Wednesday, June 20, 2018
News Roundup

Scramble to flee Hurricane Irma underscores rich, poor divide

FORT LAUDERDALE — Hotel dishwasher Wilman Hernandez waited with his wife and young son at a Miami Beach bus stop, desperately looking for a way to get to a shelter where they could ride out Hurricane Irma.

Hernandez fears the storm will destroy their first-floor apartment. With no car to join the bumper-to-bumper traffic heading north and no supplies other than water, their options, like those of many low-income Florida residents, were limited.

"I have been calling 311 to get information about shelters that are available and no one answers the phone," Hernandez said. "I need to take my family off the beach and to safety."

The scramble to flee from the path of Irma has been a much different experience for those in different income brackets.

In the upscale coastal community of Rio Vista, where multimillion-dollar homes sit on elegant tree lined streets, many residents had secured their boats, spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on supplies or joined the bumper-to-bumper traffic heading north.

Teddy Morse, a Florida native and owner of a car dealership, spent about $7,500 on two generators, 50 gallons of water, 67 gallons of gas, non-perishable foods and other items. He chartered a plane and sent his wife and two young children to Alabama to stay with family, while he stayed behind to check on his businesses and employees.

"You try to do whatever you can to protect your family … I wish everybody had the ability to take care of their families the way they want to," said Morse, who was allowing his employees to fill their tanks at the dealership, leave their own cars in the garage and store personal documents at the office.

About a mile away in Fort Lauderdale, 18-year-old Jayvontay John was asking strangers for information about which shelters might be open. He doesn't own a cellphone or computer and was having trouble getting basic information.

"It does worry me … that I'm not going to able to get to the shelter," he said. "I heard the hurricane is really, really bad."

In Miami, advocates for the homeless patrolled the streets Friday, picking up about 400 people and driving them to shelters voluntarily or under the threat of involuntary hospitalization.

"We were driving in the vans and we had people jumping out into the streets to stop us so we would pick them up … Those folks were coming out of the woodwork, they knew we were out there," said Ron Book, chairman of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust.

Deborah Rosenberg, an interior designer, said she bought extra supplies to help those who work in her posh Miami home, offering them food, water and help finding shelter.

But she and her daughters won't be there. They booked a private jet Thursday so they could ride out the storm in their New York apartment. Her husband, who works in the finance industry, joined them Friday. Rosenberg acknowledged feeling uncomfortable thinking about her friends and employees.

"It's a complete contrast," she said.

Comments

Hernando school officials set to discuss replacement, sever ties after firing Superintendent Lori Romano

BROOKSVILLE — With dust still settling from the Hernando County School Board’s close vote to fire Superintendent Lori Romano — and days before her time as head of the district runs out — school officials and community members seem to be already movin...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Passenger in Bayshore crash that killed mother and toddler pleads not guilty

Passenger in Bayshore crash that killed mother and toddler pleads not guilty

TAMPA — Tristan Herrin, a passenger in the speeding black Mustang that struck and killed a woman and her young daughter last month as they tried to cross Bayshore Boulevard, renewed his not guilty plea Wednesday to a misdemeanor street racing charge....
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Top 5 at noon: Berkeley prep revolts against graduate Kirstjen Nielsen; Lawsuit against St. Pete alleges racial motivations; and more

Top 5 at noon: Berkeley prep revolts against graduate Kirstjen Nielsen; Lawsuit against St. Pete alleges racial motivations; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.TAMPA’S BERKELEY PREP GRADS LEAD REVOLT AGAINST ONE OF THEIR OWN: KIRSTJEN NIELSENWhen Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen went on national television Monday and dismissed criticism o...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Clearwater’s Clegg Insurance Group buys Advanced Insurance Brokerage

Clearwater’s Clegg Insurance Group buys Advanced Insurance Brokerage

CLEARWATER - Clegg Insurance Group of Clearwater announced on Wednesday it has bought Brandon-based Advanced Insurance Brokerage.The merger creates a firm with more than 2,000 customers and more than $10 million in annual premiums. Terms were not dis...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida State will host Florida Gators to open this basketball season

Florida State will host Florida Gators to open this basketball season

For the first time in almost two decades, Florida and Florida State will open the men's basketball season against each other.The Seminoles will host UF on Nov. 6, both programs announced Wednesday morning. FSU has won four in a row in the series."Any...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox Sr. was watching the NFL draft 24 years ago when the phone rang. Buffalo coach Marv Levy was on the other line."Marv said they were taking me," said Knox Sr., a standout receiver at FSU.Soon after, Knox Sr. saw his name scroll across ESPN'...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Citizens considers hiking homeowners insurance rates about 8 percent

Citizens considers hiking homeowners insurance rates about 8 percent

Citizens Property Insurance Corp.’s is weighing another round of hefty rate hikes.Staffers with the state-run insurer of last resort have proposed raising the average rates for homeowners by 7.9 percent — just under the legislative cap of 10 percent ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A tight supply cuts into Tampa Bay homes sales while prices keep rising

A tight supply cuts into Tampa Bay homes sales while prices keep rising

Tampa Bay’s two largest counties showed anemic home sales in May as prices continued to rise due to a tight supply.In Pinellas, sales of single-family home plunged nearly 12 percent from the previous May, the second-worst showing in a year. Prices, t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Five guns taken in 30 reported break-ins of unlocked cars in Clearwater

Five guns taken in 30 reported break-ins of unlocked cars in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — Thieves have made off with at least five guns after breaking into unlocked vehicles in recent days, police said Wednesday morning.Over the past three days, a group of people have been breaking into unlocked vehicles across the city. Clea...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Safety Harbor is no safe haven from cyberbullying

Safety Harbor is no safe haven from cyberbullying

SAFETY HARBOR — Mayor Joe Ayoub put forth a resolution Monday evening asking the City Commission to condemn cyberbullying.The result? The meeting devolved into shouting and whispering from the crowd and people storming out of chambers.The mayor’s res...
Updated: 2 hours ago