On the front page today, we had a story about the state's efforts to police the new regulations about banning smoking in most restaurants and bars.
And on the front of Triangle & Co., we had a followup story about the very unpleasant weekend at the YMCA Youth and Government conference. More than 150 of the students who attended a catered dinner Friday night at the Raleigh Convention Center came down with, as they say, "symptoms consistent with food poisoning."
It may not be lost on some people that the same health officials who are responsible for making sure that no smoking is going on in some bar somewhere are also responsible for making sure that the food served in public establishments is safe.
You can make the argument that the two roles - smoking police and food cops - are both within the capabilities of health departments, and that government can do more than one thing at a time.
But the juxtaposition of these two stories makes me wonder if we're asking too much of our health departments. According to Matt Ehlers' story, Wake County's health department got an extra $18,718 for the smoking enforcement, which isn't much. So, presumably, the cost of enforcement is going to come at the expense of something else the department does.