BYU women's soccer NCAA invite 2021

The BYU women's soccer team reacts to receiving the No. 12 seed in the 2021 NCAA Tournament on Monday, April 19, 2021.

THUMBS UP: To BYU and UVU women’s soccer, for making it to the NCAA Tournament. Both had great seasons as the Wolverines earned their third trip to the Big Dance by winning the WAC Tournament. The Cougars have been in the tournament almost every year for the past two decades but it is still an achievement worth lauding.

THUMBS DOWN: To Utah County commissioners Bill Lee and Tom Sakievich for approving a budget amendment that wasn’t supported by county finance staff. The commissioners voted on Wednesday to approve a $4.8 million decrease in projected 2021 property tax revenues, clearing the way for rolling back a 2019 property tax increase. County budget staff did not recommend the decrease because it is not matched by a corresponding decrease in expenditures. It is a shame, but not at all surprising, that the commissioners are putting politics ahead of good budgeting.

THUMBS UP: To the spring weather that has allowed most high school sports to happen. Yes, we need more storms to help alleviate the drought, but since Mother Nature will do things her way no matter what we might want, we might as well enjoy the fact that our athletes are being able to compete with few weather delays and cancellations.

THUMBS DOWN: To people who think it’s their business to tell other individuals what causes they can and can’t support with their own money. It’s not enough, for some narcissistic busybodies apparently, that individuals personally donate money to something they support — but heaven forbid they donate to something these self-appointed cultural gatekeepers don’t approve of. How about everybody supporting what want and allowing everyone else the same privilege?

THUMBS UP: To spring in Utah. Not only is the temperature perfect in the northern half of the state, but also in the southern part of the state. Spring is a fantastic time to get out and take in the true beauty of the Beehive State, venturing south to Moab and also north into the Wasatch and Uintah mountains. Personally, I love to venture toward Kanab and into the Buckskin Gulch area further east near Page. Camping in the San Rafael Swell is also fantastic right now, with temperatures reaching highs in the 90s and lows in the mid-30s. It truly is a beautiful time of year, one that makes me thankful to be within reach of the desert and the mountains.

THUMBS DOWN: To the eighth-grade history department at Centennial Middle School for originally assigning students an offensive assignment in March, which in part asked students to learn about slavery and the Civil War and “reach their own conclusions regarding the issues.” This is a tone-deaf assignment, and eighth-grade students at a public school should not be asked to debate the merits of slavery, as if there are any. Hopefully the public attention this now-scrapped assignment received will prevent public schools from assigning similar projects in the future.

THUMBS UP: To the soon-to-be college and high school graduates in Utah County. While this year has been an interesting one for students, the high school and college seniors might have been hit the hardest. Many events stripped away and other challenges to overcome, but they got through it. I know it is far from ideal to graduate during the COVID-19 pandemic, but this is a massive accomplishment that really only one other group of students has had to deal with. Kudos to the graduates!

THUMBS DOWN: To business boycotts run amok. Seems like any time some representative from some business says something someone doesn’t support, we’re all supposed to jump onboard with a boycott of that business. Given enough time and a big enough platform, everybody is going to stick their foot in their mouth at some point no matter how woke they are. I don’t really care whether a CEO is Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, what their background is or any other laundry list of litmus tests, just give me a quality product, service, meal or street taco. That’s what I’ll support.

THUMBS UP: To the city of Vineyard for being awarded a Healthy Utah Community Designation during the Utah League of Cities and Towns Mid-Year Conference. Vineyard was one of 11 cities and the only one in Utah County to be awarded this first year. Congratulations to Mayor Julie Fullmer and her staff.

THUMBS DOWN: To phony websites steeped in plagiarism that blatantly piggyback/rip off the efforts of real local journalists. Not to mention using a ridiculous pseudonym for a byline. (Rock Withers? Seriously?) Then to have the audacity to use this phrase under the website’s Terms and Conditions: “The Service and its original content, features and functionality are and will remain the exclusive property of This website and its licensors.” What original content? It seems that quackery knows no bounds.

THUMBS UP: To Allegiant Air for seeing the advantage of flying a one-time route to Las Vegas from Provo for the BYU vs. University of Arizona football game in September. We encourage Allegiant to consider the route from Provo to Las Vegas as a potentially lucrative route. Don’t be fooled by the religious nature of Provo. There are many fun things to do in Vegas. After all, it was Mormon (LDS) pioneers that founded the city. However, the famous Las Vegas Strip was perhaps not a vision for the oasis community.