Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Northern Utah?

THUMBS UP: The end might be in sight. On Friday, President Trump announced that a deal for a temporary funding of the government has been reached to open the government for three weeks while negotiations continue.

As of Friday afternoon, the president was set to sign a bill that would reopen the government until Feb. 15, which was music to the ears of many Utahns employed by the federal government or service providers to those employed by the government. On Friday, the 800,000 federal workers that have been furloughed faced missing a second payday.

Utah representatives attempted to pass legislation on Thursday to reopen the government, and though both pieces failed, it was reassuring to witness some kind of effort after 35 days into the shutdown.

Now, Congress has three weeks to negotiate and come to a compromise since this situation is just temporary. We hope they treat these three weeks with the utmost seriousness, and do not lose sight of its impact now that so many Americans’ lives are relieved in the short-term.

THUMBS UP: People’s generosity in the community continues to impress upon us that compassion is alive and well in Utah — whether it’s been people volunteering to pay for others’ medication who can’t afford it while furloughed, or bringing food to a TSA worker, or fundraising to fill a pantry for fellow school classmates.

Difficult times can bring out the worst and best among us, and fortunately for this last month we’ve witnessed many Good Samaritan acts. Continue that generosity. There are needs that still must be met this winter.

THUMBS UP: We’re enjoying all this wet weather Utah is receiving, which gives hope for the state’s snowpack levels heading into the rest of the season. This water is much needed. And we’re sure the local resorts and skiers are are pretty happy with all the fresh powder, too.

THUMBS UP: Politics aside, it was good to see Sen. Romney visiting Northern Utah twice in the last week, especially amid the government shutdown. Romney held a town hall meting on Tuesday in Farmington, his first as an elected official here. Town halls allow everyday residents the opportunity to access their federal representatives and voice concerns in person.

While some representatives in the state hold regular public meetings, a number of them do not — making it difficult for the people to connect and ensure their representative understands local viewpoints. One suggestion for future town halls would be to select larger venues so that all those who want to attend can be accommodated; this week’s meeting saw a bit of crowding and overflow in the Davis County Commission chambers.

THUMBS DOWN: With the 2019 session of the Utah Legislature set to start on Monday, discussion of upcoming bills is underway and one that piqued interest this week was Rep. Merrill Nelson’s bill that seeks “clarity” by stopping state officials from continuing to allow residents to change their genders on official documents. Like Gov. Herbert, we think there’s no reason why the Legislature should stop residents’ ability to change their documents as needed — government surely doesn’t need to stick its nose in places where it’s not necessary.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!