Nicholas Papantonis, WPDE ABC15

Nicholas Papantonis


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Past articles by Nicholas:

Officials want to make it tougher for accused murderers in SC to get bond

Among the many reasons officials cited for a rapidly rising murder rate in South Carolina, bond reform got the most attention behind the scenes. "How many people do we have that commit crimes and were out on bond? " SLED Chief Mark Keel said in a press conference Thursday. Up and down the law enforcement latter, frustrations with loose bond terms were evident. → Read More

Horry County Council chose infrastructure over public safety enhancements. Here's why.

At first glance, the decision by Horry County Council members Tuesday night may have seemed strange to those who follow them closely. In a unanimous vote, council members chose to redirect money from public safety enhancements to major infrastructure projects. This is coming from a council whose chairman campaigned on public safety and whose members inadvertently stalled I-73's progress by… → Read More

Barriers come down on Ocean Boulevard as city leaders call traffic plan success

Crews spent Monday taking down the metal barriers seen all over Ocean Boulevard this weekend, saying they'll be put back in two weeks for Carolina Country Music Festival (CCMF). They were up long enough to generate the annual controversy among tourists, some of whom see them as safety measures while others think they're discriminatory. → Read More

Small businesses report excellent start to Memorial Day weekend

Tourists driving down Main Street in North Myrtle Beach are greeted by a familiar set of gift shops and cafes, many newly renovated and ready for a busy summer season. Just up the road toward Kings Highway, a brand new set of business owners are also hoping they'll stop by. The Shops on Main opened during the middle of the pandemic and has never experienced the crowds of a Grand Strand summer.… → Read More

Typical start to Memorial Day weekend in Myrtle Beach, Atlantic Beach quiet

The Memorial Day weekend holiday began as it did in 2019 in downtown Myrtle Beach: quiet, with more police officers than tourists walking around. As the day increased, though, more families arrived and more people could be found on the beach, in the restaurants and perusing the shops along Ocean Boulevard, a pattern seen two years ago. → Read More

Glazed or powdered? South Carolina Sheriff puffs up sweet 'perks' in recruiting video

Forget the exciting career opportunities or elite K9 units. One South Carolina sheriff thinks he knows what really gets recruits through the door. Yes, it may have something to do with a delicious stereotype. Like many departments across the state and nation, York County is facing a staffing shortage. The division under Sheriff Kevin Tolson has a half dozen positions listed across its patrol and… → Read More

Surfside Beach votes to change how fire department is funded

Surfside Beach Town Council members voted to fundamentally change the way the town funds its fire and EMS response during a meeting Tuesday night. Like most communities, the town's department is currently paid for by taxes from property owners. If a proposal passes a final vote next month, the department would begin billing insurance companies to recoup the cost of its response to a fire, crash… → Read More

Series of Grand Strand, Pee Dee shootings places 2021 on par with other years

A string of shootings in Darlington County, Loris and other parts of eastern South Carolina and the border belt once again has people asking if violence is increasing in the area. While it's hard to quantify, data from reports by ABC 15 staff since 2018 shows that shootings and shots fired incidents have increased slightly over the years, but 2021 has not been the worst of them. READ MORE:… → Read More

Gas availability stabilizes, supply expected to remain low through weekend

The availability of gas has improved over the early part of the week, but improvement is expected to slow down this weekend. As of Wednesday afternoon, 30% of gas stations were fully functioning in the Grand Strand and Border Belt, while many other stations had one type of fuel to offer. Supplies were higher in the Florence area. RELATED:Myrtle Beach gas prices climb to $2. 84 per gallon, U. S.… → Read More

SC teen vaccination rate is abysmal, but one group is worse

South Carolina's newest group eligible for vaccinations barely made a dent in the daily numbers posted by officials, continuing the trend of low turnout among younger state residents and further keeping the state from herd immunity. Just 5% of people ages 12 to 19 have been vaccinated so far, which includes the newly eligible 12 to 15 age group. Older teens have been able to get the shot for… → Read More

New mental health app being developed on the Grand Strand

A Myrtle Beach-based lawyer is hoping his newest venture will help people battling addiction and mental health issues far beyond the Grand Strand. Two years ago, Jonny McCoy opened up to WPDE about his history with PTSD and Xanax addiction, a 10-year journey that he overcame with the help of his wife and rehab. Since sobriety, McCoy has used his spare time to organize groups to help others.… → Read More

Some bikers sticking around to evade gas shortage

The Spring Rally might wrap up on Sunday, but some bikers plan to continue riding around the Grand Strand for a few extra days. Faced with gas shortages in the area and concerns about getting home, Bob Conway and his wife decided to delay their return to Altoona, PA. "We were supposed to leave tomorrow morning," Conway said. "We can't even get out of this area so we're going to end up staying… → Read More

Gov. McMaster clarifies comments about COVID and kids

Gov. McMaster raised some eyebrows on Wednesday when he told reporters that kids almost never get COVID-19 while arguing against masks in schools. "Children rarely get it, and if they do they don't get sick and they don't spread it," he said. McMaster has been campaigning for districts to drop requirements to appeal to his base of supporters, many of whom have fought against mask mandates since… → Read More

Long lines replaced by no gas at all as distribution companies attempt to replenish supply

The endless lines seen throughout the Grand Strand Tuesday were largely replaced by a chilly opposite: no gas at all. Hopeful drivers pulled into station after station with the lights on but emerged disappointed after noticing plastic bags wrapped around pump handles. Gasbuddy analysts reported only a handful of stations with supplies Wednesday afternoon. At those few stations serving customers,… → Read More

Drivers wait as long as two hours to fill tanks in Myrtle Beach

Empty or not, some drivers were willing to wait as long as two hours to top off their vehicles in Myrtle Beach Tuesday. Despite repeated assurances from officials that extreme demand was causing gas shortages, rather than a supply crunch, many drivers headed to their nearest station first thing. The ones who waited in line were the lucky ones. "I've been to four gas stations already. There's no… → Read More

Relief and excitement awaits 'normal' Spring Rally in Myrtle Beach

As usual, the first day of the Spring Rally in the Myrtle Beach area kicked off with a muted bang. This year, usual is something in itself to celebrate. The first day is traditionally the slowest of the 10-day rally, with many bikers not making the trip to the Grand Strand until after the Friday workday wraps up. Still, expectations are extraordinarily high since it's one of the first rallies… → Read More

How a little-known law left a Conway-area home in limbo

For years, residents of the Bridgewater community off of Highway 90 near Conway have talked about the neighborhood eyesore: a white prefabricated home with red shutters left to rot in foreclosure. It was a strange sight for the subdivision, a working-class neighborhood with well-maintained yards tucked away in the woods. Even stranger: no one could figure out who owned the property, cut the… → Read More

Deputies, troopers preaching safety as bikers roar into Grand Strand

May is motorcycle month on the Grand Strand, and after taking 2020 off crowds are already flocking to the area ahead of the spring rally kickoff. For the past few days, tents and tables have been constructed at the biker bars along Business 17. Bike-related businesses are increasing their advertising and hotels are eyeing close to 100% occupancy. Georgetown County Sheriff Carter Weaver said the… → Read More

CareSouth to permanently stop using Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses

After a disastrous second rollout of Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses, CareSouth will permanently switch to Moderna doses at all its clinics. The organization's leaders voted early Thursday, less than 24 hours after just 11 people attended its three clinics across the Pee Dee. Several others arrived, found out that they'd be given a J&J shot, and left, according to CareSouth spokesman Joe Bittle.… → Read More

SC vaccination rate continues to slow with much room left

South Carolina's once-promising vaccination rate is now down to a trickle, continuing a pattern seen over the past few weeks. With not even a third of the state vaccinated, just a few thousand people per day are showing up to clinics across the state. The hesitancy, or lack of urgency, has left the state vulnerable to future coronavirus surges. A data analysis earlier this month showed that the… → Read More