Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wildlife Sanctuary On Eastern Shore Is Sold

The National Audubon Society has sold a 950-acre wildlife sanctuary it was given on the Eastern Shore to former Anne Arundel County executive Robert A. Pascal, who said Friday he plans to raise organic cattle and hay on part of it. Pascal and Audubon both declined to disclose the purchase price, though state assessment records valued the land and six homes there at $8.5 million.

The waterfront estate near Bozman in Talbot County was once a hunting preserve for the DuPont family. It was donated to Audubon 13 years ago by Jean Ellen duPont Shehan to be a nature preserve and outdoor education center. But nearly two years ago, the society, short on funds to maintain the estate and wanting to focus on its other programs and properties, elected to sell it. However, state and local governments declined the society's overtures, citing a lack of funds, and neighboring residents worried that the wildlife-rich tract might be developed or no longer accessible to the public.

Pascal, 75, said he intends to return at least part of the tract to cultivation, raising organic beef, hay and chickens there. He also said he plans to enhance its wildlife habitat to attract quail, and possibly even try raising oysters on leased bottom in Broad Creek just offshore. "I want to make it into an environmental area where the general public can come and witness how to keep it pristine," he said. Though he said he intends to preserve the land from development and allow public access, Pascal added he could not comment on whether he plans to put any of the land into permanent conservation easement.

Pascal served as county executive from 1974 to 1982, and was state senator for one term before that. A Republican, he made an unsuccessful bid in 1982 to unseat Gov. Harry R. Hughes. He now owns St. Michaels Harbour Inn and Marina and is an investor in Baltimore's Harbor East development. He lives on a 500-acre farm on the Miles River in Talbot County, and said he owns other tracts on the Shore.

Sen. J. Lowell Stoltzfus To Be Honored

OCEAN CITY -- Sen. J. Lowell Stoltzfus will be honored by friends, family, colleagues and fellow Republicans from Worcester, Somerset and Wicomico at a dinner hosted by the Worcester County Republican Central Committee on Thursday, July 22, at the Carousel Hotel in Ocean City.

Join them for a 5:30 p.m. reception with appetizers, dinner at 6:30 p.m., and an ongoing Chinese auction featuring restaurant gift certificates, wine baskets, art and other special prizes.

Send a check for $40 to Carole Voss, 615 Market St., Pocomoke City, Md. 21851 and call Voss at 410-957-0555 to let her know the dinner choice of fish and crab cake or eggplant parmesan preferred.

For information, call 410-641-7391.

Pocomoke Bonanza Building Sold To Mexican Restaurant

POCOMOKE CITY -- The building that formerly held the Bonanza Steakhouse in Pocomoke City will be reopened as a Mexican restaurant later this year.

The former Ocean Highway buffet was sold recently for $950,000 to Tres Tacauches LLC, which owns a small chain of restaurants in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, according to Henry Hanna, a Realtor with Sperry Van Ness.

The company also purchased the former Bonanza location in Millsboro.

Where To Nap........

Don't you wish that for just one more time you could just feel small

and nap in someone's strong arms........

protected from the world?
jmmb 2010

End Of An Era For F-15's At Langley Air Force Base

Langley Air Force Base is turning a new chapter, and it will change what you see in the skies.

The 71st Fighter Squadron is being inactivated, part of a service-wide restructuring plan. That means the squadron's F-15 fighters are being parceled out to other Air Force bases and Air National Guard units.

The F-15 has compiled a stellar combat record, and the departure from Langley is bittersweet, says Lt. Col. Joel Cook, the squadron commander. However, he said the squadron is prepared to go out professionally and "in style."

The last F-15 will leave Langley in mid-September. The 71st Fighter Squadron, which has served the country since World War II, will be officially inactivated on September 30.

This Saturday At Melson Power Show

Events that were canceled last Saturnday due to rain have been rescheduled for TODAY, Saturday, July 17th.

Events For Tonight---
Tractor Pull
Mud Hop
All participants in the events must register
Racing begins at 8:00
Admission: $5.00

Bring a chair, sit back and enjoy the evening. Refreshments available.

9343 Guy Ward Road, Parsonsburg, Maryland

For questions and information call: 410-896-4597

"Short and Sassy" driven by Barry Wise
1st place driver in Pro-Stock Class

Obama Government to Issue New Clean Vehicles

Along with the health-care bill the Obama Administration will be giving those in need of transportation a new Government approved vehicle.

The Obama Administration is reeling as they feel the New vehicle will not only provide cheap reliable transportation to those in need but will also contribute to a much healthier public ("regular people").

The free vehicle will not be big enough to carry a gun or a bible (sorry Pennsylvania) but comes with a convenient compartment that holds an Independence card, medical card, and a pocket to organize monthly AFDC receipts.

It's the very first vehicle ever produced that will never see a fuel station. The free Obama vehicle is also the only vehicle that emits zero emissions so there will be no need to purchase any carbon credits that will soon be applied to owners of all dino fuel powered vehicles.

The Obama vehicle will also be available to those that wish to "crush their klunker" a program to lower carbon emissions. If you "crush your klunker" you will be eligible to purchase the Obama vehicle by making a "donation" to Freedy and Franny, proceeds will go directly to the bank.


The best part about the Obama vehicle is that it can be ordered in a variety of colors, yellow and pink, or pink and yellow. The Obama vehicle requires absolutely no maintenance, even the tires are built to last a lifetime and will never need replacing. 

Hurry and pick your color NOW, these vehicles will be going fast.  

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tea Party member stuns the crowd

If you haven't seen so now!  This is a moment in time that must be seen and heard by all Americans, regardless of your politics.  I defy anyone to present a valid argument against it.   God Bless.

"Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

Hat Tip; Eric

Also Visit The Right Scoop

Broadwater Academy Employee Stabbed By Wife

EXMORE,VA--According to the Northampton County Sheriff's Office, on July 15, 2010, Sheriff's Deputies responded to Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital to take a complaint of a stabbing that occurred on Heath Lane in Exmore, Va.

Upon arrival to the hospital, the victim, Leroy Weatherly, was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital where he was treated and released. According to reports, Weatherly was stabbed several times in the arm while he slept.

Police have arrested and charged Linda Weatherly, the victim's wife, 47 of Exmore, with malicious wounding of Leroy Weatherly. Linda Weatherly is currently being held at the Eastern Shore Regional Jail with no bond.

Leroy Weatherly has been on staff at Broadwater Academy for 27 years. Weatherly donates his time helping with Broadwater Academy athletics, most notably football and basketball. Weatherly is well liked and respected by students, parents and staff at the school. In 2005, the students dedicated Broadwater Academy's Annual Berserker to Weatherly.

Northampton County Delinquent Taxes List

CAPE CHARLES — Two of Northampton County’s bigger delinquent taxpayers are well-known professional football names who have earned millions of dollars during their careers.

Darren Perry, a Hampton Roads native who had a long National Football League career and now is a defensive coach with the Green Bay Packers, owes the county $14,140.21 for unpaid real-estate taxes over the past two years, county records released this week show.

Perry and his wife, Errika, are the listed owners of a home on a .22-acre lot at 2830 Vernon Way, Cape Charles, valued at $1.4 million, according to the Northampton County website.

The lot is near the Marina Villages area on the Chesapeake Bay, near the mouth of King’s Creek.

They have not paid their $7,070.21 annual real-estate tax bills in each of the past two years.

The Perrys also owe $2,029.50 in delinquent personal property taxes for 2007 and $880.13 in personal-property taxes for 2008.

Perry could not immediately be reached for comment through Rob Crane, a spokesman for the Packers.

DeAngelo Hall, also a Hampton Roads native who owns a .7-acre parcel and house at 122 Creekside Drive, Bay Creek, owes $6,377.35 in delinquent taxes for 2009, according to county records.

Hall is a former Virginia Tech football standout who played for the Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders before catching on with the Washington Redskins in recent years.

Hall did not return an e-mail seeking comment from the News placed through his website,

The top 15 real-estate delinquencies for 2009 on Northampton County’s tax list, updated Tuesday, include:

Cherrydale by the Sea LLC, $38,347;

Shore Landvest Inc., 20,963.67;

Kimberley Starr, 14,316.33;

FFS, LLC, $12,965.89;

Seaside Preserve LLC, $11,808.51;

Platinum Partners Properties LP, $9,987.67;

Bayview Citizens for Social Justice Inc., $9,480.03;

Cape Charles Hotel LLC, $8,873.90;

Trustees of Hickman M.T. Et Als, $8,857.73;

Synergy Development and Investments, $8,484.84;

Perry, Darren and Errika, $7,070.21;

Forst, Paul E. and Kathleen M., $6,939.68;

Burns, Allen F. and Asenath P., $6,872.25;

Stewart, Dexter A. and Nassima, $6,741.42;

Hall, DeAngelo, $6,377.35.

The top 15 personal property delinquencies for 2009 on Northampton County’s tax list, updated Tuesday, include:

Shore Landvest Inc., $8,200;

Brunk Transport Inc., $3,100.63;

Two Farms Inc., $3,093.86;

Jiggetts, Willie, $3,075;

Quality Structure LLC, $2,618.12;

Rayfield, Arthur Wayne, $2,555.12;

Shore Hospitality LLC, $2,408.34;

Stewart, Nassima, $2,038.77;

Heath, Jennifer L., $1,702.89;

P&E Incorporated, $1,668.70;

Burton, Benjamin F., $1,431.59;

Tankard, Amelia W., $1,416.87;

Montalvo, Valerio J., $1,415.95;

Chesapeake Properties, $1,366.53;

Cape Charles Properties LLC, $1,163.58.

Used-Car Salesman Guilty of Kidnapping

ACCOMAC -- Richard Coleman set out to buy a car on June 9, 2009, and instead was kidnapped by the seller.

Three suspects hauled Coleman to a bank and forced him to make a withdrawal from an ATM in Accomack County. But Coleman instead ran inside, freeing himself, and bank workers called police.

Richard Copes, 31, of Withams pleaded guilty in Accomack Circuit Court to the abduction of Coleman, stealing an automobile and robbery.

Commonwealth's Attorney Gary Agar said the victim spoke to Copes about buying the vehicle and the victim arrived in the family van.

Copes got into the passenger seat and two other individuals came from behind bushes and confronted Coleman, according to testimony.

They assumed the man had the $600 with him to pay for the used car.

"He did not," Agar said.

But they found $50 and an ATM card in the man's wallet. All three got in the victim's van to drive to an ATM to withdraw money.

From Withams, they drove to the NASA Federal Credit Union at T's Corner. Agar said the plan was for the man to get out of the van and withdraw money while they sat in the van. The victim told investigators he thought the men had a gun.

The victim got out of the van as directed, but instead of going to the machine, he ran inside the credit union.

The three men then reportedly sped off in the van. Two of the men made statements to police and named Copes. The victim knew the three defendants and was able to identify them to police.

Copes, however, contacted Coleman in an apparent attempt to buy his support.

"Give me a break. Is there a price I can kick at you?" Copes said, according to a transcript of the phone call, which Agar read in court. The call was recorded by the victim.

The accomplices have been convicted of the same crime -- one has been sentenced to five years and the other faces sentencing.

Happy Birthday Today


Born in Brazil, Indiana on July 16, 1907
Died September 19, 1995

"My gourmet popping corn pops up lighter and fluffier than ordinary popping corn. Mine is blowing the top right off of the popper. Mine eats better too. Try my gourmet popping corn. You'll taste the difference or my name isn't Orville Redenbacher".


Vick's Family and Friends Sued For Millions In Bankruptcy Court


Michael Vick wrongfully transferred millions of dollars to his friends and family in the months before he went to federal prison, Vick's bankruptcy trustee alleges in a lawsuit.

The suit, filed in Newport News U.S. Bankruptcy Court, seeks repayment of at least $2 million from Vick's mother, fiancée, brother Marcus, other family members and friends. Each was served with the court papers this week.

Vick's representatives called the suit misguided.

“He was being generous to his friends and family. He wasn’t trying to do anything illegal,” said Paul Campsen, Vick’s bankruptcy attorney.

Vick’s bankruptcy case, now more than two years old, has been one of the more complicated cases handled in the local bankruptcy courts, attorneys involved have said.

Last summer, after Vick’s release from prison, a bankruptcy judge approved a financial restructuring plan that allowed Vick to keep $300,000 of his salary with the Philadelphia Eagles while most of the rest of his millions go to pay off his creditors.

Vick, who lives in Hampton, served 23 months for bankrolling a dogfighting operation and remains on probation. When he went into prison, he claimed to owe $20 million.

Small Earthquake Shakes D.C. Area

USGS Says 3.6 Magnitude Quake Centered Near Suburb of Gaithersburg, Maryland; No Immediate Reports of Damage

A minor, 3.6 magnitude earthquake shook Washington D.C.-area residents out of bed early Friday morning - a rare occurrence for the nation's east coast dwellers.

CBS News staff in the Maryland suburb of Bethesda and the Virginia suburb of Arlington both reported feeling the tremor, which the U.S. Geological Survey said was centered 20 miles northwest of the nation's capital in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, only surprised people being woken up at just past 5 a.m. Eastern time.

Lucille Baur, public information officer for the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland, said the department received a lot of calls from people wondering what had happened.

Baur said her husband woke up when the quake struck.

"At first he thought it was a big truck going through," she said. "He felt the house shake and the windows rattle a little bit."

This Weekend At The MarVa Theater

Sex And The City 2

Friday July 16th at 7 p.m.
Saturday July 17th at 7 p.m.
Admission: $5
Rated R

~~ Smile....It's Friday~~

"If people did not do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done."

~~Ludwig Wittgenstein~~

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tom D'Armi, Duke Baseball Coach and Born in Federalsburg, Md. Dies

DURHAM, N.C. -- Tom D'Armi, a fixture around Duke University athletics for nearly three decades, died Saturday in Wilson, N.C., at the age of 75.

D'Armi coached the Blue Devils' baseball program for seven seasons and also served as the director of athletic facilities and game management for all of the school's sports - totaling 28 years of service to the university when he retired in 2004.

As a coach, D'Armi guided Duke baseball to 125 wins and five consecutive winning seasons during his seven-year tenure from 1978-84. He coached eight All-ACC selections and seven Major League Baseball draft picks during that time.

"He was my second dad, it's as simple as that," said Bob Brower, one of D'Armi's top players who went on to a Major League career with the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees in the late 1980s. "For me he was Duke, someone you could lean on in good times and bad. He taught us so many things, in his way, about being a man, about being responsible, about being accountable. He had that tough persona, but behind that was a kind man, a teddy bear who just gave and gave and never asked for much in return."

"He was certainly a good man and a great coach," recalled David Amaro, a senior on D'Armi's final team of 1984. "He was the reason I came to Duke to play baseball in 1980, and I had a great four years with him. He was funny, inspirational and he taught us that camaraderie was the most important factor in achieving success as a team. He will certainly be missed but not forgotten."

"I have such great memories of him," added two-time All-ACC catcher Tom Decker. "What I remember most was that he truly cared about his players both on and off the field. He was such a great competitor and mentor. He will be truly missed."

Mark Militello, an All-ACC baseball and football player who still owns one of the top career batting averages in Duke history, pointed to the 1981 season as perhaps D'Armi's greatest coaching job. He was named ACC coach of the year that season after leading Duke to a 29-10 record and a deep run in the ACC Tournament.

"Coach D'Armi was revered by his players as a person and as a coach. He would have his players' backs at all times, in good times and bad," Militello said. "He made us believe that we could beat the likes of Carolina and Clemson with only a limited number of scholarship players compared to their full NCAA allotment.

"Coach D'Armi fought tooth-and-nail with the likes of Carolina's Coach (Mike) Roberts and Clemson's Coach (Bill) Wilhelm, and that fighting spirit carried over to his players."

Militello noted that when he ran into South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner at a tournament last summer, their conversation quickly turned to 25 years ago when Tanner was an assistant at N.C. State during D'Armi's Duke era. "I spoke to him for about 30 minutes, and seemingly every minute was spent sharing Coach D'Armi stories," Militello said.

Born April 21, 1935 in Federalsburg, Md., D'Armi was an All-America soccer player at East Stroudsburg State and graduated in 1960. He earned his master's degree at North Carolina in 1961, then became the head baseball coach at West Georgia College in 1962. In four seasons, 1962-65, he posted a record of 59-13, directed the team to three conference (GIAC) championhips and was named league coach of the year three times. In 1990 he was inducted into the West Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

D'Armi served as the assistant baseball coach at Mississippi State from 1966-73, during a time when the school won three SEC titles and played in the 1971 College World Series.

Before coming to Duke, D'Armi also trained heavyweight boxing champion Floyd Patterson, traveled to Italy as the general manager and field boss for the Milan franchise in a European professional baseball league, and authored the book "Daddy, Will You Play Catch With Me?"

D'Armi arrived at Duke in the fall of 1976 as the assistant coach to Enos Slaughter. He was named the program's head coach following the 1977 season and remained at the helm through May of 1984, posting a record of 125-98-2.

Along with producing five straight winning ledgers, D'Armi's victory totals of 29 in 1981 and 25 in 1984 were at that time the best marks in school history behind only the 31 wins achieved by the 1952 College World Series team.

D'Armi also handled groundskeeping duties at Duke's Jack Coombs Field, grooming the field on his tractor early in the morning before every home game and lining the field himself. He eventually took over management of all of Duke's athletic facilities, including Cameron Indoor Stadium and Wallace Wade Stadium.

"One memorable moment came when President Reagan spoke at Cameron," Militello recalled. "Coach D'Armi refused to give a key to Cameron to the Secret Service. He said something like, 'I go where the key goes. No exceptions.' Coach D'Armi defeated the Secret Service."

"He was a face for Duke, just a very special person," added Brower. "You could walk into his office and you might see Enos Slaughter or Tommy John or Sandy Koufax. You might see Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Valvano hanging out as paisans. He knew a lot of people and he did a lot of networking for Duke in his own special way."

Militello and fellow former Blue Devil players Bud Copeland and Dave Coughenour helped launch a Duke scholarship in D'Armi's name. D'Armi's family has asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Tom D'Armi Scholarship Fund, c/o Mary Dinkins, Duke Athletics, Box 90542, Durham, NC 27708.

D'Armi was predeceased by his wife Jane D'Armi and is survived by his son Mickey D'Armi.

A celebration of his life is being planned for August.

State Of Virginia Put On Drought Watch

A drought watch has been issued for Virginia as a long hot, dry spell has stunted crops, heightened the threat of wildfires and drawn down reservoirs.

The watch issued Wednesday by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is intended to increase awareness of a possible drought as the state heads into the statistically driest months of the year.

The department is urging voluntary measures statewide to protect water supplies.

Recent rains have done little to ease parched conditions. Among the primary factors leading to the watch:

Eight-six percent of the state is experiencing abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions, as defined by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Most of Virginia has recorded below-normal precipitation in the last 60 days; short-term forecasts do not indicate a change in that pattern.

Stream monitoring stations show water flows below normal ranges, particularly in southeast and central Virginia.

Wildfire conditions are at levels normally seen much later in the summer months. Twenty localities already have issued burning bans.

Large reservoirs such as Lake Moomaw, Smith Mountain Lake, Kerr Reservoir and Philpott Reservoir have been slowly declining since June.

Virginia growers have been especially hard hit by the scorching temperatures and dry conditions. The state commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services said the early arrival of hot, dry conditions has been difficult to overcome.

"Normally, if you have a late drought, your crops are a little better along," Matthew J. Lohr said. "It's been weeks since we've had measurable rain."

Kevin Engel farms leased land in 14 Virginia counties. He grows corn for feed and store shelves, barley, wheat and soybeans. He said conditions throughout all his fields are uniformly bad.

"A very large majority of corn in our area will not yield anything, even if it rains now," he said. He had to replant 200 acres of soybeans burned by the sun, even though the field was irrigated.

"There's going to be quite a serious blow to Virginia's No. 1 industry this year," Engel said.

Growers who usually can depend on two hay cuts a season are looking at one now, meaning they may have to thin herds if they can't store enough for the winter months.

Even poultry farmers have reported heat stress among their birds.

Lohr said Virginia needs a steady drenching of rain to salvage some crops.

While there is no widespread reports of threatened public water supplies, the DEQ is urging localities, public water suppliers and others to enact preservation measures.

Balltimore Man Charged With Identiy Theft of the Dead

A British citizen is being held on charges that he obtained a U.S. passort and a Maryland driver’s license in the name of dead man from Washington and tried to use the documents to fly out of BWI Airport, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

John Skelton, 41, was arrested Monday night at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and charged in U.S. District Court with identity theft and using a fraudulently obtained social security number.

Authorties said Skelton, of Yorkshire, assumed the identity of Washington resident Kurt Branham, who died in 1994. Court documents stated that Skelton told investigators that he was barred from traveling to the U.S. because of medical issues, and obtained the Washington’s man name from a friend.

U.S. officials had been monitoring the use of Branham’s name and social security number, saying it had been used twice before by people applying for passports. How Sekton allegedly obtained his passport was not divulged, but court documents say the name and number were on a watchlist since 2005.

Customs officials notified the U.S. State Department after Skelton few out of BWI on July 2 for a trip to London, according to court documents. An investigation ensued and Skelton was arrested when authorities say he used the fradulent passport to return to Baltimore on Monday.

Authorities said Skelton told them he lived on Wheeling Street in Federal Hill.

“Stealing another person’s identity is a very serious crime, but stealing the identity of a deceased citizen is despicable,” Stephen Dearborn, the acting director of the Port of Baltimore said in a statement. “We are very pleased to end Mr. Skelton’s charade.”

Here is a news release from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

Death Match Snares Brit Impostor at BWI
Feds Arrest Baltimore Resident For Allegedly Stealing Dead American’s Identity

BALTIMORE – Federal authorities arrested British citizen John Skelton at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on Monday night on charges of identity fraud, false statements, and being an impostor to a U.S. citizen.

U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) officials discovered that Skelton41, of Yorkshire, England, allegedly stole the identity of U.S. citizen Kurt Branham, who died in 1994.
DSS teamed with Customs and Border Protection officers to apprehend Skelton after the Brit presented a fraudulently obtained U.S. passport to re-enter the country after a trip to the United Kingdom.

Skelton, who resides in Baltimore, will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland. The specific charges Skelton faces are for violations of 18 USC 1028, 18 USC 1542 and 18 USC 911.

“Stealing another person’s identity is a very serious crime, but stealing the identity of a deceased citizen is despicable,” said Stephen Dearborn, CBP Acting Port Director for the Port of Baltimore. “CBP and Diplomatic Security Service officials work vigorously to bring impostors to justice and to protect American citizens’ identities. We are very pleased to end Mr. Skelton’s charade.”

DSS detected the potential fraud using investigative techniques employed during Operation “Death Match.” A passport had been issued in 2005 in the name of Kurt Branham, who died more than 10 years before, a cross match of records indicated.

More than 150 individuals have been charged with federal passport fraud and related offenses as a result of Death Match investigations.

Todd Brown, Special Agent in Charge of the DSS Washington Field office said, “The U.S. passport is one of the most coveted travel documents in the world, and those who have acquired passports fraudulently could perpetrate further illegal acts. I am pleased that the collaboration between our agents, the Customs and Border Protection professionals, and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Maryland has been so successful in this case.”

CBP, DSS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials were at BWI when Skelton disembarked his flight from London at 7:45 p.m. Monday. During questioning, Skelton allegedly admitted he was a United Kingdom citizen and that he obtained Branham’s identity.

CBP officers paroled Skelton into the United States for prosecution and turned him over to DSS agents. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will prosecute Skelton. CBP issued a detainer on Skelton to be returned to CBP at the adjudication of his charges.

Baltimore Crime Beat/Peter Hermann

Hopkins Leads List of American Hospitals

The widely regarded U.S. News and World Report is out with its annual hospital rankings and several Maryland hospitals, led by Johns Hopkins Hospital, made the list.

Hopkins placed first in five specialties (Ear, Nose and Throat; Gynecology, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Urology and Rheumatology) and ranked in 11 more categories (Cancer, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Geriatrics, Heart & Heart Surgery, Kidney Disorders, Ophthalmology, Orthopedics, Psychiatry, Pulmonology and Rehabilitation).

That gave the hospital top ranking for the 20th year in a row.

The University of Maryland Medical Center ranked in nine categories (Cancer, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, Geriatrics, Heart & Heart Surgery, Kidney Disorders, Orthopedics, Pulmonology and Urology).

Ranking in three were Good Samaritan Hospital (Gastroenterology, Geriatrics and Orthopedics) and Union Memorial Hospital (Orthopedics, Heart & Heart Surgery and Neurology & Neurosurgery).

And ranking in one were Franklin Square Hospital Center (Gastroenterology), Johns Hopkins Bayview (Geriatrics), Mercy Medical Center (Neurology & Neurosurgery) and Sheppard Pratt Hospital (Psychiatry).

Accomack County Sheriff Giddens To Retire

ACCOMAC — Accomack County Sheriff Larry Giddens has announced he will retire Dec. 31, 2011, at the end of his current term in office. Giddens, 54, was elected the county’s first African-American sheriff in 2007 with 49 percent of the vote, easily defeating two other men who also ran for the office after Sheriff Robert Crockett announced he would not seek a sixth term.

Giddens has served 24 years with the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office, in addition to four years before that with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel police.

Among other duties over the years, Giddens was the county’s first DARE officer, a job he said was his favorite. He also served as court service deputy.

He was promoted to sergeant in 1991 and to lieutenant in charge of the patrol division in 1994 before becoming captain and the department’s chief deputy.

Giddens was instrumental in the 2003 accreditation process for the department, which was one of only 14 in the state fully accredited at the time from the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standard Commission.

Despite his many years of experience with the Sheriff’s Office, Giddens said he did not fully understand the pressures that come with the top job until he became sheriff.

“I didn’t imagine the magnitude, the pressure, of the job until I stepped into it,” he said.

Giddens said the sheriff’s office has within its ranks a strong candidate to replace him.

“We have a strong chain of command that is in place that knows the business, and I feel strongly that they will continue to serve the public in the way they’ve been used to,” Giddens said, adding, “My blessings and prayers are with my major, my second in command, Todd Godwin.”

Giddens said when he became sheriff two and a half years ago he had planned to run for a second term, but has since decided to retire. In Virginia, law enforcement officers with hazardous duty can retire at age 50 with 25 years of service.

Giddens’ retirement plans include substitute teaching, coaching area youth and some traveling, as well as catching up on projects around the house.

“I’m not planning on sitting down,” he said.

And Giddens had some advice for whoever steps into the position next: “The number one thing is to continue to be honest, open-minded and put people first.

The Fate Of The Feldman's Building Still Hanging.....

The old David Miller stall tactic. I'll just bet David has failed to submit a rehabilitation plan because he has no plans or doing so. Shortly before the building was condemned in 2008 mold could be seen growing on the doors and walls inside this structure yet the business remained open. The delapidation of this building didn't just occur over night. This has been allowed to proceed and the mold continue to grow throughout the course of 20 years or more and Mr. Miller has no one to blame but himself.

I remember quite well when this building once was the home of the most thriving furniture business on the Eastern Shore. If Dave Miller's father were alive today the building might not be used as a furnitue business but I can guarantee it wouldn't be an eyesore nor a health hazzard.

SALISBURY -- Workers were seen making repairs to the old Feldman's Furniture building downtown, but owner David Miller said it's not a sign someone new is coming in -- not yet, at least.

Miller is waiting for the perfect buyer who's willing to perform the rehab the building needs. With some parties interested, Miller said all he needs is a contract to come through.

The building was condemned in October 2008. Miller still hasn't submitted a rehabilitation plan to the city, which is required after 30 days of condemnation. Even though his actions are punishable by municipal infraction, the city hasn't levied any penalties.

But members of the downtown community aren't as patient as Miller and the city. In its most recent quarterly report, economic development engine Urban Salisbury called for demolition and intervention by the city.

"Urban Salisbury has recommended that the city take an aggressive stance to resolve the situation, most probably by demolition of the derelict structures," said Allan Hope, Urban Salisbury executive director. "Not only will this remove an eyesore, but it should create redevelopment."

In recent years, the city hasn't seen much success with having a hand in development projects. The abandoned fire department building on South Division Street was opened for bids in the past year, but after months of discussion, the City Council reached a stalemate in choosing a proposal. One of the two bidders later pulled out of the redevelopment process. Even with only one remaining proposal on the table, council members haven't moved forward.

Anne Taylor, whose Parker Place Gardens shop is near the aging Feldman's building, wants to see some action taken.

"This problem with (Feldman's) goes back as long as I've been here -- 12 years," she said.

The parcel, which includes the old Feldman's Furniture building and the former Ethan Allen building, is marketed as a redevelopment project with a $1 million price tag. The Feldman's portion is listed at $650,000. Miller said workers this week were repairing some portions of the interior, painting and taking down some walls.

About his overdue rehabilitation plan, Miller said all plans thus far have been tentative.

"It really all depends on who is going to buy it," he said. "The most expensive thing to do is replace all of the track lights. But it doesn't make sense for us to replace the track lights if someone who buys it isn't going to use them."

Inmate Work At Horse Farm Suspended

Officials have suspended a program that provided inmate labor for a Howard County horse rescue farm, after complaints from neighbors and parents of young volunteers who said they weren't notified that prisoners would be at the site.

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services rolled out the program at the Days End Farm Horse Rescue last week. But just days later, officials were apologizing for how the initiative was handled.

"I was definitely against it. Nobody knew about it," said Tammy Mirabile, who lives with her husband and four children, ages 2 to 11, less than a mile from the farm on Woodbine Road and learned about the initiative through a newspaper account last weekend. An inmate could flee, she said, into the rural and residential areas near the farm.
Days End is a temporary home to 70 abused and neglected horses, and has taken ailing equines from all over the state — including some of Baltimore's a-rab ponies that pull fruit carts downtown. About 1,200 people volunteer at the farm over the course of a year, said executive director Kathy Howe, including teenagers who help the operations of the nonprofit devoted to nursing the animals back to health and finding homes for them.

If the program resumes, "they're going to lose volunteers, rather than gain them," Mirabile said.

She and others registered their displeasure with state Del. Warren E. Miller, a Republican who represents the area.

"I got complaints from parents whose kids work there," Miller said. "They never told the parents. It's disconcerting."

Miller called his colleague, Del. Gail H. Bates, a Republican who serves on a subcommittee that oversees corrections spending, who in turn contacted Gary D. Maynard, secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Maynard, who was at the farm when the program was launched July 8, quickly agreed that he had erred in not informing the community or the legislators, Bates said.

The corrections chief suspended the program indefinitely Monday, though department officials point out that the four inmates who were the first participants were classified as nonviolent offenders.

"I am not saying it's a good or bad program. It was handled poorly," Bates said, adding that she too was not informed about the program's launch. "In Howard County, we keep the public informed."

Howe, the farm's executive director, said she thought the inmates, supervised by a correctional officer, would be a help in managing the 58-acre property, which runs on a $1.2 million yearly budget. The first group of inmates worked for two days last week before Maynard told her the program was on hold.

"There was never any communications between the volunteers and the inmates," she said. "They were a group very well supervised and were helping to maintain the land."

Howe acknowledged that the farm had not informed the farm's many volunteers or the community of the program, because it had not occurred to her anyone would be upset.
"I guess I really didn't anticipate it," she said.

She said the farm did not get complaints directly from the public, though she said several parents of young volunteers did call seeking information after seeing an article in some editions of The Baltimore Sun.

On their first day at work, inmate Paula Jordan, 41, of Baltimore, said she and the other three inmates said they were grateful for "a little taste of freedom" on the sprawling farm.

"I made wrong choices, and I'm paying the consequences, said the single mother of three, who worked in the hot sun cutting grass.

"Being here and knowing that I'm helping them for a good cause makes me feel like I'm giving something back," said inmate Whitley Neal, 22.

Rick Binetti, communications director for the corrections agency, agreed Wednesday that the department "probably did not do its due diligence" and that community and local officials should have been notified.

"It was probably a lack of foresight," he said, while praising the program for allowing inmates who have shown a commitment to changing their lives to work outside prison in different locations across the state.

The state corrections agency sends inmates to a variety of locations to provide labor. Recent efforts have included using inmates to help build Habitat for Humanity houses on the Eastern Shore, as well as planting orchards and other trees to help restore the Antietam battlefield.
Binetti said that the hope is that in time, after community concerns are addressed, the program can be restarted. The inmates involved have made progress on their educations and had shown good behavior.

"It was part of their transition back into the community," he said.


CHINCOTEAGUE -- The 23rd annual Chincoteague Blueberry Festival will be held at the Chincoteague Community Center at 6155 Community Drive July 23-25

The Blueberry Festival will be held from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. rain or shine. The festival remains the largest fine arts and crafts event on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with exhibitors from 10 states including many excellent local artists. This large exhibit brings a unique Christmas in July shopping atmosphere to Chincoteague. The arts and crafts exhibits are located both inside the Chincoteague Center building and outside on the green space and parking lot.

The fresh gourmet blueberries will once again be provided by Dick's Kitchen. These succulent delicacies are unlike any blueberries that can be found in the grocery store or produce stands and are a huge favorite of festival visitors and sell out every year. For fresh blueberry pre-orders, call Dick Jones at 540-273-2963.

The Blueberry Festivals' net profits from the fresh blueberry sales will be donated to the Chincoteague Police Department's "Ride for Kids" program to benefit local children. Buying fresh blueberries at the festival provides not only a tasty and nutritious treat for the family, but helps the kids in need. Blueberries freeze extremely well and many of the festivals blueberry devotees stock up for the entire year.

For a free pint of fresh blueberries, be one of the first 50 paid adults each day of the festival.

The "ultimate blueberry pies" will once again be made and sold by Sugarbakers Bakery. These offerings also sold out last year and should be pre-ordered. To pre-order blueberry pies, call 757-336-3712.

The blueberry confections continue with blueberry ice cream from the Island Creamery, old-fashioned blueberry shortcake from Diana James, blueberry funnel cakes from Cross Concessions, blueberry pancakes from Pepper Jack Grille and more.

Breakfast and Lunch will be served by Pepper Jack Grille. For a complete menu, visit

The musical offerings are expanding for the 2010 Chincoteague Blueberry Festival to include the Celtic Islanders, the Piped Piper, Mountain Faith, Johnny Mo -- "The Musical Chef," Ron Cole and Wayne Young and Moonstruck Music. Musical performances will continue for the entire event. For a complete musical schedule, visit the website.

Attractions for kids include pony rides from Against the Wind Farms, sand art and face painting.

For directions, discount coupons and more visit www.Chincoteague or e-mail: samserio@

State Surplus Will Go Towards Bonus, Schools, Water, Roads

The state finished the last fiscal year with a $220 million surplus, Gov. Bob McDonnell confirmed today, which means state workers will get a bonus in December.

McDonnell told a news conference that the money will go to a $82 million, 3 percent one-time bonus for state employees, to local school divisions, to the Water Quality Improvement Fund and to the transportation trust fund.

Actually, state tax revenue continued to decline in the fiscal year ended June 30, but not by as much as had been forecast, McDonnell said. The decline was 0.6 percent, versus an estimate of a 2.3 percent decline.

McDonnell hailed the surplus as a product of prudent fiscal management, noting that the state in January was forecasting a $1.8 billion shortfall. He also said a $4.2 billion budget shortfall had been forecast for the two years ending June 30, 2012.

"We have reduced state spending in this new biennium to 2006 levels," he said.
State employees have gone without a pay raise since 2007.

McDonnell said there are still problems in the economy, particularly in the real estate sector, but that tax collections appeared to have begun turning around in April.

Exmore Marina Offers Boat and Jet Ski Rentals

EXMORE -- Deep Creek Marina now offers weekday and weekend boat and Jet Ski rentals.

Karl Wendley and Jerry Ormsby of Deep Creek Marina have available two Jet Skis and a 20-foot Wellcraft with a 115 horsepower Mercury available to use from the marina at 20104 Deep Creek Road.

"We thought there would be a demand for boat and Jet Ski rentals because it is not easy to see waterways and the bayside islands without access to the water," said Ormsby, who also operates International Auto Services from the same location.

The boat rents for $175 a day on weekdays and $185 on weekends, plus fuel, with a $10 discount for a boater safety card. The Jet Ski rental is $85 per hour, including fuel, with a $10 discount for a boater safety card.

"The boat has a depth finder and VHF radio and can be used for fishing or just sightseeing," said Wendley.

Ormsby said the facility will add sailboat rentals if there is a demand for it.

Deep Creek Marina is certified and carries insurance for rentals. You have to be 18 to rent a Jet Ski unless with a parent.

For more information, call 787-4565 or 787-4400.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Growing Older

 A group of 40 year old girlfriends discussed where they should meet

      for dinner.
  Finally, it was agreed upon that they should meet at the Ocean View

      restaurant because the waiters there had tight pants and nice buns.


      10 years later at 50 years of age, the group once again discussed where

      they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet

      at the Ocean View restaurant because the food there was very good and the

      wine selection was good also.


      10 years later at 60 years of age, the group once again discussed where

      they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet

      at the Ocean View restaurant because they could eat there in peace and

      quiet and the restaurant had a beautiful view of the ocean.


      10 years later, at 70 years of age, the group once again discussed where

      they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet

      at the Ocean View restaurant because the restaurant was wheel chair

      accessible and they even had an elevator.


      10 years later, at 80 years of age, the group once again discussed where

      they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet

      at the Ocean View restaurant because they had never been there before.  

Hat Tip; Kack

Virginia's Fiscal Year Turns Out To Be Better Than Anticipated

Virginia's battered state budget ended a turbulent 2010 fiscal year on June 30 with a surprise surplus of about $220 million, government figures show.

That exceeds forecasts of a month ago anticipating a $140 million unspent balance and guarantees a September bonus for state employees, the first pay boost in years for most.

Gov. Bob McDonnell's administration is expected to formally announce the figures in a late morning news conference.

The surplus ended a dire budget year in which official revenue forecasts were lowered three times and raised once as policymakers struggled to reconcile a nearly $2 billion shortfall.

Preliminary June revenue figures show that the larger-than-expected year-end balance resulted mostly from strong collections of individual and corporate income taxes, said Finance Secretary Richard D. Brown.

Taxes withheld from individual wages barely topped $820 million last month, up 2.5 percent from June 2009. That brought final annual collections of the tax that accounts for two-thirds of the state's general operating budget to nearly $9.2 billion by the time the fiscal year ended on June 30.

It was an increase of just 0.4 percent over total withholding income tax collections for the previous fiscal year, but it beat the official forecast which was for an increase of only 0.2 percent, and that made the difference, Brown said.

Corporate income tax receipts of $157 million for June increased by 14.2 percent over the same month the year before, and collections of about $806 million for the full year were nearly one-fourth greater than the previous fiscal year.

Sales tax collections for the most recent month doubled what they had been in June 2009. In a bid to generate a cash boost, the state accelerated the schedule for retailers to turn in taxes collected on sales. But Brown said the accelerated sales tax generated less than expected and did not boost the final surplus figure.

Bay Queen Galley and Bakery

Smith Island BabyCakes - All made from scratch with love!

BabyCakes now come in these new flavors:

Pina Colada~ Pineapple Mousse, Coconut, Butter Cream and Yellow Layers
S'mores~ Choclate Ganache, Marshmallow and Graham Cracker Cake Layers
Mounds~ Chocolate Ganache, Coconut and Yellow Layers

More news from the Bay Queen Galley and Bakery......

"We are proud and excited to annouce our move to a bigger and better facility!!

We will be leaving our wonderful, little location on Market St.

We are re-opening the restaurant at the Days Inn in Pocomoke City, Md.

Our current location will remain open during the transition.

The new location is set to open Sept. 1st!!!

...........Thanks to all the customer support that has made the move to the new location possible!!! "

Virginia Aquarium Worker Helps Gulf Turtles

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WAVY) - Volunteers from across the country are helping the residents and marine life on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, and Hampton Roads is no exception.

The Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach sent their Assistant Stranding Response Team Coordinator Christina Trapani to help with the sea turtle recovery effort.

"Most of them coming in are in good body condition," she said. Trapani has helped with the recovery efforts of about a hundred sea turtles at the Audubon Institute's Aquatic Center in New Orleans.

She says the oil spill in the gulf is affecting several different species of sea turtles.

"They're unable to submerge, they've been slowed down," she said. "Their prey items are also oiled so it's hard for them to find things to eat,"

Christina and other expert volunteers at the aquatic center have treated the turtles with antibiotics to prevent against infection and provided the turtles with nourishment.

And although most of the rescued turtles have been responding, their future is uncertain.

"This is kind of uncharted territory. We don't know the long term affects of the oil or even the dispersants," she said.

More troubling, perhaps, is the fact that the Gulf of Mexico is the breeding area for some species of sea turtles already battling extinction.

"The Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle is the most endangered of all the Sea Turtles and the Gulf of Mexico is basically their major habitat...they really only nest in South Texas and in Mexico. So all those hatchlings are going to be coming out into the Gulf of Mexico."

Some the sea turtles removed from the Gulf are already being released in other waters, but the question lingers: How many will actually be returned to the Gulf and when will it be safe to do so?

"You always take a chance when releasing animals," she said. "I think that that is still under debate as to where and when they will release those animals."


BURN BAN still in effect in Accomack and Northampton Counties!
PLEASE check in your area to see if it is safe to burn.

Jimmy Buffett Gives Free Beach Concert

By JAY REEVES - The Associated Press
Sunday, July 11, 2010; 10:24 PM

GULF SHORES, Ala. -- Tens of thousands of people dressed in Hawaiian shirts and parrot hats sang and danced on a broad beach Sunday at a free Jimmy Buffett concert meant to show not all the tourists are covered in oil on the Gulf Coast.

The show, which was telecast live on the CMT cable channel, came on a particularly good day: The skies were mostly clear and only a little oil was washing in on the white sand about 100 miles north of the Deepwater Horizon site. A sand-filled barrier erected by the Alabama National Guard kept members of the audience from getting near the surf just in case.

Buffett, who grew up on the Alabama coast, came on stage to a huge cheer.

"It's a little like Jazz Fest with an ocean," said Buffett, referring to the huge music festival in New Orleans. "It is a pleasure to be here on a beautiful Gulf Coast day."

Buffett's set list included favorites like "Son of a Son of a Sailor," "Come Monday" and "Margaritaville," with its line about "all of those tourists covered with oil." His biggest fans, who call themselves "Parrotheads," sang along with every word.

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley said the state might use its $15 million in tourism promotion money from BP to stage additional shows through the fall.

"With all the Gulf states running commercials saying, `Our beaches our beautiful,' we'll show people ours are," Riley said. "It would be something different, and a great way to get people to the coast."

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist even came to see Buffett.

"I think all the Gulf states will benefit from this," Crist said. "We're all in this together. God bless Jimmy Buffett."

The Buffett bash accomplished its goal of luring visitors to the coast despite the oil spill: Parking lots were fuller than they had been in days outside of hotels, condominiums, restaurants and souvenir stores in this beach town of 5,000 residents.

Organizers gave away 35,000 tickets, but an officials attendance count wasn't available.

The concert originally was scheduled for July 1 but had to be postponed because heavy surf from Hurricane Alex.

Buffett was born in Mississippi and grew up on the Alabama coast, and his sister owns a popular restaurant and marina on the intracoastal waterway within a few miles of the beach. Buffett played a surprise concert there on June 30 after the cancellation.

Mayor of Portsmouth Loses In Special Election

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - About 16,000 Portsmouth residents showed up Tuesday night to vote on whether or not to recall their city's mayor, James Holley, in a special election.

The numbers were greater than in the recent council election, where only about 10,000 showed up to cast votes. Sixty-eight percent voted to recall Mayor Holley and 32 percent wanted Holley to stay in office.

The recall effort began with a round of complaints from one of his former assistants that he created a hostile work environment. The City Council voted to ask Mayor Holley to resign, and when he refused, a petition drive was initiated to force Holley out.

This is the second time Mayor Holley has been recalled, but is the end of a political career that spans 42 years.

Mayor James Holley did not want to hear the news.

"I want all the numbers," he said. And those numbers came in quickly at the voter registration office.

Robert Marcus, the architect of the recall effort, was there watching the returns.

"I have to tell you that I am shocked that this many people came out," he said

More voters came out than in the previous two city wide council elections, and the loss could not be misunderstood.

Holley did not want updates on the vote count.

"What are you trying to scare me out of office? Take it easy now," he said. "Wait till everything [has] been counted."

The mayor's son took the numbers and shared the news with his father. He was gracious in defeat surrounded by his children--the veteran of many political wars tried to put the election in perspective:

"I know you have some disappointment. Well, that goes in the political process. You win some elections and you lose some."

The supporters thanked Holley, and he urged them to stay engaged in the political process he has dedicated his life to, " involved in the democratic process, that you fulfill the responsibility to improve the quality of life for the Portsmouth family."

Councilwoman Elizabeth Psimas says the election showed voters want Portsmouth to have a mayor who can be a leader at the regional table.

"First we need to celebrate [Mayor Holley's] good service. Second, we must unify the city back together...there has been a racial divide...there have been hurt is the time to come back together."

Preliminary analysis of the returns show Holley did well in predominately African American precincts, but the voter turnout there was not enough to make a difference. The predominately white precincts overwhelming voted against Holley.

The election will be certified at 2 p.m. Wednesday. Portsmouth City Council is scheduled to meet in closed session tomorrow at 5 p.m., where they may appoint an interim mayor until November, when a new mayor will be elected by the voters.\

Bottled Water Ban Reversed In Virginia

Gov. Bob McDonnell has reversed his predecessor's ban on state agencies' and institutions' purchase of individual-sized plastic water bottles.

Then-Gov. Timothy Kaine issued the directive that the state shouldn't buy plastic-bottled water, unless there's an emergency or health reason, as part of an overall government resource-conservation plan. Plastic water bottles are a major source of waste worldwide, and their continued use has been criticized as adding to overall pollution.

But McDonnell scrubbed Kaine's plastic-water-bottle ban, which he said would hurt state bottled-water manufacturers. He did carry over many elements from Kaine's plan, including asking state employees to recycle, turn off lights and employ carpooling.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


SAN DIEGO, CA, July 13, 2010… Surf dog Ricochet, the SURFice dog who lives a lifestyle of helping others by pawing it forward, has been leading a fundraising campaign over the last several months for Ian McFarland, a six year old boy who suffered a brain injury in a horrific car accident that claimed the lives of his parents.  Ricochet's fundraising campaign presented a unique and exciting double challenge: Help raise funds to offset Ian's costly rehabilitation, and motivate him to get back on a surfboard/surfing. 

In July, 2008, Ian and his family set out for a road trip to Colorado, but never made it.  A devastating car accident claimed the lives of his parents, and Ian suffered a severe traumatic brain injury that left him in a coma.  He spent almost four months in the hospital, and although he's made remarkable progress in his recovery, he still has a long way to go.

Last week, Ricochet presented Ian with a check for more than $7500!  These funds will help pay for Ian's hippo therapy (horseback), physical therapy, occupational therapy, and aqua therapy.

Most of the funds Ricochet raised were through her inspirational YouTube video "From Service dog to SURFice dog" (  The video went viral, and has over 2.5 million views, which continues to increase on a daily basis with donations coming in from all over the world.

The second part of the challenge for Ricochet was to motivate Ian to get back on a surfboard.  Ian and his dad were passionate about surfing.  The ocean has been very healing for Ian, and some of his first steps after the accident were in the ocean.  But, getting back on a surfboard was more challenging and scary for Ian.  Sometimes it would take an hour or two to work up his confidence.

Ian's Aunt Melissa, who he affectionately refers to as Aunt Happy says "The night before Ian and Ric were to surf - Ian and I spoke about our schedule for the next day and what it would entail.  Ian was SUPER excited to see Ricochet and even more excited to surf with her!!  The next morning, Ian woke up boldy demanding, "I want to surf!!!"  Any fears that he had were replaced with excitement!!  I seriously cried as he boomed toward the water! Since the accident, he hasn't ever been that excited to get on the board.  I am so grateful to Ricochet for making that happen as I know the whole surfing experience and being in the ocean - will continue to aide his recovery emotionally and physically."

Ricochet's surf sessions with Ian will continue as the two share a special bond which is illustrated in this inspirational slideshow that highlights the healing power of the ocean, and the healing power of a dog!
Ricochet was slated to be a service dog for a person with a disability, but had to be released from that role due to her drive to chase birds and other small animals.  She is now assisting people with disabilities in a non traditional way!  She also raises awareness and funds for human/animal causes, and has raised more than $30,000 in the last eight months.

Note:  For more information, please contact Judy Fridono at 707-228-0679, or, on Facebook & Twitter: "Surf Dog Ricochet"

Censored Protest at Ground Zero Americans Stand Up Against Radical Islam in New York – We Will Not Submit!

Stop the Mosque at Ground Zero
June 16, 2010, New York , N.Y. ,   –  by El Marco

Americans Stand Up Against Radical Islam in New York – We Will Not Submit!
Not one major network sent a satellite truck or camera crew to this event. Without bloggers, this newsworthy event would have remained unknown to the public and history.

On Sunday, June 6th, a multi-ethnic, multi-racial coalition of Americans opposed to Islamic violence and intolerance rallied at the site of the World Trade Center in New York City.

9/11 families were joined by immigrants from India, Russia, Egypt, Israel, Africa, Iran and Europe to show opposition to the construction of a mega-mosque at Ground Zero. Others flew in from overseas to speak or just to share their particular ethnic communities’ experiences at the hands of Muslims.

These are parents and spouses of firefighters killed on 9/11. The rally took place just a minute’s walk from Ladder 10 Firehouse, where their loved ones were stationed for duty that terrible day. Ladder 10 lost seven firefighters.

Crowd estimates ranged from 5,000 (NYPD) to 10,000. The crowd overflowed the police barrier enclosures that ran the full length of two city blocks. This photo shows the enclosure in front of the stage at the intersection of Liberty and Church Streets. The second enclosure ran the length of the next block and can be seen on the other side of the traffic lights.

Thousands of additional participants filled the treed area of Zuccotti Park .

Robert Spencer and  Pamela Geller are the founders of STOP ISLAMIZATION OF AMERICA, which sponsored the rally. Ms. Geller is a citizen journalist and blogger who runs the human rights web site Atlas Shrugs. Mr. Spencer is the author of several books on Islam and head of the influential web site Jihad watch.  Pamela Geller:

“Ground Zero is a war memorial, Ground Zero is a burial ground. We are asking for sensitivity…It is unconscionable to build a shrine to the very ideology that inspired the jihadist attacks at Ground Zero, right there. We are asking the imam Rauf and Daisy Khan to be sensitive. For mutual respect and mutual understanding that is demanded of us every day.

There’s a hair-trigger sensitivity in the Muslim world, you can’t run the cartoons, you can’t say Mohammed, this is offensive. This is an offensive mosque. To build a shrine, an Islamic flag of conquest on the sacred ground the cherished site, of a conquered land. This is historic, this is Islamic history. It’s what they do. The St. Sofia in Turkey , the al-Quds, at the holiest Jewish site in Israel. Not here. This is where we take a stand. We must take a stand. We must say no.”

I do not believe that the landmarks commission, controlled by Mayor Bloomberg, is going to stop this mosque. It’s not going to happen. Here’s Omar Muhamedi, on his human rights council, a CAIR lawyer, who sued the airlines and the Jane and John Does that saw something and said something on those airplanes, if you remember. That’s who’s on his human rights commission. It ain’t gonna happen with Bloomberg. We have to make it happen. You have to get involved.” ( Pamela Geller)

Police enclosure on left, with crowd flowing out of park on right. The new Tower 7 and World Trade Center site are in the background. The green tent, center, is located immediately behind the stage.

Port Authority and NYPD officers kept watch over the rally and were well aware of the need for heightened security at this event. One of their own Port Authority officers, WTC Sergeant Alan T. DeVona was on duty at the World Trade Center on 9/11, 2001, and was one of the first to help victims of the terrorist attack. He spoke these words to the SIOA rally:

“It’s almost nine years. I’m hoping that America is watching. I’m hoping that America is remembering. Because, make no mistake, September 11 was an act of war. And thank the military that has lost almost 5,000 troops from that day, defending us. I don’t know what to say to jar America’s memory. I want America to remember."

Port Authority Police and FDNY firefighters are seen here gathered beneath this banner

The issues at stake will certainly affect the heart of American freedom, democracy, cultural values and tolerance. America is a tolerant country that allows for the free worship of all its citizens. But our tolerance has limits. Do we have to tolerate intolerant Islamic ideology and Muslims who preach intolerant Islam?”

Hindu human rights activists Narain Kataria, Prasad Yalamanchi and unidentified friend came from Mississippi and Chicago with banners and flyers highlighting the radical statements of imam Rauf and his jihadist roots.

Stephen Dyer and Gary Jules journalism students at York College, with Pamela Geller. Not one major network sent a satellite truck or camera crew to this event. Without bloggers this newsworthy event would have remained unknown to the public and history.

Pamela Geller is greeted by Hindu human rights activists Prasad Yalamanchi and Narain Kataria.

Bhupinder Singh Bhurji, Pamela Geller, and Robert Spencer. Singh Bhurji is the president of the  NAMDHARI SIKH FOUNDATION. The foundation is a member of the Human Rights Coalition Against Radical Islam (HRCARI). HRCARI is a coalition of Hindus, Sikhs, Christians from Sudan, Egypt and Iraq, moderate Muslims and Jews — who are victims and targets of radical Islam around the globe. He said, at another rally:

“Radical Islamists are killing people in India, trying to dominate that nation. And here too they come with violence against “infidels.” We are “infidels united,” standing together, brown, black and white, against this epoch’s fascist movement. Radical Islam wants to dominate entire world. They want everyone to surrender. Islam radical or otherwise. They want to put the Islamic flag on White House.”

Because of Islamic terrorism, America and the world have seen massive new security measures become a way of life. Anyone openly critical of Islam, or terrorist ideology, must surround themselves with security, or live in hiding. Those courageous enough to confront Islamism are criticized by the cowards and appeasers of the left who seek safety by supporting the enemy. Moderate Muslims were silent when Theo van Gogh was brutally murdered in Amsterdam, just as moderate Muslims in the United States are generally reluctant to speak out against violent Islam. Moderate Muslims also face great danger in speaking out.

Geller and Spencer will press on despite the danger. They hope to inspire Americans to stand up and say enough of political correctness and work to stem the galloping islamization of America and Europe.

Hat Tip; Eric