Utah County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue continue rescue operations at Utah Lake for two missing girls 06

Officials aboard Utah State Parks boats search for two missing teenagers in the proximity of the Knolls camping area along the western shore of Utah Lake near State Road 68 on Thursday, May 7, 2020. The two teenagers, Priscilla Bienkowski, 18, and Sophia Hernandez, 17, were reported missing Wednesday afternoon after they went swimming in Utah Lake, and Utah County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue teams have been looking for the teens since Wednesday evening. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

To Utah moving from the orange phase to the yellow phase of COVID-19 recovery. We’re all excited to return to life as normal. The yellow phase, obviously, does not give Utahns free-range to ignore the health and safety of others. It does, however, indicate that we’re moving in the right direction as a state. Let’s keep that trend heading in the right direction.

To Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, who at age 79, has weathered the storm of contention and continues to give knowledgeable and sound advice surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Fauci has advised six presidents and has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. He oversees a health budget of nearly $6 billion and is honored worldwide for his accomplishments. He is grace under fire. It takes courage to speak out when incorrect information is being given from the highest level of leadership in this country and we applaud his honesty and integrity in the wake of this carelessness and indifference.

To the Utah County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team and their efforts to find two missing teenage girls on Utah Lake in the week since they’ve gone missing. The days have been long and the search intense. We applaud their efforts and struggles as they complete their tasks without fanfare.

To the Orem police for being very uncooperative with our newsroom when we made many requests for info on the police-involved shooting that occurred Friday. The police department spoke with several other news organizations in the state about the story, but refused to give us any information until a press conference was held several days later.

Tender mercies come in both big and small packages, but when they distill on you like the dew from heaven, you just have to take a moment and give thanks for them. Like this morning, for example: I hurriedly jumped in the car, with 30 minutes to make a 35-minute drive to the office. I cranked the ignition and prepared to pop it into drive, when what should I hear blaring out of the car radio but the immediately recognizable guitar solo from “No One Like You” by the Scorpions. Now, if the last thing playing when you turn off your car the night before is a CD, well, you have a pretty good idea what to expect the next morning. But radio can be a mixed bag. I mean, it could just as easily have been Dave Matthews Band and my day would have been ruined, am I right? But when the first thing you hear is the middle of one of your favorite guitar solos of all time, that is something to be celebrated. Thanks to my friend Jon Carter at 103.5 The Arrow for getting my day started right.

To everyone who makes extra effort to treat each other courteously when on the trails. For our own sanity, we all need to get outdoors and enjoy the spring weather — but we also need to be careful and keep our distance for health reasons. Most outdoor enthusiasts seem to be willing to do their part to make the experience as good as possible for everyone.

To the teachers and parents who survived the last two months of distance learning programs. With school instruction wrapping up, it’s definitely time to applaud everyone for their education efforts.

A Palmyra family believes their teenage daughter’s young 4-H and FFA calf, with unique red and white markings, was stolen out of their pasture last week. Having participated in both 4-H and FFA, this is an incredible tragedy, not just as a project, but as an up-and-coming rancher. These programs teach younger generations the nuance behind the practice of farming and ranching, helping students raise and care for livestock while helping them to understand where their food comes from. The programs not only help students feel more grateful for every meal they have, but also thankful to the ranchers who made it possible. For a calf to disappear overnight, which I’m sure the teenage daughter had already started caring for, that’s months of bonding and work that the pair never get to experience, not to mention a hit to the family’s wallet during a global pandemic. Hopefully, whoever has the calf will come forward or return it as quickly and mysteriously as it disappeared.

To nonessential businesses opening up at malls and outlets in Orem and Provo. While businesses and customers need to remain cautious as things reopen, it is great that Utah residents are finally able to go out and support the economy. Hopefully this will help local businesses rebound.

During a global pandemic and economic crisis, Utah County residents are spending more time celebrating “the little things.” From birthday parades to online weddings, people across not only the county but also the state are using technology and innovation to come together and prepare for the new normal. It warms the heart to see just how neighborly Utah County has been through an unbelievably stressful period of time.

To the 2020 Utah County State Fair being canceled. While it seemed inevitable, it is still sad to see that another one of the county’s great annual celebrations won’t be taking place this year due to the pandemic. I’m already looking forward to the 2021 fair.

To everyone who participated Tuesday in a surprise drive-by birthday party for a disabled veteran in American Fork. And an especially big thumbs up to American Fork Fire Chief Aaron Brems and leaders with UTV Utah, who were the main people who made the event a reality.