A1 A1
Jensen sends community on rock hunts

“This is the one she wanted to find so bad!! She took her dad a drink at West Motor and it was right in the window!!!! Happy girl!!” posted Tana Checketts, Preston, on Facebook.

“Found at the Preston Post Office! We’ll go hide it in just a bit! My kids LOVE this. Thank you for doing it!!” stated Samantha Olsen.

“I found one at West Motor Ford and the other at Burger King!! We love them and are going to keep them for now. Thank you, Jerri Jensen. That was fun!!” posted Tara Sorensen.

“Found in snow at Wendy’s coming into work yesterday,” noted Joshua Harris.

“I was notified that it was missing from its hiding place yesterday. I’m glad you found it. You can keep it or rehide it,” replied Jerri Jensen.

What is everyone in Franklin County posting about on Facebook?

Painted rocks. Jerri Jensen, Preston, has been painting rocks for years. Recently she began hiding them throughout Franklin County, and the community has joined in the adventure.

“I love the idea of sharing this art therapy with my friends, neighbors, and the community,” said Jensen, originally form C. Why Preston? “My daughter was interested to see where Napoleon Dynamite came from, so here we are 15 years later.” She moved froma small Northern California town called Colusa to Preston in 2004. “I loved the beauty of this valley and its defined seasons and best of all, the residents who live here,” said Jensen.

Always an artist, she said she started painting rocks six years ago after moving into her current home on the golf course. “My new home with its open living concept and lack of wall space, I had no place to display my art work. I‘ve always painted with oils on canvas. ... that’s when I started painting on rocks. Next thing I knew my husband, Dennis, started bringing me rocks.”

Jerri loves drawing and doodling. That’s where most of her ideas come from. “Once I perfect the doodle, I move the idea to a rock. I don’t paint in mass production. I paint one rock at a time and most of them are one of a kind. If I like an idea for a rock, I sometimes paint it several times improving it each time. But all drawings are different just like all rocks are different in size, shape and color. One rock may look like a truck so I’ll paint a truck on it or one may look like a pizza. That’s what I paint on them. Every rock inspires me,” Jensen said.

But when hundreds of rocks began piling up around the house she decided to give them as gifts, hand them out to Trick or Treaters, and place them in a barrel at her mail box. She soon realized they were disappearing.

“I left them at restaurants for the waiter/waitress with the tip,” admitted Jensen. “It always adds a bit of conversation as well as puts a smile on their faces.” Sharing her rocks puts Jensen “in a happy place. This is my mental therapy.”

Then she started leaving them here and there as hidden treasures. “People seem to find joy in finding them,” and it seems to be inspiring others to be creative, she said.

After thinking about it for a couple of years she decided to launch it on Christmas Day, 2019. She did so by starting a group on Facebook called Preston Idaho Rocks and invited every local person she knew to join the hide and seek adventure.

She encourages others to decorate their own rocks, sign them, then write on the back “Post on Facebook Preston Idaho Rocks, keep or rehide. Leave it somewhere and take a picture. Go to Facebook page and leave a clue and a picture to its whereabouts. Our job is now to seek and find, based on clues you’ve left on Facebook.”

She now has 232 followers in her Facebook group. Jensen paints rocks every day and goes out on once a week to hide the them. “I love hearing their stories of how they found the rocks using my clues that I post on Facebook. It’s been fun for me to have other people join with me in this adventure,” said Jensen.

Kimberly Coats, Weston, was the first person to find a rock that was hidden at Stokes. “Jerri paints the cutist rocks. It’s fun to go on Facebook and look for clues,” stated Coats. “It’s been a fun thing for me and my two granddaughters to do.”

Miriam Peterson of Preston comes from a long line of rock hounds, so she takes her 4-year-old daughter, Isabel, to find them, as well. “When we saw a clue on Jerri’s Facebook, Bel and I got in the car and drove to Ransom’s Sinclair Station on State Street and found the rock with the sun painted on it sitting on top of the ice machine outside,” said Miriam. “Because this was Bel’s first rock that she found and we wanted one with the sun on it, we decided that we would keep it,” said Miriam. She posted on Facebook “Found it. Will keep.” The re-hid two other rocks they found that same day.

When Peterson read “Bel the butterfly stopped in for a soak,” as a clue, she “knew right away where the rock was. We drove to Riverdale Resort and there was the rock in the window.”

“I think it is a great idea to share with the community. It’s been great for us as it is a fun way to get out of the house and go hunting, too. It’s been really fun to keep track of the rocks hidden and found. Bel and I plan to paint some rocks and hide them, too.” Peterson invited Kymberly Ward to the group.

I think this will be a fun craft to do with the Grands when we have our sleep overs! There is some amazingly artistic and clever people here,” said Ward.

People outside of Franklin County are taking note, as well. Sandy Thomas Greenwood loves the idea.

“Jerri, I smile every time someone finds one of your beautiful hand painted rocks....What a clever idea and what a fun way to get people out, looking, finding and lifting spirits...Your town is lucky to have you ... Your work is beautiful.... and with your talents you bring joy...wish I lived closer to Preston ...” posted Greenwood.

“I love sharing my art and the positive effect it is having on many lives. Join in on the fun! Go on a painted rock hunt with us,” invited Jensen.

Census bureau still hiring

The 2020 Census engine is on track for this year, and will soon be contacting everyone in Franklin County. It officially began on Jan. 21, when the US Census Bureau counted the residents in the rural Alaskan village of Toksook Bay.

Personal information will be taken locally beginning on or between Mar. 12-20 when an invitation will be extended to all residents in the United States to respond online, by phone, or by mail. Franklin County is coded purple on the map, meaning that it is an area that will most likely respond online. Reminder letters and postcards will be sent up until Apr. 27.

However, in areas less likely to respond online, approximately 21.8 percent of households, will receive a paper questionnaire along with the invitation to respond online or over the phone.

April 1 is officially “Census Day” and is observed nationwide – individuals will report where they live as of that date. Workers will personally count people in shelters, at soup kitchens and mobile food vans, and those at non-sheltered, outdoor locations between Mar. 30 and Apr. 1. Also in April, Census Takers will begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people.

Between May and July, Census Takers will begin visiting private homes that haven’t as yet responded. By Dec. 21, 2020, the Census Bureau will deliver apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law. It won’t be until Mar. 21, 2021, that redistricting counts will return to states – the information that is used to redraw legislative districts based on population changes.

The recruitment goal for census workers has been met for Franklin County according to Misty Slater, Media Specialist with the US Census Bureau over Nevada, Oregon, and Idaho.

However the bureau is still hiring people in the county area for other jobs. The operation requires hundreds of thousands of people to help get everyone counted and it is not too late to apply. Interested persons can learn more and apply now at 2020census.gov/jobs, or call 1-855-JOB-2020, text JOBS2020 to 313131, or call 1-800-877-8339 for TTY/ASCII.