South Carolina

U.S. Census Bureau

The Census. We've been doing it every 10 years since 1790 –  in part because it's in the Constitution and in part because it's really, really important to know how many of us there are and where we live.

That doesn't mean it's exactly easy to convince people to answer a bunch of personal questions. Jan Smiley, South Carolina partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, says Census takers often have to contend with citizens who are worried about what the bureau wants and what it's going to do with the information it collects.

The short answer, Smiley says, is nothing sinister.

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.

Rick Tap / Unsplash

If you’re getting nervous about the economy based on the coronavirus’ effect on the stock market and on global oil prices, your worries might be premature.

World Health Organization

As of Tuesday, the World Health Organization(WHO) identified 59 cases of COVID-19 in the United States. None are in South Carolina; but the case that has U.S. health officials wary is one from California. It was reported earlier this week and is the first to show up on American soil without being directly traceable to the person affected having any contact with a country or person known to already have it.

As of Thursday, health officials had no idea how the person contracted the illness

The spread of this particular strain of coronavirus has taken whole nations off-guard, and some health officials here in the United States as well. Dr. Melissa Nolan, an epidemiologist at the University of South Carolina, says she did not think COVID-19 would have turned into a global pandemic. But she remains confident that if South Carolina eventually reports cases of the illness (so far, there have been none reported here), the state will be able to handle it.

The U.S. Capitol is a grand achievement of classical architecture. A potential presidential order could make all federal building projects above a certain price be crafted in this same style. That doesn't sit well with several architects.
Heide Kaden/Unsplash

A potential Trump administration plan dubbed “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again” would demand that all federal building projects costing above $50 million be designed in the neoclassical style. The aim is to unify the architectural style of major federal buildings.

But the initiative has drawn the ire of architects around the country.

WalletHub

  

A new study from personal  finance and economics website WalletHub places South Carolina third overall in the level of engagement it sees from African-American voters, making the Palmetto State the most engaged among reliably red states.

While the study found that African-American voters were noticeably more engaged in states that went blue in the 2016 presidential election, black voter engagement here ranked higher than any traditionally blue state.

But it also ranks the state low on how easy it is for black voters to get to the polls at all.

Coronavirus Scare You? Flu Should Scare You More

Feb 4, 2020
CDC

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:

A Peek at South Carolina's New Voting Machines

Jan 14, 2020
Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

The Feb. 29 Democratic presidential primary will be South Carolina's first major test for its new voting machines. Last year, the state invested $51 million on new machines that election officials say are easier to use and more secure than what South Carolinians had been using for years.

A Few Tips for Safer Holidays

Dec 17, 2019
Unsplash, Public Domain

Everybody wants to believe in the kindness of the season this time of year, but it's still smart to keep a somewhat level head about the world. 

On the upside, taking a few precautions to keep your home from being too tempting to would-be crooks can actually make your holidays more enjoyable. 

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.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

You did something when you were younger. Something kind of stupid that got you busted, way way back when you were a different person. And now you can't seem to find a decent place to live or a decent job because of an arrest –  not even a conviction! –  that's still stuck on your record.

The first thing a lot of people in this position think of is a pardon, says Jamie Bell, managing attorney for South Carolina Legal Services' office in Rock Hill. But pardons are hard to come by. A much safer bet is an expungement.

Provided by the Rock Hill Symphony Orchestra

In 2017, a collection of residents, musicians, and at least one globetrotting conductor realized that Rock Hill was the largest city in the Carolinas that did not have its own symphony orchestra – a “cultural asset” that Bob Thompson says is key to a city on the grow.

Thompson, the development associate for the Rock Hill Symphony Orchestra, says that as the city carves a more distinct identity – i.e., as something other than a suburb of Charlotte – the push to expand Rock Hill’s musical culture scene is a major component.

Scott Morgan / South Carolina Public Radio

Doug O'Neal spent 24 years in prison for the murder of a woman police still can't identify. But the evidence against him was so questionable that even the man who helped put him away says he's innocent.

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. 

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?

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