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Katrina: the storm that changed everything

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

Several things are on my mind this week.

Do you think the Bush administration truly understands the implications of the disaster in the South? As the fallout continues to be covered it's easy for many of us to see that this is an event of historic proportions for the entire nation.

This is our economic 9/11 the day that everything changed.

Katrina taught us that despite accurate weather forecasting and storm predictions, we were not prepared for what a hurricane was capable of doing to a region that was geographically vulnerable to such a storm. We know now that making New Orleans a center for petroleum refinement and distribution was a very bad decision.

It's no one's fault, though. Looking at New Orleans itself and where it was built, the city has been vulnerable to this kind of catastrophe for many years.

The aftermath, besides the destruction of a major American city and the loss of lives, is that nearly every one in this nation will be adversely affected. If petroleum products are part of your lives, you know you will be paying much more for them.

This isn't a trickle down effect. It's a flood and we're all going to be hip deep in the water ourselves.

I'm sure within the next few weeks, we'll see more and more people turn to means to try to save money and heat and transportation. I know I will. The sale of more fuel-efficient vehicles will increase. People will consider if riding a bike to work is feasible. Mass transit will probably see a surge in riders although the cost of fuel will affect them as well. Carpooling will undoubtedly become more popular and people will seek ways to accomplish tasks by telephone or e-mail instead of traveling for work.

I wouldn't be surprised to see some people ride a horse in certain parts of the country.

Wood and pellet stoves will become quite attractive to those who can afford heating with wood and many people will have a hard time paying their heating bill.

How much of the energy cost increase manufacturers will absorb or pass along is yet to be seen. The cost of getting products to market is also likely to skyrocket.

This is a national emergency with long-range effects and we are all in it together.


The news staff at Reminder Publications would like to send its warmest wishes out to one of our own who took the plunge into matrimony on Sept. 3 our Reminder MetroWest Assistant Editor Michelle Kealey married Gregg Symington.

I'm very fortunate not just to have a hard-working and professional staff with whom to work, but also to have such a group of wonderful people as colleagues and friends. Certainly, Michelle is just that and Gregg is a great guy.

If you're in a position to hoist a beverage to the sky this week, say a toast to the young couple who is starting out their journey in life together.

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not represent the views of Reminder Publications' publishers or advertisers.