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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.

Speak up! Comment on the WORD at

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Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Fire in Paradise? No problem for this crew

By Aaron Mecham

April 22, 2009 | Paradise firefighters take extra time to be prepared for any emergency, especially for being volunteers.

Fire Chief Troy Fredrickson said the fire department holds weekly meetings to keep the firefighters at the top of their game.

"We usually meet every Wednesday night for two and a half to four hours for training," Fredrickson said in a telephone interview.

Fredrickson has been with the Paradise Fire Department since 1984 and has been the fire chief for long enough that he had to take a moment to remember how long it's been, what he came up with was since 2001.

Fredrickson said no training was required to join the department, but they are required to get training fairly quickly. For any member to drive any of the department's vehicles they have to go through Emergency Vehicle Operations (EVO) training and to be an engineer operating the fire truck they must go through Advanced Driver Operations (ADO) training.

"EMT Basic certification or Firefighter 1 certification needs to be obtained within the first year," Fredrickson said.

Paradise trains with most of the other fire departments in the valley, but they train more extensively with Hyrum's and Wellsville's because they are the departments that are going to help or be helped on bigger fires because of their close proximities to Paradise, Fredrickson said.

Training is paid by the departments allotted budget and additional fundraising, he said.

The fire department stays involved with the community aside from emergencies by sponsoring a Memorial Day breakfast, a trap shoot Thanksgiving weekend and involvement in Paradise's Trout and Berry Days.

Involvement in the fire department isn't limited to training once a week, obviously, but the members of the department don't have shifts when they are on call either.

"Everybody's on call 24 hours a day," Fredrickson said.

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