News

The South Carolina State Fair celebrates its 150th birthday this year.
Nathan Harper [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

There may be no greater stimulator of all five senses simultaneously than the South Carolina State Fair.  Sight, hearing, feel, smell and taste are all bombarded by the delights that have drawn millions to the fairgrounds in Columbia for 150 years.  

The Flag of the State of South Carolina as approved by A.S. Salley. Printed by the State Co., 1915. A legislature-appointed committee is working to set standards for the South Carolina state flag.  There has not been an official state flag since 1940.
SC Dept of Archives and History

The South Carolina flag is considered to be one of the most beautiful of the 50 flags representing the country's states.  But if one observes closely, he can sometimes detect differences between flags at various state offices and locations.  That's because the state does not have a standard for the production of its flags.  

The situation is finally being remedied, however, by the formation of a committee which will make recommendations to the legislature for official standards for the flag. 

Sketch of woman FBI says Samuel Little has confessed to killing in  the Charleston area
FBI

The FBI calls him the most prolific serial killer in U.S history.  Now agents have released a sketch they say Samuel Little drew of a Charleston woman he claims to have killed and left near a military base. 

Authorities say Little, now 79 years-old, has confessed to killing 93 people, mostly women, in more than a dozen states between 1970 and 2005.  They believe his admissions are credible with local authorities  confirming as many as 50 cases.

SC State Library at 1500 Senate St., Columbia SC
Linda Nunez/SC Public Radio

The South Carolina State Library has come a long way from its roots in the early 20th Century as a single office tucked inside the South Carolina Statehouse. As of 1969, it’s now a 5-story building two blocks down from the Statehouse at 1500 Senate St., celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. But despite its growth, the goal of the South Carolina State Library has remained steadfast: to develop, support, and sustain a thriving statewide community of learners committed to making South Carolina stronger.

Tapping Into York County's Booming Craft Beer Scene

Sep 30, 2019
Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

Even just three or four years ago, one of the biggest complaints people had about York County was that there wasn't much to do there if you were looking for a night out.

Brewhouses have certainly helped changed that. The six brewpubs and breweries that now operate in Rock Hill and Fort Mill bring thousands (and thousands) of visitors a year. Most are looking to sample the IPAs and sours and Belgian ales and stouts. Some are looking to get a T-shirt.

"Y'all" may be the most common word associated with the Southern accent.  Several varieties can be found in South Carolina, say experts.  (Sign at Table Rock State Park near Pickens, SC.)
Stef [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

In South Carolina, one would naturally expect to hear what could be called a classic Southern accent spoken by its residents.  But not every South Carolinian sounds the same, according to linguist Paul Reed, who earned his PhD in the study at the University of South Carolina. 

Protecting Gullah Culture

Sep 27, 2019
"Our Love" Gullah painting
Victoria Smalls/ artist

Nearly two hours south of Charleston, over Beaufort's Woods Memorial Bridge, South Carolina's Sea Islands stretch out adorned with palms trees and pines, and grassy marshes that glitter at twilight.

The area has long been home to the direct descendants of slaves known as Gullah Geechee.  Once freed, they remained isolated on the islands, living off the land and holding on to their African traditions and language. 

The South Carolina Senate Chamber
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

The next session of the S.C. General Assembly doesn’t convene until January, but Republicans in the State Senate are already working to try and pass a bill that essentially would prohibit abortions in the state.  It’s known as the Fetal Heartbeat Bill.

It won easy passage in the House of Representatives earlier this  year, and Republican Governor Henry McMaster has said if the bill passes he’ll sign it into law.  Because the bill is expected to have a harder time passing in the Senate its' backers are already at work trying to give it a head start in next year’s session.

Charleston's Emergency Management Director Shannon Scaff preparing for a  live interview with The Weather Channel
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

There's a brief lull in the heavy rain that's hit Charleston as Hurricane Dorian lingers off the coast.  The city's Emergency Managment Director Shannon Scaff takes a deep breath. 

He's about to interview live, nationally with The Weather Channel.  He's also relieved.  The storm isn't over yet and already he knows it could have been much worse.

"We got lucky with the tides," he tells the reporter. "The storm surge wasn’t as bad as what was forecasted originally."

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.

David Ball (second from left) and his band.
Courtesy of the artist

Country music has made and broken careers for close to a century now.  David Ball of Spartanburg is one of the survivors, enjoying a long career in the field.  In high school he joined the legendary acoustic trio Uncle Walt's Band, playing a blend of bluegrass, blues, swing and folk, "and then that of course led me into Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family," he recalls of his introduction to country. 

Columbia Native's Country Music Dream Lasts a Lifetime

Sep 12, 2019
Bemo Prince, at the mic, with some of his band members.
Courtesy of the artist

Country music finds fans in a variety of ways, most often by either hearing the music on the radio or seeing country artists play live.  That's the way Bemo Prince of Columbia became a country music fan.  "My daddy took me to hear...Snuffy Jenkins and the Hired Hands, and I was hooked."

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.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

The Rock Hill Boxing Club is the kind of old school gym real boxers come out of – Golden Glove contenders, burgeoning pros, Olympic hopefuls …. There’s nothing corporate or pretentious about this place. It’s decorated with spray paint and duct tape-wrapped bags; it’s beastly hot; it’s packed with young men looking to make a name in the ring.

But look past the trappings of a small-city boxing gym and you’ll see what the Rock Hill Boxing Club really is for the people who train here – a community. Dare one say a family.

Houses boarded up along the Battery in downtown Charleston
Victoria Hansen

Charleston city officials say they're ready for whatever Hurricane Dorian brings our way.  But what about the people who decided to stay? 

Many were still checking out the winds and waves along the historic city's battery wall late Wednesday, just hours before the storm's anticpated arrival.  An evacuation order for the entire coast has been in place since Monday.

“I want Charleston to be a ghost town," said Mayor John Tecklenburg Wednesday afternoon, as he tried again to get people to leave.

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