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Today's word on journalism

May 8, 2009

The Last WORD

The Fat Lady Sings, Off-Key, Drools

At about this time every year, like the swallows to Capistrano or the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio, the WORD migrates to its summer musing grounds at the sanitarium —St. Mumbles Home for the Terminally Verbose.

The reason is clear, and never moreso than as this season —the WORD's 13th —peters out.

It's been a fraught year of high palaver and eye-popping transition, both good and not-so-much. An interminable presidential campaign saga finally did end, and in extraordinary and historic fashion. Meanwhile, the bottom and everything that's below the bottom fell out of the economy, with families, homes, entire industries and —of particular interest to WORDsters and the civic-minded —dozens of daily newspapers ("I don't so much mind that newspapers are dying--it's watching them commit suicide that pisses me off." --Molly Ivins). . . all evaporating. What replaces them, from the individual to the institutional to the societal? Are we looking at a future of in-depth Tweeting?

As any newsperson or firehorse knows, it's hard to turn your back on day-to-day catastrophe --we just have to look at the car wreck. But even the most deranged and driven need a rest. As philosopher Lilly Tomlin once observed, "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."

So this morning, as a near-frost hovered over northern Utah, the unmarked van pulled into the driveway and the gentle, soft-spoken men in the white coats rolled the WORD out of bed and into a straitjacket for the usual summer trip to St. Mumbles, where the blathering one will be assigned a hammock and fed soothing, healthy foods --like tapioca, dog biscuits and salmon --while recharging the essential muscles of cynicism, outrage, sarcasm, social engagement and high-mindedness, in preparation for the next edition.
Summer well, friends.

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Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Hyde Park P&Z works on new mixed-use zone

By Mark Vuong

April 2, 2009 | HYDE PARK -- An ordinance is in the works by the Planning and Zoning Commission for a buffer zone between residential and commercial areas near 400 West Street on the south side and near 300 West on the north.

The buffer zone, also known as a planned professional zone, would be a mixed use zone that consists of specialty shops and professional offices, as explained by Susan Balls, city treasurer, in an e-mail.

The buffer zone is "meant to minimize any adverse effects on residential property from the commercial zone," she said.

The City Council seemed to not want free-standing apartments, Reed Elder, chairman of the commission, said at Wednesday night's meeting, and seemed to want more of a mixed area.

Elder said he isn't yet ready to fully discuss the subject. However, the commission was able to create a vague outline of how the buffer zone will work.

Commissioner David James suggested that the buffer zone be under an ordinance rather than being defined as an area.

James asked, "Do you want the mixed use zone to be dictated in one area or an ordinance allowing mixed use in one zone?"

Elder will be following James' suggestion of an ordinance saying, "I think it's a decent skeleton to start with."

Commissioner Mark Lynn was concerned about how the documents outlining the rules should be organized. The ordinance should be written under one document, Lynn said, or it's going to cause confusion between documents.

There is yet to be an official name for the area. Elder said the commission will figure one out.


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