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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

You can get anything you want at Bep's Country Store in Newton

By Molly Farmer

April 24, 2006 | NEWTON -- Cold beer, penny candy, and a fish named Fred are the much loved in-store items that have helped Bep's Country Market grow since owners Rebecca Griffin and her husband, Cleon Griffin, purchased it in December 2001.

The past five years have meant expansion for the family-owned and operated business which now has three times the merchandise it did when it opened, Rebecca Griffin said.

One product that has been favored by young and old alike is penny candy, she said.

"What's funny is when the adults come in," Griffin said, as they are the customers who get especially excited about the 1-cent sweet.

Griffin said the products she sells are mostly what she would want in a store but if multiple customers request an item, she tries to get it in. She attributes some of the business's success to trying to keep prices "fairly competitive.

"Our main attraction is our fish," Griffin said of the four fish that live in an aquarium near the front door. Many people call the goldfish Fred, though Griffin said every child that comes in has a different name for it. One 5-year-old girl comes in every day to feed the fish, Griffin said.

Though the original hardwood floors remain, the building Bep's now occupies has gone through many changes since its construction in the 1800s. Over the years, the structure at 10 E. Main St., has been a mercantile, a wood worker's shop, a social hall and a café.

At one point the east side of the store was removed and added on to a house down the street. When the store was later expanded, the floor was built in the opposite direction with the original floor laying north/south, and the remodeled portion laying east/west, a peculiarity still visible today.

Though her son, daughter and husband help out at the market, "I'm usually here by myself," Griffin said. "I sleep in Clarkston, I live in here."

The Pennsylvania native said the people of Newton like to share stories over the old sales counter she sits behind. Sariah, Griffin's daughter, said some people come in and talk for long periods of time. Griffin said the market is a great place to hear about town happenings.

In the back of the store, signs on the cooler state Bep's has "THE coldest beer in Cache Valley." Griffin said the signs were made after people left the cooler doors open, causing the beer to get warm. One customer disagreed with the claim, however, as he said he likes his beer almost frozen.

Aside from candy, fish and beer, Bep's offers hand-knitted hats, homemade necklaces, and even has a coin-operated pool table in the back.

An area that has expanded significantly since the store's opening is the number of movie rentals. What was once a small shelf with about 100 movies on it is now a room housing over 2,000 VHS tapes and DVDs. Westerns, drama, comedy and family movies can all be found in the small room on the south east side of the building. All rentals are due back the next day, but Griffin said she doesn't "push too hard," and will accept movies up until closing time.

Customers who find something they like at Bep's Country Market can pay via credit card, debit card, cash, check and a select few who have "proven" to Griffin they'll pay their tab have charge accounts.

As for the store's name, Griffin said Bep was "my nickname growing up."

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