Saturday, April 15, 2017

SGR Hears from Legislators

On Monday, April 10, 2017 members of SGR heard from Lowry Snow, Utah Representative for District 74 and Don Ipson, Utah Senator for District 29 who shared their successes during the recent Utah Legislative session.  Calling it “a good session,” Representative Snow reported, “over 1000 bill files opened and the budget balanced.”  He also noted the legislature agreed to a $5000 bonus to teachers willing to work in impoverished schools; enhanced kindergarten impoverished schools – which he states “have seen remarkable results.”  The legislature also passed a juvenile justice reform bill which will mostly affect low-risk students guilty of such low level “crimes” as truancy allowing students to receive support services in their homes.

Because it was never properly defined, the definition of strangulation related to domestic relationships was more fully clarified.

The issue of overnite rentals – primarily in Washington County and in Park City – invited the question as to what level the state should be involved when advertising is mostly done on the internet.

“Utah definitely has a painkiller problem,” stated the Representative.  “We are 7th in the nation for opioid addiction so we addressed the issue by making it mandatory – except for those who have undergone recent surgery – prescriptions can be given only at 7-day intervals, rather than the standard 30-day intervals.”

Senator Ipson reported the legislature had funded DSU’s new human performance building and a Physician Assistant program in partnership with the University of Utah.  

The DUI bill was signed lowering the level of intoxication from .08 to .05.

He also noted, the legislature voted to do away with the requirement for state safety inspections since it has been determined, “it has not been found to make a significant difference in safety.”

Other issues noted:
·                the Utah Legislature has provided $1.3 billion in new money in the past 3 years
·                low pay for teachers has affected the state’s ability to hire and retain good educators – as such there has been a notable decline in enrollment in education majors

·                the Utah Legislature is considering an increase of .078% in income tax

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

SGR Hears from SGHA

On Monday, April 3, the members of SGR heard from Mike Barben, a friend to several Rotarians and Executive Director of the St. George Housing Authority since 2012.  The small housing authority assists low-income families with safe, decent and affordable housing opportunities to help them in their efforts to achieve self-sufficiency.  The organization manages 256 Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers.  In this program, income-qualified/ income verified applicants who can successfully pass a criminal background check and have favorable references from prior landlords, pay approximately 30% of their adjusted gross income toward rent and utilities and the SGHA pays the balance of monthly rent requirements.

SGHA oversees the 30-unit Dixie Sun Manor complex.  SGHA also assists qualified renters who have been injured and are unable to work for several weeks of recovery.

All programs have a "long, long waiting list" due to the dire need for affordable housing in the St. George area.  SGHA partners with Switchpoint in this “uphill battle” to help the elderly, veterans and young families find housing which fits their needs and their income.

For more information, contact Mike at 628-3648.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

SGR Hears of St. George Academy

On Monday, March 27, members of SGR heard from Neil Walter, chairman of the board and David Jones, Executive Director of the new St. George Academy.  The charter school has no geographic boundaries but a strong focus on preparing students in grades 8-12 for the challenges of higher education where many university students have no access to counseling, get no credit for developmental courses and where universities are seeing plummeting graduation rates because of what Jones called “a growing disconnect between high school and college.”

Calling education an “individual experience,” Jones said St. George Academy makes a broad range of experiences available to students while providing all learning experiences available in the real world.  At the same time, extracurricular activities at St. George Academy are “a blank slate” which students will determine based on their interests.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Kubex Fitness Hosts SGR

Members of SGR “rotated” to Kubex Fitness on Monday, March 20 where lunch was provided by Buffalo Wild Wings and a tour of the facility and included a chance to sign up for a FREE month of workout sessions.  According to Kubex manager and friend of SGR Pat O’Riley, “Joining KUBEX is like owning your own personal ‘state-of-the-art’ exercise room. You progress through private workout KUBES of challenging, fun and engaging exercises where you can relax and focus on each movement. KUBEX has earned two U.S. patents for this revolutionary fitness concept.”

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

SGR Hears of Washington City

On Monday, March 13, members of SGR heard from Kurt Ivie, a newly named Washington City Councilman who provided an update on what’s happening in Washington City which 25,000 residents now call home.”  Among other issues, Ivie said the council is trying to blend people and heritage in the county’s first city established in 1858 and is also working hard to find ways to fairly regulate overnight rentals.  “It’s a really HOT topic,” notes the councilman, “but no taxes are being paid on these accommodations so the city, the county and the state are losing millions in revenue.”

Growth is also an issue Ivie addressed in his city where the new Crimson High School will open for the 2019 school year in the area around Staheli Farm.  Crimson Hills Middle School will open in 2018 and there are already unhappy neighbors with major concerns about traffic in and out of Warner Valley.  “But, we must build and hope they will come … we can’t not build because we know they are coming!”

Washington City has a new state-of-the-art police station with amazing technology designed to keep both residents and officers safe; and, the city has recently entered a joint venture with Hurricane City to service the Coral Canyon area and the east side of the Washington City.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Growth, Growth and More Growth in St. George

TODAY IN ROTARY we heard from Greg Whitehead who gave us a brief “Know Yer Ro” and a more in depth update on what’s up here in Southern Utah in housing and commercial real estate.  Says Greg, a member of SGR for about a year, “I love to travel (he’s been to Korea, Canada, Belize, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and lots of other places), his wife and kids.  He attended DSU where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Accounting, then went on to earn a Masters in Business Administration at SUU.  He is a lifetime member of Beta Gama Sigma, the international honor society serving business programs accredited by AACSB International and the highest recognition for a business student anywhere in the world.  He ran – but did not win – for a place on the St. George City Council and currently serves on the Housing Authority Board of Directors.  He currently works in NAI’s commercial real estate division.

He spoke with enthusiasm about the current growth and construction in the St. George area, including:

·                a 400,000 square foot addition at Dixie Regional Medical Center currently under construction at a cost of $600 per s/f
·                construction in Ivins of Rocky Vista Medical School
·                several assisted living facilities
·                downtown property purchases and renovation by the City of St. George
·                a rebuild of the Washington County Administration building
·                a new facility for DXATC on the old airport bluff
·                a new Tech and Business Center at DSU
·                Crimson High School, Middle School and two elementary schools

The retail marketplace is bustling as well, including:

·                a less than 3% vacancy rate for all existing properties
·                a new Dairy Queen on Main Street
·                a new Magleby’s in the renovated Crystal Inn Motel
·                a new Starbucks
·                several new or newly renovated Maverik stores
·                an expansion at Stephen Wade
·                a new building on St. George Blvd. for Brent’s Interiors
·                CLYDE Company is buying a large block of land off Exit 2

Multi-family developments are being built to address the need for affordable housing (currently at .04% … or basically no vacancies) offset by a 6.5% income in monthly rental costs and going up again in 2017.  There are also high impact fees – about $15,000 per door – with large and wealthy companies around the country buying up single family homes and turning them into rentals averaging a minimum of $1100 per month rent.

According to Greg, “our economy is robust.  There are numerous new motels coming on line this year and office space is at a premium with only about 5% available for rent or purchase.” 

Haven’t we been here before?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

SGR Hears Guatemala Plans

Caballeros y Senoritas,
According to Dan Strobell who oversees SGR's international service project, another fantastic trip to Guatemala is in the works for May 27 - June 4, 2017. If you are interested in supporting St. George Rotary Club’s international service project – now in its 12th year – we are looking for additional funding or more “boots on the ground” helping us build stoves for Mayan women!
For your planning:
1. AreoMexico is the airline we recommend since it is – at about $400 roundtrip – almost $200 cheaper than any other airline. Just remember to get your boarding pass for Mexico City in Las Vegas. Flight numbers will be determined soon.
2. We will work in the villages and be done on Wednesday. Thursday through Sunday we will probably be in Lake Atitlan where there are zip lines, volcano hikes, nearby opportunities to explore Mayan ruins or you might prefer to take a Mayan cooking class we are told is excellent! You would get the chance to go to the market place where you buy the produce, then you learn how to cook it.
3. We are also considering renting a large house with a cook like we have done in the past (not the same house) but one on the lake where we can swim, kayak, etc.
4. Let us know if you have a special project we can help with so we can make any necessary arrangements. So far we will be involved in providing dentistry, training midwives on how to revive newborns, working at schools, eye exams and distribution of eye glasses as well as beans and rice to villagers.
Fernando (our driver) needs to know how many of us there will be so we can get a larger van, if needed.
If your club – or you individually – would like to contribute to this great Rotary project; or, if you would like to come along, please contact Dan Strobell at (435) 229-7194 or by email to 
Thank you in advance for your support. You are changing the world for the better.
Saludos a todos.