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Browns celebrate 70 year love story

Just a tenth of a percent of couples are able to celebrate 70 years of marriage. On Sat., July 25, Wayne and Carol Brown, of Preston, will do just that.

Carole was born in and grew up in Preston — just around the corner from where she lives today. Wayne grew up in Magna, Utah, but spent his summers in Preston visiting cousins. In fact, they share a cousin through different sides of the family and it was at that cousin’s wedding that the two struck up a friendship.

Carol was living in Salt Lake City, having graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in microbiology. She was in the process of moving to Bethesda, Maryland to work at the US Department of Health when she got a call from the pathologist at the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake who asked the 21-year-old woman to organize the first microbiology lab there. Carol accepted and while there she researched vaccines and penicillin in connection with the U of U.

Wayne had just returned from serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to Hawaii. He was already a veteran, having served in World War II, as a Lieutenant JG in the Navy.

He was going to school at Brigham Young University studying education, and she needed help moving a sewing machine. That little bit of service went a long way and the couple began dating. Seven months later, Wayne popped the question or rather pinned each other. As members of school organizations, the fashion was to wear the organization’s pins.

”I think he gave me his pin (pinned it to her’s) on my birthday and we were married two weeks later” in the Logan Temple, said Carol.

Adjusting to the demand of the times, their temple ceremony was a bit different than people are used to, today. So many couples were getting married after the war, that they and 27 other young couples were married. Their family stood in the hallway by the door as they made their vows, then left with them so there would be room for another family to witness the next ceremony. They held a reception in her parent’s home.

They took a honeymoon trip to Yellowstone, the first day of which they dressed in their wedding attire and stopped at the Idaho Falls Temple to take pictures. There had not been time for pictures at the Logan Temple as busy as it was.

Still working at the research center after their marriage, Carol found a willing partner in Wayne as she worked to develop mediums for administering penicillin. The newlyweds gave each other shots of penicillin and then drew blood to determine how long the drug remained in the bloodstream.

Carol said she “converted” Wayne from BYU to the U, where he earned a bachelors degree in elementary education in 1951. He followed that up with a masters degree from Utah State University in 1956.

Not long after Wayne graduated from the U of U, the new couple moved into an apartment in her parent’s Preston home at 105 North 1st West, until they were able to build their own home around the corner at 168 North 2nd West. They raised their children (Carol Jean Frasier, of Preston, Judy Comstock, of Potlatch, ID, Todd Alma Brown, of Hyde Park, UT, Daniel Wayne Brown, deceased, and Marilyn Geddes, of Banida), fulfilled careers, and spent their retirement all in that home.

For a woman who still has the miniature house she played in nine decades ago, Carol was a trailblazer for women having a career. In the 1950s, women were coming back home from manning the production of war supplies while their husbands and sons were fighting on the fronts in Europe and the Pacific. Their role in society was expected to be in the home. Carol expected it, too, but not for long.

In 1954 when she was pregnant with her son, Todd, the Relief Society presidents from the Franklin & Oneida Stakes came to her and said the private hospital in Preston, owned by the Cutler family, was taken over by the county and they needed someone to start the lab. She was the only person with the education to do so in the area. Even though she had one-year-old and two-year-old daughters, and was eight months pregnant, she accepted the challenge for $1.50 per hour.

The couple lived in a transitional time: fewer women got an education and worked like she did. For her to take on a modern role in the community, Wayne had to navigate a lifestyle prior generations of men hadn’t. Wayne often found himself taking care of their children when he was not at work. Those were “choice times” for him, he said, as he comforted sick or sad children, and got to know them as Carol worked. He is still proud of the role his wife filled in the community.

“Carol was ‘Johnny on the spot.’ If a doctor needed blood, or a test, she knew where to get it. “She had a walking blood bank,” in her mind, said Wayne. She knew a person’s blood type better than she knew them by names. That was before, and even after, Red Cross began organizing blood drives, said Carol. ”If there was going to be a surgery, I’d call someone to come in and they’d sit in the waiting room in case they were needed,” she said. Often that person was Wayne.

“I was the one she called a lot of the time,” he said, because he has O+ blood type — the nearly universal donor type of blood. During her career, Carol also started the hospital’s X-ray department so local doctors didn’t have to do their own. She managed the lab, and later the x-ray department, for 30 years. At first, it was on a part-time basis but by the time she retired, she was working full-time and on call. It took a group of lab techs and x-ray technicians to replace her when she retired late in the 1980s.

Meanwhile, Wayne had been hired to teach fifth grade at the Jefferson School back in 1951. A couple of years later, he became principal of the Central School and taught third grade. Later he was named principal of both the Central and the Jefferson, and coordinator of the county elementary schools. It was during his career that the small community schools were closed and all students were bused into Preston. Wayne helped to organize that effort and opened the Oakwood Elementary in 1970. He also initiated parent teacher conferences in the district. As a fan of golf, Wayne also coached the school’s golf team. By the time he retired he had spent 36 years in education — 23 years as a principal.

When the golf course was opened in its current location in 1961 Wayne and Paul Merrill helped plant the grass and many of the trees for the course. He also functioned as the course’ golf pro until one was hired. Wayne has seen the course grow over the years and continued to golf three or four times a week! He also sang with the Preston Rotary Christmas Choir for 65 years.

The Browns have seen many other changes in the community over the years. Back when Wayne served as bishop of the Preston Third Ward, from 1967-1973, the old Third Ward chapel was razed and the current Third/Tenth Ward building was dedicated by Harold B. Lee — a high school classmate to Carol’s mother, Hattie Johnson Greaves, in the Oneida Stake Academy. Carol was as busy as he was, serving in the Primary and Relief Society, including as president of both those organizations over the years.

She also worked with the Cub Scouts for 20 years and the Medical Explorer program at Preston High School for seniors interested in the medical field during the 80s.

The couple continues to stay active. They ride bikes, maintain a huge, immaculate garden, and he was volunteering as a driver of the “Old Folks’ Van” to the temple in Logan each week until the temple was closed due to COVID-19. Likewise, he was preparing and serving meals on Fridays when the center closed.

Having retired, the couple served an 18-month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines Baguio Mission from 1987-1989, then worked in the temple for 16 years. Over time, 22 grandchildren and 53 great-grandchildren have joined their family — the first great-great grandchild due in December.

To commemorate Carol’s 92 birthday on July 9, Wayne’s 95th birthday on July 19, and their anniversary, all 104 family members were planning to participate in a family reunion.

Instead, they will connect via the online venues as the family celebrates Wayne’s and Carol’s long-time commitment to each other, their family and their community.

Preston City to sell rodeo arena to county

The Preston City Council voted at its July 13 meeting to sell the 5.5 acres on which the rodeo arena is built, to the county for $125,000.

For over 50 years, there’s been a three-part lease between Preston City, Franklin County and That Famous Preston Night Rodeo. The lease is up for renewal and county officials requested to purchase it. Although the rodeo committee wanted the property as well, the city elected to sell it to the county because it is a public entity, and because the county runs fair activities out of the arena, said Mayor Dan Keller.

“One landlord is better than two,” he said. However, the city is maintaining a first option to repurchase the land if the county ever decides to sell it.

“This has been in discussion for a long time,” said the mayor. The property includes the arena, the Fairly-Nice Shelter, and the property south of the arena to the street. It does not include the new restroom constructed south of the arena or any portion of the park to the east of the arena.

The city expects the sale to improve opportunities for the rodeo committee to raise funds for expanding the arena. “This multi-part lease was an impediment to them. Hopefully, this will make it easier to expand or rebuild for them,” he said.

In other business, the city council voted to accept a Coronavirus State Property Tax Relief Proposal.

“We had a lengthy discussion on the pros and cons of it,” said the mayor. Although Franklin County and other cities in the state did not want to participate in the proposal, Boise, Rigby and Chubbuck are among those cities that have.

“I advocated participating to give taxpayers relief,” said the mayor. Although the governor’s office said the $500,000 grant would provide between 10% and 20% in tax relief to the citizens of Preston, Mayor Keller expects the relief to be closer to 10%. One of the requirements was that the funds are to be used to pay police officers from March 15 — Dec. Another was that Preston City would not take the annually allowable three percent allowable tax increase this year. That increase usually amounts to between $30,000 and $40,000 a year.

“I did the math and at most, that will be 10 percent here.

“I think it is a good thing,” said Mayor Keller. Having run the numbers himself, he expects Preston residents will see a 10% cut in the city’s portion of their property taxes for 2020. For example on a $3,000 tax bill, Preston City’s portion would be $600. This grant will shave between $60-$70 of the city portion of the taxes.

That is money that property taxpayers will not have to pay, plus the three percent of additional relief because the city didn’t take its annual increase, he said. “Year after year, it adds up.”

The city made an offer on purchasing Craner Field from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so spent time discussing the procedure it must follow to do so.

The council then approved business licenses for two businesses: Financial Remedy and Symbii Home Health & Hospice, which recently bought out Signature Home Health.

The council also decided to increase safety around the high school by adding a stop sign on First East and Third South. The city’s engineer is currently in the process of researching that project.

Finally, the city instructed City Engineer Tyrell Simpson to begin negotiations for property acquisitions for a new sewer treatment plant.

Preston schools plan to reopen in fall

The current plan for returning to school in the Preston School District is to encourage masks, but not require them in school this fall. 

It is currently planned for school to resume in the Preston School District in August with normal face to face instruction.“Our overarching goal is to have students at school, working directly with teachers as much as is possible. All of our plans are designed to maximize the amount of time students can be in school together with their teachers” states a survey that has been sent out to patrons, seeking their input on a plan that was presented to the school board on July 15.The plan was created by teachers and administrators, and approved by the school board.

“Now its out to parents and patrons for input and suggestions,” said district superintendent Marc Gee. “Once we have that, we should be able to firm up a lot of the details.”The first thing to note is that while a virtual option will be available, it will be “significantly different than what was offered in the spring.”

It is designed to provide an option for those at higher risk of getting sick and will be discontinued when the status of the COVID virus becomes more positive. An application process will be required to participate and some electives may not be available to grades 7-12.

Masks will be recommended for students and teachers at school and on busses, but will not be required.

Other precautions for sanitation and distancing will be implemented including a more frequent cleaning and sanitation and “increased instruction, monitoring of, and opportunities for student handwashing.” Plans for handling recess are still being worked out, but “it is a priority to continue to provide students with an opportunity to exercise and play.”

If community spread of the virus increases to Category 3 or beyond the district will move to an AB schedule with half the students attending on Monday and Wednesday and the other half on Tuesday and Thursday. If the spread becomes severe the district will consider a short term closure with home based learning for all students in conjunction with state, county and city restrictions.The district has yet to determine which teachers will teach virtually. that and other details are expected to be decided by the end of July in time to prepare for the first day of school.

In other business, the Preston School Board heard from athletic director Brent Knapp that the high school’s annual fall sports fund-raise has been rethought so there is no door-to-door soliciting, said Gee.

Conflict marks public meeting in Dayton

In response to a special meeting held by the school board on July 14 regarding a cesspool the district intends to build on school property, the city council of Dayton held its own special meeting on July 16, to officially hear any new issues and complaints that had not been raised in the emergency WS School Board meeting (see story page 2), and to officially accept or reject the new sewer system for the West Side school district.

In the 48 hours since the school meeting, several members of the city council contacted other cities with similar sewer systems who all said that it never stinks or if it does very rarely. Members of the audience didn’t buy it, citing experiences from other people.

Mayor Melvin Beutler began the meeting by acknowledging that communication had failed between the city and the Department of Environmental Quality(DEQ) resulting in a paperwork snafu and he apologized for that error. The snafu in question is that on the DEQ form there is a checkbox indicating that the project had received approval from the city. While it was marked the city didn’t give any form of consent to the project. For the appearance of an impropriety the mayor apologized, but the apology did not pacify the group. At more than one point in the meeting, snide and angry comments were exchanged from both the council and area residents.

Whether this was a mistake or an omission on the part of the city council, the DEQ, the school district, or a computer glitch didn’t bother most of the city council members.

Both Craig Rasmussen of Forsgren Engineering and David Goings of the DEQ, said the septic lagoon is still the only viable option for handling waste from both Beutler Middle School and H. B. Lee Elementary due to financial, environmental and time constraints.

After the first rude comment of the evening Mayor Beutler put his foot down and told the crowd they could, more or less, either behave civilly or get out. Dayton resident Thelma Roley said a real estate agent told her that so long as the pond is maintained there should be no odor and that it should be landscaped so that it isn’t just a giant mud puddle with a chain-link fence around it, and that there would be no impact to real estate values. She felt the district should have a caretaker involved in the planning of the facility to better understand how to maintain it was her main concern. Superintendent Spencer Barzee said he had a short list of about six people he was considering to manage the lagoon once it is completed.

Joy Hansen angrily made a motion that the entire project be put on hold until the citizens of Dayton could retain attorneys. However, as she is not a member of the city council she had no authority to make such a motion. At being thwarted the point was made that the council’s salary is paid by the city’s taxes and they could be voted out in the next election.

Jim Naylor inquired as to why no one approached him to get a new location for the lagoon. He manages land around the school on behalf of his family and felt that if he’d been able to talk to them, a better location could have been found for the cesspool. Property on the east side and back of the Dayton Cemetery was recently bought to build a new high school on in 15-20 years. {span}The argument was that the lagoon could have been moved there, more out of the way, rather than in the middle of the school ground. {/span}

After repeatedly trying to close the public comment section of the meeting, there was always one more angry or disappointed comment, the council moved onto the matter of the evening, the vote. The vote came down in favor of the lagoon with a three to one majority with Stacey Moser against.