Utah Valley welcomed the new year this past week with festivities across many cities.
At the Daily Herald, we would be remiss to not aggregate some of the hopes and dreams many residents have for Utah County, and the state as a whole, in 2020.
A presidential election year is here again, and that means a lot of mailed and submitted ballots for Utah County. The last major election, midterms in 2018, did not go well to say the least. This year, we hope that Clerk/Auditor Amelia Powers is better prepared than her predecessors in elections past. The election division’s budget increased for 2020 to provide better staffing for the primary and general elections. Hopefully, Utah County will see record turnout in voter participation and be ready to handle voter lines — and share up-to-date election results.
In the first half of 2019 there was plenty of movement and discussion about the county’s form of government and potential changes. Then, it got stalled. In 2020, we could see a continuance of that drive for change, whether it takes place in the Legislature or by the county’s own actions. Given the level of backbiting on the county level, this resolution might be best left up to the state level to intervene and course correct.
Perhaps, if we’re lucky, construction on Interstate 15 in Utah County will begin to wrap up this year. There would be no greater gift this year than for projects to complete on time so the drag between American Fork and the Point of the Mountain is less painful. There will be a light at the end of this proverbial construction tunnel.
In 2019, Utahns saw ground gained in challenging teen smoking and vaping, within the state and nationally. In 2020, it will be more difficult for youth under the age of 21 to jump on the vaping bandwagon, and avoid the health dangers smoking poses. Flavor bans will most likely make the practice less attractive to youth, in addition to heightened restrictions. One task we’ve noticed some school districts taking in the state is reviewing their policies for handling students caught vaping or with vape devices on school grounds. Rather than just confiscation or perhaps suspension, programs, taught to teens and their parents, are being instituted as an education-based resolution to the behavior. Our youth should know the consequences of their behavior and how it could impact their health.
While our neighbors to the north of Utah County in Salt Lake are much more proactive on concerns and addressing poor air quality, it’s something Utah County needs to make strides on in 2020, too. With so much growth, it is important we strive to carpool more, utilize mass transit where available, and use the new bike lanes popping up in cities. We doubt anyone will pick up striving to use less fireworks, but those too contribute significantly to poor air around corresponding holidays. At the very least, we can all idle our vehicles less.
For many dedicated (and more-so fair weather) fans, the end of the 2019 season left complete disappointment in one’s mouth rather than contentment about the success of the season. There’s a lot to be done in the next six months, with Cougar fans praying that it might finally be the year to end the Utah winning streak. Someone recently pointed out to us that current fourth graders have never witnessed a BYU win against Utah, and if that doesn’t make you sad, we don’t know what will.