Hungry at school • Another important ranking in which Utah is at the bottom among all states is the percentage of needy kids who get breakfast at school. Only about one-third of low-income youngsters in Utah who eat free or reduced-price lunch at school also get breakfast there. That means many children are coming to school hungry in the morning and staying hungry until lunch. How can they concentrate on reading and math with empty stomachs? The ironic aspect of this is that Utah could claim another $15.5 million in federal meal reimbursements if it could bring the percentage of free- and reduced-price lunch students who also ate breakfast up to 70 percent. All of Ogden's schools offer breakfast every day. If they can, other Utah schools can, too.
Sour grapes on steroids • There are poor losers, pathetically poor losers, and then there is Terry Lee of Cedar City. Lee is so vindictive over the re-election of President Barack Obama and the passage and court victory of Obamacare that he fired two employees because they are Obama supporters. And he seems not to care who knows about it. He posted in the comments section following a Tribune news story: "We had to let two employees go to cover new Obongocare costs and increased taxes. Found two Obongo supporters and gave them the news yesterday. They wanted the idiot in the Whitehouse, they reap the benefits." Aside from his poor spelling and scurrilous, racist references to the president, Lee's rant is inaccurate. Obamacare requires only businesses with more than 50 employees to insure full-timers or face penalties. Sadly, what Lee did isn't illegal, just disgusting.
Releasing toxic junk • Salt Lake County is No. 2 for the highest volume of toxic substance releases among counties in the Toxic Release Inventory reported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Utah's slight uptick last year followed a national trend of bigger releases to the air, land and water. And Kennecott Utah Copper's Bingham Canyon mining operations once again ranked second overall in the nation. While Kennecott says only a tiny fraction of the company's total "releases" comprise the chemical poisons that fit the original definition for TRI releases, the junk that the huge mine produces should be monitored and reported. Disposal methods today are better at protecting the public, but we can't take any chances that any company might slip up.