SC business notebook, July 17

ETV turns lens on food deserts, unhealthy ZIP codes

Food deserts and the impact of living in unhealthy ZIP codes will be the subjects of two ETV broadcasts on Thursday. ETV’s new program “ZIP Code: Your Neighborhood, Your Health” premieres at 6 p.m. Thursday, featuring an interview with a woman living with Type 2 diabetes and investigating “food deserts” – places where buying healthy food is expensive and difficult, in North Charleston and East Baltimore, Md. It will be followed at 9 p.m. by “Our Nation’s Health,” a panel discussion on the topic moderated by CNN’s John King. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s statistics, 20 percent of South Carolina’s population, or 1 million people, do not have access to healthy, affordable food, ETV says. And poverty, where we live, education, access to health care, the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe play a huge role in everyday health, says the state’s public educational broadcasting network. Repeat broadcasts are scheduled on the South Carolina Channel, starting at 8 p.m. July 24.

Rains delay opening of inland port in Greer

The opening of South Carolina’s inland port has been delayed because relentless rains in the Upstate have slowed construction. South Carolina Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome said Tuesday the inland port in Greer will likely open sometime in October. It had been scheduled for opening around Labor Day, but Newsome said weeks of rain have delayed work. The agency broke ground earlier this year. It will provide a direct rail link to Charleston port facilities and reduce tractor-trailer interstate traffic. Also Tuesday, the board was told container volume though the S.C. ports increased by about 9 percent during the fiscal year that ended last month.

Optimism rises for U.S. home builders

U.S. home builders are feeling more optimistic about their home sales prospects than they have in more than seven years, a trend that suggests home construction will accelerate in coming months. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index jumped to 57 this month from 51 in June. A reading above 50 indicates more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor. The index hasn’t been that high since January 2006, well before the housing market crashed. Measures of customer traffic, current sales conditions and builders’ outlook for single-family home sales over the next six months vaulted to their highest levels in at least seven years.

Roddie Burris and The Associated Press contributed.