As all North Carolinians know, Hurricane Florence brought torrential rain to the eastern part of the state, causing widespread flooding and other damage. At the time of this writing, Wilmington remained largely inaccessible, with the Department of Transportation saying Thursday morning that there was “no safe, stable or reliable route” of public access into or out of the city. Many other communities along the coast and in southeastern North Carolina are in similarly challenging situations. The North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund is accepting contributions to help with immediate unmet needs of Hurricane Florence victims. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the storm. Keep reading for more news.
Onslow Emergency Operations. National news outlets descended on eastern North Carolina as Florence approached and there has been extensive coverage of the storm response in various communities. One report that caught my eye was a Vice News report that provides a first-hand look at the work of local officials and departments in Onslow County during the height of the storm. The Vice report shows how Onslow law enforcement agencies, emergency responders, and other local resources gather at the county’s Emergency Operations Center to coordinate rescue and recovery efforts from a single point of command that allows information to flow freely among the groups.
Star-News. The News Roundup frequently uses the Wilmington Star-News as a source for stories from the eastern part of the state. Amazingly, the paper’s coverage of Florence has been uninterrupted despite the fact that, mid-storm, staff had to evacuate the “fortress” of a building that is the paper’s home base on South 17th Street. As this story of the relocation explains, things were humming along on battery power and cellphone-supplied internet until the ceiling tiles started falling in – at that point it was time to evacuate to a Hampton Inn and the homes of relatives. Hats off to the Star-News crew.
DHS Agencies. The News & Observer reports that some people were concerned to see U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in areas of the state affected by Florence given the current national tension around immigration enforcement policy. The N&O explains, however, that it is common for Customs and Border Protection agents to assist with recovery efforts following a disaster and that, as confirmed by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, CBP agents and equipment are in the state to assist with air support missions and road clearing, not to enforce immigration laws.
Mental Health Transport Tragedy. As the New York Times reports, one of the tragedies from Florence involves a sheriff’s department van transporting two mental health patients that was overcome by floodwaters in South Carolina, killing both patients. Nicolette Green and Wendy Newton, each of whom were in the process of seeking voluntary mental health treatment, were being transported by the Horry County Sheriff’s Office to a facility for commitment when the incident occurred. Newton was a North Carolina resident.
Officer Honored. The Winston-Salem Journal recently reported that a bridge in Walkertown has been named in honor of Stephen Levi Amos II, a Winston-Salem police officer who was killed in the line of duty in 1995. The Journal says that nearly 400 people attended a recent dedication ceremony.
Little Rascals Daycare Archive. Duke Law School announced this week that it recently added nearly 12,000 documents and other materials regarding the Little Rascals Daycare case to an archive in the permanent collection of its law library. The infamous case involved accusations of sexual abuse against several people associated with the Little Rascals Daycare Center in Edenton, though in the years following the accusations and associated trials serious doubts about the veracity of the case developed and convictions were overturned. Former Charlotte Observer editor and reporter, and occasional commenter on this blog, Lew Powell donated the materials to Duke.
CLE Opportunity. Folks, let’s face facts – you need CLE hours, preferably high quality CLE that includes an hour of Ethics and an optional hour of Substance Abuse. You’re in luck because the School of Government has a new offering, “Back to School: CLE @ SOG.” The program includes 6.25 hours of CLE credit, the aforementioned Ethics and Substance Abuse hours, and topics in both civil and criminal law. It’s taking place November 16, from 8:45am to 5pm right here at the School of Government. Hit this link for more information.