Archive for category Features

Important S.C. jazz venue fears losing home in Columbia park renovation

Le Cafe Jazz sign

Skipp Pearson’s Le Cafe Jazz is tucked into the top floor of the concession stand at Columbia’s Finlay Park with only this sign on a nearby fence as a hint it is there.

Skipp Pearson’s Le Cafe Jazz stands out not only as the renowned saxophonist’s home base but also for its focus on the music. But look at the preliminary renovation plans for Columbia’s Finlay Park. You won’t find the building it now calls home.
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Olympia-Granby Museum preserves mill villages’ past in uncertain future

Shery Jaco at Olympia-Granby museum

It’s costing more than $500,000 to create and equip the Olympia-Granby Mill Village Museum. Richland County is providing much of the money, but Olympia native Sherry Jaco said $50,000 was raised in small donations from those passionate about the neighborhood

Sherry Jaco hopes the Olympia-Granby Museum she’s building helps capture the culture of the mill villages she knows from decades of living there. But even as she builds it, museums like this are becoming a part of the very past they aimed to preserve. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bodybuilding: More than steroids and protein powder

Marina Hoffmann, trainer at MÜV Fitness in Forest Acres and bodybuilder, said one of her favorite workouts is rear cable delt flies, which tones the back and triceps.

Former solider, now bodybuilder Matthew Headdon said an exercise as simple as pullups is essential for core strength, as well as upper body strength.

Marina Hoffmann is currently training for a bodybuilding competition, which consists of a three-day cycle of back, legs and shoulders.

By Joseph Crevier

Bodybuilding dates back to the days of the Greek philosopher Socrates, when strength and physique were viewed as almost godlike features.

It’s no coincidence statues of Greek Gods like Zeus and Poseidon are so sculpted – strength equaled power.

But that doesn’t hold true today. Bodybuilding has become a niche sport that often gets a bad rap from outsiders who don’t understand it.

“If your network or family around you don’t understand, it could be a lonely world because as you get closer to the show, every minute of your day is calculated,” said former USC football player and bodybuilder Rob Kean.

Bodybuilding is a lifestyle. It’s not easy. People do it for all sorts of reasons. For Kean, the competitive nature that he developed in his college football days  pushed him toward bodybuilding.

Pete DeAnda ventured into bodybuilding for a different reason.

“I think because I was a chubby kid, it made me self-conscious, so I started training and got interested in how nutrition and weight training can change your body drastically,” said DeAnda, CEO of Nutrition Zone supplement stores in New Jersey.

Whatever one’s reasoning is for bodybuilding, the sport boils down to two main factors: diet and training.

Bulking and cutting

If you ask any bodybuilder, they’ll tell you that lifting isn’t the hardest part, it’s the dieting. A bodybuilder’s diet is extremely structured and varies depending on his or her goals.

An active participant in bodybuilding competitions has a bulking season and a cutting season. While bulking, a male bodybuilder could consume as many as six or seven thousand calories per day, depending on their body type.

Kean, who has a ectomorph body type, struggles to put on muscle mass and maintain his weight.

“Somebody with my body type, if you really want to get big, you probably want to do a tour of drive-thru windows,” he said.

This is called a dirty bulk, meaning the source of calories comes from foods high in fats and calories like a fast food burger and fries. Those with an endomorph or mesomorph body type lean toward a clean bulk with one or two cheat days per week. A clean bulk is utilized to avoid bloating and swelling throughout the body.

An ectomorph typically has smaller joints and is naturally thin and lanky. Kean said there’s probably less than 20 true ectomorphs in the sport of bodybuilding on a national level today, as the sport is best suited for endomorphs and higher-end mesomorphs who are naturally built bigger.

When a competition is approaching, though, bodybuilders begin to cut fat and calories about 16 weeks out, although that time period varies by the individual. During this period, caloric intake decreases, while the bodybuilder still eats around seven meals per day.

Matthew Headdon, a trainer at MUV Fitness in Forest Acres, who has participated in competitions, said he would eat a meal consisting of chicken, shrimp, rice and zucchini in the beginning stages of a cutting period, slowly cycling out the carbohydrates as the weeks progressed. Headdon said as the competition approached, his carbohydrate intake would dip to below 50 grams per day, causing the muscles to flatten as water is pumped out.

“It’s all about the food; it’s everybody’s weakness,” Headdon said.

For women, dieting is even more important during this stage. Women burn fat more slowly than men, so their diet must be even stricter. MUV Fitness trainer Marina Hoffmann is weeks away from a competition and has already begun cutting out carbohydrates and fats completely.

Hoffmann relies on five cups of coffee per day and energy drinks during this period, as carbohydrates and fats are the bodies normal source of energy. This is an agonizing time for bodybuilders, summing up their emotions during it as ‘hangry,” a combination of hunger and anger.

Alcohol is also off limits for a bodybuilder looking to put on muscle, according to Headdon.

“Alcohol is estrogenic, it drops your testosterone and it also stops protein synthesis, so all that protein you’re taking in isn’t doing anything,” Headdon said.

This type of dieting is not the healthiest, but it’s not really intended to be.

“Jay Cutler will tell you ‘bodybuilding is not about health,’ it’s about aesthetics,” Headdon said.

Cutler is perhaps the most renowned modern-day bodybuilder, winning the Mr. Olympia title four times in five years.


What’s bodybuilding without the training?

Like the diet aspect, training contains two main categories: cardio and weight training. The emphasis on these two aspects vary based on the individual’s body type and what point they’re at in the process.

Kean dispelled the stereotype that bodybuilders spend hours every day lifting weights. In fact, it’s the opposite. Kean said he spends about 45 minutes to an hour in the gym each day actually lifting weights.

“I try to get the craziest pump I possibly can,” he said. “The magic’s happening when you’re at home laying on the couch.”

Blood is pumped into the muscles when training, bringing the nutrients from any food and supplements along with it, which are then absorbed when the workout is completed. Kean finds that less rest between sets leads to a better pump, resulting in a short, high-intensity workout.

A workout popular in the weightlifting community is the five-by-five. This means five sets of five reps at a heavy weight. This technique is utilized mostly during bulking season because it adds strength fast and is most useful with core exercises like deadlifts, squats and bench presses.

These exercises also “fry fat” because of their intensity, according to Headdon, and are vital for male bodybuilders, as they boost testosterone levels. Headdon cut off 5.5 percent body fat in five weeks without cardio, simply by mixing these exercises into his daily routines.

It’s not as simple for female bodybuilders, however.

“The females that do true bodybuilding have to work that much harder,” Headdon said. “Female bodybuilding is pretty freakin’ rad because their bodies don’t want to hold muscle.”

And Hoffmann confirmed that point. She said her daily routine consists of a morning hour of cardio, followed by a training session, then another hour of cardio at night.

The heaviest lifting for a bodybuilder is during the bulking stage, while cardio and reps are increased during the cutting period.

Of course, every bodybuilder is different and their routine will vary. But the one constant in bodybuilding is the process. Bodybuilders say they dedicate their lives to their craft and push their physical and mental limits every single day.

“It’s definitely not a bottle of steroids and a couple workouts, there’s so much more to it,” Kean said.

And for those who challenge that opinion, Kean has one answer, “come join me for a couple days.”

Vape shop experiments with a lounge atmosphere

By Lindsey Hodges and Danielle Kennedy
Carolina Reporter

Comfortable lighting, tasteful art, good music and a slight, smoky haze give off a cozy atmosphere at Whit. E. Octopus in Columbia, where the owner and employees make and sell vape juice, run a bar serving craft beer, and prepare for becoming a music venue.

It’s a different look from the usual vape shops that dot Columbia and could signal a change in direction for the emporiums that provide an alternative to smoking.

Most vape shops are lined with machines, which are called mods, and juice. Whit. E. Octopus Vapors sell these items but in an atmosphere where the customer can also relax in a vape lounge on furniture founder and owner Luke Moore built.

His shop offers a seemingly endless variety of vaping tools. Mods come in all sizes and capabilities. Juice flavors range from sweet, candy-like flavors, to mellow tobacco flavors and floral flavors.

Ricky Loftin, of Village Vaping in Columbia, says the vaping business “changes like computers,” which contributes to the ever-growing selection of mods and juice.

Daniel Shealy, employee, enjoys one of Octopus’ signature vapor flavors. Vaping has been on the rise for the last five years and there are at least 17 vape shops in Columbia, South Carolina.

While many people vape as a cheaper, healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes, it has become a hobby and a way of life for many others. Moore has made it his job.

But debate still rages over whether the e-cigarettes cause cancer and should be more closely regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Although not all vape juice contains nicotine, chemicals in certain vape juices could be harmful. Buyers in South Carolina must be 18 and older. The American Cancer Society does not recommend using e-cigarettes. As an alternative, they recommend using patches or gum to break the smoking habit.

The first patent for an electronic cigarette was filed in 1963, but the e-cigarettes only recently became popular in mainstream culture. In 2006, Chinese researcher Hon Lik introduced his electronic cigarette and the subculture of vaping took off. With it came vape shops that are now dotting the landscape across the Midlands.

Vaping, Moore says, can be cheaper than smoking depending on one’s level of involvement. “There’s not really a one-to-one comparison that can be made,” he says. As an alternative to cigarettes, it can be cheaper. As it turns into a hobby, it starts costing more.

“So you go into a cigarette shop or you go into a convenience store and you look at the wall and you’re going to see, you know, a wide variety of different cigarette packs,” Moore said. “Ultimately though, they’re produced primarily by three different companies and each pack is ultimately within the price range of about $2, give or take.”

“The difference with vaping is that there’s such a broad range of everything that it entails, that you can vary from, like, 25 dollars to multiple hundred dollars, and with juice it’s the same thing,” Moore says.

Aside from the cost, another benefit of vaping over smoking is the lack of a strong smell. “There’s no stink on you, there’s no stink on your car,” Loftin says. He says some people even like the way that vaping makes their home or car smell.

Luke Moore, owner of Whit E. Octopus Vapors, is a graduate of the University of South Carolina Law School in Columbia. Moore renovated the warehouse his shop is located in and built all of the furniture featured in his vape lounge.

Flavors of vape juice vary much more than cigarettes do, as well. There are light and menthol cigarettes, but vape juice flavors range much more. Whit. E. Octopus Vapors has a line of 21 flavors. Popular flavors include Pilar, a key lime pie, and Thunder Child, a fruity black tea, Moore says.

A flavor that is surprisingly less popular, he says, is tobacco. According to Moore, cigarettes desensitize taste buds, making people think that they want a tobacco flavor, but as their taste comes back, they realize that they prefer other flavors.

Moore started making his own juice in 2013 and compares it to a home cooked meal versus one at a restaurant.

“The reason I did it is because that pricing structure was vastly less expensive for me to start mixing on my own, almost like with anything, right? It’s cheaper for you to go to the grocery store, take the food home and make your own supper than it is to go out to a restaurant to eat,” he said. “And the quality of it is going to be a little fresher and you know what’s going into your food.”

Making vape juice involves four ingredients, Moore said: vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, nicotine and flavoring.

“All of these ingredients, besides nicotine, every human being comes in contact with these ingredients on a daily basis,” Daniel Shealy, employee at Whit. E. Octopus said.

The ingredients are important depending on what type of vape experience one wants, Moore said. If a juice has a higher vegetable glycerin content, it creates bigger clouds. If it has a higher propylene glycol content, a hit is felt more in the throat. Many people who want the same effects as smoking want that throaty hit, as it replicates one from a cigarette, Moore says.

An additional important aspect to vaping is taking care of mods, the box-like cylinder that is used for vaping. Videos of mods exploding in people’s pockets can be easily found online.

Moore said it all depends on the circuit created with the battery. Mechanical mods are more dangerous and require stricter care than their newer counterparts, called regulated box mods.

Moore compares mechanical mods to vinyl records, they take up more space, wear out over time and require more care, but people still listen to them for nostalgic reasons. Regulated box mods, however, Shealy says, are “idiot proof.”

Moore says that vape shops face more direct competition with online retailers like Amazon, but have a clear advantage: face-to-face interactions and customer service.

Ricky Loftin, partial store owner of Village Vaping, owns two locations one on Rosewood Drive in Columbia and the other in Winnsboro, South Carolina. Loftin is passionately advocating for vaporing versus smoking.

“Ya-Ya-Y’all” at Cola Mardi Gras

By Micaela Wendell

Mardi Gras might inspire visions of wrought iron balconies, lightning bugs on the bayou and Bourbon Street packed with partiers.

The core of Mardi Gras — community celebration, Louisiana-inspired food and welcoming Southern charm — is recreated each year at Columbia’s Mardi Gras festival founded by the Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya. But what is not recreated is the infamous idea of crazy partiers in the streets earning strings of beads.

“People know that’s not what you do in Columbia,” Kenneth Kelly, “Big Chief” of Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya, said. “Bourbon Street, particularly, has a different kind of licentiousness to it that you don’t see elsewhere.”

Kelly, the chairman of the University of South Carolina’s anthropology department, says that traditional Mardi Gras in Louisiana consists of neighborhood celebrations and local parades that usually depict, at worst, social satire or innuendo.

“It tends to be a very family-friendly kind of thing,” he said. “And that’s what we do here. From the beginning, we’ve encouraged people to bring their kids, bring their dogs.”

Just like any true krewe — a social club that walks in parades and keeps the Mardi Gras spirit alive — Columbi-Ya-Ya has crowned its royalty for the 2017 season. Kristian Niemi, owner of Cajun-creole restaurant Bourbon on Main Street, is the 2017 Mardi Gras king, and state Sen. Mia McLeod, D-Richland, is queen. Both are set to assume their regal roles on a float in Saturday’s parade that begins at the Jim Hamilton-L.B. Owens Airport off Jim Hamilton Boulevard and ends at City Roots, the urban farm that will host the Mardi Gras celebration.


“It’s probably the most eclectic, fun, goofy parade in the city that I think really shows the spirit of Columbia — the best, in all of its quirkiness,” Niemi said.


Niemi is one of the founders of Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya, along with “fearless leader” and attorney Tom Hall, Soda City Market founder Emile DeFelice and Eric McClam from City Roots.

Kristian Niemi is the 2017 Columbia Mardi Gras King and the owner of Bourbon on Main Street. Bourbon, a Cajun-Creole restaurant and bar, is a sponsor of the Lagniappe 5k and will be selling gumbo at the festival.

Niemi’s interest in the culinary arts started in his small hometown of Chisholm, Minnesota, where he admired his family’s cooking style. His own love for cooking blossomed when he bought a cookbook on a whim when he attended College of Charleston.

He later attended culinary school in Minnesota, then moved back to South Carolina, where he managed Blue Marlin in 1995 and worked in several other restaurants.

“It’s been what I do until I figure out what I want to do when I grow up,” he said.

McLeod was surprised when her campaign staff told her she had been selected as Mardi Gras queen, but she said she is excited for a change in pace from her usual legislative duties.

“I thought it was going to be great! It’s going to be fun,” she said. “And my campaign was just like, ‘Oh, this is awesome!’ We needed a little reprieve from the campaign and from the rigorous, competitive and sometimes nasty campaign that we had.”

The Columbia Mardi Gras tradition was forged in the wake of a 2011 fire. Wil-Moore Farms in Lugoff, owned by Keith Willoughby, lost a chicken barn to a fire from a faulty heater. The newly founded Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya, whose members were friends of Willoughby, decided to raise money to offset Willoughby’s losses.

After only three weeks of organization, the krewe pulled off its first Mardi Gras and donated several thousand dollars to Wil-Moore Farms.

Sen. Mia McLeod, D-Richland, is the 2017 Mardi Gras Queen. McLeod is excited to take a break from her state senate duties and assume her royal role for a day.

This year, proceeds are going to the Congaree Riverkeeper. As part of Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya’s many year-round festivities to keep the “party spirit” alive, members have taken tubing trips down the Congaree River.

“We’ve got this great resource of these rivers running right through the town,” Kelly said. “You can tube on them, you can fish in them, you can swim in them, do all that kind of stuff, yet here in Columbia, there’s a lot of pollution that ends up in those rivers, and that’s something we shouldn’t be doing. We should be fighting against that.”

Mardi Gras is more than a holiday — it’s a season. Twelve days after Christmas, on Epiphany, the countdown begins. The actual date of Mardi Gras differs each year because it follows the Christian lunar calendar. The holiday always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian contemplative season of Lent, and is sometimes known as “Fat Tuesday.”

The “fat” of Fat Tuesday comes from the historical tradition of fasting during Lent, the 40 day-period before Easter. People would spend Mardi Gras day eating up all their excess pleasurable food, such as eggs and fat, before starting their spartan Lenten diets the next day.

Columbia’s Mardi Gras is free to the public, although there will be Louisiana-style food and beer and soft drinks for sale. Kelly said the decision to remove the entrance fee was to ensure the festival was accessible to more people.

“We’re trying to give to the community, bring people out together and minimize the barriers,” he said.

Despite the presence of adult beverages, Columbia Mardi Gras has not had issues with overindulgent revelers trying to bring the Bourbon Street spirit to the capital city.

If there would be any commotion happening at the festival, it would be from the bands playing on five different stages at the venue, with one stage hosting kid-led bands from Freeway Music.

“It works. In all its mad-cat glory, it works,” Niemi said.

The Columbia Mardi Gras festivities open Saturday with the Lagniappe 5K at 8 a.m., followed by the parade at 11 a.m. The festival at City Roots will roll, ya-ya-y’all style, until sundown.

South Carolina and the Holocaust: Survivors and liberators

By Taylor Halle and Joseph Crevier
Carolina Reporter

In the spring of 1942, German Nazis raided Ben Sterns’ home, in Kielce, Poland, selecting who would be sent to work camps and who would not. He was separated from his sister, who witnessed the gruesome murder of her child.

As other family members were taken to the Treblinka concentration camp, Ben Stern was sent to a shoe factory. He would later endure six more concentration camps, including Auschwitz, Oranienburg, Sachsenhausen, Kausering, Dachau and Allach, a sub-camp

of Dachau.

After the end of World War II, he met his future wife, Jadzia, a survivor of Auschwitz. They married, had a daughter and immigrated to Columbia, where he started his own construction company.

A young Lilly Filler pictured with her parents, Jadzia and Ben Stern. Photo courtesy of Lilly Filler.

Ben Stern died in 1999, but his harrowing story is told is told in a new exhibition, “Holocaust Remembered,” that opened at USC’s McKissick Museum last month and runs through April 8.

“The women who put the exhibit together have friends and family that are survivors of the Holocaust, and so there’s a lot of those personal stories, there’s pictures, they went through whole family generations up to what they’re doing now,” Jacklyn Roney, a USC student who works at McKissick, said.

“You see their picture and then you see the story and what happened to them,” she said. “A lot of exhibits don’t do that, they kind of just give you the basics of what you learn in school and you become desensitized to it, so this is a way to get you more sensitized to the situation and to think about it and bring up conversations.”

Hiding out, losing everything

The panels tell excruciating stories of survival and narrow escape.

Dientje Kalisky Adkins’ family was constantly on the move through Holland in order to avoid being captured by Nazis. Her grandfather and aunt were taken to concentration camps and never came back.

Finding refuge in a nun’s attic in 1943, Adkins was able to bring her blanket, pillow and doll. The nun often beat her and left her without food, she said, and even took the child’s doll and threw it away.

A photograph from her childhood shows Adkins with the doll, the only tangible proof of that long-ago toy.

Starting over in Greenville

After the Nazi invasion of his native Austria, Max Heller lost his job and was forced to sell valuables until he was able to come to the United States with his family. He wrote a letter to a young woman in Greenville, S.C. leading to a job at the Piedmont Shirt Co.

Max later founded his own shirt company in 1948 and retired in 1969. He was elected to the Greenville City Council and went on to serve as the city’s mayor for two terms.

Dientje Kalinsky Adkins and her family were in hiding for two years during the Holocaust. She was repeatedly abused by the nun who housed them, but later immigrated to Charleston when the Holocaust was over.

There is one thing in common among all three of these stories: all survivors are South Carolinians. “Holocaust Remembered” profiles survivors who eventually made it to South Carolina for new beginnings, and American liberators from South Carolina who witnessed the horrors of the concentration camps.

The traveling exhibit is compiled by the Columbia Holocaust Education Commission and will be installed at the Katie and Irwin Kahn Jewish Community Center after leaving McKissick.

McKissick’s Communications Manager Amanda Belue said they’ve already had a good number of visitors to the exhibit.

“We’ve gotten all ages. I think predominantly it is USC students just based on proximity, but we’ve also gotten a lot of school groups, home schoolers and smaller schools. I would say a lot of parents and a lot of students,” Belue said.

Dr. Lilly Filler, co-chair of CHEC, played a large role in planning the exhibit and the Holocaust memorial that was erected in the city in 2001.

Felix Goldberg was sent to a German work camp and later Auschwitz Concentration Campwhere he spent a combined six years. Goldberg eventually immigrated to Columbia and lived here until 2000 when he died.

Filler is the daughter of Jadzia and Ben Stern, who are both featured in panels throughout the exhibit. Born in December of 1947, Filler shortly after immigrated to the U.S. with her parents in June of 1949. Gabe Stern, her father’s uncle from Lexington, S.C., sponsored them.

After raising more money than was needed for the memorial, Filler and several others got together and decided to put the leftover funds towards Holocaust education by developing the CHEC and the “Holocaust Remembered” exhibition.

Filler calls it a living exhibit because the organization wanted to showcase the people in South Carolina’s community who survived or were involved with the Holocaust.

“I think it’s critical that young people know about the Holocaust and unfortunately in our education system today, we can’t guarantee youngsters will grow up learning about it in school,” Filler said.

Filler also said she feels it’s extremely important during this time with the recent increase in anti-Semitic threats and acts that have been reported around the country.

“We don’t have to go very far to see that anti-Semitism is in our midst. It’s critical that young people see this could happen again,” Filler said. “We are a nation of immigrants and I think everyone wants this country to be safe, but we also have to be compassionate, and see the reasons why people are trying to leave their country.”

Filler said the lessons of the Holocaust can teach tolerance.

“There are people in this community who are closely related to the Holocaust,” Filler said. “You don’t have to go across seas; it’s right here in our own community.”

Zion Williamson / Courtesy SCPA News Exchange Gwinn Davis

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson / Courtesy SCPA News Exchange Gwinn Davis

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson / Courtesy SCPA News Exchange Gwinn Davis

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Spartanburg Day’s, Zion Williamson, continues to set, South Carolina High School basketball records.
GWINN DAVIS / SCPA News Exchange

Please remember to include the writer’s name and the name of the newspaper.

Zion Williamson / Photos Included, Courtesy, SCPA

Spartanburg Day’s Williamson Building Legacy

By Jacob Wilson

Record setting junior Zion Williamson and the Spartanburg Day School Griffins are in the hunt for a second consecutive South Carolina Independent School Association State Championship. 
Williamson, who needed just 34 points to grab the South Carolina High School single season scoring record, scored 38 points against Northside Christian Academy (Lexington, SC) at Sumter Civic Center in the South Carolina Independent School Association State Tournament last Saturday to set a new state high school record for scoring. 
The Griffins square off against Pee Dee in the second round of the Class 2A SCISA Tournament at Sumter Civic Center. With a victory, Spartanburg Day advances to a third round matchup on Thursday.
If the Griffins can collect a victory on Thursday, they will compete for the SCISA championship on Saturday at the Sumter Civic Center. Williamson led Spartanburg-Day to an 80-57 victory over Bethesda-Academy in last year’s title game. 
Williamson is looking to add another trophy to his long list of accomplishments. The junior chalked a record breaking 27th 30-point game of the season with his 37 point effort against Oakbrook Prep on Valentine’s Day. 
Denmark-Olar’s Larry Davis, who also held the single-season scoring record, chalked up 26 30-point games in 1991. 
“Zion is a basketball player that plays the game the right way,” said Spartanburg Day coach Lee Sartor. “Even though he can do some amazing things with the basketball, he shares the ball with his teammates.
He has a chance to do what a lot of us dream we could do. He understands that. He is a tremendous basketball player, but he is an even better person.”
“I have a strong love and passion for the game,” Williamson said. “I am just happy to be able to play basketball. 
I thank God for the athleticism that he gave me. I just love the game of basketball and love to make the crowd smile.”
The 6’7’’, 220 pound junior, who is currently ranked No. 2 overall in his class by ESPN, has chalked up ove gained national attention for his highlight reel dunks.  
NBA All-Stars like Jermaine O’Neal (Eau Claire), Ray Allen (Hillcrest), Kevin Garnett (Mauldin) , Alex English (Dreher), and Pete Maravich (D.W. Daniel) all played high school ball in South Carolina. 
However, those great players did not grow up in the era of social media or YouTube. 
“Social media has changed the whole feel of play,” said Williamson’s step-father Lee Anderson. “We purposely kept him out of major events.
He was in training and we knew that this day would eventually come. We saw kids that were ranked really high in the country his age. I told him that ‘You are better than these kids. When you get into ninth grade, we will show the world that you’re better than those kids.’”
Anderson said that Williamson showed out in a tournament in Atlanta the summer before his ninth grade year. 
“From that moment, his name has been in the spotlight,” Anderson said. “When we were growing up, we didn’t have social media. 
A reporter posted that he was the best ninth grader in the country. Social media has played a big role in getting his name out there.”
One of WIlliamson’s highlight clips has eclipsed the 1 million view mark. 
His Instagram account has exploded. In August of 2016, the junior had 3,500 followers. As of February 10, Williamson has over 235,000 followers. 
One of his followers Drake, Williamson’s favorite rapper, even sported a Spartanburg Day School number 12 jersey on instagram on January 15. Williamson has also received phone calls from several NBA players including James Harden and Dwight Howard. 
The junior also earned No. 1 in ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 Plays for his dunk on Friday, December 10 against Ben Lippen.
The junior’s meteoric rise to fame has been well documented. Williamson started working for this fame when he was five years old. 
“He came to me when he was five years old and told me that he wanted to play college basketball,” said Anderson, who played basketball at Clemson University. “I said son ‘I played at the Division 1 level and it is tough. If that is what you want to do, I will teach you how to play the game. But only if that is what you want to do.’ He said ‘Yes sir.’ “
“We would wake up at 5 am in the morning and go to the park,” Anderson said. “There were a couple of mornings where I’d get lazy and wouldn’t want to get up. 
He would be in my room at 5 am and say ‘Dad, I thought we were supposed to go to the gym.’ And I thought woah, this kid is serious. I realized at that time that he was serious so I needed to be serious.” 
Williamson spent his summers in the gym playing the game he loved.
“In the summer, he would be in the gym from 9 am to 5 pm,” said Anderson. “Every single day.” 
“Zion is a well-rounded player,” Sartor said. “He has worked hard on his strengths and weaknesses.”
With a rare combination of size and ball handling ability, Williamson has drawn interest from the national media, scouts, and the most prominent college coaches in the country. 
Two basketball hall of fame coaches Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski have made the trek from Chapel Hill and Durham, respectively, to see Williamson play live.
In a game against Shannon Forest on February 10, Williamson grabbed a steal, dribbled down the court, and nailed a reverse 360 dunk. 
“He has the size of a post player and the agility of a guard,” said Sartor. “That is just unusual. 
People are surprised that he is so big, strong, and quick and fast.”

Flounder size limit bill may affect S.C. fishermen








By Kyle Vuille and Lindsey Hodges
Carolina Reporter

South Carolina coastal fishermen will be required to catch bigger flounder in smaller quantities under a proposed bill that is now moving to the S.C. House.

The legislation, passed Thursday by the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee, concerns size limit and bag size on the saltwater fish that plies inlets and shallows of the South Carolina coast.

Backers of the measure want to make sure female flounder reach sexual maturity in order to reproduce so overfishing is not in an issue in the short or long term.

“The females, we are trying to protect with the size limit,” said Rep. Bill Hixon, R-Aiken the bill’s sponsor.

Female flounder reach sexual maturity at 14 inches in length, and the legislature wants to give these females another year to reproduce before the fish are caught and consumed.

The current size limit is 14 inches, but this bill proposes it to be 15 inches. According to a S.C. Department of Natural Resources study, increasing the size limit would result in a 29 percent reduction in catch and will boost the stock in the Atlantic.

Currently, the bag size per person is 15, but the proposal calls for reducing that to 10 fish per person. The same DNR study reports changing the bag size only has an impact of 0.01 percent.

The bag limit per boat is also proposed to change from 30 to 20 flounder.

A survey from SCDNR of the last 20 years show a decline in the southern flounder population. This correlates with the increase in tourism involving recreational fishing along the coast over the same years.

Brad Floyd, a South Carolina DNR biologist, says the agency conducts independent and dependent studies every several years relating to fishing flounder, but a lot is still unclear about population and where reproduction off shore happens exactly.

South Carolina is home to three different breeds of flounder: Southern Flounder, Summer Flounder, and Gulf Flounder. Typically, in South Carolina, southern flounder is found and caught in greater abundance than the other two. Most anglers don’t catch flounder for the sport, but for their meat as the white, firm filets cook well in a frying pan or shallow baking dish accompanied by crab meat stuffing in the middle.

Anglers use traditional hooks and lines or employ gigs or other multi-pronged spears to hunt the fish.

Rep. Roger Kirby, R-Florence, speaks about the economic impact of the proposed flounder bill. The bill is not going to cost the state anything, but will restore the fish’s stock by giving the female flounders another year to reproduce.

Floyd did say, “Gigging is more successful, but most people are unsuccessful in both methods.”

Recreational fishing is more widespread than commercial and reaching the size limit is close to impossible.

“About a dozen people gig flounder commercially in the state,” said Floyd.

Charleston in-shore fishing guide, Zachary Litchfield, who agrees with the proposed size limit. He said in Charleston gigging for flounder is more abundant and done mostly at night because the fish comes into the shallows and the use of the high-powered lights is necessary to see through the murky waters.

“I was probably out on the water 200 days last year and only caught about two flounder,” said Litchfield.

Rep. Lee Hewitt, R-Georgetown, another sponsor, said he lives about 15 minutes from the water and goes out fishing about once a week. He says the average gigger catches about five flounder a day while a hook and line catches only about one or two on average.

Hewitt ended the meeting by extending an invitation to committee members to go fishing and have a fish fry.

The proposed bill passed in the committee 16-0 with 1 not voting.






As print media wane, comic books reign

By Micaela Wendell
Carolina Reporter

Midlands comic book stores are experiencing a renaissance of readers despite the trend of print publications going digital. Although publishers do offer online editions of comic books and graphic novels, print editions are still bringing in substantial sales.

Eric Woodward, the owner of Scratch N’ Spin in West Columbia, attributes the recent success of comics to the rise of superhero movies and their resulting merchandise, such as video games and action figures.

“As far as we’re concerned,” Woodward said, “We’ve definitely had a big jump in sales of course because of the multimedia crossovers and new interest in that area.”

After a boom in popularity in the 1990s, the comic book industry needed to reinvent itself once more to capture a new audience in the 2000s. As the generations who loved comics in decades past grew up and took jobs in various industries, superhero themes crept into the forefront of pop culture.

“You had a lot of new writers, new creators, new people coming into the industry, which really revitalized it,” he said.

Woodward also believes that the possible value of comics in the future keeps print sales strong.

“I don’t they’ve really been affected the way other print media has,” he said. “Inherently, it’s a book. It’s a story.”

Angela Augustine, daughter of the owner of Silver City Comics in Cayce, also agrees that digital sales of comics haven’t hurt the industry much. She thinks that they even help sales.

“Some of our customers do get some books from digital, and they come in, they’re just like, ‘Well, I read this already in digital, but I gotta have the book,’” Augustine said.

Along with comics’ popularity in recent years, the physical book appeals to a very visual world.

Cindy Thompson, a USC graduate student in rhetoric and composition, gained insight on the world of comics while working with a professor during an English class analyzing graphic novels. She believes that the combination of visual and text aspects in comic books mimic social media.

“We’re just in that point in society right now,” Thompson said. “We don’t read as much just in this era, which is fine, because I think comics supplement that. They supplement where we don’t really do literature.”

Augustine feels that the overall experience of a printed comic book outshines swiping through vibrant pages on a tablet or laptop.

“These kids and these adults — there’s something about having this,” she said. “Right there. In your hand … They want to smell it. They want to feel it. They want the experience of having it right here.”

Radio station hacks pose potential threat to national security




By Brodie Putz
Carolina Reporter

A South Carolina radio station was hacked late January, making it the most recent victim in a string of radio station hacks that could potentially signal a threat to national security.

Listeners of Sunny 107.9 FM, an Upstate oldies station, heard the YG & Nipsey Hussle song, “FDT” or “F**k Donald Trump,” for almost twenty minutes before Jeff Bright, vice president of the station, shut down the broadcast.

“They bypassed every password and firewall we had,” Bright said. “These hackers – they’re smart. They knew what they were doing. And even though we’ve done everything we can, there’s no guarantee that they won’t be able to do it again.”

Other FM stations, including an oldies station in San Angelo, Texas; El Jefe 96.7 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Mother of the Redeemer Radio 103.5 in Evansville, Indiana; and Crescent Hill Radio in Louisville, Kentucky played the song as a result of being hacked. The first of these hacks took place on Jan. 20, the day of Trump’s Inauguration.

While it’s possible that these hacks were pranks, Bright says similarities between them suggests that the stations weren’t the actual targets. The hackers’ real goal may have been the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).

All of the stations which were hacked were operating on Barix Exstreamer audio streaming devices, which are connected online to the IPAWS system. In accordance with an executive order passed under the Bush administration in 2006, this allows FEMA to override stations in order to transmit emergency broadcasts.

“It lets them get the word out on floods and tornadoes – that sort of thing,” Bright said. “But this means that if hackers can get us, it might only be a matter of time before they can backtrack it to the warning system.”

This means that, theoretically, were a hacker to gain control of IPAWS, they would be capable of issuing false alerts on a national scale.

Sunny 107.9, a local SC oldies station, was the most recent radio station to be hacked.

“Like yelling fire in a theater,” Bright said. “Only in this case, it would be like yelling nuclear war.”

This scenario isn’t entirely far-fetched. In 2013, hackers took control of Montana’s KRTV and Michigan’s WNMU-TV to broadcast false emergency alerts claiming that “the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living.”

IPAWS representative, Britney Trotter, declined to answer if such a hack were possible, but confirmed that FEMA has been made aware of the situation and that the matter is now under investigation.

“We’re looking into it,” Trotter said.

This, however, conflicts with FCC representative, Will Wiquist, who said that his organization is, “not aware of any reports on the recent incidents where public safety communications were affected.”

Barix, the manufacturer of the hacked streaming devices, told its products’ owners in 2016 that its Exstreamer devices which are openly connected to the internet are incredibly vulnerable to having their remote login passwords discovered and systems compromised, a company spokesman said.

“We’ve been made aware of these reported incidents,” Barix representative, Brian Galante said. “And we’re working with our clients to actively resolve the situation. Our company recommends using full, 24-character passwords and placing any live Internet connections behind firewalls or VPNs.”

Kathy Weisbach, founder and president of Kentucky’s Crescent Hill Radio WCHQ 100.9 FM, said that she hadn’t, in fact, password protected her Barix device. “My bad,” she said. “I did other security measures at the tower and the studio, but I failed to password protect this device. You can bet it is now.”

The Department of Homeland security did not respond when reached out to for a statement.

Listeners were confused, angered, and concerned when they heard the hacked radio stations playing YG & Nipsey Hussle’s song, “FDT” on loop.

The rap group whose song was played on the hacked radio stations, YG & Nipsey Hussle, declined to comment on the topic.