Losing our trust, school lunch and land management | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Losing our trust, school lunch and land management 

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This week the local news was all about trust—or lack of it. Blame it on the election, or on a population of conspiracy theorists. The Salt Lake Tribune ran a passel of anti-trust news, starting with national forests. Indeed, federal land managers can't even update a 30-year-old plan without fears of the liberal, environmentalist agenda. In other words, they think the feds are writing a plan to restrict access, designate wilderness and limit grazing. Never mind that things are changing—more ATVs, less coal, more beetles and fewer aspen trees. Then there's the survey that shows respondents distrust schools and administrators. They think that 25 percent of public school funding goes to administration, when it's actually less than 10 percent. Finally, there's the election survey, in which the Trib asked people about angst. The results showed everyone was highly anxious, and again, misinformed. All in all, people need to spend more time with the facts.


School Lunch Programs
So much for the "Don't eat at your desk" admonition. At Wilson Elementary, it's encouraged. Utah has long had a school lunch program, and some breakfasts, but the state ranks last in participation in the breakfast programs. Maybe it's due to the hassle of getting to school so early, or the hassle of signing up. Besides the added physical activity and anti-obesity elements, a 2015 study by Cardiff University showed that kids are twice as likely to have grades that are higher than average if they eat a good breakfast. Now, Deseret News reports, Granite School District and about 70 schools statewide are starting to offer breakfast to classrooms after school has started. It takes the stigma out of sitting alone in the cafeteria and gives everyone a chance to chow down in class. Grants are available, but the Legislature might want to throw in some money for the future brains of the state.


Land Management
Well, the feds aren't always right, are they? The Bureau of Land Management in 2012 approved a natural gas project on the Green River along the Upper Desolation Canyon. The Gasco Natural Gas Development Project would have allowed 1,300 new oil and gas wells in the region—except that the courts have sent it all back to start over. It was proposed to be a 16-well project, which the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance noted was heavily criticized by congressional and environmental leaders, as well as the outdoor industry. That's because some places are just too wild to be drilled. A federal court said the BLM cannot view the environmental impacts of drilling these 16 wells in isolation because the region could be impacted by the drilling of more than 28,000 wells in the next 10 years.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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