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Petition seeks more time to file Hurricane Matthew-related flood insurance claims

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A plaintiff’s attorney has launched a petition drive urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency to extend the deadline for homeowners to document proof of loss with the National Flood Insurance Program. Thomas Young, of the Law Office of Thomas Young in Tampa, wants the feds to extend the existing 60-day deadline by another 60 days — for a total 120. He posted his petition Monday at WhiteHouse.gov, saying FEMA often issues extensions, giving homeowners and small businesses more time to complete the paperwork. “As recently as…

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Hurricane: Many historic buildings in St. Augustine damaged

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St. Augustine’s iconic Spanish fortress escaped serious harm during Hurricane Matthew, but more than 1,000 historic homes and buildings in north Florida’s landmark colonial city were damaged by the storm, according to preservationists. Experts with the University of Florida said water flooded all seven of St. Augustine’s federally designated historic districts last month, damaging about half of all the 2,000 properties in those areas. Homes and businesses along the city’s waterfront were overwhelmed despite a $6.7 million seawall completed in…

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Marco Rubio to FEMA: Clean storm debris off private NE Florida roads

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In a Thursday letter to FEMA, Sen. Marco Rubio pressed the federal agency to clean hurricane debris off private roads in Northeast Florida. The letter notes that “counties have not been able to clean up hurricane debris on private roads due to impractical guidelines that threaten to revoke the counties’ eligibility for federal reimbursement.” The senator is “perplexed by the bureaucratic delay and unworkable guidelines required for debris collection on private roads,” adding that it is “neither efficient nor plausible to collect…

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Rick Scott wants feds to declare ‘major disaster’ in Florida after Matthew

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In St. Augustine Monday for an event promoting tourism in America’s oldest city, Gov. Rick Scott reiterated his call for the federal government to approve Florida’s entire request for a “major disaster declaration.” The federal government has not approved funding, asserts the governor’s office, “for individual assistance or for permanent work to roads, parks, and government buildings in local communities.” Scott, who has been pushing for such since Hurricane Matthew, is understandably nettled. “Since Hurricane Matthew impacted our state, I have continued…

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Obama wants to make sure people take storm threat seriously

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President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged residents of Florida and other states along the path of Hurricane Matthew to take the threat seriously. Government officials are worried about complacency, especially in South Florida, which hasn’t seen a major hurricane in 11 years. Obama said the hurricane will be building in strength as it makes its way to Florida. Even if states don’t see the full force of the hurricane, there is still the potential for devastating effects from tropical force…

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Obama briefed on federal hurricane preparations, S.C. town closes in preparation

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President Barack Obama is being briefed on the federal government’s preparation for Hurricane Matthew as the Category 3 storm makes its way to the U.S. mainland. The president says now is the time to “hope for the best but we want to prepare for the worst.” Obama is at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters. FEMA has deployed personnel to emergency operation centers in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. It’s also positioning commodities and other supplies at Fort…

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President Obama signs Florida disaster declaration

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It’s been a long time coming, but President Obama signed off Wednesday on declaring a major disaster exists in Florida, ordering federal aid to areas affected by Hurricane Hermine earlier this month. Obama’s actions now make federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Citrus, Dixie, Hernando, Leon, Levy, and Pasco. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from…

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