Rock Hill

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

Blood is in short supply, in large part because of the coronavirus outbreak, says Maya Franklin, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross in Charlotte, NC.

“That’s resulted in dozens, if not hundreds, of blood drove cancellations by our sponsors,” she says.

That statement only refers to the Carolinas region between Rock Hill, SC, and Greensboro, NC. Nationally, says Franklin’s Rock Hill colleague, Ashley Collier, about 5,000 blood drives had been cancelled, through March 20.  

Kaitlyn Cannon / SCETV

Business is suffering some of the worst effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Some, like restaurants, may not be able to make it back, even if our collective quarantine were to end today.

But a few industries are doing very well. In York County, at least, residential real estate is cruising along, thanks in part to historically low interest rates and an already healthy market in the ever-growing Charlotte metro region.

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

Gov. Henry McMaster and U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-5th) were on hand Wednesday to dedicate Miracle Park in Rock Hill. The Miracle Park project is the first of its kind in the United States – an outdoor recreation center built specifically to accommodate visitors of all abilities.

Dubbed the most inclusive public project in the city’s history, Miracle Park will feature two softball/baseball fields, a fishing pond, and other recreational sites between Cherry Road and Eden Terrace.

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.

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.

Pinky Funderburk's Legion of Honor medal, as presented by U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-5th) in Rock Hill on Aug. 2.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

Tom Funderburk is 94 years old. He's one of the last surviving B-17 pilots who flew in World War II.

He goes by the nickname 'Pinky,' because of his once-red hair.

He lives in Rock Hill with his 8-year-old cockatiel, Pretty Boy.

He has more military medals than people have toes; and one of them is the Légion d'honneur -- the Legion of Honor, the highest order of merit bestowed by the government of France. 

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.

Yoga. Now with Bleats

Jun 19, 2019
Downward-facing... doe? Don't laugh, it happens a lot in goat yoga.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

Until a few years ago, nobody really thought to put goats and yoga together. And yet, here we are, living in a world where the sight of downward-facing yogis and bouncing baby goats in the same place looks as natural as mac and cheese.

For Jim and Terri Gustin, owners of Critter Creek Farm in Rock Hill – primarily a flower farm, but one with lots of animals around – the idea just worked itself out.   

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

That the NFL’s Carolina Panthers would eventually move the team’s practice facility and operations out of Charlotte and south of the border to Rock Hill was really just a matter of when the South Carolina Legislature would greenlight a set of tax breaks (worth somewhere between $115 and $120 million, by most estimates) that would allow the team to set up shop in York County. And when Panthers would officially say they were coming.

On June 5, the Panthers, the state, and City of Rock Hill made the official announcement that the team will be moving in over the next couple years.

Rock Hill Unveils All-Electric Bus Fleet

Jun 6, 2019
Rock Hill's free My Ride bus fleet boasts zero emissions. My Ride is funded mainly through the a combination of FTA funds, a local match from the city's general fund, and partners.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

When Rock Hill set out to launch its first full-scale bus system, it wanted to try something different. Well, all the rides on the MyRide system will be free and all seven buses in the fleet will be 100 percent electric. The really different part, though, is that no one’s ever started out this way before.

The future home of the Rock Hill Sports & Events Center is still under construction.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

Tourism is big business for South Carolina. The state Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism (PRT) puts annual tourism revenue at about $20 billion.

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.