BC-South Member Exchange Digest

News,Science and Technology


The Associated Press recommends the following stories of Southern interest for use over the weekend of Dec. 29-Jan. 2.

For repeats of AP copy, please call the Service Desk at 800-838-4616. AP stories, along with the photos that accompany them, also can be obtained from


For Saturday use:


DECATUR, Ala. — Tim Hall always meets a stranger with a handshake. Whatever reluctance his greeter might feel is quickly assuaged when the Meow Mix lab technician extends his prosthetic right hand and the mechanical fingers close into a firm but friendly grip. By Tiffeny Owens, The Decatur Daily.

For Sunday use:


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Sherman Williams wore No. 20 at the University of Alabama, and with the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League. Now he wears No. 07520-003, his federal inmate number. The man who scored the first touchdown in the Crimson Tide's victory over Miami in the Sugar Bowl game that decided the 1992 national championship resides at Forrest City Federal Correctional Complex in Arkansas, his latest home in the federal penal system. By Tommy Deas, The Tuscaloosa News.

For Monday use:


MONTGOMERY, Ala. — For the first time since she was incarcerated 15 years ago, Connie Tozzi was able to send a Christmas gift to her family this year — a beautifully hand-crocheted baby blanket that would go to the grandson she has never met. By Kala Kachmar, Montgomery Advertiser.


DOTHAN, Ala. — There's no arguing that Monica Montalvo works hard. Montalvo starts her work day at 7 a.m. at Grandview Elementary School. After arriving, Montalvo typically spends her time reviewing the day's lessons and preparing her classroom before her students get there. "I like to get everything ready for class so I'm not searching," she said. "I also pray before we get started." By Jim Cook, The Dothan Eagle.


For Saturday use:


TAMPA, Fla. — Halfway down the winding path to picnic shelter No. 5, Glenda Goodman parked her daughter's stroller in the shade. "Okay," Glenda, 22, whispered to her baby. "Are you ready to go meet your aunt? I guess she's your great aunt?" Glenda wasn't ready. All morning, at the Tarpon Springs restaurant where she works, and during the hour-long drive to Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Glenda had been rehearsing questions in her mind: What was my mom like? How did she meet my dad? Why didn't they ever get married? By Lane DeGregory, Tampa Bay Times.

For Sunday use:


OCHOPEE, Fla. — They're so easy to miss in a landscape almost monotonously green.

But for naturalist Roger Hammer, it's the small, scattered drops of color that stand out among the slash pines and saw palmetto. Wildflowers. The vast Everglades is home to hundreds of them. By Curtis Morgan, The Miami Herald.

For Monday use:


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — At the first meeting of a new state House education subcommittee this month, a dramatic moment in Florida history passed virtually unnoticed.

When lawmakers were asked to introduce themselves and provide a little background, some mentioned careers as educators. Others talked of steering their kids through public schools.

With a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population estimated at more than 600,000 people, second in size only to California, Florida had been the nation's largest state without any openly gay legislators, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Victory Fund, a political advocacy organization. By John Kennedy, The Palm Beach Post.

For Tuesday use:


NEWBERRY, Fla. — Cast net fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Horseback riding and playing bluegrass music. Cheering for the hometown football team on Friday nights, or singing for the church choir on Sunday mornings.

Those are seasonings that provide unique flavors to the small towns of North Central Florida. While many of the activities are unique to a specific community, others can be found in several places. By Erica Brough and Karen Voyles, The Gainesville Sun.


For Saturday use:


ATLANTA — Chuck Beaudrot jokes about what will happen when he starts his new job: suddenly everyone will start being nice to him, and people will rise to their feet when he enters a room.

At least, that's what his friends have told the newly appointed judge of the Georgia Tax Tribunal, which convenes for the first time Jan. 2. By Bill Rankin, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

For Sunday use:


MACON, Ga. — From atop Macon's College Street, a disabled teen seemed to have little to look forward to except satisfying his voracious hunger for news of the Civil War. More than 150 years later, the world can now view the conflict through his eyes.

LeRoy Wiley Gresham wrote his personal observations nearly every day from June 1860 until he died June 18, 1865. By Liz Fabian, The Telegraph.

For Monday use:


GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Though the century-old Chattahoochee Park Pavilion might look like it's in bad shape, its renovations are coming along nicely.

For the last few months, prison crews from the Hall County Correctional Institute have been working to restore and repair the pavilion, located on the American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7's property off Riverside Drive in Gainesville. By Savannah King, The Times of Gainesville.

For Tuesday use:


ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — It's happened a lot of times on this barrier island. A new owner picks up a piece of land and an old path or set of woods is suddenly fenced off or has some no trespassing signs.

A St. Simons Island couple want to do the opposite: They want to keep their recent acquisition open for those who have worn a footpath across it and to preserve that access into the future. By Terry Dickson, The Florida Times-Union.


For Sunday use:


LOUISVILLE, Ky. — First there's a hissing sound as a gate opens to expose the glowing orange inferno burning within the maw of the Kosmos Cement kiln.

Two rollers grab a scrapped rubber tire before pitching it at 85 mph as far as 110 feet into the bowels of the kiln — where it vaporizes in an instant in 3,000-degree temperatures.

The kiln is so hot that the tires combust completely, meaning there is no significant increase in air pollution, the plant and the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District have found. By James Bruggers, The Courier-Journal.

For Monday use:


FLORENCE, Ky. — Clint Brown is on a roll.

In the last few months, he watched the Florence Freedom baseball team he owns advance to the finals of the Independent Frontier League playoffs and signed the manager who led the team to its first playoff appearance to a three-year contract. By Mark Hansel, The Kentucky Enquirer.


For Saturday and Sunday use:


LAFAYETTE, La. — Our Lady Queen of Peace has been reborn from the ashes. In April 2010, a fire in a storage area near the Lafayette church's balcony destroyed almost all of the interior. The church was unusable. Parishioners attended weekly Masses in the gym of Truman Montessori, a nearby elementary school. By Amanda McElfresh, The Daily Advertiser.


NEW ORLEANS — Randall Feldman, the president and general manager of WYES since 1990, will leave the New Orleans PBS affiliate at the end of 2012. He saw the station through 22 years of unprecedented change, from the advent of new technologies to the rebuilding required when failed-levee floodwaters inundated the station after Hurricane Katrina. With his successor already hired (Allan Pizzato, former executive director of Alabama Public Television), Feldman took time to reflect on his tenure in a recent phone interview. By Chris Waddington, The Times-Picayune.

For Monday use:


PINE PRAIRIE, La. — Missy Campbell's long medical journey isn't over, but at least she's back home in Evangeline Parish. Campbell, 32, suffered a stroke while scouting hunting camps on Larto Lake with her husband, T.J. Campbell, a few days after Thanksgiving 2011. By Leigh Guidry, The Town Talk.


BATON ROUGE, La. — Two hours into his stint as a substitute teacher at Magnolia Woods Elementary School in Baton Rouge, state Treasurer John Kennedy banished one third-grader to the corner and guided the rest of the class through a writing exercise. The school's principal, Donna Wallette, popped in to quiz the students about Kennedy's regular job as the state's money manager. By Michelle Millhollon, The Advocate.


For Sunday use:


MIDDLETOWN, Md. — Kundan Chintamaneni's mother cannot keep up with the star calculus student's use of sticky notes and scrap paper to solve the latest problem in the array of competitions he is always entering.

The Middletown High School sophomore leaves sheets of paper with precisely written mathematical equations chock-full of Greek symbols and parentheses scattered about his house. Sometimes he sits at the empty formal dining room table to put the final touches on regional and statewide math competition answers. By Patti S. Borda, The News-Post of Frederick.


WESTMINSTER, Md. — Moving to a different city as a teenager can be daunting, never mind a whole other country.

That's what Tammy Fesche and her family did; moving from Loja, Ecuador, to the United States when she was about 15 years old. Since then, Fesche dreamed of helping the people of her country in any way possible.

After marrying dentist Marshall Fesche, she realized the two could collaborate on a project to aid impoverished children in Ecuador. By Samantha Madison, The Carroll County Times.

For Monday use:


ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Four years ago, Laura Kamoie hit her head on the edge of a cabinet while emptying the dishwasher.

The accident led to a concussion — and a second career. Kamoie is now a best-selling romance writer with a six-figure deal for a four-book series. By Theresa Winslow, The Capital of Annapolis.


UNION BRIDGE, Md. — Working as a secretary in New York City for two decades, Eileen Beck might never have pictured herself preparing lunch for a crew of homebuilders.

But after leaving the Big Apple behind in 1996, Beck said Hagers-town provided an opportunity to become a real part of a community. And she found her niche as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Washington County. By Marie Gilbert, The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown.

For Tuesday use:


NEWARK, Del. — Like many women, Diane Greer would prefer to prolong the "delusion" that she is one or two sizes smaller than reality.

So, when the Newark resident encountered a body scanner at Christiana Mall recently — one that promised to spit out a list of sizes and styles of pants, tops and dresses to fit her unique body shape — she took a pass. By Margie Fishman, The News Journal of Wilmington.


TAKOMA PARK, Md. — As the sun sets over Takoma Park, the customers start to arrive — a mother and son looking for early "Seinfeld" episodes, an illustrator hoping to find a cult horror film on VHS, a writer searching for a movie about someone who overcomes a physical or emotional challenge.

But this is Video Americain, and it's 2012. Recently, to no one's surprise, the Solans announced that they will close their doors at the end of next month. By Emily Wax, The Washington Post.


For Sunday use:


SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — Greg Davis was a 24-year-old self-employed engineering consultant working out of his parents' home when he decided to run for a seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives.

Davis won the seat in a runoff by defeating Southaven Alderwoman Lorine Cady. The victory launched his political career, one that has included many historic firsts. By Yolanda Jones, The Commercial Appeal.


ITTA BENA, Miss. — Alfred Rankins Jr. remembers spending every Saturday of his childhood cheering from the football bleachers for a Mississippi Valley State University victory. The Greenville native is back on campus, this time cheering for Valley's enrollment, not just the numbers on its scoreboard. By Jeanie Riess, Greenwood Commonwealth.

For Monday use:


GREENVILLE, Miss. — The 66 window panels that have let light shine into the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church since the early 1900s will have a new look in the upcoming weeks.

To mark the church's 100th-year celebration, intricate stain glass windows will be displayed at the historic site. By Nicole Sheriff, Delta Democrat Times.


NATCHEZ, Miss. — Natchez's riverfront has a long history of being a place where gambling and fighting went hand in hand.

Such history underscores the near certainty in the minds of many locals that two competing casinos — one a long fixture, the other the hotshot new kid on the block — would be on track to duke it out soon. By Kevin Cooper, The Natchez Democrat.


For Saturday use:


HIGH POINT, N.C. — For more than 30 years, Benita VanWinkle has tried to preserve a disappearing piece of Americana — the old, vintage movie theaters of yesteryear — the only way she knows how. One frame at a time. VanWinkle, an art instructor at High Point University — and a longtime professional photographer — has been traipsing across America, often finding herself in small, off-the-beaten-path towns, photographing theaters of a bygone era for a book she hopes to publish. By Jimmy Tomlin, High Point Enterprise.

For Sunday use:


GASTONIA, N.C. — Gary Freeman picked up a paint brush at age 9. Scott Boyle started to put work on canvas when he was 8. Jack Greenfield didn't begin painting until after he retired. Gaston County artists Freeman and Boyle and Cleveland County artist Greenfield will be featured in an exhibit showcasing an artistic movement that developed in western North Carolina in the 1970s. By Amanda Hemrick, Gaston Gazette.

For Monday use:


CHARLOTTE — With eight years in American Ballet Theater fresh in her mind, Rebecca Massey had sworn she'd never date another dancer - or a guy who was younger than she. All she needed was a modern-dance teacher at her new ballet school. Daniel Wiley, just out of college, was in his first season of his first job. He figured he'd perform for a goodly number of years with ballet companies, then move to the leadership side. He had always thought about teaching. A mutual friend arranged for them to meet at Bombay Cuisine in the UNCC area. Rebecca's mind wandered from the business at hand. By Steven Brown, The Charlotte Observer.

For Tuesday use:


LEXINGTON, N.C. — A hot dog a day will keep the doctor away. That's what Steve Koonts believes and makes a point to live by it, sometimes eating a Kearney's Drive-In hot dog for breakfast. Through a 27-year career at Kearney's, located on Southbound Street off West Fifth Avenue, and 37 total years in the food industry, Koonts said he has seen changes through the years. A baby, toted on a mother's hip and fed bites of a famous hot dog, has grown up and now stops by for the occasional treat with her own children. By Rebekah Cansler McGee, The Dispatch of Lexington.

For Wednesday use:


FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Dale Westphall and James Dickinson knew the rakes in their hands and garbage bags in their back pockets weren't going to cut it. With fall foliage littering the ground of their workplace, the pair could tell it was going to be a leaf blower kind of day. At least their clients - the eternally restful of Lafayette Memorial Park & Mausoleum — wouldn't mind the noise. By Brian Dukes, The Fayetteville Observer.


For Saturday use:


PIEDMOND, S.C. — As they tend to customers at their restaurant, Sherry Hardy walks with a slight limp and her husband, Glenn, wears a wrist brace.

There is no way of knowing, without their own testimony, that their lives began to unravel when an electrical fire started above the kitchen in their 15-year-old restaurant. In the years that followed, they lost their home after they tried to reopen the restaurant and ended up filing for bankruptcy. By Charmaine Smith-Miles, Anderson Independent Mail.

For Sunday use:


CAMDEN, S.C. — Veterinarian Justin Martin is up and ready for the new day before the sun comes up, even after a late night that took him to a gruesome scene where a donkey was attacked by several pit bulls.

Martin draws much knowledge from his childhood on the farm as well as his expedited three years at Clemson University and four years at the University of Georgia, where he got his doctorate in veterinary medicine.

But despite landing a good-paying job in North Carolina right out of school, Martin started his professional career in a financial mess not uncommon in American today. He graduated from Georgia in 2010, thousands of dollars in debt. By Gavin Jackson, (Florence) Morning News.

For Monday use:


SPARTANBURG, S.C. — A beautiful piano melody filled the Montgomery Student Center at Converse College on the day Sarah Reinhardt met Peter Rosset.

The source was an 11-year-old boy with big glasses and a bright smiling sitting behind the keys of a grand piano in the lobby of the student hall. Leukemia treatment took a toll on his small body and Down syndrome crimped his conversational abilities, but Reinhardt said she was enthralled by his talent. (Spartanburg) Herald Journal.

For Tuesday use:


ORANGEBURG, S.C. — Alice Elizabeth Syfrett looks across Memorial Plaza in Orangeburg with fond memories of years gone by. At 98 years old, she has many to reflect upon.

Syfrett recalls the horse-and-buggy days of her youth and when the landscape of the county was much different, including when the Orangeburg County Courthouse and the post office were located on the plaza. By Dionne Gleaton, The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg.

For Wednesday use:


AIKEN, S.C. — A person's office can tell you a lot about who they are.

Larry Morris' desk is covered in neat piles of paperwork from a variety of projects happening throughout the city. It's noted that he works hard and stays pretty busy.

Morris, the engineering and utilities director, will be clearing that office in May when he retires at the age of 64 after 25 years with the City of Aiken. By Amy Banton, Aiken Standard.


For Sunday use:


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Spray-paint graffiti and cartons from six-packs of beer litter the underground treasure once known as Black Cat Tavern.

Formerly a well-known nightclub, the cave is now home to snakes in the summer, overgrown foliage and uneven terrain that makes it more dangerous than daring. No longer open to the public, the original entrance is bulldozed and filled with boulders, while the windows and openings in the collapsed walls are barred. By Samantha E. Donaldson, Daily News Journal.

For Monday use:


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — Pipe organs are complex instruments to learn, and not many musicians pursue mastery of this unique sound. But Milligan College's David Runner has been instructing students for 40 years on this technical instrument that provides an experience similar to "conducting an orchestra or a band." By Rex Barber, Johnson City Press.


For Sunday use:


CHARLOTTESVILE, Va. — On-road driving tests, a rite of passage for high school students, could soon join eight-track tape players and bench seats in automotive obsolescence. Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine are studying the effectiveness of virtual reality driving tests with a driving simulator at the Department of Motor Vehicles on Pantops. By Aaron Richardson, The Daily Progress.


NORFOLK, Va. — Neil MacBride once sang and played piano as the Peanuts character Schroeder in a college production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." MacBride's acting career was short-lived.

As U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, MacBride has helped create a new kind of federal law enforcement, breaking legal ground in prosecuting modern-day pirates, war criminals, bank executives and Internet thieves from across the globe, all while keeping pace with a regular docket full of drug, gun and gang cases. By Tim McGlone, The Virginian-Pilot.

For Monday use:


BOONES MILL — Dwayne Hodges winced. Carla Archer, for the second time in less than an hour, had referred to Hodges as a "master carver." ''He's definitely a master of his art."

That would be chain saw art. Hodges will readily tell you he's no Michelangelo, carving David out of marble with mallets, chisels and rasps. But he does consider himself an artist. By Duncan Adams, The Roanoke Times.


FREDERICKSBURG — More than 30 cancer patients will find the winter weather a little less drafty, thanks to the efforts of a Stafford County teen. Mountain View High School student Alexander Burlingame just learned to knit this fall, and he has already crafted dozens of hats. He donated most of them to cancer patients in Virginia and Maryland, and sold some hats to make money for yarn. By Amy Flowers Umble, The Free Lance-Star.


For Sunday use:


WHITE SULPHER SPRINGS, W.Va. — Richard Rosendale, executive chef at The Greenbrier, said the resort is the perfect place to prepare for an upcoming international culinary competition.

He is currently concentrating on cooking in the kitchen that is set up like the one in Lyon, France, where he will represent Team USA at the Bocuse d'Or on Jan. 29 and 30. By Charlotte Ferrell Smith, Charleston Daily Mail.


WHEELING — Science teacher Mary Kay Hustead said working with high school students has "kept her young," but after 36 years of teaching anatomy and genetics, Hustead is the last of the original staff of Wheeling Park High School to retire. By Sarah Harmon, The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

For Monday use:


CHARLESTON — Not everybody is looking to get rich. Junior Sowards isn't really looking to break even or make a buck with his remarkable wooden creations, though he thinks he needs to do something with them.

Sowards makes wooden models of cars, trucks and heavy equipment. He makes his own designs. By Bill Lynch, The Charleston Gazette.


WHEELING — A Wheeling statue that stands as a "memorial to the pioneer mothers of the covered wagon days" is being restored for the first time since it was erected in 1928. The Madonna of the Trail statue, located along National Road near the entrance to Wheeling Park, is undergoing a large-scale restoration, as time has taken a toll on the historic memorial. By Scott McCloskey, The Intelligencer.

The AP

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