To the Lady Utes

Congratulations are in order for a fantastic season. The Lady Utes made it to the final eight and lost by only ten points in overtime. I've only been to one game, but I was impressed with the level of basketball those girls play. I'll be looking into season tickets next year. Click on the title, above, to learn more about these girls!


Could the West actually matter on a National Scale?

If Governor Huntsman's plan works, the western states may soon have a much bigger say in what happens nationally.

And since the West is the fastest growing region of the country, it makes sense that the issues we have out here (water, land) should have a bigger sway on candidates than they currently do.

If the West is given the chance to be heard through primary elections similar to those in Iowa, which have long determined which candidates make it to November, we might actually see some visits from these candidates. They might actually take the time to hear about the things that we care about, and maybe, just maybe, we can get some of the issues that have divided the west for so long, such as federal lands and water rights, heard on the national stage.


As a homeowner in America

Hello all, and happy house-signing day to you!

Well, at least to me and my partner. Today we signed the papers to close on our very first home, and suddenly, we have become landowners!

In early America this would have almost given us the right to vote. At least, if one of us had been a man. And I think there was a certain amount of land you had to own. Maybe .11 acres wouldn't have qualified us.

But I'm really excited to start planning the yard....finding water-wise native plants and building raised vegetable gardens so we can grow our own food. Well, at least a little of it. I'm excited about the inside of the house too, but for some reason, the yard is what really gets my motor running.

But I'm nervous too. I'm nervous that our neighborhood won't accept us, as a lesbian couple. And in my life I have wanted what most Americans want: a house, a family, a strong marriage, neighborhood block parties and friendships with neighbors that will help shovel snow, watch children, and rally together on issues that affect our neighborhood.

Why, just because of who I love, shouldn't I have these things too?

I am not stereotypical. And there are a lot of gays and lesbians that are like me. We don't sleep around. We don't do drugs or spend every night partying. We don't want to live the rest of our lives in a condo downtown with a view of the Gateway. Sure, there are some who do, but there are others, like me, that have saved themselves for the right one, found the right one, and have the dreams that any couple would have. But because she's a she, my dreams should be different. Or so some people think.

Well, today is the first step in proving that we can be stable life-partners, and be happy, just as we are.

Happy House-Signing Day!


Water in Washington County

There has been a lot happening in Washington County lately.

I lived there for a year, and got out as quickly as I could. I couldn't take anymore clogged roads, burgeoning growth, or disappearing open space. And it isn't a place that's very welcoming to young people. There aren't any hang-outs for young adults that aren't LDS: no dance clubs, and only two bars. It's a town that, if you move in after high school, is a very hard place to find people like yourself.

But more than any of that, the main reason I left is the gluttonous lifestyle of the people that live there. Beyond the developments called things like Foremasters Ridge (a foremaster being basically a slave driver), which places monstrous houses above the rest of the town so we could all be reminded of our place, there are the expansive lawns, pools, and gardens that have no place in such a parched landscape.

And the leaders down there are scrambling to plan for more growth. As the fifth fastest growing county in the nation, Washington County also has the distinction of consuming the most water per capita in the nation. This in a place that recieves an average of 11.2 inches of rain a year. They want to pipe in water from Lake Powell, build more evaporation-prone reservoirs and make water cheaper to buy.

What they should be doing is taking a cue from developments like Kayenta, that, while still have pools, require the vast portion of each lot to remain natural landscape, thus using very little water. Phoenix, AZ has also been wise, as in the following policy:

"It is hereby declared that, because of the conditions prevailing in the City of Phoenix, the general welfare requires that the water resources available to the City be put to the maximum beneficial use to the extent to which they are capable, and that the waste or unreasonable use, or unreasonable method of use of water be prevented, and the conservation of such water is to be extended with a view to the reasonable and beneficial use thereof in the interests of the people of the City of Phoenix and for the public welfare. (Ord. No G-3335, § 1)"

I'm calling on the cities of Washington County to implement conservation instead of further waste. Give residents the incentives to xeriscape at least portions of their yards, or give tax breaks to those who do. Implement restrictions on when residents can water, since watering in the middle of a 110 degree day is extremely wasteful. Require new construction to use low-flow technology on faucets, toilets, and irrigation. Xeriscape city and county buildings and facilities. Treat each year as if it were a drought year, and then development can happen with less worries.

Conservation is a conservative value too.

Read more about Phoenix's Water Conservation Plan here.

This is not just a Southern Utah problem. All of Utah needs to jump on the conservation bandwagon. Read more here.

More about planning in Washington County here.


'Everyone welcome here'

Kanab is a small town with 'big' morals. Their recent Proclamation to the World on the proper family structure is even more telling about the kind of people that live there than Draper's recent refusal to church-owned D.I. In a word: snobs. Or possibly: bigots.
But amid all this, there are people that are accepting, if only because they're afraid Arthur Frommer's call for a boycott might drain their businesses of much-needed dollars. These people have joined together and created a band-aid...er, I mean, sticker...to nurse the wounds their self-righteous city council and mayor have created. Above a linking of rainbow colored people and Kanab's signature red-rocks the sticker states: Everyone Welcome Here.
These modestly priced stickers, one can hope, will soon be dotting the businesses and cars of the good people of Kanab. While councilman Terril Honey has already said he won't be placing a sticker in the window of his grocery store, Honey's Jubilee, I expect the rest of the council and the Mayor won't have one either.
The Mayor may need to take some drastic measures against the boosters. Maybe the Stake President should be called in. Or maybe he should go straight to the Mormon Mafia. Either way, something must be done!


Spring in the West

I love spring in the west.

Today I picked out my favorite jeans and t-shirt for a walk with my best friend and her dog through Memory Grove, a park in downtown Salt Lake City. I love that today it will be nearly 70 degrees, yet in the next few days we'll get another storm with a chance of snow. And probably, if we do get snow, it will be gone by the end of the day anyway. March will do that to you.

Of course, what I don't love about today is the high wind warning. That should be fun. But hopefully, in the canyons of Memory Grove, we'll be protected from the worst of it, and we can just enjoy the sun and warm temperatures and remind ourselves that soon every day will be like this, or warmer, and that winter doesn't last forever. And we can pretend it's summer again and the Farmer's Market is open with an abundance of all things fresh and fanciful.

I love that the light is back.

It's so much easier to wake up now that it isn't dark until almost 9 am. I get tired during the winter, because my body seems to think if it's dark and cold it should be warm in bed. That includes when the sun sets at 5:30. Could you imagine? Almost 14 hours of sleep if I slept the entire time the sun did? Yikes.


Kudos to Hunstman

I cried at my graduation, which was attended by Governor Mike Leavitt, when I told him what a difference concurrent enrollment had made in the little town I grew up in.
I graduated from high school with my two-year degree in hand, along with two of my classmates. We were the first class to do so, and there have been several more. Not only has the program, carried by EdNet, helped students in high school get degrees, it has provided much needed variety in the curriculum of schools like mine that don't have the manpower or resources to offer classes like Spanish, Psychology, or Astronomy.
And further, it has enriched the community I used to call home. Several community members have gotten two or four-year degrees aided by EdNet.
Yet, some people, like Margaret Dayton from Orem (UVSC is where my two-year degree came from), want to limit the benefit these programs have.
My community is not only small, but poor. Most people there didn't go to college not because they didn't want to, but because they didn't have the means to drive the 45 minutes to UVSC every day, or to move away from a place with such a low cost of living. Concurrent enrollment has given parents the chance to get their kids on the track to a college education for the price of books.
This is an invaluable asset to not only that community, but many small rural communities throughout Utah. Shame on Margaret Dayton for trying to take it away.
But thanks to Governor Huntsman for his level-headed thinking and consequent veto. He has filled Leavitt's shoes on the matter quite well.
I only hope that when Dayton reintroduces it next session, it will not make it through.

Larry and the University

My heart does not hold a fond place in it for Larry H. Miller.

And a big part of me applauds folks at the University of Utah that are strongly opposed to him coming to speak at the university because of his recent attitudes toward Brokeback Mountain, a great film that I could see again and again. They say he does not represent what higher education should be about - diversity and public debate.

But I think bringing him to the university is exactly what higher education is about. Bring in these controversial figures: the Michael Moores and Larry Millers. And suddenly, everyone is talking, thinking, protesting, or attending. The minds of young students form opinions. I know that's what I did in college. And events like these that cause strong reactions in the population facilitate that growth.

So, no, Larry, I do not love you. And I will probably not go see you. And I do not visit your theaters, sports venues, or dealerships. And I wouldn't be unhappy if the U yanked your speaking engagement like you yanked Brokeback. But I do acknowledge that your presence is a driving force in higher education...both because of the money you spend, but also because of the ire you raise in the hearts and minds of those of us who do not agree with your questionable principles.

Read More here, here and here.
Find a list of Larry H Miller businesses (which I boycott) at http://www.slmetro.com/2006/01/miller.shtml


Democratic Caucus

I feel so very politically active this morning.

Last night we went to the Democratic caucus for the district and precinct our new house is in. We sat behind a gay couple and felt quite at home.

Then, we seperated into our precincts and found we were in the same precinct with the brother of a certain KUER announcer. We found ourselves elected delegates to the county and state conventions and then elected Vice President and Secretary of our precinct. I'm just hoping there's more than three democrats in our area, or we're in for a rude awakening.

Anyway, I'm quite excited for the political season to get into full swing. I think the conventions will be fun, and it will give me a chance to make my voice heard on behalf of Scott McCoy. I just hope my partner doesn't resent me too much for dragging her along and making her get involved!