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County Looking for New Contractor for Park on East-West Connector

Anderson County is in the process of hiring a new construction firm to complete work on the East-West Connector park and parking lot.

Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns said the move comes after the firm previously contracted to complete the area has repeatedly failed to meet deadlines. 

Burns said the connector park would be finished "sooner, not later."


Grace Church Expects Spring Opening in Downtown Anderson

Grace Church of Anderson should be open for worship in the Spring of 2019.

Located in the building which has been home to the State Theater and Anderson Community Theater (in recent years renamed Alverson Community Theater), Grace has received approval for the design from the city and is currently developing drawings with LS3P Associates of Greenville. 

“We have a floor plan, and they are working on the drawings of the exterior,” said Jeff Randolph, business operations director for Grace.   

Randolph said the church is planning to select a contractor within the “next couple of weeks.”

The church has submitted a plan for the interior reconstruction/demolition and hope to have a permit to begin the work by October. 

Construction is expected to be completed and the church open downtown by Spring of 2019.

Average weekly attendance at Grace Church of Anderson, including students and children, is around 450. The church currently meets on Sundays at North Pointe Elementary School on S.C. 81 North.

Randolph said the new downtown location would allow for activities in the building seven days a week. 

The decision to locate downtown is part of the church’s strategy across their nine campuses in the Upstate. Grace has downtown campuses in Greenville and Greer, and typically looks for buildings to renovate rather than tackling new construction. Their Powdersville campus is a rare except to this approach. 

“We feel like we can be a positive influence and have a positive impact downtown, not just for our members but for the entire community,” Randolph said. “We want to impact the local community through life change. We are big on building community, surrounding anyone who shows up with others who can impact their lives and care for them.” 

“Our buildings are just tools to help us to do ministry, not just our members but to the local community. We are looking forward to being in a permanent facility in downtown Anderson.” 

Upon completion, the downtown Anderson Campus will seat between 400-425, which will require multiple services at launch.

Grace’s strategy is to keep the size of services small at all their locations as they grow, to help foster community. The ideal size of a service is 325, he said, and Grace has 19 services across it’s nine locations to maintain the intimacy of a smaller church.

Grace averages approximately 8,000 each Sunday at their sites across the Upstate.


Fox21: Red Cross Helping Belton after Severe Storms

BELTON, SC (FOX Carolina) - The American Red Cross said disaster volunteers are helping families whose homes were damaged by storms in Anderson County over the weekend.

A strong weather system pushed through the area on Saturday, causing hail and knocking out power for more than 12,000 people in the county at one point. By Sunday morning, outages were down to around 5,300, but the sunrise shed light on considerable damage left behind.

PHOTOS: Strong storms damage Anderson County homes

Homes in the area of Jones Chapel Road in Belton suffered heavy storm damage. Witnesses shared photos of a home where part of the roof appeared to have been ripped off in strong winds.

The Red Cross said they are assisting two families who live on Jones Chapel Road after the storms. Four adults and two children affected by the storms are receiving help getting food, clothing, lodging and other essentials, the Red Cross said.

The Craytonville Fire Department responded to the scene.

As of 7:30 a.m. Sunday, more than 5,300 customers were still without power after strong storms moved through the area on Saturday.

The estimated restoration time is by 6:40 p.m. on Sunday.


Bill Would Curb Trump Supervision of Nuclear Administration

WASHINGTON (AP) - A bill being negotiated in Congress would essentially end the Trump administration's direct supervision of an agency that oversees the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile.

The Senate-approved bill would remove the National Nuclear Security Administration from direct control of the Energy Department, where it's been since its creation in 2000, and empower it to act nearly on its own.

The White House and Energy Secretary Rick Perry strongly oppose the plan. It's also opposed by senior lawmakers in both parties. But efforts to remove that change from the bill have come up short.


Charlotte to Host 2020 GOP Convention

Charlotte will be the host city for the 2020 Republican National Convention.

The Republican National Committee took a formal vote in Austin, Texas Friday morning and announced the decision a short time later.

The Site Selection Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to recommend the convention be held in Charlotte. The vote, which took place behind closed doors Wednesday morning, was the first of two votes needed to lock the Queen City into hosting the event.

On Friday, the committee voted unanimously to award Charlotte the convention.

The RNC Framework Agreement and Arena License Agreement were both released on Friday as well. They outlined what each party would be expected to cover as Charlotte hosts the convention.


Clemson Trustees Ok Increase in Tuition

The Clemson University Board of Trustees on Friday approved a 1.75 percent tuition increase for in-state students, underscoring the university’s continued commitment to providing a high-quality college education at an affordable cost to the residents of South Carolina.

The new rates for South Carolina resident undergraduate students will increase $129 per semester. Non-resident students will see a 3.0 percent increase, or $535 a semester, from the current rate. Tuition for in-state undergraduates for 2018-19 will be $7,485 a semester and $18,362 for non-resident students.


Bird with West Nile Found Near Broadway Lake

Emergency Management Spraying for Mosquitoes Under Way

Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management Division has initiated its mosquito abatement response plan following the positive confirmation of a case of West Nile Virus in a bird. The bird was found at a residence near Broadway Lake and picked up by agency officials then transported to South Carolina DHEC for testing.

There are no confirmed human cases of the disease in Anderson County. The plan is precautionary and in line with DHEC-prescribed action. The Emergency Management Division has already begun implementing mitigation and abatement efforts to eradicate the mosquito population in the affected area through aereal spraying and the use of larvacide briquettes.

The pesticide used during aereal spraying poses no health risk to humans or animals; however, beekeepers with hives in the area should arrange to relocate hives until spraying has been completed.

The county’s pest-control contractor will place larvicide briquettes in areas of standing water, including parts of Broadway Lake, to reduce the mosquito threat. These briquettes should not be handled or disturbed by the public and will remain effective up to 45 days after placement.

A CodeRed message will be sent out this evening to residents within a one-mile radius of where the infected bird was located alerting them to plans for aereal spraying and directing them to the Emergency Management Division website for more information. In addition, the agency will use its social media accounts as well as other county media resources to provide information about West Nile Virus and mosquito-borne illnesses.

Residents are reminded of the most effective ways to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile Virus:

  • Repellents help keep mosquitoes from biting. Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions.
  • Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes.
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls.
  • Wearing light-colored clothing to cover the skin reduces the risk of bites.

For additional information regarding the West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses, as well as other important tips, follow @ACSCEMD on Facebook and Twitter or visit the following websites:


County Unemployment at 3.5 Percent in June

Anderson County's unemployment rate jumped to 3.5 percent in June, up from 2.7 percent in May. The increase reflects a statwide trend. Every other county in South Carolina posted similar increases for June.

Of the 90,079 member workforce in the county, 86,926 were employed while 3,153 remain jobless.

The statewide jobless rate dropped to 3.8 percent in June, down from 4 percent in May.

"June always brings a huge increase in the labor force and it's difficult for the job market to absorb all these potential workers, so we always see a big jump in the rate this month," said Steve Newton, director of governmental affairs for Anderson County. "If trends hold we'll see things stabilize when the numbers for July come out."

The number of individuals working across the state reached a new high in June, increasing by 648 people to an estimated level of 2,226,062. Unemployment decreased significantly for the third consecutive month by nearly 5,425 people to 87,080. While the state’s labor force declined by 4,777 to 2,313,142 people, seasonally adjusted jobs have increased by 3,400 over the month to a record level of 2,125,700.

Note the state rate is seasonably adjusted, unlike the county jobless rates which are based on raw data.

Nationally, the unemployment rate edged up to 4 percent from May’s rate of 3.8 percent.


County to Ask Voters to Consider Hospitality Tax

Anderson County officials will give voters the chance to help the county fund the county's 37 parks and other projects by putting a question on the hospitality tax on November's ballot.

"This is important for Anderson County," said Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns. "The need is there."

The non-binding, advisory referendum question will ask voters to weigh in on the 2-percent hospitality tax on meals served by restaurants in unincoporated parts of the county. A study last years estimated the tax could raise $3.5 million annually for recreation and other projects. 

Most of the cities and towns in the county already have a hospitality tax in place. The City of Anderson generates nearly $3 million annually from their hospitality tax.

A county hospitality tax would not be added such areas, and would instead only be applied to unincoporated areas not currently a part of any other hospitality tax.

"The ablilty to rasie approximately $3 million each year for parks and other recreation projects is a big deal," Burns said.



Alcohol Driving Increase in Young Adult Liver Disease 

FRIDAY, July 20, 2018 -- The Great Recession continues to take a grim toll: Since 2009, a growing number of Americans have died from liver disease and liver cancer.

The increase among 25- to 34-year-olds is especially troubling because the deaths are due to cirrhosis, a disease caused by excessive drinking, the authors of a new study said. The researchers suspect the economic downturn in 2008 prompted people to comfort themselves with alcohol. 

"These are deaths of despair," said lead researcher Dr. Elliot Tapper, an assistant professor of gastroenterology at the University of Michigan.

It's similar to overdose deaths from the opioid epidemic. In both cases, people are trying to relieve the emotional pain they feel, Tapper said.

He cautioned, however, that because this is an observational study, it cannot prove cause and effect.

Cirrhosis scars the liver and causes damage that can lead to deadly conditions such as liver cancer and liver failure.

The most common causes of cirrhosis are drinking too much over many years, hepatitis C or a build-up of excess fat in the liver, known as fatty liver disease, the study authors noted.

While young people are dying from alcohol-related cirrhosis, older people are dying from liver cancer and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Tapper explained.

The conditions affecting older people are most likely due to the obesity epidemic, he suggested. In many cases, liver disease can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle.

If cirrhosis is caught early, the liver will repair itself, Tapper said, and losing weight can reverse fatty liver disease.

More Here


U.S. Labor Chief to Visit S.C.

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - The United States' top labor official is visiting South Carolina to see firsthand the company's commitment to workforce development and training.

Boeing says U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta is making a trip Friday to the aerospace giant's plant in North Charleston.

The visit follows on President Donald Trump's signing Thursday of an executive order asking companies to pledge to invest in work-based education and training, including apprenticeships.


McMaster Steps Up Efforts to Sell State-Owned Utility

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is stepping up efforts to sell a state-owned utility that was the minority partner in the abandonment of the construction of two nuclear reactors last year.

News outlets reported McMaster has appointed himself to a nine-member committee that will study whether South Carolina should sell Santee Cooper, which accumulated $4 billion in debt in the failed project.

McMaster has been pushing for the sale of the utility since the project failed last summer. He says it's a way for Santee Cooper to pay its nuclear debt and protect customers.

The committee includes four state senators and four House members. The panel has not set its first meeting yet.

The other partner, South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., is attempting to merge with Virginia-based Dominion Energy.


Groucho's Deli Expected to Open before End of Year

Renovation on the Grey Building downton, which will house the Anderson location of Groucho's Deli is under way, and is expected to be completed by late fall.

"We hope to be open before the end of the year," said Traywick Duffie, the owner of the Groucho franchise.

Duffie said hiring for the 20-25 employees should begin by late fall.

The sandwich chain was founded by Harold “Groucho” Miller in 1941 in Columbia. Miller started with a handful of original recipes for potato salad, cole slaw, and various salad and sandwich dressings, most of which were thought up during his childhood in a Philadelphia orphanage.

Groucho’s began franchising in 2000, and currently has 30 locations, including Clemson, Easley and Greenville. 

Duffie, who currently is part of the Clemson location, said the decision to open a restaurant in Anderson was not difficult.

"One of the reasons we wanted to come to Anderson is we already do so much catering there," Duffie said. "We were spending so much time driving to Anderson, we figured we might as well open a Groucho's there."

Groucho's downtown will be open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

To see a sample menu of what the restaurant will offer, visit here.

Groucho's is part of new downtown growth and will be located next to the new home of the Anderson location of Grace Church at the corner of East Whitner Street and North McDuffie Street.