Showing posts with label my life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label my life. Show all posts

The guy who killed my brother

The Blogland may be down for a few days (but given the slowdown in writing since I started the new job, that may not be as unusual as it might've once been) as I'll be in court in Charleston this week.

Many of you have asked about the status of the case regarding Brandon Ancrum, who was charged with reckless homicide in the death of my brother back in July 2010. Well, that's why I'm going to be in court - the case is going to trial.

The case has moved forward with a very hands-on treatment by the Solicitor's Office. Some of the delay was due to the need to move some very time-sensitive major cases forward (let's face it, nothing in this case is changing) - moves which my family, myself included, endorsed.

Since getting out on bond, Mr. Ancrum hasn't let life slow him down, as evidenced by two subsequent traffic-related convictions. Apparently the requirement to turn in his driver's license and stay under house arrest didn't last long.

Let's hope the Lowcountry streets are a little safer after this week.






Lights in the darkness

While attending the GOP convention in Tampa last week was one of the biggest highlights in years of politics, tragedy occurred close to home when I learned a daughter of a close friend and a friend of hers were found murdered in the Francis Marion National Forest near Moncks Corner.

I had known Dana since elementary school and had seen her grow up, starting college and putting her adult life together. It was hard to imagine who'd want to do this, much less who would take the effort to leave their bodies about ten miles apart from each other and torch her car, and it was difficult to see her family having to endure what my family went through two years ago when my brother was killed.

Having seen what my family went through when my brother was killed two years ago (the other driver is still awaiting trial on charges of vehicular homicide), I could understand at least some of what they were going through.

When I attended the visitation and funeral after returning from the convention, I was amazed at the outpouring of support from the community. While there was apprehension at the knowledge the killers were on the loose and anger at the cruelty of the crimes, those who attended the funeral and helped with fundraisers were driven more by a concern to help.

Thanks also goes to the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office, led by Sheriff Wayne DeWitt, along with SLED and the FBI, for their swift and aggressive response to track down suspects. 

The concern of the people of the Lowcountry and local, state and federal law enforcement were much-needed lights in a time of darkness for two families and they're certainly appreciated.

Blogland readers will be kept updated upon developments in this case, as well as information about how they can help the families of Dana Woods and June Guerry.

Off to the State House today

Last year, yours truly was a regular face at the State House. But with a few legislative projects wrapped up successfully and work really piling on this year, I haven't been able to get up there as much as I'd like.

Today, however, will be different - and I'll be bringing company.

Expect to see me with my better half along, showing her around Importantville. Be nice to her and show her some South Carolina hospitality.

I'll see everyone around ten in the morning.

Blogland on leave?

The last week or so, I’ve been hearing from some of you who’ve noticed the Blogland had gone unusually silent (me shutting my mouth is a rather unusual thing). For those of you who make the Blogland regular reading, I want to apologize if my absence has taken something from your daily reading routines.

So where have I been?

My work has been putting a ton of work on my plate as of late. Having moved up into management, wrapping up the largest-ever project in company history has put quite a bit on my plate. Like 70-80 hour work weeks and having three days off since the first of the year.

Also, my usual teaching load – a couple of classes a semester, along with a number of lecturing, fill-in and other kinds of presentations – has added to that workload.

I’m expecting the workload to lessen in the next few weeks. With the upcoming primaries giving plenty of fodder for discussion, I look forward to being a part of the circus, as I was during the Presidential primary cycle.

Turning 41


This Sunday, yours truly turns 41. But according to my daughter Bonnie, I've been old for years - but she forgets this is the Strom Thurmond state, where age is relative. It's all what you make of it.

For those who are interested, there will be a small birthday gathering tonight in Clarendon County. It'll be at The Palms at Wyboo Plantation, which is right off SC 260 near the Clarendon County Airport. The event starts at 8pm and you'll have to buy your own drinks.

Mapquest this address for the event: 2576 Players Course Dr, Manning, SC 29102.

Cruising ...


The Blogland is going to take a little downtime as yours truly is off for a ten-day honeymoon cruise in the North Atlantic.

We'll see everyone in October. Either be good or have a great alibi.

Become certified in CPR and First Aid - for free!

As Upstate Congressman Mick Mulvaney recently discovered, you never know when someone might be in urgent need of help, such as CPR. With the right training, you might be able to save a life in an emergency situation with just a little bit of training.

For those who don't know, as part of my job, I am a Red Cross-certified instructor, which means I can teach First Aid, CPR, Biohazards and some other important life-saving and safety skills. In addition to classes for workers, I've taught community organizations, staff in schools and courts and private citizens these skills.

You don't have to have a medical background to take this class. Many people, including teachers, law enforcement officers, construction personnel, and even teenage babysitters, take these classes to learn how to respond to save lives. All you need is four or so hours of your time on a weekend to learn how.

So here's your chance to - regardless of party label - get FREE Red Cross CPR and First Aid training.

Wedding day in the Blogland

If you weren't in Charleston Saturday night, you missed a really good time - and a pretty special one. Thanks to all of those who could make it, those who tried but couldn't make it and those who reached out to wish us well. Nothing like spending the evening with 300 or so family, friends and colleagues to make for a wonderful weekend.

Of course, having an open bar helped with the fun as well.

Next stop - a ten-day ocean cruise in the North Atlantic.

Addressing wedding rumors

As many regular Blogland readers know, the discussion of personal matters on this blogsite, even when allegations and rumors have focused upon the author/publisher/tyrant of the Blogland himself, is generally not allowed.

However, it seems necessary to make an exception in order to address recent allegations which have been circulating around state political circles about yours truly.

If you want to read on, you're welcome to do so. If you're one of those who wants to stick to the issues (which we generally applaud), you're welcome to skip down to the next article or surf elsewhere.

Meet the Grand-blogger

This is to announce that yours truly became the first Grand-blogger in the state's political blogosphere this weekend.

My oldest daughter, Cecilia, and her husband Vince became happy (but tired) parents this Saturday morning, just before 11 a.m, welcoming their daughter Daniella into the world. At this time, they're trying to rest up while dealing with a stream of family, friends and medical staff.

Thanks to those who've reached out since last night.

For those who've asked about a gift registry, go to http://www.toysrus.com/registry/index.jsp and put in Cecilia Franco.

Not at the convention

When forced to choose between attending the SCGOP convention and attending a wedding this weekend, the wedding won.

Of course, we decided to try to have some fun along the way.

Yes, the shirt says "Broke".

Sometimes miracles really DO happen


Today, stakeholder representatives and lobbyists met at the State House to work out the final details of language for a draft bill on a key Blogland issue: Underground utility safety.

In the last meeting, after reaching consensus on amending most aspects of state law (Title 58, Chapter 35), two issues were left for Senators to resolve in an upcoming hearing on the bill. During the today's meeting, stakeholders were able to reach agreement on those issues, completing negotiations aimed at updating the nation's oldest state law overseeing underground utilities.

All parties in the meeting from the wide range of stakeholder groups represented agreed to accept the legislation in its entirety, meaning the upcoming Senate hearing (to be scheduled) will likely be a formality with little or no opposition, placing the legislation on a fast track to be passed through the Senate, then to the House and then hopefully signed into law by June.

This is the outcome of an amazing amount of work by who were able to look beyond their own realm and work to put safety first, allowing these issues to be addressed by consensus among stakeholders, rather than waiting for federal intervention or a major disaster, as has often been the motivator for reform efforts in many states.

So what will change? A lot, including:

Turning 40 ... with the 80s


Turning 40 today wasn't so bad with a little help from my friends from across South Carolina, as well as family, co-workers, students and faculty members. There I was, in an 80s throwback outfit: Rayban sunglasses, Members Only jacket, skinny tie and Vans checkerboard shoes, getting roasted by friends and family.

In another flashback to teenage days, the cops got called and three cars of guests were wrecked (and kudos to Congressman Tim Scott for keeping a rather upset elderly driver company for most of the time he was visiting at the event). But in this case, it wasn't the booze - just hydroplaning by cars driving by.

Here's two people in my life who made it out for the event My 12 year-old daughter Bonnie (on the right) and my nine year-old sister Kelly (on the left).

But wait, there's more. My oldest daughter Cecilia will be making me a grandparent in May or June.

Since the Dems are already taking cheap shots (no doubt mad at not getting invited to the party) at Scott for his attempt to sing Journey, may as well share the video of the performance:

Happy Birthday to me

Yours truly will be turning 40 tomorrow. We were warned this day was coming, but wow ... it's another when that day actually arrives.

But who says we have to grow up?

We'll be celebrating Blogland style all day and night long. Stay tuned for pics from the event - and possibly a request for bond money.

Turning 40?

According to reports from multiple sources, the editor/publisher/psycho of the Blogland will be turning 40 this month.

When asked for comment, Earl Capps admitted the allegations, confirming the date of said milestone would be reached this Saturday, February 5th.

Other reports about efforts to embarass the hell out of him for this occasion have been circulating, but nothing has been confirmed.

Death by Powerpoint

Every semester, when my public speaking classes cover the chapter on visual aids, I like to share this video about smart PowerPoint design. While some of these points, like animations, apply just to electronic presentations, some of this advice has broader applications for many kinds of visual design.




Addressing the Haley rumors


Yesterday afternoon, FITSNews, always one to spot a good story in the making, followed up on a blog posting which discussed bloggers, sex and gubernatorial candidates.

Somehow, amazingly, that trail led to me.

I have been asked by a lot of people to comment on these rumors over the last 48 hours, and have refused to comment on the matter. The most I've commented was in response to questions from FITS:


FITS just received the following text from Earl Capps in response to rumors about him and S.C. Rep. Nikki Haley. “I’m not going to admit or deny that one,” Capps said. Asked specifically if he had ever been romantically involved with Haley, Capps said “I am not going to address those allegations at this time until I figure out what someone has gotten a hold of. That is my official position.”

So ... do you really want to know what I have to say about all of this?

Calling 811 in South Carolina: It's a good idea, but it could be better

Today is national Call 811 day. This is the day intended to promote the usage of the national Call-Before-You-Dig number - 811 - which is intended to put callers in touch with utility companies to ensure that any underground utility facilities are marked before they dig.

Not surprisingly, that's not quite how it works in South Carolina, as well as just five other states in these United States where utility companies are NOT required by law to be members of the state's "One Call Center".

South Carolina is also one of just 18 states which do NOT require all utilitlies to respond to the caller, a widely-used industry practice known as "Positive Response", either by marks on the ground or an "all clear" notice. So if you call and there are no marks on the ground, that may not mean it's safe to go digging. We've heard from more than one Blogland reader who called, saw no marks, thought it was all clear after three days' wait, and hit unmarked lines.

These are the dangerous realities of the state's outdated laws on underground utility safety and damage prevention which were enacted in 1978, laws which may be so far outdated as to prompt federal intervention to force the state act in the interests of public and worker safety.

The sad truth is that in many states, reforms only take place after tragedies occur, such as what took place in Minnesota:

Tomorrow: Pub Politics and two Birthdays

Tomorrow, the Blogland will be celebrating two birthdays when the Blogland turns five and my daughter Bonnie turns twelve.

To mark the occasion, we'll be hanging out at the Sly Fox to watch a live broadcast of Pub Politics, THE place to go to find out what's going on in South Carolina politics.

If you're in the Midlands tomorrow evening, you really should go check out what he's doing. The Phil and Wes show starts at 6pm.

What's with the Blue Moon? Thanks to sitting in on the show and hanging out at the Sly Fox, we've gotten hooked on Blue Moon, the new unofficial offical beer of the Blogland.

Meet Brandon Ancrum

Thanks to the Blogland readers who have called to inquire about the outcome of yesterday's bond hearing for Mr. Brandon Ancrum.

Mr. Ancrum has been charged with reckless homicide in the death of my brother. The judge found sufficient reason to pursue these charges and set a bond of $50,000, upon the conditions of him turning in his drivers' license and being under house arrest.

Should he make bond, he can only leave his grandmother's house in the company of an adult over the age of 21 for reasons of work, medical treatment, church, or legal appointments.