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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."

Brigham City residents on proposed landfill: 'How many times do we have to say no?'

By Rebecca Hansen

April 6, 2009 | BRIGHAM CITY -- Emotions ran high as the County Council heard opinions from citizens on the possible future of the Little Mountain landfill at a public comment meeting.

"How would you like it [a regional landfill] in your backyard?" Tremonton resident Kit Crozier asked. "How many times do we have to say ‘no’?"

At the meeting held at the historic county courthouse Tuesday night, Rich VanDyke, county commission chairman, said the Northern Utah Regional Landfill Authority (NURLA) has requested a statement from Box Elder County regarding whether the county is willing to lease the Little Mountain landfill. He said they held this meeting to explain the county’s options and gather input from residents.

While opinions concerning the landfill lease option differed, more than half of the attendees who commented agreed that what the Shoshone are planning to do with the Promontory Point landfill would be the best option for the county.

"I think we’re all going to be indebted to the Shoshone when this is over," said Brigham City resident Ed Tugaw.

Michael Devine, chief operating officer of the Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation, took a moment in the meeting to briefly explain what the Shoshone are planning at Promontory. Devine said the plan is to create a waste-to-energy plant at Promontory that could have a 365 million ton capacity. He said it would be enough to take all the waste from the Wasatch Front for 100 years.

"If it’s a renewable plant, it could last for eternity," Devine said.

An additional waste-to-energy facility at Little Mountain would reduce the carbon footprint of the site, which is important to the Shoshone as that is sacred ground to them, VanDyke said. Promontory also has access via rails so transporting waste there won’t impact roads or traffic, he said.

Although the concern of citizens mostly had to do with garbage from other counties being sent to Box Elder County, the concern of city officials was costs.

“My concern as mayor of Brigham City is keeping costs down,” said Mayor Lou Ann Christensen. "I would encourage the commission to continue researching the possibility of an interlocal agreement with other counties."

City Councilman Reese Jensen said, "I think there’s a real potential to turn the ‘money pit’ (landfill) of the county around. It would be foolish not to turn waste into energy and revenue. Here’s an opportunity to generate revenue."

VanDyke said he wanted to assure citizens that the county was not supporting the lease of the landfill to NURLA, and that the council was considering all options in order to make the best decision for everyone involved.

According to Box Elder County’s Web site, NURLA is a not-for-profit interlocal entity formed by Box Elder County, Logan city, Wasatch Integrated Waste Management District (Davis and Morgan Counties), and Weber County. It is controlled by an eight-member governing board comprised of voting representatives from each involved entity.


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