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As Dorian roars off the SC coast, numerous trees falling in Beaufort Co.

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Bluffton Township Fire Capt. Lee Levesque knows one way to tell how much damage a major storm is causing as it blows through the area.

Every time he drives by the Bluewater gas station at Buckwalter Place, he checks to see if the American flag is still flying.

“That’s a good indicator later,” Levesque said late Wednesday evening while heading to the Alljoy Road area to assess Hurricane Dorian’s impacts so far. “We see (the flag) looking good now. If we see it later and it’s tattered, God forbid, we know that’s a sign something happened.”

The hurricane began to be felt more in Beaufort County overnight.

As Dorian grew to a Category 3 storm and moved along the South Carolina coast early Thursday morning, reports of downed trees increased throughout Beaufort County.

A tree fell on a Beaufort home on Heyward Street at about 1:30 a.m., with a large limb punching a hole in the roof. A man living in the home wasn’t hurt, firefighters said.

A large oak also fell on a perimeter wall off Beaufort National Cemetery off Lafayette Street just before 3 a.m.

On Lady’s Island, a tree fell on Sea Island Parkway and trees were reported down on Brickyard Point Road South.

Firefighters worked to cut up the trees and clear the roadways.

Around 3 p.m. Wednesday, a 20-foot tree fell near Port Royal Plantation on Hilton Head Island, blocking two eastbound lanes of U.S. 278.

The tree was quickly removed from the road as fire crews took a chainsaw to the trunk and vines surrounding the branches.

At least six downed trees were reported in Bluffton before 9 p.m., including one in the parking lot of The Crowne apartments.

The other five were “easily cleared,” said Levesque. “The biggest tree took a maximum of 10 minutes because (firefighters) had to cut it twice.”

A tree was down on Cat Island just after 10 p.m. A tree also fell and blocked the road on Grober Hill Road in the Burton area just after 11 p.m.

In the northern part of the county, a downed tree was reported on St. Helena Island on a dead-end road, according to Bromage.

As of 8 p.m., Fripp Island was experiencing wind gusts of 54 mph, the Weather Channel reported.

But emergency calls were light early in the evening. Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department had reported only five storm-related calls as of 8:30 p.m.

At 10 p.m., the Hilton Head Island call center got a trio of calls of downed trees at Gum Tree Road, Wild Horse Road and Ridgewood Lane in Sea Pines. Crews responded to the downed trees, all three of which were blocking roads.

Crews were unable to fully remove the tree on Gum Tree Road because it was tangled with two other trees, according to Hilton Head Fire Rescue.

WAITING FOR THE STORM

First-responders on duty ate dinner at Golden Corral in Beaufort. The buffet restaurant on Robert Smalls Parkway was filled with firefighters, paramedics, state and local police and public works employees from throughout northern Beaufort County.

“It’s the hurry up and wait and see what happened,” said Chris Blankenship, director of fire operations for Hilton Head Island.

Lesson learned: Weather is unpredictable.

“I’ve never seen a storm stall at 0 miles an hour for 36 hours,” he said.

Hilton Head Fire and Rescue has never split crews between the mainland and island before but decided to do so this time, sending personnel to base camp at the University of South Carolina Beaufort on the mainland.

Deciding who remained on the island was difficult, Blankenship said. Ultimately, those who worked most recently were sent to USCB.

“Everyone wants to be here and help and be on the front lines, but having a well-rested crew to come in for the aftermath is very important,” Blankenship said.

As of late Wednesday fire crews were still responding to calls.

Blankenship said the fire department learned a lot from Hurricane Matthew in 2016, but he “doesn’t at all consider himself a pro” at hurricanes.

NATIONAL MEDIA INTERVIEWS

On Wednesday evening, Hilton Head Island Town Manager Steve Riley said the storm “feels” like it did before Matthew, but he’s thinking it’ll be less destructive.

Riley and Mayor John McCann stopped by some fire stations to talk to crews late Wednesday afternoon.

The two also gave interviews to national media, including Fox News and HLN. On Thursday morning, they have interviews scheduled with CNN’s Anderson Cooper and The Weather Channel.

The first interview of the morning is expected to be McCann at 12:30 a.m.

He said it was going to be tough; his bedtime is usually 8 p.m.

“When I started coming here, they said we get no hurricanes and no snow. Now we’ve had two hurricanes AND snow,” McCann said.

Source: https://www.islandpacket.com/news/weather-news/article234722487.html

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9-year-old genius to graduate university

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Laurent Simons

(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.

Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.

Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.

He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.

His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.

“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.

Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.

While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.

But Lydia has her own theory.

“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.

The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.

“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.

“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”

Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.

“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”

Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”

His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.

“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.

“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”

While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.

“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”

Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.

However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.

In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.

Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.

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New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.

The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.

Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.

Father and son were both knocked through a gate.

The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.

One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.

McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.

McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.

Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

Source nydailynews.com/

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