Noise Complaints, Gonorrhea & The Lake Powell Pipeline 

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Itchy Trigger Fingers

It is now apparently official policy at the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office to pepper spray and Taser citizens singing Carpenter’s songs in their own living rooms. The county recently paid $60,000 to three people who got the treatment in 2007 from Sheriff’s deputies investigating a noise complaint. The residents sued, hoping to change the department’s use-of-force policy, but despite the big payout, the county says the officers followed proper procedure. So for now, if you see the Sheriff on your doorstep, the best course of action may be to call the cops—that, or have a lawyer handy to cash in on some of that tax money the county is giving away.

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For the Children
With gonorrhea rates soaring in Utah, the State Board of Education has finally come around to the notion that it might be good to teach high school students about sexually transmitted diseases. At the urging of the state Parent Teacher Association and some students, the board voted to add a chapter on STD testing to the health curriculum. The high school students also asked the school board to support a change in state law explicitly allowing teachers to talk about contraception. That wasn’t approved; the adults find the topic icky. Meanwhile, reports show the incidence of HIV infection is up alarmingly in Utah.

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Down the Tube
The price tag for running a pipeline from Lake Powell to St. George has gone up again. Beehive State water officials are going back to the Legislature asking for an additional $4 million to add to a pipeline study now creeping over the $21 million mark. Total estimated cost for the pipeline is now more than $1 billion. When it comes to watering the desert, Utah might take a lesson from Las Vegas. Sin City built its boom economy on building homes as fast as it could in the desert, but the entire economy got clobbered when the housing bubble burst, and Vegas has now put its own ambitious pipeline plans on hold.

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