Billionaires’ Wilderness - MISS
nttKeep Out (unless you’re wealthy) signs are being posted around Utah’s wild places by the rich hoping to fence off a bit of paradise. The planned $3.5 billion Mount Holly Club near Beaver, featuring a private ski resort and 18-holes of no-riff-raff golfing surrounded by a national forest, is one example. But a similar impulse writ small can be seen in tony Salt Lake City residents fencing off back-yard gullies. A different possible future is illustrated by The Nature Conservancy, which, with local government cooperation, recently purchased 55 acres of desert in soon-to-be-paved-over St. George for a preserve to protect native wildflowers as well as threatened cactus and poppy plants found nowhere else in the world.
Fest Enhancement - HIT
ttThis year’s four-day version of the Utah Arts Festival had everything'including art. With a healthy mix of local acts, the Library Square event shows every sign of avoiding a slide into a generic summer festival of beer booths, animal-shaped carving boards, jam bands and henna tattoos. Festivalgoers couldn’t help but hear Shakespeare, performed on a prominent stage. Another stage hosted poetry slams. And, if you knew where to look, there was more: a film festival, including a competition for Utah’s short filmmakers; Utah troubadour Alex Caldiero speaking through a drum head; and readings from local writers honing their craft. Filthy Gorgeous even provided a healthy dollop of local style and design art. Keep it coming.
School Putsch - MISS
ttStill smarting over the Utah State Board of Education’s refusal to implement a fatally flawed voucher law, Utah lawmakers are venting frustration during summer meetings. Legislators on the Education Interim Committee wondered aloud whether the board members could be forced to do the Legislature’s bidding in the future; others think the board should be stripped of its power to hire and fire state school administrators'both frightening prospects, given the views of some lawmakers on topics like evolution. Never mind the fact that the Utah Supreme Court gave its blessing to the education board’s voucher decision, agreeing that voters need to be consulted before the Legislature’s voucher plan goes into effect. The justices had better be careful. Legislators will want their jobs next.