Bend In The Branch

The personal opinions of one among many.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Paying it Forward

South Carolina has not forgotten it's neighbors.

State Employees and National Guardsmen are at the ready.

Food Lion grocery stores are preparing supplies.

Utility company employees and equipment are en route.

Cities are utilizing resources to provide aid.

Local Red Cross volunteers are en route.

Churches are providing more than prayer.

Constricting the Con Artist

Often, the undereducated and impoverished who have little become prey to the unscrupulous.

Far too often, fear and shame prevent victims who have been taken advantage of from seeking legal remedy.

I applaud the victim in this story, and I regale in the judge's wisdom.

Maybin was booked into the Lexington County Detention Center. During a bond hearing, Judge Brian Jeffcoat found Maybin in contempt of court for misrepresenting his criminal record.

Just punishment

We Tied One On

Did You?

Fond Farewell

Go with pride, 122nd Engineer Co.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Few of us have experienced it.

Those of us who have know how vital help is.

Help if you can.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Monday Mutt Shot

How to Get People Food, Step 2: The Intimidating Stare

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Gas Price War!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Bubba's Gonna Be So Proud

Not So Unusual: The kid requests cash for school.

Unusual: Today, she needs the cash for FFA membership dues.

The kid has a passion for dance, but aspires to be a veterinarian, and sees this as a positive step in that direction.

My Daddy, the farmer and her "Bubba" is gonna love this!

Preying on the Desperate

To the single mother dependent on unemployment benefits to support herself and her children, or the senior citizen dependent on meager Social Security benefits, an official document with a certified check payable for a portion of the jackpot delivered in the mail announcing a lottery winning is a prayer answered.

The document declares the winnings valid, even bears an official state seal.

The check is a mere portion of the moneys due; an act of good faith on the part of the awarder. In exchange for that good faith, the awardee mustn't disclose their winnings to anyone and must pay the taxes and fees due prior to receiving the balance.

The taxes and fees can be paid by credit card. If not an option to the winner, a representative answering a toll-free call jeopardizes his/her job by telling the winner to deposit the check and send the taxes and fees via wire transfer from the winner's bank account.

Sometimes, the helpful representative's directive is followed, but instead of the expected check, a notice of insufficient arrives in the mail.

Sometimes, the little voice within speaks loudly enough to halt action, and a trusted one is called upon for advice.

Perhaps because I cared enough to spend the time to verify funds available, I became the trusted one and maybe, just maybe, I protected an innocent, desperate one.

Perhaps patience, tolerance, and understanding (all qualities easily claimed)should be more frequently displayed by us all.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

In Memory of

Chosen Company's Sgt. Michael R. Lehmiller...may we all be as proud as his mother.

ANDERSON, S.C. - Army Sgt. Michael R. Lehmiller, 23, was killed while on patrol in Afghanistan when a massive bomb exploded under a wooden bridge as a convoy of armored Humvees crossed.

Lehmiller was serving near Baylough, Afghanistan, with the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade based in Vicenza, Italy.

Lehmiller was interviewed by the Anderson Independent-Mail in March 2004 while he was home after serving almost a year in Iraq. He said he wouldn't hesitate about going back to Iraq or Afghanistan.

"If you ask me if there is still a war going on, I would say yes," Lehmiller said then. "People get hit over there everyday. Is it getting better? Oh, yes. But it's going to take a while. I am definitely in support of going back and doing what I can to fix the problems over there, because there are definitely problems over there."

Other men killed in Sunday's blast were 1st Lt. Joshua Hyland, 31, of Missoula, Mont.; Pvt. Christopher Palmer, 22, of Sacramento, Calif.; and Spc. Blake Hall, 20, of East Prairie, Mo. Three soldiers were injured.

They were part of a major offensive against militants who have vowed to subvert legislative elections on Sept. 18 - the next step toward democracy after more than two decades of war and civil strife.

Lehmiller's mother, Gail Michaels, spoke with her son last week. She said he told her he felt he belonged in the Middle East.

"He said, 'If I wasn't here, Mom, this (fight) would be in Anderson or Tampa or anywhere in the U.S., and we don't need it there," Michaels said.

Michaels said her son joined the Army days after his high school graduation.

"He was very proud of himself, and I was very proud of him. The whole family was," she said.

Lehmiller re-enlisted last summer and was deployed to Afghanistan just after Easter.

"I was looking forward to him coming home in September for two weeks," Michaels said.

"He will be missed," Michaels said. "He did the right thing."

Quick Thinking

What would you do?

A gun is pointed at you and $500.00 is demanded in exchange for your life.

Would you negotiate and then write a check payable to the robber for $350.00?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Tie One One

MANNING — Businesses and residents in Manning and throughout the Midlands are being asked to tie a yellow ribbon near their doors to welcome home the National Guardsmen from Charlie Battery.

The unit is expected to return at the end of September.

"Beginning on September 1st, we'd like to see yellow ribbons on every door to show support for the return of the Charlie Battery 178th guardsmen," said Michelle Holland, Family Readiness Group coordinator for Charlie Battery. "We've planned a parade and reception for the guardsmen and their families on Oct. 29, but we'd like for them to see the support and thousands of yellow ribbons as they ride through town."


Monday Mutt Shot

How to Get People Food, Step 1: Strategic Positioning

Sunday, August 21, 2005

An Iron Man With a Heart of Gold

Orthopedic Surgeon Kevin Nahigian will compete in the fourth annual Ford Ironman Wisconsin Triathlon on September 11, 2005 for the Fallen Patriot Fund.

Nahigian says while it's been hard to train in this blistering heat, he is motivated by the spirit and sacrifice of men and women fighting in the war. "They're incredible heroes doing incredible things, that's what ironman is, incredible men and women doing extraordinary things, I look at my kids and these people are out protecting men and woman the least we can do is help their kids."

His goal is to raise $20,000.00.

Contact Information:


Carolina Shoulder and Knee
Suite 202
710 Rabon Road
Columbia, SC 29203

A Little Reminder of Home

Tammie Grookett continues to send deployed military members a little reminder of home.

“We have a war, so we've got to show the ones who are fighting for us that we love 'em, and we care, and we support what they do."

If you know someone who's in the military and is away from home, you can stop by and see Tammie on Sunday, August 21. She'll be taking pictures at Richland Mall from 1:00 to 6:00.

Evans Story

Faith and Love pulled Hal, Bea Bea, and their five-year old son from steep slope of tragedy.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Welcome Home

and thanks,ACO, 327th Sig Bn & CCO, 50th Sig Bn!


CLEVELAND -- A mother of a fallen Marine said she wants to hug the last thing that her son hugged before he was killed in Iraq -- Beans the dog.

The mixed-breed dog was looked after by many of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines based out of Brook Park who were killed two weeks ago, NewsChannel5 reported.

Hundreds of people have helped raise money to bring Beans home. Now one family is one step closer to doing that.

Members of the Salzer family are animal lovers. They take strays into their Portage County home and they have fallen in love with Beans.

One photograph shows beans held by Lance Cpl. Jeff Boskovitch, who was killed Aug. 1 in a sniper attack.

The dog has emotional ties to the unit and to Marines' homefront families.

"One mom said to me, 'I know in my heart that my son last hugged that dog before going out on patrol that he didn't come back from. I need to hug that dog,'" Jennifer Salzer said.

Military regulations prohibit the unit from bringing the dog home. So the Salzers are trying to raise money for commercial transportation.

A 5 On Your Side account was set up at Key Bank to raise money to bring Beans home. It's called "The Beans Foundation."

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

My Next Cable Bill

may be addressed similarly.

I didn't call a dozen times, but I firmly and politely requested the free service touted as a remedy for their failure to keep scheduled repair calls.

Though it was clear to the customer service representative who answered my second call in as many days that everyone in the neighborhood was suffering from outages, and I attempted to explain we'd experienced the exact same outages last year, he insisted that the only way to properly diagnose the problem was to begin at my home.

I left work early to be here during the two-hour time frame mandated. An hour and some forty minutes later, the repairman called. He was working on a main switch, "Because everybody in your neighborhood is having problems" and wouldn't be able to keep the scheduled appointment.

If only customer service representatives were trained to listen and respond accordingly instead of being directed to read from manuals based on one or two chosen words.

Always Precious

Rest in Peace, Erica Michelle Marie. Though you may never have known it during your short life, you were cared for.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

PETA Suddenly Politically Correct?

Well, PETA is at it again.

As you probably have heard, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to NCAA president Myles Brand asking that USC — as well as Jacksonville (Ala.) State — stop using the nickname “Gamecocks.”

PETA raises the issue at this time only to climb on the bandwagon of Native American groups, which have voiced very legitimate concerns with Indian nicknames and mascots.

It seems, though, that PETA must be laboring under the impression that USC is staging actual cockfights over at Williams-Brice Stadium. Maybe those folks don’t realize it’s just a bunch of college kids playing football.

Hey, there’s illegal dog-fighting out there, too. Should all those school teams called “the Bulldogs” give up their nicknames?

Tigers and gators are violent predators as well. Should schools really be honoring all of the killing these animals do?

USC has declined to drop the Gamecock as its mascot. But we wouldn’t be surprised if the animal-rights group kept harassing the school.

Read the Rest at The State Online

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Unclean Hands

Most questions I have about Cindy Sheehan and the band of merry maniacs staging a protest at the entrance of the President's home can never be answered.

Some may be answered soon.

She said protesters would ask for a restraining order to keep Northern away from their camp.

'Round here, you just can't camp out along the highway. The State maintains complete control of the right-of-way, which includes the expanse of a road or highway and several feet on either side of it.

Utility companies don't smile kindly on infringements on their easements, either.

I believe if the same holds true in Texas, even if the group has permission to camp on private property and they haven't obtained permission to impede existing easements and rights-of-way, parking along the edge of the highway and erecting structures (monuments, tents, port-a-potties) would be in direct violation of the law and wouldn’t "Unclean Hands" be slapped by any judge they attempted to obtain a restraining order from?

Monday, August 15, 2005

A Labor of Love

"To us, this is a labor of love," said Lord. "To them, this is a statement that we still know they're there. We love them. We care about them."

Hunka Hunka Sticky Notes

A working man's tribute to "The King"

A Little Piece of Home

goes a long way.

For the troops, pictures worth a thousand words

You can’t stop at a traffic light without seeing them: the yellow “Support Our Troops” ribbon-shaped magnets on the backs of cars. “But the poor guys over there don’t see any of that,” said David Grookett. That’s why his wife at Grookett Photography is partnering with Richland Mall to shoot free portraits for military families and friends.

Grookett said this can be a portrait of anyone with a loved one who is deployed — “dependents, parents, grandparents, any extended family member as well as fiancees, school buddies and co-workers.”

Or, if your loved one is still stationed here, you can get these photographs done now before they are deployed.

He said the effort was inspired when the Iraq war began.

“All these groups were trying to send care packages,” he said. But the troops overseas would say, “We’re moving fast and furious conducting a war. We can’t get bogged down with that.”

So his wife figured the best way to show support was to send durable, wallet-sized photos that “can go right in their shirt pocket in their uniform.” On the back is an American flag and encouraging words. Enclosed with the photos will be a note from the family.

All you have to do is bring your deployed loved one’s address and the photos will be sent for you. Free wallet-sized and larger prints also will be sent to the family or friends being photographed.

A specific location is still being confirmed, but the pictures will be taken at the lower level of Richland Mall from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, call (803) 254-8822.

The State Online


Becky Strange grew up on Lemmon Street, just around the corner from the street named for her father, John Gerald.

As a child, she didn't think it odd that her dad would have a street — everyone knew the city named streets after its native sons killed in World War II.

Today, the people who live or drive on streets like Adams, Wactor or Sam Smith might not realize the significance of those names.

But Sumter High School teacher Sammy Way is out to change that. Through a Hands on History project that took on a life of its own, and with the help of records clerk Pat Wilcox, he's created a reproducible scrapbook with photos and personal information on 41 of the Sumter men who died in World War II.

The project is ongoing — he hopes anyone who notices an omission will contact him with information. Mostly, he said, the project is about retelling history.

"One thing that bothers me is I don't want the history to be lost," he said.

Dorothy Morgan...remembers her older brother Adger Matthews well.

As a young woman, though, she didn't pay attention to the street-naming process. Only when Way began his research did Morgan realize her brother was one of three Sumter High alumni without a street.

Morgan's family endured long months after his plane, a B-17, went down over Germany and he was considered missing in action. Yet during that time, Morgan said, their mother was "miraculous."

"This was a period of time when everybody was so patriotic, when everybody wanted to do their share. She was just so brave," Morgan said.

Thanks to teachers like Sammy Way, many have been made aware of honors bestowed upon the families of the fallen and maybe, just maybe, an important lesson in patriotism is being taught.

Monday Mutt Shot: Fish are Friends, not Food Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 11, 2005


While I believe society has become far too litigious, I realize there are times when litigation is a necessity; a last resort.

I would normally be against an Alienation of Affection suit, but, in this case,

According to court records:

Johnson met Alphonso Scott in January 2003 in Fayetteville, and they began an affair.

Threnia Scott tried to save her marriage and asked Alphonso to attend marriage counseling, but Johnson stayed in contact with him, interfering with that effort.

Johnson gave Alphonso Scott a sexually transmitted disease, which he then gave to Threnia(Emphasis Mine).

I find it reasonable.

tsk, tsk

Buying a home is a dream come true come true for many.

Sadly, optimism can cloud reality.

There are those tasked with tempering optimism and 'tis sad indeed when those responsible use their positions to their advantage.

The American Spirit

A 12-year-old sees a need and tries to help.

When then terrorist flew airplanes into the World Trade Center, then 12-year-old Gray Vitaris was at school in South Carolina, "I didn't know what was going on. I didn't really understand it."

But he decided to act, "How people probably lost a lot of their family. I thought I should do something about it."

So Gray made flag pins, sold them to family and friends, and raised $1,000.

His gift is refused by one, but accepted by another.

He sent the money to the federal government, but they never cashed the check. Three years later, a letter came in the mail. It said the Treasury Department can't accept donations.

Gray was not deterred, "They sent it back. We still wanted to put it to good use."

Gray's family decided it should go to the state. SLED accepted.

The entire donation will go towards the state's Homeland Security effort. More specifically, a new bomb sniffing dog.

How grateful we should all be for those like young Gray Vitaris

Monday, August 08, 2005

Doggie Donors

Washington County, Oregon Sheriff's K9 Unit has volunteered to give the gift of life to fellow canines.

On Wednesday August 10, 2005 the dogs from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office K-9 program will start the process to donate canine blood to the Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital. Members of the Sheriff’s Office K-9 team became aware of the recent need for blood at the Dove Lewis Blood Bank and they volunteered to donate blood from the dogs used by the Sheriff’s Office.

...Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital has one of the biggest volunteer-based canine blood donor programs in America. Almost 300 dogs donate critically needed blood throughout the year. Their donations save lives at Dove Lewis and other veterinary clinics and hospitals by providing approximately 1,000 transfusions each year.

For additional information about the Dove Lewis blood donor program please contact Tiffini Mueller at 503.535.3391 x40.

The Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital is located at 1984 NW Pettygrove, Portland.

To The 1182nd Transportation Terminal Battalion

Welcome Home!

Criminal Domestic Violence Grant

It's a step in the right direction, but a shame the first step wasn't instituting a safe haven for victims of CDV who, in their minds, have nowhere to turn.

Monday Mutt Shots: She said it was a present, Posted by Picasa

but it's not food Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Walking on the Graves of Good Men

Though some believe it superstitious, most Southerners consider it crass; the ultimate display of disrespect, to walk across a grave.

When Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a Democrat of Cleveland issued the following statement to reporters at the conclusion of a prayer vigil for Ohio Marines killed in Iraq last week,

"The memorial service is so important to the families of the Marines. I just wish we could do more. They can use our prayers, but they can also use our voices to speak out against this war in Iraq."

she not only walked, she skipped and danced a little ditty across the graves of good men.

There is no justification for blatantly defiling the memories of honor, commitment and courage of volunteers who have sacrificed their lives.

See Also: Mudville Gazette

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Happy Birthday! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Be Informed

Sometimes, evil lurks in the most unseemly places.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Monday Mutt Shot Posted by Picasa