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.

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"R" is for Richardson, Robert Clinton [b. 1935]. Baseball Player. Born in Sumter, Richardson played sandlot, high school, and American Legion baseball before signing a pro contract with the New York Yankees. He made his major league debut in 1955 and from 1957-1966 was the Yankees’ regular second baseman. He earned national attention when he hit a grand slam in Game Six of the 1960 World Series and was voted Series MVP. In his major league career, he was a seven-time All-Star and winner of five Golden Glove Awards.

Staying Safe in the South Carolina Sun

Jul 26, 2019
U.S. Air Force, Senior Airman Sandra Marrero

South Carolina ranked first in the United States for child vehicular heatstrokes in 2018, and with Palmetto State temperatures reaching highs of 100 degrees during the summertime, heat exhaustion is a serious, life-threatening danger, and residents should know the signs of danger.

Those who are especially vulnerable to the summer heat include young children, the elderly, and individuals who take anxiety and depression medication.

Finding Young Farmers to Bear the Heat and Carry the Pitchfork

Jul 18, 2019
Tomatoes are a popular summer crop sold by numerous farmers at the State Farmers' Market
Lee Wardlaw/SC Public Radio

South Carolina's farming industry remains a stalwart economic engine. With approximately 25,000 farms over 4.9 million acres of land, the Palmetto State's agricultural community maintains its relevance in South Carolinians' day-to-day lives.

In a changing world, though, South Carolina's farming industry still continues to face the same old problems that it has for years.

Catawba Riverkeeper Brandon Jones, left, and Dr. Brett Hartis, manager of Duke Energy's Aquatic Plant Management Program, inspect a bloom of alligator weed on Lake Wylie.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

South Carolina’s freshwater lakes and ponds are as vibrant as they come, full of pretty plants with pretty names like water primrose and water hyacinth. The only trouble is, these plants shouldn’t be here.

Miss Camden Teen, Maggie Knotts
SC Public Radio

The Miss South Carolina Teen pageant was held June 28th and the Miss South Carolina Pageant took place on June 29th. However, the journeys of pagent contestants began long before and each one goes to great lengths to prepare for a statewide stage.

Aside from the pageant night, contestants put in many hours behind the scenes in their communities. Most of the contestants’ work takes place off the stage as they give back to the communities that have helped them. And each contestant must develop a platform that exemplifies a cause she cares about within her local area.  

S.C. Film Commission logo
S.C. Film Commission

The film industry provides much needed economic impact for South Carolina, netting $61 million in revenue for the state in 2018. The revenue is generated through the South Carolina Film Commission, which provides a $15 million dollar annual subsidy to filmmakers. The subsidy is funneled to the state's film commission through the state's government.

Charles M. Duke, Jr.
NASA

A half-century ago, as the world watched in awe as Neil Armstrong took that "one small step" into history on the surface of the moon, a voice from Houston was his constant connection to humanity back on Earth.  Earlier, however, as the landing craft neared its destination, that voice had called "60 seconds," to warn the Apollo 11 astronauts - Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins - that they had only one minute's worth of fuel to land, or they would have to abort the mission.  That voice belonged to future moonwalker Charles Duke of Lancaster, South Carolina.

Physicist Ronald McNair, a Lake City native, became a NASA astronaut because his brother said "Ron was the one who didn't accept societal norms as being his norms. That was for other people.  And he got to be aboard his own starship Enterprise."
NASA

The Palmetto State has produced numerous astronauts and scientists.  A South Carolinian, Charles Townes of Greenville, invented the laser, and another native, Dr. Ron McNair, was the first person to operate a laser in space in his role as a NASA astronaut.   A physicist, McNair was killed in the tragic explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in January 1986.  It was his second excursion into space. 

How South Carolina Music Producers Make Songs Music to Our Ears

Jul 9, 2019
File picture of a microphone.
vanleuven0 via Pixabay

Many famous musical artists have been heavily influenced by their audio producers, but Joe Miller, a music producer who owns and operates the Sounds Like Joe recording studio in Rock Hill, South Carolina, describes his job in humble terms. “I like to consider my artistic domain, I move air and people hear it,” he said.

Producing music is defined by taking music written by an artist or composer and transforming it into a high quality, professional studio sound. It involves several tough decisions that producers must make when there are several options available. 

US Navy Frogmen Recover Apollo 8;  Lt. Richard Flanagan (Left) waving and Bob Coggin (Right) attaching flotation collar
Patriots Point Naval and Maritme Museum

Bob Coggin was just back from serving in Vietnam as a diver in an underwater demolition team when he got his next assignment from the Navy:  train to possibly recover Apollo 8.  The first manned spacecraft to leave the earth's atmosphere and orbit the moon would soon splash down in the Pacific Ocean.

Coggin understood the importance of the astronauts' mission.  But he didn't think much of his own role. 

"It was a big deal back then, but we couldn't understand why it was such a big deal," he says.  "It was just another day kind of thing really."

There's South Carolina Gold in Them Thar Rockets

Jul 2, 2019
Spun gold. These shiny bands are actually a fiber soft enough to make space suits with and tough enough to shield firefighters (and astronauts) from flames.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

Forgive yourself if you can’t pronounce “polybenzimidizole,” much less know what it’s used for. But if you ever went to the moon, you were sure glad to have it on your skin.  

Familiarly, polybenzimidizole goes by the much more vocally friendly name of PBI. It’s a twill-like material made by, fittingly, PBI Performance Products in Rock Hill. The company makes polymers, solutions, and films for industrial purposes, but the Rock Hill plant is the only place in the world that manufactures the company’s most visible product, PBI staple fiber.

Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
NASA

Columbia native Charles Bolden has had a remarkable career: Marine fighter pilot, commanding general in Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait, deputy commandant of midshipmen at the U.S.

Thousands of South Carolina public school teachers descended on the Statehouse on May 1, 2019 demanding improvements in  the state's public schools.
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

With this year’s session of the state legislature now officially over, lawmakers are already turning their attention to next year’s session, and like this year the top priority will be passage of a massive School Improvement Bill. 

Victoria Hansen

Many remember where they were when they heard the news: nine people gunned down inside an historic African American church in Charleston at the hands of a stranger they welcomed to bible study. But few know the passage they read.

Reporter Jennifer Berry Hawes does.

"It's called the 'Parable of the Sower,'" she says. "It's a story where Jesus talks about what happens when you throw seeds of faith onto different types of terrain."

Hawes writes about the tragedy in her first book, "Grace Will Lead Us Home: The Charleston Massacre and the Hard, Inspiring Journey to Forgiveness.."

How the Golf Industry Drives South Carolina's Economy

Jun 19, 2019
File photo, close-up of golf ball and golf club head.
File photo: HeungSoon/Pixabay

The golf industry is big business for the state of South Carolina, generating $2.59 billion in sales for the state in 2018.

The sport generated 31,434 jobs, $857 million in wages and income, and $309 million in federal, state, and local taxes, according to an economic impact study created by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.

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