Monday, June 19, 2017

Sheriff Speaks to SGR

Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher clarified the word “sheriff” is a derivative of “shires” who were the law enforcement officers of the 1200’s.  The sheriff in any jurisdiction is “always elected with authority granted by the people.”

The sheriff indicated his job would be so much easier if he didn’t have to oversee the jail.  Purgatory Correctional Facility is a 500-bed facility with inmates classified as Level 3-5 (5 being the ones whose crimes are more “dumb” than seriously criminal).  Currently PCF has 165 employees (for which he had a full comtingency for FTE’s for “about two weeks” in his entire 6 ½ years in office).

The sheriff noted he has an “excellent working relationship with other agencies in Washington County – a favorable circumtance which does not exist anywhere else.”

The WCSO is organized into the following divisions:

The Corrections Division is responsible for functions related to the operation of Purgatory Correctional Facility. The Corrections Division includes the Corrections Chief Deputy (a.k.a., Jail Commander), corrections lieutenants, corrections sergeants, corrections deputies, and other correctional staff as determined by the Sheriff.

The Emergency Services Division is responsible for preparing for, monitoring, and responding to natural and man-made disasters and events. The Emergency Services Division includes the Emergency Services Director, Search and Rescue staff, and other staff as determined by the Sheriff.

The Patrol Division is responsible for responding to citizen calls for assistance, patrolling Washington County, investigating traffic accidents, taking initial reports, criminal investigations, court security, and other law enforcement functions. The Patrol Division includes the Patrol Chief Deputy, patrol lieutenants, patrol sergeants, patrol deputies, and other patrol staff as determined by the Sheriff.

Sheriff Pulsipher reported:
·                the formation of a Metro-SWAT team working alongside the St. George SWAT team.
·                80% of incarcerations are related to drug use
·                it has been 3 years since a marijuana grow has been discovered in Washington County
·                Heroine is a huge problem in Washington County
·                The sheriff’s office has access to a data base which enables them to check the legal status of those they arrest
·                All employers are required to e-Verify applicants.
·                There are approximately 400 gang members identified in Washington County but no areas as yet designated as “gang turf.”
·                Housing costs at PCF are $71 per day/per inmate or about $17.6 million annually.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

SGR Hears of Tortoise Times

Today in Rotary, our speaker was biologist and WashCo Habitat Conservation Plan Administrator Cameron Rognan who shared information regarding the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and its inhabitants, including the only healthy population of desert tortoises in the world.

Speaking of the plans creation in 1996 , he noted, “the plan requires us to remove tortoises before any development.  Our ‘take’ permit allows us to move 1169 tortoises … to date we have only to take about 500.  We don’t ever expect to take all of our permitted animals in our 62,000 reserve with tortoise habitat making up about half and with 130 miles of trails.”  In addition to protecting the area’s large assortment of critters, the Reserve is also popular for recreatoin, including hiking, biking and climbing.

According to the biologist, “the desert tortoise spends about 90% of its life underground, hybernating from mid-November to March and can live nearly a century.”

The reasons for the decline of the worldwide desert tortoise population are varied:

·               Upper-respiratory tract disease (URTD)
·               Loss of habitat
·               Illegal collecting
·               It takes a long time for the animals to reproduce (the babies are only approximately 2” in length, but to reach the age to reproduce [about the size of a dinner plate], it takes about 10 years)
·               Due to human population growth in the area, there has also been an increase in new predators, including ravens and raccoons.

For more information, contact the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve at 634-5759. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

SGR Meets ShelterBox

On Friday, May 12, members of SGR  joined with members of Dixie Sunrise Rotary, Red Rock Rotary, Hurricane Valley and Zion Canyon Rotary for an All Clubs Luncheon where a representative from the ShelterBox organization presented the program.

ShelterBox is made up of people who believe in shelter as a human right - because shelter from the chaos of disaster and conflict is vital.  No ifs ... no buts!  When people are plunged into crisis, normality is suspended.  But good, quality shelter can cut through the chaos.  This is why we provide the tools to enable people to rebuild homes and transform their lives.

The ShelterBox organization is impatient to see a world whee no family is left without shelter when disaster strikes.

"We don't believe one size fits all.  We work hard to understand the impact of each emergency and the need this creates within individual communities.  The equipment we provide, whatever shape it takes, gives people the hope and the power to transform their own lives."

All aid provided by ShelterBox is tested and evaluated by talking to, and learning from, the families who use it, fueling innovation an continuous evolution to meet the needs of those in crisis.  For more information, see www.shelterbox.org.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

This Is Why We Do What We Do!

There’s always at least one amazing and memorable highpoint from St. George Rotary Club’s annual 4-way test essay contest readings.  Beyond the award of money to each 1st and 2nd place young winner in three of our four intermediate schools – and $200 each to their classroom teacher – this blog post read by one of the teachers was definitely this year’s highpoint.

“The Rotary Club of St. George sponsors an essay contest for 6th grade students each spring and my students have participated the past 3 years. The first year I had around 30% participation, last year I had around 70%, and this year we have reached my goal of 100%! I appreciate this contest so much because it a) gives my students an opportunity to write a narrative, which we seem to get away from as kids get older; b) gives me precious insight into the lives and thoughts of my students; c) motivates the student to be grateful and mindful of a person who has made a difference in their lives.

Rotarians around the world use the FOUR-WAY TEST to make ethical decisions in business and other aspects of their lives.  So, our writing prompt stems from this four-way test.

*Write about someone who has influenced your life in relationship to one, or more, of the following values:

   Truth
   Fairness
   Goodwill and friendship
   Beneficial to others

Last year I attended a ceremony where the essay contest winners were honored, and they were able to read their essays at a Rotary luncheon. I was deeply moved. As a matter of fact, I was so embarrassed and overcome with emotion I started weeping when they asked me to say a few words. I was not crying for the winners, however, they are bright and wonderful students. I was crying for the students who struggled just coming up with the name of the subject for their narrative. A few kids honestly could not think of one trusted adult to write 300-400 words about explaining how they exemplified the 4-way test. I would give suggestions, heads would shake, shoulders would slump, heads would hang low.

I have reflected on this experience many times and realized there is great power in the old Indian proverbs that says,“Do not judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins” or shoes, or paws, or flip flops, or work boots, etc. You get my drift. People have hard things.

Kids are so resilient. Sometimes I wonder how they survive to adulthood when having to deal with so much hardship. I see divorce, abusive parents, parents in prison, neglect, kids living with family members, homelessness, ADD, bullying, poor hygiene, poor nutrition, poor sleep habits, adoption, foster care, hopelessness, cutting, depression, DCFS involvement, and the list goes on and on. I sometimes cry for them when I hear of their situations. It just isn’t fair, and it is so tragic.

But, I think, more than anything, hardship helps us appreciate the good when it does come. I appreciate the honor it is to teach the future leaders of this country. Many of the young people are struggling through their lives and making the best of it and I am proud of them. In the end, this year everyone thought of someone to write about for the essay. Just for statistical data, here are the results according to who the kids wrote about:

            Mom = 30                                          Teacher/coach = 7
            Dad = 20                                            Cousin = 4
            Grandparent = 17                              Aunt or uncle = 7     
            Sibling = 12                                       Friend = 26

So, thank you to each and everyone of you who work hard and, in turn, a kid loves and trusts you. The stories are poignant and sweet. Moms, dads, friends, if you do not feel valued, look at this list. More than half of the essays were just from these three groups. Grandparents, you make a difference, you are role models for your grandchildren. Bless you for caring, teaching, and loving children. They need it, they crave it, and most of all, they deserve it.

Bless the Rotary Club of St. George and bless those of you who live the four-way test, even if you didn't know you were.”

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Happy 80th Birthday, PDG Gil

PDG Gil Trujillo's birthday on May 12 was actually celebrated on Saturday, April 28 at Cottoncove Park on Dixie Drive.  The surprise birthday party was a great gathering of friends and family, with a delicious luncheon featuring amazing Mexican food including chips and salsa, fresh guacamole, pulled pork, fresh fruit bowl, cookies, brownies and of course birthday cake - all prepared by his daughter!  Thanks for all your "service above self" through the years, PDG Gil.  It is a pleasure to know you and to hear the tributes from your children calling you "a great man and a great dad!"

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.