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We are in Florida awaiting Tropical Storm Alberto's wrath. We are hopeful that he will chill out and spare Florida and the rest of the East Coast of the country. If all goes well, we will jump a plane and head back to D.C. later today... otherwise we will stay here and do our show from Florida. I have posted some pictures from our show last night in Keaton Beach, Florida. We had no wind last night... just lots of rain. In short, we got soaked and we will check out the storm damage this morning. I have looked outside and it looks dark and miserable — but it does not have the look of the other hurricanes we have covered recently like Rita and Wilma. (Of course Katrina is in its own category.)
When we flew down here yesterday we did not know if Alberto would be a hurricane or a tropical storm... nor did we know the damage he would or would not inflict. When we landed in Tampa, we did not even know where he would hit. We had picked Tampa to fly to since that seemed the most likely area when we left Washington... by the time we landed, Alberto got upgraded to "hurricane warning" (not a category 1) and the predicted location of where he would hit had changed. We had to drive about five hours in pouring rain. My point is this: it is nearly impossible to make predictions when it comes to these storms.
Incidentally, we stayed at the Hampton Inn Hotel in Perry, Florida. We were told prior to checking in, and at our live site last night on Keaton Beach, that this Hampton Inn is the world's best Hampton and that for the last two years it has gotten the award as the best Hampton. We sort of laughed at that: How could one Hampton Inn be so different from others? But when we arrived at the Hampton Inn in Perry, Florida, we totally got why the hotel is the best. As you might imagine, we arrived very late and very wet. The woman at the front desk — Diane — was extremely nice, not just ordinary nice. She went out of her way to help us. It really is a great Hampton Inn and the employees are the reason why. They deserve this award.
We had an "event" — my producer (our driver) saw a giant turtle on the ramp to get on the highway. She stopped the car and all the traffic behind her, got out (before I could intervene and tell her it was dangerous to stop and get out on a ramp), picked up the turtle and put him on the side of the road. He was huge — bigger than a cocker spaniel! I have never seen a turtle that big! I was worried he would bite her and take off a finger or her hand! There was no problem, but I did see him extend his neck and open his mouth. When she got back in the car she bragged she is from Maine — not sure what difference that made. She still has all her fingers and her hands.
Now for some of your e-mails:
E-mail No. 1
It was interesting seeing you at Keaton Beach. Since I live near there and know that area very well, I am curious to know how you got there: car, helicopter? Did you come by way of Tallahassee? Better get out soon: remember what happened in 1993.
E-mail No. 2
You are a good journalist. Standing in the rain is old hat and for cub journos. Don't sink that low.
E-mail No. 3
Please bring us up to date on Mary Winkler. My friend who lives in Memphis said they were going to read the search warrant on the news tonight. Are they telling why she killed her husband?
Love your show!
ANSWER: Perhaps you missed last night's show — we had her lawyer on. Mary Winkler was indicted yesterday.
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