Monthly Archives: June 2015

Salute to the Troops


Memorial WallNew Military Memorial Wall honors armed forces members

To honor its fallen soldiers, Columbia County has completed construction of a new Military Memorial Wall behind Columbia County Library in Evans.

The dedication ceremony for the wall has not yet been scheduled, says John Paul Stout, the county Facility Services special projects manager, but it will be held on a date that has military significance.

The wall will include three plaques to honor those who have served in the armed forces. Two of the plaques will list conflicts dating back to the Civil War, and the names of the Columbia County residents who died in action will be listed under each war. The names will include any fallen soldiers who, according to Department of Defense records, listed Columbia County as their home of residence at the start of their service 

“People will be surprised at the staggering number of Columbia County residents that gave their lives in the Civil War,” Stout says. “The vast majority of fallen soldiers from Columbia County served in the Civil War. 

Local historian David Butler was the primary researcher for the project, and sources included the National Archives and the Georgia Historical Society. The county provided assistance as well 

“We took the task of researching the names and getting the information correct very seriously,” says Stout. “We’re happy to give our service members the respect they deserve.”

The third plaque will have space for people to purchase an individual placard to honor anyone, living or deceased, who has served in the military. “We’re still working on the procedure and verification process for that policy,” Stout says. “We’re also looking at doing something to honor Fort Gordon, but the manner in which we will execute that has yet to be determined.”

In addition to the curved brick wall, the memoriam will include a fountain and seven flagpoles to fly an American flag, a flag representing each of the five branches of the military and a POW-MIA flag. The flags will be raised at the dedication ceremony.

“It will be a site for reflection to remember the people who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” says Stout. “We’re proud of our service history in Columbia County and our link to the armed forces.”

The cost of the project, which was funded by Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax monies, totaled about $170,000.

Food Fight!


Food FightCharities spar to deliver a knockout blow to hunger in the area

It may not be a food fight of Animal House proportions, but Columbia County Cares and the Salvation Army once again will engage in a little friendly competition in the annual Food 2 Fight Hunger Drive. The community food drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 25 in Columbia County at the Evans Kroger on Washington Road and in Richmond County at the National Hills Kroger on Washington Road.

“This year we are focusing on the Backpack for Kids program to make sure no child goes hungry during the school year,” says Susanne Beeland, the Columbia County food pantry representative. This program sends bags of food home with children during the school year to ensure they will not go hungry on weekends.

In past years, Richmond and Columbia counties also competed to see how tall they could build a food tower. This year, however, they are switching it up with a weight contest. Scales will be on hand at both locations to weigh the food and determine the winner.

The drive will accept any kind of food from any donor – whether purchased at Kroger or brought from home – and cash donations. Local businesses, civic organizations and churches also can collect contributions for the event at their own drives. Both sides will create designs out of the donated canned goods, and the Augusta GreenJackets will be at the Columbia County location. Bring the kids to meet Augie and to support your county in the contest.

– Caitlin Conger

Eight days in July that went awry

Southern Hospitality

Have you ever felt like you were living in “The Twilight Zone?” I once spent eight days there, from Sunday to Sunday.

I went to Raleigh to help my sister Nancy. She was preparing that week for her son Huck’s wedding. I thought I’d calm Nancy’s nerves, run errands, cook meals and even (so out of character for me) clean her house. Russell, my hubby and naysayer, often says, “No good deed ever goes unpunished.” He might be right.

For starters, it was hot as Hades that week. Even a supposed cool splash in the pool was unnerving. With zillions of kids swimming around me amid warm water, one thing came to mind. So I jumped out, preferring to sweat off my Bain de Soleil poolside in a blasting-hot vinyl chair. That night my feet were burned. Upon inspection, they resembled bubble wrap, blistered from the scorching concrete. And I developed a cold sore the size of Cleveland above my lip.

I also watched our granddaughter, Madison, two days for Kelly. One morning we walked (but mostly sweated) around the neighborhood. The next day I drove her to My Gym for classes. Okay, I admit I was half asleep at 8 a.m. – that’s early for me – when we left the house. Hours later Kelly fussed at me for sending Madison off in her pajamas. What can I say? They looked like regular clothes to me: a colorful top and matching capris. This Grammy Gram thing is tougher than I once thought.

Nancy and I made repeated trips to craft stores, party stores, wedding shops and stationery shops where I clutched the coveted list that we continually added to. Once, after leaving the craft store for the fourth time in two days and jumping into Nancy’s car, I screamed, “The list! It’s missing!” Nancy nearly slung me out of the car, turning around on two wheels while landing squarely on the sidewalk. The frightened clerk must have sensed my hysteria as she joined my buggy search, consoling me with, “Don’t worry, honey.” It was no use. The list was gone. I found it later inside the car and held it tightly in my sweaty palm until bedtime.

For the rehearsal dinner, I had picked out a favorite dress a week earlier. But Katie forgot to pack a dress. Flying in from a summer music festival in Sewanee, Tennessee, she had only concert attire. Thankfully Nancy’s neighbor, Bethany, offered to lend her something.

At the airport, I swooshed Katie into the bathroom and helped her quickly change into the wrap-around, mint-green linen dress with no buttons or zippers and only a sash to tie. Easy enough. She looked beautiful, thought I noticed the hem lining was showing. No matter, I thought, rushing through the airport and out to our car.

We arrived at the club just as the rehearsal party began. Bethany’s shocked face revealed the problem, “Katie, your dress is inside out!” Moments later, I was the one surprised, saying to Nancy, “Did you know you have on two different earrings?”

The next day, even more wedding-related blunders surfaced. The air conditioning in the church wasn’t cooling well. Therefore, the bride, groom, and all attendants (20-some in all, in tuxedos and black and white satin gowns) were sweating bullets. I wanted to cry – from emotion, empathy and heat.

And at the reception, there was another slip up: a bridesmaid’s zipper split wide open, exposing her entire back.

Later that evening, the bride and groom left for a motel an hour away, planning to fly out at 6 a.m. the following day for Cap Juluca, Anguilla. Nancy went home and collapsed onto the bed when the phone suddenly rang. It was Huck. “Mama, I forgot some luggage. Can you drive it over now?” Without hesitation, Nancy did so, therefore stretching the limitless theory, “that’s what moms are for,” to the limit.

It’s no wonder I was eager to get home on the eighth day, hoping for some normalcy. No such luck. Our car died a mile from home, resulting in the purchase of a new alternator. I think maybe we need a new life?

– 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

The Buzz on Bees

Local Bees

GRU maintenance supervisor Tim Dobbs checks on the observation beehive he built and installed on the Summerville campus in collaboration with biology professor Donna Wear.

New beehive on the GRU Summerville campus highlights the vital role of honeybees

It’s always good to “bee” aware of the world around you, but sometimes the absence of something is just as important as its presence. The United States’ honeybee population has been in steep decline over the last decade or more, but a special addition to Georgia Regents University is teaching students to be part of solution.

An observation beehive in the Shetfall-Cleckley Greenhouse at GRU’s Summerville Campus was installed in April in hopes that students learn and see firsthand how integral the honeybee is to the earth’s ecological system. GRU Facilities Management Maintenance Supervisor Tim Dobbs, an amateur bee enthusiast, built and installed the hive.

Professor Donna Wear’s Evolutionary Biology class was the first group to visit the observation hive this spring.

“Honeybees are fascinating social organisms from both an ecological and evolutionary perspective. Pollinators are crucial to our global production of food. In fact, about one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants, and the honeybee is responsible for 80 percent of that pollination, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” Wear says.

The insect’s vital role in food production is why their disappearance is so concerning. Scientists have yet to isolate a single cause of the honeybees’ demise, called colony collapse disorder, but a certain type of pesticide introduced in the 1990s has been known to interfere with a bee’s homing ability.

“The observation hive provides a wonderful teaching and learning opportunity for students of all ages, who need to be reminded of the ecological processes that feed us,” Wear says

Pollinator Friendly Practices

The declining population of honeybees, one of the world’s leading pollinators, is a cause for concern because of the insect’s vital role in food production. However, there are ways that you can help revive the populations of honeybees and other pollinators.

  • Use native plants that are adapted to the local climate and soils.
  • Plant a variety of flowers to bloom continually from early spring to early fall.
  • Provide bare ground or a shallow birdbath filled with soil, sprinkled with sea salt and kept moist to create a source of water and minerals for pollinators.
  • Include plants for caterpillars, which require particular host plants. Caterpillars eat the foliage of their host plants, but the average gardener won’t notice the damage until at least 10 percent of the leaves are affected.
  • Help pollinators find the plants they need by planting them in clumps rather than singly. Clustering plants also shortens the distance that pollinators need to travel.
  • Provide a variety of flower shapes and colors since different pollinators are attracted to different types of flowers.
  • Build a bee condo or leave dead trees or limbs to create nesting habitat for bees
  • Avoid using pesticides if at all possible. If you want butterflies, then you need caterpillars – and the nibbled leaves that go with them!
  • Avoid modern hybrids, especially those with “doubled” flowers, since pollen, nectar and scent can be lost in the cultivation process.

Source: Garden Media Group 2014 Garden Trend Report

Heavenly Hawaiian Smoothie


Heavenly Hawaiian SmoothieStrawberry Layer:
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup water 

Mango Pineapple Layer:
1 cup fresh mango
1 cup fresh pineapple
1 tablespoon honey

 In a blender or food processor, process the strawberry layer ingredients until smooth. Pour into clear glasses and set aside. Rinse blender, then blend the mango pineapple ingredients until smooth. Gently pour this layer on top of the strawberry layer and garnish with fresh fruit. Makes 4 smoothies.


Free Watercraft Safety Checks


Free Watercraft Safety ChecksThe Savannah River Sail and Power Squadron is conducting free vessel safety checks to verify that boats have the required safety equipment and documentation.

A trained specialist that is a member of the U.S. Power Squadrons or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will examine recreational vessels including yachts, cruisers, pontoons, canoes, kayaks and jet skis.

The inspectors check to make sure vessels are equipped with safety measures such as lifejackets, fire extinguishers, visual distress signals, sound-making devices, navigation lights and regulatory requirements such as registration numbers.

“Lifejackets are extremely important, and they must be in good condition,” says Butch Rachal, past commander of the Savannah River Sail and Power Squadron.

The examiners also make safety recommendations and discuss issues that will improve boating safety for vessel owners. No citations are given as a result of the inspection. However, Rachal says, “If you fail, we’ll tell you why you failed.”

Inspections are good for a year, and watercraft that pass inspection will receive the nationally recognized Vessel Safety Check decal.

The free safety inspections, which take about 20 minutes, are conducted upon request, and examiners will come to the watercraft owners. To schedule an inspection, contact Rachal at (803) 443-1983 or Paulette Harris-Holmes, commander, at (706) 737-8113.

Safe boating classes also are available. Anyone who is interested in taking a class can contact Bernie Pohlman at (706) 294-9929.

Visit for more information.

Beach Fever


The Tams“Hey, Hey Baby” — beach music fans don’t have to ask, “What Kind of Fool Do Think I Am?” to “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy.” They just need to be at Evans Towne Center Park for Summer Beach Blast on Friday, June 12.

That’s when three classic beach bands — The Tams, the Swingin’ Medallions and Hack Bartley and Shuffle — take the stage at the Lady Antebellum Pavilion.

Adult tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate, and children 12 and under are free. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the concert begins at 6 p.m. No coolers are allowed, but food and beverage vendors will be on hand. Bring chairs or blankets, and, of course, your fancy footwork.

 If You Go:

 What: Summer Beach Blast

 When: Friday, June 12

 Where: Evans Towne Center Park

 How Much: $10 and $15

 More Info:

Dance Party


Buzzworthy Teen TownGet ready to dance the night away again at the second annual Martinez-Evans Teen Town Community Reunion, set for Saturday, June 20, at the Elks Lodge off Furys Ferry Road.

“This reunion is a chance for those who grew up in Martinez and Evans in the ’50s,’60s and ’70s to get together and have fun,” says reunion committee member Susan Agner. “Back in the ’60s, we were a small community and everyone was like family. It’s fun to reconnect with people you haven’t seen in years.”

And you don’t even need to be a Teen Town alum to attend. “If you lived here then,” says Agner, “you’ll see a whole lot of people you know.”

“Last year we had about 125 people,” she says. “We expect there will be even more this year. Word really spread after last year, and we’ve already gotten checks from people in other states like California, Arizona, Florida and North Carolina.”

The reunion will feature music from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s by a DJ, dancing, hors d’oeuvres, contests (how are your hula hoop skills?) and a cash bar. But it’s the memories that truly matter.

“It’s really about seeing friends and recalling old times,” Agner says. “That’s what’s really important.” All proceeds will benefit the Augusta Warrior Project.

If You Go:

What: Martinez-Evans Teen Town Community Reunion

When: 7 p.m. – midnight Saturday, June 20

Where: Elks Lodge, 205 Elkdom Court, Augusta

How Much: $20

More Info: Call (706) 833-6752 or visit the Martinez Evans Teentown Reunion page on Facebook

You don’t smell swell, and you’re giving me a headache

Southern Hospitality

The other night a good friend and I were discussing how much we enjoy fruit-scented lotions and soaps, oils and candles, perfumes and body sprays. Thanks to all the new bath and beauty shops everywhere, there is something for everyone.

Only problem though, is when I run out of, say, the kiwi lotion, I still have three bars of kiwi soap left. I can never even it up. Do I return to the specialty store and buy more kiwi lotion? Survey says, “No!” So now I have strawberry soap, peach lotion, apple body spray and blueberry perfume. It’s enough to make me feel like a walking fruit basket. (Russell prefers to call me a “fruitcake” though.) In fact, if you’d just add a little whipped cream and pound cake to my medicine cabinet, you’d have enough dessert to last for three years.

If fruit-scented products aren’t your thing, there are always cosmetics created with essential oils and fragrant herbs, including musk, eucalyptus, almond, camphor, cinnamon, lavender and mint. No wonder so many people have sinus problems. It’s not the pollen or the rye grass. It’s all of the fumes swirling around.

Go to any show or performance, and at least one woman (yes, nine times out of 10 it’s a woman, I admit it) will be enveloped in perfume fumes. And guess what, she always sits in front of me — or worse yet, right beside me. Gag me! I want to say, “Listen here, dear. You don’t smell swell, and you’re giving me a headache.”

Several months back, I picked up some body spray for Katie. She’s been sick, and when I went to get her prescription, I stopped by the good-smelling rack and found her a surcie. You know what, she’s been using this stuff as body spray for a year. Then one night I was getting ready to spray some on me and realized the label said “linen spray.” Oops!

Now I’ve heard it all. Not only do we spray our bodies, use air fresheners, apply carpet sanitizers and rub on clothes enhancers, we also mist our darn pillows. I don’t think that’s what they had in mind when the song, “Sweet Dreams, Baby” was written.

I wonder what’s next for our aroma-obsessed nation. I have to tell you, I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Here’s an example: I recently noticed a bizarre novelty item — a fruit-scented pen. I’m sorry, but when I’m writing out my bills, I don’t care a flip about smelling strawberries. Perhaps the next new item the stationery supply stores will stock is money-scented pens. Now, that might make sense, no pun intended.

Recently I was at my parents’ house and I noticed that my mother had a can of no-smell neutralizing spray. I think the people who created it might be onto something. Since we are all so anxious to eliminate obnoxious odors like smoke, pollution and mold and mildew, I suppose neutralizing is the way to go.

Actually, I believe I’ll buy a trial-sized container of the no-smell stuff to keep in my purse. Then the next time I sit down beside a heavily perfumed woman, I can reach in my bag and neutralize her pesky aroma. What a great pollution solution!

– 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