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October 23, 2016

Recently, I have heard much conversation about the issue of immigration. This is a topic, not only in political debates, but also in daily discussions about the future well-being of our country. How should we respond to those people who want to immigrate to the United States? Suggestions range from total exclusion to some kind of open door policy. Certainly there are valid points to be made on any side of the issue.

I was sitting on my backporch on one of these pleasant fall evenings praying as I do. I prayed for our country, for our world, and for a list of people and concerns that changes daily.

I thought about workers who were to arrive early the following morning to finish putting a new roof on our home. I prayed for them and for their safety. As I did, I realized that most of them were Latinos. Some were bilingual, most spoke Spanish.

You might say the immigration issue came home to me. I spent some time reflecting on the issue, thinking about how I feel about people from other countries coming to America. Read more…


October 15, 2016

Sir Walter Scott, famous Scottish author, wrote, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”

The people of the United States are currently enduring what may well be the most appalling national election in our country’s history. Approval ratings of the candidates for the two major parties are at record lows. Presidential debates do little to clarify the issues because there is an overload of blaming and name calling.

Many historians agree that the first casualty of war is the truth. Truth has certainly been a casualty of this election cycle.

My mother’s punishment of choice when I said a bad word, spoke ugly to or about another person, or told a lie was to wash out my mouth with yellow Octagon soap. She often repeated my granny’s refrain, “The truth is a beautiful thing.”  Granny was quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I recall a scene in the motion picture A Few Good Men. One exchange between actors Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson becomes especially heated. Nicholson, a marine colonel, is testifying in a military court martial. Cruise is an attorney in the Navy. The two men yell at each other.

“I want the truth!”

“You can’t handle the truth.”

Then, as so often happens, the truth comes out.

I was taught that the ninth commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” was more than a courtroom rule. It was for everyday life. Before I ever saw an episode of Perry Mason or Matlock on television, I was taught to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me, God. My grandfather used to say, “Always tell the truth even when it hurts, and a lot of times it will.”

More than the continuous friction that produces more heat than light, the thing that bothers me most about this election is the example being set for young Americans. Has disregarded for the truth become our national norm? Or does the first point of the Boy Scout law hold any sway? A scout is, first of all, trustworthy.

The motto of Harvard University is Veritas – Truth.

One of the most intriguing guests to appear on the television program To Tell the Truth was Frank Abagnale. The show featured Gary Moore as host and regular panelists Bill Cullen, Kitty Carlisle, and Peggy Cass. Three contestants, all claiming to be the same person, were brought onstage.  Only one was telling the truth; the other two were not. The panel was to discern, by asking questions, who was truthful and who was lying. When Frank Abagnale appeared as a guest on the program in 1977, he was the truth teller. He was, however, the greatest imposter of them all.

Frank Abagnale wrote Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of A Real Fake, his autobiography. In the Steven Spielberg movie based on the book, Leonardo De Caprio plays the part of Frank. When this true crime story first appeared in print in 1980, it made the list of best sellers in The New York Times Book Review.

In a period of five years, Frank Abagnale passed $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in every state and 26 foreign countries. He did it by perpetrating one scam after another. He impersonated an airline pilot traveling around the world in the cockpit of jets, even taking over the controls. He also played the role of a pediatrician and faked his way into the position of temporary resident supervisor at a hospital in Georgia. Posing as a lawyer, he passed the Louisiana bar exam, and conned his way into a position in the State Attorney General’s office.  He taught a semester of college-level sociology with a fake degree from Columbia University.

In reality, Frank was a teenage high school dropout following his parent’s divorce. At first his con game was a matter of survival. Then he became enamored with the challenge and the ego trip that came with playing important men. Both the book and the movie treat with humor his years of impersonations, swindles, and felonies. Abagnale was arrested and convicted of his crimes.  He was released from prison after five years on the condition that he would cooperate with the government apprehending counterfeiters.

Most of us have taken our share of true-false quizzes during our school years. The simple truth is, we take them every day. Mark Twain said, “Lying is mankind’s most universal weakness.”

While those who are paid to do fact checking during this election are busy trying to keep up with an avalanche of falsehoods, half-truths, or misleading statements, the rest of us have an obligation to model truthfulness and honesty for our children and grandchildren. That is not always easy. Consider the predicament of one pastor trying to teach his children the Biblical admonition to speak the truth in love.

Consider the quandary of a pastor who had been trying diligently to teach his two children, an eight-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter, to tell the truth.  One Sunday, after the morning worship service, his children were by his side when an elderly woman from the congregation presented him with a homemade cake. He took the cake home where his wife engaged him in conversation.

“Who made the cake?” she asked.

“Mrs. Hawthorne. It’s her famous red velvet cake,” the pastor replied.

“We won’t be able to eat it,” his wife said. “Just throw it away.”

“Why can’t we eat it?” the surprised reverend asked.

“It will be full of cat hair.  You’ve been in her home.  She has five or six cats.  They walk all over the kitchen counters. She calls it red velvet cake, but it’s cat hair cake.”

The skeptical pastor cut the cake. His children eagerly watched. Sure enough, the cake was full of cat hair.  The disappointed children sighed. The cake was tossed into the trash.

The following Sunday, the children were again standing by their father’s side as he greeted people at the church door.  Mrs. Hawthorne asked, “Preacher, did you like that red velvet cake?”

Fully aware that his children were listening for his answer, the quick-thinking dad responded, “I’ll tell you the truth, Mrs. Hawthorne. A cake like that just doesn’t last very long around our house!”

The truth really is a beautiful thing.


October 9, 2016

In Memory of George Schrieffer

I sat on our screened-in porch, an eyewitness as the back edge of summer gave way to the front side of fall. Our backporch is a sanctuary. I was thinking about my good friend, George Schrieffer. George recently died after a long illness. I prayed for George’s wife and for their large, wonderful family

Purple finches, blackcap chickadees, gray titmice, and bright red cardinals took turns at the black oil sunflower seeds in the feeder suspended over the barn door. A procession of butterflies, including two orange monarchs, fluttered above pink begonias, pausing to sip nectar from the blue flower spikes of yellow and crimson coleus plants. Across the yard a large yellow tiger swallowtail feasted on late blooming purple hyssop. A few pale yellow and pink roses put on their final display. The Japanese maple was cloaked in deep red while the weeping cherry was dropping leaves in a gentle breeze. So much color! And may I remind you, I am colorblind!

Fall is one of my four favorite times of the year. Sitting on the porch I feel peacefully energized and far more renewed than if I had attended a week-long revival in a Baptist church – far more.  My soul is best restored in quite solitude.

This is another time for a drive to the mountains. Clare and I often travel up the Saluda Grade for a brief retreat. Fall is one of our favorite seasons for these one-day forays into the Blue Ridge. We usually purchase a few pumpkins and several varieties of apples along the way. After a picnic lunch we sometimes pause to enjoy a Carolina blue sky with only a few high clouds drifting above. The southern Appalachian highlands are all the more exhilarating if there is a nip in the air, and the vast forest is ablaze with color. Perched on the tailgate of my pickup truck at an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway is better than having a seat on the fifty-yard line at any football game.

The Southern Appalachian Mountains and surrounding foothills are decked out for their annual autumn display. Peak fall colors in our area occur from mid-October through early November. Though the mountains are home to more than 100 species of trees, the most colorful foliage comes courtesy of sugar maples, scarlet oaks, sweet gums, red maples, and hickory trees.

Before settling down into winter’s deep sleep, Mother Nature has one last fling, an amazing fashion show, when mountain foliage turns radiant shades of crimson, orange, and purple.

The English poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, celebrated autumn with a rhyme.

The one red leaf, the last of its clan,

That dances as often as dance it can.

The Cherokee Indians have a legend that explains why the leaves change color. It is the tale of a mighty bear that roamed the countryside wreaking havoc. The beast would charge into their villages, eat all their food, destroy their homes, chase away their animals, and frighten the women and children.

Tribal elders held a council and selected the bravest hunters to put an end to the bear. The warriors set out with their dogs and weapons to stalk the marauder. The beast fled; the Indians gave chase. One hunter came close enough to shoot, and an arrow nicked the bear. The injury was not serious, but the culprit ran so fast he escaped up into the sky. The hunters, determined in their chase, ran into the heavens in hot pursuit.

Use your imagination, and you can see the bear depicted in the four stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper. The three stars in the handle of the dipper represent the hunters chasing the bear. The stalkers and their prey go around and around in the northern night sky. Every autumn, the Big Dipper comes low to the horizon. It is then, according to the legend, that the bear’s wound leaks a few drops of blood. According to the legend, the blood of the bear changes the colors of the leaves on the trees.

Those of us who live in the Piedmont are fortunate to enjoy a changing climate. As days shorten and night air becomes crisp, the soothing green canvas of summer foliage is transformed into the breathtaking autumn palette of reds, oranges, yellows, and browns.

Four factors influence autumn leaf color — leaf pigments, length of daylight and darkness, rainfall, and temperatures. The timing of color change is primarily regulated by the increasing length of night hours. As days grow shorter and nights grow longer and cooler, chemical processes in the leaves begin to paint the autumn landscape.

During the growing season, chlorophyll makes leaves appear green. As the length of night increases in the autumn, chlorophyll production slows down and then stops. The pigments that are present in the leaf are then unmasked and the trees show their fall colors.

The timing of the color change also varies by species of trees. Sourwood and tulip poplars in southern forests can become a vivid yellow in late summer while all other species are still green. Oaks put on their colors long after other species have already shed their leaves.

The brilliance of the colors that develop in any particular autumn season are related to weather conditions that occur before and during the time the chlorophyll in the leaves is dwindling. Temperature and moisture are the main influences.

Mythical Jack Frost supposedly brings reds and purples to the forest by pinching the leaves with his icy fingers. The hues of yellow, gold, and brown are mixed in his paint box and applied with quick broad strokes of his brush as he silently moves among the trees decorating them.

Actually, frost does not bring autumn hues. It turns the leaves brown. The most spectacular color displays are brought on by a succession of warm, sunny days and cool, but not freezing, nights. During these days, sugars are produced in the leaf. The cool nights and the gradual closing of veins going into the leaf prevent these sugars from moving out. The combination of sugar and light spurs production of brilliant pigments in the leaves.

The amount of moisture in the soil also affects autumn colors. Like the weather, soil moisture varies greatly from year to year. The countless combinations of these two highly variable factors assure that no two autumns will be exactly alike. A late spring, or a severe summer drought, can delay the onset of fall color. A warm wet spring, favorable summer weather, and warm sunny fall days with cool nights produce the most brilliant autumn colors.

The vivid change of color starts in late September in New England and moves southward, reaching the Blue Ridge Mountains by early November. The cooler higher elevations will change color before the valleys.

A couple said recently, “We’re skipping church this Sunday. We are driving to the mountains to see the color.”

You know, I really couldn’t blame them. Clare and I enjoy cruising in any season but especially at this time of year. A day on the Blue Ridge Parkway has always been a refreshing break for both of us.

George Schrieffer, a good friend to many, recently went to heaven. George was a minister with a quick wit and a pleasant disposition. He was a diehard Chicago Cubs fan. He couldn’t sing a lick, but, my goodness, he could whistle. George came up with a short rhyme for the fall season. He was concerned that folks would be tempted to skip church on Sunday to drive to the mountains to see the display. George’s lines of poetry may not be as eloquent as those of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, but they are dear to any pastor’s heart.

The leaves reach their peak

In the middle of the week!

I wonder. Now that George is in eternity, what must autumn be like there? Do the leaves change colors? Do the butterflies and the birds migrate? I sit in quite solitude remembering my friend. What must this fall be like for George? I am not sure, but I would imagine that George is whistling. I bet he would say, “You gotta’ see this! It is glorious!

Yes, glorious!


October 2, 2016

Though I am not a golfer, the death of Arnold Palmer last Sunday gave me reason to reflect on the life of an extraordinary man. When I was a college student at Furman University, Palmer was in his prime. He was named Athlete of the Decade for the 1960s.

In 1973, Clare and I moved our family to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Palmer had attended Wake Forest College on a golf scholarship before beginning his professional career. He was revered by the good folks of North Carolina.

Arnold Palmer was the first golfer to surpass $1 million in earnings. That accomplishment is remarkable because his biggest tourney win earned $50,000.

In 2004 Palmer was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. He reportedly gave the commander-in-chief a few golf tips in the East Room of the White House.

Eight years later he was given the Congressional Gold Medal. On that occasion Palmer thanked the members of the House and the Senate for being able to agree on something.

After receiving these two highest civilian awards given in the United States, Palmer signed autographs for hundreds of people. That was his uniqueness. Arnold Palmer connected with people of all ages, blue-collar workers and white-collar politicians.

Arnold Palmer died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at age 87. A report in USA Today described him well.

Palmer was the accessible common man who would become the King and lead his own army. Along the way he became one of the sport’s best players and a successful businessman, philanthropist, trailblazing advertising spokesman, talented golf course designer, and experienced aviator.

Clare and I have good friends who are avid golf fans. The shared with us an experience they had with Arnold Palmer.

On Thursday, April 5, 2007, Arnold Palmer hit the first shot of the Masters Golf Tournament. The four-time champion at Augusta, one of the great legends in the history of the Masters, agreed to serve as the honorary starter for that year’s Tournament. He became the first honorary starter since Sam Snead in 2002. When asked if he would be intimidated by hitting the first shot, Palmer replied, “No, I think I’ll just let it go wherever it goes.”

Arnie played in 50 consecutive tournaments at the Augusta National Course, ending his streak in 2005. His victory in 1958 began the tradition of the Amen Corner, a name for the 11th, 12th, and 13th holes. The way Arnie played those three holes on the final day of the Masters was nothing short of a miracle. A writer for Sports Illustrated coined the term, Amen Corner, for the three holes.

In an interview before the 2007 Masters, Palmer recalled 1955, his first Masters. He tied for 10th place, but he said he would always remember the experience of playing alongside Gene Sarazen who hit the famous shot heard ’round the world to win the 1935 Masters.

Bobby Jones, a Georgia native and gentleman golfer, was largely responsible for the beginning of the Masters, an annual event since 1934. For those who live near Augusta, the Masters is a highlight of the year.

Our good friend Carol Anne Bostick is a native of North Augusta, South Carolina, just across the Savannah River from Augusta, Georgia. Tickets to the Masters are difficult to obtain, but that has not always been the case. Carol Anne explained, “In the 1930s, there was a big glass jar filled with Masters tickets at the Georgia Railroad Bank and Trust Company. Anyone could take as many as they wanted. In fact, they almost begged people to take a ticket to be in the gallery. By the early 1950s, demand for Masters tickets had increased, and season tickets were available for purchase. If your name was on the patrons list, you automatically got tickets every year. My mother’s name was on the list. Every year we went to the Masters as a family outing.”

In 1954, Carol Anne, at seven years of age, attended her first Masters with her mother, June Blandenburg.

In 1968, the allotment of tickets to many of the local patrons was reduced to two. Mrs. Blandenburg continued to receive her two tickets each year, but family members had to take turns going to the fabled golf tournament. When June Blandenburg died in 2004, at age 87, the family lost the use of her Masters tickets. When a person on the Masters ticket list dies, the privilege of purchasing tickets does not pass to their heirs. 2004 was the last year the Bosticks attended the Masters.

Carol Anne has kept a scrapbook through the years. She was an original member of Arnie’s Army, the large crowd of fans who followed Palmer around the golf course. Carol Anne’s treasures include a picture taken in 1960 of Arnold Palmer before he won his second Masters. She has a 1978 poster of Arnie that she got at a barbecue dinner.

In 1980, Carol Anne and her husband, Carl, happened to be in the right place at the right time. Cadillac was filming a television commercial featuring Arnold Palmer. The director needed a few extras for the advertisement. Carol Anne and Carl were chosen from those following Arnie around the Augusta National.

Perhaps the most prized item of memorabilia in Carol Anne’s collection is an antique Arnie’s Army button. In March of 2007 year, she wore it to The Arnold Palmer Invitational Golf Tournament at the Bay Hill Country Club in Orlando, Florida. Carol Anne and Carl arrived on Wednesday for the Pro-Am day. The event is designed to raise funds for the Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital and for the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies. Of course, the Bosticks followed Arnie as he played his round. In the foursome with Arnie were former Homeland Security Director, Tom Ridge, and Ed Willett, Senior Director for Business Development at ESPN, the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network.

Wearing her original Arnie’s Army button and carrying her 1978 poster, Carol Anne stood out in the crowd. Somewhere on the back nine, Ed Willett noticed and engaged her in conversation. Carol Anne explained that she hoped to have Arnold Palmer sign her poster. At the 18th tee, Ed called Arnie over, and the white-haired champion autographed his picture on the vintage barbecue ad. The ESPN executive took several photographs of Carol Anne, Carl, and Arnie using Carl’s camera.

Later, the Bosticks met Janet Hulcher, Arnold Palmer’s Executive Assistant. Janet offered to take Carol Anne’s scrapbook to Arnie so he could sign the 1960 snapshot. All in all, it was a banner day for our favorite Arnold Palmer fan!

On Thursday April 5, 2007, golf fans saw Arnie hit one more shot at the Masters. Wearing a sky blue sweater against the morning chill, the then 77-year-old Palmer took a driver to the 1st tee. He hammered the ball, driving it down the middle of the fairway just as he did so many times before.  Arnold Palmer is still a champion and he is King.

Just ask Carol Anne Bostick.


September 25, 2016

Clare and I live in the home built by my grandfather in 1937, just after the Great Depression. Soon after Mammy and Pappy moved here they planted an apple tree in the backyard near the railroad track. By the time I was old enough to climb the tree, the branches bore delicious apples every fall. The apples from that tree were not bright red, market pretty. In fact, I doubt that many other children would have been interested in the knotty yellow fruit with brown splotches. But I knew what would happen to the ones I picked. Mammy would make the best lattice-top apple pie the world has ever known. I am almost sure there will be apple pie topped with ice cream in heaven.

Before the American Revolution, William Mills planted fruit trees and became the first apple grower in Henderson County, North Carolina.  In 1782, Asa and Samuel Edney married the Mills daughters. The Edney brothers were among the first settlers in the community east of Hendersonville that bears their name. Edneyville was soon known as the core of the North Carolina apple industry.

The tree in the backyard was gone before our family moved into the old home place. In the fall, Clare and I enjoy driving to the Blue Ridge Mountains to buy apples. At our favorite roadside stand, we have found up to thirty different varieties. The fruit ranges in color from deep burgundy to red to green to yellow. Beautiful even to a colorblind man! We have found dessert apples and baking apples, apples tart and apples sweet.

Each year in early September, the town of Hendersonville hosts the North Carolina Apple Festival. The good folks of Saluda, just a few miles to the south, hold their own celebration. In the mountains of North Carolina, the expression “Let’s talk about apples” means, “Let’s forget about our troubles and think about something pleasant.”

The ancestor of our domestic apple is native to the mountains of Central Asia. A major city in the region where apples are thought to have originated is called Alma-Ata, or father of the apples. Descendants of the original wild apple trees are still found in the mountains along the border between China and the former Soviet Union.

The apple tree was perhaps the earliest tree to be cultivated. Apples have continued to be an important food in many parts of the world. Apples can be stored for months while still retaining much of their nutritive value.

There are more than 7,500 known varieties of apples. The delicious fruit can only be grown in temperate climates. The trees will not flower without sufficiently cool weather.

Many old cultivars have excellent flavor, often better than most modern varieties. These old-fashioned apples are still grown by home gardeners and farmers. Their conservation efforts continue the tradition of John Chapman, an American pioneer. For more than fifty years, he roamed the Midwest. He earned his nickname, Johnny Appleseed, by planting apple trees across Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

Apples as a fruit or as a symbol are everywhere. They have played an important role in science and medicine. Sir Isaac Newton, upon witnessing an apple fall from its tree, was inspired to conclude that a similar universal gravitation attracted the moon toward the Earth as well.

A leader in the development of cyber technology, Apple Computers adopted the apple as a logo for their company.

An old proverb attests to the health benefits of the fruit: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Research suggests that apples may reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer. Like many fruits, apples contain vitamin C, as well as a host of other antioxidant compounds. They may also assist with heart health, weight loss, and cholesterol control. The chemicals in apples may protect us from the brain damage that results in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Clare and I both have fond memories of our grandfathers peeling an apple with a pocketknife. The skill was to shave a thin layer of apple skin in a long, continuous curved strip without breaking it. It is a feat that I have attempted on the backporch with my own grandchildren. I find it amazing that children can be so entranced by the curls of an apple peel. Once the trick is completed the children enjoy eating the peeling. Then I slice the apple into wedges, and we eat those together.

“Let’s talk about apples,” may be the way southern mountain folk try avoid discussing troubles, but in history and in myth, apples have often been at the center of trouble.

Though the forbidden fruit mentioned in the book of Genesis is not identified, popular tradition has held that it was with an apple that Eve coaxed Adam to disobey the Almighty. As a result, the apple became a symbol for temptation.

The larynx in the human throat is called the Adam’s Apple. The origin of the name came from the notion that it was a chunk of the forbidden fruit sticking in the throat of Adam.

Swiss folklore holds that William Tell courageously used his crossbow to shoot an apple from his son’s head, defying a tyrannical ruler and bringing freedom to his people.

Snow White, the fairytale princess, slept in a deep coma induced by a poisoned apple, a gift from her wicked stepmother.

On the other hand, the apple has been identified as symbol of love and affection. Venus is often depicted holding an apple.

In the legend of King Arthur, the mythical Isle of Avalon is the Island of Apples.

According to Irish folklore, an apple peel, pared into one long continuous ribbon and thrown behind a woman’s shoulder, will land in the shape of her future husband’s initials.

An apple is a traditional gift for a beloved teacher.

In Ancient Greece, a man throwing an apple to a woman was a proposal of marriage. If she caught the fruit, it meant she accepted the proposal.

When I was a boy, there was an old apple tree in the yard of an abandoned farm house down a dirt road beyond our house. In the autumn of the year, the ground was littered with rotten apples. Apple fights, spontaneous frays, were great fun. Late one September afternoon, beneath the old apple tree, the battle was joined. All went well until a buddy of mine threw a rotten apple at me. I ducked.

The apple sailed over my head and toward his girlfriend. It was certainly not a marriage proposal, and she didn’t catch it. The rotten apple hit her in the face! As you might imagine, my buddy was no longer the apple of her eye!


September 18, 2016

“Democracy is being allowed to vote for the candidate you dislike least” is a quote attributed to Mark Twain.  Someone once asked my grandfather whom he was going to vote for in a presidential election.  His comment was, “I’ve hardly ever been able to vote for anybody.  I almost always have to vote against somebody.”

Many of us feel the same way this time around as an important election approaches   in November 2016.   The presidential political contest is serious, yet, in some ways, it is comic. The comedians of America have played a significant role in the campaign that precedes the election. The candidates have been the subjects of stand-up routines and half-hour satires. They have appeared on late-night talk shows. “Saturday Night Live” features regular spoofs of both Democrats and Republicans.  Comedy has been a significant force as voters make their decisions.

Beginning in the year 2000 Time magazine has published a special issue. In the past “The Making of America” series has featured Lewis and Clark, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. This year, 2016, the magazine featured Thomas Edison. The seventh annual issue featured Mark Twain, the first American writer to achieve the kind of fame normally accorded presidents and generals. Read more…


September 11, 2016

Last Christmas, I received a quart jar of local honey from a friend who is a beekeeper. The sweet elixir came with a block of honeycomb. My friend expressed a concern. “I’m worried about my bees,” he said. “Something is killing them.” His concern reflects a nationwide problem. Honeybees are disappearing.

These last days of summer are alive with activity in the insect world. I personally have seen more butterflies and bumblebees than I have seen honeybees. My beekeeper friend made an unusual request. “If you hear of anybody who has a problem with a swarm of bees invading their home, please call me. I need to replenish my hives.”

Over the last ten years some commercial beekeepers in the United States have lost 90% of their colonies. Dr. Mike Hood, Professor of Entomology at Clemson University, has been following the epidemic known as colony collapse since 2007. Honeybees have been in decline since 1950. At first this was attributed to an increase in the use of pesticides. Now, bees are disappearing at an alarming rate, and scientists don’t know why. Agricultural production across the United States depends on these tiny workers. Crops from almonds to apples to avocados depend on the insect. Read more…