Elderly, disabled residents suffering without power at Hilliard complex

Elderly and disabled residents at a Hilliard apartment complex remain without power a week after Hurricane Irma knocked out electricity across Northeast Florida.

Officials at the Cantebury of Hilliard Apartments, which houses disabled, elderly and low-income residents, are trying to keep residents comfortable, but some said they can’t bear it any longer.

Several people were seen sitting outside Monday because they said it’s cooler than being inside with no air conditioning.

The complex had at least one generator running, but residents were growing increasingly impatient Monday as they waited for power to be restored. Florida Power & Light provides electricity to that part of Nassau County. An FPL representative told News4Jax that the apartment complex is on a line that has only been 20 percent restored, but the utility should have it back up and running tomorrow.

“It’s just hot, you know. It’s really frustrating,” resident Ronnie Wilson said. “I know there’s people that’s worse off than us, but you’ve still got a lot of elderly here, too. If it wasn’t for the landlord, some of them wouldn’t have ice, because everybody’s food has gone bad. Everybody.”

Wilson said he is battling a medical condition himself and is trying to be patient.

While some residents have left because they were unable to tolerate the rising temperatures, others had no choice but to stay.

“These old folks, they can’t stand this heat. It’s too much for them,” said Diana Harris, a friend of one of the residents. “Some of them don’t even have a place to go.”

Harris picked up her friend Monday to take her back to her house, which is in an area of town where power has already been restored.

“It hurts me to see all of these people like this,” Harris said. “They can’t cook. They can’t eat. They can’t take baths — some of them can’t. Some of them don’t even have friends.”

Crews from Texas could be seen working down the street from the complex on Monday.

“We’re on a fixed income, so it’s kind of tough,” Wilson said. “It really is.”

According to Nassau County Emergency Management, FPL reported Monday afternoon that power has been restored to 94 percent of its customers, with 1,290 homes still without electricity.

FPU and Okefenokee utilities, which serve other parts of Nassau County, reported 100 percent of customers had power restored.

To report a power outage, call 904-261-3663 for FPU, 1-800-468-8243 for FPL or 904-845-7477 for Okefenokee Rural Electric. Reports can also be made at www.FPL.com or www.oremc.com.

Stetson student from Clay County accused of posting threats

A freshman Stetson University student from Fleming Island was arrested in Clay County and charged with threatening other students with bombs and gas, according to DeLand Police Chief J.D. Umberger.

Police said police were called Sunday afternoon “specific and concerning” threats in an online forum were made toward people on campus. Police learned Griffin Powell was not on campus at the time of the threats, so they obtained an arrest warrant and he was arrested at his home on Sunday night.

“All I’ll say is about the nature of threats is they were specific and they were concerning to us. There was some references made to bombs and gas and they were very specific and we immediately took action,” Umberger said.

Another student saw the online threat and contacted campus safety officials, who in turn contacted the DeLand Police Department. Powell was arrested in his hometown in Clay County on Sunday, police said. He did not have bombs or bomb-making materials in his possession when he was arrested.

“Nobody was in danger on the campus,” Umberger said, adding that no specific individuals were named in the threat.

Griffin was charged with threating to throw/place/discharge a destructive device. He posted $20,000 bond and was released

DeLand police said Griffin has been banned from the Stetson campus.

St. Augustine disaster center helping with FEMA registration

Thousands of homeowners in Florida who suffered damage from Hurricane Irma have applied to the federal government for financial aid, and thousands more are in the process.

A disaster recovery center opened Monday at the St. Johns County Administration Building, with Federal Emergency Management staff and other relief officials to assist residents register for help. The center will remain open until 6 p.m.

From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, the same assistance will be available at the Prime Osborne Convention Center at 1000 Water Street, Jacksonville.

These centers, hosted by Sen. Marco Rubio, also features other government and community organizations, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and United Way. Some private insurance agents are also on hand to help those with private insurance.

People can apply for federal aid online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362.

FEMA aid: What’s it cover; how to apply

After you apply, a FEMA inspector will contact you to schedule an inspection. The inspection generally takes 30-40 minutes or less and consists of a general verification of your disaster-related losses and a review of ownership or residence records.

Once the inspection process is complete, your situation will be reviewed by FEMA. You will receive a letter by email or physical mail, depending on your preference, which that outlines the decision about your claim. For more information about the inspection process, and documentation you will need to provide the inspector, visit the FEMA Individual Assistance Inspection Process page.

All applications for aid must be received within 60 days of the disaster declaration.

Late last week, FEMA had received about 154,800 applications for assistance and had approved $21 million. Thousands more applications come in daily, a FEMA spokeswoman said.

The Small Business Administration offers low-interest disaster loans to eligible businesses and homeowners. As of last Thursday, it hadn’t approved any loans yet for Hurricane Irma.

The federal government can also provide large-scale assistance. Congress has already authorized $15 billion in disaster aid for Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Lawmakers are still weighing aid packages for Florida and Georgia to help cope with Irma.

Florida city commissioner uses bricks to save dog from alligator

A fishing guide and a Florida city commissioner saved a dog named Dixie from an alligator’s jaws while cleaning up after Hurricane Irma.

Bill Read said his neighbor’s dog got through some open gates and headed for the lake in his backyard on Tuesday.

The Tampa Bay Times reports Read saw a ripple. And then a gator.

The gator wrapped its jaws around the dog and rolled her underwater. A few seconds later, the dog emerged and when Read saw the gator, he chucked a rock at the reptile, hitting it on its side. It snapped at the rock and slowed, buying Dixie a few precious seconds. He hurled another brick at the gator as the dog swam to shore.

Dixie suffered two puncture wounds on her side, and scrapes.