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Monday
Aug102009

Hot, But No Record

     As temperatures pushed 10 degrees above normal Monday, the high of 99 fell short of the August record of 106 set back in 1954, when only the drug stores and movie theaters boasted air conditioning. The average daily August temperature for Anderson in August is 89.

     Temperatures are expected to stay in the upper 90s for the next two days before giving way to thuderstorms and temperatures back in the upper 80s.

Friday
Aug072009

Bid Awarded for New Middle Schools

 

     Bids for the construction of two new middle schools in Anderson School District 5 have been awarded. Both schools are slated to open to students for the 2011-2012 school year.

     The low bid for the schools came in approximately $5 million below original estimates.

     Shelco, Inc., a construction company based in Greenville, was the low bidder for the two projects, with a combined bid of $32,542,400. The company was awarded the projects in a July 24th meeting of the District Five Board of Trustees.

      The District plans to construct Glenview Middle School on a site on Old Williamston Road, and Robert Anderson Middle School, named for the Revolutionary War hero, on Dobbins Bridge Road.

      The lower-than-expected bid was largely a result of the district’s cost-containment efforts, in addition to the current economic recession and the resulting increase in competition for such projects, according to district officials.

      The two new middle schools are scheduled for construction as part of the district’s $140 million building plan, which was approved in an April 2007 referendum by more than 60 percent of district voters. The $140 million in construction bonds authorized by the referendum can only be used for construction and renovation.

      Glenview Middle School will relieve overcrowding at the current McCants Middle School. Robert Anderson Middle School will replace the current Southwood Middle School and will draw students from both Southwood and Lakeside middle schools. The current Southwood school will retain its name, however, as it transitions to a 6-12 grade arts magnet school.

      The new middle schools are scheduled for completion by the start of the 2011-2012 school year.


 

Wednesday
Aug052009

Football Field to be Named after Jim Fraser

 

     A ceremony naming the football field at T.L. Hanna High School in honor of former head football Coach Jim Fraser is scheduled for Friday, August 14th at 6 p.m. at the field. 

     The field at Yellow Jackets Memorial Stadium will be named “Jim Fraser Field” at the event, which is free and open to the public.

     Coach Fraser led the Yellow Jackets to 15 winning season as their coach during his 17-year tenure from 1968 through 1984. With a record of 133-55-2, Coach Fraser has the most wins, the most championships and the most playoff appearances of any coach in the history of T.L. Hanna football.

     The decision to name the field after Coach Fraser was approved last month by the District Five Board of Trustees.

Wednesday
Aug052009

Pre-release Draws 2,100 Readers

The Anderson Observer thanks the 2,100 readers who have visited our newspaper in the past seven days as we prepare for our official release date.

Tuesday
Aug042009

Vision Problems Common In Students 12-17

     RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. -- Vision Care and Prevent Blindness America announced today the results of their joint nationwide survey of nearly 1,500 participants. The study revealed more than one in five 12 to 17-year-olds have difficulty seeing the classroom whiteboard/chalkboard, with more than one in four complaining of headaches. These complaints are noted even though nearly half of the children in this age group reported wearing some type of prescription eyewear.

     "The survey provides a clear example of why regular eye exams are so important as children progress in school," said Gary Brooks, VSP Vision Care President. "Most parents probably assume once a prescription is given, there isn't a need for further follow up. However, the survey results reinforce the need for regular eye exams as kids' eyes continue to change and adapt. There are growing demands on their vision as they advance academically. The headaches the older children are experiencing may be a natural result of their eyes experiencing more strain and stress but not receiving updated prescriptions to accommodate the changes."

     All five Anderson County school districts provide routine vision screening to students entering kindergarten in attempts to catch vision problems early.

     Additional findings of the survey show that: Almost two-thirds (66 percent) of children under the age of six have never had an eye exam by an eye doctor. One in four 6 to 11-year-olds wears prescription glasses. The prevalence of common eye conditions, as reported by parents, increases with the child's age. The most common vision problem in older children is nearsightedness, also called myopia. This is a vision condition in which close objects are seen clearly, but objects farther away, like a chalkboard, appear blurred. As part of Children's Eye Health and Safety Month in August, VSP and Prevent Blindness America hope to educate parents and caregivers on the importance of vision care and encourage them to make their children's eye health a priority.

Monday
Aug032009

Cash for Clunkers brings record business

Record sales and on-lot traffic have Anderson-area car dealerships working overtime these days.

In fact, the government's "Cash for Clunkers" has more new cars leaving the lot than most who work in the business can remember.

"Our business was already good, but this is nothing short of amazing," said Lynn Smith, sales manager for Piedmont Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Anderson. "We've seen about a 70 percent increase in customers here." Smith said the time limits the government put on the program has created a sense of urgency which has contributed to the crowds.

In addition, Chrysler is matching the government's program dollar-for-dollar on many cars, trucks and Jeeps.

There are certain restrictions and there is a formula for determining how much cash a clunker can receive in trade.

Here is how it works:

1. The vehicle must be no more than 25 years old.

2. You must have owned the vehicle at least one year

3. To receive the $4,500 discount, you must purchase a new car or truck which is rated at least 10 mpg higher than your trade in

4. To receive the $3,500 discount, you must purchase a new car or truck which is rated at least 5 mpg higher than your trade in

5. The current deadline for the program is November 1.

Steve Henderson, used car manager for Ralph Hayes Toyota of Anderson, said the program has had a "huge, positive response" at his dealership.

"We have seen our best month in history," said Jeff Hawkins, general manager of Kia of Anderson. "This has been a great program for our customers and our business."

The used cars traded in under the program will be destroyed for scrap.

 

Friday
Jul312009

S.C. Association of Deaf to Meet in Anderson

The South Carolina Associate of hte Deaf Board of Directors will meet Aug. 6-8 at the Hilton Garden Inn In Anderson. The theme of the organization's 45th Biennial Conference is "Our Mission: Building Bridges."
August 6, 7, 8 2009

For more information visit: http://www.scadservices.org/

Friday
Jul312009

No County Council Meeting Aug. 4

Just a reminder the Anderson County Council meeting scheduled for Aug. 4 has been cancelled.

The next meeting will be Aug. 18 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers.on the second floor of the historic courthouse.

Friday
Jul312009

Tax-free weekend Aug. 7-9 in South Carolina

Back to school time is days away and once again South Carolina is offering a tax-free weekend, Aug. 7-9 to stock up on school supplies. The tax-free event includes clothing, footwear, all school supplies, computers and computer accessories.

Details and a download of items that are and are not tax exempt can be found at the state's tax website: http://www.sctax.org/Tax+Information/Sales+and+Use+Tax/Sales+Tax+Holiday.htm

Here is an excerpt from the law governing the holiday. A full list of items is on the state site linked above.
Code Section 12-36-2120(57) exempts from the sales and use tax:
(a) sales taking place during a period beginning 12:01 a.m. on the first Friday in August and ending at twelve midnight the following Sunday of:
(i) clothing;
(ii) clothing accessories including, but not limited to, hats, scarves, hosiery, and handbags;
(iii) footwear;
(iv) school supplies including, but not limited to, pens, pencils, paper, binders, notebooks, books, bookbags, lunchboxes, and calculators;
1
(v) computers, printers and printer supplies, and computer software;
(vi) bath wash clothes, blankets, bed spreads, bed linens, sheet sets, comforter sets, bath towels, shower curtains, bath rugs and mats, pillows, and pillow cases.
(b) The exemption allowed by this item does not apply to:
(i) sales of jewelry, cosmetics, eyewear, wallets, watches;
(ii) sales of furniture;
(iii) a sale of an item placed on layaway or similar deferred payment and delivery plan however described;
(iv) rental of clothing or footwear;
(v) a sale or lease of an item for use in a trade or business.

Wednesday
Jul292009

950 Readers in Two Days

With only very limited word of mouth, more than 950 readers visited The Anderson Observer site in the past two days. Keep coming back for more updates as we approach our official launch date.

Sunday
Jul262009

Report: 3 School Districts Best for Anderson

By Greg Wilson
Editor, Anderson Observer © 2009

      A three-district model for public schools is the "best fit" for Anderson County, according to the conclusions of a new study by Clemson University's Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

      A copy of the lengthy report obtained by the Anderson Observer, "Options for Multi-district Counties, The View From Anderson County, South Carolina," outlines in great detail the case for reorganizing the county's schools into three districts. The $58,000 study, commissioned by the Anderson County Board of Education, was commissioned in 2007 to discover "the best ways to equalize educational opportunities for the county's public school students."

      The report concludes that three school districts, instead of the current five, would provide "more nearly equal student population, assessed value per pupil, and growth potential in order to achieve a more uniform allocation of resources across the districts."

      In the study, the three-district proposal suggests combining:

      1. Districts One and Four, excluding the Townville portion, to create a new Northern District;

      2. The T.L. Hanna half of District Five with District Two, to form an Eastern District;

      3. The Westside High School half of District Five and District Three and the Townville portion of District Four, to create a Western District.

      Other consolidation/redistricting options the study considered for Anderson County Schools include: status quo, or keeping the current five; a single countywide school district; and a plan which would create two school districts for the county. But the study suggests none of the other options offer the potential benefits of the three-district recommendation. The report suggested the size of Anderson County was not a good fit for either the single-district option or the two-district option, and that the continued trend of unequal growth made the status quo option unattractive.

      In South Carolina, 29 counties currently have a single school district while the other 17 counties have between two and seven districts.

      As part of the report, Anderson County's current five school districts were also assessed and compared with comparable districts across the state in the study. The results found that all five compare favorably in testing, and per pupil expenditures.

      Non-consolidation/redistricting options were also examined as part of the report. Exploring approaches taken by other school districts across the county, such issues as tax base sharing and services sharing were examined as potential avenues to accomplish the stated goals for the report. But the conclusion indicated that the three-district option would best serve students in Anderson County.

      Questions about why the county has not revisited the idea of school district equality since 1952 have been around a long time, said Randy Price, Anderson County School Board representative for Area 1.

      "We just want to make sure the students in Districts Two and Three have the equal educational opportunities and funding as those along the I-85 coridor," Price said. "We want to do what we can to equalize educational opportunities for all of the county's public school students."

      When Anderson County consolidated from 74 school districts to five in 1952, the student population and tax base of each of the five districts were roughly equal. The construction of Interstate 85 and the creation of Hartwell Lake, are largely credited for the dramatic shift in economic and residential growth over the past 57 years. Today there is a broad disparity in the size of school districts in Anderson County. The largest currently is nearly five times the size of the smallest, with School District Five serving 12,055 students while District Three is the smallest, serving 2,587 students during the 2008-2009 school year.

     The report also suggests the current trend of more rapid growth of Districts One, Four and Five is likely to continue, while slower growth is expected in Districts Two and Three.

      Joey Nimmer, Administrator for the Anderson County Board of Education, said the Strom Thurmond Institute study was simply the first step in examining any options available to assure that every public school student in Anderson County has the equal opportunities to succeed.

      Nimmer was quick to add that the study was in no way a binding document, but simply one way of assessing the current system and finding the best way to educate the counties 30,000 students.

     "This report offers us so many options or blend of options, it is too early to speculate what conclusions will be reached," Nimmer said. "We are not bound by the proposals or particular recommendations of this report."

      "It is the intent and desire of the board to release the full report at our meeting on Aug. 17," said Nimmer. Special invitations to that meeting have been extended to the Anderson County Legislative Delegation, board members representing the five districts and all of the county's school superintendents. The public is also invited to the meeting, scheduled for the Anderson County Library at 6 p.m.

      Authors of the study will present their findings, field questions and distribute copies of the full study "while they last" at that meeting.

      Following the meeting, the study will be reviewed by the Anderson County Board of Education Study Committee. This committee will also seek input from the community and other key constituents before presenting their recommendation to the full board.

      Nimmer said any "significant action," approved by the full board - such as the realignment of school districts - would ultimately be decided by voters in a referendum.

      There is currently no schedule for how quickly any action will be taken on the report following the Aug. 17 meeting, Nimmer added.

       In a statement, Anderson County School District Five Superintendent Betty Bagley expressed concern about the report. "Our District Five board members and I are deeply concerned about the Strom Thurmond Institute's "Options for Multidistrict Counties" report. We're currently in the process of speaking with county board members on the study subcommittee and developing a response to these proposals."
 

     "I think it's important we look at this issue since it has been out there so long and needs to be studied," said Anderson County School District 4 Superintendent Lee D'Andrea. "It is worth looking into anything which might help us be more efficient and effective in how we repsond to the needs of our students." D'Andrea, who said she had read the excutive summary and is currently reading the entire report, said she is also interested in looking at reasearch at other counties in South Carolina who have studied the issue.

      Superintendents from the other four districts had not replied to requests for an interview at the time this story was posted. They will be added as they come in.

© 2009 Anderson Observer, all rights reserved.


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