Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Florida edition

The Daily Jot isn't a morning blog. I like to get it out of the way but there are times when it's not possible. Like this morning. The agreement to get my grandfather to come to my mom's was that when he was ready to go back home, no one would try to talk him out of it and I'd just drive him back.

I'm still rubbing my eyes when he says this morning he's ready to go back.

So I took him and guess what, some homes still don't have electricity. Let me repeat that: Some homes still don't have electricty. Maybe you forgot, national media hasn't been interested, but Florida Power & Light swore that by November 22nd power would be back on. They missed that deadline.

So this is the Florida edition of The Daily Jot where I'm going to tell you what the national media hasn't because they don't care.

People who lost their housing are still waiting. They may be in a shelter temporarily. That's the lucky ones.

Car sales and home sales are down for the month. Some say the market in southern Florida has "cooled" due to the hurricane.

Here's a story on something you probably didn't see in the "nation's paper" (New York Times),
Joel Hood "S. Florida's funeral homes coped creatively with Wilma's power outages:"

In the frantic first days after Hurricane Wilma, funeral homes in Broward and Palm Beach counties were forced to come up with creative ways to deal with power outages.
Without electricity to power crematoriums, some funeral homes stacked bodies in dressing rooms. Some shipped bodies to refrigerated holding rooms at county medical examiner's offices. Others embalmed bodies whether families wanted it or not.
Industry officials estimate funeral homes lost millions in the aftermath of Wilma on Oct. 24. Also, some now say restoring power to funeral homes should receive the same priority given to hospitals, supermarkets, and fire and police departments after a natural disaster.
"If we're unable to properly store bodies in a refrigerated facility or do embalming, there immediately starts to be a health issue," said Daniel Perrin, vice president of the Florida Funeral Directors Association, which represents 700 funeral homes.

That's from yesterday's Sun-Sentinel.

Remember when I told you that it was the rains that came through after the hurricane that hurt? Here's a story about today, "20 to 50 residents displaced after building roof collapse in Oakland Park:"

Heavy rains on Tuesday afternoon left about 20 to 50 building occupants out on the street after a roof collapse in Oakland Park.
The building located at 4061 N. Dixie Highway was determined to be unsafe by a building official and was red tagged. The building had suffered previous roof damage from Hurricane Wilma.
The displaced residents are making arrangements to relocate on their own.

Diane C. Lade's "Gas costs hurting volunteers who help disabled, elderly:"

An AARP survey of 568 people age 50 and older, released in October, found 62 percent limited their daily driving because of gas prices after Hurricane Katrina drove up fuel costs. And 41 percent said they cut spending in other areas to pay for gas.


For a stylish measure of Hurricane Wilma's economic impact, don your best apparel and head out this evening to the White Party.
Half of the restaurants signed up to cater the gala at Miami's Vizcaya Museum have pulled out of the event, saying they lost too much money in the Oct. 24 storm to justify donations to the AIDS fundraiser, organizers said.
''After the storm many called and said, `We've been out of power for 10 days, we lost all our food, we were in trouble anyway. And we won't be able to help you,''' said Rick Siclari, executive director of Care Resource, the AIDS charity that puts on White Party.

Here's the Associated Press's "Wilma highlights plight of Florida's migrant farmworkers:"

Ernesto and Carmen Vasquez intend to celebrate the holidays at home despite the SUV-sized hole in their living-room ceiling -- a calling card left by Hurricane Wilma -- and the red "X" on their door marking the trailer as condemned.
It's been one month since Wilma whipped through their Everglades mobile home park in western Palm Beach County, flattening many of their neighbors' homes, but the couple have yet to receive a visit from aid workers or local officials. Shelters here are scarce, so they plan to remain in their two-bedroom trailer with their two children -- if the rest of the roof doesn't cave in.
"We still have a house, so I suppose we are among the lucky ones," Carmen Vasquez said, as she looked up at the ceiling boards, sagging above photos of her children.
The Vasquez family is among thousands of Florida's uninsured farmworkers, some still without electricity, who are awaiting help in the wake of the Oct. 24 storm that thrashed South Florida at the end of the nation's worst hurricane season on record. Farmworker advocates say the situation is bad, but worse is the fact that it is looking like a repeat of last year, with migrant workers' flimsy housing rebuilt just in time for the next season's storms.

Maybe you needed aid? How's that going? This is from "Food Stamps Yet To Arrive For 50,000 Wilma Victims:"

Almost 3 million people filed for emergency food stamps in one of Florida's biggest disasters -- Hurricane Wilma.
On Tuesday, one Boynton Beach woman said it's taken so long to get the food stamps, she's had to take out a cash advance and skip Thanksgiving.
Ketty Jules is just one of about 50,000 people who are still waiting for that emergency help.
Jules is a working single mom who, like many, lives from paycheck to paycheck.
When hurricane Wilma roared thru last month, Ketty lost her electricity and a week's paycheck.
"Because of everything defrosting, I threw away everything in the fridge and went to John Prince Park and waited for almost four hours," she said. "They told me food stamp cards would get here in 7 to 10 days, and nothing ever did."

Well at least the rent stayed the same. Who wants to move to the area now? But believe it or not, rent's have risen. This is from Robin Benedick's "South Florida landlords blame rising taxes, insurance costs for rent surge:"

Landlords in South Florida say skyrocketing taxes and insurance costs are forcing them to sell their units or raise rents -- in some cases by several hundred dollars a month.
Rental property doesn't qualify for Florida's Save Our Homes property tax break, which limits annual property tax increases on homes to 3 percent.

I could go on and on. There are millions of stories. Too bad the national media doesn't seem to give a damn.

So that's it for the Florida Edition of The Daily Jot today.