Scott Morgan

Program Opens South Carolina's Rural Housing Market to First (and Second) Time Buyers

By Scott Morgan

02cc0375-ad10-4d91-961f-a2583bd0123fIsn’t it interesting how differently the following two phrases sound: A little house in the country. Affordable rural housing. They’re the same thing, really. But perceptions about life in the country depend almost entirely on whether someone with choices opts to buy a house there or someone without choices tries to buy in. For low-income earners, which rural counties tend to have plenty of, the obstacles to buying a property abound. For one thing, rural markets are usually defined by lack of inventory. Claude Spurlock, who oversees homeownership issues at the South Carolina Housing Finance...

An Upstate Collaborative Chronicles Moral Distress in 'Non-Essential' Healthcare Workers

By Scott Morgan

2f2c0c66-115b-4ce2-a3cd-8b0c3fb57f33The mental health crisis among healthcare workers in the pandemic is, in large part, one of moral crisis. We’ve reported on the emotional toll COVID-19 can take on frontline healthcare workers . But what about the toll it’s taking on professionals at the further reaches of the healthcare continuum? While dentists and physical therapists and massage therapists and the like may be spared the visceral suffering COVID patients experience, they were unflatteringly relabeled as “non-essential” at the beginning of the outbreak. The reason: They had no immediate value in an emergency. At least that’s...

COVID Took Abused Kids Off the Radar. Reopened Schools Are Letting SCDSS Caseworkers Catch Back Up

By Scott Morgan

e6b041cc-679f-4aca-a5c0-7e1dcbd620ffOne of the upsides to having children back in a physical classroom is that the state's child protective services workers can talk to kids again. A lot of them are dealing with abuse or neglect and it's easier to catch up with several of them when they're in one place, away from the people abusing and neglecting them. But while the pandemic might have changed the way social workers approach their cases, it hasn't stopped the kinds of cases the South Carolina Department of Social Services sees. In this report, hear from workers from SCDSS's child protective and adult advocacy arms. And if you...

A Counter Protest from History and the Rebirth of a Fabled Rock Hill Restaurant

By Scott Morgan

4fa74601-aada-41d3-ab14-275f1f06c920One could make much of the timing of Chef Rob Masone’s next big food venture, seeing that it just happens to intersect with a moment that’s brought us both a pandemic and a major conversation about the meaning and breadth of race and racism in the United States. The moment is not lost on Masone, even if he didn’t intend for the project to be quite this meaningful. When he set out in earnest last year to refurbish and reopen what used to be McCrory’s restaurant, he mostly just wanted to reopen the doors to a Rock Hill landmark that’s been gathering dust for a while now. Being a Rock Hill...

Sports Proving a Valuable Buoy For Rock Hill in the Pandemic

By Scott Morgan

Rock Hill Sports and Events CenterRock Hill’s shiny new Sports & Event Center was all set to be a big deal. It was just slated to open at a colossally unfortunate time – March, 2020. To be fair, it did open, briefly. There was a soft launch; a few events happened. But the city’s newest economic driver, a facility humming with revenue-raking sports and contests, ringed by businesses and restaurants poised to make a killing, never got its hoopla-launch. COVID-19 shut the center’s doors for two months, before it even had a chance to prop them open. Roll the clock forward to July and the city reopened the site for some...

It's Not About Superheroes: The Very Human Toll COVID Takes on Frontline Healthcare Workers

By Scott Morgan

4d799e2c-ec32-4823-8cfa-065c42254ac8A lot of people see frontline healthcare workers as heroes in the coronavirus pandemic. That might actually be kind of a problem. “You hear about them being superheroes, and that’s nice, but they are people,” says Pamela Wright, an ER nurse and researcher at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. “They do need a helping hand from time to time. They do need someone not just to say, ‘You’re a superhero' and then ignore them. They do need interaction, they do need people.” Wright is talking about the mental and emotional toll that being on the frontlines of a pandemic can take on...

What an Ebola Nurse's Experiences Can Teach Us About Healthcare Workers' Mental Health in a Pandemic

By Scott Morgan

man dressed in scrubs standing in front of ambulanceCheedy Jaja grew up in Sierra Leone. He came to the United States to study medicine and became a nurse practitioner. So it’s not much of a stretch to see what drew him back to Sierra Leone when the Ebola crisis broke out in 2014. He felt a call to go home and help. He wasn’t prepared for the things he saw. What Jaja took from his time as a frontline clinician during last decade’s Ebola crisis is startlingly translatable to what’s happening with COVID-19’s frontline workers – the frustrations, the sense of dread, the worry among healthcare workers about how effectively they are doing their...

SC's Voters with Disabilities May Face a Dire Choice (And Not Just Who To Vote For)

By Scott Morgan

handicap rampVoters with disabilities have always faced a lot of obstacles, but they’ve also always had a choice – voting absentee. Now, a combination of the coronavirus pandemic and the politicization of the U.S. Postal Service is forcing a different kind of choice onto disabled voters – do they risk going out among people to vote during a pandemic or risk having their votes not count? For voters like Brad Morris of Rock Hill, it’s a big risk. “Because of my disabilities, I have trouble breathing,” Morris says. “If I were to get COVID-19, I expect to die.” While a disability does not necessarily make a...

Ladies – And Now Gentlemen – Take Their Seats at Converse College

By Scott Morgan

8a5e2507-f61d-474e-b510-5d1dd60e48f7The coronavirus sent everyone at Converse College in Spartanburg packing early in the spring. Graduating seniors barely had time to say their good-byes before the campus shut down and restructured. As the college reopens to residents this week, it brings a few changes, and not just in the COVID-19 protocols. For the first time, male freshmen are moving in as well. Converse, one of the last all-female colleges in South Carolina, decided that the fall of 2021 would be when it would go coed. But, as it has for a lot of things, the coronavirus pandemic has moved a few things around. Hear from...

Are Female Cops the Answer We're Looking For?

By Scott Morgan

edff0bbe-28f6-438c-9de4-a7dd270eeee6Right now, around the country, communities are asking hard questions about the role of police – does policing need an overhaul? How can officers better serve communities? And how can departments ratchet down tensions that can lead to aggression by and against police officers? Well before the flashpoint that was the George Floyd incident, scholars and social reformers were posing an answer to questions like these: female officers. In the ocean of academic research into police misconduct and aggression, a common finding is that female police officers are much less likely to be at the center of...

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