Jacob Jessop Resignation Letter

HILDALE – 7 March 2018 – A resignation letter presented to the mayors of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona by a prominent Utility Board member in early 2018 sparked a wave of copycat resignations of local government and board posts, administratively destabilizing the sister cities. Jacob Jessop’s official statement makes clear his inability to work with Hildale Mayor Donia Jessop and others considered apostates of the FLDS on religious grounds.

The letter is presented in-full below.

Jessop Resignation Letter

 

Gov. Ducey Embraces Self-Driving Technology

Arizona has become an incubator for the nascent self-driving vehicle industry. Companies like General Motors, Waymo, Uber, and Intel have been testing self-driving cars on Arizona roadways in the Phoenix area since 2015. Governor Ducey instructed the state to eliminate regulations that would hamper a company’s ability to test such vehicles while outlining safety guidelines for their operation.

On March 1, 2018, Governor Ducey doubled down on his commitment to maintaining a friendly regulatory atmosphere for new technologies with an executive order. According to Governor Ducey, “As technology advances, our policies and priorities must adapt to remain competitive in today’s economy. This executive order embraces new technologies by creating an environment that supports autonomous vehicle innovation and maintains a focus on public safety.”

The order expressly allows the testing or operation of fully autonomous vehicles on Arizona roads so long as the operators of such vehicles make their activities known to proper authorities and are following existing laws. The order also instructs the Arizona Departments of Public Safety to “work with other relevant law enforcement agencies to develop protocols on how first responders shall interact with a fully autonomous vehicle in emergency and traffic enforcement situations,” according to a press release.

The impetus behind the order include the potential economic benefits of attracting tech companies to the state. Autonomous car testing in Arizona was the subject of national news articles in the New York Times, and other major outlets and some well-known tech companies have shown interest in moving their operations to Arizona. Recently, California has acted to make their regulatory climate for favorable for self-driving technologies. This move would help to ensure that Arizona remains competitive as other states move to attract these companies.

Many believe that self-driving vehicles could have a major impact on traffic fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, human error or bad driving decisions can be implicated in 94% of crashes. Increased mobility, less parking space, and decreased traffic congestion are some of the potential benefits of moving to this type of technology. Autonomous cars could be the mass transit solution for sprawling metropolitan areas in the west because other forms of mass transit would be too costly because of the infrastructure projects it would take to make them a reality.

 

An Old Fashioned Approach to Cocktails

I love cocktails. Specifically, classic whiskey cocktails. The cocktail tradition has its roots in the United States as a result of the horrendous quality of liquors that were produced in the wake of prohibition, which forced the alcohol industry into the seedy underworld.

Needless to say, rum runners, bootleggers, and mobsters felt no responsibility to deliver quality; only a steady stream of booze. Spirits of dubious provenance were often unpalatable, and sometimes dangerous or even fatal. History reveals that the United States government even had a hand in poisoning alcohol—causing a series of sickenings and deaths—to discourage people from consuming the then illicit substance. A vibrant culture of mixology sprung out of the sheer necessity of making those sub-par alcohols palatable.

Classic cocktails tend to fall into two primary categories, the aromatics and the sours, with boundless subcategories branching off in all directions. In the aromatic category, you will find cocktails such as the Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and Sazerac. Aromatic cocktails consist of liquor, a sweetener, and bitters.

Sour cocktails include the Whiskey Sour, Daiquiri, and Margarita. Sours consist of liquor, sweetener, and citrus juice. Bitters began as herbal tinctures, and later became flavoring agents for cocktails. The undisputed grand-daddy of all aromatic cocktails is the Old Fashioned, making it the perfect place to start our foray into the world of amateur mixology.

Believe it or not, there is a robust and ongoing debate between historical purists and boozy young whippersnappers as to the appropriate way to make an Old Fashioned. In its simplest form, a sugar cube, bitters, and dark spirit mixed and served over a single large ice cube. At the other end of the spectrum, you will find a drink that consists of various crushed fruits, sugar, soda, bitters, and whiskey.

I am happy to report that the latter manifestation of the drink has mostly died out, along with some of the other questionable style choices of the era in which it was devised. If you happen to find yourself in a bar or restaurant that serves the latter manifestation, do not walk—bolt to the nearest exit! No good for yourself nor humanity will come of patronizing such a wretched and cynical establishment.

For us amateur home bartenders who wish to serve a good cocktail to our friends, family, and the odd stranger, I have charted a safe, reasonably high quality, middle of the road course. This approach is anchored soundly by a solid choice in whiskey.

Choose a good quality Rye or Bourbon whiskey. Rye is often presented as the more traditional choice, but ultimately your individual preference should guide the decision. Knob Creek is my go-to, and they distill both rye and bourbon whiskeys. Knob Creek Bourbon is 100-proof but is exceptionally smooth as a sipping bourbon. The benefit to higher proof whiskeys is that they tend to be bolder flavored and they won’t dilute too quickly. Other good options include Bulleit (Rye and Bourbon), Makers Mark, Wild Turkey, and Buffalo Trace.

The next hurdle will be sugar. The classic approach is to muddle a pure cane sugar cube with bitters in the bottom of the glass and build it up from there. This method can sometimes cause the drink to be too hot at the beginning and too sweet at the end because the sugar doesn’t incorporate and settles at the bottom. I often use simple syrup, it is much easier and provides a more consistent result from glass to glass. Angostura bitters can be found at most supermarkets. Use good ice, don’t settle for the stale opaque variety that can be found in the home freezer. It will rob the drink of its aesthetic beauty, offend your guests, and perhaps rob you of a portion of your dignity. Yet another choice is whether to use orange or lemon peel as a garnish (there is a difference).

So those are your ingredients; whiskey, simple syrup, bitters, ice, and citrus peel. For equipment you will need, rocks glasses, a bar spoon, mixing glass, strainer, and a measuring device (jigger and spoon or shot glass). For a single portion, begin by filling a rocks glass with ice. In a mixing glass, combine 3-4 dashes of Angostura Bitters, ½ ounce of simple syrup, 2 ounces of whiskey, and a good amount of ice.

Stir for 30 seconds or more to allow the ice to melt and dilute the drink while marrying the flavors. Strain into the rocks glass. Next, peel a long ribbon of orange or lemon, and squeeze over the top of the glass, spritzing the aromatic oils over the top of the drink. Run the peel along the outside rim of the glass and place it inside the drink.

This should result in a supremely palatable drink. Feel free to adjust to your taste; some find it is better with less simple syrup. If you prefer the drink a bit stronger, don’t stir it as long or use larger ice cubes. This is the basic framework for numerous other drinks and will give the new home bartender a good opportunity to learn how to balance the drink.

As you practice, you will notice that the ingredients begin to dictate the process. The ice begins to shout out at the exact moment the drink has been sufficiently stirred. The oranges and lemons vie for your eye with their glistening peel, laden with hefty pores packed with aromatic oil. The condensation on the outside of the glasses whispers the precise moment they are ready to host the liquid. Or maybe that’s the whiskey talking.  

 

Ballot Initiative Seeks to Move Utah to Primary Elections

Utah lawmakers battle over whether the state should move from a caucus system to a primary system. Count My Vote is a ballot initiative that, if passed, would make Utah a primary state. A counter initiative called Keep My Voice is seeking to reverse a 2014 law SB54 that provided a signature route to the primary ballot in addition to the caucus system, effectively creating a bifurcated caucus and primary system. The question of the constitutionality of that law is now before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The caucus system places a few steps between potential candidates and the primary election ballot. The caucus system begins at the neighborhood (or precinct) caucus meeting. At that meeting, members of the respective political party vote to elect local precinct officials, and delegates to represent them at the county and state party conventions. These meetings involve open debate and public voting over issues and candidates. The caucus method requires personal interaction on the part of candidates with the delegates at conventions to secure a spot on the ballot for the primary.

The primary requires candidates to reach the ballot by obtaining a sufficient number of signatures from the voters at large within the respective district to get on the ballot for the primary election. Depending on the state or county, various rules apply to the process. Some states, for example, have open primaries where citizens can vote for a candidate of a different party. Other states only allow citizens to vote for a candidate in the party they are registered.

Proponents of the caucus system say that it has proven historically to foster greater grassroots participation and accountability. They claim that it is an effective way to keep crony capitalism at bay and that it eliminates money as a dominant factor in politics. Many supporters of the caucus system claim that the move to a primary system across the United States is why money, in the form of political ads, has become such a problem. It gives a polished view of the candidate directly to voters, rather than forcing them into a more dynamic relationship with delegates. Additionally, they claim the primary system violates the First Amendment’s freedom of association guarantee.

Supporters of the primary system claim that it does exactly the opposite regarding voter participation and that it is less restrictive to potential candidates. Proponents claim that caucuses give undue political power to delegates who represent dominant local economic and ideological interests over those of most voters. For example, it may be hard to marshal sufficient numbers at the caucus meetings to fully voice concerns of citizens who may not be able to make it to the meetings because of conflicting work, family, and school schedules. This dynamic, opponents claim, effectively marginalizes the voices of the working class, mothers, students, and minority groups.

The battle has recently become apparent within the Republican Party after a minority of the Central Committee passed a bylaw that would oust a party member that sought the signature route to the ballot, provided by SB54. That change would not affect most of the 2018 candidates, however, and only applies to the first and second congressional districts. This took place over the objections of Republican Party Chairman Rob Anderson. They even fired the party’s legal counsel after he advised that the move would put them at odds with state law and the constitution. Apparently, members of the central committee can call a special meeting so long as a quorum of at least 40 members is present. There are 183 members altogether, and many of them cannot make it to hastily called special meetings.

Utah residents will have the opportunity to participate in their local precinct caucus meetings on March 20th. The question of whether to change the caucus system will be one of the major issues up for debate this year, and there are strong opinions on both sides of the issue. More information about both ballot initiatives can be found at http://www.countmyvoteutah.org/ and https://www.keepmyvoice.org/

 

Hiking Eagle Crags

One of the things I love most about Southern Utah and Northern Arizona is the full range of lands available for exploration. While the National Parks and Monuments have trails that are well maintained and marketed, BLM and Forest Service lands tend to be a little more rugged and less traveled. Eagle Crags is one of the latter examples. It lies on BLM land and is one of the access points to the Canaan Mountain Wilderness Area. This hike offers a broader view of many of the beautiful features of Zion National Park, alongside other land features that are privately owned. Unfortunately, those areas cannot be visited, but their beauty can be taken in on this hike.

To reach the trailhead, take SR9 to Rockville, Utah, and turn onto Bridge Road. Cross the bridge and continue until the paved road takes a sharp right. Keep going straight on the dirt road which will wind up the side of a large mesa. Be mindful of your speed and where you are going. The road cuts past private property, and high visitation can lead to frustration for the locals. The Eagle Crags trailhead requires a high clearance vehicle to reach and may be inaccessible after weather events. Be sure to come prepared with plenty of water and good hiking shoes. During summer months, the trek can become unbearably hot due to the lack of shade. Be sure to go early morning or evening during that time of year. Spring and fall are the ideal time of year to embark on this adventure.

The trailhead is clearly marked with a parking area and a large map of the terrain. The trail heads in a north-eastern direction and is well defined. The Eagle Crags are the prominent jagged rock formations at the point of the mountain. The beginning portion of the hike consists of approximately two miles of rocky desert landscape. As you continue down the path, you will notice a variety of desert plants including yucca, juniper, shrub oak, rabbit brush, prickly pear, Mormon tea, and more. It is not uncommon to see signs of animals as well. Jackrabbits, road runners, snakes, a variety of lizards and birds, and even coyotes and mountain lions inhabit the area. I spotted a coyote on one early morning hike and a rattlesnake on another midday excursion. Neither of them was looking for trouble, just be mindful.  

There is a moderate upward slope for most of the hike, until the end where the trail becomes steeper and begins to switchback closer to the crags and multiple lookout spots. As you reach the top, you will see the main canyon of Zion National Park, Parunuweap Canyon and the East Fork of the Virgin River, and a beautiful ranch with a large reservoir. The trail gradually wraps around the east side of the crags and will eventually become less worn. While there are routes up onto Canaan which can be used to traverse the mountain and down through Water Canyon, that should only be undertaken with great care as it is an overnight trip. Turn around whenever you feel comfortable. Typically, the hike will be around five miles round trip and can take anywhere from two to five hours depending on your desired speed.

Upon completion of the hike, there are numerous restaurants and watering holes in Springdale. If you do this in the summer months, there is little chance that you will not want a bit of food and drink. Kings Landing has my vote for the best burger in Southern Utah. Zion Canyon Brewing Company makes terrific beers, and their brewpub is always a welcome stop after a long hike in the area. If you are heading back toward Hurricane, River Rock Brewing Company serves perhaps the best food and coffee in the area. Their pizza is excellent. They have Zion Canyon brews on tap as well.

MCC Nurses Among Best in Arizona

The nursing program at Mohave Community College has ranked among the best in Arizona. Out of 28 nursing programs analyzed by RegisteredNursing.org, the program at MCC was ranked number four. MCC President Dr. Michael Kearns said, “This is a great recognition of the hard work our nursing faculty, staff and students are doing at all of our campuses.”

The rankings were based on the pass rate of students on the NCLEX-RN exam. That is the exam used across the US to determine a nursing student’s skills and to grant licensure. They averaged the pass rates of up to five of the most recent years of available data. MCC ranked 94.2 overall but boast a 97% pass rate in 2017 alone.

The MCC nursing program director June Weiss said, “We are honored to be recognized for the excellent NCLEX pass rates. The staff and faculty focus on the achievement of student learning and success and strive to keep the student at the center of all they do.”

The nursing program is the cornerstone of the North Mohave Campus and attracts local and out of town students alike. According to MCC, “Beginning in Fall 2018 the nursing program will be offered in the evening and weekends, which is a schedule that allows students more flexibility to maintain full-time jobs while working on their career transition.”

For more information about the MCC nursing program, call 928-681-5635 for more information or visit the North Mohave Campus.

 

Utah Republicans Visit Hildale Voters

On February 24, 2018, county and state Republican party leaders met with Hildale Republican voters to discuss party values, the structure of Utah’s caucus system, and the upcoming precinct caucuses on March 20, 2018. The speakers at the meeting included Washington County Republican Party Chairman Jimi Kestin, Dr. Paul Gooch, Hildale Precinct Chairman Lawrence Barlow, and Legislative District 71 Vice- Chairman Mark Borowiak.

The event took place at the Hildale branch of the Washington County Library system. The discussion began with Mr. Kestin, as he explained how the political process works and why Utah’s caucus system is so important. The precinct caucus is essentially a neighborhood gathering of an official political party where delegates are chosen to represent the community at nominating conventions on the county and state level. Those delegates get to know potential candidates, and their votes determine which candidates make it onto the party’s ballot for the primary election.

The purpose of the meeting was to provide education. The last election cycle marked the first precinct caucus for Hildale. While the process is not particularly hard to understand, it can seem complicated and requires a degree of education and support to work efficiently. One of the great aspects of the system is that the people of the precinct get to decide how it functions. It doesn’t have to look like every other precinct meeting and isn’t directed by county or state party officials.

For the caucus system to work, it requires that citizens step up to take on the responsibilities of managing the precinct’s business. Mr. Kestin praised Precinct-Chair Lawrence Barlow saying, “Your precinct chairman has been terrific. Every time we have a meeting, he’s there. Every time there’s a convention, he’s been there whether he’s a delegate or not. I’m here today because of the level of communication we’ve had with Lawrence, and I’d tell you that you have been well served by his hard work.”

The next precinct caucus meeting is on March 20, 2018. The structure of the meeting is determined by the bylaws set forth at previous meetings. Citizens can make a motion to change leadership or rules governing the procedure. For example, if you would like to be a part of precinct leadership, it would be a matter of gathering enough supporters at the meeting to vote you into that position. Although all are welcome to attend, only registered Republicans can vote. You can register as a Republican at the meeting with a state-issued ID and a utility bill as proof of address.

It is not uncommon to hear voters express a feeling that they are left out of the process of governance. The caucus system requires that you show up and support someone that you trust to work on your behalf or to take on those civic responsibilities yourself. Hildale has seen a massive increase in political engagement, which has already led to many positive changes in the community. This increase in participation has garnered the attention of officials across the state and as far as Washington DC. The size of Hildale’s electorate is enough to make a change, and if officials see that there is a high level of engagement, they are likely to respond in ways that could be very impactful regarding economic development, community development, education, infrastructure and more.

If you have any specific questions about the Hildale Precinct caucus meeting, feel free to call Precinct Chairman Lawrence Barlow at (435) 680-4822.

 

Mitt Romney Announces 2018 Senate Run

On February 16, 2018, Mitt Romney announced that he is running for the Utah Senate seat being vacated by Orrin Hatch who is retiring at the end of his term. Romney posted a video announcing his campaign for the seat saying, “I am running for United States Senate to serve the people of Utah and bring Utah’s values to Washington.”

While many have viewed Romneys running a foregone conclusion, with polls showing him far and away the favored candidate, some have expressed concerns regarding the perceived inevitability of Romney winning the seat. Some criticism has even come from the Utah Republican Party Chairman, Rob Anderson. In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune Anderson stated, “I think he’s keeping out candidates that I think would be a better fit for Utah because, let’s face it, Mitt Romney doesn’t live here, his kids weren’t born here, he doesn’t shop here.” In addition to that, Anderson noted Romney’s history of criticizing President Trump.

These comments reflect the fact that Romney has a long history in the national political spotlight. His political career includes a run for the Massachusetts Senate seat that was held by Ted Kennedy, a stint as governor of that state, and two failed bids for the presidency, one of which he clinched the Republican nomination and lost to President Obama. Some have even drawn parallels between Romney and Hillary Clinton, noting similarities in their political ascendancy. Both ran for Senate seats in states where they hadn’t historically lived.

Quickly after the statements came to light, Anderson released a statement apologizing for the tone of his comments saying, “Pursuant to an article today in the Salt Lake Tribune, I regret that my comments about potential Senatorial candidate, Mitt Romney, came across as disparaging or unsupportive.” He may have faced some backlash from Romney supporters in the state. Some polls show him having a nearly 70 percent approval rating.

Chairman Anderson is not the only one criticizing Romney’s decision to run. State Auditor John Dougall said, “We need to talk about what we want out U.S. senator to be rather than talk about who it should be. As an auditor, I know that single-source bidding is no way to do business.” Dougall too notes the tense relationship between Trump and Romney and has suggested that Utah requires representatives that will work with Trump to fulfill his agenda.

Swedish Meatball Recipe

Meatballs, while seemingly simple, require a degree of skill to bring to the level of sublime. I have tried many times (ending in failure) and have finally found the way to make them sublime. Instead of throwing dry breadcrumbs into the meat mixture, this method soaks bread in milk, creating a somewhat undesirable looking slurry that binds and locks in moisture. The texture of these meatballs blew me away, and this template could be used to create any style of meatball whether that be Italian, Middle Eastern, Asian, etc.

I should say a word about blending different ground meats. I am a proponent of this, for a few reasons. Darker meats such as beef, lamb, and venison, can make the meatballs too strongly flavored. Most recipes call for the addition of pork or veal. I have found that pork, while adding volume for less money, balances the flavors as well. The addition of pork fat is helpful too because it is a cleaner flavor. With the Swedish meatballs recipe, I think it is important to add a fair amount of pork or veal due to the richness of the cream sauce. Otherwise, it would be a little too much. I utilized a three-part mixture of beef, lamb, and pork.

 

½ lb ground beef

½ lb ground lamb

½ lb of ground pork

1 medum onion minced

4 cloves garlic minced

1 cup of milk

2 eggs

2-3 slices of crusty bread

½ tsp allspice

Pinch nutmeg

Parsley

Salt and pepper

1 cup cream

3 cups beef stock

¼ cup flour

Olive oil

2-3 dashes Worcestershire

Egg noodles

 

Start by combining bread and milk. In a separate bowl, combine the meat along with the onion, garlic, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix well to incorporate seasonings fully. Make a small patty to cook and taste for seasoning; adjust accordingly. Crush the bread and milk mixture into a slurry and combine with the meat mixture, along with the eggs. Mix well and form into large meatballs.

In a large pan, add olive oil and place over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the meatballs in a counter-clockwise fashion to better gauge timing. Brown evenly in batches, moving seared meatballs to a baking tray. When finished browning, remove any excess fat (there should be a couple of tablespoons). Add flour and incorporate into the fat, adding broth soon after and stirring to remove any bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the meatballs back into the pan along with any juices that have accumulated on the tray. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until they are cooked through.

When the meatballs are finished, pour the cream along with a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce into the pan. Stir to incorporate the sauce. Be sure that the sauce is not boiling. Otherwise, the cream may curdle. Add parsley and serve, along with a couple spoonful’s of sauce over egg noodles.

 

Water Impact Fees to be Reduced

The councils of Colorado City Arizona and Hildale Utah have adopted resolutions to reduce water impact fees by 180 dollars. This action was in response to the court order in the case of United States of America v. Town of Colorado City, Arizona, et al., which found that the Twin Cities had illegally discriminated based on religion.

The court ordered that the Twin Cities modify their water development impact fees if an independent review found that they were too high. The review was undertaken by Alpha Engineering, based upon water usage data from 2011 to 2013, a Water Rights Purchase Analysis, and meetings with local government officials and the UEP Trust.

While the report did find that the impact fees could be lowered by $180, one glaring element is the Water Rights Purchase Analysis. According to the report, “In our meetings with the UEP, it was reported that additional water rights for the City of Hildale could be provided at no cost to the community provided the impact fee was reduced to an amount agreeable to the UEP. It was also reported that water rights could be obtained in Arizona for no cost, which the IFFP [original analysis] considered.”

Documentation provided to the review team showed that there were meetings between the UEP and city officials in 2015 but that no agreement could be reached on, what appears to be, free water rights offered by the UEP. The UEP’s only stipulations were legal assurances that those water rights would not be sold by the cities so that the benefit would go to residents in the form of lower fees.

The city of Hildale then acquired water rights elsewhere, for a price tag of $355,600.00 which increased impact fees. The report says, “From our discussions with the UEP, it is our understanding that they maintain the position that they are willing to provide the water rights needed as part of the IFFP at no cost, provided the impact fee is reduced an amount proportionate to the credit given.”

The second point in the summary of the report says, “Water rights held by the UEP may be available at no cost, but the Client has already purchased water rights which were within the limits of the costs provided in the IFFP.” According to statements made at the meeting, there were no impact fees before 2014.   

The cities will be required to undertake a new analysis within the next few years. That process will consider new data, perhaps giving a clearer picture of where the communities water needs are and may head if current trends persist. Many of the council members and the mayor expressed their desire to bring those fees down as much as possible.