[Read more…]

Write-ins added to some ballots, other elections cancelled

By Robert Stevens

Managing Editor

9/12/2019

 

The addition of several write-in candidates has changed the landscape of the upcoming municipal elections.

            The most significant shift in the upcoming election is the addition of three write-in candidates in Ephraim City. This now makes a total of six candidates vying for three open four-year council seats.

            The first write-in candidate is Tyler Alder, a current councilmember who did not put his hat in the ring at the outset of the election, but ultimately became a write-in to compete for re-election for his current council seat.

            The next write-in for Ephraim is former councilman Alma Lund.

            Finally, Robert Nielson rounds out the Ephraim write-ins. Nielson is currently an interim

councilmember who was appointed to temporarily fill the seat of John Scott, who was elevated from city council to mayor by appointment after former mayor Richard Squire moved on.

            One Ephraim write-in candidate, Heath Petersen, dropped out of the running.

            In Mt. Pleasant, the election for mayor between incumbent Dan Anderson and challenger David Brown has been complicated with the addition of write-in candidate Michael Olsen.

            In Sterling Town the addition of Kim Killpack will make three in the running for a four-year council seat.

            Wales and Mayfield have both canceled their elections since the candidates are unopposed and the deadline for write-ins is now past.

           

Developer Michael Hatch showed a digital rendering of the proposed condominium units to be built at the site of the Travel Inn to the Ephraim City Counsel last Wednesday night.

Ephraim issues permit for condos at old Travel Inn site

 

By James Tilson

Associate Editor

9/12/2019

 

EPHRAIM—A run-down lot on Ephraim’s Main Street is finally getting facelift, as the Ephraim city council approved a conditional use permit for a new condominium project on the site of the Travel Inn.

            Developer Michael Hatch spoke to the Ephraim City Council last Wednesday, in support of his application for a conditional use permit for his condominium project at 330 North Main, the site of the now demolished Travel Inn.

            “We want to build young family housing, using tasteful and quality materials,” Hatch told the council. Hatch detailed how the condos would have 39 units, 30 with two bedrooms and nine with three bedrooms. There will be 96 parking spaces total, with 43 covered. The units will be constructed with vinyl siding for “a good look and low maintenance.”

            Mayor John Scott asked Hatch, “How long until people can begin to move in?” Hatch replied, “We will probably start construction in the spring, which would mean our move-in date would be late 2020.”

            The Travel Inn had been an abandoned eyesore for many years before Ephraim finally gave the go ahead to tear down the building last year. The then owner paid for the demolition, although Ephraim did arrange to have the landfill fees waived. Hatch, not the original developer of the site, acquired the property and developed this project.

            According to Bryan Kimball, Ephraim director of economic development, the conditional use permit was approved by the planning and zoning commission, and the city staff. “This is the best plan we’ve seen so far for this site,” Kimball said.  But there was one concern voiced by neighbors to the project.

            Kimball told the council neighbors requested a traffic light at 300 North and Main. Kimball read a letter to the council from Marc and JoAnne Taylor. “We live across from the project, and we’re concerned with the traffic. We already see accidents at that intersection. We want better traffic control.”

            The problem with the request, according to Kimball, is that U.S. 89 is controlled by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), and any traffic lights on it have to be approved by UDOT first. “We have studies done every year,” said Kimball, “and we don’t even come close to qualifying.”

            Scott concurred with Kimball. “The issue is cross-traffic, not just the traffic on U.S. 89. The city has asked for several years, both there and at the Walmart intersection.”

            New councilman Rob Nielson asked, “But more traffic at the intersection [from the new condos] could result in a traffic light?” Kimball said, “Yes, that could be a possible result.”

            Kimball explained the city could put up more signage around the intersection, a crosswalk, or could make the intersection one direction exit only. Scott agreed, saying the city will look into all possible measures to improve safety at the intersection

At 5 a.m. last Saturday, crowds gathered at the Gunnison City Park to unroll (left) and honor Big Betsy, a quarter-acre flag, to launch the Gunnison Gut Check fundraiser race to support veteran programs. There was absolute silence as 100 people displayed the flag. As the sun’s first rays began to appear, Chelsi Goulart offered a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner prior to the ruck race.

Big Betsy unfolded to herald start of race

By Robert Stevens

Managing Editor

9/12/2019

 

GUNNISON—What does it take to get hundreds of Sanpete County residents up before the sunrise? The nation’s biggest flag and to support a good cause.

            Scores of people descended on Gunnison City Park for the second annual United We March ruck race—now dubbed the “Gunnison Gut Check” on Saturday, Sept. 7.

          

At 5 a.m. last Saturday, crowds gathered at the Gunnison City Park to unroll (left) and honor Big Betsy, a quarter-acre flag, to launch the Gunnison Gut Check fundraiser race to support veteran programs. There was absolute silence as 100 people displayed the flag. As the sun’s first rays began to appear, Chelsi Goulart offered a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner prior to the ruck race.

The race, which is a fundraiser held in remembrance of 9/11 and to support America’s heroes, kicked off at 6:51 a.m., but not before a patriotic spectacle the likes of which has never been seen in Sanpete County.

            Before the race, in the pre-sunrise darkness, scores of Gut Check participants and attendees hefted and shouldered the nation’s largest flag, Big Betsy, which is a quarter-acre in size and takes 100 people to unfold.

            In solemn silence the flag was unfolded and spread taught across the field of the park as Chelsi Goulart sang the Star Spangled Banner. After the anthem, the flag was folded back up with reverence and put away to be taken and displayed elsewhere.

            Next, retired U.S. Navy Seal Omar Vieira offered the crowd a patriotic motivational speech.

“If you aren’t proud to be American after that, I don’t know what you are,” Vieira said about the impressive display of Big Betsy.

The race got under way with the hero honors, where every veteran, law enforcement officer and first responder was invited to stand at the start gate as participants started the march by thanking them for their service.

Runners shake hands with veterans and first responders in the Heroes Honor, before they head off on the race.

“I really felt there was a greater feeling of patriotism and appreciation for our service members,” said Justin Mellor, event organizer.  “Everyone came together, and seeing them all around that flag that morning was the greatest feeling. During the race it was incredible to see and hear people’s stories as they fought their battles with blisters, but kept going.”

Mellor said that $21,700 has been raised so far from this year’s event; more funds will come in and there are some final bills to pay. The proceeds will go to charities. Mellor said he was happy the way things turned out this year; attendance was way up and they plan on holding another Gunnison Gut Check next year.

Times of winners of Gunnison Gut Check ruck race.

 

A photo of the new Manti Sports Park Complex as seen from 250 feet in the air.

Interest is increasing in reserving new Sports Park Complex in Manti

By Teri Forbes

Staff Writer

9/12/2019

 

     MANTI—Vern Jensen, Manti City Sports and Recreation Director, reported that he’s been getting a lot of calls to rent out the new Sports Park Complex and the city might want to adopt a new rental policy.

     Reporting to the city council in a meeting Wednesday night, Jensen said “the word is out!” There is increased interest in using the complex for leagues and tournaments. Manti’s new Sports Park Complex consists of five lighted fields, parking and concessions.

     Given the interest, Jensen drafted a proposal for the council to review that consisted of guidelines, rules, regulation for usage and a rental application form.

     Jensen showed the council the usage fee structure and a liability insurance requirement in the amount of $2 million.

     The process for team leagues and tournament directors wishing to use the sports complex would be to fill out a rental application, attach proof of insurance, then submit the packet to Manti City Recreation, which in turn would review and respond, Jensen explained.

     The city might even need to hire an onsite supervisor to be on hand at $15/hour to monitor the activities, depending on the event, Jensen said.

     In wrapping the policy proposal review Jensen reported that, “Soccer is going awesome.”

     Kent Barton, City Administrator said, “First and foremost we want to make sure the complex is available to the youth in the community.”

     Jensen agreed and added that also making the complex available to league and tournament play will help cover costs and will make money for the city.

            The council discussed matters related to clean up, deposit, payment timeline and insurance verification. Jensen will incorporate the suggested changes and updates to the policy, resubmit, then finalize with council.

Local firefighters respond to a 15-acre brush fire in Ephraim City over Labor Day weekend. The fire could have been disastrous due to proximity to the city water source says officials.

Fires popping up in or near Sanpete

By Robert Stevens

Managing Editor

9/12/2019

 

Although Sanpete County has not been hit as hard as last year when it comes to wildfire, there are still fires popping up close to home.

            Closest to home is the Mammoth Fire, which ignited in the mountains east of Mt. Pleasant on Saturday due to lightning, according to utahfireinfo.gov.

            The fire burned 800 acres at press time and was 60 percent contained. It was ignited on July 24, and as of Sept. 5, 85 personnel were working to extinguish it.

            The estimated cost of fighting the fire so far is more than $800,000.

            A number of road closures are in effect in connection with the fire.

            A brush fire also ignited in the middle of Ephraim over Labor Day weekend.

            “It was potentially very bad,” said Ephraim City Manager Shaun Kjar during the recent meeting of the city council. “It was caught early, even though it was over a holiday weekend, and all our emergency personnel had to break away from their holidays.”

            According to Kjar, the fire, which sparked on the south east corner of the city, stopped before it started burning houses and turned toward Ephraim Canyon. The fire was extinguished before it burned any of the canyon.

Kjar said the fire was contained to 15 acres, and no injuries or major losses resulted from it.

Ephraim City Mayor John Scott said the situation could have been disastrous due to the fires proximity to the city water source.

“The nightmare I had was the thought of a fire going up the canyon and ruining our springs,” Scott said. “If a fire goes through the springs, contamination sets in immediately and will not clear up for at least 2-3 years.”

Dr. Roy Ellefsen is the choir preisdent of the Sanpete VAlley Singer. Steven Clark founded  “The Sanpete Valley Singers”, in 2001.

Sanpete Valley Singers tune up for 2019 season

The Sanpete Valley Singers community choir will start rehearsals for their 2019 Christmas season on Sunday, Sept. 15 at the Mt. Pleasant Stake Center (Yellow Church), 300 S. State Street in Mt. Pleasant at 4 p.m.

Started in 2001 by choir president, Steven J. Clark, this Christmas season marks the group’s 18th year of bringing beautiful Christmas music not just to Sanpete Valley, but beyond. “We are a performance oriented choir,” Clark says. The choir typically performs five concerts during the season. The choir will start out in Mt. Pleasant, Fountain Green and the Gunnison State Prison and conclude with two performances in one night at Temple Square. 

Clark served as founder and director until 2016, when he turned directing duties over to Dr. Roy Ellefsen, a man very well known in music circles for his 30 plus years as music teacher at North Sanpete High School and at Snow College. Clark is now assistant director and choir president.

This year will debut accompanist Allison Bradley of Fountain Green. “She’s enormously talented and will be a great asset to our group,” Clark says. He also wanted to welcome Angela Marx Thompson as committee chairperson. Angela has been a member for a number of years and is recognized as the choir’s very talented flautist.

            The Choir is a true community choir in every sense, with membership open to all. “We neither ask nor consider a member’s religious preference,” Clark says. “If you can sing, we want you.”

If anyone has questions, Clark invites them to contact him at 262-0358. The choir is a non-profit organization and is actively seeking donations.

Robert Nielson is sworn in as interim councilman

Ephraim swears in new councilman

Robert Nielson was sworn in as an interim councilmember who was appointed to temporarily fill John Scott, who was elected from city council to mayor by appointment after former mayor Richard Squire moved on.   Nielson is also running a write-in campaign for the council.

 

Project to improve water volume is a ‘huge success’ Spring City reports

 

By James Tilson

Associate Editor

9/12/2019

 

SPRING CITY—The year-long project to improve the flow from Spring City’s five springs is complete, and according to Mayor Neil Sorensen, is a “huge success.”

            Tyler Faddis, project manager at Jones & DeMille Engineering in charge of the spring redevelopment project, spoke to the Spring City council last Thursday to give the final report on the project.

            “A year ago, we were getting less than 60 gallons per minute (gpm),” said Sorensen. “Now, we’re collecting almost 300 gpm.”

Faddis added, “The old system just wasn’t collecting the water from the springs.”

            Three of the springs – Birch, Prince Albert and Mudhole – had been redeveloped last year before the project had to stop for winter weather last October. When workers were finally able to get back to the spring in June, they were able to work on Upper Ox and Lower Ox springs.

According to Faddis, after redevelopment Upper Ox is producing 40 gpm, and Lower Ox is producing 25-50 gpm. All five springs together are producing between 250 – 300 gpm.

Faddis detailed what was entailed in redeveloping the springs. “The collection lines were undersized, and the collection areas were dirty and not filtering the water,” he said.

“So we pulled out all the old collection areas, along with all the mud and roots that had gotten into the springs. We exposed the water sources and built new clay-walled dams with graveled collection areas. We put perforated pipes under the collection areas, with longer collection lines to finish up.”

Faddis said the new spring collection areas should be good for at least 20 – 30 years.

Council learns Ephraim well output falling short of expectations

By James Tilson

Associate Editor

9/12/2019

 

EPHRAIM—Ephraim will attempt to coax better production out of its new well after its initial production fell well short of expectations.

            City engineer Bryan Kimball gave the city council an update on the progress of bringing the new city well on-line during the council meeting last Wednesday.

            “Bottom line, the well is not producing as well as we had hoped,” said Kimball. When the city first began to dig the well, they were hoping for production of 1,200 to 1,500 gallons per minute (gpm). However, the well has only produced 400 gpm so far.

            “Since we finished the well, we have looked at lots of options,” he said. “The one we have chosen is a ‘well blast.’” According to Kimball, the ‘well blast’ will take canned compressed air, and lower it into the well shaft. The release of compressed air in the shaft will hopefully knock out obstructions and clean screens, as well as loosen up the gravel pack around the shaft.

            “Once we complete the well blast, we will disinfect the well and then ready it for its permanent pump,” said Kimball. He estimated it would take from a couple of weeks to a month to get the well ready for a permanent pump.

            “There are no guarantees for how effective the well blast will be,” he said.  However, Kimball also pointed out with the exceptional weather this spring, the city had not had to turn on the well pumps at all this summer. This gave the city more time to work on the new

Rachelle Holbrook, suicide prevention specialist at the Snow College Wellness Center, stands next to a poster explaining the meaning of different colors during Suicide Awareness Month, during the ” Walk, Run, As One” Suicide prevention event on the Snow College campus Tuesday.

Richfield, Snow College site of suicide prevention walks

 

By James Tilson

Associate Editor

9/12/2019

 

EPHRAIM—September is Suicide Awareness Month, and central Utah towns have marked the month by hosting suicide awareness walks.

            In Ephraim, the Snow College Wellness Center is hosted the “Walk, Run, As One” event on the Snow College campus last Tuesday. Snow’s event included speakers on the impact of suicide, and a 1K walk and 5K run event.

            In Richfield, the Utah chapter of the American Federation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) hosted an “Out of the Darkness Walk” fundraising event on Saturday Sept. 7. Nearly 500 people participated in the walk, and over $11,000 were raised for suicide prevention efforts.

            “Our purpose is to bring awareness to the many ways suicide impacts people,” said Rachelle Holbrook, suicide prevention specialist at the Snow College Wellness Center. “And at the same time, we hope the number of participants show how many people it impacts, too.”

            J. D. Fox, popular radio host and local emcee, spoke at the Snow event, telling the audience about his own family’s experience with suicide. “Suicide prevention has a deep meaning for me personally.” Fox told how his older brother had died of suicide, and then recently his brother-in-law as well. “I’m a big believer in positive attitude making a difference every day.”

            Rachel Sturmin, a student at Snow, told about her own struggles with suicidal ideation. “I’ve had moments where I was so sad I couldn’t move,” Sturmin related. But she told how when someone reached out, it helped her through it. “And now, for someone here tonight, I am reaching out to you. You are loved. We need you here.”

            “We are here to raise awareness of mental health issues that can lead to suicide,” said Taryn Hiatt, the Utah chair of the AFPS, of the “Out of the Darkness Walk” in Richfield. “Our events raise money to fund research into this leading cause, provide support and education for those that have been affected, and promote advocacy work, so we can change policy at the state and national level.”

            The AFPS web-site showed the event raised $11,078.87, from 495 participants. According to Hiatt, half of those funds go to the national organization, and half goes to the local community for education, training and support groups.

            Both the Richfield and Snow events gave ribbons or beads to the participants, with different colors denoted how suicide had impacted each participant. Purple indicates losing a friend or relative to suicide, while orange means the loss of a sibling. White shows that the survivor lost a child to suicide, and red means the person has lost a spouse or partner. Teal means the person is a friend or relative of someone who struggles with mental health issues, and green indicates a person has had their own struggles with suicidal ideation. And lastly, blue is the color for those who support the cause of suicide prevention.

The SafeUT smartphone app offers confidential, round-the-clock help for people experiencing a mental health crisis.

SafeUT app allows smartphone access to counselors, other help

By Robert Stevens

Managing Editor

9/4/2019

 

If you are struggling with a mental health crisis and have no one to talk too, your smartphone is the key to support from professional counselors on a confidential, no-cost platform.

Thanks to the SafeUT smartphone app, even people with little to no support network can get help in a time of need.

The app can be downloaded at the Apple App Store or on Google Play. Simply search for “SafeUT.”

The app, which has been around since 2015, offers text messaging with a crisis counselor, the ability to leave a confidential tip, and, if the user desires, a voice conversation, right from a smartphone.

According to SafeUT officials, in the last year, the app received hundreds of tips and crisis messages. As of early 2018, the ap had been downloaded 33,000 times and used 19,000 times.

SafeUT is designed to help with people struggling with depression, anxiety, loss, grief, bullying and cyberbullying, self-harming behavior, suicidal thoughts, or drug and alcohol problems.

With the app, you have a two-way communication with a SafeUT crisis counselor around the clock with password-protected services. In addition, tips can be submitted with picture and video.

SafeUT also has full Spanish speaking capability.

The SafeUT program was developed with funding from the Utah State Legislature in collaboration with University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute, the Utah State Office of Education, the Office of the Attorney General and the Utah Anti-Bullying Coalition.

 

 

[Read more…]

Joint Centerfield – Gunnison sewer project still in first phase, as engineers try to measure expansion needs

By Robert Stevens and Gage Schluseer

Staff writers

9/4/2019

 

A plan to upgrade the sewer system shared by Centerfield and Gunnison City is moving forward, but with some changes from the original plan.

In an interview with the Messenger, Garrick Willden, an engineer with Jones and Demille, explained the scope of the improvements.

The current and first phase of the project is meant to address several problems.

The first issue is accurately metering the sewage going into the sewer lagoon shared by Gunnison City and Centerfield City.

Willden says the metering issue creates a problem because it makes it hard to tell how well the lagoon is functioning and at what rate the amount of sewage is increasing each year.

“It’s important to have those measurements as a city to know what your expansion needs are and if you are reaching capacity,” Willden says.

The inability to meter is caused by the conjoined sewer system and the effect Centerfield City’s sewer output has on the Gunnison City meter.

When Centerfield’s sewage gets pumped through to the pipe where Gunnison and Centerfield sewers meet, it causes a backflow up the Gunnison City sewer pipe. That influx of reversed sewage throws off the meter and produces inaccurate readings, Willden says.

Willden plans to install a meter that measures the sewage flow velocity and levels with the aid of a laser. By installing the laser meter upstream a ways from the current meter, it will prevent inaccuracy in readings.

Another problem plaguing the Gunnison City sewer system is trash getting into it. Willden says this is in part due to a large amount of trash that comes through the sewer pipes at the Central Utah Correctional Facility, but also from trash being flushed down the drains of homes and businesses in Gunnison.

Although the sewer project originally planned to install an automated screening system to reduce the trash problem, Willden is now suggesting a manual system, which will not only save money, but the manual cleaning will help them understand the amount and type of trash coming down the pipe. That information will help them decide on any further action.

The original plan for the automated screen was going to set Gunnison City back more than $100,000, but the manual screening system will only cost about $3600 says Willden.

The third issue Willden is trying to solve is the strong odor that has become prevalent along the main Gunnison City sewer line, which effectively begins at the prison and runs through town until it reaches the lagoon.

Willden says he needs to speak with Gunnison prison officials to better understand their sewer system. If the problem with the smell comes from the main sewer line, it will require a different approach to combat than if the problem stems from prison sewage being held too long in a holding tank, causing it to run out of oxygen and go septic.

Willden says after these three problems are addressed, they will begin work on a next phase of the project, which will split the sewer lagoons in compartments that can be individually isolated, allowing for easier cleaning and maintenance of the lagoon.

“Construction on phase one of the project is set to begin soon” , Willden says.

Members of local veterans groups and of the Patriot Guard Riders, a Utah motorcycle group whose mission is to honor fallen heroes, lined up with flags at the back of the seating area during dedication of the Moroni veterans memorial last weekend.

Local veterans honored as Moroni dedicates memorial

By Suzanne Dean

Publisher

9/4/2019

 

MORONI—About 250 people gathered to dedicate the Moroni veteran’s memorial and to honor four local veterans last weekend.

The event on Saturday, Aug. 31 marked the near completion of a project to transform a weed-ridden lot at the east entrance of the city into a memorial graced by plants, flowers, pathways and a soldier statue.

The one element of the design that was not complete is a granite monument. It will arrive in about five weeks and be set up near the soldier statue. At that time, tiles  engraved with names of 689 local residents who have served in the military will be posted on both sides of the monument. For the dedication, the tiles were laid out at ground level in front of the podium.

“Let’s think of these names, 689 names of people from this little town who have defended the United States of America in one way or another,” Mayor Paul Bailey told the crowd.

Bailey said beautifying the corner and purchasing the various monument fixtures cost about $90,000. He said the land and all money spent had been donated—no city funds were used. And much of the landscaping had been done by volunteers.

Lining up with flags at the rear of the dedication crowd were local Boy Scouts, members of local veterans groups and the Patriot Guard Riders, a Utah motorcycle group whose mission is to honor fallen military heroes.

After Boy Scouts officiated at a flag ceremony, Tim Blackham, patriarch of the Moroni Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave the dedicatory prayer.

Then the American Legion set off a cannon salute, followed by a local band playing “Amazing Grace.” Band members included Dennis Davis, Doug Smith, Todd Hansen, David Simmons and Nicholas Simmons.

Most of the rest of the program was devoted to honoring the four veterans. The veterans or their family members represented conflicts from the Blackhawk War to Desert Storm.

The first was Elliot Arnoldson, 92, who served in World War II. He joined the Army the week after graduating from what was then Moroni High School. He spent two years in the Army, including time in the Philippines.

He used the GI bill to get his college education. He graduated from Snow College and Utah State University and ended up as an administrator in the North Sanpete School District.

He served as mayor of Moroni for eight years. His wife, LaRane, has passed away. They were married for 71 years

Another honoree was Paul Larson, who enlisted in the Marines three days after graduation from North Sanpete High School in 1968. Early the next year, while on leave, he married his wife, Kathy.

He served 11 months in Vietnam and was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon and other service medals.

While in Vietnam, he volunteered to provide security for doctors, medical corpsmen and dentists providing care to villagers. For this, the Vietnamese government awarded him the Civil Action Medal.

After his active-duty time, he spent 29 years in the Utah National Guard and Army Reserves, retiring 1997 as a lieutenant colonel. Since then, he has been active in veterans groups.

The third veteran, Jay Arnold Carter, graduated from high school in Sanpete County and then went to Salt Lake City for employment. In 1968, he was drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam.

He spent one year in the infantry in the Mekong Delta south of Saigon. He says it rained every day for six months, and was hot and dry for the other six months.

After returning to the Moroni, Jay joined the 1457th Engineer Battalion of the Utah National Guard stationed at Mt. Pleasant as a heavy equipment operator. He served in the guard for 29 years. Carter was deployed with his unit to serve in Iraq during Desert Storm.

Jay Carter and his wife, Mary, have lived in Moroni for 46 years. He worked at Nephi Rubber Products for 44 years.

The final veteran to be honored, Brent Bailey, joined the Utah National Guard when he was 17 and served for 28 years. He worked up to first sergeant in the 1457th Engineer Battalion and was deployed during Desert Storm.

He has a legacy of military service in his family. A great-grandfather served in the Blackhawk War. His grandfather served in World War I. And both his father and father-in-law served in served in World War II.

He married his high school sweetheart, Anita Mower. They have been married for 48 years.

Following the ceremony, numerous people in the audience came up to the tiles lined in front of the podium to look for names of relatives.

A sizeable crowd participates in a past Out of the Darkness Community Walk in Cedar City. This year, walks will be held in Brigham City, Salt Lake City, Vernal, Richfield, and St. George. The Richfield walk is next Saturday.

Groups to hold suicide prevention awareness events this month

By Suzanne Dean

Publisher

9/4/2019

 

A couple of national groups have designated September as a month when they especially focus on suicide awareness and prevention. And this coming Saturday, Sept. 7, one of the national programs will be staged in Central Utah for the first time.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has designated September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. And the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has declared Sept. 8-14 as National Suicide Prevention Week.

The most visible events during the month are the “Out of the Darkness Community Walks,” sponsored by AFSP. There are six such walks scheduled in Utah during the month, including one in Richfield on Sept. 7.

A suicide prevention walk is also being held next Tuesday, Sept. 10 at the Snow College practice field at approximately 300 East and College Avenue, sponsored by the Wellness Center and Black Canyon Cross Fit in Mt. Pleasant.

While most of the publicity about the Snow walk has been directed to students, the public is also invited. You can register on-line at www.racevents.com. Or you can register in person at the practice field at 5 p.m. A program starts at 6 p.m. The event includes a 1-mile walk and a 5K run. Prizes will be awarded to the top three 5K runners.

For the Richfield event, individuals and teams have been gathering donations and pledges from family, friends and businesses, or donating money themselves.

As of Sept. 1, a web page for the Richfield walk reported 126 registered walkers and 17 registered teams had raised $7,700, exceeding the original goal of $5,000.

The Richfield Out of the Darkness Walk will be held at the Lion’s Park, 575 W. 400 North. Registration begins at 9 a.m. The walk begins at 10 a.m. and goes for about one mile around the park and through nearby residential neighborhoods.

Registration is free, but the suggested donation level is $150 per walker. Each walker who donates $150 gets a T-shirt.

One element of Out of the Darkness walks is wearing “honor beads.” These are strings of beds of varying colors signifying the walker’s connection with suicide.

For example, white beads mean the person has lost a child to suicide. Orange signifies loss of a sibling. Red represents loss of a spouse or partner. Gold is for loss of a parent. And green is for a personal struggle or suicide attempt. A walker can also wear blue to simply support suicide prevention.

To find the web page for the Richfield walk, type “Out of the Darkness Walk Central Utah” into your browser. The contact for the event is Tracy Balch, who can be reached at tbalch31@hotmail.com or at (435) 201-0794.

There is one other local event related to suicide prevention during the month. Sanpete Valley Hospital in Mt. Pleasant will stage a QPR training Monday, Sept. 16 from 12-3 p.m. in the west conference room.

QPR stands for “Question, Persuade, Refer,” a paradigm for getting help for someone having suicidal ideation. QPR is analogous to administering CPR in medical emergencies.

The training is free and open to anyone. For information, call the hospital at 462-2441.