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Winwards recognized with Ross/Bell award

Several nominations were submitted for the 2019 J. Walter Ross and Wayne D. Bell Community Service award this year, more than last year, and the majority of them were for Thayne and Kathy Winward.

For decades this couple has been found in the background, making things work.

Kathy’s voice has been lent to the Rotary Choir, and she has sponsored girls as they participated in the Junior Miss program. She volunteers at the hospital and has hosted foreign exchange students. That doesn’t take into count the years she has spent in the young women’s program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on both the ward and stake levels.

She and Thayne serve in the Logan Utah Temple, and of course, she has supported Thayne, as he has gone about doing good.

Thayne “always has Preston’s best interest in mind,” said one nomination, and “he never wants or receives any credit,” said another.

“That may be the most remarkable thing about him,” said Richard Westerberg.

“What may be his single most benefit to the Preston community” ... is his one-on-one interaction with the youth of our city for the last 50 years, as Thane has always served in the Boy Scout program and in various other church callings supporting our youth.

“Countless men have shared with me how Thane influenced them for the good while they were in their youth. He has taken thousands of hours away from his home in service to helping build the character of our children,” stated a nomination by said Ron Smellie.

“He has set a great example to me and many others as we have witnessed him give freely of his time and talents to the benefit of individuals and our community as a whole.”

Thane has been a member of rodeo committee for decades, building it into the award winning event it is. He has managed the books, the ticket-taking and pushed the 85-year-old event into the digital age by making tickets available online. He has spent hours and hours in the arena, planning the event and now helping to raise funds for the huge task of building new bleachers, said co-volunteer Kris Beckstead.

“He worked very hard to find a way to put the golf course on a good financial footing as it is today. The progress you have seen for Franklin County Medical Center is breathtaking — a real game-changer. Much of the credit for that progress is owing to the leadership and vision of Thane as a board member and chairman,” noted Westerberg.

“Thane has this farm boy ‘let’s get ‘er done’ attitude that has greatly benefited our community. While he hasn’t served in elected office, his sound council has benefited many an elected official,” said Westerberg.

He was also secretary for the Preston Riverdale Mink Creek Irrigation Company before it merged into the Consolidated Irrigation Company. “He’s very interested in the community and knowledgeable. He’s really smart and capable. So he’s done a lot of good, at least for us, managing our finances,” said Lyle Porter of the Consolidated Irrigation Company. “He’s been invaluable to us.”

Thane’s service extends to individuals as well. “I know of instances where he has offered himself and his horses to retrieve elk for other hunters. He cares about people and gives more than lip service,” said Richard Swainston.

Despite all they’ve done for their community, their six children and spouses and 28 grandchildren are their greatest accomplishment.

“I believe that Mom and Dad’s success has come because of their constant service to others. Their genuine desire to help others has always been more important than individual accolade or personal satisfaction. Their small acts of kindness and service far outweigh their service in the public eye,” said their son, Chad.

“Mom and Dad strived each day through instruction and example to ensure we had good sense, were diligent in school, knew how to work, and learned to treat all with kindness and respect. Priorities and values were clearly taught and became a guiding compass to each of us.

“Mom and Dad have faced both the common struggles of life as well as very specific struggles unique to them. They have done so with faith and optimism that everything would turn out all right. Their faith provided all of us kids a stability and confidence that gave us a great advantage in life.

“They expected their children to put differences aside and work with people and I think they are probably the best examples I have ever seen of working with others through their differences.

“Mom is an excellent listener. She is an example of a solid friend and she knows how to take care of people. If you had to rely on someone in a crisis moment in your life, I can think of nobody better than Mom.

“Mom and Dad really don’t put much stock in glamour or popularity. They could really be described as the salt of the earth. They relied on old fashioned principles in their lives, principles like honesty, integrity, hard work, diligence, responsibility, education, self-improvement, thrift, prudence, service, civic duty, and being a good neighbor.

“They always tried to do the right thing, and never made a big show out of doing it, but have really always done it humbly, never really expecting or demanding any sort of recognition for it. They really believe that doing what is right is it’s own reward,” he said.

Ritewood Eggs named Large Business of the Year

A 50-year-old Franklin business, Ritewood Eggs, was named Large Business of the Year by the Preston Area Chamber of Commerce last weekend.

With 120 full-time, and 60-part-time employees taking care of 1.7 million laying hens and 670,000 replacement pullets, the company provides a healthy share of the market’s eggs in the Intermountain area.

The company was chosen for the award because of the number of people they employ and “for being good employers for so long,” said Ryan Bodily of the chamber board.

The company’s beginnings lay in a wedding gift of 10 chickens to Cecil and Bertha Woodward in 1905. They started their egg farm at that time. Forty-nine years later, their son, Paul, joined them and by 1960 they had a flock of 50,000 hens. Then in 1960, another son, Marlow, joined with them with his flock of 50,000 hens.

On Oct. 14, 1969, the Woodwards joined forces with neighbors, Ramon and Lorraine Wright and created Ritewood, Inc.

The company has been successful despite having both good and bad years, and have remained a strong force for employment in Franklin County. To stay viable, they have made changes along the way, including that of offering organic and cage-free flocks.

Ritewood has two feed mills to grind whole grains for their flocks. One is strictly organic. The company also markets compost in both bulk and bagged form, which is sold to area farmers and at retail stores and nurseries.

Officers in the company are David Woodward, Mark Woodward and Lorraine Wright.

■ Legislative update: Education remains a priority

The Second Session of the 65th Legislature started off with the State of the State Address from Governor Little on Monday. In his speech, he mentioned the fact that Idaho is currently the least regulated state in the nation. This happened because of the action of the Legislature last year to not pass a bill to enact the administrative rules. The Governor and his administration took on the task to clean up outdated and unnecessary rules. This cleanup of the rules will now have to be reviewed and approved by the Legislature this year. This is what the House and Senate will be doing during these next few weeks. The volume of rules will be more this year than in years past because we must review all of them compared to the prior year. To give a perspective, last year in the Health and Welfare Committee, there were approximately 170 pages of rules. In contrast, there will be around 1683 pages of rules this session.

In his State of the State, the Governor also spoke about the budget and what he wants to emphasize. Earlier this year, he directed all state agencies to cut their current budgets back 1% this year and 2% from the budget base next year, except for the Department of Education. The Governor proposed a 3.75% increase in state general fund spending for this year — the lowest increase since 2014. He wants to lift the cap on the “rainy day fund” from the current 10% to 15%. The purpose of this is to have a reserve for any potential economic downturn. The Governor also proposed $35 million for grocery tax relief. This is an interesting proposal because it is only half of what is needed to get rid of the tax on groceries all together.

Education remains to be a priority for this governor. On the governor’s agenda is a 4% increase for schools. Included in this increase is an ongoing fund for the governor’s literacy program to help kids to read proficiently by the third grade. He wants $30 million to increase teacher pay over the next several years and $1 million to help students with trauma and mental illness. Also included in his proposal is $6 million for new Career Technical Education (CTE) facilities.

The governor also wants $100 million to be used on state highways. Some of these new transportation funds will go toward improving the state broadband system which will help our kids in rural school districts as well as improve telehealth and pharmacy access.

The Department of Corrections is also on the governor’s agenda as he wants to spend $5.9 million on improving the state’s prison system.

Overall, Governor Little’s budget proposal is modest from past governors’ budget proposals. So far, it has received a favorable response from the Legislature and appears to be very conservative. The Joint Finance and Appropriation Committee (JFAC) has begun to meet to hash out the differences between the governor’s proposal and what the legislature wants. It is shaping up to be a very busy session.

Sen. Mark Harris serves on the Senate State Affairs Committee, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee and the Senate Agriculture Affairs Committee. He can be reached at mharris@senate.idaho.gov or (208) 332-1429

Franklin plans to update ordinances

Mayor Todd Hawkes and Franklin City Councilmen pledged to organize a committee of volunteer citizens from Franklin to review and update many of the city’s ordinances at their first meeting on Jan. 8. Following complaints from several concerned citizens over perceived violations, the proposed group will clarify the regulations and policies for the future.

City Clerk Tyona Atkinson swore in the two new councilmen – Corey Richards and John Packer – and the council elected Packer as the president of the council. The board voted to keep the council meetings on the second Wednesday of each month, and they also made the decision to keep personal e-mails rather than pay for government e-mails

Gov. is committed to reduce government

The Legislative session started Monday, January 6th, at 12 noon with a joint session of both Houses. The Senators came to the House Chamber and the Governor delivered his State of The State and Budget address. The Governor ordered all Departments, except Education, to hold 1% of the general fund budget from the FY2020. He also ordered all of the Departments, except Education, to cut 2% from their base budgets for FY2021. The Governor’s budget calls for 3.75% spending over FY2020. This is a very modest spending level and will be difficult to achieve with Idaho being the fastest growing state in the union for the third year in a row. This budget is a testament to Governor Little’s commitment to reduce the size of State Government.

The Governor has projected growth in the states’ economy at a modest rate of 4.2%. The EORAC committee, which I serve on, has also made some recommendations to JFAC. The Committee has recommended the target number for FY2021 budget be $4,125,500,000. This is the first time that the state’s economy has projected Revenue over $4 Billon dollars.

We have started the rules review in all the committees. As you have most likely heard, Governor Little has ordered all Departments to exam their rules to make them easier to read. This has led all departments to eliminating duplications of the rules and also eliminating duplicate language if the language was already in the statute. This has eliminated about 1/3 of most department rules by changing the regulation by the state. However, we now have to approve all of these changes. This requires each committee reviewing the rules for the department they oversee. I continue to serve as Chairman of the House Committee for Resources and Conservation. Our committee will review all rules of the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game, Idaho Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Idaho Dept. of Lands, the Idaho Dept. of Water Resources, and the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Board. We are trying to accomplish this review in the first three weeks of the session.

Some of the other issues that we will be addressing this session are the full implementation of Medicaid Expansion, the funding of Medicaid Expansion, examining property tax, and maybe an alternative way for funding local government.

A few of you have contacted me about the new Auto Insurance law that took effect on January 1st. There are some that would like to see the law repealed. I don’t believe that the law will be repealed before we see if the new law is successful in lowering the number of uninsured motorists in Idaho. This is NOT a new requirement for insurance. It is a new method to try to increase compliance with the law that we all carry liability insurance on our autos. Like most new programs there have been some glitches getting the law up and running. IDT has moved the enforcement date back a couple of months. Idaho ranks about 40th in drivers carrying the proper insurance. The projections are that 1 in every 8 cars on the road don’t have insurance. These costs of uninsured motorists increase premiums on our auto insurance. If we are successful in lowering the number of uninsured motorists, we should all save money. This should lead to lower rates or slower increase in our rates in the future. I feel your frustration in the implementation of this new enforcement effort. I assure you that this new enforcement effort was not an attempt to increase revenue for IDT.

Rep. Marc Gibbs can be reached at 208-547-7447, or mgibbs@idaho.house.gov.