Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Northern Utah?

Monday , February 05, 2018 - 4:30 AM

Standard-Examiner Editorial Board

Each week the Standard-Examiner hashes out issues large and small and takes a thumbs-up, thumbs-down stance. Here’s what we recommend this week for praise and criticism:

THUMBS UP: To the Ogden School District for having more open conversations in earlier stages about addressing school buildings, enrollment and district changes.

> Ogden School Board considering new bond, closing Gramercy, other elementary schools

The $106.5 million bond floated last fall caught many district residents by surprise and the scant details left voters — particularly those on the East bench — skeptical and defensive. The initiative ultimately failed. 

Last week, the district showed five possible scenarios at an open meeting, addressing the realities of dropping enrollment and aging buildings.

Hard conversations are still ahead, but it’s good that the conversation is public.

THUMBS UP: To Max Watson, the Box Elder High senior basketball player, whose work ethic and drive is more than admirable.

Watson spends another hour practicing after the team’s workout is over. He goes to the gym rain or shine, he’ll shoot 400-500 hoops a day in the summer — the off-season for the high school sport.

A desire to be great is one thing. The dedication to put in the effort is something entirely different. Many have the former, but Watson’s skill on the court makes it evident he has the latter.

THUMBS DOWN: To the late-to-the-game protesters now throwing up opposition to the North Ogden amphitheater.

The problem isn’t the opposition. It’s that it’s coming at this juncture, after concrete is already being poured.

The process was public. There were several invitations for public comment. The project was proposed, planned and approved above the board.

And now this group is crying foul, claiming they weren’t told about major milestones, which isn’t exactly a fair characterization. City officials don’t knock on each door to tell residents what’s going on in the parks because that’s what the Utah Open Meetings Act is for. They have to post agendas, minutes and recordings of meetings specifically to ensure nothing is done in secret.

The city of North Ogden is responding appropriately to hear residents’ concerns and work to mitigate them. It might cost more money, it might slow the project down or it might have no effect at all — either way, this is a good lesson in paying closer attention to your local government.

THUMBS UP: To the Utah Transit Authority trustees for supporting a measure that would shrink the board from 16 positions to three, as well as include a nine-member planning advisory panel.

Yes, there is concern that the shakeup could minimize Northern Utah say in the public transportation future of the area, but likely the advisory panel would prevent that from happening. And a big change at UTA is long overdue after they’ve fumbled the public’s trust a few too many times. The explicit call to combat bad air quality is also a refreshing vocalization of priority.

Have a thumbs up or thumbs down you’d like to give? Email a an idea of 100 words or less to managing editor Anne Christnovich at achristnovich@standard.net.

Sign up for e-mail news updates.