Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Northern Utah?
THUMBS UP: We’re equally as excited as the community for the selection of Weber State University’s newly selected president, Brad Mortensen. Mortensen was announced as the search committee’s selection among four finalists this week.
He has the distinct advantage of knowing the community and university’s needs, having been at the university for 14 years. On Wednesday during the Q&A with community members, he touched on how the university needs to grow alongside the rest of Utah’s population. Mortensen embraces expression in the university setting and cited the university’s ability to host civil rights champion Dolores Huerta this fall for Hispanic Heritage month — a very notable guest speaker.
As Utah — and conversely Weber State — grows, it will be Mortensen’s responsibility to make sure the university is catering to all the needs of our diverse local economy, as well as continuing to be a strong community partner. The community and Weber State strengthen one another, and we hope it will continue to be that way. We wish him all the best as he begins this journey leading 26,000 students and many future students yet to come.
THUMBS DOWN: We’re saddened to hear that South Ogden voted on Nov. 20 to indeed close the senior center and NUSANE nonprofit operating in a building that it can no longer afford to repair — in order to sell it — beginning in the new year. We acknowledge the practicality in weighing the costs of pouring more money into an old structure that will not last. However, we hope the city or surrounding communities will be able to come together to serve these vulnerable populations that do truly need attention and care.
THUMBS UP: A nod to those who have volunteered to serve the remainder of former Mayor Brent Taylor’s term through 2019. Ultimately, five residents of North Ogden applied to fill the position until an election can take place. This strong desire to serve and help is a key, noble characteristic of Utahns. We look forward to following the city council as it goes through the interview process of candidates, when a new mayor will be picked on Jan. 8.
THUMBS UP: While one never enjoys seeing local or state governments propose new or increased taxes of any sort, we appreciate that Gov. Herbert has decided to specifically note that he seeks to add hundreds of millions more to the state’s education budget, in part to address funds for school counselors to aid with the serious mental health issues our youth are facing. Until we dedicate more resources to mental health care, we will continue to struggle in addressing our higher rates of depression and suicide in the state.