Victoria Hansen

Spoleto 2018 is Officially Underway

By Victoria Hansen

Charleston mayor John Tecklenburg (left) kicks off Spoleto 2018. On a day that is notoriously hot, a refreshing breeze swept down Broad Street in downtown Charleston and a forecast calling for rain seemed to have been delayed. A velvet voice welcomed the crowd with the song, "Carolina" and the bells of St. Michael's Church rang, signally the beginning of the opening ceremony for Spoleto USA 2018. The mayor walked out the doors of city hall, all smiles. It was the perfect day to kick off one of the world's most renowned arts festivals. Spoleto board chair William Medich expressed relief that the weather held out and that festival’s international performers...

Teenage Twins Befriend a World War II Veteran aboard the USS Yorktown

By Victoria Hansen

Teenage Twins Befriend a World War II Veteran aboard the USS YorktownIt's been three years since Carter and Jack Hanson were featured on CBS news for their rare friendship with a World War II veteran who served aboard the USS Yorktown. That's when the network set up a surprise meeting on the ship just outside of Charleston. They had gotten to know Robert Harding through email. It was quite a moment as the three came face to face, and their bond has grown stronger ever since. Now 13 years-old, the twins recently attended the Yorktown's 75th anniversary with their family, celebrating Harding who could not be there. "We have friend whose name is Robert Harding. I...

Charleston Family Cautiously Optimistic; EPA Announces Action on Paint Stripper Chemical

By Victoria Hansen

Drew Wynne's older brothers Brian (left) and Clayton (right) at their mother's home just outside CharlestonHis voice sounds excited, yet hesitant. Brian Wynne has just learned the Environmental Protection Agency will take action on a proposed ban from the Obama administration that would keep a potentially deadly chemical from being used in paint strippers commonly found on store shelves. He met with the EPA chief two days ago, sharing the story of his younger brother from Charleston who died after being exposed to that very chemical, methylene chloride. “This is exactly what we were asking for,” said Brian Wynne. “We’re very encouraged by this development. But at this point we remain cautiously...

Charleston's Tourist Season is in Full Swing in the Spring

By Victoria Hansen

Runners and walkers wait in line for bridge run bibs at Charleston Convention CenterYou know it’s spring in Charleston when the cars are thick with yellow pollen, as well as a colorful array of out of state license plates. Porta- Potties line the streets, novice runners sport bright, new shoes and college kids seeking sun and warmth stretch out behind the beach dunes. Typically, the signs appear in April, alongside two annual events; the Cooper River Bridge Run and the Volvo Car Open. This year, women’s tennis kicked off the unofficial start of tourist season. Beginning March 31, the week- long event formerly known as Family Circle Cup was expected to bring in 90,000...

Charleston Book Club Gives Veterans a Voice

By Victoria Hansen

Kate Hudson leads group discussion for veteran book clubIt’s a Saturday morning and a small group meets at the downtown Charleston County Library, their thick books cracked open to the same page of “The Illiad”, an epic poem recounting the final weeks of the Trojan War. It’s intense reading for 10 a.m. But the ancient story resonates with the young soldiers at the long table. It’s part of their book club for veterans. “He was going to leave town without going to hunt her down and say goodbye,” said the group’s facilitator Kate Hudson. “Why would he do that?” There’s silence. Then, former Marine Lee Gonzalez weighs in. “It possessed him. He wanted...

Firefighter Tries to Save Lives in the Classroom

By Victoria Hansen

Christan Rainey working as a firefighter in North CharlestonWhen Christan Rainey isn't putting out flames and saving lives as a North Charleston firefighter, he's busy warning teens about the potential dangers of dating and domestic violence. The 33 year-old knows such violence all too well. His mother and four siblings were shot to death 11 years ago, by the man his mother had married. "It was a long journey for me, religiously, emotionally, just trying to discover who I was," said Rainey. "Because losing all of my family members, I literally lost my identity, what was I supposed to be doing in life and where was I supposed to be going." He wanted...

Charleston's Chief Resilience Officer Fights Flooding and Sea Level Rise

By Victoria Hansen

Charleston's lower battery wall following Hurricane IrmaMark Wilbert has been the man the city of Charleston has turned to in case of emergencies. He helped people prepare for Hurricanes Matthew and Irma. He was there after 9 parishioners at Mother Emanuel were killed. Last August, he planned for a crowd of thousands in town for the solar eclipse. Now the former city Emergency Management Director has a new job. He's Charleston's first ever Chief Resilience officer. "We're the first city in South Carolina to actually have this position," said Wilbert from his office at the Gaillard Center downtown. So what is a resilience chief? The group, “100...

Walter Scott's Family Hopes Officer Sentencing Sends a Message

By Victoria Hansen

Judy Scott holds a picture of her son WalterIt was a rare sentencing following a string of officer involved, racially charged killings across the nation. Thursday, a federal judge gave former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager 20 years behind bars for killing an unarmed man as he fled a 2015 traffic stop. The crime was caught on witness' cell phone video. Few officers in recent years have been convicted in such killings, much less received a lengthy punishment. Walter Scott's family hopes the sentence sends a strong message to police across the nation. "Stop and think or you could end up 20 years behind bars,"said family...

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