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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Anna Maria residents picket for power
Taking it to the streets
Charlie Daniel, Carolyne Norwood, center, and Jean Cross take their plea for power to the streets Tuesday, picketing for help from their neighbors and the City of Anna Maria to have power restored to elderly neighbors in their Holly Road-Iris, Rose streets neighborhood. Islander Photo: Bonner Joy

Anna Maria resident Charlie Daniel is mad as hell, and he's not going to take it anymore.

It's not that he doesn't have power restored yet in his neighborhood, but his elderly neighbors are suffering, he said, and no one will help.

"I was told this morning that Florida Power & Light won't be able to give us a time for when they will restore power, and it's going to be brutal today for some of the elderly folks up here."

Daniel said he called the Red Cross for help for his neighbors and was told, "sorry," but that with the shelters all closed, there's nothing they could do.

He called the Manatee County Emergency Operations Center and, he said, "it's closed. They've all gone home to their air conditioning."

Daniel and some of his friends from the Holly Road-Iris, Rose streets neighborhood, of which there are about 50 homes without power, took their complaint to the streets - choosing to picket the city for relief, for a shelter for the elderly and for the city to urge FPL for attention.

Daniel called Mayor SueLynn, who told him she'd work on the problem.

She then learned that FPL can't restore power to that area until its contracted tree service can remove some downed limbs.

She has been in contact with FPL's area supervisor, Don Sayer, offering to remove debris, cut trees and to free the power lines for the FPL crews. SueLynn said she was told that even if that occurs, Sayer wouldn't say when they could restore power for certain.

The mayor confirmed she had obtained approval to provide a daytime shelter for those needing it at Roser Memorial Community Church, and that city public works staff would be going door to door to let residents know their alternatives and offering water and ice if needed. She also said Roser Church had agreed to provide transportation for the elderly to and from the church.

She had not yet worked out a night shelter, but she said she would continue working to resolve the problems for all the residents of Anna Maria.