SC Focus

News and features from South Carolina.

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There are more than 400 different license plate designs for autos in South Carolina.  They range from the standard "While I Breathe I Hope" tags to include colleges, veterans, Parrotheads and vanity plates like this one.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Most, if not all, states offer a variety of license tags for automobiles. South Carolina offers more than 400, many to support causes or organizations, from colleges to gold star families, or wildlife and habitats, from trees to turkeys and elk. Some are offered out of support and respect, such as veterans or POWs. Some are more whimsical features of South Carolina culture, like the shag dance, or even Parrotheads, the fanatical followers of Jimmy Buffett.

U.S. Air Force/Pascual Flores

For the past couple of months a group of state regulators, utility executives, representatives of the state’s fledgling solar energy industry, and environmentalists have been meeting in Columbia trying to come together on a new plan that could determine the future of residential solar energy use in the state.

Korean War Veterans Monument at Memorial Park in Columbia, SC
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

Over 100 soldiers from South Carolina are still missing and unaccounted for, from the Korean War. July 27 marks the 65th anniversary of the armistice that ended the war. The war started in June of 1950 and over the span of three years, more than 36,000 American soldiers were killed. Friday, remains believed to be of 55 US troops killed during the War, were returned to the United States by North Korea.

Clyde Gore, Jr. is director of the new legal clinic. He said the work done at the clinic can make a big change in the life of a veteran.
Clayton Sears/SC Public Radio

The Department of Veterans Affairs has identified legal services as one of the most significant unmet needs of homeless and poor veterans. The University of South Carolina's School of Law recently opened a free, veterans legal clinic to address this demand.

 

 

The clinic is located on the third floor of the law school, open from 9am to 5pm weekdays and follows the university's holiday schedule. Walk-ins are welcome, but director Clyde Gore, Jr. recommends making an appointment.

A four-year journey: Jake and Sherry Jaco inside the Olympia Mill school during the construction phase of the museum
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

Columbia has a rich history of being a cotton/textile mill town. The Olympia and Granby Mills are located just outside of the downtown area, next to the Congaree river. Like many places in Columbia, this historic area is growing. The Olympia-Granby Historical Foundation was created in 2014 to promote activities within the Olympia and Granby Mill Villages. Since then, the group has also worked  to bring new life to the building that served as the one-room, Olympia School. Foundation members Sherry and Jake Jaco talk about their four-year journey to preserve history.

The Future of Crab Bank; A Coastal Bird Sanctuary

Jul 24, 2018
The remnants of Crab Bank at the entrance of Mount Pleasant's Shem Creek
David Quick

Chris Crolley wears a long, grey, shirt only those who work in the sun instinctively know to wear.  His blue eyes reflect some of the button-up’s hue, as he looks out beneath his worn, woven hat with a small, winged pin.  He knows what makes tourists and locals alike go “ahhh”.  He’s been giving tours of Mount Pleasant’s Shem Creek for 30 years.

USC sleep specialist Dr. Antoinette Rutherford says there's a cure for everyone who snores - it's just a matter of finding the right method for each individual.
Nick Wilkes [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Snoring can ruin the sleep of millions of South Carolinians, and it doesn’t do the snorer any good, either.  Sleep expert Dr. Robert Puchalski says vibrations in the throat cause snoring, and by the passing of air through a tight space in the upper airway, in the way that wind instruments create sound.  At least half of people snore, according to USC sleep specialist Dr.

hoto from the University of South Carolina's Motion Image Research Collection.
Photo from the University of South Carolina's Motion Image Research Collection.

At the University of South Carolina, the Moving Image Research Collection has established a reputation as one of the top film archives in the country. Curator Greg Wilsbacher says Newsfilm Collections at USC has received some notable donations over the years—including footage from the United States Marine Corps. But it all started with a donation in 1980 from the Fox Corporation, containing countless hours of newsreels and outtakes from the turn of the 20th Century.

FBI Will Use Another Database For Gun Background Checks

Jul 17, 2018
FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is planning a major change to its gun background check system in an effort to keep  more weapons out of the wrong hands.   

Examiners will be given access to a large, previously untapped database of more than 400 million records as they determine when gun purchases can go through nationwide.  But for the survivors and victims’ families in a Charleston, South Carolina church massacre, the change did not come soon enough.

If a black cat crosses your path on Friday the 13th - or any other day - don't worry, says USC sociology professor Barry Markovsky. There is no truth to any superstitions about Friday the 13th, black cats or any other traditional "bad luck" myths.
Pauline Havard [CC0 1.0] via Pixabay

Of the various superstitions people are subject to, one only manifests itself up to three times a year: Friday the 13th.

These vats at Columbia microbrewery Hunter Gatherer yield locally crafted beer popular with Midlands beer connoisseurs.
Clay Sears/SC Public Radio

Small scale brewing operations like River Rat and Hunter Gatherer in Columbia are representative of the growing craft beer industry in South Carolina and nationwide. For this story we spoke with Kevin Varner, founder of Hunter Gatherer Brewing, about the laws he helped pass back in 1995 that gave brewers more freedom to run their operations. We also sat down with River Rat brewmaster Drew Walker, who talked about how brewers work to stay on top of such a rapidly changing industry.

Remembering Friendship Nine Member James Wells

Jul 10, 2018
Friendship Nine member James Wells
SCETV

57 years ago, nine young African-American students of Friendship Junior College in Rock Hill were arrested for attempting to desegregate the all-white lunch counter at the McCrory's variety store. One of those students was James Wells. He died Sunday, July 8th in his hometown of Rock Hill. The decision Wells and the other young protesters made, following their arrests, would help shape the civil rights movement throughout the South. 

Members of a mission team from Chapin United Methodist Church (Chapin UMC) expected to fly back to the United States Monday after being delayed in Haiti for two days because of protests, have safely made it to the airport in Port Au Prince. Jody Flowers is lead pastor of the Lexington County church. Monday morning he said they were cautiously optimistic about the news of the group leaving the country.

pngimg.com

Friday was a special day for lovers of the Southern diet: National Fried Chicken Day!

A Maersk Line container ship approaching the ravenel bridge in Charleston.
SC Ports Authority

  According to a recent analysis by the U.S Chamber of Commerce, South Carolina will be among the state’s hit hardest by the looming trade war, threatening the more than $30 Billion dollars in goods exported from the state each year.  The state exports cars, steel products, refrigerators, soybeans and many other goods putting it in the top three states in the country that relies on exports and imports.

According to the U. S. Chamber, almost 580,000  jobs in the state are tied to trade, and there are more than 6,000 companies operating here that export goods around the world.

President Trump at Airport High School
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

President Trump rallied with Gov. Henry McMaster at Airport High School in West Columbia. The 71-year old McMaster is competing with 39-year old Greenville businessman John Warren for the Republican nomination. Recent polls show the two candidates in a tight race.

Monday night storms delayed Airforce One from landing briefly. The President made his appearance just before 8PM; he referred to McMaster as a friend and joked that storms got so bad, pilots suggested turning around.

Danny Flores (left) and fellow Community Leadership Corps participants took part in training exercises with the Obama Foundation at the Richland Library earlier this month.
Olivia Aldridge/SC Public Radio

On Saturday, June 16, around 50 young adults, ages 18 to 25, gathered in the Richland Main Library in Columbia. All of them, in some capacity, were activists, hoping to gain the skills to influence change in their own communities with the training of the Obama Foundation as members of its newly minted Community Leadership Corps, or CLC.

Governor Henry McMaster and businessman John Warren (left) debating on June 21 at the Newberry Opera House.
SCETV

The two remaining Republican gubernatorial candidates faced off Wednesday, June 21 at the Newberry Opera House for a debate co-sponsored by SCETV and the Post and Courier. Governor Henry McMaster and businessman John Warren positioned themselves as the experienced politician and the political outsider throughout the night as the top vote earners from June 12’s primary sparred over healthcare, education and statehouse corruption.

The first annual Lizardman Festival and Comic Con was  held June 8-10 at the S.C. Cotton Museum in Bishopville.
Olivia Aldridge/SC Public Radio

The tale goes something like this: a young man gets a flat tire late one night in 1988 while driving near Scape Ore Swamp, and gets out of his car to change it. Then, from the shadows emerges a creature that’s green, wet, seven feet tall, with three fingers, red eyes and scales. As the young man scrambles to drive away, the creature viciously attacks his car.

Liberia, South Carolina - An African American Appalachian Community.
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

June is PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month.  The mental health problem can develop after a person has been exposed to one or more traumatic events. For members of the military, PTSD can develop because of combat and missions where soldiers were exposed to horrible and life-threatening experiences. According to the health clinic at the WJB Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia, 22,000 veterans are seen for mental services in general, many of them are referred for PTSD therapy.

The Satisfaction of Spoleto Posters; Behind the Scenes

Jun 2, 2018

Spoleto USA General Director Nigel Redden admits he's feeling a little frantic as he talks about the 2018 festival poster based on a painting by renowned British artist David Hockney.  Perhaps it’s because the work called “Hither Dither” evokes a frenetic feeling with its abstract blue figures darting up and down stairs in vibrant hues of yellow, red and turquoise.  Or maybe it’s because the Spoleto season is here, with its dancers, musicians, acrobats, singers and other artists dashing about the city.

Kids from Charleston's Meeting Street Academy go backstage for the Carlo Colla and Sons Marionette Company performance of the Pied Piper
Victoria Hansen

There's a melancholy to his voice and a sadness in his eyes, as the managing director of the centuries old  Carlo Colla and Sons Marionette Company of Milan speaks in his best English to elementary school children at the Emmet Robinson Theater at the College of Charleston prior to the company’s Spoleto performance.  Peiro Corbella paces the stage as he begins his story, 40 years ago when he became  a puppeteer, thanks to the guidance of his mentor and good friend, Eugenio Monti Colla.

From her Camden home, Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker can monitor the goings-on around the world by flipping through the TV news channels and keeping an eye glued to her Post, which she reads daily along with the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.  Parker is one of the most widely-syndicated columnists in America, read in more than 400 media outlets twice a week.  Like her colleagues, she started as a newspaper reporter – in her case, in Charleston – and moved through the ranks of various papers until an editor realized she had a voice “and I have difficulty keeping my voice

As electric cars increase their range, which in new models is around 150 miles between recharges, and offer more variety of models, which is also on the way, they will become even more common, experts say.
mmurphy [CC0 1.0] via Pixabay

Traffic can be pretty noisy, but one component of the nation’s traffic is growing quietly.  The component is the electric car.  Sold by Chevrolet, Nissan, Tesla and other makers, Nissan alone has sold a quarter-million electric vehicles since 2011.    Mac Martin, who sells the electric Leaf model by Nissan, says it’s so quiet the manufacturer actually installed a speaker to project artificial speed-up and slow-down noises so that pedestrians will  be aware of their presence. 

Spoleto 2018 is Officially Underway

May 26, 2018
Gravity and Other Myths performs at Spoleto 2018 Opening Ceremony in downtown Charleston.
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

On a day that is notoriously hot, a refreshing breeze swept down Broad Street in downtown Charleston and a forecast calling for rain seemed to have been delayed.  A velvet voice welcomed the crowd with the song, "Carolina" and the bells of St. Michael's Church rang, signally the beginning of the opening ceremony for Spoleto USA 2018.  The mayor walked out the doors of city hall, all smiles.  It was the perfect day to kick off one of the world's most renowned arts festivals.

The state’s primary election is June 12. All executive office positions are up for election as well as all seven seats of the US House of Representatives. The eight candidates vying for the state’s top job recently fielded questions on various topics during two, hour-long debates. Republicans debated May 23 and Democrats on May 24. Democratic candidates Phil Nobel, Marguerite Willis and James Smith answered questions on the failed V.C. Summer Nuclear power station, education, legalizing marijuana, protecting students from school shootings and more.

The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is found in South Carolina, along with other venomous species.  Wearing proper clothing and keeping your eyes open when in the woods or hiking on trails can help people avoid being bitten by a snake.
Georgia Wildlife Resources Division via Flickr

With the coming of warm weather, more people are getting outdoors.  It’s a great idea – unless you’re bitten by a snake.  The number of snakebite calls to the Palmetto Poison Center has increased the past two years, to about 200 per year.  It’s probably not because more snakes are out there, but more emergency room doctors are calling the center for advice, because they don’t see that many snakebites, says center Director Dr. Jill Michels. 

Two Eastern Box Turtles cross the road.
Chesapeake Bay Program / Flickr

Now that summer is approaching, it’s a common occurrence to see turtles crawling across roadways in South Carolina (and many other states). Ever wondered why that is? In honor of World Turtle Day, I spoke with Cris Hagen, Director of Animal Management at the Turtle Survival Center, a program of the Turtle Survival Alliance, in Charleston.

The Hansen Twins Record their Story with Robert Harding in Chicago
Scott Hanson

It's been three years since Carter and Jack Hanson were featured on CBS news for their rare friendship with a World War II veteran who served aboard the USS Yorktown.  That's when the  network set up a surprise meeting on the  ship just outside of Charleston.   They had gotten to know Robert Harding through email.  It was quite a moment as the three came face to face, and their bond has grown stronger ever since.   Now 13 years-old, the twins recently attended the Yorktown's 75th anniversary with their family, celebrating Harding who could not  be there.

A freshly buried sewer line parallels Gills Creek in Forest Acres. Some people and agencies are still recovering from the historic flood of October 2015.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

The aftermath of the October 2015 flood continues to occupy the business of many people and agencies in South Carolina, such as the East Richland County Public Service District (ERCPSD), which operates the sewer system for a section of the county heavily damaged by the flood.  ERCPSD Deputy Director Ed Schooler said the flood changed the route of the system’s pipes, knocking many right out of the ground. 

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