Sunday, November 23, 2008

Living in Paradise can be HELL

I'm not trying to implicate anyone in the brief telling of this story. I actually like the suspected person very much. However, it seems clear to me that justice sometimes needs to be served so people can move on. In the last few months I've watched the mayor of our town's personality diminish. He has lost weight. His wife is distraught. His children are scared.
This is the letter to the editor I wrote after the newspaper assured us a story would be written, but caved to pressure and didn't print anything. I know a lot of details are left out. This isn't good storytelling technique, but I don't know how else to tell it without implicating individuals unfairly.

Dear Editor:
Sometimes it’s easer to be quiet. However the citizens of Paradise are baffled by the silence of the Herald Journal concerning a case that has divided our town. Last Wednesday night over 60 Paradise residents showed up to a public hearing, in large part to show support to the mayor for the last eleven years, Lee Atwood. A reporter from the paper was invited to attend. The reporter assured us that some kind of story would be printed. However as the days have passed, once again it’s clear that this isn’t going to happen.

In short, our mayor has been maligned, harassed, and systematically set up in a complicated drug-dealing scheme that had the scheme been successful would most likely have sent our mayor to prison for a long time. Detectives made an arrest in the case several months ago, but now the county attorney’s office is dropping the case.

For all parties involved, we feel it’s important to bring this case to fruition. The victim in this case, the mayor and his family, and the citizens of Paradise, are being let down by the county. It is unacceptable that a person who works so hard for the citizens of Paradise at great sacrifice to his own business, and family should be treated in this manner. It’s one thing to be victimized by a disgruntled citizen who doesn’t agree with the policies that the mayor has been elected and sworn to uphold, but it’s quite another to be re-victimized by the system and the county, and even the newspaper who has chosen to cave in under pressure.

While I feel sympathy for the person arrested, it is important for him also to be able to tell his story in court so as not to be tried in the minds of community members. The truth needs to be revealed. While I don’t agree with Mayor Atwood on all policies, I now know after serving on Paradise planning and zoning for five years, that he walks a very tight line in making some difficult decisions. And in all the years I’ve worked with Lee, I have never seen him to bend the rules in anyone’s favor in the least degree, including his own. He is a man of extreme integrity. I have nothing but respect for him and I hope that the county attorney feels shame for deciding not to turn every stone to find the guilty person in this crime, and prosecute, so this good man and his family can go on with their lives in peace.

C. J. Warburton

Monday, November 17, 2008

Paradise Art Holiday Sale Saturday, November 22, 10-5

It's that time of year again. I've teamed up with photographer Jim Parrish again. Jim has been taking shots in and around Paradise and Cache Valley. He's experimenting with some new ideas and has some Ansel Adam's type photos ready. His work is adding to the decor in our newly revamped Cracker Barrel restaurant also.

I've got some great new pieces also. I've sold most of my chip & dip plates this summer, so I worked hard and made more. They seem to be one of my most popular items since they are so functional for holiday gathering and gift giving.

We are really lucky again to have with us Wade and Cara. They are seriously two of the most talented musicians I've ever heard. They play all kinds of stringed instruments that are works of arts themselves. I would tell you the names of them, but I don't know. Okay well Wade plays the guitar, but he also plays the citar and other lesser known instruments. They will play at 3pm in the afternoon. This is free.

We'd love you to donate to the food bank. Just bring a can. If you forget--no big deal. Leave us a dollar and we'll make sure it gets there.

If you just want to look around, hang out, browse and eat a cookie--we'll let you do that too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sometimes Life is too good to be true...

Barring a disaster, it looks like we will have our first African-American president. History in the making--and we witness the event.

On a smaller scale about a month ago, our friends the Major's invited us to go on a moonlight horseback ride. It was cold. It was scary. I had to put all my trust in a horse and in our leaders. I couldn't see really where were going as our horse walked through dark pastures, trudged through tall sagebrush and junipers until we reached the top of the hills and could see the lights all the way into Logan main street--fifteen miles away. The temple a little gem in the dark. When we crestted the mountain I was behind the group and could see the horses and riders silhouetted with the nearly full moon. It was for me the ultimate Paradise event. Dale teased me about bringing my cell phone with me and asked if I was expecting Obama to call. I said he might--he'd been emailing me regularly along with Michelle and Joe Biden. Afterwards we sat around a fire on the Major's patio and sipped hot chocolate and visited.

I've been on some hikes this fall where I was sure that the world couldn't possibly get any better. Then last weekend I stayed with eleven other strong women--only one I had met before--and she only breifly, and yet we bonded as if we'd known each other all our lives. We talked, ate, and hiked in Zion's and Snow Canyon, staying at Millie Watt's beautiful vacation home in St. George. Millie is one of those women whose warmth and quiet dignity takes you in and makes you want to be like her. She was able to discuss without vitriol her sense of sadness and betrayal toward church and governmental policies which deny two of her children full rights of citizenship and fellowship. The other women ranged in ages from 30 and 67. They came to our retreat from California, Pennsylvania, Oregon,Washington, and the rest of us from Utah. And yet we bonded over a pie-ceremony. The next day some of us hiked through the Narrows in icy cold water--without proper shoes--for the conditions. But with each turn in the canyon a new view, and a desire to see more, to experience more, and to never forget the wonders.

Tonight watching the polls, I'm again feeling overwhelmed by the goodness, the hope, and the beauty in being alive.