Organization Supporting Wasatch School Bond Holding Open House

An organization has sprouted up in support of the $150 million Wasatch School District bond. They’re holding an open house on Monday. Citizens Building Education is advocating for the bond that will replace the Midway Elementary School and bring a new high school to the Heber Valley.

Citizens Building Education member Tom Stone explains why they created the organization.

“We found out that the laws this year, really tie the hands of the district,” Stone explained. “They’re not really able to influence or motivate a choice, or decision when a bond is placed out there. With my own personal experience of research, and asking questions, and seeing the great need Citizens Building Education—myself with about six or seven other people—created this so that we could get out there and get the word out. Help disperse information regarding facts, so that people will be able to make the best choice. We believe the best choices is to say yes with this bond.”

Stone says they support the bond in part because they see the need to accommodate for the growing student population.

He says supporting the bond comes down to two things, how much will the bond cost taxpayers, and can residents trust the school district with their money? Stone says all his questions about the bond have been answered by the school district, a lot of those responses to questions can be found on the district’s website.

“Every time they answer the question, they cite who it is that they have hired or worked with to get that information,” Stone continued. “So, it’s not just some guy saying hey I think that’s a good idea. They’ve gone out there and done their homework and this has been in the process for almost four years. So, some of the naysayers have some of these questions I believe there’s answers to those. At the end of the day, even the naysayers I’ve found don’t really combat the idea that our student population is at a maximum. They just want to make sure it’s done right. I think if there’s homework done, and I think if people look at the time that’s put into it, and the studies, and open their eyes to it they’ll feel comfortable that we can trust our school board and the administration of the district.”

The other common concern of residents regards the increase in taxes and what impact that will have on residents especially those on fixed income.

“That is a genuine concern that taxes are going up,” Stone said. “Let’s realize that the bonds themselves in the next five to 10 years there’s going to come a balance. They’re estimating somewhere in the 40’s call it $47 per $100,000 (of home value) for this new bond. But Old Mill elementary just fell off and that was approximately 25 bucks per $100,000. So, if you say that bond fell off and this one goes on it’s only a $25-$30 difference between what was already on there. Four years after this is actually completed, the bond for the 2009 high school falls off. That was up to $70. We’re in this huge ramp up period wherein bonds are costing a little bit more right now. But as they retire and come on, they’re going to even out.”

Stone adds that the district has no way to control growth in the valley, they just have to respond to it.

The organization will have an open house at Wasatch High and Daniels Elementary School in the near future.

“If you haven’t walked through our high school yet, you ought to take a tour,” Stone explained. “People talk about the high school and they haven’t even been through it I found, or they’ve only been in a certain section of it. You start going through this whole thing, it’s a masterpiece. Understanding the details that went into it, and why they did certain things, you’re going to leave going wow. This is something built for 50 to 100 years and it literally will last that long for that particular student population. They want to go to Daniels Canyon specifically, so they can show the Midway parents what the new school would look like.”

The Wasatch High School open house will take place on Monday September 30th at 8:30 pm. The Daniels Elementary School open house will take place the following Monday, October 7th also at 8:30 pm.

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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: