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'No Vaxx? No Masks?' Greer company hiring people who don't want to get vaccinated or wear masks

A Greer company said it is hiring new employees who have not or will not get the COVID-19 vaccine or who don't want to wear masks.

OTB Tax put up a billboard on Pleasantburg Drive in Greenville and one on Highway 123 in Easley that says: "No Vaxx? No Mask? No Job? Perfect. We're Hiring."

The billboards have been up for about a month.

Toppa Epps, the CEO of OTB Tax, said the company has 25 employees right now — all of whom are unvaccinated and do not wear masks in the office on Wade Hampton Boulevard.

He said the company is expanding and looking for hire more employees who have not gotten the COVID-19 vaccine and do not wear masks...

WYFF News 4 Anchor Michael Cogdill announces retirement

WYFF News 4 Anchor Michael Cogdill announced today that he plans to retire from WYFF 4. In late November, Cogdill will anchor his final newscast, ending his nearly 33-year career at the station.

“For more than 3 decades Michael has been a trusted voice during breaking news,” remarked WYFF 4 President and General Manager John Humphries. “Together as a team for nearly 25 years, Michael and Carol Clarke set the standard for journalistic integrity in this market. Their calm, confident reporting in the face of a crisis has been reassuring to our viewers. We wish Michael the best and are grateful for the years of service he has dedicated to our communities..."

SC State Fair opens Wednesday

The South Carolina State Fair returns Wednesday after a hiatus brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year’s event was drive-thru only due to a high number of COVID-19 cases. On Tuesday, Department of Health and Environmental Control officials reported that such cases have dropped below 1,000 for the first time since July. More than 50% of South Carolinians are fully vaccinated against the virus.

State fair officials have instituted new protocols to prevent the virus’ spread like increased cleaning, hygiene signage, hand sanitizer stations and reminding guests that in Columbia they must wear a face covering, WIS-TV reported. Guests are also encouraged to socially distance, use card and touchless methods for payments as well as not coming to the fair if they aren’t feeling well...

New Superman comes out as bisexual in upcoming comic

(via WYFF) DC's latest comic "Superman: Son of Kal-El" will see the current Superman, Lois and Clark Kent's son Jon Kent, come out as bisexual.

The fifth volume of the comic book will hit shelves on Nov. 9, revealing a new relationship between Jon Kent and Jay Nakamura, a reporter who idolises the original Superman and Jon's father Clark.

Writer Tom Taylor explained that this isn't the first time he's tried to introduce an LGBTQ+ character into the DC multiverse.

"Over the years in this industry, it probably won't surprise you to hear I've had queer characters and storylines rejected," Taylor told IGN. "I felt like I was letting down people I loved every time this happened."

Here's what's open and closed on Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples Day

In many parts of the country, what was traditionally known as Columbus Day is now being celebrated as Indigenous Peoples Day. But it remains a federal holiday, so some businesses will be closed.

President Biden issued a proclamation commemorating Indigenous Peoples Day Friday and acknowledged the destruction of native communities that followed the arrival of Christopher Columbus in North America in the 15th Century.

"Today, we also acknowledge the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities," Biden wrote in Friday's proclamation. "It is a measure of our greatness as a Nation that we do not seek to bury these shameful episodes of our past — that we face them honestly, we bring them to the light and we do all we can to address them,"

More than 100 U.S. cities have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day, including Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix and San Francisco. Several states including Minnesota, Alaska, Vermont and Oregon have chosen to celebrate Indigenous People's Day as well...

Google steps in to prevent climate change deniers from making money from ads

(CNN via WYFF) Google is cracking down on the ability of climate change deniers to make money off its platforms and to spread climate misinformation through advertisements.

The company said Thursday it will no longer allow advertising to appear alongside "content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change." Google will also prohibit advertisements that deny the reality of climate change.

The policy, which goes into effect next month, applies to any content on YouTube and other Google platforms that refers "to climate change as a hoax or a scam," as well as denials that "greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change."

"We've heard directly from a growing number of our advertising and publisher partners who have expressed concerns about ads that run alongside or promote inaccurate claims about climate change," Google said in its announcement Thursday. "Advertisers simply don't want their ads to appear next to this content. And publishers and creators don't want ads promoting these claims to appear on their pages or videos."...

At least two drivers rescued in Anderson County after parts of road wash away in rain

Crews rescued at least two drivers Thursday morning after heavy rain washed out roads in Anderson County.

One driver was found hanging on to tree branches on Scotts Bridge Road after his truck went off the flooded road, according to the Hopewell Fire Rescue team.

This happened about 6:20 a.m. A tactical rescue crew used a boat to rescue him. He was taken to the hospital but is expected to be okay. They said his truck floated down in the floodwater. 

Crews were also called to Martin Road and Shackleburg Road around 6:30 a.m. Thursday for reports of a possible water rescue there.

Officials said they were searching for a vehicle. They didn't find the vehicle, but they did find the driver and rescued him...

Deer breaks into Christ Church Episcopal School in Greenville

There was some excitement at a Greenville school Tuesday when a deer "let himself" into the building.

Pictures show busted-out glass at Christ Church Episcopal on Cavalier Drive and the deer standing in a classroom.

David Padilla, the head of the school, said on Instagram that the deer let himself in through the front door, wandered around the lower school, and visited a couple of classrooms before being escorted safely out by Greenville’s animal control professionals....

Former NASCAR John Wes Townley shot to death, police say

Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley was shot to death over the weekend during a dispute that involved a hatchet after showing up at a house occupied by his estranged wife and another man, police said Monday.

The 31-year-old Townley, who raced eight seasons, had the weapon at some point before he was fatally wounded by Zachary Anderson, 32, of Dunwoody, Georgia, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department said in a statement. Laura Townley, 30, was shot and wounded, it said.

John Wes Townley died after being taken to a hospital. The woman was seriously injured but is expected to survive, police said.

Investigators were trying to determine whether the Townleys remained married, but they clearly were estranged, said Lt. Shaun Barnett, a police spokesman. The relationship between Laura Townley and Anderson also wasn’t clear...

SC school district warns after elementary student follows through with ‘Slap a Teacher’ TikTok challenge

A South Carolina school district is warning parents after an elementary student followed through with a new TikTok challenge.

It’s called the “Slap a Teacher” challenge and it happened Friday to an elementary school teacher in Lancaster County.

According to the district, an elementary school student struck a teacher in the back of the head.

“Unfortunately, the challenge that has been put out for this month is to slap or hit a staff member from behind,” the district wrote in a letter to parents. “Sadly, we actually had an elementary student assault a teacher by striking her in the back of the head.”

In recent weeks, schools dealt with incidents of vandalism from the “devious lick” challenge where students were encouraged by peers to break or steal stuff at school – often in the restroom...

Bear attacks couple, dog on Blue Ridge Parkway, officials say

A bear attacked a couple in?the parking lot of an Asheville area art center this week, prompting warnings and safety precautions, officials said.

It happened Wednesday evening at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, according to a release from the National Park Service.

The couple was having a picnic on a grassy hill near the center when they were alerted to a bear by their dog, the release said.

The unleashed dog ran towards the bear, barking loudly, according to the release.

The bear acted defensively toward the dog and the couple, likely aggravated by the dog, officials said.

There were repeated attacks by the bear over the next several minutes while the couple was able to get to the safety of their vehicle with their dog...

Greenville County Schools hold special meeting to talk about judge blocking school mask mandates

Greenville County Schools is having a special meeting Thursday to talk about a federal judge's decision to block a ban on mask mandates in South Carolina schools.

The meeting is happening now in executive session. We will update this story when we know what happened.

Parents and students have gathered outside the meeting to protest a mask mandate

The judge made the decision to block the mask mandates in schools on Tuesday.

The meeting notice says the school board will talk about legal advice regarding the decision.

Parents of disabled children, helped by the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the state saying the ban discriminated against medically vulnerable students by keeping them out of public schools as the COVID-19 pandemic continues...

Federal judge temporarily blocks ban on mask mandates in SC schools

A federal judge Tuesday suspended South Carolina from enforcing a rule that banned school districts from requiring masks for students.

Parents of disabled children, helped by the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the state saying the ban discriminated against medically vulnerable students by keeping them out of public schools as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The mask ban has been forcefully backed by Republican Gov. Henry McMaster and GOP lawmakers who said parents should decide whether students wear masks, not school officials.

The ruling wasn’t even a close call, U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis wrote, stopping the state from enforcing a one-year ban placed in the budget...

Upstate nurse loses thousands of dollars after scammers use Zelle to transfer money

An Upstate nurse said she lost $3,500 after scammers called her, pretending to be from her bank.

After a long day of work at the hospital back in August, Meredith Seitzer said she received a text from what appeared to be Bank of America.

“(The text read) along the lines of, ‘Did you attempt a Zelle transaction of $3,500, yes or no?’ I’m like, that’s kind of weird,” she said.

She ignored it, but about 15 minutes later, her phone rang and she said it was Bank of America’s 1-800 number.

“Maybe that was for real,” she said. “They’re calling to tell me that something’s going on.”

The caller gave her his employee ID number, she said and seemed friendly at first...

Spartanburg County has highest COVID-19 hospitalization rate in the country, report says

An Upstate county has the highest hospitalization rate in the United States, according to the Washington Post.

The report says Spartanburg County has 38 COVID-19 patients per 100 beds. For comparison, in Albany, New York, there are seven COVID-19 patients per 100 beds.

The New York Times reports that an average of 93% of ICU beds were occupied in the Spartanburg County area as of Thursday.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Thursday 144 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Spartanburg County and two new confirmed deaths. Those numbers were from data as of Tuesday, Sept. 21.

The Washington Post website has a map showing that in general areas with the highest vaccination rate have the lowest hospitalization rates for COVID-19 patients...

Clemson Kappa Alpha fraternity under investigation, temporarily suspended

A fraternity at Clemson University is under investigation.

Joe Galbraith, a spokesman for the university, told WYFF News 4 Tuesday that the university is aware of allegations involving the Kappa Alpha fraternity.

4:05 UPDATE - Galbraith released the following updated statement from the university:

"The preliminary results of an investigation by the Office of Community and Ethical Standards (OCES) and Clemson University Police Department (CUPD) into an alleged incident involving the Kappa Alpha fraternity have determined earlier reports and rumors of the hospitalization of a student were incorrect."

Bojangles responds to town saying Clemson wrap violates ordinance

Bojangles says it has not received any notice about the Clemson-themed restaurant in Pendleton violating the town ordinance.

The restaurant on Highway 76 was recently wrapped in orange and purple with the words "Clemson" and "Tailgate Headquarters."

On Monday, the town planner, David Poulson, told WYFF News 4 the new design doesn't comply with the zoning ordinance, which details the size and number of signs allowed on a building.

To see more pictures, click here.

Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine is safe and works in kids ages 5 to 11

(WYFF - AP) - Pfizer said Monday its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon -- a key step toward beginning vaccinations for youngsters.

The vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech already is available for anyone 12 and older. But with kids now back in school and the extra-contagious delta variant causing a huge jump in pediatric infections, many parents are anxiously awaiting vaccinations for their younger children.

For elementary school-aged kids, Pfizer tested a much lower dose -- a third of the amount that's in each shot given now. Yet after their second dose, children ages 5 to 11 developed coronavirus-fighting antibody levels just as strong as teenagers and young adults, Dr. Bill Gruber, a Pfizer senior vice president, told The Associated Press...

Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will guest host 'Jeopardy!' through the end of the year

Some familiar faces will soon return to "Jeopardy!" And according to officials for the show, they'll be sticking around for a while.

In a Thursday news release, the quiz show announced Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will host episodes that will air through the end of 2021. Beginning Monday, episodes featuring Bialik behind the show's iconic lectern will begin airing. The former "Big Bang Theory" star will continue hosting through Nov. 5.

After that, the show says Bialik and Jennings will split hosting duties as their schedules allow.

The show's 38th season began this week featuring episodes hosted by the embattled Mike Richards. Richards stepped down as Alex Trebek's replacement on Aug. 20, and was ousted as the show's executive producer a week and a half later, after it was discovered podcasts he had made in 2013 and 2014 contained demeaning remarks about women and minorities...

Curtis Smith, the man accused of helping Alex Murdaugh, appears in court

The man who authorities say prominent South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh hired to shoot him in the head was in court Thursday morning.

Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was taken into custody earlier this week in connection with the Sept. 4 shooting of Murdaugh.

Smith is charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, distribution of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud..

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