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Front Page » May 3, 2007 » Local News » News
Published 2,544 days ago

News


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By C.J. MCMANUS
Sun Advocate reporter


Kenny Dimick, project supervisor for Ascent Construction, examines one of the beams protruding from the partially finished Utah Division of Natural Resources building going up on the grounds of the old Carbon County road maintenance shop. The project has zoomed along in recent weeks, with completion scheduled for late summer.



Local mental health supporters walk to aid in curbing the stigmas associated with mental illness. During Tuesday's ceremony, Mayor Joe Piccolo proclaimed May as National Mental Health Awareness month in Price.

On May 1, Price Mayor Joe Piccolo helped Four Corners Behavioral Health and New Heights Clubhouse kick off Mental Health Awareness Month.

The local event started at the Price Peace Gardens with opening remarks by Piccolo and Four Corners administrator Jan Bodily.

The mayor and administrator then led the group of participants on a walk to Washington Park, where a presentation was given by John Mitchell.

Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning, according to Four Corners.

"Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are biological brain disorders that can result in diminished capacity for coping with everyday life," said Bodily during her opening statement.

Bodily reported that more than $100 billion is spent every year in costs related to untreated mental illness, including major depression and bipolar disease.

The Four Corners administrator stressed that curbing the stigma associated with mental illness will only be accomplished though public awareness and knowledge of the affliction.

"Depression and other major mental illness is not a weak A person is not just going to snap out of it. Treatment is needed just as it is for any other disease," continued Bodily.

According to the National Mental Health Association, dealing with mental illness within the family can be difficult.

Practical interventions and access to quality care are critical issues.

Appropriate intervention services are essential to mitigate risk and enhance healthy relationships between parents and children.

Support services should help families by addressing individual characteristics of the parent and child, strengthening bonds, improving interactions, increasing social supports and expanding access to services.

Jan Bodily of Four Corners Behavioral Health gives opening remarks at the Price Peace Gardens.

The association reports that families in which a parent has a mental illness may need a range of intervention strategies and services to maintain a stable environment and ensure positive outcomes for children.

Comprehensive interventions for parents with mental illness include:

•An assessment of parenting strengths, needs and goals.

•Comprehensive case management.

•Peer support.

•Self-help.

•Crisis and respite care.

•Marital and family counseling

•Child development and parenting skills training.

•Benefits and public entitlement counseling.

In many cases, parents who have received a diagnosis of a mental illness may need assistance in clarifying family roles and setting realistic expectations for children.

"I am so proud to be able to kick off Mental Health Awareness Month here in Price because, when thoughts are provoked, actions follow," commented Piccolo.

"And action is what brings about effective change," concluded the Price mayor.

Service providers such as Four Corners and the Clubhouse can help set expectations and provide lasting treatment.

For additional information regarding mental illness, Carbon County residents may contact Four Corners Behavioral Health at 637-2358.


In the past many out-buildings in Carbon County were constructed without adherence to codes, particularly in connection with recently enacted regulations.

Codes enacted after the buildings were constructed have created consternation for residents who own and want to remodel or add on to the existing structures.

"I certainly have more faith in building codes than in some arbitrary ideas about how to build something," said Dave Levanger at the county planning board meeting May 1.

"But we also realize that there are instances where adding on to a present structure, even if it isn't built to code, could still be allowed," continued the county planning director.

Levanger presented a change in the code that would allow the expansion to the members of the planning board.

The county codes have allowed homes to be restored in the case of a disaster such as fire or wind damage.

But the regulations did not allow for expansion under some of the old set back rules.

"Things can be rebuilt, but not expanded under the present code," said Levanger. "Problem is that this keeps people from being able to expand an out-building the way they want to."

An example would be a garage that a local resident wants to add on to.

The garage may have been built in 1955 and at a location three feet from the resident's property line.

However, the county's current building code specifies that the set back distance would have to be eight feet for any addition to that particular structure.

If the person wanted to add on to the back of the existing garage, the expansion project would become almost impossible without tearing the old building down and replacing the structure entirely.

Under the proposed revised code, the regulation would allow for the same set back distance as it physically exists.

"We just can't see a good reason to not let people do this," said Levanger.

The planning and zoning board members voted to recommend the proposed code change to the Carbon County Commission.


During the May 1 meeting of the Price River Water Improvement board, discussion on impact fees were back on the agenda.

The fee is charged to PRWID customers who are involved in new construction projects that will impact the water and sewer process.

Established property owners who wish to rebuild or add on to existing structures will not be affected.

The reason for the fee is to help subsidize the cost of expansion due to the impact of growth and demand on our sewer and drinking water system.

The fees were originally charged to county residents only. The ordinance was later updated to include sewer impact fees for city and county residents.

A request was made to raise the fees from $400 to $700.

One reason for the proposed increase is an attempt to balance the debt owed to PRWID for providing past funding for water and sewer projects.

Impact fees are appropriated for specific purposes and must follow all ordinance guidelines, noted PRWID officials.

The repayment to PRWID falls under the guidelines.

PRWID board member Karl Houskeeper pointed out that balancing the funds is going to be a difficult task.

"We have already burdened the public with other areas that we were forced to raise in the past," said Houskeeper. "How hard are we going to make it on the people?"

The impact fee issue will be reviewed by the PRWID board members and discussed in more detail in the future.

At the May 1 meeting, questions were raised regarding personal use of PRWID equipment.

Concerns were voiced by an employee who was confused about the district's policies pertaining to the matter. He said he had witnessed fellow employees using the PRWID equipment for personal projects.

The employee questioned the impact of the personal use would have on district expenses since PRWID has been working on cutting budget costs.

The board indicated that some use of PRWID equipment was permitted. But personal use of heavy equipment is prohibited.

The board offered a copy of the district's current policies and the members said they would look into the situation and make the proper reprimands if necessary.




In The Christmas Story, there are funny moments that many movie viewers reflect upon as part of childhood.

The moments include looking at toys in windows while Christmas scenes dance around the display areas, standing in a long line to visit Santa Claus and attending classes in three-story schoolhouses where many baby boomers were educated.

Then there are Scud Farkis and Grover Dill.

Farkis is the neighborhood bully with yellow eyes and Dill is his toady or accomplice.

In scenes featuring the two characters, Farkis and Dill generally harass, push and beat up neighborhood youth who are coming home from school.

The pair are what people commonly refer to as bullies.

Most people have encountered at least one bully at some stage in life. But bullies should not be a part of childhood.

It may seem that the children being bullied are who run the risk of getting damaged. But the people bullying are also taking on baggage, making the situation even more complicated, according to child development and social experts.

Bullying is never simple, despite the fact than the incidents often look like a minor disputes or even a childhood right of passage.

"In real life, bullies are often the popular kids," pointed out Rosemary Lasko, a social worker with Granite School District for 32 years. "And they are supported by other kids around them."

Lasko has set up bully prevention programs for the school district.

In The Christmas Story, Ralphie finds himself going crazy due to the constant harassment by Farkis and Dill. The main character finally beats the tar out of Farkis, who is considerably bigger and older than Ralphie.

While people laugh at the movie scene, in real life, Ralphie might hide his pent up feelings for years. He may finally snap, killing schoolmates and even himself with the blast of a shotgun.

"A lot of parents will tell their kids (that are victims of bullying) that they don't have to take it and that they should hit back," explained Lasko. "But we know that is not the right thing to do. They need to deal with the problem in different ways, because violence isn't the answer. It just escalates things."

The acts of seemingly random violence that take place after years of pent up emotion are perplexing to many people. And based on research, a significant portion of the problem begins at home.

While people wonder about victims like Ralphie, they should also wonder about Farkis and what his life must have been like for him to become a bully.

"It's interesting how parents react to their kids when it is pointed out that they are bullies," noted Lasko. "Some parents will support the kid, and say their child would never do that. Others get really tough with their kids and are very hard on them. Unfortunately, bullying is often a modeled behavior, or modeled aggression."

In 2000, the National Institute of Health reported that bullying affected more than five million youth in junior high through high school.

In fact, one in seven students attending schools in the United States indicated that they had been the victim of bullying and intimidating behavior.

Today, many states have passed legislation meant to deter bullying, including Utah.

In 2006 the Utah Senate passed an anti-bullying resolution.

School districts across the state have begun or are well into programs to keep students from bullying other children on the playground.

At present ,the Carbon district is entering into the process of adopting a bullying policy for the schools in the local area.

The policy will be in its third reading at next weeks board meeting, and will probably be adopted.

The policy will lay down several rules about how bullying is handled in the school district.

"We are already operating under the Utah Behavioral Initiative, which deals with bullying in schools," pointed out Judy Mainord, who oversees a number of programs in the Carbon School District.

"It is being utilized in three elementary schools and we are working toward it in all our buildings," continued Mainord.

The local school district representative indicated that a firm, no tolerance policy is the answer to controlling bullying.

But while statistics exist for the older grades, many people involved in bullying research shows that the problem begins early, even in kindergarten or pre-school.

In pre-school and kindergarten, more self-confident children begin to learn how to deal with bullying.

But more timid children tend to meekly submit to the intimidation tactics and bullying behavior by fellow students.

Often by first grade, children who will be the perpetual victims of bullying for the rest of their school years can be identified.

But the reasons why some children are able to fend off bullies and change the patterns while other youth are not remains under study.

"We begin to teach kids about how not to be victims in the very early grades," said Lasko. "We teach them to be assertive and use what we call big kid words to put bullies off. But we also teach them that what they do will vary from situation to situation."

"For instance, if they are surrounded by a group of hostile kids and they are alone, being assertive is not the best action to take," pointed out the Granite School District social worker.

To understand bullying and it's effect on kids, one must also understand the conditions that must exist for a bullying scenario to occur.

Bullying relies on a situation where a relationship exists with one person having an imbalance of power or strength over another individual. The more powerful party exhibits negative, even malicious behavior. The intimidation is repeated time and time again.

Bullying is also not necessarily physical. The negative behavior can be exhibited in many other ways and relationships.



State presents '07 Earth Day awards to companies, honors Carbon BSA district

Last week, the Utah oil, gas and mining board presented 2007 Earth Day awards to organizations and companies for exceeding established regulations to protect the environment while developing natural resources at locations across the state.

The board also presented honorary awards to the Carbon and Sanpete districts of the Boy Scouts of America.

Award recipients included Canyon Fuel's Skyline and Sufco coal mines, C.W. Mining, Dumont Nickel Inc., Simplot Phosphate, Trout Unlimited and Ansbro Petroleum Company.

Sunnyside council reviews, considers possibility of dismantling local tot lots

During Sunnyside's regularly scheduled city council meeting on May 1, local officials discussed the possibility of dismantling the town's tot lot facilities.

According to the city council, the lots have become unsafe due to the hard ground beneath the facilities. The lots would have to be excavated and filled with 18 inches of wood chips or in order to remain in compliance with the code.

The city plans to take out the equipment and shut down the lots while officials seek funding in order to excavate the land to install the required fill.

U.S. Forest Service preparing LEIS to complete wild river designation process

The United States Forest Service will prepare a draft and final legislative environmental impact statement to complete the process of considering potential wild, scenic and recreational river areas on the federal agency's lands in Utah. Forest sections extending into Colorado and Wyoming will be included in the study

The purpose of the LEIS is to determine which eligible waterways are suitable for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. For information, residents with Internet access may visit http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/rivers/.



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