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Editorial Board Awards Thumbs
Salt Lake Tribune
November 12, 2011

Talking to teachers » In a refreshing but unfamiliar tactic, a freshman Utah state senator took the time last week to talk to educators about education. Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, said he wants to better understand public education in Utah and invited teachers from Box Elder and Davis counties to a “listening session” to hear what they think about his plan to change the way teachers are fired and how their pay is decided in Utah. Osmond says he will visit other school districts throughout the state to gather feedback before drafting his bill. He promised to consider what the teachers say and “if after all this feedback we find that we are pursuing the wrong path, I am willing to back away from it and pursue another one.” Of course, whether Osmond is true to his word remains to be seen, but his willingness to at least listen before acting is rare among legislators when it comes to education issues and one that should be emulated.

Deserving wilderness » Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s decision to propose three areas in Grand County for wilderness designation is not exactly groundbreaking. At the same time, it should not spark much opposition, since all three — Desolation Canyon, Mill Creek Canyon and Westwater Canyon — are already protected as wilderness study areas. If Congress goes along with Salazar’s choices, nothing will change. Grand County officials, although not officially on record as recommending the specific areas as wilderness, are not likely to object. Two members of Utah’s congressional delegation, not surprisingly, immediately did object. Rep. Jim Matheson, a Democrat, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican, both said wilderness should be designated through a collaborative process involving local officials, in effect modeled after the Washington County wilderness bill championed by Matheson and former Sen. Bob Bennett. But upgrading protection of areas already recognized as worthy of wilderness designation by virtually all stakeholders doesn’t violate any commitment to local input.

Packer nation » Utah securities regulators have given the green light for the Green Bay Packers to sell shares of the team in the Beehive State. The Packers are a rarity in professional sports in that they are publically owned. That should give local cheese heads a shot at owning a stake in the legendary NFL franchise.



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