January 28, 2015

Supporters of medical marijuana insist bill will help those suffering

Sen. Tommy Garrett/Photo courtesy of Unicameral Information Service

Sen. Tommy Garrett/Photo courtesy of Unicameral Information Service

The Cannabis Compassion and Care Act is getting a lot of attention. Omaha State Senator Tommy Garrett is one of several co-sponsors of LB 643 that would legalize medical marijuana in the state. He wants everyone to know this has nothing to do with the recreational use of marijuana.

Senator Garrett says, “We are not looking for recreational use for marijuana. This is all about taking care of people. There are people out there suffering that are out of other medical options. We have constituents suffering from ALS, Crones Disease, affects from chemotherapy. This provides them with potential relief.”

Senator Garrett believes it should have been legalized a long time ago. And when it comes to the drug, “people are abusing prescription medications, over the counter things, sniff glue, huff paint. Why would we deprive treatments to help people because some knucklehead might abuse it?”

Omaha State Senator Joni Craighead is co-sponsoring a bill and says not one person she has talked to is against legalizing medical marijuana. Her husband, Mike died after battling cancer in 2007 and Senator Craighead says had medical marijuana been available it would have helped his pain and improved his quality of life.

A news conference on the issue will be held at the Nebraska Capitol at noon on Friday.

U-S Senate addresses Keystone XL Pipeline issue again today

The Keystone XL Oil Pipeline is again being addressed on Capitol Hill today. American Petroleum Institute Senior Manager Cindy Schild says after nearly seven years lawmakers may be wrapping up the pipeline controversy. She says today the U-S Senate will take up 18 amendments regarding the Keystone legislation. Schild says they have come close to passing a bill so maybe progress will be made this week or next.  

The U-S House last week passed their tenth bill approving the pipeline.  

Schild says, “We have the House and the Senate debating a bill, a law that would basically take this out of the president’s hands and recognize this project as complete.

She says the administration spent six-and-a-half years on environmental concerns.  Monday marks the end of the national interest determination that takes into account national and economic security.

Lack of witness cooperation frustrates Omaha mayor

There have been 11 murders since December 21 in Omaha and many remain unsolved. Three people were killed Saturday in a north Omaha home during a party that was attended by at least 50 individuals but none are cooperating with police. Mayor Jean Stothert is frustrated by lack of action and worried for the community as there are murderers on the loose.

Mayor Stothert says, “People know who did these shootings this weekend. There were plenty of witnesses and we need them to come forward. Mothers and fathers who know their children may be involved in gangs need to quit denying it and they need to come forward and help us solve this problem now.”

Mayor Stother says this is a community problem and it impacts every individual in the metro area. She says businesses do not want to locate in a community that is not safe. She says, “If we want to grow our small emerging business program that we have with the city and employ more people we have to have a safe city.”

According to Mayor Stothert, police will provide protection for witnesses that step forward with information about these murders. She says people can always call Crime Stoppers anonymously and be eligible for a reward of up to $25,000. That number is 402-444-STOP.

East Coast snow impacts operations at Eppley

Those along the east coast are digging out from a snowstorm that dumped several inches to more than a foot in some areas. Chris Martin is Director of Airline Affairs and Airport Operations at Eppley in Omaha and says the storm did impact several flights in and out of Omaha.  

J.F.K, La Guardia and Newark – Liberty airports are open but most flights Tuesday are cancelled.   Flights are also cancelled at MacArthur Airport at Long Island.

A few flights are cancelled today at Baltimore Washington International, Reagan National and Dulles International airports in the Washington DC area. All flights in and out of Boston Logan International Airport are cancelled Tuesday.

Martin says most airlines are working with their customers by waiving their fee to reschedule.

Heart failure hospitalizations spike after Super Bowl

Nebraska hospitals and those around the country are bracing for “blitz” of heart failure patients shortly after Super Bowl Sunday. Dr. Marc Silver is a cardiologist and says that big game can cause big problems for diagnosed with heart problems.

Dr. Silver says, “Heart failure hospitalizations in heart failure patients go up about 10% after major events. The ones we studied were Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and the Super Bowl. So, the first four days after the Super Bowl, February 2nd through the 5th, we are going to see a jump in emergency room visits and hospitalizations of heart failure patients.”

Dr. Silva says the number one cause is excitement or stress associated with those events. He says it is also likely that these patients overindulged in rich and salty foods causing the retention of fluids. Another issue is that some delay seeking medical care, especially on a holiday because they don’t want to spoil the event for others.

Dr. Silva says the best defense is watching the diet and alcohol consumption carefully, remember it is just a game and don’t forget to take required medication.