News and notes

Published September 20, 2006

Time running out for some FEMA tenants

Halloween this year may pack an extra fright for approximately 1,200 Floridians still living in FEMA trailers. Oct. 31 is the new deadline for 2004 hurricane victims to find permanent housing. That's an extra five weeks, intended to help those still struggling, said Scott Morris, director of FEMA's long-term recovery in Florida. "With a hard look at the numbers, it is clear that everyone could use a little additional time to complete their plans," Morris said. FEMA provided more than 17,000 trailers to Floridians after the 2004 storms.

Cool spell will bring only a short respite

Relief from the heat is headed our way, but it won't last long. A strong cold front could bring temperatures in the 50s to traditional chilly spots like Brooksville and east Hillsborough, according to the National Weather Service in Ruskin. The rest of the area can expect mid to high 60s in the early morning. Daytime highs will still climb into the 80s and low 90s. Friday morning also may be chilly. If the forecast is right, it will be the first time since 2003 that the temperature in September has dipped into the 60s. By the weekend, it will be back to the heat.

Bell-to-bell teaching makes better readers

Countryside High principal Gerald Schlereth's philosophy can be summed up in three words: reading, reading, reading. His single-minded focus has paid off. In the three years since Schlereth took over, Countryside has raised its state grade from a D to a B, maintaining a B the past two years. So the Florida Department of Education honored Schlereth Tuesday as one of the state's 14 highest performing principals. He began with some fundamental discipline. "We needed stricter hallway controls to force kids back into class," Schlereth said. "Then teachers could teach from bell to bell."

Emergency exercises today at MacDill AFB

If you hear loud explosions and see smoke coming from MacDill Air Force Base today, don't panic. It's not a terrorist attack: It's just a drill. The 6th Air Mobility Wing will simulate a real-world emergency. Base gates and roadways may be closed briefly during the exercises.