Eastern North Carolina got hit hard by Hurricane Matthew. The death toll has risen to 20. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated, homes were flooded and on Wednesday some areas were still completely cut off from vehicular traffic. Both I-95 and I-40 still had portions closed on Wednesday.

This week after Greensboro had long dried out, Down East the water was still rising, with the Neuse River not expected to crest until Saturday. Until the river levels start falling the water has nowhere to go, which means people have to wait to go home to assess the damage and start cleaning out the muck.

But as bad as it is in Eastern North Carolina, Haiti got hit much worse. Most of the damage in our state was caused by rain, not wind. In Haiti they were hit with wind and rain, plus Matthew was a Category 4 hurricane when it hit Haiti. The death toll is estimated to be somewhere between 500 and 900.

I saw pictures of areas in Haiti where every house lost its roof. What was hard to see from the aerial shots were the homes that were completely wiped out. The cinder block homes remained without roofs. It appeared that homes made from less substantial material were just blown away entirely.

Haiti is still recovering from the massive earthquake in 2010. Another natural disaster seems like piling on.


I’ve been to more charity walks and runs than I care to think about, but Saturday I went on my first walk in a hurricane. They said the JDRF One Walk to stop type 1 diabetes would be held rain or shine, and they weren’t kidding.

Fortunately, the Grasshoppers opened up the concourse of the NewBridge Bank stadium for the pre-walk events. Not only was it raining, it was too windy for tents. But since the rain was at times coming down sideways, a tent wouldn’t have done much good anyway.

What amazed me is that about 700 people showed up to walk. It’s about half what they would expect to have on a sunny day, but, really, 700 people walking in rain, driving rain and drizzle is a pretty amazing turnout. It says a lot about people’s devotion to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes, what used to be called juvenile diabetes.


At the President Barack Obama rally for Hillary Clinton on Tuesday at White Oak Amphitheatre, I got to experience the Secret Service in full force. The presidential candidates have Secret Service protection, but it’s not to the degree the president has. When I pulled in to park, they looked under the hood of my car and in my trunk. If I had had any idea that another human being was going to be rifling around in my trunk, I would have cleaned it out. It’s kind of a rolling Salvation Army dropbox at the moment.

The guys who searched were nice but extremely professional and they told me several times after I parked not to lock my car. As I was walking away from my car trying to remember what I had forgotten, I had the key fob in my hand to lock the car and a kindly Coliseum employee reminded me one more time. Otherwise, without thinking I would have automatically hit the button and walked away with a piece of paper in my hand reminding me again not to lock my car.

I don’t know how I’d get along if people weren’t looking out for me.