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County approves sale of water shares to Tremonton

Tremonton City continues to stock up on water shares to supply the city’s growing secondary water system.

After securing 111 shares in a land swap deal in May, the city has secured another 44 shares, this time obtaining extra shares from the county that weren’t being used.

Tremonton has been negotiating for months to acquire the county-owned shares, and at a meeting last week, the Box Elder County Commissioned approved the sale, making the shares available through the surplus property process.

As required, Tremonton hired an outside appraiser to value the shares, which will be sold to the city at $5,000 apiece for a total purchase price of $220,000. The city is in the process of rolling out the secondary water system to some of the most densely populated parts of town, and needs the shares to keep up with the number of connections going in.

After holding a public hearing at the meeting on June 5, the commission voted to move forward with the sale.

“It still leaves us with over 60 shares for the county, so we will still have what we need to use on the roads, at the fairgrounds, and other things we pull water out of the canals for,” County Commissioner Stan Summers said.

Commissioner Jeff Scott said the sale will benefit both parties, as the county wasn’t using the shares, and the savings for Tremonton’s culinary water system will be dramatic.

“The reason this makes sense, especially in Tremonton’s case, is the lack of water resources they have,” Scott said. “Rather than using culinary water on their lawns and trees, they’ll be using this.”

Accolades and positive reports are still pouring in from last month’s Golden Spike sesquicentennial celebration. Commissioners read a letter from Michael Nash, who served as incident commander for the National Park Service during the three-day event. Nash said some 40,000 people attended, and called it a “huge success.”

Summers made a point of recognizing Niagara Bottling, which donated 35,000 bottles of water to be distributed freely to those who attended.

He said comments came pouring in from people who were grateful to have such easy access to drinking water without being charged.

Also, Laura Selman reported on the success of “The Crossing,” the play she helped organize at the Old Barn Community Theatre during the Golden Spike 150 celebration. The county provided a tourism grant to fund the production, and Selman said the investment was well worth it.

“We were planning to do two performances and we ended up doing six,” she said. “We filled the house several different times.”

Scott called it “probably the biggest number of people affected for a project this small, dollar-wise, that I’ve seen.”

Wildfire season hasn’t arrived yet in Box Elder County, due in part to a cooler and wetter than usual spring, so county officials took advantage of the weather to do a little burning of their own.

Crews were out on Monday, June 3 burning piles of dried tumbleweeds, getting as much as they could done while the risk of the fire spreading was still relatively low.

“Hopefully that will be the extent of our firefighting this season – that and the Crossroads,” Scott said, referring to the planned burning of the old Crossroads building in Tremonton last month. Of course, with all the vegetation growth brought on by the rain, firefighters are bracing for another potentially busy summer as everything begins to dry out.

The commissioners received a visit from a group of girls from Alice C. Harris Intermediate School, who were on their way to Washington D.C. last weekend to showcase the award-winning projects they created for the National History Day competition.

In other business, the commission waived the fairgrounds rental fee for an LDS young adult singles ward conference coming to Tremonton on July 27, in exchange for the singles wards doing a cleanup service project at the fairgrounds. Conference organizer Charley Bown said there will be between 60 and 80 people in attendance.

Commissioners also approved two contracts, one with Staker Parson and another with LeGrand Johnson, totaling nearly $500,000 for paving work to be done on streets in Portage this summer.

Garland man in charge of Navy submarine since 2017

The Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Louisville returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam from a deployment last month, with a man from Garland at the helm.

“Louisville Sailors are some of the finest in the world,” said Commander Robert W. Rose, from Garland, and Louisville’s commanding officer. “Their hard work, ingenuity, and constant effort kept Louisville ready for every phase of deployment. As commanding officer, it is my absolute privilege to lead this crew in carrying out our nation’s most important tasking.”

Rose became commander of the Louisville during a change of command ceremony on Oct. 20, 2017, taking over for Commander David Cox.

As Rose assumed command of Louisville, he commended the crew for their accomplishments and told them to be ready for more hard work to come.

“I am honored to stand here as your shipmate,” said Rose. “You have been busy and have accomplished a lot. You should feel proud.”

During the recent deployment, 27 sailors were promoted and 26 sailors and six officers earned their submarine warfare qualification.

“Our strength on Louisville has always been our teamwork and mentorship; it’s what enables us to succeed,” said Senior Chief Fire Control Technician Teruedum A. Cox, a native of Goldsboro, North Carolina and Louisville’s Chief of the Boat. “The senior members of our crew did an incredible job training our junior sailors on the deck plate level. My hat’s off to our entire crew.”

While deployed, Louisville conducted port visits in U.S. 5th and 7th Fleets and hosted several Royal Thai Navy dignitaries during the bilateral exercise Guardian Sea.

“Seeing the crew serve as great hosts to our Thai allies on board speaks to the Louisville way,” said Senior Chief Yeoman (Submarine) Gary White, a native of Dallas, Texas. “For many on board, this was the first time they interacted with foreign Sailors, and it was an awesome opportunity for them to learn about a different culture.”

“Experiencing different cultures in the 5th and 7th Fleets was certainly a highlight of this deployment,” said Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) 2nd Class Alex York, from Tucson, Arizona. “This will stick with me for many years.”

Louisville is the fourth United States ship to bear the name in honor of the city of Louisville, Kentucky. She is the 35th nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine of the Los Angeles-class design. The completion of her deployment in the 5th and 7th Fleet area of operations marks her last deployment as she prepares for decommission.

In January and February 1991, as Operation Desert Storm began, Louisville carried out the first war patrol conducted by an American submarine since World War II. It was the first submarine to launch Tomahawk missiles in combat. For this war patrol, Louisville was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation.

In July 1992, Louisville became the first attack submarine to work up and deploy with a carrier battle group in the Pacific.

In 2003, Louisville participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom, launching 16 Tomahawk missiles from the Red Sea against targets in Iraq. Her deployment was extended to eight and a half months in support of the campaign. She was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for her role in the operation.

Louisville completed an extensive overhaul in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at the end of 2008. She returned to her homeport of Pearl Harbor in the spring of 2009.

USDA releases new figures on Box Elder farms

It’s well known that Box Elder County is a leader in agriculture among Utah’s 29 counties, and new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shed light on just how important Box Elder farmers are to the agriculture economy.

The USDA has just released county-level data for its 2017 Census of Agriculture, the most comprehensive collection of farm-related data collected by the federal government.

The new data show that there were 1,187 farms encompassing more than 1.2 million acres of land in Box Elder County in 2017. That means the county accounted for more than 6.4 percent of all farms in Utah, and 11.3 percent of the state’s total farmland that year

The average market value of land and buildings on Box Elder farms was $1,577,010 in 2017, compared with a statewide average of $1,067,323. That’s largely because Box Elder farms are nearly twice the size of the average Utah farm — 1,028 acres on average, compared with 587 acres statewide.

The 308,292 acres of cropland accounted for in Box Elder County in 2017 represents 18.6 percent of total cropland in Utah, making the county a true bread basket for the state and the western United States.

The market value of agricultural products produced and sold in the county was more than $134 million.

The data show that Box Elder County continues to be a leader in corn and grain production, accounting for more than 28 percent of total corn production in Utah and more than 42 percent of wheat produced for grain.

Keep checking the Leader in the coming weeks as we delve deeper into the data that confirm Box Elder County’s status as an agricultural powerhouse for both Utah and the western U.S.