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An anemic offense sent the Gamecocks football team into the third quarter of the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl with what looked like an insurmountable 16-point deficit to the University of Michigan Wolverines. The point difference came despite a worthy defensive effort. Then, in the latter part of the third quarter, Will Muschamp’s team found their stride with a running touchdown. The defense saw the University of South Carolina through with a fumble recovery that led to another touchdown. USC’s defense created more opportunities with other turnovers. By the fourth quarter the Gamecock’s had put up 23 unanswered points and sealed their victory with a final interception. It was 26-19 in the end with an Outback Bowl tying record of five turnovers going the Gamecocks’ way. The win has them ending the season with a 9-4 record. — David Travis Bland

Immigration Exposé Spotlights West Columbia Chicken Plant 

West Columbia’s House of Raeford chicken processing plant is reportedly employing unskilled workers from countries like South Korea under an immigration program known as EB-3 — and that’s raised concerns about worker safety and industry standards. “As the program has accelerated in recent years, it has been co-opted by a handful of companies and foreign consultants who have used it to bring in immigrants willing to work for low pay in often-dangerous jobs,” ProPublica reports. “In the U.S., the program is now dominated by a handful of poultry processors with poor safety records, one janitorial firm and a single fast-food franchisee.” ProPublica also reports that overseas “migration assistance” agencies charge steep rates to funnel people into the program. — Eva Moore

Pharmaceutical Company

Gives Raises on Back of

Trump Tax Bill

Nephron, a Midlands pharmaceutical company, says it’s giving its 600-plus employees a 5 percent raise following the recent Republican tax reform bill. The company held an event to announce the raises, and it was a decidedly political affair, attended by Trump-backed Gov. Henry McMaster, Republican U.S. Rep.Joe Wilson, Republican Treasurer Curtis Loftis and Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, among others. “When taxes go down, everything gets better,” McMaster said. The recent tax bill slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. The average salary at Nephron is $70,000 per year. — Chris Trainor

Some State Troopers Are Carrying Their Own Rifles 

Some South Carolina Highway Patrol officers have been bringing their own high-powered rifles to work, fearing that their state-issued shotguns might not be enough firepower against guns that are on the street. That information comes as the Department of Public Safety is seeking half a million dollars to outfit troopers with AR-15 rifles. Officials say about 50 patrolmen have bought their own AR-15s in recent years. Troopers are allowed to carry such personal rifles on the job, provided they complete the agency’s training course on the weapon. — Chris Trainor

It’s Cold

Freezing cold weather is the talk of the Palmetto State, with the low hitting 18 degrees in the Midlands the morning of Jan. 2. SCE&G issued a press release asking customers “to reduce their energy usage as extreme cold temperatures in the area put a strain on the company’s electricity system.” Extremely cold weather is set to continue for the next week. — Eva Moore

Poll Says Haley Among Most Admired Women 

Former South Carolina governor and current U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is among the most admired women in the world, according to a recent Gallup poll. Hillary Clinton, for the 16th consecutive year, was the most admired woman in the poll. This is Haley’s first time making the list. She is the sixth most admired. As reported by The Post and Courier, Haley recently grabbed headlines when she threatened the U.N.’s 193 member countries with funding cuts if they approved a resolution to condemn the United States for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The resolution passed. Days later, Haley announced plans to slash $285 million from the U.N. budget. — Chris Trainor

Glitch Angers Would-Be

Lottery Winners 

A “programming error” reportedly led to dozens of people thinking they won money in the South Carolina Education Lottery, but lottery officials now say the matter is under investigation. According to The State, for about two hours on Christmas Day, “the same play symbol was repeated in all nine available play areas on tickets, which would result in a top prize of $500” per ticket. People from across the state showed up at the lottery’s Columbia office to collect on what they believed to be winning tickets. The State spoke to one man who had $10,000 in winning tickets and wasn’t pleased about the so-called glitch. “I got a child on the way, I’ve got three kids at home,” Anderson’s Berry Pickens said. “This right here was really gonna help me out to buy my house, support my family, put back for college and all of that.” — Chris Trainor

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