SC News

News from and about the Palmetto State.

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."

As Observatory Manager at the South Carolina State Museum, Dr. Matthew Whitehouse is keeping busy with a few preparations for the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21st—he has even written a piece of music inspired by the event. The astronomy educator is also an organist and composer, and doesn’t mind taking an interdisciplinary approach when it comes to celestial phenomena. In fact, merging seemingly separate fields is one of his major interests.

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.

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.

Doctor Eases burden for Frequent Patients, Uses Video for Follow-Ups

Mar 6, 2017
Dr. Markowitz connecting with family through video conferencing.
Taylor Crouch/SCETV

Patients seeking treatment for a rare digestive disorder called Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE) might have multiple tests and appointments per year. A pediatric gastroenterologist in Greenville has turned to video, for connecting to distant South Carolina patients, saving them a trip for follow-up appointments.

US Senator Graham speaking in Town Hall.
Cooper McKim/SC Public Radio

U-S Senator Lindsey Graham met a rambunctious crowd at a Clemson University auditorium on Saturday. The room overflowed with constituents from young children to elderly veterans. This is one of the few times since President Trump's election Graham has met with constituents in his home state.

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.

Tennis pro and Charleston native Shelby Rogers keeps up her practice on a recent visit home.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Charleston native Shelby Rogers has risen through the ranks in women’s tennis over the last few years, currently ranking #48.  She started off the year in grand style, defeating the world’s number 4 player, Simona Halep, in the Australian Open.   As she looks forward to returning home to play the Volvo Car Open on Daniel Island this month, she took the time to reflect on the beginnings of her career, her practice routine, and the price she’s paid to be a professional athlete.  

Mullins Residents Face Flooding Two Years in a Row

Mar 1, 2017
Mullins resident Barbara Sellers stands in an apartment being renovated again after Hurricane Matthew flooded the area in October 2016.
Josh Floyd/SC Public Radio

About a year ago, I met Barbara Sellers, a resident of the Genesis II apartment complex in Mullins, SC. Genesis II is a community for low-income seniors, subsidized the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In November of 2015, while the area was still saturated from October’s floods, a severe storm inundated Barbara’s home. Barbara and her neighbors were evacuated by boat, and their apartments had to be completely renovated.

A volunteer's transport van bears the slogan MAMAS on the Move.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Many stray dogs from South Carolina are finding homes in other states thanks to Bamberg’s Mary Ann Morris Animal Society, also known as MAMAS.  The no-kill animal shelter has developed a transport system that shuttles dogs to willing owners by way of a “pipeline” of volunteers that relay the animals from North Carolina to Maine and Vermont.  The dedicated volunteers talk about their devotion to saving these pets for new owners who are excited to give them loving homes, and keep in touch with MAMAS to update staff on the lives of dogs they’ve rescued. 

Rainfall from Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 flooded the street and homes in the Pepperhill neighborhood.
Alexandra Olgin/SC Public Radio

Amy Knoch recently moved back into her house. When I visited, she was weaving through a maze of Rubbermaid bins that were stacked in her living room. .

Knoch lifted the lid of one box full of office supplies and the next her child’s toys.

“It’s like an organized version of a hoarder’s house,” she said. “Everything is in bins based on what room it came out of but you have pathways between all of the rooms.”  

She and her family lived in an apartment for three months after flooding from Hurricane Matthew damaged her home.  

The South Carolina House of Representatives Chamber.
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

Two key bills are up for debate next week at the State House: road funding and the state pension system.

Jaime Harrison
Provided by Jaime Harrison

UPDATE, 2/23/17, 2:30 pm:

The Associated Press is reporting that SC Democratic Party Chair, Jaime Harrison, has withdrawn from the race for chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

kerttu/pixabay

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.

Game Offers Unique Therapy for Stroke Rehabilitation

Feb 21, 2017
Occupational Therapist Michelle Woodbury uses a game to enhance therapy sessions with stroke patients.
Taylor Crouch

In order to meet the needs of her patients, an occupational therapist at the Medical University of South Carolina teamed up with technical experts from Clemson to create tool to engage patients in the clinic and at home. Through a virtual therapy session, patients can play a game to meet their therapy goals, different than traditional care.

Travel, history, ghosts and more are among the many subjects of the USC Press' books
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

The Palmetto State has a prestigious name in the world of publishing: the University of South Carolina Press. Because it’s a non-profit, it can publish scholarly books on important subjects that would not make a profit for commercial publishers, according to Suzanne Axland. But that doesn’t mean the press doesn’t publish for the general interest. It prints a wide variety of books on art, history, Southern culture, beautiful photography and more, even novels, says Axland.

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.

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.

Solar Eclipse - November 13, 2012
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Follow/Flickr

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.

Pages