Monday, September 5, 2011

Regional Briefs


Dispute in public library ends in fisticuffs

A Charleston man is facing assault charges after witnesses say he punched a patron at the Charleston County Library after becoming enraged by a slow library computer.

According to witnesses, Mohammed Mused, 23, was cussing at the public computer shortly after 3 p.m. when another man approached and told him to calm down. Mused allegedly responded by punching the man in the face.

“He was out for a minute and was bleeding profusely,”Jennings Rountree, a library patron who witnessed the incident, told the Charleston Post and Courier.

School children, parents, and other patrons reportedly stood outside and watched while police, firefighters, and EMS responded to the scene. Mused was immediately taken into custody.

Jamie Thomas, the library’s PR and marketing manager, said she was surprised by the incident.

“Never in anyone’s memory,”she told the Post and Courier, “have we seen an event like this.”


Canine mayoral candidate dead at 13

The small town of Waxhaw, N.C., just across the state line from Fort Mill, is mourning the loss of one of its most famous politicians: a dog named Wally.

Mike Holliday, Wally’s owner and former campaign manager, said the dog passed away suddenly while on a morning walk.

Wally, a mixed breed former stray, ran for mayor of Waxhaw in 2003 at age 5. Supporters sold T-shirts with the slogan “Wally worries about Waxhaw’s future.”Though the candidate faced backlash from the Union County Board of Elections, he still managed to secure three votes, but ultimately lost the election to Gary Underwood. 


Offshore “dead zone”may waft unpleasant stench along beachfront

Researchers have documented and are continuing to study an oxygen depleted band of ocean that runs along the Grand Strand. The “dead zone”varies in width and concentration and generally occurs between the surf zone to around 2 kilometers out, they said. They are pushing for funding for continued research before the conditions worsen. A side effect of worsening conditions would likely be a rotten egg smell that would be carried on the ocean breeze for miles.

Erik Smith, of the National Estuarine Research Reserve in Georgetown County, is the lead scientist in a Grand Strand pollution study. He told the Myrtle Beach Sun that the rotten egg smell is caused by dead zone bacteria discharging hydrogen sulfide. In the report, Smith raised an ominous question for the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce and tourism board:

“Are you going to sit on the beach if the smell of rotten eggs is wafting in your face?”he asked.

Smith is currently studying tidal creeks called “swashes”that tend to discharge pollutants and run-off from beachfront neighborhoods into larger creek systems that drain into the ocean. A spokesperson for the City of Myrtle Beach told the Sun that it has spent millions of dollars and plans to spend more to combat pollution making its way into the marine environment.

Smith says it is possible --though it is too early in the study to know for certain-- that the low-oxygen condition in the Grand Strand could be seasonal and could flush itself clean each winter. He also said that the condition could be reversed should it develop into a year round event. For now, he needs more research data to be sure.


Burglars request Mountain Dew soft drinks from sleeping victim

A 23-year-old Rock Hill woman told police she awoke to two burglars in her bedroom, one of whom asked for a soda.

The victim said she awoke around 10 a.m. to find a man and woman standing in her bedroom doorway. One of the burglars, later identified as Danielle Williams, 26, then allegedly demanded a couple of Mountain Dews. The victim responded by calling police who later apprehended Williams and Ryan Vester, 26. Police said they found a bottle of pills on the couple and charged them with burglary.


Woman falls prey to iPad scam

A Spartanburg woman alerted authorities after a computer purchase in a McDonald's parking lot went south.

The woman, 22, told authorities she attempted to buy an iPad from two men in a McDonald’s parking lot. According to police, the man gave the woman a closed Fed Ex box purported to contain an iPad. When she got home she discovered that the box only contained a block of wood with an Apple sticker on it.

Police are looking into the scam. 


Elderly fists fly over Cracker Barrel parking space

A 73-year-old woman and a 54-year-old man were each found guilty of assault stemming from a March dispute over a parking space at Cracker Barrel. 

According to the Spartanburg Herald Journal, Shelby Walker, 73, of Travelers Rest slapped Don Fairbanks, 54, of Hendersonville, N.C in the face after he allegedly stole her parking space. Fairbanks responded by allegedly knocking the woman to the ground.

Fairbanks told Henderson County District Court Judge, David Fox, that he was entering the restaurant with his elderly mother when Walker and a friend began to chide him. Fairbanks said he told Walker and her friend Betty Spearman, 79, to “go (expletive) yourself.”That’s when, he said, Walker slapped him.

Spearman testified that Fairbanks responded by knocking Walker to the ground. 

“Everyone is wrong here,”the judge said. Then he turned his ire towards Fairbanks.

“If the person laying on the (car) horn was, let’s say, a 275-pound, 30-year-old biker, and he pulled up behind you at the Cracker Barrel saying you’re an idiot, would you have felt the liberty to take the position you had with this elderly woman and tell him to go (expletive) himself?”Judge Fox asked. “My suggestion is, your enlightened self-interest would have told you that you would have been the one on the pavement.”

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Government for - or against the people?

By Harvey Elwood, Jr.

For months now the Republican controlled government of South Carolina and several other states have pushed forth and vigorously defended “Voter ID” legislation, veiled under the idea of saving the rest of us from non-citizen, voter frauding, mystery beings from outer space, that got President Obama elected.

In their zeal to turn back the clock on civil and human rights that took hundreds of years and thousands of lives to establish, these folk would have you believe they are honorable and just.

For those who may remember civil rights, the suffrage movement and 6th Grade Social Studies - the struggles were about affording people the right to vote - allowing this nation to live out the true meaning of it’s declaration and proposition. Where everyone including the Governors of South Carolina and Louisiana although non white - are real and true citizens in every sense and have every opportunity to become President or anything else they like.

How ironic, that these same leaders are now the ones working against the very struggles and barriers that today allow them to hold public office, without shame or ridicule; established by the work of Dr. Martin Luther King and many other right minded people of all backgrounds.

I for one hate that it’s come down to this. Many of us thought we were past this type of nonsense. Yet power concedes nothing - even when we stand together to defend our nation, it’s laws and all it’s suppose to mean, there are those who march to the beat of a different drum.

The disenfranchisement of 178,000 people in our state alone is a very serious matter. People who’ve been registered and voted for years yet have no ID, primarily due to age or never owning or driving an automobile.

How do we tell our children or look them in the face and say we made a mistake. America is not better than that, it’s all a lie. Or how do I tell an African American senior citizen with little to no education, in their 70’s or 80’s that were born and worked in the fields for most of their lives and because they don’t have an ID are no longer able to vote.

It wasn’t that long ago that they were finally granted their God given rights. And for most if not all - voting for and seeing an African American elected President was the greatest moment of their lives.

But now once again their best is not good enough, their labors and lives on the battle fields, the floors they scrubbed, ditches they’ve dug and the loss of sons and daughters in defense of this land we love, seems not enough.

My parents taught me to love this nation and all the people in it - even those that need to be ashamed of themselves, for this obvious, yet deceptive ideological and poorly disguised masquerade against people of good will everywhere.

Well - I for one won’t accept the lie and will continue to live the dream everyday with people of all backgrounds and all socio-economic classes and colors, attend school and worship services with them, dine in their homes and they in mine.

And continue to remain vigilant against any government or person who does not accept one nation under God inadvisable, with liberty and justice for all.

■ Harvey Elwood, Jr. of Orangeburg - is a semi-retired educator and host of 

“New Perspectives” a weekly public affairs and information show aired on WSSB 90.3FM.