Distracted Drivers, Housing Discrimination, Foreclosures & Tribune Archives 

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Driven to Distraction
A July 19 New York Times article looked at the ever-growing threat of distracted drivers: texters and cell-phone talkers who think they’re good drivers but drive as though they were hammered. The piece also chided state legislatures that have done nothing to restrict the behavior (although Utah’s Legislature last session passed a bill to restrict texting while driving). While many public policymakers seem to want to bury their heads in the sand, it’s good to know researchers like the University of Utah’s psychology professor David Strayer—quoted in the Times piece—continue to sound the alarm against the dangers of distracted driving.

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House-Rent Blues
The Human Rights Commission of Utah outlined a number of disturbing instances of housing discrimination in Salt Lake City. A recent report cites examples of tenants being evicted for being gay, and families being denied critical maintenance services for not speaking English. The report recommends the city increase safeguards against discrimination to encourage diversity, and beefing up the city’s ability to receive and respond to discrimination complaints. Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker plans to introduce a nondiscrimination ordinance in the coming months.

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Forestalling Foreclosures
Salt Lake County will receive $1 million in federal grants to help families stave off foreclosure or to assist others moving into new homes. Administered through the Department of Housing & Urban Development, the dollars—which will be paid to landlords and utilities rather than individuals—can provide citizens with a lifeline to weather the recession.

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Old Print Going Digital
In an ironic moment in the history of newsprint colliding with the digital media age, more than 100,000 archived issues of The Salt Lake Tribune have been donated to the University of Utah, who will preserve the pages for public viewing and digitize them into an online searchable database. Appraised at $650,000, the collection covers the territorial news, dating from 1871, to the post-Olympic days of 2003.

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