Clearfield Police press conference 02

Clearfield Police Chief Kelly Bennett speaks during a press conference on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, following the arrest Mark Douglas Burns of Ogden in serial rape investigation. Burns, who is a suspect in three rapes, was identified using familial DNA. 

THUMBS UP: This week was a major victory for DNA tests and local police agencies as they arrested a long-haul trucker for alleged decades-old rape cases across Northern Utah and likely elsewhere. According to reporting, Clearfield police arrested Mark Douglas Burns, 69, and 17 first-degree felony charges were filed against the man. Burns is also suspected in seven other cases in Utah and Wyoming. We commend the local police departments and detectives for continuing to pursue old cases and collaborate with other departments — even after 25 long years of investigation they did not give up. This is absolutely necessary when trying to solve serial rape cases. We think it is a marvelous thing that police can use DNA in new ways to connect cases and utilize genealogy science at the crime lab to pinpoint potential offenders. This helps get very dangerous people out of the community in order to prevent further violence.

We hope that departments continue to work together to share and solve cases of regional importance and minimize the reoccurrence of serial offenders.

THUMBS UP: Perhaps it’s already obvious, but we look forward to the annual Ogden Greek Festival nearly as much as Christmas. It’s delicious, it’s homemade, and it’s worth the very very long lines.

THUMBS DOWN: The small earthquake near Tremonton this week is always a frightening reminder that as Utahns we need to be more prepared for when natural disaster strikes — specifically a larger earthquake. This reality check is a good time to evaluate where your preparation stands at home and work. Do you have a 96-hour kit? Water? It’s also a reminder that buildings in our communities (be it government, schools, public safety, etc) that are older might not be up to withstand an earthquake and we should evaluate a timeline to replace or shore up structures no longer able to meet those requirements. 

THUMBS DOWN: Surprise, a UDOT project came in over budget and will subsequently be delayed. This time it’s due to a home in Ogden Canyon whose stability was called into question by a contractor that refused to follow through due to the dangerous and precarious nature of a home adjacent to where $4.7 million bridge rehabilitation and replacement project was taking place. This has added an extra $900,000 to the project total — a costly “whoops.” While we don’t dispute the need for improved safety in the canyon, it seems like million dollar projects should be explored and prepared to mitigate costly disruptions and delays like this one.

THUMBS UP: It’s officially fall!! Bring on the beautiful fall foliage, cool nights and activities in abundance for friends and families.

THUMBS UP: It was 100% appropriate for the U.S. Attorney’s office to issue tickets to a Layton couple who started the Bountiful fire this past month after abandoning a still smoldering campfire on the mountain. Residents who do not respect our mountain home and are reckless in their recreation should be held accountable for the consequences. Sadly, $500 hardly takes care of the costly expense required to provide safety to the communities threatened by that fire and the resources to contain it. In the end, the taxpayers always end up footing the bill. 

THUMBS UP: Many people attended a public hearing in the state’s capitol Thursday regarding still debated changes in banning conversion therapy. While a bill died in the 2019 Legislature seeking to address this, Gov. Herbert has asked for further work on this critical issue for the LGBTQ community.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!