Lamb day grand marshals love to work, love their community

 

Lyle Fletcher

Staff Writer

Lamb Days Grand Marshals Yvonne and Robert Don Hansen

FOUNTAIN GREEN—Born on Labor Day in 1947, Robert Don Hansen of Fountain Green has been laboring ever since.

He and his wife, Yvonne, have made labor their lives as they have worked to build a family, gain an education and teach others, serve in their church and community and labor in their careers.

The Hansens have been selected as the grand marshals for this year’s Lamb Days in Fountain Green.

Robert Don was born on Monday, Sept. 1, 1947, truly a “labor day” for his mother, Dorothy B. Johansen, and his father, Don Farrell Hansen.

Called “Bobby” by his family and friends as he grew up on the farm west of Fountain Green, Bob experienced the down-to-earth good old things that young boys in rural Utah enjoyed.

He attended Fountain Green Elementary, North Sanpete Junior High in Moroni and North Sanpete High School in Mt. Pleasant where he graduated in 1965.

Almost as a rite of passage, he moved to Ephraim where he roomed with other young men and attended his freshman year at Snow College.

As his 19th year approached, he put in his LDS mission papers and was called to the Southern States Mission headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., serving from Sept. 1966 to 1968.

On his return from his mission, he continued his education at Snow College, this time living at home and driving to Ephraim.

Upon his graduation in 1969, he worked the summer helping various farmers in Fountain Green and transferred to BYU, living in a basement apartment off campus.

During that semester, just before Christmas, he met a transfer student from Arizona, Yvonne Smith, who was in his BYU ward.

He moved back to Fountain Green and continued to commute to school with his brother, Dean.

Bob and Yvonne continued to date, became engaged and were married on Sept. 11, 1970, in the Mesa Arizona Temple.

They lived in Orem and continued their schooling at BYU, traveling to Fountain Green on the weekends to visit family.

Bob and Yvonne graduated from BYU in May 1971. Bob earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and Yvonne a bachelor’s degree in special education and elementary education.

Bob found employment in Red Rock, Ariz., as a mill manager of a private feedlot, and the couple moved to sunny, hot Arizona in Sept. 1971, expecting their first baby.

Liesl Marie Hansen was born in Tucson, Ariz., in October. The following month, Bob, Yvonne and Liesl moved to Fountain Green for the winter.

Bob found work as marshal of Fountain Green City, worked at Moroni Feed Company Hatchery and finally found his niche at Nephi Rubber Products in Nephi in sales.

James Robert Hansen was born in April 1973. James developed cancer and had treatments then died in May 1976.

Lea Ann Hansen was born in March 1975.

In 1977, Bob secured a job in sales and moved his family to Billings, Mont., and traveled throughout three states.

Sean Nelson Hansen was born in April 1977.

In 1978, Nephi Rubber Products reached out to Bob and asked him to return and become customer service manager. Bob worked in Nephi and built the family a new home in Fountain Green after hours. The home-building took about a year to complete.

Aaron McRae Hansen was born in Feb. 1980. Rebecca Dianne Hansen followed two years later in 1982.

In 1983, Yvonne started teaching special education in Moroni half days for North Sanpete School district.

In 1987, Dorothy Nicole Hansen was born in September, and Yvonne taught special education and third grade half day at Fountain Green Elementary.

Bob and Yvonne are the parents of six living children and the grandparents of 10 grandchildren.

Andrea Joe Thompson, who lived with the family for six years, has given them five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren that live in New Mexico and are able to see them occasionally.

Yvonne retired from school teaching in 2011 and Bob from Nephi Rubber Products in 2013. They served in the Florida Orlando Mission from 2013 to 2015, a total of 23 months.

Bob’s church service includes two full-time missions, seventy, counselor in two bishoprics, high council, bishop, Young Men advisor, Scoutmaster, district Scout committee, Gospel Doctrine teacher, bishops’ storehouse missionary and Primary teacher.

Yvonne’s church service includes Primary president, Primary teacher, stake Primary president, Relief Society presidencies, Young Women president, Relief Society teacher, full-time mission, Gospel Doctrine teacher and bishops’ storehouse missionary.

Bob has served in many community capacities, such as the town marshall, Fountain Green justice of the peace, president of Fountain Green Irrigation Company, Fountain Green Lamb Day Committee and Fountain Green Lions Club.

Yvonne volunteers at Fountain Green Elementary, Fountain Green City Library, Fountain Green Lions Club and Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.

Both of them love serving as ordinance workers in the Manti Temple and look forward to more years of loving labor and service for the LDS Church and their beloved community of Fountain Green.

Republican primary canvass results released

 

James Tilson

Staff Writer

7/12/18

            MANTI—The Republican primary election results for Sanpete County are now official. The Sanpete County Commission approved the election canvas and audit results at the commission meeting on Tuesday.

County Clerk Sandy Neill said the audit approved at the Tuesday, July 2 meeting confirmed that election results did not change from election night.

However, Neill did relate a humorous story of election clerks validating the ballots. On one particular ballot, the clerks noticed the signature on the ballot did not match their records. The clerks called the voter and he finally admitted that he had his wife sign for him, Neill said.

“If you told her to sign for you, it still doesn’t count,” she said.

The voter came away impressed the clerks’ effort to check the ballots.

Out of 7,630 registered Republican voters, 4,251 actually cast ballots, for a turnout of 55.71 percent. In the commission seat A race, Edwin Sunderland got 2,256 votes (or 55 percent) to Justin Atkinson’s 1, 851 votes (45 percent).

In the precincts, Atkinson showed well in the southern parts of the county, winning Axtell SSD, Centerfield City, Ephraim City 2, Fayette Town, Gunnison City, Manti City 1, Mayfield City and Sterling. Atkinson also won Mt. Pleasant City 1 and Spring City precincts. But Sunderland won all the other northern and central Sanpete precincts.

In the state Senate race, Mitt Romney won the Sanpete vote 2,833 (67 percent) to Mike Kennedy’s 1,406 (33 percent).

Election canvas numbers change nothing

By James Tilson

Staff writer

7-5-2018

MANTI—The Republican primary election results for Sanpete County are now official. The Sanpete County Commission approved the election canvas and audit results at the commission meeting on Tuesday.

County Clerk Sandy Neill said the audit approved at the Tuesday, July 2 meeting confirmed that election results did not change from election night.

However, Neill did relate a humorous story of election clerks validating the ballots. On one particular ballot, the clerks noticed the signature on the ballot did not match their records. The clerks called the voter and he finally admitted that he had his wife sign for him, Neill said.

“If you told her to sign for you, it still doesn’t count,” she said.

The voter came away impressed the clerks’ effort to check the ballots.

Out of 7,630 registered Republican voters, 4,251 actually cast ballots, for a turnout of 55.71 percent. In the commission seat A race, Edwin Sunderland got 2,256 votes (or 55 percent) to Justin Atkinson’s 1, 851 votes (45 percent).

In the precincts, Atkinson showed well in the southern parts of the county, winning Axtell SSD, Centerfield City, Ephraim City 2, Fayette Town, Gunnison City, Manti City 1, Mayfield City and Sterling. Atkinson also won Mt. Pleasant City 1 and Spring City precincts. But Sunderland won all the other northern and central Sanpete precincts.

In the state Senate race, Mitt Romney won the Sanpete vote 2,833 (67 percent) to Mike Kennedy’s 1,406 (33 percent).

Agencies limit fires outside incorporated areas

7/5/2018

            Numerous government agencies have issued fire restrictions affecting six counties in Utah, including Sanpete County.

These fire restrictions began last Sunday and will be in force until further notice is given.

The press release from the Central Utah Fire Interagency states, “Due to increasing potential for human-caused wildfire activity, dry conditions and high fire danger in central Utah, Interagency Fire Managers are implementing fire restrictions beginning Sunday, July 1 at 00:01 a.m.”

All Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in Sanpete County, along with all unincorporated privately owned land and all state-administered lands (Utah Division of Forestry Fire and State Lands) have the following fire restrictions (all these acts are prohibited):

  1. Igniting, building, maintaining, or using a fire (including charcoal and briquettes) outside a fire structure provided by the agency within a designated area is prohibited. All debris burning is strictly prohibited.
  2. Discharging or using any kind of fireworks on unincorporated private land (always prohibited on state and federal lands).
  3. Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark-arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order as determined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) recommended practices J335 and J350.
  4. Detonating of explosives, incendiary or chemical devices, pyrotechnics, or exploding targets or tracer ammunition (always prohibited on federal land).
  5. Cutting, welding or grinding of metal in areas of dry vegetation.
  6. Smoking except in an enclosed vehicle or building, or a developed recreation site or areas of a minimum of three feet in diameter cleared down to mineral soil.

All classes of fireworks are prohibited on these Sanpete County lands, and these fire restrictions apply also to Juab, Millard, Sevier, Wayne and Piute counties.

The press release adds, “Incorporated towns and cities are not included in these restrictions. (Contact your local fire department for municipal restrictions.)”

The restrictions also apply to four ranger districts in Fishlake National Forest and to Capitol Reef National Park.

In campgrounds and picnic areas, campfires are permitted in permanently constructed cement or metal fire pits, and charcoal burning is permitted in permanent fire rings or grills constructed of metal or concrete.

Also permitted are devices fueled by petroleum or liquid petroleum gas.

The press release also states vehicles are one of the prime causes of wildfires in Utah and provides a few helpful instructions to prevent sparks.

When hauling a trailer, secure the trailer chains, and check under the vehicle for anything hanging or dragging.

Check tire pressure to avoid blow-outs. Driving on an exposed wheel rim can cause sparks.

Be careful driving through or parking on dry grass or brush. Hot exhaust pipes can start the grass on fire.

Keep vehicle maintenance up to date.

Information on fires in Utah is at www.utahfireinfo.gov.

Sanpete Beat

Drum corps shows off at Badger Stadium

7/5/2018

The Battalion’s drum line marches during the performance of “I See Red” at the Sanpete Beat last Saturday at Snow College.

EPHRAIM—The blast of horns and drums you may have heard coming from Ephraim Saturday night was not an early Fourth of July celebration.

It was a free performance titled “Sanpete Beat” at Badger Stadium by The Battalion, a group of energetic teen musicians from 15 states.

The teens have spent thee past month residence at Snow College getting ready for upcoming competitions.

The Battalion is part of Drum Corp International (DCI), an organization formed in 1971, which organizes competitions among corps-style marching bands all over the United States.

DCI includes 24 “world”-class corps, 22 “open”-class corps and one “international” corps from the Netherlands. All members under 21 and audition for positions in the corps.

Katherine Steinaker, corps director of The Battalion, explained that The Battalion is a very young corps, having only been formed in 2014.

“A group of friends got together and decided to bring DCI to Utah,” she said.

Their first year performing was 2016, when the group had just over 100 members. This year, it has 151 members. Members play a variety of brass or percussion instruments, or perform with the flag corps. No woodwinds are used in their performances.

Steinaker said, “We have members from 15 different states, mostly from Utah and Colorado, but also from the east coast, Hawaii, the south and the Midwest.” Several of their members are Snow College students.

More than 300 musicians auditioned for 151 spots for this year. Auditions run from December to May for a season that begins in July.

The Battalion’s competition season this year goes from July 4 through July 25 and includes meets in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Colorado and California.

The Battalion’s drum line plays with intensity during the performance of “I See Red” at the Sanpete Beat last Saturday at Snow College.

The group will participate in two events in Utah. On July 11, it will perform at Weber State University in Ogden in a competition called “Corps Encore” and on July 23, it will be at Alta High School in Sandy for an event called “Drums Along the Wasatch.”

Steinaker related how, since The Battalion was so young, its organizers wanted to be “financially smart” and build toward eventually competing at the National DCI Finals in Indianapolis, Ind. in the second week of August. Steinaker believes The Battalion will be able to compete at the national championship within three to five years. Until then, the highlight of The Battalion’s season will be the Open Class Pacific Championships in Pleasant Hill, Calif. on July 21.

Shaffer pleads guilty, sentenced to 15-year to life for child sodomy

 

By James Tilson

Staff writer

7/5/2018

Samuel Shaffer, above, co-defendant to John Coltharp in the Knights of the Crystal Blade case, looks on as he awaits his court hearing on June 27. Shaffer plead guilty to one count of sodomy.

MANTI—The co-founder of the Knights of the Crystal Blade has entered a guilty plea in a negotiation where he will testify against his co-defendant.

Samuel Shaffer pleaded guilty to one count of sodomy on a child, a first-degree felony. The remaining four counts of his indictment were dismissed.

Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels told Judge Marvin Bagley that Shaffer was guilty of engaging in oral copulation with a child under the age of 14, as part of his association with the Knights of the Crystal Blade cult.

Daniels explained to Bagley that Shaffer was getting a lenient plea deal because of his willingness to testify against his co-defendant, John Coltharp. Shaffer’s testimony was the “tipping point” leading to Coltharp’s own guilty plea on June 13.

As part of the plea deal, Daniels had agreed that Shaffer could be sentenced to only 15 years to life, which was shorter than the statutory range of 25 years to life for a first-degree felony. Daniels explained that Utah statute 76-5-403.1(4)(a)(3)(i) allowed for this deviation when it was in the “interest of justice.”

Judge Bagley, accepting the recommendation from Daniels, said he understood how much work went into crafting the plea agreement, as well as his own desire to spare the victim of the crime from having to testify in open court against Shaffer.

Bagley asked Shaffer if he had anything to say before he was sentenced. Shaffer replied, “More than anything, I want the victim to know it’s OK that she [would] testify against me, and she shouldn’t feel guilty about it.”

Bagley then asked Shaffer why he did it. Shaffer said, “I sincerely believed child marriage was a correct principle from God. Since I’ve seen the impact on the victim, I now think that it is a wrong view.”

Sunderland feels ‘really fortunate’ to win commission primary

 

By James Tilson

Staff writer

7/5/2018

Edwin Sunderland, the new Republican Party nominee for the open Sanpete County Commission seat.

MANTI—The primary election has just wrapped up, but the vacant seat for Sanpete County Commissioner has probably been filled.

Edwin Sunderland won the Republican Party nomination for the commission seat being vacated by Claudia Jarrett. He did so by defeating Justin Atkinson on Tuesday, June 26 by approximately 55 to 45 percent.

Since Sanpete County is overwhelmingly Republican, his election in November is virtually assured.

Sanpete County Clerk Sandy Neill said the final vote count from the primary would not be released until Tuesday July 3 (after press time), when the county commission officially canvases the results.

Neill said there were just under 100 absentee and provisional votes yet to be tallied, and nearly 70 votes that will not be counted for technical reasons. However, votes still to be tallied would not be enough to change the election result.

Ed Sunderland said he “feels really fortunate” to have won. He described Justin Atkinson a “really good competitor.”

“I really want to thank everyone who voted for me,” he said. “In the future, I want everyone to know that I have an open door whenever anyone needs to talk to me.”

When asked what he wanted to concentrate on in office, Sunderland said it would be hard to know until he got his feet wet.

But he said  he does have a few issues in mind. He wants to look into the county zoning ordinances, especially the requirement that a person have 5 acres in order to build a home in the unincorporated area. He said “5-acre lots lead to a lot of weed patches for the people who don’t have the proper equipment.”

Sunderland also said a number of people have asked him about dust on the roads during the summer.

But the most important issue for Sunderland is the county’s tax structure. “I’m really conservative when it comes to taxes.” He said he wanted to know where the money goes.

Atkinson wished Sunderland the best as the Republican nominee for commissioner. “I love Sanpete County, and I wish the best for Edwin.”

Atkinson said he knew that he faced an “uphill battle” because of his position on SB 54, the measure which permits people to get on the ballot by gathering signatures. The Utah Republican Party has opposed SB 54.

However, he is happy with how he ran his campaign. He pointed out that his percentages went up through the primaries, and he felt gathering signatures was the right thing to do. “I wanted to give a voice back to the people,” he said.

Atkinson said he would consider running for countywide office again “if the opportunity presented itself.”  He explained that he did not run for commission as part of a strategy for gaining higher office, but did acknowledge it seems to be a pattern for an office holder to gain experience by going from local office to county and then state office.

Sunderland will have no Democratic opponent, nor any minor-party opposition in the November general election. Anyone can register as a write-in candidate for the commission or other offices up to Sept. 7.

As of this week, Sanpete County had 12, 631 registered voters. Of those, 8,060, or 63.8 percent, are Republican. There are 661, or 5 percent, who are registered Democrats. And there are 3,492 unaffiliated voters, or 27.6 percent of the Sanpete electorate. That leaves 418 voters who list 10 other political affiliations (including “other”).

Cost of most things rising, but Fairview general fund goes down by 12 percent

 

By Suzanne Dean

Publisher

7/5/2018

            FAIRVIEW—Across the country, most costs, including the cost of government, are rising. But not in Fairview.

The general fund budget for FY 2019 (July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019) is $867,222. That’s nearly $122,000 less than the estimated final 2018 general fund budget, or a cut of 12 percent.

The general fund portion of the budget gets the most attention because it covers the costs of the main city office, the justice court, police, fire, garbage, parks, recreation and other government functions.

The general fund is the part of the budget financed by taxes, grants, business licenses, fines and charges for services.

However, those sources never quite cover government costs, so each year, the city transfers surplus funds from utilities to balance the general fund budget.

For FY 2018, the transfer was about $56,000, which was all taken out of the electrical utility. But for FY 2019, the projected transfer is just $20,322. Money for the transfer is slated to be taken fairly equally out of the electric, water and sewer funds.

“That’s the lowest I’ve seen, and I’ve been here 12 years,” Mayor Dave Taylor told the city council before it passed the budget at a meeting June 21.

Turning toward the council and with perhaps a dozen people in the audience, the mayor said, “I really commend these men and women. They’ve worked hard to make sure you get the best bang for the buck.”

Each of Fairview’s three utility funds—electricity, water and sewer—is essentially, a self-contained bank account. Each gets its revenue from charges to homes and businesses, and covers its costs from its revenue.

The FY 2019 budget for the three utilities combined is $1,627,908, up about $170,000 from the previous year. The combined budget for the three utilities is about 12 percent higher than the estimated final budget for FY 2018.

The utilities serve the incorporated city and some territory outside the city limits. One of the factors in the increase is population growth in and around Fairview.

When the general fund and utilities are combined, the total city budget for FY 2019 is close to $2.5 million. That amount is about $138,000 more than the final estimate for all city functions for FY 2018. The $138,000 translates to a modest increase of 5.8 percent.

Taylor said he was especially pleased to be able to cut the general fund budget and still give seven year-round city employees a raise.

The city council also raised its own stipends slightly and doubled the stipend for the mayor.

Mt. Pleasant bans personal fireworks

 

By James Tilson

Staff Writer

7/5/2018

MT. PLEASANT—Following Gov. Gary Herbert’s urging for caution, Mt. Pleasant has decided to “ban all use of fireworks” within city limits starting June 29 until further notice.

Mayor Sandra Bigler said that after Gov. Herbert told Utah citizens on Thursday night to use “extreme caution” when considering whether to use fireworks, she directed Mt. Pleasant Fire Chief Sam Draper to call the Utah State Fire Marshall for direction on what to do about fireworks. The result of that call was that Mt. Pleasant decided it could ban fireworks due to the extreme fire danger this summer.

Bigler said her office had received numerous calls from concerned citizens about the fire danger, and the city was very worried about the possible consequences of sparks and hot embers.

Earlier this month, the city of Ephraim had decided it could not totally ban the use of fireworks, but could only “strongly recommend” that its citizens should not use fireworks this summer. That was because of the passage this spring of HB 38, or Utah statute 53-7-225.

The statute says in part: 53-7-225(5)(a) “A municipality may not prohibit a person from discharging class C common state approved explosives during permitted periods.” And further; 53-7-225(6) “If a municipal legislative body… provides a map to a county identifying an area in which the discharge of fireworks is prohibited due to a historical hazardous environmental condition…, the county shall, before June 1 of that year, (a) create a county-wide map; (b) provide the map to (i) each retailer (ii) the state fire marshal; and (c) publish the map on the county website.”

Sanpete County Commissioner Scott Bartholomew confirmed that no city in Sanpete had sent any notice of firework restrictions or maps of area in which fireworks were prohibited, nor had the county published any such map on its website.

Gunnison City passes budget, elected officials will not get raise

 

By Robert Stevens

Managing editor

7/5/2018

            GUNNISON—A smooth adoption of the new budget for Gunnison City was delayed by only one contentious issue—whether or not elected officials should get a raise.

During a meeting of the Gunnison City Council that took place on Wednesday, June 20, Gunnison City’s accountant Gary Keddington presented the 2018-2019 budget to be adopted by the council. Before adopting it, however, the council had to reach an agreement about whether or not to increase the pay for elected officials.

The proposed pay increase would have been somewhere in the realm of a 2-3 percent increase, said city treasurer JoAnn Taylor. According to Taylor, at the time of the meeting, the pay for the mayor was $300 per month, and city council received $250 each month.

“I don’t think I really have a say in this,” Gunnison City Mayor Nay told the rest of the council, who had varying opinions on the raise. “But I think most of you know how I feel. This is a real job.”

Councilman Andy Hill said he was in favor of the raise, even though it wouldn’t make much of an income difference for him. He thought that it should be done for future elected officials; and that delaying a pay raise for mayor and council too long might catch up with them.

“It’s like playing kick the can,” Hill said. “You keep kicking it down the road when it gets brought up and you hold off.”

Hill said if you kick it down the road long enough, an eventual pay increase might end up being a controversial amount if it isn’t handled progressively over the years. He said perhaps it should be raised by a set percentage at preset intervals, to keep incentives in line with the amount of work.

“It is still work to be done and time away from your family,” Hill said.

Councilwoman Michelle Smith was vocal about her opposition towards the raise, saying she didn’t feel comfortable voting for a raise in pay for her duties so early in her first term in office.

“I’d like to wait at least another year,” Smith said.

Councilman Robert Anderson offered a compromise. He saw nothing wrong with passing the raise on the condition an official can opt out by electing to donate the pay increase back to the city fund.

“When it comes down to it, it’s not like we are talking about a lot of money anyway,” Anderson said.

Gunnison Gazette Publisher Mark Heinline—himself a former mayor and familiar with the amount of work required as an elected official— was in attendance at the meeting, and spoke up briefly in support of the pay increase.

“For what it’s worth,” Heinline said, “I think you deserve the raise and in my opinion it is warranted.”

Rod Taylor, city zoning administrator, was in attendance at the meeting and he offered his opinion during the sometimes awkward silence during the council’s deliberations.

“You could make more money with minimum wage,” Taylor said. “Its public service and you should know that going into it.”

Council members Blake Donaldson and Blane Jensen were less vocal about their opinions on the raise until it came time to make the decision, at which time they spoke out against it, sealing the deal on no raise for the council and mayor—at least for now.

After the decision was made, Keddington said he had the final variables required to finalize the new budget and he would adjust it and send out the final document to the council for review.

Although the elected officials would not get a pay raise, the new budget includes a 3 percent raise for full-time employees, and merit raises for some other employees. It also includes an increase for part-time pool and library employees to $9 per hour.

 

Fairview launches well repair, looks at other upgrades

 

By Suzanne Dean

Publisher

7/5/2018

            FAIRVIEW—Crews were on site at the Sammy Well in the southeast part of Fairview Monday, beginning the process of installing a new pump and getting the well working again.

But meanwhile, the city was mulling its water future, including the need for new water meters and the long-term need for a new water source—probably a new well.

“It’s looking good,” Mayor Dave Taylor said Monday. “We’re hoping the well will be back on possibly by the 11th…or at least by the 16th.

“The fix that we’re doing, we’re hoping to get several years out of it. Then slowly, over the next couple of years, we can plan for the long term.”

About a month ago, Fairview asked citizens to stop watering lawns after the pump in the Sammy Well failed. People complied, and water consumption dropped from a rating of “danger” to “green” or acceptable.

The city was concerned not only about not being able to meet water demand, including water for landscaping, but about the Sammy Well not being available as a backup source.

If either of the city’s other two water sources (its springs near Fairview Lakes or its Lower Well) failed while the Sammy Well was out, the city would not be able to deliver enough water to meet basic household needs, Taylor said during an interview June 22.

With the well down, the city did not have a sufficient supply to supplement the secondary irrigation system run by the Cottonwood-Gooseberry Irrigation Co., and with no culinary water backup, the city council voted June 21 to buy and install a new pump at the Sammy Well as soon as possible.

Yet all the officials at the council meeting, including Justin Jackson, city water superintendent, described the replacement pump as a Band-Aid. The Sammy Well has had maintenance problems over its 17-year life, and officials agreed they could not count on the well for the long-term future.

Discussion at the June 21 meeting also touched on other aspects of the town water system, starting with water meters.

In earlier council meetings, Jackson had reported that the city was delivering a lot more water than was reflected on the water bills going out to businesses and residents.

The reason? About two-thirds of the water meters in town are decades old and, based on the discrepancy between water being delivered and water being billed, the meters are not measuring household water consumption accurately.

And because the meters are not accurate, the city is not getting revenue it could use to operate and upgrade its water system.

“The first thing we need to do is to install new meters so we have an accurate billing,” Jackson told the city council.

To read the old water meters, a city staff member has to go on people’s property, get on hands and knees, and look a gauges on the meter itself, Jan Anderson, city recorder, explained.

Because of the labor involved, the city only reads meters every six months, and then bills people monthly based on the average at the last six-month reading.

Not only is meter reading labor intensive, and thus relatively costly, but people can go for six months with a leak and not be aware of the problem.

The new meters the city would install are “auto read.” An employee can drive down a street and read them with a hand-held device.

Nearly all of the electric meters in town are already auto-read meters. If water meters were also auto-read, the employee could read both water and power meters at the same time.

The city has been budgeting $30,000 per year for new meters. With that money, it has installed about 200 out of 600 total; replaced many old meters; and installed auto-read meters on new homes.

Taylor told the city council he had talked with Cache Valley Bank about borrowing $90,000, the amount he estimated it would cost to replace all of the meters at once. Cache Valley offered to make the loan at 3 percent.

But at the same city council meeting, Curt Ludvigson of Sterling, who works for the Utah Rural Water Association, briefed the council on possible grant sources for water improvements.

Ludvigson said Fairview might qualify for a WaterSmart grant, sometimes referred to as a “green money” grant, from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for water meters.

The WaterSmart program is designed to encourage water conservation by charging people for all the water they are using.

“It’s time to make the next move. It’s time to get everybody in” on new meters, Taylor said.

But before he asks the council to approve the bank loan, he wanted to find out if the city could qualify for a “green money” grant, he said.

Looking ahead, city officials know the city will need a new well. “We have a location in mind. We’ve done some work on it,” he said.

A very preliminary engineering estimate presented at the city council meeting put the cost of a new well at $800,000 to $1.2 million and the minimum time frame for completion at three years.

The question is how to pay for the new water source. Taylor said one-third of the residents of Fairview are on fixed incomes. One-third are under the age of 16. That essentially leaves the burden of financing big improvements such as a well on the one-third of residents who are of working age.

“The biggest fear our council has is raising fees,” he said.

‘The Lost Tomahawk’ on Discovery Channel in July

Who was Chief Sanpitch, for whom Sanpete County is named?

By Linda Petersen

Staff writer

6/5/2018

Ute tribe story teller and Viet Nam veteran Larry Cesspooch at the warrior statue at the Bottle Hollow Veteran’s Memorial on the Ute Reservation in Fort Duchesne, Utah. Cesspooch draws on his own war experience to comment on the long-ago war story of Chief Sanpitch in the Discovery Road show “The Lost Tomahawk.”

Little is known about Chief Sanpitch, leader of the Sanpits, a band of Ute Indians who were living in the Sanpete Valley at the time Mormon pioneers arrived.

Chief Sanpitch, for whom  Sanpete County was named, was the father of Black Hawk and brother of Chiefs Wakara and Arapeen.

In “The Lost Tomahawk” the newest show in the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area’s award-winning TV series, Discovery Road, host James Nelson takes the viewer on a journey to find out who Sanpitch was and learn more about his life.

In telling the story of Sanpitch, “The Lost Tomahawk” he traces the journey of the chief’s  tomahawk, which has been handed down for several generations in a local family. Native American voices also offer insight into Sanpitch, what he fought for, and what he stood for in those long-ago battles.

In the show, a contemporary Ute tribal elder, Forrest S. Cuch, reads words spoken by Sanpitch during treaty negotiations: “Our people adapted to this land over centuries and it is a part of us. We’re not willing to break away so quick, these lands are sacred to us. They’re who we are, we’re earth people. We’re native people of the earth with our heart and soul.”

“The Lost Tomahawk” is the third Discovery Road show focused on the Native Americans who were the first inhabitants of the heritage area.

“Utah’s Blackhawk War—Cultures in Conflict” tells the story of the conflict that broke out as the American Civil War came to a close and the Territory of Utah erupted with violence as Ute Indians and Mormon settlers clashed over the same land.

“Native Americans and Sacred Water” highlights the importance of water in Native American culture and art.

A new map of the Sanpitch OHV Trail, which covers the Log Canyon and Maple Canyon loop, has recently been produced by the Sanpete County Travel Office. The map highlights the burial spot of Chief Sanpitch along with historical points.

The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area maintains a strong commitment to emphasizing the Native American history of our area. Through its management plan, which recognizes and seeks to educate the public about the contributions of the tribes who inhabited the area, its Native American ombudsman and other efforts, the MPNHA sponsors and supports programs that highlight this important aspect of the heritage area’s history.

Discovery Road is aired regularly on the Utah Education Network (Channel 9) and on several local cable channels. “The Lost Tomahawk” is scheduled to air in July.

Mt. Pleasant bans fireworks until further notice

 

By James Tilson

Staff writer

7-2-2018

 

MT. PLEASANT—Following Gov. Gary Herbert’s urging for caution, Mt. Pleasant has decided to “ban all use of fireworks” within city limits starting June 29 until further notice.

Mayor Sandra Bigler said that after Gov. Herbert told Utah citizens on Thursday night to use “extreme caution” when considering whether to use fireworks, she directed Mt. Pleasant Fire Chief Sam Draper to call the Utah State Fire Marshall for direction on what to do about fireworks. The result of that call was that Mt. Pleasant decided it could ban fireworks due to the extreme fire danger this summer.

Bigler said her office had received numerous calls from concerned citizens about the fire danger, and the city was very worried about the possible consequences of sparks and hot embers.

Earlier this month, the city of Ephraim had decided it could not totally ban the use of fireworks, but could only “strongly recommend” that its citizens should not use fireworks this summer. That was because of the passage this spring of HB 38, or Utah statute 53-7-225.

The statute says in part: 53-7-225(5)(a) “A municipality may not prohibit a person from discharging class C common state approved explosives during permitted periods.” And further; 53-7-225(6) “If a municipal legislative body… provides a map to a county identifying an area in which the discharge of fireworks is prohibited due to a historical hazardous environmental condition…, the county shall, before June 1 of that year, (a) create a county-wide map; (b) provide the map to (i) each retailer (ii) the state fire marshal; and (c) publish the map on the county website.”

Sanpete County Commissioner Scott Bartholomew confirmed that no city in Sanpete had sent any notice of firework restrictions or maps of area in which fireworks were prohibited, nor had the county published any such map on its website.

[Read more…]

Ephraim ‘strongly recommends’ citizens refrain from using fireworks

By James Tilson

Staff writer

6/28/18

            EPHRAIM—A frustrated city council passed a resolution dissuading residents from using fireworks this year, instead of banning them altogether.

            Citing a new state law that “prohibits cities from adopting a city-wide ban on fireworks,” the Ephraim mayor and council decided to comply with H.B. 38, which was passed by the 2018 Utah Legislature.

            And instead of banning fireworks outright, the council is strongly recommending that residents abstain from discharging any ignition sources during this record breaking dry spell.        

Mayor Richard Squire said, “We are strongly, strongly recommending no use of fireworks. And this law that was passed by the state was heavily lobbied by the fireworks industry. We can do our part to shut down that lobby by not buying fireworks this year. My family will not be buying fireworks this year, we’ll find another way to celebrate.”

            During the discussion of the resolution, Ephraim Fire Chief Kerry Steck gave an update on the conditions around the city. “Too many weeds, way too dry,” was his assessment.

            Steck said he would be keeping extra patrols around the city to check on conditions during the holiday. He will also keep his pumpers full at all times.

            Council members discussed whether there was any way to utilize the new law’s prohibitions at all. The law stated a city may restrict fireworks to a designated area or areas. However, the city would have to provide a map for the city’s residents, and that map would have had to be submitted to the state in May.

            And Chief Steck asked the council, “Where could we put the ‘area?’ There are dry weeds everywhere.”

            Councilman Richard Wheeler made a half-serious suggestion. “If the state wants to regulate this, why don’t we tell people to set their fireworks off on Main Street, on a state road?”

            In the end, the city settled for passing a resolution that said, “Residents are strongly discouraged from discharging fireworks and other potential ignition sources within the city’s limits during the 2018 season and may be held liable for costs of any resultant fire or damage caused by the negligent use of fireworks, and potential fire suppression.”

            In Utah this year, mandated dates and hours for legal firework usage are July 2-5 and July 22-25 from the hours of 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.

            The council also heard an update from Layne Jensen with Franson Engineers regarding bids they had solicited for drilling the new test well for the city’s culinary water.

            Jensen first told the council that Franson Engineers had received only two bids, after soliciting every licensed driller in the entire state. Jensen said this indicated how this year’s weather had impacted the market. The bids were also significantly higher than other recent bids.

            Jensen told the council, with the extra expense, more time was taken to discuss alternatives in order to save as much money as possible. He presented the three best options to the council:

            First, drill a small test well. Second, drill a larger test well, and convert it to a larger permanent well. And third, drill a full-size well from the beginning.

            Jensen and the city staff recommended the second option for several reasons. The second option coincided with the state’s standard procedure for municipal water wells, and Ephraim still needed the Utah Division of Drinking Water’s approval to go ahead with the project. The second option also did the best at reducing risk of missing a water source, and the cost of doing so. Jensen said, “It combines cost effectiveness, possible production and the least risk.”

            Squires weighed in, “I think we are doing something to ensure the city’s future water supply; and we can’t afford to not do it right the first time, even though it might cost a little more.”

            The council approved the lowest bid at $107,500, to use the second method.

Sanpete Valley Hospital CEO gets award for innovation

By Lyle Fletcher

Staff writer

6/28/2018

Matt McCullough (left), director of Utah Department of Health’s Office of Primary Care and Rural Health, awards Aaron Wood, Sanpete Valley Hospital CEO, the Innovation Award for Rural Health.

            MT. PLEASANT—Aaron Wood, CEO of Sanpete Valley Hospital, was recently given the Innovation Award from the Utah Department of Health’s Office of Primary Care and Rural Health.

            Matt McCullough, director of the Office of Primary Care and Rural Health, presented the award to Wood and said, “This award is presented to an individual who has shown excellence in implementation of innovative healthcare delivery models and programs. This year the award was presented to Aaron Wood, CEO of Sanpete Valley Hospital, who is being recognized for his innovation and continuous improvement efforts!”

            Seven years ago, the Office of Primary Care and Rural Health began holding the Rural Hospital Administrators Summit, and this year was the first year of presenting the Innovation Award.

            The Innovation Award nominees come from the Utah Hospital Association and other partners, including Primary Care and Rural Health staff, who manage the FLEX grant program for critical access hospitals.

            Ryan Robison, nurse administrator at Sanpete Valley Hospital, said, “Since Aaron’s arrival, Sanpete Valley Hospital has seen amazing growth and improvement in all areas.”

            Some of the highlights are the addition of a hospitalist service, a staffing model for the Emergency Department and the formation of the Sanpete Behavioral Health Community Network.

            In addition, Sanpete Valley Hospital now has a state-of-the-art computed tomography (CT) scanner.

            Wood also has led continuous improvement efforts at the hospital, resulting in shorter stays in the Emergency Department.

            Robison added, “Most importantly, Aaron has played a major role in the creation of a culture of quality and safety at Sanpete Valley Hospital.”

            This includes, Robison said, “taking Sanpete Valley Hospital from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems 50th-percentile ranking just prior to his arrival to the 90th percentile.”