Already, Utah schools are charting outbreaks of the “don’t call it swine flu” H1N1 virus. Uintah High School recently canceled its football game because of an outbreak. Despite the rising numbers, there also seems to be an increasing concern about the dangers of the H1N1 vaccine, with some unscientific minds linking it to autism and, even more absurdly, to the government injecting nano-chips to track their populous. Tom Hudachko, Utah Department of Health spokesman, said that the dangers with the H1N1 vaccine are the same as with any seasonal flu shot, primarily minor issues such as a sore arm or a lowgrade fever. The alternative? Avoid the flu shots and the run risk of contracting swine flu, which has known side effects of infecting everyone you encounter and possibly, especially for children and the chronically ill, death. For flu shot locations and more information, visit immunize-utah.org.
Drivers packing the roads during the commute will now be able to access the HOV lane on Interstate 15 without decals, but they will still have to pay. Starting in 2010, the Utah Department of Transportation will implement “electronic tolling” that charges drivers varying fees for using the lane based on traffic congestion. The system will replace the current $50 per month decal that allows single drivers to use the HOV lane, which is always free for carpools and motorcycles. The real benefit to this system is that drivers can see, in simple dollars and cents, the cost of their commute.
Utah’s two U.S. senators have rushed to the defense of Tooele and Box Elder counties, which are facing tighter restrictions on air emissions by the Environmental Protection Agency. The senators claim that the emissions from the two counties do not contribute to Wasatch Front pollution, due in large part to geographic barriers. What they don’t mention is that the two counties, Tooele in particular, have some of the largest polluters in the state and that Tooele-county based MagCorp has long been one of the nation’s worst polluters. For the two senators to use their clout for the benefit of corporate polluters while their constituents are being warned, multiple days each year, to stay inside because of dangerous air stinks almost as badly as the winter inversions.