Tallahassee residents, businesses deal with the aftermath of Hermine

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By: Mariel Carbone
September 7, 2016

TALLAHASSEE Fla. (WCTV) — 4,200 people remain without power in Tallahassee as of Wednesday night.

Although that number is drastically down from when the storm initially hit, many residents on day six without power are feeling frustrated.

"I call the city every day, they tell me I’m on the list; that they're working hard on it,” said Veronique Simmons. “I thank them when I see them go by because I know they're working hard, but that doesn't help my situation."

Simmons is eight weeks pregnant. Aside from dealing with the heat, lack of power and no refrigeration, she worries about the financial effects of all this. She lost four days of work, plus has to put out money for meals because all of her food went bad during the storm; these are common woes for those still in the dark.

Other residents told Eyewitness News they are toughing it out and trying to stay positive.

"I'm hopeful that maybe today or tomorrow it'll be back. I mean, there's not much I can do,” said Courtney Fuentes Feehrer.

She said she worries mostly about her elderly neighbors living without power, but that the community has really come together to make sure everyone in her neighborhood is taken care of.

"[I'm] praying that, the next day, boom, we're going to get some power,” said resident Gene Pennock.

A tree fell on the power lines across from Pennock’s home, blocking the road. He said his neighbor cleared the part of the tree that once blocked the road, however the rest of it still lays on the power line.

But, it’s not just residents feeling the after effects of the storm. Many businesses are assessing damage still, too. The cost of cleanup is an extra burden for non-profits that rely mostly on donations to get by.

A tree tore through the Sickle Cell Foundation’s building, damaging the roof and flooding the inside.

"Our building is not habitable, our workers have been displaced,” said Velma Stevens, Executive Director of the foundation. “And so it's making it very hard for us to do what they need to do, because we're working out of various spots. But, in spite of everything that's going on we're going to push forward and continue to do our best in providing services that our clients so richly deserve."

Right now fans line the floor of the office, working to dry up the carpets. Stevens said it would be about two months before repairs are complete.

The organization has its annual 5K fundraiser Saturday. Capital City Runners is letting the foundation use it’s building for run registration.

Despite the damage to the office, the Sickle Cell Foundation does have electricity back.

This, as the city is reaching the one week point it said it would take for 100 percent power restoration in Tallahassee.

Rob McGarrah, General Manager for Electric said he’s proud of the dedication crews have shown.

"The folks we have in the organization have been working 16 hour days since Thursday. Most of them have not even been home to do anything but sleep. And they're giving 110 percent every day,” he said. “It is truly amazing to watch the dedication and commitment this team has to the citizens of Tallahassee."

That includes the mutual aid crews as well.

He said it would be hard to distinguish those crews from our own city crews in their commitment to getting power back on.

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