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Columbia Rock-n-Roll Camp Puts Girls in the Spotlight

Jul 25, 2017
Girls Rock Columbia Founder and Executive Director, Mollie Williamson
Laura Hunsberger/SC Public Radio

With participants across the country and world, the Girls Rock Camp Alliance is made up of organizations that hold annual camps to empower girls through rock music. In each week-long day camp, kids are assigned a musical instrument: bass, electric guitar, drums, key board, or vocals. Many campers have never picked up a musical instrument before. Mollie Williamson is the founder and executive director of Girls Rock Columbia. This will be Williamson's last camp as she steps down as executive director to pursue her Master's degree out of state.

The South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office logo.
SCDRO

Nearly two years after the historic October 2015 storm, many low-income homeowners are finally receiving assistance to repair their flood-damaged homes with the help of The South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office, or SCDRO. SCDRO announced in a press release last week that it closed its application intake period for the October 2015 Severe Storm Program at the end of April—capping off at 3,755 completed applications—and has moved forward with home repairs and replacements for eligible applicants. 

Derek W. Black on the Tavis Smiley Show in 2016.
Courtesy PBS/Tavis Smiley Show

In many schools across the nation in the last few decades, concerns over discipline have led to so-called “zero tolerance” policies.  USC law Professor Derek Black says suspension and expulsion rates have doubled under zero tolerance policies in the past 30 years.  Texas educator Dr. Nesa Sasser Hartford believes that the policies are justified in three specific areas – drugs, guns and sexual improprieties.

Inspecting the new troops at Fort Jackson.  They learn the rules quickly- or they'll hear about it.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Fort Jackson has just celebrated its centennial and, as the nation’s largest army training base, new recruits pour in regularly for basic training.  Though they’re met their first day by a pack of screaming drill sergeants, privates Jose Solis and Wallace Castillo don’t mind.  They’ve come for a purpose: to be trained and to learn to be professionals.   They view the sergeants’ yelling as part of the system, and don’t take it personally.  That’s good, says Drill Sergeant Queshawnia Franklin, because that’s how the system is designed, and after the first few weeks have provided the recruits

Reconstruction-era photo of African Americans
www.nps.gov/reer

The National Park Service (NPS) wants to hear from residents concerning the upcoming Reconstruction Era National Monument in Beaufort County. The week of July 24, NPS will hold three public listening sessions as part of the development of a foundation document for the new park.

Melissa English- Rias is acting Superintendent of the Reconstruction Era National Monument. She talks with SC Public Radio about the purpose of the sessions and how information from each session will help create the historic monument.

Listening Sessions

Monday, July 24, 2017

From Russia to the US and Back, a Mother and Daughter's Journey in Dance

Jul 21, 2017
Irina Ushakova at the Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville.
Makayla Gay / South Carolina Public Radio

At the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, Irina Ushakova teaches ballet and pointe. A native of Russia, Irina says she’s definitely different from most American teachers. Irina’s strict teaching style is influenced by her training in Russia at the Perm State Ballet School. She now calls South Carolina home, but her daughter decided to follow in her footsteps by training in Russia. South Carolina Public Radio's Laura Hunsberger has more.

HLD Lowers Steam Generator into Containment at SCE&G's VCS Unit 2, Jan 10, 2017.
SCE&G

The saga of the problem plagued V.C. Summer nuclear project continues, but its’ future will be determined by some critical decisions expected to be made over the next several months.

Two new Westinghouse reactors are under construction by SCE&G and state-owned utility Santee Cooper at SCE&G’s Summer plant some 25 miles north of Columbia in Fairfield County.

New Farmers Need Diverse Offerings to Gain Foothold in S.C. Agriculture

Jul 20, 2017
Thursday afternoon/evening farmers market at City Roots in Columbia.
Haley Kellner / South Carolina Public Radio

At the City Roots Farmers Market in downtown Columbia, Cathy Watson lays out squash, kale, and peaches at her booth. She got into farming 36 years ago when she married the fourth generation owner of Watsonia Farms in Monetta.  At City Roots she meets a lot of young farmers just getting into the industry.

Heather and Dave Mann, now on dry land, with Dinghy the Sailing Cat.
Haley Kellner/SC Public Radio

Not many people would sell their homes to go sailing up and down the east coast of the United States and into the Caribbean for six years.  But Heather and Dave Mann, late of Wisconsin and now of Summerville, did just that.   Dave says they did it for the adventure, and they had plenty of those, which Heather recorded in a book about the lessons she learned from the ocean during their voyage aboard their sailboat, the Wild Hair. 

SC Safe Home Director Ann Roberson distributes information on storm readiness at the Bluffton Storm Ready Expo
Haley Kellner/SC Public Radio

Many homeowners near South Carolina’s coast were left to deal with significant property damage in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. Now, early in 2017’s hurricane season, which began in June and runs through November, there are options for coastal South Carolinians who want to prepare for storm damage. One of them is the South Carolina Safe Home Program, a grant program operated by the South Carolina Department of Insurance to help offset the cost of home alterations that mitigate storm-related damages.

Confederate flag supporters walk through a group of protestors in front the South Carolina Statehouse.
Laura Hunsberger/SC Public Radio

On July 10, 2015, officials removed the Confederate flag that flew on the statehouse grounds. Today, the South Carolina Secessionist Party assembled in front of the capitol building to raise the flag again for a day, with a crowd of about 50 supporters. Nearby, a dozen or so protestors held a counter rally. South Carolina Public Radio's Laura Hunsberger has more on the story.

Kudzu failed to deliver on its promise as erosion control, but spread so fast it has become an icon of the South.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

A familiar sight on Southern country roads, and sometimes in towns, is kudzu.  The ubiquitous and fast-growing vine was imported from Asia as a decorative plant in the late 19th century, and promoted during the 1930s and 40s as forage for livestock and control for erosion.  According to Clemson Extension agent Dr. Tim Davis, it didn’t quite work out that way.  The plant, which can grow up to a foot a day, spread rapidly throughout the South.  But Davis and Dr.

A rolling course is rehearsed by a media member and coach, heading for the finish line at the Rock Hill BMX track.
Haley Kellner/SC Public Radio

The city of Rock Hill is becoming famous for its amateur sports facilities in everything from soccer to motocross and more.   The last week of July will see the city host the BMX (bicycle motocross) world championships, and riders from Australia to France to Brazil will come to South Carolina  to add an expected $13 million to the local economy.   Prior to that event, however, the city held race for the press to let members of the fourth estate get a feel for what goes into this growing sport. 

A generic smartphone.
skeeze/Pixabay

Last week’s daring escape by an inmate at a maximum security state prison has brought the issue of prisoners having smuggled cell phones behind bars to the forefront.

Authorities say that 46 year old Jimmy Causey, who was serving a life sentence for kidnapping, used contraband cell phones to aid in his escape from Lieber Correctional Center near Ridgeville in Dorchester County.

Officials say cellphones allow easy ways for prisoners to stay in touch with the outside world, and can even allow them to continue to be involved in criminal activities.

Inside a girls bedroom suite at Palmetto Place Shelter
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

In the past year, 628 young people received some type of service available to the homeless. That’s according to the United Way of the Midlands. The organization manages the homeless management database for the community (the bed reservation system and client management system its housing and service providers use). All of those 628 individuals were between the ages of 17 and 24. For the past three years, the United Way has operated a Youth in Transition program to better serve this demographic. United Way’s Sr.

Focus Group in Columbia Brings Partners in Flood Recovery Together

Jul 7, 2017
Participants in the focus group held at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Columbia brainstorm how to reach volunteers for the ongoing flood recovery efforts.
Laura Hunsberger / South Carolina Public Radio

At St. Mark United Methodist Church in Columbia, organizations and state agencies met for a focus group last month to share their systems for finding volunteers to work in the ongoing disaster recovery. Bryant Archie was one of the participants in the focus group. As an AmeriCorps Volunteer, he serves as a Client Services Coordinator for SBP, one of the disaster relief organizations at work in the state. Archie says he wanted to get involved with disaster recovery because for him, the 2015 floods hit very close to home.

From space, a hurricane can appear as a beautiful cloud pattern. (Photo of Hurricane Isabel)
Mike Trenchard, Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory , Johnson Space Center, via Wikimedia Commons

The National Hurricane Center has predicted between 11 and 17 named tropical storms for this year, with 5 to 9 becoming hurricanes and 2 to 4 becoming major hurricanes of category 3 or above.  Meteorologist Mark Malsick of the State Climatology Office says the main thing storms need to get bigger and stronger is warm, shallow water.  

Tens of thousands of purple martins return to Bomb Island at dusk.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Purple martins have roosted on Bomb Island in Lake Murray every summer for decades to prepare for their annual migration to South America. Numbering at least in the tens of thousands, if not more, the birds gather at dusk in great clouds around the island as they return from a day’s hunting for beetles, dragonflies and other high-flying insects.  To naturalist Rudy Mancke, the birds are a wonder of nature. More than that, people have gathered around the island in boats each summer for years, and the phenomenon of this huge mass of birds has become a tourist attraction.

Close-up of gas nozzle refueling car.
Andreas [CC0 1.0] via Pixabay

As drivers in the state gas-up for the Fourth of July holiday, they’ll find the lowest gas prices in the nation.  Six cents lower than at this time last year according to AAA motor club.

That’s good news for South Carolina motorists because the state tax on gas goes up two cents a gallon on July 1st.  It’s the first of two cent per gallon tax hikes we’ll see for the next six years to pay for millions of dollars to improve state roads which were again this week described as the deadliest in the nation.

Hundreds of Williamsburg County seniors during Senior Market Day in Kingstree to receive vouchers for fresh fruits and vegetables from certified farmers.
Haley Kellner & Makayla Gay/ SC Public Radio

The deadline is fast- approaching for a health center in Williamsburg County to collect information from survivors of the October 2015 flood. Hope Health and the American Red Cross are looking for people in the area who are experiencing specific complications from mold. The information they collect will help residents get the medical care they need and potentially lead to more resources to help them fully recover the historic event.

When the deadline for the survey passes, many flood victims would have been living with mold for more than one year and eight months.

Industrial robots on an automobile assembly line.
ISAPUT [CC BY-SA 4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 Automation has been increasing in the Palmetto State’s factories for a long time, bringing with it fears of job losses for people whose jobs are vulnerable to being replaced by machines.  But Roger Varin of Staubli Robotics, which makes robots for industry, says jobs are changing, but not necessarily vanishing.  In fact, he asserts, automation creates jobs in some areas.  Peter Brews, dean of USC’s Moore School of Business, agreed.  He said what must happen to assure employment in the future is that workers must have better education and training to fill the more technically-oriented jobs

Troubles caused by the historic flood of October 2015 were accompanied by one tiny bright spot: the flood temporarily refilled the state's groundwater supplies, which had been in decline through years of drought since the 1990s.
Courtesy of Nichols resident Courtney Wilds

For many who experienced the destruction of South Carolina’s October 2015 flood, it’s perhaps difficult to imagine that the state was plagued by a drought prior to the historic rain event. Despite the monumental devastation wrought by the flood, hydrologists who study the state’s aquifers, or the state’s usable groundwater resources, have observed a faint silver lining.

SC Department of Insurance Director Ray Farmer stand on stage speaking into a microphone, welcoming the crowd.
Haley Kellner/SC Public Radio

On Saturday, June 10, a bustling crowd of Beaufort County homeowners and their families assembled under a tent outside the Home Depot in Bluffton for the city’s second annual Storm Ready Expo. Hosted by the South Carolina Department of Insurance, the Expo was intended to encourage inclement weather preparedness at the beginning of hurricane season, which began June 1 and continues through the end of November.

Evacuation Route image
DHEC

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts an above-normal hurricane season with 11 to 17 named storms. Five to nine of those STORMS could potentially become hurricanes. During Hurricane Matthew in 2016, less than 200 people used the state’s special medial-needs shelters. Officials with the state’s department of health and environmental control, (DHEC) are now working to learn more about the medical needs of coastal residents to better help them prepare for the next major storm.

Dr. Hossein Haj-Hariri, Dean of the College of Engineering and Computing at the University of South Carolina.
USC College of Engineering and Computing

Technology Giant Siemens Corporation announced recently a technology grant worth nearly $630 million to the University of South Carolina College of Engineering and Computing. Officials say the grant provides computers, robotics, and software licensing as well as hardware to develop a “digital factory innovation lab” where students will model and test systems they may work on in the future. USC President Harris Pastides says students will graduate prepared for the high-tech jobs in the worldwide economy.

Artist Peter Lenzo with a collection of his sculpture at his home in Columbia, SC.
Makayla Gay / South Carolina Public Radio

South Carolina artist Peter Lenzo creates masterful sculpture that has gained the attention of collectors from across the country. His work draws inspiration from the traditionally African American art of face jugs and is currently on display at Columbia's If Art Gallery.

Charleston Forum Commemorates the Emanuel 9

Jun 20, 2017
A panel discussion at the Charleston Forum on Race on Friday, June 16, 2017.
Tara Spurling Photography

On the night before the second Anniversary of the June 15, 2015 mass shooting that took the lives of nine worshippers at Emanuel AME church in Charleston, Reverend Eric Manning led the opening prayer at the Charleston Forum on Race. The forum is part of a series of events this month to commemorate the Emanuel 9 and to honor those who survived. In addition to remembering those who died, panel members discussed issues brought to greater attention because of the tragedy. South Carolina Public Radio's Laura Hunsberger has more on the story.

Laura Wright of Saluda (right), just turned 111 years old.  Her "baby sister," Annie Belle Chappelle, is 96.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Laura Wright of Saluda recently celebrated her 111th birthday.  Friends and relatives, including her 96-year-old "baby sister," gathered to pay tribute to her long and well-lived life.  A teacher for decades, Wright said her parents prepared and encouraged her and her siblings to get an education and contribute to society.   Her friend Costena Kelly cited "Miss Laura" as a role model, saying "She always said 'be a lady.

Joseph Rackers and Marina Lomazov
Courtesy of the Artists

This week an internationally-acclaimed music event takes place in Columbia: The Southeastern Piano Festival, created and produced by University of South Carolina music professors Joseph Rackers and Marina Lomazov.  Though its name sounds regional, in reality it draws high school applicants and world-class judge/performers from all across the United States and beyond.  The producers tell us how they conceived the festival 15 years ago, and what attracts the finest applicants to vie for the 20 spots that the competition accepts.

Jesse Colin Young still tours and records music, but a half-century after the Summer of Love, he's still proud of the Youngbloods anthem of peace, "Get Together."
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

June 1967 heralded the Summer of Love, when tens of thousands of America’s young people headed to San Francisco with flowers in their hair. The Monterrey Pop Festival was the first major rock event of its kind, and brought wider attention to emerging artists such as The Who, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Big Brother and the Holding Company, with its electrifying singer, Janis Joplin. USC historian Lauren Sklaroff says San Francisco had long been a place where people who felt like outsiders could gather with others like themselves.

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