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Where are the Groveland Four pardons? Their story continues in silence

There is no pardon for the Groveland Four.

At least not yet, and possibly not in the foreseeable future, despite much celebration last spring that they deserved and should receive posthumous pardons.

The Groveland Four are the young, black men who were falsely accused of raping a white woman in rural Lake County in 1949. It was an infamous case that unraveled into a pile of racial hatred, apparent lies and reportedly manufactured evidence, all coming to light largely through the efforts of legendary NAACP attorney and future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. But the truth began to emerge too late to save any of them from the fates suffered by so many black men in the Jim Crow era. Two were killed in custody, and the other two were wrongly [the record now shows] convicted and imprisoned.

Their story, largely unknown or forgotten even in Florida, was spread internationally by Gilbert King’s best-selling book, Devil in the Grove, which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and awakened Florida’s conscience about the matter.

Last spring, in a passionate flurry that rivaled any call anywhere for belated justice, the Florida Legislature approved a resolution apologizing to the families of Walter Irvin, Charles Greenlee, Sam Shepherd, and Ernest Thomas and urging full pardons for Irvin and Greenlee, the only two who lived long enough to be convicted and imprisoned.

The resolution declared the quartet, “were the victims of gross injustices and that their abhorrent treatment by the criminal justice system is a shameful chapter in this state’s history.”

“This is Florida’s version of the Scotsboro Boys. This is our To Kill a Mockingbird,” state Sen. Gary Farmer declared after the resolution’s adoption. “We cannot change the hands of time. We cannot go back to this terrible event and undo it. But we can acknowledge our wrongs. And we can bring peace, and healing, and closure to the families who have suffered so long.”

Yet seven months after the Florida Legislature passed CS/HCR 631 by votes of 117-0 in the Florida House of Representatives and 36-0 in the Florida Senate, the request it contained for pardons has vanished into bureaucracy.

And no one wants to talk about it.

Several communications by Florida Politics to the office of Gov. Rick Scott last week resulted in no response, except a referral to the Florida Commission on Offender Review, which declined to comment on Greenlee or Irvin. Neither Farmer nor state Rep. Bobby DuBose, the Broward County Democrats who sponsored the resolutions in the Senate and House respectively, responded to requests to talk about the pardons either.

“I’m not aware of anything going on,” said former state Sen. Geraldine Thompson, the Orlando Democrat who first brought the Groveland Four to the Legislature’s attention in 2016, in a resolution that failed that Session, shortly before she left the Senate herself.

Also not aware of anything going on is Josh Venkataraman, the young activist who carried the matter back to the Florida Legislature this year, and who, as it turned out, wound up being the one who actually filed the request for pardons.

“They [Farmer, DuBose and others including House Speaker Richard Corcoran] did an incredible job of making this happen, and really bringing the passion to it. I just don’t know that they knew how to get this next step,” said Venkataraman, who now lives and works in New York City. “I think the passion is still there. I just don’t know if they have the answers. And, frankly, nobody does. As of this moment, the only thing I’ve been told is it’s a waiting process.”

Technically, it turned out, the Legislature demanding pardons was not the same thing as someone formally requesting pardons. That may have gone unrealized until weeks later. When he discovered there were no pardon requests on file from anyone, Venkataraman took it upon himself to write and file one in June.

At the suggestion of the office of Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who as a member of the Florida Cabinet will have a final vote on the pardons, Venkataraman also wrote what is called a “Request for Review” application and submitted it to Scott’s office. That’s the legal document that could get the case expedited, if Scott pursues the request. Venkataraman also submitted that in June.

And that, apparently, was the last anyone on the outside has heard of the pardons requested for Greenlee and Irvin.

Kelly Corder, director of communications for the Florida Commission on Offender Review, said law mandates that any specific pardon request remain confidential. She could not discuss it.

“Investigations are processed in the order in which they are received by the Office of Executive Clemency, and maintained in chronological order based upon the original application date,” Corder explained.

Think of the last scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, when the crate is wheeled into a stadium-sized warehouse and shoved into its appointed spot.

“As of November 1, 2017, there were 22,376 pending clemency cases,” Corder added.

The Florida Legislature didn’t just call for their full pardons last spring. In CS/HCR 631, lawmakers unanimously urged the “Governor and Cabinet to expedite review of the cases” toward those pardons.

Corder noted that “The [Florida] Commission [of Offender Review] cannot consider an application out of order without direction from a member of the Clemency Board,” which is the cabinet: Scott, Putnam, Attorney General Pam Bondi, and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.

Venkataraman filed his request for review with Scott, and said he has not heard back. Scott’s office did not respond to Florida Politics inquiry on whether he had accepted the request, or was considering it, or had any statement at all on the Groveland Four.

Irvin and Greenlee were released from prison in the 1960s. Irvin returned to Lake County in 1969 to attend a relative’s funeral, but never showed up. Eventually he was found dead in his car. Greenlee died in 2012.

Stephanie Murphy leads effort to get $1.2B to help schools accept Puerto Rican migrants

School districts and colleges in Florida and other states may be in line for some of $1.24 billion in federal support for taking in Puerto Rican children displaced by Hurricane Maria, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy announced Friday.

Murphy, a Democrat from Winter Park, has been leading the charge, which has included several other Florida Congress members and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, to get education dollars included in a $44 billion emergency funding request that the White House Office of Management and Budget submitted to Congress. The money was in there.

It will be available to school districts, colleges and universities to support their efforts to provide refugee schooling to the children among the estimated 160,000 Puerto Ricans who’ve fled to Florida and countless more to other states since Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September.

In Florida alone, more than 6,300 Puerto Rican children had enrolled in Florida schools by the end of last week. More than 1,300 enrolled in Osceola County and 2,400 in Orange County, leading to immediate crunches in many of those schools. More are on the way. State and local officials have projected as many as 300,000 Puerto Ricans may move to Florida before the end of the year.

“When disaster strikes anywhere in our nation, Congress has a duty to act swiftly to help those families affected,” Murphy said in a news release issued by her office. “I have been working with members of both parties to ensure that Florida and Puerto Rico receive the federal funding they need to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria. In particular, I’ve led the bipartisan effort to ensure schools in Florida who enroll students from Puerto Rico have sufficient resources to provide a great education to both their new and current students. Although I am concerned that the overall request of $44 billion is insufficient and I do not support OMB’s proposed offsets, I am pleased that the request includes this critical funding for students and families in central Florida.”

On Oct. 5, Murphy authored a letter to the House Appropriations Committee and OMB urging the to allocate school and college funding for the displaced students. The letter was co-signed by U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo, Darren Soto, Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, and Frederica Wilson from Florida and several more members of Congress from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. Nelson sent his own letter making a similar request on Tuesday, signed by five other senators. Murphy, Soto, Wilson, and Nelson are Democrats, Curbelo and Ros-Lehtinen are Republicans.

The signatories all come from states with large Puerto Rican populations that will likely be destinations for island families moving to the mainland in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Since the letter, Murphy has worked closely with OMB, her colleagues on the Appropriations Committee, and school districts in Florida in support of her bipartisan effort, her office said in the release.

Nelson was less enamored than Murphy with the OMB proposal.

“This request by the administration doesn’t come close to providing what is needed. People are hurting and they desperately need our help, yet this request has no money to provide housing for evacuees and barely any money for Florida’s citrus growers,” Nelson said in a news release from his office. “That’s unacceptable. Congress needs to pass a more robust disaster bill that actually provides the funding needed to help people recover.”

On Monday, Puerto Rico’s Gov. Ricardo Rosselló requested $94.4 billion for Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts alone. Likewise, earlier this month, Texas officials requested $61 billion for its recovery in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Florida has not yet requested a specific amount of additional funding, Nelson stated.

The next step is for Congress to consider OMB’s request, and Congress can—and likely will—provide funding beyond that requested by OMB, Murphy’s office said. This will be the third emergency appropriations bill that Congress approves, having already approved two bills in September and October. OMB has made clear there will be a fourth request for funding, intended to meet the significant long-term needs of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Personnel Note: Florida Chamber taps Orlando Health’s David Strong as Central Florida Chair

The Florida Chamber of Commerce announced Friday that it appointed Orlando Health CEO David Strong chair of the Central Florida Regional Board.

“David Strong is a highly experienced business leader that fully understands what it takes to lead Florida to a new and sustainable economy,” said Florida Chamber President Mark Wilson. “In his role as a Florida Chamber Regional Board Chair, Strong will help lead the Florida Chamber’s mission to secure Florida’s future.”

Bob Grammig, who chairs the Chamber’s board of directors and is a partner at lobbying firm Holland & Knight, picked Strong for the job.

In his new role, Strong will represent the Florida Chamber in the Central Florida business community and connect area business leaders with resources to help make the Central area—and Florida—more competitive.

“Serving as the Florida Chambers’ Central Florida Regional Board Chair is an exciting opportunity,” Strong said. “I am eager to unite Central Florida’s area business leaders behind the Florida Chambers’ pro-business initiatives.”

Strong has been the president and CEO of Orlando Health since mind-2015. Before joining the $2.8 billion health care network, he worked as the chief operating officer of UNC Health Care.

In addition to his work with the Chamber, he serves as a member of the CHRISTUS Health Audit and Finance & Strategy Committees, chairs CHRISTUS St. Vincent, and is a member of the Florida Hospital Association board of trustees.

Val Demings calls reported Stephen Bittel conduct ‘extremely inappropriate’

U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando denounced reported conduct by Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel Friday though stopped short of describing it as sexual harassment.

The former Orlando chief of police said she told Bittel that this morning.

“As a former law enforcement officer and a member of Congress, sexual harassment is an issue I take very seriously,” Demings said in a written statement. “While I do not believe the behavior (as described) rises to that level, I do believe the behavior was extremely inappropriate and a result of poor judgment. I shared my concerns with Chairman Bittel.”

Demings is the first member of Florida’s Congressional delegation to weigh in.

UPDATE: On Friday morning, Bittel announced he is resigning following reports that he created a hostile work environment for women by “belittling” them in front of male staffers and making suggestive remarks.

Teresa Jacobs not done with I-Drive, convention center plans

Don’t count Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs out quite yet, she told the International Drive Resort Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday, pledging to push ahead in her last year on long-term planning for the district and support for Orange County Convention Center expansion.

Jacobs, whose term limits expire at the end of 2018, was honored Thursday as “Visionary of the Year by the chamber at its 30th-anniversary celebratory luncheon at the convention center. The award came for her push, during her eight years, for a plan begun by her predecessor Mayor Rich Crotty to turn the I-Drive district into a second downtown area, and turned it into a plan focusing on the year 2040, with full sidewalks, street life and residences in addition to the towering hotels, attractions, restaurants and shops that cater to tourists.

“I’m not done yet by the way,” she said. “I have just over twelve months left to do and we’re going to get back to work in a minute.”

That may start with a push for the next major expansion of the convention center, already the second-largest in the country. The I-Drive chamber, the convention center board and others have pushed for a $500 million, 800,000-square-foot expansion that likely will be the next big controversy in Orange County politics.

“The convention center has been such an important priority. We have too many jobs, we have too much economic impact relying upon our convention center, and you have invested too much in I-Drive,” Jacobs said. “And the convention center is really the heart of this area.”

She did not explicitly commit to the expansion, but added that in the next 12 months there was a lot of work to be done.

Chamber President Maria Triscari and Chairman John Stine described dramatic growth and change in the 11-mile corridor that started as a hotel and restaurant strip between SeaWorld and Universal Orlando and then grew into a tourism destination area all its own. Today it has 125 hotels and 4,500 hotel rooms, 40 percent of the rooms in the Orlando market, 350 restaurants, and 900 retail outlets, and 23 attractions of its own, from the Fun Spot America amusement park to the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye 400-foot-tall ferris wheel.

“The transformation of I-Drive in the last few years has made our destination fresh and exciting,” Triscari said. “It’s official, the International Drive resort area is a destination. And we’ve only just begun.”

Jacobs’ I-Drive 2040 Strategic Vision plan would build around the convention center, convention hotels, attractions and restaurants already there, with layers of commerce, retail, and housing.

It calls for more complex street grid systems with alleys, access streets, back streets and scores more intersections, urban plazas, public squares, and other downtown features to make it a more walkable community. Public transit also is emphasized.

The proposal covers 5.5 square miles, 3,500 acres, stretching southward from Carrier Drive, following International Drive to Central Florida Parkway, and Universal Boulevard to State Road 528.

 

New Orlando airport garage opens, first anchor to future terminal

A new parking garage with 1,600 spaces opens just after midnight early Friday morning at the Orlando International Airport, offering immediate relief for the airport’s parking crunch but also a glimpse of the future authorities hope will glisten starting in 2020.

The south parking garage and an automated people mover tram connecting it with the airport’s main terminal are the first anchors for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority’s $2 billion south terminal project they hope will mix planes, trains, trams, buses and automobiles in three or four years.

For now the garage sits 1.5 miles south of the airport’s terminal offering relief for parking garages at the terminal that fill to near capacity almost every day and reach capacity and have to be closed a couple times or more every week.

With the people mover, which reaches 42 mph, it’s only three minutes away, possibly less time than it takes to walk into the Orlando terminal from the existing parking garages. The new south garage also comes with remote baggage check-in working much like curbside baggage check counters at the main terminal. And the daily rate at the south garage is $15, two dollars less than the main garages at the terminal.

It comes just in time for the 2017 Thanksgiving traffic, followed quickly by the Christmas season, when Orlando International Airport pushes capacity on a daily basis and parking has often become a nightmare.

This year holiday traffic is running 9 percent ahead of last year, said Executive Director Phil Brown.

“We’ll have a busy season so we’ve tried to get prepared. We’re opening up tomorrow morning at 12:01 a.m.,” Brown said. “We’re happy about the garage because we know people suffering from lack of parking. That’s what we wanted to do was get this open. And it’s a pretty nice facility.”

The facility is more than a parking garage. The garage is linked to a large atrium area connecting the people mover stop, the planned south air terminal, and a massive “intermodal transportation facility:” a train station planned to be the Orlando stop for the All Aboard Florida trains being planned to link Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando.

The garage and people mover station, with the atrium, cost $426 million, which were bonded out and will be paid down with a combination of parking fees and airline passenger facility charges that show up on tickets as local surcharges. The train station cost $211 million, paid in part by state and federal dollars, had initially been envisioned to take three different trains, including an extension of Orlando’s SunRail commuter train and a light rail. But now only the All Aboard Florida train is expected. The south terminal, which will primarily handle international flights, is estimated to cost $2.2 billion.

The terminal is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2020.

 

John Morgan: Set your watch to first quarter of 2018

Orlando celebrity attorney John Morgan is always upfront about things he loves and hates, and the “loves” column includes the tease, while the “hates” column includes long campaigns, so it’s no surprise that Morgan’s been teasing a Democratic run for governor for a year, while making no commitments.

Watchers have been wondering as Morgan has toured the state speaking to Tiger Bay Clubs and elsewhere about his Democratic vision for Florida, and the state’s Democratic field has expanded with candidates not quite raising excitement: how long will this go on?

“I will decide in the first Q,” Morgan replied by email to such a question from FloridaPolitics.

That was a follow-up to a post he put on Facebook Wednesday, in which he set six months of campaigning as the optimum. The Democratic primary, featuring former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and Winter Park businessman Chris King is Aug. 28, 2018. Six months earlier would be Feb. 28, 2018.

“Sometimes less is more. People are sick of campaigns that go on forever with endless money grubbing,” Morgan posted. “Why do in 2 years what you can do in 6 months? The road goes on forever but the party never ends.”

Orange County approves medical marijuana dispensaries

Medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed anywhere in unincorporated Orange County that pharmacies might go, thanks to a unanimous vote Tuesday evening by the Orange County Commission.

After hearing scores of people testify in favor of allowing the dispensaries Tuesday and at a previous commission public hearing on Oct. 31, the board of commissioners decided that the 73 percent of Orange County voters who approved the statewide medical marijuana initiative last year can’t be wrong.

The vote came in part out of frustration as Mayor Teresa Jacobs and several of the six commissioners bemoaned the directive given them by the Florida Legislature last spring that they could either approve them without restrictions or ban them entirely. And they weren’t interested in banning them entirely, not after hearing from veterans suffering from PTSD, caregivers telling of loved ones needing something other than opioids, and assurances that the dispensaries look more like doctor’s offices than California pot shops.

Still, many of them said they must urge the Florida Legislature to give them more authority to limit where they might go. Currently, they can go in anywhere a pharmacy can be located, which includes all commercial districts, a few industrial districts, and a handful of planned developments. Jacobs suggested that the bans might wind up being ruled unconstitutional anyway, and said she wants the issue put on the county’s legislative to-do list for this Legislative Session.

With Tuesday’s approval, Orange County becomes the first in the immediate Central Florida area to allow the dispensaries. Lake County has banned them. Seminole and Osceola counties have temporary moratoriums and will take up the prospect of ban or allow later. And in Orange County, the cities of Winter Garden, Winter Park, Apopka, Windermere, Ocoee, and Oakland have banned dispensaries, while Edgewood, Maitland, Eatonville, and Belle Isle have moratoriums. Orlando has not, and it hosts the county’s first dispensary, located just north of downtown.

“There are very compelling reasons to do this,” said Commissioner Pete Clarke, who made the motion to allow them. “One is, it’s the law of the land, it’s the law of the state of Florida.”

He and the other commissioners had listened to several hours of testimony and almost all of it came from proponents. Much of the pro-effort had been organized by state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, an Orlando Democrat, who spoke at the Oct. 31 hearing, but was in Tallahassee for the Tuesday’s hearing and so sent an envoy with additional testimony.

“This is a major victory for cannabis patients in Orange County,” Smith said in a written statement afterwards. “As cities and counties across Florida are moving to ban dispensaries in their area, it’s good to see that our local efforts to mobilize cannabis patients and advocates actually made a difference. The public spoke out, and Orange County officials listened.”

Perhaps the most compelling argument for allowing the dispensaries came from Commissioner Jennifer Thompson, who said two years ago she watched her step-father go through fatal stage 4 colon cancer, and then her [now ex-] husband suffer a heart attack, on top of PTSD symptoms. Both of them would have benefitted from medical marijuana, she said, but instead her father-in-law went on opioids to control his end-of-life pain, while her husband went on a long list of drugs.

“I made up my mind on this two years ago,” Thompson said.

Even with the approval, there were concerns, mainly about the on/off choice the commissioners were forced to make. Commissioner Betsy VanderLey raised images of dispensaries popping up in Orlando’s tourist district, saying she had real concerns about “what that does to the family-friendly brand. There has to be some discussion about our ability to limit where it can be located.”

Clarke noted he grew up in the 1960s and ’70s and knew plenty of people who used marijuana, and said it destroyed some lives. But he said the only people he heard from who were opposed were hiding behind the Internet.

Commissioner Victoria Siplin said that for her it came down to numbers: those who voted in favor of Amendment 2 last year. She checked the vote in the precincts in her district.

“About 78 percent of my voters voted for the medical marijuana amendment,” she said. “I had one district that voted 100 percent for it. What the Legislature handed to us, it has issues. But besides that, I have to look at the numbers.”

Kamia Brown calls for ‘redoubled’ mental health efforts after school suicide

State Rep. Kamia Brown of Ocoee called Tuesday for the state to redouble efforts to provide mental health services for students after the apparent suicide of a student at Minneola High School in Lake County Tuesday morning.

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that a 17-year-old student named Seth Sutherland shot and killed himself in the school’s bus loop out front of the school during a fire drill. The paper quoted school officials as saying the boy was alone and the shooting was not witnessed.

“I want to extend my deepest condolences to the friends and family of Seth Sutherland, who we so tragically lost this morning. Our hearts are with you as we all mourn a life lost far too soon,” Brown stated in a release issued Tuesday afternoon.

Brown serves on the House Education Committee and the PreK-12 Appropriations and Quality subcommittees.

“As we learn more about the causes behind today’s incident, what is clear is that we must redouble our efforts to improve mental healthcare for students throughout Florida,” she added. “When we look at ways to improve our public school system, a renewed focus on providing the types of wrap-around services that could potentially prevent these types of tragedies is key. With teen suicide rates on the rise for the first time in two decades, there’s no time to waste in making the critical investments in our children they deserve.”

 

Central Florida officials ask Rick Scott for more coordination for Puerto Rico evacuees

The influx of Puerto Ricans evacuating their devastated homes in Puerto Rico are beginning to test the capacities of Central Florida and in particular Osceola County, and more state coordination is needed, a group of local officials told Gov. Rick Scott Monday.

Those officials, including Kissimmee Mayor Jose Alvarez, Osceola County Schools Superintendent Debra Pace, and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, told Scott during a roundtable meeting in Kissimmee Monday morning that they want to do all they can to help Puerto Ricans displace by Hurricane Maria but they expect to reach their limits, as Central Florida appears to be the first-choice of most of the more than 143,000 who’ve come to Florida already.

The problem is that evacuating people seek first to live with or near family they have stateside, and that means concentrated communities in South Florida, the Tampa Bay area, and the State Road 417 corridor through Seminole Orange and Osceola counties of Central Florida. While so far the vast majority of evacuees appear to be finding places to stay, mostly with families, officials are expecting an already-existant housing shortage to become a crisis. And certain schools already are crowding.

More than 6,300 children from Puerto Rico have enrolled in Florida schools since Hurricane Maria, following the pattern of their evacuee parents into communities that already have large Puerto Rican populations.

“We have 1,352 new students from Puerto Rico specifically from Hurricane Maria, and an additional 100 from the other storms,” Pace said.

That’s the equivalent of two full elementary schools of new students who arrived in a few weeks. And more are on the way, as some projections exceed 300,000 for the number of Puerto Ricans likely to relocate to Florida. Osceola schools already were peaking beyond projections before Hurricane Maria, Pace said.

“We’re welcoming them and doing all we can to serve them. But capacity is becoming a true issue: teacher needs, staffing to help support them,” Pace said. “And as you notice the conditions down there are not good, so the children are stressed. The families are stressed. It is really taking an emotional toll as well to educate them as well as to love them.”

The dilemma is created because the existing large communities of Puerto Ricans in Florida are where the evacuees are most likely to have family and friends who can offer them spare bedrooms, couches, and a few hot meals. But if they want to stay, and indications are most are expecting to stay, that’s a temporary situation that would last only a few months, and then the housing shortage and jobs pool will become bigger factors.

Housing is the next big challenge, Alvarez predicted. He made a couple of suggestions, including the placement of FEMA trailers, and the possibility of converting closed motels in the U.S. Highway 192 corridor into FEMA housing.

“We need to look at how we are going to get that resolved before that becomes a problem,” he said.

And the schools already are experiencing the imbalances, as Pace described.

“If they want to stay in Central Florida, which is a logical thing for them to want to do, even if we brought in housing, our schools may not be able to handle it,” Jacobs said. “So that’s why we’ve been looking to see if FEMA has a broader approach if we need it.”

Jacobs had written to Scott, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Florida Division of Emergency Management two weeks ago, along with the chairs of Osceola and Seminole counties, urging a meeting such as the one Monday be set up to examine how the federal, state and local authorities could plan long term and coordinate more closely to try avoid service capacity issues by overwhelmed areas, while other areas of the state might have plenty of housing, school capacity and jobs going untapped.

In addition to providing relief resources to the island of Puerto Rico, Scott has coordinated a number of efforts in Florida to assist evacuees, starting with the creation and opening of welcome centers at the Miami and Orlando international airports which have helped direct more than 26,000 evacuees and their families toward housing, food, transpiration, education, job placement, and other services, and, last week, directing the Florida Division of Emergency Management to activate the State Emergency Operations Center to Level 2, to better coordinate transitional housing.

“The biggest thing is to figure out how we go forward,” Scott said. “We’re going to continue to have housing, education, jobs, we’ll have all these issues.”

Jacobs said she heard what she hoped to hear.

“This addresses the need for a meeting, absolutely,” Jacobs said. “We were very pleased.”

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