Recent editorials from South Carolina newspapers:
The Morning News of Florence on how Gov. Nikki Haley handled evacuations:
Thumbs up to S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley. Last week, she called for coastal evacuations to start on Oct. 5. She has been criticized for making that call too soon, while Hurricane Matthew was still in Haiti, 1,000 miles away. In more than half of the state’s counties, she ordered school districts and government offices to close. She also ordered lane reversals on Interstate 26 to help motorists evacuate Charleston and get to Columbia. Some parents weren’t happy because they had to stay home to care for children who could have been in school. But, as they say, hindsight is 20-20. Many schools are used as shelters for evacuees. Those shelters needed to be prepared. Former Gov. David Beasley told The State that Haley made the right call. “It’s got to be an orderly process and, if you wait too late, the roads get jammed and then tempers flare and there’s catastrophe,” Beasley said. “You err on the side of caution. You can’t err on the side of convenience.” In 1996, Beasley ordered the evacuation of the Grand Strand when Hurricane Bertha threatened the coast. He was nervous when the storm turned toward the Isle of Palms, which he did not order evacuated, but the island ultimately was not hit. In 1999, with Hurricane Floyd on the way, Gov. Jim Hodges ordered a coastal evacuation, but he didn’t order the reversal on I-26 until a massive traffic jam had occurred. That makes him sympathetic toward Haley. “There are a lot of tough decisions that need to be made,” Hodges told The State. “She (Haley) has much better information than any of us have” about the storm’s path and what it will take to keep people safe. “Second-guessing her or the team is inappropriate.”
The Index-Journal of Greenwood on “everyday heroes:”
Events of the past couple of weeks have been nothing short of draining. The tragic shootings in Townville tugged even more at South Carolinians’ hearts when news came that 6-year-old Jacob Hall had died. Then, residents, including the Piedmont and Upstate, were on edge as news came that Hurricane Matthew was approaching and would likely have a significant impact on our state, which it did.
Yet, through these events we have also witnessed something good, something incredible.
A little boy ready to play on his school playground is shot in the leg. Despite all that was done at the scene in Townville to stem the flow of blood, the loss of blood was too great. His brain was damaged, his body eventually gave out. No one at the hospital, no one in Townville, no one else in the state could save the life of Jacob Hall, but thousands upon thousands paid tribute to him. They honored him last week by wearing superhero shirts and costumes. He was a boy with an infectious smile, a boy who loved superheroes and who, through his death, became something of a superhero in that he brought a community - really, a state - together as something far stronger than it was.
As our coastal neighbors began to evacuate because of Hurricane Matthew’s approach, Greenwood responded. Coastal residents with family members north and west of the coast found refuge, but some temporary residents whose South Carolina experience has been nothing more than arriving to work at resorts really had nowhere to turn. Interns from foreign lands who have been working at Hilton Head were soon whisked away with the help of Wright’s Travel, the Promised Land-based bus company that provided volunteer services. The interns were then brought to The Greenwood Building, which houses the corporate headquarters for Greenwood Properties and Resorts, where they were housed in rooms filled with donated air mattresses.
This outpouring of good, this display of unity and strength wasn’t lost on others. Greenwood attorney Tripp Padgett noticed it. Lesley Lane, an executive assistant at Greenwood Properties and Resorts who helped coordinate the interns’ arrival, saw it as well.
In a letter to the editor published last week, Padgett took note of the dichotomy that was the vice-presidential debate juxtaposed with the outpouring of love for Jacob Hall. And in her letter today, Lane had this to say to those who responded to her request for air mattresses: “You, Greenwood, spent the day providing for these kids whom you have never met in your lives; kids who grew up half a world away from you; kids who will most likely never have the opportunity to thank you in person but you did it anyway. And you should have seen the delight in their eyes when I told them I’d not spent a single dime on food - that all of it had been delivered by you, just for them.”
Padgett wrote: “We need superheroes. It should not have taken losing Jacob to tragedy, but it did. Let’s show we are superheroes from the inside out and use our powers every day - courtesy to others, civil conversation and being a community.”
Indeed. We have been tested time and time again. We have seen glimpses into our own goodness as individuals and community. These past couple of weeks we have again been made aware that we have the power - super and otherwise - to do good, to be good, to build community. We can do this regularly, not just when a tragedy or emergency stares us in the face.
In “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” Tina Turner sang “We Don’t Need Another Hero.” Wrong. We all need to be heroes - everyday heroes.
The Post and Courier of Charleston on post-storm scams:
Property owners can’t control which structures a hurricane targets. But they can avoid becoming financial victims after a storm has done its damage.
Hurricane Hugo battered thousands of roofs across the Lowcountry in 1989. People were shell-shocked and anxious to prevent further damage.
They were also inexperienced in dealing with such devastation. Perhaps they let their guards down as selfless volunteers flooded the area to help the area recover.
So some fell prey to scam artists who presented themselves as roofers, took a hefty down payment for repair work and then skipped town.
Others hired companies that followed through with the work, but did so at ridiculously high prices - and sometimes in a slipshod manner.
Before Hurricane Matthew finally got here Saturday morning, no one knew whether he would be a major disaster for the city, or something less.
Fortunately, Matthew was no Hugo, and there wasn’t nearly as much harm done.
But last Thursday, Charleston City Council wisely imposed a price-gouging ordinance to keep vulnerable people from being overcharged. It’s better to hedge your bets when the stakes are so high.
And while Matthew didn’t do as much property damage as feared, he still left residents needing repairs on their homes and businesses. That means you should beware of unscrupulous people inclined to ignore the city’s anti-gouging mandate.
Property owners need to inform themselves about what is reasonable and remain vigilant. It’s advisable to pay for work as it is done rather than in advance.
Gov. Nikki Haley warns of the threat of cyber-scammers who send residents emails purporting to come from an electric utility company about their power outages. By clicking on those emails, the scammers can obtain information from personal computers and further defraud the owners. So, don’t click if you don’t know the sender.
Some of the pitfalls people fall into after a hurricane are self-imposed. For example, don’t touch downed power lines. They might be live.
Don’t try to take down a tree that has been broken by winds or has been blown onto a roof. That’s a job for a professional. Chain saws aren’t for novices.
Don’t forget to take pictures before making any repairs. They might be necessary for insurance and FEMA assistance.
Floodwater can be filled with contaminants. Use disinfectants and gloves when cleaning it up. Power out? Never use a portable generator, a grill or a camp stove inside. Exercise caution even when using candles.
Of course, the best outcome from a hurricane is to escape damage altogether.
But if the storm wasn’t so kind to you this time, the best thing to do is to avoid further financial headaches by carefully choosing who repairs your damaged property.
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