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a silent salute: The audience "claps" at Joke Night during Deaf Awareness week. Click Arts&Life for a link to story. / Photo by Leah Lopshire

Today's word on journalism

December 15, 2008

As part of my own personal "war on Christmas" (which a Utah state senator has offered legislation to outlaw), the WORD celebrates the season by going on hiatus until January. May all out days be merry and bright, and here’s to a safe, healthy and saner New Year. HoHoHo!

Empty Minds: "Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I."

--Russell Baker, Pulitzer-winning columnist

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River Heights residents brave cold to celebrate new Ryan's Park restrooms

By Diane Denning

November 13, 2008 | RIVER HEIGHTS -- Little girls were actually allowed, but hesitantly ran into the boys' bathroom for a tour at the opening ceremonies for the new bathrooms at Ryan's Park Place. The bathrooms are directly east of Ryan's Park located at 600 East and 550 South.

A few residents, along with Mayor Baker, and some members of the City Council gathered Tuesday for the official plaque-hanging ceremony. The crowd suffered through the cold for this occasion.

The plans for the bathroom started with the council in May. Councilwoman Hadfield wrote a grant proposal to the county to gain some extra funding. Through that grant, the city was able to build the bathrooms.

"We were thankful for the grant, because it was money the city didn't have, but an update the park needed," Councilman Rob Gines said.

Sorensen and Gnehm Construction were the builders on this project. They completed the bathrooms in just less than two months.

"We couldn't have found a better construction crew," said Mayor Baker. "They cared a lot about what they were building. They acted like they were building their own home."

The new bathrooms include a men's and a women's bathroom. Both are equipped with three stalls and electric hand dryers. The bathrooms will also have an electronic lock system that locks and unlocks the bathroom doors at a set time each day.

In between the bathrooms is a plumbing room, which allows for easy access if a problem arises. There is also a hose hook-up to allow for a quick spray down if the bathrooms become dirty.

"The plumbers did a great job as well on the bathrooms," Public Works Supervisor Kent Parker said.

Mayor Baker said the original bathrooms in the park were over 30 years old. The toilets would become clogged due to paper towels being shoved down the toilet and the bathrooms weren't up to date. The new bathrooms will eliminate mess from paper towels with the electric hand dryers, as well as keep vandalism down with the automatic locks.

"Updated bathrooms were much needed," Mayor Baker said. "River Heights couldn't afford to do it without the help of the county. We are so pleased we can't believe it."

The park and the bathrooms will close next week for the winter. Both will open for public use around April.

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