Thumbs up, thumbs down: Who deserves praise and criticism this week?
Transmission towers supporting electrical wires span a section of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, in North Ogden. There has been an increase in activity below and on the towers despite the risk of high voltage shock.
Paul Warren, left, veteran of the U.S. Air Force and member of Baker-Merrill Post 9 of the American Legion, shakes hands with Jon Huntsman, a Republican candidate for governor, on Saturday, May 23, 2020. Both were helping place flags above the grave markers of veterans at Ogden City Cemetery to honor them ahead of Memorial Day.
THUMBS UP: To Weber State University’s plans to resume in-person courses this fall.
In March, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the university moved all spring classes over to a virtual format. It later announced that summer session courses would also be held online.
But now, although no formal announcement has been made, WSU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Ravi Krovi said the university expects to hold in-person classes come fall semester.
What’s more, Krovi said they’ll also beef up online, virtual and hybrid courses. Between the in-person and remote courses, students will enjoy a variety of options for pursuing their educations.
Also this week, it was announced that Utah State University and the University of Utah also plan on resuming in-person instruction in the fall.
It’s a welcome development as we move toward a post-COVID-19 environment.
THUMBS DOWN: To something called “hammocking.”
Apparently, there’s been an increase in teens and young adults climbing on and stringing hammocks among the high-voltage transmission towers in the foothills along the East Bench above North Ogden, Pleasant View and other places.
Pleasant View Police Chief Ryon Hadley said those climbing on the towers seem to be younger couples and teens, and sometimes they hang their hammocks 10 to 20 feet off the ground.
“There is a good view and it’s isolated,” he said.
It’s also quite dangerous, with falls and electrocution among the most likely perils of such foolish behavior.
Officials say they hope to keep a close eye on the problem and plan to spread the word to avoid the towers.
“It’s a dangerous situation and the public should be aware of it,” said Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Spencer Hall. “We want parents to know this isn’t something they should let their children do.”
THUMBS UP: To the first recipients of the Brent Taylor scholarships.
Taylor was the North Ogden mayor who, as a major in the Utah Army National Guard, was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2018.
His wife, Jennie Taylor, helped create the scholarships at the University of Utah and Brigham Young University — two schools Brent Taylor attended.
The inaugural recipients of the scholarship at the U of U are Nick Blas, a U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel seeking a doctorate in political science; and Russell Facer, a member of the Utah National Guard originally from Clearfield who is seeking a master’s degree in public administration. The recipients of the undergraduate scholarships at BYU are political science majors Harrison Mayer and Brandon Orullian.
The scholarships will partially cover the students’ school expenses.
THUMBS DOWN: To the all-too-predictable victim blaming taking place in the aftermath of another woman’s tragic murder.
It happened last year with University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck. And now it’s happening again with Ashlyn Black.
Black, a 25-year-old Layton woman, was stabbed to death May 24. A man she met on the Tinder dating app, Ethan Hunsaker, has been charged with first-degree felony murder in the case.
Jenn Oxborrow, executive director of the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition, said in both cases people have tried to place the responsibility of preventing the homicide on the victim.
The coalition expressed our thoughts exactly when it offered in a news release: “Victim blaming and shaming is inappropriate and grossly unacceptable. In addition to perpetuating myths about abuse, assault and violence, victim blaming wrongly excuses the perpetrator’s behaviors.”
THUMBS DOWN: Can we please get baseball going again? I get it. Professional baseball is a business with quite a bit of money and legal disputes at stake. America needs baseball. Let’s get this show on the road and get a contract signed.
THUMBS DOWN: To Jon Huntsman, for the handshake heard ’round the county.
A recent photograph in the Standard-Examiner showed the popular Republican gubernatorial candidate pressing the flesh with a U.S. Air Force veteran in the Ogden City Cemetery over Memorial Day weekend. Ordinarily, such political stock-in-trade wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. But in this current age of COVID-19 and social distancing, a handshake seems so … last year.
We certainly trust both parties had plenty of hand sanitizer at the ready following that photo op.
Here’s hoping our rogue politician doesn’t decide to kiss any babies.