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Monday
Nov262018

Cyber Monday to Test Retailers' Online Sites

(Reuters) - U.S. shoppers who missed out on deals this past Black Friday are expected to flock to online sites Cyber Monday, testing the limits for some retailers that have been investing heavily on their e-commerce operations to stay relevant in a brutal space. 

Retailers across the country are fighting to entice people to come to their web sites, offering new services such as deliveries with no minimum order limits and an assortment of deals. 

Amazon.com Inc and Target Corp are pushing free shipping with no purchase minimum for the first time this holiday season. 

Cyber Monday is expected to draw over 75 million shoppers, according to research firm Planalytics. The much-hyped marketing day is expected to be the largest U.S. online shopping day in history, yielding $7.8 billion in sales or 17.6 percent growth over last year, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks transactions at most of the top U.S. online retailers. 

But retailers will also face a deluge of online orders, which will task their e-commerce sites. If not backed with the right IT infrastructure the lure will lead to headaches - forcing outages and other technical glitches due to heavy traffic. 

On Black Friday, websites of clothing retailers J.Crew and Lululemon Athletica Inc and home improvement chain Lowe’s Cos Inc suffered technical difficulties because of huge orders. Website outage tracker DownDetector.com also reported that Walmart Inc’s website had some problems.

Saturday
Nov242018

Clemson Wins Blood Drive Contest

FOX Carolina - The University of South Carolina and Clemson University wrapped up their 34th annual American Red Cross blood drive Friday, resulting in a win for Clemson University.

The 2018 Carolina-Clemson Blood Drive took place on both campuses Nov. 12 to 16 with students, staff, faculty and fans showing support for their favorite team by donating blood with the Red Cross. 

This year’s event resulted in 4,684 donors presenting to give blood. Carolina supporters totaled 1,956, or 7 percent of the undergraduate population, while Clemson supporters totaled 2,728, or 14 percent of the undergraduate population.  

The Carolina-Clemson Blood Drive is held annually the week before the Carolina-Clemson football game. The drive comes at the start of the holiday season when blood donations typically decrease.

Over the past three decades of competition, the universities have collected nearly 120,000 pints of blood. 

Friday
Nov232018

Shopping Small Saturday a Big Deal for Local Businesses

Anderson Observer

Forget Black Friday or Cyber Monday. It's time to support the businesses in Anderson County which are locally owned and operated.  

Small Business Saturday is today, and it is a day dedicated to reinvesting in our community. Skip the chains and eat local. Forget the big box stores and visit places where the owner is likely to greet you when you walk in. Many folks who have done so have also been suprised that they are often also able to save money. 

So support your neighbors and "Shop Small" this weekend. 

American Express launched the Small Business Saturday initiative in 2010 to help local stores struggling during the recession by encouraging customers to bring more holiday shopping to small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. 

Since its inception, customers have spent an estimated total of $85 billion at independent retailers and restaurants, according to American Express.

 “We commissioned a county-level economic analysis to provide a closer look at the economic benefits of shopping locally,” Walter Frye, American Express’ VP of Global Brand Engagement, tells Yahoo Finance. “The analysis found that approximately 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small business remains in the local community, so consumers’ local impact during the important holiday shopping season could be significant.” 

Ninety-one percent of consumers polled for the 2018 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey believe it is more important than ever to support small businesses this holiday season, and 83 percent plan to do at least some portion of their holiday shopping at a small, independently owned retailer or restaurant, either in person or online. 

“Small Business Saturday is interesting because it doesn’t seem to be, on the surface of it, something that would work,” Sarah McNally, owner of bookstore McNally Jackson in New York City, tells Yahoo Finance. “But it works. It oddly just works. Every Small Business Saturday, all of my stores do extremely well.” 

There are very few things you cannot find at a locally owned business in Anderson County. Supporting your friends and neighbors who own these businesses is critical this time of year, which many count on to have a profitable year.

The same is true of restaurants. Making the effort to spend at least 50 percent of your dining-out dollars during the holidays will not only boost the local economy, it will also offer a chance to see the wide variety of local restaurants in the county.

So tomorrow, shopping small is a big deal. 

Friday
Nov232018

Haven Serves Holiday Meal to More Than 3,000

The Haven of Rest provided more than 3,000 meals to hungry folks across the county on Thursday, thanks to the donations of local churches and individuals. Working with volunteers and First Presbyterian Church, no one was turned away and hundreds of meals were served to shut ins. 

The Haven is now beginning preparations for the Christmas meal they provide each year, and they need hams. The ministry is in particular need of hams. To help call 226-6193 or drop off donations of hams at the Haven at 214 West Orr Street, Anderson.

Thursday
Nov222018

Gratitude is Happiness Doubled by Wonder

By Greg Wilson

Editor/Publisher, The Anderson Obsever

With less than six weeks remaining in 2018, we take time to celebrate Thanksgiving, that is uniquely American holiday. According to a recent story in the Boston it has been marked, in various forms, on this continent since the late 1500s. 

Abraham Lincoln finally made Thanksgiving an official holiday, to be celebrated on the third Thursday of November, while in the middle of the Civil War in 1863. His proclamation both reflected the long-observed intent of those who had gone before him as he wrote the holiday would be a time to: "Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union." 

The noble purpose of Thanksgiving Day being set aside to praise God for his provision and express our gratefulness for his "deliverances and blessings" still hold a place for many of as we gather with family and friends, show what is best about us by serving those who lack even the most basic of needs. All across Anderson County today such groups as the Haven of Rest, Anderson Interfaith Ministries, the Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels, Clean Start, the Good Neighbor Cupboard, plus churches too many to name here are turning away from the "national perverseness" of self interest, express their gratitude through kindness and generosity. 

Many families will gather around their tables today and ask each person to offer up a list of things for which they are grateful today. 

Meanwhile, so many in far-off lands will spend today day standing in long lines for rice or beans or a jug of clean water, as most of us here will eat from tables so full of food they can barely contain the weight.

The majority of us, though we may not have all the things we think we want, we have more than we need, and hopefully are sharing with those who do not. 

But even though in some ways Thanksgiving Day still holds true to the traditions, such as gratitude and demonstrations of such thankfulness through helping our neighbors, is it losing ground every year to a perverseness hardly imaginable when Lincoln issued his Thanksgiving Day proclamation. It has become the time of year when America's lust for material goods expresses itself in ways far beyond simply people unleashing their minds to go on spending sprees. 

In the fever of holiday shopping and buying many gifts for those who often have little need, every year our culture chips away at and disrupts America's most traditional time for families to be together. The trend of opening stores on Thanksgiving Day for shoppers, with little regard to their employees who will miss their own family gatherings continues to grow. The irony is these workers are being asked to clock in so that others can also miss or leave their own family and friends to go shopping.

Black Friday starts a day early, Americans who work retail, and  already face growing pressure of long hours and generally below-average wages, are now being asked to forfeit one of their rare holidays, for "sales" that run counter the core idea on whicmyour prayers are with you.

For the rest of us, we can send a message to retailers who show such disregard to their workers by staying home today. We can shop tomorrow, but today we can send a message to those who think Thanksgiving is just another day to feed the cash register. 

And tomorrow, still full of turkey and gravy, we face the next holiday challenge of maintaining our grateful heart in a world so full of bright, shiny objects vying for our attention and our wallet.

The reward is a gift that needs no wrapping paper, ribbon or space under the Christmas tree. The research is conclusive that those who approach life with a sense of gratitude, have fewer mental and physical problems, live longer, exhibit less stress, have a stronger immune system, and even handle loss far better than those who do not live life with the recognition that they do indeed have a lot for which to be grateful.

How does a person get to that place, a place where gratitude is more than an occasional occurrence?  

The best place to start, according to one study, is to verbally acknowledge those things for which you are thankful every day. Not just today. Those in this study who wrote a daily gratitude list for one full year expressed the experience profoundly changed their lives. Stories of overcoming depression, lowered blood pressure, and even healing of relationships were common among those who finished the year-long gratitude list project.

So make your first holiday gift this year one for yourself. Commit to a daily practice of gratitude, verbal or written for the next 365 days. You won't be sorry.

G.K. Chesterton once wrote:  Thanks are the highest form of thought... gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

And that is my Thanksgiving wish to all this season as you give thanks today, that you will experience happiness doubled by wonder.

Thursday
Nov222018

A Time for Gratitude and Grace

By Anne Lamott/Parade Magazine

No matter how you say it, grace can transform an ordinary meal into a celebration—of family, love, and gratitude.

We didn't say grace at our house when I was growing up because my parents were atheists. I knew even as a little girl that everyone at every table needed blessing and encouragement, but my family didn't ask for it. Instead, my parents raised glasses of wine to the chef: Cheers. Dig in. But I had a terrible secret, which was that I believed in God, a divine presence who heard me when I prayed, who stayed close to me in the dark. So at 6 years old I began to infiltrate religious families like a spy—Mata Hari in plaid sneakers.

One of my best friends was a Catholic girl. Her boisterous family bowed its collective head and said, "Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts. …" I was so hungry for these words; it was like a cool breeze, a polite thank-you note to God, the silky magnetic energy of gratitude. I still love that line.

I believed that if your family said grace, it meant you were a happy family, all evidence to the contrary. But I saw at certain tables that an improvised grace could cause friction or discomfort. My friend Mark reports that at his big southern childhood Thanksgivings, someone always managed to say something that made poor Granny feel half dead. "It would be along the lines of ‘And Lord, we are just glad you have seen fit to keep Mama with us for one more year.' We would all strain to see Granny giving him the fisheye."

I noticed some families shortened the pro forma blessing so they could get right to the meal. If there were more males than females, it was a boy chant, said as one word: "GodisgreatGodisgoodletusthankHimforourfoodAmen." I also noticed that grace usually wasn't said if the kids were eating in front of the TV, as if God refused to listen over the sound of it.

And we've all been held hostage by grace sayers who use the opportunity to work the room, like the Church Lady. But more often, people simply say thank you—we understand how far short we must fall, how selfish we can be, how self-righteous, what brats. And yet God has given us this marvelous meal.

It turns out that my two brothers and I all grew up to be middle-aged believers. I've been a member of the same Presbyterian church for 27 years. My older brother became a born-again Christian—but don't ask him to give the blessing, as it can last forever. I adore him, but your food will grow cold. My younger brother is an unconfirmed but freelance Catholic.

So now someone at our holiday tables always ends up saying grace. I think we're in it for the pause, the quiet thanks for love and for our blessings, before the shoveling begins. For a minute, our stations are tuned to a broader, richer radius. We're acknowledging that this food didn't just magically appear: Someone grew it, ground it, bought it, baked it; wow.

We say thank you for the miracle that we have stuck together all these years, in spite of it all; that we have each other's backs, and hilarious companionship. We say thank you for the plentiful and outrageous food: Kathy's lox, Robby's bûche de Noël. We pray to be mindful of the needs of others. We savor these moments out of time, when we are conscious of love's presence, of Someone's great abiding generosity to our dear and motley family, these holy moments of gratitude. And that is grace.

Anne Lamott's newest book, Almost Everything: Notes on Hope
 is now available.

Thursday
Nov222018

President Kennedy Shot Down 55 Years Ago Today

NOVEMBER 22, 1963: DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT

Shortly after noon on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as he rode in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas.

By the fall of 1963, President John F. Kennedy and his political advisers were preparing for the next presidential campaign. Although he had not formally announced his candidacy, it was clear that President Kennedy was going to run and he seemed confident about his chances for re-election.

At the end of September, the president traveled west, speaking in nine different states in less than a week. The trip was meant to put a spotlight on natural resources and conservation efforts. But JFK also used it to sound out themes—such as education, national security, and world peace—for his run in 1964.

Campaigning in Texas

A month later, the president addressed Democratic gatherings in Boston and Philadelphia. Then, on November 12, he held the first important political planning session for the upcoming election year. At the meeting, JFK stressed the importance of winning Florida and Texas and talked about his plans to visit both states in the next two weeks. 


Mrs. Kennedy would accompany him on the swing through Texas, which would be her first extended public appearance since the loss of their baby, Patrick, in August. On November 21, the president and first lady departed on Air Force One for the two-day, five-city tour of Texas.

President Kennedy was aware that a feud among party leaders in Texas could jeopardize his chances of carrying the state in 1964, and one of his aims for the trip was to bring Democrats together. He also knew that a relatively small but vocal group of extremists was contributing to the political tensions in Texas and would likely make its presence felt—particularly in Dallas, where US Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson had been physically attacked a month earlier after making a speech there. Nonetheless, JFK seemed to relish the prospect of leaving Washington, getting out among the people and into the political fray.

The first stop was San Antonio. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Governor John B. Connally, and Senator Ralph W. Yarborough led the welcoming party. They accompanied the president to Brooks Air Force Base for the dedication of the Aerospace Medical Health Center. Continuing on to Houston, he addressed a Latin American citizens' organization and spoke at a testimonial dinner for Congressman Albert Thomas before ending the day in Fort Worth.

Morning in Fort Worth

A light rain was falling on Friday morning, November 22, but a crowd of several thousand stood in the parking lot outside the Texas Hotel where the Kennedys had spent the night. A platform was set up and the president, wearing no protection against the weather, came out to make some brief remarks. "There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth," he began, "and I appreciate your being here this morning. Mrs. Kennedy is organizing herself. It takes longer, but, of course, she looks better than we do when she does it." He went on to talk about the nation's need for being "second to none" in defense and in space, for continued growth in the economy and "the willingness of citizens of the United States to assume the burdens of leadership."

The warmth of the audience response was palpable as the president reached out to shake hands amidst a sea of smiling faces.

Back inside the hotel the president spoke at a breakfast of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, focusing on military preparedness. "We are still the keystone in the arch of freedom," he said. "We will continue to do…our duty, and the people of Texas will be in the lead."

On to Dallas

The presidential party left the hotel and went by motorcade to Carswell Air Force Base for the thirteen-minute flight to Dallas. Arriving at Love Field,President and Mrs. Kennedy disembarked and immediately walked toward a fence where a crowd of well-wishers had gathered, and they spent several minutes shaking hands.

The first lady received a bouquet of red roses, which she brought with her to the waiting limousine. Governor John Connally and his wife, Nellie, were already seated in the open convertible as the Kennedys entered and sat behind them. Since it was no longer raining, the plastic bubble top had been left off. Vice President and Mrs. Johnson occupied another car in the motorcade.

The procession left the airport and traveled along a ten-mile route that wound through downtown Dallas on the way to the Trade Mart where the President was scheduled to speak at a luncheon.

The Assassination

Crowds of excited people lined the streets and waved to the Kennedys. The car turned off Main Street at Dealey Plaza around 12:30 p.m. As it was passing the Texas School Book Depository, gunfire suddenly reverberated in the plaza.

Bullets struck the president's neck and head and he slumped over toward Mrs. Kennedy. The governor was shot in his back. 

The car sped off to Parkland Memorial Hospital just a few minutes away. But little could be done for the President. A Catholic priest was summoned to administer the last rites, and at 1:00 p.m. John F. Kennedy was pronounced dead. Though seriously wounded, Governor Connally would recover.

The president's body was brought to Love Field and placed on Air Force One. Before the plane took off, a grim-faced Lyndon B. Johnson stood in the tight, crowded compartment and took the oath of office, administered by US District Court Judge Sarah Hughes. The brief ceremony took place at 2:38 p.m.

Less than an hour earlier, police had arrested Lee Harvey Oswald, a recently hired employee at the Texas School Book Depository. He was being held for the assassination of President Kennedy and the fatal shooting, shortly afterward, of Patrolman J. D. Tippit on a Dallas street.

On Sunday morning, November 24, Oswald was scheduled to be transferred from police headquarters to the county jail. Viewers across America watching the live television coverage suddenly saw a man aim a pistol and fire at point blank range. The assailant was identified as Jack Ruby, a local nightclub owner. Oswald died two hours later at Parkland Hospital.

The President's Funeral

That same day, President Kennedy's flag-draped casket was moved from the White House to the Capitol on a caisson drawn by six grey horses, accompanied by one riderless black horse. At Mrs. Kennedy's request, the cortege and other ceremonial details were modeled on the funeral of Abraham Lincoln. Crowds lined Pennsylvania Avenue and many wept openly as the caisson passed. During the 21 hours that the president's body lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda, about 250,000 people filed by to pay their respects.

On Monday, November 25, 1963 President Kennedy was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. The funeral was attended by heads of state and representatives from more than 100 countries, with untold millions more watching on television. Afterward, at the grave site, Mrs. Kennedy and her husband's brothers, Robert and Edward, lit an eternal flame.

Perhaps the most indelible images of the day were the salute to his father given by little John F. Kennedy Jr. (whose third birthday it was), daughter Caroline kneeling next to her mother at the president's bier, and the extraordinary grace and dignity shown by Jacqueline Kennedy.

As people throughout the nation and the world struggled to make sense of a senseless act and to articulate their feelings about President Kennedy's life and legacy, many recalled these words from his inaugural address:

All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days, nor in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this administration. Nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.

The Warren Commission

On November 29, 1963 President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy. It came to be known as the Warren Commission after its chairman, Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the United States. President Johnson directed the commission to evaluate matters relating to the assassination and the subsequent killing of the alleged assassin, and to report its findings and conclusions to him.

The House Select Committee on Assassinations

The US House of Representatives established the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1976 to reopen the investigation of the assassination in light of allegations that previous inquiries had not received the full cooperation of federal agencies.

Note to the reader: Point 1B in the link below to the findings of the 1979 House Select Committee on Assassinations states that the committee had found "a high probability that two gunmen fired" at the president. This conclusion resulted from the last-minute “discovery” of a Dallas police radio transmission tape that allegedly provided evidence that four or more shots were fired in Dealey Plaza. After the report appeared in print, acoustic experts analyzed the tape and proved conclusively that it was completely worthless—thus negating the finding in Point 1B.

The committee, which also investigated the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., issued its report on March 29, 1979.

Assassination Records Collection

Through the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, the US Congress ordered that all assassination-related material be housed together under supervision of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Arlington National Cemetery

To learn more about President Kennedy's funeral and grave site, go to the Arlington National Cemetery website.

Wednesday
Nov212018

Haven Community Thanksgiving Meal Tomorrow at 11 a.m.

The Haven of Rest is already cooking in preparation for their annual Thanksgiving community holiday lunch, which will begin Thursday at 11:00 a.m. at the Haven and at First Presbyterian Church of Anderson. The meal is free and open to the pubic.

Last year more than 3,000 meals were served to those in need in Anderson, including hundreds of meals delivered to shut-in residents across the county.

If you would like to volunteer or give to support this event, visit here.

Wednesday
Nov212018

Clemson Researcher: "Checkout Charity" Good for Business

Whether you donate to charities at the retail checkout counter due to guilt, or out of the goodness of your heart, chances are the “warm glow” it creates will likely result in you repurchasing from that business, according to a Clemson University business school researcher.

So-called “checkout charity” is a phenomenon where customers are asked by frontline employees, or its payment technologies, if they want to make a charitable contribution along with their purchase.

Mike Giebelhausen, an associate professor of marketing in the College of Business, said despite its growing ubiquity, little research has been explored about the service experience in these small corporate social responsibility exchanges at checkout.

“Our research examined checkout charity in the context of fast-food restaurants and finds that when customers donate they experience a ‘warm glow’ that mediates a relationship between donating and store repatronage,” he said.

A 2016 study by Good Scout, a digital marketing agency, found 71 percent of those surveyed had donated to charity at the register. The survey showed only a slight majority of 55 percent liked being asked to donate at checkout. Of the 45 percent of those who don’t like being asked, 35 percent of the respondents admitted giving to avoid feeling guilty.

Giebelhausen said retail managers often infer, quite correctly, that consumers do not like being asked to donate. However, his study’s results suggest what is considered a negative experience by some can increase service patronage.

“Furthermore, from an academic standpoint, this study’s results add to a growing body of literature refuting the notion that small social behaviors that benefit society as a whole can alter an individual’s self-concept,” he said.

Though many consider checkout charity a controversial practice, it has shown to be very effective in raising money for non-profits. According to a 2014 study, the top 77 corporate social responsibility programs at checkout collected $388 million from consumers. And, the prevalence of this controversial practice is on the rise.

“In a field study, where fast-food customers were randomly asked to donate, donors reported approximately 11 percent higher intentions to revisit the restaurant compared to a control condition,” Giebelhausen said. “Interestingly, the difference between the control condition and those who elected not to donate was statistically insignificant. This suggests that the potential downside of these programs is not as great as many managers might fear.”

Giebelhausen added the results were consistent with findings from a follow-up study of weekly revenues across the entire fast-food chain. This study, controlling for store size and age, found that if a store were to average a 5 percent donation per order, overall sales would increase by $791.91 the following week.

Many front-line employees are unmotivated and uncomfortable about soliciting donations at checkout. Likewise, a significant number of consumers dislike the practice and will participate to avoid the guilt associated with refusing. But Giebelhausen said this emerging form of corporate social responsibility that has customers being the socially responsible parties, is succeeding on several fronts.

“Despite some negative reactions from employees and customers, our study suggests a phenomenal amount of money is being raised through checkout charity and that CSR initiatives have the potential to increase sales without there being a cost to customer satisfaction,” Giebelhausen added.

Giebelhausen was joined in the research by Benjamin Lawrence and HaeEun “Helen” Chun of Cornell University and Liwu Hsu of the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

Tuesday
Nov202018

CDC: Don't Eat Romaine Lettuce

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials are telling people to avoid eating romaine lettuce because of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 32 people in 11 states.

The Food and Drug Administration says it's working with officials in Canada, where people are also being warned to stay away from romaine lettuce. The strain identified is different than the one linked to romaine earlier this year, but it appears similar to one linked to leafy greens last year.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says the agency doesn't yet have enough information to request suppliers issue a recall. But he says suppliers can help by withdrawing romaine products until the contamination can be identified.

No deaths have been reported. The last illness was reported on Oct. 31.

Most E. coli bacteria are not harmful, but some produce toxins that can cause severe illness.

Tuesday
Nov202018

Council Moves Ahead on $28.7 Million Bonds for Sewer Work

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

Anderson County Council moved forward with a revised countywide sewer ordinance Tuesday night, with the goal of both upgrading the current plans and bringing the county into compliance with more recent laws. Two more readings are scheduled before the new ordinance goes into effect.

Council also approved $28.7 million is Special Revenue Bonds as part of Tuesday’s meeting.  The funds will be used for three sewer projects, Exit 14 sewer expansion, Wellpine and to decommission Six & Twenty facility.

The funds will not come from taxpayer funds, instead businesses will pay for the bonds through fee-in-lieu payments, which go into a special fund which that will be used to pay for the sewer projects, according to Anderson County Finance Director Rita

“Some of these are falling apart and have to be repaired,” said Anderson County Councilman Tom Allen. Allen said his constituents have been asking him for years to improve infrastructure out on the interstate, “This will open a great doorway to industry,” Allen said.

 

“We want to bring sewer immediately to Exit 14,” Anderson County Councilman Craig Wooten, Chairman of the Sewer Ad-Hoc Committee. “But we wanted to make sure we looked at all the exits to see if we should put in a pump station at one of the sites.

Wooten said the committee asked the engineers to recommend a comprehensive plan for the county for now and the future to examine.

“We want to make the best decisions for now but also for the future,” Wooten said.

On Tuesday, council also approved, on first reading, the issuance and sale of $8.5 million in General :Obligation Bonds for Anderson County. The funds would be used to update and upgrade the county’s fleet services. The current facilities are in disrepair and does not suit the county’s needs for future growth, said Anderson County Councilman Ray Graham.

Graham said the Capital Projects Committee is considering the former TTI property on Pearman Dairy Road as a location of the new building. Davis said the current $7.3 million 2007 bond is expiring and the new bond would likely cost less in debt service payment, saving $75,000 to $80,000.

“We will not issue it (the bond) until the proposals come back,” Davis said.

Anderson County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn said there would be several more votes before the bond and projects are underway.

Council approved $250,926.96 for accommodations tax (ATAX projects) A complete list can be found in the agenda packet at https://www.andersoncountysc.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/11/County-Council-11.20.18-1.pdf

Council also approved a $784,000 bid on a roof for the new Anderson County Courthouse by Lloyd Roofing of Greenwood.

 

Tuesday
Nov202018

How to Help the Haven of Rest This Holiday Season

Tuesday
Nov202018

Report: More Insurers Lining Up for ACA Policies

News last week that Oscar Health filed a federal lawsuit accusing Florida Blue of a “monopoly” in selling individual health coverage under the Affordable Care Act is the latest signal that Obamacare is here to stay.

Florida is one of the many new markets Oscar is selling individual healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act for benefits that would begin in January 2019. Oscar’s lawsuit accuses Florida Blue of an exclusive broker policy that forces brokers to sell its policies.

But some think the Oscar suit is as much about crying foul as it is a way to grab headlines and let Floridians know that there are more choices in the suddenly hot business of Obamacare than the dominant Blue Cross carrier that has more than 1 million individual enrollees in the state. 

Aggressive marketing and related business sales practices are a new one this year for Obamacare.

“Insurers are competing aggressively for business as many have made investments that will bolster margins, and therefore it is a membership acquisition numbers game,” said Hsiu Mei Wong, U.S. innovation lead atPA Consulting

Across the country, more insurers are participating in the ACA’s insurance exchanges with 608 counties “gaining at least one insurer in the marketplace, while only five counties will lose an insurer,” the Kaiser Family Foundation said in a new report last week. 

The report comes as Americans are choosing their coverage under the ACA for 2019. Open enrollment  ends Dec. 15. 

Those signing up for 2019 coverage are finding far more choices than two years ago when Aetna, Anthem, Humana and UnitedHealth Group scaled back or left the Obamacare business entirely because they were unable to effectively manage the costs of sick patients signing up for coverage.

But those that have stayed in the business since individual coverage was first offered on the ACA’s exchanges six years ago say one key is to understand their market.

UnitedHealth, Aetna and Humana were less familiar with the individual business before they offered plans on exchanges whereas Blue Cross plans like Florida Blue have been in the individual insurance business consistently for decades.

“From the beginning of the Affordable Care Act, Florida Blue has been the only insurer to offer plans in all 67 counties in Florida,” Florida Blue senior vice president of commercial markets, Jon Urbanek said. “Other competitors have offered plans in limited service areas, and many have left the state. But we welcome competition.”

Other national players like Oscar, Bright Health and Centene have expanded gradually in the ACA's individual business . Centene is now the largest player in the Obamacare business with more than 1.5 million enrollees and has expanded to 20 states for 2019.