The Great Salt Lake 

Also: Charter schools, UT green card?

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A Pretty Great Lake
Interest in the Great Salt Lake, its health and relationship with the surrounding areas can only be good news. But as time has shown, the lake is a fickle being, rising to inundate highways and resorts, shrinking to expose the earthen-art “Spiral Jetty” and creating and dashing industries built around the salinity of the lake. Union Pacific gave notice that it wants to reconstruct the 20-mile causeway that has divided the lake and changed the water’s salinity on either side. A new causeway might further degrade or enhance the salt content, on which industries such as the environmentally questionable Great Salt Lake Minerals depend. Then there’s the lease issue over the “Spiral Jetty.” The landform artwork may revert to control of the state, which already is considering drilling proposals nearby. One of the wonders of the world, the lake and its survival should be high on Utah’s radar.

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Charter Choice

Utah’s charter schools now have a “choice.” If any of the state’s 83 charter schools are looking for an association to join, they’ve got the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools, which provides training and lobbying services for the nearly 75 percent of charters that belong. In 2010, however, the UAPCS board was overtaken by a group of vocal voucher proponents. Now, former staffer Kim Frank has left or been drummed out to form the Utah Charter Network, which she runs as a volunteer with hubby and ex-legislator Craig Frank on her board.%uFFFD UCN will focus on lobbying, too. While it’s hard to see what separates UAPCS from UCN, maybe the Franks just needed to create jobs for themselves.

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Painful Reality

You’ve got to hand it to Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff for advocating a look at legalizing medical marijuana in a priggish state like Utah. Arguably, Shurtleff could have quietly obtained medical marijuana from a neighboring state while battling colorectal cancer and the associated nausea, but instead he chose to debate this in public. Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, will fight it to “the death” because it gets “misused and abused.” With Christensen’s line of thinking, perhaps prescription painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone products should be banned, too. Providing relief for the sick and dying apparently is not the issue that drug abuse is. But then, even dying patients here are limited in the amount of painkillers they can receive legally.

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Speaking of Hits & Misses

More by Katharine Biele

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