(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Organizers of the upcoming Winter Games in the Salt Lake City area say that construction is nearly complete on the performance venues and the Olympic Village. The Salt Lake Visitors and Convention Bureau tells United Press International that all of the new hotels are already open and several new attractions -- including the world's largest museum devoted to dinosaurs -- have been dedicated.
The first crowds are expected to start showing up the first week of February. The games will run for 16 days.
One concern of the tourist officials is that skiers will avoid other Utah snow regions during the two-week run of the games because they think that the Olympics will tie them up also. That's not the case, according to the bureau. Only two percent of the state's available wintertime facilities are earmarked for the games.
(PHOENIX) -- City officials in Phoenix say they are thrilled that they will receive more than $35 million in a new housing grant. What concerns them, though, is how long they may have to wait until Washington mails the check.
The Arizona Business Gazette says the money will be used to replace nearly 360 run-down housing units. The money for the Arizona capital is part of a massive nationwide package that amounts to more than $491 million.
The publication says the one positive thing about the grant is that it proves that the city of Phoenix has learned how to properly fill out applications for federal money. But, in light of the fact that Bush administration officials have a lot other things to worry about, no one can seem to get a straight answer as to whether the check is in the mail.
(MIAMI) -- South Florida's county commissioners do a lot of work for very little money. But, according to the Miami Herald, voters in that part of the Sunshine State have been reluctant to OK any pay increases.
With next Tuesday's election approaching, another initiative is on Miami-area ballots that would raise the pay of commissioners. They now work about 40 hours a week but are paid about $5,000 a year.
The last time a pay raise of commissioners was offered to voters they rejected it by a 57-43 percent margin.
This time around voters are being asked to not only increase salaries but to do so by a quantum leap ... to almost $60,000 a year.
(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The horrible specter of a bomb-blasted Golden Gate Bridge has been offered by experts who admit they have fears that several west coast suspension bridges may be the next targets of terrorists. Just this week California Gov. Gray Davis said that law enforcement officials had what he called "credible evidence" that several bridges may be in danger.
But, the Golden Gate is not the only one on the list. The Oregonian newspaper in Portland says that the FBI has mentioned a litany of large bridges in the west.
Of course, were the bridges closed or incredible search procedures enacted, the terrorists would have achieved much of their goals anyway.