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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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Mendon's May Day one of the most historic town celebrations

By Chari Ingraham

November 19, 2008 | MENDON -- The first Saturday of every May holds a special meaning to those who are familiar with the city of Mendon. Dancing, music, food, and other festivities combine to create one of the oldest celebrations in the country: May Day.

Children dressed in bright, springtime colors dance around a maypole as family and friends look on. Musical numbers are performed, and games are provided for the younger children. Earlier that day, the May Queen is crowned and her court is chosen. The night before, a feast is held in honor of the new May Queen, and a dance, open to all. Before the May Queen is crowned, the mayor gives a small speech, and community members have the opportunity to express what it means to them to be a resident of Mendon.

"The whole thing has a small town feel to it," said Councilman Phil Coulter, who oversees the budget for the event. "I have a lot of pride in it. It's very important to the community."

Coulter said he felt the celebration last year, which was the 146th, was a big hit because of good weather and organization. The year before that, poor weather forced much of the festivities indoors.

"I think the weather is a pivotal thing," he said.

Katie Childs, last year's May Day chair, said she had the children perform special numbers at the evening dance, some of which included songs from the musical Grease.

The dance, typically open to those ages 14 and older, was opened to all last year, as long as the children were well-behaved.

"There was some concern about behavior, but I wasn't aware of anything major that occurred because of the age alteration," Childs said. "I was thrilled to see little kids dancing with older brothers and sisters--it felt like a community event!"

The dance was held in the LDS stake center and its dress code was also altered a bit, so that it wasn't as strict as previous years.

"As usual, I'm sure a few feathers were ruffled over altering the venue," said Childs. "Anytime you alter tradition, you'll hear about it--but I'd do it again if it were up to me."

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