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North Sanpete School District sponsors event to discuss dangers of pornography

 

By D. Yvonne Folkerson

Staff writer

9-13-2018

MT. PLEASANT— The North Sanpete School District will stage a community night featuring speakers from the anti-pornography group, “Fight the New Drug” (FTND) on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

A dinner will be served at 6 p.m. at North Sanpete High School followed by a presentation at 7 p.m. The theme for the night is “Find a person that’s your type. Don’t type for a person.”

Founded in 2009 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, FTND stresses that pornography destroys individuals and society. The group seeks to support individuals who desire to stop using pornography.

With a billboard campaign, “Porn kills love,” FTND, which describes itself as non-denominational, uses personal accounts, summaries of scientific research and social commentary to inform youth, particularly millennials, about the addictive nature of pornography.

The group does not seek to make pornography illegal, but through education and awareness, to influence youth to cease the consumption of pornography.

The group promotes peer-reviewed scientific studies that show how the brain of an individual who views pornographic material is altered, similar to the brains of drug and alcohol abusers.

On Aug. 19, 2016, FTND released an interview with Elizabeth Smart, who described for the first time about the role played by pornography in her abduction.

“It just led to him raping me more, more than he already did—which was a lot… I can’t say that he would not have gone out and kidnapped me had he not looked at pornography. All I know is that pornography made my living hell worse,” Smart said.

For more information go to www.fightthenewdrug.org. Due to the sensitive nature of the topic, the evening is recommended for ages 12 or older.

 

A.J. Ferguson, vice president for safety at the Utah Farm Bureau, throws a straw dummy into the power takeoff of a tractor to demonstrate the importance of safety when getting into and out of the machine to Sanpete County third graders.

 

Children learn about animals and safety on Ag Field Day

 

By D Yvonne Folkerson

Staff writer

9-13-2018

 

Third graders in Wendy Christofferson’s class at Ephraim Elementary School spent last Wednesday, Sept. 5 at the Sanpete County Fairgrounds learning about agriculture, safety and saving money. Cache Valley Bank donated piggy banks so students could learn the importance of saving money.

MANTI— The Sanpete County Farm Bureau staged its 21st annual Ag Field Day at the Sanpete County Fairgrounds last week for more than 400 third graders.

Students learned about agriculture, the importance of education and safety from members of the Manti, Gunnison and North Sanpete high school Future Farmers of America (FFA), local Farm Bureau leaders, USU Extension representatives and community members.

“It’s a great partnership. It’s a great program and not just for Sanpete County,” said Matt Palmer, director of USU Extension in Sanpete County.

“These youth will be making policies and decisions into the future. It’s important to work together to teach youth who will become our leaders.”

The Ag Day program was initiated by Cindy Yardley more than two decades ago to show third graders how agriculture affects their daily lives.

“A lot of times, people think if they don’t live on a farm, they have no connection to agriculture,” she said. “But everything from the food they eat, to the clothing they wear, to the timber for their house comes from some form of agriculture.”

Each year the program follows a similar setup. Students arrive, put on aprons and pick up baskets. They visit stations set up in fairground buildings where they learn about the five “F”s of agriculture: farming, forestry, food, flowers and fabric.

“The kids rotate through a series of classes, activities and presentations,” explained  Amie Olsen, chairwoman of this year’s event.

Presentations cover sheep, beef, turkeys, dairy, seeds and the importance of agriculture and farm safety.

“The kids especially love the sheep presentation where they get to see sheep sheared,” Yardley said.

There was also a station this year where students planted a seed, harvested plastic fruit or vegetables, then turned in their crops for pretend money.

At the end of the activity, the students were allowed to purchase something from the Ag Store or learned to save through representatives of Cache Valley Bank.

“In the afternoon we had two ladies from Cache Valley Bank come in and teach the kids about saving money,” said Wendy Christofferson, a teacher at Ephraim Elementary School. “They did a math activity with the kids and gave each child a piggy bank so they could start saving.”

Darrel and Corrine Olsen of Ephraim took children through their Fun-on-the-Farm exhibit. Children visited mock setups where they pulled wool, roped dummy steers and learned about raising meat and eggs.

A.J. Ferguson, a vice president of the Utah Farm Bureau, presented a safety demonstration on how to get safely into and out of tractors.

Ferguson demonstrated the dangers of ‘playing’ on tractors by throwing a straw dummy onto the power take off (PTO) of a tractor.

“It makes quite the impression as straw is thrown for a dozen yards each side,” Darrel Olsen said.

Organizer Cindy Yardley estimates that more than 9,000 students have attended Ag Day at the Sanpete County Fairgrounds in the past two decades.

Homecoming underway at Manti, Gunnison high schools

 

By D. Yvonne Folkerson

Staff writer

9-13-2018

 

 

Both Manti and Gunnison Valley High Schools are observing their homecomings this week with events stretching into the weekend.

Manti High students painted store windows in Manti and Ephraim on Monday.

On Wednesday, boys participated in a “volleybuff” tournament while girls played powder puff football.

Wednesday was also “meme day,” where students dressed up in clothing that is trending on the Internet.

On Thursday, students will white wash the “M” on the mountain. A dinner for football team members and their families will be held at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria.

On Friday, students, alumni and community members are encouraged to wear Templar insignia shirts or clothing showing Manti school colors.

A homecoming parade will travel down Main Street in Manti at 12:30 p.m., and the Templars will take on Summit Academy in football at 7 p.m.

The homecoming dance will be on Saturday from 8-11:30 p.m.

At Gunnison, a powder puff football game for girls and a pep rally were held Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. at the football field.

A homecoming assembly will be held Friday in the school auditorium from 10:30-11:30 a.m. The homecoming parade down Gunnison’s Main Street starts at 3 p.m.

The homecoming football game between the Bulldogs and North Summit Braves starts at 7 p.m. Friday night.

On Saturday, the homecoming dance will be held from 9-11 p.m.

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Sanpete gets $75,000 grant to hire

social worker who will focus on preschool

 

9-6-2018

SALT LAKE CITY—Sanpete County has been awarded $75,000 to hire a social worker to focus on preschool enrollment for children experiencing intergenerational poverty, according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

Intergenerational poverty is a phenomenon where two or more successive generations of a family rely on public assistance at least one year.

In 2012, the Utah State Legislature passed the Intergenerational Poverty Mitigation Act to help children break out of the public assistance pattern.

Utah takes a two-generation approach with families by focusing on the needs of parents and their children simultaneously.

“So it’s really taking an individualized approach—looking at all the services that are available,” Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said.  “Not just government services, but nonprofits, volunteers, our faith-based communities. We bring all of these groups together in a room to focus on individuals and specifically to focus on children.”

“Many people in local communities understand the long-term effects of intergenerational poverty on children and families and are actively engaged in developing solutions,” Rep. Edward Redd, R-Logan said. “These grants will assist ongoing efforts of communities in our state to mobilize local resources to address intergenerational poverty on a local level.”

In all, about $900,000 was awarded for efforts in Carbon, Iron, Kane, San Juan, Sanpete, Utah, Washington and Weber counties.

 

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Former NS high school teacher

enters guilty plea

 

James Tilson

Staff writer

7/26/2018

            MANTI—The North Sanpete High School teacher accused of “sexting” with a student entered a guilty plea in 6th District Court in Manti last Wednesday.

            Bradford Bentley, 54 of Mt Pleasant, pleaded guilty to enticing, soliciting, seducing  or luring a minor by Internet or text, a Class A misdemeanor.

            The offense carries a possible sentence of up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500 and a requirement to register as a sex offender.

The case started after a student approached the NSHS school resource officer with allegations Bentley had sent her text messages of a sexual nature. Bentley became the focus of the investigation and was dismissed from his teaching job in May.

Investigators seized two cell phones and two iPads from Bentley’s classroom as evidence. Investigators have said the devices did not have any sexually oriented photos, only text.

When asked whether he would recommend jail for Bentley, Kevin Daniels, Sanpete County attorney, said, “I will rely heavily on the presentence investigation.” Sentencing was set for Sept. 12.

 

High school students

look at medical careers

 

Katelyn Allred

Staff writer

7/19/2018

Eighty students from all around the state, including Sanpete County, participated in the Health Career exploration camp held at Dixie State University from June 18-20.

High school students from all over Sanpete County checked out the Health Career exploration camp in southern Utah to see about becoming the next generation’s doctors, nurses, dentists and veterinarians.

The camp, hosted by the Southern Utah Area Health Education Center (AHEC), ran from June 18-20. Eighty students from all around the state attended. They participated in team-building exercises and several hands-on workshops, run by partners such as Dixie State University and the University of Utah. The keynote speaker was Dr. Eliezer Bermudez, Dean of Dixie State University’s College of Health Science.

According to AHEC, “This event was aimed at exposing these students to the diverse options for careers in the ever-growing field of health care.” The students explored career workshops such as dental hygiene, physical therapy and veterinary services.

Many Sanpete County students attended, including Rhaynee Mackey, Halley Madsen, Haley Jensen, and Isabella Johnson from North Sanpete High School; Romney Fish, Aubree Jensen, Brynn Overly, Anya Lyman, Emma Willden, and Russell Andaya from Gunnison Valley High School; and Rylee Brinkerhoff from Manti High School.

“It is an opportunity to bring together so many wonderful partners throughout the state to benefit the youth of Utah, and to learn more about the ever-changing field of health care,” said Kasey Shakespear, program coordinator at Southern Utah AHEC.  “It’s always a fun and engaging event, full of energy and excitement.”

School district updates sex harassment policy

By Katelyn Allred

Staff writer

6/28/18

MT. PLEASANT—The North Sanpete School District updated its sexual harassment policy to make school a safer place for LGBTQ+ students in a school board meeting Tuesday, June 19.

The policy now includes a clause that specifically prohibits sexual harassment on grounds of a student’s sexuality or gender, said Sam Ray, superintendent.

 “When students were harassed based on LGTBQ+ issues in the past, principals did their best to stop the harassment,” Ray said. “Now it will simply be in the policy to make it clear we are trying to ensure all students have a safe place to attend school.”

LGBTQ+ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and other identities. Between 1.7 and 5.7% of adults identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and about 0.3% of adults are transgender, though exact statistics are hard to pin down due to social stigma.

In the past, sexual harassment included gender defined as male or female, Ray said. Across the country and in Utah, the definition has been expanded to include LGBTQ+ students as well.

This isn’t the first policy change put in place to protect LGBTQ+ students. The district already has guidelines for teachers and administrators to interact with transgender students. This includes using a student’s preferred pronouns and not discussing a transgender student’s status without their permission. The North Sanpete High School Handbook also makes it clear that discrimination based on gender is unacceptable.

This change comes as part of a growing movement to make all people feel included and visible. The specific acknowledgement of LGBTQ+ students in the policy makes it clear that all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, will receive an equal education and safe environment in North Sanpete Schools.

Criminal charges filed against Brad Bentley, former North Sanpete High School teacher

By Robert Stevens

Managing editor

6/28/2018

            Criminal charges have been filed against the former North Sanpete High School (NSHS) teacher who is accused of sending explicit text messages to a student.

            Bradford Bentley, 54, of Mt. Pleasant is charged with enticing a minor—a Class A misdemeanor—by Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels in 6th District Court.

            “Teachers hold a special position of trust within our society,” Daniels said. “We send our children to school each day entrusting teachers and other faculty with the care of our children. Rarely do teachers violate this trust. Sometimes the media causes us to believe these cases are rampant. In fact, cases of this nature are very rare. Mr. Bentley is the first case of this nature I have handled in over five years. Mr. Bentley violated the trust of the entire community. Because of that violation, Mr. Bentley will be held accountable for his choices.”

The Sanpete County Sheriff’s Office recently announced it found evidence to support allegations that Bentley sexually solicited a 16-year-old female student, and suggested charges be filed based upon that evidence. After screening the case, Daniels officially filed charges.

The authorities became involved in the situation when a student approached the NSHS school resource officer with allegations that Bentley sent her text messages of a sexual nature. Bentley became the focus of the investigation and was fired from the school district in May.

Investigators seized two cellphones and two iPads from Bentley’s classroom as evidence and were able to determined probable cause, said Detective Derick Taysom of the Sanpete County Sheriff’s Office.

“The evidence suggests there were no illegals photos sent,” Daniels said. “Overall, I feel the charge is reflective of both what occurred and the attendant harm.”

            The sheriff’s office is encouraging other victims to come forward by contacting them at 435-835-2345. At this point, no one else has come forward to suggest Bentley has engaged in any other illegal behavior, Daniels said.

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North Sanpete High School varsity football team volunteers work to restore the old jail in Spring City on Saturday. Once the restoration is finished, the old jail will be open in the summer for people to come visit, take pictures and explore what the jail used to be like.

Hawk football team helps with Spring City service project