Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

11/23/2017

In Defense of School Tax Increases 

Two weeks ago Mr. Wayne Mein offered another of his regular critiques of the Wayne School District, and how uncreative and wasteful it is.  Like many of his past epistles, it seemed to draw partly on his own personal experience (not always readily applicable to the rest of the world), a limited understanding of relevant data (a problem that can easily be cured), and personal theories or preferences (not always tooted in real life).The main suggestion I have for Mr. Mein (and anyone else who would like to know more about how our school district and schools work) is to make an appointment with the district’s business officer, Heather Okerlund.  That way he can get accurate data (including some flaws in the data Mr. Mein gathered from the Utah Taxpayers Association) and a fuller understanding of the financial, regulatory, and educational pressures the district operates under.  For example, he questions her $89,000 in total compensation (benefits included), but are not aware that her salary is the lowest in the state for that position.  (I’m sure she will still be happy to meet with him.)Mr. Mein cites 156 employees as evidence that the district has ample room to reduce staff and faculty.    What he doesn’t understand, or doesn’t want to accept, is that education is a “people intensive” undertaking.  I spent my 42-year career working in higher education – a business that, with the exception of the age of the students, works very much like K-12 education.  For the last 18 years of that career I ran an association of 40 colleges.  All those colleges spent between 65% and 75% of their total budgets on personnel – staff, faculty, taxes, benefits, etc.  Everything else was minor by comparison; those institutions revolved around people.  (For a better understanding of why education, health care, and other service industries are so expensive, I suggest reading about William Baumol’s “cost disease.”)From the outside it looks easy to just combine grades or classes and thereby do with fewer teachers.  But it isn’t.  (Combining classrooms doesn’t change the business officer’s salary, by the way.)  As I said earlier, large school districts have an easier time making their finances come out more efficiently.  A high school with 300 students in one grade has a much easier time hitting a student/faculty of 22:1 or slightly higher.  A small school with, say, 32 students in a grade will have a very hard time getting above 16:1.  Sure, you can take some required classes and cram more students in them to boost your student/faculty ratio.  But that’s very hard to do with electives that add breadth and richness to the basic curriculum.Some people may relish their experiences in one-room schools, but we’ve long ago moved away from them for many good reasons that did not include a desire to pad the employment rolls of school districts.  It’s sad that Mr. Mein is so jaundiced about our school structures and administrators.  He would do better to leave his suspicions at the door and start talking to those administrators.  This will add to his education.

Bill Barrett, Torrey

My Apologies

My novel, Stony Mesa Sagas is fiction, a satire to be specific. Although the make-believe town of Stony Mesa resembles Torrey, it also resembles many other small towns in the American West where the old economy of the West and the new economy of the West rub up against each other.  Although the issues they face are very real, no character in the book is meant to represent any real person in Torrey or anywhere else.  Characters are wholly the product of my imagination and any similarities with real people are coincidental and unintended. Characters in the novel are meant to be more colorful and outlandish than real people.  Events are also made up.  Fiction often begins with the question “what if?”  What if the south had won the Civil War, what if one of those two people who are feuding murdered the other, what if there was a ghost behind the door?Although I have heard from many readers who read the book as I intended, an outlandish satire meant to be comedic and aimed at nobody in particular, I understand from informal feedback that some have found it unkind and offensive.  I am saddened and disappointed that I it has generated that response because that was not my intent.   I apologize to those who found my satire mean spirited,  careless, or hurtful.  I have chosen to ilve in Torrey because I love the town and its people. I have only respect and appreciation for those who have built businesses in Torrey and contributed to the town’s economy. Again, its a satire and satire is supposed to have an edge but in the end it is just fiction and nothing more.I was a career librarian.  I respect the reader’s right as an individual to decide the meaning and value of what he or she reads. An essential American freedom is to think for oneself and to express oneself freely. But I want to be clear I regret that I unintentionally upset some of those readers.  Please accept this sincere apology.

Chip Ward, Torrey

About Voter Registration

Peg Smith’s column “By Way of Boulder” (11/16/2017) had troubling information about citizens of Boulder who had registered to vote but who had not received ballots for the municipal election. Voter registration is possible by filing by mail or electronically. You do not have to make a trip to Panguitch to register to vote here in Garfield County, Utah. The web site VOTE.ORG provides clear, concise information about voter qualifications and the process to submit your documentation. To vote in Utah you must: To register in Utah you must:• be a citizen of the United States• have resided in Utah for 30 days immediately before the next election• be at least 18 years old on or before the next election• not be a convicted felon currently incarcerated for commission of a felony• not be convicted of treason or crime against the elective franchise, unless restored to civil rights• not be found to be mentally incompetent by a court of lawIf you are registering for the first time, you should plan on showing “proof of identification” the first time you vote. Proof of identification includes: (1) A current and valid photo identification OR (2) A current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document that shows your name and address. (You are not required to have a Utah driver’s license or ID card — which requires a trip to Panguitch.)These slower days in the winter offer you a chance to take care of this sort of thing. Do it now so you’ll be assured to have your right to vote confirmed before the November general elections. Remember after you’ve submitted your registration application and documents you can go online to make sure the Garfield County Clerk’s office has recorded your voter registration — again that can be done online (vote.org) or by calling the county clerk’s office (435-676-1120). As Ronald Reagan said “Good citizenship and defending democracy means living up to the ideals and values that make this country great.”

Bob Hartman, Escalante

Correction

In my article last week about Chip Ward, I used the phrase “Chip led the effort to annex two critical areas into Torrey Town.”I misspoke. Chip, indeed, played an integral role in starting the process. However, by highlighting only Chip, I failed to note the leadership and incredible work of Colleen Duddleston and Paula Pace in the effort to annex both the Sand Creek and Sleeping Rainbow areas.

My apologies. Don Gomes, Torrey


11/16/17

Appreciating Torrey

Here is the text of an email I sent to Pat Kearney and Pearl Thorndal-Stewart, the top two vote recipients in the Torrey Town Council election last week.”Congratulations!Last June, just after the filing deadline, a friend asked me who had filed to run for Torrey Town Council. I told him the lineup. His response: ‘That’s great. Torrey can’t lose!’I agree.All the best to you. Cheers.”I believe there’s more that brings us together than we think. I look forward to working with Pat and Pearl and so many others that just plain love Torrey.I appreciate the opportunity to serve.

Don Gomes, Torrey

Not to leave anyone out!

In an article submitted to the Insider, July 9th by the Boulder Arts Council “Boulder Town Park – Becoming Art,” we failed to recognize the great volunteer crew who helped build the beautiful stonework wall at the entrance to the park. This wall took 80 days over two years. In addition to Todd Campbell collecting all the rock, providing the materials and many hours of manual labor and instruction, Judith Rasoletti was working alongside almost every day of the project. Other volunteers who assisted with the project were Geogine Blaser, Jabe Beal, and Peg Smith.

Cheryl Cox, Boulder

Thell Barney Turns Over in his Grave!

After reading the article in the Insider Nov. 2, about the Hole-in-the-Rock rehab project, I wondered how did we get to this point. Thell Barney would be turning over in his grave, after years of skill and dedication in grading the roads of Garfield County correctly, to see where we are now.  If only some would have learned from him,  pull the dirt to the center and crown it, like they want it done now in the rehab project.  He had pride and dedication to do it right.  Now the County has literally dug themselves into a hole or trench with the Hole in the Rock road, we the tax payers will have to pay $2.5 million to get it back to where he had it back in his day.

Fred Spencer, Escalante


11/9/2017

Benefits of Classroom Consolidation

It continues to be argued that teacher salaries in Wayne School District are among the lowest in the state, although objective data disagrees.  The Utah Taxpayers Association’s 2015 report shows that 21 of Utah’s 41 school districts had average teacher compensation below that of Wayne District, putting the district not in the bottom but in the top half of the group and very close to the state average.Additional data from utahsright.com, which publishes salary information for Utah’s public employees, shows compensation (salary and benefits) for Wayne District’s 35 fulltime teachers in 2016 ranged from a low of $15,236 (presumably for a teacher employed only part of the year) to a high of $92,872.  Excluding the low outlier, average compensation for the remaining 34 teachers was $75,154, with a median of $79,001.  Combined compensation for teachers, teacher aides and substitute teachers was $2.8 million, which is nearly half the district’s annual budget.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2016 the average annual wage for primary and secondary school teachers nationwide was $61, 450.  While it’s unclear whether the BLS calculation includes the value of the same benefits as in the above data, it doesn’t support the idea that the district’s teachers are underpaid.With 35 teachers in 2016 the student/teacher ratio in Wayne District was 12.3.  Since other low-population districts have similarly low ratios it has been suggested that this is unavoidable and that only “economies of scale” present in large population districts can reduce the high per-student costs prevalent in small population areas.  Such a conclusion ignores the obvious.  Simply increasing the student/teacher ratio in Wayne District to the state average of 22 would reduce expenses by over $1 million annually.In 2016, with 432 students, Wayne District had 156 full and part time employees, which strongly suggests ample room for downsizing to reduce costs.  While a variety of the district’s expenditures appear questionable, such as $89,240 for a business officer, a modest consolidation of classes to increase the student/teacher ratio is the most apparent path to substantial savings.  Combining 2 or more grades in a classroom with one teacher is specifically permitted under the Utah Administrative Code and is an effective teaching arrangement that can even improve education quality.  In such an environment older students can assist younger ones, to the benefit of both.  This was the situation in my own early education where 4 grades and approximately 30 students were in a single classroom with a single teacher.  When those of us completing the eighth grade moved on to a high school that had one grade per classroom we found ourselves academically ahead of the other students there.  More importantly, our grade school environment had fostered individual talents, interests, and the development of a questioning analytical mind, while the high school culture discouraged these qualities, stressing regimentation and unquestioning conformity to the system, its authorities and established protocols.  In considering which of the two environments is more desirable I would argue that the former is better for children and for the future of society, while the latter is better for an education system that has as its principal objective the perpetuation and growth of itself.  As student enrollment in Wayne District declines, the objective of maintaining the established system is suggested by resistance to reducing the district’s staff, which collectively costs taxpayers $4.6 million annually.Rigidity in the public school system, and of ideas about how education must be accomplished, makes it not only unnecessarily expensive, especially in low population districts, but it may also hinder childhood development.  The cost of educational materials is lower and their availability higher now than ever before, which should be making education more economical.  With creative adaptation to local conditions instead of adhering to an inflexible bureaucratic structure, the cost of education can be substantially reduced while keeping its quality quite high.

Wayne Mein, Grover


10/5/2017

Some Comparisons of School District Funding

In the drive to increase tax revenue for the Wayne School District it has been reported that the district receives about $6,500 per student from the state and approximately the same from county and other tax sources, for a total of around $13,000 per year for each student.  The Utah Taxpayers Association’s most recent report (available online) covering the 2014-2015 fiscal year agrees, showing that Wayne District spent $13,610 per student, which is more than $1,000 higher than the national average according to the National Center for Education Statistics.The Taxpayers Association reports that in 2015, with 469 students, Wayne District’s student/teacher ratio was 13.2.  Only 2 of Utah’s 41 school districts had a lower ratio, and the state average was considerably higher at 22.2 students per teacher.  Compensation for Wayne District’s teachers was average for the state at nearly $77,000.  Certainly, Wayne District is able to afford a robust teaching staff with current funding.In arguing for higher taxes it is repeatedly stated that Wayne County has one of the state’s lowest “local tax efforts,” based on the property tax rate as a percentage of assessed property value.  However, Wayne County’s property assessed value per student is among the highest in the state, being from approximately double to nearly triple that of 21 of the 41 districts.  This difference in the per student assessed property values makes the property tax rate a deceptive measure, not accurately comparing the actual amount taken from taxpayers for each student.  In reality, Wayne County’s taxpayer burden for public education is far closer to the per student state average than is suggested by simply looking at the tax rate.Even more telling is that only 4 school districts spend more per student than the Wayne District’s annual expenditure of over $13,000, with the statewide average being $7,896.  Alpine District, the state’s largest by student enrollment, spent $7,202.  Clearly Wayne District is not under-taxing or under-spending compared to the rest of the state or even the entire nation, and the effort to draw county residents into a competition to see which district can get and spend the most money only distracts from the real issue of whether children can be provided a quality education with current funding.  While fixed costs for school facilities do require higher per-student spending in low population districts like ours, annual spending of around $6 million should be more than sufficient to serve the needs of the 432 students the school board reports were enrolled in 2016.For comparison, exploring the cost of homeschooling programs yielded the following results:High quality textbook and workbook materials for a complete homeschooling curriculum can be purchased for a few hundred dollars per year.A high quality private online homeschool program that offers real-time interaction with instructors and other students, including field trips, increases the cost of homeschooling to a few thousand dollars per year, with high school curricula available for under $4,000 and primary and middle school programs costing less.The average rate for private in-home tutoring is around $18 per hour.For the $13,000 Wayne District currently spends per student each year, a student could be enrolled in a high quality homeschool program and receive another 500 hours of private tutoring providing one-on-one instruction tailored to the student’s individual interests, talents and needs.It’s argued that with more money Wayne District could offer specialized training programs such as Advanced Robotics.  With its small student population, spending many thousands of dollars on programs that would interest and benefit only a few of the district’s students would be to ignore the cost-benefit relationship that necessarily underlies all economics.  Individual students with such specialized interests can pursue them much more cost-effectively through increasingly available online programs.By objective measures of spending, far from being deprived or short-changed, Wayne District schools are among the most generously funded.  With wise and effective use, current funding should be more than adequate to provide the children in the district with a very high quality education, and if it’s not, perhaps the entire public school concept needs to be reexamined.

Wayne Mein, Grover

Who Put Our Czar in the White House ? 

Capgemini SE, branded as Capgemini, is a French multinational information technology consulting corporation headquartered in Paris, France. It provides IT services and is one of the world’s largest IT consulting, outsourcing and professional services companies with almost 190,000 employees in over 40 countries.2016 report – the world liquidity reached $63.5 trillion (in hands of 16.5 million millionaires). 66.6% millionaires are in just 4 countries – USA, Japan, Germany, and China. 4.8 million millionaires in USA holding 18.47 trillion in cash. Million means – 1,000,000, billion means 1,000,000,000, trillion means 1,000,000,000,000.Our beloved president wants his filthy rich to get even richer cutting their tax rate from 35% to 15%. USA population – 76% anglo / white. In our country, 5% holds 90% of liquidity ($) means 95% has only 10% liquidity ($).Our beloved conservative republican president Regan first reduced tax to please people but then he increased taxes 11 times in 6 years. George W. H. Bush (conservative republican president) – “Read my lips. No more new  taxes” – increased taxes 5 times in 4 years.Who put our czar in the white house ? – 95% who are scraping pans. This is exactly what Russia, Cuba, Haitti, Venezuela have. Sample – In NY, a lady bought 2 bed room condo for $11 million.I am for capitalism – work, make, and keep it. This is not that. This is to screw us all. I am socialist limited to food for hungry, place to stay, healthcare for sick, and free education. We not only got cartoon but we got zombie in white house.Where is our cronies (Congressmen/women, senators) ? What are they doing ? Where do they stand on this cesspool / time bomb ?Warren Buffet (true human, nationalist, financial genius)-  “My secretary paying higher rate than I am required to pay” – This means our congress and senate is gang of zombies / brainless.

By HARSHAD P. DESAI, Panguitch


9/28/2017

Small is Beautiful!

To The Editor,

As a former public school educator (administrator), I tend to pay close attention to issues that arise regarding our public schools, such as tax levies. While shopping at Royal’s last week I encountered an acquaintance whose opinions I value. I asked him what he thought of the Wayne County School District’s request for a tax levy this November. His response was, “I don’t like tax increases and I do not appreciate the many add-on fees the schools burden us with.”Our discussion evolved to a point where I felt a need to explain to my friend why the tax levy request was a necessity for Wayne School District in maintaining quality education for our county’s 440 students (approximate).Though we love the benefits of our small cozy schools, the favorable teacher/student ratios where everyone knows everyone, “small” in our current Utah system of funding public schools is a disadvantage. Public schools in Utah are funded by a formula titled the Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU), which is the basic source of funding for public education, including charter and many special needs schools and programs, and this accounts for about half of all school funding. It is paid to districts according to enrollment totals. Utah’s WPU is approximately $6,500 per student. The national average is $10,667 per student, which places Utah dead last in education funding in the United States. Even Mississippi, considered a fiscally poor state, spends more to educate a child than Utah does!

A comparison within Utah is helpful. Alpine School District, the state’s largest, has an enrollment of approximately 76,000 students while Wayne SD had an enrollment of 432 in 2016 (according to the Wayne School District Board of Education). Due to the WPU formula Alpine has the funds to offer students an abundance of outstanding programs, such as Advanced Robotics, AP Calculus, Advanced Placement Art History, etc. Wayne County School District has no funds for such programs and must charge fees for extras.Yes! Small schools are indeed at a fiscal disadvantage; therefore I believe the resolution proposing a Voted Local Levy for our schools is a positive move benefiting our school-age children. Currently Wayne SD has one of the lowest “local tax efforts” in the entire state, but the money generated by the tax levy would result in raising approximately $64,000 and the state would add an additional $166,023 through its guarantee program. This adds up to $230,000 more for our schools. If the November vote supports the levy, it would mean approximately $12.00 additional tax on a $100,000 home. Surely improved educational benefits for our children are worth that increase.We are small; small is beautiful but that doesn’t mean we give our kids less. Support the Voted Local Levy in November. I think my friend will.

Respectfully yours, Ted Lovato Teasdale

You Are Invited

There are many wonderful people in Wayne County, from all types of backgrounds and with successful livelihoods in vastly different fields, who are very willing to share their experiences. This largely untapped pool of experience and knowledge is too valuable not to share with young people who are considering a direction for their future. Consequently the series of talks described in the following letter to WHS students has been put together. As mentioned at the end of that letter, community members are welcome to attend, as these talks will, I believe, be of interest to all.

To Wayne County High School students:

What intrigues you? What are you passionate about? What are your interests? And what do you think your options are after graduation from high school?

Come listen to a free series of talks (after school first Monday each month) by people who have had a successful career or careers based on what they feel passionate about, in fields as varied as small business creation, marine biology, college teaching, solar energy, ranching, music production, etc. These talks by community members are designed to acquaint you with more job and career possibilities than you may currently envision—expand what you see as your choices for the future. Perhaps you will hear about something that you have never explored before, or get a realistic view of a field you are interested in from someone with experience in the subject. Follow-up mentoring may be available.

Many people have more than one career – sometimes three or four in a lifetime—and often people work in a field other than what they study in school. It may be that specializing too early in life is not an advantage. It may be that a general education, preparing you to enter many different fields, is more desirable, or just the opposite: in the case of a professional musician early specialization is a must. Explore these and other viewpoints with people who successfully worked in a field that interested them.

These one-hour talks will be in the form of an interview designed to draw out the particular challenges and joys of each speaker’s field and what it took to succeed. Some personal background at the beginning of each interview will give you a sense of the person, and there will be time for questions from you. The introductory talk on Oct. 2nd will be a different format, as I will be speaking to you about the common denominators for success in any field, based on many decades of experience as a professional musician with the Utah Symphony, and now as a writer and teacher.

There will be a signup sheet outside the school offices, giving exact time and place for the first talk of the series on Monday, October 2, 2027. All community members are invited as well.

Sincerely, Bonnie Mangold


9/14/2017

Another Tax Hike

Two years ago the Wayne County School District imposed a tax increase of more than 30% and asked voters to approve an additional levy that would have doubled that increase.  The additional tax was voted down.  Not willing to accept that decision, the District is requiring another vote on the failed tax hike.

 

The School Board wrote in the August 31st issue of this paper that more money is needed for academic programs and teachers’ salaries, at the same time praising the District for “providing a high-quality education,” which suggests current funding is adequate for the job.  Adding to the seeming contradiction is the curious fact that the District was advertising in April of this year to hire a dance instructor.  Presumably a dance program would not be funded if money for higher priority academics was insufficient.

 

According to the Board, student enrollment has declined by nearly 24% since 2009, resulting in a decrease in state funding for the District.  A reasonable response to these changes would be to downsize, consolidate and reduce expenses, particularly as both demographics and high quality online home schooling programs are likely to continue reducing public school enrollment.  The easy availability of information made possible through the internet also should be improving the schools’ academic programs while reducing their cost.

The Board is promising to offset much of the large increase of the voted levy by reducing the equally large increase it unilaterally imposed two years ago.  Once the voted levy is approved and permanently locked in, will the Board again raise the tax it can impose without voter approval, thus achieving the more than 60% increase it wanted two years ago?

 

The Board argues that the proposed small “net” tax increase for county taxpayers will serve as leverage to obtain a substantially bigger cut of the take from taxpayers outside the county.  To this open appeal to capitalize on the opportunity to exploit taxpayers statewide, which appears to be considered a selling point, the Board pointedly adds that “Wayne School District has one of the lowest ‘local tax efforts’ in the state,” implying that an inadequate effort is being made to increase taxes, and that since other districts are taxed at higher rates, ours should be too.  Perhaps the Board is unaware that instead of addressing real need, these arguments express greed and envy.  Please pardon my bluntness but I don’t know a more delicate way to approach the ethics involved in this matter.

 

Taxation is an unethical act of aggressive violence, being the forcible taking of private property.  Regardless of rationalizations that the taking is for the greater good, taxation remains at its core a criminal act of extortion, and this nature persists even when the opportunity is granted to vote on a proposed tax increase.  Whether a tax is imposed with or without the support of a majority of voters, there is always an unwilling segment of the population subjected to confiscation of their property under threat of harm.

 

Widespread embrace of this unethical practice has enabled it to grow steadily into a crushing economic burden.  The government’s own Bureau of Labor Statistics admits that in 2016 federal, state and local income taxes took more of Americans’ income than they spent on food and clothing combined, and income taxes are just the easily visible tip of the taxation iceberg.  Today up to 70% of the price of goods and services is attributable to taxes, fees, licensing, regulatory costs and other mandates imposed by government at each step of the production and delivery process and ultimately passed along to consumers, and this is before taxes are paid at the point of final sale, from income that has been reduced by payroll and property taxes.  Evidence is abundant that we are nearing the proverbial straw that will break the camel’s back, as consumption by government is close to or has already exceeded the capacity of the productive private economy to support it.  Each “small” tax increase adds to the cumulative burden.  I wonder if advocates for higher taxes consider how many taxpayers are struggling to afford basic necessities because their income has been confiscated to provide others with luxuries like dance instruction.

 

The trend toward ever-increasing government domination of an economy always leads to collapse and chaos.  A vote against any tax is a vote to return instead to a sustainable economy built on voluntary cooperation and individual freedom to choose how best to use the product of one’s own labor.  A vote against the School District’s tax increase is a vote to let each person decide whether to give additional money to the public schools.  Supporters can still contribute as much of their own resources as they wish and can afford, but they will avoid both enabling the further growth of a flawed economic system and being complicit in the very real crime of seizing their neighbors’ property.

 

A vote against this tax is a vote to put meaning back into the words “liberty and justice for all” recited in the schools in the Pledge of Allegiance; liberty and justice are incompatible with coercive taxation.  Sadly, the Republic to which allegiance is pledged hasn’t existed for more than a century.  That was a republic created not to impose the will of some on everyone else, but to defend the life, liberty and property of each individual against any, regardless of their numerical or political strength, who would steal them.

Wayne Mein, Grover


9/7/2017

 Spirits Lifted after Brian Head Fire

To Jamie and Co, at A-OK Tree Service, Diane and I would like to express our sincere and heartfelt gratitude for the artistic and unique arch which you gifted us recently when you came to cut down dead trees on our property up Clear Creek Canyon Rd.  The fire destroyed the environment on our property and along with it our spirits.  As you know the trees you had to cut down ranged in age from 300 – 500 years old.  While taking them down you found a way to save a part of them and you created something beautiful that has a positive presence on us that has lifted our morale in an amazing way. Driving up to our property and seeing your arch welcoming us home, puts a smile on our faces every day. We cannot thank you enough for going out of your way to give us something that has brought a ray of sunshine to our lives and we are profoundly grateful.

Thank you most sincerely. Jim and Diane Ellis, Panguitch Lake

Save the Date for World Trade Center Utah 25K Jobs Meeting in Garfield County

I would like to thank Adus Dorsey, Wayne County Economic Development Director, for his post on Facebook alerting Wayne County residents about a Governor’s 25K Rural Jobs Initiative Planning Event held on August 15th. It was reported that the event drew a diverse cross-section of attendees and was a great success. Valuable information was provided for the upcoming main event to be held in Wayne County, October 3rd. As many of you know, Governor Herbert has challenged Utah businesses to build 25,000 jobs in rural Utah in the next four years. The World Trade Center Utah has organized a jobs tour for 29 rural counties including Wayne and Garfield Counties in partnership with 20 economic development partners. Business leaders, elected officials and residents are invited to attend the half day tour events. Planning events are typically held before the main event to seek public input. To my knowledge, no planning event was held in Garfield County and I am not sure if we currently have an Economic Development Director. As an elected official, it would have been valuable to me to know of a planning event.I have contacted Don Willie, Managing Director and Jim Porter, Project Coordinator with World Trade Center Utah. They are excited to bring a jobs event to Garfield County residents. The main event will be held on October 3rd at 4:30 in the Ruby’s Inn area, details and schedule to come later. At the main event, you can learn how private, public, and nonprofit organizations can help your business, what incentives, grants and other funding opportunities exist, and get ideas to diversify and grow your business.  They have also agreed to work with the Escalante Boulder Chamber of Commerce to hold an event in Escalante later in October. More information will be published soon. Hope to see you there!

Steve Cox, Boulder


8/31/2017

Economic Health Indicators

One indicator of the general economic health of Garfield County is the amount of revenue from the Transient Room Tax. By August of this year over $1,000,000 was collected – an increase of nearly $140,000 from this time last year (a 14% increase). This is real money that is used by the county and cities as general revenue. In other words without it local property taxes would have to be increased to provide the same level of services provided by local government. It’s clear that this tax source is directly tied to the tourist industry that has taken advantage of the fact that Garfield County is the home of Bryce Canyon National Park and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and adjacent to Capital Reef National Park and near Zion National Park. Who hasn’t heard visitors exclaim that Scenic Byway 12 to be among the most extraordinary highways anywhere in the world. Given these facts why is it that the Garfield County Commission has a hostile attitude towards public lands that are the basis of the tourist industry and want to either eliminate or shrink the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument or reduce by 90%. Their stated objective is to develop coal mining as the principle [sic] industry in the county. Why not do away with Bryce Canyon National Park and log the Ponderosa pine as well? Its time for the County Commission to realize we have proven existing opportunities here in Garfield County. They need to work with entrepreneurs who are bringing new business to our communities.One indicator of the general economic health of Garfield County is the amount of revenue from the Transient Room Tax. By August of this year over $1,000,000 was collected – an increase of nearly $140,000 from this time last year (a 14% increase). This is real money that is used by the county and cities as general revenue. In other words without it local property taxes would have to be increased to provide the same level of services provided by local government. It’s clear that this tax source is directly tied to the tourist industry that has taken advantage of the fact that Garfield County is the home of Bryce Canyon National Park and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and adjacent to Capital Reef National Park and near Zion National Park. Who hasn’t heard visitors exclaim that Scenic Byway 12 to be among the most extraordinary highways anywhere in the world. Given these facts why is it that the Garfield County Commission has a hostile attitude towards public lands that are the basis of the tourist industry and want to either eliminate or shrink the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument or reduce by 90%. Their stated objective is to develop coal mining as the principle [sic] industry in the county. Why not do away with Bryce Canyon National Park and log the Ponderosa pine as well? Its time for the County Commission to realize we have proven existing opportunities here in Garfield County. They need to work with entrepreneurs who are bringing new business to our communities.

Bob Hartman, Escalante, Utah

 

 


8/24/2017

Burglary

A burglary is not only about the stealing of our stuff; it is the brutal assault on our moral community compass and sense of human decency by the masked hoodlum too afraid to show his face, someone that only dares lurk around nervously under the cover of darkness because he knows better than to be seen in public during the day.
When left unbridled, what the burglar often leaves behind tends to voraciously eat away at our society like runaway tooth decay, leaving large dead spots where life once used to thrive, permanent and visible holes in our personal psyche.
Burglaries are what nightmares are made of, the crack head in the closet, the boogey man in the basement. Burglary is nasty business; it takes cunning and requires the nerve of a rat that has forced himself to survive in the sewer.
There are a lot more of us than there are of them. It is our civic duty to expose who the criminals are and demand those whose business it is to drive them out.

Adus Dorsey, Another victim of crime in Torrey, Utah


8/17/2017

Grateful

The family of R. Alden Black would like to thank everyone for the sympathy, prayers, cards, and flowers. Your kindness was deeply appreciated. We are truly grateful to Bishop Danny Yardley and the Panguitch 2nd Ward Relief Society for their support as well as the wonderful service, lunch, and nursery. Thank you also to the Magelby Mortuary staff.  Kay Lynn, Larry, Mary Ann, and David Black and Families

A Take on the Immigration Issue from an Immigrant

Immigration issue from Immigrant: President Trump has gang of opportunists (not serving Trump or nation), Republican party is hiding / clueless. We (350 million Americans) are taken for a ride.  (1) 350 million Americans in USA vs. 6,000 millions in rest of the world. Mr. Trump’s law – Immigrant must speak English, must earn enough to live in USA, etc. Mr. Trump is republican + US house of representative (republican majority) + US Senate  (republican majority) need to dismantle the Immigration Preference # 2 (sponsoring father, mother, etc.) and Immigration preference # 5 ( sponsoring siblings – brother, sister, etc.). Mr/Mrs can file for 4 parents of 90+  age who never been out in their own country – wait is 2 to 4 years. (2) Dismantle amendment 14 – anyone can come in this country deliver a baby, get birth certificate and go home. The kid can come back any time in USA as US citizen by birth. Change of amendment needs passage in US congress and US Senate, then ratified by 2/3rd states by 2/3 majority. All these can be done as republicans are all over. There are about million born in USA are in middle East and Asia. In USA, there are hospitals and agencies in this business (yes. Our own people). (3) Look at world report. USA has lowest immigration problem than true world picture. Biggest migration is from Africa to Western Europe. China’s one kid only policy is creating problems in labor market. It is opening it’s doors to all south Asian countries. Without Malaysia, Singapore will be stinky. Middle East has most immigrants for decades. Australia has open immigration policy. New Zealand needs people to work as milk vendor and in McDonald. If you want to pay only $1 for two heads of lettuce (bend over job) or gallon of milk under $3 (wake up at 3 AM), Hispanic (Mexicans) are the one we need. Are we kidding ourself ? Unemployment under 5% means zero unemployment. 5 out of 100 do not work no matter what country it is. (4) Best immigration policy – Saudi Arabian style – For labor market – Provide white card for 18 months. After 18 months he/she must go back and he/she can return for next 18 months. After 5 years, with credit report, provide Green Card and after 5 more years provide eligibility for citizenship. For high tech industry, immigrant must be paid as much as Americans. This will provide no incentive to high tech industry (Apple, Microsoft, 500 others, etc.) to go to China, India to get cheap engineers. (5) Forget border on south. More illegals entering thru our airports. A French or German or English girl land at New York Airport as a visitor and disappear in crowd in San Francisco or Chicago. We like that. On the other hand browny born in USA (better off than most of us) is still perceived as illegal. (6) In China, there are agencies making money selling Green cards for transferring $ 500,000 in USA.  This is most pathetic program we have. In Asia, there are more than 500 million millionaires ready to dump their idiot kids in USA.  Am I smarter than our federal cronies ? No. They simply don’t want to do required job. Drinking water and milk may be making their brain dull. May be brain booster like Marijuana shot should be ok for political cronies (to get our required service). Yes. I am immigrant from India who definitely paid more in taxes and in labor market than average Americans who born in this country. Folks! Wake up and do your part. Let our cronies know that we know all these.

Harshad P. Desai, Panguitch

Un-American

To our community, regarding the white supremacist hate groups that are responsible for the violence in Charlottesville:  My heart is broken.  I am ashamed to be human.  I am so sorry if any of you have suffered because of their cruel displays of hatred and intolerance.  Please know that most white Americans are appalled, sickened and outraged by the statements and actions of the white supremacist hate groups.  And, yes, we need to call them what they are.  These hate groups are profoundly unamerican, unchristian, inhumane, amoral, unkind and disgusting.  If there is anyone in our community who feels threatened or alienated by their hate, if there is anyone who is african american, muslim, jewish, asian, hispanic, native american, LGBTQ, disabled, if there is anyone who feels rejected, afraid, offended, hurt, insulted, simply because of who you are, please know that we are your brothers and sisters.  Please know that you can come to us for refuge and safety.  Please know that we do not share their monstrous hatred.  Please know that we are deeply sorry for any pain that you suffered because of their revolting message of hate.  Please know that we are committed to loving one another, all of us, in the spirit of kindness and our shared humanity.  Please know that we take the following words to heart:  Love thy neighbor as thyself.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Jen and Mark Aliprandini, Escalante


8/3/2017

Days For Girls Thank You

Dear Editor,

Lyman LDS Ward wishes to say thank you, thank you, to all who helped in any way to make the Days For Girls Service Event such a huge success. Many women traveled long distances to contribute their time and service.It was a delightful event with the humming of machines, visiting and laughing while working, and feeling the joy of service.Well over 500 hours was donated to this project at the church. Young men set up the tables and then put them away afterward. Women, young and old, were marking, cutting, stacking, sewing, surging, turning, ironing, and top-stitching fabric. Also gluing labels, unwrapping soap, threading ribbons in bags, and putting the kits together. Fifty kits were boxed, ready to be sent to Kenya, Africa in September.Fabric, wash clothes, panties were donated; also $575.00 was donated to Days For Girls to purchase fabric, etc. Every donation and every moment contributed to this Days For Girls Event is greatly appreciated! Thank You!A special thanks also to Deanna Hansen of the DFG Payson Team and her crew, Addie, Susan, Abby and Hallie, for the hours spent in making this event possible.

Thanks, Marielin Van Dyke, Lyman

Letter to the Lyman Ward

Days for Girls

Volunteers show the results of their handiwork during the Days for Girls sewing event at the Lyman LDS Church.

We as a “Days For Girls” Team want to thank you for all of the work you accomplished!!!

There were more than 80 people that participated in the evening and day activity.

Many hundreds of items were worked on. I have tried to count to give a better report and it is impossible. From cutting, marking and cutting more and sewing around the T&T liners, and then turning then pressing then top stitching!!!

Then there is the serged liners—cutting, serging, cutting the strips, stacking the strips sewing the hot spots on and then serging around them!!!

Cutting and serging the drawstring bags, gluing on the labels, sewing on the labels and inserting hundreds of drawstrings. In 150+ bags.

You inserted snaps in 160 shields…that is 320 snaps that takes muscle power!

You completed 58 kits plus prepared the components for a hundred more!!

Over 800 liners were completely finished, and many more need just a little finishing.

YOU LADIES ARE AMAZING!!!

Thank you for all the donations. You sweet humble people donated $575 in cash and that will be used to purchase flannel as soon as it goes on sale. That will make liners. You provided the soap, wash cloths and underwear for the finished kits and lots of fabric that was sorted and will be used for the various components of the kits. Fabric that is not suitable for the kits will be donated to the Santaquin North Stake Humanitarian group and they will use every piece from piecing quilts to making school and tote bags.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your service to the Young Women of the world! YOU have made a difference in their lives and their future in the hours that you served!!

We loved being with you.

Deanna, Susan and Days For Girls Team!!

Deanna Hansen, Days For Girls Payson, Utah Team Leader