Monthly Archives: February 2015

Wily Coyotes


CoyoteWildlife and small pets are not always a good mix, and residents should take caution from recent coyote sightings in Columbia County.

Daniel Mayne, the county Animal Services operations manager, says the department has received a number of phone calls about coyote sightings from all across the county, primarily between Hereford Farm and Washington roads along Owens Road.

He says Animal Services also has gotten reports of coyote sightings in the Appling and Grovetown areas. Coyotes have been spotted in neighborhoods off of Furys Ferry Road such as West Lake and Wexford as well.

A West Lake resident lost her dog to a coyote, according to a West Lake Property Owners Association bulletin, and the neighborhood has set out traps for the animals.

“Coyotes are present the whole year, but we get more calls about them in the spring and summer. I think it’s because people are more active then,” says I.B. Parnell, senior wildlife biologist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Mayne and Parnell agree that coyotes pose little threat to human beings, but the animals are a danger to cats and small dogs.

“Coyotes don’t see people as a prey source, but they will attack small dogs and cats, especially cats,” Parnell says. “They might attack a small dog for food or as a threat to their territory. They won’t attack a person unless there is something wrong with them.”

Mayne cautions residents to be wary of a coyote that looks sick or lethargic because it could be a sign of rabies. He also advises residents to keep their pets’ rabies vaccinations up-to-date.

To discourage coyotes from coming into their yards, homeowners should keep garbage secured, refrain from putting out pet food for stray animals and eliminate water sources from their properties. Parnell also recommends that homeowners keep birdseed off of the ground because it attracts small mammals and rodents, which are a coyote’s main source of food.

“If you see a coyote in your yard, you can chase it off by spraying it with a water hose or by throwing a rock or a stick at it,” says Parnell. “Then the coyote won’t associate your yard as a safe place to be.”

Swan Songs


Augusta Amusements is wrapping up its season this month with a quartet of performances that will appeal to all types of audiences. Whether a musician that tickles the ivories or a group of good old-fashioned gospel singers gets your toes tapping, these performers are sure to end the season on a high note.

Michael-KaeshammerMichael Kaeshammer — March 7

Toronto-based singer-songwriter and pianist Michael Kaeshammer will bring plenty of excitement to his local fans. Kaeshammer is known for putting on a chilling performance as he sings and plays boogie-woogie, blues, jazz and pop tunes on the piano. From 2001 through 2010, he was nominated for numerous awards, and he has been named West Coast Music Award’s Male Artist of the Year as well as Performer and Musician of the Year. Tickets are $30 and $35.

Blind Boys of Alabama — March 13

You may not have been around as long as this group has, but you most likely have heard of them. The Blind Boys of Alabama, formed in the late 1930s at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in Talladega, have harmonized from the Jim Crow through the Civil Rights eras. If you need a refresher about the legendary group, then you should know that they have enjoyed some of their biggest successes in the last 10 years. The gospel group has won five Grammies and four Gospel Music Awards. The singers were honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009, and they have received multiple invitations to sing at the White House. Tickets are $59 and $64.

Jim Brickman — March 20

Not only is solo-pianist Jim Brickman known for his master piano skills. He also is known for his popular vocal collaborations with artists such as country songstress Martina McBride, singer Rebecca Lynn Howard and Columbia County’s own Lady Antebellum. During his career, Brickman has earned two Grammy Award nominations, a couple of SESAC Songwriter of the Year Awards, a Canadian Country Music Award, and a Dove Award, presented by the Gospel Music Association. Tickets are $57 and $62.

Al Stewart — March 28

If “Year of the Cat” rings a bell, then you know exactly who is coming to town. Singer-songwriter Al Stewart, who performed here last year, will return to Columbia County to dazzle audiences with his unmistakable style. Stewart was a key figure in British music, and his unique folk-rock sound spread to the United States. He has released 16 studio and three live albums since his debut album, Bedsitter Images. Tickets are $37.50 and $42.50.

All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center. For more information, call (706) 726-0366 or visit


– Katlin Carter

Welcome to my home, and watch your step

Southern Hospitality

If we ever have a national disaster, you might not want to come to my house to camp out. For one thing, I am a compulsive kitchen minimalist, so mealtime might involve sparse rations. You can usually find one shriveled carrot, two sprouted potatoes, or maybe a tablespoon of peanut butter in the kitchen, but certainly not enough to fill a plate. It’s a bad habit I’ve gotten into and it’s a true dilemma.

On the one hand, there is food in the house. On the other hand, it might not be edible. This drives my daughter, Kelly, crazy. I always spot a gleam in her eye when, after driving here from Raleigh, she puts her suitcase in the bedroom, primps in the bathroom mirror for a few minutes and then goes straight to the refrigerator and cleans it out. Next she runs sudsy dishwater in the sink. Then the Tupperware goes flying, and the garbage can fills up quickly. It’s a routine I’ve come to expect.

For another thing, the sanitation rating here might not get a grade of “A.” Once when Katie was 14, she had a friend over for dinner. Afterward, Jessica picked up the broom and began sweeping my kitchen. “I just can’t stand it any longer,” she told Katie, with tear-filled eyes. Her mother still doesn’t believe this, since she’s never seen her child hold a broom. In my defense, things do get cleaner the higher up you go. The ceiling, for instance, is spotless.

Then there is the matter of grounds. I think I know where the term “grounds for divorce” comes from — unsuspecting spouses who choke on menacing black flecks in their glasses of iced tea. Am I the only one who has this problem with bursting tea bags? The process seems simple. I boil the bags and water, then let the pot steep for five minutes. Next I throw away the bags and pour the tea into the pitcher. I add sugar and stir. Easy enough, so far. Suddenly I spot tiny black grounds floating to the top. I strain the tea as best as I can — after all, I hate to waste — and fill up the glasses. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. The dilemma is especially embarrassing when we have company over. Russell is usually the one to notice first. His special “tea grounds cough” is my cue to throw out the remaining tea in the pitcher.

I’ve always said if my beds are made up, I feel like my house is clean … or should I say clean enough? If you came to visit, you would get a clean, made bed, not to mention a warm welcome.

There are welcome signs all over my house and even in the yard. Russell says he hopes we’re never burglarized because it would be hard to prove in court that anyone had trespassed, what with all those welcome signs. We have cross-stitched signs, ceramic signs, decoupaged signs, banners and flags.

Hey, what can I say? So what if my house isn’t the cleanest one on the block and the food choices are sparse. With a warm welcome and a cozy place to sleep, two out of four isn’t bad!


– Ann Ipock
Author of Life is Short, But It’s Wide; Life is Short, So Read This Fast; and Life is Short, I wish I Was Taller

Havana Nights


The event has moved from Savannah Rapids Pavilion to the Columbia County Exhibition Center, and the festivities also will include Cuban influences with a “Havana Nights” theme.

“The menu will feature a variety of Cuban foods, and some of the entertainment will follow the ‘Havana Nights’ theme,” says Stacie Adkins, the county events manager.

Of course, anyone who has enjoyed Vegas-style casino games in the past still will be able to play blackjack, poker, roulette and craps. The gala also will feature a cash bar, raffle prizes and a Texas Hold ’Em tournament. Entertainment will include a DJ and a jazz band for an evening of dinner and dancing.

“The event gets bigger and better every year, and we hope to increase attendance by holding it in a larger venue,” Adkins says.

This year proceeds from the gala will benefit Columbia County Cares food pantry, the Columbia County Arts Development Fund and Columbia County Forward Foundation. Previous galas have generated more than $90,000 in donations for Columbia County charities.

“We want people to recognize these organizations and their causes,” Adkins says. “The goal is to raise as much money as we can for the three organizations.”


If You Go:
What: Columbia County Charity Gala “Havana Nights”
When: 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. Saturday, February 28
Where: Columbia County Exhibition Center, Grovetown
How Much: $80 per person; $150 per couple
More Info: (706) 312-7192 or

Soup’s On


Empty Bowl Columbia County Augusta GeorgiaPrepare to be bowled over by a popular community fundraiser when the 14th annual Empty Bowl takes place on Sunday, March 1. Although the event was held at Augusta Jewish Community Center in the past, it has been moved to the Legends Club this year to accommodate the growing number of people that attend.

“The new venue will give us a lot more space,” says Lynda Jaremski, the AJCC community programs director.

The event, which benefits AJCC and Golden Harvest Food Bank, typically attracts 400 to 500 people. Patrons can enjoy an all-you-can-eat soup kitchen-style buffet with soups, breads, beverages, desserts and kid friendly foods including hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. All foods are donated by area restaurants, caterers and food companies.

Each guest gets to take home a ceramic bowl made by an area school student or by a local artist. Patrons can purchase additional bowls for $10.

“They will be set up in a bowl room as a reminder that some people still have empty bowls,” Jaremski says.

Patrons also are encouraged to bring cans of food for Golden Harvest, and they will receive a raffle ticket to win a bicycle from Chain Reaction for each can that they donate. They can purchase additional raffle tickets for $1 each or six for $5. The fundraiser will include a silent auction and an interactive children’s event with a live storyteller as well.


If You Go:
What: Empty Bowl
When: 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 1
Where: Legends Club, Augusta
How Much: Advance tickets – $20 adults, $5 ages 2 – 10. At the door – $25 adults, $7.50 ages 2 – 10. Free for children under age 2. Tickets are available at Augusta Jewish Community Center, Golden Harvest Food Bank, Weinberger’s Furniture and WifeSaver in North Augusta.
More Info: (706) 228-3636 or