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Latest News in Columbia
First lady Jill Biden headed to West Columbia, SC Baptist church
First lady Jill Biden is heading to South Carolina Sunday afternoon to speak at the 50th work anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Charles Jackson at Brookland Baptist Church, a White House pool report said.The event will start at 4 p.m., with the first lady speaking at 4:30.The trip will mark Biden’s first return to the Palmetto State since she was on the campaign trail in 2020.“I am deeply humbled by the favo...
First lady Jill Biden is heading to South Carolina Sunday afternoon to speak at the 50th work anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Charles Jackson at Brookland Baptist Church, a White House pool report said.
The event will start at 4 p.m., with the first lady speaking at 4:30.
The trip will mark Biden’s first return to the Palmetto State since she was on the campaign trail in 2020.
“I am deeply humbled by the favor of God to have been the servant leader of my home church, Brookland, for 50 years,” Jackson tweeted. “To all of you I say “thank you.” It seems so small when compared to all of your prayers and support, but it comes from the far reaches of my heart. TGBTG!!!”
I am deeply humbled by the favor of God to have been the servant leader of my home church, Brookland, for 50 years. To all of you I say "thank you." It seems so small when compared to all of your prayers and support, but it comes from the far reaches of my heart. TGBTG!!!— RevCBJSr (@CbjRev) October 17, 2021
A pool report said Biden was seen wearing a caramel colored jacket and an aide was carrying a huge bouquet of what looked like red roses surrounded by a spray of white flowers.
Jackson has delivered a message to the Brookland Baptist congregation nearly every Sunday since in the 1970s.
He reached his 50th anniversary as Brookland Baptist’s pastor on Feb. 1.
In that half century, he’s helped build the church’s congregation into one of the Midlands’ largest. The church has a sprawling campus that stretches thousands of square feet. Its mountainous sanctuary rises near Sunset Boulevard, a prominent West Columbia thoroughfare. The church, which employs more than 160 people, has another location in northeast Columbia.
The church has become a political powerhouse over the years, becoming a regular stop for presidential hopefuls as recently as the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. And, over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, was a host site for vaccinations.
“God blessed the Brookland church and me with some of the best people of the Christian faith that you will find anywhere on the planet,” Jackson told The State in a February profile.
McClatchyDC reporter Francesca Chambers and The State reporter Travis Bland contributed to this report.
This story was originally published October 17, 2021 2:18 PM.
New book explores food and its history in Columbia, throughout SC
University of South Carolina professor David Shields wasn’t that interested in the initial proposition.The USC Press had reached out to him and asked him to write what effectively was a best of South Carolina foods collection, something on the 10 most iconic ingredients in the state. It was a pathway to “non-thinking about food,” he thought.So he countered with something more ambitious and thorough. A book that canvasses the state’s “signature foods” and traced their histories through time. T...
University of South Carolina professor David Shields wasn’t that interested in the initial proposition.
The USC Press had reached out to him and asked him to write what effectively was a best of South Carolina foods collection, something on the 10 most iconic ingredients in the state. It was a pathway to “non-thinking about food,” he thought.
So he countered with something more ambitious and thorough. A book that canvasses the state’s “signature foods” and traced their histories through time. The press was intrigued, but he knew he couldn’t do it alone.
“‘What we need is somebody who is a professional culinarian, a chef,’” he told the press’s director, Richard Brown. “Someone with a strong historical background in African American food, because that was such a fundamental component of the foodways of this state.”
Shields reasoned that there were three or four chefs that could fit the bill, but knew one that he had worked with in the past would be a strong fit — Kevin Mitchell.
Mitchell, a current member of the South Carolina Chef Ambassador program and the first African American Chef Instructor at the Culinary Institute of Charleston, agreed. (Mitchell could not be reached by press deadline for an interview on the book.)
The two got to work, meticulously parsing through newspaper archives and other media to map out and determine what were the most essential South Carolina foods in the state’s history.
The result is the duo’s “Taste The State,” a 232-page text that chronicles the state’s food, recipes and the stories behind it.
The book is a marvel in research — despite its relatively quick writing time of one year and two months, roughly — as it has entries on asparagus, chicken bog, tomato gravy and whiting and plenty more.
No section of the state is left untouched either. Fried catfish’s commercialized roots in Columbia are noted, as is this history of barbecue’s sauces in the regions of the state and red chicken stew’s birthing in Sumter.
Littered throughout the book are recipes, but, in a fitting twist, the authors nod to history as well as present. For instance, an 1876 recipe from The Port Royal Standard and Commercial for stewed macaroni is offered, but so is a recipe for tomato gravy from Mitchell.
“This is the first really good historical ethnography of a state’s food … There is no book that is exactly like this that exists,” Shields said. “The fact that it was the first of this kind of book was the reason I consented to go forward with the project.”
“Taste the State” chronicles much of the Midland’s food history in detail as well.
There’s the prominence of chestnuts in the Midlands, beginning with Indigenous peoples and continuing into the early Civil War area before the trees fell to disease. Yet, the authors note, efforts in creating a hybrid may bring back those trees, which they write could happen in 2024. They report out several century-old recipes for when that day comes.
Then there’s pigfoot gravy in the Midlands. They note the differences between the Lowcountry style, with tomatoes, and the flour-based from this area.
It’s a detailed exploration that many will be sure to find novel, if not entirely foreign to them. That aspect was one of the main appeals for the University of South Carolina professor.
“I wouldn’t have done it if it didn’t create knowledge. I think that it’s a model for other states to take up,” Shields said.
CAYCE — Steel Hands Brewing is expanding to Greensboro, North Carolina, with a $4 million investment in a 28,000-square foot site featuring a taproom and brewhouse.
This is the first expansion for the Cayce-based company that opened in 2018 as the largest production brewery in the Midlands. Steel Hands held a groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 15 at the Greensboro site, located near the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.
The new location will feature a 20-barrel production brewhouse with a yearly capacity of 12,000 barrels, a wood fire pizza kitchen, a stage for live music and a sunken beer garden. The taproom is expected to seat 190 people, co-owner Scott Lambert said at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Steel Hands expects to employ 30 to 50 people at its Greensboro location, Lambert said. His vision has always been to expand as a regional brewing company, and Greensboro felt like the right fit, he said.
“This is important for us, to look like a regional brewery,” Lambert said. “We’ll be distributing from here, canning from here. But it’ll also be a really cool place for families to come and bring their dogs and hear live music.”
Steel Hands is known for its immediate canning operation upon its opening and has become a popular go-to in the Cayce area for events and concerns. Like the current location, the Greensboro facility will also have a space for outdoor gatherings. Lambert hopes to hold events on game days and create opportunities for local bands to branch out and perform at locations in both Carolinas.
Construction has begun at the Greensboro site and an opening date will be announced soon, according to a release. Greensboro-based Debra and Jim Bingham have invested in the expansion. Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan said she expects Steel Hands’ facility to transform the block it’s on.
“I am so pleased that Steel Hands has decided to come to Greensboro, North Carolina, and to have Greensboro be their distribution site for North Carolina,” Vaughan said.
The Greensboro brewery will produce craft beers kegged and canned for taproom sales and distribution in North Carolina, plus established craft beer brands from the Cayce production facility. Steel Hands’ current flagship beers include a relatively new Juicy-Hazy IPA, Tropical IPA and a Coffee Lager, among others.
Steel Hands expansion makes it the first brewery from the Columbia area to open a second location outside of the immediate area. Hunter-Gatherer Brewery and Ale House, the city’s oldest craft beer brand, has two locations in the city.
SC gas prices reach 7-year high, experts expect continued surge
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Gas prices have soared to a seven-year high in South Carolina, and experts with AAA believe that prices could get worse before they get better.According to GasBuddy, which tracks gas prices daily, a gallon of gas is averaging $3.08 on Monday in the state.Many drivers are feeling the pressure at the pump.“We gotta do something about this, we can’t afford this,” Jessica Richards, a driver, said. &ld...
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Gas prices have soared to a seven-year high in South Carolina, and experts with AAA believe that prices could get worse before they get better.
According to GasBuddy, which tracks gas prices daily, a gallon of gas is averaging $3.08 on Monday in the state.
Many drivers are feeling the pressure at the pump.
“We gotta do something about this, we can’t afford this,” Jessica Richards, a driver, said. “We gotta do something because this is crazy.”
She’s not alone in her outrage over soaring gas prices.
“So I’m a manager at McDonald’s and I bartend at night,” Richards said. “And even with having two jobs, it’s a lot. Like $70 to fill up a V6, that’s a lot. That’s how much it used to cost to fill up my Tahoe truck, now you’re putting that same amount in a car.”
“I just put $12 in my tank, I didn’t even get a quarter of a tank,” Isaiah Green, a driver, added.
Gas prices have risen 5.8 cents per gallon in the last week, more than 16 cents in the last month, and 22 cents over the past three months, according to GasBuddy.
Antonio Jackson, a DoorDash driver, says high prices at the pump make life harder for many families.
“Currently I’m a DoorDash driver so I’m driving all the way around the city so, yea, gas prices being high it affects more people because there’s a whole lot of DoorDashers out here. And I have to make a budget up for how gas I use because I have to make a certain amount of money to make sure that I’m winning. Because I still have bills to pay, I still have food to go and buy for my family.”
AAA Carolinas Spokesperson Tiffany Wright says a driving force behind the surge is the price and availability of crude oil, which accounts for more than half of the price of gas per gallon. It’s trading at $82 dollars a barrel this week, which is the highest it’s been in seven years.
For context, crude oil cost was in the low $60s per barrel in August.
Additionally, the recent decision by OPEC not to increase production means that crude oil demand is outpacing supply.
“Unfortunately, with crude oil prices being where they are right now, I think we’re in for prices to go a little higher or remain right where they are for the foreseeable future, next few weeks I would think,” Wright said. “And time’s going to tell. It’s all going to depend on crude oil prices on just how far gas prices are going to go up.”
While Wright is unsure how long these high prices will persist, she does not believe it will deter people from traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Big reason for that, obviously we have a lingering pandemic and so we know that people are going to be traveling by vehicle,” she said. “So we know there’s going to be a ton of road trips, and we’re talking about the Thanksgiving and the Christmas holiday. People want to take control of as much as they can as possible so air travel is not going to be where it typically is. Road trips will reign supreme.”
Some tips from AAA to be more fuel-efficient include: ensuring your car isn’t overloaded with bike racks and other carriers, and avoiding accelerating quickly and speeding. They also say you can save on fuel by not using your car air conditioning system more than you need to, and combining errands to limit car trips.
Copyright 2021 WIS. All rights reserved.
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USC Gamecocks ranked number one in women's basketball preseason poll
The Gamecocks bring back 11 players from a squad that came one game shy of reaching the national title game.COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina women's basketball team is ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason women’s basketball poll for the second consecutive season.The Gamecocks got 14 out of the 29 first place ballots.“With who we brought back and who added for this season, we knew we would star...
The Gamecocks bring back 11 players from a squad that came one game shy of reaching the national title game.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina women's basketball team is ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason women’s basketball poll for the second consecutive season.
The Gamecocks got 14 out of the 29 first place ballots.
“With who we brought back and who added for this season, we knew we would start out among the hunted, and it’s something that our program is getting used to,” said Staley, who is going into her 14th season as South Carolina coach. “Watching practice every day, I can see that we have the pieces and the competitive fire to reach all of our goals. We have a few more weeks to put those pieces together into a cohesive, successful team that can live up to this preseason ranking.”
The Gamecocks are hoping to claim their second national title after not getting to seek one in 2020 due to COVID and losing a heartbreaker in the Final Four last season. It was the Gamecocks' third appearance in the Final Four since 2016.
USC finished last season 26-5 and won the SEC women's tournament title. And there's room for great optimism this year as they return all 11 players from last year's unit, including First-Team All-American Aliyah Boston. They also added the number one signing class in the nation to that group.
The news of the preseason top ranking comes days after South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley was rewarded with a new 7-year, $22.4 million contract for what she's done with the program.
The 2021-22 Gamecocks officially open the season on the road at AP Preseason No. 5 NC State. The schedule includes up to 11 games against eight teams who are in the poll.
UConn was No. 2. Defending national champion Stanford was third, while Maryland and North Carolina State round out the top five. Two Big Ten teams have their best preseason ranking ever: Indiana is No. 8 and Michigan is No. 11.
There is excitement in Iowa, too: Iowa is ranked ninth and Iowa State is 12th.
One Columbia, local nonprofit, seeks official status to better serve arts community
Sometime soon, Columbia City Council is expected to decide whether One Columbia for Arts and Culture — the local nonprofit established by the city in 2012 — should be designated the city’s official local arts agency. For such a designation to take effect, City Council would need to pass a resolution.Columbia is at a turning point. Investments on Main Street, in the Bull Street District and in downtown residential housing have brought more vibrancy to the city center.Ask anyone who has lived in Columbia 10, 20 ...
Sometime soon, Columbia City Council is expected to decide whether One Columbia for Arts and Culture — the local nonprofit established by the city in 2012 — should be designated the city’s official local arts agency. For such a designation to take effect, City Council would need to pass a resolution.
Columbia is at a turning point. Investments on Main Street, in the Bull Street District and in downtown residential housing have brought more vibrancy to the city center.
Ask anyone who has lived in Columbia 10, 20 or 30 years, and they’ll tell you that the change is significant and it is welcome: There are more places to eat and things to do in Columbia than there used to be.
And yet, while South Carolina has gained roughly 500,000 residents over the past 10 years, and the Midlands region is also growing, Columbia itself is only a few thousand residents larger than it was in 2010 — 136,632 in 2020 versus 129,272 in 2010, according to the U.S. Census.
Meanwhile, its median income lags behind not only that of the United States as a whole, but also compared to the rest of South Carolina.
Clearly, Columbia has work to do.
It needs to attract residents, it needs to attract investment and it needs to increase incomes. It’s already planning for that work through its comprehensive plan, Columbia Compass, which offers a blueprint for city development as it relates to population, housing, the economy and cultural resources.
The cultural sector is where One Columbia comes in. One Columbia’s Amplify plan is already part of the city’s comprehensive plan, and arts agency designation would be the first major step toward making that plan a reality.
How would all of this help Columbia? Much in the same way that previous investments in the Vista, Bull Street and elsewhere have put the city on a positive trajectory — by setting out a vision that attracts participation by investors and the public.
Culture drives tourism, and it is a significant factor in private investment decisions. When a CEO is considering whether to move employees from the Northeast to the Southeast, for example, one key thing they want to know — after tax rates, available workforce, etc. — is the quality of the cultural life.
Local arts agency designation would position One Columbia to play a leading role, along with the city and other stakeholders, in guiding the next phase of growth in the city’s cultural sector. In that role, One Columbia could — and would — advance policies that strengthen our arts organizations, boost tourism, support local artists, encourage investment and promote equity.
Arts agency designation would allow One Columbia not only to continue its leading role in promoting public art projects, but also to take a lead role in solving some of the city’s most vexing arts issues, such as the need for a mid-sized performance hall and for community-owned arts spaces.
The reality is that One Columbia is already performing many of the tasks of an arts agency, just without the official designation.
All it takes for One Columbia to be designated the official local arts agency is a resolution by City Council. The time is now, the cost is low and the benefits to Columbia could resonate for decades to come.
Dan Cook is a board member of One Columbia and served as editor of Free Times from 2002 to 2016.