November 28, 2014

Small plane crash in Hampton County

Hampton County emergency crews responded  to the scene of a small aircraft crash that occurred close to a landing strip in the town of Varnville.

Crews from the Hampton County Fire Department and EMS were on scene. Four people were on board the plane at the time, according to first responders. The Hampton County Sheriff’s Office told WSAV-TV that all four were transported to a nearby hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

According to police scanners, the plane went down in a wooded area east of the landing strip near Walterboro Highway. No other information on the plane or what caused it to go down was immediately available.

FAA investigators have been called out to investigate.

Varnville is a town of roughly 2,100 people located in the state’s southern corner. It is located about 65 miles north of Savannah and 40 miles northwest of Beaufort.

New pilot program will allow inmates to video visit with family

South Carolina’s prisons agency will begin allowing inmates at some facilities to conduct video visits with family members.

The Charleston Post and Courier’s Cynthia Roldan reports the pilot program at the Broad River Correctional Institution and the Graham Correctional Institution in Columbia will allow inmates to talk to family members via video link with the Coastal Pre-Release Center in Charleston. No timeline is set to launch the program at this point.

Corrections Department Director Bryan Stirling says video visitation will make it easier for family members to see relatives in prison, since those families would otherwise have to travel to Columbia for visits. Several county jails in South Carolina, such as Horry and Lexington counties, are already using video-only visits. But Stirling said families will still be able to visit the state prisons in person, if they wish.

The Corrections Department said it will work with the University of South Carolina to see if inmates with a support system such as video conferences fare better once they are released.

Four kiosks have been installed in the three prisons involved with the program. Visitors will be allowed five free 45-minute chats. After that, the chats will cost visitors $10 each, and visitations must be scheduled online.

2016 GOP presidential hopefuls already focusing on South Carolina

Stack of SC GOP bumper stickersThe 2014 midterm elections are only about a month old, but already potential presidential candidates are posturing to get their names out there for the 2016 campaign.

With the GOP winning majorities in both the House and Senate, Republican hopefuls see a solid opportunity to take back the White House as President Obama finishes his second term. Clemson University Political Science professor Dave Woodard says the GOP could have as many as 22 candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination. That list includes South Carolina’s own U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who views himself as a person who can work with Democrats in the mold of fellow Republican, Senate colleague and friend Arizona’s Sen. John McCain.

“He has mentioned in the press that he thinks he is the heir to the McCain legacy and he wants to run,” Woodard said. “He thinks he is the one to quote “get something done in Washington by reaching across the aisle.”

In an October interview published in the conservative Weekly Standard, Graham said that if he were re-elected to the U.S. Senate, he would begin exploring a run for the White House.

South Carolina’s ‘First in the South’ Republican Presidential Primary is tentatively scheduled for February 13, 2016. But Woodard says a parade of potential candidates have already descended on the Palmetto State in the last few months.

“We have already had Ted Cruz here at Clemson, Marco Rubio has appeared in Anderson, Rand Paul has been in Rock Hill, and Chris Christie has been in the state,” he said. “That is four and I think we will see some more.”

Woodard says he has the feeling that voters will see a great deal of the GOP presidential hopefuls before the primary in 2016 and because she is viewed in some Republican circles as a rising star, one of those candidates could be our present governor.

“Nikki Haley has been mentioned by some of the political commentators on TV. I think we will just have to wait and see. But we are going to see a whole passel load of candidates, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, who visited the state recently.”

But South Carolina residents will have plenty of chances in the future to hear a potential presidential nominee, he said. “As I tell my friends, get together with your neighbors and start a barbecue because you can probably get a presidential candidate to visit you.”

New campaign to stress economic benefit of recycling

A statewide campaign is gearing up to promote the economic and environmental benefits of recycling.

The public-private effort known as RecycleMoreSC is a call to action challenging residents, businesses, organizations and local governments to do their part to recycle more.

Richard Chesley, a manager in the DHEC Office of Solid Waste said a study released this past spring by the College of Charleston shows that recycling has a $13 million impact on the state’s economy. Chesley said the campaign’s goal is to reach a 40 percent recycling rate by the year 2020.

“We have two of the state’s largest recycling in Sonoco and Pratt that need material,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “And this campaign that we’re putting together is aimed at recovering more material.”

Along with DHEC, Pratt Industries and Sonoco Recycling, the campaign includes the South Carolina Beverage Association, Palmetto Pride, and the State Department of Commerce.

Chesley said more than 50,000 direct and indirect jobs are associated with the recycling industry and more and more consumers are beginning to realize that recycling is a good practice not only for the environment, but also for the present and future economic climate of the state.

DHEC promotes recycling as a three-step process that begins and ends with each consumer. Chesley said the first step is for consumers to practice recycling at home and at the workplace. “The second step is this material gets processed into new raw materials and then are made into new products,” he added. “The third step is for each of us to buy, when feasible and practical, recycle content products.”

Chesley said recycling, like any other business enterprise, is market-driven, which means that some materials have significantly more value than others.

“Glass is very heavy and very corrosive on recycling equipment, and also expensive to move. Plastic is light and has very little value, so you have to have a lot of it to have any value at all and to move it. The flip side of that is that aluminum, newspaper, office paper, and cardboard have high value.”

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Plan to move aging sub to Tennessee has support, but is it enough?

The U.S.S. Clamagore has been closed to the public for more than two years

The U.S.S. Clamagore has been closed to the public for more than two years (Image: Patriots Point)

A group hoping to move a Cold War-era submarine from the Charleston Harbor to Tennessee is racing against the clock before the aging sub is either sunk to form a reef or is scrapped.

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant revealed back in 2012 that it could no longer afford to maintain the submarine USS Clamagore. The museum had originally planned to scuttle the vehicle off the Florida coast, but has pushed back the date to give preservation groups enough time to find a new home and enough resources to maintain the 69-year-old vessel.

The organization “Friends of the Clamagore” is working on a last-ditch, longshot effort to bring the sub to Knoxville as part of a new museum. But they face a tall order: the ship needs approximately $5 million in repairs, a new location to dock it, a long-term operating plan, and a way to transport the 311-foot vessel from the Cooper River to the Tennessee River more than 400 land-miles away.

The group’s organizer Josh Richardson said they have cleared the first step: getting the support of local leaders. He presented a letter from Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett expressing support for the project.

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