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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."

North Logan planning commission debates tree ordinance

By Alice Bailey

March 20, 2009 | NORTH LOGAN - Consideration of the tree ordinance created by the Parks and Recreation Board is still underway by the planning commission as several concerns were raised at the meeting Thursday night.

The ordinance has been written so North Logan can become a Tree City USA, which would make it eligible to receive certain grants. Several cities in Cache Valley are part of Tree City USA, including Logan. Bob Balling said he had dealt with the ordinance in place in Logan, and the Logan ordinance was much less complicated than that being considered by the committee.

The committee has reviewed the ordinance before and Cordell Batt, the city planner, was hoping the problems the members of the committee had would be resolved in the meeting Thursday.

Mark Hancy said he had too many changes he wanted to make to the document than could be dealt with in an average meeting.

The ordinance would only apply to trees planted on public property such as a park strip. If a citizen of North Logan wants to plant a tree in the park strip in front of their house, they need to get approval from the parks and recreation director. In the original proposal a person would have to get a permit in order to plant a tree in that location.

Different concerns were raised by different committee members. Frank Prince said he didn't like the fact that in order for people to prune city trees they have to be licensed, bonded, insured and ISA certified, while Glen Hansen said he needed clarification on when a tree could be planted during the construction process.

The committee was also considering a manual that would accompany the ordinance, but decided to focus completely on the ordinance. The manual is meant to be developed by the committee which would be created by the passing of the ordinance.

Since the ordinance has not been passed, and the committee has therefore, not been created, it was decided that the approval of the manual was not critical yet. The committee also said the manual was too complicated for the average citizen to understand.

The committee ultimately decided to make their own revisions to the ordinance, which they would return to the city planner. He would then compile all the modifications and redistribute them to the committee for review once again.


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