- Written by Sam
- Category: Featured News
Water contamination, property rights, and water levels dominated the conversation at a public hearing held by the County Commission last Thursday. Despite public opposition, Ordinance 17-01-26, changing zoning from Range-In Forest to Agricultural Industrial was approved two to one.
The meeting was held to gain public input on the zone change to allow Smithfield Hog Production to install a facility close to the Beaver-Millard County line. The audience of 21 people was quick to voice their opinions on why the farm should be kept completely out of county.
The meeting was the third held by the commission. The previous two were held to discuss another facility four miles south of Deseret. Like its predecessors, the meeting was filled with contention.
Bill Coffman, who owns and operates Coffman’s Ranch close to the proposed site, told commissioners he was against the facility. The proposed site would only be seven miles from Coffman’s ranch, and would affect water lagoons near or on his property.
“There’s a lot of water sitting on the ground. We found a website that says that Smithfield has been fined for water contamination. What recourse do we have if something happens? Can Millard County guarantee we’d be reimbursed, when the water has run for thousands of years is affected?” Coffman said.
Boyd Schena, Deseret resident, asked how close the border facility would be in conjunction with Milford residents. He expressed concerns that the site will negatively affect Millard County’s relationship with Beaver County.
“I know [Smithfield Hog Production] is only seven miles from these people, but have we considered how close the buildings are to Milford residents? We already know that the Beaver county residents are having a tough time with them. And we don’t want to be rude neighbors, the way I look at it,” Schena said. “I think you, as our commissioners, should take that into consideration; because we’re awfully close to the Milford residents.”
Kelly Schena, a Deseret resident, reminded the commissioners of previous information regarding Smithfield Hog Production she had provided during previous hearings.
“The concerns regarding water quality are very real, and across the country because of this type of operation. It has detrimentally affected not only water quality, but also the health of people living near facilities like this,” she said. “I understand the purpose of an operation like Smithfield; it produces really cheap meat, and it’s affordable. But anytime it’s located near aquifers where people are drinking directly out of those sources, I think we need to think carefully about this. Let’s make sure we’ve done the research and read all the studies of past experiences.”
Schena reiterated Coffman’s previous statements of Smithfield’s previous water contamination charges. In a study conducted from 2010 to 2014, the company allegedly dumped 27.3 million pounds of toxic pollutants into waterways, according to pulse.ncpolicywatch.org. The hog waste caused an increase in wildlife illness and death.
“We also need to remember, that this company has a history of poor practice, and of siphoning what we think may be 80,000 gallons of hog sewage back into an aquifer, and failing to report it for 44 days,” she added. “That’s a matter of record. I ask that you please, take that into consideration when you allow them to cross the Millard County line.”
Gene Zufelt, Deseret resident, presented the commissioners with a signed petition of other citizens against rezoning for any of Smithfield’s facilities.
Jim Webb, a representative for Smithfield Hog, informed the commissioners that the company had proposed similar plans to Beaver County’s planning and zoning commission. The plans were met with support, he said.
“I was before them not very long ago, and we didn’t have any public opposition there. The Beaver planning and zoning encourages us to continue growing there,” Webb said. “That is a matter of public record. They like us there, they want us to grow there.”
Kanosh resident Todd McFarlane commended those involved in the process of public hearings and voicing their opinions for and against Smithfield’s proposed operations. He expressed disappointment that public clamor was a factor in the Johnson family dropping an application for a similar facility south of Deseret.
“I’m not disappointed in them,” McFarlane said. “I’m disappointed for them. I just want to say I’m personally not a fan for industrial agriculture, nor would I say I am an advocate, but having said that, I also recognize we are living in a world that requires for us to adopt new technologies. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but in this country, we’ve been very accustomed to cheap food; we like our cheap food, and we have some of the cheapest food in the world, and the reason we do is because of companies like Smithfield that have developed some of these more efficient practices.”
In regards to statements made towards Beaver county, McFarlane credits financial success to Beaver’s willingness to allow new companies to break ground within county lines. McFarlane said due to urban sprawl, companies like Smithfield and other industrial agriculture have been attracted to Millard County due to more acreage for facilities, resources, and steady economy.
Grant Hildebrand, a Delta resident, said he had read a study from Iowa State University, which specified land values dropped seven percent when located next to a facility like Smithfield Hogs. Hildebrand said Beaver County’s Commission’s opinion shouldn’t necessarily be considered, as they don’t live on the property where the proposed farm would be. “I say we take into consideration if we can keep it out of our county.” “There is a place in the world for something like that,” Hildebrand said, “but it’s not in our county. And I think we should have the right to say that.”
Gary Greener, Hinckley resident, said he didn’t think as though water contamination would be a severe issue, but said he was more concerned with water levels.
Steve Styler, attorney for Smithfield, reffered to comments on water levels and rights.
“The wells are already in existence, and the water has already been pumped, and has historically been used for agriculture. The water rights are there, and again that will be a matter for the state engineer to handle.” Styler said the wells are in both Beaver and Millard Counties. The wells are in water area 71, which stretches from Milford to Blackrock.
“I wanted to present a different point of view,” Kelly Schena said. “I understand and I appreciate that people want to be able to do whatever they want with the land that they own. But there’s this important thing called ‘zoning.’ It kind of helps us understand what we can expect and rely on in the future when we buy a piece of property. We have certain expectations for this property, and we expect a certain quality of life. In rural Utah, we are very tolerant of agriculture, and we understand the importance of that way of life.”
Schena urged to support local farmers and ranchers when it comes to buying meat, instead of turning to larger corporations. “Certainly there are going to be times where zoning is changed for an exception,” Schena said. “But we have a responsibility to people far more than we have a responsibility to pigs.”
McFarlane said Millard County already has industrial agriculture within its borders, namely with large scale dairies and poultry farms, and the county has plenty of room to accommodate another facility. “This isn’t the first time it’s come to Millard County,” he said. “And I don’t anticipate it to be the last.”
- Category: Featured News
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The federal trial of a man accused of killing Millard County Sheriff’s Deputy, Josie Greathouse Fox in January of 2010, began Monday at the U.S. District Courthouse in Salt Lake City.
- Written by Hannah Jones
- Category: Featured News
Spending two months teaching children and caring for endangered lions, Lindsey Morris and Billie Porter expected they would help the Zambian people. They didn’t plan on the Zambian people being a greater help to the Hinckley natives.
“I went there thinking I could help them, but they really helped me,” Morris said softly.
Both 25-years-old, Porter and Morris traveled to Livingstone, Zambia for a twomonth volunteer trip through the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust in early September. The trust focuses on lion conservation, school development projects and environmental conservation. The friends worked with the school and lion projects.
This was Morris’s first trip, Porter’s third.
When they set foot on Zambian soil, it was as if they were returning home, Porter said.
“There’s something funny about it,” she said. “You get over there and feel you should have been born in Zambia.”
Porter compared Livingstone to the setup of Millard County with a main town with shopping surrounded by smaller towns.
Porter and Morris lived in a lodge in Livingstone with a few other volunteers where they raised a large garden that provided food for the residents and extra for the Zambians.
“Population of the lodge: eight humans and 400 million mosquitoes,” Porter said, rolling her eyes.
Schooling became the duo’s main focus of the trip. They lugged a portable library from village to village to offer the children an opportunity to improve their English skills. Zambian children are required to be fluent English speakers by grade 7. If they cannot pass the English test, they cannot progress in school.
Many of the volunteers bring English books from home to boost the library’s stores. Deb Greathouse, the Delta librarian, heard of the program through her daughter, who is Porter’s friend. She donated extras from the city library’s stores with plans to donate more next year. She welcomes any donations for the program.
“The library books that were donated were like diamonds out there,” Porter said. “For us to bring in new books was so fun. The Wizard of Oz was a favorite, funnily enough.”
In addition to the books, Porter and Morris often acted as the teachers for the village schools. The schools will go for months at a time, Porter said, but the children still arrive daily, hoping for a teacher. Two students walked three hours every day for school.
“That was always fun, being the one to show up,” she said smiling.
Morris said one of her favorite parts of teaching was a sight rarely seen in America – bare feet. Due to the poverty and the climate, shoes are not necessarily considered a necessity in Zambia.
“That’s one of the things I miss,” she said. “You would look at the school floor and see little footprints everywhere.” While poverty was widespread in Zambia, its impact on the natives was different than the Americans expected.
“They’re satisfied,” Porter said after a pause. “They have their families and a roof over their head. They know that’s enough.”
Livingstone did have access to clean water, a luxury many Zambian villages are struggling to attain, but getting water from a pump took a 15-minute walk at the least. With average temperatures of 104 degrees, drawing water could be taxing work.
“They never complained,” Morris said. “They were just grateful.”
Gratitude became a mantra for the two while in Zambia and was a striking contrast to American culture, Porter said.
“If people could live their lives the same way the Zambians do, their lives would be so much better,” Morris said. “They care about people, not things.”
Porter recounted an incident where she was shocked to see her friend’s child scream for several minutes after missing a few minutes of his television show.
“It’s hard for me to empathize with some things here,” Porter said. “And I know that’s my problem and not everyone else’s. But after seeing a man push himself in a wheelchair 15 miles to town, it’s hard to have as much compassion on the smaller things.” Porter and Morris found commonality with the Zambians in a very specific aspect: their faith. Both are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but they did not plan on being missionaries in Zambia.
They kept quiet about their faith for a while but found they could relate to people better when they talked about God.
“The best way to get along with people is to ask if they believe in God. That’s one way you could be on the same level with them,” Morris said. “You would ask them about God, and they would say, ‘God loves all of us, and we’re all the same because we believe in Him.’ Many times, we were the first white person to say we believe in God.”
One of the most frustrating aspects of the trip for Morris and Porter was a superior attitude toward Zambians that would sometimes rise from other Europeans or Americans. Porter said misunderstandings swirl around African culture. One of the most offensive to Porter is the assumption that all African peoples are stupid and violent.
“It’s wrong,” she said, shortly. “And it happens a lot.”
Morris said she could still sense a superior attitude lingering from the British Imperialist period in the 18th and 19th centuries.
“Racism is still there, it’s just in a different disguise,” she said. “Now, it’s Europeans telling the Zambians that they don’t know how to live, that they need to stop having children. The fact of the matter is, it’s none of their business. We don’t need to tell them anything. They teach us.”
Traveling to Zambia took a lot of financial commitment. A two-month stay costs $6,000 and covers only room and board, not plane tickets or additional costs. They each paid for their trips out of savings funds.
“I saw it as a good opportunity. I’m not tied down with a husband or kids,” Porter said. “If it’s something God wants you to do, he will provide the money.”
“I never regretted spending the money to get there,” Morris said. “My family was pretty nervous. But I really wanted to go, so I just said, ‘I’m doing this.’ They supported me. When I came back, they could see the changes in me and saw how happy I am.”
Coming back home was more difficult for the friends than they had expected. Culture shock set in quickly.
“The lights,” Porter said, laughing at Morris’s grimace. “The electricity is so bright here.”
“I still have my phone on the dimmest setting, and it’s almost too bright for me,” Morris added.
While they readjust to the culture, Porter and Morris spend most of the extra time together because “nobody else really understands.”
“Last time, it took several months to get past the culture shock,” Porter said. “I had anxiety attacks last time. I went to the doctor, and he told me it was because I was having trouble adjusting to the fast pace. The attacks did go away after awhile.”
Still, they have appreciated being home. Morris recalled two employees of a plantation owner who were abused.
“We wanted to help them, but we couldn’t,” she said. “Here, you can do something about things that are wrong.”
Will they ever return to Zambia?
“I feel like it’s something that would call my name, but I’m not sure I could go permanently,” Morris said. “I have thought about the Peace Corps.” “I would be interested in getting a job there,” Porter said. “I feel like I need to be there when I’m there, but it makes me appreciate home.”
The impact of Zambia will not be forgotten by either of them, however.
“It was a privilege to be there,” Morris said quietly. She looked at Porter who smiled and nodded in agreement.
- Written by Sam
- Category: Featured News
Mark Watson; Staff Reporter
After more than 50 years working out of its station at 41 N 200 W, the Delta Fire Department will move one block to the east in about two months.
“The date for completion of the building is Feb. 8,” said Delta Fire Chief Lynn Ashby.
Construction crews have moved inside now with temperatures dipping down to the single digits this week. The new station includes four drive-through bays and can house 12 large pieces of equipment. There were six bays in the old station, but they were shorter and not drive-through bays.
A large office greets visitors inside the building at the south entrance, and it could eventually be workspace for three people. There also is an office for the fire marshal. A kitchen and a large foyer are situated on the south side to handle any large gatherings. The south side of the building will be used for training.
“We can do a lot of training here for all the firefighters in the county,” Ashby said.
A spacious area upstairs will remain unfinished for now. The area will mostly likely become a bunkhouse for firefighters. Also, there is an upstairs area on the north side of the building that will be used for storage. Showers and decontamination stations are situated on the lower north side of the building.
Cost of the 18,000-squarefoot building is about $3 million with $2.3 million coming from grant money. The fire department has been planning the building for more than 10 years.
Ashby has been the fire chief for eight years, following in the footsteps of his father Bryce Ashby. He said there are 27 men volunteering as firemen.
“We visited fire stations in Utah, Nevada and Colorado when we were in the planning process,” Ashby said. “We wanted something for an area about our size, and Busk Construction had built one there that we liked. So this is similar to the Richfield Station.”
Ashby said there is always a need for firefighters. “It’s always hard to find and retain good firemen. There is a great sense of pride to be able to help someone in need,” Ashby said. “The nice thing about being a firefighter is that you are running toward a fire to help while others are running away. When a family sees firefighters on the scene they have the feeling that everything will be OK now,” Ashby said. “We will always have room for good volunteers."
- Written by Sam
- Category: Featured News
Millard High School (MHS) will be accepting nominations for the 2017 Hall of Fame until January 20, 2017.
The Hall of Fame was established to recognize MHS graduates who have excelled in their various areas of accomplishment. The dual intent is to provide current students with role models who have achieved at high levels without some of the perceived resource advantages associated with large city high school, and to acknowledge the dedicated efforts and successes of prior MHS graduates.
Nominations should include a resume of the nominee and any other pertinent information that would be of value to the committee. The nominee must be a graduate of Millard High School.
The Hall of Fame committee will meet in January to make the selection for 2017. The annual Hall of Fame program is now held in conjunction with Homecoming at Millard High School.
Nominations can be sent to:
Millard High School
Hall of Fame Committee
Attention: Sherry Paxton
200 West Center
Fillmore, UT 84631
- Category: Featured News
By: Norman Murray (c) 2016
(December 3, 2016) During the early years of the last century, the advent of radio technology spawned activity among amateur enthusiasts. The early applications of wireless communication provided contact with ships at sea long before their arrival in port. As the level of activity increased, applications of the new technology became the object of government regulation so that today we have a variety of services, including the Amateur Radio service, licensed through the Federal Communications Commission.
Collectively, amateur radio operators pursue various interests engaging in local contacts through hand-held radios, or in long-distance communication by signal propagation around the earth, by links through satellites, or by reflection off the Moon. Depending on their licensed privileges, they may choose from a variety of modalities (for example, Morse code, digital, and voice). They communicate casually as conditions permit or by prior arrangement on an organized local, regional or national basis. Operators may join organized services to provide backup communications in emergencies to public agencies and private entities.
Some choose to participate at regular times in what are known as traffic nets for the purpose of originating, forwarding, and receiving formal messages for delivery. Such messages are known as Radiograms and may be sent to anyone within the United States or within any country having a bi-lateral treaty with the United States permitting such activity. The service is available to the general public at no charge. Messages are handled at the individual operator's discretion.
The operators handling a Radiogram pride themselves on rendering the message on delivery letter-for-letter the same as the original.
Anyone wishing to send such a message from a point of origin within the United States may engage the process by completing a Radiogram Request as follows:
Send a Radiogram – Today!
Need to communicate but lack the necessary means? If so, compose your message below and, after searching on the Internet at hamcall.net/search with your ZIP code for an amateur “Ham” radio operator near you, send your message through him/her.
Message text of 25 words or less:
( ) Verify receipt; ( ) Get a return message
Give your request to an amateur radio operator who will handle your message. Operators will relay your message by radio to an operator near the message’s destination, where it can be delivered by making a local phone call, by postal mail, or in person. The service is free of charge. Rev 6
- Written by Shellie Dutson
- Category: Featured News
A vehicle struck a 17-year-old Delta High School student on the morning of Friday, Sept. 30 at approximately 8 a.m.
According to Utah Highway Patrolman Alan Pedersen, the student was traveling northbound on 100 West. The cyclist failed to stop at the stop sign on Main Street.
By the time she entered the right hand travel lane, an eastbound car stopped abruptly to avoid colliding with her. A pickup truck, driven by a 16-year old student was traveling in the number one eastbound lane. The driver traveled past the first vehicle just as the cyclist was passing the stopped car in front of the pickup truck, colliding.
The 17-year-old cyclist was taken by ambulance to the Delta Community Medical Center. She was flown via LifeFlight to Primary Children’s Hospital as a precaution. According to Pedersen her injuries were not life threatening.
No charges will be filed in this incident.
- Written by Sam
- Category: Featured News
After 32 years of service, Captain Forrest “Trees” Roper has decided to retire from duty. Roper began his career in law enforcement in 1984, his first position as a patrol deputy with the Millard County Sheriff’s Office.
“My entire career has been with this office,” Roper said. Roper served as a patrol deputy for twelve years, then transferred to the Millard County Jail as a jail supervisor before being promoted to jail commander for seven years. Roper served as administrative lieutenant, before moving to his final position as Chief Deputy for the past eight years.
“I’ve been through just about every division we have, with the exception of investigations,” Roper said. “When they started me on, a deputy took the case and followed it through. Now detectives do all that.”
Roper said some aspects of law enforcement have changed since his beginnings. “Technology for one thing, like every other aspect of our lives, has changed drastically. We’re essentially still using the same radio system, with some modern modifications.”
Roper also said the perception of law enforcement by the public has been changing in the past few years.
While serving with the sheriff’s office, Roper was actively involved in the emergency preparedness of the county.
“In 1988, the emergency preparedness and management functions had been assigned by the county commission to the sheriff’s office,” Roper said. “So I’ve been involved since then with the State of Utah, and was introduced through the state to CERT.”
Roper was Chair of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). The LEPC is a function of hazardous material management. It is a federal requirement that each community has an LEPC.
“We, as well as most other counties and municipalities, use that forum as emergency planning for all hazards.”
One of Roper’s most memorable experiences during his career occurred on July 28, 1988.
Roper was halfway through his hazardous material training, when a truck wrecked approximately twenty miles south of Fillmore, and in the process, dumped twenty-five thousand pounds of extremely toxic sodium cyanide along Interstate 15.
“We ended up shutting down the freeway and closing the airspace for a five mile radius,” Roper said. “I was out there nonstop, for about ninety-six hours. We had responders from many other counties helping us. It could’ve been a lot worse.”
Roper credits the spill as more or less a good memory of his service--another event ingrained in his memory was the loss of Deputy Josie Greathouse Fox.
“I’ll never forget that,” he said.
Roper said he never initially had the great desire to enter law enforcement. “I was in between jobs, and thought it would be good benefits, and that it would be an interesting job and it has been.”
Roper’s previous jobs have included ten years as a building contractor, pouring concrete in the Salt Lake Valley, and local agriculture.
“I knew I’d never get rich doing this job but, overall, the people in this office and other offices, and the public have been great. There are times when you get a hug or a handshake from someone you’ve helped, and it makes it go a long ways.”
Roper said being a sheriff’s deputy has been one of the most rewarding jobs he’s ever had.
“Trees has been an asset to this office since the day that he started,” Sheriff Robert Dekker said, “He has one of the best work ethics of anybody I know. He’s never satisfied with mediocre, he’ll always do the best that he can.”
Dekker says Roper shines in whatever assignment he’s been given, with examples of helping modernize the sheriff office’s communication systems and keeping EMS codes up to date.
“He’s been a good friend and confidant. His position will be very hard to fill,” Dekker said.
Roper’s last day with the Millard County Sheriff’s Office is Oct. 3.
- Written by Mark Watson
- Category: Featured News
About 40 crop producers from Millard County spent last Wednesday learning how to improve the soil on their farms.
The producers gleaned information from a pair of experts in a classroom setting at the Millard County Fair Building in Delta. Then, they boarded a school bus to visit the farms of Paul McCollaum and Chance Lyman who have used some of the practices the past two years.
Lyman is a Delta Conservation District board member and was the main host for the event.
He enjoys the farming lifestyle and would like to keep his children in the area as they grow up. To do that he will need to keep his operation profitable.
“If I don’t begin to apply these (soil health) principles I’m not going to be in business to keep my children here,” Lyman said. “Following soil health principles I have found a way to reduce my negative influence on the ground. It’s challenging. Some of these things haven’t ever been used out here.”
Four main points provided by the experts to enhance the soil of fields were to provide continuous roots, maximize biodiversity, minimize disturbance and maximize soil cover.
Too much tilling and toying with depleted topsoil can lead to compaction that inhibits the amount of water to the plants.
Lyman feeds his herd of cows in certain locations to distribute the manure. “It’s cost-effective if I move my cattle versus spreading manure,” he said.
McCollaum said he has planted cover crops the past two years and has seen mixed results.
Utah State University Extension Soils Specialist Grant Cardon told the group that soil is a living, breathing tissue. He said topsoil is more organic than sub soils. “Topsoil can take 500 plus years to develop,” Cardon said.
He said loamy soil is the best, but soils can be amended with organic material. That process is known as tilth.
Cardon said people could help change soils naturally. Some of the practices in the past have been good and some bad. All the factors are interrelated.
Neils Hansen, agronomist with USU, also spoke to the group.
“It amazes me when I come out to Delta. You guys can farm!” Hansen said. “You’re growing things on an old lakebed that has been a desert for many thousands of years. It doesn’t have much organic matter. I have to take my hat off to you because you are creating something that has never been there before.”
Hansen said farmers should reduce tillage as much as they can.
“We love the idea of cover crops, eight to ten types of cover crops. We love cover crops because it increases organic matter, increases water infiltration, increases earthworms,” he said.
Lyman was pleased with the soil health workshop and field trip.
“If producers in the area start using soil health principles now, they will see major improvement and quality in the soil the next five years,” he said.
- Written by Sam
- Category: Featured News
The Millard County company LiquaDry was found not liable in a lawsuit for the wrongful death of 51-year old Valinda Conk, after a seven-day trial.
The eight-person jury of seven women and one man was selected from a pool of one hundred people over a one-day selection, and achieved their verdict after an hour and a half deliberation on the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 21.
Valinda Conk was killed on February 22, 2012, after her vehicle was involved in a collision with a Ford New Holland tractor allegedly owned by LiquaDry. The tractor was being used by a minor, another defendant in the case, for a local Future Farmers of America (FFA) event on the day of the accident. The incident occurred at the intersection of Cropper Lane and Lone Tree Road (Center Street), south of Delta, at approximately four o’clock in the afternoon.
LiquaDry was being sued by the estate of Conk under the allegations of being liable for allowing an inexperienced, incompetent, or otherwise unsafe driver to operate a piece of farm machinery, which in turn ended in the unexpected loss of her life.
However, the members of the jury felt the company was not responsible, as the minor defendant’s parents had asked LiquaDry for permission to use the tractor previously. The minor had intensive previous experience in the operation of farm machinery, and incompetency was not a believable factor in the original arrangement.
Due to the nature of the case, the verdict was not limited to “guilty” or “not guilty” options; rather, jury members were instructed to decide if they felt LiquaDry was responsible for Conk’s death, as their piece of farm equipment had been involved.
“Had this case been between two separate individuals, the outcome most likely would have been very different,” a juror said. “But, because of the circumstances and evidence, we felt that LiquaDry simply was not liable. We all took our time and deliberated, and this was what we felt was true.”
“This was a tragedy on both sides,” said Ruth Shapiro, attorney for LiquaDry. “This was not a matter of litigating the automobile accident or the tractor accident, but on whether or not LiquaDry was right to loan the tractor for a community event. The jury did its job, and felt it to be a proper decision.”
Shapiro credits the professionalism of the plaintiff attorneys in aiding the quick resolution of the trial. “This was a well tried case with the upmost professionalism.”
The Chronicle Progress reached out to the plaintiff attorneys but was unable to receive comment.