Scott Morgan

Producer, Reporter

Scott Morgan is the Upstate multimedia journalist for South Carolina Public Radio, based in Rock Hill. He cut his teeth as a newspaper reporter and editor in New Jersey before finding a home in public radio in Texas. Scott joined South Carolina Public Radio in March of 2019. His work has appeared in numerous national and regional publications as well as on NPR and MSNBC. He's won numerous awards for his work including two regional and one national Edward R. Murrow. He prefers to do crossword puzzles in ink, but is frequently wrong.

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David Martin / Unsplash

Update: The South Carolina Supreme Court announced it would extend the state eviction moratorium after this story published. It will extend the stay on evictions and foreclosures for another two weeks.

South Carolina’s state moratorium on evictions for unpaid rent is set to expire on Friday. While the federal moratorium continues until at least Aug.24, the expiration of the statewide stay on evictions could translate into thousands of lawsuits, says Adam Protheroe, a housing attorney at SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center in Columbia.

CDC

The exact numbers keep changing, but the percentages have remained relatively steady. And they show that African-Americans are South Carolina’s most disproportionately affected group when it comes to COVID-19 cases and deaths.

But they also show that men and women overall are disproportionally affected (though less so than African-Americans), in two different ways.

Sven Scheuermeier / Unsplash

Word that a Smithfield pork processing plant in South Dakota, where 5 percent of the nation's pork is processed, sent ripples across the U.S. food industry. It didn't help that just a few days later, another Smithfield plant – this one much closer to home, in Tar Heel, North Carolina – shuttered after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

The closures prompted a far-reaching question: How secure is the food supply? 

provided by Steffi Kong

Steffi Kong grew up in Singapore. At the onset of the century, the country was in the path of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, a coronavirus similar to COVID-19. Kong contracted SARS, and beat it, but "because of that, my immune system was very compromised," she says.

Three years later, she caught H1N1, which was the swine flu that proved much deadlier and much more far-reaching. 

So to say that Kong was looking forward to seeing her family and walking in Converse College's commencement ceremony next month is an undestatement. But now that the Spartanburg-based college has shifted graduation to a virtual ceremony, Kong and her classmates -- the second-to-last class to ever graduate from an all-female Converse College -- will have to attend online in May.

Pixabay

News from hospitals in much of the United States right now is bad. In major cities like Detroit, in population-dense states like New Jersey, medical staffs are sometimes unable to keep up with the crush of new COVID-19 cases.

Emergencies are gobbling up hospital beds; doctors nurses, and assistants are risking their lives just by going to work; and supplies of personal protective equipment, or PPE, are in some places so bereft, ICU healthcare workers have taken to wearing trash bags and goggles because it was the best they could do.

To date, that kind of thing isn’t consuming South Carolina’s medical facilities. But Dr. Alicia Ribar, interim associate dean of academics, assistant dean for graduate studies, and clinical associate professor at the University of South Carolina College of Nursing, says the college’s working students are worried about when it will be.

Allie Smith / Unsplash

This story was expanded on March 26 to include a look at what the data cited in the Kaiser Family Foundation report could mean for South Carolina's rural communities.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

Rock Hill has two services the city's homeless population uses on a daily basis to get something to eat. One is the MyRide bus system, a free, citywide service for all; the other is the Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen,

MyRide drops off across the street from the soup kitchen Monday through Saturday at around 11:30 a.m. There, a usually packed No. 2 route bus mostly empties and riders make their way to a hot lunch at one of the soup kitchen's tables, amid plenty of chatty company.

On Monday, lunch was not hot, not chatty, and not served on a plate taken to a table. It was a ham and cheese sandwich, a ham buscuit, some snacks, and a diet Mountain Dew, placed inside a plastic shopping bag and given at the door. Guests took their lunches, thanking the women who give them, and strolling away to various places on a chilly, cloudy morning.

It is a meal most certainly made on the fly, in reaction to a stunning and sudden outbreak of a pandemic

that demands people all over the United States keep their distance from each other. Jan Stephenson, the director of Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen, says the sandwich-and-biscuit lunch is not ideal, but it is what could be done today.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

Back in January, I sat down with Dr. Melissa Nolan, an epidemiologist at the University of South Carolina, in her lab at the Arnold School of Public Health in Columbia. We talked about how well the state could handle an outbreak of an infectious disease like influenza.

Pretty well, it turns out.

“Influenza is one that we’re probably the most prepared for,” Nolan said.

And that would have been the end of the conversation, had she, 34 seconds later, not said this: “What we’re not very well-prepared for, though, are vector-borne diseases.”

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

Somewhere at the middle-end of the 19th century, a railroad tunnel under construction in Walhalla partially collapsed and left behind a cave that tricolor bats really took to. There used to be hundreds of the small, furry bats hibernating through the winters by clinging to the rock. By February 10 of this year, there were seven.

Scott Morgan / South Craolina Public Radio

Greenville Technical College has no problem attracting a diverse student body. What it does have -- and it's not alone in this by any stretch -- is a problem retaining African-American male students. 

Dr. Alecia Watt, the college’s director of educational opportunity programs, says that more than any other group, African-American male students at Greenville Tech leave school before finishing their degree paths. Her certainty comes from an in-depth study to find out who was not coming back and why. 

Holly Bounds-Jackson / South Carolina ETV

Manning Reentry/Work Release Center used to have another name. Until 2016, this nearly 60-year-old prison on the outskirts of Columbia was called Manning Correctional.

That might seem like a minor change. It’s not. It was the South Carolina Department of Corrections’ (SCDC) way of saying to the public and to Manning’s inmates that the perception, treatment, and, ultimately, rehabilitation of the men who do time there was going to change.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

The Feb. 29 Democratic presidential primary will be South Carolina's first major test for its new voting machines. Last year, the state invested $51 million on new machines that election officials say are easier to use and more secure than what South Carolinians had been using for years.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

Update, Sept. 28, 2020: The state officially pardoned Doug O'Neal on Sept. 17, 2020.

Doug O'Neal spent 24 years in prison for the murder of a woman police still can't identify. But the evidence against him was so questionable that even the man who helped put him away says he's innocent.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

The City of Chester is in crisis. Shootings are on the rise and so are shooting-related deaths. So far this year, police have taken more than 130 calls about shots being fired. That’s 20 more than all of last year.

Since April there have been almost a dozen confirmed shootings, including the recent deaths of 36-year-old Andrew Johnson and the drive-by killing of 14-year-old Jada Jones. Thirty homes, vehicles, and people have been hit by gunfire in Chester so far in 2019. That number was 25 for all of 2018.

Those numbers might not sound like much, but in a city of less than 5,500 people, statistics like these get attention.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

If you’re the type who likes to say you knew someone back in the day, you might want to remember the name Kamron Venable.

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