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Today's word on journalism

Friday, May 12, 2006

THE FINAL WORD

PETERSBORO, Utah -- Gloom like a Bulwer-Lyttonesque pall hung heavily over the Cache Valley as word came that the WORD had gone.

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire. . . ." No, wait. . . . That's actual Bulwer-Lyttonism. Scratch it.

We conclude, with joy and trumpets and a tankard or two, the 10th season of TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM. What began in 1995 as a professor's strategy to get his students to read email (guess that worked!) now has spread, birdflu-like, far beyond that unwilling audience to self-flagellating WORD volunteers on five-and-a-half continents. But the willing and unwilling alike--the halt and addled and addicted and deluded--will have to get a life and smell the roses, for a while anyway.

Today marks the end of the WORD for this academic season. Even ere the rosy dawn that didth bust o'er this glade, this vale, this happy home. . . . ooops. Avert already, Sir Bulwer, you mangy cur!!!!

See you in the fall. . . TP

Wellsville residents tell council they're fed up with sidewalk hassles

By Liz Lawyer

April 7, 2006 | WELLSVILLE -- Citizens made an appearance at the City Council meeting Wednesday to make sure council members knew their opinion: the sidewalks are a fiasco.

"The sidewalk issue has made a mess of this city," said Phil Bankhead. The issue of the sidewalk ordinance has been fought over ever since it was pushed through 10 years ago, Bankhead told the council.

"Sidewalks have cost us more grief than anything," said Mayor Ruth Maughan.

Sidewalks in Wellsville often have dead ends, Bankhead said, and some are badly deteriorated, said Clark Maughan, another citizen who came to ask the council to do something.

Bankhead said even though there are sidewalks available along roads children use on their way to and from school, they often don't use them, preferring to walk in the road rather than walk through the mud when the sidewalk ends.

The council has proposed collecting a sidewalk fund from all Wellsville citizens and then having a professional assessment done to decide where sidewalks are most needed. However, this would leave some who paid for sidewalks in other neighborhoods without sidewalks in their own.

"Then everyone comes in saying, 'I paid in, I want sidewalks,'""said Councilman Ron Case.

Bankhead said people "wouldn't get squealing if you would have [the sidewalks] going somewhere." He complained that issues such as this, which make living in Wellsville a hassle, drive away the children of current residents.

"You're making it so nobody's kids will live in this town," he said.

Bankhead also said collecting the fund before the assessment was illogical.

"I wouldn't buy a car and then take a survey about whether it's a good car," he said. "It makes no sense to pass the ordinance before you get a professional's opinion."

Council members have proposed several ideas as to how to handle the problem. Councilwoman Marcene Parker is in favor of collecting a "little teeny part of a tax" to cover expenses of constructing sidewalks.

Councilman Lynn Cooper said he thought "the cleanest way to do this is to have sidewalk districts," so only those whose property lies within the districts pay into the fund.

The other alternative is having the property owners bear the brunt of the costs when the city decides to put sidewalks in front of their homes. Councilman Dick Wells said the cost could be substantial.

The council discussed all these options and agreed Mayor Maughan will write a proposal for the next meeting.

In other business, the council passed a motion to issue a letter giving citizens 14 days to remove debris and vehicles from the city right-of-way, after which time the city will take action as permitted by law. The motion was suggested by resident Jerry Cokely, who volunteered his time as a city clean-up coordinator. He said a notice to all citizens to clean up the streets in front of their homes went unheeded, so he felt it would be necessary to "put teeth in the comment."

Cokely said he would be willing to be in charge of making sure citizens do their part to keep clean the city right-of-ways, which are 99 feet on some roads and 66 feet on others in Wellsville. He will mail notices to residents telling them the ordinances regulating vehicles and junk will now be enforced.

He said he went around town and counted violations of these laws. He said he found, among other things, 13 cars and trucks parked in the city right-of-way, 22 miscellaneous cars left in the right-of-way, a mobile home, a camper shell and 11 cases of "obvious debris," including barbed wire, a commercial saw, a plywood skateboard ramp, and a pile of building blocks not at a construction site.

Cokely said the city can tow cars left in the right-of-way, and he is inquiring whether the city can charge for the removal of junk. He said a scrap dealer in Logan is willing to take metal scraps discarded along the roads.

Also, the council voted to put in traffic signs on 300 West at 400 South and 500 South, warning drivers of an autistic child. The child's parents, Darlene and J.R. Petersen, said their son tends to dart across the road and "doesn't stop when you say stop.

"We have that nice new road there put in by the city and it encourages traffic to come faster than it should," J.R. said. Darlene said their son also has hearing problems.

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