Things are still dark in Orlando for the most part as the clean-up and recovery from Hurricane Charley continues. Power is still out in most places with around 700,000 people still without electricity statewide. People are looting, others are fighting over bread and ice. Fist-fights have broken out in some places as people wait in line for stores to stock shelves. In some incidents the person at the head of the line buys the entire supply of water/ice/bread/etc. and is beaten down by the angry crowd. The power company estimates they'll have all power back on by Saturday, but more unofficial reports claim ten days or more. Water is still contaminated in most places. My apartment complex is listed by name as one of the places not to drink the water.

Adding to the mess is a suspected conspiracy in my city. I live in Winter Park which is part of the Orlando metro area. There's a bunch of cities that all run together in this area: Oviedo, Maitland, etc. Last year Winter Park voted to buy back the power system from Progress Energy and run it without the company's assistance, although this buyout has not occured yet and will not occur until next year. So for right now, this moment, the city is still a part of Progress Energy's service area. The conspiracy is that it's believed that the company is ignoring Winter Park and servicing other cities instead because of the upcoming buyout. Progress Energy wants Winter Park very badly, and now that it's been decided they cannot have it after this year, the talk is that we've been put on the end of the power restore list. Meanwhile, neighboring Maitland seems to be getting express treatment and - hey, how about that! - they have a similar buyout issue on their ballot this Election Day. The men and women working on the power lines deserve a pat on the back and a big thank you, but whatever company executive(s) that is/are leaving Winter Park in the dark over a political matter such as this (if, in fact, that is what is happening) should have to live in the humid darkness for a few days without adequate food or clean water.