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A South Carolina singer took to the “American Idol” stage — and performed an emotional tribute to his mom.Preston Duffee, 21, sang his own song “Something to Write About,” which he wrote in honor of his late mother, according to video from the episode that aired Sunday, March 5.“I miss her every day, especially w...
A South Carolina singer took to the “American Idol” stage — and performed an emotional tribute to his mom.
“I miss her every day, especially with things like this, how big this is,” Duffee, who is from Hartsville, said on the show. “If my mama was still here she would be really proud and she tell me that she knew I’d get here someday.”
Duffee advanced in the competition after his mom, who he called a big supporter of his music, died by suicide two years ago.
“Music has quite literally saved my life as far as helping me to cope,” Duffee said. “Not only just that — just to eat, put food on the table.”
“Right on the money,” Richie said. “See, songwriting is a skill and you nail that.”
Fellow judge Katy Perry said the performance reminded her of fellow judge Luke Bryan. In fact, Duffee said he’s been compared to the country star; his original song even included the lyrics: “He gave me a flashback of our little Rat Pack and all the memories we made and the Luke Bryan songs we sang.”
While Duffee received praise for his guitar performance, Bryan warned that there are other country singers in the competition.
“You’ve got a really bright future as a songwriter,” the judge said. ”And your voice will grow and be stronger.”
After advancing to the next round of auditions, Duffee wrote on Instagram: “I hit the jackpot! I got the golden ticket and I’m heading to Hollywood!”
Hartsville is roughly 70 miles northeast of Columbia.
HARTSVILLE — Polina Frishko and her son, Damir, fled Ukraine after the February 2022 Russian invasion, escaping to Poland, and eventually to the United States. Specifically, Hartsville, South Carolina.It was a long, difficult journey from Ukraine, but Frishko said she is happy to call Hartsville home. The community has embraced Ukraine and is now home to about 10 Ukrainian families who fled their homeland after the invasion.Frishko and her son fled Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, after enduring several months of the invasi...
HARTSVILLE — Polina Frishko and her son, Damir, fled Ukraine after the February 2022 Russian invasion, escaping to Poland, and eventually to the United States. Specifically, Hartsville, South Carolina.
It was a long, difficult journey from Ukraine, but Frishko said she is happy to call Hartsville home. The community has embraced Ukraine and is now home to about 10 Ukrainian families who fled their homeland after the invasion.
Frishko and her son fled Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, after enduring several months of the invasion.
They lived in an underground bomb shelter with 60 others who were trying to escape the bombs and chaos. They didn’t have a reliable supply of food and water. They didn’t have a bathroom.
“We couldn’t even get out of that to go to the streets and go to my flat because that was not possible,” she said. “There was shelling all day long.”
People were saying to wait it out. It would stop in a few days, maybe a week. Just be patient.
After 12 days in the bomb shelter and no end in sight, Frishko decided to leave. She and Damir went to Poland to stay with a friend.
“The hardest part, the 10 minutes from the bomb shelter to the railway station,” Frishko said. “Everyone just prayed that nothing will happen with that railway station.”
After spending some time in Poland, Frishko got wind of a new option for refuge.
The Biden administration’s program Uniting for Ukraine began on April 21, 2022. The program provides a pathway to the United States for Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion.
Ukrainians would have to have a supporter, or a sponsor, who would help them adjust to life in America. The sponsor would be responsible for helping them find housing, medical care, employment and education. They would also provide financial support.
Frishko had to find an American sponsor before she could even begin the process of coming to the United States. And she found one. Really, she found two.
She connected with two married retirees in Hartsville, Kathy and Dennis McGowan, on Facebook.
The McGowans wanted to help the moment they saw footage of bombings in Ukraine in February 2022. They watched the news daily to hear updates.
Kathy McGowan would stay up until well after midnight waiting for the sun to come up in Ukraine. She couldn’t sleep while it was dark there.
She asked her husband if he would be interested in sponsoring a Ukrainian family after she found out about Uniting for Ukraine’s launch. He was instantly on board.
“Once we started the process the weight lifted right off my chest,” Kathy McGowan said. “We knew we were doing the right thing.”
She was learning how to fill out applications and paperwork to sponsor a family through Uniting for Ukraine two weeks before it opened on April 24, 2022. Once they spoke to Frishko on the phone for the first time, the McGowans had no doubt that they would sponsor the family.
Frishko’s family arrived in Hartsville on May 15, 2022 just a couple of weeks after speaking to the McGowans for the first time. They even brought their dog.
The Frishkos and McGowans have been inseparable ever since. And they’ll stay that way.
“We are friends, and we will be friends, and we’ll be family,” Frishko said.
The McGowans helped Frishko adjust to life in Hartsville. Her family stayed in the McGowans’ lake house before finding a new place. The McGowans introduced the Frishkos to their entire family.
Frishko is settled and working. Now they spend quality time together just like a family would.
They went to Myrtle Beach together where they hung out with penguins at the aquarium, went to beach stores and restaurants.
Frishko and her family found comfort in the McGowans when they needed it.
Frishko and her family have received support from members of the Hartsville community.
She’s now a paralegal at Sonoco Products Co. Her son, Damir, is a star basketball player at his school. He spends time at summer camp, volunteers at their church and helps out at his school.
Frishko credits the community for the success she and her family have found. She’s found friends in her neighbors, in local nonprofits like United Way and at her son’s school.
Church has been a pillar for Frishko’s family since they came to Hartsville. The community at her church, Lake View Baptist Church, has been instrumental in her family’s successful transition.
“These people are really important,” Frishko said. “All of them contribute some part of their soul into our life.”
Members of the church have helped her family in several ways. Some make dinner for her family, some check in, one man has even let her drive his car for nearly a year.
Curtis Lee, a Hartsville resident, saw Frishko and the McGowans’ story on social media and reached out. He helped them find resources and sponsors for more Ukrainian families with his connections in the community.
Lee, a retired Marine Corps colonel, spent time overseas working with refugees. He saw the need for assistance in resettling in a new home after fleeing.
After several successes, he founded Carolinas for Ukraine, an organization that helps Ukrainian families in Hartsville and the Carolinas settle in after leaving their homes. He hired Frishko as the organization’s executive director.
“This is a smaller community,” Lee said. “We actually think that’s better for resettlement because you don’t show up and just end up in the masses.”
Almost 10 Ukrainian families have found community and assistance in Hartsville since Uniting for Ukraine’s start. Frishko and her family were only the second group.
Frishko and her family, the McGowans and Lee will be featured on Lidia Celebrates America: Flavors that Define Us. The PBS special will air beginning Tuesday, May 30 at 9 p.m.
Frishko will show audiences how she keeps a part of Ukraine close in Hartsville, the community that welcomed her family.
HARTSVILLE, S.C. — The Swamp Fox Quilters Guild 22nd annual quilt exhibit is open at the Hartsville Museum with approximately 40 quilts on display.The guild’s annual challenge has a different theme each year. This year the theme is “Lines, Triangles, and Squares, Oh My!”Best of Show honors went to Ray Vance of Hartsville for her large quilt named “Travel Across America,” which also tied for first place for Best Pieced Quilt and placed second for Best Manual Machine Quilted.The quilt is...
HARTSVILLE, S.C. — The Swamp Fox Quilters Guild 22nd annual quilt exhibit is open at the Hartsville Museum with approximately 40 quilts on display.
The guild’s annual challenge has a different theme each year. This year the theme is “Lines, Triangles, and Squares, Oh My!”
Best of Show honors went to Ray Vance of Hartsville for her large quilt named “Travel Across America,” which also tied for first place for Best Pieced Quilt and placed second for Best Manual Machine Quilted.
The quilt is a large, modern sampler quilt featuring bright and colorful irregular blocks and many primary colors. The name, “Travel Across America,” reflects the various blocks’ interpretation of the lands across the United States, the great pine forests of the Northwest, the farm fields in the Midwest and South, the mountains and the oceans – “from sea to shining sea.”
Other award recipients include Pam Turner of Florence, with her quilt, “Butterflies Galore,” which earned a tie for first place with Ray Vance for Best Pieced Quilt; Joan Goodsell of Darlington, who took second place for Best Pieced, for her quilt, “Where’s The Jungle.” Both of these quilts used a single fabric, cut into intricate shapes, creating kaleidoscope designs. The fabric was covered with butterfly and tiger prints, respectively.
“Butterflies Galore,” also earned ribbons for first place for Best Paper Pieced and second place for Best Hand Quilted. Second place for Best Paper Pieced went to Susan Chinich, of Florence, for her large quilt, “Storm at Sea” made with shades of blue fabric. Paper piecing in quilting is the act of sewing the fabric sections of the quilt designs together directly onto the pattern pieces.
Best Hand Appliqué ribbons went to Gloria Griffin of Florence, for first place, “Gloria’s Thistle Patch,” and Lorene Bridgers Arnette of Dillon, second place or her play on the Amish style with a pastel version of the diamond in a square pattern, named “Amish Spring.”
Best Machine Appliqué was awarded to Beth Twedell, of Lamar, for her Wall Quilt, “American Icon,” featuring an image of a western cowboy. “American Icon” also took second place for Best Art Quilt, and tied for first place for Best Mixed Techniques (appliqué and piecing). Second Place for Best Machine Appliqué went to Lauri Winburn of Hartsville, for her quilt, “Sarah’s Magic 8 Ball.”
Also tied for first place, Best Machine Appliqué, Carol Ann Hobbs of Darlington, with her quilt, “Love, Japan.” Hobbs used a fabric print with iconic images from Japanese culture. “Love Japan,” also was recognized for the Best Surface Design, tying for first place with Peggy O’Quinn, of Timmonsville. O’Quinn’s quilt, “Southwest Cactus Blossoms,” placed first for Best Art Quilt. Best Surface Design, second place went to Carol Ann Hobbs, with her quilt, “Bali Bloom.” Her quilt features blocks of large, intricate flower blossoms, constructed of Indonesian batik fabric.
Wanda Moody of Quinby, won second place for Best Mixed Techniques with her miniature quilt, “Old Glory.” Moody’s quilt is centered with pieced red and white stripes for the American flag, with a primitive folk art eagle appliquéd in the upper left corner in lieu of the flag star field. The little flag section is flanked by appliquéd blocks with folk art images of the Liberty Bell and Uncle Sam’s Top Hat. Second place for Best Machine Appliqué went to Lauri Winburn of Hartsville, for her Wall Quilt “Sarah’s Magic 8 Ball.” Her quilt is constructed with foundation pieced, bright, colored circles and has a scrappy double border.
Best Hand Quilted was awarded to Elaine Holmes of Florence, for her Quilt, “Churn Dashing Logs.” She centered a split churn dash pattern in a Log Cabin Design.
First place for Best Manual Machine Quilted was awarded to Teresa Reed of Hartsville, for her quilt, “Turning Twenty Again.” Second place went to Ray Vance. Manual Machine quilted means the quilter stitched the quilting design using a sit-down, domestic sewing machine, or long arm, and hand directed the machine quilting stitches.
Susan Chinich’s quilt, “Storm at Sea,” was quilted by Timi Bronson of Hartsville, and took first place for Best Computer Guided Machine Quilting with second place going to Chrystal Drummond of Florence, for her quilt, “Mystical,” which also received a ribbon for a First Time Show Entry. Computer guided quilting means the quilter used a programmed quilting design on her home sewing machine or long arm quilting machine.
Also on exhibit is a small quilt that lists the various themes for each year the guild has exhibited at the museum for the past two decades. The little quilt was constructed by Ray Vance.
Other Swamp Fox Quilters with quilts in the show include Sally Everson, Jonnie Britton, Janice Davis, Linda Smiley, Rosemary Lawson, Peggy Jones, all of Florence, and Lois Susie Moody of Quinby.
The free exhibit will be at the Hartsville Museum for the remainder of the summer. Visitors may vote on their favorite quilt, with the winner to be given “The People’s Choice Award.” The choice will be announced at the end of the summer when the show closes.
The museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, except Saturdays it closes at 2 p.m. The museum is closed on Sundays. The museum is downtown in Hartsville, at 222 N. Fifth St.
HARTSVILLE, S.C. (WMBF) - In the Pee Dee, some Hartsville parents have more questions than answers after a longstanding daycare announced its closing.The owner of A Kidz Place II sent out letters to parents and staff announcing it will close its doors within the next three months.WMBF News spoke to one parent while trying to get answers about the sudden closure.From tons of emotions came tons of questions for some of the parents as finding new childcare now becomes a new priority.“I am shell shocked is the b...
HARTSVILLE, S.C. (WMBF) - In the Pee Dee, some Hartsville parents have more questions than answers after a longstanding daycare announced its closing.
The owner of A Kidz Place II sent out letters to parents and staff announcing it will close its doors within the next three months.
WMBF News spoke to one parent while trying to get answers about the sudden closure.
From tons of emotions came tons of questions for some of the parents as finding new childcare now becomes a new priority.
“I am shell shocked is the best way to describe it, still trying to wrap my head around it,” said concerned parent, Emily Sanderlin. “Because even my child has a hard time understanding.”
For the last 21 years, A Kidz Place II, off 4th Street, has cared for many children and taught them lessons before sending them off to primary school.
Sanderlin reflected on the growth of her son being enrolled at the center.
“He has really come out of his shell, they have been amazing, I trust them,” she said. “He loves them, he looks forward to going, and there are days and times where he has been sad that he got pulled away to go because you know they were closing or whatever was going on. He has become really attached to these people, as have I and other parents.”
Just days ago, parents received letters from the childcare center’s owner stating the center will be closing permanently on April 1.
“I mean my question is, OK are you closing April 1st, is the groundbreaking then, or is there some leeway there to perhaps maybe give us till the end of May so that way the parents have a little more time to like make the necessary arrangements,” said Sanderlin. “Because not everybody can reach out to grandma or aunt or whoever and ask for help because people do have to work to pay bills.”
The letter also stated the building will be torn down to build a wastewater pond.
After WMBF News contacted the developer, Segars Development, with those questions from parents, we’re told plans are still in the pre-development stage and when plans are finalized, it will be something new for the city of Hartsville.
The Sanderlin family is now one of the dozens of families who are scrambling to find other solutions.
“In a perfect world I’d not want to see it closed but if progress is going to move on, which is a good thing, do not get me wrong,” said Sanderlin. “I just think it’s a great disservice because this is also one of the few places that do take the vouchers and the parents are able to work and provide for their children and this is a reasonably priced place to leave your child.”
The developers stated before any plans are finalized they will have to be submitted to both the city and state for approval.
Stay with WMBF News for updates.
Copyright 2023 WMBF. All rights reserved.
DARLINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WPDE) — Haley Mooneyham stood before a judge Wednesday morning for a status conference in her case.Mooneyham is seeking a jury trial in the overdose death of a man last April in Darlington County.She's charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of 26-year-old Timmie Cassidy of Darlington....
DARLINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WPDE) — Haley Mooneyham stood before a judge Wednesday morning for a status conference in her case.
Mooneyham is seeking a jury trial in the overdose death of a man last April in Darlington County.
She's charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of 26-year-old Timmie Cassidy of Darlington.
Mooneyham was arrested in August following a four-month investigation.
Darlington County Sheriff James Hudson said Mooneyham gave Cassidy the drug that caused his death.
Fourth Circuit Assistant Solicitor Patti McKenzie told the judge that Mooneyham didn't accept an offer of a five-year prison sentence on the charges, but wants a jury trial.
Cassidy's parents were at the hearing. They're not calling their son's death an overdose, but rather a fentanyl poisoning.
They said their son didn't know the drug that he was taking contained fentanyl.
"It's not going to bring our son back. It's to try to keep other people in awareness. And to be able to take and get knowledge from this. It's not fentanyl overdose. It's fentanyl poisoning. It's a fentanyl overdose when you know you're taking fentanyl. If somebody put fentanyl in some substance and you take it not knowing it's fentanyl, it's poisoning," said Tony Cassidy.
"We're hopeful. We are praying about it. And we just hope that justice comes. We hope that all the facts and truths are thrown out there," said Lynn Cassidy.
Mooneyham's lawyer, Tonya Little, released the following statement on her behalf:
"I'm defending Haley Mooneyham on her pending Involuntary Manslaughter charge. Presently, this case is set for trial in June. We are ready for trial. Haley did not cause the tragic death of Timmie Cassidy. Rather, the evidence at trial will show that he was the victim of his own drug addiction and voluntary reckless behavior," said Little.
The trial is expected to take place during the June 26 term of court.
ABC 15 will keep you covered on any new developments in the case.