Grand Marshals love being in beautiful town with friendly people

By Linda Petersen

Staff writer


Wendy and John Taylor

           WALES– Grand marshals of this years Mammoth Parade are John and Wendy Taylor, who moved to Wales in 2005 from West Jordan.  They brought with them Wendys parents Parley and Gertrude, who they cared for over the next six years until they passed away.

            The two met at a restaurant, where Wendy was seated for dinner. When John, who worked for the National Guard, entered the restaurant dressed in his fatigues, Wendy called out to him, Hey G.I. Joe, come sit with me. And he did. The two have been together ever since.

            After spending a few years servicing mobile homes, John had joined the National Guard. In 1965 he was recruited by the Guard to work for them fulltime, which he did for 38 years. After moving to Wales he commuted to the Draper Guard headquarters for two years before he retired.

            The couple had visited Wales several times since Wendys nephew Jeff, owner of Bar T Rodeo, lived there. After Jeffs father Ron (to whom Wendy is very close) moved here to be close to his son, the two made the decision to relocate here along with Wendys parents.

            Over the years they have been involved in the community and both have served on the towns planning and zoning committee.

            It is a second marriage for both. Between them they have five children, 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

            All of their family loves to come and visit and enjoy the canyons, especially Palisades where they now hold their yearly family reunions.

            Were blessed to live in this valley down here, John said. This is a beautiful, awesome place with peace and quiet and friendly people.


Sorensons love living and serving in Gunnison Valley

By Linda Petersen

Staff writer


Marshall and Ruth Sorenson

            GUNNISONLike many Sanpete County natives, Marshall Sorenson, this years Fourth of July parade grand marshal, left the valley for work when he grew to adulthood, but he always hoped hed come back home.

            Born and raised in Axtell, Sorenson attended school in Gunnison before he left to serve an LDS mission in the Cumorah Mission in New York State. After he returned from New York he moved to Sandy and drove truck for 13 years. He went on to work in the grocery business.

            Even though he lived in the Salt Lake Valley he never lost his desire to return home.

            I always wanted to come back, he said. This is where I was born and raised so I just wanted to come home. I love the mountains.

            So he kept in touch with folks in Gunnison and when a job opened up at Gunnison Market he was one of the first to apply. They hired him and for 35 years he was the produce manager at the store before retiring in 2014. Before his father Elwood Sorenson passed away he also helped him on the family farm.

            In 1993 Sorenson married Ruth Rosenvall (who he knew of but did not know personally when he was growing up). They combined their families; his: Melodee, Matthew and Marcus, and hers: Emily, Nicole, Nick and Mike. Together they have 20 grandchildren. Matthew and his wife Carilee and their four children live nearby in Axtell. The other children are scattered throughout Utah, with some in California. They hope to visit soon as their health allows.

            Since returning to Gunnison, Sorenson has been actively involved in the community. He served on the Gunnison Planning and Zoning Commission for five years and has been a member of the Lions Club for 15 years.

            In the LDS Church, he has served in a bishopric, in a branch presidency and as elders quorum president. He was also an ordinance worker in the Manti Temple for three years.

            Its an honor to be able to give something back from someone to whom so much has been given, he said of being chosen as the grand marshal.

            He loves Gunnisons Fourth of July celebration and the opportunity to remember our nations beginnings with loved ones.

            Its a wonderful thing, he said. I have enjoyed celebrating the Fourth of July all of my life here in the valley. It is such a good thing for our valley; it brings everyone together. So many people are willing to help.

            Sorenson is one of those helpers. The Lions Club sponsors lunch at town days and this year, as always, he will be in the thick of things.

            Sorensons wife Ruth will ride with him in the parade.


Retired National Guardsman and wife know about patriotism

By Linda Petersen

Staff writer


Alan and Cecelia Braithwaite

            MANTI—After 41 years of military service Alan Braithwaite knows a thing or two about patriotism. He first joined the National Guard (like many of his peers) for the money, but over the years it became something much greater to him.

            “After 11 years of enlisted service, I thought that our country is worth serving and worth saving, so I became an officer,” he said.

            Alan was a Guardsman for 25 years before he switched to the Army Reserves, where he served for 16 years. In his last five years in the Reserves he served in a two-year rotation backing up regular Army officers when they were sick or otherwise unable to perform their duties.

            “That was a pretty neat experience,” he said.

            In 2006 he served in Seoul as chief of munitions under U.S. Forces Korea as chief of munitions, where he was responsible for all ordinance except for missiles. He was also the chief U.S. negotiator working with South Korea on the demill of ammunition from Vietnam. While serving in that capacity, Gen. James Rogers asked him to go to work with him as chief of staff at Joint Munitions Command at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill. He held that position for seven months.

            Later, in 2009 Alan was deployed to Iraq for a year where he served as chief for plans and operations for LOGCAP (Logistics Civil Augmentation Program) Forward. In that capacity he oversaw contractors who provided everything the troops needed from housing to the most basic of supplies, he said. He was also responsible for training officers in logistics.

            “We had a big job to cover,” he said. “Whatever the soldiers needed, we provided.”

            Alan retired from the Army Reserves as a full colonel. He attended several army schools during his military career including the Army War College in Carlisle, Penn. He was honored with the Bronze Star Medal and Meritorious Service Medal for his work in Iraq and received the Joint Service Commendation Medal while in Korea. He received many other awards throughout his military career.

            “I got to do so many things I’d never get to do in civilian life,” he said.

            “At certain times it is really hard,” his wife Cecelia said of being left at home while her husband served in Korea and Iraq. “You just have to know and trust that they will be okay and return safely.”

            Both Alan and Cecelia grew up in Manti and have lived their whole lives here except for four years after high school when they lived in Salt Lake City. Both have great-grandparents who came across the Plains with the early Latter-day Saints.

            The two met at Manti High School and became high school sweethearts after Alan took Cecelia to his junior prom. After graduation,  Alan attended  Utah Technical College where he studied auto mechanics. The couple spent several years in Salt Lake City before returning to Manti.

            During their time in Salt Lake, Cecelia worked as a dental assistant and later at Sperry, where she soldered components. After she returned to Manti, she again took up dental assistance in the medical program at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison. She went on to spend 13 years as a teller at the Bank of Ephraim.

            She has been very active in her LDS ward, serving in Young Women’s, Primary and Relief Society. Like many Manti residents, the Braithwaites have been very involved with the Manti Miracle Pageant over the years and have done everything from appearing in the Pageant to moving scenery and providing security.

            In addition to his military service , Alan worked for several years with his brother in Owens Sports Center repairing ATVs and four-wheelers.  He  has served in various positions in the LDS Church including as ward clerk. He currently serves as secretary of  his ward’s elders’ quorum. He and Cecelia also serve in the temple as baptistery directors and ordinance workers.

            The couple has five children: Brett, Curt (Monica), Dave (Amy), Tom (Mandi) and Valerie (Brian). Curt served an initial six-year tour in the Guard. They have 17 grandchildren—11 boys and six girls.

            “We love the country life,” Cecelia said. “We love Manti; we love the citizens. We’re just grateful that we were able to make a living and able to stay here and raise our family.”

            As a member of the Freedom First Society, Alan has a particular passion for the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth of July celebration is a great way to honor the legacy of those who produced that document, he said.

            “A bunch of our forefathers came together and pulled together the Constitution, a document inspired by God that gave us our freedom and liberty for over 235 years,” he said. “It’s extremely important that we stand and defend the Constitution and our way of life.”

            “Manti is a great place to be,” he added. “We just appreciate people that will stand up for the Constitution and try and make our way of life better.”

Grand marshals cherish principles of freedom and democracy

By Linda Petersen

Staff writer


Mark and Sue Johansen

              MT. PLEASANT—Mark and Sue Johansen have 14 grandchildren with another on the way. While none of their children or grandchildren has been able to stay in Sanpete County with their family, the couple believes they are passing along the values they learned growing up. Those include the ability to work hard, to give back to the community and to be good people.

            “We’ve been from here our whole lives,” Mark said. “We’re grateful for those that put forth the effort, paving the way for us to live in this still, peaceful valley and for those willing to serve our country, state and city.”

            The Fourth of July celebration “is a good reminder of all of it, to reflect back on the principles of freedom and democracy we were taught and those we know,” he said.

            Mark Johansen was raised in Mt. Pleasant. His father was the Moroni Feed Company general manager. Mark grew up working on the family farm which has been in the family for a number of generations. He loved working with his father.

            He attended Mt. Pleasant Elementary while Sue, who grew up in Moroni, attended Moroni Elementary.

            Both attended North Sanpete Jr. High and North Sanpete High School, where Mark was on the basketball team and Sue was a cheerleader. The two began dating at the end of Sue’s junior year.

            They moved away for a short time when they were first married to attend what was then Utah Technical College, where Mark studied appliance repair and Sue was enrolled in the secretarial program.

            In those early years Mark worked for a Wasatch Front appliance business. They lived in Murray and Orem but It didn’t take them long to realize they wanted to return to Sanpete and raise their family here.

            They moved back to Moroni for a couple of years and Mark started Minuteman Service, a refrigeration and appliance repair business. In 1980 they moved to Mt. Pleasant.

            After about five years in business, Mark realized his true love was farming. So he and Sue decided to raise turkeys and cattle on the family farm and they continue farming today.

            Sue worked for 19 years for Mt. Pleasant City as the accounts payable clerk and loved her time there and the people she worked with.  She is currently the secretary for the Twin Creek Irrigation Company and a member of the DUP Pleasant Creek Camp.  She has served in several callings in the LDS Church and is currently a stake relief society president.

            ‘I am very grateful for the freedoms that we enjoy because of the sacrifice of others,” she said. “I am very grateful for the pioneers, our forefathers and for the things we have today.”

            The Johansens have four children, Ryan (Sheila), Stacey (Cameron) Willardson, Kyle (Krachelle) and Tyler (Sadee).  They enjoy their 11 grandsons (four of whom were born eight years ago) and three granddaughters.  Their children and grandchildren love to spend time in Mt. Pleasant and help at the farm whenever they can.

            Mark has served as a bishop and stake president and in other positions in the church. He also served for several years on the Moroni Feed  Company board and has been very involved in the community over the years.

            “The community is growing and there are many people who have moved in,” he said. “We  have good leaders who are trying to adapt to that growth in a way that tries to please as many people as they can. We’ve had a little bit of growing pains, but I think they’re dealing with it and we support them.”

            They love this valley and the people here, they both said.

            Their greatest accomplishment is their family and they are very proud of them. They love spending time with them watching ball games, camping and enjoying the mountains, fishing, working on the farm and playing cards and board games.

            They were both surprised to be chosen as grand marshals this year.

            “We just think there are so many other people who are more worthy of the honor,” Sue said.

            “We want to thank those in  the community that put so much effort into making life better around them, whether they have been in the city, the county, in LDS wards or in other religious affiliations,” she said. “Everybody works well together in the community to make it better for everyone.”

Fairview water shortage goes from

bad to worse as key well pump fails


By Suzanne Dean




FAIRVIEW—In late May, when an official of the Cottonwood-Gooseberry Irrigation Co., the company that supplies secondary irrigation water in Fairview, warned residents that irrigation water was probably going to run out this summer and they should get used to brown lawns, the water situation in the town looked dreary.

Then things went from bad to worse. A pump that draws water out of the so-called Sammy Well, which provides extra culinary water that residents draw on in summer to supplement irrigation water, broke down.

That failure has forced residents to get serious about ceasing to water their lawns, and in some cases their vegetable gardens, trees and shrubs. And it has left city officials scrambling for both an immediate and long-term fix for water problems.

As soon as the Sammy Well shut down, the city posted messages on its Facebook page and signs around town asking people to stop watering their lawns. Then it posted a graphic on the Facebook page showing total water consumption. Based on the graphic, people complied with the city’s request.

“Our arrow has moved from ‘danger’ back to green,” Mayor Dave Taylor said in an interview on Friday, June 22.

Voluntary restrictions are still in place, and lawns all around town are going from green to brown.

On Thursday, June 21, the Fairview City Council voted to buy a new pump for $13,000 and to bring special crews in to install it, which, according to Taylor, will cost $30,000 to $40,000. With luck, the job should be completed in three weeks.

But neither the mayor, nor the city council, nor the city water master, nor the city’s consulting engineers expect the new pump to last a long time.

For various reasons, the Sammy Well has never functioned very well. Since it was drilled in 2001, the city has pulled the pump out six times and spent $67,000 on repairs.

It now appears that unusual water chemistry inside the well is corroding well components including the pump. Nonetheless, the city council decided it had to act.

“We don’t have a lot of choices,” Taylor said. “We need to get the well pumping again because people need it for their landscaping.”

“All this is a band aid to get us through right now,” Councilman Mike Jensen added.

Fairview gets its culinary water from three sources. Its biggest source is springs near Fairview Lakes in Fairview Canyon that flow into a pipeline, which brings
the water down the canyon into town.

The second source is the so-called Lower Well, also in Fairview Canyon off Canyon Road. The city draws on both of those sources to meet everyday culinary water demand.

The Sammy Well (it got its name from the name of a farmer who owns land nearby) is in the southeast corner of town. In the wintertime, it is seldom used. But in summer, when indoor water use is typically higher than in winter, and when people hook up hoses to hose bibs on their houses to supplement secondary irrigation water, the Sammy Well, starts pumping.

When working properly, the pump in the Sammy Well delivers 130 gallons per minute. In late May, production dropped to 30
gallons per minute. At that point, it was clear the pump was failing, and the city water superintendent intentionally shut it down.

“The citizens want green grass,” Taylor said. “We (city officials) want it. We’re taking a hit big time. I realize people have gardens. We realize people have trees and shrubs. This pump went down at the wrong time.”

Aside from summer needs, the Sammy well plays an important backup role. If something happened to the pipeline carrying spring water, such as a water main break like Ephraim just experienced, or if the Lower Well shut down for some reason, the city would need the Sammy Well to meet basic water demand.

“If we lost the Lower Well (while the Sammy Well was shut down), we’d be in dire condition,” Taylor said.

About June 15, the city called in a consulting hydrologist with a high density digital camera. “We cameraed all 386 feet” of the Sammy Well, Taylor said.

The pictures gave city staff and consulting engineers a better picture than they’ve had over the past 17 years of some atypical things that might be going on in the well.
There is a stainless steel mesh, designed as a filter, that goes around the circumference of the casing in certain vertical areas of the well. Holes are developing in the mesh.

There is a gravel lining outside of the casing. It appears rocks from the gravel are getting through the holes, dropping into the pump and damaging it.
Just before the city council meeting, the city received a report from Horrocks Engineers of Pleasant Grove, a water engineering firm.

“Without significant repairs, installation of a new pump will likely result in failure in a short period of time,” the engineers warned. The report said atypical water chemistry inside the well was leading to “significant corrosion of the well pump, column pipe and casing.”

A chart in the report offered various options, ranging from “do nothing” to development of more canyon springs.

The price tags on the options ranged from $40,000-$75,000 for “minimum repairs,” the option the council essentially chose; to as much as $1.2 million for a new well; to possibly $2.5 million for new springs development.

Frutos’ door is always open to friends, neighbors


By Linda Petersen

Staff Writer


Glenna and Mel Frutos

MORONI—This year’s grand marshals for the Fourth of July festivities in Moroni are Mel and Glenna Frutos.

            Mel originally came to the U.S. from Kalera, Mexico in 1972 and worked in Payson for a couple of years before moving to Moroni to work at the turkey processing plant.

            He worked there for about four years before becoming a coal miner at Deer Creek Coal Mine. He retired from the coal mine six years ago, after 31 years on the job.

            He would like to work toward U.S. citizenship as he has built his life and family here, Mel said. He loves the United States and unlike his home town, there is a lot of opportunity and people are not generally hungry here.

            After close to 50 years as a U.S. resident, “It really is about time,” he said.

            Mel met his wife Glenna Stephenson at the turkey processing plant, where she also worked. Glenna is a Moroni native and North Sanpete High School graduate. Her mother Glenna Nunly was also born and grew up here.

            Glenna, who is very shy, said Mel tried talking to her at work, but at first she ignored him. However, he was persistent, and eventually about six months later she agreed to go out with him.

            The relationship progressed and the two were married in January 1975. After about four years at the turkey processing plant, Glenna left to stay home and raise their three children Dustin, Amanda and Miguel.

            The couple later fostered and adopted two sons Shelby and Kayden, who were being removed from their birth parents by the state. Mel and Glenna have nine grandchildren, two girls and seven boys.

            The Fourth of July is a special time to Glenna, whose father DeVon V. Stephenson served in the U.S. Army in the 864th Engineers Division during World War II from 1943 to 1945 and was due to be called to serve at Pearl Harbor when the war ended. He passed away in 2007 with his family at his side and was buried with military honors in the Moroni Cemetery.

On Independence Day, Glenna remembers him and the many others who have served their country, she said.

            Mel enjoys the holiday as a way to celebrate his adopted homeland and the many freedoms he is blessed with here.

            “It’s a big day,” he said.

            Melissa Olson, who is married to their nephew J.D., said the Frutoses were the first people to welcome her to the family.

            “Anyone is family to them,” she said.

            “They are just down-to-earth, sweet people,” she said. Their door is always open and their home is always filled with people who love to be around them, she added.

            Mayor Paul Bailey said Mel has helped with several community service projects to beautify the city.

            “If I asked him to help again, I know he would,” Bailey said.

            Mel is known around town as one of the first people to jump in to help with any endeavor when it is needed.

            “Mel is one of most hardworking men I’ve ever met in my life,” Olson said.

            Even though Glenna is a little nervous because of her natural shyness, the Frutoses said they are honored and happy to have been chosen as this year’s grand marshals.

            “They’ve lived here for a long time and are hardworking people,” Bailey said. “Everybody knows who they are and I just thought they were good representatives for Moroni so I asked them to serve as grand marshals.”

Welsh Days celebrates ‘where the strong reside’


By Linda Petersen

Staff writer



WALES—Welsh Days this year on June 29 and 30 will feature many of the much-loved favorites. A Wales Tradition, the StrongMan competition, is just one of two such competitions in the state. It’s particularly fitting since the town’s motto is “Wales— where the strong reside.”

The two-day festival begins at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow with the Dutch oven cook-off at the park (150 S. State). Contact is Carol Jensen at 851-4599.

Afternoon activities include DUP bake sale at 3 p.m. and Jr. Strongman registration at 4 p.m. and competition at 4:30 p.m., with evening events of town raffle and Dutch oven judging beginning at 6:30 p.m. followed at 7 p.m. by the potluck dinner (meat provided, Dutch oven cook-off items included) so bring chairs and a dish to share. Live entertainment is from 8:30-11 p.m.

Saturday’s Fun Run registration at the park begins at 6:30 a.m. Contact is Lora Roberts at 469-1894. Half-mile fun run for children is at 7 a.m.; 5K Fun Run at 7:15 a.m. Flag ceremony is at 7:45 a.m. followed at 8 a.m. with Strongman registration and city breakfast in the park. A horseshoe tournament is at 9 a.m., with the Mammoth Parade at 10 a.m. Contact is Liz Brotherson at 469-0165.

Grand Marshals John and Wendy Taylor will lead the Mammoth Parade on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. (Organizers say they are happy to welcome last-minute entries. Just line up at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday).

Tickets for the traditional town raffle (which funds Welsh Days) are $1 each or six for $5. The raffle includes many prizes but the most coveted is the quilt made each year by Connie Lamb and the Quiltkeepers Quilt Guild.


Last year’s Gunnison City Fourth of July celebration had high-flying motocross riders. The same group returns this year on Tuesday, July 3 from 5:30-6:30 p.m.


Sanpete communities plan

exciting 4th of July activities


Four cities will hold major town celebrations next week connected with the Fourth of July.  Events range from concerts to a children’s fashion show to an exhibition of “ugly” and restored tractors. And in all four towns, there will be parades and fireworks. Following are some of the highlights. For full schedules, see individual community ads scattered throughout the newspaper.



                Gunnison starts its celebration on Tuesday, July 3 with a community picnic at the city park from 5-10 p.m. Vendors will set up booths where residents can buy a variety of food items.

Other activities at the park that evening include a group of motorcycle riders known as the Team FMX Motorcycle Show. They will perform at 5:30, 6 and 6:30 p.m.

At 9 p.m., “Imagine,” a “Beatles tribute band,” will perform Beatles songs ranging from “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” to “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

Fireworks will follow the concert.

On Wednesday, July 4, a flag-raising ceremony and breakfast will be held at the park from 6:30-8:30 a.m. The parade travels along Main Street from 9-10 a.m.

The Lion’s Club lunch, games and awards for community service will be presented in the afternoon, also at the city park.



                “Land That I Love” is this July Fourth theme this year in Manti.

The opening event is the Miss Independence Day competition Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Eva Beal Auditorium in the Manti City Building. The Independence Day royalty will reign over the rest of the celebration.

On Wednesday, July 4, townspeople are invited to gather at 6 a.m. at the American Legion Hall, 173 S. Main, for the ringing of the freedom bell.

The American Legion will sponsor a breakfast from 7-10 a.m. at the Manti City Park at 200 West and 200 North.

A patriotic program and flag ceremony will be held at the park at 10 a.m. The speaker is Alan Braithwaite, who, with his wife Cecelia, is grand marshal of this year’s celebration.

At 10 a.m., you can also sign up for the children’s fashion show. The show will start at 10:30 a.m. on the stage in the park.

An entertainment and talent show will run from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the park. To sign up, contact Kaylie Bailey at 851-3945 or Trisha Hyde at 851-6299.

Games begin at 11 a.m. at the park and continue into the afternoon. They including foot races, a three-legged race, a potato-sack race, a tug of war and a greased pole climb, among others.

At 6:30 p.m. a parade lines up at the Red Church, 295 S. Main, beginning at 7 p.m. and then travels north up Main Street. To participate, contact Fawn Miller at 851-6294.

At 8 p.m., there will be entertainment, followed by fireworks, at the Manti High School Stadium.



                Moroni kicks off its celebration this weekend with the Turkey Slam Co-ed Softball Tournament at the Center Street ball park. Teams of up to 14 players may enter at a fee of $225 per team. Contact Heidi Roper at (208) 227-3140 for information.

On Monday July 2, there will be a volleyball tournament and a four-on-four basketball tournament for kids, also at the ball park.

The celebration picks up momentum the evening of Tuesday, July 3 with the Cool Car Show from 5-8 p.m. at the city hall park, 80 S. 200 West, and a barbeque turkey dinner from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

From 7 a.m.-9 a.m. on Wednesday, July 4, the Firemen’s Breakfast will be held in the city hall park pavilion, with a flag ceremony at 8 a.m.

At 9:45 a.m., the annual airplane ping-pong ball drop will occur on Main Street. Some of the balls contain numbers that can be redeemed for prizes.

The Mammoth Parade down Main Street starts at 10 a.m. To enter, contact Jennifer Lamb at 469-1538 or email

A carnival will be held from 10:45 a.m.-2 p.m. at Center Street ball park. Games, activities, prizes and turkey sandwiches will be available.

The pre-fireworks show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Center Street ball park featuring J.D. Fox, Mid-Utah Radio personality and a Moroni resident. Fireworks start going off at 10 p.m.


                Hub City Days, Mt. Pleasant’s annual town celebration, actually started the weekend of June 22-23 with a golf tournament at Skyline Mountain Resort.

The celebration picks up Friday night and Saturday with the Skyline Freedom Fest Eventing show at the Cleone Peterson Eccles Equestrian Center, 1000 S. 955 West. The show features horse jumping and dressage events.  Admission is free.

On Saturday, a carnival, featuring rides, vendors, food and crafts, opens at the city park, 1000 S. State St. The carnival continues Monday through Wednesday, July 2-4.

On Monday, July 2 a “family fun night” will be held at the Mt. Pleasant rodeo arena east of city park. Activities include barrel racing, a stick-horse race, a calf-ribbon pull, hide races, a dog race and musical tires. Sign-ups are at 5 p.m., and activities begin at 7 p.m.

The annual Hub City Rodeo will be held Tuesday, July 3 and on Wednesday, July 4 with mutton bustin’ at 7 p.m. and the rodeo at 8 p.m. The rodeo is presented by Circle J Rodeo Co. and affiliated with the Rocky Mountain Professional Rodeo Association. You can purchase tickets at

The biggest day in the Hub City Days celebration will be Wednesday, July 4. Events include a fun run at 6:30 p.m., breakfast in the city park at 7 a.m., a children’s parade along State Street at 11 a.m., and right after the children’s parade, the Mammoth Parade, which will travel down State Street and continue west on Main Street. To enter either parade, contact Coleen Oltrogge at 462-3034.

A contest featuring new, restored and “ugly” tractors begins at noon at the city baseball field. Oltrogge is also the contact for that event.

Afternoon activities include free wagon rides at the park from 1-3 p.m., and at 2 p.m., the pie and cake baking contest by the city park stage.

The Mountain Man Dutch Oven Cook-off begins at 3:30 p.m. To enter, call Pat Gonzalez at (801) 367-9849. Cook-off judging is at 5:30 p.m., and food from the cook-off goes on sale at 6 p.m. at $5 per plate.

Fireworks begin at dusk (about 10 p.m.) east of the city park.


Pageant attendance follows

recent trend upward to 76,730


By Suzanne Dean




Joy D. Jones, general president of the primary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints talks with primary children from the Manti LDS Stake who picked up trash after each Pageant performance. The general primary presidency, which consists of Jones, Lisa L. Harkness and Cristina B. Franco, came to Manti on Thursday, June 21 to support the children.

MANTI—The weather was great, the cast was committed and the community support was exceptional during this year’s Mormon Miracle Pageant, according to Pageant President Milton Olsen.

Even better, Olsen says, the estimated attendance of 76,730 was up from 2017, showing a consistent pattern of rising attendance going back to 2015.

Attendance is estimated by an assigned Pageant counter who uses mathematical methods to estimate the number of people in various seating sections.

In 2014, estimated attendance hit a low of 65,020. But it went back up to 70,600 in 2015, 74,600 in 2106 and 74,804 in 2017.

One night, Friday, June 22 (the second Friday), made the difference this year, Olsen says. “It was the largest night in four or five years.”

While the crowds were better this year, the performance was also more consistent.

Typically, two-thirds of the performers are returnees who have performed in previous pageants, Olsen says. Last year, there were several changes in the narration tape. The changes were minor, but they affected what performers needed to do on the Temple Hill.

This year, there were no changes in the tape. “There were fewer unknowns, which made for consistency. That helped the performance,” he says.

Olsen says there were about 700 participants this year in the cast and stage crew, down from as many as 1,000 in recent years.

Because of the pageant’s reliance on returnees, when, for instance, a family that has performed in a given scene for several years does not participate the next year, there can be a noticeable hole on the hill, and other cast members have to reposition themselves to fill in the space.

“But it didn’t feel like any of the group scenes were smaller than usual,” he says. More performers were participating in multiple scenes and that was one of the Pageant presidency’s goals for this year.

There are always a couple of “big labor days” when people from LDS wards throughout Manti and Ephraim are called in to set up chairs and scenery, and later to take them down, he says. “This year, I really believe we had more than ever.”



Ephraim City loses a million gallons of

water, asks residents to conserve


By Robert Stevens

Managing editor




EPHRAIM—More than 1 million gallons of water was lost in Ephraim City over the weekend after a water main broke in two places and city crews scrambled to repair them.

Chad Parry, public works director, said the break was discovered on Saturday in a pressurized pipe that runs from springs in Ephraim Canyon (the city’s primary water source), through two of the city hydroelectric plants, and into a complex of seven city water tanks.

Parry said a pressure gauge in one of the hydro plants had registered low water pressure for a few weeks. But workers thought the drop might be occurring because the sparse snowpack was reducing water output from the springs.

Then on Saturday about 10 a.m., Parry got a report of a complete break in the pressurized line, which is designed to carry 900 gallons of water per square inch. Water was gushing out of the broken pipe and flowing down the mountainside.

The large amount of water lost was due in part to the fact that the break happened in an area with high water pressure.

According to city engineer Bryan Kimball, city crews repaired the initial leak on Monday, but after turning the water back on, a second leak was found, which was probably caused by a reaction from the first leak.

All of the tanks, including 1.5-million-gallon underground tank completed in 2011, are connected, so the water loss could affect levels in all the tanks.

Kimball said city crews have temporarily addressed the second leak by diverting most of the water to a different pipeline and are working now to repair the second leak.

With the water mostly diverted to another pipeline, the water is flowing and tanks are filling again, Kimball said.

Based on the observations at the hydro plant, Parry believes the pipe had been leaking for some time before it broke completely.

Now that the pipe is repaired, and no water is being lost, “we’re hoping this is going to help our water situation,” he said.

Kimball said there are no current mandatory water restrictions in place, but conservation of water, such as a voluntary reduction in lawn watering, is highly encouraged during this time, and the city splash pad has been turned off as of Tuesday.

“We are still in a very dry water year which is affecting our water supply, and the water situation is being monitored closely,” Kimball said.

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Utah Rep. Mike Kennedy, who is running for Utah Senate, talks with a visitor to the Kennedy booth in the vendor area of the Mormon Miracle Pageant.


Kennedy emphasizes ‘depth and

breadth of connections’ to Utah


By Suzanne Dean




Utah Rep. Mike Kennedy, a physician who is challenging Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, says he’s a fan of logging, of water reclamation and of the state beginning to manage federal lands within its border.

The Messenger conducted a phone interview on Monday with Kennedy, a family physician who lives in Alpine, Utah County, and who is serving his third term in the Utah Legislature.

Kennedy surprised a lot of people when he got more votes than Romney in the Republican State Convention. But Romney is leading Kennedy in recent polls.

During his campaign, Kennedy has stressed what he described as “the depth and breadth of my connections to the state,” something, he says Romney doesn’t offer.

“I’m a regular person,” he said in the Messenger interview. “I’ve been on welfare, I’m from a divorced family of seven. I know what it’s like to press through difficulty. I understand regular people and what they’re dealing with.”

Kennedy said he was acquainted with instances in Washington state where forests were clear cut, leaving nothing but barren ground. That’s irresponsible, he said.

But sustainable logging is simply “responsible use of the land. The earth is meant to be used.” He talked about “horrible conflagrations” in which overgrown trees become matchsticks.

He said he had heard even trees infested by the bark beetle can be used for lumber. “If those could be logged, it would reduce forest fire potential and offer economic benefits,” he said.

As a legislator, he is familiar with the Narrows Project, he said. The foresight of people 30 or 50 years ago to manage and store water is one of the things “that has put this state into a position where we are functioning, and not only functioning, but thriving.

“If we look 50 years into the future, even 10 to 15 years,” he said, “we have to continue the same efforts” or progress will stop.

Referring to the various bureaucratic approvals the Narrows has received, and the Army Corps of Engineers refusal to grant the final permit, Kennedy said, “How many times do I have to step forward and ask mother? As a U.S. senator, I would fight vigorously to make sure progress was not stunted based on the interests of one entity.”

Regarding potential state takeover of the millions of acres of federal land in Utah, Kennedy said, “There are many voices to be considered. I have been an advocate for at least management.

“If the federal government turned over management of certain lands to the state for a 10-year period, and saw that the state not only took excellent care of the land, but was able to extract some resources that helped the local economy, there’s the potential of a win, win, win all around.”

Kennedy said the federal government can help family farms by conducting research on how to make them more viable. If regulations are impeding small farms, he said, he would try to get those out of the way.

“I want to be a hands-on senator. I will talk to people around the state and ask them, ‘What’s going on? What do you need? so we can break down barriers” to success.

He said the immigration system is “a mess.” But he said “separating parents from their children is very disturbing to me.”

“I don’t think any of us know what is going on,” he added. “Is the adult actually the parent of the child? Are they bringing children to get deferential treatment?”

Kennedy was born in Eat Lansing, Mich., the second of seven children. He grew up in Ypsilanti, Mich.

In his teens, his parents divorced, and his father left the household. “We didn’t have he money for one place, let alone two,” he said. That’s when his mother had to turn to public and church assistance.

He cut lawns, bussed tables and drove a United Parcel Service truck.

He served an LDS mission in Arizona, and after his mission, went to BYU, where he got his bachelor’s degree.

He went to medical school at MichiganStateUniversity, located in East Lansing where he was born, and did his residency in Midland, Mich.

In 2001, he came back to Utah with his family, which now includes eight children. He later entered the BYU law school and in 2007 got his juris doctor on top of his medical degree.

“I’m 49,” he says. “I done a number of things to prepare myself. It seemed like the time to offer my services to the good people of Utah.”

Messenger publisher Suzanne Dean interviews Mitt Romney, candidate for U.S. Senate in Utah. The interview occurred at Lisa’s Country Kitchen restaurant in Nephi.

Romney discusses resources, export markets and immigration


By Suzanne Dean




NEPHI—Mitt Romney, former Republican nominee for president and now a candidate for U.S. Senate, said he would favor Utah taking ownership of federal lands within its borders.

But in an interview while on the campaign trail that covered many rural issues, Romney said until a land transfer happens, there should be a lot more local input in the way the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service manage public land.

“I would like to see the state get a pilot project to manage certain forests and let the Department of Interior see that we can do a better job at managing our forests than they do,” Romney said.

Romney said the influence of the “extreme environmental lobby” is reflected in the antipathy to logging in the national forests. The result is excess growth and the risk of wildfire.

An example, he said, is the Brian Head fire, “which creates huge destruction, and then we have runoff of mud, which goes into Panguitch Lake, which dirties the lake, which kills the fish. The Forest Service acts like it’s being responsible to the environment, when in fact, it’s hurting the environment by not having responsible forestry management.”

Romney said one of the main ways government could help family farmers is by opening up more export markets. That’s why, he said, he is concerned about the Trump administration’s tariff proposals.

“I’m not one who is enthusiastic about trade wars. The opponent in a trade war will try to hit back where it hurts the most. It hurts us most in agriculture.”

In his interview with the Messenger, Romney made several points about immigration. First, he said children should not be separated from their parents, even if the parents come into the country illegal.

He noted that in January, President Trump had said he favored giving legal status to people covered by DACA. Romney said he supported that position. But he said he doesn’t favor giving DACA individuals a special path to citizenship. They should be required to get in line with all other applicants for citizenship.

But viewing immigration more broadly, Romney described the U.S. immigration system as a “mess.”

“It’s a very convoluted process to become a legal resident or citizen of our country. I would like to simplify it. I would move away from the chain migration approach, which is distant relatives all getting in.

“Instead I would make it a more merit-based system where you get points, for instance, for speaking English, for having skills that are necessary for our economy, perhaps for having savings so we know you are not going to become a burden on our taxpayer.”

Romney said he would like people to be able to apply for citizenship on the Internet. There could be a site listing everyone who has applied and showing where particular applicants are on the list. Applicants could go on-line, see where they stood, and move up the list in a “very transparent way.”

Finally, Romney said that on a policy basis, excluding tariffs, he’s pleased with the actions President Trump has taken so far. But he said he would speak out if the president or other leaders said things that were an affront to American values.

“If people in leadership say things that are racists, highly divisive, or anti-woman or anti-immigrant,…I’ll point that out,” he said. “As a former nominee of my party, I feel a responsibility to speak from time to time, and I’ve done that in the past and anticipate continuing to do that…”

Romney, 71, grew up in Michigan, served an LDS mission in France and got his bachelor’s degree at BYU. He got a law degree and an MBA at the same time at Harvard.

In 1999, state leaders called him in to clean up financial and ethical problems in the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee. He directed the committee through the 2002 Winter Olympics.

He served as governor of Massachusetts from 2003-2007. He sought the Republican nomination in 2008, but lost to Sen. John McCain. He won the GOP nomination in 2012, but lost the election to Barack Obama.

In February, 2018, after Orrin Hatch announced he would retire, Romney announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate.


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Vendor ‘hiccups’ delay primary ballots


By Suzanne Dean




MANTI—The Republican primary, with just two contests on the ballot in Sanpete County, will close out next Tuesday, June 26.

There is no primary for Sanpete County voters in the Democratic party or any of the minor parties that will be on the final ballot.

“It’s the smallest ballot I’ve ever seen,” Sandy Neill, county clerk, said.

The lead contest is the U.S. Senate race between Mitt Romney, past Republican nominee for president, and Utah Rep. Mike Kennedy of Alpine, who actually got more votes than Romney at the Republican State Convention. (See page six for interviews with the candidates.)

The other race is for Sanpete County Commission. The contenders are Justin Atkinson, an engineer and member of the Mt. Pleasant City Council, and Ed Sunderland, a retired farmer and long-time chairman of the board of the Sanpete Water Conservancy District.

If you mail your ballot, it must be postmarked no later than Monday, June 25. If you mail your ballot at the post office near closing time, be sure to ask for the postmark to be hand-stamped.

If you go to one of the drive-up ballot boxes, you need to deposit your ballot by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Boxes are located outside the Mt. Pleasant, Ephraim and Gunnison city halls and the county courthouse in Manti.

You also have the option of bringing your ballot to the clerk’s office in person up to 8 p.m. on Election Day, or coming in during office hours, or up to 8 p.m. on Election Day, and voting on a voting machine in the lobby of the courthouse.

To vote in the primary, you must be a registered Republican. If you’re registered in Sanpete County, but are affiliated with a different party, or unaffiliated, it’s too late to change your affiliation to Republican.

But if you’re not registered at all, you can come to the clerk’s office up to just before 8 p.m. on Election Day, register, affiliate with the Republican Party and receive a provisional ballot.

Those basic facts and procedures are similar to other elections. But for Neill, and even for many voters, the election so far has been a lot different and a lot more difficult than past elections.

This year for the first time, the county used an external vendor, Election Systems and Software (ESS) of Omaha, Neb.  to prepare ballots. Apparently, ESS used another company to mail the ballots.

Very few counties in Utah send ballots out themselves. Neill said the deciding factor in choosing to use ESS this election was that her office was scheduled to install required new vote counting equipment at the same time it would have been sending out ballots, and that was more than the office could handle. Other counties had used ESS in the past and been satisfied.

But for Sanpete County and six other Utah counties who used ESS for the primary, things did not work out. Neill is not sure whether the problem was the ballot preparation company or the mailing company or both, but “they did not get the ballots out on time.”

The ballots were scheduled to be mailed June 5. Voters were supposed to get them two or three days later, between about June 7 and June 10.

Yet most of the ballots didn’t reach Sanpete County mailboxes until Tuesday, June 19.

“I’m very confident the rest (of the voters) will receive them tomorrow,” she said. That would be yesterday, Wednesday, June 20.

As weeks passed, as it became evident voters didn’t have ballots, and as some people called to complain, Neill says she felt helpless.

“Your hands are tied,” she said. By the time the problem became apparent, it was far too late to print new ballots and get through the multi-week process of sending them out from the clerk’s office.

To add insult to injury, the drive-up ballot box outside the clerk’s office got smashed up and was out of commission for a while.

“A truck went up and over the curb and smashed it pretty badly,” she says. Her office found someone who could repair it “and we’re up and running again.”

Neill is philosophical about the problems her office has been through. “We don’t want to feel this destroyed our election. It’s just a hiccup in it.”

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