Sun. Headlines: S.C. Opens Aid Centers; Amtrak service resumes

Oct 11, 2015

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has set up its mobile Emergency Operations Center in Columbia, outside the state operations center.
Credit FEMA

South Carolina is still picking up the pieces after last weekend’s heavy rains and flooding.  State officials set up two disaster recovery centers in the Columbia area. And Amtrak said Saturday all train service along the East Coast is now operating again.

Last weekend, more than a foot of rain fell across a wide area of the state, raising rivers over banks, and causing major flooding that forced evacuations.  As the week went by, floodwaters progressed downstream on the state’s major waterways, threatening coastal cities with more flooding.

After four dry days, more rain has been falling this weekend, but it hasn’t caused any new major problems. And the good news: More dry weather is forecast this week.

Amtrak said Saturday all trains, including auto trains to Florida, and the Palmetto and Silver Meteor, are back on schedule, except for stops at the still closed station in Kingstree, South Carolina.  

Two disaster recovery centers are open in the Columbia area to help flood survivors who need money to pay rent and make essential home repairs. State officials said Saturday that the centers will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Richland Library in Southeast Columbia, and Richland Library Eastover, in Eastover.   State and federal emergency management specialists, the Small Business Administration and other agencies will be at the centers to explain disaster assistance programs and help survivors apply for aid.

State officials asked anyone planning to apply for aid to register first with FEMA. Go to DisasterAssistance.gov, or call 800-621-3362.

NAACP MEETS IN WINSTON-SALEM

The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP wraps up its annual convention in Winston-Salem today, where members are discussing how to pursue liberty and fight injustice. The Winston-Salem Journal  reports 800 to 1,000 people were expected to attend.  The NAACP, the U.S. Justice Department and others are fighting a 20-13 state law that requires voters to show a photo ID next year, eliminates same-day voter registration and reduces the early-voting days.  

State NAACP President William Barber says a federal judge has asked the organization and the state to try and reach a compromise in the NAACP’s federal lawsuit against the state and Gov. Pat McCrory. Republican leaders said that the law was needed to combat potential voter fraud and preserve the integrity of elections. North Carolina has no record of widespread in-person voter fraud.

PERQUIMANS LANDS WIND PROJECT

Commissioners in eastern North Carolina’s Perquimans County have declared a four-month freeze on new wind farms after landing the largest wind project in the Southeast.  Some residents have opposed the $300 million plan for 100 to 150 wind turbines on 15,000 acres straddling Perquimans and Chowan counties. 

The site is south of Elizabeth City on the North Carolina coast and would generate enough power for 65,000 homes a year.  It’s being developed by Apex Clean Energy of Charlottesville, VA.   A similar project about 10 miles away on the other side of the county is selling power to a division of online retailer Amazon.com.

Some Perquimans residents want wider buffers around wind farms, and money set aside to remove towers if the project fails.

FT. BRAGG PANEL RECOMMENDS HONRABLE DISCHARGE FOR SHOOTER

A panel at Fort Bragg has recommended an honorable Army discharge for a soldier sentenced to a long prison term for shooting at firefighters and police in 2012. The Fayetteville Observer reports Staff Sgt. Joshua Eisenhauer had been diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder. A three-member Army board decided Friday that Eisenhauer was guilty of misconduct, but recommended a discharge … keeping him eligible for health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

PANTHERS OFF, RACE RESCHEDULED TO SUNDAY

The Carolina Panthers have the week off, a bit of rest after winning their first four games. Next Sunday, they’ll be at Seattle.

The Bank of America 500 race in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup was rained out last night, and has been rescheduled to 12:30 today at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  Because of the weather, organizers also postponed a planned aerial stunt by Erendira Wallenda, wife of daredevil Nik Wallenda. That’s now scheduled for 11:15 this morning. She’ll perform on a ring suspended from a helicopter over the track’s infield.