Many will agree that freedom means living in a free country. Some, although will not admit it, take this luxury for granted because they cannot imagine NOT living in a free society. Since, freedom, is all they ever knew.
But for millions, the struggle is real to get a taste of what Americans enjoy every day of our lives. Many have spent sleepless nights dreaming about the day they can call the United States of America home.
“I love America, God Bless America. It upsets me sometimes when people take for granted their freedom,” said Eleonora Rumbaugh, swim coach at Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA in Myrtle Beach. “They just think they are entitled to everything. At home, we have to work hard to get the small things.”
Rumbaugh was born in Bulgaria. She says she had a wonderful childhood, but it was when she became an adult that she realized her country changed.
“I started realizing that our country was not as great anymore. There was corruption, and there was a lot of crime,” said Rumbaugh. “When I went to college, I just felt that was my country, but that is not where I wanted to live anymore and build a family.”
So, she decided to pursue her dream to make a better life for herself and move to the United States of America.
Rumbaugh’s passion is swimming. It was that passion which turned out to be her golden ticket to freedom. She has been swimming since kindergarten and competitively for ten years.
“I came here on a student visa; it’s called a J-1. It gives a lot of opportunity to students to see how the lifestyle is here, to work here, to travel as well,” said Rumbaugh. “Once I got here, I said that was it. I love that country, and I decided to stay.”
A short time later the American Red Cross contacted the Bulgarian Red Cross, which Rumbaugh belonged since she was a lifeguard on the Black Sea. When Red Cross officials asked if she wanted to go to the United States to become a lifeguard, she jumped at the opportunity.
“I said that’s my dream so let’s go,” said Rumbaugh.
Rumbaugh arrived in America in 2003 and was sworn in as a United States citizen in 2011.
“That was the happiest moment in my life. We got sworn in, in Charleston and I just cried through the whole ceremony,” said Rumbaugh. “The process was tough, but everything was worth it because that was the best moment of my life.”
Today you will find Rumbaugh sharing her love for swimming by teaching others.
One of those learning from Rumbaugh is Triathlete Chip Parrot.
“Her confidence in me is what made me want to work hard,” said Parrot. “She is passionate about what she does which makes me want to work hard.”
Parrot had to face his fears before stepping into the water, and he had to learn to trust Rumbaugh.
“When we first started, I wanted to tell her that I haven’t been in the water for a long, long time and she smiled and said everything is going to be fine,” said Parrott. “I needed to hear that because it is intimidating to get in the water, especially to swim laps, not just playing around.”
While Rumbaugh is thankful to call the United States home, Parrot is grateful that she worked hard to get here. Because without her passion for swimming, he would not be half the athlete he is today.
“I am very lucky and blessed to have her; we have a good time out there swimming,” said Parrot.
For more information on swim lessons at the Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA click here.
“Our primary function is to support each other,” said Carol Dion, vice president of Blue Star Mothers of Coastal Carolina. “Nobody knows how you feel when your kid is deployed, like a mother who has been through that.”
The group organizes several events throughout the year to make sure our service members are not forgotten. They place wreaths each December at the Florence National Cemetery, organize Operation Welcome Home and pack hero boxes for troops overseas
“We send out boxes to any of the troops that are deployed. Not only our kids but anybody who gives us an address. If their kid is deployed they get a box,” said Dion.
But that costs money.
“It costs us over $17 for each box that we mail. We do that primarily four times a year,” said Dion. “We usually send somewhere between 100 boxes each time.”
The Famous Toastery recently held a fundraiser for the group to help offset some of the shipping cost. The restaurant donated $2 from every $10 meal sold during the “Party on the Patio” fundraiser.
“We thought what better way to give back to them so they can continue to do the awesome stuff that they do to send packages overseas to our troops,” said McGinnis.
Dion’s daughter, retired Army Staff Sergeant Melissa Dion, was deployed twice to Iraq. She knows how receiving a package can move mountains when it comes to boosting morale.
“That was just the greatest feeling knowing that I could help them get some mail,” said Melissa. “There are a lot of families who can’t afford it. It’s not cheap, and the post office doesn’t give these families a discount.”
The group will pack boxes at the end of June to send out for the 4th of July holiday.
The Blue Star Mothers of Coastal Carolina are always looking for names of deployed troops to send boxes. For more information on how you can help, just click here.
“We want fair access to the beach,” said Malzone. “The city is turning the beach into a private beach for those who live on the Golden Mile. It is those residents who are also donors to these campaigns of the mayor and the city council.”
Malzone is hoping the city and the group can meet in the middle.
“We need the mayor and the city council to approach us and say let’s work out a compromise this year, not wait until after the election,” said Malzone.
Malzone is hoping the city will compromise by offering a $100 non-resident parking pass which will be valid for all residents outside the city limits and part-time residents. Malzone said that pass should also be valid for all city metered parking spaces.
“The City of Myrtle Beach has decided to go to war with 200,000 people. Their best customers, the ones who support the city in November, December, January, and February,” said Malzone. “The city has gone to war with them over 400 parking spots.”
Malzone says until they hear from the city, he along with the more than four thousand members in the group will continue to fight the fight to bring “free” back to parking.
The parking ordinance remains in effect until October 31st.
This is not like a typical spinning class. It is slower paced, and trained professionals are on hand watching every move.
“We’ll have trained nurses on staff, they will walk around and support the individuals on the bike and make sure they are working within their range,” said Vinson. “The goal is to have the individuals complete a continuous steady type movement with a slow progression of intensity.”
Pedaling on a bike can do more than just reduce the symptoms of the disease, it can also boost morale.
“It helps with mobility and aerobic capacity, so if they are going up and down the stairs, they don’t have to stop because they are winded,” said Tommy Smith, an exercise physiologist at Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA. “Pedaling a bike helps in all aspects of their life.”
Many people come to Myrtle Beach to retire, so Vinson understands the importance of bringing a program like this to the YMCA.
“We have a lot of retirees here, a lot of those retirees as they age start experiencing some of these chronic diseases,” said Vinson. “It’s something that is going to be so beneficial not only for the YMCA but for the population of Myrtle Beach knowing that the Y has programs like this.”
To take part in the Pedaling for Parkinson’s program, the patient must be between the ages of 30-75 years and diagnosed with Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease.
The Pedaling for Parkinson’s program is free for the first eight weeks and then a membership at the YMCA is required.
Students attending Coastal Carolina University in the fall will notice a less than three percent tuition increase for the 2017-2018 school year.
CCU Officials said in-state tuition would increase $162 per semester. Out-of-state tuition will increase $376 per semester. The rise in tuition is because of an increase in funding for the state’s pension, health, and dental insurance.
“The costs are a result of the state pension reform bill,” said David A. DeCenzo, president at Coastal Carolina University. “We eliminated more than $2 million from our operating budget by cutting future nonfaculty positions. The budget cuts will not require any personnel layoffs or furloughs.”
DeCenzo says the school board did agree not to raise housing fees. However, some meal plans will increase between $10 and $35 per semester depending upon the meal plan selected by the student. For the first time, meal plans will be offered to faculty and staff.
Aramark, the University’s food service provider, is the recipient of the meal plan fees.
Despite the tuition hike, students are paying less this year than they did six years ago, that is according to outgoing board chairman D. Wyatt Henderson.
Henderson said in 2011, tuition fees which include housing and meals for an in-state, full-time student cost $17,500. Add in inflation over the last six years; students would be paying $21,300 to attend CCU in 2011.
In 2017, tuition fees which include housing and meals for an in-state, full-time student cost $19,800. That is $1,500 less per year to attend now than it did six years ago.
The board gave the green light to a $270,000 discretionary fund for DeCenzo for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The money allows the president to promote the University and raise funds for the institution.
New officers were elected to the board. They will begin their two-year term on July 1.
Dr. Dan Abel, a marine biologist at Coastal Carolina University, says most of the time sharks have no interest in humans. But he says, there are some things you can do to prevent a trip to the hospital.
“Don’t swim at dawn or dusk. That is when many sharks feed,” said Abel. “Avoid swimming near piers where people are fishing and if you see a school of fish, get out of the water.”
What about that fin above the water line, does that mean a shark is coming after you?
“No, that does not mean they are coming after you. Most of the time people see a wave or a dolphin,” said Caroline Collatos, a graduate student in the marine science department. “Sharks rarely do this, and when they do, they’re coming to the surface to eat a piece of fish scrap, or they may be chasing prey that swam up to the surface.”
There is a small chance that a shark will bite you, but if you do go in the ocean here are some tips to make that risk even lower.
Swim in a group. Sharks usually bite someone swimming alone.
Don’t swim too far from shore. Doing so places you away from help.
If you are bleeding, don’t enter the water. Sharks can smell blood, and trace it back to its source.
Keep shiny jewelry at home. The reflection of the light looks like shining fish scales.
Don’t swim in waters containing sewage. Sewage attracts bait fish, which attract sharks.
Abel, who started the research program more than 15 years ago, takes a group of undergraduate and graduate marine biology students out to Winyah Bay to study Juvenile Sandbar Sharks.
“One of our aims is to simply look at the demographics of shark populations,” said Abel. “How stable are they? What factors influence the presence and absence and the diversity of sharks in ecosystems.”
The process of tracking sharks is tedious and precise. Abel and his students bait 25 hooks on a line that is 150 meters long. The line has floats and anchors at both ends. Once the lines are in the water, they soak for 30-45 minutes. The students then hand pull the line in, hoping they have a shark on one of the hooks.
“We typically catch as many as zero to 10 sharks per long line,” said Abel. “When we do catch a shark, depending on its size we usually identify and measure it in the water, then we tag and release it.”
This type of tag-and-release research can tell a lot about different shark biology.
“We learn possible migration movements, growth rate estimates, habitats they utilize, and possible population estimates,” said Caroline Collatos, a graduate student in the marine science department.
Depending on what the group’s goals are, Abel said, they put a tag in the shark’s dorsal fin or place acoustic telemeters in the abdomen of the shark.
“Acoustic telemeters are little pingers,” said Abel. “We make a two-inch incision in the abdomen and put a double A battery-sized instrument inside, sew it back up, and it will ping every 60 to 90 seconds. In order for us to get information on where the shark is, it has to go by an acoustic receiver. Fortunately, there’s a ray of receivers up and down the coast and worldwide.”
Acoustic tagging allows CCU students to track the movements of return visitors to Winyah Bay.
“Acoustic tagging has shown Juvenile Sandbar Sharks return to the bay for up to a month at a time. We think they use the bay as a seasonal habitat to feed, grow, and escape predation from larger sharks,” said Collatos.
Collatos says Winyah Bay is a habitat for mostly Juvenile Sandbar Sharks.
“The city instituted paid parking in that area because residents there complained of visitors parking in their yards and disrupting the neighborhood,” Kruea said.
According to the bill, parking privileges for Myrtle Beach residents that are not available to non-city residents would have to be approved by state lawmakers.
“This would seem to contradict the idea of Home Rule since it takes decision-making power away from local governments,” Kruea said. “Such a broad bill that proposes to move those decisions to Columbia would affect more communities than just Myrtle Beach. ”
Calls and emails to the two legislators who filed this bill have not been returned.
While the two sides continue to throw jabs, others are hoping a compromise can be reached.
“I am not satisfied with my current size, and it is hard to love myself when I constantly get negativity from the people closest to me,” said Kaley Larimore, a college student.
Many like Kaley will try to shed the pounds by dieting or exercising. But for some teenagers, it is the parents who are taking a proactive approach.
“Usually the parents are aware the kids aren’t getting much physical activity in schools anymore,” said Cameron Sanders, a personal trainer.
Sanders feels the rise of technology is a contributing factor in the battle of the bulge.
“With social media and technology, you don’t ever have to leave the house to go anywhere or do anything,” Sanders said.
Sanders says parents taking the initiative is a good thing but presents a challenge for the trainers.
“As a trainer, we have to find a way to motivate them to want to do it for themselves and not because their parents want them to do it,” Sanders said.
Sanders faced his own challenges growing up, and he remembers those struggles as he coaches his clients.
“When I was a middle school teenager, I was obese,” Sanders said. “I was a fat kid who loved his ice cream. That was all I ever had.”
He said he is glad when a client comes to him asking for help. He tried to help himself when he was a teenager but ended up doing more harm than good.
“I didn’t have anyone there to help and teach me,” Sanders said. “I taught myself out of magazines and books. But I suffered a lot of injuries because of it. I had no idea what I was doing. Now here I am in my mid-20s with a bad back, two bad shoulders. So, I just want to help them and be able to teach them.”
Sanders says the biggest challenge a teen working toward a better lifestyle might have to overcome is themselves.
“You have to tell them that what they are doing is going to help them overall. As they increase their appearance their motivation increases, as their motivation increases, they do well in all aspects,” Sanders said.
Washington is also taking notice of the obesity problem. The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2017 was introduced in both the Senate and House.