Disasters can bring out the best in people. And the worst. Last week's violent windstorm, which focused most of its fury on the communities of Davis County, has provided a lot of the former and just enough of the latter to warrant some concern.
First, the good. It didn't take long after the high winds blew through the area toppling trees, downing power lines and ripping away everything from roof shingles to Christmas decorations for neighbors to start helping neighbors. City crews, volunteers organized by local wards of the LDS Church, and volunteers organized by no one in particular, joined power company workers and members of the Utah National Guard in widespread efforts to remove downed tree limbs and other debris.
Sunday, LDS ward and stake leaders were calling members of their congregations to let them know that there was something more important than going to church that day. It was some love-thy-neighboring that involved a lot of heavy lifting, heavily laden pickup trucks and not a few chain saws in and around the communities of Bountiful, Centerville, Farmington and Kaysville.
Public sites, such as Community Park, Island View Park and Smoot Park in Centerville, were designated as approved disposal zones for tree limbs and other green wastes. And the Davis County Landfill in Layton will accept green waste from the windstorms at no charge through Dec. 17.
Everybody was scurrying to get as much of the mess cleaned up as possible before another expected windstorm struck the area Sunday. It didn't, but the temperatures dropped significantly, so the rush turned out to be a good idea anyway.
Meanwhile, just so we won't all get too comfortable, the word went out that there were at least a few scam artists circling over the damaged communities.
Officials of the Utah Department of Commerce were warning residents whose property had suffered significant wind damage to be cautious when selecting contractors to repair their homes. Over the weekend, the department received several complaints from residents that they had been approached by people who claimed to be contractors who offered to do necessary repairs for a fee.
Officials were warning homeowners to be wary of such offers, to insist on checking out contractor's licenses (at www.dopl.utah.gov) or credentials and, above all, not to pay up-front in cash.
Even with all that good-neighborliness going on, sadly, there are still reasons to take care.