Challenges unavoidable for personal, city growth

Our City
by A.F. Mayor Marc Beitia

Have you ever experienced that moment when something new presented itself? That something that you knew would be a bit uncomfortable, at least challenging, and you didn’t want to commit because it was just that.

One of those moments called me about two weeks ago. I had just gotten home from the Simplot welding class. Sally was three days gone to Mexico with her brother to see their folks. It was just me and my two hairy companions, Lilly and Buster, along with microwaved leftovers. I put off the answer for two days, until I started to feel guilty about not responding. I knew my answer and that it was the right thing to do.

Wednesday through Saturday of last week was like that both at school and city hall. Wednesday was a heck of a day. Ten o’clock started the East Magic Valley District (EMVD) FFA Leadership events at AFHS. Throughout the course of the day, 36 American Falls FFA members competed in speaking, sales, and parliamentary procedure; surprisingly only three had competed in their event before. They all stepped up and did their very best. Did they all win, sorry no. But many did place first and earned the right to compete again at the state leadership events in April. To a person, what each did do was meet challenge and discomfort head-on, like I knew they would. What they also did was grow as a person and a leader. Personal growth does not happen just because we want it to, it happens because each of us chooses to make it happen. I am so proud of each of those 36 kids.

Wednesday late afternoon found me at city hall with Margaret Bibbey, realty specialist for the Upper Snake Field Office of the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), waiting for me. Oops, I thought the meeting was for the 19th. Sometimes you just have to roll with it. I had scheduled the meeting with Margaret to talk about the possibilities posed in our soon to be adapted Strategic Plan for the city. Specifically the BOR lands between the reservoir and the State Highway 39 bypass, and north to Willow Bay. The meeting wasn’t uncomfortable or challenging for us; but the questions I posed were new to her, and the possibilities the answers hold could prove beneficial to the entire community. The questions we discussed were about the possible new access route to Willow Bay, expanding the golf course by nine holes and a driving range, a trap shooting range, birding and bike trails, historical and archeological venues, and extended camping at Willow Bay should the Magnida project come to fruition. Margaret was open and positive about all the potential those now vacant lands hold for American Falls and the region. The actual responses to my questions were favorable, but actual answers will take time and research by Margaret and I, some paperwork, and environmental studies by the city. The opportunities are there. We just have to figure out how to secure them.

Thursday afternoon found me first in a Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) meeting close to wrapping up substantial completion on the processing part of that project. A few minor technicalities remain before the mandatory seven day test begins; the plant has to operate as intended for seven days without any glitches. Once the seven day test is passed and a few operating manuals are printed, substantial completion will be essentially met. Construction of the new maintenance shop and laboratory should begin before too long. The old plant is completely history, except for the old blower building which will be used for parts storage.

Following the WWTP meeting, council members Stuart Pankratz and Kurtis Workman met with Bill Beck, Cody Moldenhauer, Robyn Herndon and I to discuss new rates at the golf course. You will be pleased to know that many rates are being reduced, with the intent of making golf more affordable for seniors, students and families. Large groups will find the new rates very appealing as well. A public hearing has been set for April 2 at the regular city council meeting for the one fee increase which addresses personal cart usage on the course.

Friday again found Robyn and I in another meeting — this time with Alan Giesbrecht of JUB Engineering and Jim Mullen of Keller Associates Engineering — discussing how to best implement (i.e. find grant money for) the many construction aspects of the city’s proposed Strategic Plan. It, too, was very insightful and productive. I am anxious to begin moving forward with so much of the plan. It is good that the council has prioritized it. When it is available for public viewing, it will be placed on the city website after the council meeting on the 19th. You may find some aspects of the plan daunting; but they are worthy of our very best effort as a city. Of course funding will be critical for many of the plan’s initiatives and the maintenance of current city assets must remain a priority.

Saturday was a full day as well. I had committed to doing a fly-tying demonstration at Portneuf River Outfitters in January. The problem was I haven’t tied much since Christmas, I was really rusty. It is a good thing I have decent muscle memory, although my mental one was dependent on a few recipes I had put on paper years ago. I got through the demo without too much mishap and then started to get nervous. I had agreed to act as Master of Ceremonies for the 2014 Power County Young Woman of Excellence program. It was way out of my comfort zone and more than somewhat challenging in places. Lindsey Woodworth, the 2013 winner, told me, “you did pretty good for your first time.” I took that comment to mean I didn’t completely suck; but have room to grow in the capacity of an emcee. Which is to say I wasn’t quite as good as the first year competitors at the EMVD FFA leadership events.

In general I know I have room to grow and improve personally, along with the City of American Falls. I have no doubt that some discomfort and no shortage of challenges will accompany any growth of the city or me.

Until next week…

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