Rep. Arent vs. Westboro Baptist Church, Herbert on Health Care Reform & Pricey College Admissions 

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Message Wars

Millcreek Democrat Rep. Patrice Arent had a message of her own for Pickets ’R’ Us Westboro Baptist Church. The Topeka, Kan.,-based group came to Utah to protest at the Sundance Film Festival and to make waves around targeted churches, such as Congregation Kol Ami (a Jewish synagogue) and the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Mark. Their message is pretty transparent, even on their church Website, which is cleverly named GodHatesFags.com. Arent, who attends Kol Ami, sent an e-mail blast to friends and colleagues. “To celebrate my pride in the diversity, equality and hope in our community, I will be donating to Congregation Kol Ami and Equality Utah. Please join me in turning the WBC’s message of hate into a message for positive change.”

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Surviving Canada
Gov. Gary Herbert missed on health-care reform. Speaking to a United Way gathering, Herbert let loose his studied reasoning for opposing health-care reform in America and Utah, which is still part of the United States. Herbert has kids who live in Canada, he says, and his Montreal-based daughter reports that Canadian health care isn’t good. People are crossing the border to the United States, where they can pay for health care, he said. “America is the place you want to be if you want to survive,” Herbert intoned. And wouldn’t it be better to have 50 states addressing health care to see what they come up with? he asked. If that weren’t enough, Herbert offered that health equals wealth. Or wealth equals health. You choose.

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Pricey Admission
Utah high schools—and specifically, Salt Lake City high schools—are valiantly trying to address the achievement gap that keeps minorities and economically disadvantaged students from graduating. They’ve had some success, too. In the class of 2010, 497 of 814 Salt Lake City students eligible for free or reduced lunch graduated. Of 528 limited-English-proficient seniors, 333 graduated. West High, for instance, has 40 such students ready to move on this year to the next level of education—college. They’re all aiming for Salt Lake Community College, which, with financial aid, makes college a real possibility. The problem? Many cannot afford the application fees, and SLCC, with already rock-bottom tuition, does not waive them. Average application fees, according to U.S. News and World Report, are from $38.44 to $46.78. So, an important step is missing here: You have to apply to college if you expect to be accepted.

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