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Saving Trinity, Part III

The Decades Astonish & Steal

By Tom Poland

Author’s Note: This three-part story portrays a church in danger of collapsing and the people who love it. France’s Gothic cathedrals inspired architect George Walker’s design for Abbeville’s Trinity Episcopal Church. The church contains rare 19th-century American stained glass and a chancel window attributed to William Gibson, America’s father of stained glass painting. A rare John Baker “tracker” organ was in use for a while. Among Trinity’s illustrious members and clergy were Rev. William Porcher DuBose, founder of the University of the South’s School of Theology, John A. Calhoun, nephew of U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun, and Armistead Burt, former Speaker of the House in the U.S. Congress. The outlook is bleak, but determined people are fighting to save this treasure of a church. If you’d like to donate to Friends of Trinity Abbeville visit http://friendsoftrinityabbeville.org/donate-now/

May in a door now closed (Photo by Bill Fitzpatrick)

A notice on the front door warns that you look at the church at your own risk. The church stands empty. Closed. Nothing new. Trinity Episcopal closed during the Great Depression. “When my mother and aunt came back here to live in retirement, they tried other churches and it just didn’t work,” said May. “So, they got some friends who had grown up in the church with them and reopened the church. The first service was on November 1, 1948.”

October marks the 175th anniversary of the church’s founding but all these years later no singing, no praying, nothing takes place in the church. The hammering of woodpeckers shatters the silence.

What needs to be done? A lot. The first thing the church needs is to stabilize its steeple. “It’s hanging by a thread,” says Jean. May said the church steeple is a bird condominium. “One day an owl came to church. Another day a squirrel came to Sunday service. As the squirrel walked down the aisle, as all the ladies drew their feet up, the preacher stopped his sermon and blessed it.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Saving Trinity, Part II

The Decades Astonish & Steal

By Tom Poland

Author’s Note: This three-part story portrays a church in danger of collapsing and the people who love it. France’s Gothic cathedrals inspired architect George Walker’s design for Abbeville’s Trinity Episcopal Church. The church contains rare 19th-century American stained glass and a chancel window attributed to William Gibson, America’s father of stained glass painting. A rare John Baker “tracker” organ was in use for a while. Among Trinity’s illustrious members and clergy were Rev. William Porcher DuBose, founder of the University of the South’s School of Theology, John A. Calhoun, nephew of U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun, and Armistead Burt, former Speaker of the House in the U.S. Congress. The outlook is bleak, but determined people are fighting to save this treasure of a church. If you’d like to donate to Friends of Trinity Abbeville visit http://friendsoftrinityabbeville.org/donate-now/

May’s home (Photo by Bill Fitzpatrick)

Owing to the need to save money for their daughters’ college tuition, it took May and her husband fifteen years to move to Abbeville After her mother died. That was in 1977. “We came and never looked back,” she said. Her husband took early retirement and she quit teaching first grade. “No more,” she said, but more was in store. A school in the country urgently needed a teacher. “I pitched in and ended up teaching four more years, but that gave me four more years of retirement money.”

She never said so but May went from loathing to loving this old home. Like the sequoia out front, the home’s roots run deeply. The site where she lives has had two homes on it. J. Foster Marshall, who died at the Battle of Second Manassas, built the first house, which burned in 1880. The present house rose from its ashes. Among its features: a staircase with steps crafted from pine strips flanking black walnut, a musket over a fireplace, a stout sideboard graced by crystal, and a 2014 Stewardship Award from South Carolina Historic Preservation for the Preservation and Maintenance of Robertson-Hutchinson House and Documents.  Read the rest of this entry »

Saving Trinity, Part I

The Decades Astonish & Steal

By Tom Poland

Author’s Note: This three-part story portrays a church in danger of collapsing and the people who love it. France’s Gothic cathedrals inspired architect George Walker’s design for Abbeville’s Trinity Episcopal Church. The church contains rare 19th-century American stained glass and a chancel window attributed to William Gibson, America’s father of stained glass painting. A rare John Baker “tracker” organ was in use for a while. Among Trinity’s illustrious members and clergy were Rev. William Porcher DuBose, founder of the University of the South’s School of Theology, John A. Calhoun, nephew of U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun, and Armistead Burt, former Speaker of the House in the U.S. Congress. The outlook is bleak, but determined people are fighting to save this treasure of a church. If you’d like to donate to Friends of Trinity Abbeville visit http://friendsoftrinityabbeville.org/donate-now/

May, but don’t call her Miss May (Photo by Bill Fitzpatrick)

August 31. Rain from Harvey’s remnants made the driving tough along Highway 34. The wipers met out a metronome-like beat as log truck after log truck slung sheets of water across my windshield, a clattering collision of water against glass. My destination? Abbeville, South Carolina to meet photographer-writer-historian Bill “Big Sky” Fitzpatrick. A gusty, gray rain seemed fitting for a mission to see who and what might halt the crumbling of historic Trinity Episcopal Church.

I met Bill at the Belmont Inn and we made our way to the home of a woman who understands the importance of saving landmarks. May Robertson Baskin Hutchinson. Later May, daughter, Jean Robertson Hutchinson, and Bill and I would walk the grounds at a church, beautiful still, but crying for salvation.

May, Abbeville’s matriarch, turned 95 April 5. Her 95th birthday raised $11,000 for Trinity Episcopal Church. “Seems like the whole town came,” said May. “It was amazing.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Kevin Harvick Clinches Championship 4 Berth With Texas Win; Martin Truex Jr. Advances Based On Points

By Hunter Thomas, TheFourthTurn.com

FORT WORTH, Tex. – Kevin Harvick chased down and passed Martin Truex Jr. on Sunday to win the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway and clinch a spot in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

With just 10 laps to go, Martin Truex Jr. slipped a little exiting Turn 2, and that hiccup allowed Kevin Harvick in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Mobile 1 Ford to complete the race-winning pass as he went around the Furniture Row Racing driver on the outside. Harivck led 38 laps during the race, and the win marked his first at Texas Motor Speedway in 30 starts at the 1.5-mile track.

“Today we had to earn it,” said Harvick in Victory Lane. “To be able to pass the 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) car for the win is something that is huge for our confidence and team knowing we need to go to another 1.5 mile at Homestead to race for the championship. I am really proud of everyone on our Mobil 1 Ford. This thing was a hot rod today.”

Although Truex Jr. hung on for a second-place finish, he clinched a spot in the Championship 4 on Sunday based on points. Truex Jr., the driver of the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Toyota Camry has such a large lead over the cutoff position that no matter where he finishes at Phoenix International Raceway next weekend, he will compete for the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He joins Martinsville winner Kyle Busch and Harvick in the Championship 4.  Read the rest of this entry »

The play’s the thing: Three SC theaters connect communities to stage with contemporary, creative works

EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS PACKAGE CONTAINS PHOTOS, AN INFOGRAPHIC AND OUTSIDE LINKS TO THE THEATERS’ SITES. TO VIEW AND DOWNLOAD THESE MATERIALS, VISIT THE CAROLINA  REPORTER & NEWS.

By Debbie Clark
CAROLINA REPORTER AND NEWS

When Jim and Kay Thigpen founded Columbia’s Trustus Theatre 33 years ago, they had the radical notion that the city was hungry for contemporary theater. They were right.

Now, Trustus and other playhouses across the state provide settings where theatergoers can settle in to be challenged, informed and sometimes shocked, into thinking of critical issues of the day.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Ran As Hard As He Could In Final Race At Talladega Superspeedway

By: Sarah Sedwick/TheFourthTurn.com

TALLADEGA, Ala. – After what he called a lucky day, Dale Earnhardt Jr. managed to avoid several accidents to finish seventh during his last race at Talladega Superspeedway, a track that has been synonymous with the Earnhardt family.

Sunday’s Alabama 500 marked the first time Earnhardt Jr., driver of Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Mountain Dew Chevrolet, started on the pole in 35 starts at Talladega Superspeedway. During qualifying on Saturday, Earnhardt Jr. reached a top speed of 190.544, which held off Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 24 NAPA Chevrolet by .035 seconds.

Earnhardt Jr. has had a thriving record at Talladega Superspeedway throughout his career. In the early 2000s, he won five races, which included two in the 2002 season. Earnhardt Jr.’s total wins then rose to six in 2015, marking Talladega Superspeedway as holding the most wins of his career at a single track. He holds 12 Top-5 finishes and 17 Top-10 finishes at the track. Overall, he has led 967 total laps at Talladega Superspeedway.

“I just wanted to come in here and be considered talented, but to be great at anything was beyond my imagination,” said Earnhardt Jr. “I appreciate people’s compliments on my plate driving and the success we’ve had at all the plate races.”

Throughout Sunday’s race, Earnhardt Jr. led a total of seven laps. Earnhardt Jr. also received two penalties; one for pitting before pit road was open, right after a major wreck on lap 26, and the other for speeding while entering pit road on lap 52.

As if dealing with penalties weren’t enough, Earnhardt Jr. narrowly escaped four accidents, all in Turn 3.  Read the rest of this entry »

South Carolina State Fair brings stampede of cattle competitors to Columbia

By Delaney McPherson
THE CAROLINA REPORTER AND NEWS

Hundreds of ranchers from across the state flocked to the fairgrounds to show their cattle, horses and other livestock in competition as the South Carolina State Fair opened Wednesday morning.

Beth Rogers points out which cows are Guernseys and which are Holsteins. Her cows compete under two farm names, Twin Ridge and Double Ridge, depending on which breed they are.

The fair has categories for dairy cattle, junior dairy cattle, beef cattle, junior beef cattle and junior beef showmanship, as well as other competitions featuring animals from horses to rabbits. The cows are judged on their demeanor, body frame and shape, and in the case of dairy cows, their ability to give milk.

Beth Rogers and her husband own Double Ridge and Twins Ridge farms where they raise dairy cows for their twin granddaughters to show. While this year they brought one cow to the fair to sell, the real joy in raising livestock is the opportunity to show the cows.

“The girls wanted to get involved because they loved 4-H, they got involved in the 4-H program and then next thing you know they had rabbits. Next thing you know they wanted a cow so, we just enjoy it,” Rogers said. In addition to the one cow they are selling, the Rogers family brought 10 cows total to the State Fair.

For Tim Tinsley, a man who has spent his life working and traveling with cows, showing them is a family affair. He started raising and showing cows through the Clemson 4-H program, which teaches youths how to raise and care for livestock, and he has passed that experience on to his children.  Read the rest of this entry »

Bright lights, sweet confections as the South Carolina State Fair opens

By Caroline Davenport
CAROLINA REPORTER & NEWS

Jason Burroughs and Chasity Lynch are excited for the fair crowd to visit their newly renovated trailer and taste the freshly prepared candy apples, caramel corn, cotton candy and lemonade.

Gate attendant Pat Roberts directs workers and vehicles through the State Fair gate in front of the rocket during preparation week. She said it will close Wednesday morning when visitors are allowed to enter the park.

A fair worker inspects this roller coaster, making sure everything is bolted down and ready to run smoothly for opening day Wednesday.

The gates of the fair grounds opened Wednesday for the 148th South Carolina State Fair. For South Carolinians, the fair marks autumn’s arrival even as temperatures hover in the high 80s. The fair hosts exhibitions from every county in the state, but it’s not unlikely to bump into people from all across the country and world.

“When you see it at night, it’s really pretty lit up,” said Chasity Lynch, who runs a candy cart with husband Jason Burroughs.  They travel year round with Stuart Confections Inc. This is the couple’s first time at the South Carolina State Fair.

“We love what we do… we make some of the best product on the Midways,” Burroughs said. He has worked with the company for 20 years and said the boss’s caramel recipe is award-winning and hasn’t ever been shared with anyone.

Lynch and Burroughs are looking forward to serving the South Carolina crowd in their newly renovated trailer. “I hear it’s going to be shoulder-to-shoulder and we’re going to be packed at all four windows on both of our wagons, so I’m looking forward to it,” said Burroughs.

The couple arrived Monday and completed setup only three hours later. They have another candy wagon yards away, and a location in Virginia selling anything from daiquiris to pizza. Not only do they have an impressive setup record, they sell a lot of candy apples on the average weekend. “We sell anywhere from 300-500 bags of cotton candy, and 40 bushels of apples, so it could be around 3,500 per day,” said Lynch.

The customers are what make the job most rewarding, and both Lynch and Burroughs say giving away treats to the children brightens their day. “I have a lot of fun working here, but the best thing in the world is handing a little kid their candy apple or bag of cotton candy and seeing that smile, because it just lights their face up,” said Lynch.

Burroughs also recalls a recent stop in Virginia when he was carrying a cart of apples away during shutdown. “I see this little boy crying because he really wanted a candy apple, and I’m towing a wagon with three racks of apples on it, so I said ‘here you go, bud.’ You know what, that’s what I live for. To see that little kid just light up. I love it,” he said. 

South Carolina’s Jeremy Clements Captures Shocking Win at Road America; Enters Darlington Raceway with Playoff Berth

By: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – It took Spartanburg, South Carolina’s Jeremy Clements 256 races to finally win in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, and on Sunday in the Johnsonville 180 at Road America, he did so while piloting a car that was built in 2008.

Clements, who competes for his family-owned team on a shoestring budget, chased down Joe Gibbs Racing’s Matt Tifft in the closing laps of the Johnsonville 180 to challenge for the race lead. Driving the No. 51 RepairableVehicles.com Chevrolet, Clements dove underneath Tifft in Turn 14 with the white flag in sight; however, the 32-year-old South Carolinian lost control and spun, collecting Tifft. Both drivers were able to get their cars pointed in the right direction and continue, but it was Clements who had an enormous lead with just a lap to go.

“I got in there and got loose up under him (Matt Tifft) trying to keep off of him,” Clements said in Victory Lane. “I’m very sorry to Matt. I definitely didn’t mean to wreck him, but I definitely had the better car in my opinion, but hats off to those guys. That’s a Gibbs team, that’s the best. To be faster than them was pretty dang cool!”

In the end, Clements took the checkered flag and pulled off the upset. Finishing behind him was Michael Annett, Matt Tifft, Justin Marks and Brendan Gaughan. Clements only led 10 laps throughout the afternoon. Prior to Sunday’s race in Wisconsin, Clements’ best-ever finish in the NASCAR XFINITY Series was a fourth-place effort that he captured at Talladega Superspeedway last year. In fact, Sunday’s win only marks his second-career top-five finish. He has been racing in the series since 2003, but he didn’t start competing on a full-time basis until the 2011 season.  Read the rest of this entry »

Total Eclipse, Easley

Photo by Kasie Strickland | The Sentinel-Progress

Photo by Kasie Strickland | The Sentinel-Progress

Total Eclipse, Easley

Photo by Kasie Strickland | The Sentinel-Progress

Photo by Kasie Strickland | The Sentinel-Progress

Total Eclipse, Easley

Photo by Kasie Strickland | The Sentinel-Progress

Photo by Kasie Strickland | The Sentinel-Progress

Total Eclipse, Easley

Photo by Kasie Strickland | The Sentinel-Progress

Photo by Kasie Strickland | The Sentinel-Progress

Total Eclipse, Easley

Photo by Kasie Strickland | The Sentinel-Progress

Photo by Kasie Strickland | The Sentinel-Progress

Total Eclipse, Columbia

Onlookers watch the eclipse during totality, the only time it can be viewed without special glasses. Onlookers are participants of the NSTAR physics conference at University of South Carolina in Columbia. Physicists came from all over the world to share information and view the eclipse on campus. Photo by Denise McGill

Onlookers watch the eclipse during totality, the only time it can be viewed without special glasses. Onlookers are participants of the NSTAR physics conference at University of South Carolina in Columbia. Physicists came from all over the world to share information and view the eclipse on campus. Photo by Denise McGill

Total Eclipse, Columbia

View of total solar eclipse in Columbia, S.C., on August 21, 2017. Photo by Alexandria Cone and Denise McGill

View of total solar eclipse in Columbia, S.C., on August 21, 2017. Photo by Alexandria Cone and Denise McGill

Total Eclipse, Columbia

Early view of partial eclipse Columbia, S.C., on August 21, 2017. Image taken through a long lens with a solar fllter. Photo by Alexandria Cone and Denise McGill

Early view of partial eclipse Columbia, S.C., on August 21, 2017. Image taken through a long lens with a solar filter. Photo by Alexandria Cone and Denise McGill.

Total Eclipse, Columbia

USC student volunteer Leticia Pena shows onlookers how to view the eclipse through a Sun Spotter device. It was one of many stations set up throughout Columbia, S.C., for viewing the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 Photo by Denise McGill

USC student volunteer Leticia Pena shows onlookers how to view the eclipse through a Sun Spotter device. It was one of many stations set up throughout Columbia, S.C., for viewing the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. Photo by Denise McGill

SCLEAP: Providing on-call counseling for South Carolina’s law enforcement

By Joseph Crevier

Carolina News

When gunman Sueng-Hui Cho burst into a Virginia Tech classroom building and fatally shot 32 students and professors and wounded 17 others in April 2007, law enforcement officers from all over Southwest Virginia responded to the 911 alarm.

The carnage they witnessed in Norris Hall and a campus dormitory was almost too much to absorb. Within a day, the Rev. Eric Skidmore was traveling from South Carolina to Virginia to help Blacksburg area officers cope with the aftermath of the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history.

Methodist Church

Eric Skidmore and the SCLEAP team are based out of the Heyward Street United Methodist Church located at 2501 Heyward Street in Columbia.

Eric Skidmore

Eric Skidmore, program manager, was recruited in 1997 by SLED to lead the then-new South Carolina Law Enforcement Assistance Program.

Police car

SCLEAP works largely in conjunction with the Columbia Police Department, but also extends throughout the state and to four state departments.


“That chief, she knew that they needed help because this was much bigger than a single internal peer team can take care of, because all their people were involved in it,” Skidmore, program manager for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Assistance Program, said. SCLEAP is modeled on an FBI program aimed at assisting officers who have witnessed traumatic events, from widely publicized incidents to those that don’t get much attention but nevertheless leave an impression on the minds of law enforcement.

Eight years after the Virginia Tech slayings, Skidmore and his staff headed to Charleston the day after nine parishioners were killed at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by white supremacist Dylann Roof. Roof, who was sentenced to die for the crime earlier this year, had been welcomed into the church’s evening Bible study on June 17, 2015. At the benediction, he pulled out a gun and began firing at the pastor and church members in what he hoped was the launch of a race war.

“It happened of course on a Wednesday night at a Bible study, and Thursday I got a call from an administrator in Charleston County that said we’ve heard about your peer support for police officers, can you come down here and talk with us,” Skidmore said.

Upon its founding in 1997, SCLEAP only served the members of five state agencies and their family members, including the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, known as SLED, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, South Carolina Department of Public Safety and the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon.

Today, it extends to much of the Southeast and has been involved in assisting officers who have responded to major tragedies and less publicized, but violent, incidents from domestic violence to suicides that weigh heavily on first responders. The agency also helps those who suffer with post-traumatic stress syndrome from their time in war zones, those who have alcohol and drug related issues related to their service in the military or law enforcement and suicides in law enforcement.

The SCLEAP team only responds to tragic events upon request, Skidmore said. He said relationships he has built through training and seminars have led to partnerships as far north as Ohio and as far east as Texas.

It also relies on help from peer support team members, who are law enforcement officials trained to provide counseling. SCLEAP also has a cadre of trained volunteers who are officers, mental health professionals and chaplains.

“We have worked diligently on partnership with other states. So, when Virginia Tech happened, what’s important to know about that in terms of why they called us, (is that) we knew each other and we had trained together,” Skidmore said. “It was the personal relationships between the chief of police in Blacksburg, Virginia, and peer support elements in other states.”

Skidmore, along with SCLEAP staff members Steve Shugart and Ron Kenyon, are all ordained ministers. They offer 24/7 support and counseling to non-sworn and sworn law enforcement officials upon request, many of whom are veterans of the U.S. military.

The three-man staff is required to work 37 hours a week but often works overtime without pay because of the on-call nature of it, Kenyon says.

“When I was in the army we had to go over for tours in Vietnam and we were gone for months at a time, so this isn’t that bad,” Kenyon said.

Shugart and Kenyon specialize in counseling veterans, who often choose to go into law enforcement after the military.

Dr. Jack Ginsberg, a licensed clinical neuropsychologist at the Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia, said signs of post-traumatic stress disorder and stress are more common in veterans because of the nature of their jobs. He uses forms of therapy ranging from simple verbal counseling to more intense types like neurotherapy, which tracks brain waves.

“Almost all returning combat veterans have a period of excessive alcohol use upon return. Three months is the minimum, six months is the typical, some of the time they will straighten out on their own,” Ginsberg says.

Ginsberg said drug use isn’t nearly as prevalent as alcohol abuse, though neither form of self-medication is helpful. In fact, they only make the problem worse, he said.

But that’s exactly what SCLEAP tries to do — minimize stress and prevent extreme cases.

“When they call, they kind of know what they’re gonna get,” Skidmore says.

“They’re gonna get people trained in a particular model, they’re gonna get mostly peer support team members, sworn officers from other agencies, they’re gonna get a mental health professional, they’re gonna get a chaplain and they’re gonna get a program that is tried and true and is sort of a standard of care in the high speed environment of public safety.”

 

Please email Joe Crevier at Joseph.Crevier@yahoo.com with any questions

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Sweet sounds on a Saturday at Soda City Market

By Danielle Kennedy

/ Carolina Reporter

It’s a crisp, chilly Saturday morning on Columbia’s Main Street at the Soda City Market. Vendors with an array of goods from beaded necklaces to creamed blueberry honey line the streets seeking to lure shoppers over to their tents and tables for a sell.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of people, well-manicured canines and playing children, the sweet sound of a violin breaks through the cheerful noise of the weekly market scene.

A small, 11-year-old girl launches into a sonata by Handel and runs her bow expertly up and down her instrument.

Danka Ndubuisi, who has been playing since the age of five, stands on the median, slightly elevated above the passersby, completely focused on making sure the vibrations sent through her violin are perfect. One hand strums and plucks while the other draws the bow across the strings. Tippers bow before her to place money in her violin case, behind the sign “For our music lessons.”

“It sounds like she’s playing staccato,” said Melodik Rukus. “She’s good,” as he passes Danka playing her violin. Others passing by either remain silent and enjoy her playing or let her know how great she sounds.

“Wow, that’s beautiful.”

She performs at the weekly Soda City Market because she wants to raise money to continue her lessons at University of South Carolina.

Her mother, Malgorzata Ndubuisi, (pronounced Dew-BU-see), stands a few paces off under a large tree just to the right of Danka to watch and listen to her daughter’s lovely sounds.

“Danka started lessons at USC in the Suzuki Strings,” said Malgorzata Ndubuisi. “I was looking for a place for my kids to learn music and USC offers this program for very young children with private lessons.”

Danka, whose mother is Polish and father is Nigerian, is the third of six children — 12-year-old twin brothers Milka and Slawka, 9-year-old Eliasz, seven-year-old Izaisz and four-year-old Bozenka. All are home-schooled and attend the Suzuki Strings program at USC.

Danka can be seen performing in the midst of a crowd of strangers at Soda City sometimes twice or three times a month depending on her schedule.

When she grows up, Danka said, “I want to be a violin teacher, anywhere.”