Aug. 31st, 2006: From Ernesto to Fran

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Friday, September 6, 1996 – Fran!
Friday, September 1, 2006 – Ernesto?

Fran snuck up on the Triangle 10 years ago. Ernesto is days away.

I stayed up until 1am nearly a decade ago waiting to see what track Fran would take. WRAL’s ever reliable Greg Fishel predicted a hit between Rocky Mount and Raleigh. Even though the wind on Barclay Rd. was whipping up – the rain starting to “fall” horizontally, I went to bed unworried.

Next morning we awoke with trees down, little knowing we’d go days without roads, weeks without power.

Ten years on I don’t have to depend on Greg (though I’ll be checking in with him). The web offers an incredible smorgasboard of realtime sources for hurricane data.

One of the neatest is a “mash-up” of GoogleEarth and “glootons” hurricane tracker.


NC Lottery: Powerball is powerless…

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

11PM local news:

  • WTVD 11 leads with today’s Powerball snafu problems.
  • WRAL 5, after leading with nearly 4 minutes of ‘Canes news, covered the glitch.
  • NBC17, bless their hearts, led with about 5 minutes of ‘Canes game review and didn’t make it to the State’s newest con-game until 6 stories in .

NBC17 also deserves kudos for being the only station to mention the extremely long odds, 1 in 146 million, of winning the ‘ball.

WTVD was a bit breathless in their coverage – the news guy excitedly telling us “we’ll have to wait until tomorrow’s drawing”.

WRAL played up the “inconvenience” people had waiting to squander their bucks.

I’m going to give WRAL a small break because they did a nice piece  on the expected correlation between counties with high unemployment and high ticket sales.

Wilson County has the fourth highest unemployment rate in the state and often ranks No. 1 in ticket sales per capita. Nine other North Carolina counties selling the most tickets per adult have unemployment rates above the state’s average.

“It is not unexpected,” said state Sen. Janet Cowell. “I think that is what other states that have lotteries have seen.” Cowell explained that is part of why she opposed the lottery all along.”It really is a regressive tax, essentially, that really impacts lower income communities, not higher income communities,” she said.

“I don’t think that has any conflict with us,” said Wilson County’s Employment Security Commission manager, Terri Williams. “We’re here to help them find work and to help them with unemployment until they can find work.”Williams believes continued fallout from several plant layoffs and seasonal tobacco cuts are more to blame, but admits, “Of course, we hate to see the poor spending money on lottery tickets.”

Yep, so today’s computer snafu isn’t the only glitch we’ve seen in the system.



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