THUMBS UP: We’re happy to see the mountains glowing with fresh snow this month. As of Jan. 1, Utah’s snow water equivalent was 29% higher than normal, which is great news after the relatively dry November and December we had. We hope the snow will continue to fall throughout the winter. The more snowpack, the better.
THUMBS DOWN: Leave it to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to ruin the Utah Department of Health’s fun. Earlier this week, the health department launched an HIV-awareness campaign featuring condom wrappers with tongue-in-cheek spins on state mottos like “The Greatest Sex on Earth” and “SL, UT” printed on them. Within hours of the campaign’s announcement, the governor killed the building buzz, shutting the campaign down and saying he didn’t approve of using sexual innuendo as part of a taxpayer-funded campaign. What a waste. Getting people excited about using condoms is a good thing — especially if the goal of the campaign is safe-sex education and HIV prevention. Some may not approve of giggling over a funny condom, but as Ahmer Afroz, executive director of the Utah AIDS Foundation, told The Salt Lake Tribune, “If it’s not the messaging for you, you may not be the person who most needs to use these prevention tools.”
THUMBS DOWN: Unfortunately, the Ogden-Hinckley Airport is becoming known for the number of small-plane crashes that have occurred at and around it since 2017, with two of them resulting in five fatalities. We’re tired of seeing planes come down in the area and the resulting heartache and property damage that comes with them. The Roy Police Department is fed up with it, too. Roy City Chief of Police Carl Merino has called for an extensive investigation into the airport and says he now regrets telling citizens that they’re safe from flights at the airport, saying “it has become quite clear there is a safety problem for these aircraft.” We’re not sure what needs to be done to ensure the safety of pilots, passengers and civilians around the airport — or if anything can be done — but Roy and Ogden city officials should consider having more serious conversations about it. They cannot wait until one of these small-plane crashes turns into an outright disaster and additional casualties are added to the list.
THUMBS UP: A huge round of (belated) applause to Weber State University for its new scholarship program for juniors and seniors. The ‘CATapult scholarship is designed to give students who are near finishing their degree and have encountered financial difficulty a final push toward getting that diploma. Weber State president Brad Mortensen said he wants to raise an ambitious $10 million in donations by July 1, 2021. We already appreciate Weber State’s dedication to students of all ages and economic means; increasing opportunities for older students to get financial assistance is a further plus.
THUMBS DOWN: On Monday, U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop announced that he wouldn’t be running for Utah governor. At 68, he told the Deseret News that he was “too old” to run for another office and that he doesn’t need to be governor to “validate my feelings of self-worth.” We would have applauded Bishop for his honesty and recognizing the curse of vanity that goes hand-in-hand with being a longtime politician had he not then announced on Thursday that he’d be joining gubernatorial hopeful Thomas Wright as his running mate. The timing of these announcements simply leaves a bad taste in our mouth.
THUMBS UP: Ogden Twilight announced the first of its 2020 shows on Friday, bringing back crowd favorites The Flaming Lips for a third year in a row. Summer is still months away, but this news brings the thoughts of warm, sunlit evenings filled with good music just a little bit closer.
THUMBS DOWN: Another plane crash occurred Wednesday in Roy, killing the pilot, ski equipment entrepreneur David Goode. Goode, who was an essential part in developing Ogden’s reputation as a destination for the outdoor recreation industry, will be greatly missed by his family, friends and the community at large.