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The winners and the losers

Published: Saturday, Nov. 19 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

Loser: Only 45.8 percent of American children age 17 live in intact married families, according to the Family Research Council's marriage and Religion Research Institute. The group has devised an "Index of Family Belonging and Rejection" that ranks the states according to the strength of their families. Utah came in second to Minnesota. Washington, D.C., although not a state, had an index far below Mississippi, the lowest ranked state. Broken families lead to a host of problems for children, from lower academic performance to poverty. This ought to be high on the list of problems that focuses the nation.

Winner: It took awhile, but Utah County now has all its restaurant health inspections online for public perusal. The database will be a valuable tool for diners, and it inevitably will boost the level of dining experience in the county as restaurants learn that potential customers might be aware of their shortcomings. Officials say it also will help inspectors, as an aware public will be better able to provide its own information about dining conditions.

Winner: We applaud the Salt Lake Chamber for its full-page open letter this week urging the state's congressional leaders to support the Utah Compact and get behind comprehensive immigration reform in Washington. We're not naive enough to believe that will happen, but every member of Congress should be pressured into explaining why they wouldn't support the compact's principles. Those include taking into account families, economics and the role of law enforcement. Immigration issues have faded a bit from the nation's conscience as a bad economy has slowed the flow of workers. That ought to give Congress the cover it needs to pass something meaningful.

Winner: Brandon Smith has created a new LED light for his bicycle, and it may be the answer for helping bicyclists become more visible to motorists. The package includes dozens of lights on the tires and forks of the bike, powered by a lithium ion battery pack. The bicyclist can make the lights blink to signal turns, or to pulsate in a way that attracts more attention. This will be a boost to nigh-time riders. Now if someone could devise a way to make pedaling easier in the snow.

Loser: We agree with Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff that a proposed settlement between the feds and the alcoholic drink Four Loko doesn't go far enough. Four Loko is a canned drink that once advertised it could be safely consumed in one sitting, when in fact it contains 12 percent alcohol by volume. Shurtleff and others want the government to limit the number of alcohol servings the drink contains per can. The proposed settlement, however, would only require the cans' labels to tell the truth and for the cans to be resealable. That not only is inadequate, it would be socially irresponsible.

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