Wasn’t it so thoughtful of those LDS missionaries at the Missionary Training Center to make 350,000 meals for hungry children? And surely there were others—Pamela Atkinson, the Salvation Army and so on—who also made this one day of the whole year a time to, well, eat. But lurking in the background is a quiet disdain for the hungry, a belief that people somehow put themselves in this position. Conservatives don’t think food stamps are effective and let a recent $5 billion cut sail through. While 23 percent of Utah kids live in homes that struggle to afford enough food, three of our four House delegates support the next $40 billion in cuts to food stamps, according to Utahns Against Hunger. “A lot of these families are living so close to the edge that, even with government help, they have difficulty getting the food they need,” wrote Jordan Weissmann of The Atlantic.
Utahns are probably getting tired of hearing about water, since it keeps coming out of their faucets. But looking at the big picture, things are anything but bright. First, there’s the District Court ruling that it’s OK for Blue Castle Holdings to suck 53,000 acre feet of water from the Green River for its proposed and perplexing nuke plant. After all, it just goes in and out, right? But who’s considering a nuclear accident and the immediate need to pump huge amounts of water? Second, there’s the ponderous agreement in which Bluffdale agreed to supply water to the National Security Agency at a sweetheart rate. And finally, there’s the Lake Powell Pipeline project that would help Kane and Washington counties with an extra 80,000 acre feet of water because, well, the projections are for a dry future.
Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker got a little hype last week with the opening of a $3 million solar farm meant to power the new police headquarters downtown. So giddy was Becker that he posed with outgoing councilwoman Jill Love in an “American Gothic” takeoff of the farmer with a pitchfork next to his spinster daughter; not sure how that relates. Still, the panels are expected to pay for themselves in 10 years, and then only the maintenance costs are left. The city used an old landfill for the farm, which seems like a good use. Maybe solar is catching on. Ikea installed panels on its Draper facility and Burton Lumber installed the state’s largest roof project at its Salt Lake City location.