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Florida Panhandle

When Hurricane Michael struck the Panhandle of Florida last October, Keith and Susan Koppelman were huddled in the bathroom of their small, two-bedroom rental trailer just north of Panama City.

"When the winds came we both started praying," says Keith, 49. "I thought, 'Oh my God, this is a big storm.' "

After four hours, they finally emerged to survey the damage. The storm's 160-mile-per-hour winds had torn off the porch and peeled away the trailer's tin siding.

School Leaders Face Hurricane, Security Issues

Jan 17, 2019

With the annual legislative session nearing, lawmakers and education leaders likely will have to grapple with the fallout of Hurricane Michael on Northwest Florida school districts and continued questions about how to bolster school safety throughout the state.

The Florida Supreme Court said the panhandle needs two more circuit court judges. The recommendation is included in the court’s latest review of the judiciary’s workload.

A hospital on Florida's Panhandle says it will lay off 800 employees — nearly half its staff — because it suffered such serious damage from Hurricane Michael.

Panhandle schools hit hard by Hurricane Michael are re-opening, and many students are experiencing a “new normal” as they return. Some districts are having to get creative to get all students in the classroom.

Hurricane Michael left a devastated Panhandle to pick up the pieces. Industries like timber and agriculture are struggling to rebuild. And another community is asking for help: beekeepers.

Electric Bills Suspended For Hurricane Victims

Oct 31, 2018

State regulators moved quickly Tuesday to approve the suspension of monthly electric bills for customers of two utilities in areas hit hard by Hurricane Michael. 

Two U.S. senators and three congressmen are asking federal officials to bring recreational vehicles and mobile homes to the Florida Panhandle to help residents who lost their homes to Hurricane Michael.

As Bay County Supervisor of Elections Mark Andersen walks around the second floor of his office in Panama City, Fla., he points up at a makeshift ceiling of tarp and plywood.

"From that wall right there, all the way over, all the wood there, that all just got put on," he says.

Andersen is the supervisor of elections for Bay County, Fla., the county most ravaged earlier this month by Hurricane Michael. Andersen was in the elections office two weeks ago, one floor below this spot, when 130-mile-an-hour winds ripped off the building's roof.

Already sick with strep throat and asthma, Aleeah Racette got sicker when she cleaned out a soggy, moldy home after Hurricane Michael, so she sought help at the hospital where she began life. She was stunned by what she saw there.

Healthy Kids Premiums Waived In 12 Counties

Oct 19, 2018

The Florida Healthy Kids Corp. Board of Directors on Thursday approved a plan to waive children’s health-insurance premiums for three months in counties that sustained heavy damage in Hurricane Michael. 

Healthy Kids Could Waive Premiums In Hard-hit Areas

Oct 18, 2018

The Florida Healthy Kids Corp. Board of Directors is expected Thursday to consider waiving children’s health-insurance premiums for three months in a dozen counties slammed last week by Hurricane Michael.