South Carolina Focus

SC Focus is a regular feature of South Carolina Public Radio.  As its name suggests, the segment focuses on the Palmetto State and its people.  It covers a wide variety of subjects, from South Carolina's war veterans to scientists, musicians and other topics, both serious and whimsical.  SC Focus can be heard at various times throughout the week during our news program on all South Carolina Public Radio stations.

Ways to Connect

Harvey Teal of Columbia is one of about 300 bottle collectors in South Carolina.  It’s a hobby that’s centuries old, and some bottles can be very valuable, as well as being pleasing to the eye and revealing part of the history of the times they were made in.   Teal tells us about the rare bottles from the South Carolina Dispensary, the state monopoly on liquor set up by Gov. Ben Tillman in 1892, and about some of the unusual places and lengths collectors can go to, to discover these relics of cultures past.

Supermoon Lunar Eclipse on Sunday

Sep 25, 2015

  On Sunday, September 27, a total lunar eclipse will be visible in South Carolina’s night sky. Beginning at around 9 pm and peaking just before 11 pm, the eclipse is a rare Supermoon Eclipse. South Carolina Public Radio’s Laura Hunsberger sat down with Matthew Whitehouse, Observatory Manager for the SC State Museum, to talk about what makes this eclipse so special. For more information visit scmuseum.org.


Preventing Suicide

Sep 24, 2015

  South Carolina ranks 26th among the states in the number of suicides. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention works to lower the rate of suicide. One way it raises awareness is the Out of the Darkness walks, a series of which will take place around the state in October and November. In this South Carolina Focus report, AFSP representatives Helen Pridgen and Dennis Gillan, and suicidologist Dr. Ron Maris, offer information on suicide’s causes, and prevention.


  Wild hogs have been a problem for farmers and others for decades in South Carolina and most other states. The damage they cause nationally to crops, landscaping, competing wildlife and natural resources amounts to $1.5 billion a year, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. South Carolina farmer Donnie Wakefield tells us how increasing herds, or sounders, of wild pigs cause $30-50,000 in damage annually to his operation, and USDA representative Noel Myers explains why the numbers of these invasive creatures are growing.


"America After Charleston" host Gwen Ifill
Michael O'Bryon

It’s been three months since a lone white gunman killed nine worshipers at a Bible study at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church. Tonight (9/21) at 9 p.m., PBS and ETV will air “America After Charleston,” a town hall meeting taped this past Saturday at Charleston’s Circular Congregational Church. Moderator Gwen Ifill, co-anchor of PBS News Hour, and two of the town hall’s panelists, NAACP President Cornell Brooks and S.C. State Rep. Jenny Horne, offer thoughts on the discussion and the importance of coming together to listen to others.


Football players in action
File

  Among the familiar sounds of football season, along with referee’s whistles and marching bands, is the voice of the play-by-play announcer, broadcasting all the action for audiences of fans. Though Mike Legg is only in his second year with The Citadel, he’s a 15-year veteran of calling sports events. Jimmie Coggins has been behind the microphone for Newberry College since 1982. Both men are hard-core sports followers, and they talk about what makes a good play-by-play man, and share some memorable moments calling games.


  In the past year, 38 sick or injured sea turtles have been rescued and rehabilitated at the sea turtle hospital operated by the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston, the only such facility in the state. In this SC Focus, we follow Turtle Rescue Program Director Kelly Thorvalson on a tour of the facility and learn from her and public relations manager Kate Ditloff about the planned expansion of this facility, which is in need of more space to handle the increasing number of injured sea turtles being brought to the hospital. The facility has an excellent record of healing injured turtles, but the iconic reptiles still face many problems in a changing environment.


    

  More than $2 million is lost to fraud in South Carolina every year, says Juliana Harris of the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs. The department tracks scams in the state, and receives 3,000 to 4,000 reports of these crimes each year. Harris lists some of the more common scams, how consumers can spot them, and how people can avoid being taken in by scammers.


In this edition of SC Focus, Russ McKinney takes a look at the state’s newest economic engine, the S.C. Inland Port.

Race car driver
Parker Anderson

  For more than half a century, one of NASCAR’s greatest races, the Southern 500, was held on Labor Day weekend. In 2003 the race was moved, and for the next dozen years was held on various days from March to November. NASCAR fans are now celebrating the return of the Bojangles Southern 500 to its traditional home slot, as this year’s race will be held once again on the weekend before Labor Day. Some of those happy about the return include Gov. Nikki Haley, NASCAR drivers Ryan Blaney and Kevin Harvick (the defending Southern 500 champion) and super fan William McElveen.

  

Larry Doby, 1953
Bowman Gum [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  Camden native Larry Doby was the first African American to play Major League Baseball in the American League, joining the Cleveland Indians on July 5, 1947, just 11 weeks after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the National League with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Indians recently honored Doby with a statue outside Progressive Stadium in Cleveland. Camden is justifiably proud of Doby – who was the first black player on a World Series Championship team – as is evidenced by the comments of Camden Archives and Museum Director Catherine Richardson and Tom Didato, sports editor with the Camden Chronicle Independent.


USS Hornet (CV-8) with USS Gwin (DD-433) during Doolittle Raid 1942.
USAF

  In 1945, the Japanese surrendered to end World War II on Sept. 2, officially observed as V-J Day in the United States. But few people realize that the road to victory began with America’s first victory – at least, psychologically – over Japan: the Doolittle Raid, in which 16 B-25 bombers launched from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Hornet bombed Tokyo in the first strike back at Japan after Pearl Harbor. James Scott, author of the new book “Target Tokyo,” talks about the raid, its affect both on America’s morale and Japan’s sense of invincibility, and how South Carolina played a part in this historic event: the raiders were first assembled and volunteered for this dangerous and daring mission in Columbia.


Drink Small
musicmaker.org

  He was born in Bishopville but has resided in Columbia since 1955, entertaining thousands of audiences with his mix of humor and blues (and more) music. He’s one of a kind. He’s Drink Small, the “Blues Doctor.” The uniqueness that has made him a state treasure has now gone national. After six decades, numerous albums and travels around the country and the world, the National Endowment of the Arts has named Small a National Heritage Fellow, its most prestigious award in the folk arts. At a celebration in Small’s honor by the City of Columbia and the S.C. Arts Commission, we hear the Blues Doctor rouse an admiring and appreciative crowd with his music and the humorous sayings he calls “Drink-isms.”


  The number of women’s colleges has declined severely over the past 50 years, from 230 to 45. A variety of causes is blamed, from more acceptance at coed colleges to some being located in small, remote towns. Beth Dinndorf, president of Columbia College, tells how her school has defied the trend and talks about how women’s colleges can compete and stay relevant in the 21st century. Columbia College student Laura Mauer tells us that she doesn’t miss the distractions of men on campus and lists some of the advantages that she sees in women’s colleges.


A coyote
ForestWander.com

  Wildlife does not recognize borders, and so in 1978, a non-native species, welcomed or not, moved into the Palmetto State – the coyote. It has not only caused problems for hunters ( where it has affected the deer population) and livestock farmers (where it preys on cattle, goats and more), but also has moved into cities, causing concerns among people not used to seeing these wild predators. Jay Butfiloski of the S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources gives advice about how to deal with these furry beasts, whether it’s trapping or hunting in rural areas, or making urban settings less hospitable for them.


  It’s National Farmer’s Market Week, and BetterDoctor.com, an online consumer health site, has named the South Carolina state Farmer’s Market the number 5 community-oriented farmer’s market in the nation. We talk with market Manager Brad Boozer and vendor Jason McCarter about what makes the market a top 5 market, and how it attracts wholesalers from as far away as New York to the Midlands of South Carolina to buy produce.


SC Drought Status

Jul 29, 2015

Russ Mckinney discusses how this summer's heat has effected the drought status in all counties of South Carolina.

Russ McKinney
South Carolina Public Radio

Russ McKinney takes a look at the end of an era in South Carolina with the abolition of the S. C. State Budget and Control Board.


  As thousands watched, the Confederate battle flag was lowered from beside the Confederate soldier monument on the State House grounds for the last time Friday, July 10. It was presented to the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, where it eventually will be exhibited. Relic Room Director Allen Roberson talks about the flag and the museum’s intentions to exhibit it appropriately after a thoughtful plan is formed.


  [Broadcast Friday, July 10, 2015] - This is breaking news coverage from South Carolina ETV Radio—South Carolina Public Radio: the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the State House. I’m Beryl Dakers with historian Dr. Walter Edgar. Yesterday afternoon, Gov. Nikki Haley signed into law a bill approved by the legislature to remove this symbol from a memorial to the Confederate dead and place it in the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum. Final passage of the bill came early Thursday morning.

Listen to archived report:


The Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the South Carolina State House, July 9, 2015.
Jim Covington

  In an historic move, the South Carolina House of Representatives early Thursday morning followed the Senate’s vote with its own vote to take down the Confederate battle flag from the State House grounds. Several dozen people braved the noonday sun of the capital grounds Thursday to take pictures, be witnesses to history and soak up the atmosphere in anticipation of the flag’s removal. A number of them reflected on the flag and its meaning, and gave their opinions of the historic event.


  One of the most iconic marketing images in American history is the classic Coca Cola bottle. The familiar design turns 100 years old this year. But most folks don’t know that that familiarity was helped along by the millions of these bottles that were made in Laurens, S.C.


  People from all walks of life lined up for hours on Friday, June 26 for the funeral of state Sen. Clementa Pinckney. The senator also was the beloved pastor of Charleston’s historic Emanuel AME Church, where the shooting of nine people at a Bible study the week before shocked the nation. Among those in the line was SCETV President and CEO Linda O’Bryon, who met and interviewed the Rev. Dr. Bill McGill, pastor of Imani Baptist Temple in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as they stood waiting to be admitted to the arena where the funeral was held. McGill shared his thoughts on the occasion, and why he felt its importance compelled him to make the long journey to be in attendance.


  This podcast is part five of recorded coverage of the funeral of South Carolina Senator Clementa Pinckney, June 26, 2015. Sen. Pinckney was pastor of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. He and eight members of his congregation were fatally shot along in a mass killing during evening bible study on Wednesday, June 17, 2015.

The funeral was broadcast live from the TD Arena at the College of Charleston, anchored by ETV's Beryl Dakers with Dr. Walter Edgar, professor emeritus of Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina, and ETV Radio's Russ McKinney. President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy.


  This podcast is part four of recorded coverage of the funeral of South Carolina Senator Clementa Pinckney, June 26, 2015. Sen. Pinckney was pastor of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. He and eight members of his congregation were fatally shot along in a mass killing during evening bible study on Wednesday, June 17, 2015. 

The funeral was broadcast live from the TD Arena at the College of Charleston, anchored by ETV's Beryl Dakers with Dr. Walter Edgar, professor emeritus of Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina, and ETV Radio's Russ McKinney. President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy.


   This is podcast is part three of recorded coverage of the funeral of South Carolina Senator Clementa Pinckney, June 26, 2015. Sen. Pinckney was pastor of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. He and eight members of his congregation were fatally shot along in a mass killing during evening bible study on Wednesday, June 17, 2015.

The funeral was broadcast live from the TD Arena at the College of Charleston, anchored by ETV's Beryl Dakers with Dr. Walter Edgar, professor emeritus of Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina, and ETV Radio's Russ McKinney. President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy.


This is podcast is part two of recorded coverage of the funeral of South Carolina Senator Clementa Pinckney, June 26, 2015. Sen. Pinckney was pastor of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. He and eight members of his congregation were fatally shot along in a mass killing during evening bible study on Wednesday, June 17, 2015.

The funeral was broadcast live from the TD Arena at the College of Charleston, anchored by ETV's Beryl Dakers with Dr. Walter Edgar, professor emeritus of Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina, and ETV Radio's Russ McKinney. President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy.


  This is podcast is part two of recorded coverage of the funeral of South Carolina Senator Clementa Pinckney, June 26, 2015. Sen. Pinckney was pastor of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. He and eight members of his congregation were fatally shot along in a mass killing during evening bible study on Wednesday, June 17, 2015.

The funeral was broadcast live from the TD Arena at the College of Charleston, anchored by ETV's Beryl Dakers with Dr. Walter Edgar, professor emeritus of Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina, and ETV Radio's Russ McKinney. President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy.


  If there’s one food South Carolinians love, it’s barbecue.  Just in time for July 4 cookouts, we talk with Lake High, barbecue historian and co-founder of the South Carolina Barbecue Association, about the origins of barbecue, the variety of barbecue sauce types enjoyed in South Carolina (more than in any other state), and why, at the growing number of barbecue competitions statewide, South Carolina barbecue judges are the best in the nation.


  As the funeral services begin for the victims of the tragic slayings at Charleston’s historic Emanuel AME Church, remembrances by their friends and loved ones continue. Perhaps most noted was State Senator Clementa Pinckney, who was also pastor of Emanuel AME. As his influence was being felt across the globe, a group of his colleagues gathered to tell stories and share memories of the beloved minister and public servant.


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