Monday, September 1 2014 1:31 PM EDT2014-09-01 17:31:17 GMT
The South Carolina Highway Patrol says a man on a motorcycle was killed in a crash Monday morning.Troopers say the crash occurred on Bookman Rd. about three miles west of Elgin at about 6 a.m. The motorcycleMore >>
The South Carolina Highway Patrol says a man on a motorcycle was killed in a crash Monday morningMore >>
STATE RADARINTERACTIVE RADARWEATHER ON YOUR MOBILE PHONE
Take a real-time look at where it's raining here in the Midlands and across the state with WIS First Alert radar.More >>
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -
It may choke allergy-sufferers and drive people who like clean cars crazy, but all that pollen in the air means money to South Carolina.
The trees that make that pollen contribute $17 billion dollars to the South Carolina economy and provide 90,000 jobs that provide $4.1 billion in payroll, according to the South Carolina Forestry Commission. Timber is the state's number one manufacturing industry and cash crop. Two-thirds of South Carolina is forested.
"It's a very large impact," says Johney Haralson, a tree grower in Denmark. Forestry is a hobby to Haralson, who serves on several local, state and national boards in the timber industry.
The Forestry Commission says timber and wood products are the number-one export from the Port of Charleston by volume, accounting for 1/3 of the products shipped.
"We're shipping wood products all around the world," says South Carolina State Forester Gene Kodama. China overtook Canada this year as the number-one destination for South Carolina wood.
"China has a huge demand for wood and very little wood supply, so they import from all over the world."
The timber exports helped industry survived the recession. But Kodama would like to see the wood stay a little longer in South Carolina before it's shipped out.
"We need to seek ways to keep those logs in South Carolina and saw mill them, and mill them and peel them and make products out of them here in South Carolina so that those jobs sty here in this state and in the country rather than sending them raw materials," Kodama says.
Grow the trees. Harvest the trees. Mill the trees. Make boards. Make pulp for packaging. Make things to go inside the packaging. That creates jobs and that's Kodama's plan.
But to do that, Kodama says the commission needs the staff to lure companies to South Carolina who will make products to put into the packaging.
"We're way behind North Carolina," he says. "We've studied this. We know this and one of the reasons is we don't have enough people dedicated to making that happen."
South Carolina's crumbling infrastructure is affecting the timber industry, too.
"We have 413 bridges that have severe problems," says Dr. George Kessler with the South Carolina Tree Farmers. The bridges he's referring to are load-restricted, which force timber trucks to be re-routed, costing money and time.
"We have 849 that are structurally deficient," says Kessler. "You're talking about almost 1,300 bridges that need to have some work done on them to allow the industrial transportation to occur."
Those transportation costs affect most timber growers in South Carolina, an increasing number of which are family growers.
"The face of forestry ownership has changed completely," says Kessler. "It used to be that the industry owned a fair amount of land in our state. The industry owns very little of the forested land in our state today and the ownership is more with the private forest landowner."
The value of South Carolina's timber goes beyond money.
"For every pound of wood that's grown in the forest, the forest emits one pound of oxygen and consumes 1 ½ pounds of carbon dioxide," says Kodama. "So you have a tremendous air cleaner that's out there."
And the trees filter groundwater that eventually becomes drinking water.
"Forest are the best natural filter there is for rainwater. About 60% of the water that we drink comes directly from forested environments," Kodama says.
Because of the economic, environmental and societal contribution, and its sustainability, Kodama calls forestry the "ideal industry."
"If you want to take care of your rural communities, bring in secondary manufacturing for the rural communities that need jobs."
Because the industry is sustainable, forestry in South Carolina is growing.
"It's a resource," says Kessler. "When managed properly, can provide plenty of growth."
"It's a great life to walk in the woods," says Haralson.
Sunday, August 31 2014 4:12 PM EDT2014-08-31 20:12:10 GMT
CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Dozens of videos are all over Twitter from parties held at Coastal Carolina University. Many of the posts lead back to a group called I'm Shmacked. It makes videos at universitiesMore >>
Dozens of videos are all over social media from parties held at Coastal Carolina University.More >>
Friday, August 29 2014 12:21 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:21:29 GMT
An Alexander County woman is facing charges after deputies say she molested a four-year-old at a church while services were happening. According to the Alexander County Sheriff's Office, 52-year-old CarolMore >>
According to the Alexander County Sheriff's Office, 52-year-old Carol Diane Britto, of Taylorsville, was charged with one count of first degree statutory sex offense and one count of indecent liberties with a child.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 8:58 PM EDT2014-09-02 00:58:33 GMT
You've likely noticed a spike in gas prices across the Midlands. They have jumped almost 15 cents after a steady drop nationwide.Prices are about $3.11 in the area on Labor Day, which, when compared toMore >>
You've likely noticed a spike in gas prices across the Midlands. They have jumped almost 15 cents after a steady drop nationwide.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 8:32 PM EDT2014-09-02 00:32:26 GMT
With a severe thunderstorm moving its way through the Midlands, customers across Richland and Lexington counties currently find themselves without power. South Carolina Electric & Gas is reporting overMore >>
Over 4,000 outages have been reported across the Midlands according to SCE&G.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 7:54 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:54:12 GMT
Whitney Hempsey remembered what doctors told her before she gave birth to her second child years ago. "It's like, 'Hey, are you tired of being pregnant?" Hempsey recalled. "'We can give you this and youMore >>
Mothers come together at Improving Birth Rally in an effort to stop rushed births.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 6:18 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:18:34 GMT
Under a bright Carolina sun, citizens across the state enjoy going out and making a few waves on the lakes. Some like Johnathan Crossland enjoy fishing as a method of recreation and relaxation for a while.More >>
Boaters and law enforcement officials provide safety advice when making waves on the lakes.More >>
Monday, September 1 2014 3:55 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:55:16 GMT
As America's population of World War II veterans continues to shrink, respect for their role in history appears to be growing. Among those heroes are the thousands of troops who brought Hitler's EuropeMore >>
As America's population of World War II veterans continues to shrink, respect for their role in history appears to be growing.More >>