Aiken Area Progressive

Progressive blog for the Central Savannah River Area.

Month: April, 2015

GSU crash victim’s family slams trucking company with lawsuit

Family accuses company of negligence in incident that killed five co-eds

SAVANNAH — A family of one of the five Georgia Southern co-eds killed in a Bryan County crash on April 22 has decided to go to court.

The mother of 21-year-old Abbie Deloach has filed a lawsuit against Total Transportation, a trucking company based out of Jackson, Miss. and US Xpress Enterprises, a trucking company based out of Nashville.

An investigation by Atlanta media showed that the companies have a checkered safety record.

The Georgia State Patrol has said the April 22 crash on Interstate 16 appears to have been caused by a tractor-trailer that smashed into stop-and-go traffic slowed by an unrelated wreck. Ms. Deloach and four fellow co-eds, all of whom were nursing majors from Georgia Southern University, perished.

Total Transportation CEO John Stomps did not immediately return a phone message Thursday.

The Deloach family does have an uphill battle due to state and federal laws that shield vehicle manufacturers from most lawsuits involving fatalities.

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Five Upstate cops fired on Monday for various conduct violations


HONEA PATH — It was Black Monday for some law enforcement agencies in the Upstate.

On that day, no fewer than five cops – three police deputies, one jailer, and one sheriff’s officer – were fired during various violations, which even resulted in an arrest.

Three deputies and a sheriff’s officer were terminated from three Anderson County agencies.  The Honea Path Police Office (HPPO) fired deputies John Bell and Robert Joshua Shaw after they beat a 34-year-old man so bad, he’s now disabled for life.  That incident happened on November 14, 2014 on the BELTON-HONEA PATH HY (US 76/178).  The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is still investigating the incident.
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Continuum is coming to phones!

OAKLAND, Calif. — During Build on Wednesday, Microsoft announced that Continuum, a feature introduced in Windows 8 for tablets, notebooks, netbooks and desktop computers, will be expanded to phones in Windows 10.

Joe Belfiore, an executive at Microsoft’s Windows division, posted a video on YouTube about this. Watch above.

100 Girls of Code teaches coding skills

Upper Midlands organization hopes girls ages 12-18 will enter programming field


COLUMBIA — The lack of girls in STEM fields continues to plague the United States.

Enter the Upper Midlands-based One Hundred (100) Girls of Code.

The One Hundred Girls of Code, which held their first-ever workshop on Saturday in Columbia, hopes to bring some “girl power” to the programming field.

The girls, all of whom are between 12 and 18 years of age, were given an introduction to computer programming and were able to learn about website construction and even how to code for video games.

Organizers say computer science and computer engineering fields have a median pay around $80,000 to $100,000 but only one in every eight people in the field identify as women.  They hope to help change that statistic.

The group will hold two more free workshops on May 9 at the Richland Library Cooper on Trenholm Road and June 13 at Richland Library Northeast on Parklane Road.  The workshops are free but registration is required.  There are not any additional workshops planned in Greenville at the moment – one was held on Saturday at the Iron Yard at 101 NORTH MAIN ST.

Check out the organization’s Columbia and Greenville chapters for more.

WLTX News 19
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Lexington woman speaks out after near-fatal domestic violence ordeal

Woman was shot in back of head by former husband in 2011

LEXINGTON — It’s no secret that South Carolina has constantly ranked in the top two worst in cases of women killed by men and in the Top Ten Worst in the nation in the number of men murdered by female intimate partners ever since 2009 – including a state-record number of thirteen men killed by wives and girlfriends in 2013.

For 44-year-old Megan Harmon, of Lexington, this issue is very personal for her.  She attends every domestic violence forum.

“He was drinking, I actually went to dinner with my daughter, then came home, went to bed and next thing I knew all hell broke loose.  My husband shot me in the back of the head while I was sleeping, I then became a statistic in criminal domestic violence,” said Ms. Harmon, who was a victim in 2011.

Ms. Harmon had to have life saving surgery following the attack.  Now she wants other abuse victims to know, they are not alone and help is out there.

“You just need to scream to the top of your lungs and demand help.  If you run into a stop sign, run it!  Keep going, keep pushing, keep asking for help, and bring awareness to your situation.”

Her husband was John Madden (not the football guru, mind you) and he is jailed for 14 years after he was convicted of attempted murder.  While she’s happy that he’s behind bars, her struggle continues.

She says there are loopholes in the system that prevented her from getting the help she needed.

Although they would toughen the domestic violence laws, neither of the two bills currently under consideration would close the loophole.

Ms. Harmon will continue to be a voice for those who are in fear.

“So its really not over for me, its with me every second of the day and dealing with all these hole and gaps in the system just adds another brick on my shoulder, but I’m a survivor,” said Ms. Harmon.

WLTX News 19

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David Ragan, currently in Chase contention, to move to 55 car following Talladega


LINCOLN, Ala. — David Ragan is off to the best start of his career.

And he is battling for a Chase berth.

However, he has been doing it with multiple rides.

And now, he will be on the move again.

Effective on May 4, Mr. Ragan will move to the #55 Toyota Camry, replacing Brian Vickers. Mr. Vickers is out indefinitely with blood clots that have been occurring off and on since 2009.

“The only way I can repay all the people I have to thank for making this happen is to go out and win races and get MWR, Aaron’s and Toyota in the Chase,” said Mr. Ragan in a team release. “It’s going to be awesome knowing when I climb in the No. 55 at Kansas that car will be mine the rest of the season. I look forward to working with (teammate) Clint Bowyer, the crew and shop employees at MWR. It’s tough what’s happened to them this year, but I hope I can come in and make 2015 something special.”

MWR team owner Michael Waltrip ran the Daytona 500 for Mr. Vickers and will run Sunday’s race at Talladega for the driver. Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Brett Moffitt has run six races in the No. 55 and Mr. Vickers ran at Phoenix and Las Vegas.

“Life has thrown a lot at MWR the first part of this racing season, but our team has stood tall and worked through it,” Waltrip said in the release. “Our original plans for the No. 55 team have been challenged since December, and we felt it was important for our employees and our sponsors to solidify the remainder of the 2015 season.”

The opportunity to bring David Ragan into the team is incredible for a number of reasons. He will bring experience, consistency and a lot of confidence based on how he has been running with our Toyota teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing. He also puts the No. 55 team and Aaron’s right back into the Chase for the Sprint Cup contention, which is a very positive turn of events for that team.”

With Mr. Ragan stepping out of the #18 ride he had been piloting since Hampton, Ga., speculation centers around 18-year-old Erik Jones to take over at Kansas City, Kan. Mr. Jones earned his first career XFINITY win earlier this month at Justin, Texas. Mr. Moffitt, who had filled in for Mr. Ragan in the #34 Front Row Motorsports ride at Phoenix and Las Vegas, should be a candidate to return to that Ford Fusion on Mother’s Day weekend as well.

“I’m really proud of the incredible job Brett Moffitt has done for us in the 55,” Waltrip said. “He has been a big part of this organization for the last couple of years and he will continue in that role. With the limited number of starts Brett has in this industry, he has proven that he has the talent to be a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and we are still committed to helping him get that opportunity.”

Meanwhile, Front Row Motorsports reiterated that Chris Buescher would be in their No. 34 ride for Talladega but did not divulge plans for the rest of the season for Ragan’s former car.

“We are grateful to David Ragan for his contributions to the growth of Front Row Motorsports and his commitment to our partners over the past three years,” team owner Bob Jenkins said. “He led us on our first trip to Victory Lane, and that’s a moment we’ll never forget. We wish him the best with his new team.”

As previously announced, Chris Buescher will be the driver of the No. 34 at Talladega this weekend. We are working on finalizing the driver lineup for races to follow and will announce those plans soon.”

Mr. Ragan raced only the Daytona 500 in the #34 Ford in the 2015 season.


NPO: Man wanted for shooting former girlfriend

Man also damaged ex’s property

Today's News Briefs

NEWBERRY — The Newberry Police Office is looking for a man who they said shot at his former girlfriend.

The victim told deputies she had recently ended a relationship with a 21-year-old man.  On Thursday, the suspect came to the victim’s residence to retrieve the rest of his belongings that he had not gotten out days before when their relationship dissolved.

That’s when the victim said he got upset while he was at her house.  When he was asked to leave, though, he did.

However, the dispute was not over.

Later, deputies said Jermetres Rochard Kirkland, 21, contacted the victim again, this time via txt, and told her that he damaged her car.  When the victim and another person at the home went outside to inspect the vehicle, Mr. Kirkland walked toward them holding while holding a gun and fired two shots in the air.  As the ex-girlfriend was running from the car to the home, police say he fired two more shots, this time hitting the car.

Investigators say before they could get there, Mr. Kirkland had left the scene.

The Newberry Police Office said once they find him, Mr. Kirkland will be charged with attempted murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.  Anyone with information should call Crimestoppers of the Upper Midlands at 1-888-274-6372, or e-mail a tip in to  You can also text information in by texting “TIPSC” plus your message to CRIMES (274637).  Either way you choose, your identity will remain anonymous, and you could be eligible for a cash reward. Read the rest of this entry »

Nominated in 1984, Loretta Lynch is finally Attorney General

Childish, immature Conservatives held up AG vote over anti-choice rider


WASHINGTON, D.C. — After almost 31 years of frustration and purely political holds for no good reason at all, Loretta Lynch has finally gotten her due.

First nominated by the now-late Ronald Reagan in 1984, Ms. Lynch became the first African-American female to be the nation’s top cop.

The vote was 56-43, with ten GOP Senators siding all 44 Dems and the two Independents.

Conservatives deliberately held up the vote with their attempt to sneak anti-choice riders into a human trafficking bill at the behest of the Susan B Anthony List, and tried to blame Democrats for the delay. The Democratic version of the human trafficking bill, introduced just before last year’s summer recess, was clean and had no riders whatsoever.

Dems slammed conservatives for the delay.

“It’s an unconscionable delay,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.

“Any attempt to hold a confirmation vote hostage because of this abortion provision is a sham,” said outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) from the Senate floor. “A vote on the Lynch nomination has absolutely nothing to do with the trafficking bill.”

Rebecca Vipond Brink
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There’s nothing remotely moral about conservatism

Today is Sunday.

For people of all faiths, more likely than not, you’ll see churches packed today.

Which means that today, which is Sunday, is the day I rat out Christian hypocrisy from those who want to unconstitutionally surveil welfare recipients and the poor, and what they do with THEIR OWN MONEY.

You read that right: the money the welfare recipients receive is THEIR OWN MONEY – because welfare recipients pay taxes (i.e. sales taxes) to support everyone else, just like everyone else pays some sort of tax around this nation, although people on welfare can least afford to pay any kind of tax (and yet, they do pay some taxes).

So, yes, it is unconstitutional to tell welfare recipients what they can or cannot do with the money they receive!

Laws telling welfare recipients what they can or cannot do with their money are flagrant 14th Amendment violations.  And really, I can stop at that sentence, but I won’t.  This is an issue of equal protection under the law and by telling an economic class what they can or cannot do with their money while not imposing these standards on other economic groups is unconstitutional on its face and under no circumstances will I support such laws – it’s the main reason why I oppose drug testing for welfare recipients, it’s the main reason why I strongly oppose a federal law enacted by anti-human rights Christians that bans welfare recipients from going to adult establishments with their benefits, and it is the main reason why I strongly oppose laws like what anti-human rights Christians in Kansas and Missouri have passed within the past couple of weeks.  The equal protection clause is also the reason why it’s very hard for me to oppose the Soda Tax that New York City used to have before unqualified judicial activists struck the ordinance down.  There is one thing that separates the Soda Tax from the abusive and unconstitutional laws that abusive Christians are passing on the most vulnerable people in our society: the Soda Tax applied to everyone equally without regard to where a person stood on the economic ladder, whereas these repulsive laws against welfare recipients are discriminatory because it applies to one set of the economic ladder and no one else. It would behoove supporters of these laws against welfare recipients to read the Constitution’s 14th Amendment:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

No where in that statement does it mention gender or sexual orientation.  What that means is that this section, known as Section 1, is intended to have the broadest of interpretations out of the entire Constitution.  If trial lawyers had a backbone, they would have sued to knock every law against welfare recipients off the books, no matter how deeply unpopular such a move may be.  And that’s the beauty of our Constitution: popular laws have no place in the US Constitution unless such laws are applied in an equal and fair manner.  So while laws restricting what welfare recipients can or cannot do are popular with Christians, such laws literally bomb the Constitution test and that alone is reason enough to sue to remove the laws right off our books.

This proves that conservatives want to murder starving children by taking food out of their mouths.  This also proves that conservatives, despite all of their claims about being strong supporters of the US Constitution, actually have no respect whatsoever for our living document.

And lastly, this also proves that there is nothing moral about conservatism.  Not even remotely.

Man sues Columbia University for harassment under Title IX policies

He said University failed to protect him as rape victim dismisses allegations

Today's News Briefs

NEW YORK CITY — A man accused of rape by rape victim Emma Sulkowicz has filed a federal lawsuit against Columbia University under Title IX’s anti-harassment policy.

The man said a Columbia-owned website had presented as fact that he raped Ms. Sulkowicz, a senior who is about to major in visual arts. It said that the school allowed Ms. Sulkowicz to carry a mattress into classes, the library and campus-provided transportation as part of her senior thesis, that a former professor approved the “Mattress Project” for her course credit and that Ms. Sulkowicz’s pledge to carry her mattress to graduation may prevent the man and his parents, who’d like to fly from Germany, from participating in graduation ceremonies.

“Day-to-day life is unbearably stressful, as Emma and her mattress parade around campus each and every day,” charged the suit.

The man later slams Ms. Sulkowicz, saying that her claim that he is a serial rapist has led to abuse and harassment by other Columbia students, and that in supporting her “Carry That Weight” project, the University effectively sponsored gender-based harassment, which would be a flagrant violation of Title IX, and allowed the creation of “an intimidating, hostile, demeaning … learning and living environment”. He also claims that his daily life on campus is “unbearably stressful” and that his employment prospects have been jeopardized by the media coverage of Ms. Sulkowicz’s project.

Ms. Sulkowicz, who is not a defendant, rightfully dismissed the explosive charges in the lawsuit.

“I think it’s ridiculous that he would sue not only the school but one of my past professors for allowing me to make an art piece. It’s ridiculous that he would read it as a ‘bullying strategy,’ especially given his continued public attempts to smear my reputation, when really it’s just an artistic expression of the personal trauma I’ve experienced at Columbia,” said Ms. Sulkowicz to the Associated Press. “If artists are not allowed to make art that reflect on our experiences, then how are we to heal?”

This is the first-of-its-kind lawsuit because of the fact that the man was never charged with, or convicted of, rape. (Jovan Note: There have been Title IX lawsuits filed by men accused of rape previously, but all of those were dismissed because the men were actually found guilty by a court of law of rape.) That’s why although we oppose this lawsuit, we are concealing the identity of the plaintiff here (sorry, readers).
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Woodruff woman missing

Woman was last seen Tuesday

Today's News Briefs

WOODRUFF — The Woodruff Police Office is looking for a missing woman.

Deputies said the woman is plus sized (weight won’t be revealed here), and is 5 feet 5 inches in height.

The 35-year-old was last seen Tuesday at McKinney Park.

Call the Woodruff Police Office if you know where she is.
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The short oval tour ends this weekend


RICHMOND, Va. — The Action Track, in my soon-to-be new home state, is the source of all the action this weekend.

It is also the wraps of the short oval tour, because only two tracks between April 26 and August 23 will be on short ovals (Dover, Del. on May 31 and Bristol, Tenn. on August 22).

There are reasons for its nickname.

One, the track sees a lot of action. Two, more streaks have ended at Richmond International Raceway than at any other track except their ISC sibling tracks: their brother track at Daytona Beach and their sister track at Lincoln, Ala., the latter of where they’re headed to after this weekend.

Rain in the forecast

The original plan was to post this on Thursday. However, personal issues, as well as NASCAR’s meteorologist saying that there is a high likelihood of the race being rained out on Saturday night, led to the postponement of the Finish Line piece to today.

So, fans and drivers may be disappointed again, especially after they dealt with rain from severe storms at Bristol, Tenn. earlier this week. Read the rest of this entry »

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