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East Coast USA, United States
Lowcountry porch sitter. Appalachian Mountain lover. Finger Lakes dreamer.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Lowcountry reflection on Hurricane Matthew

Oct 6: A safe distance from harm's way with a looming hurricane gives rise to a great many thoughts about living. I have prayed a great deal for the safe keeping of the South Carolina Lowcountry this last 24 hours, most especially for its people who are weathering out or working through the storm, its natural landscape and most certainly its humble wildlife. My home will either be there battered, under water or with some luck still standing when I return next week. The realities of living in a hurricane zone are always there but the truth is, after one gets cozy in the lifestyle and good weather the lingering reality of severe weather gets pushed back to a vague recognition of "it could happen but hasn't for a great many years." I adopted #SouthCarolina as my state 13 years ago and while I may not be a native daughter I most certainly call my little Charleston salt box and small plot of pond life along her coast "home."

Oct 8: Recovery. We can do this!

Oct 9: It has been said many times over last 72 hours so worth acknowledging that the social platform of @Facebook played a crucial role in keeping #Lowcountry residents connected, near and far, during #HurricaneMatthew. From media coverage to local citizen reporters to the delivery of simple photographs and messages of hope. These made a difference in the experience. I am tainted by my affection for new media and its relevance in contemporary discourse, but honestly I'd give Mark Zuckerberg a big hug and invite him to sit on my porch to shoot the breeze and talk about pond life right now if presented the opportunity. And we'd be remiss if we didn't also acknowledge Sprint, Verizon and AT&T for giving us the bandwidth to find huge value in cellular communications during a natural disaster. Thank you.

Oct 9: What many outside our area won't connect to the natural disaster otherwise known as #HurricaneMatthew is the fact that jobs are lost as a direct result of the devastation. The longer recovery takes, the economy of the entire community suffers and the individuals connected to the hospitality industry (hotels, resorts, pubs, restaurants, grocery stores, musicians/entertainers, golf courses, tennis courts, marinas, etc) will be hardest hit. We need to make sure we support these folks while they are in transition.

Oct 10: Yep I made it through another year to tell many more tall tales, hug every single one of you at least once virtually (and a few of you in person) and sit on my side porch countless times with a great deal to be thankful for in this life. I am subdued in my celebration this year amid the news of hardship that so many of you are facing in post storm recovery. Your early morning messages and texts are so very heart warming and definitely generated big smiles. I urge you to join me in celebrating by making a donation to your local American Red Cross or Salvation Army and/or volunteer your time to aid someone in need. Do this and I'll celebrate the year ahead knowing we all paid it forward.

Oct 11: We are all grateful for any and all efforts to secure our homes in Beaufort County and to sustain our well-being before, during and after Hurricane Matthew's impact along the South Carolina coast. We'd be remiss if we did not acknowledge there was an intention to do right by the citizens of this county. However, the lesson in post-storm reflection is truly for better and clearer communications between municipalities, county government, local law enforcement, emergency response teams, our governor and state officials. Senator Davis' positive glean on what transpired and his own role in relaying information is commendable. Representative Erickson's authentic response to the lack of a solid crisis communication plan at all levels should get the applause. Let's appreciate the valuable lesson captured in this experience and convey that we expect more if ever faced with this type of natural disaster again.

Oct 13: Finally made it back. A plethora of deer along the roadways, smell of pluff mud is stronger than usual, and tree debris piled up high on curbs. A few obvious structural issues at the house that even the night sky can't mask and it all may certainly look different by the light of day, but for now I'm going to count myself luckier than most and thank the universe for small blessings.

Oct 13: Biggest concern I've heard thus far from the small business owners in the area is loss of revenue, if they did not have 'interruption insurance' what can they do to recoup that loss?

Oct 13: The human stories are worth telling. The gentleman that came to fix my door jam today returned to the Lowcountry yesterday just as I did, only he found his home looted, I did not. What makes his story worth telling isn't the fact that he got robbed. It's that he did not let that define his experience of evacuation and returning home.  He took his tool belt and talent to HIlton Head island this morning and before going home this evening to his own family made a stop at my house at 6p to fix my door. And tomorrow morning he will go back to HIlton Head Island and again stop to see me before going home to tackle my water soaked attic. To witness such resiliency and determination is to know that we are not alone and that each of us matter. More importantly, there are the kindest souls out there willing to bring what they can to any situation.Here's to Aaron for making a difference in my own experience of recovery. Thank you.

Oct 15: Recovery. We got this.  

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Worker problem on Hilton Head Island and the Lowcountry region via The Island Packet

I would like to publicly applaud The Island Packet for its advocacy on behalf of the hospitality industry on Hilton Head Island and the surrounding region. The newspaper's journalistic efforts (in publishing a series of articles) to address systematic problems in sustaining a quality workforce long term makes plain that change is needed to sustain such a critical industry to the economic stability of the area.

Far too long has economic development in the region been skewed towards dead end investment. Tourism and hospitality are viable avenues to create stability in the long term, while other industries have a tendency to lag. 

The strength of the region's efforts in this regard is very much determinate on building resources...human performance, infrastructure, capital projects, education (at all levels: high school, certificate programs, technical college and 4yr). The voices of those working to fulfill every imaginable service have consistently remained absent and should be considered necessary. Bolstering the industry with resources won't remain viable without active representation or advocacy from the workforce itself. That is, the voices of those that serve on the front line sitting at the table to lend experience when visioning the island's future.

As such, I will continue to lend my praise to the newspaper's editorial board and its reporters for standing with the people and not the system in this series.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Changing tides amid primary endorsements

The changing tide is something coastal dwellers are keen to recognize. It tells us where the moon rests in her phases. It determines our course of direction during hurricane season. It stands as a constant reminder that the ebb and flow of our lives is quite natural, and to be expected. And while coastal communities exist at every corner of the world in different time zones, we have, for centuries experienced the same phenomena of the incoming and outgoing flush of renewal. It happens effortlessly.
Then there is the bewildering changing tide of the political arena. While I am quite comfortable engaging in the electoral process and have had the opportunity to appreciate how it plays out in local, regional and national arenas, I am in this current election cycle, disheartened by the evolving divisiveness of our nation's people. What happened to embracing our narrative as an eclectic assortment of individual hopes and dreams? At the end of the day what makes this country rich is our differences and our ability to govern this nation recognizing the value and necessity of our diverse makeup.
The primary season of election cycles is intended to vet out the options, make plain the candidates' views on governance, and create solidarity around key issues. However, in the 2016 rendition of the voting process there seems a direct intent to demonize a citizen choice to engage time and effort with any specific candidate. I was raised to and continue to believe that to endorse a candidate that clearly emulates the values and platform held by an individual simply denotes a willingness to place confidence in the process. Understandably a process and a legislative agenda that many will agree is fraught with problems, but it is owned by us, every citizen of these United States.
In the months approaching Election 2016 I have come to realize how naive the assumption is that society holds "respect" in high regard. As a nation, the United States is beset by war, poverty, hunger and a constantly shifting economy. Clearly, our people want and need change. Change that is long overdue. But is casting our neighbors and other citizens aside for choosing to believe differently worth it? The generations to follow will recognize the disproportionate nature of "acceptance" in these proceedings and become disillusioned with the process, perhaps even giving up on it all together.
What we experience in nature happens effortlessly. What we envision for our country takes work, understanding and a willingness to agree in our disagreement. To do otherwise will divide us. Our nation of differences must stand beside each other to ever truly become great again.
Life Enrichment is like a travel and learn program...offering infusions that make every day life thereafter far more interesting! ~ Ann-Marie Adams, Reflections on a Meaningful Life