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Airplane cartwheels off Preston airport runway

Joe Hood, Michigan, had just re-fueled his yellow Quickie 200 amateur airplane at the Preston airport and was taxiing down the runway, when things went terribly wrong at noon, July 11. (The original article stated that this happened on June 11. The Citizen regrets the error.)

For reasons yet to be determined by the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), the aircraft could not maintain altitude.


The scene of Saturday’s plane crash near the Preston airport. The pilot suffered non-life threatening injuries though his plane was severely damaged.

Witnesses watched it bob up and down, then veer off to the right at the end of the runway before it cartwheeled out of sight in a cloud of dust.Rushing to the sight, they found that a lacerated Hood had extricated himself from the wreckage of the aircraft and they tended to him until emergency medical personnel arrived and took him to Franklin County Medical Center.

The airplane had crashed into a lone tree over the south embankment at the end and below the runway, states the Franklin County Sheriff Deputy Tyler Hatch’s report.

A few feet either direction and the plane would have fallen much further off the bluff towards the Bear River.

Preston Airport manager Craig Biggs said the FAA was expected to investigate the crash sometime this week. Cell phone videos provided by witnesses will be used in the investigation.

Hood’s injuries were not life threatening, but the airplane was severely damaged.

Stephenson named 2020 DYW

Though it was delayed by more than a month and the venue changed due to the precautions put in place to protect against COVID-19, the organizers of the Distinguished Young Women (DYW) program for Franklin County found a way to hold their 2020 contest.

The program was pared down to the minimum needed to allow the young ladies to showcase their skills in front of the judges. Seating in the Dahle Fine Arts Center on June 27 was limited to families of the contestants and some of the traditional events such as the mother/daughter luncheon were removed.

2019 DYW Katelyn Oliverson passed the torch to Hannah Stevenson who won the scholastic and interview categories. Her court members are Randee Weeks who was named first runner up, Sidney Streadbeck as second runner-up and the winner of the fitness, spirit and Be Your Best Self awards. Deborah Hornberger claimed the third runner-up position and self expression and Sydnie Thain is the fourth runner-up.

Stevenson and her court will face similar challenges to service in the community that Oliverson did with the COVID-19 virus being an ongoing concern. Stevenson will prepare for the DYW state competition in Pocatello this fall but it remains uncertain how the program will be affected at that time.

Dayton officials educated on how water funding works

The major issue of the July Dayton City council meeting was water. The current next step in water development is applying for grants to fund the wells, and exploring options for developing one of the springs in the hills behind Dayton.

The spring in question, spring number four, is located on land controlled by the forest service. The city needs to arrange an agreement with the forest service to develop the spring and construct a temporary access road. On July 8, representatives from the city council, DEQ, and forest service, went up to the spring to examine it and talk about how to best meet the needs of Dayton City while preserving the environment residents love.

This spring is a small spring that has been studied since 1930 and has been in water planning reports since that time. It has not been included in the system before now because its output is regularly low in the fall (12-15 gallons per minute). Options and requirements were discussed and continue to be explored. The biggest hurdles facing the development of the spring are completing the environmental, cultural, and historical surveys required.

Another issue discussed at the council meeting is the water coming from spring number one. There is a leak in the pipe at some point along the line, the spring and the water tunnel, which is unsurprising, as it is 84 years old. Dayton plans to perform a flow test at the spring outlet and tunnel entrance to determine the extent of the leak(s).

It is worth noting that the water project is still firmly in the planning stages. Almost nothing beyond wanting to have both a spring and a well to expand the city’s water supply is currently known and depending on what the Idaho DEQ and forest service, say, even that can change.

After that came the financial section of the project. The bond for the project went through. To further inform the council on the red tape the city will have to walk was Krystal Harmon of the Southeast Idaho Council of Governments (SICOG).

One of the more interesting things the council is going to have to do is formally acknowledge every April as Fair Housing Month. What does that mean? Mayor Melvin Beutler and whoever replaces him in the coming years will have to make it a point of business every April to declare it Fair Housing Month. Does this mean that the city hasn’t been using fair housing practices or not following the law? No. Then what does it mean? That the council is going to have to jump through a legal hoop once a year by giving lip service to a law they’ve never once tried to break.

The grant the city is applying for is called a Block Grant, which is given to a third party, SICOG, who proctor the distribution of the grant money on behalf of the state.

Mayor Melvin Beutler expressed his concern to Harmon about the city taking on unnecessary debt, wanting to know what grants the city would get before the loans, but that’s not how it works. Instead of getting a grant and taking out a loan to fill in the rest of the amount the city will have to take out the loans and then the government money will come in to bail them out. Dayton’s request for funding, loans and grants, goes into a statewide pool where the Idaho Humanities Council then decides how to best stretch the money statewide.

Harmon compared it to shopping for a car, “Instead of going to your credit union and saying I need this car it’s like sending out an application for funding and seeing who’ll give you the best deal.” The city is currently shopping for the best deal on the money they need. The bond that was passed serves as a financial barometer to the lending institutions the city is applying to, it’s the city and its people saying, “We can take on this much debt, what terms can you give us?”

On a happier note, the council wished to thank everyone who helped with the 4 of July celebration this year. The council remarked how everyone was doing their best to keep safe and still enjoy themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic. They hope all will be back to normal next year,

Preston City needs to improve rights for keeping animals, commission told

The Preston City Council and its planning and zoning commission had a busy week with an extra meeting and a well-attended hearing regarding animal rights and rezoning.

During the council meeting, rodeo chair Kris Beckstead especially thanked councilman Terry Larsen and Mayor Dan Keller, as well as Franklin County Commissioner Robert Swainston for their support as the committee deliberated before canceling the rodeo due to concerns related to COVID-19.

“When you can only sell a third of your arena, economically isn’t feasible, said Beckstead. “We have hired a lot of people: clowns, announcers, acts. I had to call them today and tell we aren’t doing it and that’s hard on them because that’s their living and they’ve been under contract with us for years. It’s tough.”

“I want to let you know how much we appreciate all of the work that goes into that to have to pull the plug on it less than three weeks before go time. I know you guys work throughout the year to put on a great event. It’s one of the things our city is absolutely known for. thank you for all you’ve done,” said Larsen.

Mayor Keller noted the importance of the rodeo to Preston as well. “I want to report to the public that our rodeo is as big a deal as our rodeo committee makes it,” he said. “The PRCA did not want the rodeo canceled... I can name many, many, many NFR cowboys who have attended the Preston rodeo. You guys have a lot of courage. You have a lot of dedication to the community, and collectively we appreciate it and I personally appreciate it. I wish it was better news and thank you and we’ll support you next year,” he said.

The city council then approved Phase II of Cody Ralph’s Blue Sage senior living subdivision, and four businesses licenses:

Halakahiki Shaved Ice (a mobile business), American West Enterprises a construction business operated by Paul Hawkes of Nibley; Mayfield Lane another construction business operated by Brady Peck of Cub River, and a knife making business by local barber, Weldon Cheney. Making knives is Cheney’s hobby, and he wants to be able to sell them in his shop and other places.

The council also amended a water and sewer ordinance to prohibit discharges of petroleum oil, non-biodegradable cutting oil or products of mineral oil in amounts that will cause interference or pass through the public owned treatment works, as well as any trucked or hauled pollutants except at discharge points designated by the publicly owned treatment works.

The council also voted to allow the mayor to sign a quick claim to correct a deed to city property that needs to be amended in its legal description to more correctly represent the property east of Bear River Publishing in the Industrial Park. The property is now owned by Cache Valley Bank, which is trying to sell that property and needs the description to be correct.

“We’re not selling city property, just correcting a legal description. You could call it a dispute of a boundary, but not really warm,” said city attorney Lyle Fuller.

“There’s potential for a significant new business to go in there,” said Mayor Keller.

The council then decided to gather more information on what was called by one council member “a strange proposal” that would translate into $500,000 in relief for city property owners on upcoming property taxes.

The grant comes from COVID-19 related federal funds, already paid to the state to be given to communities for tax relief. However, there are 20 or more county prosecutors that have problems with the way the agreement has been written and Commissioner Swainston told the council that that county feels there are too many holes in the process for them to back it.

Public hearing

At the city’s planning and zoning meeting, held July 8, dozens of people filled both the council room as well as another meeting room in the city building. They shared a variety of opinions on a proposed change to zoning the city for more areas of high density, more affordable housing, and more limited animal rights. The commission also considered a building permit for a dance studio near Preston Junior High.

People who currently have animal rights, or who purchase ground expecting those rights to be transferred, spoke up for keeping those rights. They also requested the freedom to change which animals are raised on a lot, noting that future owners deserve the freedom to chose the domestic animal they desire to raise.

Others spoke about both the need for additional housing as well as the concerns they have for the increased traffic where high density housing currently exists in Preston.

Several property owners, such as Edna Payne, Spencer Beckstead, Nile Checketts and BJ Pendleton noted that having animals rights was essential for maintaining and use of land-locked property on the interior of city blocks. Kevin Blanche noted that having animal rights was the reason they purchased a lot to build on. Kay Coburn noted that the nature of some lots would be less valuable without the animal rights they currently have.

A bigger concern for the city would be to bring business into Preston than more housing, said Payne.

“Most of us that live (here) do so because we enjoy a more rural atmosphere. We shouldn’t be pushed out or forced to prove every year that we have had horses or cattle on the property,” said Clair Thomas.

Kevin and Melinda Wilkes complained via a letter, that the city needs to enforce current animal ordinances instead of passing new ordinances, and accused the city of not taking action against their neighbors for having animals on their lot without the right to do so.

A request to rezone the area at 470 East 800 South to heavy industrial met with complaints that there is insufficient parking for a proposed dance studio at the site. “There is not enough parking when there are athletic events at the junior high,” stated a letter from James and Bonnie Jensen.

Following a proposal made by planning and zoning member Fred Titensor, the commission decided to devote its next meeting, set for 6 p.m. on July 22, to animal rights, and the next to high density housing.

He also suggested that the council make a decision regarding the dance studio based on current zoning rules to allow the project to move forward.

The commission was pleased to have the different points of view shared at the public hearing, said chairman Penny Wright.

Market animal sale to go on as before

The youth market animal show and sale, which is usually part of the Franklin County Fair, will be held Friday, August 14 at 4:30 p.m.

It will be held largely in the same manner it always has, say 4-H and market animal committee members.

To meet social distancing standards, the bleachers in the indoor arena will be moved back against the walls to allow for additional bleachers to be brought in. People will be encouraged to wear masks, and sanitizer will be available, said Franklin County extension educator Brackin Henderson.

With those modifications, “we’ll still be able to carry it out as usual,” he said.

Weigh-in times and showtimes are the same, said Jenn Harris from the 4-H office. In regards to 4-H projects, the only thing that has changed is the date of the style review, which will be held the Friday before, Aug. 7.

As in years past, the sheep and goats will be shown one day and pigs, beef and bucket calves the next, said livestock chairman Sam Stone.

Organizers of the show and sale said that in the event the number of spectators or buyers is higher than they can allow in the facility, they will be invited to watch the show through a live broadcast to screens set up in the Fairly-Nice Shelter just south of the indoor arena.

“We are encouraging people to be pre-registered as buyers,” said Henderson. The health department approved the plan on July 10, he said.

The 4-H has about 200 animal projects registered: 51 horse, 20 dairy cattle, four dairy goat, 25 dogs, 15 rabbits and 165 market animals: beef, swine, sheep, goats and bucket calves.

“I’m excited. The kids will be able to carry on,” said Henderson.