Everyone has the Flu, Smoking hot debate and More Snow

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Good morning everyone. By my estimations, Pat is already in a much warmer place right now. He’s off to Turks & Caicos for a week of sunshine and I couldn’t be more envious. He picked a good time to leave becuase Megan Salois (who is filling in for sick Jeriann… more on that a little later) says we will get about an inch of snow and some freezing rain later today right around the time most of you are headed home from work. Seriously, will this please stop!!

Ok… to the news.

Flu Outbreak
It’s usually one of the unspoken rules of journalism that reporters are anchors are not supposed to be part of the story, but this week our newsroom IS the story. Here’s what I mean. Apparently every state but Florida is dealing with what is called a “flu outbreak.” Here in Des Moines, Broadlawns Hospital says about 80 people a day are coming in to get treated. And here at WHO, they’re dropping like flies… as the saying goes. Jeriann has influenza. Ed is sick… and Sonya Heisthusen. And this morning our morning show producer Heather went home ill. There are few others who have called in sick today as well. I am drinking Airborne (which I stole from Pat’s desk… sorry Pat, I owe you) trying to stay well or we may not have a Today in Iowa show tomorrow.

Smoking Debate
I was reading Dave Price’s Blog “The Price of Politics” and he made an interesting point about what’s going on with the smoking ban bill debate. Basically, he doesn’t know what will happen. Which is a rare thing. Dave is one of those reporters who always knows what’s going to happen.

“I hate not knowing what will happen with this smoking ban debate. Hate it. Knowing is supposed to be an advantage of being in the media, you know…knowing what will happen before it happens. I don’t know what I don’t know on this one.”

Kind of shows you that maybe even lawmakers aren’t sure what will happen. The Senate did debate and finally pass its own version of the bill late last night. It bans smoking in all public places and businesses. The House version bans smoking except in casinos and Veterans Halls. So now the House has to approve the plan or make changes to it. They can either send it to Culver and be done with it or insist on their own version and then require the Senate to pass it. Are you confused yet? Either way, there is some work that needs to be done before this thing is made law. Dave also speculated in his blog that if the Senate and House have to work out a compromise deal, it could include allowing cities to pass their own bans instead of creating a state law. Like Dave said, who knows what will happen.

This is definitely one of those issues that gets people on both sides of the issue worked up.

More Snow
Megan Salois says we will get about an inch of snow and some freezing rain after 3:00 pm today. That means another dreary day here in Iowa.

Stay safe. See you tomorrow.