Sharing info, and sharing grief

Aug 9 • Bruce Uncorked, Feature StoryNo Comments on Sharing info, and sharing grief


It never ceases to amaze me how some folks react in anger to information.

It seems there is always someone looking to shoot the messenger. Thankfully, they tend to be very few and far between.

Case in point for The Chatham Voice came on Friday when the municipality issued a boil water advisory for part of the municipality.

We, like many other local news sources, quickly got the information up onto our website and set about spreading the word via social media.

People immediately started helping to let folks know by sharing our post.

And then we received feedback directly onto our website. We were admonished for how we spread the information, as this person had heard about it from someone in Michigan.

Umm. OK.

With more than 180 shares of our Facebook link to the story in less than two hours, resulting in more than 5,600 people seeing the link in that short time period, we thought we had done a great job getting the information out to the public.

Furthermore, we were the first local news outlet to provide details as to what area was impacted. Everyone else initially just did the rip ’n’ read – regurgitating what the media release said.

In the effort to get the information out to the public in as timely a manner as possible, that’s understandable. They updated later.

But we wanted to at least give the public an idea of what part of the municipality was impacted.

The release had just said everyone on the “South Drinking Water System in Chatham-Kent” was under the advisory.

If you aren’t part of the Public Utilities Commission, chances are you could only guess as to which communities were impacted.

South Kent? South Chatham?

Basically, it was all of South Kent, everything south of highway 401 between Merlin and nearly to Morpeth, with four little pockets north of the 401.

Tim Sunderland, general manager of the PUC, was quick to call us back and explain which areas were impacted by the advisory. We understood why he wasn’t available initially, as he was out at the treatment plant.

But the municipality didn’t issue a clarification update until nearly three hours after its first advisory.

I can understand the frustration on the part of residents. They want to find out about these kinds of things immediately. And they want as much information as possible.

We strived to give them that, yet still received the rebuke as the messenger took the bullet.

I must say, it was one lone bullet, and a stray one at that, as it seemed the response was intended for the municipality more than The Voice.

Dog days of summer

As we transition into the final month of summer, one can only wonder how much more inclement weather we’re going to face.

It’s been a warm summer so far, but not alarmingly so. Thank goodness, as we’ve been saddled with a great deal of humidity.

You walk outdoors and feel like you pass through a warm mist. Summer in Chatham-Kent.

And with the high humidity, it seems as though we face near daily watches for severe thunderstorms.

And don’t forget the tornado warnings. You read those and immediately take precautions.

There is a simple formula Mother Nature provides us: Heat + Humidity = Chance of Afternoon or Evening Inclement Weather.

In Florida, it’s said you can set your watch by the regularity of the rain each afternoon in the summer. It’s not quite like that here, but the formula is pretty consistent.

And it can mess with barbecue plans. I can handle the sticky weather, but it’s just not as fun cooking in the rain, especially a downpour.

I might have to plan for some form of overhead protection for the egging area in the backyard. Hmm.



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