THUMBS UP: To everyone — the organizers, the participants, the police officers tasked with keeping all safe — involved in last weekend’s “Take a Knee” rally on the steps of the Ogden City Municipal Building. At a time when protests surrounding the George Floyd killing have often become violent, the Ogden event remained calm and civil from start to finish. Organizer Malik Dayo set the tone for the afternoon, insisting it was a peaceful protest and not an “anti-cop rally.” And the event, seen by many as one of the largest protests ever held in the city, delivered on that promise.
THUMBS DOWN: To yet another dry spell here in Northern Utah. According to the recently released Utah Climate and Water Report, high soil temperatures and minimal rainfall in April and May have resulted in an elevated fire danger in the state. Exhibit A: The three lightning-caused fires in Box Elder County on Thursday that charred more than 10,000 acres. And with the July 4 and July 24 celebrations looming on the horizon, it will behoove all Utahns to again be extremely careful with fireworks this year.
THUMBS UP: To Officer Mitchel Porter of the Layton Police Department, who was recently named April officer of the month by the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum in Washington, D.C. The 26-year-old officer, who joined the force in November 2018, was honored for rescuing a woman from the basement of a burning house in east Layton on Jan. 12. In addition to that national award, Porter is also in line to receive Layton’s Police Star, one of the department’s highest recognitions. We can think of no more deserving an officer.
THUMBS DOWN: To a Weber State University professor’s threatening remarks on the social media site Twitter. WSU criminal justice professor Scott Senjo drew sharp, widespread criticism earlier in the week for a number of tweets that, among other things, praised damage done to CNN headquarters, offered up a thinly veiled threat against a journalist who was injured by law enforcement, and seemed to suggest officers ought to plow into protesters with their police vehicles. To his credit — whether compelled or not — Senjo took ownership of his statements, apologized and tendered his resignation, effective immediately. In a statement, the university said Senjo’s posts were “hurtful and inconsistent with the values of Weber State University and our work to create an inclusive and welcoming environment.” Here’s to hoping the damage can be undone.
THUMBS UP: To Ogden City for being hard at work on a plan to bring back some sort of normalcy for children and adults by looking for ways to restart its recreation programs. Although officials don’t yet have a firm reboot date, such early talk at least offers some light at the end of the tunnel. In mid-March, the COVID-19 pandemic forced more than 30 city-run recreation programs to shut down or be postponed. That was in addition to closing both the Marshall White Center and the Golden Hours Senior Center. The city is now analyzing what programs and facilities can safely return, as well as what changes will need to be made in order to meet the needs of a situation in constant flux. Until then, the summer hangs in the balance.
THUMBS UP: We’re finally getting into political season and June’s primary in Utah will be on the weirder end. Embrace this, and remember it, because we’re in for a wild ride to November. Politics is often not everybody’s favorite topic, but for those of us who treat it like sport, this is an exciting time.
THUMBS DOWN: Anybody who is a fan of UFC and MMA should have noticed by now how awkward watching the fights are without crowds. It’s reasonable to televise the fights while taking reasonable steps to prevent COVID-19 transmission. Saying that, it’s lost a bit of its charm without the roar of the fans in the background.