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October 7, 2022

Sunnyland is a mobile home park in San Carlos Island. The park is at the foot of the bridge to Fort Myers Beach. Like the beach, Sunnyland was decimated. It’s a close community made even closer now by Hurricane Ian. Many residents say they felt caught off guard by the storm’s strength—and that only an inch or two of water was predicted, NOT complete inundation. Now, they’re dealing with the aftermath. The people who spoke with WGCU's Eileen Kelley told harrowing tales of near-death experiences, desperate rescues, and still, a relentless sense of hope and even optimism. These are their stories, in their own words.

Those were the voices of mobile home park residents who live at the foot of the bridge to Fort Myers Beach. The Florida Medical Examiners Commission has released an updated death tally after Hurricane Ian. Based on this report and NPR's calculations, the statewide death toll is now at least 117.

Firefighters in Southwest Florida have been working almost nonstop to respond to emergencies after Hurricane Ian. Not only do they have to worry about keeping the community safe, many local firefighters have damage to their own homes. And work often comes first. WLRN’s Gerard Albert the Third spoke to members of an international firefighter union that is trying to lessen the burden.

Much of the rebuilding in Florida after Hurricane Ian will be done by migrant workers. WLRN’s Tim Padgett says many of them feel overlooked by relief efforts – and demonized by Florida’s governor.

Mail-in ballots are being delivered to Florida voters this week. What could that mean for areas devastated by Hurricane Ian? A new academic paper looked at voter turnout in the Florida panhandle after major Hurricane Michael in 2018 — and it raises alarms about how the midterm elections could turn out. WLRN’s Danny Rivero spoke to co-author Kevin Morris about the paper. He’s a researcher at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

Before her death in 1998, author Marjory Stoneman Douglas hoped her home in Coconut Grove would one day become a museum - and a hub for environmental causes like the Everglades. In 2015, the little cottage was added to the National Register of Historic Places. But today, it remains shuttered – and falling into disrepair. Jenny Staletovich takes a look at the stalemate that’s kept the cottage off-limits to the public.