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NUTHIN' UP MY SLEEVE!: A cow moose rests Tuesday in 3 feet of snow beside the Logan River just west of Tony Grove. / Photo by Mike Sweeney

Today's word on journalism

Friday, March 10, 2006

Help Wanted: U.S. Defense Department Seeks Better PR Officers

"Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but . . . our country has not adapted. For the most part, the U.S. government still functions as a 'five and dime' store in an eBay world."

--U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, on why al Qaeda is winning hearts and minds, in speech to U.S. Council on Foreign Relation (Thanks to alert WORDster Mark Larson) WORD Note: The WORD will take the next week off for Spring Break, sleeping in and seeking wisdom. Return: 3/20/06

Newton considers boosting city employees' hourly wage

By Molly Farmer

February 6, 2006 | NEWTON -- Steps to improve the community through increasing city workers wages and initiating more community involvement activities were some of the topics discussed at the Town Council meeting Thursday night.

"We need to pay for what we're getting," Mayor Clair Christiansen said.

The majority of city employees earn $7 an hour, and after discussing the current budget, a tentative decision to increase their wages to $8 was made. It will be listed on the agenda for the March meeting where it will be officially decided upon.

The issue was raised after audience member Judge Dennis Barker requested that Court Clerk Jenny Richards get an increase in pay. He said he'd like to see her get paid $9 to $9.50 an hour. He said about $5,000 has been invested in training her so far.

"I don't want to lose her," Barker said during the citizen's remarks portion of the meeting.

Christiansen said he and the council would consider raising her pay specifically and appreciated the comment. "I don't want them to feel like we're ripping anyone off," he said.

The council also discussed ways to improve community togetherness and reaching out to surrounding towns. Christiansen said 100 years ago everyone in the area was unified, then a line was drawn through the area and the people fought to stay together. Years later they fought to stay separate, and now they just don't do much together. He said they have fun together at the 24th of July celebration and he would like to see more functions like that.

"It wouldn't kill us if we got together two more times a year," Christiansen said.

He suggested implementing activities like a picnic in the park in the spring and fall where local community members could put on a talent show with the city providing hamburgers.

The council needs to be more aggressive about things like little league soccer and men's softball, Christiansen said, in order to keep people together. He said the focus of the council should be on long-term goals that will move the town along instead of devoting all their time and money on specific ordinances.

"Your budget tells you what you think is important," Christiansen said.

The council also discussed implementing prayer in their monthly meetings. Christiansen asked if it was a good idea to begin Town Council meetings with prayer, and Councilman Jed Woodward said they "might as well."

"It might keep some civility to it," Councilman Ken Volkman said.

The council decided to put a section on the agenda called "opening ceremonies," at which time a person notified in advance can offer a prayer. Christiansen said he would like to encourage people of all faiths to give the prayer as he would like to see as much diversity as possible.

The date of the next Town Council meeting was moved to March 9 instead of the scheduled 7th as Christiansen said he will be out of town.


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