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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.

Speak up! Comment on the WORD at

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

River Heights OK's dog kennels, home hair salon

By Patrick Oden

April 9, 2009 | RIVER HEIGHTS -- Three conditional use permits were issued Tuesday night, two for dog kennels and one for an in home hair salon.

Debbie Johnson, 694 S. 600 East St., was granted a permit that will allow her to have three dogs on her property. Johnson has a 15-year-old Malamute mix, a 12-year-old Greyhound Lab mix, and a 9-month-old mixed breed puppy. Johnson, who works for Mountain View veterinary clinic, occasionally brings home newborn puppies to care for them during the night. Dogs under 4 months of age do not have to be reported to the city. The committee heard from Johnson's neighbors who said barking was not an issue with Johnson's dogs.

"My kids are louder than my dogs." Johnson said. "Maybe I should get a kid permit."

Fred Baker, 630 S. 500 East St., was also granted a permit to keep three dogs in a 6- by 12-foot kennel on his property. Baker uses his dogs to hunt and told the committee they would spend the day in a Humane Society certified dog house, which is rated to 35 degrees below zero, and would spend nights inside the house. Baker recently acquired a pointer puppy to replace his 12-year-old Labrador as a hunting companion. "That puts me in the three-dog category I guess," Baker said.

"Sounds like anybody that was sent to the doghouse would be happy out there," said committee member Steve Barfuss.

Katie Harris, 845 Stone Creek Dr., was also unanimously granted a conditional use permit for an in-home hair salon. Harris said she wanted to be able to spend more time around her kids and expected to serve fewer than 25 customers during the two days per week she intended to operate the salon. Harris said she currently services fewer than 25 clients at the salon where she presently works.

The permit will allow her to operate her in-home salon Monday through Saturday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. to provide her flexibility in scheduling. The conditional use of the permit limits the number of clients Harris can serve to an average of six per day and no more than two clients at a time to prevent traffic congestion in the neighborhood.

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