I spent this past week attending some pretty significant events, all very different from each other.
First, on Thursday night I spent a couple of hours with about 100 other people at the Price Civic Auditorium listening to some pretty eloquent speakers tell Bureau of Reclamation employees why the Gooseberry Project should not go ahead. I have to say of all these kinds of meetings I have attended over the years this one was one of the most civil and well organized. While a hundred people showed up, less than a dozen actually spoke to the situation at hand. All were eloquent in their presentations; they were factual, well grounded and gave good reasons why the project should not proceed. Most did not repeat anothers facts, and no one beat the subject to death. Best of all, no one got up and did emotional ranting and raving. I kind of expected that to happen from past experience, but it didn't; in fact instead of having to end the meeting with people yelling and complaining as the three hour time limit for the meeting was met, it was over in two hours.
We got our point across succinctly, and that was what it took. Now we need to provide written comments about our reasons for opposing it.
The other two important events took place on Saturday.
First there was the ribbon cutting at J. C. Penney; now usually ribbon cuttings are a kind of a run of the mill thing. But in this case it was to celebrate the 100 years that J. C. Penney has been in Price. It took place at the front entrance of the present store which opened in 1946. There was a large crowd and within it stood not only some Penney managers from other stores and some company executives, but the grandsons of the manager who opened that 1946 store; Greg and Leslie Eldridge. The company has 1100 stores of which the Price Penney's is the second oldest store left (outside of the original store in Kemmerer, Wyo.). It was a delightful event full of history, stories and excitement. A business that is still going after 100 years; there are only a few in town like that and none of the others are part of an original big chain. It is an institution in our community.
Finally there was the signing of the ceremonial bill merging Utah State University and the College of Eastern Utah. Saturday was a day of a vast number of dignitaries in the county, and a number of them were at the signing, including our governor. It was emotional for many people, including this writer, because CEU is the reason I came to Carbon County in 1990. I was employed there for four years. All the years of rumors from it becoming a four year college to the possibility of it closing completely were changed that morning. As of July 1 it will become part of a university, something no one in their wildest dreams would have expected only a few years ago.
A historic week for all the residents of the county has passed. But the results of what went on will have long term ramifications across eastern Utah. Will Gooseberry Dam be built? Will J. C. Penney be here another 100 years? Will the USU/CEU merger be the great thing many expect?
Only the future will tell.