THUMBS DOWN: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, put a dang mask on already! Utah has seen a dramatic uptick in positive COVID-19 tests in recent weeks, made possible through relaxed state and county health orders. The situation has reached such a concerning level that Dr. Angela Dunn, the state epidemiologist, warned in a memo sent to state leaders and made public Monday that, if the spread continues, hospitals may start running out of intensive care beds and public restrictions may need to be reimposed. Gov. Gary Herbert already has declared mask use mandatory within state-run buildings and granted requests by Summit and Salt Lake counties to require residents there cover their faces. Time will tell how this coronavirus surge will impact Utahns, but it seems we’ve reached a critical juncture. Where we go from here depends on you. As a new advertising campaign implores, #MaskUpUtah!
THUMBS DOWN: As the old saying goes, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.” That’s our reply to former Weber County commissioner Kerry Gibson, who continues to fight the release of a 2018 police investigation into complaints about his actions in that role. Gibson has long challenged the public’s need to know what was written in the report, beyond the ultimate verdict that no wrongdoing was found. More recently, he’s argued that his political opponents are behind efforts to bring the details to light — allegations debunked by county employees — and that dredging things up would violate his privacy. But there are ways such concerns can be assuaged. Let’s hope the Utah Supreme Court, which will consider the matter, sees reason in the latest filing by freelance journalist Cathy McKitrick, formerly of the Standard-Examiner, and sides in her favor.
THUMBS UP: Kudos to local activists for their continued push for positive change in the community related to the treatment of minorities. Oftentimes, movements like this lose steam within a couple of weeks, but efforts to reform policies and behaviors in Ogden have been steady ever since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis one month ago. After an initial “Take a Knee” protest on May 30, conversations have continued around town, whether on the street, between students and faculty at Weber State University or between Black Lives Matter representatives and city leaders. Another downtown rally is planned for Saturday afternoon. It never hurts to take an honest and scrutinizing look at ourselves and ask, “Is this the best we can do?.” And while Ogden is by no means a hotbed of discriminatory practices, there’s always room for improvement.
THUMBS DOWN: Not to be a Debbie Downer, but talk of adding the Ogden-Hinckley Airport’s terminal building and control tower to historical registers seems premature. No doubt, the modest structures have been important to the area. Since being erected in the 1940s, they’ve helped service countless residents along their journeys to not-so-distant destinations. But there’s potential to make it better, which is exactly what Ogden leaders have in mind with their 20-year plan for the airport. As city figures have shown, the facility isn’t exactly a cash cow, requiring subsidies of around $320,000 per year to maintain operation. There are already development plans underway at the site, and more are being considered. But affixing a historical designation would only add a layer of red tape that could impede future changes. As city council member Rich Hyer said, “It’s a value thing. I think maybe at some point, we might not value an interesting old building as much as whatever else we could put there. Putting it on the register is protecting it from ourselves.”