A hazardous situation • Let's see. One nuclear waste storage facility? Check. One magnesium plant? Check. One major cross-country Interstate highway? Check. A fully active hazardous materials response team to handle any serious mishaps involving the above? Can we get back to you on that? A shortfall in tax revenues, particularly due to smaller shipments to the EnergySolutions landfill in Tooele County, has pushed the Tooele County Commission to cut spending in many areas, but particularly in the sheriff's office by letting the local hazmat response officer retire without being replaced. The budget woes are real. So are the risks of the materials already stored in the desert, or that may be passing through on I-80, creating a serious problem, not only for Tooele County but for all points downwind. An increase in state assistance, and/or in the taxes paid by EnergySolutions and other purveyors of hazardous materials, is called for.
Ogden chickens out • The good thing about a public website is that the information on it can be updated whenever necessary. The bad thing about a public website is that the information on it must be updated whenever necessary, or its very existence amounts to a lie. Thus was the case with Terry and Dana Macarthur, who bought a home in Ogden for themselves and their flock of seven chickens, based on a reading of the city's website that indicated that such small-scale agriculture was legal there. It isn't. So the couple is facing a choice between getting rid of their chickens and paying fines of $125 per day. But the city's website was admittedly out-of-date, and the home-owners were acting within reason to rely on the official city website for the information that helped them decide where to buy a house. And the city owes them more than a tough-luck cluck. Maybe a new ordinance allowing backyard chickens.
Check your registration • Utah election officials are engaged in a much more logical exercise of their clerical functions than, say, limits on early voting or excessive ID requirements being imposed in some other states. So the recent purge of nonparticipating voters from the Utah election rolls seems relatively benign. Even if some 76,000 names were dropped just this year. The good news is, anyone whose voter registration was voided in this clean-up can cast a provisional ballot and have time to prove their qualifications before the ballots are counted. The better news is, anyone who worries they may have been erased due to a lack of voting can check with their county clerk, or with the Utah Elections Office at vote.utah.gov.
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