Tut Underwood

FEMA Grants Still Helping Repair Flood-damaged Sewers

By Tut Underwood

A freshly buried sewer line parallels Gills Creek in Forest Acres.

The aftermath of the October 2015 flood continues to occupy the business of many people and agencies in South Carolina, such as the East Richland County Public Service District (ERCPSD), which operates the sewer system for a section of the county heavily damaged by the flood.  ERCPSD Deputy Director Ed Schooler said the flood changed the route of the system’s pipes, knocking many right out of the ground. 

Bluegrass Music is a South Carolina Tradition

By Tut Underwood

The mandolin is a central of many Bluegrass groups.

Bluegrass music has always been popular in South Carolina, but Willie Wells thinks it’s about to break out to a new, mass popularity.  Every Friday night, Wells holds a bluegrass jam at his store, Bill’s Music Shop and Pickin’ Parlor.  Fans and musicians enjoy a performance before getting out their guitars, banjos and fiddles to play country, gospel and bluegrass tunes with each other. 

South Carolina's Excellent Drinking Water is Product of Diligence, Dedication

By Tut Underwood

file photo of water pouring into a drinking glass

May 6-12 is national Drinking Water Week, a time to appreciate the high quality water found throughout most of the Palmetto State.  Jennifer Satterthwaite, communications coordinator for the Columbia Water Works, says while the city has two excellent sources of water, Lake Murray and the Columbia Canal, many people don’t realize that what they use on land, such as use certain fertilizers, automobile oil or pet waste, can find its way via stormwater runoff  into the water supply.  Fortunately, Water Works Superintendent Clint Shealy says the city does more than it’s required to to keep its w

Elder Law Aims to Protect Senior Citizens, those with Special Needs

By Tut Underwood

Healthcare Power of Attorney illustration

May is National Elder Law Month, a time lawyers endeavor to spread the word that their specialty provides legal advocacy, guidance, and services to enhance the lives of seniors and people with disabilities. Columbia elder law attorney Lauren Wasson says there are three basic financial documents that should be in place for every senior citizen: a will, a durable power of attorney and a health care power of attorney, which assigns a trusted person to speak for the elderly client if he/she is unable to speak for him/herself.

Sexual Assault Fought in S.C. with Education, Reporting

By Tut Underwood

This T-shirt was on display during a Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month event

The instance of sexual assault in the United States is growing at a rate that would surprise, even alarm, many people.  According to Shannon Nix, associate director of sexual assault and violence intervention and prevention at the University of South Carolina, one in four women - and one in six men – will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives.   This high number doesn’t mean more assaults are happening, however.  Nix said it seems that way because more people are reporting it. 

Daring, WWII "Doolittle Raid" Began in Columbia

By Tut Underwood

USS HORNET of an Army B-25 on its way to take part in first U.S. air raid on Japan. Doolittle Raid, April 1942.

76 years ago (April 18 1942) 80 brave men did what had never been attempted: they flew army bombers off a U.S. aircraft carrier on their way to bomb Tokyo.  The attack, which has become known to history as the Doolittle Raid, was America’s first strike back at Japan after the infamous sneak attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II.  In this report, Mount Pleasant author James Scott talks about the significance of the raid to the war, and its great psychological effect both on the American and Japanese publics. 

Singers Vie to Perform National Anthem at Ball Games

By Tut Underwood

American Flag

"The Star Spangled Banner" is one of the most familiar songs in the United States, and rightly so, since our national anthem is sung or played at so many events, particularly sporting events.  And with so many ball games and other events, there are many opportunities for people to sing or play the anthem.  Each spring, the Columbia Fireflies minor league baseball team holds auditions for people to have a chance to share their musical talents with the public at a Fireflies game during the season.  This week we talk with  - and listen to – a few of the musicians who tried out for the 60-somet

Cell Phones Smuggled into Prisons Pose a State - and National - Problem

By Tut Underwood

Thousands of cells phones are smuggled into South Carolina prisons every year.

Thousands of cell phones are smuggled into South Carolina’s prisons, and those of other states, each year.  This is probably the worst kind of contraband to be smuggled in, say officials, because they are being used to continue some convicts’ careers of crime from behind prison walls.  Murders, drug deals and all kinds of scams are planned and executed from within prisons with these phones, says state Dept. of Corrections Director Brian Stirling.  

State at a Standstill for Method of Executing Condemned Criminals

By Tut Underwood

an electric chair

South Carolina has two methods of executing condemned criminals:  lethal injection and electrocution.  But because convicted prisoners are allowed to choose between them, almost all will choose lethal injection (the last electrocution in the state was in 2008).  This presents a problem, according to Brian Stirling, director of the state Department of Corrections.  The state has run out of the drugs used for lethal injections, and the manufacturers refuse to sell the state more for fear of backlash, because the state has no law to shield the companies’ names from public disclosure.  Thus, if

Cat Cafes Provide Fun, Therapy for Patrons, Homes for Needy Cats

By Tut Underwood

Emily Hughes cuddles with one of the  two-to-three dozen friendly felines to be found at the cat cafe in West Columbia.

Cats are beloved pets by millions, but many people can’t have them because they live where pets aren’t allowed or are subject to other restrictions. However, over the last decade,  a national phenomenon has sprung up to help cat-less cat lovers get their feline fixes: the cat café.  Andres Ortega has opened a cat café in West Columbia, and there are similar cafes in Greenville and Charleston. 

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