Gunnison Mayor Bruce Blackham points to a map where there may be proposed solar development on the outskirts of the city. Blackham will have 20 years as an elected official when his term ends in December. He has many accomplishments under his belt, and a few regrets, but he gives all credit for his contributions to the love and understanding of his wife.

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Wagons are a family affair for Steve Martin (pictured here with his daughter Jamie Nordell), his wife Patty and their three daughters.

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“Medley of Fairy Tales” is the name of a book recently published, written by Sanpete contributors


Group of Sanpete writers publish book of retold fairytales


By Emily Staley

Staff writer

Sept. 28, 2017


FOUNTAIN GREEN—The North Sanpete Fiction Writing Group is celebrating the publication of a newly released anthology of short stories, all written by local authors.

The book, “Medley of Fairy Tales,” is a symbol, as well as the actual product, of action rather daydreaming, and following through to see something to completion.

“If you have something you want to do, do it,” Allison Bradley, the Sanpete Fiction Writing Group’s founder, says. “Don’t just sit around and say you don’t have the resources to do whatever you want to do. Go out and find your resources. When you reach out, there will be people willing to join you.”

Bradley speaks from experience, as she herself decided one day that she wanted someone to talk to about fiction writing. So, she went out and found that resource. Bradley was joined by experienced author Jenni James, a bestselling author of nearly 40 published books. They started started the fiction-writing club out of thin air.

“Having the group gets us to write fiction,” Bradley enlightens, “It’s hard to get yourself do something if you don’t have a reason to. … I enjoy writing, I wanted people to be able to get together, write together and help each other.” Bradley said, and she has accomplished exactly that.

Group member Marla Workman emphasized the value of the group to her. “The hardest part of writing is driving clear to the end, but having the group made it easier because of the support we were able to give each other. We would write, and then critique each other’s writing.”

James Mitchell joined the group at the beginning of its creation in November 2015 at Jenni James’ invitation. He said he could not be happier about the opportunity. “By joining the group, I found a new hobby that I never thought I’d have, and I made new friends as well.”

The group not only helped each other with their writing, but they decided to write a compilation of fairytales together. Each member chose a fairytale and wrote a retelling of the story. They worked together to revise and complete their stories.

“Compiling this book made us strive to improve ourselves to create this published work,” Bradley says.

The book has been a main focus of their meetings, which have been once a month. The book was published Sept. 12 and is now available for purchase.

The Medley of Fairy Tales is written by Jenni James, Allison Brown (Bradley), A. Shepherd, James Elliot, Marla Workman and Jenna Madsen.

“Medley of Fairy Tales” is available for purchase in paperback or Kindle Edition on

The group is open to newcomers, with members coming from different backgrounds, and who range from all different ages and experience. If interested in joining, contact Bradley at

Thomas Dye (left) plays the Bishop of Lax in Snow College’s production of “See How They Run,” a British farce from the 1940s. To Dye’s right are Blake Verdel (back) playing Penelope Toop and Dakota Davis (right) playing the Rev. Arthur Humphrey.

British farce

‘See how they Run’

opens Snow season


By Max Higbee

Staff writer

Sept. 28, 2017


EPHRAIM—“See How They Run,” a British farce about mistaken identity, Anglican clergy and wanton drunkenness, is showing at the Eccles Center through Saturday.

The cast and crew have rehearsed the show since the beginning of the school year, memorizing lines, staging scenes and building sets.

“’See How They Run’ is a fun show, and that’s what drew me,” says Brad Olsen, theatre professor at Snow College and director of the play. “I just like when it’s a comic piece, it being a farce, which means it’s full of improbabilities… There’s one scene where a lady knocks a guy out with a toilet plunger.”

The play takes place in England in the 1940s, in the countryside village of Merton-cum-Middlewick. World War II has brought fear of Nazi invasion to the village, and the people are preparing for an invasion, but not at the cost of stopping their own small town drama.

As an aged actress seeks to expose what she suspects is an affair by the town vicar’s wife, an escaped German POW makes his way to town, all while the grandiose bishop of Lax visits the town vicarage. Intrigue and comedy ensue.

The play is performed in a box set. “We haven’t done a box set in almost two years,” Olsen says. “It looks good; we’ve got a really good production team. The designs are really nice. It’s been built well.”

The set is one level with two steps leading up to it. There are a lot of doors. And, Olsen says, a lot of action occurs offstage, but the audience gets to see it, which is unusual. “The garden doors, we leave them open, there’s a lot of capering in the garden, which is a fun bit,” he says.

Corbin Cantrell, a Snow student who plays a policeman in the show, says, “[People] should come if they like comedy, if they like seeing people get hit a lot, if they like a lot of running, a lot of physical comedy and a lot of laughs.”

Olsen advises patrons to try to get seats in the middle section. “It’s a little bit better,” he says.

“See How They Run” opened Wednesday and continues tonight, Friday and Saturday. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for youth (5-18), and $2 for seniors (65 and older) and Snow students with IDs.

Kelsie Albee, a cancer survivor, enjoys the simple things like working in the garden, and says her illness has been “the best thing I’ve ever survived.”

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Biologists from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and volunteers prepare their ATVs with coolers full of live brook trout, which they will use to stock nearly 20 ponds in the Manti-LaSal National Forest back country east of Mayfield.

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Natasha Madsen sits in her chair at home, surrounded by books and local artists’ work.

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North Bend Entertainers to

present ‘Nunsense’ this week


July 27, 2017


FAIRVIEW— The North Bend Entertainers will be presenting the musical comedy play “Nunsense” at the Peterson Dance Hall in Fairview.

The play, by Dan Goggin, begins when the Little Sisters of Hoboken discover that their cook, Sister Julia, child of God, has accidentally poisoned 52 of the sisters, and they are in dire need of funds for the burials. The remaining “Little Hobos” decide that the best way to raise the money is to put on a variety show, so they take over the school auditorium, which is currently set up for the eighth-grade production of “Grease.”

The show has become an international phenomenon. With more than 5000 productions worldwide, it has been translated into 21 languages.

“I think people are looking for an escape,” Mr. Goggin said of the shows’ enduring appeal. “Every time you turn on the television, it’s bad news. I think the main thing ‘Nunsense’ does is makes people feel better.”

Directed by Jason Quinn of Mt. Pleasant, the cast includes residents from all over North Sanpete County. The five nuns are played by Angie Daley of Milburn, Lucy Quinn of Mt. Pleasant, and Sarah Anderson, Brynne Lamb, Ellie Anderson of Fountain Green.

Performance dates are July 27, 28, and 29. Call 469- 1177 or visit for information and times.


Tristy and Kevin Christensen of Ephraim sit in their gardens with their 5-year old son, Luke. The couple won the first-place spot in the Sanpete Messenger’s 2nd annual “Most Beautiful Yards of Sanpete” contest, earning them $500 in gardening-related merchandise and gift cards from the contest’s generous sponsors.

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Kyle Bartlett, tuba player, assumes playing position in the horn line. Members of the corps have their instruments, some weighing up to 25 pounds, on their person at all times while practicing.

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Amy Gowans and kids, Kaylee and Derek Gowans, look around the Bookmobile for new books to check out. While Kaylee gravitates toward mystery books, Derek leans toward books about “snakes and adventures.”


Books come to us

Bookmobile service brings large library to Sanpete, Juab


Clara Hatcher

Staff writer


MANTI—The Sanpete and Southern Juab County Bookmobile rolls into Manti every two weeks and, during its most recent visit, Dax Keller, 7, was first through the door to check out a fresh stack of books.

“I like science books, like on spiders and rattlesnakes,” Keller said, adding that he most recently learned that tarantulas are nothing to fear from a book he read in Spanish. “Tarantulas don’t actually bite people unless you are mean to them.”

Keller checks out at least three books a week, almost exclusively from the Bookmobile. When asked why he visits so frequently, Keller replied simply.

“To get books,” he said.

The Bookmobile, which circulates around Sanpete and Southern Juab County bi-monthly, is a program organized by the Utah State Library and sponsored by the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts. The vehicle is a truck turned roving library with nearly 5,000 books onboard.

Utah State Librarian Donna Jones Morris said the Bookmobile is a service meant to promote literacy and provide access to books wherever possible.

“We want to provide library service to the parts of Utah that do not have fixed libraries people can get to conveniently,” Morris said.

Amongst other things, Bookmobile is a way for communities to get engaged in reading and learning. Patrons have access to audiobooks and online reading with their Bookmobile library card and, according to Morris, free WI-FI is also available.

“Sometimes people bring their own devices and download books if they do not have internet access at home,” Morris said. “We are helping people have access to Utah’s online library.”

For Kaylee Gowans, 12, it is all about mystery novels.

“I like mysteries where kids are the main characters,” Kaylee said. “I can relate to it more and they are more fun to read.”

Her brother, Aiden Gowans, 14, prefers Richard Paul Evans’ young adult and science fiction series about an electric man named Michael Vey. Aiden said that the Michael Vey series is so popular at his school that, “If you just say that name, people will know what you are talking about.”

The entire Gowans family, including Aiden and Kaylee’s brother, Derek, 6, and mom, Amy, has been stopping by the Bookmobile nearly every two weeks starting fall 2016.

Most often, they can expect to run into Bookmobile librarian Jim Ericksen.

“I have been driving about 12 years. I started off as a relief driver,” Ericksen said. “We [the librarians] wear many hats. We have to drive it, make sure it is maintained and as far as the librarian part of it, we do everything from ordering books to knowing what our patrons like to read.”

Patrons can ask the librarians to order anything they would like to read from young adult and youth reads to databases and mature novels. The headquarters for Bookmobile in Fairview holds nearly 20,000 books. If a desired book is still not available online, at headquarters or on the Bookmobile, virtually anything can be obtained with an inter-library loan.

“Google doesn’t have the answer to everything,” Morris said. “We can provide resources that help people in rural areas get degrees, start businesses and help kids spark.”


Bookmobile has stopping spots outside of towns, as well as in cities.


Jane Braithwaite, co-chair of the Manti Heritage Ad Hoc Committee, speaks at the dedication of the Garden of Treasures Under Temple Light, a project designed to beautify the new entrance to the Manti City Cemetery.

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Zinab Badawi, a Snow College student from Egypt and a Muslim, asks God to look with compassion on the whole human family during a National-Day-of-Prayer observance.

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Signe Gines, 53, an Ephraim native and cancer survivor, is hiking from Canada to Mexico to raise money for cancer research. She embarks on June 1 and says the solo trek will be 2,650 miles and take nearly four months.

[Read more…]

Equestrian vaulter and North Sanpete High School freshman Shaylee Swapp practices an “equestrian vaulting” routine on one of the horses she uses for the half gymnastics, half horse-riding sport. She says she would rather be on the back of a horse than almost anywhere else in the world.

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Mary Pipes, called as a LDS church services missionary with the church’s 12-step addiction recovery program, sits in the circle of chairs where her and her fellow missionaries Kris Jorgensen and Milisa Boorman help addicts find hope every Wednesday. Pipes has been involved with the program for nine years, five of which have been serving as a missionary,


LDS 12-step program offers help for addicts and families


Robert Stevens

Managing editor



MANTI—”There is hope here.”

That’s what Mary Pipes will tell you if you ask her what you will find at the LDS 12-step meetings she organizes alongside Kris Jorgensen and Milisa Boorman. The trio are local LDS missionaries called to the LDS Addiction Recovery Program that exists as part of LDS Family Services.

The LDS church bases their 12-step program closely on the one made famous by Alcoholics Anonymous but has adapted it to include the doctrine and principles of the Mormon religion.

“The biggest difference between AA and us is that they talk about a ‘Higher Power’ and we call him God,” Pipes said. “The principles in it are very similar. We want to help people realize why they do what they do and that addiction is really only a symptom of a bigger problem. If we can get to the basis of the problem, we can usually take care of the symptom as well, which is whatever their ‘drug of choice’ happens to be.”

Pipes was introduced to the program nine years ago by invitation. Both addicts and family members of addicts are encouraged to attend LDS 12-step meetings and, as the daughter of an alcoholic, Pipes says she was no stranger to the negative impacts of addiction. When she showed up, she thought, “Oh my gosh, I am not alone in this.”

“When I started coming years ago, I learned more about me than I did anyone else,” she says. “As the daughter of an addict I learned a lot about addiction, and the maladaptive coping skills family members of addicts use to deal with the problem.”

Pipes says the LDS Addiction Recovery Program taught her many things, including that those very same coping skills used to deal with addicted family members often ends up just enabling the addict.

After being involved with the group for four years, Pipes was called as a church service missionary with the program. She has been a missionary with the program for five years now.

Pipes says over the years she has seen hundreds of people come and go through the program.

“Sometimes they come on their own or are encouraged by a family member or bishop,” she says. “We don’t care how they end up here as long as they come.”

Even though sometimes it’s the influence of family members that gets an addict to 12-step initially, Pipes says the most rewarding part of helping others through the steps is seeing the light come on in their eyes as they realize the recovery process is for themselves, and not for their spouse, children or parents.

“When they finally realize they are worth it,” she said, “that is so wonderful to witness.”

The religious aspect of LDS 12-step is a major component of the program, Pipes says, and one of the single biggest distinguishing factors it has from non-denominational 12-step programs.

“We talk about the atonement of Jesus Christ,” Pipes says. “We believe that is not only for your sins but any sadness or sorrow or sickness you’re experiencing.”

Pipes says they also read scriptures from the Book of Mormon and the Bible. She says most of the people who come are LDS or come from an LDS background, but all are welcome.

“Anyone can come, and we appreciate what they bring to the table,” Pipes says. “We welcome their point of view. You can also just sit and listen if you feel more comfortable that way, but you do not have to be LDS.”

Pipes says anyone who comes to the meeting will find love, acceptance and understanding, but they will not find judgment.

“I would venture to say that there is not one family who has not been touched by addiction,” she said. “A lot of people come and say ‘I am not an addict, I just can’t stop.’ We want to give them the tools they need to climb out of the hole they are in, that they might never be able to get out of alone.”

More than anything, Pipes says she wants to emphasize that there is hope for addicts and, if they truly want to, they can find it there.

Those who wish to attend a LDS 12-step meeting can meet on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. at the Manti LDS Seminary building at 190 West 500 North. There is also a meeting in Gunnison on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. at the seminary building at 35 E. 600 South. Another meeting is held at the Ephraim Young Single Adult First Stake Center (51 N. 100 East) on Wednesdays at 7 p.m., or the Young Single Adult Ward Building (115 E. 200 South) on Thursdays at 7 p.m. People in northern Sanpete can attend LDS 12-step on Thursdays at 7:30 the Mt. Pleasant LDS Seminary building at 280 E. 700 South.