Just a few weeks ago, dread plagued Florida. After watching Hurricane
Harvey wreak havoc on Texas, a new Category 5 hurricane — in many ways the biggest, the baddest the Atlantic has ever seen — was carving a 400-mile wide path towards the state.

Irma thrashed the Caribbean islands, flogged the Florida Keys and
would cause the largest, most insane evacuation in the state’s history. People
literally zigzagged like fire ants across Florida, trying to avoid the ever-changing
forecast while facing clogged roads and a drought of gas and hotel rooms.

At first Miami and the East Coast were in the cross-hairs. Then Irma continued
her westward track and threatened to buzz-saw the east coast. At that
point, the spaghetti models could only say with 100 percent accuracy: If you
live in Florida, you are going to get smacked.

Then, Irma turned toward the area prone to the most catastrophic damage
in America: Tampa Bay, where we live.

By then it was way too late to evacuate.
Trapped alongside the Interstate with no gas and a hurricane barreling towards us was not our idea of fun.

After numerous trips to the stores we found that plywood, D batteries, water,
bleach and canned tuna were nowhere to be found. Canned beans? In
abundant supply. Oreos? Yes! Unfortunately we did not properly ration them
and they were gone before Irma arrived.

Back in August, the Washington Post published a story saying that Tampa
Bay was ill-prepared for a major hurricane and that sea level rise would destroy
the area.

If a big one scores a direct hit, the damage would likely surpass Katrina,” wrote journalist Darryl Fears.

Then, sure enough, Anderson Cooper and his camera crew set-up shop on
Tampa’s Riverwalk. Everyone knows the Master of Disaster arrives only when devastation of Biblical proportions is expected. You might as well
get your ax and hang out in the attic and hope the high temperatures don’t
kill you.

Please CNN, in the future, if Anderson must be here, hide him in an alley.
We’re scared enough as it is.

The eye of the hurricane passed east of Tampa Bay and trashed much of the
state, though damage wasn’t as severe as predicted.

Still, many of our readers have endured terrible losses and heartache. We
hope you will recover quickly and that you can take some time to relax and enjoy
this edition.

Whether a victim or charitable supporter, be sure to check out articles on
how to avoid post-hurricane fraud and charity schemes.

We’ve included recipes for mango Halloween rattlers” to make with the grandkids as well as a recipe for a pumpkin facial mask to help you distress.

Forget your hurricane woes at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday where for a
mere $16 ticket (price if purchased in advance) you can see the likes of Kenny
Loggins and Michael McDonald.

We’ve unscrambled some of the confusion about Medicare Open Enrollment
while columnist Susan Goldfein takes on the donut hole dilemma with
her madcap comic style.

Don’t forget, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We think
you’ll enjoy our interview with Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G.
Komen organization. Check with your doctor and see if it’s time for a mammogram.

Finally, Happy National Kale Day to all the haters – we’ve got a story for
you too.

Because of space limitations, these stories may not appear in every edition.
Please visit our web page at

Terri Reeves



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