Closing the barn door • Utah's largest hospital chain, Intermountain Healthcare, will pay the federal government $25.5 million after reporting violations of federal law to the U.S. attorney for Utah. It's to the company's credit that it disclosed leases and doctor payments that were in violation of the federal Stark Law. And IHC has admitted it's embarrassed and has rightly promised to fix the areas that did not comply with the law. Those actions are deserving of a "thumb up." The disclosures and vow to improve how IHC does business as well as the sizable fine should nudge other big hospital companies to better monitor their own operations. However, it must be said that IHC should have prevented the embarrassment by better managing its operation in the first place.
Postponing the inevitable • Blame a society in too much of a hurry. Blame a generation who doesn't love the language. Blame technology. Or maybe, simply accept the slide into oblivion of the once much-revered art of writing in cursive. The one thing that's certain is that hardly anybody worries any longer about fancy handwriting. Still, we have to agree with the Utah State Board of Education, which voted unanimously last week to continue teaching cursive in Utah public schools. Despite the move to communication by computer and mobile device and the widespread use of "u" instead of "you," Utah's current crop of youngsters will have a need for writing on paper at certain times and places. And all of them will have to sign their names from time to time. That may not be true for their children, but for now, let's keep cursive alive, IMHO.
Attracting criticism • The choice of an AR-15 .223-caliber rifle as a raffle prize for a youth hockey team's fundraiser was insensitive and unnecessarily provocative. The assault-style, high-capacity rifle is similar to one used to slaughter 20 first-graders and six educators in Connecticut in December. It and other firearms like it have been the center of much debate between gun-rights advocates and gun-control proponents. The event, sponsored by Vernal sporting goods store Basin Sports, was publicized with an image of the AR-15 .223-caliber gun, although the raffle winner could use a gift certificate to buy something else at the store. Tickets for the April 4 drawing cost $10, and the Uintah Ute Hockey Team reached its goal of raising $30,000 to pay for a trip to a national tournament. Some parents defended the raffle by saying hunting is popular in that rural eastern Utah area, but it's a poor shot who needs to expend 30 or 40 rounds per minute to bring down an elk.