Hurricane Irma

After the destructive repercussions Hurricane Irma had on Florida’s elderly residents, a new bill looks to address the key issue as to why they were so negatively affected.

As Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida, Gov. Rick Scott gave out his cellphone number during a conference call with administrators of the state's nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

National Parks Conservation Association

A new report estimates Hurricane Irma caused more than $5 million in damage to Everglades restoration.

An aging reverse-osmosis plant proved its worth in the wake of Hurricane Irma, says the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority’s chief executive.

House Republicans on Monday unveiled an $81 billion disaster aid package to help hurricane-ravaged communities and states hit by wildfires, almost double the amount requested by President Donald Trump.

healthcare.gov

Floridians have two extra weeks to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

Lake Okeechobee’s receding water is offering a clearer view of Irma’s environmental impact.

The water is down by about a foot since the hurricane but remains high at more than 16 feet.

Paul Gray of Audubon of Florida says the water and muck stirred from the lake’s bottom prevent sunlight from reaching important plant communities.

And those plants serve as nurseries for fish.

In the aftermath of any major storm, we can expect to see many toppled and uprooted trees in South Florida. But recently one massive tree in a public park in Miami-Dade was tagged with a heartfelt plea for passersby.

Stuck on the tree were two handwritten signs reading “I’m alive. So stand me up!”

“It's a good intention,” says Adrian Hunsberger, urban horticulture agent with the University of Florida/Miami-Dade County Extension Office. “But usually if it's blown over and it's laying on its side it's really beyond salvaging.”

There is still a chance for some people to sign up for D-SNAP disaster food assistance in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Displaced Puerto Ricans Face Obstacles Getting Health Care

Nov 21, 2017
Cheap Health Insurance / Flickr

The federal government has granted people affected by the devastating hurricanes that wracked coastal states and Puerto Rico 15 extra days to sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

But Puerto Ricans who fled to the mainland after the destruction face problems well beyond timing.

Nursing Home Asks Congress Not To 'Rush To Judgment'

Nov 21, 2017
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Contending that media reports have been inaccurate and sensationalized, attorneys for The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills nursing home asked that a congressional committee avoid any “rush to judgment or invitation to usurp the judicial branch” about findings of guilt, innocence, liability or wrongdoing.

Tax Break Proposed For Standby Generators

Nov 21, 2017
WMFE

A Senate Republican on Monday proposed providing a property-tax exemption for permanently installed generators used to provide power when electricity goes out.

Automation. Development. Citrus Greening. Florida’s agriculture industry is hurting, and Hurricane Irma is only the most recent blow. During this year's legislative session, lawmakers will be considering how to support the industry, which is second only to tourism.

It’s been over two months since Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida, but Floridians are still dealing with mold and many are just now discovering they have it.

Update 11/20 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved Florida to conduct telephone interviews for individuals who pre-registered for DSNAP who also have a disability or who are over the age of 60. The lawsuit is continuing to push for registration possibilities for people who do not meet that criteria.

After Hurricane Irma, the federal government offered a food assistance program to Floridians who needed help because of the storm. The signup period for that program ended last week.

But there’s an ongoing lawsuit that might reopen registration for some people with disabilities because, the suit claims, the lines to sign up were prohibitively long.

Lines were moving much more quickly at Hard Rock Stadium at mid-day Thursday, the final day to register for disaster food assistance (D-SNAP) in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

After reaching capacity early Wednesday amid accounts of people passing out in the heat, the registration sites seemed to have finally gotten into the swing of things Thursday.

Sweaty and eager to be done waiting in line, most were just happy to get the assistance they walked away with, ranging between $192 and $1,153.

The effort to put emergency money for food into the pockets and bank accounts of South Florida meant waiting in  lines and in court this week.

D-SNAP is the government program for disaster food assistance. The federal government program returned to the region for three days this week after overwhelming demand last month led to long lines and police shutting down some distribution sites over public safety concerns. 

On the first day of make-up registration for disaster food assistance, lines were long, while lawyers who were suing over how the program has been rolled out hashed things out in court.

As soon as they could after Hurricane Irma, researchers went out onto Florida Bay to see how the estuary fared after its close encounter with a Category 4 storm.

Photo courtesy Brevard County

Brevard County residents are raising concerns about sewage discharged into the Indian River Lagoon after Hurricane Irma.

As Floridians continue lining up for food assistance due to hardships caused by Hurricane Irma, state officials announced they intend to re-open enrollment in two South Florida counties to meet demand.

Survey teams this week completed an assessment of the condition of the Keys reef tract, from Biscayne Bay to Key West.

"It's very much like what's observable on land," said Sarah Fangman, superintendent of the 2,900-square-nautical-mile Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. "In some places, the impacts are pretty dramatic and visible and in other places they are much less. So we're finding the same is true underwater."

Even in the same location, the hurricane's impacts differ.

After waiting in long lines for food assistance cards after Hurricane Irma, some of the recipients in Miami-Dade are reporting the cards could not be used within the timeline they were given. 

The Department of Children and Families (DCF), which manages D-SNAP, the Florida disaster food assistance program, said it would take up to 72 hours for cards to be activated. In some cases, people were reporting a week later they still didn't  have any money on their cards. 

Florida Hospital Memorial / Flickr

An Ormond Beach hospital will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting this year’s Florida citrus crop will be the smallest since the 1940s. The state is slated to produce 54 million boxes, down from nearly 300 million in the 2000s.

The St. Johns River Water Management District, which encompasses parts of 18 central and northeastern Florida counties, said Tuesday Hurricane Irma dropped more than two trillion gallons of water across its service area.


Excess water from Hurricane Irma is still making its way through Florida, exacerbating the significant water management challenges the state's faced this rainy season.

New research from the University of South Florida suggests evacuating nursing home patients before a storm increases the chance of both hospitalization and death.

Miami-Dade needs to improve its communications before the next storm, said Mayor Carlos Gimenez, acknowledging that the county could have been clearer about which shelters were open when in the days leading up to Hurricane Irma last month.

A half dozen homeless people in Miami-Dade County were involuntarily committed to the hospital for evaluation as Hurricane Irma continued its course towards South Florida.

Now, a month later, the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust has evaluated whether that was the right move.

The week before Irma hit, hundreds of people living in downtown Miami, many close to the seawalls in places that heavily flood like Bayfront Park, continued to refuse spots in a homeless shelter.

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