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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 drivers warned to look out for scooters on the road

By Mark Vuong

April 9, 2009 | HYDE PARK -- The City Council was warned by Sgt. John Italasano about scooters that aren't required to be registered with the state to be legally driven.

"You're gonna have these guys riding on the road and they don't need insurance. So if they get in an accident, it's going to be a mess," Italasano said in Wednesday's council meeting.

He recently pulled over a pair on a scooter because there were two people on it and the back tire was about to go flat, he said. He also noted that there was no license plate.

Italasano said he asked the owner why he didn't have the scooter registered. The owner told him he didn't have to, the state didn't require it for this kind.

Skeptical, Italasano phoned motor vehicles who, he said, called it an "E-bike."

Italasano described the scooter's features: 49.9 cc, electric motor, detachable pedals. He said the owner told him that the scooter can go 20 mph. A man is selling them exclusively in Brigham City for $2,000 each, Italasano said.

The council also spoke about a yield sign near 450 North and 700 East, where one house is currently being built.

"It's aggravating now that everyone has to yield for one house, one car," said Councilman Brent Kelly.

Mayor David Kooyman said there isn't much the council can do. Once the house is finished the yield sign will probably be replaced with a stop sign, he said.


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