THUMBS UP: To Provo Downtown Inc. for helping to bring normal life back with this weekend’s half-marathon and farmer’s market opening. These activities begin a spring and summer full of activities for the public to enjoy. However, wisdom dictates that face masks should be worn when the outdoor crowds get too big. By being safe and getting vaccinated, all of the city celebrations, farmer’s markets and marathons will be able to continue and residents will be able to party like it's 2019.
THUMBS UP: To Mother Nature for raining on the area lawns and greening them up for spring. Now we must be water wise as warmer days will begin to approach. We need the moisture to get Utah out of its severe drought. The more we can conserve, the better off we’ll be.
THUMBS UP: To the University of Utah for passing on the kid who is poised to be the No. 2 pick in the entire NFL Draft.
THUMBS DOWN: To the talk of Mitt Romney receiving a censure from the GOP. Romney stood up for what he believed in and while it may have opposed the party’s view of the impeachment ordeal, it should not be a slap on the wrist for Romney. I applaud Romney and his work for the state of Utah and Utahns.
THUMBS UP: To President Joe Biden for logging another week with no mean tweets. The jury is still out, however, on the effect his overdriven teleprompter is having on climate change due to methane gas emissions.
THUMBS UP: To a great showing by Daily Herald staffers in the annual SPJ Top of the Rockies contest. It is in an honor to work with this small, but dedicated team of journalists.
THUMBS UP: To the Utah Jazz for setting two franchise records in Wednesday night's 154-105 embarrassment of the Sacramento Kings. The records were for most points (154) and margin of victory (49). And they did it without the services of their top two point guards, Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley, who were both sidelined with injuries.
THUMBS UP: To the appearance of warmer weather, minimizing the shiver factor at evening youth baseball games.
THUMBS UP: To UVU women's soccer for securing the first NCAA tournament victory in school history. The Wolverines beat Memphis on Wednesday in the first round and now look to double that total when they face No. 6-seed Arkansas on Saturday.
THUMBS DOWN: To Utah Republican delegates, including multiple from Utah County, who are pushing to censure U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney for his votes to impeach then-President Donald Trump. The push to censure Romney is the latest evidence of cannibalization and disarray within the GOP, a party that continues to double down on extremism rather than working to find common ground. Romney is one of the few reasonable Republican voices in Congress today, and it's a shame he's being punished for it.
THUMBS UP: To BYU quarterback Zach Wilson becoming the highest-selected Cougar in NFL Draft history. Now we hope he is able to translate his 2020 college success into a productive and exciting pro career.
THUMBS UP: To Amelia Powers Gardner taking the oath of office as Utah County Commissioner on Thursday. Gardner's nomination by the Utah County Republican Party Central Committee is historic in that she is the first woman to ever be elected to the Utah County Commission. As clerk/auditor, Gardner helped transform the Utah County Elections Division and brought much-needed efficiency to county government. Despite these accomplishments, one cannot overlook that a recent county investigation found that Gardner sexually harassed a former employee in 2020 and frequently brought up the employee's sexuality in work settings. Additionally, multiple employees complained of a toxic workplace environment under Gardner. Let's hope this controversy serves as a learning moment for Gardner and that she takes proactive steps toward making employees feel comfortable and creating a healthy work environment.
THUMBS DOWN: To getting all worked up about the possible censure of Sen. Mitt Romney by the Utah Republican Party. Color me ambivalent about the whole thing. When it comes to political theater, Mitt is going to Mitt. Whether it be voting his conscience -- which people either laud or decry depending on whether they agree with the current moral high ground he's clinging to -- or merely grandstanding, if your conscience is perceived to more closely align with Nancy Pelosi's than that of your average Utah constituent, then, yeah, a little pushback shouldn't be a surprise.
THUMBS UP: To Utah Valley University and the World Trade Center of Utah, who partnered to open an office in Orem at the university. The new office will give businesses a space to look for growth abroad and beyond.
THUMBS UP: To one of the greatest hard rock guitar albums of all time, "Fair Warning" by Van Halen, which celebrated its 40th anniversary on Thursday. The opening chords to "Unchained" still make the hair on my arm rise all these years later. This album anniversary takes on added significance following the death of guitarist Eddie Van Halen on Oct. 6. It's still hard to fathom that we will never see the king of 10 fingers and six strings in concert again.