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Haslams named Lamplighter and Queen of Lights

Craig and Janet Haslam were named the 2019 Festival of Lights Lamplighter and Queen of Lights at the Candlelight Dinner held Saturday.

Craig, who has owned and operated Preston Drug for the last 40 years, noted that now is a wonderful time to live, due to the modern improvements to the pharmaceutical industry, he said. “Its a pleasant thing to see all the things we can now treat and help that we didn’t used to be able to great and help as much,” he said.

Craig grew up on his father’s homestead 10 miles west of Burley. The family worked hard turning this land into a productive family farm. He graduated from Minico High School in 1968, where he was the salutatorian for his class. He received A’s in all his classes but one; he received a B+ in typing. This is quite ironic, since he has typed every day since as a pharmacist.

After serving a two year mission to Rio de Janerio, Brazil for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, graduated from Idaho State University with a major in pharmacy in 1975. When an opportunity came his way in 1980 to open Preston Drug he took it. Today, his children and other members of the community work with him at the pharmacy. He is known for his willingness to help anyone in need, even going back to the drug store to meet someone in need.

In 1973 Craig married Janet Coltrin, who grew up in Franklin, and graduated from Preston High School in 1969. hey are the parents of three girls and four boys. Today they have 19 grandchildren, and one great grandson.

For several years, the couple lived in Franklin, where Craig served on the Franklin City Council two terms. During that time he helped with Franklin’s first sewer line and to enclose the main irrigation ditches. In 1986 Franklin City awarded him with the Outstanding Citizen Award during the Idaho Day celebrations.

He enjoys serving others, whether in the countless callings for his church, or the numerous hours flipping burgers at the Lion Club’s stand during rodeo weekend. Craig has also sung in the Rotary Christmas Concert since 1976, and can often be found sharing his talent for song at many funerals in the community, or helping out with someone’s yard work.

Utilizing the Portuguese he learned on his mission, Craig has gotten to know and love the local Latin community.

Craig’s philosophy is:

Keep a smile on your lips

A song in your heart

And always be free to help.

Judge says true justice impossible at McQueen sentencing

Grim details in the case of a man who killed his friend emerged throughout the sentencing of Marlin McQueen on Oct. 31. McQueen was convicted of second degree murder in the Jan. 26, 2019 death of Willin E. Lovin, after pleading guilty to receive a lesser charge from the original first degree charge.

He was sentenced to life in the Idaho State prison with a 30-year fixed sentence.In the afternoon of January 26, 2019, a call that was originally reported as a possible suicide was called into Franklin County dispatch. Upon arrival law enforcement determined the call was a homicide and began their investigation.After conducting interviews with witnesses and friends, the department identified McQueen as the suspect.

He had attended a party the night before the murder, hosted by the victim, that had ended in the early hours of the morning of the Jan. 26. When McQueen was first contacted and interviewed, he denied any knowledge of Lovin’s condition.On Jan. 29, McQueen was brought in for a polygraph test, which he failed, and the interview turned into an interrogation.

At its conclusion, McQueen confessed to the murder, stating that Lovin asked McQueen to kill him because Lovin had confessed to a crime he committed against two young girls in Utah. McQueen was incarcerated at that time on a $1 million bond.Law enforcement reached out to the Utah location’s police department where the crime was said to have taken place. It was concluded that no such crime had taken place fitting the description McQueen said Lovin had confessed.

McQueen stated in the pre-sentencing investigation that he left after what Lovin had told him and went out to his truck. McQueen said he saw his buck knife and “couldn’t let Lovin live anymore.” McQeen also stated he felt “Preston was a better place without that man in it... Lovin was a good person who had a disease and asked me to kill him.”

During the sentencing, Captain Karen Hatch spoke as a witness for the prosecution and described entering a scene with blood smears on the wall, floor, and doors of the victim’s bedroom and bathroom, where the victim was found. Hatch said the scene was the worst she had ever encountered.

Prosecuting Attorney, Vic Pearson stated the facts and circumstances far out weighed the minimum sentence in this case. Lovin sustained over 25 stab wounds all over his body, before making his way into the bathroom where he died.

From her impact statement, Lovin’s mother noted that Lovin was not only a son, but a brother, uncle and friend to all.

“Once you were in his circle, you were his family,” she said.

She talked about his giving spirit and generosity to help others, putting the needs of those around him before his own, and his hugs that would be missed by everyone who was ever on the receiving end.

She recalled a time when Lovin told her about a conversation he had with McQueen regarding his concerns over the welfare of McQueen’s son. She worries that someone who didn’t know her son would believe McQueen’s “far-fetched story.”

Her family members now find themselves unable to trust anyone and are scared to sleep, worried someone could come into their house and take their lives while they are in a person’s most vulnerable state. Not being able to see Lovin, they wonder about his future every single day. The family has been given a life sentence without him, she said.

Before his sentence was pronounced, McQueen stated remorse for his actions and the pain he caused the family.“I know my actions have affected everyone in this room and I’m sorry. At the end of the day someone has to be a monster and I guess it has to be me,” said McQueen. “When it comes down to what Willie had told me that I believed to be true. It struck me in a profound way. I know the actions I’ve done is not the correct result, but are the result of what Willie asked me to do. I know now I should have left and went to the police after what he told me and not went back into the house. I am remorseful and I ask for forgiveness that I may never be worthy of. I‘m sorry and I know that isn‘t good enough.”Judge Mitchell Brown remarked that through the amount of victim impact statements, he was able to get good look into the life of Lovin, saying he was moved and impacted by them. From one of them, he noted that in this case, the idea that “true justice is impossible,” was fact.Regarding McQueen’s motive, Judge Brown was unconvinced. “The motivation given was outlandish, incomprehensible, and unbelievable. Even if the statement was factual, the action was unjustified and inexcusable conduct,” he said.Judge Brown stated that McQueen had up until this day shown a complete lack of emotion, remorse and accountability for a crime that appears to be a violent, unjustifiable, senseless crime.

Preston Council holds fast-paced meeting

The October 28 Preston City Council meeting was a fast-paced affair.

The council meetings often run in excess of three hours in length, however, there were only nine items on the agenda, and it turned out that two of them were tabled, pending further information.

Two of the items that are waiting further information and clarification are the proposed land swap, walking path, and fairgrounds projects. A public hearing for the intent to convey property to Franklin County was also on the agenda, but was tabled until the next council meeting.

The first item of business was a discrepancy in the survey regarding Glendale property and water lines. The issue is concerning the survey of the culinary water tanks and associated water lines, and was brought to the council’s attention by Brian Allen, who spoke for himself and Mark Owen. City Engineer Tyrell Simpson was assigned the duty of meeting with Allen to clarify the survey.

Economic Development Manager Shawn Oliverson addressed the council on the status of an incentive letter for a future hotel in the city, which is being written, and clarified with the full support of the council.

The longest discussion of the evening concerned the city resolution requiring swales and swale bonds. There has existed for many years the requirement that swales must be in place and maintained clear of debris within the city. The swales are intended to provide water runoff during times of excessive rain and during snow melt.

The enforcement of the resolution has met with various degrees of action over several administrations of city government, and is in the process of presenting a clear policy challenge for the current administration.

It will be discussed and codified in the near future, as more empirical data is secured. Engineer Simpson was directed to generate a draft of the parameters’ needed to revise the existing resolution.

The council granted a business license to Shannon Miller to establish her business in the empty Kings Department Store building. Miller has been selling repurposed furniture and lawn fixtures at her home west of the city offices. The business license was granted with the strict provision that no merchandise is to be allowed on the sidewalk or in the parking lot directly behind the rear doors of the shop at any time.

The city council meeting for Nov. 11, was cancelled, due to it being Veterans Day. The next council meeting will be on Nov. 25.

Youth Mental Health First Aid course offered to public

Preston School District will be sponsoring a day long course on Youth Mental Health First Aid. Preston High School and junior high parents are invited to attend the course.

“This is not a comprehensive course designed for mental health professionals,” said instructor Jennifer Gardner. Tthis day-long class is designed to teach adults how to recognize when an adolescent is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis and connect them with the professional help they need.

“We would like to invite any interested adults in our community to participate in one of these classes free of charge,” said district superintendent Marc Gee. Seats are limited and will be offered on a first come first served basis. Interested persons may contact high school counselor Jennifer Gardner at jennifer.gardner@psd201.org, for additional details. The class will be offered twice, Friday, Nov. 15, and Friday, Dec. 6. beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m. Lunch will be served.

The instructors for the course are Jennifer Gardner and Ashley Geary, both of whom are certified instructors for youth mental health first aid.

”This is a great opportunity for any person who regularly interacts with youth as a parent, instructor, mentor, coach, or other adult role model,” said Gee.

Participants must commit to attending for the entire day. Each participant will receive a certification in Youth Mental Health First Aid and a useful reference book. “This class is being generously provided by Preston School District as a service to help adults to have the knowledge and skills to help the youth in our community,” said Gardner.

The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a five-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.