Happy Friday! It’s Chase Karacostas.
An original composition performed by the Parris Island Marine Band, inspired by its musical director’s wife and her work as a nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been nominated for an Emmy, The Island Packet’s Karl Puckett reports. The song is called “You Were There” and salutes first responders who worked at the height of the pandemic.
Also, two bulldogs, Smokey and JJ, were stolen from a Lexington County home during a recent robbery, The State’s Noah Feit reports. If you’ve seen them, or know anything about the burglary, call the Lexington sheriff’s department at 803-785-8230.
Here’s what else happened this week in South Carolina.
The remains of Brittanee Drexel were found on May 11 in Georgetown, 13 years after the 17-year-old disappeared.
Drexel was reported missing from Myrtle Beach in 2009, where she was visiting from Rochester, New York with some friends. She was last seen on surveillance video leaving the Blue Water Resort, on Ocean Boulevard.
“This is truly a mother’s worst nightmare. I am mourning my beautiful daughter currently and I have been for 13 years. But today, it’s bittersweet. We are much closer to the closure in the case that we have been desperately hoping for,” Britanne’s mother Dawn Drexel said at a press conference.
A lot has happened in the week since she was finally found. The Sun News has been covering the case since news broke last week.
Here’s a timeline of everything that has happened since Brittanee first disappeared.
As news that Brittanee was finally found swept through Myrtle Beach, residents felt a sense of relief. “They have answers, thank god,” one person told The Sun News.
Civil rights activists believe law enforcement owes an apology to Timothy Taylor, who became a suspect in 2016 after jailhouse informants told authorities they had witnessed Taylor and others sexually assaulting her.
Reacting to the clearing of her son’s name, Taylor’s mother said, “We are enraged it took this long.”
What’s next? Raymond Moody, previously a person of interest in the case, has been arrested and charged with murder after confessing and informed law enforcement where to find Brittanee’s body. Also, a “celebration of life” will be held for Brittanee in both Rochester and Myrtle Beach in TIME.
Roughly nine out of every 10 current Airbnb rentals in and around downtown Columbia might not be legal under new proposed restrictions in the capital city, The State’s Morgan Hughes reports.
if the law passes, 98% of Airbnb rentals in the 29205 zip code encompassing Five Points could be deemed illegal.
Additionally, the law would prohibit Airbnb and other short-term rental hosts from renting homes they don’t also live in if those homes are in residentially-zoned areas, which most homes are.
Some Columbia residents say the short-term rentals negatively affect quality of life in neighborhoods and eat up valuable rental units that could be occupied by long-term tenants.
The idea arose last summer when permanent residents in neighborhoods with Airbnbs first brought the issue to the attention of City Council. One year later, the city hopes to finalize Airbnb regulations by the fall, and the aforementioned restrictions are still favored by at least some city leaders.
At a fiery May 16 North Myrtle Beach City Council meeting, several residents blasted manager Michael Mahaney — with some demanding his resignation in the wake of an alleged assault days earlier.
But the only those sitting in the council meeting were able to witness the drama at the time. That’s because, unlike most of its surrounding communities, the city of nearly 17,000 stopped broadcasting its council meetings online once in-person capabilities resumed coming out of COVID protocols.
City spokesman Donald Graham said officials scrapped the digital feeds due to “low viewership,” but added the service may return.
Speaking of meetings, the Horry County Council is now in a battle over First Amendment rights at its meetings. Katrina Morrison has spoken at dozens of the meetings over nearly seven years about a range of issues. Now that she’s put in a bid to run to for county chair, some council members have accused her of inappropriately using the “public input” period at council meetings for political campaign speeches.
Historically, South Carolina residents have needed an excuse to cast ballots before Election Day. That changed in 2020, when state lawmakers extended absentee voting — both in-person and by-mail voting — to all registered voters due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Carolinians responded in a big way after being afforded more flexibility in voting. During the 2020 general election, the state smashed its previous record for absentee ballots cast, and for the first time ever, absentee votes exceeded votes cast on Election Day.
Seeing the success of “early” voting, the state decided to make it permanent, The State’s Zak Koeske reports.
Any voter can visit an early-voting location in their county and vote like they would at their polling place on Election Day. Voters must bring a photo ID (driver’s license, passport, military ID).
Voters do not need to provide a reason why they are voting early.
The early voting period for the 2022 statewide primaries will run from May 31 to June 10. Polls will be open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and closed Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5. For general elections, early voting will extend from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and also be offered on Saturdays.
What I’m reading
Bluffton’s “Ugliest Dog Competition” has crowned a winner: 10-year-old Charlie, who’s part pit bull, part chow chow, and part and Boykin spaniel, stole judges’ hearts and took home the ugly dog title – for the fifth time. The Island Packet’s Sarah Haselhorst reports on the lighthearted competition featuring the dogs, who despite their appearance, are actually quite sweet.
USC head football coach Shane Beamer offered his thoughts on name, image, likeness rules hours before Alabama’s Nick Saban and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher butted heads over how much NIL factors into recruiting, The State’s Ben Portnoy reports.
Malfunction junction, what’s your function? Hooking up roads and highways and byways… ahem. Excuse us. Here’s what we know, from The State’s Patrick McCreless’ reporting, about SCDOT’s Carolina Crossroads project to alleviate congestion around the interstate interchange everyone loves to hate.
The plans for a new world class sports complex in Rock Hill excited the city. Talk of training facilities for elite athletes, new business and apartments promised to transform the city. Then, it didn’t happen. No, it wasn’t the Carolina Panthers headquarters. The Herald’s John Marks has the story of the ill-fated Game On in Tega Cay.
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