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Way to be good listeners
By CHRIS TRAINOR
, Special to the Index-Journal
Sunday, February 16, 2014 12:07 AM
At my daughter’s preschool, they often talk to the students about being “good listeners.”
Well, residents of Greenwood, the teachers at my daughter’s preschool would be very proud of how you acted last week during Winter Storm Pax. For the most part, you were very good listeners.
Unless you have been in a coma, you are abundantly aware Greenwood and the Lakelands was blasted by a winter storm last week. The area was hit by back-to-back winter weather fronts, dumping a pile of snow and a coat of ice across the region.
Schools were closed, banks were closed, city and county offices were closed. Hell, even Wal-Mart closed, which I’m told is one of the signs of the apocalypse.
Perhaps because the disastrous winter weather response in Atlanta several weeks ago was fresh in everyone’s memory, or perhaps because they are diligent in their jobs, officials in Greenwood and across the region were very, very thorough in updating the public about last week’s winter storm.
Not only did Greenwood County provide frequent, detailed weather updates and warnings for the media to circulate, but area officials, over and over again, instructed — demanded, really — area residents to stay off the roads.
For example, Mayor Welborn Adams had this to say in Wednesday morning’s paper: “Stay home. I know there’s a strong impulse to get out and try to venture out and see if your four-wheel drive can make traction and all of that. But, just stay home. Please stay home.”
In Thursday’s paper, city manager Charlie Barrinaeu shared a similar directive: “We are pleading for the public not to get out in this weather. That’s the most important thing.”
Greenwood County emergency management director George McKinney — one of the most detail-oriented people I’ve ever met — had this to say in Thursday’s paper: “I would encourage everybody to stay at home unless you just absolutely have to get out.”
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division, Department of Public Safety and SCDOT also sent out releases during the week which essentially amounted to “Hey, you. Yeah, you! Keep your butt off the road.”
Perhaps surprisingly, we listened. Greenwood area residents seemed to, for the most part, stay off the roads. Sure, some folks absolutely had to get out, and the large majority of those were able to slowly get to their destinations in one piece.
Congrats, Greenwood! You get a gold star and a juice box for being good listeners.
THE NEWSROOM AND PRESS ROOM EMPLOYEES
at the Index-Journal reported to work throughout the week. Executive editor Richard Whiting said we were “essential employees.”
So, the various writers and copy desk editors and press men slipped and slid our way down to 610 Phoenix St. and did our best to put out a paper throughout the week, despite the winter storm.
On Wednesday, at the height of the storm, advertising director Bill Cranford sent us a picture message of himself by the fire at home, stretched out on a bearskin rug, drinking a hot cocoa and reading “50 Shades of Grey.” He assured us we were doing a good job getting the paper out.
(I’m just kidding. Except about the bearskin rug. I think Bill probably has one of those.)
I actually walked to work on Wednesday and Thursday, as there was no way I was going to try to navigate a motor vehicle across that much snow and ice.
On Wednesday morning, there was NO ONE on the roads as I made my way up Phoenix Street. I walked right down the middle of the street, with no cars in sight. I felt like Will Smith in “I Am Legend,” except without zombie/vampire things trying to kill me.
As I walked near Magnolia Avenue, a single vehicle crept past me, then stopped and slowly reversed. It was Greenwood Police Chief Gerald Brooks. He had a snow shovel in the passenger seat and was out patrolling the streets, making sure there was no one stuck in the snow and ice.
Brooks kindly offered me a ride, but I insisted on continuing my walk. I almost took him up on it, simply because it would have been neat to see how fast rumors could fly if the chief of police radioed in and said he had the local newspaper reporter in the back of his patrol car.
I don’t know about you, but I’m glad the snow is gone. I hope that’s the last we’ll see of it in 2014.
Bring on baseball and let’s fire up the grill. We can have a burger and a cold beverage and work on being good listeners.
Trainor is the senior staff writer at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 864-943-5650; email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter @IJCHRISTRAINOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.
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610 Phoenix St., Greenwood, SC