State Sen. Dan Liljenquist, R-Bountiful, suggested during an Interim Business & Labor Committee hearing Aug. 18 that to control costs, the state should stop paying for epidurals and caesarean sections for women on Medicaid. Liljenquist, the senator leading the effort to bring down Medicaid cost expenses, backed away from the comments Aug. 24 during an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune, saying he was talking informally about elective procedures, and it is not a formal idea. But the fact he considers those two procedures as elective and on par with wart removal speaks volumes about the Legislature’s general attitude toward low-income people, and portends more pain and suffering for an already vulnerable population.
Ogden’s Helping Hand
The Ogden City Council is poised to donate five acres to St. Anne’s Center, on 33rd Street and Pacific Avenue, for a new homeless shelter. The center will replace the current shelter, which, according to St. Anne’s, is cramped and no longer able to adequately serve the homeless, especially families. According to the Associated Press, the shelter will cost about $4 million to build, although it has already received a $1.5 million donation from the LDS Church. The land donation is an important shot in the arm from city leaders, and notable during a time when governments are tightening budgets and hoarding every asset.
Crawling No More
Glen Warchol made a name for himself as the Salt Lake Crawler, a blog for The Salt Lake Tribune that was shelved Aug. 24 with an announcement that Warchol is now a features writer focusing on profiles. Warchol, possibly the most prominent news blogger in the state, was able to have a distinct voice that often pushed the boundaries of traditional journalism, even though he was employed by a corporate newspaper. Now, however, Tribune Editor Nancy Conway says he is a “resource” that is needed “as a journalist” to boost the print product. Yet, he will be writing features instead of politics, his expertise. Conway says that’s because of a concern he will not be viewed as objective after his stint as a blogger. Warchol, for his part, disputes that notion, saying that “the objectivity is bogus ... but it is a time-honored argument in old-media.”