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It’s a sight you have to see to believe: thousands of snow and Ross’ geese lifting off Gunnison Bend Reservoir amid honks and the beating of wings.

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A car-cow collision took the life of a Milford man driving southward on Highway 257 last Thursday.

At around 11:45 p.m. on February 4, Oscar Estrada, 37, was killed after striking a cow with his 1998 Subaru Forrester Outback near mile-marker 38, located two to three miles south of the Graymont lime plant. Also in the vehicle was his wife Silvia Garcia, 31, who suffered injuries to the face and head; and daughter Valeria Estrada, 6, who was unharmed.
According to Sergeant Greg Kelsey of the Utah Highway Patrol in Millard County, it was likely Valeria was the only one wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision. He said the vehicle, which was riding low to the ground, came upon one cow standing in the middle of the road.

“Once the vehicle hit the cow in the dark, the cow rolled onto the hood and into the windshield area of the car before rolling off,” Kelsey said. “Oscar impacted the steering wheel with his chest and put his head into the windshield, while Silvia also came forward, hitting the dashboard and windshield. Silvia hit the windshield with her face and head, and suffered injuries in both areas. Valeria, laying in the backseat behind the driver, just bounced off the driver’s seat and didn’t get injured at all. After the collision the car didn’t tip over, but it went off to the right hand side of the road and came to a stop.”

Kelsey said Oscar died at the scene from head and chest injuries, while Silvia and Valeria managed to escape the seriously damaged car. After rolling over, the dead cow was left lying in the middle of the road. Kelsey said Silvia, while bleeding from facial and head injuries, was able to dial 911 on her cellular phone for help.

“Fortunately, they were in an area that still had service, but nobody passed them until the deputy got there a half-hour later,” he said. “The mother and daughter had to sit out in the cold and wait for help. They were then transported to Delta Community Hospital, and later to a hospital up north.”

Looking at the vehicle damage, Kelsey said the death and serious injury could have likely been prevented with proper use of seatbelts.

“Even though the cow got on the windshield, it wasn’t compressed to the point where Oscar couldn’t have survived if they were belted properly,” he said. “It’s not like the cow was on the roof or hood of the car. However, it’s a good thing the car didn’t roll over because Valeria would have flopped around and there could have been more serious injuries. If they started rolling without seatbelts, it really could have caused more injury or killed Silvia or Valeria.”

Kelsey said since January 29, this has been the fourth car- cow collision in that same area along Highway 257. He advises drivers to not go too fast and pay attention to the signs along the highway.

“There are open range signs on the side of the road and fl ashing yellow lights on them to warn people they are enter- ing an open range area,” Kelsey said. “A farmer or rancher out there also put out a couple of additional open range signs on the side of the road, so there are both state and private signs out there now.”

Aside from paying attention to signs and not speeding, Kelsey reminded drivers to always wear a seatbelt, adjust speeds when necessary and not overdrive their headlights while driving rural roads in the dark. He said people should always keep in mind a serious accident could indeed happen to them.

“People might think ‘it will always be the other guy,’ or that because they have driven a road a million times, nothing could happen to them,” Kelsey said. “I hope by pointing out how many accidents have been right there in a short time frame, people can be more aware of the open range areas and adjust driving habits accordingly. One would also hope people who live near there would be acutely aware of those areas, and expect those not from the area to be the ones who pay less attention. Four cow-car accidents in one week should be a real eye-opener for people.”

After 20 years in the Palladium gymnasium, the annual Delta High School graduation ceremony will take place in the school’s auditorium for 2016.

DHS Principal Teresa Thompson said the ceremony has taken place in the Palladium after it was completed in 1995. Thompson said people had expressed interest in utilizing the school’s new state-of-the-art auditorium built along with the new Delta High School, which was completed in 2013.

“I had a request from our school board and our superintendent, who said they would like us to consider moving graduation in to the auditorium,” Thompson said. “I thought it was a good idea, and we needed to do it. I had been to graduations with schools that are about our size and they’re all in auditoriums. Because it’s such a nice event it needs to be more formal and about the kids. It’s both a good move and a hard move because change is not easy, but it’s necessary in this case.”

As the new principal, Thompson said she was excited to implement her graduation day ideas for this year, rather than wait until next.

“A few students have said ‘why can’t you start next year?’ but in my first year here I think it’s easier to start right away with the things to make Delta High better,” she said. “I appreciate support of the students and parents and I’ll always have what’s in the best interest of the kids in my heart. I have no doubt that once we have it in the auditorium that’s where it needs to be. Everyone will say it’s much nicer and very well done.”

Although there are some naysayers, Thompson said she had received positive feedback from students and other community members interested in the newer location.

“People had visited with me about it and said, ‘We have this beautiful new auditorium, why not have it there?” she said. “We also met with student leaders and the majority of them wanted it there. Others have also expressed interest in the auditorium, while some still want it in the Palladium because of tradition and other reasons.”

While discussing reasons for the change, Thompson said the auditorium’s quality seating and air conditioning system would be a nice alternative to the Palladium, where it had been hot inside during past graduations. She said the sound in the auditorium would be better for hearing the graduates and other speakers, musical performances, graduate names and other key parts of the ceremony.

“In the Palladium we had beautiful musical numbers, but you couldn’t hear them because the sound system was not built and designed for events like that,” Thompson said. “The Palladium is designed for basketball and athletics basically, but the auditorium is designed for formal occasions. We’ll also be able to hear speakers and graduates better there. Graduation should be that type of nice occasion and event where we’re proud to display our

graduates, who worked hard to get to where they need to be.”

Thompson said one of the biggest concerns for parents and kids is the amount of people they can have attend graduation. She hopes kids can get at least six tickets or possibly more, depending on the number of graduates there are.

“For kids who don’t have that many to come to graduation, we’re hoping we can get their tickets and give them out to those who need more tickets,” Thompson said. “We’ll also have an overflow in the multipurpose room to fit more people.”

Thompson said they also hope to televise the event live for those unable to attend in person.

“That way no matter where you are in the U.S. you can get on and see Delta High’s graduation,” she said. “For those family members who want to come but can’t, they’re going to be able to see what they would have missed. We’re going to do everything we possibly can to get everyone to see it if they want to.”

To give students a better sense of excitement on graduation day, Thompson added ideas for fun related activities on the actual day or close to it. She planned to ask students their ideas and what they would like do.

“Maybe we’ll take the afternoon of graduation or another day and invite the graduates to come and have a party here or at the Palladium,” Thompson said. “We could have ice cream and other good stuff. I know parents are concerned about pictures, but I’m considering getting a professional photographer who takes nice pictures of the kids as they go through the ‘D.’ I still need to figure out how much that is going to cost.”

This year’s Delta High School graduation, which take place on May 24 at 7 p.m. will also be streamed live on the Millard County Chronicle Progress website.

A couple of arrests tied to two home burglaries in Hinckley and drug possession were made on the morning of January 11.

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Lawmakers may debate straight-ticket voting, which currently allows Utah voters to choose a party’s entire slate of candidates with a single ballot vote.

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Spectators flocked as 28 Bighorn sheep were transplanted to Oak Creek Canyon on Thursday, January 7. 

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An accident that occurred on December 26 has left a local girl in a medically induced coma, after a collision involving an adult roller-skater.

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Cow wreck

Two vehicle crashes involving two cows on the road occurred on Highway 257 in Millard County last Thursday night.

            Dean Shields, trooper with Utah Highway Patrol (UHP), said both vehicles were traveling northbound on Highway 257 between Hinckley and Milford. He said the first vehicle, a 2006 Ford Explorer, struck a cow in the open range area near Milemarker 31 at around 6:30 p.m.

            “The first vehicle had four people out working on the windmills near Milford, I think, and it was traveling northbound,” Shields said. “No one in the vehicle was wearing a seatbelt either. It struck the cow and then went off to the left side of the road and came to a stop. Airbags were deployed and the driver, Kaitlynn Thompson of Fillmore, sustained internal injuries.”

            Shields said Thompson was life-flighted from Delta and most likely transported to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo. He said another passenger hit the back of the seat and injured his face, but was later treated at Delta Community Hospital and released.

            “There were also two other subjects in the vehicle, but they refused treatment,” Shields said. “Had everyone been wearing seatbelts, there would have been minimum injury.”

            The second automobile collision with another cow, which occurred near Milemarker 28, involved a 2004 GMC Sierra driven by Lorren Price, also of Fillmore. Shields said Price, however, was not seriously harmed in the accident.

            “The cow came onto the highway and Price struck it, but he was wearing his seatbelt,” Shields said. “He hit it on the corner of the vehicle and the airbag was not deployed. Price steered the vehicle onto the right shoulder and waited for help.”

            Both cows were killed after the collisions. Shields said the two vehicles were eventually picked up by Droubay Chevrolet.

            To prevent future accidents, Shields also encouraged drivers to watch for yellow warning signs while traveling on highways or freeways.

            “The yellow warning or flashing signs are well-marked and indicate cows in the area or that it’s an open range,” Shields said. “Drivers should watch all warning signs, which may indicate slippery when wet, do not pass, watch for deer and cows, or they may include other signs with animals on them. Those signs all mean something and need to be paid attention to when you’re driving 65 or 70 miles per hours or at night. It may not always be cows to look out for, but the roads could be slippery or have other dangerous conditions.”

            In addition to watching for signs, Shields encouraged people to always wear a seatbelt, drive within the speed limit and avoid reckless driving.

            “Be sure to protect yourself and your life and save the people in your car,” he said. “You are personally responsible for your driving habits. Without a seatbelt on, something like swerving, missing a cow, and rolling at 70 mph could result in a multiple fatality crash.”

            Sgt. Greg Kelsey with the UHP said according to the patrol’s reports, there have been four vehicle-to-cow collisions on Highway 257’s open range area thus far in 2015. Kelsey said Highway 6 past Hinckley, as well as Highway 125 between Oak City and its intersection with Highway 50, are also open range areas.

             

 

         At Christmas time Delta has the most beautifully decorated park of any small town in the state. We have amazing people, who raised nearly $21,000 for charitable causes at the Festival of Trees. In addition and equally important, we have fabulous MUSIC! Don’t miss the amazing show the Blue Notes are presenting on December 12 at 7 p.m. at the Delta High School auditorium. Singing in four-part harmony with either the incredible acaccompaniment of Karen Brinkerhoff or barbershop, the Blue Notes have a delightful program, entitled The Lights of December. Cindy Chambliss, the producer, has chosen some of the most heart-warming and gorgeous carols to illuminate the true spirit of Christmas. Featuring Carolyn Taylor on the violin, Christmas Lullaby, if not already a favorite, will become one. Cindy Chambliss, as the soloist in a lush version of Silent Night, and the Blue Notes performance of Still, Still, Still will leave you feeing the Christmas spirit that everyone yearns for. Children of all ages will delight in the fun holiday songs that will also be performed. The Blue Notes were founded in 1976 by Choral Clark, Sharon Clark, Verla Jenson, ElDonna Anderson and Ruth Talbot. They invited other women to join them as a barbershop group, perhaps to be a member of the national female barbershop ensembles, the Sweet Adelines. Discovering that Sweet Adelines was expensive to join and had many regulations, they opted to be an independent group. Ruth soon came up with the name of Blue Notes, and she wrote the theme song, Blue Notes of Harmony. Ruth was also the original conductor, but became the pianist when the women sang to accompaniment. Orvetta Nickle was an original member, and remained a member throughout the rest of her life, except for a time serving a mission. Choral, Sharon and Verla also remained as members for the rest of their lives, and Ruth remained as their beloved pianist until she moved to the care center. Dot Atkinson is the only current member that was an original member, but has not been continuous. Eldonna’s daughter, Leslie Lake is a current member and Choral, Sharon, Verla and Orvetta have also had daughters sing with the Blue Notes. There have been many different conductors during the past 40 years, including Nadine Smith, who recently rejoined the group as a singer, Norman Lister, the only male to be part of the group, Choral, Verla and the current conductor, Vicki Judkins, whose experience and musical knowledge helps each singer improve her tone and her performance. Next year this talented group will have been entertaining West Millard fans for 40 years. They have an amazing legacy and have enhanced the lives of literally hundreds of women who have been members for a few or for many years, as well as the lives of those in the audiences throughout the years. Tickets for the show are available at the door for the modest cost of $4 per person or $15 for an immediate family. As always, the proceeds will go to a local charity. The concert is always a highlight of the Christmas season...be sure you attend.

Taking over for Delta Middle School, the Delta City offices will step in to collect food for the local food bank and “Sub for Santa” program during the holiday season.

For years in the past, Delta Middle School held a contest for students from each class to bring in as much donated food as possible for both the food bank and the Christmas season’s Sub for Santa, which is a charity and assistance program conducted in different counties throughout Utah. However, Delta City Mayor Gayle Bunker said he heard the school was not planning to hold the contest again this year.

“They didn’t get into specifics as to why, but they’re just not doing it this year,” he said, “So now we’re trying to get some food for the food bank. In the past it has been very good with the school. Last year they received 20,000 pounds of food, which is a lot of food.”

Bunker said he was excited to pick up the tradition for the food bank and Sub for Santa, though no contest for food collection will be involved through the city offices. He said people may drop off donations in a drop box at the city offices during regular office hours. They may also sign up for Sub for Santa at the Delta City offices. Encouraged for the food drive are any non-perishable food or drinks, especially foods with protein. The bulk of the donations will go to the local food bank in Delta, while the rest of it will go toward Sub for Santa.

“We also talked to the chamber of commerce and we want to get them to encourage people to donate food through their businesses,” Bunker said. “Drop boxes will be available for people and we’ll have one here in the city building where people can bring food. I’m sure the two grocery stores will also have places where people can donate food again. I think in the past other businesses in town have also had a place for people to do- nate.”

Bunker said all the local schools in Delta will most likely accept food as well.

“The middle school principal told me she was going to talk with other principals of Delta schools to get them involved,” he said. “The schools will accept food, but they just won’t be pro- moting it and there won’t be a contest this year.

Bunker said he encourages all to donate and expects to see many families helped out once again. He said donations through Sub for Santa would provide people with food for a substan- tial amount of time.

“I think with Sub for Santa they do around 100 families a year, but I think last year they did a little over 100,” he said. “A lot of the Festival of Trees money also goes to support Sub for Santa. Things will probably be handled differently next year, but right now we’re just thinking of this year and how this needs to happen.”