Hurricane Irma

County officials in the Florida Keys are looking to get federal money to reimburse them for expenses related to Hurricane Irma. Monroe County officials traveled to Washington DC last week to meet with FEMA officials.

The county has submitted about $16 million in expenses for reimbursement.

So far, FEMA has approved about $3.9 million. Now the county is waiting for the state's Department of Emergency Management to sign off.

Frustration is growing among Florida citrus farmers awaiting the distribution of $2.36 billion in federal disaster-relief money for agriculture losses sustained in Hurricane Irma.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

When legislative budget chiefs agreed during negotiations to spend $1.5 million on a study about extending a toll road north to Georgia, they started to lock into Florida’s new budget some of the 78 recommendations a House select committee created in the wake of last year’s deadly hurricane season.

Also crossing the finish line as the annual legislative session ended Sunday was storm-related money for farm repairs, nursing homes to buy generators, affordable housing in Monroe County and to help students displaced from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The death toll from Hurricane Irma's catastrophic rampage across the Caribbean and the southeastern U.S. has risen to 44 fatalities directly caused by its strong winds and heavy rains, plus 85 fatalities indirectly linked to the storm, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Service

When Hurricane Irma crossed the Florida Keys six months ago, the Upper Keys village of Islamorada was 50 miles from the eye, which held the storm's strongest winds.

Florida seal
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

The state’s lawsuit against the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills continues with more hearings this week inside  a Broward County courtroom in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

The Rehab Center is fighting Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to keep its license and reopen after 12 people died in sweaty and stifling hot conditions three days after Hurricane Irma made landfall in South Florida. 

Matias Ocner / WLRN

The student survivors of the Parkland shooting might get a break from this year’s state exams.

The Florida Senate on Monday passed House Bill 7055, a controversial education bill that is a major priority of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, in a 20-17 vote. But first, the chamber amended the bill to include a little help for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students.

Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills
Charles Trainor Jr. Miami Herald / WLRN

Hurricane Irma may have slammed across South Florida almost six months ago, but some are still feeling the effects of the storm.  

 

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

The Florida Keys have been in an affordable housing crisis for years. It’s a simple matter of limited supply and very high demand. Then, in September, Hurricane Irma destroyed or caused major damage to thousands of homes — more than 7 percent of the homes in the Keys were destroyed or suffered major damage.

Cammy Clark / Monroe County

More than five months after Hurricane Irma crossed the Florida Keys, clean-up began of the canals that cut through much of the island chain.

Many canals, especially in the Lower Keys where the storm’s eye crossed, were full of debris including RVs, appliances and structural materials ripped from homes.

The county estimates that Irma left 100,000 cubic yards of debris in Keys canals and that removing it will cost between $15 million and $30 million.

Florida will get a one-time boost in tax money as residents across the state slowly rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane victims don’t have to repair their homes or find new places to live alone. Hurricane Irma survivors in Florida who are getting FEMA help have many federal and state resources available to further support their recovery.

Hollywood Hills Nursing Home Files Public Records Care

Feb 5, 2018
AP

A Broward County nursing home where residents died after Hurricane Irma has filed a public-records lawsuit alleging that the Florida Department of Health improperly refused to provide copies of death certificates from across the state.

The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills requested all death certificates from Sept. 9 through Sept. 16, with the request not including cause-of-death information, according to the lawsuit filed last week in Leon County circuit court.

Irma hit Florida on Sept. 10 and caused massive damage as it barreled up the state.

Health care in the U.S. Virgin Islands remains in a critical state, five months after Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria pummeled the region.

The only hospital on St. Thomas, the Schneider Regional Medical Center, serves some 55,000 residents between the islands of St. Thomas and St. John. Schneider's facilities suffered major structural damage, forcing a decrease in its range of services, mass transfers of its patients, staff departures and significant losses in revenue. Only about one-third of the beds are currently available for patient care.

Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills
Charles Trainor Jr. Miami Herald / WLRN

A pathologist with the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office testified for five hours. He saw the bodies and relived the autopsy reports in front of the courtroom. 

paramedic testified that he is haunted by the deaths. 

The Fire Rescue lieutenant said she believed the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills staff were "panicked" and "overwhelmed."

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