Veteran newspaperman and former Salt Lake Mayor Conrad B. "Con" Harrison says he still has a keen interest in the city, its politics, its economy and its cultural growth.

Harrison, who says his health is good and his spirit is strong, will celebrate his 78th birthday July 15. "I enjoy working in my yard and growing flowers and vegetables, playing golf, fishing and visiting with my family."A native of Logan, Harrison was sports editor and editor of his school newspaper at Logan High School. That was the beginning of a long journalism career, that would take him to the Herald Journal in Logan and eventually to the Deseret News. He covered everything from sports to music.

But, in 1960, he switched careers. He was appointed to the Salt Lake City Commission, and would later be elected and re-elected to the commission, spending a total of 15 years in that post.

He was appointed mayor in January 1975 to fill the unexpired term of Jake Garn, who resigned to become a senator. But he lost his bid to continue as mayor to Ted Wilson, so he retired.

What does he think about modern newspapers and the news media? "I don't think any paper or television news program can go too far to present both sides of the story.

"In this day of instant communications, the media may be a bit too anxious to tell a story and there may not be enough time for all the facts to be presented in the initial newspaper story or television broadcast.

"Television has certainly changed news reporting. Newspapers have more competition and there is always the pressure to get a story to the public before someone else gets it."

Harrison, an outspoken congressional critic, calls Congress "the biggest menace we have; the most elite club in the world."

Chairman of the city's redevelopment committee when redevelopment was in its infancy in Salt Lake City, Harrison says he is excited about the changes in the city and the way downtown has progressed. In some parts of the nation, he said, downtown areas are blighted and deserted.

"Utah's economy has generally been up, but it's been cyclic and I think we'll see a return to better times soon.

"Utah is still the best place in the world to live," he said.

In his later years, Harrison worked for the state planning department and spent several years selling real estate. Since 1980, he's been the executive secretary of the Bonneville Knife and Fork Club.

In 1986, his book, "Five Thousand Concerts: A Commemorative History of the Utah Symphony" was published and he is hard at work writing his autobiography.

At 5 feet 6 inches tall and 155 pounds, Harrison believes in staying in shape. "I exercise regularly and visit the Deseret Gym five days a week."

He and his wife, Ruth, will have been married 54 years Oct. 24. and They have a son and four daughters, 16 grandchildren and a great grandson.

This summer, Harrison and his wife and some of their friends and relatives will join a tour group and fly to Europe and visit West Germany, Poland, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Holland and England.