Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Northern Utah?

Monday , January 01, 2018 - 5:15 AM1 comment

Standard-Examiner editorial board

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 DOWN: To the proposed law by Utah Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, that would make immigrant families wait five years to qualify for Medicaid or the Child Healthcare Insurance Program.

Christensen told the Salt Lake Tribune that the proposal is a “philosophical” thing and that the law is about “fairness.”

The law would take away health insurance for 475 children who earned the right to be in the country — who’ve had to work much harder, in fact, to be here than natural citizens. So Christensen is arguing the minute they accomplish legal status, Utah should make life harder for them? There is nothing fair about that.

This is attack on a vulnerable population. It’s in direct opposition to American values — a place for the tired, poor and huddled masses to make a new, better life. It’s shameful.

THUMBS UP: To Dustin Hawkins, 38, and his Ogden-based workout recovery program. A recovering addict himself, Hawkins knows the struggle and understands the benefits of replacing unhealthy behaviors with better habits.

But while many programs suggest regular exercise as a part of recovery, Hawkins’ program is among the few that brings clients into the gym to teach them the basics of building a routine for physical exercise. The side effects aren’t only exercise-induced endorphin highs — better confidence, self-image and self-esteem come with it too.

Recovery is hard enough. Ogden is lucky to have someone like Hawkins who can take his experience at rock-bottom and not only rise from it, but bring others with him.

THUMBS UP: To a legislative proposal by Rep. Carol Spackman-Moss, D-Salt Lake City, that would ban handheld phone use for drivers in Utah.

There were 108 fatal crashes between 2012-2016 due to distracted driving, according to Utah’s Department of Public Safety.

If the Legislature and the governor believe lowering the DUI limit to .05 will help save lives, then they ought to support this initiative as well — every life counts and unlike the new drunk-driving law, this proposal is not expected to negatively affect the hotel and tourism industry in the state.

Fifteen states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands all prohibit drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. It would be smart for Utah to join those ranks.

THUMBS DOWN: To the Cache County School District for firing an art teacher after some students stumbled on postcards of classical paintings depicting nude women.

Someone complained the former teacher, Mateo Rueda, was showing pornography to children.

We’ll say it nice and loud for the people in the back: nudity does not equal pornography.

No one is endorsing showing salacious or inappropriate material to youngsters. But it’s also wrong to freak out at the thought of a nearly-teenage boy seeing the painted depiction of woman’s butt or breast, particularly when that work is broadly accepted as a positive contribution to human culture.

What’s a better example for sixth-grade boys? Firing their teacher and shredding the postcards (the principal was in the process of doing that when police arrived) and asking them never to look at, think about or ask questions about art? Or turning the incident into an art history lesson as well as a lesson about respect for the human body?

Either way, teaching anyone that any and all forms of nudity is scandalous is silly and unrealistic. The real tragedy would be missing out on the beauty, creativity and a celebration of art.

Have a thumbs up or thumbs down you’d like to give? Email a submission of 100 words or less to managing editor Anne Christnovich at achristnovich@standard.net.

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