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315 West Main St.
P.O. Box 7800
Tavares, Florida 32778


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Feb. 19 update from the Lake County EOC

RELEASE DATE: February 19, 2007

TAVARES - The following information is an update (new information in bold text) from the Lake County Emergency Operations Center (EOC):

• Bus transportation for affected residents at the Lady Lake Disaster Recovery Center will be discontinued as of today. Future requests for bus transportation can be made by calling the Lake County Citizens Information Line at (352) 343-9732. Bus transportation from the Lake Mack Community Center, located at 31039 Lake Mack Road, to social services needs will continue tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• The Lake County Volunteer Center base camp, under the title “Operation: Groundhog Heroes,” opened Sunday, Feb. 11, at 33926 County Road 473 in Leesburg. For the safety of volunteers and residents, potential volunteers and current volunteers working in the disaster areas are encouraged to register through this center. For more information about “Operation: Groundhog Heroes,” call the Lake County Citizens Information Line at (352) 343-9732. The center is open for registration from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. As of yesterday, the center has registered 333 volunteers.

• The YMCA of Tavares graciously offered today one-month memberships to out-of-state volunteers working to help out the impacted communities. Additional recreational opportunities are needed for the volunteers at “Operation: Groundhog Heroes.” Any business wanting to make a donation of this sort is encouraged to call the Lake County Citizens Information Line at (352) 343-9732.

• Residents are encouraged to first contact their home insurance company before seeking building permits or FEMA assistance. To apply for FEMA assistance, call 1-800-621-FEMA or log on to www.fema.gov. Four Disaster Recovery Centers are open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. These centers provide Lake County residents with an opportunity to meet face-to-face with recovery specialists, representatives from state and federal government and mental health counselors. The four centers Lake County residents can visit are located at: 38521 Lakeview Drive in Lady Lake; 1985 Laurel Manor Drive in The Villages (Sumter County); 31039 Lake Mack Road in the Lake Mack community; and 1669 N. Woodland Blvd. in DeLand (Volusia County).

• Business owners impacted by the Dec. 25 or Feb. 2 tornadoes can register locally with FEMA or directly with the Small Business Administration (SBA). They may be eligible to receive disaster assistance loans from the SBA. To register, call 1-800-621-FEMA or log on to www.fema.gov. To apply directly to the SBA, call 1-800-659-2955, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or log on to www.sba.gov.

• Teams of two Project Hope counselors are deployed on a daily basis from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at each Disaster Recovery Center in Lake County (38521 Lakeview Drive, Lady Lake, and 31039 Lake Mack Road). Services are free and there are also information sheets for identifying and dealing with feelings of stress.

• Nineteen FEMA trailers have been delivered and installed since Tuesday, Feb. 13. An additional six trailers are expected to be delivered and installed today and tomorrow.

• Current damage assessment for Lake County is $24.8 million in structural damage. Specific structural damage numbers include: unincorporated Lake County 206 damaged and 93 destroyed homes; and incorporated Lady Lake 163 damaged and 91 destroyed homes.

• The Salvation Army is providing social services for emergency financial assistance at the Leesburg office, located at 2105 W. Main St., Monday-Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (352) 365-0079. The Salvation Army also provides a free community breakfast at this location on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:30 a.m.

• All Lake County residents that need assistance getting storm-related debris to the roadside are encouraged to call 1-866-540-2325 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. Residents should make three separate piles: storm-related debris, plant debris and household trash. Please do not block mailboxes, driveways, storm drains or fire hydrants with debris. As of Sunday, 96,389 cubic yards of debris materials have been collected.

• As many as four brush fires have been reported in Lake County today and this past weekend. The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning due to fire weather danger. All County residents are discouraged from burning debris piles, building campfires or throwing lit cigarettes onto the ground. For additional safety tips regarding preventing brushfires, log on to www.lakecountyfl.gov, keyword: wildfire. 

• Lake and Sumter Emergency Recovery (LASER) is currently accepting monetary donations to assist in the long-term recovery efforts. Mail donations to Lake County BCC, check note: LASER, PO Box 1985, Lady Lake, FL 32158. LASER was incorporated as a not-for-profit, organization in March 2005 and strives to coordinate recovery efforts after a disaster. For more information, call the Lake County Citizens Information Line at (352) 343-9732.

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Lake County media contact:
Communications Department
Public Information Coordinator
Office: 352-343-9603; Cell: 352-455-0445
klafollette@lakecountyfl.gov

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