Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Buzz

on Florida Politics

Florida’s largest psychiatric hospital ‘entirely cut off’ by Hurricane Michael

The oldest and largest psychiatric hospital in Florida was left inaccessible as Hurricane Michael carved its path across the Panhandle, knocking out power and ripping buildings to shreds.

The storm's eyewall passed right over the town of Chattahoochee, leaving it and the hospital "entirely cut off," state emergency officials said Thursday. The hospital was not evacuated ahead of the storm.

Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee, which had about 975 residents and about 325 staff staying inside, was left with only emergency radios as a means to communicate with first responders.

The hospital had backup power and water systems that were activated before the hurricane hit, Department of Children and Families spokesman David Frady said Wednesday afternoon. Staff were "staying at the facility and are well stocked with emergency supplies," he said.

But by Thursday morning, rescue groups were dropping pallets of food and water to the facility via helicopter.

Frady said late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning there was a water main break. He said he thought it was unrelated to the storm. The facility still had enough water pressure, Frady said, but drinking water was dropped in as a precaution.

When he was asked when access to the area would be restored, Frady said he was unsure. He did say that the staff members who stayed in the facility during the storm had been relieved by other staff members.

Frady said the only structural damage to the facility that he had heard of was one broken window.

Nearly 40 percent of all state mental health patients live at the facility in rural Chattahoochee. Some of the patients are civilly committed, and others either have been ordered into treatment there by a criminal-court judge or are facing criminal charges.

According to state emergency officials, there was no security breach at the facility.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said that "Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee…was left with no way to communicate with first responders or the outside world." The hospital had emergency radios.

Comments
Records show FBI agents gave Andrew Gillum tickets to ‘Hamilton’ in 2016

Records show FBI agents gave Andrew Gillum tickets to ‘Hamilton’ in 2016

Undercover FBI agents paid for Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum's hotel room and his ticket to the Broadway musical Hamilton during a 2016 trip to New York City, according to a bombshell trove of records that raise new questions just two weeks be...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
TV ad wars intensify in Rick Scott-Bill Nelson Senate race

TV ad wars intensify in Rick Scott-Bill Nelson Senate race

Two weeks out, the TV advertising wars are intensifying in Florida's U.S. Senate race.The League of Conservation Voters and EDF Action Tuesday launched a $2.25 million air assault on Republican Gov. Rick Scott over the red tide crisis in the state.Th...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Poll: Andrew Gillum leads Ron DeSantis by 6 in Florida governor’s race

Poll: Andrew Gillum leads Ron DeSantis by 6 in Florida governor’s race

The most recent governor's race poll shows what every independent general election survey has shown: Andrew Gillum is winning.A newly released Quinnipiac poll of 1,161 likely voters in Florida shows the Democratic nominee, Gillum, ahea...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Hurricane Michael: 928 people still unaccounted for as battered Panhandle prepares for rain

Hurricane Michael: 928 people still unaccounted for as battered Panhandle prepares for rain

Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Michael thrashed the Florida Panhandle, 928 people are still unaccounted for, according to state emergency officials.Those people were informally reported missing to state and local officials, as well as the Red Cross...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Hurricane Michael unearthed a 19th century shipwreck on Dog Island

Hurricane Michael unearthed a 19th century shipwreck on Dog Island

Hurricane Michael carved through the Florida Panhandle with crushing force, reducing entire neighborhoods to flattened rubble and killing at least 27 people, according to state and local officials.But among the destruction is also a reemergence ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Steve Bannon tickets now going for zero dollars

Steve Bannon tickets now going for zero dollars

The Hillsborough County Republican Party's dinner with former Trump political adviser Steve Bannon is now free.Party vice chairman Jeff Lukens sent an email to members of the local party Monday saying, "The Trump Anniversary Dinner with Steve Bannon ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
What’s at stake in tonight’s Florida attorney general debate between Moody and Shaw

What’s at stake in tonight’s Florida attorney general debate between Moody and Shaw

The most important overlooked race in Florida – one that could alter the state's relationship with President Donald Trump and affect the Trump agenda – will see its only televised debate tonight.It's the attorney general's race, for an of...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Caldwell and NRA attack Fried two weeks before election day

Caldwell and NRA attack Fried two weeks before election day

Just two weeks before the midterm election, Republican candidate for agriculture commissioner Rep. Matt Caldwell released an attack advertisement, calling out opponent Nikki Fried for being a lobbyist.The ad, paid for by the Florida Republican Senato...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Parents of Parkland students get lesson in politics: ‘None of us knew how hard this would be’

Parents of Parkland students get lesson in politics: ‘None of us knew how hard this would be’

WASHINGTON — A political action committee launched by parents of Parkland students is scaling back its 2018 midterm plans in the wake of disappointing fund raising totals.The group, Families vs. Assault Rifles, was launched in May by Jeffr...
Updated: 9 hours ago
More than 1 million have voted; early voting surges in South Florida

More than 1 million have voted; early voting surges in South Florida

More than a million Florida voters have chosen a new governor, a full two weeks before Election Day.And the first day of early voting in the state's largest, Democratic-leaning counties suggests a much stronger turnout in 2018 than in 2014.In Miami-D...
Updated: 9 hours ago