Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Northern Utah?

Monday , June 19, 2017 - 5:15 AM1 comment


The Standard-Examiner Editorial Board hashes out the positions we take on the Opinion page. Here’s what members recommended last week for praise and criticism.

THUMBS UP: to Mayor Mike Caldwell, Ogden Police Chief Randy Watt and those who met Saturday to discuss the fair treatment of immigrants in the city.

About 30 people attended the meeting at St. Joseph Catholic Church in an attempt to have an open discussion about the fears and anxieties many Hispanic and Latino people have as stories of deportations become more frequent. 

“We have heard of a number of people who are afraid to leave the house, to put their kids in school, to go to the grocery store,” Caldwell said at the meeting. “If they have a tail light out, they’re afraid they’ll get pulled over, ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is going to rush in and drag them out. It’s really unfortunate we live in such a nice, inclusive community, but because of the national rhetoric, people are too afraid to go to the mailbox.”

Watt, as well as Weber State University and K-12 school administrators, also spoke to try to assuage fears of police profiling and educators finding out a child or parent’s legal status. 

The city council passed a resolution last May in support of immigrants and refugees. They have been working closely with LUPEC — Latinos United Promoting Education and Civic Engagement — and formed their diversity commission. 

But there’s still work to be done. As Caldwell said:

“As leaders in the community, we need to push this message to the people who weren’t here and weren’t willing to come,” he said. “We can put it out there, but if people don’t come, there’s not a lot of important dialogue that happens.”

THUMBS UP: to Liz Chicado, who was recently honored for giving more than 30,000 hours of volunteer time to the Red Cross.

Her contributions were many, and she both ran programs and played a supportive administrative position. She started several swimming programs, trained life guards and health and safety trainers, as well as helped to get grant funding, did graphic design and proofreading. 

Working anywhere for 45 years is an impressive feat. To do so as an act of service makes Chicado a treasure in our community. 

THUMBS DOWN: to the near-constant unchecked hypocrisy displayed by Utah lawmakers.

A recent example: Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke sent out a news release last week with his recommendations for the future of the newly-minted Bears Ears National Monument.

Utah’s NPR station KUER noticed the photo accompanying the release was of Zinke in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument — not Bears Ears.

A similar incident happened in December, according to reporting by KUER’s Judy Fahys, when President Barack Obama’s administration announced the designation of Bears Ears National Monument but showed a picture of Arches National Park.

The December incident caused Utah lawmakers to take to social media to accuse the then-president of carelessness.

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz used the hashtag #WorstPresidentEver in response, and Sen. Mike Lee posted to Facebook: “We should be particularly disturbed by the fact that the same people who made this decision, the same people who decided to declare this national monument, apparently don’t know the difference between the Bears Ears area, on the one hand, and Arches National Park, on the other hand.”

For Zinke’s oversight, our legislators are mum — to both reporters and on social media — somehow making their initial outcry seem even pettier. 

THUMBS DOWN: to the careless humans, this time responsible for a massive fire in Brian Head likely to destroy homes and property. 

The blaze began Saturday as a 50-acre fire, but less than 24 hours later it exploded to almost 1,000 acres burned, with one home destroyed, another damaged and more than 700 people evacuated. 

Thankfully, no injuries were reported as of Sunday evening, according to the St. George News.

NPR reported in February that humans cause 84 percent of wildfires in the U.S.

This isn’t to say everyone is intentionally setting dangerous wildfires. It’s probably by accident or lack of understanding — and that makes matters even worse. 

It’s best not to assume your actions will be the exception. Fires can start from operating farm or lawn equipment, driving on very dry grass, burning debris and, of course, campfires.

Double-check your knowledge by checking good ‘ol Smokey the Bear’s website. Brush up on fire prevention, teach your kids the same and let’s keep our land and homes safe. 


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