* WINNER: Salt Lake City for having the privilege of hosting the National Square Dance Convention this week. It's a privilege not only because of the new revenue the 22,000 square dancers bring to town but also because of the chance it gives Salt Lake City to demonstrate its hospitality, including the validity of its Olympics-inspired claim that "The World Is Welcome Here." Thanks for visiting, square dancers, and come back again.
* WINNER: The American economy. This week the Commerce Department reported that the main gauge for forecasting the future of the economy rose in May for the fourth month in a row. The gains were spread across a wide range of economic activity, bolstering claims that the year-long recession is finally over.LOSERS: The increased number of firms filing for bankruptcy. A new survey shows that business failures across the country rose to 7,787 in May, an increase of nearly 52 per cent over the same month a year ago. Ouch!
LOSER: The airline industry. This week America West filed for bankruptcy, becoming the fourth airline firm to do so since last December. The others are Pan Am, Continental, and Midway. The financial troubles are said to result from higher fuel costs and fewer passengers, caused by the Persian Gulf war and the recession.
How's that again about how well the overall economy is supposed to be doing?
* WINNERS? America's disease fighters. Federal health officials reported this week that Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness that increased dramatically in the United States during the past decade, appears to be leveling off. The apparent victory would be more impressive, however, if only researchers could discover the reason for it. As long as that explanation eludes medical science, the incidence of the ailment could easily start soaring again.