Happy Friday! It’s Chase Karacostas.
Last week, I told you about how the first major cruise ship to depart from South Carolina had set sail from Charleston on Jan. 13. By its second day on the water, COVID had already been detected on board. The Carnival Sunshine and every other U.S. ship on the water for weeks now have had COVID cases spreading rapidly.
Nevertheless, the CDC relaxed its strict health rules that put in place to protect cruise travelers from infection. I wrote about how these developments affect cruises, and the passengers on them.
Here’s what else happened this week.
The smiling face that guests of Sands Ocean Club are used to seeking out when they arrive won’t be there anymore, but the outpouring of condolences has made clear the impact Carlos Williams had on so many.
Williams, 49, died unexpectedly Saturday after more than a decade working as the bell captain at the Myrtle Beach resort, which also includes Ocean Annie’s.
The Sun News’ David Weissman wrote about the man who “never met a stranger” and went out of his way to get to know guests on a personal level. Williams cared about the people he helped — and he never forgot a thing, no matter how long it had been since he’d seen them.
“I don’t think I’ve seen anybody, just a normal person, with this much outpouring of love,” Sands Ocean Club’s office manager Elanda Manigault said. “Maybe a superstar, that’s to be expected, but just a normal person? He was our superstar.”
South Carolina can’t stop shaking — and scientists can’t figure out exactly why.
There have been 14 small earthquakes in the Midlands alone over the last three weeks. Most of them were too small for people to notice. Yet, some are starting to wonder whether these tremors forebode a much larger earthquake yet to come, one that could actually cause damage and endanger life, The State’s Sammy Fretwell reports.
Like I said, answers for the causes of the quakes remain elusive. South Carolina has hundreds of mines and plenty of man-made lakes and reservoirs. Changes in weight or pressure can cause movement below ground, potentially leading to tremors.
Unlike in the 1970s, when a rash of earthquakes was definitively tied to construction of Lake Monticello near Jenkinsville, scientists today say there isn’t evidence that mining or water seeping from lakes was the cause of the tremors.
Could all of this just be, well, a natural phenomenon? How likely is there to be a bigger earthquake ahead? Fretwell has details on what might be the cause, and what could happen.
Magnolias restaurant owner T.J. Parsell asked a question on so many minds in the hospitality industry last year: “How can it really get any worse after the last year that we’ve had?”
For the iconic Charleston restaurant, the place that had launched the Holy City into dining-stardom, it had just gotten much worse. A disastrous, but accidental, kitchen fire left the restaurant closed for five months. In the food business, five months might as well be a century’s worth of lost money, and typically kills even the best restaurants, The State’s Caitlin Byrd reports.
Yet, Parsell’s biggest concern wasn’t rebuilding the restaurant — it was keeping his employees. The pandemic-induced labor shortage had hurt restaurants all over the country. To avoid that, Parsell did something few would consider: He kept paying his employees, including maintaining their health insurance, for the entire period the restaurant was closed.
“It’s the people who are working in the restaurant that make Magnolias what it is,” Parsell said ahead of the reopening. “And with everything that’s been happening in the labor market, particularly in the restaurants, that was really the most trying thing we had to address.”
By next week, Magnolias will finally be ready to throw open its doors once again. Here’s how it got there.
“People have a special place in their hearts for Magnolias. It is the crown jewel of Charleston,” said Bobby Williams, the chairman of the S.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association.
For much of the last year, the medical industry has struggled with a massive labor shortage, particularly among nurses.
Now, Piedmont Medical Center has a daunting task: hire hundreds of nurses to staff the new Fort Mill hospital, The Herald’s John Marks reports.
Yet, the hospital’s CEO feels hopeful. “There’s a lot of people out there who have a heart to care for others,” he said. All they have to do is find the right people.
Interested in applying? A nurse hiring event for the new Fort Mill hospital will be held 4-7 p.m. Jan. 27 at the Marriott hotel in Kingsley, 1385 Broadcloth St, Fort Mill. For more information, visit myPMC.com/FortMill.
On my mind
The Transportation Security Administration confiscated 72 guns during security screenings at South Carolina airports in 2021, a record for the state. Four airports — Columbia, Charleston, Florence and Myrtle Beach — contributed the most. While most of the guns caught in security were brought accidentally, TSA officials told me they are worried about the growing trend since it creates more safety hazards at airports and slows down passenger processing.
COVID testing delays have made it hard to find a test for days. For those who get a test, it might be days more to get results. This week, DHEC called the delays “unacceptable” and pledged to fix them, The Herald’s Tobie Nell Perkins reports. In the meantime, the agency said anyone with COVID-like symptoms who can’t get a test should isolate for at least 5-10 days anyway.
Columbia lawyer Clark Dawson had waited a decade to be on “Jeopardy!,” a show she’d love since she was a kid, The State’s Lyn Riddle reports. But, she ended up facing Amy Schneider, the champion who has one for six weeks running now and has the third most wins in history. Here’s what Dawson said it was like to compete.
A committee of the Beaufort County Council will consider amending an ordinance on Tuesday to allow those found sleeping, camping or cooking on county-owned properties and facilities to be arrested. The Island Packet’s Laura Atunez has details on how this will affect Beaufort’s population of people experiencing homelessness.
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