Ivan lessons are still fresh

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2005

As the headlines in today's edition indicate, it looks like Butler County is in for another lashing by Mother Nature as Hurricane Dennis is bearing down on the state.

It was only nine months ago that Hurricane Ivan blazed a path through Central Alabama, downing trees and power lines and creating damage that had not been seen before in the county. Like many, I'm having a sense of denial as I write this, generally because of the disbelief I'm feeling that our county is going to have to weather another very dangerous storm.

With all those thoughts swirling in my head like a hurricane of its own, I also have a sense of calm because I know how our city and county will react during and after the storm. I know without a doubt that we'll come out of this just fine, maybe a bit worse for the wear, but just fine.

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I remember in the days immediately following Ivan, how the community worked together to pick up the pieces, how hard the city and county workers, E-911, the police and sheriff departments worked to restore order, and how everybody else that could work a chainsaw or lift a rake lent a hand to those in need.

It's in the difficult times, such as after a devastating event like a hurricane, that the true character of a person and a community shines through. I'm confident we'll prove again that Greenville and Butler County is indeed the best place in the world to live.

While we know our own will take care of our own, we also need to be mindful as a community that the sharks will come trolling again, just as they did last year, looking to make a quick buck at the expense of our hometown folks.

Last year we saw outside "shake-down artists" move in to our city and county charging three and four times what it cost to remove a tree from a house or driveway. Our public officials need to work diligently to make sure that those type of people are not allowed to commit that same crime this time. Taking advantage of someone in a desperate situation, when it seems like the person in need has no other option, should be a capital offense.

So if someone comes knocking asking to do work, be sure they have the proper documentation, such as a city business license and most importantly, that they are bonded and have proof of valid insurance to do the work they're proposing. If they don't, then you could be held liable if they injure themselves, or somebody else, while doing work on your property.

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On a sad note, I was sorry to hear of Randy Grayson's passing. Randy and I worked together on the Chamber of Commerce board where he was serving a term as president this year. Randy always struck me as someone with a quick wit, a good business mind and a lot of good old common sense.

My family's thoughts and prayers are with his wife Marylyn and the rest of their family as they mourn his passing.

Dennis Palmer is publisher of The Greenville Advocate. He can be reached at 383-9302, ext. 125, or by email: dennis.palmer@greenvilleadvocate.com.