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No Fun Zone

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No Fun Zone
Arts schmarts! Who needs it? And who needs health education? Can't you get that info from dear old Mom and Dad? Then there's physical education. Wouldn't it be best if we just let kids sit and study all day—of course, after they've eaten a hearty meal of mac 'n' cheese and doughnuts? The state school board considers these programs unnecessary. This is again an argument for local control, as Deseret News quoted Royce Van Tassell, executive director of the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools, saying. In 2003, the Legislature cut funding for arts—and guess what happened? Charter schools focusing on the arts. A petition from the Utah Cultural Alliance explains why this is unwise: "... Schoolchildren exposed to drama, music and dance are often more proficient at reading, writing and math."

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Religious Influence
Some of you might remember a pivotal issue when John F. Kennedy ran for president: Religion. "How will it affect your decision-making?" they asked. We haven't got over this thinking yet. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is being excoriated because of her questions for a judicial nominee. "There is no secular-sacred divide. Just because we may be offended by a belief we disagree with does not give us the right to shut it out," writes Mike Fullilove of the Biloxi, Miss., Sun Herald. But it's a legitimate concern, as a Washington Post article by Christine Colbert demonstrated. Mormons, she says, think differently about public lands because of their history, religion and culture. They are motivated by distrust of the feds, of the outside world and the belief that the land was given to them by God. The religious question will always be legitimate; how it plays out in public policy is the real concern.

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Construction Takeoff
The $3-billion reconstruction of the Salt Lake City International Airport is moving along, and airlines and passengers can rejoice. It might be three more years before the expansion is finished, The Salt Lake Tribune notes, and it's good to know engineers are thinking about issues like airplane takeoffs and landings, baggage, parking and terminal amenities. It's even more reassuring that they are aware of and planning to mitigate the effects of the water table. Pillars have to support the weight of buildings in places where the water level is just seven feet below the surface. The airport has long had these concerns, which have cost millions to alleviate. Too bad the state didn't consider these same problems when siting the new Utah State Prison on wetlands. Those wetlands, the Trib noted in 2015, made the Salt Lake City site the most expensive of the four.

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