SC Features

Poison Ivy is a Year-Round Threat of Misery

By Tut Underwood

A three-left cluster is an easy way to spot poison ivy.

Poison ivy is a common plant in South Carolina that can make people miserable for weeks.  Naturalist Rudy Mancke said the vine can both grow on the ground and can climb trees, which it likes to do.  The itch and rash poison ivy (and its cousins, poison oak and the rarer poison sumac) produces can last for two to four weeks, according to University of South Carolina allergist Dr. David Amrol.  He says it sometimes can be tricky to detect the rash’s source, because it doesn’t show up for at least 12 hours, and sometimes four or five days. 

USC's International House Aims to Build Careers, Cultural Understanding

By Tut Underwood

Students from Oman, the United States and Italy share an Omani dinner at the University of South Carolina's International House.

The halls of the University of South Carolina’s Maxcy College reflect the voices not only of many students, but of many languages.  Maxcy houses the University’s International House, a living-learning experience for approximately 200 American and international students.  The students derive many benefits from life in International House, from culinary and cultural events to speakers and grant and research opportunities.  Faculty principle Dr.

Science Project Became Business, Partnership with Walmart for Columbia Family

By Tut Underwood

David Jones inspects a ball half as it comes off the conveyor belt at the Stee-rike 3 plant in Columbia.

David Jones and his son Brantley are baseball fans.  Brantley played as a youngster, and was so enthusiastic about batting practice that his older brother, who didn’t like the game, was forced by circumstance to invent a pitching machine so he wouldn’t have to pitch to his brother for hours every day.  That machine, created as a school science project when he was only 11, and Brantley just 9, became the foundation for a business. 

Massive, Seldom-Staged Bernstein Work Comes to SC

By Bradley Fuller

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With musical influences as diverse as jazz, Broadway, rock, and the liturgy of the Catholic Church, Leonard Bernstein’s MASS: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers is a work that demands versatility from its scores of performers. The range of music genres in Mass, along with the difficulties of coordinating the variety of performing groups for which it calls, make staging the work a seldom-pursued challenge.

Chimney Sweeping an Old Profession Still Relevant in the 21st Century

By Tut Underwood

Modern chimney sweeps use high-tech equipment to keep chimneys and homes safe and clean.

Where the old image of the chimney sweep is a skinny guy with a big brush covered with grime and soot, the modern chimney sweep is much cleaner and uses high tech equipment in the 21st century, according to two Columbia sweeps.  There are about 30 chimney sweeps in the state, and they keep busy.   Sweep Drew Stein says dense plastic rods with brushes now are inserted into chimneys and spun with a drill to clean soot and creosote – a flammable byproduct of burning wood – from chimneys, which prevents dangerous chimney fires. 

Blue Cheese and Indian Legend Mark Two S.C. Mountain Attractions

By Tut Underwood

Issaqueena Falls.

The Blue Ridge Mountains of South Carolina are full of stories, both historic and legendary. The history of Clemson Blue Cheese began in Stumphouse Tunnel. The tunnel is near another popular tourist destination in Oconee County, Issaqueena Falls, named after a legendary Native American princess.

USC Aiken Concert Showcases SC Composer's Works, Family Music-Making

By Bradley Fuller

SC composer Richard Maltz and his son, the Vienna-based pianist Daniel Adam Maltz

Like father, like son.

SC composer Richard Maltz thrives on linking family relationships to his passion for creating music. His son, the Vienna-based pianist Daniel Adam Maltz, isn’t so different. Daniel will give the premiere performance of his father’s piano concerto on Thursday, February 8th, at the USC Aiken Etherredge Center.  The concerto, along with Richard’s Symphony No. 2, “Fraternal,” is part of a program entitled Mostly Maltz: Classicism Revisited.

Narrative: A Songwriter's Musical Upbringing

By Laura Hunsberger

Musician and songwriter Jack "Jackie" Jeffords and his son Jason Jeffords, Columbia 2016

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, an oral history project where friends and loved ones interview each other. At the StoryCorps mobile booth in Columbia in 2016, Jason Jeffords talked with his father Jackie Jeffords about his life as a musician and songwriter. Here, Jackie describes his musical childhood in a family with eight brothers and sisters.

West Columbia Man Brings the Spirit of Christmas Alive as Santa Claus

By Tut Underwood

Arthur Erskine of West Columbia and friend.

Most men don’t frequent beauty parlors, but Arthur “Cotton” Erskine of West Columbia visits his every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas to prepare his hair and long beard for a role he’s portrayed for years: Santa Claus.  “Santa Cotton,” as he is known, becomes the Jolly Old Elf for events such as Christmas parades, private photo sessions and store appearances, sometimes with as many as six appointments a day.  He is “Ho Ho” to his grandchildren, and here he discusses the fun of  dealing with children, and the unusual requests they sometimes have of Santa.  Erskine’s hairdresser and the co

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