In a state of spectacular natural beauty, there are few sights more spectacular than a flock of pelicans flying in the middle of the desert. It happens at the Bear River Bird Refuge, just where the Bear River flows into the northeast corner of the Great Salt Lake. The refuge is a federally managed sanctuary, and bird lovers worried last year when Utah lawmakers began squawking that the fed gov’ment had no business mucking about in Utah’s great lake. It turns out all lawmakers wanted is money. The state has just struck a deal for the U.S. Interior Department to purchase refuge land from Utah, giving Utah its money and, hopefully, preserving for pelicans and other birds one of the most important avian breeding spots on earth.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker swept into office with ideas of building “a great American city.” But his first days left some business owners and developers scratching their heads. What exactly was the mayor thinking, for example, when he appointed a New Age therapist to advise him on planning? But Becker’s latest appointment should help put those fears to rest. Bob Farrington, champion of downtown, has been named city economic development director. The longtime head of the Downtown Alliance should have the trust of the business community. He should have vision as well. Most recently, Farrington was in charge of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Downtown Rising project that plotted a future city on paper to include a year-round farmers market and Broadway theater.
Whatever they are drinking, keep it coming. Two Utah liquor commissioners have added their voices to the call to get rid of Utah’s private club law. Commissioner Bobbie Coray says she will ask the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to draft legislation for the 2009 Legislature to end bar memberships. That is the same Bobbie Coray who started her liquor commission career by suggesting liquor bottles should be hidden behind a “Zion curtain.” Now she terms Utah’s private club law “a historical relic” that does nothing to discourage drinking. Utah’s liquor cops may finally be realizing that bringing what Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. calls “normalcy” to liquor laws will encourage tipplers to drink normally, not to mention allow clubs to concentrate on not overserving rather than checking membership lists.