Monday, September 29, 2014

Water, A Desert's Most Valuable Resource!

The rains have come and with it, the true beginning of Fall.  Even though Fall officially started this past week, today is the beginning.  Last week temperatures were in the high 80's and summer was still with us.  

Last night I went to my son's football game and right as I got there, the clouds started rolling in!  People brought their umbrellas, having paid attention to the weather report that there is a huge system rolling in.  Sure enough, as the game got underway, so did the rain.  But it didn't last long and the rest of the game was played in relative dryness.

I got home at around 11:00 p.m.  Exhausted by my week, I collapsed into bed, ready to sleep for a good long time.  But in the middle of the night I was awakened by huge claps of thunder.  The lightning and thunder were spectacular! 

Today it has rained all day long and it seems like the state will be drenched!  But not so fast, this is the 2nd driest state in the Union.  And water usage is going up at an alarming rate.  Not only is the population increasing, but certain demographics are squandering the water we have, by not utilizing the natural desert landscape, and instead creating an artificial rainforest effect on their properties by watering like crazy.  
 Just how much do I mean by that?  Well, I called the city public utilities over a question about our water usage.  The lady and I got to talking and she revealed some very interesting tidbits about the various areas around the city.  I found out that my household's water usage is on the low scale of average, 30K gallons of water per week.  The average monthly water usage for my area is 30K - 80K gallons of water per week.  But there is another area just south and west of me that is totally different.  This happens to be the wealthiest real estate area in the whole state.  It comprises about 15 - 20 miles of prime real estate with property prices ranging from $850,00 to $5,000,000.  The woman at the Public Utilities Office revealed that the average water usage for this area is 200K - 300K gallons per week.  This is crazy to me!  What are these people thinking?  This is a desert, people!
 And of course, the local government has to make some changes, because the population will be increasing by another 2.5 million people in the next 35 years--and because of the current usage rate the population is projected to surpass the developed water supply by the late 2030's.

My initial concern that my household is using too much water was cut short by the astronomical usages by my neighbors to the southwest.  The decadent manner in which water is being squandered just to alter the natural vegetative state into something that isn't realistic is, to my mind, morally wrong!  

One might argue, "I pay my water bill, so I can use whatever water I want, even if it runs in the gutters, it's mine because I pay for it."  Well guess what, it's not your water, dude.  It's going to run out and then your private oasis will dry up like the rest of the state only you live with the fact that you and your fellow Neighborhood Watch friends sucked it up, only thinking about how much more lush your yard could be in comparison to your wealthy neighbor up the road.  Oh the foolishness of pride!

The state lawmakers are looking into changing how Utah deals with property taxes and water.  Apparently only Utah uses property taxes to lower the prices of water.  A study has recommended that property taxes should be reduced and instead make it a users' rate-based water fee.  

I personally think that property taxes should remain intact and that water taxes should be added on top of that.  I believe it would get people in those high-end neighborhoods to take a second look on how much water they use.  It could save everyone in the state a lot of grief in the long run.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Visit From Our Oregon Family

Well hello!  I'm sure I'm talking to an empty room because this blog has gone the way of the once a year post, and if by chance someone is here, it's your lucky day!  We had our annual visit from our (far-removed in distance but not in thoughts) family in Oregon.  That moisture-drenched, running capital of the U.S. gave up one of its finest families for about 10 days so they could come here and share their wonderful selves with the rest of us!  It really was good to see them.  

Actually one of them is here, after serving a mission in Peru, at BYU.  We see him a little more often!  Berg had just recently purchased a bike and was getting around quite nicely on it, when it was stolen from his apartment complex. He had just come from the store and went inside to put the groceries away and briefly left it unlocked.  When he came outside, the bike was gone.  So his parents came to help with what they could and he decided to purchase another bike.  He did so, the same model with some upgrades!  Yes, even in BYU territory you can't leave things unattended.  I love that kid.  He's so smart, sweet and shy.  Some special girl will be lucky to have him!

  On the 21st we celebrated at my sister Laura's home with a family barbeque.  I love doing those every so often!  It's good to catch up and have some laughs with the family, not to mention the food is delicious every time.  It was there that the boy cousins decided to participate in a race down the street.  It was really fun to see!  


Monday, March 24, 2014

A Sad Day

This last weekend I went to the viewing of my school principal's 23 year old son.  He had everything going for him, or so it seemed.

He was well liked.  When it became apparent that he was missing that Sunday, the 16th, many people pitched in to help.  Many people knew him and liked him.  One of his friends was very concerned and alarmed at how long he had been gone.  His father hadn't seen him since sometime Wednesday, assuming he had gone camping with friends.  When his friends showed up looking for him on Sunday, his Dad became alarmed.   His mother was notified that he was missing on Sunday night.  (The parents have been divorced for the past year) 

I feel sad that 3 days went by before things really started rolling.  Before that, he wasn't missed.  Friends thought he was with family. Father thought he was with friends.  Mom thought he was OK.  But when he was missed, there were many people who were alarmed and needed to know where he was.  There were over 1200 people who participated in the search. 

He was talented.  The viewing had examples of his life and how talented he was.  He was a master potter and could throw a paper-thin pot.  There was one there.  It was beautifully worked.  He was a tutor in physical science.  He wrote meticulous notes in his notebook.  Also there.  He was an avid biker.  His bike and riding shoes were on display, as well as beautiful pictures of him in motion on his bike.  

He had many friends.  Even those who weren't in his close circles, spoke of him as a kind and gentle soul.  The world was a better place with him in it.  His mother spoke of him as kind, intelligent and well-loved.  She was so heart-broken.  It was so tragic.  

When I went to the viewing, he looked so peaceful.  He looked so young, vulnerable.  His long eyelashes were brushing his cheeks.  What kind of torment did he deal with that made him do this to himself?  I shudder to think.  I am heartbroken for his mother, who I am able to work with on a limited basis.  We became rather unlikely friends, me being her subordinate quite far down the ladder, as I am part of the staff of the school she principals.  She had compassion for my own son, who attends the school with me.  He missed a year and a half of high-school, because he wouldn't go.  While choosing to live with his dad, he lacks the structure and help that he got with us.  But having lived with his dad for so long, he feels best in that environment.  It was such a blessing to me that he ended up with me at this school.  And my principal was very understanding of the situation and what he needed to quickly do in order to become successful.  She called us in several times to counsel, she helped me in several situations that I needed some assistance.  All this, while her own son was struggling with the question whether to live or die. 

A cruel irony was that the Monday he was found, our school was beginning our H.O.P.E. week, which is Suicide Prevention Week.  Needless to say, it was brought home in a brutal way.  We have a fragile population at the school.  It is an alternative high school, with many troubled kids from compromised backgrounds.  So here we have someone's child, from what many of them would consider a privileged background, do exactly what we are trying to prevent at our school.  It shows what truly a universal problem suicide is and how it cruelly strikes with no warning and no mercy.  

As we continue on with our week, my thoughts and prayers go with all of the family and all of the friends of this family and my hope is that I will hold my own sons closer and be viligent in my prayers for them and be responsive to promptings to be concerned and involved in someone else's life.  It just might save it.