend time with the kittens.  We hope to continue this on a regular basis and reach out to more facilities in the county.
  • The clinic performed 162 spay/neuter surgeries.
  • Started our Back to School Pawty.  Dogs are $12 and cats are free August 7 -18th.
  • Clemson Kennel Club donated $500 worth of enrichment items and food for our dogs.
  • Saved 92% of the animals in their care this week.

Visit Anderson's Brandon Cobb Leading Forrest Wood Cup

By Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

Brandon Cobb, who is sponsored in part by Visit Anderson S.S., is in the lead after day two the Forrest Wood Cup, where 53 anglers battled to make into the championship round Sunday. Cobb has 39 pounds of fish after two days out on the water.

Brandon Cobb started fishing with his dad, Doug Cobb, when he was only four years old, and by the age of seven he had his future cast before him as he participated in his first tournament.

While he did not win the father-son benefit competition on Lake Greenwood, he did finish with an experience still alive in his live well of memory.

“I caught a three-pounder,” Cobb said. “And I remember I caught it with a red-and-white ‘Tiny Torpedo’ (lure). I’ll never forget that.”  

Brandon continued to fish with his dad, who always supported his fishing aspirations, until he was 14, when he got his license to pilot a boat. 

After high school, Cobb attended Clemson University, where - with the help of several other students - he helped revive the fishing club into a legitimate sports team.

“Back then we didn’t fish in that many college tournaments,” he said. “There was just no funding for us at that time.”

But it did introduce him to the the Bass Fishing League (BFL) and the Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) and when he graduated in 2008 with a degree in wildlife and fisheries biology, he began pursuing a career in fishing.

He considered using his degree to join the department of natural resources, possibly as a forest ranger, but his success fishing in the Southern Opens led to him being named a BFL All-American, and to his decision to follow the path of a professional angler.

Six years later, the 28-year-old from Greenwood has no regrets. Cobb has fished in 97 total events, winning two and finishing in the top 10 in 28 tournaments, along with nearly $300,000 in earnings.

During his time on the tournament circuit, Cobb said he’d continued the same fishing strategies that had always been successful for him. 

“There are not many secret places when fishing a lake. If there is a spot where there are fish, somebody’s fishing it.”

Cobb said that’s why professional anglers rarely spend very long anywhere on the lake if they don’t get any bites in the first few minutes. 

“It’s always been my style of fishing,” he said. “I pull up and move on when they are not there.”

Cobb’s sticking to his methods includes bait.

“A lot of people think fishing is about the bait. I’m not a huge bait switcher. I am more of an area switcher, if they are there, you will catch them.” 

He also said there is a lot more to professional fishing that casting a line on the lake.

Cobb said it requires a lot of effort to maintain efforts with marketing, sponsor relations and researching various lakes around the country which host tournaments. For now he will continue the work, working as hard to get more exposure to establish himself as one of the major names on the pro circuit.

He maintains a strong presence on social media, with a fan page on Facebook, a YouTube Channel and an Instagram account.  

Cobb said Visit Anderson, has been a big help in his career.

“Hartwell Lake is my favorite place to fish, and I have been fortunate to work with (Visit Anderson Executive Director) Neil Paul. He’s helped me more than I could even imagine, including helping me build relationships with other sponsors.”

When he’s not fishing, Cobb helps out in the family business in Hodges. Barrett’s store was founded by his late grandfather John Barrett, who never fished, but whom Brandon said was one of his biggest supporters when he was starting out.  The store, which sells everything from tires and gas to convenience store items is perhaps most famous for its BBQ and hot dogs.

But today he will start the finals of the Forrest Wood Cup as the leader, as the boats leave the docks at Dreher Island State park with Palmetto State products in the running for the title. The final weigh-ins will be at 5 p.m. at Colonial Life Arena.


S.C. Governor Calls for Prayer After Va. Protest Deaths

South Carolina's governor is drawing comparisons between the Charleston church massacre and violent protests surrounding a white nationalist rally in Virginia.

McMaster said in a tweet Saturday South Carolina "showed (the) world her heart" in response to the 2015 shooting of nine people at Emanuel AME. He urged South Carolinians to pray for "our brothers and sisters in Virginia."

McMaster's office also told The Associated Press the former attorney general "condemns all acts of racism, violence and lawlessness. Period. He has a record of prosecuting it too."

Three have died and dozens were injured at what's believed to be the largest white nationalist gathering in a decade. The group had gathered to protest plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Others arrived to protest the racism


Raines on Main Bar & Grill to Bring Arnold's Food Downtown

A new restaurant is coming to downtown, with the promise of familiar food with a downtown twist.Jeff Raines, left, and Gary Durkee are the driving force behind Anderson' newest downtown restaurant.

“Raines on Main Bar & Grill,” currently set to open in early October, will bring the menu of “Arnold’s Famous Hamburgers (and more)” as well as a full bar to 312 South Main, the building which housed the Fox, the English Pub that closed in 2014. 

The new venture is a partnership between a pair of men who are no strangers to serving food in Anderson. 

Jeff Raines, who ran Maui Bar & Grill on North Main Street, and Gary Durkee, a partner in the current Arnold’s restaurants in Anderson, Belton and Powdersville, believe their collective experience will bring a welcome additional downtown. 

“It will be a sports bar with upper-class atmosphere, with a middle-class price.” Raines said. “Our focus will be on service.”

The restaurant, which will be open Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-11 p.m., will feature projection screens and eight other television screens for sporting events, as well as two Diamond Pool tables and a small area for sports bar video games.  

Raines on Main will be a non-smoking establishment, with seating for 76 at the 16 tables, plus 20 seats at the bar, and outside seating when the weather is nice. Plans are also to offer delivery to downtown locations. 

A downtown room, which can accommodate up to 25 people, will also be made avaible for advance bookings.Raines on Main Bar & Grill is scheduled to open in early October at 321, South Main, the site of the former Fox English Pub.

Raines on Main's menu will feature all the burgers that made Arnold’s famous, along with Arnold’s new offerings in all locations which include salmon, steaks and smothered chicken. 

“Arnold’s locations don’t serve alcohol, and never will, but there are a lot people who would like to enjoy the things on Arnold’s menu and enjoy a drink,” said Durkee, whose experience also includes more than 17 years in management at Outback Steakhouse.

In addition, Raines on Main will also offer specialty burgers, fish & chips and wings. Sides will include: baked potatoes, fries, sweet potato fries, fried okra, fries, fresh green beans and steamed broccoli. 

“Everything on our menu, will be under $10,” Durkee said. “Our goal is to serve quality food at affordable prices. It will be a small menu that we can execute properly, quickly, and consistently.”

The new restaurant is expected to employee 15-20, with an estimated annual payroll of $250,000. Applications will be available soon at the upcoming Raines on Main Bar & Grill Facebook page.

Durkee added Raines on Main will also give back to the community, with charity nights for charitable organizations, including churches, schools, civic causes and other events.

If the new venture is successful, another location is possible.

“If this does really well, we’ll do another location like it,” Durkee said. “It’s hard to do quality food under $10, and if we can do, it and do it right, it’s a home run.”