1928 - Alderson High School - 1968




Alex McLaughlin - February 11, 2014

All heck broke out in Charleston West Virginia on January 8th when there was a leak in a holding tank full of some organic chemicals that spilled into the river about a mile and a half upstream of the main water intake for 300,000 people in a nine county area surrounding Charleston. On January 13th Erin Brockovich came to Charleston.

Erin gained fame as a whistleblower where she worked at the Pacific Gas and Light Company. The company was routinely polluting the water. She intervened and that resulted in the largest single civil suit sentiment in the American history. Not chopped liver for the country that hands down has the largest settlements in the world. We are number one!

Now in addition to being bright, committed and aggressive Erin is also attractive. She was Miss Pacific at one time. I cannot figure if that was Miss Pacific for all of the Pacific Ocean or just the mainland portion of the United States. Either way that represents a good number of people.

She had to be one of the most famous people to ever visit Charleston. The movie star, Jenifer Garner is from Charleston. She comes back from time to time and goes downtown to eat with Ben Affleck and the kids. Her sister is married to one of the partners at the engineering firm that I work for. Jenifer seems nice, pretty laid back and down to earth.

Nick Nolte used to date or be married to a Charleston girl and he used to come to town. He didnít seemed laid back or down to earth. Also Leslie Nielsen had a friend in Charleston and he would visit from time to time and check out the local bars.

But those were merely movie luminaries. Erin Brockovich on the other hand was much more. A movie had been made about her, she had brought down a corporate giant and she was a community activist. Now that is something.

She took the city or at least a portion of the city by storm. She flew in and held a public rally at the Charleston Civic Center. Even though she was a celebrity or probably because she was a celebrity I did not attend. She brought investigators and lawyers with her. The local TV stations were chasing their tails to try and find where she was.

She said that this was a terrible preventable tragedy and that people should be engaged and vigilant. Then she went away. From time to time I see blog posts that show Erin is still involved. Donít know that she will be directly involved in the lawsuits that will ensue. There are more than 30 law firms out there trying to sign up people.

The water crisis was a terrible tragedy. But someday I can tell my grandson Caleb that I remember where I was when I learned that John Kennedy had been shot, where I was when I learned when Elvis died and where I was the day that Erin Brockovich came to Charleston.

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