South Carolina Focus

SC Focus is a regular feature of South Carolina Public Radio.  As its name suggests, the segment focuses on the Palmetto State and its people.  It covers a wide variety of subjects, from South Carolina's war veterans to scientists, musicians and other topics, both serious and whimsical.  SC Focus is can be heard at various times throughout the week during our news program on all South Carolina Public Radio stations.

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Seven-Foot translucent fabric woven by Susan Lenz
Cooper McKim/SC Public Radio

When the flood hit South Carolina in October of last year, Cindi Boiter felt helpless to the devastation around her. Talking with her artist friends, she realized they had an itch to respond to the storm somehow. An idea came to her: an art exhibition on the anniversary of the flood. "You can record data, say how much water we had, but there are sensations of experiencing this that there are almost not words for," says Boiter. Cooper McKim reports.

"Islands of Light," Maxwell Hills, Duncan Park Lake, 293 West Park Drive. Lights On – 6:30 p.m.
Stephen Stinson

The city of Spartanburg has unveiled a public art project with the help of a $1 million grant from the Bloomberg philanthropies public art challenge.

Nine light art projects by award-winning light and digital media artist Erwin Redl serve as the catalyst to bring the Spartanburg Police Department and community groups together to use art projects to promote community safety.

Spartanburg is one of just four cities out of some 240 that competed to be awarded the $1 Million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2015. 

Greenville County Lets The Floodplains Flood

Oct 20, 2016
Cooper McKim

The light brown wooden wall cabinets, drawers, stove and oven in the kitchen at the Greenville County building are hand-me-downs. The kitchen supplies came from homes the county bought and then demolished.

“If we bought a house and there is something in there that we paid for that can be used and recycled then let's do it.” Assistant County Administrator Paula Gucker said. “Because then I don't have to go out and buy cabinets or countertops.”

South Carolina state agencies, local governments and non-profit organizations in 18 counties are now eligible through FEMA to recoup costs associated with infrastructure damage caused by Hurricane Matthew.

These ladies have the responsibility of judging baked goods at the South Carolina State Fair, and they take their work seriously.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Eating cupcakes, pies, cakes, and cookies is a pleasure for most folks, but for judges at the South Carolina State Fair, it’s also a responsibility.  Judges Laurie Aker and Mae Wells say because baking contestants work hard to prepare their entries, they should also be diligent in evaluating each entry to get the fairest (no pun intended) and most accurate result in determining winners.  Here they give their criteria for judging food, and for a judge’s qualifications.      Aker lists some common mistakes made by some cooks, and judge supervisor Brenda Turner tells what impresses her in a ba

Author Pat Conroy in 2013, talking with students about their entries in USC’s annual high school writing contest.
Courtesy Aida Rogers, USC Honors College.

The University of South Carolina’s honors college sponsors a writing contest each year to encourage students to write, and to get readers for these talented young people, according to college Dean Steve Lynn, who originated the program.  The incentives to enter are several.  Not only does it award cash prizes, but the best writings are gathered together each year in a book published by USC Press to give permanent exposure to young writers.   In addition, the judges are high-profile, nationally known writers. 

Residents in Marion and Orangeburg counties who were impacted by Hurricane Matthew are now eligible for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Individual Assistance program. 

Survivors who sustained losses in these two designated counties can apply for federal assistance by registering online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362

Members of the Forest Acres Community gather at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Columbia for an Interfaith Service of Remembrance.
Laura Hunsberger

On the anniversary of last October's historic floods, the sanctuary of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church was full of people gathered for an interfaith service of remembrance. Leaders from 10 churches and synagogues took part, offering prayers, songs, and words of encouragement. The event honored First Responders from Forest Acres, Richland County, and the City of Columbia, along with community members touched by the disaster. South Carolina Public Radio’s Laura Hunsberger has the story.

More on this story...

Pee Dee area residents, particularly those in hard-hit counties such as Marion, Marlboro, Dillon and Florence, should not wade or play in floodwaters resulting from Hurricane Matthew.

Gov. Haley Thursday afternoon press conference
Russ McKinney / SC Public Radio

In her fourth press conference since Hurricane Matthew made landfall in South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley said more counties could be included in the Emergency Declaration recently declared by President Obama. The Governor and her team also gave updates on fatalities; road and bridge conditions; shelters; power outages and more.

Residents of Nichols being evacuated by boat
Courtesy of Courtney Wilds (Nichols Resident)

Many South Carolinians may not have heard of the town of Nichols prior to Gov. Nikki Haley's October 10th press conference. The small town is in Marion County and has a population of about 400.  Those watching that update, learned that more than half of the town's residents were rescued from the third floor of the town hall. Nichols was flooded from rising waters from the neighboring Lumber River. South Carolina Public Radio's Thelisha Eaddy talks with a resident about how he and his family were taken to higher ground.

One SC Fund Expands to Help Hurricane Matthew Victims

Oct 13, 2016
Thelisha Eaddy / SC Public Radio

The One SC Fund was created after the October 2015 rain event and flood and has distributed $2 million dollars to nonprofits to help residents rebuild and recovery from that historic event. Governor Haley said the fund will now expand to help victims of Hurricane Matthew.

“What we’ve found very, very helpful was we started the One SC Fund last year, and what that did was allowed neighbors to help neighbors, businesses who wanted to contribute to the state to help those in need,” Haley said.

The South Carolina Emergency Division advises residents who are continuing to recover from Hurricane Matthew to call 2-1-1 for any assistance, if their needs for food, clothing and shelter are not being met. Callers will be connected to local relief supplies where available.

As recovery efforts begin, local governments and state agencies continue assessment of damages caused by Hurricane Matthew.

In response to Governor Nikki Haley’s request, President Barack Obama declared a major disaster exists in the State of South Carolina and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in 13 counties most severely affected by Hurricane Matthew.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance Program helps reimburse local governments, state agencies, eligible private non-profit organizations and electric co-operatives for certain expenses they have incurred. Federal disaster aid is not available for individual residents at this time.

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During her Tuesday afternoon press conference, Governor Haley said parts of Marion County are under four feet of water and flooding conditions could continue for the next one to two weeks. The Governor and members of her team also gave update reports on impacted rivers; road and bridge conditions; water rescues; breached dams; and shelter capacity.

Residents in affected counties are encouraged to be mindful of possible scams associated with the recovery efforts of hurricane Matthew. Thousands of disaster workers will be coming into the state from all over the country. People affected by Matthew should keep in mind:
·         Ask for proper identification of service providers.
·         Legitimate service providers will not ask for personal information such as the name of your bank, social security numbers or any other identifying information.

In an effort to better serve citizens affected by Hurricane Matthew and subsequent flooding, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will be operating limited offices in Lowcountry, Pee Dee, and Grand Strand counties.  These openings will occur regardless of county-government status.

These offices can provide credentials and duplicate titles or registrations if customers lost their originals in the storm.  They can complete other transactions on a limited basis.  These offices will not offer road tests.

A solar array at the Shi Center for Sustainability at Furman University.
Furman University

Solar Energy Use in South Carolina Is Surging As A Result Of A State Law Enacted In 2014

Work is underway at Furman University in Greenville on a large solar farm sited on five acres of land at the main entrance to campus.  It’s the latest step in Furman’s goal of using renewable energy to become a carbon-neutral campus in ten years.

West Columbia's Elizabeth Gray is running marathons in all 50 states to call attention to the problem of domestic violence.   Her story has made her a finalist for the cover of Running World magazine.
Courtesy of Elizabeth Gray

Elizabeth Gray of West Columbia is a former Marine, but that didn’t protect her from domestic violence at home.  But as she escaped an abusive marriage, she discovered running, and as she crossed the finish line of her first marathon, she decided to use her running to call attention to the problem of domestic violence.  To that end, she has set a goal of running a marathon in all 50 states, and will be halfway to her goal by December.  Her efforts may gain her additional attention, as her compelling story has made her a finalist in a competition to be featured on the cover of Running World

Flooding in Forest Acres, near Columbia, SC, on Oct 4, 2015.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

People and the press have referred to last year’s historic flood as a “thousand year” flood, as if an event of this size wouldn’t happen for another millennium.  Not so, say John Shelton of the U.S. Geological Survey and state climatologist Hope Mizzell.   Surprisingly, perhaps, each year the odds of a similar flood happening, though remote, are exactly the same.  Mizzell says the “thousand year” designation, however, does have a use, as a criterion for designing certain structures which must be built to withstand great and unlikely stresses. 

SCETV.ORG

Gov. Nikki Haley started her Monday afternoon press conference about Hurricane Matthew and its aftermath with a note of good news. She said the state has seven days of cool and dry weather on the way. But the Governor also talked about the hundreds of residents still in shelters; those under boil water advisories; the number for roads and bridges closed; islands still closed; and dams that have failed.

For full details, click here to listen to the entire press conference.

Residents affected by hurricane Matthew should continue monitoring local news sources and verified, official social media feeds for the most up to date information about communities and what to do when returning home.

Returning Home
At the request of local officials, Governor Nikki Haley has lifted all evacuation orders for zones along the South Carolina coast. Residents should remember the effects of Hurricane Matthew will continue for days, if not weeks.

In coordination with local officials, Governor Nikki Haley announced Monday that evacuation orders have been lifted for all residents in Horry and Georgetown counties as of 8:00 AM. Orders for Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley, Colleton, Beaufort and Jasper counties were lifted Sunday, and there are no effective evacuation orders remaining.

An interactive map of road closings caused by Hurricane Matthew, from the South Carolina Department of Transportation. 

In coordination with local officials, Governor Nikki Haley on Sunday announced that evacuation orders have been lifted for all residents in Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley and Colleton counties as of 10:00 AM. At the request of local officials, evacuation orders for zones in Beaufort, Georgetown, Horry and Jasper counties remain in effect as local law enforcement and officials continue to assess areas for potential dangers.

Gov. Haley Press Conference Oct.8
Linda O'Brien/SC Public Radio

Saturday evening Governor Nikki Haley gave what will likely be the final weather report regarding Hurricane Matthew. She said despite Matthew leaving the South Carolina coast danger still lurks.

In the latest weather update, high winds were still being reported in parts of the Grand Strand and Pee Dee. The Myrtle Beach International Airport reported bursts of wind exceeding 70 mph.

Residents should be aware of potential dangers from Hurricane Matthew as county emergency managers have reported downed power lines, fallen trees, and flooded and washed out roads in the Lowcountry, Midlands and Pee Dee regions of South Carolina.

As hazardous conditions may delay response time for those in need of help, the S.C. Emergency Management Division recommends the following precautions to be taken in an effort to mitigate risk for citizens and first responders.

Satellite image from the NOAA Geostationary Satellite Survey, Wednesday afternoon, Oct 5. 2016.
NOAA/NWS

Track Hurricane Matthew and see its projected path, mapped with data from the National Hurricane Center.

John Keefe, Louise Ma and Steve Melendez / WNYC Data News Team. Follow us @datanews, email us here.

Interactive Evacuation Map for Hurricane Matthew

Oct 7, 2016

This interactive map from the South Carolina Department of Transportation will give you the latest information on routes and lane reversals.

Linda O'Bryon / SC Public Radio

Friday morning Governor Nikki Haley said it will soon be too late to evacuate.  During the 11 AM press conference, the Governor said 310,000 residents had already evacuated the coast. That was up from 280,000 yesterday.  She adds anyone who hasn't or can't move inland should find a shelter to wait out the storm.

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