Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Godfather at Uintah Elementary Takes Kids Lunch and Throws it Away

The Tribune today had a shocking article on Uintah Elementary and their bizarre decision to give kids school lunch and then take it away and throw it in the trash.

Is this the Uintah Elem Kitchen Manager 
asking for a favor from the Nutrition Manager? 
"I want them to suffer as I have suffered Godfather"
Apparently Uintah Elementary (in SLC not South Ogden) has been having troubles in their collections department and have not been able to get a number of parents to respond to requests to pay.  So they called in the Godfather of school lunches (aka the Nutrition Manager) to humiliate children in front of their peers to drive compliance.  According to school officials their antiquated school lunch computer system only tells you if the child is behind if they actually come to get lunch (how they were able to pull the info to send notices home or a bill, I am not sure).  Once the child received their lunch, it was quickly taken and thrown away because, "once a lunch is served it can not be given to another child."  Some parents are now claiming they were never notified or were full paid up.  So is their computer even working?

You don't have any money so we will waste more money
to prove a point.  Now sit down and drink your milk!
Don't worry these kids were not sent out in the cold left to starve in their humiliation.  The Godfather authorized for them to have fruit and milk, which apparently is free to eat in debtors prison.  If I were a kid in elementary and were told to my face my parents didn't pay the bill and then the lunch was taken and thrown away I would have been destroyed internally and my friends would have torn me to bits.  Word is the Godfather told kids in front of their peers "you don't have any money...go get a milk."

I hope you can all envision the meeting where this decision was made.  Their must have been so much anger and hate towards these kids and parents that not only were they willing to waste this food and money they wanted to send a clear message.  Desk pounding and pencils must have been thrown.  Foaming at the lips and curse words were said.  Then the Nutrition Manager channeled her inner Al Pacino Godfather and decided to wipe out the five families in one single swoop. You don't, pay your kid will be ruined.  I am surprised the parents didn't find their prized pet's heads in the sheets when they woke up in the morning.

I am glad these children are learning early about personal finance and what it is like to have your lunch repossessed.  I am surprised Uintah didn't have a repo man right there with a gun ready to steal the lunch if they tried.   According to the Tribune, some lunch ladies even wept as they saw these kids being put through this terrible ordeal.  The Godfather of food can be so mean these days.

Gotta Love Public School!  Salt Lake City School district has since posted an apology that they realized their Nutrition Manager may or may not have screwed up.

See KSL's follow up on this story as well.

Absurd to say the least... Here is the list of the Child Nutrition Staff including Director Kelly Orton feel free to give him a call.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Why We Must Solve the Utah Pollution Problem Now.

I just returned from a three week trip to my beloved home state of Utah.  It was wonderful to see family and friends after a two year break and see all that Utah has to offer.  The roads, for once, were not under construction, the cold air and snow were the same as always and we were happy to be there.  As we drove up the freeway from the airport, the signs along I-15 alerted all travelers of the need to carpool, the air was bad, we should avoid driving if possible, etc. I remembered, I didn't miss the bad air of Utah.

Photo Credit - University of Utah
My wife and one of my kids has asthma.  When they run or do anything outside they would need an inhaler.  Our child was in the doctors office nearly ever three weeks for his first two years of life due to his breathing issues.  I personally am known to get a horrible hacking cough every year that lasts for months.  The cough was so loud it sounded like a dog was barking and had to take prescription cough drops to slow it down.  I have never put much thought into the these breathing issues until I moved to Latin America.

The cars here are worse and pollute more, plus there are about 1,000 more buses (all rejects from American Schools) that pump nothing but carbon monoxide into the air all day.  You would think San Salvador would have more pollution; but the geography of the San Salvador, humidity and rain cause the air to wash out faster than we would see in Salt Lake City or Ogden.  The majestic mountains of Utah hold the dirty air in like a dark blanket and causes Utah politicians to pray for rain. 

After about 10 days, I noticed my families old aliments began to return, even my cough was creeping in.  My newest children felt the affects, their last days they began with the same cough and asthma issues my wife and children had.   I didn't realize the fullness of this until I returned home.  With in hours I felt I could breath again and was happy to be home and my family began to heal.

The Salt Lake Tribune recently ran an Op-Ed from Dr. Brian Moench, President of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment and a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, where he brings to light the bad air issues of Utah.  The piece compares Utah's problems to Mexico in the 1990s and how the country has cut in half their pollution issues.  Yet our Governor's response to these issues simply to ask for better weatherman or to hope for rain.  The Utah State Legislature is hoping for more storms to clean out the constant inversion and the people of Utah continue to suffer.  

When our news media has to advise small children and elderly to not leave their house, then we have a serious problem on our hands. According to Dr. Moench and a number of articles I have been reading regarding Mexico; there are a number of major changes that can be done to improve the situation.
Republicans, which I am one, may not like the idea of pushing more regulation or change, but we are to the point where Utah needs to make a change.  

As my wife and I contemplated this situation we see in Utah, we don't see how we could return until things improve or even a plan to improve is implemented beyond electronic signs and prayer for better rain.  As the international community proclaims us to be one of the most polluted cities in the world (comparable to Beijing, China) and we continue to hit Top 10 lists for pollution, how can legislators and our own Governor stand by, joke about the situation and not begin to create lasting solutions.  Why must we change, for our children! We are headed for 1,000 deaths a year that Mexico experienced in 1992.  In 2013 there were 215 traffic deaths and we spend millions on the Zero Fatality program, but do relatively nothing for pollution that can kill thousands. Maybe spend less time on message bills and frivolous legislation and enact change for the sake of our children.

It could take more than 20 years, but the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.