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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."

Committee mulls what 'downtown River Heights' might look like

By Patrick Oden

April 22, 2009 | RIVER HEIGHTS --The potential mixed use zoning of the Riverdale area and the ordinance that will establish development guidelines were discussed by the Planning and Zoning Committee Tuesday night.

The mixed use development in the Riverdale area will involve both the cities of Logan and River Heights. The committee wants the new ordinance to compliment that of Logan's while insuring it stays true to the city's general plan of a "walkable community," said chairman Matt Syme, who defined mixed uses as an area of higher density housing with a commercial aspect.

"We don't want to promote big box stores with large parking lots," Syme said. "That's one of the objectives, avoid all the asphalt."

The area of 400 South Street to 700 South Street and Main Street to 400 East Street is what the committee refers to as the "Riverdale area," said City Recorder Sheila Lind.

The committee discussed their vision of an area where small retail business and restaurants would exist with apartments or office space above them. The area, as envisioned by the committee, would have a minimum of 40 percent "green space" and natural elements such as trails and parks to act as community gathering places.

Councilman Steve Barfus said he felt that restaurants would be best suited for the area. Public spaces would draw people to the area, who would in turn shop and dine, Barfus said.

The city will be drawing upon Logan city's mixed use ordinance as well as one borrowed from Manchester, N.H., which the committee felt well emulated the city's desires for the area. The new ordinance will be drafted once committee members have decided how to merge the two existing ordinances, incorporating any additional items the committee feels necessary.

A public hearing will be held prior to the adoption of the new mixed use ordinance, which would be used to rezone existing residential and agricultural land in the Riverdale area.


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