A tragic end • Elam Jones knew how dangerous mining can be. The 29-year-old who died last week when part of a tunnel roof fell on him in the Rhino coal mine near Huntington Canyon in Emery County survived a rescue operation at the Crandall Canyon mine in 2007 that killed three other rescuers. That makes his death even more tragic. Six rescuers, including Jones, were injured at Crandall Canyon when a wall of coal blew in on them while they were digging through debris, trying to reach six miners missing after a mine implosion 10 days earlier. All six trapped miners died. The Rhino mine owners have a good safety record, but whatever federal investigators find in this case, the owners should do everything possible to ensure that miners don't die needlessly.
A deal too good to pass up • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is making Salt Lake County an offer it shouldn't refuse. If the county buys the 9.81 acres of land under the county-owned Abravanel Hall and Salt Palace Convention Center before Nov. 4, 2016, the price tag would be about $6.4 million. After that, it would jump to an estimated minimum of $21.4 million. The church leased the property to the county, beginning in 1964, for $1 per year. Twenty years later the contract was renewed. The deal has a clause giving the county the right to buy the property for the '84 market value, but the deal is only good until 2016. While the $1-per-year lease is a heckuva deal, it would be better in the long run for the county to own the land and be able to use it as needed without asking permission. In this case, owning is better than renting.
A learning opportunity • The National Institutes of Health has been studying how children learn math concepts. Not surprisingly, the research finds that even before first grade, children should begin to understand basic concepts involving numbers and numerical relationships. The study is more evidence of the importance of early-childhood education, something the Utah Legislature does not find as important as it should. Children in the Beehive State whose parents cannot afford quality preschool, or who don't have a chance to attend all-day kindergarten because it is not offered in their districts, can lag far behind their classmates even in first grade. And the gap too often never closes, leading to those children dropping out in middle school or high school. Legislators had a chance to give at-risk Utah children that boost with a bill to fund preschool with a state/private partnership, but sadly they rejected it.