Archive for » August 27th, 2017«

The scene in Houston: A city under siege from Harvey’s floodwaters






Water from Harvey gushed into the KHOU 11 building Sunday forcing employees to evacuate the building.

The scenes from Houston were harrowing Sunday. 

Residents forging their way through furious floodwaters waist- and chest-deep in some parts of the city, many gripping plastic trash bags stuffed with their belongings. Trucks pushing through inundated streets as cars and other parked vehicles quickly were becoming submerged.

Families urgently piling into canoes, rafts and anything inflatable to get to higher ground.

The deluge from Tropical Storm Harvey was so intense that authorities were urging residents to seek refuge on roofs as emergency crews struggled to make their way through the city by land, water and air amid desperate pleas for help. 

Interstate 610, a freeway forming a 38-mile long loop around downtown Houston, was engulfed in floodwaters that were creeping closer to overhead highway signs — another sign of how dire the situation was becoming. 

 Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said authorities had received more than 2,000 calls for help and would be opening the city’s main convention center as a shelter.

“I don’t need to tell anyone this is a very, very serious and unprecedented storm,” Turner said at a news conference. “We have several hundred structural flooding reports. We expect that number to rise pretty dramatically.”

Residents were being told to stay on roofs instead of climbing into attics — and to wave towels or sheets to flag down rescuers.

As people fled to rooftops, the scene was strikingly similar to another epic flooding event: 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.   


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Amid the horror, there were reports of heroics.

Father David Bergeron, a Catholic priest, used a kayak to get from his home in southeast Houston to higher ground where he hoped to say Mass for those stranded on the streets. Bergeron said he tried to buy some wine for Mass at a convenience store but couldn’t because sales are prohibited in the state on Sunday before noon.

“This is how America was evangelized — by canoe,” he told TV station KTRK. 

KPRC2 broadcast video of dozens of Houston residents wading through an inundated street in East Houston, some in rubber boats, many helping others through the torrents. The station captioned the scene: “Good Samaritans Help Flood Victims.”

Jesse Gonzalez, and his son, also named Jesse, used their boat to rescue people from a southeast Houston neighborhood. Asked what he had seen, the younger Gonzalez told TV station KTRK: “A lot of people walking and a lot of dogs swimming.”

Harris County sheriff’s spokesman Jason Spencer said flooding throughout the county that includes Houston was so widespread that it’s “difficult to pinpoint the worst area.”

Spencer said the department has high-water vehicles and airboats but “certainly not enough.” He says authorities are prioritizing hundreds of phones calls for help to ensure life-and-death situations were at the top of the list.

The situation was “heartbreaking,” he said.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Follow Miller on Twitter @susmiller 

West coast dealer for Axopar Motorboats is JK3 Nautical Enterprises

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA — Axopar has a new dealer in town. The Finnish line of boats is now available through JK3 Nautical Enterprises with local offices on the coast in Newport Beach and San Diego.

Finland’s Axopar boats were launched in 2014 with impressive international sales growth. More than 500 boats have been built and delivered. The company, with 50 dealers in 30 countries, continues to expand.

Axopar earned the “2016 Boat Builder Award” at the Motor Boat Awards in Amsterdam. The Axopar 37 was also named “Motor Boat of the Year 2017.”

The west coast dealer for Axopar Motorboats is now JK3 Nautical Enterprises. JK3 will be at the next Southern California Boat Show in San Pedro, Sept. 28-Oct. 1.

More information on the Axopar models, provided by JK3 Nautical Enterprises, can be found online at

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Henry T. Finch Jr., former president and owner of Wild Dunes Yacht …

Henry Taylor Finch Jr., a former president and owner of Wild Dunes Yacht Harbor Inc., died Aug. 17. He was 65.

Finch was born Jan. 30, 1952, in Columbia, the oldest son of Frances Rodgers Finch and the late Henry T. Finch. He attended Western Carolina University and graduated from Baptist College at Charleston, now known as Charleston Southern University, in 1974.

In 1972, Finch’s father and uncle purchased property on Isle of Palms and developed it as Isle of Palms Beach Racquet Club. The property was later renamed Wild Dunes and the resort occupies 1,600 acres of oceanfront real estate, home to the world-class Links Course and Harbor Course, both designed by golf course architect Tom Fazio.

In 1984, Finch was named vice president and general manager of Wild Dunes Yacht Harbor at the Isle of Palms marina, where he was in charge of the day-to-day operations of boat charters and rentals, the dry storage yard, boat sales and service, slip rentals, yacht brokerage and the general store. He previously had been a sales associate with Wild Dunes and was in charge of plans and permits for Wild Dunes Yacht Harbor.

Wild Dunes was sold in 1987, but ownership of Wild Dunes Yacht Harbor was maintained until a portion was later sold to the city of Isle of Palms, which ultimately became the island’s municipal marina.

Finch also was a former owner and president of Finch Enterprises and former president and member of the Charleston Restaurant Association.

Surviving, in addition to his mother, are his wife, Nancy Judson Finch; one son; one daughter; two sisters and two brothers. The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24 at Stuhr’s Mount Pleasant Chapel. A funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 25 at Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church on Sullivan’s Island.

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