Emery County Commissioners Highlight Programs and Projects

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By Sara Price

Emery County Commissioner JR Nelson commented on a meeting he had with Four Corners Community Mental Health during the commission meeting Nov. 11. He stated that with the state considering an expansion of Medicaid as a way to accommodate those who fall in the gap between Medicaid and the Affordable Health Care Act, Four Corners could see a large increase in the patients they are able to treat.

He stated that this would have a “huge impact” on the Four Corners mental health program and that more people would be able to receive much needed treatment.

Nelson would also like to see natural gas fees hookups on new construction in rural Utah match urban areas. He stated that urban residents pay little to nothing for their natural gas hookups while rural residents pay much more.

Drug court has had a positive impact in the community. Nelson stated that local employers are struggling to find employees who test clean and are looking to drug court for employees who are being tracked and tested.

Nelson also attended the sensitivity training that was offered to all department heads. He said that it was a great program and encouraged all department heads to participate in future trainings. He joked, “I should have been fired when I was a teacher because I wasn’t sensitive enough.”

He also attended a meeting for the Millsite dam renovation. It disturbed him that it will cost between $23.5-25 million to complete renovations and that Millsite was one of the few dams that weren’t owned by the Federal Government. The renovations will raise the spillway by four feet, enlarge it, and make it structurally sound. They will also dredge the lake of silt deposits to restore its original storage capacity.

Nelson was pleased with the wellness clinic, which offers check-ups and flu shots simultaneously. He also congratulated the library board for all their hard work. He was impressed with how modern they are and how they are up to date on new methods and technology.

Commissioner Ethan Migliori reported on the coal symposium that came to Emery County. Speakers at the event addressed new technology and the future of coal. According to Migliori, new developments allow coal to be used more productively and efficiently and also open mining possibilities in places that were previously unreachable.

He stated that he learned most of the coal mine development and technology advancements are taking place in Utah. He felt this was a good thing as it is a major industry in Utah.

Meetings for the Emery County Care & Rehabilitation Center have continued. He stated they are working to keep the care center profitable and productive for Emery County and that they would continue to work through any concerns that arise.

The trails committee is working on an ambitious project to GPS, map and document all non-motorized trails present in Emery County. Migliori commented that he was amazed by how many trails are in Huntington alone. These include horseback, hiking and biking trails.

The Museum of the San Rafael will be open over the Thanksgiving holiday. Tentative hours are 12 -4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. He also stated that the museum is working to promote the Pioneer Museum, which is located above city hall in Castle Dale. The Pioneer Museum does not get as much notice and they will place a couple of displays in the Museum of the San Rafael to help promote tourism in the area and increase visitors to the Pioneer Museum.

Migliori stated that Jake Atwood with the Emery County Recreation Department has been working with a piece of property that is landlocked between a hill and private property. They are hoping to turn it into a field asset for Emery County.

Commissioner Jeff Horrocks opened his comments by addressing the loss of federal funds for senior programs such as Meals on Wheels and the Heat program. They are looking for ways to keep these programs running.

He also addressed the natural gas issue and stated that they are working to bring natural gas to Emery County cities that currently do not have service; cities such as Green River, Lawrence and Emery.

Conductive Composites, a company that specializes in metal fabrication, is looking to relocate to Cleveland in the near future. Horrocks was impressed with how well they run the site and how many chemicals are safely stored there. It has been cleared as a non-hazard for the town of Cleveland.

Work on the county budget also continues. Horrocks attended a joint government meeting with Uintah, Grand, Duchesne, and Carbon counties as they work to create an economic diversity program that will help all counties strengthen their economies.

He gave a special thanks to Michael Kelsey who donated over $10,000 for a new computer and scanner for the Emery County archives. His website can be found at kelseyguidebooks.com.

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