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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.

Speak up! Comment on the WORD at


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

Smithfield residents concerned about proposed Saddleback connecting road

By Blaze Bullock

March 27, 2009 | SMITHFIELD -- The City Council held a public hearing Wednesday to amend the Land Use Map but never came to a vote.

Some local citizens and council members are afraid of changing zoning laws that could allow the construction of a new road going from the corner of 400 West and 400 North to Saddleback Road. The road would create an alternate route for citizens to drive through instead of the narrow and congested 300 North, said City Manager James Gass.

"We need a road that connects from 400 North and 400 West to Saddleback," said Gass.

Gass also said that he doesn't see the city building the road.

Councilwoman Kris Monson expressed concern at this idea. "It worries me that we're putting in a road with no plans of development," said Monson.

Councilman Dennis Watkins said the proposed rezoning would be good for the city and prevent developers from building in the area. "All it does is protect you," Watkins said.

Citizen Jeff Gittins owns a dairy farm just off of Saddleback Road and expressed great concern at the thought of connecting the roads. "I'm not anxious to have an intersection at the gate of my dairy," Gittins said. "The way it's drawn, it wouldn't even serve the purpose that's proposed."

The connecting road wasn't the only amendment suggested by the Planning Commission to the council. Currently, the area allows a minimum of a half acre for one unit. The proposal was to allow a minimum of two acres for one individual unit, said Gass.

None of the council members voiced concern over this idea. The area of concern was that some three-acre lots will change to two-acre lots, Gass said.

Councilman William "Dee" Wood said either decision seemed to be bad.

"We're in a situation here where we're damned if we do and damned if we don't," Wood said. "We've got a lot of inner blocks that are just sitting there growing weed patches. We're cutting our own throats." He was also worried that the suggested amendments could allow the city to grow too quickly.

Gass said that the construction of the road and the changes in acreage wouldn't necessarily make the city grow quickly and out of control as some council members thought.

"Most of this makes it less dense not more dense," Gass said. "In no way does it bind the city."

There was a bit of confusion about the plan and how its amendments would affect Gittins' dairy and the surrounding agricultural areas. Gittins suggested the council go to the area and look at it so they'd have a better idea.

"I think it'd help your decision making to have a field trip," Gittins said.

The plan wouldn't be anything immediate, said Watkins. It would be a 20-year plan that would be reviewed every five years.

Gittins was still not in favor of the plan.

Mayor Chad Downs said he didn't think anyone would start a motion in favor of the amendments as the council was very undecided, but asked if anyone wanted to motion. None of the council members motioned.

"We'll pull this back and address it at another date," said Downs.


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