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It's been a long time coming, but 91-year-old Marion Cox, dubbed the honorary mayor of Fort Union, will be saluted with a ceremony and plaque for his family's role in the early pioneer heritage of the Salt Lake Valley.

Cox, a retired carpenter, was instrumental in preserving the home Jehu and Sarah Cox built in 1849 in the area now occupied by a massive shopping district, the Family Center at Fort Union in Midvale.

The historic home was scheduled for demolition when the developer, Hermes Corp., received zoning approval from Salt Lake County to expand the Fort Union Center in the 1990s. But Cox and others with interest in the role Fort Union played in early Mormon history persuaded the county to move the home, which still stands amid the shopping and business district.

Jehu and Sarah Cox, Marion Cox's ancestors, were the original property owners in the area and donated 10 acres in the 1850s at the request of Brigham Young so a fort could be built to protect farmers.

The 11 a.m. ceremony Wednesday at the Midvale Museum will honor the unassuming Cox and his family. Meanwhile, the County Council is considering requests for a $45,000 appropriation to commission a bronze statue of the Coxes to be erected at the site of the home, which for a while was used as a hair salon in the Fort Union center.

Democrat to debate whomever • We have seen empty chairs used by frustrated candidates to depict incumbents who won't debate them, but Democratic Senate candidate Scott Howell may be the first to challenge a made-up person to a debate.

Howell issued a news release this week that complained about incumbent Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch's refusal to debate him. The release said if Hatch doesn't want to face Howell in a traditional debate, Howell would be willing to joint him at a town hall meeting.

If Hatch still doesn't want to appear, Howell said he would be willing to debate a Hatch surrogate, like Hatch's campaign manager Dave Hansen or even Heather Brady.

Heather Brady?

No one by that name is associated with Hatch's office or his campaign. So perhaps Howell is so frustrated with Hatch's invisibility, he'll just debate anyone off the street. Maybe he could grab a shopper from the checkout counter and challenge her on the economy.

Or maybe Howell's campaign meant he would be willing to debate longtime Hatch aide Heather Barney.

Just guessing.

Drinking too much tea? • An employee of the Walmart in Centerville forgot her watch at work recently and walked into the foyer to check the time stamp on the television on the wall.

No luck there because the Republican National Convention was being aired and the time stamp was not on the screen.

She then went to a cashier to ask the time but was told to check the time stamp on the TV.

"The convention is going on right now and the time stamp is not on the TV," she said.

"You mean Romney's convention?" the cashier asked.

"Yeah, if you want to call it that."

"Now who's he running against?"

"The president of the United States."

"You mean that Obama guy?"

It ain't over till it's over • Who said Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart is humorless?

At a legislative audit committee meeting Tuesday, when members were preparing to hear the latest report about incompetence, corruption and other problems at the troubled Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the Provo Republican sought some levity by channeling Yogi Berra.

"It's deja vu all over again," she said.

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