• Murphy Middle School sixth-grade agriculture students Carsyn Pinder and Wyndsor Caldwell work together to pull a shopping bag found stuck in the rocks by a drain as Breeze Hinton, Amadeus Sertanin, Tommy Lincoln and Addie Johnson (from left) watch. Photo by SAMANTHA SINCLAIR
    Murphy Middle School sixth-grade agriculture students Carsyn Pinder and Wyndsor Caldwell work together to pull a shopping bag found stuck in the rocks by a drain as Breeze Hinton, Amadeus Sertanin, Tommy Lincoln and Addie Johnson (from left) watch. Photo by SAMANTHA SINCLAIR
  • David Handford of the Ranger Volunteer Fire Department clears a tree out of a road while deployed in Sampson County during Hurricane Florence.
    David Handford of the Ranger Volunteer Fire Department clears a tree out of a road while deployed in Sampson County during Hurricane Florence.

SCOUTING AROUND: Students add storm preparation to lessons

    Agriculture students at Murphy Middle School got more learning opportunities out of their service learning project last week. The sixth-grade’s project is litter cleanup around the campus, and with the remnants of Hurricane Florence approaching it turned into storm preparation.
    “With the potential rainfall headed our way, we are working diligently to assure that all of our drains on campus are clean to prevent as much flooding as possible,” agriculture teacher Anne Marie Franklin said.
    Usually, the students pick up litter or help clean classrooms a couple of times each week. On Thursday and Friday, they focused on the storm drains and culverts. The eighth-grade agriculture students helped Friday afternoon by clearing dirt and plant debris from the culverts so water could easily flow to the drains.
    Brayden Killian said he found a lot of cups and lids when he was cleaning a storm drain Thursday. “It made me feel kinda disappointed,” he said. “If there’s a lot of trash in the drain, the parking lots could flood.”
    At one point Friday, Franklin stopped the class and asked them why they thought a large puddle formed next to the schools’ driveway. Noticing the tire tracks, it was determined people parking on the grass had caused erosion, preventing water from flowing into the nearby drain.
    The students enjoy getting to go outside and pick up the trash because they are helping the environment. “It makes me feel good because I’m helping give back to my community,” Killian said.
    “We’re fixing the future,” Tommy Lincoln said. “I’m cleaning up the future, making it go back to normal.”

County firefighters help eastern counties
    Volunteers from two Cherokee County volunteer fire departments traveled to the other side of the state to assist with any emergencies that arise as a result of Hurricane Florence.
    “It’s a testament of how committed they are not only to the citizens of county, but to the citizens of North Carolina,” said Robin Caldwell, the county’s emergency management director.
    Caldwell said fire departments sign up to help during emergencies like the hurricane through the state Fire Marshal’s Office. Departments provide the dates they would be available, then the state reaches out to them if they are needed. Multiple departments in Cherokee County signed up for dates before and after the hurricane was expected to make landfall.
    Murphy got the call to assist Bladen County on Sept. 11, while Ranger got a call to assist Sampson County on Thursday. Both units were expected to help those counties for about a week. Al Lovingood, Phil Bowman, Jonathan King and Anthony Mariano were deployed from Murphy, while Mike Taylor, David Hanford, Randy Hardy and Nick Selwyn were deployed from Ranger.
    The Ranger team had to clear some brush out of the road on the way to their assignment at the Beaver Dam Fire Department, spending Friday cutting trees out of roadways, said Mandy Francis-Taylor, wife of Ranger Fire Chief Mike Taylor. Caldwell said the Murphy team was put to work Friday morning, when they were called to a structure fire that turned out to be a fallen power pole.
    “They are putting their lives at risk,” Caldwell said.
    Caldwell added that they are not putting local residents’ lives at risk – each department made sure their jurisdictions were covered before deploying east. Hiwassee Dam Fire Chief Chad McNabb is waiting to sign up after he sees if their expertise is needed, as Hiwassee Dam is certified in swift-water rescue.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.