Primary election key dates and information
June 9: Primary election ballots mailed to voters.
June 19: Voter registration must be completed. To vote in the Republican primary, a voter must be a registered Republican. Registered Democrats will recieve a Democratic ballot. Unafilliated voters will not recieve a ballot and will need to request one. Party affiliation changes need to be made prior to June 19. Same-day voter registration will not be accepted.
Mobile voting location on Election Day: Box Elder County Courthouse, 1 S. Main Street, Brigham City, 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Photo identification required.
Ballot drop boxes: Box Elder County Courthouse, 1 S. Main Street, Brigham City, Utah; Box Elder County Fairgrounds, 320 N. 1000 West, Tremonton, Utah; and the Perry City Offices 3005 S. 1200 West, Perry, Utah.
County clerk explains pandemic-related changes to upcoming election
May 27, 2020 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Like everything else during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, changes have been made to the way the upcoming June 30th primary election will be conducted.
According to Box Elder County Clerk Marla Young, those changes, mandated during the recent special session of the Utah Legislature, will temporarily suspend all “in-person” voting, close all regular polling locations, and do away with early voting locations. The legislature gave counties an option to operate mobile voting, “like a drive-thru,” said Young, a program that Box Elder chose to adopt, along with six others out of 29 Utah counties.
“As the County Clerk, I felt it important to give options to our voters,” Young said. “There are always people who need assistance on Election Day.”
The county’s mobile voting location on Primary Election Day will be at the historic county courthouse, 1 S. Main Street, Brigham City, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Photo identification will be required.
Deadlines have also been changed for the primary. Voter registration must be completed by June 19, and there will be no same-day registrations allowed. Party affiliation changes must also be made by June 19. Rather than requiring ballots be postmarked prior to Election Day, those postmarked on Election Day will now be accepted.
Election results cannot be released prior to 10 p.m. on June 30, and the election canvass, where county officials count and certify results, may be extended to 21 days following Election Day, rather than the current 14.
Young stated that while many things did change, other things did not.
“We will still have accessible options for those with disabilities,” she said. “If a voter needs special methods of voting, our office will do what we can to accommodate them.” Anyone needing special accommodations should call (435) 734-3393 to make arrangements.
Since it is a primary election, all registered Democrats and Republicans will receive a ballot in the mail. Those registered as unaffiliated must request what type of ballot they would like to receive, and affiliate with the Republican party if they want to vote Republican. Those registered as other parties will not receive a ballot. Party affiliation changes need to be made prior to June 19.
Drop boxes will be available to securely submit completed ballots. There will be three outdoor drop box locations for this election: Box Elder County Courthouse, 1 S. Main Street, Brigham City, Utah; Box Elder County Fairgrounds, 320 N. 1000 West, Tremonton, Utah; and the Perry City Offices 3005 S. 1200 West, Perry, Utah.
Every ballot received will have the voter’s signature verified against the county’s voter registration system, and voters will be notified if their signature does not match. Ballots from voters who do not respond to letters or requests for verification will not be counted.
“The Clerk’s office works very hard to make sure all eligible voters have the opportunity to cast their ballot,” Young said. “We take it seriously on the matters of privacy, efficiency, and voter outreach. We have policies and procedures in place that safeguard each election.”
This year’s primary is a busy one. The Democratic ballot has the U.S. House District 1 race. The Republican ballot includes races for U.S. House District 1, Utah State Governor, Utah State Attorney General, and Box Elder County Commission (see related story on page one).
Primary election ballots will be mailed June 9.
“Please contact the County Clerk’s office if you do not receive your ballot or if you need assistance. We are happy to help,” Young said.
Voter registration and party affiliation can be done online at www.vote.utah.gov. Additional election information can be found at the county’s election website, www.boxeldercounty.org/elections,
BC Library reopens
Box Elder County has moved to the yellow, or low risk, phase in the Utah’s Health Guidance System, which means that the Brigham City Library will reopen for limited hours on the following days and times: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Tuesday and Thursday from 4 p.m. To 8 p.m.; the library remains closed on Sundays and the last Friday of each month as well as on state and federal holidays.
Curbside service is still available for anyone with concerns about coming into a public space. Call the library at 435-723-5850 to set up an appointment and/or for placing materials on hold.
Staff will be available by phone on a limited basis, Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays 10a.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Books and other library items due between the dates of 9 January 2020 - 18 May 2020 have had their due dates modified to Monday, June 15th, 2020. No late fees will be charged on books or other library items due during this closure period (16 March - 16 May 2020).
The library’s public Wi-Fi may be accessed on personal devices from inside the building during our modified library hours and outside of the building from 10 a.m. - 8:30 p.m., Monday - Thursday and from 10 a.m. -5:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday. The online library is available at bcpl.lib.ut.us.
Brigham City Splash Pad open
The Splash Pad at John Adams Park, 600 E. 100 North, Brigham City, is now open for use. The splash pad will be open from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. Please adhere to State and Local Health Department Guidelines regarding social distancing. Questions may be referred to the Public Works Administrative Offices by dialing 435-734-6615.
The Mantua Town Council hopes to move parking for those visiting the reservior to the large, paved parking areas prepared for that purpose.
No (more) parking
Mantua Council votes to prohibit parking on street near reservior
May 13, 2020 • Nancy Browne • Staff Writer
After a full hour of wrangling, the Mantua Town Council Thursday voted to prohibit parking along the east side of Main Street, between the entrance to Mantua Reservoir and 600 North.
Parking on Main Street has long been a hot-button issue, especially for the 14 families living along the street where visitors to the lake often park despite a large parking lot nearby.
One of those homeowners, Kevin Cantrell, who was invited to speak at the meeting, expressed concerns about all the increased traffic along the reservoir, safety for residents because of strangers in their midst, wear and tear on the roads, and the compromised quality of life for people living along Main Street.
He suggested possibly reseeding the area along Main Street to create a buffer to parking there. Council members assured him that Brigham City is planning to do that.
Councilmember George Wouden said Brigham City, which built the reservoir in 1959 and owns much of the land around it, has created new parking in lots south of the beach for about 20 cars, plus openings from Main Street to get to the parking.
“It’s helped a lot,” Wouden said, adding that “Brigham also plans to put rocks along the parking spaces so that people aren’t parking willy nilly.” Also, the parking lots are so new many people may not even know about them yet.
May 13, 2020 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
The Golden Spike National Historic Park has a new permanent resident, and he weighs 3,000 pounds.
“Distant Thunder,” a full-size bronze statue of an American bison, was delivered to the park on a flatbed trailer last Wednesday, where it was finally positioned onto its permanent spot by crane.
The statue, designed by renowned Utah sculptor and artist Michael Coleman, was commissioned by Golden Spike Foundation member and philanthropist Naoma Tate, who donated it the Golden Spike National Historical Park.
“It was really Naoma’s vision about doing this, and it was Naoma who commissioned Michael Coleman, one of the most prominent living western artists, into creating Distant Thunder,” said Doug Foxley, chairman of the Golden Spike Foundation. “It is a great and generous gift from the Hal and Naoma Tate Foundation.”
Members of the Golden Spike Foundation and park rangers assist the crane operator’s crew in the final placement of “Distant Thunder,” the 3,000 lb bronze bison statue that was donated to the Golden Spike National Historic Park on Wednesday..
Loni Newby / Box Elder News Journal
Employees of Bear River Valley Hospital in Tremonton wave and shoot video and pictures as a formation of F-35s fly over head last Thursday. The event was scheduled by Hill Air Force Base to honor all Utahns doing their part during the COVID-19 pandemic, from frontline medical workers to regular citizens simply staying home as much as possible to help “flatten the curve.”
COVID-19 tests now being offered in BC
The Bear River Health Department, in partnership with the Utah Department of Health and Community Health Centers, Inc, is now offering COVID-19 tests in Brigham City.
Patients can stop by for a drive-thru test from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Bear River Health Department office, located at 817 West 950 South in Brigham City. The testing will be available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
For more information call the health department at 435-792-6500.
BC looking for beautiful yards
Brigham City Public Works and the city’s Urban Beautification Committee are seeking nominations for Yard of the Month for June of 2020.
Nominations for June must be received no later than May 22, and may be submitted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 435-734-6615.
“Please help us recognize those who take time to beautify their yards and in turn beautify our community!” wrote the city on its social media page.
Brigham City opens some public facilities
The Brigham City mayor’s office announced that as of Friday, May 1, the city’s pickleball courts, tennis courts and disc golf course at John Adams Park will be open for public use, following updated public health guidelines from the state. Social distancing guidelines should be strictly adhered to when using these facilities.
All park boweries, park playgrounds, basketball courts and the skate park at Constitution Park remain closed to the public.
For more information call 435-734-6621.
Home rehabilitation grants available
The Brigham City Redevelopment Agency, in conjunction with the Neighborhood Nonprofit Housing Corporation is now offering grants for low-income households to help fix up their homes.
A total of $15,000 will be distributed to qualifying applicants, and can be used to replace substandard roofing, soffit, fascia, gutters, exterior doors, windows, exterior walls, siding, substandard wiring and fuse boxes, or to repair broken concrete or install driveways, or wheelchair ramps.
“Seniors, persons with disabilities and low-income families are encouraged to apply,” said the city in a news release.
Applications for the program can be found online at www.bcutah.org/community--economic-development-ced-department.htm.
For more information call Brigham City Community Development at 435-734-6604.
Financial crisis has cities scrambling to set next year’s budgets
May 6, 2020 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
As the financial crisis caused by efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic deepens, Utah cities and towns are trying to set their budgets for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, unsure of how much of a hit their balance sheets will end up taking before the crisis is over.
In Utah, municipal budgets go from July 1 through June 30 every year. By Utah law, those budgets must be set, approved and submitted to the state before June 22, unless a property tax increase is being considered, in which case the budget must be approved by Aug. 17. In a year of extreme economic uncertainty, the possibility of any city raising taxes rates is unlikely.
Normally, cities are fairly good at forecasting revenues will be, consisting primarily of property taxes, sales taxes, and federal/state grants and disbursements. But this spring has been anything but normal.
In order to enforce social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, entire industries have been shut down, retail outlets and restaurants have been closed, and tens of thousands of Utahns have been added to the unemployment rolls, at levels not seen since the great depression of 1929.
So how does a city create a budget in such an atmosphere? “Very carefully,” said several municipal officials around the county.
“What our philosophy in Brigham City is, right now, is that we’re trying to prepare for a best-case scenario while being ready for a worst-case scenario,” said Brigham City Administrator Jason Roberts. “That’s really what we’re trying to do with everything related to COVID-19.”
According to Roberts the city is currently preparing for a possible $300,000 loss in previously anticipated sales tax revenues, a figure arrived at through internal projections based on where the city’s sales taxes come from. Year to year, sales taxes account for approximately 20 to 30 percent of Brigham City’s annual budget.
“We just don’t know where we’re going to come in with any certainty,” Roberts continued. “In our budget process we are identifying expenditures that can be done later in the year that will cover a $300,000 shortfall, if we need to do that.” The city is hoping that the identified budget items, such as vehicle replacements, retiring personnel replacements and other costs, can simply be delayed until the revenue picture improves. Roberts said that some of the items may end up being cut completely if the crisis continues, however.
Adding to the budgeting uncertainty is a delay in state reporting of March sales tax numbers, which may provide some indication of how deeply the economy has been affected by the current crisis, which began on March 16. According to Eric Cropper with the Utah State Tax Commission, the March filing returns were due by the end of April, but several businesses across the state are late in filing, and those numbers are not yet available.
“March will be a good indicator, and April will be worse,” said Shanna Johnson, Perry City’s finance director.
Perry is currently looking at approximately $250,000 in impacts to sales tax revenue as that city’s “worst case scenario,” Johnson revealed to the city council in a recent budget meeting. That number is also based upon internal projections, using the 2007-2008 recession as a guideline.
“I hear so many things it’s hard to really know where to go,” Johnson told the council. “You hear that it’s going to bounce back quick, you hear it’s going to cause a full-on recession, then you hear things like it’s going to go away during the summer months and then we’ll be right back to this in the fall. So it’s really hard to know where we should pinpoint the numbers. I think that taking a safe approach and re-evaluating it might be the best thing for us to do.”
Council discussion with Johnson and Mayor Kevin Jeppsen supported that view, so Perry is currently creating a budget in line with their projected worst-case scenario, and will re-visit the budget and make amendments should the revenues end up coming in higher.
“We could re-visit the budget in September, and have a whole new budget that includes all of the [departmental] requests if it looks great. We could re-visit it in December if we start seeing the same thing. We can amend it as many times as we want, and add back as we see improvements,” said Johnson.
Perry is also looking into the possibility of refinancing its sewer bond, possibly lowering the rate or extending the term in order to save some money in the current economic situation.
Similar discussions are being held in every city and town in the county, state, and perhaps, the nation, right now, as local governments grapple with the current and ongoing effects of the pandemic.
‘Take coronavirus seriously’ says nurse working on front lines in New York City
May 6, 2020 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor
As Utah eases some of the restrictions designed to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, a nurse from Mantua working in America’s largest hotspot for infections and deaths is urging people to remain vigilant.
Given the advance warning of the devastating nature of the virus from places like Washington state and New York City, and the decisive actions of state and local leaders, Utah has been able to flatten the curve and keep the rate and number of infections relatively low.
“It’s part of our upbringing to be prepared,” said Katie Flinders, a 50-year-old nurse from Mantua who has been working with COVID-19 patients in the hospital at New York University.
Between that and the differences in population density in between Utah and places like New York City, Utah is unlikely to see the same levels of “devastation,” but Flinders urges people to take the disease seriously and remain vigilant in adhering to hygiene and social distancing guidelines.
“It is much worse than the flu,” Flinders said, adding that anyone who says otherwise is “absolutely wrong.”
While some used the number of deaths attributed to seasonal flu as evidence that COVID-19 is not worse, Flinders said that COVID-19 just passed that mark after only four months.
As more is learned about the disease, there is some speculation that the death count might be higher; people who succumbed to the effects of the disease but were never tested, for one reason or another.
Flinders said young people have been suffering strokes due to the effects of COVID-19, and that health care professionals are seeing long-term impacts to major organs, particularly kidneys.
Mantua resident and registered nurse, Katie Flinders, enters data into a computer at New York University Hospital, where she is working to help ease the burden during that city’s COVID-19 crisis.
Cancelation of season due to COVID-19 hits high school seniors hard
Courtesy Amber Earnest
Box Elder High School lacrosse players Ellie Earnest and Brooklyn Smith pose for a photo as the sun sets on a camp the high school players held for area youth on Feb. 28. This was the first year lacrosse would have been played as an officially-sanctioned sport of the Utah High School Activities Association, until the season was canceled due to concernes about the COVID-19 pandemic
Editor’s note: The Box Elder News Journal will publish stories in upcoming editions highlighting senior members of Box Elder High School athletic teams. This week’s highlights for baseball is on page 6.
April 22, 2020 • Jeremy Jones • Staff Writer
The Utah High School Activities Association announced last Tuesday that all spring sports and activities, including state championships, were canceled to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement came on the heels of Utah Governor Gary Herbert making the decision to keep all Utah schools closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
The statement from the UHSAA did acknowledge the impact of the decision, saying, “The Board of Trustees… recognizes the overwhelming disappointment this decision is for the students and athletes, especially seniors.”
That statement has hit home across the state and is felt by not only students, but coaches, parents, and any supporters of those students across the board.
Jesse Roberts, head baseball coach at Box Elder High School, said he felt absolutely sickened when he heard the news that the season was officially over.
“We have a group chat going for our team and when I first heard the news, I couldn’t really respond for about 24 hours,” Roberts said. “I didn’t really know what to say for a while. I just felt sick to my stomach knowing what this means to our guys.”
Roberts said how deeply he felt for seniors who were having their last year taken away from them.
“As a coach, I hate senior day every year anyway because I don’t like saying good-bye to those kids,” Roberts said. “You get so attached over the years, so hearing the news that we’ve already had our last game and it’s over just multiplied that problem for me. Those kids have dedicated four years to our program, so this is a really big deal.”
Bees’ head softball coach Brian Merrill also felt sadness and frustration, especially for his group of seniors. “The seniors are losing a lot and I feel bad for them. They’ve all put in a ton of work over the years and it’s a real shame to not get to see that work completed at the high school level.”
Local health officals warn against developing a false sense of security after CDC guidance on masks
April 15, 2020 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor
While a recommendation made earlier this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the general use of masks when people go out in public, local health officials are concerned that people might gain a false sense of security from the use of masks, and forget or ignore other hygiene or social distancing guidelines.
“A mask is simply another tool to help reduce the spread,” wrote Mike Weibel, the emergency response coordinator with the Bear River Health Department in an email. “But we still have to be vigilant about all of the other precautions.”
Weibel said a brief overview about the novel coronavirus and how it is transmitted is essential to understand the purpose of wearing masks and their limitations.
The virus is spread through aerosolized droplets from the mouths and noses of infected persons when they “breathe, talk, cough, sneeze, etc.,” according to Weibel. Only certain specialized equipment—like the oft-discussed N-95 masks that are critical to protect medical personnel, but are in short supply—can help prevent a person from becoming infected from those aerosols. The N-95 masks filter out a minimum of 95% of “very small particles” 0.3 microns in size.
Another factor is proper fitting, so there are no gaps through which aerosols can bypass the barrier, and most available or homemade masks will be unable to accomplish that.
“N-95 masks are still in short supply, and they should be reserved for our healthcare providers,” Weibel wrote. Additionally the CDC recommends preserving medical-grade surgical masks and the N-95 for health care workers.
The benefit of masks in slowing the spread of COVID-19 is largely in preventing asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic carriers from unknowingly infecting others.
“Many of the other masks available, including the homemade ones, likely won’t protect you from getting the virus. But, what they will do is reduce the chances of you spreading the disease to others,” Weibel wrote, and included an emphatic plea for people to not develop a false sense of security when wearing a mask.
“I have to emphasize, this is not a substitute for social distancing or any of the other forms of non-pharmaceutical interventions,” Weibel wrote. “It is still VERY IMPORTANT to wash your hands regularly and try to keep them away from your face, cover your cough, stay home when you are sick, and stay away from people as best you can. The 6-foot rule still applies!”
But following all the guidance might be easier said than done, especially when wearing a mask. Those familiar with wearing masks for an extended period of time know the temptation to constantly readjust the mask.
“It is possible to pick up particles of the virus from others onto your hands and move them to your mouth when you touch your face...its important to wash your hands regularly and try very hard to keep from touching your face even when you are wearing a mask,” Weibel wrote, adding that people should wash or sanitize hands before putting it on or removing it, and to take it off touching only the straps or elastic bands used to secure it.
Between the guidance to use masks, the weeks already spent under stay-at-home recommendations and other restrictions, and improving weather that might build peoples’ desire to be more active, Weibel said he is concerned that people might become complacent which could lead to a spike in the number of infections.
“It has been quite difficult the past several weeks with voluntary and non-voluntary restrictions,” Weibel wrote. “I understand that. I know this is affecting all of us. But while these measures are very necessary, they are only necessary for a few months. When I think about that, I remind myself that life changed considerably for our grandparents and great-grandparents during World War II. They made some tremendous sacrifices then. And those changes lasted four years. Today, we’re only looking at a few months.”
Weibel later clarified that when he wrote “a few months,” he wasn’t referencing a specific forecast for when social distancing and other restrictions will be lifted, but rather that he was “talking in generalities,’ and that “ Until there are new directives from the local, state or federal jurisdictions, I can only assume that we will be working on this for a little while more.”
Weibel said he has seen some “fantastic” things during the crisis, such as efforts to make and provide cloth masks, and he hopes that individual efforts in response to COVID-19lead to long-term benefits to pubic health.
“I do hope people build habits and continue to practice washing their hands regularly, covering their cough and staying home when they are sick because these simple steps help prevent the spread of many diseases all the time – not just during this COVID pandemic,” Weibel wrote.
To see the CDC’s guidance on masks, as well as a video of how to make one, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html.
2020 weekly average claims prior to March: 13
Week of March 15: 196
Week of March 22: 307
Week of March 29: 329
Unemployment claims up sharply in Box Elder
April 15, 2020 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Residents of Box Elder County filing for unemployment benefits have spiked dramatically since mid-March, due entirely to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shutdown of certain business operations that have accompanied the fight to contain the virus.
According to data provided by the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS), the county averaged 13 new unemployment claims per week heading into the pandemic in early March. During the week beginning March 15, that number rose to 196, and then to 307 the week beginning March 22. The week beginning March 29, which is the latest data released, 329 people filed for unemployment, a 25-fold increase in less than one month.
In February the unemployment rate in Box Elder County was a very healthy 2.5%, a full point lower than the national average of 3.5%. The unemployment rate for March has not yet been released, but state employment officials said it will be significantly higher.
“Saying the number will jump significantly would be an understatement during this pandemic,” said Brooke Coles, a public information specialist with DWS.
Some help is on the way, however. The DWS website states that Utah is one of the first states in the country to make a $600 federal stimulus program available.
“Claimants will see it included in their weekly benefit payments moving forward and retroactively for those that received a payment this week. Additionally, the application for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance making benefits available for self-employed individuals and others who aren’t eligible for traditional unemployment benefits will be available at jobs.utah.gov beginning early next week. Claimants should expect 21-30 days for the processing of these applications,” reads the website.
Box Elder County Economic Development Director Mitch Zundel expressed guarded optimism that the county, and the country, would bounce back after quarantine restrictions are lifted, as long as they’re lifted soon.
“I do think that this is going to end, that the economy will bounce back, and we’re going to be just fine here shortly,” said Zundel. “Looking at the numbers of the people that have COVID-19, it seems like we’ve hit a plateau of sorts, we’ve had one new case in the last four days. The numbers seem to be showing that what we’re doing with the social distancing is working, so hopefully we can get back to somewhat of a normal life. If we do that I think the businesses will pick back up.” He tempered that optimism, however, with the knowledge that the pandemic response is a fluid situation, saying that if stay-at-home directives and business operation restrictions go on for several more weeks or months, all bets are off.
DWS has setup an information portal for individuals whose employment has been affected by Covid-19 at https://jobs.utah.gov/covid19/. Information and guidance on several different state and federal assistance programs can be found there.
Box Elder County cancels annual tax sale due to COVID
April 8, 2020 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Property owners who are five years delinquent in their property taxes are going to get one more year to catch up and prevent their property from being auctioned by the county, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Given the current environment with the COVID-19 pandemic, the tax sale for this year has been cancelled,” said Box Elder County Auditor Tom Kotter in an interview. “Those properties that were on the sale, unless brought current, will be on the sale in 2021. I just didn’t see a way for us to conduct the sale this year in a safe manner.”
At Wednesday’s meeting of the Box Elder County Commission, which for the first time was held electronically due to public health concerns and social distancing requirements, the decision was made to forgo the sale, although there was some confusion as to whose decision it was, and how that decision should be implemented.
“I do believe that, in light of this COVID-19, that Tom [Kotter] has suspended or postponed all the tax sales until next year,” said Commissioner Jeff Hadfield. “Is that correct?”
“I don’t know whether he has the ability to postpone or suspend it, but I do believe he has the ability to simply not put any of the delinquent properties on the tax sale list,” said Commissioner Jeff Scott, who then asked Box Elder County Attorney Steve Hadfield for clarification on the law.
“Basically the ordinance that we have gives him the ability to take anything off the list,” replied Attorney Hadfield. “The problem is that conflicts with state law. We are going against state law by doing that, but with the virus issues I think that there’s some legitimate reason not to go ahead with it.”
The question was also raised whether the commission even needed to vote on the matter, or if that decision was under the purview of the elected county auditor. Steve Hadfield replied that the law was unclear.
“I don’t think it hurts to make the motion,” the attorney said. “And he may appreciate that because then he can say he was directed not to.”
That seemed good enough for the commissioners.
“I don’t know if it makes any sense to go ahead with sale when people may be struggling,” said Commissioner Scott.
Commissioner Stan Summers made a motion to “support the auditor and not have the tax sale this year,” citing the problems being experienced because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The motion was passed unanimously.
It has been Box Elder County policy to wait until a property has been delinquent on its taxes for five years before being seized and put up for sale, which is done by auction at the county courthouse. Proceeds from that sale are then used to pay back taxes and late fees owed on the property, with any remaining money above what is owed refunded back to the property owner.
County commission approves $200,000 in tourism grant funding
April 8, 2020 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor
The Box Elder County Commission on Wednesday awarded $200,000 in Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB) grants to various recipients in the county.
The grants are funded through two separate taxes, a 4.25% tax on hotel stays and a 1% tax on restaurant bills, and are intended for projects supporting or promoting tourism within the county. The advisory board each year looks through and ranks applications received for the grants, and then gives recommendations about which projects to fund from the total available.
County Tourism Director Joan Hammer reported to the commission that $200,000 was collected for the grants, and requests totaled $312,632. Hammer qualified requests by stating that because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions on large gatherings, no event-based requests will be funded until it becomes clear that the events will be held.
“We’ll work with the individual organizations, we won’t just send out their grant checks right away,” she said.
By far, the big winner in this year’s selection was Brigham City Corporation, which was awarded $60,000 to help with expansion of its pickleball complex at Pioneer Park, as well as $5,500 for replacement banners on Main Street. The city is expanding the pickleball complex as part of its agreement to buy and host the Tournament of Champions, a professional national pickleball tournament that is considered an important stop on the tour to national championship events.
Willard Bay State Park was awarded $40,000 to help with its “Fantasy at the Bay” holiday-season light display, which has been growing in recent years, and has become a Christmas tradition for many northern Utah families.
The Town of Plymouth was awarded $25,000 to help pay for bleacher replacement at its town-owned rodeo grounds.
The Old Barn Community Theater in Collinston was awarded $16,960 for building upgrades, and the Town of Deweyville was awarded $10,867 for the construction of a sand volleyball court at the town park.
Other awardees were the Box Elder Junior Livestock show, which was awarded $10,000; Tremonton City, awarded $7,000 for a mural and public art; West Box Elder Soil Conservation District, awarded $6,043 for signage; Historic Downtown Brigham City, awarded $5,000 for art projects for Main Street; Idaho District 8 and 9 High School Rodeos, awarded $6,930 for events to be held at the county fairgrounds; Brigham City Fine Arts Council, awarded $2,700 for its Music in the City concert series; Corinne Historical Society, awarded $2,000 for its Centennial Train project; and the Wasatch Front Junior High Rodeo Club, awarded $2,000 to go toward rodeo events at the fairgrounds.
The commissioners approved the awardees as recommended on a unanimous vote.
Grant applications are typically open through the end of February each year.
County landfill temporarily closed to non-account holders
In an effort to eliminate person to person contact during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Box Elder County Commission has temporarily closed the Little Valley Landfill to all people who don’t have a billing account with the county.
“We’re working on having people be able to pay before they go,” said Commissioner Stan Summers at Wednesday’s commission meeting. “So right now it’s just (open for) those that have accounts, so there’s no interaction between people.”
Summers estimated it would be a “week or so” before a system is worked out to setup residential users with accounts.
“We are putting in something where people can pay online, and go up there and not have to handle money or things like that,” he said.
The landfill will be closed until April 20, unless the state or local health department orders an extension or lifts restrictions and social distancing recommendations early. The landfill will remain open for current account holders, such as municipal or commercial garbage services.
Those experiencing a hardship because of the closure are asked to call the landfill during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m. at 435-744-2275, where special arrangements may be made.
Brigham City Recreation raises select fees
The Brigham City Council, meeting electronically on Thursday evening, voted to follow the recommendations of the city’s recreation department and implement fee increases on select city activities.
“Really this is just housekeeping, being able to maintain the quality of programs, as some prices that are necessary to run the programs have risen over the years,” said Michael Barlow, Brigham City’s recreation supervisor. “I’ve tried to make reasonable and small adjustments that will also help us hit our budget goals.”
Included in the fee increases are youth basketball skill sessions going from $15 to $20, T-Ball from $22 to $25, Awesome Adventures from $80 to $85, men’s basketball from $395 per team to $425, men’s softball from $295 per team to $325, and co-rec softball from $295 per team to $325. A new addition is ponytail softball skills session for $20.
A complete list of city-sponsored recreational activities, along with their fees, can be found at www.bcutah.org/recreation.htm .
During council discussion on the issue, Councilmember Tom Peterson suggested that the city look into replacing some of its “dilapidated” sporting equipment.
Councilmember Joe Olson suggested that the city look into equipment manufacturers and retailers who might be willing to donate sporting equipment to the programs, something that Barlow said he and his staff were already looking into.
The fee increases were passed by the council in a unanimous vote.
BC changes ordinance to allow cannabis processing
The Brigham City Council approved a request by medical cannabis grower True North for a zoning amendment to allow for processing as well as cultivation in the MD (manufacturing distribution) zone where the company resides, along 1200 West.
According to Economic Development Director Paul Larsen, the company wasn’t able to apply for a processing permit when it applied for its cultivation permit last year, as that did not exist yet in state code, and city code had not yet been passed.
“True North applied to the city prior to us adopting the cannabis ordinance,” said Larsen. “The application was made under Utah code in effect at the time, and it specified cultivation, it didn’t say anything about processing, and there was really no discussion about processing until after the city had adopted our ordinance. In the ordinance that we adopted, production, which includes both cultivation and processing, would not be allowed in the MD zone.” The change in in the zoning ordinance would allow for processing solely at the True North site, not in the zone, generally.
Cannabis processing takes the raw plant material, and processes it into legal products such as THC oil or edibles. True North’s request would allow processing inside its secured, gated and fenced area, reducing the likelihood of theft or other security breaches as it wouldn’t have to transport product to a separate facility for processing.
After some discussion about future roadways in the area and how they would relate to the True North property, the council seemed satisfied, and passed the zone amendment unanimously.
True North will still need to have a development plan submitted and approved by the council prior to beginning cannabis processing on the property.
Staff at Eagle Mountain Golf Course check in guests through the snackbar window in order to accommodate social distancing recommendations.
Eagle Mountain Golf Course employee Teyen Hollingsworth disinfects a cart prior to it going out on the course. Disinfecting carts before and after they go out, as well as allowing just one rider per cart are changes made during the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 1, 2020 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Brigham City’s Eagle Mountain Golf Course is currently open for play during the novel coronavirus pandemic restrictions, with some changes to the way it operates.
Director of Golf Operations Chris Marx appeared before the Brigham City Council at the March 19 meeting, giving his regular annual report while updating city officials on the current situation.
“I wanted to share with you the things we are doing out there to try and protect our public,” said Marx. “There are 100 golf courses in our state, and I know of six that are shut down at this point due to the coronavirus. Many people, including myself, disagree with shutting down golf courses, because we believe it’s a place where we can actually keep our social distancing, where we can keep it so people aren’t cooped up sheltering in place, where they can have a release and an outlet.”
Golfers can now check in through the snack bar window, allowing employees and customers to keep their distance from each other. Eagle Mountain is also still offering golf cart rental to single riders, cleaning and disinfecting the carts before and after each use. Golf groups are currently limited to four people at a time, and staff is keeping up with the latest COVID-19 news, learning how to keep themselves and golfers safe.
Grocery stores respond to panic buying with rationing, special hours
March 25, 2020 • Nancy Browne • Staff Writer
While the Brigham City area’s three grocery stores, Walmart, Smith’s and Kent’s, have quickly become among the local heroes of the coronavirus pandemic, they suggest the more quickly panic buying stops the more quickly consistently stocked shelves will return.
“We’re still getting daily shipments that are larger than normal but the logistical system is still trying to catch up,” said Jon Fawson, operations director for Kent’s Market. “When people stop panic shopping, we’ll get caught up.”
In the meantime, Kent’s is open as always from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., weekdays and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays, but is now offering an exclusive shopping period for senior citizens and high-risk customers from 6 to 9 a.m. every day.
All customers are limited to two of any product to ensure fairness, he said, because trucks from Associated Warehouse aren’t delivering on a regular schedule anymore and “we can’t predict when they’ll come in or what products they’ll have.”
Kent’s CEO Dave Lloyd said he is grateful for the supportive attitude displayed by customers and even credited many of them with “picking up just one item and saying ‘I’m going to leave the other one for the next person.’”
He said he is equally grateful for Kent’s employees, many of whom have worked extra hours, coming in at 4 or 5 a.m. to meet shipments and then cleaning and stocking shelves.
“We’re still getting daily shipments that are larger than normal but the logistical system is still trying to catch up. When people stop panic shopping, we’ll get caught up.”
Nancy Browne/Box Elder News Journal
The line of senior citizens waiting to shop at the Brigham City Smith’s Monday morning extended nearly the length of the building’s front. Many were able to get a 12-pack of toilet paper, which was the first item on their grocery list that day.
New merchant group aims to liven up BC historic downtown
March 25, 2020 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Several merchants in downtown Brigham City have formed a new cooperative committee to help draw customers their way through coordinated promotions and activities.
Calling themselves “Brigham City Old Towne,” the group aims to do more and go further than the already existing Historic Downtown Brigham City, another downtown revitalization group to which many of them still belong.
“All the things that are happening there are good, and I appreciate them and I’ve been a part of them” said Michelle Whitley, owner of Monarch Tea House, regarding Historic Downtown Brigham City. “I started Brigham City Old Towne because there is more that we can do for our businesses that they just don’t have the time to do.”
The idea began last December, when Whitley got together with B&B Billiards owner Annette Jones and brought Santa Claus to downtown, a proposal that didn’t gain traction in the other group.
“We did it anyway, and it was a great success, a lot of fun,” said Whitley. “So we decided to go ahead and start another committee, not to replace Historic Downtown, but for merchants who want to do more.”
So far approximately 12 businesses are participating in Brigham City Old Towne, which meets monthly to plan for quarterly events. Currently they are putting together an activity tentatively called the “Main Street Hop” scheduled for the Saturday before Easter, planning for Easter-themed activities to be held at each participating merchant.
“It’s a true committee,” said Whitley. “Right now Tina from Main Street Haircutters is taking on the Main Street Hop project.”
The new group meets at the Hampton Inn on the first Monday of every month at 8:30 a.m, holding what Whitley calls a “brainstorming session” for around 90 minutes. She welcomes any downtown merchants who would like to participate and help plan activities.
“The spirit of our committee is fun, to make it fun to come to downtown,” said Whitley.
Brigham City Old Towne currently has a Facebook page that can be found by searching the group’s name, and is currently working on a website.
Anyone with questions or suggestions can contact Michelle Whitley through the Facebook page, or by simply dropping in to the Monarch Tea House.
Candidates officially declare for office
March 25, 2020 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Election 2020 passed another milestone this last week as candidates officially declared for local and state offices before the March 19 deadline.
Locally, four candidates have filed for County Commission Seat C, a seat which incumbent Commissioner Stan Summers ran for unopposed in 2016. Republicans Kris Udy, Mitch Zundel and Alden Farr have joined Summers this year in declaring candidacy for the seat.
Both Summers and Farr have already collected enough signatures to go directly to the June 30 primary ballot, with Zundel telling the News Journal that he has collected the required 520 signatures and just has to turn them in.
Udy is planning on winning her place on the primary ticket through the Box Elder County Republican Convention, which was originally scheduled for April 16 but has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In other local races, County Assessor Rodney Bennet, County Recorder Chad Montgomery, and County Treasurer Shaun Thornley are all running unopposed.
In the Box Elder school board races, Tiffani Summers is running unopposed for District 1, Connie Archibald running unopposed for District 2, and Bryan Smith is running unopposed for District 6. Incumbent Nancy Kennedy is being challenged by Todd Cordner for the District 5 seat.
Moving on to multi-county candidates, Republican incumbent Joel Ferry has filed for his seat from State House District 1. He is facing challenges from Amber Hardy from the Democratic party, and Sherry Phipps from the Constitution party.
Cancellations, Closures and
Reduced Community Services
Box Elder Food Pantry
All appointments are now done over the phone. The pantry doors are closed to the public. Pantry orders will be brought to customer’s vehicles by a pantry worker.
The pantry is also in need of monetary donations. People can donate online at the pantries website or mail in a check. www.boxelderfoodpantry.org.
Brigham City Community Hospital will not hold its Diabetes Class in March. Attendees should still plan on meeting in April, until further contact. Dianne Curtis, 435-734-4339.
Boys & Girls Club
The Boys & Girls Club of Northern Utah has suspended all child care and after school activities for the duration of the Box Elder School District Closure. Accommodations for food and at-home activities may be made by contacting the club through the group text feature available to member guardians.
Brigham City Corporation
Effective immediately Brigham City Senior Center, Brigham City Museum of Art & History, and the Brigham City Public Library have been closed to the public.
Meals on Wheels recipients will continue to receive home deliveries. Take-out meals will be delivered curbside at the east door of the Senior Center, 24 hour advance notice must be received to make those reservations by calling 435-226-1450. There is no entry into the building except Meals on Wheels Volunteers. The suggested donation for the meal for those 60+, their spouse, or disabled child: or for volunteers is $3 for those under the age of 60, the full cost of the meal is $7.40.
Library patrons may continue to use online services (eBooks, downloadable audio books and online tutuoring from their homes. The staff will be taking phone calls Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. To assist library patrons with question that they may have. The drop box for books has been locked, late fees will not be charged during the closure period and a grace period for at least one week after the library reopens will be in play, fines will not be charged.
The Academy Center events with over 50 people have been cancelled for the next two weeks. Events scheduled for the next eight weeks will be notified that their event may be canceled. Refunds will be offered to anyone with a scheduled event within the next eight weeks that would like to cancel.
Brigham City is following Governor Herbert’s and CDC guidelines, and will continue evaluating the situation over the next two weeks. Information and guidelines about COVID-19 is available on the state of Utah website at coronavirus.utah.gov/.
New Hope Crisis Center
New Hope Crisis Center is temporarily suspending some services, we will be providing crisis/essential services only.
Crisis/Essential Services include shelter, domestic violence services, and sexual assault services. If you are in crisis, please call 435-723-5600 before coming to the New Hope Crisis Service.
For the next two weeks all groups and class are suspended.
Until further notice, New Hope Crisis Center is closed to the general public.
Church Services with 100 or more attendees have been suspended until the direction is given by Governor Herbert to resume group gatherings. Many individual denominations are offering an online study program and or recorded services, see their respective websites or social media pages for details on participation.
March 18, 2020 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
From public education to business to elections to entertainment, the coronavirus pandemic has made dramatic changes to the way people in Box Elder County live their lives.
The pandemic, or more precisely the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, have touched every resident, causing far-reaching effects that are nearly impossible to quantify.
Probably the most noticeable change so far was the decision made by the Box Elder School District on Friday to close to students all public schools in the county.
There had been numerous reports of panic-buying—residents stockpiling and hoarding food and supplies from local grocery stores— shooting across social media. Grocery store shelves of staple foods, cereals, canned goods, bread, ground beef, eggs, butter, as well as baby supplies like diapers, formula and wipes, were emptied in short order, causing extreme anxiety among county residents who didn’t participate in the hoarding.
Attempts to speak with local grocery store managers regarding shortages, re-supply efforts, hours and rationing policies were referred to their individual corporate offices, with managers stating that they weren’t permitted by their companies to speak with the media. Calls and emails made to those corporate offices have yet to be returned.
The latest round of panic-buying followed a first round a week before, when hoarders went after and bought out all of the local supplies of toilet paper, hand-sanitizer and disinfectant solutions.
On the election front, both of the county’s major political parties, Republicans and Democrats, have cancelled their local caucus meetings originally scheduled for March 24, and are tentatively moving forward with delegates from the previous 2018 election.
“The state and county parties are working to conduct conventions virtually using the delegates currently in place,” wrote Jaime Munns, Box Elder Republican Party chairperson. “We will begin reaching out to precincts and discussing with precinct chairs the necessary precautions and instructions.”
In-person county and state nominating conventions have also been cancelled, with each party currently devising an online alternative for delegates to virtually vote for their party’s nominees. Questions should be referred to the individual political parties.
Multiple concerts, sporting events, trade shows and meetings have been cancelled or postponed, with entire seasons of professional and collegiate sports being cancelled.
Guidelines issued by the Utah Department of Health, in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), are currently asking people to avoid gatherings where there are 50 people or more present, in an effort to slow transmission of COVID-19. President Trump issued new guidelines Monday limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer people.
People with mild symptoms of the disease, which include fever, cough and shortness of breath, are being asked to self-quarantine at home during the duration of their symptoms.
“If you have symptoms that are mild, it can be managed at home, and you don’t need to access care,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, an epidemiologist with the state health department. “Just self-isolate at home. Not everyone is going to be able to get tested, and we want to ensure that those who need a high level of care are able to get it.”
If your symptoms are more severe, you are asked to call your healthcare provider to make arrangements for care prior to just going in to your doctor or a hospital.
At this point there is no cure for COVID-19, so the best course of action is prevention. People are being asked to thoroughly wash their hands often, to refrain from touching their face, to repeatedly disinfect surfaces that people touch, to avoid person-to-person contact such as shaking hands, and to maintain a six-foot space between you and other people who may be infected.
As of Monday, there were a total of 39 confirmed cases statewide out of 700 people tested. Of those, four were in Davis County, 18 in Salt Lake County, one in Washington County, 11 in Summit County, one in Tooele County, one in Utah County, one in Wasatch County, and two in Weber County. 10 of those confirmed to have the virus were from visitors to the state, and not residents.
Two more confirmed cases were added Tuesday morning, and Bear River Health Department announced its first confirmed case. No information regarding the case, including where in Box Elder, Rich or Cache County the case occurred was released by the health department.
Residents are encouraged to not panic, wash hands regularly and stay home if feeling ill.
Box Elder School District announces two-week ‘soft closures’ in effort to battle the spread of coronavirus
March 18, 2020 • Nancy Browne • Staff Writer
In keeping with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s announced soft closure of K-12 schools for two weeks to stop the spread of coronavirus, Box Elder School District Superintendent Steven Carlsen notified parents that schools will close March 16-27, followed by spring break March 30-April 3.
Carlsen explained that a soft closure means students will not attend school but facilities will remain open for staff. Beginning today, students started using online curriculum.
Students who don’t have internet connectivity at home were told to check out a Chromebook from their school to complete assignments or pick up hard copy curriculum or have it mailed to them.
Parents also were asked to take a survey that will tell the school district who has internet connectivity and the number of devices upon which students could receive an online curriculum.
Breakfast and lunch services will be provided—starting today—during the school closure, Carlsen explained. The meals come in grab-and-go bags and are served during the school’s regular scheduled times at each site.
There are no extracurricular practices and activities during the two-week closure and the district is “encouraging all parents to limit large group gatherings during this time,” Carlsen wrote to parents.
An education software called Canvas, is where teachers will install lesson plans for students to work on at home. Then the next day teachers will assess student work and install a new lesson plan. Instructions for parents on accessing curriculum for their students will come from the individual schools.
He said Box Elder is fortunate to have spring break fall at the end of the two-week soft closure to give even more time to wait out the coronavirus.
Scott Lyons tells school board Wednesday to build the new elementary school in a way that will better accommodate children with special needs. He was the only person to speak for or against the proposal in the public comment portion of the meeting.
March 18, 2020 • Nancy Browne • Staff Writer
The Box Elder School District Board of Education Wednesday approved the hiring of VCBO Architectural Firm to design a proposed $30 million elementary school to replace aging Foothill and Mountain View elementary schools.
After receiving eight bids, the school district considered five companies for the contract after a request for proposals was published through the state’s procurement agency.
A committee of 10 people consisting of school board members, district leaders, a representative from outside the district and chairpersons from the community councils of both affected schools reviewed the proposals and conducted interviews.
BESD Director of Facilities Corey Thompson said the committee unanimously chose VCBO, which has a long track record as architect for many schools in the state including Box Elder School District.
Business Administrator Rod Cook swears in new school board member Tiffani Summers Wednesday after outgoing board member Lynn Capener said his goodbyes and left the building. She will fill his spot until the end of his term, Dec. 31, 2020.
Cutline: Board Chair Karen Cronin thanks outgoing school board member Lynn Capener for his more than 11 years on the board after presenting him with a trophy in the form of an old time school bell.
STORY UPDATED Monday, March 16, 9:32 a.m.
Funeral service for a man killed in a workplace explosion last week will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17, in Honeyville, but due to concerns about COVID-19, only immediate and extended family, and friends that could be considered family, attend the services.
According to an investigation of the explosion that occurred at the HyPerComp facility in Brigham City on Tuesday, March 10, Alex Stoddard, 33, was transferring oxygen between two high-pressure vessels at about 7 a.m. when one of the vessels ruptured, causing a chain recreation of explosions as other high-pressure vessels in the area were compromised. Stoddard was the only employee in the building at the time.
Stoddard earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Utah State University, with minors in business and technical sales. He was the executive director of Bridgerland Literacy from 2015-2016 in Logan Utah.
Information posted to a GoFundMe account described Stoddard as having “the purest heart of anyone” and who was always seeking ways to help others.
“Once you had the privilege of knowing Alex, he would tell you his life story and you had his listening ear and helping hand for life. He was kind, light hearted, and unafraid to be himself in every way,” the description read.
Stoddard leaves behind his wife, Laura, and three children: Darren, August and AnnaLee.
A GoFundMe account to help cover funeral costs and provide financial support for the family has been established. Donations made be made by visiting www.gofundme.com/f/alex-stoddard-family-support-fund.
Tips to stay healthy:
· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
· Stay home when you are sick.
· Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
· Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands often, using either soap and water or alcohol-based hand gel for at least 20 seconds.
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) or known as COVID-19. Worldwide there have been approximately 92,000 cases diagnosed worldwide with 3,137 deaths confirmed in 68 countries, including six in the U.S. as of Tuesday.
March 4, 2020 • Nancy Browne • Staff Writer
While no cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) have been reported in Utah, inquiries to local hospitals and the Bear River Health Department have increased significantly since Friday, and residents in several western states have been emptying stores of certain items as the virus spreads rapidly throughout the country and internationally.
“There’s a high degree of concern from people living in the Bear River District,” said Keith Larsen, epidemiologist for the Bear River Health Department. “But there’s no real panic yet.”
He said local health professionals are taking the virus seriously because it’s only a matter of time before it spreads into Utah. And once that happens “we’ll do our best to keep it from spreading.”
The elderly and people with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or lung issues are the most at risk “and all of our prevention advice is going toward them,” said Larsen.
“We’re being told that a vaccine is about a year out and we’re not sure about the fatality rate because there’s not enough data yet,” he said, adding “all we can do is plan for the worst.”
A person’s biggest risk of getting the coronavirus is exposure to someone who is already infected with it or traveling to areas with reported outbreaks.
As of Tuesday, more than 92,000 cases have been diagnosed worldwide with 3,137 deaths confirmed in 68 countries. So far, there have been six deaths in the U.S., all in Washington state, with known cases nearing 100 confirmed in 13 states. By way of comparison, so far in the 2019-2020 flu season, 16,000 people have died and 280,000 people have been hospitalized according to early estimates from the Centers for Disease Control.
Countries with the highest number of cases include China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Japan, France and Germany, in that order, according to the (CDC). Some 44 confirmed cases in the U.S. were reported to be passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship which was quarantined at sea for about two weeks in Japan.
A run on medical face masks, hand sanitizers, disinfectants, bottled water, and even toilet paper and food storage, has caused retail chains including Costco, Walmart, Target and Home Depot to run out of supplies, including the Brigham City Walmart, among others. One Facebook post showed a picture of a sign in a warehouse outlet saying that the store cannot sell bottled water by the pallet.
According to Larsen, however, the face masks aren’t much good since “they’re hard to wear, hot, messy” and people often wear them incorrectly, covering their mouths but not their noses.
He said people should refrain from purchasing face masks anyway so that supplies can go to health care workers in hospitals and medical offices where exposure is more likely.
The best way for people to protect themselves is to “wash their hands, wash their hands, wash their hands,” Larsen emphasized. “We’ve been beating that horse to death, but that’s what works.”
He said people should wash their hands using hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds and if they use hand sanitizers, the product should contain at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective.
This year’s batch of flu shots, won’t guard against the Coronavirus, said Larsen, but they are still available and people are encouraged to get one to help shore up their overall health.
Symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties which may appear two to 14 days after exposure, according to Nathan Miller, public relations and communications manager at Brigham City Community Hospital.
He encouraged people who develop these symptoms to call the Bear River Health Department at 435-792-6500 or 877-229-8825 after hours to determine the best course of action before just showing up at the hospital where they could spread infection.
“Brigham City Community Hospital and our trained staff remain fully equipped to care for and treat those with an airborne illness while ensuring the safety of all our patients, colleagues and visitors,” Miller wrote in an email. “Additionally, we are reinforcing effective environmental cleaning and visitor policies that support infection control.”
These mailboxes at the Britney Greens Apartments in Brigham City were broken into sometime over the President’s Day weekend.
February 26, 2020 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Sometime over the President’s Day weekend, nearly 90 mailboxes at the Brittany Greens Apartments in Brigham City were broken into after a thief, or thieves, pried off metal backings.
According to investigators with the United States Postal Inspection Service, a total of six mailbox stands were hit at the complex located at 460 West Westland Drive, affecting 90 residents who now have to worry if their items were stolen or their identities compromised.
“On Saturday [Feb. 15] when the mail carrier delivered, the boxes were fine,” said Liz Davis, a senior postal inspection agent with 20 years of federal law enforcement experience. “On Sunday there was no mail delivery, as usual, and then Monday was a federal holiday, and no mail was delivered that day. So this happened somewhere between the Saturday morning mail delivery and Tuesday morning, when the mail carrier found that the boxes had been compromised.”
February 26, 2020
Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
A Dominion Energy contractor laying natural gas lines in South Willard accidentally breached a main water line on the afternoon of Feb. 18, causing the loss of hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, and creating a general mess for residents and various companies.
Damage estimates are still being assessed, but officials from South Willard Water Company, the privately owned co-op that services the unincorporated community, say that some homeowners have experienced losses, though the details are not available yet.
“The Canyon Pipeline Construction Company was working on the Dominion Energy project here near our tanks, and one of their excavators hit one of our main lines,” said Natani Woods, with South Willard Water. “Based on our SCADA system, our estimate is we lost anywhere from 700,000 to 800,000 gallons of water.” The total storage capacity in the South Willard tanks is just over a million gallons.
The torrent of water coming down from the breach along 7615 South was significant enough that the Willard City Fire Department was called to to help crews from UDOT control traffic, as well as clean mud and debris from Hwy. 89 while shutting down sides of the highway in each direction for a short time.
Woods said that the water system in the township was shut off for approximately three hours, as crews from Canyon Pipeline and South Willard Water worked to turn off the water system and repair the breach.
“We’re still processing damages,” continued Woods. “I know that there was some damage to individual homes, but to the extent of what that damage was, I’m not sure.” She said that there were also damages to the road and to the yards along the road.
Woods continued that the damage assessment, and who is responsible for what, is still being determined.
“I can tell you that the water line, our line, was blue-staked correctly,” she said. “Beyond that, as far as who is legally responsible, I’m not sure how that will pan out, but we’re working through those steps right now.”
Don Porter, a media relations specialist with Dominion Energy, said there was some confusion as to which line was blue-staked, however.
“They found the pipeline that South Willard Water said was there,” said Porter, adding that the crew from Canyon Pipeline also found other pipes that weren’t on any map or diagram. “So they started digging, and sure enough, they hit another pipe that wasn’t, that nobody even knew was there, and that’s what drained that tank.”
Porter continued that an investigation will be taking place to determine what exactly happened, saying it would be a while before anything definitive is announced.
As it stands now, the breach in the water system has been fixed, and the South Willard Water System is refilling its tanks, while continuing to provide water to residents.
Water and mud flowed down a South Willard street after an estimated 750,000 gallons were lost when a water main was breached on the evening of Feb. 18.
Parents question wisdom of replacing two schools with one big school
Nancy Browne / Box Elder News Journal
Steve Hansen was among the crowd of citizens at the Wednesday school board meeting who voiced concern about a plan to build one large school to replace two aging elementary schools. He said the district needed to update their answers to public questions about the new school on its website.
Alex Hawley and Julie Johnson of United Way Northern Utah present a grant check for $10,000 to Penny Evans and Karrie Vincent of New Hope Crisis Center. The money will be used to create a specially-trained team to examine sexual assault victims at hospitals in Brigham City and Tremonton.
February 19, 2020 • Nancy Browne • Staff Writer
Eight Box Elder County non-profits were selected out of 40 to receive grant money from a pool of $200,000 given out this year by United Way of Northern Utah.
During a Box Elder Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday, four of the non-profits received their checks. They included New Hope Crisis Center, Habitat for Humanity Northern Utah, Acts Six Soup Kitchen and Brigham City Fine Arts Center.
The other four, Box Elder Community Pantry, Brigham Suicide Prevention, Pregnancy Care Center of Brigham City and Box Elder School District Foundation, received theirs through the mail or personal delivery, according to Kaylie Astin, United Way marketing manager.
The other recipients were in Weber County, she said, but to be selected all of the 40 had to meet with the mission of United Way, which is to promote education, income and health in communities.
United Way is funded through a large number of partners, Astin said, but the biggest portion comes from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Kent’s Market owner Kent Beckstrom (right) and his wife, Jeri. After Kent Beckstrom passed away last Thursday, employees spoke about his unique management style that incorporated liberal doses of love and learning.
Courtesy Mel and Vauna Palmer
(from left) Kent and Jeri Beckstrom, Lloyd and Betty Beckstrom, Linda and Dennis Davis, and Vauna and Mel Palmer during an Associated Food Stores trip to Hawaii. Kent Beckstrom said he wanted employee Mel Palmer to accompany him on the trip, and that Beckstrom would pay for Palmer’s fare on the cruise. However, if Palmer wanted his wife on the trip, they would have to cover her fare. When Palmer went to present Beckstrom with the money to cover Vauna Palmer’s fare, Beckstrom said he had already paid for Vauna Palmer, and that he had just wanted to ensure they saved up to have spending money on the trip.
February 12, 2020 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor
A significant member of the Northern Utah Business Community, and one with a special connection to Brigham City, died last week.
Kent Beckstrom, 83, the owner of Kent’s Market grocery stores, died on Thursday, Feb. 6, from conditions due to heart disease.
Beckstrom was the owner of five grocery stores and two hardware stores with locations stretching from Tremonton to Ephraim, Utah. Through the years he served on many industry boards and committees, including the board of directors for Associated Foods, including as chairman of the board; the executive committee of the Utah Food Industries Association and held leadership positions on many others. He was recognized in 2015 for his accomplishments in the industry with Associated Food Stores’ Donald P. Lloyd Spirit of Independents Award.
Beckstrom was born in Spanish Fork on Sept. 18, 1936, and graduated from Granite High School in 1954. As a youth he exhibited the drive and work ethic that defined his adult career; he worked multiple jobs growing up, sometimes at the same time.
He attended the University of Utah, but the most life-changing event came when Beckstrom started working at Albertson’s in 1956.
After 18 years with Albertson’s, Beckstrom decided he’d had enough of the rigid structure of larger grocery chains, and wanted to try his own skills and ideas. Soon, Beckstrom opened a store with a partner, and in 1975, the first Kent’s Food opened in Brigham City. From there, Beckstrom grew his business conservatively—a little at a time—with a mind to accumulating as little debt as possible and paying off any necessary debt as quickly as he could.
While Beckstrom was known as a savvy businessman—a quality that certainly contributed to his success at a time when small, independent grocers faced increasing pressure from large chains and the internet—those who knew him best say his love of people and his understanding that success is a team effort played just as big a role.
“He gave his employees the chance to learn and grow without fear of making mistakes,” wrote Jon Fawson, a more than 20-year employee at Kent’s. “He believed that empowering the employees to make decisions and take risks was the key to running a successful store. He simply asked that we never stop learning. He was an amazing teacher and loved passing on his knowledge to anyone who would listen.”
Mel Palmer, the longtime store director at the Brigham City Kent’s, and who worked for Beckstrom for more than 40 years, was almost positive Beckstrom had already made some of the mistakes he allowed his employees to make. Palmer said Beckstrom saw value in any idea, whether it resulted in success or failure.
“He never quit teaching. He was constantly teaching,” Palmer said.
Beckstrom was not a pushover, however, and “he expected results,” Palmer said. One method of getting those results was to include managers in the stores’ goal-setting process, rather than unilaterally determining the numbers he expected them to hit. Doing so, Palmer said, made the managers more invested in the outcome; made them feel like partners in a common cause.
“He was the smartest businessman I’ve ever been associated with,” Palmer said. “He got the very best out of people.” Palmer added later, “I never felt like an employee.”
“To [Kent Beckstrom] it was important that the employees loved their job and had fun coming to work each day. He brought an excitement and love of people to work every day. To Kent, the people who worked at the stores weren’t simply employees, they were family.”
Box Elder Sheriff’s Department settles civil rights lawsuit
February 12, 2020 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Box Elder County and the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Department have agreed to pay a total of $10,200 to two Idaho State University football players who were wrongly arrested in December of 2016 on suspicion of robbing a Malad, Idaho, bank.
A Jan. 18 agreement reached with the players also states that the county will pay all “reasonable” attorney fees and court costs incurred in their civil rights action, which claimed that racial prejudice led to their false arrest, an illegal search and seizure of their car, and also that being arrested at gunpoint constituted the use of “excessive force.”
In December of 2018 McFarlin and Fox filed a lawsuit in Utah’s U.S. District Court, charging officers from the Utah Highway Patrol, Oneida County Sheriff’s Office and Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office with violating their civil rights.
The Utah Highway Patrol agreed in December to pay the pair $21,000 to settle the case. An Idaho Falls attorney, Bron Rammell, told the Ogden Standard-Examiner on Tuesday that a settlement between McFarlin and Oneida County is also close to being finalized.
Inquiries to the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Department and attorney’s office have been referred to Salt Lake attorney Blake Hamilton, who has been representing the county in the case.
Messages left on Hamilton’s voicemail, one last June and another on Monday, have not been returned. In court filings, Hamilton argued that Box Elder deputies acted in “good faith,” believing there was probable cause to detain McFarlin and Fox, and impound their vehicle.
The case against Box Elder County will be dismissed once the payments to the plaintiffs, their attorneys and the court are made. Final court costs and attorney fees have not yet been established.
Box Elder Search and Rescue veteran recognized for 50 years of service
After 50 years of rescuing lost, snow-bound travelers or participating in the morbid task of gathering up the dead bodies of accident victims, Bruce Andersen was recognized recently for his years of service to Box Elder Search and Rescue (S&R).
At its annual banquet in January, Search and Rescue presented 81-year-old Andersen with a plaque and a hearty “thank you” for his 50 years of service, 30 of which were spent as an officer and the rest as secretary.
Brigham City man arrested on suspicion of criminal homicide
February 12, 2020 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
A Brigham City man is being held without bail in the Weber County Jail after admitting to being present when a North Ogden man was shot to death early on Saturday morning.
According to a press release issued by the North Ogden Police Department, Brian Christopher Jenson, 29, was arrested along with Ogden resident, Ryan Joseph Dash, 33, on suspicion of murdering 29-year-old Dalton Wood.
North Ogden police were dispatched to 432 E. 1700 North at 12:17 a.m. on Saturday to reports of shots being fired. When they arrived on scene they found Wood on the street with a gunshot wound to his chest and a shotgun wound to his lower extremities. Wood was taken to McKay Dee Hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds and was pronounced dead.
Witness statements and a subsequent investigation quickly led police to suspect Jenson and Dash in the shooting. Dash, who had been released from prison less than a month prior, was located at an Ogden residence where police observed him loading belongings into a truck. Dash was contacted, and after initially attempting to flee from officers, he surrendered. In an interview with detectives from the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force, Dash initially denied any knowledge of the murder, but later admitted that he shot Wood with a handgun and a shotgun.
“Dash explained that he had assaulted [Wood’s] brother previously, and that in response,
Wood had threatened him,” reads a probable cause statement filed by Detective Paul Rhoades. “They arranged to meet at a location in North Ogden. Dash stated that Wood was alone, and that Wood had his hands in his pocket. He admitted that Wood did not brandish a weapon. Dash stated that he then killed the [expletive.]”
The statement continued that Dash had insisted that he acted alone in shooting Wood, saying he threw the weapons, a shotgun and a handgun, off an overpass and into the mud in Box Elder County, and that he burned his clothing in a church parking lot.
Jenson was pulled over by Brigham City police officers later that morning outside his home. He was taken to the Brigham City police station, where he was interviewed by Weber/Morgan Homicide Task Force detectives.
After initially denying any knowledge of the incident, Jenson finally admitted that he had accompanied “three associates” as they went to the North Ogden to talk to Wood about comments he had directed toward them recently, after they had assaulted Wood’s brother.
“Jenson admitted that he was aware that his associates were armed with firearms, and he claimed that he, himself was armed with brass knuckles,” wrote Detective Rhoades. “Jenson denied firing the weapons himself, which contradicts other information received in the course of this investigation.” Rhoades then wrote that Jenson agreed to take detectives to where he and Dash had disposed of the guns.
Jenson was then moved to the Weber County Jail. Formal charges have not yet been filed against either man.
Bear River area homeless count hits all-time high
February 5, 2020 • Nancy Browne • Staff Writer
Any notion that homelessness is not a problem in Box Elder, Cache and Rich counties took a hit last week according to the Bear River Area Local Homeless Coordinating Committee when an army of volunteers went out at 4 a.m., Jan. 23, and counted 59 people experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
Traditionally, Point-in-Time (PIT) counts, required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) each year, only yield homeless figures in the tri-county area ranging from one to five individuals.
But this year some 43 heads of households and 16 minors were counted as homeless by PIT volunteers. Four of them were in Box Elder County, with the remainder in Cache County, reported Jess Lucero, associate professor of social work at Utah State University and Bear River Area Local Homeless Coordinating Committee University Representative.
One reason for the higher count was the record number of volunteers (91) who found people sleeping in their cars, in storage units and sheds, finding warmth in 24-hour establishments or transit locations, or passing the nighttime hours walking through the streets, she said.
The volunteers, mostly from Utah State University and the Families Feeding Families organization, found that more than half (53%) were families, with 62 percent identifying as male. Some 42 percent were experiencing homelessness for the first time and half of the households had been homeless for three months or less.
Volunteer teams also handed out blankets and care items donated by the Hyrum Humanitarian Center, and other donations from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Einstein’s Bros Bagels and Smithfield Sinclair.
“Nearly one in five renter households in our area pay more than 50 percent of their monthly income for housing costs, making it extremely difficult to manage other financial obligations or weather even minor financial crises,” said Lucero.
“Homelessness is among us in the Bear River Region. These are our friends, neighbors, and acquaintances,” she said. “Not only does helping individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness make sense from a financial standpoint, it is just the right thing to do.”
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Election 2020 gets underway in Box Elder County
February 5, 2020 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
It’s been less than three months since the municipal election, but the 2020 general election is already well underway in Box Elder County with candidates expressing an intent to gather signatures ahead of the candidate filing dates the week of March 13.
Several local candidates, as well as state and federal office candidates, have filed their “intent to gather signatures” to be placed directly on the primary election ballot.
County Commissioner Stan Summers will face a challenge for his seat from Brigham City Councilman Alden Farr, who was just re-elected to his city council seat in November.
If both candidates can collect 520 signatures from registered Box Elder County voters by April 2, they’ll be able to skip the county’s Republican Convention on April 16 and go right to the primary, scheduled for June 30.
“Commissioner Summers ran unopposed last election, and I think people should have a choice when they vote,” said Farr, when asked why he chose to throw his hat in the ring. “Right now I’m working on gathering signatures hoping to get on the June primary ballot. I have been going door to door in the county to gather support and hear what is important to citizens.”
For his part, Summers welcomed Farr into the race, saying he felt it was a good thing to discuss varied points of view.
“Discussions are good for democracy, and I look forward to having those discussions with Councilmember Farr and with Box Elder residents,” said Summers.
Other local candidates who have already filed their intent to gather signatures include District 1 State House Representative Joel Ferry, who must collect 1,000 signatures by April 10 to skip the state’s Republican Convention on April 25 and get directly on the primary ballot; and Box Elder County Recorder Chad Montgomery, who needs 520 signatures by April 2 to skip the county GOP convention.
The “Super Tuesday” presidential primary in Utah is set for March 3. Appearing on that ballot will be Democrats Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Nathan Bloxham, Steve Bullock, Pete Buttigieg , Roque De La Fuente III, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang.
The Republican ballot is slim, with much of the party’s focus on the reelection of President Donald Trump.
Courtesy Brigham City Police
One of nine cars in Brigham City that had it’s windows shot out between Friday and Saturday night.
Vandals shoot out nine car windows in two-day spree
January 29, 2020 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
The Brigham City Police Department is searching for an individual, or individuals, that shot out multiple car windows all across the city on the nights of Friday and Saturday, Jan. 24 and 25.
“We had eight different occurrences, with nine vehicles total,” said Lt. Anthony Ferderber. Police are not yet certain of what caused the damage, whether a pellet gun or some other type of gun, but are sure it was a weapon that launched some kind of projectile. “They shot out windows, and you could see where some of them hit the metal on the vehicles as well, leaving dents.”
Police are asking victims and homeowners to check their doorbell and security cameras for anything unusual during Friday and Saturday night, to see if the perpetrators may have been recorded on their vandalism spree.
“If anyone does have video, if they wouldn’t mind looking through it, and if they find anything suspicious, please let us know,” said Ferderber.
Tips should be called in to Detective Herbert at the Brigham City Police Department, 435-734-6650.
Autopsy will help determine cause of Logan woman’s death
January 29, 2020 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
A Logan woman was pronounced dead at Tremonton’s Bear River Valley Hospital on Saturday afternoon, after witnesses saw her struggling in the pool at Crystal Hot Springs in Honeyville.
According to the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office, 51-year-old Christina Bailey had been spending the afternoon at the resort with a friend, and was swimming in the large pool when at approximately 3 p.m. teenagers in the pool noticed her struggling to swim and determined she was in trouble.
“They called for assistance, and she was removed from the pool,” wrote Chief Deputy Dale Ward in a press release. Visitors at the pool with “medical backgrounds” began performing CPR, and kept it up until Tremonton emergency medical services arrived and took over.
Box Elder deputies, along with Honeyville first responders also responded, as did LifeFlight. Bailey was taken to Bear River Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
“Our investigation cannot confirm whether the possible cause of death was drowning, or possibly another medical issue,” continued Ward.
Bailey’s body has been transported to the Utah Medical Examiner’s Office in Salt Lake City, where an autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death.
As the investigation is still active, no further information has yet been released.
January 22, 2020 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor
A lifetime of example forged in the fire of experience resulted in the dedication of Susan Poulsen, the Box Elder Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Total Citizen of the Year, to helping the needy and less fortunate.
Poulsen is most recognized for her work with the Acts Six Soup Kitchen in Brigham City, of which she is the president and director, but her service spans many years, and is founded firmly in her faith, her mother’s example, and the many other women Poulsen respected and admired, and whom inspired her.
Poulsen’s mother, Rose Trollinger, and Sarah Yates founded the soup kitchen in 1986. Both ladies have since been honored in their own right for their community service, with Trollinger being named the Peach Days grand marshal in 2000, and Yates being tapped by the Brigham City Area Chamber of Commerce for Total citizen of the Year for 2016. The accomplishments and contributions to charitable relief efforts and other community endeavors by Trollinger and Yates are well-documented.
According Tracey Mellard, who has known Poulsen for eight years and who nominated Poulsen for the honor, “That’s the explanation of Susie Poulsen...the women around her who were generous and kind.”
From its founding, Poulsen volunteered at the soup kitchen whenever the congregation of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church was in charge of preparing the meal for the homeless or needy. Poulsen continued volunteering at the soup kitchen as it moved from location to location. The soup kitchen moved from the Presbyterian church’s Gillespie Hall to the Lincoln Center, and later to the Eagles lodge at 912 N. Main Street in Brigham City, where it has been operating for nearly 10 years.
See the Box Elder News Journal's print edition or online subscription for entire list of this year's awards
Susan Poulsen, director of the Acts Six Soup Kitchen was named the Box Elder Chamber of Commerce’s Total Citizen of the Year for 2019.
January 15, 2020 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor
The clock for a required 120-day public comment period to gather input about a proposal to combine two Brigham City elementary schools into one building officially started ticking last week at the Box Elder school District Board of Education meeting.
And there was plenty of public present to provide input, with concerns ranging from student safety to the impact on social and academic success at a larger school.
Prior to residents taking the floor, district officials and board members outlined the many factors contributing to the proposal to combine Foothill and Mountain View elementary schools into a single building. The proposed site for a new two-story elementary building is the 8.5-acre district owned property where the Hervin Bunderson Center now sits, at approximately 200 North and 700 East. The proposal is the result of a year’s worth of discussion by the school board’s Long-Term Capital Outlay Committee about what to do about the two aging schools, which are filled to capacity.
Foothill and Mountain View are two of the three oldest buildings owned by the district, and are, according to district Superintendent Steven Carlsen, highly disfavored by facilities and maintenance staff “because they have so many issues.” Due to the age, the buildings are also more expensive to operate than newer facilities, and the construction and style of the building— such as Mountain View’s sky lights—creates unique maintenance issues.
Both schools also have to house many classes in portable buildings. Enrollment bubbles and issues resulting from the Chinese dual immersion program at Foothill can exacerbate the problems facing the already cramped schools.
Carlsen noted one particular situation at Mountain View to illustrate the point. Immediately prior to the start of the school year, there were 28 kids in each fifth grade class. However, nearly every new arrival to the school was a fifth grade student, and eventually each class had 37 students and few options for ameliorating the situation.
“Those bubbles really mess you up,” Carlsen said.
Additionally, limited space complicates the unique situation created by the dual immersion program, which limits the number of classrooms available for students not participating in the program. With only one class for non-dual immersion students, it can pose serious problems for educators, for example, if a situation arises where a student needs to be removed from a class for their benefit or the benefit of their classmates.
The new school would accommodate six or seven classes for each grade level, with estimated class sizes ranging from 22 to 25 students.
The two schools have a combined population of 851 students. The new building would be built to house 950-1,000 students, which would accommodate the student population of the area for years to come, according to a growth projection study conducted by the University of Utah.
According to Superintendent Carlsen, student populations in the district have adhered very closely to the study’s projections, as have school-specific enrollment numbers.
Based on the study’s projections, “we do not perceive growth in these two areas [boundary areas of Foothill and Mountain View elementary schools] beyond the 950-1000 mark,” Carlsen wrote in an email.
With the exception of the Kotter Canyon development on the north side of the city, and the “wildcard” Mantua, the area inside the proposed school’s boundaries is built-out, Carlsen said at the meeting. But residents living in neighborhoods surrounding Bunderson noted that the area is beginning to transition from an elderly population to younger families with children, which may have an unanticipated impact on student population growth projections.
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Weber School District/MHTN Architects
The Orchard Springs Elementary School in Weber County was given as an example of a two story school at the Box Elder School District Board of Education meeting last week. The district is proposing to build a similar building on the site of the Hervin Bunderson Center to replace Foothill and Mountain View elementary schools.
Tentative schedule for
Feb. 12, 6:30 p.m., at the Independent Life Skills Center located at 960 S. Main Street, Brigham City.
March 11, 6:30 p.m., at Foothill Elementary
April 8, (TBA): Public hearing on boundary change and school closures concerning Foothill and Mountain View elementary schools at the Independent Life Skills Center, 960 S. Main Street, Brigham City.
May 13, 6:30 p.m.: Board vote on school closures and boundary changes and approval to go forward with the building of a new school. Located at Young Intermediate School in Brigham City
Bishop not running for Utah Governor
Congressman Rob Bishop, who is retiring from the U.S. House of Representatives this year after serving eight terms, has decided not to throw his hat in the crowded ring for Utah governor.
Bishop announced last July he would not be seeking re-election to Congress, but left the door wide-open for a possible gubernatorial run.
“I am not going to run for Governor because I am bored or want a job,” said Bishop at the time, adding that there would have to be a reason for him to jump into that race.
Evidently he didn’t find that reason, announcing on Monday that he would not be seeking the office, and would instead be throwing his support behind the campaign of former Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright.
Recreation department to move to restaurant
Sometime between March and June of this year, the Brigham City Community Activities and Services Department will depart its current home at the Hervin Bunderson Center to the vacant restaurant portion of the Brigham Academy Center.
In an email response to a request for information, Brigham City Administrator Jason Roberts wrote, “We have been informed by the school district that they are vetting plans to build a new school on the Bunderson site completed as early as 2022. Because of this, the City was notified that the school district would like us to be out of the building the summer of 2020.”
At the school board meeting, board President Karen Cronin said that the district had reached out in August to see if the city wanted to extend its lease on the building for a year, but had received no response from the city, and so the district moved forward with a proposal to build a new school on the Bunderson property.
Box Elder County Referendum Co-Coordinator Kris Udy shows Perry resident Diane Frampton where to sign the petition that would put the state’s recent tax restructuring package on the November ballot for voters to decide.
Summers says he will not run for Bishop’s Congressional seat
January 8, 2020 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Box Elder County Commissioner Stan Summers, who had been considering a run for the Congressional District seat being vacated by Rob Bishop, announced last week that he’s decided not to pursue that office.
Summers cited two reasons for his decision, one being the ability to take care of his family. The Summers’ have a gravely ill son with an extremely rare disease.
The other reason is his desire to continue serving as a Box Elder County Commissioner.
“If you know me, you know my family is always my first priority,” Summers wrote in a statement given to the News Journal. “As I have had time to truly consider a potential run for Utah’s 1st Congressional district, the saying ‘timing is everything’ rings true. I’m overwhelmingly appreciative of everyone who has expressed support for my potential candidacy. While I have not wanted to let anyone down who has encouraged this decision, I believe that this is not the time for my family and I to run for this seat.”
The statement continued with Summers announcing his intention to collect signatures to appear as a Republican candidate for his county commission seat, which he’s held since January of 2012.
“I look forward to continue working hard for the people of Box Elder. I absolutely love being your county commissioner. I am passionate about our community, and its crucial and exciting progress. I will be honored to run again as I continue to serve you in this capacity. Thank you again for your support and love. No one know what the future holds, but I know who holds our future,” Summers wrote.
Announced Republican candidates for the 1st Congressional District seat include Davis County Commissioner Bob Stevenson, Morgan County Councilmember Tina Witt, and Davis County security consultant and trucker Cory Greene. One Democrat has announced her run for the seat, rehabilitation counselor Jamie Cheek from Ogden.
January 8, 2020 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
A referendum effort to stall implementation of the state’s comprehensive tax reform package appears to be picking up steam.
If organizers from Utah 2019 Tax Referendum can obtain 116,000 signatures of registered voters proportionately across all Utah counties by Jan. 21, the controversial tax package would not go into effect. Instead, it would be placed on November’s ballot, allowing for voters to decide its fate. By Utah law, a referendum is binding, and cannot be amended by the legislature as propositions can.
“This tax bill was passed during a special session, without much conversation,” said Richard VanDyke, co-coordinator of the referendum effort in Box Elder County. “The added fuel taxes, and the reimplementation of the full sales tax on food are two issues that have gotten a lot of people really upset.”
The tax reform bill, SB 2001—which was passed by the legislature during a Dec. 12 special session—adds taxes to a select group of services such as installation services, pet boarding and grooming, ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft, sightseeing tours, vehicle parking and towing, dating referral services, identity theft protection, streaming media services like Hulu and Netflix, electronic security monitoring, and shipping and handling charges. Taxes will also be added to unprepared groceries and fuel, amounting to a 177% tax hike at grocery store checkout lines, and an estimated 10 cents more a gallon at the gas station. Taxes on diesel fuel are also going up.
To offset the grocery tax hike, the legislation offers a $125 per person state tax credit for a family of four earning up to $45,000 per year, and $50 for each additional family member. It also slashes the state income tax rate from 4.95% to 4.66%, while increasing the per-child tax exemption from $565 to $2,500. In the Utah Constitution, all of the revenue from income taxes are earmarked for schools, while sales taxes go into the general fund for the state to spend how it wishes. The tax reform package represents an effort to shift dollars away from school earmarks toward more discretionary spending.
Proponents of the tax reform package, including the Utah Taxpayers Association and all three of Box Elder County’s elected state representatives, say that the tax package as passed represents a net tax cut for Utah citizens.
“Those gathering signatures to repeal this bill are asking citizens to sign a petition that would actually undo one of the largest tax cuts in Utah’s history and hike taxes upwards of $200 million per year,” wrote Rusty Canon, vice-president of the Utah Taxpayers Association.
Referendum proponents, however, don’t see it that way. They argue that the referendum will not repeal anything. Rather, it will simply put SB 2001 on the ballot for the people to study and decide. They do, however, want people to vote no at that time.
“Raising the food sales tax 177% causes families to have less cash every time they buy groceries,” said Fred Cox, referendum organizer and former state legislator. “Also, low-income residents will not have the means to pay an accountant so the state can pay them back later. Pushing the gasoline state sales tax up by 35% means people will have less money every time they fill up their gas tank and the increase will drive up the price of goods. Reducing general funds to public and secondary schools will mean other taxes will go up to replace those. Likely, property and school district taxes will have to go up to make the difference.”
According to the latest figures from Utah 2019 Tax Referendum, Box Elder County has had 756 referendum signatures turned in out of 2,083 needed by Jan. 21. Many more signatures have been collected but not yet turned in, says the group.
The delivery of the first baby of 2020 at Brigham City Community Hospital required a long-distance digital connection to allow father, Steven Darias (pictured in cell phone) to witness the birth of his daughter, Ivy, who is pictured being held by mother, Liz, shortly after her birth on Jan 2. Steven Darias was unable to be present for the birth of his third daughter since he is deployed to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army.
December 31, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Due to multiple snowstorms during November and December, the Utah water year is looking good so far, with snowpack levels measuring above normal in nearly all mountain ranges that feed Utah’s river basins.
According to measurements taken Dec. 29 at SNOTEL (snowpack telemetry) sites in the Bear River drainage basin, which supply most of Box Elder County’s water, snowpack levels are currently averaging 107 percent of normal for this time of year. The Weber/Ogden basin sites, which provide Pineview secondary water for southern Box Elder County, are averaging slightly better at 112 percent of normal. The only area in the state currently below normal is the Raft River drainage basin in northwestern Box Elder County, which is measuring at a still respectable 93 percent of normal.
Water officials caution that the good start to the water year won’t mean much if storms don’t continue through the next several months. Just two weeks ago snowpack levels were 134 percent of normal in the Bear River basin, 144 percent in Weber/Ogden, and 341 percent in Southwestern Utah.
The 2018-19 water year for the state, which ended on Sept. 30, was well above normal, the tenth highest on record. That brought the central and southern areas of the state out of a severe drought from the 2017-18 water year, the driest on record since 1895, when record-keeping began.
While it’s too soon to tell what the remainder of this winter and coming spring have in store, reservoir levels across the state are in relatively good shape due to last spring’s wet weather.
Perry police chief goes statewide in search of new kidney for officer
December 18, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Perry City Police Chief Scott Hancey has been making calls, as well as hitting social media and offering on-camera appeals for people to be tested to see if they’re a match for a kidney donation.
“One of my officer’s has been dealing with kidney failure for a couple of months,” Hancey told the News Journal on Friday evening. “He just got the okay to start looking for donors, and we’re hoping our local media can help get the word out.”
Perry Police Officer Jason Harris visited a hospital in Logan in late August after discovering his blood pressure was dangerously high, said Hancey. He transported by ambulance to a hospital in Ogden where it was discovered his kidneys were failing. After a few days in the hospital Harris was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy, an autoimmune disease that has caused his kidneys to fail.
“As soon as his doctors would allow, Officer Harris returned to work and has never once complained about his situation,” continued Hancey. “Despite going through dialysis several times per week, Jason has the dedication to come to work and make a difference. His loyalty to patrolling Perry City and serving our community is an inspiration to me, our police department, and to everybody who has the pleasure of knowing him.”
Hancey is asking anyone who can to please visit the online page of the University of Utah’s Living Donor Program, at https://uofulivingdonor.org, to see if they might be a match for Harris, who has type O positive blood, and requires another type O, positive or negative, for a donor.
“We need to find a very selfless person who is willing to donate a kidney to Officer Harris,” Hancey said. “If you are able, please consider giving the gift of life to one of our very dedicated public servants. Officer Harris gives so much of himself, I think we should all do the same for him.”
Cafe Rio coming to Brigham City
The excavation and site preparation taking place on in the 1100 South lot west of the new America First Credit Union is in preparation for the construction of a new restaurant.
According to landowner Byron Hansen, a new Cafe Rio should be open for business sometime around May of 2020. Brigham City will be the Mexican food chain’s 11th location along the Wasatch Front.
“We’re in the process of beginning development of that whole block that’s there east of our dealership (Hansen Motor Company),” said Hansen of the development named Eagle Landing Shopping Plaza. “[Café Rio] will be our first tenant in our first building, and we envision several buildings going in.”
Hansen continued that Eagle Landing will be developed slowly as tenants agree to come into the development, with four buildings being planned. The Cafe Rio building will probably have one or two additional tenants in it, Hansen added.
The Hansen family has owned the property for 25 years, and has been waiting for the right time to develop it, which appears to be now.
“Maybe we’ll get them to buy a General Motors vehicle as they come in,” he mused. “At least that’s the plan.”
Perry budget amended to buy land for future city hall, EMS building
December 18, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Perry City on Thursday approved a $456,881 budget amendment that moves existing monies into different accounts, and earmarks those funds for property purchases and to pay off pre-existing property taxes from land it acquired at the Pointe Perry commercial development.
Perry City Finance Director Shanna Johnson explained to the council where the money was coming from, and where the proposal would have it go, including taking $50,000 from the $509,000 available in the debt service fund to pay the property taxes on land in Pointe Perry in the event that an anticipated land exchange takes place.
“We want to be prepared for that if it does happen.” Johnson said.
The city is currently in negotiations with Utah Forestry, Fire and State Lands (UFFSL), as well as Utah School and Institutional Trust Land (SITLA) for a three-way land swap that would trade some Pointe Perry land to SITLA, who in turn would trade land it owns bordering Willard Bay to UFFSL, who in turn would offer Perry City land adjacent to its gun range that would allow for expansion of that facility. The issue holding up the swap is that Pointe Perry land is encumbered with back taxes owed to Box Elder County. The $50,000 would allow the city to pay off those back taxes and make the deal happen, should Box Elder County decline to grant a request from the city to have those taxes waived.
An additional $6,881 would be appropriated from the general fund in order to pay for the city’s recent election, which wasn’t budgeted for originally.
Another $92,162 would be appropriated from existing available money in the general fund, and moved to the capital projects fund in order to help pay for land acquisition for a future new emergency services building and city hall. To also assist in the land acquisition, $82,838 was transferred from impact fee accounts, as was all of the existing $225,000 that the city has saved for the buildings.
During discussion on the budget amendments, Councilmember Blake Ostler wondered aloud if the city was doing the right thing focusing on land acquisition and an eventual new city hall building when there were transportation issues that could also use attention.
Mayor Jeppsen said that was a good point to consider, while also bringing up the appearance of Perry City Hall in a recent news broadcast.
“Didn’t that look nice?” he asked. “I think there’s already a move that we need to do something with the outside of it [city hall], the way it looks.”
“To me, the appearance of the city hall is just a small part of this,” said Councilmember Andrew Watkins. “I’m definitely in favor of planning for the future and having a center location, expanding the city center. It’s much more about the future of Perry than the appearance of city hall right now.” He continued that the city would either need to make improvements on the building, or focus on building a new one.
City Planner Robert Barnhill suggested that purchasing land, whether a new city building is built now or in the future, is always a good investment, comparing it to having a savings account.
“If you put [money] in real estate, you’ll never regret that decision,” he said. “In 10 years you could decide to sell that real estate and see its increase in value.”
The council seemed swayed by that argument, and passed the budget amendments as written with a unanimous vote.
The Brigham City Fire Department draped a flag over Main Street Saturday to welcome the procession bringing the body of U.S. Army helicopter pilot Takeshi Fuchigami Jr., who died while in action in Afghanistan. Fuchigami had married former West Corinne native, McKenzie Norman Fuchigami, and was buried in Brigham City on Monday. Local residents put their appreciation for Fuchigami’s sacrifice on full display as they lined the route with American flags. The flags were provided free of charge by the Follow the Flag organization, which states as its mission to “Honor the men, women and children who sacrifice time, lives and more to safeguard the freedoms of the U.S.A.”
Brigham City recorder to retire after 25 years
Budget surplus to cover cost overruns for upgrades at BC pickleball complex
December 11, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
In 1994 Bill Clinton was in his second year as U.S. president, Tonya Harding caused a scandal in the world of figure-skating, O.J. Simpson led a low-speed chase down a California freeway in a white Ford Bronco, “Forest Gump” and Disney’s “The Lion King” were setting box office records, Netscape Navigator was the world’s most popular browser, pre-teen girls were swooning over Boyz II Men, and Mary Kate Christensen first began working for Brigham City Corporation.
Now, 25 years later, Mary Kate is officially hanging up her flash drive to explore the world of retirement, leaving the city council meeting minutes to be taken by someone else. Those who work at city hall are saddened at the thought of losing her, but excited for her at the same time.
“She supported five mayors during 25 years of service,” said Brigham City Mayor Tyler Vincent. “She’s absolutely been an icon for our city, an example of hard work and dedication, and she will be truly missed.”
Hired as a deputy city recorder and administrative assistant to former Finance Director Dennis Sheffield, Christensen settled into her new role, eventually being promoted to city recorder in 2007. A city recorder performs multiple administrative tasks, including handling meeting agendas and paperwork, preparing press and city council packets, handling records requests, taking meeting minutes, and serving as the election officer of the city.
When asked what else she liked about her job, Christensen was very quick to answer “the people I work with,” saying they had become a second family. “And that includes bosses, I’ve had three really good bosses.”
A farewell party in Mary Kate’s honor has been scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 13, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Academy Center. Friends, colleagues and well-wishers are invited to attend.
December 11, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
An $85,000 budget revision to allow Brigham City to complete upgrades to the pickleball complex at Pioneer Park was approved at Thursday’s meeting of the city council.
According to Finance Director Derek Oyler, bids to expand the complex with seven additional courts came back higher than expected, as did costs for fencing and a shade structure.
“We just received the bids back on [the court expansion] project specifically, and we need an additional $65,000 to get this project completed,” said Oyler. He continued that he believed the city would be able to get about $40,000 in county tourism grants to help with the project, but those grants don’t open up until January, and the city needs to begin the expansion in order to meet the tournament schedules next year.
As part of an agreement with Tournament of Champions founder John Gullo, Brigham City has assumed ownership of the tournament, agreeing to the upgrades while accepting a $50,000 donation from Gullo.
Councilmember Ruth Jensen questioned where the money was coming from, and which city projects would need to be delayed because of the request. Oyler explained that the money was sitting in the city’s capital projects fund, and no scheduled projects would be delayed.
According Oyler, the city’s robust economy the last few years will allow the city to tackle the project while holding harmless all other city operations and projects.
“We’ve got funds sitting there that were set aside from transfers to keep general fund balance below the 25% state auditor [requirement], and so we’ve been transferring funds for three consecutive years to keep that fund balance below [the requirement], so there is money sitting there for this project,” said Oyler.
Oyler also requested an additional $20,000 to complete the championship court shade structure, saying the city ran into some issues with the original design.
“This project came in significantly higher than the engineer’s estimate,” added Public Works Director Tyler Pugsley. “The concrete that holds up the shade structure had to be redesigned, because it wasn’t sufficient to hold up the structures ordered.”
In another request, Pugsley asked for $35,000 to go toward replacing the floating boat docks on Mantua Reservoir, which have had ongoing repair issues over the last few years. That money would be paired with $30,000 the city has received in an outdoor recreation grant to cover the entire dock replacement cost.
During a public hearing on the budget amendments, county resident Deanna Hardy objected to citizens being “forced to pay for other people’s recreation.”
With no further comment on the budget amendments, the council passed them unanimously.
A large portrait of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Takeshi Fuchigami Jr., who died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, graces the wall of Rasmussen Custom Cabinetry in Corinne. The community has rallied to show support for Fuchigami’s wife, formerly McKenzie Norman of West Corinne, in the wake of her husband’s death.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Takeshi Fuchigami Jr. and his wife McKenzie.
Corinne sees tidal wave of patriotic spirit after death of army helicopter pilot
December 2, 2019 • Loni Newby • Associate Editor
The community of Corinne has been awash in patriotic spirit and pride as a tidal wave of support has washed over the wife of a U.S. Army pilot who died in Afghanistan, and her family.
It’s been a difficult journey, recently, for McKenzie Norman Fuchigami, formerly of West Corinne, who described the whirlwind romance between her and Takeshi Fuchigami Jr., who were married in the Ogden Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints last spring.
Mckenzie had moved to Texas where her husband was stationed with the United States Army at Fort Rucker, and after only eight months of marriage—and merely three weeks into her husband’s deployment—she received news that a helicopter crash had claimed the life of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Takeshi Fuchigami Jr. and his co-pilot, Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle. Both soldiers were Apache helicopter pilots assigned to 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.
McKenzie, daughter of Steve and Jana Norman of West Corinne, made the transition from honeymooner to military widow—a distinction noted as a Gold Star wife—in less than a year, but she is grateful for the love and support that she has received through this unimaginable loss.
The support has come not only from military members and veterans, but the community as a whole in Box Elder County.
“It’s meant a lot, mainly because Takeshi was always okay with fighting for his country,” said McKenzie. “For him to die, and for people to show their honor and respect for him, shows he didn’t die in vain, and he will always be honored and respected.”
American flags were displayed for a mile along 2400 North where her parents reside, and their yard was filled with small flags and yellow ribbons. On Saturday the community showed up to line the streets to pay their respects as McKenzie arrived home. Two ladder trucks held a giant American flag and members of the VFW and first responders showed up in uniform to let McKenzie know that they are behind her.
“There’s been an outpouring of love from friends and family, and complete strangers. It’s been humbling and eye opening,” said McKenzie, she was touched by all of the displays of flags and the patriotic presentation by the VFW. “I’ll never forget it, it was beautiful.”
BC mayor breaks tie as council splits on concert loan
November 13, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
On a split vote, the Brigham City Council on Thursday approved an additional $41,195 in spending to pay for upgrades to a park, funding for a summer concert, and to make improvements to the golf course.
The split came as a result of a line item in the budget amendment for a $12,000 loan to Brigham City resident Bob Cosgrove to help secure an act for the summer concert.
Cosgrove hopes to establish what he called the Brigham City Summer Concert Series, where classic rock groups such as Styx, Kansas, Loverboy or Def Leppard would perform at Watkins Park on a yearly basis. In August of this year Cosgrove brought Little River Band to perform, and he wants the concerts to continue. Cosgrove plans to pay the city back through funds raised by sponsors and/or ticket sales.
“I’m in support of the park, but not of the [concert] contract,” said Councilmember Alden Farr during council discussion regarding the budget amendment. Councilmember Ruth Jensen also raised some concerns regarding the concert contract, wondering whether it was appropriate for a municipal government to make loans for a private event.
The budget amendment also called for $23,195 to upgrade the Dennis B. Vincent Memorial Park (formerly Playground Park), including a memorial entry sign bearing the name of the park, the placement of donated playground trains nearly identical to those that once stood at John Adams Park, and improvements to curbing and playground safety surfaces.
An additional $6,000 was included for improvements to cart paths at the city-owned Eagle Mountain Golf Course, all of which is being funded through the sale of sprinkler equipment left over from the irrigation system upgrade completed earlier this year.
Both Farr and Jensen voted against the budget amendment due to the concert contract. Councilmembers Tom Peterson and DJ Bott voted for the amendment, leaving a tie-breaking vote to Mayor Tyler Vincent, who voted to pass it. Councilmember Mark Thompson was not present at the meeting.
Firefighter, search and rescue volunteer dies in firearm mishap
October 30, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
A Willard man lost his life on the morning of Oct. 23 in what authorities are preliminarily calling an accidental shooting.
According to Willard Police Chief Jean Loveland, a call came into dispatch at 6:53 a.m. reporting a gunshot injury at a home in Willard. When officers arrived they found Glenn Robert “Robie” Bosserman, 38, dead from a single gunshot wound.
“It appears to be an accidental shooting,” said Loveland. No further official information has been released on the incident, as an investigation is on-going.
Bosserman was well-known in Willard, where he served as a volunteer firefighter, and also in Box Elder County, serving on the sheriff’s department’s search and rescue team. He was enrolled at the Weber State University Police Academy, from where he was expecting to graduate in December. He was planning to take a job as a deputy for Box Elder County.
Honeyville awards $47k contract to fix flooding concerns
In an effort to solve recurring flooding problem in the Windy Poplars subdivision, and head off a possible lawsuit, Honeyville City has awarded a $46,949 contract to Willard contractor AAA Excavation to install a system that would divert standing ground water into Salt Creek.
A special meeting of the Honeyville City Council was called on Oct. 16 to go over the bids and award a contract.
“We had eight plan holders, people who pulled plans, and we had six bids. To me that’s a fantastic showing,” said Dana Schuler of Jones and Associates, the city’s engineering firm. The bids received ranged from $47,000 by AAA Excavation all the way to $121,000, with Schuler recommending the city take the low bid.
“We’ve [Jones and Associates] worked with AAA Excavation in the past, and they do good work,” she said.
Box Elder County Clerk’s Office
1 S. Main Brigham City, Utah
Brigham City Offices
20 N. Main Brigham City, Utah
Corinne City Offices
2420 N 4000 W Corinne, Utah
Honeyville City Offices
2635 W. 6980 North, Honeyville
Mantua Town Offices
409 N. Main, Mantua
Perry City Offices
3005 S. 1200 West, Perry
Box Elder News Journal file photo
The flags on Middle Peak above Willard were slated to be removed by the U.S. Forest Service, but will remain after a request by a Willard City Council member, and a plea for help he made to Congressman Rob Bishop.
Oh say, can you see: Middle Peak flag will remain above Willard
October 2, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
The American flag that has flown on a mountain peak above Willard City since the 1950s was scheduled to be removed by the United States Forest Service (USFS), but thanks to action taken by Willard City officials, and perhaps a member of Congress, the flag will be allowed to remain.
The story behind saving the flag was relayed by Willard Mayor Ken Braegger, along with Councilmember Josh Braegger, at a special session of the Willard City Council held last Tuesday.
According to the Mayor, he found out about the plan when someone from a Hotshot firefighting crew let him know they had been assigned to remove the flagpole once the fire season had ended.
“The Forest Service was going to take it down, because we didn’t have any right for it to be there on Forest Service property,” said Mayor Braegger. He discussed the issue with Councilmember Braegger, who called the USFS, but didn’t make much headway.
“They weren’t very nice,” said Josh Braegger. “They were like, ‘this is our policy and it doesn’t change for anybody.’” Josh added that the USFS official he spoke with was adamant that flagpole was going to be removed, and was angry. “He started chewing me out, acting like we had put it up in the last two years or something.”
The mayor continued that when Josh told him about his conversation, he “got to stewing about it,” and emailed Congressman Rob Bishop.
“I don’t know if that had any effect or not, but about 30 minutes later Josh called me, and they had called him back,” said Mayor Braegger.
“Sean from the Forest Service called me back, and said his office was ‘not going to die on this sword’ for this issue, and we are welcome to keep our flag,” said the Councilmember.
The original flagpole was erected on Middle Peak in 1952, as a joint project between World War II veterans and Willard Boy Scouts. The flagpole succumbed to wind and weather over the years, and was eventually replaced with a shorter pole on the same peak. In 2016, deputies from the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Department repaired the original pole, transferring Old Glory back to its former height, adding the law enforcement “blue line flag” to the shorter pole.
The flag on Middle Peak has long been considered a landmark to the people of Box Elder County, especially beloved to those from Willard.
Photo Courtesy Utah Highway Patrol
This UHP cruiser was sideswiped on I-15 near Portage on Saturday, when a pickup truck hydroplaned on the wet freeway and lost control.
Wet roads, speed lead to close call for UHP trooper
October 2, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
It was a close call for a Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) trooper on Saturday, when rain, standing water on the freeway, and people driving too fast for the conditions nearly resulted in a tragedy.
At approximately 1:20 p.m. UHP Sgt. Brian Nelson was called to his third crash of the day, on northbound I-15 near mile marker 398, just south of the Portage exit. He arrived at 1:32 p.m. to find a Chevy Equinox that had lost control and slid into the cable barrier on the inside median, ending up facing south in the northbound lanes.
“The driver of the Equinox had gotten out of the vehicle to greet Sgt. Nelson, but because cars had been sliding out in the area, Brian told the driver to get back inside his vehicle so he wouldn’t get hit,” said UHP Lt. Lee Perry, Nelson’s direct supervisor. According to Perry, Nelson had also asked the Plymouth Fire Department to set up behind him with lights on to provide a warning to oncoming cars while he waited for a second trooper to arrive.
Four minutes later, at 1:36 p.m, a white 2017 Dodge pickup passed the fire engine, when the female driver, going too fast for the conditions, hit a patch of standing water on the roadway, slid from the outside lane to the inside lane, and struck Nelson’s cruiser with him inside it on the passenger rear corner with the front of the truck. The pickup flipped around as it continued, striking the Chevy Equinox with the rear of the truck, before coming to a stop in the inside shoulder about 50 yards beyond the original accident.
The occupants of the Equinox, safely back inside their vehicle, were not injured in the crash. The driver of the pickup, identified only as a female from Idaho, initially refused medical treatment, but was later taken to Bear River Valley Hospital, where she was treated and released.
Sgt. Nelson had “serious neck pain” following the accident. A medical helicopter was called, but when Nelson heard the call over the radio, he got on saying he didn’t need it.
“It was awesome to hear his gruff voice saying that,” said Perry, who at the time did not know the extent of Nelson’s injuries. “I told him he was getting one anyway.”
Because of the heavy rain, Nelson was transported by ambulance to Bear River Valley Hospital, and the helicopter was diverted there. It was determined that Nelson had a soft tissue injury, and was treated and released.
“It could have been so much worse,” said Perry. “We’ve had too many tragedies.” Perry asked drivers to slow down when roads are wet, or visibility is limited. He also asked that drivers move over for emergency vehicles with their lights on, using caution as they go past.
The driver of the pickup truck was issued a citation by the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Department, which had taken over the crash investigation due to the involvement of a UHP vehicle.
BC Council discusses warning system, pedestrian overpass for Forest Street train crossing
September 25, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Advanced warning signals that a train is blocking Forest Street could possibly be erected on 500 West and 1200 West, if Brigham City wants to accept the considerable expense necessary to tie in with Union Pacific’s train locater system.
“As we know, we have problems with Forest Street, and the rail crossing on Forest Street,” said Brigham City Administrator Jason Roberts, explaining that the city is developing options that might help alleviate some of the traffic issues caused by the train.
Estimating that the warning system could possibly cost up to $301,000, or $171,000 if the city’s UTOPIA fiber optic network could be utilized, Roberts briefed the city council on Thursday regarding preliminary studies being conducted.
“It’s wasting people a lot of time by sitting there,” said Councilmember Mark Thompson. “It [the warning system] would be of significant benefit.”
“I agree,” said Councilmember Alden Farr.
Roberts said that another concern was effectiveness, as the railroad has unequivocally stated they will not provide estimates as to how long trains will block the intersection.
Councilmember Tom Peterson suggested that perhaps the money could be better spent by creating a shorter roadway loop around Forest Street to 400 South, saying the city could possibly use county corridor preservation funds to make that happen.
“If we’re looking at several hundred thousand dollars to put in these signs, and maybe they work, maybe they won’t depending on the information the railroad wants to give us, why wouldn’t we just invest in our infrastructure and say ‘forget that’?” said Peterson. “Let’s invest in things that will profit the city and community.”
Public Works Supervisor Tyler Pugsley said he’d run some calculations and come up with a ballpark figure to help in weighing that option.
BC hit again by car burglars, vandals
September 25, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
It seems Brigham City is becoming a target of choice, as once again the city was struck by a weekend spree of vehicle burglaries, as well as vandalism.
According to the Brigham City Police Department, eight vehicles were burglarized or broken into over the weekend, with an additional three reporting that their vehicle tires were slashed. This time most of the crimes happened on the city’s west side. And the police are asking for the public’s help.
“If you saw anything suspicious or if you live in the affected areas and have security footage, please contact the BCPD,” wrote the department in a social media post.
Security footage turned over to the police shows a group of hooded young men jumping out of a quad-cab truck at 2:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, checking nearby cars and garages, even opening a garage door with a remote found in an unlocked car, and then quickly getting back in the truck and leaving. That video, demonstrating that some of these crimes are somewhat organized, has been posted on the Brigham City Police Facebook page in the comments under the department’s warning.
So what should homeowners do?
“As always, we would encourage the public to make sure and lock things up, close and lock doors, and not leave valuables out,” said Lieutenant Anthony Ferderber of the Brigham City Police Department. “We would also encourage them to be vigilant in watching out for themselves and each other as well. If they see anything or anyone suspicious, please call us so we can look in to it. Lastly, take measures to try to deter crime in their areas such as leaving porch or other outside lights on.”
It was reported that, once again, the majority of the vehicles burglarized were left unlocked.
With a beaming smile, Foothill Elementary second grade student Deegan Richardson displays the ear of corn he successfully shucked as part of a program through the Box Elder School District’s Child Nutrition Department to connect kids to their food. The district purchased more than 2,600 ears of corn from Saffer Farm in Garland. Students at seven district schools had the opportunity to shuck the corn before kitchen staff at the schools cooked it and served it for lunch. According to Child Nutrition Supervisor Candace Parr, the activity was planned to “Get the kids involved in their food and know where it comes from...it is just a little fun activity to feature local produce and also educate the students a little more about where their food is coming from while also getting them involved in the meal prep process and hopefully be more excited about healthy food!”
Kayla Edelman was crowned Peach Queen on Thursday evening at Box Elder High School at the conclusion of the scholarship pageant.
First attendant was awarded to Lindsey Scott and second attendant was Gracie Palmer. Kiersten Langford was chosen as Miss Congeniality,
Pictured are this year’s Junior Peach Queen royalty, 1st attendant Tenley Nelson, daughter of Megan and Coleman Stiver and Tyson and Farrah Nelson; 3rd attendant Kyreia Malone, daughter of Aaron and Camellia Malone; Queen Jolee Minnoch, daughter of Rikki and Jared Minnoch; 4th attendant Hallie Boyce, daughter of Bradley and Kamee Boyce; and 2nd attendant Akiri Tea, daughter or Jadrie Anderson and Dustin Tea.
2019 peach days magazine
Perry City Council discusses ‘cautionary tale’ of Brigham City’s 111% tax increase
August 28, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
The Perry City Council on Thursday held a discussion on the controversy surrounding Brigham City’s proposed 111% property tax increase, using it as a cautionary tale to avoid future mistakes when it comes to tax policy.
“If you weren’t aware, Brigham City is going through quite the ‘Truth in Taxation,’ and it’s quite, uh, vibrant over there considering what they’re trying to do for their rec center,” said Councilmember Toby Wright. “We need to be aware that at some point that could be us, and I’m hoping it won’t be that extravagant. It’s ridiculous how much they want to raise it.”
Discussions focused on the certified tax rate, and how Brigham City had not had a tax increase since 2001, and did not keep city revenues current with inflation.
“I think most people understand inflation, but when you just slap someone in the face and take an increase that fast… I think it’s a good reminder for us that inflation is going to happen, so let’s do some gradual process,” said Councilmember Andrew Watkins.
“A gradual process means we’ve got to do “Truth in Taxation” more regularly,” said Councilmember Nathan Tueller.
“I know people can tout, ‘hey, we never raised taxes,’ but that means some future organization is going to pay in a major way,” said Watkins.
Native Americans and the Transcontinental Railroad are both important elements of the history of places within the Bear River drainage, and sites, attractions and businesses related to that history make up the Bear River Heritage Area. The BRHA is recognized at the state level in both Utah and Idaho, but is seeking a national designation to increase funding and benefits for those in the area. One example of the group’s activities is its support of the Golden Spike National Historic Site with its yearly anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad every May 10.
Such a recognition would benefit tourism, business says state organization
August 28, 2019 • Nancy Browne • Staff Writer
Some would say that a people without the knowledge of their origin, history and culture is like a tree without roots.
Such is the belief of members of the Bear River Heritage Area (BRHA), who are working diligently to become a National Heritage Area via an act of Congress.
Because this is no easy task—they’ve been seeking national recognition since 2000—the group hosted a discovery day on Aug. 19, at the Brigham City Museum of Art and History, to share the organization’s accomplishments, mission and goals with local leaders, businesses and government entities.
Covering seven counties in northern Utah and southeastern Idaho, the BRHA is currently recognized as a State Heritage Area by both states, and consists of a consortium of heritage sites, attractions, and businesses with historic ties to the region.
The seven counties include Box Elder, Cache and Rich in northern Utah, and Bear Lake, Caribou, Franklin and Oneida in southeastern Idaho, all located within the Bear River drainage.
To receive national recognition, the BRHA is required to inventory its cultural and natural resources in the area and provide a feasibility study, on which it is currently working.
Taxes, divisive issues drive high voter turnout in two primary elections
August 21, 2019
Taxes and divisive community issues drove high voter turnout in two primary elections that had a combined 20 candidates in Brigham City and Honeyville.
Those candidates have been narrowed down to two per open seat as the result of last Tuesday’s primary election, but at least one race still remains contested.
Honeyville candidates for city council Sharon Lorimer and Elaine Maybury are tied at 104 votes each for the final general election slot. If no additional ballots come in prior to the canvass later this month, and a recount shows no mistakes, the sitting Honeyville City Council will choose a method to break the tie, such as drawing names from a hat, or flipping a coin.
That eventual winner will join Trevor Gardner (216 votes), Dale Milsap (185), Paul Groberg (163), David Forgren (151) and Kory Wilde (110) in facing off for three available council seats during November’s general election.
The only incumbent running again for a seat on the Brigham City Council easily won his primary, and is one of six candidates that will face off for three open seats during the general election.
Councilmember Alden Farr took 996 votes, placing first in the field of eight candidates. Also going to the general election are Eve Jones (905 votes), Joe Olson (798), Sherry Phipps (797), Robin Troxell (714) and Ryan Smith (692).
Of the 8,599 registered voters in Brigham City, only 2,418 cast ballots in the primary, for a turnout rate of 28.12%. It’s not as high as Honeyville’s but it’s relatively significant for a municipal election for Brigham City. Voter turnout for municipal primary elections in recent years has ranged between about 8% and 17%.
Despite its small size, Plymouth, in the northern part of the county saw the highest voter turnout in its municipal primary, with 63.43% of its 175 registered voters casting 111 ballots for two open town council seats.
Paul Marshall took 87 votes, moving on to the general election with Suzanne Mahoney (53), Diana Udy (28) and Burke Udy (21).
Nancy Browne/Box Elder News Journal
Box Elder School District Board of Education members and district employees shovel up dirt at the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Sunrise High School at the site of the old Dale Young Community High. The new alternative high school will be completed in August of 2020.
Officials break ground on Sunrise High School
August 21, 2019 • Nancy Browne • Staff Writer
The word “exciting” popped up often during a ground-breaking ceremony Aug. 14, for Box Elder School District’s new Sunrise High School.
The new alternative high school, estimated to cost about $9.7 million, will be built on the site of the old Dale Young Community High School at 230 West 200 South in Brigham City.
With hard hats in place, some 20 school board members and district employees simultaneously dug in their shovels and turned over the first dirt in the year-long construction project scheduled to be completed in August, 2020.
“We’re excited to get this project started so we can get on with the business of helping these kids be successful,” said Box Elder School District Superintendent Steven Carlsen. “This is the beginning of a great new facility. A lot of thought has gone into the design with its openness and big interior but also in its functionality.”
The project’s architect, Brian Parker, who attended the groundbreaking, said what makes the building unique is the way it’s designed and organized to create a comfortable environment and a place to learn.
“There is flexibility between the spaces inside, in that the school can adapt to fluctuations in student populations,” Parker said.
For example, at any given time, there might be a larger number of students interested in the visual arts and only a few who need English credits. “The building can adapt to meet all those needs,” Parker said.
Dr. Gerald Jackman, Sunrise’s principal, said he too is “excited” to provide teen and adult students who want to further their educations with such an incredible place to attend.
“Some come in and get caught up on needed credits right away and get out,” he said. “Some start and stop over longer periods of time depending on what is going on in their lives.”
He said 120 students were enrolled last year with 72 of them graduating. Twenty-two were adults and 50 were high school students, who were not going to have enough credits to graduate unless they came to the alternative high school.
Enrollment last year was higher than usual because of all the online courses available to students, he explained.
“Online is not the best way to do it so we try to push them to come out and learn face to face,” said Jackman. “But some have to do it that way so we’re happy to be able to meet their needs.”
The new high school will continue to provide current programs including alternative high school education, adult education, youth in custody, directed studies, credit recovery and independent life skills.
But in addition, Sunrise will provide a new sophomore center, to help students who lost credits during their first year at the regular high school. This is critical since many required credits happen during the sophomore year.
Sunrise is also going to partner with Bridgerland to expand student learning in the cultural arts and in health science to give them more career opportunities when they graduate.
Jackman said that Bridgerland can use some of Sunrise’s facilities and the teachers from both campuses can join forces in teaching opportunities.
During construction, Sunrise students will be housed in the Corinne Elementary building, which was just recently shut down as the district’s Early Learning Center for special needs preschoolers. Those students are being main streamed into four elementary schools.
Hailey Hendricks / Box Elder News Journal file photo
Karen Menlove cheers cyclists on from the Stage 2 starting line during the 2017 Tour of Utah. Brigham City will host the event, which includes numerous events and activities, again this year on Wednesday, Aug. 14.
August 7, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Brigham City will once again play host to the second stage of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah professional bicycle race, with an expected 117 cyclists, along with fans, rider and tour support teams, and international media personnel to descend on the city for the Aug. 13 and 14 event.
The city last hosted a leg of the tour in 2017, in what Brigham City Mayor Tyler Vincent said was “a huge event for our businesses.”
In this year’s tour, cyclists in 17 teams representing 24 countries, will begin Aug. 13 at 12:30 p.m. in North Logan, arriving in Brigham City for the end of that stage at approximately 3:30 p.m. Stage two will begin Aug. 14 on Main Street in Brigham City at 12:20 p.m., and end at approximately 3:45 p.m. at Powder Mountain Ski Resort. Additional stages of the tour go from Antelope Island to North Salt Lake, a leg within Salt Lake City, another within Canyons Village near Park City. The final stage is Aug. 18 in Park City.
“This is a world-class event, one of the top three cycling stage races in the United States,” said Paul Larsen, economic development director for Brigham City. “It’s certainly the toughest race in the United States; it has more climbing than any other, it is a difficult race. These are professional cyclists, world class cyclists.” Larsen went on to say that the Tour is a great boost to Brigham City, as the event is internationally televised to millions of people, all of whom will see that Brigham City can host big events, and do it well.
“The fact that this is the second time that we’ve been chosen as a starting venue is a validation that Brigham City can accommodate these kinds of things. We have a reputation that Brigham City can provide quality events,” he added.
Bishop announces he will not seek re-election in 2020
July 31, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Brigham City resident and Utah Congressman Rob Bishop has officially declared he will not seek re-election when his term ends in January of 2021, putting to rest speculation, much coming from Bishop himself, that he may run again for the 1st District seat he has held since 2003.
On Monday he announced that he would indeed be stepping down from Congress, saying that his goal was to be of the “utmost use for the district,” and that his most useful time will end in 2021, when he would have been forced to step down as leader of the Natural Resources Committee due to term limits on those powerful positions.
That committee handles items such as forest management, wildfires, wild horses and national parks funding, issues that are important to western states like Utah with large percentages of federally controlled land.
Mantua will put sales tax increase to voters, hold Truth in Taxation for property tax hike
July 31, 2019 • Nancy Browne • Staff Writer
Both property and sales tax increases were the hot button issue discussed at Mantua’s July 18, town council meeting, with the council voting to put a proposed sales tax increase on the ballot in November.
Voters will be able to approve or deny in the general election a .3% increase, from 6.1% to 6.4%, which is still lower than the 6.65% collected in Brigham City and Perry.
Brenda Dixon, town financial clerk, told the council “currently we’re bringing in just under $100,000. If we add to that .3 percent, we expect that it would increase our local growth fund by about $30,000 or more, depending on what sales are.”
A Public Hearing will be held on August 15 at 6:00 p.m. at the Mantua Town Hall Council Chambers, 409 N. Main Street, Mantua.
And it’s gone
A stone pillar was the last remaining reminder of the old Dale Young Community High School, which was housed in a former Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ward building on 200 South, after crews demolished the building. Box Elder School District will use the property to construct a new alternative and adult education facility, Sunrise High School. The building was also used to hold a training exercise for the Brigham City Fire Department prior to demolition. The school board approved last week a bid of $9.9 million for the new school, which is anticipated to be completed by August of next year. See the school board wrap-up on page 8 for more.
Public input sought as BC studies Main Street revitalization
July 24, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
A grant of donated costs and services from a professional architectural organization is going to help Brigham City formulate a plan to revitalize its northern Main Street area, and the city is requesting that the public be a part of that process.
According to Economic Development Director Paul Larsen, Brigham City is one of five communities nationwide chosen to participate in the 2019 Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) program of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The program funds teams of volunteer professionals to help communities plan for sustainable revitalization and growth.
“Mayor Vincent has let us know that he places a high priority on the revitalization of northern Main Street,” said Larsen, speaking to the City Council at last Thursday’s meeting. Explaining that Tremonton City had a design assessment done by AIA about five years ago which has guided their plan for growth, Larsen said that Brigham City had applied for that same assistance this year, and was successful with the application.
“The core of the SDAT team will be five professionals with various disciplines from outside the state, they’re national experts. There’s also a local AIA-assigned professional from MHTN Architects that will participate, and two professional staff of AIA,” he said. That team will arrive in Brigham City next week, when they’ll tour the area and hold meetings with area stakeholders on Monday. The focus of the study will be from 100 North to 900 North Main Street, but may expand, depending on results of the study.
Another meeting, a town-hall style discussion to get input from local residents, will be held at the Academy Conference Center on Monday, July 29 at 6 p.m. After spending the next two days incorporating that input into creating a design plan, a third meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 31, also at the Academy Center, to present the team’s recommendations. The public is encouraged to attend both Academy Center meetings on Monday and Wednesday evenings.
“We want to make sure the public knows this is an open process, and we want their input,” said Larsen.
Tragic accident at Perry movie theater claims life of Idaho toddler
A GoFund me has been set up to help the parents of Isabelle Smith, who was accidentally killed in the parking lot of Walker Cinemas on Saturday.
July 24, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
A tragic accident at a Perry movie theatre parking lot has taken the life of a three-year-old girl.
According to Chief Scott Hancey of the Perry Police Department, on Saturday afternoon a fun family outing to see the Lion King movie turned into a nightmare, when a little girl got away from her parents in the crowded Walker Cinema lobby.
“We’re just really broken up about this,” said Hancey. “At about 2:46 Saturday afternoon, a 3-year-old girl got separated from her parents after watching a movie. While the parents were inside the building looking for her, she managed to escape out front, and got behind a car that backed over her.”
Multiple calls came in to dispatch, and Hancey said it was clear the child had died by the time emergency responders arrived just minutes later. The little girl was transported by ambulance to Brigham City Community Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
“They’re just so small, and they get behind you and you can’t see them,” said Hancey. “It’s so scary, I have kids that age.”
The driver of the car was reported to be having a very difficult time with the accident, while the parents were described as “devastated.”
A Go Fund Me account has been set up for the family, asking for donations to help JaCeelyn and Cole Smith, of Dayton, Idaho, with burial costs for their daughter, Isabelle.
That account can be found at www.gofundme.com/g4ee83-isabelle. As of Monday night, over $12,000 had been raised.
Public comments removed from Brigham City planning commission meetings
The Brigham City Council has approved a recommendation by the city’s planning commission to have public comment limited only to items appearing on that body’s agenda.
According to Brigham City Planner Mark Bradley, at its June 19 meeting the planning commission unanimously determined that the current wording of “public comment” as written into the commission’s by-laws didn’t really pertain to the appropriate function of the commission.
“The reference of public comment in the commission’s agenda is not really the correct forum for this body,” said Bradley at Thursday’s city council meeting. He explained that at most planning commissions around the country, public comment was limited to items that were actually on the agenda rather than being used as a forum for people to air whatever they wanted.
Under the new rules, if someone wants to discuss an item not on the agenda, they are able to fill out a written request for their issue to be placed on the discussion agenda of the next meeting.
“This makes perfect sense to me,” said Councilmember DJ Bott, motioning to approve the recommendation, which then passed by a unanimous vote.
Radio Hill fire burns 2,300 acres,
30 percent contained as of Monday
July 17, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Box Elder County’s first major blaze of the 2019 fire season has burned over 2,300 acres of private and public land north of Tremonton, and was 30% contained as of Monday evening.
The fire, burning north of Tremonton and east of Bothwell in the hills west of I-15, has been named the “Radio Hill Fire,” due to the communications tower on the hill where it began.
According to County Fire Marshal Corey Barton, the fire was one of many in the area on Sunday night thought to have been ignited by lightning strikes that occurred around 10:30 p.m.
“We had about four different calls on Sunday night for fires in that area,” said Barton. One of the fires extinguished itself, another one was put out by local firefighters, and the remaining two eventually joined into the Radio Hill fire.
On Monday, Barton reported there were more then 120 firefighters on scene, including ground crews, air tankers and helicopters brought in with a response from the Northern Utah Interagency Fire Center (NUIFC). The NUIFC coordinates and dispatches firefighting resources from the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Utah State Lands and local agencies.
On Monday firefighters set up containment lines to protect the city of Tremonton and town of Bothwell, and are now working on getting containment around the rest of the fire.
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