Short takes on issues
Defeat to victory • When South Salt Lake asked voters to approve a bond to buy the campus of the 105-year-old Granite High School last year, the proposal seemed to make sense. The city would have converted the 27 acres to a community center while preserving the history of the place. Voters said no, and now it seems they made the right choice. A developer and a local movie production company, Redman Movies and Stories, will invest $40 million to buy the property from the school district, restore some of the buildings and build sound stages, office space, restaurants and retail buildings. Moving the property to private hands will put it on the city's tax rolls for the first time as an addition to the city's commercial enterprises, and hopefully will create needed jobs. The developer promises to make the facilities available for community events. A win for everybody.
A need for wolves • Humans and wolves are both predators. But it doesn't necessarily follow that an ecosystem can only sustain one or the other. Humans should use their higher intelligence to find a way to co-exist with wolves, because wolves are an important component of the natural ecosystem that is the American West. Until ranchers, hunters and conservationists work out their differences, the gray wolf should remain under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Humans nearly exterminated wolves and did eliminate them from the West for 100 years, and some would like to finish the job. But wolves are important to the West. They keep elk moving, which improves riparian areas and allows beavers to build better habitat for native trout and other native fish. Nature's design includes wolves.
Repaying a debt • Karl "Willy" Winsness set a goal for himself upon his 2004 parole after spending 17 years in the Utah State Prison. He wanted to help the children of other inmates. Winsness, who missed the formative years of his two daughters while incarcerated, is making progress on that goal after joining with the Community Foundation of Utah, a tax-exempt public charity that helps citizens turn their philanthropic ideas into reality. With the nonprofit as a partner, Winsness will create what he calls the "Willy the Plumber Scholarship" for college-bound students who have at least one parent in prison. The $1,000 and $500 scholarships will be awarded every year starting in 2013. Winsness, who owns and operates a plumbing business, is certainly going beyond the norm in repaying his debt to society by helping inmates' children who need and deserve the help.