We#039;re all in this together

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 9, 2005

Like us, we're sure you're shaking your head in disbelief as yet another hurricane bears down on Alabama and Butler County. With the memories of Hurricane Ivan fresh on the minds of county residents, it's important to remember the lessons we all learned during Ivan's trek through Butler County.

The main lesson is to take this storm seriously. We encourage you to have an emergency plan for your family and be ready with the items you need to survive without power for at least three to five days.

Once the worst of Dennis passes, crews will be working hard to restore power, but we need to remember they can't be everywhere at once and while it will be difficult to be patient, we need to try to do so.

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Another lesson we learned is to be mindful of your neighbors and during a catastrophic event such as Ivan, we need to remember that we're all neighbors and we need to pitch in and help each other whenever possible.

As Mayor Dexter McLendon said during a briefing this morning at City Hall "Let's remember that we all love each other, and we all need to work together to get through this." While his comment might have been a bit tongue-in-cheek, the spirit of his words should ring true as we pick ourselves up after this storm, dust ourselves off and remember who we are and what we can do when we all pull together.

We also urge city and county officials to be sure that the group of shady "contractors" that crawled into our city last year gouging people for home repairs and tree removal are not allowed to do so again this time. It's government's responsibility to protect residents from people such as this and to make sure they don't take advantage of us.

Lastly, it was discouraging to us that our local EMA director, Bob Luman, refused to let people know when shelters would be opened for local residents. While it's true shelters cannot be opened until they are properly staffed, it would seem logical to us that a time should be set to open them, coordinated with when the hurricane is expected to make landfall, and that the Red Cross could then work to meet that opening time by getting the shelters up and running.

Waiting until the last minute, when disseminating information through local media is more difficult, doesn't make sense to us. The tax paying people of this county deserve better than what they are getting from this position.

Hopefully, people who are not able to find out in time when shelters will be opened will not be worse the wear because of it.