The winners and the losers

Published: Saturday, Feb. 18 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Selena Irene York, 34, was sentenced to prison Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012, for aggravated assault, forgery and theft, all third-degree felonies. York took control of her elderly landlord's finances in 2008 and then tried to kill him by serving him a peach smoothie spiked with antifreeze, according to Uintah County prosecutors.

Geoff Liesik, Deseret News

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Loser: Selena Irene York wanted to let an 8th District Court Judge know this week that, as she put it, "I'm not a bad person." York was convicted of mixing a peach smoothie with antifreeze and giving it as a gift to her landlord. She also had secretly forged her name as a beneficiary on his life insurance policy and stolen $10,000 from his bank account. "People make mistakes," she told the judge at sentencing. We're thinking a mistake would be something like accidentally writing a check for which there are insufficient funds. Attempting to kill someone is on a magnitude above a mistake. Fortunately, the judge sentenced her to three consecutive zero-to-5-year terms, relying on the old adage that smoothies don't hurt people, people hurt people.

Winner: The Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City announced this week it is going to build a new $26.5 million theater it hopes will attract even more people to the Tony Award-winning event. With most of the money already in place, the festival has demonstrated its ability to successfully attract large crowds. More than 150,000 people attend each summer and fall. The new theater is planned as an open-air facility with a retractable roof, meaning it could house plays year-round.

Loser: Someone is terrorizing cabin owners in Southern Utah, breaking in, making a mess of things and, at times, leaving threatening notes. "Get off my mountain," one of the notes said. As county records don't indicate any one man who owns the mountain, authorities are perplexed. All they have to go on so far are some surveillance photos from a camera outside a cabin. The man hasn't yet attempted violence against anyone, but authorities say it may be a matter of time. Meanwhile, the one-man terrorism squad must not be doing wonders for the recreational real estate market in the area.

Loser: You would think state lawmakers had better things to do than pass bills that probably are unconstitutional and unlikely ever to go into effect. And yet HB511 passed out of a committee this week. It would give cities in Utah the power to condemn federal public lands. A legislative analyst attached a note to the bill saying it would violate the Constitution's supremacy clause, which gives federal law precedence over state law. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Ken Sumsion, said he considers that note "a badge of honor." A better badge, perhaps, would be to find solutions to problems that actually work.

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