Mural Wars 

Also: Gun Violence a Disease?, No Country for Old Trees

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Mural Wars
Maybe if they had been murals of hand-holding children, they wouldn't have caused the grief they did. But with one mural at least—the one on the outside of the Azteca de Oro Taqueria—West Valley City officials have agreed to cool off for 30 days, according to a report from The Salt Lake Tribune. Big and colorful and ethnic, the community mural of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta caused someone to complain. The city then said "the sign" covered too much area, because it covered more than 15 percent of the building's facade. It might be a good idea for cities to consider more inclusive mural designations. That wouldn't have helped Josh and Heida Belka whose Joe Hill mural on the side of the IATSE Local 99 at 526 W. 800 South in Salt Lake City was painted over with an American flag. That, apparently, was sparked by mean-spirited internal union politics—without the negotiations.

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Gun Violence a Disease?
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill tipped over the edge after the latest mass shooting. Who didn't? But in the case of all the mass shootings—and there have been many—the Second Amendment stands in the way of action. Mind you, this isn't the real Second Amendment, but the perception that it is an inflexible mandate for all to carry and use any weapons any way they want. Gill simply calls for dialogue: "This is a social, political and public-health tragedy," he says. But dialogue won't be coming soon. For the past 20 years, Congress has refused to fund a study on gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, because "it's not a disease." Perhaps Congress refuses the funding out of fear that a study will inevitably lead to gun control. That fear is killing Americans.

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No Country for Old Trees
Ignore something long enough, and it will go away—and not in a good way. That's what happened this past week in Big Cottonwood Canyon, where more than 100 trees were mistakenly cut down. Some were planted in 1905 to prevent erosion, but Silver Hill LLC jumped the gun and cut down many more trees than its permit allowed, KSL 5 News reported. The project has stopped—at least for now. Meanwhile, the drought-stricken West has just found out that the U.S. Forest Service has been allowing Nestle to pipe water out of the San Bernadino National Forest from a collection of wells "using a permit that lists an expiration date of 1988," the California newspaper, the Desert Sun, reported.

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