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Young or old, beginner or advanced, contact us now to make THIS the year YOU or YOUR CHILD achieves your musical dreams at South Carolina’s largest private music school. With over 1,300 students enrolled in our schools and the most awards of any private music school in South Carolina, we provide lessons for Guitar, Piano, Drums, Voice, Violin, Banjo, Mandolin, Ukulele and more!

Take the next step and contact us online, OR stop by 7 days a week for a personal tour!

ÂŽ Rob Wilson Photography

May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 3


So Much More


WICKER & CUSHIONS Over a dozen Wicker Collections!

custom cushions sunbrella fabrics outdoor pillows

LAWN & GARDEN fountains lanterns

signs & canvas art candlesticks

mirrors frames

baskets ceramics & more!

hats tumblers

adirondacks flags & doormats

bakeware kitchen gadgets glassware dinnerware pots & pans cast iron & more!


GIFTS & ACCESSORIES tshirts scarves

pots umbrellas



bags jewelry

Than Just Pottery...

dips wine

drink mixers dressings

wine accessories cheese boards


FLORAL & RIBBON ribbon mesh

wreath forms silk flowers

premade floral picks & more!


gliders rockers

barstools tete-a-tetes

CUSTOM PICTURE FRAMING AT UNBEATABLE PRICES! Thanks For Voting Us Best Outdoor Furniture Two Years In A Row!


Valid on full-priced merchandise only. Not valid on previous purchases, sale items, or in conjunction with any other coupons or offers. Excludes: all wicker, deep seated cushions, all outdoor furniture (including polywood furniture, adirondacks, and metal furniture), all accent furniture, red and blue tag merchandise, food, wine, cemetery memorials, pre-made floral wreaths and arrangements, and custom floral orders. Other exclusions may apply, see store for details. Coupon must be redeemed at time of purchase. Limit one coupon per customer per day. Expires 5/31/18.


4 | LEXINGTON LIFE | May 2018

Have a Fun and Safe Summer! 359-5393 • 520 Columbia Ave • Lexington, SC 29072-2645

May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 5

Pediatric • Orthodontic • Family Dentistry

SMILES ARE THEIR SPECIALTY by Katie Gantt Palmetto Smiles is proud to be locally owned and operated. Dr. Richard Cross started the practice in the Midlands in 1973. They moved their location to Lexington in 2003 and built their current, state of the art office building on Whiteford Way and are proud to call Lexington home. “We are so lucky to be a part of this community,” says Dr. Rob Nieders, Pediatric Dentist and practice partner. “Our kids go to school here and we are all involved in community activities in different capacities,” says Dr. Kevin Raines. Their team and individual community involvement ranges from a longtime partnership with Lexington’s Kid’s Day, to leadership in area Boy Scout and Girl Scout programs, to coaching youth baseball and basketball. The practice has evolved into a partnership between four dentists. Palmetto Smiles has two Pediatric Dentists: Dr. Kevin Raines and Dr. Rob Nieders. A Pediatric Dentist specializes in the treatment and prevention of dental disease, as well as the overall oral health the child. Through extra years of schooling, training, experience, and certification, a Pediatric Dentist is uniquely qualified to treat the dental needs of infants, children, adolescents, teenagers, and those with special healthcare needs. Because of this special training and certification, the practice can offer the full spectrum of pediatric dentistry including in-office sedation, and even hospital dentistry for extensive work or special needs. The office is also home to a General Dentist, Dr. Jamie Cross Gomez, who is the daughter of practice founder, Dr. Richard Cross. Dr. Gomez offers a range of services for patients of all ages including professional dental cleanings, cosmetic dentistry, same day dental crowns, and comprehensive treatment planning. Dr. Hopkins, an expert in the field of orthodontics, is the most recent partner to join the team of doctors at Palmetto Smiles. Dr. Hopkins provides orthodontic care

for children and adults. Dr. Hopkins is very detail oriented and believes in providing the highest quality of care for her patients, while also being mindful of the number of office visits required during the orthodontic process. Through 3D treatment planning technology, she is able to provide custom orthodontic care for each patient with both braces and clear aligners. Every patient receives a unique set of braces or aligners, which Dr. Hopkins’ has customized just for them. This allows her to treat her patients much more efficiently, decreasing the total treatment time as well as the number of appointments in the office. Because they offer the full spectrum of dentistry, Palmetto Smiles is truly a one-stop-shop for all of your family members’ dental and oral hygiene needs. “We have multiple circumstances where families will come into our office and different family members will be seeing different specialists throughout the practice,” says Dr. Gomez. The doctors at Palmetto Smiles want to ensure that they can offer the best service as well as create a family environment for their staff and guests. Because of their family work environment, they have kept the same staff for years, meaning guests can rely on seeing friendly, familiar faces at their appointments. To ensure the quality of their services, the doctors rely on continuing education and making sure they are offering the most digitally and technologically advanced services. One example of such advancement is their state of the art CAD (computer animated design) CAM, used to take high resolution photos of clients’ teeth for orthodontic purposes and for designing superior fitting crowns and veneers. At Palmetto Smiles, they know that choosing dental care providers is an important decision for families. That is why they strive to make sure their patients’ expectations are exceeded by providing a full spectrum of service options and a friendly, locally owned, family atmosphere.

Palmetto Smiles • 139 Whiteford Way, Lexington, SC 29072 (803) 951-9100 • 6 | LEXINGTON LIFE | May 2018

Run the cup!

Friday Saturday May 18, 2018 May 19, 2018 Main Street Mile Half Marathon Kids’ Main Street Mile 5K Run/Walk

May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 7

Nom www inate on l .Lexi ngto ine at nlife .com

2019 Best of Lexington Life!

Nominate Your Favorite Local Businesses online at! The top three nominees in each category will be listed on the 2019 Best of Lexington Life ballot in the September issue of Lexington Life Magazine. Nomination deadline is July 23. 8 | LEXINGTON LIFE | May 2018


HOSPITALITY COORDINATOR Catharine Clark 803-800-0835

DIRECTOR OF SALES Donna Shevchik 803-518-8853

It’s crazy to think that I have a child about to graduate high school and head off to The Citadel in the fall. Where did the time go? It seems like yesterday we were camping out at Saxe Gotha Presbyterian to make sure he was enrolled in their preschool program. I am very proud of Joey and the young man he has become. When we started Lexington Life in 2004, he was five years old and we have done a family picture every month since then. It is suddenly apparent to both Donna and me that our family dynamic is about to change when he departs for college this summer. I have begun to cherish my time spent with him more lately. I think he was slightly annoyed with how many senior prom pictures we took of him and his date Cameron, but that’s what parents do. I could hear Mom in heaven saying, “I told you Todd that one day you’d understand why I stayed up and worried about you until you got home.” She was right, of course, as Donna and I waited anxiously until Joey got home from his senior prom. The timing was perfect since Mother’s Day is right around the corner and I constantly gain an increased appreciation for all that Mom did for my brother and me growing up. I wish I could hug her and tell her thank you in person. I miss her very much. Enjoy your Mother’s Day and hug your Mom extra tight. Thanks for reading Lexington Life.

Cara Hardy 803-315-9671


EDITOR Katie Gantt

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Jane Carter, Kim Curlee

EDITOR EMERITUS Allison Caldwell ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Tracy Tuten 803-603-8187 Elinor Fatato 803-447-0873

WEBSITE DESIGNER Paul Tomlinson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kristi Antley, Kristen Carter, Catharine Clark, Katie Gantt, Mary Ann Hutcheson, Amber Machado, Jackie Perrone, Solomon Price, Derek Savoy, Natalie Szrajer, Marilyn Thomas

CONTACT US: 5483 Sunset Blvd., Unit G, Lexington, SC 29072 • 803.356.6500

rk, arine Cla , to, Cath n ta te Fa Tu r o Tracy ) Elin , L to R) w, L to R tie Gantt ack row a (b K (front ro e e rl Kim Cu

Todd Shevchik



16 Welcome to Clinton Sease Farms 23 Lexington County Guardian ad Litem Program 25 Don’t Just Throw it in the Bag 28 The Law Office of James R. Snell 32 Glam Warfare 38 Service Dogs in our Community 47 Mother’s Day Gifts 51 Midlands Middle College 56 To the Makers of Bones and Glass


13 Faith Matters 61 David Clark




9 From the Publisher 11 Events 15 Lexington Leader 59 Faith in Action 62 Spice of Life



Don’t let summer allergies keep you from the fun! Call today to schedule your free consultation!

Board Certified in Pediatric and Adult Allergies and Asthma Ty Coleman, Jr., M.D. • Hector Rodriguez, M.D. (803)794-3581 • WiFi availableWest Columbia, SC • Near Lexington Medical Center

Hours of Operation: Monday 8:30am-6:00pm Tuesday 8:30am-6:00pm Wednesday 8:30am-6:00pm Thursday 8:30am-6:00pm Friday 8:30am-6:00pm

Serving Lake Murray, Lake Marion, Lake Wateree, and Lake Greenwood | 803-951-1900 1847 Augusta Highway | Lexington, SC

Happy Mother’s Day to all of our pet moms!

Like us on Facebook Hours: Mon-Fri: 7:30am – 6pm Sat: 9am – 12pm, Sun: Closed 811 East Main Street, Lexington, SC 29072 • 803.359.1933

10 | LEXINGTON LIFE | May 2018

MAY Friday Night Lights Topspin Racquet and Swim Club, 5347 Sunset Blvd., Lexington, 6:30 p.m. Each week, Topspin will have 4 local students on the court to show guests some good tennis. Enjoy food and drink while watching the matches. Free admission for Topspin members. $10 general admission. Saturday, May 19 9th Annual Palmetto Patriots’ Ball Fort Jackson NCO Club, 5700 Lee Rd., Columbia, 5 p.m. – midnight Attend this fundraiser, hosted by the Blue Star Mothers of America, Midlands Chapter 1, ready to dance in your semi-formal to formal attire. All attendees must show SC ID to gain admission to Fork Jackson. Thursday, May 10 – Saturday, May 12 2018 SC Poultry Festival 101 Main St., Leesville, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. Enjoy the festivities at the 32nd annual Poultry Festival. Favorite attractions include the annual parade, road race, volleyball tournament, cooking contest, car show, games, rides, a variety of food vendors and craft booths, three stages of entertainment and the Saturday night fireworks display. Friday, May 11 Poetry Reading with Charleston Poet Laureate, Marcus Amaker Irmo Branch of Lex. Co. Library, 6251 St. Andrews Rd., Columbia, 6 – 8 p.m. Listen to Charleston’s first Poet Laureate, Marcus Amaker, read selections from his latest project, “Empath.” Light refreshments will be served. 803.798.7880 for more information. Saturday, May 12 Lexington Mommy Education Fair 2018 111 Maiden Ln., Lexington, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Looking for summer camp options? Extracurricular classes or lessons? School options? Sports? Lexington Mommy’s Education Fair will have dozens of businesses that offer opportunities for your kids from preschoolers to teens! for more info. Saturday, May 12 Lexington Wine Walk Icehouse Amphitheater, 107 W. Main St., Lexington, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Exhibitors, Main Street merchants, and restaurants will serve wine and hors d’oeuvres. Ticket price includes a complimentary wine glass, hors d’oeuvres, wine tastings, and live music. Tickets/$30. for more information. Saturday, May 19 Growing & Cooking with Herbs Wingard’s Market, 1403 N. Lake Dr., Lexington, 10 a.m. Flavor your food with fresh herbs, a healthy alternative to salt and butter! The folks at Wingard’s will teach you how to grow some popular varieties of herbs. Register at or call 803.359.9091. Friday, May 25 Build Your Own Rain Barrel Workshop Lexington Co. EMS, 407 Ball Park Rd., Lexington, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Workshop begins with a class at Lex. Co. EMS and culminates at the Public Works garages on Ball Park Rd. Fee of $25 includes refreshments and supplies to build one rain barrel. To register, contact Tina Blum at 803.358.8679 or tina.blum@sc.nacdnet.

Submit your event info five weeks in advance to Events will be included as space permits.

Thank You for Voting Us the Best!

Agents Cindy Harris and Sharon Albert are Ready to Help You Have Your Dream Vacation 109 Old Chapin Rd Ste G, Lexington, SC 29072 • 803-358-2220 Mon - Fri 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM Saturday by appointment

May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 11

MAY IS BETTER HEARING MONTH Huh? What’s that? Do what now? Come again? If you are like millions of others in our country who have loved ones with hearing loss, then these phrases may be all too familiar. That’s why, at Lake Murray Hearing, we want to remind you that May is National Better Hearing Month. We recommend a hearing check for individuals of all ages. Although age is the primary factor in hearing loss, exposure to loud noise and music has resulted in decreased hearing in younger people as well. In addition, recent research has shown that there is a significant relationship between hearing issues and other common medical conditions. Hearing loss has been associated with cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, an increased risk of falling, and depression. Those with hearing impairments are five times more likely to present with dementia and 32% more likely to be hospitalized. Thankfully, there are treatment options for those who suffer from hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Although not the only option, hearing aids are certainly one of the most effective means of addressing hearing issues. 12 | LEXINGTON LIFE | May 2018

And they have come a long way. Devices are now Bluetooth enabled with options to connect directly to cell phones, televisions, and computers. Further, they come in many different style options and price levels. Most important, today’s hearing devices can help you hear better in quiet, group conversations, and noisy places automatically. There are even extended wear devices that provide 24/7 invisible hearing for months at a time without ever leaving the ear. Think of it as a contact lens for the ear. In fact, Lake Murray Hearing is the only provider of the Lyric extend wear device in the Midlands. At Lake Murray Hearing we are focused to provide every individual with a comprehensive evaluation that provides answers to your hearing problems regardless of how small or complex they may seem. You are given clear and affordable options and will always have the opportunity to listen to what better hearing sounds like. We do not pressure you, we really just want to be your hearing experts. So, if someone you know is cranking up the TV, needs everything repeated, or just gives wrong answers -- tell them this is the time to get their hearing checked. If your child’s speech is delayed or they don’t respond, get their hearing checked. Now is the time to act. See your local audiologist.

150 Whiteford Way, Lexington, SC (803) 808-9611 5301 Trenholm Rd., Suite A, Columbia, SC (803)888-7330 •

Pastor Pat Riddle St. Stephen’s Evangelical Lutheran Church

Stewart & Company Certified Public Accountants

Get Your Tax Documents Ready!

Come and see us for your tax planning before it is too late! Call today for an appointment! We offer bookkeeping, payroll, personal and business tax planning and consulting, estate planning, and management advisory services.

309 N Lake La Drive Lexington SC 29072


Dear Friends, One of the great stories in the Bible is about hands. In John’s Gospel, eight days after the resurrection, Jesus meets the disciples and shows Thomas his hands. You might say it is all about hands. A basketball in my hands will struggle to get through the hoop. In Michael Jordan’s hands it brings six NBA championships. It depends on whose hands it’s in. A baseball bat in my hands can’t hit a curve ball. In Hank Aaron’s hands, the bat takes the baseball out of the yard. It depends on whose hands it’s in. Let me assure you that a tennis racket is absolutely useless in my hands. In Pete Sampras’ hands, it’s a Wimbledon Championship. It depends on whose hands it’s in. A golf driver in my hands, no matter how hard I try, still won’t score under 95. In the hands of Patrick Reed, it finds its way to the clubhouse at Augusta and a green jacket. It depends on whose hands it’s in. A staff rod in my hands might keep me from falling down. In Moses’ hands, it parts the mighty sea. It depends on whose hands it’s in. A sling shot in my hands is a kid’s toy. In David’s hand it is a mighty weapon. It depends on whose hands it’s in. Two fish and five loaves of bread in my hands are a few fish sandwiches. Two fish and five loaves of bread in God’s Hands will feed thousands. It depends on whose hands they are in. Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse. Nails in Jesus Christ’s hands produce salvation for the entire world. You see it depends on whose hands they are in. What are you holding in your hands? Or maybe better, whose hands are holding you? It is my prayer that you be held close in the hands of God. St. Stephen’s Evangelical Lutheran Church 119 North Church St., Lexington, SC 29072 803-359-6562 • Service times: Sundays at 8:30 and 11 a.m. Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m.

Don’t Forget About Mom Mother’s Day is May 13th!


Show how much you love your Mom by taking care of your health!

Flowers for all occasions | Specializing in weddings

Join our community of families seeking TRUE health. Experience the difference when a physician:

family owned, locally operated by Jimmy Worthy | 803-808-0711 ww

1100 West Main Street, Lexington • 803-359-6097 Hours Mon-Sat 8am-5:30pm • We accept major credit cards

Listens ~ Explains the cause INSURANCE ACCEPTED. FAMILY PLANS. WELLNESS PLANS. Its time to stop hiding the symptom. Feel like yourself again. 

May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 13

HappyMother’s Day! Thank you Lexington for your continued support!

Whole Pigs, Boston Butts, Fresh Hams, Ribs, Hamburger Patties and Hotdogs Three Convenient Locations: 925 North Lake Drive, Lexington, SC 29072, (803) 358-6848 6352 St. Andrews Rd., Columbia, SC 29212, (803) 772-3602 710 Main Street, West Columbia, SC 29170, (803) 755-3171

Life Lives Better at The Village at Southlake Sell your unwanted Gold and Silver Jewelry today!! Supplying all of your coin collecting needs as well as offering a large selection of collectible coins, GOLD and Silver Bullion Investments, Baseball Cards, Coca-Cola Memorabilia and much more!

WE BUY and SELL GOLD and SILVER Shop and compare prices before you sell!

Happy Memorial Day! Thank you for voting us Lexington’s Best Coin and Collectible Dealer! 5 miles from Lexington High School in The Shoppes of Gilbert 4079 Augusta Highway • 803-892-4307 • We Buy Coins, Gold and Silver Jewelry, Paper Money Appraisals available for Coin Collections

14 | LEXINGTON LIFE | May 2018

123 Gibson Road, Lexington SC 29072 803.356.1158

by Jackie Perrone

Gene Royer Gene Royer has no need for an interior designer to plan the wall décor at All American Heating & Air, his business on Leaphart Road in West Columbia. Just about every inch is already spoken for with the plaques and certificates he has received from the many community projects he has served. “We do whatever we can when there’s a need in this community,” he says. “And especially anything that involves veterans and kids. That’s where my heart is.” Royer, a military veteran himself, has found many ways to assist other veterans in the Midlands. Among his favorite memories are the several times that, as a sponsor, he accompanied a veteran on the Honor Flight to Washington D.C. He is also a co-founder of the Vets’ Christmas Charity Ride, which at latest count had 6,000 motorcycle riders parading to bring gifts to the patients at Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia – the 17th consecutive time this event has been held here. Overall, about $1 million has been raised for this project, which ensures that no hospitalized veteran is ignored or left alone at Christmas. At the other end of the Royer charity spectrum are the children of the Lexington community. Whether the need is personal or a school shortage problem, school administrators around our area know that a phone call to Gene Royer will yield a desired result when something requires action. “I love kids,” he says. “They’re our future, of course, and if we

can help out to provide for them it’s what we want to do.” Especially close to my heart is Camp Kemo, which provides an outdoor camping experience for children undergoing cancer treatment. He also actively works to get sponsorship of local ball teams to keep kids active in sports. “One year we learned that Airport High needed athletic shoes for their ball players,” he says. “We furnished shoes for everyone on the team.” Toys for Tots, Meals on Wheels, Harvest Hope and many other worthy charities have benefitted from his generosity, all while Gene and his wife Debbie, (a nurse and also a fellow military veteran), were raising five children; when the youngest graduates next year from the University of South Carolina, all will hold college degrees and some post-graduate diplomas. Gene is a transplant to South Carolina, having grown up in Arizona and enlisted in the Army at age 17 during the Vietnam War. He was assigned for a while at Fort Jackson, and upon discharge moved to Lexington and received his education at Midlands Tech. He opened All American Heating and Air in 1991, and built the current headquarters building in 2002. He likes to quote his favorite movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” saying, “Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” Sometimes he can see the effects of his help to others; it keeps him motivated. n May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 15

Welcome To

n S o e t a n i s l e C


Shirley Rawl Sease and Clinton Sease practically grew up together. As children, Shirley and Clinton went to church and school together and attended yearly celebrations of their parents’ shared wedding anniversaries. Clinton’s parents, Armand and Roselyn, started the farm in 1940 with 20 acres of land they purchased. Clinton said, “They cleared the land with mules & dynamite!” Their first crops were sweet potatoes and peas.

by Mary Ann Hutcheson 16 | LEXINGTON LIFE | May 2018

Shirley and Clinton Sease

Clinton and Shirley were married in 1970 and took ownership of the farm in 1978, raising leafy greens and green onions. With a Home Economics Education degree from Winthrop College, Shirley taught a year and a half before leaving to raise their three daughters and to work on the farm. When their daughters reached college age, Shirley returned to teach daily living skills to special needs students at Lexington High. One of her students asked, “Why can’t we make strawberry pudding?” After experimenting with different ingredients, a recipe evolved and soon became a favorite. Shirley has shared the recipe for our readers. “All of this had a lot to do with my farm background,” Shirley said, “and, my professional interest in Home Economics. I loved to cook; I still love to cook. I still prepare three meals a day at home.” Her husband Clinton teased: “The main reason I married Shirley 48 years ago is because I knew she could cook.” In 1999, Clinton and Shirley opened The Farmer’s Shed as a produce market and garden center. They expanded with their diner section in 2001, incorporating fresh vegetables from their farm. Shirley said, “I did a lot consumer education. People came in who had no idea

how to cook a fresh bean, so I started cooking classes and then herb classes.” Some of Shirley’s loyal customers from the Farmer’s Shed tell her they still miss her Strawberry Delite and Jefferson Chicken. Agritourism Farming is a challenging profession, one for which it is hard to turn a profit. When time came for them to slow down, Shirley said, “We had to make a decision. We’d have to choose between The Farmer’s Shed or our farm. In the end, we didn’t have the same love for The Farmer’s Shed as we had for the farm. We both grew up on the farm.” Ever resourceful, the couple learned about Agritourism. Agriculture-based activities that bring people to farms is a popular way to save the farms and keep them from turning into strip malls or housing developments. Clinton put it best: “We don’t farm vegetables anymore; we farm people. I’ve been

“We had to make a decision. We’d have to choose between The Farmer’s Shed or our farm. In the end, we didn’t have the same love for The Farmer’s Shed as we had for the farm. We both grew up on the farm.” May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 17

Thanks for Voting Us the Best Wings!

Take Mom to Lunch!

Country Buffet Every Sunday • Live Trivia every Monday Bradley Sanders May 18th Open for lunch and dinner. Happy Hour: Everyday from 4-7 pm.  Karaoke: Every Thursday Night • New menu items added

The only person that knows it’s used is you and your wallet. Thank You Friends and Customers For Voting Us


Thanks for Allowing us to serve LEXINGTON for over 40 Years


4779 Sunset Blvd., Lexington • 18 | LEXINGTON LIFE | May 2018

farming all my life, and farming is a hard way to make a profit. It is a dying lifestyle.” In 2004, the couple made the decision to put in a corn maze. The first year brought a lot of startup challenges. One of them was a Category 4 hurricane named Charley that arrived just as the maze was getting ready to open. Farm Education Additional activities were added in the years following the corn maze. The farm tours school children and child development centers are several of the most successful. The farm has a staff of retired school teachers that do an excellent job of educating their guests. Farmer’s Sease Garden tours are offered in June, and Pumpkin Tours in October. Each Spring, the farm offers strawberry tours. During the strawberry tours, students learn about the growth cycle of the strawberry from pictures, stories and a song written by one of the teachers. The children engage in an activity appropriate for their grade level. Instructors also stress the importance of pollination. Students learn that the bee is the farmer’s best friend, without which there would be no fruits or vegetables. The children enjoy a hayride to the patch, making stops along the way to view the farm animals. Clinton uses that time to teach them about the importance of animals on the farm.

The farm also has a dairy center, because, as Shirley says, “How can you make strawberry ice cream without milk?” “When the kids get here and see our playground, that’s all they really want to do,” Shirley says. “We have a unique farm playground. We feel it is important to let the kids play in the soil, get dirty, and learn where their food comes from.” Among the many popular activities offered by the farm are birthday parties.

Farmer’s Shed Strawberry Pudding 1 box vanilla wafers 1 box instant cheesecake pudding (3.4 oz) 1 cup milk 1 cup sour cream 1 (8 oz) Cool Whip 1 qt. fresh strawberries, washed and sliced In a large mixing bowl, mix pudding, milk and sour cream with a wisk or spoon. Add Cool Whip and mix well. In a 9 x 13 pan or dish, place a single later of vanilla wafers. Place half of the strawberries. Repeat layers. Crumble some vanilla wafers on top. Serve chilled.

May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 19

Moms Choose

BIG BLUE MARBLE ACADEMY I choose to send my children to BBMA because this is the community I grew up in. I know that my boys are in a safe, nurturing environment while having fun and learning. Having that peace of mind is priceless for any working mom!” —Rebecca Bass, Gilbert, SC

Convenient care you can trust. Where does it hurt? We’re here for that! URGENT CARE § Cold, Cough, and Flu § Allergies and Sinus Infections § Broken Bones, Fractures, Sprains and Strains § Cuts, Scrapes, Minor Burns and Wounds

FAMILY CARE § Annual, Work, School and Sports Physicals § Basic Blood Pressure Care § Basic Diabetes Care § On-site X-ray and Labs

17 Midlands Locations Doctors Care Parkridge is Now Open!

(On the Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge Hospital campus)

100 Palmetto Health Pkwy, Ste. 104 Columbia | 803-999-1214

§ On-site Prescriptions

Open Late and Weekends Walk-ins Welcome Check-in Online at

Sunday–Saturday 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Kin

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rid Park

Doctors Care and Palmetto Health have collaborated to provide you the very best access to health care options in the Midlands. The health care professionals at our two organizations are committed to working together to ensure an exceptional continuum of care for you and your family.


Lake Murray Blvd.

And the months of April and May offer strawberry parties; April through August provide fishing parties; and Corn Maze Parties take place from September through November. Clinton and Shirley are not afraid of hard work or getting their hands dirty. They grew up taking care of business, and continue to do so even now into their retirement years. They are always on the lookout for new things to add to the farm to help educate the children about it. Shirley said, “I am good at planning things . . . for him to do,” looking over at her husband. “Sometimes while he’s eating, I see him inspecting my list and he’ll say, ‘Gosh, I’ve got to get all that done! Don’t you ever scratch anything off?’” The Seases have their roots firmly planted in the soil. It is important to them that children understand the value of a farm. By providing them with the opportunity to connect with the outdoors, the farm environment and opportunities to play in the soil, Clinton and Shirley give meaning to the phrase, “No farmers, no food, no clothes, no shelter.” n


382 Olde Farm Road, Lexington, SC 29072 • 803-730-2863 • FB: ClintonSeaseFarm

Thank you for voting us the BEST!

GAS FOOD BAIT ICE We even have church on Sundays at 8am. Join us! 125 Big Mans Road, Leesville, SC 803-532-4770 Grill Open 7 days! Mon-Sat: 6am until, Sun: 12-6pm

CAUGHMAN HARMAN Funeral Homes Lexington Chapel Southland Chapel Chapin Chapel

(803) 359-6118 menchie's kitty's korner 5580 sunset blvd. suite b, lexington, sc 29072 | 803-356-0643, Exp: 5/31/18 803-356-0643

May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 21

Auto • Home • Business 1612 W. Main St., Lexington

• Windshield Repair & Replacement • Shower Doors • Mirrors • Table Tops • Cabinet Glass • Glass Shelving • Replacement Home Windows, Patio Doors • Store Fronts • Laminated & PlexiGlass


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(803) 457-7000 22 | LEXINGTON LIFE | May 2018

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South Carolina Guardian ad Litem Program by Katie Gantt Volunteers with the Cass Elias McCarter Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program are appointed by Family Court judges to represent children’s best interests in cases of alleged child abuse. It is the Guardian ad Litem volunteer’s job to get to know the child and everyone involved in the child’s life, including family, teachers, doctors and others. The volunteer gathers information about the child and what the child needs and wants in order to live a safe, normal and stable life. In South Carolina, children are often not present in court when decisions about their futures are being made. “GAL volunteers bridge that gap and tell the judge what children want, without children having to experience trauma in a courtroom setting.” GAL volunteers are people like you and their backgrounds range across the board. They are men and women; young and old. Some volunteers work full time; some are retired; some are students; some are teachers; some are parents; some are grandparents. But they all have one thing in common and that is their devotion to ensuring the stability and happiness of Lexington County’s most vulnerable children. Their effectiveness in this endeavor has been documented. A 2006 audit conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General demonstrates that once a volunteer is assigned, approximately 95 percent of children do not languish in long-term foster care and 90 percent of children never re-enter the child welfare system. Yvone Bergen is one of the outstanding volunteers in Lexington. She was the youngest in a large family of nine children and raised two daughters on her own. She is now retired after working for the state of South Carolina for 34 years. She also worked with children for many years in orphanages, churches and children’s homes before her time in the GAL program. She has been a volunteer for GAL for one year and finds much satisfaction in “helping shape the future of these children, being their voice and giving hope to abused and neglected children here in Lexington County.” When asked what she wished other people knew about becoming a volunteer, Bergen responded: “I wish people knew what a big difference they can make in a child’s life and how they can make a difference in their community. For example, when the court is making a decision that will impact a child’s future, the child needs and deserves a voice from an objective adult to provide dependable information about the best interests of the child. While other parties in the case may not have the same concerns about the child, the volunteer Guardian ad Litem is the only person in the case whose sole concern is the best interest of the child.” Thank you to the Lexington County Guardian ad Litem volunteer program for finding and training volunteers to advocate for the well-being of our community’s most vulnerable children.

Photos courtesy of National CASA

If you are interested in learning about becoming a volunteer, contact Lisa Crawford (803-957-6484) or ( You can also visit our website (

May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 23

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Don’t Just THROW IT

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by Catharine Clark

With warmer months upon us, travel and vacation plans are ready to be set in motion. Excitement is on the rise as itineraries are being set, flights are being booked, and bags are being packed. A well packed bag is very important to the overall vacation experience. Not looking forward to packing? Save yourself the headache this summer travel season and follow these tips to pack more efficiently. Check baggage policy Before anything goes into your suitcase, check your airline’s baggage policy. Airlines typically allow you to have one carry-on item, which can be stowed overhead or under the seats. The carry-on can be a small suitcase or a duffel bag. Airlines also allow you one personal item in addition to your carry-on. The personal item can be a large purse, backpack, or drawstring bag. To avoid checking in your luggage and paying hefty baggage fees, take advantage of your carry on and personal item by packing your vacation essentials in them. Make a packing list Making a list of what you need for your trip is essential for not leaving anything behind. Take a day (or two) to think about your

planned activities, your destination’s weather forecast, and necessities for travel. Make a list and pack in confidence that you are remembering everything necessary. Roll clothes; don’t fold Many travel experts encourage rolling over folding clothes when it comes to packing. Tightly rolled clothes take up less space than folded ones. Rolled clothes are less prone to wrinkle from fold creases. Layer Layering your wardrobe can also make packing less stressful. Your “on-the-road” wardrobe should consist of many pieces that are suitable for all locations and climates. Bringing the essentials (lightweight jacket, yoga pants, jeans, a plain t-shirt, and a long-sleeved shirt) helps you to prepare for any type of weather you may encounter during your vacation. In addition to layering your wardrobe, the items in your luggage should be packed in neat layers for no-hassle security screening. The TSA encourages that you pack in layers (clothes one layer, shoes one layer, towels

May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 25

26 | LEXINGTON LIFE | May 2018

one layer, electronics one layer) so that security can get a clear picture of what is inside your bag. The faster the TSA agent can screen your luggage, the faster you can get through the security line. Use packing aids Packing aids can often be an unsung hero when packing a suitcase. Air-tight vacuum-seal bags are a favorite among frequent flyers. Not only do they create more room in your suitcase, but they keep your clothes organized and wrinkle-free. Packing cubes are another good option for organization. Shoes Shoes are always the most difficult to pack. They can be bulky and don’t always fit nicely into suitcases. In order to avoid the chaos of jamming your shoes into an overstuffed suitcase, be smart in what shoes you pack instead of how you pack them. Always bring flip-flops, no matter where you are going. They weigh almost nothing and fit in the tightest space of your suitcase. Flip-flops are great for the beach and perfect to act as “house shoes” for your stay in a hotel. A pair of neutral flats is great to dress up and down for afternoon and evening looks. Sneakers are a must if you plan on exploring a new city

or taking advantage of the gym in your hotel. You can save room in your suitcase by wearing your bulkiest shoes while on the plane (sneakers) and packing your lightest shoes in your suitcase. Liquids The liquid policy for flights can be aggravating, especially if you forget to check the TSA guidelines. To avoid having your super-expensive fullsized shampoo and hairspray thrown away at security, check TSA guidelines for its most updated liquid policy. Generally, you are allowed to take clear quart-sized bags of liquids, gels, creams, and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the check points. These items are limited to small containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Travel-size products (shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, etc.) are perfect for this reason. Pack items that are in containers larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in checked baggage. With vacations quickly approaching, don’t let the packing and preparation get the best of you. After following these simple tips, you can enjoy your vacation in confidence that you packed efficiently and have everything you need to make special memories with loved ones this summer. n

May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 27

The Law Office of

Defending You by Marilyn Thomas 28 | LEXINGTON LIFE | May 2018

“Everything we tell somebody we do, we do,” says James R. Snell, Jr., the founder of The Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC. This successful, thirteen-year-old practice, located at 123 Harmon Street, is motivated by a “sense of urgency” that is appreciated by those they serve. “We measure success in satisfied clients,” Mr. Snell asserts, “and we do very well.” During his youth, the Snell family owned and operated grocery stores in Spartanburg, and that’s where a young James developed a strong work ethic and a “sense of urgency” when dealing with the public. After high school, he completed his Bachelor of Science degree at Limestone College in 18 months, while working full-

time, and then enrolled in the University of South Carolina’s School of Law. “I wanted something that would allow me to be entrepreneurial, but also intellectually stimulating,” he explains. “Law has that, in addition to allowing me to really make a difference for clients.” While still in law school, he was offered a position as a part-time law clerk with local legal legend and former mayor of the Town of Lexington, H. Hugh Rogers. His late aunt had worked for Mr. Rogers, who has been practicing law since 1965. “After being sworn in as a lawyer on November 15, 2004,” Mr. Snell recalls, “Mr. Rogers offered me two weeks of free rent.” Because of its lower-than-average

ber of lawyers per capita and plentiful litigation opportunities, Mr. Snell decided to stay in Lexington. Although technically a transplant, he has deep ancestral roots within the area and is a descendant

lems with a “sense of urgency,” says Mr. Snell. “I encourage same-day appointments, and we try to get started right away. It’s not unusual for us to begin filing legal motions and working with an

“I enjoy situations where we can make a difference, and really feel good about the service we are providing.” of Barbara “Granny” Corley, a founder of the town whose name is engraved on the historical marker at the old courthouse. His first clients were referred to him by other local lawyers when they were not interested in taking their cases. Thus, he became involved in “all types of lawsuits” relating to loan closings, bankruptcies, disability hearings, contested farm permits, and family court. “I was fortunate to be able to begin signing clients immediately,” he says, “and that’s continued.” Mr. Snell estimates that the firm is currently handling matters in about 20 counties throughout South Carolina, but in 2007, they began to focus more on pursuing criminal cases. Today, “We are best known for the criminal defense side of the practice,” explains Mr. Snell. “There is

investigator the same day we are hired.” “We still, however, do a very steady stream of personal injury,” he adds. “I’ve obtained millions of dollars in compensation for clients in automobile accidents, workers’ compensation, medical, and premises liability cases.” Additionally, the firm works in certain “niche areas” including uncontested adoptions, appeals, name changes, and judgment collection. “I’m also very interested about becoming more involved with mass torts,” says Mr. Snell. “That is a really exciting practice area for us; there is a big need to help local residents with injuries caused by prescription drugs.” Since those early days, Mr. Snell has grown his practice from a one-man show to a staff of seven, which includes a sec-

James R. Snell, Jr., LLC: At All Costs

ur Rights

a heavy emphasis on DUI (driving under the influence), domestic violence, and felony defense in General Sessions.” “I enjoy situations where we can make a difference, and really feel good about the service we are providing,” says Mr. Snell. “A lot of people feel like they have been treated unfairly by the police or the system before, and I like to be able to provide them with a better experience.” Most of the time, Mr. Snell’s clients “are involuntarily thrust into this world,” he explains. “A lot of our clients are people who didn’t choose to be anybody’s client. They found themselves in a situation, and they are really looking for help.” Harkening back to those grocery-store days, the firm approaches all legal

ond lawyer and his own wife, Lee, who is the firm’s business manager. They have a satellite office in Columbia, and Mr. Snell recently relocated his main practice to a newly constructed building at 123 Harmon Street, across from the Old Mill in the heart of Lexington, “It really is a great environment for our staff and our clients,” says Mr. Snell, who personally designed the facility so the staff can work behind the scenes uninterrupted, while the clients privately meet with their representation in calm and classy surroundings such as the Louvre and Orsay conference rooms. “I’ve got a really great staff,” says Mr. Snell. “They are smart, dedicated, and really want to see our clients get the

best results possible. I couldn’t practice at the level I am currently able to without their help.” Collectively and individually, the firm has embraced their place in the Lexington community. They have hosted a booth at Kid’s Day that featured a balloon artist to entertain the children. Additionally, they have been platinum sponsors for the 2018 Heartworm Project, a local charity that helps shelter animals receive needed medical care; sponsored the Tribe baseball team in Gilbert; and given regular donations to causes such as the Shriner’s Hospital. Mr. Snell also serves on the Town of Lexington’s Board of Building Code Appeals and is on the eleventh Circuit Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee. He belongs to a number of other law-related entities and was a previous president of the Lexington County Bar Association. In his spare time, he has completed additional college courses, presented at national conferences about technical legal issues, and authored books including Challenging CDV, a publication about the defense of domestic violence cases, and South Carolina DUI Defense, The Law and Practice. For more information, the firm can be reached by calling 888.301.6004, and other details about the practice and the litigation they handle are described on their website at “Call now!” says Mr. Snell. “People feel better when they know their situation is handled or being addressed.” n May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 29

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It took a life-altering diagnosis for me to fully recognize how my current circumstances were impacting my personal style and how I chose to present myself to the world.

32 | LEXINGTON LIFE | May 2018

e r a f war

by Amber Machado

“You don’t seem very comfortable in what you’re wearing today.” I looked down at my faded Victoria’s Secret PINK pajama bottoms, speechless. I hadn’t planned on attending a yoga class that afternoon, but my sister wanted to go so I improvised as best I could by wearing some pajamas I had in an overnight bag. We were rolling up our mats after class when the instructor came over and with the most genuine and honest expression on her face, made her promulgation. A decade later I can laugh and appreciate the humor in her candor, something that was certainly lost to me at the time. Her assessment, tactless as it was, was completely accurate. I was uncomfortable. Yoga is hard. I don’t even like yoga. The fact that I was wearing stained pajama bottoms only made matters worse. Outside of this experience I can think of many more times when my confidence was impacted by something as little as a cowlick or an ill-fitting shirt. How can something so seemingly minor affect our mood or even how we feel about ourselves? Besides the obvious, utilitarian purposes, clothing and personal style provide us with a sheath of security. There’s a stigma of sorts associated with fashion and style. Paying too much attention to your appearance is considered vain, shallow or superficial. Spending too much time on your makeup or investing in too much clothing is selfish, frivolous. Maybe if we gave ourselves a pass to examine the outward we would learn something about ourselves and each other. Bill Cunningham, one of NYC’s most notable fashion photographers firmly believed that Manhattan’s busy streets served as the best runway. He had no interest in elaborate runway shows or celebrities donning free clothes from designers. He saw beauty in the everyday style of the people around him. He saw beauty in the obscure as well as the mundane. He captured street fashion in its truest form, each photograph reflecting a bit of the subject’s personality, their mood, a piece of their day. It took a life-altering diagnosis for me to fully recognize how my current circumstances were impacting my personal style and how I chose to present myself to the world. Aside from my yoga class worst-dressed moment, I’ve always considered myself to have a pretty good grip on style. I’ve never been a huge risk taker or trendsetter by any means, but I always admired those that were from a safe distance. I rock a jumpsuit semiannually or so. I’ve had feather extensions in my hair, wore fur vests proudly and still adore my retro high-waisted bikini bottoms. I would push the limits carefully, depending on where I was and who I was with. Last year something changed. I found myself stepping outside of my comfort zone more often and without abandon. I got bangs. I cut my hair to just below my ears. I experimented with clothing I wouldn’t normally wear. I started to envision what I would look like as a blonde and taught myself how to Dutch braid. I became obsessed with disco and wore red lipstick for the first time in my life. Ironically, the more obsessed I became with clothes and makeup, the deeper I dove into my emotions and found myself doing more soul searching in May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 33

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one year than I had in my adult life. It didn’t occur to me right away that these impulses were a result of health issues I was experiencing at the time. Once the culprit was finally identified as Lupus, or “Lupe Fiasco” as I have since named her, I made a very interesting discovery. What I discovered was freedom. I finally had the freedom to express myself without fear of disapproval. It wasn’t a coincidence that I was stepping out of my comfort zone. I hadn’t had some enlightening experience in which I learned to throw caution to the wind and “dress for me.” I was coping with my disease the only way I knew how. Every unexpected turn of events, every weird, random symptom made me feel stripped of power, vulnerable and weak. There’s a war room inside of me that’s constantly coming up with different tactics, strategies. Lupe serves up an unsightly rash on my back? Good. I’ll cut my hair to the middle of my neck. Check mate. I can’t control the joint pain in my fingers, but I can and will rock a fierce manicure at all times. Making deliberate choices about what to wear, or how to style my hair makes me feel as if I still have control. Boxer braids and hoop earrings have become my coat of armor, and for the first time I don’t care what anyone else thinks of my appearance. Cobalt blue eyeliner may not suit me, but when I am fatigued and look in the mirror it makes me feel stronger than my typical taupe. We all wake up and get dressed in the morning. We dress for success, we dress for comfort, we dress to impress. We dress for others, we dress for ourselves. There will always be runways showcasing the extreme art form that is fashion, but there’s just as much artistic beauty in your own wardrobe. Even if you don’t find yourself in a mental war room each day, your personal style is still motivated by something. Our individual style and the clothes that we wear provide a sheath of security, but more than that, they give us the confidence we need to face the day. Bill Cunningham summed this up perfectly when he said “The wider world perceives fashion as frivolity that should be done away with. The point is that fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.” So the next time you feel guilty about investing in a pair of jeans that make you feel unstoppable or question whether or not to chop your hair off, ask yourself what is causing your hesitation. Something that gives you strength and confidence is far from frivolous—it’s essential. n

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v r i e c e S by Derek Savoy

in Our Community Working, service, assistance, and therapy dogs play major roles in our society and aid in the day-to-day activities of at least 500,000 Americans.

K-9 Dony and Officer J. Garcia

38 | LEXINGTON LIFE | May 2018


here are over a dozen types of service dogs, which are trained to help their handlers manage certain disabilities. Some common examples are hearing dogs to alert the deaf, medical alert dogs to warn of physiological changes such as blood pressure, seizure response dogs to respond to their handler’s epileptic episodes, visual assistance dogs to aid the visually impaired, and numerous others. People living with the difficulties of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to diabetes to severe allergies may find a specialized service dog to be life-changing.

Assistance animals, as defined by the Humane Society, can be any type of companion animal and does not necessarily need to be trained to execute a specific task. Specifically, “the emotional and/or physical benefits from the animal living in the home are what qualify the animal as an assistance animal.” Service dogs are defined by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990) as “Any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.” These dogs differ from therapy pets and emotional support animals in that they are trained to perform specific tasks. Countless studies have shown positive results for humans benefiting from the mere presence of an animal, let alone one that is specifically trained to aid in the treatment and maintenance of a mental and/or physical disorder. Throughout the United States, dozens of organizations work solely with working dogs. For example, PAALS (Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services), a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Columbia, was founded in 2007 and has placed over 50 dogs with those in need throughout the state and surrounding areas. PAALS programs have reached over 11,000 people, including Lexington, SC, resident Rebecca who, in 2016, set out in search of an opportunity to get involved in the community. Rebecca came across PAALS to offer her time as a volunteer and, after learning more about their

Rebecca and Stanley

May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 39


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vices and talking with her therapist, decided that a PAALS service dog might benefit her. Little did she know that it would change her life in ways we could not truly understand. Rebecca lives with PTSD, a mental health disorder that is derived from experiencing life-threatening and traumatic events. After completing the PAALS client application process, Rebecca was introduced to Stanley, a black Labrador Retriever trained as a PTSD service dog. Stanley has been with Rebecca since October 2016 after completing the two-week team training program through the association. “Stanley performs many tasks to assist me with mitigating PTSD symptoms,” Rebecca said. “He performs deep pressure therapy when queued to ‘hug’ or ‘squish,’ and he alerts me to others so that I am not startled as they approach me from behind. He also alerts me by nudging me or pawing at me when my anxiety increases so we may take preventative steps such as deep pressure therapy. He even retrieves my emergency sensory kit to provide more grounding items that are helpful during panic attacks, dissociative episodes, or crying spells.” Now, after about a year and a half of having Stanley by her side, Rebecca feels more confident and able to participate in community events, perform routine daily tasks that had once been extremely dor Retriever mix. He took the dog home difficult, further her counseling, and see with him as a foster pet and enrolled an overall improvement in her quality of Scrappy in professional training, so he life. “Stanley has been a game changer would soon enough be “adoptable.” for me,” she said. Mr. Michelsen, a type-1 In some cases, service insulin-dependent diabetic, For more dogs can double as therapy soon realized that the dog information dogs as well. would whine and “paw” at on PAALS, Mr. Robert Michelsen, him when he knew his ownways to a Columbia, native and er was not feeling well. He volunteer, and retired graphic communirealized that this dog can cation teacher of 34 years, opportunities warn him when his blood attended an adoption event sugar levels are getting low. to donate, held by PetsMART and He learned that some dogs please visit noticed several dogs who can smell the change in . could not be adopted due one’s natural odor (which to unattractive or unruly is undetectable to humans) behavior. He decided he wanted to take due to hyperglycemia/hypoglycemia. in and train a rescue dog, so he/she Mr. Michelsen spends his retirement would be more appealing to those look- with his beloved wife of 54 years. On ing to adopt. After doing some research, one occasion, when Mr. Michelsen’s he learned that dark-colored dogs were blood sugar dropped dramatically, and statistically the first to be euthanized. he fell unconscious, Scrappy ran to his Mr. Michelsen approached the Ani- wife to warn her that he had been hurt. mal Protection League of Columbia, SC, That day Scrappy helped save Mr. Miand came across Scrappy, a black Labra- chelsen’s life. It was evident that he was

Robert Michelsen and Scrappy

meant to be a certified therapy dog and was a perfect match for Mr. Michelsen to adopt as his own. He completed all requirements necessary to become a certified therapy dog in October 2010. For the last five years, Mr. Michelsen and Scrappy have spent roughly five hours per day five days per week visiting hospitals, nursing homes, school campuses, and other community locations to spread the love and affection that Scrappy offers. Another pertinent and often overlooked category of working dogs belongs to those that are trained to participate in the K-9 units with local law enforcement. One such unit is the Lexington police department’s K-9 unit, founded in the mid-1990s, beginning with a black Labrador Retriever named K-9 Ice who was trained specifically to locate narcotics. After months of initial training to confirm a dog is suitable for police or military work, these dogs then begin formal training with a designated hanMay 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 41

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dler (officer) from whichever police department the dog will be working with. This formal training lasts approximately two months. Corporal Mortenson said, “The handler needs to learn the dog’s personality. The dog has a work personality and a home personality. Despite being a previous handler, I would not walk up to another officer’s dog and try to handle it.” The canine/handler relationship is instrumental to the success of their work. They work as a team and are trained specifically as such. The town of Lexington currently has one patrol dog named K-9 Dony who works with Officer J. Garcia of the Lexington Police Department. K-9 Dony has a wide variety of skills, including article searches such as finding items that may be part of an investigation, tracking such as missing children or runaway suspects, and discovering evidence. Corporal Mortenson described K-9 Dony as a “multifunctional asset to the Lexington PD. Having these dogs in our local police force is a huge asset to our team.” One example of the benefit to having an available K-9 unit is that when an elderly woman went missing, the police

For more information on the Adopt-A-Cop program, or to make a tax-deductible donation to help support the canine unit, visit 341/Adopt-A-Cop. force set out to locate her. Between the officers on foot and even the helicopter that was dispatched, she was nowhere to be found. However, within 15 minutes of releasing one of the K-9s, the elderly woman was found trapped under debris in a ravine, where no officer or helicopter would have been able to see. In the upcoming months, the town of Lexington will have a second canine on staff. Working dogs of various specialties, and all other specially trained animals, can truly enhance one’s quality of life and/ or work – and in cases like Mr. Michelsen’s, they can even save lives. n


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With the rising costs of new vehicles, boats, and furniture – more people are choosing to reupholster. At Hod Rod’s, we will artistically customize and upholster any item. Our ability to produce is only limited by your imagination. We offer thousands of colors and designs in our fabric room, including: Naugahyde, canvas, leather, cloth, and many more. Why repurchase when you can repair? Wear and tear will come in time to anything upholstered, but repairs are more affordable than you think. A short list of our services may help us to paint a picture of our ability to serve you. Services include but are not limited to: Canvas boat covers of any size, individual canvas covers for boat seats or any item, canvas clear vinyl enclosures, canvas shades, canvas clear plastic curtains, car seats, convertible tops, arm rests in cars, center console lids in cars, shifter boots, headline sun roof repair, painting door panels, carpet, headliner, interior items in car, leather repair, leather replacement, new custom leather or vinyl seat covers for your car, special or custom covers for any of your vehicles, any type of vehicle interior items, sofa love seat, any type of chair, dental chairs, commercial booth seating, custom in home booth seating, and more! We are located in Lexington directly behind Floor Boys, which is a few blocks down from Target and across the street from Hudson’s Smokehouse. Please do not hesitate to call us for any upholstery questions you may have. Thank you for voting us the Best of Lexington 2017! Check out our work on our Facebook page, Hod Rod’s Upholstery. 5005 Sunset Blvd. Lexington SC 29072. • 803.399.1656

May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 45

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by Kristen Carter

Mother’s Day Gifts Your Wife Will LOVE That Won’t Cost a PENNY

Mother’s Day is already around the corner, but this year costly and superfluous cards, flowers, or jewelry aren’t necessary to show the special woman in your life the love and appreciation for all she does. Some time to relax and enjoy the family without her to-do list are among the most valuable gifts to her – even better, they are free.

Dr. Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist from the University of California San Francisco, told Live Science that, due to all of the physical, hormonal, and emotional changes that come with motherhood, “She needs everything else to be as predictable as possible, including the husband.” Having needs taken care of is appreciated by moms far longer than the newborn phase, too. A mom is always looking out for others and, almost always, puts her own needs and desires aside to take care of her family 365 days a year, usually without anyone else taking note. This Mother’s Day, consider turning the tables and showering her with one, two, or all of the following gifts, which are more precious than anything sold in stores.

Let her sleep in. For most parents, especially when the kids are younger, lounging in bed late is like a distant memory slowly fading away. The mere fantasy of lingering in bed until full daylight is more luxurious than a bite into the tastiest chocolate truffle. So, even if the kids are fighting, tummies are hungry, or the in-laws are calling, simply taking care of it so she can sleep in is a gift in itself. She will have so much more love and appreciation for the family when she can get out of bed later. Give her a gift made by the family. For the woman who enjoys receiving thoughtful presents as a token of love, gift her with something made together with the kids. If they are in preschool or elementary school, chances are they will make something in class anyway. If not, give them pens, crayons, paper, or Play-Doh and May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 47

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have them create something of their own for Mom. A gift or card made especially for her by the family will touch her heart more deeply than anything purchased at a store. Clean the house. It might seem like a tall order – but remember that she keeps the house clean all year long without question. The kids can even help out on this one. It can be as simple as doing the dishes, wiping down the sinks, picking clothes up off the floor, or putting the toys in boxes and on shelves. By picking one job and everyone working together, it won’t take more than 30 minutes. One less task on her list to think about is more valuable to her than another necklace to stash in her jewelry box for the next date night out. Take an outing with the family. Few things make a mom happier than being with her family to share fun, smiles, and laughter together. It’s the act of togetherness, not the activity itself, that brings her joy. A day at the beach, a nature hike, or a trip to the playground together, if the kids are young, is far more meaningful than a day at the spa without her most cherished loved ones. Have dinner together. Though this might already be a given, for many family dinners unintentionally become a time of distraction and chaos. So put away the phones, turn off the baseball, shut off the TV. No matter who prepares the food that day, enjoy the meal together by giving your family your undivided attention. The gift of mindful presence is more savory to her than dining out at a five-star restaurant. Because moms experience so many mental and emotional fluctuations while taking care of the family year-round, a relaxed mind and extra reasons to smile will be the most appreciated gifts from her man. Consider the above simple, and free, Mother’s Day gifts to show love and gratitude this year to the special woman in your life.n


May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 49


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A Bridge to

SUCCESS by Kristi Antley

There are roughly 6,900 charter schools in the U.S, with 68 of those being in South Carolina. Midlands Middle College, a charter school located on the Airport Campus of Midlands Technical College in West Columbia, is at maximum capacity of 135, with 14 students on the waiting list.

Even though charter schools have been in existence since 1992, the general public is unaware of their value and role in the community. Charter schools are defined as a public, non-home based, non-religious, non-profit corporation forming a school that is operated by the sponsorship of a public school district, The South Carolina Public Charter School District, or another public or institution of higher learning. Charter schools have more freedom in curricula as well as budgets and staffing, but they are also held to the same accountability as traditional public schools. There are roughly 6,900 charter schools in the U.S, with 68 of those being in South Carolina. Midlands Middle College, a charter school located on the Airport Campus of Midlands Technical College in West Columbia, is at maximum capacity of 135, with 14 students on the waiting list. Principal of Midlands Middle College (MMC) Courtney Girolamo explained that the flexible educational model allows students who may need a smaller atmosphere or different schedule to excel at their own pace with an abundance of resources and tools. A Lexington High School 1997 graduate, Girolamo returned home after securing her bachelor’s degree at Clemson and began teaching. She taught math in both middle and high schools, as well as a virtual school. May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 51

52 | LEXINGTON LIFE | May 2018

“We work closely with the Department of Commerce and the Midlands Education Business Alliance (MEBA) to connect our students with potential employers.”

“I began working on a master’s degree in administration at American Public University and finished that in 2015. During my time at the virtual school, I became connected to the world of charter schools, and this eventually led me to a director’s position at the South Carolina Public Charter School District. There, I worked with charter school leaders from all over the state to ensure they were meeting accountability standards. Midlands Middle College is part of that district, and when a position opened up here, I was excited to begin working directly with students and teachers again.” One of the many misconceptions surrounding the publicly funded, private establishments is the idea that only troubled or learning-disabled students enroll. Girolamo dismisses that theory. “Many students apply simply because they are interested in earning college credits while still in high school, free of charge, which makes perfect sense. Other students may be in need of individual attention or need a more flexible schedule to accommodate their jobs while completing their

high school education. Taking college courses is a privilege, not a requirement,” says Girolamo. High school classes at MMC are generally between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., and work around the MTC college courses. Students who meet eligibility requirements for dual-enrollment can choose from over 100 course options that are also approved by the state for high school credit. These classes include the basic “core” requirements such as English and math, and also include more technical and career-oriented classes such as welding, computers and health sciences. The most popular dual enrollment courses are English 101 and Psychology 201, because these are courses that will transfer into almost any future degree program the student chooses to pursue, Girolamo says. But really the biggest advantage that MMC offers a struggling student is simply the small size. “With only 135 enrollments with a teacher/student ratio of 18:1, relationships are built and the staff knows exactly what their needs are.” Due to the number of students who are not in high school classes because they are at MTC, many of the classes are much smaller than 18. Girolamo personally meets with every potential student and parent prior to enrollment. “This gives me a chance to learn why they are choosing MMC and we discuss how our school can help,” she says. “Just like a traditional high school, we have a certified, full-time school counselor. But with a smaller caseload than a traditional counMay 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 53

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selor would have, he is able to spend more time one-on-one or in small groups, which many of our students need. And, our small class sizes allow teachers to work with students individually to meet their academic needs - both remediation and acceleration.” A well-rounded education is not just gained in the classroom at MMC. There is also an active Beta Club for students who are academically advanced, and an Interact Club for students who are interested in worldly issues and/or entrepreneurship. Once a month, the daily schedule is altered and ALL students participate in one club of their choosing. This year’s options are culinary, sports, community service, fitness and the quiet club. Surprisingly, the quiet club is actually quite popular, and they do exactly what the name implies— anything they want as long as it’s quiet. Networking outside of school is yet another way MMC prepares its students for real life, as Girolamo explains. “We work closely with the Department

of Commerce and the Midlands Education Business Alliance (MEBA) to connect our students with potential employers. This year, we have a student-led leadership symposium where all students will have the opportunity to interact with local business leaders. We are also participating in ‘Interview with Industry’ where selected students who plan to enter the workforce directly after graduation will be able to interview with companies who are looking to hire them. We are preparing students for this event with resume assistance and mock interviews so they will be ready to impress their future employers.” Midlands Middle College has a solid foundation with strong leadership on the Board and great community support and mentorships. “It is my hope to build on that excellence, increase the ways we can personalize learning for students and continue to be a quality choice for students in the midlands,” says Girolamo. n

HOW TO APPLY As a public charter school, any 11th or 12th grade student who is eligible to attend their local school is eligible to enroll at MMC. Counselors at local high schools often recommend students, but a recommendation is not required. You can apply by visiting Students who are 18 years old can enroll themselves; anyone under 18 needs a parent or guardian to approve.  Open enrollment began March 15, and Mrs. Girolamo is ready to meet with her prospective students one-on-one. Anyone who submits their name via the website will be contacted to schedule a time to come in for a personal tour and interview.

MIDLANDS MIDDLE COLLEGE 1260 Lexington Dr., Suite MMC West Columbia, SC 29210 802-822-7043

May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 55

To the Makers of Bones and Glass by Solomon Price

I Am Jerry’s second Son Somewhere a road lies in ruin, destroyed in a fiery blaze by roaring angles with aluminum wings. They came in the name of someone else’s kingdom and we did our best to send them to their graves. Like fiery crosses they went roaring, burning and crashing to the ground. So high they flew in their metal vultures that ice formed from their breath as they uttered their words on the edge of an abyss. Tucked away in most of their breast pockets were pictures of the ones they loved. Even with heavy gloves, they were able to quickly find what they were looking for through the nightmare of uniform accessories, brass shells and the flak constantly poking holes in whatever it could. I got to see what was left of one of them once, watched his dead eyes stare off into nothing as I pulled out a photograph from his uniform. I thumbed it over a couple times, tried to read the serpent tongue blue inked inscription on the back, but I don’t hiss the way those snakes do. She was beautiful, one of the most beautiful people I had ever seen. A good soul, warm deep brown eyes, long dark hair, and lips that I imagine formed the sounds of Sirens, An incoming raid Ominous drones reverberated across the landscape II Dreams began with the crashing of waves as we watched the ripples form the shores of the Lethe. Cheers to you Jerry, you don’t have to come back and neither do I A single set of footprints marks the way through wastelands of glass, fractured architecture and ash. Here are the crematoria remains of our capitulation waiting to be blown away by the winds of eternity. Here we once were, now look at us, we are nothing

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56 | LEXINGTON LIFE | May 2018

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There are trees in oblivion with barren branches devoid of fruit, and suspended from their petrified limbs are memories of; Hands Interlinked, Warm days without end, Blue, Clear Skies, Our children’s beautiful faces as they lay quiet and gently dreaming, Silver light from a moon surrounded by falling stars, And a cup full of water from the Lethe that these lips did not drink from. III I found a pile of bones in an intersection between life and death. From it I plucked the skull, just clean bone and no flesh. I asked the skull if it had seen my Son, either in this life or the next. I told what once was that I had found my wife’s shadow burned into the sidewalk outside of our home, that there were tiny footprints trailing off into nothing beside her. He was a beautiful boy, strong, brave and everything a father could want. He had his mother’s heart, and it showed through his chest. The roaring of turboprops miles above could never take that away from him. It was his birthday that day, he had just turned seven, we didn’t have enough rations to make him a cake but we did our best. His eyes were so alive as they glazed over at the sight of his presents. I gave him my grandfather’s watch and a slingshot crafted from one of the fallen crosses. He smiled from ear to ear as his hands traced the Y in the slingshot and then he gave me a hug. In the back room I could hear his mother crying, it was all we could do to even have something to eat. IV I followed the footprints for as long as I could before the blood and ash filled my lungs. With a heavy heart I closed my eyes, prayed to my Gods and told my son goodbye. That was 1945. V I came back a few years ago, with a new head filled with old memories. I came looking for his face in all of you. If you see my son will you tell him that I love him more than anything in this world? I want to hold him in my arms again, I want to hear him say, Dad I have always loved you

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by Natalie Szrajer

Midland Gospel Singing Center 705 Martin Smith Road, Gilbert First Saturday of the month, 6 p.m.

Earl Outlaw always had a deep love for singing and listening to gospel music, and he envisioned a place where all could enjoy the passionate and joyful sounds of the Christian music genre in the Pond Branch area. His dream became reality with the Midland Gospel Singing Center. “It started out as a dream of Earl Outlaw,” said Leonard Backman, treasurer of the board, “Earl passed away this past year. He sang in groups his entire life and enjoyed gospel music and wanted to get some place to have singings.” Outlaw got the idea for a gospel singing center at his church, Pond Branch United Methodist Church. Gospel singing groups were starting to perform more often so it became evident to Outlaw that an independent place for the gospel singing groups was needed in the community.

The first center was built on Pond Branch Road. Friends and church members agreed with Outlaw that a place was needed for people to hear gospel artists sing so they filed for a certificate of incorporation, and the Midland Gospel Singing Center began its journey. Eventually, the center needed a new location. Two acres off Martin Smith Road in Gilbert were donated and the current center was built. The current place holds around 400 people and is 700 square feet. “It’s very similar to how a church is run. No one owns the building or land. We’re just a group of people [on a board of trustees] that run it. We invite groups to sing,” said Backman. “Each group sings a set. Then they have intermission and are usually out by 9 p.m.” Groups come from across the state and neighboring states to sing and entertain. Steven Craps, the president of the Midland Gospel Singing Center, is a performer as well as a recruiter. Groups usually contact Backman about coming to sing. There are 24 groups a year who perform, which allows for two groups per month. “It’s a place for people to come and hear gospel singing. It’s not a church; just good gospel singing,” said Backman. To help singers with any miscellaneous costs, the audience in attendance always takes up a love offering, Backman said. Anyone may come and hear gospel music the first Saturday of each month. There are not any repeats so attendees get a brand new group each month. Backman said he would love to see attendance rise again and that many of the board members and attendees are older in age. He also said he would love to see younger people get together and bring more awareness to gospel music. n

May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 59



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understand and accept that “social media” is “a thing” for a lot of culture is becoming more and more disconnected? people. It isn’t “a thing” for me. For one thing, I am an old fud. It reminds me of when I was in my early twenties. I was comAlso, I am self-employed, and every minute I plaining to Daddy about not having any friends. spend not working results in zero revenue. So Daddy said, “Son, if you want to have a friend, Am I the only I work. And my particular mindset is evidentyou’ve got to be one.” He wasn’t talking about folly peculiar because I usually spend any free time one noticing that, lowing along other people’s lives like a digital stalkworking in the garden, reading, or studying someer. He was encouraging me to get involved with life in the current time itself and to place myself in positions where I could thing new. Yeah, I know, I am boring. But I am not the slightest bit interested in what serve others. of everyone tens or hundreds or thousands of people are doing Daddy also told me the classic line about friendat the grocery store – or whatever folks “share” all ship. “If you’re lucky, son, you’ll only have two, wanting to “be the time. I really don’t get it. maybe three good friends.” At this point of my life, I don’t feel the urge to tell everyone what I’m liked” and seeking I have numerous acquaintances – people I’ve met doing all the time – though one could say I’m doand recognize and shake hands with. But good “more friends,” ing just that right now. friends are indeed few. I believe one thing Daddy I remember first hearing about Facebook back was talking about was how one doesn’t really have our culture is in 2005 when a friend’s college-aged son was telltime to have many good friends because being a becoming more good friend takes time. And ing me about how exciting it was being able to know what everyone at the school was doing all time is something none of us and more the time. I listened to him talk about it, and I asked have very much of. A quick him, “When do you have time to study?” glance backward tells us all disconnected? A friend of mine defends his use, saying it’s the that truth. only way he can see his grandkids who live about two miles away. I believe we would be much better off if I asked him why he doesn’t just ride over and visit. He sighed and we all spent more of our free time putting our shrugged his shoulders. I can certainly understand how virtual vis- phones and computers to sleep and spending its are good when the grandkids live a long way off, but two miles time face to face with a good friend or two David Clark writes and away? I’m sorry, I don’t understand. having real conversation about something works in Cochran, GA. Am I the only one noticing that, in the current time of ev- that really matters and building bonds that Connect with him at eryone wanting to “be liked” and seeking “more friends,” our cannot be broken. n

May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 61



Okra-and-Corn Maque Choux Ingredients ¼ lb spicy smoked sausage, diced ½ cup chopped green bell pepper 2 garlic cloves, minced 3 cups fresh corn kernels 1 cup sliced fresh okra 1 cup peeled, seeded, and diced tomato (1/2 lb) salt and pepper to taste Directions: Sauté sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until browned. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add corn, okra, and tomato; cook, stirring often, for ten minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Baja-Style Rosemary Chicken Skewers Ingredients ½ small white onion, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 dried chiles de arbol, crumbled (or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper) 1 tsp minced rosemary 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano, crumbled ¼ cup fresh lemon juice ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces Kosher salt Pepper 8 sturdy 12-inch rosemary sprigs, leaves on bottom half removed lime wedges for serving Directions: In a large bowl, combine the onion, garlic, chiles, minced rosemary, oregano, lemon juice and olive oil; set aside ¼ cup of the marinade. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add it to

Enjoy a

the bowl. Mix well, cover and marinate for 30 minutes. Light a grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade and thread the pieces onto the rosemary skewers; discard the marinade. Oil the grate and grill the chicken over moderate heat, turning occasionally and basting with the reserved marinade, until golden and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with lime wedges. Stuffed Strawberries Ingredients: 1 pint of fresh strawberries 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, or to taste 2 tbsp orange flavored Liqueur, or to taste Directions: Cut the tops off of the strawberries and stand upright on the cut side. Make a cut ¾ of the way down from the tip of the strawberry towards the bottom. Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and liqueur until smooth in a mixer or a food processor. Place into a piping bag with a star tip. Pipe into each strawberry and arrange on a serving platter.

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Lexington Life Magazine - May 18'  

Lexington Life is a premiere publication serving the residents of Lexington, SC Published since 2004, Lexington Life Magazine is a family-ow...

Lexington Life Magazine - May 18'  

Lexington Life is a premiere publication serving the residents of Lexington, SC Published since 2004, Lexington Life Magazine is a family-ow...