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Is that your real name?

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

A new friend of mine recently e-mailed me and asked if “Lee” was my real name. The question does not come up very often here in the south since the name Lee is very popular. But her question was valid, because Lee is actually not my real name. It was a nickname given to me by my parents when I was a baby. My real name is Leslie. A name that only telephone marketers seem to know. In my family, many of us had nicknames because there were so many relatives with the same name. My brother David was named after our father David and our grandfather David. So he was given the nickname Sandy to help keep all the Davids straight. My father’s nickname was Buddy, named after the family dog that had died. Needless to say he used David outside of his immediate family.

Then there is former President Carter whose real name is James, but even at 91 years old is still called Jimmy, his childhood nickname. And a female friend named Elizabeth was nicknamed Nimmie, rather than one of the more typical nicknames like Beth or Libby. And heaven help you if you are stuck with a name from one of your older siblings. I know a woman whose real name is Susan but her older sister Joan called her Tu-Tu and it stuck. Now at 70 years old, she still goes by Tu-tu.

Since moving here, I have met women named Dolly, Sugar Belle, Baby and Sissy. Then there is Biddy and Coco, Ce-Ce and Weedy. Sometimes it is difficult to figure out what is a nickname and what is not. When I reached out to The Island News editor to ask her if Molly was her real name she was surprised by my question. “No,” she said. “It’s Martha.” Who knew?

Something else that I noticed is if someone is called Billy, you would assume that their real name is William, but sometimes, here in the south, their real name is actually Billy. It made me question our Mayor’s real name. Is his name Billy or William? Everything I read says Billy Keyserling. So I called him. He was kind enough to call me back and answer my question. “It’s William, but everyone knows me as Billy.” “No problem, Mr. Mayor, I understand. It’s Leslie, but everyone knows me as Lee.”

Younger looking skin…the rest of the story

in Awakenings/Contributors/Health by

By Dr. Robert Knitzer

No matter what our age, we all want to look our best. Many of us are also thinking about ways to turn back the hands of Father Time.

The Skincare/Beauty Industry has a multitude of products all claiming to promote “younger looking skin.” From soothing to superficial, there is a huge spectrum of offerings. But how many of these products actually help the body to be healthier?

Recently the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health analyzed 2,983 chemicals used in personal care products. What they found was astonishing. Eight hundred and eighty-four of the chemicals were toxic; 314 caused biological mutations; 218 caused reproductive complications; 148 caused tumors and 376 caused skin and eye irritations. This is unacceptable in this day and age. Industry can do better.

In my previous article of January 21, I discussed a safe, non-toxic, breakthrough health technology which promotes accelerated cellular healing based upon the cutting edge science of Redox Biochemistry. In this article, I want to share some of the recently completed science studies in this new field and what this means for us in our never ending quest to look younger.

To truly look younger you need to be younger at the cellular level. Cells are the building blocks of all tissues, organ systems, in fact, the entire body. Here Redox Biochemistry, through the creation of tiny signaling molecules gives our bodies messages of what needs to be done to rejuvenate healthy cells and either repair or replace damaged cells.

Unfortunately, over time, due to stress and the barrage of environmental toxins in our lives, our immune function declines and normal skin cell function is diminished. We lose the balance of redox signaling molecules required for optimal health.

One company has developed a skin renewal product based on this technology. It has undergone independent testing by global leaders in dermatologic research. Dermatest Lab in Germany has done several studies on this product. Their initial studies on women using this product alone for 28 days showed an improvement in six key areas of skin health: decreased eye wrinkle depth and overall wrinkle depth of greater than 20%; increases in facial skin texture, skin smoothness, skin elasticity of greater than 20% and an increase in skin moisture of 11%.

A more recent clinical study on cellulite noted a 20% increase in skin elasticity and an improvement in the appearance of cellulite. Based upon these findings and its safety, the product was given Dermatest’s coveted 5-star clinically tested seal of excellence.

Stephens & Associates in Dallas, Texas performed studies on the topical gel applied to one forearm. It found skin cell renewal and turnover was increased by 16% in that arm as compared to the arm without the redox signaling gel. They also studied whether there was increased blood flow in the skin as an explanation of enhanced skin healing. Those results indicated a 49% immediate increase after first application which increased to 55% by day 4.

Combined, these studies indicate that the application of the redox signaling gel enhanced replacement of damaged skin cells with healthy cells and increased blood flow and oxygenation to the treated area.

This is a safe, revolutionary and foundational approach to how we think about and improve skin health. “And Now You Know The Rest Of The Story.”

This is definitely not just spring allergies

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

This time of the year, some people are starting to feel the ominous effects of the blossoming flowers and budding trees. Yes, it is the beginning of allergy season. I thought of it when I noticed a tickle in my throat. However, by midnight, I knew it was not an allergy. I was sick. I rummaged through the medicine cabinet and found a package of Sudafed with a 2013 expiration date. Wow, had it been that long since I was sick. I swallowed the pills anyway hoping that there was at least a little bit of antihistamine left in them.

By morning, I was full blown miserable. My husband came into the living room where I was sitting with my box of tissues. “I have a weely, weely bab cold.” I told him in my most serious voice.

“You have a bad cold?” he responded.

“Yes, can I have a hug?”

“Not on your life.” he said and went to get the thermometer for me. Not the good old dependable mercury filled thermometer, but one of those digital ones. Unfortunately, every time we go to use it, the little round battery is dead. He gladly volunteered to run to the store and get a new one (healthy people hate being around sick people).

When he got back I was sitting next to a window wearing a sunhat and sunglasses.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“The sun feels so good, but my eyes are burning.”

He put the new battery in the thermometer and told me to go to bed and take my new box of decongestant, my unscented tissues and my Smith Brother’s cherry cough drops with me. Then he brought me some hot tea and took the thermometer out of my mouth.

“98.6” he said.

“No, it’s broken. It’s got to be 105 degrees. I have pneumonia.”

He told me to go to sleep and when the dogs followed him out, I knew even they did not want to be around me.

Ultimately, the cold ran its course. After a long hot shower and a fresh set of clothes, I walked into the kitchen. My spouse looked at me and said, “Now you can have a hug.” But when I approached him, he started to sneeze and with an uncertain voice he said, “I think I have an allergy.”

On heroes, villains and time – Pat Conroy remembered

in Bill Rauch/Contributors/Voices by
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Photo above: Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling, left, and Pat Conroy. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

By Bill Rauch

With the passing of Pat Conroy this week the Lowcountry lost a good and talented friend. Pat used his storytelling gifts to describe, in unique and memorable ways, the bountiful physical gifts that are singularly provided to us here, and we are better for that. But it was his intuitive sense of people — their conflicting motivations, their craziness and his courage to describe them honestly — that marked his genius.

He explained us to us.

The Island Packet’s David Lauderdale wrote a very nice daily newspaper-style tribute to Pat that appeared over the weekend. In the piece Lauderdale exhumed a quote from The Beaufort Gazette’s morgue in which Pat graphically expressed his displeasure with the proposed 2006 Clarendon Farms annexation by the City of Beaufort. The annexation occurred when I was mayor and Pat’s attack was directly upon me for, he said, loving real estate developers more than I loved Beaufort.

When fighting the illness that finally took his life Pat said he wanted to continue to live because he had more books to write. I understand fully. A part of one of those books might very well have been the Clarendon Farms story. When you knew the players the whole thing was plenty crazy, convoluted and conflicted enough to fit in a Conroy novel.

Just for starters, at the end of the endless 2006 public hearing on the annexation and development agreement, as I was about to cast as “Aye” my swing vote to permit more houses at Grays Hill than existed in all of present day Beaufort, I said: “It may seem inconceivable now, but my vote is a vote for conservation.” Look it up. Thankfully The Gazette ran the quote exactly.

Things got so nuts that evening after the 3-2 “Aye” vote that Police Chief Jeff Dowling insisted I be protected by the police as I turned out the lights in the hearing room. Most people thought what I really needed were the men in the white coats.

I was doing what I knew was right for Beaufort. And I knew I would pay a huge price for it.

Here’s how it happened.

In the midst of the craziness of the 2004-7 real estate bubble, an attorney came to the city representing Cox Enterprises, the owners of Clarendon Farms in Grays Hill. Clarendon was contiguous to the city limits and the attorney said its owners wanted to bring their land into the city with new zoning and a development agreement that would permit about 14,000 rooftops on the farm’s approximately 2500 acres.

If you knew the players, you knew how it would go down. Jim Kennedy, the CEO of Cox Enterprises, was in charge of his family’s interests with respect to the deal. Under Kennedy’s leadership Cox had caused nearly a hundred miles of hiker-biker trails to be built in Atlanta, the company’s headquarters town. A committed conservationist, he had overseen the protection of thousands of acres of his family’s land, and as a board member of Ducks Unlimited and the Wetlands America Trust he had preserved countless tens of thousands more acres.

Luckily, and importantly, I knew Jim Kennedy and I knew his conservation background. Seeing the storm coming, I said to him: “If we take you in, I know you’ll be a good citizen.”

Meanwhile, as the final vote approached mayhem ensued. My family was split with one brother-in-law insisting I vote “no” while another one was equally insistent I vote “yes.” The letters to the editor, including Pat’s, and the editorials were running 100-0 against the deal. Although their leaders knew Clarendon would ultimately go green, the major local environmental group that I had helped bring to Beaufort ran a 24/7 campaign against the deal to help make their 2006 fundraising target. Even Hank Johnson, the Mayor of Bluffton who annexed half of southern Beaufort County called me up to say, “If you actually vote “yes” on that, you’re through.”

But here’s what I knew. When Clarendon goes into deed restriction it will be the best thing that ever happened to MCAS Beaufort, Beaufort’s largest employer, because future encroachment of the airfield will be vastly limited. Also, the Air Station and a forever green Clarendon together will create a green buffer on the Whale Branch side of Beaufort that will stop the march of commercialization at Laurel Bay Road, thus preserving as “country” the great Lobeco/Whale Branch/Grays Hill entrance to one of America’s great small cities. Two years after the vote the Northern Area Plan formalized this boundary, and now a decade later it is stronger than ever.

If Cox Enterprises benefited, great, … so long as it was good for Beaufort.

Oh, the fun Pat would have had with the characters: the hypocritical environmental group boss and his legions of blind loyalists, the brothers-in-law…and their then-wives, the Operation Jackpot veteran turned crack land use lawyer, the callous Yankee mayor in cahoots with his greedy CEO buddy and, yes, the celebrity author who storms into the controversy with both barrels blazing.

And then there’s the ending: all 100% true.

Without Good Citizen Cox Enterprises there wouldn’t be three thousand all-green acres in perpetuity next to the Air Station that together form an important green belt on Beaufort’s outskirts; without Cox Beaufort’s largest employer would face ongoing and escalating encroachment issues; without Cox the trailer parks in Grays Hill would still be the drug-dealing capitals of Beaufort County; and without Good Citizen Cox Enterprises there would be no Spanish Moss Trail where we all now — oblivious to its origins — safely walk, run, bike and visit together.

The secret power that lives inside of us

in Awakenings/Contributors/Health by

By Brittney Hiller

Sleep walking through life, like a Zombie straight out of “The Walking Dead”, you know them you’ve seen them, the people who go about their business everyday doing the same thing and not thinking twice about it. That was me at twenty-five, until I was smacked in the face by reality.

You see, my ‘sleep walking’ was unhealthy, it looked more like a college freshman who was raised by a pastor and had never seen the light of day, but yet was free for the first time. It was early morning work hours to late night wine and cheese parties that often ended with a jug of wine emptied. This was my ‘real life’.

My turning point was when an incident occurred to me that literally caused me to have to WAKE UP, wake up from the sleep walking, wake up from the ‘routine’ that I created, wake up to the truth that my life was unhealthy.

After this incident I completely detached from my body mentally because I wanted to pretend that I didn’t actually have a pregnancy caused by a date gone wrong. Seven months in I was hit with my ah-ha moment, something is going to happen whether I liked it or not. I quickly turned to my sister for help and I knew adoption was my answer. I am forever grateful to my sister as she helped to catapult me into a cycle of coming clean.

Not a single person knew of my plight for seven months, not even my fresh, new, brightly lit smiling, boyfriend. He would ask often and I neglected to tell him the truth each time, coyly referring to my growing belly as a beer gut.

I wanted to continue to see him, but I didn’t want him to feel sorry for me and feel he ‘had’ to stay with me because I was ‘the pregnant girl’, regardless of my reason for not being honest, in my mind and body I felt, “I am not pregnant, this will pass.” However, he knew, he knew from the beginning and yet, I continued to lie, until I simply could not lie anymore.

Fast forward to the moment I came clean and let my belly fly free, no longer holding it in or pretending. My mother became concerned and I finally let the tears flow and the truth to soar. A whirlwind of positive experiences occurred after I told my story. Friends, family, and strangers even began to assist in the ease of this transition. What about my bright, smiling boyfriend? He was next to my side, holding my hand during my chosen caesarean delivery, as to ease the adoption process. To this day he holds my hand, shows me what actual strength and true courage is, and helps guide my big dreams. I am truly honored to be his wife.

Through this life event I could have been bogged down with turmoil and emotion, beating myself up and believing I was undeserving of love, yet instead I saw the power in gifting a child, unassuming to my situation, to a loving family.

I began to lead life with an open heart. It was as if I awoke from a dream, I awoke from my robotic way of life. I was finally able to see me, with a little help from my friends.

I began to share my secret power, my story. With those that I shared with they began to share their story, too. Stories all around were being shared because I opened up the floor; lives were being shifted because they saw another option to what ever they may have been troubled by. You see, whatever your story, whatever your pain, you can be the light for others through your sharing. When we hold our stories in, it creates heaviness, when we let it out we become lighter in all ways and we shine.

Dropless Cataract Surgery: What are the potential risks?

in Contributors/Dr. Mark Siegel, MD FAAO/Health by

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel

Cataract surgery continues to evolve, with microincisional clear corneal incisions, femtosecond lasers, new imaging modalities, and improved lens implants. However, the published literature is having trouble keeping up with clinical practice. Despite the ongoing change, one concern remains constant: endophthalmitis (infection) prophylaxis. The use of perioperative povidone-iodine, a lid speculum, and drape with isolation of lids and lashes, and sterile preparation, is effective in limiting the incidence of endophthalmitis after cataract surgery.

The recent advent of “dropless” cataract surgery via transzonular ocular injections of TriMoxi or TriMoxiVanc, offers another option of infection prophylaxis. As some cataract surgeons consider adopting dropless cataract surgery it is important to balance the potential complications and risks involved with this technique.

These combinations of antibiotics and steroids are delivered to the anterior vitreous (jelly that fills the back of the eye) by injection through the zonules (tiny spider web-like ligaments that anchor the lens to the wall of the eye). This is intended to mitigate the need for post-operative topical drops. Drops can be costly, can irritate the surface of the eye, can be difficult for some patients to administer and can be burdensome to prescribers. Though post-operative drops are less than ideal, this new mode of dropless infection prophylaxis contains some inherent risks.

A clear concern is compounding errors. There have been reports of dilutional errors with intraocular antibiotics that have resulted in complications including macular swelling, retinal detachment, macular infarction, toxic anterior segment syndrome (severe inflammation) and a large outbreak of Fusarium endophthalmitis.

The pharmacokinetics of TriMoxi(+/-) Vanc is unclear when placed in the anterior vitreous. These antibiotics have the shortest half-life of current intravitreal antibiotics being used (1.7 hours). Vancomycin has a half-life of 25.1 hours. Routine topical antibiotics are able to produce concentrations inside the eye for a week post-operatively. While one European study showed decreased rates of endophthalmitis with injected antibiotics, all arms of the study used 6 days of topical postoperative antibiotics! The question remains: is the duration of coverage with injected antibiotics without topical antibiotics adequate?

Antibiotic resistance is another consideration when using TriMoxi. Emerging resistance has been identified. A recent review found resistance rates to moxifloxacin has increased from 21% in 1995 to 62% in 2014.

The use of prophylactic vancomycin in TriMoxiVanc during routine cataract surgery is controversial. The Centers for Disease Control issued guidelines in 1995 specifically discouraging the use of vancomycin in routine surgical prophylaxis because of increasing bacterial resistance. The risk of fueling the emerging resistance to vancomycin for an unproven practice is worrisome. Given that there are more than 3 million cataract surgeries performed in the United States each year, exposure of the ocular surface to low doses of vancomycin could result in an increase in vancomycin resistant bacteria.

Another unknown is the risk of steroid-induced ocular hypertension (elevated eye pressure) associated with TriMoxi(+/-) Vanc. It is well known that topical steroids can induce ocular hypertension, but drops are easily discontinued, whereas injected intraocular steroids are not. Currently there is a paucity of literature addressing transzonular triamcinolone (the steroid component in TriMoxi) and its associated ocular hypertension risk. Furthermore, the use of triamcinolone leaves patients with obscured vision and floaters for the first week or more. Patient complaints of foggy vision postoperatively have led some cataract surgeons to discontinue the product. Many randomized trials show that topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are superior to topical steroids in reducing post-operative macular swelling after cataract surgery. Thus, regardless of the intraocular steroid and antibiotic used, it is likely that a topical NSAID will need to be prescribed.

Technical and mechanical issues must be considered in addition to issues of bacterial resistance, compounding risks, steroid-induced elevated eye pressure, and post-operative foggy vision. In patients with lens zonular weakness (pseudoexfoliation), intraocular lens (IOL) decentration or dislocation may occur. The impact of this technique for premium IOL decentration could create significant visual disturbance. Since most patients using blood thinners do not discontinue this medication, there could be intraocular hemorrhage from inadvertent cannula contact with the iris ciliary muscle. Finally, very short eyes may not have the space to accommodate the injected volume of these antibiotic and steroid preparations.

Today’s cataract surgery is safer for the patient and shorter in duration than in decades past. Improvements in technology, techniques, and training have led to improved outcomes for our patients. Although the concept of dropless cataract surgery is clearly attractive, cataract surgeons should consider the serious issue of bacterial resistance and the unnecessary risk of the transzonular delivery of TriMoxi(+/-) Vanc. In an era of increasing cost-benefit analysis where physicians will be judged on outcomes and the allocation of limited healthcare resources, the value of dropless cataract surgery remains uncertain, risky and currently not the standard of care.

The exploration continues — meet Jery B. Taylor

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

Over the past several years, I have driven out to Hunting Island State Park numerous times. Occasionally, I have noticed a woman sitting on the porch of the Gullah Grub Restaurant on Sea Island Parkway and Dr. Martin Luther King Drive working away on baskets. It never occurred to me to stop and talk to her, but fate intervened and we finally met. Her name is Jery B. Taylor and she was the featured speaker at a club meeting I attended recently. She did a presentation on basket-making. Listening to her talk and watching her video gave me a new appreciation of the work that goes into making these baskets.

Many of us have strolled through the Straw Market of Charleston watching the women work, but there is much more to the story. Jery provided us with the history of basket weaving brought over from Africa. Her video revealed the work required to gather and prepare the materials. I was fascinated to learn that the baskets she makes are primarily made of four materials; pine needles, lemon grass, palmetto fronds and bulrush. It turns out that lemon grass is a grass that yields an oil that smells like lemon, hence the name. And bulrush is a tough grass-like plant that can grow up to ten feet in the mud. Anyone familiar with the story of the infant Moses will be interested in knowing that the basket that held him was made out of bulrush.

As we watched the video, I was mesmerized by Jery’s agility in pulling out the lemon grass and bulrush, cutting and splitting it and then placing it out to dry for four or five days. Then to watch her “spin her straw into gold” was fascinating. She explained that the diagonal weave she uses in some of her work is a specific Beaufort design. And although she spoke about the utilitarian value of the baskets, it was the artistic value of the baskets that interested me most. After her presentation, I had lunch with Jery. We chatted about our backgrounds, our sons and the food we like to eat. I am sorry I had not stopped to chat with her before, but if you see her on the porch of Gullah Grub restaurant, do not hesitate to stop. You might find me sitting there too.

Help avoid tax-related identity theft

in Community/Contributors/Wells Fargo by

Warning signs: Potential fraud and scams

Tax-related identify theft involves someone using a stolen Social Security number to file a tax return and claim a fraudulent refund. This is a small but growing occurrence, and if it happens to you, it can have a major impact on your financial life and delay payment of a tax refund on which you may have
been depending.

How do you know if someone has obtained and is using your Social Security number in a tax-related identify theft? Here are some warning signs:

  • The IRS or your tax professional notifies you that more than one tax return has been filed for you based on your Social Security number.
  • The IRS or your tax professional indicates that you owe additional tax, have a refund offset, or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
  • The IRS notifies you that you received more wages than you have indicated on your return and the wages are from an unknown employer. (Someone may have used your Social Security number to obtain a job, and those wages are now reported on your number.)
  • Your state or federal benefits are reduced or cancelled because the paying agency received information reporting an income change.

In the past, some unscrupulous tax preparers have directed client tax refunds into the tax preparer’s account. To help avoid this situation, beginning in 2015, the IRS will limit the number of direct deposit refunds to any one financial account or prepaid debit card to three.

For any subsequent valid refunds, the IRS will prepare a paper check and postal mail it to the taxpayer. This provision may affect larger families where parents and, perhaps, minor children would like to direct tax refunds into the same financial account, so plan accordingly.

What to do about tax-related identity theft

If you suspect your personal information has been used fraudulently, take these steps as quickly as possible:

  • File a report with your local police department.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at consumer.ftc.gov. Or call the FTC Identity Theft hotline at (877) 438-4338, TTY: (866) 653-4261.
  • Contact one or all three of the major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your account:
    • Equifax: Equifax.com (800) 525-6285
    • Experian: Experian.com (888) 397-374
    • TransUnion: transunion.com (800) 680-7289
  • Close any accounts you know have been tampered with, accessed, or opened fraudulently.

Further, if your Social Security number has been compromised and/or you suspect you may be a victim of tax-related identity theft, take these additional steps:

  • Respond immediately to any IRS notice you receive; typically there will be a number provided on the notice, which you should call as soon as possible.
  • Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Use the fillable form available on irs.gov and mail or fax it to either the address or number provided in the instructions.
  • Pay any taxes you owe and file your tax return. You may need to file your income tax return by paper rather
    than electronically.

If you previously contacted the IRS but still have no resolution, contact the Identity Protection Specialized Unit at (800) 908-4490.

Be sure to record the dates on which you made phone calls or sent letters. Keep copies of all correspondence (written or electronic) in a file for your records and protection.

This article was written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Katie Cuppia Phifer, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Financial Advisor in Beaufort, SC at 843-524-1114. Any third party posts, reviews or comments associated with this listing, are not endorsed by Wells Fargo Advisors and do no necessarily represent the views of Katie C. Phifer, or Wells Fargo Advisors, and have not been reviewed by the firm for completeness or accuracy. Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/NOT BANK-GUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. ©2016 Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved. 0315-01788 [#95298-v1] 01/16

A hero will not be found on a podium

in Cherimie Crane/Contributors/Voices by

By Cherimie Crane Weatherford

Most of my adult life has been fashioned around uninhibited speech and the predictable cringe from words best left unsaid. Defect or disorder, it is my curse, my signature and at my best, my charm. Having business interest, family obligations and the prerequisite to blend amongst what is currently accepted as civilization, my passionate opinion often suffocates underneath a societal blanket of belief. Occasionally whether it is wine, caffeine or exhaustion in its purest form, the restraints break free and unfiltered thought rages into words. More often than not, those words become new cause for me to avoid public encounter.

Clearly, speaking of politics, religion or true hair color is Taboo in my beloved South. Having had undesirable circumstance arrive from each, it behooves me to reserve discourse for socially welcomed subject matter. Unfortunately, behooving does little for my dogmatic disposition. I prefer to dodge disapproving glares rather than curtsy to the status quo.

Our town has been the latest aim of political convergence. Our salty breeze, our tempered trees nor our gentile manner is able to stave off that which divides even the most common denominator. Men and women claiming commonalty, passion and cause speak in twisted tongue to an audience in search of a skilled captain to navigate pending storms. Crowds divide according to degree of assimilation to a suit filled with an immeasurable desire for power and affirmation.

Underneath the ceremonial chaos, the posturing and the playground popularity competition lays a country battered and bruised by those that claim its privilege. Seemingly our principles lost our focus dim. Fear of discrimination, fear of defeat and fear of offending outcries the fear of those fallen. History is only allowed in modern day snippets on social media that has replaced social morality. Those begging for votes are but a reflection of those voting. They represent anger, self-righteousness, entitlement and an astonishing disconnect with the plight of our founding fathers. Our country needs our countrymen, those that wake with intent to contribute, to improve and to advocate not those that flourish from self-promotion and mirrored acceptance. A hero will not be found on a podium.

The answer is not in those shouting their glory, their superiority or their net worth. No one man or one woman can save a country that has lost its way. No wall can keep out nor keep in the soul of a population. No law can create nor contain morality. The answer rests in our history, in our perseverance, in our rise from the ashes of unseen battles. One man, one woman a country does not make. A return to basics, a return to pride and a return to the people is but my better unsaid opinion for a remedy to an unwell champion facing a ferocious battle to reclaim her title.

Get ready for the green army

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

It is that time of year again. Those innocent little girls, dressed in cute green outfits with their badge adorned sashes come calling. You open the door knowing that your latest diet is soon to be sabotaged as they hand over the order form and ask, “How many?” Yes, it is Girl Scout Cookie time again! Each year, as I look over the form, I am amazed at how much the form has grown since I went out peddling Girl Scout Cookies as a young girl. Yes, you can still find the traditional cookies – Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Patty/Tagalongs, Shortbread/Trefoils and of course the Do-Si-Dos. But now there are so many more varieties to entice you. Of course, my response to her is the same as it is every year. “Ten boxes please.” Yes, there have been some years where I have resisted the urge to buy Girl Scout Cookies knowing I could go to the grocery store and buy similar cookies for less cost. But for some reason, these cookies taste better.

The cookie sale is an annual fund raising activity for the Girl Scouts of America; an organization which I proudly wore my green beret. There was a time I walked my neighborhood going from house to house with my own cookie order form. I knew the people that would support me. They did not buy just one box; they bought ten supporting me in this activity and also enjoying the cookies. Now though, it is just me, the big guy and two dogs in my house. We really do not need these cookies. Yet I find myself checking off the ten boxes of my favorite brands somehow paying forward to all those people who bought from me in the past. I try to hide a few boxes in the freezer right away, but somehow the first box of Thin Mints disappears in 24 hours.

Nowadays, you will also find these Girl Scouts outside the local hardware and grocery stores with boxes of cookies ready for you to purchase immediately. Besides fund raising, they sell cookies for another reason. According to the Girl Scout official page they are learning five skills; goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics. So go ahead and buy some cookies and support this local organization and don’t forget to enjoy your Thin Mints!

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