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Front Page » September 21, 2006 » Local News » USDA Awards Grants to Helper and East Carbon Public Safet...
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USDA Awards Grants to Helper and East Carbon Public Safety Departments

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Sun Advocate reporter

East Carbon Mayor Orlando La Fontaine along with East Carbon City Police Chief Sam Leonard accept a USDA Grant from USDA State Director John R. Cox. The community facility grant will go towards purchasing new vehicles and updated equipment for the city's police department.

Helper and East Carbon were both awarded United States Department of Agriculture grants at a ceremony held Wednesday morning at Price City Hall. The USDA was represented by John R. Cox, state director; Perry Mathews, Provo area specialist; Debbie Cook, Provo area director; Donna Birk, public information coordinator and Bonnie Carrig, community programs director.

Both grants will go to fund the individual cities' public safety departments. In Helper the rural development funds will be used to purchase a 3,000 gallon fire tanker.

The project will improve the level of safety for the entire service area and add support for various first responders including police, local hospitals and other emergency management agencies. Other funds contributed to the project include $40,000 from the city and $210,000 in state funds.

Helper city public safety officials Kirk Mascaro, Mike Zamantakis, Wayne Dimick and Richard Columbo received the grant on behalf of the city.

East Carbon's grant will be used to purchase two SUVs, an ATV, a traffic control speed monitor and weapons. The police department serves a 400 square mile area and is in need of this equipment to better protect and service the community. As the applicant, East Carbon's contribution to this purchase is $39,700.

East Carbon's grant was received by Mayor Orlando LaFontaine, Police Chief Sam Leonard, police officers Phillip Holt and Travis Lake and Treasurer Cheryl McFarland.

LaFontaine reported that none of this would have been possible without Perry Mathews, the USDA's Area 3 specialist.

Helper public safety officers Wayne Dimick, Mike Zamantakis, Richard Columbo and Kirk Mascaro accept grant from the United States Department of Agriculture on Wednesday afternoon at the Price City Hall. The grant will allow the fire department to purchase a new fire tanker.

"He showed a real interest in East Carbon when I first talked with him, without his assistance this grant would not have happened for us." stated La Fontaine. He continued to say, "This grant provides needed vehicles and equipment for our officers to tackle crime and provide public safety."

According to state director Cox the USDA rural development program usually puts out anywhere from $80 to $100 millions dollars yearly in grant and loan funds for rural Utah. Utah. The bulk of these funds are used for single family home loans. The remainder of the money goes toward water and sewer project, other housing, hospital and health facility projects and business grants and loans. In most instances the USDA defines rural as communities outside of the Wasatch front and excluding Washington County here in Utah, reported Cox.

The grants received Wednesday were Community Facility grants under the economic impact initiative. This program was set up by President Bush, according to Cox. It's funds are directed at communities that show the greatest need. In addition the funding is provided more readily to communities seeking aid for first responders.

Of the $16 million dollars available nationwide $755,000 was allocated to Utah this year. Of the twelve communities that submitted proposals eight were accepted and funded. Carbon, San Pete, Dagget and San Juan counties all received grant money. "The fact that most of these grants went to help first responders was key to their success." said Bonnie Carrig, USDA community program director.

"Our mission is to enhance the capacity of all Utah rural residents, communities and business to prosper. We strive in partnership with other to help improve the quality of life by building competitive, vibrant rural communities. This is done though community facility and housing programs, business and sustainable cooperatives that can prosper in the global marketplace and leading a role in electric, telecommunications, distance learning tele-medicine and water and waste water programs." Stated Cox concerning the mission of the rural development section of the USDA.

I closing Perry Mathews, specialist for the Provo area encouraged all communities to contact the USDA for grant and loan availability information. The USDA can be reached online at or at it's three area offices in Provo, Tremonton and Richfield.

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