Iowa community reacts to Y2K advice

(U-WIRE) IOWA CITY, Iowa – Fuel was added to the Y2K fire when the top presidential adviser on the issue advised people to stock three days worth of supplies for the end of the year.

“Why only three days?” Iowa City resident Vince Hiser said as he waited for a bus Thursday. “Doesn’t everybody have that? I don’t think it’s going to have a major effect on us. I’m worried there are a lot of dishonest people that will profit from Y2K. I hope people don’t buy into any fool-proof Y2K solution scams.”

“I can only come out ahead if all my financial records are destroyed,” said Ben Jenkins, an Iowa City resident whose Y2K stance was “somewhere between being a freak and not caring.”

“I think three days worth of supplies is pretty useless,” he said. “I mean, how can you prepare for something like this?”

But others think John Koskinen, Clinton’s adviser, may be on to something.

“I’m more worried about people’s reaction to it,” said Anne Kelleher, a University of Iowa sophomore. “People are going nuts. They’ll be hiding in basements or praying in the middle of the lawn – things they normally wouldn’t do.”

Others affirmed Kelleher’s prediction.

“I do know some relatives of my friends in the library are very worried about it,” said Randy Essing, a librarian assistant. “They’re stockpiling firearms, guns and ammunition.”

The timing of Y2K is what worries UI freshman Isaac Swansen the most.

“I’m just worried about staying alive through the night,” he said. “I’m worried about the drinking part of it – the party part.”

One way the UI water plant may prepare for Y2K is by hosting a New Year’s Eve party for its employees, said Tony Butz, an employee at the plant.

“I don’t think it’s going to be the end of the world,” he said. “We’re treating it as an ordinary day, but we’re keeping precautionary people around.”

The UI Facilities Services Group came up with a contingency plan which includes limiting employee vacations around that time, said Richard Gibson, associate vice president for the group.

“I think we’ve got almost everything fixed,” he said. “We’re going to be asking people to shut off their computers and get out of buildings as long as it won’t shut down their research.”

-Steve Schmadeke, The Daily Iowan(U. of Iowa)

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