Archives for September 2017


Rita Sorensen Allred


Rita Sorensen Allred returned to her loving Heavenly Father on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017 at home. She was born in Moroni, Utah on May 28, 1935 to Niels Peter and Blanche Sorensen.

She was raised in Moroni and moved to Tulare, California her senior year, where she graduated from high school. Rita married Calvin M. Allred on Nov. 23, 1953 in the Manti LDS Temple. They are the parents of five children: Rowena, David, Keith, Colleen, and Karen.             She was a full-time mother and homemaker and helped her husband run his sheep ranch operation. Rita loved being in the mountains surrounded by beauty and nature. She enjoyed creating a beautiful yard and home. She found joy and peace in listening to chirping birds, colorful flowers, white fluffy clouds, rainstorms, rainbows, and beautiful music.

An accomplished pianist, she played for many funerals, accompanied many vocal and instrumental performers, and was the ward organist for many years. Rita was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where she served in various organizations.

She had a strong testimony and a sweet relationship with her Heavenly Father. One of the highlights of her life was serving with her husband as ordinance workers in the Manti LDS Temple and serving as full time missionaries in Hartford, Connecticut.

Rita is survived by her husband, Calvin Allred; five children, Rowena Adams, David (Jane) Allred, Keith Allred, Colleen (Lonny) Brown, and Karen (Gene) Peckham; 24 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild; and one brother. She was preceded in death by her parents, two sisters, a brother, two half-sisters, a half-brother, and a daughter-in-law.

A celebration of her life will be held Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017 at 11 a.m. in the Fountain Green LDS Chapel. Friends and family may call Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. and Thursday from 9:30-10:30 a.m., both at the Fountain Green LDS Chapel. Interment will be in the Fountain Green Cemetery.

Online condolences


LaRita Lucille Peterson Beck


LaRita Lucille Peterson Beck passed away peacefully with her family by her side on Sept. 21, 2017 in Mt. Pleasant. She was born May 26, 1934 in Indianola to Wallace and Lucile Peterson. She was married to Wayne G. Beck on June 10, 1953. Their marriage was later solemnized on Aug. 21, 1996 in the Manti LDS Temple.

LaRita was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, co-worker, and friend. Her many talents consisted of intricate doilies, hankies, and Afghans. She was an amazing seamstress.

She enjoyed many years of thoroughbred horse racing, chasing their dream. Their yard was spectacular to all and she was very proud of her plate sized dahlias. Divinity, sweet rolls, clam chowder, and dumpling soup will never taste the same without her.

She was adored by her grandchildren and many friends. Her family was her lifeline. She retired as a bank manager for Wells Fargo Bank. She is survived by her children; David (Lorna) Beck, Diane (Kenneth) Lund, and Lorie (Don) Hardy, 9 grandchildren, and 12 great- grandchildren.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Wayne; parents, Wallace and Lucile Peterson; and sisters Bertha and Diane. A viewing was held Sunday, Sept. 24 from 5-7 p.m. at Rasmussen Mortuary and then again from 9-10:30 a.m. at the Mt. Pleasant 5th Ward (Red church).

Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 25 at the Mt. Pleasant 5th Ward. Interment services in the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.

The family would like to express a special thanks to Dr. Allan Day and staff, Myron, Carol, and David Anderson, Stone Henge (Springville), Country Lane, and the Sanpete Valley Hospital staff. You all treated her like family and we are so grateful for you. Thank you.

Online condolence


Elga Mae Braithwaite Nicholls


Elga Mae Braithwaite Nicholls, 88, of Manti, passed away peacefully at her home on Sept. 20, 2017. She was born Jan. 27, 1929 in Manti, to Clinton J and Eva Hall Braithwaite.

Elga married Erick M Nicholls on July 12, 1946 in Manti. Their marriage was later solemnized on July 12, 2011 in the Manti Temple. He preceded her in death on May 12, 2008.

Elga worked as a school lunch lady and also at the sewing and parachute plants. She was an active participant in the American Legion Auxiliary and Veterans Memorial Flag Project. She served in the Relief Society and as a Sunday School teacher.

She is survived by her children: Dale Lee Nicholls, Ephraim; Suzanne N. (John) Cox, Manti; Carol N. (Andy) Shaw, Ephraim; daughter-in-law, Betty Nicholls, Fountain Green; brother, Wallace Braithwaite; 10 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

Preceded in death by her husband, Erick; son, Glen Nicholls; daughter-in-law, Charmaine Nicholls; parents, Clinton and Eva; brothers, Lynn, Wayne and Carl Braithwaite; twin sisters, Maxine Peterson and Maurine Draper; brother and sister-in-laws, Latone, Rex, Earl, Liz and Orvella; great-granddaughter, Aspen Nicholls.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017 at noon in the Manti Tabernacle. Viewings were on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at the church and also prior to services from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Interment were in the Manti City Cemetery.

Funeral Directors: Magleby Mortuary, Richfield, Salina and Manti. Online guestbook at

Gunnison Valley Hospital Births


Jose Angel Reyna Valentin Jr. was born to Miguel Salgado and America Gomez of Centerfield on Sept. 8, 2017. He weighed 7 pounds 6 ounces.

‘When it’s someone we know’

Preventing suicide means more when it hits close to home


By John Hales

Staff writer

Sept. 28, 2017


March 3, 2010: “Manti family devastated by double-suicide tragedy.”

Jan. 25, 2012: “Suit claims bullying led to Ft. Green teen’s suicide.”

Feb. 19, 2015: “Gunnison Valley struggles to deal with two teen suicides in 24 hours.”

Accompanying those dates and headlines on front pages of the Sanpete Messenger were  photos—among the last ones taken—of young people who had taken their own lives.

In each case, the photos were of smiling boys each of whom, at some terrible point, stopped smiling. Even before reaching adulthood, they reached points of desperation when they felt their lives were too difficult to endure.

Three dates, four families, five deaths, one horrific phenomenon. And during the past seven years, suicides like these have increased to become the No. 1 threat to the lives of Utah youth.

We’re not talking strictly about teenagers. Suicide begins to be the leading cause of death for young  Utahns at the age of 10.

“This is a problem here in Utah, and we’ve got to do something about it,” says Cathy Davis, suicide prevention coordinator for the Utah State Office of Education.

Davis spoke passionately about youth suicide and how to prevent it to faculty and staff of Gunnison Valley schools on Sept. 14 in conjunction with Suicide Prevention Month in September. She gave a presentation to students at Gunnison Valley Middle School earlier in the day.

The statistics are startling. “We are currently at 40 youth suicides in Utah (for the year). We are in one of our highest years ever,” Davis said.

There are other figures.

  • Utah ranks fifth in the nation for youth suicide.
  • The youth suicide rate in Utah is more than double the national average.
  • In a study of students in eighth, 10th and 12th grades, more than 16 percent had “seriously considered suicide” sometime in the 12 preceding months.
  • Almost half of students in the study who had contemplated suicide, 7.6 percent of all respondents, reported making a suicide attempt.
  • From 2010 and 2014, Utah saw a 45-percent increase in suicide rates for the 10-17 age group.
  • The numbers of teen deaths caused by traffic accidents and those caused by suicide have almost exactly flip-flopped since 1999.

One could go on and on. But numbers don’t reveal everything there is to know or feel.

“We hear about deaths all the time, but when it’s someone we know—,“ Davis trailed off. She didn’t need to finish; for teachers in Gunnison schools, the wounds from the two suicides in February 2015 were still fresh.

Davis didn’t skirt around that event. She began, in fact, with a video that had been produced about that 2015 suicides. The video ended with a cousin of one of the boys saying, “I’d do anything to have him back.”

Davis’s goal was to help teachers know what to do to keep kids from ever heading to the point of no return.  Her lessons for teachers are translatable and beneficial to anyone who encounters young people regularly.

In the aftermath of a suicide, Davis said, “people always ask me, ‘Why?’ And I say, ‘Do you have a couple of days?’”

There isn’t an easy answer; there isn’t even a single answer. Suicide, she says, is a multi-factorial event. “A whole bunch of factors have to be set in motion for it to happen.”

Personal characteristics, family dynamics, adverse life circumstances, environmental factors and behavioral health issues all pose risk factors.

“Do we know what are students are dealing with at any given time?” she asked.  “Your kids, if you really talk to them, will tell you, ‘Be involved in my life.’ They may say otherwise, but they really want you to be involved.”

That includes talking about suicide. “What is it about suicide that makes it a hot potato for all of us? Why is it so uncomfortable to talk about it?” she asked.

Yet talk about it we must, she emphasized. “Bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.”

She advised educators to take young people in stress or crisis seriously, and not discount their concerns or emotions.

Davis offered several keys to prevention of youth suicides:

  • While to adults, the problems of adolescence may seem trivial, they are the biggest problems the adolescent has encountered in his or her life.

Every person has a “timeline,” Davis said. While the adult timeline looks back over several decades, a child’s is a matter of years; do not expect him or her to have an adult’s perspective.

  • Avoid arguing with adolescents about their choices. In a hard moment, “that doesn’t matter at the time.”
  • There might be a tendency to say, “Oh, all that kid wants is attention.” But rather than pooh-poohing, Davis says, “give that kid attention, because you’ve got to figure out what’s really going on with them.”
  • Remember: They are young, they are impulsive, they are dealing with all kinds of emotions and feelings that are new to them.
  • As you talk to young people, give them, and yourself, permission to be human. “You don’t have to be the expert or have all the answers,” Davis says. Sometimes, just listening can be enough. “Sometimes, we just have to give kids time to decompress.”
  • Acknowledge when you are seeing signs of depression or suicide. “Let the student know that you care about them, and you can help,” Davis says.

A troubling feature of today’s youth, she said, and a problem society must begin recognizing and addressing, is increased mental illness.

“One in five adolescents have a diagnosable mental health disorder,” Davis said.

People begin dealing with depression at ever younger ages, she said. “A lot of our kids are walking around full of anxiety, and they don’t have what they need” in terms of care or service.

Education, health and public policy officials and institutions are tackling the problem with a sense of urgency, she said.

Just as the Utah Department of Transportation launched its “Zero Fatalities” campaign several years ago, Davis and others recognize that even one suicide is one too many.

Davis urged teachers, and, by extension, everyone, to remember: “Every child in your classroom is someone’s entire world.”


Warning signs of suicide:

• Withdrawing from, or changing in, social connections or situations

• Talking about or making plans for suicide

• Expressing hopelessness about the future

• Displaying severe, overwhelming emotional pain or distress

• Showing worrisome behaviors or marked changes in behavior

• Changes in sleep


Myths about suicide:

MYTH: Talking to young people about suicide, or asking them if they are suicidal, is risky because it might put the idea in their head.

FACT: “It’s already there,” says Cathy Davis, suicide prevention coordinator with the Utah State Office of Education. “Bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.”

MYTH: If a someone is determined to kill himself or herself, there isn’t much that can be done to stop the person.

FACT: “Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die,” Davis says. “Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop.”

MYTH: Kids are not depressed but are just dealing with the emotional turmoil of growing up.

FACT: Depression is not an attitude but a serious health disorder, Davis says. “We’re having kids deal with depression at younger and younger ages.”


If you or someone you know is suicidal:

Safe UT app

Download the Safe UT ap from the Google or Apple ap store, Ap will enable you to call or text an on-call clinician at the University of Utah 24 hours per day.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


Most calls from Utah answered by University of Utah clinicians

Central Utah Counseling Center Crisis Line:


Calls routed to counseling center clinicians in Sanpete County



Editor’s Note: The Sanpete Messenger is running the following story in connection with National Suicide Prevention Month in September.


Spring City makes plan to rehabilitate culinary springs, update water master plan


By Suzanne Dean


Sept. 28, 2017


SPRING CITY—Spring City is getting ready to do some major work related to its water and sewer systems.

The most immediate project is rehabilitation of the water collection system around five springs in Spring City Canyon that provide nearly all of the city’s drinking water. The estimated cost of the work is $326,200.

Also on tap is developing a master plan for extending water and sewer lines within the city, and in some cases beyond the city boundaries, in order to handle growth. Preparation of the master plan is expected to cost $30,000 to $50,000.

Sanpete County has ranked the springs project as the No. 1 priority in the county on its local capital improvements list. That should put the project in a good position to get funding.

The city is set to submit an application to the Utah Community Impact Board (CIB) next month for a grant covering half the cost of the project. The city plans to cover the other half through a 20-year general obligation bond, according to Jim Phillips, assistant city treasurer and secretary to the planning commission.

Councilwoman Kimberly Stewart is heading up the project for the city. Phillips is the key staff contact in city offices.

The five springs are located about 4 miles up the canyon. Three of them are below and two above Mud Hole Campground. Phillips, who is also an engineer, says the project, which will involve extensive excavating, will be challenging because of the terrain.

The system for collecting water from the springs includes perforated pipe around each spring that draws in the spring water. The pipes carry the water to collection boxes, one for each spring. All of the boxes drain into a larger pipeline, which brings the water down the mountain into town.

In the past, the pipeline delivered 250-300 gallons per minute into the Spring City culinary system. But as tree roots and sediment have clogged collection boxes and pipes, output has dropped to 80 gallons per minute, according to Jim Bennett, head of the Water Department.

In fact, the city has ceased using one spring entirely because it has become contaminated by sediment and organic matter.

Ironically, Phillips says, because the collection system is clogged up and can no longer hold the water coming out of the springs, much of the water flows out across the ground, where it irrigates hardwood trees, which put down more roots and further clog water collection boxes.

The rehabilitation project will involve “digging up everything and replacing (parts) as necessary,” Phillips says. Almost certainly, all of the collection boxes will need to be replaced. The project includes getting the contaminated spring back into use.

According to Phillips, if the CIB approves funding, the springs project could go out to bid as early as March.

The water and sewer master plan is needed to help the city develop a timetable for extending water and sewer lines to accommodate growth.

Currently, if someone builds a house in the city, or on the periphery, and if the house is more than 300 feet from the nearest sewer line, the home builder is permitted to install a septic tank. The city wants to curb the trend toward septic tanks.

“We have people who would like to be on (the sewer) right now, but they’re not close enough,” Phillips says.

One owner of a new home was 400 feet from the nearest sewer line but was determined to connect. So he paid the cost of running a line from his home to the nearest main line. But most owners can’t afford that kind of cost.

Consulting engineers writing the master plan would identify growth areas and then outline projects, with costs, for extending water and sewer mains to those areas, Phillips said. The plan would recommend a priority order for the projects.

The city plans to also seek funding for the master plan from the CIB. It plans to submit an application in time for a CIB meeting in February, 2018.

Anthony Blauer of Manti shows a riding trick to his grandchildren, who were in a car behind him on the “Salt to Saint” bike ride last from Salt Lake City to St. George last weekend. The event attracted 254 bikers, most of them organized into teams. Blauer finished first among 20 solo male riders.


Local man wins solo portion of 423-mile ‘Salt to Saint’ ride


By Max Higbee

Staff writer

Sept. 28, 2017


MANTI—Bolstered by encouraging messages from family, friends and his community sent via social media, a Manti resident logged the fastest time of any solo male biker last weekend on a 423-mile ride from Salt Lake City to St. George.

Much of the “Salt to Saint” ride was along U.S. 89, including passing through Ephraim, Manti and Gunnison. And most of the 274 riders were members of teams where each team member rode part of the way, and ride facilitators recorded the time for the team as a whole. Blauer was one of 20 men who covered the whole distance alone.

The official maximum time permitted to complete the ride was 34.5 hours. Blauer finished in 29 hours and 49 minutes. The next closest solo male rider took 23 more minutes than Blauer. He finished in 30 hours and 12 minutes.

“I was born and raised here,” Blauer says. “My dad taught school at Snow College for 40 years, microbiology and botany. He really got me into biking at a young age.”

Blauer says when he was in first grade, his dad gave him rides to school on the handlebars of a Schwinn bike.

The fourth of seven children, Blauer is a graduate of Manti High School and Snow College. He met his wife, Jennifer, during his college days. He and Jennifer have six children, the oldest of whom has started giving the couple grandchildren.

Blauer is a counselor at Central Utah Academy, the school inside of the Central Utah Correctional Facility (CUCF). Years ago, he started making the 15-mile commute from his home in Manti to Gunnison on his bike.

Then he started biking with Jim Smith, a former prison warden who was working as a science teacher at the academy.

“Jim has been a mentor,” Blauer says. “My dad passed seven years ago, and he’s just filled a fatherly figure (role). He has a bucket list where he wants to ride his bike in every national park he can. He’s got that senior citizen pass (for national park admission), so we ride our bikes in parks. He’s just been all over the country riding bikes.”

Asked about his training, Blauer says that he and Smith traverse what he calls the “belly button ride:” 105 miles from Manti to Gunnison, north through Yuba State Park to Levan, on to Nephi, through Salt Creek Canyon to Fountain Green, along S.R. 132 to Ephraim, and south on U.S. 89 to Manti.

“We’d do this series of brevet rides (long-distance bike rides with checkpoints along the way), where you’d do a 200K, 300K, 400K, and 600K and that qualifies you to do a 1,200k, and I did that series,” he says.

“We did all of our rides down in sunny Arizona; when it was storming up here we’d go down there and ride in Arizona… That was the first time I ever rode through the night, 32 hours on a bike.”

He says he never expected to be the fastest solo rider in the Salt-to-Saint ride. He was just hoping to finish in the allotted 34.5 hours by riding at an average 14 miles per hour and sleeping for four hours at some point along the route. But once the ride was underway, facilitators tracking his bike got word to him that he was pulling ahead of other riders.

“They got excited, which made me excited, and my grandkids are…”

He teared up, but his wife picked up the story. “He had a lot of support….As we got it going and we posted on social media, people were getting excited about it.,” she says.

When Blauer came to rest stops, he, his wife and grandchildren read posts on social media from, his wife says, “family and friends, the whole community. That’s what was fun. I’d say, ‘This person and this person and this person says…you can do this.’”

Blauer rides a specialized carbon-fiber Roubaix. ”It’s French, I call it Blue,” he says. During the ride, he needed to fix a mechanical problem on his rear wheel that prevented him from coasting if he stopped pedaling.

“So Jim says, ‘I’ll call Brian [Hester of Alley Cat Bike Shop in Ephraim], and he’ll take care of it. I said, ‘What if he has other things that he’s doing?’ But Jim’s just that way. He’s got friends everywhere.

“So I pull up to Ephraim, and my mom was there, and my in-laws were there, and Jim just grabbed the bike, and Brian stopped what he was doing. He tried to fix it, but said, ‘You’re gonna need a new wheel.’

Blauer had a spare wheel in his basement in Manti. Family members went to his house and brought back the spare. Hester put it on the bike. “It took a lot of people helping out,” Blauer says. “(A) big shout out to Alley Cats.”

Both Tony and Jennifer Blauer say moral support from the community made a difference during the difficult midnight uphill sections of the route.

“I think back, there are all these tiny little miracles that you just can’t explain how they happened,” Blauer says. “Four hundred and twenty-three miles, and only one flat, and that was right before I went down the hill into Hurricane.”

If the tire had blown after he started down the stretch, he would have been put in serious danger, he says. “Help came from everywhere. I can’t explain the support that I felt.”

Reflecting on the experience, Blauer is humble. “It’s not a race, it’s a ride,” he says. “I’m just grateful to have gotten to do it.”

Gunnison unveiled and dedicated the Legacy Wall, built on the east end of the city’s Legacy Plaza, amid rain but nevertheless much fanfare, on Saturday, Sept. 23, bringing to completion a 10-year effort to recover from the under-ground gasoline leak at a convenience store that once occupied the very location where the wall now stands.

[Read more…]

Sterling water-connection fees likely to rise


By John Hales

Staff writer

Sept. 28, 2017


STERLING—Sterling Town will likely see an increase in its water connection fee as a result of fixing an old resolution dealing with impact and connection fees.

Currently, the town charges $1,600 for impact fees when a new structure is built and $1,040 for a water connection. But the charges conflict with a resolution on the books that sets the water-connection fee at $1,280. The resolution includes sewer among the utilities for which impact fees are collected. Yet the town has no sewer system.

“We can’t charge an impact fee for something we don’t’ have,” Councilman Curtis Ludvigson said in an interview a few days after a meeting of the Sterling Town Council where the fee issues were discussed.

Holding up a copy of the old resolution at the council meeting Friday, Sept. 15, Ludvigson said, “I would suggest redoing this and adopting a new resolution that would override this.”

Adding to the confusion is the fact that it’s unclear when the last analysis was done on how much the water connection fee should be. That’s because it’s unclear when the resolution was adopted. Although the document contains signatures of people who assumedly were on the council at the time, “there’s no date on the resolution itself,” Ludvigson said.

He and Councilwoman Yvonne Larson both thought the resolution was “definitely an odd-looking one” that would fail a test of being technically proper.

The resolution would have been passed no earlier than 1995, since that’s when the Utah Legislature passed a statute creating and regulating the use of impact fees in an effort, in part, to bring connection fees into line. Prior to the statute, municipalities could charge whatever they wanted for connection fees.

Fixing the contradictions in the resolution, as well as making sure the connection fee corresponds to current costs of hooking up a home to the water system, is driving Ludvigson’s push for a new resolution.

“We don’t want to leave anything out there that could be questioned,” Ludvigson said  in the interview last week.

At the meeting, he said, “I’m sure that when we adopted the $1,040 figure, I’m sure we probably collected information on what the costs were … and maybe we ought to do that again.”

Ludvigson said he is studying those costs to be able to present a figure at the council’s next meeting.

The consensus of the council, reinforced by Ludvigson last week, was that the connection fee would probably go up. But impact fees would remain the same.

Cities and towns cannot change impact fees without doing a thorough analysis, often at a cost of a thousand dollars or more, Ludvigson said. He said there isn’t enough growth in the town—and therefore not enough impact fees collected—to justify the expense of an impact-fee analysis.

In other business at the Sept. 15 meeting, the town adopted a fairly comprehensive amendment to its land-use and subdivision ordinance.

A public hearing prior to the meeting saw some discussion on the amendment. However, the interchange was mostly clarification and explanation of the changes why they are needed, rather than opposition. But there was a hint of resistance against stringent, hard-and-fast rules.

Sterling Planning Commission Chair Jane Voorhees said, “Keep in mind: If it isn’t written, it doesn’t exist.”

Voorhees noted that Sterling had become something of a “vacation town,” which could make it ripe for picking by opportunistic out-of-town landlords.

“If we have a regulation, it doesn’t need to say it cannot be worked with,” Voorhees said. “But if you don’t have it, there’s nothing to stop anybody from doing anything.”

Councilmember Scott Johnson echoed that point, saying, “That could turn into an undesirable situation for the town.”

Council hears about economic potential of ConToy


By James Tilson

Staff writer

Sept. 28, 2017


MT. PLEASANT — The Mt Pleasant City Council heard about activities at the ConToy Arena and discussed the possibility of needing to install a pumping station to deliver culinary water to a new development at its meeting last week.

Jack Widdison, ConToy Arena manager, reported to the council at the Tuesday, Sept. 12 meeting on a high school rodeo to be held several days later with approximately 680 entries.

Widdison said even though ConToy did not have enough stalls for all the entries—in fact, no arena in Utah has that many stalls—ConToy has the potential to eventually construct that number of stall.

Doing so would possibly make the ConToy better than the arena in Spanish Fork, maybe even “the best in the state,” Widdison said.

In other discussion, Cody Griffith requested clarification regarding use of culinary water for irrigation. Griffith is contracted to purchase property just outside Mt Pleasant city limits that has an easement for hook-up to city culinary water.

Since the property does not have irrigation water rights, Griffith wanted an opinion from the council on whether he could use the culinary water for irrigating his lawn.

However, the underlying issue is that the property Griffith seeks to purchase is part of a development located above the city water tanks. At present, only 3 or 4 houses have been built, but the development has 20 lots.

This creates an issue for the city. State law mandates that any user of municipal water must be guaranteed a prescribed amount of water pressure. But the city does not have a pumping station above the city water tank, and continued development of lots might necessitate one.

Councilman Kevin Stallings told Griffith that, as much as he wanted to promote development and new residents for in the Mt Pleasant area, he could not guarantee that the city would not put restrictions on use of culinary water in the development in the future.

Brittny Adams, city pool manager, also came before the council. Adams, with the help of other city staff and Councilman Justin Atkinson, had reviewed and selected a new software program that would be used at the aquatic center for sale of tickets, reservation of times at the pool and the splash pad, and management of employee time.

The new software has the potential to be used in all city recreation programs, Adams said. It could keep track of inventory, allow outside users to look up calendars of events on-line, and enable people to make reservations without contacting an employee directly.

The annual fee for the software, $3,500, is somewhat steep, Adams said, but the price allows for unlimited use by the city, and automatic updates and maintenance of the software.

The council approved the request, starting with this year.

Some final thoughts on one of the toughest stories the Sanpete Messenger has covered

By Suzanne Dean


Sept. 28, 2017


With the retirement of Ron Rasmussen, the Ephraim police controversy, one of the more difficult stories we at the Messenger have dealt with in many years, is over. I’m glad. And I have a few final thoughts.

First, no matter what skills, values and deficits (and we all have them) the chief brought to the job, his 28 years of service represents, as the mayor and city council pointed out following his retirement announcement, an enormous contribution.

Day in, day out, year in and year out, he responded to calls involving every imaginable sticky situation and tragedy. By all accounts, rather than arresting people and going for maximum punishment, he often tried to use those incidents to educate citizens and encourage them to take better courses in their lives. There is certainly a place in police work for such an approach.

I promised to review our coverage of the controversy to determine if the Sanpete Messenger was balanced and unbiased.

I did so. I put together some spreadsheets. One covered news stories plus my three opinion columns on the controversy, one covered news stories only, and one covered letters to the editor and other opinion items submitted to us by others (including the resignation letter from the three officers.)

Using the word-count feature on my computer, I counted the number of words in each piece that tended to favor the chief, the number of words that were neutral (such as reporting on the sequence of events, the investigative process, etc.) and the number that tended to support the allegations of the three officers.

I decided the fairest analysis was to separate news from opinion, as we do weekly in production of the paper. I did make one deviation. I wrote a 2,400-word analysis of the Utah County investigative report. It was the longest item we ran on the controversy, and although I ran it as a column on the Opinion page, 90 percent of it was straight news.

On items that ran as news stories, including analysis of the Utah County report, 49 percent of space favored the officers, 36 percent favored the chief, and 15 percent was neutral.

On submitted opinion pieces, including the officers’ resignation letter, letters to the editor, and excerpts from comments on our Facebook page, 54 percent of words favored the resigning officers’ viewpoint and 46 percent favored the chief.

One never achieves 50-50 balance in journalism. One problem we faced was that nearly every time we wrote a story, we sought Chief Rasmussen’s reply. For the most part, he didn’t return our calls.

On reflection, however, our coverage was deficient on one important point. We didn’t try to buttonhole the mayor, every member of the city council and the city manager and attempt to interview them in depth to find out what was said in the closed meeting where the council decided to reinstate Chief Rasmussen after placing him on administrative leave.

Since the whole thing was a personnel matter, I’m not sure how much they would have told us. But the lack of an explanation of the rationale for the city council vote was a gap in our coverage.

Rasmussen’s retirement gives City Manager Brant Hanson a chance to mold a completely new department with clear reporting lines. The job posting for a new chief seeks someone who has a college degree and/or progressively responsible supervisory experience in law enforcement. That’s what a growing Ephraim needs.

One final point: Over my career, I’ve written tons of stories involving police. But nearly all of those have been about crimes and arrests. The Ephraim police story opened my eyes to the central role of officers in a community.

The presence of police officers is one of the main things that make a collection of people and buildings into a community. Police officers represent all of us as, day in and day out, they go face-to-face into homes and businesses. They listen to disputes, take complaints and deal with people who are having some of their worst times. Then they try, within the law, to fix those problems.

Yes, they solve crimes and arrest people. But a huge part of what they do is daily public service, ranging from unlocking a car, to helping kids across the street to school, to rescuing a pet, to searching for a lost child, to trying to prevent a suicide.

We owe them more than we could ever pay them, and we don’t thank them enough.

Believes Messenger ‘got it all wrong’

Late last year the Gunnison and Centerfield police departments combined to create the Gunnison Valley Police Department (GVPD).

Citizens were led to believe the savings through shared cooperation and resources would save enough money to add an extra officer to the then existing staff.

Less than a year later, imagine our surprise as we read an article in the Sept 7, 2017 issue of the Messenger in which the GVPD feels the need “to be in a position to hire an additional officer in the near future, or we could run the risk of something happening similarly  to Ephraim’s situation.”  We were livid!  We felt like we had been lied to from the get go.

With the Messenger article in hand we attended a Sept 13 public hearing on the matter wherein we learned that the Messenger had gotten it all wrong. According to the Gunnison City Council, the problem was an oversight in which the school resource officer’s contract is up next year and the city was only asking for a small cost-of-living fee for the officer’s new contract. We were embarrassed and felt betrayed by the Messenger’s misinformation.

Come on Messenger . To quote that GVPD could end up like Ephraim considering all the press the Ephraim story generated seems like sensationalism.

In a time where the citizens are becoming more distrustful of elected/appointed officials, honest and accurate journalism is more Important than ever.

In the past, we have relied on your commitment to ethical journalism practices, so please get your facts straight in the future.  We as citizens and loyal readers are counting on you to get  it correct!

Jay Clayton


Editor’s Note: The Messenger stands by our reporting. We did have our facts straight—the problem was that we didn’t have all the facts.

            We based the story we ran prior to the hearing on a discussion in a city council meeting and on an email exchange with the chief of the GVPD.

            Unfortunately, the fact that the proposed fee, the focus of the public hearing, was solely to cover a modest increase in the resource officer contract was not mentioned in either exchange. We were glad the hearing clarified the purpose of the fee for citizens as well as for our newspaper.

            We stand by the advance quote from GVPD Chief Brett McCall, which read, “The department’s budget health is stable; however, we run very thin right now, and there isn’t much breathing room. I feel we need to be in a position to hire and additional officer in the near future or we could run the risk of something happening similar to Ephraim’s situation.” 

            That quote came verbatim from an email from McCall to managing editor Robert Stevens. We felt such a statement was significant and certainly merited inclusion in the hearing preview story. 

Wagons are a family affair for Steve Martin (pictured here with his daughter Jamie Nordell), his wife Patty and their three daughters.

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“Medley of Fairy Tales” is the name of a book recently published, written by Sanpete contributors


Group of Sanpete writers publish book of retold fairytales


By Emily Staley

Staff writer

Sept. 28, 2017


FOUNTAIN GREEN—The North Sanpete Fiction Writing Group is celebrating the publication of a newly released anthology of short stories, all written by local authors.

The book, “Medley of Fairy Tales,” is a symbol, as well as the actual product, of action rather daydreaming, and following through to see something to completion.

“If you have something you want to do, do it,” Allison Bradley, the Sanpete Fiction Writing Group’s founder, says. “Don’t just sit around and say you don’t have the resources to do whatever you want to do. Go out and find your resources. When you reach out, there will be people willing to join you.”

Bradley speaks from experience, as she herself decided one day that she wanted someone to talk to about fiction writing. So, she went out and found that resource. Bradley was joined by experienced author Jenni James, a bestselling author of nearly 40 published books. They started started the fiction-writing club out of thin air.

“Having the group gets us to write fiction,” Bradley enlightens, “It’s hard to get yourself do something if you don’t have a reason to. … I enjoy writing, I wanted people to be able to get together, write together and help each other.” Bradley said, and she has accomplished exactly that.

Group member Marla Workman emphasized the value of the group to her. “The hardest part of writing is driving clear to the end, but having the group made it easier because of the support we were able to give each other. We would write, and then critique each other’s writing.”

James Mitchell joined the group at the beginning of its creation in November 2015 at Jenni James’ invitation. He said he could not be happier about the opportunity. “By joining the group, I found a new hobby that I never thought I’d have, and I made new friends as well.”

The group not only helped each other with their writing, but they decided to write a compilation of fairytales together. Each member chose a fairytale and wrote a retelling of the story. They worked together to revise and complete their stories.

“Compiling this book made us strive to improve ourselves to create this published work,” Bradley says.

The book has been a main focus of their meetings, which have been once a month. The book was published Sept. 12 and is now available for purchase.

The Medley of Fairy Tales is written by Jenni James, Allison Brown (Bradley), A. Shepherd, James Elliot, Marla Workman and Jenna Madsen.

“Medley of Fairy Tales” is available for purchase in paperback or Kindle Edition on

The group is open to newcomers, with members coming from different backgrounds, and who range from all different ages and experience. If interested in joining, contact Bradley at

Thomas Dye (left) plays the Bishop of Lax in Snow College’s production of “See How They Run,” a British farce from the 1940s. To Dye’s right are Blake Verdel (back) playing Penelope Toop and Dakota Davis (right) playing the Rev. Arthur Humphrey.

British farce

‘See how they Run’

opens Snow season


By Max Higbee

Staff writer

Sept. 28, 2017


EPHRAIM—“See How They Run,” a British farce about mistaken identity, Anglican clergy and wanton drunkenness, is showing at the Eccles Center through Saturday.

The cast and crew have rehearsed the show since the beginning of the school year, memorizing lines, staging scenes and building sets.

“’See How They Run’ is a fun show, and that’s what drew me,” says Brad Olsen, theatre professor at Snow College and director of the play. “I just like when it’s a comic piece, it being a farce, which means it’s full of improbabilities… There’s one scene where a lady knocks a guy out with a toilet plunger.”

The play takes place in England in the 1940s, in the countryside village of Merton-cum-Middlewick. World War II has brought fear of Nazi invasion to the village, and the people are preparing for an invasion, but not at the cost of stopping their own small town drama.

As an aged actress seeks to expose what she suspects is an affair by the town vicar’s wife, an escaped German POW makes his way to town, all while the grandiose bishop of Lax visits the town vicarage. Intrigue and comedy ensue.

The play is performed in a box set. “We haven’t done a box set in almost two years,” Olsen says. “It looks good; we’ve got a really good production team. The designs are really nice. It’s been built well.”

The set is one level with two steps leading up to it. There are a lot of doors. And, Olsen says, a lot of action occurs offstage, but the audience gets to see it, which is unusual. “The garden doors, we leave them open, there’s a lot of capering in the garden, which is a fun bit,” he says.

Corbin Cantrell, a Snow student who plays a policeman in the show, says, “[People] should come if they like comedy, if they like seeing people get hit a lot, if they like a lot of running, a lot of physical comedy and a lot of laughs.”

Olsen advises patrons to try to get seats in the middle section. “It’s a little bit better,” he says.

“See How They Run” opened Wednesday and continues tonight, Friday and Saturday. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for youth (5-18), and $2 for seniors (65 and older) and Snow students with IDs.

Youth City Council members (L-R): Ethan Christensen, Killick Mickelson, Rawlee Mickelson, Whitney Dyreng, Joshua Vernon, Joshua Peterson, Cari Carmody, Kathryn Christensen, Miriam Bishop, Bobby Smith, Jessica Smith, Kristen DeLeeuw.

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