Tut Underwood

Rocket, Sand Sculpture part of State Fair Traditions

By Tut Underwood

Near the beginning, a dinosaur begins to emerge from a frame packed with sand.

October brings many things to South Carolina - more football, turning leaves, cooler temps (we hope!).  And one of the fall's most anticipated events is the South Carolina State Fair.  Long-time fairgoers have established many traditions they associate with the fair, but "meeting at the rocket" must be at the top of nearly everyone's list.  The rocket, according to fair General Manager Nancy Smith, is actually a long-range intermediate range ballistic missle built in the 1960s and designed by legendary rocket engineer Wehrner von Braun.  It was named Columbia, and was eventually donated to

SCETV to Premier "By the River" Thursday, Sept. 13

By Tut Underwood

Holly Bounds Jackson and Dr. Caroline Saywer

South Carolina is blessed with gifted writers. To celebrate this gift, a new program, By the River, premieres on ETV Thursday, Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. Produced by ETV and USC-Beaufort, the show will feature in-depth conversations with Palmetto State authors and poets set against the backdrop of the Beaufort River. 

Millenials, Workplace Adjusting to Each Other

By Tut Underwood


As Baby Boomers retire, their children, the Millennial generation, are coming into the workplace, behind the in-between Generation X.  University of South Carolina Sociology Professor Rob Ployhart says millennials differ from their predecessors in some key ways:  they are the first generation to grow up completely in the digital age, and they expect the companies they work for to be technologically savvy.  Certain ideas about millennials picture them as spoiled, self-obsessed techno-nerds that don’t want to work normal hours and need playtime at work, as evidenced by giant tech companies li

South Carolina Offers More Than 400 License Tags

By Tut Underwood

License plate design with MZWendy

Most, if not all, states offer a variety of license tags for automobiles. South Carolina offers more than 400, many to support causes or organizations, from colleges to gold star families, or wildlife and habitats, from trees to turkeys and elk. Some are offered out of support and respect, such as veterans or POWs. Some are more whimsical features of South Carolina culture, like the shag dance, or even Parrotheads, the fanatical followers of Jimmy Buffett.

National Fried Chicken Day? Why Do So Many Love this Southern Delicacy

By Tut Underwood


Friday was a special day for lovers of the Southern diet: National Fried Chicken Day!

Bernie Shealy, owner of Bernie's Chicken in Columbia, says he thinks people love fried chicken because it's comfort food.  

Over at Brookland Baptist Church, known for its weekday buffets that always include its famous fried chicken, Marketing and Public Relations Manager Marnie Robinson believes the crunch of good fried chicken is what makes people say “wow” when they bite into good chicken. 

It’s the crust that gives chicken that crunch, says Shealy.

Kathleen Parker Has National Reach from South Carolina

By Tut Underwood

Kathleen Parker

From her Camden home, Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker can monitor the goings-on around the world by flipping through the TV news channels and keeping an eye glued to her Post, which she reads daily along with the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.  Parker is one of the most widely-syndicated columnists in America, read in more than 400 media outlets twice a week.  Like her colleagues, she started as a newspaper reporter – in her case, in Charleston – and moved through the ranks of various papers until an editor realized she had a voice “and I have difficulty keeping my voice

Electric Cars Making Gradual Inroads

By Tut Underwood

An electric car

Traffic can be pretty noisy, but one component of the nation’s traffic is growing quietly.  The component is the electric car.  Sold by Chevrolet, Nissan, Tesla and other makers, Nissan alone has sold a quarter-million electric vehicles since 2011.    Mac Martin, who sells the electric Leaf model by Nissan, says it’s so quiet the manufacturer actually installed a speaker to project artificial speed-up and slow-down noises so that pedestrians will  be aware of their presence. 

Snakebites May Be On the Rise in South Carolina

By Tut Underwood

The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is found in South Carolina, along with other venomous species.

With the coming of warm weather, more people are getting outdoors.  It’s a great idea – unless you’re bitten by a snake.  The number of snakebite calls to the Palmetto Poison Center has increased the past two years, to about 200 per year.  It’s probably not because more snakes are out there, but more emergency room doctors are calling the center for advice, because they don’t see that many snakebites, says center Director Dr. Jill Michels. 

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.