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POTHOLES ON CAMPAIGN, WAGON TRAILS

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JUICY FRUIT: Chris Cannon was celebrating his fine showing at the state Republican Party convention last month when he was informed that the state Democratic Party had filed a complaint about him with the Federal Election Commission. The Cannon campaign says the Democrats rained on their parade and accused Rep. Bill Orton of orchestrating the whole thing.

Orton roared with laughter upon hearing the accusation."That's one of the first things I've ever got the Democratic Party to do," he said sarcastically. Orton says he had nothing to do with it.

Believing that he did, the Cannon campaign felt it had to respond. It sent Orton a fruit basket during the state Democratic Party convention for winning the nomination.

Orton might have the last laugh, though. Cannon will appear as a donor to Orton's campaign. Orton said he recorded the offering as donation in kind on his latest FEC report.

Fax track: The Deseret News has been sending some of the candidates campaign questionnaires.

Rep. Lowell Nelson, R-Highland, hadn't returned his and when we bugged him about it, we got this back: "Fax another candidate questionnaire. The other one got shredded!"

We're not sure whether that was after he answered the questions.

Either way, that was one of more novel excuses we've heard. But it kind of sounds like the old "dog ate my homework" routine.

Wagons, ho! Along with the rest of the state's population, we've been watching the weaving of the Centennial Wagon Train as it's made its way through Utah.

And we read with interest an article detailing some of the ways in which the 1996 trek differed from the wagon train journeys of 100 years ago.

Aside from the obvious, like cellular phones or RVs, pioneers didn't have rubber tires or ride on the wagons.

Oxen pulled the wagons rather than horses, and it didn't matter whether the road was closed or not - the train forded rivers and blazed the trail. (In this case, when the wagon train hit Highland last Tuesday, it forged ahead. A "road closed" sign didn't deter it.) It was pointed out that pioneers rarely bathed, sometimes going for a month or more in the same clothes. We appreciate that not being a detail the modern wagoneers adhered to. Otherwise you could've smelled them coming. Instead of flocking to see them, we'd all be scrambling to get out of their way.

As it is, you can pretty much follow the train by looking for - ah, fresh horse pies - along the way.

Nobody in the older times had to sign a liability waiver either, as our modern pioneers did.

And the bathrooms were "men on the right, women on the left" side of the trail.

Hot story: We hear that the firefighters involved in the King Street blaze last week in American Fork think there must be a problem with the new fire truck's parking brake mechanism.

Seems the guys were busily fighting the fire when the truck all of a sudden rolled into a parked car nearby, which then pushed into a police car.

One's first thought would be to wonder who didn't set the brake.

But then, that couldn't be the problem, right? It definitely must have been a defective brake.

Air ball: We liked the photo of Art City Days in The Daily Herald recently, featuring all three Bank of American Fork balloons. Nothing like a hometown photo that depicts the life therein.