The winners and the losers

Published: Saturday, June 23 2012 9:03 a.m. MDT

Loser: There are a lot of things at which the federal government isn't very good. Add property management to the list. That's a shame, because Uncle Sam is the country's largest real estate holder. A new study by the Government Accountability Office found that Washington knows little about the property it owns. Researchers visited 180 buildings that were listed as vacant or underused at 26 separate sites in Washington, Dallas, Los Angeles and Oak Ridge, Tenn. At 23 of those sites, the data was inaccurate. One building was listed in near-perfect condition but was found to be vacant and full of rats and beehives. Others had collapsed roofs or radiological contamination. Some were listed as occupied when they weren't. Beware of the phrase, "We're from the government, and do we have a real-estate deal for you!"

Winner: "Safe and sane" — those are the only types of fireworks Smith's Food and Drug will sell during the coming Fourth of July and Pioneer Day seasons in Utah. We applaud the grocery chain for that newly announced policy, as well as Utah County and Salt Lake City for issuing restrictions on fireworks that go beyond the more liberal, and dangerous, state law. The weather is hot and dry, which isn't unusual for Utah this time of year. Allowing people to play with fire ought to be a no-brainer. But state lawmakers last year relaxed restrictions on certain aerial fireworks, which pushed the envelope for revelers in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, Smith's new policy won't extend to the store's parking lots, where independent vendors will still sell the less safe-and-sane kind. Unless more cities and counties impose restrictions, people should keep a hose handy and hope for rain.

Loser: The State Auditor's office has found thousands of dollars missing from donations given to the Timpview football program. In addition, thousands more were inappropriately commingled with other school funds, and the Provo School District didn't oversee four major construction projects according to guidelines, policies and laws. The report, issued this week, lends perspective to the decision earlier this year to dismiss popular football coach Louis Wong, who was later allowed to resign in exchange for his termination being withdrawn. The district says it will send out bills for the $8,953 in football activities funds and the $2,900 in small-banner funds that never made it into the bank. We hope the experience will lead to tougher guidelines and a little less of an attitude that winning should trump all else.

Winner: "Creature" has made ugly beautiful. Creature, a dog from West Jordan. recently won the title of "Utah's Ugliest Mutt" and is in the running for the world title. Judging from what we've seen, she has a better than even chance. Mostly Mexican Hairless, she has a mop of blond hair on top and a world-class under-bite. But the best part is that, unlike a human in a similar contest, her self-esteem seems none the worse for all the negative publicity.

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