HNC Home Page
News Business Arts & Life Sports Opinion Calendar Archive About Us
ONE TWISTED SISTER: Musician Dee Snider flashes the devil's horns to the crowd at Monster Circus, a rock mecca in Vegas. Click Arts&Life or a link to story. / Photo by Ben Hansen, special contributor

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.

Speak up! Comment on the WORD at


Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Mendon may allow home-owners to rent rooms

By Greg Boyles

March 20, 2009 | MENDON - In a surprisingly short meeting last night the Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed a proposed amendment to the city zoning ordinance that would allow residents to rent sections of their home to non-family members, something that is currently prohibited in Mendon.

Chairman Burnis Skinner said he wishes to integrate accessory dwelling units into the city ordinances to allow families who are struggling in this economic down turn the opportunity to use their property to generate revenue.

Accessory dwelling units are defined as apartments within a home, and have not been allowed in Mendon.

"If we have families in our community, for whatever reason, who may be having a tough time making it in today's economy and they want to rent out their basement - and it doesn't impact our community - why can't they do that? I struggle with that," Skinner said.

At January's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting a couple asked the commission to allow them to rent out their basement to another couple; however, the commission shot them down. Skinner said this is unnecessary, and he hopes to change it.

The proposed amendment would allow 10 accessory dwelling units throughout Mendon the first year of its inception, and an undetermined number most likely less the following year, Skinner said.

An argument against the amendment is that by adding another family to a single dwelling, it would increase the density, and use up precious water and waste resources, Skinner said. Another position against the proposition is that adding rental space would increase crime in Mendon, and while Skinner said this has happened in other areas in Cache Valley, he is confident with proper planning, accessory dwelling units will not be a problem.

"There is this belief that once if there is accessory dwelling units there will be a lot more crime, but I disagree," Skinner said.

However, even if the amendment does pass, there is the possibility that the restrictions on rental units could be so intense that no house in Mendon could meet them, said Steve Sorensen, city commissioner.

All buildings in the state of Utah fall under the IBC (International Building Code) which lays out stipulations in which renters must meet, Sorensen said. Certain codes, such as fire codes, would require a thick layer of cement be placed between floors which act as separate units in case of a fire. Most homes do not come equipped with this, Sorensen said.

"If someone wants to do this, they're going to spend a lot of money doing it," he said.

No official decision was made; however, Skinner said he wants everyone in the council to give the amendment deep thought. He also said it will be necessary for Mendon to define what it means to be a family, because under the current definition, anyone who is not a relative cannot occupy space in a home.


Copyright 1997-2009 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-3292
Best viewed 800 x 600.