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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."

Shepperd gets suspended sentence of 1-15 years for forcible sex abuse

By Jessica Allen

April 9, 2009 | LOGAN -- Danial Shepperd, 32, was sentenced Monday to 1-15 years in prison for forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.

However, Shepperd's sentence was suspended indeterminately with early release to the Northern Utah Correctional Facility, and he was ordered to complete a sex offender program while on probation.

Shepperd appeared in 1st District Court before Judge Thomas Willmore for his sentencing, for breaking into a woman's home and sexually assaulting her July 26.

"I want to apologize again for my crime, for the embarrassment that I caused my family," Shepperd said when asked if there was anything he would like to say before he was sentenced.

The State's attorney, Barbara K. Lachmar, said that many of his problems have been the result of alcohol, as Shepperd was intoxicated when he broke into the woman's home, shoved his hand down her pants and fondled her. "He bit her and told her he wanted to eff all night," Lachmar said in further description of what Shepperd had done.

Willmore went on to sentence Shepperd and said he would be responsible for paying for the counseling of the victim, and any future counseling that she would need.

Shepperd was also ordered to not go to any places where alcohol would be served, to join the sex offenders group, and to not watch any pornography.


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