S.C. prepares for Y2k panic

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S.C. prepares for Y2K panic

Thursday, December 2, 1999

By RACHEL GRAVES Of The Post and Courier staff

COLUMBIA - Don't expect prison cells to unlock, planes to crash or the power to go off as the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve. South Carolina officials are more concerned about the potential for panic than any real problems the state faces in dealing with the millennium bug, which could make unprepared computers think it is 1900 or crash completely as the year changes to 2000. A coalition formed by the governor to prepare for 2000 says the state is ready. Essentials - such as the power supply, the phone system, 911 and ATM machines - should work as normal. "We feel confident that as much as possible has been done," Michael LeFever, the coalition's chairman, said at a news conference Wednesday. LeFever likened the millennium's approach to knowing a snow storm is coming but not knowing whether it will bring flurries or a whiteout. "We are prepared for the whiteout. We expect nothing," he said. The state will keep its Emergency Operations Center open during the weekend of Jan. 1, but it will be staffed with only eight to 10 people, far fewer than are on duty for a hurricane. More staff as well as the National Guard will be available to get to work within a few hours if they are needed. State officials recommend that people gas up their cars, take out enough cash and buy enough groceries for a typical long weekend. They do not think people should stock up for weeks of problems. Don Caughman, the Midlands manager for BellSouth, said the phone system will work fine. But if everyone picks up the phone just after midnight, all the circuits will be busy as they are at other busy phone times like Mother's Day. Tim Hewitt, a communications specialist with SCANA Corp., said the power system is Y2K compliant and should not be affected by the New Year. He urged people not to panic if there are power outages and not to blame the millennium bug. Power outages will more likely be the result of an accident or bad weather, he said. The Federal Reserve Board has prepared for a possible year-end cash run by putting an extra $50 billion into circulation and keeping another $200 billion in reserve in case it is needed. Banks are prepared for 2000, said Lloyd Hendricks, president of the S.C. Bankers Association. He recommends people leave their money in the bank rather than risk theft by taking out large amounts of cash. "The safest place for your money is in the bank," he said. State employees will start checking South Carolina's computer systems as early as 3 a.m. on Jan. 1. But officials say they expect most of the problems to be embarrassing rather than serious, like the jurors who recently were told to report for duty in 1900 in Pennsylvania, and the antique car owners who received information to re-register their horse-drawn buggies in Maine.

-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), December 02, 1999


Man, gotta LOVE that boilerplate! Check out all the ubiquitous phrases in that article! I'm too busy panicking to do it myself, but SOMEONE should write the quintessential "happy face" press release...it'd be a giggle!

Keep up the excellent work Homer!

-- Ludi (ludi@rollin.com), December 02, 1999.

Sheesh, the zombie can't even get the "embarrassing" mistakes right! Those were *horseLESS* carriages :-)

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), December 02, 1999.

All spin. No substance. Typical.

-- Irving (irvingf@myremarq.com), December 02, 1999.

Being a resident of that fair state, I am sorely amazed at the lassitude of practically EVERYONE I meet with regards to Y2K. I have been silently prepping since September of '98 after listening to a Chuck Missler tape series on the subject; but I feel like a rat turd in a sugar bowl if I even broach the subject. Perhaps its the laid backness of the area, or the fact that we don't really have any mega-metropolises (huh?), but the most I hear from the media around here is the typical "we're ok" spin.
You should have seen our well-oiled political machine at the helm during the hurricane Floyd evac. What a collosal screwup that was! With that as a measuring stick for how well we're prepared for the unexpected, I don't feel very good about how the general populace will fare if things go sour.

-- Jay Urban (Jayho99@aol.com), December 02, 1999.

I honestly can't tell if I've read this verbatim somewhere else. It seems that way.

Here's a little game I like to play. You can play too! Try pressing Control+F (or the "Find" on your browser) and search for these words: "feel", "believe", "confident", "should", "likely", "unlikely", "probably", "expect". Score one Spin Point for each one you find.

Now try finding "guarantee", "compensation" or "accountable". Subtract ten Spin Points for each of these. If you get a negative score, we all win. I haven't won yet. Good luck.

-- Colin MacDonald (roborogerborg@yahoo.com), December 03, 1999.

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