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For the past several years the issue that’s dominated the state legislature has been the future of Santee Cooper, the state-owned public power utility.  Santee Cooper in effect produces electricity for over two million customers in the state. State lawmakers have been pondering what to do with the utility since the failure of the giant VC Summer nuclear project in the summer of 2017.  Many have concerns about Santee Cooper’s Management, and the almost $7 Billion debt it's now carrying following VC Summer.

A.T. Shire / South Carolina Public Radio

Leading up to the 2020 election, the South Carolina Lede is keeping you up to speed on what the candidates are saying on the campaign trail in the Palmetto State with these "Trail Bites" mini-episodes.

On this edition for the week of February 13, 2020, host Gavin Jackson sits down with Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer in Chester, South Carolina to talk about his campaign and the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries.

Final Bout of Rain Arriving Before Drier Weekend

Feb 12, 2020

Update as of 8:30 AM Thursday

A line of strong thunderstorms, which prompted The National Weather Service to issue Severe Thunderstorm Warnings for Anderson, Pickens, and Oconee counties early Thursday morning, is moving eastward through the Upstate. Strong winds in the lower part of the atmosphere may transfer to the ground as the line of heavy showers and a few thunderstorms move through the state today. For this reason, the Storm Prediction Center has issued a “marginal risk” (a level 1 out of 5) for severe storms over the state today.

For York County, Recycling Means Business

Feb 11, 2020
York County Photo

Besides bottles, cans, and paper, York County residents can recycle lots of things that might surprise them -- fluorescent bulbs, for instance; shoes; cooking oil. 

But while you can’t put that stuff at the curb, you cantake it to one of the county’s 16 collection centers. Find out what you can take and where you can take it by clicking here.

A Brief Lull in the Rain, But More Expected This Week

Feb 10, 2020

Update as of 3:00 PM Tuesday:

The National Weather Service has canceled the Flash Flood Watch it had in effect over the Upstate. Scattered showers or an isolated strong thunderstorm are still possible Tuesday evening thanks to the passage of a weak front. Overall, a brief period of drier weather is expected on Wednesday before another cold front arrives late Wednesday night and Thursday with more widespread rain and thunderstorms.

Update as of 10:30 AM Tuesday:

University of South Carolina sign
Real Tough, Real Stuff [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Four weeks into this year’s session of the state legislature there has been lots of debate, but little movement on several education bills.

The Senate is slowly working its way through the massive School Improvement Bill with no end of debate in sight.

Senators have turned in several late nights debating the bill and it seems the longer its debated, the more complicated some of the issues become.

Photographer and museum founder Cecil Williams
SC Public Radio

A new museum in Orangeburg county celebrates South Carolina residents who fought racial injustice. The Cecil Williams Civil Rights Museum features over 500 photographs, most of which were taken by Williams. After years of trying to get local support for a civil rights museum in the area, Williams said he used thousands of dollars of his own money to create a place where the images and stories of those who helped shape American history can displayed.

Tornado Watch issued for more of South Carolina

Feb 6, 2020

A new Tornado Watch has been issued for the South Carolina Midlands until 8 PM. The watch includes the Columbia metropolitan area, Orangeburg, Sumter, and North Augusta. A line of severe thunderstorms, which has produced significant wind damage and possible tornadoes in the Spartanburg area this morning, is accelerating eastward. The line is forecast to reach the Columbia metro area between 3 and 5 PM and Sumter and Florence between 5 and 7 PM.

Dr. Bernard Powers founded the Center for the Study of Slavery at the College of Charleston
Victoria Hansen/ SC Public Radio

As the College of Charleston celebrates its 250th birthday, at its center is Randolph Hall.  Built in 1820, students still gather here. 

Less prominent, an organization that tries to help the school comes to terms with  its past, the Center for the Study of Slavery.

"You are sitting in the office of the center right now," says Dr. Bernard Powers.  He founded the center two years ago after retiring from the history department.

Tornado Watch for parts of the Upstate, Midlands

Feb 5, 2020

Update as of 10:30 AM:

A Tornado Watch is in effect until 5 PM for the entire upstate of South Carolina and for a portion of the Midlands to the west of Columbia. The watch includes Rock Hill, Greenville, Spartanburg, and Anderson. A line of thunderstorms, with damaging wind and embedded tornadoes, is approaching from the west late this morning through mid-afternoon in these areas.

Update as of 6:15 AM:

The Real I.D. is dentified by the gold star in the upper right corner.
Photo courtesy S.C. Dept. of Motor Vehicles

Beginning October 1st of this year, anyone who wishes to fly on a commercial aircraft, access a federal facility, or enter a military installation will be required to present their passport, military ID, or their Real ID. Back in 2005, Congress passed the “Real ID Act” in response to the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that the Federal Government set the standard for the issuance of IDs, like driver’s licenses. To date, all 50 states and territories are fully compliant with the Real ID requirements. 

Coronavirus Scare You? Flu Should Scare You More

Feb 4, 2020

Health officials around the world are scrambling to stay ahead of the coronavirus outbreak plaguing parts of China. But Dr. Melissa Nolan, an infectious disease specialist at the University of South Carolina, says influenza is a far bigger cause for concern.

Hear more:

Multiple weather-related hazards are possible Wednesday night and Thursday over a large portion of the Palmetto State.

First round Wednesday night

An increasingly warm and humid air mass will surge northward across the state Wednesday afternoon into Thursday. A fe showers may develop as soon as Wednesday morning, especially over the Upstate and Midlands. The showers and thunderstorms are then likely to become more widespread Wednesday night.

The gate at Auschwitz concentration camp, with the slogan "work will set you free" above the entrance.  Recently the South Carolina Council on the Holocaust observed the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Allied forces during World War II.
alanbatt via Pixabay

Recently in South Carolina and around the world, events were held to observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  January 27 marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.  The Holocaust killed an estimated six million European Jews as well as many other victims of the Nazis, including Soviet prisoners of war, Poles, gypsies, homosexuals, the infirm and more.  

SC Senate in session on January 30, 2020
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

Teacher Bill of Rights Defeated

When the State Senate re-convenes next week it will begin its’ third week of debate on an omnibus School Improvement Bill.  For the past two years it’s been the General Assembly’s first priority.  It aims to update an array of state policies to produce better educated students, and perhaps most importantly shore-up the teaching profession by keeping good teachers in the classroom and to entice new teachers to the profession.