THUMBS UP

Neighbors helping neighbors. It’s what one hopes to see in times of hardship, and it’s just what Northern Utahns have displayed in the days since powerful winds ripped across the state, toppling trees, damaging buildings and cutting off power for nearly 200,000 households.

News of strangers showing up to remove debris and saw thick tree trunks has been widespread. And because of the sheer magnitude of the destruction, it will take as many able bodies as possible to assist with the work.

That’s evident in places like Washington Terrace, where Mayor Mark Allen has already realized the task is beyond his city’s capability alone, and he’s called for aid from surrounding municipalities. And in Ogden, employees from multiple city agencies — from administrators to firefighters, police and others — plan to be out and about this coming Monday to lend a hand in affected neighborhoods.

Every little bit helps, and every act of kindness, however small, goes a long way toward reinforcing — to ourselves and to those who live around us — that we truly care about each other.

THUMBS DOWN

COVID-19 case counts have been holding relatively steady the past several weeks, but another foe is sneaking up on us: seasonal flu.

Most of us are used to getting yearly vaccinations when influenza season rolls around, but health officials say that’s more important than years past, for a couple of important reasons. The first is that COVID-19 and the flu share some general symptoms, such as coughing, fever/chills, fatigue, bodily aches and pains, and in some cases a sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and diarrhea.

Taking steps to protect yourself from the flu may help prevent misdiagnoses. But it may also help keep you out of the hospital at a time when medical facilities could use all the resources they can get to continue fighting the ongoing pandemic.

Flu shots and sprays are readily available, and can often be administered free of charge. One such source is the Weber-Morgan Health Department, which is scheduling appointments with those who call 801-399-7252. A drive-thru clinic will be coming Oct. 1.

Of course, flu vaccinations aren’t always 100% effective in preventing contraction of the virus, so it’s possible to still fall ill. This time around, though, if you experience flu-like symptoms, notify your doctor and take precautions as if you may have COVID-19.

THUMBS DOWN

U.S. Sen. Mike Lee seems to think tech companies owe him and all red-blooded American citizens an apology for what he believes has been a clear bias on their platforms against conservative political viewpoints. We respectfully disagree.

Lee, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, asked the companies — Facebook, Twitter, Squarespace and Alphabet, the parent company of Google — to address his concerns on the matter but was none too pleased with their responses.

Lee claims these companies have engaged in censorship of voices they don’t like. We remain unconvinced. Removing misleading and potentially harmful information about COVID-19, seemingly one of the causes of the senator’s ire, does not pass that particular smell test. Nor does flagging tweets by President Donald Trump alleging that mail-in voting is destined to cause an avalanche of fraud and ballot tampering.

But even if there were an industrywide conspiracy to discredit conservatives and erase them from the internet, which we’d say is far from a concrete conclusion, that’s their right as private businesses. And if a large segment of the population truly believes that these companies and their products aren’t serving them, surely that’s a problem the free market can solve.

But as is, to quote Sen. Lee, his arguments are “completely unpersuasive.”

THUMBS UP

Pliking. It’s a funny word representing a laudable behavior. Combining the activities of picking up litter and hiking, it encompasses two things all Utahns should enjoy: outdoor recreation and stewardship of our communities and green spaces. So it’s pleasing to see so many people involved in such efforts.

Leading the way is the Pliking Club of Ogden, which is promoting trash cleanup through its Pliking 27 Challenge. Various prizes are available to those who venture out on local trails and lend a hand when they spot wayward litter.

Several citizens have already taken part, with the group reporting that 372 bags of trash have been collected through the contributions of volunteers over 995 hours of combined service.

That’s a shameful amount of garbage dirtying what are supposed to be our city’s most scenic spots. But on the plus side, challenge participants reportedly are now having a hard time finding any trash to remove.

That’s just what we “plike” to hear.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!