Monday, March 31, 2014

Reminder: Insurance Deadline Tonight

Please remind your friends and loved ones of tonight's deadline to sign up for insurance coverage.

Here are the three easiest ways to enroll:

Another mom arrested for leaving children alone in car; system needs fixing

Tearful Shanesha Taylor after being arrested for leaving children 
alone in car while she went on job interview
(photo credit:  Jupiter Sinclair)

She is Shanesha Taylor, 35 with two small kids, ages 2 months and 6 years.  For whatever reason, her life is, by all accounts, a shambles.  She is homeless, a single mother, and almost at the end of her rope.  She gets called in for a job interview and suddenly there is a small ray of hope that things are about to look up, that she may be able to provide a better life for her babies.  She jumps at the chance and, to her dismay; things go from bad to worse.  She came out of her 45-minute interview to find police waiting to arrest her for child abuse.

Taylor says she left her children in the car, with the windows cracked for air, because she had no money to pay a babysitter.  A passerby heard a child crying in the car and called the police.  According to Scottsdale Police Officer Mark Clark, “She was upset.  This is a sad situation all around.  She said she was homeless.  She needed the job.  Obviously not getting the job.  So it’s just a sad situation.”  You can see the whole story on this video posted by CBS 5 Arizona news.

There have been so many stories of people who just snapped when the situation got too hard.  There are far too many tales of mothers who killed their children, mistakenly thinking they were doing them a favor.  They couldn’t stand to hear their babies crying from hunger or shaking from the cold due to the mother not having the money to pay the electric bills.  Some even murdered their children out of frustration and anger towards the absent father who was giving no help.  The nation was shocked earlier this month by one such story when a desperate and pregnant mom of three tried to kill her kids by driving her van into the ocean and later said that she was trying to take them “to a safer place”.

So even though Taylor may have been wrong to leave the kids in the car, she gets credit for trying, for not giving up and throwing in the towel.  There may yet be some good to come out of this story as over $43,000 has been raised through a campaign to help Taylor.  The money is to cover her $9000 bail and also try to raise enough money so that she and her kids can live (rent, electric, food) for a few months until she finds a job and starts receiving paychecks on a regular basis.  For information on how you can help click here to go to the campaign fund site.

Finally, let us hope this is a wakeup call to all of the fathers out there who love their kids, but cannot stand the mother.  If you are going to be an absentee father, and if you will not (or are not able to) financially provide for your children’s well-being, please be there to tend your children for a little while, especially if their mother is trying to find a job.  Not only will you end up spending more time with your babies, you just might literally save their lives.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Call 911 for Columbia PD: conspiracies, threats, coverups, now domestic violence

Tobin Barton, Officer of the Law, arrested for Criminal Domestic Violence
(photo credit:

Once again the Columbia Police Department (CPD) made the news, in a not-so-desirable way, over the weekend.  Authorities responded to a possible assault call in the wee hours of Saturday morning.  Upon arriving at a residence in the northeast area at about 1 a.m., officers were surprised to find that it was one of their very own they would have to handcuff and haul off to the slammer.  CPD Officer Tobin Barton, 36, was charged with criminal domestic violence after an argument with his girlfriend allegedly turned physical.

Columbia residents have suffered more than their fair share of public humiliation regarding the CPD recently.  There have been allegations of secret recordings, police being ordered to plant drugs and a gun to get a city employee fired, threats and just last week a crime analyst slapped the City of Columbia with a lawsuit claiming her lover and former police chief Randy Scott wrongfully forced her to resign or be terminated on the spot.  

Columbia has had six police chiefs in the last seven years.  After a long and controversial search process current Huntington, West Virginia Police Chief William Holbrook has been selected to be the new CPD chief.  His resignation from the Huntington PD isn’t effective until April 7th

Hopefully all the turmoil brewing in the CPD won’t cause Holbrook to change his mind about coming to our fair city.  CPD needs a leader, and fast, to whip things into shape.  Unfortunately it seems as if the agitation at the CPD is now spilling over into the community with officers taking their stress home.  Hurry Holbrook, hurry.  And it might not be a bad idea if you’d come riding in on a white horse with a long-handled broom to start sweeping things clean down at the CPD station.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Crime analyst fired by her police chief lover slaps lawsuit on city of Columbia

Bridget Caffery's DUI mugshot. She is suing her lover and former Police Chief Randy Scott.  (photo credit:  Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)

Skeletons continue to burst out of the closet of the Columbia Police Department (CPD).  The State newspaper just broke the news that embattled former Police Chief Randy Scott, along with the city of Columbia, has been slapped with a lawsuit by Bridget Caffery.

Former Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott's tearful resignation.
(photo credit:

Caffery, 24, was a civilian employee of the CPD and served as a crime analyst under Scott before his abrupt and mysterious departure.  Later Scott explained that he was suffering from PTSD related to the death of one of his officers two years prior.  Now it seems there may have been more to it than at first met the eye.
Caffery is alleging that she had an affair with Scott and that she was wrongfully terminated.  She was arrested for DUI in December, telling officers at the scene that she wanted Scott and interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago to be informed of her arrest.

Caffery is suing, among other reasons, because she says that she was assured that she would not be in trouble, but later Scott forced her to resign or be terminated on the spot.  Besides feeling that her personal relationship with Scott should have protected her, she also alleges that there are other CPD employees with DUIs still on the job.  To make matters worse, Caffery alleges that during her affair with Scott, he placed a tracking device on her vehicle to ensure that she wasn’t seeing anyone else, a misuse of CDP equipment.

So far there has been no immediate response from Scott.  But his successor, interim Police Chief Santiago abruptly resigned Thursday, making that six Columbia police chiefs come and gone in seven years.

Daddy and Me: Sweet Memories

This is one of my favorite pictures of my Daddy and me.  From the moment I can remember anything at all, this picture epitomizes the feeling I got from Daddy:  Safe and Loved.

My Daddy graduated from this life March 21, 2008.  He gained eternal life, but I lost my Daddy.  Amidst the sadness of today, I keep chuckling at some of the memories of my beloved Daddy, James Joshua Noble, Sr.  I’m sharing a few with you my friends.  Daddy was so funny.

I remember being a child, ready to eat, but having to wait until each person around the dinner table said a bible verse AND where it was found.  That where part was what prolonged things as my siblings and I scrambled to remember. Lol.   But as an adult, I’ve had some of those verses quickly come back to me in a time of trouble and need.

I remember wanting to crawl under the table with shame when my friends would come over.  And as we would be heading out the door or back to my room to talk girl talk, music, and pop stars, Daddy would greet the person with “Hi, nice to meet you.  I hope you have accepted Christ as your personal Savior.  If not, anytime you need to talk, I’ll be glad to tell you all about God’s wonderful gift.”  And while the teenaged me was horrified, I have been awed when some of those friends have told me later that what Daddy said had at least started them thinking.  And, unbeknownst to me at the time, some had even gone back and had discussions with Daddy on the bible, salvation, etc. 

I remember sitting in the living room with boys who had come to court (or whatever they call it these days) and talking the night away.  You know how time flies when you’re having fun.  If the young man hadn’t had the sense enough to leave by midnight, I would hear the creak of the living room door open and Daddy would come innocently walking through as if going to the kitchen for some water.  He would look at us sitting on the couch, do an exaggerated double take at his watch, and say a long drawn out Good MORNING, even if it was only 12:01am.  And I was a junior in college!  The nerve of  But it taught me to demand respect and respectable hours when I grew up and got my own apartment.

I remember when I worked in Charlotte, I was driving back home from visiting my parents in Columbia one night.  When I got to a rest stop near Rock Hill, I stopped to use the restroom, went back outside and the car wouldn’t start.  I called my roadside emergency company and then called my parents.  I was talking to Momma and Daddy must have heard her say the word “car” because suddenly it was him on the phone asking where I was and was there anybody around.  There wasn’t, but I said I wasn’t scared.  But deep down he must have known.  Anyway I told him I had called roadside and they should be there shortly.  Soon I saw headlights, but it wasn’t the tow trunk.  Daddy flew that car into the parking lot on what seemed like two wheels, with Momma holding onto the dashboard for dear life.  Somehow he had beaten the tow truck there.  My knees buckled I was so happy to see them.

Create loving memories with your families while you have them.  It’s awful when they are gone from this earth.  But thanks be to God for the wonderful times to look back upon and rejoice.  The cherished moments can turn the pain into laughter, and helps ease the way a little, like salve upon a wound.  Thanks Daddy for everything, and much love always.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

4-time DUI repeat offender out on bail, drives again, kills 3-year-old child

3-year-old Josiah Jenkins was killed by a 
drunk driver last week
(photo credit:

Josiah Jenkins, was buried Sunday at Refuge Temple church in Columbia, SC.  The toddler was killed as a result of severe head trauma when a drunk driver plowed into the vehicle Jenkins was riding in as his mother Latoya Jenkins drove.  The inebriated driver, 44-year-old Lonnie Gross III is, of course, just fine.  The accident took place while Gross was out on bond awaiting trial for a previous DUI charge just this past November.

Horrific crash scene underscores need for stricter DUI laws
(photo credit:

There were over 600 mourners at the service, many of whom did not even know young Jenkins.  But it is indicative of a community that is fed up with lenient DUI laws that have made the county jail essentially a revolving door storefront.

Repeat Drunk driver Lonnie Gross III
(photo credit:

According to The State newspaper, Gross is a four-time felon (whose crime of choice is DUI) who kept being released on bond and probation.  Not only was Gross driving under the influence when the accident occurred last week, but his license was suspended.  For the fifth time, the crime is DUI, and finally the judge has shown mercy to the innocent citizens of Columbia and denied Gross bail.

Last year there was a big push for stricter DUI penalties when yet another child, 6-year-old Emma Longstreet, was killed by a repeat drunk driver.  Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland, introduced Emma’s law which would require first time DUI offenders to use an ignition locking device on their vehicles for a minimum of six months.  Read more about how this system would work here.

Shamefully, the bill stalled for almost a year due to partisan politics.  Now with the rash of more deaths by repeat DUI offenders in South Carolina, both sides of the house are agreeing to come together and will give the bill a hearing this Thursday.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Target of alleged police dept. frame-up now has mysterious home break-in

Allison Baker, target of alleged police frame
(photo credit:

The players in the Columbia Police Department (CPD) just keep being thrust upon the public stage.  Senior Assistant City Manager Allison Baker’s home was broken into this past Sunday morning.  Baker wasn’t home at the time of the break-in, but found signs of forced entry when he returned home.  As far as he can tell the only thing taken was a jar of coins.

No one was harmed, but Baker was recently the target of an alleged “black-ops” scheme perpetrated by the CPD.  Former Police Captain Dave Navarro accused Acting Police Chief Ruben Santiago of ordering him to help Santiago plant a stolen gun and some cocaine into Baker’s car to get Baker terminated.  According to Navarro, Chief Santiago had someone else in mind that he wanted for the position of Assistant City Manager and needed to get Baker out of the way.  Navarro said he was terminated when he refused and Santiago then sued Navarro for slander.

Last week State Law Enforcement Agency (SLED) finalized an investigative report spanning some 405 pages.  The report shocked the city with allegations of illegally taped phone calls, threats, illicit affairs, and so-called “black ops” being carried on among the top-ranking elite of the CPD.  SLED concluded that something is going on, but there is just not enough evidence for prosecution at this time.  Santiago is still being investigated for obstruction of justice.  In the meantime CPD is expected to have a new police chief in place by mid-March.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Who's minding the store? Cola. PD investigated for slander, "black ops" scheme

Just as Columbians are settling down from the news of serious problems (including unaccounted for absentee ballots during the presidential election) within the Richland County Elections board, a preliminary investigation has leveled bombshell accusations against the very organization designated to protect and to serve – the Columbia Police Department (CPD).

Former Police Chief Randy Scott resigned in tears.
(photo credit:

The CPD has been making the headlines recently almost as much as the criminals they apprehend, and for all of the wrong reasons.  This latest spate of troubles started when then Police Chief Randy Scott abruptly resigned in 2013 citing battles with posttraumatic stress

Acting Police Chief Ruben Santiago
(photo credit:

Former Deputy Chief of Operations Ruben Santiago took over as the interim police chief.  Before the dust could clear, CPD Captain Dave Navarro was fired for allegedly recording secret conversations between him and a high ranking member of the police department.  Navarro fired back with a stunning allegation that Acting Police Chief Santiago had tried to involve Navarro in a so-called “black-ops” scheme to plant a stolen weapon and cocaine in the car of a Columbia city manager so that person would get fired and they could move someone else into that position.  Santiago promptly turned around and sued Navarro for defamation.

Former Police Captain Dave Navarro with allegations of corruption
(photo credit:

Things turned so ugly so quickly that the matter was turned over for investigation to both the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).   Read the main findings of the 405-page investigative report in this article published yesterday by local newspaper The State.  In the face of all of the allegations, a special prosecutor for the matter was quoted as saying “no charges would be filed as a result of the investigation and that he considered the case closed.”  It is not known just yet why the investigation is being shut down and dismissed; but it is hoped that the corruption does not reach even higher than the CPD.

Candidates for Columbia Police Chief
(photo credit:  the

In the meantime, here are the finalists in Columbia’s search for a new police chief.  According to City Manager Teresa Wilson, they hope to have the new chief in place by mid-March.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Campfires, gays, and flint sticks: Boy Scouts fight Disney over moral values

A statue in front of Boy Scouts of America building in Irving, Texas
(Photo credit:  Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

As of 2015, The Walt Disney Company (Disney) has vowed that it will no longer help fund the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), a move that will potentially prevent many youngsters from taking part in this cherished organization, according to BSA spokesman Deron Smith in a statement Sunday.  The ban comes on the heels of an ongoing heated debate between Disney and BSA on the issue of gays being allowed to fully, openly and freely participate as members of the BSA.

Eagle Scout and Scouts for Equality co-founder Zach Wahls, knows firsthand some of the struggles gay scouts can face.  Wahls said although he doesn’t like to see BSA lose funding, he agrees in principle and applauds Disney’s decision to withdraw their monetary support until equality is embraced by the BSA.

The BSA celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2010, and prides itself on providing an outlet for boys to come together in a safe arena for education, fun, and learning lifelong values to be productive citizens.  Over the years the BSA has slowly made some concessions to the changing times and eased up on its stark refusal to have the BSA associated with anything gay-related. 

In February 2013, George Kalogridis became the first gay president of Disney World.  Shortly thereafter, in May 2013, the BSA reversed its prior rule and started allowing openly gay youth into the scouts, although they must leave their respective scout troops after the age of 18.  However the BSA has stood firm in prohibiting gay scout leaders.  And that is where the two organizations stand with neither willing to budge.  For the sake of millions of young boys who thrive in and enjoy being a member of the scouts, BSA promised to continue working with Disney to find a solution that would allow them to keep the needed funding without violating their moral standards.