Mt. Pleasant Named “Preserve America” Community – Press Release 8/30/2004

DATE 08/30/2004 10:01 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Mt. Pleasant Named “Preserve America” Community

Mt. Pleasant City has been designated as a Preserve America community by First Lady Laura Bush. It is believed to be the first Utah city to earn the honor.Bush is the honorary chair of Preserve America, a White House initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve cultural and natural heritage. A letter from Bush was sent to Mt. Pleasant’s elected officials and citizens this month, congratulating the city on its new designation. In the letter, Bush said that Mt. Pleasant’s preservation efforts and enjoyment of its historical and cultural resources is an important part of the country’s heritage. “You honor our nation’s past and inspire and educate for the future,” the letter states. “As your community shares its story with residents and visitors, you set a great example for others.”

Monte Bona, a member of the Mt. Pleasant City Council, says “We are very happy to be designated as a Preserve American community. This designation reflects a community-wide effort over a long period of time to restore historical buildings and to honor our Mormon Pioneer heritage.” Bona adds that Mt. Pleasant has been a Main Street Community since 1994, which part of the National Main Street Program. The federal initiative involves the government working with communities across the nation to revitalize their historical or traditional commercial areas and save historical commercial architecture.

Preserve America was started in January. The program recognizes and designates communities that protect and celebrate their heritage, use their historic assets for economic development and community revitalization, and encourage people to experience and appreciate local historic resources through education and heritage tourism programs.

The initiative’s goals include a greater shared knowledge about the nation’s past, strengthened regional identities and local pride, increased participation in preserving the country’s cultural and natural heritage assets, and support for the economic vitality of our communities.

Benefits of designation include White House recognition, a Preserve America Community road sign, a listing in a Web-based Preserve America Community directory; inclusion in national and regional press releases; official notification of designation to State tourism offices and visitor bureaus; and enhanced community visibility and pride.

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For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

TBSI Announces 2004/2005 Workshop Schedule – Press Release 8/24/2004

DATE 08/24/2004 9:45 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

TBSI Announces 2004/2005 Workshop Schedule

The Traditional Building Skills Institute (TBSI) at Snow College, which aims to further the art of traditional building skills and educate people on how to use such skills in preserving historical buildings and in new construction, holds hands-on workshops throughout the year. TBSI has just finalized its workshop schedule for the rest of 2004 and first part of 2005. All of the three-day programs involve instruction and hands-on experience using widely recognized craftsmen.The workshops are designed for architects, builders, contractors, trades people, students, educators and homeowners. Students often travel to work on restoration projects throughout Utah, the United States and even in other countries. For more information on any of the workshops listed here, phone TBSI at (435) 283-7572 or fax the institute at: (435) 283-6913.

Sept. 16-18, Log Cabin Restoration Participants will visit cabins that have been previously restored and those in need of restoration work. They will be provided with a basis for assessing log cabin structures, including foundations. Students will learn about: the historical background of structures; causes of building deterioration; traditional log construction including log notching, low hewing and dovetail cutting; log repair and replacement; floor construction and building assessment. This course will take place in Ephraim.

Integral to this training is tool handling, safety issues, preservation planning and conservation of historically significant features of all buildings. Cabin owners, contractors and others interested in log work will benefit from this program. Cabin owners should bring photographs of their cabin for discussion and assistance in solutions for current problems.

Sept. 23-25, Adobe Restoration The workshop provides classroom and on-site instruction in adobe building techniques and historic adobe restoration. Participants have a hands-on opportunity to work on a typical 1875 southwestern Utah pioneer home. Topics to be discussed include Earth architecture and types of construction around the world; contemporary use of adobe; molds for adobe bricks; mixing proportions and additives; drying, curing and handling of adobe; deterioration of adobe and wall construction techniques.

Participants will take a tour of both historical and modern adobe structures in Virgin, La Verkin, and Silver Reef.

Sept. 30- Oct. 2, Timber Framing This hands-on workshop will cover the history, philosophy, and traditional practices for the designing, manufacturing and construction of timber frame projects. Participants will design, then layout timbers from plans and fabricate timbers using standard joinery and pegs.

Topics to be covered include history and understanding of timber framing; tools and equipment; timber framed design process; characteristics and strength of wood, including loads and forces; layout and cutting timbers; joinery: mortise and tenon; and assembly and raising.

October 7-9, Decorative Plaster This workshop teaches students how to repair, conserve and preserve historic plaster walls and ceilings. Students learn about traditional materials, mixes and plaster application techniques. They also learn to create and install decorative moldings and medallions.

The course will cover tools and plaster mixes; techniques of flat plaster; wood, metal and gypsum lath ornamental plaster; medallions and crown moldings and plastering problems.

Nov. 4-6, Stained Glass The workshop covers leading, foiling, glue chipping and stained glass repair. Students learn documentation, tool usage, glass removal, cleaning, re-leading and protection. Open to all levels of experience, participants fabricate their own stained glass window. Participants are encouraged to bring stained glass repair projects to class for consultation.

This workshop will cover the history of stained glass; cleaning, edge gluing, foiling, and repair; good and bad repairs; photography; tools, glue chipping; stained glass fabrication and bracing, putty, cleaning and protecting glass.

Nov. 11-13, Wood Furniture Making, Part 1 Participants learn traditional joinery techniques by using chisels and saws to construct a small pioneer storage chest. Students learn the use, care and sharpening of hand planes. This workshop is a prerequisite to Furniture Making II.

Topics for discussion include traditional joinery practices; smoothing with hand planes; hand cut dovetail joinery; turning a hand plane; sharpening a hand plane and a chisel; squaring a board by hand and setting a hinge. Students will visit Peel Furniture Works in Mt. Pleasant.

Jan. 13-15, 2005, Blacksmithing The object of this three-day workshop is to teach traditional skills of artistic blacksmithing. The workshop includes the philosophy of historic ironwork and hands-on reproduction of forged hardware such as hooks, hinges, pliers and chisels.

The course will cover blacksmith shop and equipment; forging techniques; hammering, drawing out and bending; tools and heat treating; hand forge a center punch or chisel; various hands-on blacksmithing projects; hand forged pliers; forge welding and iron for blacksmithing.

Jan. 20-22, 2005, Woodcarving This workshop emphasizes the skills necessary for professional architectural woodcarving, including efficient timesaving techniques, control and use of carving chisels, accurate understanding of structure, design, and layout. Each student works on an acanthus leaf or letter carving to gain a better understanding of carving principles. Students learn proper methods for sharpening chisels. This workshop is open to all levels of carvers. Those who have taken the workshop before can move on to other projects.

Topics covered will include carving safety; individual carving instruction; tool care and sharpening; carving design and layout; lettering and woods for carving.

Jan. 27-29, 2005, Wood Windows This course is a hands-on workshop for the traditional building skill of wood window fabrication, repair, and restoration. It includes the history of wood windows, restoration and preservation techniques. The course also teaches traditional practices in fabrication of wood windows. Each student constructs a small wood window.

The workshop will cover window terminology; old wood window removal and repair; paint and paint removal; hardware and maintenance; preparation for paint and glazing and small window shop project.

Jan. 31- Feb. 2, 2005, Faux Painting Students will learn to execute paint finishes to transform their surroundings. Emphasis is placed on wall treatments using paint to achieve sophisticated effects with texture, pattern and color mixing principles. Students learn to simulate expensive materials, such as marble and stone. In a hands-on environment, students also learn old world painting techniques including fresco and sgraffito and European-dry-wash techniques.

Topics and experiences to be covered include color mixing principles; European dry wash technique; antiquing and adding ornament to walls; techniques of marble and stone finishes; Fresco art and gold leaf application.

Feb. 3-5, 2005, Wood Furniture Making Part II There is a certain nostalgia and charm when hand crafting a furniture project. It speaks of a time when craftsmen had few tools but an abundance of skills. This second part of this course emphasizes traditional hand tool techniques and provides a wood crafting experience that makes one more confident with hand tools, something indispensable in day-to-day woodworking.

Handcrafted projects students will create include an heirloom tool chest; desktop table w/ drawer; wall-mounted tool cabinet w/door and drawers or a cabinetmakers chair. This course will also incorporate many hand-cut joineries such as dovetails, mortise and tendon, dados and rabbits, moldings and miters.

March 10-12, 2005, Historic Masonry This workshop provides a comprehensive study of the conservation and restoration of historic masonry by providing classroom instruction and hands-on experiences. The hands-on project is a late 1800 s historic masonry house.

Students will be involved in evaluating aging masonry structures, identifying the causes of masonry deterioration, and selecting appropriate solutions for the problem. They will also learn proper cleaning and paint stripping techniques, how to repair cracked masonry, treatment for deteriorating stone, stone patching, the role of mortar in historic masonry structure, and basic historic mortar analysis. They will also learn techniques for matching color, texture, hardness and tooling of historic mortar, as well as study mixing procedures using lime and hydraulic lime mortars. Students will also learn how to apply penetrating and breathable water repellents, how to construct a small lime burning kiln, how repair historic masonry with prepared mortar.

April 7-9, 2005, Stone Carving and Restoration At this hands-on workshop, master stone carvers provide expert instructions as participants discover traditional techniques of stone carving. Students learn restorative skills including: repairing, pointing, patching, and stone splitting by working on a historic, stone house.

Participants will learn about techniques of stone splitting, pinning and patching and will tour the quarry site in Manti. They will also work on a stone restoration project, assess a project site and do hands-on restorative and stone carving work.

April 14-16, Millwork This traditional course covers the practices of millwork replication and repair. Hands-on experience includes repairing existing millwork by learning fabrication, installation, and replacement of missing or damaged sections on historic buildings.

Students will see a slide presentation on the restoration of Utah Governor’s Mansion. They will also learn about millwork replication, Dutchman repair, decayed wood restoration, moisture in wood presentation, and fabrication.

For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Kanab Ready to Ride Annual Western Legends Roundup Starts This Week – Press Release 8/23/2004

DATE 08/23/2004 9:40 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Kanab Ready to Ride Annual Western Legends Roundup Starts This Week

Once again, Kanab is gearing up for the annual Western Legends Roundup Aug. 24-29. Kanab is known as Little Hollywood because hundreds of western feature films and television episodes were shot in the small town. Because of that history, the city likes to celebrate and honor some of the people who made pictures here and recognize the contributions that they made to the area each year.

This year’s celebration will include five days of authentic western legends culture, including a Western film festival, cowboy poetry, Western arts and crafts vendors, Native American square dancers, exhibitions, demonstrations, mountain men camps, wagon making, Navajo weavers, a quilt show, a wild horse western parade, wagon building, folklore displays, fiddle contests, food and more.

There will also be an impressive roster of cowboy poets, musicians and storytellers who will share their talents and interpretations of the “Old West.” Performers include renowned performers Ian Tyson, R.W. Hampton and Red Steagall.

This year’s event will also include a Wagon Train Trek Aug. 25-27 where participants will spend two days on a wagon train trek. The journey begins Wednesday with a get-together in Alton, Utah that includes dinner and getting-acquainted time. Thursday morning, participants will begin a 42-mile, wagon or walking journey south into Johnson Canyon, sleeping outdoors Wednesday and Thursday nights. The adventure can also include tickets to the Friday and Saturday shows at the round-up. For more information on the trek, contact Carolyn Grygla at 435-644-2285 or e-mail at grygla1@kanab.netphone  .

The festivities get underway Aug. 24th with a Cressent Moon Theatre Show. On Aug. 25th, there will be a Bryce Canyon Cowboy Tour, Ranch Rodeo, and Dutch Oven Dinner.

The opening ceremony dinner and headliner show will be Aug. 26 at Kanab High School. The event includes a Dutch Oven Dinner, cowboy music, cowboy poetry, and presentations. The cost is $20. At 9:30 p.m., there will be an open jam session of musicians and poets at Denny s Wigwam Cookout area.

Aug. 27 & 28 there will vendors, displays, the Cowboy Poetry Rodeo and the Western Film Festival and evening show. The Cowboy Poetry Rodeo will be held at the Old Barn Theater in downtown Kanab Aug. 27 starting at 7 a.m. and feature some of North America’s top cowboy and cowgirl poets who will compete for some $5,000 in prize money.

The Western Legends film festival will also begin Aug. 27 and feature locally-made Western films, tours of film locations in and around Kanab, lectures, discussions, celebrity panel discussions and showings of several Western movies, including Flicka and Wagon Train.

Other highlights include:

  • — Aug. 24, Bar G Wrangler Show, Crescent Moon Theatre, 8 p.m.
  • — Aug. 25, Demonstrations in cattle branding, show shoeing, history of sheep wagon and a tour of Bryce Canyon.
  • — Aug. 26, 10 a.m., Western Folklore Workshops at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. including: cowboy poetry writing and presentation, Western photography, hand quilting, clay pottery making and decorating, Western swing dancing, Old West Apparel Making, Western history of Kane County and Dutch Oven Cooking. For a complete workshop schedule, visit
  • — Aug. 27, 10 a.m., Western Stage Shows at various locations, and a silent auction.
  • — Aug. 28, cowboy poetry, Western stage shows, a parade, an art show, and numerous working displays including Indian rug weaving, wild mustang displays and mountain men demonstrations. At 5 p.m., there will be a Headliner Wild Mustang Show featuring young poets and performances by the Paria River Band and others. At 8 p.m., Ian Tyson, who has been a Western musician for four decades, will perform and the Cowboy Poetry winners will be announced.
  • — Aug. 29, 9 a.m. church tent revival at the Old Middle School.

A complete schedule of events and additional information is available online at As well, people may phone the Kane County Travel Council at 1-800-733-5263 or email 

For more information Contact:

Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Where is Utah’s oldest bar? Answer can be found at the “Tip Top” – Press Release 8/16/2004

DATE 08/16/2004 7:17 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Where is Utah’s oldest bar? Answer can be found at the “Tip Top”

Here is a little-known fact about U.S. Highway 89: in addition to the many historical buildings, homes and events, the scenic route is also “home” to Utah’s oldest continuously operating bar.The Tip Top Club, located right on the Heritage Highway in Centerfield, opened its doors in 1947 selling beer, ice cream, soda pop and sandwiches. It soon became a popular destination for people far and near in search of refreshment and some friendly socializing.

It has been a community establishment ever since, a not-so-easy feat in Utah. Over the years, there have been numerous changes to the state’s liquor control laws and many bars and private clubs have gone out of business.

But the Tip Top Club persevered. “The ice cream and soda pop went away, but it stayed a little beer bar and tavern and it has managed to remain open,” says owner Chuck Allred.

Some 57 years later, little has changed. The brick structure still looks much like it did back in the 1940s and 1950s, thanks to Allred’s careful restoration and preservation efforts. The only major modifications to the building have been indoor plumbing and wooden awnings. Inside, the bar is the same one that patrons sat at when the Tip Top first opened and the walk-in cooler dates back to the 1950s.

And it is still a local “hot spot.” “The community has really supported the place and kept it open through the years and all of the changes to Utah’s laws,” Allred says. “I think it is because it has always been there, the local people are used to it and they have worked to help keep it going.”

Allred and his wife, Debbie, bought the bar (and a home in Mayfield) after he fulfilled a life-long dream and “retired” in Utah. His father, Everett, was the oldest son of 10 children born to Centerfield residents Frank and Myrtle Allred. “I have been coming here for as long as I can remember,” Allred says.

“My mother had been after me for years to buy the Tip Top, and I always intended to retire here. When we came here for a family reunion in 2002, the club was for sale. I just happened to be looking for a house to buy, so I made arrangements to buy the Tip Top and my house. It was something I probably should have done years ago.”

Allred enlisted in the US Navy in 1962 and was stationed in California before serving three tours in Vietnam, where he was awarded numerous medals. After his honorable discharge in 1966 – and after only a week’s vacation – he went to work for the Pacific Telephone Company in Woodland, California. He later joined the California Highway Patrol and also worked as a private insurance investigator, establishing three with investigators and support staff offices.

After moving back to Centerfield and buying the Tip Top, Allred, backed by the town council, applied for and received private club status, which allows him to serve a larger variety of drinks. He has also added new entertainment features such as karioke every Friday night.

He admits that running a private club is a far cry from his earlier jobs, and it doesn’t lend itself well to retirement. “We are there six to seven days a week, I don’t think I can even call myself “semi-retired,”” he says with a laugh.

“But I like people and meeting new people, and everyone is very supportive of the place. We have members who come from as far away at Mt. Pleasant, Orem, Provo and Green River just because they like the atmosphere. That says a lot.”

For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502


DATE 08/08/2004 7:15 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.


The annual Sanpete County Fair will be held in Manti Aug. 14-28.

The fair provides local residents and out-of-towners alike with the opportunity to take a step back in time and experience life the way it once was in rural Utah. The old-fashioned celebration features some of the many county fair traditions started decades ago. It also preserves the culture and heritage of Sanpete County and celebrates the area s unique rural history.

Highlights of this year s fair include horse and cattle shows, royalty contests, rodeos, pet shows, barbershop quartets and a cowboy poetry concert. The King Cowboy, Richard Nielson, a longtime member of the Sanpete Cattlemen s Association, will preside over the annual event.

Festivities get underway Saturday, Aug. 14, with the Miss Sanpete County scholarship pageant at 7 p.m. in the Manti High School auditorium at 7 p.m. Cost is $6. The junior princesses have already been selected. They are: Hayley Rasmussen, 9, second attendant; Bailey Olsen, 11, first attendant; and princess Brianne Alder, 11.

Thursday, Aug. 19 there will be a 4-H fashion show at the Manti City Building auditorium at 6 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 23 there will be a Junior Buckle Rodeo for youth ages 6-17 at 6 p.m. at the Manti fairground s K arena. At 7 p.m., there will be a cowboy poetry contest at Manti High School featuring some of the best cowboy poets and singers in the nation. Cost is $4.

On Tuesday, Aug. 24, there will be a 7 p.m. barber shop quartet concert in the Manti High School auditorium. The event features the Utah Valley Chapter of the Skyline Chorus of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America. Admission is $3.

The fair s Exhibition Building will be open Wednesday, Aug. 25 from 4 to 7 p.m. featuring produce, baked goods, flowers, crafts and other displays. The midway carnival also opens on Wednesday at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m., there will be a Farm Bureau Talent Find at 7 p.m. at the Ephraim Middle School.

The Exhibition Building will open at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26 and every other day of the fair. Small animal judging will also begin that day at 10 a.m. At 1 p.m. the market lamb fitting and showmanship will be held. A local talent show will be held in the exhibition building from 4 to 6 p.m.

One of the highlights of the fair, the annual Demolition Derby, will be held at 7 p.m. Reserved seating tickets go on sale at the Sanpete County Exhibition office on Aug. 7 at 10 a.m. Tickets are $10 each and there is a limit of 10 tickets per person. General admission tickets are available the day of the derby for $7.

Fair events on Friday, Aug. 27, begin with bucket, calf fitting and showmanship at 9 a.m. and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., there will be an antique tractor and equipment show featuring old farm equipment.

The Pet Show, which is celebrating its 27th year, will begin at 11 a.m. and feature pets of all shapes and sizes. A Dutch oven cook-off will be held from 1 to 5 p.m.

The Big Air Extreme Motorcycle Show will begin at 3, 4, and 5 p.m. The show features professional freestyle riders performing stunts 40 to 60 feet in the air.

>From 4 to 7:30 p.m. there will be a local talent show, followed by a 5 p.m. lamb, swine and beef sale. At 6 p.m., Cruise Night featuring antique and show cars will begin on Main Street in Manti.

>From 7 to 8 p.m. there will be entertainment featuring Lu Don and Sound QWEST followed by the Broken Heart Rodeo family night at 8 p.m. Cost for an entire family is just $25. The cost of rodeo tickets for single ticket purchase and for subsequent performances is $7 for grand stand seating, $6 for adults general admission, $4 for children and $3.50 for seniors.

Events on Saturday, Aug. 28 include a 7 a.m. fun run at the Manti High School track, followed by the annual EMT breakfast at 8 a.m. and a rooster crowing contest at the small animal barn.

At 9 a.m. the 4-H goat show will begin. At 10 a.m., there will be a car show in front of exhibition building and the BLM Wild Horse Adoption North East of the rodeo grounds.

Other fair events beginning at 10 a.m. include mud volleyball, the local talent show and the antique tractor and farm equipment show.

At noon, there will be beef producers dinner in front of the Exhibition Building.

>From 12:30 to 1 p.m. a clown show class featuring Willie the Clown will be held. At 1 p.m. the best draft horse teams in the U.S. will be featured in an old-fashioned horse pulling match. The teams are much like those used a century ago to do farm work and weigh from 3,000 to 5,200 pounds.

At 2 p.m. there will be a mud scramble for cash and prizes for children ages 3 to 10 and at 3 p.m. a pie eating contest will be held in the Exhibition Building. At 4 p.m. car show awards will be presented.

The annual Mammoth Parade will be held on Main Street at 5 p.m. featuring floats and musical performances. Evening events include performances by Lu Don and Sound QWEST, followed by the Broken Heart Rodeo at 8 p.m.

Prior to the fair, there will be an Open Horse Show held at the Manti fair grounds. More than 30 categories. The competition will feature halter classes and showmanship classes for youth. Performance classes will include the lead line, walk trot, Western Pleasure and horsemanship divisions. There will also be trailer races, egg races, boot races, barrels poles and an obstacle course.

For more information Contact:

Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Restoration of Historical School Continues in Spring City – Press Release 7/23/2004

DATE 07/23/2004 2:03 PM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Restoration of Historical School Continues in Spring City

An effort to save a beloved old schoolhouse is continuing in Spring City. The Friends of Historic Spring City have recently increased their activity supporting the restoration and rehabilitation of the 100-year-old Victorian structure, raising and spending more than $100,000 on renovations this year.

“Community support has been crucial for our efforts to save this building,” says Gary Parnell, who is helping lead the initiative “People have opened their homes to strangers, donated their valuable, but unused items to rummage sales, and rolled up their sleeves to help with clean-up projects and fund raising activities.”

The school has stood proudly in downtown Spring City for more than 100 years. It is featured on city council letterhead and is prominently displayed on the city’s logo. “The old school is considered to be a superb example of public school architecture in Utah,” Parnell says. “It also has come to symbolize the cultural heritage of our town. Many of the people who grew up here attended school in the old building and have unique stories to tell about their experiences within its walls. Others who have come more recently to our town see the building as one of the historical and artistic qualities that drew them to make their homes here.”

The school, located on Centre Street, has not been used as a teaching institution since the 1950s. Built in 1899, it has eight classrooms, four on each level, as well as a large attic space, complete with windows. At one time, it housed all the grades, and was even used as a middle school and high school. A “new” elementary school was built next to the Historical Old School in 1920 and uses for the old school began to diminish. Eventually, the old schoolhouse became a make-shift storage facility for the school district.

The Friends of Historic Spring City started raising money to save the building. Two years ago, an art show and sale was held in the old school and the school was added to the annual Heritage Day Home Tour on Memorial Day weekend. The combined art sale and tour brought in more than $13,000 last year and $17,000 this year, according to Parnell. A community rummage sale raised an additional $8,000 this year, and a generous donation from an alumnus of the school added $10,000 to the total. “These amounts were combined with money raised previously, and a total of more than $60,000 was spent on a contract to build a seismic structure between the second level ceiling and the third level floor of the school. When this amount is matched with a grant from the National Parks Service (Save America’s Treasures) the total expenditure for this year’s renovations will be over $100,000,” Parnell says.

Already, the school has received a new furnace, curb and sidewalks and electrical wiring. The next phase of the restoration is likely to include, further seismic stabilization, plumbing and electrical systems for the upper floors, stairway repair and finish work to the walls, ceilings and floors, Parnell says.

In the near future, the Friends group hopes to continue the Heritage Day activities, solicit further funding from friends and alumni of the school, and approach local foundations that have been supportive in the past. They are also exploring the possibility of publishing postcards and prints and of making a documentary film featuring former students and their memories related to the building.

Among the uses for the school that have been considered is a proposal to open an artist-in-residence retreat, with art classes offered to the public.

For additional information on the Old Historical School restoration, call the Spring City offices at (435) 462-2244.

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For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Student’s Video Project Honors Local Veterans will be shown at July 4th Celebration – Press Release 6/24/2004

DATE 06/24/2004 6:51 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Student’s Video Project Honors Local Veterans Will be shown
at July 4th Celebration

Holidays such as Veterans Day and the Fourth of July will be more meaningful from now on to Mt. Pleasant resident Emilee Blackham.The 18-year-old has spent the last few months working on a video documentary featuring local veterans, asking them their feelings about patriotism and interviewing them about their experiences.

“I had no idea how many wonderful, interesting people we have living here,” Blackham says. “They all have so much love for their country and have such incredible stories to tell. Listening to what they have to say has made me want to be a better person, to be more patriotic.”

The video will be premiered July 4 during a Freedom Rally at North Sanpete High School. The 7 p.m. event is intended to bolster local patriotic pride and participation.

Blackham started making the video as a service project after being crowned Miss Mt. Pleasant in April. “I wanted to do something people would remember,” she says. Working with Central Utah Filmmaking, she interviewed more than a dozen veterans and families of veterans for the 15-minute video. Any proceeds from sales will go toward the restoration of the Veterans Memorial in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

Blackham, who will head to Snow College in the fall, says the best thing about the project was getting to meet veterans and their families. “As soon as they started talking, they would remember things, and then they would just keep talking and talking. It was a wonderful experience.”

One interview was particularly meaningful. A veteran talked about how wonderful it was so see people being more patriotic nowadays. “But he said that not too long ago, things were very different. He said that when the flag went past in a parade or something, only about one-third of the people would stand up or put their hands over their hearts. That made me more aware that we need to be patriotic all of the time, not just when there is a war.”

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For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Kids Raise Funds For Veterans Memorial – Press Release 6/18/2004

DATE 06/18/2004 11:48 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Kids Raise Funds For Veterans Memorial

A community effort to restore the Veterans Memorial in Mt. Pleasant got a sweet boost recently from local elementary school students.Fifth graders from Sheron Larsen and Gary Ovesen’s classes at Mt. Pleasant Elementary, guided by student teacher Michael Wright, raised $1,200 by setting up a candy store in their school. All of the proceeds from sales went to the restoration of the monument, which is located on the corner of Main Street and U.S. Highway 89.

The memorial, which honors local veterans who served in the Black hawk War, Spanish American War, World War I and World War II, th Korean War and the Vietnam War, has been in a state of disrepair for years.

While doing his student teaching in Mt. Pleasant, Wright noticed that the names of the veterans were missing from the memorial and decided to make it his community service project. “He came in and told the students that the names were falling off and said “we should do something to put them back on.” The kids were all for helping out,” Larsen says.

The fifth grade social studies curriculum is based on U.S. history. Students have been studying American wars and veterans visited their classes as guest speakers, Larsen says. “There has also been a lot of talk about the war that is ongoing. The students are very into loyalty ‘both to the flag and to their country’ so this was something they were very interested in doing.”

The teachers took the initiative to the city council, which has had an ongoing effort to restore the memorial, and received an enthusiastic go-ahead. The fifth graders wrote letters to local merchants asking for donations of candy. They also solicited help from Wal-Mart and the company agreed to match the student-raised funds. Far West Bank also heard about the initiative and sent $200 in support.

“Everyone was very helpful, all of the students and teachers in the school supported our candy store,” Larsen says. “Our goal was to raise $1,200 and we made it! The kids are very proud of themselves.” The students were recently recognized by Mt. Pleasant’s mayor and city council.

The restoration project is being overseen by a citizen’s group, as well as the city council, Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council, the Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance and local members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The preservation effort includes restoring the names of veterans currently listed, adding more names and searching for names that were lost due to deterioration or were removed over the years. There are also plans to add the names of local residents who served in the war in Iraq.

In addition to the students’ gift, the restoration project recently received a $500 anonymous donation and the city and county are applying for grants to help finance the rest of the $50,000 project. The county and city are supporting the project because it’s an important historical site and because it is a way to acknowledge the important role veterans played in the development of the region. The Mt. Pleasant newspaper, The Pyramid, has also been providing assistance by running enlarged photos of names on the monument in hopes of tracking down family members. Community members have also been asked to come forward with names of people they may know who are missing from the monument.

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For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

New Historical Museum Opens, First Exhibit Honors Veterans – Press Release 5/28/2004

DATE 05/28/2004 8:45 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

New Historical Museum Opens, First Exhibit Honors Veterans

A new attraction has opened along Utah’s heritage highway route, Miss Mary’s Historical Museum in Salina.

The museum, located in a historical former Presbyterian church at 204 S. 100 East, is on the State of Utah Register of Historical Places. The first exhibit, which opens May 29, honors the veterans of World War I and World War II. The exhibit will include displays, photographs, memorabilia and more.

The museum, which also is available as a special-events facility, has become a repository for the living history of Salina and Sevier County. Built as a church in 1884, it was constructed with stone brought from the quarry northeast of Salina. Its exhibits will depict the early settlement of Salina and its cultural history, including the influence of the mining industry.

The museum is named for Mary McCallum, a Presbyterian minister who came to Salina in 1920 as a missionary. The highly devoted and innovative teacher started the first Kindergarten in Salina. Her curriculum included arts and crafts, music and bible study. She was also known for her kindness towards misplaced Japanese Americans who settled west of Salina after the end of the war in 1941.

For information on the museum, contact Marilyn Cook, (435) 529-7738; Faye Burns, (435) 529-3968; or ReNonne Robins, (435) 529-7702.

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For more information Contact:

Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

‘Heritage’ Culinary Arts School to Open Along U.S. Highway 89 – Press Release 5/23/2004

DATE 05/23/2004 9:35 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

‘Heritage’ Culinary Arts School to Open Along U.S. Highway 89

Heritage dining and higher education will be coming together at the Horseshoe Mountain restaurant and motel in Mt. Pleasant.

The new owners, who took over the establishment earlier this month, are turning it into a school for students to develop skills in culinary arts and hotel and tourism management. “The motel and restaurant will be living laboratories for our students,” said Lance Madsen, who will direct the program.

The “Horseshoe Mountain” name is staying for now and the menu at the restaurant, which is located on historical U.S. Highway 89, will have a heritage bend. We will be including Dutch-oven and other authentic cooking styles in our instruction, methods that were typical when that area of the state was colonized, Madsen said. “We will also offer a variety of heritage meals.”

Students will gain experience in cooking, catering and hosting banquets and weddings, as well as in motel management. “They will learn all of the different aspects of running a hospitality business,” Madsen says.

In addition to hands-on training and instruction, students will also take part in internship programs where they will gain additional work experience with local businesses.

A dormitory-type residence is planned nearby to house students who will enroll in the 18-month program. The first class of about 16 students is scheduled to start in June. “We hope to have about 84 students in the program eventually,” Madsen says. Students will be of high school age and older. “It is another option for students who are looking for an alternative to the traditional high school setting,” he says, adding the program will provide students with assistance with finishing high school credits and testing if necessary.

Madsen envisions the Horseshoe Mountain restaurant and motel school being part of a larger training and education effort — the Legacy Career Development Center.

He sees the center offering programs in timber craft, which will include constructing log cabins; cosmetology; tourism; and other training and trades programs. He and his partners plan to work with the state education system to make the programs accredited and transferable.

“The components will be developed in phases and facilitate the others,” Madsen says, adding they are still in the process of pursuing licenses and other necessary approvals.

“Our philosophy is that we help students get training and skills so that they can find successful, well-paying jobs,” Madsen says. For more information, call 1-800-462-9330.

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For more information Contact:

Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Rhubarb Festival set for May 22 – Press Release 5/3/2004

DATE 05/03/2004 8:19 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Rhubarb Festival set for May 22

Utah’s only celebration dedicated to honoring the rhubarb will take place in Mt. Pleasant Saturday, May 22.The Annual Rhubarb Festival, sponsored by Native Wines and Peel Furniture Works, will be held from noon to 7 p.m. at the winery, 72 South 500 West. The event literally honors the rhubarb, a common garden plant used in making food products ranging from pies, bread and wine to jams, jellies and ice cream sauce.

The daylong festival will include cheese and wine tasting plus a variety of foods and drinks made from rhubarb. There will be contests for rhubarb eating and rhubarb pie baking and awards for the best food products in a variety of categories, judged by a panel of “food experts.”

The celebration also will include an ugly truck parade, soap box derby, ugly truck contest, vendors, sidewalk sales, live music and street dancing are all part of the day long activities. The “Rhubarb Queen” and “Defender of the Rhubarb” will also be crowned.

The festival, which was started several years ago by Native Wines owners Winnie Wood and Bob Sorenson, attracts crowds of visitors to the region each year. Native Wines uses locally grown and gathered fruit from heirloom trees, gardens and the countryside in its products.

For more information, phone Native Wines at (435) 462-9261.

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For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Conference Will Focus on Scandinavian Influence in West – Press Release 4/23/2004

DATE 04/23/2004 2:21 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Conference Will Focus on Scandinavian Influence in West

A conference dedicated to highlighting the cultural and historical influences of Scandinavian settlers will be held at Snow College May 27 & 28.“With the success of the Scandinavian Heritage Festival held in Ephraim each Memorial Day Weekend, the purpose of the conference is to give participants an understanding of the Scandinavian influence in the development of the West,” says Snow College Professor Kim Cragun, who is organizing the event, which is sponsored in part by the Utah Humanities Council.

Ephraim s Snow College was founded in 1888 by the Scandinavian pioneers that settled in the Sanpete Valley, which makes Snow College the perfect place to host a conference on Scandinavian Heritage, he adds.

The second-annual conference features keynote presentations by Lynn Poulson, a Professor of Family Studies at Snow College; Brad Taggart, an Instructor of Art at Snow College; and noted lecturer and author Paul Turner. There will also be concurrent workshops and a musical presentation of “Saints on the Sea.” The conference will be held in the historic Noyes Building’s Founders Hall at Snow College.

Poulson will speak at 9:15 a.m. Thursday on early Scandinavian families and families today. Taggart, a professor of art, will talk at 1:30 p.m. about renowned Danish-born painter C.C.A. Christensen, who converted to Mormonism and settled in Sanpete County. Christensen was best known for his paintings of pioneers and his Mormon Panorama, a monumental narrative that tells the history of the LDS Church. He was also a promoter of Scandinavian culture and taught Danish as well as drawing at Sanpete Stake Academy (later Snow College) in Ephraim.

Turner will give the keynote presentation on Friday at 11 a.m. on “Outlaws Along U.S. Highway 89.”

Conference registration begins at 8 a.m. Thursday. The cost is $20 in advance and $25 the day of the event. Cost includes a continental breakfast on Thursday. For more information contact Kim Cragun at (435) 283-4747 or Kim.Cragun@Snow.Edu.

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For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Scandinavian Festival a Celebration of History, Heritage – Press Release 4/22/2004

DATE 04/22/2004 2:21 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Scandinavian Festival a Celebration of History, Heritage

History, heritage, fun and food will be the main attractions at the annual Scandinavian Heritage Festival and Conference May 27-29 in Ephraim. The popular event attracts thousands of people to Sanpete County every year, many of whom travel along U.S. Highway 89, the Heritage Highway.The festival is an opportunity for people to learn about the influence of Scandinavians in Utah, says June Crane, an Ephraim resident and descendant of a Danish pioneer. Sanpete County s culture has been greatly influenced by settlers who arrived first in the Salt Lake Valley from the Scandinavian countries and then were assigned to colonize central Utah. Many were farmers, carpenters, stone masons, cabinetmakers and furniture builders. The architecture of their farm buildings, cabins and houses were influenced by construction techniques and building forms from back home, a uniqueness that is still present today.

The festival is also an opportunity to experience art and culture and authentic cuisine, Crane says. Highlights include a Scandinavian history conference at Snow College (see related story), booths, displays, food vendors, a 5K run, softball tournament, and activities such as rock climbing and pony rides.

Display booths will line College Avenue (100 North) between 100 and 300 East starting at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 28 through 6 p.m. Saturday. There will be “Old World Craft Booths,” which are educational exhibits of crafts dating back to Ephraim’s Scandinavian ancestors. This includes blacksmithing, woodcarving, pottery making, rug weaving, bobbin lace making and more. There will be demonstrations of Old World crafts from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

There will also be contemporary craft booths featuring items such as rustic birdhouses, crocheted items, quilts, fabric bags, artwork, jewelry, T-shirts, yo-yo balloons, aromatherapy products, candles and wood yard art. “Many of the Old World Craft and craft booth people tell me that this is their favorite festival,” says Crane, who has helped line up the booths for years. “They love coming to Ephraim, and they enjoy the friendly atmosphere of this community.”

Other highlights include a bread baking contest, with entries accepted from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Ephraim Senior Citizen’s Center. Participants can enter in one or all of the four categories: white, wheat, sourdough/French or variety/specialty. There will also be a children’s troll parade, clown shows and a Scandinavian Storytelling Festival, which will feature talks on stories of Hans Christian Andersen and other storytellers. The storytelling begins Saturday at noon.

There will also be numerous opportunities to sample heritage cooking, including the “Little Denmark Supper” on Friday night, the traditional smorgasbord buffet on Saturday and the Food Fair in front of the Science Building on Snow Campus on Friday and Saturday that will feature traditional Western foods with a Scandinavian flair.

Scandinavian Festival and Conference – Schedule of Events

Thursday, May 27

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Scandinavian Heritage Conference Founders Hall, Snow College

Friday, May 28

Entertainment Throughout the Day, Snow College Lawn

9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Scandinavian Heritage Conference Founders Hall, Snow College

12 p.m. Craft Booths and Food Booths, Snow College

2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Bread Baking Contest Senior Citizens Center

5 p.m. Little Denmark Supper Greenwood Center – Snow College

Saturday, May 29

Entertainment all day, Main Street, Snow College Lawn

7 a.m. 5-K Registration, Ephraim Co-op

8 a.m. 5-K Run, Ephraim Co-op Lions Club Scandinavian Breakfast, Snow College

9 a.m. Old World, Craft and Food Booths Open, Snow College Art Displays, Central Utah Art Center

10 a.m. Quilt Expo, Ephraim Co-op Upper Floor

11 a.m. Scandinavian Parade Ephraim City Library fundraiser, City Library

11:30 a.m. Dedication of new Ephraim City Building

12 p.m. Noyes Building Tours, Steps of Noyes Building – Snow College Ugly Troll Contest, Snow College Family History Center, open 12- 4 p.m. Smorgasbord Lunch, Greenwood Center Storytelling Festival, Greenwood Center Willie the Clown, Snow College Lawn

1 p.m. Historical Bus Tours, 1st North and 1st East (every hour until 3 p.m.) Horseshoe Tournament, Snow College Sports Complex (300 North)

5 p.m. Sage Brush Square Dancers

Monday, May 31

Memorial Day Service, Ephraim City Cemetery

For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Soap Box Derby Returns to Mt. Pleasant – Press Release 4/19/2004

DATE 04/19/2004 3:12 PM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Soap Box Derby Returns to Mt. Pleasant

Mt. Pleasant’s Main Street will take on the look of yesteryear come May, when the city hosts the Third Annual “Soap Box Derby” races. The event was designed to bring the once-popular races back to the streets of Mt. Pleasant. It has grown in popularity in the last couple of years, with some 20 cars expected to compete in this year’s races, which will be held May 22. They are sponsored by the Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council and local resident John McClelland.

“Anything goes,” says McClelland, who also oversaw last year’s festivities. “And we get anything and everything too, from a two-by-10-foot board with wheel barrel wheels, to streamlined, competitive cars. We leave it open so that the kid who just has a set of lawnmower wheels can come and have fun too. There is something for everyone.”

The races get underway following an Ugly Truck Parade at noon down Main Street that will include soap box derby cars. Both the parade and races are part of the city’s annual Rhubarb Festival.

A 16-foot ramp will be built at one end of the street for the Soap Box derby, with a finish line at the opposite end. A police radar will display times and speeds. McClelland plans to run qualifying heats to determine which cars will compete against each other. Winners of each heat will move to the next round, with the final winner receiving a grand prize. “We want to have the “fast cars” racing the fast cars so that it is fair and enjoyable,” he says.

But, he adds, the fastest, slickest-looking cars don’t always win. “Last year, the winner brought a car that his friend had raced in 1964. He ended up beating all of the new, streamlined cars.”

Soap Box Derby races used to be a popular event in Sanpete County, with a lot of local residents taking part as children. The races first became popular in the 1930s.

It is believed they officially started when a Dayton, Ohio, Daily News Photographer encountered three boys racing homemade, engine-less cars down an inclined brick street. He reportedly came up with the idea to hold a coasting race and award a prize to the winner. The first official race was held in 1933, with more than 300 kids showing up with homemade cars built of orange crates, sheet tin, wagon and baby-buggy wheels and almost everything of “junk value.”

As to be expected, Soap Box derby races have grown in popularity and sophistication over the years, with contests now full of regulations and restrictions. But Sanpete County’s races remain true to the original “anything goes” soap box derby philosophy. Cars can be made of any material, including plastic, wood, metal. They should be about six to seven feet long and about three feet wide. Drivers should range in age from about eight to 16 years.

For additional information, contact McClelland at (435) 462-3808.

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For more information Contact:

Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

TBSI Has “Fairy Tale” Experience, Helps Restore Castle in Wales – Press Release 4/12/2004

DATE 04/12/2004 3:03 PM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

TBSI Has “Fairy Tale” Experience, Helps Restore Castle in Wales

It has all the makings of a fairy tale: a couple buys what they think is a chicken farm and 17th- Century manor house complete with a tower in the Wales countryside. But once they move in, they start to uncover clues about the house’s history. They discover that their farm house is really a palace, the last home of a brave prince and his baby daughter.The prince’s wife died in childbirth, so the little girl is his only family and heir. The story takes an even sadder turn when the prince is killed by a bitter king when the child is less than a year old. The little girl is forced to spend her life in seclusion in a convent, never knowing she was the first and last true born princess of Wales.

What makes the tale so compelling is that it is true, and it has also become the real-life adventures of Kathryn and Brian Pritchard Gibson, of Wales. Now, Snow College’s Traditional Building Skills Institute (TBSI) is part of the story.

The first chapter involving TBSI began this spring when director Russ Mendenhall and 10 others associated with the institute spent three days working on the “castle.” Mendenhall heard about the house through John Lambert, owner of Abstract Historic Masonry in Salt Lake City, who found out about it on the Internet. Eventually, Mendenhall and Lambert contacted the couple and the group was on their way to Wales.

Mendenhall says he didn’t know anything about Pritchard Gibson’s before meeting them at their farm in Wales, and the couple didn t know anything about him or TBSI. “Our only contact had been through the Internet, so we didn t know what to expect when we got there,” he says.

“It turned out to be one of the most delightful experiences any of us had ever had…right away, we could tell we were working on a building that is 600 years old at least.”

The group focussed on a 12 foot- by-12-foot section of the home, removing old cement and mortar and restoring it back to the historical lyme putty-type mortar and doing other repairs. It was the oldest structure we have ever worked on, Mendenhall says.

TBSI, which aims to further the art of traditional building skills and educate people on how to use such skills in preserving historic buildings and in new construction, holds hands-on workshops throughout the year in Utah. But its students often travel to work on restoration projects like the one in Wales.

The entire group stayed with a host family in the town of Rhyl at a former bed & breakfast. They also travelled a bit around Wales and England. “It was wonderful. Kathryn, who is a historian, was able to tell us all about the area and about the house, so we got to see and do so much more than you would as a typical tourist,” Mendenhall said.

After the Pritchard Gibson’s moved into the farm house in 1992, they started discovering secret rooms and hidden stairways. Kathryn Pritchard Gibson started researching the house and found letters and documents in archives throughout Wales that provided clues about the home.

Locals had long called the home “Llewelyn’s Tower” but no one knew why. Turned out that Llewelyn the Last, the last prince of Wales, had lived in there with his baby daughter, Gwenllian. The prince was killed in a skirmish that was the result of a long-time feud involving King Edward I of England (the title Prince of Wales eventually went to Edward’ son, Edward II). King Edward ordered the baby princess abducted and she was sent to a convent.

Seeing and working on the home was like living history, Mendenhall says. “Kathryn took us up to the house’s tower, and you could see all the way across the land and to the sea,” he says. “It must have been a very strategic spot for watching out for the enemy, you would be able to see them coming quite a ways away by ship and be prepared for battle.” Next to the home there are several other smaller stone structures, including a building that use to be a chapel. “Rumour is that Llewelyn could be buried under the floor,” he says.

Mendenhall will be taking another TBSI group back next spring. “We had an incredible time and there is still a lot of work to be done.”

For more information, contact Mendenhall at (435) 283-7575.

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For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

World’s “Best Talkers” Came to Sanpete as Competitors, Left as Friends – Press Release 3/29/2004

DATE 03/29/2004 7:27 PM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

World’s “Best Talkers” Came to Sanpete as Competitors, Left as Friends

They came, they saw and they talked and talked and talked. More than 50 of the world’s fastest and most persuasive speakers gathered in Mt. Pleasant this past weekend for the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships at Wasatch Academy. They represented some seven countries around the globe and competed in debate, impromptu speaking, interpretive reading and persuasive or after-dinner speaking.“It was just incredible, these teenagers are amazing, amazing public speakers,” said LeAnn Packard-Bird, event manager.

In the end, it was the Canadians who walked away with top honors, nabbing six of the top-10 placements, including the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, won by Sarah Mortazavi and Sarah Sahagian. “The girls ruled,” Packard-Bird said.

South Africa and the United States also had students among the top finishers. Wasatch Academy’s own Josh Nowitz placed 28th out of 52 contenders after the “grand finals” at the State Capitol Sunday. His classmate Jason Mischel was 39th.

But when all was said and done, the competitors didn’t really care that much about the final marks, Packard-Bird says. What ended up being more important was doing their best, learning a lot about themselves and making friends with people who live half way around the world. “There was a lot of camaraderie. The students were here competing against one another, and ended up being great friends.”

The four-day event started with competitions held at Wasatch Academy last Thursday and Friday. It was the first time a U.S. school has been awarded the prestigious honor of hosting the competition, which is sponsored by the Independent public Speaking Association. In order to take part, invited participants must have already won qualifying tournaments in their own countries or regions. One country could send a maximum of five students. Previously, the competition has been held in the United Kingdom, Argentina and Cyprus.

Joe Loftin, director of Wasatch Academy, and debate coach Tass Bey said the 129-year-old private school was a good choice to host the annual event. The academy has about 150 students from 21 states and 14 countries. The competition was also a perfect opportunity to share a bit of Sanpete County’s history and traditions with the world, says Monte Bona, a member of the Mt. Pleasant City Council and Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council.

Competitors stayed in Wasatch’s dormitories and ate in the school’s cafeteria. “They loved it and basically took over the campus,” Packard-Bird said with a laugh. “The coolest thing was that all of the kids got to experience every bit of Utah weather while they were here: there was warm sun, wind, rain and snow. We had kids leaving the cafeteria on Friday because it was snowing, and they had never seen snow before,” she says.

There were also a lot of activities in addition to debate and speaking, including a trip to Arches National Park and Moab, a Native American dance performance by Wasatch Academy student Ali Denny, and a turkey barbecue and performance by a Western entertainment group sponsored by Mt. Pleasant. “The city put on an incredible event, the performers were amazing,” Packard-Bird says.

On Saturday, the students went to Salt Lake City to attend a Jazz game and stay over at Little America, with the hotel helping sponsor the trip. Following the final competition rounds Sunday, there was a dinner at the Hard Rock Cafi. “The kids were dancing and singing in the aisles at the top of their lungs,” Packard-Bird says. “They were entertaining the entire restaurant. We had to drag them back on to the bus to go up to the Capitol to pick up their awards.”

Michael D. Zimmerman, former justice on the Utah Supreme Court, handed out the awards. Trophies were awarded to the top four finishers in debate and the top two competitors in the other events, as well as to the top over-all competitors, which took into account scores from all events.

Winners are:

Overall: Sarah Mortazavi, Canada, and Sarah Sahagian, CanadaDebate: Adam Zelmer, Canada; Michael Shapiro, United States; Chris Ryall, South Africa; Sarah Mortazavi, Canada

Interpretive Reading: Natasha Mavronicola, Cyprus; Sarah Sahagian, Canada

Persuasive Speaking Chris Ryall, South Africa; Sean Burnstein, Canada

After-dinner speaking Zahid Sunderani, Canada; Christina Meng, Canada

Impromptu speaking Sarah Mortazavi,Canada; Sarah Sahagian, Canada

“When it was all over, it was so cool to watch all of the kids hugging and kissing farewell and exchanging email address,” Packard-Bird says. “The students kept lingering, they just didn’t want to leave.”

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For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Manti Open House will Honor Memory of “Big Daddy” Roth – Press Release 3/19/2004

DATE 03/19/2004 6:55 PM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Manti Open House will Honor Memory of “Big Daddy” Roth

Manti will be transformed the weekend of April 2 and 3 as hundreds of fans of “Big Daddy” Roth flock to the small Utah town to celebrate the life of the renowned artist/car designer Ed Roth.Roth, who was famous for designing and building hotrod cars and for creating the cartoon character “Rat Fink” in the 1960s, died in Manti April 4, 2001. Two years ago, his wife, Ilene Roth, the Sanpete County auditor, decided she needed to find a way for people who loved and respected her husband and his work to honor his memory.

“When Ed passed away, he had all these memorabilia in boxes, so I decided that I needed to show it.” So Ilene Roth built an addition on to her Manti home that serves as a museum of sorts for Ed Roth’s creations. “We have his art work framed and hanging on the walls, and other memorabilia on display.” The museum is open to the public year-round by appointment.

Ilene Roth also decided to hold an open house so that people could visit the museum and honor her late husband’s memory. “Last year was the first time that we had the open house, and we had about 250 people there, including visitors from Japan,” she says.

After that experience, Ilene Roth decided to make it an annual event, holding the open house each year around the date her husband passed away. “Trixie’s Second Annual Open House” will run Friday, April 2, from 4 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, April 3, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at her home in Manti, 404 East 300 North.

“I am expecting about 700 to 800 people this year,” Ilene Roth says.

The event will include musical performances by the band Ridge Runner and displays of show cars. There will also be pin striping by “stripers.” “They will work on anything people bring in: tool boxes, cell phones, cameras, toilet seats, boats and cars,” Ilene Roth says.

Ilene Roth met her husband after he moved to Manti from California in 1987. An avid hotrod enthusiast from the age of 12, Ed Roth started out by fixing up old cars in his garage. He then moved on to building cars from scratch and quickly became known as an artist rather than a mechanic, with his creations earning the title “sculptures on wheels.”

He financed his passion by making cartoons and T-shirts, including drawings of cars and monsters driving cars. His most famous cartoon character was a rodent named Rat Fink, which became very popular in the 1960s and was featured on posters, T-shirts and more.

“The purpose of the open house is for people who admired Ed’s work to get together, remember him, and enjoy doing what he loved,” Ilene Roth says.

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For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

New Legislation Strengthens State’s Push for National Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area – Press Release 3/7/2004

DATE 03/07/2004 4:29 PM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

New Legislation Strengthens State’s Push
for National Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area.

The sense of anticipation about the National Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area continues to grow in the cities and town along U.S. Highway 89, the Heritage Highway.

The state Legislature approved two bills during this year’s session that complement U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett’s effort to move the national designation forward.

The first bill, sponsored by Sen. Leonard Blackham of Moroni, establishes a Mormon Pioneer Heritage Center in connection with Utah State University. The center will coordinate research and extension efforts in recreation, heritage tourism and agriculture.

“It’s intended to work in conjunction with the Bennett bill,” said Monte Bona, a member of the Utah Highway 89 Alliance, which has been actively supporting the national designation. Bennett’s bill aims to help preserve cultural and architectural treasures of Utah’s pioneer heritage and strengthen opportunities for local heritage-related businesses and products in the state.

“The center will help carry out the responsibilities of the National Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area and empower communities to preserve and enhance their heritage.”

This includes having extension agents work with local communities to enhance the production of heritage and craft products and develop business tourism plans. The center will also enter into cooperative contracts with the U.S. departments of agriculture and interior, and with state, county, city, public and private agencies. “It’s extremely important to have a center located at a college with the stature of Utah State University, in terms of its involvement in recreation studies, agriculture and agricultural extension,” Bona says. “It will add prestige and faculty expertise to the goals and objectives of the Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area.”

The second bill, sponsored by Rep. Michael Styler of Delta, establishes the boundaries of the Utah Pioneer Heritage Area, and specifies that the area be labeled as such on all officials maps, signage and other identifying materials.

The area includes U.S. Highway 89 from Fairview to Kanab, the Boulder Loop (state highways 12 and 24), the All-American Road (highway 12) and the six counties through which the route passes: Sanpete, Sevier, Piute, Wayne, Garfield and Kane.

Bona says that the cities and towns in the six-county area are the best remaining example of how Mormon pioneers colonized the west. “The heritage area includes countless examples of rich cultural and architectural history shaped by the early settlers.”

 “Both of the approved measures are companion pieces at the state level to the Bennett bill,” Bona says. “We are all pulling for this national designation.”

Traditionally, areas that attain national heritage designation receive millions of dollars in federal funds for marketing, historic preservation and related projects.

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For more information Contact:

Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Utah’s Best Drinking Water Found in Mt. Pleasant – Press Release 2/29/2004

DATE 02/29/2004 12:45 PM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Utah’s Best Drinking Water Found in Mt. Pleasant

Mt. Pleasant City has another feather to add to its cap of accomplishments: it’s home to the best drinking water in the state.The city captured top honors for its quality of drinking water during the Rural Water Association of Utah’s annual meeting in St. George Feb. 24-27 that attracted some 1,400 participants.

The city beat out 40 other entries in a statewide “taste test” of rural Utah’s drinking water. Water was judged for taste, clarity and smell by a panel. Mt. Pleasant will now compete for the title of best drinking water in the country at the National Rural Water Association’s annual meeting in the spring.

The first-place finish was both an unexpected and expected outcome for Richard Brotherson, Mt. Pleasant City’s Public Works Supervisor. “I was surprised to hear that we had won, but not surprised that they thought our water was the best. We have great water,” he says.

Just what makes the city’s water so incredible tasting? “It’s all spring water, all well water,” Brotherson explains. “We don’t chlorinate it. We don’t touch it. It never sees the light of day until it comes out of your tap.”

Mt. Pleasant City Councilor Monte Bona, who attended the annual conference with Brotherson, doesn’t have to be told how good the city’s water is he has been boasting about it for years.

A frequent traveler throughout the Western United States, Bona and his wife, Jackie, make sure they never leave home without their beloved water. “We take gallon jugs of it everywhere we go to California, New Mexico, Arizona, Oregon. We even take water with us when we go to Salt Lake,” he says.

Bona, who moved to Mt. Pleasant in 1994, says he became hooked on the local water the first time he tasted it. “Now we’re spoiled, we can’t stand to drink any other city’s water.”

Bona is also extensively involved in the state and national Main Street Program and the U.S. Highway 89 Alliance. He says that Mt. Pleasant’s water is another draw for people who come to Sanpete County and travel along U.S. Highway 89 in search of heritage experiences.

“What could be more authentic than pure, delicious well water? The only difference between the water now and the water that was here 100 years ago is now it comes out of the tap in your home.”

Bona says he plans to help the city look into the feasibility of bottling its water under a “Mt. Pleasant Main Street” label. The city is part the National Main Street Center of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which works with cities to revitalize their historic or traditional commercial areas and to save historic commercial architecture and the fabric of American communities.

Bona plans to take samples of Mt. Pleasant’s water to the annual Main Street meeting in New Mexico in May to see what others think of the award-winning water.

By then, Mt. Pleasant just may have earned another accolade. Brotherson will be attending the National Rural Water Association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., in April. The city’s water will go up against the “best of the best,” competing against other state winners in a national taste test.

Brotherson, a 26-year veteran of Mt. Pleasant’s Public Works department, isn’t daunted by the thought of a national competition. “I will be hard to beat us. I don’t think there is better tasting water anywhere.”

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For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Where the Buffalo Roamed…. Discovery of Skull Opens New Chapter in Utah History – Press Release 2/23/2004

DATE 02/23/2004 8:43 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Where the Buffalo Roamed….
Discovery of Skull Opens New Chapter in Utah History

Utah was once a land where the buffalo roamed, according to new evidence “uncovered” by two Salina men. It has long been believed that buffalo were never native to Utah, but a skull found in Salina Canyon by local resident Maurice Rasmussen was recently documented to be the remains of a buffalo dating back to the 14th Century.The skull, which has been under the care of the Office of Public Archeology at Brigham Young University for the past several years, was recently sent to New Mexico where a series of tests determined its age. “It turns out that the skull is from about 1350 A.D.,” Rasmussen says.

“It’s quite a thing when you think about it, something was living right here that many years ago and I just happened to find out about it.”

Rasmussen came across the skull in 1978 when he was building a road for the Red Creek Mine up Salina Canyon. “We had dug down about five feet in one area when we spotted something that looked like the brain cavity of skull. I got down into the hole and scrapped it out, and it turned out to be a skull. It was a miracle that we found it, if we would have dug about an inch lower or an inch higher, we never would have seen it.”

After showing it to few friends and trying to guess what kind of animal it was (he thought it might be a bull), Rasmussen simply added the skull to his personal “collection.” “I’ve found and kept a lot of things as I’ve gone through life “rocks and such,” he says. “I just thought that this was something else to keep.”

The skull might have remained part of Rasmussen’s collection forever had it not been for Bob Leonard, an archeologist for Fishlake National Forest. About sevenyears after Rasmussen found the skull, the two men, who are both from Salina, were discussing the interesting things that have been uncovered in Salina Canyon and Rasmussen mentioned his find.

“Bob came out and looked at it and got very excited,” Rasmussen says. “He said it was a buffalo skull and that it might be the only proof in 400 years that buffalo were in this part of Utah.”

Leonard says it was obvious at first sight that the skull from a buffalo. “You didn’t have to be forensic scientist to figure it out the skull was complete, it had horns and everything.”

The skull ended up being donated to BYU, where it has been in storage for several years. “We simply never had the money to send it away to be analyzed.” Leonard says. “But just recently, the office at BYU came up with the funding to get it dated and got the entire process moving.”

Leonard says the test results are “amazing.” “It’s very exciting news. On a scale of 1 to 10, I put it at a 10. It opens up a whole new mystery.”

Most interesting, he says, is the fact that buffalo remains have never been found in the “trash piles” left behind by the Fremont people, who lived in Salina Canyon hundreds of years ago. Their villages and artifacts have been uncovered and documented. The remains of other animals, including rabbits, deer, antelope and sheep, have been found among the Fremont ruins. But no buffalo. “If the buffalo were here, why didn’t the Fremont people utilize this resource?” Leonard asks.

“That is why this is so intriguing. We thought that we knew everything there is to know about the Fremont people, obviously, we didn’t know everything.”

Rasmussen, a life-long resident of Salina (his grandfather, Neils C. Rasmussen, founded the town), adds that he is elated that he uncovered a interesting part of Utah’s history. “But the skull is just one part of it. There are a lot more stories to be told in that area.”

Indeed, the buffalo skull just one of the many interesting items that have been found in Salina Canyon. It’s also home to, among other things, Fremont villages, shelters built by the earlier “hunter and gatherer” native people, and pictographs. “It’s a fascinating area,” says Leonard, who hopes to lead a volunteer excavation in the canyon this summer.

In addition to the Freemont sites, the canyon is rich in history, Leonard says. It was the site of the violent incident between two settlers and a band of Ute Indians that started the Black Hawk War; had a railroad and a prosperous coal mine built in it; and was used by Walkara, a man known as the “greatest horse thief in the West.” “He would drive horses and stolen stock through the canyon,” Leonard says.

The canyon also includes several valleys that were probably once lush with grass, he says. Leonard speculates that this is where the buffalo lived. “They probably didn’t roam the land freely in huge herds,” he says.

More than likely, they lived in the valleys in small herds. But the important fact is that they were here.”

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For more information Contact:Bob Leonard, (435) 896-9233 or Maurice Rasmussen, (435) 529-7762
Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Not a Carnegie, But…. Gunnison Proud of Civic Library – Press Release 1/26/2004

DATE 01/26/2004 7:15 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Not a Carnegie, But…. Gunnison Proud of Civic Library

It may not be a Carnegie Library, but residents of the city of Gunnison, located along U.S. Highway 89, the Heritage Highway, are still as proud as they can be of their local library.“We want people to know that we have a library, and that it is an important part of the community and our history,” says Jerolyn Young, a member of the Gunnison City Council and Gunnison Civic Library board.

Last year, the Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council wrote articles publicizing the fact that the county is home to three of Utah’s remaining 17 Carnegie Libraries in Mt. Pleasant, Ephraim and Manti. All of the libraries were constructed early in the 20th Century as part of a nationwide and even worldwide effort by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to establish public libraries.

After the articles were published, Young and other members of the Gunnison City Council decided they wanted to draw attention to their library ” Carnegie or not ” that was established in 1943 thanks to a grass-roots community effort. “The citizens of the area got together and said “we need a library” and made it happen,” Young says. In 1979, the library was moved to its present home at 38 W. Center Street, one of the city’s oldest buildings that also houses the city courts, police station and senior citizens center.

The 2,445-square-foot library serves the city of Gunnison, along with the communities of Fayette, Mayfield and Centerville. “We have meetings there, weekly story hours for children and many other activities, along with computers and reading areas,” says Young. “A lot of the high school students come to the library to work, it’s always quite busy.” The library also has a book-sharing program that allows patrons to borrow materials from other libraries in Utah and the United States.

The Gunnison Civic Library has one full-time librarian, Stephanie Prisbrey, along with a nine-member library board. During the winter months, it s hour of operation are Monday-Thursday, 2 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. During the summer months, it’s open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. The Library may be reached at (435) 528-3104 or online at

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For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

World’s “Best Talkers” to Gather in Sanpete County; Competing in debate championships at Wasatch Academy – Press Release 1/18/2004

DATE 01/18/2004 7:15 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

World’s “Best Talkers” to Gather in Sanpete County;
 Competing in debate championships at Wasatch Academy

Some of the fastest and most persuasive talkers in the world will converge on Mt. Pleasant City March 24-28 for the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships at Wasatch Academy.This is the first time a U.S. school has been awarded the prestigious honor of hosting the event. And Joe Loftin, director of the 129-year-old private school in Mt. Pleasant, says Wasatch Academy was a “very appropriate choice.””We have an extremely diverse campus and this will be an extremely diverse competition,” he says. The academy has about 150 students from 21 states and 14 countries.

The debating championships will attract close to 100 award-winning student debaters from more than 20 countries around the globe. Previously, the annual event has been held in the United Kingdom, Argentina and Cyprus.

The competition is a perfect opportunity to share a bit of Sanpete County’s history and traditions with the world, says Monte Bona, a member of the Mt. Pleasant City Council and Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council.

“We are working closely with Joe and with debate coach Tass Bey in welcoming people from all over the world to our town,” Bona says. “We will be introducing them to our rich heritage and emphasizing the wonderful educational opportunities that are available here, as well as the cultural diversity that exists in the proposed Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area.”

For his part, Loftin says he hopes the event will help put the respected boarding school “on the map.”

Competitors all will take part in four events: debate, impromptu speaking, interpretive speaking and persuasive or after-dinner speaking. The championships are sponsored by the Independent public Speaking Association, a group of private schools located primarily in the Eastern United States and in England.

In order to take part in the competition, invited participants must have already won qualifying tournaments in their own countries or regions. One country may send a maximum of five students.

Last year, Wasatch Academy student Eli King qualified to take part in the world championships that were held in London, England. This year, Joshua Nowitz qualified to participate in the tournament. Born in South Africa and raised in Houston, Texas, Nowitz received accolades from the city of Houston for his accomplishment, along with a “Shining Star of Texas” award from Governor Rick Perry.

In addition to the debate competition, Bey has arranged for participants to learn about “play theory” from some of the nation’s foremost experts. The theory holds that learning is most effective when melded with play activities. Competitors will also take part in recreational activities, including a field trip to Arches National Park.

Wasatch Academy has only had a debate program for about two years. Bey, who moved to Mt. Pleasant from Canada in 2001, launched the forensics program when he arrived.

# # #

For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Elk Are Back At Wind Walker Guest Ranch – Press Release 1/12/2004

DATE 1/12/2004 7:15 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Elk Are Back At Wind Walker Guest Ranch

Sent: Monday, January 12, 2004 7:13 AMThe elk are back! The elk are back! Loretta Johnson wanted to shout it from the tops of the mountains that tower over her Wind Walker Guest Ranch in Spring City.

Elk watching is one of the ranch owners’ favorite wintertime activities, and one she loves to share with guests who visit Wind Walker, located on 994 acres of land at the 6000 foot level of Manti-Lasal National Forest s hills. But after a deprivation hunt that lasted from mid-November through December, Johnson was worried that there may not be as many elk, especially males, around this year.

“During the hunt, I would go outside and tell the elk to stay among the juniper trees,” she says with a laugh. “I was afraid they weren’t listening. But last night, as I was coming home, there was a six-point buck standing right at the end of the driveway. I was so happy.”

Johnson loves to take her guests out elk watching at night, when the animals come down from the mountains to eat hay in the fields and sharpen their horns on the trees. For many people, creeping out on a moonlit winter night and crouching down among the trees to watch elk make their way down from the mountains is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, she says. “It’s dark outside, the snow is bright and fresh, it’s just beautiful.”

During the winter months, people often come to the ranch to escape the inversions and just “get out of the city,” Johnson says. For other winter guests, just being around snow is something new. “We had two families her over the weekend from Jacksonville, Florida. They just came up to play in the snow and see winter in Utah. They all had a great time. They just sent me an email that said “we’re back home now, and it’s 74 degrees.”

In addition to elk watching, Johnson keeps her wintertime guests entertained with activities such as ice skating on outdoor ponds, cross-country skiing, sledding, snowmobiling, wagon rides and other snow-related games and activities. “It really is a winter wonderland,” Johnson says. “Sometimes we will take guests out snowmobiling and build a fire right in a snow mound and roast marshmallows and hot dogs.”

She also plans special events, such as an upcoming Murder Mystery weekend, where guests use role-playing and clues to figure out “who shot the sheriff.” “Everybody plays a part and people seem to have a great time,” Johnson says. She also hosts singles weekends, which attract people from all around the state, along with “Pack and Pamper” specials that include a day of roughing it camping in the mountains, followed by a day of being pampered with massages, facials and yoga.

During the summer, Wind Walkers’ horse back riding program is a big attraction, along with fishing and hiking. The ranch is also the home of a special children’s camp, which Johnson founded after her then nine-year-old daughter was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. It includes a number of special programs for children that incorporate play and activities with learning and therapy.

For additional information about elk watching and the Wind Walker Guest Ranch, contact Loretta Johnson at (435)462-0282.

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For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Snowmobilers Gearing Up for New Season – Press Release 12/22/2003

DATE 12/22/2003 1:45 PM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Snowmobilers Gearing Up for New Season

When the weather outside is frightful, snowmobilers know that one thing will soon be delightful: the trails in Sanpete County. The region boasts some of the best trails for snowmobiling in the entire country. In fact, the routes, friendly people and sporting opportunities resulted in Doug Miller, KUTV news’ outdoor specialist, proclaiming Sanpete County as the best outdoor recreation experience in the state earlier this year. Indeed, the combination of fresh snow and access to fabulous routes keep people coming back year after year. “I think the secret has gotten out,” said Judy Zumwalt, who, along with husband Glen, co-owns Big Pine Sports The two are known throughout Utah as the “unofficial source” for snowmobiling conditions in Utah. People call the store just about daily during the season for updates and conditions. Avid snowmobiler themselves, Glen is the past president of the Utah Snowmobile Association, while Judy handles the group’s public relations.Snowmobiling enthusiasts should be sure to visit the county this season and check out the redesign of the Arapeen trail system. The routes, found primarily in the Manti LaSal National Forest, have been carefully marked and mapped to ensure that riders find their way around the 370 miles that make up the trail system. The redesign was several years in the making and includes bridges, culverts and water bars.Another draw is Fairview Canyon. The paved canyon road leads to a trail head that provides access to more than 60 miles of trails to the north at Skyline Drive and some 30 miles to the south to Joe’s Valley. In fact, several clubs that are members of the Utah Snowmobile Association plant to visit Fairview in the new year. The Timp Ridge Runners Club has scheduled a visit for Jan. 10, and the Salt Lake Valley Club and the Snowflake Snowmobiler’s group both have booked Feb. 7 as a day to come to Fairview. There will also be a snowmobiler’s rally held in Fairview in April.

Economic development officials say snowmobiling is a huge benefit for the county. Visitors eat in local restaurants, stay in local hotels and bed and breakfasts, and visit stores and shops. “We have a tremendous opportunity down here for snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, snowboarders, snow-shoers, all kind of winter sports,” Sally East, the county’s economic development director has said. “Our goal is to get the word out to people all across the state.”

For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

“Mermaids in the Desert” Promote Arts, Healing – Press Release 12/10/2003

DATE 12/10/2003 9:37 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

“Mermaids in the Desert” Promote Arts, Healing

Take a trip down U.S. Highway 89, the Heritage Highway, and you will find something you don’t see every day: mermaids.Along the Heritage Highway in the towns of Elsinore, Salina and Monroe a group of women artists have come together and formed a unique coalition to promote their work, Mermaids in the Desert.

They are writers, poets, jewelry makers, painters and crafts makers who share a fondness for small Utah towns, their Danish heritage, the arts AND large bodies of water. “We are all so taken with the ocean, it means so much to us, and here we all are, so far inland,” laughs Doreen Christensen, one of the group’s founding members.

The women have been working together to promote their artistic creations for a few years, but they reinvented themselves after Christensen developed a book and game with a mermaid theme. “All of us really are mermaids out here in the desert, trying to swim our way out of poverty and away from medical challenges and other personal situations,” Christensen says. “We all are trying to find ways to be able to spend more time on our art, and ways to use our art to help other people.”

Christensen’s created her book and game, Mermaid Meditations, out of a need to find relief in her own life. Once paralyzed from the waist down, she is now able to walk, but still undergoes therapy. A certified clinical hypnotherapist, Christensen spends much of her time working with people with disabilities.

“I noticed that I started to have this heaviness about me, this feeling of anxiety that I needed to do more to help them,” she says. “So I came up with this game, which is centered around the idea that even though your body may not be capable of taking you places, the spirit can go wherever it wants to.”

The game, which is centered around a mystery story Christensen wrote about mermaids, includes 25 sea shells, sand and 25 separate meditations. It can be played individually or in small or large groups. “Each person reads a meditation and write what it means to them and later shares that with the group,” Christensen says.

Once Christensen showed the book and game to the other women in her artists group, they began creating accessories to accompany Mermaid Meditations. “It just sort of evolved into a collection of all kind of things that we have made that have a mermaid theme “and we became Mermaids in the Desert,” she says. For example, one artist made a special pouch to hold the sea shells, another has created jewelry and another came up with Native American meditations.

The group has published a small number of the books available for sale and a web site is under development to promote the book, game, and jewelry and other accessories.

Mermaids in the Desert has also been holding private sessions for groups around the state who have heard about the game. “We have done sessions for groups of women, and for groups of men and women,” Christensen says. “The most surprising thing is how receptive men are when they play the game.”

For more information about Mermaids in the Desert or Mermaid Meditations, contact Christensen at (435)527-4039 or by email:

For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502
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