‘One mistake does kill you:’ Spring City lineman receives national recognition

SPRING CITY— Before cell phones, Spring City lineman Kent Kummer would work late at night repairing high-powered electrical lines and systems.

His wife, Tracy Kummer, would drive all over in an effort to find him.

“But when the city’s all dark, you can’t find anybody,” Tracy said. “It was very challenging as a wife … I was at home with the kids.”

Still, today, Kent must leave family events due to power outages in town. That includes events with Tracy’s family.

And still, in his work, Kent needs backup. He needs another other worker to be there for him.

“You have to trust him with your life,” Kent said. “One mistake … does kill you.”

For his risky, sacrificial work, Kent was nationally recognized. The American Public Power Association (APPA) recognized Kent for “reliable electric service,” according to the city.

While the average power outage time in the United States is 143 minutes a year, Spring City’s average is 66.44 minutes, Spring City Mayor Cynthia DeGrey said at the Thursday, Sept. 3 Spring City council meeting.

“[The 66.44 minutes] would have actually been less, but you have to enter the time in to military time,” said Kent, who was Spring City’s first journeyman lineman, according to Tracy.

Councilman Joe McGriff said “We give him some pain-in-the-butt stuff to do … and he’s always helpful and willing.”

Alex Hofmann, senior director of energy and environmental services for the APPA, said “These utilities are the best of the best when it comes to keeping the lights on in their communities.”

“I couldn’t do it without support,” Kent said.

“He’s just doing a really excellent job,” DeGrey said. “He works really hard to ensure that we keep Spring City powered and we’re very fortunate to have him in our city.”

The city also got an award for its raptor protection program—the city isn’t killing eagles and hawks, Councilman Cody Harmer said.

“Kent has also taken on that,” Harmer said.

Kent noted that when he first came to Spring City, no one cared that the power was out. Now, after iPads, there’s a demand for power when it goes out.

“It seems that is the change after 30 years,” Kent said.

Two reporting years ago, the city went almost a year without an outage of any kind, Kent said.

Kent has worked in other cities over the past three decades, including Mt. Pleasant and Santa Clara, Ut.

Kent is originally from Alpine, Ut. He believed that Spring City would be a “great place” to raise his two kids (and today, he has three grandchildren). He liked that it was a small town just like Alpine was when Kent was a kid.

“I fell in love with the place,” Kent said.

Tracy said “definitely” when asked if she is proud of Kent.

“It’s been a great pleasure to serve the citizens of Spring City,” Kent said.

Kent trained two or three apprentices who are now power superintendents throughout Utah, something in which Kent has “great pride.”

“He’s a great teacher,” Tracy said.

Besides recognizing Kent, the council reserved a portion of Spring City Park for 24 months to give time for funds to be raised for a splash pad.

Christy McGriff wants to replace the sand volleyball pit at the park with the splash pad.

Christy came prepared to the meeting with an entire slide show about taking action. She listed pros, like it “enhances the Spring City experience for families,” and concerns, like chlorine levels are checked three times per day and that the city controls when the splash pad is open based on water supplies; and cost concerns, like “does not need to impact city budget.”

Christy said she could use Bricks R Us, a fundraising-with-bricks company, to fundraise.

She reported that Mt. Pleasant has a splash pad. The town’s CDRA director Monte Bona said “the kids seem to enjoy the splash pad more than the pool.”

Bryan Kimball, Ephraim City Community Development Director/City Engineer, said, “Over the years we’ve added extras to our pad. It’s allowed us to do it in stages and we’re very happy with how it’s turned out,” Christy reported.

The splash pad would go along well with Spring City’s reputation of its fresh water and spring. “I just feel like I could do it without going into the budget,” Christy said.

Councilman Chris Anderson expressed concerns that given that a splash pad would be used three months out of the year, it would be used for other reasons the other nine months, bringing about major maintenance.

Councilman Craig Clark asked if the splash pad could be built where the park’s horseshoe pits are.

“The volleyball does get used occasionally, but our horseshoe pits don’t get used,” Clark said before wondering if a pickleball court could also be built.

Christy would hate for the children to fundraise and then be told “never mind; we’re doing pickleball courts.

Harmer said kids raised money for a skate park years ago. Now, he will get approached by somebody who Harmer estimates to be 28 now, saying “Where’s my skate park?”

“I think splash pads are really awesome,” Harmer said, stating that Spring City doesn’t have many amenities for children.

“This just isn’t a kid-friendly town,” Harmer said.

Harmer made a motion to allow Christy to move forward when he said “I would make a motion that we would give approval to procure funding for a splash pad project to be put in the city park.” But that wasn’t good enough for Recorder Kim Crowley. Crowley herself then said that the city would “reserve portion of the city park for 24 months until funds are raised for a splash pad.”

In other meeting action, the council granted the third floor of the municipal building to Crystal Krebs for once per week after school. Krebs will use the space for a yoga class for children. It will be free, Krebs said.

“It’s a public building,” Harmer said. “It belongs to the [public].”

Harmer later said that it was a space reserved for “community-type things.”

DeGrey further defined what the space was for, saying “art or dance.”

Krebs said she would love to advocate for why yoga is art.

Krebs became yoga instructor-certified in January. She had a “gig” to work at a family counseling center in Ephraim. But then the pandemic hit and the center didn’t have the funding to pay Krebs.

Krebs has thought in the meantime what she could do.

Krebs knew the “old city building” was offered, “but kids are here, just like us,” she said. It would be better to have a more “inviting, light space,” she told the council.

Krebs pitched that in offering the class for free, she would be a “volunteer for the city.”

Clark brought up that people may want to do wedding festivities on the third floor before it was noted that the classes would be done before the festivities would happen.

Krebs also noted that she and the class members will need to be six feet apart.

Also in the meeting, planning and zoning code changes were approved by the council after they were discussed in public hearing.

Councilman Joe McGriff said that new speed limit signs are up; those regarding Spring City’s Main Street running from 300 North to 600 South. He encouraged Police Chief Clarke Christensen to give warnings for the next 30 to 60 days by flashing his lights.

The council approved a zoning permit for a permanent greenhouse for resident Craig Christensen.

“It’s a simple solar structure that uses a cement wall in the back,” Christensen said. “It’s just a solar greenhouse.”