Ethiopian pod has deep roots in Southern cuisine

If there is okra on the plate, then the meal is probably beeing served somewhere below the Mason-Dixon line.

This native of Ethiopia has become identified with Southern cuisine as much as grits and collards. It's one of the most versatile mainstays of Southern cooking.

Some people like it breaded and fried. Others like it stewed with tomatoes and served over rice. Everybody likes it in gumbo. It can even be made into pickles.

For those that grow their own, they know okra is best when the oblong pods are picked small - no more than three or four inches.

Age-less wisdom from socks and Dr. Seuss

Dear grandchildren:

I haven't offered a lot of correction - never had to - other than "don't push on the window screen," "don't go near the lake without an adult" and "don't eat that - it's dirty."

But I do have a little advice - and some commands - that your parents may not have given already. I was reminded of some of these things on a trip to town one afternoon last week:

Keep up with your socks. As I was entering Books-A-Million to buy a copy of Dr. Seuss's "You're Only Old Once, A Book for Obsolete Children," I saw a child's sock in front of the store.

Group provides bridge over prescription gap

Dear Editor:

Welvista applauds the pharmaceutical industry for its new proposal that will lessen the financial burden of America's seniors who are in the infamous doughnut hole (Medicare Part D).

America's pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies have agreed to help close the gap in coverage.

Specifically, companies will provide a 50 percent discount to most beneficiaries on brand-name medicines covered by a patient's Part D plan when purchased in the coverage gap. This agreement is contingent on Congress passing full health reform.

Barnwell made strangers feel right at home

Dear Editor,

Recently my husband and I came to Barnwell on a business matter for my children.

I had heard of Barnwell before but never had I visited. Every person we met went above and beyond to make us feel welcome and comfortable.

We had started our trip from Inman, S.C. and went to Augusta to pick up paperwork at a local law firm.

After leaving there, we experienced car trouble and the nightmare began as our first night was spent in the car as we exhausted our funds repairing the car.

Who will answer the fire tones next?

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, firefighters were thrown to the forefront of the nation's collective attention as the new "heroes."

No one disputes that.

Nobody would argue against the bravery shown by the men and women of the New York fire departments that responded to that great national tragedy - many unfortunately going to their final fire call as they died doing their duty.

U.S. Rep. Wilson doesn't support clean energy

Dear Editor,

The U.S. House of Representatives just passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, a clean energy bill that will create jobs; move us off dirty fuels and reduce global warming pollution.
Despite Independence Day, Representative Joe Wilson voted against moving America to energy independence and against progress, when he voted against the ACES bill.

The American Clean Energy and Security Act not only addresses America's energy and climate challenges, it addresses our national security.

'Tidbits' of observation on events

Dear Editor,

I would like to offer a few unsolicited "tidbits" on world affairs that we are bombarded with daily by news pundits, that only seem to keep us confused.

First, when all the developed nations' economies tank at the same time, we might want to reexamine the meaning of the word "globalization." We do know the regulators weren't regulating. It seems no institution can operate unbridled,no more than a race horse can win unbridled with an incompetent CEO jockey waving an golden parachute.

Sanford should resign

Dear Editor,

As a life long citizen of South Carolina, I would like to say that I wholeheartedly believe that Gov. Mark Sanford should immediately resign from office!

I truly believe that when a man cannot be true to his wife, then he cannot be true to the people he serves.

As conservative as he has governed this state, I view Sanford's decision to stay in office as the greatest form of hypocrisy.

The people of South Carolina deserve a governor that has not publicly admitted to something as heinous as adultery.

The Fourth - celebrated - like it should be done

Despite all the downturns in the local and national economies, the challenges that our country faces and a host of social ills that need correcting, it's heartening to see that Americans haven't lost faith - or pride - in being Americans.

Americans of every stripe and background had an opportunity to show that pride July 4 with the festivities that occurred at Veterans Memorial Park in Barnwell. Actually the events began the day before with a musical visit from the Army military band from Fort Gordon, Ga.

Get attached to safety - buckle up

It's a message that can't be repeated often enough - wear a seat belt when riding or driving in a car.

Sadly, this message emphasized itself again with Sunday's wreck in Blackville. The one-vehicle wreck left the driver dead and the single passenger in serious condition.

Neither person was wearing a seat belt, according to S.C. Highway Patrol.

On July 2, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the number of overall traffic deaths in 2008 is at its lowest level since 1961. Also traffic fatalities in the first three months of 2009 are continuing a downward trend.

Sanford broke public's trust

Unfortunately, Gov. Mark Sanford now joins a long line of politicians who have discovered the halls of power too often led past a bedroom.

If Sanford's dalliance with Maria Belen Chapur had merely been done behind his family's back instead of bringing into question his responsibilities as governor, then the fervor behind this whole episode would not have been as heated.

Committee should convene to judge governor's actions

Sex, lies and politics....

South Carolinians recently received a full course meal using this recipe for disaster from Gov. Mark Sanford. For more than a week, we were subjected to the greatest display of irresponsible behavior by an elected official in 100 years.

Sanford abandoned his official duties, deceived the public and misled his family, staff and closest friends. He has even admitted to using public funds to support his extramarital affair.

In spite of 10 days of full national humiliation, South Carolinians still don't know the whole truth.

Transparency needed in handling stimulus funds

Since being appointed as the state's "stimulus watchdog" earlier this year, I've often been asked how much of the federal stimulus money we've received so far. I thought I'd take this opportunity to answer that question and to explain how it's being used.

At the time of this writing, the State of South Carolina has received just over $332 million in federal stimulus money. Seven state agencies have received these funds:

• Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), $263,947,399 for Medicaid services;

• Employment Security Commission, $48,395,901 for unemployment benefits;

Council should take first cutbacks in county

Dear Editor:

I am a citizen of Barnwell County, and I would like to express my concern about our county economy. I know that we as a country are going through hard times with job losses. But what I don't understand is in our county there are those that work for our county having to take furloughs and take money out of their salaries to accommodate the budget as was stated by county councilmen.

Governor's lack of caution

"Call us when you get there."

"Keep your cell phone on just in case."

"Check in with us at least once a day to let us know you are okay."

How many families have used these admonitions for one another? A father to his travel-itchy teenagers; concerned spouses to their beloved; vacationing people to cautious family and friends.

In this age of cell phones, being out of communication is getting to be a thing of the past.

Points for public office

The filing period for the Williston Town Council and Barnwell City Council is still open. Filing for these two municipal elections opened June 15 and will close June 26.

All the incumbents The People-Sentinel reached stated they planned to run for another term of office or were filing to do so.

So far, no opponents have arisen to challenge the seats coming open on the two municipal councils.

In Williston, three seats are up for election as well as the mayor's office. On the Barnwell City Council, three seats are up for decision.

Escorting members of 'greatest generation'

Returning to the Columbia Metropolitan Airport from Washington D.C., the terminal was packed with adoring greeters - some active military, many veterans.

There were lots of families, at least one of which with four generations on hand. There were law enforcement personnel and troops of Boy Scouts. There were balloons, signs, banners, flags, and salutes.

Some wept. An Army band played patriotic music.

It was a fitting end to a daylong trip all of us will remember for a lifetime.

Preparation is always in season

It's ironic that Barnwell County would come under a severe storm warning from the National Weather Service on June 1.

Lightning flashed, the skies darkened and rumbled and the purpled clouds pour forth sudden gushes of rain. Once again, nature showed its strength.

However, Monday's storm is mere muscle-flexing compared to the well-placed punch of a tornado or the relentless pummeling of a hurricane.

The irony is that June 1 begins hurricane season, which runs until Nov. 30.


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