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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