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More Gas Pains



Here at City Weekly, we really don’t like to toot our own horn. But occasionally we have to—not because we want to—so that our readers will be informed.

For the past year, our political columnist, Katharine Biele, has run the “Questar Watch” with her weekly column. It featured the stock price of Questar and showed how the gas company stock owned by Gov. Mike Leavitt’s dad, who sits on Questar’s board, just kept going up and up following the passage of HB 320. That legislation sought to deregulate utilities by doing away with the Consumer Services Committee. The bill was sponsored by Rep. David Ure but was actually penned by our good friends over at the gas company.

The weekly Questar Watch has been driving ’em nuts on Capitol Hill, not to mention over at Questar H.Q. We even got a letter from one Questar official calling “Questar Watch” irresponsible journalism. Then we knew we were on to something. Things got so bad, in fact, that last week they repealed HB 320 on the hill after natural gas rates increased by 45 percent. Biele gets some credit. Thanks.

Gov. Mike Leavitt, who allowed HB 320 to slip into law without his signature, is chomping at the bit to sign the bill that repeals it. He wants this monkey off his back. But we’ve decided that for now we’ll continue the Questar Watch (Katharine Biele is on vacation this week; find Questar Watch with the “Media Beat” column). We’re sure everyone will appreciate it.

Speaking of dead cats, West Jordan police are looking for a firebug with a thing for cats. According to a police report, a woman let her cat out of her apartment at 3580 W. 7800 South. At about 1:30 a.m., she noticed a small fireball running by her window. It was the cat. The kitty was DOA. Police are investigating.

Also from our “Burnt Meat” file: McDonald’s is reporting that profits are down 7 percent in Europe following the mad cow disease scare. Europeans apparently are shying away from mad cow burgers.

From Ashland, Mass, the Associated Press reports that officials almost embalmed and buried a living woman. The woman had been found in a bathtub full of cold water, the apparent victim of a drug overdose. Police and EMTs were unable to detect any sign of life. But when the woman sneezed, funeral director John Matarese jumped: “It scared me half to death.” The woman is now in fair condition at a local hospital.

And finally this: The case of an Italian man who was sentenced to 18 months in jail and fined $3,800 for sexual harassment has been reversed by that country’s high court. The man, a manager of a public health agency, had patted a female employee on the derriere. In overturning the verdict, the court ruled that it was not “an act of libido.” Oh those Italians.