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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."

Smithfield's economy slower but still going

By Blaze Bullock

March 27, 2009 | SMITHFIELD -- A lot of people have been affected by the slow economy. City Recorder Dean Clegg said in an interview Thursday that the city's economy has felt some of the effects of the national economy.

"Overall we're not suffering like some small communities," said Clegg.

In some aspects, the local economy is down but in others it's up compared to this same period of time last year. "We're up on tax but down on the license and permit side," Clegg said. "We haven't even seen a fraction of the building permits as we have in years past."

Clegg said that the reason the city is doing better this year on tax revenues is because the city raised its taxes on residents.

"We went with a tax increase so they should be up," he said. Clegg also said that tax revenues are up 14 percent from last year but that the city raised its taxes by 14 percent as well. Business licenses are down 6 percent from last year and building permits are down a whopping 25 percent, he said.

The city won't be able to give its employees any raises this year as a result of the economic slow down.

Local restaurant Firehouse Pizzeria has also taken a hit, said Manager Tyler Cue.

"It has been really slow," said Cue. The restaurant has lost a great deal of business, mostly during the dinner time, he said. Cue said that on Friday and Saturday nights the restaurant has lost about one third of its business but that during lunch time business hasn't changed much.

Some businesses aren't struggling quite so badly, however. Dave Saxton, owner of Near New Cars, said he's been selling cars for about 25 years and that last January was the best month he's ever had in selling cars.

Saxton said that this month has been slow for him but says sales are always up and down. Saxton is also a real estate agent for Cornerstone and said that sales in the real estate market in the city are also down.

Despite slowdowns in real estate, Saxton said he's still doing OK financially. "I would say the economy has affected me some," he said. "It's slower but we're not stopped." Saxton also said it is more difficult to sell real estate right now.

Saxton believes the economy has slowed largely because of the media and negative attitudes by the government.

"The economy is a direct reflection of people's attitudes," Saxton said, stating that people are taking a much more conservative approach to buying cars and houses. People won't buy a car or a house unless it's a really good deal even if they have a lot of money, he said.

Larry Astle of Cantwell Brothers Lumber agreed with Saxton about the economy and people's attitudes. Astle said that people making six figures a year want to have a deck built by CBL but won't because of things they've seen on television.

"These are people with money but they 're just waiting and seeing," said Astle. He also said the CBL's business has been affected but not greatly.

Cox, Saxton and Astle all said they believe the city's economy has taken a hit but it's not putting them out of business.


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