Elizabeth Smart told an audience at the Snow College Eccles Center how a dark past does not mean we are destined to have a dark future, but how it can be turned bright by the choices we make. - Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo

Elizabeth Smart told an audience at the Snow College Eccles Center how a dark past does not mean we are destined to have a dark future, but how it can be turned bright by the choices we make. – Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo

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Angie Petty (left) and Makena Lenhart (right), Snow College music students, won first place honors awards at the National Association of Teachers of Singing competition.

Angie Petty (left) and Makena Lenhart (right), Snow College music students, won first place honors awards at the National Association of Teachers of Singing competition.

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A group of Snow College and high school students from around the nation are eating containers of flavored, wet dog food for a Fear Factor style competition held during one of the several SnowBlast events hosted by Snow College last week. - Robert Stevens / Messenger photo

A group of Snow College and high school students from around the nation are eating containers of flavored, wet dog food for a Fear Factor style competition held during one of the several SnowBlast events hosted by Snow College last week. – Robert Stevens / Messenger photo

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North Sanpete School District Business Administrator Darin Johansen is swearing in new board member Shalmarie Morley and incumbent members, Stacey Goble and Rich Brotherson. Brotherson will now serve as vice president in place of Greg Bailey (not pictured) who will now serve as board president.

North Sanpete School District Business Administrator Darin Johansen is swearing in new board member Shalmarie Morley and incumbent members, Stacey Goble and Rich Brotherson. Brotherson will now serve as vice president in place of Greg Bailey (not pictured) who will now serve as board president.

School board continues plans for

critically needed energy upgrades

 

Daniela Vazquez

Staff writer

Jan. 26, 2017

 

MT. PLEASANT—The energy upgrades planned by the North Sanpete School District are steadily moving closer to realization.

Eric Thatcher, senior sales executive of Siemens, an energy-efficient technologies company, stood before the board at a regular board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 17 to provide the board with the monthly update on the funding process and the progress of the third-party review team of engineers.

“There are a lot of pieces coming together,” Thatcher said. “You know, you get to this point in a process with a project like this and you can kind of feel [it] trying to happen.”

Thatcher said they are exploring various financing routes.

According to Thatcher, one of those options was through a zero-interest Utah School Board Education (USBE) loan.

Another option is through a federally guaranteed loan called Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB), a loan offered to districts with a higher percentage of students on assisted lunch; a requirement the district meets.

Siemens has already begun the qualification process for the QZAB.

“In the background of all of this, we have our little department, Siemens, working with the [governor’s energy office] on the [energy efficient] contract that would need to be signed in order to move forward,” Thatcher said.

A potential hangup in the QZAB approval is the requirement that NSSD come up with  10 percent of the $5.9 million cost

However, with the help of a Rocky Mountain Power Blue Sky grant, which the district has applied for, the 10 percent could be covered. Last month, the district applied for a $1 million Blue Sky grant to cover solar energy panels and installation at three of the district’s schools.

But after PacifiCorp, a parent company to Rocky Mountain Power, reviewed the application, they asked district leaders to lower the amount to $550,000 and include only one school on the application because the amount was “too high.”

District officials have made the requested revisions and have resubmitted the application.             While the application is still under review, Thatcher says Rocky Mountain Power will hopefully offer the district 75 percent of the solar panel and installation cost, a total of $576,000, enough to cover the 10 percent down required by Zion’s Bank for their loan option.

The final word on the Blue Sky grant should be released by mid-February, according to Thatcher.

The third-party review team, Jones and Demille, is scheduled to complete their review of the proposed project by the end of the week, and when done, the board will be required to vote on the project’s approval so the district can continue to pursue the best possible financing.

“Things are kind of going up and down with funding from Rocky Mountain Power and all the different pieces, but it’s looking pretty good, so I think it’ll keep moving forward. Just be patient,” Thatcher said.

District leaders say they hope to begin construction on the project this summer.

In other news, Shalmarie Morley of Moroni has taken the oath of office and was sworn in by Johansen, replacing Nanalee Cook’s vacated seat on the board. Incumbent Stacey Goble also began a new term on the board.

Existing Vice President Greg Bailey will now serve as board president, a position held by Richard Brotherson, who will now serve as vice president.

 

Turner Robinson (right) and Gage Cox (left), North Sanpete Middle School eighth-grade students, are learning how cellular respiration works in Mr. Tyrel Hanson’s lab class. They are a part of the last class of students to learn science the traditional way. Next year, teachers and students will undergo a whole new way of teaching and learning science. - Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo

Turner Robinson (right) and Gage Cox (left), North Sanpete Middle School eighth-grade students, are learning how cellular respiration works in Mr. Tyrel Hanson’s lab class. They are a part of the last class of students to learn science the traditional way. Next year, teachers and students will undergo a whole new way of teaching and learning science. – Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo

 

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Shannon Cromwell (left) and Susan Brereton (right) are preparing the KidsPacks bags to be taken to local schools to help feed underprivileged children on weekends.

Shannon Cromwell (left) and Susan Brereton (right) are preparing the KidsPacks bags to be taken to local schools to help feed underprivileged children on weekends.

Kid packs have prevented hunger, but more donations being sought

 

Daniela Vazquez

Staff writer

1-19-2017

 

A program the Sanpete Pantry instituted four years ago to prevent local kids from going hungry on weekends is still going strong, but continues to seek community donations.

Mary Gordon, former secretary of the Sanpete Pantry, launched the Sanpete County branch of KidsPack USA, a non-profit program designed to provide food to underprivileged children on weekends, in 2013 because she says she saw “a need” for children in the community.

“[Gordon] found out about the program somehow about three months before she [retired],” Susan Kearney, board member of the Sanpete Pantry said. “And because of the need, she wanted to do something to help our kids.”

The program initially began with the Sanpete Pantry staff reaching out to local elementary schools to inquire about whether staff and administrators had known of any children that might be going without proper meals and nutrition on the weekends.

Pantry staff would then fill a bag with meals, snacks and drinks for children to take home and eat on the weekends.

At first, the Sanpete Pantry had only delivered a few KidsPack’s to a couple of schools, which were sent home with the children on the last day of the school week.

Kearney said before Gordon retired she had asked the staff to promise to keep the program going to help our local kids get the nutrition they need, which would ultimately help to ensure kids’ success in school.

What began with nearly 300 packs delivered throughout the school year, has now reached over 400 packs a month.

However, feeding so many mouths in such a small community comes with challenges.

“It’s kind of expensive to run because you can only put certain things in it,” Kearney said. “But sometimes we like to do a special food if we can.”

Since March 2016 the KidsPack count has nearly doubled, rising from 240 packs to about 424 monthly.

In order to meet the demand, Kearney and her staff must purchase a lot of the food on a regular basis, although she says the community has shown tremendous support through their donations.

“We get support from everyone,” Kearney said. “It’s been amazing to see the churches and the relief society women help, and even Walmart and Terrels when they do their special food drives for [the cause].”

Kearney says there are some schools that have simply refused to accept any meals for any of their students.

Currently, 106 packs a week are delivered to five of the county’s eight elementary schools, with Manti Elementary being the newest school on the list.

Moroni, Spring City and Fountain Green Elementary schools have opted out of the charitable program. Kearney says some of the schools have simply said their students did not need the Kid Packs.

Sean Kearney, pantry staff member and a member of the Drive4Food committee, said, “You can’t tell if someone is hungry just by looking at them. They look a lot like you and me, and they need our help.”

It’s up to each of the school faculty and administrators to determine whether any of the children could benefit from these KidsPacks. Then, they report the information to the pantry.

Another way to help feed a hungry child is by contacting the Sanpete Pantry and informing them of a child they believe might need some help. Parents are also welcome to call the pantry and seek help for their own children.

For anyone who would like to donate to the special KidsPack cause, Kearney says the best items to donate are individual hot meals like ramen, Chef Boyardee meals, mac-and-cheese cups, etc. Other highly necessary items are oatmeal packs, individual size cold cereals, granola bars, pop tarts, fruit cups, fruit snacks, peanut butter, juice, crackers and other snacks.

These are some of the foods that will meet the KidsPack requirements and will help keep the bags under 6 pounds, light enough for the children to walk home with.

For more information, or to inquire about other ways to donate, please call Susan Kearney at the Sanpete Panty at 435-462-9021 or 435-660-9526.

 

A special red jacket adorns Madison Walker. The jacket is an award that the Family Career and Community Leaders of America say demonstrates true leadership. Madison is pictured with Vivian Morris, chapter president.

A special red jacket adorns Madison Walker. The jacket is an award that the Family Career and Community Leaders of America say demonstrates true leadership. Madison is pictured with Vivian Morris, chapter president.

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Inside Our Schools – Jan. 12-31

 

Daniela Vazquez

Staff writer

1-19-2017

 

Ephraim Middle School

            Students have been given their second-term report cards. If parents have yet to see them, they can log into PowerSchool and view their student’s grades and progress.

Students who have a 3.667 or higher will take the day to go bowling at Sno-Cap Lanes on Jan. 25 as a way to promote academic success. The event will happen during school hours.

Valogram sales are just around the corner. Sales will begin on Jan. 31 and follow each Tuesday and Thursday until Feb. 9. Parents can even visit the school to purchase a Valogram if they choose. Packages will be delivered to students on Valentine’s Day. Please keep an eye out for more details.

 

Moroni Elementary

Five Moroni Elementary girls won the Reflections contest and will now compete in a State Reflections Contest later this month. Winners in the back row are Ava Lamb, visual arts; Claire Hilton, film; Lakely Brotherson, dance. Bottom row winners are Kaitlyn Taylor, dance; and Savannah Christensen, literature.

Five Moroni Elementary girls won the Reflections contest and will now compete in a State Reflections Contest later this month. Winners in the back row are Ava Lamb, visual arts; Claire Hilton, film; Lakely Brotherson, dance. Bottom row winners are Kaitlyn Taylor, dance; and Savannah Christensen, literature.

            The school has launched Red Ribbon Week, a week dedicated to helping kids understand the importance of staying away from drugs and alcohol. The campaign is also meant to bring awareness to bullying and cyberbullying, along with other social issues.

On Tuesday, kids began the week with the Utah Highway Patrol visiting students at an assembly to talk about the importance of seatbelt safety. Yesterday, kids wore crazy hair or a hat. During lunch, kids signed a “never do drugs” pledge and traced their hands on a pledge wall.

Today, kids dressed up in their favorite decade ensembles as a representation that “bullying is old news.” Tomorrow is the big “Dress for Success” day where kids shine light onto how success looks to them.

 

Manti Elementary School 

A group of Manti Elementary students opened the talent show with a dance to the song Zippy Doo-dah at the 2017 Winter Showcase on Thursday, Jan. 12.

A group of Manti Elementary students opened the talent show with a dance to the song Zippy Doo-dah at the 2017 Winter Showcase on Thursday, Jan. 12.

 

Manti High School

            Students attended a special Spirit Bowl Assembly yesterday to put them in the spirit of competition for the upcoming Clash of the Colors Spirit Bowl hosted by Gunnison Valley High on Saturday, Jan. 21.

After the competition, students will attend a dance. Students are required to find their own transportation to the event.

 

 

North Sanpete High

            North Sanpete High is one of the three schools that has been invited to attend the Clash of the Colors Spirit Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Gunnison Valley High. Assistant Principal Jeff Erikson says he hopes that at least 150  NSHS students attend the Spirit Bowl. Administrators have lined up transportation for kids via busses.

Something big is happening for juniors over the next couple of months that parents should be informed of—ACT testing. Juniors whose last names begin with A-I will take their first practice test on Monday, Jan. 23, while Monday, Jan. 30 is reserved for students with last names beginning with J-Z.

Encourage your junior to sign up in the commons area. The test will begin promptly at 1 p.m., and parents should plan for students to be home late, as the test can take up to three hours. Busses are reserved and will be available to transport student’s home after test completion around 4:30 p.m.

Faculty asks that parents please support the school’s efforts and do what they can to make sure their students are prepared.

 

 

 

Sawyer Henry Fillmore was Gunnison Valley Hospitals New Year’s Baby, the first baby born in 2017. Admiring him are parents Ross and Kaylin Fillmore. - Photo courtesy Gunnison Valley Hospital

Sawyer Henry Fillmore was Gunnison Valley Hospitals New Year’s Baby, the first baby born in 2017. Admiring him are parents Ross and Kaylin Fillmore. – Photo courtesy Gunnison Valley Hospital

Wayne County couple’s son arrives early

 

Daniela Vazquez

Staff writer

1-12-2017

 

GUNNISON—A family from Fremont, Wayne County began the new year with a surprise as they welcomed a new addition to their family at the Gunnison Valley Hospital.

Ross and Kaylin Fillmore welcomed Sawyer Henry Fillmore into the world on Monday, Jan. 2 at 6:15 p.m., 16 days before his due date.

He was the first baby born at Gunnison Valley in 2017.

“I accidentally had the New Year’s baby,” Kaylin said. “…He certainly came as a surprise.”

Kaylin went into labor early the morning of Jan. 2, and to avoid complications from a pre-term baby, and because she had delivered her first two children, McKlane, 5, and Addie, 3, via cesarean section, Sawyer was delivered the same way.

“He’s cuter than a newborn baby calf,” McKlane said when he saw his new brother.

The couple had to travel more than 70 miles from their home in Fremont to the Gunnison Valley Hospital. Kaylin says she had options closer to home, but chose the Gunnison Valley Hospital and obstetrician Dr. Richard Nay because of the “excellent provider care” they offer.

Gunnison Valley received the Women’s Choice Award in 2016 for outstanding obstetrics care. A private organization gives the award to 400 select hospitals around the country based on government data and patient satisfaction surveys.

Kaylin says she has used the hospital for all her children because of its reputation for providing exceptionally safe care for mothers and infants.

The couple owns Fillmore Plumbing in Bicknell, Wayne County, where Ross is rated as a  master plumber.

Kaylin says she will take some time off to care for her infant before she returns to her  job as postmaster at the Lyman (Wayne County) Post Office.

The couple also own and operate a cattle ranch, VX Cattle Co., an operation that has been handed down in Ross’s family for four generations. Kaylin says she expects baby Sawyer to be a fifth-generation rancher.

 

 

 

 

 

County Commisioner Steve Lund takes the oath of office as it is administered by County clerk Sandly Neill. - James Tilson / Messenger photo

County Commisioner Steve Lund takes the oath of office as it is administered by County clerk Sandly Neill. – James Tilson / Messenger photo

New county commissioner wants to focus on economy, poverty

 

 

Daniela Vazquez

Staff writer

1-12-2017

 

MANTI—New Sanpete County Commissioner Steve Lund has some big goals that he hopes will help drive the local economy during his term.

Lund, a Sanpete native, said he’d been interested in and observing the Sanpete County economy for a long time.

“I’ve wanted to [be county commissioner] for a long time,” he said. “We moved back from New Mexico about 20 years ago, and when we did, I thought, ‘When the time is right, I’d like to run for county commissioner.’”

Things seemed to fall into place in achieving the goal. He ended up capturing the Republican nomination in the county convention, and faced no opposition in the final election. He was sworn in last Tuesday, Jan. 3.

Lund grew up in Manti and graduated from Manti High in 1978. He attended Snow College but moved out of state before he could earn his associate’s degree.

Ultimately, his passion for the physical sciences prompted him to earn a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech) in 1987.

He says the school is highly focused on astrophysics and geophysics, a reason he chose it. And he says Snow did a great job in preparing him to attend such a school.

After graduation, Lund says the two disciplines that had captured his attention most were enhanced oil recovery and drilling.

He says enhanced oil recovery was fairly new at the time. Because the percentage of oil recovered from a typical well is relatively low, about 10 to 30 percent, he wanted to focus on enhanced oil recovery using carbon dioxide (CO2) as an injection medium.

The process of mining with CO2 can best be understood by examining what happens inside of a container holding a carbonated beverage, he said.

“It’s kind of cool if you think about it. When you buy a soda and look at it, it doesn’t look like there is anything in it but liquid. But if you shake it, it starts to fizz. That fizz is CO2 that has been dissolved into the liquid itself.”

He said the same thing happens in an oil reservoir. “If you inject that CO2 back into the oil reservoir, it absorbs into the oil causing the oil to expand a little bit, giving it energy so that it can continue to migrate throughout all of the little pore spaces in the sandstone or limestone. It’s really neat,” he said.

But oil drilling is only one natural resource he is an advocate of. He says coal mining is a “big deal” to him, not only for the local economy, but on a personal level as well.

“We need to support the miners and the power plants that are all around us. So I’m very interested in making sure these mining companies understand that Sanpete County is very appreciative of what they do for us and the income that they bring, and that our miners, our citizens, who work at these coal mines and power plants realize that we appreciate what they do, too,” he said.

Beyond being a an advocate for coal mining in general, he says he supports expansion of mines into Sanpete County and will do what he can to see it happen.

As commissioner, he says he would also like to do whatever it takes to help the county’s new inter-generational poverty committee meet its goal of reducing the phenomenon of children who grow up in families receiving public assistance becoming public assistance recipients themselves when they become adults.

“Our goal and what we are tasked with by the state is to look at the entire county,” he said. “We are one of a number of counties with an inter-generational poverty committee and it’s our task to look at our counties and figure out if there is something that we can do to help people come up out of poverty and be successful.”

Members of the panel include superintendents of both school districts, clergy from various denominations, and local representatives from mental health and government financial assistance programs.

“We’re looking for various gateways, if you will. We’re discovering what it is that drives people into poverty and what’s keeping them in poverty.”

Growing Sanpete County’s economy might be a start to helping drive success to some of these people. That’s why he supports creation of a business incubator, an operation that helps people transform their ideas into companies.

“We have a lot of really intelligent people with a lot of really unique ideas who can think outside of the box. They just need to have some place they can go to help to get their ideas started or help get their business started,” he said.

He says incubators are not just focused not just on business development but also on agriculture.

“There’s not a farmer or rancher who doesn’t worry about his inventory, who doesn’t worry about his cash flow, who doesn’t worry about accounts payable and receivable, and who doesn’t wonder what the market is going to be like. Experts from incubators will help businessmen and farmers become more successful.”

Lund is a small business owner himself. He purchased the convenience store that sits on the corner of 100 N. Main St. in Sterling, which now has a new name, Sterling Country Store.

He said he bought the convenience store for “convenience” purposes. “When I’m farming, and it’s hot, I’ll have a place to go and get a cold drink,” he said.

But really, Lund is a business man who takes the success of small businesses to heart.

“We always talk about education and tourism, which are also important to our economy and people, but so are businesses and agriculture,” he said.

While Lund is still getting up to speed with the slew of assignments he will oversee throughout his term, he said he is anxious to sit down and look at the fairgrounds master plan.

At this point, he says, the Fairboard is seeking to make the grounds more user-friendly and capable of hosting more than just the county fair.

“The fairground is iconic to Sanpete County,” he said. “It is a little bit antiquated and needs to be updated.”

Even with the laundry list of tasks on his plate, Lund says he will always find the time to farm. He owns a small farm in Sterling with about 100 head of cows and says working the farm is what he does for fun.

But he also says farming comes with a continual learning curve, and he’s trying to figure out the best approach to tending the farm, as he is with many of the assignments on his plate as commissioner.

 

Inside Our Schools Jan. 17-30

 

Daniela Vazquez

Staff writer

1-12-2017

 

There will be no school on Monday, Jan. 16 for students in both the North Sanpete and South Sanpete School Districts to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday.

Students in the North Sanpete School District will have an early out day on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Free National Park passes are being distributed to fourth graders and their families nationwide. If you have a child in fourth grade, visit www.everykidinapark.gov to download a pass for your family.

 

 

 

Fairview Elementary

                Students are back from the holiday break and began the third quarter with Parent Teacher conferences. If any parent missed his or her scheduled date, please contact the school to find out how your child is doing or to see if you can make an appointment.

The community council will meet on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 3:30 p.m. at the school. The meeting is open to the public and everyone is invited to attend to help elected representatives Nathan Huntington, Jenny Klunker, Lela Hawkins and Alyssa Madsen make the school a better place for your children.

If parents are unable to attend, please email your questions and concerns to Principal Allynne Mower at allynne.mower@nsapete.org so she can address them with the community council.

Parents have received information about taking an online survey to let administrators and faculty know how they are doing to support each student. All parents have been asked to take the survey. If you have not received the online login information, please contact the school to obtain it.

 

 

 

 

Gunnison Valley High School

                Students and faculty are gearing up for the highly anticipated Spirit Week set to begin on Tuesday, Jan. 17 with a kick-off assembly in the gym.

This year, the school has invited Manti High, North Sanpete High and North Sevier High to compete in a Spirit Bowl to win the title of “glory,” “respect” and, ultimately, for the Golden Shovel, a snow shovel painted with gold spray paint, in the Clash of the Colors on Saturday, Jan. 21.

The three schools have also been invited to attend a multi-school dance that Saturday from 7-11 p.m. in the Gunnison Valley High gymnasium.

Last year was the first time the school had organized and hosted the event, and because it was “such a success,” Melissa Judy, student council advisor, says the students are anticipating a fun and successful event this year, and hopes to see the crowd reach over 700 students.

 

 

 

Manti Elementary

                Students at Manti Elementary are ringing in the New Year by showcasing their talents for the whole community tonight at 6 p.m. at the school, located on 150 W. 100 South.

The event is free and open to the public.

Families of students who attend the school and involved in 4-H are invited to a Family 4-H fun night on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. As a reminder, the 4-H committee holds 4-H craft nights once a month.

 

 

 

Moroni Elementary

                Moroni Elementary PTA will hold a Red Ribbon Week for students from Jan. 17-20. Each day student’s will either dress to impress or to be silly.

On Tuesday, Jan 17, students can wear their brightest colored clothes to school to celebrate a “Bright Future,” followed by crazy hair day on Wednesday to show that it’s “crazy to do drugs.” Thursday is reserved for “bullying is ‘old’ news,” and students can come to school dressed from their favorite decade.

To sum up the week, students will “Dress for Success,” and wear their best attire to show the world how they best present themselves.

To start the week, students will make buttons and take a pledge never to do drugs. Students are encouraged to wear the buttons and participate in the activities each day.

 

 

Sergeant Matt Briggs of the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources paid North Sanpete High School zoology teacher Brad Bentley's class a visit in December after he found a sick Bald Eagle in Fountain Green. Bently said Briggs had visited the class a week before and told students that if he ever found an injured or sick hawk or eagle, he would bring it into the class. Briggs told students this eagle had probably fell ill due to lead poisoning from lead shot that got picked up from a fish or rabbit. - Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo

Sergeant Matt Briggs of the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources paid North Sanpete High School zoology teacher Brad Bentley’s class a visit in December after he found a sick Bald Eagle in Fountain Green. Bently said Briggs had visited the class a week before and told students that if he ever found an injured or sick hawk or eagle, he would bring it into the class. Briggs told students this eagle had probably fell ill due to lead poisoning from lead shot that got picked up from a fish or rabbit. – Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo

 

 

 

North Sanpete High School

                Parents are invited to attend the First Semester Awards Assembly on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 9:30 a.m. in the school auditorium.

Every year, three or four of the top students in each of the school departments are chosen as recipients of a certificate, although not all certificates are disbursed with the same title.

Faculty decides why each student deserves the award, and it could be for anything from most improved student, best student, etc., says Assistant Principal Jeff Erikson.

Erikson also says he hopes that at least 150 of NSHS students attend the Spirit Bowl and multi-school dance at Gunnison Valley High on Saturday, Jan. 21. Administrators have lined up transportation for kids via busses.

Some big things are happening for juniors the next couple of months that parents should be informed of—ACT testing. Juniors whose last names begin with A-I will take their first practice test on Jan. 23, while Jan. 30 is reserved for students with last names beginning with J-Z.

Encourage your junior to sign up in the commons area. The test will begin promptly at 1 p.m., and parents should plan for students to be home late, as the test can take up to three hours.

Faculty asks that parents please support the schools efforts and do what they can to make sure their students are prepared.

This year's SAGE testing results for Sanpete public schools.

This year’s SAGE testing results for Sanpete public schools.

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A concerned resident of Mt. Pleasant voices his opposition to a proposal from Rocky Mountain Power to buy Mt. Pleasant's power department. The meeting was a public hearing held on Dec. 6 to involve the public with the proposal decision and get feedback from them on it. - Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo

A concerned resident of Mt. Pleasant voices his opposition to a proposal from Rocky Mountain Power to buy Mt. Pleasant’s power department. The meeting was a public hearing held on Dec. 6 to involve the public with the proposal decision and get feedback from them on it. – Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo

 

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Ephraim Middle School honor students presented Vern Buchanan (front left) and Marge Anderson (front right) with wreathes and lighted candles representing years of dedicated humanitarian and community service. Honor students, standing on the back row from left to right, are Gavin Watkins, JoLee Gillett, Erin Frischknecht, Lucy Eddy, Libby Simons, Josh Larson, Cole Nielson, Grady Thompson and Jason Nelson. Students in the center row, from left to right, are Sierra Roberts, Emma Jorgensen, Alexis Naylor, Allie Bridges, Bethany Malone, Rawlee Mickelson and Camien Pritchard. - Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo

Ephraim Middle School honor students presented Vern Buchanan (front left) and Marge Anderson (front right) with wreathes and lighted candles representing years of dedicated humanitarian and community service. Honor students, standing on the back row from left to right, are Gavin Watkins, JoLee Gillett, Erin Frischknecht, Lucy Eddy, Libby Simons, Josh Larson, Cole Nielson, Grady Thompson and Jason Nelson. Students in the center row, from left to right, are Sierra Roberts, Emma Jorgensen, Alexis Naylor, Allie Bridges, Bethany Malone, Rawlee Mickelson and Camien Pritchard. – Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo

Model citizens honored at Ephraim candlelight event

 

Daniela Vazquez

Staff writer

12-15-2016

 

EPHRAIM — Two pillars, each adorned with a wreath and a candle, had set the stage for Ephraim Middle School’s annual Candlelight Service, a ceremony to honor two members of the community.

The concert at the Eccles Center drew a full house on Wednesday, Dec. 7, to honor Marge Anderson of Ephraim, and Vern Buchanan of Manti with the wreaths and lighted candles, an honor reserved for model citizens.

This year, 16 eighth-grade honor students were selected to light the candles — which sat in the center of evergreen wreaths — and present them to the two recipients.

Buchanan, the first recipient of the Candlelight award, is a retired carpenter and general contractor, and can be considered a savior of local historic architecture.

“Vern Buchanan has served the citizens of Manti over the years in many, many ways,” Tim Miller, Ephraim Middle School (EMS) principal, said.

Buchanan moved to Manti from Salt Lake in 1990. One day, while on a walk down Main Street he stopped to read a plaque on the Old Manti City Building and saw the name of his great-grandfather, John Buchanan, listed as one of the four carpenters who helped construct the building.

The building had been vacant for several years and had become dilapidated, yet the city was obligated to continue paying the insurance and utility bills.

Because the city could not afford to restore the building, the council considered tearing it down as a last resort.

But that’s when Buchanan intervened, and with a group of volunteers, he began the process of restoring the beautiful building his great-grandfather helped build.

“Grandpa John will come back and haunt me if I don’t save this building,” he said.

After he evaluated the building, he said he believed most of the restoration work was cosmetic. The first action he took was consulting a state historic architect, a local building inspector and a local contractor, who all agreed with his evaluation.

He met with the city council and had proposed a detailed plan outlining costs of restoration. He also had proposed ideas of how the building could become an asset to the city instead of a liability.

The city accepted his proposal and even gave him $10,000 seed money to start the restoration, which began in 2002.

Buchanan said he spend well over 4,500 volunteer hours to bring the building back to life, and with the help of government grants and public donations, the interior was restored in 2005.

The building now houses the Sanpete County economic development office, a state tourist bureau and a small museum that sits on the second floor.

Buchanan even built the picnic tables and benches that sit in the small park south of the building.

“Vern Buchanan exemplifies citizens’ service to their community and fellow citizens,” former Manti Mayor Kim Anderson once said. “His dedication, personal commitment of time and talent to a community center project has been considerable and unwavering.”

Ephraim resident Marge Anderson, who many have claimed holds an unwavering love for all people and her community, was the second recipient of the Candlelight award.

People say that she lives each day quietly going about serving others. She said it’s because her family and friends are important to her.

Anderson served on the Ephraim Beautification Committee and helping to set a county standard for city beautification.

Barbara Davies, an Ephraim City employee, said Anderson did an excellent job to help revitalize and update various city properties, along with the starting the beautification project on Main Street.

Snow College and Ephraim City have also benefitted from Anderson’s devoted community service through her fundraising efforts to create a new park.

Through the course of her life, she has served in many callings in the LDS church, including primary on both a ward and stake level, Relief Society and Cub Scouts. In recent years, she has sung in her ward choir.

Anderson is dedicated to her five children and volunteered in their schools and also participated in all of their extracurricular activities. At one time, she was even the official scorekeeper for her children’s various teams.

When her husband, Phillip Anderson, decided to go to college to become a pharmacist, Anderson took on the responsibility of being the bread-winner for her family. She said she had a lot of free time after her husband transferred from Snow College to the University of Utah.

It was then that she allowed her love of sewing and quilting to blossom.

She and her friends had begun a quilting group and made several remarkable quilts, many of them donated to the Festival of Trees and to the Cancer Society in support people in need.

Anderson has even dedicated January as her “quilt month.”

Over the years she has continued the spirit of giving, and is said to have a strong work ethic, which is exemplified in her service to Anderson Floral and Drug, where she is employed full-time as cashier, florist and Utah’s oldest licensed pharmacy technician.

Anderson is said to be a staple in the pharmacy with her endless wit and concern for the customers she serves.

“Marge Anderson is such a pleasant and helpful person,” Miller said at the Candlelight program. “I don’t know if I have met someone more genuinely helpful in the business setting. She makes a visit to Anderson Drug a true delight.”

The evening of honoring the two recipients began with Christmas performances by the seventh- and eighth-grade orchestra and choir.

 

 

 

Katelyn Nordfelt, a seventh-grade band student, played the cello as part of Ephraim Middle Schools Candlelight program on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at the Snow College Eccles Center for the Performing Arts. - Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo

Katelyn Nordfelt, a seventh-grade band student, played the cello as part of Ephraim Middle Schools Candlelight program on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at the Snow College Eccles Center for the Performing Arts. – Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo

Dr. Kristal Ray and 15 Snow College programming students visited a Gunnison Elementary third-grade classroom to introduce kids to computer code on Dec. 9. Ray offered one-on-one help to ensure kids understood the concepts used in Blockly, a game-like coding program. Here, she offered suggestions to a student who was hung up on a step then helped him understand the pattern of the code he used, and the student figured out the rest. - Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo

Dr. Kristal Ray and 15 Snow College programming students visited a Gunnison Elementary third-grade classroom to introduce kids to computer code on Dec. 9. Ray offered one-on-one help to ensure kids understood the concepts used in Blockly, a game-like coding program. Here, she offered suggestions to a student who was hung up on a step then helped him understand the pattern of the code he used, and the student figured out the rest. – Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo

 

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Mrs. Cleo Arnoldson (left) and her students. Te'a Elmer, Brittney Pace, and Nichole Matthew are making a gratitude chain for the 12 days of "Making it Real" activity. On Tuesday the word of the day was "gratitude", so the kids wrote something they are grateful for on a piece of paper and stapled them into a chain to represent the strength of gratitude throughout their lives. - Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo

Mrs. Cleo Arnoldson (left) and her students. Te’a Elmer, Brittney Pace, and Nichole Matthew are making a gratitude chain for the 12 days of “Making it Real” activity. On Tuesday the word of the day was “gratitude”, so the kids wrote something they are grateful for on a piece of paper and stapled them into a chain to represent the strength of gratitude throughout their lives. – Daniela Vazquez / Messenger photo

Students ‘Making it Real’ focus on connections, feelings

 

Daniela Vazquez

Staff writer

12-15-2016

 

GUNNISON—The “12 Days of Making it Real” is underway for students at Gunnison Valley High School (GVHS), a tradition started by students five years ago to inspire the feeling of giving.

“The 12 Days of Making it Real gets us into the spirit of the season,” Melissa Judy, student council advisor, said. “It’s meant to focus, not on gifts, but connection and feeling.”

Tradition holds that a meaningful word will represent each of the 12 days, and the student body chooses all words. For 12 days, students will have an activity based on the word of the day.

On Friday, Dec. 9 the word was “tradition,” and students decorated sugar cookies, a tradition many households do during the season. “Happiness” was celebrated with games in the commons area.

The 12th day will be on Friday and celebrated with the phrase “Good Cheer.” Various groups and clubs will perform songs and dances for the student body. This day also marks the beginning of Christmas break.

Throughout the 12 days, students collected donations for Sub for Santa. About 40 kids from nine families in the community were chosen to be recipients of the gifts students collect.

If you walk into Judy’s room at GVHS, you will see several large black bags filled with gifts making it obvious that students have been working hard to help their community.

If students are unable to gather all the gifts each of the kids need, the school will purchase them with the money raised in the Santa Fun Run in November.

Principal Trevor Powell says the money will also be used to buy each of the families a Christmas dinner.

“This 12 days and Sub for Santa encompasses a bunch of things students can carry, not just during the season or in school, but throughout their lives,” Judy said.