SC News

News from and about the Palmetto State.

A roller derby match pits the Columbia Quade Squad All Stars against a team visiting from Tampa.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

  Half party, half combat. That’s roller derby, a growing sport in South Carolina. Though most teams are women, there are some men’s teams and even juniors teams. In this report we talk to Dell Corley, coach of the Richland County Regulators, as well as two married players. Kelly Wuest of the Columbia Quad Squad All Stars, inspired her husband Mike to join the Carolina Wreckingballs when he saw how much fun she was having. All three, however, say a more important part of the sport than winning is the family-like relationship that links the players.

  Many people are fearful of a Zika virus epidemic because of the publicity the virus has received.  But South Carolina law enforcement officers are fighting a much-less-publicized epidemic – the growth of heroin addiction.  This problem, however, is largely rampant among middle class users, according to Frank Shaheen, director of the Recovering Professional Program.  

Dylann Roof is representing himself in his capital murder trial. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel  granted the man charged with killing nine black parishioners in a Charleston church in June 2015 the right to do so just before jury selection in his case resumed. 

Roof faces 33 federal counts including hate crime charges for the attack on June 17, 2015 at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in downtown Charleston. 

Living area inside new manufactured home
South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office

In less than one month, almost 800 individual cases for South Carolina’s  October 2015 Storm Recovery Program have been started.  The South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office (SCDRO) manages the program and is very close to placing some storm victims in new homes.

Dylann Roof, the 22-year-old white man charged with murdering nine black worshippers at a South Carolina church last year, is competent to stand trial on federal hate crime charges, a judge ruled Friday.

Harriet Mealing is planning to move into a house soon, but is waiting until she has the financial ability to furnish it with appliances.
Olivia Aldridge/SC Public Radio

Harriet Mealing's trailer home was severely damaged by the flood. Ceilings caved in, holes opened in the floor and mold and mildew ruined most of Harriet's belongings. She sought help from a myriad of flood recovery organizations, but received very little assistance, and she received no financial support from FEMA. Over a year later, Harriet is still living in the same situation, resigned to Clorox her home every week to keep the mold at bay. 

Grace Beahm/Post and Courier via Pool

The prosecution rests in the trial of former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager after nine days of testimony with 32 witnesses and experts. Slager is charged with murder in state court for the shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott. The then on-duty cop stopped Scott for a broken brake light. The April 2015 shooting captured on cell phone video by a bystander.

Prosecution witnesses included family and friends of Scott to give the jury a picture of the South Carolinian and the events of Saturday April 4, 2015.

Judge closes Roof competency hearing to the public

Nov 16, 2016

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel ordered the competency hearing for Dylann Roof will be closed to the public. The 22-year-old white man is facing 33 federal counts, including hate crime charges, for the murders of nine black parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015. 

Philip Habermehl of the U.S Geological Survey measures streamflow in the Reedy River south of Greenville, SC.
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

For the Piedmont section of South Carolina, the hot, dry summer has become the warm and even drier fall.  Much of the Upstate is in a prolonged drought.  According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, counties in the northwestern area of the state are actually in a severe or extreme drought brought on by almost no appreciable rain, and above average temperature for months.

Grace Beahm/Post and Courier via Pool

Bill Williams is allowed to testify as a scene analysis, computer technology and video syncing expert, after spending four hours proving his expertise to the judge. Williams is expected to be the last person prosecutors will call to testify in the trial of Michael Slager. The former North Charleston cop is on trial for murder for the shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott. The April 2015 incident was captured on cell phone video by a bystander.

Tammy Moshier stands in her living room with nametags she made for the guests of her "Gratitude Party." Each one bears a description of what the wearer did to help her and her daughter during their struggle with the flood.
Courtesy of Laura Moshier

Tammy Moshier and her twelve-year-old daughter, Laura, were flooded out of their home near Gill's Creek in October 2015. Because their home was elevated six feet, they had assumed they would be safe from flooding, but they were wrong. It was a stranger that escorted the mother-daughter pair from their front porch and carried Laura through shoulder-deep water. They never knew his name.

Counselors from Carolina United have worked  with thousands of flood victims in the past year, including this one in Eastover, S.C.
Courtesy Carolina United, SC Dept. of Mental Health

More than a year after South Carolina’s historic flood, crisis counselors from the state Department of Mental Health’s Carolina United program continue to find and help flood victims.  But hearing the woes of thousands of victims over a long period can have detrimental effects on the counselors as well, sometimes producing stress or depression. 

Poster for "Eight Days a Week."
Apple Corps

The recent Ron Howard documentary film “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years” highlights the cultural phenomenon of Beatlemania in the 1960s.  The movie captures America’s excitement as John, Paul, George and Ringo stormed the country at the forefront of the most popular musical revolution of the century, the British Invasion.   

Grace Beahm/Post and Courier via Pool

The seventh day of testimony in the trial of former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager resumes. Slager is charged in state court with murder for the shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott. The April 2015 incident was captured on cell phone video by a bystander and widely shared.

Day 6 of testimony in the Slager Trial

Nov 10, 2016
Grace Beahm/Post and Courier via Pool

The prosecution has called 27 witnesses and experts in to lay out their case thus far. Former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager is on trial for murdering 50-year-old Walter Scott. Saturday morning April 4, 2015 Slager pulled Scott over for a broken brake light. The stop escalated and ended with Slager shooting Scott five times. The incident was captured on cell phone video and has been widely distributed in the media.

Scott’s older brother Anthony testified about the last time they spoke the Wednesday before the shooting.

Inside the Marion County Administrative Office.
Cooper McKim/SC Public Radio

At the end of a busy strip mall, a line is weaving out the door. The Marion County Administrative Office is home to "Team South Carolina" -- a one-day event striving to connect local flood victims with recovery services. More than ten agencies, government and non-profit are organized at the back offering forms, brochures, and advice. Many here are from Nichols, one of the hardest hit towns by the flood that followed Hurricane Matthew. For most, it's the first step towards long-term recovery.  Cooper McKim has the story.

Slager trial: day 5 of testimony

Nov 10, 2016
Grace Beahm/Post and Courier via Pool

Prosecutors continued called more law enforcement officers today in the murder trial of Walter Scott. Scott, a black man, was shot and killed by then North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager. The April 4, 2015 incident was captured on cell phone video. Shortly after the video surfaced, Slager was fired from the police department and charged with murder.

Michael Slager at the Defense's table during his trial.
Grace Beahm/Post and Courier via Pool



The second week of the murder trial of Walter Scott started with testimony from law enforcement personnel. Scott was shot and killed by then North Charleston police officer Michael Slager. 34-year-old Slager is charged with murdering Scott on April 4, 2015. Slager was captured on cellphone video firing repeatedly at Scott as he fled a traffic stop for a broken brake light.


Slager Trial Day 1: Opening Statments and Testimony

Nov 8, 2016
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson and Defense Attorney Andy Savage face the jury during opening statements.
Grace Beahm/Post and Courier

In opening statements at the murder trail of former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager today, attorneys described the shooting death of a 50-year-old black man last year in South Carolina two different ways in opening statements. A former North Charleston police officer is on trial for that man’s murder after he was filmed on cell phone video shooting the motorist as he ran from a traffic stop. 

As society becomes more dependent on technology, from smart phones to driver-less cars, the need for security has grown, and not just for financial institutions. The University of South Carolina and Gov. Nikki Haley recently announced the formation of SC Cyber, a coalition of educators, industry and government designed to protect information and anticipate the problems posed by new uses of technology.

Watchmaker Todd Waites works with tiny parts to get big results in repairing watches at Wristwatch Doc in  Cayce, SC, near Columbia.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

With competition from cell phones and an attitude of replace-not-repair toward many items, watch repair has become a rarer trade.  There are now fewer watchmakers (or repairers, to us general public types) in the United States than ever before.  Cayce watchmaker John Gawronski says that makes for a greater demand, and his staff is always busy.  He is sought out because not only does he have the skill, but also millions of rare watch parts gathered by buying out retiring watchmakers or jewelers.  There are opportunities for younger watchmakers if they’re willing to work, says Gawronski, and

Jury Chosen in Slager Murder Trial

Nov 7, 2016
Circuit Judge Clifton Newman has been appointed from his regular post in Williamsburg County to preside over the trial.
Grace Beahm/Post and Courier

A jury has been chosen in the case of a former South Carolina cop charged with murder.  

The jury panel has one black man, six white males and five white females. Those 12 will decide whether ex-cop Michael Slager, who is white, murdered 50-year-old Walter Scott, who is black. Slager fired repeatedly at Scott as he ran away following a traffic stop. The April 2015 shooting was captured on cell phone video. Slager was fired from the North Charleston Police Department.

It took attorneys three days to choose the final jury.

Peanuts fill tractor trailer containers at PeeDee Peanut buying station in Marion County
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

In September of this year, farmers across the state, who suffered losses during the October 2015 flood and who were approved for the Farm Aid Grant, started receiving checks in the mail. But less than a month later, some of those same farmers were once again assessing damage to their farms, this time from Hurricane Matthew.  South Carolina Public Radio’s Thelisha Eaddy reports on how back-to-back natural disasters are impacting local farmers.

Despite the good economy, South Carolina state lawmakers are already bracing for difficult budget debates when the legislature convenes in January.  While damage estimates from Hurricane Matthew are still being developed, the storm will definitely impact next year’s state budget.  Last year’s (2015) historic flooding cost the state around $200 Million.

Mobile Intake Center Schedule For January 2017

Nov 2, 2016

The South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office (SCDRO) mobile intake centers accept individual applications for housing recovery related to the October 2015 storm. The mobile offices serve three counties a day for one week. Intake Centers alternate locations each week to reach citizens around the state more effectively.

RELATED CONTENT: Intake Deadline Nears for 2015 Flood Recovery

File Photo

South Carolina’s voting machines were purchased in 2004.  For electronics, that’s old.  Computer technology advances quickly and needs replacing frequently.  Nevertheless, S.C. Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire and USC Computer Science Professor Duncan Buell believe that with caution, the state’s machines may get through this fall’s election with few problems. 

Not leaving a will is considered the biggest "sin" of estate planning.  Even an online form, not the best of ideas, is better than no will at all.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Perhaps as much as 50 to 60 percent of South Carolinians do not have will.  According to attorney Bert Brannon, a will is a person’s last chance to say what he or she wants to happen to his/her possessions, so it should be taken seriously.  Brannon and Richland County Probate Judge Amy McCullough name some reasons why people put off making a will, and why not leaving a will is a really bad idea.  While It has no effect on the deceased at all, it can cause untold distress and trouble for those left behind.

The dam (foreground) of Lexington's Old Mill Pond gave way during the flood of October 2015, leaving an empty pond behind it and destruction in front.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Broken dams across the state made last year’s historic floods in South Carolina even worse.  In Lexington, three dams burst, washing debris through the city and flooding U.S. Highway 1.  The city is now seeking to reconstruct the old dams to be more resilient. Tut Underwood has the story.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Richard Rothwell, via Wikimedia Commons

“Frankenstein” is a classic of fiction, movies, and other media, and also a Halloween staple. The novel has not been out of print in the two centuries since it was published in 1818. USC English Professor Paula Feldman, an authority on the life of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the author of “Frankenstein,” talks about the real- life tragedies in Shelley’s life that caused her to wish she could bring the dead to life again, and the dreams that inspired the writing of the classic book that is regarded as the first science fiction novel.

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.