Clyde: Nan’s final edition |

Clyde: Nan’s final edition

More Dogs on Main

We’re back into the mass shooting protocol in Las Vegas. Same sad song, just another arrangement. This is a little different because the shooter didn’t fit the typical mold. He went at it with a serious planning effort, choosing a hotel suite for its best angle, packing it with guns, putting his own camera system in the hallways to provide a kind of counter-security to the hotel security system. And nobody saw anything unusual about that. Apparently a warehouse full of weapons and ammunition stacked in a luxury hotel suite didn’t raise an eyebrow with the cleaning staff.

That seems very strange.

But nearly 60 dead, hundreds wounded with everything from serious gun shot wounds to twisted ankles from the stampede. Maybe this time we will have the rational discussion about limitations on the kind of weaponry civilians own in this country. Or not.

The Republicans are a wholly owned subsidiary of the gun lobby, and the spineless leaders McConnell and Ryan have already said “now is not the time.” Cowards. When is the time? Apparently, never. Welcome to the new normal. The NRA must be very proud.

On an entirely different note, this edition is Nan Chalat Noaker’s last as editor at the Park Record. She up and retired on us after 21 years. It’s been a long run, and Park City is an entirely different place now than it was 21 years ago.

The public conversation hasn’t changed a lot. We still carp about traffic, parking, dogs, and growth (while most of us make a living from it in one way or another). Throughout that time, there have been repeated plans for rebuilding the high school, then rebuilding it again. But at the same time, the town has grown up.

We have a prosperity that allows a lot of great amenities, and also a lot of weirdness. The City can engage in a serious conversation about providing free chauffeured rides from your house to the nearest bus stop because they can afford to spend $600,000 on it. While they pulled the plug on it for now, I wouldn’t count it out. 21 years ago, the City budget precluded that kind of foolishness.

It’s been great working with Nan. She’s given me an incredibly free hand to write just about anything. But every now and then there would be a phone call. For example, when I wrote something referring to the price-gouging, blood-sucking vultures at the local medical monopoly, Nan gently suggested softening that, perhaps calling it a “beloved non-profit health care provider.” We’d have some back and forth. If I gave up “vultures” she would give up “beloved” and before long, we had something that wouldn’t get the paper into a lawsuit, or generate calls from the evil empire, bless their hearts.

I didn’t always get my way. Whenever I submitted something referring to Congressman Rob Bishop with a perfectly appropriate string of invective, Nan would recommend toning it down to call him the “distinguished congressman from the second district.” There’s nothing distinguished about him, other than how little he has accomplished for all his years in Congress. But “distinguished” meant the same thing your Southern cousins mean when they say, “Bless his heart.”

A local newspaper has a special place in a small town. The news is pretty intimate in a community this size. We write about our friends, neighbors, and their businesses and their kids. There’s not much distance between the reporter and the reported-on. Then add in nearly 140 years of history of the paper itself, and you begin to understand the obligation that comes with the job of editor.

People get torqued off about a particular story now and then. They don’t like the emphasis, or the numbers can seem one-sided sometimes. As consumers of the news, we look at the paper one issue at a time, and by the time Saturday’s paper comes out, Wednesday’s is long forgotten.

On the production side, each issue is tacked on to the issue before, and the issue before that, reaching back to 1880. There’s a clear purpose of getting information out to the readers today, but there’s also a sense of history that plays into it. Nan always had a good sense of the importance of the paper in town, and what that 137 years of previous issues means.

Retirement is great. Done right, retired people should be busier than they were when they were working, just busy with different stuff that doesn’t need to pay the bills. So this issue will go to press, and Nan will start working on something entirely different, maybe pursuing photography (she’s really good), or writing other things, or maybe painting birdhouses in the garage. Whatever it is, I wish her all the best.

Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.


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