I love a ribbon cutting

One of my favorite things to do is help people with their projects.
Whether it’s a Fire Station, Health Clinic, or Historic District, ribbon
cutting is the most satisfying outcome I can imagine. While I’ve lived in
Escalante I’ve gotten grant monies for the Fire House, the original
clinic, the airport runway, and the Escalante Show house. All except the
show house were public projects. The show house is privately owned and
operated.

When the Steed’s purchased the abandoned show house in 2013 they
envisioned they would have it open “some day” but not July, 2015. The 1938
facility had been vacated and partly torn up inside as it sat with dirt
floors for almost ten years. Tracy and I had been providing them print
services since 2010 and gotten to be good friends. When Jenifer asked me
to help her with a Grant Proposal for Rural Economic Funds, there was no
way I could say no.

With $50,000 grant award in hand, their own personal funds and a
line-of-credit they went to work to get it open by July 4th, 2015.
Husband Shannon didn’t believe it could or would happen. Jenifer and I
pressed forward . They already have several special events booked for the
venue and will continue to develop their plan of work as they get into the
winter months.

Between their Wild West Retreat, operating the Cowboy Blues Restaurant in
Escalante, serving triple the amount of bus tours and special events at
their outdoor facility, Wild West Retreat and Cowboy Cookouts will
continue to be a success. They have a plan and continue to work it. It’s
been an honor and privilege to work with them over the years. I’m looking
forward to that ribbon cutting.

Escalante Show House Close to Being Revnovated

Escalante Show House Close to Being Revnovated

Escalante Show House Before Renovation

Escalante Show House Before Renovation

3 Reasons Towns Die

Consistency – Reliability – Fairness

These are the cornerstones of a three-legged stool that constituents look to government to uphold on a daily basis.  They count on fairness to every member of the community no matter their religion, age, or family connections.  They rely on their knowledge of government and how it works that it will be reliable every day.  They depend on consistency in order to establish their own lives.  In turn they agree to abide by the rules and laws of the place they live.

Government has failed to provide all three pegs of that stool and thus citizenry are reacting.

They are moving out of towns and cities that don’t balance the stool to places that do.  And if they can’t move because of age or finances, they are demanding changes be made to once again balance government and the elected officials seem to have no clue how to fix it.

In our own town of Escalante, Utah, the stool is totally out of balance and the town council and mayor, for whatever reason, haven’t righted the stool.

First, the county school district is concerned about the declining enrollment of the schools.  Long-time residents look to blame the creation of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument for the decline in the communities.  Yes, it has impacted the cattle grazing and logging and that has resulted in several cattle raising families moving to places where they are welcome.  And yes, the sawmill has closed and all those family wage jobs have gone away, and the children they supported. But that’s just one leg of the stool.

Second, the federal agencies that promote tourism are providing some jobs that could help replace the others, but they can’t replace them all and tourism based jobs are not family wage.  The same employee that worked at the sawmill now has two jobs to replace the one at the sawmill.  In addition, Payment In Leiu of Taxes (PILT) has not been increased in many years.  The town is expected to provide emergency services, water, sewer, trash without the federal government paying their fair share of the costs.  The county Sheriff is now the only  response to 911 since the city police position was removed due to finances. The lack of reliable funding for services puts the total burden on the property owners.

Third, city and county ordinances are not enforced with any consistency leaving people to conclude they don’t wish to move here until they are.  Case in point, the City of Escalante uses the State’s abandoned road facility and the state offers little or no incentive to keep it updated and in good repair.  When the wind storms of last summer took out one of the sheds the debris from was removed and the fences repaired by the state.  However, the contents of the building remain on the ground (pipe parts, old buckets, etc) to this day. The weeds are now growing up amongst them and the highway frontage lot does not say “we care about our City”.  If you drive the streets, there is no enforcement of a number of ordinances and vacant houses “For Sale”  might sell but the neighborhood is in such disrepair it reminds a lot of them of what they’re trying to escape from not a lush, small town where everyone works together.  And the disproportionate number of absentee owners because of “Holiday Home Rentals” is removing the “home town” flavor because of City Government.

The stool needs righting and placing blame elsewhere is not the answer.  The answer is here in our National Historic District Town of 750. Demand the city, county, state and federal government agencies rebalance the stool.  How?

  1. The Federal resource management agencies need to pay their fair share for upkeep and management of facilities their visitors use without cost. Fairness.
  2. The State highway department needs to find a way to transfer management of the old highway dept. facility to the city or enter into an agreement to allow the city to make proposed improvements and help pay for them. Reliability.
  3. The City needs to place a limit on the number of Holiday Homes as a percentage of the total number of homes available in the city. And they need to enforce the building codes, and other ordinances on a regular basis with the same answers for all. Consistency.

It wouldn’t solve all the problems, but it would get this small town well (and many others of all sizes) on its way to re-balancing the three-legged stool.

Until next time – – – – –

How terribly Strange to be 92

So many times I’ve seen images of seniors sitting in wheelchairs, looking
lonely and rejected. It broke my heart to see my own mother looking just
like that when we arrived at the Rehabilitation Center a couple of weeks
ago.

Her broken shoulder was padded with a sling for her arm; a second sweater
wrapped around her shoulders and a blanket over her legs and knees only
accented her frame of mind and physical condition. The sound of my voice
made her perk up and look – a frown became a smile, a tear fell. She had
been found and saved from the belly of the nursing home beast (her
perspective).

A rehabilitation center isn’t designed to be a restful place, but one
where visitors are welcome most hours and sit and visit in all sorts of
unlikely corners and places. Each patient has a caseworker, a physical
therapist and a clinical nurse. They talk about exercise, lifestyle, and
diet. Momma listed, but we’ll know by her health if she’s behaving and
following Doctor’s orders.

We had medical transport take her home and we spent the next two days
getting her settled into her apartment. Figuring out what meds needed
ordering and getting them. Finding a Home Health Nurse to help her in the
mornings and evenings. Communicating with all her friends that she was
home. Making arrangements for her dog to return home. So much occurs in
someone else’s life that we are not aware of and helping them get back
into life takes time.

Everything worked out the way I like to think of according to the divine
plan for her life. At 92 I really don’t know what that is, but her mind
is sharp – she’s just worn out her body. How terribly strange to be 92.

Tweets for Week – May 18th – May 24th, 2015

This is going to be a week of fits and starts. A 92 yr old mother with a broken shoulder who won’t go to the hospital; Our first art festival of the year; Mercury goes retro; and my inner voice tells me to be ready for the unexpected. It will be another week of daily tweet posts versus a story. Maybe that will be the story.

JR Hassett - Wooden RavenMonday – 5/18/2015

#MondayMotivation – Find bliss and keep what brings you joy. Ravens-personable and creative.What animal do you enjoy?

JR Hassett - BrainstormTuesday – May 19th

Today we should brainstorm but watch for knee-jerk reactions. Seeking the different takes courage – as the dragonfly

JRHassett - Dutch Oven Meals#HumpDay – Get outside, smell dinner cooking, write about it. Tell me how the potatoes smell in 100 words.

JR Hassett - Country Fair ElderThursday May 21st

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.

Twitter Post Week of May 10th, 2015

Sunday – May 10thJRHassett - Mother's Day Flowers 2015

#MothersDay -sharing my flowers with all the Mothers in the world. We are the social conscious & set the standards
JRHassett - Basket ClassMonday – May 11th

Cheer up with something new. Twined bird house class always brings something new, unique & fun to write about

dust stormTuesday – May 12th

The truth can help move everyone along even if it causes a temporary dust up. Maybe not this much, but be creative.

JRHassett - ReflectionsWednesday – May 13th

#amwriting – I opened the door and on the other side was a reflection, but not mine. Creativity is my challenge today

JRHassett - Birdprints - Tread Lightly#TBT – Heavy vibes today. Tread lightly and receive a blessing? I hope it’s a new job for my granddaughter.
Red Rock RainFriday – May 15th

A day to stay fluid & let the water flow it’s raining – good Karma. Sit
beside the stream and take in the inspiration

Tree Man#NewMoon – The Green Man has a story, Can you tell it? Nature Spirits are fun to create and share. Heading to the Moab Art Festival with our jewelry. We’ll post some photos to our Facebook account.