By JEFFREY COLLINS
COLUMBIA — Jim Davenport, an Associated Press reporter who worked doggedly to inform people in South Carolina about what their governors, lawmakers and other powerful officials were doing with their tax money and their influence, died Monday, according to his wife, Debra. He was 54.
2012 will go down in South Carolina’s weather history.
“To be exact, record warmth on June 29, 2012, is the highlighted event. The temperature observation of 113 F recorded that day at the Columbia University of South Carolina National Weather Service (NWS) Cooperative site has been approved as the new state of South Carolina record maximum temperature," according to Hope Mizzell, Ph.D., SC State Climatologist.
“This value breaks the long-standing record of 111 F first set on Sept. 4, 1925, at Blackville, at Calhoun Falls on Sept. 8, 1925, and tied at Camden on June 27, 1954.
South Carolina’s first state temperature record was recognized in 1887, 125 years ago.”
“The heat wave that occurred on June 29 and 30 was a rare event,” said Leonard Vaughan, Meteorologist, Columbia National Weather Station. “The meteorological conditions included a strong ridge of high pressure extending from the Tennessee Valley into the Carolinas which produced a large area of sinking air across the region. When air sinks it compresses causing even warmer temperatures at the surface. The air mass was also rather dry for late June. These conditions led to the record breaking event.”
Within a snap of a finger, Greer has found itself without a queen.
On a hot summer night in July, Greer had its queens within one step of the Miss South Caroline throne. At the Cops for Tots toy distribution Saturday, neither were available to make their traditional appearance.
The city’s residential trash collection has been adjusted for the Christmas and New Year’s holiday schedule.
Trash pickup will continue both Mondays but will be moved back one day with no pickup on Christmas Day or New Year’s. Both holidays are on Tuesday so trash collection will resume on Wednesday through Friday. Normal Wednesday and Thursday collections will be done on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
Diversity was the theme for the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce this year and it will ring true through next year. The 2013 Board of Directors illustrates the most diverse board the Greer chamber has ever assembled.
Chamber President and CEO Allen Smith and 2012 Board Chairman John Mansure, President of Greer Memorial Hospital, were aggressive presenting minority workshops and seminars and embracing the demographics that shape Greer.
Leftovers from Cops for Tots Saturday at the Cannon Centre.
Riley Varner graced Cops for Tots Saturday morning wearing the crown of 2012/2013 Young Miss Teen for Greenwood County. Riley helped children shop for toys wearing her crown. The little girls who shopped with Riley were fascinated being helped by a beauty queen.
Riley is the daughter of Greer Police Lt. Cris Varner and Greer Idol 2011 winner Dana Jordan.
• Children from a variety of demographics are treated to a shopping spree without parents accompanying them. Police steer parents to the exit to await their children. The idea is for children to be comfortable what they like.
• Perhaps the most poignant shopping being done was a child who couldn’t speak but excitedly pointed to toys and dolls she wanted. A police volunteer made sure the little girl had a good day shopping.
• Camilla Pitman, who was among the early organizers for Cops for Tots recalled, “This toy drive began in the detention cells in the police department.”
• Fred Earle, Jr. took time away from his cooking duties at Mutt’s BBQ in Greer. Earle has been the morning chef for the past 14 years. He arrives at 4 a.m. and begins cooking the barbecue and setting up the buffet.
Earle said he will be doing the cooking on Christmas for his family. “I will have ham, turkey, chicken and dressing . . . I do it all,” Earle said.
• Susan Hall, who retired from the Greer Police Department earlier this year, was Mrs. Claus Saturday. She has been in that role for the past four years at Cops for Tots. “I have people recognizing me outside saying, ‘I remember seeing you as Mrs. Claus.’”
Bikes have been assembled, toys, puzzles, games, stuffed animals and dolls have been categorized by age, and the Cannon Centre is all dressed up for Greer’s Cop for Tots distribution Saturday.
The officers and volunteers bought a Santa sleigh of gifts from Walmart of Greer this morning, assembled them and others afterwards and was fed to their fill at Merrell’s Pizza this afternoon.
Commissioners with the Wade Hampton Fire and Sewer District announced at its monthly meeting that all of the department’s personnel have earned the Fire Fighter II certification.
"Of the thirty-nine employees who recently took the national certification test, every one passed," according to Chief Randy Edwards. "As a result, each of the 57 employees we have in fire service roles now hold the Fire Fighter II certification.
"Aside from being proud of all of our personnel, this is a great distinction for the community we serve. Residents and businesses should know that the fire fighters on the red trucks leaving our stations to protect them, their families, and their property rank among the most professional and skilled in the area."
Buffets, Inc., headquartered in Greer, has appointed restaurant executive Philip Friedman and marketing executive F. Warren Ellish to its board of directors, completing the new seven-member board after the company emerged from bankruptcy. Friedman and Ellish possess over 30 years of restaurant industry experience and each has held leadership positions at growth and turnaround brands in the restaurant and hospitality industries. The appointments are effective immediately.
Buffets, Inc., owns Ryan’s Restaurants, with one located in Greer at 1501 W. Poinsett Street.
“These are true leaders with proven track records of success,” said Rob Webster, Chairman of the Board of Buffets, Inc. “Both Warren and Phil have the practical knowledge of what it takes to turn around and grow a brand, and they understand the need for strong corporate governance. We are pleased to add them to our board of directors, and are excited for the future of our organization with their support and expertise.”
Friedman serves as Chairman and CEO of Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina, an 85-location casual Mexican restaurant chain he acquired in 2011, and as President of P. Friedman & Associates, Inc., a strategic planning and management consulting company he founded in 1986.
The Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSC) today voted unanimously to approve an overall increase in retail electric revenues of approximately $97.1 million, for South Carolina Electric & Gas Company, principal subsidiary of SCANA Corporation (NYSE: SCG).
The PSC also approved SCE&G’s request for a mid-period reduction to its fuel costs. Additionally, the PSC approved a reduction to SCE&G’s Demand-Side Management Rider to Retail Rates (“DSM Rider”).
The total approved increase, along with the decrease to fuel costs and the decrease to the DSM Rider, results in a net impact to retail electric customers totaling 1.38 percent, or approximately $32 million. Beginning in January 2013, overall rates will increase as follows:
Obesity and being overweight are human health problems that get a lot of attention from doctors and media. What hasn't gotten as much attention is the fact that many pets are suffering from the same problems.
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 88.4 million U.S. dogs and cats – 54 percent – are overweight or obese. And that can lead to health problems such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers.
Kirsten Tucker got exactly what she has worked for during her 13-year career with Walmart. Tucker, who lives in Greer, is the manager of the Walmart Neighborhood Market at Greer Plaza.
“I have always been excited about the Neighborhood Market. When I heard they were bringing one to the area I immediately let it known I would love to work there,” Tucker said.
Charles Williams has spent his young life working toward becoming an Eagle Scout. The senior at Christ Church completed the project just before he turned 18-years-old last month, a requirement for Eagle Scouts.
Williams led a team of volunteers building four picnic tables, each about 8-feet long, at Greentown Park and landscaping signage area at Moss Street. Ann Cunningham, Director for Greer Parks and Recreation approved the project.
The timeliness of the Red Flag committee report today alerted commissioners of fraudulent activities directed against Greer Commission of Public Works.
There were two fraudulent acts against Greer CPW in July and last week two more were documented, according to Ken Holliday, Director of Human Resources at the Greer utility. The Red Flag committee, consisting of six CPW associates, annually presents to commissioners acts that demand attention or corrective remedies that safeguard the utility and its customers.
“We don’t see anything that people tried to hack into our system,” said Brian Forrester, CPW Chief Information Officer. Forrester said he has been in contact with a state agency and more safeguards have been put in place. “We identified some weaknesses but I don’t want to get into that in a public forum. We have third party monitoring and we’re looking at our firewall each day. We’ve purchased new software to encrypt information.”
Holliday told commissioners some customers reported receiving phone calls from individuals identifying themselves as Greer CPW employees. CPW, on its web site said, customer’s caller identification will display Greer CPW’s name or phone number. The caller attempts to obtain customer account or personal information.
News, staff reports
Congressman Tim Scott was selected by fellow Republican Gov. Nikki Haley Monday to take over the seat being vacated by Jim DeMint.
It would figure a name like Ken Holliday would set rules and guidelines for a Christmas tree decorating competition.
Holliday, the Human Resources Manager at Greer Commission of Public Works, wanted to steer CPW associates toward a common, holiday-themed goal. Last year trees were decorated consistent with each department's job description.
Over 700 families, adopted by Greer Relief and community believers in holiday joy for all, began picking up Christmas bundles of gifts in GreerToday.
Caroline Robinson, Executive Director of Greer Relief, was directing traffic and volunteers on Victoria Street. “It’s crazy but this is my favorite time of year,” Robinson said.
Sgt. Chad Richardson of the Greer Police Department is visiting the city’s elementary schools today.
“I’m making the rounds to let the schools, faculty and PTAs know we are available to them,” Richardson said.