Winner: For now, at least, a state committee has recommended that Utah hold off participating in the controversial MATRIX supercomputer database. The database, intended as a crime-fighting tool, raises many questions about privacy and the potential of abuse by overzealous law enforcers. Unless those concerns can be allayed, Utah's best bet is to steer clear of MATRIX, as other states have done.
Loser: The coming of spring brings with it carefree children on bicycles, lawns littered with soccer balls, baseballs, mitts and bats and children playing in the street. Unfortunately, when children emerge from a long winter of video games and television watching, they seem to forget the dangers that lurk in the world. The recent spate of auto-pedestrian and auto-bicycle accidents involving children should remind drivers to keep an eye out for youths. Likewise, parents should use this opportunity to teach their children the finer points of safety when riding bicycles and playing outdoors.
Winner: The toast of Utah high school scholars were feted this week during the 43rd annual Deseret Morning News and KSL-TV Sterling Scholar awards ceremony at Cottonwood High School. The general scholarship winner, Chinese-born Szoa Zhi Geng, a straight-A student at Timpview High School, wants to study international relations, become a physician and work for the World Health Organization. Geng, who also won the English category of the annual scholarship program that honors academic excellence and leadership, was among 13 Sterling Scholars selected from 11 Utah high schools in nine school districts from Cache to Utah counties. In all, 676 outstanding students from area high schools were nominated. All are to be congratulated.
Winner: Free gun lock safety kits continue to be distributed by 117 law enforcement agencies statewide under Project HomeSafe program developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. A total of 133,000 locks are expected to be passed out in Utah this month.The national organization recently received a $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to purchase 20 million gun locks for distribution nationwide. This past week, the South Jordan Police Department announced this week that 600 gun locks are available at its Public Safety Building, 1600 W. Town Center Drive (10600 South). The issue of safe gun storage resonates in the suburban community, where a 12-year-old boy died last fall after he was accidentally shot by a 14-year-old friend who found a gun in a car.