David Rodeback's Blog

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Monday, July 2, 2007
Catching up About Town

Blogging energy, Sherry Kramer, SOBs, a tragic bear attack, a restaurant that isn't an In-and-Out clone (we promise -- wink, wink), and an update on the concrete monstrosity.

Blogging energy is not one of the forms of energy I learned about in physics or chemistry, but it seems real enough to me. I can date the beginning of my recent, complete lack of it rather precisely. I attended a brief American Fork City Council meeting on Thursday evening, June 14, took notes there for a blog post I intended to write that evening, went home . . . and got even more caught up than usual in LBB, if you must know. For nearly three weeks.

True, there was a week-long business trip to prepare for, take, and catch up from. And I suppose the variety of ecclesiastical challenges in that period was somewhat larger than usual. But you'd think I'd have had 20 minutes or so for blogging at some point, early in the morning, late at night, on an airplane, in an airport, in a hotel, or somewhere else. After all, I'm quite certain I spent more time than that playing Spider Solitaire during the last three weeks. Clearly, it's not just a matter of time. There wasn't much time, but there was some. But of blogging energy, whatever that is, there was none.

But it's back now. Shall we catch up a little? I'll include links to selected newspaper articles at the end of most sections below. Note that The Daily Herald now includes article photos.

Councilmember Sherry Kramer

I like to scoop the DTM sometimes, so I fully intended to go directly home from the aforementioned City Council meeting and blog about the Council's selection of Sherry Kramer to fill the late Jimmie Cates' vacated seat for a few months, until it can be filled in January by a November election winner. Her selection did not surprise me at all; I went to the meeting mostly to watch the process.

Six candidates submitted resumes and made presentations to the Council in their regular meeting two days previously. Council members rated the candidates individually according to several criteria, including the very important, often overlooked matter of communication skills. There was some one-on-one back-channel chatter among Council members and the Mayor over a period of weeks, and at least one straw poll, which was not unanimous. But when it came time for formal action, there was simply a motion to appoint Ms. Kramer, which was seconded and passed unanimously.

Councilmember Kramer is well known in American Fork politics for being intelligent, hard-working, and skilled at organizing people. These attributes and her general air of professionalism will serve the City well, I expect.

She has until Monday, July 16, at 5:00 p.m., to decide whether she wants to run in November to keep her seat. Of that general topic, more soon.

DTM link: Caleb Warnock article

An SOB Comes to American Fork

"SOB" means sexually-oriented business, of course. What you were thinking it meant is probably also true, but that wouldn't exactly be news in any city, would it?

Neither American Fork City nor any other municipality can legally exclude such businesses entirely, but most arrange their zoning so that these establishments are isolated in industrial areas -- out of sight and out of mind, insofar as either is possible, and out of business, too, many hope. American Fork does not yet have such an ordinance, but soon will. It wasn't soon enough to keep the Husband and Wife Intimacy Boutique from opening up -- forgive a chuckle -- in the same block as the City Administration building.

I'm not sure I'm really troubled by this development. First, I don't have to go there. It's still a relatively free country. Second, they seem, at least initially, determined to be rather clean-cut in their image and advertising, so maybe there won't be any raunchy billboards or skanky window displays. (We'll see if that lasts.) Third, I asked around, after the store mailed an advertisement to city residents, and found that most of the people I asked either had not noticed or were not feeling very scandalized by it all.

One resident's comment deserves to be quoted here, because it may be the funniest thing I heard in the entire month of June. I promised not to name the resident, but here's the quotation: "If there's a market for this here, then people just don't understand the true tightwad beauty of sex."

Hmm. There probably is a market for this, if they can keep clean-cut folk from feeling dirty when they visit the establishment. They're obviously trying for that, even in the store's name . . . which makes me wonder: Will they require customers to show a marriage license with every purchase? And will self-righteous zealots stop by frequently to tell the shopkeepers how wicked they are and how swiftly they are moving in the general direction of hell, as happens at the Victoria's Secret in Provo?


DTM link: Barbara Christiansen article

Tragedy in American Fork Canyon

There was nationwide news coverage the other week of a tragic incident in which a black bear -- subsequently executed -- dragged a camping boy out of a tent in American Fork Canyon and killed him. I can only imagine the horror and the grief of that child's loved ones. My sons and I have fished and camped in the canyon repeatedly, including once already this year. These things are known risks, more or less -- even if this sort of bear attack may be unprecedented -- but I myself have never even seen a bear in 30 years of camping, let alone heard a story like this.

Without intending to diminish the weight of the tragedy, I turn here for a moment to media coverage of the attack and its aftermath. I have an automated Google News search which sends me American Fork news stories every day. One day's batch included stories -- true or not, I cannot say -- about the campers blaming the Forest Service, the Forest Service blaming the campers, and Governor Huntsman (who is looking more ordinary every month) saying the state needs to look at its bear policy. The only point of surprise in the reporting so far is that I haven't yet seen any stories where the earth-first/humans-last lobby demanded the bear be spared.

Chadders vs. In-and-Out

On a far more trivial note, there has also been widespread coverage of the In-and-Out burger chain's lawsuit against American Fork's new In-and-Out clone, Chadder's. The look, the menu, the lexicon . . . In the end, Chadder's gets to stay open, but must not use or even respond to certain trademarked terminology for burger variations.

I myself have eaten a few times at In-and-Out, and once at Chadder's. The burgers are fine and the fries excellent, but generally not worth the lines, in my view -- which is a minority view in my own household, to be sure.

DTM links: Sara Israelsen article, Grace Leong article.

Monstrosity Update

The concrete monstrosity hitherto discussed here at the blog, around town, and in City Council meetings is officially on its way out. The Amy Choate-Nielsen article (link below) puts the price tag for this little lesson in the rule of law at $78,000. The Barbara Christiansen article (link below) takes up the larger question of cemetery expansion.

DTM links: quick update in the Daily Herald, Amy Choate-Nielsen article, Barbara Christiansen article.

Topics for Later

I'm leaving other topics of interest around American Fork for later discussion. These include basic economics, as that subject applies to a lifeguard shortage at the local swimming pool; a new ban on wolf hybrids and other exotic pets; yard sale signs; a question of eminent domain; and other matters.

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