Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve Special: Dave Barry’s Year in Review

As 2013 dawns, maybe, just maybe, the new year will be better; and this will be the year when we finally break the cycle of perpetual idiocy... then again maybe not

"It was a cruel, cruel year — a year that kept raising our hopes, only to squash them flatter than a dead possum on the interstate," sez Dave Barry, the world's second funniest humor columnist.  As our WCF readers ramp up to bring in the new year 2013, read the rest of Dave's boffo 2012 retrospective, linked straight from the Miami Herald website:
"As 2013 dawns, maybe, just maybe, the new year will be better; and this will be the year when we finally break the cycle of perpetual idiocy..." then again maybe not.

Hopefully this will keep our readers' humor hunger sated, at least for the moment, until we've heard something on this topic (we're keeping our fingers crossed) from the world's funniest humor columnist.

Have a safe and same New Year's Eve, folks!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune: Ogden Family Distraught After Police Mistake Husband for Wanted Man - Updated

So what's wrong with the the Ogden Keystone Kops, we ask?
One of the officers made a comment about her husband coming to the door with a bat, saying that had it been a gun, the officers would have "blown you away."
Reporter Jessica Miller - Salt Lake Tribune
Ogden family distraught after police mistake husband for wanted man
December 12, 2012

It was a split decision to grab that bat. They could have killed him in his house for no reason in front of me and my kids. There should be other tactics to handle this kind of situation.
Melanie Hill - Salt Lake Tribune
Ogden family distraught after police mistake husband for wanted man
December 12, 2012

OK.  Ogden cops show up dressed in black with assault weapons at some Ogden resident's door @ 2:30 a.m. in the friggin morning, banging on the door to serve a federal warrant to "apprehend an AWOL US service member," believe it or not. When the homeowner asks "Who's knockin on my door" (and this is important) NOBODY from the crack OPD night assault team even makes a peep. Next thimg you know, the OPD has an innocent guy in handcuffs, who fortunately didn't get blown away.  Turns out they hadn't done their homework... and get this!  The guy who got his door kicked down and held at gunpoint... in the wee hours of the night? Wrong guy, people!  "Ooops! Sorry about that! Shit happens," sez OPD police Lt.Will Cragun.
Your blogmeister's distraught to even be reporting this major screwup.

So what's wrong with the the Ogden Keystone Kops, we ask?

Update 1/1/13 9:00 a.m: The Standard-Examiner is carrying the AP story, too:

Friday, December 28, 2012

In Memoriam 2012: Remembering the "Legends" We Lost This Year

As we stand on the cusp of the 2013 New Year, we'll post this fine embedded video, indirectly furnished via FaceBook by the soon-to-be legendary Ogden Bluesman Brad Wheeler:

Please consider this to be the first of several Weber County Forum 2012 retrospectives planned for our WCF end-of-year agenda.

So whaddaya think, O Gentle Ones? Will these lost cultural icons make a permanent dent in our ever-adaptive American culture; or will new personalities pop up to fill the gaps, conveyor-belt-wise, like ever-replaceable shark's teeth?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Standard-Examiner Editorial: Our View: Airport’s Growth a Positive

General aviation community griping: frivolous or legit? 

Chirpy editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner, playing down the grousing of some of the "good old boys" (long-time pilots) headquartered at Ogden-Hinckley Airport over "new fees, parking changes and security regulations" recently enacted  by the Ogden City Council and the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the wake of the arrival of Allegiant Air as an Ogden-Hinckley-based commercial carrier:
"[T]he new fees are especially hard to swallow, considering the city waived certain fees to bring Allegiant in. With all of the new fees we’re charged, I feel like I’m supporting them (Allegiant); and I don’t like it,” sez general aviation guy Gary Kopecky.

The Standard argues that we should consider these new burdens upon the general aviation faction to be "an investment in Ogden’s airport that helps it grow."  "Such growth will always be a positive," the S-E editorial board intones.

So what about it folks?  Shall we accept the Standard's blanket judgement that Ogden-Hinckley Airport growth will be a hands-down positive?  Or do the long-time long-time general aviation community who've kept Ogden-Hinckley afloat for almost seventy years have something legitimate to gripe about?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

This pretty much covers it, wethinks...

Merry Christmas AND Happy Holidays, everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Standard-Examiner Letter: Thanks to Many Who Made Mt. Ogden Course a 'Crown Jewel'

Dang.  Do we ever miss our ole buddy Bill C., especially at times like this

Notable letter to the editor in this morning's Standard-Examiner, thanking Ogden City mayor Mike Caldwell, golf division manager Todd Brenkman, superintendent Jeff McFarland and golf professional Jon Fister, Jr., for the "astounding year" experienced at Mt. Ogden Ogden Golf Course, which Ogden resident Jeff Campbell labels "our town’s greatest natural asset":
"Instead of publicly tearing Mt. Ogden down at every opportunity and threatening to sell our assets at pennies on the dollar to fund nonsensical, ego-driven schemes, the city chose to support the course and the positive returns are undeniable," Mr. Campbell sez.

Great innit, to have an Ogden City Mayor in a town which promotes recreation with a rah-rah "high adventure" lifestyle to actually support and promote the recreational assets Ogden already has? Looking back to Boss Godfrey, Caldwell's light-hand governance comes off as a neck-snappiing political segue, wethinks.

Nice tribute to dearly departed regular Weber County Forum contributor Bill Critchlow too, by the way.

Dang.  Do we ever miss our ole buddy Bill C., especially at times like this [sniffle].

Sodden Reminder: Only the good die young.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune: Affair Leads to Less Power for Brigham City Mayor - Updated

Heck, he's still drawing a city paycheck; and that's all that's important, right? 

More blowback in Brigham City, Utah government this morning, as the Brigham City townsfolk roundly rebuke their philandering Mayor Dennis Fife, and his city council colleagues vote to "strip him" of "of his powers to hire, fire, supervise and discipline city officers and employees":
Nary a good word was spoken of the politically out-of-touch mayor at last night's council bitch session; yet the tone-deaf little feller remains stubbornly resolved to "hang in there," if only as a mere figurehead, we guess.

Heck, he's still drawing a city paycheck; and that's all that's important, right?

Update 12/22/12 9:00 a.m.:  The Standard's all over the story this morning, too:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune: Congress Votes to Scrap Hatch Act Restrictions - Updated

And no, Gentle Readers... Congress (unfortunately) DID NOT vote to "scrap" Utah Senator-For-Life  Orrin Hatch

Good news for politically ambitious state and local public servants this morning, as the Salt Lake Tribune reports that "Congress gave its final approval to a bill Wednesday that would allow local officials who oversee some federal funds to run for public office, legislation that is in part based on the ouster of former Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner":
This action comes too late of course to save Chief Greiner's political neck; but looking down the road, this common sense congressional legislative tweak will no doubt eliminate much of the silliness which has unnecessarily sullied the political dialogue in recent local Utah election races.

"The new law maintains the prohibition on federal employees running for office but won’t stop people who work in other organizations that receive federal grants for running for partisan offices," according to this morning's Matt Canham story.

And no, Gentle Readers... Congress unfortuntely DID NOT vote to "scrap" Utah Senator-For-Life Orrin Hatch, which probably wouldn't have been a half-bad idea however, now that we think about it.

Update 12/21/12 9:00 a.m.: This morning's Stamdard-Examiner carries the story too:
The only remaining loose end?  The president's signature.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Standard-Examiner: Response to Brigham City Mayor's Affair: Bill for Recall Election

Sadly, we'll not be holding our breath

Intriguing story from yesterday's Standard-Examiner, reporting that "State Rep. Lee Perry is preparing a bill for January’s legislative session to create a recall election law in response to concerns expressed by Brigham City residents about the lack of a way to remove [the philandering] Mayor Dennis Fife  from office":
Here's the fundamental question, wethinks.  Does the GOP-dominated Utah Legislature have the guts to set up even a narrow legal process to oust creepy sickos like Fife from their duly-elected political offices?

Sadly, we'll not be holding our breath.

And what say you, O Gentle Ones?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Standard-Examiner: Ogden Trails Open -- For Now -- Despite Fencing

It would be delightful to see some community minded citizen (or outdoor recreation-oriented group) file a test lawsuit seeking a judicial determination of Peterson's property rights vis-a-vis those of the general public, no?

Ogden City's neighbor to the east, Chris "Gondola Boy" Peterson, is back in the local news again after a long lull, with yesterday's Standard-Examiner story, reporting that "[f]ence structures that have been popping up along trails in the Ogden foothills have the hiking community worried, but the landowner [Peterson] who put them there says he’s keeping his property open to the public":
Ogden trails eyesore
Although Peterson attributes his ghastly new fencing and signage to "littering, tagging, destruction of natural landscape and other irresponsible trail behavior," odds are that Peterson's action has as much more to do with long-standing technical legal issues than the current trail user behavioral problems he's complaining about, inasmuch as the lingering issue of whether the public owns a prescriptive easement upon the trails of his Malan's Basin property remains yet unresolved.  In this connection, this thorny subject has been broached on Weber County Forum in the past, and is neatly framed by an earlier reader comment, posted beneath this 6/8/2010 WCF article:
This Land is My Land: Hate to break it to you "observer from the south," but Peterson's Malan's Basin and westerly trails property likely remains subject to long-standing "public prescriptive easements" which went into effect long before Peterson acquired these properties.
His "predecessor in title," i.e., the Malan family, basically gave "carte blanche" to otherwise "trespassers" for over 100 years, a period far exceeding the period required for adverse possession under Utah law.
The poor schmuck Peterson will no doubt have a hard time, legally, shutting the public out from prescriptive easement rights which were perfected no later than the early part of the 20th century.
If this Peterson idiot tries to impair my public easement rights in any way... he'll have to see me in court.
“Our interest is obviously in keeping these trails open and easily accessible to the community..." Says Mayor Mike Caldwell. Caldwell's right, of course, at least insofar as he recognizes that unrestricted East Bench Trail access is indispensable to Ogden's recreational needs.

For those WCF readers who'd like to "bone up" on Utah real property rights in general, and the legal effect of prescriptive easements in particular, check out the below-linked Utah Department of Commerce manual, which addresses the issue of prescriptive easements thusly: "You have no right to prohibit public use of a trail or road across your private property as a thoroughfare if the public has created the thoroughfare without permission and without interruption for a period of ten years as a prescriptive easement":
It would thus be delightful to see some community minded citizen (or outdoor recreation oriented group) file a test lawsuit seeking a judicial determination of Peterson's property rights vis-a-vis those of the general public, to settle the "hanging"  "prescriptive easement problem" once and for all, no?

So who'll be the first to chime in on this subject?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Casper Star-Tribune: Casper Downtown Plans May Include Former Ogden Mayor Reprimanded by State Auditor

Didn't take John "Pureheart" Patterson long to get in hot water with the lumpencitizens of Casper, did it?

Tantalizing December 13, 2012 story from the Casper (Wyoming) Star Tribune, which we stumbled upon this morning whilst Googling.  Here's the lede: 
The Downtown Development Authority’s current preference for development coordinator is a former mayor of Ogden, Utah, who was reprimanded by that state’s auditor for failing to comply with city and state laws.
Matthew Godfrey, current president of the Better City consulting group, served as mayor in Ogden from 1999 to 2011. John Patterson was Ogden’s chief administrative officer from 2005 to 2011, when he became Casper’s city manager.
In a report released last summer, the Utah State Auditor’s Office found the city administration failed to receive City Council approval for expenditures on three projects. City administration improperly spent $434,000 between 2007 and 2009 for an ice climbing tower, rail car renovation and river restoration projects, according to the report.
“We are concerned about the Administration’s attitude toward the importance of the City Council’s approval,” the document states. [Links added].
Check out the full story here:
Here's the referenced Utah State Auditor's  August 18, 2011 report:
No surprises here, we guess.  It didn't take John "Pureheart" Patterson long to get in hot water with the lumpenctizens of Casper, did it?

Be sure to check out the Star-Trib's reader comments section, folks, where one Star-Trib reader sez, "Come on now, the citizens of Casper are not illiterate hicks. We even know about the Internet and we know how to use the search engine Google."

Looks like the cat's outta the bag, alright.

We'll keep ya'll all posted, of course, as this fascinating story develops.

Friday, December 14, 2012

27 Dead in Connecticut Shooting, Including 18 Children

Another heavily-armed and mentally-crazed jackass abuses OUR 2d Amendment constitutional rights

Whoa! Looks like another heavily-armed and mentally-crazed jackass has abused OUR 2d Amendment consitutional rights and has blown away a whole kindergarten class in Newtown, Connecticut, of all weird targets in all politically-inexplicable places:
Speaking as a die-hard 2d Amendment advocate, your blogmester would like to open the discussion:

If we're to protect the Second Amendment, and allow average citizens to "keep and bear arms," is there any way that we, as a society, can ever prevent extreme abuses of the Second Amendment, such as this?

Just axin'

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune: Salt Lake City Attorneys Take On Ogden Activist’s Quest for Envision Ogden Records

Citizen activist Schroeder takes his protracted government-records battle all the way to Utah’s Supreme Court

Encouraging news this morning in Dan Schroeder's Envision Ogden GRAMA request matter, as Salt Lake  Tribune reporter Cathy McKitrick reports that "citizen activist Dan Schroeder said he will take his related government-records battle all the way to Utah’s Supreme Court to piece together the whole story on what occurred with Envision Ogden, an organization launched in early 2007 to boost business in Ogden":
Ms. McKitrick's story goes on to report that "Jeff Hunt, David Reymann and LaShel Shaw — attorneys with Salt Lake City-based Parr Brown Gee and Loveless — recently took on Schroeder’s case and plan to argue the appeal pro bono in the state’s high court."

"The case raises some significant issues regarding the intersection between the Utah State Constitution and the Government Records Access and Management Act [GRAMA]," Hunt said of his reasons for hopping onboard.

That's it for now, O Gentle Readers.  We'll continue to follow this story, of course, as the case progresses, in the hope that all essential facts of this case will be ultimately revealed.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Residents Respond to Brigham City Mayor’s Adultery

Stick a fork in the deluded little dude; he's done
You are a disgrace, sir. And your chief of police is too.
Brigham City resident Ron Aldridge
Residents say Brigham City Mayor’s affair creates ‘a wedge’
December 7, 2012
...I am concerned that we have people in this city of ours that you were involved in them being released from their positions. And now you have done the same. And you stand there and say you will retain your position.
Brigham City resident Flora Reiter
Residents respond to Brigham City mayor’s adultery
December 6, 2012

As a followup to this week's earlier stories, we incorporate this morning's lead paragraphs from the Salt Lake Tribune
City Hall was packed in this small northern Utah city as residents hoped to weigh in on whether Mayor Dennis Fife should remain in office or resign.

Earlier this week, the 67-year-old mayor, husband, father and grandfather wrote a letter of confession to constituents, explaining he had had an affair with a woman he once counseled as a Mormon bishop.
GULP... Major screw-up!
Both the Trib and the Standard offer a taste of the flavor of future Brigham City council sessions, as the philandering Mayor Dennis Fife digs in his heels and stubbornly refuses to tender his resignation:
Seriously.  What did Mayor Fife expect? A standing ovation?

Stick a fork in the deluded little dude; he's done.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

New York Times: An Overview of Corporate Welfare in the USA

US Crony Capitalism 101: A series examining business incentives and their impact on jobs and local economies.

Fantastic three-part article series from the New York Times this week, exploring the nuances of government subsidization of  private business in the United States, and revealing some of the dynamics and troubling pitfalls arising in our massive American corporate welfare state. Times reporter Louise Story has truly done a yeoman's job on this blockbuster project; so we're delighted to link these heavily-researched stories on what might otherwise be considered a slow Weber County Forum news day.

Check it out, O Gentle Ones... a humdinger of an investigative journalistic series which we'll endearingly subtitle "Crony Capitalism 101":
As these articles reveal, these corporate welfare public-private "partnerships" often don't prove to be, shall we say, the cash cows they're proposed to be.  Left-leaning Daily Kos's opening paragraph summary is even a trifle more harsh in its judgment:
It was the story of the weekend. A searing three-part investigative report by Louise Story at The New York Times describing in detail the gigantic rip-off that corporations across America extract from state, county and municipal governments when they start shopping for a place to land, expand or just stick around. "Rip-off," is not a word that Story or her editors chose, but that's the reality behind her exposé of all those tax breaks, land deals, infrastructure upgrades and assorted other arrangements desperate governments offer to lure companies to their turf or keep them in town.
You can check out the full Daily Kos writeup here, of course, if you'd really like to "get an earful":
Of course as all regular WCF readers already know, both The State of Utah and and our own Ogden City have been (and remain) fully geared-up for similar expressions of local and state government pro-corporate largesse.  In this connection Ms. Story drills down to the Utah numbers, distilled from the impressive "searchable" database which she's assembled:
We Utahns can breath a sigh of relief, we suppose.  It could have been a lot worse, we guess. Having said that, we'll add that it would no doubt have been enlightening to have been able to drill down to the Ogden City numbers by themselves.

We'll issue Ms. Story a WCF Tip O' The Hat for her most impressive work; and for WCF political wonks, the floor's now open.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Breaking: Brigham City Mayor Admits to Extramarital Affair - Updated

Mayor Fife hopes to remain in office despite questions over his ability to lead

According to morning stories in the Standard-Examiner and Tribune, a reckless $100,000  excess of government largess isn't the only problem facing Brigham City, Utah government officials these days, as both Northern Utah newspapers reveal yet another whopping lapse of judgment on the part of of Brigham City's Mayor Dennis Fife:
While Utah does not appear to be among the states which criminalize clergy sexual relations with adult congregants, nevertheless as a Ward Bishop, Fife not only admittedly occupied a position of ecclesiastical authority over his erstwhile paramour, but was also was cloaked with an additional special fiduciary role as her spiritual counselor.  It would thus follow that  Fife was probably bound by a similar fundamental ethical responsibility to this woman in his care as therapists generally owe to their current or former clients, notwithstanding the lack of specific Utah penal sanctions.

As a result, his ethics and fitness for office naturally come into question.

Fife is now exerting extreme effort toward damage control; and we'll be closely following this story to find out whether it'll sell with his ultra-conservative constituents (and government colleagues) of Brigham City.

So whaddaya think, folks, will Fife succeed in sweeping his admitted adultery under the rug?

Update 12/5/12 8:00 a.m.:  Looks like we can add hypocrisy to the fast-growing list of "endearing" traits of the wonderful Mayor Fife :
Don't forget, folks. This A-1 screw-up Fife is Matthew Godfrey's chief cheerleader in Brigham City government.

Monday, December 03, 2012

KSL News: Powder Mountain Sold for $40 Million - Updated

Breaking news from another sharp-eyed and alert WCF regular... looks like the long-rumored Summit Series Group's proposed Powder Mountain acquistion is coming to full fruition. Here's our sharp-eyed and alert gentle reader's submitted story from KSL.COM:
Sodden question:  The Local Experts at Ogden Valley Forum already reported weeks ago that our rabidly pro-business/fresh air/water issues agnostic Weber County Commission was already set up to slam dunk this fait accompli (or should we just call it a coup de gras), with "new" zoning guidelines, which weren't all so different form the ones that Ogden Valley residents fought against for over five years.
Attention Ogden Valley Citizens AND concerned Weber County Forum Readers.  There's absolutely no reason to fret, now that the  pro-corporate 100% bought and paid for Republican County Commision has unleashed potential dog-eat-dog development in our heretofore semi-prisitine Ogden Valley, right?.  Buy your antipollution "gas masks" here, by the way, for this Katy-Bar-the Door new development in Ogden Valley:
Hopefully, once Ogden Valley residents strap on their gasmasks, the little eyeholes won't "fog up" and obscure the erstwhile breathtaking Ogden Valley panoramic views.

So what say you, Weber Couny Forum readers, other than this is an exceedingly sad time for our friends in Ogden Valley?

Update 12/4/12 7:43 a.m.:  The Standard carries a followup story this morning, revealing the Summit Group's apparently user-friendly future development intentions:

Standard-Examiner: Brigham City Residents Have Plenty of Questions at Forum

"A fool and his money are soon parted," according to the old folk ax
I’d like him to tell me why it cost $100,000 to do this study. What’s the deal?
DeLoy Mecham, Brigham City resident
Brigham City residents have plenty of questions at forum
December 2, 2012

In this forum, everybody gets a different answer to the same question.
Ron Germer, Brigham City resident
Brigham City residents have plenty of questions at forum
December 2, 2012

The Standard provides a brief report this morning, concerning Wednesday night's Matthew Godfrey public Dog & Pony Show. Surprise of surprises. When Brigham City residents showed up to ask hard questions and express their concerns, all they apparently got for their effort was a canned Godfrey sales pitch:
It should come as no surprise to Ogden lumpencitizens, that Ms. Hyatt's Standard-Examiner story reports that "unasked questions" left Brigham City residents "disappointed' and  that "residents weren’t allowed to speak publicly." These "public forum" tactics come straight from the well-practiced Godfrey playbook, of course. It's "deja vu all over again," we swear.

Brigham City residents and elected officials had better wake up fast, and learn from the painful experience of Ogden City residents, wethinks.

"A fool and his money are soon parted," according to the old folk ax.

"$100,000 to analyze economic clusters, or groups of related businesses in specific industries whose collective experience and collaboration can provide a competitive business edge" ? What gibberish! Give the Brigham City lumpencitizens a friggin' break! 

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Science Saturday 12/1/12 Overflow Edition

See if you have what it takes to claim #1 WCF Science Geek bragging rights

Just what the doctor ordered for another slow news day; another Science Saturday special, consisting of three items left in queu after publishing last week's Science Saturday feature

1) A 14-year-old New York student was named "America's Top Young Scientist" for inventing a solar-powered water jug that changes dirty water into purified drinking water:
Leave it to a highly talented kid to do what the scientist "grownups" ought to be doing.

2) Was Albert Einstein's great brain special?  This is interesting. Read up:
Too bad they hacked it up into little pieces.  Otherwise modern science would surely have been able to reactivate it, sooner or later, no?

#1 Science Geek Challenge
3) Attention Science buffs, here's a chance to earn your WCF science props! It's a robust mixed-bag Christian Science Monitor quiz to test your overall science knowledge:
Special challenge to our WCF readers:  Your blogmeister, who fancies himself to be a bona fide science geek, miraculously scored a respectable  88% score on this... even though he hasn't slept through a college level science course in over forty years!

Try your hand at this quiz, people. See if you have what it takes to claim WCF #1 Science Geek bragging rights.

Don't be shy.  Take the test and report your score.

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