Incoming Heber City Councilmember Rachel Kahler Wants Better Communication With Public

At the start of the new year, Heber City will have three new councilmembers. Recently elected Councilmember Rachel Kahler shares what’s on her mind as she begins her term.

Rachel Kahler is a Heber local. Her family moved to the valley in 1979, and she graduated from Wasatch High School. Kahler says her time on the Envision Heber 2050 steering committee inspired her to run for office, because, she says, what happens in the next four years will shape the next 50 years of Heber’s future.

“Now is the time to set the standards for what’s going to happen to our city as we grow, and as more people move into the valley, and how we create our infrastructure—what does that look like,” Kahler said. “So I really had that realization last, probably, spring, and that’s what put me into the position of wanting to run.”

In addressing the area’s rapid growth, Kahler says the biggest item to watch is the potential annexation of the 5,000-unit Sorenson development, just north of Heber’s current boundaries. Kahler says it’s better for the development to be in the city, so the council can help guide its vision for responsible growth.

“I think a lot of citizens don’t understand that that development is coming,” Kahler said. “It’s already been approved. That property has been owned by the Sorenson Foundation since 1984, and they have a right to develop it, but it’s now our responsibility to develop it in a way that is sustainable, that allows for open space. We have a great opportunity to put a trail system in that will really benefit the entire community.”

For Kahler, a successful term looks like improving her constituents’ understanding of issues through better communication and public processes.

“We need to have a much more transparent, open dialogue with the public as these issues come up, so it’s not a surprise when we have really tough decisions, but that the public has been involved through the process,” Kahler said. “I think we can do that through social media, through more open houses.”

Kahler and the other new councilmembers, Ryan Stack 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: