Twenty-two local adult immigrants just graduated from a rigorous advanced English as a Second Language class sponsored by the University of Utah’s English Language Institute and Zions Bank. Since January, students have met Monday through Thursday for two hours each night. To date, twelve such courses have helped 200 students graduate from advanced ESL classes. Classes are designed to give students who’ve already passed minimum “survival” English classes the chance to ratchet up their language skills. Graduates stand better poised for higher education and technical job opportunities.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that it’s powerless to stop the importation of foreign nuclear waste into the country. The agency says as long as the waste is safe to move and has a loving home—like an EnergySolutions facility in Utah’s west desert—then it can’t be stopped. That could mean a hot, sizzling dump of up to 1,600 tons of Italian low-level nuclear waste here. Critics have few options left, except to await the outcome of a lawsuit to determine whether the Northwest Interstate Compact’s decision against EnergySolutions’ importation will stand. That, or maybe a state or federal law. Too bad that, on the federal level, one of our congressmen, Rob Bishop, R-Utah, is actually a former EnergySolutions lobbyist. Also too bad that, on a state level, the company has made more campaign contributions to local legislators than you could shake a spent nuclear rod at.
The Obama administration has nominated someone to lead the Bureau of Indian Affairs, former BYU professor Larry Echohawk. As a Pawnee, Echohawk was the first American Indian elected to statewide office, serving as Idaho’s attorney general from 1991 to 1995. Echohawk has a reputation for fairness and a tough stance on tribal casinos. His hawkishness on gambling nearly held his nomination back, but his politics and policies mark a true man of the West: Indian, Mormon, Democrat—even a former college football player. Hopefully, Echohawk will be a change the nation’s American Indians can believe in.