SC News

News from and about the Palmetto State.

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.

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.

Newscast: Sunday, 09-10-17, 10am

Sep 10, 2017

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey: "...if you've flooded before, you'll flood again."

Hoping for the Best, Preparing for the Worst

Sep 9, 2017
Governor Henry McMaster addressed the public in a press conference from South Carolina's Emergency Management Division at 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, 2017.
SCETV

Governor Henry McMaster addressed the public in a press conference from South Carolina’s Emergency Management Division at 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, 2017.

Governor McMaster expressed his pride in the way that Team South Carolina had worked diligently to devise a “grand plan” to ensure the safety of South Carolinians in preparation for Hurricane Irma.

“You plan your work, and you work your plan.” the Governor said.

Emergency Shelters Opening

Sep 9, 2017

Emergency shelters will be available for residents and visitors who are evacuating from southern coastal areas due to Hurricane Irma. Shelters are generally the place of last resort. Individuals and families are encouraged to have emergency plans in place. These plans should include relatives or friends with whom you can stay or locations to which you will travel.

In the event that you must use a shelter, please consider the following before arriving:

Friday Hurricane Irma Update Press Conference
www.scetv.org

Friday, Gov. Henry McMaster said the final decision to declare a mandatory evacuation has been delayed until after 5 PM, that’s when the Governor and other members of “Team South Carolina" will receive more information from the National Hurricane Center. McMaster said he hopes to make an announcement sometime after 6 PM, but stressed that residents should continue to prepare for mandatory evacuations to begin on Saturday at 10 AM as scheduled.

South Carolina Public Hotline Activated by SCEMD

Sep 8, 2017

Residents in South Carolina who have questions about Hurricane Irma can now call the state's toll-free hotline. Operators with the Public Information Phone System (PIPS) are available 24 hours a day for as long as is needed.

If you have questions about Hurricane Irma, such as about the state's response or safety precautions you should take, call this hotline:

S.C. Public Information Phone System
1-866-246-0133
  

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

The political firestorm surrounding the failed V-C Summer nuclear project intensified this week with the release of a private document containing the results of a critical audit of the management of the mammoth construction project.

Cary's Lake Dam in Richland County failed during the October 2015 rain event.
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

As the state prepares for possible impacts from Hurricane Irma, the department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is advising dam owners and operates to safely lower water levels.

In a statement Thursday, the agency warned that hurricane force winds can uproot trees. The loss of soil in that area can impact the structural integrity of a dam. It can provide a path for water from the pond to exit in an uncontrolled manner. Dam owners and operators should use functional gates or flashboards for additional storage for the anticipated rainfall…

Sept. 7 Hurricane Irma Update News Conference
www.scetv.org

South Carolina is planning for a category 4 storm to impact the state starting Saturday. During a press conference Thursday, Gov. McMaster said 800 SC National Guardsmen have been activated. Sunday, September 10th, 2500 Guardsmen will be on duty and by Tuesday, September 11th 5000 guardsmen will be on duty.

McMaster said as of 2pm Thursday, healthcare facilities along the coast in potential impact zones are ordered to evacuate. Those are facilities in the following counties: Jasper, Beaufort, Colleton, Dorchester, Berkeley, Horry, Charleston and Georgetown.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson implemented the state's law against price gouging Wednesday.
SCETV

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson implemented the state's law against price gouging Wednesday, following the governor’s state of emergency declaration ahead of Hurricane Irma.

"With the possibility that Hurricane Irma could make landfall in South Carolina, our people have already started making preparations," Wilson said in a statement. "We can expect normal price increases, but we may see businesses and individuals looking to unfairly take advantage of the situation through price gouging of food, gasoline, lodging, and other commodities, as defined by the statute."

It's dry now, but when it rains, people in this office building in Charleston's upper peninsula must walk this plank to avoid a sometimes six- inch "river" on the way to work.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

In 2014, the streets of Charleston were flooded on 11 days.  It increased to 38 days in 2015, and in 2016, it was 50 days.  The city is taking the threat of sea level rise seriously, says Chief Resilience Officer Mark Wilbert. 

More than $200 million has been spent on infrastructure, Wilbert says, and the city is planning a vulnerability analysis, which is needed because the tides already have risen a foot over the past century.   The increased flooding is easy for Cathryn Zommer to observe. 

A telltale red hourglass shape identifies the black widow spider, a native of South Carolina.
Shenrich91 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

People who leave their shoes on the porch to air out would do well to shake and inspect them before putting them back on, especially if left out overnight.  According to naturalists Rudy Mancke and Chick Gaddy, black widow spiders love to shelter there.   And even in the driest closets, attics or basements, brown recluses may lurk.  These are potentially deadly spiders that have rightly earned fearsome reputations.   

Gov. McMaster holds press conference about Hurricane Irma, Wednesday, Sep 6, 2017. McMaster declared a state of emergency for South Carolina.
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio.

Gov. Henry McMaster has declared a state of emergency in South Carolina to help prepare for a possible strike early next week from Hurricane Irma.

During a press conference Wednesday, McMaster stressed the declaration is a precaution and not an evacuation order. But he also urged residents to get ready for the possibility of Irma impacting the state.

"Pretend that a category three hurricane is arriving tomorrow morning, and do what you would do then, now."

Listen to the Complete Press Conference:

Georgetown Family Gets New Home Following 2015 Floods

Sep 6, 2017

The Bennett family is a tight knit group, but far from  small. There are 9 children, 6 women and 3 men.  Even those  who've  been around the family  long enough are considered kin.  All affectionately call 97 year-old Louise Chandler Bennett, "Momma" and are thankful for her new home.  Momma  just received the first so called, "stick built home" in the state,  following the 2015 floods.

Residents in Nichols, SC are rescued by boat after Hurricane Matthew in 2016
Courtesty of Nichols resident Courtney Wilds

The first 72 hours after a disaster are critical. The Federal Emergency Management Administration’s (FEMA) website reminds that electricity, gas, water and telephones may not be working and that public safety services such as police and fire departments may not be able to reach you immediately during a serious crisis.

The agency recommends individuals should be prepared to be self-sufficient (able to live without running water, electricity and/or gas, and telephones) for at least three days following a disaster.

This sign, erected by Clemson's Belle W. Baruch Institute, marks a plot that was originally a research environment for trees affected by Hurricane Hugo. In October 2016 the plot was affected by Hurricane Matthew as well.
Olivia Aldridge/SC Public Radio

The Hobcaw Barony in Georgetown, South Carolina is a rare place. Situated between the Winyah Bay estuary and the Atlantic Ocean, the property contains both freshwater habitats and salt marshes, interspersed with loblolly and longleaf pine forests. The variable ecosystems that Hobcaw supports make it the ideal site for university research centers such as Clemson University’s Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science.

Columbia Canal Rebuild Could Be Years Away

Aug 29, 2017
View of the Columbia Canal from Riverfront Park
Laura Hunsberger

During the 2015 floods, the Columbia Canal breached at the Congaree River. It took the National Guard and a team of engineers days to build a temporary dam and secure the city’s water supply. In the months that followed, the City of Columbia began considering how to rebuild the canal and make improvements, a process that is still ongoing.

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