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where there's smoke: A building under construction next to the Logan Police Station caught fire from a welder's spark. Damage was estimated at $50,000. / Photo by Gideon Oakes

Today's word on journalism

August 27, 2008

On protests at political conventions:

"The citizens of Denver and St. Paul, and Americans everywhere, should hope officials in those cities already have considered both the constitutional and monetary costs of silencing voices that have a right to be heard. . . . Well-expressed or wacky. Irritating or illuminating. Respectful or raucous. There's nothing in the 45 words of the First Amendment that sets out any such qualifications or limits on protests. Time and again in our history, from women's suffrage to civil rights to tax protests, to name just some, voices first raised in the streets -- to the disgust or disappointment of some -- have led to significant, positive changes in law and American life."

--Gene Policinski, executive director, First Amendment Center, 2008

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Health Days: Smithfield's commitment to healthy living since 1925

By Lisa Christensen

May 5, 2008 | SMITHFIELD -- More than 55 percent of Utah adults and 22 percent of children are obese or overweight, according to the Utah Department of Health. This puts them at higher risk for diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, asthma and cancer.

Maybe it's time to check out Smithfield, nicknamed Utah's Health City in 1991.

"Ever since we adopted that nickname, we've tried to be just that," said James P. Gass, city manager. "We want that identity. That's why we work for it."

That's why Smithfield has focused on putting time and money into city parks, building a recreation center and developing community programs as much as possible, he said. For a city Smithfield's size, he said, the recreation center is particularly impressive.

"I don't think you'll find a community under 15, 000 with a rec center like ours," he said.

Part of the reason Smithfield is such a healthy city, Gass said, is because of the general mindset of health and desire to achieve wellness throughout the community. Smithfield's Health Days, held this year from May 6-10, is one such example.

The idea of Health Days is nothing new, starting on May 5, 1925, in response to a request by President Calvin Collidge for communities to have a day to promote good health.

The focus of the first Health Day was on good dental health, with the theme being "100% O.K. Teeth." Children had to have their teeth OK'd by a dentist before being allowed to march in the parade, said Glen J. Thornley, president of the Smithfield Historical Society. The emphasis on dental health remained until the early 1960s, he said, when it then became focused more on general health.

Today, Health Days focuses more on fitness than anything else, in part because of the recent nation-wide increase in obesity. When Health Days was started, dental health was something often neglected, he said, but is something much more well-addressed now.

"Now there is much higher incidences of heart disease and obesity," he said. "As the health concerns of the public have changed, Smithfield's concerns have changed, also."

Health Days is very family-oriented, too, promoting better health for the whole family, said Stacey Dority, this year's Healthy Community Chair and coordinator of Health Days. Family activities include a family movie in the park, a family bike ride and part of the annual Fun Run, she said.

The Fun Run, which features a one-mile family walk, a 5k run and a 10k run, has been sponsored and organized for the past 11 years by Kris and Michael Monson. Their first year in charge had 38 participants, Kris Monson said, but has gradually increased to having 300 at last year's event. Prizes are given for winners in each race, donated by local businesses, she said.

"We have great sponsors," she said, who donate cash or gift certificates.

Monson is also on the Smithfield Trails Committee. The Trails project is to make a safe and accessible place for people to walk, run or bike around Smithfield. The trails are all marked with mileage and go around and through the city, eventually going all the way to Hyde Park, she said.

"People need to be able to have a place to run, walk, bike and push strollers," she said. The trails are on a 20-year plan, with three trails to be completed in the next seven years, she said.

Overall, Smithfield has come a long way in being a healthy city, Gass said.

"I think we've done a pretty good job," he said.

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