Haven’t you heard? This artist’s ‘pirD’ is the word?

Have you heard about the pirD? Meet the puffin-like character that’s made its home at a local coffee shop and the artist behind it, Whitney Malson, who has turned her grief into a passion.

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Researcher Meredith Blackwell loves fungi so the rest of us don’t have to

The fungi Meredith Blackwell studies can kill you. They also are essential to life. That paradox intrigues the world-renowned researcher now at USC. But Blackwell became a mycologist by accident.

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Pomaria alpaca farmer inspired by TV show, motivated by family

Alicia Holbrook was just trying to pass the time until her daughter went back to sleep with a TV show about alpaca farming. Five years later, her late-night idea has grown into Carolina Pride Pastures, a thriving alpaca farm boasting 20 alpacas and an educational field trip program.

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DIY recycling: This Cayce greenhouse is really ‘green’

Russell Long has taken the “green” in greenhouse to a new level. Look closely, and you’ll see most of the greenhouse Long has built behind his Cayce Avenues home is from repurposed materials. One expert says such DIY recycling is becoming more common.

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Dreams of restoring Historic Waverly still struggle to become reality

Aspirations have always been part Columbia’s Historic Waverly, a center of South Carolina’s civil rights movement. Two men, James Baker and Frank Houston, now say it’s time to again turn dreams to reality and restore Waverly, but it remains a struggle.

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Important S.C. jazz cafe worries about losing home in redone Finlay Park

Skipp Pearson’s Le Cafe Jazz stands out not only as the renowned saxophonist’s home base but also for its focus on the music. But look at the preliminary renovation plans for Columbia’s Finlay Park. You won’t find the building it now calls home.

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Olympia-Granby Museum preserves mill villages’ past in uncertain future

Sherry Jaco hopes the Olympia-Granby Museum she’s building helps capture the culture of the mill villages she knows from decades of living there. But even as she builds it, museums like this are becoming a part of the very past they aimed to preserve.

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Columbia geeks provide glimpse into vibrant local nerd subculture

Three “geeks” — avid fans of comic books, anime and other pop culture genres — reveal the nerdy alter-egos they assume after they leave work or school.

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Divided political parties raise questions of polarization

The first presidential debate was the most watched in history, with the following two drawing in equally large audiences. But following the election, many wonder if these debates actually changed any minds. James Piereson, an expert on the topic, weighs in with commentary from voters from both parties.

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