Thank you, Salt Lake County mayors, for expressing support for the Meals on Wheels program. Does this sound like the beginning of a Jimmy Fallon sketch? More like: Thank you, Salt Lake mayors, for showing us that words can fill empty plates. Yes, it was nice of the mayors to give the program a high-five, but just how much that translates into action is the question. 2013’s federal sequestration resulted in a loss of $347,000 from the state’s Meals on Wheels program. In January, a desperate St. Joseph Community Services sent letters to U.S. senators and congressmen, with messages written on paper plates, to plead for a restoration of funding. They alone lost $120,000 and had to cut three positions. While the feds and the state account for about 25 percent of the funding each, local donations have to make up the rest. Mayors need to donate more than their time once a year. A hefty donation to the Utah congressional delegation might help.
If it’s not enough that the state wants to take over federal lands, now our own Rep. Rob Bishop wants Congress to limit the Antiquities Act of 1906 and require congressional review of any proposed national monuments. Yeah, he’s pissed that President Obama declared a new national monument near California’s Point Arena. And he thinks, of course, that Congress should decide whether to protect public lands. This despite Congress not doing just that. The body has protected only one stretch of land since 2009. Environmentalists fear that Bishop and others are moving toward a “no more national parks policy” because they see dollar signs from development potential. The public wants more national parks; Congress wants more money.
Speaking of public lands, Utah has some beautiful, irreplaceable treasures, and they’re kind of taken for granted. Well, not kind of. Now Boy Scout leaders David Hall and Glen Taylor can go have some fun with the video they made of themselves pushing over an ancient rock formation in Goblin Valley. That’s because they pleaded guilty to some misdemeanors, got a year’s probation and have to pay some fines. Supposedly, there will be restitution, but how does one repair something that can’t be replaced? Oh, and then there’s the plan to connect the ski resorts in Salt Lake and Summit counties. Despite lots of smiling faces among resort owners, the uncertainties over the fate of watersheds and backcountry remain.Â Â