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Tour De La France to Help Cancer Association

     A new event offers a new way to ride into the Labor Day weekend this year and help the Cancer Anderson County Spokesperson Angie Stringer, holds up the yellow Tour De La France jersey, as Interim Administrator Rusty Burns looks on at Friday's press event.Association of Anderson. On Sept. 5, the "Tour De La France" will offer a 13.74-mile trek, which begins at 8 a.m. at La France Elementary School, and a mini-ride of 1.8 miles for beginners and chidren, which begins at the Great Escape and ends at the Anderson County Farmer's Market. Electric City Transit will provide transportation back to the school or the Great Escape.

"We are really pleased to be a part of this event," said Rusty Burns, interim administrator of Anderson County. "The Cancer Association of Anderson is an orgazination that is near and dear to my heart. The work they do is very meaningful and cannot be duplicated."

As part of the event, a Bike Rodeo will also be held at the Great Escape with free bike helment fittings and free helmets while supplies last.

The bike event is also aimed at raising awareness for the Anderson County, City of Anderson Complete Streets Program. The complete streets policy ensures that transportation planners and engineers consistently design and operate the entire roadway with all users in mind - including bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

Sponsors for the event include Cancer Association of Anderson, City of Anderson, Anderson County, the South Carolina Department of Transportation, the Great Escape, the Complete Streets program, Safe Kids of Anderson County, Imagine Anderson, the Anderson County Farmer's Market,La France Elementary School and the Mayor's Committee on Disability.


Merging School Districts Report to be Presented Monday

     On Monday night, authors of a study by the Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs, will provide details of their research and recommend a three-district option as the best fit for Anderson County. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Anderson County Library. The public is invited.

      As first reported in 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 instead of the current five. 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."

     More details on the report can be found in our original story here.


Dist. 5 Names Teacher of Year

     Chad Allen, a seventh grade science teacher at Southwood Middle School, was named 2009-2010 TeacherChad Allen of the Year for Anderson School District Five at the district’s Back-to-School Celebration held Thursday at the T.L. Hanna High School Gymnasium.

     Mr. Allen is beginning his sixth year as a teacher, and has spent his entire career at Southwood. He is a graduate of T.L. Hanna High School. Mr. Allen succeeds Anne Harder, an English teacher at T.L. Hanna, as the district’s newest Teacher of the Year.

    The other finalists for District Teacher of the Year were Renee Brissey of McCants Middle School and Judy Woodard of Whitehall Elementary School.

     District Employees of the Year were also named at Thursday’s event. They are as follows: Adult Education, Wilhelmina Rhoe; Custodial, Harriet Martin of Varennes Academy of Communications and Technology; Food Service, Cornelia Smith of Whitehall Elementary School; Maintenance, Dwight Sutherland; Instructional Support, Ann Berry of Lakeside Middle School; Non-Instructional Support, Gail Wells of New Prospect Elementary School; and Transportation, Rosa Maxwell.

      The Teachers of the Year as named by individual schools are as follows: Robin Bracken, Calhoun Academy of the Arts; Gretchen Skelton, Centerville Elementary; Laurie Miller, Concord Elementary; Teresa Kinert, Homeland Park Elementary; Perry Howard, McLees Elementary; Veronica Davidson, Midway Elementary School of Science and Engineering; Felecia Lucas, Nevitt Forest Community School of Innovation; Anna Patterson, New Prospect Elementary; Sylvia Fowler, South Fant Early Childhood and Education Center; Candace Maddox, Varennes Academy of Communications and Technology; Hedrick Lewis, West Market Early Childhood and Education Center; Judy Woodard, Whitehall Elementary; Linda Hagen, Lakeside Middle School; Renee Brissey, McCants Middle School; Chad Allen, Southwood Middle School; Richard Morand, T.L. Hanna High School; Linda Johnson, Westside High School; and Jonathan Jennings, Hanna-Westside Extension Campus.

     The Adult Education Employee of the Year finalists were Wilhelmina Rhoe, Helen Sablan and JoAnn Vickery.

     The Custodian of the Year finalists were Curtis Harris, Whitehall Elementary School;
Harriet Martin, Varennes Academy of Communications and Technology; Doris Walker, Centerville Elementary School; Sallie Willingham, T.L. Hanna High School; and Charles Young, Nevitt Forest Community School of Innovation.

     The Food Service Employee of the Year finalists were Jane Crocker, Southwood Middle School; Alice McCullough, T.L. Hanna High School; Joyce Parnell, Centerville Elementary School; Cornelia Smith, Whitehall Elementary School; and Kristi Stone, Midway Elementary School of Science and Engineering.

     The Maintenance Employee of the Year finalists were Steve Callaham, Robert Davis, Ray Jensen, James Randolph and Dwight Sutherland.

     The Instructional Support Staff Employee of the Year finalists were Everette Adger, McLees Elementary School; Ann Berry, Lakeside Middle School; Kim Cothran, T.L. Hanna High School; Darron Cowan, McCants Middle School; and Lajuana Jones, Hanna-Westside Extension Campus.

     The Non-Instructional Support Staff Employee of the Year finalists were Sue Cowan, District Five Administrative Office; Melinda Little, T.L. Hanna High School; Leigh Stroud, Calhoun Academy of the Arts; Myra Stroud, Southwood Middle School; and Gail Wells, New Prospect Elementary School.

     The Transportation Employee of the Year finalists were Linda Hawthorne, Linda Kinley, Dwayne Martin, Rosa Maxwell and Irene Shetrompf.


Canning Preserves Tradition, Taste

    See Food section for full story.


S. Fant, W. Market Get Fresh Produce Grant

     Students at South Fant and West Market early childhood and education centers will be encouraged to boost their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables thanks to a federal grant making healthier eating easier during the upcoming school year.

     The two early childhood centers are among 51 South Carolina public schools taking part in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The 51 schools will be sharing a $1,172,650 grant from the USDA in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Education and South Carolina Department of Agriculture.

     Funds will go to purchase and serve a wide variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables, providing fruit baskets inside classrooms, kiosks in hallways and other innovative approaches to give youngsters a chance to grab a healthy snack throughout the school day. The aim is to create a healthier school environment.

     The SDE’s Office of School Food Services and Nutrition is partnering with the state Department of Agriculture to work with local farmers to purchase home-grown fruits and produce for the program.



Program Aims to Keep Kids in School

     The United Way of Anderson and Anderson School District Five are joining forces to help keep teenagers in school through a program called Graduate Anderson. On August 29, teams of school and community volunteers will go knocking on the doors of potential dropouts and invite them to return to school. The event will run from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. at T.L. Hanna High School for training and information before making their way to local neighborhoods to visit both T.L. Hanna and Westside High School students.

     The program will target students who have not attended high school classes during the first 1 ½ weeks of school, said Tripp Dukes, District Five’s Assistant Superintendent for Planning & Analysis. It is patterned after the successful Graduate Greenville program operated by the Greenville County School District.

     To volunteer or for more information, contact Tripp Dukes at 231-1780.


3,000 Unique Visitors in 8 Days

     The Anderson Observer continues to attract attention from readers, even though we have not actually published a full edition. One more time: thank you for your interest.

     Please tell your friends, family and neighbors we are here. If you own a local business or know someone who does, encourage them to consider advertising in Anderson's source for news from people you trust.


Facebook Buys FriendFeed

     PALO ALTO, Calif., -- Just as The Anderson Observer signed up for Friendfeed, Facebook announced that it has agreed to acquire the innovative service for sharing online. As part of the agreement, all FriendFeed employees will join Facebook and FriendFeed's four founders will hold senior roles on Facebook's engineering and product teams.

     "Facebook and FriendFeed share a common vision of giving people tools to share and connect with their friends," said Bret Taylor, a FriendFeed co-founder and, previously, the group product manager who launched Google Maps. FriendFeed's founders played key roles at Google for products like Gmail and Google Maps. At FriendFeed, they've brought together a world-class team of engineers and designers. FriendFeed is based in Mountain View, Calif. and has 12 employees. will continue to operate normally for the time being as the teams determine the longer term plans for the product. Financial terms of the acquisition were not released.

     For other information, visit The Anderson Observer Facebook site.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.