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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 council gives go-head for COPS hiring grant

By Rebecca Hansen

April 15, 2009 - BRIGHAM CITY | With future growth in the city almost certain, three additional police officers would be undeniably beneficial to the citizens of Brigham City, Police Chief Paul Tittensor says.

At the City Council meeting on April 2, Tittensor was given approval to apply for a grant through the Department of Justice and Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), which would provide funds to hire and retain three new police officers. According to the COPS Web site, this grant is part of the Hiring Recovery Program to deal with the personnel needs of state, local, and tribal law enforcement.

Tittensor said this is "quite an opportunity" for the police department to gain additional law enforcement officers. He said the department is applying for funding for three officers. Some possible options for the new officers would be a School Resource Officer (SRO) for Adele C. Young Intermediate School, a permanent after-hours shift, a strike force agent, a domestic violence officer or an additional full-time traffic cop.

"The position that would have the greatest impact on the city would be in traffic enforcement, even though they aren't the most popular with residents," Tittensor said. "I hate to say it, but Brigham City has some poor drivers, and they need to be taken care of."

In an e-mail, Lieutenant Michael Nelsen said in the 30 years he's been on the force, there have been 25 sworn officers. Even though there's been no growth in the force, he said the officers are picking up more responsibilities, like SWAT, K-9 and Bike Officers which are all above their normal duties. Nelsen said the addition of three officers would "assist the officers right now tremendously."

"We know we're going to have growth in the community," Council Member Bruce Christensen said. "I don't want to pass this up and then need more officers next year."

The grant would pay for 100 percent of the officers' salaries and benefits for three years, Tittensor said, but it does not include a vehicle, any equipment or training or raises due to promotions or cost of living. He said these costs would be about $47,600 per additional officer if they purchase a new vehicle. The only conditions on the grant are the department must retain the officers for 12 months past the 36 months that the grant pays for, Nelsen said.

Though they haven't been given a date regarding when they'll get the response, Nelsen said funds will be released on Sept. 30.


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