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Today's word on journalism

February 17, 2009

Why I miss my hate mail:

"It's an odd thing to admit, but in a perverse sort of way, I actually miss the wretched river, the rancid flow of puerile, nasty, sickeningly homophobic email I used to receive on a regular basis from the ultra-right and the Christian right and the Mormon right and the Bush-impaired whenever I would post a friendly, pointed column full of tangy liberal attitude. . . . . Oh, I miss all the lovely and positive email too, which outpaced the nasty stuff by a huge margin. But the hate mail was very special indeed, great fodder for live readings, for the reaction of horrified disbelief of anyone who saw it, for the charming reminder of just how ugly and violent and grammatically challenged the human animal can be."

--Mark Morford, columnist, (2/13/09)

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County Council names Swink interim county attorney, denies Estancia subdivision

By Gideon Oakes

January 15, 2009 | LOGAN -- With little pomp and circumstance, the Cache County Council unanimously appointed Deputy County Attorney James Swink to serve as interim county attorney until a replacement can be found for his former boss, George Daines, who resigned last week amid a flurry of controversy.

While many awaited the council's decision at its regular meeting Tuesday evening, the announcement was noticeably overshadowed by other business, including debate regarding the proposed Estancia subdivision to be located northwest of Smithfield.

After more than half an hour of discussion, the council voted 2-3 not to approve the developer's request to develop 15 lots, citing too many problems with the plan.

The planning and zoning commission earlier voted 6-1 to recommend a plan in which the developer agreed to take on the expense of bringing a southern access route up to code while the county would be responsible for the northern side.

Smithfield Fire Chief Jay Downs asked what provisions would be made for emergency services, including what could be done to improve water flow in case of fire. He stated that tinder trucks could only provide about 700 gallons per minute, whereas 1,500 g.p.m. is the desired level. The motion included an amendment to require the developer to install sprinkler systems in all new residences should the request be granted.

The council, which has had the request on its docket for three months, was forced by Utah law to take action at the meeting. The law requires local governing bodies to address an issue within 45 days if the complainant believes reasonable time has passed for a decision to be made and submits a letter requesting a decision.

Some on the council voted against approval because they had not had sufficient time to consider solutions to problems the subdivision would create, while others said the idea of putting a subdivision in such a rural area was bad from the start.

"This is just not a good idea, folks," Councilwoman Kathy Robison said. "We need to change our ordinance. We shouldn't be held hostage to this when it's not a good idea. It's just not."

Councilmen Cory Yeates, S. Brian Chambers and Robison voted against the motion to approve the request. New council members Jon White and Craig "W" Buttars voted to pass it, and since there was not a tie, newly-elected chairman Craig Petersen's affirmative vote was not counted.

The council decided to draft a letter to the developer detailing why the request was denied since it did not ostensibly violate any ordinances. Swink also noted before the vote that a denial could potentially trigger a lawsuit from the developer.

In other business, the council voted to:
defeat proposed county ordinance 2007-05 which would update a 1970 ordinance regarding agricultural subdivisions for the purpose of reintroducing it in a more current form with a year code of 2009.
name H. Craig Petersen as council chairman and Gordon A. Zilles as vice-chairman.
authorize an interlocal agreement between Smithfield City and Cache County for EMS services.


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