Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Northern Utah?

Friday , July 06, 2018 - 3:48 PM

Each week the Standard-Examiner hashes out issues large and small and takes a thumbs-up, thumbs-down stance. 

Here’s what we recommend this week for praise and criticism:

THUMBS UP: Let’s give a round of applause to firefighters and forestry personnel across Utah. 

The Fourth of July is typically a busy time for firefighters everywhere, with wayward fireworks sparking flames wherever they land. On top of putting out flames caused by fireworks, many of the state’s firefighters are combating several large wildfires down south.

The Dollar Ridge Fire, which is burning near Strawberry Reservoir, is the largest wildfire in Utah and has caused the evacuation over more than 1,000 people. A 35-mile stretch of Highway 40 has been closed since Wednesday. 

The West Valley Fire, near St. George, has burned up 18 square miles since it was sparked by an abandoned campfire.

Thanks to all working to keep us safe. 

THUMBS DOWN: To people who ignore fire restrictions. 

The entire state of Utah is basically a tinderbox right now, and certain areas are especially at risk of igniting.

Ogden Fire Marshal Kevin Brown told the Standard-Examiner that he didn’t have an exact number of citations given out on the Fourth of July, but the Ogden Police Department received multiple fireworks complaints in the restricted area east of Harrison Boulevard in Ogden. 

Fire restrictions are there for a reason. Your patriotic desire to make things explode does not trump the safety of the rest of the community. 

Plus, violating fire restrictions is a class B misdemeanor and you’ll get smacked with a fine of up to $1,000 ... not to mention you might have to pay for any damages your carelessness may have caused. 

THUMBS UP: To the Ogden Raptors, who — despite having an eight game winning streak snapped — boast the best record in the Pioneer League. If you haven’t been to a Raptors home game yet this year, grab your baseball glove and get some tickets at Lindquist Stadium to watch these players in action. Plus, you’ll get to meet crowd favorites like Barry the Beer Guy, an insurance agent who hawks beers at every game. 

“He remembers you, he knows what kind of beer you like to drink, so when he’s around in your area ... he has the right cold beer for you,” said Pam Sorensen, a Brigham City resident and Raptors regular for about 15 seasons.

If that’s not service, we don’t know what is. 

The Raptors start another home series Tuesday, July 10, at 7 p.m. 

THUMBS DOWN: To Utah’s asset seizure laws. 

In 2017, Utah police agencies seized $2.2 million in cash from accused criminals last year. Police say asset seizure is critical to bringing down large-scale criminal operations and drug networks, as well as for funding drug enforcement programs.

Utah law allows law enforcement agencies to take a person’s property even if they haven’t been charged or convicted in a crime — and in at least 13 percent of the 2017 cases, no charges were filed. 

As we said in an editorial about asset seizures in July 2017, “America’s justice system is built upon the principle that you’re innocent until proven guilty. In Utah, the system says guilt and innocence don’t matter — the state will take what it wants, when it wants it. That must change.”

Have a thumbs-up or thumbs-down you’d like to give? Email a submission of 100 words or less to jmccabe@standard.net.

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