I wrote this piece for OdysseyOnLine in January 2017. As I passed through Bowman this past week I was reminded about my article so I thought I would share this article once again.
The words “UFO Welcome Center” are printed on the object in large, childlike, capital letters. There was a small model of an alien outside alongside another smaller sign saying “UFO Welcome Center / Bowman / Planet Earth.” The alien was a rather friendly looking type, though he was silver and not green as I would have expected. I hoped that perhaps Fox Mulder and Dana Scully would crawl out from behind the rubble.
I was grateful for the 25 MPH speed limit on a quiet two-lane road running through the small town of Bowman, S.C. Then, suddenly, I spun my head around in a way that resembled the girl in “The Exorcist” in order to see a huge, shiny spaceship-looking object. It captivated my attention. There was nothing left to do but turn around and investigate. I turned around, pulled into the dirt parking area behind a small gas station and stared at what was indeed a spaceship.
The spaceship looked as if it could fall apart any moment, but according to all reports it had been standing for more than 20 years. It has even survived storms that damaged other buildings. Apparently, the spacecraft and surrounding areas are built with tin, aluminum, wood slates and duct tape. Miscellaneous objects (pieces of trash) are spread about the property, in addition to a well-used couch. I can’t imagine an alien landing party thinking it was a very welcoming place, but then again, I haven’t met any aliens.
I arrived home and immediately had to find out more about this strange site. I discovered that among the 1,200 residents of Bowman is a unique man named Jody Pendarvis, the creator of the UFO Welcome Center. The Center is built on land originally owned by Pendarvis’s grandparents. He is waiting for aliens to land after supposedly seeing a spaceship and meeting its crew. He claims that the “men in blue” (government folks) have visited him trying to get information, but he won’t talk. He hopes that the aliens will return and stay at the Welcome Center or perhaps even put an engine in the empty engine space inside and fly it away.
I travel Highway 178 out of the Charleston area every month and make a quick stop at the Center each time that I do. I hope that I might meet Jody one day and find out more about the Center (and the aliens). I might have to convince him that I am not one of the “men in blue.” If I show him my college ID, I think it will be OK. If the spaceship is gone next time I stop by, it will be obvious that Jody was right all along and that aliens have taken the spacecraft (and perhaps with Jody aboard).
Check out this interesting video about Jody and the Welcome Center.
Just last month Haley vetoed a bill that would give parents information on the side effects of HPV and how the vaccine could help. Haley goes a step further this week vetoing half a million dollars slated for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention. You know, because that market is already just flooding with resources.
Haley explained these vetoes in the Department of Health and Environmental Control budget by writing, “Each of these lines attempts to serve a portion of our population for which we extend our sympathy and encouragement, but nevertheless, it is only a small portion of South Carolina’s chronically ill or abused. Overall, these special add-on lines distract from the agency’s broader mission of protecting South Carolina’s public health.”
Mind you, Gov. Haley is the same women who told the ladies of “The View,” while speaking about her opposition to health care reform, that “Women don’t care about contraception.” Yeah, she said that.
According to a statement from the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence And Assault, the vetoed funding is 37 percent of the budget for rape crisis centers in the state. In 2011, 15 sexual assault programs provided services — a 24-hour hotline, accompaniment to a hospital for a rape kit, counseling — to over 5,000 individuals. Prevention services included education for 50,000 youngsters from elementary school to college.
I hope the House will overturn these vetoes when they return to session. More importantly I want to ask all of you to remember to vote. Women and other minorities are able to vote because of the sacrifices of many people who came before us. People voted to make Nikki Haley Governor of South Carolina. Or did all the people who stayed home on election day make her Governor? Something to think about, isn’t it?