It’s a little hard to write about a weather event on Wednesday that is likely to hit on Friday. But unless Florence skips us all together, which at this point seems highly unlikely, we are going to have some power outages. The ground is already wet and it doesn’t take much wind to push a pine tree over when the soil is saturated. One thing to consider is that it’s probably going to take longer than usual to get the power back on because this is a statewide emergency and there are only so many electrical repair crews. So if your power does go out, it could be out for a couple of days when under more normal circumstance it might be a few hours.
Whoever was in charge of scheduling the North Carolina Folk Festival deserves some kind of award for picking last weekend and not this upcoming weekend when the event would have been cancelled.
But speaking of the Folk Festival, which is a great event, good for Greensboro and all of that, but at some point a decision is going to have to be made about whether we want downtown Greensboro to be a vibrant center city where people live, work and play every day, or a place where the city thinks nothing of closing down half the streets up to a week in advance for a weekend festival.
I know my way around downtown Greensboro pretty well but it took me three tries to find a way to get to my office last Thursday. It didn’t appear that any effort was being made to keep the streets open for the people who are downtown every day. Closing down side streets is one thing, but blocking off Elm Street days in advance seems a little much.
Back when the downtown was virtually deserted, it made perfect sense to close as many streets as anyone wanted, but today there are a lot of people living and trying to make a living downtown and they should be considered also.
It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good, and although it may pale in comparison to the destruction on the coast, Hurricane Florence has resulted in the families that are being evicted from the apartments on Summit Avenue – where five children died in a fire in May – another week to find new places to live.
According to those trying to help the families find new homes, it’s a week that is really needed and it’s likely that a week isn’t going to be enough for all of them, which means some families are going to wind up in temporary housing.
City officials say that there is nothing they can do since the apartments have been condemned, but it does seem like the people being punished in this situation are the tenants, not the landlord.
No one would ever mistake me for a birdwatcher, though I do like to watch birds and can identify the easy ones – cardinals, robins, blue jays, titmice, sparrows, crows, hawks, owls and the like. But if there is anything unusual at our feeders I have to fetch the Muse, who has less interest but far more knowledge.
However, I do know a dove when I see one and lately there have been two to four in our parking lot every afternoon. What in the world are doves doing hanging out in a downtown parking lot? Maybe it’s because it’s dove season and they’re hiding out from hunters.
The News & Observer did a hit job on the Greensboro Police Department, and in particular on Capt. Jonathan Franks, when the GPD was called to assist in crowd control at the Silent Sam demonstrations in Chapel Hill. The News & Record compounded that hit job by running the same article.
It’s kind of amazing. The article states that Franks was shouting directions at the other police officers as if this were somehow wrong. He is a police captain. It’s his job to shout out orders and make sure the officers are all working together.
The article seems to completely ignore the fact that two groups that violently oppose each other were both in the area exercising their constitutional right to express their opinions and no one was seriously injured. In Charlottesville, Virginia, the police backed off, let two groups fight and a woman was killed. The assembled police departments in Chapel Hill prevented that kind of tragedy from happening.
So if the police don’t use pepper spray and force to keep the groups separated then they are blamed for letting the demonstration get out of hand, and if they do then, because no one was seriously injured, the mainstream media accuse them of using too much force.
I wasn’t there, but I do know Franks pretty well and have seen him handle some tense situations that had the potential to get out of hand at city hall. At city hall he was constantly working to diffuse situations, to keep people calm and to prevent any violence. I can’t imagine that he would behave any differently in Chapel Hill.
It is certainly possible that some people got pepper sprayed that weren’t doing anything more violent than standing in the wrong place at the wrong time, which means near someone who was getting out of hand. But that happens in potentially violent situations.
I think the police departments involved should be congratulated for controlling what was an extremely volatile situation.