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In 2021, some things changed, and some stayed the same. Unfortunately, one of the things we are still dealing with is Covid-19. Vaccines became available at the end of December last year for select groups, but soon anyone wanting the vaccine could get one. Now we are on our first booster.

Masks are still recommended, but you don’t see our community wear them regularly.

In March, Montpelier City Hall was torn down and hauled away in a week. Just a few days later, the Bear Lake County Courthouse came down. Many were sad to see it go; others saw it as a sign of progress.

In March, we saw the first glimpse of the new Market built in Garden City. It went up fast, and they held their Grand Opening in June. It included a grocery store, Ace Hardware, Bean’s and Brew, and a Zions Bank Branch office.

In April, the Montpelier Foundation purchased the Centre Theatre from the Rudman family. The building was leased by the Peterson’s, who own the Idanha in Soda. Many were happy to have a theatre back in town. The Peterson’s made several updates and repairs. Stop in and enjoy the changes.

In May, Montpelier City Appointed Blake Wells, who had been acting Chief of Police since Chief Russel Roper left in November of 2020, as the new Chief of Police. Wells had worked for the City since August of 2002.

In May also, Montpelier City was awarded the Idaho Commerce Dept. Block Grant for the downtown improvement project. The $500,00 grant will help build the Heritage Park and update several downtown areas. The project will start in the spring of 2022.

In June, the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA) is pleased to announce the 2020-21 winners of the “Schools of Excellence” program, sponsored by the Idaho Army National Guard. This yearlong, voluntary program in which schools earn points based on their student-athletes performance in athletics, academics, and sportsmanship is the top award for the IHSAA and its member schools.

Bear Lake High School took first place in the 2A Division of the 2020-21 Schools of Excellence program this year. Way to go, Bears.

In July, the Health Dept announced that Bear Lake had its first case of West Nile Virus — a positive mosquito pool for 2021. This case may be the first case in Bear Lake County of this virus.

Taylor Hymas, from Ovid, was chosen as the Miss Rodeo Idaho 2022. Taylor Grace Hymas is the 20-year-old daughter of Tyler and Tacy Hymas from Ovid, Idaho. Taylor is a Boise State University student who represented the Bear Lake County Fair and Rodeo during this year’s pageant and won the personality, appearance, and rodeo knowledge categories.

There was initially an error in the scoring, but the error was discovered on further review, and Taylor was found to be the winner.

The National Weather Service has named Bern, Idaho resident Steve Kunz as a 2020 recipient of the agency’s John Campanius Holm Award for outstanding service in the Cooperative Observer Program. This award, the agency’s second-highest, is presented to twenty-five cooperative weather observers from around the country each year. Vernon Preston, Meteorologist-in-Charge and Dan Valle, Observation Program Lead · from Weather Forecast Office Pocatello, Idaho, presented the award in a ceremony at the Kunz residence in Bern, Idaho, on September 24, 2021.

Mr. Kunz began recording weather and climate observations in 1992. During his tenure, Steve has recorded observations of daily precipitation and temperature data nearly continuously. Mr. Kunz’s flawless and informative observations have been instrumental in providing the National Weather Service with critical weather information. Mr. Kunz reports critical storm spotter information like blizzards, flooding, thunderstorms, and strong winds, which helps the National Weather Service issue life and property saving warnings. Steve also provides his data to local media outlets each day so his data can be distributed quickly throughout the community. The Federal Farm Service Agency has used these weather observations to aid in crop damage and weather-related cattle deaths.

The National Weather Service’s Cooperative Observer Program has given scientists and researchers continuous observational data since the program’s inception more than a century ago. Today, nearly 9,000 volunteer observers participate in the nationwide program to provide daily reports on temperature, precipitation, and other weather factors such as snow depth, river levels, and soil temperature.

The Covid virus continues to plague the world and our community. We have lost 15 people from our community to Covid; according to the Southeast Idaho Public Health Dept, hopefully, we don’t lose any more.

What the New Year has in store is any bodies guess, but let us all hope that better days are on the horizon. Happy New Year to you and yours.

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