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“Nothin’ Burger” from The Times and Democrat

“Nothin’ Burger” from The Times and Democrat

“Cell Contract” from The Times and Democrat

“Cell Contract” from The Times and Democrat

“Getting Old” from The Times and Democrat

“Getting Old” from The Times and Democrat

“Glen Simpson Fusion” by Stuart Neiman

“Glen Simpson Fusion” by Stuart Neiman

My Best Job Ever

Tom Poland

Shenanigans, Chicanery, & Plain Out Tomfoolery

By Tom Poland

For two years I worked as a ticket agent for Southeastern Stages and Greyhound while going to graduate school at the University of Georgia. It was the most entertaining job I’ve ever had. I worked with a great group of ticket agents and baggage handlers. We came from all over Georgia. I was a wide-eyed innocent seeing things I’d only heard about. It was in the bus station lobby that I saw for the first time a man passing himself off as a woman and there that I saw a man shoot himself. As he approached the ticket counter, he dropped a gun, which fired upon hitting the floor. He limped out trailing blood. I found the crumpled bullet in a corner of the lobby.

I saw drug dealings and other crimes. One cold December night before Christmas, agent M.E. Geer and I were closing the station. It was late and we had all the cash from the afternoon’s ticket sales and shipping fees, $7,000 or so, ready to go into the safe below the shipping counter. The safe was open and we were about to put several zippered money pouches into it. Seven feet away was the back door we’d failed to lock.

The door flew open and a wild-eyed hippie burst through. He had both hands thrust menacingly in the pockets of his army field jacket and slammed them on the countertop right at us.

“Give me the bread, man. C’mon, give me the bread, I’m in a hurry.”

What seemed an eternity passed, then M.E. said, “What?”

“C’mon man, give me the dough.”

M.E. and I looked at each other. Without saying a word, we each were about to hand over the money when this desperado said, “We’ve got a shipment of pizza dough here.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Living on Purpose: Someone remembers – someone cares

Dr. William Holland

By Dr. William Holland

It’s true that some people are healthier than others, but the uncomfortable facts reveal the human body is generally frail and vulnerable. I occasionally joke around with my Son-in-law about him being from another planet because he says he’s never been sick, but unfortunately, like all the rest of us, there will come a day when something will go wrong. As a minister, I’ve been around my share of sickness and pain and it truly hurts me to see others suffer. My father was a very sick man, and our family watched him go through years of agony. With my parents being faithful members of their church, they received countless thoughts and prayers for him to overcome his health problems. Why was he not healed? Well, I guess that question could also be asked about millions of others since the beginning of time and the answer is always the same – we really do not know. Do prayers work? Of course, but just because we do not see instant results or for that matter, any results at all does not mean the power of God was not working behind the scenes. I absolutely believe in miracles from heaven and have personally seen them, but we also need to remember this life is only temporary and its true meaning is to develop an awareness of humility, respect, and trust in the one who is in total control.

We’ve heard the old saying about how life was never promised to be a rose garden and we can see a lot of spiritual truth in this statement. In this light, we can also be reminded that every rose has its thorns. If our path was always smooth and we always had plenty of money and felt wonderful every day, we would not understand what it means to desperately seek Him. There would be no desire to pray or need to demonstrate faith which are essential spiritual building blocks in our relationship with God. You see, the Lord did not intend for us to worship creation and have the independence to live however we want. He desires that we worship Him the creator and live according to His will. Each person is given a few years on this earth as an opportunity to know God and allow Him to transform and prepare us to live with Him forever, which is what life is all about.  Read the rest of this entry »

SC Humanities Receives Democracy Programming Grant

SC Humanities has been awarded a $35,000 grant to support its 2018-19 “News Literacy and the Future of Journalism” initiative.  This important seven-month series will be planned and presented in partnership with Winthrop University and the S.C. Press Association.

Events begin with a public “kick off” in September 2018 in Rock Hill featuring a headline speaker launching Winthrop’s interdisciplinary examination of this important topic.  This plenary event will be presented in collaboration with the North Carolina Humanities Council. Other plans include:

  • Public programming highlighting Constitution Day and News Engagement Day 2018;
  • Four public humanities lectures or moderated forums utilizing scholars and professional journalists examining specific subject areas. Topics are: First Amendment 101, which includes a discussion of John Stuart Mill, the Federalist Papers and the duty of citizens to be informed; discerning fake news from real news; the role of opinion writers; and why investigative reporting matters;
  • Development of a Media and Politics class at the University;
  • At least four additional learning opportunities for students, including internships and volunteer involvement;
  • A portion of SC Humanities’ re-grant funds will be set aside to support programming that relates to the theme; and
  • The series will conclude with another public “headline” event in March 2019 at the SC Press Association annual meeting in Columbia.

This program is part of the “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” Initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The initiative seeks to deepen the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the vital connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry.   SC Humanities thanks The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.

SC Humanities is a statewide non-profit  that reaches more than 250,000 citizens annually in both urban and rural settings with its support of exhibits, festivals, book discussions, literary initiatives, films, lectures and more.  It is not a government agency and receives no support from the state of South Carolina. Its mission is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians.

For more information, contact Judy B. Bynum, Judy@schumanities.org; Karen Kedrowski, kedrowskik@winthrop.edu; or Guy Reel, Reelg@winthrop.edu. Stay tuned to the SC Humanities at website at schumanities.org for programming details.

A review of Newspaper Wars

By Jay Bender

If 2017 is bookmarked in history it will be as the year of reassessment.  During the year we’ve been urged to reassess the meaning of “sexual harassment.”  We’ve been urged to reassess what is “normal” conduct for a President of the United States.  And, sometimes with violence we’ve been confronted with a reassessment of those who are honored by statues and monuments in public places.

Former reporter Sid Bedingfield, now Dr. Sid Bedingfield, an assistant professor of journalism and mass communication of the University of Minnesota provides a timely and solidly researched book on the role of newspapers in South Carolina during the civil rights movement and the white backlash to that movement.  The book, Newspaper Wars Civil Rights and White Resistance in South Carolina, 1935-1965, examines the emergence of a black newspaper, the Lighthouse and Informer, as a leading weapon in the effort by the NAACP to gain a role for African Americans in 20th Century political life in South Carolina.

The other side in the newspaper war was fought by the white press, led principally by William Watts Ball, Thomas R. Waring, Jr. and William D. Workman, Jr. through the News and Courier in Charleston.  In today’s context all would be characterized as racists and white supremacists.  In their period, they were merely typical of white South Carolinians in attitude, although their ability to communicate their views was far from typical.

Bedingfield traces the confrontation between the black activists and white resisters with profiles of the principals in the battle.  On the side of the NAACP there was Columbia activist Modjeska Monteith Simkins, Lighthouse and Informer editor John Henry McCray, the African American citizens who risked lives and property to participate in suits challenging unequal pay for teachers, inadequate facilities and resources for black schools and the exclusion of African Americans from voting in the Democratic Party primary with appearances by famed civil rights lawyer and later United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.  Read the rest of this entry »

Coyote

Tom Poland

Your New Neighbor From the West

By Tom Poland

First sighting, a hazy afternoon near the Georgia-South Carolina border. Driving east on Highway 221 toward Clarks Hill Dam, I spotted a gaunt, leggy, yellow dog loping along the left shoulder. It darted across the road right in front of me, looking back as if to say, “That was easy.”

“That’s a coyote,” I thought. I had seen one before. Maybe. I live on the edge of a forest. Lots of wildlife around. Deer, bald eagles, and omnipresent opossums. Raccoons, of course. Running a trail, I spotted a tawny dog. It stepped from the woods and stared at me. Then the dark, green forest swallowed it. Maybe it was a Carolina dog, but the critter near the dam was a migrant from the West.

Coyote concerts were part of the old westerns. “Gun Smoke,” “Rawhide,” “Bonanza,” “Wagon Train”—none were complete without yipping coyotes and moon-howling wolves. After watching tumbleweeds and campfire scenes, I wanted to stand beneath a full moon and hear a wolf howling or coyotes yapping.

The reality is that coyotes, like fire ants and armadillos, have moved into the American South, and we’re learning to live together, or trying. To succeed, we need to cut through myths and better understand our new neighbor.  Read the rest of this entry »

“Morale Courage” by Stuart Neiman

“Morale Courage” by Stuart Neiman

Living on Purpose: Hope is confidence that something better is coming

Dr. William Holland

By Dr. William Holland

I have the privilege of being a community chaplain and along with this opportunity to serve I see a lot of heartbreaking circumstances that many people do not see. Every year at the holiday season it’s difficult for me to be filled with excitement because I’m surrounded by those who are facing major problems and will not experience the same blessings that most of us enjoy. This past Christmas and Thanksgiving, we were overwhelmed with those reaching out for help. The little children are so innocent and helpless and we have actually watched them open the jars of peanut butter and eat it with their fingers because they were hungry. We do not have to search in other third world countries to find people who are hungry and going through hard times – we have them in our own hometown. The last couple of months, I’ve been busy helping to coordinate food drives for the needy, but even though we helped numerous families, this did not resolve the problem. Boxes of food and clothing is a nice gesture but how can we help people escape from poverty? I know nothing is impossible with God as I remember Jesus miraculously feeding five thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fish. If this was not amazing enough, after everyone had eaten all they wanted, they took up twelve baskets of leftovers. Maybe instead of focusing on the size of the need, we should consider how big our God is!  Read the rest of this entry »

S.C. Legislature Opening Session (Sam Holland/S.C. House of Representatives Photographer)

S.C. Legislature Opening Session (Sam Holland/S.C. House of Representatives Photographer)

S.C. Legislature Opening Session (Sam Holland/S.C. House of Representatives Photographer)

S.C. Legislature Opening Session (Sam Holland/S.C. House of Representatives Photographer)

S.C. Legislature Opening Session (Sam Holland/S.C. House of Representatives Photographer)

S.C. Legislature Opening Session (Sam Holland/S.C. House of Representatives Photographer)

S.C. Legislature Opening Session (Sam Holland/S.C. House of Representatives Photographer)

S.C. Legislature Opening Session (Sam Holland/S.C. House of Representatives Photographer)

S.C. Legislature Opening Session (Sam Holland/S.C. House of Representatives Photographer)

S.C. Legislature Opening Session (Sam Holland/S.C. House of Representatives Photographer)

S.C. Legislature Opening Session (Sam Holland/S.C. House of Representatives Photographer)

S.C. Legislature Opening Session (Sam Holland/S.C. House of Representatives Photographer)

S.C. Legislature Opening Session (Sam Holland/S.C. House of Representatives Photographer)

S.C. Legislature Opening Session (Sam Holland/S.C. House of Representatives Photographer)

“Like Us” from The Times and Democrat

“Like Us” from The Times and Democrat

“Cold Wx” from The Times and Democrat

“Cold Wx” from The Times and Democrat