Archives for August 2016

Austin Robinson stiff-arms a Carbon defender to pick up extra yardage for Manti. The Templars routed the Dinos, 42-0 last Friday, Aug. 19.

Austin Robinson stiff-arms a Carbon defender to pick up extra yardage for Manti. The Templars routed the Dinos, 42-0 last Friday, Aug. 19. – Photo courtesy ETV 10 News in Price


Templars rumble to 42-0 shutout to begin season against Carbon Dinos


Bob Bahlmann

Staff writer



PRICE—The Manti Templars, ranked fourth in 3A, opened their 2016 football season on the road by dominating the Carbon Dinos, 42-0.

“I thought we played really really good for a first game,” coach Cole Meacham said.

Although the Templars’ first drive stalled near midfield, the defense turned the momentum by forcing a Dino turnover, which was recovered by Tanner Rasmussen.

Manti capitalized on the take-away and capped off their first scoring drive of the year with a 9-yard touchdown run by Mac Stevens.

The Templar defense came through again on the next Carbon possession. Rasmussen stepped in front of a Carbon receiver for an interception, which he returned 64 yards for a pick-six to give Manti a 14-0 lead after one quarter of play.

Nate Lee scored next for the Templars on a 3-yard run. Then another fumble recovery by Rasmussen set up a 35-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Marshal Dotson to Stevens.

The third quarter was scoreless, but the Templars added two more TDs in the fourth. Austin Robinson ran one in from 5 yards out and then Stevens capped it off with a 15-yard TD run.

Ivan Garcia was perfect on six PAT kick attempts during the game.

Defensively the Templars only gave up 81 total yards, forced three turnovers, and held the Dinos scoreless.

Michael Alder led Manti with 10 tackles, Sam Tiatia had eight, and Cooper Parry had seven. Robinson, Dotson and Lance Fowles had five each.

On offense, Dotson completed two passes, both to Stevens, for 38 yards.

Manti mixed it up in the backfield with seven different players carrying the ball. Stevens led the team with 139 yards on 16 carries. Fowles rushed nine times for 61 yards, while Lee had four touches for 34 yards. Kaden Kirkman, Dotson and Robinson each rushed three times for 26, 15 and 13 yards respectively. Cort Olson had nine yards.

“All the guys ran the ball well,” said Meacham.

The game against Carbon was arguably the easiest matchup the Templars will face in the pre-season.  This week the Templars will be hosting the top-ranked team in 3A football when Juan Diego comes to town.

“We know we’ve got to get tuned up for the next two weeks,” said Meacham. “We’ve got to control their running game but keep the defense balanced.”

The Templars will also be working on improving their blocking on offense and executing better on special teams.

The Juan Diego Soaring Eagle held a 19-16 lead over 5A West Jordan at the half last Friday before being outscored 16-6 in the fourth quarter to lose 32-25.
Last year Juan Diego shut out the Templars 28-0 and went on to beat Morgan in the 3A state championship game.

Brand new Snow soccer teams start in winning form—win for ladies, tie for men


Matt Harris

Staff writer



STERLING, COLO.—Snow College soccer is off to a great start, coming home from several matches in Colorado with a pair of wins and no losses.

In their first games ever, the men’s and women’s team pulled off a victory apiece and tied the rest of their games.

In games against Northwestern Junior College Monday, the Lady Badgers scored won, 5-1, while the men’s team got a tie, 2-2.

Prior to that, on Saturday, Aug. 20, both teams scrimmaged against Adams State University, resulting in the men’s getting their first win, 2-1, and the women’s team drawing, 0-0.

Later the same day, the men scrimmaged against a talented Trinidad State team and ended up with a 0-0 tie.

“I felt like we did really well,” men’s team captain Ule Acosta says. “We played really tough teams. They had more chemistry and experience than us, so the results that we got were outstanding. They couldn’t break our defensive backs. We played very well defensively.”

Acosta scored once against Northwestern and assisted forward B.J. Fullmer in making the Badgers’ second point. .

Head coach Nuno Gourgel said, “The boys did a great job of implementing what I was asking of them. Consistency is what we need right now. If we can find some consistency in our play, we will continue to get a lot better.”

The Lady Badgers pulled off the best game among all the contests when they defeated Northwestern, 5-1. Midfielder Sadie Munns led all scorers with two goals, while Mikaela Cox, McKenna Christiansen and Cheyanne Jacobs each added one goals.

Of the women’s team, Gourgel said, “Things come natural to them without instruction.”

The Badger soccer teams be in St. George this Friday to scrimmage against Dixie State University. The men will play at 4:30 p.m. and the women at 7:30 p.m.

Both teams will have their final scrimmage of the season against Providence Christian College in Pasadena, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 3, before conference play begins.

Snow College nursing students who attended a conference in Nashville, Tenn. sponsored by the Health Student Occupations of America included (L-R) Braden Berrett, Brooke Lamb, Ashley White, Roxy Jolley, Kiley Shepherd, Taylor DeLaura, Kirsten Peterson, Autumn James, Lonny Krause and Cheyenne Ramone.

Snow College nursing students who attended a conference in Nashville, Tenn. sponsored by the Health Student Occupations of America included (L-R) Braden Berrett, Brooke Lamb, Ashley White, Roxy Jolley, Kiley Shepherd, Taylor DeLaura, Kirsten Peterson, Autumn James, Lonny Krause and Cheyenne Ramone.


Snow nursing students earn national honors




EPHRAIM—Several Snow College nursing students from both the Richfield and Ephraim campuses took top awards in competition at a conference in Nashville, Tenn. over the summer.

The conference, held June 21-15, was sponsored by the Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA). HOSA is an international organization with 200,000 members, primarily middle school, high school and college students preparing for health occupations.

The local students were directed by Amber Epling, RN, director of the Department of Allied Health, which is based on the Snow College Richfield campus.

Lonnie Kruse, Richfield, took first place on a pharmacology test and received a $1,000 scholarship from CVS Pharmacy.

Autumn James of Marysvale and Kiley Shepherd of Richfield took first place in CPR/first aid.

Ashley White of Richfield took first place and Rosy Jolley of Monroe third place in medical photography.

Braden Berrett of Ephraim took sixth place in medical spelling. Brooke Lamb of Richfield place in the top 10 in job-seeking skills, and Cheyenne Ramone of Ephraim competed in medical math.

The Department of Allied Health includes an LPN program, with 32 students currently enrolled; an RN program with 40 students; and a certified nurse assistant (CNA) and a pharmacy technician program.

New physician joins Central Valley Medical Center



NEPHI—A new physician has joined the medical team at Central Valley Medical Center.

Mark Saunders, an OB-GYN with 20 years of experience in Utah, recently began work at the Nephi hospital.

“We are pleased that Dr. Mark Saunders has joined our medical staff,” Randy Cluff, assistant administrator at the medical center, said. “He is an excellent OB-GYN who will be able to fulfill the needs of our community.”

Saunders is noted for the individualized care he provides his patients. He says he is committed to treating every patient “as though she is the only one.” Officials at the hospital praised him for the low Caesarean section rate he has maintained while delivering over 4,500 babies in his career.

Saunders said he is particularly excited to be working at a rural hospital.

“I grew up in a small town and hope to be able to get to know my patients on a personal basis over the course of many years,” he said.

Saunders attended the Medical College of Wisconsin before obtaining residency at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. He was chief resident there during his final year at the school.

Amy Jorgensen, daughter of Neil and Diane Jorgensen of Mt. Pleasant, and “Discovery Road” co-host Maryda Nicole Gallo show off a new litter of puppies on the Jorgensen family sheep ranch. The black and white pups will grow into sheep dogs and become an important part of the Jorgensen Farms operation.

Amy Jorgensen, daughter of Neil and Diane Jorgensen of Mt. Pleasant, and “Discovery Road” co-host Maryda Nicole Gallo show off a new litter of puppies on the Jorgensen family sheep ranch. The black and white pups will grow into sheep dogs and become an important part of the Jorgensen Farms operation.


‘Sheep Count,’ airing on Central Utah community television stations, focuses on Mt. Pleasant farm


Linda Petersen

Staff writer



“Sheep Count,” a story about sheep ranches in Central Utah, is the newest episode of “Discovery Road” the documentary series sponsored by the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area.

The segment, which explores the history of the sheep industry from its glory days in the early 20th Century up to the present, is now airing on central Utah community television stations. Later it will air on KUED-Channel 9.

“One of the themes articulated in the MPNHA management plan centers on the interaction of people with the land,” said MPNHA Executive Director Monte Bona. “The story of sheep demonstrates how the pioneers adapted economic, social and cultural goals to the land they were called upon to colonize.”

In 1930, sheep production in Utah reached a peak of nearly 3 million sheep and lambs. At that time, Sanpete County boasted the largest sheep herds in Utah. But by 1994 the state number had dropped to 445,000.

“Sheep Count” introduces viewers to big-sheep operations and offers unprecedented insight on how the wool is removed from the herds.

Co-host Maryda Nicole Gallo shows viewers how stray or orphaned lambs are cared for and takes a look at the working dogs that keep sheep in line.

Along the way, the program tells the story of LaVor Taylor, who sheared more than a half-million sheep in his lifetime and made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the accomplishment.

Co-host James Nelson also visits with Nancy Long, who lives in the Rush Valley in Tooele County.  Long has dedicated years to finding, preserving and promoting the sheep wagon in western American history and hopes to make sheep wagons popular and accessible to the general public.

For a different perspective, in “Sheep Count” sheep herders from several foreign countries share their feelings about the work they do on their ranches.

Conceived in 2012, “Discovery Road” is an ongoing series of half-hour shows featuring a 1955 Pontiac (owned by Manti residents Chad and Tammy Moore, and affectionately named “Love Me Tender”) which travels along U.S. 89, All-American Road State Route 12, and Scenic Byway S.R. 24.

As the car drives along these roads, viewers will discover the things that make the MPNHA worth driving to themselves.

For more information, contact MPNHA Director Monte Bona at (801) 699-5065.


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This year marks the first year ever for the Snow mens and womens soccer program.

This year marks the first year ever for the Snow men’s and women’s soccer program. – Matthew Harris / Messenger photo

Snow soccer teams prepare for first skirmish Aug. 22

By Matthew Harris

Staff Writer



EPHRAIM—Practice has already begun for the inaugural season of Snow College men’s and women’s soccer.
Under the direction of head coach Nuno Gourgel, the teams are ushering in a new chapter in Snow College sports as preseason play begins on Aug. 22, with both teams facing Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colo.
“So far, it’s been great,” Gourgel said. “I think Snow College has an opportunity to be a great [soccer] program here. I’m grateful to be here. We appreciate the local support, and we’ve got a bunch of good kids here.”
Coach Gourgel was announced as head coach by Snow College Athletic Director Rob Nielson on March 9, 2016.
“We’re pleased to have Nuno lead our new soccer programs here at Snow College,” Nielson said. “He brings a great deal of playing and coaching experience to the job. In addition, through his playing and coaching career, he has built a vast scouting network that will be useful in helping to build the soccer programs here at Snow.”
Before coming to Snow, Gourgel was first assistant for soccer programs at Arizona Christian University. He is currently serving as the goalkeeper coach for a professional team in in Midland, Texas, and as the head coach for the Phoenix Rush Football Club in Phoenix, Ariz.
“So far, it’s been great,” Gourgel said. “I think Snow College has an opportunity to be a great [soccer] program here. I’m grateful to be here.”
The players of both teams have gelled well with their head coach, as Ally Beeston, center defender for the women’s team, can attest.
“I think he’s awesome,” Beeston said. “He’s really helped me to become a better player, and he really does know what he’s talking about in making us better players and a better team.”
Men’s team captain, Ulises Acosta, said, “Our coaches are amazing. They push us, they work us hard, and they definitely know what they’re doing. I have a lot of faith in Coach [Gourgel]. I’m really confident in all of our coaches.”
The teams are looking to establish chemistry quickly, Acosta said. They are comprised of 54 players, 24 women and 30 men, representing four continents, all coming together for the very first time. Four members of the women’s team are from Manti High School. Of the 54 players, 22 are on scholarship this year.
One of the former Templars, Mackayla Cox, forward on the Snow women’s team said, “Being a new team, we weren’t sure how it was going to be. Now that we’ve practiced for a week together, we already feel like we’ve been together for months. I feel like we’re going to have a good season.”
“It’s exciting for these kids to have this opportunity and for our student body to be able to watch soccer and have it be a part of us,” Nielson said. “As the coaches continue to recruit we think we’ll become a leader in the conference and hopefully a national power.”
The first set of home games will be Sept. 23 against Salt Lake Community College.

Suzanne Dean, publisher of the Sanpete Messenger

Suzanne Dean, publisher of the Sanpete Messenger

Donald Trump must never become president of the United States


By Suzanne Dean




I couldn’t possibly, in the space available, cite all the examples I’ve gathered of statements by Donald Trump that I find to be simplistic, mean, crass and dangerous.

There are many reasons why Donald Trump must never become president of the United States, such as his repeated business bankruptcies, unprincipled business practices, and the fact that over the past 10 years, his political statements have been all over the map.

But I believe his rhetoric alone is reason to reject him. I believe America can be, and at its core is, a civil, respectful society committed to democratic ideals. The president of the United States must model those values. Trump does not.

For starters, far from speaking respectfully, Trump mercilessly insults anyone he views as an adversary. For example, “Ted Cruz is a totally unstable individual. He is single biggest liar I’ve ever come across, in politics or otherwise, and I have seen some of the best of them. His statements are totally untrue and completely outrageous. It is hard to believe a person who proclaims to be a Christian could be so dishonest and lie so much.”

When it comes to women, Trump gets downright nasty and vulgar. After Megyn Kelly, an attorney and accomplished journalist for Fox News, a Republican-oriented, conservative network, asked Trump some perfectly legitimate questions, such as “When did you become a Republican?”, Trump attacked her.

“Well, I just don’t respect her as a journalist. I have no respect for her. I don’t think she’s very good. I think she’s highly overrated….She gets out and starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions. You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her (pause) wherever.”

And after some intemperate statements at a rally, Trump, knowing the press would report what he had said (as it has a responsibility to do), attacked the whole press gallery.

“Now you might say that wasn’t very nice,” he said. “Who cares? I can leave this scum, the press back here, they’re garbage. I don’t need them anymore. No, they’re scum.”

One attack that astonished me was against someone who isn’t even a Trump adversary. Sen. John McCain is serving his fourth term in the U.S. Senate and was a Republican candidate for president, the post to which Trump aspires. Everybody knows that McCain spent five years as a POW in the Hanoi Hilton, where he was starved and tortured. When he returned to the United States after the war, he could barely walk with crutches.

Of McCain, Trump said, “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” When ABC correspondent Martha Raddatz challenged Trump on his statement, Trump repeatedly called McCain a “dummy.”

In America, we respect people’s right to protest. Every politician deals with hecklers, and typically, police or security offices ask them to be quiet or leave.

But in a rally in Las Vegas, Trump all but advocated violent retaliation against a heckler. “We’re not allowed to punch back anymore,” he said. “I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks….I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you.”

Then there’s the litany of statements that, at their core, have to be regarded as racist.

Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until we can figure out what the hell is going on.”

Another time, Trump said, “We have many problems in our country. One of them is immigration. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists. And now we have Syrians. If I win, they’re going back. We can’t have them.”

Trump has made statements in years past that demonstrated he was well aware of David Duke, the one-time grand master of the Ku Klux Klan, who has tried to get nominated for president in both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Duke put a post on Facebook endorsing Trump. Among numerous statements, the post said Trump would break up “Jewish dominated lobbies” and ensure “white Americans are allowed to preserve and promote their heritage and interests just as all other groups are allowed to do.”

Journalist Jake Tapper of CNN asked Trump whether he would disavow Duke and other white supremacist groups.

“Just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK,” Trump responded.

After Tapper pressed him three times, Trump said, “I don’t know anything about what you’re talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don’t know. I don’t know. Did he endorse me or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists.”

Over the next few days, Trump was forced to disavow Duke and the KKK, but, to me, his statements sounded half-hearted. His tenor was, “OK, I disavowed him. So get off my back.”

A few days later, after the South Carolina primary, CNN reported a poll had showed 25 percent of South Carolina residents who voted for Trump believed slavery never should have been abolished. I have to wonder if there was a connection between that sentiment and Trump’s response to the Duke endorsement.

Then there are Trump’s simplistic statements about policies. He implies he can solve vexing national problems virtually with a wave of his hand.

On his impractical idea of building a wall the length of the 1,989-mile border between the United States and Mexico, including across many remote and mountainous areas, he says, “Mexico makes a fortune because of us. A wall is a tiny little peanut compared to the kind of money…I would do something very severe unless they contributed or gave us money (to build a wall). I’d build it. I’m very good at building.”

His economic program is even simpler. “I will be the greatest jobs president God ever created, I tell you….I will bring jobs back from China. I will bring jobs back from Japan. I will bring jobs back from Mexico. I’m going to bring jobs back, and I’ll start bringing them back very fast.”

Michael Leavitt, who spent decades in public service as Utah governor and secretary of health and human services, summed up the problem with such declarations.

“The reality is if Trump were elected,” Leavitt said, “he would be extraordinarily surprised at how much more complicated governing is than he makes it sound. If he is unable to produce on his rather outlandish commitments, the people who are enthused by his message now would be incredibly disappointed.”

What dumfounds me is how Trump is gathering such a huge national following.

On a CNN program last Sunday, Carl Bernstein of Woodward-and-Bernstein fame called the Trump phenomenon a cross between celebrity culture and neo-fascism.

A professor who did a study of Trump supporters found many believe in an authoritarian approach in other areas of life, such as child rearing.

Sadly, the most qualified candidate on the Republican stage is John Kasich. He has served in leadership roles in Congress and been a successful governor of a large industrial state. He is the most substantive of any of the candidates on policy and the most measured in rhetoric. No wonder he’s been endorsed by both the New York Times and Washington Post, organizations that, if I may say so, have a much closer view of what’s going on than you and I. Yet at the time of this writing, he was barely still in the race.

In summary, Donald Trump does not speak for me, and I don’t believe he speaks for most people in our county. I hope Sanpete Republicans will send that message when they vote in the Republican presidential preference caucuses on March 22.

Editor’s Note: Greg Soter has been a public affairs consultant to the Sanpete Water Conservancy District for several years in its effort to gain approval of the Narrows Project. Following is a comment Soter has submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in support of a final permit for Narrows construction. Comments are being accepted until March 22 (see story on A1).


I’d like to share several observations in connection with the Narrows Project in Sanpete County. It is my intent that these comments will help lead the Corps of Engineers to issue a permit for construction of the Narrows, as proposed.

Creation of the Narrows would serve the public’s interest well for these (among other) reasons:

Our nation’s integrity:  While I understand that “keeping the country’s promises” may not be part of the Corps of Engineers’ mission statement or responsibility, to me it is a festering misfortune that Sanpete County has been promised this project for roughly 80 years. The promise has not yet been kept.

Absolute integrity ought to be a prime objective for every segment of the federal government. The Corps of Engineers is now in a position to help make good on a very old promise (I realize, it wasn’t your promise) by permitting the Narrows. Or, the Corps could further stifle the promise by denying a permit, or issue a “weakened” permit that leaves Sanpete effectively without what it has been promised. I urge the Corps to step up and demonstrate the level of integrity that should permeate our entire federal government.

Enable Sanpete to use the water it owns:  The water rights for the Narrows Project absolutely belong to Sanpete. The ownership has been discussed, disputed, and adjudicated. The State of Utah’s water technicians say the water is Sanpete’s. Utah’s Supreme Court said the water is Sanpete’s.

But ownership of the water is of little/no use to Sanpete if the contentions and objections of various groups over the decades have left Sanpete without the ability to capture and store what it owns for use when it’s needed. The public interest would be well served by allowing Sanpete to build the reservoir it needs to use the water it owns.

Environmentally favorable:  From my perspective, the Narrows would be an environmental improvement. I have walked the proposed reservoir location, from the road (S.R, 264) north to the dam site, and to a lesser extent to the south of S.R. 264 along Gooseberry Creek.

At present, nearly the entire proposed footprint of the Narrows Reservoir is an unremarkable, not particularly attractive, pasture. The same site would become an attractive environmental asset if we created a reservoir there. It would be both a visual and a recreational improvement. (I do not subscribe to the theory that “untouched” is always environmentally better.)

I suppose a trained environmentalist could correctly point out that creating the Narrows would cause some “damage” to the proposed reservoir site and to banks of the Gooseberry Creek. My response is twofold:  First, that’s why we have mitigation possibilities. Second, whatever changes may take place at both the reservoir site and Gooseberry (above and below the proposed reservoir) are more than balanced by the desirability of a small body of water that becomes a visual, functional and recreational asset. It’s a tradeoff that I believe serves the public interests well.

A sizable economical asset:  It’s no secret that Sanpete is not an economically advantaged county. Most people don’t live in Sanpete because of generous income possibilities. Granted, that’s their choice.

Still, it serves the public interest to do what we can to enhance Sanpete citizens’ ability to improve their financial circumstances. The Narrows would improve farm incomes by allowing greater per-acre, per-season yields. Better farm incomes create direct and spin-off jobs.

More jobs and better incomes could enable more young Sanpete residents to secure higher education, then utilize that education in Sanpete, not elsewhere. It’s a highly-desirable, ascending spiral. “A rising tide lifts all boats.”  (John F. Kennedy said that in defense of a dam project in 1963, incidentally.)

The $34 million construction budget alone will create 369 man-years of employment, according to the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. Many of the construction jobs will go to locals. The combined economic benefits of the Narrows are a very significant benefit to the public interest.

Recreational facilities:  I like boats and lakes. Creating a small recreational lake—stocked with fish—at the top of Fairview Canyon appeals to me a lot. If we have to tolerate a few environmental offsets to gain the recreational advantages the Narrows Reservoir will offer, it’s a worthwhile trade-off in my mind. These recreation facilities will serve the public interests well.

I strongly urge the Corps of Engineers to issue a permit for the Narrows Project to be built, the way it is presently proposed.


Greg Soter is a resident of Orem, Utah, with ancestral roots in Mt. Pleasant and Fairview. The thoughts expressed in this letter are the opinions he has developed over numerous years involvement with the Narrows Project.

Roy Leabig wants to share his love of Polynesian culture and is teaching classes on the topic to accomplish it.

Roy Leabig wants to share his love of Hawaiin culture and is teaching classes on the topic to accomplish it.

Wants to share love of Hawaiian culture


By Matthew Harris

Staff Writer



EPHRAIM—Roy Leabig doesn’t just know a thing or two about Hawaiian culture. It’s his way of life.

For over 30 years, Leabig has dedicated himself to learning and embracing the native traditions and philosophies of Hawaii. Now, he is bringing that experience and love to Sanpete County in the form of family-style classes for local residents.

Classes will be held on Saturdays beginning Aug. 27 and are open adults and children 8 years and older. The classes will meet from 10 a.m.-noon at the Eva Beal Auditorium in the Manti City Building (50 S. Main) and from 2-4 p.m. at the Central Utah Counseling Center, 390 W. 100 North in Ephraim.
Some of the topics and activities covered will include Hawaiian culture, dancing and ukulele.

The classes are not anything like you may have experienced before, Leabig says.

“A lot of what I am teaching is actually seeing what’s going on and being able to express what you’re seeing,” he said. “It isn’t a class of textbooks and reading…It’s bringing in a drum and inviting all to participate.”

Classroom interaction helps the teacher share his message, Leabig says. Through drums and dancing, “I tell them a story. All of our dances and all of our words have meanings.”

Leabig says he began learning about Hawaiian culture because of a dare. In a relationship with a person learning Tahitian, he attended an event featuring all kinds of Polynesian dances, including Hawaiian. From there, Leabig took in all that he could, eventually traveling with a nonprofit group to Hawaii where his love for the islands only grew.

As a student, Leabig described his early self as “the tall, white guy in the back row…always smiling.”

So bright was his smile, he said, that his Hawaiian teachers called him “Kala”, meaning “the sun,” and the name stuck with him even until now.
“Gradually I was invited to go up closer, given more responsibility and so forth,” Leabig said of his efforts to learn about the culture and the language. “Each time I took it on, I liked it more.”

Native to the Bay Area in California, Leabig moved to Hawaii to become a record producer, producing only in the Hawaiian language. After two years, a group came from the island of Maui, where technology was limited, asked Leabig to produce their music. A friendship was born, and inspiration continued to flow, Leabig said.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Leabig frequently hosted missionaries at his house. Upon learning of one missionary’s plans to attend Snow College in Ephraim, his interest was piqued.

Returning to California, he contacted that now-returned missionary and ultimately decided to move to Utah. He purchased a house in Ephraim and became a permanent resident.

“There was a niche for me here,” Leabig said.

As a resident in Sanpete, he began working with youth from local boys’ homes, teaching them Hawaiian.

“Forty-four boys…spoke fluent Hawaiian after four months,” Leabig said.

Attending one of his classes, Leabig said, was a person working for Snow College who offered him the opportunity to teach Hawaiian Studies at the college.

“The door opened….and I said ok,” Leabig remarked.

Though a resident of Sanpete County, Leabig still has a school in Hawaii.

“Wherever I go [in Hawaii], I see people smile, be courteous, move out of themselves a little bit. That’s what I’m trying to establish here,” he said.
Leabig said Hawaiian has had a lasting influence on his life.

“It has allowed me, in an artistic field, to express myself,” he said. “It’s changed me into more of myself.”

Those who attend Leabig’s lessons are given the opportunity to feel the same way, to express themselves and to learn compassion towards one another, Leabig says. He asks that those who come to learn are willing to learn and be exposed to something new.

“Take your shoes off, come to a space wanting to be taught, come into a space that you know is totally foreign, but want to do it,” Leabig said. “I ask for courtesy, family and concern. I want for my students to be able to turn to me after class and say ‘Is there anything I can help you with, teacher?’”

Registration for each class is $10, or $80 over the eight-week course. There is no advance registration; Leabig said participants can pay at the door.

Andee Erickson / Messenger photo Longtime owner of Farmer’s Country Floral, Anita Farmer, makes a dozen bud vases on a June morning two months after Kristine Simmons bought the business.

Andee Erickson / Messenger photo
Longtime owner of Farmer’s Country Floral, Anita Farmer, makes a dozen bud vases on a June morning two months after Kristine Simmons bought the business. – Andee Erickson / Messenger photo

Anita Farmer’s love of flowers, family and community has sustained her for 41 years 


By Andee Erickson

Staff Writer



MT. PLEASANT—After 41 years under Anita Farmer’s ownership, Farmer’s Country Floral has been renamed Farmer’s Floral. Farmer’s name hadn’t left the shop and neither quite had she.

For the past few decades, Farmer said running the flower shop has given her the opportunity to help people during important times in their lives. The camaraderie she continues to cherish with her fellow co-workers has made going to work like going home to family, which explains why handing off the business has been no easy task.

“It’s hard,” Farmer said. “It’s really been hard. My husband died ten years ago, a little more. It’s just all we had. We didn’t have any children, but we had 27 foster kids, so this was our constant.”

Farmer is put at ease knowing her constant is going to be in the care of Kristine Simmons, a long-time member of the family who has worked in the shop for the past 25 years. With wonderful design skills, Farmer said she’s better than the teacher.

Simmons, who’s never worked for another floral shop, has learned everything she knows from her years with Farmer. The transition to take over the shop seemed natural after getting to know the customers and growing her passion of working with flowers, she said.

“We just hope that we can continue to give that quality service and that our customers will grow old with that,” Simmons said. “A lot of our customers started out with their little dance flowers, to their prom flowers to their wedding flowers.”

Simmons plans for the future of the store include broadening the variety of gift and unique items on the floor.

“She’s going to make it better,” Farmer said. “I know her; I trust her with my life and I know that she will improve the business, that she’ll keep taking care of the customers, which is super important to me.”

Farmer said Simmons taking ownership is the best she could ever hope would happen to the shop, but before Farmer ever acquired her own flower shop she had worked in three others.

It all started when she was just out of commercial art school. She was doing sign work at the time when she found herself in a flower shop in Lindon ordering flowers for the first time. The shop was called Orchard Shop when she first visited.

When the owner, Mairon Howarth, asked Farmer how she wanted to sign the card, Howarth responded with excitement after she recognized Farmer’s name from her sign work and offered her a job at the shop.

Farmer worked for Howarth until the business was sold, she said. It was under Howarth where Farmer said she learned the most about the floral business. After the Orchard Shop sold, Farmer worked in both Pleasant Grove and Provo before coming to Sanpete County with her husband.
They fell in love with the Sanpete they had gotten to know while spending time at their cabin in Indianola, Farmer said. Between the people, small town atmosphere and plain beauty of the place, she said it’s a great place to live. So when the Farmers decided they wanted to buy a flower shop they came to Sanpete, where Mt. Pleasant had one for sale in 1969.

The family of co-workers Farmer has built up over the years has included her late husband and some of their foster children. After her husband was injured laying brick he kept book at the shop for more than 10 years, she said, and they had fun when the kids wanted to help out with the flowers. If the girls’ flower arrangements were good enough, she said they would put them in the cooler and see if they’d sell.

Those were fun times, Farmer said, but the business had its hardships, too. The job comes with more physical labor than people might imagine and the hours can be long, she said, especially on the ‘four floral holidays’: Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Valentine’s Day and prom. Not to mention the emotional strain that can be found in a business where Farmer said flowers say things people can’t.

“The flower business is kind of interesting because you’re working with people in their emotional highs and lows,” Farmer said. “They’re over the moon in love, they’re getting married, they had a new baby or they’ve had a death. So a lot of the times you’re counselor and you have to be able to work with people in this business.”

As far as staying successful was concerned, Farmer said she was always quite tenacious in keeping the shop open in a town that can only support one floral business. It’s all they had after her husband got injured, she said.

While Simmons was on vacation in June, Farmer typically helped out once a week on Saturdays, she said.

Oh, and her favorite flower is the carnation.

“They come in the most beautiful colors,” Farmer said without hesitation. “They last the longest of a lot of flowers, they are fairly inexpensive and it’s just one of God’s prettiest creations. They’re just the prettiest flower.”

Columnist Corrie Lynne Player

Ensuring the family pet’s well-being


By Corrie-Lynne Player 




Last time, I told you about what happened when I acquiesced to my almost grown daughter’s pleas for a dog. She insisted that she’d “always take care” of it. Her desire for a pet lasted exactly a week. I ended up feeding, watering and training the dog.
So, how do you handle getting stuck with a pet? I’m pretty sure that every kid who whines for one really thinks he knows what’s involved: the parakeet’s cage will be cleaned, the goldfish’s water changed and the bowl shined, the hamster’s wood shavings replaced, the litter box emptied, etc.
I’m also sure that most parents end up being the ones who clean cages, change water, replace wood-shavings and empty litter boxes. They’re also the ones who end up filling food dishes, ensuring sufficient exercise and making vet appointments.
So, discuss why your family wants this particular pet. Watching fish swim is relaxing, hamsters are soft and cute, cats don’t need to be walked, dogs are good protectors and so on. Then have your kids decide whether they want the pet enough to put up with the messes and the hassles. If everybody agrees on the need for a particular pet and his or her responsibility to share its care, make a chart that reflects what needs to be done and tracks who should do it.
Post the chart and remind your children to read it if you have to. Reminding was always the hardest part for me. I could define tasks and draw up charts, but once I taped them to the refrigerator door, nobody looked at what I’d written. And I was easily distracted, so I didn’t follow up enough.
But in order for pet care to teach accountability, you have to follow up and figure out consequences for “forgetting” to feed or walk the dog or clean out the cat’s litter box. Draw parallels between your child’s life and the animal’s.
A friend of mine “forgot” to give her thirteen-year old son dinner one night when the kid continually left his dog without food. She says he got the point.
There are so many virtual pets and animated toys that I think people tend to forget that real, living animals are a big responsibility. Some pets are pretty easy but they’ll die if deprived of minimal care.
Freshwater fish in a balanced aquarium don’t take a lot of time but still need to be fed appropriately. Turtles and snakes are in the same category. Mammals such as hamsters, guinea pigs and mice need more attention and qualify as “pets” because they generally like to be touched.
Next up the scale are cats. While cats tend to be attached to places more than people, they still need stroking and feeding.
Dogs, in my opinion, are the top of the “house pet” category. Pack animals, they require grooming, training and feeding. They can’t be fenced in the backyard and ignored. I believe nobody should have a dog it they don’t want to spend the necessary significant time to socialize the animal into the family. Dogs need a boss, the leader of the pack, someone who’s in charge and responsible.
Whatever pet you decide would fit your family, don’t forget that, as the parent, you are the one who’s in charge. Be sure you’re willing to feed and care for the goldfish, turtle, cat or dog. If you can’t or don’t want the responsibility, stand firm and don’t be talked into anything. Or come up with a suitable consequence that doesn’t involve bodily harm for an innocent creature.

Power of persistence will win  in the end on Narrows Project   

“Nothing is more powerful than persistence.”

And no group of people is a better example of that statement by Calvin Coolidge than citizens of Sanpete County, as represented by the Sanpete Water Conservancy District (SWDC).

In order to get the Narrows dam and reservoir constructed, Sanpete leaders have been meeting with officials, writing letters, conducting studies, signing agreements, defending a lawsuit, and paying taxes to pay for all those things, since 1933.

So when the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, in response to a 520-page application for the final, final permit required to build the critical project, told us we need, in essence, to rewind and replay the Narrows tape, maybe we should have asked, “So what else is new?”

In civil society, when a business or government organization approves a project, or law or proposition, or says it will approve it, that means it’s a approved or will be approved. There might be a wrinkle or two between approval and implementation, but the approval still stands.

In 1966, the Army Corp released a report, with comments from other federal agencies, favoring the Narrows.

In 1995, after completing an environmental impact statement (EIS), the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), the lead federal agency for water projects, issued a “record of decision” approving the project.

That’s when Carbon County interests went to court to stop the project. They claimed the EIS was deficient.

So in 1998 the BOR kicked out a new EIS. That same year, the Army Corp asked the SWDC some questions that the Corp apparently felt were had not be answered in the two EISs. The Sanpete people send a response, and the Army Corp replied with a letter saying the information provided “appears to be adequate.”

That’s where the train stopped.

Mind you, the BOR had approved the project. A rational person would assume that the approval still stood, or if approval was contingent on correcting the alleged deficiencies in the EIS, and the BOR had done that, the BOR would issue another record of decision.

Furthermore, one would assume that if the Army Corp had, in essence, given a high-five to the Narrows, as soon as the revised EIS was out, or, if needed, as soon as the BOR issued another record of decision, the Corp would have signed off on the project.

None of that happened, and in 2005, the ever-persistent leaders of the county and the SWCD stood on the shore of the potential 600-acre Narrows Reservoir and asked, “What is going on?”

Since then, the BOR has produced a third EIS (more than 200 pages) and issued a second record of decision.

Now the Army Corp is claiming Sanpete County has never made the case that the project is needed. Well, we’ve been making that case that water storage is needed for agriculture, industry and culinary use since 1933. Time and again, federal and state agencies have agreed that the need exists. But yes, we’ll explain it all again for the Corp.

The Army Corp claims Sanpete County hasn’t presented sufficient alternatives to building the Narrows. Again, about nine years ago, Sanpete and Carbon County interests cooperated in funding an independent, unbiased study of alternatives to the Narrows.

CH2MHill, a nationally known engineering firm, looked at 15 alternatives. It issued a 70-page study, which concluded that the Narrows project, as proposed, was the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to deliver 5,400 acre feet of water per year to Sanpete County. (Our rights to that water have been acknowledged again and again in signed agreements and by the courts.) Yes, we will get the ideas and information from the CH2MHill study to the Corp.

Finally, the Army Corp says the SWDC needs to do a supplemental EIS. That’ll be the fourth EIS on the project, not counting the 520-pages recently submitted to the Corp. But we’ll do it.

The branch director for the Army Corp of Engineers and a lead scientist in the Denver regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told Sanpete leaders in late July they are not trying to kill the Narrows and that they aren’t, per se, against new dams being built. We’ll take them at their word.

In the face of difficulty, Coolidge said,  “Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” In that vein, Sanpete County will persist until the Narrows is finally, finally, approved and built.

Prison locked down after inmate fight


By Matthew Harris

Staff Writer



GUNNISON— The Central Utah Correctional Facility was put on lockdown on Saturday, Aug. 13 after a fight broke out in the recreation yard, Brooke Adams at the Utah Department of Corrections confirmed.

The fight, involving seven inmates, broke out around 1:30 p.m. right as the inmates were returning to the Cedar housing unit from the recreation yard. Correctional officers successfully intervened in the matter before any serious injuries were inflicted.

“Such events can take place very quickly,” Adams stated, “and this one was observed and broken up before it escalated.”

Of the seven, three sustained minor injuries and were treated at a local hospital before being returned to the prison.

The facility cancelled visitation to the Cedar housing unit during the weekend. Operations are now proceeding as normal in all other areas. The Cedar housing unit is expected to return to normal operations by the end of the week.

Fayette Town Park now boasts new basketball court and hopscotch pad, courtesy of years of fundraisers.

Fayette Town Park now boasts new basketball court and hopscotch pad, courtesy of years of fundraisers.

Fayette Park gets upgrades


By Megan Batterman 

Staff Writer



FAYETTE—A concrete pad for basketball, four-square, hopscotch and other games has been installed in the Fayette Town Park.

The town has worked for five years to raise the funds needed for the project, and through auctions, fundraisers and donations, the long-held dream of a basketball court at the town park became a reality on July 16.

Allen King, Scott Bartholomew, Jed Bartholomew and Quinn Smyeer were noted for their work on the project.

The basketball court joins a collection of retro playground equipment like seesaws, merry-go-rounds and monkey bars, popular with locals and visitors alike.