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  1. LYNN HAVEN — In the 40 years Adams Pharmacy has been open in Lynn Haven, owner and pharmacist David Adams said he has never closed for two weeks or more – until now. He hopes the store at 922 Ohio Ave. in Lynn Haven can reopen sometime next week. Hurricane Michael’s damage to the roof and air conditioning wiped out the climate control. “I can’t store drugs at my building,” Adams said. “It’s been disastrous.” But Adams isn’t on vacation. Besides meeting with contractors, he is transferring customers’ prescriptions to other pharmacies and responding to messages. From pharmacies damaged in the hurricane to doctors who have left town or medical groups without internet or phone service, health care providers in Panama City are struggling to deliver care to people who need it. “People are looking for any office that’s open, so we got an influx of patients, first people who were totally out of medication,” said Dr. Syed Gilani, a physician at 237 E. Baldwin. “Some were my patients; some were other doctors’ patients. They were desperate about prescriptions,” he said. Many patients haven’t been able to reach their doctors because the internet and phone lines are still down in many doctors’ offices. Dr. Liaqat Hayat’s nurse Lisa Petitt put a large cardboard sign on the road near the entrance to the cluster of medical offices where doctors Hayat and Gilani practice to notify passersby the offices are open. Dr. Hayat also distributed fliers to pharmacies and called them to tell them he was accepting patients. Many of his regular patients are not coming in because they were evacuated, so he has been filling their spots with emergency patients. “If their physician’s office is closed and not practicing, then I will see you. I don’t want to steal someone’s patients,” he said. New patients seeking a prescription refill should bring their prescription bottles with them, Dr. Hayat said. “As long as they have their information – we stress they should bring their bottles so we can write a prescription,” he said. Because the area has been declared a state of emergency, pharmacies are allowed to refill people’s prescriptions, Adams said, if they are open. Mullins pharmacy in Lynn Haven also is closed due to storm damage, according to a recorded message at its phone number. CVS Health said its pharmacists were providing prescription refills even when the patient’s doctor was unavailable to authorize it. “Our pharmacists are ready to support impacted patients and help avoid disruption to their medication regimens. Using their professional judgment, as allowed by federal/state law and local emergency declarations, this may include the dispensing of emergency supply or refilling of certain medications if the prescriber cannot be reached,” Amy Lanctot, senior manager, public relations for CVS Health said in an email. The amount of damage from Hurricane Michael is causing people physical and emotional stress, Dr. Gilani said. “I haven’t seen any patient who has not been affected by the hurricane here in this county,” he said. People are coming to the doctor with stress, anxiety and sleep problems. Doctors are providing a wider range of care because hospitals and doctors’ offices are closed. “There’s a shortage of space. Physicians are looking for alternative space. Not having hospital open and labs open and phone service is causing a lot of hardship,” Gilani said. Bay Medical Center Sacred Heart does not have a timeline for the hospital’s re-opening, interim public information officer Christa Davis said Thursday. Information was not available from Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center, which an operator said remained closed Thursday except for the emergency room. During a visit to the area Wednesday, Ben Carson, U.S. Secretary for Housing and Urban Development, and a former practicing surgeon, suggested doctors reach out to community organizations to ensure people can find them. “That’s an area where your local and faith-based organizations can be extremely helpful,” he said. Loans and other financial assistance for health care providers whose offices were closed or damaged by the storm are available through the Small Business Administration and the Small Business Development Center network in Florida, experts said. Dentists are seeing patients with face injuries from cleaning up tree branches, said Dr. Faris Waheed, a dentist at Baldwin Family Dental. But he also is offering free cleanings and X-rays to people affected by the hurricane. “If anyone doesn’t have a toothbrush, we’ll give it to them,” he said. “Our goal is to rebuild Panama City. People are just helping each other out. That’s helping a lot.” Dr. Gilani is providing space in his medical office to another doctor, Dr. Jigish Patel, whose office on 15th street was damaged. But Dr. Patel’s relocation was stressful for Margie Kelly, of the Sand Hill area, who said she didn’t know where the new office was. Kelly said she hadn’t been able to reach another of her regular doctors and had only about 10 days of a prescription left. Kelly said the hurricane brought back memories of a tornado she witnessed as a child. She stayed with her daughter during the storm and for several days. “We didn’t evacuate. The Lord took care of us. We was at our daughter’s house. Her house was built with brick,” Kelly said. Children, including teenagers, also are vulnerable to stress and trauma from witnessing the destruction, said pediatrian Rubina Azam at Baldwin Pediatrics at 528 W. Baldwin Road. “Actually, it’s more challenging for the teenage kids, too, because teenagers already are going through a lot of changes in their body and mind, and now they have to deal with this also,” said Azam, who said she has been getting a lot of questions from her own children, ages 13 and 15. Teens are likely to have questions about what will happen to their home, their belongings or their school. Parents should look for signs their children are having trouble processing the trauma, such as loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, headaches, change in personality or behavior. Those symptoms should be a sign to consult a doctor. “We have to make sure our kids don’t fall into a deep and serious anxiety disorder because it could be a lifelong thing for them,” Dr. Azam said. She said she plans to attend a conference this weekend on trauma in children after a disaster and hopes to start a free therapy group in a couple of weeks. If children act out, it could be a sign of emotional distress. “Parents have to be very, very patient with their kids,” Dr. Azam said. “The kid is not doing these things because the kid is disrespectful. The kid is doing these things because they are trying to deal with this trauma they went through.” Parents also have to take care of themselves so they have the energy to be supportive of their children, she said. “If they are not taking care of themselves, who is going to take care of their children?”
  2. Panama City Comfort Stations Comfort Stations reopened Nov. 2 after closing due to severe weather. Comfort Stations continue to be set up throughout the City of Panama City. Once fully operational, each location will have food, water, ice, an air-conditioned tent, nice restrooms and showers. "Panama City Comfort Stations" Facebook page has also been created to provide the community with updates on resources. Link: https://www.facebook.com/panamacitycomfortstations/ Locations: · Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center - 705 E. 14th Ct. · Daffin Park - Millville - 320 Kraft Ave. · Cove Shopping Center - 925 Cherry St. · Al Helms Dog - next to walking park on Balboa Ave. - 1022 Balboa Ave. · St. Andrews Northstar Church - 2379 St Andrews Blvd. · Boys and Girls Club - 3404 W. 19th St. · Old Party City Store - 2015 W. 23rd St. · Palm Bay Prep Academy - 1104 Balboa Ave. · Panama City Mall - Corner of 23rd St. and Hwy 77
  3. The Bay County site for the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has closed. DSNAP, a food assistance program for those affected by a disaster, has helped close to 11,000 individuals in Bay County. From November 7th through the 11th, the program will be opening their sites in Jackson, Gadsden, Holmes, and Liberty county. Currently, only residents in those 4 counties can call ahead or pre-register online to have their applications processed. Those with the program expressed how glad they were to just be able to help. "This is a benefit for those individuals that have seen losses and have been impacted by Hurricane Michael. We're just here to give them a hand, a handup and help them out on the road to recovery and help mitigate their losses," said David Ocasio, Department of Children and Families PIO. Telephone interviews for DSNAP qualifications for Holmes, Leon, and Washington county residents will open on November 10.
  4. The following information is from Governor Rick Scott's office: Governor Rick Scott is in constant communication with federal, state and local emergency management officials and state agency leaders to ensure that communities impacted by Hurricane Michael are receiving the resources they need. STATE RESPONSE AND RECOVERY ACTIONS Following Governor Scott’s request, President Donald Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Michael. On October 7th, Governor Scott declared a state of emergency in 26 Florida counties, and expanded it to include 35 counties total on October 8th. Following a request by Governor Scott, and approval by FEMA, families in the following counties are now eligible for FEMA Individual Assistance: Bay Franklin Gulf Leon Taylor Wakulla Calhoun Liberty Jackson Gadsden Holmes Washington Following Governor Scott's request, FEMA approved Direct Housing Assistance for Bay, Calhoun, Jackson, Gadsden and Gulf Counties. This assistance includes recreational vehicles, mobile homes, multi-family lease and repair and group sites. Thirteen Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are currently open in counties impacted by Hurricane Michael. DRCs are readily accessible facilities or mobile offices where impacted residents can go for information about disaster assistance programs, and to ask questions about individual assistance applications. Representatives from FDEM, FEMA, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), volunteer groups and other agencies are at the centers to answer questions about disaster assistance and low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and businesses. They can also help survivors apply for federal disaster assistance. Currently, Bay, Gulf and Jackson Counties have been approved for Transitional Sheltering Assistance. For more information and to apply for FEMA programs, visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Following the Governor’s request, FEMA announced that it is expanding public assistance in Florida to include permanent repairs on roads and bridges, buildings and equipment, utilities, public buildings, and parks and other recreational facilities for Bay, Calhoun, Gadsden, Gulf and Liberty counties. For more information about FEMA’s public assistance visit https://bit.ly/2JeBFTx. FOOD AND WATER The state is working to ensure adequate food resources are available for Florida residents impacted by Hurricane Michael. Specific activities include the following: Approximately 11 million meals are being or have been distributed. Approximately 3 million gallons of water are being or have been distributed. Approximately 3 million pounds of ice are being or have been distributed. Emergency Supply Distribution Centers, or Points of Distribution (POD), are places where the public can pick up emergency supplies following a disaster. These sites have food, water, and other critical supplies. Click HERE for a complete map of POD locations. Major retailers in impacted communities have re-opened and are stocked with food, water and other important commodities. COMMUNICATIONS Governor Scott laid out his expectations for telecommunications companies in the areas impacted by Hurricane Michael. Communications support packages have been dispatched through the Commercial Service Providers and Florida National Guard to Holmes, Liberty, Jackson, Gadsden, Calhoun, Gulf, Franklin and Washington counties. The Florida Department of Management Services’ (DMS) Division of Telecommunications has worked or is working 221 missions. This includes the deployment of more than 100 public safety mobile communications trailers and towers, mobile cell towers, hot-spots and Mi-Fi's, as well as more than 1,050 public safety portable radios, 10,000 cellular devices and 30 charging stations. Approximately 90 percent of cell coverage in the impacted areas is up. POWER RESTORATION Florida SERT made first responder fueling depots available to utility crews across the Panhandle. This helps ensure that utility restoration trucks have the fuel they need so they can restore power faster. Governor Scott directed the Florida Department of Transportation to organize, lead and mobilize push crews to expedite power restoration. Generators have been mobilized to impacted counties to bring traffic lights online, which will alleviate the need for law enforcement to direct traffic. Governor Scott also requested assistance from Manny Miranda, Florida Power and Light’s Senior Vice President of Power Delivery, to advise and assist the state’s power restoration efforts. The current power outage as of 6 a.m. is 2,338 accounts, down from approximately 400,000 after the storm. SHELTERS Currently six shelters are open with a population of 528. Visit https://www.floridadisaster.org/shelter-status/ to find information on shelters in your area. MILITARY SUPPORT At Governor Scott's direction, the Florida National Guard authorized the activation of up to 4,000 Soldiers and Airmen to assist with response and recovery efforts. Following Governor Scott’s visit to Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) on October 18th, he sent a letter to President Trump requesting that he direct immediate action to dedicate resources, manpower and funding to return Tyndall AFB to full operations as soon as possible. On October 25th, Governor Scott toured the damage at Tyndall AFB with Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence. Following a briefing with Secretary of the Air Force Dr. Heather Wilson and Tyndall AFB Officials, Vice President Pence extended the administration’s commitment to rebuilding the Base. Joint Task Force - Florida (JTF-FL) has been tasked with a total of 403 missions to date, and is currently completing missions in support of Florida Division of Emergency Management Hurricane Michael relief efforts. LAW ENFORCEMENT More than 500 law enforcement officers are deployed to the impacted areas in the Panhandle and Big Bend. These officers have completed 449 missions. Approximately 30 FWC officers and support staff, with appropriate equipment assets, continue to work recovery efforts in the panhandle. FWC staff are supporting the Unified Command post in Destin mitigating damaged and displaced vessels. FWC response teams are operating in 12-hour Alpha/Bravo shifts to provide 24-hour coverage in the affected areas. The Florida Highway Patrol has approximately 400 state troopers assigned to the Panhandle of Florida to assist with response and recovery. The Florida Highway Patrol has completed 220 missions and has 16 active missions including: The Florida Highway Patrol is providing security escorts to utility crews, commodity convoys and other response vehicles. The Florida Highway Patrol is supplementing local law enforcement agency efforts with increased patrol of damaged areas. The Florida Highway Patrol is providing traffic control and security at a donation center in Calhoun County. The Florida Highway Patrol is providing support for DSNAP distribution in Bay, Gulf and Franklin Counties. The Florida Highway Patrol is providing traffic control for debris removal along I-10 in Gadsden and Jackson Counties. DHSMV’s Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) mobiles continue to be in the Panhandle to offer driver license and motor vehicle services this week. Each day’s schedule can be found on the department’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Since Tuesday, October 16, DHSMV FLOW mobiles have completed more than 3,000 transactions for customers seeking driver license, ID or motor vehicle services in the impacted areas. The Florida Highway Patrol donated six vehicles to the Mexico Beach Police Department (MBPD). RECOVERY BRANCH An aggressive recovery effort is ongoing, working with FEMA to identify and activate federal grant programs that can benefit Floridians and their communities. To date, FEMA has approved more than $85 million in Individual Assistance. TRANSPORTATION & PUBLIC WORKS FDOT issued Weigh Station Bypass letter to allow emergency response vehicles such as utility vehicles and bucket trucks to bypass all FDOT weigh stations. FDOT issued an Emergency Road Use Permit letter to relieve size and weight restrictions for divisible loads on any vehicles transporting emergency equipment, services, supplies, and agricultural commodities and citrus as recommended by the Commissioner of Agriculture. FDOT is coordinating with utility companies to coordinate post storm clean-up activities. FDOT is in the process of repairing and restoring damaged traffic signals in Bay County and the surrounding area. PUBLIC HEALTH AND MEDICAL Following Governor Scott’s request, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has activated the federal Emergency Prescription Assistance Program, administered jointly by HHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to help families without health insurance impacted by Hurricane Michael receive prescription medications. Florida continues to communicate and monitor pharmacies in the affected areas. Currently there are 54 pharmacy locations open and dispensing medication in the following counties: Bay, Calhoun, Gadsden, Gulf, Franklin, Jackson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Wakulla, Walton and Washington. To find an open pharmacy, go to RxOpen.org, which maps open and closed pharmacies during disasters. For those with a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, medicare.gov recommends contacting the plan to find the nearest network pharmacy that is open. If one is unavailable, the plan can connect evacuees with an out-of-network pharmacy. Call your plan for more details and instructions. To find your plan’s phone number, call 800-MEDICARE. At the direction of Governor Scott, AHCA Secretary Justin Senior sent a letter to Florida Healthy Kids requesting a waiver of premiums for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and full pay enrollees premiums for the months of November, December and January. See the letter HERE. The Florida Healthy Kids Board voted to waive the monthly premiums for November, December and January. This step assists the families of 5,604 enrolled children living in the impacted areas. An updated evacuation report can be found on the AHCA twitter page: https://twitter.com/AHCA_FL. AHCA has activated the Emergency Status System (ESS) for health care facilities in the panhandle to continue to report their ongoing status including generators and utility company information, emergency contacts, and bed availability. For the comfort of the those impacted by Hurricane Michael, there are 53 shower stations, 69 cooling stations, 1,590 portable toilets and 42 laundry stations currently deployed throughout the affected counties. Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) staff continues their presence at open Disaster Recovery Centers in affected regions and are providing information to the public on DOEA services and resources. DOEA is continuing efforts with DOH to resolve needs of elders at shelters in Bay County, including screening for long-term care needs and providing education on programs and services. 34 ambulances and 4 paratransit vehicles are in the area of operations to assist with rescue operations, health care facility evaluations, local EMS augmentation and patient movement. The Patient Movement Unit has moved 5,334 patients since activation. There are currently 10 Active Boil Water Notices: Bay (4), Calhoun (1), Gadsden (1), Gulf (1) and Jackson (3). To view boil water notices in your area, please visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/drinking-water/boil-water-notices.html. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced steps taken to support Florida in response to Hurricane Michael, including: Temporarily waiving or modifying certain Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP requirements. Making special enrollment periods available for certain individuals seeking health plans offered through the Florida Health Insurance Exchange. Helping patients obtain access to life-saving services such as dialysis. Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) is helping customers access donated items and resources, as well as assisting with the FEMA relief application process. APD is hosting conference calls with providers to share the latest resources and answer questions. The FEMA Disability Integration Advisor for Florida is a presenter on these calls. Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA) Field Services Staff is working with managers at various Disaster Recovery Centers to assist veterans. VA Outpatient Clinics in Panama City and Marianna have resumed normal operations. For more information visit https://www.va.gov/directory/guide/state.asp?STATE=FL&dnum=ALL. County Veteran Service Offices are open (some with limited services) during normal business hours. For more information visit http://floridavets.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/CVSO_Directory_Oct-19-2018.pdf#new_tab. The Department of Children and Families (DCF), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has initiated the federal Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) in 12 counties to assist communities impacted by Hurricane Michael. DSNAP site locations are now open in Franklin, Gulf, Wakulla, Bay and Taylor counties. Franklin County – Eastpoint Volunteer Fire Department 24 6th Street, Eastpoint, FL 9am – 4pm ET Gulf County - Port St. Joe Gulf Coast State College 3800 Garrison Ave., Port St. Joe, FL 9am – 4pm ET Wakulla County – Crawfordville Medart Recreation Park 79 Recreation Drive, Crawfordville, FL 7am – 6pm ET Bay County – Panama City Bay High School (Gymnasium) 1200 Harrison Avenue, Panama City, FL 8am – 6pm CT Taylor County – Perry First Baptist Church Student Center 100 N Orange Street, Perry, FL 9am - 7pm ET Pre-registration for Calhoun, Gadsden, Jackson and Liberty counties is open and will end on November 11. Telephone interviews for Calhoun, Gadsden, Jackson and Liberty counties began November 3. DSNAP site locations in Calhoun, Gadsden, Jackson and Liberty counties will open on November 7 and end on November 11. All site locations and telephone operations will be suspended on Tuesday, November 6, and will resume on Wednesday, November 7. Additional information can be found at www.myflfamilies.com/DSNAP. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION At the direction of Governor Scott, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is offering the suspension of up to $12 million in wastewater and drinking water facility loan repayments and interest accrual for two years. DEP has deployed wastewater, drinking water and solid waste technical experts to impacted areas to ensure all needs are met. To fulfill water sampling needs, DEP is serving as a courier to deliver samples daily from Bay and Gulf counties to DOH’s lab in Defuniak Springs for analysis. An online tool for the public to report the location of storm debris in waterways has been deployed; and 543 reports of debris have been received. 384 Disaster Debris Management Sites have been authorized in impacted areas. Florida State Parks strike teams continue to clear debris and assist individuals in impacted state parks. To date, 68 state parks have re-opened. Current Florida State Park closures can be found at https://www.floridastateparks.org/StormUpdates. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY Executive Director Cissy Proctor and members of the DEO Leadership Team have met with area businesses and communities in Bay, Calhoun, Gadsden, Gulf, Franklin, Jackson, Liberty, Taylor, Washington and Wakulla counties. The Florida SBDC Network and the U.S. Small Business Administration have opened Business Recovery Centers to assist small businesses impacted by Hurricane Michael. Small businesses can get assistance applying for state and federal business disaster loans. There are currently 10 Business Recovery Centers open throughout the impacted areas. Locations can be found at FloridaDisaster.biz or FloridaSBDC.org. DEO has launched the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide short-term, interest-free loans to affected businesses at www.floridadisasterloan.org. Eligibility changes to the program now allow for small business owners with fewer than two employees located in any of Florida’s 35 counties impacted by Hurricane Michael to qualify. Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida has been awarded federal National Dislocated Worker Grants to provide temporary employment to Floridians affected by Hurricane Michael. This program is administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and provides disaster relief employment in the form of temporary jobs that support storm response and recovery efforts. See the Governor’s press release HERE. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has made the Disaster Re-employment Assistance program available for Florida businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Michael. To file a DUA claim go to www.FloridaJobs.org or call 1-800-385-3920. Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern Time to assist claimants. Disaster cleanup and other related job openings are now available at http://disasterrecovery.employflorida.com for businesses to post job openings and for individuals to find job opportunities. DEO has opened the Business Damage Assessment Survey for businesses impacted by Hurricane Michael. Businesses with damage should complete the survey at https://www.floridadisaster.biz/BusinessDamageAssessments. Businesses can also visit FloridaDisaster.biz to view tips for assessing storm damage and to register to receive updates on storm recovery. VISIT FLORIDA has activated the Expedia/VISIT FLORIDA Hotel Accommodation Web Portal to support evacuation orders and first responders. Visit www.expedia.com/florida to find available hotel rooms. Governor Rick Scott announced that VISIT FLORIDA has developed and launched an extensive new marketing campaign to highlight the Sunshine State. This multi-phased campaign includes more than $5.1 million to support the Panhandle following Hurricane Michael. As part of the campaign, VISIT FLORIDA has relaunched their Florida Now landing page to provide real time information from destinations across the state and encourage the continuation of bookings to Florida. VISIT FLORIDA is working with officials at the State Emergency Operations Center to enhance comfort and morale at shelters throughout the Florida Panhandle. Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) Executive Director Leon Biegalski announced extended due dates for corporate income tax filers impacted by Hurricane Michael following the recent declaration from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In addition, DOR Executive Director Biegalski issued an emergency order to extend certain filing due dates for Florida businesses located in counties impacted by Hurricane Michael. For more information, please visit http://floridarevenue.com/Pages/media.aspx. DOR has posted a webpage for customers regarding DOR-specific Hurricane Michael updates. To view the webpage, please visit http://floridarevenue.com/Pages/hurricanemichael.aspx. EDUCATION The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) issued an emergency order to extend the Best and Brightest scholarships’ deadlines as outlined below. The emergency order is posted HERE. The deadline provided in section 1012.731(4), F.S., for school district submission of information related to both the Best and Brightest Teacher and Principal Scholarship programs to the department has been extended to January 7, 2019; and The deadline provided in section 1012.731(5), F.S., for the department to disburse scholarship funds to each school district has been extended to March 1, 2019. FDOE issued guidance to school districts affected by Hurricane Michael regarding student services, including Homeless Student Identification, Immunization Verification, Educational Placement, Exceptional Student Education, and Student and Teacher Support. The guidance document is posted HERE. FDOE issued a memo to superintendents in impacted areas to provide additional flexibility related to student reporting. The memo is posted online HERE. FDOE, Florida Education Foundation and independent booksellers across the state have joined together to host Re-book to Re-build: Hurricane Relief Fundraiser. A portion of sale proceeds on November 3 and 4 at participating bookstores will fund grants that will enable schools impacted by Hurricane Michael to re-stock their libraries and classrooms. A list of participating book stores can be found HERE. FDOE coordinated with utility providers to restore power at schools, and all schools now have power. All but two Jackson County schools have internet connectivity (Malone High School and Marianna High School have damaged fibers, and repairs are ongoing). All Calhoun County schools have power, and all but one has phone and internet connectivity. Schools reopened Thursday, November 1. School schedules, contact information and other education-related information specific to Calhoun County is posted HERE. Bus service resumes November 1. Questions regarding transportation should be directed to the district office at 850-674-5927. Due to significant damage to the main building at Blountstown Elementary School (BES), all of the students have been relocated to other schools as follows: Prekindergarten and Kindergarten students will remain on the BES campus in the Pre-K wing and portables. Grades 1 & 2 will be housed at Blountstown High School. Grade 3 will be housed at the CARE building. Grades 4 & 5 will be housed at Blountstown Middle School. CARE students will be bused to and from Carr Elementary and Middle School each day. Ms. Reed’s class will be housed at Blountstown Middle School. Additional counselors will be available November 1, 2 and 5 to support students as needed. All Gulf County schools are open and in session. The district plans to begin full-day schedules on November 5. To accommodate the reopening of schools, Bay County has consolidated the three school shelters into one – Arnold High School. All Bay County schools have power and phone connectivity. The district is asking all families to complete a confidential online form to provide them with information about where their children were enrolled and whether they will now be attending a different school following the storm. On October 31, 2018, Bay County Schools provided a transportation update HERE. The following Bay County schools will reopen November 5, 2018: Hutchinson Beach Elementary School Northside Elementary School Mosley High School (split schedule with Merritt Brown Middle School) Oakland Terrace Elementary School Parker Elementary School (Patterson Elementary displaced students) Tommy Smith Elementary School West Bay Elementary School Patronis Elementary School Waller Elementary School New Horizons Learning Center Southport Elementary School Lynn Haven Elementary School Lucille Moore Elementary School Deer Point Elementary School Callaway Elementary School (Tyndall Elementary displaced students) The following schools will have split schedules beginning November 5: Mosley High School students will attend class from 7 a.m. – noon at Mosley High School. Merritt Brown Middle School students will attend class from 1 – 6 p.m. at Mosley High School. Mowat Middle School will reopen November 8. The start dates for the following schools are still to be determined: Arnold High School (at Surfside Middle School) Bay High School at (Jinks Middle School) Bozeman Elementary School Bozeman Middle School Bozeman High School Breakfast Point Elementary School Breakfast Point Middle School C.C. Washington Academy (at Rosenwald High School) Cedar Grove/Springfield Elementary School Cherry Street Elementary School Everitt Middle School at (Rutherford High School) Hiland Park Elementary School Jinks Middle School Margaret K. Lewis School Rosenwald High School Rutherford High School St. Andrew School Surfside Middle School The following charter schools have announced tentative reopening dates: Bay Haven Elementary/Middle School – Nov. 12 Central High School – Nov. 12 North Bay Haven Charter School – Nov. 5; in order to plan appropriately for students’ return, the school is asking parents to complete a survey outlining their needs. The survey is available HERE. Palm Bay Preparatory Academy – Nov. 12; in order to plan appropriately for students’ return, the school is asking parents to complete a survey HERE. Rising Leaders Academy- Nov. 5 · All Bay District Schools students will receive two free meals each day until January 7, 2019. · Haney Technical Center in Bay County will reopen Monday, November 5, and restart the following programs for current students at their regularly scheduled times: ABE/GED/ESOL Aviation- General, Airframe & Powerplant HVAC Electricity Massage Therapy (Building 2, Room 213) Practical Nursing (Building 2, Rooms 201, 204, 215) Welding Technology · Haney Technical Center in Bay County will restart the following programs for current students Tuesday, November 13: Computer Systems & Information Technology Digital Design Medical Administrative Specialist Administrative Office Specialist Marine Service Technologies Automotive Collision Automotive Service Gulf Coast State College will reopen November 5 at the following campuses: Panama City Campus, North Bay Campus and Gulf/Franklin Campus. The Tyndall Education Center remains closed. The college opened a phone line to address students’ questions in advance of the reopening. The number is 850-873-3514, and it will be staffed 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. through Friday, November 2. · FDOE will be posting up-to-date information regarding closures and meeting cancellations at www.fldoe.org/hurricaneinfo. INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES · At the direction of Governor Scott, Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier issued an Emergency Order suspending and activating certain insurance rules and statutes for the health, safety, and welfare of Florida's policyholders. Among other provisions, the Order provides: o An additional 90 days to policyholders to supply information to their insurance company o Prohibits insurance companies from canceling or non-renewing policies covering residential properties damaged by the hurricane for at least 90 days o Freezes efforts to increase rates on policyholders for 90 days. A copy of the Order can be found HERE. · OIR ordered property insurers to submit claims information from Hurricane Michael on a daily basis until Friday, November 2nd. Additional data calls will be scheduled. · Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier and CFO Jimmy Patronis conducted a conference call with representatives of various insurance companies that have policies in force within the regions forecasted to be impacted by Hurricane Michael to ensure those companies: o Have resources positioned and available to respond to consumers’ needs. o Assess damage and pay claims quickly. o Report any challenges or issues as quickly as possible. o Report claims to the OIR on time and in accordance with the reporting schedule. · OIR’s Incident Management Team remains fully activated. OIR team members will be actively working throughout the recovery phase with consumer advocates, industry stakeholders and entities licensed under OIR’s regulatory authority. · In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order 18-276 and 18-277, OIR has: o Notified all health insurers, managed care organizations and other health entities of their statutory obligation to allow for early prescription refills during a state of emergency. Health Insurers AHCA DOH FL Pharmacy Assoc. · Teams from OIR and CFO Patronis’ Office have traveled to various counties to assess insurance-related needs and facilitate resource deployments to impacted regions. Additional resource deployments will be announced in the near future. So far, teams have met with residents to assess needs in Wakulla, Franklin, Gulf, Washington, Leon, Jackson, Bay, Liberty and Holmes counties to assess needs: · The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Consumer Services has resources for consumers seeking assistance with the claims-filing process or to file insurance complaints HERE. · For information on financial services providers, see below: o For a list of Florida’s state-chartered financial institutions and their websites, click HERE. o Find your bank’s contact information, click HERE. o Find your credit union’s contact information, click HERE. o Find your mortgage servicer’s contact information, click HERE. If you don’t have your mortgage servicer’s information with you, you can search the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) or call toll-free at (888) 679-6377 to find the company that services your mortgage. o Visit the Florida Office of Financial Regulation’s Hurricane Michael resources HERE. VOLUNTEER EFFORTS Volunteer Florida is continuing to work with more than 9,763 registered volunteers to connect them with volunteer opportunities. Volunteer Florida’s 38 Florida Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) partners are still engaged in response and recovery activities. Thousands of tarps have been sent to emergency operations centers (EOCs) and logistical staging areas (LSAs) throughout the Florida Panhandle, and Volunteer Florida is coordinating with Florida VOAD partners to pick them up and help with tarping. Volunteer Florida is coordinating a team of 100+ AmeriCorps members from throughout the country, including an AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team (A-DRT) from Florida. Members are deployed to work sites in four counties, where they are assisting with debris cleanup and tree removal, tarping and roof repairs and mucking out and gutting of homes. Volunteer Florida’s partner, Crisis Cleanup, is coordinating voluntary organizations to respond to requests submitted by individuals, as not to duplicate efforts. To submit a request, individuals can call 800-451-1954. Volunteer Florida has joined the Rebuild 850 initiative, which promotes volunteerism and donations to the Florida Disaster Fund following Hurricane Michael. At Governor Scott’s direction, Volunteer Florida has activated the Florida Disaster Fund, the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster. In partnership with the public sector, private sector and other non-governmental organizations, the Florida Disaster Fund supports response and recovery activities. To donate, visit, www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text “DISASTER” to 20222 to make a one-time donation of $10. The Salvation Army has committed 23 mobile feeding units in Panama City Incident Command (serving Bay, Holmes and Washington Counites), 10 mobile feeding units in Apalachicola Incident Command (serving Franklin, Gulf and Liberty Counties) and 11 mobile feeding units in the Tallahassee Incident Command (serving Calhoun, Gadsden, Jackson, Leon and Wakulla Counties). The Salvation Army continues to partner with Operation BBQ Relief, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and Therapy Dogs International. As of November 3, The Salvation Army has provided 543,761 meals, 269,982 drinks, 376,705 snacks and 50,371 hours of service. Trained personnel have also provided emotional and spiritual care to 35,551 people. As of November 3, The Salvation Army has committed more than $5,343,683 in resources to Hurricane Michael relief efforts. Red Cross has approximately 800 relief workers in the affected counties. STATE EMERGENCY OPERATION CENTER/ CONTACTS The State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) contact number is 1-800-342-3557. The State Emergency Operations Center Media Line: 850-921-0217. Follow @FLSert or @FLGovScott on Twitter for live updates on Hurricane Michael. Visit http://www.floridadisaster.org/info to find information on shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes. El número de contacto de la Línea de Información de Asistencia Estatal (SAIL) es 1-800-342-3557. La línea de Prensa del Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia Estatal es: 850-921-0217 Siga a @FLSert o @FLGovScott en Twitter para obtener actualizaciones en vivo sobre el Huracán Michael. Visite http://www.floridadisaster.org/infopara encontrar información sobre refugios, cierres de carreteras y rutas de evacuación. Para español, busque el ícono de Google en la parte superior de la página, haga clic en el menú desplegable y seleccione español.
  5. According to officials with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Louisiana, about 11,000 volunteers from 5 southeastern states have made their way down to Florida to offer a helping hand in the past 4 weeks. It's all part of a program called Helping Hands, where volunteers pick up work orders to remove fallen trees, put tarps on damaged roofs and clean up debris from homes impacted by Hurricane Michael. Volunteers say it's been a challenging couple of weeks, but the hard work is worth the impact they're making on people in need. "When you're in it, when you're in the all day long, 9 hours, plus of getting at it, it's tough and challenging but at the end of the day when you see the love, the gratitude from the people that we're helping it just makes all the difference," Helping Hands Crew Chief Val Throckmorton said. The local Church of Jesus Christ has also donated food and supplies. If you're in need, head to Crystal Cottage on 7338 Highway 2301 in Bayou George.
  6. Hundreds of crews are in the area working to get things up and running again after Hurricane Michael. Comcast shared their focus this week is restoring services for customers in Lynn Haven and the west side of Panama City. Once those areas are complete, Comcast crews will be restoring service in the pretty bayou area east of 390.For WOW! representatives said their goal is to have the vast majority of services restored by the end of November. "Our network follows power, it trickles down the same poles or underground in the same areas, so as power in other areas were ripped out, torn down, catastrophic damage in other areas it materially impacted our network both fiber lines, coaxed lines, running into customer homes, running along the roads, and so those lines need to be rebuilt from scratch meaning run new," said Ed Sesi, WOW! vice president of field operations. WOW! said they will continue to work on restoring services in hard hit areas for several weeks.
  7. PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Gulf Power representatives said customers will notice a little extra change in their pocketbooks next year. The Florida Public Service Commission approved a measure to pass the power company's tax savings over to the consumer. This means monthly electricity bills will drop an average of $2.70 starting in January. Gulf Power Chairman, President and CEO Stan Connally said this will be the eighth time in ten years they've dropped prices. “Gulf Power, alongside the Office of Public Counsel and other groups reached an agreement that would bring the best short- and long-term value to our customers,” Connally said. “Beginning in January 2019, Gulf Power customers will see additional savings that will be reflected on their future energy bills. I’m excited that our prices will be the lowest they’ve been in five years.” Representatives also said the company continues to invest in the energy grid to offer a safe and reliable service to customers.
  8. BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Trick or treating in certain neighborhoods may be difficult and dangerous this year. Nails and other hazardous items are still laying in the street, so the Bay County Sheriff's Office highly encourages parents to consider taking their children to designated Halloween party locations instead of wandering the streets. Ruth Corley, the Bay County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer, said, "We would like to encourage families to enjoy the Halloween celebration as they always do, but we encourage them to go to the established parties and celebrations that are already taking place in the city." Some of the parties will be taking place in downtown Panama City, Lynn Haven's Sheffield Park, and Pier Park.
  9. Lenora and Nick Atkinson of Greenwood were expecting to deliver their third son on October 15 at Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan. But, when hurricane Michael came through, knocking much of the power offline, they decided to try and wait. "My doctor had asked, since we passed my due date, did I want to induce and I was like of course not, we don't have power," said Lenora Atkinson, mother. On the 21st, the Atkinson's electricity was turned back on, so they headed towards the hospital. "On the way there we realized that I wasn't going to be able to make it and luckily we came up on two state troopers who were just driving in front of us and we flagged them down," Lenora said. Unfortunately, these Florida Highway Patrol officers didn't know their way to the nearest hospital. They were only in town to help with hurricane relief. "They all held the flashlights and the door and yeah, my husband actually delivered the baby," Lenora said. Once paramedics arrived, the officers escorted the couple and their baby, Kroy Benson Atkinson, to Jackson Hospital where he got pictures with the men who assisted in his road side birth. "They gave us their address to send them pictures and stuff so obviously, hopefully we keep in touch with them and they can watch him grow," said Lenora. The couple said, though it wasn't the most ideal situation, they're grateful for how everything turned out. "We're very thankful that we obviously made it through the storm and that our house made it through the storm and we have a healthy baby who decided to wait," Lenora said.
  10. Mexico Beach was one of the hardest hit areas by Hurricane Michael. For those residents whose homes are still standing, they're clearing things out to eventually rebuild. Reporter Kim Shine, from our NBC sister station WNDU, talked to one family with Indiana ties who moved into their Mexico Beach house just 11 months ago. Brian Joseph is throwing pieces of his six-year-old son’s bed over their balcony. It’s moldy, and like many things here, it can’t be saved. “The house was holding up pretty well, but this whole thing came in and crashed into the wall there, and then we started losing more windows," Brian said. The Josephs are a retired military family. They left Mexico Beach before the storm and came back to parts of their roof, their walls, and their floor missing. Outside, their view has also changed to a clear, bittersweet sight of the beach. “Hopefully it’ll come back just newer and nicer, but still be Mexico Beach," Brian said. Outside the home, people driving by will see signs hanging from the home. Brian wrote them to inspire his neighbors, and encourage federal support. Brian and his wife Kristen’s sons Bryce, 10, and Brennan, 6, can’t go to school right now so they’re helping out too. “It’s just different when you come back home," Bryce said. But Bryce already knows this has left an indelible mark on their childhoods. “Cause when we left, we filled sandbags and bagged up the doors and then we came back and all our sandbags were gone and our house was destroyed," he said. Kristen, who’s originally from Evansville, said the family was just starting to build a nice routine. “Everyone’s working really hard and I’m grateful for that, but it’s going to be a long time coming before that’s all up and running again,” she said.
  11. LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Lynn Haven city leaders held a special meeting Tuesday and talked about Hurricane Michael recovery efforts including opening a trust fund. The trust fund was created to help residents with their recovery expenses. The city is looking to raise $40 million for the fund. "Once that money is in place, we will begin paying grants to our residents to pay the deductible on their insurance policy," said Lynn Haven Mayor Margo Anderson. According to Mayor Anderson, the city is making great progress with recovery efforts. She believes the trust fund will be a way to continue that progress. "It will give immediate relief to residents," said Anderson. "To receive a check to pay the deductible, most owe at least $5,000 on their home insurance, is a very vital thing right now." Anderson says they're seeking corporate donations but would still like for others to pitch in. All contributions are completely tax deductible. The city commission also ended its state of emergency. "It's been a little over two weeks and so felt like it was time to end our state of emergency and return power to the city manager and the commission," said Anderson. The city manager says they're still trying to restore phone service and WiFi. The commission decided not to charge residents utility fees until November 15th. Also, late fees and disconnect fees will not be charged until 2019.
  12. The West Coast really is the best coast — especially when it comes to real estate priced in the nine-figure range. In the Bel Air enclave of Los Angeles, the 10-plus-acre estate of late billionaire A. Jerrold Perenchio — who died in 2017 at 86, and was at one time the chairman and CEO of Spanish-language network Univision — has hit the market for a sky-high $245 million. Not only does that mighty price make it the most expensive home for sale in the City of Angels, but it also makes the property take the crown for the priciest home for sale in America, according to the Los Angeles Times. Last year, the Times notes, Perenchio’s estate — which he had owned since 1986 — was quietly shopped off-market for a nine-figure asking price. Should Perenchio’s former pad sell for its asking price, or even for half off, it would also crush the sales record for Los Angeles County. Now on the open market, this property joins nearly 10 LA homes that have listed in recent years for over $100 million. One of them, just a minute away by car, is luxury developer Bruce Makowsky’s 38,000-square-foot spec home, which asks $188 million. That new-construction mansion originally hit the market in 2017 for $250 million, as The Post reported, which made it the nation’s priciest at the time. Should Perenchio’s former pad sell for its asking price, or even for half off, it would also crush the sales record for Los Angeles County. That’s now held by natural gas billionaire Michael Smith, who bought a Malibu beach house for $110 million in April from Hard Rock Cafe founder Peter Morton. Fans of “The Beverly Hillbillies” may recognize Perenchio’s main residence, which appeared in the credits of the popular sitcom. The sprawling, 25,000-square-foot, Sumner Spaulding-designed mansion dates to the 1930s, when it was built for Lynn Atkinson, a civil engineer. Since renovated and restored by designer Henri Samuel, the French neoclassical-style property features a paneled dining room, a 12,000-bottle wine cellar and formal rooms. The sprawling, 25,000-square-foot, Sumner Spaulding-designed mansion dates to the 1930s. Named Chartwell, the estate’s grounds additionally boast lawns, gardens within hedged walls and specimen trees. There’s also a five-bedroom guest house, a 75-foot pool with a pool house, a tennis court and covered parking with space for 40 cars. The listing is being marketed by Drew Fenton, Gary Gold and Jeff Hyland of Hilton & Hyland; Drew and Susan Gitlin of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties; and Joyce Rey, Jade Mills and Alexandra Allen of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury.
  13. A high school principal in Ontario, Canada has apologized for making a comment to female students saying their outfits put “every male in this building in an awkward situation.” St. Theresa’s Catholic High School principal Bern Tate and vice principal Megan Clarke came under fire for their comments when they entered a 12th-grade classroom and asked all the female students to stand up for a skirt-length check. According to CTV News Barrie, one of the student’s recorded the incident. In the recording, Tate allegedly can be heard commenting on a student’s skirt. “It’s like the #MeToo movement. You’re putting every male in this building in an awkward situation," the recording reportedly said. Student Hannah Arbour told the news station she was “caught off guard by the comments.” “And then [Tate] was like, ‘We get it, legs are pretty,’” another student said, Yahoo Lifestyle reports, “We were like, uh, that’s uncomfortable. We’re underage females in a Catholic school — why is that comment being made by someone of authority?” TEENS PROTESTING HIGH SCHOOL DRESS CODE FIGHT FOR RIGHT TO GO BRALESS, WEAR SHORTER SHORTS Parent Kim Mason was concerned about the language used in the comment. To CTV she said, “Talk about the skirts, tell them what to wear, but do not mention #metoo in that same context. They’re really implying that these girls are asking for it by showing their legs.” Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment, but told Yahoo Lifestyle in a statement that the administrators involved have apologized to all of the students at the school. “The administrators have openly acknowledged they made mistakes in how they dealt with their uniform concerns and they have apologized to all of the students in the classroom,” read a statement sent to Yahoo Lifestyle from Brian Beal, director of education at the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board. “It was never the principal’s intention to make anyone feel uncomfortable, and he is working to resolve any issues that students and parents have. As a board, we are all committed to learning and growing from this situation. Moving forward, we will be asking our principals to initiate discussions and review their current dress code practices, which will include consultation with parents. This situation will certainly be a starting point for conversations in each of our respective school communities.”
  14. Florida authorities have linked six more deaths to Hurricane Michael, raising the state's death toll to 35. The storm's overall death toll now stands at 45, with 10 deaths in other states. Florida Emergency Management Division spokesman Alberto Moscoso said in an email Saturday that two more deaths were confirmed in hard-hit coastal Bay County, raising the total there to 21. Florida's latest update also raises the toll in Jackson County to three deaths, and it adds three deaths in Washington County. Gulf County had three deaths, Gadsden County had two deaths, and Clay, Liberty and Calhoun counties each had one death. State emergency management officials tally storm-related deaths from rulings from district medical examiners. Michael slammed Florida's Panhandle on Oct. 10, and also affected Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.
  15. The City of San Jose has announced a new program to help the city with the unsightly problem of litter and trash in the streets. In an effort to lower the percentage of homeless people, the city created the “Beautify San Jose Program.” The program will provide jobs for the homeless, which will require them to pick up the trash around the city. San Jose identified the main 40 trash spots points in the city and created a route for the workers to follow. Beginning in November, 25 participants will work four to five hours a day for $15 an hour, which is above the city’s minimum wage. The partnership between Goodwill and Downtown Streets was announced by Mayor Sam Liccardo. Much of the trash and junk on the streets and along creeks is usually generated by homeless camps, which is why officials decided to offer the homeless the opportunity to be part of the solution. The city believes workers who clear debris from the area can talk with other residents of nearby encampments, and encourage them to help keep the city clean. The litter hot spots identified stretch through the city, from Senter Road near Capitol Expressway to Willow Street under Highway 87 and Mabury Road near Interstate 680. City officials hope this program is a way for homeless people to transition to a career path and live off the streets and into self-sufficiency. Many have hopes this program will create a supportive environment to help homeless transition back to work. As for the funding for the program? City Council approved funding for the project through a $200,000 litter abatement grand earlier this year. But hey, $15 an hour to pick up trash? Seems like a pretty good deal to me.