* Winner: A maintenance man broke down the door of a burning apartment Wednesday, saving the lives of the two people inside. Lewis Allen Coleman was delivering fliers to residents at the McDonald Crown Apartments, 4425 S. Christopherson (3900 West) when he spotted flames through the sliding glass doors of the upstairs apartment. He ran to the front door and started banging, and then opened the door and rushed inside.

"There were lots of flames," Coleman said. There were also a man sleeping and a 5-year-old boy. Thanks to Coleman's courageous act they were able to flee to safety before the apartment became totally engulfed by flames.Loser: Just what we all needed, a report in the New England Journal of Medicine that the risk of millions of Americans dying from an accidental nuclear attack by a Russian submarine is rising.

Citing what they called the steadily deteriorating condition of Russia's nuclear command system, the authors show how an accidental attack involving a single Russian nuclear submarine could launch an attack that would kill 7 million people instantly. The authors conclude that should such an accident occur it would be "politically, medically and morally obscene." Indeed it would.

Loser: Anything involving the effects of tobacco is not good news. While Congress and the states' attorneys general are targeting the youth with proposed legislation, a new study shows elderly smokers may lose the ability to think, perceive and remember more quickly than those who never smoked or who quit smoking.

The study suggests that the mental decline may be tied to silent strokes - very small strokes that go unnoticed by their victims. It makes sense since smoking already is known to be a risk factor for stroke, which is a loss of blood flow that damages the brain. So, add this latest study to hundreds of other reasons why people shouldn't smoke and why those who do should quit.

* Winner: Despite the Wasatch Front dropping from ninth place in 1996 to 41st place in 1997, Utah continues to be one of the nation's top job generators. The 4.26 percent growth in nonfarm jobs in 1997 kept the state in third place nationally for the year, behind Nevada at 5.52 percent and Arizona at 4.48 percent.

Overall, Western states dominated job creation last year. Of the top 10, seven were located in the West. In descending order the top 10 were Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Texas, Colorado, Washington, Florida, Oregon, Kansas and North Carolina. A job well done.