Floridians commute, Georgians cancel - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Floridians commute, Georgians cancel

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September 2, 2004

Albany-- While Floridians are coming here, many south Georgians are canceling holiday trips to the Sunshine State. Which means many spent today canceling hotel plans past the Georgia border.

While hotels are all booked up here in Albany, Florida hotels are losing money. We know that because vacation plans to Florida are gone with the wind, literally.

We found a very sad person today when her confirmation numbers turned into cancellation numbers. Alice Goseer-Jenkins had plans to go to Orlando this evening to join the Tom Joiner Reunion, but now that reunion has been canceled.

"I took three days off, Friday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and Monday is a holiday any ways. We were going to shop, have fun and hang out in the sunshine state."

Alice says she will still take time off from work, but she'll have to spend it in Albany instead of under the palm trees of Florida. We watched her get her hotel reservations refunded from Priceline and her Tom Joiner tickets will also be refunded.

So, she won't be out money, but just vacation time. But what about all those evacuees from Florida? Hotels here in Albany are booked solid. I spoke to the Chamber of Commerce, they are urging people to keep driving north.

The Chamber of Commerce is getting a lot of out-of-town visitors stopping by to find out what there is to do here in Albany. They have been giving out Flint Riverquarium brochures. Of course The Riverquarium opens Friday.

A Florida family making a temporary home in an Albany hotel. "We're trying to run from it," Johnathan Collett says. Running from a single, but massive Hurricane Frances.

"I'm a single Mom," said Christine Collett. "And they are all I have so we left."

Christine left Brevard County, Florida holding tight her two children Cheyenne, Jonathan and their newest family member, Jazz. The family of four now keeping an eye on the hurricane eye from a distance. Just like before.

"When hurricane Charley came it went POOOF right through the window," said Johnathan.

"Where we live it bypassed us and went to Orlando," Christine said. But, when Frances is done, it may be a different story. "When its done, when it's over. If I know I have a house a job then we'll go," she said. "Otherwise I'll stay here with my family."

And that's what it's all about-- family. Christine and her kids came here to Albany because her sister lives here.

Hotels are sold out here in Albany. Good for business and restaurants, but bad for evacuees. The Chamber of Commerce is urging people to keep driving north. The Chamber also says many people are stopping by to learn more about Albany.

posted at 4:30PM by dave.miller@walb.com