Archives for March 2018

Legal issues highlight

Farm Bureau meeting


By James Tilson

Staff writer

Mar. 22, 2018


EPHRAIM—Issues such as Utah’s resource management plan, gasoline tax, water metering, homemade food production, fences and vermin shooting came up at the Utah Farm Bureau’s recent meeting.

At the Spring Issue Surfacing Meeting on Thursday, March 15, on the Snow College campus in Ephraim, three individuals informed members of legislation and policy decisions of importance to the agricultural community in Sanpete County.

Rep. Derrin Owens (Utah State District 58), Sanpete County Sheriff Brian Nelson and Sterling Brown, lobbyist for Farm Bureau, each discussed recent legal issues of note to Farm Bureau members.

Owens informed the audience of H.B. 249, the Statewide Resource Management Plan Adoption statute, which had been passed by both the state House and Senate and was awaiting the governor’s signature.

Owens said this bill was important because it provides a local statute governing state or federal land. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service would be affected by this, since regulations of both agencies state the agency must adhere to state and local resource management plans.

Owens then told the audience changes to the state’s 24.5-cent gasoline tax could be in the pipeline.

The revenues from the tax only meet half of the state’s transportation needs. The legislature must dip into the sales tax to meet the remaining funding needs, thus hurting other needs.

Owens said the legislature is considering a “usage fee,” which could potentially have a disproportionate impact on rural areas. The legislature is also considering a further 10-cent fee on gasoline and tolling certain roads in the state.

Brown told the audience about two other bills of concern to the Sanpete agricultural community.

S.B. 204, the Secondary Water Metering Requirements bill, “requires a secondary water provider that begins providing new secondary water service on or after May 2018 to meter the use of water.” Owen explained the bill removed agricultural users from the requirements of the bill in committee; however, the bill was removed from consideration before being voted on by the entire Senate.

Brown explained the concept of “water banking.” This is where a property owner takes excess water that is not used by the owner and leases it to another user. Brown pointed out the concept has been used in Colorado and Idaho successfully and is likely to be considered by the Utah legislature in the near future.

Brown pointed out the passage of H.B. 181, the Home Consumption and Homemade Food Act. The bill passed both the House and Senate and is awaiting the governor’s signature.

Language from the bill itself states: “Home-based producers may be exempt from certain state, county or city regulations regarding the preparation, serving, use, consumption or storage of food and food products that are: produced and sold within the state; sold directly to an informed final consumer; and for home consumption.”

The Farm Bureau opposed the bill, worried that the bill may have a negative impact on public safety and business fairness.

Brown noted the bill did not cover beef or dairy products, and any items sold under the bill’s exemptions would have to be labeled as such.

Nelson spoke regarding the county’s “fence in, fence out” policy.

He told the audience Sanpete, by state statute, is a “fence out” (in other words, a property owner is responsible to “fence out” any free-range livestock) county, unless it passes an ordinance to change the status. No one is currently pushing to change that ordinance, but the county commission would welcome input from the public.

Nelson said the commission has been looking into amending the “spotlight” ordinance to allow exceptions for “vermin” species.

Currently, property owners have the ability to “spotlight,” meaning look for marauding animals in vehicles, as long as they step out of any vehicle to shoot at the animal.

The county is thinking about allowing property owners to designate an agent to hunt those animals for them.

Sanpete County Republican Chairman Kim Pickett holds up the election filing form, along with a sheet of signatures that, if enough were gathered and he paid the filing fees, would allow him to legally run for the seat as a democratic candidate—despite his status in the local Republican Party. Pickett says he did it as a statement to prove that the controversial 2014 voting law, SB54, which helps permit ballot access through a signature-gathering process, is backwards and should be nixed.


Kim Pickett ‘running’ as democrat

for commission seat to make a point


By Robert Stevens

Managing editor

Mar. 22, 2018


GUNNISON—Politics at times can be mixed up.

Take, for example, how the Sanpete County Republican Party chairman, Kim Pickett, is running as the democratic candidate for Sanpete County Commission seat A. Or at least he was—having fulfilled all the requirements except for paying the filing fees. Pickett says the experiment was purely a statement.

“I’m really just doing it to prove a point and get a message across,” Pickett said. “I did it to prove the law that allows it doesn’t make sense.”

The law Pickett is referring to is the controversial 2014 voting law SB54, which helps permit ballot access through both a signature-gathering process and the traditional party caucus and convention system.

The Utah GOP has fought the state over the law that created the signature-gathering path to the primary ballot and lost in U.S. district court but is appealing the ruling to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Pickett said he thinks the early signature system is flawed, and the parties should be the ones who pick their candidates, but the practical jokester in him couldn’t help sign up for the commission seat as a democrat.

The law would have only required him to gather 373 signatures from anyone registered to vote, be they republican, democrat or independent, to gain access to the primaries.

“Of course I am going to support the republican candidate,” Pickett said. “I just wanted to see if I could do it—and I could.”

Pickett even confirmed the laws with the county, the opposing Sanpete County Democratic Party and with the office of Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.

He also gathered some signatures.

“I could go down to the Republican caucuses and everyone would sign for me,” he said. “How backwards is that?
He says that, on top of the strange law, which he thinks has serious potential to muddy election waters, legislators have made it against the rules for a party to change their bylaws during an election cycle, and so even if the Democratic Party wanted to tweak them and close the strange loophole, they couldn’t.

Despite his statement, Pickett said he believes, in local level politics, you should vote for the person you think is going to do the best job.

The Republican Party precinct-level caucuses took place on Tuesday, March 20 (look for complete coverage of the caucuses next week).

The party convention will be held on April 19 at Manti High School at 7 p.m.

Workers at the Sanpete County Fairgrounds labor to complete the new grandstands at the arena in time for the Sanpete County Fair this summer.

$378K shortfall means some

fair improvements likely not

completed for Sanpete Fair this year


By James Tilson

Staff writer

Mar. 22, 2018


MANTI—The Sanpete County Commission heard an update on the progress of the fairground redevelopment on Tuesday, March 6, and learned that more money is needed to complete the project.

Garrick Willden, project manager from the engineering firm Jones and DeMille, told the commissioners how much money had been spent and what was still needed in order to finish the project.

Out of a total budget of $1,645,000, the project has spent $1,134,923.08. This includes the request for disbursement made on March 6 for $98,228.48.

This leaves $510,076.92 left in the budget.

Willden explained the funding for the budget is still coming up short.

The total received funding amounts to $1,513,000. This includes the grant from Utah’s Permanent Community Impact Fund Board (CIB), donations received and commitments.

Since, as has been mentioned, the spending thus far is $1,134,923.08, this leaves a shortfall of $378,076.92, so only $132,000 of additional cash funds are required to make up the budgeted $510,076.92.

According to Willden, with a shortfall in funding, the project had to make decisions to prioritize which parts of the project should be completed first.

The first event to use the new arena would be the Sanpete County Princess Rodeo Pageant in May. The pageant would need the grandstands, arena floor and arena fencing completed by then, which Willden said would be ready.

In August, the fair and rodeo would need the lighting and corrals completed. Willden was confident those would be done in time as well.

The shortfall means that the fair will likely not complete the new concessions and rest room building before the fair this year.

Willden was quick to add that fundraising is still ongoing, and the fair board may yet raise the funds to go ahead with the new building in time for the fair anyway.

The commission approved Willden’s request for $87,986.69, which included money to finish construction of the grandstands.

Mt. Pleasant ‘blight’ grant turned

down, but aquatic center thriving


By James Tilson

Staff writer

Mar. 22, 2018


MT. PLEASANT—The Mt. Pleasant city council heard updates on its infrastructure funding applications and on the new aquatic center’s usage.

At the council meeting held on Tuesday, March 13, in Mt. Pleasant, the council first heard from Monte Bona, Community Development and Renewal Agency (CDRA) executive chairman, about the applications.

Bona announced to the council the city’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application had been turned down.

The city had planned to use the grant “to overcome blight” in certain parts of the city, most specifically the Aspen Village mobile home park along 300 East.

Although the city did not get the grant, Bona said the application was “ranked high.”       Also, a private developer involved with the application may still be willing to proceed if the Six County Association of Governments (SCAOG) sent a “letter of support” for the project.

Since the application ranked so well, the city may resubmit it next year.

Councilman Justin Atkinson warned the council to not put great reliance on the SCAOG providing very much funding. He said the SCAOG only has $500,000 a year to disburse over its entire region.

Bona went on to inform the council the final Economic Development Agency (EDA) application is to be submitted on Friday, March 16.

The application is to fund an infrastructure project in the industrial park, allowing easier ingress and egress for semi-tractor/trailer loads.

The total project would cost $487,625, with the grant supplying $341,337.50. That would leave the city to provide $146,287.50 in matching funds.

Britanny Adams, director of the Mt. Pleasant Aquatic Center, presented a proposal for an incentive program aimed at youth to use the pool.

Adams called the program a “read and swim” club. Essentially, the program would award children that brought in proof of reading a certain number of books per week to have a free day of swimming.

Bona asked Adams if it were possible to have a program in place so use of the splash pad remains free.

Adams replied the pool staff has been thinking of several options on how to do that or to have a different fee schedule for the splash pad.

Atkinson said he had “gone back and forth” on the issue, balancing the need for maintenance versus availability for low-income families. He still had not made up his mind.

Councilman Kevin Stallings, supporting free admission for the splash pad, said the history of the splash pad’s use suggested to him “free is good.”

Bona pointed out how well the aquatic center had been doing from a revenue standpoint.

He said, “I understand our pool took in, in two months, as much as the Gunnison pool has all year.”

David Oxman, the city’s financial director, said the pool is taking in approximately $4,000 per week and a little over $40,000 for the year since Jan. 1.

Stallings spoke highly of how well he thought the aquatic center’s staff had managed the pool since its opening. “It is clean, it is fun. That pool is just fun,” he said, “I’m totally impressed.”

Regarding a grand-opening event, Adams said she had been hoping to put on a big summer kickoff opening day sometime around Memorial Day or Scandinavian Heritage Days.

High School leaders to be commended

for their focus during Walkout


Mar. 22, 2018


The leadership at North Sanpete High School should be commended for their cool handling of student participation in the recent mass social movement, National Walkout Day, on Wednesday, March 14.

The school’s leadership must have been faced with a quandary when a number of students approached the high school’s administration to see if they would get in any trouble from participation in the event.

Nan Ault, the school’s principal, sent out an email to the parents of the school with a message to make them aware that, although it would not be a school-sponsored event, she would be allowing willing participants to gather on the track so they had a safe place to exersize their right to free speech in the walkout.

The event was to be optional, Ault wrote, but not sponsored by the school.

Instead of the school officially sponsoring a movement she said has some politically charged agendas attached to it—specifically the antigun agenda being demanded by National Walkout Day organizers, Women’s March Youth EMPOWER—she turned to the school’s student body officers and asked them to help support the students who wanted to participate.

In short, the climate was to be one of support and inclusion where the youth of the school would not be punished if they wanted to stand up for their beliefs, but school lessons would not be interrupted.

Social media response to the Messenger’s advance coverage of the event was a mix of outrage and enthusiasm. This was clearly a sensitive matter to some people in Sanpete, and people on both sides of the fence had something to say.

In some of our Facebook responses, parents said they would not allow their children to participate. Some people showed disappointment in the high school they themselves attended as youths. Still others were upset because they felt stricter gun control was clearly the endgame for this mass movement, and the youth of North Sanpete High should not be involved in it.

On the other hand were the supporters of the walkout.

Some people said they felt it was important that the students be given the opportunity to participate—even people who said they wished some other schools were allowing participation as well. A healthy portion of the social media responses boiled down to, “Where’s the harm?”

Some other predominantly conservative school districts such as Harford County, Md., threatened punishment for participation.

The superintendent of the Needville Independent School District near Houston warned students last month they faced a three-day suspension for “any type of protest or awareness” during school hours.

Approximately three-dozen students gathered on the track field at North Sanpete High School at 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14.

The student body officers, who prepared a message of support for participants, made a conscious effort to steer the discussion away from local hot-button issues like gun control and instead encouraged support and inclusion.

Hawks were allowed to walk out.

The whole thing went off without a hitch, and the participants, while not many in number, were allowed to exercise their right to free speech.


Candidates file for county, state offices


By James Tilson

Staff writer

Mar. 22, 2018


MANTI—The candidates for county offices have officially declared their intentions by filing, and the filing period has ended for the elections to be held this fall.

Only one county seat will be contested, and that will be the Commissioner Seat A being vacated by Claudia Jarrett at the end of her term this year. Edwin Sunderland and Justin Atkinson both filed petitions for the seat, both as Republicans.

Sunderland is a prominent local farmer from Chester.

Atkinson works at Sunrise Engineering as a civil engineer. He also holds a seat as councilman in Mt. Pleasant.

Sunderland, contrary to what was previously reported, has indicated he will not be collecting signatures as part of his campaign, while Atkinson will continue to collect signatures. If Atkinson does not win the nomination at the county convention, he can still have his name placed on the primary ballot if he collects enough signatures.

Utah State House District 58, which covers most of Sanpete County and about a third of Juab County, has two Republican candidates as well.

Derrin Owens, the incumbent, and Claudia Jarrett, current Sanpete County Commissioner, will be seeking the Republican nomination for the seat.

Neither candidate has indicated they will be seeking signatures as part of their campaign, thus the decision of who will represent the Republican Party for the seat will be decided at the county party convention on April 19.

Democrat Lynn Zaritsky and Constitution Party Russell Hatch will be seeking the House seat for their respective parties. They will face the winner of the Republican convention nomination in the fall.

Although there is only one contested county seat so far, potentially interested persons have until Sept. 7 to register as a write-in candidate. If a person does not register as a write-in candidate by then, any votes cast for such person would not be counted.


Jaidyn Jorgensen

Houston Texas South Mission


Mar. 22, 2018


Jaidyn Jorgensen has been called to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She will be serving in the Houston, Texas South, Spanish-speaking Mission.

She will give her farewell address on Sunday, March 25, at 1 p.m. in the Manti Tabernacle.  She will enter the Provo Missionary Training Center on March 28, 2018.

She is the daughter of Clark and Lew Ann Jorgensen of Manti and the granddaughter of Donald and Leigh Ann Shand of Manti, and the late Keith and Ellen Jorgensen of Mt. Pleasant.


Robert Kent Larsen

Mar. 22, 2018


Robert Kent Larsen, born Nov. 15, 1944, passed away March 20, 2018 in his home after a long and valiant battle with cancer.

Kent is the son of Lendal and Jewel King Larsen. He was born in Ephraim. He went to Manti High School, where he was active in student government, sports, and drama. He married his high school sweetheart, Camille Johnson, in 1965 in the Manti Temple (53 years).

He attended Snow College and the University of Utah where he studied business; while in college, he worked at Meadow Gold delivering milk. He fulfilled an 8-year enlistment in the Utah National Guard.

After graduating from college, they moved home to raise turkeys and kids. He worked at the Moroni Turkey Plant as human resources director, Sperry-Univac as human resources director, and then Workforce Services as an employment specialist.

He modeled service throughout his life. He started young by serving as student body president in middle school, student body president in high school, and bishop at age 23. He served two terms on Manti City Council and two terms as Mayor of Manti.

He was a member of the Manti City Aquatics Board, the Snow College Institutional Council, the Citizens Advisory Board of the CUCF, the Rotary Club, and the Sanpete Community Training Center Board. He served again as bishop of a YSA ward and in a stake presidency there.     He finished off his lifelong church service by serving a mission with his wife in South and North Dakota. His service to the community was recognized by the presentation of a candle at the annual Yuletide Candlelight ceremony and by the Utah National Guard for “Service Above Self.”

He is best known as an adoring husband, father, and grandfather. He was the ultimate patriarch who modeled patience, love, virtue, kindness, charity, acceptance, generosity. He lived with a smile on his face, a twinkle in his eye, and no pretension in his heart. He loved people, horses, reading, traveling, cheering on his grandkids, and spending time with family.

He is survived by his wife, Camille Johnson Larsen, his children, Melanie (Mitch) Jenkins, Manti; Kelly (Bret) Ashton, Gunnison; Heather (Jason) Nelson, Lehi; Robert Kent (Carrie) Larsen, Manti; and Justin (Kristen) Larsen, Cody, Wyoming; 18 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He is also survived by two sisters, Margie Lyon and Phyllis Embley, and two brothers, Grant Larsen and Ron Larsen.

He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Tom Thompson and Merrill Thomspon.

Funeral services will be held Monday, March 26 at 11 a.m. in the Manti Stake Center. Viewings will be held Sunday, March 25 from 6-8 p.m. and prior to services on Monday from 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Interment will be in the Manti City Cemetery. Funeral Directors: Magleby Mortuary, Richfield, Salina and Manti. Online guestbook at

North Sanpete High School students gather around their student body officers, who delivered a message of kindness and support during the students’ observance of National Walkout Day last week. Approximately three dozen students participated in the walkout on Wednesday, March 14.

[Read more…]

School district reviewing

school safety procedures


By Lloyd Call

Associate publisher

Mar. 22, 2018


GUNNISON—Student safety at schools took top priority for the board of the South Sanpete School District as they recently met at Gunnison Valley Middle School.

With students, teachers and administrators still security-conscious following the Florida school shooting on Feb. 14, the board discussed school safety during their monthly board meeting on Wednesday, March 14, at the middle school.

“One of our most important goals has been safety for staff, students and our communities,” said Kent Larsen, district superintendent. “The recent school walkout on March 14 protesting gun-control problems emphasized that we live in a more dangerous world. We don’t really think teachers carrying guns is a great idea, but there’s no question that we can do even better to safeguard schools.”

Larsen also said all schools in the district practice lockdown, fire and other disaster drills on a regular basis. He mentioned a bomb threat emptied Manti High School in Oct. 2016.

Larsen added now would be a good time to review emergency procedures with law enforcement.

Gunnison Valley Middle School had held a lockdown drill on Jan. 9, looking for areas to improve. Following the drill, protocols now call for students and teachers to “shelter in place” rather than immediately evacuating the building. Students and teachers remain in classrooms, teachers lock doors, draw down curtains and await further instructions.

They discovered teachers had to go outside their classrooms to lock the doors.

They also learned students on the stage didn’t have a speaker to hear instructions in that area.

Since the drill, the middle school’s principal, Jeff Bartholomew, and staff have been working on solutions and fine-tuning procedures.

A speaker was added in the stage area, doors can now be quickly locked from inside the classroom and the school has requested additional security cameras.

Carl Wimmer, the school’s resource officer, now has an office in the middle school. Currently, officer Wimmer rotates between the three Gunnison Valley schools.

Board member Gary Olson wondered if retired law enforcement officers could help with school security and is talking to other districts and the sheriff’s office: “I’m sure there are many retired policemen who wouldn’t mind spending time helping students feel safer. They could serve their communities and use their experience to continue to protect us.”

Larsen said the legislative session is over, but detailed information hasn’t yet arrived. “We know there will be an increase in the WPU (weighed pupil unit) rate, but until we get specifics, we really won’t know how we fared during this session.”

He continued, “One concern we have is when the legislature allocates money for education but only on a one-time, not a continuing, basis. Also, legislators give us funds but tightly restrict what we can do with them. Finally, it now appears that the Our Schools Now initiative will not be on the November ballot. We’ll know more by next month’s meeting.”

The district also looked at proposed summer construction projects. Sidewalk projects are a possibility, and the district is doing major remodeling of the band rooms at Manti High and Gunnison Valley High.

In addition, the district reviewed the status of technology readiness in the district. “We have done very well in our infrastructure. We don’t have hardly any technology older than four years, and that’s a lot better than many other districts,” Larsen noted.

The board reviewed reports on graduation rates and scholarships and reviewed policies on grievance procedures and orderly termination.

The next board meeting has been changed to April 18 at 3:30 p.m. at Manti Elementary School.

Inside our Schools


Compiled by Linda Petersen

Mar. 22, 2018


Ephraim Elementary

2018 Kindergarten Registration — Parents of all children who will be 5 years of age on or before Sept. 1, 2018, are eligible to attend kindergarten at Ephraim Elementary School. Registration will be held on Wednesday, April 11, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the school. If your student will be attending kindergarten in the fall, please call the school at 283-4171 in advance to have your child placed on the enrollment list. If your child is currently enrolled in Ephraim Elementary Preschool, they are already on the kindergarten list. On April 11, please bring your child, their current immunization record and their birth certificate. The process will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. You will need a valid email address to complete the online registration that day. The Central Utah Health Department will also be available in the morning if students need immunizations for school entry.


Manti Elementary

This week is Spirit Week at the school. Monday was Mustache Day where the faculty “mustache” the students to have school spirit. On Tuesday, with a theme of “we’re all a team,” students got to wear sports clothing and/or hats. On Wacky Wednesday, they could wear wacky clothing and have wacky hair. Today, PJ Thursday, they’re “tired” of bullying and are wearing pajamas. Tomorrow for Spirit Day, everyone can dress in the school colors, red and white.

The PTO has new baseball tees. They are $15 with glitter and $12 without glitter. (View on the PTO Facebook page.) Orders need to be turned in to the office by tomorrow. There are extra order forms in the office.


Gunnison Valley High School

The four-member speech and debate team recently took fourth place overall in the state 2A debate competition (L-R): Craig Jensen, Dylan Nielson, Larisa Martinez, K’Leigh Halliday and adviser Scott Jackson.
“We had a smaller team than most schools, but we double-entered our speakers,” adviser Scott Jackson said. “Each speaker performed extremely well in their respective events. As a result, we were able to place ahead of teams with many more competitors.”
Individual team members also did well. Dylan took first in SPAR (Spontaneous Argumentation) and third in Lincoln-Douglas debate, Larisa placed third in SPAR and K’Leigh came in sixth in Student Congress.


Manti High School

Korben Cox, the first soloist ever fielded at Day of Percussion from Manti High, did well. Last Friday, March 16, the Percussion Ensemble traveled to Juan Diego High School to perform as part of the Utah Day of Percussion, hosted by the Utah chapter of Percussive Arts Society. The Percussive Arts Society, according to its website, is “the world’s largest percussion organization” and is considered “the central source for information and networking for percussionists and drummers of all ages.” Schools from around the state competed for top honors in performances. The Percussion Ensemble performed three pieces, receiving consistently good ratings for all three.

On Tuesday, Student Government treated everyone to a free pancake breakfast.

Tomorrow and Saturday, the school is hosting the regional drama competition. Students from the seven participating schools—Manti, North Sanpete, Richfield, South Sevier, Emery, Grand and San Juan—will compete in various areas including one-act plays, musical theatre, dramatic/comedic monologues, classical/contemporary scene and pantomimes.


North Sanpete High School

Last Friday, March 16, GEAR UP students were able to spend the day at Camp Williams in Riverton learning about military careers and how the military can help them pay for college.

This week is Future Business Leaders of America Week at the school. Monday was Pajama Day. On Tuesday it was Superhero Day. Wednesday was Jersey/Hat Day. Today is Spirit Day, and tomorrow students “get” to dress in business casual attire for Business Casual Day.

On Tuesday, Student Body President Makade Talbot was chosen to be a Southern Utah University Ambassador.

Second annual HOPE Week

encourages students

to support each other


By Linda Petersen

Staff writer

Mar. 22, 2018


GUNNISON—Gunnison Valley High School kicked off its second annual HOPE Week on Monday with an assembly.

At the assembly, BYU professor Hank Smith talked to them about positive choices and supporting one another. Smith also shared with his audience tools they could use to make better choices for themselves and with their peers.

The school’s 12-member HOPE Squad is made up of students chosen for their empathic nature and willingness to include everyone. Each of them is trained to help others find the resources they need in times of crisis and strive to create a positive environment in the school.

HOPE is an acronym for Hold On, Persuade and Empower, and the members of the HOPE Squad have spent the week building a spirit of positive learning through activities.

Activities have included games, a poster contest and the opportunity to post to “The Wall of HOPE.”

Students have also had the opportunity to meet with various agencies throughout the community which specialize in helping teens overcome addiction and prevent suicide.

HOPE Squad was started in 1998 by Greg Hudnall, a Utah County high school principal, after he was called upon to identify a 14-year-old student who had committed suicide. Shaken by the experience, Hudnall vowed to do everything in his power to help stem the flood of teen suicides.

At that time, Provo School District was experiencing one to two suicides a year among its students.

Since that time, HOPE Squads have spread across the state and to neighboring states.

HOPE Squad members are considered the eyes and ears of a school. They are trained to watch for at-risk students, to recognize warning signs in depressed or suicidal peers and to report those signs to an adult.

Director says Gunnison art

center will create many new jobs


By James Tilson

Staff writer

Mar. 22, 2018


MANTI—The Sanpete County Commission heard a presentation last week about a proposed Musinia Art Center to open in September in Gunnison.

In his presentation, Steve Kiefer, chair and executive director of Musinia, explained how the organization, a 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(2) nonprofit organization, will create jobs and develop the economy in Sanpete County and surrounding areas.

Kiefer also asked the commission for assistance, specifically a letter of endorsement (to pursue grant funding for Musinia) and a representative from the commission on the Musinia Advisory Board.

Kiefer explained that Musinia is at its core “an artist in residency program,” giving ceramic artists a place to hone their craft and build a portfolio for future education in art.

However, the greater economic impact of Musinia will be felt in a number of programs that it will also be offering: school outreach programs for grades K-12, educational programs, art therapy programs, creative assets promotions and Artist against Hunger.

Said Keifer, “Our mission is to leverage creative industries for community and economic development. We believe that the arts are politically neutral.”

He added that the arts have the power to bridge divisions our world is separated into.       Kiefer advocated the use of art to not only help the academic performance of a region but also its economic performance. He pointed to the example of the Heartwood in Abingdon, Va., where the arts, crafts and music had produced an economic boom for Appalachian Virginia.

(More information on the crafts, music and restaurant at Heartwood, tagged as Southwest Virginia’s artisan gateway, is at

He said, “More attention to three-dimensional arts will raise IQ and E[conomic]Q, reduce delinquency, increase social responsibility and create jobs, a better lifestyle and safer, more healthy communities.”

Kiefer made the following claims for what Musinia could do for Sanpete and surrounding counties:

  • Provide arts access to about 120,000 underserved rural students annually
  • Increase average academic performance by 7-10 percent annually as measured by SAGE scores
  • Increase college-going rate from the current 25-35 percent within five years
  • Create between 20 and 30 direct jobs at Musinia within five years
  • Create vocational training opportunities for approximately 250-500 individuals over five years
  • Create incubation opportunities for 15-30 start-ups over a five-year period
  • Assist in the creation of approximately 50-100 new jobs at those start-ups
  • Replicate incubation programs in other parts of the region resulting in an estimated average of 5-10 annually
  • Provide teacher development to approximately 80-100 current and prospective art teachers annually
  • Increase the traffic into the region’s downtowns by 10-15 percent annually; increase annual creative revenue by 30 percent
  • Increase and diversify jobs, tourism, business investments and relocation of operations into the region

Said Keifer, “We are going to be creating jobs.”

The commission decided to take the matter under advisement.

Kiefer reminded the commission and the audience that Musinia’s status as a 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(2) nonprofit organization allowed donations to be deducted from federal taxes at 50 percent.

Musinia currently takes donations via Zions Bank at its Richfield branch.

More information about the Musinia Art Center is at

Kristann Gillies of Fairview discusses her plans for tourist attractions on her property just north of the city. Gillies also requested city sewer and water utilities extended to her area.


Farmers market, growth

and festivities head

Fairview council’s agenda


By Jack Pemberton

Staff writer

Mar. 22, 2018


FAIRVIEW—The city council in Fairview devoted much of their meeting last week to this year’s farmers market and the city’s potential growth.

At the council’s regular meeting on Thursday, March 15, Charlet Pemberton, director of Fairview Economic Development, presented her request for council approval to use property for a weekly farmers market.

Also on the agenda, Kristann Gillies, owner of acreage on Day Road north of the city, presented her plans to the council for upcoming festivities and requested some infrastructure enhancements.

Pemberton announced that work is moving forward rapidly for the Fairview Farmers Market, which is planned for every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. beginning June 16 and running through October 27. It also will be open on Tuesday, July 24.

Many people have already expressed their intentions to be vendors in the market.

A website ( has been set up with instructions for prospective vendors to apply for selling space and includes details concerning permits and other requirements for cottage kitchens, food handler card, etc. Prospective vendors can also sign up for the vendor news emails.

Plans include a children’s market for vendors under 12 years of age to sell their own production of vegetables, eggs and crafts or other similar wares. They cannot sell cooked food since they cannot obtain a food handler card.

There will be music, sometimes live, and a picnic area where neighbors can mingle and visit with one another.

Pemberton said, “After four years and thousands of hours of volunteer effort for the Chocolate Festivals, we have managed to save almost $2,000. We want to use a part of that to start up another community activity that will help improve the lifestyle in Fairview, especially for older people who cannot raise a garden anymore.”

She added, “What we need now is for the council to approve the use of the area between Peterson Dance Hall and CentraCom—that strip of grass that runs from State Street to 100 East.” During the council’s discussion, several members voiced concern about schedule conflicts with family reunions in the pavilion behind the city library and weddings that sometimes use that grassy area.

The council voted to allow the farmers market to use the area.

Gillies owns some acreage on Day Road north of the city and plans to soon build five homes on the property for her children.

Because other property owners there also plan to build homes in the near future, she expressed her concern and hope that the city would consider extending its sewer and water utilities to that area. Otherwise people will be installing wells and septic systems only to have them replaced in a few years with a city system.

Gillies and her family have already begun to carry out ambitious tourist activities for the area, some of which they plan to have ready for the public this summer.

These include dinner date and family nights with a variety of entertainment activities, Airbnb bunkhouses, a picnic area with fire pits, fishing in their trout lake, a combat area called TacWars, including archery tag (Bow-Tag), Airsoft and paintball events.

This fall will bring “The Haunted Ranch and Village,” children outdoor activities center and a pumpkin patch.

Her business plan includes having reindeer and a petting zoo, along with winter activities complete with Santa Claus in the near future.

Justin Jackson, the city’s sewer and water department director, was in attendance and recommended that the council move to initiate an estimated $10,000 engineering study to determine the factors the council needs to address regarding an eventual extension of services to the Day Road area.

He also confirmed that water pressure at a fire hydrant near the Gillies property is below the legally required threshold.

The council voted to place the engineering study on next month’s agenda since the law requires consideration of such expenditures to be on a published agenda before the council can spend the funds.

In other business, David Taylor, the city’s mayor, reported on the recent wage study concerning Fairview City employees’ wage scales. He reported that employees were not being advanced in their wages in a normal or typical way and that he would like to see that changed.

A brief discussion was held regarding the upcoming budgeting process, and a first work meeting was scheduled for council members to begin hammering out the next annual budget. The meeting was set for 6:30 p.m. on April 4.

It was also noted during the usual voucher approval process that the Miss Fairview Pageant cost $1,800 this year.

Manti’s Kole Brailsford guards first base against Millard on March 9.

[Read more…]

ATV riders offer feedback

in Sanpete County survey


By Jack Pemberton

Staff writer

Mar, 22, 2018


MANTI—In the regular monthly meeting of economic development representatives from around the county, Kevin Christensen, director of Sanpete County Economic Development, reported last week on the results of his recent Arapeen Trail riders survey.

Christensen said he created the survey to learn the perceptions people have about the Arapeen OHV Trail System.

The opinions came from 297 people who responded to the survey and who had previously requested a trail map.

Some of the interesting opinions found in the survey are these:

  • 99 percent said the scenery was good (24 percent) or excellent (75 percent).
  • The trail “is fun” according to 68 percent of respondents.
  • The condition of the trail is about right (57 percent said a little too smooth, 39 percent said a little too rough).
  • The trail is “somewhat empty,” meaning uncrowded.
  • Signage is “good.”

The survey respondents were older than one might expect, with 77 percent over age 50. The survey also showed that half (49 percent) of those responding to the survey had household income over $100,000.

Christensen said a map of the trail system printed on water and tear-resistant synthetic paper can be purchased online for $9.99 at

He said a topographical map of the Arapeen Trail can be downloaded ( to a smartphone using the AVENZA MAPS App.

He added that the downloaded map “uses the GPS capabilities of your phone to track your location on the map as you move around. It’s great for trail riders and anyone who enjoys the mountains. I suggest hunters and snowmobilers download the map as well. It will help everyone from getting lost. No cell coverage needed.”