Hits & Misses | Walkable Neighborhoods, Crandall Canyon Disaster & Helpful Utahns 

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Legislating Neighborhoods
The Salt Lake City Council has taken the manacles off small business, passing new rules to allow businesses in residential areas after a lengthy moratorium. At the same time, the council has changed parking requirements to make opening a neighborhood business less onerous—and possibly prompt creation of the “walkable” neighborhood everyone says they want. Businesses could avoid building parking lots if they add pedestrian amenities. By passing the new rules, the council angered the army of SUV drivers. They recognized that the trade-off for driver convenience—requiring expensive, land-consuming slabs of concrete—is fewer neighborhood restaurants and shops. There will be more fights to come. But if city leaders are serious about creating livable neighborhoods, they are on the right path.

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Blood on Their Hands
Federal mine regulators have pointed the finger for the Crandall Canyon mine disaster squarely at mine owner Murray Energy, levying the largest ever fine—$1.6 million—against the mine operator. A new review says the company knew its mining plan was unsafe, yet continued, even hiding information about earlier near cave-ins from regulators. Federal mine regulators themselves have a share of blame for the 2007 mine collapse that took nine lives. A separate study by the Labor Department found the Mine Safety and Health Administration rubber-stamped a dangerous Murray Energy mining plan that was “destined to fail.” The reports make clear Crandall Canyon was a man-made disaster. The miners’ deaths are at the feet of their employer and regulators who sacrificed safety for the company bottom line.

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Helpful Place
If the country is headed into a depression, Utah looks like the place to be. More Utahns volunteer their time to help their fellow beings than anywhere else in the country, according to the new Volunteering in America survey from the Corporation for National and Community Service. While the national rate of volunteerism dipped for the second year in a row, generosity in the Beehive State hasn’t flagged. Among big U.S. cities, Salt Lake City ranked second, coming behind only Minneapolis-St. Paul for the percentage of residents who volunteer. An impressive 37 percent of Salt Lakers donate time. Provo—where 63 percent of residents volunteer—ranked first among mid-size cities for volunteers. Those numbers compare with a 26 percent average nationwide volunteer rate. tttt

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