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Thursday
Aug012019

McBride Top Gun at S.C. Sheriff's Shooting Match

Anderson County Sheriff Chad McBride recently won first place in this year’s South Carolina Sheriff’s Association Pistol match sponsored by Glock.

For his shooting skills, Sheriff McBride won a plaque and a new Glock pistol. The match was between several of the South Carolina Sheriff’s and took place during the month of July at the annual Sheriff’s Conference.

Wednesday
Jul312019

Dist. 2 Superintendent Has Big Plans for School Year

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

This is part one of a series of interviews with Anderson County superintendents.

Wednesday
Jul312019

Anderson Symphony Auditions Aug. 19-20

Anderson’s own civic orchestra, the Anderson Symphony Orchestra (ASO) which is celebrating 45 years of music, will hold auditions for new members Aug. 19-20 from 6-9 p.m. in the Rainey Fine Arts Center at Anderson University.  Auditions are by appointment only and are open to all talented non-professional, professional and college student musicians.  Exceptional high school student instrumentalists will also be considered.  Musicians wishing to audition are asked to prepare a short piece of their own choosing.  Sight-reading materials will be provided at the appointment.  To schedule an appointment, please call the GAMAC office at (864) 231-6147.

Wednesday
Jul312019

Celebrate Anderson to Feature Concerts, Clydesdales Sept. 1

The annual Celebrate Anderson community Labor Day weekend event will feature concerts, children's activities and the Budweiser Clydesdales Sept. 1 at the Anderson Sports and Entertainment Center.

A Celebrate-Fun-Zone, which includes large inflatables play areas from 1-5 p.m., will offer families a free, safe venue for children.  

The Budweiser Clydesdales’ will make also an appearance. The eight-horse hitch and the famous red beer wagon will kick off the event at the Anderson Sports and Entertainment Center with the parade beginning at 2:00 p.m.

“Celebrate Anderson is a way of thanking our community, military and first-responders for making Anderson County the best place to live in South Carolina," said Anderson County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn. "We are very appreciative to the local businesses and industries for joining Anderson County in funding and hosting this free community event."

The evening entertainment begins with the T.L. Hanna Jazz Band, followed by country music singer and songwriter Canaan Smith, who will turn the stage over to award winning country music artist Joe Nichols to close out the night of concerts.  

The evening of celebration concludes with a patriotic fireworks honoring armed service members and local first responders for their self-sacrificing service for others.

The event is free and open to the public. Those who attend are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets, and picnic food. Alcohol and/or glass items are prohibited. Food and beverage vendors will also be at the event.

Monday
Jul292019

DHEC: Vaccinations Required for Public School Students

COLUMBIA, S.C. — In a few weeks, South Carolina students will begin returning to school, and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is reminding parents to be sure that vaccines are on their child’s back-to-school list.

South Carolina children enrolled in childcare (including pre-K) and 5K through 12th grade must be up to date on the required vaccines for their grade level before school starts. 

The importance of vaccines can’t be understated.

“Unfortunately, vaccine-preventable diseases, such as chicken pox, whooping cough, mumps and measles still affect many children in South Carolina,” said Dr. Teresa Foo, DHEC Immunization Division medical consultant. “Up-to-date vaccinations are the best protection for our children against these diseases.”

Children of all ages need vaccines. DHEC urges parents not to forget that their preteens age 11-12 years old are recommended to get Tdap, HPV, and meningitis vaccines. A Tdap booster is required for all students before starting 7th grade. It is also important to be ready for a new Hep A vaccine requirement for childcare and 5K, which starts for the 2020-2021 school year.  

Appointment slots fill up quickly in August, so now is the time to call your health care provider and schedule a well child visit or physical for your student. You may also contact your local health department at 1-855-472-3432 to schedule an appointment to get vaccines.  Avoid the back-to-school rush. Ask about what vaccines your child needs for childcare or school and make sure he or she is healthy and ready to start the school year. 

For more information on what vaccinations your child needs, visit www.scdhec.gov/health/vaccinations/childcare-school-vaccine-requirements.

Sunday
Jul282019

S.C. Peach Crop Good, Despite Late Spring Cold Weather

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — Peach farmers in South Carolina's Upstate region say they are having a good season despite some damage caused by cold weather.

Peaches are sweeter this year, farmers told GoUpstate.com .

"And we've had high demand, which is great for us," said Fishers Orchard owner Mark Fisher. "Some of the peaches had split seeds. That's what happens when we get cold weather."

Fisher said his farm produced more peaches this year than in 2018. At Cooley Farms in Chesnee, Brandi Easler said rains have been good.

"Every peach season is different, and this year we've had some really sweet peaches," he said.

The region is just past the peak of the season. Peach season usually ends in mid-September. Early blooms this year, however, will bring it to a close earlier than normal, said Clemson Extension Agent Andy Rollins.

Rollins said in addition to split seeds, some farmers reported that peaches didn't grow to full size. Still, he said demand for peaches was strong and the season was good overall.

"There are still a lot of local varieties available," he said.

William Cooke, of Greer, stopped by a stand at Fishers Orchard on Tuesday to pick up peaches for later in the week. He said this year's crop is among the best he's had.

"There's only a few stands around here, and they have a good product," he said.

Sunday
Jul282019

Bettye Brown Honored as Senior Citizen of the Year

Anderson Observer

Bettye W. Brown whom some call the most energetic, dependable and friendly senior citizen in Anderson County, now has an award to back up her reputation.

Brown was recently chosen Anderson County Senior Citizen of the Year recently at the annual Golden Years Jamboree meeting of the Jo Brown Senior Community Center. 

And boy does she stay busy. Brown regularly tutors youth, volunteers at Meals on Wheels of Anderson, voluteers at the Emergency Soup Kitchen, and coordinates activities and fundraiser for the JBECO Community Center.

She says she is passionate about leading her "Over Easy Exercise Group" at the Westside Community Center, and she plans and demonstrates a variety of exercises and activities that helps participants twice a week to improve their minds and bodies, always putting others first.

The mother of three adult sons, and the grandmother of six, she is a retired educator who worked in Anderson School District Three, for more than 30 years. She serves God and others at Mt. Moriah Baptist church where she has taught Sunday school for 25 years sings in the Sanctuary Choir, serves as chairman of the missionary circle number four, and serves as Deaconess and member of the hospital committee. 

She and her husband John C. Brown reside in Broadway Lake Community.

"Our mom is an absolute marvel to behold," said her son Leon Brown. "What she was recognized for the other day is what we have known about her for all our lives, that she is a superwomen. She nurtures, advises, encourage, council, fixes, creates, explores, offers, lens, gives, and the list goes on. She does all these things, tirelessly, and with the biggest smile at all times. If you give a task, one can count on it being completed and she want stop until it’s done to the highest standard in which she holds for herself. She has taught us that it’s better to give than receive, and therefore it comes as no surprise that she is the recipient of this prestigious award that recognizes how she serves her community."

The Golden Years Jamboree event netted the Lot Project $2,500 and the Cancer Association of Anderson over $10,000.

Saturday
Jul272019

Belton Museum Tour of Local Farms Aug. 24

The Belton Area Museum Association on Aug. 25, has schedueled a tour six farms in Anderson County and Southern Greenville County which feature locally available produce. The event will conclude with a cooking class with Heidi and Joe Trull of Grits and Groceries using the produce and products gathered throughout the farm tours.  

“We home the community will join us for a farm to fork adventure as we visit farms around the area, learn about locally sourced produce and meat, and then return with our bounty to the depot to engage in aHeidi and Joe Trull of Grits and Groceries will teach a culinary class using the produce and products gathered throughout the farm tours.  cooking/tasting class led by culinary genious and SC's Chef Ambassador Heidi Trull and her equally accomplished husband Joe, “ said BAMA Executive Director Abigail Burden. 

Patrons will meet at the dept prior to a 2 p.m. start to get driving maps and receive a band admitting them to the various locations.  They will then proceed by caravan from the depot to the various farms. 

The first stop is Callaham's Farm to learn about the peach growing season and sample some great summer fruit; then to Hurricane Creek Farms, to see a hydroponic venture that grows produce year round.

Stops at the Happy Cow Creamery to experience the area's first all-organic farm practices, City Scape Winery to sample wines and local cheeses, and Possum Kingdom Kreamery to discover the new goat's milk craze are also planned. 

Tours of the facilities led by the owners or managers of each farm are scheduled and patrons can purchase items that will be featured in the cooking class. 

The final destination will be the historic Belton Train Depot where Heidi and Joe Trull of Grits and Groceries will teach a culinary class using the farm fresh produce and products available at each of the locations visited during the day. 

Cost is $25 per person, and reservations are required by August 17.

Call Burden at 864-338-7400 or email beltonmuseum@bellsouth.net to reserve tickets.

Saturday
Jul272019

S.C. Tax Free Weekend Starts Friday

South Carolina’s sales tax holiday 2019 will begin at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 2 and end at 11:59 p.m. Aug. 49.

During the weekend, many items are exempt from the state’s 6 percent sales tax and any applicable local taxes.

The state Department of Revenue estimates that shoppers statewide save about $3 million over the course of the weekend. The sales tax holiday also benefits in-state businesses by encouraging taxpayers to do back-to-school shopping in South Carolina.

Shopping locally is also a key element of the weekend. Some estimates suggest that 45 cents of every dollar spent at a local business stays within a community, compared to just 15 cents of every dollar spent at national chains and other non-local businesses.

During the holiday, sales tax will not be imposed on items such as clothing, shoes, school supplies, book bags, computers, printers, bedspreads and linens. Nonexempt items include the sale of jewelry, cosmetics, eyewear, furniture, or items placed on layaway.

The National Retail Federation’s Back-to-School Spending Survey estimates that the average family with children in grades K-12 will spend about $630.36 on electronics, apparel and other school needs this year, down from $669.28 last year.

Friday
Jul262019

DHEC Awarded Grant to Study Congenital Heart Defects

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control along with several partners are one of six groups in the nation to be awarded a $2 million grant for studying how congenital heart defects impact patients throughout their lives and identifying ways to support impacted families.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities Branch announced it will award the $2 million funding over a five-year period to help South Carolina examine health outcomes and quality of life challenges for people living with congenital heart defects.

Almost one percent of all babies born in the state are impacted by a congenital heart defect, and 25 percent of those babies are born with a critical defect that requires surgery or other procedures in the first year of life.

“DHEC’s birth defects program has partnered with physicians and organizations across the state to examine this important issue,” said Nick Davidson, Interim Director of Public Health at DHEC. “This grant from CDC will be a great opportunity to serve South Carolinians living with congenital heart defects as well as the clinicians who support them.”

To learn more about congenital heart defects, visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov.

Thursday
Jul252019

Move to Change Halloween Holiday Gaining Steam

(CNN) -- There are lots of reasons to hate holidays: traffic, awkward family reunions, expensive gifts that would wring a tear from anyone's wallet. But if there's one celebration absent from all of this holiday drama, it's Halloween.

It's too bad that, more times than not, the sugar-laden holiday is set right in the middle of the week, when would-be revelers have to get to bed early.

But there's a petition aiming to change that. This time, instead of demanding #Justice for A$AP Rocky or storming Area 51, it's lobbying to bump Halloween from October 31 to the last Saturday of the month.

The petition, launched last year by the nonprofit Halloween & Costume Association, argues that moving the date of Halloween will lead to a "safer, longer, stress-free celebration."

The association didn't respond to requests for further comment.

The roots of Halloween are a lot deeper than Party City commercials might have you believe. Halloween, an abbreviation for All Hallows' Eve, originated as a pagan festival celebrated by the Celts thousands of years ago.

As a part of Samhain, a celebration of summer's end, people went "souling" -- they'd go from door to door asking for "soul cakes" or food and drink in exchange for a song, dance or prayer. Trick-or-treating got its start there. Now, it's the main way we choose to commemorate October 31. But trick-or-treating can be dangerous.

So how does moving a date make this spooky holiday safer? In theory, it would mean Halloween would kick off during daylight hours and not interfere with work or school schedules.

Maybe that's what makes the petition appealing to so many. The organization has scraped together 58,980 signatures, and more are coming in by the day.

After its rallying cry, the petition lists safety tips for both parents and partiers. "63% of children don't carry a flashlight while they are (trick)-or-treating. Grab a clip-on light if they don't want to carry one! Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween."

Why is a petition started a year ago just picking up steam in the middle of July? The fiery glory of the Fourth of July must have worn off, and people are looking to the next holiday up on the calendar.

Thursday
Jul252019

Green Pond Landing Work to Take Longer than Expected

The Green Pond Landing & Event Center will be closed to the public longer than expected for upgrades and repairs. The facilty, except for the old single lane ramp at Green Pond, is now expected to be closed Aug. 5-Oct. 31.

During the closure, Anderson County will be construct its fourth phase of improvements at Green Pond:

1.         Launch Ramp turnaround expansion 

2.         ADA truck/trailer parking improvements

3.         Roadway radii improvements

4.         Perimeter Road straightening

5.         Dual lane queue at top of ramp

6.         Pour in place wall construction

Funds from the Lake Hartwell PCB Settlement, and money budgeted for the project, will pay for majority of the above improvements after getting approval from Anderson County Council Tuesday night.

Anderson County will begin the next phase of improvements at Green Pond in January 2020.  At this time, Anderson County Public Works will begin building an amphitheater for fishing tournament weigh-ins.  The launch ramps will remain open during this construction. 

Since its opening on Dec. 19, 2014, Green Pond has hosted fishing tournaments with a combined economic impact of $56.1 million.  By the end of 2022, that number could be close to $100 million.

Thursday
Jul252019

Mill Town Players Hit Bullseye with "Annie Get Your Gun"

By Paul Hyde/Anderson Observer

Before the summer of 2019 slips away, Mill Town Players is offering a sunny, rip-snorting production of “Annie Get Your Gun.”

Sarah Greene stars as Annie Oakley in the Mill Town Players’ “Annie Get Your Gun,” continuing through Aug. 4 at the Pelzer Auditorium. (Photo by Escobar Photography LLC).Irving Berlin’s classic 1946 musical really is a perfect summertime treat, as sugary and refreshing as a tall glass of sweet tea.

Director Lauren Imhoff’s blithe and breezy staging features a dynamite cast led by Sarah Greene and Bradley Lucore as the two sharpshooters Annie Oakley and Frank Butler who toggle between comic rivalry and blissful infatuation.

Annie and Frank fall in love as stars of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show but their fierce competitiveness forces them apart. Will love triumph in the end? Need one ask?

A host of beloved musical standards propels the show -- “I Got the Sun in the Morning,” “Anything You Can Do,” “They Say It’s Wonderful,” and the boisterous curtain-raiser “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” among other favorites.

Imhoff, assisted by Lucy Southwell, brings to the production a pleasing clarity and comic inventiveness that reaches sublime heights in the competitive duet “Anything You Can Do.” 

The principal cast and chorus of almost two dozen make a bountiful sound in the Pelzer Auditorium on “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and other big ensemble numbers.

Greene and Lucore are terrific as Annie and Frank. Greene’s irrepressible Annie has a sparkling smile and a lovely voice. Her rendition of the divine “Moonshine Lullaby” is sweetly rendered. But Greene also has some powerful pipes that she unleashes when needed.

Lucore exhibits a resonant baritone that’s also capable of a warm, expressive croon. 

It’s easy to overplay “Annie Get Your Gun.” Greene and Lucore opt for understatement, delivering the show’s sometimes corny jokes naturally. The musical’s humor still hits the mark: The opening night crowd seemed to have a grand time.

Will Ragland, the founder of the Mill Town Players, returns to the stage as Buffalo Bill Cody, a role Ragland embraces with gusto.

A romantic subplot involves Drake King (Tommy Keeler) and Waverly Speranza (Winnie Tate), who make a fetching and spirited young couple.

Laura Beth Beckner, as Frank’s assistant Dolly Tate, is appropriately catty and sarcastic. Joe Welborn plays Chief Sitting Bull with comic stoicism. 

It’s great to see self-assured Upstate stage veterans like Bud Shevick (Pawnee Bill) and Tom Holahan (Foster Wilson) in this production. 

Other fine contributions are offered by Alex Robinson and the beaming, energetic children Alice Johnson, Daisy Bates and Riley Fincher-Foster.

One caveat: On opening night, Annie and her siblings were too well-scrubbed at the beginning of the show. They’re supposed to be hillbillies at the outset: References are made to their comically grubby appearance, but Greene’s Annie was gorgeous when she first stepped foot on stage. That shortchanges the “Fair Lady”-arc of her character.

Imhoff’s production follows Peter Stone’s 1999 version of the show, which updates the musical in a thoroughly appealing way, eliminating some cringe-worthy songs and scenes, and giving Annie greater self-assertion. She’s a forward-looking character, anticipating changes in women’s status. Frank, meanwhile, is stuck in the privileges of his gender – but he seems to have the capacity to change.

There’s a subplot that touches on prejudice against Tommy, who is half-Native American, and though the subject is treated lightly, it resonates against the backdrop of today’s political climate.

Musical director Julie Florin deserves credit for the superb vocal preparation. Kudos to Florin particularly for emphasizing clarity in diction. 

Stacey Hawks’ costumes – including some sumptuous ballroom gowns -- are outstanding.

Ragland, scenic artist Abby Brown and graphic designer Ryan Bradburn created the excellent big top setting for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. 

This peppy production of “Annie Get Your Gun” continues through Aug. 4 at the Pelzer Auditorium. For tickets, a bargain at only $10-$12, call 864-947-8000 or visit the website www.milltownplayers.org.

Paul Hyde, a veteran Upstate journalist, writes about the arts for the Anderson Observer. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @PaulHyde7. Follow the Facebook page Upstate Onstage for the latest in arts news and reviews.