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THE WINNERS AND THE LOSERS

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* Winner? We're not sure whether Utah Lt. Gov. Olene Walker wins or loses by being appointed to head the Republican Party platform subcommittee. She probably isn't sure, either. This is the group that has been sentenced . . . er, assigned . . . to write the abortion plank for the convention this month. Truth is, the appointment announced this week is an honor that could, if handled correctly, improve the party's chances in November. Then again, the issue could rend the party to pieces. Good luck.

Losers: New South Jordan residents soon will learn that the cost of rapid growth comes home to roost. Growth, particularly the kind that produces houses and few businesses, is expensive. The city estimated this week that almost $200 million will be needed for roads, traffic signals, a beefed-up police and firefighting force and a host of other needs. Because the city can't look to anyone else to foot the bill, it is considering tacking more fees onto the cost of new construction. Good idea, but look for the growth rate to subside.* Winner: House and Senate negotiators get kudos for helping make President Clinton a loser on the military base-closure issue. Clinton wanted to delay the closure of two Air Force bases, even though a closure commission decided they had to go. Clinton said the bases needed to stay and be privatized. Oh yes, and they also happen to be in California and Texas, two important states in the upcoming election. Politics have no place in the base-closure issue, the House and Senate wisely decided this week. The good news for Utah is that this secures the future of Hill Air Force Base. The bases in Texas and California would have competed directly with Hill.

* Winners: The cities of Clinton and West Point finally are worth stopping for. UDOT said this week it soon will construct traffic lights in both cities, the first such signals in either one. Those used to zipping through town may find the change an arresting experience.

* Winner: Bus drivers sometimes have to do more than just open and close doors for passengers, but they rarely get the chance to save a life. This week, Algernon Hoskins pulled his UTA Flextrans bus in front of a car whose driver "just didn't look right." He let her collide with the back of the bus in order to stop the car, then flagged down a passing ambulance. Sure enough, the driver, 73-year-old Aleta Pierson, was suffering a massive heart attack. At last report, she was in serious condition at a local hospital. Without Hoskins' help, she likely would be dead. Good work.

Losers: The people in Cottonwood who have been trying for years to form a new city. This week, the county attorney told them no, even though the County Commission had decided they could proceed. The Cottonwood incorporation is included in a larger township proposal scheduled for a vote Tuesday. If the township proposal passes, forming a new city would be virtually impossible.