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As times and technology evolve, so does crime.  Members of the Midlands Gang Task Force, a union of specialists from the Richland and Lexington County Sheriff’s Offices, the Columbia, Cayce and West Columbia Police Departments and more, see the methods of area gangs change from drug and violent crime, increasingly to white collar crimes such as tax and insurance fraud and identity theft.

Controversial bills dealing with concealed weapons and the legal processes surrounding controversial development projects are advancing in the S.C. General Assembly.

International Non-Profit Lends a Hand Close to Home

Feb 16, 2017
A tap stand being set up in Columbia.
Jennie Reeb/Water Mission

Water Mission is a non-profit based in Charleston focused on helping developing nations restore access to clean water, particularly following natural disasters. The group has projects around the world including Peru, Indonesia, and Kenya. In 2015, they used their purifying technology to help a city closer to home: Columbia. Cooper McKim has the story.

Mopeds at Hawg Scooters, Rosewood Drive, Columbia. 2.	More South Carolinians are riding mopeds, and there are numerous reasons why.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

On any day in any college town across the state a multitude of students can be seen negotiating the streets on mopeds. But they are by no means the only riders. The use of these low-power scooters is exploding across South Carolina, and the nation. Today we talk with two dealers who explain the phenomenon, as well as a rider who tells of the advantages he gets from his moped.

More and more, boxes and crates of fresh produce leaving the Palmetto State for stores and markets in other states are bearing an increasingly familiar sticker: "Certified South Carolina Grown." Ansley Turnblad, branding coordinator for the S.C. Dept. of Agriculture, says the brand encourages people to look for, ask for and buy South Carolina produce.

S.C. Medical Universities Teach Telehealth to Students

Feb 16, 2017
Students examining telehealth equipment at MUSC.
Taylor Crouch

Faced with a changing healthcare landscape, medical schools across the state are implementing telehealth education to their curriculum. The American Medical Association supports telehealth training for future medical professionals, and encourages the adoption of innovative programs that may improve the way care is delivered to communities across the country.​

Union holds rally ahead of Boeing vote

Feb 14, 2017
Photo Courtesy of The Boeing Company

The International Association of Machinists union is in the final stretch of its campaign for workers to organize at Boeing. Monday afternoon workers and union supporters gathered at a North Charleston hotel two days ahead of the vote.

38-year-old quality inspector at Boeing Lawrence Lynch is optimistic about a union win. 

“There are numerous things that are wrong that workers at Boeing have asked the leadership to change or look into and sometimes they blatantly just ignore everything.” said Lynch. “That is the reason I am voting yes for the union,”

Tele-Stroke Expands Stroke Treatment in South Carolina

Feb 10, 2017
Brain scan of stroke patient.
Taylor Crouch

When it comes to stroke treatment, “time is brain.” Emergency departments across South Carolina are adopting tele-stroke as an important component of patient’s stroke care by helping emergency teams to rapidly evaluate and treat stroke patients.  

Gavin Jackson/SCETV

Governor Henry McMaster says he will support a gas-tax funded roads bill only "as a last resort," and the General Assembly advances legislation to fix the state's ailing pension system.

Food tourists get good food and a history lesson during a food tour on Columbia's Main Street.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

While most folks know that tourism is one of South Carolina’s top industries, many do not know that food tourism is a growing phenomenon around the state.

Visualizations by Ernie Wright / NASA/GSFC

It may be winter now, but big plans are being made for this summer, when portions of South Carolina will see something that hasn’t occurred here in nearly a century: a total solar eclipse.  NASA has estimated nearly one million people will come to the Palmetto State to view this exciting phenomenon.  Midlands tourism spokesperson Kelly Barbery says Columbia is well positioned to get the longest exposure to the eclipse – just over two and a half minutes – and as the third largest city in America in the eclipse’s path, it is preparing activities for the many visitors it expects. 

State House Rally Draws Passion and Skepticism

Feb 3, 2017
View of the statehouse rally
Thomas Hammond

As rush hour arrives in downtown Columbia, cars honk in response to protesters filling the sidewalks with their signs at the ready: We are All Immigrants, Humanity has No Borders, and Spread the Love. Protesters are here in response to President Trump's recent ban on refugees and travel restrictions on seven predominantly Muslim countries. Cooper McKim reports the protest drew passion as well as skepticism.

More dire warnings on the status of S.C. roads and highways as the General Assembly begins considering road funding measures again this session.

The Mufuta family arrived in Charleston one week ago, less than 24 hours before the temporary refugee ban. From left to right: 30-year-old Bakemayi Mufuta, 3-year-old Georgina Mufuta, 6-year-old Promise Mufuta, and 23-year-old Rose Mufuta.
Vanessa Gongora

Hayat Qteifan is teaching Congolese refugee Rose Mufuta how to bake in her new North Charleston apartment.

“So you want to fill it up about two thirds of the way so that is has enough room to rise,” Qteifan said.  

Mufuta who arrived in the United States one week ago, wants to be a baker. This is the first time she is using an oven to make cupcakes. The women are using a spoon to put vanilla batter into a tin.

By the Numbers: Table shows progress of the state's 2015 flood recovery program to date
SCDRO

As of January 31, the South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office has awarded 44 award letters to households with damage from the 2015 rain event and flood. To date, the office has allocated a little over $1.4 million of its nearly $97 million of disaster recovery funds.

Households in Florence, Georgetown, Sumter, Williamsburg, Berkeley, Clarendon and Orangeburg counties now have information letting them know they have been accepted into the states disaster recovery program.

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin: State of City is Strong

Feb 1, 2017
During his State of the City Address, Tuesday, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin used the Virtual Inter-Columbia Intelligence (technology acquired from the Department of Defense surplus program) to highlight the city's strengths.
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

During his annual city address, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said the state of the city is strong. Using technology acquired from the Defense Department's Surplus program, Mayor Benjamin highlighted the city's 3.8% unemployment, the creation of nearly 10,000 jobs within the past year and progress in continuing recovery efforts following the 2015 flood.

One SC Fund Announces Phase Five of Grant Awards

Jan 31, 2017
In October 2016, Bank of America Employees volunteered with United Way of Midlands, Central South Carolina Habitat for Humanity and Home Works of America to repair siding on a flood-damaged home in Columbia.
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

Eight nonprofit organizations will receive $380,000 to continue recovery work for damages caused by the 2015 flood as well as Hurricane Matthew. Grant money will help organizations purchase building materials, do general rebuild work, mold remediation and supply home furnishings. South Carolina Public Radio spoke with Jim Powell, Director of Development for Home Works of America, and learned how this round of funding will allow the organization to continue to help the most vulnerable in the Charleston area.

South Carolina Burn Center Reaches Distant Patients Through Telemedicine

Jan 31, 2017
Pediatric burn physicians consulting remotely with patient through telemedicine cart.
Taylor Crouch

Even though burns are a leading pediatric injury in South Carolina, there is only one burn center in the state. At the Medical University of South Carolina they see patients from all parts of the state. Most recently, some of the patients do not have to travel as far, as the hospital has been expanding the use of remote consultations using telemedicine.

Dr. Nori Warren loves caring for pets at 4 Paws Animal Clinic. Forced to relocate by the historic flood of 2015, she hopes to return to a new building near the original clinic later this year.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

After the historic flood of October 2015 destroyed the 4 Paws Animal Clinic in the Columbia suburb of Forest Acres, a friend came to the rescue with a temporary site for the business.  Dr. Nori Warren and her husband, Will, immediately began planning to a return to their original building, which was still structurally sound. 

Edisto Beach Begins Project to Replenish Sand

Jan 31, 2017
Alexandra Olgin\South Carolina Public Radio

Bulldozers on Edisto beach move and shape sand that is being pumped onto beach. The dark watery mixture is spewing out of a series of connected metal pipes that go more than a mile out in the Atlantic Ocean. Those pipes lead to a dredge – the large machine stirring up the sand on the bottom of the ocean Thomas Payne, with Marinex Construction explains.

Payne is managing part of the beach renourishment project. He says the man operating the dredge will start by pumping water through the pipes.

Gov. Henry McMaster with his wife Peggy, and son Henry is sworn into office by S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty at the Statehouse on Tuesday, January 24, 2017.
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

Henry McMaster becomes Governor of South Carolina, and the State Senate elevates Sen. Kevin Bryant to the post of Lieutenant Governor.

SC residents from Darlington, Dillon, Florence and Marion Counties attend Team SC PeeDee Day in October 2016 to get information about disaster recovery following Hurricane Matthew.
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

In three months, the South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office (SCDRO) will close its mobile and fixed intake centers. To date, SCDRO has taken over 2,000 cases of people who still have unmet needs following the 2015 flood. South Carolina Public Radio learns, as this deadline draws near, the intake process for a program to help Hurricane Matthew victims is also approaching.

Haley to the U.N., McMaster to the Governor's Mansion

Jan 24, 2017
Lt. Governor Henry McMaster places his hand on the Bible as Chief Justice Don Beatty swears him in to be the 117th governor of South Carolina.
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

Shortly after 6pm Tuesday  the United State Senate voted to confirm Governor Nikki Haley as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. The Senate voted 96 to 4 to confirm Haley despite her inexperience on the international stage.

Upon confirmation Haley officially resigned from the governorship, which she has held since 2011, and Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster assumed the role. She leaves with two years left in her second term. McMaster was sworn in by Chief Justice Don Beatty to be the 117th governor of South Carolina.

Recovery for Some South Carolina Farmers from 2015 Flood Is On-Going

Jan 24, 2017
Joe Jones tends his sheep, turkeys and chickens on his Blythewood farm.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Some farmers are just beginning to shake off the effects of the historic flood of October 2015, though others will take longer to come back.  One of those recovering is Eric McClam of City Roots, an urban farm in Columbia.  Because the farm is divided into two locations, one plot  was able to escape heavy damages and continue operating to help lift up the damaged second property. 

Home-monitoring keeping some High-risk Patients out of the Hospital

Jan 24, 2017
Home health nurse watching over patient as she sends vitals in to be analyzed.
Taylor Crouch

A home-monitoring program is allowing high-risk patients stay out of the hospital. With telehealth, patients submit vital signs to their doctor, in the comfort of their own home. Through daily measurements the doctors monitor any sudden changes, while patients adopt healthy habits to last a lifetime.

Vanessa Torres gets the active participation of her Spanish students at Nursery Road Elementary School.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Vanessa Torres is a passionate advocate for teaching foreign language to elementary school children.  She says research proves that early education in foreign languages improves deductive reasoning skills, memory, self esteem and more.  Her enthusiasm in the Spanish classes she teaches is contagious, says her principal, Love Ligons.  And her fellow teachers and students’ parents are not the only ones who have noticed. 

Irmo Resident Karen Elliot cuts a ribbon to welcome neighbors, rebuild volunteers and friends into her repaired home.
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

In the span of 24 hours, two survivors of the 2015 flood celebrated rebuild milestones. Both residents entered the United Way of the Midlands 2-1-1 disaster case management intake system and both were contacted by rebuild organizations. 15 months after the flood, returning home has become a reality.

When Karen Albert cut the the ceremonial ribbon to mark the completion of repairs to her flood-damaged home, she acknowledged the possible sever between her and the volunteers with Reach Global Crisis Response.

S.C. Governor Nikki Haley is a step closer to being confirmed as the next United Nations Ambassador, and the State Supreme Court weighs in on the matter of the state's next Lieutenant Governor.

Archived video of Nikki Haley's confirmation hearing.

South Carolina's Third Constitution, Ratified in 1790
Josh Floyd

South Carolina's original constitutions are breaking down. The several hundred-year-old parchments are tattered with frayed edges, browning corners, and stiff pages. In an effort to save the documents, archivists are seeking to preserve them permanently. For now, the documents lay unseen in a temperature-controlled room. 

"Everything in here is 60 degrees, less than 50% relative humidity," says Eric Emerson, Director of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, it is estimated that radon is responsible for more than 21,000 lung cancer-related deaths. As part of Radon Action Month, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) is providing free kits for residents to test their homes for the invisible, odorless, tasteless gas.

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