Everyone hears the basics, like 'fill up your gas tank' or 'get cash from the ATM'. Here are some very effective, yet less conventional ways to prepare for a hurricane:
1. Download Zello: It's the free mobile app that let's you use your phone as a walkie-talkie. Remember those? You'll need wifi or 4G service.
Hand sanitizer: If you have no running water, it’s the best way to wash your hands. Keep one in the kitchen and in every bathroom.
Gasoline additive: When filling up gas cans for generators, be sure to include the necessary additive so the gas doesn’t go bad. Yes, gas goes bad in gas cans.
Shutterbug: Take lots of photos of the interior and exterior of your home. Then upload onto your cloud storage for safe keeping.
Crackers: When the bread aisle is empty, sprint for the Triscuits.
Peanut butter & jerky: Forget the jelly. Non-perishable proteins are hard to find. Grab a few, but no need to eat them together.
Cold brew coffee: When the power is out, it’s the easiest way to enjoy a perfect cup of joe in the morning. Big bottles are usually available at your local grocery store.
Baby wipes: These aren't just for babies. Imagine no running water, no A/C and 90+ degrees outside. Need we say more?
Frozen jugs: Fill empty jugs, Tupperware containers or Ziplock bags with tap water to store in freezer. They can double as ice packs and then become your drinking water. Be sure to leave space in the containers for expansion in the freezer.
Paper plates & cups: If you lose running water, these are essential to bypass the pile up of dirty dishes.
Laundry: You know those 5 loads of laundry piling up? Now is the time.
Clean bathrooms: Mold grows quickly when there’s no A/C. Ewww.
Dishwasher: Be sure to run it before you lose power.
Pet food: Fido won’t forgive you if his food runs out.
Veggies: Easy source of non-perishable veggies are those cute little cans of low-sodium V-8 or equivalent.
Chainsaw: Make sure you have fuel. If you don’’t have a chainsaw, quickly make friends with someone who does and keep their phone number handy.
Battery-operated candles: Put these lights in the bathrooms, on nightstands and everywhere else to remove the risk of fire.
External batteries: Can’t image you’ll forget, but remember to charge all of your external phone batteries.
Alerts: Sign up for your county’s & city’s emergency push-alerts to be texted to your phone. That way when power is out, you’re still in the loop.
Be kind: If you have plenty of something, share with those who were in the back of the water and bread lines. Kindness always matters.
Attorney General Pam Bondi today activated Florida’s price gouging hotline for consumers in multiple Florida counties. The opening of the hotline comes as Governor Rick Scott declares a state of emergency in 31 counties in preparation for Tropical Storm Emily. Florida’s price gouging law only applies within the area of the declared state of emergency.
State law prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities, such as food, water, hotels, ice, gasoline, lumber and equipment, needed as a direct result of an officially declared emergency. Anyone who suspects price gouging during this declared state of emergency should report it to the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1-866-9-NO-SCAM.
Violators of the price gouging statute are subject to civil penalties of $1,000 per violation and up to a total of $25,000 for multiple violations committed in a single 24-hour period. In addition to the civil penalties for price gouging, state law criminalizes the sale of goods and services to the public without possession of an occupational license. Violators of the law can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.
Specifically, Florida Statute 501.160 states that during a state of emergency, it is unlawful to sell, lease, offer to sell, or offer for lease essential commodities, dwelling units, or self-storage facilities for an amount that grossly exceeds the average price for that commodity during the 30 days before the declaration of the state of emergency, unless the seller can justify the price by showing increases in its prices or market trends. For more information on price gouging, please click here.
Mount Dora, the Central Florida city building a reputation for being art-friendly, will put that to a test in September.
The homeowners cited for graffiti after commissioning a local artist's interpretation of "Starry Night" on their wall have appealed the violation. The magistrate hearing is scheduled for September 14 at 9 a.m. at Mount Dora City Hall. The magistrate is contracted by the City.
When Richard Barrenechea was hired by the homeowners to create the artwork, he had no idea a storm would brew in the town that hosts an annual art festival ranked seventh in the nation.
Before beginning the mural, the homeowner, who wished not to have their names published, sought permission from the City of Mount Dora Planning Department and were told no permission was needed to create a painting on the wall.
ABOVE: The homeowner immediately removed the artist's wooden stake sign to comply with a signage violation also on the notice.
After a forty-foot section was nearly complete and received praise on social media, the homeowner was cited by Mount Dora Police Department’s code enforcement officer on July 26.
The Notice of Violation was for graffiti, as well as signage due to a wooden sign the artist had temporarily staked near the wall. The officer reportedly was unaware of the iconic painting in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, so one of the homeowners advised her of its significance, but the citation was still issued.
The homeowners were unaware of the small sign staked outside the wall and called the code enforcement officer for clarification. Upon being advised of the illegal sign, they immediately complied by removing the sign. Days later, the City stated that the "Starry Night" mural was cited for both the graffiti and the signage violations. That statement directly contradicted their code enforcement officer's confirmation to homeowners that the signage violation was for the temporary wooden sign.
ABOVE: Another mural in a residential Mount Dora neighborhood has remained for years.
The city code (Section 22.960 b) pertains to “Maintenance Requirements” and reads “"The property shall be maintained free of graffiti or similar markings by removal or painting over with an exterior grade paint that matches the color of the exterior structure." The June 26 notice required the wall to be repainted by July 31. "I feel disappointed the city doesn't appreciate a painting of the iconic work of van Gogh as art. I hope this gets resolved positively," said Barrenechea.
The homeowners appealed the graffiti violation claiming that the City of Mount Dora first allowed the painting and later erroneously defined it as graffiti. Another nearby mural in another residential area has remained highly visible for years. For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here. Find out what's happening locally with just a tap on your phone by downloading the area's free mobile app. Monthly issues of Mount Dora Buzz are available here.
It started with a water tower. Then one woman’s vision became a passion for others.
Approximately 9 years ago, Mount Dora resident Doris Cole wrote to the city manager about converting an unused, city-owned lot into a neighborhood green space. At one time, the narrow lot sat beneath the city’s steel water tower. Cole received no response.
Fast forward to 2016 when Cole presented the idea to former Mount Dora City Councilman Ed Rowlett. Encouraged by his positive response, she joined forces with neighboring residents and the idea quickly picked up steam.
The transformation of the small lot into Serenity Park, the city’s newest pocket park located on 9th Avenue and Tremain Street, was spearheaded by Mount Dora resident Mary Miller and a team of 8 volunteers, each with his or her own talent. Roy Hughes, the City of Mount Dora’s Parks and Recreation Director, provided the group with the necessary assistance and guidance.
“Our goal was for this to be a quiet space for neighbors to meet. In addition, Serenity Park is adjacent to the Tremain Street Greenway. This park will also be an ideal respite for trail users,” said Miller.
The park will feature a mature oak tree, a curved cement path, benches, flower beds, two donated oak trees, a donated new bike stand, a book nook and a drinking fountain that includes wheelchair and pet level access plus a place for walkers and cyclists to refill their water bottles.
Hughes is hoping for a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony by the end of September.
Serenity Park site plan
A fundraising program that sells engraved bricks for installation along the park’s path is currently underway. For more information on the engraved bricks, ranging in price from $50 to $150, call or visit Mount Dora Community Trust located at 821 N. Donnelly St.
The residents secured a $3,500 grant from the Community Trust, and another grant application is pending. To date, the residents have raised $10,000 to transform the vacant lot into a park. With all of the group’s accomplishments, Miller said she is most proud of the city's overall support, including the Parks Department, Mount Dora Community Trust, the Serenity Park team members and everyone who has made contributions.
Residents that devoted time to the project included Linda Brockway, Peggy Cannaday, Doris Cole, Deanna Howell, Fadia Khader, Mary C. Miller, Darrin Peterman, Rick Santiago, Roy Hughes and his crew.