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Rodeo weekend passes with Nuttin' but Mutton Bustin'

Over three dozen kids attempted to ride a sheep out of the gate at That Famous Preston Night Rodeo’s Nuttin’ but Mutton Bustin’ event held last Saturday night.

To a sparse but loud crowd, the miniature cowboys and cowgirls rode for one of the three trophies annually sponsored by Keller Tire. A winner was proclaimed in each of three heats: BoDee Bayles, Harley Law and Pete Jones.

A grinning Bayles, son of Gary Ryan and LeAnn Bayles, gave his dad a high-five when his mount finally shook him off.

Law, the daughter of Colby and Connie Law, took her turn right after her brother, Trace, but held on half-way down the arena before she slipped under her sheep and it rolled over her. Trace helped her take hold of that trophy.

Jones, the son of Cort and Amanda Jones, took possession of his trophy with a grin that almost matched his mother’s.

Also during the evening, a boot race was held with willing participants from the crowd. Carter Anderson ran away with a gift certificate for a new pair of jeans. Ella Jepsen, won a gift certificate and an impromptu date in a rodeo queen boot race. She accepted the gift certificate. she and the beau declined the date — they are cousins.

Jim and Debbie Summers judged the event as grand marshals of the 2020 rodeo, until it evaporated. “We got to do something!” they laughed but it did make Jim “realize what we missed.”

“It was great to get together, as a rodeo committee, and have a fun night on what would have been our Saturday final performance of the 2020 That Famous Preston Rodeo.” said rodeo chairman, Kris Beckstead. “For a couple of hundred people and 36 little mutton busters, we hope they had as much fun as we did.”

Each participant received gift cards, buckles, t-shirts.

“Thanks to Dax Keller and Ron Keller Tire for sponsoring, and the committee and spouses: Kurt and Margaret Iverson, Brian and Sheryl Kimball, Thane and Kathy Winward, Jeff and Lee Hollingsworth, Dave and Tiffany Jeppeson, Doug and Sandra Webb, Richard and Jennifer Swainston.

Among others who helped in the alleys to sort and chute the sheep were Charles Iverson, who became an impromptu rodeo clown, Bailey and Jamie Beckstead, who wrangled the sheep, and Wyatt Freeman, who rescued the riders. Freeman is the world-champion junior NFR Rough Stock Rider. That Famous Preston Night Rodeo sponsors him at the Junior NFR National Finals Rodeo in December.

”It felt good to be at the arena, have the lights on and get a little feel of rodeo in this tough year of no show,” said Kris Beckstead.

With new storm drain, football bleachers to be built

Preston School District has determined this to be the year that bleachers will be constructed for the high school’s football field. But to do so, a city storm drain needs to be replaced with pipe that will not fail, said city engineer Tyrell Simpson. Currently, there are problems with rocks that have filled part of the drain.

Because the school district wants to get the bleachers installed for the upcoming football season, and because the current city budget did not allow for the project, the school district offered to pay for half the project, as well as float the project until the city can budget its portion. The city will include its half of the project into next year’s budget and refund the school district next year.

Preston School District Superintendent Marc Gee told the city council that the district could float the project because “we have several projects this year that come in under budget. The school board is in support of whatever it takes to get those bleachers in. They have been a long-time coming,” said Gee.

The project is estimated to cost $49,250, said Simpson. A 24” high density polyethylene pipe will be installed, “so hopefully we never have to install again,” he said. HDP pipe doesn’t have joints and its 50’ lengths are fused together, so there are no joints that can come apart or leak, he said.

Installing such pipe is expected to prevent any storm drain issues that would affect the bleachers to be built over it.

Preston City Council approved paying for 50% of the project, so a contractor can move forward with construction.

The city then approved a business license requested by Linda Parrish for Crown Homes of American Falls, which has contracts to do work on homes within the city limits.

Michael Funk, the developer of the Trinity Town Homes on 400 South, 400 West, was entreated to provide more parking for his tenants, as they have been parking on the road and on land owned by neighbors.

Brad Gailey, a resident of the complex, as well as an officer of the Preston Police Department, said only 50 percent of the needed parking space is available there. His neighbors are concerned that come wintertime, they will be cited for parking on the road, as city ordinances require roads to be open so plows can remove snow.

“It is an affordable housing community: that’s why it is affordable,” said Funk. “If they are going to buy or rent they need to take that for consideration.”

However, to help with the problem, Funk told the council that he has asked his tenants to clear their garages and use them for parking, as they were intended to be used, so there is more room for visitors.

He also accepted a suggestion from Mayor Dan Keller’s suggestion that he develop a higher-end duplex on his remaining property instead of a four-plex in order to decrease the demand for parking spaces.

Each tenant is provided two parking spaces: one in their garage and one uncovered. Funk also told the council he will make sure that when snow is removed from the parking lot, it will not be placed on neighboring property.

The city council then approved a motion to install a stop sign at 400 South 400 East to create a three-way stop and slow traffic by the elementary schools.

“The elementary kids deserve them,” said Councilman Todd Thomas. The council will wait on the results of a pending traffic study to determine whether to install additional stop signs, as well.

The council also agreed that it was time to install a new roof on a storage building used to house the Festival of Lights decorations. Water has been leaking in the building.

“It needs to move up on the priority list,” said council member Allyson Wadsworth. “There is a lot of work that goes into the Festival of Lights.” Funds for the $15,000 repair job had already been put in the budgetso the council decided to move forward with it.

Next on the agenda was whether the city should allow a home to be built on a lot in the new part of the subdivision surrounding the golf course. Past city administration didn’t accept building plans on the lot due to the need for water runoff to go somewhere.

However, current city administration believes the landowner has the right to develop its property in a section of the subdivision that was approved in 2009.

“We are practicing an informal form of eminent domain,” said Mayor Keller. “Every single lot (in the subdivision) has a flooding problem.” Keller said he remembers the surprise a former councilman made when the subdivision was first proposed. At the time, the area was considered a “swamp land” due to the high amounts of runoff that naturally drain through there from surrounding properties.

Lot 17 in the subdivision is currently owned by Ireland Bank, which wants to construct a home on the lot. Bruce Lowry, president of the bank, acknowledged that water does get to the lot, but that it does drain.

“The bank feels flooding issues can be resolved with raising the elevation of lots and landscaping, which can be mandated through the building permit process and inspections.

All those subdivisions have water come up on lawns,” he said.

Councilman Todd Thomas noted the need to protect the city.

“Waivers/disclaimers should be built into the process, to make it clear with owners that there is an issue there and they are not going to try to sue the city if they have a problem,” said city attorney Lyle Fuller. “The seller has the duty to disclose material items to the buyer,” he said. The city council instructed the city engineer to approve a building permit on the condition that the owner give special attention to educate its future buyer of the flooding problems on that lot.

Finally, the council listened to Jim Mullen of Keller Associates explain the need for approval on a plan to conduct a pilot test of a sand filter method to decrease phosphorus in the city’s sewer output.

If a sand filter will do the job, the city will be able to save millions of dollars over installing a membrane filter, said Mullen.

Keller and Associates is hopeful that grant money from rural development will be available, but does not think stimulus money will be available for infrastructure, he said.

The city approved Keller Associates’ draft scope of work for pilot testing and judicial review.

City to purchase Craner Field

Preston City Mayor Dan Keller signed a buy/sale agreement with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on July 31 to purchase Craner Field.

The city was the high-bidder on the property and is expected to make the payment of $265,000 on the 5.6 acre property within 60 days.

To do so, the city must re-open its current budget to take the funds from its reserves. That requires a hearing, which will take place at the City’s next council meeting, slated for Aug. 10, at 5 p.m. at the city offices.

“We feel like this is an opportunity for the city to acquire additional recreational property with all the amenities: lights, restroom, ball diamonds, backstops, water, irrigation water infrastructure. Everything is there,” said Mayor Keller.

The church has owned the property since 1980, and it was the church that named it in honor of Bill Craner, a long-time ag teacher at Preston High School. The City will retain that name, said Keller, and use the field to improve its recreational program.

Also at the city’s next meeting, a hearing is scheduled to take public comment on the city’s decision to not take the annually allowed three percent tax increase. The city wants to forego the tax increase in lieu of a one-time grant that will pay the salaries of its police officers for a year. The grant is part of Gov. Little’s $188 Million Coronavirus Property Tax Relief Fund.

County to buy sweeper, support Gold Star memorial

The Franklin County Commissioners met July 27 and the first item on the agenda was the road sweeper discussed in the previous meeting. The road and bridge department will be obtaining a loan to purchase the sweeper.

Riley Reynolds’ Class 2 subdivision was approved along with the proposed Class 1 subdivisions of Josh Taylor and Hymas Properties LLC.

Sheriff Fryar presented his concerns about the limited visibility at the intersection of 800 South 1600 East. After discussing his concerns and the options, the commissioners agreed to install another stop sign or have the intersection become a 3-way stop.

The commissioners decided to donate the county star at the site of the first Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in Idaho.

The monument will be surrounded by 44 gold stars, one for each of Idaho’s counties. The purpose of the monument is “to honor and remember the fallen and their families, who bear the loss of a loved one in military service to our nation and the preservation of our freedom,” states the project’s website. The Idaho Gold Star Families Memorial Monument committee is working with the Hershel “Woody”Williams Medal of Honor Foundation to bring a Gold Star Families Memorial Monument to the State of Idaho. The monument will be located in Pocatello, a permanent tribute to brave service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation, and a witness to the loss borne by the loved ones they left behind.

Maple Creek Road improvements were discussed and what needs to be completed prior to acceptance by the commissioners.

Preston Mayor Dan Keller and Shawn Oliverson met with the Commissioners to discuss the property around the airport and the FAA requirements and updating the ALP (airport layout plan).

It was decided that the Courthouse Remodel Bond will not be on the November General Election. It will wait until the May 2021 election.

All bills were approved for payment and the minutes were approved.

381 acres charred

A spark from an excavator working in rocks along the foothills east of Franklin caused a wildfire that charred 381 acres on Friday afternoon, July 31. The rocky terrain made containing the blaze difficult. Firefighters were able to keep it away from a nearby subdivision as the wind fanned it northward.