By Times staff writers, Associated Press
Published August 24, 2004
ART STOLEN IN STORM
An Orlando art gallery lost a bronze bust of the Virgin Mary in a smash-and-grab burglary at the height of Hurricane Charley.
Police are looking for the Vatican-commissioned Madonna Dela Pieta, which was based on Michelangelo's famed sculpture Pieta. It is worth $25,000 and was stolen from Inspiration Living Fine Art Gallery.
The gallery's alarm went off Aug. 13 at 9:35 p.m., police said. With Charley's winds topping 100 mph, the alarm was assumed to be false. The next morning a front window was found broken. The 65-pound bust and a smaller work worth $3,000 were missing.
DONORS STEP FORWARD
Donations for Hurricane Charley victims continued to pour in Monday from several sources:
The Lilly Endowment has given $10-million for Hurricane Charley victims, the largest relief amount it has distributed for a single cause since the Sept. 11 attacks. The endowment, based in Indianapolis, gave $5-million each to the Salvation Army and Red Cross.
Three organizations - Carnival Corp., the Miami-based cruise company; Publix Super Markets Charities; and the Starr Foundation - each is donating $1-million to various relief efforts.
On Monday, Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings said the state's Hurricane Charley Relief Fund had grown to about $2.8-million in pledges. That total included $500,000 from Carnival and $1-million from the Starr Foundation, which is associated with AIG Insurance Co.
NO RISE SEEN IN JUICE PRICES
Consumers likely won't see higher prices for orange juice as a result of Hurricane Charley, agriculture economists say.
That's because there's a large inventory of frozen orange juice concentrate and not-from-concentrate juice from last year's crop. A spokesman for Tropicana, which purchases about a third of Florida's orange crop, said it was too early to predict whether juice prices will rise.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman toured crop-damaged areas Monday and announced $5-million in USDA funds to buy baby food, formula and other food for hurricane victims.
As of Monday, 62,480 property claims and 11,871 auto claims had been filed with State Farm, according to company spokesman Fraser Engerman.
State officials said Monday night that 66,620 customers remained without electricity.
Progress Energy Florida said it has restored electricity to nearly all of the 502,000 customers who had lost power after Hurricane Charley. About 400 customers in hard-hit Lake Wales were expected to be among the last to be restored Monday night, Progress spokesman Aaron Perlut said.
Florida Power & Light of Juno Beach said it still had about 42,100 customers remaining without power, mostly in Charlotte and De Soto counties.
A volunteer reception center will open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this week at the Murdock Public Library, 18400 Murdock Circle, Port Charlotte. Employees from centers in Lee, Sarasota and Martin counties will match volunteers with opportunities that suit their skills. Call (941) 764-4130.
This report is based on information from Times staff writers Louis Hau, Marcus Franklin and Shannon Tan and the Associated Press.