It’s almost Christmas Eve, that special night when Santa Claus travels the world, leaving presents for all the good girls and boys — and lumps of coal for the bad ones.
And how does Santa determine who gets what? Why, his Naughty and Nice List, of course.
With just a couple of days before the big day, the Standard-Examiner’s crack investigative journalism team uncovered an advance copy of who deserves a wrapped gift under the tree and who can expect a lump of coal in their stocking.
So here it is, Santa’s official Naughty and Nice List. (And yes, we checked it twice.)
NAUGHTY — We start this year’s list with a rather ironic incident given the current season. A semitrailer filled with … wait for it ... COAL lost its load on Wednesday morning, spilling the black rocks across four lanes of traffic on Interstate 15 in Utah County. Seeing as how the semi was northbound, we can only assume Santa Claus will be facing a coal shortage this year.
Which is good news for politicians everywhere.
NICE — Kyle Braithwaite and a group of dedicated employees from Weber State University distributed 574 scarves throughout downtown Ogden last Tuesday. The scarves, which were tied around trees, lamp posts and statues, featured tags that read “Take me if you’re cold …”
Volunteers hoped the gifts would find their way to the homeless population, and it appears they did as the scarves disappeared fairly quickly.
NAUGHTY — In July, at the height of this year’s drought, 30 million gallons of irrigation water were drained from a Benchland Water District reservoir overnight. District officials claim some customers had intentionally let their sprinklers run all night out of sheer vindictiveness over being asked to conserve water.
Not cool, people.
NICE — This past week, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation paid off — in full — Jennie Taylor’s mortgage on her North Ogden home. Her husband, former mayor Brent Taylor, was killed Nov. 3 while serving in Afghanistan. What’s more, people have pledged to help the couple’s seven children with their college tuition, and a GoFundMe account has raised more than half a million dollars for the grieving family.
NAUGHTY — Utah Transit Authority gets a big ol’ lump of coal this year, but not for its usual shenanigans. It seems UTA’s version of Santa has forgotten Northern Utah. See, in a recent news release from UTA media relations the Utah Transit Authority promised that Santa would be riding or operating FrontRunner trains on Friday. However, while the accompanying schedule had the Jolly Old Elf traveling all the way to Provo on the south, he wasn’t scheduled to go any farther than Layton on the north —leaving the stations in Clearfield, Roy and Ogden out in the cold.
NICE — This just in: Female missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can finally wear slacks when proselytizing. Can pants-in-church be far behind?
NAUGHTY — Back in January, Farmington Mayor Jim Talbot used the city newsletter to lobby the school district to ignore the will of the students and change the name of the mascot for the new Farmington High School. Politely, the district told him to mind his own business, and the Phoenix are now celebrating their first Christmas vacation.
NICE — For the ninth year, Bonnie Randall organized the Community Christmas event, which helps thousands of needy families. Held at Ben Lomond High School in Ogden, the event features a Christmas carnival for children and a shopping area where parents can pick out gifts for their children at no cost.
And in conjunction with the Community Christmas program, the Ogden Bicycle Collective worked to provide bikes for 100 children in need this holiday season.
NAUGHTY — Casey Fisher, a GOP precinct chairman in Davis County, took to social media early this year to basically say that giving voting rights to a good chunk of America’s citizens was a mistake. The actual post read: “The more I study history the more I think giving voting rights to others not head of household has been a grave mistake!”
Now that's democracy in action.
NICE — In September, the Ogden City Council finally did the right thing and extended honorary street designations for 24th and 30th streets all the way up to Harrison Boulevard. In the past, “Martin Luther King Jr. Street” and “Cesar Chavez Street” were kept on the west side of town.
Here’s hoping by next Christmas the honorary street designations will extend above Harrison.
NAUGHTY — This past spring, after being accused of sexual harassment, Utah author Richard Paul Evans went off the rails and compared the treatment of white males in our society to that of Jews in Nazi Germany.
Oh, yeah. He went there.
NICE — Military members from Hill Air Force Base, in conjunction with Utah Foster Care, hosted the 11th annual Santa Brigade program earlier this month. The program coordinated the delivery of hundreds of toys and other gifts for children in foster care.
NAUGHTY — Everybody involved in the current government shutdown. Whether you blame Trump or the Democrats, there’s plenty of coal to go around on this one.
NICE — Earlier this month, the Utah School for the Blind held its Jingle and Mingle event. Students and their friends played games and assembled birthday gift bags to give to Ogden-area children in foster care.
NAUGHTY — Porch pirates. There’s a special place in hell reserved for people who would steal others’ gifts off their doorsteps.
NICE — At the Utah Legislature this year, Rep. Raymond Ward, a Republican from Bountiful, proposed a bill seeking to repeal language in the state’s health education curriculum that prohibits school teachers from “advocacy or encouragement of the use of contraceptive methods or devices.” It was a refreshingly commonsense bill for the annual 45-day clown car of a gathering.
NAUGHTY — A Summit County man faced charges after drunkenly knocking over a roommate’s Christmas tree and then firing more than a dozen shots from a handgun at the homeowner and his son.
And they say the Christmas spirit is dead ...
NICE — In a near-miraculous convergence of good fortune, both the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile and the Big Idaho Potato Truck visited the Ogden area in the space of three blissful days this past summer.
That’s like winning the Powerball lottery AND receiving a Nobel Prize, all in the same week.
NAUGHTY — And finally, the biggest lump of coal goes to the city of Wellsville, which again went forward with its controversial “Sham Battle” this past Labor Day. Traditionally, the annual battle featured a mock cowboys-and-indians fight that included white reenactors painting their faces red to portray Native Americans warring against Mormon pioneers and U.S. soldiers.
When local tribal members asked the city to stop the culturally insensitive practice — and even offered to share their Native American culture during the festival (They were, after all, the first to occupy the land) — the city said “No thanks” and simply dropped all references to Native Americans in the battle reenactment.
Somebody's getting nuttin' for Christmas ...