THUMBS UP: To the Weber State football team for making it to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs for the first time since 2009.

Two seasons ago, the team only pulled off two wins. Now, under Coach Jay Hill’s leadership, the Wildcats finished third in the Big Sky Conference with an overall record of 7-4 with a 6-2 mark in conference play.

That’s a remarkable turnaround.

THUMBS DOWN: To those making death threats against Crystal Hall, the transgender woman who was photographed burning a flag on the steps of the state capitol during a protest of President-elect Donald Trump. 

That’s not to say people don’t have a right to disagree with Hall or be angry with her. The whole point of the First Amendment — which protects a person’s right to burn a flag as a form of symbolic speech — is to allow for the safe, open exchange of ideas and opinions.

There’s a wide range of appropriate reactions to her statement that don’t involve threatening to hunt her down and burn her. 

If you love the flag and if you love the country it represents, you ought to see a death threat over using free speech as worse than an ignited match.

THUMBS UP: To the Salt Lake Area Restaurant Association for its plan to hire lobbyists to defeat the Zion Curtain law.

The group, according to a Salt Lake Tribune story, argues the 7-foot, 2-inch wall has various negative consequences for newer restaurants, including difficulty monitoring bartenders and patron distrusting what goes into a drink when they can’t see how it’s made. 

And instead of continuing to complain about it, they’re readying to take action.

Left only to lawmakers, it’s unlikely anything will be done.

If Ogden restaurants, for example, want change, they need to take SLARA’s lead — grumbling is not enough. Should the Zion Curtain law get repealed, it could open up new opportunities to add alcohol-serving restaurants to spaces in Ogden’s booming downtown district that can’t, as the law stands, accommodate the space and design required by the wall.

THUMBS DOWN: To Utah State University for apparently conflating “rape culture” and “drinking culture.”

A woman recently filed suit against the school and fraternity officials after, at age 19, she was beaten and raped at the Gamma Kappa chapter house. 

She wasn’t the only one to experience that level of trauma, either. Logan, home of Utah State University, had 29 reported rape cases in 2015. Ogden — a population almost double of Logan’s — had 30 rapes in that same time period. And keep in mind a majority of rapes are never reported at all, so who knows how many silent victims there are.

Officials, the lawsuit claims, knew about several reports of sexual assault — some of them against the same perpetrator. They also were aware of heavy drinking at fraternity parties since 2008, after a student died of alcohol poisoning. Somehow they failed to take serious action before the plaintiff was raped by a fraternity brother who was among the men accused multiple times before. 

It is utterly necessary to treat drinking and sexual assault as separate issues on campus — because they are separate issues. 

To do anything less than aggressively report and prosecute rapists is to guarantee an unsafe campus.

THUMBS UP: To Ogden city officials and Weber County Commission members for rehiring Dee Smith at the County Attorney’s Office.

It’s important to keep a balance of experience and opportunity in such a vital office, and Smith has proven himself to be a dedicated public servant.

“He has so much knowledge, and will be a good man to have there,” Commissioner Math Bell said to a Standard-Examiner reporter. “We’re really excited about this, and glad we could put the finances together. Ogden city was very willing to step up and help us with it.”



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