THUMBS DOWN: To the increasing tension and discord that seems to be emerging in the debate over development of western Weber County -- whether the unincorporated area should become a new city, part of an existing city or remain as is. The issue touches many and it's understandably generating strong opinions, but here's to hoping some sort of resolution can be found that keeps the animosity to a minimum and avoids a protracted legal fight.
THUMBS UP: To local fire departments for working with residents and communities to reduce brush and other "fuel loads" around homes in areas where wildfires are a risk. It's not a wasted task, as shown by danger maps illustrating high-risk wildfire areas throughout Northern Utah.
THUMBS UP: To Bank of Utah for its "Chow Down Challenge," an initiative focused on giving about $8,000 in tips to a select list of restaurant around the state. The bank is asking folks to order takeout or delivery from any of a group of preselected restaurants, then post of photo of the food on social media with the restaurant's name, location and the tags "#BoUChowDown" and "@BankofUtah." The bank will give restaurants a $20 tip for every post they receive by May 6.
THUMBS DOWN: To a two-decade-long dry spell that has parched large sections of the western United States, resulting in one of the deepest "megadroughts" in the region in more than 1,200 years. According to a study in Thursday's journal Science, researchers used thousands of tree rings to compare a drought that started in 2000 -- and is still going despite a wet 2019 -- to the four past megadroughts since the year 800. Researchers say about half of this historic drought can be blamed on man-made global warming, according to an Associated Press story. "What’s happening now is “a drought bigger than what modern society has seen,” said study lead author A. Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University.
THUMBS UP: To the athletic department at Weber State for being open and willing to figure out how to welcome back senior spring athletes after their season was canceled but the NCAA approved extra eligibility for them. Athletic director Tim Crompton told the Standard-Examiner the NCAA decision was "absolutely a positive thing" and that, for athletes who want to return, they'll "make that work." In contrast, the University of Wisconsin, which has a massively larger budget than WSU, has decided against allowing those athletes to return, calling the NCAA decision an "overreaction."