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Short takes on issues

Published July 21, 2012 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Out of this world • Scientists at Utah aerospace contractor Alliant Techsystems Inc. are major contributors to the audacious space research of the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble Telescope. It will be launched more than 1 million miles into space in 2018 and in 2019 will begin taking pictures of galaxies born more than 13 billion years ago by capturing the infrared light that remains of their images. ATK built the platform on which sits the telescope's 21½-foot diameter mirror made up of 18 smaller hexagonal mirrors in a concave pattern with the telescope lens in the middle. As NASA's Lee Feinberg said, "It's going to be mindblowing."

For art's sake • The mayor and City Council members of the small college town of Ephraim in rural central Utah gave a feeble excuse for evicting the Central Utah Art Center from a building the city had provided free for two decades. The city fathers said the art center, which has received a $30,000 annual stipend, failed to deliver education programs to public schools and Snow College. But the timing of the eviction, during an exhibit titled "SuperHUMAN" that included three photographic works by artist Chitra Ganesh focusing on a woman's nude breasts, points to other motivations. It's a shame the city eliminated such a symbiotic partnership. The center offered a gallery for Sanpete County artists and for Snow College art students and faculty. More than 500 local elementary-school students took art classes at the center, and a children's program was in place at Ephraim Elementary School. They should reconsider.

Religion in the city • There's nothing wrong with a religiously themed concert being held at a city-owned venue that is open to all kinds of groups. On the other hand, when a city uses taxpayer money, as Draper is about to do, on a Christian music concert, that is a song of a different tune. The city will deposit $21,500 to bring Christian artist Michael W. Smith and a program titled "Wonder, Worship and Glory" to the city amphitheater July 24. The city expects to recoup through ticket sales, but if that doesn't happen, Draper taxpayers, Christian or not, would be subsidizing a religious program. It's a fine line, to be sure. If Smith were not well-known as a Christian artist, there would probably be no argument. But one resident says he will sue, and, while the city should not yield to such pressure when it's right, we're not so sure that's the case this time.