030718 I15 Express Lane 01

The Interstate 15 Express Lanes system in March 2018.

Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Northern Utah?

THUMBS UP: Voting today is so much easier than it has been, historically. Make sure to mail your ballot by Monday, as it has to be postmarked by Nov. 5, or you can go in person on Tuesday. Research the candidates asking for your vote on your ballot, research the initiatives posed to you by local and statewide groups. Encourage your family members, friends and children of voting age to turn in their ballots.

Utahns will be greatly impacted by the decisions voted on in this election. Your voice matters in your city, school districts and in the state. For information on voting and your ballot, visit vote.utah.gov. For local election results, visit www.standard.net on Tuesday!

THUMBS DOWN: There seems to be some animal abuse happening in our area this week, and it is unacceptable. The Humane Society of Utah is still offering a $5,000 reward for information regarding the shooting of a husky dog Sunday in Ogden. It's hard to have confidence in humanity when people take to senseless violence against helpless animals. Do not hesitate to report abuse behavior you see to authorities.

THUMBS DOWN: While long out of use, abandoned mines still pose a hazard. According to The Associated Press, there have been 11 deaths since 1982 and more than 40 injuries, including people who entered such locations to explore and others who fell in by accident, according to state data. Some abandoned mines become filled with tainted water, as in the toxic 2015 spill from Colorado’s Gold King mine, but most in Utah are dry.

While some believe mines should remain open and accessible for limited outdoor recreation, likening explorers to skiers or hikers, we disagree and believe state officials should be more stringent in prosecuting trespassing in these closed mines. We appreciate the state's efforts in closing more than 6,000 mines and hope they rapidly continue to close off access to even more. 

THUMBS DOWN: It is an absolutely absurd reflection on the brokenness of our health care system that it is cheaper for Utah's public employees to fill high-cost prescriptions by traveling to Mexico rather than filling them in our own state. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that PEHP, which covers 160,000 public employees and their families in Utah, is offering plane tickets to San Diego and subsequent transportation to Tijuana for patients who require drugs for cancer, multiple sclerosis and various autoimmune disorders. When will our legislators buckle down and figure out a more cost-effective solution for everyday Utahns' and Americans' health care needs? Prescription drug companies are holding our sick hostage. 

THUMBS UP: Weber area residents should be grateful that Weber State University has taken a proactive approach to educating students about mental health awareness and advocacy, given the numbers of students who are impacted by anxiety: 64 percent. This next year, all students will have access to new courses educating them on mental health and also how to identify peers in crisis. Pretty soon, the university will have instructed mental health ambassadors (a.k.a. students) all over the community; we hope this knowledge spreads beyond just the campus. 

THUMBS DOWN: UDOT is tired of drivers ignoring rules of the road, particularly the double white lines of the Express Lane on Interstate 15. While there is ongoing construction in some parts along the Wasatch Front, crossing double white lines is apparently still illegal (though it hasn't stopped many other Utahns before). For the knuckleheads who treat it like their own personal driveway, beware. Enforcement efforts are going to increase and if you're lucky, you'll get a $337 fine. And while we're on the topic of lanes on I-15, for all that is sacred, can semitrailer-trucks and slow vehicles somehow manage to not park in the left lane? For whatever reason, we notice this happens far more often in Weber County than through other counties I-15 passes through.

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