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Oscar-winner Christopher Plummer dead at 91

Christopher Plummer, the dashing award-winning actor who played Captain von Trapp in the film “The Sound of Music” and at 82 became the oldest Academy Award acting winner in history, has died. He was 91.

Plummer died Friday morning at his home in Connecticut with his wife, Elaine Taylor, by his side, said Lou Pitt, his longtime friend and manager.

Over more than 50 years in the industry, Plummer enjoyed varied roles ranging from the film “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” to the voice of the villain in 2009′s “Up” and as a canny lawyer in Broadway’s “Inherit the Wind.”

But it was opposite Julie Andrews as von Trapp that made him a star. He played an Austrian captain who must flee the country with his folk-singing family to escape service in the Nazi navy, a role he lamented was “humorless and one-dimensional.” Plummer spent the rest of his life referring to the film as “The Sound of Mucus” or “S&M.”

McMaster, Spearman say SC teachers need to return face-to-face regardless of vaccines

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and state Superintendent Molly Spearman held a news conference Thursday morning and said all South Carolina schools should be operating face-to-face because they are not at-risk environments.

The governor also called on all South Carolina school districts to prepare and submit their plans to get their teachers vaccinated against COVID-19 to the state’s education department.

But he did not move educators ahead of others in the next phase of the vaccine rollout.

McMaster said that 37 out of the state’s 79 school districts have a plan in place on how they will ensure their teachers are vaccinated. He said 19 districts have not finalized their plan and that the 25 remaining districts either indicated they have no plan or have not provided any evidence that they are working on one...

United Community Bank names new corporate headquarters and expands in Greenville County

United Community Bank, a retail and commercial banking service provider, announced plans to expand operations in Greenville County and name the location as the company’s new corporate headquarters.

The $24.8 million investment will create 227 new jobs.

United Community Bank has more than 160 branches in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

With an executive presence in Greenville County since 2012, United Community Bank specializes in personalized banking services for individuals and businesses.

Services include consumer and commercial ban...

Punxsutawney Phil says there will be 6 more weeks of winter

There will be six more weeks of winter Punxsutawney Phil predicted as he emerged from his burrow on a snowy Tuesday morning to perform his Groundhog Day duties.

One of the members of Phil's “inner circle” spoke before his prediction was revealed, noting that it's been a “unique year."

“People have been referencing Groundhog Day. It has felt like at times we're all living the same day over and over again,” one of the members said. “Groundhog Day also shows us that the monotony ends. The cycle will be broken.”

“Today actually is Groundhog Day, there's only one,” he added. “There is quite literally a new day coming over the horizon.”...

Tommy's Country Ham House to close after more than 30 years in business

Tommy's Country Ham House in Greenville will close its doors this spring, after more than 30 years in business.

According to a release from the restaurant, owner Tommy Stevenson is retiring, and the property has been purchased by a Charleston-based restaurant group with plans to remodel the existing building for a new dining concept to open in early 2022.

"This has been one of the most difficult decisions I've ever made," said Stevenson. "The Country Ham House has been my life. This year I'll be 80 and I want to spend more time with my children and grandchildren."

South Carolina Senate passes bill outlawing most abortions

The South Carolina Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state. It now heads to the House.

The vote was 30-13.

It has passed the House easily in previous years, and Gov. Henry McMaster has repeatedly said he will sign it as soon as he can.

The South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act requires doctors to use an ultrasound to try to detect a fetal heartbeat if they think pregnant women are at least eight weeks along. If they find a heartbeat, and the pregnancy is not the result of rape or incest, they can’t perform the abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger...

Clemson announces 2021 football schedule

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced its 2021 football schedule on Thursday.

Clemson will open the season on Saturday, Sept. 4 when the Tigers face the Georgia Bulldogs at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. in one of the most anticipated non-conference games of 2021 before returning to Memorial Stadium to kick off its six-game home slate on Sept. 11...

2021 Spring Fling in Spartanburg canceled due to growing COVID-19 cases, city leaders say

Spartanburg city officials say Spring Fling 2021 will be canceled due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

The city posted Wednesday on Facebook saying, "We had so looked forward to celebrating with you all this year, but given the growing number of cases and the stress it is putting on our hospitals, we do not feel that large city gatherings are responsible just yet."

Spring Fling is an annual street festival that features performances, vendors, food and other attractions.

The event was also canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

City officials said they will keep people posted about smaller-scale events such as Jazz on the Square and Music on Main.

COVID-19 vaccine help on the way in SC: DHEC works to create new scheduling system

More than 300,000 South Carolinians have an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks, with thousands more still trying to get in line through the VAMS appointment system.

It’s a system that many in South Carolina have complained feels difficult to navigate.

DHEC’s Interim Director Dr. Brannon Traxler held a media briefing Monday regarding the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Traxler said that the hope is to have a vaccine-only call center, as well as a new vaccine appointment scheduler, rolled out by the end of this week. She added DHEC shares the frustration of many South Carolina residents who have had issues and difficulty making an appointment online....

Dominion Voting Systems sues Giuliani over election claims

WASHINGTON (AP) — Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit on Monday against Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who led the former president’s efforts to spread baseless claims about the 2020 election.

The lawsuit seeks more than $1.3 billion in damages for the voting machine company, a target for conservatives who made up wild claims about the company, blaming it for Trump’s loss and alleging without evidence that its systems were easily manipulated. Dominion is one of the nation’s top voting machine companies and provided machines for the state of Georgia, the critical battleground that Biden won and which flipped control of the U.S. Senate.

The company faced such a mountain of threats and criticism that one of its top executives went into hiding. The suit is based on statements Giuliani made on Twitter, in conservative media and during legislative hearings where the former mayor of New York claimed the voting machine company conspired to flip votes to President Joe Biden.

Upstate man facing explosives charge had prophetic destiny to kill or harm the president, FBI says

An Upstate man whose home was searched by FBI agents over the weekend said he had a prophetic destiny to kill or harm the president, according to testimony made in federal court on Thursday.

David Halsey, 58, was arrested by South Carolina Law Enforcement agents on Sunday.

A warrant said that on or around Nov. 2 Halsey had a known improvised explosive which had been configured to cause damage, injury or death.

He was charged with possessing, manufacturing or transporting a destructive device or explosive for damage, injury or death...

President Trump pardons ex-strategist Steve Bannon, dozens of others in late night flurry of pardons

President Donald Trump pardoned former chief strategist Steve Bannon as part of a flurry of clemency action in the final hours of his White House term that benefited more than 140 people, including rap performers, ex-members of Congress and other allies of him and his family.

The last-minute clemency, announced Wednesday morning, follows separate waves of pardons over the last month for Trump associates convicted in the FBI’s Russia investigation as well as for the father of his son-in-law. Taken together, the actions underscore the president’s willingness, all the way through his four years in the White House, to flex his constitutional powers in ways that defy convention and explicitly aid his friends and supporters.

Whereas pardon recipients are conventionally thought of as defendants who have faced justice, often by having served at least some prison time, the pardon for Bannon nullifies a prosecution that was still in its early stages and likely months away from trial in Manhattan, effectively eliminating any prospect for punishment....

Stunning images show 'Field of Flags' taking the place of inauguration crowds

The U.S. Capitol building is prepared for the inauguration ceremonies for President-elect Joe Biden as the "Field of Flags" are illuminated on the ground on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Between the still-raging coronavirus pandemic and a suddenly very real threat of violence, the inauguration of Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris promises to be one of the most unusual in American history.

Planners had originally sought to retain some time-honored aspects of a normal inauguration, just less crowded and within the boundaries of COVID-19 protocols, but plans changed in the wake of the violent Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol.

Downtown Washington D.C. has been turned into an armed camp. The National Mall is sealed to the public and the Washington Monument has shut down. 21,000 National Guard troops will be on the job on Jan. 20, alongside D.C. police and multiple federal law enforcement agencies....

FBI vetting National Guard troops in DC amid fears of insider attack at inauguration

(AP)  U.S. defense officials say they are worried about an insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, prompting the FBI to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops coming into Washington for the event.

The massive undertaking reflects the extraordinary security concerns that have gripped Washington following the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters. And it underscores fears that some of the very people assigned to protect the city over the next several days could present a threat to the incoming president and other VIPs in attendance.

Large-scale location to get COVID-19 vaccine opens in Greenville on Monday

Prisma Health said it will open dedicated, high-volume community COVID-19 vaccine centers in Greenville and Columbia beginning Monday.

The two large-scale COVID-19 appointment-only vaccination sites, which currently only administer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Click on this story for all the details.

FM radio signal found coming from Jupiter moon

A spacecraft orbiting Jupiter discovered an FM radio signal from Ganymede, one of the gas giant's moons. The discovery marks the first time a signal has been detected from Ganymede.

Patrick Wiggins, a NASA Utah ambassador, cautioned it's probably not aliens, according to KDFW.

“It’s not E.T.,” Wiggins said. “It’s more of a natural function.”

The spacecraft, called Juno, was moving across a region of Jupiter were magnetic field lines can connect with the Ganymede moon. That's when Juno picked up the radio source.

Juno was sent out to study how Jupiter formed and evolved over time...

Vote on bonuses, extra paid leave for Greenville County school district employees expected Tuesday

Teachers and staff in Greenville County could soon be receiving a pay bonus, in addition to extra hours of paid time off if they need to quarantine because of COVID-19.

Greenville County School Board Trustees will vote on Tuesday on two recommendations from the administration: The extension of COVID-19 leave through August and the distribution of a bonus to all school district employees.

The COVID-19 leave extension, which will mimic the parameters of the federal FMLA leave that expired Dec. 31, will be funded through the coronavirus relief fund, the district said Friday.

Twitter follows Facebook and permanently suspends President Trump's account

After temporarily suspending President Donald Trump's account earlier this week, Twitter on Friday said it has permanently suspended his account.

Twitter said it did so because of the "risk of further incitement of violence."

The move comes as Big Tech sought to respond after Trump encouraged supporters, and a mob subsequently stormed the Capitol. Five people died.

The social media company issued the following statement:

After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence...

Snow in the Upstate? It’s possible on Friday

Snow in the Upstate? It’s possible on Friday, especially north of I-85.

Thursday night a storm system will move toward the Carolinas and snow will begin to fall in the mountains and rain in the Upstate.

As temperatures cool overnight northern sections of the Upstate could see rain change to snow Friday morning, north of I-85.

Areas along and south of I-85 will likely see rain. The rain/snow line will meander between the NC/SC state line and the I-85 corridor as the precipitation continues into the afternoon. This means the cutoff for snow and rain will be over a very short distance...

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