Saturday, May 8, 2010

Crocodile Kills NJ Woman

For one New Jersey family, tragedy has struck for a second time.

On April 28, 25-year-old Lauren Failla was snorkeling in the crystalline waters near Radhanagar Beach on Havelock Island, one of India's Andaman Islands. She and her boyfriend had decided to take a spur-of-the-moment vacation to the tropical paradise.

Suddenly, as Failla's boyfriend watched from shore, a massive saltwater crocodile surfaced and closed its jaws upon her, dragging her down beneath the surface. Her body was discovered two days later.

For her parents, Frank and Kay Failla of Morristown, the loss was compounded by the fact that it came four years after Lauren's older sister, Emily, was killed at age 24 when she fell 500 feet in a rock-climbing accident in Washington state.

"I'm angry, raging at the universe, that such a thing could not only happen, but that it could happen twice to one family," Anne Yardley, a family friend, told The Star Ledger.

Failla's extended family is demanding to know why tourists are not warned that Havelock Island's beaches lie just 45 miles from a crocodile sanctuary. The world's largest reptile, the saltwater crocodile is known to swim great distances in the open water, and the network of islands that make up the Andamans provides several possible resting places for any wayward swimmer.

According to Indian government statistics, there have been 24 crocodile attacks on humans in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands over the past 25 years, including four fatalities.

"How can this be a safe tourist destination?" Bernice Cook, Failla's aunt, wrote to Andaman Sheekha, an English-language newspaper in the Andamans. "Where are the signs alerting people to the potential dangers? A crocodile sanctuary and tourist destination cannot co-exist. This behavior is inexcusable and irresponsible on the part of the government."

The sanctuary near where Failla died, the Lohabarrack Salt Water Crocodile Sanctuary, was established by the Indian government in 1987, after the species was hunted to near-extinction by poachers. Prized for their multicolored skins, the crocodiles -- which remain an endangered species -- have made a modest comeback since that time.

Failla had recently earned her master's degree from Sotheby's Art Institute in London. Both she and her sister had graduated from Vanderbilt University.

"Such an unnecessary death. If there had been proper warnings and statements that there are in fact man-eating crocodiles nearby, I am sure Lauren would not have risked swimming," Gloria McLean Hiratsuka, Failla's cousin, told the Daily Record. "She thought she was safe. Her father made a point of saying she was not a big risk-taker, always a little reserved, all the more since her sister's untimely death four years ago.

"To me, this is such a big wake-up call to our romantic notions about nature," Hiratsuka said. "Nature gives and she takes away -- rather indifferently. It is human beings that must protect other human beings. "

A memorial is planned for Saturday at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Morristown, where Lauren Failla used to sing in the choir.


Car accidents claim a life every 15 minutes.

Car accidents are the cost of doing business for a society that can't live without its automobiles. Ever since some not so subtle prodding back in the '60s (Thanks Mr. Nader!), automakers have continued to improve the car's ability to not only protect us when accidents do occur, but also avoid them in the first place. Nevertheless, one-third of all accidental deaths in the U.S. per year still involve cars. In fact, someone in this country dies in a car accident every 15 minutes. Sobering stats for sure, more of which can be found after the jump in our latest infographic.

Automobiles and the Environment
[Source: Auto Insurance for]

Detective Apologizes for Racial Epithet

These cops were totally wrong and should be fired....but... watching the video and reading the article I didn't see or hear any "Racial Epithet"

A Seattle police officer offered a tearful apology after being caught on camera kicking an innocent man and using a racial epithet.

The video shows a group of officers standing around three men who are lying on the ground. Seattle Police Detective Shandy Cobane shouts, "I'm going to beat the [expletive] Mexican [expletive] out of you homey! You feel me?"

Cobane later kicks the man in the head and another cop kicks him in the hand.

The detective sobbed as he gave a news conference on Friday to apologize to the Latino community, his colleagues and the city of Seattle, The Seattle Times reported.

"I know my words cut deep and were very hurtful," Cobane said. "Please know that I am truly, truly sorry."

The video was shot by a freelance videographer at around 2 a.m. on April 17.

The incident in question took place as officers were investigating an armed robbery in Seattle's Westlake neighborhood. The 911 call reporting the crime had described the suspects as Hispanic.

The man attacked was not involved in the robbery. After officers let him go, the freelance videographer asked the unidentified man why he had been beaten.

"I don't know. They knocked me down and kicked me in the head," he responded.

Cobane and another officer have been placed on administrative leave. The city's police department is carrying out an internal investigation, according to the Times.

Seattle police learned of the event a few days after the incident, and launched the investigation soon after, according to the AP.

Cobane, a 15-year veteran of the police force, said he never imagined he would "do anything to bring such notoriety to my department. Sadly, I did."

VIA: Aolnews.


789 Chevy

-----1957, 1958 & 1959 All Rolled Into One!

This car was built by N2A motors (No Two Alike).
Unbelievable! The company is planning a production run
Of about 100 vehicles.. It sits on a Corvette C6 chassis,
Front styled like a 57 Chevy, side like a 58, rear like a 59.
Hence the designation "789."

Is this a hot looking car, or What !!!

You probably need to be at least 60 yrs

old to really appreciate this!!!

789 Chevy...

Nice Boat

Murder Coviction Reversed By High Court

This guy has filed an appeal "on a variety of issues". Well, gee, let me see........the woman he murdered didn't get to file any appeal! The family of the woman you so brutally beat has to listen once again to your whining and all because you didn't get a fair deal. Well, Mr. Kendall Northam I don't suppose Judy Wojcik got a fair deal either. Did she?

BERLIN – A Worcester County man found guilty on a second-degree murder charge and sentenced to 30 years for his role in the beating death of a woman in a rural area near Pocomoke in January 2008 could get a shot at a new trial after the state’s Court of Special Appeals last week overturned his conviction because his request for a new attorney prior to trial was not considered.

Kendall Irin Northam, now 21, of Pocomoke, was convicted of second-degree murder and first-degree assault in September 2008 for his role in the beating death of Judy Wojcik in an apparent sex for drugs deal gone wrong in a rural area near Pocomoke in January 2008. Northam was later sentenced to 30 years in prison at a sentencing hearing in December 2008, but quickly appealed the conviction on a variety of issues.

Northam’s appeal was based on variety of issues, not the least of which was the trial court’s alleged error in not allowing the suspect to change lawyers prior to his trial in September 2008. According to the appeal, Northam first expressed a desire to discharge his public defender in February 2008 in the form of two letters to the court stating he wished to drop his counsel and have another assigned to his case.

Worcester County Circuit Court Judge Theodore Eschenberg acknowledged Northam’s request for a new attorney in March 2008, but “never explicitly ruled on it,” according to the appeal. Instead, the judge told Northam to be patient because it was a long process and his appointed public defender would have plenty of time to discuss his defense, according to the appeal.

Months passed as Northam’s trial neared, but his continued requests for new counsel fell on deaf ears, according to the appeal.

“Northam expressed concern his public defender hadn’t asked him what had happened or heard his side of the story,” the appeal read. “Six months later, and no contact with lawyer with his murder trial three weeks away, Northam again requested his counsel be discharged and a new lawyer be appointed to his case.”

In the days leading up to the trial, Northam submitted a motion for a change of venue, which also included a request for new counsel. On September 11, 2008, Judge Thomas Groton, who was now presiding over the case, denied the motion for a change of venue with a written order, but failed to address Northam’s request for new counsel. Later that month, Northam was convicted of second-degree murder and first-degree assault and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered. In December 2008, he was sentenced to 30 years in jail.

Northam appealed the conviction with the request for new counsel issue as the centerpiece, but there were also issues with inconsistencies in the statement he gave to police following his arrest, and the statement used during trial. The appeal was heard on April 14 at the University of Maryland School of Law.

Less than two weeks later, the Court of Appeals last Tuesday ruled favorably on Northam’s appeal, reversing the conviction from the September 2008 trial. The Maryland Attorney General’s Office is now reviewing the high court’s opinion before making a decision about remanding the case back to the Circuit Court level for a new trial.

“When the trial court failed to even address Mr. Northam’s third request for a discharge, it blatantly violated the rule,” the appeal read. “The court should have inquired into Mr. Northam’s reasons for the request, including what had transpired, or not transpired, with his attorney during the six months between requests.”

A Worcester County grand jury indicted Northam and his co-defendants, Shawn Treherne, 23, of Bowie, Md., and David K. Justice, 20, of Pocomoke, charging them with first-degree murder and other charges related to the beating death of Wojcik, whose body was found by a trapper in a rural area near Pocomoke.

Early on in the investigation, detectives identified Treherne and Northam as suspects, but it was not until later that they started to believe Justice was involved. Justice was later arrested and charged for his role in the beating death of Wojcik. In his statement included in the appeal, Northam said Treherne and Justice were the aggressors in the attack and that he was essentially just along for the ride in the sex for drugs and money case.

However, according to court records, a concerned witness told detectives he allegedly spoke to Northam shortly after the murder was reported to the police and that Northam said himself, Treherne and another man picked up Wojcik and drove her to a wooded area where she was to perform sex acts for money and drugs. Northam allegedly told the witness a disagreement arose for some reason at which time they beat and kicked Wojcik and left her in the wooded area.

Treherne later entered an Alford plea to manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years in jail. Justice also entered an Alford plea to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years in jail, but five years was suspended from his sentence.

Governor Abducted By Aliens

You can't make this stuff up, or can you? Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the governor of Russia's Buddhist republic, Kalmykia, claims he was abducted in 1997 from his Moscow apartment by aliens who took him into their spaceship.

Apparently, some in the Russian government aren't scoffing at his story and want President Dmitry Medvedev to interrogate Ilyumzhinov, concerned that he may have spilled official secrets to the alien visitors.

Ilyumzhinov, 48, who is also president of the World Chess Federation, told Channel One Russian television host Vladimir Pozner that he spent several hours with the aliens, writes The Moscow Times.
According to his tale, Ilyumzhinov was in bed, falling asleep, and heard a voice call him from his balcony. When he went outside, Ilyumzhinov claims he was met by humanoids dressed in yellow spacesuits, who then whisked him on a tour of their spaceship.

"I would probably have not believed this if there had not been three witnesses -- those were my driver, a minister and my assistant," Ilyumzhinov said. He added that the alleged aliens "spoke" with him telepathically and said they had come to Earth for samples. What kind of samples hasn't been revealed.

Andrei Lebedev, an official with the Liberal Democratic Party, wants the Kremlin to investigate this story and would like Medvedev to determine whether or not Ilyumzhinov offered any official confidential Russian information to the otherworldly travelers.

Bottom line: Should Ilyumzhinov be allowed to continue in his role as governor for possibly giving away state secrets?

My question: What possible top-secret information could Ilyumzhinov have offered to ETs that they would even want -- or be able to use?

Ilyumzhinov is hardly the only political figure to have a close encounter. Last year, Japan's first lady, Miyuki Hatoyama, revealed in her memoir that she had been taken from her bedroom one night 20 years ago by space aliens who traveled to Earth on a triangular-shaped UFO that took her to Venus.

The BBC reports that, in a letter to Medvedev, Lebedev suggested that, if Ilyumzhinov's story wasn't a hoax, then it must be viewed as an historic event and should have been reported to the Kremlin.

Lebedev also inquired if there are government guidelines in case any officials are contacted by extraterrestrials.

With this close encounter hanging over his head, Ilyumzhinov may very well wonder how it will affect Medvedev's decision later this year to reappoint him as Kalmykia's leader.

And, oh yes, it should be noted that Ilyumzhinov has a well-known eccentric personality. No doubt.




SAN DIEGO, CA, May 05, 2010…

A pack of Surfing Dogs, who have been surfing for several years in southern California, have formed a new group, the “So Cal Surf Dogs”.

(The So Cal Surf Dogs broke away from a previous group they helped form, the San Diego Dog Surfing Association (SDDSA), to form the new group. The “So Cal Surf Dogs”. The members of So Cal Surf Dogs no longer have any affiliation with the SDDSA and its members or directors due to differences in goals and aspirations.)

The focus of the newly formed “So Cal Surf Dogs” is to have FUN and promote Dog Surfing!

The “So Cal Surf Dogs” is a fun loving group of dog owners who surf with their dogs, affectionately referred to as SurFURS. Currently, while it is a small group of dog owners and SurFURS, the variety of the SurFURS is amazing. They are enthusiastically encouraging anyone who dog surfs, or wants to dog surf, to join the group.

You don’t need to know how to surf to get involved. Only a few members actually surf! Experience isn't necessary, but a FUN attitude is! It's a great activity the whole family can participate in. They encourage all dogs and owners to give it a try, regardless of skill level or ability.

The “So Cal Surf Dogs” promotes safety first with fun a very close second! Each dog has an exciting lifestyle, individual talents, and many unique accomplishments. They've got a good mix of breeds and sizes amongst their SurFURS, and they're eager to meet your dog too! All dogs (and dog Owners) are welcome!

The “So Cal Surf Dogs” participate in southern California surf dog contests, support local animal charities, and get together to practice and help others that need it.

The “So Cal Surf Dogs” have a welcoming attitude, and offers help and support to each other, and to new SurFURS both in and out of the water. They can often be seen hanging around the beach, helping new puppies learn to surf, or showing grandma what their little dog can do! Some of the dog’s tandem surf with each other, and they've gotten as many as five SurFURS on a board at one time. They're going to try for a record of 10 in the next several weeks, so if you're at the beach and see a bunch of dogs on a board, hop on! We don’t bite!

The group shares tips and stories on how to surf with your dog for those new to the activity, or offer suggestions for an issue you may have, such as your dog jumping off the board, or being distracted by a ball. Many dogs surf a few waves, and then play ball, or engage each other in a friendly game of chase. The dogs themselves are often the ones that show their owners what fun is all about!

The “So Cal Surf Dogs” encourages all dog owners to give it a try. If your dog likes water, and knows how to swim... that's about all you need. Lifejackets are mandatory with this group since they advocate water safety. But, there is usually someone offering the use of a lifejacket or surfboard so you can give it a try. A soft top surfboard is recommended and can be purchased at Costco for $99.00 or a used one can be found on Craigslist!

Here's this seasons schedule: (Come check it out!)

Loews Surf Dog Competition coming up on Saturday, May 22, 2010 in Imperial Beach: This event really focuses on fun, with dogs dressed in costumes, wearing wigs, and many other surprises

The Purina Incredible Dog Surf Dog Competition will film at Dog Beach in Ocean Beach on Friday, June 11, 2010
Here’s what aired last year on ESPN:

Helen Woodward Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon will be held on Sunday, September 12, 2010 at Dog Beach in Del Mar:

Surf City Surf Dog Competition will be held at Dog Beach in Huntington Beach on Sunday, September 19, 2010:

Don't forget to get your 2010 Surf Dog Calendars at:

Remember, no experience is necessary, competing isn't necessary, but FUN is!
Join the group today!

For more info: Peter Noll,, (858)735-5901

“So Cal Surf Dogs” website:

“So Cal Surf Dogs” Facebook page:!/group.php?gid=124797150867035&ref=ts

“So Cal Surf Dogs” Video:

Pocomoke Crime Reports for this week

07 May 2010
Distance: 1.02 miles
Identifier: 10-0002983
Time(24h): 13:25
Agency: Pocomoke Poilce
Send to Friend
06 May 2010
Distance: 1.1 miles
Identifier: 10-0002946
Time(24h): 04:47
Agency: Pocomoke Poilce
Send to Friend
06 May 2010
Distance: 0.34 miles
Identifier: 10-0002953
Time(24h): 10:14
Agency: Pocomoke Poilce
Send to Friend
01 May 2010
Distance: 0.34 miles
Identifier: 10-0002822
Time(24h): 08:23
Agency: Pocomoke Poilce
Send to Friend


Man sentenced in Pocomoke Walmart arson

I can't say that I agree with the judges decision on this, being a good student does not make someone above the law and it's surely not a good reason for such a minor slap on the wrist.

Wal*Mart suffered over $1 million in damages and had to close the store for 2 days yet the article does not mention any restitution coming from the arson.

I'd say this young man should have received at least a year and a much larger fine than the $200.00 fine he received. Maybe that would make him think twice the next time he decides to set fire to another persons property.

THIS is exactly why we have so much crime in today's society, the judges go way to easy on these people.

The article below is from the Daily times

The man accused of setting fire to bags of potato chips in the Pocomoke City Walmart was found guilty Friday but will not serve any further jail time.

Vincent V. Harmon, 20, who has been behind bars since Feb. 12, was sentenced to time served for a single count of conspiracy to commit second-degree arson. The Pocomoke City resident was also given two years unsupervised probation and a $200 fine.

Worcester County District Court Judge Gerald V. Purnell said the sentence was an effort at giving Harmon a second chance.

"I could send you today to 20 years in prison, so you need to keep that in mind," Purnell said. "One bad decision can change your life."

According to Worcester County Assistant State's Attorney Kristin Heiser, on the evening of Feb. 11, Harmon and another man, Lamar Watson, entered the Pocomoke City Walmart, where Harmon used a lighter to set fire to bags of potato chips on the second shelf from the top. When the fire caught, Harmon and Watson quickly left the store.

Nine fire extinguishers were used to put out the blaze. In total, the store sustained $1 million in damage and destroyed merchandise, Heiser said. The supercenter, Pocomoke's only full-service grocery store, had to close for two days.

The incident was caught on surveillance cameras, and employees recognized Harmon, who had previously worked at the store.

The two men were arrested the following day. Watson will face a judge on similar charges at the end of June.

About a dozen of Harmon's family and friends were gathered in the courtroom for the proceedings. Several others, including the principal of Pocomoke High School, which Harmon attended, wrote letters to the judge attesting to his character.

Richard A. Parolski, Harmon's attorney, explained how his client had played basketball at the high school before getting an academic scholarship to a college in South Carolina, which he attended for a year before transferring to University of Maryland Eastern Shore to be closer to home.

"This is a guy you should take a chance on," Parolski said.


"Matter of Trust" Creates Hair-and-Nylon Booms To Help Oil Clean Up In Gulf

Can human hair and pantyhose save the Gulf?

Well, no, it can't. The oil slick spreading from a damaged drilling rig off the coast of Louisiana is already too massive for any quick fix, no matter how well intended. But the environmental calamity has inspired a quirky grass-roots campaign that seeks to use donated hair and animal fur to create oil-absorbing booms.

The idea, promoted by a San Francisco-based nonprofit group called Matter of Trust, is to collect tons of hair and fur to stuff into nylon pouches, in this case used or defective pantyhose. When strung together in sausage-like skeins, the hair booms could be set in the water to collect the encroaching oil.

Hair, as anyone who hasn't shampooed in a while knows, absorbs and holds oily materials well.

Matter of Trust is coordinating the collection of hair and fur through thousands of salons, pet groomers and ranchers. It has collected more than 450,000 pounds of the stuff from people around the world. The organization is storing the raw material in warehouses throughout the Gulf region. Meanwhile, volunteers in the area have hosted 19 "Boom-B-Qs" during which participants stuff hair into the nylon casings.

"We're all growing this natural resource ," says Lisa Gautier, who co-founded Matter of Trust with her husband, Patrice, 12 years ago. "It doesn't get more renewable than this. We think it's a safe, non-toxic way to do the clean-up."

The movement has picked up corporate support, too. Hanes has donated 50,000 pairs of pantyhose, and Petco, the pet-supply and grooming chain, says it will donate as much as a ton of fur clippings per day.

It's not clear how much of a dent in the problem the hair booms can make. Lisa Gautier says it takes about 15 pounds of hair to create a 12-foot boom. If all 450,000 pounds of hair were stuffed and deployed, that would create 360,000 feet of barrier, or about 68 miles' worth.

The joint industry-government task force that is supervising the cleanup effort has more than 150 miles of industrial booms to block and absorb the oil in place around the Gulf.

What's more, Matter of Trust isn't authorized to place booms; only government agencies and volunteers certified by the official joint command are legally permitted to do so.

But there's plenty of need: "We're finding that everyone wants to boom everything," says Mark Proegler, a spokesman for BP, the oil company that is legally responsible for the cleanup. "There's just not sufficient boom to do that. Every parish thinks it's the most important."

BP has had no contact with Matter of Trust, but it appreciates the effort: "We certainly don't want to discourage any of the people who've expressed a willingness to help," Proegler says.

The feel-good aspects of the project aren't lost on Washington salon owner Jacqui Davis, whose 15-store chain, PR at Partners, is participating in the effort. "It's another way to be green and recycle," Davis says. "We're happy to help out. We're telling our clients who want to take just a couple of inches off to cut it shorter and pick up some more oil. It's great to be able to say you contributed in some way."

If everything goes as planned in the great hair boom deployment, it does raise another question: Who cleans up all of that hair?

The booms, Lisa Gautier says, would be BP's responsibility. The company would likely incinerate the booms after picking them up, she says.

Mr. Johnny Strand ~ An Inspiration To Everyone

Today is the burial for Mr. Johnny Strand and I am sure those that knew him will be there to say their final goodbyes. I found the posting below in the Eastern Shore News in the Viewpoint section on Wednesday and I have thought about what I read many times since then. It is lengthy and I started to just post half but it's the whole story that makes this man. If you read nothing else for the rest of today please take time to read this. This man had all the qualifications of an angel.

In 36 years of writing stories on local people for this newspaper, no one was ever as grateful or appreciative as Johnny Strand, the popular Pizza Hut manager who was slain last weekend at his Melfa home.

I have received scores of notes and letters from people who I have profiled during my time here, but Johnny's thank you was the most memorable.

Not long after I wrote a profile on Johnny for the "Virginia's Eastern Shore" special section in 2007 -- ironically, that issue appears in today's paper -- Johnny came into the News office in Accomac and called a few employees he knew up front in the lobby, including me.

He then read a hand-written message he had penned on a thank you card. It read:

You wrote articles over the years

To make one happy or shed tears.

It's true what I've heard, you're one of a kind,

You gave Johnny Strand a chance to speak his mind.

With my voice, I spoke of my strife,

with your pen you wrote of my life.

Together, you and I have touched so many,

A smile restored, a broken spirit replenished.

So I thank you so much, for not taking away

From the spirit of a man who had a lot to say.

Thank you Mr. Sterling,

and the rest of the Eastern Shore News family,


Mr. Johnny Strand

Since that day Johnny thanked me again every time I saw him. Just two weeks ago he was thanking me for the article as if I had written it the previous week.

The truth is Johnny never stopped hearing about the article with the power of the Internet. The story was picked up by the Associated Press and turned up in newspapers and websites all over the country. Johnny said he heard from strangers who just wanted to say they were inspired by his story.

And what a story it was. I knew when I walked away from that interview three years ago, Johnny's story sounded like a movie script that producers would reject because people just wouldn't believe it. But Johnny was the real deal.

The writing had little, if anything, to do with the powerful message Johnny delivered in that interview. Johnny gave me far too much credit in that card that I treasure even more today than when he presented it.

In 1990, Strand was walking along U.S. Route 13 as the Pizza Hut was being built in the Chesapeake Square shopping center in Onley. A man hailed Strand and asked if he wanted to earn some extra money by unloading a truckload of construction materials being used to build the restaurant.

Strand, who had no car and was unemployed at the time, because it was January and he usually worked on area farms, gladly accepted the offer.

The Pizza Hut manager who was checking on the progress of the construction took notice of how Strand hustled back and forth as he was unloading the truck. He called Strand aside and asked him if he wanted a job when the restaurant opened in a few weeks.

So on the first day Pizza Hut opened Strand was a dishwasher.

Strand said in that interview his mission was to be the best dishwasher possible. "I took control of my area. I'm like that. I wanted those dishes to be so clean you could see your face in them."

Strand was soon promoted to assistant cook and then lead cook. When the manager saw how friendly Strand was with people, he made Strand a server. Strand then became a shift manager and eventually assistant manager of the restaurant.

Strand worked for five other managers, and in 2002 when the position was again vacant Strand was asked by Pizza Hut officials to be the manager. He turned them down -- twice, in fact.

Gil Liberty, the district manager for Pizza Hut, came to Strand for a third time. Liberty was present at that 2007 interview because he wanted to impress upon the reporter just how he felt about Strand.

Liberty told Stand, "You are here 55 hours a week anyway. Everyone thinks you are the manager. Why don't you take this position and earn the benefits and the extra money that comes with it?"

Strand explained he was very busy with his church and was a member of a traveling gospel choir at Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church in Bayside, near Onancock.

Liberty promised Strand the job would not interfere with attending church. "I say that because I know you are the right person for the job," Liberty told Strand.

Liberty said at that 2007 interview, "Johnny is the face of Pizza Hut on the Eastern Shore. When you say Pizza Hut around here you think of Johnny Strand. When you say Johnny Strand, you think of Pizza Hut. He has such great people skills, both with the public and the employees. Everyone loves to work for him."

Strand was recognized by the community and Pizza Hut for his contributions. He worked with schools, youth groups, churches, the Foodbank, the DARE program and numerous other groups to help raise funds or provide pizzas as incentives for achievement. It seemed everyone knew Strand and his willingness to help others.

The walls of the restaurant are plastered with drawings from local students and photographs of athletes from every school on the Shore.

Many of his employees are area students, and he often sat down with them and asked about their grades. He told them he was far from a perfect student in high school, but mistakes today can have more impact than when he was at Onancock High School in the 1970s.

"I want to find the good in everyone," said Strand. "I go to the schools and tell students that if they work hard and do a good job, their self-esteem will rise and good things will happen to them," said Strand, who had at the time missed only one day of work in 17 years. He took a day off to go watch Nandua High School play for a state basketball title.

Strand might not have been perfect in high school, but Pizza Hut received rare perfect scores from the Health Department. Pizza Hut's reviews were usually rated "excelling."

Strand's love in high school was music. He was taught by his cousin, Jesse Poulson, also an active member of his church.

He was good enough that he was supposed to go to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and be a member of the college choir. But his mother had a leg amputated due to complications from diabetes two months before he was to graduate from high school in 1978. His father died one month later. As the youngest of 10 children and the only one still at home, it was up to Johnny to care for his mother at their home near White Rabbit.

"I missed a chance to go to college, but I wouldn't change a thing," said Strand, who wiped away a tear at that interview when talking about his mother.

Although he never married, Johnny said he had more than 50 nieces and nephews he followed closely.

His funeral will surely be attended many of the people he touched through the years. His tragic loss from a senseless crime will be felt throughout the community.

But although his life was cut short, the incomparable Johnny Strand will continue to inspire others to be their best, as he always tried to be.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Community Event Saturday To Honor Johnny Strand

WACHAPREAGUE — The life of Johnny Strand, the charismatic Onley Pizza Hut manager who was slain May 1, will be celebrated at an outdoors community event at 5 p.m. today at Wachapreague Park.

It will follow Strand’s funeral, which is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Macedonia A.M.E. Church in Accomack.

“Johnny blessed a lot of people,” said the Rev. Robert Garris Jr., who is organizing the event. “This is what needs to be done.”

Everyone is invited.

Strand, 49, who had worked for Pizza Hut since it opened, was found dead in his Melfa home. Police this week arrested an Accomac man on a murder charge in connection with his death.

The celebration of Strand’s life will feature gospel music with intermittent opportunities for attendees to take a microphone and say a few words on how Strand touched their lives.

There also will be hot dogs, hamburgers and Pizza Hut pizza available. Garris is going to local businesses this week to solicit donations of food and beverages.

There also will be a massive reprint of the photograph that Jay Diem, the News’ photographer, took of Strand in 2007 as the manager stood in front of Pizza Hut.

Garris has asked the Parksley Sign Co. to enlarge the photograph “life-sized” so that attendees can bring a camera and have their photo taken with it.

Donations also will be collected for the Johnny Keith Strand Memorial Scholarship, which is being organized by longtime friend Jesse Poulson.

Like many people, Garris, who is pastor at Mt. Nebo Baptist Church in Onancock, has a personal story about how Strand influenced his life.

The event will be a tribute to Strand. Garris credited Accomack County Parks and Recreation Director Bill Allen with coordinating the use of Wachapreague Park for the event.

Jolly Rancher lands Fort Bend County third-grader in detention for a week

A weeks detention for a 10 year old for one piece of green Jolly Ranchers candy.

ORCHARD, Texas – A third-grader at Brazos Elementary was given a week’s detention for possessing a Jolly Rancher.

School officials in western Fort Bend County are defending the seemingly harsh sentence. The school’s principal and superintendent said they were simply complying with a state law that limits junk food in schools.

But the girl’s parents say it’s a huge overreaction.

“I think it’s stupid to give a kid a week’s worth of detention for a piece of candy,” said Amber Brazda, the girl’s mother. "The whole thing was just ridiculous to me."

Leighann Adair, 10, was eating lunch Monday when a teacher confiscated the candy. Her parents said she was in tears when she arrived home later that afternoon and handed them the detention notice.

According to the disciplinary referral, she would be separated from other students during lunch and recess through Friday.

Jack Ellis, the superintendent for Brazos Independent School District, declined an on-camera interview. But he said the school was abiding by a state guideline that banned “minimal nutrition” foods.

“Whether or not I agree with the guidelines, we have to follow the rules,” he said.

The state, however, gives each school discretion over how to enforce the policy. Ellis said school officials had decided a stricter punishment was necessary after lesser penalties failed to serve as a deterrent.

Ellis said failing to adhere to the state’s guidelines could put federal funding in jeopardy.

According to the Texas Department of Agriculture’s website, “The Texas Public School Nutrition Policy (TPSNP) explicitly states that it does not restrict what foods or beverages parents may provide for their own children's consumption.”

Brazos Elementary Principal Jeanne Young, said the problem, in this instance, was that the candy was provided by another student – not the girl’s parents.

The girl’s mother said the incident has taught her daughter a lesson, but not the one her teachers intended.

“I told her, ‘Leighann, unfortunately you’re learning very young that life’s not fair,'” Brazda said.

For more information about the state’s policy and its exceptions, click here.


Reader Sends in 'A Tribute to Mom'

A Tribute To My Angel Mom In Heaven

Dear Lord :
You gave me an angel the day I was born, Who tended to me very day. She saw me through my trials, and my errors,
As she watched, & prayed for me as I went on my way.

She is my angel protecting me still, & vigilantly watching Over me as only a Mother could, She was such a Godly woman….praying for others, as She faithfully called on her God as she should.

I know my Angel Mom loved me, and I was blessed from The day I was born……..she was my precious Mother…….and, now each day I miss her, and mourn.

So, please, dear God give her that mansion that she talked About so many times…..and let her sing in your Heavenly choir with all the angels at her side.

Please bless her, and keep her forever in Heaven with you, Free from pain, and suffering, and let her do her good will, And, I pray each day that you will help me to be more, and more Like her……to carry on her dependency she left behind for me.

I know I will be with my Mom one day, but I still have Work to do here on Earth….where she left off, So, please, God help me more like my Mom because I know she will meet me to Heaven’s gate one day, And, say, “Welcome home, my sweet daughter…I have Been waiting for you….and, now, together we will stay!

This is a tribute to my angel, Mom, Julia H. Watkinson Who left me on October 12, 2009.….I miss her so much….she was my best friend, my confidant, my anchor…but I know she is happy now….no more Pain, and suffering, and I know that God is taking care of Mom, and she is Singing beautiful songs with her sweet angel voice. I miss you so much, Mom, and my love for you will NEVER fade.

Thank you for setting examples, and teaching me so many ways to be a good woman, and I give you full credit today for the woman I have become. All my love, Mom, forever & forever,

Your daughter, Pat J J
****To all the Mothers this Mother’s Day I wish you joy, peace, happiness, & God’s love, and protection on you…..and to those who still have your Moms….

Love her unconditionally, listen to her teachings, and words of wisdom she has for you….never let a day go by without telling her how much you love her, how much She means to you……Life is too short…don’t hold grudges, or unforgiveness In your heart to your Mom, and visit, and spend time with her as much as you can!!

My Mom , and I were so-o-o- close. & I have no regrets….I had 60 years with my Mom, and for that……I thank God everyday****
Julia Ann H. Watkinson
October 25, 1928-October 12, 2009
All my love forever, your daughter, Pat J

Violent Movie Declares War on Arizona for Immigration Law

A violent new film from cult director Robert Rodriguez is declaring war on Arizona with a "special Cinco de Mayo message" in the wake of the state's controversial illegal immigration law.

A violent new film from cult director Robert Rodriguez is declaring war on Arizona with a "special Cinco De Mayo message" in the wake of the state's controversial illegal immigration law.

That message is: "They just f---ed with the wrong Mexican."

"Machete," which features a knife-wielding Mexican assassin out for revenge against double-crossing gringos, won't be in theaters until September, but it is already sparking a political melee over Wednesday's stab at the Grand Canyon State.

In the trailer for the film, the title character is hired to assassinate an anti-immigration U.S. senator played by Robert De Niro. Protesters are seen waving nationalist signs as the senator speaks to a charged-up rally: "We are at war," he booms. "Every time an illegal dances across our border, it is an act of aggression against this sovereign state — an overt act of terrorism."

But before the trailer even begins, the battle-scarred title character stares out from the screen as he tells viewers that what's about to unfold — an immigration-laced slasher grindhouse flick — is about the current border battle in Arizona.

Click here to see the video.

The trailer was released Wednesday, just 24 hours after an envelope filled with a still-undetermined white powder was sent to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, temporarily closing the State Capitol in Phoenix. The powder spilled out when a staffer opened it Tuesday morning, sending Hazmat teams scrambling through the governor's offices. No one was sickened, but state police and the FBI are investigating the incident.

It was just the latest development in a debate that is growing more rancorous by the minute.

Some outspoken critics of illegal immigration took umbrage at the movie trailer and its swipe at Arizona, which is the entry point for one-third of all illegal immigrants in the U.S.

"It's pretty ugly out there," said former Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, a staunch advocate of tougher immigration laws. "Half the time that's the way all of us are depicted: corrupt, no good, racist."

Tancredo, who served in the House from 1999-2009, said he received "tons of death threats" while in office and frequently wore a bulletproof vest during public speeches. Though the language of the film is nothing new to him, he said he still finds it offensive.

"The racists who made that trailer, they are as racist as anything I have ever seen" from either side of the immigration debate, Tancredo said.

But, he added, "these guys are 'politically correct' racists, so you cannot heap indignities upon them."

Read More HERE

TIP: Speed-up Your Computer; How to Clear Your Cache (And Why You’d Want To)

When you roam the Internet, accessing Web pages, files, images and other downloaded content, your Web browser caches, or stores, all that on your computer. That way, those files -- which are called temporary Internet files -- don't have to be retrieved again each time you click the back or forward buttons.

Why should you clear your cache? There are two reasons:
• Free up space on your computer
After a while, the cache fills up and needs to be cleared -- at least once a quarter -- so your Web browser will function most efficiently.
• Protect your privacy
At work, you may not want others to see where you have browsed, while at home, several people may use the same computer. If you have privacy concerns, you'll want to regularly clear your cache.

Clearing your cache takes just a few minutes. You can do it yourself by following the steps below, or there is software such as System Mechanic that can clear your cache automatically.

How to clear the cache in Internet Explorer 8
1. Open Internet Explorer. Click the Tools menu on the top left of the IE toolbar.
2. Click on "Delete Browsing History."
3. Select "Temporary Internet Files."
4. Click the Delete button at the bottom of the window and your temporary files will be deleted instantly.

To set Internet Explorer 8 so it automatically clears the cache:
1. Open Internet Explorer. Click the Tools menu on the top left of the IE toolbar.
1. Click on Internet Options.
2. Click the Advanced tab.
3. Scroll down to the Security section.
4. Click to check the box next to the option labeled "Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed."
5. Click OK. This will delete everything except cookies.

How to clear the cache in Firefox 3.5 or 3.6
1. Open Firefox. Click Tools on the top left of the Firefox tool bar. Select Options.
2. Select the Advanced panel.
3. Click on the Network tab.
4. In the Offline Storage section, click Clear Now.
5. Click OK to close the Options window

To set Firefox 3.5 or 3.6 so it automatically clears the cache:
1. Click Tools on the top left of the Firefox tool bar. Select Options.
2. Select the Privacy panel.
3. In the History section, click on the "Firefox will:" drop-down box and choose "Use custom settings for history."
4. Check the box for "Clear history when Firefox closes."
5. Click on the Settings button.
6. In the Settings for Clearing History window, click the checkmark box next to Cache.
7. Click OK to close the Settings for Clearing History window.
9. Click OK to close the Options window.

If you need additional help or your Web browser is not listed here, search your browser's Help menu for "clear cache."


Petition Submitted To Oust Mayor

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - Petitions containing nearly 9,000 signatures were formally filed in Portsmouth Circuit Court Thursday seeking the recall of Mayor James Holley. If successful, it would be the second time Holley has been recalled as Portsmouth's mayor.

The petitions will now move relatively quickly through the courts. If a judge accepts the signatures and Holley still refuses to resign there could be a recall election in less than two months.

A group of citizens initiated the petition drive last September saying the last straw came when it was revealed that Holley had been ordering his city secretary to handle his personal errands like buying his clothes and purchasing gifts for friends and family members. City Council publicly scolded Holley, fined him $2,500 and formally voted to request his retirement. He refused then, as he continues to refuse to give up his post today despite the submission of the recall petition.

Portsmouth resident Robert Marcus helped spearhead the recall effort. "The mayor is not able to function as a leader," said Marcus. "We have an elderly man who is more inclined in his later years to enjoy having a nice wardrobe and a nice car to drive in, and his mind is not on the job and as unfortunate as it is, he is not willing to accept that reality." caught up with Mayor Holley just moments after the petitions seeking his recall were filed. When asked for his thoughts on the nearly 9,000 signatures Holley responded, "Well, there are 100,000 citizens, so it wasn't everybody."

If the judge handling this civil case rules there are enough legitimate voter signatures he will give Holley five days to resign his post. If Holley refuses, the judge will order a recall election to be held about a month later. asked Mayor Holley on Thursday if he intends to resign. "No I will not step down," he said. Holley also threw last year's apology to his secretary out the window Thursday. He told the dozens of chores he asked his assistant to handle were not personal chores, not even buying his clothes.

"Well, I wear clothing," shrugged Holley. "I didn't find that to be anything that was beyond her responsibility."

Holley also said he is not worried about the possibility of being recalled a second time. In 1987 Holley became the first mayor in Virginia to be recalled from office after he was said to have played a role in a racial hate mail campaign. "I am still the mayor," he said. "I think we have some positive directions which we are attempting to go and I am pleased to report that it happened under my leadership."

Recall organizers said city code required them to gather 6,772 signatures from registered voters. They said they collected 8,775. It took them nine months to get the signatures.

Marcus said, "We have taken this long because we wanted to do it right."

Dolores Knight also helped organize and run the recall effort. "It's been fascinating in a way because so many people have been willing to help us," she said. "It started out with people calling me and saying, 'We need to do something Deloris. We need to do something.'"

The 8,775 signatures will now be reviewed by a judge who will write up an order and send it, along with the petitions, to the Portsmouth Voter Registrar to validate as registered voters in the city of Portsmouth.

Talks On Drilling Off Coast Of Virginia Suspended

The Interior Department is canceling indefinitely hearings on the proposed sale of gas and oil leases off the coast of Virginia.

The postponement is contained in a notice of the Federal Register, and environmentalists said it signals a suspension of the lease sale off of Virginia.

Governor Bob McDonnell's energy secretary, Maureen Matsen, contends the government is taking a "prudent" step in suspended the hearings while it deals with the Gulf oil spill.

The hearings were to be held in Norfolk, North Carolina and Maryland.

Va. Charity Relief Team Heads To Tennessee Flood Victims

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - Operation Blessing International has dispatched a relief team from Virginia to assist flood-stricken Nashville.

The Virginia Beach charity arrived Wednesday in the heart of country music with trucks laden with food, water and ready-to-eat meals.

Nashville's Cumberland River spilled over its banks this week as more than a foot of rain drenched the city. Flash floods have been blamed in the deaths of at least 18 people in Tennessee alone, including nine in Nashville.

Starting Thursday, Operation Blessing will deploy a portable kitchen to begin serving hot meals to those whose homes are flooded.

Crews will also assist in mopping up the mess.

Norfolk Zoo Tiger Dies From Cancer

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The Virginia Zoo in Norfolk announced that one of its two beloved Siberian Tigers was euthanized Thursday, only three weeks after she was diagnosed with an agressive form of cancer.

Shere Khan was the advanced age of 18 years.

The zoo also revealed that Shere Khan's sister Shaka Khan was diagnosed with a different cancer.

“The entire Zoo family is grief-stricken,” Executive Director Greg Bockheim said.

A lesion on Shere was biopsied on April 16 and the zoo veterinarian determined she had a form of skin cancer, called squamous cell carcinomas . Veterinarian Dr. John Sanginario did not recommend surgergy because of Shere's age and condition.

“Shere Khan and Shaka Khan were among the most popular animals at the Zoo,” Bockheim said. But the tigers have been off exhibit to Zoo visitors since June 2008 for the construction of the Asia – Trail of the Tiger expansion .

Also in April, keepers noticed a growth on Shaka Khan's left elbow. The biopsy determind she had a malignant, slow-growing, low grade fibrosarcoma . The zoo says she is expected to live another 10-12 months.

“We knew the tigers were elderly cats and could only be expected to live a few more years, but no one was prepared to lose them before the Asia exhibit opens,” says Bockheim. “Tigers are an important, highly endangered species native to Asia and are one of the centerpieces of this new exhibit.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pocomoke M.I.S.T Dinner will honor science students

The Mid-Atlantic Institute for Space and Technology invites the community to a dinner on Wednesday, May 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the Pocomoke Volunteer Fire Department Community Center, located at 1410 Market St., to honor regional students who have demonstrated commitment to excellence through application to the STEP-UP Intern Program.

Tickets for the dinner are $15 for adults and $10 for students and are available at the door. Please contact Lori Graham for details at 410-957-6570.

Bank of America, can I help you?

Bank of America, can I help you?

Customer: Yes, I want to cancel my account. I don't want to do business with you any longer.

The Bank: Why?

Customer: You're giving credit to illegal immigrants and I don't think it's right. I'm taking my business

The Bank: Well, Mr. Customer, we don't want to see you do that, but we can't stop you. I'll help you close the account. What is your account number?

Customer: (gives account number)

The Bank: For security purposes and for your protection, can you please give me the last four digits of your social security number?

Customer: No?

The Bank: Mr. Customer, I need to verify your information, but in order to help you, I'll need verification of who you are..

Customer: Why should I give you my social security number? The reason I'm closing my account is that your bank is issuing credit cards to illegal immigrants who
don't have social security numbers. You are targeting that audience and want their business. Let's say I'm an illegal immigrant and you've given me a credit card. I have a question about it and call for assistance. You wouldn't be asking me for a Social Security number, would you?

The Bank: No sir, I wouldn't.

Customer: Why not?

The Bank: Because you would have pressed '2' to speak in Spanish. We don't ask for that information when calling in on the Spanish line.

If it does raise the hair on the back of your neck, then forward it to every human in the country including every representative in Washington , DC four time s a week for a month.

Provided "snopes" for doubters:

Hat Tip; Mrs. M

A Duck Story from San Antonio , Texas

Something really cute happened in downtown San Antonio this week. Michael R. is an accounting clerk at Frost Bank and works there in a second story office. Several weeks ago, he watched a mother duck choose the concrete awning outside his window as the unlikely place to build a nest above the sidewalk.

The mallard laid ten eggs in a nest in the corner of the planter that is perched over 10 feet in the air. She dutifully kept the eggs warm for weeks, and Monday afternoon all of her ten ducklings hatched.

Michael worried all night how the momma duck was going to get those babies safely off their perch in a busy, downtown, urban environment to take to water, which typically happens in the first 48 hours of a duck hatching.

Tuesday morning, Michael watched the mother duck encourage her babies to the edge of the perch with the intent to show them how to jump off. Office work came to a standstill as everyone gathered to watch.

The mother flew down below and started quacking to her babies above. In disbelief Michael watched as the first fuzzy newborn trustingly toddled to the edge and astonishingly leapt into thin air, crashing onto the cement below.

Michael couldn't stand to watch this risky effort nine more times! He dashed out of his office and ran down the stairs to the sidewalk where the first obedient duckling, near its mother, was resting in a stupor after the near-fatal fall. Michael stood out of sight under the awning-planter, ready to help.

As the second one took the plunge, Michael jumped forward and caught it with his bare hands before it hit the concrete. Safe and sound, he set it down it by its momma and the other stunned sibling, still recovering from that painful leap. (The momma must have sensed that Michael was trying to help her babies.)

One by one the babies continued to jump. Each time Michael hid under the awning just to reach out in the nick of time as the duckling made its free fall. At the scene the busy downtown sidewalk traffic came to a standstill.

Time after time, Michael was able to catch the remaining eight and set them by their approving mother.

At this point Michael realized the duck family had only made part of its dangerous journey. They had two full blocks to walk across traffic, crosswalks, curbs and past pedestrians to get to the closest open water, the San Antonio River , site of the famed "River Walk." The onlooking office secretaries and several San Antonio police officers joined in. An empty copy-paper box was brought to collect the babies.

They carefully corralled them, with the mother's approval, and loaded them in the container. Michael held the box low enough for the mom to see her brood. He then slowly navigated through the downtown streets toward the San Antonio River The mother waddled behind and kept her babies in sight, all the way.

As they reached the river, the mother took over and passed him, jumping in the river and quacking loudly.

At the water's edge, Michael tipped the box and helped shepherd the babies toward the water and to the waiting mother after their adventurous ride.

All ten darling ducklings safely made it into the water and paddled up snugly to momma. Michael said the mom swam in circles, looking back toward the beaming bank bookkeeper, and proudly quacking.

At last, all present and accounted for: "We're all together again. We're here! We're here!"

And here's a family portrait before they head outward to further adventures.. .

Like all of us in the big times of our life, they never could have made it alone without lots of helping hands. I think it gives the name of San Antonio 's famous "River Walk" a whole new meaning!

Hat Tip; Kack

Former Pocomoke City Councilman Has Died

POCOMOKE CITY, Md.- Honiss Cane, who served on the Pocomoke City Council for decades, died Tuesday. He was 78.

Cane was first elected to the council in 1986 and served in that capacity until he decided not to run in April's muncipal elections for health reasons. Cane, who was a pioneer for civil rights on Delmarva, had the distinction as the first-ever black member of the Pocomoke City Council.

Cane was also a student union administrator at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore for more 32 years.

The Pocomoke City Chamber of Commerce says a viewing will be held Friday, May 7 from 6-8 p.m. at Shiloh United Methodist Church on 2655 Ocean Highway (Route 113) in Pocomoke City. A funeral service is scheduled for Saturday, May 8, at 11 a.m. at the Ella Fitzgerald Auditorium at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne.

Two Benefits This Weekend For Jay Lewis

On May 7th there will be a dinner/auction to benefit Jay Lewis at the Chincoteague Fire House.

The Chincoteague Ladies Auxillary will be fixing turkey, dumplings, oyster fritters with all the trimmings.

Social hour starts at 6:00 PM with dinner following at 7:00 PM

Tickets are limited and going fast!

Contact the Chincoteague Police Department, Chief David Lewis of the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company or Mr. Bill McComb to purchase tickets.


May 8 The Chincoteague Police Department and Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company will be sponsoring a Benefit Poker Run for Jay Lewis.

The Poker Run will start at Cycle Creations in New Church, VA with last bike out at 11:00 AM.

The run will go through Maryland and Virginia and end at the Chincoteague Inn with the last bike in at 3:00 PM.

Food and beverages will be available at the Chincoteague Inn along with a live band under the big tent.

Donations will be accepted for the Poker Run. Please give generously to help offset the medical expenses Jay is incurring.

Everyone is welcome!

Jay is in need of a kidney and pancreas transplant due to diabetes. He has been a Police Officer and Volunteer Firefighter for over 16 years and worked with various Police Departments and Fire Departments on the Eastern Shore during that time.