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UNSIGHTLY SIGNS HELP STOP ABUSE OF AREA

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DRIVING ON TIMBERLINE DRIVE and Prospector Drive above Wasatch Boulevard, I was astounded to see a plethora of red-lettered signs in front of almost every house. They said, "No Parking, 10 p.m. to 8 a.m." My first impression was, "This is an esthetic nightmare."

Out of curiosity, I called Tosh Kano, director of the Salt Lake County Division of Public Works, who told me the signs are legal and went up with the OK of the sheriff's office.A precedent has already been established in such places as Neff's Canyon. He said signs help check the problem of people who park overnight or abuse the canyons or neighborhoods. The residential signs have been up for a year and have significantly cut down on abuse.

When I asked what happens if a friend of a resident comes to visit, Kano admitted there is some inconvenience, but the residents prefer it to the abuse they have seen. By pre-arrangement, a visitor can park in a driveway.

4 Returning from a business trip, my wife took an earlier plane than scheduled from Atlanta to Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, her luggage did not follow. We dropped by the baggage counter to request the airline bring it to our home after the other plane arrived.

"Did you change planes of your own volition?" asked the baggage clerk.

"Yes," my wife admitted.

"In that case, we do not deliver. We will be glad to lock up your luggage until you can pick it up."

In other words, the airline is not responsible for luggage unless they impose a different flight on the passenger. Not very friendly, we thought.

As I drove back later to pick up the luggage, it occurred to me that the Salt Lake Airport has a security problem. Seeing my wife's bags next to the carousel, I picked them up and left with no questions asked.

In most large airports across the country, anyone carrying away luggage must show luggage claim tickets and an airline ticket to security personnel. Otherwise, any Tom, Dick or Harry could go to the airport and pick up free luggage - just as they can in Salt Lake City.

4 Ann McCallson phoned to tell me she and her family had a warm, memorable meeting with Richard Nixon in the Azores in 1974. To greet his motorcade, her son made a banner saying, "Our Man Nixon."

When Nixon saw it, he abruptly halted the motorcade, jumped out of the limo and started working the crowd.

He shook hands with the McCallsons, then reached for their dog's paw. When they told him it was the dog's birthday, he said, "Are you giving him a pound of hamburger?" They said, "No, we're giving him a visit from the president."

4 Maybe you have noticed the common tendency to overstatement. I heard a man say, "I was absolutely flabbergasted." I thought, does `flabbergasted' really need absolutely? According to the dictionary, he is already "speechless with amazement."

Someone else told me he was totally devastated. To devastate is to "destroy, to ravage or to make desolate." Isn't that enough - without totally?

There's one more that bothers me - and I hear it almost every day: "Your statement is completely irrelevant." Irrelevant already means "not pertinent or not relating to the point."

Must we say completely not pertinent?

The alternative is to understate, the way Duane Cardall did when reporting on Channel 5 about a downtown fire. He characterized it as "a small blaze." The dictionary says a blaze is "a strongly burning fire, a relatively large and steady fire."