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Friday, December 31, 2010

Four dogs dead, 13 hunters decontaminated at KershawHealth - WIS News 10 - Columbia, South Carolina |

Four dogs dead, 13 hunters decontaminated at KershawHealth - WIS News 10 - Columbia, South Carolina |: "KershawHealth's lockdown is lifted around 6:30pm after a group of hunters were admitted for coming in contact with a pesticide.

Health center spokesperson, Judy Ferrell, said a group of 13 hunters were out in Lee County for a hunting party Thursday afternoon when some of their dogs came in contact with the substance. It was later identified as the agricultural pesticide Temik, which health officials indicate can be harmful."

Haley refuses Winfrey request to interview Susan Smith | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment

Haley refuses Winfrey request to interview Susan Smith | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment: "Gov.-elect Nikki Haley won't give Susan Smith a chance to tell Oprah Winfrey's nearly 6 million viewers what life is like behind bars for killing her two young sons.

Haley today said she wouldn't grant Winfrey access to Smith, continuing the state Department of Corrections' long-standing policy of barring inmates from giving interviews.

'While Gov.-elect Haley has great respect for Oprah, let's be clear: Ms. Smith got enough press when she killed her two children and lied about it to the country,' Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said. 'South Carolina suffered enough from this tragedy, and we are now focused on the positives in our great state.'"

Thursday, December 30, 2010

From the Desk of Scott Hawkins, SCFC public information director



TOOLS, VEHICLES, AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE GEAR STOLEN FROM FORESTRY COMMISSION

December 30, 2010

(Columbia, SC)  In an unprecedented break-in, approximately $100,000.00 worth of equipment has been stolen from the South Carolina Forestry Commission’s maintenance and storage area.  Sometime between December 23rd (4:00pm) and December 27th (8:15am), an unknown suspect(s) entered the property by cutting through a locked gate.  The crime occurred at the shop complex, a non-public area of the agency’s state headquarters at 5500 Broad River Rd. in Columbia.

Among the missing items are critical pieces of equipment that the agency needs for emergency response, according to Scott Hawkins, SCFC public information director.

“Many of the items are things our Incident Management Team must have to respond to large-scale disasters such as the bigger wildfires and hurricanes.” 

The items include laptops, generators, welding equipment and a variety of hand tools.  The thieves also made off with a Ford F350 diesel flatbed truck adorned with the agency’s logo and two ATVs equipped for law enforcement and spot firefighting duty.

SCFC’s law enforcement division, Columbia Police and SLED are cooperating on the investigation.

“This is a crime not just against our agency, but against the citizens of South Carolina” Hawkins says.  “We’ve built up our Incident Management Team over time and acquired much of the gear with one-time-only Homeland Security grants.”

Agency officials say it’s unclear how quickly the material can be replaced, if at all.  Anyone with information is urged to contact their local police department or the Forestry Commission at 1-800-777-FIRE (3473).

In recent years, the Forestry Commission’s Incident Management Team has been activated for a variety of missions, including the Highway 31 Wildfire in Horry County and the Hurricane Ike recovery effort in Texas.  It’s organized and trained in accordance with the National Incident Management System, which ensures there is nationally a uniform level of disaster response and capability.  Much of the equipment now missing formed the backbone of the SCFC team’s mobile command center.

“While we remain prepared to protect South Carolinians during the upcoming wildfire season, our ability to mobilize for large-scale disasters is greatly hindered because of the gear they chose to steal,” Hawkins says.

The list includes 13 Dell Laptops, three Gen Pro Generators Model 125 EH, one Buffalo Terrastation Pro II (a computer network storage unit), one Millermatic Welder with spoolgun,  one Honda EU3000IS Generator, 1997 Ford white F-350 flatbed truck (tag SG 72350), 2006 Yamaha Big Bear 400 4-wheeler, one Black and Decker 10” chop saw, a 6x12 trailer, 2006 Polaris Ranger Utility Vehicle, assorted binders, tie down straps, hand tools and power tools.

Not all of the gear taken was designated for use on large disasters.  An agency supervisor discovered the break-in Monday when he stopped in to retrieve a tool needed for a simple repair to an on-call firefighting tractor.

The theft is just the latest blow to the cash-strapped agency.  Staff has been concerned for a number of years now about the impact state budget cuts have had on personnel and equipment.  Dwindling state funds have whittled the agency’s budget down by 46 percent -- $8 million over the last three years. 

“Whoever did this knew when to hit us, how to hit us, and what they wanted, but their big mistake was stealing from a member of the state’s law enforcement family,” Hawkins said.


# # #

For more information, contact the SC Forestry Commission public info office at (803) 896-8820
Editors: Attached are photos of the actual F350, 2006 Polaris Ranger and 2006 Yamaha Big Bear 400 4-wheeler as well as manufacturer stock photos of other stolen items


Fired Deputy Says Heimlich Maneuver Performed on Night Club Patron Misunderstood

Sheriff Daniel Simon's rids his department of one undesirable and issued reprimands to three others involved in the late night episode that hit the headlines recently.

From WISTV 

"...A Lee County deputy is out of a job and three officers have been written up after WIS cameras caught them at a nightclub potentially wasting tax dollars and performing hands-on security checks that some might call 'inappropriate.'... "
"...Jackson said the actions were a "joke" between the woman and himself. "Her and I were playing on each other," he said. "That's all that was, and it was taken out of context, and I apologize whole-heartedly for that."
Video also showed a second woman in the group backing up to Jackson as he spends several seconds rubbing the woman's back. Jackson was then seen putting both arms around the woman and thrusting his pelvis into her. 
Jackson said he was actually performing a life-saving rescue procedure on the woman. "Her other friend that was on the video was choking and I did try to help her by giving her the Heimlich Maneuver," explained Jackson..."
"...Sheriff Daniel Simon fired Deputy John Jackson Wednesday and gave three other officers, Captain Lynn Blakney, Corporal Louis Torres, and school resource officer Shante Demery written reprimands for violating department policies..."
"...Jackson apologized to Lee County residents on Wednesday, but said he feels his actions were the "least egregious, but the most severely punished." "If you weigh it out, I don't know which one is heavier, theirs or mine," said Jackson. "But in the outcome, I guess mine was heavier because I'm the one that's out of the job..."

Souce: WISTV 

Abducted teen found, suspect arrested - WIS News 10 - Columbia, South Carolina |

Abducted teen found, suspect arrested - WIS News 10 - Columbia, South Carolina |: "Authorities found a missing teen and arrested a suspect roughly an hour after a statewide AMBER Alert was issued Thursday.

SLED issued the alert at 10:20 a.m. for 16-year-old Victoria Elizabeth Anderson of Ladson. Anderson was believed to have been abducted by 34-year-old Arthur Jimmy Scott. "

Nice Expensive Cheap Wine

In the market for 'some nice expensive cheap wine'? What you say? Nice wine expensive.... but it is Cheap? Yep... that's my brother in that video... problem is I think he drank the wine on the way out of the store.... by the way... don't ask him if he knows any 'slick lawyers'!!!!

 Be sure to click on the video...

AMBER ALERT SOUTH CAROLINA

Name:
Victoria Elizabeth Anderson

DOB:
1994-12-17

Age:
16 years

Race:
White

Sex:
Female

Height:
5' 9"

Weight:
140 lbs

Hair:
Blonde, Shoulder Length

Eyes:
Blue

Eyewear:

Clothing:
Black fleece jacket, blue jeans, red/white/blue top, red scarf

Additional Information:


South Carolina Law Enforcement Division

News from The Associated Press

News from The Associated Press: "Ronald Lee Herrick, who donated a kidney to his dying twin brother 56 years ago in what's recognized as the world's first successful organ transplant, has died of complications following heart surgery. He was 79."

News from The Associated Press

News from The Associated Press: "O'Donnell, the Delaware Republican and tea party favorite who scored a surprise primary victory this year only to lose badly in the November general election, denied the charges and suggested they were being driven by her political opponents on the right and left, including Vice President Joe Biden."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lee Co. sheriff to release night club decision Wednesday - WIS News 10 - Columbia, South Carolina |

Editorial: Apparently Sheriff Daniel Simon thinks he doesn't need to work 24 hours a day to make sure the citizens of Lee County are protected.

Remember that he said, "... if I have to work 24 hours a day from now on to make sure they're doing their job, I will..."

Well, Simon is on Christmas break! He isn't working during this uncertain time as a result of his deputies being discovered partying at local nightspots leaving the county unprotected.

Seriously, nobody expects the Sheriff to put in that much time but the expectation that the department is functioning properly is expected. It is decision time Sheriff... show the citizens of Lee County that their vote went to the right man.

Read the latest from WIS News 10:

Lee Co. sheriff to release night club decision Wednesday - WIS News 10 - Columbia, South Carolina |:

'There is no excuse for this. I'm paying these guys to patrol and if I have to work 24 hours a day from now on to make sure they're doing their job, I will,' said Simon. 'I'm disappointed; number one after all the stuff we've been through in the past several months, we don't need this.'"

Fort Sumter to be featured on postage stamp - The Civil War: 150 Years Later - TheState.com

Fort Sumter to be featured on postage stamp - The Civil War: 150 Years Later - TheState.com

Mobile mammography unit plans Pee Dee visits in early 2011 | SCNOW

Mobile mammography unit plans Pee Dee visits in early 2011 | SCNOW: "The Digital McLeod Mobile Mammography Unit is visiting sites in the Pee Dee throughout the beginning of the year.

The unit first will visit the Williamsburg County School District, 423 School St., Kingstree from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 3.

Its next visits will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Jan. 11 at Pate Medical Associates, 116 Hospital Square, Bishopville; from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 20 at McLeod Family Medicine Johnsonville, 355 S. Georgetown Highway; and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 25 at McLeod Family Practice Timmonsville, 755 E. Smith St."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Obituaries: Margie Ann McDowell Jordan December 13, 1933 - December 25, 2010

Obituaries: Margie Ann McDowell Jordan December 13, 1933 - December 25, 2010: "Margie Ann McDowell Jordan, widow of William C. (Bill) Jordan, went home to the Lord on Saturday, December 25, at Springdale Health Facility in Camden."

SCDOT - Getting Around in SC - Road Conditions

FOR LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS BY THE SC HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT
SAVE THIS TO YOUR DESK TOP OR TO YOUR FAVORITES

SCDOT - Getting Around in SC - Road Conditions: "Winter Weather Road Conditions

This page is activated at times when snow and ice conditions affect South Carolina highways. The reports are updated by SCDOT personnel in each district round the clock several times a day as conditions warrant."

Long reach of Lott's law - Local / Metro - TheState.com

Long reach of Lott's law - Local / Metro - TheState.com: "If a picture says a thousand words, then a photograph taken Oct. 4 in Columbia’s City Hall explains a lot about Sheriff Leon Lott’s influence over law enforcement in the Midlands — and South Carolina.
Standing next to a beaming Lott are Interim Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott, S.C. Criminal Justice Academy director Hubert Harrell and incoming 5th Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson. All three are former chief deputies at the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, proteges of Lott and followers of his style of police work."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Lee County Sheriff Off-Duty Officers 'Hump' and 'Grind' Late Night Club Female Patrons While On-Duty Cops Watch

Editorial: Leadership is the act of setting the right example... and in Lee County you have to ask yourself this question: Has the leadership examples of convicted former Sheriff E.J. Melvin permeated the Sheriff's department to the point that there is an attitude problem that needs to be addressed?

Is there a tendency for employees of the Sheriff's department, who watched Melvin's 'modus operandi' day in and day out, to become oriented to approach the application of law-enforcement in much the same manner as he did?

Another good question to ask is: Where is the present leadership? Current Sheriff Daniel Simon has elected not suspended any deputies. Not the 'off duty' ones or the 'On Duty' ones, apparently deciding that suspending all 'off-duty' night club details until some point in the future. Is this the way to handle this latest ugly episode involving members of his department.

Sheriff Daniel needs to set a solid example going forward... the taxpayers expect their money to be expended wisely... late night humping and grinding patrons of a nightclub while 'On Duty' officers watch is not what they expect.

Read this from WISTV 
"Lee County Sheriff Daniel Simon temporarily suspended all off-duty night club details 'until further notice,' and said he's opened Internal Affairs files on the officers involved in an undercover WIS investigation. Our cameras caught four deputies at a Bishopville night club potentially wasting tax dollars and performing hands-on security checks that some call 'inappropriate.'"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Where's the Line to See Jesus?

Where's the Line to See Jesus?: "While at the mall a couple of years ago, my then four year old nephew, Spencer, saw kids lined up to see Santa Claus. Having been taught as a toddler that Christmas is the holiday that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, he asked his mom, 'where's the line to see Jesus'?"

Shag lessons being taught by Betty Kennedy Kane


Time
Thursday, January 13, 2011 · 7:00pm - 10:00pm

LocationBishopville Opera House
109 North Main Street
Bishopville, SC

Created By

More Info5 Week course Each Thursday night at 7 pm starting January 13th
(Class will be At 7 pm January 13th , January 20th , January 27th , February 3rd and February 10th )
$50.00 per Person $100.00 per Couple

Betty Kennedy Kane:
Shaggers Hall of Fame
Living legends of Shag
Living Legends of Dance

For More information please call or email the Bishopville Opera House at
803-484-5090 or BishopvilleOperaHouse@yahoo.com 

From the Desk of Ellie Price

Horses and Mules and Hazel Brown   12/16/2010Horses and mules are interesting animals and have a natural affinity for humans. If you look at how they are made it's as if God created them to work for humans.

If they are treated well they will love certain people, and if treated badly, they will despise and distrust others. I was raised on a farm until I was about 15 years old and we had several mules and one horse for work animals. One red mule was named Roady and she was very nervous, skittish, and hard to catch. She was suspicious and wary of most humans and her gait was so fast that my father and brother could hardly walk fast enough to plow with her. Once she was free of the harness no one could catch her easily except for one man.

Hazel Brown was our trusted hired hand who helped my father farm in Lee County for several years in the forties and early fifties. He had a natural understanding of animals and could work wonders with that red mule. We would watch with awe the way he caught her, or rather beckoned her, to the halter and plow for the day's work. He would go to the fence gate with a halter in his hand, and call her name in a low, soothing voice, while turning his body slightly away and not looking directly at her. Her ears would prick up and she would take a couple of steps, then more, toward him. Finally she would come directly up to him, nuzzle him with her nose and actually stick her head into the halter.

This man had little formal education and had probably never read many books in his life. However, he had an amazing understanding and love for work animals. He treated them gently and with great respect, and they in turn, loved him and would willingly work for him. His technique of keeping his eyes down and using a soothing tone of voice while turning slightly away amazed my father and older brother and everyone else who watched him. Interestingly enough, horse books, such as "The Horse Whisperer", teach and confirm these exact techniques and more for understanding and working with animals.

Ellie



 Editor's note: The above was posted with Ellie's permission

A Country Christmas



It was Christmas Eve. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the 22 rifle that I'd wanted for Christmas.We did the  chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible as we sometimes did.

After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest,I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn't get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.

Soon Pa came back in.  It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out tonight." I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see.  We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this.  But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens.  Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what.

Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled.  Whatever it was we were going to do wasn't going to be a short, quick, little job.  I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load.  Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand.  I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me.  I wasn't happy.  When I was on, Pa pulled the sled  around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed.  He got off and I followed. "I think we'll put on the high sideboards," he said.  "Here, help me."  The high sideboards!  It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever  it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high side boards on.

After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood - the wood I'd spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing?  Finally I said something.  "Pa," I asked, "what are you doing?"

"You been by the Widow Jensen's lately?" he asked. The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight.  Sure, I'd been by, but so what?

Yeah," I said, "Why?"

"I rode by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They're out of wood, Matt."

That was all he said and then he turned and went back into  the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him.  We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait.  When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.

"What's in the little sack?" I asked.  

"Shoes, son, they're out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning.  I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a  little candy."

We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen's pretty much in silence.  I tried to think through what Pa was doing.  We didn't have much by worldly standards.  Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most  of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it.  We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that,but I knew we didn't have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy?  Really,  why was he doing any of this?  Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn't have been our concern.

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked, and waited. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, "Who is it?"

"Lucas Miles, Ma'am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?"
Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in.  She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders.  The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly  gave off any heat at all.  Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

"We brought you a few things, Ma'am," Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table.  Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it.  She opened it hesitantly and took the  shoes out one pair at a time.  There was a pair for her and one for each of the children -sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last.  I watched her carefully.  She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started  running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn't come out.

"We brought a load of wood too, Ma'am," Pa said.  He turned to me and said, "Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let's get that fire up to size and heat this place up."

I wasn't the same person when  I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too.  In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running  down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn't speak. My heart swelled within me and a joy that I'd never known before filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally  saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone's spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn't crossed her face  for a long time.  She finally turned to us. "God bless you," she said. "I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us."

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I'd never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.

Tears were running down Widow Jensen's face again when we stood up to leave.  Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug.  They clung to him and didn't want us to go.  I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.

At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, "Uh..the Mrs. asked me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey she cooked will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. If it's okay by you,we'll pick you up about eleven. It'll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn't been little for quite a spell."  I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters  had all married and moved away.

Widow Jensen nodded and said, "Thank you, Brother Miles. I don't have to say, may the Lord bless you; I know for certain that He will."

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn't even notice the cold anymore. When we had gone on a ways, Pa turned to me and said, "Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and me have  been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle you've been wanting, but we didn't have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks, and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money we saved for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand."

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle I'd wanted so bad seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen's face and the radiant smiles of her three children.

For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensen family, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night. He had given me the best Christmas of my life."

Thanks to Ellie Price

Wanted - Charles Michael Ruff - Murder

COLUMBIA, SC - Columbia Police say the man suspected of a Monday shooting death at the Bethel Bishop Apartments has been identified.
23-year-old Charles Michael Ruff (pictured right) is wanted on murder charges in connection with the death of 23-year-old Eric Vernard Wallace.

Investigators say Wallace was leaving the apartment parking lot on Ripplemeyer Avenue in a Nissan Maxima when the car was hit several times by gunfire.


Please visit www.midlandscrimestoppers.com/news for more information.

LAST MINUTE GIFT IDEAS FROM THE FORESTRY COMMISSION


(Columbia)  Having trouble coming up with a gift for that hard-to-buy-for member of the family?  The South Carolina Forestry Commission has just posted nearly thirty vehicles for auction at www.govdeals.com.  The equipment is officially retired from agency operations, but each is ready for duty for winning bidders.

The list includes 11 dozers of various sizes and makes, 13 transport rigs (11 with a flatbed trailer suitable for a large dozer, and two bobtail trucks w/ no trailer), one Chevy Blazer, and three pickup trucks.  Additionally, four “fire plows” (the type generally towed behind a tractor or dozer) are up for auction.  Landowners could use these to create firebreaks on their property thereby reducing the risk of wildfire.

“Most are vehicles that, with little or no repair, can be driven off our premises,” says Doug Mills, the Forestry Commission’s fleet manager.  “But, for safety reasons, they’re too old to be depended upon for fire duty.”

On average, the Forestry Commission responds 2,500 to 3,000 wildfires every year.  Recent cuts in funding have lengthened the agency’s equipment replacement cycle.  Some of the emergency response vehicles date back to the 1970s and 1980s.  One fire plow is a 1967 model.

“Ideally, we’d sell a firefighting unit when it reached 15 years of age,” Mills says.  “But in today’s economic climate, the Forestry Commission is holding on to its trucks and dozers for a lot longer.”

Forestry Commission staff have been concerned for a number of years now about the impact state budget cuts have had on firefighting capacity and response times.  Dwindling funds have whittled the agency’s budget down by 46 percent -- $8 million over the last three years. 

Selling off the oldest gear may help with the purchase of some new equipment, mainly in the form of pickup trucks, which can be fitted with water pumps to combat smaller fires.  If it were brand new, the equipment being auctioned off would be worth about $1.2 million.  The agency hopes to make $200,000 off its most battle-hardened inventory.

Interested buyers can see each item by visiting www.govdeals.com and typing “South Carolina” into the search field.  Bidding will remain open through mid-January.  Potential buyers may inspect the equipment on January 10th and 11th at the Forestry Commission’s headquarters at 5500 Broad River Rd. in Columbia, Mills says.

Winning bidders will have 10 business days to pick up their purchases.  

equipment auction release
By Scott Hawkins
803-896-8820

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Why get cross about Xmas?

BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Why get cross about Xmas?: "'A lot of people disapprove of it or think of it as blasphemous because they think the X stands for anonymity - the 'Mr X' sort of idea.'

It seems Christmas has been abbreviated for at least the past 1,000 years.

Before Xmas, there was XPmas, according to Inge Milfull, assistant editor of etymology at Oxford English Dictionaries (OED)."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

College Sports | Maryland forces out football coach Ralph Friedgen | Seattle Times Newspaper

College Sports | Maryland forces out football coach Ralph Friedgen | Seattle Times Newspaper: "BALTIMORE — Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen has been told by the university that he cannot return next season to complete the final year of his contract, according to officials familiar with the situation.

Friedgen has been asked to retire, but the coach — in his 10th season — resisted doing that, sources said Saturday afternoon. If he continued to decline to retire, Maryland would be left with the option of forcing him out and buying out the final season of his roughly $2 million-a-year contract with his alma mater.

Multiple sources have indicated that former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is a likely target of Maryland's coaching search. Leach's agent said Saturday that Leach has not been contacted by Maryland officials — or any of the school's prominent boosters — about replacing Friedgen."

OPINION: Clayton verdict leaves us wondering still | SCNOW

OPINION: Clayton verdict leaves us wondering still | SCNOW: "Justice? Justice? It doesn’t feel like that to us. Johnson blasted Clayton with a shotgun at close range in the bathroom in Clayton’s own home, and admitted to doing the deed at the scene. Standard procedure? Hardly. Aren’t people who shoot policemen (even off-duty) usually treated more harshly by the legal system rather than less? That’s what we thought but it hardly seems to have happened here."

TheState.com The Civil War: 150 Years Later

TheState.com The Civil War: 150 Years Later: "When South Carolina started the Civil War - seceding 150 years ago - it was one of the country’s wealthiest states, with wealth based on slavery. Four years later, the state was one of the nation’s poorest - and slavery no longer existed. Once a month through September, The State will look at the ways the Civil War changed - and continues to change - South Carolina in our series 'The Civil War: 150 years later.'"

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Here's a Yule story that ought to be a movie | Philadelphia Daily News | 12/22/2005

TRUE STORY

Here's a Yule story that ought to be a movie | Philadelphia Daily News | 12/22/2005: "Posted on Thu, Dec. 22, 2005

Here's a Yule story that ought to be a movie


By Ronnie Polaneczky"


It started last Christmas, when Bennett and Vivian Levin were overwhelmed by sadness while listening to radio reports of injured American troops. "We have to let them know we care," Vivian told Bennett. So they organized a trip to bring soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital to the annual Army-Navy football game in Philly, on Dec. 3.   The cool part is, they created their own train line to do it. Yes, there are people in this country who actually own real trains. Bennett Levin - native Philly guy, self-made millionaire and irascible former L&I commish - is one of them.   He has three luxury rail cars. Think mahogany paneling, plush seating and white-linen dining areas. He also has two locomotives, which he stores at his Juniata Park train yard. One car, the elegant Pennsylvania , carried John F. Kennedy to the Army-Navy game in 1961 and '62. Later, it carried his brother Bobby's body to D. C. for burial. "That's a lot of history for one car," says Bennett.   He and Vivian wanted to revive a tradition that endured from 1936 to 1975, during which trains carried Army-Navy spectators from around the country directly to the stadium where the annual game is played. The Levins could think of no better passengers to reinstate the ceremonial ride than the wounded men and women recovering at Walter Reed in D. C. and Bethesda , in Maryland . "We wanted to give them a first-class experience," says Bennett. "Gourmet meals on board, private transportation from the train to the stadium, perfect seats - real hero treatment."   Through the Army War College Foundation, of which he is a trustee, Bennett met with Walter Reed's commanding general, who loved the idea. But Bennett had some ground rules first, all designed to keep the focus on the troops alone: 

No press on the trip, lest the soldiers' day of pampering devolve into a media circus. 

No politicians either, because, says Bennett, "I didn't want some idiot making this trip into a campaign photo op"   And no Pentagon suits on board, otherwise the soldiers would be too busy saluting superiors to relax. 
The general agreed to the conditions, and Bennett realized he had a problem on his hands. "I had to actually make this thing happen," he laughs.   Over the next months, he recruited owners of 15 other sumptuous rail cars from around the country - these people tend to know each other - into lending their vehicles for the day. The name of their temporary train? The Liberty Limited. 
Amtrak volunteered to transport the cars to D. C. - where they'd be coupled together for the round-trip ride to Philly - then back to their owners later.   Conrail offered to service the Liberty while it was in Philly. And SEPTA drivers would bus the disabled soldiers 200 yards from the train to Lincoln Financial Field, for the game.   A benefactor from the War College ponied up 100 seats to the game - on the 50-yard line - and lunch in a hospitality suite.   And corporate donors filled, for free and without asking for publicity, goodie bags for attendees:   From Woolrich, stadium blankets. From Wal-Mart, digital cameras. From Nikon, field glasses. From GEAR, down jackets.   There was booty not just for the soldiers, but for their guests, too, since each was allowed to bring a friend or family member.   The Marines, though, declined the offer. "They voted not to take guests with them, so they could take more Marines," says Levin, choking up at the memory.   Bennett's an emotional guy, so he was worried about how he'd react to meeting the 88 troops and guests at D. C.'s Union Station, where the trip originated. Some GIs were missing limbs. Others were wheelchair-bound or accompanied by medical personnel for the day. "They made it easy to be with them," he says. "They were all smiles on the ride to Philly. Not an ounce of self-pity from any of them. They're so full of life and determination."   At the stadium, the troops reveled in the game, recalls Bennett. Not even Army's lopsided loss to Navy could deflate the group's rollicking mood.   Afterward, it was back to the train and yet another gourmet meal - heroes get hungry, says Levin - before returning to Walter Reed and Bethesda . "The day was spectacular," says Levin. "It was all about these kids. It was awesome to be part of it."   The most poignant moment for the Levins was when 11 Marines hugged them goodbye, then sang them the Marine Hymn on the platform at Union Station.   "One of the guys was blind, but he said, 'I can't see you, but man, you must be  beautiful!' " says Bennett. "I got a lump so big in my throat, I couldn't even answer him."   It's been three weeks, but the Levins and their guests are still feeling the day's love. "My Christmas came early," says Levin, who is Jewish and who loves the Christmas season. "I can't describe the feeling in the air." Maybe it was hope.   As one guest wrote in a thank-you note to Bennett and Vivian, "The fond memories generated last Saturday will sustain us all - whatever the future may bring."   God bless the Levins.  And bless the troops, every one.
Thanks to my friend Ellie Price who has a huge heart too!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Officer refuses to let man die | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment

Officer refuses to let man die | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment: "That's when Janicki saw the braided rope in the man's hand; he had taken it from a neighbor's boat while wandering the neighborhood.

The man told Janicki that things weren't right and that he didn't want to do this anymore. He kept talking in circles as the officer tried to convince him that everything would be OK. 'Just stay on the limb,' he told him.

The man dropped and dangled in the air. It was a horrible sight, but Janicki had seen worse in his four years in the military.

The 6-foot-5 officer just relied on his instincts and training, scaling the fence and then the limbs until he was within reach of the rope. It took about 30 seconds, he said."

Evening light | Landscape photos

I hope you will enjoy these amazing images

Gunman opens fire on FL school board before killing self - WIS News 10 - Columbia, South Carolina |

Think Public Service is a Safe Vocation?

Gunman opens fire on FL school board before killing self - WIS News 10 - Columbia, South Carolina |: "The gunman, identified as 56-year old Clay Duke, walked up to the podium at the meeting in Panama City and drew a red 'V' with a circle around it on a wall, and pulled a gun.

A female board member ended up on the ground after she tried to knock the gun out of his hand using her purse.

The suspect was then confronted by a former board member who exchanged gunfire with the suspect. Police say that's when Duke took his own life."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Welcome to the City of Dallas, Texas - Towing Uninsured Motorist Information

Editorial: I would vote for this ordinance in a heart beat! Imagine the number of cars that would be removed from our streets if we had a statewide law like the one Dallas has.

Imagine again the number of illegal immigrants and other violators who would be forced to change their mode of transportation and the resulting reduced insurance rates for those of us who are law abider's!

Welcome to the City of Dallas, Texas - Towing Uninsured Motorist Information:

Beginning January 1, 2009 the Dallas Police Department will begin enforcing the Uninsured Motorist Ordinance, approved by the Dallas City Council on May 28, 2008. Under this ordinance drivers stopped for a traffic violation who cannot show proof of auto insurance meeting state requirements will be issued a citation and will have his or her vehicle towed at the owner’s expense. The City already tows the vehicles of uninsured motorists involved in traffic accidents.

The new ordinance is in response to the large number of people driving in the City of Dallas without the proper state required auto insurance. These uninsured drivers place an unfair burden on those who comply with state law and maintain auto insurance. The Dallas Police Department currently issues about 75,000 citations a year to motorists with no auto insurance. With the new ordinance, the city anticipates fewer of these citations as more drivers comply with the law to avoid having their vehicles towed.

TigerNet.com -- football News -- Bowers named AP First-team All-American

TigerNet.com -- football News -- Bowers named AP First-team All-American: "Clemson, SC—Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers has been named a first-team All-American by the Associated Press. This is the fourth major All-America team for Bowers. He was earlier named by the American Football Coaches Association, the Walter Camp Foundation and the Football Writers Association.

The final major All-America team to be announced is the Sporting News team. if, Bowers is named to that team he will become just the fourth unanimous first-team All-American in Clemson history. The others are Terry Kinard (1982), Gaines Adams (2006) and C.J. Spiller (2009). Bowers would be the first to do it in his junior year."

Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Signing

On Friday, December 17, 2010


Burry Bookstore is hosting

an Author Meet and Greet

from 3:00 until 5:00 pm


Rachael Bowman Bradbury

and William P. Baskin, III

will be signing copies of

Bishopville and Lee County

This event is FREE and open to the public

In 1821, Dr. Jacques Bishop purchased a tract of land called Singletons Crossroads; and by 1828, the village was known as Bishopville. In 1902, Lee County was established and Bishopville flourished as its seat of government and center of activity. Images of America: Bishopville and Lee County is a journey back to a time when Bishopville’s Main Street on a Saturday teemed with a crowd so thick that downtown patrons had to weave their way down the sidewalk, and cotton was a booming business not only in Bishopville but in Lynchburg, Elliott, Lucknow, and Wisacky as well.

A son of the late state senator William P. Baskin, Jr. and Margaret Pittman Baskin, Billy Baskin is a lifelong resident of Bishopville. A 1953 graduate of Bishopville High School, he finished Wofford College in 1957. In 1961 Billy graduated from the USC School of Law and practiced law in Bishopville for 36 years before his retirement in 1997. Billy served as a municipal judge in Bishopville, also for 36 years, retiring in 1999. He also served as Chief of the Bishopville Rescue Squad from 1967-2002. In 2002 he was a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto. Billy is an avid hiker and can often be found on the Foothills Trail. Billy was married to the late Betty Lowder and has two adult children.



Rachael Bowman Bradbury is the great-granddaughter of the late Bishopville businessman and Lee County historian Joe F. Stuckey. She traces her Lee County roots back to Edmund Stuckey who settled the Manville section in the late 1700s. Rachael was born in Columbia and, although she has lived in other parts of the state, considers the capital city her home. A 1995 graduate of Wofford College with degrees in History and French, Rachael worked in Washington, DC for the late Rep. Floyd D. Spence (2nd District, SC). While there, one of the duties she enjoyed most was giving personal tours of the U.S. Capitol building to visiting constituents. She became interested in Bishopville history upon reading through the research of her great-grandfather. She is a member of the SC Cotton Museum and the Lee County Historical Society. Rachael, her husband and two young daughters, live in Marietta, GA.



Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Law firm will hold open house to celebrate 108 years of service - The Item: News

Law firm will hold open house to celebrate 108 years of service - The Item: News: "BISHOPVILLE - The Jennings family has been practicing law in Bishopville for about 108 years, but brothers Jacob and Robert Jennings haven't been around quite that long.
'Jacob and I are still practicing,' Robert said. 'I've done it for 50 years and Jacob's been here 55 years. We also have Bryan and Will to carry on the practice.'"

Elizabeth Edwards may only have weeks to live as cancer spreads - WIS News 10 - Columbia, South Carolina |


Statement from Elizabeth Edwards 
You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope.
These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined.
The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that.
And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human.
But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious.
And for that I am grateful. It isn't possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. 
To you I simply say: you know.


With love,
Elizabeth
Source WISTV

Monday, December 06, 2010

Opportunity to Change an Outdated Law Presents Itself Once Again

Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse

Lee County Council Chairman, Charles Arthur Beasley and State Representative, Grady Brown stood up in a local Chamber of Commerce meeting in recent months and proposed a raffle to keep the doors open on the Lee County Chamber of Commerce. As leaders of the community their hearts were in the right place but their ignorance of the law caused a lot of folks to become indignant with this editor for reporting that raffles were illegal in the State of South Carolina. Responsible folk at the local chamber checked with the State Attorney General and were informed that the proposed raffle was indeed illegal so other arrangements were conceived to successfully reverse the financial pitfall the local chamber was facing. 

The question is this; another opportunity to change an old-fashioned law is presenting itself... will our legislators... especially the local one... get it right this time and remove the barrier that criminalize's friendly home poker games and church raffles. 
From WISTV: Some South Carolina legislators say they'll try again to legalize games of poker between friends and church raffle tickets. 

Efforts to modernize South Carolina's centuries-old gambling laws have repeatedly died since 2007. That's when a raid on a Mount Pleasant home led to the arrest of 22 poker-players, including a 79-year-old woman.


Proponents argued tweaking the law was common sense, opponents feared any change could lead to outright gambling.


A South Carolina law on the books since 1802 makes illegal any game with cards or dice, which could include common family games like Monopoly and popular social games like Bunko. Some courts have interpreted the law to criminalize games of chance, not skill. More from Source: WIS TV

Sunday, December 05, 2010

What was that sound yesterday?


OOOOO AHHHH OOOOO AHHHHH


Well, don't you know
That's the sound of the Cam working over the Ga amme Cocks
Well, don't you know
That's the sound of the Cam working over the Ga amme Cocks

All day long they work so hard
Till the sun is goin' down
Working on the passing and ru unning
And wearing, wearing a frown
You hear them moanin' their lives away
Then you hear somebody say



OOOOO AHHHH OOOOO AHHHHH

Well don't you know
That's the sound of the Cam working over the Ga amme Cocks
Well, don't you know
That's the sound of the Cam working over the Ga amme Cocks

Can't ya hear them singin'

OOOOO AHHHH OOOOO AHHHHH

Well, don't you know
That's the sound of the Cam working over the Ga amme Cocks
Well, don't you know
That's the sound of the Cam working over the Ga amme Cocks

OOOOO AHHHH OOOOO AHHHHH

Can't ya hear them sayin'
I'm goin' home one of these days
I'm goin' home to see my old ball coach
He's my idol that's clear
But meanwhile I got to work right here

OOOOO AHHHH OOOOO AHHHHH

Well, don't you know
That's the sound of the Cam working over the Ga amme Cocks
Well, don't you know
That's the sound of the Cam working over the Ga amme Cocks

OOOOO AHHHH OOOOO AHHHHH

Can't ya hear them singin'
My work is so hard
Give me water, I'm thirsty
My work is so hard
Give me water... 



That's the sound of the Cam working over the Gamecocks!

"ATLANTA - South Carolina's first ever trip to the Southeastern Conference Championship Football Game was met with a lot of pomp and circumstance. Its first ever visit to the Georgia Dome with the title on the line though ended with a big thud...." Full story

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