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Students in Spartanburg, Greenville counties received the most vaccine religious exemptions

One out of every 30 students in Spartanburg County has a religious exemption from receiving required vaccinations to attend school.

WYFF News 4 Investigates found the 1,735 religious exemptions in the county account for 3.39 percent of the enrolled student body, according to public records requested from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Students in South Carolina can receive either a religious or medical exemption from required vaccinations. A religious exemption requires a notarized parental signature on a form available at county health departments...

'I understand the distrust': SC's state epidemiologist addresses 'skepticism' some have of COVID-19 vaccine

As the first health care facilities in the state begin to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, South Carolina state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell issued the following statement Wednesday:

"The road in our fight against COVID-19 has been long, and it hasn’t been easy. Many of us have already made significant sacrifices. South Carolinians have lost their loved ones to this deadly disease, others have lost their jobs and their livelihoods. We haven’t yet reached the end of this long road, but I have great hope now with the arrival of the first vaccines in our state.

McConnell congratulates Joe Biden as president-elect

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell congratulated Democrat Joe Biden on Tuesday, calling him the president-elect and saying the Electoral College “has spoken.”

The Republican leader’s statement delivered in a speech on the Senate floor ends weeks of silence over President Donald Trump’s defeat. It comes after electors met Monday and affirmed Biden’s election win.

“Many of us had hoped the presidential election would yield a different result,” McConnell said. “But our system of government has the processes to determine who will be sworn in on Jan. 20. The Electoral College has spoken...”

Director of National Institutes of Health stresses first vaccine doses are safe

AP - The director of the National Institutes of Health is that stressing the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine being distributed this week are safe and effective and is urging Americans to put aside any skepticism so that as many people can be vaccinated as possible.

Dr. Francis Collins tells NBC that he hopes people will get past the “noise” and “conspiracy theories” about the Pfizer vaccine’s safety because approval was based on “scientific decision-making of the most vigorous sort.”

He says face masks are still going to be “a part of our life” in the coming months because it remains unknown whether a vaccinated person could spread COVID-19 to others.

But he believes the virus could be significantly stunted by June if 70% to 80% of Americans are vaccinated, the level most experts believe is needed to reach “herd immunity.”...

SC to prioritize elderly, food workers for COVID-19 vaccine

Prisoners and poultry plant workers will follow soon after front-line health care employees in South Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccine plan, Gov. Henry McMaster said Wednesday.

At the outset of the first phase of the state’s vaccine distribution plan, the state will focus on health care employees including physicians, medical students, speech pathologists and residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, McMaster told reporters Wednesday.

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Listen to our weekly interview with Lt Gov. Pamela Evette as she breaks down Gov. McMaster's vaccine announcment.

Water main break causes boil-water advisory in several Spartanburg neighborhoods

A water main break is causing low water pressure and a boil-water advisory for some Spartanburg Water System customers, the company said.

Crews are working to repair the water main.

Affected locations are:

•Hilltop Community    •Una Service Area    •Parts of Arcadia    •Howard Street    •Powell Mill Road    •Hayne Street

•New Cut Road    •Broadcast Drive    •Asheville Highway    •Jeff Davis Drive    •Florida Avenue    •California Avenue

Vice President Mike Pence to visit Greenville this week

The vice president of the United States will visit Greenville, then Georgia, aiming to help Republicans keep the U.S. Senate majority, according to news reports.

The NBC affiliate in Atlanta, WXIA announced on Monday evening that Mike Pence will make two major stops on Thursday - the first in Greenville and the next in Augusta, Georgia.

The first stop will allow Pence to participate in a roundtable regarding Operation Warp Speed and South Carolina's vaccination plans...

Trump lawyer and leader of his election legal team tests positive for COVID

(AP) — President Donald Trump says his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has tested positive for the coronavirus, making him the latest in Trump’s inner circle to contract the disease that is now surging across the U.S.

Giuliani was exhibiting some symptoms and was admitted Sunday to Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly.

The 76-year-old former New York mayor has traveled extensively to battleground states in an effort to help Trump subvert his election loss to Joe Biden. On numerous occasions he has met with officials for hours at a time without wearing a mask.

Trump, who announced Giuliani’s positive test in a Sunday afternoon tweet, wished him a speedy recovery...

Asheville PD starts new anonymous app, texting tip line

Police officers in Asheville, North Carolina, are hoping citizens will help them solve some of the violent crimes happening in the city - specifically shootings.

“Right now, our focus is on violent crime. So we are around 588 calls for service of people shot, or of gunshots," said Capt. Mike Lamb, "And we’ve had 44 people to date that have been shot or killed in gun crime.”

It’s called TIP2APD, the department’s newest tool for citizens to talk to an officer – and it’s all anonymous.

The hope is that someone who may know key information about an incident uses the new app or texts the tip line to help investigators solve more of these crimes.

The app can be downloaded through the iTunes store or Google Play by searching for 'AshevillePD.' A tipster can text information, plus send photos or videos, which is sent through a 411 program to the police station...

Town of Williamston turns on Christmas lights with special visitor

The Town of Williamston turned on their Christmas lights Saturday night, at Mineral Springs Park.

City leaders came up with a creative way for children and families to meet Santa, and share their Christmas wish lists.

Mineral Springs Christmas Park will be open nightly at 6 p.m.

The town also opened up the Deck the Halls Christmas tree exhibit, across the street at town hall. The display will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Hydrant damage in Greer affecting CPW water service in some areas

Folks in one Taylors neighborhood may experience low water pressure early Wednesday after a car crash caused major damage to a fire hydrant, according to Greer Commission of Public Works.

Greer CPW will shut off water service around 8 a.m. Wednesday. Repairs may take six to eight hours, crews said. Customers will then need to boil water for one minute before drinking or cooking for the next 24 hours.

SC DOT suspends most road work for the Thanksgiving Weekend

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) prohibits lane closures on interstate highways for non-emergency highway work during the Thanksgiving Day holiday travel period. These restrictions will be in place from noon Wednesday, Nov. 25, through 6 a.m. Monday, Nov. 30.

 

With continued progress due to SCDOT's Strategic 10-Year Plan to rebuild South Carolina's roads and bridges, more work zones are in place all across South Carolina...

A new amusement park is coming to Myrtle Beach.

Work began last week on the new “Funplex” at Ocean Boulevard and 15th Avenue North.

The park will be tropically themed and feature seven family-thrill rides, a walk-up bar and a restaurant.

"Designed for families and thrill seekers alike, rides will be themed to match the Grand Strand beach vibe and include the tallest, interactive 360° flying jet ride on the market, and first-of-its-kind in North America," a news release from The Funplex said...

Former T.L. Hanna coach raises money to buy a grave marker for Radio

It's been nearly a year since T.L. Hanna legend Radio died, and his grave still does not have a marker.

Radio died in December at the age of 73.

He had been associated with the high school's football program since 1964 when he befriended Coach Harold Jones.

"Radio touched so many people," Jones said. "He just has so much love to give. He taught us all. We didn't teach him a thing."

Jones said he and others have picked up a marker for Radio's grave that costs $4,700.

Georgia to release report on presidential race hand tally today

Georgia election officials expect to release a report today on a hand tally of the presidential race.

The hand recount of nearly 5 million votes stems from an audit required by a new state law and wasn’t in response to any suspected problems with the state’s results or an official recount request. The law requires the audit to be done before the counties’ certified results can be certified by the state.

The deadline for the counties to complete the audit was 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, ahead of the Friday deadline for state certification. Gabriel Sterling, who oversaw the implementation of the state’s new voting system, said he expected the secretary of state’s office to put out a report on the results by midday Thursday, according to the Associated Press...

Squirrel causes power outages in South Carolina

A section of South Carolina’s capital city was without power Monday after a squirrel caused equipment damage that led to the blackout.

Dominion Energy said in a Twitter post that the animal caused the outages in downtown Columbia. Company spokesman Matt Long told The State the squirrel was killed while damaging the equipment.

Another power outage was reported Monday after a dump truck hit some wires in the city, Long said.

By 11:45 a.m., nearly 1,800 customers had reported being without power, according to an outage map on the energy company’s website....

2nd coronavirus vaccine shows early success in U.S. tests

For the second time this month, there’s promising news from a COVID-19 vaccine candidate: Moderna said Monday its shots provide strong protection, a dash of hope against the grim backdrop of coronavirus surges in the U.S. and around the world.

Moderna said its vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective, according to preliminary data from the company’s still ongoing study. A week ago, competitor Pfizer Inc. announced its own COVID-19 vaccine appeared similarly effective — news that puts both companies on track to seek permission within weeks for emergency use in the U.S...

Georgia hand tally of presidential race getting underway

Election officials in Georgia’s 159 counties are undertaking a hand tally of the presidential race that stems from an audit required by state law.

The law requires that one race be audited by hand to check that the machines counted the ballots accurately, not because of any suspected problems with the results. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger chose to audit the presidential race and said the tight margin — Democrat Joe Biden leads Republican President Donald Trump by 14,000 votes — means a full hand count is necessary...

Balance of power: Perdue, Ossoff set for Georgia US Senate runoff

Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff will face off in a Jan. 5 runoff in Georgia for Perdue’s Senate seat.

Libertarian candidate Shane Hazel was able to get enough votes so that neither Perdue or Ossoff was able to clear the 50% threshold needed for an outright win.

Thousands of absentee ballots and in-person votes cast early needed to be counted after Election Night passed, forcing a long and tense wait before the race could be called.

The contest has already seen huge spending from outside groups on both sides and millions of dollars more are expected to pour into the state ahead of the runoff.

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