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The Point, Sept. 30, 2022: Hurricane Ian: The scale of devastation, statewide impacts and how you can help

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Hurricane Ian

• WUFT News: How to help Florida disaster victims. "(Gov. Ron) DeSantis said he doesn’t want people to focus on donating material goods. 'We don’t necessarily need people to send us stuff,' DeSantis said. 'What we need is to be able to help those relief organizations help those folks.' He encouraged the public to make monetary donations to enable organizations to distribute supplies they already have. 'Your financial contribution can make a world of difference,' he said. Within the last 24 hours, people have donated more than $2 million to Florida hurricane relief efforts, DeSantis said."

• WUFT News: DeSantis briefs the state on devastation, recovery efforts from Hurricane Ian. "There are 1.5 million power outages in seven Southwest Florida counties. DeSantis said that Charlotte and Lee counties are practically 'off the grid.' He said Charlotte and Lee counties will need to rebuild their infrastructure. There was major flooding in Cape Coral, Fort Myers and other surrounding areas."

• Tampa Bay Times: Hurricane Ian’s catastrophic toll includes at least 17 dead. "Officials reported at least 17 hurricane deaths Thursday. That number is expected to increase. With so much unaccountable and incalculable, the cataclysmic scenes in coastal towns across Southwest Florida told the story."

• WGCU-Fort Myers: Search, recovery, assessments begin day after Hurricane Ian wreaks havoc in Lee County. "(Lee County Manager Roger) DesJarlais said the county's infrastructure continues to be assessed. 'We know that the utility system's county-wide potable water and water treatment systems have failed,' he said."

• NPR News: Photos: This is what Florida looks like after Hurricane Ian. "Images of the aftermath show a glimpse of the destruction caused by the powerful Category 4 hurricane: homes washed out, boats yanked from their moorings, and decimated neighborhoods."

• New York Times ($): Map: Where Hurricane Ian Hit Florida Hardest. "Fort Myers Beach, a coastal city on a barrier island, was among the areas hardest hit, with storm surges nearly reaching the roofs of some houses."

• News4Jax: Downtown St. Augustine hit with deluge of rain and strong winds from Ian. "Downtown St. Augustine was feeling the full force of Tropical Storm Ian on Thursday afternoon as water breached the seawall and rushed into the historic city. The push of water started early Thursday morning, and by the afternoon, water had completely flooded A1A near the Bridge of Lions and pushed inland toward North Ponce De Leon Boulevard."

• FOX 35 Orlando: Hurricane Ian floods Kissimmee roads, neighborhoods. "The National Guard spent the day in Kissimmee rescuing people of all ages in different neighborhoods."

• Spectrum News: U.S. Coast Guard crew from Clearwater performs rescues in several locations. "The helicopter rescue crew was on standby in West Palm Beach when they were first dispatched to Fort Myers. A man's boat had run aground on top of mangroves. They rescued him, and the calls kept coming."

• WUFT News: Florida National Guard aids in Hurricane Ian response. "Among (the responding agencies) is the Florida National Guard, which announced Wednesday that it has 4,611 Guardsmen activated and ready to help with search and rescue operations, route clearance, aviation and law enforcement support, communication support and humanitarian support, including distributing food and water to those in need."

• NPR News: More than 2.5 million Florida students have missed school during Hurricane Ian. "At least 55 of Florida's 67 public school districts closed for at least one day, according to the state's department of education, district websites and social media. The districts that remained open were largely in the state's panhandle."

• Florida Politics: ‘Hopefully everybody works together’: Charlie Crist talks post-Ian cooperation between Joe Biden, Gov. DeSantis. "Hurricane Ian’s devastation of the Florida peninsula put a pause on most partisan rhetoric, and Charlie Crist expects it to stay that way. Crist, interviewed Thursday on MSNBC, told host Hallie Jackson that he didn’t anticipate 'roadblocks to aid' (in Jackson’s phrasing) between President Joe Biden’s White House and Gov. Ron DeSantis."

• WFTS-Tampa Bay: What to do with sandbags after Hurricane Ian. "Officials say the sandbags should be either recycled or disposed of properly. Any sandbags which did not come into contact with floodwaters can be safely reused or stored. Homeowners can spread the sand on their lawns or landscape beds and either recycle the bag or place it in their garbage."

• WLRN-Miami: Researchers sound alarm about electric vehicles and hurricane evacuations. "...two years ago, the Florida Department of Agriculture issued a report sounding an alarm about what widespread implementation could mean for a mass evacuation scenario, along the lines of what Florida has seen this week with Hurricane Ian."

• Palm Beach Post: Florida Power & Light to use fleet of drones to assess Hurricane Ian damages across Southwest Florida. "State officials estimated that more than 2.5 million households in Florida were without power. Roughly 2 million of FPL's 5 million customers lost electricity during the storm, the company said."

• Fort Myers News-Press: That viral video during Hurricane Ian was real. But whether it showed a shark is debatable. "The video went viral when Brad Habuda from Fort Myers tweeted the video Wednesday afternoon. The video has received nearly 13 million views, despite many on the platform questioning the legitimacy of the video. In 2017, a fake photo of a shark swimming on a highway in Houston, Texas went viral before it was proven to be a hoax."

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Today's non-Ian stories

• WUFT News: What an internal investigation revealed about Gainesville police misconduct after Terrell Bradley’s arrest, and what’s next. "Misconduct allegations were sustained against five Gainesville police officers. Some community members say the punishments assigned won’t change a problematic culture."

• WFSU-Tallahassee: Florida gas prices set to drop for the month of October. "Prices at the pump for Florida motorists should go down Saturday as part of a temporary gas-tax break, effective for the month of October."

• News Service of Florida: A Florida Supreme Court hearing involving Tallahassee police and Marsy's Law has been postponed. "Pointing to Hurricane Ian, the Florida Supreme Court postponed arguments that had been planned next week in three cases, including a high-profile dispute about a 2018 constitutional amendment known as 'Marsy’s Law.' Justices were scheduled to hear arguments in the cases Monday, but postponed them to Nov. 2 and Nov. 3."

From NPR News

• Climate: Climate change makes storms like Ian more common

• Weather: Ian will likely hit South Carolina as a hurricane, forecasters say

• Education: In a reversal, the Education Dept. is excluding many from student loan relief

• Politics: Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court justice, testifies before Jan. 6 panel

• World: Putin's plan to annex regions of Ukraine will likely make it harder to end the war

• Health: Zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 and monkeypox will become more common, experts say

• Health: They were turned away from urgent care. The reason? Their car insurance
Ethan Magoc curated today's edition of The Point.

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org