Thursday, February 24, 2011

Walmart announces Fighting Hunger winners

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Don HIll, right, house manager at The Rescue Mission of Salt Lake, unloads donated food from the Road Home's minivan Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011.
Chris Croswhite has spent the past few weeks engaged in something rare for the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake: car shopping.
The Rescue Mission is one of nine Utah nonprofits splitting more than $1 million from the Wal-Mart “Fighting Hunger Together” challenge, the Wal-Mart Foundation announced Thursday. Salt Lake City previously was named as the challenge winner, but Wal-Mart officials had not announced which agencies would receive funds.
The contest asked people on Facebook to “like” or “friend” their favorite of the 100 hungriest communities in the United States. Salt Lake City got the most votes to win the $1 million, with Ogden finishing fourth with a $100,000 prize.
The money will not buy food. Instead, the nonprofits are receiving help with much-needed infrastructure that will allow them to transport and store more food.
For the Rescue Mission, that means a new cargo van to haul donations, said Croswhite, the organization’s executive director. Many donors are happy to help with food, but “we have to have the infrastructure and the means to pick up and cook the meals, and be able to pick up and distribute the food.”
The Wal-Mart Foundation met with each agency to discuss its individual needs, said Jim Pugh, executive director of the Utah Food Bank, which is receiving $700,000 from the grant. All the agencies selected plan to use the money for items such as new transportation or cold storage.
The Food Bank, which serves pantries around the state, will get a semi-trailer, a box truck and a smaller multi-use vehicle to help shuttle food around the state. Warehouse efficiency is another focus, with plans for more forklifts, redesigned volunteer space and a new loading dock. The agency’s St. George branch gets the remaining money to build two 65 by 25-foot cold storage units to allow more fresh food to be distributed around southern Utah.
“We work with emergency food pantries. Most of those might be the size of your kitchen at home,” Pugh said, emphasizing the need for more space. “They can only hold a few days’ worth of supplies.”
Though food may seem the obvious need, pantries are often desperate for other items that help them function, and are not often donated, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Deisha Galberth explained. Buying items such as trucks and refrigerators will help recipients continue long-term operations.
The infrastructure should greatly expand the Grocery Rescue Program, in which Wal-Mart stores participate. Pantries visit retail stores several times a week to pick up donations of produce, dairy and meat that are three to four days from expiration and unlikely to sell, Pugh said. The network of trucks and cold storage can then quickly deliver those groceries to families in need. Pugh estimates one new semi-truck will add 10 to 12 additional stores a day.
“We’re the largest grocer in the United States” Galberth said. “It just makes sense for us to step up and try to help these families.”
The program has huge benefits, providing more nutritious food to families in need, said Marcie Valdez, northern Utah director for Catholic Community Services, which is receiving grants in Ogden and Salt Lake City. In addition to canned goods, her clients are now receiving two to three meat items each day, as well as lots of produce. Food is out there, Valdez said, it just needs to be picked up.
“There is enough food in Utah, and certainly in the U.S., that no one should have to go hungry,”Valdez said. “It’s just a matter of getting it to the people who need it.”
The agencies expressed thanks to Wal-Mart and Utahns who voted. The state has shown a commitment to fight hunger through small acts of service and volunteer hours, Pugh said, and pantries will continue to rely on them in the future.
“We’re not an organization that’s typically run off of million-dollar gifts,” Pugh said. “Small things make a difference.”
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert commended Utahns’ use of “Chicago-style” politics by voting early and often. The state’s 2.8 million residents managed to rack up 5.6 million votes. He, along with Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon and Clearfield Mayor Don Wood, urge Utahns to continue finding small ways to serve others.
“We always need to look outside of ourselves and see where we can contribute,” Herbert said.
Fighting Hunger Together recipients
Salt Lake City
Catholic Community Services • $60,000 for a new refrigerated food truck
Rescue Mission of Salt Lake • $35,000 for a cargo van to transport food
St. Andrew’s Food Pantry • $25,000 for additional refrigerators, freezers and supplies
Salt Lake Community Action Partnership • $75,000 for supplies to serve breakfast and lunch to pre-school children and low-income families
Salt Lake County Aging Services Nutrition Program • $25,000 to modernize kitchen space and equipment
Utah Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program • $20,000 for free nutrition education
Utah Food Bank • $700,000 for refrigerated food truck, box truck and freezer and refrigerator space
Utahns Against Hunger • $60,000 to encourage local farmers markets to accept food stamps and participate in school breakfast and summer food programs
Catholic Community Services • $75,000 to buy one new refrigerated food truck and convert another truck for refrigeration
St. Anne’s Center • $25,000 to purchase one box truck


A Salt Lake City woman was in serious condition Tuesday after she apparently touched off an oxygen tank fire with her cigarette.

Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesman Scott Freitag said the tank did not explode, but the high level of the gas greatly increased the combustibility of her mask, clothing and skin, resulting in burns to her face and chest about 8:20 p.m. Monday.

While oxygen itself is not flammable, the higher its percentage, the more rapidly combustion of available fuels takes place.

The woman, who also suffered minor inhalation burns, was transported from her home in the 1000 block of north Redwood Road to the University of Utah’s Intermountain Burn Center.

Published in the Salt Lake Tribune on Feb 15, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011



Observations on Growing Older
Your kids are becoming you, & you don't like ‘em.
But your grandchildren are perfect!
Going out is good.
Coming home is better!
When people say you look "Great", they add … "for your age!"
When you needed the discount, you paid full price.
Now you get discounts on everything ...
movies, hotels, flights … but you're too tired to use them.
You forget names, but it's OK because other people forgot they even knew you!!!
The 5 lbs you wanted to lose is now 15, & you have a better chance of losing your keys than the 15 lbs.
You realize you're never going to be really good at anything ... especially golf.
Your spouse is counting on you to remember things you don't remember.
The things you used to care to do, you no longer care to do, but you really do care that you don't care to do them anymore.Your husband sleeps better on a lounge chair w/the TV blaring than he does in bed. It's called his "pre-sleep".
Remember when your mother said,
"Wear clean underwear in case you GET in an accident"?
Now you bring clean underwear in case you HAVE an accident!
You used to say,
"I hope my kids GET married.”
Now, "I hope they STAY married!"
You miss the days when everything worked w/just an "ON" & "OFF" switch.
When GOOGLE, ipod, email & modem were unheard of. And a mouse was something that made you climb on a table.
You tend to use more 4 letter words like "what?" & "when?".
Now that you can afford expensive jewelry, it's not safe to wear it anywhere.
Your husband has a night out w/the guys,
but he's home by 9:00PM. Next week it will be 8:30PM.
You read 100 pages into a book before you realize you've read it.
Notice everything they sell in stores is "sleeveless"?
What used to be freckles are now liver spots.
Everybody whispers.
Now that your husband has retired, you'd give anything if he'd find a job!

You have 3 sizes of clothes in your closet … 2 of which you will never wear.
But old is good in some things:
old songs, old movies,
And best of all, OLD FRIENDS!!!
Love you, "OLD FRIEND!"

It's Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter That Tells What Kind Of Life You Have Lived.

I'm Fine, How are You?

 There's nothing the matter with me,
I'm just as healthy as can be,
I have arthritis in both knees,
And when I talk, I talk with a wheeze.
My pulse is weak, my blood is thin,
But I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.

All my teeth have had to come out,
And my diet I hate to think about.
I'm overweight and I can't get thin,
But I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.

Arch supports I need for my feet.
Or I wouldn't be able to go out in the street.
Sleep is denied me night after night,
But every morning I find I'm all right.
My memory's failing, my head's in a spin.
But I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.

The moral of this as the tale unfolds,
Is that for you and me, who are growing old.
It is better to say "I'm fine" with a grin,
Than to let people know the shape we are in.

I'm fine, how are you ?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Herbert waits on blocking federal health reform

 By Matt Canham
 The Salt Lake Tribune Gov. Gary Herbert.
Washington • Gov. Gary Herbert isn’t ready to pull the plug on federal health reform just yet, even if the state’s top attorney believes a recent court ruling gives him that option.
Instead, the governor asked his staff to dig deeper into the legal ramifications and directed heads of each state department to determine what would happen if he dug in his heels and waited for the legal challenges to work their way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I think we need to be methodical about this,” said Herbert, who expects those state reviews to take a month. “We need to get on more solid footing before we make some decisions one way or another.”
Earlier this month, a federal judge in Florida struck down the federal health reform law, saying it’s unconstitutional because of a provision requiring nearly all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a fine.
District Judge Roger Vinson wrote that his ruling was the “functional equivalent” of an injunction. As a result, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and his staff say Utah has the right to forgo plans to implement the law.
But Herbert isn’t as confident, since the Obama administration is sure to appeal and may be granted a stay on Vinson’s ruling.
“Just saying ‘we think it is’ doesn’t mean it was an injunction,” Herbert said.
He wants staff to explore what would happen to federal grants that the state already accepted to implement portions of the law, the bulk of which goes into effect in 2014.
“He’s probably doing the right thing, but we feel very strongly that it is not enforceable here,” Shurtleff said. “By the rule of law, it is not enforceable in Utah, but the practical matter is, there are a lot of things moving forward.”
Herbert said some of those things would continue to advance, even if he decided to stop implementing the law. That includes the state’s move toward electronic health records and an insurance exchange that allows employees of participating companies to pick their own plan from a range of options.
Herbert flew to Washington, D.C., to meet with federal officials in charge of Medicare and Medicaid. He updated them on a proposal to change the way Utah’s low-income Medicaid program pays doctors. His staff said federal officials are intrigued by the idea, which would seek to reward doctors for health outcomes instead of paying for each test or service.
The governor, along with state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, R-Bountiful, is working on such a bill, which cleared its first hurdle on Thursday, unanimously passing the Senate Business and Labor Committee.
SB180 also caps growth in Medicaid, tying it to growth in tax revenue.
If the state’s general fund grows by 5 percent, Medicaid on a per-patient, per-month basis can’t increase in excess of that, Liljenquist said.
But acknowledging that enrollment swells when the economy sours, the bill also creates a rainy-day fund to assist Medicaid through downturns.
The bill is backed by insurance providers, business leaders and advocates for those with low incomes. If the Legislature signs off, Herbert will formally request a waiver from existing federal rules, which could take up to 18 months.
While in Washington, Herbert also spoke at the conservative Heritage Foundation about his disgust with the federal health reform law, which he called the “most divisive thing we have had since the Vietnam War,” and for federal rules that he believes are too restrictive.
He said Utah has requested a federal waiver to allow the state’s Medicaid program to communicate with patients through e-mail, but federal officials denied the request.
“They sent us the denial through e-mail,” Herbert said.
He also criticized rules that require states to keep the same level of Medicaid benefits or forgo federal dollars, saying that, at some point, Utah may have to request a waiver to cut the number of people enrolled in order to slash the budget.
“When you lose money, you’ve got to cut someplace,” he said.
Michael Hales, the state’s Medicaid director, said the governor is also considering a request for a federal waiver to allow Utah to make some Medicaid enrollees pay more for doctors’ visits. Currently, it’s a $3 co-pay for an office visit and $6 to go to the emergency room.
Herbert thinks it should be a sliding scale, where those closer to the federal poverty line pay more than those who are far below it.
“If you can afford more, you should pay more,” he said. “We are asking for flexibility. We are asking to do it our own way.” Kirsten Stewart contributed to this report.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Eagles at Farmington Bay

There are a couple of hundred Eagles wintering at the Farmington Bay bird sanctuary out on the west side of Farmington off Glover Lane. It is really an awesome site.