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Snowy festival

Mother Nature helped decorate town for Preston’s Festival of Lights last weekend, dropping a layer of snow on the city’s tree and ornaments. Santa’s appearance delighted children and youth alike.

Rotary shelter renewed by Eagle Scout and crew

A pair of brothers, Mason, 16, and Kamron 13, Cole, sons of Chad and Emily Cole, refurbished the Rotary Club Shelter in Preston City’s park last month, to earn their Eagle Scout ranking.

The boys worked with the Rotary Club, which covered the costs of the repairs, and Jensen Lumber Company of Ovid, which donated all the 3”X12’ planks used to replace the broken benches.

They also replaced a serving table just east of the shelter and poured cement around the fire pit there. Everything else was repaired and received a new coat of paint. New lighting is slated to be installed as well, said the boys’ father.

In addition to members of the Rotary Club, Elder Zitting and Elder Rich, missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lent a helping hand.

The shelter was originally built by the Rotary Club in 1957.

Local mayors put on walking shoes

Local mayors put their feet where it counts, walking an average of 10,000 steps per day in October, earning for their communities $1,000 that can be used to encourage children to be active via programs or projects.

Clifton Mayor John Gailey, Dayton Mayor Melvin Beutler, Preston Mayor Mark Beckstead and Weston Mayor Greg Garner all participated in the challenge issued by Blue Cross of Idaho Foundations for Health. For the last six years, Blue Cross has used the challenge to spotlight the importance of children being physically active.

Many of the participating mayors were rewarded with bonus steps for visiting schools and walking with children and reminding them how important it is to be physically active.

In Clifton, Mayor Gailey said he may use the funds to repair the basketball court or to tune-up the community’s splash pad.

In Dayton, Mayor Melvin Beutler said his $1,000 will be put in an account towards moving the tennis courts next to West Side High School over to the elementary and make it a multi-sport court. The effort has been ongoing and pends an arrangement with the federal government because that is the origination that built the current facility.

“It needs to be moved because we’re growing and its in the wrong place. The tennis court is all cracking up. We want to move it to a better location and make a better situation,” said Mayor Beutler.

Preston’s Mayor Mark Beckstead said he hopes the funds are put towards the park and recreation department of Preston City.

Weston’s Mayor Greg Garner said he is taking suggestions on what to do for his community with the funds.

Preston City passes four ordinances

Tuyen Nguyen was sworn in as an officer in the Preston Police Department on Nov. 25, at the Preston City Council meeting. Nguyen has experience in other police and security departments, and was welcomed by a round of applause from the entire city council and audience in the council meeting room. Police Chief Dan McCammon did the swearing in. “We are lucky to have him.” he said. A second police officer had been provisionally hired, but had to leave the force after just a few days due to family reasons.

The council then he first of four public hearings. The first three went quickly, with no public comment or input, either for or against. The first concerned The Encroachment/Cut Permit. It basically says that when a private entity, such as a contractor or individual, has to cut a public streets blacktop, it must be restored. It must meet specific compacting and re-pavement standards. It passed quickly.

The second hearing was for the Sidewalk Fund, which was crafted by city engineer Tyrell Simpson. The goal is to assure that curbs and sidewalks in the core area of the city will be maintained with the cost largely defrayed by new construction projects. It passed after some discussion by the council.

The third hearing concerned an amendment to the building permit procedure. It was mostly a change in the wording of the procedure, and passed quickly.

The fourth item on the hearing agenda was the longest and most heavily debated item. It concerned the adoption of the Minor Subdivision Ordinance. The ordinance concerns the right of an individual or business to subdivide their property into a maximum of four lots. The rules for the ordinance require that all lots in the minor subdivision must have direct street access, and require that the city will not have to provide further street improvement or city funded water/sewer enhancements. The arguments in favor of the ordinance won the argument, with the final council vote being four in favor and none against. All four ordinances discussed in the public hearings take effect immediately.

Business licenses were the next thing up on the agenda, with four of them being quickly passed. They were for Jose & Jocelyn Mejia, of 146 Center Street, Weston, for Mejia Mexican Food; Michelle McNeely at 16 South 1st Street for Sun Sage Floral, Douglas Day at 2 Norh State St, Suite 200 for Day Builders Enterprises, Mark Hillyard of 405 Advantage Ln, Ammon, for Vintage Construction and Design.

Economic Development Manager Shawn Oliverson addressed the council regarding two applications for short term tax and fee relief for new businesses. The entire relief package requires that the business provide new jobs and financial investment in the city. It requires that the business must fit into a matrix that will provide for solid and long term growth in the city. The two that were discussed were for Douglas Day doing business as Spring Up Builders and Wesley Wood at 208 South State, Bldg 1, doing business as Domino’s Pizza. Both were passed with enthusiasm by the council. Council member Todd Thomas asked Wood when the Dominoes Pizza would be opened, to the audience’s delight. Wood indicated it would be in the early spring, to cheers from a couple of members of the council.

Councilman Thomas announced the naming of Fred Titenser to take his place on the City Planning and Zoning Commission. He also announced that Spencer Smedley and Angie Weisbeck have been appointed to the city Recreation Committee.

The ongoing discussion of requirements for the Swale Ordinance was tabled, with city treasurer Kelly Mickelsen assigned the job of researching various aspects of the proposed ordinance. He will report back to the council during their next meeting. The normal Department Head Report was skipped due to the late hour.

Sheriff's vehicles due to be replaced

Sheriff Dave Fryar advised the Franklin County Commissioners during their Nov. 25 meeting, that two of the standard Sheriff vehicles are due to be replaced. The police cars are leased vehicles, and are at the end of their lease time. The Commissioners quickly authorized the replacements, which will also be leased. The leasing program, which is also used by the Preston Police Department, assures that the law enforcement officers have good, reliable equipment to work with. The leasing program saves the county money compared with outright purchase of the cars, which often leaves the county with vehicles that have many miles on them and are difficult to re-sell.

“We really only had to pay the ongoing county bills, it was an unusually quiet meeting,” Commissioner Robert Swainston said later.