Rural news round-up

Restoring trust in Hildale, closing a wetlands preserve because of bad actors, Hyde Park mayor dies, new Golden Spike artist chosen, Kacey Bates becomes lieutenant in Summit County Sheriff’s office and will oversee the jail, Tooele Tech is growing, church steeples and their Utah connection and finally, Chief Sanpitch gets a statue.

Restoring trust in Hildale – When Mayor Donia Jessop and council members Maha Layton, Jared Nicol and JVar Dutson took their oaths of office in January 2018, the event marked a turning point in the history of the council. The four elected officials assumed municipal positions that were previously held by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As previously reported by St. George News, the election was the first time in Hildale’s history that non-FLDS candidates, two of whom are not only ex-FLDS but also women, were elected to sit on the council. In her office Wednesday evening after the meeting, Mayor Jessop told St. George News that the transition to a new council was fairly rocky at first. “It’s taken us a little bit to get our feet under us,” Jessop said. “The entire staff walked out on us. They walked out and we had them replaced within six weeks. When you don’t have a lot of training in, then you get to learn by hard knocks.” Jessop credited new city administrator Eric Duthie for bringing a style of organization and management that has helped guide the council onto the right path. (St. George News)

Don’t be these people – The Scott and Norma Matheson Wetlands Preserve has closed indefinitely because of visitors’ bad behavior. “With the abuses I’ve seen recently, closing was an easy choice,” said Linda Whitham, the Central Canyonlands program manager with The Nature Conservancy. “It’s a private piece of land that we open to the public as a courtesy to the public. People here let us know how special it was. But for now we have to close it for safety.” Whitham said that the preserve has seen an increase in discarded trash, illegal camping and other violations of visitor guidelines. Whitham said that the final straw was a morning when she discovered the Preserve parking lot was “filled up with trailers being used as a staging area for UTVs to access Kane Creek.” Trailer parking is prohibited. They may re-open after busy season. (Moab Sun News)

RIP – Hyde Park Mayor Sharidean Flint died on Tuesday, according to the city. Flint, 62, had a “short battle with aggressive brain cancer,” a city news release states. Flint became the city’s first woman mayor in January 2018. She was born in Monticello, Utah, and grew up in Blanding, according to her obituary. She moved to Hyde Park in 2003, and is survived by her husband, Kevin, as well as five children and seven grandchildren. Prior to her term as mayor, Flint served as a city council member for years and on the city’s planning commission for three years. According to the city, some of her accomplishments included oversight of the development of 600 South Road and improving the water system with new water lines and reservoirs. Flint was also recognized for her advocacy of the North Park Police Department.The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, people donate to the North Park Police Department. (Herald Journal News)

Artist chosen – The National Park Service (NPS) and Golden Spike Foundation/ Spike 150 announced on Friday that Ilan Averbuch has been selected to design a new commemorative work that will be donated to Golden Spike National Historical Park. According to a press release, the purpose of the piece, titled “Monument to Their Memory,” will honor all the railroad workers from many different cultures and backgrounds whose backbreaking efforts were crucial in the construction of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad. “While Chinese and Irish workers made up the largest parts of the workforce, they were joined by many others. African American workers, including some recently freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, toiled to move the tracks ever further west. Mormon workers organized by Brigham Young found themselves working for both competing railroads as they raced through Utah,” reads the release. The design of the sculpture is being finalized with a goal to start installation of the work in late summer of 2021. (Box Elder News Journal)

Coalville native oversees jail – Her name is Kacey Bates and she is the second woman to hold the position of Summit County Sheriff’s lieutenant. Bates is a Coalville native who has served her entire 23-year law enforcement career in Summit County. When she started, the jail was still in the County Courthouse in Coalville, and Bates said she was hired as one of the first five women to work in the Summit County jail that opened in 1998 in its present location in Silver Summit. Sheriff Justin Martinez called Bates “extremely well-qualified” for the promotion and said she has been a leader in the organization for years. “Kacey was one of the very first females to ever get hired in the Summit County Sheriff’s Office in a corrections position,” Martinez said. “She is a pioneer in this arena.” The jail’s programming offers inmates church services and Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, Bates said, and demand for the services is high. Bates said she is looking to expand into some less common practices. She said the jail recently began offering trauma-informed yoga, which has become a favorite among inmates and is not a common jailhouse offering. (Park Record)

Tooele Tech growing – There’s been a 77% increase in enrollment at Tooele Technical College in the last 3 years. In addition to high school students filling the school’s classrooms, working-age adults also account for a great deal of growth. While most of the residents work outside of Tooele County, Hacking says Tooele Tech has a responsibility to train students locally, but also those who will likely work “across the mountain.” Along with welding and medical assisting programs fueling this uptick, CDL and diesel tech certifications have skyrocketed. Utah House representative Doug Sagers has championed Tooele Tech’s expansion, pushing the state legislature to secure $15.2 million in funds for the school. While the appropriation has yet to be approved by the Higher Education board and other agencies, Paul Hacking, president of the school, says the project could be approved within the next three years if everything goes smoothly. Looking ahead, plans are in place to incorporate new programs into the school. Potential certification programs such as robotics and pharmacy tech are options, but Hacking notes that the college’s curriculum is “led by industry” and subject to change. (Tooele Transcript Bulletin)

Where do those church steeples come from? Turns out many of them come from Munns Manufacturing in Tremonton. The Tremonton-based manufacturer builds steeples, cupolas and other decorative structures for a variety of denominations, as well as for government buildings, universities and even gas stations all over the United States and sometimes overseas — but the LDS Church is the company’s bread and butter. They are currently working on spires for the Richmond, Virginia temple and will be making the steeple for the new Taylorsville temple. The company built and installed new cupolas on top of Old Main on the Utah State University campus, one of Cache Valley’s most recognizable and historic buildings. Some other upcoming projects for the company include the Layton and Saratoga Springs temples in Utah and a new temple in Ivory Coast, Africa. (The Leader)

Chief Sanpitch gets a statue – Did you know that Sanpete County was named after Chief Sanpitch, a Native leader who promoted peace during a time of extreme violence? He now gets his due. And a statue. a statue of his likeness as part of a four-year plan to pay tribute to the Native Americans who lived on the land before Mormon settlers came to the area. The tribute is being funded by the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area (MPNHA), and the statue itself is being crafted by renowned local artist and Snow College professor, Brad Taggart. The statue will be one of three different statues to eventually be erected in Mt. Pleasant, the host-city of the MPNHA. Each of the statues will be in the likeness of a historic Native American Chieftain. Chief Walkara and Chief Blackhack, both of whom were related to Sanpitch, will receive statue tributes as well as part of the plan. MPNHA is also excited to have the story of Chief Sanptich more readily available to the public. The story of Sanpitch’s last days is chronicled in an episode of the MPNHA’s television show, Discovery Road. (Sanpete Messenger)