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On this special edition of the South Carolina Lede, we investigate the origins of one of the country's most famous folk figures: Florida Man. While attending a podcast conference in Orlando, FL, Lede host Gavin Jackson and producer A.T. Shire speak with Florida natives and transplants alike to find out how and why crazy news stories from the Sunshine State make headlines around the world.

Janie L. Mines entered the U.S. Naval Academy with the first group of women admitted in 1976. She was the lone black woman on campus.
Courtesy of Janie L. Mines

Until the fall of 1976, only men were admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy. But that year, the Navy opened 80 spaces for women, who would be the first to graduate in, fittingly, the Class of 1980.

Among these women was Janie Mines, who grew up in Aiken and today lives in Fort Mill. She was also the only black woman at Annapolis her first year – a set of experiences she chronicles in her 2019 autobiography, No Coincidences.

It has been a half-century since nearly a half-million young people descended upon a farm in Bethel, NY for "three days of peace and music" - a one-word summation of the late-1960s counterculture: Woodstock.
Ric Manning [CC BY 3.0] Wikimedia Commons

50 years ago, on Aug. 15, 1969, nearly half a million young people gathered on Max Yasgur's farm in Bethel, New York for "Three Days of Peace and Music" - the legendary Woodstock Music and Art Fair.  Music from artists such as Richie Havens, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, the Who, John Sebastian  and Santana mixed with drugs, rain and mud to produce a sometimes uncontrolled, but famously peaceful weekend.  

Gavin Jackson (l) speaks with Sammy Fretwell in the South Carolina Public Radio studios on Thursday, August 8, 2019.
A.T. Shire/SC Public Radio

On this episode of the South Carolina Lede, host Gavin Jackson is joined by The State's Sammy Fretwell to discuss his recent series "Tainted Water" highlighting South Carolina's water problems. Water systems across the state, mainly in small, rural towns, need nearly $2 billion in repairs, according to an estimate by the American Society of Civil Engineers. As a result, many of them have repeatedly violated drinking water laws and failed inspections.

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. 

Law enforcement on campus, active shooter training for faculty and an increase in security during athletic events are some of the changes Columbia's Cardinal Newman high school promised during a town hall meeting Thursday evening. The school is dealing with the aftermath a 16-year-old former student’s racist video and threats to “shoot up” the school.

In a statement, Principal Rob Loia called the videos “evil, disgusting and wrong,” he also said that this is a “critical moment for the school.”

Leading up to the 2020 election, 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 August 8, 2019, host Gavin Jackson takes us to a campaign stop this week by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.

USC history professor, Dr. Bobby Donaldson at the Justice For All: South Carolina and American Civil Rights Movement exhibit
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

On August 9, decades of South Carolina history will be removed from public display, repackaged and placed in climate control storage at various libraries at the University of South Carolina. The Justice for All: South Carolina and the American Civil Rights Movement exhibit has been open to the public since February. It uses oral history recordings, film clips, photographs, postcards, diaries and manuscripts to highlight largely overlooked chapters in the history of the movement.

Gavin Jackson (l) with Meg Kinnard and Jamie Lovegrove (r) on Monday, August 5, 2019.
A.T. Shire/South Carolina Public Radio

On this episode of South Carolina Lede, we look at the intersection of gun violence and politics following the recent mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. Host Gavin Jackson is joined by The Associated Press' Meg Kinnard and The Post and Courier's Jamie Lovegrove to discuss local reaction, responses by the 2020 presidential candidates, and the status of both state and national legislation concerning guns.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

The 2016 presidential election was, by any account, notable. It was also largely a surprise how it turned out. Regardless of ideology, most people assumed a Hilary Clinton victory, and that perspective was informed by poll after poll that showed her cruising to a comfortable win.

Post-election, a lot of people questioned the validity of polls that said one thing while actual results seemingly showed something entirely different. And, a lot of people still question polls, wondering how valid they are heading into a 2020 presidential election that promises to be, by any account, lively.

Under all this is the key question: Did election polls in 2016 actually get it all wrong?

Rudy Mancke Celebrates Two Decades of "NatureNotes"

Aug 2, 2019
Rudy Mancke

Rudy Mancke is almost certainly South Carolina's most noted naturalist.  He hosted the long-running and well-remembered (and nationally-aired) ETV program "Nature Scene" and has now reached his 20th anniversary as host of South Carolina Public Radio's "NatureNotes."

File photo of construction at the V.C. Summer nuclear power plant, Jan 10, 2017
Dominion Energy

It was two years ago this week that the state saw the largest business failure in its' history, the collapse of the giant V.C. Summer nuclear project in Fairfield County.

Despite years of delays and cost overruns, news of the decision by SCE&G and its' partner state owned utility Santee-Cooper to pull the plug on the $9 Billion project left most people stunned.

The decision to abandon the project set in motion a series of events that are still playing out.

The Benefits of Boredom

Jul 31, 2019
Iannca via Pixabay

It seems to be the plague of children, especially in the summer. But as adults, we rarely have the luxury of boredom. Yet research suggests it’s beneficial for our minds.

South Carolina Business Review Turns 20

Jul 30, 2019
Mike Switzer
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

For 20 years now, the South Carolina Business Review has brought business leaders, entrepreneurs and commentators to listeners of South Carolina Public Radio.  Mike Switzer has hosted the program its entire run, and takes satisfaction at its 20th anniversary.

Gavin Jackson (l) with Avery Wilks in the South Carolina Public Radio studios on Monday, July 29, 2019.
A.T. Shire/SC Public Radio

On this episode of the South Carolina Lede, we look at the death of mental health patient William Avant, who was killed after South Carolina Department of Mental Health employees dogpiled on top of him in January to restrain him, a tactic that is explicitly outlawed by the department. Host Gavin Jackson is joined by The State's Avery Wilks to discuss the latest on the story.