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Emily Hughes cuddles with one of the  two-to-three dozen friendly felines to be found at the cat cafe in West Columbia.  She finds hanging out with the animals a stress reliever when she can't get home to Eastover to see her own pets.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Cats are beloved pets by millions, but many people can’t have them because they live where pets aren’t allowed or are subject to other restrictions. However, over the last decade,  a national phenomenon has sprung up to help cat-less cat lovers get their feline fixes: the cat café.  Andres Ortega has opened a cat café in West Columbia, and there are similar cafes in Greenville and Charleston. 

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. 

House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, and House members slamming state Senators for what they see as a lack of Senate action on the V.C. Summer Nuclear debacle. Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

Half way through the 2018 session of the S.C General Assembly, members of the House and Senate are at odds concerning the V.C. Summer Nuclear project, and the Senate has passed a bill re-instating the use of the 'electric chair' for death sentences.

Meteorologist John Quagliariello of the National Weather Service encouraged preparedness for tornadoes, floods and other severe weather at a press conference on Tuesday, March 6, 2018.
Olivia Aldridge/SC Public Radio

According to an official proclamation from Governor Henry McMaster, this week is Severe Weather and Flood Safety Awareness Week in South Carolina. It’s an occasion intended to encourage South Carolinians to prepare for potential severe weather scenarios.  

Charleston Chief Resilience Officer Mark Wilbert at the Battery.
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

Mark Wilbert has been the man the city of Charleston has turned to in case of emergencies.  He helped people prepare for Hurricanes Matthew and Irma.   He was there after 9 parishioners at Mother Emanuel were killed.   Last August, he planned for a crowd of thousands in town for the solar eclipse.  Now the former city Emergency Management Director has a new job.  He's Charleston's first ever Chief Resilience officer.

A three-left cluster is an easy way to spot poison ivy.  Naturalist Rudy Mancke said other plants have three-leaf clusters as well, but if you encounter such a plant, the wisest course is to leave it alone.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Poison ivy is a common plant in South Carolina that can make people miserable for weeks.  Naturalist Rudy Mancke said the vine can both grow on the ground and can climb trees, which it likes to do.  The itch and rash poison ivy (and its cousins, poison oak and the rarer poison sumac) produces can last for two to four weeks, according to University of South Carolina allergist Dr. David Amrol.  He says it sometimes can be tricky to detect the rash’s source, because it doesn’t show up for at least 12 hours, and sometimes four or five days. 

SC Lede: Senate's Nuclear Slow Walk

Mar 6, 2018
Gavin Jackson speaks with Post and Courier reporter Andy Brown on Monday, March 5 2018.
A.T. Shire/SC Public Radio

Leadership in the South Carolina House of Representatives has accused the state Senate of slow-walking a number of bills concerning the failed V.C. Summer nuclear reactor project.

On this edition of South Carolina Lede host Gavin Jackson speaks with Andy Brown, statehouse reporter for The Post and Courier, about potential differences in approach between the two houses when it comes to this legislation.

The horn section of the band at Lee Correctional Institution.  Musicians work on original songs to perform with members of DeCoda, a New York-based chamber music group.   The annual week of collaboration is something new for everyone involved.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville counts numerous musicians among its inmates.  Such is their talent that they have attracted the attention of DeCoda, a New York-based chamber music group.  For four years now, the prison has sponsored a program with the group in which DeCoda comes to work with the prisoners at Lee for a week to write and play music for an annual performance.  

State House Week
SC Public Radio

Gun safety advocates were out in force at the Statehouse this week, and leaders of the House of Representatives express frustration with the State Senate over the V.C. Summer Nuclear issue.

USC's Maxcy College is home to students of many nations.  The International House builds lifelong bridges of friendship and understanding, and prepares many American and foreign students for international careers.
Photo courtesy International House, University of S.C.

The halls of the University of South Carolina’s Maxcy College reflect the voices not only of many students, but of many languages.  Maxcy houses the University’s International House, a living-learning experience for approximately 200 American and international students.  The students derive many benefits from life in International House, from culinary and cultural events to speakers and grant and research opportunities.  Faculty principle Dr.

The inside of David Jones' practice balls are ribbed to give them strength.  The two halves are fused together by friction.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

David Jones and his son Brantley are baseball fans.  Brantley played as a youngster, and was so enthusiastic about batting practice that his older brother, who didn’t like the game, was forced by circumstance to invent a pitching machine so he wouldn’t have to pitch to his brother for hours every day.  That machine, created as a school science project when he was only 11, and Brantley just 9, became the foundation for a business. 

Massive, Seldom-Staged Bernstein Work Comes to SC

Feb 27, 2018

With musical influences as diverse as jazz, Broadway, rock, and the liturgy of the Catholic Church, Leonard Bernstein’s MASS: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers is a work that demands versatility from its scores of performers. The range of music genres in Mass, along with the difficulties of coordinating the variety of performing groups for which it calls, make staging the work a seldom-pursued challenge.

Former Slave Honored at James Island's Pinckney Park

Feb 27, 2018
Friends and family unveil marker honoring Simeon Pinckney on James Island.
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

James Island's Pinckney Park, with its colorful playground, iconic oak tree  and tire swing, is less than a  year old.  But its history goes back 150 years.  That's when a former slave bought the property just outside of Charleston.   It's still  thick with palms and pines that back up to a tributary of Parrot Creek.  His  name was Simeon Pinckney. 

"Most of the stories  that my mother told of him was him straightening someone out for not doing the right thing," said Jerome Harris.  He is the great- great grandson of Simeon Pinckney. 

SC Lede: Gun Reform Gridlock

Feb 27, 2018
Gavin Jackson with Jamie Lovegrove and Joseph Cranney
A.T. Shire/SC Public Radio

On this edition of South Carolina Lede, host Gavin Jackson is joined by Post and Courier statehouse reporters Jamie Lovegrove and Joseph Cranney to discuss the variety of gun-related legislative proposals currently before state lawmakers.

State House Week
SC Public Radio

A major anti-abortion bill is headed for debate in the Senate, and work is underway on next year's almost nine-billion-dollar state budget.

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. 

Hurricane Katrina, August 28, 2005.
NOAA

Back in January, a diverse group of Midlands community members congregated at the United Way of the Midlands. Among the 20 or so assembled guests were lawyers, businesspeople, nonprofit staffers, and a vet. What they held in common was their shared action after a terrible natural disaster 12 years ago, when Hurricane Katrina battered the gulf coast.

White-hat hackers keep up with the latest tricks of cyber criminals to help them fight these "black hats" and protect the information of businesses.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Hacking, whether it’s into a bank, insurance company or an individual’s records, is a serious, and growing crime in the 21st century.  The damages inflicted by hackers in the United States alone can reach into the billions of dollars annually.

On this episode of South Carolina Lede, host Gavin Jackson is joined by reporters Andy Brown and Andy Shain of The Post and Courier to discuss the sentencing of former state Rep. Rick Quinn, Jr. (R-Lexington) to two years of probation as part of the ongoing the statehouse corruption investigation. Quinn also will have to complete 500 hours of community service and pay a $1,000 fine.

We also look at the latest news coming out of the state legislature regarding the V.C. Summer nuclear project and more!

Thomas Lawton Evans
Madison County Detention Center, Canton, MS

Charleston's top prosecutor confirms what many in the community have wanted to know.  Did the family of a little girl kidnaped have ties to the suspect or were they randomly targeted?

"To be crystal clear: there is NO CONNECTION between the victims in this matter and the alleged defendant," said 9th solicitor Scarlett Wilson late Friday in a Facebook post.  "They were randomly targeted."

Former Rep. Rick Quinn talking with news reporters at the Richland County Courthouse in Columbia, after his indictment in May, 2017.
Jim Covington/SCETV

More fallout from the ongoing Statehouse corruption probe, and the S.C. Senate moves to give state regulators more time to consider SCANA Corp and Dominion Energy's request to continue to charge ratepayers for the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project.

Modern chimney sweeps use high-tech equipment to keep chimneys and homes safe and clean.
Chimspector

Where the old image of the chimney sweep is a skinny guy with a big brush covered with grime and soot, the modern chimney sweep is much cleaner and uses high tech equipment in the 21st century, according to two Columbia sweeps.  There are about 30 chimney sweeps in the state, and they keep busy.   Sweep Drew Stein says dense plastic rods with brushes now are inserted into chimneys and spun with a drill to clean soot and creosote – a flammable byproduct of burning wood – from chimneys, which prevents dangerous chimney fires. 

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

State House Week
SC Public Radio

This week the issue of the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project moved from the State House of Representatives to the Senate, and a controversial bill prohibiting cities and counties from banning plastic bags being sold is passed by the  House.

Former Charleston City Mayor Joe Riley at the site of the planned International African American Museum.
The Citadel

There's no slowing down for Former Charleston City mayor Joe Riley.  The 75 year-old is as ambitious as ever, finalizing plans for the city's new International African American Museum.  He's even teaching a class about it this semester at his Alma Mater, The Citadel.

"I work hard on it every day," said Riley from his office on Broad Street.  He gazes out the window as he talks about a  past he says is rarely acknowledged.   "Across the street from me are historic buildings built during times of enslavement."

SC Lede: SCANA, Amtrak, and Bye Bye Trey Gowdy

Feb 6, 2018
Host Gavin Jackson with The Post & Courier's Jamie Lovegrove and Andy Brown.
A.T. Shire/SC Public Radio

On this edition of South Carolina Lede, host Gavin Jackson is joined by Post & Courier reporters Jamie Lovegrove and Andy Brown to discuss their story about a breakdown of trust between state lawmakers and SCANA Corp., the parent company of South Carolina Electric and Gas, over the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project.

Dr. Cleveland Sellers
sc.edu

On Feb 8, 1968, three South Carolina State College students were killed and 27 others were wounded by State Highway Patrolmen. Civil rights activist Cleveland Sellers and Journalist Jack Bass reflect on the events which many consider a stain on South Carolina's reputation that remains, five decades later. 

Gov. Henry McMaster holds a press conference about the Amtrack collision with a frieght train near Columbia, SC, Feb. 2, 2018.
Olivia Aldridge/SC Public Radio

Update:

Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher has released the names of the two persons killed in the collision. Amtrak engineer Michael Kempf, 54, of Savannah, GA, and Amtrak conductor, Michael Cella, 36, of Orange Park, FL, were both killed in the early morning collision. The coroner also said, "We do have some that are in critical condition but we're hoping to hear good news on those." Listen to the complete press conference below.

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The S.C. House voted 119-1 this week to pass a bill that would temporarily halt customers of SCE&G from paying for the abandoned VC Summer Nuclear Project.
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

The S.C. House this week passed what's expected to be the most important piece of legislation to be considered during the 2018  legislative session, a repeal of the 2007 Base Load Review Act.

Jeremy Cannon of Cannon Ag Products is one of many farmers who is still recovering from the flood of October 2015 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Olivia Aldridge/SC Public Radio

In September 2015, many farmers in South Carolina were looking forward to a promising harvest. The drought that began in 2014 had subsided in time for at least one crop to flourish remarkably well: by the time October rolled in, full, glistening fields of white cotton spread through rural South Carolina, just shy of ready for harvest. It seemed that farmers would see a rich reward for the stress of the long, dry months that preceded.

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