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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

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

Nibley makes counteroffer to zoning administrator

By Candice Mattson

March 30, 2009 | NIBLEY -- At a special City Council session on Thursday night, a decision was made to make a counteroffer to Shari Phippen, the current zoning administrator of Nibley.

The decision was made in a response to an offer for a job Phippen had received from Cache County's planning department. City Manager Larry Anhder proposed that Phippen be offered the position of City Planner with her pay rate being Planner 1, a position that is competitive with Cache County's offer.

Phippen's current duties as a zoning administrator include receiving applications for land use decisions, filling a staff position on planning commission, answering questions related to applications, drafting and researching information for ordinances and coordinating special studies for land use.

"She assists me considerably," said Anhder. The council agreed that Phippen was an effective and active worker for the city of Nibley and could accomplish many tasks while on the job.

"I think we've definitely seen an individual rise the occasion," said Councilman Bryan Hansen.

The council discussed whether or not promoting Phippen to the position of Planner 1 was a good idea in the long run and whether or not the council felt she could replace Anhder, who is close to retiring. The motion passed 3-2 to make the offer to Phippen, with Councilmen Scott Larsen and Thayne Mickelson opposed.

"I think we would be at a loss if we lost her," said Larsen. He then added he did not feel comfortable with the job title of Planner 1 that would be offered to Phippen.

Mickelson said he wanted to look more towards the future to what the city's needs would be with the job.

The council made a resolution that they found Phippen's work to be exceeding in performance, and they were "happy" to extend her the job and hope she will accept. This resolution passed 4-0, with Larsen abstaining.

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