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THUMBS UP: Bric Simpson is using what he has learned on and off of the

THUMBS UP: Bric Simpson is using what he has learned on and off of the battlefield to go to bat for his brothers and sisters in arms. As we celebrated Veterans Day on Wednesday, several veterans were in their homes or on the streets, struggling with the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. As much as we wave our flags and make our posts on the national holidays, what are we doing every day to ensure we truly understand the sacrifice of those who volunteered to defend us from “enemies, foreign and domestic,” and how can we show them that we see and hear them? Simpson decided his contribution should be through the development of his own nonprofit, Forging Forward. Bravo.

THUMBS DOWN: The residents participating in hateful acts toward elected officials whose actions they disagree with give Utah County a bad name. Shame on you. From attempting to forcefully — and tactlessly — make your way into an Alpine School District meeting to camping outside of the homes of Gov. Gary Herbert and State Epidemiologist Angela Dunn, you are acting like children and committing acts of domestic terrorism while favoring the continued spread of an illness that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. At a time when we should be banding together, not wearing a mask is the hill you have chosen to die on? It’s appalling. Take a step back, look into the mirror, and ask yourselves what you’re truly fighting for, because from my vantage point, it seems much ado about the wrong things.

THUMBS UP: To the great American right to vote and let their voice be heard. Every eligible American should use their right to vote — once — every election cycle for as long as they are still alive. Some consider it such an honor, that they continue to cast ballots even after their death. As much as I admire their tenacity to the cause, those ballots should not be counted.

THUMBS DOWN: To those spies unlike us who have been attempting to sneak into Utah Valley Hospital to ascertain if there is really a pandemic going on. Don’t they have better things to do? Conspiracy theory much? I don’t think it’s any coincidence that while these curious explorers have been focusing their attention on determining how many open beds there might be in the ICU at any given time that Big Foot sightings in the area have gone way down.

THUMBS UP: To President-elect Joe Biden, who will now magically make all our nation’s woes go away. These next four years should actually be refreshing for conservatives, now that everything that goes wrong in the world will somehow be blamed on Biden.

THUMBS DOWN: Calls for unity amid great hope and change are nice and everything — but has anyone read the online comments below some of our stories? It would seem that unity and sincere dialog might not be so easy to achieve after all with anything quite so simple as a change in president.

THUMBS UP: To the six Utah Valley teams who reached the football semifinals in their respective classifications. We wish them the best of luck as they do the mandatory COVID-19 testing and compete this week for a spot in the finals.

THUMBS DOWN: To anyone who isn’t taking every precaution they can to slow the spread of COVID-19, which has resulted in the state-of-emergency orders. It’s too bad that collectively we haven’t all chosen to put humility and kindness first instead of pride and anger.

THUMBS DOWN: To trucks on I-15. While I was driving on the freeway recently, a truck kicked up a massive rock that promptly cracked my windshield. It is in no way the drivers fault but I will instead take aim at the trucks themselves for no precise reason at all other than costing me $300.

THUMBS UP: To the congregation at the Community Congregational Church/United Church of Christ on the corner of 200 N. and University Avenue in Provo. They are embarking on a fund drive to keep the historical building and refurbish it in downtown. After promised help from a developer failed a few years ago, the church has had difficulties raising the needed monies to care for the church. We encourage members of the community to reach out with a few dollars to help this important iconic church remain in downtown Provo.

THUMBS DOWN: To ball hogs. Remember when the Oklahoma City Thunder had a fantastic young nucleus with stars Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden? The Thunder let Harden walk away to Houston as a free agent because he wanted more money and more shots than they could offer. Remember when Durant left as a free agent to Golden State because there weren’t enough shots for him and Westbrook on the same team? Remember when Westbrook, after the Thunder failed miserably without Durant, forced a trade to Houston last year so he could be reunited with Harden? (And because Chris Paul could no longer co-exist with The Beard.) Now Westbrook has demanded a trade because one season was enough for him to know he didn’t want to spend another year standing around watching Harden dribble the ball for the majority of each offensive possession. We know Houston has a problem, but at what point do Harden and Westbrook look in the mirror and realize what it is?

THUMBS UP: To Governor Herbert for mandating masks throughout the state on Sunday. As the state’s cases continue to spike, a statewide mask mandate is a necessity to handle the dramatic increase in cases. It’s really not that hard to wear a mask in public when around others but a big focal point has to be casual social gatherings. With the holidays approaching now is the time to be cautious as family and loved ones make their way back home.

To all those who have listened to and acted upon Governor Gary Herbert’s emergency restrictions. With cases profoundly rising, it is no time to let our guard down. They say it takes a village to accomplish things and residents in the greater village of Utah County can surely do their part to rid this state of COVID-19. Please follow the simple guidelines so that this time next year we can be thankful it’s over.

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