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South Carolina health officials issue statement on Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) released the following statement concerning the federal announcement about the Janssen vaccine, also referred to as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine:

"South Carolina public health officials received word this morning, like many throughout the nation and the state, that the CDC and FDA have recommended immediately pausing use of the Janssen vaccine due to concerns with blood clotting. Our top priority is protecting the health and safety of the public. This pause is evidence of very close safety monitoring as part of the strict quality assurance that is in place to ensure patient safety...

CDC, FDA recommend US pause use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine over blood clot concerns

The U.S. is recommending a "pause" in using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they were investigating unusual clots that occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. The clots occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and occurred together with low platelets. All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48; there was one death.

The reports appear similar to a rare, unusual type of clotting disorder that European authorities say is possibly linked to another COVID-19 vaccine not yet cleared in the U.S., from AstraZeneca.

More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S., the vast majority with no or mild side effects...

University of South Carolina loses largest donor

University of South Carolina leaders say it’s their fault for not reaching out to Darla Moore after her 89-year-old mother died on April 1, leading the school’s biggest donor to write off the university.

“I deeply regret the way our response was delayed, and I take full responsibility as a president of the university,” President Bob Caslen said Thursday.

Darla Moore has donated more than $75 million to the school, and its business school is named after her.

Caslen said that he sent Moore a handwritten note, and USC board Chairman Dorn Smith said he has tried to call Moore. Neither have received a reply.

Moore’s silence is a sign of the fractured relationship between the state’s largest university and its biggest benefactor. Two years ago, she asked trustees to restart the search rather than hire Caslen, a retired general and U.S. Military Academy superintendent...

Detours planned on Gateway Project in Greenville County starting Friday night

Detours are planned for the Gateway Project in Greenville County this weekend.

Officials say the I-385 Northbound Collector-Distributor (NBCD) requires warranty work, so detours will route drivers around the area.

The detours will last from Friday, April 9 at 7 p.m. through Monday, April 12, at 6 a.m.

Traffic seeking I-85 northbound or southbound will be detoured along I-385 northbound to Roper Mountain Road, Exit 37. They will then be turned around over the bridge and sent to I-385 southbound where they can follow the exit ramps to I-85...

Tomi Lahren to speak at Littlejohn Coliseum at Clemson this week

Conservative political commentator Tomi Lahren is set to speak at Clemson University on Thursday.

Turning Point USA said the event, which will also feature Brandon Tatum, will be held at 7 p.m. at Littlejohn Coliseum.

The event was originally planned for the Madren Conference Center on Clemson's campus but was moved to the bigger venue.

The event is officially called "Back the Blue with Tomi Lahren and Brandon Tatum."...

Restaurant owner offers a job to the burglar who broke into his business

After someone broke into an Augusta, Georgia, restaurant over the weekend, the owner of the business responded in an unusual way: He offered the suspect a job.

"No police, no questions. Let's sit down and talk about how we could help you and fix the road you're on," Carl Wallace wrote in a Facebook post, which included an image of the smashed door.

Wallace has owned Diablo's Southwest Grill for about eight years. He said someone broke in around 4 a.m. Saturday, took off with an empty register and was out within 45 seconds as the restaurant's alarm went off.

Wallace told CNN his initial reaction was "anger" and "frustration," but then he felt sorry for the person.

"You feel sorry that this is their chosen path in life. You also think about the dangers that this person is putting themself in every single time they do this."...

Man charged with trying to break into Upstate prison, large hole found in fence, officials say

A Spartanburg County man is facing charges after he tried to break into Tyger River Correctional Institution with backpacks full of contraband, officials with the South Carolina Department of Corrections said.

Nathaniel Perez, 19, was found inside the fence at Tyger River, bleeding from apparent cuts from a razor-wire fence, SCDC said.

A large hole has been cut into the fence and officials found pieces of what looked like Perez's clothing stuck there, prison officials said.

Perez was taken to the hospital to be treated for his injuries and then taken to the Spartanburg County detention center.

Officers also found four backpacks filled with contraband, including marijuana, cellphones, tobacco, alcohol and other items," the SCDC officials said in a news release...

South Carolinians 16 and older eligible for COVID-19 vaccine starting Wednesday

Now that 1.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered statewide, some South Carolina teenagers now have the chance to be next in line.

Starting today, South Carolinians 16 and older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

But not all teenagers have had to wait.

Bridget Moody, a 16-year-old in Greer, had received her first dose over the weekend.

“I just kind of want everything to get back to normal,” she said. “I think that’s a step to help it get back to normal.”...

Greenville County man accused of taking campaign money, forging documents

Agents of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Monday arrested a Greenville County man who is accused of taking campaign money and forging documents.

David Tyler Hoover, 47, was charged with two counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent and three counts of forgery.

According to arrest warrants, Hoover forged Alvin Thomas Smith's signature on a contract between May 1 and May 10. The warrant said the contract was found in his office after he abandoned his office space.

Another warrant said Hoover forged a check belonging to Holcombe for House and deposited it into his personal account on March 4.

Boil Water Advisory in effect for hundreds in Greenville County, water company says

Many Blue Ridge Rural Water customers are under a boil-water advisory Monday after a water main break early this morning.

Customers in higher elevations throughout the water system are seeing low water pressure, according to the company.

"There is no confirmed contamination of the water system, but because of the loss of pressure, the potential for contamination exists," Blue Ridge Rural Water said.

Effected customers are in Travelers Rest, Tigerville and Taylors. The advisory includes Mountainview Elementary School.

Customers not affected are:...

Georgia Gov. Kemp signs GOP election bill amid outcry

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday signed into law a sweeping Republican-sponsored overhaul of state elections that includes new restrictions on voting by mail and gives the legislature greater control over how elections are run.

Democrats and voting rights groups say the law will disproportionately disenfranchise voters of color. It is part of a wave of GOP-backed election bills introduced in states around the nation after former President Donald Trump stoked false claims that fraud led to his 2020 election defeat...

President Biden will be holding his first news conference today, here's what to expect

President Joe Biden held off on holding his first news conference so he could use it to celebrate passage of a defining legislative achievement, his giant COVID-19 relief package. But he's sure to be pressed at Thursday's question-and-answer session about all sorts of other challenges that have cropped up along the way.

A pair of mass shootings, rising international tensions, early signs of intraparty divisions and increasing numbers of migrants crossing the southern border are all confronting a West Wing known for its message discipline.

Biden is the first chief executive in four decades to reach this point in his term without holding a formal question-and-answer session. He'll meet with reporters for the nationally televised afternoon event in the East Room of the White House...

16 lawsuits alleging sexual assault filed against Texans QB Deshaun Watson

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is now facing 16 lawsuits alleging sexual assault.

Two new lawsuits were filed against Watson in Harris County, Texas, on Tuesday, alleging he assaulted women while receiving a massage in May and October 2020 respectively.

A lawsuit filed earlier this week called Watson a "serial predator" and as with almost all of the lawsuits, it said, "Watson's behavior is part of a disturbing pattern," but was the first to include, "Plaintiff believes Watson to be a serial predator."

In addition to the two lawsuits Tuesday, seven lawsuits were filed in Harris County on Monday by attorney Tony Buzbee, who is representing the women. Buzbee also filed seven lawsuits against Watson last week...

Authorities share victims' names in Colorado supermarket shooting

A shooting at a Colorado supermarket killed 10 people Monday, including a police officer who was the first to respond to the scene, authorities said.

Police arrested a suspect, and Boulder police Chief Maris Herold identified the 21-year-old man, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, of Arvada, Colorado, Tuesday as well as the names of the victims.

The victims are Denny Strong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Teri Leiker, 51; Eric Talley, 51; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jody Waters, 65.

Herold said the suspect was shot during an exchange of gunfire and he was transported to the hospital for treatment and is now in stable condition...

Greenville Co. Schools to host job fair; jobs pay between $10-$19 an hour, district says

The largest school district in South Carolina is looking to fill several open positions with a job fair later this month.

Greenville County Schools will hold a job fair on Tuesday, March 30, at Golden Strip Career Center on E. Butler Road, district officials said. It runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The district will be looking for bus drivers, bus aides, custodians and food service workers.

Managers will be at the job fair, ready to talk to applicants, the district said.

Pay for these jobs range from $10-$19 per hour and anyone working more than 30 hours a week will qualify for health insurance, among other things, the district said.

Masks and social distancing will be required at the job fair...

SC House approves 'Open Carry with Training' bill

South Carolina’s state representatives approved the Open Carry with Training Act 82 to 33.

The bill would allow state residents who are already licensed to carry a concealed weapon to openly display a handgun.

Several spoke against it, including freshman Rep. Jermaine Johnson Sr. (D – Richland) who spoke about getting into an elevator while running errands.

“Me being 6’7”, 285 pounds and Black...with my tattoos showing, and a gun on my hip,” said Johnson, “what that looks like to the small, white woman who’s already terrified at the sight of me being in close quarters with her. What does that look like?”...

Palmetto pride: South Carolina state flag sparks debate

South Carolina senators may soon take up one of the most divisive issues to hit the state in years: standardizing the state flag’s iconic palmetto tree and crescent design.

The flag hoisted daily over the Statehouse looks different than those hanging in the House and Senate chambers and the governor’s office because the Legislature has never put in to law how the banner should look.

In 2018, lawmakers created a committee of historians who meticulously studied South Carolina flags back to before the U.S. Declaration of Independence was signed and pulled the earliest designs of the palmetto tree, the crescent and the shade of blue to create the most historically accurate flag possible.

After two years of study, they released a design, and shortly after Christmas, The Post and Courier of Charleston wrote a story about it. The public revolted, especially at the palmetto tree that was far from robust. Historically accurate didn’t fly on social media...

Here's why your stimulus payment may still be pending

Some Americans are seeing their stimulus checks pending in their bank accounts, and they're complaining about banks holding their stimulus direct deposits.

If you're included in that group, don't worry: Banks aren't sitting on stimulus payments. It just takes a couple days for the checks to process.

"Some people will see the money in their accounts as early as this weekend as a pending or provisional payment until it is cleared by their financial institution," a Treasury official told reporters during a call on Friday.

The stimulus payments, worth up to $1,400 per person (and more for married couples and those with children), were included in President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that was signed on Wednesday...

Monday, March 22 will not be eLearning day for Greenville County Schools students

Greenville County Schools will NOT have an eLearning day on Monday, March 22.

Students will attend school—virtual and in-person—on their normal schedule that day.

GCS will let parents know as soon as possible if another eLearning day for a vaccine clinic for teachers and other staff will be required.

As a reminder, GCS students will participate in eLearning on Thursday, March 18 for a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for employees. Friday, March 19 is a teacher Professional Development day and a student holiday...

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