The Buzz

February 12, 2014

MORNING BUZZ: Now it's an emergency

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to

This week's snow and ice storm ended a streak for South Carolina.

South Carolina was the only state in the nation without a federally declared disaster since 2006. Until Wednesday.

President Barack Obama granted the state's emergency request Wednesday.

S.C. Gov. Haley, who might not always want everything Washington has to offer, sought the federal declaration to get generators, food and equipment if needed.

The winter storm has taken its toll across the state. Most schools and government offices are closed Thursday and roads remain treacherous.

As the governor said Wednesday, it seems like a good time to "hunker down and stay home."

Storm Clicks

Power drain : Nearly 230,000 South Carolina customers are without power as an ice and snow storm continues to impact the region. Full story

Rocky roads : A motorist died Wednesday when her car slid on the ice-slick Interstate 95, but most people obeyed official warnings and stayed off South Carolina roads as the state was hit by one of the worst ice storms in memory. Full story

How bad is it? : Gov. Nikki Haley said Wednesday that the ice and snow storm blanketing much of South Carolina will be worse than the 2004 winter blast that knocked out power to 200,000 homes – some for as long as a week. Full story

By the numbers : Troopers responded to 2,000 weather calls, 18 shelters opened and more than 7,500 tons of salt spread on roads. Full story

Upstate is smothered : The National Weather Service said 2.6 inches of snow had fallen through 4 p.m. Wednesday at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. That brought the total to 4.4 inches since Tuesday and forecasters said an additional 6 to 8 inches could fall by Thursday morning. Full story

Charleston bridges closed : The Ravenel Bridge in Charleston remains closed because of ice, authorities report. Berlin G. Myers Bridge is also closed, according to S.C. Highway Patrol. Full story

State's top trooper helps in the storm

S.C. Department of Public Safety Director Leroy Smith stops to help a stranded driver at Fish Hatchery Road and Charleston Highway on Wednesday. Smith was returning from Gov. Nikki Haley's news conference at the state's emergency operations center in West Columbia, where she urged people to stay off the roads. (Photo courtesy of the Governor's office.)

Mick to the rescue

U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-Indian Land, clears the streets near his home on a tractor on Wednesday. (Photo posted by Joe St. John on Facebook).

Happening today

BEA meets on the phone : The General Assembly is canceled and most state employees are staying home, but South Carolina needs to know its numbers -- like those tax collections. The S.C. Board of Economic Advisors meets via conference call at 2 p.m. since members cannot gather in Columbia for the monthly meeting.
Ask Harris anything : University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides will take questions via Twitter starting at 1 p.m., The Daily Gamecock reported. Tweet questions with the hashtag #AskPastides directed to the handle @garnetandblack. Hunch that the first question will be whether classes are canceled Friday, too.

Sheheen's path to victory in November?

Presumed S.C. Democratic gubernatorial challenger Vincent Sheheen got a shout out in a New York Times Magazine story about how Wendy Davis might win the Texas governor's race in a GOP-heavy state:

Davis’s path to victory, though achievable, requires Olympian dexterity. It’s in fact the only route for Democrats in solidly Republican states, one that Mike Ross of Arkansas and Vincent Sheheen of South Carolina are expected to follow in their quests for governor, and one that Hillary Rodham Clinton will surely pursue as well if she runs for president in 2016: Fire up young voters, persuade suburban women, register and turn out every minority in sight. Doing all of this at once presents a communications conundrum. How, for example, does Davis differentiate herself from Obama to swing voters in the suburbs without offending his supporters in urban areas? “We have a challenge,” one of her senior advisers told me, “because we have maybe five audiences. ... And you can’t have five messages. You have to have one.”

SC Clicks

More oppose the core : South Carolina's representatives in Congress are lining up in opposition to the Common Core education standards, which outline what students should know and be able to do at every grade level. U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens, introduced a resolution Wednesday "condemning Common Core" and "denounc(ing) the use of federal coercion to lure states into adopting Common Core academic standards." U.S. Reps. Mick Mulvaney, R-Indian Land, Mark Sanford, R-Charleston, and Joe Wilson, R-Springdale, signed on as co-sponsors to the resolution. Full story

Not wanting to take chances with lottery scholarships : Educators worry that lottery-backed scholarships tied to grades are deterring South Carolina's top students from taking advanced courses in their senior year of high school. Full story

10-digit dialing coming to the coast : Lowcountry and Pee Dee residents with the 843 area code will have to dial at least 10 digits to make a phone call starting on Sept. 19, 2015. Coastal South Carolina and some inland areas are getting a second area code, 854, because the 843 numbers will soon run out. It will be South Carolina's first "overlay" area code, which means the same region will have two area codes instead of one. Full story

Health care sign-ups rising : Nearly 3.3 million Americans -- including 41,300 in South Carolina -- have enrolled in health coverage on state and federal health insurance marketplaces as of Feb. 1 and sign-up rates for young adults continued to grow, according to new figures released Wednesday by the Obama administration. Full story

S.C. judge step closer to D.C. : A federal magistrate in Charleston who also worked in Greenville for nine years is one step closer to a federal judgeship after a smooth hearing Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. U.S. Magistrate Bruce Howe Hendricks was nominated by President Barack Obama in June to U.S. District Court in Columbia. Full story

Peek-a-boo, we can see you : State prison officials are considering using infrared cameras for the first time in a maximum-security prison. The South Carolina Department of Corrections is seeking approval to spend $12,000 in design and study work to eventually install thermal cameras at Lee Correctional Institution near Bishopville. Full story

Morning Joe coming to SC : MSNBC cable television host Joe Scarborough is among the speakers scheduled for this year's South Carolina AutomotiveSummit, set for the downtown Hyatt next week. Full story

Election Clicks

We like Mike : State Rep. Mike Anthony's campaign for state Superintendent of Education released a list of endorsements from 50 grassroots Democrats, made up of county chairs, executive committee members, delegates to the state convention, and former elected officials, according to the campaign. Full story

Buzz Clicks

'Lone Survivor' SEAL coming to North Charleston : Retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, of the book and film "Lone Survivor," and other members of the military are scheduled to speak about their experiences March 15 at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. Their appearance their "Patriot Tour 2014" will focus on their real-life adversities and how hurdles were overcome. Full story

Greenville wins tourism award : VisitGreenvilleSC, formerly the Greenville Convention and Visitors Bureau, won the South Carolina Governor’s Cup, the state tourism industry’s top honor, for its “Yeah That Greenville” campaign. Full story

Parting is such sweet sorrow : Adam Beam, an award-winning government and politics writer at The State newspaper, is joining The Associated Press as its lead Statehouse reporter in Kentucky. He leaves The State at the end of the month. Full story

Lambeau Field on Bluff Road : University of South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson and offensive lineman A.J. Cann play some football in the snow at Williams-Brice Stadium.

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