Like so many Twitter beefs, it started with a subtweet.
“We know Georgia gets all the credit but SC actually harvests three times more peaches than GA,” the S.C. Department of Agriculture wrote Tuesday.
It was notable in part because it was the agency’s second tweet — ever. The Palmetto State has logged on, and it’s saving just about all of its firepower for the self-proclaimed Peach State next door.
South Carolina didn’t tag Georgia in its shot across the bow. The discourse got heated anyway.
“@SCDAgriculture says they harvest three times more peaches than GA. We say ours are 3 X SWEETER,” Georgia wrote back, with a video of a child eating a peach and this over-the-top jab: “#NaturesFavoriteState.”
@SCDAgriculture says they harvest three times more peaches than GA. We say ours are 3 X SWEETER. And who could disagree with this smile? #Peaches #PeachState #ItsInTheName #GeorgiaGrown #NaturesFavoriteState pic.twitter.com/DQPLtlYzWI— Georgia Grown (@GeorgiaGrown) July 5, 2018
South Carolina’s farming agency is new to Twitter, but it’s not new to Southern sass. So it shot back the best way it knew how, with a classic “bless your heart.”
This is the kind of dust-up that could only happen in 2018. For one thing, Twitter has made play-fighting between state agencies seem normal. But on top of that, it’s been a stellar year for peaches — one of the best since Twitter came into the world just over a decade ago.
South Carolina’s growers have had a rough go of it the last few years. In 2017, for instance, the winter was too warm and a late freeze nipped the season in the bud. But even in a devastating year, South Carolina grew more peaches than Georgia.
By most indications, this is the Palmetto State’s best crop in a decade or so — the sort of bounty that might give you the gumption to remind your rival who’s the second-biggest producer of the fuzzy fruit.
That’s right — second-biggest. Georgia and South Carolina wouldn’t want to be pitted against the real king of the peach business: California. The Golden State typically grows 10 times more than either of its Southeast peers.
Just like any Twitter fight, the real winner is the one who doesn’t wade in. California’s agriculture department hasn’t tweeted about peaches all year.
A Charleston-based research ship that helps scientists study the climate and ocean patterns is coming out of the drink for a maritime makeover.
The Ronald H. Brown — the largest vessel in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fleet — will go into dry dock later this year for an engine overhaul, electrical and climate-control repairs, new valves and piping, crane refurbishment and other upgrades.
The U.S. Commerce Department is taking bids on the work, scheduled to take place before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.
The ship is home-ported in Charleston but recently has been in the Indian Ocean to study a mysterious weather pattern called the Madden-Julian Oscillation, which influences everything from monsoons in India to heat waves and flooding in the United States.
"With its highly advanced instruments, the ship travels worldwide supporting scientific studies to increase our understanding of climate and the ocean," NOAA says of the 274-foot-long vessel.
The ship was commissioned in July 1997 — it turns 21 years old on July 19 — and was named to honor its late namesake, a President Bill Clinton appointee who was the first African American to serve as secretary of the U.S. Commerce Department. Brown was killed in a 1996 airplane crash during a trade mission to Bosnia.
The research vessel is equipped with a suite of scientific sensors, five on-board labs with nearly 4,000 square feet of space and enough space on deck for nine laboratory vans.
4th go for the X5
BMW's latest take on the X5 is nearly ready for its close-up.
The German automaker's manufacturing campus in Spartanburg County is making final preparations for production of the all-new SUV, which is scheduled to roll off the assembly line later this summer.
This will be the fourth-generation X5 — a model that accounts for more than half of the 4.4 million cars the Upstate plant has built since opening in 1994. Its introduction nearly 20 years ago launched BMW's X-model family.
"In the U.S., the X5 has ranked in the top three best-selling BMW models every year since 2001," the company said in a written statement.
The Greer plant is the largest in the world for BMW, employing more than 10,000 workers who assemble about 400,000 cars annually.
The Upstate factory also is the largest single exporter of automobiles by value in the U.S., sending $8.8 billion worth of vehicles — more than 70 percent of production — to foreign markets. Most are exported through the Port of Charleston.
1: The loneliest number
Charlotte is still a Southeast financial juggernaut, but Charleston can claim some bragging rights over the North Carolina metropolis based on one industry metric.
The number of banks headquartered in the Queen City have been on the decline for years as the industry continues to consolidate. The familiar names that vanished range from Wachovia to Park Sterling.
Now, just one remains. Charlotte, a.k.a. “Banktown,” hit the dubious milestone last week, when the sale of the local NewDominion Bank to Ohio-based Park National Corp. was finalized.
Charleston, on the other hand, is home to three retail lenders: Bank of South Carolina, CresCom Bank and the newly formed Beacon Community Bank. Also, the holding company for First Capital Bank recently was approved to move its headquarters to Meeting St. from Bennettsville.
A four-to-one lead would be mighty impressive except for a slightly inconvenient fact — that Charlotte’s sole-surviving homegrown financial institution is Bank of America Corp., which has $2.3 trillion in assets under its care and employs about 15,000 workers in and around its hometown.
As the hospitality industry continues to grow in Charleston, the city is beefing up its enforcement ranks.
A sixth tourism officer is expected to join the force in about two weeks, according to Dan Riccio, the city's livability and tourism director. It's the second time Riccio has increased the size of the unit since he took over the department three years ago.
One of their most visible duties is regulating the carriage-tour industry by giving out the medallions that determine the routes, checking weights, handling complaints and writing up the incident reports that tend to make the news.
Riccio stressed that the officers have other duties. For example, they keep an eye on tour buses, checking permits and making sure they park in the right places. They also check the credentials of tour guides and make sure they’re operating within the boundaries of the city's tourism ordinance.
And they respond to complaints about overly aggressive solicitations on places like King Street.
The officers also spend a lot of time making sure businesses and residences aren’t trashy. They issue citations for litter and weeds, abandoned vehicles, storefront and sidewalk cleanliness, and garbage disposal regulations. They also keep an eye on vacant houses and buildings. When there are violations, they have to appear at the city's Livability Court to provide testimony.
Riccio said he plans to add more officers as the budget allows.