* Winner: West Jordan officials are wisely taking steps to plan for the future of their city. A team of urban designers and planning professionals will link up with city staff and local residents this fall for what is being billed as a mini-RUDAT (Rural/Urban Design Assistance Team) study.

It's modeled after the RUDAT process that has been pioneered by the American Institute of Architects. Most of the design team will come from within Salt Lake County or the state. The goal of the four-day study is to suggest ways West Jordan can change its downtown core into a destination with a vibrant, discernible identity. Full speed ahead.* Winner/loser: The good news is there are plenty of students who want to attend Utah Valley State College in Orem. The bad news is it's likely the college will have to turn some of them away for the second straight year.

The former trade school is posting a 12 percent increase in students who have registered for liberal-education classes. And despite some creative renovations - including the conversion of a restroom into a classroom - there just isn't enough room. About 2,000 students were not able to find spots in high-demand classes last year, and officials estimate nearly the same number could be denied entrance to required courses fall semester as well.

To help ease the load, school officials are seeking to expand. They're requesting a technology building, which will take at least two years to be built from the time it's funded. Approval needs to be given - the sooner the better.

Loser: It was a sad ending for the newspaper and the columnist. Wednesday, Mike Barnicle, the Boston Globe's star columnist, resigned while still serving a two-month, unpaid suspension for lifting jokes from a best-selling book by comedian George Carlin. The resignation, at the Globe's request, was due to suspicions he fabricated a 1995 column about a white child and a black child who became friends in Boston's Children's Hospital.

Reader's Digest wanted to reprint the column, but fact checkers at Reader's Digest determined it had no basis in fact. This week Reader's Digest alerted the Globe to that experience. Barnicle said he heard the story about the two children from a nurse at another hospital. Barnicle is the second high-profile columnist to leave the Globe under unfavorable circumstances in the past couple of months. Earlier the Globe asked for - and received - the resignation of columnist Patricia Smith, who admitted to fabricating characters and quotations.

The good news in all this is that leaders at the paper are taking their role as purveyors of facts seriously.

* Winner: Unity of purpose turned a 22,000-square-foot unsightly area into a community garden on Salt Lake's west side. Dozens of Poplar Grove residents, Scouts and their leaders, and various employee groups combined to bring about the transformation.

The area between 500 and 700 South and east of the Jordan River around 1150 West has been a refuge for transients and illegal activities in addition to being a fire hazard. No more. Scouts joined neighborhood residents in planting 400 native trees, shrubs, flowering plants, seeding grasses and wildflowers.

It took one year to secure the necessary permits. The results show it was clearly worth the wait.