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The South Carolina State Fair's midway rides at night.
Nathan Harper [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

The South  Carolina State Fair has rolled around every fall since 1869.  Begun on Columbia’s Elmwood Avenue as an agricultural exposition, historian Rodger Stroup and fair manager Gary Goodman say it has kept its agricultural and mechanical roots while expanding through the years at its present location on Rosewood Drive, where it moved in 1914. 

Another Nichols family returns to a repaired home
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

About 75 families have returned to repaired homes in Nichols, South Carolina. The small town in Marion County was home to 260 homes before Hurricane Matthew brought strong winds and devastating floods in 2016.  All but three sustained flood damage and most businesses were also impacted.  South Carolina Public Radio spoke with Mayor Lawson Battle and Disaster Recovery Advisor Rita Pratte about progress in recovery, one year after Matthew.

Farmer Bill Coburn directs his border collie Lucy to herd sheep using vocal and whistle commands.
Laura Hunsberger

At Windy Knolls Farm in Laurens County, Bill Coburn raises ducks and sheep. He’s retired from farming, but he still spends time on one of his favorite occupations: training border collies. The shaggy mid-sized dogs have a natural instinct to herd animals, and Coburn says he’s been working with them for nearly 30 years. He still shows his border collies regularly at demonstrations throughout the southeast, and at the State Fair, he will show the dogs in action for a few select afternoons. South Carolina Public Radio's Laura Hunsberger has the story for this South Carolina Focus.

South Carolina Emergency Management Division logo
SCEMD

Governor Henry McMaster has proclaimed Earthquake Awareness Week for 2017 be observed October 15-21 in South Carolina.  The S.C. Emergency Management Division encourages everyone to take this opportunity to learn about our state's seismic fault system and how best to prepare for earthquakes.  A highlight of the week will be the Great Southeast ShakeOut earthquake safety drill next Thursday, October 19 at 10:19 a.m.

Instructors and presenters from Richland County's Flood Ready Seniors event. From left to right: Ben Marosites, Natasha Lemon, Winta Adams, and Sharon Long.
Olivia Aldridge/SC Public Radio

If the past two years have taught South Carolinians anything, it’s that disasters are never out of the question, especially during hurricane season. County officials across the state have placed emphasis throughout 2017’s hurricane season on preparing the public for weather-related emergencies, putting their experience responding to the historic flood of 2015 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016 to good use.

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

(Originally aired in 2016) - 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 tel

Pixabay

In 2015, 753 people took their own lives in South Carolina.  Reducing that number is the goal of the state’s chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  The Foundation holds six "Out of the Darkness" walks around the state each October, in Greenville, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Columbia, Aiken, and Hilton Head-Bluffton.   In this story we talk with two women who have suffered the suicides of loved ones and have found healing by participating in the walks, discovering that helping others cope with their losses helps them, as well.

Faces of Recovery: For the past two years, South Carolina Public Radio has shared the stories of survival and recovery from the Oct. 2015 flood.
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

Two years ago, Mary Burch watched and prayed as heavy rains caused the underneath of her family home to flood and eventually rot. Months later, the 77-year- old Sellers resident was living in unsafe and unsanitary conditions as mold started to grow and the structure of her homw was compromised from the flood. The week of the two-year anniversary of the October 2015 flood, Burch was able to walk through her near-finished new home. 

A vintage microphone.
HutchRock [CC0 1.0] via Pixabay

From his beginnings in radio in Darlington in 1960 (which he lied his way into at the urging of his mother), Woody Windham has become a South Carolina radio icon.  He has enjoyed a long career in Columbia and Charleston, both solo and with his brother Leo.  It would not be too big a stretch to speculate that millions of South Carolinians may have grown up listening to "Woody with the Goodies" on a variety of stations in the Midlands and Lowcountry and beyond. 

War Through the Looking Glass

Sep 29, 2017
Bryan Grigsby

There's a certain luxury to examining war from behind the lens. Crop out what you care not see. Focus on the atrocities, without reference to the so called savages. Film maker Ken Burns appears to know this in his Vietnam documentary. It is unapologetically full exposure.

Burns calls it unsettled business. He says it is proof that in war, as in life, more than one truth can exist at the same time. Yet, here we are, trying to make sense of that duality some 50 years later.

Historic Brattonsville

South Carolina is steeped rich in military history. The state is home to several war battles and historic sites. In York County, Historic Brattonsville, a 775-acre historic Revolutionary War site, has hosted a Civil War reenactment event, for the past years. Recently, the Culture and Heritage Museums of York County, which oversees the site, recently announced it was cancelling the event. Officials cited safety and protest concerns following the violence in Charlottesville, VA and also the 2015 murders of nine black church members in Charleston, SC.

Clemson researchers are studying the role wetlands have in exporting carbon during floods and severe weather events. Shown here are wetlands of the Hobcaw Barony, home to Clemson's Belle W. Baruch Institute.
Dr. Bob Pohlad of Ferrum College via Flickr

It's no secret that access to drinking water can be limited during severe weather events. But what about the days and weeks that follow? According to research from Clemson's Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science, water can still be unsafe weeks after residents' access to water has been restored.

American Alligator, Alligator mississippiensis.
National Fish and Wildlife Service

Once-endangered, alligators have made such a comeback under federal and state protection that hunting them is now allowed by the state during a one-month season.   Many have also intruded enough into human space to become tagged as “nuisance alligators,” which must be removed by state or private personnel.  Jay Butfiloski, alligator and fur-bearer expert from the S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources, says a nuisance alligator is simply a gator in a place where someone doesn’t want it to be, whether it’s a private pond or a shopping center parking lot. 

NASA image of Hurricane Irma:: A series of massive hurricanes have threatened and impacted parts of the Caribbean.
NASA

As Hurricane Maria continues to move forward, mandatory evacuations have been ordered for parts of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Here in South Carolina, hospitals are receiving patients evacuated from islands decimated by the storm.

WWII B-17 Bomber
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

Between 1935 and 1945, more than 12,000 World War II Boeing B-17 Bombers were produced. The aircraft was dubbed the “Flying Fortress,” as a result of the defensive fire power used during the war. A little more than a third (4,735) were lost in combat and today only 12 still take to the skies.

The Madras Maiden is a B-17 that was built towards the end of the war; it was used as a training aircraft. Today, the bomber is owned by the Liberty Foundation, a nonprofit museum whose mission is to preserve WWII aviation history.

Dylann Roof, on federal death row for gunning down nine people two years ago at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., wants his legal team dismissed because of the lawyers' ethnicity as he seeks to have his conviction and death sentence overturned.

"My two currently appointed attorneys, Alexandra Yates and Sapna Mirchandani, are Jewish and Indian respectively," Roof wrote in a letter filed Monday with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. "It is therefore quite literally impossible that they and I could have the same interests relating to my case."

U.S. Army Bell UH-1D helicopters airlift members of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment from the Filhol Rubber Plantation area to a new staging area, during Operation "Wahiawa", conducted by the 25th Infantry Division, northeast of Cu Chi.
James K. F. Dung, SFC; U.S. National Archives Catalog:530610

Acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns’s new documentary The Vietnam War airs this week on SCETV.  As a companion piece, we talked with Vietnam veterans Wade Fulmer and Jim Knight, as well as historian Fritz Hamer, who pointed out that Vietnam was the most unconventional of wars the U.S.

U.S. Marines with Company G, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, direct a concentration of fire at the enemy during Operation Allen Brook, 8 May 1968.
Official Marine Corps photo 371490, via Wikimedia Common

Acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns’s new documentary The Vietnam War airs this week on SCETV. In this segment, we continue our talk with historian Fritz Hamer and Palmetto State veterans Jim Knight and Wade Fulmer. Knight recalls many small firefights and one really big one – the TET offensive of February, 1968. Hamer said even though TET was a military disaster for the the North Vietnamese, it was a propaganda bonanza.

During Vietnam, Music Spoke to Both Sides of a Divided Nation

Sep 15, 2017
Bob Dylan with Joan Baez during the March on Washington in Washington, D.C., 1963.
Rowland Scherman (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration), via Wikimedia Commons

(THE CONVERSATION) -  Music is central to Ken Burns's new Vietnam War documentary, with an original score accompanied by samples of the era's most popular musicians, from the Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan. According to USA Today, the people interviewed for the film were even asked to provide their 10 favorite songs from the war years.

While it's natural that a historical film would include period-specific songs, music played an outsized role in the Vietnam War era. Whereas during past wars, musicians wrote songs to unite Americans, Vietnam-era music spoke to the growing numbers of disillusioned citizens, and brought attention to the cultural fissures that were beginning to emerge.

Once Irma hit, Joseph Jones of had second thoughts about his decision to ride out the storm at home.
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

The blistering sun is back.   But Monday's swollen flood waters from Tropical Storm Irma are slowly seeping away,  leaving a once anxious Charleston community relieved, yet tender.

"When the wind got a little stronger, nothing compared to Hugo, but I started to think my son might be right.  I should have left," said 76 year-old Joseph Jones.  He lives two blocks from the intra-coastal waterway and rode out Hurricane Hugo in his small, ground level, one story home.  "But after a while, when the water started receding after Irma, I knew I made the right decision."  He says his home saw no real damage.  But mentally he feels raw.

File: Gov. Henry McMaster and members of the Tropical Storm Irma response team - Mon, Sep 11, 2017.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster's briefing on the effects of Tropical Storm Irma, and the progress of recovery: Tuesday, September 12, 10:00 a.m., South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD).

File: Gov. Henry McMaster and members of the Tropical Storm Irma response team - Mon, Sep 11, 2017.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

At a 2pm briefing at the SCEMD command center, Governor Henry McMaster and his team addressed wind damage, road closures, shelter availability, flooding, and other concerns as Tropical Storm Irma makes its way through South Carolina.

"We are very proud of the way citizens have responded to our urgings and warnings, and information. This has been a plan that has gone according to the way it was devised." Governor McMaster said.

Updates on Tropical Storm Irma, plus a live report from harbor side in Charleston by Victoria Hansen.

Rain, Flash Flooding Possible with Tropical Storm Irma

Sep 11, 2017

As Tropical Storm Irma continues to affect South Carolina, residents should pay close attention to weather conditions throughout the state. The National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center predict that T.S. Irma could produce three to six inches of rain along with wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour. Flooding is possible in low-lying areas that are normally prone to flood.

Now Tropical Storm Irma is going to cause widespread flooding in Charleston at high tide today.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Christy Hall on possible effects of Irma's winds on traffic.

North Charleston Mayor Kieth Summey: "...now is the time to leave."

Governor Henry McMaster and emergency team give a briefing on Hurricane Irma, Sun, Sep 10, 2pm.
SCETV

Governor Henry McMaster addressed the public from South Carolina's Emergency Management Division on Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 2 p.m. 

While the storm has moved more westward than originally anticipated, South Carolina is expected to still see impacts, particularly to the south and west of Interstate 26 (I-26). 

Hurricane Irma made landfall along the lower Flordia Keys as a Category 4 hurricane. Irma has been approaching the southwest Florida coast, with winds up to 130 miles per hour (mph).

Tropical-storm-force wind speed probabilities, Sun, Sep 10 through Fri, Sep 15.
National Hurricane Center

CHARLESTON – State and local officials continue tell residents to take precautions or evacuate from historic and flood-prone areas ahead of hazardous conditions from Hurricane Irma coming to the area this evening.

“When it happens tomorrow, during the middle of the day, it’s going to be right when we have a full moon high tide,” Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said at a press conference.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg on the effect of the high tides on Irma's storm surge.

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