More than blood • As wildfires crisscross Utah, new ones starting just as others are contained, stories abound about the bravery and dedication of firefighters. These seemingly tireless men and women deserve our appreciation and respect. But there are other crews battling the effects of Utah's worst fire season ever: volunteers working with the Red Cross. Since June 29, the Utah chapter has assisted nearly 1,500 residents evacuated from their homes. It has staffed at least five shelters in the past 10 days, serving more than 4,500 meals and handing out 3,000 bottles of water. Although the Utah chapter increased its stores of needed items, anticipating an unusually hot summer, it now must push for more help from its local partner organizations and volunteers. All Utahns owe a debt of gratitude to the Red Cross and the churches, businesses and civic groups that support it.
Recycling bonanza • Utah's economy is rebounding faster than most other states', and our unemployment rate is much lower than the national jobless numbers, but that doesn't mean Utahns aren't still looking for bargains. In fact, Utahns have always appreciated a good deal. And they also like to recycle the things clothing, appliances, furniture, books, just about everything except mattresses they don't use anymore. Because of those tendencies, Utah is a thrift-store extravaganza. The LDS Church's Deseret Industries, which is actually more about creating jobs for its employees than deals for bargain-hunters, leads the pack with a chain of outlets in Utah and other Western states. Then there are Goodwill stores and a Kid to Kid chain, which also cater to donors and shoppers alike, and myriad small consignment stores as well, some offering high-end, gently used clothing for the classy bargain hunters. This is recycling at its best.
Righting wrongs • The names of four Utahns who spent years in prison because of wrongful convictions have been included in the new National Registry of Exonerations, which lists information on convictions later overturned in the past 23 years. The registry originally listed 873 cases when it was started in February, and it now has 904 cases from January 1989 to February 2012. The University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at the Northwestern University School of Law jointly manage the database in an effort to catalog how people are wrongly convicted so the same mistakes won't recur. The work is literally giving victims back their lives.