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Residents in Nichols, SC being rescued after Hurricane Matthew.
Courtesy of Nichols resident Courtney Wilds

The South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office (SCDRO) will hold four town hall meetings this week to present the Hurricane Matthew action plan and obtain public feedback.

Much like the office's 2015 Storm recovery program, the Hurricane Matthew recovery program is designed to serve as many citizens as possible while concentrating on meeting the needs of the least resilient citizens. Based on public response, SCDRO may add or revise portions of the action plan before submitting it to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Grand Stand at the Springdale Race Course.
Josh Floyd/SC Public Radio

The Carolina Cup was held in Camden, South Carolina on April 1st. The annual event started all the way back in 1930. Crowds nearing 70,000 in number arrived in their finest spring attire to tailgate and watch some horse races. 

Upon arrival at the Springdale Race Course, attendees are greeted by vendors selling food and various head-to-toe attire ranging from water-proof boots to giant, sun-blocking hats. Jockeys were posing for pictures in exchange for donations to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.

Charleston School of Law student Tyler Gilliam rehearses his tax argument with Prof. Kristin Gutting as his partner Anna Boning looks on.  Gutting coached the students to the school's sixth consecutive tax moot court national championship.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

For a law student, winning a national moot court championship is like winning the Super Bowl.  And Charleston School of Law students recently did it an astounding six times in a row.  Teams of students argue cases in front of judges to simulate situations in a real courtroom – in this case,  it was tax law, though other disciplines of law have their own moot courts.  This year’s winners, Anna Boning and Tyler Gilliam,  have the distinction of being the first team to repeat the feat, and win the competition for the second time. 

This drone is ready to fly.  Drones have many applications ,but the law hasn't caught up with some of them yet.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Drones are becoming more and more common, with possibly a million or more sold in 2015.  As recreation, they’ve been used as an extension of the traditional model airplane.  Newer uses in business, government and other enterprises have seen them used for traffic monitoring, inspecting farm crops and even collecting information from whale spray.  In this report, law professor Bryant Smith talks about legal concerns brought about by the use of drones, and oceanographer George Voulgaris and graduate student Doug Cahl discuss the drone’s role in various areas of research.

Mug shot of Roof taken by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, June 18, 2015
WP:NFCC#4

22-year old Dylann Roof will plead guilty to state murder charges during an April 10th hearing. This comes several months after a federal court sentenced the self-proclaimed white supremacist to death. A guilty plea means Roof has agreed to a mandatory life sentence without parole. The sentence would only take effect if the federal sentence fell through which is highly unlikely. 

Roof was convicted in January on thirty-three federal charges including hate crimes and the use of a gun to commit a violent crime.  

Aiken County cotton farmer Carl Brown overlooks one of his fields.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

American consumers buy nearly 20 billion new items of clothing a year, many of them made of Southern cotton, but 98 percent made overseas.  A University of South Carolina professor wondered about the journey of cotton from South Carolina to China and back. Laura Kissel says she learned a lot about the cotton-to-cloth-to-clothing process while making a documentary film about the people who grow the cotton and make the garments.  

Aiken County farmer Carl Brown discusses the changes in cotton farming over the course of his career. 

USC Law School's Pro Bono program provides student volunteers for legal services throughout South Carolina.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

It’s tax season, and many people are working with tax preparers.  But some preparers are giving away their services for free to elderly or low income clients.  They’re tax law students in the Pro Bono program at the University of South Carolina School of Law.  The Pro Bono program provides volunteer services to many causes year round: clerks for pro bono lawyers, research, wills and other areas of the law. 

Cayce Boat Landing Re-opens after 2015 Flood Damage

Mar 28, 2017
Thomas H. Newman Boat Landing
Josh Floyd/SC Public Radio

The only boat landing in Cayce is finally re-opening, after being closed since the devastating flood in October of 2015. The Congaree River mangled and disconnected portions the Thomas H. Newman Boat Landing, rendering it unusable. Mayor Elise Parton says she's been waiting for this day a long time -- she received many calls from locals asking when it would finally open back up.

Historic Cannonballs continue to be found in Charleston

Mar 24, 2017
A row of recovered cannonballs in the Charleston Museum
Alexandra Olgin/SC Public Radio

Live cannonballs from more than 200 years ago continue to be found in Charleston. The relics from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars occasionally wash up on beaches or are found underground. While some are inactive hunks of metal, others could still explode.

In an empty field near Charleston, military bomb experts are getting ready to detonate a rusted cannonball from the 1800's. The ordinance is buried underground and wrapped in C-4. An expert yells, "Fire in the hole!" as an explosion rips through the air.

Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort speaking at Americans For Prosperity rally at the Statehouse on Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

Another handgun bill is up for debate in the S.C. House, and battle lines are being drawn in the Senate around an $800 Million road funding bill.

State Mental Health Director John Magill reading Governor Henry McMaster's proclamation in the lobby of the State House.
Tabitha Safdi/SC Public Radio

A group of doctors, academics, public health and government officials gathered at the South Carolina State House this week. Their goal is to expand the reach and capabilities of telehealth services in the state. At a press conference in the State House lobby, stakeholders spoke on the importance of telehealth in the state and the significance of the governor’s distinction.

State Mental Health Director John Magill reading Governor Henry McMaster’s proclamation in the lobby of the State House.

Poison Center operator Kelly Funderburg, a former emergency room nurse, answers a call and looks up information to advise the caller about a potential toxin.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

A child has drunk sweet-smelling shampoo.  A senior has taken his wife’s prescription by mistake.   A person comes to the emergency room after taking multiple medications at 3 in the morning.  What to do?  The Palmetto Poison Center is on-call 24/7 to help with cases from parents’ worries to questions from doctors unfamiliar with the effects of varying drugs taken together. 

Forester Chase Folk looks over a section of Sumter National Forest in Newberry County.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

For 90 years, the South Carolina Forestry Commission has fought fires and advised landowners on how they can best manage the woodlands on their property.   According to Forest Management Chief Russell Hulbright and Forester Chase Folks, forests can be managed for timber production, wildlife protection, aesthetics, soil and water preservation, or a combination of these outcomes.  Hulbright says the public benefits from trees just from the fact that they’re out there along the highways of South Carolina.  The state is blessed to have 13 million acres covered by public and private forests, acc

For the past two years, South Carolina has suffered back-to-back disasters. The thousand year flood in 2015 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016 damaged homes, took lives, and crippled businesses. One of the businesses hit the hardest by these events was farming. For farmers, the setbacks from the storms were massive. Federal Recovery Programs offered little help and insurance didn’t completely cover damages. Only what is harvested can be insured, so when disasters two years in a row lead to low yields for farmers, the insurance just wasn’t going to cut it.

Richland County Flood Recovery on Track

Mar 21, 2017
Richland County Farmland flooding in 2015
Provided by Michael King

The Red Cross and National Guard may no longer be on the streets of Richland County, but that doesn't mean recovery from the devastating 2015 flood is over. In fact, hundreds of people are still out of their homes in the county according to Mike King, Richland County's Long-Term Disaster Recovery Chief. He says there’s been a lot of progress in recovery, but there's still a long way to go.  

Lynda O'Bryon
SCETV

In 1971, Linda O'Bryon started her first broadcast journalism job. During a recent Story Corp conversation in Columbia, O'Bryon talked about the barriers that blocked many paths for women, during that time.

In this edition of Narrative, O'Bryon (now President and CEO of SC ETV and SC Public Radio) shares how her career included opportunities to break some of those barriers. 

How a Conversation With Warren Buffett Led to A Memorable Story

Scientists Seek To Learn More About Sharks

Mar 17, 2017
OCEARCH researcher tagging the male white shark Hilton
Provided by OCEARCH

Off the coast of Hilton Head Island, the M/V OCEARCH sits stationary ready to catch sharks from twelve inches to twelve feet. The vessel is a temporary laboratory for scientists conducting research on the fish, from the way they see color to their mating habits. OCEARCH has done expeditions around the world, though this is the first time the organization has worked off the South Carolina or Georgia coast. They were pulled here by shark activity.

Next year's $8 Billion state budget has passed the House, and the Senate prepares to debate an $800 Million road funding measure.

Greg Wilsbacher, checking film in USC's Moving Image Research Collection.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Since 1980, the University of South Carolina has built a national reputation as one of the top film preservation archives in the nation.  Its Moving Image Research Collection has recently become the recipient of a significant national gift – the archival films of the United States Marine Corps.  Tom McNally, Dean of Libraries at the University,  says the school took the collection with no funds to preserve it, but with the faith that revenue donors could be found, which they were.  

Bills addressing the "Charleston Loophole" are introduced in the State Senate, and Gov. Henry McMaster toughens his stance on raising the gas tax.

Beached vessel at Woods Bridge Marina
Provided by County of Beaufort

Beaufort County officials are planning to begin removing abandoned boats and dock fragments from its shores this week. A storm surge caused by Hurricane Matthew left a substantial amount of debris in several locations around the county.

Beaufort County Deputy Administrator Josh Gruber said, “It looks like a number of the boats and large pieces of the dock[s] were washed up into the marsh."

Hearts and Hands Disaster Recovery staff join Keoashaws Brewer and her family for a ribbon cutting ceremony as part of their "Welcome Home" celebration.
Laura Hunsberger/SC Public Radio

Update

Laura Hunsberger recently spoke with Marilyn Gray, Midlands District Chair of the St. Vincent de Paul South Carolina Disaster Relief Program, and Dr. Lisabeth Medlock, Founder and Director of the Palmetto Project Community Flood Hub. Over the past year, Hunsberger has been following their work to provide furniture to families affected by the 2015 floods. In this interview, Gray and Medlock explain how their organizations, along with other community partners, developed a streamlined furniture distribution program.

In front of Tripp's photo his mother Sandra, sister Emily and father Glenn Rabon hold his baseball and football jersey. Tripp was killed in a car crash in December 2015.
Alexandra Olgin/South Carolina Public Radio

Sandra Rabon unfolds a large piece of white paper on the floor of her home in North Charleston.

It is her son Tripp's timeline for his life. Rabon reads aloud from the class project.

"Here he has graduating from Clemson 2021 and starting his own business in 2022," she said. "Then sell company or give to son, go fishing with the grandkids and finally die in a rocking chair in June 2098."

Industrial Hemp Seen as a Potential Boon to Farmers

Mar 7, 2017
Sign at the end of the road near the Baxley's farm
Cooper McKim/SC Public Radio

On a 5000-acre farm in Marion County, the Baxley family grows corn, soybeans, tobacco, and peanuts. In the past few years, intense storms have ruined their harvesting season, denying the family much needed revenue.  Neal Baxley, who manages the farm with his dad, is interested in planting a new crop, one that's more flexible, resilient, and profitable. For Baxley, hemp is the answer. The only problem is hemp isn't legal to produce in South Carolina. Cooper McKim reports that the state is one of many currently trying to legalize hemp production this year.

Cokie Roberts, Author and political commentator
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

Cokie Roberts is an author and political commentator for ABC News and NPR. Recently, she spent time at two Columbia-area schools to share her new book with students. In Ladies of Liberty, The Women Who Shaped Our Nation, Roberts uses the letters and journals of women to give another perspective of what was happening during the early years of the nation. 

In this edition of Narrative, Roberts shares how she selected the women featured in her book.

Jessica Skinner leads a rehearsal of the Cola Ukulele Band at a Columbia music store.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Over the past decade or so, the ukulele has grown tremendously in popularity among a wide variety of people, helped by its use by popular artists such as Jason Mraz and Ingrid Michaelson.  The trend hit the Midlands recently when University of South Carolina music student Tim Hall got a grant to start the Cola (not Columbia, though that’s where it’s located) Ukulele Band.  Since its beginning, the band has attracted members of all ages, from elementary school children to grandparents. 

World War II veteran Marvin Veronee of Charleston with a photo book, for which he wrote the text, on the Battle of Iwo Jima.  Veronee was in the battle as a 19-year-old sailor.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

In February and March 1945, one of the most significant battles of World War II took place:  Iwo Jima, just 760 miles from Tokyo itself.  Among the 70,000 marines assigned to the operation was 19-year-old Marvin Veronee of Charleston, a navy gunfire officer who went ashore with the Marines to call in fire from warships stationed off the coast when he found good targets.  75 years later, a 93-year-old Veronee recalls his  duties in the battle, his narrow scrape with a Japanese banzai charge ( a suicide attack), and his sight of the first (not the second, world-famous) American flag raised on

Megan Doty (left), 628th Security Forces Squadron unit program coordinator, files out her travel voucher with Senior Airman James Hauck, 628th Comptroller Squadron financial technician.
Airman 1st Class Thomas T. Charlton

Last October, Hurricane Matthew brought considerable devastation to South Carolina in the form of strong winds and crippling floods. For the military men and women stationed at Joint Base Charleston, this created unique issues. They needed to safely evacuate the military base while also providing help to those in worse conditions. The decision was made to have air force members by-pass emergency shelters and instead find alternative living accommodations, like family, friends, or even hotels.

The telephone intake center at SC Legal Service in Columbia. On average, the law firm receives 25,000 calls a a year from low-income residents in need of legal assistance.
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

Months after the historic 2015 flood, Rhonda Simpkins turned on her furnace and watched green mold cover her home. Denials from FEMA, SBA and her homeowner's insurance led her to South Carolina Legal Services. The nonprofit law firm was able to help Simpkins and others. Now, potential budget cuts in Washington has the firm concerned the work it provides, to help the state's most vulnerable residents recover from disasters and navigate the legal system, could also be cut.

Two major bills advanced this week in the S.C. General Assembly.

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