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Hurricane Charley

Charlotte less grim, more grin

Published August 20, 2004

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PORT CHARLOTTE - Humor is making a comeback in Hurricane Charley's field of destruction.

Charlotte County Emergency Management Director Wayne Sallade, businesslike and serious in the days after Charley savaged his community, made a joke Thursday.

During a news conference, Sallade announced a bear had been seen in a Punta Gorda neighborhood. It was tranquilized and hauled away.

"He also was charged with violating curfew," said Sallade, referring to Charlotte's 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. outdoor ban. Reporters chuckled.

Some Charlotte residents could be heard Thursday kidding each other about the heat. Emergency officials smiled more frequently. Radio hosts lightened up their programming.

"It doesn't matter how bad it gets, you have to laugh at something," said local radio host Ken Lovejoy.

Some listeners have asked the five Clear Channel stations based in a Punta Gorda studio to take a break from broadcasting disaster relief information and start playing music again, said station manager Mike Moody.

"Humor is healing, no doubt about that," Moody said. "I just think it has to be tempered with the gravity of the situation."

Lovejoy also used the tranquilized bear as joke material.

"Sorry guys, that was me," he told listeners. "I forgot to shave my back."

[Last modified August 20, 2004, 01:50:35]

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