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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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Logan city to meet Tuesday with county on library issues

By Gideon Oakes

March 20, 2009 | The Cache County Council and the Logan Municipal Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the current status and the future of library service in Cache County.

Several times in the last two decades various entities have tried to assemble a county-wide library system, County Executive Lynn Lemon said Friday.

Last year, the county and Logan City formed a three-member committee to review the issue. The committee's proposal to consolidate the libraries was met with hesitation from the rural areas, Lemon said.

A feasibility study conducted by Pete Giacoma, former director of the Davis County Library, found that a combined system would cost about $3.6 million per year to operate, as opposed to $2.5 million separately.

That additional $1.1 million translates to between $60 and $80 per year in extra property taxes for county residents a tax increase to which many county residents object, Lemon said.

Currently, the county's facilities consist of a small library located in Providence and the Bookmobile, a portable library which makes scheduled stops in outlying areas.

The Logan library offers a library card for $163 per year for non-city residents who want to use the facility. The latest proposal from the committee is a limited-use $60 Logan library card which could be subsidized by the cities or the county itself.

Lemon said another one of the biggest hang-ups in the process was the difference in quality levels between the libraries. Logan has a much larger collection of books and also has the means to pay its staff higher salaries.

"The smaller libraries have volunteers. They have people who are making much less money. To try and combine all those people into one library really became an issue," Lemon said.

Differences in building conditions also posed a problem. Several libraries in outlying cities would not meet the required guidelines to function as county buildings.

"On an individual basis, those cities were not required to bring them up to code to meet the handicap accessibility codes, but if the county took them over we would be required to do that."

According to Lemon, the cost of updating the buildings was not included in the extra $1.1 million per year.

Tuesday's meeting will be held at the Logan City Justice Building. The public is invited to attend.

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