Three GVHS juveniles deny charges at court hearing

 

12-15 possible victims, including males and females, come forward

 

By Suzanne Dean

Publisher

10-11-2018

 

MANTI—Three Gunnison Valley High School students charged with sexual assault on another student entered “denials” in 6th District Juvenile Court Tuesday.

The denials, comparable to not-guilty pleas in adult court, were somewhat pro forma because the boys hadn’t really conferred with their attorneys at the time of the hearing.

At the hearing, a different attorney was appointed for each youth, and the attorneys asked for time to review evidence and interview their clients, according to Wes Mangum, deputy county attorney and lead prosecutor in the case.

Since juvenile proceedings are confidential, the hearing itself was closed.

However, a “very, very active investigation” into an alleged string of sex assaults is continuing, said Officer Carl Wimmer of the Gunnison Valley Police Department and the school resource officer.

“We will continue to follow up on every victim who comes forward,” Wimmer said. “We are obligated by law to follow up” on every complaint.

Based on comments from Mangum and information gathered by various media, the case has grown more complex since Sept. 28, when a youth who is now facing multiple charges was arrested.

When the first charges were filed, the county attorney’s office reported that nine possible victims had been identified. On Tuesday, Mangum said additional victims had come forward, and KSL News reported there were now 12 to 15 alleged victims.

KSL said the possible victims had had been involved in incidents going back to October 2017. And Fox 13 reported the possible victims included both males and females.

The boys who participated in an assault on Sept. 17 that blew open the case included a 16-year-old sophomore football player and two brothers, ages 14 and 15.

Initially, the 16-year-old boy was charged with six counts of object rape, all first-degree felonies, and four counts of forcible sex abuse, all second-degree felonies. By Tuesday, a fifth count of sex abuse, a second-degree felony, had been added to his charges.

The 14 and 15 year old each face one count of forcible sex abuse. Those counts are also second-degree felonies. Those youths appear to be in significantly less trouble than the 16-year-old.

On Tuesday, Mangum confirmed that the two brothers had been charged in connection with only one incident, the Sept. 17 assault. All of the new alleged victims who have come forward in the past week have identified the 16-year-old as the person who assaulted them, the deputy county attorney said.

A petition to refer the 16-year-old to adult court is still on the table, Mangum said, but no decision has been made and won’t be pending further investigation.

In court, Judge Brody Keisel told the three youths facing charges not to talk to any of the victims face-to-face, over social media or through friends.

Mangum said if the youths are found guilty, they would not go to jail, “but there could be some type of confinement or removal from home to a program.”

Officer Wimmer said Gunnison Valley High School brought in crisis counselors last week. “It was very low key,” but the counselors were available for students who wanted to talk.

“Things are returning to normal,” he said, and students are turning their attention back to “enjoying school.”

The 14 and 15 year olds are due back in court Nov. 6, while the 16-year-old is scheduled to appear again Nov. 20.

Homecoming ‘best therapy I could have,’ says Fred Frischknecht

Community turns out in force

 

By Suzanne Dean

Publisher

10-11-2018

 

 

Part of the crowd that packed the Manti Senior Citizens Center Monday evening to show support for Fred Frischknecht.

MANTI—“We’re here. We’re home.”

That was Fred Frischknecht’s reply to the question, “How are you doing?” as relatives, friends and neighbors from throughout the county packed the Manti Senior Citizens Center Monday to welcome him home after nearly five months in the hospital.

From 5 p.m. when the event started until after 7 p.m. when it was supposed to end, a steady stream of people filed past his wheelchair, which had been set up in front of the dining area, to shake his hand, exchange hugs and offer support.

Many also dropped checks in a box at the front of the senior center.

People filled all the tables in the dining area, and all the chairs and sofas in the lounge. Kids sat on the floor. A few people spilled onto the sidewalk outside.

There was an almost continuous lineup for soup, bread and cookies, all donated.

Nobody was counting, but 200 to 300 people must have come though.

No entertainment had been planned, but Sam Blatter of Manti showed up with his guitar, gathered a group of children around him, and accompanied them as they sang patriotic and popular songs.

“This is the best hometown therapy I’ve had,” Fred said.

A lifelong resident of Manti, Fred worked for many years at Rasmussen Ace Hardware in Gunnison and later at Alvey Lumber in Manti.

Earlier this year, on May 17, his life changed dramatically when, while trimming a tree in his yard at 545 N. 300 West, he fell 12-14 feet.

Some neighbors, Gary and Tricia Cox, saw him up in the tree sawing off limbs as they left for a walk around the neighborhood. When they returned, they saw limbs scattered around on the ground, but at first didn’t see Fred. Then they noticed him flat on his back on the ground.

Fred Frischknecht gives a thumbs up to Pam and Gaylin Thompson of Manti during community gathering and fund raiser Monday. Frischknecht fell from a tree while tree trimming on May 17 and spent nearly five months in hospitals. He has no feeling from the chest down.

He was taken to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center (UVRMC) with a punctured lung and two crushed vertebrae, among other injuries.

Because he was having trouble breathing, he was in intensive care for a few days. Then he had surgery where seven of the 12 vertebrae between his waist and neck were fused, according to his daughter, Alicia Stevenson, who is an RN.

After the accident, he had no feeling from the middle of his chest to his feet. According to his brother, John Frischknecht, who is a doctor, his spinal cord is intact. But his spinal cord was seriously bruised, which can also cause paralysis.

In such situations, the paralysis sometimes diminishes over time, but the longer a person goes without having being able to feel his feet, the less chance there is of his regaining full function, his brother said.

Fred was in UVRMC two and a half months and in Gunnison Valley Hospital two more months. He had been home just one week prior to the gathering Monday.

His sister, Kristine Everitt, said he had health insurance. But his accident cut off his income. His wife, Shirley, also works, but she cut back her work schedule to be with him in the hospital.

Before Fred came home, a bathroom in his house was modified to create a roll-in shower, and doors around the house were taken down so he can get through the doorframes in his wheelchair.

One of the main goals of the gathering was to raise funds to build an attached garage onto his house so he can get from the house to his car without going outside, especially in the winter, Everitt said.

One of the people in the crowd was Fred’s niece, Tori Garbe, who came with her husband and two children.

“This is the biggest community come-together,” she said, “It’s unreal.”

Pam and Gaylin Thomas said they came because the Frischknechts are their friends. “We just love Fred and his sweet wife,” Pam said. “They were in our ward when we first moved back [to Manti] from back East. We’re so glad to have Fred back home.”

“The people in Sanpete County are the best people in the world,” said Steve Frischknecht, Fred’s brother and a former county commissioner. “When a crisis happens, they step right up to the plate,” not only with friendship and support, but financially, too.

“He has a long way to go,” Steve added, “but he’ll be OK.”

Donations may still be made to the Fred Frischknecht Donations account at Zions Bank.

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Lowry Akers, Mckell Salmon and daughter Nora

 

Salmon~Akers

 

McKell Amanda Salmon and Lowry Clinton Walker Akers are pleased to announce their marriage on Oct. 10, 2018 in Provo.

McKell is the daughter of Steve and Stephanie Salmon of Orem. She has two older brothers and an older sister. She was born and raised in Orem. Lowry Akers is the son of Bill and Linda Akers of Sterling.

Lowry and McKell met through a mutual friend (whom they are still close friends with) in 2012, Lowry had just finished playing football at Snow College and McKell was playing soccer at Utah Valley University. They developed a close friendship that has transformed into the love they share today.

Lowry and McKell began dating in April after a vacation to Hawaii with several friends. What finally sealed the deal for Lowry was meeting McKell’s sweet daughter, Nora. They love playing sports together, playing at the park, and spending time together as a family.

They couple plans to go to Vancouver, British Columbia for their honeymoon.

 

 

Sarah Colleen Bagnall Larsen

 

Sarah Colleen Bagnall Larsen, 84 passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, at Pheasant Run Alzheimer’s Special Care Center, South Jordan.

She was born June 1, 1934 in Moroni, Utah to Lewis Rawlin Bagnall and Utahna Jensen.

She married Calvert Therald Larsen in the Manti LDS Temple on July 27, 1962. Colleen loved life. She spent her young childhood days in Chester and moved with her family to Ephraim in her teenage years.

She loved school and making friends. Colleen graduated from high school and Snow College in Ephraim, where she gave the valedictorian address. After high school she attended Brigham Young University and graduated with high honors with a degree in Education.

She taught elementary school in the Jordan and Salt Lake City school systems for four years before serving an LDS mission in the Northern Mexican Mission. She returned from her mission and taught school for a year in Salt Lake City before marrying Calvert.

They made their first home in St Paul, Minnesota and lived there for 10 years. While in Minnesota, they added Chris Rawlin, Scott Calvert and Sarah Jane to their family.

They later moved to Sonoma, California where Brian Therald was born. They have also have made their home in Utah, Iowa, and Virginia.

Colleen spent her whole life serving others. Foremost she was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, loving and serving her husband, four children, 18 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren up until the time of her death.

She was an accomplished seamstress, had a beautiful singing voice, played the piano, and was a marvelous cook. Living in Virginia gave her the opportunity to serve in many church callings. She loved the people in her ward and stake, and considered them a part of her family.

In her later years, Colleen beat breast cancer and then was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She endured these challenging conditions bravely and with faith. Even in the final stages of Alzheimer’s, she continued to have an infectious laugh and smile. Her face would light up when she received visits from family and friends, especially when her little grandchildren and great-grandchildren would climb up on her lap.

Colleen is survived by her husband: Calvert Larsen, South Jordan; four children: Chris (Marilee) Larsen, Ephraim; Scott (Kim) Larsen, Virginia; Sarah (Justin) Devenberg, South Jordan; and Brian (Emili) Larsen, Nibley, 18 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren.

Colleen was preceded in death by her parents, her younger sister, Carolena Rasmussen and younger brother, Lewis Rawlin Bagnall Jr.

Funeral services will be held Friday, Oct. 5, 2018 in the Ephraim Stake Center, 400 E. Center St., Ephraim, Utah. The viewing will go from 9-10:30 a.m. with the funeral following at 11 a.m.

Internment will follow in the Ephraim City Cemetery.

Her family would like to express their gratitude and appreciation for all those who cared for their mother at the Pheasant Run Alzheimer’s Special Care Center and Hearts for Hospice.

 

Judy and Gene Chantry love life as much as making copies

 

Gene operating one of Kopy Katz copiers, although he doesn’t work at the store now, just delivers orders and does “other stuff.”

Stop by Kopy Katz Printing in Ephraim just about any time and you’ll see owner Judy Chantry hard at work. That’s because Judy believes in personal, friendly service and treats every customer accordingly.

“We appreciate everyone who comes through our front door and at times they will apologize for not getting very many copies, or not placing a large order, “ Judy says. “It doesn’t matter how big or small an order is because, at the end of the day, it all adds up to being able to keep our business alive and to continue our service to the community.”

Variety of services

      Kopy Katz offers such a variety of services and products it could make your head spin. Often, they can provide higher quality services at a better price than the bigger print shops “up north.”

“We try to treat each customer with care and do whatever is necessary to meet their demands,” Judy says.

Along with standard copies (both black and white and color), Kopy Katz offers flyers, business cards, poster prints, large-format printing  withprinting capacity up to 36 inches wide (such as for blueprints), along with spiral binding, laminating and folding.

They can also print ward directories, church newsletters, booklets, envelopes, labels, family histories, cookbooks, gift certificates and NCR Forms (no carbon required). They can even cut the spines off of books like lesson manuals and spiral bind them, Judy says.

Quick turnaround

      At Kopy Katz, they have a production machine that handles thousands of copies. In fact, they ran over one million copies on their printer last year. Everything can be printed from a flash drive, CD or from an email you send to them.

“All of our orders are ‘special orders,’ and the turnaround time is usually within 24 hours unless it is over 10,000 copies, or if we have a lot of orders to complete.  If it will take longer than normal, we tell the customer of our limitations and when to expect the job to be completed,” Judy says.

Along with printing services, Kopy Katz provides faxing and some simple design work if you don’t have exactly what you want in hand. The store also offers Fed Ex shipping with pick up daily at 3 p.m.

Wanted to work together

      Judy and her husband Gene got into the printing business 10 years ago after the company she was working for decided to downsize. The couple decided that in order to spend any time together they should find something locally that they could do. Sanpete Messenger publisher Suzanne Dean was selling the printing side of her business and helped the pair get going.

However, these days, Gene doesn’t work at the store.

“He claims I fired him, but the fact is that he cannot handle the stress like I do. I have been in stressful situations all of my working life so it doesn’t bother me,” Judy says. “But I think he likes to be “fired” because he is pursuing other interests.”

Judy has two part-time employees who are college students  and who, she says, are smart and have picked up the processes that pertain to the pri

Larry Nielson of Ephraim enjoys dropping in just to visit the Chantrys, even when he isn’t making copies!

nting business. They are also friendly and are “willing to do whatever is necessary so that we can all be successful,” she says.

Judy and her employees pride the

mselves on their work, and if they see something is not quite right with an order they will fix it for the customer. They’re also more concerned about the customer getting good value than the Almighty Buck.

Many times, if they can see that the customer might be just as happy with printing on plain paper instead of glossy paper or cardstock, they recommend that. They also may suggest that a flyer be printed in black and white on a bright color paper, rather than a color print on white paper.

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North Sanpete’s Brock Justesen breaks through the Richfield line for a big gain last Friday night. North Sanpete won the matchup 27-14.

Hawks get early scare, but then down Richfield, 27-14

 

By James Tilson

Sports writer

10-4-2018

 

MT. PLEASANT—It wasn’t October. The full moon wasn’t out. But it sure felt like Halloween last Friday night during the first two quarters of North Sanpete football game against Richfield.

 After surviving a series of turnovers, penalties on both teams, and even a “do-over” play, the Hawks asserted control and won the game in dominating fashion, 27-14.

“It was definitely a game of trials,” said Coach Rhett Bird. “I believe we had one series that we bailed Richfield out of a third down and fourth down with penalties. Those are things we need to clean up moving forward.”

The first half had some truly strange calls. There were four turnovers in the first half alone, two for each team. On one Richfield drive, there were six penalties, four on North Sanpete and two on Richfield. And then the strangest call of all came on a play in which it appeared that a Hawk player fumbled the ball into the end zone. When the referees couldn’t decide whether the ball had crossed the plane of the end zone before the fumble, the referees simply decided to do the whole play over from the beginning.

For all of that, the Hawks still managed to take a 7-0 lead going into halftime. In the locker room, Coach Bird knew he had to get his team settled down, and eliminate mistakes. “At halftime, we told our kids that we had to control the ball. We had four possessions in the first half and ended two of them with turnovers.”

In the second half, the Hawks came out and imposed their will on the Wildcats. The Hawks began grinding away with their running game, led by Brock Justesen with a game high 118 yards on 12 carries, followed closely by Maison Burgess with 112 yards on 18 carries.

Quarterback Chance Clawson also had a very efficient night, going 6 of 9 for 57 yards with a touchdown passing, and no interception. Clawson also scored two touchdowns rushing, finishing out two long drives.

“This game was a huge confidence builder for us offensively. We have been struggling to put points on the board, but we were able to execute better in the second half,” said Coach Bird.

With the victory, the Hawks move to 2-1 in Region 3A South, tied with Juan Diego for second in the region. With games against Manti and Juab left, the Hawks are squarely in the thick of the region race.

This week is the Sanpete County rivalry game, North Sanpete versus Manti, to be played in Manti this year. After losing by only one point last year, the Hawks figure to be super ready to face the Templars this time around.

“This is a big week for us,” Coach Bird said. “We know what a rivalry game brings and we have been preparing for this game since the spring. Nothing will really change with the way that we approach this game, beside the fact that we know emotions will play a big key factor in who wins. We will be focusing on one thing this week and that is execution.”

Kickoff in Manti will be at 7 p.m.

Utah congressional candidates visit Sanpete County

 

By Suzanne Dean

Publisher

10-4-2018

Ben McAdams, who is running against Mia Love in Utah’s 4th District, in front of Wales Community Hall on Sat. Sept. 28.

MT.PLEASANT—The country needs to elect people to Congress who will put solving critical problems, such as health care and saving social security, ahead of partisanship, Democrat Ben McAdams said during a visit to Sanpete County last week.

And, McAdams said in an interview with the Sanpete Messenger, bipartisanship is an area where he sees a distinction between himself and Republican incumbent Mia Love.

“I have a track record of working across party lines,” he said. “Mia Love votes with her party 97 percent of the time.”

McAdams, who is running against Love in the 4th Congressional District, which takes in northern Sanpete County, made a stop in Wales and then appeared at a picnic at the Mt. Pleasant City Park.

The Messenger interview, which took place in Mt. Pleasant, covered a range of topics, including public lands, immigration, the Muller investigation, civility in government and the negative advertising that has cropped up on both sides of the campaign.

McAdams said there has to be a way through the partisan divide that has paralyzed Congress. “I’m a patriot,” he said. “This country has done amazing things, and I think we have amazing things in our future. I’m not willing to concede that Congress will forever be broken.”

He said he had a track record as the Democratic mayor of Salt Lake County of working with a Republican-controlled county council and getting things done.

“We’ve balanced the budget every year,” he said. “We have a triple A bond rating. And we’ve lowered our tax rate every year.”

One of his major concerns as mayor has been the homeless problem in Salt Lake County. He said he had worked on the issue with Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and Utah

Utah 4th District Congresswoman Mia Love (left) and her chief of staff, Ivan DuBois, visit with Dan Anderson, mayor pro-tem of Mt. Pleasant and others on Friday, Sept. 28

House Speaker Greg Hughes, both Republicans.

The three officials brought “three very different opinions” to the table. Yet, he said, they were able to talk through their disagreements until they found a path forward that was better than any of them individually could have come up with.

McAdams said federal management of public lands has been poor in recent years. And while he favors moving slowly, local management of some of the lands “is an option that should be looked at.”

He also said the federal government needed to address the maintenance backlog in national parks, just as he addressed—and largely solved—a backlog in maintenance of county parks and recreation facilities.

“It’s going to take some fiscal discipline, and making it a priority, but as a country, we’ve got to be investing in protecting our national treasures and making sure the user experience matches the quality of the treasures we’re protecting,” he said.

McAdams said immigration is an example of where Congress has failed to do its job. He said young people who are chasing the American dream and have tremendous things to give to our society are being marginalized by laws that don’t work.

“We do need to protect our borders from terrorists, from drug traffickers and from sex traffickers who want to do harm to our country,” he said. But immigration laws are doing a poor job of keeping out bad people and letting in the people who would benefit the country.

McAdams said he favors providing permanent status to DACA recipients, even if the DACA fix isn’t part of a comprehensive immigration reform bill. DACA, he said, is one of those problems that is easy to fix, “and we shouldn’t wait.”

If he is elected, and if Democrats take control of the House, how would he feel about impeaching Donald Trump?

McAdams wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea. He said the Muller investigation needed to proceed to its conclusion. He said he would need to see where things stand at the end of the investigation.

But he said, “I want to go back to Washington to get things done. That’s going to be my primary focus. My concern is that an impeachment proceeding may harm our ability to get things done.”

In recent weeks, both the Love and McAdams campaigns have run negative TV ads.

A Love ad accuses McAdams of raising taxes. In fact, the McAdams government has lowered property tax rates. But because of economic growth in Salt Lake County, including rising property values, many property tax bills have increased, and there has been an increase in tax dollars flowing in.

A McAdams ad says Love has raised $1 million in illegal campaign contributions and kept the money.

In his interview with the Messenger, McAdams said Love had raised more money than permitted under federal election law. The Federal Election Commission filed an action against her ordering her to give back a large sum. She’s complied with part of what the FEC ordered. The issue is still before the commission.

Democrat Jenny Wilson wants to break stalemate in Washington

 

By James Tilson

Staff writer

10-4-2018

 

Jenny Wilson, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, spoke at the Snow College Convocation last Thursday, Sept. 27. She is running against Republican Mitt Romney for the seat being vacated by Sen. Orrin Hatch.

EPHRAIM—Mitt Romney’s Democratic opponent came to Snow College last week to explain her campaign positions and drum up support in rural Utah.

Speaking at the Snow College Convocation on Thursday, Sept. 27, Democratic nominee Jenny Wilson, started out by telling the crowd why she decided to run for the U.S. Senate.

She pointed to her experience as a member of the Salt Lake County Council and her ability to work with Republican colleagues to show she would be able to help break the stalemate that currently weighs down Washington, D.C.

Wilson said she would be a strong advocate for rural Utah. She pointed to her long-running support for Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), which go to local governments, especially in the West, to make up for the fact that the federal government doesn’t pay property taxes on public lands in those jurisdictions.

She told the crowd President Trump’s initial budget had zeroed out the PILT funds, and she had been part of the effort to get the funds back in the budget.

She also promised, if elected, to visit every county in Utah in 2019 to connect with rural Utahns and stay informed on their issues.

On the campaign trail, she said she had already learned that rural Utah needs more career opportunities to enable young Utahns to stay in their hometowns. She offered several solutions for the problem.

Wilson said Utah should invest in technology in rural areas, especially access to high-speed broadband Internet. She said public lands are “critical” to Utah’s identity and should be protected from exploitation.

Students should receive more protection from predatory lending practices, she said. And housing costs, which have been skyrocketing in recent years, should be better managed.

And finally, Wilson told the audience Washington needed a new generation of leaders, people who have dealt with the problems currently facing society and who are “embedded in the community.”

Wilson then paused, and seemed to collect herself. Seemingly on the verge of tears, Wilson told the crowd she wanted to talk about something that was “on her mind.”

She referred again to how Washington was so much more divided than it used to be and how the divisions were harming the ability to govern our country.

Then she added, “sexual assault is a reality,” even in Utah. She cited Utah Health Department statistics showing one in three Utah women will face sexual assault in their lifetimes and one in nine will be raped.

“Sexual assaults happen in homes, dorms and at work. It doesn’t only happen in dark alleys,” she said.

Referring to the Republicans on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee who were debating Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, she said, “So many Republicans don’t have that experience.”

Wilson described watching the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and said, “I find

NEWS ANALYSIS: Mt. Pleasant Council must rebuild trust in face of conflicts that have simmered for years

 

By James Tilson

Staff writer

10-4-2018

 

Editor’s Note: James Tilson has been covering the city of Mt. Pleasant, including nearly all city council meetings, for more than two years. In this article, he reports his findings and gives his insight into a conflict between the city council and the executive branch of city government that has been churning during most of the time he has been reporting. Ordinarily, the Sanpete Messenger does not mix news and opinion in articles appearing on news pages, but we feel Tilson’s views of what has been happening merit this news analysis.

 

MT. PLEASANT—The recent drama playing out in public view in Mt. Pleasant city government points to a deeper conflict that has been bubbling just out of view for several years.

The city council can solve these issues and heal the rifts within the city—if it accepts responsibility for the conflicts and works to rebuild the trust of city workers and residents.

One city official’s resignation from office is unusual. Five elected officials or key managers resigning in a little more than one year is alarming.

Mayor David Blackham resigned his office on June 1, 2017. In March of this year, Jane Banks resigned as city recorder. In August, Mayor Sandra Bigler and Sam Draper, public works director, resigned from their posts. And then in September, Laurie Hansen, library director, submitted her resignation.

Such an exodus of experience and talent got the attention of residents and triggered some blowback.

The fallout included recriminations and allegations by people who blamed the city council for the resignations. Some of the blamers were people who had resigned. The allegations included overreaching by the council into the executive responsibilities of the mayor, and financial misconduct by council members Kevin Stallings and Justin Atkinson.

In turn, council members, both individually and as a group, made statements defending their actions and attacking their accusers.

From meetings and public records, this reporter cannot tell the truth of some of the allegations. For example, Draper placed the blame for his resignation on the council. He said in his resignation letter the council had meddled in the day-to-day administration and had hired an unqualified employee, leading to a dangerous situation.

The council has answered that Draper himself  has been cited by OSHA and by the county for multiple safety violations. Council members say Draper was an inefficient  administrator as evidenced by increased productivity since Paul Madsen, a city council appointee, has begun working with the public works crews.

At this point, this writer has not seen enough evidence to completely validate either side.

On the other hand, the claims by former Mayor Blackham and others that Councilman Kevin Stallings and Councilman Justin Atkinson have steered work to their companies are  unfounded.

As the Messenger reported last week, after a careful analysis of public records and interviews, the paper found no evidence of misconduct by either Atkinson or Stallings.

The remaining persons who resigned have been reticent about making any public statements. Former Mayor Bigler has only stated that the council’s actions made it impossible for her to execute her duties as mayor the way she felt she had been elected to execute them. Neither Banks nor Hansen made any public statement at all.

However, the resignation of so many city employees and officers cannot be ignored. This reporter, who has followed Mt.. Pleasant city government and attended nearly all city council meetings for more than two years, has looked deeper into the conflict to see whether it is more than just a “clash of personalities.”

The legality of the city’s new hires must be addressed before we can look at the larger issues facing the city. A lot of criticism has been aired over the hiring of Lynn Beesely and Paul Madsen earlier this year.

Beesely’s hire was made after proper posting and an interview process, which was in the usual course of business and supported by then Mayor Bigler. Nothing in his hiring is out of place.

The hiring of Madsen is a more difficult case. A “temporary administrative support” position filled without a posting or interview process is outside the statutory guidelines.

Councilman Stallings has asserted that the city received a legal opinion from an attorney with the Utah League of Cities and Towns saying that the city was facing an “emergency” that allowed for an exception to the statutes.

This reporter, a former attorney himself, does not think the council’s position will be challenged in court, and is quite dubious of such a lawsuit’s chances to prevail.

The larger issue facing Mt. Pleasant, and indeed all of Sanpete County and Utah as a whole, is growth. Mt.. Pleasant is growing, and will continue to grow.

Utah and Salt Lake counties are running out of room, and new housing starts in Sanpete County have broken records in the past year.  The northern part of the county will feel the effects of this growth before the rest of the county—and already is feeling those effects.

Mt. Pleasant may or may not need full-time management yet, but it is at the very least on the cusp of needing it. There is no doubt the city will need it in the not too distant future.

The council’s concerns about growth have been simmering for years. The issues have been obvious to everyone that lives in the city. Road repair has often lagged behind. City buildings have been difficult to maintain. More businesses and more houses have been, and will continue to come to Mt. Pleasant. And more businesses and houses mean more demand for city services.

These concerns are legitimate and valid. They need to be addressed, and the council is right to act on these concerns.

But it is the manner in which the council has acted that has led to the drama in the city government.

First, the “less-than-open” process with which the council made its decision to hire new employees has engendered suspicion.

Councilman Keith Collier hinted at the council’s frustration at the council’s last meeting. He said the council needed more work meetings in which to hash out the details of agenda items they would be voting on during the regular council meetings.

This writer believes open work meetings would go a long way toward bringing deliberations out into the open and building back trust among residents.

Second, when council members began responding to criticisms personally, such as the statement singling out former Mayor Blackham and Sam Draper, the former public works director, they inserted themselves into the drama instead of dampening it.

At a packed council meeting where scores of residents showed up to criticize the council, or at least to find out what was going on, the council did not assure citizens that their concerns would be addressed. Instead, they made themselves out to be the victims and sought to defend themselves.

The council can heal these rifts and move forward. But it needs to make a few notable changes.

First, council members must stop defending themselves (regardless of the merit), accept responsibility for the crisis and promise to make things better.

For better or worse, with resignation of the mayor and until a new mayor is elected, the council is in charge. And it was their actions that led to this situation.

This writer believes the council has valid concerns and was justified in acting to address those concerns. All the same, those actions led to the resignation of several city employees. Acting as if criticism of their actions is unfair will not make things better.

Next, if the council decides to go ahead and hire a permanent city manager, the council must “toe the line” in its procedure and be extra open to the residents about how and why it is  doing so. It must do this to rebuild trust among citizens.

Most of all, the council must get results. The road situation must improve. Repairs have to be done more efficiently. And needs arising from population growth must be addressed. If council members get results, that will cure all.

Sophomore Templar quarterback Jax Parry, filling in for Kyle King, who has been out from injury since a game against Summit Academy, readies a pass during the team’s game against Juan Diego High on Friday. Photo CSY Kyle Parry.

Juan Diego breaks through Manti defense to defeat Templars 40-13

 

By Robert Stevens

Managing editor

10-4-2018

 

 

MANTI—A stagnant first quarter for both teams didn’t keep Juan Diego High from breaking out in the second quarter and outpacing Manti for a 40-13 win on Friday.

Manti had just come off a comeback win against Juab, but has been missing their first string quarterback, Kyle King, since he was injured in a game against Summit Academy—the team currently leading the region.

Sophomore Jax Parry has been filling in for King while he recuperates.

“Jax has been doing really well,” Manti coach Cole Meacham says. “He’s been up against some tough defenses, but he’s stepped up and he’s really coachable.”

Neither team scored any points in the first quarter on Friday, but Juan Diego exploded in the second quarter with three consecutive touchdowns, one of which was an interception return. All three touchdowns were accompanied by successful kicks, leaving the score 21-0 in Juan Diego’s favor at the end of the first half.

Juan Diego would score once more, in the third quarter, before Manti’s Dallin Rasmussen ran into the endzone and his teammate Seth Cornelsen kicked the extra point.

Despite another touchdown in the fourth quarter for Manti, Juan Diego racked up more points and the game ended at 40-13.

Manti’s overall record is now 4-3, but Meacham says the season is still anyone’s game.

“Our region is still really up for grabs,” he says. “Summit Academy is in the driver’s seat, but there is still some tough games to go for everybody.”

The Templars will face local rivals North Sanpete Friday at home.  The Hawks have displayed excellent defensive stats this season, and the game should be an exciting matchup for local football fans.

“North Sanpete has a very good defense; their offense is physical and they really want to run the ball and wear you down,” Meacham says. “They want to keep their offense on the field a long time, and when the defense comes out, they do a good job making stops.”

Meacham says to combat the Hawks he wants to encourage his team’s offense to keep the ball on the field for a longer time for more sustained drives.

 

Sanpete fly-in draws good crowds

 

By Ken Hansen

Staff writer

10-4-2018

 

Participants of the fly-in event at the Ephraim-Manti Airport tour a jet owned by Ephraim’s Tom Bailey on Saturday.

EPHRAIM—Speaking about the economic importance of rural airports at the Ephraim-Manti Airport fly-in event Saturday, Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said rural airports provide millions of dollars of economic benefits to the counties they serve.

According to Cox, a 2004 study of general aviation, which does not include commercial flights, put the direct and indirect value of aviation in Utah at about $250 million.

“That’s now at least half a billion dollars if not more,” he said.  The Ephraim-Manti airport was at the time calculated to be worth $1 million a year in economic benefits to the county and is probably worth closer to $2 million a year now.

Airport Board Chairman Jeremy Hallows, who also pilots the jet owned by Ephraim’s Tom Bailey, stated that the current growth rate of the airline industry requires more than 40 new pilots a day. Currently, only 10 per day are being trained.

“I think Sanpete County can be part of that growth,” Hallow said. When Hallows started flying, pilots for regional airlines were paid around $22,000 a year, but that pay has since increased to around $80,000 a year because of the shortage. “So it’s a good time to be in aviation,” he said.

Flight schools from Southern Utah University and Utah Valley University were on hand with some of their training aircraft. They were there to recruit for their flight schools; participants were allowed to tour the aircraft and take pictures.

Visitors were also able to tour the AirMed air ambulance and an Ephraim City fire truck. Those who felt a little more adventurous were able to climb in to a hot air balloon basket and operate the burner, which heats the air inside of a balloon.

 

Bulldogs run close to American Leadership Academy, but fail 33-55

 

By James Tilson

Sports writer

10-4-2018

 

SPANISH FORK—In what was an otherwise close contest of evenly matched teams, Gunnison Valley’s mistakes and turnovers led to the margin of victory for American Leadership Academy, 55-33.

Four Bulldog turnovers, two interceptions and two fumbles led directly to four Eagles touchdowns. With a score difference of 22 points, those four touchdowns proved to be the difference between victory and defeat for the Bulldogs.

“Turnovers played a huge part in the game,” said Coach Jack Pay. “When you win the turnover battle it puts you in a place to win. But when you lose that battle, it makes it very difficult to win.”

The Bulldogs actually managed to move the ball fairly well most of the night, scoring 33 points scattered over all four quarters of the game. Quarterback Caden Madsen was having a good night, until a scary moment in the third quarter when he sustained a head/neck injury where he had to be taken from the field by ambulance. Coach Pay reports that Madsen is doing well, but the family has requested privacy at this time.

Madsen was not the only starting player missing from the team for the game. Getting close to the end of the season, injuries have depleted the ranks of the Bulldogs. “We were down players, but our team needs to have a next-man-up mentality,” Coach Pay said. “You obviously want those players on the field, because they are game-changers. When you do not have them, everyone has to step up and rally to the team.”

With the loss, the Bulldogs are 1-2 in Region 2A North, tied with ALA for third in the region. With two games to play, the Bulldogs are still in play to host a home playoff game if they can get one more region victory.

This week, Gunnison Valley hosts region foe Delta. “We match up well with Delta, but it will depend greatly on how well we recover from the bumps and bruises we have,” Coach Pay said.

Much like the Bulldogs, the Delta Jackrabbits had a tough pre-season, losing four in a row. But once the region schedule began, Delta managed two victories and moved up the rankings. “They, like us, have gotten better each week and had some injuries. It is a battle of evenly matched teams,” he said.

Kickoff at Gunnison Valley High School is at 7 p.m. Friday night.