David Rodeback's Blog

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Life Among the Mormons, and Other Stuff

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Saturday, September 1, 2007
Local Miscellany

I brag a little, then I turn to broadband, Gandolfo's, 9600 North, college football, a very old skeleton, SOBs in American Fork, and a very intelligent discussion of Mormonism on the national stage.

But Who's Counting?

This is my 470th blog post here at LocalCommentary.com. I missed my third blogiversary back in late July, when I was on vacation in the Great Northwest. I'm thinking about throwing a party for the 500th. In any case, if the missed anniversary disappoints you, I can only refer you to an interview I gave myself last year, for my second blogiversary. The aforementioned trip out of town meant that I could not accept a similar invitation this year. (Don't think about that sentence for too long.)

American Fork Broadband

Word on the street is that American Fork City's letter of intent with Surpha, the current prospective purchaser of AFCNet, has grown as intended into a proposed purchase contract, which is currently in negotiation. I don't have confirmed details as to the proposed terms.

Half a Burning Bridge on a Kaiser . . .

. . . was my typical order at Gandolfo's in American Fork several years ago, when I used to go there rather frequently with colleagues. I hadn't been back for a few years until last week, when MFCC decided to buy me lunch in honor of our 19th anniversary (not the blogging one). I had heard that prices had soared and quality had slipped in the interim, but I saw no evidence of this. The Burning Bridge was exactly as I remembered, and the seafood pasta salad was very good, too. The prices aren't bad.

The clientele hasn't slipped, either. Besides an American Fork City Councilor who lunched there, I chatted with a couple of prominent American Forkers whose names most of the city would recognize, who were eating at the next table.

In case you're worried that a deli sandwich and some seafood salad isn't enough celebration for 19 years of wedded bliss, I note that we also enjoyed a bottle of a fine non-alcoholic beverage at our evening picnic somewhere up American Fork Canyon, in the presence of four children, one of whom had no patience whatsoever with my brief toast. (Alas, we have neglected to teach our children that particular part of good manners.) And we saved a bottle for ourselves, after the kids were in bed.

9600 North -- Apocalypse Not

Judging by the apocalyptic furor over 9600 North in Highland (1500 North in American Fork, briefly), you'd think the proposal was an eight-lane freeway with a 12,000-foot aircraft runway in the median. In fact, Highland proposes to designate 9600 North in their general plan as a three-lane minor collector street (that's one lane each way and a turn lane in the middle). It's true that some of the passionate people involved think it's five lanes, not three, with a 50 mph speed limit instead of something more reasonable. It's true that some have heard the street will be extended through the Fox Hollow (formerly Tri-City) Golf Course, when it really would skirt the edges. (Otherwise that part of the golf course land would be forfeited back to state ownership.) But passionate belief in and sincere alarm over misinformation don't combine to make the information accurate.

I wonder how many folks have noticed that recent construction along the street already has its curbs set sufficiently wide, and that finishing the job over the next several years would not be terribly traumatic. The setbacks seem fine; I can't see anywhere along the existing street where this minor widening would cost anyone a home. Admittedly, this may not be true in a case or two where the street needs to be extended to connect with other major streets.

For outside reading on this subject, see the following:

  • American Fork City Councilor Heidi Rodeback's blog post, including the comments.
  • American Fork City Councilor Shirl LeBaron's blog posts here and here and here, including the comments.
  • Alan Choate's Daily Herald article.
  • Amy Choate-Nielsen's Deseret Morning News article.
  • For a sense of the passion of it all, and a good taste of what NIMBY looks like when you put it in a blog, see the blog someone has started about it. The home page's title, "9600 North Highway," offers the first clear factual problem; there is an enormous difference between a highway and a three-lane collector -- in size, in traffic, and in usefulness in alarming one's neighbors.

For a little healthy perspective, see this Steve Gehrke article about American Fork residents' concern about traffic and growth. He cites the same American Fork opinion poll I discussed earlier this week.

Football Is Coming, the Schedule's Getting Fat . . .

I have little interest in the National Football League playoffs, let alone the regular season. Once in a while I enjoy watching part of a game. But I love college football -- every week of it. It's even more fun when one of my alma maters is faring well. (That would be BYU, almost never Cornell, where they love hockey instead, and for good reason.) But I love it even if the Cougars are struggling. The season started last evening, not too well for the Utes, and reaches full speed today.

Steve Luhn, Rhiannon Potkey, and Lya Wodraska recently listed in the Salt Lake Tribune 25 reasons why we love college football. I personally favor reasons 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 13, 17, and 18, if you're curious, but especially 7. Most players play for the love of it, not with their eyes on a huge pro paycheck. College football has its troubles, to be sure, but most days there's a purity about it that seems to be lacking in professional sports.

Look What the Construction Guys Dug Up

Being the local LDS bishop doesn't always mean I hear the juicy news first. I was helping someone move last Saturday morning, when someone told me what had happened a few days earlier at a nearby inner-block construction site. The short version is, they dug up part of a skeleton, including a skull. Police forensic experts were summoned, then scholars from the University of Utah. It is believed to be the remains of a Fremont Indian woman who died about 1000 years ago.

I mentioned it to someone else that day, who called the local newspaper, and the story appeared on page one this week, above the fold. I had heard that no pottery shards or other items of archaeological interest were found with the skeleton, which was believed to have washed down the river that used to run there. So construction continues, instead of my little neighborhood getting its own archaeological dig. That's probably good. The Citizen story says they did find pottery shards . . . but construction still continues, so maybe the world is a bit more reasonable than I supposed.

The Salt Lake Tribune also picked up the story.

It's not the Kind of SOBs I Usually Think About

American Fork's years-late effort to regulate sexually-oriented businesses passed one of two major hurdles Tuesday evening with the passage of an ordinance by the City Council. I understand the second hurdle is related action by the American Fork Planning Commission. The desired combined effect is to allow such businesses to locate only in a particular area of the city -- not Main Street or near residential areas, for example, and industrial areas are usually preferred -- since they cannot legally be banned altogether.

The ordinance itself is quite long, with all the necessary definitions of "sexually-oriented" -- how many inches of clothing here, how much skin can be showing there, what portrayed acts make a movie sexually-oriented. I expect it was enough to make several grown city councilors blush, even without pictures or diagrams, of which there are none.

Meanwhile, the city's one existing SOB -- again, not the kind I usually think of -- is the visually inoffensive Husband and Wife Intimacy Boutique, two doors down -- here I stifle a laugh -- from the City Administration Building on American Fork's Main Street. I watch as I walk and drive past it; I still haven't seen anyone go in or out of the front door. Maybe there's a back door.

Intelligent Discussion of Mormonism

Two alert readers sent me a link to this long, intelligent discussion of Mormons, their politics, and their history. The speaker is Richard Bushman, a towering figure in Church historical scholarship. The audience is full of prominent national journalists and columnists. The setting is a Pew Forum event.

You may wish to notice the following: Bushman doesn't back down, bend over, or get defensive or paranoid. He speaks openly, calmly, and intelligently. As as to the journalists and their questions, they are strikingly intelligent and reasonable. This is not an inquisition. You might learn some history by reading it, but even if you know all the facts already, you will see them integrated and explained superbly.

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