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School board meeting ended early due to protest

The Box Elder School District Board of Education stopped its meeting short last week after a group of Snowville residents who showed up to protest the district’s facemask-wearing requirements for students refused to don masks themselves.

Residents of Snowville packed the school board meeting Thursday, Oct. 8 in protest of their students having to wear facemasks while in school. None of those residents who attended wore face coverings, which resulted in the meeting being ended early.

Snowville residents have opposed their children wearing masks since the beginning of the school year. They have stated that the town is small and family connected. Children interact with each other in many situations outside of the school, which they argue makes it unnecessary to wear masks while inside the school setting.

Prior to opening the public comments portion of the meeting, board President Karen Cronin requested those in the room “mask up” to comply with district and health guidelines as two board members had health issues. The request resulted in immediate pandemonium, as audience members began to recite statements including “Nowhere in the Constitution does it say I have to wear a mask” and “The health and well being of our children is not being considered.”

Cronin again asked those in attendance to mask up or retire to a room across the hall where technology had been set up for them to be able to see and hear proceedings of the meeting and make public comments. As the tumult continued, Cronin asked the board for a vote to recess the meeting, and board members were escorted out of the boardroom by a Brigham City police officer amid continued protests and demands to be heard.

Members of the audience stayed in the room and continued to voice their opinions with each other. A poster was shared showing a picture in which Superintendent Steve Carlsen, his secretary and another employee not wearing masks in the Independent Life Skills Center building alongside pictures of children wearing masks at school with the query “Why them and not us?”

Carlsen returned and said the meeting would resume in 10 minutes if the unmasked participants would adjourn to the room across the hall.

“This is stupid,” one person stated. Let’s go across the hall so we can be heard.” Otherwise, she continued, it will be another month and that meeting will be canceled, too. Her comment was not met with enthusiasm as only a few people drifted to the other room.

It was then announced that the board members had left the building, prompting more remarks of disappointment from the crowd.

The facemask requirement comes from the Utah Board of Education. The Box Elder School District has asked the state for permission to relax the requirement for certain rural areas, but the request has not been granted. Utah has seen a surge in positive COVID-19 tests in recent weeks, and Box Elder County has seen a smaller but significant increase as well.

The premature ending of Thursday’s meeting prompted the district to schedule a virtual-only meeting for Monday, Oct. 12 to address agenda items originally scheduled for the Oct. 8 meeting. The Monday meeting occurred after the Leader went to press.

During the pandemonium on Thursday, Facilities Director Corey Thompson gave to newspaper correspondents a sample of the information that will be distributed among the neighborhood of the new Brigham City elementary school containing timeline of construction events. The school will be open for the 2022-2023 school year.

Leader editor and staff writer Jeff DeMoss contributed to this article.

Walk amongst the pumpkins

Tremonton City and the GWFC Women’s Civic League held the city’s first-ever Pumpkin Walk at the Holmgren Nature Trail in Tremonton Friday and Saturday, Oct. 9-10. See more photos from the event on page A3.

Potential reward offered in suspicious livestock death

Law enforcement officials in Box Elder County are investigating the death of a range bull in a remote part of the county as a possible crime, and are offering a substantial reward for information leading to a conviction of anyone who might be involved.

According to information from the Box Elder Sheriff’s Office, ranchers Brent and Bill Rose of Park Valley found one of their bulls dead on the side of the road on Sept. 30 on the east side of Ingham Pass in the Grouse Creek Mountains. The bull, which was last seen alive in the area on Sept. 24, was valued at $7,000.

In cooperation with the Utah Department of Agriculture, the carcass was delivered to the Utah State University Diagnostic Lab in Logan for a necropsy.

“After a significant effort to determine cause of death, the results were inconclusive as to the cause,” a press release from the Box Elder Sheriff’s Office stated.

The sheriff’s office is seeking any information that might aid in determining the cause of the bull’s death, and is urging anyone who was in the Ingham Pass area between Sept. 24 and Sept. 30 to contact Sgt. Steve Eddington at (435) 734-3874.

In the event the death is found to be human caused, a $4,000 reward is offered by the owners, Utah Department of Agriculture, Utah Cattlemen’s Association and the Utah Farm Bureau for information that leads to the apprehension, prosecution and conviction of anyone who may be involved in the death of the animal.

Election ballots arriving by mail this week

Election Day is just around the corner, and registered voters in Box Elder County will start seeing ballots show up in the mail as early as today.

According to the Box Elder County Clerk’s office, ballots were mailed Tuesday, Oct. 13 to all registered voters in the county. Ballots must be postmarked by Monday, Nov. 2 to be valid for this year’s general election, or put in a drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day, which this year falls on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Utah is one of nine states (and Washington D.C.) in which ballots are automatically mailed to all registered voters. Mailed ballots must arrive at the county clerk’s office by Nov. 17 to be counted.

For those who prefer to vote in person, early voting in Box Elder County will take place Oct. 27-30 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Box Elder County Courthouse, 1 S. Main St., Suite 10, Brigham City. Photo identification is required for this option.

Utah allows for early voting to begin as soon as Oct. 20, but dates and times vary based on location.

Box Elder County will provide in-person voting at two vote centers on Election Day for those who need assistance. Those include the Bear River Valley Senior Center, 510 W. 1000 North, Tremonton; and the Utah State University Student Services Building, 989 S. Main St., Brigham City.

Polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m., and photo identification is also required for this option.

Voters can register to vote online or by mail until Oct. 23 or at the county courthouse all the way up until Election Day, and may request an absentee ballot online at voter.utah.gov.

In order to register online to vote, your address must match the address on file with the Driver License Division. Updating your address with the Driver License Division must be done before submitting your online voter registration. After updating your address, please allow 24 hours before returning to register to vote online.

If your address is not current with DLD, you may still use the online voter registration system, but will be required to print the voter form with the correct address, sign it and mail it in.

Utah is directing counties to work with local post offices to separate and date-stamp the ballots in a manner that accurately reflects that the ballots were mailed in a timely fashion.

In the event that a ballot is rejected, election officials in Utah must notify voters of the rejection within two business days if the ballot is rejected before Election Day, or within seven days if rejected on Election Day or between Election Day and the end of the official canvas.

Voters whose ballots have been rejected must sign a new affidavit statement provided by the clerk’s office and return it by 5 p.m. the day before the official canvas on Nov. 17.