Incoming Heber City Council Member Ryan Stack Looks Ahead To Term

At the start of the new year, Heber City will have three new councilmembers. Recently elected Council Member Ryan Stack has a few items top of mind as he begins his term.

During his time on the Heber City Planning Commission, Ryan Stack says his experience has helped him see what the city was doing well and what it could improve on to create a better future for residents.

“What really stuck out to me is how the city just kept playing from behind, in terms of reacting to the growth pressures, reacting to what was happening,” Stack said. “I really believe that the city had an opportunity to start becoming more proactive, to not just respond to things, but to get ahead and direct and actually kind of take charge of its own future.”

Stack pointed to growth as the defining issue for Heber City. At the beginning of 2019, the city launched its Envision Heber 2050 planning initiative, to provide an update to the city’s nearly 20-year-old general plan. Stack has participated on the steering committee for Envision Heber. He says the process will wrap up soon.

“We’re hoping to have something that the new city council can pass early next year, and that’s where the rubber meets the road,” Stack said. “That’s when we start rewriting our codes to match the vision reflected in the new general plan, and that’s going to be where we say, look, this is the trajectory we want to put the city on, and this is the vision we’re putting into place, and we’re going to say, we’re going to stick to this, and this is how we believe we can best manage, direct and influence what’s coming into the city.”

For Stack, a successful term on the city council begins with updating the general plan and land management code in the next year.

“Let’s make sure that we stick to the general plan, we adopt and hold developers to it and say, we finally have something that reflects our vision for this community,” Stack said. “This is what we want to do. This is where we want the growth; this is where we want the open space; this is how we’re going to address affordable housing and to continue to work with the public to solicit public input.”

Stack and the other new councilmembers, Rachel Kahler and Mike Johnston, will be sworn in Jan. 7 at 5 p.m., followed immediately by the first council meeting of the year.

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Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: