Grueling World Travel 

Also: Hot Air, Being High a Problem

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Grueling World Travel
Christopher Stout has a great idea, but the president of the Utah Transit Riders Union needs to take it further: Make the Utah Transit Authority board stand on a corner and wait for a bus. Taxpayers will pay for the board's travel—anywhere in Utah. This in lieu of the $29,000-a-month they're apparently spending on world travel to find "best practices and new innovations," according to a Salt Lake Tribune investigation. Meanwhile, the Utah Department of Transportation spent only about $16,000 a month on travel, and provided the Trib with documentation. Why not make board members write a public report on what they found and how it can benefit Utah? If trips to Switzerland are so danged important to UTA, we need to know exactly why. Former board chair Greg Hughes says the travel is grueling. Some people aren't up to it—maybe because they can't ski.

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Hot Air
Speaking of House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, his smiling face was at the podium outside the Capitol where, despite the clear skies that tend to dampen the rage over pollution, around 3,500 breathers came to protest slow going on the issue of clean air. Hughes started out by reminding people they'd be unhappy with a lot of his actions, but said he'd work hard to find common ground—which probably means he'll support raising sales taxes to boost funding for the Utah Transit Authority's buses and trains. But that isn't going to clean the air. Banning wood burning and cleaning up school buses would help, but the high point was talk of changing the law that prohibits Utah from enacting laws stricter than the feds.

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Being High a Problem
Come time for the Legislature, and Utahns in general feel depressed. But that's not the scientific reason for what University of Utah psychiatry professor Perry Renshaw calls the "Utah Paradox." In other words, "One of the perverse things about Utah is that we not only lead the nation in suicide and depression, but we're also one of the happiest states in the land," he told Al Jazeera America. His research was all done with rats, which just tended to give up when drowning at high altitude. Utahns, instead, reach for anti-depressants. Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes to the dilemma—unless you move to sea level. It's all about being high.

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