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Today's word on journalism

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Grammatically Speaking:

"We owe much to our mother tongue. It is through speech and writing that we understand each other and can attend to our needs and differences. If we don't respect and honor the rules of English, we lose our ability to communicate clearly and well. In short, we invite mayhem, misery, madness, and inevitably even more bad things that start with letters other than M."

--Martha Brockenbrough, grammarian and founder, National Grammar Day

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Icy plungers will be 'Freezin' for a Reason'

By Jacob Fullmer

January 17, 2008 | Nearly 100 volunteers have committed to diving through a freshly cut hole in the ice at Hyrum Reservoir this weekend in support of local Special Olympics athletes.

Dedicated plungers called on friends, family and local businesses to donate money for their sub-zero swim. Six "Super Plungers," as they are called, have promised to jump once every hour for 24 hours, starting at noon Friday.

One of them, Cache County Deputy Misty Garn, has raised over $1,400 for her upcoming jumps. That's $60 for every dip.

The years' theme is "Freezin' for a Reason." And according to the event's organizer, Gary Saxton, the water will be close to 32.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

"Just [warm] enough to keep it liquid," Saxton said.

Afraid of a little cold water? Garn said she has had experience with this sort of thing before. The coldest water she has previously dared to touch was on an early season rafting trip down the Snake River in March. January may be a bit different.

"You've got to live life once in a while," Garn said.

She said it wasn't hard to encourage people donate, as evidenced by her high marks. Garn offered anyone donating $100 or more the chance to decide what she will wear. She is currently scheduled to appear in a pink prom dress and tiara. Along with all the fun, she believes people care if their donations go to a cause they can relate to.

"All of the donations go to the local athletes," she said. "They don't go to anyone else."

Saxton explained all activities connected with Special Olympics are free, so they don't provide a financial burden to a family whose members may already have special needs. There are additional costs, he said, to raising a special needs family member. Job assistance, 24 hour companionship or additional medical care in the form of surgeries or medication are just a few variables these Olympians and their families get to handle.

"That's why Special Olympics shouldn't be at any costs to them," Saxton said. "Sports is kind of the main thread but we're teaching these skills. Even though they have disabilities, they understand that this is something they can learn."

With those principles in mind, Garn said she was able to convince a few of her coworkers into registering. Five other Cache Deputies will apart of this year's freezing fun.

"Law enforcement is typically very active in the Special Olympics," she said.

But it takes an extra-ordinary person to prepare for this weekend.

Garn has habitually participated in the annual Torch Run but said she was "just crazy enough or stupid enough to get involved" with this new event.

In fact, according to Saxton, the community here is a big reason Special Olympics moved the first Polar Plunge from the Salt Lake Valley.

"The environment we have up here [in Cache Valley] is just a lot funner," he said.

Willing volunteers are asked to pre-register with the Special Olympics' event Web site or come one hour early on Saturday to Hyrum State Park before the official plunge at 11 a.m. Heated changing tents will be provided for participants.

If you enjoy being warm more than the thrill of the ice, spectators are also welcome.

"Come down, say 'Hi' and grab a cup of hot chocolate," Garn said.


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