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The winners and the losers

Published: Saturday, June 30 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Winner: At first glance, voter turnout in Sanpete County this week may seem dismal, with only 24.49 percent of registered voters showing up for the primary. But then, voter turnout figures don't reflect the fact that much of the county was on fire Tuesday, with the Seeley Fire tearing through subdivisions and threatening a coal mine. The fire, believed to have been started by lightning, was raging on election day without any containment. Seen in that light, the approximately 2,500 people who voted was a remarkable testament to their belief in the democratic process.

Loser: The city of Stockton, Calif., filed for bankruptcy this week, joining about 1.5 million Americans and 50,000 businesses that are expected to do the same this year. The city was unable to meet the demands of its creditors, and most likely didn't want to have to choose between paying its debts and providing police and fire protection to its residents. Stockton is the largest U.S. city ever to file bankruptcy. We hope it is not the leading edge of a trend.

Winner: Speaking of fires, it was heart-warming to read about Oak City residents who reported that "miracles" saved many of their homes. Flames seemed to part at subdivisions, burning fields around them but not the homes themselves. "It's like we had a big gob of high pressure over the town and that forced the fire around us," said resident Thayne Lee. "Nobody lost anything."

Winner: Internet technology companies are on the wane in much of the country, but not in Utah, according to the Utah Technology Council. While IT-related jobs dropped by 1.5 percent nationally in 2010, they rose by 2.22 percent in the Beehive State. The council's founder attributes Utah's success to a business-friendly governor and Legislature, and to laws that facilitate growth.

Loser: With fires consuming much of the state, and with hot, dry weather dominating the skies, the Fourth of July is promising to be one with a little less snap, crackle and pop this year. Several Utah cities have imposed restrictions on fireworks. We don't blame the cities for doing so. It would be foolish to allow incendiary devices in places where fire dangers are particularly high. But those who, we suspect, are either ignorant of the restrictions or don't care will make Wednesday's celebrations a tense one in many places.

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