Somebody Forgot To Tell The Feds Hendry Was In Emergency
LABELLE, FL. -- Government offices are open today in Hendry county although
some damage was sustained to buildings. Schools are still closed in all
counties although the private school on Cowboy Way in LaBelle reportedly is
opening with classes to be held in new portable office trailers which
arrived this week.
Amid the confusion this week, someone at the local or state level, forgot to
apply to the Federal government for emergency status, so when food requests
were made by local officials in Hendry county, the request was denied by the
Feds. The snafu was worked out by Wednesday when food started arriving. The
Southern Baptist Convention is serving food in the Clewiston area without
the help of the Feds. Probably the best organized disaster relief
organization in the county. The Baptists are among the first to arrive when
disasters strike the Southest U.S.
Hendry county's only radio broadcast station, 99.5 FM, this morning went
heavy country music again and only broadcast about 2 minutes of hurricane
recovery information between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. A representative of the
Glades County Electric Cooperative reported on progress of electric repairs.
That's it, plus news of a coffee shop opened in Clewiston. Today's morning
broadcast was taking calls only for music requests. Lame. We have no idea
why the station is not broadcasting relief news and more information on what
areas are still without water and electric and phones. And since supplies
and gas are still in heavy demand, it would help to know what merchants are
open or closed in Hendry and Glades county. Glades Media owns the Clewiston
station as well as stations in Immokalee, Okeechobee, and West Palm Beach.
Shameful we say.
All cities are still under a boil water order except for Port LaBelle. Port
LaBelle recovered electric earlier this week and water has not been a
problem. Phones though have been in and out in Port LaBelle. And the
electric still goes off for a second each morning as it has for many months
in the entire LaBelle area.
Sources say about 450 mobile homesmostly in Clewiston, and nearly all
pre-1992 built, are not fit for habitation while 250 more have major damage
that may not be repairable. Citrus interests claim between 50 to 70 percent
of the citrus crops are "on the ground" although others say only the
grapefruit crop may be heavily damaged as the winds blew the heavier fruits
to the ground. The U.S. Sugar Corp. public relations person, Judy Sanchez
says the sugar cane has been blown to the ground, but didn't indicate if the
crop is actually destroyed or just blown over enough from the wind to make
it more costly to harvest with their machines.
Curfews remain in effect with a hodgepodge of different rules from city to
city and county to county. Dusk to dawn in Moore Haven, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. in
Hendry county, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Clewiston. There have been reports
of looters and curfew violations. Violating the curfew is a $2,500.00 fine
or 5 days in jail by order of the Hendry County Judge. Residents should call
the Hendry County Hurricane Hotline at (863) 675-5392 or (863) 983-1585 for
the most current information from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
Food, water, and ice are distributed at John Boy in Clewiston and LaBelle
Municipal Airport. The Felda location has shifted to the Felda Community
Center. Pioneer and Montura were also distributing supplies. Donations are
being received and Hendry County residents would like to express their
sincere appreciation at the LaBelle Civic Center and possibly the LaBelle
Sheriff's office where other Florida Sheriff's have sent personel paid by
FEMA. Temporary housing is being arranged for the uncountable families
displaced by imploded older mobile homes.
Horticulture debris needs to be placed in the right of way by the roads. Be
careful not to obstruct normal traffic movement. Horticulture debris must be
separated from construction debris. Horticulture debris will not be
collected if it is mixed with other debris. Reportedly the debris will
start to be picked up next week. Some areas are receiving regular normal
Call 1-800 Blu Roof for tarp help and 1-800-621-FEMA for uninsured losses.
Expect a long time to complete the application procedure. Tarps are
reportedly in short supply.