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Headlines Wednesday, February 10, 2016

For entire articles on these stories and more, see our online or print editions

Meeting announces UTOPIA’s arrival in Perry

By Shara Holt
Staff writer

The wait is almost over for Perry residents interested in fiber optic communication to their homes and businesses.
Nearly 200 Perry citizens attended a meeting last week where Mayor Karen Cronin announced that UTOPIA would be building out the infrastructure of the fiber optic telecommunications network within the city. With fiber optics, residents can realize upload and download speeds of upto 250MBps (megabytes per second). Options will also be available to upgrade to one gigabyte speeds.
The wait has been long for Perry, last of the Box Elder County UTOPIA cities to have the infrastructure built. Brigham City and Tremonton have had the infrastructure in place for several years. Cronin said while Perry has had to wait its turn for the buildout, it now is going to enjoy the fastest speeds in the network.
“We’re one of the cities that are going to be on the forefront of technology,” Cronin said at the meeting. “It’s been a long time in coming. I know there have been some questions about things in the past, but the UTOPIA management team has done a really great job over the last two years and they have turned the corner with their sales and service and they are completely supporting all on their own now.”
Cronin went on to explain that UTOPIA’s owner cities no longer have to subsidize the operations and management of the telecomunication network.


Oh, deer!

by Nelson Phillips
Staff Writer

We’ve all seen the deer carcasses off to the side of the road on Highway 89 through Willard and Perry, as well as State Road 38 between Brigham City and Collinston.
Speed mixed with highways that run through wildlife habitat inevitably leads to accidents, dead animals, large car repair bills, and sometimes hospitalization or even death for motorists.
Most people don’t realize how often it happens, but the numbers are striking.
According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), which tracks numbers of deer picked up along Utah roadways, from February 2014 through February 2016, 127 deer have been hit and killed along the stretch of Highway 89 that runs from South Willard to 1100 South in Brigham City. In that same time frame, 171 deer were killed along SR-38 due to automobile collisions.
“Most of your deer collisions happen between dusk and twilight,” said Pam Kramer, Wildlife Habitat Biologist with the DWR. “People need to be especially careful during those times. Slow down your driving pace, and pay attention to the deer crossing signs on the highway.” Kramer said that people tend to ignore those signs after awhile, but they shouldn’t, because they’re placed in areas where deer are more likely to be seen.
The data from the DWR shows that deer hits happen all along the two stretches of roadway, but there are areas where drivers should be especially vigilant. On Highway 89 the area between mile markers 430 and 431, approximately from Hargis Hill Road to 3000 South in Perry, has recorded 42 deer kills in the last two years, a rate four times higher than most other miles along that stretch.
“That’s the area where the Three Mile Creek drainage crosses,” said Kramer. It’s also where there are a lot of orchards, and not so many houses.
Along State Road 38, the three mile stretch between markers 14 and 17, starting approximately at Main Street in Deweyville and going north, has recorded 56 deer kills in the last two years. Another especially dangerous area on SR-38 is between mile markers 7 and 8, Calls Fort Road to the Honeyville cemetery, where 28 deer have been hit and killed in the same time period.


Residents pack Mantua Town Hall to discuss ‘speed trap’ bill

By Jennifer Gardner
Staff writer

Residents turned out in force to the Mantua Town Council meeting last week following news of a controversial bill that would limit how much money the town could keep from traffic tickets.
State Rep. Scott Sandall (R-Tremonton) was on hand to host a town hall meeting to discuss the proposed legislation from Cache Valley Senator Lyle Hillyard.
Fourteen of the 40 residents in attendance took a turn to express their views of Hillyard’s SB100 (for more information on the bill, please see News Journal coverage in the Feb. 3, 2016, edition).
Sandall opened the “town hall” portion of the meeting with a short statement expressing that he was opposed to the bill as he views that it is unfair and there are better solutions to address concerns that Hillyard has voiced in relation to the bill.
While many of the comments related to the funds that are generated from the citations issued by law enforcement, other concerns were brought up as well. Court Clerk Janis Johnson said that the money received has to pay for all costs associated with the court including public defenders for those who can’t afford representation but desire it, interpretation services if needed, the salary of the justice of the peace and the court clerk, city attorney, and a host of other costs. In addition, the town already only receives a portion of each citation, she said. Between all agencies that write citations within Mantua’s jurisdiction, the daily average is six. It was noted that the proceeds from the citations not only cover the costs of the court and law enforcement, it also provides funds for Mantua’s volunteer fire/rescue department.
The overwhelming sentiment from the gathering was a concern for safety. Town Maintenance Director Harper Johnson asked how many lives have been saved by officers patrolling the highway, either by preventing speeding or by responding quickly to accidents.
Sid Waters said that his life is not any less important than those speeding while Jason Jensen, a Utah Highway Patrol trooper who also works part-time for Mantua reported that the reason he patrols the highway is not to generate revenue but because his family travels the road.
Debbie Losee mentioned that not only is Hwy. 89/91 a major thoroughfare between Logan and Brigham City, but it is a major artery to Bear Lake, Yellowstone National Park and other destinations, and the safety of those travelers are also important.
Many residents expressed frustration stemming from the perception that legislators are trying to govern how law is enforced. Lori Hurd questioned why Hillyard is favoring people who break the law over law-abiding citizens, and Waters added that his taxes are the same as those who speed so his views should be equally represented.


News Briefs

Perry P and Z tackles large animal ordinance
The large animal ordinance was again a topic of discussion at the Perry Planning Commission meeting.
The newest draft of the ordinance breaks out animals into different groups: large, mid-size, and small. Large animals are horses, cattle, and llamas. Mid-sized animals are sheep and goats. Small animals and fowl include turkeys, ducks, geese, pigeons, or rabbits. Chickens are governed under a separate chicken ordinance.
Commissioners said the new ordinance, if passed, will allow animals on some half-acre lots. This includes one mid-sized animal and up to nine small animals. Animals will need to be contained to the property and in the case of mid-sized animals they need to be contained in a corral or stock fence.
Commissioners have planned to take action on the ordinance at their next meeting.

Sen. Lee to host e-town hall meeting tonight
Utah’s junior senator, Mike Lee, will be holding an electronic ‘town hall’ meeting with residents of Box Elder, Cache and Rich Counties this evening, Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 6:15 PM.
“This is what we call a tele-Town Hall, and it’s the kind of town hall event that I do while I’m here in Washington,” said Lee, explaining that the events were like very large conference calls. “It’s a great opportunity for me to visit with constituents from throughout the state.”
Lee has been conducting similar town hall meetings with different counties and regions of the state since 2013, and says that it’s a good way for citizens and their elected representative to keep in touch.
“People have different concerns depending on where they’re from,” said Lee. “Concerns of a family in Rich County might be very much different than concerns of a family in Salt Lake City, and that’s the reason we do these regional town halls.”
Interested people may participate in the town hall by texting “NorthernUtah” (no spaces) to 828282, or by entering their information online at https://vekeo.com/event/senmikelee-22386/. The phone number from when you texted (or entered in the online form) will be called for the event. In addition, the meeting will be streamed live on Lee’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/senatormikelee, where participants may pose questions to be addressed. The town hall meeting is expected to last 30 minutes.

Severe Weather Awareness Week is here
Feb. 7-13 is Severe Weather Awareness Week as designated by the Utah Department of Public Safety in conjunction with the National Weather Service. The week is intended to remind citizens, as well as government and emergency management personnel, to be prepared in the event of a weather emergency.
“Fortunately, we here in Utah do not have to watch out for and endure the ravages of severe weather, at least not the kind that those in the Midwest, gulf states and eastern seaboard must prepare for,” said Box Elder County Emergency Management Director Mark Millett. “Nevertheless we have our own brand of weather, and we need to keep our heads up and be aware of what is going on around us.”
Millett explained that Utahns have already seen very cold temperatures this winter, and depths of snow coming down that “we haven’t seen quite so much of for a few years,” as well as those “wrap around” east winds coming out of the canyons.
When the weather begins to warm, Millett said there will be the potential of flooding from the run-off of the snowpack.
“Pay attention to situations where the weather stays colder longer, which increases the risk of a rapid spike in temperatures, causing heavy run-off,” he continued, asking county residents to be mindful of warming temperatures combined with rain falling on the snow, which greatly accelerates the run-off.
In the warmer months Millett says residents need to watch for heavy rains and flash flooding, as well as severe thunderstorms which produce lightning and “straight line wind events.”
“Watch the weather broadcasts. This is even more important if you are going to be traveling long distances across the wide open expanses of the west.”
Box Elder County Emergency Management encourages all of us to keep preparing for those situations which can cause disasters.