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Who deserves praise, criticism in Northern Utah this week

By Standard Examiner - | Aug 1, 2020
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Volunteers sort potatoes at the Ogden Salvation Army on Tuesday, July 28, 2020.

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Rosaline Hester of Ogden with her son Rajheem Allen and the 2016 Nissan Ultima she bought with the help of a new program aimed at getting pollution-emitting cars off the roads, like her previous vehicle. They were photographed Wednesday, July 29, 2020.

THUMBS UP

It’s been a long time coming, but actual, live performances — with audiences and everything — are finally beginning to slowly creep back into our lives.

This weekend, Ogden Musical Theatre offered back-to-back “Stephen Cubed” concerts at Peery’s Egyptian Theater. Coming up Tuesday are two shows by the Los Angeles-based ensemble Quarteto Nuevo at The Monarch. The Davis Arts Council is again offering free movies in Layton’s Kenley Amphitheater. And in the past couple of weeks, Imagine Ballet Theatre put on “Picnics & Plies” recitals at the Ogden Amphitheater.

Gig by gig, live entertainment is beginning to show the signs of a gradual comeback.

Granted, audience numbers are being throttled for social distancing purposes, and face masks are the new dress code at many performances. But after four months of having to watch artists perform virtually from their own basements and backyards, being a part of an actual living, breathing audience at a venue — even if the nearest humans still have a six-foot restraining order — is nothing short of liberating.

To be certain, there are still plenty of events being offered virtually — or not at all. Fairs. Festivals. Various other public celebrations. But these early performances are a good sign.

We implore all Utahns to continue to religiously follow state and local pandemic guidelines so that these opportunities for honest-to-goodness live entertainment will continue to multiply into the fall and beyond.

THUMBS UP

On Monday night, someone actually broke into the Ogden Salvation Army and stole a bunch of items — including a large cache of food the organization was preparing to give away to the needy on Wednesday. As a result, on the eve of a big food giveaway, the charity’s cupboards were essentially bare.

Enter the Farm Bureau’s “Farmers Feeding Utah” program. COVID-19 had made it difficult for farmers to sell their products, so they began seeking donors willing to buy from farmers/ranchers and give to at-risk families and individuals. Last Monday — the same night of the Ogden charity break-in — the Farm Bureau program held a giveaway at the Utah State Fairgrounds in Salt Lake City.

Afterward, the Farm Bureau had half a semi truck load of food left over, and ended up giving it to — you guessed it — the Ogden Salvation Army. And so, thanks to the kindness of farmers, donors and others involved with this story, the Ogden charity was able to hold its food giveaway on Wednesday.

People really are the best.

THUMBS DOWN

Nobody likes taxes. That’s why they call them taxes.

Still, the cities of Clearfield, Syracuse and West Point — along with the North Davis Fire District — have all announced potential property tax hikes in the coming month. When the dust settles, the tax increases could affect in the neighborhood of 75,000 residents in northern and western Davis County.

Particularly hard-hit could be the citizens of Clearfield and West Point, which are a part of the North Davis Fire District. As such, there’s a potential that they could get dinged twice for property taxes.

Our advice to these taxing entities? Tread carefully. We get that COVID-19 has tossed a monkey wrench into funding plans, but residents are also feeling the pinch of an economy on life support.

And to the constituents of these cities and fire district, we encourage you to attend your respective upcoming hearings, where you can make your wishes known to your public servants.

THUMBS UP

Plenty of us complain about the recurring air-quality problem in inversion-prone Northern Utah. The Weber-Morgan Health Department is trying to do something about it.

Through a new grant-funded plan launched this past spring called Vehicle Repair and Replacement Assistance Program, or VRRAP, qualified owners of vehicles with a model year of 2003 or older can receive up to $5,000 for a replacement vehicle. Those who own vehicles newer than 2003 can receive up to $1,000 for repairs.

The idea behind VRRAP is to remove older, more pollution-prone vehicles from use and repair the emission systems on newer vehicles, all in an attempt to reduce air pollution along the Wasatch Front.

Granted, this may just be a proverbial drop in the bucket when it comes to environmental air quality. But then again, every little bit helps.

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