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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."

Lewiston could benefit from Neighborhood Watch program, sheriff's office says

By Natalie Buckley

March 17, 2009 | LEWISTON -- The Cache County Sheriff responded to 286 incidents in Lewiston in 2008, in which "36 of those incidents are times when an active Neighborhood Watch program may have deterred criminal activity," said Erin Kay Griffeth of the Cache County Sheriff's Office (CCSO).

The CCSO encouraged Lewiston along with other cities at the February city council meeting to adopt a Neighborhood Watch program to prevent crime.

"Lewiston City doesn't really have a Neighborhood Watch program in place," wrote Griffeth in an e-mail March 13. "In fact, there are no 'active' Neighborhood Watch programs in the county that I know of."

She said of the Lewiston incidents in 2008, a Neighborhood Watch program could have deterred three incidents of burglary, eight of criminal mischief, one suspicious incident, 18 incidents of suspicious persons, five of theft, and one incident of vandalism. There were also reported incidents of domestic problems, child abuse and neglect, weapons offenses, and rape.

"Most neighborhoods are interested in information, but not really active participation," said Griffeth.

In the CCSO Neighborhood Watch Informational Brochure it states that "Neighborhood Watch is a crime prevention program based on the concept of cooperation between citizens and law enforcement, and is designed to help citizens be the eyes and ears in their community for law enforcement. In short, it is neighbors watching out for neighbors to establish control of their neighborhoods in order to reduce crime rates and increase the quality of life.

"The purpose of Neighborhood Watch is to make individuals aware of the steps they can take to make their homes more secure, to show citizens how they can work together with neighbors to protect their entire neighborhood, and to make the Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement agencies more effective in the fight against crime through citizen involvement and participation. It focuses on observation and awareness as a means of preventing crime."

For more information you can go to the site at


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