Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Northern Utah?

Monday , October 02, 2017 - 4:30 AM


The Standard-Examiner Editorial Board hashes out the positions we take on the Opinion page. Here’s what members recommended last week for praise and criticism:

THUMBS UP: To the Ogden Interfaith Concert, now in its third year.

The concert is put together by 29 faith leaders from around Northern Utah. They join at the Ogden LDS Tabernacle in a celebration of faith and unity.

  • RELATED: “Ogden Interfaith Concert to bring people together for music, fellowship”

"Music is something we all have in common in our faith communities," the Rev. Gage Church told Standard-Examiner reporter JaNae Francis. Church is the pastor of Congregational United Church of Christ and president of Ogden Interfaith Works.

It's easy to focus on our differences, especially when it comes to religion. But it's a fantastic thing to see the opposite happen. The Tabernacle usually fills every one of the 1,700 seats available for the concert. It's testament to the good things in our community and the people who make them happen.

THUMBS UP: To Alec Unsicker, a 19-year-old with a terminal form of cancer, for his dedication to making the world a better place.

Unsicker started the AJU Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to putting together "Smiles Packages" for people going through cancer treatment. The packages are personalized and delivered by Unsicker himself.

  • RELATED: “Syracuse man creates 'Smiles Packages' to help cancer patients like himself”

Though his prognosis is heartbreaking, he's still able to find joy and gratitude in his mission. It's a lesson many could learn from, who have a more dour outlook on less difficult challenges.

THUMBS DOWN: To the Weber County Commission and the Weber County Attorney's Office for their slow, clumsy handling of funding for Doug Lovell's capital defense case.

Capital defense cases are expensive. But the Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to counsel.

Sam Newton was on Doug Lovell's case for more than a year, amassing thousands of pages of research, interviews and case material. He was initially given $75,000, with a clause to request more but the money ran out in December. He removed himself from the case after saying Weber County was not paying him enough — or at all.

Now, newly selected Colleen Coebergh, a Salt Lake City attorney, has to study that material and effectively start over on the 32-year-old case.

Court documents show Newton was asking for an additional $37,000, which would have brought the county's total to a little over $100,000. Instead, the county will be spending at least $175,000 with no guarantee Coebergh will be able to catch up with and surpass Newton's work before the money runs out.

This is inept management of tax dollars and bad stewardship of the Constitution.

THUMBS DOWN: To Utah, which is almost last in the nation for women getting the recommended number of mammograms.

A 2017 report from Utah Women and Leadership Project showed 38 percent of Utah women over 40 are not getting regular mammograms. The 40-year-old and above group are considered "high risk" for the second most deadly type of cancer for women.

Some reports show Utah is in the bottom five of all states for mammograms. Others show Utah ranks 49th.

Anxiety, embarrassment and discomfort are among the leading reasons Allison Mencer, an OB/GYN at Intermountain Health Care, sees for avoiding the screenings. The short-term issues should not deter from the longterm benefit of detecting issues early.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Now is the time to contact your doctor and get your concerns addressed — and schedule a mammogram.

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