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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."

Temporary resolution found for county's 4-day work week woes

By Gideon Oakes

April 17, 2009 | LOGAN -- After months of gathering input and hearing opinions, the Cache County Council took action Tuesday to fix one of the problems caused by the four-day work week for county employees.

The council voted unanimously to have the county recorder's office open from 12 to 4 on Friday afternoons, with only one caveat: Citizens needing to record documents will have to call the office to be let in.

The main concern with opening the one office on Fridays was security for the rest of the building, whose offices would be remain closed. In this compromise, patrons will be met at the door and escorted in to the office.

The four-day week was implemented last August to bring the county in line with the state's similar schedule. Offices extended their workday by two hours to compensate for the loss of the fifth day.

While many have praised the new found accessibility of the offices during the hours of 7 to 8 a.m. and 5 to 6 p.m., the change irked mortgage officers and real estate agents who complained that not having the county recorder's office open on Fridays led to extra interest on seven-day rate locks, and caused difficulties for home buyers needing to move in over weekends.

In the past, County Recorder Mike Gleed said he has had to come in to the office on Fridays to handle such emergency situations, even though he had already worked 40 hours that week.

The resolution passed by the council gives Gleed the flexibility to structure employee schedules in any way he sees fit to accommodate the new hours.

Council chairman Craig Petersen added that the solution is only temporary, and will last until August when the state reviews its own four-day work week policy.


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