Category Archives: Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area

Book Signing at Dolly’s for Small Business Saturday

To mark Small Business Saturday, Dolly’s Books and Gifts in Park City hosted a book signing for author James Nelson and author/editor Monte Bona for “Legends, Lore and True Tales in Mormon Country (American Legends).”

James Nelson speaks to customers at book signing at Dolly's in Park City, Utah
Photo credit: Discovery Road

Unfortunately, Monte was unable to attend due to an unexpected scheduling conflict.

James reported:

Tourists and visitors to Dolly’s Bookstore were introduced to a myriad of Utah stories and the authors who wrote them at a recent event in the popular resort community. Author James Nelson chats with customers about “Legends, Lore & True Tales in Mormon Country.” The book is one of the many projects undertaken by the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area (MPNHA). Book store officials  say the MPNHA history compilation of stories has been a fast seller, ideal gift and a real favorite ever since its release.

If you would like to have a book signing at your location, please contact Monte Bona at (801) 699-5065.

This book is available from Amazon and several local bookstores and is a perfect gift for history buffs.

If you have any ideas for stories to be shared in a planned upcoming book, please let us know.

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What’s New in the Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area?

The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area Restoration projects have been plentiful over the last decade. You may not be aware of the various projects that have been completed inside the boundaries of the MPNHA. While a majority of the work has been on restoring and preserving the history of early Mormon pioneer settlers of the area, there has also been significant effort given to telling the stories of the people who shaped the unique landscapes of the MPNHA.

Over the past 12 years, the MPNHA has assisted 26 communities and seen the revitalization of  45 historic buildings/areas throughout the corridor in the telling of the Mormon pioneer story.

To date, more than 130 different MPNHA grants have facilitated the restoration of historic buildings across the heritage area, breathed new life into towns as part of main street revitalization efforts, and provided educational opportunities, including the MPHNA’s own TV show “Discovery Road” and the book “Legends, Lore & True Tales in Mormon Country,” for members of local communities and visitors to experience the lives of those early pioneers.

The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area restoration projects were accompanied by educational programs, and historic sites, the MPNHA has contributed in the development of an agritourism/equestrian center, 3 veterans memorials (in Gunnison, Loa and Salina), trails and biking paths, three museums, commemorative kiosks and pavilions, a railroad village, and interpretive visitors centers, including the Hole-in-the-Rock Interpretive Center in Escalante.

Several of the projects have been recipients of heritage restoration and other awards, while the MPNHA itself was named “Best of State in Heritage Tourism” in 2017.

The MPNHA is committed to continuing its efforts, which have borne tremendous fruit in the communities it covers and greatly enhanced the telling of the tale of the magnificent Mormon colonization of much of the West, long into the future.

MPNHA Photo Contest – $25 Prize

We know that you have some amazing photos, and now it’s time to share them! The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area is hosting a photo contest. It’s time to dust off the camera, phone, whichever you use to capture special moments and share some great pictures. You probably have some on your hard drive somewhere too!

To enter, users must upload their images to the MPNHA Facebook Page and submit a form (below) for each image that they enter into the contest.


  • All photos must be be property of the entrant and an original work. If you are submitting for someone else, permission must be obtained before uploading the image.
  • All photos must be taken inside the boundaries of the MPNHA.
  • Photo enhancements are allowed.
  • The entry can be used on the MPNHA’s social media channels, website, etc. and will be credited to the entrant.
  • If people are included in the image, a release is required for entry.
  • All entrants must submit a short entry form in addition to uploading the image onto the MPNHA Facebook page.
  • The final date to enter is July 21, 2017 at midnight, mountain time.
  • The winner of the contest and $25 gift card to a retailer of their choice will be selected by the number of likes on their image. Ask your friends to vote for your image! In the event of a tie, the images with the same number of likes (loves, etc.) will be assigned a random number and then picked at random. The winner will be chosen and contacted on July 31, 2017.
  • There is no age limit to participants (under 13 years of age must have parental permission) or limit to the number of images that are allowed, as long as every image has been submitted into the form below.
  • Voting starts when you upload your image, so enter earlier for your best chance.
  • Those who work for the MPNHA are not eligible to enter/win.
  • Have fun.

MPNHA Receives Grant from National Park Foundation and Polaris to Expand Recreational Opportunities

 MPNHA Press Release - Polaris- National Park Foundation Grant



NPS Grant to MPNHA

Utah Suffrage – 1870 and Kanab Makes History in 1871 and Elects First Female County Clerk in Utah, Mary Elizabeth Woolley Chamberlain

In the spirit of Election season, it is interesting to note that in 1870 by becoming the second (Wyoming was the first) United States Territory to allow women to vote in municipal elections.The first election in Wyoming that women were eligible to vote was in September, 1870. It should be duly noted that the relative population of women in Wyoming at this time was considerably less than the population of women in Utah at the time.

The first woman to cast her vote in the modern United States was Seraph Young, who happened to be Brigham Young’s great niece. This historic vote took place on February 14, 1870, 50 years before the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

This legacy has been largely forgotten, but merits celebration. For more information about Utah Suffrage and women’s history in Utah, please visit: Better Days 2020. The organization has been instrumental in the creation of a new Utah state license plate commemorating the Utah Suffrage.

The Utah Territory would again make history in 1871. Kane County, which is located in the heart of the boundaries of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area. Mary Elizabeth Woolley Chamberlain became the first woman in the United States to be elected to a county clerk position.

The Kanab all-woman town council served from 1911 to 1913. Left to right: Luella McAllister, treasurer; Blanche Hamblin, councilor; Mary W. Chamberlain, mayor; Tamar Hamblin, clerk; Ada Seegmiller, councilor.

Mrs. Chamberlain continued to serve and was elected as mayor of Kanab in 1871. Making her election more remarkable was that all of the elected town council seats went to women as well. Vinnie Jepson, Tamar Hamblin, Blanche Hamblin, and Luella McAllister were elected to the town council with Mayor Mary Elizabeth Woolley Chamberlain. Vinnie Jepson was later replaced by Ada Seegmiller.

The women were active leaders, promoting temperance, were responsible for building a dike and improving irrigation, and even helped clean up with the town with a declaration of “Stink Weed Day,” offering $2.50, $5, and $10 for the best property clean ups in town. The women were advocates of businesses and residents alike.

A commentary of the day is that historians report that all of the women completed all of her regular work at home and with children, without using outside help.

Learn more about these women at Deseret News and Utah History to Go

Do You Have Welsh Ancestry?


Director of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area and producer of “Discovery Road,” Monte Bona, was featured for exploring Welsh History and its ties to Utah in the episode “Music is the Reason.” Additionally, Monte’s work was recognized in a supplemental publication to the “Ensign” for his tireless work and dedication in educating many about their ties to Wales.

Welsh History Ensign Page 7


The entire supplemental publication below:

Ensign Complete Supplemental Welsh History

CCC/POW Camp Restoration in Salina Tells Incredible Story, Needs Public Support


For more information: Monte Bona Director, Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area 801-699-5065 Email:


Thanks to dedicated volunteers, a former Citizens Conservation Corps/Prisoner of War camp near Salina in northern Sevier County, the site of what is known as the Midnight Massacre, is being restored to near-original condition.

The impetus for the project came from Salina Mayor Dustin Deaton, who had the dream of turning the buildings (which were being used to store city property) into a museum.

“It’s an important part of our history and it shouldn’t be forgotten,” Deaton said.

Built to house CCC employees during the Great Depression, the camp gained notoriety during World War II when it was being used to as a POW camp for 250 German prisoners.

(At that point, all but three of the original CCC buildings had been moved to the Japanese internment camp at Topaz, near Delta.)

On July 8, 1945, two months after the war ended in Europe, Private Clarence Bertucci, a guard stationed at the camp, opened fire with a .30-caliber machine gun on 43 tents where the POWs were sleeping.

In 15 seconds Bertucci peppered the barracks with 250 rounds because, he later said, he “just didn’t like Germans.” He killed six POWs and injured 23, three of whom later died at the Salina hospital. Bertucci was later was declared insane by a military panel and sent to a New York mental hospital.

Deaton dismisses criticism from people who consider the incident a stain on the history of Salina and say the camp shouldn’t be restored.

“The individual who created the problem wasn’t from our area; he was just stationed here. What needs to be remembered about that night is that the citizens of Salina pulled together and carried the injured prisoners seven blocks to the hospital and cared for them there,” he said.

Deaton approached Dee Olson, a retired engineer and someone with a reputation for getting a job done right, to spearhead the project.

So far, Olson and his trusty band, including his daughter Tami Clark who has a degree in interior design and has studied historical preservation and restoration, are exceeding all expectations.

Over the past several months, the group has transformed the buildings from glorified storage sheds to near-original condition. Their goal is to have the project finished by July, but it all depends on the donations that come in.

The first building to be restored was the commander’s quarters and office, which included a kitchen, shower, bedroom, dining area and office space. It will be staged like it was originally. A display honoring the POWs who were shot during the July 1945 incident will be placed in the kitchen.

The second building, originally a bunk house for CCC crews and later a barracks for guards at the POW camp, will contain a model of what the camp looked when it housed the POWs as well as an area to show a movie about the camp’s history.

Work is just beginning on the third building, which was a motor pool and repair shop. The group has already restored an original WWII Jeep and Army truck to be displayed there.

Of the $103,000 needed for the project, the team has received about $70,000 in donations from groups and individuals, including $25,000 from the Snow College Foundation and Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area (MPNHA). Salina is located in the heritage area.

“Energetic Great Depression-era young men from crowded cities across America came West in response to President Roosevelt’s call to conserve America’s great natural resources,” MPNHA Director Monte Bona says. “They ate, slept, laughed, worked and played in these important buildings, which are being restored to help tell their story.

“Those young men, many of whom served in WWII, would have never imagined that this place of memories would become a POW camp, a place where enemies of war would wait out the great conflict. History and our heritage are full of irony.”

As a small rural city, Salina hasn’t been in a position to donate funds, Mayor Deaton said, but instead has donated labor in the form of crews who have worked on the project many times.

Donations have come from unexpected places including a recent $10,000 check from the family of Bert and Doris Olsen, formerly of Axtell, a town just north of Salina.

If local volunteers get the remaining funding in time, they can probably get the job done by their target date, Tami Clark said. It’s just that the team’s focus and skills are on restoration, not on fundraising. The volunteers do have a Facebook page, and the city is accepting donations at city hall.

As the group prepares to bring the museum to life, they need of items from the period, including office furniture and equipment, WWII uniforms and items related to the war, tools and other items for the motor pool building, and anything related to the CCC.

At present, the only thing the group has representing the CCC era is a hat with a CCC logo, local historian Norm Rollingson said.

Once it’s finished, the museum will be open for tours by appointment and on city holidays, Deacon said.

“There’s a lot of history in these small towns to participate in and learn about,” he said. “It’s a great family event to be able to go see theses historic buildings and teach the children about what happened there.”

Tours for media outlets may be arranged by contacting Linda Petersen at (801) 554-7513. For more information, contact Tami Clark at 817-903-1710 or MPNHA Director Monte Bona at (801) 699-5065.

To donate or lend items for the museum, you can contact Norm Rollingson at (307) 413-6498.

The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area includes 400 miles of glorious scenic byways, a vast array of wildlife, the best of western living, cattle and sheep ranches, and colorful mountain vistas, all within a trip on Utah Heritage Highway 89.

Kanab Gathering For Greyhound Day

Greyhound Gathering – Kanab  May 12 – 15 2016

Greyhound Gathering Kanab 2016

The Greyhounds and their owners have announced that the annual Greyhound Gathering is taking place in Kanab, Utah May 12 – 15.  The following information is taken directly from the Greyhound Gathering website.  This information is provided by The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area.  For additional information and registration please contact Greyhound Gathering directly.




Lovers of greyhounds and sight hounds from around the world come to Greyhound Gathering – Kanab. Sponsored in 2016 by  In Memory of Pat, Kane Country Travel Council, Kanab City, Greyhound Gang, Get Up & Go, La Estancia, Canyons Collections, Galgos Jubilados and Best Friends.WHAT:
This 3 plus-day celebration and FUNdraising event features Blur of Fur, Costume Parade, Speakers, Yappy Hour,  Best Friends Tours, Auctions, Food, Fun and Frolic. Planning for 2016 already includes Scooby Medina – Galgo demo/talk, Reception at La Estancia Dog Park, Art Show,  Auctions, Fantastic Meals and Artisans – including Sarah Snavely.  I’m working on Agility Demo, and more Sighthound Demos & Talks –  Lurchers, Staghounds, Podencos, Irish & Russian Wolfhounds and more.Hot Off the Press:
– Big Brown Bear Wrestling
– Dancing with Dogs
– Parade: We will be part of the Amazing Earthfest Centennial Parade in 2016
– Old Hollywood Movie Set Tour – Gunsmoke and many more

WHERE: Kanab, Utah

WHEN: May 12 – 15, 2016.


1) Read the Guidelines
2) Make an Accommodations Reservation
3) Register NOW – after you’ve made an accommodation reservation and read all website info
4) Join/Like our Facebook pages – Greyhound Gang & Greyhound Gathering – Kanab
5) Sign up for Newsletter notifications

Really Early Registration is $75 per person. (until 3/4).
Then March 5 – April 15 is $88.
April 15 – May 1 is $110.   This fee defrays some of the costs, it doesn’t cover them.  

Final closing is 5/2. 

Registration includes:
– Three excellent meals and extras – one dinner, two lunches. Reception, Yappy Hour, S’Mores, Cow Tails and more
– Events – Talks, Costume Parade, Blur of Fur, Hike, Angel’s Landing, Best Friends and Wild West Movie Tours & MORE
– Memory Photo (8×10)
– Candid Photos – Digital
– Greyt Read booklet
– Free gifts given to you at each event you attend (total value over $200)
– Prizes at Parade & Blur & Photo Contest and other events (value over $200)
– and more


Kane County
– In Memory Of Pat
Kanab City
– Greyhound Gang
Get Up & Go
 – Best Friends
– La Estancia
– Galgos Jubilados
– The Canyons Collection


Gathering Sponsors Logos




Happy 100th Birthday National Park Service

National Park Service
National Park Service

On 25 August 2016 the National Park Service celebrates its 100th year serving the United States, her citizens, and the countless visitors to our great nation!

As a way to help citizens and visitors join in the celebration the National Parks will host free days for park goers.  The beginning of the second century stewardship, the National Park Service, will begin with engaging communities in recreation, teaching conservation, and educating others concerning historic preservation programs.

The National Park Service invites all to find your park to discover the programs in your very own back yard, or venture to the many National Parks outside your backyard.

The state of Utah has five National Parks, the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area boasts three of those National Parks:  Zion National ParkBryce Canyon National Park and Capitol Reef National Park.

Check with the National Park of your choosing to find your park’s free admission day as part of the Centennial Celebration.

Find your park, explore the great outdoors, take park tours to learn all there is to know about these great American historic places!  Go to National Park Service, to plan your visit.

Make sure and check out the National Park Service website to make the most of the centennial celebration!  Find Your Park, find some fun, find quality time to spend with your family, neighbors, friends, and spare an adventure during the Centennial Celebration of the National Park Service as a way to connect with other.

Railroad Resorts Bring Sevier County’s Railroad Past to Life


The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad is being resurrected in an unusual way in the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area. Partners David Grow and George Jones of Environetics have built a caboose and railroad village at Big Rock Candy Mountain, north of Marysvale in Piute County. In February they received a 50-year lease of the old Denver and Rio Grande Depot from the city of Mt. Pleasant to build a similar resort there.

Jones, a retired railroad union executive with an interest in historic railroading, began collecting cabooses several years ago. About six years ago he approached Grow with the idea of turning them into a unique resort.

After several years of planning, last year the pair opened the Track 89 Caboose Village Resort at Big Rock Candy Mountain with three railroad cars. This year they have seven and next year they hope to have 10. The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area recently awarded the project a $25,000 grant for landscaping and parking.

Grow said it is unlikely the Mt. Pleasant facility will be open this season since major work needs to be done to prepare the site and move the railroad cars into place. He is very excited about the location, however.

“We’ve always loved that old depot and looked into moving it further down Highway 89 but found it was too expensive,” Grow said.

In 1977 the building was rescued from demolition by a group of local citizens who wanted to preserve it and had it moved to its present location from 500 West and Main.

The new location is ideal, Grow said. “It has great visibility, right on Highway 89. We will make sure that no lodging will block the beautiful view of the terrific old depot.” Grow said the Mt Pleasant site could eventually have as many as 15 rail cars.

He said they plan to incorporate several historic elements into the resort, but they have not yet determined if that will be in the setting of a small museum or as enhancements to the railroad cars themselves.

While some have suggested that the pair open a similar resort in Thistle in Utah County, Grow said that the Utah County planning department is not open to the idea.

“It would be like trying to push a river upstream,” he said.

MPNHA Director Monte Bona sees these two resorts as a first step to bringing about a railroad museum and interpretive center in the area, one of the goals of the MPNHA’s management plan.

“The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area reached the high threshold for national designation by articulating the thesis that Mormon colonization played a major role in the development of the West. The coming of the railroad era had a signifi cant impact that needs to be interpreted, displayed and conveyed as a crucial part of the Mormon country story,” he said.

The railroad first came to the Sevier Valley in 1893 when the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad expanded its line from Chester to Manti , connecting it with its Valley Line at Thistle Junction via Mt. Pleasant and from Manti to Marysvale.

At its peak, the line ferried passengers to Richfield where tour companies would meet the train at Marysvale and take tourists to Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. For several decades it spurred economic growth in the area, especially in the livestock trade.

However, as automobiles grew in popularity, the railroad began to wane. In 1949, D&RGW dropped passenger service in the area. From then until the Thistle mudslide of 1982 shut down the line completely, the line primarily carried freight. Aft er the mudslide the D&RGW determined it would not be cost-effective to restore the line, which had been operating at a loss for decades.

Now, with the Environetics projects, railroad buff s and families will have a unique opportunity to experience a taste of the rich railroading history of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area.

For more information, contact or MPNHA Director Monte Bona at 801-699-5065 or David Grow at 801-375-9090.


The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area includes 400 miles of glorious scenic byways, a vast array of wildlife, the best of western living, cattle and sheep ranches, and colorful mountain vistas, all within a trip on Utah Heritage Highway 89


every kid in a park

The Federal Land Management agencies, National Parks, National Park Service, Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the White House have joined together in a partnership to initiate the EVERY KID IN A PARK incentive.  This program is designed to give every fourth grader and their families to visit all our country’s natural treasures.  The history of our great country can engage each student to enjoy the beauty, culture, and enjoy the federal lands and waters free of charge.

This initiative began 01 September 2015 and ends on August 31, 2016.  The free pass allows free access to the national forests, national parks, and national wildlife refuges, and so much more.

nps_arrowhead_300The National Park Foundation which is the nation’s official charity for the National Parks has been raising funds to work with connecting the fourth graders of our nation to have free access to all of  public land and waters in America.  A division of the Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids program, is designed to remove stumbling blocks for our fourth graders admission into the wonderlands of our natural parks and water ways.   The Every Kid in a Park initiative has been designed for students in under served and urban communities.  Due to the schools wide cutbacks in funding for grants for fields trips, the strategic funding will hopefully provide a learning experience for all fourth graders and their families.

Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park

The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area is the only Federally recognized Heritage Area with three National Parks.

These are: Bryce Canyon National Park: Boulder Loop District

Sunset from the Sunset Point area at Capitol Reef Ray Mathis/NPS
Sunset from the Sunset Point area at Capitol Reef
Ray Mathis/NPS

Capitol Reef National Park in the Boulder Loop District

double rainbow

Zion National Park: Under the Rim District.

Zion National Park
Zion National Park

Here’s The Ultimate Terrifying Southern Utah Road Trip And It’ll Haunt Your Dreams

Here’s The Ultimate Terrifying Southern Utah Road Trip

And It’ll Haunt Your Dreams

from by Katherine Rees on February 25, 2016.

Although not all of the locations listed are in the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area, many have connections with the heritage area.  Of the nine featured by Only In My State. Rees identified Salina, Sevier County, Marysvale, Piute County, Kanab, Kane County, and Grafton, Washington County in the Under The Rim Heritage Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area in Southern Utah that are reportedly haunted.  To check out the additional featured location visit

Follow my road trip on Google Maps, and feel free to add a few extra spots, if you’d like.

Little Hollywood Shootout Quick

Kelly Stowell <> of the Utah Film Commission
Date: Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 3:55 PM
Subject: Little Hollywood Shootout

Quick Turn Around Film Competition Kicks Off

March 16, 2016 at High Noon in Kanab

Little Hollywood Shootout Quick Turn Around Film Competition

Kicks Off March 16, 2016 at High Noon in Kanab During the Shamrocks and Redrocks Festival

KANAB, Utah – The unmistakable landscape found in the Kanab area has made this part of southern Utah a favorite destination for filmmakers since the 1920’s. In line with this great filmmaking tradition, the annual “Little Hollywood Shootout,” kicks off at the historic Parry Lodge in Kanab, Utah on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. The “shootout” is a quick-turnaround film challenge requiring filmmakers to produce a short film with Kanab area locations as the backdrop.kanab-700x467

At high noon on March 16, 2016 film production requirements including locations and a theme will be revealed to participants. Competitors will then have 49.5 hours to write, direct, edit, and complete a five-minute film. Film submissions are due at 1:30 pm on Friday, March 18, 2016 either in person or online. The shootout films will then be premiered at a community screening and awards ceremony in the evening on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at the Crescent Moon Theater during the “Redrocks and Shamrocks” festival in Kanab.

John Wayne and John Ford's favorite place to film westerns.
John Wayne and John Ford’s favorite place to film westerns.

“The shootout is the thunder dome of quick turnaround film challenges, and in addition to building on the film heritage of southern Utah, the competition provides aspiring filmmakers an opportunity to produce a film in the same place where film legends like John Ford and Clint Eastwood also worked,” explained Kane County Film Commissioner, Kelly Stowell, one of the organizers and founder of the event. “Coupled with the Shamrocks and Redrocks festival, Kanab is the place to be for the Saint Patrick’s day weekend. We have a great event planned this year and are looking forward to a fun filled weekend,” commented Stowell.

john wayne fort apache



Prospective filmmakers of all ages from beginners to veterans are invited to take part in the challenge. Two divisions are available for participants with one category intended for novice filmmakers of all ages looking to gain experience and the other division is designed for competitors who have experience with film production. Primary filming locations are required to take place in Kane County, but editing and post-production can take place at the participants desired location.


Films are due at 1:30 pm on Friday, March 18, 2016 and can be turned in through a revealed online medium or films can be submitted in person back at the Parry Lodge at the time of the deadline.Parry Lodge

Sponsors of the event include AT&T, Kane County Office of Tourism and Film Commission, Center for Education, Business, and the Arts, Kanab City, and the Utah Film Commission. “We appreciate our sponsors and this event would not be possible without their tremendous contributions to the shootout,” said Stowell.

Cresent Moon TheaterFestivities of the Little Hollywood Shootout conclude with film premiers and awards ceremony taking place at Kanab’s Crescent Moon Theater, showcasing submitted films on the evening of Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 7:00 pm. Community members and participants are strongly encouraged and invited to attend.

For more information about the Little Hollywood Shootout or to register your team, visit or call 4358990443.

For more information about “Shamrocks and Redrocks” visit


Pictured: Filmmakers are presented with money, awards, and awesome trophies at the 2015 Little Hollywood Shootout at the Crescent Moon Theater in Kanab.

Wasatch Academy Student, Sonita Alizadah’s Life Story Is Premiering At The Sundance Film Festival

January 24, 2016

KSL Reporter, Ray Boone

MT. PLEASANT, Sanpete County —

Utah student nearly sold for $9K subject of Sundance documentary Sonita story

Geometry is a language many of us have trouble understanding, but imagine trying to comprehend it when you can’t understand a word the teacher’s speaking.

It was about a year ago that Sonita Alizadah first set foot in America, and began learning the language, mainly though pictures. She likens her experience to being deaf.

“You know, what do you call them?” she asked with a smile. “They speak with their hands.”

wasatch academy picSonita attends Wasatch Academy, a small school in the small town of Mt. Pleasant in central Utah.

Sonita at desk











“I love it!” she said. “Especially Wasatch, because Wasatch is the first real school for me. I have never been in a real school before.”

Sonita came here from Iran, but that country isn’t her home. Her family fled there from Afghanistan when she was a child.

“I don’t have any happy story, except shooting in the night, and a picture of Taliban in my mind,” she said.

Sonita had a cleaning job in Iran, which she likens to child labor.

“Life wasn’t easy because I was a refugee who didn’t have any papers or ID,” she said.

Sundance documentary

Her life in Iran is the subject of a documentary showing at the Sundance Film Festival.

The film bears her name, “Sonita.” One of its central events is when she receives a visit from her mother, who still lives in Afghanistan.

“My family decided to sell me,” Sonita said.

In Afghanistan, forced marriage is common. Sonita says it’s a tradition. Her mother wanted to sell her for $9,000, planning to use the money to buy a bride for Sonita’s brother.

“Forced marriage is like going to death for me,” she said.

Sonita isn’t your typical girl from Afghanistan. In fact, she’s not your typical girl from Iran, either. She’s gained quite a bit of notoriety all on her own through her music. Sonita’s a rapper — she first learned of rap music when she saw Eminem on television.

“I couldn’t understand him, what he was saying, but I realized I can tell something like him,” she said. “I can say my story like him, very fast.”



Harlem Globetrotters

Tuesday, February 09, 2016 at 7:00 P.M.

The Harlem Globetrotters are coming to Ephraim on their 90TH ANNIVERSARY world tour. Snow College will host the world renown team as they perform their unique and entertaining style of basketball.

Harlem Globetrotters have thrill their fans in over 122 countries.

The Globetrotters have a history spanning 90 years of delighting and thrilling audiences around the globe.  They began their iconic style of entertaining in 1926 under the name as the Savoy Big Five. They later became the Harlem Globetrotters and after more than 20,000 games they proudly are have the distinction as the most  recognized sports franchise in the world.   They display their talents with their unique skills that have amazed audiences for the last 90 years.  Whether you are an avid basketball fan or enjoy a good evening of fun, you will not want to miss this exciting

Snow College Activity Center in Ephraim, Horne Activity Center
350 E Center St
Ephraim, UT, 84627

Contact: Buy Tickets Online Below


The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area Makes KSL Great Outdoors List

The KSL Five Panoramas You’ll Only Find In Utah by Contributor Mike Godfrey, was posted on Nov 25th, 2015 .  The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area Makes KSL Great Outdoors List with two of their heritage areas.  The Goblin Valley State Park and Zion National Park.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS — Utah is a land of diverse and breathtaking vistas filled with mind-boggling stone formations and capped with snow-covered peaks. Each day Utah’s varied landscapes put on a stunning display.

For the willing explorer and homebody alike, Utah has so much to offer. Here’s just a handful of interesting tidbits and panoramas highlighting some of Utah’s incredible outdoor treasures, beginning with a landscape that has helped make Utah an outdoor traveler’s paradise.

Sunset at Goblin Valley State Park in March. (Photo: Mike Godfrey, At Home in Wild Spaces)
Sunset at Goblin Valley State Park in March. (Photo: Mike Godfrey, At Home in Wild Spaces)

Goblin Valley is named for a unique collection of geological formations called hoodoos, which have been nicknamed “goblins.” Near the southern end of the San Raphael Swell, Goblin Valley’s delicate wonders have been featured in films, international news and countless family memories. It’s an otherworldly landscape as unique as any, and found only in Utah.

View of Zion Canyon from Scout's Look Out in Zion National Park. (Photo: Mike Godfrey, At Home in Wild Spaces )
View of Zion Canyon from Scout’s Look Out in Zion National Park. (Photo: Mike Godfrey, At Home in Wild Spaces )

Along with a human history of more than 12,000 years and a dramatic world-renowned landscape of mesmerizing verticality, Zion National Park can also claim the distinction of being Utah’s very first national park.

Named Zion (which means the City of God/sanctuary) by early European-American pioneers, this one-of-a-kind Utah landscape is home to some of the world’s tallest sandstone cliffs, which dwarf even the continent’s tallest man-made structures. This red rock wonderland located in southwestern Utah is also home to an incredible number of world-renowned hikes including the Zion Narrows, Angel’s Landing and the Subway.

For these and many more reasons, Zion National Park is nearly always listed as one of North America’s most visited national parks.

When visiting these beautiful, unique landscapes, remember to always tread lightly, leave no trace and have fun. A landscape as beautiful, rugged and diverse as Utah, merits equal-parts adventure, appreciation respect and preservation.


Mike Godfrey is a graduate of BYU, and along with his wife Michelle, the owner/manager of At Home in Wild Spaces: an outdoor recreation website, blog and community dedicated to sharing national parks, wilderness areas, hiking/biking trails, and more.

The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area Has 4 Best Main Streets

These 13 Towns in Utah Have the Best Main Streets You’ve Gotta Visit

There’s just something about the Main Street in any town. It’s often part of the town’s historic district, and typically features some of the oldest buildings in the area. The best Main Streets are bustling, vibrant places where members of the community, along with visitors, shop, eat and mingle. Here are a few of Utah’s best Main Streets; maybe you’ve visited some of them recently!

Which Main Streets did I miss? Share your favorite in the comments.

Perfect Ideas for Christmas Gift-Giving for History Buffs Straight From Santa

Do you have someone on your Christmas List for whom it is difficult to find the proper gift?  Santa Claus himself has partnered with the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area to give stumped shoppers some ideas.

Legends, Lore and True Tales in Mormon Country is a compilation of stories of strength of the pioneers in Central and Southern Utah – many of which are not very well-known.  Deseret News Review

Press Release – Legends, Lore and True Tales in Mormon Country

Sanpete Messenger article about Legends, Lore and True Tales in Mormon Country (Page A5)

Journal article from the Utah Historical Quarterly about Legends, Lore and True Tales in Mormon Country

Purchase from Acadia Publishing ($21.00)

Purchase from Eborn Books (also watch for signing events)

For the best prices, visit Amazon ($14.72 paperback or $9.99 Kindle) with free shipping for orders over $35 or Walmart with free shipping over $50

Events – Past (Bookmark for upcoming events)

Book Signing at Kings English Bookshop

Meet the Authors – Eborn Books

Follow Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area’s board – Legends, Lore and True Tales in Mormon Country on Pinterest.

DVD Cover Blackhawk War

Explore The Blackhawk War, with an informative and entertaining DVD, available for purchase from the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area for $10, please contact the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Information at 801-699-5065 for more information about and to order this hour-long documentary by Discovery Road.

Press Release – Blackhawk War DVD

For those looking for more, Lincoln and Mormon Country, from the Looking for Lincoln in Illinois book series, in a partnership with Looking for Lincoln, a National Heritage Area in Illinois, is a unique gift.

Purchase from Amazon ($19.99 paperback and Kindle) with free shipping for orders over $35

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