Happy Friday! It’s Chase Karacostas.
I, someone who is addicted to “The Bachelor” franchise, was excited to learn this week that South Carolina will be represented by not one, but two women on the upcoming season of the show, which starts in January, starring Bachelor Zach Shallcross of Austin, Texas. (My hometown!)
Our two lovely ladies are Davia Bunch and Cat Wong. Bunch hails from Spartanburg but now lives in Charleston. She is also the 2018 Miss South Carolina. Wong attended the University of South Carolina and actually competed against Bunch for that same title. The fact that they know each other will surely be a source of drama come January. Hope you’ve got wine.
Here’s the other, non-reality television news from this week.
1. ‘Trains have more power than God’
If you live in Columbia, you’ve heard them.
The train horns. Dozens of them. Every. Day.
By law, they are required to begin sounding their horns 15-20 seconds before they reach a street crossing. Bless anyone who lives near one. Now, the city of Columbia is weighing establishing a “quiet zone” — where those horns are only used in emergencies. But doing so will require installing additional safety measures that will cost the city millions. The State’s Morgan Hughes wrote about what it will take, and whether the city is actually up to do it.
The gripe with trains isn’t just about the horns. They also snarl traffic and have been despised by city leaders for years. An old saying among local politicians is that “Trains have more power than God.” And the trains definitely do flex that power. In 2017, former Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin was furious after the trains paralyzed traffic during morning rush hour for more than an hour on some of the city’s busiest streets.
2. Untamed Lowcountry
Hilton Head’s “shark whisperer” Chip Michalove has been finding more and more massive hammerhead sharks, The Island Packet’s Sarah Haselhorst reports. He’s caught 31 of the creatures this year, including one that was 13.5 feet and over 1,000 pounds.
“They’re the hardest fighting fish. Pound for pound, there’s nothing like them,” Michalove said. “These guys, they’ll lengthen your arms by a foot after fighting for a while.”
Now, I don’t want anyone going off saying they are scared of swimming because of that. I remind, as I have before, shark attacks are incredibly rare.
Anyways, here’s something to actually worry about: The Island Packet’s Sarah Claire McDonald wrote about how vicious tiger misquitos have taken South Carolina by storm. Is now a good time to say I’ve never been bitten in Myrtle Beach?
Carowinds has implemented a new chaperone policy for its annual SCarowinds Halloween events after “unruly behavior” created fears of a shooting inside the amusement park over the weekend, The Herald’s Cailyn Derickson reports.
Under the new policy, guests 17 years old or younger will not be allowed in the park without a chaperone during SCarowinds events, park officials said. Chaperones must be at least 21 years old and provide a valid photo ID with their date of birth at ticket entry.
On Saturday, the park closed at 11 p.m. due to “unruly behavior by several groups of minors,” park officials said. The behavior “led to unconfirmed rumors of a threat to guests,” officials said. The SCarowinds events had been scheduled to end at midnight.
Despite the rumors, no shots were fired and no guns were found at the park, Carowinds officials said.
A nearly $21 million judgment handed to Lack’s Beach Service over the summer stemming from the 2018 drowning of a vacationer would be the fifth highest wrongful death verdict in South Carolina’s history if fully paid out, The Sun News’ Adam Benson reports.
In July, jurors ruled a “dual role” model used by Lack’s allowing it to profit from beach chair and umbrellas rentals in exchange for lifeguards along sections of Myrtle Beach oceanfront was to blame for the death of Zerihun Wolde, 41, and awarded his estate $21 million in damages.
Horry County said it plans to move away from its own dual model when the current contracts end. Benson wrote about whether the city of Myrtle Beach, where Wolde died, might be next.
On My Mind
Check your pantry: South Carolina Kroger shoppers might have bought vegetable products contaminated by listeria, McCreless reported.
Separation of church and state? South Carolina has been sued over giving $1.5 million from this year’s budget to help establish a Christian private school in Greenville County, The State’s Zak Koeske reports.
The mother of “Baby Boy Horry” — an infant that was found deceased in a bag in Conway in 2008 — pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in court, The Sun News’ Bryn Eddy reports.
P.S. Please get vaccinated.
Cold and flu season are upon us. I’m planning to get my COVID-19 booster and flu shot in a few days.
You can get both shots at the same time. The State’s Patrick McCreless has everything you need to know about getting the pair of vaccines.
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