Loser: A Farmington resident found out the hard way that you don't deal with wild animals on your own. The resident used an old shirt to catch a loose bat in his home. As he picked up the wad of cloth, the bat bit him through the shirt. "I just felt a little prick on my finger," he said. Though he didn't see any blood, he kept the bat and called Davis County Animal Control. It turned out to be a wise decision as the bat tested positive for rabies.
The moral of the story is if there's a wild animal on the loose in your home or yard, don't take care of the matter yourself - call animal control.* Winner/loser: Utah's unemployment rate dropped from 3.6 percent in July to 3.3 percent in August, well below the national average of 4.5 percent. And while a low unemployment rate is good, it does cause some problems. There are fewer skilled and unskilled workers available from the Utah labor pool. That's reflected in the Zions Bank Small Business Index dropping a full percentage point in August, from 97.6 in July to 96.6. A higher number indicates conditions that are more favorable to local small businesses compared to 1997.
Lower unemployment means companies have a harder time finding qualified workers and must pay higher wages and salaries to retain them. Workers undoubtedly are not complaining.
* Winner: The Los Angeles City Council has passed a law that will virtually eliminate outdoor alcohol and tobacco advertising in Los Angeles. The measure bans billboard, grocery store windows and other outdoor advertising within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and residential areas. It will remove alcohol and tobacco advertisements from an estimated 98 percent of the city's billboards.
"Colleagues, we have a simple choice before us," said Councilman Mike Feuer, who sponsored the measure. "Are we going to put our kids first or are we going to put alcohol, tobacco and billboard companies first?" The council answered that question in the right way.
Loser: College students continue to drink too much. A survey of 14,521 students by the Harvard School of Public Health shows that more than half (52 percent) the nation's college students drank to get drunk last year, up from 39 percent in 1993. The number of students who were drunk three or more times in the month prior to answering the survey jumped by 22 percent.
The biggest offenders in both the 1997 and 1993 surveys are members of fraternities and sororities. Four out of five of these students qualified as "binge" drinkers - defined as five drinks in a row for men and four drinks in a row for women. What is perceived as a positive note is that 19 percent of the students surveyed said they hadn't had a drink in a year, up from 15.6 percent in the earlier study. It was hoped the results of the 1993 survey would have a sobering effect on heavy drinkers. They didn't.