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Youth grow gigantic pumpkins

The winning pumpkins of the the first annual Franklin County 4-H Giant Pumpkin Growing Contest are on their way to Salt Lake City to become boats in the ninth annual Ginormous Pumpkin Regatta on Oct. 19 at Oquirrh Lake, said Courtney Webster, mother of Winnie and Ned Webster who won the contest. Thirteen youth participated in the inaugural event that was sponsored by the Preston IFA Country Store.

The kids were paid $250 each for their giant vegetables. Winnie’s pumpkin weighed in at 529 lbs. Ned’s pumpkin came in second at 404 lbs., and Tanner Henderson took third place with a pumpkin weighing 264 lbs.

“This year was a challenge with the late, cool, wet spring and pumpkins were slow getting started,” said Bracken Henderson, 4-H Extension agent.

“A number of the plants were frozen and died early on. Those that made it through had difficulty setting female blossoms,” he said. “Pumpkins have male and female blossoms and the plants were only producing male blossoms. Consequently, we were late getting pumpkins growing. I believe part of the problem may be due to manganese and/or magnesium deficiency that giant pumpkin plants may be prone to in our soils,” said Henderson.

“Given the challenges we experienced with the weather and this being our first year, we were excited with our results. Next year our hope is to have more participants and to beat this year’s top weight,” he said. Growing a giant pumpkin takes at least a 20’ X 20’ plot of fertile soil, a commitment to caring for the pumpkin and, as apparent from this year’s event, a little luck.

Courtney said her children enjoyed the project, and proudly showed the pumpkins off when people came to visit. What surprised them, however, was how quickly they grew when they grew.

Winnie’s pumpkin grew right away, then stalled out. Ned’s pumpkin plant took a long time to set its fruit, but then it grew quickly, she said.

ISAA Freedom Tour comes to Preston to discuss gun rights

An Idaho state representative pushed back on being labelled a “gun nut” as he visited Preston on a stop in the ISAA Freedom Tour on Wednesday evening.

The event was a joint effort between the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance and Idaho State Rep. Chad Christensen, R-Ammon, to discuss abolishing ballot initiatives, red flag laws, and other topics related to gun legislation in the state.

Greg Pruett, president of the ISAA, said the tour is a way to reach those outside of the Boise area and show gun owners they are an “organization willing to go anywhere to fight for their Second Amendment rights.”

“Idaho is beginning to change,” Pruett said to the group. “And probably not in a direction that most of you are going to be comfortable with.”

Pruett said gun rights are being “decimated” in states like California, Washington and Oregon, as well as Colorado and Nevada, largely in part to myriad ballot initiatives in those states. The ISAA is proposing getting rid of ballot initiatives — a task Pruett admitted is nearly impossible.

“They have figured it out,” Pruett said. “Ballot initiatives are their tool to push this stuff.”

He said ballot initiatives are a way to circumvent representative government, and not truly a right of the people.

“This is a tool,” Pruett said. “The initiative process was put in our state constitution during the progressive era by progressives.”

Pruett said due to mainstream media bias, lack of funding and having too few volunteers, conservatives are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to counteracting or pushing their own ballot initiatives. Pruett said conservatives don’t lend themselves to mobilizing for an agenda like their political opponents because they want to be left alone and their rights are already in hand.

For Pruett, the barrier for conservatives to get politically involved is a mental one.

“No activist organization that I know of has figured out how to get around that barrier,” Pruett said, “of voters, conservatives being — quite honestly — lazy and apathetic in defending their freedoms.”

Christensen spoke about being labeled a “psycho gun-nut,” how the Second Amendment affects other constitutional rights along with his “school-carry” bill.

Christensen has often been in the headlines this year, including calling for the boycott of a Boise restaurant whose owner told him his open-carry gun was making customers and staff uncomfortable; defending Teton High School’s former “Redskins” mascot; and calling out a sign implying residents may not be allowed to carry weapons at the Eastern Idaho State Fair.

Christensen said the committee Chairman Rep. Steve Harris received pressure to kill the school-carry bill from the Sheriffs Association, among other groups, including Moms Demand Action — an organization wanting stricter gun laws to protect against gun violence. He said the bill would allow someone to carry a handgun with an enhanced conceal and carry permit — a teacher, staff member or parent could then carry a firearm on school grounds.

“To me that’s not defending the Constitution,” Christensen said, adding that he refused to speak to Moms Demand Action at Harris’ request. “There’s no point in speaking to an organization that’s completely against your right to carry a firearm.”

The tour’s stop in Preston was the ninth in an 11-date tour across the state of Idaho.

Manning hopes local votes qualified him for top auto show

Blade Manning

Blade Manning, 23, hopes local votes qualified him to have his work showcased at SEMA this year. It is the premier world automotive specialty products trade show in Las Vegas Nov. 5-8. He entered his work on a 1962 Oldsmobile F-85 Cutlass he and his father completely restored in the Battle of the builder’s Young Guns Division at the show for the honor.

Getting that car into that show is his ticket to success he believes, because the top people in the industry are there.

Courtesy of BLADE MANNING 

Blade Manning’s 1962 Oldsmobile F-85 Cutlass.

“I think I have what it takes to make a name for myself and become one of the best. That’s a been a dream I’ve had my whole life,” he says on his profile for voters. Once people see his work, he believes they’ll be impressed.

Manning graduated from Preston High School in 2014, where he enjoyed taking some auto tech classes from Lonnie Roberts.

He continued his education at Idaho State University, earning his associates of applied science in auto body courses, he said. He learned more at HS Customs in Logan, Utah. Today, he travels to CKM in Park City, Utah, for work.

“Someday, I’d like to have my own shop and be recognized in the car world,” he said.

Manning’s passion for automobiles began as a kid — he said he still has more toy cars than any child. When he was 15 years old, he and his dad, Kelcey, decided to restore a ‘37 Dodge that belonged to his family. Two years later, he finished it up for his PHS senior project.

The father/son duo enjoyed the process so much, they decided to do something else, and Kelsey found the Cutlass online. It’s a rare version of the make in 1962 because it is a factory four-speed, said Blade.

For the last five years they have carefully rebuilt the car from the ground up. Blade’s main focus was the body work — something his father introduced him to back on that ‘37 Dodge.

Bodywork is like an art form to Blade, he said. He loves “getting it all straight.”

The Cutlass represents about five years worth of effort, between jobs and getting his education, said Blade.

Fonnesbecks gives city ultimatum

The setting for Weston City’s October Council meeting was idyllic. The shed was bathed in golden sunlight as the sun set and made it not to warm or to cold. That said, once the sun was down the temperature dropped quick and the large door was shut. Despite not having enough council members to perform any action points, the meeting did begin so those who had presentations that the council didn’t have to vote on, could do so and move on with their evening.

Later that evening with the arrival of Councilman Ryan Beckstead and Councilman Mark Koller on the phone, the quorum was established. It was just in time for the arrival of Sharalyn Fonnesbeck, wife of Jay Fonnesbeck. She came in with a stack of two page statements which she distributed and read before the council. Despite the statement beginning with the words “Friends and Neighbors” the tension in the room was palpable.

The main point of her argument was that 30 years ago the city needed a new well and the Fonnesbeck’s agreed to allow the city to drill it on their land in exchange for a free water hookup. However when previous councils have tried to settle the agreed upon arrangement, Fonnesbecks have declined the hookup multiple times.

The Fonnesbeck’s have given the council three options to resolve their conflict: either compensate them financially, like they did with the Buttars families, provide the promised water hookup, or the couple will take the city to court again.

While not unsympathetic, Councilman Travis Johnson argued that the city could conceivably be off the hook, using the gifting of a car as an example: If someone is going to gift a car the recipient can’t turn them down and then turn up years later asking for the keys. No only that but as their house is outside city limits they may be legally prevented from establishing a connection.

The Fonnesbeck’s statement will be given to the city’s attorney upon his return from vacation. Mayor Greg Garner assured everyone that they will review the facts and act accordingly.

On a funny note, Mayor Garner complained about being stiff due to The Mayor’s Challenge where he has to walk 10,000 steps every day this month to raise $1,000 for the city to use to promote outdoor recreation. There is only one problem there’s a glitch in the software so according to his Fitbit he’s on track to meet his goal, according to the challenges computers he hasn’t taken a step. The organizers have assured him and the other 77 mayors that the problem will be fixed soon.

A presentation by the The Bear River Heritage Area (BRHA) tourism group’s representative, Lisa Duskin-Goede brought the city up to date on the efforts to promote tourism in the area. The BRHA’s mission statement is, “to identify, enhance and sustain the natural, cultural and economic heritage of the Heritage Area.” This ‘Heritage Area’ consists of the following counties in Utah and Idaho, Box Elder, Cache, Rich, Bear Lake, Caribou, Oneida and Franklin. The projects they work on include building restoration, gravestones, walking paths, and small museums. Duskin-Goede hopes the council will give their vote of support to a piece of congressional legislation for increased funding that BRAG has sought for the past 20 years.

Next was a brief statement by Victoria Feist, a representative of Capsa. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Capsa is a Utah-based domestic violence and sexual assault organization that runs a shelter in Logan and Pocatello. They have recently begun servicing Franklin County in addition to Cache and Rich. Feist said that both men and women are welcome. For those in need and concerned with being caught by their abuser, their website is equipped with a quick escape button that will redirect them to Google.

With it being that time of year for ghost and goblins the council wishes to state that they won’t be organizing a trunk-or-treat this year. That is not to say one cannot be organized by individuals, however the council did wish to ask that parents take their kids trick-or-treating this year. Many of the elderly people in Weston look forward to seeing the kids dressed up for Halloween. As a final reminder those who want trick-or-treaters should keep their porch light on.

Clifton City considers water certificate

The October Clifton City Council Meeting was rather unusual in that the meeting room was packed. Seven other people were in attendance at one point.

The first item of business was Hank Povey requesting to trade his water certificate for a water hookup. The major question is can the council perform the action. Currently the certificate gives Povey access to water the amount of which is currently being accounted for by the recent water study. The city has five hookups in reserve at the moment, but the hiccup with those hookups is that the council is not giving out new water connections for the foreseeable future. The council discussed the matter in executive session with Povey, but took no action that night. The council will have to research the matter. “We don’t have any answers,” said Mayor John Gailey.

Speaking of water and water rights, there will be a public hearing on Oct. 16, at 7:30 p.m. Public input is being sought on the water issues in Clifton.

Clifton has a small dog problem. That is to say the problem is small, the dog is large.

A white husky of unknown ownership has been getting into some sheep. None of the animals have been reported to be harmed and the dog runs away when it’s caught. That said, the council reminds residents that they will enforce the current dog regulations and penalties, should the sheriff be called in.