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Columbia Missourian

Dear Reader: It's time for some steamy (weather) stories

By Tom Warhover
June 26, 2009 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

Dear Reader,

It’s not the heat. It’s the misery, right?

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Still June, and we’re in late-July steaminess. Heat happens, every year — it is Columbia, Mo., after all, not Columbia City, Ore., where Saturday’s high was forecast at a steamy 82 before heading to more temperate climes of 74 on Sunday.

I don’t have much to complain about. I move from my air-conditioned car to my air-conditioned office from which I urge reporters to hit the streets in search of weather-related stories.

They are often predictable, as reliable as Christmas shopping stories in November or NCAA bracketology in March. I still read. The weather is one of those stories that everyone experiences, even us office workers. There are surprises as well. I loved the little factoids (24 pitchers of tea served) and anecdotes in a story called “It was so hot …”

I’m in search of the most creative heat story or info-piece of the summer. Like developing a “sticky-meter.” Sure, we have the heat index, but what about something you can plug in to find out how many feet you will walk before your shirt is wet from sweat, or a comparison of an actual sauna to my car’s interior.

Or not. Perhaps you have a better idea?

One idea that’s drawing lots of controversy is a report from the city staff on street lights.

Missourian reporter Furqaan Sadiq wrote a short piece in “Today’s Question” on the issue Thursday. Jerry Wade, Fourth Ward councilman, submitted an op-ed piece. An in-depth story is scheduled to run next week in the newspaper. The issue is getting column inches and airtime across town.

The council wants to save money. Is this the place to save it? The issue, like most issues, is much more complicated than whether to turn off some lights.

 


 

A footnote on finance: As you may recall, there were several stories and Dear Reader letters over the past year about the fiscal shape of your newspaper. In March, the free Weekend Missourian and the Monday edition were dropped as part of the effort to cut costs.

I’m happy to report that general manager Dan Potter and his staff have kept the Missourian’s new budget on track. It’s especially remarkable given the recession.

It’s too early to break out the sparkling grape juice. But Dan has made a great start.