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Flags return to honor memory of many

HUNTINGTON — The Healing Field — a wave of red, white and blue American flags — is once again in place at Spring Hill Cemetery in Huntington as the nation prepares to remember those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.

The Healing Field serves as a patriotic vigil to the thousands of victims of the 9/11 tragedy, recognizes the lives lost in the 1970 Marshall University plane crash, memorializes veterans of the armed forces and other loved ones who have died.

The flags that make up the field are purchased for $35 each, with proceeds benefiting the Spring Hill Cemetery Memorial Bell Tower Fund.

The Marshall March of Remembrance will take place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, as a procession of Marshall students carry 75 flags from the Marshall Rec Center on 5th Avenue, south on 20th Street, to the cemetery. The students will place 75 flags in The Healing Field before joining the Patriot Day ceremony.

This year's Patriot Day Ceremony, an annual observance to honor the memory of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, at

the cemetery will include local officials, first responders, veterans of the U.S. Military, Greater Huntington Park & Recreation District Executive Director Kevin Brady and patriotic music from local singers. This ceremony is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the cemetery. Light refreshments will be provided afterward.

Thursday, Sept. 12, will be set aside as a "day of reflection" before The Healing Field is taken down on Friday, Sept. 13. The Healing Field participants are asked to retrieve their flags before 4 p.m. Friday.

These events are sponsored by the Greater Huntington Park & Recreation District and Spring Hill Cemetery. For more information call 304-696-5954.

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Dorian swipes Carolina coast

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Hurricane Dorian sideswiped the Carolinas with shrieking winds, tornadoes and sideways rain Thursday as it closed in for a possible direct hit on the dangerously exposed Outer Banks. At least four deaths in the Southeast were blamed on the storm.

Twisters spun off by Dorian peeled away roofs and flipped trailers, and more than 250,000 homes and businesses were left without power as the hurricane pushed north along the coastline, its winds weakening after sunset to 10 0 mph . Trees and power lines littered flooded streets in Charleston's historic downtown. Gusts had topped 80 mph in some areas.

North Carolina's Outer Banks, a thin line of islands that stick out from the U.S. coast like a boxer's chin, braced for a hit late Thursday or early Friday.

To the north, Virginia was also in harm's way, and a round of evacuations was ordered there.

The damage from the same storm that mauled the Bahamas was mercifully light in many parts of South Carolina and Georgia as well, and by mid-afternoon many of the 1.5 million people who had been told to evacuate in three states were allowed to return.

But overnight winds will cause trees and branches to fall on power lines, and debris could block repair crews from accessing damaged lines, said Mike Burnette senior vice president of Electric Cooperatives, a North Carolina utility provider. Customers should prepare for prolonged power outages, he said.

"We have a long night ahead of us. Everyone needs to stay in a safe place and off the roads until the storm passes," North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said.

About 150 evacuees were camped out at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina, speedway spokesman Scott Cooper said.

After leaving at least 20 people dead when it slammed the Bahamas with 185 mph winds, Dorian swept past Florida at a relatively safe distance, grazed Georgia, and then hugged the South Carolina-North Carolina coastline.

"I think we're in for a great big mess," said 61-year-old Leslie Lanier, who decided to stay behind and boarded up her home and bookstore on Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks, making sure to move the volumes 5 to 6 feet off the ground.

The National Hurricane Center forecast as much as 15 inches of rain for the coastal Carolinas, with flash-flooding likely .

In Charleston, a historic port city of handsome antebellum homes on a peninsula that is prone to flooding even from ordinary storms, Dorian toppled some 150 trees, swamped roads and brought down power lines, officials said, but the flooding and wind weren't nearly as bad as feared.

Walking along Charleston's stone battery, college student Zachary Johnson sounded almost disappointed that Dorian hadn't done more.

"I mean, it'd be terrible if it did, don't get me wrong. I don't know — I'm just waiting for something crazy to happen, I guess," said Johnson, 24.

Dorian apparently spawned at least one tornado in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, damaging several homes, and another twister touched down in the beach town of Emerald Isle, North Carolina, mangling and overturning several trailer homes in a jumble of sheet metal. No immediate injuries were reported.

In coastal Wilmington, North Carolina, just above t he South Carolina line, heavy rain fell horizontally, trees bent in the wind and traffic lights swayed as the hurricane drew near.

The four deaths attributed to the storm took place in Florida and North Carolina.

All of them involved men who died in falls or by electrocution while trimming trees, putting up storm shutters or otherwise getting ready for the hurricane.

At 8 p.m. EDT, Dorian was centered about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of Cape Fear, North Carolina, near the state's border with South Carolina.

The Category 2 storm had maximum sustained winds of 100 mph and was moving northeast at 10 mph.

As it closed in on the Eastern Seaboard, Navy ships were ordered to ride out the storm at sea, and military aircraft were moved inland.

More than 700 airline flights scheduled for Thursday and Friday were canceled. And hundreds of shelter animals were airlifted from coastal South Carolina to Delaware.

Tybee Island, Georgia, population 3,000, came through the storm without flooding. "If the worst that comes out of this is people blame others for calling evacuations, then that's wonderful," Mayor Jason Buelterman said.

By midday Thursday, coastal residents in Georgia and some South Carolina counties were allowed to go home.

Still, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster warned of new dangers ahead.

"Don't be surprised if there was water in your home. You might have animals, snakes. You don't know what might be in there, so be very careful as you return," he said.


Smith encouraged W.Va. students at first 'Ed Talk'

HUNTINGTON — Brad Smith wanted to be introduced as "just a guy from Kenova." At his core, he says he's no different than any of the West Virginia high school students he offered encouragement and insight to Thursday in Huntington.

Smith, a Kenova native and 1986 Marshall University graduate, developed into one of the most powerful players in Silicon Valley as the president and chief executive officer for Inuit from 2008 to 2019.

Smith was at the helm when the company desktop software provider transformed into to a global, cloud-based product and platform giant, creating products like TurboTax and Quickbooks that serve over 50 million customers.

But each student in the room has the potential to do that same, Smith said as the keynote speaker of the West Virginia Department of Education's first "Ed Talk" discussion. About 100 high schoolers — all in the career-technology pathway — from Spring Valley, Tolsia, Mingo Central and the Cabell County Career Technology Center gathered to hear words of wisdom from "just a guy from Kenova" who's lived the Silicon Valley dream. The gathering was held at St. Mary's Medical Center for Education, 2849 5th Ave.

"I'd rather see a sermon than to hear one," Smith said. "So I hope my example is reason to believe they're capable of anything they want to do."

The students were part of the state's Simulated Workplace model in which career-technology students organize and manage their own in-school, student-run companies in their respective fields, such as HVAC, electrical work, or software.

That drive for entrepreneurship is higher now in today's high schoolers than any prior American generation, Smith said.

The problem, he noted, is that although 75 percent of all jobs are in small businesses, 75 percent of the nation's venture capital goes to just three states (California, New York, and Massachusetts).

"God was egalitarian when He was handing out talent, but unfortunately economies aren't as distributive." Smith said.

"So we're trying to bring those ideas here, teach these kids those skills here, and to get the investment bankers to go and invest in these businesses right here in West Virginia."

Smith is a living example of what West Virginia's students can be given the right opportunity, said Kathy D'Antoni, associate state superintendent of schools who oversees career-technology education in West Virginia.

"He's walking the talk, and for that I think students will get a clearer and prominent message from someone of his stature," D'Antoni said.

"Students have the world open to them; they just have to be ready to grab it and go."

Smith's example is especially meaningful for Spring Valley senior Timothy Romans, who also hails from Kenova.

"It really shows the opportunities that we have — that we can do it coming from a small area and still have a chance to make it to the big time," he said.

Romans plans to study software engineering at West Virginia University.

Follow reporter Bishop Nash on Twitter at @BishopNash.