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Four vying for three Tremonton City Council seats

Campaign signs can be seen lining the streets of Tremonton, which can only mean one thing — local elections are coming.

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, residents of the city will cast their votes for city council members. One incumbent is running for a second four-year term, while the other three would be new faces on the council.

While Box Elder County has switched to a vote-by-mail system, voters will still be able to cast their ballots in person on Election Day at the Tremonton Civic Center, 102 S. Tremont St.

Lyle Vance

Councilmember Lyle Vance, the only incumbent on the ballot this time around, is hoping to continue his service on the council after first winning election in 2015. Vance shared the following statement:

“I’m seeking your consideration and vote for a second term on the Tremonton City Council. I’m a life long resident of Tremonton and have always been proud to be a part of Tremonton.

I graduated from our local Bear River High, then from Utah State with a B.S. in accounting. I have been a banker in our community for 30 years.

I have always been service minded, serving in our local Box Elder Valley Chamber, Kiwanian Club, BATC Board, Box Elder School District Foundation, Scout District Finance chair, Church and many other projects over the years.

Tremonton faces growth, both residentially and commercially. While maintaining our basic community services, our public funds need to be scrutinized and wisely allocated to those areas that will best enhance our infrastructure, while maintaining and protecting our way of life in this great community.

With my background in finance and accounting, I believe I can add strength to the city council’s fiscal and economic decisions. I commit to keep an open mind, to learn all sides of the issues before making decisions by studying the issues and listening to our Tremonton citizens. I believe we have a good base to build upon and look forward to a positive future.”

Connie Archibald

Connie Archibald, who has represented Tremonton on the Box Elder School District for the past 15 years, said she decided to run after several influential people in the local community approached her and asked her to join the fray.

Archibald has lived in Tremonton for 42 years, and has been the practice manager at Bear River Clinic for 25 years.

She said she has been attending city council meetings for many years, and hopes to increase civic participation in the process.

“I’m not there for the insurance benefits or any type of monetary gain at all,” Archibald said. “I’m just there to make a difference. I don’t see many people at the council meetings, and I will really encourage people to come out and get involved. There are so many wonderful people in Tremonton, and sometimes we just have to hear their voices in order to make good decisions.”

She said she’s also a person who “really loves tradition, and in Tremonton, we have a lot of wonderful traditions.”

Archibald said it’s also important to work with all the smaller communities surrounding Tremonton to come up with policies that work for everybody, even if they don’t necessarily live within city limits.

“It’s really important for us to be supportive of them and do our best to be good neighbors,” she said.

Scott Dahle

Candidate Scott Dahle has been in Tremonton for more than 10 years and currently works as the environmental health and safety director for Great Basin Industrial, an international company specializing in industrial construction, commissioning, maintenance, shutdown and oil field services.

Dahle shared the following statement for publication:

“It has been my wife, Heather and I’s privilege to raise our four children in this great town.

Every day I handle complex issues with multifaceted consequences throughout the United States. This experience has helped me develop an understanding of the far-reaching impacts when making decisions.

Locally, I have enjoyed opportunities to serve on the High School Community Council and volunteered in various Boy Scout and church assignments. I have a vested interest in what happens in our community, especially with our children and our schools.

I love the small-town ideals that we all enjoy and realize the need for successful businesses to contribute to our tax base. My goal is to assure your voice is heard as we showcase how Tremonton City is a great place to live and do business.”

Seamons has his own engineering firm, and has served for several years on the Tremonton City Planning Commission.

Rick Seamons

Rick Seamons spent several years on the Tremonton City Planning Commission, and hopes to bring that experience to making city policy as a member of the Tremonton City Council.

Seamons is one of four candidates vying for three open seats in the upcoming election on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

“I think Tremonton is a great place to live,” he said. “We just need to plan for the future.”

Seamons, a licensed professional structural engineer, works in the engineering department at Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems in Promontory, where he is in charge of the water system at the sprawling facility. He’s also a Utah state-licensed water operator, and said his experience working with water systems would be useful to the council.

“I understand the ins and outs of those things,” he said.

A native of southern Idaho, Seamons and his wife moved to Tremonton in 1988. They have been married for 35 years and raised three children.

“I think we need to provide for future generations, look at what we’re doing now and how it’s going to affect them,” he said. “I think we would all like our kids to grow up here, and if they want to stay, that’s great.”

‘More hugs, less screen time’: Activist visits BRHS to address addiction to social media, gaming

Collin Kartchner has dedicated himself to helping young people end their addictions to social media and gaming and last week, the activist brought his message to the Bear River Valley.

Appearing before a packed house at the Bear River High auditorium on Tuesday, Oct. 8, Kartchner shared some sobering statistics before explaining how families can reconnect with each other by putting their phones and other devices down from time to time.

Kartchner said social media and gaming are getting kids hooked by the millions because they are designed to produce dopamine in young, developing brains.

“Parents have to intervene,” he said. “We have to stop giving our kids free access to social media and smartphones. They’re not ready for it. Their minds can’t cope with the dopamine.”

While admitting it’s not realistic to take teens’ phones away and cut them off from social media altogether, he said it’s important to have a structure in place that limits screen time and exposure to the various social ills that proliferate on social media platforms.

He said a study two years ago in the United Kingdom found that having access to a smartphone all day long had the equivalent impact of a gram of cocaine per day on developing brains.

“We’re dumping on their brains copious amounts of dopamine, the most addictive substance known to man,” Kartchner said. “Kids are all gas and no brakes. Their brains aren’t wired to slow down.”

Excessive smartphone use is also leading to kids not getting enough sleep, which is why one of his main suggestions is for parents to prohibit the devices in kids’ bedrooms.

“One of the leading causes of anxiety and depression in young people, caused by devices, is lack of sleep,” he said. “Our kids aren’t sleeping. If the device is in their bedroom, get it out. That’s the best thing I could ever tell you.”

One of the best ways to counter the spread of social media and smartphone addiction, he said, is for parents to lead by example. That’s why he encourages families to enter into a “social media contract,” in which both parents and kids agree to adhere to a set of restrictions on screen time for everyone in the household.

“You can’t just tell them ‘you can’t do this,’” he said. “You have to come to the table. You sign it and they sign it, and you put it up on the fridge. This will disarm the constant contention of Us versus Them.”

Kartchner, who by his own admission is a “recovering social media addict,” began his crusade in 2017, when he started a parody Instagram account simply to make fun of social media and the culture of toxic perfectionism it has created. Instead of using his platform and large following to earn paid sponsor posts or ad dollars, he used his account to do good.

When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, Collin used social media to crowd-funded over $125,000 for Hurricane victims which he and his wife Liz then personally delivered to many families in Texas. Soon after when Hurricane Maria hit, he helped a group raise $350,000 for people in Puerto Rico. He then raised over $30,000 for three Utah children fighting cancer and threw the largest social-media created Christmas party for the kids. In February 2018, he raised over $15,000 in less than 12 hours to put “You are Loved” and “You are Beautiful” billboards across Utah seen an estimated 1.18 million times.

In April 2018, he started a campaign with the hashtag #SavetheKids from social media and screen addiction’s negative affect on their mental and emotional health. His message has resonated with the masses, as he has since spoke to more than 300,000 youth and adults across the country with a speaking schedule now booked out as far as 18 months in advance. He was even invited to speak at TEDxSaltLakeCity in 2018, as well as for invitations to speak at companies like Nike and Adidas.

Kartchner is on a crusade to help educate parents on the damage social media and 24/7 access to peer culture will have on their child’s mental health. His goal is to help teens rise above social media comparison, negativity, cyber bullying, and the stress of being perfect. Every day, he said he gets hundreds of messages from teens sharing how social media is hurting their mental health, and how his message changed or even saved their lives.

One of his strategies for changing behaviors among youth and families in general is simply to give more hugs, which have been shown to produce a release of dopamine in the brain. He encouraged the audience in Garland to give eight hugs for eight seconds every day, and even had people in the crowd hug the person next to them during his presentation.

Parents, he said, have often become part of the problem by acting as what he calls “snowplow parents” — those who do everything for their kids instead of letting them learn on their own.

“We throw them in the back and say ‘we got this,’” Kartchner said. “You bring to school whatever the kid forgets. You do the laundry, clean their room, do the dishes, so they don’t have to. You never delay gratification. You micromanage teachers and grades, and you push them into things that are way beyond their skill level. If you want your kids to succeed, please let them fail. Let them figure it out.”

However, he says the lion’s share of the blame for social media and gaming addiction doesn’t rest with parents, but with the industry itself. It’s important for parents not to blame themselves entirely for their kids’ behavior, he said.

“You are raising half-brained monkeys,” he joked to the parents in the crowd. “The brain develops rear to front, and in your kids, it’s not even close to fully developed.”

Because their brains are still developing, limiting screen time is absolutely critical during childhood and teen years, he said.

One of the most important things he said parents can do is just listen to their children and reserve judgment. He said his household is a “no-trouble bubble,” where kids can ask anything without fear or shame.

“You have to create a space where your kids can talk because if you’re not teaching them, Kim Kardashian is, and you don’t want that,” he said.

Once kids get used to putting down there phones and engaging face-to-face with friends and family, they can get used to it remarkably fast, he said.

“We need more hugs and less time on screens, so we can connect in real life like we used to,” he said. “And if we can do that, we can be a family again.”

For more information on how to bring Collin to a school, company, community, or conference, visit www.SaveTheKids.us

Crisis center sees increase in domestic violence victims

Box Elder County’s primary provider of services for victims of domestic violence is helping more people than ever, a sign that the problem is growing and shows no signs of going away.

Penny Evans, director of the New Hope Crisis Center in Brigham City, said the shelter served 1,155 people in the past year, up from 1,066 the year before. That number included 796 women, 228 children and 131 men who were suffering from some form of violence in their homes.

“Unfortunately those numbers are up in our county,” she said.

As she does every year, Evans appeared before the Box Elder County Commission and Tremonton City Council to read a proclamation declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Utah, and to share the latest figures and explain why New Hope Crisis Center fulfills a critical need within the county.

“We have an amazing staff and we couldn’t do it without the people there, and the community that supports us in so many ways,” Evans said.

She said the center responded to more than 2,800 crisis calls in the most recent year, which comes out to nearly eight calls per day.

The center deals with abuse situations including domestic, sexual, child abuse, dating violence, stalking and other problems.

In the past year alone, Evans said it helped 40 victims of sexual assault and rape, 19 victims of child sexual abuse, and 57 victims of child physical abuse. It sheltered 61 women and 71 children for a total of 2,665 bed nights.

“We stay busy, unfortunately,” she said.

While the statistics can be depressing, Evans said there are also uplifting success stories coming out of the shelter. She said a mother with two children and pregnant with a third came in looking for help and was able to stay at the shelter for the duration of her pregnancy, after which she found stable, secure housing with assistance from the center.

“That’s really why we’re there — to help people find safety, succeed and become self-sufficient,” she said. “It’s not just staying for one night.”

All of New Hope’s services are offered free of charge, and the center relies entirely on grants and private donations for its funding. While the center itself is in Brigham City, it also has a victim’s advocate who comes to Garland once or twice a week and works out of the resource center just north of the high school (the former seminary building).

The shelter has been able to expand in recent years. Three years ago, Evans worked with the Bear River Association of Governments to secure funding to remodel the basement area into a studio apartment that provides temporary housing to families, or serves as overflow when the shelter is full. The center also now has a justice court advocate who works countywide to help victims navigate the court system.

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, New Hope Crisis Center and others will be participating in a domestic violence awareness walk beginning at 5:30 p.m. tonight at the Tremonton Civic Center, 102 S. Tremont St.