Tag Archives: Press Releases – 2002

Listening to his Canvas Takes Ephraim Artist to White House and Beyond – Press Release 10/30/2002

DATE 10/30/2002

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

Listening to his Canvas Takes Ephraim Artist to White House and Beyond

Wood painter Larry Nielson has always listened to his canvas. The Ephraim artist says he always examines every piece of wood carefully before picking up his paint brush. It is almost as if the wood tells him what to paint, like it has its own spirit, Nielson has said. Nielson was listening very closely the day a piece of wood told him to paint a likeness of a famous battle scene, the image of the marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima in 1945. It came as quite a surprise. “It was strange because I have never painted anything patriotic, I tend to mostly paint Native Americans and wildlife,” Nielson says. But there was just something about the gnarly, knotty piece of wood that Nielson had sitting in his garage for more than a year. “The wood was almost neurotic looking and for whatever reason, when I looked at it that day, this dramatic and disturbing image came to me from out of the wood. Maybe it is because it is one of the most famous war scenes in history, I don’t know.”Nielson started painting the image of the likeness of the raising of the flag and said that he finished it the night of Sept. 10, 2001. “I remember coming in and showing it to my mother and sister, who thought it was unusual that I painted a military scene. The very next day, as we all know, the world changed. We were all in such shock and feeling so horrified that it didn’t strike me until a couple days later that it was more than a coincidence.“I know it sounds unbelievable, but I don’t care, I know that I was inspired to paint something that day that I never before would have considered painting. At the time, I had no idea that the painting would end up where it did.”Where that painting ended up was in the hands of the President of the United States. And a special print of that painting also travelled around the United States and was signed by members of the U.S. Marines who served in World War II. “Just last week, 65 marines who were on the island signed the print and there are plans for even more to sign it. It is pretty profound what is going on right now with this art work. I feel a certain humility about it all. These guys are all heros and here they are signing my print because something about it touched them. It is just incredible,” Nielson says.How the original Iwo Jima image made its way to George W. Bush is an interesting story. Nielson was showing some work at the SCERA in Orem during a Michael Martin Murphy concert and the Iwo Jima piece was included in the display. One of the people who saw it was a man named Grenade Currant, an independent film producer who declared “this should go to the President.”

“I didn’t think much about it, I didn’t think he could be serious,” Nielson says. But it turned out that Curran is friends with Joe Lake, who is involved with several charities, including the Children’s Miracle Network. Joe Lake just happens to be friends with President Bush. “I got a call that I had to get art in the mail as soon as possible. I didn’t even have time to put it in a frame. I wrapped it up in bubble wrap and sent it on its way. I did get to write a little note to the president, which was an amazing experience,” Nielson says. The art was later presented to the president during a rally in Los Angeles by actor Rick Schroder.

But what happened next has touched Nielson even more. A veteran named Keith Renstrom heard about Nielson’s work. “We started talking and he made such an impression on me,” Nielson says. “He has such a zest for life.” Nielson told Renstrom that he had made a negative of the image he had sent to President Bush. “So I made him a print.” Renstrom decided to take the print to a marine reunion in San Antonio, Texas, where he had veterans from all over the United States sign it. “When I heard about it, it really blew my mind,” Nielson says. “I felt such a reverence.”

Renstrom has plans to collect even more signatures and then wants to see the print end up somewhere “very important.” “At this point, I don’t know where the print will end up, and I don’t care,” Nielson says. “Something very important is going on here. The print doesn’t really belong to me any more. It belongs to all of the men who signed it, because they were there, they are real and each has a very dramatic story to tell. And it belongs to the public. Young people especially need to be aware of the fact that wars were fought. I think what happened in New York sobered up a lot of people.” 

Wind and Wings Wood Works
Ephraim, UT 84627
Wind and Wings
PO Box 8169
Midvale, Utah 84047
801-568-9792 (phone)
801-566-7779 (fax)
Email: custserv@windandwings.com

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

Newly-designed Arapeen Trail offers Riders Hundreds of Miles of Joy – Press Release 10/28/2002

DATE 10/28/2002

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

Newly-designed Arapeen Trail offers Riders Hundreds of Miles of Joy

There may be lots of ways to “lose yourself” while riding ATV’s around Sanpete County’s Arapeen Trail System, but actually losing your way won’t be one of them, thanks to the efforts by the U.S. Forest Service’s Bill Broadbear and countless volunteers.Broadbear, along with local residents and others from the U.S. Forest Service, recently completed a redesign of the Arapeen Trail system. The routes, most of which are found primarily in the Manti LaSal National forest, have been carefully marked and mapped. It was done to ensure that riders of ATV’s or four-wheelers find their way around the some 370 miles that make up the trail system. The redesign, several years in the making, also includes bridges, culverts and water bars.“The area has really grown in popularity, it is heavily used from about May through October, which is what prompted us to do this new map. We were responding to the huge demand,” Broadbear says. He adds that many of the ATV trails already existed, “But unless you were a local rider or someone who was very familiar with the area, it was hard to find you way back to the point at which you started.” Broadbear says that he and others worked closely with local riders, ATV clubs and other groups on the new design. “What we did was link up all of the trails on both sides of the mountain and put up signs that are easy to read and recognize.”

The trail may be accessed from several locations in both the west and east. In the west, access may be gained through Fairview, Spring City, Ephraim, Manti and Mayfield, and in the east, from Clawson, Ferron, Emery and Orangeville.

There is no cost to use the trail system, and there is a major volunteer policing and maintenance effort underway, Broadbear says. “We have local riders wearing special vests out on their ATV’s regularly, making sure people stay on the trails and offering advice and assistance. The volunteer effort to get this project off the ground and running has been amazing. There are literally hundreds of volunteer hours on this.

“All we keep hearing from people what a great riding opportunity it is and how much they enjoy the system, so it is all worth it.”

For information or to obtain a map of the Arapeen Trail System, contact the US Forest Service at its regional offices: (435) 283-4151; (435) 384-2372 or (435) 636-3500.

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

Maple Canyon one of the Best “Corners of the World” – Press Release 10/25/2002

DATE 10/25/2002

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

Maple Canyon one of the Best “Corners of the World”

Ever heard of Maple Canyon? Odds are that you have if you are a rock climber in Utah — or just about anywhere else in the world, for that matter. For everyone else, Jason Stevens can fill you in on the details.Stevens, who runs a climbing shop at the Maple Leaf Company in Ephraim, wrote a guidebook called Maple Canyon Rock Climbing that was first published in 1996. Now on its fourth edition, the book gives readers the scoop on the little canyon located about three miles south of Fountain Green.“It is definitely a hidden treasure in every sense of the world,” he says. “It is arguably the best rock climbing area in North America.”What makes it so unique? “The rock,” Stevens says with hesitation. “The cobbles poke out of the walls in the same way they do in indoor climbing gyms – except these rocks are outdoors and real.” The rock is a mixture of sand and gravel. “At some point in time there was an upheaval that split the canyon open and erosion formed all of the cliff. It looks just like a river bed standing up,” Stevens says. “There are only a few places in the world where you see this type of rock and formations: Germany, Greece and South Africa.”

There are now almost 300 rock climbing routes in the canyon, ranging from 20 to 400 feet long and designed to please people of all ages and skill levels. “There are routes for children and beginners all the way to some of the hardest routes in the entire world.”

The canyon was virtually unknown until 1994. “The only people who used it were locals,” Stevens says, adding he and a group of friends discovered it while still in high school. At first, they didn’t think it was an ideal climbing spot. “To the uneducated eye, it doesn’t look like a good place to climb because the rock looks really soft and unsafe. But one day we tried it out and realized that the rock was much harder than we ever imagined and know that the potential for the place was limitless, it was phenomenal.”

Soon, with help from Stevens and supporter Virgil Ash, word of the canyon’s treasures began to trickle out into the rock climbing community, and the canyon was featured in some sporting goods advertisements. Within two years there were more than 100 rock climbing routes developed in the canyon. Now, people travel from all over the world to visit the canyon. The routes have been developed in the canyon (much of which is privately owned) through the Access Fund, a national fund that allows rock climbers and private owners to agree on terms for access, Stevens says.

Getting used to sharing his canyon also required some adjustment on Stevens part. He took up rock climbing as a youth. His father and uncles were professional industrial painters, and had harnesses, ropes and other gears to allow them to work on enormous buildings. “On the weekends, I would go out with my dad and brothers and put the equipment to good use. Rock climbing has always been my passion, so the canyon’s growing popularity is a mixed blessing,” Stevens says. “When you are from a rural area, you have a tendency to believe that this spot if my corner of the world,” he says with a laugh. “You tell yourself: I grew up here so I have and inherited right to have the place to myself. So even though I am the author of the guidebook, and the region and canyon have benefited from people knowing about it, some days its hard. Sometimes I want to go over and climb and not see anyone. That is a hard thing when your little corner of the world is one of the best corners of the world for a lot of people.”

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

Monroe Jewelry Maker has International Flare – Press Release 10/22/2002

10/22/2002 8:30

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

Monroe Jewelry Maker has International Flare

From the basement of her home in the tiny town of Monroe, Utah, Sallee Kesler offers her customers the world.

Kesler is a self-taught maker of fine jewelry. And the materials she uses to design her custom-made, one-of-a-kind pieces — coral, jade, gold, and silver, to name a few — come from places like Bali, Indonesia, Thailand, Africa and Hong Kong.

“I also use a lot of materials that are made by other people, like hand-carved gemstones. I even found one man in Tahoe who does fossil carvings in Ivory and I incorporate his work into my pieces,” she says.

“I have made pendants from pieces of pottery, from materials left over from the Ming Dynasty, from African beads that are 200 to 300 years old, and I even have some beads from Persia that are 400 years old that I am mixing into some pieces. I always look for the unusual. I check out all of the antique stores that I see and I hit the estate sales.”

But finding those unusual items — and enough of them — to use in her designs requires a lot of patience. “Once I found a few Russian bears made of beautiful stones, but I didn’t have enough to do anything with them. It took me three years before I finally accumulated eight of them, enough to do a necklace and some earrings. Another time, I wanted to do something from some beads from Bali that had inlaid carvings, and it took me four years to accumulate enough to do a necklace. I ended up bartering that necklace away for marble tile for floors in my house, but now I have really beautiful marble tile,” she says with a laugh. “I do a lot of bartering in this business.”

Kesler says that she has always been interested in jewelry design. “I’ve been making jewelry since junior high school.” But she started her career as an artist designing quilt patterns and making quilts and dolls. She switched back to jewelry when quilt-making became a big import-business. “Nowadays, you can go into a discount store and buy a quilt made in China for $50, and I can’t even get the material for that,” she says. “So I gave decided to make jewelry again and started experimenting.”

Kesler gets some assistance from her husband, Vaughn. “He is better than I am at wrapping wires and working with clasps because his hands are stronger than mine. He was an electrician in the military, so he knows how to do a lot of things to help me, like tie knots so things don’t fall off,” she says with a laugh.

Currently, Kesler shows her jewelry at her home by appointment only, and attends a few special jewelry shows a year throughout the Southwestern United States. “Most people who come to me have heard of what I do and have something special in mind. They may have a necklace from their granny they want modernized, or are looking for a special piece.”

“I love having customers come by to see what I do, and I love designing for people and I love making jewelry.” Kesler’s future plans include developing a web page to help her market her jewelry to a wider audience. “I would like to sell more of my jewelry and be free to continue living in rural Utah, enjoying the beauty of this wonderful place.”

For more information, contact:

Sallee Kesler
285 S 100 West
Monroe, UT 84754
(435) 527-1880 (phone)
jade28585@msn.com (email)

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

Trip to Ostrich Farm Part of Week in Sanpete – Press Release – 10/01/2002

DATE 10/01/2002

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

Trip to ostrich farm part of ‘Week in Sanpete’

 It isn’t too hard to guess what Karma and Jack Riddle will be “displaying” during A Week in Sanpete, a new special event designed to showcase the best and brightest attractions in the county. It is sponsored in part by the Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council.Here are a couple of hints: the Riddle’s star attractions can grow to be eight or nine feet tall in height and weigh between 200 and 300 pounds. They can run up to 40 miles and hour and clear six-foot-high fences in a single bound. Is it a bird? A plane? It’s….well, ostriches.The Riddle’s have more than 20 ostriches — the world’s largest living birds — on their farm located between Manti and Stirling. “They are almost like pets, very friendly and curious,” Karma Riddle says of the birds that she and husband Jack have been keeping for about three years. Their farm is also home to about 100 sheep and 2 to 50 feeder calves, but it is the ostriches that usually capture the most attention. Native to Africa, the animals are fairly easy to maintain, requiring minimal amounts of food and shelter. But they are quirky farm occupants. For one, there is the need for an eight-foot fence. “They can clear a six-foot fence easy,” Karma Riddle says.

The birds can live in captivity for up to 70 to 80 years, with females growing about five to six feet in height and the males seven to nine feet. “Baby ostriches look just like little chickens,” Karma Riddle says. “They grow really quickly and are very cute.” The Riddle farm typically has baby ostriches around from May to October, and while the young ones are undoubtedly the biggest hits on the farm, they are also the most difficult aspect of ostrich farming. “The infant mortality rate is very high,” Karma Riddle says. “Up to 50 percent of the babies die from one thing or another. Enough isn’t known about their infant diseases to know what to give them…but if I can get them past two weeks, I usually can keep them alive.”

And while farming ostriches is becoming more common in Utah, most of the demand for ostrich meat comes from outside the state, especially in the Eastern United States. “It is very healthy meat,” Karma Riddle says, adding it is cholesterol-free and up to 98 percent fat-free. “It looks and taste a lot like beef,” she says.

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


05/12/02 8:31
CONTACT: Lindy Casey, (702) 499-3017


The Piute County Courthouse Restoration Fund

Sunday May 12, 2002


The old Piute County Courthouse roof collapses under weight of roofing materials.

For the Reber family, owning a piece of history was a dream come true. When the old Piute County Courthouse in Junction, Utah went up for sale in early Fall of 2000, they were thrilled to be in a position to buy. Over the months they carefully set about restoring the stately red brick building. To protect the ornate and antique interior, a decision was made to re-roof the structure. That’s when the roof came crashing in.

On April 11, 2002, a local supply company delivered materials to the courthouse roof. Unfortunately, the structure was unable to withstand the weight of the supplies and within moments the roof caved in over the courtroom. Plaster, shingles, rafters and nearly 100 years worth of history came down in a thunderous crash that destroyed not only priceless architectural details but also a portion of the roof, walls, floors and staircase.

The owners, Jim and John Reber, a father and son, saw themselves as more than owners of a unique old building. They believed they were, and remain stewards of the past in a place where the past is important. Junction is a seemingly sleepy town but that facade hides a population that not only lives off of the land, but thrives on the hard work needed to turn fields into hay and cattle into milk and meat. With a population of only about 150 people, Junction is a close knit and family oriented community.

With plans for historic reenactments, and educational programs for local school children, the Reber men had felt that the future looked bright for the old building. Now they bleakly wonder how they will manage to protect it from destruction.

Both men are from Las Vegas, Nevada but stumbled across the tiny town of Junction and fell in love. Jim bought a farmhouse there and spent his retirement enjoying the fresh country air. Soon the family was spending as much time in Junction as they were in the big city. When the courthouse came up for sale, John jumped at the opportunity to own a piece of Piute County history and talked his father into joining him.

Built of local adobe brick, the courthouse is on the Registry of Historic Places. Within its walls the history of Piute County has been decided and decreed. Future statesmen have argued their first cases before the curved judge’s bench and local disputes have caused crowds to gather there. Now its future is up in the air.

Restoration experts have estimated the cost of repair in the neighborhood of $250,000. Though legal action is being taken to attempt to collect insurance benefits, the courthouse can’t wait. The roof must be closed in so that the weather won’t further harm the interior. The remaining roof and walls must be braced to prevent any more destruction. Attorneys say that it may be eighteen months before a legal decision is rendered and money made available. The courthouse can’t wait.

Local historical societies just don’t have the kind of grant money necessary to correct a problem of this magnitude. The Piute County Courthouse Restoration Fund has been established as a way to gather money so that the courthouse won’t have to wait. $250,000 is a lot of money but the history of Utah that is contained within this old red brick building is worth it.

To read more about the Piute County Courthouse, view photographs, and contribute funds, visit http://www.saltpress.com.


05/02/02 08: 31
CONTACT Roger Roper at 801-533-3561 or Lee Bennion at 435- 462-2708



Saturday May 25, 2002

This year Spring City’s Annual Heritage Day will be held on Saturday May 25, 2002. Sponsored by the Friends of Historic Spring City and the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, the day will include a tour of historic homes, an art and antiques show at the old Spring City school, and horse drawn wagon rides around town. Due to its large concentration of historic houses, barns, log cabins and outbuildings built by English and Scandinavian pioneers, the entire town of Spring City is designated as a National Register Historic District.

Tickets for the home tour cost $10 for adults and $5 for children. At least a dozen historic homes will be on the tour including the Charles L. Crawforth farmstead featured in Renovation Style and Utah Home and Gardens magazines. Funds generated by ticket sales for this event help with various community restoration projects and provide college scholarships for local students.

The art and antiques show will be held at the old school. The paintings of Spring City artists Ella Peacock and Max Blain will be exhibited along with the work of current Spring City artists: Osral Allred, Lee Bennion, Linda Budd, Susan Gallacher, Randall Lake, M’Lisa Paulsen and Michael Workman among other local artists. Antiques and handcrafted furnishings will also be on display as well as Joe Bennion’s pottery, handmade quilts and the Jeff Allred historic saddle collection. Celtic music will be performed by “FiddleSticks” during lunch at the city bowery.


  • 7 – 9:30 AM Breakfast at the city bowery next to the old school
  • 9 -11 AM D.U.P. bake sale at the old school
  • 10 AM – 4 PM Home tour, tickets on sale at the old firehouse on Main St.
  • 10 AM – 4 PM Art & Antiques Show as the old school
  • 12 – 1:30 PM Lunch at the city bowery next to the old school & Celtic music performed by “FiddleSticks”

For more information contact:
Roger Roper at 801-533-3561 or Lee Bennion at 435-462-2708

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