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Say What? for Jan. 3, 2013

January 2, 2013 

  • More information Don’t let 2013 go up in smoke The American Red Cross recommends two easy steps to help protect your home and loved ones from a fire: get a smoke alarm and create a fire escape plan. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including bedrooms. Test smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries at least once a year. Having a plan in place including at least two ways to escape from every room of your home and a meeting spot at a safe distance from your home. Discuss the plan with everyone in the household and practice it at least twice a year. “Every year, the Red Cross responds to more than 63,000 Home Fires. Unlike other types of disasters, the majority of home fires can be prevented,” states Joy Branham, Community Executive for Onslow and Coastal Carolina Chapters. For additional Fire Safety tips, visit redcross.org/homefires.   Want to get something off your chest? We’ll put it in print. Write to Weekly Surge at kkimes@weeklysurge.com with the subject line “Say What” or send to Weekly Surge, P.O. Box 406, Myrtle Beach, S.C., 29578.

Is the American Dream dead?

Due to some family emergencies last week that forced me to leave town and miss a few days of work, I was teetering on the edge of not writing this column due to time constraints also caused by losing a workday because of the New Year’s Day holiday.

But thumbing through the mail that amassed in my absence, I came across the Spring 2013 edition of Huntingdon College Magazine, my alma mater’s official publication, and it provided me with the impetus I needed to get the ball rolling.

My eyes immediately fell to an article with the headline: “It’s All About Outcomes.” And the subhead: “Good jobs and good graduate schools were waiting for members of the class of 2012.”

According to this article, “the Class of 2012 graduated into a career climate that was anything but encouraging. Nationally, news anchors dropped the depressing news that only half of new graduates had hope of finding employment.”

But the story went on to say that despite this climate, the Harvard of the South (that’s what we like to call it, although many of you have probably never heard of this small private, Methodist-affiliated college in Montgomery, Ala.) has many success stories to report.

Chew on that for a minute as I backtrack…

Several weeks ago I met up with freelance writer Andrew Davis, a Clemson grad who did some work for us several years ago and was back in town after a stint in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., and we brainstormed cover story ideas. He tossed one out that I immediately latched onto: What is the job market going to look like for local college graduates?

We talked about it a little more, I penciled it in for the start of 2013, and Davis went to work gathering sources and interviewing subjects.

And then he had the brilliant stroke to give the story an apocalyptic-zombie angle as the Mayan doomsday occupied recent headlines, and zombies remain hot property due to the success of shows such as “The Walking Dead.”

In the interim, I received all sorts of press releases related to job outlooks, including this rather depressing one from CouponCodes4U.com with the subject line: “Majority of US University Graduates Believe the American Dream is Dead.”

Wow, is it really that bad out there?

Are things worse when they were 20 years ago when I was a fresh-faced graduate trying to find a job in journalism and finding all the doors closed?

Hasn’t technology expanded opportunities for the savvy?

Do you have to get the hell out of the Myrtle Beach area to find a decent job?

Well, turn to page 10 for Davis’ report as he talks with local college seniors, economic forecasters, and the folks who help students connect with business that are hiring.

And sticking with this job-seeking theme, this month’s Gotta Have It shopping-centric feature has fashion-forward tips for procuring the proper business and business casual attire you’ll need for successful interviewing on page 9, even though we’re used to dressing like slackers at the laid-back beach.

GET DIGITAL

I’ve got a couple of notes to pass along regarding our Web site, www.weeklysurge.com.

For starters, there wasn’t enough space in this week’s print edition, so our In Your Wallet section feature Practical Money Matters is appearing online only this week.

In addition, while you’re perusing our Web site, make sure to click on the graphic for our 2012 Story of the Year contest for that’s on our homepage. Voting only takes a few seconds, and you can vote multiple times (but only once an hour) for multiple stories if you want to show our merry band of freelance writers some love.

Voting runs through Jan. 18, and the winner will be announced in the Jan. 24 edition of this here li’l rag.

Kent Kimes, Editor

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