Dear Reader | Hit the road, Mother Nature; Op-ed opposition; A new tool for visitors and hosts

Dear ReaderFebruary 11, 2014 

Allow me to address my first comment in this column to Mother Nature: “Enough already.” (That is the family friendly version of what I’m really thinking.)

Yep, it appears we may (or may not, depending on the forecast model) be in for another ice/snow “event.”

Never let it be said that we at The Sun News don’t learn from past experience. This time, we will go with a 5 p.m. deadline on Tuesday to make sure our trucks can get on the road before conditions force the closure of the bridges out of Charleston or through Georgetown. We’ll probably go early again on Wednesday, but we’ll wait until we hear a more updated report before deciding on that time. Stay tuned.

Even with that 5 p.m. print deadline, we will continue to update MyrtleBeachOnline.com and our Facebook page into the night to provide the latest in news of the storm. We also will provide free access to our e-edition, the online version that looks like that day’s printed version. You can access that by going to http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODE/SunNews/.

With any luck, we’ll be slathering on the SPF 30 in no time. Meanwhile, keep your ice scraper, gloves and boots handy. And remember: “Bridge ices before road.”

Op-ed opposition

An op-ed column that ran a few weeks ago prompted some outraged reaction from our many readers in or from West Virginia. The Jan. 22 column, written by syndicated columnist Froma Harrop, focused on the most recent environmental disaster and pondered whether it is time that West Virginians’ famous strength and independent spirit be focused on those behind these things.

She wrote: “After decades of suffering environmental torture at the hands of polluting industries, West Virginians might regard a chemical spill that poisoned the drinking water of 300,000 residents – and is still scaring folks after the dangers have presumably passed – as a last straw. But there never seems to be a last straw for them.”

Harrop quoted a column by West Virginia native Eric Waggoner, an English instructor at West Virginia Wesleyan College, who lambasted the “greedhead” operators behind such catastrophes in an essay for The Huffington Post . His most pointed “to hell with” was reserved for fellow West Virginians. These were people who bought into the idea of ”constant sacrifice as an honorable condition” and who ”turned that condition into a culture of perverted, twisted pride and self-righteousness, to be celebrated and defended against outsiders.”

Then Harrop added: “Outsiders. Creating an aura of specialness that must be protected from outside influences is how cult leaders keep their members in check.” In addition, the headline asked “Is West Virginia a cult.”

West Virginia native Kristy Barfield, who has lived in Myrtle Beach for 14 years, was one of the unhappy readers. She saw the column as an attack by The Sun News on a state, her state, which was undergoing a disaster.

“I have forwarded this article to show how you really feel about the people from that state and I hope that they refuse to come here to spend their hard earned money,” she wrote. “ I will not stop contacting our representatives to express how you still belittle people during a crisis. How dare you?”

The Sun News was not insulting our West Virginia neighbors, and as the person who chose that opinion column for publication, I can promise that it wasn’t done in a poorly timed attempt to add insult to injury. I chose it, as I do the other columns we run, because we do have many visitors and residents from that state and I felt the columnist raised questions that would spark their interest.

All such columns are, of course, the opinions of the columnists, but whatever tack they take, the goal is to encourage readers to think about the issue at hand, question whether more could or should be done, and make an informed decision based on what they’ve learned from the column and from any other research or reading they’ve done on the topic.

Yes, often the views of the columnists raise the ire of readers. I hope they raise their curiosity and prompt some introspection as well. Even if -- no, especially if -- they don’t agree.

Got visitors?

Even if you don’t have houseguests now, chances are good that relatives, friends and even distant acquaintances have hit you up for information on what to do, where to go and (if you’re lucky) where to stay when they visit our area.

Have we got a website for you. Check out www.gotomyrtlebeach.com, like the page on Facebook, and encourage your entourage to do the same. The launch date is approaching and when it gets here, your visitors and their visitors and so on ad infinitum will have access to the definitive source of information on all that is The Grand Strand, from accommodations, dining, activities and live entertainment to photo galleries, virtual tours and news about what’s happening at one of the nation’s most beloved vacation spots.

Meanwhile, cancel Mother Nature’s upcoming reservation and be sure to let us know what you think of the tourism site, of our news site and of course of our printed paper. Thanks in advance.

Contact CAROLYN CALLISON MURRAY at cmurray@thesunnews.com or follow her on Twitter at TSN_ccmurray.

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