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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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Aggies from Newton reminisce on growing up rural

FIELDS OF GOLD: Rural Newton offered many wild places to play for two kids who grew up there. / Photo by Rachel Christensen

By Rachel Christensen

November 18, 2008 | NEWTON -- Chris Haws and Kendell Fabricius are sprawled on the living room couches in their apartment near Utah State University. They're reminiscing about growing up in Newton, from building forts to backyard displays of pyrotechnics.

"Then Chris would get sprayed by skunks," Fabricius said, looking up from from strumming his accoustic guitar.

"Yes, I would," Haws replied with a chuckle. "We didn't notice it 'til after we got home and we were like 'hmmm.'"

A self-declared farm boy, Fabricius loves the rural feel of Newton.

"My favorite thing is we could do all this only five minutes away," Fabricius says. "Mountains: five minutes. The dam: five minutes. We could get on our snowmobiles in town and ride out."

Fabricius said although he loved growing up in Newton, he doesn't miss the hour-long bus ride it took to get a school that was only 15 minutes away.

"It zig-zagged," he said. "You had to wait for a bus to come because the same bus took students home from different schools."

Growing up with what seemed like endless open fields to play in, Fabricius said as kids they learned to rely on their imaginations.

Haws said, "I guess occasionally you'd find bugs to use as pets. Get a jar, put holes in the top, and take them home."

It wasn't all fun and games. Fabricius and Haws both said they learned a strong work ethic.

"We worked ever since we could walk pretty much," Haws said. "If you wanted something you had to pay for things yourself."

The small town ensured the boys grew up with strong relationships to their families.

"The families are close," Haws said. "We ate homemade food together, we would only go out to eat on birthdays."

After almost 20 years of living in Newton, both Fabricius and Haws agree the small town was a good place to grow up. At the very least, it provided them with some good stories to tell the kids someday.

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