THUMBS UP: To to all who see getting through 2020 as a win. It has been a year of extremes, changes, chaos, death, gratitude, evaluation, new normal, technology breakthroughs and educational breakdowns. We have lost many, yet many have found themselves in their darkest times. For this we give two thumbs up and hope 2021, although not yet perfect, will end with more joy, more gratitude, more self-love and love for humanity, that governments and kingdoms can pause to feel the goodness in freedom, and that we as people might see ourselves more as brothers and sisters than enemies.
THUMBS DOWN: Two large thumbs down to the Springville Police, Springville City administration, as well as the Springville mayor and City Council for their handling of the robbery at Central Bank on Tuesday. Waiting for 16 hours to release information on a bank robbery -- with an armed suspect on the loose -- after repeated attempts to get any information about the situation, was met with unfulfilled promises of an imminent press release. This is unheard of. What could possibly have been these officials' motivation to not let the public know of an armed suspect on the loose?
THUMBS UP: To Utah! The Beehive State will celebrate its 125th birthday on Monday. From the top of Ensign Peak to the canyons and caverns of Zion's National Park and the West Desert to Green River -- Utah is a pretty great state in which to live, work, play, raise a family and retire. Happy Birthday, Utah.
THUMBS DOWN: So many downward thumbs have been thrust at the idiocy of the College Football Playoff Committee this season that I feel like those digits and their accompanying tendons and musculature are in better shape than any other part of my body. Must add another one this week for the continued shutting out of worthy smaller schools from the Big Boy Invitational (otherwise known as the New Year's 6 and the playoff itself). How could a team that got shellacked by 24 points in its previous game get granted a berth in the four-team playoff while a couple other more deserving teams were left out? Pure brand recognition, that's how. Just goes to show, what you produce on the field is not always as important as the school name on your jersey or the golden dome on your helmets.
THUMBS UP: I don't think I've ever seen a cuter, more welcome New Year's baby than the one that crawled across my doorstep at midnight Friday morning. Goodbye and good riddance, you toddling 2020. I grinned as I saw the door hit you on the way out. And I'm glad I didn't shovel snow from my walkway either. It warmed my heart to see you gingerly sliding and stepping on metaphorical eggshells as you made your much-anticipated departure.
THUMBS DOWN: I have seen increasingly hateful comments and messages pouring in daily. It is extremely disheartening to see the toxic sewage some Utah County residents think is OK to spew with a keyboard from behind a stock photo. Be kind to your neighbors. Be kind to yourselves.
THUMBS UP: To reports that coronavirus levels on multiple Utah mink farms are going down in both mink and the cats and dogs living on the farm. The news came just weeks after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the first "free-ranging, native wild animal" confirmed to have coronavirus was a wild mink in Utah. Thousands of mink have been killed because of the outbreak on farms, so it is great news that things appear to be moving in the right direction.
THUMBS DOWN: To the Florida Gators for bringing a scout team to a New Year's 6 bowl game. Wednesday's Cotton Bowl was a complete disgrace as Florida -- with players opting out like flies -- virtually no-showed in a 55-20 wave-the-white-flag surrender to Oklahoma. On the bright side, at least the SEC got to cash another big bowl check while keeping that money out of the hands of more deserving teams.
THUMBS UP: To Lehi Roller Mills General Manager Sherman Robinson, who is retiring after 56 years working with the mills. 2021 will mark the end of the Robinson legacy at Lehi Roller Mills, which Robinson's grandfather acquired in 1910. But Robinson said the legacy will live on through incoming manager Brock Knight, who Robinson has worked with for two decades. Congratulations to Mr. Robinson for a long career at an iconic Utah County business.
THUMBS UP: We have made it to the new year. 2021 is here with new promises and new challenges. Whether the grass is greener on the other side is yet to be seen, but you made it. We made it. Take a breath, and keep on keeping on.
THUMBS UP: To everyone who has maintained attitudes of optimism and determination to learn during the wild year of 2020. It's easy to get caught up in the frustrations and negativity during tough times, which is why looking on the bright side definitely should be applauded.
THUMBS DOWN: To any BYU fan who was insensitive to their Utah counterparts after the death of Ute running back Ty Jordan. Fortunately there were very, very few who fell into that category and those were drowned out by the incredible support and empathy that crossed rivalry lines during a time of tragedy.
THUMBS UP: To everyone who made it through the dumpster fire of a year that was 2020. To those who could not see their family members, to those who made sacrifices, to those fighting through tough times and more. It’s not like this COVID-19 pandemic will end come the new year, but the light at the end of the tunnel is there, albeit still a ways away.
THUMBS DOWN: Answer: What Ken Jennings did. Question: What is an apology fail?
THUMBS UP: To all the journalists out there. 2020 brought on a lot of challenges but through it all, the journalism industry persisted. Local journalism is more important than ever right now as reporters and editors strive to keep the community updated and informed on topics that matter. While the journalism industry is ever changing, be sure to support those local newspapers and journalists.