The Christian Science Monitor Weekly

November 26, 2018

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Grand Ridge, a bucolic rural haven of rolling pastures and pine forests, has only one stoplight. In the town of 892 residents, few structures escaped damage. Though help has arrived, some, like Moneyham, say state and federal aid has been slow, inadequate, and misdirected. Local grass-roots efforts like a donation drop-off site in Grand Ridge are critical, he says. "[These people] don't want a handout, but they're going to need some help," he says. Some will return to work when power has been restored, but others will have to wait until their businesses are repaired or rebuilt. Some will not rebuild at all, forcing employees to find new jobs. People like Florida state trooper Susan Barge have been a godsend. When a load of supplies was mistakenly sent to another town, she made a Facebook post asking for donations. The next morning, Moneyham watched in amazement as people flocked in from around the country, bringing food, water, and loads of good cheer. At the behest of outgoing Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the Federal Emergency Manage - ment Agency (FEMA) has dispatched an array of housing options from recreational vehicles to multi-property leases. Emergen- cy managers have offered 11 million meals and 3 million pounds of ice to storm victims. But officials have begun to see the chari- ty as an impediment. "As economic recovery must happen hand in hand with individual recovery, continuing [distribution] opera- tions hampers the return to normal for local businesses and diverts economic activity away from the community," emergency managers in Florida's Bay County wrote on the county website. That message from officials hints at a frustration with – and perhaps questioning of – decisions made by residents. Critics say they're blaming the victims. Indeed, Floridians have taken criticism from some, including FEMA Administrator Brock Long, who lambasted citizens for fail- ing to heed evacuation warnings and letting insurance policies lapse. But it's not that simple, says Ms. Barge, the state trooper. As a former resident of Key West, Fla., she is no stranger to hurricanes. But inland, Grand Ridge wasn't prepared for a Category 4 hurricane, which was still packing winds in excess of 100 miles per hour when it raked across the area. And in a town like Grand Ridge, where the median household income is $31,083, evacuating wasn't a simple option. "People don't always have money to get in a car and drive to a hotel," Barge says. "These people never expected anything like this.... They're counting on [these donations]." r NUMBERS IN THE NEWS 7,175 Hate crimes committed in the United States in 2017, up 17 percent from 2016, according to the FBI. It was the third year in a row that the number of recorded hate crimes rose. 50,000+ People evacuated from the Camp wildfire's path in northern California, which has burned more than 10,000 structures and killed at least 56. While not the largest fire in state his- tory, it is the deadliest and most destructive. 5 BILLION Amount (in dollars) that Amazon has said it will invest in two secondary headquarters in New York City and northern Virginia. The company will receive at least $2 billion in cash grants and tax incentives from the two cities. 90 BILLION Amount (in dollars) spent annually by US cit- ies and states on cash grants and tax breaks to attract companies, in what research shows to be mostly fruitless bids to create local jobs. 2.4 Worldwide average number of children that women bear over their lifetimes in 2017. The fertility average has nearly halved since 1950, when women had an average of 4.7 children. 140,000 Jobs eliminated by the largest 1,000 public companies since President Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax cut last year; the companies say 73,000 jobs were created over that period. 20+ Percentage drop in crude oil prices since the beginning of October, down from an artifi- cially high price driven in part by uncertainty about supply as Iran faces US sanctions. 17 Percentage increase in the average price of natural Christmas trees, from $62 in 2015 to $73 in 2018, driven by Millennial demand. Sources: CBS, NPR, The Verge, The Atlantic, BBC, The New York Times, CNBC, Bloomberg CARMEN K. SISSON To share these stories, go to CSMonitor.com/HOTN THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR WEEKLY | NOVEMBER 26, 2018 9

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