Almost 100 members of an association of Native American employees of Procter and Gamble waged war on Russian olive tress at the Bear River Massacre Site on Sept. 26.
Their work was one of the group’s service projects conducted annually somewhere around the country near one of Proctor and Gamble’s plants.
NAILT (Native American Indian Leadership Team) is one of Procter and Gamble’s affinity groups — employee led groups that serve employees of different backgrounds.
Founding NAILT member Bill Armstrong, of Brigham City, made the organization aware of the Northwesten Band of the Shoshoni Nation’s efforts to restore the foliage of the Bear River Massacre site to native plants. NAILT decided the project was a fit and arrangements were made, said Jeff Backer a Global Business Services Finance Manager for Procter and Gamble based in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Backer, a long-time member of the P&G’s Native American Indian Leadership Team, said the day of service is the favorite part of several days of activities sponsored by P&G once a year for NAILT.
The group had spent two days in Brigham City before coming to Preston, touring the company’s plant there and conducted leadership training and team-building activities.
NAILT has conducted service projects for the last seven years, said Backer. Some of the other projects were helping a family clean up and repair their home in Wisconsin, refurbishing a school in Louisiana, rebuilding powwow grounds in Oklahoma, and cleaning up wetlands in Arizona for the Pima Maricopa tribe.
“We are fortunate the company has been super supportive of doing this work. They give us a lot of autonomy to find where opportunities are and go after them,” said Backer.
The group represents Native Americans from 20-25 tribes across the United States who work at Procter and Gamble’s plants in from Massachusetts to California and Wisconsin to Georgia.
“We are a proud family of Natives who are trying to improve the lives of our employees so they can bring their full selves to work, bring their passion to work and support their communities,” said Backer.
“One of the biggest things about Native American culture is providing a sense of community. Family is very important. I wanted to join the group to have that family sense away from home but also to give that sense of support to others. It’s grown to a really great thing that we can give back to the community and that drives my participation,” said Allyn Kauffman, who has been a member of NAILT since 2008.
“This is another one of the projects where our team gets to learn about the local community, culture and give back. That’s what’s great. We’re here to help the Shoshone kick off construction of their interpretive center,” said Original NAILT member, Shaun Howard, of Cincinnati. In addition to cutting down Russian Olive trees, the group manicured the area around the monument.
“What a blessing they’ve been. They were awesome,” said Darren Parry, chairman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation.
To help share the tribe’s story with the group, Parry explained the tribe’s history and the story of the massacre with the group. His cousin, and fellow council member, Micheal Gross performed two of his original songs for the group during their lunch break. One of them has been nominated for a Native American music award, the other was written about the massacre.
That sharing of history and culture is a highlight for some of the participants.
“It’s fun. We get to learn about some of the other traditions and some of the other tribes. We can help do something like this. Its something that all of us just thoroughly like to do and be a part of,” said a woman originally from California.
Michelle, of Wisconsin, enjoyed “meeting with people and working with different tribes,” but said that “the history of the different tribes is important to me because that is all we have to share with our kids.”
Among several issues the Preston City Council considered at their Sept. 23 meeting, naming a new planning and zoning commissioner was one of the first.
Planning and Zoning (P&Z) is a commission of six citizens from within the city, plus one who usually resides outside of city limits but within the city’s “impact area.” The P&Z does not have legal authority, but serves as an advisory body to the city council. The P&Z commissioners are named by the mayor, serve at his pleasure, and usually serve a term of six years. Some commissioners serve multiple terms.
Commissioner Scott Palmer resigned abruptly two weeks ago. Mayor Beckstead will be tasked with naming his replacement soon. The scope of the P&Z commission’s activities include zoning issues, and the application of them, as well as planning of building activities and recommending associated actions for the city council.
The council quickly passed two new business licenses. The first was for Ernestina Martinez of 66 West 1st North for My Beauty Brows, and the second one was for Randal Stocker of 435 South 1st East for Full Curl Taxidermy. The taxidermy is located in the former Off the Tracks building.
A beer and wine sales license was approved for Tattles restaurant on west Oneida.
The council authorized the payment of $300,000 toward the early retirement of the $1 million dollar loan from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. The loan was for the now completed second culinary water line from the storage tanks near Glendale reservoir to the city distribution system. The purpose of the second line is to provide a redundant method of assuring an uninterrupted water supply in the event of seismic activity or other natural disasters interrupting the primary water line.
The council also authorized the refund of $1,500 to Kameron Johnson of 289 Eagle Way, for required improvement of the swale on his property.
Economic Development Manager Shawn Oliverson briefed the council on the continuing efforts to attract a firm to move to Preston. The company, which is currently located out of state, powder coats steel components, and will initially bring about 30 full-time jobs to the city, with the potential to expand the operation significantly in the future.
Another projected goal for the city is to encourage the building of a full service hotel in the city, which is moving along nicely.
Developer Cody Ralphs spoke to the council about the possibility of expanding a buried storm water run-off drainage culvert for approximately 1800 feet along 4th North, ending in Worm Creek.
The Fourth North area gets run off from as far away as the golf course, and as council member Todd Thomas said, the culvert would be a very beneficial flood mitigation and control item. City engineer Tyrell Simpson added that the drainage pipe would need to be at least 20 inches in diameter to be effective, and for future growth.
The city wants more information on the idea before making a decision to allow the storm drain or not.
Non-stop rain on Saturday turned to snow early Sunday morning in Franklin County. Although the snow didn’t stick on the valley floor, it has in the mountains.