Government Community Students Gather at EHS to Celebrate

An Emery High student questions Congressman John Curtis and Lt. Governor Spencer Cox during their visit to Castle Dale.By Julie JohansenGuests at Emery High on Wednesday afternoon included Congressman John Curtis, Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, Michael Mower from the office of Governor Gary Herbert, Senator David Hinkins, Emery County Commissioners Lynn Sitterud, Gil Conover and Kent Wilson, as well as Ray Peterson, Emery County Public Lands, as they joined with students and members of the community to celebrate the passing of the Emery County Public Lands Bill.Emery High student body president Jesse Braun welcomed the dignitaries to the school and turned the time over to Mower for a special award. The award was presented to Gwen and Neal Peacock for 36 years of service to the school and the community, which comes on the heels of Neal directing his 200th play just the previous weekend. The declaration was signed by Gov. Herbert and Cox.The next award was a large check in the amount of $382,437 presented to Braun. This check represented the SITLA (School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration) funds to the Emery School District. Then, certificates were given to the county commissioners and Peterson for their work on the Emery County Public Lands Bill for the past 20+ years.Seven members of the student council prepared questions, which were posed next to Congressman Curtis and Spencer Cox. Some questions pertained to the Emery County Public Lands Bill and/or a national monument. Both Curtis and Cox responded that the bill was a win-win for Emery County and the entire State of Utah. The three main wins they recited were future certainty of no monument, funds from STILA and economic development (jobs) for the future. They reminded all that any roads or trails that are legal now will be legal once the bill is implemented. When asked what is the difference between monument, wilderness or recreation, they responded the degree of restrictiveness.Other questions included preventing a government shutdown to which Curtis responded that he is sponsoring two bills to help prevent this. One bill would be no work/no pay for Congress and the other included budget cut percentages increasing as the number of days go on. When asked about fraud with mail-in votes, Cox answered that there is a small chance, but signatures are matched and voter participation dramatically increases. A question on polarized legislation brought an answer from Curtis, who responded that it is important to get to know each other. He also said people can disagree on things but still be friends.As the event drew to a close, an attentive audience and the prepared presenters were recognized by their guests. read more