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The winners and the losers

SHARE The winners and the losers

Loser: Maybe a lot of grade school students would disagree, but Fourth of July celebrations lose a lot of their appeal when errant fireworks set a public school on fire. That's apparently what happened Tuesday to Western Hills Elementary in Kearns, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

Luckily, the school was empty and no one was hurt. The likely culprit was a firecracker that somehow ended up in bushes outside the school. Perhaps it was even a legal one, which highlights Utah's need to consider outlawing all fireworks other than those in licensed and regulated shows. Sure, kids love them. So do adults. But this is a dry desert, and it makes little sense to keep shooting fire and explosives around during the hottest and driest time of the year.

Winner: At a time when people are being urged to conserve energy, it's nice to see government leading the way. A Deseret News story this week showed that state and federal offices in Utah are doing an admirable job of keeping the lights turned off when no one is around and installing energy-efficient fixtures, including motion detectors and solar film to cover windows. Given how hot it is right now, and how hard everyone's air conditioning is working, more people should follow government's example.

Loser: The tiny city of LaVerkin may have made itself safe from the United Nations, but it had to trash the Constitution to do it. In a classic case of chasing invisible bogeymen, the City Council voted this week to pass an ordinance that bars the city from contracting with any business that knowingly engages in work for the United Nations In addition, it requires any "entity" engaging in work for the United Nations or "its supporters" to file an annual report with the city, erect a sign that says, "United Nations Work Conducted Here," and to pay a fee.

We suppose that anyone who uses his or her right to free speech to express support for the United Nations and then does business in town would fall under this new law, which brings to mind some of the restrictions suffered by citizens of the old Soviet Union.

All of which makes us wonder, aren't there any potholes or other legitimate things for the LaVerkin City Council to worry about?

Winner: Scientists had always believed it was impossible to regenerate damaged nerve cells that control brain and spinal cord functions. But University of Utah neuroscientist Maureen Condic believes she may have proven otherwise. Her study, published this month in the Journal of Neuroscience, details how she used genetic engineering to get adult neurons to grow.

A lot of research and study lies ahead, but this breakthrough is incredibly great news to the many victims of spinal injuries and other nerve damage who had lost hope.