sc news

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."

Flooded dunes on Sullivan's Island before Hurricane Irma hit the Carolina coast.
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

Tourists are attracted to Charleston not just for its history, but also for its beautiful ocean views and beach access. But the ocean’s rising levels also pose a major threat to coastal cities like Charleston, especially when they combine with large rain events like the hurricanes the city has weathered over past years. Since 2014, Charleston’s streets have been flooded consistently more often, from 11 days in 2014, to 38 days in 2015 and 50 days in 2016. 

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.

Prior to May, 2017, about 500 pelican nests, and those of other seabirds, were established on Crab Bank near Charlestons Shem Creek.
Courtesy SC Dept. of Natural Resouces.

Last spring, there were approximately 500 pelican nests on Crab Bank, a sandbar near Charleston’s Shem Creek where pelicans and other seabirds have safely bred for years.  Erosion has gradually reduced the area of Crab Bank, but a storm and high tides in May combined to nearly obliterate the breeding ground.  Now only about 45 pelican nests remain, with no nests left of the roughly 1000 terns that also nested on the bank. 

Lexington County Flood-damged home being rebuilt to new elevation guidelines
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allocated an additional $5 million to Lexington County REBOUND (REBuilding Our Neighborhoods after Disaster), the County's Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery program (CDBG-DR). REBOUND is designed to address the unmet needs of people whose property sustained damage during the October 2015.

"Some of the remaining flood issues are just those homes," said County spokesperson Harrison Cahill. "We still have some people who are out of their homes."

The world's hottest pepper- the Carolina Reaper, grown in Fort Mill.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Many people distinguish themselves in the worlds of sports, entertainment, writing and other endeavors.  Ed Currie of Fort Mill has distinguished himself in a much hotter manner:  he holds the Guinness world record for the hottest pepper on earth, his self-developed Carolina Reaper.  He grows many varieties of peppers for the food industry, but it’s the Reaper that makes some hot-sauce aficionados rethink how tough they are.  In addition to setting people’s insides on fire, however, Currie says the pepper has other uses in the paint, medical and defense industries.

SCEMD Monitors Potential Tropical Cyclone

Aug 28, 2017
Possible track of PTC 10, 08-28-17.
National Hurricane Center

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division is monitoring Potential Tropical Cyclone 10, which could affect parts of the state's coast.  As a result of the storm's projected movement up the east coast, key local and state agencies have been notified to be ready to respond if the need arises.

Bicycle racers from around the world fly through the air as part of the BMX World Championships held recently in Rock Hill.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Rock Hill has enjoyed a growing reputation as an amateur sports Mecca, and the city recently proved it by hosting the BMX (bicycle motocross) world championship competitions.  Men, women and children came from across the globe to compete, and the event drew 3700 riders and 20,000 spectators from 48 countries. 

From left to right: Dr. Clayton Copeland, Dr. Robert Dawson and Dr. David Leach.
Olivia Aldridge/SC Public Radio

At the University of South Carolina, three faculty researchers have formed an unexpected research partnership in response to the Thousand-Year-Flood. Soon after the historic October 2015 rain event, a Dr. Clayton Copeland of the School of Library Science approached two of her colleagues from the School of Medicine’s Rehabilitation Counseling Program and proposed a joint study of disabled individuals’ experiences in relation to the flood.

Making History with a Total Solar Eclipse

Aug 21, 2017
Recently identified photo of scientist, academics and dignitaries gathered to witness the May 28, 1900 solar eclipse in Winnsboro, SC.
Photo Courtesy of Fairfield County Museum and Historical Society

Today residents and visitors in South Carolina will witness a total solar eclipse, a rare phenomenon that hasn't been seen in the state since March 7, 1970 and won't occur again in the United States until 2024.

NPR Live Blog -- Total Solar Eclipse Crosses The U.S.

Aug 21, 2017
On Nov. 13, 2012, a narrow corridor in the southern hemisphere experienced a total solar eclipse. The corridor lay mostly over the ocean but also cut across the northern tip of Australia where both professional and amateur astronomers gathered to watch.
Courtesy of Romeo Durscher/NASA

This blog will go live Monday, August 21, at 10 am ET and will run until approximately 3 pm ET. (The eclipse itself is slated to begin in the U.S. around 1:16 pm ET and end about 2:48 pm ET.)

It is indeed dark during the day as a total solar eclipse makes its way from Oregon to South Carolina. Eleven states are in the path of total darkness. Follow the astronomical phenomenon's journey across America along with NPR journalists and others experiencing the eclipse.

The Magic And Mythology Of The Solar Eclipse

Aug 18, 2017

Eclipse mania sweeps the nation. We’ll dig into the science, the history, the culture, and the folklore of the astronomical phenomenon.

SCETV

Preview the great eclipse of August 21st, 2017, interactively! Pick your location on the Earth, scroll through time, and see if your view will be a partial eclipse (in the penumbra) or a total eclipse (in the umbra).

With only days left before the total solar eclipse, the demand for solar filter glasses is high. In the Midlands, Richland Library has acquired additional glasses and will begin to distribute them Friday, August 18 at 9 AM. Community and media relations coordinator Emily Stoll says unlike the library’s first round of glasses distribution, there will be some limitations to what they can provide.

Stoll said the library was able to make a special order for the glasses through the Columbia Visitors Bureau and confirms the glasses are certified and safe to use.

May 20, 2012, eclipse viewing at Arches National Park, Utah.
NPS/Neal Herbert

People across the nation are anxiously awaiting the total solar eclipse August 21st. South Carolinians are among them, as the Palmetto State will be one of the best places in the United States to view the event.  The 65-mile wide path of totality, or area of total eclipse, will pass through Greenville, Columbia and parts of Charleston.  Lawn chairs and sun block will help people to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime event.  But two Midlands ophthalmologists remind us that the most essential  element to viewing the eclipse is proper eye protection.  The sun’s rays can burn the retinas of unprotected eyes and produce legal blindness.  Today we get good tips on safely watching the eclipse.

Nile [CC0 1.0] via Pixabay

Much of South Carolina will experience heavy traffic on and around Aug. 21. That’s the day the much-anticipated total solar eclipse will pass through the state in a 65-mile wide path from Greenville to Charleston.   Many law enforcement officers will have their hands full that day with traffic both from locals and the many visitors the state expects, some say up to a million people statewide. 

Signs From "Columbia Stands with Charlottesville" rally
Thelisha Eaddy and Laura Hunsburger/ SC Public Radio

Hundreds gathered at the South Carolina State House Monday for the "Columbia Stands with Charlottesville" rally. The event was organized by several area-groups to show support for victims of the Charlottesville, VA violence.

Among the demonstrators was Connie Shier, who attended the rally to continue her family’s legacy of fighting fascism.

SC State Dept. of Education Superintendent Molly Spearman
http://www.mollyspearman.com

For the second time in almost two decades, Allendale County schools are under the control of the State Department of Education. Superintendent Molly Spearman said, when students return to school August 17, they will see the same teachers that were there previously, but will also encounter new faces working with familiar staff. Superintendent Molly Spearman explains how these individuals and the department will work with students, teachers and the community to improve the effectiveness of the schools.

Dr. Walt Tobin has been assigned superintendent of the district.

Hurricane Matthew cuased major flooding in Nichols, SC in October 2016.
Courtesty of Nichols resident Courtney Wilds

The South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office will begin accepting applications for citizens affected by Hurricane Matthew at mobile office locations. The applications are for a housing recovery program that will concentrate on the repair and/or replacement of homes based on eligibility and priority need. 

The first mobile locations will locate in Dillion and Walterboro August 12, 14 and 15. Other locations are: Loris, Gresham, Nichols, Sellers, Kingstree, Beaufort and Mullins.

Hurricane Matthew Mobile Intake Office Schedule

Mariah Williams helped test a new Braille guide to the Aug. 21 eclipse written by educators from the College of Charleston.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Millions of people nationwide are anticipating the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. It will be a spectacle to behold, but some people can’t behold it: the blind. For this reason, College of Charleston geology professor Cassandra Runyon, along with fellow C of C geologist Cynthia Hall and a colleague in  Pennsylvania, developed a braille guide to the eclipse for blind and visually impaired people who want to know more about the event and what it entails.  They were aided by blind College of Charleston recent graduate Mariah Williams, who helped "field test" the book, which was printed by NASA.  Five thousand copies have been printed and distributed to libraries, schools for the blind and other service organizations nationally.

This tiny house may be only 400 square feet, but it contains a number of green, sustainable design features.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Three brand-new houses off busy Two Notch Road in Columbia seem a world away from the road’s heavy traffic.  They’re in a wooded area that a visitor would believe was in a forest miles from any city.  In addition to their unique location, the houses are different because of their size: just 400 square feet.  They’re tiny houses, part of a new back-to-basics movement that is gaining traction across the United States.  Friends Joanne Williams and Priscilla Preston thought up the houses when they met at Quaker meetings, where they talked about simplifying their lives.  They’re renting the tiny

Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

This Thursday through Sunday, August 4th through 6th, is South Carolina’s annual Tax-free Weekend, and shoppers may save between $2 million and $3 million in sales taxes.  Arthur Dunn of one Columbia Target store says it’s a busier time for his store than Black Friday, and he expects an increase in business over last year.  The weekend is big for small stores, too, like Salty’s Board Shop, where owner Paul Goff expects to sell a lot of khaki pants and other school apparel, plus book bags and skateboards.   

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