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Short takes on issues

Published April 3, 2013 3:00 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Worth keeping • With much attention to detail, the Ogden High School auditorium, built during the Great Depression, has been restored, thanks to generous and history-conscious community members. Just as another national financial crisis hit in 2007, about 1,200 alumni and other supporters donated a total of $9 million to restore the auditorium to its original 1930s art deco style and upgrade it to current-day seismic-safety standards. Donations ranged from $1 to $1.2 million. The resulting architectural gem won for Hughes General Contractors the Alliant Build America Award. Ogden residents earlier approved a $49 million bond to renovate the rest of the school, which was built with a Public Works Administration grant and a local bond issue. The first graduating class was in 1938. Called the "million-dollar school," its materials included marble and black walnut. Decorative plaster on the auditorium's walls, ceilings and proscenium arch contained 68 colors and a rosette where the original painters had signed their names.

Worth opening on time • Thanks to the Wyoming communities of Jackson and Cody, visitors will be able to enter Yellowstone National Park through its south and east entrances on time, despite federal budget cutbacks. The cities' chambers of commerce came up with the cash needed to pay the Wyoming Department of Transportation to plow snow off the roads into the park. The congressional sequester has reduced funding to national parks, threatening to delay opening Yellowstone until later in the spring. Wyoming crews will open East Entrance over Sylvan Pass to Fishing Bridge as originally scheduled May 3. The state will plow north from the South Entrance to Grant Village, West Thumb Junction and Fishing Bridge, by opening day May 10. The work will benefit both the Wyoming economy and visitors who plan to travel to the popular park this year.

Worth noting • Finally. Utah has received a No. 1 ranking for academic achievement — in digital education. The Legislature has allocated funding to let Utah students — including private-school students — enroll at no cost in three online courses a year. That initiative helped the Beehive State receive an A grade on a national report card from the Digital Learning Now Report Card, a pro-digital nonprofit in Washington, D.C. Utah's emphasis on technology can help give students access to courses not taught in their public schools. But it does little to help struggling children who enter first grade already behind their peers. Preschool and all-day kindergarten should get the same attention as a program that puts tax money into private schools.