State Treasurer Curtis Loftis Co-sponsors Cyber Security Summit

Columbia, SC – South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis kicked off a gathering today of state and local government leaders, higher education administrators and bankers to discuss cyber security threats to the public and private sectors. Treasurer Loftis delivered opening remarks at the Cyber Security Summit along with co-sponsors Dr. Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina, and Phil Smith, head of Government and Institutional Banking at Wells Fargo.

“Protecting the personal information and money of our state’s citizens must be our highest priority,” said Treasurer Loftis. “One of the things that I want to do is help make the people of South Carolina feel safer and more secure.”

The summit, held at USC’s MyAlumni Center in Columbia, was designed to build awareness of local and global cyber security threats and share information on how organizations can mitigate their cyber risk. The event featured presentations from experts at USC’s SC Cyber initiative and global security company Palo Alto Networks as well as information from attorneys who specialize in cyber security issues.

“A year ago we launched SC Cyber and formed essential public and private partnerships,” said Dr. Pastides. “Our goal was and is to advance our state’s reputation as a place where cyber security is understood, practiced and advanced.”

Treasurer Loftis added, “I appreciate that Dr. Pastides joined me in sponsoring the Cyber Security Summit to bring more attention to this important issue.”

The Cyber Security Summit was co-sponsored by the State Treasurer’s Office, SC Cyber, Wells Fargo and Palo Alto Networks. Presenters included Thomas Scott, executive director of SC Cyber; General Les Eisner, deputy director of the Office of Economic Engagement at USC; Rick Howard, chief security officer at Palo Alto Networks; Chris Swecker, attorney and former assistant director at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and David Furr, partner at Gray, Layton, Kersh, Solomon, Furr & Smith, P.A.

Douglas A. Decker Receives Wright Brothers Master Pilots Award

(Above image left to right, Gary Pendleton, Marjorie Jake, Douglas Decker)

The Federal Aviation Administration presented Douglas A. Decker, Pawleys Island, SC, Thursday with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in recognition of 50 years of safe flying and his contribution to aviation safety. In addition to the plaque, Decker’s name will be added to the FAA’s Roll of Honor in Washington DC.

The award was presented at the South Carolina Aviation Association Annual Conference in Charleston SC, by FAA’s Mr. Gary M. Pendleton and Ms. Marjorie Jake both representing the Flight Standards District Office, Columbia, SC.

The Wright Brothers Master Pilot award is the most prestigious award the FAA issues to pilots. This award is named after the aviation pioneer Wright Brothers. It recognizes individuals who have exhibited professionalism, skill and aviation expertise for at least 50 years while piloting aircraft as Master Pilots.

Decker started his aviation activity in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1964 and currently holds an Airline Transport pilot’s license. He owns a single engine A-36 Beechcraft Bonanza airplane, which he flies from the Grand Strand area.’

Decker has served in many aviation positions including Commissioner on the Utah State Aeronautics Board, member of Salt Lake City International Airport Advisory Board, and member of the Capital Improvements Committee, General Mitchell Milwaukee International Airport. In addition he was appointed a member of the State of Wisconsin Aviation Master Plan Task Force.

Decker spearheaded the successful effort to open the Wendover AFB, Utah for public use in 1974. The city renamed the airport “DECKER FIELD” and he also received the Utah Pilot’s award for Outstanding Service to Aviation in Utah.

Chris Bain Understands Sacrifice

One might have expected that Chris Bain would serve in the military.

He was after all born at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in southern California and every male in his family had served in one branch of the military or another.

Obviously, he was going to enter the military, but the question remained — what branch.

“My dad was a Marine. My dad educated me and said don’t be a Marine just because I am a Marine and to pick the branch I wanted. I researched the Army and the Marines,” said Bain, who lives in Pennsylvania and was in Shelby County earlier this month as part of Indiana Grand Racing and Casino’s Salute to Our Armed Forces presentation, along with Helping Hands For Freedom.

“I had both the Army and Marines recruiters sitting there and I asked them both one question that helped me make my decision. I asked them if I didn’t like my career choice, could I change it. The Marines recruiter said no. The Army recruiter said I could put in a request and I liked his answer and decided to go with the Army. I tell people all the time when I was born, I was one of the few and the proud and when it came time for me to serve, I wanted to be all I could be,” Bain said.

In 1992, Bain enlisted in the Army and was sent to Somalia.

Controversy Grows for Horry County ZBA

The Horry County ZBA (Zoning Board of Appeals) is currently at the center of a growing controversy centered on the Pine Island community.

After hearing testimony over three months, the Horry County ZBA overturned a ruling by the Horry County Zoning Administrator with respect to DT LLC, a long time business in the Pine Island area owned by the Thompkins family currently run by Dennis Thompkins.

Normally members of the public are unaware of a zoning board of appeals decision unless it directly affects their property. The Horry County ZBA has quasi-judicial duties that require those speaking on either side of an issue to be sworn in.

In Memory of Bill Darby

Bill Darby was a man who lived a full life according to his own rules.

The song “I Did It My Way” is certainly a complete description of his approach to life.

For nearly 60 years, Darby was the publisher of Coast and Alternatives magazines in Horry County. He brought the concept of tourist oriented magazines to the largest tourist destination in South Carolina.

He was a political maverick, one of three men who, together, can claim to have founded the Horry County Republican Party. As Bill liked to say he was a Republican when the Horry County Republican Party could hold meetings in a telephone booth.

Candace Howell Seeking County District Eight Seat

Candace Howell came to Horry County in 2002 to begin her career in broadcast television news. Twelve years later, she is still here and loving every minute of it.

“I moved here after graduating from college believing I would fulfill my contract and move on,” said Howell. “But, I fell in love with Horry County. I love the people. There are so many great people here.”

Growing up in upstate New York, Howell said she was always inquisitive.

Gingrich, Myrtle Beach, Oil and Interstates

Missing the Message in Myrtle Beach

With the city elections just over one week away, the issue of the Myrtle Beach Police Department and crime statistics came up in a recent candidate forum.

This is no surprise as the MBPD and crime are raised in every city campaign, then, promptly forgotten about until the next campaign.

The incumbents gave the same time worn excuses we always hear for the number of violent crimes that occur each year in Myrtle Beach – “It’s the tourists”. I’ve recently heard a slant on that one – “It’s the homeless”.

Some tourists do come down here and commit serious crimes. I really don’t think we have any Al Capone wannabes among the homeless.

Andy Savage Attorney, Renaissance Man

Andy Savage Attorney, Renaissance Man

Attorney, television host, veteran, and family man are some of the words that describe the varied life and career of Andy Savage. He is a consummate legal professional while fitting the role of a modern Renaissance man.

Born and raised in Kingston, N.Y., Savage graduated from New York City’s Fordham University in 1972 before heading south to stay. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1975.

“I always wanted to be a lawyer,” said Savage. “I had uncles who were lawyers and kind of grew up with the idea.”

Savage served as a prosecutor in the S.C. Fifth Judicial Circuit before becoming Chief Trial Counsel for the S.C. Attorney General’s Office Criminal Division from 1979-81.

Gary Sinise, A Really Good Guy

The Bob Hope Of Our Time

Gary Sinise, A Really Good Guy!

With the exceptions of Bob Hope and Martha Raye, there may be no other American entertainer who has served our armed forces more. That person is Gary Sinise, actor, director, producer writer, musician, a bit of a down home, foot-shuffling, aw-shucks guy from the Midwest who has probably spent as much time in war zones as many members of our over-worked military, and certainly more than any Member of Congress. Sinise is one of those rare humans who is easy to sum up in quick terms: a really good guy. Or if you wish to add accolades as I’m sure many in the military would: a really damned good guy, among many other unpublishable terms of praise.

Events Celebrate Little Known Civil War Incident

On a foggy spring night 150 years ago, slave Robert Smalls commandeered a Confederate ammunition ship, steamed upriver to pick up family and friends, and then slipped past five Southern batteries on Charleston Harbor to reach Union blockade ships.

Smalls would return to Charleston a year later to pilot a Union ironclad in an attack on Fort Sumter, while after the war he served in the South Carolina General Assembly, the U.S. Congress and later as a federal customs inspector.

“His story, I think, is lost in the larger picture of the Civil War – Grant and Lee; Appomattox and Gettysburg. It’s important locally, but I would say it’s a story often overlooked,” said Carl Borick, the assistant director of the Charleston Museum.