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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."

Smithfield man sentenced for failure to stop, possession of marijuana

By Patrick Oden

April 22, 2009 | LOGAN ­ Stanley Kent Lewis, 47, Smithfield, was sentenced Tuesday for illegal possession of a controlled substance and failure to stop at command of law enforcement.

Lewis, who pleaded guilty to both class B misdemeanors in 1st District Court, was originally charged with seven counts, three of which -- failure to respond to an officer’s signal to stop and two counts of assault by a prisoner -- were third-degree felonies. A plea bargain arranged between Lewis’ attorney, Justin Bond, and County Prosecutor Donald Linton resulted in the reduced charges, for which Lewis will serve five days in Cache County Jail.

Lewis, who was returning to his Smithfield mobile home when he noticed smoke coming from the area, became concerned for his family because of propane tanks he had near the trailer. He thought his home might “blow up,” his attorney said.

When Lewis reached the neighborhood he saw fire trucks and police cars and a large group of people in a general state of confusion. After yelling that he was a resident from the window of his vehicle, Lewis continued to drive around the police blockade, having interpreted the motion of officers as an indication to proceed.

After exiting his vehicle Lewis was tackled by officers, handcuffed, and shocked by Taser three times, his attorney said. The incident and ensuing scuffle led to Lewis being taken into custody, at which time the arresting officer found Lewis in possession of marijuana.

Judge Allen said he was not concerned with the account of the incident since Lewis had rescinded his claim of police brutality and a plea agreement had been reached. “He admitted being guilty to these charges,” Allen said in reference to the two class B misdemeanors.

In addition to the five days in jail, which Allen said Lewis could serve on weekends in order to keep his job, Lewis will have to pay a fine of $800 and enter himself in a substance abuse program.


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