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Arturo O'Farrill
John Abbott

Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra bring big-band jazz from across the globe to the Spoleto Festival USA Jazz series during the festival's opening weekend.

Flood Moves Columbia Composer to Write Jazz Tune

May 25, 2016
Mark Rapp performing at the Rio Mar Jazz Festival.
Courtesy of the artist

  Columbia-local and Jazz musician Mark Rapp saw the impacts of October's flood firsthand.  It was devastating, forcing people out of their homes and businesses captured on the news and social media.  Along with the devastation though, Rapp watched the flood bring out generosity and empathy -  seeing volunteers, charities, and rescue teams lend a hand. Cooper McKim speaks with Rapp to investigate the meaning behind Water Be Still.

Scientists Project Record Shrimp Season

May 24, 2016
Alexandra Olgin

Bird calls at the Shem Creek docks mean the shrimp boats are back.

Shrimper Phuoc Tang and his crew are hauling about 1,000 pounds of white shrimp in colorful plastic fishing baskets off his boat and onto the dock.

“We did good today,” he said. 

Tang is excited because this is projected to be his best season. According to state scientists, 2016 is expected to yield the biggest roe white shrimp crop in 37 years.  

Construction workers elevate a house on Lake Katherine in Columbia that was heavily damaged in October’s flood.(File photo)
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

October's historic flood brought massive damage to homes and businesses across South Carolina. While the storm brought economic difficulties, one sector is experiencing a boom: the construction business.  Tut Underwood talks to experts in the field about the heightened demand for contractors and how long it will last.

    Reaching displaced flood victims and getting those victims to use the Disaster Recovery Database (2-1-1) were major items of discussion during a Richland County Blue Ribbon Committee meeting.

During the May 19 meeting, 10 members of the committee discussed difficulties in reaching some flood victims. Michael King is Richland County disaster recovery chief. He said the county is reaching victims by phone and in-person visits.

A flooded field in rural South Carolina, in October, 2015.
SC Dept. of Agriculture

  This week the South Carolina House and Senate each voted to override Gov. Nikki Haley's veto of a bill to help farmers who suffered losses in the counties that were declared Disaster Areas in October's floods.

The back walk/ bridge at Swan Lake Iris Gardens during the flood of October, 2015.
Swan Lake Iris Gardens

Thousands of people will visit Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter for the 76th Annual Iris Festival. Seven months ago, Sumter’s mayor Joseph McElveen, Jr. wasn’t sure if damages from October’s flood would be fixed in time for the event. McElveen said the collaborative effort of park staff and city leaders helped accomplished what seemed to be a massive reconstruction project.

  The S.C. House of Representatives Tuesday voted to override Gov. Nikki Haley's veto of a $40 million Farm Aid Bill. The bill is to provide state assistance to South Carolina farmers who were hard hit during last fall's major flooding. South Carolina Public Radio's Russ McKinney has more on the House action.

Elliot New
elliotandtheuntouchables.com

  For more than 20 years, Elliott and the Untouchables have been entertaining audiences throughout South Carolina and beyond with traditional and original blues music that jumps and swings. In this report, Elliot New talks about his passion for this “real” music and how he writes his songs. He also demonstrates his homemade “diddley bow,” a primitive instrument early bluesmen made from nails, baling wire and broomsticks. Untouchables bassist J.T. Anderson also comments on what motivates his friend and fellow musician.

The Columbia Fireflies host the Greenville Drive at a recent game at the new Spirit Communications Park in Columbia.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

  Minor league baseball contributes to a community’s quality of life, as well as its economy. And there’s a lot to like. Whether it’s the game itself, the food, the whacky between-innings promotions, or the social aspect, everybody has a favorite thing about baseball, even the people who work every day to put the game on the field. We hear in this report from two broadcasters, a general manager and a team owner about what they think minor league baseball adds to life in South Carolina. One says the stories, one says the opportunity for service.

A view of the United Way’s 2-1-1 Call Center, which handles thousands of calls each month.
Laura Hunsberger/SC Public Radio

  More than seven months after the thousand-year flood, many residents are still struggling to recover from the disaster. This spring, the state selected an organization called Hearts and Hands Disaster Recovery to take on long-term disaster case management. Falon Alo, Executive Director of Hearts and Hands, says disaster case management involves helping flood-affected residents get on a path toward complete recovery.

Church Group Helps South Carolinians Rebuild

May 16, 2016
Alexandra Olgin

Faye Washington is looking forward to moving back home. Her three-bedroom red brick house with yellow trim looks the same from the outside, but the inside is completely new.

Volunteers are drilling nails into drywall and taping together new air ducts. Washington has lived at this home for 56 years.

“This house was built in 1960 and I was born in 1960,” she said.

Washington fled her Georgetown home last October when nearly 12 inches of water seeped in the doors and windows. She said it felt like her house was in a river.

Mussels Survive as Road Crossings are Repaired

May 12, 2016
Obstructed culverts on the east side of Gills Creek Road.
Cooper McKim/SC Public Radio

Below Gills Creek Road in Lancaster County, a stream has stopped flowing. It’s become a pond, stuck behind four metal pipes blocked with branches, garbage, and debris. There's barely any water making its way through to the other side. Cooper McKim speaks with experts on how outdated culverts are impacting both humans and the stream's ecosystem.

A white former North Charleston police officer has been charged with federal civil rights violations for shooting and killing an unarmed black man last year. 

Michael Slager has been indicted with violating Walter Scott’s civil rights. He’s also charged with obstruction of justice for knowingly misleading authorities investigating the incident.

Slager was charged with unlawful use of weapon during the commission of a crime. He also faces a state murder trial scheduled for October. Last fall, North Charleston approved a $6.5 million civil settlement with Scott's family.

Lindsay Langdale surveys the stripped-down lumber supporting her house after required mold remediation had been done.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

In the wake of the devastating flood of October 2015, both Richland County and the city of Columbia are seeking to help victims in the flood plains whose homes were ruined. The city and county are looking for funding to buy the homes of qualified landowners and return the property to green space, never to be developed as housing again. They’ve applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for funding to make the buyouts, which will be completely voluntary. Criteria must be met for homeowners, and the governments themselves must put up a 25% match.

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