The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

July 2, 2012

Apologies for our role in storm

Editor and Publisher
John H. Walker

TARBORO — Apologies to all of you, for we at The Daily Southerner had a hand in things going awry, weather-wise, on Sunday.

You see, because we had managed to get a decent bit of leg work completed for the edition you know hold in your hands, we began talking Thursday about the possibility of not spending the bulk of Sunday night at 504 W. Wilson.

And, as the Beatles song noted, the rains came ... but the lighting also flashed and crashed and the wind blew like a banshee riding in on the hot breath of Lucifer himself.

But we helped get the electricity restored, too.

You see, after impatiently waiting for a couple of hours, we started implementing our Plan B.

I called our print partners over in Greenville to let them know our dilemma and that as soon as we got our generators going, we would build the paper, save it to flash drives and drive it to their plant before 7 a.m. Monday.

While Calvin Adkins and I were out on Temperance Hall Road, Van Holland was battling folks for gasoline out on Highway 111 east of Princeville and tracking down the key to the lock on the chain keeping our generators safe and secure.

When we all returned to the office and were unable to locate the key, Calvin made a call and the Princeville Fire Department was kind enough to apply their bolt cutter to our Master Lock so we could get things going.

Now, the key to getting power back, you understand, lay in all of the aforementioned efforts.

As the call went to Princeville, Van’s dad called to tell him the lights had come on on Tarboro’s west side.

As we were waiting on PFD, the lights started flickering on West Wilson ... and while the average person might have said forget it, not a newspaperman with 45 years’ experience.

I KNEW if we didn’t follow through and cut that lock that the lights would flicker and fade as soon as that red Princeville truck left the parking lot heading for the Tar River Bridge.

So, despite the fact our lobby lots were turned on, I led the way to the store room with my trusty smart phone flashlight — with Van saying, “John, we’ve got lights ... we’ve gt lights!”

So, thanks to our efforts — and really, thanks to the efforts of all the utility workers who got things pieced back together — the evening finished better than it started.

Well, that is once we got our internet connection working and after both the front page and editorial page templates crashed and burned and we had to start over.

But if you’re reading this newspaper today, you know that the REAL folks who made a difference came through so we could tell you about the storm and its damage.

•   •   •

New Daily Southerner reporter Miranda Baines arrived in town a little before our storm and was trying to get situated in her new digs on St. David when the world went dark.

When she called and wanted to know what we do, we decided to ask her to return to her Virginia home and come back on Monday — rather than be in the dark in a new place and not knowing anyone.

We’ll tell you more about Miranda on Wednesday, but she has reporting experience in both Eden and Reidville, which are markets very similar to Tarboro.

We feel she’ll be a strong addition to our staff and, even though we know you will, we’ll ask you to make her welcome in her new community.

•   •   •

Enjoy the fireworks this week, wherever you may watch them. If you go to the pool, river or beach, remember to practice water safety and follow the guidelines offered by Sheriff James Knight so yours is a holiday and not a tragedy.

(John H. Walker is editor and publisher of The Daily Southerner. He may be contacted at 823-3106 or