Cox pledges to take campaign and motorhome to all 248 incorporated communities in Utah

6-13-2019

 

MORGAN—Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox of Fairview kicked off his campaign run for governor in Morgan County last week with an ambitious pledge.

Cox said he his wife, Abby, would visit not just all 29 counties, but all 248 incorporated cities and towns in Utah. And while the Coxes are in many of the towns, they will do some community service.

In fact, the Coxes have already planted trees in Francis and stocked food pantry shelves in Park City, both in Summit County; assembled lunches and hygiene kits in Heber City and helped remove old flowers from the cemetery in Wahlsburg, both in Wasatch County; filled potholes in Naples, Uintah County; and painted fire hydrants in Duchesne, Duchesne County.

Cox’s campaign is attracting interest and possibly some soft support, even from Democrats. In Sanpete County, Serenity Kimball, Democratic county chairman, along with Joe Bennion and Lisa Potter, both Spring City artists, have shared a video of Cox standing in front of his campaign motor home on their Facebook pages.

In a “Take 2” broadcast with Heidi Hatch of KUTV at the end of May, Jim Debakis, a former Democratic state senator and Democratic state party chairman, conceded the Utah party doesn’t yet have a viable candidate for governor and quipped that if Abby Cox would run, he might support her.

Cox announced his pledge to visit every city and town in a video shot in front of the big green motor home, which features a list of the 248 towns on back.

“When we decided to run for governor, Abby and I talked about something we could do that’s different,” Cox says in the video. “Everybody visits all 29 counties, and we want to do something that’s never been done before. And so we are excited to announce today, as an announced candidate for governor, we are going to be visiting all 248 incorporated cities and towns in the great state of Utah.”

“…Our next governor needs to be able to look the people of Utah in the eye,” he says, “and understand where they’re from, and understand their stories.”

Cox reiterates his pledge to run a clean campaign focused on issues not attacks. “But we want to go one step further,” he says. “We want to make this campaign a force for good. So as we’re visiting all 248 of you, we’re going to be doing service projects.”

Fairview considers reclamation facility to meet new standard

By Angela Marx Thompson

Staff Writer

6-13-2019

 

FAIRVIEW—The Fairview City Council is looking into designing a water reclamation facility to meet new EPA water standards for phosphate.

Fairview, along with all other cities in Utah, is required to address phosphate levels in the city’s sewer treatment system in accordance with new EPA standards, said Mayor David Taylor.

The city would need to either address the situation with additional chemical treatments or put a water reclamation facility into production. The council determined at a meeting May 16 that while the chemical treatment route would be more cost effective, it would not provide a lasting solution.

The reclaimed waste water might potentially augment the city’s irrigation supply and the city’s cemetery could be the initial recipient of the newly reclaimed water, the council decided.

Thus, the city is just beginning to explore alternatives to enhancing or upgrading its sewer treatment facility, Mayor Taylor said. “There is nothing to report on the size or scope of the project,” he said. “We are just in the exploration stages.”

With the Fairview Canyon mudslide taking out the “spring line,” the city is focusing on getting the water line fixed first, Mayor Taylor said.

Nonetheless, the new law requires a solution to be identified by the end of this year, with a working solution implemented by the end of 2022.

And it looks like the initial engineering design by Horrocks Engineering will cost about $100,000.

Drew Giger, Horrocks project engineer, indicated that a feasibility survey was complete and that the project could successfully move into the design phase. Giger estimated that the cost of the engineering design would come to $100,000. This money would essentially need to be “cash out of pocket” for the city as the design is required before any monetary assistance, such as a Community Impact Board (CIB) project grant, can be applied for.

Councilman Cliff Wheeler noted that the current tentative budget would have to be amended as this money had not been considered when the budget was drafted. Giger committed Horrocks to working at the council’s pace. He indicated that if the city needed to pay overtime, then Horrocks would schedule resources accordingly, with no need to pay a lump sum up front.

Mayor Taylor reminded the council that the application for CIB project funding would need to be completed in January of 2020. The council noted that this was a necessary project step and committed to finding the necessary funds in an upcoming work meeting before the budget was finalized at the June council meeting.

It is anticipated that Horrocks will receive the green light to finish their design work by the end of June and Giger anticipated no difficulty in completing design work by November, giving the council time to get the application completed and submitted by January.

Manti discusses pedestrian safety signs, regulations

By Collin Overton

Staff Writer

6-13-2019

 

MANTI—Linda Nielsen, owner of Manti Mercantile Village, called for the city council to enact laws for wheeled vehicles on sidewalks at a meeting June 4, citing safety concerns.

Nielsen recalled several instances in which customers were hit or nearly hit by children on bikes and skateboards, in addition to property damage at her storefront. She brought copies of Provo and Salt Lake City laws that banned wheeled vehicles on certain sidewalks, and urged the city to adopt similar regulations.

“One of my customers stepped down off the steps and was knocked off her feet by a little girl on a bike,” Nielsen said. “My customer was really shook and so was the little girl….Fortunately, she wasn’t going very fast and so there were minor injuries, but my customer was very shook up and the fall was jarring. She said to me, ‘Don’t they have bike laws in this town?’”

Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem Jason Vernon, who was filling in for Mayor Korry Soper, said he did not think Manti had an ordinance for bicycle use, but now would be a good time to start discussing it. One challenge to prohibiting bike use on Main Street, he said, would be that it interferes with children’s’ routes to schools. It would be something the city would have to work around.

Nielsen also suggested the city add speed signage on the south end of town, as she’d seen countless commercial trucks speed past her storefront at 50 to 60 miles per hour. Another Manti business owner, Linda Collins, agreed. She said the problem was especially bad at night and that it was hard to get police there in a timely manner.

Councilman Gary Chidester asserted that there was signage on the south end for speed reduction. Nielsen retorted that the signs should be bigger and be as visible to drivers as the signs on the north end. Vernon assured Nielsen that the city would consult the sheriff’s department about patrolling the area more often.

Michelle Serra, Collin’s sister, also stepped up to the podium and said there should be a light on Union Street to slow drivers down.

“There are many times we hear cars screeching to a halt and horns honking,” Serra said. “I’ll go out and there’s someone walking across the street—children, people in wheelchairs…they cannot get across that intersection safely.”

Councilman Jason Maylett seconded the idea, and said he saw it often when he owned a store in the same area.

The council also heard from Manti Public Works Director Cory Hatch, who gave his monthly update and proposed a new chip seal project.

All streets that are currently road-based, including the industrial park and three full blocks on 600 West will be crowned and double-chipped this year, Hatch said. Road crews will also touch up the road north of Manti Elementary School, 500 South, 400 East and 500 West, to name a few.

The council went into executive session for an hour to discuss property negotiation to close out the meeting.

Ephraim City grapples with $518K shortfall in draft budget for 2019-20

By James Tilson

Associate Editor

6-13-2019

 

EPHRAIM—The Ephraim City Council met last week to cut spending, with hopes of coming close to balancing the budget for the coming year.

The regular city council meeting on Wednesday June 5 was set aside to solely discuss how to get the city budget closer, at least, to a balanced budget.

Ephraim Finance Director Steve Widmer told the council the budget had a shortfall of $518,485. “However, we don’t’ have to go all the way to $500,000 in cuts, even $250,000 would do,” he said.

Widmer started by informing the council two projected expenses originally in the budget were being withdrawn. A backhoe purchase requested by the power department would instead be a lease, saving the city $28,000. And the fire department had withdrawn a request for new equipment as well, saving another $8,500.

The council examined a list of non-repeating expenditures drawn up by Widmer, and debated on what programs they could cut. Even on this list, there were a number of items that were deemed too important.

Expenses like installing culinary pipe in the Ephraim Tunnel, and the new culinary well, were not even brought up for discussion by the council. Certain others, such as an affordable housing study and an industrial park survey, were brought up, but city staff explained why those items were absolutely necessary.

“The state legislature is requiring these studies to be done,” said City Engineer Bryan Kimball, explaining why the two studies were a necessary expense. “And they are starting to withhold funding if they are not done.”

An item that did engender some debate was a proposed remodeling of the city hall to install safety (bullet-proof) glass between the public and city employees. The budget set aside $100,000 for the project, but as the city did not have bids for the project there was some uncertainty whether that would be enough money.

“I believe this is a very important project,” said Councilman Tyler Alder, “but I’d rather do it right, and get bids and architects first.”

Councilman John Scott agreed with Alder. “Let’s wait a year. The police department is in the city hall. We should look into CIB (Community Impact Board) funding and do a better job next year.”

Pursuant to a motion from Councilmen Richard Wheeler and Greg Boothe, the funding was reduced to $20,000 in order to hire architects to develop plans, which could then be used to look for grant funding.

Finally, after a number of other requests were cut, the council was able to cut $238,000 from the budget. However, the council could not see any other budget lines which they did not think were absolutely necessary. Upon being asked, Widmer told the council, “I am comfortable with that amount of cuts,” and the council agreed to draft the new budget based on the cuts they had made.

Widmer had one other issue to bring up with the council before the end of the meeting. He told the council, “The water fund is dry.” He explained based on this year’s expenditures out of the water fund, there would be very little left over at the end of the year. Even though water rates had been raised earlier this year, Widmer warned the council would have to get in the habit of making small, gradual changes to the rates in order to keep up with the changes in the cost of living.

Widmer said the council should expect to deal with this issue again this coming winter.

Six County AOG goals include natural gas pipeline and new industrial site

By Collin Overton

Staff Writer

6-13-2019

 

A new industrial site and natural gas pipeline in Sanpete County could soon be in the works, according to economic goals outlined the Six County Association of Governments’ (AOG) 2019 development strategy.

The Six County AOG, which comprises Sanpete, Juab, Millard, Piute, Sanpete and Wayne Counties, writes the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) every five years to bolster industry in the region.

The newest strategy includes providing “political support for Millard and Sanpete counties to obtain permits and financing to develop a natural gas pipeline to unserved areas.” The AOG would like to develop and plan an industrial site location in Juab County and Sanpete Counties. It also proposes to add more four-year programs, as well as entrepreneurial courses to Snow College.

County Commissioners Scott Bartholomew and Edwin Sutherland could not give specifics on when or how those projects would be started this early on. But the document outlines other potential areas for growth, as well as Sanpete County’s projected population growth over time.

The AOG expects the county’s population to inflate by 50 percent by 2060 to about 46,000 people. This is compared to Juab County, which would only reach 28,000, but grow over 100 percent, and Sevier, which could reach 32,000 by 2060 and grow 40 percent. Sanpete is still expected to comprise about 35 percent of the six county region’s population by 2060.

Sanpete’s biggest sectors for employment are government and trade, transport and utilities, which account for almost 50 percent of the six-county region’s employers. The document noted a significant gap between these two areas and sectors like education, health, social services, hospitality and manufacturing. The predominance of public lands and national forests accounted for much of this, as 83 percent of the region is public lands.

“Even though the amount of public land in the region is viewed as a liability, it can also be recognized as a great asset when it comes to tourism and recreational opportunities,” the document read.

Potential ways this could happen would be through the multiple use of public lands like Manti-La Sal, Fishlake and Uinta National Forests. This could mean converting a fraction of the lands for uses like recreation, grazing and lumber, Bartholomew said.

Sutherland said he expected to see transportation as a sector grow, as northern development on the Wasatch Front continues to put demands on nearby areas like Sanpete.

Strengths are the availability of a rural lifestyle, open space and quality of life. It comes at a cost, however, as the county and region show a slower growth rate, lower educational attainment, higher poverty and lower per capita and median family income from that of the state and Unites States, the report noted. The result is lower growth, 2.1 percent when compared to Utah at 5 percent.

The document also hints at a potential short line railroad through Sanpete County, as it currently has no rail service. A feasibility and environmental impact study is being conducted to determine the plausibility of building a railroad to serve Sanpete and Sevier Counties.

“We just don’t want to restrict anything,” Bartholomew said. “Mining, timber, everything that needs to be put into place. It’s needed.”

Attorney seeks health evaluation of client charged in police shooting

By James Tilson

Associate Editor

6-13-2019

 

MANTI—A Spring City man charged with shooting at police officers had his attorney ask for more time to obtain mental health evaluations on his client.

Paul Harward, 53, is charged with attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, two counts of felony discharge of a firearm, a third-degree felony, and threat of violence, a Class B misdemeanor for his action on March 18.

Police were called to Harward’s residence when a woman called 911, saying Harward had shot at her. The county sheriff’s office and a SWAT team from Provo surrounded the residence, and tried to talk Harward out of the building. However, after about two and a half hours, Harward came out shooting at the police. The police returned fire, and disabled Harward.

Harward’s attorney, Richard Gale, told Judge Eric Ludlow the State had made a plea offer; however, Gale still needed to get an evaluation to see whether Harward was competent to stand trial, and/or did not understand what he was
doing at the time of the crime.

Judge Ludlow continued the case until July 3.

Centerfield seeking CIB grant to renovate aging city hall

By Gage Slusser

Staff Writer

 

CENTERFIELD—The town council discussed replacing their city hall before the old building collapses at their meeting on June 5.

Centerfield has submitted a $350,000 matching grant to the Community Impact Board (CIB) to demolish and rebuild the existing city hall, according to city officials. This means the CIB will contribute $175,000 and the city will have to come up with another $175,000 in matching funds. Centerfield will know if their grant has been accepted in October.

In the meantime, a public hearing has been scheduled for June 19 to discuss the project. City officials have been thinking about replacing city hall for a couple of years now, because the building has become structurally unsound.

According to Mayor Tom Sorenson, the floor joists are each held up by two stacked sandstone blocks. “If we had an earthquake,” he said, “the building would collapse in on itself.”

The mayor went on to describe the cracks in the foundation and the separation on the northwest corner.

Jed Hansen, the Gunnison Valley Fire Chief, has expressed on numerous occasions that he would rather cope with a building with fewer code violations. The asbestos in the attic and the absence of any exits other than the front door top the list of his concerns.

The contemplated layouts of the new building would address these concerns as well as solve several issues regarding improved functionality and access.

City Recorder Lacey Belnap and Treasurer Tammy Winegar were recognized for their organization efforts to secure funding. Mayor Sorensen also noted that funding for a water project had progressed even further and he again expressed his gratitude for the effort of the administrative officers and the council. The CIB is also the source of funding for the water project.

Other routine business was discussed, such as street asphalt applications and improved legibility of street signs. Some of the ‘Yield’ signs could only be discerned by their shape and some of the street signs were either missing or illegible to drivers.

Suggested text for an ordinance outlining the payment of building permits was discussed with council members tasked with researching the boilerplate of similar ordinances in other municipalities.

Rachel Jensen reported on the preparations for the upcoming Pioneer Day celebration. Her dialogue with the council touched on the success of last year’s event and where additional help might best be used.

Suggestions were made regarding the use of revenue from the event to make improvements in the park. An additional pavilion was contemplated and left for future discussion.

Man charged with forcible sodomy, exploitation of Sanpete teenager

By James Tilson

Associate Editor

6-13-2019

 

Adam Barrick has been charged with a first-degree felony of forcible sodomy.

MANTI—An Ogden man has been charged with exchanging nude pictures and having sex with his 16 year old niece in Sanpete County.

Adam Barrick, 32, of Ogden, faces charges of forcible sodomy, a first-degree felony, one count of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony, and two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, also a second-degree felony.

Barrick appeared last Wednesday in 6th District Court for his initial appearance, where he was appointed defense counsel Dana Facemeyer.

According to the probable cause statement, this matter came to police attention when the victim’s mother found suspicious activity on her minor daughter’s cell phone social media account, and called the county sheriff.

The sheriff’s office interviewed the minor victim, and she admitted she had been having sexual activity with Barrick for two years, and admitted sending and receiving nude images with Barrick.

After obtaining a warrant, officers arrested Barrick, and conducted an interview. During the interview, Barrick admitted to sending and receiving nude images with his niece, as well as having oral sex with her.

Barrick is scheduled to appear again in court on June 12 for a preliminary hearing.

Spring City passes 2019-20 budget; Sorensen announces Cynthia DeGrey is candidate for mayor

By James Tilson

Associate Editor

6-13-2019

 

SPRING CITY—At last week’s Spring City Council meeting, the council approved next year’s budget, and Mayor Neil Sorensen, who is not seeking reelection, announced that a former city council member would be running for mayor. The council held a public hearing on next year’s budget and made final adjustments to last year’s budget before the start of the regular city council meeting. Several people attended the public hearing, although not many spoke up.

Budget documents showed that the city expected to make $12,000 revenue from fighting fires during the last budget year. Due to unexpected opportunities, Spring City’s fire department was able to net revenues of $130,040. A reporter asked if the city expected to the level of revenues again.

Mayor Neil Sorensen explained the unusually wet weather this spring would create a significant possibility of wildfire. He said the weather would promote growth of grasses in the higher elevations. Lightning strikes could ignite the grasses this summer, sending Spring City’s fire department to out on wildfire duties again.

A follow-up question was whether the fire department was still looking for a “fire boss” in order to go to more wildfires. Councilman Cody Harmer answered that the council would not hire a fire boss this year, but the city had alternative arrangements for to enable its fire truck to go out while still covering any fires in the city. Harmer said Spring City would “aggressively” seek revenue opportunities for their crew.

The only other questions during the public hearing dealt with the city’s funding of celebratory events. Without any other comment, the council ended the hearing, and then approved the budgets without change.

During the regular meeting, Councilman Joe McGriff brought up the subject of city celebrations again. McGriff told the audience he had been working with city event planner Yvonne Wright to plan a “big event” for the city’s July 24th celebration. They had done this at least in part because of several comments regarding the need for more children’s activities during the celebration.

Cynthia DeGrey and Elizabeth Allred also spoke to the need for more children’s activities. DeGrey said she had spoken about this issue in the past and was now working to compile a list of volunteers to help with children’s activities.

Allred volunteered her services as well, saying she wanted “stand behind” her earlier statements and she wanted to “make the celebration something that would draw people from across the state.”

During the meeting, Sorensen said he was pleased to announce DeGrey had also filed to run for mayor of Spring City. (Cami Holloway has also filed to run for mayor). Sorensen stated he was glad someone else had filed to run, as he was not going to be running for mayor after his term ended.

DeGrey is retired after a 39 year career in administration at the Central Utah Counseling Center in Ephraim. She had previously served on Spring City’s Council, DeGrey stated she has “no agenda, no axes to grind,” meaning she had no complaint with the current administration. She decided to run because “I’ve been a Spring City resident all my life, and I love Spring City. I care about it a lot, and I want to take this opportunity to help improve things.”

Death penalty sought for Julio Garza

By James Tilson

Associate Editor

6-13-2019

 

The prosecution is seeking the death penalty against Julio Cesar Garza.

 

MANTI—A prisoner at the Central Utah Correctional Unit accused of murdering another prisoner in 2016 had his case continued another 60 days to complete reviewing his case documents before entering his plea.

 

Julio Cesar Garza, 28, has been charged with the aggravated murder of Carlos-Adrian Hernandez, and Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels is seeking the death penalty for the crime.

Garza appeared in 6th District Court last Wednesday for his arraignment with his attorney Richard Gale. However, before entering guilty or not guilty plea, Gale told Judge Eric Ludlow he and his client still needed to review documents from the department of corrections.

Judge Ludlow set the next hearing in the case for August 14. The probable cause statement in the homicide case states that Garza and Hernandez resided in the same cell at CUCF. On Aug. 25, 2016, officers heard a disturbance coming
from their cell.

The investigating officer, looking in the cell, saw Hernandez lying on the floor with blood from his waist up. Garza was also sitting in the cell, apparently unharmed.

Video footage from a surveillance camera showed Garza punching into Hernandez’ bunk and then pulling Hernandez off the bunk onto the floor. Garza then kicked and jumped on Hernandez multiple times, for several minutes.

Hernandez later passed away at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center from his injuries.

Culinary water well almost complete, Ephraim to move on to other infrastructure improvements

By James Tilson

Associate Editor

6-13-2019

 

EPHRAIM—Digging out the new culinary water well in Ephraim is almost finished, and the city will start working on other infrastructure improvements over the rest of the summer.

According to Ephraim city engineer Bryan Kimball, the digging of the new well “had some hiccups,” but is nearly complete with only a few technical requirements left to finish.

“We just have the final pump testing of the capacity of the aquifer to help size the pump appropriately,” said Kimball. Presently, there is a concrete cap on the hole to prevent ground contamination, and the city is getting ready to go to the next phase of construction.

“The next phase is the completion of the pump house building, and the multiple connecting pipelines that will tie the new well into our system. That work will be ongoing in several phases throughout the summer, with some portions of that work going into the fall.”

Kimball added the well may be available for emergency use in the late summer and fall, should water shortages again rear their head. “Even though we had favorable weather so far,” said Kimball, “it could still turn bad and present a problem for the city if the rain all dries up…”

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