Search Results for: meet your neighbor

Meet your Neighbor (again): Jonathan Johnson

Two years ago, I shared a “Meet Your Neighbor” post on Jonathan as well. Today, we see what else Jonathan’s doing in our area.

Dutch Fork High coach Jonathan Johnson was announced Wednesday as the new coach. The pair connected through a mutual friend, and once they met to discuss the opening, a deal was quickly reached.

“By the end of that dinner, there was no doubt in his mind and no doubt in my mind that it was the right fit and the right thing to do,” said Johnson, who is stepping down as Dutch Fork’s coach at the end of his third season.

Johnson, a former first-round pick of the Texas Rangers in the 1995 MLB draft as an All-American right-handed pitcher out of Florida State, pitched parts of six seasons in the major leagues with Texas, San Diego and Houston.

Johnson, 38, who serves as the minister of recreation for Riverland Hills Baptist Church in Irmo for his primary job, can’t wait to coach the more experienced Blowfish players, whose 56-game season begins May 28, with the first home game at Capital City Park the following night.

“To have kids like this coming from great college programs that already know the game, it’s exciting and challenging to coach at a higher level,” Johnson said. “It’s an awesome opportunity to work with some tremendous talent and helping these guys become better ballplayers and better men off the field. There’s so much I’ve gone through over 20 years of playing baseball, 10 professionally, that I feel like I can share with these guys.”

Johnson, who played in the Cape Cod League in 1995 before he signed with the Rangers, understands the dynamics of summer leagues, from the transition to wood bats for hitters and pitchers to the adjustment of out-of-town players living with a host family.

Read the complete article from The State here .

To learn more about other neighbors in our community, click here .

Meet Krisdee Clark: Mrs. Capital City America 2022

Haven’t added to my “Meet your Neighbor” series in a while! It’s time…..

Chapin resident and Irmo native, Krisdee Clark, was recently chosen as Mrs. Capital City America 2022 and will be competing in the Mrs. South Carolina and Mrs. North Carolina pageant on June 25, 2022 in Newton, North Carolina. The winner of the Mrs. South Carolina title travels the Palmetto State promoting her personal platform and promoting the ideals of the pageant organization and goes on to compete at the national level in the Mrs. America Pageant in August 2022. The winner of the coveted Mrs. America crown will travel across the country making personal appearances and promoting her platform to a national audience during her year’s reign and will represent our country in the Mrs. World Pageant.

Krisdee grew up in Lexington Richland District 5 attending Harbison West Elementary, Irmo Middle School, Irmo High School and is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science in the number one ranked Sport and Entertainment Management college at USC. She has 2 children, Annabelle and Knox, and she and her husband Josh live on Lake Murray in Chapin. She is the Director of Corporate Affairs for Agape Care Group, the largest hospice in South Carolina and now moving into Georgia. Krisdee is a recent breast cancer survivor and is thrilled to bring her platform of breast cancer awareness and how women can thrive and feel beautiful after life’s storms to the state and hopefully national stage. “Sometimes God will put a Goliath in our lives for you to be able to find the David within you. It is so important that women know they can go through storms in their lives like breast cancer and come out the other side beautiful and with a greater purpose then they could have ever imagined. We should all be looking not to just survive the storm but to thrive after.” During her journey with breast cancer and having a bi lateral mastectomy, 4 rounds of chemotherapy and 25 rounds of radiation she began the blog The Blonde Bombshell ( to help women find everyday answers in their journey with this same disease. “One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. I found that I was able to get medical information and high level ideas of what I would be going through but I was desperately searching for real women with real answers that had walked this walk before me. The Blonde Bombshell blog is not only my personal journey but it is my way of helping the women that come after me to understand this journey from someone who has lived it and to give hope that life on the other side, though different, can be wonderful again.”

You can request Krisdee to speak at events about her journey, her platform, hospice care or to make appearances as Mrs. Capital City by calling 803-904-0323. If you or your business would like to sponsor Krisdee in her road to the Mrs. South Carolina crown your donation will allow for your logo and business name to be showcased in the program book and on social media. Please contact and follow Krisdee at her Instagram page @mrscapitalcity2022.

Meet Laura Boccanfuso and ABii – Shark Tank 5/6 at 10pm

It’s been awhile since I added a “Meet Your Neighbor” post, but now’s the time for y’all to meet Laura Boccanfuso who lives right here in our community with her husband Tony, their 2 daughters and 1 son.

You can learn more about her and her work by watching Shark Tank, next week, May 6th at 10pm!


Teachers and parents are always going to be the most important people responsible for helping children learn. Laura Boccanfuso, founder and CEO of Van Robotics , knows this very well, but is convinced that most teachers (and many parents) could use some help. Children have different learning styles, and need differing amounts of time and attention to achieve their educational goals, but most schools require a standardized curriculum. Teachers often struggle to meet the needs of more than 20 students in a classroom of varied style-learners.

Because of this, many school districts have already incorporated technology into their classrooms to enhance their students’ learning experience. But most standard technology and the accompanying software is not sophisticated enough to gather information necessary to adapt to the individual student’s learning preferences. Meet ABii, a small robot teacher’s aide, who delivers grades 2-5 core subject instruction by engaging students with fun, social interactions designed to improve individual academic achievement.

Before establishing Van Robotics, Boccanfuso earned an MS in computer science from Bowling Green State University and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of South Carolina. Her focus was on artificial intelligence and human-computer interactions, and she was specifically interested in how to engage students with new materials. Working as a researcher for Yale University, she learned that the most effective methods involved continual monitoring and adapting to individual stress levels, and that this is especially important for children on the autism spectrum, or who have ADHD or other developmental issues.

After establishing Van Robotics in 2016, Boccanfuso developed eight prototype robots with 22 math lessons. In early 2018 they launched the first pilot program in schools in Alabama, Kansas, New York and South Carolina. Seed money was provided through Tech Stars Austin, South Carolina Research Authority, and Right Side Capital Management, totaling $1 million during the period January 2018 through June 2019. On January 27, 2018, Van Robotics was chosen as one of ten companies for the Techstars Austin 2018 accelerator, and The Tech Tribune named it as one of the very best tech startups in South Carolina in 2020.

Read more here.

Ballentine Civic Association Monthly Meeting

From email I received:

Please be sure to mark your calendars for March 2nd at 6:30 PM for the monthly Ballentine Community meeting with the Ballentine Civic Association. As always, this meeting is held at the Ballentine Community Center, Bird Road, off Bickley Road, Ballentine. Since there is a lot going on at this time within our neighborhoods, it is worth your time to join us. Since everyone is welcome, please bring your friends and neighbors to keep them up to date.

If you know anyone who would like to join the BCA, please have them see Joan after the meeting. Thank you.


Meet John Burriss: our SCDOT Commissioner

Many remember how I spotlight members of our community here on NathansNews as readers pass along news and accomplishments of their friends and neighbors.

Today, we have one of our own who has been appointed to the SCDOT Commission. This is a very good move for our area and actually comes as part of the restructuring the General Assembly put in place years ago when we passed the Roads Bill (aka “gas tax”).

Y’all know I’m tight with money, but the roads needed to be fixed (and they have, and continue to see improvements). One thing that made that vote easier was the ability to change how DOT Commissioners are appointed. Long story short, a powerful Senator’s brother-in-law had been on the Commission for awhile; but this year, that changed.

Please join me in welcoming one of our own, John Burris from Chapin, to this position!

Commissioner Burriss is President and owner of The Burriss Corporation, a real estate and construction management company. He is also President and owner of St. Andrews Fitness Corporation.

Burris served in the S.C. House of Representatives from 1984-1988. He was also a member of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Board from 1988-1999. He served as the Board’s Chairman from 1994 through 1999.

Commissioner Burriss earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from St. Andrews Presbyterian College (now St. Andrews University) in Laurinburg, N.C.

He and his wife Becca have three children and five grandchildren.

Meet Kristina and Joe Cash: BabyBum entrepreneur

Thanks to Nathan’sNews readers for sharing news about members of our community with a fantastic entrepreneurial story! Over the years, I’ve posted several MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR pieces in order to share good news and great people with our readers. Today, I’ve cut/pasted an article that was already out there about Kirstina Cash and BabyBumProducts. Read on…


There are some “rules” of business success most entrepreneurs abide by. But many also have their own “secrets”—things they do or believe that helped them achieve success. In “Secrets of Success,” a weekly interview series here at’s Small Business Forum, I ask some of today’s smartest, most innovative, most successful business owners to share their insights and success secrets with you.

Meet: Kristina Cash, the Director of Operations and founder of BabyBum™ Products . In 2013, after giving birth to her son, Kristina felt 100 percent confident in her parenting skills. That confidence soon faded when her baby developed a gastrointestinal disorder causing chronic diaper rash. Despite constantly applying diaper cream at the recommendation of her pediatrician, the rash only got worse. After eight weeks of her son suffering from a red, blistered bottom, Kristina was consumed with the task of healing the painful rash. Then she read that the proper way to apply diaper cream included washing your hands before applying the cream. She always washed her hands after applying diaper cream, but rarely immediately before.

That was Cash’s ah-ha moment. She knew there had to be a better, more sanitary way for parents to apply diaper cream that didn’t require them running to the bathroom to wash their hands in the middle of changing diapers. With nothing else on the market addressing this dilemma, she spent the remainder of her maternity leave creating a prototype of her new invention out of a kitchen spatula and suction cup.

From that homemade prototype, the BabyBum Brush was born. It’s the first-ever, patent-pending diaper cream applicator tool that reduces the risk of bacteria transfer and applies ointment smoother, thicker and faster for better protection against painful diaper rashes. The BabyBum Brush is gentle on baby’s skin, wipes clean and keeps parents’ hands and nails free of diaper cream mess.

Like most entrepreneurs, Cash met her fair share of challenges along the way to get her product into the hands of consumers. Her tenacious drive and belief in the BabyBum Brush allowed her to overcome initial problems such as product quality issues and faulty packaging.

The BabyBum Brush is now sold in more than 2,500 stores nationwide, including BuyBuy Baby and Babies “R” Us, as well as on Amazon. Kristina has expanded her product line this year, adding BabyBum Diaper Changing Glove-Saks.

For more information and Q&A with Kristina, visit Secrets of Success: Kristina Cash

“Penny Tax” Info Meeting – March 7th at Ballentine Park


Email from Ballentine-Dutch Fork Civic Association


Please be sure to invite all your friends, neighbors and other contacts in this area to this important meeting. Get the facts from the “horse’s mouth” as they say.

Tom Callan, the President of the Ballentine Civic Association, contacted Ms. Betty Gregory, Community Involvement Coordinator of the Penny Tax program, who enjoyed learning about Ballentine’s interest in the Richland Penny projects, particularly the road widening that will positively impact our community.

Our completed Richland Penny Speaker Request Form has been officially submitted for a Richland Penny Update and Overview Program to the Ballentine Civic Association, Monday, March 7, 2016 with arrival by 6:15 pm and ending time 7 pm at the Ballentine Community Center, 1009 State Rd S-40-286, Irmo, South Carolina.

Mr. David Beaty, Richland Penny’s Program Manager, and Mr. Clem Watson, Richland Penny’s Construction Engineering Manager, will be the presenters for a 15-20 minute update with Q and A. For our information, their bios are attached.

In addition, staff will be present from their public involvement team to assist in any way. They will bring the Yearly Report as Tom requested for hand-outs.

They appreciated the invitation. They welcome the opportunity to inform, educate and engage the citizens in the Ballentine community and look forward to being with us March 7.

Meet “The Galatians 6 Gals” : Local Ladies on a Mission!

Galations Six
“The Galatians 6 Gals” are a neighborhood group of Jesus-loving ladies that have recently joined together simply to serve our neighborhood and local area whenever and wherever God calls.

Some of them live in Ascot, others on Bookman Mill, and still others on and along Kennerly Road. They call themselves the Galatians 6 Gals and their desire is simply to “Be Generous and Do Good”. They are dedicated to moving quickly and efficiently in meeting needs – whatever they are. They can drive shut-ins to the doctor, help with lawn care, come pray with the sick or lonely – and they’ve already done things like mobilized overnight to get clothes and food to a homeless married couple who were left with nothing after a knife attack and robbery. They welcome new neighbors with gift baskets from the “Galatians 6 Gals” etc. Their only agenda is to follow where God leads.

It is the group’s deepest desire to meet the needs in our local area and give Christ all the credit.

Their next meeting is coming up tomorrow: Tuesday, March 1, 7:00 pm

Where: Kathi Amaker’s home – 117 Bookman Mill Lane

From the group’s email today:

We are so excited to welcome Jen Thomas – the executive director of Lighthouse for Life . This ministry seeks to combat sex trafficking through education, restoration, and empowerment.

You will NOT believe how bad the problem is right here in Richland County!

If you have a daughter, granddaughter or just a young woman you care about in your life – you won’t want to miss this meeting!

Plus, we bring great snacks – and it’s a terrific way to start meeting friends and neighbors you didn’t know on Bookman Mill, and in the Ascot and Kennerly Road areas.

So please come!

RSVP to Christy at

Meet K. Lee Graham: Miss Teen USA 2014

2014 Akil 2 K Lee

Pictured above is our very own K. Lee Graham, rising senior at Chapin High School, with Principal Akil Ross.

As you know, I like to share news about neibhors in the community! Feel free to share me any news you’d like me to share with the Ballentine/Chapin/Dutch Fork/Irmo Community. To see a few of the other “Meet your Neighbor” posts, click here.

From The Post and Courier:

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A 17-year-old woman from Chapin is the new Miss Teen USA.

K. Lee Graham won the crown Saturday night in the Bahamas.

Graham plans to spend her yearlong reign promoting her Beauty Secrets campaign, emphasizing that being beautiful is about being happy with who you are and how you treat others instead of striving for an impossible model of perfection.

She has her own blog at where she writes about her journey to the national pageant and her life. A month before the national pageant, she was volunteering for Vacation Bible School at her church.

On her blog, she sums up her platform on beauty this way: “Beauty is not based on the way you look. Beauty stems from your character, from the way you treat others, from your service, and from your faith.”

From the Miss Teen USA website:

K. Lee is both artistic and academic. Theatre is her passion, throughout middle and high school she has been involved in local productions and studied drama at the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities intensive summer programs. K. Lee is committed to her studies, taking on challenging courses which have earned her a Number 1 class rank.

She also has a passion for working with children, and volunteers on a weekly basis with her church’s Children’s Ministry in addition to volunteering with many other organizations such as the USO, the American Heart Association, Christ Central Ministries, LifeChangers, and the Arthritis Foundation throughout the past year. Being Miss South Carolina Teen USA has enabled K. Lee to promote her Live Beautifully campaign, encouraging girls across her state to find true beauty by embracing themselves, others, and their communities by speaking to schools, growing the Live Beautifully blog, and planning the first Live Beautifully Day.


Graham won her first title at age 10 and since has been crowned four more times. She started out as Miss Olanta Gator Festival, now known as the Olanta Fall Festival, in Florence before going on to win the titles of Miss Chapin High School, Miss Lexington Teen USA and Miss Lake Murray Teen USA.

From E!Online website

1. She Changed Her Name Because of Her Big Sister: K. Lee is actually short for Katherine Lee. When she was born, her one-year-old sis had trouble pronouncing the brunette’s name, so she simply called her “K.” The cute nickname has stuck ever since!

2. She Has Her Own Blog That Empowers Young Women: K. Lee hopes to encourage other girls to find true beauty on the inside with her blog, Live Beautifully. “[My blog] has become an outlet for me to address and express some of my opinions about issues regarding body image, self-esteem and personal identity that young adults are challenged with every day,” she wrote.

3. She’s Got Beauty and Brains: Miss South Carolina takes her studies very seriously. The high school junior is at the top of her class and loves writing. She is currently working toward attending the University of South Carolina Honors College!

4. She Maintains a Healthy Lifestyle—Even On Her Birthday: K. Lee has been a vegetarian since 2011 and declares kale as her favorite food! She stays in shape with regular workouts consisting of Pilates, resistance training and cardio. Even on her birthday, she posted this Instagram pic of her nutritious meal. “I love cooking healthy, clean foods and working out! Love this Citrus Kale salad from @ToneItUp and my favorite protein pancakes, which were my substitute for actual birthday cake!” she shared.

5. She Loves to Perform: The Southern beauty queen has a passion for theater, dance, singing and acting. She studied drama at the South Carolina Governor’s School and has been involved in local productions since middle school.

6. She Gives Back to the Community: The 17-year-old volunteers every week with her church’s Children’s Ministry and has worked with other organizations like the USO, the American Heart Association and LifeChangers over the past year.

k lee graham crown

Meet James Burns: State Ethics Commission

2014 James Burns

As you know, I like to share news about neibhors in the community! Feel free to share me any news you’d like me to share with the Ballentine/Chapin/Dutch Fork/Irmo Community. To see a few of the other “Meet your Neighbor” posts, click here.

State Ethics Commission nominations

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley has nominated eight people to the State Ethics Commission. Their appointments must be confirmed by the House and Senate.

James Burns: Former deputy legal counsel for the vice chief of naval operations at the Pentagon, staff attorney for Haley’s Commission on Ethics Reform, partner with Nelson Mullins law firm in Columbia

Twana Burris-Alcide: Former prosecutor for the 16th Circuit solicitor’s office, now in private practice in York County
Thomas Miller Galardi: Former chief investigator for the 2nd Circuit solicitor in Aiken

Julie Jeffords-Moose: An attorney at the Turner Padget Law Firm in Florence, focusing on business law
Regina Lewis: Former Maryland state prosecutor, co-founder of Gaffney Lewis & Edwards, a law firm in Columbia

Sherri Lydon: Former federal prosecutor in South Carolina, including Operation Lost Trust, the early 1990s federal investigation of vote-selling by state lawmakers; former chief of the State Grand Jury, including the Carolina Investors/Homegold case, the state’s largest securities fraud case; now in private practice in Columbia

Clisby “Sandy” Templeton: Retired SLED agent who lives at Gray Court
James Warren: Attorney with the Wyche law firm in Greenville, focusing on commercial real estate and economic incentives

To be nominated

Frank Grimball: Haley plans to nominate the attorney with Mullin Wylie law firm in Charleston soon, according to a spokesman

For full article from The State, click here.