Thumbs up to a bad storm bringing out the good in people. That is what has happened since Hurricane Matthew drenched and decked the Pee Dee a week ago. Power outages have made life difficult. Trees have blocked roads, making traffic maddening. But something remarkable has happened in the past seven days. People have risen to the challenge.
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Some of these people are pros. We appreciate immensely what they have been doing to help us recover from a big blow, but they have been doing what they are paid to do. What we’re talking about is different. Neighbors have helped neighbors, as in, “You don’t have a chainsaw? Let me help you with mine.” Strangers have helped strangers.
A Red Cross volunteer from the Boston area said earlier this week that he had heard about Southern hospitality but was impressed to see that it isn’t a myth. That was Carolos Ortiz, who was managing a shelter at South Florence High School. He told some local people that the shelter was running low on supplies, and he was impressed with the response. “The support and help from the community of Florence is amazing,” Ortiz said. “There’s an endless supply of food and water and toiletries coming in every day. The community is supporting their own, and that’s awesome.”
A report issued nearly three months ago by the National Weather Service provided practical recommendations that would minimize flood hazards throughout our state.
The document stressed the need for more accurate, updated flood maps — and for more timely use of them by emergency management and community officials to safeguard those in the areas of greatest risk. More comprehensive regulation of smaller dams — many of which failed under last year’s onslaught — is also needed.
Meanwhile, Matthew has delivered another chilling reminder that coastal folks aren’t the only ones at risk from devastating flooding. So keep in mind that for many people in the Carolinas, that storm is still taking a terrible toll.
And if you’re among the fortunate who escaped Matthew’s major wrath, consider donating to the American Red Cross to help those who weren’t so lucky. You can do so by going to redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word MATTHEW to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Around the country, voters are casting ballots in the election for president. Not so in South Carolina, at least by a formal early-voting process.
State lawmakers to date have not made a change in election law to authorize early voting. Despite arguments that casting ballots up to a month before Election Day further opens the voting process and makes for shorter lines and a smoother operation on the second Tuesday in November, previous early-voting proposals have fallen victim to the battle over voter identification requirements. And there is also the stated belief by lawmakers that early voting, particularly in June primaries, puts them at a disadvantage with time to campaign after the end of the legislative session.
Critics of early voting also have new ammunition this year in contending that no voter should cast a ballot until the campaign is complete, as seemingly every day brings new revelations that could impact a person’s decision on a choice for president.
It’s hard to see South Carolina in the long term not joining the early-voting majority. But in the meantime, state law does not require that all voters wait until Election Day to cast ballots. In South Carolina, voting by absentee ballot is de facto early voting.…
If you for some reason cannot vote on Election Day, take steps now to get your ballot and cast it early by the absentee method.