1. Trouble logging in? Send a message with your username & email address for help.
    Dismiss Notice

Bad press on front page of Atlanta paper

Discussion in 'All About SoWal' started by phdphay, Mar 26, 2005.

  1. phdphay

    phdphay Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    0
    Check out the front page of today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution in the attached link. I've already written a letter to the editor about the misleading headline, "Tourists find closed beaches, scarce lodging on Florida's storm-ravaged Panhandle. Spring broke."
    Front Page of Atlanta Paper 3/26/2005

    They should have substituted "Pensacola-area" for "Panhandle."
    GRRRR!
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2005
  2. Sheila

    Sheila SoWal Insider

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Messages:
    5,784
    Likes Received:
    226
    Location:
    Snellville, GA., Seacrest/Seagrove as often as we
    That's a fact! My husband has already fired one off to them. We should barrage them with letters. I guess it was a slow news day!
     
  3. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Messages:
    7,175
    Likes Received:
    3,722
    Location:
    SoWal
    Maybe you can cut and paste for those of us who don't want to register. Either that or copy a quote or 2.
     
  4. Sheila

    Sheila SoWal Insider

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Messages:
    5,784
    Likes Received:
    226
    Location:
    Snellville, GA., Seacrest/Seagrove as often as we
    My hubby is registered I' ll get him to do that.
     
  5. Sheila

    Sheila SoWal Insider

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Messages:
    5,784
    Likes Received:
    226
    Location:
    Snellville, GA., Seacrest/Seagrove as often as we
    I am attempting to cut and paste the article. "Spring Broke"

    beaches, scarce lodging on Florida's storm-ravaged Panhandle
    Andy Miller - Staff
    Saturday, March 26, 2005


    Pensacola Beach, Fla. --- The five undergrads drove 13 hours from the snow of Oxford, Ohio, overnight, only to be greeted by a chilling sign: beach closed.

    Six months after Hurricane Ivan hit, and as spring break continues in high gear across Florida's Panhandle coast, an unexpected level of wreckage remains from the storm.
    wreckage remains from the storm.

    "I forgot about [the hurricane] till we got here,'' Miami University of Ohio student Charlotte Bornhorst said. "You can see a lot of construction going on.''

    Fortunately for the student group, the main public beach in Pensacola Beach was open. But pieces of the eight-mile stretch of white sand remain closed, along with most hotels.

    To the west, Perdido Key and nearby Alabama beach towns also took a sledgehammer blow from Hurricane Ivan. To the east, coastal towns along the Florida Panhandle received lesser damage.

    This coast is a favorite vacation spot for metro Atlantans. Up to 1 million visitors a year to the Panhandle beaches come from Georgia, according to the University of West Florida in Pensacola.

    Ivan's 120-mph winds, combined with a 16-foot-high storm surge, smashed into Pensacola Beach last September, damaging or destroying homes and businesses. Beach houses still sit unrepaired and deserted, with roofs covered by temporary blue tarps.

    "My home has gone from [resembling] the cover of Southern Living to a fixer-upper,'' said resident Jinny Dancaescu.

    Panama City open

    The closed hotels include the Beachside, its walls gouged out by water and two feet of sand still piled up in rooms. The Best Western has 50 rooms open, yet its first floor is still not ready for occupancy.

    "I have 100 rooms of carpet coming and 40 rooms of furniture coming,'' said manager Isabell Coile.

    Statewide, Florida tourism suffered from four hurricanes in six weeks last year walloping resort cities on the west and east coasts before rumbling inland, inflicting at least $22.8 billion in insured losses.

    The series of storms, even now, has shifted patterns of tourism, Florida officials say, with some places hoping to soak up vacationers who have switched from their usual destinations.

    Panama City Beach, which escaped extensive storm damage, has broadcast a TV commercial in the Southeast that proclaims, along with an inviting beach scene: "Do you remember the hurricanes? Neither do we.''

    "We felt like it was important to get the message out,'' said Jayna Leach of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We have seen some additional traffic.'' All hotels are open and ready, she said.

    West of Panama City Beach, Destin has about 90 percent of hotel and rental condos open. Fort Walton Beach has 85 percent operating, and a marine park attraction, Gulfarium, hopes to reopen soon. Chamber of commerce officials in both towns hope they will draw vacationers who normally stay in Pensacola and along Alabama's coast.

    Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have only about half of their hotels and rental condos open, said Mike Foster of the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau.

    "We do not expect our spring break to be as good as last year,'' Foster said. "Obviously, some people are choosing to go elsewhere.''

    50,000 blue roofs

    Pensacola Beach has just three hotels open, but spring breakers have come anyway, many of them on day trips, according to Sandy Johnston of the chamber of commerce.

    "I don't know where they're staying, but they're here,'' she said. "The businesses that are open are doing gangbusters.''

    Among the day trippers was Carrie Meyer, who came with fellow St. Louis University students from a stay in New Orleans. Her group was astonished by the Ivan fallout.

    "There's a tendency to think of hurricanes as impacting Third World countries,'' she said.

    The hurricane damaged or destroyed more than 40 percent of housing in Escambia County, where Pensacola is located. The Small Business Administration has made more than $200 million in low-interest disaster loans in the county and in neighboring Santa Rosa County.

    "More than 50,000 blue roofs were put on in northwest Florida, attributed to Hurricane Ivan,'' said Roy Dunn, an SBA spokesman.

    Many merchants and residents along the Pensacola Beach strip remain upbeat, though they acknowledge that spring break, which generally extends from late February through the first two weeks of April, won't be as profitable as in years past.

    The Subway sandwich outlet on the beach road reopened just this month. "I know we won't do what we did last year,'' said manager Rick Maddox.

    The construction equipment and contractors give parts of town a frontier look.

    "There's help-wanted signs everywhere,'' said carpenter Betty Koon, working on the nearly reopened Paradise Inn. "There's no reason people should be out of a job.''

    About 3 million cubic yards of sand were lost from the beaches and dunes here, said Debbie Norton of the Santa Rosa Island Authority at Pensacola Beach.

    "We thought Hurricane Opal [in 1995] would be the worst case," Norton said. "I never, ever thought we'd see something like this, and hope we never see it again.

    Gripes about insurance

    Meanwhile, locals grumble more about insurance than Ivan.

    "If people were getting payments from insurance companies, [recovery] would be moving faster,'' Norton said. "People haven't gotten the money, or they are disagreeing with the insurance company.''

    Meanwhile, packs of college kids arriving in Destin recently said hurricanes didn't deter them from their pilgrimage.

    "We figured it would be some damage, but nothing was going to stop us from coming down here,'' said Mississippi State sophomore Stuart Tirey, who added: "There was a lot more damage than I thought.''

    Hank Farmer, a University of Georgia sophomore sitting in a semicircle of Bulldog-emblazoned beach chairs and friends, said: "I knew there was a lot of damage all along the Gulf Coast, but figured if the hotels were open, it was going to be OK.''
     
  6. phdphay

    phdphay Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for doing the copy and paste. I was taking care of some Easter bunny business - LOL.
     
  7. beachmouse

    beachmouse Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Messages:
    3,498
    Likes Received:
    727
    Location:
    Bluewater Bay, FL
    If you ever come across a free newspaper web site and only want to read an article or two, http://www.bugmenot.com/ will have a working username and password for about 90% of the news sites out there.

    (though if you're going to read a site every day, it's only fair to trade your information for their content, so go ahead and register IMO)
     
  8. Sheila

    Sheila SoWal Insider

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Messages:
    5,784
    Likes Received:
    226
    Location:
    Snellville, GA., Seacrest/Seagrove as often as we
    Actually, you really need to see the pictures of the poor college students on t he beach with the devastation behind them. Worth 1,000 words!
     
  9. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Messages:
    7,175
    Likes Received:
    3,722
    Location:
    SoWal
    Thanks. :clap_1: I'd like to see that pic.



    That is one ridiculous marketing slogan. :roll:
     
  10. Sheila

    Sheila SoWal Insider

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Messages:
    5,784
    Likes Received:
    226
    Location:
    Snellville, GA., Seacrest/Seagrove as often as we
    For some reason the photo was not on the on-lone version of the article. It was on the "fish wrapper" edition. If I still have it I will try and scan it and send it. It all looked staged and contrived. Like I said sloooow news day.
     
  11. RiverOtter

    RiverOtter got any pics?

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Messages:
    11,445
    Likes Received:
    107
    Location:
    Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States
    Reminds me of the Chattanooga Slogan contest a few years back. Some of the better ones were:

    Chattanooga! Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick! :D

    Chattanooga! Love it, Lick it! :D
     
  12. RedDevil

    RedDevil Beach Comber

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not to worry, Atlanta is coming to Grayton Beach and surrounding beaches this weekend! It's Spring Break next week (4/4-8) in Atlanta.
    hn
     
  13. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Messages:
    7,175
    Likes Received:
    3,722
    Location:
    SoWal
    :welcome:

    Uh oh. I thought it was crowded this week.
     
  14. phdphay

    phdphay Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    0
    It *was* really busy last week at the beach. I went down to make sure that my daughter and her friends on spring break hadn't torn our place up - LOL. How do potato chips get on the floor in absolutely every room?

    I think that next week will be even busier at the beach. I know that it's spring break for Atlanta, Coweta County, Troup County, as well as other Georgia counties. I'll be at the beach, along with just about everyone I know. Last year I went to a party at Seaside during spring break, and there must have been 200 people from our town of about 40,000 at that one party! Lord only knows what percentage of the population of our town was in South Walton county that week. I think I'll just ride my bicycle everywhere to avoid the traffic. I'm sure the traffic going westbound on 30-A at the 395 intersection will be backed up past Wheelhouse. At least it won't be as bad as the Easter spring break traffic going back to Atlanta on I-85 Sunday. It took us 3 hours to drive the last 70 miles of the trip.

    I know you locals probably hate that South Walton has become "Atlanta Beach," as I saw it called in one Atlanta Journal-Constitution article.
     
  15. beachmouse

    beachmouse Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Messages:
    3,498
    Likes Received:
    727
    Location:
    Bluewater Bay, FL
    The Georgians are generally nice folks, and despite their reputation, Atlanta drivers are actually pretty competent once you get them away from the really overcrowded roads in the Atlanta metro area.

    Even if they aren't as much fun as the Louisiana crew, I'll take the Georgians over a lot of other tourist groups we get down here.
     
  16. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Messages:
    7,175
    Likes Received:
    3,722
    Location:
    SoWal
    Traffic at 3 yesterday was backed up to San Juan from 395.
     
  17. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Messages:
    31,648
    Likes Received:
    1,771
    I was hoping we could get the AJC to run another story that the Beaches of South Walton were closed for the Summer. What do you think?
     
  18. phdphay

    phdphay Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    0
    You're kidding!
    :bang:
     
  19. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Messages:
    31,648
    Likes Received:
    1,771
    If you were here in all the traffic, maybe you would see that I am only slightly kidding. All of the people in the know, would still come to the Beach and enjoy the peacefulness.
     
  20. RedDevil

    RedDevil Beach Comber

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Be careful what you wish for...you might get it.
     

Share This Page