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Front Page » May 27, 2008 » Local News » News
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Leah Swalberg, class Valedictorian gives her Valedictory address at graduation.

Sixteen seniors graduated from Green River High School on May 22. The auditorium was packed to capacity to cheer on and congratulate the students. Pat Brady, a teacher at the school welcomed everyone, including Royd Hatt and Marie Guymon representing the Emery County School Board, and JJ Grant and Jed Jensen from the District.

"I love my job," Brady said. "I just love working with students. It has been a privilege to be the advisor to this group of seniors. This has been a fun group. I have really enjoyed it. It is tough to see you go, although I know you are eager to get on with your lives. That's how it should be, but first I want to give you some advice."

Brady told the graduates to never give up and remember those who are following them and watching their progress. He gave the students the lyrics of the song Never Give Up and a poem entitled The Bridge Builder. "Keep your head up and don't let anyone discourage you," Brady concluded.

Class Valedictorian Leah Swalberg made a few remarks. She told how this class has been together for 12 years and reminisced with memories from each grade and each student. She also told of games they had played in elementary school. "I have many fond memories that will last a lifetime. Are these my classmates? Yes, but my friends and my mentors too," Swalberg said.

"Hopefully we each know where we want to go from here. It's our choice which path we take. The sky's the limit. This is our night, our time to shine. Those in attendance here tonight have given so much to us. This is the end of one era and the beginning of another. We have worn the colors with pride. Let's go Pirates, let's go," Swalberg concluded.

Richard Dean, class Salutatorian speaks to the audience at Green River graduation.

Salutatorian of the 2008 class Richard Scott Dean said, "During the time I have spent at Green River High School, I have developed friendships to last a lifetime. Look at the graduates. Each one has invested 13 years to get here tonight and each one is deserving of respect. We are on the threshold of the big step to the future. I want to thank all those who helped us get to this point," Dean stated.

Dean went on to say that until now, the graduates are a result of that help. He then gave one piece of advice. "In this competitive age which needs more educational skills, the more education we gain, the better off we will be."

Following Dean's remarks, a slide show was presented featuring photos of each graduate. Green River Principal Nolan Johnson said, "The graduates represent 13 years of challenges and tears. Well done parents." Johnson introduced the graduates while Hatt congratulated them and handed them their diplomas.

To close the ceremony, Troy Sweeten said, "I want to thank everyone. It has taken us a long time, with a lot of help from family and friends to get here. Thanks for coming."

Tamra Luke

Emery High held its 45th class on May 22. The event was held in the Emery High auditorium. Taryn Baker senior class president welcomed everyone to the event. She described the graduating class as outstanding. They have held many fund raisers and collected $1,500 for the Emery Scholarship fund. They took first in region track and girls basketball. They had 81 students take the AP test. One hundred and sixty-seven scholarships were earned by the class. They hosted a food drive where they beat Carbon by gathering the most food. They also raised money for a classmate for a classmate Ryan Thompson who needs a liver transplant. "We are an exceptional class and we can say that we were 'great in 08," said Baker.

Bryan Larsen gave the prayer and Dory Peacock led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Kyle Holmes, studentbody president presented the teacher of the year award to Lee Moss.

Co-Salutatorian McKay Allred addressed the audience. Allred told the story of the Itsy, Bitsy Spider. The spider began to climb up the water spout, he was faced with difficulties when the water washed him back down the spout, but the spider began to climb again. Allred likened the graduates to the spider. When difficulties confront us, it's time to start climbing. The spider built his home on the roof top where conditions were sturdy. The graduates, too need a sure firm foundation. They need to go above and beyond their high school education and seek higher education. Allred said it is a proven fact that those with high school educations earn less in their lifetimes than those who seek a higher degree. Even though education is expensive, it is worth it in the end. "I encourage you all to rise above the average. Don't just go above, go to infinity and beyond," said Allred.

Co-Salutatorian Kirsa Merrell's address was on "Reflections." She encouraged the seniors to look forward, but not to forget to look back and remember their high school experiences. In high school they have taken many classes and met many new friends. They have stepped out of their comfort zones and met many new people. Merrell said the graduates need to keep their goals in sight. "As long as we remember where we came from, things will work out. Your reflection is a reflection of these things. Remember these goals," said Merrell.

Kirsa Merrell

Honor student, Katherine DeBry said she loves musicals. One saying from a musical she likes is "Get your head in the game." Some of the graduates will be heading to work, college or missions. Life after high school is not a party. It gets harder. She encouraged the graduates not to lose focus in college. Life is hard, but there is no reason not to reach our goals. DeBry said she had watched a DVD about a famous weaver in Ireland who had very famous people want her art work. In the interview she was asked the reason behind her success. The weaver said simply, "When I weave, I weave." DeBry told the graduates to be as the weaver. When you work, work. When you play, play. When you study, study. Give your all in whatever you are doing. Give it all your attention. She gave some advice to college bound students. "Don't procrastinate. Get your sleep. Lack of sleep can cause you to lose focus. Be active, discover your talents. Budget your money. We have all the right ingredients to reach our goals, we just need to bake the cake. Life's successes are ours for the taking. It's the beginning of a whole new quarter of this complicated thing called life, 'Get your head in the game,' said DeBry.

The senior members of the choir presented a song called, "May you always have a song," directed by David Bird.

Honor student, Billie Jean Reed told the audience, this experience of speaking at graduation was a little scary. Her message to the graduating class was you are only given one chance at life, don't mess it up. You are only a stupid sophomore once, you only have to take the AP European History test once. We only get to dress up like princes and princesses at the Junior Prom once. We are only graduates once. Memories, I wouldn't trade all my memories of high school for anything in the world. The moments are gone, the three years of high school are gone. Life will be leading in new directions. It is exciting, but excruciatingly nerve wracking. Put the pieces of your life together, good luck. Have big dreams. Joe Lewis said, we only live once, but if we work it, once is enough. You are only young once, you are only old once, make it worthwhile. You only get one opportunity at life. Take the chance you are given and run like the wind just this once, said Reed.

Honor student, Jordan Sanders encouraged everyone to set goals and achieve them. Have dreams, but the only way to make dreams a reality is by having ambition. Sanders told the story of Jim Carrey, famous actor. At a young age, Carrey was forced to quit school to help support his family. At one time they lived in a van in Canada. But, Carrey had ambition. He wrote himself a check for $10 million and said one day he would cash that check. He did standup comedy that wasn't always well received, but he improved and perfected his act. He began acting in minor roles in movies in the US and the rest is history. He starred in the Mask, Dumb and Dumber and Ace Ventura Pet Detective. At age 32 he cashed that check.

McKay Allred

Sanders said his goal is to become a college professor in music. "What are your dreams and goals? Do you want to achieve them? Alrighty then, turn the key," said Sanders in his best Jim Carrey impersonation.

Honor student Madison Jensen spoke on enjoying the ride. School might be tough but laugh and learn and move on. If you're always stressed out, it makes it so you don't enjoy life. Jensen spoke of all the things she was going to remember from high school. The Lagoon trip, JR Nelson in his overalls, dance class, senior talent night, etc. "There are some amazing people and great memories. Because of the people, I have enjoyed the ride. Life can be hard at times, but we can't sit on the sidelines and let everyone else have the fun. Enjoy the ride, but remember to keep your hands and legs inside the ride at all times," said Jensen.

Tamra Luke, Valedictorian, spoke on "Nothing's going to stop us now." She told the graduates they each have their own gifts. She encouraged them to take their talents and abilities and make the most of them. She told of the things her mom had taught her. Luke said her mom taught them to love and be strong. She helped Luke be successful. When Luke was working on her Sterling Scholar she wanted to put her best self forward, but she decided not to put anything in that wasn't honest and accurate. Luke said her father is a hard worker and has been a good example. If the job isn't hard enough, her dad will make it harder. Once this past winter they were trying to get into their cabin, but a snow drift prevented their passage. So her father decided they would dig through the drift. "Everything he does, he does well. One time I hurt my ankle at school and was limping and my grandfather told me to quit limping it wouldn't make it feel any better. My brother was always telling me, don't be a crier. Refuse to be beaten. Nothing can stop us now if we are determined. With hard work, integrity and perserverance, nothing can stop us now," said Luke.

School principal Gwen Callahan encouraged the graduates to go to college and to get a degree. She told them not to be afraid of commitments and to become involved in life. Listen to the advice of your parents. A measure of your success will be in how you treat others who are weaker than you. "Trouble and pain are a part of life, misery is optional," said Callahan.

Board president Laurel Johansen accepted the seniors for graduation and diplomas were given to each student as they were presented. The class then sang the school song, "Halls of Emery." The graduates met with their families and friends after the ceremony for photographs in the old gym.

A representative from Echostar and Latens companies visits with Karen Dellos at the Emery Telcom membership meeting.

Water is always a hot topic and with newly passed legislation water becomes even more interesting. Marc Stilson from the Division of Water Rights gave an update of the water legislation which effects Emery County water rights holders to the public lands council at their May meeting.

Stilson said the major provision of HB-51 is that it protects a water right from forfeiture if a public water supplier holds the water for the reasonable future water

Lowry Water is flowing high with spring runoff.

Water is always a hot topic and with newly passed legislation water becomes even more interesting. Marc Stilson from the Division of Water Rights gave an update of the water legislation which effects Emery County water rights holders to the public lands council at their May meeting.

Stilson said the major provision of HB-51 is that it protects a water right from forfeiture if a public water supplier holds the water for the reasonable future water requirements of the public. The reasonable future water requirement of the public was defined as the amount of water needed in the next 40 years by the persons within the public water supplier's projected service area based on projected population growth or other water use demand. This gives public water suppliers a cushion to allow for growth and development in cities.

The new law also changes the nonuse period of a water right from five to seven years of consecutive nonuse before a water right becomes subject to forfeiture. The legislation also clarifies the forfeiture procedure and the distribution of water after a forfeiture. The bill allows a water right holder or a shareholder in a water company to file a nonuse application, which protects a water right from forfeiture for nonuse from the application's filing date until the approved application's expiration date. An approved nonuse application would be good for seven years. Additional nonuse application could be filed to maintain this nonuse status.

Previous to this year's legislation, if a nonuse application expired, then the water right would cease and be automatically forfeited by statute. With the new legislation, when a non-use application expires there is no self-executing clause and the water right would not be forfeited unless there was a judicial action to declare it so. If a judicial action is commenced and a forfeiture decree is issued by the court then the water right ceases and the water reverts back to the public for further distribution or appropriation. Also the provision that required a water user to submit proof of beneficial use upon full resumption of water use on a water right that was being protected by a non-use application was deleted from the statute.

Because all self-executing clauses to forfeit a water right outside of an official judicial action have been deleted from the law, the State Engineer will likely no longer consider issues of forfeiture in making administrative decisions in regards to change applications filed on water rights. Water forfeitures must go through the court system and be determined forfeit by a judge. Judicial action is the only way to get forfeiture on a water right. Several other exemptions from forfeiture for water right holders were also defined by this legislation including an exemption for water rights subject to an approved change application where the applicant is diligently pursuing certification.

All change applications are advertised publicly and anyone interested in protesting the application would have the opportunity to comment on any changes however, issues in regards to forfeiture would have to be taken up in a civil court case. Another bill discussed was HB 208 dealing with the livestock watering rights. The key change in the law made by this bill is that after May 5 of this year, only a beneficial user may acquire a livestock watering right on public land. A beneficial user is defined in the legislation as the person that owns the grazing permit and public land is defined as land owned or managed by the United States or the State of Utah with the exception of land owned by the Division of Wildlife Resources or the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. Additionally, the State Engineer may not approve a change application for a livestock watering right without the consent of the beneficial user.

Mesia Nyman from the US Forest Service said this bill would hold up water projects that permittees have planned for their allotments on the forest. Nyman said the forest service is working with the State Engineers office to resolve the problems created by this bill. The state engineer shall grant a livestock water use certificate if the beneficial user demonstrates that the beneficial user owns a grazing permit for the allotment to which the livestock water right is appurtenant. If a person ceases to be a beneficial user, the livestock water right transfers to the Department of Agriculture and Food.

This bill is concerning new livestock watering rights, not previously issued water rights.Nyman said they aren't sure what this new law is going to mean. For now, the water projects and any maintenance work on the forest are suspended. Nyman pointed out that everything existing now, will still exist. Nyman will find out about the maintenance of existing water structures.

Stilson said neither of these two bills were sponsored by the Division of Water Rights, however, they are working to implement them as the legislature intended. He expects the two bills will experience changes in the future as problems with the legislation are worked out. Stilson also mentioned water rights are a complex issue and the Department of Natural Resources has created an executive water rights task force to study water right issues.

Riders on the MECCA spring bike festival traverse the Miners Run ride.

The MECCA bike club recently hosted the San Rafael Swell Mountain Bike festival. This was the 22nd annual San Rafael Swell bike festival. This year's event drew 144 riders from throughout Utah and the western United States.

The event began with a dinner at the John Wesley Powell River History Museum. Biking began early on Saturday morning and continued throughout Saturday and Sunday with rides for beginners to advanced.

"From the beginning, the Festivals have been geared to a wide-range of mountain biking enthusiasts - from the novice to the seasoned; from the occasional to the frequent; from the single rider to the family of riders; and from the rider whose sole interest is the picturesque surroundings to the rider whose sole interest is in the merits of the bike. Rides vary in degree of difficulty, each offering a different perspective of the beautiful San Rafael Swell. There really is a ride for every interest," said LaMar Guymon, member of MECCA.

This cyclist and his little tagalong bike the course in the San Rafael Swell.

The festivals provides not just a biking experience but opportunities to learn of others' interest in riding. Riders share stories during the "pit stops" along a ride. Riders also take the time to get to know each other at the evening before the rides pasta dinner and drawing. An integral part of the festival is not just the riding but the Dutch-oven cookout provided by the Emery County Search and Rescue and stories around the campfire. There is time to learn from others and talk biking trivia and also just to enjoy the great outdoors in the Swell area.

MECCA club members take pride in "pampering" their festival guests. When you ride the unfamiliar, their experienced guides will help you through the experience.

MECCA club members are available to answer questions about every aspect of the event like: When's lunch? Why does my bike....? How much further until we get there? What's that formation called? Where can I buy supplies?, a club member will be identifiable and not too far away. Also not too far away are the "sag wagons" with emergency personnel and supplies which will also be there to give you a lift if you tire before the end of the planned ride. The club even provides an "on-duty" mechanic for minor bike fixes. Deckers Bicycle of Castle Dale and Price are the onsite mechanics.

MECCA club appreciates all the support they receive from the local businesses. They appreciate the Emery County Recreation District for their sponsorship of the event and all the services they provide for the event. The event attracts people from all over the United States who not only attend the festival and spend approximately $300 a day in our area contributing to the economy. These visitors to the area return often and bring others with them to enjoy the Emery County scenery.

The new boat dock at Joe's Valley Reservoir.

In his report at commission meeting, Commissioner Drew Sitterud announced a new boat ramp has been installed at the newly constructed low water boat ramp at Joe's Valley reservoir. With the amount of water being released from the reservoir, the water level is way down, and the end of the boat ramp remains in the water.

Delena Fish from the Department of Workforce Services was at the recent Emery County Commission meeting to give her quarterly update. She reported to the commissioners the comparison of the Emery County Eastern Region office to the remainder of the state is very favorable to her staff. The unemployment rate in Emery County is currently at 3.2 percent, but it is steadily rising.

Fish said her office has sent out 30 letters of possible eligibility for services from her office due to the rising unemployment rate. In the first quarter of this year, Emery County was not eligible due to the lower unemployment rate.

She also explained the new computer systems the DWS is receiving. The Castle Dale office will pilot a new program call Erep for the entire state. Beginning in June, her office will begin using Erep along with the current system as a backup to figure benefits for clients. Her staff is training on the new system now to be able to begin the pilot program.

In August, the entire state will go on this Erep program, and this new systems, applications from around the state will come into this office for processing. "This is a good way to keep our staff working year round with a more equitable workload for everyone," said Fish. "We will be able to do medical reviews over the telephone then, and this process will be more efficient." Fish also said that Kristen Cox, the new state director has instituted a new process to evaluate all the state offices to eliminate duplication and waste.

In other business conducted by the Emery County commissioners, it was approved to advertise for a person to be appointed to fill the seat vacated by Merrill Duncan Jr. on the Emery County Planning commission. Duncan was also approved for hire in the county road department as an equipment operator.

The commissioners also approved a tax deferral to the owner of property in Ferron. This owner lives in Colorado and has fallen behind in the taxes for enough time the property was going to be sold at the tax sale. The property owner has paid half of the delinquent taxes and has requested a deferral of the remainder until November.

Concerning the sale of the old sheriff's office building in Castle Dale, Darrin Hurdsman addressed the commissioners. "I talked to the commissioners at the sale when I bid on the property and was told there was no deadline to complete the demolition of the building, so I have been in no hurry. With our Joe's Valley project taking up so much time this spring, I have focused all my attention on it. We needed the old sheriff's office building for storage. That project will be complete and the business will open on Memorial Day weekend," said Hurdsman.

"I know it is very important for the curb appeal of the property, so after Memorial Day, I can work on the building. We changed the locks in the building after we purchased it because we noticed open doors and disturbed things in there. I have now given Commissioner Sitterud and Commissioner Horrocks a key," Hurdsman concluded.

Commissioner Gary Kofford explained to Hurdsman the conditions of the sale, at which Hurdsman has purchased the property. He said in the agreement of purchase, Hurdsman had signed an agreement to provide a $30,000 performance bond for the demolition work and did not sign a waiver to release the county from any responsibility for the property. "I don't know why this was not taken care of at the sale, why this waiver was not been signed. This is essential for you to sign as soon as possible. Our clerk has the form in her office and we are asking you to sign that before you leave today," said Kofford. Hurdsman agreed to sign the form at once, and to bring proof of the performance bond and demolition plan to the commissioners within three months.

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