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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."

Mendon council hears budget news: 'Better than most'

By Greg Boyles

March 16, 2009 | MENDON ­ A review of the 2008-09 budget took place at the City Council meeting Thursday, where Mayor Michael Morgan announced that, although funds are tight, the city is still in on track to keep a balanced budget.

"Some individual budgets such as fire department and administration are tight ­ fire department has already spent 90 percent of its budget ­ but generally speaking our budget is not looking bad. It’s looking better than most other cities around here,” Morgan said.

Still, Morgan stressed the importance of frugality as a precaution. Unnecessary spending could relate in a large deficit for the city, he said.

Morgan also said this year’s budget is tracking closely to last year’s budget, the only difference being the capital projects fund, which took a significant hit since the arrival of the new elementary school. However, Morgan said the council was expecting this and budgeted appropriately at the beginning of this fiscal year.

Also in attendance at the meeting was Matt Regan, city auditor, who broke down the financial situation of Mendon.

"Revenue is up about $11,000 over previous fiscal year," Regan said. "Total revenue is $441,000, as opposed to $430,000 in 2007." While the city is currently a surplus, it is a very small surplus of only $20,000, Regan said, which if not managed correctly could be accidentally spent.

Regan also offered advice to the council which could lead to large amounts of money being saved.

"I’d like to see people from the council be more involved in the day-to-day finances. I know everyone is busy and that you are a relatively small city, but I’d like to see someone compare all the numbers,” Regan said. “Not that I believe there is wrong doing, but it’s better to have extra checks and balances.”

He also recommended that the city locate all programs that are self sufficient and consider shrinking their budgets. He offered recommendations that would lighten the load on city budgets. He said the city should consider enlisting Mendon residents to perform jobs around the city that are currently costing extra money.

"One of the elements we talked about is to put out a request for volunteers, and assign the work which the city has paid for in the past over to the citizens,” Morgan said. “Obviously we can’t do that for everything, but things such as ground work at the cemetery are an option.”

All of these propositions are still under consideration and were not formal decisions.


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