10 days after Hurricane Florence, fresh chaos in S. Carolina
By JEFFREY COLLINS
Monday, September 24
YAUHANNAH, S.C. (AP) — More than a week ago, pastor Willie Lowrimore and some of his congregants stacked sandbags around their South Carolina church to protect it from the fury of Hurricane Florence.
They moved the pews to higher ground and watched anxiously for days as the nearly black, reeking water from the swollen Waccamaw River rose, even though the hurricane was long gone. Finally, before dawn Monday, the water seeped around and over the sandbags, flooding the sanctuary.
“I’m going to go one day at a time,” Lowrimore said as he sat in a rocking chair listening to the river rush by, ruining the church he built almost 20 years ago. “Put it in the Lord’s hands. My hands aren’t big enough.”
Ten days after Florence came ashore, the storm caused fresh chaos Monday in Yauhannah and elsewhere across South Carolina, where rivers kept rising and thousands more people were told to be ready to evacuate.
Authorities urged up to 8,000 people in Georgetown County, on the South Carolina coast, to be prepared to flee from potential flood zones. A “record event” of up to 10 feet (3 meters) of flooding was expected to begin Tuesday near parts of the Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers, county spokeswoman Jackie Broach-Akers said.
Places along the waterfront in Georgetown were predicted to flood for the first time since record keeping began before the American Revolution.
“We are still getting phone calls from people who don’t know what is going on,” said Georgetown County Emergency Management Director Sam Hodge.
In North Carolina, where Florence made landfall, Gov. Roy Cooper said the state was moving from an emergency response mode to full-time recovery from the storm.
“Florence is gone, but the storm’s devastation is still with us,” Cooper said at a news conference.
About 400 roads across the state remained closed due to the storm that has claimed at least 46 lives since slamming into the coast Sept. 14.
But there was some good news: Interstate 95 was reopened to all traffic Sunday night for the first time since the floods, and Cooper announced Monday that a previously closed portion of Interstate 40 had reopened sooner than expected.
Power outages and the number of people in shelters were also declining. Around 5,000 people were without power, down from a peak of about 800,000. About 2,200 people were in shelters, compared with a high of around 20,000, the governor said.
On Monday, Republican education leaders in North Carolina announced planned legislation to assure teachers at still-shuttered schools they will get paid without using vacation time. The proposal was part of broader disaster funding that the General Assembly will consider in an anticipated special session.
The full impact of Hurricane Florence on North Carolina’s public high schools and grade schools was still unclear.
North Carolina Public Schools spokesman Drew Elliot said the unofficial estimate was that 1.2 million of more than 1.5 million public school students in the state missed classes because of the storm. Officials sent a survey to schools to get a better sense of Florence’s full effect and hope to have better data by the end of the week, Elliot said.
In Washington, lawmakers considered almost $1.7 billion in new money for disaster relief and recovery, even as they face a deadline this week to fund the government before the Oct. 1 start of the new budget year.
The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee said the money would be available as grants to states to help rebuild housing and public works and to assist businesses. GOP Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey called it “a first round” and said lawmakers were ready to act quickly if the federal disaster relief agency also needs more money.
The economic research firm Moody’s Analytics estimated that Florence has caused around $44 billion in damage and lost output, which would make it one of the 10 costliest U.S. hurricanes. The worst disaster, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, cost $192.2 billion in today’s dollars. Last year’s Hurricane Harvey cost $133.5 billion.
Associated Press writers Gary D. Robertson and Alex Derosier in Raleigh; Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina; Sarah Rankin in Richmond, Virginia; and Sarah Brumfield in Washington contributed to this report.
For the latest on Hurricane Florence, visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/Hurricanes
Buckeye Lake Canal Era
Coal Barge Model to be Revealed
Handmade model represents a three-dimensional
replica of the barge that sank in 1850
BUCKEYE LAKE, OH – The Buckeye Lake Historical Society and Museum will host an open house to reveal a unique replica of the Black Diamond, a canal-era coal barge that sank in the lake in 1850 and was uncovered during the Buckeye Lake Dam rehabilitation project. The handmade model represents a three-dimensional replica of what the coal barge would have looked like prior to sinking.
The model is 26 inches long, 6 inches wide and 5 inches tall. It is complete with working hatches, ropes, cabin furniture, a hand-carved boat captain with mare and a cargo load of coal. The coal used in the model came from the pieces of the actual shipment the barge was hauling on the fateful day of its demise, which were recovered by Lawhon & Associates during archaeological salvage efforts.
Wildlife Offenders Sentenced in Theft/Poaching Case in Northwest Ohio
FINDLAY, OH – Two Lucas County residents were recently convicted in Henry County Common Pleas Court following a two-year poaching and theft investigation by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.
Edward Polansky, 28, of Holland, and Rodney Polansky, 33, of Toledo, were convicted of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a felony in the 1st degree, and failure to comply with an order of a police officer, a felony in the 3rd degree.
The investigation began in the fall of 2015, when the ODNR Division of Wildlife received multiple theft reports from hunters who had their vehicles broken into while hunting on public lands in Williams, Fulton, Henry, and Lucas counties. Also, during this time the ODNR Division of Wildlife received several deer poaching complaints that were later connected to the Polanskys as a result of the investigation.
A break in the case came in December of 2016, when a hunter witnessed the Polanskys break into his vehicle. This led to the Polanskys arrest and the execution of multiple search warrants by the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The search warrants recovered numerous stolen items including firearms and other hunting related equipment, a snow blower stolen from the ODNR Division of Wildlife, and several illegally taken and possessed deer antlers. In total, 28 victims reported 177 items stolen over a two-year period.
Edward and Rodney Polansky were sentenced to four years in prison, to be served consecutively, and five years of post-release control. Both men lost their hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges for ten years. All evidence was forfeited to the state and items belonging to the victims were returned. The men were ordered to split the payment of $30,823.56 in restitution, to be paid to the victims for damages and loss of property, and to the state for six deer taken or possessed unlawfully. A total of $3,006.44 in court costs was also ordered to be paid.
A special thanks to the thirteen different law enforcement agencies, including two out of state agencies, that worked alongside the ODNR Division of Wildlife on this case, as well as, Henry County Common Pleas Court, Judge John Collier and Prosecutor Gwen Howe-Gebers.
The public can report wildlife violations through the Turn-In-A-Poacher (TIP) Program. Established in 1982, TIP allows Ohioans to call a toll-free number from anywhere in the state to report wildlife violations. Calls regarding wildlife violations can be placed anonymously at 1-800-POACHER (800-762-2437).
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.
Let’s call it: 30 years of above average temperatures means the climate has changed
February 26, 2015
Richard B. Rood
Professor of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan
Richard B Rood receives funding from government and foundation research grants. He writes a climate-change blog for Wunderground.com
University of Michigan provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
If you’re younger than 30, you’ve never experienced a month in which the average surface temperature of the Earth was below average.
Each month, the US National Climatic Data Center calculates Earth’s average surface temperature using temperature measurements that cover the Earth’s surface. Then, another average is calculated for each month of the year for the twentieth century, 1901-2000. For each month, this gives one number representative of the entire century. Subtract this overall 1900s monthly average – which for February is 53.9F (12.1C) – from each individual month’s temperature and you’ve got the anomaly: that is, the difference from the average.
The last month that was at or below that 1900s average was February 1985. Ronald Reagan had just started his second presidential term and Foreigner had the number one single with “I want to know what love is.”
These temperature observations make it clear the new normal will be systematically rising temperatures, not the stability of the last 100 years. The traditional definition of climate is the 30-year average of weather. The fact that – once the official records are in for February 2015 – it will have been 30 years since a month was below average is an important measure that the climate has changed.
How the Earth warms
As you can see in the graphic above, ocean temperature doesn’t vary as much as land temperature. This fact is intuitive to many people because they understand that coastal regions don’t experience as extreme highs and lows as the interiors of continents. Since oceans cover the majority of the Earth’s surface, the combined land and ocean graph strongly resembles the graph just for the ocean. Looking at only the ocean plots, you have to go all the way back to February 1976 to find a month below average. (That would be under President Gerald Ford’s watch.)
You can interpret variability over land as the driver of the ups and downs seen in the global graph. There are four years from 1976 onwards when the land was below average; the last time the land temperature was cool enough for the globe to be at or below average was February 1985. The flirtation with below-average temps was tiny – primarily worth noting in the spirit of accurate record keeping. Looking at any of these graphs, it’s obvious that earlier times were cooler and more recent times are warmer. None of the fluctuations over land since 1976 provide evidence contrary to the observation that the Earth is warming.
Some of the most convincing evidence that the Earth is warming is actually found in measures of the heat stored in the oceans and the melting of ice. However, we often focus on the surface air temperature. One reason for that is that we feel the surface air temperature; therefore, we have intuition about the importance of hot and cold surface temperatures. Another reason is historical; we have often thought of climate as the average of weather. We’ve been taking temperature observations for weather for a long time; it is a robust and essential observation.
Despite variability, a stable signal
Choosing one month, February in this instance, perhaps overemphasizes that time in 1985 when we had a below average month. We can get a single yearly average for all the months in an entire year, January-December. If we look at these annual averages, then the ups and downs are reduced. In this case, 1976 emerges as the last year in which the global-average temperature was below the 20th century average of 57.0F (13.9C) – that’s 38 years ago, the year that Nadia Comaneci scored her seven perfect 10s at the Montreal Olympics.
I am not a fan of tracking month-by-month or even year-by-year averages and arguing over the statistical minutia of possible records. We live at a time when the Earth is definitively warming. And we know why: predominately, the increase of greenhouse gas warming due to increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Under current conditions, we should expect the planet to be warming. What would be more important news would be if we had a year, even a month, that was below average.
The variability we observe in surface temperature comes primarily from understood patterns of weather. Many have heard of El Niño, when the eastern Pacific Ocean is warmer than average. The eastern Pacific is so large that when it is warmer than average, the entire planet is likely to be warmer than average. As we look at averages, 30 years, 10 years, or even one year, these patterns, some years warmer, some cooler, become less prominent. The trend of warming is large enough to mask the variability. The fact that there have been 30 years with no month below the 20th century average is a definitive statement that climate has changed.
The 30-year horizon
There are other reasons that this 30-year span of time is important. Thirty years is a length of time in which people plan. This includes personal choices – where to live, what job to take, how to plan for retirement. There are institutional choices – building bridges, building factories and power plants, urban flood management. There are resource management questions – assuring water supply for people, ecosystems, energy production and agriculture. There are many questions concerning how to build the fortifications and plan the migrations that sea-level rise will demand. Thirty years is long enough to be convincing that the climate is changing, and short enough that we can conceive, both individually and collectively, what the future might hold.
Finally, 30 years is long enough to educate us. We have 30 years during which we can see what challenges a changing climate brings us. Thirty years that are informing us about the next 30 years, which will be warmer still. This is a temperature record that makes it clear that the new normal will be systematically rising temperatures, not the ups and downs of the last 100 years.
Those who are under 30 years old have not experienced the climate I grew up with. In thirty more years, those born today will also be living in a climate that, by fundamental measures, will be different than the climate of their birth. Future success will rely on understanding that the climate in which we are all now living is changing and will continue to change with accumulating consequences.
Stretching your donation dollars: 5 tips
August 30, 2017
Residents pick through a makeshift aid station in Rockport, Texas after Harvey struck their city. AP Photo/Eric Gay
Associate Professor of Public Administration, Binghamton University, State University of New York
David Campbell has served on Charity Navigator’s Academic Advisory Board.
Binghamton University, State University of New York provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
Many Americans want to help the people suffering from Hurricane Harvey and its unprecedented floods.
There’s no shortage of media reports listing which groups are taking donations, often with scant guidance about what kinds of relief these organizations can offer.
Having researched giving in the wake of disasters and taught students how to be effective philanthropists, I’ve learned that it’s hard to make good decisions regarding donations – especially when there are many urgent needs and countless ways to spend charitable dollars. Here are some best practices you may want to consider before you contribute.
Give money, not goods
The ideal way to show your compassion is to donate money to a charity that you respect, rather than shipping cartons of diapers and cases of canned chili.
It’s easy to think of disasters in personal terms: “What if it were me or my family?” and picture what you’d need if you suddenly became homeless: clothes, food or toys. But goods given during emergencies often go to waste. These donations can even do more harm than good when they interfere with disaster response efforts.
Besides, you aren’t likely to know what people on the (drenched) ground need.
Donate to organizations operating on the scene
But where should you send that money? It’s generally a good idea to support groups operating in the midst of the disaster. They can give money and other aid to the people who need it directly.
But first, do your homework to learn about an organization’s past performance. Established organizations are usually your best bet because they are the most apt to have staff, experience, infrastructure and roots in affected communities. National organizations like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army have long track records in disaster response.
Every disaster raises questions about established organizations’ relief efforts, such as how the Red Cross spent funds donated after Superstorm Sandy on public relations stunts and other activities not directly tied to relief efforts, and the Salvation Army’s decision to hold back relief after that same disaster to spend later on in the recovery process. When you give, it’s important to keep that history in mind.
If you prefer to give locally, support groups firmly rooted in the affected area. In Harvey’s aftermath, that might mean the United Way of Greater Houston and the Greater Houston Community Foundation, which both have established relief funds and a long history of service to the local community.
You can screen organizations using tools like Charity Navigator, which rates nonprofits based on several performance metrics. It has compiled a list of highly rated Texas groups involved in relief efforts. Guidestar is another useful resource. While it does not rate charities, it provides basic financial data about them and allows nonprofits to upload information about their programs and results that you can use to help make your giving decisions. Guidestar also offers guidelines about giving during disasters and a list of groups active in the relief effort.
Support established nonprofits
Sometimes new groups sprout up to respond to catastrophes like the ones now unfolding in Texas that seem tailor-made for supporting people in distress but have some shortcomings.
When I studied the philanthropic response after the 9/11 attacks, I found that more than 250 new organizations emerged to meet the needs of people affected by that disaster. New organizations can play important roles, particularly those connected to marginalized groups, like immigrants, who may not trust established institutions. That was the case with the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund, an organization I advised after 9/11.
But it can take time for new groups to get up and running, and in the meantime there’s no track record for donors to check out. While most new organizations are led by people moved to make a difference, some are opportunists committing fraud, like the founders of the Hurricane Sandy Relief Foundation. Fundraising services like the GoFundMe campaigns established to help Harvey victims pose the same risks if they are not tied to established organizations.
If you itemize your taxes and plan to deduct your contribution, note that you can do so only if the IRS has certified the organization’s nonprofit status. Most contributions to new nonprofits and GoFundMe campaigns aren’t tax-deductible. But gifts to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which the city of Houston has already established, are.
Consider long-term priorities
Photos and video clips of streets transformed into rivers, stranding residents, can create an urge to make a difference immediately. But, as recent disasters like Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina showed, the needs are sure to mount. That’s why more than one in four of organizations created after 9/11 was still providing relief five years later.
Be mindful that people in Houston, Rockport and other afflicted areas in Texas, and possibly Louisiana, will need our money long after Harvey stops making headlines. Your donation may matter six months or even years from now as much as it does today. Nonetheless, donation forms may offer you the option to indicate how you want your contribution used – including having it spent right away if you feel strongly about it.
Maximize the speed and size of your gift
Many nonprofits are encouraging people to donate by sending texts, an approach that may seem like the fastest way to give.
But wireless companies tend to wait until you officially cover the donation’s cost – by paying your bill – before passing that money along to the charity. That can delay payments by weeks or even months.
If getting your money to Houston or another community fast is your top concern, make online donations with a credit card or a debit card. Even “a check in the mail” would transmit funds faster than texting, says Brian Mittendorf, who teaches accounting at the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.
Mittendorf also cautions that giving through crowdfunding can mean that intermediaries skim fees that might otherwise go to disaster relief or another cause you support. Credit card companies also usually collect transaction fees.
In short, being an informed donor is the best way you can start to make a difference for the people who have lost their homes, cars and more.