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Florida Keys Escape Damage From Michelle.

Business, News & Travel Editors

KEY WEST, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 5, 2001

Reports from Florida Keys' emergency management officials indicate tropical storm-force winds generated by Hurricane Michelle, as it passed south of the Keys, had little impact on the area's infrastructure.

"Our assessment teams have not reported, thus far, any significant damage," said Irene Toner, director of Monroe County Emergency Management.

The National Hurricane Center discontinued all storm warnings for the Keys and Monroe County Mayor George Neugent lifted a local "state of emergency" order Monday.

U.S. 1 is open for vehicular traffic, according to Monroe County Sheriff Rick Roth.

Resorts throughout the Keys are getting back online.

"We have a group of 80 guests checking in tonight (Monday), said Julie Olsen, director of public relations for the Cheeca Lodge Resort & Spa in Islamorada.

Florida Keys' utilities are in excellent condition.

"Everything is a go," said Jason Richards, a system operator for the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative that provides electrical service from Key Largo to the Seven Mile Bridge in Marathon. "We have no problems anywhere."

The same applies to the Lower Keys and Key West.

"Everything is looking good from the power side," said Lynne Tejeda, spokesperson for the Key West City Electric that provides electrical service for Keys customers from the Seven Mile Bridge through Key West. "We have no current outages."

Marathon Vice Mayor John Bartus and Islamorada Fire Chief William Wagner report no significant damage in their regions Key West officials had a similar synopsis.

Key West Airport Director Peter Horton reports airport facilities are fine and said flight service resumed at noon.

Ground transportation services, such as Greyhound Bus Lines, are resuming service Monday as well.

"Our first bus left Miami, bound for Key West, at around noon," said Rick Warwick, Greyhound's Keys manager.

"Everything on Duval Street looks okay," said Mayor Jimmy Weekley, who surveyed the island early Monday. "The one tree limb down at the Hemingway House that showed up on television Sunday has been down for years."

Weekley also said that he expected most Key West businesses to reopen Monday after an official city request was made Sunday for all non-essential businesses to close.

"I was a bit disappointed that the bars did not close," said Weekley. "But I forgot in Key West, the bars are essential businesses."

Several weekend events in the Keys were postponed including the American Power Boat Association Key West World offshore championship, which was rescheduled for Nov. 16-18.

Organizers of the Fountain Key West Super Boat World Championship still plan to conduct their races Wednesday, Nov. 7, and Saturday, Nov. 10, with a full slate of other activities in between race days.

More information on the Florida Keys is available at http://www.fla-keys.com or by calling 1-800-FLA-KEYS, toll-free in the U.S. and Canada.

Note to editors: Post-Hurricane Michelle spot photos to be available late Monday afternoon. Call 1-800-ASK-KEYS.
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 5, 2001
Words:485
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