Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
That was the outlook many people in the Eastern U.S. had as dire weather forecasts over the weekend predicted a “superstorm” of historic magnitude barreling toward the coast. As many as 50 million people were predicted to be affected.
And when Sandy washed ashore late Monday night, striking the country’s most densely populated region, she packed a powerful punch with hurricane-force winds blowing upward of 80 mph.
In the light of day Tuesday, the true devastation was visible: Entire neighborhoods were under water. Those living in higher elevations were being buried under a blanket of deep snow. Millions of people from Maine to the Carolinas were without electricity.
Here in Marion County, residents were luckier.
Although we didn’t escape the storm completely unscathed — there were downed trees and power lines, nearly 600 people were without power and Bunner Ridge, in the county’s higher elevation, got 6 inches of snow — we counted our blessings that we were among the few areas in this part of the state that seemed to miss the brunt of Sandy’s wrath.
We also took comfort in the fact that the Office of Emergency Management was ready if we had been hit hard. Chris McIntire, director, said the county was “very well-prepared,” adding that personnel had been manned with chain saws to cut down fallen trees and shelters were ready to open for displaced families.
“But we didn’t have to. We were in stand-by mode. There were few calls for assistance. Nothing out of the ordinary,” McIntire said.
Sadly, that wasn’t the case for other parts of the Mountain State, nor in New York and New Jersey.
The superstorm dumped 2 feet of snow in parts of West Virginia, caused several buildings to collapse, cut electricity to thousands and left others stranded by impassible roads. State officials have blamed the storm for five deaths, including a legislative candidate from Barbour County.
In New York, large swaths of lower Manhattan lost electricity and entire streets ended up under water, as did seven subway tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Mass transit was shut down, and the New York Stock Exchange was closed for two days due to weather, the first time that had happened since a blizzard in 1888. In a flooded beachfront neighborhood in Queens, a huge fire had destroyed more than 100 houses.
And in New Jersey, search and rescue crews were out in force. The devastation on the Jersey Shore was, as Gov. Chris Christie said, “some of the worst we’ve ever seen.” In Hoboken, at least 25 percent of the city remained under water Wednesday, and at least 20,000 people were stranded.
According to early estimates, Sandy will end up causing about $20 billion in property damage and $10 billion to $30 billion more in lost business, making it one of the costliest natural disasters on record in the U.S.
But when natural disasters of this magnitude happen, Americans rally.
It goes without saying that in the coming days and weeks, the citizens in the hardest-hit areas will need our help more than ever before. As they begin to pick up the pieces and start the rebuilding process, both of the communities they call home and the lives they have created there, we hope they will be comforted by the thought that they have the support of an entire nation.
After all, that’s one of the best things about this country. We pick each other up and carry on. The paths are sometimes bumpy, but we don’t give up. We are resilient.
And that resilient spirit will prevail.
Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
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Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
It’s happening again.
It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.
County honors men who gave all in helping their community
The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.
State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less
The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
Let’s not do that again.
Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past
Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.
COLUMN: Who would leave animal in sweltering car?
I was standing and debating between two brands of a product in a big box store when I heard a call over the intercom:
“Will the owner of a green Cavalier with a dog inside please report to the lawn and garden center.”
I shook my head. I hate seeing dogs in cars waiting while their owners shop. About five minutes later, there was another announcement over the intercom.
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- Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely