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Trustees outline goals for Snow College, even considering online, four and one-year degrees

By Collin Overton

Staff Writer



Snow College Board of Trustees Chair Scott Bushnell (left) reflects on years of service with Craig Mathie (right), Vice President of Student Success at their last Trustees meeting on Friday. Mathie is retiring after 20 years with Snow College, while Bushnell is finishing the remainder of his term after eight years on the Board.

New Snow College President Brad Cook had some big ideas for the future of the institution at the Board of Trustees meeting on Friday in the Noyes Building.

In a presentation to Trustees towards the end of the meeting, Cook outlined what changes Snow might be making in the next strategic plan this fall. Although hypothetical, Cook outlined a potential increase in the amount of four-year programs, an effort to revamp the online program to include one-year associate degrees and the introduction of competency-based learning into the curriculum, among other ideas.

“I’m not attached to this, but it at least gives me something as a platform to mold, and you can help mold it for me,” Cook said to trustees.

Cook had sent out a survey across campus asking students, faculty and staff what they thought was essential about the college and how it could move forward. He noted a striking trend: respondents were willing for the college to take risks moving forward towards growth.

Such chances could include offering more to nontraditional students, more 2+2 programs with other regional colleges and competency-based learning, or the approach that allows students to show mastery in an area at their own pace. Another possibility: a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program. Utah colleges recently turned away 900 nursing applicants due to limited space, Cook said. With the demand, Snow could create an anchor program in Richfield and partner with other universities on a joint program.

“We don’t have to own our four-year degrees,” Cook said. “What we can do is partner creatively with four-year institutions.”

Cook explained such adaptations could be vital to the longevity of the college. While Snow’s demographic isn’t shrinking as fast as other colleges across the nation, he said, the college would need to diversify to reach more students. Especially after application rates did not increase from last year, as reported by Teri Clawson, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management.

Snow did, however, have a higher yield this year, meaning more students chose to enroll after being accepted by admissions, Clawson said.

“I don’t think it’s inspiring to say we’re growing for growth’s sake,” Cook said. “That’s not really inspiring and it’s not healthy…our ‘why’ is we want to open up the aperture of a Snow College education to as many people as possible.”

The new president stressed that Snow’s core mission would not change and that the two-year, junior college model wasn’t going anywhere. He likened Snow’s potential to schools like Grand Canyon University, who offer a main campus experience but were able to survive through an ambitious online program.

An improved online program for Snow would enhance the delivery, accessibility and engagement of online courses, as well as accommodate students with scheduling conflicts, Cook said.

In other developments, Vice President of Student Success Craig Mathie gave an update on Snow’s effort to build housing at the Richfield campus. The college sent out a request for proporal (RFP) last fall, but developers shied away for multiple reasons.

Due to current construction projects, the college doesn’t have the revenue to take fiscal risk or guarantee a certain amount of occupancy, Mathie said. So they did a request for information (RFI) for interested parties to exchange ideas. Mathie said the college recently gathered that input and will now do a “more robust” feasibility study to consider downsizing the initial construction phase.

It may be preferable to find developers who could pay out-of-pocket for a smaller initial project, rather than borrow money, and see what success the college has filling rooms, he said. That could entice developers to build on the property and get more students to move in. That could mean filling 50 beds instead of 150 over the first year.

“It’s easier to be the second guy in than the first guy,” Mathie said.

Mathie said Sevier County government has been willing to help. The county commission has plans to generate up to $1 million in tax incentives for the housing development, as well as donate $15,000 to help pay for Snow College’s feasibility study, he said.

The Board also passed a $41,984,300 operating budget for FY2020, up five percent from $39,929,990.28 in 2019. The budget, which went into effect July 1, sets aside more funds to cover construction costs of the new athletics center, three additional faculty members, an additional campus safety officer, compensation for salaries and information technology personnel and equipment. IT is Snow’s biggest expense on the budget, at $556,298.

Another big topic of discussion was Snow’s initiative to meet student mental health needs. In the academic and student affairs committee meeting, Mathie gave an update on the new counseling center, which will be ready this fall and triples the size of the current center. The center will feature five offices and be located next to the business building, Mathie said.

It comes at a time when mental health demands are surging around the country and wait times lengthen at counseling centers. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that that teens view depression anxiety as a significant issue with 70 percent labeling it as a major problem. Trustee Michael McLean shared that he had seen the need firsthand with his son, who had struggled with addiction on top of mental health problems.

“We can teach kids that [being depressed and anxious] is normal behavior, but so is being happy,” McLean said.

Friday’s meeting was also the last for McLean, Mathie and Trustees Chair Scott Bushnell, who were each presented with gifts for their years of service.

McLean and Bushnell started their terms in July 2013 and 2011 respectively, while Mathie retires after 20 years with Snow. Holding a gift wrapped in Snow College colors, Bushnell left the remaining administrators with a challenge:

“Ask yourself ‘What’s my role? What’s my responsibility?’” Bushnell said. “…This is an amazing place and it’s because of you all.”

Turkey dinner volunteers emblematic of Pageant’s spirit

By James Tilson

Associate Editor



The Manti City Pageant Turkey Dinner Committee is, from left to right, Kent Barton, Darren Dyreng, Kris Evertsen, Casey Cox, Doug Evertsen, Reid Cox, Diane Bringhurst, Mary Wintch, Allan Bringhurst, Daniel Christensen, Becky Hatch, Russell Hatch, Valerie Sorensen, Ken Sorensen and Matt Christensen.

MANTI—The Manti City turkey dinner volunteers are emblematic of the volunteer spirit of the Mormon Miracle Pageant and of Manti itself.

“The dinners are synonymous with the Pageant,” says Pageant turkey dinner committee chairman Kent Barton. “They started at nearly the same time. It’s a unique recipe that people love and associate with the Pageant. They’ve always gone together.”

This year, the turkey dinner served 12,783 dinners to Pageant visitors, with over 2,200 on the busiest night, Friday June 21. Barton estimates that over its entire history, the turkey dinner has served over 300,000 dinners to hungry Pageant-goers.

The total amount of supplies that went into feeding so many people this year is astounding. The servers dished out approximately 8,000 pounds of turkey, 1,800 pounds of dehydrated potatoes, 1,000 gallons of green beans, 1,200 dozen dinner rolls, 50 gallons of gravy and 220 sheets (or about 15,000) of brownies.

Although there were upwards of 90 volunteers who worked the serving lines and grills and clean-up every night, the committee members were in charge of supervising all those people, and were at the dinners every night.

Matt Christensen, Daniel Christensen and Darren Dyreng were the “grillers,” and worked with 24 people each night. They would start at 3 o’clock each night, and go “until they saw the light at the end of the tunnel,” according to Barton.

Doug Evertsen, Chris Evertsen, Reid Cox and Casey Cox were the commissary coordinators. They worked in the commissary building, to get the mashed potatoes ready and cut the barbecued turkey.

Russell Hatch and Becky Hatch were serving coordinators, and they oversaw the serving lines, and the green beans, gravy, dinner rolls and brownies.

Ken Sorensen, Valerie Sorensen, Allan Bringhurst and Diane Bringhurst headed up the welcoming committee. They had a very important job, to be in charge of the seating and bussing the tables. The National Guard Armory seats 400, so to get upwards of 2,000 people served a night, you got to move the people along.

Mary Wintch was in charge of the cashiers, and Kent Barton was in charge of purchasing and general oversight—as he called it, “putting out the fires.”

All of the people interviewed agreed volunteering for the dinners, or the Pageant, meant a lot to them in terms of providing a service to their community.

“It was a unique service undertaking over the last 50 years,” said Barton. “Our community really had to come together in order to feed that many people.” Barton noted Manti, which has a population of a little over 3,000 people, would have to feed nearly 2,000 people every night, in addition to all the people who did not come to the turkey dinner.

Councilman Darren Dyreng, one of the “grillers,” said the dinners started as a service to the local businesses that would be swamped with visitors. “It started as a service, with so many people overflowing from the businesses,” he said. “Doing the dinner has certainly helped the community.”

Becky Hatch, serving coordinator, is a recent resident of Manti, but feels very strongly about giving back to her new home. “I and my husband love our community, and volunteering feels like giving a little bit of our heart back to our community,” she said. “The Pageant really shows what makes Manti so special. No other place we’ve lived does anything like this.”

Councilwoman Mary Wintch, cashier supervisor, said its “Exhausting, but a wonderful service. Working in the line, I often see childhood friends I haven’t seen in 20 or 30 years. It’s a labor that consumes two weeks, but it has its rewards.”

Wintch also sees how volunteering brings out the best in people. “I am so impressed with people’s willingness to volunteer. I’ve had cashiers call me to say if we need extra help to call. I’ve also seen cashiers dip into their own pockets to help people pay for the dinner.”

Two “meat cutters” have a special place in Kent Barton’s heart. David Christensen, 91, and Betty Christensen, 92, have been volunteering for the dinner for over 20 years. The Christensens split time between their place in Palisade Park and Grand Junction, Colo., but are natives of Manti and graduates of Manti High School.

“I just felt it was a small way to give back to Manti,” said David. “That was my motivation for volunteering.”

The Pageant is close to their heart, and will be missed by them. “We’re sure disappointed to see the Pageant end,” he said. “It will be hard for Manti to duplicate. What a missionary tool, there’s not a stage or environment like it in the world. To see the last show on Saturday night was beautiful.”

Many of the volunteers were also sad to see the Pageant end, but at the same time looked forward to what would come next.

“At the end of the day, it took a lot of volunteering to make it happen,” said Dyreng. “But it’s OK. At this point, I hope the private enterprises in Manti will step up to make up the difference.”

“It’s sad to see it go,” said Hatch, “but it will be interesting to see what we can come up with to come together as a community. I have hope for the future.”

Wintch thinks, “It time. Putting on the Pageant and the dinner takes the entire community, putting in a massive effort. It’s not easy at all. It can be a real stress. While rewarding, it can wear people out. I hope future efforts won’t be as intense.”

Barton said, “The Pageant is over, but the community still wants to come together and celebrate.” Barton notes there are already plans in the works to expand on other community events.

According to Barton, Manti is in talks to expand the RatFink celebration to become bigger and longer. The city is also looking to host several baseball and softball tournaments at the new city athletic complex. Manti is looking into expanding its ATV summer event, and the 4th of July celebration too.

Barton even hinted there was the possibility of a new winter celebration, taking place between Thanksgiving and Christmas. “Right now, the planning is very preliminary, but the people involved are very serious, and I think there is a good possibility it will work out.”

Messenger publisher earns national award for editorial on controversial sex abuse case



Messenger publisher Suzanne Dean with her award from society of weekly newspaper editors.

ATLANTA—Suzanne Dean, publisher of the Sanpete Messenger, is the recipient of a Golden Dozen award for editorial writing from the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors (ISWNE).

The prize, for an editorial about an explosive sex abuse case at Gunnison Valley High School in 2018, was presented June 22 at the ISWNE national convention at Emory University in Atlanta.

A dozen editorials or editorial columns were selected from about 75 submissions. The entries came from small newspapers, mostly from the United States and Canada, but some were also from Great Britain and other English-speaking countries around the world.

The judge was Phil Hudgins of Gainsville, Georgia, a retired journalist who was a former weekly newspaper publisher, writer for USA Today and writing coach for a group of small newspapers. Hudgins also spent a year at Harvard University as a Nieman fellow under Harvard’s journalism fellowship program.

The headline of the winning editorial said, ““Gunnison residents should calm down, allow appropriate officials to respond to abuse case.”

The editorial arose out of the arrest and prosecution of three teenagers in connection with a sexual assault on another teenager on the Gunnison High School football field in October 2018.

After the arrests, at least 15 other students came forward to report the same youth who was the main perpetrator in the assault had also assaulted them in the past.

The case pitted factions in the community against each other.

The father of the primary defendant in the case was a coach at the high school and the bishop of an LDS ward in the Gunnison Valley.

The parent of the boy who reported the assault belonged to an evangelical Christian congregation in the Gunnison Valley.

And the pastor of the Christian congregation was also the school resource officer at the high school and the investigating officer in the assaults.

Charges started flying back and forth, both in public meetings and social media, as residents lined up to support one side or the other in the case.”

The lead paragraph of the editorial said, “It’s time for everybody in the Gunnison Valley who is up in arms about the recent sex abuse case to calm down and join forces with the individuals and organizations working to remediate the situation.”

The editorial added, “Instead of condemning what happened, or what people think happened, it’s time to fix the problems and prevent them from happening again.”

The judge said, “Sometimes the goal of an opinion writer is to calm people down. That’s what Suzanne Dean accomplished in her well-written editorial targeting people upset about a sexual assault case at the high school.”

It was Dean’s third Golden Dozen prize. She was also a winner in 2004 and 2009.

The win was the fifth for the Sanpete Messenger over the past 18 years. Lloyd Call, associate publisher of the paper, and John Hales, former managing editor, have each won one Golden Dozen award.

Better sales tax, interest rates mean good things for Mt. Pleasant budget

By James Tilson



MT. PLEASANT—The Mt. Pleasant City Council received some good news about increased revenues and gave its final approval for next year’s budget at its council meeting last Tuesday.

City Financial Director David Oxman said this year’s budget had “some nice changes” over last year’s budget, especially in terms of new sources of revenue for the city.

Oxman pointed out the interest rate on the city’s Public Trust Investment Fund (PTIF) had risen since last year, resulting in an extra $40,000 revenue this year. The city was able to deposit $35,000 into its escrow fund from payments made to the city for fighting wildfires. And Oxman estimated Mt. Pleasant’s sales tax revenue had continued to grow by 4 to 5 percent over the last five years due to internet sales tax revenues and improvements to the industrial park.

The city’s total budget came in at $2,797,765, which was a slight decrease from last year’s $2,871,930. However, next year’s budget came in balanced, as opposed to last year’s deficit of $42,702.

Although there was a public hearing prior to the council approving the budget, there was no public comment during any of the process.

During the mayor’s report to the council, he pointed out two members of the audience, Jerry and Martha Larsen. They were present to make the council aware of a problem with excessive off-road vehicles near their property. They owned property on the east side of the city, near Parley’s Pond and Pleasant Creek.

Mayor Dan Anderson reminded the council that Larsen’s property was the same area in which the $18 million irrigation renovation project would be placing new sediment ponds.

The Larsens informed the council people driving their off-road vehicles were “tearing up the ground” near the pond and making a mess. They wanted to build a fence around their own property, which is adjacent to the pond. They hoped a fence might lessen the problem. Before they can build a fence, however, they needed a copy of the city’s lease of the pond to know where to build the fence.

Councilman Kevin Stallings told the Larsens, “The whole area where the ponds are going in will be redesigned.” Stallings said he thought the redesign would solve many of those problems, although it might take two or three years to see the final result.

Anderson told the council “we’ll have to look into it,” and promised to continue meeting with the Larsens to resolve the issue.

Mt. Pleasant man pleads guilty to carjacking

By James Tilson

Associate Editor



Alex Hernandez, charged with a carjacking in Mt. Pleasant last January, entered a guilty plea in 6th District Court last Wednesday.

MANTI—A Mt. Pleasant man charged with carjacking last January has entered his guilty plea last Wednesday in 6th District Court.

Alex Hernandez, 18, entered a guilty plea to amended count one, robbery, a second-degree felony, amended count two, kidnapping, a second-degree felony, count three, criminal mischief, a second-degree felony, count four, aggravated assault, a third-degree felony and count five, felony discharge of a firearm, a third-degree felony. Another case against Hernandez in which he was charged with enticing a minor by text or internet was dismissed.

Hernandez’s attorney, Dana Facemeyer, told Judge Marvin Bagley that Hernandez, who has been in custody since his arrest, would remain in custody until at least his sentencing. Whether Hernandez received any more jail time after his sentencing date would be up to the judge.

Facemeyer also told Judge Bagley the defense and the county attorney had agreed the sentence in the case should be a term of probation, even though Hernandez faced up to 15 years in prison for each second-degree felony, and up
to five years in prison for each third-degree felony.

Hernandez accosted three teenagers in their vehicle at gun point in Mt. Pleasant on Jan. 21. Hernandez made them stay in the car and drive for several blocks, and then forced them out, threatening them with his hand gun. Hernandez then drove away from them with the vehicle.

The vehicle was later found with several bullet holes in it; and the car had been dented by a sledge hammer. Hernandez was arrested the next day in Provo.

Judge Bagley set the sentencing date for Aug. 7, and ordered a presentence report.

Fairview queens, royalty chosen in Little Miss, Junior Miss pageants



FAIRVIEW—The Little Miss Fairview and Junior Miss Fairview Pageants crowned five queens and royalty on Saturday, June 22, 2019 at the Peterson Dance Hall.

A total of 23 contestants competed for five titles at the evening event, to the theme of “Superstar.” Each of the contes
tants did her best to shine like a “star,” the pageant committee stated.

The Superstar theme was patterned after the Miss Fairview Pageant that took place in March.

The pageant was directed by Kristin Grasteit, Natalie Thompson and Debbie Nielson. The pageant committee congratulated all contestants on a job well done. “A special thanks goes out to Fairview City for their support of this pageant and to the Miss Fairview Royalty for being the emcees for the pageants!” the committee said.

The winners of the five categories are as follows:


Tiny Miss Fairview


Tiny Miss Fairview royalty is (L to R) Indy Gleave, attendant; Ambrie Hooley, 1st attendant; Hazel Cox, queen; Lucie Mineer, attendant.

Indy Gleave, attendant, is the daughter of Lloyd and Katie Gleave.

Ambrie Hooley, 1st attendant, is the daughter of Nathan and Rachelle Hooley.

Hazel Cox, queen, is the daughter of Casey and Tina Cox. Lucie Mineer, attendant, is the daughter of Bryan and Shaun Mineer.


Mini Miss Fairview


Mini Miss Fairview royalty is (L to R) Jacey Gleave, 2nd attendant; Rebecca Madsen, queen; Penelope Cox, 1st attendant.

Jacey Gleave, 2nd attendant, is the daughter of Lloyd and Katie Gleave.

Rebecca Madsen, queen, is the daughter of Jeremy and Jessica Madsen.

Penelope Cox, 1st attendant, is the daughter of Kenny and Brook Cox.


Junior Miss Fairview

 Junior Miss Fairview royalty is (L to R) Melaina Rigby, attendant; EmmaKate Cox, queen; Shea Rawlinson, 1st attendant; Brooklyn Stutz, attendant.

Melaina Rigby, attendant is the daughter of John and Tonya Rigby.

EmmaKate Cox, queen, is the daughter of Spencer and Abby Cox.

Shea Rawlinson, 1st attendant, is the daughter of Sean and Shauna Rawlinson.

Brooklyn Stutz, attendant, is the daughter of Dan and Ronnett Stutz.


Little Miss Fairview 

Little Miss Fairview royalty is (L to R) Marley Johnson, 2nd attendant; Olivia Talbot, queen; Ashlyn Williams, 1st attendant.

Marley Johnson, 2nd attendant, is the daughter of Brett and Kim Johnson.

Olivia Talbot, queen, is the daughter of Sherland and Ashley Talbot.

Ashlyn Williams, 1st attendant, is the daughter of Keith and Heidi Williams.


Teen Miss Fairview


Teen Miss Fairview royalty is (L to R) BrexAnn Belt, attendant; Emma Stutz, 1st attendant; Kambrielle Grasteit, queen; Mary Rigby, attendant.

BrexAnn Belt, attendant, is the daughter of Ryan Belt and Lindsay Poole.

Emma Stutz, 1st attendant, is the daughter of Dan and Ronnett Stutz.

Kambrielle Grasteit, queen, is the daughter of Thor and Kristin Grasteit.

Mary Rigby, attendant, is the daughter of John and Tonya Rigby.

Manti Library has ambitious education plans for summer, including a program on water use

By Suzanne Dean




MANTI—The Manti City Library is sponsoring a program on how to store and treat water for use in emergencies.

The seminar will be at the Eva Beal Auditorium in the Manti City Building Tuesday, July 9 at 6:30 p.m.

The speakers will be a couple, Monica and Jason Hoyt, who both work for the Central (CUWCD) in Orem. The CUWCD territory includes Sanpete County.

At 1 p.m. the same day, the Hoyts will direct a “Makerspace” activity for elementary and middle school-age children in the children’s area of the library.

The Hoyts will teach the children how to use a wooden block, clothes pins and Popsicle sticks to make the shaft of a microscope. The lens of the microscope will be a drop of water.

The youngsters will be able to put things under the water and observe how the water magnifies the items.

The adult program in the evening and the children’s activity during the day are representative of changes Cindy Tibbs Lopez, the Manti City Library director, is trying to make at the library.

“Libraries are changing,” she says. They’re becoming much more than places to check out and return books and tapes.

“We’re turning things around so the library can be a center for learning and activity,” she says. “We’re starting to do adult programming here.”

The Hoyts have presented their 90-minute program on water and emergencies along the Wasatch Front. “It is a very popular program,” says Monica Hoyt, who is manager of education and outreach for CUWCD.

The Makerspace concept was implemented last year as an after-school activity for kids at the library. The term, Makerspace, first caught on with librarians in the East. The idea was to offer an activity for children one or more afternoons after school.

The activities are hands-on, often involve making something, support the school curriculum and encourage critical and creative thinking, Lopez says.

Monica Hoyt came from Idaho Falls to Salt Lake City to attend Westminster College. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and went to work as a chemist for the Metropolitan Water District of Salt Lake City.

In 2000, she became laboratory director for CUWCD, and in 2018, she changed careers to take charge of the water agency’s education and outreach programs.

“Water has become my life,” she says.

Jason Hoyt grew up on a farm in Vermont and came to Utah to attend BYU. After completing his education, he became an electrical drafter and designer, and then started specializing in water industrial automation. He has helped to design, install and operate water systems throughout Utah.

In 2009, he joined CUWCD as an instrument and controls technician. He is now Electrical Group Manager and over
sees automation of CUWCD facilities in eight counties.

In 2003, Monica and Jason met when Jason was brought in to automate a water system Monica was involved with. They were married and now live in Draper.

Life lessons learned from recent rafting trip

By Randall Thatcher



As I consider the many first-time experiences I’ve encountered since moving to Sanpete County, and all the many horizon-expanding lessons learned in the process, I can now add one more: rafting down a river.

A local friend, and rafting enthusiast, had been eager to get me out on a river; a thing he knew I’d never done before (unless you count the times, as a kid, I floated in a two-man rubber-raft down a nearby irrigation canal, which he didn’t).

The first time I ventured with this fellow was fairly disastrous, as I wound up piloting my own inflatable canoe, and seemed to spent more time in the water than in my actual vessel.  I was, during the whole of that day’s rafting expedition—quite literally—in over my head.

The second time I ventured (which took more than a little persuading on the part of my friend), I was assured of a nice, relaxing float down a very tame and placid San Juan River.  Nothing to be done, really, but drift leisurely downstream with the current, enjoying the red rock splendors rising up from either bank.

We put in at Sand Island, a three-day float from our destination of Mexican Hat. And the first two days of this excursion were exactly as advertised: a nice, relaxing sail, in my own little pontoon-boat, down a lazily tranquil river, with new and increasingly astonishing sights to behold around every succeeding bend.

But then came day three…

I was soberly admonished, by my vastly more experienced friend, to remain alert and vigilant when we encountered those formidable “Eight Foot Rapids” that would be coming along that morning.

“Wait… What?!” I thought in a rising panic.  “Rapids?  What happened to ‘tame and placid?’ Where was that ‘nice, relaxing float’ I’d been promised?”

As I continued to psyche myself out, imagining the terrifying sight of eight-foot high rapids menacing my little craft (which rapids, of course, are not really eight feet high, but only a designation of their gradient), I tried to calm myself by reviewing the advice I’d been given to successfully navigate these approaching rapids:

First: Keep to the right of the big rock.  (“Which big rock?”  “Don’t worry.  You’ll know it when you see it.”)

Second: Don’t attempt to out-maneuver a wave, but steer the bow of your boat—against your natural instinct—directly into it.

And, third: Never stop paddling.  Even if you think the cause is lost, keep paddling!

I mused and mulled and meditated upon these three rules for running rapids, trying to etch them so deeply into my brain that they’d become automatic when the critical moment came.

And then it came… Shouts from the big raft ahead were warning of the approaching rapids.  I didn’t need such bellowed alerts; I could already hear the roar.

Coming round the bend, and catching sight of my foaming, whitewater foe, those all-important rules flew instantly out of my head.  For several critical moments I sat there in my little boat, completely inert, just staring in wild and wide-eyed panic. Finally, however, spotting the big rock I was told to stay to the right of, I began paddling madly, barely skirting the boulder’s right flank, my left pontoon glancing off of it, and throwing me into the path of the largest wave in the rapid.  My instinct told me to take evasive action.  Wrong.  I tried to avoid it altogether; to paddle around it. Wrong. I was now sideways to this threatening wave; and as it came fast upon my starboard side, I assumed all was lost, and stopped paddling altogether.  Wrong.

I had abandoned myself to my fate, assuming there was no viable option but to surrender to this heedless river, and abandon myself to an inadvertent swim in its chilly waters (while wearing every single stitch of dry and warm clothing I’d brought with me on this trip).

It became a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I did take that frantic, flailing, shocking swim, requiring a mid-water rescue from a larger raft in the vicinity.

Later that afternoon, while clad entirely in borrowed clothing from my friend’s own duffle, I was shown the video, taken by my friend’s wife, from their own raft, which had been following behind, of my ill-fated attempt.

It was hard for me to watch this video, so painfully glaring were my mistakes.  In my panic, I’d broken those two cardinal rules: to steer directly into any oncoming wave, and to keep paddling.

I don’t yet know whether I will ever again come up against those same Eight Foot Rapids of the San Juan River.  If I ever do, I will not forget my lesson.

But, even if I never run rapids again in this lifetime, I will still not forget what they taught me: to be bold in facing challenges head-on, and to never stop paddling, no matter what.

For, in the end, until we’ve abandoned hope and given up, nothing is ever truly lost.

Keep paddling!


[Comments welcome: ahalfbubbleoffplumb@gmail.com]

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Two die in glider plane crash northeast of Ephraim

By James Tilson

Associate Editor



Two men were found deceased in a glider crash approximately four miles northeast of Ephraim by OHV riders on July 1. (Photo courtesy of Sanpete County Sheriff’s Office)

EPHRAIM—Two men flying from Nephi to Richfield died in a crash northeast of Ephraim on July 1.

The men’s glider was found by OHV riders in the mountains approximately four miles northeast of Ephraim. The riders called 911, and Sanpete County Sheriff, Sanpete County Search and Rescue and the Medical Examiner’s Office responded.

Upon arrival, the two men were confirmed deceased. The men were John Weber, 63, of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Thomas Bjork, 66, of Orangevale, Calif. Investigation of the scene revealed the glider had taken off from the Nephi airport, and was en route to an airport near Richfield. Investigators could not immediately determine the cause of the crash.

Nine Sanpete high school seniors named to spring all-state teams

By James Tilson

The 2019 Spring Utah High School Athletic Association (UHSAA) Academic All-State teams have been named, and several Sanpete County athletes made the grade.

In order to qualify for Academic All-State, a student in the preceding grading period must have earned a minimum of a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale or its equivalent, did not fail more than one subject and have been certified as scholastically eligible by UHSAA standards.


  • Tyler Hadley, North Sanpete
  • Carson Lund, Manti

Boys Soccer:

  • Avery Wade, Wasatch Academy

Namgyal Chonyi, Wasatch Academy

  • Ismael Diarra, Wasatch Academy

Boys Track:

  • Jaden Sterner, Manti

Girls Track:

  • Linzy Flinders, North Sanpete

Boys Tennis:

  • Ethan Hammond, Gunnison
  • Mason Thompson, Manti

Manti Telephone and other companies again sponsoring ‘Movies in the Park’



After a smashing success last year, the Manti Telephone Company is spearheading another summer season of “Movies in the Park.”

The fun-filled movie night, designed for families and kids, will be held on Fridays, starting on July 12 and ending Aug. 9, in either the Manti City Park or the Canyon View Park in Ephraim.

Manti Telephone will be organizing and partnering with other businesses to sponsor the event, said human resource manager Gavin Cox.

A lot of soda pop and popcorn is always given away, along with some free swag, Cox said. There are also other vendors on hand to sell other concessions.

The night gets going at 7:30 p.m. with free activities organized for all. The Manti City Recreation Department does a great job coming up with fun games, like Frisbee and Nine Square in the Air, Cox said. Plus there is always a dunk tank on hand to keep things interesting.

The children can play until dark, and then a family friendly movie is shown on an outdoor screen. For more information, go to http://www.manti.com/movies/.

This schedule for this summer is as follows.

July 12 – Lego Movie 2 at Manti City Park.  Sponsored by Dirks Farmhouse Restaurant and Manti Country Village Motel.

July 19 – Incredibles 2 at Canyon View Park in Ephraim. Sponsored by Ephraim Ambulance Association.

July 26 – Captain Marvel at Canyon View Park in Ephraim. Sponsored by Custom Electrical Service.

Aug 2 – Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse at Manti City Park.  Sponsored by Mountain Telephone Company.

Aug 9 – Mary Poppins Returns at Canyon View Park in Ephraim.  Sponsored by Mid Utah Radio.

In conjunction with “Movies in the Park,” Manti Telephone is also offering patrons free Wi-Fi service this summer at local parks and ball fields. This program was a big hit in 2017, with over 4600 devices connected to the free service, according to Manti Telephone’s website. The coverage includes Manti City Park, Manti Aquatic Center, Rat Fink Museum (during event), Pageant Food Court (during event), Sanpete County Fairgrounds, Manti Baseball Fields, Sterling Town Park, Ephraim Ball Park and Ephraim Canyon View Park.  Look for Network SSID: Free WiFi.

Welsh Days 2019 – Fredrick Stauffer reigns as parade grand marshal



The North Sanpete Veterans of Foreign Wars came out to participate in the Welsh Days parade on Saturday morning.

The town of Wales selected longtime resident Fredrick Darrell Stauffer to serve as grand marshal during its 2019 Welsh Days celebration, which was held June 28-29.

Stauffer, who led the town’s mammoth parade over the weekend, is a decorated Navy veteran who courageously served his country throughout World War II, and was stationed aboard the USS Detroit during the tragic Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

After this service to his country, Stauffer married Lawanda Nell Tankersley; he was soon called to serve a mission for his church. After his mission, the couple settled down in southern California and together raised their four children.

The Stauffers moved to Wales in 1971, where Stauffer took work as a building inspector for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

As an avid pilot and adventurer, Stauffer spent much of his retirement traveling the world with his beloved wife, Lawanda, who passed away in 2018.

Today, Stauffer has immersed himself in the service of his community, which has included time on the town’s planning and zoning committee.

Ben Hansen of Fountain Green struggles under the weight of this massive burden in the ever-popular strongman competition held during Welsh Days on Saturday.

This aerial drone photo shows the parade and the car show held on Saturday in Wales Town. Although the Welsh Days parade may not have been as large as some other parades in Sanpete County, attendees still lined the streets of Wales Town to get a look and waved and shouted in celebration.

Manti cheerleaders garner awards from summer camp

James Tilson

Associate Editor



Members of the Manti High School cheerleading team earned “All-American Cheerleader” honors at the United Spirit Association summer camp at Southern Utah University on June 19-21 in Cedar City. They are, left to right, Daniel Clark, Libby Simons, Nikki Evans, Courtney Lee and Joslynn Gordon.

CEDAR CITY—The Manti High School Cheerleading Team brought home honors from the United Spirit Association Varsity cheerleading summer camp in Cedar City, and may be taking their talents overseas, too.

The camp was held June 19 through 21 on the campus of Southern Utah University in Cedar City. Manti’s squad trained and was scored with 12 other regional teams. The teams were judged on spirit, ability to take direction, skill level, stunt level, dance technique, sharpness, organization and overall performance.

The Manti High School cheerleading team was led by head coach Trisha Hyde and assistant coach Braidie Hansen, as well as tumbling coach Typhena Harmon. Manti’s squad received two “Superiors” and one “High Superiors,” and was also named the “Hardest Working Team” at the camp.

In total, 87 cheerleaders competed for “All American Cheerleader” honors, with 30 winning the title. Five cheerleaders from Manti won the honor: senior Daniel Clark, junior Libby Simons, senior Nikki Evans, senior and squad leader Courtney Lee and freshman Joslynn Gordon. The All-American Cheerleaders have the opportunity to go on tour to Rome in December to cheer.

“This team has unreal potential,” says Hyde. “I have never seen a team work so hard and have such a desire to learn more. Our team motto this year is “One Team,” and this team is the exact definition of that. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Four Sanpete cowboys qualify for national rodeo

By James Tilson

Associate Editor



HEBER CITY—Four Sanpete County high school rodeo competitors have qualified for national rodeo tournaments after their results in the Utah High School Rodeo competition.

Two riders qualified for the National High School Rodeo Association final in Rock Springs, Wyo., to be held on July 14-20. Riders have to place in the top four of their event in order to qualify for the national rodeo. Jaden Tree of Mt. Pleasant qualified by placing 4th in boys’ cow cutting. Maykala Brown, also of Mt. Pleasant but riding for the Sevier County rodeo club, placed 3rd in girls breakaway roping.

Two more riders qualified for the Silver State Invitational. The Silver State Invitational, held in Winnemucca, Nev. on June 30-July 6, takes riders from all over the western U.S. that placed from 5th to 15th place in their state high school rodeo. Kate Stewart qualified by placing 15th in reining cowhorse, and Annie Okelberry placed 15th in girls’ cow cutting. The riders in the Silver State Invitational compete for over $90,000 in prizes, saddles, buckles and cash.